Book Launch Day! Announcing…The Danger in Bohemia

So let me start off by saying: NEVER plan to be traveling on the day your book gets launched! Big mistake.

That out of the way…

TODAY IS THE DAY!

 DangerInBohemia[The]FS

 

The Danger in Bohemia has been published!

Dreamspinner Press ebook | Dreamspinner Press paperback | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | ARe

 

I can’t believe it’s here already. It has been a really crazy year–moving yet AGAIN from South Korea to the UK, starting an intense Master’s program, and seeing my first officially published novel! I’ve been running for so long that this has really smacked me in the face. If that makes sense.

Thank you to everyone at Dreamspinner Press who has been supportive of me, and to my friends and family who made this possible. I can’t say how much I appreciate everything you’ve all done for me.

I’ve had a few advanced reviews already. Here’s a small sampling!

At a Glance: Very well written, with a good pace, some surprises, and is a definite page turner.”  -http://www.thenovelapproachreviews.com/review-the-danger-in-bohemia-by-h-e-kollef/

“…the story has good bones, an interesting premise with likable characters, and a suitable bad guy. I’ll look forward to checking out something else from the author.” -https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29247246-the-danger-in-bohemia

 

 

DangerInBohemia[The]_postcard_back_DSP

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Book Updates, And A New Page On HannahKollef.com

Why hello, world.

It’s been a while since we talked about my books. So, a quick update:

1. Yes, I am still writing Path of Pins. I am about 3/4 of the way through the first draft now, and should be on the editing stage within the next two months. Woo hoo! Tentative release date? Sometime late next fall. I’m thinking October, if I’m ambitious, and November if I’m realistic. Perhaps Christmas.

2. HannahKollef.com has been updated- head over there to check out the new Deleted Scenes page. The reason for the update? Well, I’ve added a new deleted scene! It’s a lost storyline from Path of Needles, concerning an elderly Japanese fox and the message he carries for Kat & Roger. Have a look. There’s even a picture!

Mr.-Fox-Image

 

 

3. Reviews! Somehow, I managed to miss this very nice review from Reese’s Reviews.  She liked my book, guys. Gave me 4.5 / 5 bats!

I think that’s it for the moment. I’ll keep updating if anything changes. For now, have a good day, and enjoy the spring weather now that it’s finally here.

Reflection, But Just a Bit.

Whew!

Can I just say, it has been a crazy couple of weeks? Let’s quickly recap the month of October:

  • My brother left for the Army (and boy did I never think I’d be typing THAT)
  • Mom went to the hospital for a week of SUPER FUN (see tag Hospital Adventure for more)
  • Path of Needles and Hannahkollef.com finally launched
  • The Path of Needles blog tour went live
  • I got a new part time job at Barnes & Noble, and quit dog walking. Now I work at the library, the bookstore, on my own writing, and on two freelance projects depending on the week.
  • I decided to go to Prague to teach English in January

Jesu Christo.  What was I thinking?

Oh yeah: “money! travel! LIVIN’ THE DREAM, BABY”

It turns out that livin’ the dream (baby) is pretty exhausting. And yet, so totally worth it.

(Thanks, mom, for letting me live at home. And buying me such wonderful shoes. Mmm.)

While sales have been a bit sluggish, I’ve so far had really excellent reviews. The lowest review I got gave Path of Needles 4/5 stars. That makes me very, very happy. I’ve also generated some interest in the giveaway; so far, about 272 people have signed up to win a copy. That’s pretty cool!

So, what’s the point of this blog post?

Basically, I’m trying to give myself a bit of perspective. The last few days weeks month have been a whirlwind, and definitely changed my “life track” about 360 degrees. I mean, last night I bought a ticket to Prague. The return date? Not until September 2013, and only that soon because it’s the latest I can set the date to. As my friend pointed out, things are gonna change, and fast. While I’m looking forward to that- heck, I’m already living it- it’s still a bit intimidating.

At the moment, I’m typing from my mom’s mini-laptop. I’m considering taking it on my trip instead of my Macbook, both for ease of carry and to be less of a target for pickpocketers. Mom would get to use my beautiful, beloved laptop while I’m gone, so it’s a pretty fair trade. So far it’s working well. It actually has a full sized keyboard, and as you can see I’m typing on it with no problems. I also downloaded the Scrivener trial to see if it would work on this computer, and it does. Which is good, because at this point if you tried to seperate me from my beloved writing program I’d probably cry like a little baby.

SCRIVENER 4 LYFE!

