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Heidi Garrett's Exclusive Newsletter


Once Upon a Time Collection


Once Upon a Time Today Collection

In these stand-alone retellings of popular and obscure fairy tales, adult characters navigate the deep woods of the modern landscape to find their Happily Ever Afters. The Original Fairy Tale short stories: The Girl Who Watched For Elves, The Girl Who Dreamed of Red Shoes, and The Girl Who Couldn’t Sing are a prelude to the collection.

Amazon: US UK

Amazon: US UK

Amazon: US UK

Amazon: US UK

The Queen of the Realm of Faerie


The Queen of the Realm of Faerie

Returning in the summer of 2014 as Daughter of Light.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Writing Process Blog Tour

Thank you Mirren Jones for inviting me to participate in the Writing Process Blog Tour!

MIRREN JONES is the pseudonym for the creative writing partnership of Marion Duffy from Scotland and Elaine Atkins from Wales. Authors of The Eight of Cups, they've been writing together for 17 years: non-fiction books, journal papers, articles, academic courses, workshops, short stories, poetry and a novel. And they’re still good friends! Their current novel-in-progress is Never Do Harm.

What am I working on?

Currently, I'm working on three projects. My next release will be Dreaming of the Sea, the second novella in my Once Upon a Time Today collection. These stand-alone stories are contemporary fairy tale tellings. Dreaming of the Sea is a retelling of The Little Mermaid that features the Sea Witch as the central figure.

I'm also working on revising and editing my fantasy series. The first two books in the series were originally published in 2012 as The Queen of the Realm of Faerie series. It will be re-released as The Daughter of Light series, and will have a whole new look, with the first two original books combined into a single edition.

My final project is a yummy paranormal romance about a young witch who bakes magic cupcakes. It's a collaboration with Billie Jean Limpin, and we're having a lot of fun working on it.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Every good character has some evil qualities, and every evil character has some good qualities. I like the plot to turn on those ambivalences. For example, in Beautiful Beautiful, the main character, Kerrin Mayham, who's a talented film director, is so taken by the superficial aspects of beauty she's lost her way in the realm of love relationships. In Daughter of Light, the main character, Melia, experiences pleasure in the midst of her visions of violence and desolation... But both of these female characters are fantastic people!

Why do I write what I do?

I believe stories that fuel the imagination are our greatest hope for the future. We're capable of creating great joy in our lives, however, we must conceive that that is possible. As a reader, I've always been drawn to stories that either gave me a sense of joy and possibility, or brought me some sort of comfort or clarity with regards to the darker aspects of living. The awareness of how valuable those stories have been to me—and still are—infuse my work.

 How does my writing process work?

For me, I have to always remind myself that talking about writing, and thinking about writing, is not writing. When I sit down to write, even when it's a slog, something magical happens. A different part of my brain engages and the story begins to unfold. Sometimes it reveals itself somewhat as I've imagined it, sometimes it veers off in a totally different direction. Thus, the greatest challenge of my writing process is simply getting myself to sit down and write. That's the trick. That's the key. Beyond that I'm flexible, and don't have any particular process that I use. Every story is different, and I approach them all differently, as regards to research, plotting, characterization, etc.

Don't miss next week when Kari Ann Ramadorai,  Meradeth Houston, and Cat Amesbury share their writing process!

Kari Ann Ramadorai is the author of Olivia's Field. She belongs to the Pacific Northwest, though she spent plenty of time in the Sonoran desert. Keep the grass green and the sky overcast, and Kari Ann's a happy person. She loves research and putting phrases together. Human nature and theology fascinate Kari Ann. She also enjoys working with livestock and watching the trees. Keeping active includes family and friends, farm and fun. In her spare time, Kari Ann reads until the bookshelves overflow and enjoys general geekery. She's married to an asteroid miner and mother of kids who will someday run the world. She'll match your geek knowledge and raise you a website. When they come up with an internet IV, Kari Ann will be there, waiting with a screen.

