Find out where to order Red August HERE
I did a guest blog entry on GreenbeltLive.com! Please swing by and read the post and leave comments with your thoughts and questions.
Have a wonderful Friday!
My book Red August is available through Smashwords for a pre-sale.
What if you found out that you were descended from a long line of clandestine fighters, and that your family was still at war? August Archer thinks she’s a normal teenage girl—even if she has been having disturbing erotic dreams about wolves lately. Still grieving over the loss of her father, and wondering over his final gift of a red hooded cloak, August is uprooted from her big city apartment to a tiny town in Maryland, where she meets an enigmatic, irresistibly fascinating man who refuses to talk to her, yet who fuels her most intense romantic fantasies. But it’s when August begins talking to her feisty Scottish grandmother 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.
In going through twitter and Instagram promoting my version of Little Red Riding Hood, I’ve come across many others. I thought I would do a few blog entries to provide links to them. If ever finish editing my book and have time to READ a book, I’ll have a handy list of Red Riding Hood adaptations. I’m not specifically recommending any of them, I’m just providing the list.
Let’s kick this post off with a link to National Geographic’s article about the varied origins of Little Red Riding Hood.
Just click on the covers to go to the websites.
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.
Lookie what has come to a local (for me) bookseller! Daedalus always has great prices on books – I mean, you can get every gift you need for an entire year at this place, but I am pretty excited about this bad boy. This shall soon be mine!
Here is the blurb from the Daedalus site:
A storytelling sorceress, Angela Carter has often been named as a literary godmother to Neil Gaiman, David Mitchell, Audrey Niffenegger, J.K. Rowling, Kelly Link, and other masters of supernatural fiction. Along with her James Tait Black Memorial Prize–winning novel Nights at the Circus, she is most often recognized for this pivotal collection of stories, from 1979. The Bloody Chamber mines some of our most enduring fairy tales—”Red Riding Hood,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Puss-in-Boots,” and “Bluebeard” among them—and includes the story that inspired Neil Jordan’s 1984 film of the same name, “The Company of Wolves.” Carter extracts hidden themes and parts of the tales that went untold, giving them new life in a gorgeous prose style steeped in the romantic trappings of the gothic tradition. “Since I first came across The Bloody Chamber, I have kept a copy with me wherever I have been living,” writes Link in her introduction. “Reading Carter, each time, was electrifying. It lit up the readerly brain and all the writerly nerves…. The girls and women in The Bloody Chamber remake the rules of the stories they find themselves in with their boldness. And Angela Carter, too was bold. I have tried to learn that lesson from her.” This handsome trade paperback edition celebrates what would have been the tragically short-lived author’s 75th anniversary.
“Sex isn’t a subtext in The Bloody Chamber, but the text itself…. Carter produced … fiction that was lavishly fabulist and infinitely playful…. Salman Rushdie, who became her friend, described her as ‘the first great writer I ever met.’ Yet her legacy has been a slow and stealthy one, invisible to many of the readers who have benefited from it…. Most contemporary literary fiction with a touch of magic, from Karen Russell’s to Helen Oyeyemi’s, owes something to Angela Carter’s trail-blazing.”—Salon
“She was, among other things, a quirky, original, and baroque stylist, a trait especially marked in The Bloody Chamber—her vocabulary a mix of finely tuned phrase, luscious adjective, witty aphorism, and hearty, up-theirs vulgarity.”—Margaret Atwood
What does your writing space look like?
I used to like to share images of my art studio and read about the way other artists organized their spaces and decorated.
Although I still do art and still have plenty of art supplies and use my tiny apartment as both a writing and art studio, this blog is about my writing. This is where I spend a large portion of each day, blogging, tweeting, tumbling and currently I am writing the second in my Red August series – a modern Red Riding Hood tale set in the 1980s.
I have two screens because I’m also a photographer and do a lot of photo processing. It actually comes in really handy when writing too – to have documents and research in my left screen and my work in the main screen.
I keep my notebooks nearby. The Moleskine notebook that says “Ideas” on it is for whenever I have a random writing idea. For example I had some inspirations about how to frame a modern Cinderella story. I just grab it and jot them down. I have a notebook for Red August and a notebook for general erotica and one for the short stories I want to podcast with Will.
I’m hoping to get into vlogging, but I have been somewhat reticent about it. I’ve found it difficult to just get blogging. Maybe this week will be the week! I’m happy to hear any of your vlogging tips!
Below are more images of my space. Under all of the images are links to some of the stuff in my space – like the composition notebook and where I got that cool “Heather” drawing.
Please be sure to share your studio space with me! I would love to see it!
Mermaid watercolor in gold frame – Ching Chou Kuik
Heather graphic art (hand drawn) – Shelly Cusic
Inspirational Clay Tiles – Tammy Vitale
Clay Moo Mini-Card holder – Gina Mai Denn Pottery
The Gilded Tongue – this book is fantastic. It’s full of all kinds of wonderful words!
Writer’s Market – required tool.
Woe is I – For the grammar phobic.
Moleskine – great for sketching, jotting ideas. Has a nice vintage feel with its simple design and stitched pages. A trusted medium for decades, for artists and writers to store their ideas.
I wish I could remember the name of the artist who made my mirror. I’ve long since lost the card. It was purchased at Main Street Gallery in Prince Frederick, MD, which has closed.
Composition notebook, with its sturdy cardboard cover in black and white splotches is also a trusted medium for writers. They store nicely and fit well on bookshelves. The heavy cover means it’s easy to decorate to your liking.
There is a lot of other stuff – but it would take me a while to list them all. If you have a question about anything specific, let me know.
*** To vegans who have found this studio space blog entry through my Gypsy Siren website – I’ve had the feathers for over ten years. I don’t buy feathers anymore unless they are synthetic.
My sweetie is working on a version of Rapunzel that is absolutely wonderful.
About five years ago I shot video of three short snippets of him reading excerpts from the story – which remains unfinished. He has plenty of words and skill, he just needs more hours in the day to work on them. He also edits my work and has a full time job that he often works ten to twelve hours at and requires writing all day. Which, as you can guess, is draining.
There have been some small edits since I recorded these, so perhaps this summer if I can find a day he isn’t bent over a computer slaving away at the words, I will record some new video.
Visit his website at WilliamCHardy.com