On Vacation!

Greetings, Champions! As I warned in my previous post, I have embarked on my adventure/vacation, and I won’t be back for approximately two weeks. I won’t have internet access while I’m gone, so I won’t be able to reply to any comments/questions until I get back. I’ve turned off all comments except on blog posts because I want to avoid anyone posting and wondering why I haven’t responded.

Yes, I used my vacation as an excuse to use a star wars meme. <3 I may have a problem.

Yes, I just used my vacation as an excuse to post a star wars meme.

In the meantime, you  can still get a Heart of Ice postcard if you send a stamped, addressed envelope to my PO Box! (PO Box 357
Oconomowoc, WI 53066) Britta–my intern–will keep checking the PO Box while I’m gone, so the postcard giveaway is still going strong!

When I return I’ll be tackling Sleeping Beauty and King Arthurs, and hopefully the new site will be launched by the end of September. I’m really excited about the new website. It will have some new goodies for you, Champions, but it will also have a fanart gallery! (Finally!!)

I hope you enjoy this last bit of Summer for those in the northern-hemisphere, and for you southern-hemisphere readers, hold on; summer is coming!

Final Freebie

Congratulations, Champions! You’ve unlocked the final freebie, The Imperial Prince is a Beast. All the freebies have been moved to the freebie tab now that you’ve unlocked them all. You can find them under the “Swan Lake” header. I hope you guys enjoy this last freebie. Gemma of Rumpelstiltskin makes an appearance, along with Hvit.

As Odile plays a pretty big role in this last freebie, I wanted to share another gorgeous piece of fanart! Your fellow Champion Rhea created this totally awesome image of Odile!

Rhea

It’s a bit harder to see on this smaller image, but Rhea made some totally awesome embroidery on Odile’s dress, including a moth on the waist/torso area–which I thought was adorable and perfect! (The little blue moth is so cute as well! It almost made me feel bad for being so horrified myself when I was writing the scenes with that scary-big moth in it.) If you want to see it full size, you can check it out on Rhea’s Tumblr page!

I was especially happy with Rhea’s work because Odile get’s looked over a lot in Swan Lake. She doesn’t have Empress Sonya’s wit, Benno’s confidence, Nadia’s physical skills, or Odette’s general kick-butt attitude, and she’s very quite in comparison to all of the aforementioned females, so she tends to fade into the background a bit. Even so, she was still one of my favorite characters to write because she’s so incredibly sweet.

And last of all… in approximately two months, I’m going to launch a new K. M. Shea website! I’m working with an awesome team to create this new website–we’ve outgrown this one, and I need something a little more sophisticated for book sorting purposes. As a part of that, I’m going to start shutting down comments on the pages to help ease the transition. (It’s hard to keep track of everything when new comments are constantly popping up!) Comments will stay remain open on my blog posts, its just the pages that are going to get the shut-down treatment. I cannot describe how much I’m looking forward to the new website! I feel like this placeis held together with chewing gum and tape. The new one will be much more roomy, and better organized.

Have a lovely week, Champions. I hope you enjoy this final freebie!

The celebration…

Greetings, Champions! I have some exciting news to share! First off, a reminder that tomorrow marks the beginning of the awesome Fantasy Romance sale I’m taking part of. A bunch of fantasy-romance authors, myself included, decided to band together and discount one book each from July 24th to July 27th. (Mine is the Little Selkie, which will be 99 cents!) There’s a pretty big list, and the organizer of the event–E. D. Walker–was kind enough to give each book a heat rating, so you know exactly what you’re buying! If you’re looking for some new books, I suggest you take a peek. Click here to go to the list and landing page for the promo!

But that’s not all! Today, I would like to introduce you to my amazing summer intern, Britta Vana!

Britta: Heyo!

Britta has actually been working behind the scenes for a few weeks, adjusting the Goodreads reading lists we’ve been populating together, but I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce her to you all. Tell us a bit about yourself, Britta.

