All Because of Chickens

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Introducing Margaret Fieland

Over the next little while, the Muse tween and YA authors will be introducing themselves and their books.  I'm Margaret Fieland, Muse author and administrator of this blog. My tween sci fi novel, Relocated, came out last July. I have another tween  sci fi novel coming out in November and an adult sci fi novel due out this July. I'm also author of a poetry book, co-author with five others of another, and contributor to several anthologies.

I'd written poetry for years, but up until 2006, I'd never written any fiction. In 2005 I wrote a poem  I wanted to keep, which led me to complain to my youngest son about not ever having my stuff on the computer I was on. He pointed me to Yahoo Briefcase, and I put up all my poems. Fast forward to December of 2005, where, because they were online and handy, I submitted a poem to an online ezine's poetry contest. I was a finalist, and thus psyched, found a couple of online poetry groups.

Somewhere in there I heard about the Muse  Online Writer's Conference and I signed up. There I "met" Linda Barnett Johnson and I joined her writing forums.

Linda is first of all a story writer, and we all had to write both poetry and fiction if we wanted to participate. I'd never written any fiction up to that point. What's more, I never had the *urge* to write fiction.

So what happened? I got hooked {smile}.

You can "blame" all of my fiction and a lot of my poetry on the Muse Online Conference -- see above. If it weren't for Linda, I wouldn't have a published novel, another coming out next year. I wouldn't be working on finishing up the editing on two more. I wouldn't be editing for 4RV publishing - I "met" Vivian Zabel at the Muse conference as well.

Stephen Leacock was my father's favorite writer.  I never read any of his work while my father was alive, but after he died, I did. He's a hoot, and eminently quotable.

Writing is no trouble: you just jot down ideas as they occur to you. The jotting is simplicity itself - it is the occurring which is difficult.

Here is the beginning of Dad's favorite story:

It was a wild and stormy night on the West Coast of
Scotland. This, however, is immaterial to the present
story, as the scene is not laid in the West of Scotland.
For the matter of that the weather was just as bad on
the East coast of Ireland.
--Stephen Butler Leacock (1869—1944)
Canadian humorist.
Opening lines of "Gertrude the Governess; Or
Simple Seventeen" in _Nonsense Novels_ [1911].

So why Relocated,  and why the other novels? I'm a huge sci fi fan, and in 2010 I decided to "do" NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) as a way to overcome my phobia about writing in the genre. Because the world-building intimidated me the most, I spent most of the six or so weeks before the beginning of November on that. I outlined a couple of pages of plot, including my main character, a fourteen-year-old Black male who has to come to Aleyne when his father accepts a deployment.

A lot of personal stuff went into this. The Federation base on Aleyne resembles the US bases in Afghanistan, which is where my second son, a captain in the army, was stationed at the time. My main character is plunged into a situation where he's forced to communicate in Aleyni, a language in which he is fluent. But, as I can attest from personal experience, there's a difference between being fluent and being a native speaker, and I drew on my own experiences in Europe, in France and in the Netherlands, when writing Keth's.  

As well, secrets play a huge role in the novel, as indeed they did in my own family. The biggest, from my point of view, of my own was the ten years my mother took off her age. She was in her late thirties when she gave birth to me and my sister. I'm in my sixties now, so this was quite exceptional at the time, and she was self-conscious about it. My sister and I didn't discover the truth until she went to get working papers. We were both in our teens at the time.

You can find Relocated here.

Here's a short excerpt:

