Tuesday, April 23, 2013

New Ideas

So I’ve been tossing around a new story idea lately.  It just popped up, I’m not sure how or what inspired it, but it’s been lightly scratching at my imagination and I’m thinking of maybe pursuing it as a new book.  What are your thoughts on a Western?  I have a title.  Not necessarily for this story idea, but a title I’ve been wanting to use as a book title for a while and I think maybe, maybe it would fit this.  There aren’t too many westerns out there, are there?  Not YA or Adult Contemporary.  I dunno, I’m thinking of a Western…

Which is ridiculous, because I have probably about five projects currently sitting on my computer either a third written or at least with a brief synopsis, not to mention the final book of the Arèthane series.  But sometimes it helps – starting something new – to get back into a book I’m working on.  Still.  I think a Western could be fun. 

What’s something you would love to read about?  A story you’re hungry for, but haven’t seen on the shelves yet.  Or maybe you pick up a book thinking it will be what you’re wanting and it falls short.  Is that an odd question?  What kind of story do you want to read?  It may be hard to know; you don’t know what you want until you want it, right?  But that’s how I first got into writing.  I was reading a lot of books that weren’t going the way I wanted them to go.  My imagination was sort of auto-filling the plot ahead of time and when the story didn’t go that way, I was disappointed.  So I decided I had a way to control the story.  I could write what I wanted to write.  In theory, that is.  Then I learned that sometimes the story takes its own path, and I found myself mad-face, scowling at my computer screen.  But ultimately, I had control and was satisfied at the end in a way that I couldn’t get from most books.  I could make Jarrad the kind of hero I wanted to cheer for, Emily the protagonist whose mind I wanted to be in.  I could avoid the indecision, unneccesary obstacles, overdone love-triangles.

So it made me curious if other readers felt that and if so, what kind of story do you want to read that you haven’t yet?  It could be a fun exercise, a novel we all write together or it could be a complete disaster. 

Sound off in the comments; I truly want to know what you all have to say.  I know there are much more of you lurking on the site and so few that comment, so speak out.  I’ll speak back.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Quick Update

Sorry folks that I haven't posted lately; it's been a bit crazy round these parts right now, with family in town from overseas and all.  And we're about to head up to Lake Tahoe for the weekend so it will be a lot quieter, but I will be back on Monday (maybe Sunday night) and we'll return to talking about writing and reading and all that lovely stuff.

Stay safe, take care.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"We're All Stories In the End" - The Doctor

Tragedy has struck our small worlds again, uniting us in a shared horror.  And though this isn't anything new, we're no strangers to the darkest deeds of mankind, it still always feels like the first time, does it not?  Each new wretched event replaces the last in our minds and redefines us as a whole.  Like the rocky shore beat by each new wave, we erode and transform into something of another shape.  And it fills our world for awhile.

Writers have the good fortune of retreating into their imaginations during times like this; we have our safe spots, our happy places, our fantasy worlds we created to escape the harsh reality around us.  But I wonder if the subconscious monsters don't invade us while we're there, wrapped in that warmth; if somehow a dark inspiration isn't leeched from the gruesome sights we witness and shadows that other world.

It almost feels insensitive to talk of characters and motivation and inspiration at a time like this.  It feels a little pointless in the grand scheme of things.  But I think that's when these characters become more important, when they must step up and help us cope, if only by redirecting our minds from the unanswered questions and immeasurable sorrow.

But not today.  Jarrad and Xander and Emily and Nicky can't help me today and I don't want them sloshing around in the acid of my thoughts right now anyway.  I'll let Howl or Gatsby or Elizabeth Bennet bare the brunt of that burden, to keep me focused on something less awful, to distract me from asking questions that have no answers right now and even if they did, nothing acceptable anyway - there's never really a good enough answer for chaos, destruction and loss.

So hug your stories, if hugging real people hurts too much and we'll be back to writing them tomorrow, when a few more sunsets has put some distance between us and this mad, mad world.

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Becoming Emily

When I first began writing Glow (what would be later called Return to Arethane,) the sole purpose of the story was to focus on these elves who had been dropped into this foreign world and had to learn to cope.  It was intended to be a love story, an affair that had gone wrong, about two individuals that had been torn apart by fate and circumstance.  Emily was meant to simply be the narrator, a sort of Nick Carraway to bring the reader into this fantasy world.  I wanted the elves seen through the eyes of a human.  The song "Amazing" by Johnette Napolitano was an inspiration for that moment, that first experience when the elves entered Emily's, and thus the reader's world.

