Thursday, November 29, 2012

What is metaphysical fiction?

For a really interesting article about a little-known genre that's been gathering more attention lately, check out this great post from Tahlia Newland (Lethal Inheritance, You Can't Shatter Me).  For those who enjoy reading (and/or writing) magical realism, mystical realism, spiritual or visisionary fiction and supernatural novels and stories, there are some wonderful insights and recommendations.  And I thank Tahlia so much for the kind mention!

http://tahlianewland.com/2012/11/28/what-is-metaphysical-fiction/

Monday, November 12, 2012

Original Book Cover Art & Design on a Budget

Combining my love of books and art, in the next few weeks I'll be debuting a website which offers book cover artwork and design for authors looking for unique, customized covers at a reasonable price.  If you're an independent author who seeks an original art cover specifically designed for your novel or short story, but who can't spend hundreds or thousands of dollars for a cover alone, contact me (Krisi Keley) at jcsgs11@aol.com for more information and to discuss ideas and prices.  Some sample covers are provided below; more will be available on the website.

 
(The authors and book titles in the above cover examples were created expressly for the sample covers and any resemblance to real authors or titles is coincidental and unintentional.  The images in the samples are original artwork, subject to copyright laws, and may not be used without permission of the artist.)






 













Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Friday, September 21, 2012

U-TURN KiLLuR (Death Row Edition): Teric Darken Tells All

I'm honored to have as a guest on my blog today, Teric Darken, one of my favorite authors and a respected friend.  Upon the release of a new edition of his fantastic thriller, U-TURN KiLLuR, Teric was kind enough to stop by to share some extra insight on the novel and why, to fully portray the power and glory of the Light, an author can never fear looking at the darkness it pierces.


Sunglasses…  No one’s ever bothered to ask why I’m always wearing those silly sunglasses in my author photos…

My newest release, U-TURN KiLLuR (Death Row Edition)  What should I say about it?  I think, perhaps, out of the three thrillers I’ve scripted, this one hits extremely close to home.  Each of my works contains snippets of my personal life, but U-TURN KiLLuR… Tears came to my eyes at several intervals while plugging away at it.  When one reads it and discovers the message within, he/she will understand why.

U-TURN is a supernatural thriller about a firefighter and his family:  each member being preyed upon by a sinister stranger – a killer we all know all too well.  I believe it will come as a surprise as to whom the killer actually is.  Ah, yes, the misspelling of “KiLLuR” in the title… The “i” and “u” hold significance within the storyline.

Did I mention the newly released Kindle version is free on Monday, September 24th and Tuesday, September 25th?  Indeed, it is!  Simply go to Amazon.com on those dates and pick it up!

Why the newly released edition?  Simply because the first version was self-published.  After being picked up by TreasureLine Publishing, I was afforded an opportunity to re-release my first two self-pubbed works.  This gave me a chance to scrub up each script a bit, add some storyline to each book, and enhance each release with a wonderful new cover.  Linda Boulanger designed the covers for my TreasureLine offerings, and she did a remarkable job.

About the U-TURN (Death Row Edition) cover and my writing style:  I do espouse a Christian worldview, though my target audience isn’t projected toward those living behind stained glass windows.  I have seen much darkness in the world – a lot of hard living – and I am simply “bleeding ink” about things I’ve seen.  I mince few words and scenery.  Some have misconstrued my intent and labeled my works as “gratuitous.”

I’m not glorifying the dark things I write about.  On the contrary, I’m exposing the darkness, often empathizing with those in its vortex, and displaying humanity’s need for The Light.  I like the term “progressive” for my works though perhaps “innovative” would be a better term, indicative of that which is “cutting-edge,” “leading-edge,” and “breaking new ground” by definition.
 
What I mean by the above terms is that it often seems as though – in the realm of “Christian” authorship – there are aspects of every-day-life that some authors are afraid to freely script out, even while trying to “go there”.  I’ve never been content to say something such as:  “He struggled with temptation,” or “She cussed him out and walked away.”  I wish for the reader to relate, interact and react with my characters.  Therefore, as with the above instances, I would place the reader smack-dab within the temptation this character is going through, or allow my character to belt out the expletive within dialogue.  In my opinion, reasonably fleshing it out a bit makes for a richer storyline that’s more true-to-life.  It might raise the hair on one’s arms or make their blood begin to boil… Signs of captivated reading!
"I've never hit a line-drive directly into right field or straight down the center. My works take flight toward left field then curve to the right." - Teric Darken

Speaking of “innovative”:  I believe the cover for U-TURN KiLLuR (Death Row Ed.) says it all for a work some deem “Christian fiction.”  At first glance, most will probably see nothing but the pole dancer’s torso.  But what else is shown?  What about the skeleton rising from her frame?  What about the blood on the keypad and the surrounding flames?  What do these things mean?  When one takes the time to delve in, he/she will see the big picture and understand the significance of it all.  Would anyone believe that my cover concept was conceived from Proverbs 6: 23 – 32 and Proverbs 7: 7 – 27?

Several have read KILL FM 100 (Night Shift Ed.) and Wickflicker, and I am truly thankful.  U-TURN KiLLuR (DRE) is the link between the two.  Each book stands alone, but U-TURN makes the connection between the former and the latter book.  There is a connective thread in the stories.

