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Thursday, 16 October 2014

Creating Pril of the Peddler's.

As a writer I strive to give the reader a great story wrought with suspense, action, drama and
romance. I express my own feelings through my characters when writing an emotional scene. I agonize over the simplest of words while trying to convey an emotion. I type and delete only to re-type the same sentence again with added passion. I utilize the five senses to the best of my ability, writing them differently each time.
I place raw—real feelings within my characters. I write their actions according to what most would do, their reactions are an outcome of who they’ve become. I will not compromise them for a happy ending.

Blood Curse is filled with adventure, greed, hate, lust and love. The journey of Pril and Kade will take you to a far away land in Colonial America during 1723. 

Before I started writing this story I studied my characters. As with all of my novels my characters nestle themselves within my heart and attach to my soul. Pril and Kade were no different. I fell in love with them, with their strength, their sorrow and their honor. I only hope you do too.

Introducing Pril of the Peddlers:


When the plot had begun to form for BLOOD CURSE, I had to create my lead character, Pril. My dad actually named her. It was a conversation over coffee when he told me of a girl he used to go to school with named Pril. I liked the name, but wasn’t stuck on it. However, the darn name wouldn’t leave my mind. I kept seeing my character; red hair, brackets jingling on her wrists, bright shawl, pert nose and sable eyes, and Pril kept popping up. Instead of fighting it, I gave in and my gypsy came to life.

The Peddler's were a clan of misfit gypsies, who had come together due to fearing the Monroe's. Some were attacked, other's lost their whole family and Pril and her brothers, Milosh and Galius took them in. The Peddler's derive from what they do; they Peddle wares and these particular gypsies sell potions, healing balms, herbs, and fortunes. 




I created Pril to be tough, mouthy, and resilient. She was skilled with a bow and could throw her fist better than some men, all taught to her by Galius her oldest brother.
Pril needed to be strong in order to go up against the wealthy Monroes. Yet, I wanted to give her frailties too. I instilled fear within her. A constant worry when it came to her child. I made her insecure, gifted with only certain magical abilities. Due to her insecurities she couldn’t perform crucial spells. This would be the cause of her guilt.

Pril of the Peddler's was born, the character that would push the story along. The main reason the reader would continue to turn the pages and as I wrote, I began to adore her.






BLOOD CURSE is available at all Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Createspace retailers. :)



Cheers,
Kat


Tuesday, 7 October 2014

How to Meet Deadlines and Remain Sane…

Ha! For most of us authors a deadline is an end to the writing process, a death to our prose. When a publisher utters the word deadline, it sends me into an anxiety attack that has my head spinning and my heart racing. The “I can’t make it” or “there’s simply not enough time” escape past my lips in faint whispers that are followed with a pitiful cry for help.

However, there is a light at the end of this dark and tumultuous tunnel. Once the initial shock of being on a deadline sets in, I pour myself a stiff drink, sit down at the table and make a schedule—a writing schedule. This keeps me on track and helps to keep the anxiety away.
I devise a word count for each day and I must make it. This doesn’t mean I need to make this count in one sitting. If my word count is 2500 a day, I have the span of 24 hours to get it done…and I will. There is no room for failure here. My goal is to finish the rough draft of a novel within three months.

Determination is what will complete the story. Perseverance plays a role as well, especially on those days where you want to give up—when you have writer’s block and the second-guessing begins.
Yes, authors are constantly wondering if the story we’re creating is the right one. Doubt is an emotion you need to push aside and let the story take charge—allow your characters to speak to you, let them tell you where to go.

Once I’m on a role and the story is dripping from my fingertips onto the keyboard, the deadline is non-existent. It leaves my mind and I do not think of it again until I’ve typed The End.

The only novel I wrote leisurely was my first, and if you count on being published it will probably be yours as well.

Cheers,
Kat

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Colonial Times...Grim.


While writing BLOOD CURSE, book 2 in the Branded Trilogy, I had to do more research than I expected. When I was plotting for this particular book, I actually changed the date three times before going back to my original timeline of 1723. This placed me during the Colonial era. I remembered learning in school a bit about the 13 Colonial States and how they were founded, but that was as far as my knowledge went.

