Friday Face-Off: Wrapping Around

FFO.jpg

It’s time again for the Friday Face-Off meme, created by Books by Proxy, with weekly topics hosted by Lynn’s Book Blog.  The idea is to put up different covers for one book, and select a favorite.

This week’s theme is: A wrap around cover

I thought right away of Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series, with some cool coordinating, wrap-around covers.

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Writing Wednesday: Expanding the Story

After some short story work recently, I’ve gone back to expanding the opening of my third Guardian of the Opera book.  Things have been cut up and moved around and I set the opening of the book a week earlier than I originally planned, putting four new chapters in at the beginning.

Revisions.  They’re unpredictable!  I actually thought Book II would need far more structural revisions than it ended up needing; apparently Book III is balancing that out.

Adding more to the beginning gives me space to reintroduce a lot of characters and concepts, plus both Meg and the reader have to wallow in the Book II cliffhanger a little bit longer.  I also started Meg counting days, something we’ve more often seen from Erik!

Here’s a piece opening my new Chapter Two.

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I began counting the days since the day of the mob, since I had last seen Erik, since he might have died.  I counted even though I had no idea when it would be time to give up hope.  I had found the daffodil on the second day.  The Phantom’s body—supposedly—had been found on the third, and I had gone to Erik’s rooms that same afternoon.

On the fourth day I was sitting with several other ballet girls on the Opera’s front steps, dallying before it was time to go in for the morning rehearsal, when I saw Commissaire Mifroid crossing the plaza, walking towards the Opera.

A chill went over me as I looked at the policeman, in his dark coat, with the shiny buttons down the front.  It had been him, all along.  He had kept pushing, kept trying to find Erik, for months and months.  If it hadn’t been for him, Jammes never would have gone looking for information, for whatever favor she thought she could curry with the managers or Carlotta, the lead soprano, or with Mifroid himself.  Without Mifroid, my stupid mistake leaving the directions in reach wouldn’t have mattered.

With Mifroid, Erik might be dead.

And Mifroid might be the only one who really knew.

 

2019 Reading Challenges: Half-way Update

I’m slightly late with this update (on account of I had a new book come out last Friday!)  I’ve made lots of progress somewhat sporadically.  I haven’t been reading with too much purpose, and have done more pick-ups for random books than usual.  So I’ve read some good books, some bad ones, and made progress in some areas.  Here’s the details!  As usual, I’ve grayed out the books from last quarter, and linked to reviews where I have them.

Nonfiction Reading Challenge
Host: Doing Dewey
Goal: 12 Nonfiction Books

I’ve gone past my goal for number of books, and have decided to commit to the Century challenge, trying to read a book from each “century” of the Dewey Decimal System.  I’ve been going at that in a kind of hunt and choose way, going to the relevant aisle of my library and seeing what I can find.  I had a rough time in the 300s…without realizing I had already read Easterman’s book from the 300s…but have made pretty good progress on the lists.  I’m reading a 600 book now, which leaves just 700 and 900 to account for!

  1. We Bought a Zoo by Benjamin Mee (590.73)
  2. Level Up Your Life by Steve Kamb (158.1)
  3. Through Lover’s Lane by Elizabeth Rollins Epperly (813.52)
  4. Packing for Mars by Mary Roach (571.09)
  5. Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence (028.9)
  6. Love for Imperfect Things by Haemin Sunim (294.35)
  7. The Creative Life by Julia Cameron (818.54)
  8. Do Nothing by Siroj Sorajjakool (299.51)
  9. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (153.35)
  10. It’s Better Than It Looks by Gregg Easterbrook (306.09)
  11. Outer Order, Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin
  12. A Week at the Airport by Alain de Botton (387.73)
  13. Growing Up Again by Mary Tyler Moore (362.19)
  14. The Prodigal Tongue by Lynne Murphy (428.00)

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Writing Wednesday: Icebound

I took a break from revising my Phantom story this week to revise a short story instead.  One of my stories from my 7 Stories in 7 Days project, I brought the initial draft in to my writing group, and made some edits based on feedback.  A story of a woman in love with a dryad, they wanted to know a little more about her life apart from him.  I added a short flashback, which also gave me the chance to explore the dreams she might have had, before she fell in love with a tree spirit.  Here’s a bit of an excerpt from “Icebound.”

