This is like the best of the best with a big budget to span. It's awesome. Take a look and appreciate the art of the book trailer:
When I was in middle school the most risky, scintillating book we read covertly in the hallways and during study halls was Go Ask Alice. This book about a teenage girl who spirals into drug addiction was about much deeper issues, obviously. But I can remember reading alongside my friends passages filled with cursing and sex. It was horrifying and yet at the same time, exciting to read such gritty, dark stuff. A cursory look at Amazon shows me it's still a bestseller. But I wonder if teens have the same reaction me and my peers had back in the day, or do they possibly read it now for it's true content? Because I've noticed a shift in YA that's more mature and sexual in nature.
Back in my day when I was reading the likes of RL Stine, Christopher Pike, Richie Tankersley Cusick, and LJ Smith, the teens in those books stayed pretty clean. There were no sex scenes, nor were they ever really implied. Pike bordered a little bit more on the risky side of sex, but it was still fairly chaste. Flash forward and as a woman in my thirties, I've read a number of YA books that have sex. Take the House of Night series by Kristin and PC Cast, which even goes so far as to portray oral sex in scenes. I recently read the Goddess Test series by Aimee Carter, and while there's no sex scenes, sex is definitely happening and is heavily implied.
When I wrote Fractured Dream, the first in my epic fantasy series, I did not write directly for any age group. My intention was to just write a high fantasy adventure novel, much like the ones I'd read growing up found in the Fantasy/Sci-fi section of the book store. So when I put one sex scene in it, I assumed it would be marketed for more adult audiences even though I'd increasingly been reading YA books with sex in them.
Once it was out in the market, however, Fractured Dream began to get slotted into the YA category by readers and bloggers. And while there have been a couple of readers I've noticed who thought perhaps the sexual content was more adult than it should be in the YA genre, sex seems to be a more accepted element in YA books overall.
And yet, had I been writing with a strictly teen audience in mind, I would have left that scene out, truthfully. Even despite knowing that I read all sorts of graphic sex scenes as a young reader from books outside the YA genre. When I started writing The Reaper's Daughter I always had a YA audience in mind for it and like the books of my day, it's more Christopher Pike-ish in the sex department.
I do think the change going on in YA of today, however, is an attempt to be realistic. Teens do have sex. They deal in all sorts of situations and to portray them all as virgins or never really addressing sex between young characters is not based in reality. This shift in YA makes writing it a bit more exciting, because there can be a more gritty factor, and that's what I like to do best, write fantasy and paranormal around relationships based in a real context.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? IS YA GROWING UP?
I am somewhat in love with book trailers, especially my own. (Targeted link now ... ) BUT ... I also very much enjoy perusing other authors' book trailers. They're such a nice little marketing supplement, and when I've played my own at events I've drawn a few eyes to my table. At any rate, my sister is in the business of making book trailers and here's her latest, created for author Elena Kincaid, author of the upcoming novel, Unshattered (Silver Cliff #1). Synopsis below, followed by awesome book trailer.
After Anna James loses nearly everyone she loves and is betrayed by those she trusted, she sets out in search of a place that would bring her peace. She knew she had found it when she arrived in a sleepy little town called Silver Cliff and she vows to never trust anyone with her heart again, especially a man she fears would not only break her heart, he’d incinerate it.
Nathan Kent has dealt with his own heartache and demons from getting off the path he was meant to be on. He decides to return to his home town to rebuild his life and the last thing he needs is to fall in love with a snarky girl who keeps her past under lock and key. He realizes quickly, though, that she is girl worth risking it all for and vows to make her his.
Their pull was undeniable, like fireworks on top of flaming bonfires. But Anna can’t help wonder if she and Nathan are strong enough to survive a past that keeps resurfacing or if fate will keep shattering the world around her.
