My talented and amazing sister put together this awesome book trailer for Fractured Dream. It's got exactly the epic feel that the book has. I hope you enjoy!
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'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.
There's a lot of blogs out there talking about fantasy books that I haven't read, despite that fantasy is the genre I write in and one of my favorite genres to read. Lord of the Rings? I hate to admit I have not. Although I have read some of The Hobbit if that regains me any cred back. One blog, Fantasy Book Critic, lists a horde of fantasy book review blogs that I'm eager to peruse. But don't get me wrong, I have read my share of fantasy. I thought I'd take a trip down memory lane by listing a few of my faves here. You may have noticed that I seem to like listing past books I've read here lately. I've found that it's a fun use of my time--reminiscing about all my past loves, those pages and words that have inspired the writer I am today. If you've read any of these comment, since I feel as if a few of them might fly under the radar.
The Great Alta series by Jane Yolen -- I picked up Sister Light, Sister Dark from the library as a young fantasy reader, and the image of two women, born of the same essence, twisting their opposing colored hair to strangle their enemy has stayed with me ever since. A couple of years ago I tracked down the whole series since the images continue to echo in my mind.
The Time Master Trilogy by Louise Cooper -- Tarod, you were the man of my fantasies for years to come, even despite being a chaos god. I loved you all the more for it!
Greenfire by Louise Titchener -- I decided to Google this author because I don't remember ever reading anything by her again, and this was reportedly a one-time foray into fantasy for her. Apparently, she was a romance writer, which makes sense because there was a definite focus on the love story in this--like chick lit for fantasy lovers. I like chick lit, I like fantasy. Why not?
The Fionaver Tapestry series by Guy Gavriel Kay -- I haven't read this series in a long time, but it's one of my favorites in the realm of fantasy because it deals with the real world and a fantasy world, a theme that particularly appeals to me. As if, yeah, that could happen sings through my soul.
Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley -- I read you twice. Twice! And you're huge, like bible-length. But I love retellings where Morgan le Fey is good, and I love anything having to do with the King Arthur legends.
The Wayfarer Redemption series by Sara Douglass -- Oh Axis, I was so mad when you left Faraday, but it all worked out... for you anyway. Unfortunately, Ms. Douglass passed away a few years ago, but her work lives on. I followed this series for years and still love it.
Onion Girl by Charles de Lint -- Gotta have some Charles on here. I've read a lot of his books, but this one's my favorite, and Jilly Coppercorn is the cutest name.
Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett -- Who doesn't love laughing over the birth of Satan. But really, I love this and have read it several times.
Many Waters by Madeleine L'Engle -- My favorite of her YA fantasy series following the adventures of the Murry's. I love the mix of science and magic merging with Christian theology.
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.
I haven't really been all that good about writing on my blog, something I pledge to fix this year. But since this week is quite crazy, I thought I'd run a post I ran awhile ago on my book review blog, Cellar Lit Rants & Reviews--with a few tweaks. I'm moving away from that blog, although I have a few review commitments left so it will live on a bit longer. But since, like I said, I haven't posted much over there, I am going to run the few reviews I have left up my sleeve over here as well. This one isn't new, but it's kind of fun. It was originally the Book Playlist of My Life, but I've since realized these are really more the books that shaped my youth and early adulthood, although there are a couple crossovers. I'll have to run a Book Playlist, the Later Years at some point. There are some of course that left an impression, not necessarily good, that I didn't mention, like "Gerald's Game." Stephen King's horrific imagery is still stuck in my head more than 20 years later. I probably shouldn't have been reading it at 12. But horror was my "thang" back then. Anyway, here are some of the more tame books near and dear to my youthful heart.
A Secret Garden/A Little Princess: Both these books were written by Frances Hodges Burnett, and were a huge part of my childhood and young adult life. I can’t tell you the number of times I read them. In fact, I was recently given a new hardcover copy of A Secret Garden in the last couple of years and I read it again, relishing in the comfort and magic of a beloved friend. They tell of two young girls overcoming insurmountable odds who find acceptance and parental love from unexpected people. I love them so much, and will cherish these stories and young heroines in my heart forever. How can I ever forget the moment Mary finds the lovely and mysterious garden? Or when the practically starving Sarah goes up to her attic room to find a feast laid out for her. I am a slave to feel-good stories and happy endings. Hence the reason I’m a Disney fanatic, which my kid will probably love me for until he’s a teenager and I’m still watching shows like “Wizards of Waverly Place.” But I digress.
