Thursday, July 16, 2015

Ode to Sarah

 I was seven years old (almost 8!) when The Terminator came out in 1984.  I don’t remember a lot of the marketing around it, but I have a vague recollection that I thought it was some kind of horror flick, which put it solidly on the “mom won’t let me see it” list.  And given that it was rated R, at seven, she was probably right.

However, I was about fourteen when T2 came out.  Now, kids talk, so I had a general idea what the original movie was about.  I could even quote a few of the lines that had made it into pop culture.  So I was all gung-ho about T2.  I think, by this point, my mother had given up on trying to protect my impressionable young mind.

I can’t remember if I saw T2 in the theater, or waited until it came out on VHS. (yeah, that dates me a bit)  I do remember being wowed by the special effects, and that my father loved them too.  Even now, when I watch it again (it’s one of my comfort movies), I always have to think that my dad loved it.

I also remember wanting to BE Sarah Connor.  Like I had wanted nothing before in my life.  She was strong.  She was decisive.  She was fiercely protective of her child.  She wasn’t scared of anything. There was no softness to her, no apologies, no hesitations.  She got the job DONE.


I wanted to be that, so very badly.  To have that much knowledge of the world, to be prepared for any situation that might come up.  To just not be scared.  I taught myself archery, herbal lore, field medicine.  Never could handle the noises guns make, so I skipped that part, but at one time I was wicked with a throwing knife and a hatchet.  I was ready for it, if the time ever came.  I didn’t know what IT was, but dammit, I was ready.

Later, as I grew up, I came to understand more of the subtleties of the character.  I mean really, no way around it, she was batshit crazy.  Sure, her delusions weren’t actually delusions, they were true, but that foreknowledge had taken a toll on her mind.  She struggled with day to day life, trying to connect the reality she lived in with the one that everyone else saw.


More than anything, I took away that she wasn’t perfect.  She made mistakes.  I found some comfort in the fact that she probably wasn’t going to win Mother of the Year, but she could probably come in a close runner-up.  She loved her son with everything she had, and she tried desperately to prepare him for the worst possible scenarios.  It was the only thing she (or anyone) could do.

I have tried to do the same with my own daughter.  No, not training her to lead the rebellion after a robot apocalypse (though, I bet she could).  Just to be prepared for whatever the world might throw at her.  I try to challenge her mind, asking her to think over questions and situations she may never actually have to confront.  I try to challenge her body, making sure she is strong and healthy and capable of taking care of herself.  I’m not training her to be a prophesied world leader, but her generation will someday have to run this world, and at least one of them should have a vague idea about what they’re doing.

I’m not sure if I ever became Sarah Connor.  Probably not.  I did let go of some of my more militant habits (if I try to throw a knife at you now, I'm more likely to injure myself than you).  Put on a few pounds more than she would probably have approved of.  But I like to think that she’d have agreed with how I’ve raised my child.  I guess only time will tell if I’ve done her justice.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Five Years In

On July 6, 2010, A Devil in the Details released.  Over the past few weeks, I've been contemplating what it means to be five years into my publishing adventure.

Of course, to say that I'm five years in is probably inaccurate.  Prior to the actual release of Devil, there was the whole getting the sale, and before that, there was getting the agent, and before that, there was the writing... And it seems like I've been writing SOMEthing forever. 

So where am I now?  I'm on my second agent, I have six books published (four traditional, two self).  I've written quite a few other books in the spaces in between.  Jotted down ideas for a LOT more than that.  I'm obviously not rich and drinking mai tais on a beach somewhere. (does anyone know what a mai tai actually is? I've never had one)  I've changed Real Jobs once, in the interim. My kiddo went from seven years old, to twelve. (a teenager soon, wtf?  Who allowed that?)  I went from seeing my ten-year anniversary with hubby, to my fifteen.

Not sure I'm where I wanted to be (see aforementioned beach and mai tais), but I also think that my wishes and expectations were based on a misconception of what this whole "being an author" thing is really like.  The journey I've been on so far is actually fairly typical, from what I've been given to understand in the time since.  Very, very few of us get the Big Sale and go on to Fame and Fortune and Movie Deals. I have to remind myself of that on the days when I've slipped down the hill into "why bother land".

