Archive | July 2013

New Publication Launch Dates!

Heroes+Hearts_Noemi-Betancourt-1Final_Crystal_Palace_1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Greetings and salutations to all!

I had a dilemma. I’ve been working hard on getting book three of The Crystal Palace Chronicles going for several weeks now but I wasn’t getting much cooperation from the characters. I couldn’t figure out why that is. While I’ve experienced writer’s block in the past, this was something else. I knew what I wanted to say and how I wanted the story to go but it just wasn’t happening. Then suddenly they all turned and screamed out in unison. The reason I couldn’t get book three going was because books one and two still needed my attention.

My records indicate thousands of you downloaded Heroes and Hearts and Descendants of Quendaris since their release earlier this year. Many of you have posted reviews online and contacted me expressing how much you love the story and characters and can’t wait for more. Others however have indicated disappointment in some aspects of the books. Believe it or not, these critiques did not upset me. As a writer and avid reader I know you can’t please everybody, not everyone will be fans of my work and negative feedback is perfectly normal. In fact authors who have nothing but positive reviews tend to come across as sketchy. Even books and movies appreciated today as classic literature and masterpieces had their share of critics and seeing nothing but positives tends to make they buying public wary, as it probably should.

What’s my point? Ok here it is in a nutshell. I appreciate all my readers and their feedback. Without you I’m just another poor schlub posting a block of words on the internet. I take into account every interaction I have with my readers, both good and bad, and the negative feedback I have received have two glaring issues in common.

#1 The books are too short. Happily I can say people haven’t complained about not getting their money’s worth but they are complaining that the stories end too soon. While I understand the old adage “Leave them wanting more” I’m hearing this complaint way too often.

#2 Isabel, the heroine of Heroes and Hearts, is too accepting of all the craziness happening around her in the other realm. While this issue did come up during the publishing process and I had made efforts to add scenes and dialogue to circumvent this, many of you are expressing that I just haven’t done enough and it still seems to be an issue.

Both issues have nagged me throughout the writing and editing process and I know them in my heart to be true. So, I am announcing that as of August 5, 2013 Heroes and Hearts will be pulled while I work to improve and expand the story. Prince Alaric, Isabel and the others are extremely happy with this turn of events and the words have just been flying from my pen. It is my intention to have a larger edition of Heroes and Hearts available for sale in both ebook and paperback form by October 2013 under a new name!

Of course, I’m not doing this in an attempt to please everyone and I won’t be continuously pulling the books off the shelves to revamp every couple of months. This action is simply because as a writer and reader of fantasy and romance, I wasn’t entirely happy with the end product but figured it was the perfectionist in me screaming to get out. We are, after all, our worst critics. However, as so many of you echoed dismay with the same points that I myself wasn’t happy with, I feel a revamp is due. Once the new version of Heroes and Hearts is out I’ll start working on expanding Descendants of Quendaris into a full sized novel as well and hope to have that version ready by the end of the year. Once this task is complete I anticipate placing my full attention on Book 3 and hope to have that novel ready for release by January 2015.

So, long story short (too late) if you’re interested in seeing the changes between versions you have two weeks to download a free copy of Heroes and Hearts. Updates on publication dates will be forthcoming. Enjoy the rest of your summer folks! 😀

Writing Playlist

In conjunction with a featured post on Me, My shelf, and I here is a list of just some of the songs I listen to while writing in no particular order.

Sweet Lullaby – Deep Forest

Die Without You – PM Dawn

Children – Robert Miles

Icarus – Mythos

Live at the Acropolis album – Yanni

Sadeness Part I – Enigma

Why – Annie Lennox

Aquaria Album – Diane Arkenstone

Clair de Lune – Debussy

Moonlight Sonata – Beethoven

Charlie Brown Christmas Album – Vince Guaraldi Trio

Now We are Free – Lisa Gerrard

Put Your Records on – Corrine Bailey Rae

Island in the Sun – Weezer

Violator album – Depeche Mode

Over the Rainbow – Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwo’ole

Jashn-E-Bahaaraa – Jodhaa Akbar

Bad Mama Jama – Carl Carlton

Enya (too many to name)

Erykah Badu (too many to name)

GUEST POST: The Granite Key by N.S. Wikarski

 

The talented author of The Granite Key gives some insight on writing in one of my favorite subjects, historical fiction.

