Yearning for Wonderland
I wish that I could blame my lack of recent posts on my new obsession with my word count on NaNoWriMo’s website. However, since it starts in November and I am still 48,332 words away from my 50,000 word goal, I can hardly blame it with conviction.
I have kept up nicely on the Facebook page. If you haven’t joined up, please do check it out. There is some content that is exclusive to Facebook and I enjoy promoting the amazing creative projects of others as much as my own.
I am pleased that I am writing, even if it is not in blog form. My project for NaNoWriMo was inspired by a dream, actually. I had the dream on the 31st of October, so the timing was impeccable. I tend to have these epic, plot-driven dreams that have no seeming parallel in my real life. In fact, the dream was so fascinating that I actually half-woke up thinking that I needed to write it all down…so I wrote it down in the dream and woke up with no notes. Figures.
I have an odd, half-superstitious fear of synopsizing, so I won’t bore you as to the content of the dream. Suffice to say it involved London in WWII, a derelict theatre, apparitions, a sprawling country estate, mesmerizing patterns, a murder of a beautiful girl and an unlikely killer. Kind of a cross between Dame Agatha Christie and Busby Berkeley.
I’d love to hear some comments from the writers who read my blog. Have you done NaNoWriMo? Did it help to have a deadline? Were you pleased with the results?
So, forgive my silence, friends and picture me scribbling away on my note cards and the backs of burger wrappers. “Write, write and maybe one day you might be read”, think I.
I call it ‘3 Question View’ because it’s limited to three questions (Who would cross the Bridge of Death must answer me these questions three) and it’s a rather truncated inter-view, designed to elicit three compelling answers from each artistic mind.
(Guillaume Ananda Coantic)
Working with Tony Graci in New York was unforgettable and the recording of We Will Go was such a smooth process. Tony is a talented music producer and an incredible musician. I love the energy of NYC; it is very powerful.
Now I’m planning to spend some time in Nashville and very much looking forward to that.
I like writing songs on my own, but then at some point it’s vital for me to play with musicians.
I sat in the molded red plastic chair in the hallway, staring at my bare feet. I tried wiggling one big toe and then the other. They wiggled appropriately, but I still sort of wished for a magazine or something, if I were able to read.
“NEXT!” called out the voice, booming down the empty corridor. I looked to my left and my right and saw no one, so I hopped down and toddled into the office. It was full of bookshelves filled with musty books. The dust motes caught the sunlight and sparkled, a legion of fireflies.
“Name?” came the voice again. I tried to peer over the edge of the desk to see the voice. All I could see was a podge of thinning brown hair, combed over neatly to cover a burgeoning bald spot.
“Um, don’t have one yet,” said I, tremulously.
“I know that,” was the impatient reply, “What do you wish to be called?”
“How about Brunhilde?”
“Surely you’re joking,” the bald spot bobbed and weaved as he turned another page of the massive book in front of him,”Best to choose a nice inoffensive name, like Sarah or Ellen. That will give you a lot more choices.”
“I think they should pick my name,” I offered, doing my best to keep the sulky out of my voice. “I mean, I hope I can find a pair with good taste.”
“What else?” His voice was disinterested, rather the aural equivalent of picking one’s nose and flicking it at the wall.
“Well, I’d like it if they were smart people. The kind that you could talk to about Shakespeare and Abraham Lincoln and…um, paradigms.”
“Don’t pretend you know what any of those things are yet. What else?”
I crawled up into the arm chair across from the desk, but it was still a low squishy well of leather. I did manage to see the voice’s eyebrows, though; they were like ungroomed caterpillars and rather expressive.
“They should be funny. Not take each other too seriously. Maybe they could sing while they vacuum. I’d like it if they could laugh at themselves and at me too. Maybe the dad could teach me how to make funny faces in the mirror and how to dance like he’s starring in a Cecil B. DeMille musical. Maybe the mom could show me how to mummify a Barbie Doll and how to direct a room full of unruly people into doing what you need them to do.” I piped up, in a voice quite unlike my own, “It’s called ACT-ING!”
The caterpillars crawled across the furrows of his brow to a quizzical position, “This seems like a fairly specific request,” he said, rather suspiciously, “You haven’t been peeping in The Book, have you?”
“No sir,” I said, meek, hands folded in my lap in the primmest fashion.
He sighed and flipped a few more pages, the fuzzy wiggles of his brow descending towards the type. “There is one possibility here,” he said dubiously, “There’s a couple here that fulfills your requirements.”
“Really?” I perked up instantly, “Will they take me on trips to museums and nature trails and force-screen awful science fiction movies and black and white classics? Will they love me and help me, even when it’s questionable that I deserve either? Will they put me to sleep with Booshky Cream and sing You are My Sunshine and Side by Side and The Monkey Song? Will they make me cry when they sing On Top of Spaghetti with a fatal ending? Will they encourage me to write and sing and dance and do all manner of things which are not profitable in the world?”
The book slammed shut indignantly, “You, miss, have been reading The Book! How would you possibly know all that?”
