Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Bard Queen - Part 1

"Reality hates me"
- Kalayna Price

Once upon a time, a young slavegirl lived in a faraway land called Reality. This slavegirl, like all the slaves of Reality was known only by her function - Office Wench. If she had a name, she did not know it. Office Wench lived a normal life in Reality. She picked at her Real food, slept fitfully in her Real bed, and trudged to her Real job every morning.

One day, while Office Wench crouched over her keyboard, she overheard an argument in the next cubicle.

"You should come with me," said a voice Office Wench recognized as Data Entry Maiden. "We'll all suffocate here if we stay any longer."

"Stop talking like a baby," said Office Wench's neighbor, the Keyer of Edits. "There is nowhere else to go."

"I can't take another day in this place." Data Entry Maiden lowered her voice to a whisper, forcing Office Wench to press her ear against the padded wall to hear. "I leave tomorrow morning, meet me at the water cooler at 9 a.m."

The Keyer of Edits laughed. "You won't make it out of the office. Get your head out of the clouds."

This last statement was a favorite phrase of the slaves of Reality, for there were lots of clouds to get one's head stuck in. Reality was an odd country. The people walked with their gazes fixed to the ground straight in front of them. Therefore, they could see only what was right there, in full view.

If their gaze ever crept upward, they saw nothing, for the entire land was covered in a haze that floated just above the ground. The fog was thick and still and windless. Walking through Reality felt like walking through vaporous rock. Nothing stirred Real air.

The well acclimated often bragged about how "Real air is heavy. Only the strong truly appreciate it's full weight." Then they would throw out their chests and swallow huge gulps of the stuff, choking all the while.

Office Wench went to fetch water at 9 the next morning, as she did every morning. Data Entry Maiden stood in front of the water cooler rocking back and forth on her heels, a rucksack over her arm.

"Where are you going?" asked Office Wench.

Data Entry Maiden glanced back and forth down the halls before answering, "To find Truth."

"But everyone knows that Reality is all there is."

"That's not what the Sage says." Data Entry Maiden turned her back on Office Wench.

"The what?"

"The Sage who lives in the dungeons. He is from Truth, and he says there is a way to get there."

"Did he tell you the way?"

"Like I need some crazy IT Guy telling me what to do!" She muscled her rucksack higher on her shoulder and walked past Office Wench. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have somewhere to be."

Office Wench could not focus on her keyboard that day. She kept imagining Data Entry Maiden walking out of the fog, finding Truth. But the next morning, Office Wench was disappointed. For there, in her padded cell, sat Data Entry Maiden curled over her keyboard.

"What happened to Truth?" asked Office Wench.

"Get your head out of the clouds!" Data Entry Maiden said without lifting her eyes.


Continued in Part 2

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

About the Cover

I’ve had a lot of emails and several questions over on facebook about my cover. Did I design it? Do I know the girl on the cover? Does she look like my main character?

The simple answer to all the questions: No.

Here is the story about the cover.

Several weeks ago I opened my inbox to discover an email from my publisher titled “Cover Rough Draft”. Attached was a .jpg image that looked very similar to what you see now. I was invited to tell them if I loved it or hated it, and luckily I love it because that was the extent of my influence on the cover.
The girl doesn’t look like Kita, and the really cool iron lamp isn’t in the book, but I think the cover as a whole has a dark-edgy feel that I hope permeates the book.

So, that’s the story. Probably not the most illuminating tale, and I’ll be honest, just for curiosity’s sake, I’d love to see what other designs were thrown around, but I’m very happy with the cover, and I can’t wait to have a copy in my hands.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I was supposed to blog last week, but I did not for I was technically on vacation. Five days off of work did wonders for my mental health. It's just over 24 hrs back on the job and I can feel the onset of panic attacks the drugs are supposed to fix.

But how does that relate to the world of writing? It relates because it is an example of how life can be overwhelming, and if we let it life can even overwhelm the creative urge/process.

Our job is to preclude that from happening. Just as we guard those tender feelings towards a loved one and shelter them against the stultification of the banal, in the same way we need to guard our creativity; protect it against the daily grinding down of our selves.

Even if it is merely telling ourselves stories of what we are going to do one day, when the clouds finally break and we can see the blue sky of freedom.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Kalayna's book is Listed on Publisher's Website....

Kalayna's book is now listed on the publisher's website as an upcoming release! Yea!!!


