Launch Day: The Guardian of the Opera – Nocturne

It’s here!  I’ve been talking about this book forever, and it’s finally launch day – The Guardian of the Opera: Nocturne is now available for purchase, and I can’t wait for you to read it.

Select your format of choice:

Ebook ($6.99)

Paperback ($13.99)

Hardback ($35.99)*

 

And in case you’ve missed the previous posts, here’s a bit about the story:

Set against the backdrop of 1880s Paris and the stunning Opera Garnier, The Guardian of the Opera: Nocturne brings you the familiar tale of the Phantom of the Opera from a different direction. Meg Giry met the Phantom once when she was twelve years old, a new ballet dancer lost in the Opera’s maze. Years later, when an Angel of Music offers singing lessons to her best friend Christine Daaé, Meg is sure she knows what’s actually happening. But as strange events unfold and the pieces stop adding up, Meg has to wonder if she truly understands the Phantom—or Christine.

Erik is a man of many talents and many masks, and the one covering his face may be the least concealing. The opera house is his kingdom and his refuge, where he stalks through the shadows as the Phantom of the Opera, watching over all that occurs. He never intended to fall in love; when he does, it launches him into a new symphony he’s certain can only end in heartbreak.

And don’t forget you can join my virtual launch party on Facebook – I’ll be posting fun updates throughout the weekend, plus you can join my Zoom call presentation this evening at 5:30 pm Pacific time.  I hope to see you there!

 

* If you’re wondering why this link doesn’t take you to Amazon, the printers of the hardback had site issues recently and have not been able to sync with Amazon yet – the hardback will eventually be available on Amazon, but for now you can buy it direct from the printers.  And they’re currently offering a 15% off discount (code SAVE15) if you buy today!

Writing Wednesday: Round Robin, Round Three

My writing focus has been a bit scattered for the last couple of weeks, and this week it took a new turn.  It was my turn again to write a chapter of my next collaborative novel, Pesto, Pirouettes and Potions.  I’m trading chapters with three other writers, and this was my third chapter but Chapter Ten of the novel.  Considering we outlined a total eighteen chapters, we are well on our way through the story!

In this chapter, our heroines got closer but then had a huge fight.  Fun stuff to write!  I actually struggled a bit this time around, trying to figure out how to interpret our notes and whether they were lining up with some earlier sections.  A couple notes for different chapters actually were in conflict – for instance, Lola’s roommate Mario was supposed to flirt with Charlie in Chapter Six, but then it’s revealed in Chapter Twelve that he’s a member of Charlie’s coven, so what’s he doing flirting with her like he doesn’t know she’s a lesbian?

I ended up contacting my fellow writers and we held a video chat brainstorming meeting Monday night to figure some things out before we went further.  Very helpful, although we mostly observed that it’s all holding together surprisingly well so far!  We also decided Mario isn’t in the coven and kept the flirting 😉

I finished writing up my chapter today, along with adding a bit to the previous chapter about Charlie’s ballet production.  I researched modern ballet for Chapter Two, so even though I didn’t write Chapter Nine, I had the most expertise to add a bit about the production.  Charlie is dancing to the Rolling Stones, and it’s not at all what Lola expected!

For now, here’s a brief excerpt, from right after Charlie and Lola’s first kiss.

*******

“So.”  Say something, crack a joke.  “Is Mario going to ask me my intentions?”

Lola bristled, and it was so her that Charlie loved it.  “Mario doesn’t have any say in who I date.”

“I was just kidding,” Charlie said, even though she figured Lola probably knew that.

“Yeah.  Of course.”  Then Lola’s gaze, defiant for a moment, dropped awkwardly as she kicked one heel back against the door.  “Anyway,” she mumbled, “Mario likes you.  I mean, likes you for me.  I mean…”

“Do you want to, I don’t know, grab some drinks?” Charlie suggested.  Ugh, so cliché—but she didn’t know what else to suggest, she just knew she didn’t want this, whatever this was, to end.

Writing Wednesday + Shiny Hardback Arrival

I’ll share my usual writing update, but first I wanted to share some very fun author news.  Guardian of the Opera: Nocturne will be published in hardback, and the first copy of the hardback arrived at my house yesterday.  You’ll be able to buy it in June, but you can see it in the video below!

That arrival was a nice boost to a very strange week…I hope you all are staying well and safe in the coronavirus strangeness!  I expect to be home a lot in the coming weeks, and of course I thought about how to use this time for more writing.  I thought at first I might try another week of writing a short story a day, as I did in February 2019.  I tried it for two days and couldn’t get inspired for anything, so maybe not right now after all.  Maybe in a week or two – we’ll see.  For now, I’m turning my focus to another Phantom side-project.  After the trilogy is out, I want to release a companion book of shorter pieces, and I’ve been meaning to make time to work on the scattered draft bits I have for that.

