Saturday, July 29, 2017

Facebook Party + Free Book!

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     Hey guys! I've been meaning to post about this for a while, but life has gotten in the way! Tonight I'm going to be participating in a Facebook event (find it here) celebrating the re-release of Tammy Lash's book, White Wolf and The Ash Princess. Around 7:30 I'll be on there for a question and answer session along with a few other indie authors, and it's going to be a lot of fun!

     Additionally, to celebrate the party, some of us are giving away free copies of books--and in that vein, the kindle version of With Blossoms Gold is available for FREE this weekend on Amazon!



     So, hopefully some fun stiff for you guys to check out. Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, June 16, 2017

In Which I Start a Newsletter

     Hello friends! I'm excited to announce the next stage of my author journey: putting together that all-important newsletter. I'm very new to this, and hope to send out my first edition in the beginning of July. I'm also planning on moving this blog to Wordpress around that time as well (if I can tweak my site to my liking before then!) so there are quite a lot of changes happening around here. (also, what do you guys think about the move to Wordpress? Please vote on the poll conveniently located on this blog's sidebar!)

     I'm really excited about this newsletter, and I'm trying to make its content a bit different than what's on my blog. Not only will there be writing updates, but also giveaways, sneak peeks, and some interesting historical facts and tidbits that I've picked up.

EDIT: So I didn't realize until the subscribing actually started, that whenever someone signs up, they see my home address, and my home address is also included in all newsletters. Obviously this is not acceptable. Apparently, a physical address is required due to anti-spamming laws. Most people who don't have an office use a P.O. Box, but I don't have the time or money for that. Friends who have newsletters, what do you do? Apparently the fines for using a fake address are pretty steep, so I don't want to risk that.

Any advice?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Story Weaknesses

     We all have our story weaknesses. It could be a word or a theme or a time period, and as soon as we see those in a synopsis or description, we're immediately bamboozled into buying whatever movie, book, or video game promises these fixes. Me? Well, I've got a few...

Adventure fiction

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     I mean your good old-fashioned, classic, slightly cheesy, maybe a little melodramatic but always swashbuckling fare. Think Indiana Jones or The Mummy in paperback form. (which, by the way, are fantastically entertaining because they are so clearly inspired by the very books I'm talking about.)

Novels like:

The Lost World

Journey to the Centre of the Earth

King Solomon's Mines

The Scarlet Pimpernel

John Carter of Mars

The Mark of Zorro

Captain Blood

etc.

     They are just so fun. Anything with archaeology + danger is my favorite thing, unless it's extinct-creatures-that-surprise!-aren't-quite-as-extinct-as-we-thought, which is also my favorite thing. And don't get me started on vigilante heroes in disguise, which is really a big weakness. Also, twist reveals and vintage-but-futuristic technology are some of my favorite aspects of such novels as well. They don't make 'em like these anymore. (also why I have zilch interest in the new Mummy movie, because what is the point if it's not set in the 1920s and full of delightful cheesiness? Why mess with perfection?)

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Crazy-Thick Victorian Novels

     Oh, the long sentences and the gloriously improbable coincidences and the heavy doses of morality. Also, there is a heavier dosage of snark than most people give them credit for. I love it. (also, the below gif is from Cranford, which is possibly my favorite period drama, but also possibly one of my least favorite Victorian novels, so go figure.)

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Anything Art Deco + British

     I prefer my 1920s and 30s glam with a dash of murder. Or a silver cow creamer. I'm not picky.

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     But adding a British accent or two, well, that just makes it better.

Fairy Tales

     Probably pretty obvious from my published writing. Beauty and the Beast will always be my favorite above all favorites, but there are so many other good ones: Rapunzel, King Thrushbeard, The Wild Swans, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella...the list goes on and on and I will probably keep reading them forever.

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What are your story weaknesses?

Saturday, June 3, 2017

What I've Been Up To

-Writing-


     I've finally gotten back into the habit. It took me much longer than I was expecting, since I've done zilch since December. I had to come to terms with the fact that I just wasn't getting anywhere with the stories I had it in my head to work on this summer. Once I opened myself up to possibly working on something else, everything has been going a lot more smoothly. It is bad news for those of you who've been curious about my next fairy tale retellings, though! Sorry. :/ But, if you like just straight-up historical novels, I'm working on something just for you.

-Embroidering-


     I knew I wanted to work on this over the summer, and I have- plus, I've just opened an etsy shop to sell some of it! If you are interested, you can check out my shop here. This is really my only job this summer, so I'm hoping I can actually make some decent money off of it, but I've never intently pursued this before, so we'll see how it goes.

