Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Guest Blogger: *lizzie Starr

((Quote for Dancing the Stars))
...*lizzie starr is not of this planet. Only a native with knowledge of such far-away galaxies could so vividly bring to life the breathtaking worlds...Endearing characters and an emotionally moving storyline submerge the reader in a superbly written page-turner... ~ Cass Andre, author

That quote gives me chills every time I read it. This is highest praise. And shows that I can build believable worlds. Although this tale takes place in a galaxy that can be reached by going between the stars of Orion's belt, readers feel at home there, because in many ways, it's still familiar.
Successful world building, for me anyway, often stems from the traditions of the world we know. Some of these traditions are ancient, almost forgotten and recorded only in history. Some are so familiar we hardly acknowledge the tradition behind them. Combining the celebrations and traditions from many sources creates new festivities and important times for the characters and you, the readers to experience.

This time of year is filled with traditions...sometimes overwhelming, isn't it? As many attempt to be more understanding of others, our traditions get mushed together. For example, some families may have a Christmas tree decorated in Kwanzaa colors.

In Dancing the Stars Irisa accompanies Niallan to the End of Year celebration on his planet. This holiday takes place in the winter, and includes being with family and the giving of gifts. Then there is the public celebration which includes parades, singing, the tossing out of small gifts. There's also a private ceremony at this time which marks lovers as belonging to one another.
Where did all this come from? Well, Christmas of course. And Mardi Gras. And another ancient parade ceremony where groups come from different directions to meet at a central location—sorry, I can't remember where I found that one. And, of course, my imagination.

Some authors create their worlds in extreme detail, outlining the physical environment and how characters react in any given situation. Often they do this before they even start writing. Not me. I start with my ideas and just let them go. It is so important, in fact of ultimate importance, to keep your world, characters and their actions believable. It's okay to have a reader think, 'how could that be' or 'hmmm, interesting'. But not have them throw the book across the room with a loud 'no way'!

With our world's knowledge of “what a fantasy or science fiction world should be” an author has to be careful of overstepping the established boundaries. We have to make certain there's an excellent reason why an Elven-like creature doesn't act like Tolkien's Elves, or why suddenly a space ship can travel faster than Andromeda can with slip stream drive.

But, you know, the world is changing so fast...who knows, the author may have the right of it after all!

Food and family play an important role in Dancing the Stars. Irisa is a clumsy cook who works diligently to make Niallan's favorite dessert. Here's a short quote and the recipe.

His dark eyes were wide and sparkling with delight... he took a huge spoonful of the sweet dessert. Irisa watched the movements of his mouth while he savored the bite. Leaning back with his eyes closed, his face was a study in pure bliss.

Cheesecake Insatiable

5 oz. graham cracker crumbs
3 Tablespoons sugar
5 Tablespoons melted butter

16 oz softened cream cheese
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
pinch salt
2 large eggs
3 Tablespoons Chambord liqueur

8 oz sour cream
1 Tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon Chambord liqueur
1 cup fresh raspberries or other fresh fruits

Preheat oven to 350

Mix crust ingredients and press firmly into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.

Mix cream cheese, sugar vanilla and salt at medium speed until smooth. Add eggs and mix until well blended. Using a fork, gently fold Chambord into the batter. Pour into crust.

Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until golden brown. Loosen cake from rim of pan. Let cool completely and remove rim.

Mix topping ingredients and spread over cheesecake. Refrigerate four hours or until firm. Top with fresh fruit just before serving.

Note: Irisa also decorated her special dessert with spun sugar designs.


  1. You are so creative! People often read to escape their regular-old lives. You give us a great place to go!

  2. thanks Sherri!

    I'm certainly an escape reader, movie goer, and such. I'll seldom choose real-life, so writing fantasy gives me even more escapes.

  3. You picked the only constellation I recognize besides the big Dipper and Caseopia (the w shape)