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K. L. Stewart's Dark Angels blog gives details into the characters, worlds, and inspirations related to all of the books in my Angels and Shadows series.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Red Symbolism

     I recently had a poll up on the site asking what color affects your mood.  Blue was the winner.  So thanks for voting!  I do plan on having a blog about blue, so keep reading, and I hope to have it up soon.  For now, though, I have prepared a blog on the color that affects me the most, which is red.  So, why does any of this really matter, and what importance does it have to my book?

     Color is important, symbolic, and mood altering.  I love colors, all of them!  My personal favorite is red.  Personally, I like it because it is a vibrant and passionate color.  It is an exciting and adventurous color for me.  
     In my writing I use it as both a color that represents pain, and as a color that represents life and love.  I use it hand in hand with the symbolism of blood.  Blood can symbolize pain, or life and love.  I thought that blood would tie in well as a sacrificial symbol.  Such as the blood of Christ in Christianity.  It is both pain (from his death on the cross)  and it is life (eternal life for us, since he was sacrificed to save humanity from their sins).  It is also found within all of us.  We are who we are because of our genetics, which are passed down through our DNA, so our traits are "in our blood".
    I made the angels cry tears of blood when they feel pain.  When they read souls, red is the color that show the emotions of pain.  The robes that Celeste wears while held captive in Shea are red, representing her pain both physically and emotionally.  Also I thought that there should be an exchange of blood when the dark angels free a soul.  (Slatkin and Angelik don't count in the blood symbolism because although angels, they are not dark angels, so their symbolism is different.)  For fans of the book, perhaps there's a reason for certain characters having red hair...hmmm  (like Belle).  Red is one of the royal colors of Sark.  This represents life for these people.  They live in a black and white world of snowy forests.  The idea is that the red banners of the castle would stand out like a flame against the black and white, bringing hope to the people.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Nothing Like the Real Thing!

Many people are now buying e-books, and the debate is on:
Do you think that paper books will stand the test of time, or will they soon be a thing of the past?

Here's my take on this: e-books are okay, but nothing will ever replace my paper made books. 
There is just something special about the sensation of actually holding the book in your hands.  It's almost magical.  I love everything about it!

I love the sound of my fingers sliding over the page, as I get ready to flip it over in anticipation of what will happen next.
I love the actual sound of the page flipping, as I excitedly look for a favorite part to re-read! 
I even love the smell of a book!  It' kind of how I first bond with the book. 
I see it first, then I take a hold of it, get the feel of it, and as I open it, the smell is noticed before I even read the first word.

It's almost the same as meeting someone for the first time. 
You see them, shake their hand, and before they have spoken, their scent has already permeated the air around you. 
Good or bad, it leaves an impression. 
The same is true for books. 
They are good friends, and that first meeting is important! 
This gets lost with e-books. 
I'm not against e-books.  I'll still read them, but it seems like something is lost.  Something that cannot be replaced.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How do you cure Writer's Block?

Writers block is one of those strange sicknesses that overwhelms a writer's mind sometimes.  No one can really explain why this happens, or how to keep it from infecting us.  For each person the symptoms can be different.  For me, the one that is most prominent is a general irritation at everything and everyone around me.  I also pace, and get behind on other things like house work, because I'm spending so much time staring at a notebook or computer screen.  I get so irritated that everyone around me gets irritated, too.  However, there is hope.  There are some simple things I do to aid me in getting the story down on the paper.  I've learned to recognize the signs of my own writer's block so that I can take steps to ensure that writing continues as planned.  These are three things that usually work, but not necessarily in this order:

     1.  Write.  Anything and everything.  Even if it is the words writers block over and over.  Sometimes, that becomes different words.  I did that once, and ended up writing a poem called "The Block of Writers".

     2.  Don't write.  Don't write anything.  Do anything and everything except writing.  Clean out your closet, reorganize your office, dance, go for a walk, sing, call up your best friend for a lunch date, watch a movie...just don't write.  Sometimes getting away from the work brings new experiences, which brings new ideas...ideas which you suddenly feel the need to write about!

     3.  Read over older things that you've written.  Sometimes this doesn't let you move forward with new works, but it helps you refine old works, which still counts as writing!  That editor and perfectionist in you will come out, and sometimes reading the older works will give you a new outlook for current projects.  This has worked for me numerous times.

I hope that this helps.  It has helped me.  If you are a writer and have other things that you've tried, I would love to hear your cures for this illness!  Feel free to share, and let me know if these work for you!  Happy Writing!

