#PitchWars 2016 Victim: K.J. Harrowick

Did I say victim? I really meant victim.

Huge thanks to Lana Pattinson for starting the blog hop, and of course Brenda Drake for all her hard work putting #PitchWars together. Another giant thank you to all the mentors for doing this. I can’t tell you how much it means.

#PitchWars Entry: Secrets of Sgådnor

 

THE WRITING LIFE:

The love of my life with books and writing is Fantasy and Science Fiction. Beautifully crafted worlds and languages get me every time, especially when I want to kick the characters out of the book and dive in myself. Whether it’s beautiful forest lands with sword and sorcery, or welded steel careening through the cold of space, any well-constructed world that makes me forget Earth exists is my cup of tea.

Buuuuut… there has to be darkness. I don’t mean one evil sorcerer on the far corner of the world with an army, I’m talking dark and twisted worlds where the kid gloves come off and the characters wade through grit and anguish to survive. Characters shouldn’t be spanked, they should be tortured.

This is what I write. Adult books, about characters who have already loved and lost, or just lost, and are at the precipice of submitting to death or fighting for a second chance. Scars, brands, torture and war, it’s all about swinging the story from the smallest scope of a character’s agony to a sweeping view of nations and empires fighting for power. My stories aim for the raw and gritty woven in with the beautiful and mysterious, and there is always a love story taking second or third seat to the action.

Currently I have several works in progress – including a medieval science fiction that’s nearly complete. I’m a huge fan of series books—though each of my works stand alone—and multiple POVs. I’ve partially constructed two fantasy languages, several magical systems, seasonal and number classifications, and tend to have very sexist settings so protagonists have a chance to really shine.

THE PROFESSIONAL LIFE:

I’m a web developer by trade. My first three years were spent writing code for one of the largest recipe websites and their advertisers. After that I went freelance, and the last nine years I’ve built websites in English, French, Danish, German, Finnish and Japanese. And no, let me stop you right there – I don’t speak all these languages. Only English and very bastardized French. As a freelancer though, I’ve gotten the opportunity to spread my creative wings a little. I’ve written two guidebooks (or rulebooks) for RPG websites, designed book covers (digital and print), and built a website for a local celebrity burlesque dancer. Currently most of my time is spent writing responsive code for email marketing campaigns.

THE NERDGASM BEHIND CLOSED DOORS:

I’m a geek to the core. I’ve written code in basica (showing my age here), and remember playing the game Donkey on an old DOS system. My favorite (original) Nintendo game is Contra, Halo graphics make me throw up (like physically sick), and I love the Assassin’s Creed soundtracks. I also have a special place in my heart for movie scores. Some of the cool things I’ve done in life:

  • Dressed up for a ren-faire and shot a real bow
  • Went drinking at a train station in Denmark
  • Stood in a real Viking torture chamber (called a triangle room – shudder)
  • Fished the Danish way (requires beer and a net)
  • Trained horses
  • Hunted
  • Run in state-wide and CIF track meets (and won medals)
  • I’ve even set a triple-jump record before, though I think it’s been long shattered
  • Purposely gave birth to my third child medication-free (birthing center – no hospital) as research for one of my stories
  • Pissed off my cousin so badly when we were kids that he still holds it over my head. #RunningFamilyJoke

My favorite things:

  • Riding horses
  • My dogs (one is part timber wolf with the two-color husky eyes)
  • The Eyes of Light and Darkness by Ivan Cat – I wish I could write as brilliantly as this
  • Myst by Cyan – both the games and the books
  • Fantasy languages – I’ve studied Quenya, Sindarin, D’ni and others just for fun, though I wish I could learn them all.
  • CinemaSins – Soooo many hours procrastinating here. I highly recommend the Iron Man birthday cake.
  • This design article by 27b/6.
  • Ignoring comic book movies. Seriously, SOMEONE PLEASE STOP MAKING THESE.
  • Waterskiing & Jetskiing
  • Hiking in old growth forests – they are so beautiful and inspiring.
  • Homemade Salsa
  • Red beer – Alaskan Amber & clamato juice. Yummmmmm.

