Don’t look now … it’s Hideous!

Actually, I do want you to look.

Hideous Progeny: Classic Horror Goes Punk launches today from Writerpunk Press. This is the fifth in a series of seven planned charity anthologies that pay homage to classic stories by re-imagining them in a variety of literary punk genres.

The fiction included in this anthology spans the gamut from steampunk to clockpunk to biopunk … and even some carniepunk. Anthology authors have drawn their source material from a wide array of classics and classic horror authors. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein receives a bio-cyberpunk makeover from K.M. Vanderbilt. Ambrose Bierce’s “An Occurrence at Owl Creek” is no less chilling re-imagined as steampunk in “After the Occurrence” by Teel James Glenn.

As with previous anthologies, all proceeds go to benefit PAWS Lynnwood, an animal shelter and wildlife rescue located in Lynnwood, WA.

My own contribution to the anthology is a carniepunk homage to Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera. This was a challenging project for a few reasons (that I’ll talk about below), but I wanted to complete my hat trick of contributing to the Writerpunk Anthologies. (See my steampunk detective story in Poe Goes Punk, and my dieselpunk Beowulf in English Class Goes Punk.) My short story “The Carnival Ghost,” was accepted, so if you happen to pick up a copy (HINT*HINT*HINT), I hope you’ll check it out. *puppy*eyes*

About those challenges …

I was really, truly trying to make this a steampunk story. I had a few ideas clanking around the ol’ noggin, none of which ever coalesced into an actual story. Or even a note. Most of them are still half-formed blobs of bad penmanship scattered around my bullet journal. The two strongest images that persisted even through the false starts and decisions that I wasn’t going to submit were: 1. Female patron. 2. A carnival.

I couldn’t get the idea of a woman phantom out of my head. It made sense. Someone who would serve as a platonic mentor, without the complications of romantic interest or jealousy, could actually take a student further, to higher heights. They could put all their energy into the development of their protegee, seeking only the reward of their success. At the same time, this would require a degree of ruthlessness from both mentor and mentee, and there were so many depths to explore there.

And–a carnival. I love carnivals and fairs and circuses, even though I’ve always felt they are slightly creepy. Too many shadows. Secrets. Basically, whenever I think of a carnival, I think of HBO’s series Carnivale, and how fascinating and horrifying they can be. Somewhere around this time I re-read the Carniepunk anthology, and that solidified that image and thus, the story.

The challenge? Explaining carniepunk. It’s not a typically category of literary punk, and I wasn’t sure that the anthology editors would be interested in a story that pushed the boundaries of what we included.

On the other hand, we’re not punks for no reason. \m/

“The Carnival Ghost” in all of its creepy carnival glory is part of your reading pleasure.

So, if you like stories that will entertain you, challenge you, and possibly creep you out, pick up a copy today. And let us know what you think.

Rock on, my friends!

Coming Soon: Kadupul

Short term memory loss and an inability to look at herself in mirrors or old pictures–this is college sophomore Klarissa Bloom’s life after surviving a physical assault in her freshman year. However, she’s now determined to prove to her parents that she can handle her return to school.

But recovery is not a straight path, it’s one with dips and twists. A journey, not a final destination. With the help of her friends Ravyen, Xander, and Julian, Klarissa finds strength to identify with her passion for dance, not the assault…

But will she be able to pick up the picture and see who she was before, while trying to build a life that’s new?

~ ~ ~

Want to know more? Check out the Kadupul Trailer on YouTubeTake a peek at the poster, created by the awesome graphic artist Rylee Hunter and trailer below by the talented cinematographer Alex Espinoza. Stay connected and leave a like for updates on events, releases and giveaways at 4CWMedia Productions on Face Book. And check out what the filmmakers had to say about the project in a previous Infamous Scribbler interview.

KADUPUL

Let Your Passion Define You

Release date July 24th!

Produced by 4CWMedia Productions and BRJProductions

Cinematography by Luz Pictura Productions

Kadupul Poster Final Proof - Digital Poster (1)

 

 

 

Coming Soon: Death of a Secret

Check it out! Christy Mann, author of the Fogoyle series, has a new July release coming up. Take a look, then swing by social media and give her a follow. You can pre-order Death of Secret on Amazon, May 15. Enjoy!

Death of a Secret
By Christy Mann

Blurb:

Sarah Rosenthal is a Senator’s daughter.  Despite the high-profile lifestyle that comes with her father’s political career, she has managed to avoid most of the chaos.

On the surface, things seem perfect, but perfection never lasts.

When a stranger comes knocking, blackmail in mind, Latham Buchanan steps in to clean up the mess and Sarah’s life takes a dark turn. Her intention to end the madness may just be the end of her.

