Katherine L. E. White

Creator of Worlds

Katherine’s Log–June 21, 2017

Authors, such as myself, who like to delve into the recesses of their own mind and contemplate their dark places tend to write about how those dark places may erupt into the world around them. (The artist must be tortured in some way, no?)  Fiction, especially fantasy or science fiction, is a safe way to explore those notions, things that are uncomfortable or unacceptable in polite (and maybe even not so polite) company.

I like to explore why people do what they do.  Why do they make the decisions they make.  Nothing happens in a vacuum.  Even the most evil of people walk down a path to get where they end up.  That path is fascinating to me.  What causes a person to make the decisions that they make?  What false (or true) beliefs lead to that decision?  Does it matter, in the end, if they are true or false in the actual historicity of events?  If an individual believes them, does that not make them true?

It’s really fun to do this exercise with the bad guys.  I’ve had people tell me that some people are just inherently evil.  I don’t believe that.  I think that people are born with certain personality traits that might incline them to make certain decisions, but they aren’t evil.  A series of events makes them continually make evil decisions.  Not necessarily external events either–I think more often than not they are entirely internal events, decisions that the individual makes about the world around them that causes them to react to the world in a certain way.

Akecheta and Laura Darkwood are two characters that I’m delving into at the moment, who are definitely bad guys.  They take human beings and alter them to become what a customer wants, and then sell them for millions of dollars to the elite of society.  That’s pretty nasty.

But why would someone do that?

For the money?

Well, yes, that’s pretty obvious, but they had to start somewhere, somewhere where there was no money.  Originally it was just an idea that one or both of them had.  Maybe Laura was in medical school and she and Akecheta were lying in each other arms, discussing the science of genetics and how wonderful it would be to able to truly get the best of everything into glorious chimera.  That discussion could have led them down a road to create Darkwood Industries.  I’m not entirely sure if that’s how it happened, neither has told me that part of their story yet, but it is possible.  A simply thought, with no emotion or malice attached to it, can lead to awful and gory places.

One simple decision–and a person is good or evil.

Katherine’s Log–June 14, 2017

When one writes fiction, the readership tends to think one of two things.  Either, “This is all true, s/he just put different names/places/times for all the people/places/things in involved,” or “This is all completely made up, there is nothing of the author’s personal experience in this piece.”  The latter opinion is more heavily adopted the farther from normal reality the writing is.

Both are wrong.  It’s called fiction because it’s made up, but a person can’t make up something from nothing.  There is always a path that has lead the author to the made up something.  So even in the most outlandish or silliest of stories, there is a deep psychological piece of the writer present.

That piece might be an escape.  “Oh, I wish the world were like this!”  It might be an exploration of why awful things happen, “Why did that serial killer kill all those people?”  Or, it might be an exploration of why beautiful things happen, “How did that man become so happy?”  I’ve written and enjoyed the writing, of all three of these scenarios.

As a reader, though, you’ll find a theme in an author’s work.  The reason for that is the deep psychological piece of the writer that is present in the work.  Consequently, the author’s fears, desires, wishes, dreams, frustrations, and just boring reality creeps into his or her work.  It is unavoidable.  However, to mistake the writing for the writer is to give both a deep disservice.

Katherine’s Log–June 7, 2017

I have been in love with the idea of urban farming since I discovered it was a thing about ten years ago.  I never did it.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I had all kinds of plans for where the chicken coop would go, what plants would go where, maybe even get a goat to clear out the brush behind the property.  It never happened.  After all, doing something like that is a big step.  It ties you down to your land, it might make your neighbors unhappy, and you might fail.

I don’t like to fail.

The idea crept into almost all of my stories.  I wouldn’t intentionally put an urban farm-like setting in the story, but somehow, something urban farmesque would show up as I was writing.  That I tend to write about marginalized populations might be part of it.  After all, people who are not part of the mainstream have to find alternative ways to live.  Having an alternative way to live makes people more marginalized by the mainstream.  It’s a vicious cycle.

Last summer, we moved from the property we’d been living on for 15 years to our ‘dream home’.  Whether it is our dream home or not, it is our dream home, because I’m not moving again.  This place is twice the size of our previous residence, both the house and the property.  We are now on half an acre, walking distance to downtown.

Downright perfect.

So, with an address that probably won’t change until I die, and enough room to do something, I will start my urban farm today.  I can get a real feel for how my characters actually do this, rather than just imagining from research and the few herbs I’ve been able to grow successfully.  The property is filled with gardening beds, all of which are emtpy except for trees and shrubs.  I’ve got a clean slate to work with, and I’m super excited!

Writing when uninspired

file000643944419There are times when writing comes easy–easy peasy.  Then there are time when it like pulling out my eyelashes one by one with pair of tweezers that don’t hold the hair follicle very tightly.

It is called “Writer’s Block”.