I leave January 3rd, and it seems like there is absolutely no time between now and then. I have to pay the rest of my deposit. I have to learn as much Czech as possible, which probably won’t be much. There’s also the visa/Zhivnostensky to deal with, and then learning how to teach, and then teaching students who don’t speak English. I’ve got to work on Path of Pins. I’ve got to earn/save as much moolah as I can. Then there’s packing, and holidays, and…jeez.

Life remains crazy. Luckily, that’s the way I prefer it.

 

In Which Children Write Mildly Inappropriate Stories

Today I did a writers workshop with the incredibly awesome and fun C.A.T.S.S. In case you’re not in the know, that stands for Cool Awesome Teen Students of Summit. I was a member when I was in middle school, so it was really cool to be back and talking to a new wave of students! I also got to give away a few copies of my books, and they all seemed excited about that.

And let me tell you, when they found out what elementary school I went to, the crowd went wild. Go Washington! WOO!

We spent the hour playing a fairy-tale trivia game (and man are those kids viciously competitive! Love. It.), then did a writing round robin. I gave them a prompt, and two minutes to write what happens next in the story. At the two minute mark, they sent the paper to the person on their right. By the end of it we had about 14 wonderfully crazy stories.

I read these over a cup of tea when I got home and had to put the tea down lest I spill it while dry heaving with laughter. I’ve typed a few up so you can share in our hilarity. Enjoy.

Story One:

Hannah’s Favorite Story in the Whole Entire World

“Once upon a time, in the heart of an enchanted castle, there was a table; and on this table sat two frogs, a plastic model of a robot, and a well-oiled rifle. A bright flash fills the chamber and the two frogs are swept into a swirling vortex. Each frog becomes a handsome medieval prince and shakes themselves off. The bewildered prince watch a beautiful glowing blue girl appear. When the girl comes closer to the princes she turns into a witch. With her broom she smacks the princes to the ground and they turn back into ugly horrifying frogs. They hopped on her and she became a monkey. The frogs became princes, and the monkey became a princess. The princes then started fighting over the princess and started shooting at each other, one with a gun another with the robot. The one prince died, and the other ran away w/ the princess. He had knee cancer. Lalalalalalala, Tra,lalalalalalalalalalalalalala.”

AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER. WELL, ONE OF THEM ANYWAY.

Story 2: Princess Vs. Burglar

“Once upon a time, in the heart of an enchanted castle, there was a table; and on this table sat two frogs, a plastic model of a robot, and a well-oiled rifle. The young princess, Emilia, came into the room to find her father dead on the floor. There was a hole through his heart but no one could have shot him. There wasn’t a single person in the castle but her. She stared at the frogs and thought, was it possible that THEY shot her father? She took the gun and shot all over the place. Then an armed burglar came out from under the bed with a wound on his arm so he blew a shot and she flipped in the air and dodged the bullet she kicked the burglar and blew him in the brain. And took the ammo out the gun and went to search for more burglars. Emilia is shocked when after a swirling mass of wind, a handsome man appears to try to attack. ”

THE END…FOR NOW.

Story Three: Turkey Gon’ Bad

“Once upon a time, in the heart of an enchanted castle, there was a table; and on this table sat two frogs, a plastic model of a robot, and a well-oiled rifle. The table was made along time ago. The base was splintered. The snow was falling as Eddie Winter entered the room. He was making a robot but he was in battle. His studies were very well written. His notes sat upon the table, dust collecting on them with age. Eddie was at war for a long time. He liked pie. But he lied about the pie and said he liked turkey instead so he went to the king and asked for tons and tons and tons of turkey.”

THE END.

Story Four: The Passion of the Frogs

“Once upon a time, in the heart of an enchanted castle, there was a table; and on this table sat two frogs, a plastic model of a robot, and a well-oiled rifle. A man with a mustache walked up to the table and grabbed the two frogs to sniff their webbed feet. He took a test lick and set them back down. As he gently placed them down, a frog jumped and viciously chewed the man’s face, and then he spit it out and he made a ball of chewed up food and changed it to make snowballs. He then threw the food balls at the frogs when they both transformed into princes. The princes immediately grew a passion to find a true love. That trew love had to be a toad. But no toad wanted to be wed to the princes, so they flew to another land far far away where no one could find them.”

THE END…OF TREW LOVE!

So It’s Monday, and I’m…

…mucking around with some poetry. I’ve had a ‘creativity break’ the last few weeks as I got ready for the book launch, decided to teach English in Prague, found a new part time job, and dealt with some lovely times in the local hospital. No big, guys. Now, it’s time to get back to work. I mean, you know, the work that I like.