I am thus dubbing this Book Trailer Sunday, wherein which I will share book trailers I love whether anyone is listening or not. If anyone's out there, feel free to link me in the comments below to your book trailers or ones you love and I'll begin sharing them on Sundays here and also at, Cellar Door Lit Rants & Reviews.
Peace, Love, and Happy Almost Monday!
Even though I review books occasionally at Cellar Door Lit Rants & Reviews, I never really read many books reviews until last year when I released my first book. The reason I began at all was because I became obsessed with the reviews of my own book. It was through my sudden interest in reading reviews on Goodreads, blogs, and Amazon, that I found out that love triangles were on their way out and that "insta-love" as it's termed, is regarded with disdain.
Now it shouldn't surprise anyone that I love to read. Any writer should be passionate about books. I grew up devouring fantasy, science-fiction, and YA. Within these magical world, whether fantasy or literature, one of my favorite parts was the timeless romances and soul connections. So you can imagine my surprise when I found out that true love and instant connections had become passe. Perhaps they'd never been popular to begin with, although I find that hard to believe judging by the number of books that were grounded in this concept of the ultimate love story.
Perhaps it's because readers are grounded more firmly in reality nowadays, although I find that also hard to believe. If you're anything like me, getting away into a world of myth and magic is an escape from reality, and epic love is often a part of that. People snub their noses at Twilight by saying it's not good writing. Perhaps it's not complex or involved writing, but it's the kind of approachable writing that allowed millions to fall in love with, wait for it, a love story.
I get it, I'm married, so I know how real relationships work and it's not all fluff and flowers and starry soul connections. But instant connections are how people often get together in the first place. If my husband and I hadn't been instantly attracted to each other the night we met, he wouldn't have stayed when his friend left the bar we were at, I never would have asked him for his number even though I'd never asked a guy for his number in my life, and he wouldn't have called me the next day. Ultimately, our own love story never would have been written.
Love triangles have never bothered me as a reader, but I understand why other people may be sick of them. But despite really despising this term, I am defending "insta-love." Because it's not unrealistic, especially when you're writing about teenagers, who experience a passionate range of emotion. I write fantasy to imagine worlds where anything can happen, realistic or not. But connecting with someone on a physical or emotional level doesn't seem like fiction to me. That's the non-fiction woven into the magic that makes stories worth reading.
So what's the story? Why are there so many readers who dislike insta-love? I'd love to hear comments below!
Inside the Lines reads like a classic romance novel with an erotic, contemporary twist. Lux is an independent, strong woman, who also happens to be a professional dominatrix. While her life is filled with lust, there's been little in the way of romantic love as of late. But that all changes on the job during one particular tryst.
What I really liked about this novel was that although it's got plenty of erotica—which with a dominatrix as the main character that's not surprising—it never swallows the story. I'm actually not a huge erotica fan, but I do love a good romance. If sex starts to dominate a novel too much I get bored. But this had just the right amount for the readers who love it and for those who just want a little. It also seemed to me the author has an obvious working knowledge of BDSM practices, so the culture in the book came across as authentic.
While at times I found Lux's character a bit infuriating, this was a pleasant and unique romance. The ending made me smile and I'm interested to see what else Bishop has in store for these characters.
Inside the Lines is available on Amazon for $3.99 in Kindle and $9.99 in paperback.
What happens in love might destroy you... Or remake you altogether.
I make a living offering men and women their ultimate fantasies…as submissives of the mysterious Mistress Hathaway. I've never surrendered to anyone. That's not the way it works. Or rather, not the way I operate. But when the gorgeous Fin MacKenzie shows up in my life, he throws everything out of balance. Now I'm not sure who I am anymore, and I'm questioning everything. What woman can turn away from a gorgeous Scotsman, especially when he sets her body on fire and her heart ablaze? I have to stop it…us. I can't keep going like this. It will ruin everything I've worked so hard to build.
Who am I if I surrender to him? Worse yet, who am I if I don't?
THE GIRL BEHIND THE BOOK
When you do something effortlessly and people commend you continuously, you have found your gift.