My first incarnation of Emily was as a wallflower, a fly on the wall to this otherworldly love story.  Her looks were very nondescript.  Strawberry blonde hair, brown eyes, nothing too extreme.  But the story suffered because of that.  I couldn't see Emily in my mind and therefore the narration of the story had no voice.  And then Emily started forcing forcing her way off the wall.  She and Jarrad were never meant to be a couple.  There was never supposed to be anything between them.  Emily was just a tag-along as forces were navigated to bring Karawyn and Aerath back together.  But Emily and Jarrad had other plans.  The more the story progressed - one chapter at a time - the more it became apparent that Emily and Jarrad were meant for each other.  Instead of fighting it, I had to give into them and boy, did they ever take over from there.

The problem still remained that I couldn't see Emily in my mind.  I made attempts to flesh her out, wrote up her likes and dislikes, her favorite music, etc, but it didn't seem to matter.  Around that time I met Aubrey's little sister.  She had character, she stood out - with her short, choppy red hair, lip ring and unique fashion sense, she was someone who made an impression.  And as I wrote more, the more that was how I saw Emily.  So after asking her permission, (a courtesy I didn't give my brother and sister - you don't have to, with family) she became my inspiration for Emily and suddenly Glow had a voice, the reader became engaged, Emily, my wallflower narrator was someone the reader could relate to, could understand.

Eventually, much like with Jarrad, Emily became her own person.  As she evolved, as her relationship with Jarrad evolved, and as the story evolved, Emily was fully formed and someone else entirely.  In my mind, she favored the below image more and more, with the addition of a lip ring.

It's funny how characters change and how they grab the wheel of the story and take it where they want to go.  I would read about other writers experiencing this same phenomenon and thought they were just being overly dramatic, that they were a little too into their art.  But it's true, it happens.  And while some characters explode onto the paper right from the beginning fully formed and fleshed out - like Karawyn and Dafne - others evolve and grow and make the experience of writing the story as much of an adventure as the story itself.

Right now I'm working on the last book of this series - or at least I'm trying to.  I've been having a hard time getting motivated to write.  I have about three to four other projects that are just started or a thirds written and I don't know if my wanting to work on those is killing my ability to work on this, or if it's because I know this is the end for these characters.  These people and elves and creatures who I have lived with for the last five years will have their closure, come to their conclusion and maybe I'm just not ready to say good-bye to them yet.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Karawyn & Aerath: The Way They Were

It was sort of fun posting old, cut chapters from Return to Arethane, reliving moments with Emily and Jarrad that now only happened in the backstory SO, I'm now giving you one from Karawyn's perspective.

Again, it comes from Return to Arethane when it was called Glow.  Also, Aerath and his father when by another name then:  Aerath was known as Gareth (far stretch, I know, but the new name had elfish meaning) and Malyr was known as Varick.  The following was what occurred in Karawyn's mind when her spell wore off at sunset and she wandered hauntingly through the woods.

