AT LAST, THE SERIES IS COMPLETE

Torch Rock Teaser - Copy

I sit before my computer in a confusing state of satisfaction and sadness. The earliest files in my hard drive for Reflection Pond date back to early 2012, though I think the actual writing started in 2011. There are dozens and dozens of files, if not hundreds. In the grand scheme of writing, four or five years for three books is not a long time, I realize that, but those years defined who I am as a writer. I began the series scared, uncertain of my own capabilities, and I’ve emerged from the other side more confident, more sure of myself and the risks I’m willing to take in my stories.

Today is the release day for Torch Rock, Book 3 in the Reflection Pond Series, the final installment of Callie and Rowan’s story. Much like me, the characters have gone on a journey to find their strength, to heal, and I’m deeply satisfied with this ending. I hope you, my readers, find it just as enjoyable as I do. I’ve already been asked if I’ll ever return to Callie and Rowan’s world, to expand on the secondary characters in the story, to follow the seeds of possibility I left strewn throughout the final novel. The truth is, I don’t know. I do have some bonus content, deleted scenes and such that may become available at some point. But right now, the end is justified, and I like the idea of readers creating their own possible futures for Rowan and Callie. The characters we love live on inside of us, and I hope some parts of Callie and Rowan live on in each of you.

To celebrate the release, I’ve made Reflection Pond free for today! On May 7th, the series will tour with Brook Cottage Books. You can still sign up for the promo day HERE.

I want to thank everyone who has stood beside me as I completed these books, especially those who encouraged me and listened to my issues (over and over again for weeks, months, and years). You know who you are. Thank you to the bloggers, reviewers, and every fan who has contacted me. Your support and enthusiasm always puts a smile on my face. Huge thank yous to my early readers, ARC reviewers, and everyone who has been cheering on Callie from the beginning. A big thanks to my designer Julia at Bioblossom Creative, who always, always exceeds my expectations with her beautiful covers. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

The entire series is available on Amazon. If you want some music to read to, check out the playlists I’ve created for Reflection Pond and Torch Rock. And when you’re done reading, please leave a review, even if it’s just an I liked it!

Reflection Pond

Amazon Goodreads Playlist

Poison Tree

Amazon Goodreads

Torch Rock

Amazon Goodreads Playlist

STRENGTH IN UNLIKELY PLACES

I think as children we look at the world with an innocent wonder. The people surrounding us are meant to be trusted, not suspected. As we grow into adulthood, that wonder and trust is challenged by experience. We get hurt. We have our emotions taunted, our decisions questioned, and we learn that the world is not a safe place. It’s not even a welcoming place.

When I wrote Reflection Pond, Callie’s childhood shaped her character into someone I consider unwaveringly strong. She’s not flawless, but a road map of scars from every experience that nearly broke her. Nearly being the imperative word. She’s a survivor, she’s cautious, and though she’s suffered terrible abuse, she still holds that childlike wonder that the world, in general, isn’t a despicable place.

Throughout the series, Callie’s fragile trust is challenged. She learns that family is not synonymous with love and sometimes friendship come from the most unlikely of places. Most importantly, she realizes that trusting others is nowhere near as important as trusting yourself. I won’t give away the ending of Torch Rock (which releases April 26th! Preorder here.), but I will say that Callie in the final installment is miles away from the scared girl who fell through the Reflection Pond.

Callie’s character is based in part on my own experiences. I’ve seen betrayal firsthand. I’ve breathed it and lived it. It took time and no small amount of tears, but I found a way to drag myself off my bathroom floor and overcome devastation. There isn’t a recipe for climbing out of an emotional hole like that, you only have to have the determination to know that this isn’t the end. After all, if you’re reading this you’ve already survived every bad day you’ve had. Look at you! 100% success rate.

A lot of people have said they can’t relate to Callie or connect with her. Perhaps this has something to do with her horrific past. Violence and abuse leave marks on you. Though hidden, these marks admit you to a private survivors club.  Maybe relating to her comes with a price. Maybe I’d rather you couldn’t relate.

