A friend of mine and I were recently talking about the launch of my debut novel, Fractured Dream. He went on to say that he's never known an author before and began to reminisce:
"I always blanched at my English teachers who talked about symbolism and shite in One Flew Over the Cukoos Nest or Slaughterhouse Five or the Great Gatsby or the Catcher in the Rye. Now I can actually ask the author, what did you mean by that, and you can say, nothing, nothing at all."
He has a point. I remember college discussions breaking down piece by piece various authors and their books. What did they mean by that? What did this object in this scene convey? What did it represent? I took a class, titled Witchcraft, when I was probably in my second year. It was an honors class in which we learned about the European witch trials as well as the original fairytales. And I remember thinking as we discussed phallic symbols (and there were a lot of them), did the writer really mean to pepper their prose with penis-shaped objects or clouds, or what have you, to symbolize masochism? Was there really a thought process behind it all? There very well could have been, but it does seem as if the readers and thinkers who came later perhaps pushed agendas onto whole pargraphs that were merely meant to be description or backdrop to the setting of a scene.
My friend continued to note how he'd gotten into an argument with a teacher in high school over a scene where Randle Patrick McMurphy, the main character in One Flew Over the Cukoos Nest, flicked a low hanging Halloween decoration of a bat with his fingers. and she told his class it symbolized evil and his aversion to it. My friend's comment: "And I'm like wait, 'I see a low hanging something anywhere and I just hit it for no reason. Isn't it possible that it symbolizes nothing?' She would have none of it."
This is not to say that writers don't have agendas, because they most definitely do. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair and Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe are just two examples of literature that was also a social commentary on the inhumane treatment of fellow human beings. And these novels helped to change the world. Even fantasy can have overarching elements. I've read before that JRR Tokien's The Lord of The Rings was influenced in part by his dislike of industrialism.
But, sometimes description is just that. Description. I write fantasy, so first and foremost, I write for entertainment, to give people the mode to escape by discovering new worlds, by allowing people to revel in the magic of a new reality. That's not to say there aren't underlying themes, which if you paid enough attention to you could catch: class/racism, environmentalism, religion, cosmology and of course, loyalty, self-discovery, sacrifice, taking responsibility for one's actions and love. I also often assign names to my characters that gives some insight to their personality or inner nature, and in doing so giving more meaning to their presence within the book.
Indeed, context and depth are important elements in my writing. But the rock, Story, my main character, picks up to skip across the water while lost in thought? It's just a rock. And that bat was probably just a bat.
A fellow author and friend gives some insights into the use of symbolism in her own writing. She notes that although she believes a lot of times it happens on a subconscious level, using symbolism can also be a great writing tool. Check it out here at Thayer's Grey Matter.
I can't believe the day is almost here when I'll finally get to see my book on sale and in print. In three days, on Saturday, Fractured Dream (The Dreamer Saga) will go live. But I think it will be most real for me when I hold it in my hands.
Thank you to everyone that helped me get here, and to all those reviewers out there giving my book a presence. Saturday is a day to celebrate, not only it is my son's third birthday, but it's the birth of my book on the market.
Nine years ago the seed of an idea was planted in my head. It took me eight years to finish it, and now almost nine to see the idea come to fruition into a published book. And now it's here. But my desire to be a published author has always existed, from the first scribblings of poetry when I was six, in my hunger for reading, and for the many books begun but never finished. It's been a long journey, and it's not done yet. I've got two more books in this series and another book I'm working on right now, with many more stories knocking around in my head. This time it won't take me eight years. And I can't wait to give them all life. Thanks again to everyone and also to my current and future readers. Those who would criticize reading as a way to escape must never have experienced the beauty of finding comfort, enjoyment and solace in being taken away by an incredible story. Who doesn't need to escape once in a while? Reading is by far one of the most healthy forms of escapism. I I hope I can do for my readers what so many writers have done for me, which is to allow me to escape to new worlds and ideas.
The picture to the right is a little abstract, but the pale blue eyes match Blake's, my main character in my work in progress, called The Reaper's Daughter. I also liked the wings because they also symbolize to me the Grim Reaper's wings of death. Anyway, the excerpt below is from Chapter 1. I'm hoping to have this book finished later this summer/early fall.
