Author Archives: authorastridvtallaksen
Seems like everyone has a “dream cast” or “head cast” of their favorite books these days. If a movie or show is ever made based on the book, these are the actors they want to see in the main roles. Well, I don’t know about other writers, but I have a dream cast for the characters in my own books. Some of the characters, like Sara, could be played by a couple of different actors, but really there’s just one I want for most of them. So I thought I’d share them with you!
For Sara Stone, the heroine of the Freefall Trilogy, I’d LOVE to see Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark on Game of Thrones) play her. Granted, Sophie isn’t as tall as Sara, but I’m willing to budge on that. If Claire Randall Fraser of Outlander can have blue instead of brown eyes, then my heroine can be a little shorter. Especially since that will give me some leeway on other characters.
For Daniel I picture Aidan Turner most of all. He’s not tall enough by far, but he looks right otherwise, with the longish dark curls. I’m not sure what color his eyes are, but he just has the right look.
For Lucifer I picture Tom Hiddleston. Full stop. Nobody else. Don’t ask me why Lu is Tom, but Tom is Lu and I can’t see anyone else in the role.
Then we get to less important roles. I haven’t figured them all out. For example Michael I have no idea.
Samael would probably be played best by Paul Bettany, both appearance and acting-wise.
And I think Evanna Lynch would be perfect as Gabriel.
There you have it! Who do YOU see in these roles? What about the characters I left out? I want to know!
We’ve all been there. So stressed out we can hardly think. Our lives are hectic, we’ve got jobs or kids or both, we’ve got pets to care for and houses to keep clean and appointments to go to and it all creeps up and overwhelms us. That’s when it’s time to make some time for yourself. Here’s a list of ideas that can help you care for yourself. You deserve it.
- Get some bath bombs (I love the ones from Lush!) and soak in a hot bath. Don’t forget the candles!
- Read a new (or favorite) book – combine with your hot bath for something special.
- Get a mani-pedi. Can’t afford them or don’t have time to go out? I use jamberries, which takes like 15 minutes to do and has some amazing designs even a nail place can’t do.
- Go for a leisurely hike.
- Cuddle your pet. No pet? Cuddle a shelter animal.
- Get a massage – even a 15 minute chair massage can do miracles.
- Take time for your hobby or learn a new one – I love to crochet and sing karaoke (not at the same time!!)
- Go shopping, or at least window shopping. You can even just peruse a site like Modcloth for some nifty retro clothing.
- Join a yoga class. I love the gentle flow classes because they don’t feel like exercise, just relaxation.
- Grab a coloring book. Scientists say it’s the next best thing to meditation.
- Bake something! I love getting my hands dirty baking some cookies and then indulging in the extra cookie dough.
- Watch your favorite movie with some popcorn, a glass of wine (or a beer, or whatever suits your fancy), and a cuddly blanket.
- Do a crossword or jigsaw puzzle.
- Make a bucket list – what can you check off soon? Nothing is too small.
- Plan a “someday” vacation. I have a whole list of places to visit and I love seeing what all I can do in my different destinations.
- Binge watch a new show on Netflix. I’m currently watching Call the Midwife.
- Take a nap! Nothing like a good snooze.
- Dance party for one!! Put on your favorite upbeat music and dance like nobody’s watching.
- Go for a drive – put on your sunglasses, roll down the windows, blast your favorite music and enjoy the scenery of the back roads. It’s like a mini-roadtrip.
What do you like to do for me time?
One of the things I sometimes find hardest to do is have a routine and stick to it. Because I fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to writing, I have some difficulty writing when I’m supposed to. I might be scheduled to write but the characters and world want nothing to do with me. And other times I’m supposed to be doing something else, but instead the characters are clamoring for attention, even when I’m away from home and fully immersed in something else. For the most part though, on normal days, I have a routine that seems easiest to stick with, so I thought I’d share it with you.
What kind of routine do you have?
The Bechdel Test is a tool that analyzes a work of fiction to see how it treats female characters. It requires a book, movie, television show (or anything else) to have at least two named women who talk to each other about something other than a man. Seems like it should be easy right? But I found it harder than I expected to find books that met this requirement. Even looking at my own books in the Freefall Trilogy it was difficult, although part of that was because I have so few characters and the main characters are a man and a woman. There are a few conversations, especially in the final book, World on Fire that fulfilled the requirements.
So I wanted to put together a small list of books that do meet the qualifications of the Bechdel test. Because I think it’s important that we have characters who are strong women doing their own thing in their books. I chose books with main characters that are female. Here are a few.
- The books in the Raven Cycle, by Maggie Stiefvater, are a fun YA series who has one of the main characters named Blue Sargent who lives in a house replete with women (who are also awesome psychics, except for Blue herself). Yes there are a lot of conversations with boys and about boys, but she and the other women in the house, Maura, Persephone, Orla, Calla, and Neeve, have a lot of conversations outside of the boys in the story.
- Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott, is a great classic example. Another book with a house full of women who have their own lives and conflicts to resolve. Highly recommend this book to someone looking for strong women protagonists.
- An indie book that I love, A Scarlet Fury by Bridget Blackwood, has an amazing strong female lead, as well as a lovely handful of other strong women that all have conversations with each other. Mads, the main character, deals with her tragedy, and the other things going on in the World of Shadows, by talking with other women and girls in the book, such as Rachel, Livia, and Tsura.
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Marget Atwood is a dystopian novel about a concubine named Offred in an alternate history where some women are little more than breeding stock. She’s brave enough to forge a real connection with other concubines, a dangerous prospect in a world where women are subjugated in such a horrible way.
- The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley, and its accompanying books, is filled with amazing female characters in the story surrounding Camelot and King Arthur as he comes into power. The women in Avalon are all priestesses and they heavily influence the world around them in ways that require them to converse heavily.
- Kushiel’s Dart, by Jacqueline Carey, follows the life of Phedre, a courtesan and eventual spy, who navigates the world of court intrigue both with the help of other women and with opponents who are women.
- Lastly, a great favorite of mine, is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Lizzie Bennett lives in a family of five sisters and a neurotic mother, all of whom she has a close relationship with. I love how she and her family interact.
What books do you guys love that pass the Bechdel Test with flying colors? I love to read books with strong female protagonists who “don’t need no man”.
Spoilers for At Death’s Door ahead!! You’ve been warned!!
Last chance to turn back!!
So I thought y’all might enjoy a little insight into Sara Stone, the main character of the Freefall Trilogy, whose life is turned upside down when she’s admitted to a mental hospital with seemingly no way out until a handsome stranger comes to save her. Her son is missing and all she cares about is finding him. But her rescuer reveals that everything she thought she knew about her life is a lie. Heaven, Hell, and her own heart have other plans for her. Enjoy!
I dropped off the radar for a little while and I’m so sorry! Since my last post I finished up the rewrites on World on Fire and released it at the end of January. Here’s the info you need to snatch it up for a great read (hopefully you’ve already had a chance to read the first two books of the Freefall Trilogy!).
After her son is taken from her by The Host, and she loses the love of her life, Sara is trying to sort out what little she has left. Heaven thinks she’s dead for the moment, but as soon as they discover she’s alive, they’ll be coming for her. With Lu, a Prince of Hell by her side, Hell has temporarily marked her name off their hit list. Should they find out she’s a champion for humans, the demons won’t think fondly of her. If only those were her only problems. The world is getting bad, and fast.
Sara has to reach her son or he’ll destroy the earth by bringing about the Apocalypse. The problem is, Danny’s no longer Danny. Brainwashed by Heaven, he believes he has to atone for his existence as the child of an angel and a demon. To bring a halt to the end of the world, Sara is gathering an army. One by one the pieces fall into place as a ragtag band of rebels comes together under the Angel of Death’s guidance. She has to stop Heaven from eradicating the human race, and Hell from enslaving it. The fight for free will has never been so dire. The world is on fire, and only Sara can save it.
Keep an eye out for some interesting posts in the future!
See you soon,
The first draft of World on Fire is complete! I’ve done my revisions and sent the second draft off to my beta readers to offer their comments and edits. They’ll make sure my story has continuity, makes sense, is complete, and just generally tell me what they think. Hopefully they’ll love it.
After I receive the beta copies back, which should all be back by the 23rd, I’ll do my rewrites and then send it off to my editor by the 28th. Yep, this means I’ll be doing some editing over Christmas break and be sending it off while I’m in Florida visiting family. No problem!
I’ll have my editor look it over and offer up her fixes not once but twice. Why? Because I want to give you the most polished final product that I possibly can. And when it’s finished with the editor and I’ve finished my revisions, then it will go to a couple of proofreaders to be sure it’s perfect.
When all is said and done, it should be out by the end of next month, depending on how long my editor and I take to get to the final draft. I can’t wait for you to see it!
In other news, the audio book for At Death’s Door is currently in production. I’m really excited for you to listen to the finished recording which will be available on Audible.com. I’m also happy to announce that I’ll be at Penned Con 2016 as an exhibitor, sharing a table with fellow author Bridget Blackwood. Hope to see you there!
So instead of a State of the Union, I suppose this is a State of the Author address? Anyway, I’m sure you’ve all been waiting with bated breath to know what the heck the mighty Astrid is up to. Yeah, right. Well I’m gonna tell you anyway.