Release Date: July 15, 2018 on Amazon
Pre-Order May15, 2018
Rating: 18+

About the Author

Christy likes the finer things in life. Taking walks on the beach, tall cups of coffee, and hitting her friends with sticks.  She really enjoys writing things intended to take readers on emotional roller coaster rides.

She spends most of her days sitting in front of a laptop screen yelling at her brain to produce the words while scrolling through Facebook. Sometimes, it does, and from time to time, the words are worth sharing.

As a relatively new member of the SCA, you can find her on the tennis courts at her local park dressed in armor and swinging a “sword” at least one night a week, attending SCA events, or providing heraldry assistance and teaching historical accuracy about shield symbols and name creation.  She enjoys the hell out of it too.

Excerpt:

 

If she had any doubt about it being Latham, she wouldn’t have stopped. Latham was a big guy, but her father was a powerful man and he could take care of this guy for her if it came to that, but she was a big girl now. She was going to fight her own battle.

He was no stranger, and right here right now, she was going to give him what for. She did not get treated by people the way he treated her on Saturday, and he would not treat her like that again.

She steered her car to the grassy shoulder and made an immediate stop. He was driving close enough that she expected him to fly right on past her. Instead, he pulled in behind her and slid to a stop a few feet behind her. His high beams glaring in both mirrors again.

Fire burned in her eyes and nostrils. She swung her door wide open and stepped out, slamming the door shut behind her. She stomped back toward the truck. She reached the driver side door at full steam.

The driver swung his door wide open at just the right moment. The door smacked her in the face, splitting her lip, and sent her flying backward. She landed flat on her back with a thud.

Follow Christy online:

Author webpage https://christymannauthor.wixsite.com/mysite-1

Amazon’s Christy Mann Page   https://www.amazon.com/Christy-Mann

Facebook: Christy Mann-Author page https://www.facebook.com/christylynharu/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

Twitter- @cmannauthor

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16168437.Christy_Mann

Other books available by Christy Mann:

Fogoyle: A Short Story: myBook.to/ChristyFogoyle
Fogoyle: A Short Story Two: myBook.to/Fogoyle2
Fogoyle: A Short Story Three: myBook.to/fogoyle3

Rick Keller Runs Again!

Rick Keller–werewolf, secret agent, Cold War weapons experiment–has been running by himself long enough.

Spanking new, I tell you…

When we last left our intrepid and crotchety–mostly crotchety–hero, he was getting the heck out of Dodge City, which looks a lot like NYC in this case, and heading up to the North Country to find a new pack to run with. He intended to hang out up there, under the radar of MONIKER, the agency that he used to work for, that can’t seem to just let him live his life.

Thanks to Untold Press and cover artist Lia Rees, Rick is getting back in the game. First, we’re giving him and fellow main character, Dr. Karen Willet, a spanking new cover for Cold Run (The Rick Keller Project Book 1).

Second, we’re officially re-launching the series with a mid-April sale, so if you’re thinking about getting a copy, click the link on April 15 and grab a Kindle or paperback copy.

And finally, we aren’t just re-launching Cold Run, but we are going to be bringing you the rest of the Rick Keller Project series. To give you an idea of what’s coming up for Rick and the gang, here is a tentative schedule.

Available May 2018!

APRIL 2018 – Cold Run Re-Launch!
A secret agency reels its first supernatural agent back in from the cold. Where he likes it.
MAY 2018 – Night Run (Rick Keller Project 1.5) A short story to tide you over until…
JULY 2018 – Vegas Run
MONIKER catches back up with Rick, and an old friend calls in a debt.
AUGUST 2018 – Trial Run (Rick Keller Project 2.5) A novella to keep your appetite whetted…
OCTOBER 2018 – Winter Run wraps up the project series!
Rick finds out you can’t go home again, even if your family drags you back in silver chains.

Throughout the next few months, I’ll be offering ARCS to selected readers, sharing news about launch specifics, and sharing information about what’s happening next. If you’d like to stay in touch and not miss any updates, sign up for my mailing list, and I’ll keep you in the loop.

Happy reading!

 

Getting a review from the Infamous Scribbler…

As most of the readers of this blog are aware (all three of you…), I often post reviews and author interviews, here and on Medium (if you happen to be writing as a member of the military or military-affiliated community). I like doing this because a., free books, and b., I like doing it. I am an author for two small presses, and a member of a number of groups of authors of like-minded backgrounds (enjoy writing spec fic or are military veterans), and so I usually go ahead and see if anyone has something new they’d like me to spotlight. That pretty much fills my review/interview quotient.

