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.”

 

WRITING AN UNCONVENTIONAL RELATIONSHIP

Milestones are important to relationships. Most of us are familiar with the stepping stones in a conventional relationship. The first look, first kiss, the increasing sexual tension that usually leads to a sexual encounter. As readers, we enjoy experiencing these things over and over again through characters we love. Young Adult is FULL of conventional relationships. To quote Caroline from The Vampire Diaries (TV version), “Boy likes girl. Girl likes boy. Sex.”

But what about an unconventional relationship? What about relationships where there is a history of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse in one or both partners? Things may not unfold so smoothly. As a writer, I think it’s important that these relationships get just as much attention as their “normal” counterparts. Just because they don’t fall into a perfect mold doesn’t make them any less beautiful.

Case in point: Callie from my Reflection Pond series.

Early on, I knew that Callie would struggle with relationships, not only because she has a rocky past with the foster system, but also because she doesn’t know how to trust people. “Normal” is something she sees other people do. Something she attempts, and fails, to imitate. Think back to your younger days. How many times did you give into pressure and do something you didn’t want to do? And how many times did you regret it?

In the initial scene in Reflection Pond (Listen HERE), Callie stands up for herself by walking away from her boyfriend’s grabby hands. This can be interpreted in many ways depending on a reader’s experience and opinions (And I hope it is!). To me, this is Callie standing up for herself in the only way she knows how, by running away from things she can’t handle. This is a relationship milestone for her—only the first of many she’ll encounter as the story progresses.

But things are never going to be “normal” for Callie, no matter how many attempts she makes. She can kiss a boy and hate it. She can kiss a boy and maybe like it. That’s the beauty of attempting things. Callie is too inexperienced to know her own limitations, so she often finds herself emulating what she thinks others want her to do. She is a work in progress, as all characters should be. If she started out strong and perfect, it wouldn’t be a very exciting or rewarding journey.

Callie is a broken girl. Even so, broken things can be beautiful. As a writer, it’s so important for me to give her the room she needs to breathe and grow, and that may come at a pace that’s frustrating, for me, for readers, and for the other characters in the book. In the end, I’m going to make decisions based on what’s best and true for Callie as a character. She isn’t always going to make the right decision, or even the one that will make me (the writer) or you (the reader) happy. She’s frustrating. I’ll give her that, and she’s going to make mistakes.

What I hope in the deepest part of my writer heart is that readers take away the absolute uniqueness of Callie’s relationships, and realize that while they’re unconventional, they are still beautiful and exactly as they should be. They may not be what I (as a person) or you (as a person) would do, because not all of us have traveled the road Callie’s on, but I refuse to force Callie into a situation that she isn’t comfortable with for the sake of being labeled as traditional “romance”. That wouldn’t be fair to her as a character, and it certainly wouldn’t be fair to all of the women who’ve suffered emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, who are expected to do things they simply can’t. Despite popular belief, a man isn’t going to “erase your past” or “heal your scars” by having sex with you. Sorry Hollywood and sorry men.

You can like or not like Callie. I get a lot of in between opinions on her character. A reader has every right to make any judgment they want. But Callie will always hold a special place in my heart because her journey is so important to me and I want to do her (and the millions of women and girls like her) justice. She’s been the subject of many conversations with my critique group, both positive and negative. It’s not my job to make sure everyone likes a character—it’s my job to offer an experience that may differ from your own, and I’m so proud of Callie’s story. I think it makes people uncomfortable when I talk about things like abuse. They can’t relate to or understand Callie’s experience, so they hate her instead. And that’s totally okay. If writing doesn’t make us feel (something, anything), then what good is it?

I’ll end by saying that Callie’s relationships will continue to be unconventional, but I hope beyond hope that you’ll still find beauty and love in them, because everyone deserves to be loved for who they are. Even if they’re fucked up. Even if they’re abused. Even if they’ll never fall into any sort of “normal” category. Even if they can’t be categorized. Flaws are what make us special, and if I can help even one person see that, then this has all been worth it.

All the best,

Kacey

REFLECTION POND BLOG TOUR

Hosted by YA BOUND BOOK TOURS. They’re awesome, guys, and I’m so excited for this tour. Not only is Reflection Pond featured on dozens of AMAZING blogs, it’s free.

YEP. You read that right, FREE STARTING TODAY. For Kindle, February 2-6. Tell everyone you know. Want to steal a gif and announce it on Facebook or Twitter? Here you go!

Reflection Pond Free Ad

Want a teaser quote?

Reflection Pond Quote 1

Below is the tour schedule. A HUGE THANKS to YA Bound for setting this up.

February 2:

Mom With A Kindle – Promo Post

Musings In Fiction Alley – Review

The YA Club – Promo Post

Once Upon A Time A Review – Promo Post

Fangirl World –  Review

Seeing Double In Neverland – Promo Post

February 3:

kariny’s teen boox frenzy – Review

The Page Unbound – Review

Mythical Books – Promo Post

Sunshine Book Promotions – Promo Post

The Perks of Being a Book Girl – Review

Just Us Book Blog – Promo Post

February 4:

Addicted Readers – Promo Post

Star-Crossed Book Blog – Review

The Written Adventure – Promo Post

Between The Lines – Review

Books and Ashes – Review

February 5:

Clever Girls Read – Review

Pandora’s Opened Box – Review

Curling Up With A Good Book – Promo Post

The Book Rogue – Review

Lovely Reads – Review

February 6:

The Avid Reader – Promo Post

Book Butterfly in Dreamland – Review

Reader Girls – Promo Post

CBY Book Club – Promo Post

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