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Without intending it, a memory surfaces of a recent trip into the village.  I went to do my usual grocery shopping, and treated myself to a stop in the bookstore.  It was supposed to be a treat.  The grocery store, a big chain that replaced the local one that was there when I was a child, is an easy place to stay anonymous in.  The bookstore, though, is the same one that’s been there forever, run by the same woman who seemed old—but probably wasn’t—when I was first learning to read.

I used to think I might like a job like that someday, surrounded by books and people who loved them.  Not in my village, which seemed hopelessly dull, but somewhere else—in a big city, maybe, or perhaps I could be a traveling bookseller, like the mobile library buses, visiting a new place every day.

I always forget until I arrive that going into the bookstore will inevitably remind me of those dreams.  The ones I don’t usually think about anymore, because I have him, and I don’t need old dreams.  But it always puts me out of sorts, to be reminded.

Release Day: The Servants and the Beast

So excited to have this new book out!

Stonehenge Circle Writers

It’s here!  We’re thrilled to announce the release of The Servants and the Beast.  This very special collaborative novel was written by five of our authors, and tells the tale of the Beast in a whole new way.  Buy your copy today!

You think you know the story – prince gets cursed, girl meets Beast, they fall in love and live happily ever after. If only it was that simple. But dating is tough even in the best of circumstances.

Ever since the fateful day when we let that horrible Good Fairy into the castle, our lives have been on hold. When she turned our bad-tempered prince into a Beast, she lumped us, his loyal servants, into the curse too, just because she assumed his rude behavior was our fault. Theodore the butler should never have let her inside, and the rest of us should have helped bar the…

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Writing Wednesday: Differing Perspectives

I’ve spent the last several days reworking one scene in my Phantom novel.  It’s a pivotal scene near the end of Book Three, and because of the way I wrote this whole trilogy, I initially wrote it…three years ago?  Four years ago?  The point is, it was actually pretty early on in the writing of the whole project, because I was writing out of order at that point.

Well, coming up to today, I found that my writing has grown since then, and much of that original scene didn’t feel right anymore.  I decided it would be better to just rewrite it than to try to revise, so I sat down and wrote through it again–in Meg’s point of view, as was the original.

Then I went to meet with a writing friend, we talked about our latest writing…and she wanted to see the scene from Erik’s point of view.  And the more I thought about it…she was right.  So I wrote it again–and now I’m working on a later bit of the same chapter that also needs to switch to Erik’s point of view.  So it’s been an interesting few days, building a scene from different angles.

For fun, here’s two versions of the same moment–first from Meg, then from Erik.

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The melody faded away in another bar, and it was good I was sitting down, it was good he had told me to sit down, because he had said—he had actually said…  My eyes were hot and my throat was tight and I had to say something but I suddenly didn’t know…

He looked up at last, but he still didn’t look at me.  He was staring very fixedly down the length of the room, gaze on his pipe organ but from the tightness in his face I didn’t think he was seeing it.

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Meet the Authors: Cheryl Mahoney

My collaborative novella is out this Friday! I’m today’s featured author as the Stonehenge Circle Writers’ blog counts down to release day.

Stonehenge Circle Writers

Our new release, The Servants and the Beast, will be out Friday, June 28th  (pre-order your copy!)  We’re counting down to release day by introducing you to the authors and characters of this collaborative novella.

Cheryl Mahoney is seen here with Hugo Livre, the castle librarian, who found himself trapped in a painting after the curse took effect.  He is profoundly grateful that his painting is at least in the library, where he can reach the books (you understand his priorities).  Hugo narrates Chapter Three of the novella, as a visitor to the cursed castle disrupts his reading.

Standing beside Cheryl is Archambault, the footman-turned-coat rack, stylish in his signature pink color.  And if you look closely, you may glimpse a representation of the Good Fairy on the bookcase in the background…but you probably don’t want to meet her!

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