That's what I tell people all the time. And it's true. I get story. I always have.
I started writing when I was eight on a Smith Corona (the electronic kind -- I'm not THAT old). I wrote stories in every spiral notebook I had. Eventually, I graduated to a Mac (yes, I'm one of THOSE people). I imagined new worlds, emotional conflicts, and HEAs while I waited at stoplights or wandered the grocery store. But here's the thing: I didn't just dream it up and write it down -- I critiqued what I read. I knew when ideas were good, and when they stunk. I ran writing groups, judged creative contests, and eventually got two graduate degrees in writing. That's right: I love it that much. So here I am, years later, writing kickass heroines and devastating good guys, along with some mystery and vampires thrown in (I promise: THEY'RE COMING). And what's really cool? I do what I love. Wanna write a success story for your life: I promise you, that's it. Do what you love. And hopefully, you can make a living at it too. That's the golden ticket, Charlie. And chocolate doesn't hurt, either...
CONNECT WITH ALLY
One of my favorite authors when I was a teenager was L.J. Smith, of Vampire Diaries fame. Stefan, Damon, and Elena weren't famous back then. They were characters I snuggled up with and got lost in the fantasy with as Stefan struggled to resist his draw to the beautiful, popular, and lost Elena. While I always adored Damon, despite his faults and fairly obvious, although mild compared to literature today, sadistic tendencies, it was Stefan and Elena who were truly in love. And I was cheering for them all the way.
More than 10 years later my favorite characters from my teen years popped back up. The popularity of Twilight brought the long-lost Smith—who disappeared for more than a decade from the writing scene to tend to ailing family—and her books back into mainstream popularity.
I definitely fan-girled when I found out they were making this series, which I'd read probably 100 times, into a TV show. But then I watched the first six episodes or so ... And then I never watched another episode again in its entirety. I'm totally getting off topic here, so let me just go on to say that it was so vastly different form the books that I couldn't watch it without ranting. So to save myself from allowing a TV show to ruin the series for me, I changed the channel. For good.
Now I know it's hugely popular. I see the commercials, I catch glimpses of the fan-girling (and fanboy-ing), and I've heard. Damon and Elena were, or are, dating. I don't know details. I'm sure someone else could enlighten me. But bleh. This bothers me. I know for a fact from the episodes I did watch that he killed people. And it's not just the television series. Fast-forward 10 or 15 so years and even Smith, who ended up penning several more books in the series, has Elena cozying up to bad-boy Damon. This is all after Elena comes back from the dead because her love for Stefan is so great!
I believe this is all part of a cultural shift in expression, one that is giving people, women especially, the appearance of a societal freedom to indulge in the "appeal" of the three Ds: dark, dangerous, and dominate. I personally have not read Fifty Shades of Grey. I don't want to merely because erotica isn't my thing. I realize it's hugely controversial, but I think it's just a book that appeals to kinkier, darker fantasies. I'm fairly neutral on it except to take a stance that it's fiction. However, I do believe it is also a part of this trend, but it's also in the erotica genre and so I wouldn't expect the "good guy" to win. I don't think any person with a modicum of common sense that reads Fifty Shades thinks that it accurately portrays what women want or deserve. I trust that readers are intelligent enough to understand the difference between dark, sexual fantasies and healthy reality. YA, however, is another story.
This brings me to my lovely marketing manager Erin Latimer, who also happens to be a YA Wattpad author. She recently wrote a blog, called Crossing the Line: Bad Boy or Abusive? Her beef is that the love interest in YA books are being depicted increasingly in a bad boy light, exhibit horrible behavior, and yet are still bringing in the girls and intriguing readers. It's an interesting observation.
While I don't really think the bad boy character is any more prevalent in books, I agree that he seems to be winning the day more, winning the girl. Sometimes the bad boy isn't really "bad," he's just misunderstood and so redemption is possible. But there are lines, and these lines are definitely blurring.