I stood up from the porch swing and walked forward, not looking where my feet took me.  I didn’t just see him now; I could feel him.  He was with me.  Walking with me through the woods like we did so many nights before. 
I opened my eyes. 
He was there.  
I was unaware of how far I had walked.  Dense trees surrounded me.  They guided me and assured me I was safe.  The night was black with no moon in the sky.  
My heart fell.  His presence was stronger in the moonlight.  
He began to fade, like a dream upon waking.  I fought to pull him closer to me, but I couldn’t.  He was no longer tangible and I felt the tears fall at this. 
The forest reminded me of hurt.  Abandonment.  I should hate him.  But I didn’t.  I couldn’t.  I only ever loved him…since the day we first met. 
I was angry with him, but I didn’t want to waste this time with those feelings.  Something told me this time was fleeting.
So I sang to myself while I wandered.  It was the song he used to sing to me.  I closed my eyes and he was with me again.
I was no longer here in these woods.  I was far away, standing under a tree, shadowed in the moonlight.  An enormous moon hung in the sky; so big it felt close enough to touch if I stood on my tiptoes.  I could hear crickets chirping and the quiet rippling of water nearby. 
I could smell the water. 
A lake. 
There was a large meadow stretching around me and an endless lake to my right.  It was a warm night.  The lake sounded inviting.
I leaned against the tree; a sheer white dress clung to me in the breeze.  It was held up by thin straps that tied around my neck.  I could feel the wind touch every inch of my skin; cool and caressing the wet hair at my neck.  It was heavenly.
I looked around me at the meadow lit brightly in the moonlight like a silver afternoon.  The line of forest was black against the deep, purple sky. 
A silhouette formed in the middle of the field.  A tall, slender, dark figure strode fluidly toward me.  As he moved closer, the moonlight illuminated the side of his face – white, smooth and soft.  His features were still in shadow.  He wore a loose white shirt, unbuttoned to show a bare, pale chest and stomach.  His abdominal muscles flexed with each step.  His black pants accented his long legs.
As he came near, my heart raced.  Pounding so hard I thought it would break free of my chest.  My breaths came short and quick.  I fought to even them out. 
The moonlight hit his face fully and his bright smile sent shivers down my warm skin. 
He stopped two feet from me. 
I stood up from against the tree and turned my body squarely to him.  My hands clenched with excitement. 
He moved closer.  My legs trembled.
He moved closer still, so that his chest was barely a whisper from mine.  An electric current pulsed between our bodies, pulling like two attracted magnets. He leaned his head down to me.  His full lips turned in a gentle smile.  I lifted my chin to look him in his eyes, sparkling like diamonds in the moonlight. 
I no longer heard the crickets or the lake or felt the wind.  There was nothing in this world but the two of us. 
He moved one hand and slid it around my waist, his long fingers curving around my back.  He raised his other hand and brushed his fingers lightly down the side of my face.  His eyes followed his fingertips as they moved across my lips, over my chin, and down my neck; resting in the hollow valley in between my collar bones.  His palm flattened against my chest; the heart beneath responding by throbbing faster.
“Hello,” he softly murmured.
“You’re warm.”
“Am I?”
He removed his shirt, fully exposing his ivory torso and marble shoulders.  A gasp escaped my lips – I had never seen him this way before.  He grinned at me – his mischievous grin that always made my knees weak.  Before they could give way, he swept me up in his arms and held me close to his chest.  I wrapped my arms around his neck, my face just inches from his, as he began to walk to the lake.
“Where are we going?” I asked.
“For a swim,” he grinned.
He didn’t give me time to fight – not that it would have done any good, he was so much stronger than I.  He kicked off his boots and walked into the shallow shore as I struggled pointlessly in his arms.  He descended deeper and deeper into the water, still holding me.
I felt the cold wash suddenly over me and engulf me, sending chills down my arms and legs as I gasped.  I gripped his neck tighter and his smile grew wider, the muscles in his arms tightening. 
His eyes were spirited in the light.
Then he bent his legs and we were both submerged under the water.  Below the surface, he let go of my legs, allowing them to float away from him, but he held my face in his hands and pulled it to his.  His lips found mine in the dark waters and I felt a rush of warm and cold as his mouth opened to mine.  My hair and dress swirled around us as our bodies drifted toward each other and entwined. 
I ran my hands over his shoulders and arms.  His skin felt like cold satin.  His muscles flexed as he held me closer, his hands moved up my back and behind my neck. 
The water finally pushed us up and we emerged, gasping and panting.  His mouth hung open as he stared at me with conflict warring in his eyes, his chest heaving and glistening.  His arms wrapped around my waist and pulled me against him.  He struggled with some emotion I couldn’t read, and buried his face in my neck.  I could feel his heart pulsing against my chest.
“You’re shivering.  Are you cold?” he asked as he pulled away from me.
He glanced down and quickly back up again, grinning.
“Wait here.”
The water barely rippled as he waded out of the lake, streams cascading down his back as he moved, and emerged dripping.  He bent over and grabbed his shirt and then turned to me.  A crooked smile turned up the corner of his mouth as he held the shirt open and turned his face to the side, eyes looking at the mountains. 
I looked down at the white dress floating around me and understood his meaning.  Embarrassment burned my cheeks as I wrapped my arms around my chest.  I walked out of the lake and into the waiting arms of the shirt, grateful for his act of chivalry.  He buttoned the shirt up and held his arms around me, lowering us both down onto the thick grass.
We laid there holding each other for hours.  His fingers lightly traced lines up and down my arm draped over his chest.
“You said you loved me last night,” I finally worked up the courage to say.
“I know.”
“That was the first time.”  My face turned up to his, his eyes staring up at the night sky, stars reflected in their gray depth.
“It wasn’t the first time,” he grinned and looked down at me.
I smiled and turned my face into his chest, pressing my lips against his smooth skin as modesty gripped me.
“You didn’t give me a chance to reply,” I whispered.
He was silent, waiting patiently for my mouth to work up the courage to say what my heart knew the first day I met him.  The pause must have started to affect him, for he tightened his arm around me and I felt his breath hold.
“I love you, too.  Of course I do!” I blurted out.
The air escaped loudly from his lungs and he pulled me up so that I lay on top of his chest, my face directly above his.
“You have me completely, Princess Karawyn, daughter of Aubrey.  I am yours forever,” he whispered, lifting his mouth up to mine. 
“I am yours forever,” I repeated against his lips.
Everything turned dark.

