Jennifer Kibble brings together science and magic in the first book of her series, Phoenix Element: Normality Twisted. Young Jennibelle, a normal fourteen-year-old, encounters the same worries as most girls her age: relationships with her father and Uncle Raven, overbearing friends like her pal Teresa, and the occasional babysitting gig with young Miles. But, when Jennibelle meets a new student named Kyle, everything begins to change. As Jennibelle and Miles visit the mall one evening, they see a news report that shows portals opening all over the world and robots entering into her world. Shocked, they decide to leave, but not before a portal opens before them. Luckily, Kyle is waiting in the wings to save the day, using his electrical powers and special portal opening device. He whisks Jennibelle and Miles away to another planet and hides them, but then loses them to the evil Ozma. After a harrowing adventure and escape, Jennibelle settles back into her former life on Earth, but not for long. Before she can get comfortable, she is caught up in magic, interplanetary adventures, and an education she never dreamed she’d have.
Ms. Kibble successfully sets up a world full of magic, science, and wonder in her science fiction/fantasy novel. While the vast number of characters are difficult to keep up with, they are fairly well executed, if not entirely developed. The story takes a breathless pace, leaving a bit of presence lacking and the plot is a bit overwrought. However, the story is cohesive and allows the reader to follow the action without a great deal of re-reading. Such concepts as reincarnation and pantheism are touched on in the story as well. Overall, the book is a fun read and leaves the reader with an expectation that more character development and adventure will happen in her second book of the series, Phoenix Element: Mages of Vane.
We’ve all heard it: “Write what you know.” This is a true statement and I try to abide by it as often as possible. Writing what you know means you already have ready content in your mind that’s ready to come out onto the page in a smart and intelligible fashion. Ultimately, though, writing what you know means that you’re writing about something that means something to you; something significant.
When inspiration strikes, you have a decision to make. If you’re like me, you can see right away whether or not the idea is pithy. Sometimes, the concept has to stew and become flavored properly. But, in those rare moments, when a story gets into your heart, you know it’s magic. You can’t escape it because it’s most literally a part of you.
Writing what you love is the pinnacle of a story’s becoming. It’s creation in the purest sense. Write what you love.
My family loves art; just about any kind. My wife is an artist with a BFA from University of Georgia. She’s good at just about any visual media you can imagine from fiber art to digital design. Luke, my eldest son, is very much like his mother. He can do just about anything. Noah is bound to be a musician, like me. We both love to sing and play just about anything.
I’ve found that my writing, when it’s ebbing or slowing, can be helped through another art form. For example, the paintings above were done by me or my sons and me. The tall, slender painting was titled “The Bible Lands” by my boys. I had asked my Uncle Tommy, who is a house painter, if he had any old dropcloths he didn’t use anymore. He gave me a huge one that i cut down into two pieces. The tall, skinny piece is actually nine feet tall by two feet wide. The second painting, I titled “Cherry Trees”. I painted that one and it’s about seven feet by six feet. They were both fun and cathartic and, best of all, cost very little to do. Uncle Tommy gave me the canvas, my Dad gave me the wood pieces to build the frames for stretching, and the paint is from a bunch of leftover cans of house paint.
So, if you ever feel like you’re about to explode and need to let some creativity out, think about another artistic outlet. Love your art, my people!