Last month Red August was featured in the February Ever After Box fairy tale and romance book subscription service. Red August was my debut novel, and the first in the Red August series about a girl who is becoming a woman, and discovers a world she is a part of, but never knew existed. It also happens to be a modernized Red Riding Hood retelling. For March the theme is Sexy Shifters! Since werewolves fit that theme, they have accepted the second book in the Red August series, Red Archer, for their March box. The exciting part is, apart from people who come to my launch party on March 18th at the New Deal Cafe, Ever After box subscribers will be the first to read Red Archer because they will get a free ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) download of Red Archer in the March box!
Visit the Ever After Box website to sign up for their subscription boxes, for the fairy tale romance lover in your life.
Following a season of late weddings and new romance, August Archer is ready to embrace the next part of her life—ready to reclaim her lost heritage, and to join herself with the man she loves.
But her sojourn with Faolan to their Scottish homeland turns out to be a very different trip than either of them could have imagined. August feels the bonds of love twisting into knots when the past comes back to haunt them both, even as the bonds of family grow stronger when she finds the hunter clans—her ancient kin—preparing to fight for what they hold dear.
Before this journey ends, August will face her bitterest enemy, confront a shocking betrayal in the Archer family, and become transformed by a spirit world she never dreamed existed. And she will encounter a ghost from the past that threatens to unravel her entire future, in this reimagined saga of the Red Riding Hood story—the sequel to Red August.
I fell in love with you a little when I read it. Pixels or paper, it wouldn’t have mattered. Though there is something to be said for the slip smooth, the crinkle, of paper. But the pixels reach me so much faster, a bullet hitting its mark.
Slide your glossy razor fingernail down my breastbone, peel back a layer. And another.
Focus your laser insight into my eyes. Blind me with your gifts. I won’t have to see my own overly-dramatic adolescent ramblings.
You can never make a great writer out of a good writer, a great writer once said. Mr. King, what a wound. Not so wide as a church door, but ’tis enough, ’twill serve.
So I will wash my mouth out with adverbs. I will slice away planks of purple prose and drop them into the pot with what I thought were wild parsnips. On high. Until boiling. Drink. Sleep.
Incoherent. Disjointed. What is this, anyway? It doesn’t make sense. It does, too. A flashing sign overhead, “EDIT ME.” Spellcheck. Wait, I need to look up “lie” and “lay” again. It’s the mechanics of cameras all over again.
I’m tired, but inspired. And it starts over every. single. day.
You don’t care. And I’m fine with it. I will keep working at going from competent to good while you spill great all over the place. I’ll wipe it up. I’ll like it. And I’m not even mad about it.
Actually, you do care. And that’s what makes it all worth something.
Abstract works better in acrylics. Eyes roll. “Wow, she’s trying way too hard.”
One foot in front of the other. Writing mix on the playlist. Focus. Steady as she goes. O CAPTAIN! my captain!
Be grateful it’s out there, all of that beauty. Stop worrying. Don’t show any lack of confidence, it’s deadly you know.
Well, if that were true, I’d have died at twelve.
“Who are you talking to?”
“Does it matter?”
I can if I say I can. From competent to good is better than “never tried.”
I have been writing micro-stories that are based on images I find in my feed. So far Faerie Magazine has been the source, but I see many things on a daily basis that get me inspired. Here are a couple of micro-fairy tales. Perhaps they are just a nip of something much bigger. You never know. I post them on my Facebook page, so if you wish to catch them, that’s the best place to do it. I can’t promise they will always end up here. PLUS, at the FB page you can click all those little links and learn about the models and the photographers and stuff. Which you TOTES wanna do! 🙂
My friend Tracy has been to London and Edinburgh – so she invited me over to pick her brain about that as research for the second book in the Red August series – Red Archer.
She had a wonderful little journal from her trip to Britain when she was a teen, so that was perfect – getting an American teen girl’s impressions of parts of Europe, and in the same era that my book series is set in! How about THAT!? PLUS – I got to hang with my pal Tracy and she made me food and we had wine.
We don’t get to see each other face-to-face too often, so we had lots of catching up to do. We talked about travel and men and love and hurt. We talked about sex and lost loves and what lessons we’ve learned here and there. We also talked about things like how switches on the walls in the UK work and what time it gets dusky.
