News, Updates, and a Request

Hello!

Firstly, some news. For some personal and health reasons (mainly the lovely inherited arthritis I have nibbling at my fingers), I resigned from my job in the bakery, and am considering going back to teaching in September.  Which means? Plenty of time for writing and drawing all through the Summer! (And growing veggies and flowers, but I also have a colony of bunnies in my yard, so no high hopes here.)

This leads us to piece of news numero duo. I’m starting regular updates of my pseudo-Viking, pseudo-Slavic webserial on my site Rodhina. The next chapter is almost ready, and more art is to appear soon. I’m planning to update the story every two weeks at least. Please, sign up for the newsletter here to be notified of any new stuff to check out.

Fanfiction writing will continue as before, and since Blind Carnival on Jukepop site is almost complete (the epilogue will be posted next Thursday), I’m considering starting a new romance/erotica webserial. The plans are so far vague.  Dr T Series on this blog will continue, updated every Saturday just as before.

And now the big news!

The upcoming weekend, my dear friend Virginia McClain and yours truly are going to Keycon! I’ve never been to it, but I’m all hyped up! And we are ‘dealers,’ not visitors there! I’ve never been called a ‘dealer.’ That tickles my pickle!

Basically, it’s a fantasy and sci-fi fair, and we have a table, to sell stuff! Virginia brings her book (Properly worth checking out! And the sequel is in revision stage!), and I will bring my Rodhina prints and will be giving out leaflets to promote the site. Yay!

Which brings us to the request!

By Friday, when (hopefully, but honestly, very unlikely) a huge wave of new visitors will come to my site, it would sooooo great if it looked alive. So…

A. The new chapter and new art will be posted tomorrow (Those of you signed up to the newsletter will get an email, and those of you supporting me on Patreon will receive an exclusive scoop into some very exciting pieces I wrote to post later, such as *drums* Gosta appearing, and *gasp* Ani’s daughter!)

B. I would like to ask my readers to comment on the existing chapters and art, if you haven’t. At the moment the poor posts look rather lonely, and your efforts will hopefully encourage the newcomers to participate. C’mon, lets cheer for Einar (or Gosta, if you prefer Heughan over Fassbender… Oops, I meant, Priblizhnik Gosta over Glava Einar) 😀

Thank you, and see you next time (hopefully, tomorrow on Rodhina site, where you can get from the menu on the top of this blog)!

Cheers,

Katya

P.S. Here is a gratuitous doodle of Deadpool by yours truly 😉

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The Question of Current Projects

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So, I draw now. It is a new endeavour, and unlike writing (I at least have a couple of literary theory degrees) it is a completely unknown territory. I had never even tried picking up a pencil until December 2015, and buying inkpens for myself as an early Christmas gift was clearly an odd impulsive gesture.

When it happened I was in a process of looking for someone who’d draw a map for my webserial Ani on JukePop that was stuck, and I needed inspiration for. Eventually, several of possible collaborations fell apart, and here I am, buying watercolours and more Microns.

These days Ani has turned into Rodhina, my fantasy world site, where you can find the story and my illustrations. Soon, the prints will be available on my Etsy shop The King and Wren. The shop is a pet project, it’s small and cute like a button. More work will be put into it soon, but for now my MiniThorin pendants are there, and more is to come.

ETSY SHOP

Fanfiction is still my favourite pastime. It is still for the Hobbit, and it’s still all about Thorin and Wren (she is Werna now, a Dwarf, and a better match for a Dwarven King). BBC Sherlock is another fandom I’m trying to write in, so far with Wren as a life saver, not too drift too far, and for the feeling of safety.

Blind Carnival on JukePop that became an unexpected popular continues, but the end is nigh. Once it’s over, I’m considering writing the romance series “May to December” that I planned last Summer but never got a chance to mull over.

On this blog, Dr Talso surprisingly read and loved, is reaching the point where I will run out of already written chapters and will have to put more effort into the story. It’s no trouble of course, since Dr John Thorington, the world renown neurosurgeon is a very stimulating subject.

In the nearest future I will need to sort out what I’ve already drawn, and decide what goes where. I have a DeviantArt page, and Instagram, both currently a mess, and it’s time to admit that I do draw and will continue (all thoughts of the level of skill and quality aside).

