Welcome Champions!

Welcome to the blog of indie author/writer K. M. Shea! This is the place to be if you’re looking for more information on my stories. I update at least once a week if I’m writing a book, and more often if I’m editing or brainstorming for my next manuscript.

Specials for the month of September:

*Notice: the new website will be going live this month!*

Postcard Celebration:
Do you want a postcard of Heart of Ice‘s cover? Mail an envelope that contains a self-addressed, stamped envelope to:
PO Box 357
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
My awesome intern, Britta, will check the PO Box and mail off the postcard back to you! (If you want to include a letter or something, feel free to! Britta will put it aside for me.)

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Stories update!

Greetings, Champions, I hope you’ve had a lovely weekend!

Although I’ve been forced to take a few half-days for some unexpected things, I’ve still managed to be very productive, so Sleeping Beauty is over three-fourths finished! I should be able to wrap it up this week. Editor #1 took a peek at it last week–I wanted to see what she thought of the romantic plot because it needed a few tweaks–and Myrrhlynn (my cover artist) started reading it Friday night. Editor #1 likes the hero of the story, and Myrrhlynn really loved the heroine, so hopefully that bodes well for its reception.😉

In other news, my short story for the fairy tale anthology I mentioned in my last post is about half-way finished. I’m doing a retelling of the hilarious Grimm fairy tale, “The Dirty Shepherdess.” (In fair warning it might not be as hilarious to others as I found it. The events are just so over-the-top dramatic I can’t help but cackle over it. It reminds me a bit of Rumpelstiltskin in the randomness of it.)

The anthology is due out in early November. There’s a lot of cool authors who are writing fairy tale themed short-stories for the anthology, so hopefully you guys will discover some new authors as a result of this. (Confession time! When we were all signing up for the fairy tale we wanted to do, I realized I’m the requisite weirdo of the bunch as I’m the only one doing an obscure fairy tale no one’s heard of and I was chortling to myself the entire time. That should be my new tagline: K. M. Shea–the designated weirdo among authors. Woohoo!)

The anthology is organized by Casey Lane. Casey, although he’s a new convert to the fairy tale genre, writes awesome kick@$$ fight scenes. Casey’s first book–Cinderella Dreams of Fire–bends towards the paranormal genre, so if that’s up your reading alley then I really recommend checking it out! (Or if you are a huge fan of good fight scenes like I am, then you’ll love it!) Anyway, poor Casey, as I mentioned, is the sucker who will be releasing and organizing the anthology. (I say sucker because organizing this kind of thing with so many authors is like attempting to herd cats.) Casey expects that the anthology will be released in early November, and is planning to have some fun launch events, so that’s something to look forward to!

Alright, that’s all for today! You guys have a great week! Hopefully the next time I post Sleeping Beauty will be finished. Thanks for reading!

Back to work!

Greetings, Champions! I have returned from my travels and adventures in Switzerland!

As I am adventurous but not particularly daring, I went with the tour group Alpine Wild for my trip. Gotta say, the food over there is amazing! Alpine Wild has a Tolkien tour I badly wanted to take, but they don’t offer it ever year, and this happened to be one of their off years, I am sorry to say. Even so, since the tour guides knew I was a rabid Tolkien/literature fan, they pointed out some landmarks that Tolkien saw when he toured Switzerland as a young lad!

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True story: This photo isn’t photoshopped!

 

The countryside was gorgeous, and it was wonderful to be able to unplug for a while, but I am thrilled to be back, and I’ve already jumped into writing!

Next thing of interest, I was on another podcast! I was the guest for Simon Whistler’s Rocking Self Publishing podcast 161st episode. He is a fabulous host and interviewer, and I had a lot of fun talking to him–which is an accomplishment because usually I am nervous and sick to my stomach during things like interviews. We really dig into the details of writing “retellings,” so if you’re interested, here’s the link to the episode!

Things will be a bit in upheaval this month due to all the projects I’m balancing–the new website is coming along wonderfully, I just approved the header image last week and it is BEAUTIFUL!!–but especially because I’m back to writing with a vengeance. At this time, my book release schedule should be

Late November: *Releasing a short story in an anthology with a bunch of other authors, more on this in future posts *Endings, the final King Arthurs book.

Mid December: *Sleeping Beauty, book 8 of the Timeless Fairy Tales *Snow Queen short story anthology, which will contain all the short stories on the website, and some new content

Endings may get pushed back to a December release depending how the editing goes for all the books. Poor Editor #1 is going to get slammed, and I haven’t even told her about the short story for the anthology yet. Ahahahah…I should probably go grovel to her.

