Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The End is Near





Happy New Year! In my first post of 2018 I'm writing about endings. Crazy, I know, but what can I do? Endings are important to a writer, and not just to nail the book. It's also thrilling to come to that last scene, in the last chapter and say, Done.


Do we Judge Books by their Endings?


After 400 pages of story, you'd think readers would consider the whole experience, but no. They walk away from the book, TV series, play or movie, thinking of how it ended. They might be left pondering, cheering, crying or disappointed, but The End is what sticks.

For an author, a good ending means readers feel satisfied, even if profoundly sad or disturbed. They talk about the book, passing on its greatness by word of mouth. A bad ending is one where readers feel cheated, let down or worse, unmoved. They don't talk about the book or lend it to a friend. They throw it at the wall, eventually picking it up and putting it in the trash.

What Makes a Good Ending?


Feelings. Emotions. Whether comedic, tragic or fantastic, the ending needs to make readers feel deeply. It can come out of left field at the time, but there has to be, on reflection, a sense of logic, of possibility. Good authors will seed the ending in ways readers won't see it coming but later they find the rationale.

There are many types of endings and some of them are tethered to a genre. Romance novels, paranormal or otherwise, have an HEA (happy ever after). Trillers require an unsettling twist (Gone Girl). Fantasy may end with everyone receives a medal (Star Wars) or with the goal reached, but with varying degrees of fallout (LOTR).

YA Lit is changing but in the past 'happy and optimistic' endings were considered the norm. Yet, the most important ingredient in a good ending is its honesty. It may come as a shock, but it needs to ring true to the story. I remember being disturbed by the ending in The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I didn't like it, but it felt right. See below for changing perspectives in children's literature.

The fact that texts for children express hope, and therefore typically have happy endings, raises a question about their accuracy and honesty. - Perry Nodelman and Mavis Reimer‘s The Pleasures of Children’s Literature,

An Eclectic Group of Endings that Work for me

Some endings summerize; others shock. Some come full circle. Some hang us off a cliff until the next in the series; others leave us guessing. Here's a mix of some of my favorites.

"Then she bade the white horse take her through the door, leaving the snow to close in behind them and winter to obliterate any trace of her passing. - The Heir of Night, Helen Lowe

"Later on he will understand how some men so loved her, that they did dare much for her sake." - Dracula, Bram Stoker

"The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well." - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling

"He was soon borne away 
by the waves and lost in darkness and distance." - Frankenstein, Mary Shelley

"Are there any questions?" - The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood

"She looked down and for an instant it seemed she held a ragged teddy, torn and chewed with one button eye missing, but when she blinked she saw it was only Teg’s fingers laced in her own." - Journey by NightKim Falconer


"She opened the door wide and let him into her life again." - The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Stieg Larsson

She closes her eyes again and I begin to sing softly:
'''V'la l'bon vent, v'la l'joli vent
V'la l'bon vent, ma mie m'appelle.'''
Hoping that this time it will remain a lullaby. That this time the wind will not hear. That this time - please just this once - it will leave without us." - Chocolat, Joanne Harris

"And then we continued blissfully into this small but perfect piece of our forever." - Breaking Dawn, Stephenie Meyer

"When they finally did dare it, at first with stolen glances then candid ones, they had to smile. They were uncommonly proud. For the first time they had done something out of Love." - Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, Patrick Süskind

"Hector turns and sees me and the world around us disappears. - The November Girl, Lydia Kang

How about you? I'd love to hear your most liked, or disliked, endings.

xxKim

Kim Falconer's latest release comes out in 2018 The Bone Throwers, book one in the Amassia series, writing as A K Wilder. Find her new page on Facebook - AKWilder Author and on Twitter as AKWilder.

Her latest novel is out now - The Blood in the Beginning - and Ava Sykes Novel.

Learn more about Kim on Facebook and chat with her on Twitter. Check out her pen name, @a.k.wilder on Instagram, or visitAKWilder on FB and website.

Kim also runs GoodVibeAstrology.com where she teaches the law of attraction and astrology. 

Kim posts here at the Supernatural Underground on the 16th of every month, hosts Save the Day Writer's Community on FB and posts a daily astrology weather report on Facebook. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

2018: Year of the New

2018: Year of the New

I feel dusty. I feel like a dried up and crackled leaf on the wind that had been tossed this way and that for far too long. Like a doll that has been left on a shelf to watch everything happen through glass eyes. I feel like I've been holed up in my writer cave for too long and my back aches and fingers are curled and I need to shake the cobwebs off.

