Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Next Big Thing: Fairy Godmothers, Inc.

My new book, “Fairy Godmothers, Inc.,” is being published in late April 2013 by Jolly Fish Press. The wonderful people at Jolly Fish are putting together an official site for the book now, but the members of The Next Big Thing blog hop are giving me a chance to give you guys an early introduction to the book.
The Next Big Thing: Fairy Godmothers, Inc.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
I’ve always wondered why fairy godmothers go around sneaking poor girls into fancy dress balls. The only answer that made any sense was that they must be paid for it.

What genre does your book fall under?
Fantasy/humor/romance. Yes, I know there’s no section in bookstores for that, but why limit yourself?

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
My publisher, Christopher Loke, mentioned Emma Stone for Kate. Kate was flattered by the comparison, naturally, but is sure she’s nowhere near as pretty as Emma.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Kate, an employee of Fairy Godmothers, Inc., falls in love and saves the day in the middle of her most complicated assignment yet.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
The first draft was so long ago I genuinely don’t remember. Let’s just say that Kate and I have known each other for a very long time and leave it at that.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
All fantasy humorists dream of one day being compared to Terry Pratchett. People who have read early drafts have also compared to Mercedes Lackey’s 500 Kingdoms books and Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
I love fairy tales, but the heroines were always so good and beautiful that I kind of wanted to smack them with something. What about the witty, sarcastic girls? What about the girls who no one notices? What about the girls who have never really fit in anywhere? I wanted THOSE fairy tales.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
“Fairy Godmothers, Inc.” is what happens when fairy tales and reality collide.
Thanks everyone! You can also check out other blogs in the blog hop, including our useful, interesting and funny home base, Slow Stir: Jolly Fish can be found at

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Handbook for Supervillains: No Capes

This is your competition in Cleveland.
Give up now.
So You Want To Rule The World
No Capes, or Edna Mode Was Right
When creating your villainous look, one of the greatest temptations besetting those starting into the evil life is the cape. Whether you’re fighting a costumed crusader or styling yourself as the evil  overlord of your Eastern European country of choice, it’s easy to imagine yourself sweeping aside some long black cloak as you order someone executed or cackle about how you have the hero in your clutches. (Note: Many of those cape/cloak fantasies probably include revealing your evil plan to the hero, just so you can bask in how clever you are. A later chapter will discuss why this is in fact one of the dumbest things you, as a villain, can do.)

Fight this temptation, young evildoer. Capes are a relic of a bygone era, and will not only limit your flexibility as a villain but also hamper you should worst come to worst and you end up in a fistfight. A flunkie who has designs on your power can also easily take you out if you hamper yourself with a large sweep of fabric attached to your neck. Though you can find ways around it – electricity sticks are a fun choice, and can be adapted to match any color scheme  – why open yourself up to the possibility? If you’d like, you can electrocute them anyway and not worry about your life being at risk.
Beyond the practical applications, capes also add an element of cheesiness to your villainous persona that will inevitably limit the kind of heroes you attract and your ability to terrify the greatest possible swath of the populace. Dracula used to be terrifying, peering over his cape as he hypnotized innocent women into baring their necks, but these days his classic profile is little more than a parody or a kids’ cereal mascot. Loki can get away with it, but anyone else who wanted to do the same thing would also have to rant like a mad god, which can get tiring.

Capes – especially fur capes, which are the kiss of death unless you happen to have wandered into a medieval fantasy world – are no longer terrifying to modern audiences. Don’t let yourself become a relic, or if you do at least do something fun to get there like attempting to steal the moon.

Next: The Underwear Question, or It Didn't Work For Batman

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Handbook for Supervillains: The Female Villain

So You Want to Rule the World

The Female Villain Persona, or Yes, Even Evil is Sexist

The unpleasant truth of the matter is that the majority of the world’s most well-respected supervillains are male. If you’re a woman and have an overwhelming pull towards villainry, you’re usually expected to be the girlfriend of some more powerful villain or sleep with the hero before betraying him. Sure, you get great outfits, but that’s not going to win you the kind of respect that say, subjugating a small country would.

Even the best villains fall into this trap. Talia may have been the mastermind in the latest “Dark Knight” movie, but who do we all remember? Yes, Bane. He got to make the dramatic proclamations, while she missed several opportunities for solid evil name recognition by pretending to be a good guy. This, my friend, will not get people quaking in their boots at the mention of your name. After all, branding is just important in villainry as it is in selling shoes.

 (Just a note to keep you from offending someone you shouldn't and having them convince you to apologize with a ray gun -- "villain" is still the politically correct job title for women who choose this profession. In fact, the only term still under evaluation from several joint committees on political correctness is "bad guy."

"Bad girl" was briefly considered as a replacement, but several women's rights activists in the supervillain community attending the meetings felt that the term was derisive to women and still segregated them from their peers. Since they had conveniently armed themselves before arriving, the rest of the group tended to agree with their viewpoint quickly. "Bad person" is a current favorite, though a small but vocal writer's coalition is complaining that it just doesn’t sound as catchy.)