-Watching-

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     I enjoy watching TV while working on aforesaid embroidery, and since I've gotten Netflix, a whole new world of options has opened up. Mainly I've been keeping up with DC's superhero lineup, Agents of Shield, and I kind of binged watched Terra Nova (Which sadly only had one season. I'm very bitter about it). I also recently started White Collar, which I'm loving. SO MUCH FRIENDSHIP. (and, ya know, thieves.)

-Reading-


     I recently finished my first Anthony Trollope novel, which I liked much more than I expected (judging from The Warden's synopsis, I didn't think it'd be half so interesting as it was) and I'm about to start Rudyard Kipling's Kim. I also just checked out a load of YA novels from the library, which I'm looking forward to, and finished my first comic collection. I like the idea of comics, but I've just never gotten in to them, but I'm really going to try this summer.


-Graduating-



     No, not me! But the month of May was pretty much taken up with preparations for my brother Harrison's graduation from high school. I stole the above picture from his instagram, but then I think he stole this picture from my phone in the first place, so I guess we're even.

-Unpacking-


     My family and I moved about two months ago, but a lot of our stuff has still been in storage, and now that the smoke has cleared from finals and graduation, we've been bringing stuff in little by little. I've gotten most of my books out (though I'm still waiting on a box or two) and so I've had a lot of fun--and frustration!--shelving and re-shelving my books. I've also purged a good box of them from said shelf, and am trying to figure out a way to get rid of them. I've traded books in at my local used bookstore before, but they don't really give you cash (only credits to get their books) and I just don't have room for more books right now! I was selling a few of them through Amazon, but they charge so much in fees I think I literally earned about a cent after selling my last two. So if anybody knows of a good retailer that you can sell used books to, I'd be happy to listen. If all else fails, I guess I could go the ebay route.

-Instagramming-




     I got an instagram! I mostly just post pictures of books, because books are pretty and I love them. All of this post's pictures (except for the Flash) is from my account.

And that's pretty much what my last month has looked like. How about you? Was your May as busy as mine was?

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Announcing...Five Poisoned Apples!

     Rooglewood's fairy tale contests are very dear to my heart. This is not only because The Wulver's Rose was included in Five Enchanted Roses (although that's a large part!) but also because I love the chance it gives to writers, especially self-published ones, to spread their wings. And of course, I love fairy tales. This year's collection is centered around what many of us assumed would be the next fairy tale: Snow White. Yet, I have to say that the cover for this one is even lovelier than I imagined! It might be my favorite of the covers they've done.


As this is going to be Rooglewood's last (*sniff sniff*) Fairy Tale Contest collection, I have high hopes that the winners will blow me away with their takes on this fairy tale! You can find the contest rules here. Good luck!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Let Not the Crown Fall

     Sunshine and pearls

     As a girl, I was obsessed with princesses. Or rather, I suppose, I was obsessed with adventure, and being a princess seemed a perfect way to find a good one. Disney was my main supplier for princess-consumption, although I also rented The Swan Princess every time we went to Blockbuster. Some of my earliest memories are watching Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty under a fort in the living room, while inspired by a Pocahontas nightgown I owned, I would spread pillows on the floor and jump from one to the other, re-enacting the moment John Smith first lays eyes on the chief's daughter. I loved the gorgeous dresses and beautiful music, but even more than that I loved the stories that surrounded these princesses. Princess stories had all that I wanted: Adventure! Romance! Death! Excitement! Villains! Happy Endings! Dramatic Musical Numbers! BIG GLORIOUS BALLGOWNS!

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To me, princesses symbolize femininity, elegance, wisdom, strength, and responsibility.
     But as I grew older, I noticed that not everyone had this same love that I did. Today books with titles like "Cinderella Ate My Daughter" or commercials for popular cartoons disdaining the "princess mentality" show a growing number of people who find the idea of women being princesses weak or demeaning, and claim that all this mindset does is sexualize young girls. (Personally, I wonder how being royal sexualizes someone, but maybe that's just me) Is there sexualization and "diva-fication" of girls going on? Of course. But that's not necessarily connected to princesses. To be a princess in the truest sense of the word is to be another thing entirely. In fact, I think to be a princess is to be gracious, strong, wise, and kind but firm.To people who say that the "princess-obsession" most little girls go through is harmful, sexist, and problematic, I have one thing to say:

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Actually, I would probably word my opinion on the subject a little more strongly, but, you know, have courage and be kind.