http://www.backlitweb.com

Meradeth Houston is the author of The Sary Society. Although she's never been a big fan of talking about herself, here are some random tidbits about her:

>She's a Northern California girl. This generally means she talks too fast and use "like" a lot.
>When she's not writing, she's sequencing dead people's DNA. For fun!
>She's been writing since she was 11 years old. It's her hobby, her passion, and she's so happy to get to share her work!
>If she could have a super-power, it would totally be flying. Which is a little strange, because she's terrified of heights.

meradethhouston.blogspot.com

Cat Amesbury is the author of the contemporary fantasy book, The Guests of Honor.  She's determined to write contemporary adult fables that draw inspiration from Lewis Carroll, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Sun Tzu. She is also determined to have a hard time explaining her stories to other people. Cat has lived in both the small town and the big city, but knows that all the best mysteries are hidden where you least expect them. Her thoughts and stories are drawn from a lifetime of looking underneath the rocks and inside the trees rather than where she was actually going.

www.catamesbury.com

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Deadly Delicious by K. L. Kincy + Giveaway

Today we're excited to bring you the release week promo and cover reveal of the middle grade novel, Deadly Delicious by K.L. Kincy.  K.L. Kincy is a pen name for author Karen Kincy, author of young adult and adult novels.   To make things exciting we have the cover artist, Kirbi Fagan, here to tell us about the creation of the cover of Deadly Delicious!  Deadly Delicious is out now!

Creating the Cover by Kirbi Fagan

Painting the cover for for the novel started with an email. When I heard the story was set in the 1950's, I knew it would be fun project for me. I'm always eager to paint strong young girls on an adventure. The magical twist of the story was icing on the cake --- pun intended!
Starting an illustration is the most exciting part for me, it is when I feel the most creative. When you have a great story like "Deadly Delicious," feeling inspired isn't hard, the ideas flow. Below is the first scribble of Josephine, drawn while reading the manuscript.
Picture1
After a many sketches, I worked with Karen to find a sketch that was just right. Flash, the dog in the story, was my favorite character and I knew I had to find a place for him on the cover. 
Picture2
Next, I grabbed my camera and started shooting the reference material for the painting. I photographed it all. Another illustrator even helped me out and photographed her dog at the angle I needed. Below are few shots of the zombie hands, frosting covered and all.
Picture3
A screen shot of a drawing in progress, figuring out Josephine's "look."
Picture4
On to the painting. I used both traditional and digital media to create the final artwork. Working digitally allows me to experiment with things I might not have the freedom to do with real paint. The traditional element allows me to create rich colors and real texture.
Picture5
Now about that type... what a mess! I won't be making a career change to a cake decorator anytime soon...
Picture6
At last... the cover!
Deadly Delicious - ebook cover (1)
For more information about myself and my work visit www.kirbiillustrations.com or tweet me @kirbifagan
 
About Deadly Delicious:

Twelve-year-old Josephine DeLune can’t take the heat this sweltering summer of 1955, and she was out of the kitchen long ago. An awful cook, she ruins recipes left and right, and she certainly can’t compete with her family’s reputation for extraordinary food. Her daddy’s parents ran one of the best restaurants in all of Paris, but Josephine lives in Paris, Missouri. On her mama’s side, she’s up against a long tradition of sinfully delicious soul food. Rumor has it, her Creole ancestors cooked up some voodoo to make tasty even tastier. Josephine knows the secret ingredient: she comes from a long line of conjure witches with spellbinding culinary skills. Disenchanted, Josephine works as a carhop at Carl and Earl’s Drive-In. Just plain old hamburgers, hot dogs, and curly fries, nothing magical about them. She’s got bigger fish to fry, though, when a grease fire erupts into a devilish creature who hisses her name with desire. Turns out he’s the Ravenous One, the granddaddy of all voodoo spirits, and he’s hungry for her soul. Josephine thinks he’s got the wrong girl—she’s no witch—but a gorgeous, dangerous night-skinned lady named Shaula sets her straight. Josephine is one of the most powerful witches alive, so overflowing with conjure that her out-of-control cooking simply catches fire. Josephine would love to laugh this off, but Shaula warns her that she must learn to master her magic before the Ravenous One devours her soul. Spurred into action, Josephine breaks out her grandma’s old conjure cookbook and starts cooking. Nothing grand, just the usual recipes for undying friendship and revenge. But soon Josephine can’t escape the consequences of her conjure. When the people of Paris start turning into zombies with a strange fondness for cake, Josephine looks pretty responsible for their undead reawakening…