Writer’s block isn’t a real thing, per se, it is rather just the lack of the genius speaking in one’s ear.  However, when that little voice isn’t there, whispering the words into your brain, it makes hitting the keys much less palatable.  But as a writer, you have to hit the keys anyway.

I sometimes get overwhelmed by my many projects, and think I need to scale down, that would help with my genius speaking to me again.  But in reality, it is simply one of those ordinary times when one’s mind isn’t as obviously active.  This is when the workhorse mode comes in, always waiting in the wings for when the inspiration fairy has flown the coop.

So into workhorse mode I go, attempting to entice the inspiration fairy back onto my shoulder.  I usually take a walk around the neighborhood with my dog, Sweetie Belle, make myself a cup of tea, (with two sugars and milk, please), find a pleasant area in the house or yard, and start pounding the keys, as Bradbury used to say.

What do you do to fight the dreaded Writer’s Block?

WIP: Children of the Phoenix

When working on a series, or even a stand alone book, it is easy to forget about titles.  Most writers have working titles, and some are lucky enough to have the working title end up being the actual title.  I stink at titles.  I always have, even when I was a baby writer.  In this series, that is dear to my heart and yet to come out, the first book is called Ashes.  I didn’t even come up with that title, but rather a dear friend of mine wrote a poem about the series, and the title came from it.  Here’s what she wrote:

Ashes were all that was left

forgotten, Rising, left to

Smolder until they turned cold,

needing only
a little nudge
to once again Ignite
Blaze to life
and bask all around it in Light.

 

 

Darkwood Feathers Episode 4: Rent-To-Own-Feather now available

The next installment of the DWF serial is out and available at most online retailers!

https://dwtr67e3ikfml.cloudfront.net/bookCovers/61dfea45f3ee1dfa2f2d0e2fd8f7cc52a0ffe31f

Senna makes a risky move in an effort to find the abducted children. Meanwhile, Lively is forced to deliver the kids to Ross. She’s done all she can, but will the rogue show in time to save them?

Amazon.com

Smashwords.com (free until May 13th with the code XG82K.  We ask that you please leave a review on Goodreads to return the good karma).

 

 

WIP Wednesday

I get to talk about a work in progress that y’all haven’t read yet–It’s called The Children of the Phoenix.  It’s a sci-fi series, and I am totally in love with it.  Book one is in the editing phase, and book two is in the works.  It has anthropomorphic characters in it, which is super fun to write (and think) about.   The world in which it takes place is rich and full, and sometimes overwhelming.  I’m brimming to share with you, my loyal readers!  I’ve got a little of the information on it at www.childrenofthephoenix.com, and shall add small bits and pieces as I get a chance to.

Music on Mondays

Inspiration comes to us in many ways, and one of the ways it comes to me is through music.  So I will share songs every so often on a Monday, that struck me when I heard them.This song reminds me very much of when Senna and Leslo started their life together.  (Don’t forget to follow Senna Hawkman on twitter @senna60460127)Counting Stars by OneRepublic

Creating the Setting

Often times, when one thinks of the setting of a book, one thinks of  time and place.   Writers, especially of fiction, know better.  When setting the stage of the story, an author is to use all of the senses.

We are moving house, so our house has been cleared out of any items that would denote someone actually lives there.  Oh, it is still livable, it has furniture and the beds and dressers, but nothing personal.  Nothing  that shows actual people are there.  It is, for all intents and purposes, a generic house.  My best friend was over, and she told me, “Your house doesn’t smell like your house anymore.”

I will admit that this slightly worried me.  Did all of my cleaning and clearing make the nasty smell, that I had, perhaps, become nose-blind to, disappear?  “Is that a good thing?” I asked with trepidation.

“No!” answered by BFF.  “Your house always smelled like bread baking, and all thing little things you were growing.”

Admittedly, I lean a bit toward the crunchy side of life, so I usually have sourdough starter and kefir brewing in the kitchen.  Since we had to make the house saleable, those items are now in the freezer, hopefully hibernating peacefully until they reach their new home.

“It doesn’t smell like that anymore.”

Smell is the sense most associated with memory.  Something that a visual could never bring to mind, a scent can bring to the forefront of one’s brain.  As an author, my BFF’s comment reminded me that I must be mindful to put scent into my writing.

Creating Darkwood Feathers

Darkwood Feathers was one of my worlds that I created from the  bottom, up.   MK and I started small, very small in fact.  We started writing not knowing much about our world, other than we were going to have two kicking heroines who had their DNA messed with and were manufactured as weapons.  That’s it, pretty much.  Darkwood Industries wasn’t very developed, other than it was the manufacturing facility.

Now, MK is fabulous at taking notes, so as we discussed the larger aspects of the world that Senna and Lively, she started making our world bible.  As of right now, we have more details than we do the big picture, but more of the big picture happens every day.

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