In thinking of Helen Lowe's last post of magic and possibilities, 2018 for me will be the year of the NEW. I feel like I haven't been writing enough or creating enough or saying enough with my work and that is just going to stop now.

Last year, I focused on the works of art, movies, the stories that I carry with me into the future. The works that have shaped the way that I write and process the world.

This year, I'd like to focus on possibly adding to that repertoire, changing my canon to help with this shake up. I just want to try something new: new books, new movies, new 5 am writing practices, journaling upside down while hanging by your toes. Like the Fool, I'm ready for an adventure!

So you, my dear readers will be along with me on my quest to become a new Writer, Creator, Human. And maybe through my foibles and follies, you can laugh along with me and add to your own treasure box of things that help you.

So for January 2018, I'm starting small. I'm going to read a book that has been recommended to me by several creative people that I admire.
BIG MAGIC by Elizabeth Gilbert. Perhaps this supernatural girl is really just drawn to the title, but for the next month, I'm going to be reading about "balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism," according to Amazon. I'm not usually a self-help sort of person, so this is really new for me. 

If you'd like to hear my thoughts throughout the month, I'll probably be tweeting over at @Pantherista with my progress, thoughts on the book, and maybe even the verdict on how the change is coming along.  Look for #2018YOTN.


Oh, and if you have a practice or book or movie or anything that you think I should add to my journey, please let me know!!!

Thank you so much for being a part of this journey!

Amanda Arista
Author, Diaries of an Urban Panther series 
www.amandaarista.com



Monday, January 1, 2018

The Magic Of Possibility: Happy New Year, Supernatural Underground!

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Happy New Year to all our Supernatural Underground community – the SU authors, our wonderful guests and to all our friends and followers that drop by throughout the year.

If New Year’s Eve is primarily about looking back on the “year-that-was” then New Year’s Day offers the possibility to consider the “year-that-will-be” – in this case, 2018.

And like all the festivals we celebrate throughout a year, New Year’s Day has a special kind of magic to it.

The magic of possibility...
To my mind, the most compelling element of New Year’s Day is the magic of possibility. 2018 stretches before us in much the same way as a blank page, one that may be written on in any number of different ways, whether for good or ill. Largely, too, the “what” and “how” of our response to life’s events rests with us, even if the events themselves may be outside of our control.
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So the celebration of New Year allows us a press-pause moment to contemplate the “what’s” and “how’s” that may lie ahead – not just the form they may take but how we may choose to engage with them.
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May your dreams take flight in 2018...
Today, on 1 January 2018, I would like to wish you all a year in which we not only contemplate many possibilities but feel able to seize the positive opportunities they offer, whether in creative endeavors, careers, or personal and family circumstances.
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May we all be well – and also kind, compassionate and generous in all we say or do. And let’s rock 2018 with more great blogging, book reading, and most of all MOAR book writing.

Happy 2018!

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Helen Lowe is a novelist, poet, interviewer and blogger whose first novel, Thornspell (Knopf), was published to critical praise in 2008. Her second, The Heir of Night (The Wall Of Night Series, Book One) won the Gemmell Morningstar Award 2012. The sequel, The Gathering Of The Lost, was shortlisted for the Gemmell Legend Award in 2013. Daughter Of Blood, (The Wall Of Night, Book Three) is her most recent book and she is currently working on the fourth and final novel in The Wall Of Night series. Helen posts regularly on her “…on Anything, Really” blog and is also on Twitter: @helenl0we

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Here's YOUR Top 10 Posts Of 2017, Supernatural Undergrounders!

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What better time to look at the Supernatural Underground posts YOU loved the most in 2017, dear Undergrounders, than on the very last day of the old year.

[DRUM ROLL] So here they are, the ten posts that most of you read most often! (We think that makes sense, lol.)
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1. September 1 — In Appreciation: Building on the Past and Helen Lowe’s "The Wall of Night Series" - A Guest Post By Paul Weimer 

Paul Weimer
Paul Weimer's wonderful post charting the development of epic fantasy and extolling Helen Lowe's multi-award-winning The Wall Of Night series was our most-read post of 2017.

"Helen Lowe’s The Wall of Night series stands as a formidable entry in the realm of epic fantasy..."

To read more, click here.

And thank you, Paul, for a "Super" contribution!

2. January 1 — Happy New Year, Supernatural Undergrounders

Huka Falls
Though pipped at the post by Paul's fabulous post, you all loved Helen Lowe's new year post, with its lovely photographs of some "Middle Earth" scenery, as well.