On the rare occasion, however, someone will reach out to me via Goodreads, or LinkedIn, or even Amazon, and offer me the chance to read their book for a review or interview. I don’t mind this at all, as it gives me a chance to meet new authors and check out their stuff. And, let’s face it, it provides me with content when things are slow (or a chance to procrastinate if I should be writing.) Some authors, or future authors, may be reading this blog post to find out what they need to do to get me to review their book, so here it is, broken down…

  1. Do your research. See if there is anything in my multitude of public information online that resonates with anything in your book, and then tell me that. For example, are you a military veteran? Do you write steampunk? Did we go to college together? Did I favorably review a book that is in the same genre as yours?
  2. Be concise. When emailing (and this is the best way to reach me for this particular matter), give me your pitch/logline, explain why you think I’d be interested, and then offer me a copy in whatever formats you have. If I’m interested, I’ll let you know. If I’m not, I’ll also let you know.
  3. If I’m not interested, please don’t email me back trying to convince me that I’m interested. I know what I’m about. Typically, I will say no if a., the premise just doesn’t sound interesting, b., I don’t have the time, c., I’m deep in the bowels of my own projects. I already have a To-Be-Read list of over 200 books, and if your book doesn’t grab my attention enough to jump to the top ten or twenty, then I would be rude to promise something that is likely not going to happen.
  4. Have an online presence. If I’m going to do an interview (and most of the books I accept, I do so with the intention of doing one), I am going to do a moderate amount of online stalking. At the very least, have an Amazon or Goodreads author page with a bio, author photo, list of publications. At best, have a full Web site with an online media kit. Have something I can sink my teeth into without having to turn Internet detective. If I can’t find this, it makes it more difficult for me to craft thoughtful questions, and I hate doing more work than I have to.

EDIT/UPDATE:

I was perusing Twitter today, and an author mentioned that bloggers who do reviews would be helpful if they mentioned whether or not they were interested in stories from diverse authors. I know that publishing outlets still consider stories with persons of color and LGBTQ+ characters to need their own subcategories and different spaces, but this space is for stories of all shapes and sizes, so if you are wondering whether you should send your SF story here, even though A,B,C, feel free to hit me up.

EDIT COMPLETE.

I hesitate to speak for other online reviewers, and so I don’t know if all of them prefer these guidelines, but I can say that if you are interested in striking up a conversation with me, and getting me interested in reading your book and doing an interview or review, this is the way. I need to get back to writing words for a project, and not for a blog, but if you’d like to send me something, email me at infamous_scribbler ~at~ yahoo, or fill out this handy Google form, and let me know what you’ve got.

Happy writing!

Stay tuned…

We’ve got some awesome things coming, like more interviews, new covers, a plan for the release of the rest of the Rick Keller Project, and of course reviews.

Also upcoming this year: a cross-country move, pitching two new series, writing more words, and all the other things I’m checking off in my bullet journal. Speaking of which, does anyone else find that the more you check off on your to-do list, the longer it gets?

For example, I just finished the first draft of Vegas Run. So … now I have to rewrite, revise, send for edits, search stock photo sites for ideas for my cover design, get edits back and revise some more, plan my launch/ads/reviews, etc. Please tell me I’m not the only one.

Still, the work is fun, even if writing is still my full-time job that pays me like an internship. And eventually I might even get promoted to paid intern! At least my boss lets me work outside, and doesn’t mind if I occasionally drink on the job.

Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend!

 

Thoughts on working from home …

… or, “My Life Never Turns Out Quite Like I Planned.” Also, “It’s A Little Too Quiet, What Are They Doing Now?”

Prior to giving birth to two perfect little girls, I had many ideas of how perfect our perfect lives would be. One of the things I swore up and down I would do, had to do with how much screen time I would allow the children. They would definitely never watch more than an hour—per week! And it would only be shows that my spouse and I deemed educational, or with merit. Our logic went, if we never let them watch anything except what we let them, then how would they know to ask for anything else?

What ever are those vibrations? Could it be the combined laughter of those experienced toddler parents out there, admiring our goals? Possibly. They were lofty, perhaps a little naïve, but we do our best to balance them with the reality of keeping two little people alive—and also keeping a little bit of our sanity.

We do our best to place controls over what our kids watch—guided access on the phone, no YouTube, not letting them watch television unsupervised. We–and by “we”, I mean “me” as I’m also trying to get in my 2,000 words a day and plan a re-launch of my urban fantasy series–do our best, also, to re-direct and get the kids playing with their toys or each other. Sometimes it works.

