Hello everyone! I know everyone has been patient since I released Queen's cover art, I've also recently added the book listing to Goodreads! And, more good news! I have a small teaser for you! I'm adding it as a document to this blog post and a link to the teaser on Wattpad which allows you to read for free.
Click here to read Queen of the Pyre's teaser chapter on Wattpad.
This was a post I wrote two years ago on Facebook. I re-shared it a year ago on the Facebook because I felt it was applicable. And I shared it again this year, while simultaneously deciding to share this on my blog for archival purposes. It deals with a discussion on accepting science & truth, tolerating vs. acceptance, and compassion and empathy. Take a moment, if you will, to peruse these thoughts--
Excuse me while I step on my soap box here.
"Where suspicion fills the air and holds scholars in line for fear of their jobs, there can be no exercise of the free intellect. . . . A problem can no longer be pursued with impunity to its edges. Fear stalks the classroom. The teacher is no longer a stimulant to adventurous thinking; (s)he becomes instead a pipe line for safe and sound information. A deadening dogma takes the place of free inquiry. Instruction tends to become sterile; pursuit of knowledge is discouraged; discussion often leaves off where it should begin."
Justice William O. Douglas,
United States Supreme Court:
Adler v. Board of Education, 1951.
Censorship was a discussion in my Young Adult Literature class today, but I believe this line of thinking can be similarly applied to a lot of current issues swirling through *current*, current events and especially science.
I find myself struggling with how I approach and respond to differing opinions. Especially since that, typically, expressing a countering opinion will not result in fully enlightened individuals. It usually elicits reactions of cruel temper. You can hold your own opinion while maintaining respect.
But I question a blatant refusal to even consider other perspectives, other sources of information. It's a difficult consideration of approach, it's considered "bigoted" to name this way of thinking as obtuse, but a narrow-minded scope is nothing but sectarian and therefore inflammatory. The parameters of those refusing to consider these other perspectives inherently describe something that is invidious.
If you accept one law of truth, how can you dismiss something of the same strain? ESPECIALLY on the basis of a text that is antiquated and has been countlessly altered over the course of history to fit the needs of various churches, monarch, and linguistic specifications over the necessity of accuracy.
Do you deny the existence of hermaphrodites? Are you aware of the shockingly high number of individuals born with both or ambiguous genitalia? Because they are out there.
Did you know that homosexuality is biologically linked to brain development in the womb? There are direct links to amygdala size and fetal hormone exposure. Gender identity is no different, especially since the whole concept of gender is a socially manufactured one to deepen the divisive rifts among humanity.
To dismiss their existence because of the will of some higher cosmic force is not only a narrow-minded approach but a willfully ignorant one. Plus, it is ultimately deprecating and destructive.
Is the earth not round? Does gravity not keep us tethered to its surface? Science is not a choice; it's not an alternative to church or religion. It's an active and ever-adapting pursuit of truth. It ignores the irrelevant social barriers and divisive roles humanity seems so fond of and strives to explain—everything.
So you may not be homosexual, bisexual, transgender, or queer of any sort and thus believe that these individuals are wrong. But you may not invalidate their existence on the basis of your creed, because it does not withstand any line of logical thinking. You cannot disclaim it, because, simply, it is.
You may not agree with me; but you don't have to. There is essentially nothing to agree or disagree with, because it is. But there is a what is and what isn't beyond my grasp and science's and that is the treatment of these people.
Agreeing, tolerating, and accepting hold totally different definitions. In your frame of mind, you may think you don't agree with these individuals. There's nothing I or anyone else can do to penetrate that, unless something inspires you to take a step forward and seek Truth itself. I am complacent in this, because changing the foundation of someone's way of thinking is beyond my capabilities.
So you may not "agree."
Most people diffidently proclaim their "tolerance" of such people and nothing more. Tolerance isn't enough. Tolerance is an implication that you are taking great measures to put up with them; that acknowledging their existence is something that they don't deserve.
Your fellow human doesn't deserve the basic decency of being accepted AS A HUMAN? Acceptance should be the forefront of anyone's priority. Compassion and acceptance.
I'm leaving this off by linking an article by Amanda Palmer about empathy, which I believe nicely and summarily ties in with the message I am trying to convey.