That’s all for today, Champions. Have a great week!

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!

What am I up to?

Greetings, Champions! Just a quick update today as I’m a bit short on time, but I wanted to bring everyone up to speed!

A lot of Champions have been wondering what I’m doing now in August, AKA are asking if I’ve started King Arthurs yet. Unfortunately…I have not. About once a year my brain decides “No. If I write one more sentence about magic and fantasy, I am going to shut down and begin reciting lyrics of all the songs you hate.” (This includes insanity-inducing music like Never gonna give you up.) To combat this I usually write a non-fantasy story for a few weeks to give my mind a break. That’s what I’m doing for the next two weeks, actually. I’m basically having a writing get-away.

I do this because I love my stories, and I don’t want them to be forced. So, to keep my passion going, it’s really in my best interest to play around every once in a while. I’m hoping to eventually publish this particular story that I’m working on, but it will probably be a long ways off because in September the next King Arthurs book and Sleeping Beauty are going to top my priority list.

So, if I’m only going to work on this non-fantasy story for two weeks, what I’m I doing for the last stretch of August? I’m going on vacation! Woohoo! This will be the first major trip I’ve gone on in a while, so I’m really looking forward to it. Obviously during that time I’ll be unable to answer comments and reply to emails, so I’ll post right before I leave. I am a little nervous as this will be the first time since I became a full-time author that I’ll be completely cut off from the internet for a significant length of time. Hopefully I won’t get Champion-separation-anxiety, but I’m not making any promises.

In the meantime I have to express my thanks. Some of you old-time Champions have been picking up the slack and answering a few comments that I haven’t had the chance to get to–whether it’s directing someone to the Timeless Fairy Tale timeline, or just chatting about books. Thank you! When I write it’s really hard for me to stay up to date with my website, so I really appreciate it when you bring the newer Champions up to speed!

Finally, I wanted to say thanks to: Sacha, Deanna, Hollie, and Sydney, who sent me some letters when they mailed in their envelopes to get a Heart of Ice postcard. You guys are so sweet, and the absolute best! Thank you!

That’s all for today. I hope you guys are doing well, and have a lovely week. Thanks for reading, Champions!

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!

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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!

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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!)

B&B Revised

Good news, Champions! The revised edition of Beauty and the Beast is up and live in the Kindle store. (We’ve got another week or two before the paperback will be good, so it’s still the old version at this point.)

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Ta-da! The new cover! Although Elle’s most well-known dress is rose-red, Myrrhlynn decided to go with pink so no one would mistake the level of romance in the book.

I’ve gone back and forth with Amazon, and they’ve pulled through for us again and decided to make the update available to everyone who has previously bought B&B. In speaking with an amazon rep, they said they will send out an email to everyone, informing them of the new edition, and that you’ll be able to update it by going to your amazon account and choosing “Manage my content,” and selecting the update for the book–much like you did with Red Rope. However! Myrrhlynn and I both had the new version pushed onto our devices, so I think they might have decided to push it on to everyone’s kindles.

If they have, when you turn on your reading device, B&B will begin queuing, and the new version will download. (It might take a little while for your Kindle to figure all of this out, so give it a few minutes.)

To check and see if you have the revised edition, open it up and read the first line. The new version begins: Prince Severin happened to be pacing in the little hall when the stained-glass skylight shattered, and a young woman fell through the ceiling with the broken glass. She dropped like a twisting cat and landed with an ominous crack.

If you have anything that does not say exactly that, you have one of the old versions. (The Prince Severin part of the line is the big clue you’re reading the new version. The older versions have something similar, but that scene is now told from his point-of-view, which makes it very different.)

The new version has a few new scenes, a lot of extra content in old scenes, the new cover, and a few plot tweaks. I hope you enjoy it!

Alright, I’m sure you’re all chomping at the bit to take a look at the new version, so I’ll cut it off there. Have a great weekend, Champions. Thank you for reading!

Fanart and Audio Book!

Happy Friday, Champions! I’m going to bust right into this because I’ve been waiting forever to share this news, but Red Rope of Fate‘s audio book is now available for purchase!

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Ta da! Isn’t it pretty? If you want to hear an audio sample click here to go to Tantor media (the publisher of the audio book) and right below the picture is a sample of the first few paragraphs of the book. Listening to it simultaniously fills me with awe and makes me want to scream into a pillow. When I decided to forgo traditional publishing I pretty much gave up on the idea of having audio books, so watching Red Rope turn into an audio file has been incredible! (The narrator, Lucy Rayner, did an amazing job!) It’s available on Audible and Amazon, but I think the cheapest spot is if you buy the MP3-CD directly from Tantor, though I have no idea what their shipping is like.

