Friday, May 31, 2013

A Perry Happy Birthday!

So a couple weeks ago, it was sort of my birthday and, as tends to happen around that time of year, people were trying to buy me things. Specifically, my sister.

I'll admit, she had an extremely clever, top secret, covert plan to get information out of me this year.

My response was purposefully vague.

For those of you who might be wondering, "What's a Perry?" This is Perry:

Perry The Platypus from the show Phineas and Ferb.
(How can you not love such an adorable meat brick!?)

But it gets better.

You see... Perry isn't just ANY platypus...


He's also... Secretly...

Perry the Platypus.
(Intensely clever to have your code Spy name and your real name be THE SAME NAME!)

You might be wondering, "What's he do?" The real question is, what DOESN'T HE DO?!?!

Behold the following pictures I stole from Google:




And he also makes a great hat!

There's all sorts of Perry merchandise out there!

Unsurprisingly, an ACTUAL Perry hat:

Perry shirts:

Perry shoes:

Perry art:

Perry cakes:

Perry ECLAIRS!!!
(I don't like eclairs, but I think I'd actually eat these ones)

In short, Perry is a PERRY popular guy--er, platypus.

The SPECIFIC Perry I was referring to for my birthday, however, was THIS Perry:
The completely squeezable PERRY PLUSH!
(Available at the Disney Store).



You see, my master plan, was that if I gave her ONLY one option, then she would get me ONLY that one thing!! Sarah sort of has this tendency to be... extreme when it comes to giving people things. She has an eye for a great gift, and she's not afraid to get more than one perfect gift. But I wasn't going to let that happen this year--no siree, only one gift for me. MUAHAHA! It was FOOL PROOF!

Except, I forgot one MAJOR detail.

This was my sister we were talking about.

And I probably shouldn't have told her my plans for my birthday--namely that I would be leaving early in the morning to go clothes shopping with our mother (because she has incredible taste).

I left right on time as I was planning:
*Shoooooooot, I'm running laaaaaaaate*


I began backing out of my parking spot, and was all,
*Sniff sniff* 
*Why does it smell like peanut butter in here?*

 *I know my roommate had a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast... but that doesn't explain why I'd still be smelling it.*

*And it's DEFINATELY peanut butter I smell. I'd know. I love that stuff!*

*Maybe someone left a peanut butter sandwhich in here? (Ew.) Or maybe there's peanut butter cups somewhere that someone secretly left here as a gift, like asking me out to a dance or something. But I don't know why they would, I mean, it's only my birthda--*



*Well how did I miss that?*

Three bouquets of flowers: pink roses, orange roses, and white/pink lilies  Along with a MILLION peanut butter cups, and a bottle of my all time favorite Pineapple Soda. 

*Straaaange.*

*Usually Sarah leaves her surprises in the passenger seat.*



Behold! I had thrown my purse right on top of a stuffed cricket, more chocolate, and an evil note from my sister.

Who is way. way. waaaaay too kind.
And fellas.... she's single... 

Anywho, I parked my car again, since I was about to go on a loooong drive, and I didn't think the flowers could handle that. Instead I gathered everything and brought it discreetly inside...

A text or two revealed that my sister was still in the area, and I demanded her presence in my apartment building so I could chew her out myself.

"No no no Sarah, you were only supposed to get me Perry! No more presents!"
Her explanation: "Well, late last night, I was like GASP, this is Kim's TWENTY-FIRST BIRTHDAY. So I got you twenty-one roses, only, they only sell roses in packs of ten, so I got you twenty roses, and then a MILLION lilies to make up for the missing rose. And then I got you pineapple soda since we don't drink alcohol, and so you could take twenty-one shots of SODA! And then the cricket just gave me this look, and was all 'are you thinking what I'm thinking' and I KNEW he had to belong to you! Besides, Perry was WAY TO OBVIOUS of a gift to get you!"