A prominent author once told me that my works were comparable to “C.S. Lewis meets Stephen King.”  She also gave me a cautionary statement which proved to be prophetic:  “Many will deem your works as too worldly for the ‘Church’ and too Christian for the world.”  That’s okay.  I’ll keep shining that Light out into the darkness, regardless of how unpopular it may be to the world at large.  Prostitutes, drug addicts, cutters, domestic abusers…  I have seen a lot of things first hand.  I can relate.  "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick."

Oh, yes, the sunglasses…  The shades are simply a visual metaphor:  “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”  -1 Corinthians 13:12 

Teric Darken

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My thanks to Teric for his visit and for sharing more about his newest release and his writing with readers.  Remember that, to get a free Kindle copy of U-TURN KiLLuR this coming Monday and Tuesday, September 24th and 25th, just click on the book cover link above.  To learn more about Teric and his novels, visit him at his blog: http://tericdarken.blogspot.com/ or on his website: http://www.tericdarken.com/

Thursday, September 6, 2012

An Ode to the Complex Sentence

An interesting and, ironically, short article in the Los Angeles Times by way of  The Passive Voice  on the reason it's a good thing not all modern fiction embraces the short, declarative sentence - an idea for which many would say I have an apparent (and extensive) appreciation.  Hats off to all writers who like to capture the human mind's tendency towards tangents, ruminative driftage, paradoxical ambivalence and addendums.

The point of the long and winding sentence

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

On the Soul of a Vampire FREE on Kindle August 21 & 22

Read a vampire novel that's much less about darkness and death than it is about light and life.

On the Soul of a Vampire, Book I in the On the Soul series is FREE on Amazon Kindle Tuesday and Wednesday, August 21 & 22.  Just click on the book cover link below:


The solution to the mystery has always been in the human soul.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Red Bridge Murder Now on Amazon Kindle

For those who enjoy 19th century fiction, French literature, police procedural suspense or are fans of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, you might be interested in The Red Bridge Murder, my English translation of Charles Barbara's L'Assassinat du Pont-Rouge.  This novella, thought by some to have possibly influenced Dostoyevsky to write Crime and Punishment, is darkly fascinating in its own right.  Considered to be one of the very first police procedurals, it's the story of musician Max Destroy's growing obsession with the strange mystery surrounding his friend, Clement, a man devoid of faith who, despite having gone from utter destitution to wealth, seems persecuted by inner demons.



The Red Bridge Murder/L'Assassinat du Pont-Rouge is available on Amazon Kindle as a dual language book that includes both the original French story and the English translation, as well as notes on the text.  To purchase or to read a sample, just click on the book cover link above.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

On the Soul of a Vampire FREE on Kindle Tuesday, August 7

On the Soul of a Vampire, Book I in the On the Soul series, will be FREE on Amazon Kindle this Tuesday, August 7, 2012.  Discover how the truth behind the legend has always resided in the human soul.  Just click on the link below to start the journey towards a secret as old as mankind:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Idle Daily Reflections of a "Deeply" Weary Spec Fiction Author

Warning:  Readers who don’t find anything remotely humorous in the accompanying cartoon or who are, God forbid, offended by it, will most likely not appreciate the daily reflection below.

Today’s Reflection:  Being that hot outshines good, loving, kind, attentive, patient, respectful and a host of other quality descriptors as the gold standard for appealing “romantic” heroes or heroines in a lot of popular fiction these days, and that the hotness of a story seemingly takes precedence over silly, unimportant things like substance, inspiration and artistry, is it unreasonable to find some dark humor in speculating that much of the modern world’s obsession with the heat factor both in entertainment and in life and its elevation of such to the highest good might be a case of be careful what you wish for?  I mean, it could be that what a person seeks most on earth is exactly what he or she will be rewarded with as an eternal state of being.  Perhaps not literally, but if God appreciates irony… and some might suggest He’s the author of it.

Thought inspired by daily exposure to the words “hot” and “hotness” in 19 out of 20 book blurbs and/or reviews of popular fiction novels, romance or otherwise.

Disclaimer:  Although said post is entitled Idle Daily Reflections, it’s doubtful that, despite having many of them – some idle, some not – I’ll make such thoughts a regular blog feature since, right after writing that isn’t hot enough, contemplation-worthy utterances tend to be viewed as simply sour grapes whining these days.  Still, ignore the serious question behind this (somewhat) facetious soapbox moment at your own risk.  And have a hot (I mean, good) day.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

What should you expect from a developmental editor?

This is a very helpful article about editing I saw on The Passive Voice - both the article itself and the comments.  Since I've been working as a freelance copyeditor, it has come to my attention that it's important for writers to know the difference between the various types of editors and what they can and will do for a manuscript.

What should you expect from a developmental editor?

A Sincere Thank You

to author Tahlia Newland (You Can't Shatter Me, A Matter of Perception) for including me in her 'Celebration of Indie Excellence' with this very kind article on her blog:

http://tahlianewland.com/2012/07/15/awesome-indie-author-krisi-keley/

A Good Story Isn’t a Pancake

An insightful article from author Ted Krever's blog:

A Good Story Isn’t a Pancake

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Lina Lamont Fan Club: Angelina Jolie's Dad Backs Brad Pitt's Mom After A...

The Lina Lamont Fan Club: Angelina Jolie's Dad Backs Brad Pitt's Mom After A...: Angelina Jolie's Dad Backs Brad Pitt's Mom After Abortion-Death Threats | LifeNews.com Jane Pitt, mother of Brad Pitt, wrote a letter to t...

