I'm excited to finish Shattered World, the second book in the Dreamer Saga trilogy and delve back into these worlds I'm creating. Until then, my bloodstream is coffee and back into history I go. See ya on the flip-side of September!
Silent. That's how I feel I've been as an author lately. So I just wanted to give an update. This summer, I've been working on a large freelance project (because that's how I pay the bills), and it's been overwhelming. I'm actually putting together a coffee table book of 125 years of history for a nearby college, but you can imagine how much time 125 years can take, more than I even thought. Anyway, this project is winding to a close and when that happens I'll be back on that horse, louder than ever, I hope, because I've made some choices recently professionally that will allow writing and all the fun engaging and launch takeovers to become more central in my professional and creative life. And I'm so looking forward to it. That, and making tons and tons of Halloween crafts with my four-year-old. Yes, always, always that.
I'm excited to finish Shattered World, the second book in the Dreamer Saga trilogy and delve back into these worlds I'm creating. Until then, my bloodstream is coffee and back into history I go. See ya on the flip-side of September!
I have a secret. Well ... it's probably not much of a secret to people who know me, but I am ridiculously obsessed with the show, Pretty Little Liars. So much that after each episode I Google theories and the latest recaps, just in case I missed something. And yet, I don't have a theory of my own. Which is totally messing with me. Because I always have theories. Who is A???????
And if you're thinking, like, aren't you in your 30s with a husband and child? I say listen to what I say: You are never too old to love teen dramas that are steeped in mystery and unbelievable circumstances. I am never too old. I watch the Disney channel, for fun. Like seriously, I unabashedly am waiting for the release of The Descendants. Pablo Picasso said, "It takes a long time to become young." And I say, true that.
Maybe it's because I read a lot and I'm a writer myself, but figuring out story lines usually isn't too hard for me when I watch movies or TV shows. I'm usually the person logically telling my husband/sister/friend what's going to happen next (maybe shouting it), if not completely, then pretty close. Take Criminal Minds, a show I find almost painful to watch because of the gruesomeness of its content. And yet, I have presence of mind enough to have figured out plenty of cases. Yet, I cannot for the life of me figure out Pretty Little Liars. Give me my life back, show!
This is what I have noticed: Johnny from Season 1 was actually shown in the shadows watching Spencer when she was outside at a party. At first glance, he looked like a freaky Toby, on second glance, it's definitely Johnny. Does that mean anything? I've seen nothing of it in other theories. Also, stop saying that Aria is A! Toby is not A either. Maybe it's Wren?
I don't follow "Marlene" as so many fans casually call her by her first name as if they're best pals. A friend of mine once jokingly complained how annoyed he was by the masses of people who used to talk about seeing "Dave" in concert, as if they were BFFs with Dave Matthews. Whenever I hear someone say "Marlene" I always think of "Dave." And it always makes me smile how these two eras are converging on me. (Mindless rant OVER). BUT, people who do follow her have the best clues and theories. I just let other people inform me of these clues and then I think about it and still come up with nothing.
Still, why haven't I figured this out? This show has kept people guessing for five years, so it must mean it's good and I can stop doing the Pretty Little Liars walk of shame. Between blind Jenna, Sarah Harvey, Jason, Ian, Sydney, Wren, Johnny, Spencer's rehab guy, I just don't know. I DON'T KNOW.
