How many of you have read even a bit of Esmeralda?  A few hands?  Okay, that’s good. I just need a couple of opinions.

I am nearly finished with my first draft (nearing that dreadful ending I have to somehow rewrite to work in with new elements of the plot) and I am starting the exciting/tedious process of setting it into book form, in the Blurb BookSmart editor, so I can send in the files and have a real live book-version of my story sent to me. *claps hands* Yay!!

I have this little love affair with witty/profound/poetic quotations (my “Wilkommen” about me page is proof of this) and I want to put a relevant quotation right before the title page.  I have scrutinized my “favorite quotations” Listhings board, and have narrowed the list of candidates to the five listed below.  Would you let me know which you think is/are best fitting for the story?

Here they are:

1. “We owe it to each other to tell stories.” ~Neil Gaiman

2. “Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark.” ~Kate DiCamillo, The Tale of Desperaux

3. “In the light, we read the inventions of others; in the darkness we invent our own stories. ” ~ Alberto Manguel

4. “Stories can conquer fear, you know. They can make the heart bigger.” ~Ben Okri

5. “All stories are lies. But good stories are lies made from light and fire. And they lift our hearts out of the dust, and out of the grave.” ~Mike Carey

And then, with the “book” version of Esmeralda comes a new cover…ish.  The image I’ve been using on Figment is too low in quality for a full-sized book cover, so I’ve done my best to enhance the stock image, and print the title as best as I can.  The font is new, but the picture is the same. Don’t be mad. 😉

Read Esmeralda Here!

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It’s kinda awkward when you have a crush on one of your own characters.

It is not, however, infrequent among writers, I’ve surmised.  And this is certainly not the first time it has happened to me.

Des (Despard) Morrisay is my most recent “crush”, though that sounds mind-blowingly vain and conceited and arrogant, since I did think him up, after all.  But….he’s kind of adorable.  Trust me, whether or not it works out on the page, he’s basically perfect in my mind.  In an entirely different way than Tam is perfect.  Because…*River Song voice*…”Spoilers!” sadly, most of this book is about Isla learning to be strong without Tam, so there isn’t as much character development as I’d like for him.

Oh! Before I forget, Finding You is on Pinterest! Check out the board I’ve created here (I’ll be adding to it fairly often)!

But anyway.  I mentioned when I first announced Finding You in this post that I had a cast of supporting characters that I was excited about, and now you’ve met some of them- so here they are.

Des, my personal favorite, is imagined quite a bit after Dominic Cooper in appearance, with a bit of Peter Pan’s personality thrown in (my impression of Peter Pan from reading it as an 11-year-old, when I fell in love with him).  I haven’t honestly seen Dominic Cooper in many movies (for Sense and Sensibility I prefer Greg Wise as Wickham) but there’s something about him in Mamma Mia! that I really love.  My impression of his personality showing through in the role definitely impacted the character in my mind who later became Des.  Here are a couple of images to give you an idea.

    

Quite the charmer, huh?  I think so.

I’ve also been introducing y’all to the other girls in the cell, one-by-one.  Here are two of them, who play larger parts than the others:

    

The first is how I imagine Valentina looking- I don’t know who the picture is off, but the second I saw it I knew who Valentina was. She’s a bit more upfront of a character than some of the cast- at least, I think she’s a little more open.  You can tell who she is right off by what she does in a crisis situation, how she tries to be strong/put others first, etc.  At least I hope that’s obvious.  Even still she surprises me at times.  I hadn’t planned the bit about her brother getting shot until I was writing it and thought, “Of course she had a little brother.”

The second image is Abbie Cornish, in Sucker Punch.  That movie….oh man, it rocked my world.  I watch it whenever I can get my hands on it, and blast the soundtrack like nobody’s business.  It’s…oh man. I don’t even know. It’s epic.  One of my favorite movies ever, and the opening scene is by far the greatest opening scene in the history of film.  Anyway.  The character of Sweetpea, played by Abbie Cornish, is strong-willed and kinda kick-*ahem*-butt, but aside from appearance, that’s where the similarities end.  Sweetpea is protective and, when it comes to her sister, selfless.  She’s also not one to take risks that have little-to-no chance of paying out.  My Phoebe is very different, as I hope I’ll be able to portray.  Escape, and not the people around her, is what she cares about.  She also dresses a little differently. 😉

I’m nearly ready to introduce y’all to Oliver, who I am super excited about, and Josiah Boyne, who is also….um, exciting.  He’s a character at least.  Though I’ve already let you briefly meet Zachariah Curram, I’m holding off from giving you my thoughts on him, and any pictures for the time being because I want his character to speak for itself.  There’s a scene with him coming up that I am really excited about writing.  I’ll post a second wave of character introductions a little later. 🙂

Thanks for reading!  Comment and let me know what you think of the way I’ve imagined the characters, and let me know how your imagination differs!

READ FINDING YOU HERE

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Here they are, folks! [Most of] my cast!  I’ve had a few characters that only exist because I someone to shape them around [Leopold] and others that took me months to figure out what they looked like [Evy’s mother, the queen].  But here’s what I’ve come up with.

To see them better, view the image in a new tab; I had to make it a bit small so it would fit my theme. 😉

Going down each column, left to right:

Nicolai [Liam Neeson],

Roman [Chord Overstreet],

Natalia [Natalie Portman]

Leopold [Henry Cavill],

Evangeline [random image I found],

The Queen (Evy’s mother) [Femke Janssen]

Leopold (again) [Henry Cavill],

Evangeline (again) [Mischa Barton],

The King (Evy’s father) [William Fichtner]

Aron [Peter Facinelli],

Jakob [Daniel Craig]

Daria [Kate Micucci],

Yurik [Rupert Penry-Jones],

Ivan [Matt Bomer]

There you are!   Tatiana is not pictured here, as I’m still sorting out her exact appearance, and neither is the maid who gave Evy a hard time (and returns soon), who looks like Eve Myles, or Luka, who is based a little off of Sean Palmer in the original cast of the Broadway Little Mermaid.   I haven’t yet gotten Mikhail figured out either. :/ Let me know if these aren’t how you pictured the characters, if they are, or if you have any suggestions on changes!  Thanks!

p.s. I’m about to post two new chapters! Check them out!