Character Interview: Carly and Dylan of You Can't Shatter Me

I recently had the pleasure of reading You Can't Shatter Me, an exceptional YA magical realism novella by author and Awesome Indies founder, Tahlia Newland (please see previous post for my review), and I’m thrilled to have here today the heroine and hero of the story, Carly and Dylan, who agreed to chat a bit about their experience and this unique novella as part of Tahlia's blog event:



Hi Carly and Dylan.  I enjoyed your story so much and it’s great to have you here.  You’ve both had a recent experience with a very difficult situation that many people have had to deal with or are dealing with – bullying – and I think your insights could be extremely beneficial to others.

 Carly, when you saw a fellow student at your school being bullied, you stepped in and tried to diffuse the situation.  What motivated you to get involved when many people would choose not to for fear of reprisal?

I’d just read a book with lots of violence in it and I was so sick of being in that world that I chucked the book across the room. Then I started thinking about what kind of story I would write and I decided that my main character (me) would be a superhero who protects the weak. The very next day, our resident bully went into action in front of me and I just felt that I had to do something. I guess I wanted to live up to the superhero idea and not be a coward, besides, I really hate bullying and violence of any kind.



Carly and Dylan, you both used two different but, I’d suggest, closely-related techniques not only as you dealt with bullying at school, but also in working out other stresses and challenges in your life.  One was using analogous imagery in a very creative way to mentally and spiritually tackle the issues before physically working through them.  Can each of you tell us a little more about this practice and how such creativity can aid in overcoming problems?

Dylan: We’re both into visual arts, so I guess that’s why we both have very visual imaginations. For me, imagining things that I’m dealing with in a visual way, like seeing my thoughts as words flying around the room,  helps me to have a better perspective about what I’m doing mentally and emotionally. I can see more clearly what I need to do. In this case, I had to get rid of the words that were attacking me. Seeing myself hacking at them with a sword just made it easier. I felt as if I had some control over the situation. I wasn’t at the mercy of my mind anymore.

Carly: Analogies help me remember what to do. Like with the fishing rod, it’s easier to not react to taunting if you remember that it’s like bait on a hook. If you grab the bait, you get hooked, and that’s what the bully wants, so you don’t do it. Aunt Anne talked about the Doubt Dragon and seeing my own doubt like that helped me to recognise and face it. Otherwise, I don’t think I would have even realised I was doubting myself, let alone try and overcome it.
 

Another thing you both have in common is a more physical extension of this practice.  For you, Carly, this is meditation and dancing, and martial arts for you, Dylan.  Both of these physical practices have a very mind/spirit-centered focus to them.  Can you share some of your insights on this and some good beginner exercises with readers?

Carly (giggles): I think you should ask Aunt Anne for instructions. I’m really not very good at it. Though I do find thinking of the sky helps to clear my mind and putting the sun in my heart makes it easier to feel kinder towards people.

Dylan: I don’t know about dancing, but if you have a good martial arts teacher, or sensei as we call them, they will teach you the mental aspect of the art as well, and it is about staying calm and clear in the face of threats. As for beginner exercises, I couldn’t make any suggestions that didn’t require you to start in a basic karate stance, so I guess you should visit your local Dojo. That’s what we call where you train.
 


When someone is hurting us, we tend to react without thinking on either the “fight or flight” response, so that, when bullied, often the natural reaction would either be to strike out in return because of our hurt and anger or to retreat, our self-esteem damaged – something that, with repeated attacks, can lead us to believe that we really are inferior.  How do you think that the two above practices, the mental/spiritual and the physical helped you both not to give in to one or the other of those natural tendencies and can you talk a little about your effort to imagine walking in the bullying person’s shoes?

Carly: Gee, you ask really difficult questions. I’ll hand this one over to the brain box over there.

Dylan (chuckles): She’s just using that as an excuse to wimp out, but I’ll give it a go while she thinks of something. I don’t think I succeeded really well with this actually. I had a lot of trouble not punching Justin’s lights out. I don’t believe in violence as a way of solving problems, but some people just seem to not understand anything else, and when he kept hassling Carly, my protective instincts came to the fore.

Carly: That’s so sweet.

Dylan:  Yeah, well, I guess all guys still have a bit of the Neanderthal in them. Anyway, when I gave Justin a bit of his own verbal crap back, I didn’t realise at the time that I was being as bad as him, and Carly’s less than enthusiastic response to that made me want to look at things a bit more deeply. When I wondered what life was like for Justin, the reality of it just came to me like an insight. I think that if we consciously ask ourselves how it would be to be someone else, some understanding comes quite naturally.
 
(Pause)

Dylan: Your turn, Carly.

Carly: Um. It wasn’t easy, but the rock in my pocket really helped. When I remembered it, I remembered to be strong like a rock in the ocean and my thoughts and feelings were like waves bashing at that rock. They couldn’t harm me if I stayed still inside and didn’t get caught up in the waves. When I managed to turn it all around and send love to Justin instead of hate and fear, it was the most awesome feeling ever. Kind of like using love as a weapon. It made me feel really strong.
 

Related to this, some might suggest that the idea of dealing with hurtful people by trying to love them or feel compassion for them is naïve or that those kind of people don’t deserve our love and compassion.  Can you share with us why you disagree and why you think that learning to love and have sympathy for those that hurt us can also be good for us?