My memory suddenly shot forward, taking me to another, colder time.
I was in my room. 
Blankets of white snow covered the woods surrounding the palace.  I sat beside a large fire drawn in the hearth, humming while I painted the scenery extending outside my window. 
There was a light tap on the door as Jabari poked his head around it.
“Good day,” I stated without looking away from my work.
“May I speak with you a moment, Your Highness?” he asked timidly.
“Of course.  What’s on your mind?” 
He entered and began to pace and fidget nervously, cleaning his spectacles.
            “Well, there are some awful rumors floating around the kingdom about…” he trailed off.
“Well about you,” he sputtered after a long pause.
I laid down my brush and looked him in the eyes. 
“And what are these rumors?”
“Please tell me you’re not having an affair with a dark elf!  And not just any dark elf, but Gareth, Varick’s son!!”  His voice rose as he spoke his accusation.
“So?” I asked indifferently.
“So?!” he exasperated.  “Tell me it’s not true!”
“I cannot.  That would be a lie.”
“Karawyn, you cannot continue this.  He’s your father’s enemy.  He’s a killer.  You must end it.”
            I stood up suddenly, my fists at my sides, speaking in a lethal whisper.  “He is not a killer.  He is not our enemy.”  My voice began to rise as my temper turned to bubbling mercury.  “You will not dare tell me what to do.  I will NOT end it.  I love him!” 
Had there been any glass in my room, it would have shattered then.  There was none for that very reason.
His body sunk against the mantle of the fireplace.
            “Karawyn, please.  This is too dangerous.”
“This is not a matter I care to discuss with you.  You are no longer my tutor.  You are my father’s advisor.  Not my advisor.  Leave my room at once,” I bellowed and pointed at the door, glowering at him.  “You have no business here!”
He turned and shuffled meagerly out of the room.  I sat back down, my hands shaking and a longing to be with Gareth clenching my insides.  I closed my eyes and let the dark soothe me.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Lost Moments: Return to Arethane Cut Chapters

Almost five years ago, Aubrey (from last week's Reader Spotlight) and I had a conversation about books and what kind of story we wanted to read.  We discussed the frustration that sometimes comes with a book and how much we would love to be able to control the outcome.  We had also just come off a Twilight sugar-high, and were discussing the simplicity and banality of the book (sorry to any die-hard Twi fans out there) and its writing.  I had made the comment, "I could do that!" well knowing I had never written anything other than a few college writing assignments.  To my bold proclamation, Aubrey simply said, "So do it."

And so that night I went home and jotted down a few characters.  I'd had this story swirling around in my head for a long time--some sort of cross between the movie Ladyhawk and Lord of the Rings.  Giving the characters names and faces, I wrote up a chapter.  I think it was somewhere in the middle of the story, I can't really remember.  After handing it over to Aubrey, she took it, read it, and came back with the request, "More, please."  And so what was when then-titled Glow slowly formed.

Back then the story of Emily and her elves was written in first-person perspective and while the skeleton of the story remains, the rest was very much different.  It started out pretty contrived and cheesy, an opus on my part as a means to show just how Neil Gaiman-y I could be in my writing.  After MANY rewrites, re-inventions, and revisions, the story Return to Arethane was born.