Alright, that’s it for now! Feel free to ask questions, and don’t miss The Book Giveaway (details below!)

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As a birthday present from me to you, I’ve set up a

*GIVE AWAY of two hard copies of my novel!*

In the week of April 23rd to May 1st, follow my writer’s Facebook page and/or Instagram, and send me a personal message or leave a comment in one or both of these platforms, for a chance to win my book. Messages in both double your chances.

The winner will be chosen by the means of a five years old pulling a name written on a piece of paper out of a top hat 🙂 The books will be signed and mailed to the winners Monday, May 2nd.

Cheers!

 

Subscribe to Newsletter for Project Rodhina!

Project Rodhina is a multi-media, fantasy world building site, where yours truly and several artists will be creating an exciting experience of travelling through a world of magic and wonders, following adventures of a young healer on a quest to aid a dead King visiting her in her dreams!

Mythology, recipes, romance, landscapes, red haired sea warriors, an island built on a back of a giant whale, the silks and spices of the Amber Gardens, and many other spectacular cynosures, brought to you through word and image!pattern (1)

Coming soon!

Subscribe to Rodhina




The Question of a New, World Building, Multi-Media Project

Have you read Ani on JukePop? Have you lamented its hiatus? Fear not, it won’t last! Rodhina is coming to town!

Since I have put a lot of thought into the world that my protagonist, healer Ani is travelling through, I decided it shouldn’t go to waste 🙂

In a few weeks I’m launching a test page on this blog with everything Rodhina (the land where male protagonists of my story come from). Remember, Einar and Gosta, two hot ginger pseudo-Vikings/ pseudo-Slavs? 😉

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A lot of research (and liberties) went into the creation of their language, mythology, and art, so I decided it all would be a lovely entertainment for my readers.

On the Rodhina page on this blog, we will have:

  • original chapters (will be moved from JukePop promptly);
  • new chapters (tentatively every two weeks);
  • art by yours truly (see an almost authentic Old Slavic pattern above)
  • art by local artists eager to get involved into this project;
  • maps;
  • recipes (yes, you read it right! recipes, of pseudo-Viking, but mostly Slavic food; tested on humans 😀 );
  • herbal medicine knowledge that yours truly and several others might want to share with you;
  • and lots, and lots of other niceties.

Here are the links to the original story on JukePop and the story’s Pinterest board with visual inspirations!

Please, sign up below for free newsletter for the project! Emails will be sent to you when the page is created, the story is removed from JukePop, and new content is uploaded!

Thank you!

The Question of a New FanFiction Story

Now that my longest, most popular, “epic” fanfiction story Me Without You is almost complete (and what a journey it was!) I’m planning to venture on a new adventure. This time I want to write a more “typical” fanfic – the classics of “a girl joins Dwarves on the Quest” one, with my original character bringing that beloved “feminine touch” to the events.

Werna, daughter of Lyr, the niece of Dain Ironfoot, will become yet another version of my all time protagonist, Wren, but some changes will have to be made. As a Dwarf, she’d have to be more traditional, less sensitive, less… well, weird 🙂 She is of course based at least partially on yours truly, no author can avoid this trap, and of course she’s a bit… “special” 😀

I’m a true believer in MBTI as a wonderful writing tool for developing characters. So…

If Wren in my FanFiction and in modern romance/erotica in Dr. T Series on this blog, and on JukePop in Blind Carnival (alias Olivia Dane) is a definite INFJ, Werna will be an ENFJ.

And somehow in my mind, based on the fact that her ideal pairing would be an ISFP, which is… Bilbo, a love triangle was born in my mind!

How’s that?

Thorin, Bilbo, and Wren… Oh myyyy *George Takei voice* That has never happened before in my writing, but isn’t it a delicious angst producing idea? 😉

I’m industriously working on this story, and here are my habitual notes in one of the hundred little notebooks I have scattered around my house 🙂

Bilbo -- -Letters to Your Heart, Axes to Your Scabbard- on FanFiction.net -- The Hobbit FanFiction Werna -- -Letters to Your Heart, Axes to Your Scabbard- on FanFiction.net -- The Hobbit FanFiction Thorin -- -Letters to Your Heart, Axes to Your Scabbard- on FanFiction. net --The Hobbit FanFiction

Hope to see you in the review page of Letters to Your Heart, Axes to Your Scabbard!!!