Well, to start off, I am a reading maniac with two overflowing bookshelves, a Kindle, and a library within walking distance. I especially love Lord of the Rings and all of Kitty’s books! (My favorites are the Snow Queen series, Rumplestiltskin, Swan Lake and Princess Ahira.) I have numerous other hobbies, which go through phases, but reading has been my favorite pastime for as long as I’ve been able to make sense of the letters on the pages. Currently, I also enjoy calligraphy and drawing. I’m excited for this opportunity to be part of the team!

(She is far too kind regarding my writing, but I love being able to talk books with her!) I’m really excited to welcome Britta to our community—particularly because with her help I’ll be able to do a few things that I otherwise wouldn’t have the time to pull off. Which brings me to my next point!

This summer has been a huge thrill between getting Red Rope of Fate made into an audio book, releasing Swan Lake, welcoming Britta on board, and launching Heart of Ice and Sacrifice into paperback format, so I thought we should celebrate! For a limited time (aka, until we run out) I’ll be giving out Heart of Ice postcards!

postcard1

Ta da! To snag one of these postcards just send me a self-addressed, stamped envelope to this address:
PO Box 357
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
(To make things perfectly clear, this means you send the self-addressed, stamped envelope inside an envelope mailed to the above address.)  Britta will check the PO Box and mail off the postcard back to you, but if you want to include a letter or something to me feel free to—Britta will put it aside and I’ll receive it the next time we meet up.

 

Britta: (These postcards are awesome, trust me! I snagged one for myself :P)

 

Britta’s right–Myrrhlynn adjusted the Heart of Ice cover so it was a perfect fit on the postcard. But when I was signing postcard #150, I wasn’t feeling quite so perky about it. Ha-ha. Anyway!

 

As we couldn’t really estimate how popular the postcards will be—I refrained from asking you all since I wanted it to be a surprise, and let me tell you that was tough—we have a limited number of them. I would suggest sending out your envelope sooner than later if you’re interested, but if we run out fast I’ll order another batch. When we’re winding down I’ll make an official announcement that the giveaway has ended, otherwise I’ll keep a mention of the postcard giveaway in the top post, so please tell your family and friends about it!

 

Unfortunately, at this time we’re mailing out postcards to Champions living in the USA Only. As this is our first time doing this I thought it was in our best interest to keep things as simple as possible, but don’t worry! Once we get a system in place we’ll offer this to Champions who live world-wide!
And I think that’s plenty to slam you with today. I hope you guys enjoy the postcards…and my messy scrawl on the back of them. Thank you, Britta, for joining us today, and thanks for reading, Champions. Have a lovely weekend! (PS: Sorry for the wonky formatting in this post!)

Freebies and Re-writes!

Greetings, Champions! First order of business as I know many of you are chomping at the bit: Swan Lake has gotten over 100 reviews, so the next freebie is out! Click here for part two of “The Best Friends!” I want to take this moment to add in a big thank you to everyone who has left a review–it is a huge help to me in more ways than I can list!

Next order of business: Like Red Rope of Fate, Beauty and the Beast has gotten a rewrite! The new version is not yet uploaded to Amazon! Currently I’m working to get the paperback updated first, and then I’ll be uploading the ebook to Amazon. Even after I upload it to Amazon, though, there will be a bit of a wait before you’ll be able to see the new version. (I have to convince Amazon that the changes are “major,” before they’ll be willing to push an update on to your account.)

It’s a little cruel to tell you such a long time before you’ll be able to read it, but I wanted to forewarn anyone who is considering purchasing the paperback version of B&B, so they know a new version (with a new cover!) is coming out soon. The changes will be very similar to what happened with Red Rope–a lot of stylistic fixes, and a few new scenes to help round things out and create a more cohesive plot.

I will make a big announcement when the newest version is uploaded and after I’ve chatted with Amazon, so stay tuned for more info! In the meantime, I hope you have a wonderful week, and thanks for reading!

