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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, May 31, 2011

The Worshipped

In the Angels and Shadows books, the Shean gods are both villains and heroes.  They are kings and queens of their own realm, Shea.  But to the Astrid and Ward tribes of Sark, they are gods and goddesses.  This gives them their power in Sark.  So not only are they responsible for maintaining peace and innocence in their own realm, but they must also ensure the lives and continuity of the tribes of Sark.  The Dark Angels respect the tribes beliefs, but Kristiniva is seen as a villain to the dark angels, after she stole Celeste to drain her of her powers.  This makes them wary of the other gods as well.

Kialo is the earth god.  He has dominion over plants, creatures, and fertility.  His power is in the dust of the Shean soil.  He can sculpt life, but he can also destroy it.  He lives in a castle made into the mountains, and yet, it is open to the sky so that trees and other plants and animals can thrive freely within.

Kristiniva is the sky goddess.  She is the queen of Shea.  She has rule over the weather, working with Kialo to ensure that life remains plentiful both in Shea, and Sark.  Her power is in the winds.  She can breathe life into the world, or she can blow it out.  She lives in a castle that constantly moves at her will, a magical place that moves atop clouds. 

Adrianna is the sea goddess.  She lives in the deepest oceans.  She is responsible for all of the water in Shea, and the rivers running through Sark.  She commands all of the creatures of the sea.  Her waters give drink to those who are thirsty, but they can also dry up at her command.

Amicus is the messenger god.  He is the one who must communicate between the gods and their subjects.  He can control how the other gods receive prayers, and how they are returned to the people.  He has not only the power of speech, but all communication.  He is the central god that maintains peace and innocence.  Without his power, confusion would abound, and tempers would flare. 

Thiera is the lost goddess.  Stories are told of her powers.  Those of fire.  Some say she was banished by the other gods.  Some say she never existed.  She is a forgotten goddess whose power came not from Shea, but from the sun itself.  The Astrids and Wards often tell stories of a before-time.  Thiera is always present in their tales.  Living in such a cold realm, they must have faith that she is real.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Harvesting Imagination

I'm getting prepared for writing (the second draft) in the second book in the series of Angels and Shadows.  My creative writing process is very intricate.  There is a checklist for getting the most out of my imagination.  Maybe these are way off from what you do, or perhaps there are some tips that will really help you.  Either way, here's a peek into my process (and an explanation for my weird behavior).

1- I must have everything in my work area clean and organized.  Having everything where I need it is essential to getting my work done.  I feel so much more focused if I'm in a clutter free and organized space.

2-I must be alone and undisturbed.  Once I'm in my writing mode, I don't want to be disturbed until I am finished.  Other people can interrupt this process, and any disruption can make me forget the thoughts I'm writing down, and once they are gone I don't always get them back.  This is one of the most difficult things for me.  Family and friends don't always understand, but we as writers must demand this time.  After all, we are working, and just like on a regular paying job, we don't need to be interrupted by people unless it is an emergency.  Once the idea is down, I can easily bring it back when I'm around others, but for that initial summoning of my muse, alone time is a necessity!

3-Music helps me summon emotions and feelings that I might need to create.  For instance, if everything is happy and cheerful in my life, I might have a hard time writing a scene where a character is feeling angry or sad.  The right music paired with the right scene really helps me get into what I'm doing.  It also helps my imagination "see" what I'm writing.  For instance, on a hot day (I live in North Carolina), it may be hard to imagine the swirling snows of Sark.  For snowy scenes, I like to listen to classical music.  This really helps my imagination turn that summer heat into a wintery night.

4-I know it sounds silly to some, but smells can help me.  I have a scentsy warmer, and the "Winter Wonderland" scent, to me, smells like Sark.  Once I have the classical music (usually Carl Orff's Carmina Burana), and my Winter Wonderland scent, I can close my eyes, and I'm transported to a snowy land with wind whipping through the branches of the kial thieren trees.

5-Again, I'm strange.  Clothing matters.  If I'm having a hard time focusing on a character, I will put on clothing that feels right for something that character would wear.  For instance, if I'm trying to invoke Celeste, I might put on a red dress.  It's silly to some, but for me it works.  I can feel then what that character feels.  For a writer, I don't think it's that strange.  After all, I've heard that Anne Rice has a coffin that she slept in when she was writing her vampire novels.  As a writer, I get it!

