Books

Reading Classics – Jekyll and Hyde

I decided to read The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde the other day, and as I did, I felt sad that I was technically ‘spoiled’ for the book. I mean, is there anyone that isn’t? Jekyll and Hyde have become part of our lexicon, along with Dracula and Frankenstein and as I read it, I found myself kind of sad that I couldn’t experience it for the first time without knowing what the mystery was.

I tried to imagine what it would be like to read it when it was first published in 1886 but it was so hard to separate my knowledge of the basic story from my reading experience.

I still really enjoyed the book! I just wish that I could have read it without knowing the ‘big surprise.’

 

Someone Let Me Out of This Fridge

I’m currently signed up for a Goodreads Challenge to read 40 books this year, which either seems like a CRAZY amount to people or not at all impressive to others. I’m on bookbub, so I get a lot of free and discounted books. Even if I read 40/year, it will take me 4 years to get through my TO READ list.

I was reading a Paranormal fantasy the other day as it’s one of my fave genres. No shock there as I write in that genre too. My problem is, I’ve noticed lately that I’m becoming extremely sensitive to sexism in my books and I’m finding that it’s really:

  1. cutting into my enjoyment
  2. shockingly prevalent in the genres I read. [Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Romance [historical and contemp].

What do I mean by sexist? It’s probably stuff that doesn’t ping most people’s radar, although I think it should. It’s things like:

She wasn’t like OTHER girls – this usually gets applied to our heroine to set her apart from ‘other’ women but the problem is, this is a really insiduous way of putting other women down. Usually this is being attributed to our heroine in a way that indicates the qualities that most other women possess are lacking, frivolous, uselss or ‘bad.’

HE CAN’T HAVE YOU – Men fight over our heroine and there’s no declaration from her or sense from her that they can fight all they want, SHE is the only one with the agency to choose who she ends up with. Don’t get me wrong. I love the plot device of two men wanting a woman and she can’t decide, but what I can’t stand is when the woman is a passive participant in that struggle and just WAITS for the men to sort it out. The men end up saying something like, ‘HE CAN’T HAVE YOU’ or ‘I WON’T LET HIM HAVE YOU.’  Excuse you, bucko. You don’t get to make that call. If I choose him, then I choose him. You can throw your cap in the ring and I’ll listen to what you have to offer, but so far, all I’m getting is eau de testosterone.

Women making bad decisions that put them in jeopardy to prove they are strong – the classic example of this is when the hero tells the heroine to wait in the car because there’s a shoot out going on or something. and she’s like “I’M NOT WAITING IN THE CAR. I’M A STRONG INDEPENDENT WOMAN WHO DOESN’T WAIT IN THE CAR.”
NOT putting yourself in danger just to prove something isn’t a weak choice. It’s a SMART choice. You can try to be safe and be strong and independent. I find the above lazy writing. The author wants to show us our hero is strong and independent. So then she makes this horrible decision based on proving herself ot someone? No. Now, it’s not the heroine being in jeopardy that I have a problem with [although I should probably do a whole separate post on Fridging Female Characters], and it’s not the damsel in distress. It’s the CHOICE this character made to put herself in jeopardy for what I consider to be a poor reason. A reason that would go against the very thing she is trying to prove – strong and independent. strong and independent people don’t have to go around proving they are strong and independent. Maybe she gets out of the car because she remembers something vital to the plot, maybe she gets out of the car to push a baby out of the way of another speeding vehicle, maybe the car gets shot at and she has to get out to protect herself. I don’t know. She can get out of the car if the plot needs to move forward. But she shouldn’t be doing something foolish and stupid to advance the plot just to advance the plot.

Are you picking up what I’m putting down, internets? Ugh, is any of this making sense?

Double-Sided Witch (Covencraft #3) available for preorder on Amazon

GUESS WHAT??

*jumps up and down like a four-year old*

Book 3 of Covencraft, Double-Sided Witch is available for preorder on Amazon! I KNOW!!

DoubleWitch_Cvr

I’m very happy with the cover. I work with a great artists (and if you’re interested in his details, message me and I’ll pass them along or check out the inside cover of my other books. His name is there).

I hope you’re all as excited as I am! The release date is June 2. I’m working on getting it on all the other book sites.

SO EXCITED!!!!

Side note – writing update – I’m working on my werewolf historical romance right now, titled Ravenwood. That should be done by end of April and go into editing by May. I’m also plotting out book 4 for Covencraft (no title yet). Then, I start writing book 4 in June and I’m planning on having it done by November (with Nanowrimo being the big push to finish if I need it).