After the predictable moment of bewildered silence, I said,
"Okay, well great, and I love everything and everything, but no more presents!"
And she was all "Okay! Look at this lovely blue jay statue I got you!"
And I did, and I loved it, and I didn't draw it, because this post is turning out to be exceedingly long.
Anyway, I thanked her profusely, and then headed out to my car. Just a little behind schedule now.

*SHOOT! I AM SO LATE!*

 But when I got there?

PERRY.

My punk sister is TOO nice.


And I love her.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

On Words, With Danielle E. Shipley


D: Nice; I see what you did there!



K: Why yes! Danielle, thank you so much for agreeing to appear on my blog!

D: Are you kidding me? The pleasure is all mine!

K: Speaking of pleasing, the release of "The Swan Prince (Book One of the Winderhark Tales)" is SO close.

D: May 31st, baby! …Yee-gads, that’s 3 days. Breathe, me, breathe.

K: Haha! It must be busy for you with all your upcoming publications, "A Morrow More" for the "One More Day" anthology, as well as your own novel "Inspired", both through J. Taylor Publishing.

D: You’ve got that right. “Crazy busy” is my way of life, these days. But no way I’d turn down a chance for a Wilderhark chat – especially after all the glowing things you said in your review! X)

K: You made it easy by writing such a great book!

D: D’aww. ^-^

K: And the fact that it's a fairytale remix makes it all the more enjoyable! In "The Swan Prince (Book One of the Wilderhark Tales), I noticed several references to, and twists on, the original fairytales. Which of the original fairytales is your favorite, and did it make an appearance in this book?

D: Let’s see, favorite fairytale of all time? Hard to say, since I love bits and pieces from so many of them. That’s why I had such fun writing “The Wilderhark Tales”: I got to throw in elements from a whole bunch of favorites. (Wait ‘til you get to Book Three; I go nuts!)

K: Haha, can't wait!

D: That makes two of us! Picking a favorite that went into “The Swan Prince”, though, I’d have to go with “Beauty and the Beast”. Along with “The Wild Swans”, it’s the story that provided the biggest inspiration for the book – and even inspired half the plot for Book Six! So it’s almost like the whole series goes full circle. Leave it to a tale as old as time!

K: Perhaps that's why I adore your book so much! "Beauty and the Beast" is definitely my favorite, and "The Wild Swans" is right up my alley, too! Something about a charming prince in need of saving by a perceptive/determined maiden speaks to me, I guess. ;)

D: Lol, I don’t know that “perceptive” is the best word for Sula. She’s hardcore determined, though, there’s no denying that!

K: Speaking of determination, writing is a difficult business. Are there any tricks you use to help you sit down and write or edit?

Before I got hooked on Facebook, I needed no tricks. Writing was just what I did all day. It was my cheap and medically safe addiction. Nowadays, I’m trying to learn balance between social media and story-making. …Oh, and mealtimes. Because if you forget to eat breakfast ‘til dinner time, you lose your medical safety argument. :P

K: Food is overrated anyway ;). What writing process do you go through before feeling a book is ready for publication?

D: Step One: Find an idea that excites me.
Step Two: Write the story out.
Step Three: Read the whole thing over the phone to my writing-bestie. (Shout-out to Tirzah Duncan!)
Step Four: Bask in her praise, and act immature when she points out bits that need work.
Step Five: Fix the stuff she told me to until she gives the thumbs-up.
Step Six: Go work on other things, coming back periodically to reread and tweak the book and make sure I still love it; read it over the phone to another friend, if she's got the time. (Shout-out to Jeannie Stine!)
Step Seven: Come up with a blurb and stuff, ‘cause I wanna get this baby out into the world!

K: I've never considered reading over the phone before. I usually pass along an electronic copy, but I have heard that reading your own story aloud helps you see your story in a different light--especially when you know there's an opinionated someone else listening ;) Usually my characters are my opinionated "someone else" even before I have my Beta Readers see it.

D: (Ha, yeah. That, too. Shout-out to my bossy– ahem, opinionated characters!)

K: Haha! That leads me to wonder, which of your characters did you find the easiest to write, and why? Along the same lines, who was most difficult, and why?

