Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Adventures in Reading: Gothic Literature

I'm spending more time on Goodreads these days. I moderate a fairy tale group there and have recently discovered the Gothic Literature group. In the midst of final revisions to Half Mortal and preparing for what will (hopefully!) be an epic finale to the Daughter of Light trilogy, War & Grace, I find myself scavenging for things: dark and light.

I just finished reading The Castle of Otranto. OMG! That made me laugh out loud. NUTS! It was totally over-the-top. And yet, tagged as The First Gothic Novel, it's a fascinating (and short) (though arduous) read. All that olde englyshe and the way they wrote dialogue can give you a headache.

What I loved learning is that the first talking/walking portrait in literature appeared in The Castle of Otranto. Remember how J.K. Rowlings used this device to such brilliant effect at Hogwarts. Mmmm. Influences. I was even more thrilled to learn that a significant event in Half Faerie <spoiler alert so shall not call it out here!>was also part of the Otranto plot. And heck, I thought I was so original. The thing is when you read a lot, things seep into the subconscious and what drifts back up when your searching for the points of your own plot...well, it's not always clear where they came from. It can be a circuitous path from a book you've never read, or a movie you've never seen, through a completely different story, back through a dream...

I also read The Romance of the Forest by Ann Radcliffe recently. Another early Gothic Novel that is supposed to have increased the genre's popularity. The first two-thirds of the novel was engaging enough, what with all the hints of evil, madness, and sexual seduction...but then the end came wrapped so tight in a package with bows and glitter, it hurt my eyes.

I'm going to be re-reading Frankenstein soon.  A book which I've read once and passionately loved. I'm mystified that I couldn't produce a copy from my meandering bookshelves so had to order another. Hmmm.... On the way to that book, I stopped by Mathilda, a novella written by Mary Shelley as well. Wow. Interesting, but again ... these three books mentioned here: M-E-L-O-D-R-A-M-A-T-I-C. Something that just really doesn't fly with readers these days. You end up laughing at points where it's likely the author didn't intend for you to do so!

Regardless, I'm thoroughly enjoying my adventures in reading Gothic Literature. I'm a reader particularly attuned to setting. I can fall in love with a book BECAUSE of the setting! The author has created a place that I want to be. I also love the shadows and intimated sense of doom in Gothic literature. I know—I shouldn't! I should always be thinking happy, positive thoughts, and so be co-creating a more cheery vibe on the planet. But I can't help myself: I love a good ghost story, shiver, thrill. How about you? Do you shun the dark in your reading forays? Or are stories the safest place to take what threatens and horrifies us head on?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Take a trip to the Realm of Faerie!

The Daughter of Light prequel Isolt's Enchantment is Free:

Add Isolt's Enchantment to your Goodreads Shelf

Half Faerie, Daughter of Light #1 is available at these stores:

Add Half Faerie to your Goodreads Shelf

Pre-Order Half Mortal, Daughter of Light #2 at these stores:

Add Half Mortal to your Goodreads Shelf

Sunday, May 3, 2015

On Writing: My Fearless Journey & Epic transformation...

I'm getting ready to go through the final proofreader's edits for Isolt's Enchantment and the moment feels quite momentous.

Last October, when I was collaborating with Billie Limpin on the first book in our Magic Cupcake series, I connected with editor Vince Dickinson. I immediately recognized that his tough stance on things like structure and action balanced my storytelling weaknesses. I'm big into characterization, authentic motivation, dialogue, and world building. So Vince's masculine editing style turned out to be the perfect compliment to my feminine writing/storytelling style.

(Okay, is there such a thing as a masculine or feminine style of editing and/or writing? Oh, yes. I believe there is. Our experience of gender filters the way in which we perceive the world. That does not mean that all women see the world in the same way, or that all men see the world in a diametrically opposed way! Indeed, it's quite complex when you begin to make room for the realities of people like Bruce Jenner whose masculine body houses a feminine psyche—and vice versa. My point is: Vince's editing style feels polar to my innate writing style, and with his editing, my stories feel—yes—much stronger!!!)

So...after Billie and I published Cupcakes & Kisses in December, I made a hard, but I believe, very sound decision. I decided to have Vince edit everything I'd written to-date. Well, I began this "project" with high hopes and much enthusiasm. But I'll be honest, it has been a long and emotionally painful haul.

In August of 2012, Half Faerie Publishing released it's first book: Nandana's Mark. I'd say it had mixed success. Readers in general connected with the characters and the story, while fantasy readers appreciated the world building. However, we didn't realize at the time how much we had to learn about publishing...which is a distinct endeavor from writing.

Since then, we've been working hard behind-the-scenes to produce the highest quality reads that we can. As well as diving deep into the process of cover design, we scavenged all my book reviews (I admit it!), and I dug in to work harder on my craft. Editor H. Danielle Crabtree played a huge part in the initial success of my fantasy series, The Queen of the Realm of Faerie. It was after a long discussion with her, that we made the difficult decision to unpublish the first three books in the series in January of 2014, and transform the story into a trilogy of three epic books, Daughter of Light.

It was another hard choice to send Vince Half Faerie along with Isolt's Enchantment and Half Mortal earlier this year. But we did that, because we want the trilogy to be cohesive, not only in story, but also in style and voice. Vince made very, very minuscule edits to Half Faerie. (What a relief!) But when I received his feedback, I committed to doing one final revision of that book. Which is now finished. I began, in a few minutes, to correct the scattered typos that remain in Isolt's Enchantment and Half Faerie, I am so excited! Because ... that means ... from this point on, we'll be moving forward with a wonderful fantasy series that I trust readers will love.

And it also means that ... Half Mortal is finally coming in July!