Purchase at Amazon, available now for kindle and in paperback!
 
About the Author:
Karen - author photo2 (1)K. L. Kincy (Kirkland, Washington) loves zombies, though she hopes to meet only the cake-eating kind. Deadly Delicious is her first book for children. She has a BA in Linguistics and Literature from The Evergreen State College.

K. L. Kincy also writes for teens and adults as Karen Kincy.
Find her online at:
 





Giveaway:
One paperback of Deadly Delicious by K.L. Kincy
Open to US only.

Monday, April 7, 2014

There's a Reason the Guru Stays on the Mountain

For a long, long time... I've been fascinated by the spiritual, the things we can't see, yet we know must exist. How do we know they exist? Because they're the things that give our life meaning, by nourishing our hearts with emotions that fulfill and satisfy us. And even when those moments are fleeting, they provide touchstones for our journey through life.

Of late, I've been in my own process of reconnecting with that THING.

When I look back at the path I've taken, over the past couple years, my head spins. And I realize, that in many respects I lost my way, my connection to that THING. It's too easy when starting a new endeavor to be overtaken by external voices and opinions... how true for embarking on the path of Indie Author.

What are we supposed to do? How are we supposed to do it? There are so many answers, some tried and true, others full of hope, storming in upon a tsunami of distraction. Add in the nuts and bolts of the trade, the ecstasy of sales, etc. and one can find one's Self treading the ocean of information as the shore of deeper meaning and purpose fades from the horizon.

How to recalibrate? 

For me, there's been some soul searching, much inner quieting down, and considerable contemplation about why I write what I write.

The one thing I've decided with certainty is: There's a reason the guru stays on the mountain.
No distractions. No daunting pull of others' needs and desires. No market forces to mess with one's serenity, and if the THING exists in some realm above us, the mountain top offers sheer proximity.

And yet, the valley calls...

And spring blooms...

And I find myself renewed and hopeful...

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Fairies & Fireflies: Bedtime Stories by Becca Price

~ Eating Magic~

I'm reading Fairies & Fireflies by Becca Price. It's her second book of bedtime stories, the first being Dragons and Dreams. Fairies & Firelies is lighter, sweeter fare, but equally delightful. The seven stories share the adventures of the Wide Wild Field's inhabitants—a butterfly-fairy, some magical kittens, fireflies, and even a brownie. Story themes include: getting lost, making friends, finding your way in the world, discovering where you fit in, and letting go.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

From Pussy Willow:

Butterfly-Fairy and Willow would curl up in Butterfly-Fairy's chair, and the baby firefly would perch on top of the chair. Butterfly-Fairy read stories to Willow and the baby firefly in the green firefly light.

From Honey Bees:

Then Butterfly-Fairy heard an angry buzzing sound from all around her. She looked up, and saw that she was completely surrounded by dozens - hundreds - of angry worker bees, all aiming their sharp little swords at her.

From The Littlest Firefly:

In a swamp along the Big River, lived thousands of fireflies. As night fell, and the sky darkened, first one firefly would flash his light "blink" and then another would flash "blink" until the trees were full of bright fireflies winking their lights on and off. All of a sudden, however, all the fireflies would begin to flash their lights all at the same time "BLINK" so that for the moment the trees would be lit up as bright as moonlight, then suddenly go dark again. The night would seem darker when they flashed off, but then seconds later, "BLINK" they would all flash on again, and the tree was lit bright as moonlight again.

