Another amazing book trailer by my talented sis. I'm happy to share the trailer for The Reaper's Daughter, slated for release on February 15, 2015.
Larry Wilson, best known for his work co-writing and co-producing Beetlejuice and The Addams Family, has launched a Kickstarter campaign for a fabulous new web series that's near and dear to my heart. Why? Because it's fairytales, but with a twist. Just like I like them. In this new rendition of Cinderella set in contemporary times, you've got a mix of reality TV, a fairy godmother with a penchant for "the dust" and a handsome prince that's a bit past his ball-dancing prime. Check out this Q&A with Wilson to learn more about CINDY and the campaign, which has only eight days left. Scroll to the bottom for a sneak peek of CINDY. Or else check out the series' YouTube channel here.
Q: How did you get the idea to do a fairytale retelling in such a way? Why Cinderella, specifically?
LW: The idea came to me in one of those flash creative epiphanies; as simple as "Cinderella would make a good reality show." As CINDY developed it actually became about "What would happen if Cinderella was asked to do a reality show?" But the original idea was just all of a sudden there. It happens doesn't it? The idea for Beetlejuice came to myself and my writing partner, Michael McDowell, in three short phone calls over three days.
Q: Is this your favorite fairytale? Why or why not?
LW: Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty are my favorites and I've now written scripts (both dark comedies) based on both of them. I have two daughters (Autry, of course, is the star of CINDY). I saw that both Cinderella and Snow White could be about girls getting empowered, rather than girls getting rescued.
Q: How long have you been working on filming? How many episodes are ready for broadcast?
LW: We shot 10 episodes of CINDY over 6 days. They run from about 5 to 10 minutes -- so we basically shot a feature length film! Six episodes are edited, all need music and post production -- hence the Kickstarter campaign. But I can say honestly, I think we've got something really good. We want to be broadcasting in time for Christmas!
Q: How has your experience as a producer with Beetlejuice, Adams Family, etc., colored subsequent work, including this one?
LW: I've always worked as a writer/producer and I've been privileged to work with some world-class producers (Scott Rudin, David Geffen among them). The lesson is always the same: it all starts with a good script.
Q: Why do dark comedies appeal to you?
LW: I grew up in some fairly dark circumstances and laughter became a survival mechanism. That's translated into writing dark comedy.
Q: How much money are you hoping to raise with the kickstarter? What will the money allow you to do with the show?
LW: We need to raise just over $18,000 and as I write this we've broken the $11,000 mark. Most of the money will go into post-production for CINDY with a bit left over for distribution and publicity.
Q: When will the first episode air?
LW: Like I said, "Merry Christmas from Cindy," is our goal!
Q: Tell me a bit about the 40-year-old prince, how did that idea come around?
LW: The forty-year-old Prince? As you can see from the CINDY trailer one of our guiding principals was to take all of the conventions of the Disney-ised Cinderella and subvert them in some way. All of the usual fairy tale answers for Cindy are the wrong answers. She's a girl who ultimately is going to have find her own way.
When I first started this blog, all I knew was that I needed a platform to showcase my scribblings and to talk about my life as a writer. I started off with essays and short stories I'd written, small slices of my life re-purposed as fiction, although not far-removed from non-fiction. But as an author, my work is in fantasy. So I balanced the two, giving myself an outlet for my creative non-fiction, while also being able to promote and wax author-like on my newest projects and releases. But I've never been a fully focused blog, other than it being about my writing or books. The thing is, though, I feel to really engage with people you have to be willing to put up more, be vulnerable—share. And that's hard for me.
The thing is, promotional items are often the easiest and fastest way to put up content. Meanwhile, I don't want to just throw up any one thing and stamp it on my blog. I don't know if anyone reading is all that interested in my day-to-day life. Some authors write about their lives and I enjoy those, but I somehow don't feel comfortable doing it myself. Probably because I am a fairly private person. I look up to the writers who reveal the nitty-gritty of their lives and are able to help people by sharing painful past experiences. I just can't do that. Again, I'm too private. I'm the person who gets irritated when someone tags me in a Facebook post about future night plans. I don't want everyone to know what I'm doing. So as much as I'd like to be the sharing type, I just somehow can't be. And I just can't write about writing all the time because as much as I love to write and it's my passion outside my family, I have other thoughts.