Sometimes it doesn’t. What to do when they come to you with the need for attention and the desire to give theirs to the screen? Our oldest is currently in an obsession with a show that features puppies who talk and go on adventures, and so I’ve tried to come up with a few alternatives to watching the same thirteen downloaded episodes over and over.

  1. Let’s read your Talking Puppy Cartoon books! They’re about five pages each, and mostly consist of the characters saying their particular catchphrases—over and over. You do have four of them, so it seems like we’re reading a lot.
  2. I know! You can draw a picture of your Talking Puppy Cartoon friends! Sure, it looks like an early-period (and also crappy) Jackson Pollack, and there are marker stains on our upholstered chairs, but you’re happy and I didn’t have to listen to any characters’ monosyllabic catchphrases for the past twenty minutes.
  3. Take your Talking Puppy Cartoon doll for a walk. While it’s true that I’ll be the one doing the work as you ride in style with Ms. Plushie in the jog stroller I’ve never actually used for jogging—at least we’ll be out of the house. And maybe you’ll take a nap. Or not.
  4. Sit next to me as we put together your Talking Puppy Cartoon jigsaw puzzle that we got as a bonus gift at your dad’s work holiday party. True, your baby sister has gnawed on a few of the pieces, and you aren’t old enough to quite grasp the concept of a puzzle. So it’s mostly you being impatient all the time that I’m putting it together, but at least you aren’t in full-out screen time frenzy meltdown mode. And once it’s finished, you’ll admire it for a full ten seconds before getting bored.
  5. Play with your actual puppies. They don’t talk, but they’re fluffy and will give you love. And possibly some slobber. And yes, the Basset hound is a little stinky. But learning how to interact with pets is good for you, emotionally.
  6. Revisit your previous obsessions! There’s Purple Amulet Princess, Doll Starring as a Mermaid, the Let-it-Go Princess, and of course the multitude of Tiny Yellow Meepers. You’ve got the dress-up dresses, the stickers, and the coloring books, so spend five minutes with them. (Okay, just kidding about the dress. We never take that one off.)
  7. Do some art on the hand-made, wood-crafted, one-of-a-kind easel that your dad made for you with brass fittings from your great-grandmother’s old wicker storage chest. That’s family history right there, kid. Appreciate it. And while we’re at it, don’t drop the chalk on the floor, because your sister likes to eat it.
  8. Let’s read some more books! No, not the Talking Puppy Cartoon books. Other books. Oh, okay. Talking Puppy Cartoon books it is…
  9. Build something with that giant bag of megablocks your mom thought it would be a good idea to get for you. Or throw them around the room and spend a half hour crying because I told you to pick them up. That works, too.
  10. You know what, baby girl? I’m going to let you watch your Talking Puppy Cartoons while I sob softly into my well-researched library of parenting books. Because I have a deadline, three piles of laundry, and a desperate need for a small glass of wine. Tomorrow, we’ll start again.

Tournament of Ymir Rundown…

All right folks! Put on your party hats and reading glasses, as I’m about to fulfill today’s word count with a rundown on yesterday’s event, the Tournament of Ymir. (For those wondering what this is, or thinking that perhaps this crazy organization sounds like fun, check out www.SCA.org.)
But first, a prologue. This past week, I’ve been staying up way too late preparing for the event. I completed my first knitting project made of silk at a super tiny gauge (about 15 stitches per inch/6 stitches per cm). I bound off the last stitch at two in the morning on Friday, then sewed all day Friday because I’m on a mission to get better at sewing and having more authentic garb, and of course managed to sew several seams in the wrong direction (insert mighty cussing). That finished up at about 2 in the morning the day of the event, and I’d prefer if no one looked too closely at the uneven shoulders of the sideless surcote, or the unfinished inside seams of the surcote or the cote. Oh. And then I remembered I needed documentation for my project … and to lay out the things I needed to bring the next day.
I’m not as young as I once was, and somewhere in my marathon garb session, I lost my phone (I buried it in a garb tote and didn’t find it until Rob was rummaging around trying to find it in the morning.) This meant I had no alarm set and woke up right around the time I had planned on leaving. Rob and I got the kids, got the car packed, managed to bring most of what I had meant to bring. (There are advantages to laying things out the night before … Rob … Just saying.)
We got on the road and drove a ways – long enough for me to finish weaving in the ends on my knitting project, because it’s not a real event unless you’re finishing up something on the way there.