I gave the only answer I could: “Because it’s my destiny.”
Finally, the voice and the bald spot and the eyebrows worked in conjunction and almost looked and sounded as though they were smiling, “Well. Well. Door 11C.”
“Thank you!” I chirped and wandered down the empty hall till I came to 11C. I opened the door and walked into the great white light and towards the parents I was meant to be with.
This post is dedicated to my parents, on their anniversary. I’m not certain how I ended up with wonderful them, but this seems as feasible an explanation as any.
Fate, I owe you one.
|by Artist 3001|
I will be the gladdest thing Under the sun! I will touch a hundred flowers And not pick one. I will look at cliffs and clouds With quiet eyes, Watch the wind bow down the grass, And the grass rise. And when lights begin to show Up from the town, I will mark which must be mine, And then start down!
|Maxfield Parrish, Ecstasy|
This post is the sixth of a new series, highlighting talented people whose work I admire.
3 Question View – Alissa Libby
Your novels, The Blood Confession and The King’s Rose, are historical fiction; what drew to this genre? In your travels to do historical research, where was your favorite destination? How does being in a place inspire you? What is the most fascinating fact you discovered in your travels by being “on the spot”?
It was a bittersweet meeting; Catherine is buried alongside her infamous cousin, Anne Boleyn, who had a half dozen roses on her crest on the day we visited, while Catherine had none. The yeoman guard showed us that the white marble of Anne’s stone has turned pink from so many years of red roses being laid upon it. This made me sad for Catherine, the overlooked (but still doomed) wife of King Henry. I said hello to her and left a stone to mark our visit, and made it clear that we had come a long way to visit her, specifically.
On your blog you say you are attracted to “characters who do something wrong.” Which character was a greater challenge for you to write – Katherine Howard or Countess Bathory? Out of all the females in history, what led you to these two as the focus of your novels?
I love this question! Each character posed unique challenges. With Bathory, the challenge was to make her a sympathetic character. That book is more historical fantasy, because I added many fictional elements to her life (this is why I changed her name to Bizecka in the book). I still wanted her to commit the crimes of legend: bathing in the blood of her servants, believing that it would keep her young forever. So, how to make the reader empathize with such a character? How to show her madness growing gradually, in a way that is believable? That was the challenge. I started at a place that I could deeply understand: I gave the young Countess a best friend, and felt her betrayal when that best friend leaves her behind. A very common story, but it alters Erzebet’s perception of her world.
When writing historical fiction, how do you balance between sharing juicy historical bits with the reader without overburdening the story? Has there been a historical detail in one of your books that you badly wanted to include, but cut for story purposes? Will you stay with the genre of historical fiction or are there other types of writing calling your name?
Oh, so many details! It really was difficult, especially with The King’s Rose. I researched their food, clothing, daily life, holidays, music…The details are valuable for world-building, but it is tricky to include just what you need and not a sentence more. A delicate balance that I’m still learning to strike! I took a break from history and was working on some contemporary stories for the last few years. But there is something exciting about setting a story in a different time period. The beliefs and customs of that time influence the characters and the story itself in very interesting ways.
The King’s Rose
Appointed to the queen’s household at the age of fourteen, Catherine Howard is not long at court before she catches the eye of King Henry VIII. The king is as enchanted with Catherine as he is disappointed with his newest wife — the German princess Anne of Cleves. Less than a year from her arrival at court, Catherine becomes the fifth wife of the overwhelmingly powerful, if aging, King of England.
Caught up in a dazzling whirl of elaborate celebrations, rich gowns and royal jewels, young Catherine is dizzied by the absolute power that the king wields over his subjects. But does becoming the king’s wife make her safe above all others, or put her in more danger? Catherine must navigate the conspiracies, the silent enemies, the king’s unpredictable rages, as well as contend with the ghosts of King Henry’s former wives: the abandoned Catherine of Aragon, the tragic Jane Seymour, and her own cousin, the beheaded Anne Boleyn. The more Catherine learns about court, the more she can see the circles of danger constricting around her, the threats ever more dire.
Check out the book trailer for The King’s Rose! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGaAGyAgvas
The Blood Confession
Erzebet Bizecka lives in a remote castle in the Carpathian mountains, the only child of the Count and Countess Bizecka. Born under the omen of a falling star, Erzebet is a child of prophecy: the predictions of a scryer tell of a child whose days will end quickly, or whose days will have no end. As a teenager, Erzebet strikes up an unlikely friendship with a young village girl, Marianna, but even her dearest friend can not understand her overwhelming fears of growing older and losing her beauty. The only one who does understand her is Sinestra, the beautiful, mysterious stranger who visits Erzebet and assures her that there are ways to determine her own destiny. With the Biblical passage “The life of the flesh is in the blood” he successfully lures her into a dark world of blood rituals in order to preserve her youth and beauty for eternity. But will the blood treatments—exacted from willing servant girls—be enough to keep her safe forever? How far will Erzebet be willing to go to sever her life from the predestined path God has chosen for her?
Visit the book trailer for The Blood Confession: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYyij1xBLv8