In all honesty, I can't complain about where I am. My stories are in the hands of so many people that I don't even know.  People are living in my worlds, even if just for a little bit, and that's really all I could ever ask for.  I think about this a lot, especially as Jesse's story is slowly reaching its end.   Even though I know how the story ends (and a little bit about what happens after the big finale), I'll miss running around in Jesse's world.  I wonder if other people will do the same.  I wonder if they'll be willing to follow me into new worlds.  I have plans for the Arcane West world.  Caleb and Ernst are waiting patiently for me to get back to them.  I have plans for new worlds, amazing worlds.  I want to visit space, I want to adventure in dustbowl era Kansas.  I might revisit Elysia, sometime in the future, to check on Geoff and Lia. 

I'm looking forward to writing another post like this in another five years.  They say (y'know, "they") that the ten-year mark is when an author really starts to have a career.  Not sure I believe it, but the only way to find out is to keep moving forward.

So I guess maybe what happened in the last five years is not so important as what might be coming in the next five.  Stick around, you'll probably be as surprised as I will.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

I Survived 1st Grade!

Today, I had the great honor of going to talk to a class of first graders at Scott Elementary School.  This was my very first school visit as an author! I was a little uncertain at first what I was going to say to young kids who aren't really the target audience for my books, but they came up with some really great questions about the writing process, and at the end, we all wrote a short story together as a class!

First pic is me talking to the little ones.  They had questions planned out ahead of time, but once we got started, the little hands shot up and there was no plan after that.  It was great.

Before I left, we all took a group picture, and there was a small riot over who got to stand actually touching me.
Then, we had to do the obligatory silly face picture:


Also, once they figured out that I knew the Baymax fist bump noise, I was infinitely cooler.  Many thanks to Miss Boyle who invited me to come and spend time with her students!  I had a blast!


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

And the winner is!

Ok, I don't know about y'all, but I had a LOT of fun doing this. (And the folk who run IMDB are currently trying to figure out why I spent the last hour rapid-fire looking up actors I wasn't familiar with to check out everyone's cast lists)

So, after careful consideration, and some very scientific wibbly wobbly timey wimey type calculations, I have come up with my winners.  Drumroll!

Or not.

First place, and winner of the $25 Amazon gift card is:  Dragonflylass
Second place, and winner of the $10 Amazon gift card is:  Josh

Both of you email me at kari.stewart21 (at) gmail.com, and let me know what email address you want your gift card forwarded to. (If Amazon isn't quite your thing, let me know, we'll talk.)

Of course, if you showed me yours, I now have to show you mine.

Some of these are absolutely in my head who should play it.  Some of them are folk who would be good, but there were other really good ones in the casts you all came up with, too, and now I just don't know!   Some of them would require some makeup, and possibly some CGI to pull off the right look, but ain't movie magic grand?  ((And obviously, there were just a few where I couldn't make up my mind))



Olympus Tower:
Heracles – Chris Hemsworth
Artemis – Charlize Theron
Persephone – Hayley Atwell
Demeter – Madeleine Stowe
Hades – Richard Armitage
Hephaestus – Ron Perlman

Deeptown:
Geoff – Nicholas Hoult
Lia – Riley Keough
Ambert – John Goodman  / James Earl Jones
Jon / Rik –Bret Dalton
Keras – Steve Buscemi / John Leguizamo
Raffa – Jaimie Alexander / Katee Sackhoff / Michelle Rodriguez

Anyway, thanks for indulging me in this bit of silliness.  I'm glad you all read and enjoyed Second Olympus.  Tell all your friends, and remember to leave reviews at your favorite sites. Every one helps.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Second Olympus: The Movie





Only in an author's fondest fantasies are their books actually made into movies.  But that doesn't mean that we can't dream. I mean, c'mon. Imagining stuff is what we get paid for!

So imagine with me, people!  In the comments below, leave your ideal cast list for the characters listed below.  They can be past or present, you can specify young or old (for example, young Marlon Brando is very different than older Marlon Brando).  If you need more inspiration, check out this earlier post featuring my Second Olympus Playlist!