"A major trope of epic fantasy ... is the "road trip" ... and part of the Fantastic Road Trip is that one should visit previously unknown terrain and climes..."

 To read and see more, click here.

Looking at those lakes, mountains, and rivers, we can well understand why you all came, looked, and lingered.

3. March 27 — Daughter Of Blood: Meet The Characters

Coming in a very strong third, this post asserted that:

"I'm sure you all agree that one of the most important things that "makes" a book is the characters..."

Apparently you do all agree, because y'all rocked on up to read this introduction to the major characters in Helen Lowe's Daughter Of Blood.

To meet or re-meet those characters again, click here.
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4. January 16 — Mood Board Magic

New Moon by Pat Erickson
Kim Falconer's fabulous post on Mood Board Magic certainly cast its spell on us all:

"Today I wanted to turn on all you writers - aspiring or fully accomplished -  to the notion of Mood Boards..."

Having traversed the "What Is", "Uses", "How To" and "Samples", we believe Kim's post succeeded expectations.

To read more, click here.


5. February 1 — In Defense Of Heroes

Harriet Tubman
Using a Disraeli quote as her starting point, Helen Lowe made the case for holding out for heroes:

“Nurture your mind with great thoughts – to believe in the heroic makes heroes.”

– Disraeli, 1804 - 1881

Judging by the number of readers, Supernatural Underground friends and followers must have agreed that Helen had given us food for thought.

To read the full post, click here.
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6. February 3 — And Now I'm Just Dating Myself

Here at Supernatural Underground HQ we're huge fans of Amanda Arista's humorous and self-deprecating post series: in 2017 titled The Things I Carry.

And Now I'm Just Dating Myself  takes a stroll through three of Amanda's favorite 'carry with' movies, with a focus on White Dwarf.

"Ah White Dwarf. How do I describe you?"

Needless to say, Amanda does describe why it's a thing she carries. And we can well understand why this post resonated with you as it did with us at the HQ. To read all about it, click here.
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7. March 1 — Cover Reveal & Giveaway: A STAR TO STEER HER BY by Beth Anne Miller

We love hosting guests here on Supernatural Underground so were delighted to have Beth Anne Miller launch her latest cover with us on March 1:

"I’m scarred. Broken. I’ll never be the same. But I will take this journey." ~ A Star To Steer Her By

Sounds great, doesn't it? We gather you thought so, too... ;-)
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8. July 1 — 5 Favorite Fantasy-Genre Romances

Romance is heartland Supernatural Underground territory, so no surprises at all that Helen Lowe's post on five of her Fantasy genre favorites struck a positive chord.

Here's how the post began:

"Early last month, my fellow Supernatural underground author, Amanda Arista, wrote here: 'I know that this is supposed to be an all things fiction blog, but I find myself ruminating on Romance recently.' "

To check out the five books, click here.

9. February 16 — Weird Romance In Fiction

Just to prove our point that romance themes make the Supernatural Underground heart beat faster, Kim Falconer's delving into the weirder side of fictional romance was also right up there in terms of grabbing your attention.

"Here at the Sup, we often write love interests who are different species, from alternate times, dimensions or universes..."

To delve further into Kim's insights on mortals and monsters, click here.

10. April 1 — The Ingredients Of A Fantasy Heroine

It's not just romance, magic, and adventure! Here at Supernatural Underground we're all about the heroines, too, and on April 1 Helen Lowe checked out some of the ingredients that make a great Fantasy heroine, like her own Malian of Night, Kim Falconer's Ava Sykes, or Amanda Arista's Violet.

"One of the factors Fantasy heroines often have in common, whether dealing with the stuff of everyday life or the fate of worlds, is resolution in the face of difficulty..."

If that spurs your resolve to read on, click here.

Meanwhile, we're glad that the ingredients of a Fantasy heroine matter as much to you as readers, as they do to us as writers.  

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And there it is — YOUR top 10 for 2017!

We're looking forward to even MOAR Supernatural Underground goodness in 2018. Drop back in and share them with us. :-)

Monday, December 25, 2017

Our Warmest Wishes For A Happy Holiday Season

The deep midwinter...
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From All Of Us Here At Supernatural Underground:


Whether you are a friend & follower in the deep midwinter of the Northern Hemisphere...

...Or are enjoying the high summer of the Southern Hemisphere --


The delights of high summer...

Our warmest wishes for the Holiday Season!


This holiday season, we're enjoying this quote from JK Rowling:

One can never have enough socks. Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.

