Hello everyone. Thank you so much for letting me come by and visit with you for a while (tonight/today). Just so you know who I am, let me introduce myself. My name is Katheryn, though I tend to go by Kat. Too many ways to misspell the full thing. Besides, I’ve earned the nickname, and am rather proud of it.
I’m sure you’ve guessed I’m an author, and while I’d love to babble on about my work, I’m going to do my best to refrain for a while yet. There’s an interesting story that leads into that, and I want to try to keep this sort of organized.
I have been a storyteller in one form or another since I was very young. When the family went on trips with a group, 9 out of 10 times, if my parents lost sight of me, all they had to do was look for a huge group hanging on every word of the speaker. I was usually the one doing the talking. As I got older, and kids proved just how cruel they could be, I silenced my teller’s voice, and turned to other artistic endeavors. I’ve done beautiful watercolor and acrylic paintings that are widely sought after in the family, even if they are nowhere near the quality of a Rembrandt or Monet. I’ve done sculpture which looked perfectly in place among mom’s expensive china. And, I’ve been involved in both band and choir. But, I’ve never been happier than when I am crafting a story. After I set out on the middle leg of my college career, I met up with a group that introduced me to role-playing, specifically Dungeons and Dragons. It did not take long for the group to realize I had a knack for crafting campaigns they all loved. Even our regular storyteller happily stepped down, and let me take over the prestigious post. Something most game groups would never consider, I later learned.
From there, my gift to story telling woke once more, and I began to expand on what I had started as a pre-teen. This carried the group through several campaigns that worked clear through the epic levels into actual character retirement, because the characters had reached level 100 (god hood, basically), and if we had continued, we would have destroyed the “worlds” we were playing on. When that group broke up, I was given a chance to enter into a new realm of role-play; one that existed online, and did not have levels, per say.
That’s really where my writing began. Oh, sure I’ve had a few other attempts before now, but nothing that really went anywhere. One poem that won a prize in a local paper when I was still in grade school, a run of extremely dark poems and short stories that I “self-published” by printing off copies and giving to the family. I think I actually sold a single copy to a stranger for all of $2.00. I think they regretted the purchase afterwards too. I’d had a couple of other attempts to get a publishable story written, but in both cases the story only went so far then blew up in my face and died. One I still have lingering around somewhere in one or two forms. I might go back and try to resurrect it one of these years. Then again, I may not. I don’t even remember the premise for it any longer. So, when the writing bug bit back in August of 2014, about 3 weeks before classes started for my Junior year of college, I really didn’t expect anything to come of it.
The story that was so insistent though already had a solid head start – I had written it as the history of my role-play character for the online group I was part of. I tried to ignore it for a few days, but the story just would NOT be silent. If I sat down to the computer for any reason, all I could think of was what came next. What happened to my character to get him from where those group forum posts left off to where the role-play really had existed. A time lapse of about 70 years.
Finally I broke down, and decided to listen with a word processor open. Of course, nothing happened at first. There was nothing there to prime the pump, so to speak. Sheepishly, I went back to the forum and copied out the relevant posts, and skimmed through them. That was when the flood gates exploded. They didn’t roll back, they didn’t open, they exploded. In three weeks I went from about 60 pages of text to somewhere over 200. Talk about tired fingers!
I had no idea what to do with this monster that I had birthed, and figured things would calm down. I was so, so wrong. When I read through what I’d written, I realized I had two books jumbled together. So, I broke them apart, and the story happily filled in the points in between. In September, I had book one finished and had started the process of learning what to do next. (I’m still learning, by the way, so I’m not going into the fun times I haven’t had. No whining, I promise. Not here at least.) But something was still wrong. There was a distinct third hook developing and the story wasn’t done yelling. Once again, I went back, and worked on separating the two distinct books, and set about filling in the areas that were now blank.
