Black Roses announcements!

Thanksgiving comes to a close at last with a visit from my brother this weekend. I have so much to be thankful for this year, including the support of my Patrons and family and friends. So accordingly, I thought I would share a little gift.

I’ve pretty much only been talking about my NaNoWriMo goal of finishing the first Black Roses novella this month. Well, here we are, nearly at the end of NaNoWriMo, and while the novella is a bit longer than I thought I expect I will be finished very soon! Which means that, following some initial editing, I will be all set up for the roll out of the first Black Roses novella, All the Roses Black, a weekly installment of a creepy Bluebeard retelling. You can find out more about this project and support it for access at my Patreon.

But to sweeten the pot a little and encourage you to participate, I’ve put together this brief excerpt of my writing playlist with all of my favorite songs for this story. I’ve also made a Youtube version for those who want an easy link.

I hope you enjoy these songs! We are so close to the goal for this project to come alive, and I’m very excited.


To get this serial novella as it comes out, all you have to do is pledge! Check out my Patreon for more information.

Falling down the hill

It’s nearly the end of NaNoWriMo and the Thanksgiving season has begun. So far I have attended three Thanksgivings of one stripe or another, and I’m crazy behind on wordcount. I’m convinced that whoever placed NaNo in November did it specifically because they thought only children and college-aged folks would be interested. Adults spend far too much time in November cooking for other people to be able to summon the creative juices to write 50k.

Luckily, I am not writing that much. My NaNo goal was only 20k. I could conceivably do that in four (terrible) days if I had to, and I have already gotten pretty far along so I won’t have to do that to myself. And, despite being behind, there’s good news!

You may have seen this post, so let me explain what this means.

My writing process is sort of strange. As with most people, the process changes from book to book. However, with most stories I hit a moment when things start to cohere. Last weekend, as I was sitting in a restaurant waiting for a friend, I realized that I had finally discovery-written enough that things were starting to come together.

You see, I’m not a pantser, but I’m not a planner either. I’m more of a baker of stories, when it comes down to it. I plan out the ingredients according to the recipe I come up with, and then I start mixing things together. The end-goal remains consistent but sometimes the steps can be malleable. As any good baker knows, there’s usually a point part of the way through where you’re not sure if you’re doing it right. Maybe you didn’t add enough water or milk, and it needs a little more. Maybe you didn’t add enough flour. Whatever it was, you need intuition to take you in that direction, to get you to the perfect consistency of dough or batter.

And once you have that consistency right, the rest of it is just patting and rolling the story into shape.

Anyway, it’s an imperfect metaphor, but I’m living proof that you don’t need to outline 100% or to free-write 100%. I’m pretty sure if I did either the story that would come out would be dead, lacking the spark that makes it worth reading. For this story, I had a clear idea of the two main characters, parts of the setting, and the end I was working towards. I knew the bones. As I have written, I’ve been adding flesh and color in ways that, honestly, often surprise me. The story is beginning to take on a life of its own, and that means I’m doing something right.

Just in time, too, since NaNo is nearly over.


 
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Hurricane Heels, by Isabel Yap

So Book Smugglers hooked me up with an ARC of Hurricane Heels by Isabel Yap, and I have to say I really enjoyed it.

The book will be released on December 5th, which is tomorrow, so this is a special Sunday book post. You may see some more of these as I get more ARCs in the future. The review will be spoiler-free as much as I can manage, so no major plot points given away, and therefore pretty short. So no need to run screaming in fear of spoiling a good book.

The concept behind this book is pretty straightforward at first blush. It is a “magical girl” novel, following tropes of the anime genre that gave rise to such classics as Sailor Moon and Madoka Magica. That said, this is not a fluffy book. There are some serious moral questions raised about the prospect of being a child, as these girls generally are, gifted with powers and expected to fight unnameable evils, risking their lives for the good of humankind and some nebulous promise of victory. There’s also some good delving into PTSD and the psychological pressure associated with a life of endless battles.

hurricane-heels
Picture from the first chapter of Hurricane Heels.

The book follows five girls who have all been selected to fight evils called Greystones. Like an RPG, each Greystone releases a glass heart, which contains energy that allows their divine benefactor, the goddess (otherwise unnamed) to gain power. The story takes place primarily in the weeks leading up to the wedding of one of the five, Selena. Simultaneous flashbacks show the group’s history together, building their characters and making you care about them. Yap manages the timelines adeptly in each chapter, building a whole out of fragmented moments. The structure of this book actually reminded me of Sparrow Hill Road by Seanan McGuire, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes Seanan McGuire’s work.

In addition, the book references its anime inspiration with some great drawings of the viewpoint characters at the beginning of each chapter. My only wish was for a drawing of all of the girls together at the beginning, since it would have helped me to keep them apart in my head better. I found the earliest chapter hard to follow as I assigned names to personalities and histories, but I don’t know if that was due to me reading it on my phone (quite possible). Maybe the cover will show all of them together – I’m very excited to see it!

sailor-moon
Please have a cover that looks like this.

If you’re into a dark re-imagining of Sailor Moon with great representation of POC and LGBTQ folks, this is the book for you. Prepare yourself for a lot of wedding talk, bachelorette parties, and monster guts.

EDIT: So this is the actual cover for Hurricane Heels! I like it, though I still want to see some fanart of them all arrayed Sailor-Senshi style.

hurricane-heels-jpg-cover

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