Guest Blog by Natasha Lane

When Natasha and I spoke about her doing a guest blog entry on my blog I was very excited to have her voice speak through this conduit. She’s always been energetic and thoughtful about her approach to writing in the year I have known her. She has a video series on Youtube as well as your usual social media outlets. I suggest you follow her because she is bursting with ideas, and enthusiasm, which can be quite contagious.

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Why the Literary World Needs Fantasy

By Natasha Lane

It’s no secret that when it comes to writing being considered literature, fantasy gets a swift kick in the head. Often so far stretched from reality, many snobs out there don’t consider any fantasy novel worthy of being called literature. “Lord of the Rings” is one of the most renowned book series in the world, some would even say it set the foundation for epic fantasy adventure, yet there are still those who would never equate it to works like “Pride & Prejudice” and Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” Continue reading

Supernatural Saturday – Reading & Discussion

What’s happening?
A reading and discussion with authors Dea Schofield and H.L. Brooks.

Where!?
At Scarborough Fair Bed and Breakfast in Baltimore!

WHEN?
Saturday, July 22nd
4pm-5:30pm

Facebook Event Page

Please come by and pick up a copy of our new books. Or just listen to us and ask questions. Though buying our books means we can keep writing more!

If you’re a book blogger, vlogger, or bookstagrammer, send us a note that you’re going to come by so we can have a swag bag for you!

Baltimore Book Festival Confessions 2016 – Part 2

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Last weekend I was a vendor at the Baltimore Book Festival in Maryland. I’m a Maryland resident and not too far from Baltimore, so I thought it would be a good book event to try out.

My most difficult task has not been the hours upon hours of making graphics, layout and design of the book cover, coming up with marketing, keeping up with social media, even writing the books, going to events and so forth. The most difficult part of this has been finding my audience. My book comes off as a YA at first glance. The female protagonist in Red August is sixteen at the beginning of the story. She’s fairly confident, but has her body issues. This isn’t a trope to me. This is a reflection of myself at about 13 years old, so I know there have to be others who can relate to that. The character is extremely hormonal and sexually interested. This is where I think I lose some of the more YA-oriented folks. They are looking for Twilight and I have given them Twilight, but with more adults, strong female characters of varying ages, and erotic scenes. Detailed erotic scenes. There is also the distracted thinking and judgment that comes with the hormones of adolescence as I recall them. Let’s not forget, this is a Paranormal Romance Adventure book, so besides adolescence in general for her hormones, there are other reasons. Reasons. Anyway, my hope was to come across some readers who I could maybe chat with, answers questions, and find the audience who wants my work. The book festival delivered in that way. Had I been in a section that was more dedicated to my genre, I think it would have been an even more successful endeavor. We were a jumble of genres and even had a beauty pageant table in our tent, for some reason.

When you enter the Tablers Tent you sign in and select your table. It’s a long bowling-alley style series of tents with tables along each side. I mention ways I felt this wasn’t the best set-up and could be improved in the other post. Just a little helpful feedback, not trying to be whiny about it. Anyway, we selected a table about middle of the alley. We were lucky enough to be right at a vent so we could enter and exit behind our table and weren’t literally walled in, being forced to use the exits at either end of the alley. Here you can see Will eating a quick lunch outside of our vent and in front of the Visitor’s Center.

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I want to just say that I really LOVED being so close to the Visitor’s Center, so I hope that it’s in the same spot next year.

Nearing the end of the day I really needed to get up and stretch, so I went for a quick walk to check out the event. It was quite a large event with booths surrounding the harbor. I also took a swing by the Maryland Romance Writers tent to listen to some of the panel talk about writing Romances. At the moment I was there the discussion was about researching history, how difficult it is to make sure you get everything correct with non-fictional characters, and what terrible things a writer’s browser might give up if ever forensically investigated by the FBI. All true things. I could relate to these ladies for sure. It would have been nice if their tent was closer to ours, but I was pretty excited to see the Red Emma’s tent right outside of ours. I would have liked to have spent part of the day in there!

The event was heavily attended, a real plus. It was nice weather, also a big plus. There were plenty of food and book vendors. Plenty of portable toilets. And the Tablers Tent looked looked as though all of the vendor tables were full. There were volunteers that were polite, helpful, and checked on us regularly and brought us water. They could relieve us at our table for a short while if need be. A long list of events and activities were posted throughout the event in the form of large signs. A nice big glossy map to give to attendees. A pretty good event rating overall in my opinion. I hope next year they try to attract book bloggers/vloggers and reviewers.

During the event we were seated next to Rosa Pryor-Trusty and her husband Shorty – who were just wonderful to talk to. It was nice to have some really funny, smart companions to chat with during the slower moments.

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This is a photo of Rosa and me after a long day. We still look like we could take on the world, don’t we? LOOK OUT WORLD!

