Strike a Pose! My Photo Shoot with Photographer Micheal Lowther

Hello, everyone!

New and exciting things are happening with Ice. Other than drawing closer to the end of the sequel, I am giving the first Ice book a makeover (and hopefully this blog, too, in the near future). As you may have figured by the lackluster, and just downright dull cover of Ice, I did it myself. I am by no means a photographer, and creating the cover was a long and agonizing process. I had a few different visions, only one of them was within my capability, and because I could never seem to get the text clear, I wasn’t even able to do that right in the end! I had to settle for a design in Create Space’s Cover Creator and have my vision diced down to a letterbox and my font chosen for me. For a cover absolutely free of charge, it wasn’t terrible. (Doing this did however mess with the quality of my image in a way I still haven’t figured out. I just know Kavick wasn’t pixel-y until I did the Cover Creator). I knew that I wanted a better cover in the future…future being hopefully in time for the holiday shopping season.

Enter Micheal Lowther, the savior of my book cover!

I met Micheal Lowther at my book launch party. She was very excited to read my book, which made me worry that my writing would be a let down. So I warned her Ice might seem slow, but that I like to think of it as a “slow burner”. ;)

Despite Misha’s busy schedule, she liked it enough to find time to read it through to the end! I was shocked. She messaged me personally to ask me when the sequel was coming out. So, it was after that I asked her if she wouldn’t mind helping me with the cover. She had told me at my launch party that she would love to work with me on any future books. I wanted help with Ice first, and I had been worried about asking her before to work on a book she might not even like!

Misha, as she likes to be called, is very professional, and also very friendly. I wanted a new photo for my author bio, so we did that first. She chose Downtown Tulsa, where there are many great places to shoot. Misha’s not afraid to think out of the box. In fact, she’s a genius at it. We were just walkin’ along, her camera in her hand, and she said, “Since they have the sprinklers on in the park, why don’t we go over to this mural?” She explained the mural to me just as we were coming up on it, and it blew me away. It was awesome, and we got some amazing shots, of course. There were several Day of the Dead murals all connected to each other. And one of them was in the style of Alice in Wonderland in the scene of the Mad Hatter’s tea party! It even had a quote by Lewis Carrol next to it! It took all my strength not to squeal at it…which I still did, just a little, in the form of, “OH MY GOSH!”

Here’s the photos from that:

Ice: by Elissa Lewallen Ice: by Elissa Lewallen Ice: by Elissa Lewallen

We shot in front of a mural of the Blue Dome district, which was cool since the Blue Dome district is, you know, cool. And blue, my favorite color.

Ice: by Elissa Lewallen

We shot in front of windows and water for cool reflection effects. In front of beaten old buildings, and newer buildings, and even on some train tracks. At last, we rounded it up at the park, where we had originally intended.  When she announced that she had about a hundred photos to work with, I was blown away. It hadn’t felt that long, and if memory serves me right, it had only been about an hour. Everything had been within walking distance, and Misha made it such an enjoyable experience. It didn’t feel like work, or like a stuffy old photo shoot; it was actually FUN!

Ice: by Elissa Lewallen Ice: by Elissa Lewallen Ice: by Elissa Lewallen

Later—that same day— she already had my photos ready for me to select ten for her to burn on a CD-ROM for me. They were all amazing. She blew me away again. She even gave me some extra photos, too.

Here is a link to Misha’s website, and her blog. She is wonderful to work with. You will not be disappointed. As you’ve gathered, I highly recommend her. I’ll include photos at the end of the post, of course. And soon, I will unveil the new cover for Ice! I am so excited for everyone to see it! And soon, I will be back to working on the trailer for Ice. I really want to amp up Ice’s exposure. So, if anyone has any suggestions, feel free to leave a comment! It would be greatly appreciated!

 

Thank you so much, guys, for reading!

EL

 

Here are all the many places you can buy Ice: Create Space, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and you can always order it from your local book store. :)

Also, I noticed the Kindle version of Ice is free right now if you have Amazon Prime!

 

Commence more photos!

Ice: by Elissa LewallenIce: by Elissa LewallenIce: by Elissa LewallenIce: by Elissa Lewallen

 

Christine

The Secret Lives of Characters

Christine

 

As I mentioned in the previous post of this series, Ice is told from Christine’s point of view because it was too hard to get into Kavick’s head because he is so secretive (not that I never attempted to. There was originally a single chapter in his POV, but I removed it because I felt it made it a bit confusing). Christine is an introverted thinker who becomes close to Kavick very quickly, and can understand him extremely well. I realized right away she was the perfect choice to tell the story. I also felt she brought more realism into the story by being the voice of it, which was important to me. I wanted it to be as realistic as a fantasy/supernatural novel could be.