6-Drawing is sometimes how I think on paper when words won't come.  Sometimes I end up drawing people who actually turn out to be the characters.  Once I see that character with my own eyes, it helps bring them to life in my imagination, and writing about them becomes easier.  Sometimes, I just draw abstract symbols, but while my hands are busy, my mind is working, and doodling helps the ideas flow.  Then when the ideas are formed, the doodles turn into words, which eventually make their way into books.

7-Re-reading what I've already written can help me focus my thoughts on the characters and lands that I'm trying to create.  If I'm writing about the pselbdes, I might re-read all of the pselbdes parts that I've written, and this would help me envision current scenes that I'm writing.  It moves the idea along.

Hopefully, this will be helpful to you.  Do you have any ideas for invoking your muse?  I'd love to hear them, and I'd love to hear if any of these help you!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Choose your Apocalypse

A preacher (Harold Camping) has invested a lot of time and money into making us believe that God is coming back and the world will end this Saturday, May 21, 2011.  I don't believe it.  First of all I think if the world ended, there would be no warning.  It would be like a tornado, and earthquake or a sudden massive heart attack.  We wouldn't expect it and it would catch us so suddenly that we wouldn't have time to act.  There would be no post apocalypse.  Not if the actual world ended.  Now if life as we know it ended...wait that has already happened several times in the course of human history...from beginnings and ending of empires and wars to massive natural disasters that have left large pieces of the earth in ruins.  Despite my end of the world beliefs, it always makes for creative thinking and writing.  So choose your apocalypse.  How would the world end at the beginning of your post-apocalyptic story.

1)  The Biblical Scenario- For more details pick up a Bible and read Revelation.  This is still the best apocalypse story out there.

2) The Zombie Apocalypse- A virus infects us.  The dead walk as the undead.  Directionless, and angry, they roam the earth seeking brains to feed upon.  Those who survive live to load up on guns, loot grocery stores and hide out in weird boarded up ex-military bases, hospitals, and warehouses to destroy the infected.

3)The Vampire Scenario- Water turns to blood.  Those who can't handle it die...those who are higher on the evolution chain evolve, becoming a newer more evil race.  Vampires.  They walk the earth drinking blood and forever in torment, for all they want is a sip of water!

4)  The Werewolf Armageddon- Climate change brings a new ice age upon us.  Those in colder climates perish.  Those in warmer climates adapt.  They begin to grow fur.  As years go by, no food will grow on the permafrost.  They become desperate for food, cold and tired.  They crawl around on all fours hunting any kind of food they can get...even each other!

5)  The Alien End!- We can't ignore the alien end.  This is where visitors from some distant galaxy come to our planet, kill 90% of the world's population, enslave 9% of the population, and leave the remaining 1% on the earth as an experiment.

6)  The Human End-  World War III causes all countries with nuclear capabilities to ignite their weapons all at once.  The world ends in a fiery explosion.  Any remaining humans quickly die from disease, starvation, and nuclear winter.

7)  The Supernova Sun- The sun suddenly explodes into a supernova.  We all die out from the heat, and Earth becomes a molten memory as the Sun gets sucked into a black hole as it caves in upon itself.

So, do you think any of this will happen Saturday?  Probably not.  I think the United States facing financial collapse is more likely.  What do you think?  I'd love to hear what you have to say about this!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Amens, menas, samen...oh, it's Names!

Mahldrusecs...Selbdes...notice anything interesting about these names?  I'll give you a hint.  Both names are actually other words that have been scrambled to form the names of these races. This is a fun way for any writer to think up names to use for fictional characters and places in a book.  

This is a riddle I want to see if you can solve on your own.  In Mahldrusecs the "Mahl" and the pluralizing "s" at the end are not in the root word.

In Selbdes, use the whole word.

