Posted by: L.J. Popp | February 28, 2013

10 Reasons You Should Travel

Here’s a teaser for a recent post I wrote for a friend. The entire post will hopefully be on her blog, beautiful absurdity, tomorrow. Check it out!

Expand Your Happiness

            Studies show that people who try new things, learn, and adapt have overall happier lives. Also, we get a lot of joy from memories. Though traveling might not always be pleasant at the time, when we look back, what seemed hard becomes funny, and we can honestly say, “I’m glad I did that.”  Be sure to take lots of pictures, or write in a journal.

Climbing from crawl

Emerging from the wild cave tour at Cosmic Caverns, Arkansas

Expand Your Pallet

There are so many foods I wouldn’t have tried had I never traveled! Jelly fish, barbequed sting ray, fresh water lobster and the world’s rarest coffee are probably on the top of my list. The coffee in particular was a stretch, since its rarity arises from the fact that it comes from a small island off the coast of Java. It passes through the gut of an animal called the civic cat before the partially digested beans are hand collected by natives and roasted.  But it was the best coffee I’ve ever had!

You do have to know your own limits, though. Before living in India, I assumed all spice was the same. I loved Mexican spices, but in Bangalore I ended up with a two-day belly ache that confined me to my bed and the bathroom. I also had to say no to raw horse in Japan and dog in Korea. But if you can stomach it, be sure to try the local delicacy wherever you go. Food is half the fun of travel!

BBQ Fish

Singapore specialty: BBQ fish and stingray on banana leaf

Expand Your Faith

One of the hardest things to explain to my friends back home was why I spent a weekend in a Buddhist temple meditating. I had never before set foot in a temple and had no desire to become Buddhist, but I wanted to understand my Asian friends and be able to talk about their religion and world-view. Likewise, I got a whole new perspective and appreciation for my Christian faith from joining a small Japanese church and another later in India. These churches provided me with a family away from home and a sense of familiarity amongst all the newness. At the same time, seeing a different expression of familiar things in a fresh context can bring new insights.

Cross on island (probably use)

Island of the Martyrs near Nagasaki, Japan

Expand Your Nature

I believe the heart and soul of a nation is in its rural roots, so I always feel I haven’t seen the “real face” of a country until I’ve visited a national park, famous mountain, jungle, secluded temple, tea plantation or a simple rice farm. I also find the local people friendly and helpful. An added benefit is that staying in a secluded place can be far more peaceful and cheaper than the city. The only downside can be finding frequent and efficient transportation, so especially for developing countries, this should probably be researched in advance.

59 teered rice fields

Tiered Rice Fields of Kumano, Japan

 

Expand Your Heart

            There are two other “faces” of a country: the touristy, glamour side and the part everyone would rather hide. Instead of shying away from slums or disaster-stricken areas, I see these as golden opportunities to experience the full breadth of a country and to give back to a place I’ve learned to love. Going on a team with an accredited, experienced non-profit organization keeps volunteering safe with maximum benefit for everyone. These “mission trips” have changed my life and broadened my perspectives more than anything else.

73.25 Building houses in India77 girls preparing to work

Building homes in India            Cleaning up after the 2011 tsunami

Posted by: L.J. Popp | February 8, 2013

Next Big Thing Blog Hop

What’s a blog hop? Well, I guess I’m learning! I’ve been tagged by Jennifer Eifrig. I’ll post the questions she asked, link back to her blog, and tag four more writers. Let’s see what happens!

Questions:

What is the working title of your book?

I’m currently working on An Honest Assassin, the sequel to my published novel Treasure Traitor.

 Where did the idea come from for the book?

I was doing research on the American Revolution for another book and stumbled across the differing terminology of “rebel” or “patriot,” depending on the point of view. I wondered if I could tell a similar story set in a science fiction world. So my heroine Renagada went from being a treasure trader in the first book to an “honest” assassin in the second. Following the same pattern, the third book will probably be Reluctant Rebel.

What genre does your book fall under?

Young adult science fiction/fantasy with Christian themes.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Hmm, that’s a hard one. Let’s see, Indian actress Sheetal Sheth would make a stunning Renagada. She’s got the perfect eyes. Barring that, a young Bollywood star. General Kyra could be none other than Angelia Jolie. Come on, who else can play a gorgeous, mysterious, possibly evil kick-butt female? Acha would most likely be computer generated. He’s a bird, after all, but for his human voice, I’ve always imagined Robyn Williams. For the men, I don’t really care. As long as they’re pale and sexy, they’ll have to be made up as aliens anyway.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

When eighteen-year-old Rengada is given the chance to overthrow an evil government and undue a horrible mistake, she must choose whether to trust her worst enemy or betray the resistance.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

My book will probably be published by the same wonderful press who took the prequel Treasure Traitor, Starsongs, an imprint of Written World Communications. I don’t currently have an agent, but I’d love one!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

About six months. I wrote it in Japan.

