Alice’s Night Circus

It may not be a Thursday, but I’m rather working from day to day and so cannot post to a schedule at this time.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of listening to Alice’s Night Circus again (I first saw her live in Lincoln two years ago, and then last year as supporting for Steam Powered Giraffe) at the Lincolnshire Wolds Railway event. I cannot stress how wonderful her music is. Her melodies are entrancing, her lyrics explorative, and her voice is powerful.

The below song, Curious World, is the debut and the classic show-opener, of an alternative Alice in Wonderland as she delves into a midnight-shadowed peculiar – a place we can all call home.

She’s still an independent musician, so any listening and sharing is always appreciated.

Loreley Folk

I am delighted to share today for this music-y Friday, the folk duo Loreley, formed of good friends of mine, Maddy Glenn and Simon James Chisholm. Brought together in our first year of university by writing, and by subsequent modules in later years, it was clear that Maddy and Simon have a strong bond with music; and their almost dream-like arrangements of traditional fables and lyrics with the heartbeat of strings like the mandolin and dulcitar create an interesting blend of folk.

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Their newest, and third, album came out a couple of weeks ago. You can purchase THE FROZEN NORTH or listen to tracks from it on Loreley’s Bandcamp page. You can also see their stuff on their website. The duo are self-funded, so every contribution to their fabulous music counts.

What would you regret…?

I just wanted to share this video by YouTuber ‘LindyBeige’, a man whose intelligence and witticisms I much admire. Perhaps, I feel like we should take more stock of what questions are actually saying, rather than what they purport to ask.

And what would you regret not having told someone?

UMBRAE Blog Tour

Today on the blog, I’m welcoming author Debbie Manber Kupfer with her new novel UMBRAE, the third book in the P.A.W.S. series. You can follow the rest of the March blog tour through the banner below:

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Step into the Shadows of Umbrae …

Miri’s world at P.A.W.S. in St. Louis is falling apart. First, Danny is accused of stealing her opapa’s charm. But before he can defend himself, he mysteriously disappears. Miri seeks Josh for help and advice, but he too has gone missing.

Then Lilith has a vision – Miri dragged away by wolves. Miri needs answers, answers that she feels sure are hidden in the blank pages of the book of Argentum.

With the help of Lilith, she travels to the ancient city of Safed. There, with the aid of a mystical rabbi and an outspoken werecat, her omama’s story is slowly revealed. And Miri uncovers something else, a world hidden deep beneath our own – the labyrinth of shadows also known as Umbrae.

Available in Kindle or Paperback

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Now, onto my interview with the author!

Interview with Debbie Manber Kupfer

Give us a short summary of what UMBRAE brings to your world in P.A.W.S..

In Argentum (P.A.W.S. 2) Miri receives a mysterious book from an old crone in New York. But the pages are blank. In Umbrae we follow Miri to Israel to the ancient city of Safed where she meets a mystical rabbi and an opinionated werecat and starts to uncover the story hidden in the pages of the book of Argentum. The story of her omama, Celia and a place hidden in the shadows – Umbrae.

How did the P.A.W.S. story come to be?

Back in 2012 I had a sudden flash. I clearly saw a young girl receive a silver cat charm from her grandmother just before her grandmother died and I knew it was important. Over the next few days the story of P.A.W.S. emerged in my head and I started taking notes. This was in October. I had heard about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and decided to give it go. During November I wrote frantically each day until by the end of the month I had the first draft of P.A.W.S.

What did you find the most difficult aspect of writing UMBRAE?

Keeping my timeline and my ever-growing character list straight. I don’t write linearly, yet Umbrae is essentially historical fiction, based around the years of the Second World War. Everything had to be matched up and crossed-referenced.

What inspires you to write?

Anything and everything. I’m an avid people watcher. I often take walks to local cafes and like to observe and listen. Often times people and snippets of conversations end up in my stories.

What is your favourite part of writing?

The ability to let go, to escape. When the story is flowing it’s a wondrous thing. I’m a discovery writer. I only have the vaguest idea of the directions my story is leading and often times my characters lead me off into the most delicious paths.

When did you realise you were interested in being a writer?

When I was about 8 years old. I used to keep notebooks with novels I was writing all based around our school playground. But although I continued writing stories and poems through the years I only got serious about writing in 2012 after I came out of cancer treatment. Dealing with cancer made me realize my own mortality and that if I truly wanted to write a novel I needed to do it and stop procrastinating.

What do you like most about the world in your P.A.W.S. Saga? Why?

Well I like that it’s supposed to be hidden in our world. That most of the places I mention are real places. I imagine readers searching Forest Park for the entrance to P.A.W.S. and I smile.

Why did you decide to self-publish the P.A.W.S. series?

I didn’t at first. I started off traditionally published with a small press. Then when my contract expired I decided not to renew it. Today I self-publish with Createspace/KDP and love the control I have over the process. The ability to set my own publication dates, prices, and choose my own covers. I’m not saying I’d never go back to traditional, but for now I’m happy being indie.

What would be your one piece of advice for authors working on a sequel?

Make yourself a timeline and character list and add to it whenever you add a new character or event. It is easy to just go with the flow when you are writing book 1 or a standalone story but for series you need to make sure it all matches up.

What’s next on your writing journey?

Londinium (P.A.W.S. 4) will hopefully by ready in late 2017. I’ve written the first draft and am just beginning the editing stage. In it (as you might expect from the name) Miri will be visiting the P.A.W.S. Institute of London.

Apart from that I’m also currently working with a local artist to draw pictures for a children’s story I’ve written, Cecilia’s Tale, and hopefully will be sharing this with the world some time in the next few months.

Thanks!

