Wordless Wednesday: Proteus Gowanus resurgam

Posted on Aug 26, 2015 in creativity, friends and colleagues, news & muse, the world around me, Wordless Wednesday

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Photographed in Brooklyn on the last official day of Proteus Gowanus. Much wonderful art was made there, as well as many wonderful memories. 

So this is happening tomorrow. . .

Posted on May 29, 2015 in friends and colleagues, news & muse, the world around me

my tarot cards

Warming up the cards for a friend.

… I’m reading tarot for my friend Erika Swyler’s amazing new novel THE BOOK OF SPECULATION at St. Martin Press’s Book Con booth between 10am and noon. If you’re going, stop by and say hello!

The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler

Creativity Friday: Guest Post by Lynn Carthage, author of HAUNTED

Posted on May 15, 2015 in creativity, friends and colleagues, interviews, news & muse, publishing

Lynn Carthage
As I mentioned Friday, my guest for today’s Creativity Friday post is author Lynn Carthage, author of HAUNTED, a young adult gothic historical novel. My daughter Thea is currently reading it, and thoroughly enjoying it.*

More about HAUNTED:

Sixteen-year-old Phoebe Irving has traded life in San Francisco for her stepfather’s ancestral mansion in rural England. It’s supposed to be the new start her family needs. But from the moment she crosses the threshold into the ancient estate, Phoebe senses something ominous. Then again, she’s a little sensitive lately—not surprising when her parents are oblivious to her, her old life is six thousand miles away, and the only guy around is completely gorgeous but giving her mixed messages.

But at least Miles doesn’t laugh at Phoebe’s growing fears. And she can trust him…maybe. The locals whisper about the manor’s infamous original owner, Madame Arnaud, and tell grim stories of missing children and vengeful spirits. Phoebe is determined to protect her loved ones—especially her little sister, Tabby. But even amidst the manor’s dark shadows, the deepest mysteries may involve Phoebe herself.

As for Lynn, she has a secret—and it’s a good one. Under her real name, Erika Mailman, she’s published two highly praised historical novels for adults; HAUNTED is her first YA novel. I first met Erika at the Historical Novel Society conference in 2013. We instantly hit it off, and have stayed in regular contact since. (The real reason I go to HNS: to meet lovely writers who share my obsessions with women’s history and the gothic. :-) ) When I learned Erika had decided to write for young adults under a nom de plume, I was eager to learn more about the why and how. 

Without further ado, here’s Erika’s guest post about her alter ego Lynn, and the differences between writing for the YA and adult historical market. I hope you enjoy it!

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Kris, thanks for hosting me today. You invited me to talk about my alter ego, and the difference of writing young adult historical fiction versus adult.

Under my real name, Erika Mailman, I’ve published two historical novels. The first, Woman of Ill Fame (Heyday Books 2007), is a historical thriller featuring an unapologetic Gold Rush prostitute narrator. You can right away see why I had to choose another name for publishing young adult fiction; I didn’t want teens to read HAUNTED, google me, and find that book.

Call me innocent, but I think kids grow up so fast these days…they have a lifetime of being sexual, so I wanted to provide a firm line between my adult fiction and my young adult fiction.

My second novel, Witch’s Trinity (Crown, 2007), is probably appropriate for a teen audience, but I can’t send readers there without them also seeing the “shameless hussy” book LOL. It’s about a medieval woman accused of witchcraft by her own daughter-in-law, at a time when women faced burning at the stake.

Which brings me back to HAUNTED, the young adult novel that came out from Kensington in February. I love historical fiction, and although the book features a contemporary setting in England, the mansion where the story takes place has a foreboding history and a connection to the palace of Versailles.

In fact, Book 2 of the series, which hits in February 2016, is set almost entirely in Paris and Versailles, and features timeslipping back to days when there was still a monarchy in place.

It’s been fun to merge historical with contemporary, with my heroine Phoebe Irving wandering the halls of the 1700s Arnaud Manor in England and over time learning tidbits about its history. I know a lot of readers enjoy historical fiction, but this sort of tactic may be more accessible. Phoebe has a modern perspective and can be an effective filter for the events of the past.

As to the differences in writing for teens versus adults: yes, I’ve had to take some language out of HAUNTED. For instance, a character named Miles exclaims, “No shit!” and I was encouraged to take that out. I did, because some big-box stores won’t carry books with that language, and to maximize my potential to someday have the book be carried there, I elected to listen to my editor’s sage advice.

I’m also keeping the romance between Miles and Phoebe lingering and drawn out … half the fun is in the suspense, right? And of course we have to have some complications that keep them swinging back and forth, towards and away from each other.