Anyway, there was a lot cut from the original Glow that I didn't want to cut.  So in order to give those bits new life, I'm sharing them with you here.  Below is a fun little interaction between Jarrad and Emily that ultimately ended up on the chopping block due to it reeking a little too much of Roswell.  Hope you enjoy it!

“Why don’t you just try out for the team?” I asked, almost desperately. 
I could see the longing on Jarrad’s face every Friday as another night of football arrived without him getting to join in the competition.  The look was the closest thing to sadness I ever saw in his bright eyes and it killed me that there was nothing I could do to make it better.  
School had ended for another weekend and the halls were already emptying while we walked slowly toward the exit. 
“I can’t officially join any team here,” he said softly, pulling my hand to his heart, running his fingertips lightly down the pale underside of my arm, creating a trail of goose bumps.
“Why not?  You’re certainly talented enough.  You’d be the best player on the team.”
“Joining a team requires more…there are physicals…blood tests.”
“Blood tests?” I repeated incredulously.  I didn’t think of that, because I never thought it was a problem.  Everything about him physically – aside from his inhuman beauty – was quite human; quite… manly. 
“But I’ve seen your blood, it looks just like mine!”  My throat strained, trying to express my curiosity in whispers.
“Yes, looks like yours,” he replied looking around.  “But…here.” 
He opened the door to the biology lab and pulled me through, closing it again behind me.  He then wiped his hand along the narrow rectangular window, turning the clear glass into a smoky haze, so that no one could see in.
“Sit,” he ordered, gently pushing me into a seat at one of the lab tables.  I smiled and watched him walk to the back of the room, rifle through one of the cabinets, and return with a microscope and a small box.  I recognized the box from one of my classes last year.  It was a blood testing kit.
He sat in the chair next to me and set up our impromptu lab.  He opened the kit, set out two rectangular pieces of glass and picked up the needle.  He turned to me and grabbed my hand.
“Nu-uh!” I protested as he moved to prick my finger.  His mouth turned up at the corner and his eyes looked slightly annoyed.
“C’mon, Em.  You know I’ll heal you before you can feel a thing.”  He paused at my sour face.  “It’s just a little prick.” 
My expression still protested, my nose crinkled and my mouth twisted, as I pulled away while he still held my hand.
His eyelids grew heavy, smoldering blue flames within, he leaned in close to my face.
“Emily,” he said.
“Not fair,” I sighed, weakened already from his gaze.
“You can’t elf spell me…every…time…”
“Emily,” he repeated and I fell into his eyes and relaxed into his deep, soft voice.  “I’m not enchanting you.”
“Then why…?”
His grin grew bigger, amusement playing across his face like a child’s song.
“Yes?” I sighed, succumbing and forgetting everything.
“You won’t feel a thing.”
I was helpless.  Whether he intended to do it or not, he enchanted me.  The light in his eyes, the gentle touch of his voice, the warmth of his breath near my face, it all enchanted me.
And he was right.  He could remove my whole arm right now and I wouldn’t feel it.  My heart thudding in my ears distracted me from all other senses. 
“All done,” he stated lightly as he lifted my hand to his mouth, pressing his lips against my fingertips.
“You still don’t fight fair,” I said dryly. 
“I didn’t enchant you, Emily.  I told you I would never make you do anything against your will.”
“Yeah, but I just look into your eyes and fall to pieces.”
“And that’s bad, why?”
I rolled my eyes and watched as he pressed the needle into his own index finger, a deep crimson bubble growing in the spot.  He then pressed his finger on the second glass rectangle, smearing the blood, and turned to the microscope, placing both samples side by side on the plate.  His tongue stuck out slightly from the corner of his mouth as he focused into the lens and adjusted the magnifier and I couldn’t help smiling at him.
“Now,” he leaned back.  “Look.  The top is yours and the bottom is mine.”
I leaned in, squinting one eye as I looked through the lens with the other.  The top, my blood, looked just as I had expected it; large, red blood cells swimming aimlessly around in a small space.  I focused on the bottom sample and gasped.
I leaned back and looked bewildered at Jarrad.  He smiled and raised one eyebrow, silently saying “See?” 
I returned to the lens and looked again at the blood sample.  Just like mine, there were large, red blood cells, but each cell was surrounded in a bright, yellow halo of light. And they didn’t float aimlessly.  Instead, they vibrated wildly, like someone shook them.
“Poses a bit of a problem, doesn’t it?” he asked.
“I’d say,” I stated, leaning back again.  “How have you avoided any tests up until now?”
He shrugged and picked up the samples, explaining as he walked to the sink to wash away the blood. “We never get sick.  We usually don’t put ourselves in a position to have to submit to random drug testing, and we have ways of creating fake records to submit to administrations for enrollment and such.” 
He returned and reached out his hands.  I picked up the microscope and placed it in his waiting palms.  “It’s sort of the advantage to having magic in your blood,” he added with a grin as he turned to replace the instrument in its cabinet.
“Wow,” was all I could reply.
He was back by my side and raised his hand, holding my cheek in his palm.  It felt like fire against my cold face.  He voice was softer when he spoke again.
“But when you cut me open, I still have a heart, like you.  I still have lungs, like you.  I still bleed.”
“Right,” I stated.  “But you could seal yourself back up without needing stitches!”
He laughed and lowered his face to mine, kissing me lightly on the lips before taking my hands and leading me out of the classroom; tapping the window before we left, returning the glass to its rightful state.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Queen of Arèthane Excerpt; from the chapter "Burning a Path"