So for the next few days at least I plan to work on a shortish story (it may yet expand to a novellette) telling the story in my trilogy from Christine’s point of view.  I wrote it several years ago, partially just so I could nail down in my mind how she’s viewing events.  I’ve done something unusual with Christine’s character, so I hope readers of the trilogy will be interested to get her perspective.  But that means I need to edit the short story, and make sure it actually lines up with the books in their final form.

Here are the opening paragraphs; I can’t share much else without spoilers!

*********

My father was poor—terribly poor.  And it didn’t matter that he was a genius on the violin.  All anyone saw when they looked at him were the patches on his sleeves, and the ragged cuffs of his trousers.

Father had been a famous, respected violinist once, but he gave it all up when my mother died.  He took me on the road and we traveled about, sleeping in barns and earning mere centimes by standing on a corner, he with his violin, I singing.

Once when I was eight, a woman didn’t give us coins.  She gave me a red scarf instead, remarking on how sad and cold I looked.  No doubt she congratulated herself on her kindness.  I was already old enough to understand about pity, and about charity, and about dependence.  That scarf always felt heavy around my neck.  It was a yoke, weighing me down, reminding me that I was helpless, forced to live on the mercy of others, dependent on the kindness of strangers.  I only wore it on the coldest of days, when I couldn’t do without.

Except once.  Just once I wore my red scarf in early spring, one day when Father and I went to perform at the beach.

Writing Wednesday: Knitting Threads Together

I’ve been making good progress in the past week on my writing goals.  I mentioned the two short stories I’m writing to contribute to an upcoming anthology.  Happily, I’ve been able to finish both of them in the last few days.

One is about a woman venturing (magically) into The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux, and I needed to write a mid-section where she finally manages to meet the Phantom.  That started slow, then took off with a burst of inspiration to finish in a couple of days.  It was very satisfying too, because my character surprised me.  I always thought that when she finally met Leroux’s Phantom she would be afraid of him; instead, she ended up being angry!  I thoroughly enjoyed that.

My second story involves a boy venturing into Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie, and I also had a mid-section missing here, trying to add in a kind of sub-story of an adventure in Neverland.  But it just wasn’t working and wasn’t working and I finally realized I was better off cutting the whole thing and just sticking to the main arc of the story.  So when I finally accepted that, all I had to do was tweak a few bits to knit either end of it together without the story in between.  Not what I planned, but much simpler!

Right now I’m doing some light editing on both stories, and I’m not sure exactly what I’ll do next.  I might write a couple more short stories (with a different premise!) and then turn back to revision in April, this time for The Princess Beyond the Thorns.

Here’s a bit I added into the Phantom short story, to work with my new title: “Ghosts on the Page.”

*******

So what was my next step going to be?  And just how long did I think I had?

I wandered through the Opera’s halls as I considered that troubling question.  It was so easy to get lost in the world of the book, but I had to remember this wasn’t my life.  This was just a story, and all these people I was meeting, Christine, Henri, the ballet girls, were only characters.  Ghosts, in a way, but even less real than that; they’d never actually lived.  I had to keep that in mind, and remember my real life was much more important.

Writing Wednesday: Final Edits

The writing projects I’ve been talking about recently have all been continuing along nicely, although things are about to shift to other projects shortly.  I’ve been doing finalish revisions of Guardian III, and am within a few pages of getting to the end of this pass.  My goal was to finish by the end of the month, so I may end up a few days ahead.

Even more excitingly, I ordered the print proof of Guardian I, and that arrived yesterday.  It’s always very cool to see what the book looks like as an actual book for the first time.  I spent all that time adjusting tabs and formatting dropcaps and so on, and seeing the proof is the pay-off.

The actual purpose of the proof is to review and see if everything is looking good as-printed.  It’s close to final.  I need to tweak some small things, and one bigger thing – the gutter isn’t quite right, so the lines of print are falling into the center binding a bit.  It’s readable, it’s not that bad, but I plan to tweak the formatting to give it a better margin.  I love how the cover looks though, and I’m really excited to start sharing that.  My cover reveal is scheduled for about a month from now, so stay tuned for that!

After I finish up the last bit of Guardian III and make formatting edits to Guardian I, I’ll be turning to a totally different focus…sort of.  I plan to spend March doing some new writing, as I have two short stories to finish for an anthology I’m going to be published in later in the year.  The anthology is about people entering into books, and one of my stories involves a ballerina entering Leroux’s Phantom…so it’s not an entirely new focus!  But it is pretty different, and I’m looking forward to doing some new writing soon.