Carly: I thought like that at first, until I realised that filling ourself with love acts as a kind of mental and emotional shield. Aunt Anne said that it’s like throwing darkness at light, for so long as the light’s there, the darkness just dissolves, and that’s what it feels like. It won’t stop a punch, and it won’t stop you hurting physically, but it will stop you hurting emotionally and leaves you feeling stronger instead of weaker.

As for the bullies; everyone deserves our love and compassion really, no matter how they are. And it doesn’t really take much thinking to realise that anyone who hurts others for the fun of it is pretty sick, so they need all the help they can get to get out of that sick mind state. And it isn’t just about having love and compassion for them, but for ourselves and everyone else as well. It is a kind of radical way of thinking, but Aunt Anne says it’s not new. People in the East have used these ideas for over two thousand years.
 

The boy who was bullying you had a very difficult life and his bullying was his way of trying to deal with his own pain and feelings of inferiority.  Not all people who bully are acting out of a sense of powerlessness, hurt or anger.  What are some of the other reasons people bully others and do you think the techniques that helped you in dealing with Justin’s bullying would help in some of these other cases too?

Dylan: According to Carly, I overstepped the line and bullied Justin the day he ruined her beautiful little pen and ink drawing. I just did  it to protect her and I only did it once, so I didn’t consider it bullying at all, but it shows that maybe some people don’t realise that they’re acting like a bully because they think they’re doing it for right reasons. That’s like those who bully people because they’re gay or a different race. I think the bullies feel that it’s their duty to rid society of anyone they consider not acceptable. 

Carly: Some do it to try to prove that they’re better than others too. They don’t realise that bullying always makes them worse than the person they’re getting at.

Dylan: It’s all about power in the end, and only someone who feels powerless would need to make themselves feel more powerful by bullying.

Carly: I think that the methods will always work for the person using them. Whether it has any affect on the bully or not isn’t the point. If you expect that sending love as white light to someone will change their behavior, you’re likely to be disappointed, at least in the short term, though you may be pleasantly surprised too.

Dylan: I’d say it’s worth a try.


If for any reason the bullying becomes something we can’t deal with, such as it turning to physical violence, what would you suggest to those who are being attacked?

Dylan: I had my share of that when I was little, before Mum sent me off to karate, and there’s lots of advice around to help people. The big issue is getting over the stigma of being the victim of bullying so that you do actually tell teachers and parents, because you really do need their help. You have to realise that it isn’t your fault. There is nothing wrong with, in my case, being skinny, really bright, loving books and doing well in school, or whatever the reason is that the bully is picking on you for. It’s not you that has the problem, it’s the bully.

I tried to stay out of the bully’s way and did things like make sure I didn’t walk home alone. I also made a bit more of an effort to be friendly so I had people to sit with at lunchtime, that kind of thing. If you Google it, you’ll get lots of sites with this kind of advice. That’s what Mum did when it happened to me. She also trucked on down to the school and made sure that they had an anti-bullying policy in place. She followed up with them too and asked them what they’d done about it.

Physical attacks were rare after the school took action, but they only stopped completely after I took up karate. I actually punched the guy back one day. Then I ran all the way home and was terrified that he’d try me on again. If anyone had seen me do it, he probably would have, so I don’t recommend that approach. He and his mates kept taunting me for years, but I didn’t let it bother me. Even when I wasn’t very good at it doing karate made me feel strong.


Are there any other personal insights you’d like to share with readers who have gone through or are going through this painful experience or are dealing with other stressful or difficult circumstances in their lives?

Carly: I think you have to get rid of the Doubt Dragons first. That’s what stopped me from even trying this at first. If you doubt that you can do it, or you doubt that it’s a good way to deal with problems, then you’re sabotaging yourself before you begin. My Aunt said that we all have love inside us, but I had to feel it before I believed it, and in order to feel it, you have to be open enough to sit still and find it.

Filling yourself with love feels sooo good that it will help in any circumstance, but you actually have to do it. That means, and I hate to say it because I am really bad at following this advice, you have to practice it. There’s instructions for how to do that at the end of the book.

Dylan: I’d say do anything that clears your mind and helps you to step back from the situation a bit so you don’t get so entangled with it all. I look at my life as if it’s a movie. Humour is good too. Don’t take anything too seriously.

Carly: I can’t believe I’m giving advice on this. Aunt Anne would be proud. I guess I learned more than I realised.

Dylan: She’s a superhero.

(Carly punches him playfully and he rolls off the chair in mock horror.)


Thank you so much for visiting, Carly and Dylan, and for sharing with readers.  Your story is wonderful and has so much that can be beneficial to others, not only those who are struggling with bullying, but which can be applied to other challenges and situations in everyday life.

For more information about You Can’t Shatter Me and author Tahlia Newland, please visit her at:





And to check out this novella on Amazon, just click on the book cover link below:


Book Review: You Can't Shatter Me by Tahlia Newland




In this unique YA magical realism novel by Tahlia Newland, teenager Carly Simmons tries to write her own superhero story by standing up for an overweight boy who is being tormented by the school’s resident terror.  As all superheroes are apt to do, she earns herself an archenemy in the angry, bullying Justin.  But she also finds a boyfriend in smart and sensitive Dylan, karate student and brainy nerd, who admires her for taking a stand.

