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.

 

Scarred Memories Cover Reveal

The final edits are done and the cover is ready to roll. Now it’s turned over for formatting and waiting for that magical release day.

 

Once again, Ashley with Redbird Designs took my cover vision to the next level. Pictured is a representation of Lucy, who was on the cover of Perilous Confessions. I can’t wait to share the book with you and talk more about this family saga. Scarred Memories is truly a turning point in the series.

 

 

Book four of The Possession Chronicles returns readers to the downtown side of Mobile Bay, focusing on the Davenport and Easton families. There’s also the addition of a new characters including Darla Beauchamp, Henry Adams, and Valentino De Fiore (Claudio’s cousin). You can read the prologue to it in the back of Tendrils of Passion, book three.

What do you think of the cover?

 

New Year, New Stories

Unless you live along the Gulf Coast, the holidays are over. If you’re in the Mardi Gras zone, you know the festivities have just begun. Besides being a year old this week, Perilous Confessions is fun to talk about during carnival season. A lot of my historical research centered around Mardi Gras in the Port City.

The Possession Chronicles passed its one year mark, but growth is still happening. Three full-length novels are out–four if you count Fortitude as an unofficial prequel–as well as three short stories (if you include “Courtship and Courage”, the Fortitude short in Hometown Heroes.) Here’s a photo I took of the Possession Chronicles related books, including the anthologies featuring short stories, in chronological order of how to read them.

You can find a list of the publications in this order–including what’s to come and projected release dates where possible–on my website’s page dedicated to the series. Next to be added to is Valentine’s Day Pieces, a Mobile Writers Guild anthology, which releases later this month. Look for ordering links in the following blog post (in about two weeks.)

February will hopefully see the unveiling of book four’s cover as Scarred Memories releases in April. Also forthcoming is a yet-to-be-announced short story project that I’m co-writing with a USA Today best-selling author which ties our story worlds together.  2020 will be a year to read and remember.  Don’t miss out–catch up with The Possession Chronicles now!

 

Murmurs of Evil

If you subscribe to my newsletter or follow me on one of my social media pages, this will be old news to you. But if my blog is the only place you hear from me, it’s all new. The past few weeks I’ve had fun with the cover image for my next release, Murmurs of Evil. I enjoy creating visual “teasers” to introduce readers to my stories and this one is no different. Here’s a few examples.

Do you have a favorite?

Be sure to read Perilous Confessions, the first book in The Possession Chronicles, to be ready for Murmurs of Evil in less than four weeks.

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?

Mardi Gras History

Mardi Gras. I’ve always had a love or hate relationship with it. As a child growing up in California one of the highlights of the year was a box of beads, throws, and Moon Pies my mother’s cousin would send us. The magic of the sparkling beads, fun toys, and the wonders of sugar coated marshmallow pies. What wasn’t to love?

As I grew older, my understanding changed. Carnival is a time of excess and indulgent behavior and people use it as an excuse to sin. Behind the beauty in the pageantry, filthy behaviors happen within some circles. Tens of thousands—and more—dollars are spent only to pelt parade watchers with plastic, guzzle booze, and litter the streets. Think of all the good that money could be used for instead—a waste!

Then I discovered the historical origins and my understanding evolved further. Bachelors in Mobile began the first society as an impromptu parade through town to disturb the peace. The wildness was celebrating the New Year and the timing eventually expanded to be enjoyed before revelers humbled themselves for Lent. After the Civil War, people in the Port City needed something to lift their spirits and carnival was brought back. Today many of the societies donate to non-profits and do volunteer work throughout the year within the community.

While parades and extravagant balls aren’t my personal style, I’ve developed an appreciation for the colorful history it gives Mobile, Alabama. Before I began writing what is now the first book of The Possession Chronicles, Perilous Confessions, I researched the history of Mardi Gras in Mobile through books as well as newspaper articles from the 1905 season I wrote about. I knew I didn’t want to use real society names, so I asked the opinion of a writer friend who had tackled high society and Mardi Gras in a contemporary setting for her YA/NA novel Want. Stephanie gave me permission to use the society she created for her modern take on carnival in my series. I had a lot of fun creating the roots of Mystics of Dardenne and I’d like to think Isaac Laroche would find the Dardennes’ antics entertaining—at the very least.

Writing is all about stirring emotions. Things the author and the reader are passionate about are the best things to use, but passion isn’t always positive. The feelings I’ve had about Mardi Gras throughout my life (from wonder to disgust) can be found within Perilous Confessions. Just as with any topic, whatever your take on carnival season is I hope you’ll continue to find new information and insight to further your understanding of this unique event.

It’s release day for Perilous Confessions! You can read the first five chapters with the “Look Inside” option. (The digital sale price of $0.99 won’t last forever.) To check out Stephanie and her books, find her on Goodreads. Happy reading!