Knitting project, a silk relic pouch based on extant examples of medieval knitted items … and Spike the Atlantian seahorse. 😀

Upon arrival, we trolled in (basically paid the entrance fee and got our token for the site), then headed to the A&S competition area. At this point, we were late enough that I figured I could take some time, as we had missed morning court (more on this later).  I dropped off my project with Mistress Michel Almond de Champagne, admired the beautiful works on display, chatted with several folks, and finally decided it was time to meander down to the list field and meet up with some of the other ladies from the Canton of Attilium so we could get some practice in. Lo and behold, as we left the building, we ran into Katie, Jess, and Brittany. Perfect!
We moseyed on down to the list field and found a tent full of familiar faces. At this point, I was realizing how incredibly warm the day was turning, and contemplated removing the surcote, because I was sweating. At this point, I was still not feeling really put together, sweaty already, had a bunch of stuff that still needed to be in places,  had forgotten to bring the linen for my veil/kerchief to hide the short purple hair … Ladybug and Baby Bug were squirmy and excited because YAY OUTSIDE!!, and I was still trying to switch into extrovert mode … and then I received news I had been called into court. Oh crap. Yeah, sorry, I’ll just hide over — nope. Michele Servideo Stech spotted me and suddenly I was kneeling in front of the Baron and Baroness, the former who immediately appropriated Baby Bug, and heard Her Excellency talking about some magical person who liked to do arts and science and had lots of projects and roped other people into doing stuff … then admitted me (WHAT??) into the Order of the Boreas. Which was SO AWESOME, PEOPLE. There was beautiful bling and a beautiful scroll, both by Mistress Michel. They will be framed and displayed with pride, especially the illustration of the Hellenistic figure Nyx. As Mistress Michel later explained, Nyx stays up at night, working and thinking and dreaming. Hm …. Sounds familiar …

Beautiful medallion and artwork by Mistress Michel Almond de Champagne.