I’ve been doing a lot of brainstorming for Path of Pins (the sequel to Path of Needles, which by the way have you bought a copy yet?) and work on the website, but lately I’ve felt the itch to do some more challenging writing. This, for me, means poems and short stories. Not that writing a novel is easy. It’s not. But narration in long form takes a different kind of stamina. The shorter forms (short stories, poems, etc) give a little more room for intense bursts of emotion and the opportunity to try new, challenging things. Also I just love the little buggers. I even have one up here on the site, titled Pompeii. 

This is what I did last night. The picture I found here: http://www.summitpost.org/a-gloomy-thomas-lake/658966. Tried a few new things with this one- a really long title, bit of a rambly style, and the addition of asides in parenthesis. Actually that last one isn’t really new, I’ve done that before. Whatever.

I won’t try and say what this is about. I think poetry- all writing, really- takes on new meaning for every reader. People will all get something different out of it, even if that something is ‘Jeez this poem is rotten.’

So. Have a poem.

“Things aren’t that bad, y’know? I could do anything I want. I was thinking the other day that I should travel more. Maybe write something. Maybe make something big.”

You are not rudderless

but your oars are too small.

(You will not make it across the lake.)

You trail gold stars like promise (potential)(unfilled)(they didn’t say it would be so hard)

A thin trail marks your passage

soon gone

floating (impotent) on the water.

It’s a bit like a funeral; those burning stars

were dead the moment you

stepped into the boat.

(You will not)

(I’m sorry)

(but you will not make it.)

What Might Have Been is a salesman

that perches on your shoulders.

He is heavy; he weighs you down.

The boat sinks further into the surface.

You glance at him, he is only shadow;

but you are shadow too.

(No)

(The boat sinks deeper)

(You stopped rowing long ago)

Together you paddle across the lake.

Cover Reveal & Excerpt

 

Without further ado, I give you :

 

Launch Date: October 12th, 2012

 

And, since you’re all such lovely ladies and gents, here’s an excerpt from the first chapter to get you excited:

 

1: The Midnight Ball

The clock was about to strike midnight as I stood beside a potted bamboo plant, nursing a stolen glass of wine and praying no one would see me. My red dress chafed. My high-heels were killing me. The noise level in the gallery was almost deafening. And if I had to listen to one more person talk about the weather, I was going to scream.

And speak of the devil…

“Kat!”

Phil, my father’s literary agent, had spotted me. I tried to pretend I hadn’t heard him but it was too late. He was already motioning for me to join him. I smothered my groan, both at the thought of the conversation and the pain in my feet, and walked over to where he stood with a few other people.

“Hey, Kat,” he said eagerly. “We were just discussing all the weird weather we’ve been having. Did you feel the earthquake last week? An earthquake in New York City. Still can’t believe it.”

A blond woman cut in before I could answer. “I heard it was solar flares. That’s what caused the tsunami in Japan, you know. Terrible stuff. All those deaths.”

“Nonsense,” said a young man. I’d forgotten his name, but I was pretty sure he worked for NPR. His face was flushed and he slurred his speech a bit. “It’s Global Warming. Those goddamned Republicans have been ignoring us for decades and now they’re getting their proof. Tsunamis in Japan, earthquakes in New York City, tornadoes in Alaska. Alaska! And they gave us crap for the electric car!”

The young man suddenly turned to me, an expectant look on his face.

“Well?” he blustered. “Don’t you agree?”

“Uh…”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Phil cut in. “Her father is Jonathan Finnegan. Of course she agrees. All this nonsense about the Mayans, on the other hand…”

“What?!”

Thus began a heated debate in which I had little interest. Fortunately I spotted my uncle, Hank, standing beside the buffet table with a plate of fruit.

“I think I see my uncle,” I muttered and made my escape. I weaved my way through the crowd of polished literati, avoiding anyone who might recognize me as my father’s daughter. Waiters in black suits and glittering masks mingled with the crowd. They carried trays of drinks and the small finger foods partygoers like to admire but not eat. One stopped in my path. He was slighter than most men and had on a silver mask that extended into the air like wings beside his face.

There was something almost familiar about him. It might have been his thin lips, or the sharp, aristocratic slope of his nose. He didn’t speak, just held up a tray filled with a dozen glasses of red wine.

“I’m good, thanks,” I spluttered, holding up my half-full glass.