Swan Lake: Character Changes

Way to go, Champions! You’ve opened up the next short: Best Friends Part 1–Click here for the PDF! This short–and the last two that have yet to be unlocked–are told from Odette’s POV, and they follow her around, but they focus on getting you caught up with what’s happening to some of the secondary characters. Now, on to today’s post!

Finally, the topic I’ve been itching to write, Swan Lake’s characters and changes!

First, I’m going to assume you read my previous post that took a look at the original Swan Lake ballet. This is important because I’m going to look at the differences my characters make in the story.

One of the biggest things I changed was that I made the crown prince’s little brother Odette’s romantic love interest. (Also, I ditched the name Siegfried and made the crown Prince be called Yakov. This is mostly because I really like the name Siegfried and I suspect I will want to use it in the future.)

I did this because, as some of you might have noticed, I modeled Alexsei after the winning entry for my “Most wanted Hero” poll from January—the overlooked good guy. The easiest way to make him overlooked was to make him the second son of the Emperor and Empress, and depict his older brother as larger-than-life. I had some problems with this because if I made Yakov likeable, then you guys would be rooting for him, not Alexsei! So Yakov got a bit of a bossy makeover to help me with that.

Another big change I made was in organizing Odette’s people and making them smugglers. I looked at the original ballet and I saw how the Swan maidens followed Odette, and I realized she would’ve had to have some pretty incredible organization skills to keep all those ladies alive considering they had been cursed for a while. I took that into account when I crafted my Odette, so I made a girl who’s much more cunning and street-smart than the typical dewy-eyed Odette you see in the ballet.

Also, after quite a bit of deliberation, I turned Benno, Siegfried’s best friend, into a girl. Part of that was for balance–though Alexsei is smart he is overly courageous, if it weren’t for Benno’s female-born-practicality, Yakov  and Alexsei would’ve gotten themselves killed or seriously injured when they were little.

Also, because I was very tired of creating parent characters who are either dead (Like Cinderella’s parents) or not the most supportive people in the world(Like Gemma’s parents) I made up my mind to make Empress Sonya the most rocking, epic empress in the Timeless Fairy Tale world. She was so fun, and I was both disappointed and relieved I could only work her into a few scenes. (Relieved, because whenever Empress Sonya shows up, she’s a total scene stealer!)

I actually kept fairly close to the original plot line, and included the ball scene in which Rothbart attempts to disguise Odile as Odette  and the end in which someone falls into the lake and Rothbart’s spells are broken. However, those scenes are vastly different from the original source material due to the characters and their personalities. Alexsei doesn’t fall for Odile’s disguise because 1) he’s known Odette for more than a day and 2) he is very perceptive, and very much in love. Also, Odette doesn’t get her tail feathers in a bundle about the disguise because she’s a lot more mature and logical.

To me, this is a perfect example that shows how slightly tempering character reactions but keeping all the events the same will give you an extremely different end result. It’s the same in real life. If you and I play a chess game, and then you play a chess game with Myrrhlynn, you will get two very different games—and that’s not just because I always have a massive crush on my knights and tend to humanize my pieces.

What I’m getting at here is that personality makes a big difference. Benno the best friend went from being the idiot–or at least the idiot when compared to the brilliance of the original ballet’s Prince Siegfried–to self composed and respectable. Empress Sonya is fun and sassy instead of being moderately nagging about her son getting married–even though Sonya voices those same complaints. Rothbart is also an excellent example. I made a few strategic changes to his character, and as a result it really changed the end of the story, so much so that Rothbart is going to get his own post!

So if you’ve always wanted to do your own retelling, but you’re worried you won’t come up with anything new, just start thinking how you would change the characters, and ponder how that would affect the story.

Well, there you have it, Champions! Those are some of the biggest changes I made to my version of Swan Lake, and explanations of why I made them. I hope you found it interesting, and maybe a wee bit entertaining. Have a lovely weekend and enjoy the freebie!