From Urisk and the Fairy:

On the fourth night, there was only a small bit of cream in the bowl. By now, Urisk was getting hungry, and rather than doing his tasks, he went into his Family's house and made mischief. Where there were shoe strings, he tangled them. Where there were dishes left in the sink, he tipped them over and even broke a few glasses. He moved people's toothbrushes in the bathroom, and left things on the floor for people to trip over. Urisk was an unhappy brownie.

It's another great collection of fun bedtime stories for children!

Please enjoy Becca's interview, with Italian bloggers, Enrico, Sara, Saretta, and Francesca.

Enrico: Hi Becca! Welcome to our blogs and thank you for accepting our interview. Please, tell us something about you, introduce yourself to our readers.

Hi, Enrico, Sara, Saretta, and Francesca! I’m glad to meet you, and delighted that you enjoy my books so much.

As my biography says, I live in South Eastern Michigan (that’s the state that looks like a mitten when you look at the map of the United States.  I live half-way between two fairish sized towns, Ann Arbor and Brighton, on ten acres of weeds, swamp and trees (we do mow an area around the house as a lawn, but that’s primarily to keep the mosquitoes down). I live with my husband Chris, two children (David, 22 and Tori, 21), and three cats (Mac, Eliot, and Oliver).

I’ve always told stories, so it was natural for me to tell my children stories to get them to go to sleep. I started writing them down so I’d remember them better. They sat on my computer for years, until a cousin of mine started putting together her father’s letters from World War II to self-publish, and gave me the idea to publish my own stories. I wasn’t sure they were any good, but I thought I’d throw them out there just to see. While my sales haven’t been overwhelming, I have been overwhelmed with how much those people who did like them loved them as much as I did.

Enrico: Why did you choose to self publish your work? Are you satisfied with the experience you’ve made? Have you ever considered or tried to submit your things to a publisher?

As I said above, I never really expected to sell any of my stories. I did some research in various book stores and at Amazon, and was pretty sure there just wasn’t a market for fairy stories told in the classical mode but with some modern lessons or themes to them. The biggest question an agent or publisher would ask is “is this marketable?” and I was pretty sure the answer would be no.

Through the years, I thought about traditional publishing, but the thought of the submission process, finding an agent, going through all that was just too daunting for me.  And then the thought would go away, because I’d get busy with work, or one of the kids needed me, or I had health problems, and I’d forget about it for another several years.

So, when I decided to self-publish, I started to do some research. This led me to the Kboards Writer’s Café, a wonderful forum with many helpful people. I began to discover that self-publishing wasn’t necessarily “second best” but had some very valid arguments in its favor. Now, if a traditional publisher were to offer me a contract, I would think long and hard about it.  The only thing that would really tempt me would be the ability to get my work fully illustrated, something I’ve always regretted that I can’t afford.

Enrico: The world of art and children’s literature are often connected. Who are your favorite contemporary illustrators? Is there anyone in particular with whom you’d like to work in the future?

I’m not that familiar with modern children’s artists. I think if I could get a modern artist to fully illustrate my books, I’d ask Todd Hamilton to do it, the man who does my covers. I think that he captures both the playful and the serious elements in my stories.

Since I’m an independent writer, my tendency is to go with independent artists. Through the Writer’s Café, I’ve found an artist (Annette, at Midnight Whimsy) who is going to be doing some spot art for me for my next project (Quests and Fairy Queens).

But of course, since I tend to write rather old-fashioned fairy tales, I think of artists like Kay Nielsen, Arthur Rackham, and Edmumd Dulac as illustrators I’d love to work with.

Saretta: Why you decided to write fairy tales? You created them for your children or you began writing them for other reasons? How complex is the conversion between oral and written?

I’ve always loved fairy tales and mythology. Even as an adult, my reading tends toward science fiction and fantasy – and what is fantasy but grown-up fairy tales?

