I’m very late, but everything is now available!
I’m very late, but everything is now available!
I don’t think I’ll ever like a blurb as much as I like the one for Thorns. I initially didn’t like the one I’d put together for Rose Red, but after some back-and-forth with my alpha reader, I sat on it for a while, then turned it into something that works.
Fortunately, it wasn’t as bad as the first few versions of Nocturne‘s blurb. I fixed that one seriously last minute. Rose Red‘s is last minute, too, but at least most of it was already in place. Just had to rework the first main paragraph.
Hair as black as night, skin as white as bone, lips as red as blood…
Just because the princess wakes up doesn’t mean she’s saved.
After Sylvaine and the Sleeping Kingdom awaken from their enchantments, the Hunter Brotherhood struggles to help the cursed population adjust to life in the modern world.
But when Sylvaine turns up in New York City with no explanation, then goes missing, the search leads Olivia, Griffin, and companions old and new deeper into even darker stories, grim tales with more endings that haven’t gone as planned.
From giant rats to stolen hearts, it turns out saving princesses isn’t as simple as a kiss.
I know it’s been a while since I last updated. I had computer troubles and needed to send it out for repairs. It took a lot longer than I thought it was going to, because I just told myself I’d wait until I got it back before doing any blogging. Joke’s on me, I guess.
So we can start with the soft reveal of ROSE RED. I think it’ll be a bit late coming out–mid to late November instead of end of October. I’m just starting on the proofreading, and then it’s got to be formatted and I need to get a proof sent to me before I publish.
Until then, whet your appetite on the gorgeous, white-gothic cover of ROSE RED, the second book in the Thorns series, a custom by Covers by Combs. The fairy/folk tale inspirations for this one are Beauty and the Beast (of course), Snow White (but oddly enough, not Snow White and Rose Red, which is a Bearskin tale–just borrowed the name), and the Nutcracker.
The year 2012 was a rough one for me. If I remember correctly, I was taking online courses and no longer working at the time, which was amazing, and going forward, I will ever pursue a similar state. But I was also dealing with a level of anxiety and fear that has only been matched post-2016 election, and for much the same reason.
I’m what’s called a thanatophobe. Roughly translated, it means afraid of death. Now, that would describe most people, right? Fear of death is normal and part of the survival instinct. There’s something fundamentally disturbing about being snuffed out, of the world continuing on without you, even though you accept perfectly well that the world got along fine before you were born, too. Your consciousness just can’t comprehend not being a consciousness. That’s why you wake up from dreams when you die–or that’s the theory, anyway. It’s all very mirror-in-a-mirror.
I do have what I consider a higher level of normal death anxiety. Hypochondria is a side effect of that, as is the mysophobia that’s been slowly but steadily increasing for a while. Uncertainty and control freakishness play a big part.
But I also have an occasionally paralyzing fear of apocalypse. All kinds of apocalypses. If there’s been a disaster movie about it, I’m afraid of it–although, strangely, I love disaster movies. Natural apocalypses. Alien apocalypses. Supernatural apocalypses. The Rapture. The Yellowstone caldera eruption. Asteroid hurtling toward Earth. Nuclear war. Rapid climate change. Epidemic. (Honestly, every time I read THE STAND, I get a cold. I think the publisher puts something in the pages.)
And yes, the 2012 Mayan calendar ending that marked the end of the world as we know it.
Did I know that, while natural and nuclear apocalypses are quite possible (as my brain reminds me all the time), this one was complete bunk, and nothing was going to happen in 2012 just because it was 2012, and the world was definitely not going to end on exactly December 21, 2012? Absolutely. I knew this for a fact. Just like I knew that the Rapture wasn’t going to happen according to Harold Camping’s predictions. Did that stop me from being afraid of it? No. That’s why they call it a phobia, Carl. It’s utterly irrational. And it was the entire freaking year. December 21 was at the end of it, after all.
So to distract myself, I wrote THORNS, which ended up about 195K words in its first draft. (I write long, then cut. That’s my very frustrating process.)