There were more patrons at the other inn and with them, much more noise.  It made it easier for Dafne to hide away, tucked into a corner booth, her ears sensitive to the talk around her as she twirled her room key around her finger.  It helped to drown out her own thoughts and doubts, hearing those of the elves.
Most traded stories of their adventures on the seas, some spoke of loved ones back home, but the point all seemed to come back to, the fear they all shared was the looming threat of the wizard’s army and which village he would hit next.
Many that crowded the inn were displaced refugees of villages sacrificed to Jabari’s fire and vengeance.  They had lost everything and escaped with barely their lives, some not even that.  Most argued and bellowed angrily over the Queen’s lack of action.  Some, who seemed more thoughtful than others, attributed that to the Council’s required vote.
“The Queen isn’t allowed to mobilize the troops for war without the Council’s approval and they voted against it,” one elf said to the group standing at the bar. 
Karawyn had lost the vote?  Dafne wondered how the world hadn’t been beaten down by a constant storm fueled by her sister’s wrath at losing anything, much less something as important as the vote.
“The Queen is gifted, she shouldn’t need the vote,” chimed in another. “She should just fight.”
“But then we’d be complaining now about her lack of diplomacy and not following the rules instead of her inaction,” retorted the voice of reason.  A low chorus of grumbles and huffs followed.
“Her people are dying,” a female voice lamented. “Certainly she wouldn’t continue to let them suffer.  Certainly she doesn’t fear the wizard.”
Karawyn didn’t fear the wizard.  Her deep-seeded betrayal burned away any other emotion, but for hate.  Dafne; however, still felt the stirring of sorrow over losing her beloved guardian.  The loss cut deep, deeper than the deception.
“And where is the Prince?” another asked.  Dafne perked up, looking their way.
“Probably taken up with his human,” another grumbled, earning a scowl from Dafne.
“No, his absence during these times is notable,” said Reason. “He hasn’t been to any of the council meetings; word is that he’s disappeared.”
“Do you believe the stories that he was involved in all of those killings with the Angel of Death?” a new voice asked.
“They were doing what was ordered of them, what the Queen had warned…”
Dafne wanted to growl with frustration.  She didn’t care about the legends and rumors; she knew exactly what happened with Jarrad and Aerath concerning those aligned with Jabari’s army.  She wanted to know why they thought her brother had disappeared.
“It’s a lot nicer in here,” Baelemar observed, sitting down beside Dafne only to frown at her expression of frustration. “What’s wrong?”
“They’re saying Jarrad has disappeared.  And Karawyn lost the vote.  Do you know anything about that?” The words rushed from Dafne on a single breath.
With a look of guilt, he said, “I received word when looking for the horses.  A scout delivered the note.  Your brother was arrested by the Elders.”
“Arrested!” Dafne cried, not caring if anyone noticed. “How can that be?  I didn’t even know they did that!”
“They exact punishments for certain crimes committed.  Emily broke the Ancient Treaties by killing Zoroaster.”  Dafne closed her mouth, knowing at the time it had been a crime but had hoped then it would go unnoticed. “Because she’s human, Jarrad is serving her punishment for her.”
“What does that mean?”
Baelemar shook his head, sympathetic.  “I don’t know.”
“What are these punishments?”
“Not something you want to know more about, but your brother is strong and powerfully gift, I’m sure he’ll be fine.”