 What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Hmm, maybe Black, by Ted Decker, The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley, Star Wars Episode V, and possibly Eldest, by Christopher Paolini.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I’ve lived in several different countries for extended periods of time, particularly as a missionary in Japan and India. It bothered me that there is so little in the American fantasy market inspired by those cultures compared to European-based mythology. I originally envisioned this series to help fill the gap.

 What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

My publisher is running a special on the prequel, Treasure Traitor, for Kendal. It’s only $2.99! Also, L.J. Popp likes to speak to clubs, churches and schools about her adventures abroad. To book her as a presenter, you can email her at laurapopp (at) ymail.com.

Link: Jennifer Eifrig

 

Posted by: L.J. Popp | January 4, 2013

Free Contest

My publisher, Written World Communications, is running a free contest for my book, Treasure Traitor, on goodreads! It’s running from December 20th-January 20th. Click here to enter.

Final cover

Posted by: L.J. Popp | January 2, 2013

2012 in review

Happy New Year, everyone! 2012 has been a great year. I started on my masters, worked at a children’s home in southern India for three months, got an awesome job teaching Burmese refugees and other immigrants in my home town, had my first book published, was interviewed on six blogs, presented at seven events, and got baptized!

I also created this website. I just received my stats from wordpress and they look pretty good for the first year!

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted by: L.J. Popp | December 30, 2012

My First Book Signing

With the holiday season so busy, I just now got time to write about my very first book signing! It went so well! About ten people came for my presentation on how my world-wide adventures have wormed their way into Treasure Traitor. I dressed in my southern Indian clothes, a bit like the main character Renagada, and brought a lot of my treasures that I’ve procured abroad (two swords, my Japanese kimono, Asian dolls, etc). I sold a lot of books, and made some great friends! Here I am with another local author Tammy Mullins, also there for Bring Your Child to a Book Store Day:

Boarding House Books signing

Some authors don’t like to do dual signings because they think it will take away from their personal sales. I couldn’t disagree more! Multi-author events generate more publicity and are more fun. Tammy and I don’t write the same kind of books, but even if we did, who says a reader couldn’t buy both? That’s what’s so wonderful about being an author. Even though it’s partly a business,  no two people can create the exact same story, and we can all help each other improve. Compared to sports or other business endeavors, it’s far more collaborative than competitive.

One of my students who takes Japanese from me over Skype (she goes by Saki-chan) and her mother had to come late because of work. So I got to give the presentation all over again in a more relaxed, informal way. Here we are, sitting on the floor together.

With Danny and Hadessah

The staff at the bookstore was really nice, especially the owner, Janice. She said she’d be happy to invite me to more signings in the future.

All in all, it was a really great experience!

Until next time,
L.J. Popp

Posted by: L.J. Popp | December 7, 2012

Christian Writers’ Conference / Thoughts on publishing

Finally, a chance to post about the Heart of American Christian Writers’ conference in Kansas back in November! It was probably the most expensive writers’ conference I’ve been to, but also the most helpful. Besides all the wonderful sessions and workshops, I got to meet with seven editors and agents, including Jeff Gerke, the pioneer of Christian Speculative Fiction publishing! Thomas Nelson publishers asked for a full proposal for my Middle Grade fantasy novel Dargon the Human Slayer. I’m hoping they take it, and that one of the agents I talked to will take me on!

Most importantly, I got to meet Rowena Kuo, who was on the editing board at Written World for my novel Treasure Traitor. She was almost as excited to see it finally out as I was! We’ll be working together on the book trailers for the whole series, so I was glad to finally meet her, hear her vision for the company, and pitch her some short stories for her magazines.

Here’s me with Rowena on my right and Jeff Gerke on my left, with New Zealand publisher Grace Bridges on the end:

Me with Rowena and Jeff Gerke

I’ve got to say, there’s something different about a Christian writers’ conference. There’s a less competitive feel and more comradery. Though one negative thing I have to say is that some authors seemed to feel that self-publishing was their only option. (Hopefully the conference cured them of this.)

Now just because I went the traditional route doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with self-publishing, but to have the attitude, “I write (fill-in-the-blank obscure subgenre/nonfiction interest), therefore it’s such a niche market that self-publishing is my only option” simply isn’t true. I always encourage people to try traditional publishing first, because the danger of self-publishing is to push it out before it’s ready. Some people even self-publish because they don’t want to take the time to go through the rejection process, revision, an editor, and everything that goes into the traditional publishing process of making a good book a great book. If you’re not willing to take the time to make your book the best it can be, why would anyone take the time to read it?