When my children were very little, they went to a Waldorf Education school for a few years. In kindergarten, there is a strong emphasis on fairy tales. In first grade, the emphasis is on Greek mythology, and in second grade the emphasis is on Roman mythology.

Therefore, it just seemed natural to make up fairy tales for the children as bed time stories.  We’d read a book or two each night, but having them look at the pictures seemed to keep them awake. When I would tell them a story, they would listen with their eyes closed, and naturally drift off to sleep. I think I told them the story of “The Dark” (in Dragons and Dreams) several times before they were able to stay awake to the end of it.  Also, both children were a bit afraid of the dark, so that was my way of reassuring them that there wasn’t anything to be afraid of.

For years, in spite of having a perfectly good bed, my son chose to sleep on the floor (he still does on occasion) – and that was the genesis of “The Grumpy Dragon.”

Oral tales by their nature change, depending on mood, circumstances, the teller, the needs of the listeners. There’s always a trade-off between oral narrative and written narrative. Written tends to freeze the words, and make them less responsive to changes. I started to write down the stories partly because my children have better memories than I do, and would interrupt me sometimes saying “That wasn’t the way you told the story last night!”  While I, as the teller, might want my stories to address something that was going on in my children’s lives at that moment, both my children had a need for consistency of story. If I wanted to make changes, I would have to make up a whole new story.

A Princess for Tea” was my way of getting across to the children that words have meaning, that word choice had consequences.

Saretta: How can fairy tales adapt to changes in the natural (e.g. in some areas the fireflies are disappearing, so some children don’t know what they are) and technological world (the new generations are more “digital“)?

So many fairy and folk tales started out as ways to explain nature, and the changes in nature. And, in spite of mankind’s best efforts, nature is invading our towns and cities, adapting to changing circumstances. Deer are invading suburbs, and where deer are, so follow predators like coyotes. I have some friends who live in the heart of Ann Arbor (not all that big as cities go, but still a good size) who have fireflies in their yard.

There are lots of modern fairy tales (like “The Paper Bag Princess” that give more modern messages. The princess doesn’t have to marry the prince and can rescue herself from the dragon. Some modern stories are told in even more contemporary language and with contemporary settings. Someday maybe I’ll write a story called “The Magic iPad” or “The Magic Cell Phone” - but I like to think there will always be a space for the more old fashioned fairy tales too.

Francesca: Which are the classic fairy tales and elements of traditional folklore that influenced you most? Why?

I grew up in a small suburb, where the nearest library was half an hour away, and the school library wasn’t that good (I read a lot, and went through everything in the school library that interested me very quickly). So, when I wanted to read something, I had my mother’s old books to read, both from her childhood and her college days. I read some of the old ‘Grimm Brothers stories, the ones where at the end the witch was put in a barrel stuffed with nails and rolled down hill as punishment for her wickedness. I had some of the Andrew Lang color fairy tale book too, but those were written at a later date, and were rather Bowdlerized (that’s the process of taking out anything that was considered indecent or not proper for children to hear). I went through quite an Arthurian phase, too, but that only led me to doing research on whether there ever was a real Arthur, and the development of the Arthurian legends (did you know Lancelot was a later interpolation? Not part of the original stories at all.)

My grandmother gave me a collection of Hans Christian Anderson, but I hated them because they were all so sad.

It wasn’t until I started reading Jack Zipes’ history and critique of fairy tales that I recognized the parts of fairy tales that I accepted and the parts that I rejected. I tend to be something of a pacifist and almost militantly non-competitive, and I think my stories reflect that. You don’t have to kill the dragon to conquer him – and if you’re clever, you don’t really have to conquer the dragon at all; there are other and perhaps better ways of solving the problem.

So many fairy tales deal with The One True Hero, the one who will save everything. “Child of Promise” was written, in part, to re-cast a problem, and say that we all have the capacity to be The Hero, and it’s working together that solves the problem, that saves the day. In “Child of Promise” Agnes refuses to allow herself to be named the Savior, or to name any one person that, and by so doing she changed the attitude of an entire village.