     Perhaps this comes from being a history major. Surrounded by stories of princesses (many who became queens) there is a slew of role models to found among the ranks of real-life princesses. These were women who oftentimes were sorts of ambassadors after marriage, representing a link to their home country while living in the land of their husband. These were women who served as intercessors for the people, who could sway the opinions of their king, and beg for mercy on behalf of their subjects. These were women who became queens and co-ruled with their husbands, or in some cases ruled without one. A queen could make or break her country. So, perhaps that's why it offends me so much when I hear people lumping all princesses together in disdain, as if they all represent some materialistic, "let-them-eat-cake" attitude. Not all princesses are like that, I assure you. And having just written a final research paper on medieval Scandinavian queens, I think I'll tell you about a couple of them....

     ...like Margaret I of Denmark. Daughter of one king and wife of another, after her husband's death she united the kingdoms of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden (and by extension Iceland, Greenland, and Finland) into the Kalmar Union. And ruled, uncontestedly, until her death.

     Then there was Philippa of England, daughter of Henry IV and sister of Henry V (yes, those Shakespearean Henrys) who married a Kalmar King. In her husband's absence she defended Copenhagen from the Hanseatic League. Hans Christian Andersen even wrote about her in his Godfather's Picture Book:

"The Hanseatic merchants came," continued Godfather, "from warehouse and counter, the rich traders of Rostock, Lübeck, and Bremen. They wanted to seize more than the golden goose from Valdemar's Tower; they had more power in the town of the Danish King than the Danish King himself. They came in armed ships, and no one was prepared. And King Eric had no desire to fight with his German kinsfolk; they were too many and too strong. So King Eric and all his courtiers escaped through the west port to the town of Sorö, to the quiet lake and green forests, to the song of love and the clang of goblets.
"But there was one left behind in Copenhagen, a kingly heart and a kingly mind. Do you see this picture here, this young woman, so fine and tender, with sea-blue eyes and yellow hair? It is the Queen of Denmark, Philippa, the English princess. She stayed in the distracted city, where the townspeople swarmed in panic in the narrow lanes and streets with steep stairs, sheds, and shops of lath and plaster. With the courage of a man, she summoned townspeople and peasants, to inspire and encourage them. They fitted out the ships and garrisoned the blockhouses; they fired with their carbines; there were fire and smoke and lightness of spirit - our Lord will never forsake Denmark! The sun shone into all hearts, and in all eyes was the bright gladness of victory. Blessed be Philippa! Blessed she was in hut and in house; and blessed she was in the King's castle, where she nursed the wounded and the sick. I have clipped a wreath and laid it around this picture," said Godfather. "Blessed be Queen Philippa!"

     I don't know, if my future daughter wanted Queen Philippa as a role model, I wouldn't complain. And that's not to mention other princesses, too: Elizabeth I, Nefertiti, Kaiulani, Victoria. One of the most fascinating facts I learned in my Modern Britain class this semester was that during World War Two, Queen Elizabeth II (then princess, of course) served as a driver and mechanic! It's not that these princesses are perfect role models. They could be difficult and make bad choices. But there is such variety in their lives and responsibilities. These were women with the world on their shoulders, not women who sat around doing nothing but looking pretty.

An Armenian crown used during wedding ceremonies when the bride and groom are traditionally crowned as a "king and queen.":

     But what about Disney? Aren't those what girls think of when they want princesses things? Probably. But I never found most Disney princesses problematic. Cinderella gets a terribly bad and unfair reputation, but I don't think you'll find kinder, more Christian-like character in animation. Despite a few hiccups in the Disney canon (*ahem* Ariel's rebelliousness) most Disney princesses do show kindness, work ethic, self-sacrifice, and intelligence. And there is nothing wrong with dressing up in ballgowns and tiaras, so long as we also, like Snow White, know how to whistle while we work with our aprons and dishrags.There is nothing wrong, I'll also say, in being saved by a prince--for isn't that an allegory for the Greatest story of all, the Story of our own Prince saving us from certain death?

     I can't help but think that like the princesses of old, we are also ambassadors, sent by our Father, the King, to this earth to share the message of our True Home. So when we think of princesses, let us be reminded of that. We, too, have a duty. Let us fulfill it!

(also, apparently I was suddenly impassioned to write this post during #princessweek. I didn't even know that was a thing until today.)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Writer's Tag

books.quenalbertini: Attractive publishers cloth bindings with gilt detailing late 1840’s early 1850’s:

(I shamelessly stole this tag from Cait. Wahaha. I always knew I'd make a good thief. After all, my first movie crush at the age of five was on Aladdin's dad in Aladdin and the King of Thieves not to mention Han Solo and Robin Hood and Flynn Rider so maybe it's just fate. But then again I'm pretty sure she offered the tag to anyone who wanted it, so I guess it wasn't very scoundrel-y of me after all.)