The Reaper's Daughter by KM Randall
Excerpt from Ch. 1
The Specters are black
The Specters are white
The Specters will haunt you and fight, fight, fight!
My breath fogged in the air as I shouted the cheer, while my fingerless gloves muffled my claps in the early autumn afternoon. I marched and clapped my way into formation and prepped myself for the lift. I felt my base, Brandon, wrap his strong hands around my calves and ankles and then I was soaring up, the wind whooshing around me, my feet instinctively planting onto his shoulders and my muscles working to keep myself balanced. The adrenalin kicked in, giving me that rush, the one that made it seem as if my blood sparkled within me and my heart danced in symphony to the head thrashing of eighties hair bands. The only reason I was on the squad was to be a flyer. It was like a death wish, sailing through the air like that, propelling my body in a way most sane people wouldn't dare. Plus, I got to satisfy both my physical need to be propelled through space and my dad’s need for me to do it in a structured environment while furthering my school career.
Just as I got my balance atop Brandon's shoulders, I noticed the crows. Their big, black bodies were littered all over the field like a bad omen—just sitting there, not doing anything but staring. Or maybe they were watching. I don't know why in those moments I was so focused on the birds, but they had always creeped me out. Maybe because they tended to hang out in my backyard like they were waiting to pick someone off. And that's when I saw him.
He had light brown skin that made me think of caramel and his silky black hair was pulled back into a ponytail. But it was his intense dark eyes that looked as if they’d been lined with kohl that made me pause, because there was no way to look away. He was sitting amidst the crowded stands, but he was the only person I saw. Everything around me fell away aside from the thundering of my heart and his slow, cocksure grin that split his mouth as he winked a dazzling golden brown eye my way. It was the grin that did it, making me shudder so hard I felt my balance slip. I tried to recover, my arms wind-milling around me, but I heard the audience in the bleachers gasp and knew it wasn't good. And then there was just air around me.
Copyright by Katrina M. Mendolera
One of my early readers was listening to this recently and said it reminded her of my upcoming novel, Fractured Dream. I just love that she thought of my book when listening to music, and the fact that it's already got the first song of a soundtrack.
Here's an excerpt from my writing with a fantasy art pic to go with it. I just love fantasy art, and what better way to appreciate it than illustrate scenes from Fractured Dream. The below excerpt is from the beginning of Chapter 10: The-Inbetween, and gives us our first glimpse of one of the fairytale characters that gets a retelling. Although the girl in the picture is lacking in clothes, I imagine Jess looking fierce like this, but with silvery eyes of course.
Excerpt Chapter 10 - The In-Between
Fractured Dream (The Dreamer Saga) pub date: June 21
Story’s dreams that night starred the same red-haired woman from her paintings. She was tall, fierce, and terrible. Her eyes gleamed like chrome lit with a vengeful mercurial fire as animals ran from her, their eyes white with terror. It was her painting come to life.
Story watched from an unseen place, wondering why this deceptively beautiful night stalker made her feel so afraid—not for herself, but for the woman. The red-haired predator came upon her quarry, a hulking black-pelted wolf. She leapt with feline grace and landed on the animal, sharp steel glinting in the moonlight before she plunged it into its neck, the wolf’s fur soaking up the red that leaked from his wound. She started to gut the animal and seemed intent on the task for a few seconds. Story thought she might start puking in the bushes any moment, watching the girl slice into the wolf. She was swallowing bile back down when she realized the redhead was staring directly at her. The girl’s steel eyes widened as if she were seeing a ghost, the cold glint of her gaze losing its edge. A smile slowly curved the woman’s full, sensual mouth.
“Story?” she asked, rising to her feet.
The Book Rat book review blog was awesome enough to host a guest post from me on my book, Fractured Dream. Check out, Happily ever after and the fairytale retelling.
I first got the idea for Fractured Dream in 2005, and in my mind I envisioned a red-headed huntress—a warrior who hunted Big Bad Wolves—to be my main character’s BFF. As you can guess, she was my version of Little Red Riding Hood... See more here.
I'm so excited to finally reveal my book cover designed by Greg Simanson from Booktrope Publishing. I'm in love with it. My book also went up for pre-sales yesterday. If you're a print lover like I am, the pre-orders are for e-format. Print sales will go up when the book launches in June. Anyway, without further ado, here's the link to Amazon: Fractured Dream Pre-sale orders
Fractured Dream (The Dreamer Saga) is slated to launch June 21.