"Playing the Hitler Card" by Amanda Fucking Palmer
"We live in an age of endless, foaming outrage. The only answer is to try to feel empathy for other people, no matter who they are."
If you've read this far, thank you for taking the time to validate my opinion enough by simply reading it.
So, within the hour, I shall be leaving to take the Miller Analogies Test (or MAT). What is this test, you may ask? It's an alternative exam to the GRE for Graduate Admissions. That's right, I'm applying fro Grad School. I'm trying to get my Masters.
I've been emailing the Director of English a few times. If accepted, I would start in 2018. My transcripts have already been ordered and I've filled out the application. All that's left is to take this test. It helps to have mi amor supporting me and these foolish ideas that fill my head.
Then! Thursday is moving day! I sign the lease agreement with mi amor and then we can start living in our apartment together. So exciting. Today we've been together four months. And two days we start living with each other. It feels as though it's been so much longer than that.
In other news, my summer is going to be filled with (hopefully) relaxing days at the beach with mi amor and then family, preparing myself for next school year, and then working away furiously on my books (as I've already teased)
How to announce a new book:
1. Post cover art
2. Say nothing
Answer absolutely no questions
Avoid and deflect every question
So apparently, this past week is nationally recognized as Teacher Appreciation Week. How was thi celebrated, at least in my case? Well, I plodded my way through my last week of state testing (which was finally the English End of Course exam), I found myself in some unpleasant circumstances. For you see, my classroom is situated on the second floor. It’s bad enough that I have to climb up a flight of stairs every morning to get to my classroom (and twice when I need to check my mailbox).
In light of state testing, I had to personally check out (and later back in) testing materials for each of my classes (the room which held such precious testing materials is of course on the first floor). So, best case scenario, I was climbing up and down those stairs at least six times a day this week. The worst is when administration had the AUDACITY to schedule a faculty meeting, which I had nearly forgotten about, and faculty meetings are on the first floor, so that made seven times I had to go up and down those stairs that day. So how do we show we appreciate our teachers? Forcing them into involuntary exercise.
But, my ninth grade principal brought us doughnuts for Friday morning! But no worries, that was worked off too when I was leaving Friday afternoon and discovered it was raining. Not only was I trying booking it to escape this dreadful schoolweek but the rain was coming down pretty hard, so I was trying to avoid being drenched as much as possible when I ran out to my car.
No matter. I still felt the love. <3
Hello, everyone! I know it's been a while since I made an official update here on the blog. Where I last left you, I had just graduated college and I was stressing about finding a job. I am happy to report that I very quickly found a teaching job to kick off my teaching career! I'm teaching ninth grade English, and this week and the past several weeks we've actually been in the dreary midst of state testing. Teaching, believe it or not, has left little time for writing. But I have actually made some progress on The Midwinter Fairytale!
It's been a slower process than I would like, but some progress has been made. It makes me hopeful for having this completed sooner than I thought (because if we're talking about JUST the drafting progress for Midwinter, it has sat alone, in a dark room for quite a while. We're not going to even MENTION its planning). I know that there are several articles out there (Stephen King comes to mind) about how you shouldn't continue a project after so long because you won't be as inspired for it any more. But I'm working, and I don't feel any less inspired. Just overwhelmed and busy in other areas of my life that take time away from writing. But I get summers off now so, good?
Also, I got some very exciting news today. I got approved for an apartment that I applied for, which is exciting. So now I have a place to live!
So, I'm going to leave a brief excerpt from Midwinter to tease and to assure work is being done on it. Good night everyone!
"She is dancing
with fire in her cheeks,
fire in her eyes,
her face aglow with wondrous delight.
Her partner is the brightest star itself,
the brilliant, glorious sun.
He is radiant.
He is noble.
And, breathless, she can't make sense
he doesn't burn her up
in his ever-reaching light.
But the light, she realizes,
is more than sheer heat.
It is life
and it is love."
Hello, everyone! I know it's been a while since my last blog. Allow me to take a moment ot detail some of the happenings of my life.
December 11th, 2014 - The author's mother passes away.
December 11th, 2015 - The author publishes her second novel Prince of the Vale.
