Staying Home

It’s an interesting time in the world right now. While there is uncertainty, there is also a slowing down (a breather can be good) and hope–though sometimes you have to search for it. Make the effort to find it–it’s there.

White camellia in bloom last week at Bellingrath Gardens and Home in Mobile County, AL. Camellias are important in The Possession Chronicles.

What’s going on in my life? As a decade-long homeschool veteran, much of daily life is the same. Biggest change is all the extra things we did multiple times a week (martial arts, drama class, church activities, library visits, and such) are not an option right now because of closures. But we still have family study, individual study, and outside/yard activities to keep us busy.

Of course, I’m working everyday things around home, plus writing, social media/reader outreach, and trying to reduce my own reading pile. I have been more active in my readers group–Dalby’s Darklings. Join us if you haven’t yet. We have fun talking about characters, sharing visuals/inspirations, and I’m hosting weekly giveaways leading up to the release of Scarred Memories in April.

Remember, when you subscribe to my monthly newsletter, you can claim a free digital copy of “Masked Flaws”, a Possession Chronicles prequel short story. Be sure to open the welcome email and follow directions on how to claim it–it’s super easy. See https://carriedalby.com/newsletter/ for more information.

In closing, I’d like to send out a big thank you to those still in the workforce, caring for others and supplying needs. May all be well for you and your families at this time and always.

 

Book Signing, New Release, and More

First up, on Small Business Saturday (November 30), I’ll be at The Haunted Book Shop in downtown Mobile, Alabama, from 11 am until 1 pm, signing books and chatting with those who stop by. I’ll have a few freebies and fun visuals, so if you’re in the area, come say hello. The Haunted Book Shop, Mobile’s biggest and best indie bookstore, is two floors of literary finds in all genres–new and used. The first three Possession Chronicles novels (including this month’s release, Tendrils of Passion), as well as Fortitude and a couple anthology collections I have short stories in, will be available for purchase. And if you can’t make it in person, shop the online store–they ship!
On December 10, my next release hits the shelves. “Grace Shadowed” is a Possession Chronicles short story (Possession Chronicles #3.5, for those reading the series) that is included in Finally Home: A Christmas Anthology by Bienvenue Press.

The collection features animal rescue themed romances, so my offering is a bit fluffier  than my typical stories (pun intended.) I did manage to add in a few Gothic nods and dropped a truth bomb about one of the characters in the series (Ruth Melling) that you won’t find anywhere else. Pre-orders will be available soon. I’ll include the link in my December newsletter.

Also on December 10 is a release that will interest the writers out there. One of my critique partners and I were interviewed for Finders Keepers: A Practical Approach to Find and Keep Your Writing Critique Partner. I was able to beta read it and can say it covers everything about how to handle a critique partnership–and I’ve come to understand how good I have it with my situation. (Thanks, Candice, and members of Write Club!)

Happy reading–and Happy Thanksgiving to those celebrating this week.

Photo Recap

Just over five weeks ago, Perilous Confessions came into the wild.

In less than three weeks, the new edition of Fortitude will be published.

And sometime in the next month, a new Mobile Writers’ Guild anthology with a Possession Chronicles short story included. (Cover image of the book coming soon.)

Add in the Christmas anthology “Courtship and Courage: A Fortitude Short Story” was published in this past December and it is safe to say I’ve had a frantic few months in the realm of authorship.

And there are still two more novels—books two and three of The Possession Chronicles— and another possible anthology to come in 2019.

If you want to keep up with the latest information including cover reveals and public events, be sure to join my monthly newsletter that sends out the first week of the month—nothing more, nothing less. I hope your days have been filled with experiences you love as well.

Perilous Confessions Soundtrack

Perilous Confessions, the first book in The Possession Chronicles, has been out in the world for just over two weeks. You know what that means, right? It’s time to unveil my soundtrack for it!