Out came the books, and websites. I needed to know certain facts in order to even begin plotting my story. Where would the events take place? Who lived there? What did they eat? What did they wear? So many questions that only researching could answer.

However, I do not want to discuss the research I did use, but rather the facts I found interesting and appalling at the same time, that I did not use. I cannot lie and tell you I was not intrigued to read everything I'd found on customary lifestyle back then. I couldn't get enough of it...the reason I am a historical writer.

In order for my story to not be bogged down with realisms like uncleanliness, bed bugs, teeth brushing, etc... I needed to either not include some of the details I'd found, or romanticize them so my reader wouldn't be repulsed.

And so...like any historical fiction writer, I did the latter and plotted my story around the gory details of the lives that lived hundreds of years before us.  

Bathing routines: While we bathe at least once a day, back in Colonial times bathing was not as common. In Medieval times people thought bathing caused disease, or let the devil in, some even thought it caused erotic behaviour. The morbid thoughts did not carry into the 1700's. The act of washing ones self was simply not a priority.

The labor and time it took to draw a bath did not appeal to most and therefore was put off as a chore rather than a pleasure. In fact, everyone had body odor back then, so it was unnoticed among each other and became somewhat of a common smell. For those sensitive to the smell a handkerchief doused in perfume was held over the nostrils and mouth.

Bathing rituals when done were often a family affair. The tub would be filled allowing the head of the house to bathe first, then all the other males, the women and lastly the children. The water had to be black by then and I’m sure smelled awful.

Perukes: These were the white haired wigs men wore. Powdered and scented with lavender or orange oil to rid the stale smell. The wigs were curled at the sides and tied at the nape. Some longer than others, but all hung past the chin. Perukes came into fashion during the 1500’s in England because of the syphilis outbreak. Men used them to disguise their STD, which resulted in baldness; open sores on the body including face and head, and could also lead to blindness. The headdress was not looked upon as fashion but rather a necessity at hiding ones horrendous features.

In 1655 the King of France, Louis XIV commissioned 48 wig makers to help hide his balding at the age of 17. His cousin Charles II King of England also did the same thing and the fad caught on. Soon England’s higher and middle classes were wearing Perukes.

The fashion carried on throughout the colonies and most everyone wore a headdress of white goat, horse or human hair. These heavy, and often filled with nits, hair pieces would go unwashed for months.

Disease: Due to the uncleanliness of the people and their belongings disease ran rampant throughout the Colonies. In the early days the people had no knowledge on how to fight the sickness, often being the first time they’d seen the disease.

As time passed physicians grew an understanding of how to aid and heal the sick. But death was still a very common outcome to most who suffered from them.

Epidemics of Small Pox, Yellow Fever and Plague killed thousands. These diseases purged the Colonies ceasing all work, closing businesses and caused the people to flee the country or go into hiding.

At one point the death rate for Yellow Fever was so high people had to work day and night to bury the dead. Malaria, Typhoid, and Beriberi were all common diseases that could lead to death if not treated.


Enter the BLOOD CURSE giveaway! 
October 1 - 3




a Rafflecopter giveaway


Cheers,
Kat 

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

BLOOD CURSE excerpt!!

“Upon mine death for the blood ye have shed,
every daughter born to ye shall die before it draws breath, to which ye will know pain and worse, I cast unto ye mine blood curse.”  ~ Vadoma