Again, I'm going to use Smith's books as an example, mainly because she wrote them in the nineties and the majority of her series had at least one bad-boy love interest. In her Forbidden Game series, Julian is a dark shadow man who torments Jenny by stalking her, making her participate in sadistic "games," and steals her friends away, all to entice her into his world so he can keep her forever, away from her friends and her family, because he's in love with her. I'll admit, there was that tiny part of me that felt for Julian, that was drawn into the bad boy element. But I always wanted Jenny to win more, to defeat him, because I couldn't get on-board with a heroine who would choose the abuser over the long-time boyfriend she truly loved. Julian wasn't all evil, he had depth, he protected her in various ways. But in the scheme of things, I probably would have tossed the book away if she'd chosen him in the end.
The old fan girl that I am, I read Smith's blog occasionally and a few years ago she posted she was writing a sequel to the Forbidden Game series. I wonder if Jenny will choose Julian this time around. I honestly don't think "bad boys" winning in books is necessarily going to sway teen girls into thinking that's the way they should be treated. If Julian had won all those years ago when I first read the series, I probably would have questioned the main character's judgement. But then again, two 12-year-old girls stabbed their friend multiple times last year so as to please the mythical Slender Man. So who am I to comment on the impressionable nature of youth? It's horrifying.
I do know this ... If Julian did win, I'd be sad. I'll always be cheering for the good guy to win because in the end, don't we want our heroines to experience healthy, loving relationships?
It's a sad state that I seem to have become a once-a-month blogger. But I have been busy, I promise, and right now I just wanted to post a few updates. Although I was hoping to release The Reaper's Daughter earlier in 2015, I think the later release date is well-worth it. The official launch for The Reaper's Daughter is May 9. I will most likely be hosting a big giveaway right here on that day. More to come on that soon!
Next, for Fractured Dream readers, I'm currently rolling out the prequel to the saga on Wattpad, called Fairytale Lost. Currently, the update is every Wednesday. I'll also occasionally be updating with new short stories coming form the land of Tressla. Take a look if you're interested: http://www.wattpad.com/106534307-fairytale-lost-chapter-one
Meanwhile, I'm in the midst of working on Shattered World, the second in the Dreamer Saga trilogy. While I'd love to release it later this year, I'm thinking realistically it will probably be early next year again. But I'll update here as I get closer to finishing it.
Finally, we're also looking for advance readers, so if you're interested in getting an ARC of The Reaper's Daughter in exchange for an honest review, please feel free to email me: KMRANDAL@GMAIL.COM.
I'll leave you with a small excerpt from The Reaper's Daughter. Here's one for all you romance lovers:
Rishi rolled the car into a parking spot and put it in park. I was turning to wake Shelby when a warm hand slid down my arm and over my hand tugging on it in a way that insisted I look back at him.
He was suddenly so close I felt trapped in my seat, his gaze intent, but not on my eyes—on my lips. He smiled slowly, finally raising his eyes to meet mine, a slow, golden burn igniting my blood with heat. “Yes?” I managed to say, arching my brow in that way I’d practiced.
“Do that thing again,” he said, his voice low and smooth, invading my senses as I never thought a voice could. My heart lurched in a way that hadn’t happened even when we were in a high-speed chase. I swallowed thickly, trying to find my voice around his desire that smelled like musk and car leather.
“What thing?” I finally managed to murmur, sipping in a deep breath of air as my breathless voice gave away my weakness for him.
His smile widened, as if he knew he had me, his high cheekbones and loose, shiny black hair lending him a certain primal male beauty that made me retreat until I could feel the door handle pressing into my back. “That thing with your tongue. When you chastised me,” he said, mimicking my tsking of him from only moments earlier. “I found it interesting.”
I couldn’t help it, my eyes fell to his own lips while I tried to wrangle my cutting wit and Artemis-like spirit. I shook my head, so lightly I was surprised he saw it.
