Cover Reveal: Entangled

Entangled--Broken Fairy Tales

A foster mother is torn between loyalty to the sea-girl she raised and the people she left so long ago. A runaway daughter receives help from her mother’s love reaching across the sea. A woman who lost everything to a curse of thorns is given another chance to love. 

Entangled: Broken Fairy Tales explores the relationships between mothers and daughters in three short stories.

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I’m thrilled to share the cover of my newest broken fairy tales anthology, Entangled. The wonderful Robin Cornett (who designed the covers for Shattered and Wired) did an awesome job with this one. This time around, I wanted to move away from the monochromatic look of the other two covers while still retaining series elements (ie: the fonts). I’m so pleased with the result!

Entangled is almost ready to go live. I’ll be announcing its release here (of course) and also in my newsletter, which you should totally subscribe to, for three very good reasons:

  • Bonus Content (This newsletter’s bonus content is another broken fairy tale called The Bargain, in which the Rumpelstiltskin story ends differently from what you know).
  • Coupons
  • Giveaways

I also promise to never ever ever sell or give away your email address (I hate unsolicited email just as much as you do!) and my emails will be short, sweet, and infrequent. Just use the form below to sign up (check the newsletter box).

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WANAFriday: a new-to-me author

This week’s #wanafriday blog prompt is: Share something cool that you’ve recently discovered with your blog readers. This could be a great book, a gripping TV show, a neat tip, an awesome recipe, or something else!

Many moons ago, I was waxing nostalgic about M. M. Kaye’s Death In… mysteries and bemoaning the fact that she’d only written six of them and I’d read them all. A blog reader (perhaps it was the lovely Ellen Gregory?) suggested I try Mary Stewart’s mysteries.

Now, I’d only ever heard of Mary Stewart because of her Merlin trilogy. I’d no idea she’d written romantic suspense (back before there was such a genre). Wanting to fill the Kaye-shaped hole in my reading life, I picked up her Airs Above the Ground.

And was hooked.

In short order, I tore through The Moonspinners, The Gabriel Hounds and My Brother Michael. I appreciate Stewart’s wonderfully evocative descriptions of her setting and her attention to details of the natural world. I enjoy her courageous heroines and her very manly men. It’s also interesting to note the way attitudes have changed over time, even in something as small and simple as the fact that people in her books smoke like chimneys!

I’m delighted to have discovered Mary Stewart’s mysteries and happy to recommend them to you. If you enjoyed Kaye’s Death In… books, you’re in for a treat with these!

 

Check out other people’s recent discoveries:

evenings with Jane Austen

Earlier this summer, I was on a Jane Austen kick (we’d just got back from a busy vacation and were dealing with sickness–and all I wanted were cosy, comfort reads or films).

Persuasion

Persuasion

My first Jane Austen craving was a desire to re-watch the 1995 Persuasion adaptation, starring Amanda Root. I’ve also watched the 2007 adaptation, which is shorter and disappointed me greatly by leaving out my favorite line from the book. Really, how else are you going to persuade Sir Elliot to rent Kellynch Hall to the Crofts without pointing out that a married lady with no children is a great preserver of furniture? The later adaptation also had Anne running amok all over Bath (that is so not Austen), but the Captain Wentworth was more handsome and broody. Trade-offs, trade-offs.

But handsomeness of actors aside, I prefer the older Persuasion which remains truer to the book (save in their portrayal of Helen Smith and their completely changing Mr. Elliot’s motivations for courting Anne) and in spite of Amanda Root’s deer-in-the-headlights look for far too much of the movie.

Then I re-read the book, and was reminded again what a hard role Anne Elliot is to play. Anne is a quiet woman, with an understated manner. She’s past her bloom, yet has enough delicate prettiness to attract attention. She is not a type of heroine who’s found a lot in modern books and movies.  It’s a lot easier to play spunky Elizabeth Bennet than it is to play an Anne Eliot with her elegant mind and sweet characterwithout making her look like a doormat.

