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Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels

The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels

By India Holton

For Social Media fix, I’ve been going to Redditt lately. I started when I realized that all the articles/stories I was reading on Facebook started over on the other platform. One of the things I discovered, much to my delight, is all of the different types of readers and writers over there. (I don’t know what it’s called—community? Thread?) And people who love books tend to share the love with other people.

I am finding that I love, love LOVE lighthearted  Fantasy-Romance mashups currently. It started with Gail Carringer and Rie Sheridan Rose. (Go check out their books. I’ll still be here when you come back!)

I’m here to share with you one of the books I found through Redditt: The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton.

This story is a mad-cap romp. Celia is awaiting being called up to the high tea table with the lady pirates. Ned is… a many named, mysterious figure who has been contracted to kidnap, maim, kill or harass Celia. At least one. Possibly all three. And then there’s her dreadfully evil father, who writes (badly) and wants to subjugate women.

This has a lot of hilariously mangled literary references, and the writing sometimes delivers a heart-wrenching comment just as the laughter has escaped. I will admit that I might have enjoyed it more if I had read the Bronte sisters. But, Alas, I have not. I have read enough of Austen and others that I see the nods to comedy of manners, with a side eye to the skimming of the romance.  The pacing felt a bit off for me—too rushed and then too slow, until at the very end it settled back down again.

It’s a perfect book to settle down at the beach, or curl up in the air conditioning with a nice cuppa (iced) tea.

Cover Reveal Day

Cover reveal day is an awesome event for any author. I’m glad that I get to be a part of the reveal of this goregous cover for Shannon Wendtland’s new novel, Heliodor.

 

 

Heliodor_72dpi

 

Blurb:

Malfric sees through the eyes of the dead – literally reliving their last moments as if they were his own. This ability is highly sought and highly priced, which is why the unscrupulous Captain Finch hires him to find the murderer of a nobleman and the whereabouts of a valuable artifact.

Quantex, the able-bodied first mate of Captain Finch, quickly becomes Malfric’s foil as he demonstrates uncommon intelligence during the investigation. Together the two uncover several clues that lead them to the killer, the artifact, and the frayed end of a mysterious plot that begins to unravel the moment Malfric takes it in hand and gives it a good yank.

Available March 22, 2016

 

Congrats, Shannon! It looks like  an awesome read!

 

 

 

Lets Dance

So the week has been sort of rough. David Bowie… broke my heart. I stood in the kitchen, had the little catch in your chest. The tiny “oh” that breaths out and you realize…

That the world is changing. Our role in the world, too, is changing. But that blog post, the one about mortality and all that is for another time and place.  In this post, in this post…

Many people have talked about the role Bowie had in making it ok to be “other”, to be ok in your geeky self. And I get that. I really, really do. But what made the biggest impact on me was something else.

The first is the way he is a chameleon. If Bon Jovi suddenly changed genres, we’d all be scratching our heads. Even die hard fans might be… um… maybe not. David Bowie was a chameleon, taking on wide ranging music styles (he sang a Christmas carol with Bing Crosby for crying out loud!) and changing his look just as quickly and confidently. Fashion. Art. Music. Theatre/acting.

He was the zebra that changed his stripes and I loved it. I ate it up, begged for seconds. Why? Because I hate being tied down to one format, especially in my writing.  I like romance and epic fantasy and funny fantasy and paranormal urban vampire sometimes scary and and and… I hate being tied down. Do I write all of that? Not yet.

But I know I can.

The other thing David Bowie embodied for me was the loveable villain. I’m going to make the assumption we’ve all seen Bowie as the Goblin King in Labyrinth. If not, go watch it. Right now! GO!

But… The Goblin King, Jareth.. the first villain I ever fell in love with. I can’t even remember the girls name, but it would have been very different had I been that character. She never would have come back home. But happy, oh yes. (in real life, probably no… but we’re talking fantasy movie with muppets and DAVID BOWIE).

This makes writing the bad guy so much harder. So I think in my WIP, I’m going to try seeing about making the bad guy a little more… more. There needs to be layering, although I’m not sure even Bowie could make him irresistible. But definitely layers…Not everyone is the villain because they are completely evil.

Sometimes everyone is just trying to do what they think is right.

Meanwhile, I think I’m going to grab my red shoes and dance the blues tonight.

 

 

 

 

And yes, I know that the world lost another amazing talent today. I just… I can’t.

 

New Year + New Goals = New Novel

So, I’m setting myself up with a goal for 2016. It’s a goal I haven’t achieved since 2003. Yes, my lovelies… I’m going for the novel.

Novella.

Novellette.

Too many definitions abound. I am trying for 55,00-75,000 words of one story. There. Clearly defined.

Wheee!

So. In order to meet this goal, I’ve been getting ready. Started kind of sort of plotting it out. I have most of the arc of the story, as well as a few bright bits to write towards. I like having those bright bits… It’s like a way-point reward 🙂

One thing I will have to be careful of is that this story uses characters defined and originally written in my first novel (If There be Dragons), that was never published. I think that’s ok, that I can work with it. My writing style has changed, but..  Of course, my world building and description have always been spotty so am going to have to work on that.