Friday, April 5, 2013

Another Year Older

There will be no new post today - sorry!  It's my birthday so instead of writing, I'll be out enjoying this beautiful day.  But be sure to check back in over the weekend - I may have some teasers for you from book 4!


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Share Your Jarrad

I dedicated Prince of Arethane to my brother, Joey, and my sister, Dominique because as a very rudimentary mold, I used the three of us as the basis for Karawyn, Jarrad and Dafne.  Essentially it was just the features - I have dark hair, green eyes, my brother and sister both have blonde, curly hair and blue eyes. I can be...sullen and sarcastic.  Dominique is always happy and everyone loves her, and Joey is somewhere in between.  So that's where the royal elves began and then they all developed their own personalities along the way.

To see their faces in my mind, I had to go seeking actual people because once I gave them names and heard them speak, they were no longer my family, but became their own people (er, elves.)  In writing and developing Jarrad, I initially based him on Alex Pettyfer.  He was exactly how I saw Jarrad in my head.

But then he started to appear in more movies and in more interviews and turned out to be kinda douchey, which is not how Jarrad is at all.  So Jarrad out-grew Alex.

And then I watched an episode of Austin & Ally and discovered Ross Lynch and he sort of fit Jarrad.  Right age, right personality--outgoing, a little cocky, playful (as far was the show showed.)

But after discussions with friends, they were not having that.  He's way too young, they said.  He's not rugged enough, they said.  So we eventually landed on this guy.

I have no idea who he is, but they agreed he worked.  Anyway, it made me curious as to how the reader sees a character compared to how I see him.  And I fear offering these photos may be dangerous, it may adulterate what the reader has created in their mind for a character they love, no matter how much fun it is for me.  But it really just makes me curious so if you have a Jarrad, I would love for you to share him.


Reader Spotlight! Aubrey Davidson

Today marks my first “Reader Spotlight” post that I hope to have at least once a month.  What this is, is I will choose a reader from my Twitter or blog followers and after PMing them and getting their approval, have a little Q&A session with him/her about reading – what your likes, dislikes, habits are and such.  I think it will be a fun way to develop a more connected relationship with my fellow readers and of course, we get to chat about what we all love – books! 

My alpha Reader Spotlight is actually my beta reader, first-ever supporter and very good friend, Aubrey Davidson.

Without her encouragement and notes of “More please” on random pages of quickly written chapters, none of my Arethane books would exist.  She has helped create and develop the characters and probably knows them now better than I.

Anyway, welcome, Aubrey!  Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Age, Hometown/Where you live:  Hi, Kelly!  Thanks for having me on your blog (I feel like a guest on a teevee talk show)!  Editor’s aside: you’re a dork.   I’m 28 and my hometown is Arlington, Texas, but I’m living in Aurora, Colorado now  (as you well know).

Welcome to the first ever Reader Spotlight!  First off, tell us a little about your readerness (yes, it’s a word, I’m making it one.)  Meaning, where are you favorite places to read, how often do you read, what genre is your “go-to” when you need to fill that reading hunger?  Readerness, huh?  Okay, I don’t know that I really have a favorite place to read… I’ll read anywhere, but I suppose the most common place is in my bed or curled up on the couch.  Editor’s aside: And sometimes you fall asleep sitting up with the book still open.  Preferably with a cup of tea.  I read a lot.  Every day, multiple times a day, usually.  Especially on the weekends when I don’t have to worry about going to work the next day.  I don’t think I have a go-to genre either… I’ve been reading quite a bit of fantasy lately, but right now I’m reading a series of non-fiction journals. 

In order for least to most, what would you say your top three books are? (Ugh, I think you’re trying to make this difficult for me)  Top three books… can I count the Arethane series as one book or do they count as three?  Editor’s aside: Top three Number Ones!  And I don’t think I could choose an order – it’s hard enough to pick three favorite books.  The first other two that come to mind are American Gods by Neil Gaiman and The Arm of the Starfish by Madeleine L’Engle.  EA: I knew you’d pick that.