This fast-paced, short novel combines an extremely original mix of real life difficult situations and magical elements sprung from the imaginations of main characters Carly and Dylan, as they envision ways to overcome everyday challenges, problems and obstacles.  I loved the dual perspective of the two main characters and their individual voices as they faced issues all young people struggle with, and their personalities shined through in both their daily lives and relationships and through the inventive analogies constructed by their minds while they worked out their own special roles in the story they choose to make of their lives.  The wonderful messages of the novel, about learning compassion, recognizing the suffering in others and combatting hate with love are blended naturally into realistic situations and conversations to offer advice on how to deal with difficult and painful experiences in a positive way, while the sweet, blossoming romance between Carly and Dylan, based on respect and trust, gives a story that deals with the harsh reality of bullying a softer side and underscores its hopeful belief that understanding and concern for others really can make a difference.

 It was a honor for me to have been able to read an advance copy of this creative and wonderfully-written story as its copyeditor, and I highly recommend it to both teenagers and adults for fantasy author and high school teacher Tahlia Newland’s interesting and inspiring approach to the issue of bullying – something people of all ages often experience at some point in their lives.

To purchase You Can't Shatter Me on Amazon Kindle, just click on the book cover link at the top of the post.

For all other e-book editions, please visit:  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/174488

The paperback will be available via all major book retailers worldwide. If you would like to be notified when it’s released please fill in the form here.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Next Big Thing: Part 3


Today it’s two more questions in The Next Big Thing (TNBT), a blog event consisting of 10 questions about an author’s current WIP (work in progress) and links to more awesome authors.  My big thanks again to authors Karin Kaufman, for inviting me, and Gail M. Baugniet, for the event.

Question #4:  Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

As far as the translated story I’m working on, The Red Bridge Murder, I haven’t really had any time at all to consider that, but the characters in the story are fairly young, so I think it would need to be actors in the under 30s group, with whom I’m a bit less familiar.

With Genesis, despite that I actually played out the first book, On the Soul of a Vampire, in my head as a movie before writing the story down, I truly can’t imagine any well-known actor portraying Valéry.  I think it would be a difficult role to play, considering he’s emotionally and intellectually 800 years old, has both witnessed and experienced a lot of suffering, but still has quite a bit of the youthful scamp aura about him and he’s physically still 19 years old.  There’s also the matter of bringing across what it would be like to have the complete empathy with and intimate understanding of another that would come from knowing human souls and his conflicted, seeker type personality.  Very similar challenges would be involved with playing Angelina and a number of the other characters in the story, so it would be quite interesting to see what an actor or actress would do with that.



Question #5:  What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

 Oh boy, brief is not my strong suit.  Sometimes it seems like the synopses and tag lines take longer to come up with than the writing of the books.  But, I’ll give it a try.

The Red Bridge Murder:  A man who denies the existence of God, the afterlife, good and evil, discovers you need neither faith nor death to suffer the consuming agony of hell spawned by a tormented conscience.

Genesis:  Fallen angels don’t fall to earth, though in them resides the clue to why the incarnate were sent, and a sublime truth hidden for centuries within a suffering soul could well be the key to long-misunderstood and love-filled divine intent.

Some more awesome authors to keep an eye on:

LeAnn Neal Reilly:  http://www.nealreilly.com/


For those who would like to participate or follow along, here is the full list of 10 questions:

1.  What is the title of your book/WIP?
2.  Where did the idea for the book come from?
3.  What genre would your book fall under?
4.  Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
5.  What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
6.  Is your book published or represented?
7.  How long did it take you to write?
8.  What other books within your genre would you compare it to?
9.  Which authors inspired you to write the book?
10. Tell us anything else that might pique our interest in your book?

A very happy Friday to all!

The Lina Lamont Fan Club: DeCompose: Stephen King Breaks the Rules!

The Lina Lamont Fan Club: DeCompose: Stephen King Breaks the Rules!: DeCompose: Stephen King Breaks the Rules! Mike Duran over at the Decompose blog writes: "I’m about 250 pages into “The Stand” and thu...

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Celebrate Bastille Day/La Fete Nationale with a Free French Twofer (Sort of)


In honor of France’s National Celebration of the start of the modern nation, On the Soul of a Vampire, whose narrator is of French/Provençal origin (and who sometimes resorts to a French phrase or two), will be FREE on Amazon Kindle Thursday, July 12, 2012.



 
And my dual language story, The Lion Hunt, an English translation of Alfred Assollant’s parody/adventure La Chasse aux Lions, which includes the original French story, will be FREE on Kindle Saturday, July 14 (Bastille Day), 2012.



A happy celebration to all who commemorate the day – French, Francophone, Francophile and simply French at heart!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Book Review: Saint Sebastian's Head by LeAnn Neal Reilly




Saint Sebastian’s Head is an incredibly moving novel about one woman’s journey from a childhood of dark tragedy to the light of healing that can come from love.

When Weeble, an engineer training for a triathlon, meets artist Tom Paul as she runs by him one night while he’s dumpster-diving, the pretend okay world she’s constructed for herself begins to crumble, forcing her to face the traumatic past that still haunts her subconscious, ruling her life and relationships despite how hard she’s tried to bury it.  Revealing the inner demons that torment Weeble through flashes to her childhood, author LeAnn Neal Reilly slowly introduces readers to a harrowing tale of neglect, abuse and, ultimately, horror, while the present-day relationship between Weeble and Tom Paul and the intricate interplay of mysticism and harsh reality, faith and doubt, light and darkness, underlies her journey to healing.