D: Answering the second question first, Villem. Doctor Villem Deere is very challenging to write, because everything he says has to be well-thought-out and intelligent and mature – i.e, the opposite of how things will usually fall out of my mouth. So I have to tread carefully to make sure I don’t give him any lines that sound stupid, or he’ll sort of raise one eyebrow at me like, “Come now, Danielle. Do these words sound in any way compatible with my voice?”

K: He was actually my guess because his voice is so different from your own! I know as authors we're supposed to walk through a novel as someone else, but characters who don't quite see eye to eye with the writer can make it difficult. You handled it fabulously though--not only was Villem consistently in character, but he was charming in his own right.

D: I’m so glad; characters like Villem are a crying shame to screw up. X) Chatty, say-anything-and-everything characters like Sister Ariana or Harrold Babbit came far easier to write. I could just let them ramble on, then cut out the useless bits afterward. 

K: Oh yes, I loved them both! I thought it would be fitting if they somehow met and ended up together. However... if they did meet I'm not sure the conversation would ever end... ;)

D: *bursts out laughing* Oh, Highest Good help us if those two are ever called to host an award ceremony or something! In that same vein/in contrast, I guess Sigmund wasn’t too awful to write for, either. Not at all chatty, but his expression tends to be a bit simpler and more straightforward, if in a rather self-important way; that comes more intuitively to me.

K: Personally, I've always had a fascination with the shy, straightforward characters such as Sigmund. There's something captivating about a boy with a secret (like in Beauty and the Beast, and The Wild Swans--go figure!) I am curious though, you didn't mention Sula in either list. Where does she fit in?

D: It took me a little while to figure her out, but once I understood her motivations and personality, her voice came naturally. She says what she thinks she needs to in order to get what she wants. If that means employing subtlety and tact, so be it, though she’d much rather just bluntly speak her mind, to heck with silly games. …Oh, dear: And it was then the author realized it sounded like she was describing herself… I think that may be about all we have in common, though.

K: Doesn't every character have a bit of the author in them? ;) Jumping from characters to look at the big picture, what inspired you to create this story?

D: Randomly enough, considering I never read the series, it started with a kind of “Animorph”-like idea; kids transforming into animals, possibly saving the world… I had no clue where I wanted to go with it, at that point, but the boy with a swan form stuck out. After a while of thinking it over, the “Wild Swans” fairytale took over, and I started fiddling around with a plotline on paper. It took a few false starts, but in the end, I had “The Swan Prince”. Even after I’d finished that first draft, I didn’t take the story all that seriously; not until months later, when I was suddenly entertaining ideas for a sequel. Then I was hooked, and started churning them out like a fairytale-spinning factory.

K: Which reminds me, "The Swan Prince" is a self publication. Yet, you've also worked with publishers (the upcoming "One More Day" and "Inspired" with J. Taylor Publishing). What would you say to someone who is looking to get published, and is considering self publication? Or to someone who is considering working with a publisher?

D: Whee, I’m finally in a position to be a voice of experience! …Sorta. I’m totally just getting started. But this I can state with certainty: Both ways present challenges, and both ways have big points in their favor.

K: With the self-pub route, you get to be in charge of everything! The flipside of that being, uh-oh, you’re in charge of everything! So make sure you put in the time and money to create a book of quality.

D: If a publisher takes you on, they’ll help have your back. On the other hand, you lose a measure of control over the product. (Although I should point out that J. Taylor Publishing is allowing me a glorious amount of say in our joint projects’ production. Bless ‘em for it, say I.)

K: With my experience working on "Sleepless Beauty" with J. Taylor Publishing, I'd have to agree!

D: I want to read that! I mean, I want to read the whole “One More Day” anthology, but c’mon – fairytale retelling!

K: My turn! D’aww. ^-^

D: :) Back to working with a publisher, well, you’ve got to get the publisher to take you on, first, so be prepared for a season of weeping over rejections. 

K: Oh yes. Be prepared.