Favorite author? Those are some favorite authors too… Neil Gaiman, Madeleine L’Engle, and you. EA: Yay!  I’ve also been reading quite a bit of Terry Pratchett lately.  By the way, have you read Dodger yet?  If you haven’t, go pick it up – you’d like it.

What do you look for in a main character?  Do you want him/her to be some butt-kicking badass, a level-headed pacifist, a hot-tempered hero? In a main character, I mainly look for someone who has some quality I can relate to… they  might be a badass or a pacifist or a hot-tempered hero – that part changes, but if there’s something in them that feels like me or how I wish I could be, I generally keep reading.

What are your character pet-peeves?  I hate whiney characters.  I don’t like whiney people in general (and don’t you dare say anything about me being whiney!) and if they annoy me in real life, I certainly don’t want to spend my free time in their head with all of their self-pity.  EA: You had a big hand in keeping Emily from being whiney when she had plenty to be whiney about.

What do you look for by the time you finish a book?  What expectations do you have going into a book? I like books that make me miss the characters.  If I finish a book and I wish there were more because I don’t want the characters to leave my head, I’ll probably read it again… and again.  I try not to have expectations going into a book… that’s an easy way to disappoint yourself.  If I ever expect things from books, it’s usually sequels.  If the first book was amazing, I expect the sequel to live up to it.

I agree.  I love and hate when a book won’t leave my mind.  On one hand, I want to move on, but on the other, I know that it was then a really well-written story with strong characters.  What are you currently reading? I’m currently reading The Summer of the Great-Grandmother by Madeleine L’Engle

What kind of story would you love to read, but just can’t seem to find? This last one is hard… and I don’t think I can answer it… I’m sorry.  I’ll think about it and get back to you.

Okay, fine.  Then to ease the girly-girl in me, which of my characters is your favorite and why?  I’m partial to Emily… I love her and since she reminds me so much of my baby sister (and a little of you), I really like her being in my head.  But then Jarrad and Dafne and Karawyn are all wonderful too… and Shelly cracks me up every scene she’s in so she’s lots of fun… and I think Jabari is an awesome character.  I’ve loved him and hated him and felt betrayed along with the characters in the story… I really like when a character blind sides you like that.

A great big thank you to Aubrey for participating in my pilot Reader Spotlight and for helping me with all my books and for generally just being awesome.  

Until next time!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Always Me Playlist

Something I did for the paperback of Always Me but didn't do for the Kindle version was offer an Always Me playlist - basically the songs that I consider the soundtrack for the novel, that help convey the story in another format.

Music is a great aid in the writing process to get into that mindset or mood needed to create a certain scene.  I tend to go to different genres for different books.  Sometimes it's a little difficult coming up with the playlist.  I shudder to think how I would compile one for the Arethane series.  It would obviously have to be broken up by book, but I do promise to offer that, as well.  Maybe when all 4 are published.

Anyway, it was easier for Always Me.  The soundtrack for the story was as distinct to me as the characters.  So, I hope you enjoy, the Always Me playlist: 

1. "The Ghost Who Walks" - Karen Elson (A haunting song that perfectly embodies a woman's misplaced trust in the man she loves)
2. "Love Me Dead" - Ludo (Xander and Nicky's first encounter)
3. "Save Me" - Johnette Napolitano (Nicky's first hypnosis session)
4. "Die, Die, Die" - The Avett Brothers (Nicky's accusation of Xander in the chapel)
5. "Walking After You" - Foo Fighters (When Xander takes Nicky to the tire swing in the woods)
6. "The Ghost of You" - My Chemical Romance (After Nicky sees Xander in that fateful 
7. "Fires" - Band of Skulls (At the bonfire when Nicky sees Xander)
8. "Lost Cause" - Beck (After the explosion at the library)
9. "You Can Do Better Than Me" - Death Cab for Cutie (Nicky and Xander's fight at the party)
10. "Closer" - Kings of Leon (When Nicky remembers everything)
11. "I Will Follow You (Into the Dark)" - Death Cab for Cutie (In the basement, as Nicky and Xander say good-bye)