So, my sisters in dastardly deeds, don’t let yourself fall into the “girlfriend” trap. Believe me, there will be ways to trick the hero without sleeping with him, and the other villains will respect you for it far more. If nothing else, get one of your female flunkies to sleep with him while you get to do all the dramatic grandstanding and evil rants that are some of the most solid benefits our profession has to offer. Then, when the hero thinks he’s lured your flunkie over to the good side, have her bring him to you so you can stab him. Or stab them both, and prove you’re above this whole seduction nonsense. Just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have fun with it.

Next: No Capes, or Edna Mode Was Right

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Handbook for Supervillains: Choosing a Persona

So You Want to Rule the World
Choosing a Persona, or Step Away from the Spandex
Be VERY careful with these. The object of the entire super villain persona is to strike fear into the hearts of innocent townsfolk and surrounding superheroes, not make them want to laugh their heads off.  Generally, any villainous identity that involves brightly colored spandex, killing your enemies with normally harmless items (“Fear my eggbeater of terror!”) or costumes that include anything that could easily be handed out as a party favor falls into this category.
Comedic super villains are never allowed to win, unless they are heroes or are lucky to find themselves in a gritty reboot. The place of the absurd villain is to be defeated in a comical manner, often through use of some sort of pun related to the villain’s name. These people are forced to constantly wear horrendous costumes (this is discussed in further detail later), never get a single good line of dialogue, and never, ever get the girl.
Still, even more traditional themes require a delicate balance. Death is widely seen as terrifying, but if you call yourself Mr. Death you’ll need to start piling up the bodies before you’re taken at all seriously. Trying to make yourself sound scary is often seen as an amateur move, when if you are truly scary you could be called “Florence” and people would still back away from you in terror. Instead, call yourself something something simple, such as D, and carry around a large weapon you know how to use (Not Mr. D, though. That’s just asking for trouble).
If you’re uncertain as to whether your planned villainous persona can be taken seriously, walk into an appropriately disreputable bar and introduce yourself in character. If you’re ignored or laughed at, go back and try again. If people start inching their barstools away from yours, then you have a winner.
Note: A comedic villainous personal can occasionally come in handy, such as when you want to distract the guards while you make off with [insert name of precious treasure here]. If that’s the case, then any mortally embarrassing costume that still leaves you room to maneuver should do the trick. I would suggest only using it once, however, and perhaps switch through an entire gallery of embarrassing costumes to confuse the heroes further.
Next: The Female Villain Persona, or Yes, Even Evil is Sexist

Friday, October 5, 2012

Q&A with author Lehua Parker

Lehua Parker’s MG/YA novel One Boy, No Water, book one in the Niuhi Shark Saga. It’s available from Barnes & Noble and Amazon in hardback, trade paperback, and ebook.

What was your inspiration for One Boy, No Water?

One Boy, No Water had its genesis in an image from a movie I saw when I was seven. The person responsible for all the missing villagers was revealed to be a young man with a gaping shark's mouth where his back should be! He'd kept his back hidden and had been living in the village all his life. Over the years my mind kept returning to that image wondering ‘what if?’ The answer to some of those questions is the Niuhi Shark Saga. One Boy, No Water is book one in a five part series.

What was your favorite thing about the process of writing the book?

Getting so caught up in crafting the story that I completely lose track of time. I love writing in the wee hours when the house is dark and quiet and it's just me, the glow from the computer screen, and a dog or two sleeping at my feet.

What was the most challenging thing about the process of writing the book?

It's one of the themes in the book: staying in balance. When I'm working on a book, I start out by reading everything I can get my hands on that might in some way relate to some vague ideas I have about characters or plot. I bang out a couple of chapters just to see what's percolating. I research a bit more and think a lot. I sketch out a rough outline of the plot—or what I think is the plot. I tinker around with it a little and think some more. Up until this point, I can still function in the real world. The kids get hot meals and clean clothes and can expect to get taken to soccer and piano on time.

And then it happens. At some point it all comes together and I get obsessed. I lose all balance and perspective. I basically lock myself in my office and write, sometimes for fifteen or twenty hours straight. If I didn't have to eat or sleep, I'd probably sit at the computer until it's done. Fortunately in my non-book writing periods, I taught the kids how to cook and do laundry.

To try to keep balance in my life when I'm deep into a book, I write one day (and night and sometimes the next day!), then take a day off. I'll read what I wrote, have an actual conversation with my husband and kids, nurse the carpel tunnel in my wrists and pain in my neck and shoulders, and get some sleep. It starts all over again the following day when I'm in the shower mentally working out how what needs to come next in the story is going to happen.

Brief Bio
Lehua Parker is originally from Hawaii and a graduate of The Kamehameha Schools and Brigham Young University. So far she has been a live television director, a school teacher, a courseware manager, an instructional designer, a sports coach, a theater critic, a SCUBA instructor, a poet, a web designer, a mother, and a wife. Her debut novel, One Boy, No Water is the first book in her MG/YA series the Niuhi Shark Saga. She currently lives in Utah with her husband, two children, four cats, two dogs, six horses, and assorted chickens. During the snowy Utah winters she dreams about the beach.

Contact Info
Facebook author page: 
Twitter: @LehuaParker 
Goodreads: Lehua Parker