I guess what I'm trying to say is I've been looking for a way to share something of who I am with my readers and anyone who happens to drop by, but I haven't really known how to except by talking about fairly safe topics. I have in the past shared more moments from my life through my creative non-fiction, but inspiration for those flashes don't hit me as often as I'd like, except for my many amazing moments being a mother. I don't define myself by motherhood, but I am a mom. My son is the brightest color in my world. So while I don't want to become a literary/author blog suddenly turned mommy blog, I do feel I need to share that part of my life in some way since I'm on the threshold of becoming a stay-at-home mom. So I've decided to share Slices of My Mommy Life, a feature that will be my creative flare on moments shared with my son and my family. The first one is short and sweet, but I hope you'll feel I've aptly shares something of my human self.
Slices of Mommy's Life
He pointed to the old Valentine's Day card from earlier this year that he’d kept in his toy box like a cherished keepsake. I'd chosen the card specifically because his curious little fingers loved lift-the-flap books and the hidden secrets buried beneath. He lifted one paper square, tapping his fingers on the pirates holding pink and red glittery hearts. “Hearts?” he said, his soft, sweet little voice leaving off the “t" as he often did.
"Hearts," I confirmed, glancing over at him sitting beside me on the couch. I stopped working for a moment, putting my laptop aside, and touched the card too, tracing the outline of a small heart with my fingertip. “You’re Mommy’s heart,” I said without much thought, but as the words left my mouth I knew them to be some of the truest words I’d ever spoken.
“Mommy’s heart?” he asked, looking up at me and nestling closer, my lips drawn to his soft, plush little cheek by the serious set to his brow and the inquisitiveness sparkling in his large blue eyes.
“Mommy’s heart,” I whispered and squeezed him that much closer, knowing that while the sentiment was probably lost on him verbally, he'd understood it all the same.
Several blogs on my current blog tour posted my dreamcast, but the whole cast I had selected hasn't ever been revealed. This was probably one of the most fun and grueling of tasks for the tour, because it was so hard to choose the perfect actors to play the roles of characters so near and dear to my heart. Anyway, here is my dreamcast for Fractured Dream. Hover over the pictures to see who is who.
So I'm sitting here from the Rochester Comic-Con. I've sold some books, met met some cool people, creeped on Alaina Huffman (Supernatural's Abbadon) since she's one of the panelists and I love her, and had a podcast interview this morning with TNX Bombsquad here. Since I've finished The Reaper's Daughter and the cover has already been completed I debuted the cover on my table to entice would-be readers. You can't see it too well in this pic, but this is my table at Roc-Con. The lovely lady in the back is my sister getting some work done.
So this is the big announcement of the day, I want to reveal The Reaper's Daughter cover. I'm so excited about it. Author, designer and also my friend, Shari Ryan, is responsible for the awesomeness of this cover. She came up with the concept and went with it and she captured the essence of it. Death is a dark thing, but the pink catches the humor and lightness that also threads through this book. Here's a picture you can really take a look at:
And to accompany the lovely cover, here's the blurb, newly minted:
I’ve always felt like an average girl . . . except for my strange relationship with death. You could say I like to court it. Whether I’m soaring through the air as a flyer for Specter University’s cheer squad, or speeding down the steepest mountain with only grace and balance keeping me from an icy end, I’ve always needed to feel a rush. But now Death is courting me―in more ways than one. First, there’s Rishi, a rogue death deity who has a penchant for annoying me nearly to my grave and whose intense gaze has the power to see right through me. Then there’s Hades, who I’d rather had stayed just a myth. Now that he knows I exist, he’s never going to leave me alone until he can do the same to me as he’s done to my mother.
Oh yeah, did I forget to mention her? I spent my whole life thinking she had died when I was a baby, but now I’ve found out she’s much more than dead. Fifty years ago, Hades banished my mother from the underworld and along with the Council of Death Deities, took away her ability to cross over souls―souls that have wandered lost through the world ever since. Now she wants me to clean up the mess. You may have heard of her before: they call her the Grim Reaper.
You know what that makes me? The Reaper’s Daughter.
Look for it February 15, 2015 !! You can also add it to your Goodreads list now:
This announcement is long overdue, but I finished the first draft of The Reaper's Daughter at the start of September. I absolutely can't wait to release it, and without totally having confirmed this yet with my
publisher, I'm hoping for a mid-January release. My cover is already complete as well, so that reveal will hopefully be coming soon.
I absolutely love this book, and yet, after spending eight years on writing Fractured Dream and only one on the rough draft of The Reaper's Daughter, is it strange it felt almost anti-climatic? I almost feel as if I cheated. It's more average sized as far as books go, while Fractured Dream is a bit longer. So perhaps that's it. I poured just as much love into this one, but it felt easier to write somehow. The common saying among authors is that the first book is always the hardest and I wholeheartedly agree. Perhaps it's the motivation I possessed writing the second one, it was so much more intense after finally finishing one book. I'm an actual author now, my inner self screams in delight, and the urge to continue weaving all the stories crowding my head make my
fingers go crazy on the keyboard as the "beast-creature ideas," as Ray Bradbury put it, demand to be let out.