Beautiful prose, wonderful character development and a fairy tale-like symbolism make what could have otherwise been only a painfully dark story into a poetic and spiritual read about the human strength we don’t always realize we possess, even when crippled by tragedy, as well as a touching, light-filled love story.  Because there was quite a bit of emphasis on Tom Paul’s Orthodox spirituality and the mystic nature he brought out in his art, I would have been interested in a bit more understanding of his past relationships, as these do play a part in the story but sometimes left me wondering about his desire for a deeper relationship with Weeble before a physical one, while it seemed he might not have required or found this with past romantic relationships.  However, this could be simply due to my own interest in theology and how one’s worldview impacts every part of one’s life, and the sense that maybe I didn’t have as much insight into his character as I might have liked, in this particular regard, didn’t in any way take from the story.  In the end, I found it extremely well-written and a fascinating and meaningful novel with much to reflect on long after reading.  Highly recommended for outstanding writing and its emotional and spiritual complexity, I look forward to reading more by this talented author.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Book Review: Yesterday's Tomorrow by Catherine West



One of my favorite reads this year, Yesterday’s Tomorrow is an incredibly moving story of love and loss, doubt and faith, and suffering and hope during the Vietnam War.  Through the eyes of journalist Kristin Taylor, who goes to Vietnam to follow in the footsteps of her beloved father and to keep an eye on her brother, Teddy, the suffering on both sides of this terrible conflict is made painfully real, while the hope in love is beautifully presented.  Everything about this exceptional novel, from the amazing character development to the rich historical detail made it unputdownable for me, and I admit it brought tears to my eyes more than once.

Although I wasn’t born until near the end of US involvement in this conflict and my knowledge of it comes predominantly from history classes and more modern discussions on the horrible toll, physical and emotional, that resulted for all involved, what I found even more significant about author Catherine West’s gifted storytelling was that Yesterday’s Tomorrow doesn’t only vividly portray the heartrending result of the Vietnam War for main characters Kristin and Luke and their family and relationships, it also gives the reader a greater understanding of and sympathy for the tragedy that is war itself for all people in all times.  In other words, though West paints a realistic picture of the given time and place in this story, she also manages to give a sense that this story could have taken place and that these people could have been involved in any war in any time and in any place – and I consider that a great strength in a story, as it makes it possible for any reader of any age, and whether they’ve personally endured or have known someone who has endured the effects of war or not, able to relate and empathize.
 
At the same time, despite the reality of suffering, this novel does not come across as hopeless and dark, but just the opposite.  Through every one of Kristin and Luke’s trials, through their mistakes and their successes, in their struggle with doubt and in their growing faith, hope and the ability to overcome shines through the darkness.  And while the story is filled with passion and emotion, their tumultuous relationship, as it grows into love and shapes their faith, also imparts a sense of the quiet peace that comes from learning who we truly are and what we truly want and need in life.

I can’t recommend this novel enough for the beautiful writing, the perfect mix of historical fiction and romance and the wonderful character development that makes the reader think he or she may, in fact, be reading a true story.  I feel so fortunate I was able to read this Grace Awards finalist novel and I definitely look forward to reading more works by this outstanding author.

Friday, July 6, 2012

The Next Big Thing: Part 2

I had a little bit of a late start with The Next Big Thing (TNBT) because of getting the new blog up and running, so this is the second post in a week, while it will be one a week from now on.

The TNBT event is comprised of 10 questions about an author’s WIP (work in progress) and tags to other recommended authors (5 or fewer) with links to their sites.

Following in the footsteps of author Karin Kaufman (The Witch Tree), who invited me to the event, here are the next two questions:


Question #2:  Where did the idea for your upcoming book come from?

Krisi: Since I mentioned I had two current WIPs in the previous post, a translation and one of my own stories, I’ll start with the translation of Charles Barbara’s The Red Bridge Murder.

Before publishing my first two books (and before getting a degree in theology), I was studying to be a linguist/translator – my love of languages actually starting with my first draft of On the Soul of a Vampire and my Provençal main character, Valéry.  Recently it occurred to me that there are a lot of untranslated or very little known works that English readers have never gotten the opportunity to read and so I decided to look for old literature to translate.  I came across Charles Barbara’s L’Assassinat du Pont-Rouge completely by accident and, reading about the author, I found that some believe this novella might have inspired Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment.  The similarities between the two are quite significant and, as a big fan of Dostoyevsky, I’m having a great time translating this fascinating story.

My second WIP is the third book in the On the Soul series and picks up where Book I, On the Soul of a Vampire, left off.  All the questions readers are left with in the first two books will be answered, Valéry and Angelina’s fate will be known, and not only will the mystery surrounding God’s plan for Valéry be solved, but so also will the mystery of how vampires came to be and the connection this has to Valéry and Angelina’s story.

Since I wrote the first draft of On the Soul in 1995, most of the prequel, Pro Luce Habere, in 1996-97 and the rough draft for Genesis shortly after, the idea for the entire series has been there for quite a while.  While Genesis picks up where Book I left off (in 1997), it’s also very much inspired by a short mention in its namesake and will have a very different take on this subject which has, ironically enough, become popular in both Christian fiction and commercial paranormal romance.  As with the first two books, while there is a supernatural element, my idea was really to write the opposite of a fantasy story about monsters or pure good battling pure evil, and instead write a story that ties an understanding of vampires and angels into the human story.


