Friday, December 28, 2012

Redirect!

Hey friends!
It was brought to my attention that, in the chaotic whirlwind that is my life, I never updated this blog to say I have a new URL.

You can now find all my posts at www.arkahler.com
See you there!

Monday, September 17, 2012

EXCITING BIG PUBLICATION NEWS!!!

Friends!

The time has come where I can reveal the SUPER AMAZING FANTASTIC NEWS I'VE BEEN SITTING ON FOR AAAAAGES. (okay, maybe not aaaaages, but it feels like a long time because it's Just. So. Exciting!)


MY FIRST BOOK SERIES (AKA THE HUNTED) IS GETTING PUBLISHED!

Or, to quote Publisher's Marketplace:
Alex Kahler's MARTYR, in which a boy must use his chakra magic to fight the formerly human monsters who kidnapped his lover, and MENDER, to Patricia Riley   at Spencer Hill Press , in a nice deal, for publication in 2014, by Laurie McLean  at Larsen/Pomada Literary Agents   (world English). 
Translation & dramatic: laurie@agentsavant.com 



Isn't that AMAZING?
Even more amazing?

I'M GOING TO B.E.A. 2014

Right??
Not only are we talking big big exposure to my debut, but we're talking big big exposure to a debut series featuring strong gay protagonists. How wicked cool is that?

I'm so pumped to be working with Patricia and the entire crew at Spencer Hill Press, you've no idea. They're lovely, they're excited, and most importantly, they're really into the series. Big ideas are being thrown around that I look forward to sharing with you all very soon. Let's just say we're thinking beyond publishing a few (four, to be precise) novels....


And in case you didn't think my editor was amazing enough, she agreed to do a little interview with me. Which I'm sharing below.

Why did you pick up this series? 
Because I love it! I'm always excited to have the opportunity to acquire a book that I loved reading, especially one that surprises me. When I am considering a manuscript it is important to me that I enjoy it as a reader first, before considering it with my "editor brain" -- this story was an incredibly entertaining read from the very beginning and kept me reading much later than I planned to stay up that night! (And I LOVE to sleep, so I know it's a special book if I'd rather read it than sleep!) MARTYR was one of those books that I knew I was going to offer on as soon as I finished reading it, but it was also a story I couldn't stop thinking about for days after I finished it, which is equally important to me. The characters were a big part of why I couldn't stop thinking about this book, I loved them and there was so much about them that I wanted to know! I was also excited about potential for future books, the world building opens up so many directions that the series could go and I'm looking forward to "going exploring" (so to speak) as the later books in the series get mapped out!

What excites you the most about working on this project? 
So many things! I'm excited to work with such a creative author; I love working with artists who have backgrounds in multiple mediums as it always adds unexpected elements to the writing and editing process. I'm also excited to be working in an Urban Fantasy world, it's very different from my other projects (currently High Fantasy, Contemporary, and Paranormal) and every new genre comes with a new set of rules to play with.  

Who is your favorite character?
I loved the twins, but if I had to pick only ONE character... probably Tomás. I'm a sucker for the misunderstood antagonist and Tomás is so perfect at being just that! Plus, he's an incubus and I love the ways that WHAT he is affects who he is and how he goes about handling a variety of situations. (By which I mean, he has some fantastically steamy scenes!)

If you controlled an element, what would it be? 
I would probably be a combination of fire and water: I'm constantly transitioning between my emotional reactions and my passion for everything that I do. I am also very driven by my intuition, I tend to jump in head first when I feel as though I am onto something amazing. :)

Anything else to add?
I can't wait until MARTYR is released so that everyone can read it! I have so much more to say about it but ... SPOILERS! 



...and I'm going to hope that last little bit was a Dr. Who reference. Because Patricia's just that sort of lady, and that's why I love her.





So, keep your eyes peeled here and elsewhere as this builds and manifests! A huge thanks to all my friends, family, and amazing team (Laurie and Pam, here's looking at you) for keeping me going.
And remember.


This is only the beginning.
Love!!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Little updates, before the BIG updates

Oh friends, what a crazy few weeks it's been.