We’ll have to celebrate its release, but my brain is playing dead right now as I spent the morning playing with Create Space. (Good news: Heart of Ice’s paperback should be available next week. More News: Myrrhlynn is hoping to tackle Sacrifice’s paperback cover this weekend, so it shouldn’t be too far behind Heart of Ice. Slow news: B&B’s paperback revision is in progress.)

But the fun isn’t over yet! I received some fantastic fanart just when Swan Lake was released, but this is the first time I’ve had a chance to show some of it off! Today’s incredibly talented artist is our very own Hobbitlady97! She made a pretty awesome sketch of Elle of Beauty and the Beast. She said the portrait of Elle is specifically after Severin’s curse is broken, but before he comes after her in Verglas.

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I think her hair is my favorite part. That might sound odd, but my drawings/stick people usually end up with three hairs on their head because I lose patience or their haircut looks like a bunch of noodles, so I can really appreciate how difficult it is to pull that off!

Okay, that’s it for now, but next week I should have something fun in store for everyone! Until then, thanks for reading, Champions! Have a splendid weekend, and thank you for being you!

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: Rothbart

We’re approaching the end of the Swan Lake themed blog posts–though the review special will continue to run! Today’s topic is probably the heaviest and the most philosophical, but it also is filled with spoilers so I want to give everyone enough time to read the book before I broached the subject. So, be forewarned if you still haven’t had a chance to read it, this blog entry has some major spoilers about the ending of Swan Lake.

Let’s jump straight into it, Rothbart. Rothbart was one of the trickiest and most difficult villains I’ve written thus far, because he ends up being  sympathetic. At the very end of the book you learned that Rothbart was either told to take over the country, or his daughter would be in great danger. As he was unwilling to endanger his daughter, but also wasn’t twisted enough to follow through with whatever darkness is pulling the strings in the background, Rothbart uses Odette to accomplish redemption for everyone… Except for himself. As he dies he breaks the “quick release” strand of his spells that Angelique identified when studying Odette’s curse, freeing everyone and breaking any of his leftover spells. (Unknown fact: He had some nasty spells placed on his castle in case Suzu came sniffing around while he was out. He broke those as well so the castle wouldn’t harm anyone.)

I badly wanted Rothbart to be the reason why the curse was broken, because in the six previous volumes of the Timeless Fairy Tales, the hero and heroine are always responsible for breaking the curse. (As they should be.) Looking ahead, I know I will be writing several more stories that include breaking curses, and everything was starting to look really repetitive. So for the sake of interest, and to keep me from going as crazy as Angelique is over all these curses, I decided to mix things up a little bit.

But although this change made the story much more compelling and interesting, Rothbart’s character was extremely difficult for me to figure out how to write when I first started the book. How could I present him so everyone knew he was a villain, but still give him the freedom and ability to end strongly?

You see, I’m a big believer in darkness and light. I love Chronicles of Narnia and Lord of the Rings because they, like fairy tales, show how important it is that you don’t compromise with what is evil. However, one thing I’ve learned as an adult, is that individual humans don’t follow that kind of division. Some of the kindest, most compassionate people I know screw up– just as we all do. And some of the meanest people I’ve met have hidden soft spots. Humans can be gray. I’m not saying it’s right, it’s just the reality we live in.

More often than not, fairy tales follow the pattern of darkness and light, and the villain is always unsympathetic and horrible. Rothbart was a real challenge for me to craft when I place him in the shadow of every other villain I’ve written thus far. However, I also feel that as the villain he is the one that stands out most. He seems  more realistic than the other villains. He was also the most secretive. Now that you know the ending of Swan Lake, if you take another gander at his scenes you’ll see tiny hints of his inner struggle. (In example, he commiserates with the wyvern in feeling imprisoned, the smugglers mention Odette is the only one he’ll tolerate–which you should now know why thanks to the In Search of a Hero extra–he openly talks about how fond he is of Odette and how much he values her ruthless protective streak, etc.)

In a totally unemotional/unrelated note, I’m sure some of you are wondering that if the original Swan Lake ballet said the evil sorcerer’s name was Von Rothbart, why did I drop the von? Kozlovka’s culture is very loosely based off historic Russia–I saw a few of you clever readers picked up on the Russian names, excellent observation! Russia does not use vons in their titles, that’s a German thing, so I dropped the von and kept the Rothbart!

So, please tell me Champions, what did you think of Rothbart? Did you find him interesting, or did you think I was attempting to be too clever for my own good? Until next time, have a lovely weekend everyone–and happy Fourth of July to my American Champions!