Posted in Articles

Fairy Tale Inspiration: Bluebeard

When I was working on A Reflection of Ice, one of the fairy tales I drew inspiration from is the French folktale by Charles Perrault, Bluebeard.

Bluebeard is a wealthy nobleman who asks the youngest daughter of his neighbors to be his wife, against her will. She’s terrified, but he whisks her off to his remote chateau. While there, he leaves on a trip, giving his wife the warning to not go to the underground chamber. Of course, once he leaves, she explores the forbidden room.

In the forbidden room lay all of the corpses of Bluebeard’s former wives.

Before she can flee, Bluebeard returns. He chases after her, determined to kill her as well, but her brothers and sister save the day. With Bluebeard dead, she inherits his fortune and lives happily ever after.

Creepy though, right? When you’re reading A Reflection of Ice, see if you notice some of the inspiration from Bluebeard in action!

 

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Posted in Articles

Inspiration for A Reflection of Ice

Lebendig im Spiegel / Tot in der Wirklichkeit

So, I realized I kept a Pinterest board while I was working on this story, and I thought I’d share some of the inspiration pics. One of the toughest things for someone who isn’t visual (me) is trying to delve into deeper detail and figure out the spatial elements of a scene, so I tend to use a lot of visual cues. The first picture has to do with the motif of mirrors in the book–creepy, right?

There was once a maid in waiting who lived in the second-tallest tower in the castle...

Most of A Reflection of Ice takes place in an ice castle, so obviously, it was important to get a good visual sense of the place.

But it's a castle! Made of ice! This is like my life!! ;)

This is a little more of an artistic variant than real life example, both super helpful in their own way!

Orput song on repeat and do this workout 4 or 5 times for a good cardio workout. copyright Erica Wadzinski ;)

And of course, I needed lots and lots of imagery and sense memory of SNOW!

If you like dark, wintry fairytales, A Reflection of Ice is available for pre-order here! It releases on March 27th!

 

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2018: Never Give Up, Never Surrender

With the spectacular dumpster fire I was left with at the end of 2017, my usual goals were a lot more difficult this year. So much is unpredictable, so much is wavering. The master plan I had even one month ago is completely gutted, so I had to find an entirely new plan, and new goals to go along with.

However, I’m not one to back down.

2018, I can promise three releases minimum, though my hope is to get more on that roster:

Of Tinkers and Technomancers (After Glows Publishing)

A Reflection of Ice (Opal Moon Press)

and The Airship Also Rises (Final Take to the Skies book!)

My goal is to get at least three more contracts too, and once my rights are released mid-May, to find new homes for my Philadelphia Coven Chronicles and my Tribal Spirits series.

As for the writing plan, once Airship is finished, I hope to continue a series, whether that be one of the books I’m pitching to agents and publishers, my Tribal Spirits series, or another Cupid’s Cafe book. I also want to dive into my new pet project, a YA urban fantasy that started percolating this year. On the editing front, I’m going to get Airship ready for release, and I’m also going to finish editing my YA Fantasy from 2017.

Submission-wise, I’m launching a full-scale attack with Outlier Heir and Chasing Fate come January. Wish me luck.

I have realistic goals for next year, but as always, I’m shooting for the stars. Stick with me, and I can promise new reads and one hell of an interesting ride. I hope for my dreams every year, but year end is where I refill my well of optimism for the new year. I’m going to fight with everything I have to make 2018 my year.

 

Posted in Articles

Inspiration for Rising for Autumn

km_risingforautumn

Buckle up, guys. This is about to get personal.

So, back when I started writing the Philadelphia Coven Chronicles, I knew I wanted to write Alanna’s story. I mean, strong female leader of an entire Coven is right up my alley. And while characters like Jev who are loud, crude, and optimistic come naturally for me, I wanted to write a different sort of strength, the quiet, serious type. I’ve seen plenty of guys written that way, but not as many women in positions of leadership and what burdens they might bear. So from the start, this wasn’t going to be a lighthearted romp but would have a more serious bent to it. Since I’m a pantser, I never know what the story’s going to be about completely until I set about to writing it and inspiration leads the way.

And then, last year around this time, a friend of mine committed suicide.

As I was going through my own grief, I began to write Alanna’s story, working through some of that complex mesh of feelings through her character. They always say write what you know, right? Alanna was strong, the responsible one, and as a big sister, I could empathize with her a thousandfold. But worse than all the weight of the Coven depending on her, of all the deaths on her conscience, one hit her the most–when her brother took his life the year before. Through Alanna, I wove my way through my own tangle of feelings, and did my best to honor the memory of the friend who had passed. Of what he might’ve been feeling when he reached that crossroads.