I met a couple of other authors at the event as well, though I wish I’d had time to meet all of the other writers that were in my genre. Natasha Lane came down and stopped by my table and we talked shop – though I didn’t realize she was a fellow writer at the beginning of the conversation. I’m hoping that if I collect enough cards of nearby women authors we can have the occasional salon. One thing that has struck me about the other women authors I’ve met, is how important the writing is to them. How it’s something they have to do, like any art you are driven to make. There is also an edge of enthusiasm, that despite the odds being against us being able to make a living this way, that is inspiring.  Women supporting women achieving their dreams. We are stronger together.

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It was a long day, and I am grateful to have had Will’s help. I couldn’t do this stuff without him.

Reading in Baltimore – 3 and 4 of 4

These are excerpts from the book Red August, by H.L. Brooks – read by actors Erica Smith and Will Hardy. It is available at Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Nobel and iBooks, among other places. Links can be found at http://www.hlbrooks.com

In this scene Red/August has been meeting her handsome neighbor near the stream that runs down their properties. They read books and discuss them.

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This reading took place at Scarborough Fair Bed & Breakfast in Baltimore, Maryland.

http://www.scarboroughfairbandb.com/

*This is an abridged version meant to be read out loud.

Book Synopsis

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.

 

Reading in Baltimore – 2

This is the second of four videos of Erica Smith and Will Hardy reading excerpts from Red August.

In this chapter, titled Talking to Strangers, August/Red is working at an apothecary in town, of which “Wolf” is a customer.  He enters the shop and August hides when she sees him.  This is their second encounter, the first being on Halloween night the year before.  That night August immediately felt attracted to her new neighbor, but he wouldn’t give her his name.  He didn’t even shake her hand when she tried to introduce herself, telling her they couldn’t be friends in such a small town.

You can watch the first video in my previous post, or go to YouTube HERE.

This reading was done at the lovely Scarborough Fair Bed & Breakfast in Baltimore.

Book Synopsis

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.

Reading in Baltimore – 1

There was a reading of Red August at Scarborough Fair Bed & Breakfast in Baltimore this past Saturday.  Actors Erica Smith and Will Hardy read excerpts from the book and we enjoyed warm cider with a tiny audience.

This particular excerpt is one of about four I will post.

The excerpts I chose include those where August and Faolan have interaction.  I came to realize that the excerpts may give the impression that the book is straight romance, but it’s a fairy tale adaption of Red Riding Hood set in 1980s small town Maryland.

Find out where to buy Red August by visiting HLBrooks.com.

VIDEO INFO

This is an excerpt from the book Red August, by H.L. Brooks – read by actors Erica Smith and Will Hardy.  It is available at Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Nobel and iBooks, among other places.  Links can be found at http://www.hlbrooks.com

In this scene Red and her handsome neighbor meet for the first time.  She is new to town.  She’s had a rough several months, including having been assaulted by somebody, which she is trying to heal from.  On this night she watches something kind of naughty on TV and falls asleep and wakes up restless in the middle of the night, so goes for a walk along her property.

This reading took place at Scarborough Fair Bed & Breakfast in Baltimore, Maryland.

http://www.scarboroughfairbandb.com/

*This is an abridged version meant to be read out loud.

Book Synopsis

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.

Reading in Baltimore

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Please hop over to the Scarborough Fair Bed & Breakfast website and look at this place.  It’s the cutest and has the best theme ever:  literary.  They are a highly rated B&B that is in a wonderful section of Baltimore within walking distance of great shopping, food and one of my favorite museums The American Visionary Arts Museum.

Don’t forget to check out their packages page – one of them includes some theatre and dinner and flowers.

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Scarborough has graciously offered to host a reading of Red August just in time for the holidays.  Also, did you know that you could get a room discount of 30% until March!?  Trust me, I don’t even live that far from Baltimore, but I got the Grimm room (I mean, seriously – how could I NOT stay in the Grimm room?) for Will’s birthday a couple of years ago and we loved it.  We kicked around town all day and then rather than driving back, we lounged around in our room, being sweet to each other and eating Dangerously Delicious blueberry birthday pie.   Then to top off the amazing decadence of it all, we got to eat the wonderful breakfasts that Barry makes.  Everything was fresh and homemade.

They also have a sampling of locally made items near the entrance – including locally roasted coffee and scarfs and stuff.

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Erica Smith & William Hardy

The reading in Baltimore will be an expansion of our last reading at The New Deal Cafe.  Actors Erica Smith and William Hardy will be reading passages for about an hour. The theatre in one of the packages mentioned above?  That theatre is Spotlighters, which William Hardy (who also happens to be an amazing writer, and my lovah) used to perform pretty regularly at years ago.  Baltimore is full of great stuff.

There will be some hot cider and traditional Scottish black bun (a Hogmanay tradition) as well as other refreshments.  Stop by for the reading, check out the B&B and then go shopping.

There is a Facebook Events Page for this event.

December 5th  from 1-3pm
at Scarborough Fair Bed and Breakfast801 South Charles Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21230