– J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone (UK); Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (US.) 
Personally we feel we can never get enough of books either, and whether in an armchair by a fire or on a deck chair at the beach, a good read is the perfect holiday companion.

So Happy Reading, all!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Throw the Bones



Happy Holiday Season, Everyone!

Following on from last month's post, Seers and Storytelling, I have a fun exploration today - The Bone Thrower's Oracle, an online tarot card reading for you all to try. Writing under my pen name, you can find the online oracle at AKWilder.com.

In this new YA fantasy series, coming out in 2018, the fate of the world hinges on the throw of the bones. Black-robed savants, who raise nebulous phantoms and carry bags of whistle bones carved from human skeletons, control the realms. They keep to themselves in underground catacombs or temples near each sanctuary, carrying out their responsibilities – discerning the best times for planting, harvesting, hunting and war, providing counsel to the high savants and magistrates, archiving the records for each cast of the bones, and most important, determining the fate of Amassia’s children.
The Oracle at Delphi by John Collier

The black-robed bone throwers visit the home of every child,  searching for potential savants. A shake of the pouch, a toss of the bones, and the youngster’s future is sealed—either to trial at the sanctuary when they turned eight years old and, hopefully, raise a phantom and become savant, or, like so many, be found lacking in potential, classed forever as non-savant.

Worse yet if the throw of the bones shows them marred, damaged in some way, seen or unseen. Those children are sacrificed to the sea.

The tradition has governed the realms for thousands of years... until Ash is born. What her bones foretell, no one in the world is prepared for.

If you want to see what message the oracle has for you, a black-robed savant is waiting to throw the bones and answer your most burning questions. Go to AKWilder.com and have a go.

It's the beta version, so please feel free to offer comments and suggestions for the upgrade.

Thanks, Everyone, and have a wonderful holiday season.

xxKim

Kim Falconer's latest release comes out in 2018 - The Bone Throwers, book one in the Amassia series, writing as A K Wilder. Find her new page on Facebook - AKWilder Author and on Twitter as AKWilder.

Her latest novel is out now - The Blood in the Beginning - and Ava Sykes Novel.

Learn more about Kim on Facebook and chat with her on Twitter. Check out her pen name, @a.k.wilder on Instagram, or visitAKWilder on FB and website.

Kim also runs GoodVibeAstrology.com where she teaches the law of attraction and astrology. 

Kim posts here at the Supernatural Underground on the 16th of every month, hosts Save the Day Writer's Community on FB and posts a daily astrology weather report on Facebook. 



Monday, December 4, 2017

Release Day Hijinks

Hello, lovely blog readers! I'm so excited to share my brand new release with you!

Just a quick update: The winner to my giveaway was Anthony! Congrats, Anthony! I'll be sending you the Kindle Fire and a digital copy of my book, Fairytale Christmas!

Fairytale Christmas by Merrie Destefano



FAIRYTALE CHRISTMAS is currently available on Kindle, in paperback, and will soon be released as an audio book on Audible.

And the digital version is only .99!

What some readers have to say about it:

"The writing reads like a dream."--Kimberly, Amazon review

"I absolutely loved this story!"--Shyra, Amazon review

"Love, action, adventure and magic. I devoured this book..."--Maria, Amazon review

"A vivid tale of Celtic legend and fantasy."--Wendy, Amazon review

"And this is YA appropriate for those checking with the romance."--Kelsay, Amazon review

OUTLANDER MEETS SLEEPING BEAUTY.
Three thousand years ago, a war began between the immortals and the mortals. It's a war that continues to this day...

Before history began, a legendary queen battled a foreign army, braved the death of her husband, and faced betrayal at the hand of someone she trusted. This is the story of Eire, Queen of the Faeries, the Immortal One, and the leader of the Tuatha de Danann.

To this day, her homeland, Ireland, bears her name, and this is the story of the war that drove the Immortal Ones into exile. It's also the tale of how she found help from an unexpected place, leading her to a love like she had never known before.

Fairytale Christmas is a story that spans thousands of years. It's also the beginning of all of our fairytales and legends; it's where mortals and immortals survive because they love one another, proving that love is the greatest gift of all.

This is the first installment in the Saga of the Fair Folk, a journey that lasts until the end of time.

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You can read a first chapter excerpt HERE.

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I hope you all get a chance to read my new release and I really hope you enjoy it!
Also, to celebrate the Release Day of FAIRYTALE CHRISTMAS, I'm hosting a giveaway. I'm giving away a KINDLE FIRE and a digital copy of FAIRTALE CHRISTMAS.

PLEASE JUST CLICK THIS LINK TO ENTER.