After a good year of feeling like I was smashing my head against a brick wall, I think I've finally broken through. Either that, or life took pity on me, removed the wall, and plans on bringing it back in a few months. Either way, I'm content. Things are moving in big ways, and all the hard work is starting to pay off.

I spent the last weekend teaching circus arts at the Edinburgh Aerial and Acrobalance Convention (EAAC). I taught about four hours a day and trained the rest of the time. I can't really move right now. BUT! I got to play on a bungee trapeze, flip around on a static cloudswing, climb a Chinese pole, and learn handstand basics. I also spent the evenings with lovely friends. At one point, sitting on the patio of a cafe, watching the drunk acrobats juggle and the Icelanders teaching my friend dirty phrases, I realized that yes, this really was my life. And yes, I plan on keeping this whole circus lifestyle an integral part of it.
Other highlights: nights out and in with my Irish friends/flatmates. Watching the sun rise of Edinburgh's skyline. Morning coffee at the Black Medicine Coffee Co. And realizing I get to do this again next year.

In other news, I fly back to America October 9th. Yeah. To be perfectly honest, I'm actually looking forward to it. I move to Seattle the following month. There, I'll be opening an arts space, getting involved in the circus/cabaret world, and finding some Medicine Men to train under.

In the weeks before then, I'll be teaching in Madrid and wandering the UK and trying up all the loose ends I can. The really crazy thing was getting to EAAC and realizing that this time last year, I was teaching there and beginning my new life in Scotland. This year, I'm saying goodbye and moving on to something new.




The big things I want to talk about can't be talked about. Yet. But they're big. And I'm really excited. And you should be too.


Watch this space. Because Monday, September 17th, this shiz gets real.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

On Fires and Focus

Hey loves,

It's been a while since the last update, and for that I'll briefly apologize. I've been volunteering full-time at the retreat in the woods, which has been good for me in a hundred different ways. Out of my head, into the world sort of thing. It's given me a lot to mull over, and the past few weeks especially have thrown a lot of light on things I'd been blissfully ignoring.

The main thing is perhaps the most obvious: I have to return to America.
I've been avoiding this thought for a while now. After all, maybe I'd find a job or a husband or a magical visa so I could stay in the UK. Life has thrown stranger things my way. But as the months passed and not much changed on the outside, I realized something pretty profound: I wasn't here to settle down. I came here to avoid the real issue.

Now, with a few months left, I'm facing the music. I need a goal and a lifestyle that isn't centered around writing because it's driving me batshit insane, thank you very much (though I won't stop writing, oh no. I have so many IDEAS). I need art and circus and spirituality. I need to create something big with my time and my life because anything less would be a personal disservice. Long story short, I need to stop screwing around.

All these thoughts came about while doing a course on manifesting visions. The program had many aspects--I walked on fire and glass, broke arrows in my throat, sobbed in front of strangers--but they all boiled down to creating the life you wanted to live. And there I was, not really knowing what I wanted to create. I mean, I thought I knew--write books, get published, tour. But that didn't feel like the whole picture. I'm not saying I have it all figured out on the other side, but I'm getting there.

The (oh-so-tentative) plan: Move to Seattle. Get a job of sorts. Live in a fantastic flat with beautiful people. Build my artistic empire.

The last one's the most exciting to me. It involves creating my own Tarot deck, working with metals, getting my photography up and running, and doing whatever else I so please. It involves creating not only an arts studio, but an arts venue: a place for burlesque and cabaret and circus performances, a place for local artists to show and sell their work, a place for musicians to entertain and youth to gather. It involves a cafe. Two big masquerade balls. It also involves a trapeze rig shaped like a birdcage.

That would be the ultra-condensed version.

The dreaming is there. The steps are appearing. I feel life tying up loose ends and pushing me in new directions. I'm up for the adventure.

Tonight I head back to the retreat. I'll be there for most of my time in Scotland. But there may be an adventure in Madrid to fill you in on late September. And teaching in Edinburgh. And an anthology release in October.