I also chose to write it in her POV because I knew I didn’t want Ice to be a typical boy meets girl story. I didn’t want it to be happy, but not a total drag, either. I wanted it to be bittersweet, just like how life really is and because I was very depressed during the majority of the writing process. When I started Ice, I needed an outlet for the feelings I was struggling with and I knew Christine had to be suffering through a terrible ordeal. She had to feel just as bad as I felt. So I wrote her as an orphan, but somebody had to be providing her with the things she needed. So she had an uncle.

Christine’s name came to me right away. It’s also the name of one of my grandma’s best friends, which makes me like it more, of course. The real life Christine is a hoot. I had started chapter one, and when I was supposed to type her name, I ran a few names through my head quickly. Christine was the third one, I think, and then Birch was the second or third, one, too. I thought it was the perfect name for her and I was surprised it was so easy.

Christine’s loss, the feeling of hopelessness in a new, strange environment, and her relationship all came to me as I was writing it. I didn’t have to brainstorm any of it.

I always saw Christine as slightly tan, tall, and skinny with long, straight, brunette hair. Her eye color was the only thing I had to deliberate. I thought gray would be pretty with her hair and skin. More aptly, I thought Kavick would think it was pretty. I had to see her through his eyes (over time, it got easier).

I soon realized they had a lot in common despite coming from completely different worlds, and I liked that he was the one person who could understand how she felt.

You might be wondering why Molly couldn’t understand Christine. Too often I have read stories where the leading lady has that one perfect girlfriend who understands her so well and she gushes about her friend to the point it’s annoying. I wanted Christine to be realistic. Even Charlotte has her faults, despite being nicer than Molly. Molly was supposed to be like most kids you meet in school. You’re friends, but you never totally trust her because the friendship is more about getting along with her instead of being close to her. You know that friend has, or might gossip about you behind your back because she gossips to you about other people. After all, she met Molly when she had Kavick’s secret to keep and Molly can’t be trusted with secrets. Charlotte, however, never told what she considered Christine’s biggest secret (her crush on Marcus), despite wanting them to get together so badly and thinking that he would return her feelings if he knew.

From the first moment Kavick introduced himself to Christine, he proved he trusted her. He had already put his life on the line to protect her from the bear, and then he put his life in her hands not only out of desperation, but because he trusted her. He was a lonely, lost boy like she was a lonely, lost girl. I can’t think of Charlotte ever being lost, or lonely.

And Marcus’ relationship with Christine: well, I think when you read the book its pretty evident that him and Christine are very different people, and her feelings for him made her too shy to ever get close enough to him like she was with Kavick.

Something else about her, Marcus, and Kavick I hope people have realized, but I think it’s largely gone unnoticed: Ice is not a love triangle between the three. Christine is not in love with them both at the same time. Just because they compete for her (and Kavick didn’t compete most of the time because he didn’t think he stood a chance) doesn’t mean she loves them both. If you pay close attention to what Christine says about Marcus, and Kavick, you’ll see. Love triangles annoy me and I feel like they are not as common as fiction makes them out to be (unless you consider cheating to be a love triangle).

I think that’s it for Christine.

 

See ya!

EL

Kavick

The Secret Lives of Characters:

Kavick

 

I feel like I have to start with Kavick because he was how I created the story. I kid you not. It actually started with him, not Christine. After all, he is just as much the title’s sake as the Alaskan terrain is. Christine came after him, and it was through her the story was told, because Kavick is too secretive. It was too hard to get into his head most of the time, so I had to tell it through another person…and who better than her?

Telling how I created Kavick goes into telling how I got the idea for Ice. For those who haven’t heard it from me, you may find it surprising. I know I did at the time.

Ice was an idea that came completely out of the blue. I wrote it on a total whim, which I’ve discovered some of my favorite stories are created that way. No matter how outrageous or stupid an idea seems, WRITE IT DOWN, and never tell yourself that you are not good enough to write them. Trust me, because I almost didn’t write Ice, and I am happy I did. Most of all, don’t worry about people’s opinions when you write them.