I’m proud of Callie. I know that readers love a strong female character, someone who takes no shit and kicks ass. But Callie isn’t that character. Sure, she can fight. Sure, she has cool faerie powers. But Callie’s real strength comes from her unwavering belief that she will find her place in this world, no matter how many times she has to pull herself to her feet.

I think, at the end of the day, regardless of our differing pasts, that’s all any of us hope for.

ALL THE TORCH ROCK TEASERS IN ONE PLACE

I know I surprised all of you with the news of a NEW book series, but, as a show of good faith that Torch Rock is still happening this year, I’ve compiled all the teasers I can find and posted them below. Maybe I’m biased, but 75% of these are from Rowan’s POV. (No I will not point out which ones!)

Because you’re all loyal blog followers and I heart you, I’ve also included a sneaky-sneak exclusive teaser and a photo, which is an obscure reference to Torch Rock. Obscure? Hmm…

Enjoy! And don’t forget to leave a comment below. I love hearing from you!

“I can’t lie to you, Callie, and act like I haven’t thought about it. I think about it all the damn time.”

She loved this city, but rebuilding it to its former glory felt out of reach, like climbing the stars to capture the moon.

“Your guards won’t save you. I’ll do it just like you did—inch by agonizing inch until there’s nothing left to cut away, until you beg me to die.”

“What if they’re dead?” Ash asked.

His wings blocked out the sun, their usual inky depths stained brilliant blue, the tips alight with flames.

“You’re not afraid of me,” he said, voice full of wonder. “Arol’s children are so uniquely idiotic.”

“We don’t have to map the future with our scars.”

Rowan rubbed the back of her hand with his thumb. “I kept the scars because they remind me of my foster mother. The guilt is—” he shook his head. “It’s an infection. I’ve carried it inside of me for years thinking the only way I can be a good person is if I remember all the wrong I’ve done. And then you came along.” He looked up, giving her a half-smile.
“It’s not your fault,” she said, heart aching for the boy he’d been, for the broken man he became.
“You forgive me so easily I’ve started to think I could forgive myself, too.”

He’d never touched her like this, so unthinking and natural, as if she actually enjoyed it. Something warm unfurled in his chest. When he reached the base of her spine, he wound his arms around her until her back pressed against his front, and lifted the sword into her hands. “Find me, then.”

 

2014: A Look Back

2014 is almost over. I think it’s time to look back on everything I’ve accomplished this year and what’s coming in 2015.

Wow, judging by my posts for 2014, it’s been a rollercoaster. I decided to publish some books (3 to be exact) and had my work published in Sucker Literary Volume III. I think, though the date is up in the air, I’ll have another published in Ember: A Journal of Luminous Things by the end of December.

1-FINALBookCoverPreview(1)Out of the GreenReflection-Pond-ebook-1-Vanpoison-tree-ebook

In January 2014, did I know I’d get this far? No. No, I did not. It’s amazing what we’re capable of when we want something enough. That being said, there’s still more I want, and I’m not giving up.

I’m the process of querying Stepping Stones. Those of you not familiar with this story—it’s the one that started everything for me. Back in (oh God!) 2009, I sat down on a college break and wrote a manuscript in 4 weeks. It was my first real attempt at writing, and in retrospect, it was terrible. I knew nothing of plot or characterization, or hell, even point of view or tense. I’ve come so far since that summer. I’ve written 9 manuscripts since then, not counting ALLLL the rewrites. Stepping Stones, through many, many complete rewrites, is something I’m proud of, now. The technicalities of the story have changed and improved, but the heart, the things that made me love those characters, remains the same. I’m determined to find an agent to represent my work. And never giving up is kind of my motto.

