Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Guest Post: Take Me as I Am by C.S. Marks

Take Me as I Am
by C.S. Marks

As a reader, I have certain expectations.
  • To be entertained, stimulated, perhaps even enthralled while losing myself in a new world full of intriguing characters.
  • To have my emotional guts ripped out, thrown back in, and stitched up again.
  • To experience nasty-character loathing and look forward to the comeuppance.
  • To identify with a comfortably flawed, unpredictable heroine.
  • To be amused, excited, terrified, and horrified as the plot unfolds.
  • To be left pondering and mulling over the story long after I have put it away.
  • To be left wanting more.

As a writer, I try to live up to my own expectations as a reader. I expect most (if not all) writers do that--we write what we like to read. This takes time, energy, and inspiration. If any of you are writers, you know what I mean. We invest a great deal of ourselves in our work. We strive to improve our skills as storytellers, and if we’re lucky, the outcome is worth reading.
A writer friend of mine, who lives in Los Angeles, recently contacted me with some suggestions for my continued success as a fantasy writer, and I thought I’d share them, because I’m thinking they might not have occurred to some of you. They certainly had not occurred to me.

My friend has spent quite a lot of time among professionals in various aspects of the entertainment industry, which, as you know, has a bit of a presence in Los Angeles. She is a well-intentioned and talented individual who has always held my best interests at heart, despite my lowly midwestern origins and naivete concerning the wide world of books and films. In her mind, real success as a writer requires a transition to film; therefore, the rules of success in the film world apply to authors.

Here is a more-or-less direct quote:
“Before your book launches in New York, you will hire a personal trainer and you will obtain professional consultation regarding your wardrobe. You should probably wear black.” She went on to imply that, should I not follow this advice, I stood little chance of acquiring a film adaptation, and therefore I could not succeed as an author.

I can imagine the meetings in the board rooms of publishers, film-makers, and so on. Let’s listen in on one shall we?

Publishing exec. #1: “Have you all had the chance to look over this latest offering from Ima Nagent? Our top editor has a lot of faith in it.

#2: “The one by Arthor Worthy? Yes, I did... I think it’s got real potential. I let my son read it, and he’s hooked.”

#3: “My wife read it and she cried at the ending. I can see this going big--maybe even Twilight big--it would make a spectacular set of films.”

(general muttering indicating positive reaction)

#4: “WAIT a minute... have you seen the author’s photo? I found it on his website.”

#1: “Why, is there a problem?” (looks over 4’s shoulder at author photo on author’s website) “Gasp!”

#2: What is it? He’s not... dumpy, is he?”

#1: “See for yourselves.” (flips photo onto wall screen. Collective shudder from the assembly).

#2: “Is it a deal-breaker, do you think? I mean...my son really loved the book--more than any he’s read in ages. Perhaps we might make compliance with our ‘12% body fat maximum’ a condition of the contract?”

#3: “Perhaps we could offer a lifetime contract with a personal trainer in lieu of an advance?”

#4: “I don’t know that we can afford the risk. Besides, he’s also...bald. (shakes head) The middle-aged ones so often are...”

#3: I’m afraid we’ve got more than one issue here.

And so, Arthor Worthy’s work is consigned to the pile of “we might consider publishing this, but only if we’re desperate” works by writers who are less-than-photogenic. Alas.

In times past, people were described as having “a good face for radio,” which was a polite way of saying they were too homely for television. I don’t mind if the writers of my favorite books have “radio faces.” I am happy to see that they are real people.

I’m not arguing my friend’s point... much. Personally, I’d prefer my readers’ impression of me to be formed via my work, not my author photo. If they read my books, they’ll have a pretty fair idea of my world view and personal philosophy...in fact, they’ll know more about me from that than they’ll ever learn via a bio. or photo. If eccentricity and imperfection are part of me, then that part comes with the whole. I can’t say I wasn’t warned.

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it. Hopefully, the readers will embrace my work for what it is and take me as I am.

I think she is quite photogenic,
just the way she is! :-)
About the Author:

C.S. Marks has often been described as a 'Renaissance woman.' The daughter of academic parents, she holds a Ph.D. in Biology and has spent the past two decades teaching Biology and Equine Science. She is currently a Full Professor at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in west central Indiana.

She began writing shortly after the untimely death of her father, who was a Professor of American Literature at Butler University. A gifted artist, she has produced illustrations and cover art for all three books. She plays and sings Celtic music and a few examples of her songwriting may be found within the pages of 'Fire-heart.' She enjoys archery, and makes hand-crafted longbows using primitive tools.

Horses are her passion, and she is an accomplished horsewoman, having competed in the sport of endurance racing for many years. One of only a handful of Americans to complete the prestigious 'Tom Quilty' Australian national championship hundred-mile ride, she has described this moment as her 'finest hour.'


Elfhunter is the first of the tales of Alterra, the World that Is. It concerns the quest of an unlikely pair of heroines, Gaelen and Nelwyn, who are Wood-elves of the GreatwoodForest. They are hunter-scouts in the realm of King Ri-Aruin, and they have sworn to protect their woodland home, but they are drawn into a quest to defend all the Elves of Alterra as they seek to destroy the 'Elfhunter' a monstrous entity intent on exterminating the Elves until none remain. Along the way, Gaelen and Nelwyn are joined by other interesting characters as they make their way through the realms of Alterra in pursuit of the Elfhunter, whose true name is 'Gorgon' What headstrong Gaelen and her gentle cousin do not know is that Gorgon is in league with the Dark Power, and that the forces of Evil have forged an entanglement between Gorgon and Gaelen herself. Now she and all she loves are in jeopardy, and only an inspired plan put forth by Orogond, a mortal man, can save her.

Writer: C.S. Marks
Cover Artist: Hope Hoover

Format: HC Novel, 6.25 x 9.25, 570 pages
Genre: Epic Fantasy, Action, Adventure

Release Date: June 2012