Rehab guy, help me stop thinking about Pretty Little Liars. And in the meantime, check out this chick's blog ... She's got memes and pictures and recaps and THE 15 MOST UNBELIEVABLE THINGS ABOUT PRETTY LITTLE LIARS
Even though I've been devouring books since I could read, once I became an author and really ingratiated myself into the intense online world of fandoms and book circles, there have been a number of terms I'd never heard before in relationship reading and fandom lingo. Terms that I secretly nodded my head at and pretended to know what it meant until one day a co-worker enlightened me. I don't know if this just makes me old or just plain clueless. But definitely anything acronym is going to boggle me ... I seriously hate-girl on acronyms. Nowadays, I just to turn to my friend Google to find out terms I don't know. Here's a few I've learned along the way:
Mary-Sue: In fan fiction, a Mary-Sue or, in case of a male character, Gary-Stu or Marty-Stu is an idealized character, often but not necessarily an author insert and/or wish-fulfillment. (Source: Wikipedia)
OTP: One True Pairing. Meaning a fan's favorite combination of characters in a fandom. (Source: Urban Dictionary)
Shipper or Shipping: Initially derived from the word relationship, it is the desire by fans for two people, either real-life celebrities or fictional characters, to be in a relationship, romantic or otherwise. (Source: Wikipedia)
Insta-love: When two people meet and lightening metaphorically strikes. They instantly feel an attraction to each other. Think Romeo & Juliet. (Source: Me since I couldn't find a good definition anywhere else.)
So if you're wondering what the hell a Filk is or are acronym-challenged like me, check out these links for a whole glossary of Fandom terms:
"I reconciled that God, if he were real, was Gandalf. He had to be."
Please welcome K. Williams to my blog. She’ll soon be releasing her newest book, the first in a fantasy trilogy, called The Shadow Soul (Trailokya Trilogy #1). My fantasy loving self is excited for this one. In this guest post she talks about being introduced to fantasy in the womb, how Gandalf must be God, and her mother’s influence on her writing and love of reading. – KMR
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My mom was in her mid-twenties when she decided to have her second child. It was 1974 and the good news came in the late fall. After suffering a miscarriage, I’m sure she faced this pregnancy with trepidation, holding her son and first child close, thankful he just turned four years old.
As the months went by, strange cravings for books took over. Mom picked up Tolkien’s trilogy and The Hobbit. A resurgence in popularity had put the books on the map. You might remember the artistically phenomenal Rankin Bass production, which left most wanting more. Mom loved those books, but her usual flavor was horror films. Not the horror of today, which she finds hard to stomach. No. She liked the Hammer Films and the Classic Universal monsters. Things like that. Reading wasn’t something she had ever gotten into. Somehow, she knew it was the baby she carried—probably because with her son, she had a desire to build models. He grew up to become a CAD operator (draws models).
Come June, mom was finally holding me—her second child; a daughter. She said I reminded her of Dopey back then, with my big blue eye and nearly hairless dome. My nursery was fixed with a Rankin Bass Hobbit poster and a read along book for kids that introduced that tome. Because of that poster, I reconciled that God, if he were real, was Gandalf. He had to be. Gandalf simply looked like what I thought an omniscient and seemingly careless, but loving deity might look like.
Most of the books on my shelf were related to fantasy in some manner or other. Disney and the Children’s entertainment machine pretty much produce fairy tales and magical stories. Even the learning stuff of Sesame Street is framed in the fantasy of living puppets. Who can forget the lively world of Dr. Seuss and his Who People? I grew up on classic horror, 80s fantasy films, my little library and acres of woods with no neighbors to speak of for miles. My imagination grew boundless. I read more and more.
The cherry on top was the time spent watching MASH, Python and war documentaries with dad. Over a seventh grade project, we bonded. I had to build a medieval shield. So he helped me cut it out of wood, paint it silver. On its face, we did the English cross and he made me a Smaug decal for the upper corner. I believe we still have that shield somewhere … I’m not quite sure what happened to it, but I loved that thing. Swords, of course, were as yet banned, but a staff (the stick from an old hobby horse) was just fine. I was fine with that—Donatello and Gandalf used one, so it was good enough for me.
Though I never figured out how to step through the looking glass and enter the world of books, I’ve become enamored of them. I miss reading the Jordan series (stopping at book 11 to pursue my own work and research). I “re-read” Tolkien over a college summer. It was like spending time with an old friend, a surreal feeling with the background story that work has with me. To this day, I still adore Alice in Wonderland, but was disappointed in the film more recently produced—longing for something a little more like the animation Disney created crossed with the weirdness of Burton that I adored in Nightmare.