Nano musings

Internets. I’m unofficially doing Nanowrimo. I say unofficially because book 3, Double Sided Witch was already at 50000 ish words before Nano started and you’re supposed to start a NEW project so that doesn’t count. but I thought I could still shoot for the word count. I actually started a week ago because I figured THERE’S NO TIME LIKE NOW AND WHY WAIT FOR NOVEMBER.

So this isn’t just me whining on DAY THREE. I SWEAR. it’s more like whining on day 10. WHATEVER.

The thing is, I changed my whole beginning. I got half way through and was like DAMN I did not set this up well. Okay, let me go back and fix this. so I did and I’m really happy with the new beginning. But now I’ve reached the point where I need to align that with what I already had written.

Which I can do. I’ve done this before.

So what’s the problem? Well, that means I’m deleting words! And that means I’m not going to make my word count! And that makes my Type A STRUCTURED brain VERY UNHAPPY AND SQUIRRELLY.

I’ve just got to get the fuck over it. So! The goal for tonight is to ‘sit’ with this and learn it as my truth. I know that sounds hokey, but it’s what I do. The word count is a great goal, but the TRUE goal is to get a working draft of book 3. And that means some of these words gotta go.

 

Covencraft Update – Book 3 Double Sided Witch

Another status update on book 3 of my Urban Fantasy Series, Covencraft!

I’m almost half way!

I attended an online webinar on Scrivener the other day, hosted by Joseph Michael and Joanna Penn and I learned how to import my existing WIP into Scrivener and I’m SUPER EXCITED to start working in the program! I’d had it installed on my machine for a while but didn’t know what to do, so the webinar REALLY HELPED and showed me some awesome tips and tricks. One of the things I was worried about is that I shift POV in the Covencraft series from Jade to Paris, but I always want to ensure that it’s more weighted on Jade since it’s HER story. With Scrivener I can COLOR CODE THE SCENES SO I KNOW WHOSE POV I’M USING AND SEE IF I’M DOING OKAY AT A GLANCE.

I’ll stop capslocking you now. OR WILL I?

Seriously, I’m ridiculously excited about this.

Although, with the progress I’m making on book 3, I think I may have to shift some of what I wanted to do to Book 4 [as yet untitled]. Book 3 is mostly about Jade and Lily [and we’ll find out all about who she is and her backstory] and I was going to try to put in another subplot as well, but since I’m almost halfway into the book and haven’t gotten ANYTHING I would need for the subplot yet, it might have to wait until book 4. We’ll see.

Carnival Moon has a cover!

My Covencraft short story,  Carnival Moon, [which is available as part of an anthology with other Fable Press authors] has a cover!

Carnival Moon continues along in my Urban Fantasy series, and follows Jade as she’s invited along to join the local werewolf pack for their Wolf Moon Carnival. It takes place immediately after book 2, Counter Hex, but before Book 3 [Double Sided Witch – which I’m working on right now]. You don’t HAVE to read it, but I would love it if you did!

This story is only in e-format, but if you’re like me, you HAVE to have things match! Paper books or ebooks, it drives me crazy when series don’t match.

So, I contacted the illustrator of my other two covers, Steven Novak, and he put together something for Carnival Moon! I LOVE IT

Carnival Moon

Steven was great to work with! One of the things I’m super sensitive about is I don’t want any hypersexualized poses or images for my heroine. She’s not that kind of person [and neither am I, frankly]. I’m really happy with how the cover turned out, especially since some of my feedback to Steven included things like, “Can you change the shading on her butt? she looks naked” – as articulate as I try to be when I ‘write’, I am NOT that way in real life! But he seemed to ‘get’ EXACTLY what I meant immediately!

Currently, Carnival Moon is only on Smashwords. If I can get it up other places, I’ll keep you posted. This is my first go trying to get something out there. As my nephews used to say, DO IT SELF.

Looking for more Covencraft?

Hey all! For those of you done with book 2 of my Covencraft Series, Counter Hex, and waiting on me finishing writing book 3, Double Sided Witch, I’ve got good news! I have a short story featuring Jade in Fable Press’s anthology, Fable’s Carnival! [via Smashwords]

Fable's Carnival at Smashwords CoverIt’s also on TXTR, and for US residents on Barnes and Noble

The Fable authors got together and decided to try for an anthology and we voted on teh theme ‘carnival’ but, it was up to each individual author to interpret that as they wished. Here’s a little snippet from my short story, Carnival Moon, to whet your appetite!