My writing process starts with creating a “mood music” playlist for my project that I listen to almost exclusively while I’m first drafting the story. (Perilous Confession‘s playlist has 474 songs, so I didn’t get bored with the music.) From that list, I create a soundtrack once the first draft is complete. Once I work edits–which has its own “editing playlist”–I adjust the soundtrack further until final edits are complete through the publisher.

The following is Perilous Confession‘s musical journey.
Spoiler:
If you listen to each song in order, you will known the story line, so you might want to save until you’ve finished reading.

1. Fools Rush In by Rick Nelson

2. New Love in Town by Europe

3. When You Love Me by Martina McBride (who the book is dedicated in part to.)

4. I’ll Cry For You by Europe

5.I’m the One by Mitch Malloy (my favorite singer, who I got to see in concert and say hello to last weekend. He’s the new lead singer for Great White but I love his solo work.)

6. Sweet Salvation by The Cult

7. Wait for Sleep by Dream Theater

8. Mr. Ego (Take Me Down) by Helloween

9. When I See You Smile by Bad English

10. Where I Used to Have a Heart by Martina McBride

11. Lucy by Hanson

12. Love is on the Way by Saigon Kick

13. Let It All Go duet by Birdy and RHODES

14. Father Time by Richie Sambora

What songs would you add to the Perilous Confessions soundtrack or mood music playlist?

Ducklings in a Row

 

Being in between projects can take its toll on a writer (or any creative sort.) Last week on Twitter I saw an image with the following uncredited quote:

“Writing is the only intoxication that keeps the writer sober.”

That’s so true! During the past three years of heavy writing and editing, I’ve tried to pace myself and take breaks between finishing a draft and starting the next manuscript or editing round, but I turned anxious and jittery within a few days of idleness. Now I get that way after half a day.

Addiction?

Possibly.

I’ve been without an active project over forty-eight hours now. Granted I have eight manuscripts of The Possession Chronicles in various stages of editing, I haven’t started a round on one since I completed the seventh draft of book eight Sunday night. Being sickly (lovely sinus issues) the past several days has slowed me further. I’ve spent time reading, resting, and increasing my marketing outreach, but seeing my daughter’s expertly displayed collections of her beloved Palace Pets and Littlest Pet Shop figures got me looking at my own spaces.

I need to focus on personal/family for a bit. The other day I played books in my China cabinet—where I keep my antique and vintage books. (It smells lovely in there! Dorothy Eden is a favorite Gothic author of mine.)

Up next: tackling the top of the filing cabinets, and maybe the dust bunnies under the furniture. Here’s to keeping busy to battle the possessed by projects demons.

Literary Reflections

Last Saturday I gave my “Kid Lit 101” presentation to a group of writers in Gulfport, Mississippi. While what is categorized as (upper) middle grade is my first literary love, the past few years I’ve been focusing the majority of my reading time on Gothic—classic Gothic, Southern Gothic, Gothic Romance, etc.—to be sure I’m doing the category justice with my own stories.

Revisiting the books I touch on in the presentation (which are everything from baby books to young adult novels) was like visiting old friends. I haven’t given the presentation in about two years, much less dove so deep into conversation about my favorite coming-of-age genre, so it was refreshing. I remembered why I started writing—awesome books like these. And rereading Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson this weekend helped solidify that.

The past few days I’ve forced a separation for myself from The Possession Chronicles. While I’ve been writing and editing the eight books in the series almost non-stop for over two and a half years, I still love everything about it. I’m not sick of the characters or the story lines. I could happily move to round ten of edits on book six, or any other draft, but I know I need to distance myself from this epic project before I tackle professional edits for book one, Perilous Confessions (releasing January 8, 2019.)

So in the meantime, I’ll be exploring the scary world of the MG/YA manuscripts I wrote as a teenager. Maybe I’ll find a nugget of hope within one of the stories that with major resuscitation (thanks to decades of acquired experience) would be able to bring one of them to life. If not, at least I’ll be able to see how far I’ve come as a writer.