          I gazed across the table at Orodi. My heart thumped. I needed to say something. Orodi looked pretty and sweet. “Mazos says I can come tomorrow afternoon to start learning glass blowing. In the meantime, would you like to go for a walk this afternoon?”
          Orodi smiled, and her eyes crinkled at the corners. “There’s a park around the fountain in the center of the city.”
          Shaffa swallowed his bite of stew. “It’s lovely, lots of flowers and trees, and hidden grottoes simply perfect for two.” He slapped me on the back. “You’ll love it.”
          I frowned at Shaffa. “Isn't three or four more usual?” Embarrassment filled me, but I asked anyway.
          Shaffa grinned at me. “Two is a good start.”
          Shaffa loaned me his bicycle, a sort of mauvish pink like his sister’s. Orodi jumped on hers and started down the street, with me wobbling after her.
          Don’t believe what they tell you when they say you never forget how to ride a bicycle. I hadn’t been on a bike in years -- Washington, D.C, had too much traffic and no bicycle paths -- and it showed. Fortunately, the other cyclists gave me a wide berth, and I steadied by the time we reached the park
 “I’m sorry I’m such a poor rider,” I lamented as we pulled up to the park, ashamed of my poor biking skills, and wondering what Orodi thought of me now.
 “You’ll improve,” Orodi smiled at me, and I realized she didn’t mind.
          We parked our bikes in the rack in front of the park entrance. Orodi took my hand and pulled me along one of the paths into the park. “Come on, we have to visit the fountain first, and you need to take a drink. Afterward we can go explore a little.”
As Shaffa said, they made a park from the oasis, with a red ground cover, short and thick, and beds of flowers. Several paths led into the park, winding out of sight behind purple rocks. The umbrella trees provided welcome shade.                        
          I stared at our clasped hands, enjoying her soft skin against mine. Orodi’s hand appeared broader than mine, but my fingers were longer. When I glanced up, she smiled at me.
 “You’re going to kiss me. I know the perfect spot.”
 My mouth dropped open and my face flushed. Orodi laughed, and I observed the mischievous glint in her eye. Excitement bubbled up my throat, but nothing came out of my mouth. We walked along in silence until we reached the fountain.
          The fountain had a large basin made of shiny purple stone. Water spouted from a hole in the center, reaching a height of eight feet before splashing back down. Scattered along the rim, men and women dipped their hands in the water and drank. I trembled as I gazed into Orodi’s eyes, wondering what would happen next.
          Orodi pushed me up to the edge. “You first.”
          I leaned over, scooped the water, and slurped out of my hand. The cool, sweet water trickled down my throat.
          Orodi leaned over, drank, smiled at me, and led me down one of the many paths winding away from the fountain. We ended up in a secluded grotto with a bench carved into the purple rock and we both sat down.
 “My water tasted sweet. Did yours?”
 I nodded. “The sweetest water I ever tasted.”
          “It’s supposed to tell you if the other person likes you or not.” She smiled. “Mine tasted sweet, too.”
          I wanted to kiss her badly, but I didn't know what to do. I’d never kissed a girl before, and I didn’t want to do anything wrong. Orodi leaned over and kissed me. I put my arms around her and kissed her back. Her lips felt soft and warm. I opened my mouth in surprise and her tongue darted in. Our tongues touched, and my whole body tingled. By the time we stopped I could barely breathe. When I looked around, the whole landscape sparkled, and the colors appeared brighter and clearer than ever before.
          Orodi tugged on my hand, pulling me to my feet. “Come on, let’s go somewhere more private.” I glanced around, afraid I would find everyone staring at us, but they were too busy kissing each other to mind us. Orodi led me around the fountain and down another path to a bench cut into large rocks. The rocks, purple and ten feet tall, formed a curved wall. The perfect private spot for two. I put my arms around Orodi and we kissed again. We sat and held hands. I don’t remember what we talked about.
          We walked back out of the park, retrieved our bikes, and started back to her house. I grinned the whole way back.
“It’s a good thing you kissed me, or we might still have been sitting there when the sun went down,” I said as we put the bikes away.
 I noticed the mischievous glint in her eye again. “I know.”

Where to find me on the web:

I also post on the 4RV Publishing blog on the last Friday of the month

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  1. Thanks for setting the ball rolling. Great to read about how you got started. Enjoyed the extracts, too. Already looking forward to future author intros.

  2. Good to learn more about you and Relocate, Margaret. Best of luck with your writing.

  3. I loved that whole story Margaret. Your excerpt is great! Thanks for starting the blog.


  4. Penny, Kai, and Pamela, thanks for stopping by. We have a great group of bloggers, so we can all look forward to lots of great posts.

  5. Margaret, I enjoyed learning how you entered the world of fiction writing. So glad you did!! Wishing you much success with this new blog.

  6. I never had you pegged for a poet. What a surprise!

    1. Suzanne, I started as a poet, and I still try to work poetry into my novels. The adult novel coming in July has a musician as one of the characters, and I've written the words to a number of the songs she sings in the book. I did take a song-writing course online recently, and I did fairly well, but Nidrani plays a stringed instrument and I play the flute and the piccolo -- so no recordings. Plus I can't sing. Stil, I may try ACX.

  7. Thanks for starting the blog, Margaret! I enjoyed reading your post and your excerpt from RELOCATED! I love sci-fi too!! ;)


  8. Thanks for sharing, Margaret! NaNoWriMo is a great inspiration. Congrats on all your accomplishments!


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