Find Gregar: Initial Winner

While I regret that we haven’t found Gregar yet, I did promise an initial winner, selected from everyone who sent me a link by Dec. 31st.  That winner is:  Charlene.

Charlene, please contact me joelysueburkhart AT gmail DOT com and let me know which online book retailer you’d like to use for your $20 gift certificate.

Thank you for the links you’ve sent me so far and PLEASE, keep them coming!  I really want to find him!

Find Gregar Contest: Update

Wow, the end of the year is just around the corner.  It slipped up on me with all the holiday preparations.  Have you been looking for Gregar?  So far, I’ve only had a few people send me ideas, so your chances of winning the $20 gift certificate are very very good!

Here are a few of the ideas I’ve received.  What do you think?  Do you see Gregar in any of these?

Photo1 

Photo2 (I don’t know that I’ll be able to use this one, but like the kilt!)

Stefan Schwarze (see him on a Christine Feehan cover)

Personally, I don’t think these are him, but if one calls to you, let me know in comments!

Giveaway: Find Gregar!

I’ve had the idea for a very long time to create character cards for the cast of the Shanhasson series.  Since Rose (book 1) is releasing in print Dec/Jan, I thought it would be the perfect time to get a really nice trio:  Rhaekhar, Shannari, and Gregar, the three main characters of the entire series.

They’re the heart and soul of the Shanhasson trilogy, and to be honest, the heart and soul of my writing, but I’ll come back to that in a minute.

So the challenge then becomes the models for these characters.  Shannari is easy — she’s on the cover of Rose.

Rhaekhar

Rhaekhar is also easy.  Back when we were first working on the cover for Rose, Deena found Rhaekhar.  I looked at him and I recognized him.  I mean, I wouldn’t have been surprised at all if this man walked up and introduced himself as Rhaekhar.  The look of smug warrior arrogance on his face is perfect.  He’s Khul of the Nine Camps of the Sha’Kae al’Dan and carries the most honor on the Plains.  This man’s physique makes me believe he could challenge any warrior and win, hands down.

Of course, the hair isn’t right.  The Sha’Kae al’Dan warriors all wear their hair long, braided at the temples rather like Mel in Braveheart, but the rest is perfect.

So now, the question becomes:  who is Gregar?

Let me give you a little background.  To date, Gregar is my favorite character ever.  Yes, he beats out Conn and Victor, but to be honest, a little bit of him is in every male character I’ve written post Rose and Beautiful Death.  Why?

Gregar is my Muse.  He’s the one who drags me into the Well, the dark, watery place of inspiration from which all (my) stories flow.  Don’t get me wrong:  Conn is his own person.  Victor is his own person.  They’re not carbon copies of Gregar by any means.

No one lives up to Gregar’s sheer wickedness and danger, because the man has NO LIMITS.

Every time something a little bit politically incorrect pops up in a character, it’s Gregar’s fault.

Every time a character begins to walk on the Dark Side, it’s Gregar.

Every time the emotion is so raw and painful it feels like I’m going to rip your heart to shreds… Yep.  That’s Gregar.

So you can see why his image for this character card is so important to me.  I’ve looked off and on for years, but I can’t find him.  This is where I hope you can help me.  As much as I’d love to peruse the royalty-free photo sites looking at six-packs and bare chests…I don’t have the time.  Not if I’m going to get Victor whipped (haha) into shape for January submission.

I beg you.  Help me!  Help me find Gregar.  Look high and low.  He’s there, waiting, snickering in the shadows, but hidden from me.  I must find him.

I’ll be posting hints of who Gregar is off and on all month, little snippets from Rose, Road, and if you’re very lucky, perhaps even Return.  To give you the first hint:  if I could cast Gregar with any actor, I’d chose Adrian Paul, hands down.  There’s an episode of the Highlander television series where Duncan has his hair longer, loose down his back and he’s wearing a kilt.  YUM.  That is Gregar, except he’s wearing a red memsha about his hips in place of the kilt.

