I meant to write this week’s post over the weekend. I instead spent it itching.
As you probably guessed from the title of this post, I managed to get poison ivy. Actually, I got it two and a half weeks ago and it was more or less manageable on my lower legs. Then over the weekend, I ended up getting a second dose that flared the first batch of poison ivy to epic proportions.
I have seriously underestimated the torture possibilities of poison ivy. Forget the villain sadistically torturing the main character. All the villain really has to do is dump the main character in a patch of poison ivy, then withhold anti-itch cream until the hero breaks. And the hero would break eventually. There’s something about poison ivy itching that makes a person desperate to do just about anything if it will help.
If one of my characters gets poison ivy sometime in the future, you’ll know where I got the idea from.
On to business and the stuff you are probably more interested in than hearing about poison ivy.
The winner of the giveaway for a Kindle version of Waking Beauty is Zoe B. who commented on one of the posts last week! If you could please contact me, we can work on sending out your ebook!
The next giveaway is going to run from today through next Monday or Tuesday, depending on when I get another post written. Next week is going to be rather crazy with Realm Makers.
Comment on today’s post here or on Facebook and be entered to win a Kindle version of Melanie Cellier’s The Princess Game. This retelling of Sleeping Beauty is book 5 in her Four Kingdoms series. It can be read out of order since each retelling acts as a standalone so don’t be put off by the fact that I’m giving away book 5 in a series, though I guarantee you’ll want to read the whole series!
The Four Kingdoms series is a series of fairy tale retellings that are all clean, fun, and absolutely hilarious. The Princess Game is one of the more inventive versions of Sleeping Beauty that I’ve read. Instead of the princess being physically asleep, she’s cursed to have her mind “sleeping” as it were so that while she has a brilliant mind, she can’t show it to other people without consequences.
Don’t forget to comment here or on Facebook to be entered to win!
Midnight’s Curse Update!
I got my proof book for Midnight’s Curse this week, and it was surreal to hold the book in my hands. In some ways, holding that first proof book is more exciting to me than the actual release date. It is the moment the book becomes a real book, and usually by the time release day rolls around I’m in such a state of exhaustion I don’t have the energy to squeal and celebrate the way I do over the proof book.
Good news is, the book is on track for its release date. Bad news is, I am not going to have copies available at Realm Makers like I was hoping. There just wasn’t time to do a good job at editing, proofing, and order books with time for them to ship before Realm Makers while still having a product I felt comfortable selling.
BUT if you are going to Realm Makers, make sure you find me. I’ll have a printed sneak peek at the first two chapters of Midnight’s Curse that I’ll be giving away for free for those who find me and ask for it. And I’ll take the proof copy along so you can get an early glimpse of what the book is going to look like.
If you want to help launch Midnight’s Curse, please make sure you sign up by following this link. There are still plenty of spots available, so don’t hesitate, even if you don’t think you’ll have time to read the book before the release. Even a simple spotlight helps.
Dagger’s Sleep Read-Along
This week, I’m going to change things around and give my snippets and thoughts on the chapters today, then hopefully do a post about the origins of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale on Friday. Spoiler warning if you haven’t read the book yet or aren’t finished with all of these chapters yet.
This chapter is, in some ways, Alex’s first glimpse of the “real” world outside of his sheltered life in the palace. It is his first taste of traveling as a regular person. And he is absolutely annoying while he’s at it. Honestly, annoying Alex was a little too much fun to write, even if he was infuriating. He at least wasn’t a boring character, lol.
This chapter is something of a turning point. It is the moment Rosanna’s journey switches from a fun paddle up the river to something dangerous. It was a surprisingly hard chapter to write. I rewrote it several times, combined what was two chapters into one, and rearranged the placement of it in the book.
Chapter Ten is Alex’s counterpoint to Rosanna’s chapter nine. It is the moment he first faces danger on his quest. It is also the moment we first catch a glimpse of who he could become if he would be nicer.
Fun side note about the rope bridges in the book: When I was little, my dad helped us build a fort complete with a rope bridge, though our rope bridge was reinforced with chains so that it wouldn’t break. We spent hours running back and forth while swinging our wooden swords, barely hanging on. While writing Dagger’s Sleep, I had the idea to add rope bridges into the trail system of Tallahatchia, something that made it different from the real life Appalachian Trail, Natchez Trace, and Warrior Path the Cheyandoah Trace is based on. But bridges seemed to fit the world, and I loved the way bridges in the book served as a simple of either a connected Tallahatchia or a crumbling one.
This chapter was definitely inspired by the old Disney movie Davy Crockett and the River Pirates. Actually, you’ll probably notice a lot of the book was inspired by both that movie and the first movie in its two part arc, Davy Crockett and the Keelboat Race. Both movies were ones I watched a lot as a kid. Interestingly enough, they are both based on old Davy Crockett legends from the 1800s and weren’t something Walt Disney made up out of thin air.