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Villain

Many people have said it.  You can't have a good story without a good villain.  For me, the writer, I must have some sympathy for the villain, otherwise, I cannot accurately record what he feels.  The ultimate villain is the dark god Nometheog, god of the void, but the character that he chooses to inhabit is the one I sympathize with.


Shekley was not always a villain, and indeed, he doesn't see himself as such.  He is merely someone who in a moment of weakness, allowed the darkness of Nometheog to seep into his heart, and possess him.  Now he is stuck with the sickness of evil that inhabits him, and he cannot find a cure for his confused anger and fear.  He cannot cope with his mistakes with his right mind, so he has allowed the Shadow to take over.  He constantly struggles for control of his own mind, but in weakness, he always gives in to his fear, and the Shadow takes control.  It is a sad and heartbreaking story, and I do plan to make it a separate book one day, but for now he remains the villain.  Angels and Shadows couldn't be a good story without him.

Finding Ruby in the Mountains

I would like to turn away for a moment from Angels and Shadows.  Instead, I want to share with you my most recent adventure.  I promised my daughter that I would write a book that she could help me with.  She's only nine, so as a parent, I feel that Angels and Shadows is too mature of a story for her to read.  I decided that I would write a book that would be for her and other girls her age who share her same interests.  I chose to expand upon a short story that I had started ages ago, when the two of us were playing school.

We had just gotten back from the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina where we went gem mining.  She knew that ruby was her birthstone, and when she mined a ruby, she was ecstatic!  I wrote the short story soon after this trip, with her new ruby on my mind.  I decided to name the character Ruby, and give her the traits of my daughter, only she would be a fairy.  Her best friend would be a unicorn.  All little girls go crazy for unicorns!  I gave the unicorn the name of Sapphire.

She loved the short story, and it became the first chapter of what is now a completed (and daughter approved)  book.  My daughter really took it seriously that she was a co-author.  She took it so seriously that she became an editor!  She is learning how to properly structure sentences in school, and she was calling out all my misplaced commas and periods.  As a parent this was a great moment of pride.  As a writer, it was one of the best learning experiences that I've had in my whole career!  She changed the original plot, which was supposed to have rivaling groups of magical creatures, but it was too scary for her.  So, the Shadow Dancers were completely cut from the book.  They will just have to wait for a later time.  She's not ready to hear about them right now.  I replaced them with the trolls and the Cakelympics (what are Cakelympics, you ask?).  These are Olympic type games played by trolls using cakes and cake materials to replace normal things.  (For instance, instead of throwing a ball through a hoop for basketball, trolls throw cakes through hoops.)

This has been a great experience, and I can't wait to unveil this book!  As of now, the release date is the same day as the Author Event at the Jacksonville Mall, April 30th, 2011.  I'll keep adding updates as I get them, so keep checking!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Author Event!

For anyone who hasn't yet picked up a copy of Angels and Shadows, I will be attending an author event at the Jacksonville Mall on April 30th.  The event will last from 10a.m. until 3p.m..  This will be my second year attending this event.  Last year was a lot of fun, and a great success.  This year promises to have many more authors than last year, and Reimann Books (my publisher) is teaming up with The Book Exchange (a bookstore located at 211 Western Blvd. in Jacksonville, NC) to bring us an Eat and Greet which will begin at four o'clock.  There will be food, wine, and of course plenty of books to sell (or to buy if you're the reader).  If you are wanting to know more about my book you can read the first chapter here.  If you just can't wait for the author event or live too far away, you can purchase the books at www.reimannbooks.com or amazon.com.  Enjoy!

How It's Done

     Many people tell me that they wish they could get ideas like me.  They ask me how I come up with these ideas.  For me it comes naturally.  To be a writer, you must be a full-time daydreamer.  That's how I think of it.  The ideas just come.  Instead of pushing them aside, I allow them to grow, and I listen to these characters that run around in my head.  I visit these lands with them.  I feel what they feel (and sometimes I make them feel what I feel).  Then when it goes onto paper, it becomes like a dream made into a reality.  It is something that other people can walk into and experience.
     The thing is, not everyone's experience in these worlds will be the same as mine, and I understand that.  That's why so many different genres of literature exist.  Some people go into a fantasy world, and hate it.  Others, relish in the escape from reality.  Personally, I go into a world that seems like reality, and try to instantly flee.  If I'm already living in this world, why would I escape to it?  That's why I'm a fantasy author.  I create these worlds for the endless possibilities that arise from a place where anything can happen, and where I can control it all.
     After all, that's what sucks about reality.  You can try to change it, but really it's all the same.  Someone else always holds a higher card.  In a fantasy world, even when things seem harsh and inescapable, there is always a way for the character to gain an advantage, even when you think the situation is hopeless.  So whether it comes to me through a dream or a daydream, I must watch and listen to the events unfolding in these worlds, and report them on paper.  This is writing at its most simple.  Writing not only what you know, but what you think, dream, and imagine!  It is both spiritual and emotional for me.  It is an outlet for me, and it is also energy pouring into me all at the same time.
     There are some things that I do to help me write in a deeper mode, such as when I have an emotional scene to write.  I may be feeling an opposite emotion in my actual life at that time, but that's when I create a mood.  I turn on some music, and get rid of any outside distractions.  Sometimes I even change the lighting in the room, and the smells around me.  This helps me to tune myself to what my characters are thinking and feeling, and open my imagination so that I can see what's happening more clearly before writing it down.
     Now, every writer may have different inspirations and different advice, but I recommend the following blogs as something for both writers and for anyone who just wonders how we do it.