Jade knocked on Paris’ office door and then pushed it ajar with her foot, spying him at his desk. Paris was on the phone, looking up from his computer and acknowledging her with a quick quirk of his lips. Since her hands were occupied with a tray of coffee and a grimoire, she jerked her head in the direction of the Queen Anne chairs in front of the fireplace and headed there. She saw Paris tilt his head to get a better look at the spellbook she was carrying. It was just one of her regular grimoires, not one of her demon spellbooks. She knew better than to take one of the demon books out of her house – he’d told her several times. Several long, annoying times. There were only three demon grimoires that they knew of at the coven; Paris had one and Jade the other two. Jade wasn’t sure where he kept his, only that it wasn’t at the Coven. Jade’s two were safely ensconced in her cottage. Today it was just a regular spellbook – one from the Coven’s library. There were a few spells Jade wanted to try, but, given her history, she’d been banned from new magic anything until Paris could review it first. You lose control of one or two spells and maybe try a demon rune without asking first and suddenly, you were on the shit-list.

She sat cross-legged on the floor and spread her stuff out. If she was going to have her coffee, muffin and spellbook, it was easier to be on the ground. Paris finished his call and then came over, hitching his trousers up carefully before descending gracefully into a cross-legged pose as well. Jade crammed a piece of muffin in her mouth and simultaneously handed him his coffee (which was sure to be overly sweet – he had such a sweet tooth), as he spoke.

“The werewolves have asked to meet you.”

Jade paused at Paris’ words, coffee cup half way to her mouth. She worked her mouth around the muffin, swallowing the dry morsel so she could speak. “I was sick that day.”

Paris frowned at her comment. “What day?”

Jade shrugged, washing down the muffin bite with her drink. “Whatever day it was the ‘something’ happened that made the werewolves want to meet me.”


I hope you’ll check it out and let me know what you think! It takes place directly after book 2, but before book 3 – right in the middle! Happy reading!

Covencraft Update – Double-Sided Witch (Book 3)

Hello internets!
It’s time for a status update on book 3 of my Urban Fantasy Series, Covencraft! I’ve been a bit behind in my writing over the last few months. There were some things, with some issues and some blah de blah but I’m back on the writing wagon! This weekend I’m with my writing friends in South Carolina and it’s always a really good jolt for my creativity and productivity.

I’m almost a quarter of the way into book three! My working title (which I sincerely hope ‘sticks’ because I love it) is “Double-Sided Witch.”

I’m still in the ‘setting up’ phase – where I’m positioning all my dominoes and getting them ready. I always feel like the first 2/3 of a book is this domino positioning and the last third is where, if I’ve done my job well, all I have to do is knock them all down. At this point, I’m predicting 90000 words for the book. I alternate between “OMG IT’S GOING TO END UP AT 130000 WORDS IF I KEEP UP LIKE THIS” to “SOB, THIS ISN’T GOING TO EVEN END UP AT 60000 WORDS BECAUSE I CANNOT PLOT.”

This is also the point where doubt sets in. Is there too much plot? Not enough? Is too much happening? Not enough? WHAT IS GOING ON?? lol. I find I just need to keep my head down and keep at it.

For those of you who have read Counter-Hex and expressed a love for Bruce (Jade’s lizard familiar), you’ll be happy to know that he’s back in book 3. For a guy who was only supposed to be in one chapter of Counter-Hex, he’s made himself a place in my heart and I’m happy to have him back in Double-Sided Witch.

I’ll keep you updated as go along!

What do you do when you don’t like a book?

One of the things I really struggle with is this: what do you do when you don’t like a book?

For a long, long time, I pushed through. I kept reading even if I didn’t like it. And then, I thought, SCREW THIS. LIFE IS SHORT. I’M NOT GONNA WASTE IT ON BAD BOOKS. So I stopped reading when I wasn’t enjoying a book.

Flashforward to when I got my first book published and now, every time I feel like I’m not enjoying a book, I get this gut-wrenching feeling like there is someone not enjoying MY BOOK just like I’m not enjoying the book I’m reading. Once again, I feel like I have to PUSH THROUGH.

But.. for what? What am I hoping for? I was just reading a book last week and I was JUST NOT INTO IT. I didn’t connect with the characters, I wasn’t really invested in the mystery, I just… didn’t care what happened next and I found myself taking a deep sigh and GIRDING MYSELF before I fired up my kindle to start reading.

Was this how I wanted to spend my spare time? NO.

So, I removed the book from my device and my goodreads [I don’t like giving books a bad review! OMG, I KNOW HOW IT FEELS AND I CAN’T]. I feel kind of guilty about not finishing, but mostly, I just feel relieved.

And now I’m back to reading a book I like! I’m currently reading Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. It’s about how quickly we size things up and make decisions. I’m still on a bit of a non-fiction kick at the moment.  I’m much happier now! I look forward to reading again!