Last fall I decided that it was time for me to try *AGAIN* to get my degree. In something. Anything. Just to actually say I did it. I figured if I could write and publish a book, then surely I can finish school finally. Right? Let’s hope so! Anyway, I jumped through all the hoops, filled out all the paper work, yelled at a few people for making my life more difficult than it needed to be, and started back to school in January. Of course, at the SAME time as all this is happening, I was also trying to get Between Heaven & Hell revised, edited, formatted, and all the other bells and whistles so I could get it out the door and in your hands by the deadline. And I did! By some miracle I did that AND managed to keep my grades up at the same time AND not lose my mind in the process (I think…. at least I think it’s around here somewhere….) ANYWAYS.
I’m majoring in English Lit (because, well, as a writer and with the plans to actually put my grammar nazi ways to use as an editor, what else would I possibly pick?). And I discovered today, quite by accident while talking to my advisor (via email because I’m a hermit)about what classes to take in the Fall (because this summer is for finishing writing World on Fire), that I never declared a minor. As an English major I’m required to have a minor. Thankfully my advisor rocks, and she asked me what I want to do with my degree. I explained I’m a writer, and my genre is in the fantasy realm (urban, paranormal, straight-up fantasy), and she looked over all the different minors and suggested one. Like, she didn’t laugh at me (okay maybe she did but that’s the nice thing about email, you can pretend they’re taking you seriously), she just said oh, well as a fantasy writer here’s what I think you should do. So my new minor is Gender and Multicultural Studies. To quote the Awesome Advisor, “One strong possibility to enhance your fantasy writing, then, might be Gender and Multicultural Studies. The minor draws from a variety of fields rather than focusing on one. Of the three categories of classes for the minor, many of the courses from the Humanities section and the Social and Behavioral Science section would cover excellent background material to enhance fantasy worlds and characters. The Business category is the least useful from my perspective, although I could see using information from a Cultural Diversity & Communication Issues in International Business as a framework on which to diversity the cultural backgrounds of your characters.” She’s so smart. So that’s what I’m doing, because it makes sense. And the classes I get to choose from all sound pretty cool.
What classes did I choose, you ask? Well first let me tell you what I’m taking this semester! I only take two classes at a time (I’ll explain why in another post maybe….). Major Authors I is my hardest class. Myth, Ritual, and Culture is my other class, and it’s not easy, just easier than Major Authors. So far this semester I’ve read the Epic of Gilgamesh, The Iliad, The Aeneid, Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Dante’s Inferno, Boccaccio’s Decameron, Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier, and this final week is Milton’s Paradise Lost. That’s just in Major Authors. I’ve also learned about pretty much every Greek god (and its Roman equivalent), the major Greek sagas (Theban, Mycenaean, Trojan), the heroes (Perseus, Heracles, etc), and this week is “research week” for our term paper. Which totally isn’t fair because I want research week for my Major Authors class too – I have a term paper for that class too!!
For my Mythology term paper, I had to read a children’s or young adult novel regarding some facet of Greek or Roman mythology, and then I get to compare it and argue about the evolution of the myth. Or something like that. For Major Authors it’s even MORE confusing. I have to pick 2 or 3 of the pieces we’ve read, pick a topic that they share in common, and then compare or argue or something like that. And of course, I have to have plenty of scholarly works to back up whatever I’m saying. Ugh. Shoot me in the face.
Oh and I still have final exams on top of that. I am SO ready for this semester to be done. I miss writing what I what, when I want. I miss my characters and their lives and their world. So I’m more than happy to take the summer off and spend it finishing up World on Fire so I have plenty of time for editing and whatnot before December comes along (which it will all too soon).
Anyway, that’s plenty of complaining for now I suppose. (And I realized just now that I use a LOT of parenthetical speech!). I think it might be time for rum….
Curious about the soundtrack behind Between Heaven & Hell? Well you can listen to it right here!
Guess what day it is! (Yes, it’s hump day, but that’s not important) That’s right, the day has come. Between Heaven & Hell (book 2 of my Freefall series, sequel to At Death’s Door) has been released and you can buy it here!
Being a fallen angel used to be easy. A quiet life with the people she loves is all Sara ever asked for. Unfortunately, the apocalypse didn’t get the message. After nearly losing everything, she’s managed to put her life back together and start living what she hoped was happily ever after with her small family. Now she wants nothing more than to hide away and pretend the end of the world is a distant rumor. Her life has already been torn apart once. Doesn’t she deserve a break?
The apocalypse finds its way back to her doorstep when a letter arrives. Is it a friendly warning, a dire threat, or a simple reminder that she can’t run away from what’s to come? Sara refuses to take heed and pays dearly for her avoidance. With her family in danger and the preservation of free will hanging in the balance, she finds herself with no other choice. Sara must follow the path forged for her, a path that may take away everything she holds dear and leave her in pieces at the end. She’s caught between Heaven and Hell, and the last person she’d ever have considered trusting might just be her greatest ally.