A Mermaid Summer: On rainy days I would drag my younger sister into my room and read her this book. The magical tale of a mermaid and two children who must outwit her has been one of my favorites since my third grade teacher handed me a copy. I recently bought both my sister and I a hard cover edition, which I had to scour Amazon for because it’s out of print. It’s one of the first book I decided to review when I started my book review blog. Although I read it as a child, the story still appeals to me as much as if ever did.
Vampire Diaries/ Secret Circle: I am not afraid to say I love young adult. I can still remember when I picked up my first L.J. Smith book. It was the second installment of the Vampire Diaries series, and after reading it I knew I had to go back and read the first. At that moment I was hooked. After reading my rants about later installments written in the Secret Circle and Vampire Diaries series, any loyal readers I might have know I am passionate about these stories. These books are worn and torn. Secret Circle in specific, touched my 16-year-old soul because for a time in middle school and high school I thought I was a witch, or Wicca. Fun times remembered with an Oijui Board, candles, tarot cards and essential oils.
Summer Sisters: Judy Blume targets a more adult audience in this book about two girls and their timeless friendship. I seriously will read this novel again and again. It touches me because the relationship between the two main characters is so like my relationship with my high school best friend. In our early-to-mid-twenties I finally got her to read it by giving her a copy for her birthday. She agreed. It was just like us. Except for obviously, she didn’t disappear or marry my ex-boyfriend. Anyway, it’s a great story about the bonds of friendship and growing up. What else could we expect from Judy Blume?
The Giver: I think I may have read this for school at one point, and I think I definitely read it again in college for a Young Adult Lit class. All I know is this book continues to come back to me through the years, inspiring and making me think. What if we lived in a world where feelings were taken out of the equation? I’ve had The Giver-themed dreams before, and continue to be haunted by the story’s themes.
A Wrinkle in Time: Honestly, I love this entire series by Madeline L’Engle. In fact, I love everything I’ve ever read by her, especially A Ring of Endless Light. But A Wrinkle in Time helped to inspire some of the elements from my own book.
Christopher Pike: I cheated a little bit here by just naming the author, but I honestly couldn’t pick a favorite. He was the author of my middle school life. I ate these books for dinner, from Remember Me to the Final Friends series to the Midnight Club. Pike started out in Y/A horror, and ended up in his later works exploring spirituality, mysticism and mythology. I always wonder why he stopped writing. I’ll have to Wikipedia that man.
Mists of Avalon: On a trip to Salem, Mass., (you can bet I was stoked because I was still a delusional little witch), I picked up this bible of King Arthurian lore. For anyone who likes to read about female-empowered characters, this follows the women within the legend, specifically Morgan Le Fey. I believe I actually even read it twice and it’s huge. It has served to color my views of anything dealing with King Aurthur since. There's a review of it here. Side note: Morgana and Guinevere have a part to play in my book Fractured Dream, but they've been re-imagined in a way never seen before. Look for it in June 2014!
Practical Magic: If anyone asks me who my favorite author is I would have to say Alice Hoffman. I adore her style of writing where magic drips from every word. Of course, Practical Magic involves actual magic, but it also deals in relationships between children, sisters, lovers and parental figures. Again, it’s one of those books I’ve read more than five times and a book I will read another five times. They’re the security blankets of my life. When in doubt, curl up with a good, familiar, beloved book. This one would definitely make both my early life playlist and my adult playlist.
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek: I read this for an environmental/nature writing class in college. I will never forget the way Annie Dillard was able to make me scratch myself in paranoia after she described the habits and appearance of all sorts of insects. Ug, I hate them but I love her. A mix between spirituality and nature, this book, her observations and philosophies, truly changed my life.
A Walk in the Woods: I have never laughed so hard reading a documentary-style book as I have this one. My husband, who was a witness to my amusement as I read about Bill Bryson’s trek along the Appalachian Trail, ended up reading it himself, and he’s not a big reader. We even got the idea for our son’s name from this book. This would also make list No. 2!