Alanna and Sam’s story is one of two broken, guarded individuals finding a way to trust again. Finding a way to heal. They’ve both been doled terrible hands, and as they come together and coax each other out of their shells–well, their love was a beautiful thing to behold. Sam, the djinn who’s had control wrenched from him every time his lamp found a new owner, meets the biggest control freak of them all, Alanna. And if anyone can empathize with the powerlessness that dwells beneath that neuroses, it’s her. Even though real life often isn’t as kind, I needed the hope of a happy ending for these two, and in the end, that’s what I love about the romance genre the most.

To those who’ve contemplated suicide, who have hit that brink of desolation, this is my love letter of compassion. Please, reach out, even if it seems too much to bear. (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255)

To those who have lost someone to suicide, my heart is with you.

To my friend Glenn, this story is for you.

Posted in Random

Happy Holidays!

Christmasphoto

Happy Holidays to all!

Today I’m celebrating with my family, and I’m so grateful for that. There’s a lot of pressure this time of year, whether it’s the finances, the lack of time, or the general expectations that we’re beset on all sides from. For many, the holidays hit hard due to loss or bad circumstances. To everyone today, whether you’re celebrating a joyous occasion, or if today’s one of the tougher ones to get through, my thoughts are with you. I might be using the holidays as an excuse to express the gratitude and joy I feel at interacting with all of you wonderful people throughout the year, but today, especially today when so many might have a tougher time, I wish you all the best futures possible, even if it’s simply getting through this holiday to a better, brighter year.

Posted in Articles

Love Letter to Fellow Writers

We’re in one hell of a business, aren’t we? Every job, every career has it’s ups and downs, but I’ll leave those who are mired in theirs to communicate those woes. For me, it’s always been about writing. I’m sure my story’s like so many others–from the tender age of who-can-even-remember, it’s all I’ve ever wanted. The ability to touch, reach, and change people with my stories. Sensitive, shy little me, always buried in a book.

So I worked hard. I read every book I could get my hands on, studied the guidebooks of writing, forced myself into the disciplines. Like so many others, soldiered through NaNoWriMo. I honed my craft, and even today I’m still learning. I’m ALWAYS writing. My college years were spent jotting down stories between classes, and my spare moments stolen by my laptop, a pen and paper, and whatever story claimed control of my brain.

And then came submission time–and the ensuing rejections. There’s nothing quite so vulnerable as that first time throwing your work out there and receiving those emails. That your work isn’t good enough–and let’s face it guys, there’s a part in every one of us longing for that validation, even if it’s as simple as someone wanting to share your world for a moment. So I’d get shut down, take my open wounds, and learn from them. Countless hours spent in scouring blogs for tips, spent workshopping with friends, or in forums. As so many of us do.

Over time, you build the thicker skin–you grow more resilient to the blows. Query rejections? What ever! Try, rejections to your full. Try rejections to your manuscript when you sub it off to indie publishers. That’s when the nails pierce deeper, when the vital organs are hit, and some days, you wrap yourself in a blanket and hide away, too torn and tattered to face the world. Those are the darker times, and I don’t wish them on anyone–but I also know we all go through them. Get angry, get sad, get desperate–but get up. You keep getting up. And you keep writing.

For me, my first book was independently published, and I’ve gone that route through several others. Here’s the deal folks, publishing, whether it be with the big leagues or the little guys, isn’t the end. It’s not a Jane Austen novel where you’ve had your back and forth repartee and marriage is the big final ending. Any married couple will laugh at that novelty, because we all know it’s just the beginning of the work. Same goes with publishing. Get a book out and you don’t bask in the glow of a thousand suns.

The reality? Unless you’re one of the rare few who gets lucky on first strike–lands an agent, a book deal, and a mass following–it is hard, excruciating, and often defeating work. And you’re still fighting. Always fighting. One thing doesn’t change though–even with the heartbreak, even with the negative reviews, bad days, poor sales, rejections–we’re still writing. Most times it’s a tireless, thankless job, but it’s always there. The compulsion to write never leaves a writer. Maybe you take a break, maybe you spend some time apart, but it’s there, the words written in your bones, your DNA, in every strand and fiber of what makes you whole.

Bleak outlook, right? Anyone who knows me though can expect what’s coming next. I go through my emotional swings all the time, but at the end of the day, I can’t help but hope. I can’t help but dream and believe.

One thing we have through all of this is each other. We’ve got a community full of people WHO UNDERSTAND. Who get it. Who’ve been there. Others who have faced the rejections, who’ve faced bad reviews, who’ve been knocked down a thousand times and keep standing back up. We keep writing. So this is me, reaching out, in case you haven’t found your community yet. In case you haven’t found those folks who dust you up when you’re down, and understand what you’re going through.

Your struggle is valid–it’s real, and it’s tough. All the negativity and all the hurt can threaten the gentlest of souls, but don’t let it harden you. Don’t let it scare you away, make you quit, or make you snuff those dreams out. From that struggle, learn. Grow bolder, and stronger, until the world has to take you seriously. But for now, when the world is harsh, and it threatens to steal your summers away, take solace that you are understood. We’re here in the trenches with you.