CLOSURE:

Wow, if you got this far, kudos to you. 🙂 There’s also a teensy bit more about me on this page. As a bonus for anyone who did get this far, here’s the story about my cousin:

Every year for Easter all my cousins, siblings and I would visit my grandparents. They were the classic 1940s sexist couple – Pop loved his cigarettes and bourbon, Mema was his arm candy. >.< Seriously, I love them so much. They had this huge back yard with 6′ hedges, lemon trees, palm trees, and a swing hanging from a giant oak tree. Their back yard was a haven for kids.

I must have been twelve when my female cousin and I decided to hide the Easter eggs really hard for my male cousin and brother. We were so smart… so sneaky… so determined to be the absolute best. Nearly 200 Easter eggs got tossed up and over the hedges – and to clarify, these things were so wide, deep and thick a bird couldn’t get behind them.

My brother and cousin searched for over an hour and found only three eggs. Of course, we were so proud of ourselves we grinned and bragged about where the eggs were.

<sigh>

Then realized our mistake. Nobody could get the eggs back. Ever. We had to spend the next three hours buying, cooking, and coloring all new eggs. So much for being clever.

 

Addendum: Thanks to an awesome request by April Benedetti, I’ve added a link above to show off my timber wolf doggie.

19 comments to #PitchWars 2016 Victim: K.J. Harrowick

  • Kathleen S. Allen  says:

    A fellow geek! Yes! I like the dark stuff too and most of mine include some darkness. In fact, my entry is a YA gothic horror that’s a retelling of Frankenstein with a female protagonist. *smiles* Good luck in PW!

  • K.J. Harrowick  says:

    Ah, the dark and twisted stuff is always the best. That and nerd jokes no one gets. *halo*

    Good luck to you too! Your retelling sounds really interesting. I can’t wait to see all the entries. 🙂

  • April Benedetti  says:

    Can you please add a puppy pic? I’m dying to see what the part timber wolf looks like. I’m a sucker for the sweet faces. Nice to meet you and good luck in Pitch Wars!

    • Jennifer Dyer  says:

      Yes! I’d love to see the puppy!

  • Jonathan Peto  says:

    I love the focus on characters who have already loved and lost, or just lost!

  • K.J. Harrowick  says:

    You guys are awesome!

    @April – here you go: http://blog.halon-chronicles.com/oh-love-fuzzy-monsters/
    I’ll also add the link in the above article for anyone who’s interested.

    @Jonathan – Thank you! I adore second chance stories, showing that each character has already had a meaningful past they’re attempting to cling to. Also, the MC in the book I’m currently working on is also Jonathan (though he’ll beat the snot out of anyone who calls him by his full name). 😛

    • Jonathan Peto  says:

      I’m not touchy about the name. Lucky for you.

  • Heather  says:

    I’m checking out Cinema Sins right this very minute. How have I missed this?

  • K.J. Harrowick  says:

    Bahahaha @Heather. It will suck your life away and you’ll never get it back. The Twilight ones are especially hilarious!

  • Jennifer Dyer  says:

    Great bio and site. I love the gritty, real-life character comments. Best of luck in PitchWars!

    • K.J. Harrowick  says:

      You too! I added puppy link above. <3 She's already outside in her favorite spot, on top of the picnic table. 😛

  • Bokerah Brumley  says:

    Great bio! ((: Good luck in PitchWars!

    • K.J. Harrowick  says:

      You too @Bokerah! 🙂

  • Sharon M Johnston  says:

    My new favourite word – NERDGASM! And MEDIEVAL SCI_FI!!!!!

    • K.J. Harrowick  says:

      Aren’t they wonderful? 😛 I really wish my sci-fi was ready for #PitchWars. Still so much editing to do.

  • Tanna  says:

    Hi! Your writing style sounds amazing, and your website is stunning btw. Best of luck…just from the blog posts I’ve read, I can tell you will be going places.

  • K.J. Harrowick  says:

    Aw… thank you! Good luck to you as well. I definitely can’t wait for things to get started. 🙂

  • April M Wall  says:

    Good luck with PitchWars!

    • K.J. Harrowick  says:

      Thanks! You too, April. 🙂

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