Swan Lake: The Ballet

Since enough time has passed, today I wanted to take a look at the original Swan Lake story, but before I jump in to it we have a few quick housekeeping things. First of all, Wild Swans is free TODAY to celebrate the first day of summer and Father’s Day, so pick up a copy if you don’t have one already! Also Swan Lake has cleared 50 reviews, so the next short story has been unlocked! In Search of a Hero: PDF. Thank you to everyone who reviewed!

Okay, on to the summary. Swan Lake is a bit of a new venture for me because it is not, in fact, a fairy tale, but a ballet. Even so, I knew from when I first thought up of the series that I wanted to include Odette from Swan Lake. This is probably because I grew up with the cartoon movie “the Swan Princess” and Odette was one of my all-time favorite princesses. But long before that movie existed, there was the ballet.

Swan Lake was composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in 1875-76–making it the most modern story I’ve adapted. Though many now consider Swan Lake a classic/well-known ballet, when it first debuted it was a pretty big failure. (Based on what I’ve read, it was mostly due to the dancers who played the main roles) It wasn’t until it was “revived” in 1895 that it begin to enjoy some popularity. (As a Tchaikovsky fan, I think it’s important to note that Tchaikovsky’s original score was changed for that revival, and this very same revival is the one that is now usually seen on stage.)

Now because it’s a ballet, there are no speaking roles in Swan Lake, which meant I got to be really free handed with how I interpreted some of the stuff. The basic gist of the story, though, is as follows.

Prince Siegfried is partying hard with his childhood friend, Benno, when his mother waltzes in and tells him he needs to get married. The Playboy prince is super bummed, and decides to go hunting when he sees the flock of swans flying overhead. Prince Siegfried and his hunting party follows swans all the way to the lake. There the prince get separated from his friends, but finds the swans. Just as he begins to take aim at them with his bow, they transform into beautiful maidens.

Siegfried meets the most beautiful of all the swan maidens, Odette, the Swan Queen. She explains to him that she and her friends are victims of a curse cast on them by the evil sorcerer Von Rothbart. By day, they must be swans, and at night they can turn into humans again if they are by the lake. Of course, the spell can be broken (one of the many reasons why Swan Lake fits in so perfectly with the rest of my fairytales) but only if one who has never fallen in love before swears to love Odette forever.

Von Rothbart comes around to break up the party and gets in a fight with Siegfried, but eventually he leaves. Siegfried and Odette spend time together, and fall in love. (Because that wasn’t predictable.)

Prince Siegfried’s mother throws a party, intending that Siegfried will choose his future bride at it. Siegfried is totes not interested because he’s in love with Odette, but he sits up and takes notice when von Rothbart arrives in disguise with his daughter, Odile, transformed to look exactly like Odette. Because Siegfried has known Odette for exactly one day (no joke, it seriously happens in one day, as fairytales have to take place in a 24-hour window or it’s not dramatic enough) he mistakes Odile for Odette, and dances with her. Although Odette appears to him in a vision (yeah, I don’t get that part either) Siegfried announces to his courts that he is in love with Odile and intends to make her his wife. Von Rothbart reveals his trick, and Siegfried, horrified with his actions, rushes back to the lake.

Odette is heartbroken by Siegfried’s betrayal, and resigns herself to death for all of two seconds until Siegfried shows up and reaffirms his love for her. Von Rothbart drops by (I gotta say I’m weirdly fond of him, he is the only fairy tale character I know of who has impeccable timing) and demands that Siegfried honor his vow and marry Odile. Siegfried refuses and declares that he would rather die with Odette, so naturally the happy couple decide to jump into the lake? This manages to break von Rothbart spell, so all the other swan maidens are free of the curse. The broken curse affects von Rothbart’s power, and he is killed as a result, and the swan maidens watch as Siegfried’s and Odette’s spirits ascended to heaven together.

Not gonna lie, the ending reminds me a lot of the ending from the original version of the Little mermaid. Now, while I do mock the original story, you have to remember that I do this only because I love it just as I love all the other fairy tales I have taken apart and criticized. In preparation for writing the book, I watched quite a few clips of the ballet. I actually watched clips from around the world; New York, London, Moscow; Swan Lake is popular, and after seeing it I can definitely see why. (Just sayin’, I think Tchaikovsky did an awesome job at the music!)