The waiter smiled and inclined his head, leaving before I could figure out who he looked like. The whole interaction had taken ten seconds, but it was disorienting. I wrote it off to the wine and hurried over to Hank.

He looked distinguished, as always, with his grey hair and closely cropped beard. The vintage Pink Floyd tee shirt he wore under his suit gave him an edge of cool that fit well with his New York art gallery. Hank was not his original name. He’d changed it before we were born, when he came to America and found people unable to pronounce his Russian name. He also wasn’t my uncle by blood. But he and my father had been friends for longer than I’d been alive, and they might as well have been brothers. He’d helped to raise me, and in some ways, was closer to Roger and I than our father.

“Save me,” I pleaded as I stopped at his side.

Hank chuckled under his breath and reached out to pluck the wine glass from my hand.

“Good try, Kat,” he said.

“I was drinking that!”

“So you see the problem.”

I huffed in annoyance and stole a chocolate covered apricot off his plate.

“The gallery looks really nice,” I said around my mouthful of fruit.

Hank’s gallery, Crossroads, took up the first floor of what had once been a bank. The original tin plate ceiling had been restored, so it reflected the soft lights that hung in a dozen chandeliers around the room. The walls were unevenly plastered, exposing red brick in some places and leaving others a pure, shock white. It made a lovely backdrop for the mixture of paintings and sculptures Hank featured. Right now he had a collection of paintings from artists in Brooklyn.

Hank had gone the extra mile for tonight. Tables were set up around the room, holding exotic foods and tall glasses of champagne and red wine. Polished men and women in shimmering clothes flitted from table to table, group to group, networking and generally enjoying their status as beautiful people.

“Your father made the New York Times,” Hank said softly. “What else could I do?” He gestured towards the table behind him. In the center was a tastefully framed copy of the article about my father’s newest book. His face grinned charmingly back at us from behind the glass. Every table bore a similar frame.

Hank leaned towards me and wagged his eyebrows. “Besides, it is good advertisement. I already sold three paintings, including the Borgious.”

“Seriously?” I gasped. The painting was worth enough to cover the tuition at my private school for two years. Hank had been trying to sell it for ages. “Congratulations, Hank!”

Hank grinned, looking supremely pleased with himself.

Another masked waiter, a girl with a metallic blue facemask, stopped and offered us crab cakes. I wrinkled my nose as Hank took one.

“The waiters are a little creepy,” I said when she had gone. “It’s the masks.”

“I thought they were festive,” Hank murmured. “You father liked them.”

“Where is dad, anyways?” I asked. I shifted my weight to my left foot as the right started to scream at me.

In response, Hank pointed to the corner of the room where dad was holding court. I saw a small crowd. My father’s animated gestures could be seen over the tops of their heads. I smiled as the group exploded with bright laughter. Jonathan Finnegan had that effect on people. He was the kind of person that, in an argument, would tell you exactly why you were wrong and get you to buy him a drink as he explained. His charm was infectious.

Somewhere, a clock struck midnight. The soft chimes filtered through the noisy room, reminding me how much my feet hurt and how tired I was going to be at school the next day. I decided I’d stayed long enough.

Turning back to Hank, I said, “I think I’m going to head home. Will you let him know I left?”

“Of course,” Hank agreed. “Did you finish your homework before the party?”

“It was easy,” I said, grabbing another apricot. “Nothing for Pre-calculus because we had a sub, I’ve already read Pride and Prejudice about a hundred times, and I did French at lunch. No problem.”

“You’re going home with Roger?” he added.

“Not that I need the chaperone, but yes.”

Hank, perhaps wisely, didn’t say anything. Instead, he held out his arm and hugged me around the shoulders.

“Text me when you get home. And I will make sure Jonathan returns in one piece,” he added, correctly reading my expression.

“Thanks, Hank.” I hugged him back and then ducked out to find my twin.

A door at the back of the gallery took me into a quiet hallway. I shut it behind me, blocking off the sounds of the party. The quiet was a welcome relief, and I took a moment to enjoy it before walking over to Hank’s small office and pushing open the door. Predictably, Roger was hiding from the scary intellectuals. I found him asleep on Hank’s couch, his feet crossed at the ankles, arms folded across his chest. He was using his suit jacket as a pillow.

I leaned over to shake him awake and wrinkled my nose at the smell of his breath. He’d been more successful at sneaking booze than me.

“Come on, Roger. Get up,” I said.

“Time to go?” he muttered as he stood and stretched. Though we were the same height, Roger always seemed much bigger than me. It was an illusion that sprang from all the muscles lacrosse had put on him. “Thank Christ. I hate these things.”