Sense and Sensibility

Sense and Sensibility

In the case of Sense and Sensibility I confess to loving the 2008 adaptation more than the book itself (shocking, I know!). The rather bland leading men of the book are rounded out and made more heroic in the movie. Colonel Brandon is not the relic of the book, but honorable, mature, active and attractive. Edward Ferrars is played engagingly by twinkle-eyed Dan Stevens (Matthew from Downton Abbey). Marianne’s histrionics over the loss of Willoughby are downplayed in the movie without losing any of the emotion. Elinor Dashwood remains an admirable, common-sensical young woman. And the adaptation does a fine job of putting the Dashwoods’ new cottage right on the cliffs with the wild wonderful sea as the backdrop. The location is absolutely stunning.

(I also much prefer this adaptation to the more famous Emma Thompson/Kate Winslet movie.)

Northanger Abbey

Northanger Abbey

I watched Masterpiece Theater’s Northanger Abbey for the first time, and found movie kinder to the characters than the book itself. Austen does not seem to really like her characters very much, which is off-putting to me as the reader. The movie deals much more gently with the romantic-minded Catherine Morland and the love that Henry Tilney bears for her (in spite of his disinheritance by his formidably snobbish father).

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Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Mansfield Park did not make it on to my reading and watching lists for various reasons. Right now, P&P suffers–in my mind–too much from over-exposure. I’ve never cared much for Emma and what I vaguely remember of the Gwyneth Paltrow movie seemed too contemporary (in attitude) for my tastes. I despised poor Fanny Price when I read Mansfield Park as a young teen–I suspect I’d be kinder to her today.

What is your favorite Austen book and/or adaptation?

Daisy Yellow zine giveaway winners

I shook the magic random number generator, and the winners of Daisy Yellow Zine #8 are…

*drumroll*

S. M. Hutchins and kort!

Congratulations, winners. Tammy will be contacting you shortly.

The Adventure of Creation: out now!

The Adventure of Creation anthology is now out!

The Adventure of Creation cover

Get it now at Amazon (in either print or e-book versions)

(I’ll update this page as it goes live in other stores)

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Also, you can now get print copies of both Rainbird and Mourning Cloak via Createspace (or from Amazon itself). They’ve been available for a while, but–ahem–I haven’t been too good about mentioning that.

And for the record? They both look AWESOME in real life.

giveaway: Daisy Yellow Zine #8

I’m super-excited to announce a giveaway of Daisy Yellow Zine (Issue 8). This digital art journaling zine is full of inspiration, including blogging ideas for creatives and journal prompts. My article, Embrace Imperfection, also appears in it.

Daisy Yellow Zine #8

Tammy, the awesomely creative person behind the zine and the site, has graciously offered to give away TWO copies of Issue 8 (available only in digital format). Please leave a comment if you’d like to enter. Giveaway is open until Monday, July 29th, 10pm EST. 

If this is your first introduction to Tammy and Daisy Yellow, check out some of my favorite parts on her site, such as the Index-Card-A-Day Challenge she runs every summer. If you’re stuck for ideas, check out Tammy’s post on What Can You Do With an Index Card? She also introduced me to the delights of drawing mandalas and the fun of practicing fonts.

If you art journal–or have ever thought of doing so–Daisy Yellow is a great place to go for ideas, tips, and inspiration.

Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim

On Saturday, friends of ours generously offered to babysit our three so David and I could go see Pacific Rim. The best time for us ended up being an afternoon showing in 3D–and we very nearly had a private viewing. My thoughts:

1. *squee* giant ROBOTS!

2. Wow. I have NO interest in ANY of the movies they’re showing previews for

3. I’m glad it’s dark–these 3D glasses aren’t really fashionable, are they?

4. EEEEEE! GIANT ROBOTS!

5. Hmm, this 3D thing isn’t half bad…

6. GLaDOS!

6. GIANT ROBOTS BEATING UP GIANT MONSTERS!

So, ahem, yes. I really enjoyed the movie, but then I imprinted on giant robots very early. When I was a wee Montessori-going tot (3 or 4), my absolutely favorite video was Mazinger Z, which I watched every single day after school–all four episodes we owned. Later on, I graduated to Voltron and Transformers. I love my robots.