Cheers,

Katya

Art used in the graphics: by Selma Pimentel

Paris

I don’t understand how the world is still standing. How is that possible that people still go around their day? Buying bread in our bakery, chatting, and picking out scones? I don’t understand how I am supposed to smile to customers…

I don’t understand how people can’t hear this scream of pain and anguish, the scream that is shaking our world, and that is deafening in my ears…

I know that some will think me naive, or emotional, or hysterical. There are others who would also think that it is, on the opposite, important to live our lives, to carry on, to persevere, to go about our day, and raise our children, and eat candy floss. I just don’t see how one can.

I was crying on the bus, and a very kind looking old lady asked me what was wrong, and I just said, “Paris…” And she hugged me, and asked, “Did you have someone there, dear?” Why is it that we are supposed to lose someone we know to mourn, and cry, and feel this pain?

I have a couple of friends in Paris, and the family I knew in Nice had moved to the city couple years ago, but they all are safe, and were nowhere near the shootings. Does it mean I can’t cry on the bus about it?

I was reading the post on Facebook by a girl who spent an hour lying in the strangers’ blood, pretending to be dead, while people around her cried, and screamed, in one of the clubs that had just been attacked… Am I not suppose to suffocate in the lift, and feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach, and not being able to even look at the members of my species after that?

You know how they always say that laughter is what sets us aside from other animals? And the Soviets used to say it was labour. And then there’s creativity… And love… And all other rubbish? Well, no, it’s not true. Violence and malice set us aside from other animals. Killing each other, not for eating, not hunting, but in pure hatred – that’s what’s different in us.

I am ashamed to be human today. I can’t stand it, and I don’t understand how others can.

The Question of My Writing (current projects + plans)

So… There seems to be a lot going on with my writing, and for a while I felt rather swamped, but the trip to the book fair properly helped to sort out my thoughts and plans. Here is the summary of what’s going on with my writing and what the plans are:

1. Fanfiction:

I’m finishing up Me Without You. There are just a few plot lines that need closure (Fili and Kili, Wren’s magic, wedding, etc.)

I’m planning to sink my teeth into Thorin in Hogwarts adventures (Thorin Durinson and the Conundrum of the Ginger Transfer Student). I’ve received the most amazing review for it, and it inspired me! So many ideas now!

After Me Without You is over, I’m planning to go back to Letters to Your Heart, Axes to Your Scabbard as my central FF story.

Since I always need a side story, once Hogwarts one is over, I’m torn between going back to Ice, Ice, Baby! and some others that were rather promising. Choices, choices… 🙂

2. I’m industriously working on the pieces based on prompts from those readers that pre-ordered my book, Convince Me the Winter Is Over.

3. JukePop:

Ani, my first independent fantasy novel, is going great! On the trip to Toronto Word On the Street Book Fair, I was fortunate enough to monopolise the time of my wonderful friend, Virginia McClain, a fantasy writer herself, and we had the most fruitful discussions. I have so many ideas now, all I need is time to write.

Blind Carnival (a story previously written as a joke on my FanFiction page with my usual original character Wren (Olivia on JukePop) and John (modern Thorin Oakenshield) or more precisely a funny mellow  version of him) became unexpectedly popular! It is endless fun to write, and I am starting to wonder whether I’m a romance/humour writer and not a fantasy writer as I always sort of tentatively assumed 🙂 I’m joking of course! Who needs these tags? 🙂

4. On this blog:

Inspired by the “success” (I’m trying to be modest here :D) of the book and Blind Carnival I moved my modern romance/erotica stories here.

I’m slowly re-editing and posting Dr. T Series on this site. On FF they were titled Touch the Nerve, Strike the Cord, Cut Through the Heart, Heal All Wounds. Once they all are edited and moved, I’m planning to continue the last one since I left the characters in quite a pickle.

I was also planning to start a new romance webserial May to December. It is in the state of flux currently, but I’m very excited about it.