I took lots of notes. But we didn’t make it all the way through her journal, so I’m hoping to head back down there for another bout of research in the coming months.
OH! I almost forgot. She also made some freaking DELICIOUS spiced cake cupcakes. They were SO GOOD I could have eaten one every day for breakfast for a week. Do I have amazing friends or what?
Look how cute these cupcakes are – and her arm was hurty too! ❤ ❤ ❤
What if you found out that you were descended from a long line of clandestine fighters, and that your family was still at war? Or that the love of your life was something other than human? August Archer thinks she’s a normal teenage girl–even though she has been having disturbing and erotic dreams about wolves lately. Still grieving over the loss of her bookish, charming father, and wondering over his final gift of a red hooded cloak, August is uprooted from her New York City apartment to a tiny town in Maryland, and the rambling Victorian house where he grew up. There she meets a wise woman with a gift for herbal medicine, the gentle old man who keeps the house in repair and the grounds thriving, and her new neighbor: an enigmatic, irresistibly fascinating man who refuses to talk to her, yet who seems to know her better than she knows herself, and fuels her most intense romantic fantasies. But it’s when August begins to coax her feisty Scottish grandmother out of her self-imposed catatonia that a strange tale of werewolves and hunters emerges–one in which the man of her dreams may be her family’s oldest enemy–in this modern-day telling of the Red Riding Hood story.
WE DID IT! Between my editor and my proofreaders and many reads and re-reads and re-re-reads (I could do that about ten times and it would be about right), the manuscript for Red August was uploaded to Smashwords. I uploaded a previous copy, but the formatting was a bit off and we hadn’t linked the Table of Contents – SO MANY THINGS – so Will futzed with all that stuff and VOILA, I got it uploaded. And guess what? You can read 1/3 of the book on Smashwords for free RIGHT NOW, before it’s even released on August 19th. You can also pre-order the book through Barnes & Noble, Kobo and iBooks.
Yesterday was kind of a magical day. We got up super early (Will got up super early, I got up an hour behind him). By 12:30 the specially formatted for ebook manuscript was uploaded to Smashwords. Then, we got ready to head down to a birthday party for my beautiful, smart and amazing friend Tracy, who lives about an hour south of us. We were a bit late to her party, but we stayed extra late to make up for it. I had SO MUCH FUN. First of all – BOOK UPLOADED without errors. So YAY. THEN I got to see my wonderful friend for her birthday at a lovely bistro with tasty food and wine. During the party one of her friends pulled into the parking lot in a sexy new red Corvette convertible and I started singing “Little Red Corvette” and then I met the woman who owned it and she took me for a drive. WHICH WAS AWESOME. Did I mention that the weather here in Maryland was BEAUTIFUL? Well, it was. It was the kind of day you would order, if you could order weather, for convertible driving. Everybody was sweet to me and I think I made a couple of new friends. AND somebody pre-ordered my book right there in front of me. Then, on the way home we found out that my friend, talented playwright Audrey Cefaly, won a pretty amazing Samuel French contest in New York city with her play The Gulf — which is now going to be PUBLISHED by them! She’s kind of a big deal, y’all! When we got home my favorite parking space was empty at a time it normally wouldn’t be. I was exhausted from not enough sleep all week and all the fun, but I was excited too, so I had a hard time getting to sleep. So what do ya do? You pull up the social media. I looked at Instagram because it’s the social media choice with the least amount of dissonance and nightmare material. And lo, a nice comment from an instagrammer said they were really looking forward to my book. I finally made it to sleep not long after that.
It’s been a busy and fulfilling week. I’m hoping to get things working on Amazon in the next couple of days and I will be able to just focus on marketing and book 2, Red Archer.
I took archery class last year from a guy named Doc who is an ex-Navy Seal. It was fascinating, and the most surprising part is that I wasn’t awful at it. In fact, I was pretty good for a first-timer. Even won one of Doc’s coveted “Eagle Talon” awards – which I have yet to string onto a cord to wear like a warrior queen, but I WILL! The reason I bring this up is because when I started Red August I was writing bits about August Archer and archery. And I could have actually used only what I found in my written research to write about those things. But I did find that connecting to the activity gave me a fuller range of language and tactile experience to help me to better write about the experience of nocking an arrow, for example. Sadly, I didn’t make it to this year’s class because I was working so hard on the book that every scrap of spare time was sucked up by it. But once we get it launched on August 19th, I’m hoping to take a break of a couple of weeks from writing and then start fresh with Red Archer. I’ve already started it, and I might not actually be able to stay away from it, but I am feeling pretty worn out at this point. Below are photos from my archery class.