Wednesday, March 2, 2011

An Oro-what?

There are many kinds of characters in my books, so to make it a little easier to tell them apart, I've decided to break them all down into a basic list.  The characters listed below all make their way into the first book.  The only beings not listed are the gods.  I'm saving them for a list of their own, which I'm sure I'll need by the end of the series.  So, here they are!

Dark angels:  The Dark Angels of Sark are central to the story.  They each hold unique abilities that they   use to help humanity fight the darkness of The Shadow.

Light angels:  Light angels are creatures that bring light into the world, but they are more vulnerable than dark angels, and can often be led astray.

Orostiro:  These are children of the god Saigolai.  They are high ranking Dark Angels.

Werewolves:  These are both human and wolf.  They were given their abilities by the god Khanhine.  The reason the powers were given is still disputed.

Nephilim:  The nephilim are creatures who were never meant to exist.  They can only be born when an Orostiro mates with a human.  Since such unions are forbidden, nephilim are accidents, and often exiled.  They are naturally good with weapons and fighting.  They are tall and slender, often thought by humans to be half-giants.

Humans:  In Sark, there are three different tribes of humans, and then there are the townsfolk.  The tribes are the Astrids, Wards, and Quinlans.  The hunters are townsfolk, but they often make do for themselves in the wilderness, except in the extreme cold of the winter when they find residence in The Howling Wolf Tavern.

Elves:  Elves reside between the worlds of Sark and Shea.  They are the only ones who are allowed to pass through doorways.  Even the gods must have elves present to shift between worlds.  There are different races of elves known to exist throughout Shea.  They were the first soldiers created by Saigolai to defend the light and innocence of Shea.

Trolls:  Trolls are large creatures made of rock and stone.  They have wiry hair and they adorn themselves with permanent paintings and they carve ceremonial symbols into their skin (which doesn't hurt, since their skin is like rock).  There are two types of trolls, mountain trolls and forest trolls.  Forest trolls are brightly colored, Mountain Trolls are often black and Grey.

Fairies:  Fairies cannot always be seen with the naked eye.  They are spirits that waver in and out of the physical and spiritual worlds.  They can be as small or as large as they choose to, and their main concern is seeing that nature continuously flourishes in Shea.

Gnomes:  Gnomes are forest creatures that often live in holes near patches of mushrooms.

Pselbdes:  Pselbdes are from the futuristic land of Tahln.  They traveled to Shea accidentally, and are on a quest to stop Shekley and the Mahldrusecs from spreading the darkness that has devoured their homeland.  Pselbdes are psychic beings.  Each possess a unique ability.

Mahldrusecs:  These are creatures created by Shekley and the Shadow.  They are made to be soldiers, a mixture of human, and machine.  Once they have been changed, they are controlled by the Shadow, and are powerless to stop their own actions, even if they want to.

This is the basic list of character types for the Angels and Shadows series.  If I find that others become central to the story, I will add them at that time.  I hope this helps break things down for you, and that you'll continue to check my blog for more updates on this series.  


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

incident in an elevator (blogging challenge)

I have joined a blogging challenge, and I hope that it helps make this blog more entertaining for you, my readers.  Today's challenge is to make an elevator pitch.  So imagine that we are in an elevator (in the city of Trost if it helps your imagination), and you're asking what my blog is about.  I would reply:

K. L. Stewart's Dark Angels is a blog about the characters, worlds, and inspirations behind the Angels and Shadows series that I am writing.  If my book was a movie, this blog would be the special features included in the DVD package.  Through it, I hope to entertain, connect, and interact with my readers.

"Unfortunately, this is my floor...thanks for listening."  The floor number is highlighted and the doors open. You notice an edge of flaming red hair start to slide out of the black hair, but I'm gone before you can do a double take to verify what you think you just saw.  It's the beginning of another strange day in the city of Trost.