Mom still reads, though she stopped for a long time to raise her children and work. She’s read the classics that I refer her to—Dan Brown, Anne Rice and is now attempting Outlander, though she’s not sure she likes it. She read Twilight and was wholly unimpressed and has no interest in Fifty Shades of Grey which she calls sick-sick-sick, with a twist of humor. I’m thankful that she took the time to read for me and to me while I was yet a spark and again when I was a girl.
I look forward to picking up Jordan again, and finished most of Tolkien’s work a few summers ago. My next focus: Steampunk…
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The Shadow Soul is the first part of The Trailokya Trilogy, a fantasy series that follows the rise and fall of fabled races and souls at the junction of three worlds: Zion, Earth and Jahannam. K. Williams weaves a tale that will leave you questioning long held convictions about the human legends of Heaven and Hell. Are you ready to enter the gates of Zion and learn the truth?
Captain Maiel is a duta warrior of Zion, a race of giant, winged guardians and chroniclers of the lesser souls. Maiel’s assurances are shaken when she nearly loses a young human girl to the dark forces of Jahannam, the prison realm where the lowest beings reside. To avoid answering to the leaders of her world, Maiel seeks refuge on Earth, but she is pursued by a baron of Jahannam intent on destroying her. Can she be saved before time runs out? Or will she be sacrificed to secure the borders of Zion and to hide the lie her journey uncovers?
With each step further into darkness, long held secrets are revealed and shadows rise from the past to challenge absolutes.
THE GIRL BEHIND THE BOOK
Born in Saratoga Springs, New York, K. Williams embarked on a now twenty-year career in writing. After a childhood, which consisted of voracious reading and hours of film watching, it was a natural progression to study and produce art.
K attended Morrisville State College, majoring in the Biological Sciences, and then continued with English and Historical studies at the University at Albany, home of the New York State Writer’s Institute, gaining her Bachelor’s Degree. While attending UA, K interned with the 13th Moon Feminist Literary Magazine, bridging her interests in social movements and art. Topics of K’s writing include the environment, animal welfare, gender limitations, racial disparities, and the trauma of war.
Published novels by K include the Civil War drama Blue Honor, the Second World War spy thriller OP-DEC: Operation Deceit, and the controversial science fiction/fantasy series, The Trailokya Trilogy. In addition to writing novels, K enjoys the art of screenwriting and has worked on the screen spec 8 Days in Ireland and the adaptations of her current novels. Currently, K has completed the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program for Film Studies and Screenwriting at Empire State College (SUNY), and is the 2013-2014 recipient of the Foner Fellowship in Arts and Social Justice. In 2015, K. Williams became an official member of International Thriller Writers.
K continues to write on her blog weekly, producing commentary Mondays and Fridays on hot topics with some fun diversions for your workweek. Whether it’s cooking, learning a foreign language, history or dogs, you’ll find something to enjoy and keep coming back for. Always a promoter of other artists, K uses Guest Blog Wednesdays to showcase artists from around the web and bring you interesting readings to expand your horizons. A sequel to her second novel, OP-DEC, is in the research phase, while the screen adaptation is being considered for production by film companies.
A devoted dog mom to Miss Sadie Sue Shagbottom, K is also a visual artist, producing the ZoDuck Cartoon, painting and sketching–digitally or traditionally, as well as an accomplished Photographer.
From a reader and observer's standpoint, magic, vampires, angels, and witches have been hot trends and themes since the dawn of Harry Potter and Twilight. In came the era of fantasy and paranormal geared for young adult readers. Meanwhile, us OLDER "young adults," who'd long been searching for romances between teen vamps and vastly vivid magical world-building suddenly had just as vast of a selection of books to choose from.
As a reader who has been reading fantasy my entire life, it was amazing to have so many new titles and wonderous stories. And of course, it's been helpful to have launched my writing career in a time when the kind of books and stories I like writing are popular, in literature but also in television and movies.