I don't have any prizes to give away (except for that great feeling of knowing you're right).  This should be a fun puzzle for anyone who likes word scrambles.  Let me know if you get the answer.  Just leave it in the comments.  I'll let you know the answers and who got it right in a future blog.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Blue Angels

The color blue is used often in Angels and Shadows to convey strong spirituality.  Often in popular culture, when we think of blue, it is used to express depression or loneliness.  I have personally always thought of blue to be a calming, spiritual, and arousing color.  It sparks feeling of peace and wholeness.  Slatkin's trail as he is following the hunters is a blue trail.  That is the color of Galan's soul.  Galan isn't like other hunters.  He was raised mostly by his Astrid mother, a woman of strong ties to the spirit world.  Despite the cruel harshness of his father's temper, he retains her teachings at the risk of losing his own life to the other hunters.
In the book other characters have blue soul colors.  Slatkin's is a dark blue.  Most Orostiro have blue souls.  It is the color used in representation of Saigolai.  Like water, and a clear sky, it represents life.  It is also the color of Celeste and Alexandria's homeland.  Blue and White are used together in the kingdom of Trealon.  It is a warm land, thriving at a sea port.  The blue is used to represent the nature of that land; a comforting and prosperous land of peace.  

Monday, May 2, 2011

She's Facing Me Book Review

The following is the Official Apex Review for She's Facing Me.  It was reviewed by Wendy Paulson.  It made my day to read this!  I couldn't have asked for a better review!
I couldn't get the images to upload to the blog, but it received four out of five stars. 

Visit Apex Reviews at www.apexreviews.net or e-mail at info@apexreviews.net

     Throughout the pages of She’s Facing Me, her autobiographical collection of poetry, author K.L. Stewart presents the reader with a compelling portrait of a wounded soul’s daunting trek through life. Starting with her troubled beginnings in a dysfunctional single parent home, She’s Facing Me takes you on a moving spiritual journey with wide reaching ramifications.  As Stewart eventually comes face-to-face with deep, long suppressed truths, she ultimately learns to embrace the healing power of forgiveness – both for those around her and herself.

     Perhaps the most salient quality of She’s Facing Me is the strong underlying current of spirituality that anchors the collection. Without such a crucial crutch to fall back on, Stewart would no doubt have succumbed to the crushing pain threatening to consume her during the darkest periods of her life. Given all the suffering that she was forced to endure, one would expect Stewart to have yielded to the throes of misery and depression long ago; however, through the powerfully creative fervor of her inspired verse, she relates a determined, unflappable strength that the reader can’t help but admire. Also, in covering the all-too-familiar ground of single parenthood, dysfunctional homes, and the adolescent struggle to find where we belong, She’s Facing Me paints a vivid picture of conflicted life to which readers of all backgrounds are sure to relate.

     Thoroughly uplifting, She’s Facing Me is a welcome new addition to the world of poetic verse.


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Exciting News!

I went with all of the Reimann Books authors to get our professional pictures taken.  Love it!  Thanks to all those involved.  The makeup artists were great, and they really made me reconsider the idea of wearing makeup daily.  I actually enjoyed the process!  Also thanks to the photographer of Frayed Knot Photography who made me look amazing.  Thanks also to the crew at Oak Street studios who put it all together.  It was a fun time for all of the authors to come together.  We all enjoyed socializing and meeting one another.

She's Facing Me has been reviewed by Apex Reviews...more news to come on this soon.  I'll give you a hint, though...4 out of 5 stars makes me feel pretty good!

Finally, the author event at the Jacksonville Mall was a great success (much better than last year, so there's no complaining on my part).  It was a lot of fun, and The Ruby Mountains was selling like candy.  It made my day, and it made my daughter's day even more.  When it's all said and done, this is what matters the most.  We finally got to see the outcome of all our hard work, and my daughter, Victoria Leigh, got to see that her hard work has paid off, and that she has a creative talent that other people enjoy.  The lessons learned are worth everything.  I think it gave her confidence a much needed boost, and laid to rest many of her fears.  As a mother, I'm beaming.  As an author, I'm humbled by the talents of my daughter.  She will truly outshine me one day, and I can't wait!

Angels and Shadows current cover          
Angels and Shadows original published cover.

Angels and Shadows has new cover art.  The new artwork was done by Ashlyn Smith of Wildflower Design.  It shows Slatkin, Alexandria, and Angelik on the cover with Trost in the background.  I love it.  What do you think?  Do you like the new design, or was the old cover better?   (It was designed by yours truly with the help of  Lorenz Falls.)   I think I like like both, but Lorenz and Ashlyn both captured the feel, but from different perspectives.  I love it.  What do you think?

Wow!  What a lot of info to try to put into one blog.  We've been working very hard lately, and things have been very hectic around our house.  Hopefully, this week, I will be back on track with my blogging, and I will be able to go into greater detail soon.  Thanks for reading!