Oh, and this is me walking on fire. LOLMYFACE.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Travelogue : Norwegian recap

It's amazing how difficult it's been to start writing this.
At first, I blamed it on being busy, on trying to settle back in or relax or whatever. But the truth is simple: I didn't and don't want to admit that this set of adventures is complete.

The big Eurotrip is being postponed. Long story short, Adam and I made it to Oslo, fully intent on getting our bus ticket that would take us around mainland Europe and back to Glasgow. That's when plans fell apart. Timing and pricing and destinations were incorrect, and we learned at 8am (after an overnight train from Stavanger to Oslo) that we had hit the end of the road. So we cut our losses and came back to Glasgow a few weeks early.

Let's not focus on the end, though. Let's focus on what happened.

Sarpsborg
Oh, Sarpsborg. How you smelled like the local sausage factory.
Our time at the Circus Village was fast-paced, chaotic, and filled with great people and laughter. We met artists from all over the world, saw some fantastic productions, and I even learned that my life is incomplete because I do not own a hurdy gurdy. There were concerts til 3am and hot chocolate with rum. And on the last day in Sarpsborg, we canoed the border between Norway and Sweden before going back to watch horror movies and eat pizza.

Sjaman Gathering
The day after we left Sarpsborg, we headed north and west of Oslo for a weekend of volunteering at--you guessed it--a gathering of Norse Shamans. There's simply no way to put this experience into words. One weekend in a valley, surrounded by fir-covered mountains, where people are drumming 24 hours a day. We met storytellers and Sami mystics, heard tales of Odin and the origination of shamans and visionaries. It was, simply put, a once in a lifetime experience. I've spent a lot of time amongst shamans and medicine men and mystics of all faiths, but there was something powerful in seeing a lineage like that--traceable back to the Vikings and practically unaltered over the ages.

Stavanger
After the Sjaman Gathering, Adam and I got a ride up/over to Stavanger. Look at the distance between Oslo and Stavanger on a map. It's not that much. But we took a very leisurely route through the mountains that lasted two days. We passed fjords and snow-covered peaks, waterfalls and mountains and glades and stony fields. Every landscape you could imagine, really. And Stavanger was nothing short of amazing.
The city was cozy, on the harbour, with big cruise lines awaiting their crew. The city streets were filled with tiny shops and cafes. Amazing, amazing graffiti and painting. A gay bar with mirrorball mannequins inside. Adam and I opened the day with lattes in the book bar/cafe, which sounds as amazing as it was: bookshelves in a bar and a courtyard in the back with Moroccan lanterns and a giant concrete dragon. We ended the day in a 'gay cafe' that didn't really serve coffee, and the two middle-aged men were drunk and vogue-ing at 9pm. It was very strange. Book bar was easily preferred.

Oslo
As stated, we arrived in Oslo after an overnight train from Stavanger. It was, at best, an uncomfortable experience--the car was stuffy and hot. I didn't sleep at all.
Adam and I left the bus station a bit sad at having to cancel the long-term plans. When we actually saw Oslo, we had to laugh. First, Oslo was very clean, very open, and very very sunny. Boats in the harbour, music from the pier. A giant gay pride festival that took up two blocks and was brimming with families and stalls. And everywhere, everywhere, were beautiful people. I have never seen so many attractive men in my life. Apparently they've all just moved to Oslo. I'd move too, but the only thing we bought in the city was a bottle of water for (roughly) $6. Might need a job first.


It was raining in Edinburgh when we got back that night. I tried to be grumpy about it, but I had to admit--something about coming back to the drizzle and fog felt like coming home.
The neds currently yelling outside my flat? Another thing altogether.

Photos from Sarpsborg and the Sjaman Gathering below. Will put up Stavanger/travelling soon!


The cat is dead. Long live the cat!


Art for the big party


the party begins!

all that glows is gold

the food cart, where I spent most of my time. models: Adam and Helene

food cart and behind-the-scenes

the first hurdle of canoeing: crossing the train tracks

this bridge goes between Norway and Sweden. I think Sweden was on the right...

beginning of the gathering

11pm in the woods and all is glowing

midnight sun(set)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Travelogue: Sarpsborg, Norway Pt. One


Hey loves,

I write this on a mound outside of the circus village, watching the big top and listening to families walk by, speaking in tongues I can only pretend to understand. The actual upload of this is most likely taking place at a McDonald’s because—hate to admit it as I do—it’s the only place I can find with free wifi.