When I cleared away the cobwebs of my hard drive, I found another manuscript in there. Sleep and Shatter, which I wrote for Nano 2013. As a writer, I suffer from self-defeatism. I get an idea in my head that things suck. My writing, specifically. A lot of it comes from taking criticism to heart. So, after Nano, I had a few people read Sleep and Shatter, I took their words as truth, and shoved the manuscript to the back of my hard drive and willed myself to forget about it. A few days ago, I opened Sleep and Shatter, and read it, beginning to end.

And felt like I won the damn lottery.

Suffice it to say, this story will not remain hidden in the back of my computer. I’m currently editing it and making notes. It’s my back up plan if I can’t find representation for Stepping Stones.

So what’s coming in 2015?

Torch Rock, the final installment in the Reflection Pond series. Agent representation (cross your fingers!). More short fiction, possibly a novella, Who She Is. More writing. More good things. More. More. More.

Stay tuned.

I feel like my time is coming. My represented writer friends tell me that it’s only a matter of time before I snag an agent of my own. I sure hope they’re right, because I have so much to give and I’m SO ready to work for it.

All the best,

Kacey

HAPPY RELEASE DAY, POISON TREE!

poison-tree-ebook

Book 2 in the Reflection Pond series is finally here! I’m so excited to share the continuation of Callie and Rowan’s story. You can see early reviews of the book at Seeing Double in Neverland and Paradise of Pages. Leave some comments and thank these ladies for being awesome bloggers!

To celebrate, Reflection Pond (Book 1) is on sale for $0.99 this week only!

Be sure to add Torch Rock (Reflection Pond, Book 3) on Goodreads!

Poison Tree (Reflection Pond, Book 2)

by Kacey Vanderkarr

Available Dec. 2, 2014 from Urban Fey Press

Amazon

Goodreads

The road to the City of War is dangerous.

With their home in ruins, Callie and Rowan are Eirensae’s last hope of stealing the cauldron back from Fraeburdh. They must travel into the human world where the Fallen hide. The banished fae wait for Callie, desperate to sacrifice her before she comes of age.

If Callie and Rowan survive the journey, something worse looms in Fraeburdh. Rowan is destined for a dark family legacy too horrifying to accept, and his father is anxious to welcome him home. Once the truth is revealed, will Callie ever look at Rowan the same way?

Trapped between feuding cities lost in a centuries-old war, Callie and Rowan will face their biggest rivals yet, and neither of them will make it out unscathed.

COVER REVEAL: POISON TREE (REFLECTION POND, BOOK 2)

poison-tree-ebookObviously, I’m super excited to reveal this cover. It’s so beautiful that I can’t stop looking at it. This book has been a long, hard road, and I can’t wait to share it with all of you in December! The full print cover is below, this is EXCLUSIVE to my blog, just because I love you!

Poison Tree

Available December 2, 2014 from Urban Fey Press

Cover Design by Julia Gollbach (Gorgon) – Bioblossom Creative

Goodreads

Preorder kindle edition

Buy Reflection Pond (Book 1)

The road to the City of War is dangerous.

With their home in ruins, Callie and Rowan are Eirensae’s last hope of stealing the cauldron back from Fraeburdh. They must travel into the human world where the Fallen hide. The banished fae wait for Callie, desperate to sacrifice her before she comes of age.

If Callie and Rowan survive the journey, something worse looms in Fraeburdh. Rowan is destined for a dark family legacy too horrifying to accept, and his father is anxious to welcome him home. Once the truth is revealed, will Callie ever look at Rowan the same way?

Trapped between feuding cities lost in a centuries-old war, Callie and Rowan will face their biggest rivals yet, and neither of them will make it out unscathed.

Poison Tree Print Cover

POISON TREE BLURB

For those of you following along, here is the blurb for Poison Tree, the sequel to Reflection Pond. Expected publication is December 2, 2014!! Add it on Goodreads.

The road to the City of War is dangerous.