Now, I think it’s important to add that while there is no original fairy tale for Swan Lake, there is a German fairy tale (the stolen veil) and a Russian folktale (the white duck) that supposedly were source material for Tchaikovsky’s ballet. In doing research for my version of Swan Lake, I looked up both of those fairy tales, and it is true that pieces of them bear structural resemblances to Swan Lake, but it’s my opinion that neither of them are nearly as dramatic as the ballet.

I’m going to end it here, but I hope you enjoy the new short story! (It’s the one about Rothbart!!!) Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day.

Swan Lake Short #1

I’ve got tons of comments and messages from you amazing Champions that I badly need to reply to, but as Swan Lake is closing in on 25 reviews, I thought you would be more interested in having me unlock the first short. So here it is in a PDF file: Flying.

I’m really happy with the feedback I’ve gotten thus far, so a big thanks to everyone who has reviewed Swan Lake! If you haven’t reviewed it yet, please do! The reviews help me with sales rank, but they also help me a lot in my writing process because they let me keep track of what people are looking for and like. But…I also really want you guys to unlock the next extra super fast because it’s a short story told from Rothbart’s pov, and it was so fun to write, and it digs into his thoughts, and I WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT!!!

Ahem.

So…let’s just say I’m eager to discuss the story, shall we?

As Swan Lake has been out for less than 48 hours, I’ll refrain from discussing the story, but this weekend I’ll be replying to comments so if you haven’t read it yet you may want to steer clear of those areas as they may contain spoilers. Alright, I’ll cut myself off there before I start dropping hints left and right. Have a lovely weekend, Champions, and enjoy the extra!

Mother’s Day Raffle

Happy Mother’s Day, champions! Originally I had planned to release a post about the roles of enchanters and enchantresses in the Timeless Fairy Tale series today, however, there ended up being a few new, more pressing, updates I need to share.

To begin with, Red Rope of Fate has gone through a massive edit/rewrite. I’ve uploaded the new version, so it is available to purchase, but for those of you who have already bought it, I talked to an Amazon support techie, who made update available in your user account. He said, “We’ve sent an e-mail to customers who own the book to notify them of the update. These customers can download the update through their “Manage Your Content and Devices” page.” So keep an eye out for the email, or check out your “manage your content and devices” page.

The Red Rope of Fate rewrite includes several new scenes told from Arion’s point of view, and I trimmed down a lot of lengthy explanations. Hopefully, you will enjoy the changes!

Up next, is the KM Shea starter pack! In order to encourage newsletter sign-up, I will now be giving away a “starter pack” to anyone who signs up for the newsletter. The starter pack includes a two page King Arthurs short story, a four page Red Rope of Fate prequel story, and a short fairytale-esque story. (The fairytale story has no ties to the timeless fairy tales world, it is a completely original story.)

starterpackCover

If you sign up for the newsletter, a link to the starter pack will be included in your welcome email. The link will take you to a site where you can download the.mobi file for your Kindle, or view the PDF file. I am aware that many of you have already signed up for the newsletter, so in May’s newsletter– which will be going out shortly–I will include a link to the starter pack so everyone gets a chance to download it.

Finally, today marks the beginning of my Mother’s Day raffle. It’s free to enter, and out of the entrants five randomly selected winners will receive a K. M. Shea ebook of their choice. It opens today, and will close Thursday night, May 12. This raffle follows all the usual terms and conditions– I reserve the right to change the prize, shut down the raffle, etc– and you can only enter once.

As you might recall, there isn’t a rafflecopter widget for wordpress, so I have to use a link. So click here to go to the raffle!

Finally, I want to conclude with a shout out to all of you mothers! (And when I say mothers, I mean all of you wonderful ladies who have had an impact on the generations that come after you. Not all mothers have given birth, and that doesn’t make you any less amazing or inspiring to those who look up to you.) Being a mother is an incredible, tough, and simultaneously heartbreaking job, but I am so grateful for all of you! Enjoy your special day, and have a fabulous weekend! Thanks for reading, and I promise next week I’ll get that post out!