Francesca: In the past, stories, legends and fairy tales characterized also a social and cultural context, the expression of the system of beliefs of a community of people. Do you think this statement could still be true nowadays?

Francesca: What messages or values your stories want to convey to your readers?

I’m going to take these two together because I think they’re part of a whole.
The early fairy tales tended to reinforce social norms. Particularly in the later versions of the Grimm Brothers, it was the female part to be submissive, industrious about household work, and weak, and the male part to be strong, adventuresome, and brave. In the earliest forms of Hansel and Gretel, both children were clever and Gretel is the one who ultimately saves the day. In later retellings, Hansel has all the good ideas.

That’s why I think books like “The Paper Bag Princess” by Robert Munsch are so important. It teaches that there are other ways of being. There’s a whole school of feminist fairy tales, and fairy tales for children with disabilities, or who come from broken homes, or have other disadvantages. I haven’t read many, and of the feminist fairytales I have read, I’m not sure how satisfactory they are. I worry that stories that address special needs and circumstances may tend to be preachy.

Most of my stories do have… if not morals, then themes, or something that I’m trying to get across. I hope I never am preachy about it. I’d rather be too subtle and have the message go past someone than have it be so obvious that it’s preachy and moralizing – I think that’s a good way to turn children off.
My messages tend to be common, everyday things,. There are consequences to your actions. If you do something wrong, you have the responsibility to make it right. There are better solutions than violence. Being clever and curious are good things, and should be encouraged. It’s OK to be who you are, and if the people around you don’t like it, you can look until you find a community that will support you and not expect you to change.

I know there are many people who disagree with me on these things (particularly that we should encourage curiosity among our children, and there are better solutions than violence). I like to think that, if more people felt that way, the world would be a better place.

Sara: Your style is clear but not simplistic or sloppy, as can be seen in many Young Adults or children books. How do you manage to adjust your language to your public, which I imagine varies in age?

I pretty much write how I talk. Even when my kids were little, we never talked down to them, but tried to explain things to them in language they could understand.

I’ve been a professional technical writer for years, and during that time I had to learn how to write to different audiences: you’ll write one way if the manual is for experts, and another way if it’s for beginners, and yet another way if it’s for upper management.

I must say, though, that Butterfly-Fairy rather surprised me. In a lot of ways, it was like she was telling me her stories, and I was just writing them down. I know a lot of authors feel that way about their characters, and I never quite believed it, but there it was. Butterfly-Fairy is about 6 or 7, clever, but a little bit thoughtless, and that’s how she tells her stories.

Sara: Fairies & Fireflies is the answer to one little reader, who asked “Then what?” Who are your beta-readers? Do you “experiment” your stories only with children, or do you have any adult “consultant”?

I have one family who have been beta readers for me from the beginning. Their father has been very helpful, too, in pointing out places where his children lose interest in the story, or the kinds of questions they ask. Sometimes I’ll ask on the Writer’s Café for other beta readers who have children of the age I’m writing for as well. I have a friend who is a student in early elementary education who has been a big help, too. I’ve also got a small community of adults who are willing to read my stories and help me with plotting difficulties.

Cassie (to whom Fairies and Fireflies was dedicated) has a older brother, Alex, who has significantly influenced a story that will appear in my next collection, “Quests and Fairy Queens” (coming out in June, I hope).

Sara: Do you have any modern fairy tale author to recommend?

To the best of my knowledge, I’m the only one writing this type of rather old-fashioned fairy tale currently. There are some wonderful authors who write fairy tale retellings or modern fairy tales for older children and adults. Patricia Wrede comes to mind, as does Robin McKinley and Peter Beagle.  Neil Gaiman, of course, writes beautifully – I couldn’t write for a week after reading “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” because the writing and the story was so beautiful that all I could think was “I am not worthy!”

Visit Becca Price's Website or sign up for her Newsletter if you want to know when new stories will be coming out!