With their home in ruins, Callie and Rowan are Eirensae’s last hope of stealing the cauldron back from Fraeburdh. They must travel into the human world where the Fallen hide. The banished fae wait for Callie, desperate to sacrifice her before she comes of age.

If Callie and Rowan survive the journey, something worse looms in Fraeburdh. Rowan is destined for a dark family legacy too horrifying to accept, and his father is anxious to welcome him home. Once the truth is revealed, will Callie ever look at Rowan the same way?

Trapped between feuding cities lost in a centuries-old war, Callie and Rowan will face their biggest rivals yet, and neither of them will make it out unscathed.

REFLECTION POND BUZZ

Reflection-Pond-ebook-1-VanReflection Pond

Ebook $2.99 (Kindle, Nook, Kobo)

Paperback $9.99 (Amazon)

Reflection Pond has been out for a little over 2 months now, and I have been crazy busy with promotions and advertising and trying to get Reflection Pond where it belongs, in the hands of readers. The response has been encouragingly positive and I’m so grateful to my readers who have taken the time to write a review – good or bad, authors NEED feedback on their work. How will we ever improve if no one tells us what we’re doing right and wrong?

Yesterday I visited a local bookstore, The Book Shelf in Lapeer, Michigan. Antithesis, Reflection Pond, and Sucker Literary Volume 3 are on their shelves. I’m still amazed at how helpful people can be, even when they get very little out of it in return. It’s one thing that baffles me about the writing world, how helpful, how encouraging authors and other literary peeps can be. I can only hope that in the ever changing publishing world, with its monopolies and divisions and fights for rights, that the people involved can remain true to what’s really important – feeding readers great books, of course.

Behind the scenes, I’ve been hard at work on the sequel to Reflection Pond, Poison Tree (which you can add on Goodreads). I’m about halfway finished with the first draft. It’s starts and stops at this point. Sometimes I feel like a brilliant author, and other times, I’m just a girl hidden in the dark with her laptop. I think we all have those moments – famous, infamous, anonymous. Still, I press on, wanting so badly to bring my words to life.

The main point behind this post is to share some of the incredible reviews Reflection Pond has gotten. I’m grateful, I know I’ve said that before, but I’m also humbled. No matter how many things I create, there’s always a giddy sense of terror waiting for reviews, and when people relate to what I write, find humor, joy, any emotion really, it’s the best feeling. I’ll quit my babbling and get to the goods.

The Reviews- Click the name to read the full review.

Vanderkarr writes with power. Her narrative sucks you in, and doesn’t let you go. Connie J Jasperson, Best in Fantasy

Kacey Vanderkarr may be a young author but has proved herself to be extremely accomplished and I hope to read all her past and future work. If the sequel -‘Poison Tree’- is half as good as this then we are in for a real treat! I would recommend this book to anyone and give it a thoroughly deserved 5/5! Sophie David

“The romance was only a small part in the book, but it was definitely strong. I loved the chemistry between Callie and Rowan. It really came alive and I could just feel the sexual tension between the two. Their witty banter was cute and made the relationship seem more real. And Rowan wasn’t this perfect bad boy. He had his own fears and problems, his own complex past. He certainly wasn’t perfect, but neither was Callie.” -Nikki Austin

“Reflection Pond was wonderfully written with Kacey Vanderkarr detailing a very riveting world with sensational characters. Racing towards an exciting ending that opens up a brand new chapter to the story; I’m beyond excitedly looking forward to the next book to continue Callie and Rowen’s journey!”-Rachel, The Rest is Still UnWritten

“I was pulled in from the very beginning and was glued to my kindle throughout the entire book. As I got closer the end of the book I realized that I didn’t want it to end.” -Shannan Lee Williams

There are lots of reviews on Goodreads and Amazon if you want to read more. This is just a small selection.

So, thanks readers, for being so great and for taking the time to read my words and reviewing them. It means so much to me.

Later this week, as a thanks, I will post an excerpt from Chapter 1 of Poison Tree, which I hope to publish December 2, 2014. Not much longer to wait, friends!