The Rules:

  • The photo has to be something I can purchase the right to use for promotional material, not a fan picture of Adrian Paul as much as I love them!
  • That means a royalty-free site like istockphoto.com.
  • The fewer clothes the better.  Get your minds out of the gutter!  It’s easier for Deena to manipulate the image to the Sha’Kae al’Dan style if he’s not wearing a shirt.

To suggest a model, e-mail the link to me at joelysueburkhart AT gmail DOT com.  I’ll gather the links and consolidate them in a post for voting and comments later.  Everyone who sends me a link with a suggestion will be entered to win the following prizes:

  • A $20 gift certificate to any online book retailer of your choice.
  • A set of the three character cards once we have the finished product.

The person who truly does find Gregar for me will receive the Grand Prize:

  • A $30 gift certificate to any online book retailer of your choice.
  • A set of the three character cards once we have the finished product.
  • As I add character cards, I’ll send you the new ones (e.g. I’d really like to have Dharman, Sal, and Mykal before all is said and done).
  • A signed print copy of Rose.
  • A copy of The Road to Shanhasson and Return to Shanhasson (once it’s released) in any electronic format.
  • And since this is soooo important to me, a signed print copy of Road and Return when they’re released (but this may be years away).

I’ll mail these prizes anywhere on the planet because who knows exactly where Gregar may be?

I’m deliberately not specifying a deadline for this giveaway because I really, really want to find the right Gregar, no matter how long it takes.  However, I’ll at least pick a winner for the $20 gift certificate by Dec. 31, 2009, even if we haven’t found Gregar yet.  The grand prize will not have a deadline on it.

Revision Xibalba

I admit, the day started out pretty rough.  Just so nobody thinks my head is getting too big, I got a rejection on a short story last night that bummed me out so bad that I had a pretty nasty talk with Gregar, my sadomasochist muse.  

I said something like, “If I had any other muse, then maybe my stories wouldn’t be so dark and full of pain all the time.  Maybe I wouldn’t be throwing severed hands around or chopping fingers and thumbs off, or, in this last case, corrupting an innocent into killing a holy person!”

Gregar laughed so hard he bent over and slapped his thighs.  “If you had any other muse, then you wouldn’t have me.”

“Well,” I retorted.  “What else but blood and violence can I expect from an assassin?”

The Shadowed Blood went ominously quiet.  Goose bumps raced up and down my arms, but I didn’t back down.  I was too upset.  

He stared at me until flames began flickering in his eyes (which if you’ve read the Shanhasson books, you know that’s a really bad sign).  Finally, he said, “You created me, Lady.  You hid me in Shadows.  You placed my ivory rahke in my hand and whispered to me of blood.  Every time you write, you throw me to the bottom of your Well and trust me not to let you drown.  You need me exactly the way I am.”

I knew he was right but damned if I would admit it.  “Why can’t we write something happy for once where no one dies or suffers?  You know, sunshine, bunnies, light…”

But I knew the truth.  One of my favorite lines from The Road to Shanhasson is:

THERE IS NO DAWN WITHOUT NIGHT, NO LIGHT WITHOUT SHADOW, NO LOVE WITHOUT HATE, BUT LOVE SHINES BRIGHTER IN THE MIDST OF DESPAIR.

“Sunshine and bunnies?”  Rolling his ivory rahke back and forth across his palm, he stared at me blankly.  “What fun would that be?”

So after that little chat, I whined a bit more, made a few silly oaths (something like never reading another submission call, EVER), and then just shut up and got to work on the Maya story.  Of course, the first scene I needed to work on involved demons and torture.  Gregar didn’t say a word, but he couldn’t help smirking every chance he got. 

Finally, at the end of this last day of vacation, the Maya story is sitting at:  82,419 words.  I have 9-10 sections left to revise (including the new ones I finished yesterday), so the story length is right on track for 90-100K.  Revision Xibalba is far from over, though.  I’m going to have to make another pass and watch for continuity problems.  It has taken me too long to get through this project to remember some of the finer details.

So back to the Evil Day Job tomorrow.  I don’t know if I’ll manage Dark & Early yet or not.