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.
Another amazing book trailer by my talented sis. I'm happy to share the trailer for The Reaper's Daughter, slated for release on February 15, 2015.
So I'm sitting here from the Rochester Comic-Con. I've sold some books, met met some cool people, creeped on Alaina Huffman (Supernatural's Abbadon) since she's one of the panelists and I love her, and had a podcast interview this morning with TNX Bombsquad here. Since I've finished The Reaper's Daughter and the cover has already been completed I debuted the cover on my table to entice would-be readers. You can't see it too well in this pic, but this is my table at Roc-Con. The lovely lady in the back is my sister getting some work done.
So this is the big announcement of the day, I want to reveal The Reaper's Daughter cover. I'm so excited about it. Author, designer and also my friend, Shari Ryan, is responsible for the awesomeness of this cover. She came up with the concept and went with it and she captured the essence of it. Death is a dark thing, but the pink catches the humor and lightness that also threads through this book. Here's a picture you can really take a look at:
And to accompany the lovely cover, here's the blurb, newly minted:
I’ve always felt like an average girl . . . except for my strange relationship with death. You could say I like to court it. Whether I’m soaring through the air as a flyer for Specter University’s cheer squad, or speeding down the steepest mountain with only grace and balance keeping me from an icy end, I’ve always needed to feel a rush. But now Death is courting me―in more ways than one. First, there’s Rishi, a rogue death deity who has a penchant for annoying me nearly to my grave and whose intense gaze has the power to see right through me. Then there’s Hades, who I’d rather had stayed just a myth. Now that he knows I exist, he’s never going to leave me alone until he can do the same to me as he’s done to my mother.
Oh yeah, did I forget to mention her? I spent my whole life thinking she had died when I was a baby, but now I’ve found out she’s much more than dead. Fifty years ago, Hades banished my mother from the underworld and along with the Council of Death Deities, took away her ability to cross over souls―souls that have wandered lost through the world ever since. Now she wants me to clean up the mess. You may have heard of her before: they call her the Grim Reaper.
You know what that makes me? The Reaper’s Daughter.
Look for it February 15, 2015 !! You can also add it to your Goodreads list now:
I've read a lot of poetry lately from fellow writers floating around on Facebook and authors' blogs. I used to be really into it when I was a teenager and even in my early twenties. But at some point it became less of a focus, or else I just lost my knack for it. But I've always loved to read it. I have books that belonged to my mother and my grandfather before her, that I'd sit with, endlessly flipping pages and trying to find the perfect poem to describe a mood or situation. A lot of angst-ridden teens, or even those without the angst, tend to get in on the moody word play that can be so satisfying in the art of poetry.
I honestly haven't written a poem in years at this point except to have put together a prophecy for my novel, Fractured Dream, and that sort of writing is kin to poetry. But I thought I'd share one I wrote when I was 20 or so. This was after my first love broke my heart and I was left picking up the grainy pieces. And then the second is just my favorite poem from when I was younger. I used to read it over and over. It's about death, which is morbid, but it's also about endless love. And I think that's what I liked best about it.
The poem by me is called I Loved You Last. I actually had it published in some book at the time, but it was one of those set-ups where you sent in a poem and, to actually get a published copy of it, you had to spend $20 or so to buy the hardcover book, which in this case was called The Brilliance Of Night: The International Library of Poetry. I don't really think they were too discerning about who they put in the book. What can I say, I was young, naive and broken-hearted . . . I do have the book though. It sits on a shelf beneath my coffee table, although the cover is by now pretty worn. I did get to show the boy in question some years later the poem I had written after he'd so effectively torn my heart asunder. But by then, I was of course beyond the apology that was issued, although it was appreciated. Hearts break all the time and sometimes poetry is borne from it. I've since found two loves of my life, my husband and son, so this poem is just a blast from the past, but the heart healed long ago. You can be the judge of whether it was bad or good.
I Loved You Last
Do you remember when we first sat there and you told me you loved me? My gaze drifting away uneasily as I slightly smiled and said, "Thank you."
And you claimed you'd love me until the end of eternity, and that roses would never smell so sweet, and that the sun would never burn so hot, and the wind would never feel so right if I wasn't there.
Do you remember when I first started to love you, when your smile shone from the depths of your soul and I couldn't help but fall, my "thank yous" stopped and "I love yous" began?
It somehow seemed at the end that it was I that loved you more, and the irony has fallen deeply on me since you've gone away, for the snow is not as fresh, nor the autumn leaves as beautiful, nor the night's deep stillness as mysterious since you've gone away.
You loved me first, but I loved you last.
Now, reading the below poem, I remember why I liked it so much as a teenager. One, I think I was really into the fact that she had dark brown hair, like me, and thin lips, also like me. I was self-conscious at the time that I didn't have the lush, full lips of all the girls in the books I was reading, or the movies as well as some of my actual friends. Second, I was fascinated with death, the afterlife. At that time in my life, my one friend and I had weekly sessions with the Ouija Board. And of course, finally, this poem is also a love story. I'm not the same teenage girl, but I do still love this poem. I like it now because I like what it says about living beyond death (my aging self likes to believe there's something beyond), and that love never dies, which my now-jaded spirit can still get in line with. I'm a writer after all.
He and She
"She is dead!" they said to him; "come away;
Kiss her and leave her—thy love is clay!"
They smoothed her tresses of dark brown hair;
On her forehead of stone they laid it fair;
With a tender touch they closed up well
The sweet thin lips that had secrets to tell;
About her brows and beautiful face
They tied her veil and her marriage lace;
And over her bosom they crossed her hands,
"Come away! they said; "God understands."
And they held their breath till they left the room,
With a shudder, to glance at its stillness and gloom.
But who he loved her too well to dread
The sweet, the stately, the beautiful dead,
He lighted his lamp and took the key
And turned it—alone again, he and she.
He and she; yes she could not smile,
Though he called her the name she loved erewhile.
He and she; but she would not speak,
Though he kissed, in the old place, the quiet cheek.
He and she; still she did not move
To any one passionate whisper of love.
Then he said: "Cold lips and breast without breath,
Is there no voice, no language of death,
"Dumb to the ear and still to the sense,
But to heart and to soul distinct, intense?
"See now; I will listen with soul, not ear.
What was the secret of dying, dear?
"Was it the infinite wonder of all
That you ever could let life's flower fall;
"Or was it a greater marvel to feel
The perfect calm o'er the agony steal?
"Was the miracle greater to find how deep
Beyond all dreams sank downward that sleep?"
"Did life roll back its records, dear;
And show, as they say it does, past things clear?
"And was it the innermost part of the bliss
To find out so, what a wisdom love is?
"O perfect dead! O dead most dear,
I hold the breath of my soul to hear!
"There must be pleasure in dying, sweet,
To make you so placid from head to feet!
"I would tell you, darling, if I were dead,
And 't were your hot tears upon my brow shed--
"I would say, though the Angel of Death had laid
His sword on my lips to keep it unsaid.
"You should not ask vainly, with streaming eyes,
Which of all deaths was the chiefest surprise,
"The very strangest and suddenest thing
Of all the surprises that dying must bring."
Ah, foolish world! O most kind dead!
Though he told me, who will believe it was said?
Who will believe that he heard her say,
With the sweet, soft voice, in the dear old way;
"The utmost wonder of this—I hear,
And see you, and love you, and kiss you, dear;
"And am your angel, who was your bride,
And know that, though dead, I have never died."
--Sir Edwin Arnold
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.