I keep hoping the #FairytaleFriday tag will become more of a thing on twitter!
“Grab a fan, because the teen hormones are raging, in full, intimate detail! Red August by H.L. Brooks is not your childhood fairytale come to life, but rather a contemporary version starring an older Red, caught between womanhood and childhood. Filled with wonderfully quirky and kind secondary characters, a feisty grandmother, an ancient feud, death, misunderstandings and a cameo appearance by the Woodsman, H.L. Brooks has taken May-December romances to an entirely new level…”
Find out where to order Red August HERE
Find out where to order Red August HERE
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.
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
I posted a few posts back about an event by The Book Rat and A Backwards Story – Fairy Tale Fortnight. It’s pretty much just an awesome online celebration of fairytales. Please go by and see what they are featuring, which by the way includes some contests for free stuff.
Which also includes a contest to give away five e-copies of my book Red August, which is coming out in August.
Go directly to that part of Fairy Tale Fortnight HERE. That page features a Safe For Work excerpt from Red August that can only be found at the Fairy Tale Fortnight page.
Below is the book synopsis or blurb.