Work on that a lot!

So I asked my very dear friend, my sister from another mother, my favoritest editor in the whole wide world if she can coach me through this. Because knowing me, if the descriptions aren’t there… by the time I’m done with the rough draft I will make tweaks but not add majorly with description and world building. I suppose I could… it’s just that historically I never have.

I’m really excited about this. I’ve started writing (is it cheating if I start now? or does anyone really care? I just want to write it to completion, edit and be sending it out this time next year).

Hopefully, we’ll be going on quite a nice journey together. I know I’ll be having fun playing with my favorite imaginary friend.

Let’s go play with dragons!

 

 

 

Character Letters

There are so many ways to get the creative juices flowing, and having your character write a letter is one of them. Yesterday, I woke at 3am with a heavy heart. I miss writing fiction, and my son wants me to try again at the real novel length…. so I wrote a letter to the character of the first novel I ever completed. Yes, I write my imaginary friends letters. Here it is:

Dear Alexandria Draconia, Mistress of the Dragons,

I miss you. I miss having you inside my head, living under my skin and behind my eyes. You were my first, and best, alter ego.

I am dreaming of riding dragons again.

I first “met” you while in college. You proved my instructor wrong, when he said not to even attempt genre, because most in the class couldn’t sustain it. He allowed me to write you, though. Mom loved your story, what was written before she died. And you were with me, grieving as well, when she died my senior year. Writing with you got me through the darkest days I had ever known at that point.

You’ve always been more than a character to me. More than an imaginary friend. It’s been 20 years and more, and still I miss you terribly. Hell, I’m writing a letter to my imaginary super hero.

Yes, super hero. You live in an Epic Fantasy setting, ride dragons and kick ass. But I’ve never been able to go all in for the super heroes. Super Girl is ok, and so is Wonder Woman. But as much as I want to love them, I just can’t.

I have my superhero. She wears trousers, not an ice-skating skirt– because trousers are more practical. She flies– on a dragon. And she carries a sword.

She’s not invulnerable. She kicks ass precisely because she does not commit to battle unless she is willing to die for it.

I need my super hero back.  I’m trying to raise my son the best way I can, but sometimes I get overwhelmed. (Although, I have raised him to believe in & love dragons) Pops is asking me to go through photos, and it’s a heart wrenching job because of why he wants to go through them now.

I was in over my head when I first wrote your story. I had no clue about world building, how to add depth and feeling. My writing style is still kind of sparse, but I’m getting better. I don’t know if I have the skills to do you justice this time around or not… But I do know that if I never try, it will never be written.

I also know a really great editor now, too.

I haven’t written a novel length work to completion in over a decade. I’ve been sprinting lately. But I think it’s time. Don’t you?

I want to ride a dragon, feel the wind in our hair.

I wrote nonfiction and poetry over the summer. I needed to deal with the situation with Dad and my own issues without the veil of fiction. It was very therapeutic– like writing in a journal, with more intent. But now, now I need my Super Hero back. Someone I can believe in, even if she happens to be fictional. When the chips are down, she always come through.

Sincerely,

Wynwords

Now, that would be so freeing, even if that’s the only thing that happened. But soon after, I received a (wrong number)  text that read “Congratulations Alex! Call me if you’re up!”  For some reason, I think the universe is telling me something….

Getting the Words Down

When you first start writing a story, do you start where you as a writer need to start? Or do you try out first lines/paragraphs until you get it just right? I just finished 6 handwritten pages, and I know that it will all be backstory. The character that is the focus of that chapter isn’t a main POV character— but what happens to her is what sets the whole shebang going.

I needed to know what happened to her, what set everything in motion before I could start the rest. And still, I’m stuck. I know where I need to go, but I’m trying to figure out whether to open it up with the drunken knight or the scared little boy. These two characters are the ones that will change the most within the story— but I’m still probably going to start with the drunk. Simply because it’ll be fun 🙂

I’ve struggled with this one. Partially because I almost always have written female main characters. This will be a leap for me. My last big leap was a modern paranormal in first person. All in one shot! I think I’m at the point where I want to not only enjoy writing, but also stretch a little when I do it. The paranormal needs a lot of work before I send it out again, and I’m debating writing more on it….

But for now, I want to go back to magic and mayhem and horses and knights who are a bit broken. And the POV’s will be mail, and also…probably not quite the same tone as I normally use.

How do you stretch yourself as a writer? Do you change up POV, genre, style?

Changing Voice

Picture this: Your favorite author writes a series that you love. You love his/her work. Then a new book, a new series comes out.

And you hate it.

As a reader I hate it when that happens. Beth Bernobich finished one series, then her next book was actually a collection of interconnected stories. She went from fantasy to steampunk. I like both genres… but I hated the second one. Did not care for it. At. All. The voice was too different from the one I fell in love with.

Sometimes a series can shift and change underneath you. I loved L.E. Modesitt’s Imager series. The last two… not so much. But the very last one… nope. The voice was the same, but the story fell flat. The voice was…stagnant.