1. WHAT GENRES, STYLES, AND TOPICS DO YOU WRITE ABOUT?

Genres:

     I can't say I'm overly fond of sticking to one genre, but generally I go historical. I can't help it. But I really like sci-fi and one day I hope to write a bunch of classic-style adventure stories in all their melodramatic, swashbuckling glory. Think Captain Blood, John Carter, or Zorro. (Or Robin Hood, of course)

Styles:

     ALWAYS past tense, except for one tiny bit in The Wulver's Rose which was (gasp!) in the present tense. I generally don't like anything else. I alternate between third person and first person depending on the book, because they can be used for such different effects. And I do love multiple, large-cast POVs.

     I also feel like I need to warn you I have the Victorian penchant for really long sentences that would make Dickens proud.

Topics:

logical and bookish ladies
moral and admirable gentlemen
lots of dancing
also sword-fighting/pistol-dueling/knife-stabbing/poison-drinking
thieves (SEE)
other aspects of Victorian crime
period-correct ideology (hey, at least I try)
fairy tales
close family (especially sibling) relationships

     I know that these are generally more surface topics and probably aren't entirely what the question is asking, but I don't see myself as a topical writer, so I didn't know any other way to answer it.

2. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING?

     I have it on good authority that I wrote "A Cat Called Love" when I was 3ish.

3. WHY DO YOU WRITE?

     I could go with something profound, but as I've gotten older I'm acutely aware of the one thing that keeps me writing: I'm in charge of my stories, and I won't mess them up. I don't mean that in an arrogant way, but I've been disappointed so many times with book and TV series that have ruined themselves, either through gross out-of-character lapses, shoe-horned-in political statements, or an inclusion of "okay" immorality. Sometimes, the culprit is just a really stupid and misguided plot. But guess what? I never have to worry about scriptwriters ruining my stories or characters in the third season! Isn't that fabulous? Other people can't mess up your favorite stories if you write them yourself!

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4. WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO WRITE?

     In the mid-morning after I've gotten ready for the day, which is really inconvenient since I get all of my best ideas while I'm snuggled up in bed at midnight.

5. PARTS OF WRITING YOU LOVE VS PARTS YOU HATE?

Love:

     The outlining, the planning, the naming--the time when the plot is coming together and it's beautiful.

     Writing a paragraph that flows beautifully and realizing that it's actually a piece of good writing and no, it's not just my imagination! (This is rare but it's lovely when it happens)

     Writing finis at the end and looking back with satisfaction that, first draft or not, I finished a novel!


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Hate:

     Okay, do you know that feeling where you suddenly just don't like anything fictional and find it unsatisfying? I don't know if I'm describing this well, but in every story I hit a point where I just don't care about anything or anyone in it. It seems dull and lifeless and pointless, and I get depressed and in a funk and don't feel like reading any other books or watching any other movies, either. It's terrible while it lasts (which thankfully isn't for long) but it generally happens at some point with (most) every book I write.

     Also, this usually happens during the first, second, third, and all other subsequent rounds of editing, so maybe that has something to do with it.

     The overwhelming and oppressive jolts of self-doubt are also a downer.

6. HOW DO YOU OVERCOME WRITERS BLOCK?

     I take a walk and watch a movie or a TV show. If chocolate is in the house, I usually sneak some of that, too. (see, thief)

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     To be honest, writer's block is usually a sign that I've just been working too long and fried my brain-- that is, it's a clue I need to take a writing break.

7. ARE YOU WORKING ON SOMETHING AT THE MOMENT?

     "So are you writing anything right now?"

     I get that question a lot, and my answer is the same every time:

     "I'm always writing something."

8. WRITING GOALS THIS YEAR?

1. Finish January Snow and my Little Mermaid retelling (both of which are novellas)
2. Work on my poor neglected historical novel, Grande Complications (formerly titled Philippa, if you've stuck long around this blog)
3. Begin the first draft of my next piece of historical fiction, which I'm attempting to write in the style of an actual Victorian novel (what am I doing someone stop me)
4. I also want to at least attempt a classic-style adventure story, but we'll see how that goes.

     And there I end the writing tag! I know that this blog has been filled with a lot of tags, but now that school is almost over for the summer I should have more time to actually write posts! Then again, with all of those writing goals, you might be lucky if I have the time to just post a cat video.

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