And I loved the homage this movie paid to the genre. There was one scene where

**spoiler**

 

I almost jumped out of my seat, wanting to yell out, “Form blazing sword!”

But I’m a grownup, so I restrained my inner eight-year-old.

 

/spoiler

 

I almost always find character development lacking in movies (well, yes, I do write novels, after all), so the fact that it was on the light side in Pacific Rim didn’t bother me too much. There were characters I wish we’d spent more time with and premises that I couldn’t help extrapolating in my head (I’m a writer, I can’t help it). I liked that piloting a jaeger was an intense physical and emotional experience. I was fascinated by the two-pilot system and I felt that there was a LOT of interesting conflict in the Drift premise that didn’t get explored, but I appreciated they kept the movie focused on the “last man… er, robot… standing between humanity and extinction” plot.

Oh, and the movie also automatically got points for not being a reboot, a sequel, or an adaptation, all of which I’m rather sick of, even though I watched The Hobbit this year and will probably go see Ender’s Game (does that make me a hypocrite? But I’m also passing on Iron Man 3, Thor 2, Man of Steel, Star Trek, etc.).

But what made Pacific Rim for me?

Awesome giant robots fighting awesome giant monsters.

WANAFriday: friday funnies

I haven’t done these blog prompts in a while (see my last post for why), but today’s is too easy not to miss (plus, it was my idea, so…).

Besides we can all use a chuckle at the end of our work week, right?

Period Speech, from xkcd:

Period Speech

Updated with links to other friday funnies:

note to self: about summer

One would think that summer would be a time of awesome productivity for me. After all, it’s school vacation!

One would be wrong.

And I’ve finally decided to adjust my expectations to take into account that I get very little writing done in the summer.

For one thing, summer is not a creative season for me–at least not for writing. My stories are ice flowers–they blossom in the darkness of winter nights, the grey chill of a fall day, or in the bluster of an early spring wind. Summer is too big and gorgeous and golden; somehow the overgrowth of vines and weeds, the bloom of showy roses and peonies, sap my creativity rather than inspiring it.

It’s strange, I know, but it is what it is.

Two, the very lack of school-imposed structure, the daily and weekly march of education, works against me. With a summer full of vacations, camps, and swim lessons, every week looks different from the next. The mental adjustments of getting one kid to swim and another to camp, of coordinating pickups and dropoffs, of making sure I have the right kinds of snacks for camp lunches–all of these take up a lot of headspace.

Three, what creativity I have is taken up with planning the upcoming school year. So far, I’ve pored over catalogs, checked a gazillion samples online, scanned through pages of reviews, thought and pondered and talked at poor David, and finally, finally, ordered our books for next year.

And four–my house. Summer is the time to reorganize the pantry, straighten out the school room, go through toys and books and clothes. You know, all the stuff I’ve been avoiding all year, becausewell, school.

Four, it’s nice to just relax and have lazy days. To be plain Mom instead of Teacher Mom. To play five games of Forbidden Island in one day or work on puzzle of a dragon on a rock or the Oxford Skyline.

When I start pining to go back to school (feeling that way now), when stories start sneaking into my head, when I feel the loss of creating something with my mind and hands, when summer is sliding fall-wards, then… then I know it’s time to write again.

So thrilled!

I am honored that my short story, Restoration, won first place in the first-ever How to Think Sideways anthology contest, judged by Holly Lisle. It sounds like there were many fine stories to choose from, and I’m excited to read them all when the anthology comes out July 24th.

The Adventure of Creation cover

HTTS Anthology Winner

Here’s my Sentence for Restoration:

“In a world where art and magic are one, an outcast in a decaying city finds inspiration in the works of a long-dead artist for her only act of magic.”

While you’re waiting for the anthology’s release, pop over to Goodreads and add The Adventure of Creation to your to-read shelf!