About the author:

debssmallI grew up in the UK in the East London suburb of Barking. I’ve lived in Israel, New York and North Carolina and somehow ended up in St. Louis, where I work as a writer and freelance puzzle constructor of word puzzles and logic problems. I live with her husband, two children and a very opinionated feline. I believes that with enough tea and dark chocolate you can achieve anything!

 

Find Me Series Book 4 Cover Reveal

Today on the blog I’m hosting the cover reveal of book 4 of the Find Me series by Trish Marie Dawson, part of the series rebrand by Elizabeth Mackey Graphic Design:

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I wanted him to stop talking. To just close his mouth and forget everything he was going to say so I didn’t have to hear the words. He could tuck it away into the back of his mind, I knew he could, because I’d done that with so many things already. But, as if playing a cruel joke on me, he wouldn’t shut up. It’s like he couldn’t.

At one point, I tuned him out, because it began to replay in my mind. I didn’t need his account of my first feverish night in his care, and the sordid tale of my abduction and torture through raging fits of insanity, because I was the one who had lived through the real thing. I was the one who had gone wild. Turned savage, like a caged animal freed after a lifetime of abuse and neglect. I was the one who wandered off into the woods, running away from the ghosts of the dead and the living. Running until I collapsed not far from Jin’s doorstep. He took me in, nursed me back to health, and shared his wisdom, though he didn’t realize it. He’d become a friend.

I felt myself fall backwards, hitting the snow-covered rail with my lower back, and I wondered, for just a moment, if I could fly. Would it be so terrible to die? To let go of the anger, the hate, to accept the pain as it was, a never-ending storm of doubt and grief. I could do it, I thought. To be with my kids again, wherever they were, I could do anything.

But the drawl of Jin’s calming voice pulled me forward, back to the cabin porch we stood shivering on. Back to the frozen pines, and the secrets hidden in the rings of their cores. Away from the jar and its contents. I couldn’t be angry at him, not for repeating my own words, so I did all I could. I let some of it go, some of that grief and pain that so desperately wanted to ruin the good that was left in me. I passed it on to the breeze, and let it drift down the valley with the fading sun. Because I didn’t want to carry it any more.

For the first time since the night he found me in the woods, I let Jin hold me. The two of us couldn’t change what had happened, and we couldn’t prevent the next storm from coming, but our hearts were still beating. We were alive. As we held each other under the first twinkling stars of the early evening, I reminded myself that life hurt because it was worth living; the best things in life were always worth fighting for. Through all the pain and loss, there was also love and friendship. And despite what I’d been through, I still had a family somewhere out there, searching for me. I refused to lose them too.

– © Trish Marie Dawson, Where Hope is Lost, Book 4 of the Find Me Series

THE FIND ME SERIES

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About the author

I was born and mostly raised in San Diego, California where I live nowTMDPromoPic with my family and pets. I began writing short stories and poetry in high school after an obsession with Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’. After over fifteen years of crazy dreams and an overactive imagination, I began my first book ‘I Hope You Find Me’ in December of 2011. I didn’t realize then that my first Fantasy series had been born.

When I’m not writing or researching or editing or formatting, I’m home-schooling my amazing daughter and mildly autistic son, reading whatever I can get my hands on, or enjoying the Southern California sun. As a strict Vegetarian, I hold a special place in my heart for animal rights and dash into the backyard weekly to rescue lizards and mice from our three rescue dogs. They all share the house with River, the rescue cat, who is part dog and part old man. I hate roaches due to an unfortunate childhood incident, like, LOATHE COMPLETELY, though I often fantasize about seeing one in Steampunk gear and I have an unhealthy obsession with a certain bow & arrow wielding zombie hunter. Don’t judge me – every girl has dreams

Boosting: Airship Ashanti Multicultural Steampunk Calendar

A great way to support representation in Steampunk!

Beyond Victoriana

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The Airship Ashanti sent over this missive about a great project they are doing to support representation in steampunk, and also goes to a good cause. I’m happy to support their efforts in our community. Ofeibea Loveless of the Airship Ashanti writes:

In an effort to showcase the diversity of its local steampunk scene, Airship Ashanti is selling copies of its new 2017 multicultural steampunk calendar this fall. The calendar features members of the Cincinnati/Dayton steampunk community as well as holidays from cultures and religions around the world.

HRA Ashanti Captain Mandisa Njeri says the group created the calendar to be more inclusive of the various beliefs, religions, and backgrounds that make up the world around us.

“For several years, the HRA Ashanti has stood behind its calling to support its local community through multiculturalism,” she adds. “This calendar is a step in the right direction of inclusive society that…

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KISSING MAX HOLDEN has a cover!

The amazing Katy Upperman’s KISSING MAX HOLDEN has a final cover. Look at the prettiness! You can find KISSING MAX HOLDEN in August 2017. 🙂

Guys, Kissing Max Holden has a finalized cover, and I could not love it more!

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Let’s talk about the pretty, shall we?

The colors: I liked the grayscale of the winning cover direction, but I LOVE how this new image looks: sharp and crisp, with plenty of contrast. And then there’s the gradient pink of the title; pink is my favorite, and I’m so happy to see it featured on Kissing Max Holden‘s cover. It feels fresh and fun and romantic.

The cover models: I mean, I couldn’t have handpicked a more perfect Jilly and Max. She’s beautiful but approachable, and he’s got dark, wild hair and a jaw that won’t quit. Together? They’re adorable.

The composition: The way he’s coming over the fence for her? Yes. They way she’s touching his face? There’s a history there. The way he’s holding her wrist? Clearly, he wants her. The almost-kiss? Perfect, perfect, perfect.

Also, bonus: My name!…

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