What helps you rediscover your literary roots?

Gothic Lit with Stephanie Lawton

Today I welcome good friend and fellow indie author, Stephanie Lawton. If I had to pick a favorite of her novels, it would be Shrapnel–an eerie blend of gritty contemporary YA, paranormal, Southern Gothic, and historical.

Thanks for letting me guest blog today, Carrie! We have a lot of things in common, but a few in particular that I think your readers will find interesting.

By now, you’ve probably heard of the concept of six degrees of separation or Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Because even if you’re removed from Carrie by five or six degrees, you’ve undoubtedly heard of her Southern historical gothic series, The Possession Chronicles, to be published by Bienvenue Press. What captured her imagination and kept her writing for eight books? The same things that prompted me to write Shrapnel. The same things that have kept readers furiously flipping the pages of scary novels since Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker, to Stephen King and Anne Rice.

First, history.

Let’s be honest—old stuff is creepy. It’s dusty, it makes weird noises and we don’t understand it. We don’t know what people were thinking back then and why they did the odd things they did…like lobotomies that scrambled your brains, or whale-bone corsets that rearranged your internal organs. And yet, human nature implores us to stick our fingers in the wound to see if it’s as bad as we think. (It’s usually worse.)

Stephen King dabbled in early American history in Jerusalem’s Lot. Anne Rice has written in nearly every historical era. Carrie’s new series spans the turn of the last century along the Gulf Coast. My novel, Shrapnel, bounces from modern-day to the Civil War in the Deep South. We commonly use phrases like, “tar and feather” and to “run someone out on a rail.” But do you know what those actually entailed? The historically accurate answers are terrifying.

Second, the unknown.

Fear of the unknown is a basic human fear in every era in every corner of the planet. It just is. Exploiting that fear through literature is the job of the writer so readers can experience those fears vicariously. Afraid of getting your first period? Read some Judy Blume. Afraid of your darker desires? Read Carrie’s upcoming series. Afraid of adult responsibilities and the power that comes with it? Read Shrapnel.

Any situation or thing you fear has been written about in some form, whether an actual thing—like clowns or spiders—or feelings and events. Sometimes the writing is allegorical and sometimes it’s more forthright and literal. Regardless of how it’s presented, plumbing the depths of our fears and the unknown through fiction is infinitely safer than facing them in real life.

Third, good old-fashioned, tension-filled lust. 

Until recently, I would have said that this is where Carrie and I have major differences. My books unabashedly capitalize on lust, while Carrie has always leaned toward very subtle hints of tension between characters. Both approaches have their places and their fans.

While not all horror/gothic/Southern gothic/historical fiction novels include overt sexual tension, I’d bet my Mulder and Scully figurines that readers find the idea pretty irresistible, even if the situation can be construed as “wrong” by conventional standards. Sexy vampires? Horrible! Seductive ghosts? Disgusting. Ever seen the previously banned X-Files episode called, “Home” or the first season of True Detective? Or, even better, Mads Mikkelsen as the latest (incredibly sexy yet skin-crawingly creepy) incarnation of Hannibal Lector. All feature completely repulsive monsters, yet we can’t look away, even if we have to watch/read through our fingers.

I’ve shared some of my favorite nail-biters above, let’s hear yours. What creeps you out, but keeps you coming back for more? What is it about them that you love?

 

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StephanieLawtonWriter/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/@Steph_Lawton/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/Steph_Lawton/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5601445.Stephanie_Lawton

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/steph_lawton/

Shrapnel can be found at any of these retailers: https://books2read.com/u/bP1vjJ

 

AUTHOR BIO:

Always a misfit, Stephanie Lawton writes twisted romance that tugs the heart strings then punches you in the gut.

She has a tendency to psychoanalyze people, which comes in handy when creating character profiles. She has a fascination with teacher-student relationships, bullies, psychics, doomsday preppers and larger-than-life characters.

Making readers squirm is her greatest pleasure.

Proceed with caution.