Snow Queen

Hello champions! I want to open up today’s post with a reminder that if there’s anything you’d like me to specifically talk about—whether it’s something about my books, writing, or just life in general— don’t be afraid to shout it out in the comments! Sometimes it’s hard to come up with content for my blog, mostly because I don’t know if you’re getting sick of a particular topic, or if there’s something else you’d rather discuss.

I say that because the past few weeks I’ve been at a loss as to what I should discuss in my posts. I know I should write about snow Queen, however, that series is so full of spoilers for the future of the Timeless Fairy Tale series, that I’m a little leery of mentioning it. You Champions are too intelligent!

I am grateful and humbled, though, by the amazing support you guys gave Sacrifice. The Snow Queen books have been my best sellers to date, and I’m thrilled by the overwhelmingly positive response to with them. In fact, right now Amazon.uk and Amazon.au are running specials on Heart of Ice as part of a month-long deal. Hear t of Ice’s price has been significantly slashed on those two stores, so if you use Amazon.uk or Amazon.au please check it out!

Finally, I’m going to wrap up this post by adding that Princess Ahira is going to be for free on April 15 to celebrate the due date of American taxes. ( Myrrhlynn pointed out to me it would’ve been a lot more appropriate if Cinderella and the Colonel was the selected celebration book due to Cinderella’s struggle against taxes. Unfortunately, I had already set up the special, or I would’ve changed it!)

That is it for today, Champions! Again, if you’ve anything you wish to discuss, please shout it out in the comments or send me a message. Thank you for being awesome, and thank you for reading!

Final Freebie Unlocked

Greetings, Champions! As expected, the final freebie has been unlocked: Mages. This is the longest freebie of the bunch and marks the beginning of Rakel’s next step in life. I hope you enjoy it!

As some of you might have seen if you took a peek at my coming soon page, this December I’ll be releasing a short story anthology that will contain all the Snow Queen freebies, and one additional–and LONG–unseen story that will focus on Rakel as she builds the first magic academy, and the romantic entanglements of a certain Robber Maiden. For now I’ll leave everything on the site, but when I release the anthology I’ll have to take down a few of the freebies due to Amazon’s rules, but I’ll be sure to announce when I’m taking them down so everyone can save them if they so desire. There’s no need to hurry, though, as the anthology is a long ways away.

Status update for Swan Lake: It is currently with Editor #1. She’ll keep it for a few weeks and rip it apart edit it–although I did proudly tell her I believe I actually used farther/further correct in several instances. (I think I can count on one hand the number of times that has actually happened, so we’ll wait to find out.)

In fun news, I’m going to be experimenting with “Dragon,” which is a software program that converts your speech to text. A lot of writers use it to write faster, but I’m also hoping it will give my eyes a break. (Take care of your eyes, everyone. Eye-strain is no joke!) So I’m sure I’ll be able to regale you all with stories of our strange relationship. As a Midwest girl I have a some-what funny/slurred way of speaking, so Dragon and I are going to be in for some fun times. I was “training” him earlier so he can hopefully get over my accent, and I have to say it feels very sci-fi–ish.

I thought you budding writers out there might be interested in learning about this software, because “Dragon” actually has a phone app that can connect with your purchased software, so you can dictate your story to him anywhere, and then upload it to your computer which will turn the recorded session into text. This might be super helpful for those of you who have a busy schedule. It actually can plug in to your internet too–so you can write emails with him–but I think I’m going to use my Dragon for strictly fiction writing. (Yes, Myrrhlynn was rather amused when she realized I call Dragon a He and refer to him as mine. I can’t help it–I adore “How to Tame your Dragon!”)

That’s all for today, Champions! I’ll have a few more Snow Queen themed blog posts coming up now that all the freebies have been unlocked, so you can count on seeing those soon. Until then, Champions, have a fantastic week, and as always, thank you for reading!