5. Out of the conversations with Virginia, another idea was born, and it’s mad and wonderful, and I’m so giddy that I tend to do a small bum wiggle every time I think about it 😀

Some time ago I started a steampunk AU of The Hobbit, and hardly any other story brought me as much joy when writing it!

In writing, one of the things I most enjoy is research, and this one gave me lots of reasons for it. I had to look into Victorian weaponry and fashion, external combustion engines and such. On the other hand, steampunk isn’t historical prose! It’s so much fun!

The first chapters of the fanfiction story can be found here: The King of Steam and the Ginger Lightning.

So, Virginia told me that one can publish that kind of story! There is a very fine line between parody and fanfiction, but since my goal is to celebrate the work of Tolkien and (though somewhat begrudgingly) Peter Jackson, and not plagiarise them, it can be done!

A lot would have to be changed but I’m considering it.

6. In my spare time (which is literally just my bus rides to work, since I have no other) I’m writing a novella, which at this stage looks like fantasy YA (young adult prose). The protagonist is the daughter of Ani, from the JukePop story, and… one of the two ginger pseudo-Viking protagonists. Spoilers, sweetie! (And yes, it was a reference to River Song, our Goddess :D)

So, this is what’s going on 🙂

Feel free to follow me on Twitter/Instagram, or even better so be my friend on Facebook, to keep up with news 🙂

Here is the photo of my work place 🙂

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The Question of Publishing a Book

I have come to the realisation that publishing a book is like getting a tattoo.

First you don’t know what to expect, but it looks like an ace idea.

You plan and plan, and then you make a decisive leap, and go for it!

And that is when expenses start. And panic. There is a lot of panic involved. Am I doing it right? Why is everyone going to this place for it? Should I have gone with a different approach? Have I bodged it up completely?

Then comes the pain. It’s new, different… You have never felt a pain like this. It’s charring and you ask yourself what sort of a barmpot you are to have decided to do it.

There are bouts of ‘it’s not as bad as I thought’ feeling, though. And then something new pops up, and you are in agony.

There are questions to answer, and you have no idea if you are cocking it up. Also, somewhere in the middle of the process you are hit at the back of your head with a very ‘funny’ thought: it’s forever.

For all you short mortal life; and maybe, with enough ‘media coverage’ (Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.), even for a wee bit longer than that. That is the bloody scariest feeling you will ever have in life.

And then it’s done.

Just like that.

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The last photo is taken after a short pause. It involved bawling. A lot. I opened the box and burst into tears. I can’t tell now if they were happy ones, or not. I felt very emotional after my first tattoo as well. It might be just a shock thing for my poor INFJ personality.

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And when it’s over, you want another one.

 

 

The Question of Fanart

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Never in my wildest dreams I expected to have fanart made for my character. OC, original character, as they are called in the mysterious world of Tumblr, fanfiction and fandoms. It is not just me being sincerely modest. I am indeed sincere by the way. It is flattering and validating. And humbling. But about the responsibility I feel as a writer – a bit later.

Mostly I was astounded by the email from a wonderful professional illustrator with their friendly, almost off-hand offer, because I write fanfiction. Well, wrote fanfiction. My first book is already available for pre-order on Amazon, but it is quite a different story, since Convince Me the Winter is Over is contemporary fiction, dealing with psychological healing and PTSD, and not exactly the light stuff I write on https://www.fanfiction.net/u/4633889/. No travelling across Misty Mountains and enamoured Dwarven Kings.

With Winter I decided it was worth trying to publish it because it seemed to have made difference. Because readers would contact me and tell me that it made them feel better, or start therapy, to accept that there is nothing wrong with them, to consider seeking help, and most importantly, to stop blaming themselves.

And after the email from the talented Selma I once again questioned what I am doing as a writer. If some of my fanfiction stories spark creativity, does it mean I have underestimated the impact they make?

On the side note, reviews that people leave under each new chapter of my current story Me Without You are a social commentary much more fascinating than my writing. People unhappy with feminist ideas my redhead lives by, her resistance to the role of a wife and a ‘good woman,’ her refusal to give up her life for being with a man, whom some readers go as far as to call “too good for her then.”