“It’s a big deal. Have you ever been in the New York Times?” I said, walking over to the rack in the corner where I’d left my leather jacket and purse. Rummaging inside my bag, I pulled out a pair of flats and slid the heels off with a sigh.

“It’s always the Times, or the Post, or the Hawaii Literary Review,” Roger complained.

“Why did you even come, then?”

“Hank made me,” he said with a shrug. I bit back a sigh. Hank was becoming the only person Roger would listen to. They had always been close. Stocky, stubborn Roger was more like Hank than he was our father. But part of me was a little bit sad that Roger and our father were so distant. It wasn’t even that they disliked each other. They were just very different people.

“It wouldn’t kill you to show a little support now and then,” I said anyways as I pulled on the flats.

Roger rolled his eyes. “Yeah, okay. You heard from Jim at all?”

Jim, our best friend, should have been at the party, but he was home sick with the flu. I knew for a fact that he was feeling betterI’d texted him earlier. That didn’t mean I had to share my information. Lately, Roger had been acting strangely around Jim and I was getting sick of it.

I raised an eyebrow. “You’ve got a cell phone. Why don’t you call him?”

“Too late now,” Roger muttered, tucking his fists into his pockets.

I had to suppress a sigh. Boys. So clueless.

I threw the heels in my bag and pulled on my jacket, then checked my cell phone. No texts or missed calls. We had about twenty minutes before the subway closed for the night.

“We better hurry.”

“Yes, mom.”

I punched him in the shoulder and he laughed at me.

We snuck out the back to avoid the rest of the party, grabbed the subway back into Greenwich Village, and were home just before one. As soon as I stepped into my bedroom, I stripped off the uncomfortable dress and let it fall onto the floor. Stuffy and dizzy from the wine, I cracked open my window before falling into bed in just my underwear. I managed to shoot Hank a text, letting him know we got home safe, and then I was out.

 

 

Music

So I’ve been doing a lot of editing over the past few days, along with website formatting, and more work on the ‘content’ part of the website. What do all of these things have in common?

They are very boring to talk about. Pity the people who hang out with me in real life.

The good thing about these tasks is that they take considerably less concentration/brainpower than is required for initial edits and writing. This means that I get to listen to music! And boy, have I been listening to a lot of music. I’ve been trying to post on Facebook when I find something new and free. I thought I could make a kind of playlist here, however. Maybe y’all would like these bands. Maybe you’ve already listened to them. But…eh. I have no better idea for a blog post today so HERE IT IS.

1. Generals – The Mynabirds

This is their second CD and I am LUVING it. Yes, that’s right- loving it with a u. It’s so good that it defies conventional spelling. The Mynabirds are a great blend of blues and rock and jazz and just awesome. The lead singer has a nice whiskey voice, too, so that’s a big plus.

 

 

 

 

2. Childish Gambino

Just…everything. I love this man. I would bear his children and they would be incredibly talented, just like their daddy. (And with that sentence things got weird. Not going to delete it, though. Nooope.)

 

 

 

3. Bon Iver – Bon Iver

I know I’m, like, years late for this party, but I don’t care. Bon Iver makes excellent ‘working’ music. It’s quiet and haunting and pretty good. Yep. That’s all I’m gonna say on that one.

 

 

 

 

4. Time Without Consequence – Alexi Murdoch

I overindulged in Alexi Murdoch in college, so it’s been a while since I listened to this album. IT IS SO GOOD. Mellow, simple, yet beautiful at the same time. Also, more excellent writing music! This album is good for putting you in a  pensive, ‘write about feelings’ mood, which is crucial when your characters need to emote. Thank you, Mr. Murdoch, for helping my characters deal with all their feelings.

(Is it getting weird again? It is, isn’t it.)

 

 

 

Look at these boys! Aren’t they just deliciously drab?

5. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes

Another mellow, good-to-write-by album. I’d throw in Helplessness Blues here as well, but it’s got too much energy for me to focus properly. Fleet Foxes makes me think of sitting on my porch in Virginia, thinking deep thoughts about mountains and life. Of course at the time I was usually kind of drunk. Is that inappropriate to say on my author blog? I’m almost 23. That’s gotta be okay by now. Hmm.

 

That’s all I have for today. Are you disappointed? Is anyone there? Am I standing at the brink of the vast Internet ocean, shouting into complete nothingness? Have I spent too much time staring at my computer today, trying to force tiny columns of text into the appropriate alignment?

Food for thought.