“Let’s go get rooms, we could all use the sleep,” I finally managed to say, nearly choking on the words that sounded liked a sordid invitation. “I mean separate rooms,” I amended, inwardly bringing back the defense he’d torn down, but only by avoiding his gaze.
He brought me back to him by clasping one hand under my chin and bringing my eyes up to meet his. “First, do that thing,” he insisted, his dark eyes glowing with amusement.
I have been redecorating my office as I mentioned in the last post. It's a very positive environment, cleaning out the old and making things new. I now have a space I enjoy, that's bright, airy, and waiting for inspiration to strike within its four walls. But as I was going through old boxes I came across an old notebook. I'm thinking it was probably from eighth grade if I remember correctly. My friend and I passed it between the two of us like a shared diary, sharing secrets and words of support. But we also shared something else. Our sour attitudes toward the clique-y school experience and our deep belief that we were witches.
Yes, I did just say we thought we were witches. Now, I know we're not alone. Many high school girls dabble in the occult, drawn to the mysterious, hoping that they'll magically and truly turn a spell. But here's the thing, looking back, I don't remember really believing we ACTUALLY thought we had some sort of power. Looking back, it seemed to me that we played with it and just hoped something cool would happen as a result.
We identified with the movie The Craft, which came out during this time. Not that we were so delusional we thought we could be them, we just had a sense that we could affect things. But I didn't REALLY believe we'd cast that love spell, or talked to that ghost on the Ouija Board, or set fire to a bush by looking at it (most likely the result of my friend tossing a lit cigarette into said bush). Or did I? All these years removed, and I truly believed I had some sort of perspective of my teen years. My perspective, as it turns out, has been completely skewed by years and growth. Because in this notebook my friend and I seriously seemed to think we had some sort of power. I read pages and pages and was enthralled by the girl that I had been. Because I could barely remember her. And I'd been thinking I was still so in touch with her.
Yet, despite all those years of perspective and reason, the older version of that girl is still in love with magic. I don't believe in soul mates anymore, it's a romantic notion I've far grown beyond, but I do believe in long-lasting love. And I know I am most likely not going to find a body of water and be sucked into a far away land, but I stick by my motto that anything is possible, especially if it would be really cool. Though if it does happen my son and my husband need to come with me.
As a result of my mystical exploration in my teen years, I write fantasy and build worlds made of magic. As a result, I still have books filled with spells, recipes for herbal remedies, and lore on the proper use for crystals. These have become the reference guides that sit on my red desk in the room of my own, newly created so that I can continue to perfect the fine art of weaving magic, mayhem, and magic together.
That red notebook went back into a box. Some years from now I hope to go back and read it and feel even more removed from that far-off, distant girl. Personal growth is good and she needed to grow. But I also hope I feel closer to her. I now realize that the distance between years really does make a difference on perspective, although one can still hold dear to the young idealist within, beliefs and dreams and hopes, and move on through time and embrace them in a new and inspiring way. Especially if you're a fantasy writer who once fancied yourself a witch.
I've hit the book jackpot. Or at least it seems that way as I get underwayredecorating my office. Battered bookcases now gleam new and white, while piles and piles of books are there for the reading. I always dreamed of a huge library someday, featuring every book I ever owned. The truth is, I tried that in my office and it's been a perpetual disaray as bookshelves were doubled up on and books were crammed in as tight as they could go. So I put my foot down in the name of decluttering in this newly brightened space. I forced myself, as painful as it was, to put the R.L. Stine Fear Street books into a box. Yes, I'm really that much of a book hoarder.