December 10th, 2016 - The author graduates college with her second undergrad degree.
It's not coincidence that I placed Prince's publication date on the year after my mom passed. When she died in 2014 I was mostly finished with its draft. She hadn't read it, but I had shared some key details and inner workings of the plot I was developing. I won't go into detail about Prince, as I've done that before for Mother's Day, reminiscing on my mother's influence over my second book.
But my mother still holds a great influence over my life. Prince was ready for release a month before the December date I had set. But one of the major reasons I chose that date, is because, first, obviously, it was the year mark since my mother had died. More significantly, if I were to associate a significant accomplishment on this sacred day rather than the overwhelming sense of loss. I dedicated the book to her; and I'd like to imagine that she would be proud of me. I know she would.
This past Saturday, the 10th, I graduated college, finally! The ceremony was quick and the day was fantastic. I loved seeing so many of my friends and family there to support me. I can't articulate just how amazing it was to be surrounded by so many people you love and who love you in return. The fact that my graduation ceremony was one day before the two year mark of my mother's passing was wholly coincidence and unplanned. But, like with the release of my book, I hope to associate yet another accomplishment with this time of year/month that I know she would be proud of.
So, this signals the end of my undergrad career. Plans to pursue grad school are being entertained for the however distant future. Current employment opportunities are being considered with, rest assured, the utmost of scrutiny, anxiety, and agony, despite what everyone might believe about me being a calm, dismissive individual over the subject. I don't like discussing it because then the stress sends me whirling into an anxiety attack. And I've finished, for now. Let me enjoy my moment.
But, one thing is certain. I will continue writing. Now that I've completed my internship (pending tomorrow) and collegiate work, I shall--hopefully--have more time to spend for this endeavor.
I don't like revealing a lot on a book that I haven't released yet. But I wanted to answer one of Goodread's author question to decompress about the school and work stress lately by focusing on my writing. So here is some inspiration behind The Midwinter Fairytale.
It's QUITE evolved from its original conception.
When I first wrote ARCHER OF THE LAKE, I had a dream that inspired a new story (much like how a dream inspired ARCHER). This original story was centered around a missing queen, medieval-type setting complete with monasteries, forbidden love, knights. That story was called "The Runewell Fairytale."
During the editing process for ARCHER, I became too busy to continue work on "Runewell." And the first six chapters sat abandoned for a while. When ARCHER's rewrite was finished (what most resembles the book now), my attention shifted to its untitled sequel (now PRINCE OF THE VALE). During the off and on phases of writing PRINCE, I would dabble on "Runewell" and other projects that never came to fruition. I restarted "Runewell" a few times. Decided to make it a 'lyrical' project, where its written in poetic (freestyle) format rather than prose. However, by then, the story grew stale on me, I wasn't as inspired by it.
That was over the course of the three years afters after I had initially finished ARCHER's first draft. I never made a concerted enough effort that had devoted enough time writing it to make a worthwhile project. Meanwhile, I wrote PRINCE OF THE VALE, edited it, and finished it. I was also attending college, and at some point, I took a required English class over medieval literature. My professor went over some medieval pieces that involved supernatural elements. And I became inexplicably inspired.
I didn't have a specific story in mind while taking this class. But I was inspired by texts such as "Thomas the Rhymer," "Troilus and Crisede," and "Land of Cockaigne." At the time, I was also experiencing some deep soul-searching concerning my spirituality. I won't go into too much detail about that, since it's all personal, but it also had effect on things.
At some point during this period of inspiration (I drew a LOT of inspiration from my college classes), I revisited the drafts for "Runewell." And suddenly, story elements changed. The missing queen became a princess and shifted away from being the sole protagonist of the story. I added a lot of medieval references--Thomas the Rhymer is a character, Cocaigne is actually a kingdom, Constanius is a reference to Holy Roman Emperor Constantine, Elf Land exists. Not only that, but I created a lot of Biblical and classical references and allusions--Cain is the name of the troubled hero, Lilith has a role, King Oberon, Maeve.