Many Lives, Many Masters: Early in my college years when I was discovering what I thought and who I was, I took a class called Reincarnation. We read a book by a man named Dr. Brian Weiss, who documented his first forays into hypnotherapy and his discovery of past life regression. Needless to say, my little open mind was hooked and before my mother could object, I had booked myself at a holistic retreat with Dr. Weiss himself. It was definitely an experience I don’t regret. Plus, the photo taken of me with the good doctor showed me I should never streak my hair orange again. That’s a valuable life lesson for sure.
The Time Traveler’s Wife: It’s not that I think this book was amazing, although it’s a decent read. But it gave me the germ of an idea that inspired some elements from my own book. Don’t get me wrong, if you read my book you would not even be able to see how this story could have been an inspiration, but it’s where the seed began and my own ideas dealing with alternate time and universe dimensions were sown.
Child of the Grove: Tanya Huff’s Child of the Grove and Wizard of the Grove are two of my favorites. I love the way she writes and have always been inspired by her. Although it’s been some years since I’ve actually read the two-part series, I know I will again because they sit in my library waiting, creased and worn and loved.
If anyone wants to share their life/book/ youth playlist, I would love it!
And then the day came when someone actually read the book...
Any writer will understand the excitement and anxiety that goes along with finally letting someone read your work. I recently handed over my entire manuscript to my sister to be my first reader ever. She has listened to me talk about it for years now, so I figured I owed her the first read. Besides, she reads the fantasy-fiction genre, and can be pretty brutal when need-be.
From the point where I printed out the MS for the first time last month, topping off at more than 200k words, to the much slimmer version I emailed to her last week, it's been a journey.
In my previous post I babbled ignorantly on about how easy I found "killing my darlings," or editing, had been. And it was at first. But when I was still at 190-something thousand words after cutting 20- to 30 pages, I had to take a step back. I'm pretty realistic, and as much as I loved the 40 or so pages still lingering that were keeping me away from my goal of 160k words, I realize that I'm a newbie, a no-name writer, and a book of that length would be daunting coming from an untested author.
Despite knowing this, I tried going through the MS first and cutting down sentences, paragraphs and a page here or there in hopes that it would drop my word count down and bring me to a more reasonable length. I mean I want people to read it. But I moaned, I procrastinated, I debated and shook my head. It was too painful. I couldn't do it. But then I did. I clicked command-x and deposited the first 50 or so into another document, saved it, and said adieu—for now. A prequel could always rise from those ashes.
Instantly, I felt a sense of freedom, a weight lifted from my spirit and I turned to my book with new eyes and a better sense of length, pace and readability. And I've been happier ever since. But it certainly wasn't easy, I say to my previous naive self. I even got the word count under 150k. I mean it's fantasy, after all, so it's got a little heft.
This all brings me to handing it over for the first time to be read. I'm certain my sister wants to ring my neck, because I keep finding reasons to talk to her to find out what she thinks. But it's an amazing feeling to have written a book and have even just one reader, who so far, likes it.
Don’t mind the random fruit loop sitting on the booster seat chair. I have a two-year-old. Enough said. The focus is the manuscript sitting in print form on my kitchen table. Epic proportions it may be, seeing it like that filled me with a sense of accomplishment. No more computer screen. This is real. And then I quietly freaked out inside realizing how much editing still needed to be done before I could get where I’ve been heading all this time. Stephen King has a quote: “Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric scribbler’s little heart, kill your darlings.” I’d say in terms of words, I’ve been doing pretty well at cutting since I laid this out on the table. A friend’s words recently reassured me: “None of that matters though, when you can throw your book down on the kitchen table like that and it makes the floor shake, you did good enough.”
I did good enough. But now I need to do better. So gone are the first 25 pages, the first words I ever wrote when the story first came alive. Gone are pages in the middle, chopping away at 200k words as if it were someone else’s words going into the trash. Although there have been twinges, passages I delicately caressed before hitting control X– delete would be too harsh so I keep those words in another file–I have found that it hasn’t hurt as much as I thought it would. Hours, days, weeks and years toiled away on the keyboard, and with one stroke those words are gone.
I guess, in the end, making it the best story it can be outweighs the pang of loss. And when the day comes I see it in published form, those years of words that will never see the light of day won’t bother me in the least. Because they were stepping stones and bridges to a story that moved beyond them. They served a purpose, and I can be content knowing that.
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.