Old legends blown out of proportion was something I wanted to hint at in Dagger’s Sleep. It is a world where legends become tall tales told around campfires, and someone like Daemyn can become a living legend the way Davy Crockett did in his own lifetime.
I LOVE this chapter. Jadon’s family was so much fun to write, and I love the tension at the end between Jadon and his brother. It starts deepening the character development for both Alex and Jadon.
Also, the whole “mystery” meat thing is a bit of an inside joke. In Deliver, my editor commented how I kept having the characters eating mystery meat without ever saying what it was (oops). So in Dagger’s Sleep, I may have giggled as I purposely wrote in a mystery meat, then made Alex eat it.
More Rosanna and Daemyn moments! Also, I did a ridiculous amount of research about how birch bark canoes are made for this chapter.
Can’t you tell I have a lot of fun shoving Alex out of his arrogant comfort zone?
Also, more research. Buffalo used to live in the Appalachian Mountains, which is kind of mind-blowing since they are usually associated with out west. I did research on how they were hunted before horses and firearms.
And, once again, I love Jadon’s family so much! Especially Luke.
Writing their mountain accent was difficult. I’m not a native to Appalachia and even with research, I knew I wasn’t going to be 100% accurate. And writing full dialect can be more difficult to read. I went for a hybrid option, using a sprinkling of dialect words and focusing more on capturing some of the cadence.
What did you guys think of Jadon’s family? And is Alex driving you crazy yet with his annoying arrogance? Do you have any other questions for me on these chapters?
WordPress wouldn’t let me sign in so I might have just subscribed (or whatever its called) again, but oh well.
Alex has always drove me nuts! But I was confused at first. He was a main character so I was like “well he’s a main character there must be some reason for me ta like him.” Nope. I was wrong. And it took a long time for me to except that he was actually turning into a better person lol!
But I’ve been wondering where you get all your characters names or how do you come up with them? I normally spend to much time on baby name websites… we’ll just say its a guilty pleasure. Also, how did you come up with Tallahatchia? Like the name?
Hope your poison ivy goes away! That can’t be fun. 😣
Yeah, I think you subscribed again. Oh, well. If you keep getting double emails, you can see if it will let you unsubscribe from one.
I get character names from all over. I do tend to spend a lot of time on baby name sites, lol.
For Dagger’s Sleep, I spent a lot of time looking up baby names with particular origins. Kanawhee and parts of Neskahana I looked for Native American names. For the rest of Neskahana, I picked names with German origin. Characters from Pohatomie have names with Greek or Italian origins. Tuckawassee was Native American/African/African American origins. Buckhannock and a lot of the mountain folk in the book have Appalachia and Biblical names. That at least gave me a place to start looking and gave me a way to distinguish cultures between the kingdoms even in the names.
Since I was basing the landscape of Tallahatchia roughly on the Appalachian Mountains, many of the names are combinations based off real place names in the area. I took bits and pieces of the real place names and played with the sounds until I got a name I liked (and didn’t already exist). That’s how I came up with Tallahatchia, Neskahana, Kanawhee, and all the rest of the place names in the book. They may look daunting to say, but if you’re used to pronouncing real place names like Tallahassee, Chattahoochee River, Rappahannock River, etc. then the place names in Dagger’s Sleep are pronounced similar to them.
I really like scenes with crumbling/ breaking bridges. Don’t know why but I always have. For some reason though, when reading the bridge scene with Alex and Jaden, my mind would not quit going to the Disney movie, Emperors New Grove😂I’ve watched that movie I don’t know how many times so all I could think of was Kuzco and Pacha fighting on the broken rope bridge. Maybe because the personalities of the two sets of characters are so similar? Who knows…Regardless, it was a great scene, even if Kuzco quotes kept distracting me😛
Keep up the great posts! And I hope your poison ivy gets better soon.
I kept thinking about Emperor’s New Groove in that scene too! I actually just rewatched that movie recently. Alex is a lot like Kuzco, lol.
Jadon’s family was awesome, and I loved the buffalo hunting scene. Alex is… honestly, sometimes I want to punch him in his perfect teeth. I like how Luke enjoys purposefully annoying him.
Does Willem have a fairy tale chosen for him yet, and can you tell me anything about it, if so? I’m really curious about him, since we don’t see him much. Thanks!
I do have a hazy idea for Willem. I’m setting him up for a gender-swapped Princess on the Glass Hill fairy tale, but I might combine it with something else since there isn’t much for a plot in that tale. So far, he is cursed that he can’t leave Neskahana, the kingdom known for its glass-making.
But his story won’t be for a while. I have 2 more books in the current arc focusing on Alex, then I’ll start branching into some of the side fairy tales I’ve been setting up along the way.