I also have an urge to return to the world I built in The Dreamer Saga, to continue Story's story (ha ha). It's definitely a different experience soaring through a book in such a short period of time after toiling away for years with people questioning whether you'd ever actually finish the book. Then wondering if anyone would publish it, should I go indie? Traditional? Self-publish? But here I am a year later with a published book and a publisher behind me and a second book almost ready to go, but the beast-creatures in my head haven't had
their stories completed yet and so to the keyboard I return, a mad woman with a mission: to tell stories.
So here's to getting a book blurb for The Reaper's Daughter soon so that I can share with anyone who likes my writing or is intrigued by the title of this book and what it's about. Stay Tuned for more details.
I have been meaning to post my book soundtrack to Fractured Dream for forever. What I like best is that some of these picks were brought about organically through several readers and friends who suggested songs that reminded them of various parts or themes in the book. And then some of the songs I picked myself. My husband even got to have a say. So here's a big thanks to Lara Southgate (who has her own version . . . here), Nicole Munson, Melissa Flickinger, Bethany Root and Ronald Mendolera.
All of My Love | Led Zeppelin
Going Under | Evanescence
Remember | Emilie Autumn
Into the Mystic | Van Morrison
Howl | Florence + the Machine
Transylvanian Concubine | Rasputina
Desert Rose | Sting
This Night | Black Lab
Wicked Games | Chris Isaak
Little Earthquakes | Tori Amos
Without You | Breaking Benjamin
Breathe | Midge Ure
Little House | The Fray
Leave Me in the Dark | Keri Noble
Galileo | Indigo Girls
Shake It Out | Florence + the Machine
No Trace | MS MR
A Sight to Behold | Eisley
Redeemed | Charlotte Martin
I've been so busy I've been hard-pressed to get a blog up this week, so I thought I'd run an oldie. I love this essay, or rant, whichever you want to call it. I first ran it in 2012, but I think I actually wrote it in 2007. At any rate, when I posted it a couple of years ago I actually landed a radio interview with these guys who like people who rant. You can check it out here. In the meantime, check out this ode and rant to the restaurant industry.
Never Burn Your Apron
I know you’ve thought about it. I have. But five, 10, 20 years from now, I’m betting if you need it, you don’t have the money to go out and buy another one.
When my little sister was 17, I got her a job as a hostess. Elated that I got to work with her, I thought we would be able to gossip and hangout together even more. She would know who I was talking about when I mentioned Sam, the dreamy bartender who my sister decided upon meeting was a player. It turns out she was right.
In my fantasies, we were this amazingly fun duo. We would party all night and later trade drunken tales of the same nighttime adventure, filling in each other’s missing pieces. But as it turns out, she’s not much a of a people person, she doesn’t have much of a taste for alcohol and she absolutely hated smiling when she didn’t feel like it. In fact, she preferred bussing tables to seating them. Even though she would be covered in other people’s leftover filth, at least she didn’t have to trade false pleasantries.
On her last day, two months, two days and 16 hours after she first started, she celebrated her release from the gallows of the food industry by tossing her white polo shirt into a campfire. She watched as the restaurant’s emblem was slowly consumed, thread by thread, while the hungry yellow flames gorged on the fabric, much like restaurant patrons gorged themselves on salads — thinking it was still healthy despite pounds of dressing.
She did what I’ve always wanted to do. No matter how many times I heard a relative, a friend or a parent say: “It’s a skill you’ll always have to fall back on,” I never believed it. Or I just didn't want to.
At the end of the day, you may have money in hand but you have endured slights and degradation. You smell like food and grease; it’s not only on your clothes but it seeps into your pores. Even after you shower, it clings. I once dated a guy who worked in the kitchen of an Italian restaurant. Despite showering and dowsing cologne on himself, he always managed to smell like food. Years later, I think of him whenever I smell a whiff of Italian food and grease.
After 12 hours of being on my feet, I can no longer feel them or they hurt so much I walk around claiming to everyone who is near that I’m the Little Mermaid – and not Disney’s happy version. This is the Hans Christian Anderson version, where with every step she takes, it feels like she’s walking on broken glass.
I may have eaten the buffalo chicken sandwich with fries, but I’m not worried about getting fat. That period between 5 and 9, when I had 10 tables who didn’t think that maybe it would be courteous to say, “Yes, a refill would be nice,” when I asked the first time, had burned those calories. No, these people wait until I’ve come back with their dining partner’s drink and then say, “You know what, maybe I will take a refill.” Nevermind the seven other tables with double the eyes, looking at me expectantly for their food or check.
