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.

 

Mardi Gras and Southern Gothic

It’s that time of year, again. Mardi Gras. The day (season) of indulgence. Last January, I blogged about it on a personal level–check it out here. Today, I’d like to take a minute to tie Mardi Gras with my Southern Gothic series.

I found this explanation of Southern Gothic Literature online last year on a visual image, so I don’t know who to credit for it:

The South’s reputation for sultry decadence lives on in a literature that meshes the moody romanticism of Gothic novels with the American South’s sensibility of tragedy and doom.

Brilliant, right? When I read it I said “Yes! That’s what The Possession Chronicles is all about.” Tragic events and doomed choices, all layered within romantic ideals that don’t always hold up in the humidity.

Mardi Gras is prominent in Perilous Confessions, the first book in the series, and there isn’t much in life more decadent than those masquerades. My tagline for the book is “Their love brought scandal and demons.” You can’t get much more doomed than demons. Add in the backdrop of carnival season with the juxtapose of life and death symbolized in much of Mobile, Alabama’s Mardi Gras history looming in the background–not to mention Catholic guilt–it creates a greater sense of urgency to the characters’ choices. A “play with Folly all you like, but come Lent it needs to stop” attitude that might be easier said than done when you dive into addiction and other psychological issues.

 

How do the characters hold up? Read to find out.
And I’m always happy to discuss.

 

The Final Countdown

Two weeks to go until Murmurs of Evil is in the wild and my emotional state reflects that anticipation. I did the final look through after formatting and now it’s just waiting for that pre-order option to go live. Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to be one of the first to get that ordering link.

My readers group on Facebook is a great place to learn about the behind-the-scenes information and tidbits about The Possession Chronicles, as well as my other writings. Take the link or search for Dalby’s Darklings. It’s a closed group, so you’ll need to request to join.

Another place for more visuals and fun is Pinterest. I have boards for all my books and more, plus one for The Possession Chronicles as a whole and several character inspiration boards for the main characters thus far.


You’ll hear from me next on release day. Until then, stay cool and keep reading.

 

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.

Won Over

Last night I went to a concert for a band I thought of as decent and liked a few songs by them (including one that’s on a soundtrack for a book in The Possession Chronicles.) Usually I don’t attend a concert unless it’s by a favorite because of two things: time and money. But this instance was for a good cause—an early birthday present for my middle child. We journeyed to Orange Beach, Alabama, to The Wharf in the stifling August heat to see Imagine Dragons at the amphitheater.

I was impressed by the fourteen-year-old opener, Grace VanderWaal. Mature voice, peppy songs, and adorable when she ran from a dragonfly and messed up the words. I’d never heard of her before and forgot to look her up before the concert, but it was a good set.

A half hour later, Imagine Dragons took the stage in an epic opening with “Radioactive.” First point: several songs in and I appreciated their talent completely. The sound was tight, energy good.  (I love hearing bands live and often prefer live versions to album versions of songs by my favorite bands.) And I’ve never seen so many confetti cannons before! They didn’t wait for a finale—they were going off throughout. Only the giant balloons were saved toward the end.

Second point: about two thirds of the way through the concert, the members came around to a small stage in the middle of the venue, halfway up the seating area and did three songs in an acoustic set. The only thing better than live versions are live acoustic versions. (Another point.) Most of the members played several instruments (bonus points) and they showed appreciation for the people in the back (like us.)

Even more point (are we still keeping score?): during “Demons” (one of my Possession Chronicles songs—lots of inner demons and otherwise in the series) Dan Reynolds did a shout out to youth suffering with depression and anxiety, urging them to seek therapy and find empowerment there like he did, and not take their lives because they are loved and needed. The whole show was like a party, positive vibes and sing-along fun until they ended with “Believer.” Much respect for Imagine Dragons!

Is there a band that won you over when you saw them live?

Talking Books in Online Readers Groups

It’s been a busy summer around here but there’s always time to talk books. I now have two active “Readers Groups” on Facebook. The first one I started several months ago: Young at Heart MG-YA Readers Group. This is the place to be if you enjoy coming-of-age stories traditionally marketed for readers 8-18. (My personal favorites tend to be the ones labeled 10-14 or simply 10+.) It’s a great group for those who love middle grade and young adult literature as well as teachers and parents looking for recommendations or those who like to reminisce about their favorite books from childhood.
The second group is new as of last week. I officially kicked it off July eighth to coincide with the six-months-until-release of Perilous Confessions, book one of The Possession Chronicles. (It will be here before we know it!) Possessed: Timeless Gothic Reads covers Gothic books from British classics like The Castle Otranto and Jane Eyre to the American standards like House of the Seven Gables and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow to the twentieth century offerings from author like Victoria Holt and Dorothy Eden as well as modern Gothics. Classic Gothics, Southern Gothic, Gothic Romance, Gothic family sagas, and more are open for discussion and recommendation. The group is still growing, but we’ve already had some great conversations so far about Southern Gothic literature from middle grade to adult books.

I invite you to join one or both if they fit your reading style. While you’re there, invite a friend too. There is room for all in these virtual discussions.

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?