As I stood, kind of blown away, I did have the presence of mind to retrieve my youngest child from the Baron. But as I walked away, there was some laughter. Ladybug had decided to get in on the action, and as I was walking away with Baby Bug, she had headed on up for some quality time with Their Excellencies. Finally, both children in hand, we headed off into the sunset … Just kidding. We found a spot to get some rehearsing in.
What were we rehearsing, you ask? Well, glad you wanted to know! Some of the ladies of the Canton of Attilium had been talking about wanting to start doing some music. So we decided to write a song for Coronation. I contributed the melody, Katie contributed the lyrics, Ashley (who we are trying hard to recruit) contributed the arrangement, and Jess and Brittany contributed their beautiful voices. Together, we put together a song about the Siege of Paris (since the theme of the event was Vikings versus the French.) Katie and I dressed in early French fashion. Brittany and Jess dress in Viking garb. The song was set up so two lines of the verse were sung by the French, two by the Vikings, and then we came together on the chorus, which goes:
In the hearth a fire burns
Beckoning their safe return.
At the dawn I long to see
Loved ones marching home to me.
We’d been practicing this for several weeks, and were able to perform it at the 2pm performing arts gathering. I will have to see if I can find some video and upload it. For my part, I have missed singing as part of a group, and these ladies are so very talented that it was a pleasure. We are planning to put something together for Coronation! So stay tuned …
Speaking of Coronation, I had been talking with Baroness Sophie the Orange of the commedia dell’arte group I Firenzi, and my friend Michele, who is an ATS belly dancer and quite a talented one, about putting together something for Coronation. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I think we are going to have some fun at that event. Also, during the conversation, we were talking with Catherine Ambrose and I think somehow I volunteered to help with A&S Coordination for performing arts for that event. And by think, I mean, I definitely said I would do it. Because I like planning and coordinating stuff, and I think I can be helpful.
After the performance was over, I had to miss the commedia show, “The Doge’s Swan,” in order to be back up at the A&S competition. Rob, who had taken the kids for a break and some lunch and car naps, had to get his French burnt mead over to the brewing competition. Ah, the curse of having too many fun things to do.
At the A&S competition, which was a bit of a Viking pillage event (or dirty Santa), every artist received a ticket. When their ticket was pulled, they got to pick with A&S piece they wanted to go home with. My ticket got chosen first (which just shows that it was actually my lucky day), and I picked a beautiful icon of St. Germaine painted by Brian Sears. Perhaps it was my fierce French visage, but nobody else pillaged it from me, and it is now hanging on my wall above the baker’s rack. This was one of the most well-attended A&S displays/competitions I’ve seen, and I hope people are fired up to continue to participate. Many kudos to Mistress Michel for coming up with the unique idea and her excellent organization and publicizing of the event.
Next, Rob came to tell me that he hadn’t won the brewing event, and worse luck, the Kingdom Brewer had brought the same kind of mead project. This was kind of a bummer, but since we have more mead at home, was still all around a win, I think. (Keep reading, more about this later…)
The next big thing was going to be our I Firenzi meets Shakespeare production of Twelfth Night. But before I get there, a few things I wanted to mention that were awesome:
*Michele and Sylvie dancing with zills in the recreation hall, and teaching the little girls who gathered around some basic moves in an impromptu dance class.
*The ladies who joined us at the A&S performance. I unfortunately did not get the name of the song they sang about the duty of the crown, but it was beautiful and moving. And those riddles … Odin dad jokes, I tell you…
*Bambi, the most wonderful and gracious and hospitable. Right when I needed a miracle, she brewed many cups of Turkish coffee, which were in themselves little miracles.
*Visiting with Kat in the A&S area, where she worked on her spinning wheel and I got a chance to talk geeky fiber talk with her and another lady whose name escapes me (that’s what names do with me).
*A gentleman, Markus, whose daughter ran around and around with Ladybug until they were laughing and falling down. I love SCA kids. We hope to see you at another event!
*The graciousness of our Baron and Baroness and the Baron and Baroness of Black Diamond. Sometimes in the SCA, you have leaders and you have authority figures, and in our baronies, we are lucky to have good leaders and human beings in those positions of authority. I am thankful.
We were planning to duck out to eat before Court, but I’m glad we stayed. The Attilium folks grabbed a patch of grass so the kids could run around. Rob went to court (which was just a few yards away, held outdoors in the beautiful weather.) To his surprise, he was called up to receive an honorary mention for his mead! He received a token of a glass bottle shaped like a bunch of grapes. He was glad of the opportunity to talk shop with some fellow brewers and vintners, and I believe is already planning a short mead for Coronation …
We ended up heading off site for some dinner, and then came back for …. Twelfth Night!
(INSERT DRAMATIC MUSICAL CUE)
So, some back ground on this production. I had mentioned to Sophie that I enjoy Shakespeare and had been around it and studied it, and she had answered that she loved Shakespeare, but never had the chance to do it and was trepidatious because it was different from commedia improvisational techniques. So, I invited her to a Sweet Tea Shakespeare LIT show, and she immediately saw the possibilities.
Baroness Sophie is a giant whirlwind of energy and intention, as well as a source of mentorship and coaching, not just in theater and commedia, but in the SCA, in performing arts coordination, and being open to learning more and more and trying new things. She offered me something that was incredibly risky and generous – the chance to direct her troupe in my adaptation of the script of 12th Night.
Along the way, I grew in my ability to teach and lead, to work with artists deeply experienced in a craft not my own, and bringing Shakespeare’s text to life with a bit of a commedia dell’arte flavor. I think at some point in the process, every member of the troupe individually expressed some sort of trepidation (and believe me, there were moments I was filled with self-doubt and imposter syndrome), but all through that time Sophie was a rock. A rock with some fart jokes, of course, because this IS Shakespeare.
So, the night of Ymir, feast finished up. We set up the “stage” – the commedia curtain – and gathered props and costumes. Master Efenwalt and his incredibly talented and awesome family joined us to play music. (THEY PUT TOGETHER A GALLIARD VERSION OF “BEAT IT” BY MICHAEL JACKSON!!! So cool and perfect….) We all took a deep breath … and plunged in.
The beauty of live theater is that anything can happen. And in this production, I’m pretty sure everything that could DID happen. We had a fart joke that barely anyone laughed at — and a vulgar Elizabethan pun that at least one person in the audience found totally hilarious. There were some moments in the improv that I almost fell over laughing because they were so far above anything we’d seen in rehearsal (Gina Towey, our Viola, had my spleen working overtime, and my side in stitches, with her frog speech.) And yet, every time fate/life/the late hour threw us a curveball, our actors hit it out of the park. If we had to have a beginning of a journey of performing Shakespeare together, I couldn’t have asked for a better one. I hope we get to do it again soon!
So now we are home, back to the mundane world. There is much laundry to be washed, garb to be finished, and plans for next event to start. I apologize if I missed anyone’s name or left anyone out. If I did, feel free to share what I did not in the comments or just over a beer the next time we meet again in the DREAM.
YIS,
Teresa of Attilium

New Release: Sealed With a Kiss

For immediate release! On January 29,  Boroughs Publishing Group will release a double-stacked Valentine’s Day compendium, Sealed With a Kiss. (Available now for pre-order in multiple digital formats.)

~ ~ ~

As readers of this blog may be aware, last year I started writing romance under the pen name, Becca A. Miles. My project is a romantic suspense series, set in Wilmington, N.C., which is one of my favorite places to vacation. This Valentine’s Day, one of my stories, “Sweetheart,” a novella that follows up my debut novel, Negotiating Her Release, will be available as part of a two-story collection with Marilyn Baxter’s “The Last Take-Away.” I’ve invited Marilyn to join me as we talk about our stories.