D: *refrains from breaking into any “Lion King” songs*

K: *puts away bongo drums*

D: *guffaws* Happily, when it comes to publishing, it doesn’t have to be either/or. I’d encourage writers to shop around and decide which road to fame and fortune (or so we dream) suits their stories best.

K: That's one of the best parts of writing, I think--being able to have so many choices and options--not only in how to get your book to the public, but also in creating the book: setting, characters, plot, characters, theme, characters, and... say... did I mention characters?

D: And characters, I remind you; don’t forget them. They’re my favorite part.

K: Speaking of characters, say you were able to meet your own characters in real life. How would you envision the first meeting going?

D: Pardon me while I freak out like a fangirl at the prospect. I mean, I hang around with them in my imagination all the time, but live and in person and REAL? Thank goodness Villem is a doctor, because he might need to restart my heart.

K: Lol!

D: After the dramatic CPR scene? Assuming we’re at my house, I’ll probably tell everyone to stay where they are while I grab a camera. These pics are going all over Facebook, baby! Sigmund would make a natural model. Sula would probably want to oversee the photo-editing to make sure her shots give off whatever vibe she’s going for. I’ll leave her in charge of that while I squeal on the phone to my bestie about what she’s missing. Darn her for living so blasted far away! What do you think, characters? Time for another road trip quest? :D

So long as it's after the book is available to the public! Thank you, again Danielle, for appearing on www.theflightreflex.blogspot.com!

Thank you again for having me, Kimberly. It’s been fun!

Any last writing advice or tips for future authors?

My number one, ultimate tip: Write what you love. If you love it, you’ll put in the necessary work to make it awesome and find other people who are willing to share in the awesomeness you created. …Or, if nothing else, you’ll love it alone. I can think of far unhappier endings than that.



Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Book Review: "The Swan Prince" by Danielle E. Shipley


There's something magical about fairytales--besides the usual Enchantments and curses and spells gone horribly wrong, I mean. What I DO mean, is that fairytales have a magic because  no matter how often we hear them, they have a power to captivate us--and, even better, they can be told in so many different ways!

If you're as big of a fairytale nerd as I am, you'll love the latest addition to the fairytale community--Danielle E. Shipley's  "The Swan Prince (Book One of the Winderhark Tales)" at just over 22,000 words!


Here's the Back of the Book Blurb:


Catching her leg in a bear trap proves the least of Sula's worries. Haunted by an enchanted monster from a past she dare not reveal, and hounded by the perilously perceptive young village doctor, Villem Deere, the headstrong girl of the woods gambles with fate by binding hers to that of Sigmund, the captivating orphan boy with mysterious nightly buisiness of his own.


And the Cover:



How can you NOT love it with a cover like this?



And Danielle's face! (along with her author info):




Danielle E. Shipley's first novelettes told the everyday misadventures of wacky kids like herself. ... Or so she thought. Unbeknownst to them all, half of her characters were actually closeted elves, dwarves, fairies, or some combination thereof. When it all came to light, Danielle did the sensible thing: Packed up and moved to Fantasy Land, where daily rent is the low, low price of her heart, soul, blood, sweat, tears, firstborn child, sanity, and words; lots of them. She's also been known to spend short bursts of time in the real-life Chicago area with the parents who home-schooled her and the two little sisters who keep her humble. When she's not  living the highs and lows of writing young adult novels, she's probably blogging about it.


Seem Familiar?


Those of you who are thinking Danielle's name looks, perhaps, a tad familiar, would be RIGHT! If you follow me on Facebook, you'll remember it was her blog I recommended ( http://everonword.wordpress.com/ or check out her website, http://deshipley.weebly.com/) Not to mention, those who have been keeping an eye on my previous posts might remember that Danielle's work will be appearing alongside my own in the One More Day anthology (http://www.jtaylorpublishing.com/). 

Not only do I have the privilege of having my work published alongside hers, but this book I was just talking  about--The Swan Prince, remember?--well... I had a chance to read it PRE RELEASE! *fist pump*


Here's What I Have to Say About It:


"The Swan Prince (Book One of the Winderhark Tales)" by Danielle E. Shipley is a fairytale as endearing as the originals, but with twice as much humor. This quick paced, fast read will both keep you guessing, and smiling.