All the best,

Kacey

 

 

 

 

HOW HOPE AND PANTSING GO TOGETHER

The past week or so has been an exhausting emotional rollercoaster for me. As I hope you know by now, Reflection Pond released April 1st. Be sure to GET YOUR COPY! Since the release, I’ve dug into Poison Tree, which is the sequel to Reflection Pond. I’m about 20,000 words in, good progress so far.

A lot of writers find the task of authoring a novel an organic experience. There’s a lot of pantsers out there, as in, we write by the seat of our pants. Similarly, there’s also a plethora of authors who approach writing methodically, outlining and plotting every word.

I fall into the first camp, the pantsers, the ones who sit down at the computer and cut and bleed at the same time, as opposed to the authors who outline, cutting first, and then letting the blood flow later. Because I’ve been submersed in a writing environment for so long now, I no longer know what this looks like from the outside, but lucky you, I’m going to try to explain what this is like from an author’s perspective (the organic, pantser perspective).

The Reflection Pond series covers some issues that I have trouble speaking about in normal conversation. Not only are they very personal and close to me, it’s difficult for me to see my characters suffer through them. And while I try to handle the situations with care and respect, it takes a huge toll on me emotionally. So if you see me at Barnes and Noble with a latte and a vacant, teary-eyed stare, I hope you understand that this is not easy for me.

I’m trying to do my characters justice. I want their stories to not only be satisfying to me as an author, but also to my readers. What do I mean by this? Hell, sometimes even I don’t know. I hope this resonates with someone and doesn’t come off as another crazy author rant. I write young adult. I think that society sees young adults in a very specific way. Not just young adults in books, but young adults in life. There are expectations, fair or unfair, it’s the truth. As an adult, I always try to acknowledge that everything I felt as a teenager is real and valid. Just because I experienced it in some heightened way due to my age is regardless to the issue at hand. I understand what it’s like to read a book and become a character. And when a reader becomes my characters, I want them to feel something, and specifically, those readers who have experienced the situations that happen in my books, I want them to find hope. I want them to understand that there is no wrong or right way to feel, just as there is no wrong or right way to be. We’re all still learning here.

Knowing this, as I’m writing, sometimes freaks me out. Then I call up my writer friends for encouragement. I keep getting the same advice. If it’s making you uncomfortable, then you are writing something worth writing. If it’s scaring you, if you’re afraid you’re crossing lines, then you need to keep going.

Somehow, I’m trying to circle around to my point (if I have one…I think I do!). It has to do with writing organically. So the other day, after spending the afternoon working on a particularly difficult scene, I sat back and thought, what the hell, why is my character so angry? I hadn’t planned for her to be angry, but the more I wrote, the angrier she got, and the more confused I became. She had to be angry. She just had to be. That’s when I got in contact with a friend who told me she thought I was on the right path. But if I’d been a plotter, a methodical writer, would my character still have been angry? I don’t know.

Recently, I read the Q&A on John Green’s blog about The Fault in our Stars (Be wary, there are spoilers, so don’t read unless you’ve finished TFioS.). John Green is a very smart author who I respect IMMENSELY. But ever since I read it, I couldn’t get over how many times he said that he planned things all along. Every bit of symbolism, every reference, every tiny nuance, planned and plotted to the last detail. And the final product is unbelievable. And while I’d never consider myself in competition with another writer, I do find myself comparing my methods to theirs. Methodical works well for John Green, not so well for me.

I believe in immersive writing. I can’t stand outside the story and be fully committed to my characters at the same time. I cry. I laugh. I celebrate their triumphs and I cringe when they fall. I am their biggest fan, after all.

Does this mean I think my characters are real people? No, of course not. Do I think that people read and relate to them, that people identify some of those qualities in themselves, that readers find hope when a character has the strength to get up and go on even after everything they know is broken? I sure hope so.