So, as I used to often do when I was unemployed, I had trouble sleeping at night, because I would sleep in. However, this particular night I was beginning to think I would never go to asleep, so I turned on some music and started a game of Mahjong. I wanted to write, but my mind was blank. I felt like I had a permanent writer’s block on everything, and I couldn’t form any ideas. I hoped it would give my brain a work out. I love Tokio Hotel, and their Humanoid album wasn’t very old then (it was mid to late August, 2010), so I was listening to my favorite song off the album, “Dogs Unleashed”.

Are you starting to see how things came together? It had absolutely nothing to do with Twilight, despite some opinions.

After listening to it a million and one times, I browsed around YouTube for their German music and discovered someone had posted a video that played the German version in one speaker (in my case, ear bud) and English in the other. They had a picture of the lead singer in the video. I stared at the image for maybe the whole song, wondering who he reminded me of. He had long black and white dreadlocks at the time. And then finally, it hit me: he didn’t remind me of someone, he reminded me of something! A Husky!

I laughed out loud at this realization. And then I suddenly saw an image in my mind’s eye (this is how 90% of my ideas come to me), of a young man who looked similar to him. He was different. He was trapped in this large cage or something like that. There were bars. There weren’t any windows. There were security cameras watching him. He then ran out of the building; it was night and there was ankle-deep snow. There appeared to be nothing but snow for miles. This boy, man, whatever you want to call him, had black fur over his shoulders, like a cape or a wrap of some sort. And there were wolves and Huskies running with him. At some point he stopped, like a jump forward in time, and he was sitting down, petting them.

I was momentarily stunned by what I had seen. I kept playing it over in my head, thinking it was so cool and that it would make such a great story. I instantly knew that this boy could turn into a wolf, or a Husky, or a he was a hybrid of the two. I immediately told myself I was not a good enough writer to create it, though, and would just have to find a novel like that. I thought, “Surely somebody has already written something exactly like this.”

I made myself forget about it. But it kept coming back. Each day I thought about it. (This is usually when I decide to write a story.) But I didn’t believe I could write it.

A week or two later, late at night playing Mahjong and listening to that song again, I decided to entertain the idea of writing it. Instantly, I got more ideas once I allowed myself to pursue it. I thought, “What if a girl discovers his secret? And that place? And now her life is in danger and she has to keep his secret?” I was bombarded with ideas that played out in my head, and I was so excited about it. And I hadn’t been excited about anything for a while. I wasn’t in a very happy place at the time. But when I saw Christine, then a nameless girl, gasping in shock, running with him out of the building through the dim, concrete halls from the room with the cage and out into the night with the wolves and dogs, I knew I had to write it. It was too enjoyable for me to pass up. I thought, “Hmmm…that would make a good book.” And with that it was final: I was writing it.

 

Kavick is a misfit by nature, and somewhat in appearance. There’s his hair, of course. It’s the first indicator that he’s different. For the warmer part of the year I saw him in a white undershirt and faded blue jeans that sometimes had holes in the knees. I saw him skateboarding alone. I saw him being alone a lot, or being distant when he was with others. He has trouble opening up sometimes, depending on how deeply he is bothered by something. He doesn’t like to talk much about emotional pain or struggle, because he was originally a pretty positive person, despite a less than easy life growing up. But then, Kavick is also a very emotional person. When he is in good spirits he is very happy, smiles a lot, and talks a lot. He becomes very out-going, too. He seems almost bubbly even at times (which is my favorite characteristic about him).

Kavick was very close to his large family before many of them died. He was the fourth of 5 brothers, all the same age (I figured multiple births would be common in the Wolf-People because a part of them are wolf). They shared rooms, and were in the same grade, so they were rarely ever apart. With loving parents that valued family, it makes sense Kavick would. I didn’t think of this though until I was in the process of writing the scene where he meets Christine for the first time as a human and his explaining his situation to her.

I quickly knew I wanted the story in Alaska because there aren’t a lot of English speaking countries that have the kind of scenery I envisioned. Plus, I liked keeping it in America so I that I wouldn’t have to do as much research, lol! And that was when I got the idea he had Eskimo ancestors, but they had to be distant, because he had white skin. However, I had this idea at the same time that his skin color was really from being a Husky, not due to his white ancestors. Over time, I have decided that is the reason, especially after crafting the first Skarling’s background and how the different Eskimo tribes consider the Wolf-People so different from themselves. Although, when I wrote the first book, there never seemed to be an opportunity time to explain it, and Kavick knew so little about what he was. I wasn’t even sure if it was worth explaining in the story.