Then I realized that the name "Runewell" didn't have a place as the title. "Runewell" was a realm that didn't exist in this new story. Really, the only elements salvaged from Runewell were a few names (chiefly, Myria), the medieval setting, and the theme of a missing queen/princess. A new title was needed. "The Runewell Fairytale" never sat well with me anyway. The original story didn't feel like a fairytale. I switched between a few options and variations of "The King of Elf Land," but I thought that was too close to "The King of Elfland's Daughter," and I didn't want to ride off of un-originality.
So then, once I decided upon having "Oberon" and "Maeve" as characters (more in name than in appearance), I went to Shakespeare. And THE MIDWINTER FAIRYTALE was born, inspired from "The Midsummer Night's Dream."
It's still written in lyrical format. Also hailing back to Shakespeare, I decided to format the story into acts and scenes. Of course, now it's getting much larger than I had originally planned.
I haven't blogged in a while. Actually, truth be told, I haven't written a while either. I'm hoping to rectify that, even with a brief blog update. Currently in my station of life, I'm caught asunder betwixt adult responsibilities, working and schooling. Rarely time for any writing or trivial pursuits of happiness. Some minor movie-going. (Captain America: Civil War was beheld several times, admittedly. I think the only movie I've seen so many times--at least recently--was Episode 7 of Star Wars. And before that? Honestly, I cannot recall. Probably something with my mother, who shared my obsessive personality for things.
Aside from such annotated monotony, I was able to make my scheduled appearance as a vendor this past weekend! (I know, I'm rather late on actually updating the Blog, which should be thusly renamed to The Occasional-when-one-feels-like-it Blog).
The convention in question--Con Kasterborous, North Alabama's Doctor Who convention. It was my second time attending in its five years of nonprofit operation, starring renowned guests such as Colin Baker and Caitlin Blackwood. Even with an appearance by BB-8. But I digress.
Because of work responsibilities, there were a few bumps in the starting up of things, bumps that were quickly evened out, and I was able to enjoy the weekend meeting and talking with other fans, particularly fans interested in my creative work. Admittedly, I felt a bit awkward showing up at a Doctor Who convention that chiefly premieres all things science fiction (hence the BB-8) with books of the high fantasy genre. All the same, there seemed to be a number of those who enjoyed my appearance, and it was definitely a pleasure meeting Andrew Cartmel, even in passing.
Some other highlights--meeting the lovely couple who organize CONjuration (based in Atlanta) and being promptly invited to it as an author appearance, getting invited to other fan conventions, writer's panel, and of course, hanging out with the Best Friend I don't see often any more (who was lovely enough to accompany me after straight after working third shift).
I'm including a picture of us--the only semi-decent one really, taken by another vendor. Both of us weren't paying attention to the fact that someone was pointing a camera at us, and as such, we both had our eyes closed at the inopportune moment. Oh well. It's the only picture you're getting of the lovely table setup, but I'm definitely not so much a picture-taking person.
I'll be sure to update with others news that I hope will soon be developing.
Happy Mother's Day!
My own mother passed away December 11th, 2014. The tragedy was devastating for me and reflects in various facets of my second book PRINCE OF THE VALE, such as plot development and the dedication featured in the beginning of the book.
My mother was a lover of fantasy and stories. She read my book in a single day while waiting around with me for my college orientation. When I had returned with my dad from the campus tour, I remember how she had the finished book closed in her lap as she began wagging a disapproving finger in my face because of the arguable cliffhanger my first book ARCHER OF THE LAKE ended with. It was supportive and encouraging. She had expectations, and after enduring 24 hours of labor and missing the premiere of the X-Files series finale for my birth, I had better meet those expectations. She enjoyed my story and was excited about its characters.
However, although I had shared various working ideas for the sequel with her, she never had the experience of reading it. She passed away a few months after that, and the event was so devastating, so depressing that it took a while for me to get back to work on the next book. But, I finally finished and had it ready for publication for the year anniversary of her death, December 11th, 2015.
In honor of this holiday and the others I will no longer be able to share with her, I have placed PRINCE OF THE VALE on sale for $0.99 for an extended period of time. She was not able to enjoy this story, but I hope you do in her stead.
"In loving memory of
Lady Kimberly Michaels,
the Fairy Singer and this era's Tragedy.
I love you, Momma."