While Will was editing Red August during the last round of editing, I was reading On Writing by Stephen King, which I highly recommend to anybody considering a career in writing stories. My friend Kristen, who I consider a brilliant person, recommended it to me, and it did not disappoint. On Writing made me feel both encouraged and excited about the gears of writing. That was a first! I have a whole list of other books I need to read about writing, but that was the the bunch that were suggested, and I loved it.
One of the things about writing a story that isn’t straight make-believe is that there tends to be research involved. Now, you could argue that there is no need to research werewolves because they are not real, but if I want to honor the tradition of folklore, I need to–at the very least–honor certain rules about werewolves that have been established. For example, werewolves are partly man and partly wolf. I can fiddle around with how they look when they change, where they originated from, how much of the creature is a man and how much is a wolf and so forth. But there are basic elements that I feel I have to respect if I hope to keep the interest of people who like werewolf stories. The same goes for fairy tale traditions. Red Riding Hood needs to have some familiar elements to make it Red Riding Hood, or at the very least a Red Riding Hood homage.
With other elements of the story, I need to be more careful about the origins. The internet has made research so much easier than it was when I was younger. I remember sitting in the local library as a kid studying lightening and its various incarnations. That was when I learned about ball lightening. As you can imagine, even with two or three books about lightening in front of me, the information was limited compared to what you can get on the internet, PLUS videos. At your fingertips! Of course the internet doesn’t replace all forms of research, nor should it. Fortunately I have a library two blocks away.
Here are some links that I am finding useful for my Red Archer research. Though reading about things is great, whenever possible I try to experience them. I would love so much to visit some of the places I mention in books, but even if I was a full time traveler, that might be hard. One of my favorite new ways of experiencing a place I am writing about, when I can’t actually go to it, is to use Google and their feature where you can drive around a place. If it has a public road, you pretty much can go there on Google. I’ve also found Pinterest to be helpful in certain aspects of story writing. This is my Pinterest if you’re interested in following me and looking at the boards that relate to the stories I’m writing.
Below is a video that is extremely interesting about Irish/Gaelic language. Last year I was learning a bit about Spanish and Arabic – just enough to say the most basic conversational things, because I work with people who speak those languages. I often wish somebody had plopped me into language immersion classes when I was in third grade. Anyway – language fascinates me. I am going to go back and see if this guy has more videos. Things like this are so helpful to me and I am grateful for them. In part, because I’m writing a story from scratch at 70-100k words and I don’t have the time to research every single thing that I write about, and of the things I do research, I need them to be easy to get through, otherwise the books would take five years to write instead of one or two. Incidentally, Red August is just shy of two years in the making–which makes all of this book writing stuff more nerve-wracking. I expect book 2 to go a lot more quickly because all of the main characters are fleshed out.
The links below are some examples of the things I’ve been using to research Red Archer. I have no idea how my book would do within the culture it pays homage to, but I think if nothing else it would help show things from the perspective of an American of descent from that culture. If there’s one thing I’ve found to be true, it’s that people’s tastes and interests vary widely.
Now that Red August is about to be published, I’m both excited and nervous. Doing this type of research helps me feel a bit more steady, not to mention it’s all fascinating! Also, I’m a lot more familiar with the wildflowers of Scotland, which I can’t be the least bit sad about.
I’ve not kept up with Wonderful Word Wednesday. I’ve not kept up with Sensual Sunday, either. That’s because we’re in the publishing homestretch! The projected release date for Red August is August 19th and that means right now the manuscript is being read and re-read and re-re-read by a few different pairs of eyes. Then of course, the uploads have to happen. With the release date just a few weeks away, it’s kind of the most stressful, but satisfying, part of the journey.
I’m thrilled to be so close to done. I started this project some time in late 2013, so to be this close to finished is gives me a great sense of accomplishment.
Now that I’m so deeply into the world of August and Faolan, I’m very excited about delving into what happens to them in book two, Red Archer.