TIPS FOR WRITING YE OLDE HISTORICAL FICTION

 

“My God, they can’t expect to put ‘Ye Olde’ in front of anything they want and get away with it.”

 

If, like me, you’re a fan of The Big Bang Theory, you’ll immediately recognize Sheldon Cooper’s complaint about the historical inaccuracies of a Renaissance Faire, California-style.

 

As much as I’d like to distance myself from most of Sheldon’s opinions, I’m forced to agree with him on this point. As a writer, I’ve penned five books that are either historical (Gilded Age Chicago Mysteries) or have a strong historical element (Arkana Archaeology Thrillers). As a critic for Deadly Pleasures, I’ve reviewed my share of historical fiction (some good, some not) so believe me when I say that you can’t just put “Ye Olde” in front of anything and expect to get away with it. Authors of contemporary fiction have to juggle plot, pacing, and character development. Historical fiction writers wish it was that easy.

 

Timing Isn’t Everything

 

The first thing to consider as a historical fiction writer isn’t simply when something happened but what the world surrounding that event was like. We all know that Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492 but it’s a good bet that when he first landed in the Bahamas, he didn’t head for the closest Tiki bar to order a boat drink. Objects and places we take for granted in the 21st century may or may not have existed in the corner of the past an author is exploring. To make that fictional world believable, the times as well as the timing need to be understood.

 

Clothes Make The Man (Or Woman)

 

Period costume is something that most historical authors (good and bad) get right. The only difference is that bad writers fail to think about the impact costume can have on conduct. For example, everybody knows Victorian women wore corsets. What most people don’t realize is that a woman who is laced tightly enough to give her an eighteen inch waist can’t bend, stretch, or engage in anything more strenuous than lifting a tea cup. Most of her conscious attention is focused on the struggle to breathe. She’s probably a very uptight, cranky creature for no better reason than that her underwear feels terrible. People who wear whalebone corsets or chain mail armor are going to think and feel very differently from people who wear sweat pants all day long.

 

The Past Is Another Country

 

It’s often been said that human nature doesn’t change over time. Perhaps not, but cultural values can shift radically in a heartbeat. The contemporary fiction writer has the luxury of writing about people who are immersed in the same cultural soup as she /he is. Not so a historical fiction author. Cultural values are absorbed much like the air we all breathe–invisibly and with very little conscious effort (unless, of course, you’re wearing a corset). The greatest mistake a historical fiction author can make is to believe that people in ancient times thought and felt exactly as we do today.

 

To write effective historical fiction you have to immerse yourself without condescension in the values of the past no matter how odd they might seem to a modern sensibility. So if you’re planning to write a historical novel any time soon, be prepared to walk around in your character’s high-button shoes. And if the shoe pinches, write it.

 

Archaeological Thriller
Date Published: 2/12/2011
 

“Think ‘MEDIUM meets THE LOST SYMBOL’ and it only begins to describe the pleasures of THE GRANITE KEY – 5 Stars.” (Kindle Nation)

A Wake-Up Call 
In a nightmare, nineteen year old Cassie Forsythe sees her sister attacked by a man in a cowboy hat who demands something called “the key.” Her nightmare mutates into reality before the night is over. Cassie is called to identify her sister’s body–murdered exactly as her dream foretold. Cassie dismisses her vision as a fluke and fights to get on with her life. Disconnected and aimless now that her only family is gone, she drifts until the evening when she catches the man in the cowboy hat ransacking her sister’s apartment. He bolts with an odd-looking stone cylinder–the granite key. From that moment, Cassie’s normal world evaporates.