If a person felt like spending some of the time they could dedicate to their professional activity, sharing their creativity and their efforts with others, to consider the face of the girl who has been my protagonist since day one, if Wren of Enedwaith is now travelling through other media and other platforms, does it mean I have to be even more persistent and more careful in delegating the ideas I believe are beneficial for others to read about?

Speak of anxiety inducing thoughts…

P.S Fanart: http://whowanderlost.blogspot.pt/

The Question of Mental Health

When I started writing the story that later became my book “Convince Me the Winter is Over,” both protagonists had been well established characters. I had written numerous stories on fanfiction.net about them. The circumstances were different, they would have had different professions and family history, but the core qualities were the same. She had always had high intellect, a collected, slightly OCD personality, and had been introverted, empathic, and controlling. He had always shown himself passionate, courageous, imperious, impatient, and dominant.

Except this time she had a clear and undeniable mental disorder. In chapter one she mentioned scars covering her back from abuse, her inability to touch or even talk to strangers, and since the story was presented through her eyes the text was frantic, almost delirious. These days, editing the first chapters for publication I sometimes have to take a break and do some breathing exercises. Some days I just can’t edit at all. Wren in the first few chapters is resistant, avoidant and plainly unpleasant to be in the head of.

And several readers didn’t like it. They had been used to the little know-it-all Wrennie, the ‘perfect match for our grumpy King,’ the woman capable of controlling her emotions after being threatened by her husband’s sword and the woman who knew how to rule a country and its moody King.

When Wren started suffocating from painful anxiety at the prospect of sitting on the same sofa with a male person, half of those readers felt pity. Other half would question whether she was even good for him. It was John, their beloved John, the modern version of Thorin Oakenshield, and they did not want him to go through what it is like – to be with someone with severe anxieties.

I would get angry messages. Or “Poor Wren…” would appear in almost every review. Rejection or pity, these are the two most common reactions. “Pull yourself together” (also known as “Snap out of it”) or the stigma of being broken/sick/incomplete/in need of fixing.

And then I got that first personal message. A reader, and bless the anonymity of fanfiction.net, told me they were the survivour of childhood abuse and my story was important for them. They told me that every day, at least once (or a dozen times) they felt there was no way out, that the life they had built would fall apart any moment, and my daily updates made them see that there was hope.

‘Hope’ was the word that stood out for me. It reminded me that that is what art is about. About making difference, and making a statement, and if you have even the mediocre ability to do it, you have no right to not to.

Other messages came, more and more. Different stories, different people, those readers that were new, and those I had talked to many times before. I cried, I agonised over my answers for days, I felt honoured and awed.

***

When I took my draft to a professional writer to have a look at for the first time, I was told to get rid of the clinical language.

‘Don’t label it,’ I was told. ‘No one would want to read about a person with C-PTSD.’

Why, I asked myself? Because there is a stigma on mental health issues? Because people are told to be ashamed of them, to hide them?

“Stop letting yourself emotional-ise!” I was told when I would have a panic attack in my teen years. And yes, there was a word invented specifically for that state of mine.

***

There isn’t enough awareness. There aren’t enough words for it. And those words honestly shouldn’t be ’emotional-ise.’ There isn’t enough resources. When you are depressed, you have nowhere to go, and you need to, right now, and talk to someone.

We need to talk about. We need to give it names. We need to be open about it.

I felt this story had to be told.

***

I distinctly remember one personal message from that time. The reader was enraged with “poor Wren” once again appearing in other people’s reviews. She was not ‘poor,’ she was not a victim, she was a survivour, as cliche as it sounded to many. She was fighting, she was growing, she was healing.

That was and is what the story’s about. Healing.

It isn’t a love story, because it is not love that heals all wounds. The person does. Wren was trying to. John was a trigger, an impetus to shake her out of her stagnated, frozen world of highly functional and thus somewhat ‘comfortable’ anxieties. But she did it herself. Through making steps and making effort.

She has C-PTSD as a result of childhood abuse trauma.

She sees a therapist.

She has panic attacks.

She self-regulates.

She brings her mind onto breathing. It has to be done gently, otherwise it can trigger higher level of anxiety.

She is in the state of constant vigilance, she experiences fear-potentiated startle.

All that needs names. We need to talk about. We need to be open about it.

With awareness we will get rid of the stigma.