Check out the link!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Do you really want to be in my novel? Really?

I have a sticker that I got during Nano last year hanging in my cube (yes, I’m a cube farm dweller) at my day job. It says “Be nice to me or I’ll put you in my novel.” I like the sticker, but let me tell you that I have never put a single real person in my novel. Not once. There have been some people that I have been tempted to put in my novel and then have them die a horrible, horrible death, but I’ve never actually done it.

Its not even that I wouldn’t put real people in my novel or that I don’t want to put real people in my novel. It is that I can’t put them in my novel. I can start off with real people, but the characters tend to take on a life of their own and become unique in my head.

True story. About 10 years ago now, my father’s mother told me that my grandfather used to write her letters during World War II. One of them was on a roll of butcher paper. They weren’t really “dating” before the war, but when he came home they got married almost immediately. My father was born September 21, 1946, if that tells you anything.

I thought this was a great story so I resolved to write it as fiction. I planned on using my grandparents as characters. Almost immediately, my mind started twisting the story and the characters, supposedly based on my grandparents, in my head. My main female character is now pregnant by my main male character’s deceased cousin and my main male character is going to suffer a horrible wound in Africa. None of that actually happened. My grandmother joined the WAVES and served as a weapons inspector in Washington. My grandfather served until the end of the war, fighting in Africa, Italy, and France. He was a sergeant in the 2nd Armored Division and served under Patton. Even more than what happened to my characters is that my characters don’t act or think like my grandparents thought. This may be a good thing because who wants their grandparents or parents living in their heads like my characters do.

I haven’t written this book yet, but I still intend to. The novel that I wrote last year during Nano set up the world in which I’m going to put these characters. Maybe I’ll write in 2009 and dedicate it to my grandparents and their great stories, but then again maybe not.

My advice to anyone that asks an author to put them in their novel is…..Be afraid….Be very afraid. Because writers like to torture their characters and you might wind up pregnant, alone, poor, and trapped on an alien planet with only a dog that shifts into man form during full moons for a companion.

Friday, September 5, 2008

ONCE BITTEN is available for pre-order!

Once Bitten is now available for pre-order at http://www.bn.com/ . You should go ahead and order your copies now!


Thursday, September 4, 2008

ONCE BITTEN: Cover and Blurb

My publisher bounced around a lot of ideas for a title, and I’m super pleased with the final outcome of ONCE BITTEN . Because good news is plentiful today, I have been given permission to share the cover image. (I saw it right before leaving for Dragon*Con, but I couldn’t share it yet.)

Without further ado, the cover and blurb for Once Bitten:

For the past five years, Kita Nekai has faded into the background of the human world, but when a rogue shifter begins littering the city of Haven with bodies, Kita's illegal status lands her on the suspect list. During a confrontation with hunters that she can't win, rescue arrives in the form of the mysterious Nathanial Deaton. Kita soon wishes it hadn't when his method of saving her leaves her undead. With only three nights to prove her innocence and a new liquid diet to worry about, Kita doesn't want to deal with her infuriating rescuer or the ghost from her past who is determined to drag her back home. But, she needs help if she's going to stand any chance of survival.

So, what do you think?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Inspirations and Secondary Characters

This will be a short entry because it's late. I have been at a loss creatively for about six months now. And after that long hiatus, I have begun writing and creating again in the last few weeks. I understand it may just be time for my creative dry spell to end (for now), so I'm not going to give sole credit to one writing technque or force of will or anything that pretends to be useful to others in the same situation. I do, however, want to share a craft tool I have been playing with during this spurt of inspiration.

As I mentioned last month, I am going through the Snowflake method for plotting my new Nano. Over the past few days, I have been writing one-paragraph story summaries from the POV of each character. This task has helped me immensely with uncovering the overall plot of the novel. I have always struggled with thinking up plot events (Vikki, by the way, is very good at that). But this process of learning from the characters, what happens and how they all respond, has breathed life back into my novel. With every character, even minor ones (in some ways, especially minor ones), I learn something new about the story, the characters, and the large-scale structure of the novel. I can see the parallel stories occuring simultaneously and interweaving with each other. Minor characters have forced their way into important roles. I have subplots emerging, which is a first for me as well. The story has begun pulling itself together in ways I did not expect. For the first time, I feel like this novel might just work after three years of fiddling with it. I'll keep you posted.

When was the last time you had a creative dry spell end?