So the point of this post ... A recent article in the Irish Times made the statement that fantasy in YA may be on its way out in 2015, making room for stories centered around more realistic themes. Now, while the author admits it's a sweeping generalization, I still felt the need to argue the point, specifically because of the reasons the author, Robert Dunbar, gives for this prediction in Realism Replaces Fantasy in Young Adult Fiction:
"Traumas and tantrums, often arising from clashes with various authority figures, remain a feature of the “growing up” process, but in the more accomplished novels they are seen as providing the opportunity for enhancing inter-generational understanding rather than merely creating an excuse for prolonged outbursts of shouting."
The writer of the article then goes on to mention two books, both of which explore elements of homosexuality, and the deeply moving adolescent experiences that are involved in these books. I'm not questioning his analysis, I'm sure they're quite deep. But in the midst of all that, fantasy in YA still has a place. Harry Potter himself dealt with insecurity, loss, bullying, child abuse, discordant friendships, consequences, and the sacrifice that comes with choosing to be a leader in a world of followers. These books were not just so wildly popular because of the amazing world and epic battle JK Rowling created, they also resonated on a human level.
Many YA fantasy books delve into heavier themes, including homosexuality, suicide, shifting parental relationships, abuse ... So my response to this article is no, realism is not going to be replacing fantasy in the YA genre in 2015. I think there's plenty of room for both. And often, they can be one in the same.
In Fractured Dream and in the rest of the Dreamer Saga, twisted fairytales, legends, and myths are significant characters and an important element that makes up Tressla, the land where Fairytales go once they're created. I'm now offering subscribers the chance to twist a favorite "fairytale"—or legend or myth.
As I work on writing the second book in the Dreamer Saga trilogy, Shattered World, new fairytales are revealed, and I thought some help from the minds of my readers or potential readers would be amazing. So if you're game, head to the Home page and fill out the subscription form. When I send out the newsletter on June 1, you'll be eligible to enter the contest and be privy to all the details.
This post was re-blogged from Cellar Door Lit Rants & Reviews and was written by my sister, Sheilah Randall, who can be found at Indigo-Ashe Book Trailers.
Since I began assembling book trailers, I have learned a few things. First and most importantly is copyright issues.
Many people think it's okay to pick your favorite song and just use it. Just throw some images together you find online and pair it to your favorite jam and post it online and everything will be okie dokie.
Unfortunately, as much as I'd love to use a Red Hot Chili Peppers' tune or a Tori Amos haunting melody, I can't. Not if I want to break copyright laws and potentially put myself at risk with the law enforcers. And/or not unless I want to spend LOTS of money to obtain the rights to that particular song. But let's be real here, no one in their right mind should spend that kind of money to market a book via a book trailer.
So what do you do? Where can you go to find songs that you can legally use without fear of running into copyright law infringements? Well luckily, there exists stock audio sites that allow you to purchase the rights to a song (usually for a single time use). What I love about these types of sites is that there are many quality musicians posting their work out there for you to buy for a generally inexpensive price.
My go-to site is audiojungle. For all the trailers I create, I look for a one to two-minute-long song, which costs roughly $14. Anything longer than two minutes and the prices increase by a few dollars. Just do yourself and your viewers a favor and don't bore them. Anything longer than two minutes and most people are hitting the snooze alarm.
There are many other stock audio sites as well:
istockphoto images and audio content you can purchase the rights to
pond5 images and audio available for purchase
audioblocks all audio
audiomicro all audio
freesound all audio
free stock music all audio
Even YouTube has a library you can use (with limitations).
While these are just some, there are plenty more out there. You just have to do a little digging and you can find a unique song to help translate your novels theme or feel. Did you write a horror novel? Well there are plenty of creepy tunes for you to pick from. A love story? Even more to navigate.
If you are going to market your book using music, do it right and legally. Find the song that will enhance and sell your book. Nothing kills a book trailer faster than a boring song. If you pick quality music your viewers will stick around to watch the entire trailer, I promise. If you pick a boring melody, your viewers will have moved on within 15 seconds.