MARILYN: The Last Take-Away is contemporary romance and tells the story of both the hero (Drew Paxton) and heroine (Maggie Sullivan).  Because my editor liked the story so much, she’s asked me to develop this into a series, so it’s the beginning of the larger universe of St. Magnus Island, a small fictional barrier island off the coast of Georgia.

BECCA/IS: I love the idea of a novella that introduces us to a larger world. That is one of the reasons why I enjoy reading romance–in many cases, authors write not just books, but whole series, that allow the reader to spend time in the worlds that they love. My story, “Sweetheart,” is a romantic suspense that takes the characters from my first book, and puts them in a new predicament. It also introduces a few more of the characters that I’ll be sharing with readers in future stories. For example, there are two characters who seem like total and complete opposites. But here’s a romance pro-tip: If a character declares that another character is absolutely, totally, and definitely “Hot, but not my type …” well, I’ll let you be the judge.

I came to writing romance first as a reader who enjoyed the genre, but didn’t have much luck getting any ideas off the ground. Luckily, I had a mentor, romance author Emmy Curtis, who saw promise in my other writing and encouraged, bribed, tricked, and offered me resources to start plotting and creating this series.

Dancing on the Sand, by Marilyn Baxter.

MARILYN: My first published work was in my ex-husband’s government agency’s professional journal.  He was a federal auditor, and we were gypsies living all over the southeastern US for the first two years we were married.  I wrote a humorous article about living out of a suitcase for the southeast field office newsletter, and the regional manager liked it so much he sent it to Washington, DC for inclusion in the national journal.  I even got a nice plaque from the Comptroller General of the United States!  Fast forward to the early 2000’s.  I read in spurts in the years after college (Stephen King, Robert Ludlum, Sidney Sheldon, Belva Plain to name a few) but in 2004 I discovered romance, and oh my gosh, I was captivated!  I especially loved category romance and devoured them.  I got to know a couple authors online and was asked to work for a now-defunct website as a reviewer.  A couple of those authors (one of whom is a brainstorming partner) encouraged me to write.  I dabbled and dawdled and took five years to finish my first book.  And a month after I finished it, my marriage fell apart.  It’s hard to write happily ever after when your own has ended.  But fast forward again a few years, and Boroughs had a novella contest I was a finalist in, and they not only published my novella but invited me to submit a full-length novel.  That novel was the five-year endeavor.  And I haven’t looked back.  Also, in and around the romance, I began writing for the confessions and romance magazines (True Confessions, True Romance, True Story) and sold about 50 stories and features to them before they closed shop last year.

BECCA/IS: One of the ways that I began to get a handle on how to write was to review the various romance novel tropes, and see which ones spoke to me. With a background that includes military service, a degree in criminal justice, and an interest in politics and high stakes, it seemed that romantic suspense was my most natural genre, and the alpha male/law enforcement/military was one of the tropes I was drawn to–with a twist! I love it when my male and female characters both live in that world. I also really enjoy opposites attract, friends to lovers, and character in peril, especially when they save themselves with the support and love of the other character. Surprisingly, my first novel, NHR, also uses a virgin trope. I’m not sure why that spoke to me, but I hope that people give it a chance!

Negotiating Her Release, by Becca A. Miles

MARILYN: I love marriage of convenience, friends to lovers, jilted bride and accidental pregnancy.  Least favorite?  Uhm… I haven’t read one yet I didn’t like.  Some are just more favorite than others.

After we talked about tropes, I asked Marilyn, what’s the most challenging thing about writing romance?

MARILYN: EVERYTHING!  I hear people say “I could write that,” and I want to challenge them to do it.  Creating a world and relatable characters with good motivation and conflict isn’t easy.  Or it isn’t easy for me.  Then you have to put it all together into a compelling story.  But struggle as I might, I always love the end result!

BECCA/IS: I don’t have much to add to that!

So what’s coming up next for us?

MARILYN: In addition to writing for Boroughs Publishing Group, I also write for Amazon Kindle Worlds, specifically Roxanne St. Claire’s Barefoot Bay Kindle World.  I’ve had two BBKW novellas released so far and my next project is another one to be released in July of this year.  It will feature a trope I haven’t tackled yet – the billionaire hero.  And I have no idea who he is yet.  ACK!