That was when I learned about NaNoWriMo. Something I have always excelled at – doing something on a deadline. So, I signed up, thinking I would be finishing book 2. The story had other ideas. Book 2 wrapped up and went out for the beta readers at the end of October, and I was left with an almost completely empty slate for book 3. Then I get the bombshell the story had been hiding from me. This was not a trilogy, like I anticipated. There were 5 books in the series. So, yeah. I was a bit flustered going into NaNo. However, I did “win” with a validated word count of over 50,000 words.
Sadly, I’ve been stalled for a while since. Mostly because school decided to stick its nose in, and I realized I had to get out to meet and greet people. So, I let my schedule get unbalanced, and have been wrestling with it since. However, because of the imbalance, I’ve been able to go back to some of my old past times. I’ve picked up my art skills, and started teaching myself how to use them in the digital age. In fact, all of my covers in use now are my own design and skills. I tried purchasing covers, but between the story deciding to take a wild cloverleaf turn for Punta Gorda instead of the gentle curve for New Mexico, and some issues with image rights, I count the purchased covers a lesson in “oopsvile”. The artist who did them was good, but I didn’t know what to look for, and they don’t have much fantasy style covers on offer. So, what I got (you can see it on Smashwords until I get my book updated.) was more like a science fiction cover than a fantasy cover.
With that much information about WHY the series “Followers of Torments” came into being, and a little bit of HOW, I think the time has come to give you a little bit of WHAT the story is all about.
I did not know it when I started writing, but the story is about bringing social awareness to a steady, silent issue. The issue of feral children. To a small degree, the inner-city children who only speak their “gang slang”, who have no parental oversight, and have a very limited amount of socialization represent this phenomena. However, these children have everything handed to them when you compare them to the true feral children. These are the children who have either been neglected since the day they were born, surviving in an animal state through sheer force of will, or the children who have honestly been lost, or who have run away, and found a limited acceptance with local wildlife where they can scavenge some semblance of survival. In either scenario, these children have no socialization, and no interaction with humans to show them what being human is.
In my series, the main character is left to learn and grow on his own without anyone around until he is about 8 years old. I depart from what happens, because there would be no story if I followed through with the actual development past this point. However, even in the fantasy setting, he still is not miraculously reacquainted with civilization to everyone’s benefit. He hangs onto most of the personality quirks depicted from the case studies.
This is a tale of slavery, survival against the odds, escape, self-discovery, and (since I write what the story dictates, I HOPE this is where it’s going) self-redemption. Along the way, the main character is joined by a very diverse cast with each member serving a specific purpose.
So far, as I said, I have managed to get the first book self-published through Smashwords, and Amazon. The second book will be live Feb 15, 2015. I’m hoping that book 3 will be out for preorder sometime around April of 2015, but at this point am not holding my breath. I’ve been having some serious schedule slippage on this one.
The book titles actually sum up the entire theme of the series. Something I realized when the three-to-five book explosion happened. It took research into other areas, and my current class load for me to realize why.
Into the Sunlits
And Keep this in Mind
I am You while You are I
Born to fight, trained to win, conditioned to survive Nameless wins his way to freedom, then fate begins to wreak havoc in his life. Learning how to survive as a free man, he begins a personal war against the culture that created him. In this fantastical world has gladiatorial combat with unlimited personal gains lead by unrestricted cunning. He must find a way to survive and discover his fate.
Nameless has snatched victory from the constant threat of death in the Arenas, but still doesn’t control his freedom. To survive and continue his personal war, he has accepted the position granted by his Arena victory, aiming to leverage his first Silk to build the power base necessary to achieve his goals. Yet fate is not through wreaking havoc and once again he is forced to leave his familiar world.
When the stakes become higher than he ever imagined it would, Nameless has to forsake the Realm he knows to find the core of his new fighting stable. Traveling through a world opposite to what he knows, even the oaths he gave his goddess and himself are tested. Will these obligations protect/shield him from the lure of hope and gentleness enough and will he preserve the culture he finds fault with?
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