A Heart of Salt & Silver: Themes and Meanings

Everyone always talks about the deeper meanings in books, and though I never start writing with a specific theme in mind, these things always find their way in.

So today, I want to discuss some of them with you.

Of course, there are the obvious ones. Good vs evil, love and redemption, revenge and second chances. Isolation and war, forgiveness and religion. All the big ones.

But there are others.

One of the biggest themes is the importance of growth and change. Two of the MCs (Ness and Nolan) are exes, star-crossed lovers, of sorts. They both have their faults, and each played their role in breaking up their relationship.

But people aren’t stagnant, never should be stagnant. So, we see them confront some of their issues, facing down the demons (pun intended, since demons are actually in this book) that wore them down (as individuals) in the first place, so that things might work better in the future.

Which brings me to another theme.

The differences between self-perception and how others perceive you.

With the vast majority of people, there’s a gap between these two things. Arrogant fucks tend to think far higher of themselves than others think of them. They see only their own strengths and don’t understand why others don’t worship them.

People with depression or anxiety disorders tend to think far lower of themselves than others do. They see only their own flaws, never seeing their strengths, and this creates a discrepancy, one that other people don’t always know about. If they know about it, they may not understand because the person they see is wonderful.

The downtrodden, self-destructive type shows up in this book.

Ness is… hurting. She believes herself to be inherently broken, less than. Nothing she ever does for anyone is enough to meet her standards. Nothing she says is kind enough. She’s so hung up on being half demon, so focused on the rage and the fury that could send her on a rampage if she lost control, that she fails to see all the good she does or just how well she controls her half-demon heart.

And she certainly doesn’t feel like she deserves love or happiness. And it takes her a long time, and some pretty extreme circumstances, to even realize that people might actually care about her.

Mainly because she doesn’t see herself (or her actions or motivations) accurately. Her childhood kinda skewed her perception of herself.

Being raised by your mortal enemy, a member of a religious sect sworn to kill you on sight who was bewitched to raise you, can do that to a person.

Which brings me to yet another theme.

The importance of being self-aware.

It’s awfully hard to grow and improve yourself if you don’t know where your issues lie. And it’s pretty hard to have the motivation to improve if you think you’re the worst person alive.

Acknowledging flaws and strengths alike is important for growth as a human being. Analyzing why you’re really doing something, rather than just taking all your actions at face value, is a necessary step. Otherwise, you’re likely to end up doing the wrong thing for the right reason or vice versa.

Motives can taint actions.

Being the hero because you need to be the hero… Yeah, people get saved. But maybe there was someone better suited to the task that stepped back because you needed to do it? Maybe other people are suffering because you had to be the one to fix something?

That’s one of the biggest problems for Nolan.

Elias also lacks self-awareness, but where Nolan has already started seeing and fixing things, Elias is barely aware that there’s a problem at all. His impulses drag him into a lot of situations that would have been better off left alone, and through the magic of luck, he hasn’t faced many consequences yet.

Running into vampire territory can change that pretty quickly, though.

And that’s just some of the character-related themes. There are others, and the world has its own themes.

Emotion vs. intellect is a big thing as far as magic and the afterlife are concerned in this book. Not to mention just how diluted and corrupted views of the afterlife can become when humans get involved, organizing it into neat little boxes with hard and fast rules that fit their particular motives.

That may seem like a lot to cover in one book. But life never tries to teach us just one thing at a time, and it never tries just one tactic for breaking us.

Lessons and traumas tangle together, piling one atop the other.

In life and literature.

If you want to watch these themes unfold amidst immortals and mortals in a magical world, if you want to get to know the characters and their lives, check out A Heart of Salt & Silver here:

mybook.to/AHeartOfSaltAndSilver

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.

Soul Bearer: The Beginning

Hi, guys!

So, with Soul Bearer’s release date coming up (freaking tomorrow!), I thought I’d talk about the creation of the story. I’ve talked about my writing process (or lack thereof) before, but I’ve never really gone into specifics for this story in, particular.

The spark, the catalyst, was a dream, which I know sounds corny. But that’s what the prologue was. I woke up with a dream of a princess and a burning necklace and the return of dragons.

So I wrote down the bare bones of that scene and ran with it.