Question #3:  What genre would your book fall under?

Krisi: Ah, at last, the short answer (or the shorter answer)!  None of the books in the On the Soul series fit very comfortably into a specific genre, unfortunately or fortunately.  They all have elements of horror, paranormal, mystery, historical fiction and the deeper questions usually found in what’s called literary fiction, but with a very spiritual theme and Christian/Catholic theological ideas.  Coincidentally, I think much of the same could be said for Charles Barbara’s The Red Bridge Murder, minus maybe the paranormal element.


And now here are some more awesome authors whose work you want to watch:

Ellen Maze (horror/Christian speculative fiction): http://www.ellencmaze.com/
J.R. Rain (paranormal/mystery/suspense): http://jrrain.com/
Jaimey Grant (romance/historical fiction): http://jaimeygrant.blogspot.com/

For those who would like to participate or follow along, here is the full list of 10 questions:

1.  What is the title of your book/WIP?
2.  Where did the idea for the book come from?
3.  What genre would your book fall under?
4.  Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
5.  What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
6.  Is your book published or represented?
7.  How long did it take you to write?
8.  What other books within your genre would you compare it to?
9.  Which authors inspired you to write the book?
10. Tell us anything else that might pique our interest in your book?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July!  Wishing everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday!

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Next Big Thing


I was invited by Karin Kaufman (thanks, Karin!), author of mystery/suspense novel, The Witch Tree, to participate in author Gail M. Baugniet’s (The Pepper Bibeau mystery series) blog event, The Next Big Thing (TNBT).  In it, authors will answer 10 questions about their current WIP (work in progress) and tag five other writers, linking to their blogs so everyone can check out their answers.
 
Karin and Gail thought one or two questions per week would work well, so we can tag more authors with each post (this doesn’t have to be five each time).


Question #1 of The Next Big Thing:


What is the title of book/WIP?

 Krisi:  Right now I actually have two WIPs going simultaneously.  I’m working on a translation of Charles Barbara’s mystery/suspense novella, The Red Bridge Murder (L’Assassinat du Pont-Rouge), which some believe might have inspired Fyodor Dostoyevsky to write Crime and Punishment.  I’m also working on Genesis, Book III in my On the Soul vampire series.


And now, five awesome authors whose work you want to watch:
 
Karin Kaufman (mystery/suspense): http://www.karin-kaufman.blogspot.com/

Tahlia Newland (fantasy/magical realism): http://tahlianewland.com/blog/

Teric Darken (thriller/suspense): http://tericdarken.blogspot.com/

Tracy Krauss (romance/speculative fiction): http://www.tracykraussexpressionexpress.com/

Ellen Gable (historical fiction/romance/suspense): http://ellengable.wordpress.com/


For any authors who’d like to participate, here’s the full list of TNBT questions for you to copy and paste into your blog with your answers.  Just tag five other awesome authors with links to their blogs so everyone can follow along.

1)  What is the title of your book/WIP?
2)  Where did the idea for the book come from?
3)  What genre would your book fall under?
4)  Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
5)  What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
6)  Is your book published or represented?
7)  How long did it take you to write it?
8)  What other books within your genre would you compare it to?
9)  Which authors inspired you to write this book?
10) Tell us anything else that might pique our interest in this book.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Lion Hunt: My First Published Translation

Now available on Amazon Kindle:



If you like 19th century literature, especially fun action/adventure stories like Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers, and you're looking for other excellent but lesser known authors, you might be interested in checking out my English translation of Alfred Assollant's La Chasse aux Lions (The Lion Hunt). This is a wonderful short story (approximately 20,000 words) about two young soldiers in the 7th Light in Algiers, Dumanet and Pitou, who, more or less, fall into a rather dangerous situation while seeking renown in Africa. Written in an easy-to-read YA style, it's full of fun banter between the two friends and it's a fast-paced adventure.

I had a great time translating the story and the book includes both my English translation and the original French text, as well as some historical and language notes for students.

Thank you to anyone who gets a chance to check it out and I hope you like it as much as I did.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Pro Luce Habere FREE on Kindle Tuesday, May 8

Get Pro Luce Habere, the two volume prequel to On the Soul of a Vampire, FREE on Amazon Kindle Tuesday, May 8. That's two full-length novels, combined in one edition, for free and, as a prequel, it can be read before reading On the Soul of a Vampire.

Just click the book link below:


What does a vampire see when he dies?

The death, destruction and darkness rife in human history…
and the living light in the human soul which somehow shines through it all.
A horrific deception that just may lead to the ultimate truth he’s sought for eight centuries…
and mystical visions of a little girl who could hold the key to the mystery of a legend as old as mankind.

Dying isn’t the end of knowledge; it’s only the beginning.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

On the Soul of a Vampire FREE on Amazon Kindle Mon. & Tues., March 5-6

On the Soul of a Vampire, Book I in the On the Soul series, will be FREE on Amazon Kindle Monday and Tuesday, March 5th and 6th, 2012.

Just click on the book link below:



A vampire's desire isn't blood or life; the key to the mystery is in the human soul.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pro Luce Habere FREE on Amazon Kindle TODAY thru SAT.