I cut it off at putting Babysitter's Club on my shelves — I have all the books still, though, but they're rightfully in boxes — but anything I read from my early double digits and up was fair game and could have been found on my shelves up until the other day. My large V.C. Andrews collection also went into that box along with Stephen King and Anne Rice. I still love them, but I've been over my horror phase for a long while. I will not be re-reading Gerald's Game, which I read when I was around 12 and have been traumatized since. I have to give Stephen King credit, the images are still clear as day in my head. Likewise for Anne Rice, I still shudder at some of the scenes she painted in Taltos and I was a young teenager when I read that as well. Meanwhile, I have a whole series of books in there I have no recollection of ever reading. But that's the fun part! Because I can re-read them and it's as if I've got brand new books to devour. Books that made the shelf cut are my fantasy collections, anything by Alice Hoffman, Neil Gaiman, and Tanya Huff, my chicklit, and any non-fiction (Bill Bryson, you make me laugh so) and literature. And of course any newer YA, House of Night, Harry Potter, Morganville Vampires, etc. And there's more. A lot more.
That brings me to the hardest part, when I made myself put my Christopher Pike books in that box. While most of his earlier stuff was just really good teen horror, I feel to this day that a lot of his later books were brilliant. There was a lot of science-fiction and spirituality threaded through his later works that I remember really connecting with as a teen looking for YA that was a little deeper. It's been a long time since I read them, but I'm thinking when I have some reading time open up that I might do a special series on re-reading Christopher Pike books. Were they as great as I remember them? A friend of mine recently read a couple of the books from his Last Vampire series and said she was disappointed by it because she felt he didn't portray a feminine viewpoint or voice well. So I'm interested to see what I think of these books in my mid-thirties. I consider them a guilty pleasure given I read them when I was an adolescent and again in my twenties and plan to read them now in my thirties. I'll have to Wickipedia that man and see if he's written anything new.
Until next time, happy reading!
It's been a crazy month, one in which I've found little time to blog. And obviously, I haven't. But I wanted to share some general life stuff and news from the past month. First off, happy holidays to all of you out there! We had a fun day fighting off invaders as they tried to breach the walls of Eagle Talon Castle. My son and I were working hard on keeping my husband and his crew of knights plus one ogre out when we realized we were as much into the battle as our son was. It was also fun for me because, hey, fantasy. And of course, I write fantasy. Lot's of fun ways to spurn my son's imagination.
In my last blog post, much too long ago, I talked about my son wanting a dollhouse for Christmas and gender roles. Let me tell you a story about a man I am currently referring to as "Douchebag Santa." My son's school had a little holiday party recently, featuring none other than Santa as the guest of honor. When my son finally got his turn to sit on Douchebag Santa's lap, Santa asked my son what he wanted for Christmas. When my son answered, "a doll house," he screwed up his face as if he couldn't quite understand what he was saying. So I helped him out.
"He said a dollhouse," I said with a smile.
"That's what I thought he said . . . Are you going to put soldiers into the dollhouse?" Douchebag Santa asked, turning to my son.
My son, grinning away and fortunately too young to catch the full ridiculousness behind Douchebag Santa's words, just grinned and nodded his head.
Then Douchebag Santa, laughing with his stomach like a bowl full of . . . I'm just going to stop right there and move on, said, "Are you going to ask for an Easy Bake Oven next?"
Now, I'm not usually one to publicly air my grievances. But I'll cross that self-imposed line when someone is obnoxiously ignorant in regards to my child. So I stand by my nickname. Douchebag Santa needs another line of work.
As for the dollhouse. I looked online but it's hard to find ones that are gender neutral or as cool as they had them back in my day. So I went on Ebay and won one of those vintage Fisher Price Little People houses many of parents my age may have had back in the day. It was beaten up a bit, but solid enough that I could work with it. My sister has an artistic flair, so she came over and the two of us spruced it up. We didn't have enough of the same kind of blue, so it's different tones of blues on different sides, which I actually like better. I have to say, I'm in love with how unique and beautiful it is. It's not perfect, but it's from the heart and my son's eyes grew wide when he asked if it was his this Christmas morning. Slideshow below!
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, is slated to release May 9, 2015. She blogs about writing, editing, anything having to do with books, and slices of life.