I'm limiting everyone to ONE entry per person (yes, I know that there are a several married couples who may be competing, so it's up to you guys if you want to enter as one, or as individuals)  ((I may have just ruined a couple of marriages))

Because I know there are folk who are busy this weekend (*waves hi to the Malice Domestic crowd*), I will leave the contest open through next Wednesday (5/6).  I'll post the 1st and 2nd place winners that evening.

1st place winner gets a $25 Amazon gift card, and 2nd place gets $10!  Woohoo!

Remember, only the first 12 characters are must haves (and if you truly can't figure one out, it's okay to leave it blank. I've got a few I haven't cast yet, too).  If you want to put some names to the "Others" section, you can do that just for fun.

Olympus Tower:
Heracles
Artemis
Persephone
Demeter
Hades
Hephaestus

Deeptown:
Geoff
Lia
Ambert
Jon / Rik (they're twins, remember?)
Keras
Raffa

Others:
Art forger
Old Stan
Young Stan
Fons
Drones
Hunstmen

And....GO!  (Have fun, folk)

Friday, April 24, 2015

Your Mission


Should you choose to accept it, and I really hope you do, or this will be the lamest contest ever.

So, people often tell me (usually in reference to the JJD books), “Hey, this would make a great movie/TV show!”  Well, in all honesty, I’ve never believed that the JJD books would translate well to film.  There’s too much internal introspection in dear Jesse’s head that I think would be lost on the big (or little) screen.

However, I have always believed that Second Olympus would be my “movie book”.  I have a soundtrack picked out and everything.  And occasionally, I amuse myself by daydreaming about who would play who in that movie.

So here’s what we’re going to do!  I want YOU to cast my Second Olympus movie.  I’ve got a list of main characters below, and I’d love to know how YOU picture them.

Now, you’re thinking, “As fun as this is, this seems like it could take some time! What’s in it for me?”  I’m so glad you asked!  I will be awarding a $25 Amazon gift card to my favorite cast list.  Second place will get a $10 Amazon gift card!  To win, I want casting for the 12 “main” characters. (the “others” listed at the bottom are just for fun, if you have someone perfect in mind)

Since this kinda requires that you have READ the book, and not everyone reads super fast, I’m announcing this today, and then NEXT Friday (May 1st), I will put up a new post and THERE you will list your answers.  That gives you a week to read and ponder.

REMEMBER:  Don’t leave your answers on THIS post, wait til next Friday and we’ll do it then.

Now, you may have see me mention a few actors that I see in a couple of the roles, but don't feel like you're bound to that!  I want to know what YOU picture.  So get reading, and on May 1st, have your cast list ready!

Second Olympus Cast List

Olympus Tower:
Heracles
Artemis
Persephone
Demeter
Hades
Hephaestus

Deeptown:
Geoff
Lia
Ambert
Jon / Rik
Keras
Raffa

Others:
Art forger
Old Stan
Young Stan
Fons
Drones
Hunstmen

Monday, April 20, 2015

Tomorrow, Tomorrow!

Second Olympus releases tomorrow.  Hold on a second while I pause to truly take in that statement.  Part of me still hasn’t quite registered (despite the fact that I’ve had two early readers come back already and say they loved it).

For those who haven’t ordered yet, shame on you!   (I kid)  Here is the list of where to find the book:

Print copy:

Ebook:
Smashwords (for a variety of formats in one place!)

Remember, if you love the book (any book, really), or even if you don’t, PLEASE go out and leave a review at Amazon and/or B&N.  I can’t emphasize enough how important reviews on these sites are for authors.  And I don’t mean just glowing “OMG, I wanna have this book’s babies” kind of reviews.  They don’t have to be deep, in-depth literary analysis of each line of prose.  They can just be a “hey, this rocked my socks” or “It was just kinda ‘meh’ for me.”  All reviews are valuable, so please, take a few minutes of your time and drop a few lines.


Next week, I think I wanna play the “Cast the Movie” game with this book, so for those of you who will be reading this week, think about who you envision in these roles.  I will tell you right away that for Keras, I’m picturing Steve Buscemi, or maybe John Leguizamo.  Let me know how you see him!