A Secret Society 
She learns that her sister led a double life–retrieving artifacts for a secret organization called the Arkana. The Arkana’s leader, an elder named Faye, explains that her group performs a controversial kind of archaeology. They scour the globe for evidence of ancient pre-patriarchal civilizations in hopes of salvaging the lost history of the world. Their network of troves safeguards artifacts from highly sophisticated goddess-worshipping cultures on every continent. Cassie’s sister had the psychic ability to touch an artifact and relive its past. Cassie has now inherited this gift. Faye wants the girl to take over her sister’s role in the organization. Cassie doubts her powers but agrees. Now an insider, she is transported to the Arkana’s mysterious underground vault in the countryside outside Chicago where the group tackles the mystery of her sister’s murder.

A Dangerous Cult 
The Arkana learns that the man in the cowboy hat is a hired mercenary named Leroy Hunt and that he is working for a fundamentalist religious cult known as the Blessed Nephilim. He takes his orders directly from the cult’s domineering prophet–Abraham Metcalf. The granite key which Leroy stole is inscribed with hieroglyphics revealing the location of a mythological artifact reputed to have mystical powers–the Sage Stone. Although skeptical of its legendary capabilities, the Arkana is still afraid to allow the relic to fall into the cult’s hands. Abraham’s fanatical belief in the power of the Sage Stone could be the catalyst to start a war of religious genocide.

Unlocking The Key 
Before she died, Cassie’s sister took photos of the strange markings on the granite key. The Arkana decodes the hieroglyphics which point to the ancient ruins of Minoan Crete as the hiding place of the Sage Stone. Faye hastily assembles a retrieval team including Cassie, her newly-appointed bodyguard Erik, and a British researcher named Griffin. The band of treasure hunters is mismatched and wildly dysfunctional from the start. Griffin has never gone on a field mission, Erik treats his inexperienced colleagues with contempt, and Cassie second-guesses her psychic hunches. She battles to prove herself to Erik at every turn. Their internal clashes rival the bigger crisis of what to do when they come face to face with their enemies.

A Matter Of Life Or Death 
Even as they rake through megalithic tombs and Minoan palaces for clues, Abraham dispatches his son Daniel and hired gun Leroy Hunt to recover the Sage Stone. The Nephilim operatives won’t hesitate to kill anyone standing in their way. Will Cassie and her teammates avert global disaster or find themselves casualties of Abraham’s mania to exterminate the world of unbelievers? The Granite Key holds the answer.

Nancy Wikarski

“There’s a 52% chance that the next Dan Brown will be a woman … or should we just make that 100% now?”

–Kindle Nation

Nancy Wikarski is a fugitive from academia. After earning her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, she became a computer consultant and then turned to mystery and historical fiction writing. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, the Society Of Midland Authors, and has served as vice president of Sisters In Crime – Twin Cities and on the programming board of the Chicago chapter. Her short stories have appeared in Futures Magazine and DIME Anthology, while her book reviews have been featured in Murder: Past Tense and Deadly

She has written the Gilded Age Chicago History Mysteries series set in 1890s Chicago. Titles include The Fall Of White City (2002) and Shrouded In Thought (2005). The series has received People’s Choice Award nominations for Best First Novel and Best Historical as well as a Lovey Award for Best Traditional Amateur Sleuth.

She is currently writing the seven book Arkana Archaeology Thriller Mystery series. Titles include The Granite Key (2011), The Mountain Mother Cipher (2011), and The Dragon’s WingEnigma (2012). The fourth volume in the series, The Riddle Of The Diamond Dove, is scheduled for publication in December of 2013. Ms. Wikarski’s work on the Arkana books has prompted Kindle Nation to call her one of its favorite authors.

BUY LINKS

Amazon