Which brings me to Eskimos, the Wolf-People lore, and how I came up with Kavick’s name.

I chose to use the term Eskimo in the book and in this post because I am solely referring to the native tribes that inhabit Alaska, since in my research I read multiple times they sometimes refer to themselves as Eskimo and are not offended by the term. If I were speaking of the native tribes that inhabit other countries, I would not be using the term since I read it offends them. So, no need to get mad at me because I mean no disrespect.

As you probably know already, the Wolf-People legend is not an actual legend. I created it. Out of curiosity, I tried to find an actual legend like it, but the closest thing I came to were stories about shamans and the “Adlet” which were still too different than what I had in mind.

Kavick’s name comes from a river and an actual place in Alaska. When I originally found the name, it was spelled like how I have spelled it here and in the book. The definition was “wolf,” but the website did not tell which tribe the word was from, or even how it was supposed to be pronounced. I later discovered the river, and the place, but it was spelled differently. And then I discovered an old movie with the same name. Having an immense attachment to the name by this point, I decided that Kavick’s parents were not fluent in any Eskimo languages, but were desperate to hold onto their heritage they cherished. So they added the “C,” because they liked it better that way, just like I do. ;)

 

Phew…! I think that covers everything. If I realize I have left something out, I will edit this post and mention the change in the next addition to the Secret Lives of Characters series so you guys will know.

For those of you who might have had questions about the character, I hope this has answered some of those questions for you.

 

See you soon!

EL

 

Haven’t read the book Kavick’s in? You can buy it from Amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, createspace.com, order it from your local bookstore, or at Decopolis. Ice is also available for the Kindle.

Don’t forget to leave a review when you’re finished reading!

Oh, man…

…Where do I begin?

Long time no see…uh, read! As usual, work has been crazy, but it’s been crazier than usual lately. Only just last week have I been back to brainstorming on novels, jotting down ideas, and still trying to decide how to end the sequel to Ice, even though I’m at least ten chapters away from that.

I’ve also been working on two other books…or three. (Cue awkward laughter.) I can’t help but jump around like that. I still haven’t decided which one will follow the Ice books…I’m about to end the insanity and just write them all simultaneously. Yes, I am aware that would be diving into greater insanity. Obviously I will have to consult the people who I usually run my ideas past, which fortunately always have completely different opinions. Perhaps they can talk some sense into me.

Don’t worry, guys: somehow I will get that sequel to you soon!

I know you’re all thinking, “I’m not worrying, because I don’t care about your book! I stumbled across this blog, and I think it’s stupid! I mean, you call yourself writer and you type ‘lol’ and use emoticons?!”

Okay, back on topic:

Up until this week, it had been especially hard not being able to write. I have fond memories of writing in October on cool, rainy gray days. The newly turned leaves are beautiful in the rain. I remember coming home from work, leaning back on the couch with my little HP netbook and writing all day long. The setting of the story was in the exact time of the year I was living, so I was drawing my descriptions from what I was experiencing at that moment. I have never forgotten how pretty the orange pumpkin was on the porch, sprinkled with little rain drops.

I wanted to do that again this year, working on that same book. I didn’t get to. ):

You all have probably gathered by now that I have put the Ice trailer on hold. But not for long!

In other news, I have another book signing coming up at Decopolis! Come by the store on Black Friday to get some unique Christmas gifts, and a copy of Ice signed. I am not sure on a time yet, but it will be in the evening. More news on that as I get it. Another way to follow the latest on the book signing is via my Facebook page.

I am also working with a photographer, Misha, for a new cover of Ice! Here’s a link to her blog where she has posted about it. She’s really nice and I am so excited to be working with her! More on that soon!

Okay, there is one thing I have gotten done: the Secret Lives of Characters series! First up is Kavick, then immediately followed by Christine. In the character bios I will be revealing not only how I created the characters, but insight into the writing process of the story, such as why I use the term “Eskimo,” which I’m sure some people probably find offensive. When you learn why I use it you will see that it’s actually not used in an offensive way.

So here I go to start posting their “secret lives”. Enjoy!

-EL

Also, if you are new to Ice, you can buy it from a variety of places: Amazon.com (you can also purchase the Kindle version there), barnesandnoble.com (where you can request a nook version, too), createspace.com; you can also order it from your local bookstore, and purchase it at Decopolis, located onS Boston in Downtown Tulsa. Don’t forget, it’s in the Kindle Lending Library, too! Happy reading!