--Sheilah G. Randall
I am sick to death of articles destroying time-loved classics because of the argument that the princesses in them were repressed or the film itself wasn't feminist enough. One writer—and I wish I could find the article—put it into perfect perspective. And the gist was that Disney has evolved as much with the times as society itself. So if Snow White was a lovely, caterwauling princess, who liked to cook and clean to earn her keep, let's take a look at the era in which it was first made: 1937.
So in my defense of Disney and the heroines that have evolved over years, just like women and men have evolved themselves, here's a list of positive articles detailing the weaknesses AND strengths of Disney princesses:
Disney Heroines: A Feminist Evolution, Part 1: The Classics
Disney Heroines: A Feminist Evolution, Part 2: The Princesses
The Truth About Feminism and Disney Princesses
Disney Princesses Are My (Imperfect) Feminist Role Models
4 Ways the Disney Princesses Created Modern Feminism
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't point you toward Whitney Avalon's amazing rap battles. Snow White v. Elsa is my absolute fave. Regardless of who wins, they both rock it. And of course, the big Buffy fan that I am, Cinderella v. Belle is also is amazing.
One of my very dearest and best friends, who isn't so into the social media thing, told me today she wasn't so sure she liked Facebook book launch parties ... Whatever happened to going to a place with real people and sitting down to have a drink?"
No offense, dear friend, but they are "real" people. And while I know my best friends would come to an actual physical launch party in my town, very few of them can talk books like the people I met on Saturday, or the many authors I've met through social media channels. I've decided I quite honestly think the Facebook launch party, when planned well, is brilliant.
Social media has made it possible for people to engage on so many new levels, I don't think I truly appreciated it until I was an author. For me, engaging with a passionate fan, meeting a new author, or talking books with another voracious reader, is a natural high. I've thought to myself often lately how amazing and broad my literary world could have been when I was in high school if I'd had all these channels at our fingertips. Especially when one of the author hosts at the launch party for my book The Reaper's Daughter, was a seventeen-year-old guy who is passionate about his writing.
While some may argue that the world is too fixated with technology, their phones, and connecting online, I'd argue that too much of anything isn't healthy. But people can reach a balance. And being able to connect online within the publishing industry is a necessity.
What I'm trying to say, in way too many words, is that I had a blast on Saturday, and I'm excited to have made some new friends. And while I've at times had to force myself onto my Twitter feed, there are certain aspects I truly do enjoy, and the number one thing is meeting readers and writers. There's a lot of social media elements I've found myself opening up to, although I can say without hesitation, I will never embrace the unrequested pic of someone's meal.
Everyone's favorite picture to use for sarcastic memes:
And with that, I'll leave off by saying that there's still a giveaway featuring three e-copies of The Reaper's Daughter that are up for grabs. So head over to the Tome Tender blog if you're interested in trying to win. There's six days left!
“The more you engage and connect, the more engagement and connections you will have.” ― Loren Weisman
"The chaotic world K. M. Randall has created is nothing short of brilliant! Who knew death could be so feisty? Heck, who knew Death wasn’t a skeletal, smelly, robe-wearing guy with a scythe to be feared?" - Tome Tender
I'm happy to announce the official launch of The Reaper's Daughter! In celebration of the day we're hosting a launch party over at Facebook, featuring giveaways, contests, and Q&As! Join us Here.
There's also a couple of other giveaways going on for both print and e-books, so check out the links below.
Enter a chance to win three e-books of The Reaper's Daughter
Enter to win a signed paperback copy of The Reaper's Daughter or Fractured Dream
Also, if you're interested in purchasing a copy of The Reaper's Daughter, the links are right here:
The Reaper needs her and the dead want her ...
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 not going to leave me alone until I meet the same end as 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 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.
K.M. Randall writes fantasy and paranormal for both a general and young adult audience. Her debut novel, an epic fantasy called Fractured Dream, launched in June 2014, and her second book, The Reaper's Daughter, launched May 9, 2015. She blogs about writing, editing, anything having to do with books, YA, fantasy, fairytales, Disney, environmental issues, being a mommy, and slices of life. She is currently hard at work on the second book in the Dreamer Saga series, Shattered World.