CHAPTER ONE

Appalachian Mountains, Virginia 1723

Pril Peddler lifted the green shawl from her trunk and wrapped it around her bare arms. The change in seasons brought a damp chill to the morning air, and the heavy woolen wrap kept her warm. She peeked at the small face huddled under the blankets at the back of the wagon. The charm above the child swayed on the string Pril had hung it from. A dull ache hummed in her chest when she thought of the horrific loss her clan had been dealt.
The evil was near, and she’d need to work another spell to keep them safe. Late for counsel with her brother, Galius, she kissed the soft cheek of her daughter before heading to the door.
Hand up, she shaded her eyes from the bright sun as she stepped from the back of the vardo. She pulled the heavy burlap curtain down to close the opening and walked toward Galius.
“Your steps are light this morning, Sister. One would think you did not want to be heard,” Galius said as he stirred the coffee beans inside the metal pot.
Tension twisted her gut. He was right; she did not want this counsel. She did not know what to say. She let the flicker of merriment in her brother’s eyes wash over her relaxing the muscles in her shoulders.
“My step is the same.” She poked him with her finger trying to ease her own nerves and his as well.
His lips lifted as if to smile, and she held her breath. It’d been weeks since he smiled. Pril’s heart ached, and her lips trembled.
He held up the bubbling pot. “Would you like a cup?”
        She inhaled the aroma of strong coffee beans and nodded taking a seat on a wooden stump by the fire.
He handed her a cup and sat down across from her.
The wood crackled, and sparks jumped from the heat onto the ground in front of her. She tipped her chin concentrating on what to say next. Ever since the murder of her niece, she’d not been able to hold a conversation with either of her brothers without offering apologies. This morning was no different. She could not look Galius in the eyes and see the anguish and sorrow within them.
The Monroes had come again.
They’d never be safe.
She blinked away the tears hovering against her thick lashes. Tsura was asleep in her wagon, while another was lost to them forever. The door of her brother’s wagon creaked open and Milosh’s wife, Magda, stepped out. Black circles settled around her sunken eyes, and Pril felt the stab in her chest once more. Long brown hair fell untied down the woman’s back. The black clothes she’d put on weeks ago hung on her body unchanged and wrinkled from sleep. Milosh came from behind their wagon, a jar of honey in his hand. Pril stood when Galius’ large hand grabbed her wrist.
“They are not wanting to see you today, Sister.”
She heard the regret in his voice, swallowed past the guilt in her own throat and nodded. Milosh hadn’t spoken a single word to her since the death of his child. He blamed her, and it was clear so did Magda.
“I…I’m so sorry, Galius.”
He didn’t reply right away, and without seeing it, she knew he had wiped the tears from his eyes. “Alexandra’s death is not your fault.”
The words were spoken because they needed to be. Gypsies stayed together no matter what. They were family. There was no truth to his words, and Pril knew it.
“Are you going after them?” she asked.
“I hold no power, no spells flow from my lips. I am strong, yes, but they are stronger.” He stared at her, his eyes pleading. “We need the pendant.”
Guilt thickened her tongue; the gritty residue clung to her lips and tasted bitter.
The talisman had been in their family for generations, blessed by each new Chuvani. Vadoma had promised her the pendant before she died, but Pril never saw it, and there had been no time to search for the jewel when they fled. 
“Without the pendant we cannot break the curse. We cannot protect our people.”
She knew this. They all knew this, but no one had a clue as to where the talisman was. She’d tried to call an image forward, to make a finding spell, but nothing worked.
“We have lost one of our own. Our clan is frightened. They have lost faith. We cannot fight the Monroes. We have neither the numbers nor the skill.” He took a long drink of his coffee. “And neither do you.”
She glanced at him.
“I know you, Sister. You’re planning to take Tsura.”
Pril sighed. She did not know what else to do. The Monroes were coming for her child. Alexandra had died because of that. Milosh and Magda hated her.
“Running is not going to change anything.”
“It will save lives. It will…help Milosh and Magda to heal.”
“No, it will not. Running will get you and Tsura killed and that is all.”
“How can you look at me when you know what I’ve brought to our family, when you know that this is all because of me?”
Galius blew out a long breath that moved his thick beard from his lips. She watched through tear filled eyes as his bottom lip quivered.
“Vadoma put this burden on you. For that, we do not judge.”
Their sister had died a vile death. She’d betrayed their clan and had hung while being burned. Pril ached for her sister’s guidance and counsel. She yearned to know that what she was doing was right.

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Cheers,
Kat