The princess in that scene just happened to fall into a trope I don’t particularly like writing. She’s prissy and overly concerned with her looks. She’s led an easy, privileged life and as such, follows whims even when they’re definitely a bad idea because well…what are consequences?

She doesn’t really know because she’s never faced them.

I hate that trope, that stereotypical princess type.

And she certainly wasn’t going to be the one fighting the dragon.

So her part ended, sort of, in the prologue. I can’t say how her part continued because spoilers.

But that meant I had to come up with someone else to sort out the problem of the dragon and a means for them to do so.

And therein lies the problem with writing something from a dream. It takes a lot of work to make it work. I know, writing a book takes work, in general, but dreams have a tendency to make little to no sense.

And fiction has to make sense.

You have to have a reason for everything. Anything you put in the story has to be justified by a fully built world and three dimensional characters whose backgrounds support the information you’re giving.

Everything has to line up.

Because if it doesn’t line up, you end up with plot holes and angry readers.

And no one wants that.

Now, I tend to have these little…half imagined bits of story floating around in my head, pretty much constantly. A character here, an encounter there. There’s always an assortment to choose from.

I just have to find the world, and the story, they fit into.

Well, Visan (the world of Soul Bearer) turned out to be the home I’d been lacking for Aurisye. I hadn’t named her yet,and her story ended up changing drastically by the time it was all said and done. I didn’t know she’d be so powerful before I found her home in this story. But the core of her, the basis of who she was before the dragons rose, was already in my head and it belonged in this world.

There was another little tidbit, a chance encounter, that eventually became her mother’s story. I had no idea it belonged in Soul Bearer until I got to close to the scene, though. Lol.

As for Rafnor, he was always a part of this world. He developed with it, grew with it. He was never separate from the world of Soul Bearers.

Now, there was something I was asked about by a couple of ARC readers: the names. They wanted to know how I came up with them.

So, in case any of you are curious, this is what I did.

I chose a few languages that I don’t speak, picked words that I associated with the characters, and then looked them up in those other languages. When I found a translation or translated synonym that I liked the sound of, I altered it to fit the sounds of the cultures in the book.

For the Elves, I mostly translated stuff to French. I wanted it to have a soft, seductive feel. It just seems like something that would whisper through the leaves of their wooded kingdom.

The Elves in this story (dark elves, btw) are intelligent and witty, but also conniving. Having such smooth sounds set up a nice contrast.

I wanted the Orcish names to be the exact opposite. I wanted their names to embody the harsh, rough culture (and climate) they live in. So I translated to German and roughed the words up a bit more, smashing consonants together.

For the Humans, I went with variations on old English and Nordic words and names.

No matter what word I chose, I always…massaged the spelling to make it sound how I wanted, though.

It took about 6 months to write the first draft of this one. Then, after many edits, I started submitting it to traditional publishers. Before it got accepted anywhere though, I decided traditional wasn’t the way for me to go.

I’ve been heading down the Indie road ever since.

Now, I’ll be posting a video on release day, aka October 22nd. (Freaking tomorrow!)

*gasp* A video?

I know, I almost never show my face. It’s almost like I don’t like being in pictures or videos…

But, for you guys, I’m going to get over it, and do something that I always dreaded back in school. I’m going to read aloud for the group.

I’ll be doing a reading of the prologue of Soul Bearer!

It’ll be posted here for sure. Possibly on FB or IG, if I can figure out how to get around the time limit on IG. It’ll be at 3:00 p.m. central time. I’ll post about it on social media when it’s up, and I’ll send out an email to all my subscribers to let you know.

Then, I’ll be going live for the first time EVER on Instagram at 4:00 p.m. central time to answer questions and….*drum roll* announce the winners of the giveaway!

Don’t worry. If you can’t tune in, it doesn’t null your winnings. I’ll message each winner directly to let them know.

It’s going to be an exciting week.

And I finally get all three of my days off this week! No overtime, just my actual 40 hour schedule. That hasn’t happened in a while.

Now, normally I would do a full-on update on how my week went, but this time, I think I’ll just say that I got a lot of editing done on one story, some formatting done on another, and managed to get through all of my days.

I might do a full blog about this past week…next week. I’m not sure yet. It’s been an absolute train wreck.

These three days off could not have been better timed.

For now, though…

Keep reading. Keep writing.

Later.