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  • Writer's pictureKristina Elyse Butke


Yellow flowers grow in a cluster with the blue sky as a background. #FantasyIndiesMarch
Photo by Sergey Shmidt on Unsplash

Today's post is the monthly #FantasyIndies meme on Twitter. For March, the Saturday Snippets are themed, which means I can write more stuff instead of saying "no thanks!" every time, yay! This meme was created by @ChesneyInfalt and @LydiaVRussell and is meant to be done once a day on Twitter, but as we know, I like to make things into one big blog post. We'll be focusing on my WIP, The Name and the Key.

1. Introduce yourself and your WIP

Hi, my name is Kristina Elyse Butke, and The Name and the Key is an Upper YA/NA fantasy about Lily, a girl who is haunted by the spectral image of her dead mother in every reflective surface she sees, and her best friend Andresh, whose knowledge of magic may be the only key to breaking the curse on Lily.

2. Saturday Snippet: looking for something or someone

I don't post snippets until the book is published because I'm worried about theft and AI scraping, but this month the snippets are themed, so I can write to the theme instead! In this book, there is a scene where Lily goes looking for Andresh because he's run off. He left a note behind but no indication of his whereabouts, and Lily is in a panic.

3. Spring weather in WIP

In March, considered the first month of spring in my book, the Season starts, and everyone floods the coastal town of Mariner to go to balls and dances in the part of town known as Highgate, where the wealthiest of Mariner live.

4. WIP food & drink

I've had a hard time coming up with food in the book, and there is a good deal of mentioning of cooking! It's just, I'm a crappy cook in real life (plus I hate it) so my list of ideas of meals to pull from is very small. So far I have roast turkey, ham, vanilla cake, eggs and toast, and apples in the book. Nothing too fancy at all. I'll need to do more research for historical Regency food when it comes to what is served during the Season.

5. Redemption in WIP

It's there, but if I talk about it, it'll be a spoiler!

6. Villain's plans

Lily's "mother" appears to her in every mirror and reflection in water, begging to be "let out." She won't stop haunting Lily until Lily can figure out how to free her.

7. Modern tech or none?

My book is loosely based on the Regency, so there won't be modern tech. Historical all the way!

8. Free Friday or Aesthetics

Here's a mood board I made for The Name and the Key:

A moodboard from The Name and the Key
Pictures sourced from Unsplash

9. Saturday Snippet: Meet the Villain

Lily first sees the spectral image of her mother when she discovers her mother's body in the marshes in the Rookwood. She sees her mother holding out her arms to her, and reaches in to embrace her, but instead grabs onto her mother's corpse.

10. Dress Code in WIP

It's Regency costume all the way! YES! I love how the men dressed back then. I like women's clothing too, but I hate the hairstyles, so Lily doesn't follow that fashion (hair up with tight curls around the face) and wears her hair long and loose, bucking the trends.

11. Religion/deities in WIP

I don't really talk about religion, but something vaguely Western, possibly Christian-like is there. I have demons in the book inspired by grimoires like The Lesser Key of Solomon, and in the city of Capua Cora, there is a deserted abbey that people live in. So some kind of religion is there. And characters do say a one or two-sentence prayer if they are afraid or in trouble.

12. Last line you wrote

It was about trade and fabric. Not very exciting, but necessary to the scene.

13. World-building fact

I have a lot more world-building in this book than I did with Son of the Siren in terms of names of continents, countries, and cities. My favorite name is the country Sindalia in the continent of Astacia. I'm proud of both names.

14. WIP Sidekick

On my writing desk is an anime statue I keep next to me. It's Aoba from the game and anime DRAMAtical Murder, but in "gothic style." I think it's one of the prettiest figurines I own, and I like to look at it while I write.

Statue of Aoba from Dramatical Murder Gothic Version
Photo by Kristina Elyse Butke

15. Free Friday or shout out an indie!

Arden Powell's The Faerie Hounds of York is a romantic, devastatingly gorgeous story. It's one of the top indies I recommend.

16. Saturday Snippet: "We're in danger..."

Lily is in danger as long as she is haunted in all of the reflections she sees. Andresh is haunted by something bigger, and much darker, and unless he give it what it wants, he's in danger.

17. Luck in WIP

I don't really discuss luck in the book, and since there is a series of horrible events in the novel, one could argue that my characters don't have luck at all.

18. MC's signature dish

Lily can't really cook all that well, so she's known for cheese sandwiches and apples. She does help out with larger meals (like roast ham) in order to feed the family, but if she had it her way, it would be sandwiches and fruit all the time.

19. World Inspiration

The book is inspired by the Regency era, and the locations are inspired by places I've been to. For example, the port town of Mariner is inspired by Tenby in Wales, and its wealthy neighborhood of Highgate is inspired by Bath in England.

20. Favorite book villain

Qi Rong in Heaven Official's Blessing. He's foul-mouthed and obsessive and absolutely nuts!

21. What modern career would your MC like?

I'm going to go with my male MC this time, Andresh. He loves to read so he would either like to be a librarian or work in a bookstore.

22. Free Friday or books you've recently read

I've been reading BL manga obsessively. I recently read The Ruthless Commander and His Reincarnated Warhorse by Sakashima. I was worried it was going to be beast-human love but luckily the warhorse can turn into a human!

23. Saturday Snippet: anger

My characters in my book don't really get angry! Lily does get sort of mad at the Stoneshore men who come to exchange silk per wool...they lust over Lily's sister openly and try to take more stock than promised in their contract, so Lily kicks them out.

24. Currency in WIP

The currency in The Name and the Key is coinage known as "aums."

25. Laws in WIP

Not really different than that of the real world. It doesn't really come up in the book, anyway.

26. How well does your MC & villain know each other?

Well, Lily is convinced the spirit that haunts her is her mother, so they know each other very well. I would elaborate beyond that but it gets into spoiler territory.

27. Maps in books?

I don't think books should need maps to be understood--the writing should make things fairly clear. But I am in the minority on this. Most fantasy readers want maps. Son of the Siren didn't get a map (I didn't hire a designer for one) and I don't think it needs one. However, the world of The Name and the Key is more detailed and I'm wondering if readers will want a map for that one. But hiring custom art can be expensive!

28. Villain or anti-hero?

I am less familiar with what makes an anti-hero an anti-hero, so I'm going for villain.

29. Free Friday or future writing plans

The Name and the Key is going to be a trilogy. Book 1 is The Name and the Key, told from Lily's POV; Book 2 is The Step and the Walk, told from Andresh's POV; and Book 3 is The Fear and the Flame, told from Lily's POV once more.

30. Saturday Snippet: love

Love has a very important place in my book. Lily and Andresh have had a thing for each other since they were children, and when they reunite later in life, those feelings rekindle. There's more about love than what I can mention here--it has to do with magic--but I'm keeping my mouth shut so as not to get spoilery.

31. Monthly Wrap-Up

I typed all of this out in one day, so I'm not sure what my progress in writing for March will be. I hope I've written much more of The Name and the Key than I have in February!

A baby dragon in the background of the Fantasy Indies March prompt list
From Twitter


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