We're just two days away from the launch of The Reaper's Daughter this Saturday and my marketing manager wants me to dress up as the Grim Reaper and make a video for my book launch party on Facebook. Will I do it? We shall see. But until then, I'm so stoked about my launch I'm giving stuff away. Books, that is. Beautiful, tangible, paperback books. But there's only a couple of days left to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for one signed copy of The Reaper's Daughter or one signed copy of Fractured Dream.
To join said Facebook launch party for lots of other goodies and giveaways from myself and a number of other YA authors, click here: The Reaper's Daughter Facebook Launch Party, Enter Here ... Goes from 2-9 pm this Saturday.
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?
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!
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!
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:
This announcement is long overdue, but I finished the first draft of The Reaper's Daughter at the start of September. I absolutely can't wait to release it, and without totally having confirmed this yet with my
publisher, I'm hoping for a mid-January release. My cover is already complete as well, so that reveal will hopefully be coming soon.
I absolutely love this book, and yet, after spending eight years on writing Fractured Dream and only one on the rough draft of The Reaper's Daughter, is it strange it felt almost anti-climatic? I almost feel as if I cheated. It's more average sized as far as books go, while Fractured Dream is a bit longer. So perhaps that's it. I poured just as much love into this one, but it felt easier to write somehow. The common saying among authors is that the first book is always the hardest and I wholeheartedly agree. Perhaps it's the motivation I possessed writing the second one, it was so much more intense after finally finishing one book. I'm an actual author now, my inner self screams in delight, and the urge to continue weaving all the stories crowding my head make my
fingers go crazy on the keyboard as the "beast-creature ideas," as Ray Bradbury put it, demand to be let out.
I also have an urge to return to the world I built in The Dreamer Saga, to continue Story's story (ha ha). It's definitely a different experience soaring through a book in such a short period of time after toiling away for years with people questioning whether you'd ever actually finish the book. Then wondering if anyone would publish it, should I go indie? Traditional? Self-publish? But here I am a year later with a published book and a publisher behind me and a second book almost ready to go, but the beast-creatures in my head haven't had
their stories completed yet and so to the keyboard I return, a mad woman with a mission: to tell stories.
So here's to getting a book blurb for The Reaper's Daughter soon so that I can share with anyone who likes my writing or is intrigued by the title of this book and what it's about. Stay Tuned for more details.
If anyone is interested in being part of a Book Blast for Fractured Dream starting July 28 and running through July 31, you can fill out this form here:
See below for dates on a blog tour and other events if interested in participating. Thanks for your support!
REQUEST REVIEW COPY
Want to promo the series or participate in the blog tour?
Book Blast (July 28th-July 31)
Blog Tour (Sept 9th – 29th)
Twitter Blast (Sept 8th – 12th)
Book Blitz (Sept 8th)
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.
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.