Finally, for those who are older, there’s been all kinds of data suggesting older people read YA fiction, with middle-aged women showing up as a high population readership. And I’ve had men email me praise for HAUNTED; will it help that Book 2 is narrated by Miles, a male?

If you enjoy a good ghost story, a dark and forbidding English manor setting, and characters who valiantly fight to protect their siblings, you might want to give HAUNTED a try.

Thanks for hosting me today, Kris!

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My pleasure, Lynn-Erika—and thanks for a wonderful post! You can learn more, read an excerpt, or purchase HAUNTED here.

* Review coming soon!

Creativity Friday: Lover’s Path update

Posted on May 8, 2015 in apps & e-books, friends and colleagues, news & muse, publications, the Next Novel

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Exciting news: We have a publication date for THE LOVER’S PATH e-book! Pre-order links will be posted soon. To be notified when they go live, sign up for my e-mail list.

(A side note: If you’d like to download the above graphic to share on Facebook, Twitter, or a blog, I’d be ever so grateful. An author can never have too much advance book publicity.)

Transforming THE LOVER’S PATH into an e-book has been a long and involved process. It’s a strange thing to go back into a long-finished project and reinvent it for a new media. The good news: because I’m no longer constrained by the financial considerations of a printed book, I was able to enrich and expand my original vision of Filamena’s journey along the lover’s path. As a result, the book is a much richer, more immersive experience. So hooray!

As I write this, I am immersed in that tunnel vision that occurs at the end of a big creative project. If that isn’t enough, I’m also finalizing the first third of the Next Novel to share with my literary agent. (Yes, I heard back from my beta readers. And they rock—but that’s a subject for another post.) Frankly, I feel like I’m pregnant in a figurative sense with twins. I’m so close to the finish line that it’s hard for me to break away to deal with the Real Life of eating, sleeping, and cleaning.

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So, deep breath. Almost there.

Before I head back into my studio cave, I’ve good blog news: next Friday my author friend Lynn Carthage will be here to talk about her new YA gothic novel HAUNTED. She’ll have lots to share about her creative process, and the differences of writing for YA versus an adult audience. If that’s not enough enticement, my daughter Thea will be making her blogging debut reviewing HAUNTED. So far she’s thoroughly enjoying it.

I hope you’ll check back then!

Publishing Monday: newly published goodness ~ and Winged Enchantment

Posted on Mar 30, 2015 in friends and colleagues, news & muse, publishing, stuff I like

Winged Enchantment oracle deck by Lisa Hunt

It’s the start of Spring, which means that a fresh array of friends are publishing wonderful things. Here’s a quick round up, which I hope will entice you to learn more!

Winged Enchantment - the Owl by Lisa Hunt~ Acclaimed tarot artist Lisa Hunt’s newest magnum opus has just been sent flying out into the world. The Winged Enchantment Oracle Deck (above and right) is inspired by the majesty and mythos of birds great and small, and invites us to spread our wings as we venture on our own soul journeys. Lisa created thirty-nine original shapeshifter watercolor paintings for the deck. Stunning! (Lisa’s previous card decks include the classic Fairy Tale Tarot, which I interviewed her about when first published.)

~ The Tapestry (below), the thrilling third novel in Nancy Bilyeau’s Tudor-set Joanna Stafford series is out now from Touchstone Books. I thoroughly enjoyed Joanna’s earlier adventures, The Chalice and The Crown, both which were exceptionally well-written page-turners. Haven’t read either? I’ve been informed that The Tapestry can be enjoyed as a standalone. If that’s not enough enticement, former nun-turned-weaver Joanna Stafford is one of the most original characters I’ve read in years. (I interviewed Nancy a while back about The Crown—read the interview here.)

~ For those of you who prefer more modern times, my author friends C. W. Gortner and Heather Webb have written novels about infamous women who forged new frontiers.

Gortner’s Mademoiselle Chanel tells the story of the impoverished French orphan who used her sewing skills to transform herself into Coco Chanel, the extraordinary originator of the famed Little Black Dress. As someone who sews and lives vicariously through Project Runway, I’m very excited to read this novel, which is garnering rave reviews. 

Webb’s second novel Rodin’s Lover is about Camille Claudel, the troubled sculptor who also served as muse to Auguste Rodin. It brings to life the volatile love affair between one of the era’s greatest artists and a woman entwined in a tragic dilemma she cannot escape. I was fortunate to read an early draft of the novel and found it thoroughly engrossing. (Here’s an earlier blog post about Heather’s first novel Becoming Josephine.)

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