I feel like there are already a hundred stories I could tell you. The trip to Norway was filled with flight delays due to strikes and a train ride down the coast in the twilight. Our current locale—The Circus Village in the park heart of Sarpsborg—reminds me a great deal of middle America: gently rolling, filled with fields and forests and lakes.

My travel companion (Adam) and I have been hard at work ever since arriving. Volunteering basically means you do whatever needs doing; we’ve done partner acrobatics in shopping malls and kindergartens for publicity, made cakes, painted signs, driven around putting up fliers on streetlamps, and cleaned toilets. Now, our work is mainly in the café, cooking or serving and pretending we speak an ounce of Norwegian. We’re learning. In all, up until the village opened to the public, it’s been a lot of hard work. Now we have set hours and will hopefully start traveling and training more. For me, I look forward to afternoons sitting in Der Grone Elefant, our little organic circus tent café, writing out plotlines for two new books. Hey, it’s called a working holiday for a reason.

So, about those stories.

Our first night here we sat under a makeshift tent, gathered around a firepit and sharing stories and dirty with a group of Vikings. I also got to shoot a handmade replica of a Viking war bow, learned some string tricks, and realized that the stereotype of Vikings drinking from horns and drinking, well, lots and lots of alcohol, were all, undeniably, true.

A few nights back, we went to a backyard concert in a friend’s glassblowing studio. There was a barbecue and more chat til 1am.

We went to Sweden for an afternoon (because in Norway, that’s what one does when one wants cheap food). We didn’t see much because we just stopped at the supermarkets to hand out fliers and get cheap beer. Oh, and two giant bags of candy. Yes, the rumors are true: this place is hellishly expensive. Imagine paying at least $6 for an Americano (small) coffee. $4 for a loaf of bread. And a beer at a restaurant? $10. For the cheap stuff. Thankfully, we haven’t had to pay for a thing. Volunteering is the way to go.

I haven't had coffee this wonderful/strong since...ever.

There are moments where I forget I’m in Norway and moments that seem to define the experience. There haven’t been any fjords but the Vikings made up for it. I’ve been averaging three or four layers of clothing a day. I haven’t seen nightfall since arriving.

The journey’s just beginning, too. After this there’s talk of heading north to see the more majestic landscapes. There’s talk of Prague and Bordeaux because holy crap do we need at least a little sunbathing the summer. Maybe the cliffs of Northern Ireland.


No one really knows.
But that, I guess, is how you know you’re on an adventure.

And now, pictures!




Adam in the train in Oslo

The trains had wood panelling, reclining seats, and wifi. NICE.

The 22m tent.

The 6m tent, 16m tent, and cafe tent.

Christine at work in her glassblowing studio.

Glassblowing studio from the outside. So many pretties.


Some tiny town outside of Sarpsborg. That's apparently very haunted. And has a fort.

Our uniform. And posters for the Pluto Crazy show. Not pictures: kids with staple-guns helping us flier.


The tents at night

And one more.


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Travelogue : Goodbye Glasgow

Hey loves,

This is gonna be short and sweet because my taxi's here in six hours and, oh yeah, I need to sleep within that time period.

I gave myself three full days to catch up on things before heading out and--surprise--that didn't really happen. I got all the important things done--said hello/goodbye to most people, packed all my stuff. But of course, there are loose ends.

Long story short, tomorrow I fly to Norway. That's pretty much all I know right now. Our friendly circus family is picking up my travel-companion Adam and I from the train station. We'll then be given a tour of the 'circus village.' And the next day we'll be traveling around promoting the event. If you have costumes, bring them! ...we'll just settle for a mask and the 'Circus Freak' shirts I designed. I can't imagine Swarovski would travel well.

And yeah. That's honestly the last definite plan I have.
One way ticket to Norway.
17 days of scheduled volunteering to provide room and board.
[...to be determined...]
Back to Glasgow by July 21st.


Oh yes, world. Let's go exploring.