Of course, it helped that I was pretty much the only one freaking out and everyone was else was basically chill, so there were a lot of ports in the storm. Post-2016, not so much, which is why creativity has been such a hard thing for a lot of artists of late, although I’m noticing an upswing. Fear fatigue, maybe?
THORNS actually arose from a short story I’d wanted to write during college four years earlier. The opportunity came up in my fairy tales class–yes, I had a literature class on fairy tales. Envy me. Among a few other options, our final assignment could be a retold fairy tale, so I sat down and put to paper the idea I’d had for this BEAUTY AND THE BEAST retelling I was dying to write.
First thing I realized upon writing it was that it was too long for a short story–around 11K. The second thing I realized was that the story was still much too short and didn’t work at all as it was. It needed to become a novel to do the concept justice, so I shelved it until I thought I could handle a more elaborate plot. I wrote a much shorter BEAUTY AND THE BEAST retelling for the purpose of the assignment and moved on with my life, working on other projects. Most of which I also shelved, because that was the period in my life that I was really Learning How to Write by writing well-conceived crap. I’ll probably rework some of it someday.
Enter the apocalypse.
I’d say I just needed some escapist fiction, but THORNS isn’t really escapist. What it offered me, however, was a full, rich, detailed world in which I could hide among plot complexities (I’m a logistics person, so the problem-solving aspect of plotting is my wheelhouse) as well as hang out with people who were much more interesting to be around than my anxiety-ridden head. As long as my mind was racing, I thought I might as well put it to better use.
About halfway through this monster of a novel, I realized one book wasn’t going to cut it. Because of course.
But that’s the beauty of it (seriously, I’m not trying to be fairy tale puntastic). I can always come back to the THORNS series. When I do, I know it’s going to take up time and brainpower and spoons. But it’s going to do so in a way that I very much need, so it’s a good thing I’ve planned at least seven books in advance, and in my spare moments at work, I try to think beyond that. I told myself I couldn’t publish the second book, ROSE RED, until I’d written the fourth, PUPPETEER. Now that I’ve more or less figured out a work/writing balance, I’m thrilled next year will finally see me tackle it. (If we’re still here. Just saying.)
Haven’t figured out a work/writing/life balance, but you can’t have everything. And if you can’t have everything and the world is going to hell in a sound bite, I plan to do it writing.
The line in HAMILTON that sticks with me daily is “Why do you write like you’re running out of time?”
Because I fucking am. And I’ve got shit to finish before then. I guess death is a great motivator.
Would rather not work in a constant state of low-level panic, but I’ll take what I can get.
P.S. Editing through the apocalypse works, too.
Here’s that fairy tale rock song that I wrote a couple weeks ago, even though I don’t think I’ll ever be able to use it. My voice has no natural roughness. Also, I can’t do sexy to save my life.
I recently introduced myself to Halestorm and Lzzy Hale’s amazing voice, and I guess I was inspired. So just imagine her singing it instead. If I were ever to use this song, I’d have to strip it down a lot.
If you think I’m a pretty young thing
You don’t know what I’ve seen
You know what I mean
Look at my red leather, supple and lean,
Time for me to come clean
You know what I mean
I’m not a good girl
I’m a girl who’s gone bad
The baddest you’ve had
A little bit mad
And though I’m here walking
Alone in the woods
You’d escape if you could
From the pretty sharp teeth of
Red Riding Hood
I used to be innocent, proper and sweet
Not a girl on the street
You don’t want to meet
But a good girl knows just when she’s been beat
I need something to eat
And you’re my kind of meat.
Look at me
Dressed in the skin
Of the wolf that I’m in
Can’t you see
You don’t know where I’ve been
But if you let me in…
[Spoken] What big eyes you have…
Don’t go away
Come in and play
If you come this way
I’ll put this knife away
And let you blow me away…
[Spoken] Why, sir, what stunning skin you have.
It would be a shame to waste it on a wolf like you.
Can you see now what little girls can do?