As a reader, we can identify these things and bemoan the horrors! But as authors, we need to take careful notes. Some authors can skip through genres, or even different tones in the same genre (fantasy and romance are famous for that) and do it successfully. Others not so much. Some can write in the same tone over and over and still achieve the stretching that keeps writing fresh.

Because as writers, we do have to stretch. We need to reach with our writing, either in scope, genre or voice. Even if they never see the light of day, we need to keep honing our skills. Patrick Rothfuss wrote what ended up being the best non-story story I’ve ever read (The Slow Regard of Silent Things). While set in the world that his series is in, it is completely different. Rothfuss has taken a lot of flack for it, but here’s the thing. I think he probably would have written it regardless of whether or not it was published. Many mocked him for the “apology” that he prefaced his work with. I say this: he merely let rabid fans know that this was not what they were waiting for. It had meaning, but it was substantially different.

So what’s the answer? I don’t have it… but I know this much. The story I’m starting on now might have light and fluffy parts to it. But at it’s core it’s something different than what I’ve been writing lately. If  it’s published, cool. If not, at least I will have strengthened those writing muscles.

Till next time, my lovelies!

Avast! Ye Airships!

Coming February 26, 2015  the anthology that I love love love! Avast, Ye Airships!, Edited by Rie Sheridan Rose.

AvastYeAirships

I love even more that I actually did make it in!

Why the vote of no confidence in myself?

Steampunk is a genre that I came to a few years ago. Rie, actually, is the one who suggested Gail Carringer to me, and it was love at first read. But it’s not especially in my wheelhouse, writing wise. I’ve never attempted anything other than traditional fantasy or paranormal/urban fantasy. And on the last, I just finished the first complete manuscript.

So. We have a sub-genre that I love, but am wholly intimidated by. How does a poor writer deal with that?

Wellll………….

One of the things I have been really wanting to do was a tribute to The Secret Garden by Frances Hogson Burnett. Not a straight retelling, but more of a nod to a story that meant so much to me growing up. Since receiving my first copy (coughcough) years ago, I have never been without it. It speaks to me.

I know you’re going to love it!

And that cover! Swoon!

I will try to get my fellow pirates to come over and play with us, too!

Say it with me now… “Ahoy, ye mateys!”

Argh! I couldn’t resist *big grin*

Talk to you soon, my lovelies!

Get your pens ready: Submission call

I promised to get this to you this weekend and am scraping in by the skin of my teeth! I love Mocha Memoirs Press, and they currently have a Steampunk Anthology call out. Go check it out here   You’ll notice that they are also looking for a couple of types of romances… I don’t write those, so all I can tell you is this: I love my publisher and they are great to work with!

I actually finally got a beginning that I like for my story for the anthology. Sweet! The Golden Apple‘s book birthday on Friday was wonderful. Thank you all! The best compliment I’ve gotten on it has to do with one of the interludes, and I think I’ll discuss that in it’s own post. The subject matter kind of dictates that. So. I have one just published. One in with the publisher. One being written, and then next perking around on a back burner.

Not bad. Not bad at all.

I love my life!

Seriously, if you write romance or Steampunk, go check out the guidelines. That is what they are currently looking for, but check back lots. We also do Horror, Sci-Fi, Fantasy… Lots of stuff!

Love you all!

Release Day and Beginning Writers

Hello my lovelies!

I’m in a good mood right now. It suddenly dawned on me…. I just looked my name up on Amazon and it came up not once… but twice. Yup. Two. Titles. With. My. Name.  The Golden Apple and Other Stories   and of course Dragon’s Champion

Now I need to try really hard not to degenerate myself. Because of course the first thing I want to tell you is that I write short stories right now. Dragon’s Champion is a stand alone short story, while the Golden Apple and Other Stories is a triad of retellings of fairy tales. And that’s fine! I rock at this format.

But what I want to talk about right now is  how I felt three years ago. Or two and a half. I started writing Dragon’s Champion, and I only kept writing it to see what would happen next. My heroine was a smart ass who just kept getting herself in trouble. I hand wrote the whole story. And while I was busy scribbling, something broke loose within me. Something I had stuffed way down deep for too long.

I was a writer. I write because it centers me, because I enjoy my stories and sometimes even work things out in them. I keep flinging the words out, even if no one ever reads them. I write.

And if you want to be a writer, you need to do that too. Fling your words out, polish them up, and then start working on the next. That finished story? Save it, send it out, do what ever you need to do to it. But go onto the next one, too. I’m working on my next (for an anthology call that I’ll share over the weekend), and have started plotting even another one. I have one in with my publisher as well.

Don’t stop writing. Edit when you must, but still keep your creative juices flowing. Scribble notes for your next work. Just, keep moving forward. It’s too easy to loose the habit of writing. Too easy to loose your writing period. It’s a muscle, and we have to exercise it. Use the experience of writing one to write the next, and on that next one STRETCH those muscles! You can do it!

I was so naive at 18, I actually thought I could just say I was a writer and start writing and ove into my fabulous house in the mountains. Now I know it’s not the recognition, it’s not the money (although I like both, don’t get me wrong)… It’s the story telling. It’s the words.

They matter.

Whether or not you can find them on Amazon, they matter.

So if you’re writing, just remember that. They matter.

Your voice matters.