BECCA/IS: I’ve just submitted another novel in the series to Boroughs, and am currently working on researching and plotting the next book in the series. It’s been challenging, because I’m working on spending more time in my characters’ heads–and one of them is a serial killer! My goal is to share more of these stories, including writing more holiday-themed novellas, as they are just so much fun.

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If you enjoyed our conversation, please stop by our Facebook release party on Tuesday, January 30, from 5-10 pm! There will be some terrific authors present, awesome prizes, and much fun to be had. Also, you can check us out online, drop us a Tweet or a Facebook comment–we’d love to hear from you!

Visit Marilyn Baxter at her Web site:  www.marilynbaxter.com,

or via Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram

 

Visit me online at Facebook or Twitter! And stay tuned for more news and musings…

A Conversation with Tiffany Shand…

My guest this Wednesday is urban fantasy author Tiffany Shand, who is currently doing a virtual book tour for her new release, Shadow Walker. I wanted to ask her a few questions about herself and her work, including her approach to the craft and her work as an “authorpreneur.”

Q (Infamous Scribbler): Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your latest project?

A (Tiffany Shand): I’m an urban fantasy and non-fiction author and work as a professional editor. I started off writing stories as a child featuring my pets and did a creative writing course in my late teens. This really inspired me to publish my first novel back in 2015 and start writing professionally. Doing that also introduced me to editing. I love working with and helping other authors on their books and making them the best they can be.

Q: On your website, you talk about how writing helped you through the transition to home-schooling when you had to leave school. Can you talk a little more in detail about that? What made you pick up writing, as opposed to another form of creativity?

A: Transitioning from senior school to home-schooling was very strange for me at first. I had to leave school because of ongoing health problems and having to go to hospital frequently. Writing became a way of coping with that difficult transition and it really helped me to have something else to focus on rather than my health problems. I’d been writing for a long as I could remember and having more free time on my hands without going to school gave me the chance to explore my creativity more and write things I hadn’t written before, such as non-fiction.

Writing had always been a big part of my life and had always been a creative outlet for me. I always loved crafting out stories and watching my characters come to life. To me there is no better form of creativity than that and that’s why it appealed to me most.

Q: You also spoke about using the Dragon voice recognition software. I’m very interested in this–were there any changes you had to make in your writing process when going from physically writing to writing using Dragon? If so, what were they? How did you work through them?

A: I mainly started using Dragon dictation software because typing became physically painful and tiring for me due to having disabilities that affect my hands and joints. My rheumatologist mentioned dictation software to me and my grandparents were nice enough to buy me a basic version of Dragon software one Christmas. I found it very strange at first talking to my computer and watching it write out words for me. My writing process didn’t change that much, I still wrote stories by hand but instead of typing them I used the Dragon to put them on computer. This actually proved to be a lot quicker than typing as my Dragon types a lot faster than I physically can and also saves me from hurting my hands.

Today I still write all of my first draft fiction stories using good old-fashioned pen and paper, then transfer it onto computer using my Dragon. I have tried typing or using my Dragon to do a first draft, but I don’t find it as creatively inspiring. The only thing I find frustrating about my Dragon is that it sometimes writes things that sound nothing like what I have said to it and it seems to have a mind of its own!

Q: What made you choose urban fantasy as your genre? Who are your inspirations?

A: I got bored of contemporary fiction and fantasy in my late teens so I started reading other genres. I read one book by Kim Harrison which is what introduced me to the urban fantasy genre. This was very different from anything else I had previously read, and I fell in love with the genre and naturally started writing in it. Kim Harrison is one of my inspirations, as are authors such as Cheyenne McCray and Kresley Cole.

Q: I like the word you use on your site, “authorpreneur.” What advice would you give writers looking to get better at the business side of the craft?

A: I would say treat publishing as the business and remember that it is a business. Writers aren’t just writers nowadays, they have to be entrepreneurs as well. Don’t try to do everything yourself such as editing, cover design, or marketing, delegate where you can. Don’t overwhelm yourself with everything, take it one step at a time. Remember that you get better with every book, try to study writing craft and make your book the best it can be.

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More about Shadow Walker

After her enforcer teammates are killed in a bust gone wrong, Denai witch Charlie McCray struggles to carry on working the job without them. Using her gift of communicating with the dead, she’s determined to get justice and find those responsible no matter what. But her only clue to go on is a mysterious orb with a deadly reputation that everyone wants to get their hands on.

The only one who may be able to help her figure out their deaths, and the connection to the orb, is the dark and sexy demon from her past. Convinced she’s his life mate, to her denial, Charlie isn’t happy to see him again. Can they really work together as partners to track down the truth whilst ignoring the ever-growing attraction between them?

Genres: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Length: 111 pgs.
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