If you like fairytales, this one won't disappoint you. All the well-loved fairytale themes are present (magic, true love, attractive men...), but mixed with memoriable characters, and unexpected twists. Sula, the main character, has a voice that will truly enchant you (Yeah, I admit it, I read it all in one night, so sue me!). While Villem and Sigmund will sneak their way into your heart (at least if you're a female. If male, please see Sula's description again). It's easy to read, and fast paced, making it suitable for those of all ages (particularly the young, or young at heart).

I'd tell you more about my favorite part, but since that was THE WHOLE THING, you'll just have to get your hands on a copy, and see for yourself why it's so wonderful. :)


Where Can I Get my Hands on a Copy?


I'm SO glad you asked! If you're interested in those marvelous paper back books you can hold in your hands as you curl up by the fire under your favorite blanket, you'll be able to find them at  http://www.amazon.com/ and CreateSpace after it's release date (May 31, 2013). Or, if you want it the moment it becomes available, you'll find it in ebook format by way of http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ or for Kindle by way of Amazon (see link above). 

Best of all, after you've bought and loved this book like your own child, you can review it at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17826115-the-swan-prince


Not Quite Convinced?


Even better! That means I get to talk about this book some more! And by more, I mean on May 28th, when Danielle E. Shipley HERSELF will be making a guest appearance on this blog (http://www.theflightreflex.blogspot.com/)

Excited?

I know I am!



Monday, May 13, 2013

Cover Reveal for "One More Day"


Presenting, the cover of the Anthology, One More Day, to come out this winter.
I'm so, like, obsessively excited about this you guys!!


Back of the Book Blurb:


What if today never ends?

What if everything about life--everything anyone hoped to be, do, experience--never happens?

Whether sitting in a chair, driving down the road, in surgery, jumping off a cliff or flying ... that's where you'd be ... forever.

Unless ...

In One More Day, Erika Beebe, Marissa Halvorson, Kimberly Kay, J. Keller Ford, Danielle E. Shipley and Anna Simpson join L.S. Murphy to give us the answers to two big questions, all from the perspective of characters under the age of eighteen.

How do we restart time?

How do we make everything go back to normal?

The answer, in whatever the world--human, alien, medieval, fantasy or fairytale--could, maybe, happen today.

Right now.

What would you do if this happened ... to you?





Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Dash of Pronunciation


Once upon a time, my sister left me a gift in my car.

"I LOVE IT!"

Meet RainbowDash from My Little Pony Friendship is Magic. Apparently, they were at Build-A-Bear (<3). Her hair was all tied back to help it not get tangled when I found her. So I took it out.

"Ooo, it's so sooooft and cooooolorful..."


On a completely different note, the other day at work, as we were leaving, Ross was like,

"Kim, have you been practicing that?"

My brilliant response, of course was,
"Eh... what?"

"You've been pronouncing your 'T's!"

As may or may not be common knowledge, Utah people have their own sort of accent, where we drop all our hard 'T's. For example: mounTain, becomes moun'ain. LayTon becomes Lay'on. ETc (E'c).

So like any proud, naturally born Utah girl, I was like,

"Psh. No I don'T."

...

"AH HA! I knew it!"

"You're not really from Utah, are you?"

And I was like...

*HE KNOWS*

Or that's what I would have been like if it were true.
Instead I was like...

"Psh. Of course I am."
I mean, sure, my Mom's from Wyoming, but what does that actually have to do with anything?

We locked up the Fencing Center, and headed for our cars.

"Now you won't be able to stop thinking about it, Kim! Every time you say a word, you're going to pause before you pronounce it, and wonder if you'll say the 'T.'"

And I was all,

"Ah ha ha! No, Ross! I won't, because I'm going to stop considering 'T's instantly!"

*insTanTly...*

...

...

*HE'S RIGHT*

Needless To say, I refused to Think abouT 'T's on The drive home.
"wriTTen... biTTen... mounTain..."


Curses, Ross. Curses.