So when I say I want to do them justice, I really mean that I want them to be worth reading. I want the reader to take something away from the time they invested in my story. Some people read purely for entertainment, and that’s totally fine, but for those who are looking for justification of life, for those who are looking for hope, I want you to find it hidden in my stories, because I certainly feel it when I write. It’s pure heart in there. It’s pure experience. Because in the end, I’m a lot like my reader. I need these characters to help me figure out how to go on.

Maybe that’s why I’m a pantser, because even I haven’t figured it all out yet. So while all you planners and plotters are scribbling over your notebooks and painting the curtains red with anger, I’ll just be here, sobbing into my laptop, hoping that I’m making a difference for even one person, because that’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. I need to break convention, I need to get outside of this YA box that the industry is putting us in. You know what? My characters aren’t always strong. They’re flawed, but they’re learning, and so am I.

Yesterday, I had a set up at a local craft show, and a woman picked up Reflection Pond, read the blurb, and skimmed the pages. Then she asked me, “So, does he ever help her figure out how not to be broken?” I smiled and said, “Read the acknowledgements.”

She bought my book.

So when you pick up your copy of Reflection Pond, know that I’ve left hope between the pages for you. Perhaps I pants my way through the novel, but the hope? I put that there on purpose. It came from a very deep and personal place inside of me. It hurt when it came out, and it still hurts today, but if it means something to you, then it was worth it to me.

All the best,

Kacey

BLOG HOP MONDAY PART 2

It’s still Blog Hop Monday around here and as part of my agreement to hop, I have to answer four questions. I didn’t want to give you eyestrain talking about myself since all of my wonderful authors had so much going on.

Now, however, it’s afternoon, and I’m certain you’ve all had your naps and brunch and tea, so you’re ready for me to talk about me.

Q&A time.

1. What am I working on?

Currently, I’m working on the sequel to Reflection Pond, titled Poison Tree. This is a continuation of Callie and Rowan’s story as they struggle to save Eirensae and everyone they love. In addition to Poison Tree, I’m also working on a manuscript titled Sleep and Shatter, which is about a princess who wakes up to find her entire kingdom slaughtered.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

As everyone knows, I write young adult. The great thing about YA is that it explores a whole lot of adult subjects. I like to think that my work doesn’t hold back. I’m not afraid to get into the “sticky” and “taboo” subjects. You should always write in a way that scares you, and I always try to remember that when I sit in front of my computer. I want to cross the lines. I had a reviewer for Antithesis say that some of the scenes were too steamy for her, my response to that? Good. Reading isn’t just about escaping, it should teach you something, make you feel, force you to question things. It certainly shouldn’t make you comfortable. So I always try to write true. I don’t want to sugar coat. I don’t want to be reluctant. It’s something I’m always working on.

3. Why do I write what I write?

I’ve answered this question so many times, and my answer always remains the same. Writing YA is a lot like living as a young adult. You can get away with more. Everything is heightened, every emotional response feels 100 times richer, 100 times more devastating. I can take more chances and reap bigger rewards with YA. There are no limits.

4. How does my writing process work?

Process? Ha! I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of girl. I don’t write every day, but I do something writing related every day, whether it be reading, editing, blogging, or being active in social media. Writing is organic for me. I have to feel it. If I’m not in the mood, it won’t happen, and I’m the queen of distraction. So when I get in a mood to write, the words come in torrents, but if I’m not, literally nothing will happen.
Once I’ve got my manuscript completed, it goes through an initial edit, which involves me printing it out and going after it with a pen, usually pink or purple (though sometimes red). Then I send it out to beta readers and do a complete overhaul to fix anything and everything. Then the process starts all over again until I think the book is done. It’s done when I say it is. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. You know your work. You say when it’s ready. Otherwise you’ll never submit or publish anything, only edit it to death.

So there you have it. All about ME, and also about all those other authors I talked about earlier. Happy Blog Hop Monday.

Go buy my book.

Kacey