To me,  self-publishing should only be pursued after you’ve had professionals help you look at it and perfect it, and after considering all options. Not as a last-ditch resort. As a thoughtful, prayerful, careful career decision. I realized early on it wasn’t for me because I wanted a traditional house to “show me the ropes” and teach me the business. But that doesn’t mean it’s not for others.

Posted by: L.J. Popp | November 15, 2012

Blog Tour!

Yes, two weeks turned into two months and it’s still going on!  If you’d like me on your blog, please contact me! laurapopp (at) ymail.com!

New! Blog Interview on billwetterman.com. 3/17/2013

“Earthshaking Opportunities” 1/27/2013

Featured author on Christianstoryteller: 1/20/2013

Blog Interview on Groovie Brooksie

Where Fantasy and Missions Meet

Character Tour- Acha!

Reaching Non Christians

“Inside Another’s Mind”- Article on fictional telepathy, Speculative Faith

Interview by Jennifer Eifrig, Urban Fantasy Author

Feature by Susan Hollaway, Christian Writer

Posted by: L.J. Popp | November 1, 2012

Treasure Traitor is Out!

Yes, my dream has finally come true! Treasure Traitor is now released into the world!

Purchase paperback

Purchase Kindle Version

It’s also available at Steve’s Books in Tulsa.  Still got my fingers crossed on Barnes and Noble.

Here’s one of the greatest ways to get a copy. It’s the best kept secret in the literary world. Shh, promise not to tell anyone?  Go on your local library’s website or call them and order a copy.  Libraries have a budget for that, so they’re likely to order whatever their patrons want, especially if two or more request it!

All for now. I’m headed to the Heart of America Christian Writers Network Conference.  I’ll report after I get back!

Posted by: L.J. Popp | October 17, 2012

Title Design

Lots of exciting things happening! We finalized the story edits, so the PDF form of Treasure Traitor will come out this week, not for sale yet but copy editing. After that it’ll go into ebook, and finally print! We also discussed the title design. Here’s that process:

Hi, Lynda,

I put the cover design up on my website and I’ve been getting a lot of feedback. It’s funny, some people are saying the same thing. Remember when I thought it might be fun to try out a different style font? If it’s not too much, do you think we might try something a little more archaic-looking? I was thinking that myself, and then suddenly I got all these random comments from total strangers saying it might be good for the font to be different, like an older, slightly cursive style, and one person even suggested the Harry Potter look. There also seems to be a general consensus that the purple in the title is a bit dark and might be better as pink. Is that too much to ask for this late in the process? If so, forget I mentioned it.

Thanks,
Laura

Hi, Laura,

I’m attaching a title test page.  I’ve changed the color to a bit more pinkish, and found four different fonts that could work for the title.  I’m not trying to be Harry Potter, I’m trying to be Treasure Traitor.  For the interior effect to work, we need a fairly bold font, and caps is ideal.  So think about the world of your story and what kind of writing they’d use.  My favorite is the top left, but maybe you like something else.  Let me know ASAP because Kristine needs the final font for interior title.

Lynda

She had a really good point about not copying another book. That said though, the upper right reminded me of how TOR does their fantasy covers. It brought back a lot of nostalgia and really screamed “epic fantasy!” at me. So this is what I told Lynda:

This is AWESOME! I’m absolutely in love with the upper right. It’s beautiful. Is that OK? It’s “classic,” but unique.

Thanks again!
Laura

Any other thoughts or comments? I’d be curious to know what others think…
Posted by: L.J. Popp | October 10, 2012

Treasure Traitor Photo Shoot 1

So, since the Treasure Traitor cover doesn’t have the main character Renagada on it, lots of people are asking me what she looks like (apart from the short description given in the book). I did a photo shoot recently to give you an idea…though keep in mind, this is me, not her. Rena is only sixteen (versus me being 26) and has darker skin, multi-colored eyes and wears a blue zeeara, which is somewhat like a sari, only inverted. She also fights with two scimitars, not one. But this was the best I could do given my limited ethnicity and the props I have to work with.

The first picture is my premier speaking engagement, at the Elm Creek Estates block party in Owasso, Oklahoma on September 8th from 12-3. I actually spoke about my trip to India, but also mentioned Treasure Traitor. The other photos are ones Mom and I had fun taking at the house:

That’s what I have so far. Stay tuned for more pics, updates, and events as we get closer to the release!

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