Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Today, I get to do something new. I am pleased to have an author as a guest on my page of the world. Her journey as an author is very similar to mine and I can feel her desire to create when I read about her. Because we want to know more of what drives author T. K. Harris, we have a chance to listen.
What Inspired Me to Write Phantom Dreams
It started with a dream. I know cliché right? But it really did. I had a dream that I was walking through a large crowd of people, surrounded by white canvas tents. I am moving quickly but don't know why, when suddenly the crowd parts and there is a man in front of me, carrying a sword and it is aimed right at me. Then, just as quickly, the woman is no longer me and I am now watching. I woke up before the sword drove home. And that's how Phantom Dreams was born.
I wish I could say that I wrote it all down in a flash and everything just worked itself out. BUT, that didn't happen. First it percolated in my brain while I went about being a full-time mother while working a 60 hour a week job. (And that was a short week!). And then, I began writing down bits and pieces late at night in between trying to write and publish stories. Only to become more and more frustrated. First, the stories that I had sold to date were short stories. In fact, the first publication I had ever been paid for was a 1200 word mystery sold to mysterynet.net. But it is a very different skill set to go from short stories to a full-length novel. I was good at cutting to the chase, getting to the point and well, you know the rest. So, I floundered.
For the next few years I put most of my effort into my work, family, multitude of projects (I'm a Gemini and we can't help it), subsequent divorce, the 2008/2009 job fiasco, and the many other awesomely awful and wonderful things that life carelessly threw in my path and laughingly under my feet to see how many times it could make me fall. (I still have scars!) And, sometimes I would work on my book. And then, one day, I got frustrated for a different reason. And, then, I got mad. And, then, I got focused. I made myself sit down and write a list of what I wanted out of life. My ideal job. My ideal partner. My ideal finances. My projects. And I wrote those lists and decided to start focusing. My first project was paying of debt (still working on that!). The second was finishing the d*m# book! The right way. (Or is it the "write" way? – Feel free to groan.)
I put the book out to readers. Got feedback. And then began the arduous task of editing, rewriting and editing some more. And then began putting it out there on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Kobo, etc. I got a great review on Kirkus Reviews and started getting great comments. I have marketed, tweaked it, re-edited it and developed a new book cover since but I still remember my first "real" sell. Not the books that were bought by friends and family. No. It was that one sell when you realized someone you didn't know, bought it. And now, all I can ask myself is, why didn't I do this sooner?
T. K. Harris
SYNOPSIS for: Phantom Dreams
A scorned serial killer on an old vendetta.
An FBI agent who has been chasing monsters for too long.
A woman whose nightmares start invading her waking life.
FBI Special Agent Jack Matthews finds himself on yet another serial killer case, having barely recovered from the last disastrous hunt. Still stiff from a gun shot wound in his leg, under investigation for a botched job, and having lost his fiancée when she walked out on him, Jack is beginning to wonder if it isn’t time to move on to something new. But, for Jack, these cases are personal and he can’t say no.
Marketing specialist Kathy Gilliam leads a fairly boring life. If she’s not working or caring for her ailing father, then she is doing whatever it takes to avoid going anywhere near crowds of people. Her few distractions include her friend Margo Longfellow, occasional hiking trips, and her increasingly alarming dreams of women dying.
As her nightmares cause her to begin to doubt her sanity, the media releases news of the “Coast-to-Coast Killer” and Kathy discovers her dreams may be related. In a moment of panic, Kathy does something that places her on the FBI’s “persons of interest” list. Suddenly, her life is set on a collision course with Jack who must decide if Kathy is the killer or destined to become a victim.
Sunday, October 28, 2012
The Dragon’s Eye
There once were two brothers whom the county kept a vigilant eye upon, so notorious was their brand of trickery.
One night around a roaring fire, their uncle spilled a tale of dragons. Not just any dragon, but a dragon who burdened the night. She of great green scales, three toes, and wings that smelled of leather and embers. Her tail, long as a ship’s mast, spike-horned and spaded at the end. Her main parts were twice as long as her tail and her lizardly form walks on limbs common to dragons. And as she sways, her scales clink together as a thousand firecrackers.
Many a time a maiden or a man hid behind a stonewall and listened as that sound passed by. Lucky they were, but from then on, they bore the dragon’s scare. If ever they slept, they saw dreams of screams as the flesh boiled from their bones in the dragon’s breath. Mwa ha, ha, ha, haaaaaa!
Her head bore horns of some jagged bone, long as a man’s arm, many times splattered with the entrails of children two small to escape. And many a boy she impaled as she swung her head about in the dark.
And she stank of burnt hair and old blood sitting in the sun. The consequences of her victim’s demise.
But, this made her comparable to other dragons. What made this dragon extraordinary were her eyes. Alive they are! Look close and you will see the wizard whose dark magic created the beast from fire, fungus, and an ancient spell cast under the stars. A spell lost to the ages. Until he alone solved the riddle of Limerick. The riddle that magically bound the old book of spells.
Powerful as the wizard was, he was similarly arrogant. He believed he controlled the brute, whereas in truth, the ancient magic he brewed was even darker than he knew. You see, the wizard intended his dragon for evil.
In the kingdom where the wizard lived, nothing was more loved than the children who played in the village. Above all else, children were the most precious thing in all the world. The wizard thought he could take that magic that a child possesses, so highly valued, and he could make it into gold.
For this, he would make a dragon to do his dirty work. A monster who ate little children.
But deep, buried inside that hex, an even more potent spell resided. And it encased the wizard inside the dragon’s eye. Forever bound to the beast, a witness to the horrible fire that is a dragon’s work.
Therefore, since that day a dragon roams the night. Silent until she strikes! So be vigilant, for the only warning you have, are the yellow glow of her eyes. The wizard, aflame and aghast at what he sees. Appearing and disappearing each time, she blinks. Like fireflies, they say. Brilliant against the darkness.
So watch carefully, for if ever you see fireflies, two abreast, run, run for your lives!
Spike Pedersen, Wizard’s apprentice
Monday, October 22, 2012
My book launch adventure occurred yesterday and it went well. Well as in a deep hole. I entertained by nearly forgetting I was to be introduced. I backed away from the podium and stood like a leper while being wonderfully introduced, in flowing, loving, beautiful terms by Nancy.
Then stood in front of the crowd. ( yes a crowd) I said I would read from the book. Only the book was still out in the car. So I left my podium and my audience and dashed to the car, fumbled with the keys, found the book and then dashed back inside minus the picture I had for show and tell. So I had to use the thousand words that the picture was supposed to do. I did this while wheezing from all the dashing.
Being a project manager in possible good standing, I set up my smart phone to accept credit cards with a card swiper and everything weeks before I needed it. And I needed it right now. Only I could not remember where I put it. Therefore, we negotiated using sign language with the crowd and sold some books anyway. Where was this card reader that I bragged about to my audience? I have no idea until I loaded the lectern into the car after the show and remembered I had put it on the lectern where only sane and bright people could never miss it. Writers must not be sane and bright. The crowd did say my show was comedic…
So it was, as my button was pushed and I rise from mere writer to Author. Thanks for coming and supporting me!