Pro Luce Habere, the prequel to On the Soul of a Vampire, is FREE on Amazon Kindle today (2/23) through Saturday (2/25). Just click on the book link below:



Look beyond fiction and folklore and believe again.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Stealing Jenny by Ellen Gable FREE on Kindle Today

Don't miss Ellen Gable's wonderful pro-life suspense novel, Stealing Jenny, FREE on Amazon Kindle today, Feb. 21, 2012.

Click on the book link:




or visit Ellen at Plot Line and Sinker.

Pro Luce Habere FREE on Kindle Feb. 23 through Feb. 25

This Thursday through Saturday, February 23-25, 2012 get Pro Luce Habere Volumes 1 & 2 combined edition FREE on Kindle.

Just click on the book cover below:



The power’s not in the blood, but in the sacrifice made in spilling it.

Play It Again by Tracy Krauss




4 1/2 ****

Reviewed on February 20, 2012

In this sensitive romance by author Tracy Krauss, conservative accountant, Russ Graham, finds himself unexpectedly attracted to a vibrant young woman he meets at a resort where her jazz musician father and his band have a gig. Deanie Burton, a former rock singer who is in school studying for what she hopes will be a more stable career, is likewise surprised by her immediate attraction to Russ, and the two share an intimate evening. But a past relationship that still haunts Russ leads to him compounding this passionate mistake with another.

Set in 1980’s Canada, Play It Again is a story about the difficulty of letting go of pain and trusting again, both in others and in the belief that God has a plan for everyone. The two main characters, Russ and Deanie, are very well-drawn and realistic, and author Tracy Krauss does a wonderful job of portraying with honesty and sympathy the heartbreaks of their past and the challenges they must face to overcome them. I also loved the vivid portrayal of all those who shape and impact Russ and Deanie’s lives, from Deanie’s jazz musician father to her former bandmates and friends and the relationship the couple have with Russ’ son, Mark.

While most definitely a Christian novel with themes of redemption and coming to faith in Christ, it can also be enjoyed as simply a spiritually-uplifting contemporary romance because it comes from the character point of view of those who are not starting off with any kind of strong faith perspective, but who are instead just two everyday people who face the struggles, deal with the consequences and must decide how they will heal from the traumas and mistakes all human beings make.

A recommended read for all fans of edgy Christian fiction.

Book Launch: Play It Again by Tracy Krauss

Tracy Krauss, author of ‘edgy inspirational fiction’, is launching her book PLAY IT AGAIN on Feb. 21. You can help her achieve ‘best seller’ status by purchasing the book at amazon.com TODAY – and receive all kinds of cool free gifts while you’re at it!

Here’s how:
1. Go to the Landing Page on Tracy’s Website
2. Buy the book at amazon.
3. Go back to the Landing Page and fill in the form with your name, email and purchase number
It’s that easy! You’ll be directed to your free gifts and all you have to do is choose which ones you want.



About the book:
An unlikely duo meet in Play It Again, a story of love, life and faith. Sparks fly when an ex-rock and roll junkie and a stuffy accountant rendezvous at a local resort, but neither are prepared for the emotional entanglements, family complications, and threat from the past that unexpectedly resurfaces. Set in the 1980s, this story brings two opposing forces together in a clash of romance and danger, while its musical undertones highlight the theme that God can turn anything into beautiful music. Play It Again is the much anticipated prequel to Tracy’s debut novel And the Beat Goes On. Find out where Mark Graham’s journey began in this, the story of his parents.

What others are saying about PLAY IT AGAIN:
“This is one of the best contemporary novels I've read all year. . . Not only was it well-written, but it was edgy in that the story dared to be honest. . . I can see this touching a lot of people who have thought about God but have been afraid to move forward.”
- Michelle Sutton, author of more than a dozen inspirational novels
“This book is hot property, and grabs your interest from page one.”
- Yvonne Pat Wright, author of From Spice to Eternity

Author bio:
Tracy Krauss is a high school teacher by profession, and a prolific author, artist, playwright and director by choice. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Saskatchewan and has gone on to teach Art, Drama and English – all the things she is passionate about. After raising four children, she and her husband now reside in beautiful Tumbler Ridge, BC where she continues to pursue all of her creative interests. Her first two books were both nominated for the ‘Indie Excellence Book Awards’ for religious fiction in 2011.

FREE STUFF:
Here’s just a sampling of the FREE e-gifts from generous supporters:
- An e-copy of Lisa Lickel’s award winning novel Meander Scar
- Sample chapters from The Promise of Deer Run by Elaine Cooper, Warring Spirits by April Gardner, and The Right Person by Stacy Padula
- Beautiful downloadable art cards by author and artist Brenda Hendricks
- A free subscription to ‘PixApple’
- You copy of Frazzled No More by Shelley Hitz
- A cool ‘Daily Scheduler’ developed by author Janalyn Voigt
- And much more!
All if you buy your copy of PLAY IT AGAIN at amazon.com on Feb. 21! All links will be operational on the ‘Landing Page’ at www.tracykrauss.com/

DISCLAIMER: This ‘Best Seller book launch’ has been coordinated with the help of the ‘John 3:16 Marketing Network’ and many other generous supporters. The free gifts are deliverable electronically over the internet or by email by individual authors and supporters. They are not in any way associated with, nor deliverable by, amazon.com