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.
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.
Avery held the needle in the flickering flame, her long lashes casting shadows on sun-kissed skin that was devoid of its usual golden glow in the dimness of the candlelit room. Her pretty face was a study of concentration, her lips pursed as she watched the needle blacken. While she focused on the needle, I watched her. What we were about to do would bind us forever, forging a sisterhood no one could possibly break.“There, I think it’s probably sterilized,” she pulled the needle from the flame and blew on the metal to cool it, her large dark eyes dancing with the deed we were about to do. “Give me your finger,” she commanded. Assuming an air of reverence, she impatiently flicked strawberry blonde hair back over her shoulder, the strands, as they arced through the air, looking almost red in the flickering glow. We were sitting cross-legged across from each other, our knees practically touching with only a candle separating us. An open window let in a fresh summer breeze, charging the room with its elemental mystery.
Dutifully, I held out my finger, biting my lower lip in anticipation of the pain. Grabbing my finger, she firmly clamped it between her index and thumb before deftly stabbing it with the warm needle. It hurt just like the needle they poke into your finger at the doctor's office, except this was more prolonged because the needle was dull and she had to work it in under the skin. After a moment she sat back and released my hand. Pinching the skin between my fingertips, I looked down at where she had pricked me and squeezed my finger until a bead of blood welled at the surface.
“Now you’re turn,” I said, waiting for her to stab herself. But she shook her head and handed the needle to me with an intense look flashing across her face.
“No, you have to do it. It seems right,” her voice was muted, but she spoke with authority as if she performed blood sister rites every day. I frowned; I really didn’t want to stab her finger. Doing it to myself was one thing, but the thought of doing it to another person made me shudder inwardly.
“Really? I don’t think I can stab your finger,” I voiced my thoughts aloud, although making sure to keep my voice at a hushed level to show the proper veneration for the moment.
She rolled her eyes. “You can do it; I just did it to you,” she pointed out. “Think of it as payback for always taking you down,” her full lips curved up mischievously, and I knew she was referencing drunken wrestling matches. She always got me to beg for mercy.
Sighing, I nodded.“Fine,” and took the needle from her outstretched hand. I felt my face cringe as I took her finger, and without waiting, stuck it into her skin. She hissed between her teeth but made no other sound. Unlike mine, she didn’t need to squeeze to get the blood out, instead a pinprick point bubbled on the top of her index finger and rolled down.
Raising my eyes, I met her gaze as she smiled. “Okay, let’s do it.” I nodded, and without a word we pressed our bleeding index fingers together and allowed our blood to mingle, becoming blood sisters forever.
The idea had come to us earlier in the night while we sat outside passing a joint back and forth, staring up at the stars while alternately casting paranoid glances toward the house in the event one of my parents awoke. We had snuck around the shed so were one of them to come looking for us we’d have enough warning to ditch the joint.
It was one of those summer nights when the night air was just the perfect mix of warm and cool, so that it felt like a balm on bare skin after the heat of the day. It was one of those nights that made crazy young girls feel free and reckless as if we were untouchable and only the present moment counted.
We were deep in conversation that varied between topics like the meaning of life and death, cute boys and what we were going to eat once we got inside. Kona, my family’s Labrador mutt, paced nervously around us as if he were more paranoid about getting busted than us. If we had left him inside he would have barked and woke the whole house, so we had to bring him with us. I was exhaling a particularly large plume of smoke when she blurted it out. “Okay, I lied. I totally slept with him.”
My jaw opened wide, and I threw up my hands in dramatic expression. “Avery!” I said half chastising, although I wasn’t particularly surprised. “I just knew you weren’t telling me the truth. Please tell me you at least used something.” Her glassy eyes slid guiltily away as she took the joint from my outstretched hand. “Avery,” I sighed in disapproval. I was sometimes jealous over how easy she had it with boys with her quick wit and teasing personality. But she was also prone to her impulses. This wasn’t the first time she’d shamefully admitted to having sex with her monthly crushes.
“Well at least you’re on birth control,” I said, tucking my legs beneath me and taking the last drag before snuffing out the rest of it in the grass. At least now if we got busted only our eyes would give us away, and we could hide that in the dark.
“I know, but I’m nervous about diseases, like he’s been with a lot of girls.”
“He usually uses condoms though doesn’t he?” That’s what Avery had always said in the past. Avery and Liam had been an item off and on again for months. She’d just promised not to sleep with him again given his penchant for dumping her and then wooing her again in a never-ending cycle.
“Yeah,” she nodded, looking lost in thought, the weed making us more somber than usual.
“Then you shouldn’t worry.” Although I tried to be reassuring I could tell it wasn’t helping.
“It was stupid, I should have stopped it but I can’t stop myself when I’m around him. What if he has AIDS?” She suddenly asked panicked.
“He doesn’t,” I was mostly convinced, mainly because I couldn’t imagine anything horrible like that happening to people we knew.
“But what if he does? What if I get it? Would you go on a trip with me around the world? Would you stay with me?” She gazed at me intensely, the depth of our friendship weighing on me so that I felt an almost spiritual connectedness with her.
I nodded. “I’d even share your blood so that if you got it I got it too. That way, we would always be together.”
At my offer, her eyes lit up and she nodded. “We could be blood sisters!”
That’s how we’d ended up here; our fingers pressed together in a blood promise to suffer and die along with the other one. Friendship was forever after all.
We pulled our fingers apart, and I stuck mine in my mouth tasting the copper hint of our blood. “Now if I’ve got it you’ve got it. Sisters forever,” she said staring at me.
I nodded, the effects of the pot and the magnitude of our pact were making me slightly lightheaded, but I silently reveled in the profoundness of our friendship. I was startled when she broke the silence with a laugh, but I looked at her and grinned.
“Let’s go make a turkey potato chip sandwich,” she said blowing out the candles and flicking on the lights. The mood of the night was swept away and I blinked, glancing around my room and finally back at her, my vision clearing. “I’ve got the munchies,” she giggled.
“Me too,” I said and grabbed the needle, tossing it into the garbage as we trotted down the stairs for a midnight snack.
Note to Readers: I'm so swamped lately I've sadly neglected my blogs, so as an alternative I decided to share a quick, off the cuff YA short story I wrote. My novel writing is mostly fantasy, but I like to try different styles of fiction once in awhile. So I hope you enjoyed, and hopefully I'll get my self in gear to write some insightful (more likely ranty) post on the writing life soon. -K.M. Randall
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.