A Brief Announcement

You may have noticed that things have been a little quiet around here for the past few months.  After years of posting three times a week, this slid down to two, then eventually to one or even less.  Like many (most?) people, 2020 was a very strange year for me, and living through a pandemic definitely affected my creativity and engagement with a number of aspects of life, including this blog.

Additionally, I had another, much more positive distraction, as I got pregnant last summer!  My baby was born at the beginning of March, and is a healthy, adorable, very distracting new part of my life.

All pregnancy, I hoped I might find the time and the energy to come back to more regular blogging.  Now that I have a newborn, I’m accepting the inevitable.  I’m not closing down this blog, and I still intend to be here more regularly some time in the future – but I am stepping away officially for the next while as I adjust to the new normal in my life.

Thank you for ALL the wonderful support over the past ten years, and I expect to be “seeing” you again soon – perhaps with some new ideas and new features, as I create a new normal for Tales of the Marvelous too! ❤

Launch Day: The Confessions of Christine Daaé

Today is launch day for my newest novella!  The Confessions of Christine Daaé is a companion story to my Guardian of the Opera trilogy, that finally reveals Christine’s thoughts and motivations throughout the story – and they’re rarely what they seem to be on the surface…

Get your copy here!

This novella is currently only available digitally, although if you’re a paper book reader I do intend to eventually put out a print collection with this story, the prequel and some extra goodies too.

For now, here’s a bit more about the story:

The Phantom’s story has always been one of intrigue and deception, of faces that don’t match the souls behind them – but it may not be the man in the mask who has the most to hide. Readers of the Guardian of the Opera series have already met this very unusual take on Christine Daaé through the eyes of Meg Giry and the Phantom himself. Here you’re invited to learn more than Meg or Erik could ever tell, as Christine finally shares her own story.

Starting with her impoverished childhood with her violinist father, through meeting the young Vicomte de Chagny, and on to the famous disaster at the Opera Garnier, Christine unfolds her true thoughts and feelings. Far from a helpless victim in events, in these pages you’ll find a Christine who knows exactly what she’s doing every step of the way. Why did she really take the Phantom’s mask off? Did she love Raoul or the Phantom? Who or what did she care about most? Read The Confessions of Christine Daaé for a look behind Christine’s carefully concealed mask.

Cover Reveal + Pre-Order for The Confessions of Christine Daaé

I’ve been promising for some time now to eventually share a version of my Guardian story from Christine Daaé’s point of view – and it’s almost here!  Readers of the trilogy will know that my Christine is quite from different from most – and that what she appears to be thinking is usually not what she’s really thinking!  The Confessions of Christine Daaé finally reveals everything from her point of view, and just what was going on behind her sweet smiles.  The novella will be out February 5th, and is already available for Kindle pre-order.

Here’s a bit more about the story:

The Phantom’s story has always been one of intrigue and deception, of faces that don’t match the souls behind them – but it may not be the man in the mask who has the most to hide. Readers of the Guardian of the Opera series have already met this very unusual take on Christine Daaé through the eyes of Meg Giry and the Phantom himself. Here you’re invited to learn more than Meg or Erik could ever tell, as Christine finally shares her own story.

Starting with her impoverished childhood with her violinist father, through meeting the young Vicomte de Chagny, and on to the famous disaster at the Opera Garnier, Christine unfolds her true thoughts and feelings. Far from a helpless victim in events, in these pages you’ll find a Christine who knows exactly what she’s doing every step of the way. Why did she really take the Phantom’s mask off? Did she love Raoul or the Phantom? Who or what did she care about most? Read The Confessions of Christine Daaé for a look behind Christine’s carefully concealed mask.

And now on to the cover!

This was a fun cover to design, different from the three book covers with Meg as the focus.  Though the Phantom, of course, still looms above!  And that really is Box Five of the Opera Garnier behind her.

This novella is best read if you’re already familiar with the trilogy, so if you’ve enjoyed the previous books I hope you’ll check it out.  And if you haven’t read the others – no time like the present to catch up, right? 🙂

2020 Reading Round-Up

We are (finally!) at the beginning of 2021, making it time to look back at the best, the worst and the sometimes weird of my 2020 reading. I read 134 books this year, including finally picking up a lot of very good ones that had been languishing on my To Be Read list for years – and a few that turned out to be terrible too!

1) Best of…
I’ve been splitting my “Best of” books for the past several years, so that I can highlight the ones that were best in very specific ways.

1A) Best Premise: Incarnate by Jodi Meadows – I loved this concept of a society where everyone reincarnates and remembers their past lives.  So fascinating to explore what that makes the world look like.  The sequel went some odder directions, but I’ll probably pick up the third one eventually.

1B) Best World Building: The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers – I thoroughly enjoyed this sci fi adventure.  The characters and plot were good, but I especially liked the world (galaxy) they were in.  A little bit Star Trek (a galactic alliance of species), a little bit Star Wars (those species are really, really different from each other), and quite a bit Firefly (a ragamuffin crew with a Wild West feel), it still felt totally unique.  Humans aren’t very important in the galaxy, there’s a lot of exploration of the very different alien cultures, and by and large everyone is really accepting of those differences.  Very cool place to explore.

1C) Best Romance: One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid – I’m not usually a fan of love triangles, but I really enjoyed this one.  I liked how the heroine’s character was explored through her choice between the two men, and her romance with each was convincing and powerful – but I was still happy with how it wound up!

1D) Best Hero: Elliott from In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan – This was a wonderful, satirical take on magical school stories, and the hero, Elliott, was everything I wanted him to be: sarcastic, irritable, bad-tempered but totally on the ball.  Doesn’t sound appealing, but he was wonderful!  He brings a backpack stuffed with pens and highlighters to magic school (complaining loudly about quill pens) and has serious questions about why fourteen year olds are being sent into battles.  He’s awesome. Continue reading “2020 Reading Round-Up”

2020 Reading Challenges – End of Year Update

Welcome to 2021!  The start of a new year means time to look back at my reading from 2020.  It was a very strange year…but at least my reading went well!  My overarching goal was to read more, aiming for 125 books.  I passed that goal, with a total 134 books.  I guess staying home for most of the year was at least good for reading!

Here are my monthly totals:

January: 14 books
February: 11 books
March: 7 books
April: 12 books
May: 9 books
June: 9 books
July: 11 books
August: 14 books
September: 10 books
October: 15 books
November: 10 books
December: 12 books

Now onto the specific challenges…

The Phantom of the Opera Reading & Viewing Challenge
Host: Tales of the Marvelous
Goal: Lon Chaney Level

I posted the update for this challenge yesterday (share your updates if you have them!)  I met my goal, reading one book, watching one filmed play, and watching one movie.

Continue reading “2020 Reading Challenges – End of Year Update”