If you love epic fantasy, fairytale retellings and romance…You won’t want to miss out on this opportunity!
Fractured Dream (The Dreamer Saga,Book 1) is the first installment in an epic fantasy series full of magic, mythical and mystical creatures, a breathtakingly beautiful otherworld and the right mixture of romance, mystery and suspense to keep the pages turning. It will debut June 21st, 2014, and I am looking for people who are interested in joining an exclusive Facebook team dedicated to providing feedback and helping spread the word about this series. Your feedback is invaluable and I am hoping you are interested in joining my team.
As a member of the launch team, you’ll not only receive an electronic edition of the book before it’s available to the public but also gain special access to the author and all of Team K.M. Randall via a private Facebook group. In return, all I ask is that you leave a short, honest review of Fractured Dream on Amazon and share news about the release with friends and family you think may also enjoy it.
Interested? Send an email to book manager Wendy Logsdon at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, email address, and a brief explanation as to why you want to join Team K.M. Randall. Those selected will be notified via email and will be added to the Facebook group. We understand that not all people have Facebook accounts, in that case, we will make every effort to keep you updated via email.
Thank you in advance for your help in launching my newest novel. Your support is greatly appreciated!
Today, I read an article featuring some of the most disturbing, horrific and hilarious book covers (and titles) to ever have troubled the reading people, which you can read at Bored Panda. So while the old adage says, "you can't judge a book by its cover," I would suggest not turning your readership off all together. On the flip side, I am really into covers recently, and fiction often lends itself to really awesome imagery, especially fantasy and young adult. My obsession comes from the fact that we've recently been working on the cover for my book, Fractured Dream, slated for publication by Booktrope in June. I'm absolutely in love with it and can't wait until I can share it here. But all in good time.
The bottom line, however, is covers. So I decided to showcase a few that for me, are visual orgasms of delight. Stay awhile and take a looksy.
The first book pictured above is book one in the Eve series bye A.L. Waddington. For transparency sake, I am editing this series, although I did not have a part in the editing of this first book. But my involvement in the series has nothing to do with my love of this cover. Mystical, magic visual love! I am editing the second book pictured above, which is also in the Eve series. And you're in luck, because the cover for Enlightened was just revealed on Monday. Both covers were done by the wonderful Greg Simanson, a cover designer with Booktrope Publishing. If I was tweeting I'd call it #coverlove.
The third book pictured is Schasm by Shari Ryan. The author did her own art work and a fantabulous job she did. I didn't edit the above book, which is the first in this series, but I am editing her second book, Frissure Free. I'll post the cover here at some point because it is also beautiful, if not more so than the first. All three have been, or will be, published by Booktrope.
I trolled around for some other visual wonders and found these three, much loved for the contrast of colors, as well as concept. Firebug, the first one pictured, was a a cover reveal featured on Tor.com today. I don't even really know what these books are about, but I'm definitely in the mood to find out.
But wait, I'm not done. More eye candy to come.
The first one, done by Ida Jansson, is just cool. The designer also works for Booktrope, but I nabbed this off her website, where she also does cover design independently. Book two was a random cover found on Goodreads.com. I so rarely see fantasy covers that feature beautifully drawn creatures of magic that I was drawn to it. It appeals to my old school/new school sense of cover art. The third one is also off of Goodreads, and is a contender in their covergasms contest. You can see why.
Although a book can have a great cover and be a dud, it doesn't hurt to stun possible readers by translating your words into vivid works of art. Fantasy or not, covers have power and I'm feeling the magic in these.
I just had to post this cool book trailer for Running Secrets by Arleen Williams, which is on sale now. I edited the book so I might be biased, but it's a great read for those who like contemporary women's fiction. It's the first in a series called the Alki Trilogy for all of you familiar with Seattle. Anyway, check out the trailer if interested.
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 2015. Randall also published Fairytale Lost, a prequel to Fractured Dream, as an exclusive on Wattpad. She blogs about dreams, female heroines, and activism and its relevancy to the literary and fictional world. And when in the season, sometimes she just likes to talk about Halloween. She is currently hard at work on the second book in the Dreamer Saga series, Shattered World.