Or my personal favorite is when I walk up to a table and say: “Hi, my name is Katri-“
“I’ll take a coke,” says the gentleman in his business suit, promptly cutting me off. My smiles tightens, I bite my tongue. Hi to you too, I think. My imagination slips away into a world where I tell him to kiss my ass and to get his own damn coke. But that’s in a perfect world.
Or even better I walk up to a table and say, “Hi. How are you doing today?” But instead of a greeting in return, the two people talking back and forth continue their conversation as if I don’t exist. They don’t look at me, they don’t say hi, or pause in their conversation even. Ten seconds, 20, 50. A minute can seem like a very long time when you’re the elephant in the room and the only one that realizes it. I either stick around until they get some manners and say hi, or I run to the bathroom or to a fellow co-worker to make sure I’m still visible. Am I suddenly Patrick Swayze in “Ghost?” I wave my hand back and forth in front of my face. I can still see it. I turn to the skinny little new girl with the extra tight shirt and the cleavage busting out from the-obviously-not regulation shirt.
“Umm. Did you deliver food to table 45?” I ask breathlessly.
She looks at me with her large, heavily made-up eyes like a 17-year-old struck dumb on her first day on the job. “Where’s table 45?” she asks.
“That one,” I point efficiently and turn.
Hallelujah, I’m alive. Time to return to those people who don’t have any manners.
Now, as I approach the table they’re looking through the menu, quiet, subdued. Could they have possibly realized as their server ran away, that they had been impolite? One of the ladies’ looks at me, “Hi!” she says.
My smile, when it comes, hurts. I am a pro at smiling when I don’t feel it. That’s why I’m good at this job. I have been able to fool my friends, family and lovers for years. Surely, I can fool perfect strangers into giving me their money. It’s not too hard. But I’ll need some sugar when I’m through to counteract the bitters.
“Hi,” I respond. They do not get the pleasure of my name.
At the end, they’ll leave me a decent tip because they realize, if not in some vague, sort of offhanded way, that I am also a human being. God made us all equal did he? I am surely superior because I actually know what that means. Me, the lowly waitress.
Servers, more than bartenders, are bitter. There is a big ‘ol chip on our shoulder that ain’t growing back. Why? Well, there’s a certain culture in the restaurant and the position one holds is equivalent to a social class. As a bartender, you’re more respected. It’s seen as a more prestigious job, a skill. In addition, bar guests tend to be more laid back, they’re chilling, having a drink. Or else they’re regulars, and naturally, you’re then their best friend. Cha-ching.
Servers, on the other hand, are often treated as if they’re hard of hearing or just too daft to understand the difference between medium rare and well done. What the customer doesn’t realize is that the server has little control over what happens to the food once the order goes in. We can bitch all we like, but if the kitchen is backed up, yelling at the cooks just makes them take longer and do a worse job than they’re already doing.
Once when I worked at a diner chain, there was a cook named Wayne. He used to smoke cigarettes while he fried the food; his grease-stained white t-shirt barely covering his gut, thinning hair covered up by a trucker’s baseball-style cap. He was a complete cliché, but the literal truth. Despite all that, he could be all right some of the time, but when he was pissed at the servers, they better beware. He used to put the plates right down on the flat top grill and let them sit there until they were nice and hot, then he’d throw the food on them. If you didn’t already know better, you’d grab the plate and let out a shriek as you felt your skin sizzle. The bastard would be flicking his ashes on the floor and hiding a smirk behind his stringy brown mustache.
This is what I think of as I fold the freshly washed apron. Despite the sounds and smells of summer that waft in through the open window, my hand shakes with the memories — shakes with a pyromaniac urge. But I stay my hand. This apron has scars. It has been my constant companion when there was no one else. My story is entwined with the apron. To burn it, I know, would be foolhardy, and I’ve come too far for that. Instead, the apron sits deep in a drawer, waiting for when it is needed. I hope that day never comes.
Our dog recently got spayed, and she didn't deal very well with it. She's doing much better now, but we're keeping the cone on her because I'm not sure I can trust her quite yet not to go at it. Stitches out Friday, so only a few more days! Anyway, I took her cone (Elizabethan collar) off this morning so she could play without smashing into furniture and walls like a raging elephant and was inspired to write a haiku.
Happy puppy leaps,
in a dance across the room
a cone of shame reprieve...
Here's a picture of her looking quite depressed from last week. Fortunately, she's perked up. :)