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Before I begin, I’d like to make it clear once and for all that Esmeralda has NOTHING to do with gypsies.  I promise.  It’s the truth.  Gypsies are awesome and all, and yes I’ve written a dozen cliched and possibly thrilling stories about heroines who join gypsy troupes, but this is not one of those.  Just putting that out there.  (This is a hint to all those lovely people who ask me to please stop.)

Now, to business.  A brilliant friend of mine once shared via her blog some of her personal strategies, quirks, pet peeves, and idiosyncrasies (than Heaven for spell check on that one) about writing.  One thing she mentioned that inspired me to no end was an, “Inspired By” list. She says she keeps them at the beginning of her stories, to remind her of the feel she wants her book to have.  For instance the list for her pirate novel, Privateer, includes the song “Woman” from Boubil and Schonberg’s musical, The Pirate Queen.  You can see instantly why we’re friends. I THOUGHT NO ONE ELSE HAD EVER EVEN HEARD OF THE PIRATE QUEEN.

So I thought I’d do the same for Esmeralda.  I’ve come up with some of the items, settings, characters and old stories that for a time roiled my mind until coming out as Esmeralda.  So here are a few:

Marie Antoinette, the fate of her family, and the French Revolution in general. (Best history subject ever much? YES.)  This also includes the book The Red Necklace.  I get chills just thinking about it. *shiver*

The fashions / weapons / prisons in The Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

The jail cell in The Count of Monte Cristo. Not gonna lie- I basically just described that cell, no imagination necessary.

The old myth of the tragic lovers, Pyramus & Thisbe.  (I’m pretty sure Shakespeare was inspired by them as well.)

The bloke who plays Monsieur Thenardier in the 1998 movie adaptation of Les Miserables.  He just kinda stuck in my mind, and then boom! One day I needed a jailer, and there he was.  No Armand Dorleac, to be sure, but I couldn’t really plagiarizeThe Count of Monte Cristoagain.

The book and the movie(s) of The Scarlet Pimpernel.  Again with the French Revolution.  I don’t know why since the stories have nothing to do with each other.

Random things like masquerade balls, decorative masks, black feathers, purple silk, dingy cellars / jail cells, clock faces, clock chimes, roman numerals, flintlock pistols, hook & eye boots…the list goes on.

And then of course people: Henry Cavill, Chord Overstreet, Daniel Craig, Mischa Barton, Peter Facinelli.

That’s about it, at the moment.  There are lots of scenes and memories I can’t place, but I don’t want to bore y’all by wracking my brain for too long.  That’s the basics. 🙂

Brace yourselves, y’all: I have news.  Whether it’s good or bad you can decide, but here it is: “Project: Proxy” has been terminated, temporarily.  *tear*

I’ve ranted to some of you about the issues it has been giving me and honestly guys, I can’t handle it right now.  I’ve always read / heard writers joke about their characters “taking control” or “not listening to them” or a scene having its own ideas of where it’s going.  And I really truly thought I knew what they were talking about.

I DID NOT.

I was an innocent babe.

A fool, an amateur, an idiot.

I KNEW NOTHING.

Proxy actually hates me, and it’s rather heartbreaking- like a little child you’ve nurtured from infancy who suddenly says “no” and eyes you with disdain.  And yet I’m far too attached to discipline as of yet.  So we’ll see what happens with my own dear Proxy– I’m a firm believer in not leaving your characters hanging, in giving them if not a happily ever after then at least some sort of closure.  And I did break out the old versions of Proxy I never got more than 14 pages in, including (but not limited to) versions where “Jude” was this kick-butt and yet middle-aged tutor guy called Malachi who was far too heavily influenced by the character of Red in The Edge on the Sword (aaaaamazing book) and a piece where the “Roe” character doesn’t even know about the courtship until it starts happening and decides to be a freelancing spy. I’d like to think the story has improved.  Oh, and the messenger, “Liam”, calls her “lass”…ummm…I had probably just read The Lioness and her Knight. I’m gonna excuse myself this time.

But anyway, that’s the deal with Proxy right now.  I’m a little sad to see it go, but I have to chop it for now. It will return!

I have, however, been continuing “Finding You” and “Esmeralda Draft #2” whenever I get a moment, and I like some of where they’re both going.  I’m dying to introduce my character “Des” in “Finding You”, and “Esmeralda” is finally getting to what I think is the interesting stuff.  That being said, I am in love with the below picture of Henry Cavill (who, if you don’t know, “plays” Leopold in the movie version in my head).

Also, last quick thing about Leopold.

I read this one book about a year ago. Perhaps you’ve heard of it, or perhaps you live under an enormous rock.  Either that or you’re homeschooled. (I’m allowed to make those jokes.)  The book is called Divergent.  I’m a critical reader, okay?  I’ve found flaws (albeit minor) with Shannon Hale, Suzanne Collins, Orson Scott Card…my idols. (Jane Austen remains blameless, folks.)  But I swear, Divergent (Veronica Roth) was pretty close to perfection. Pretty close.  I’m still freaking out waiting for my hold at the library for the sequel, but I’ll see how that goes.

The only thing about the book that super duper irritated me (*spoiler alert*) is that the guy, known initially as “Four”, has a secret identity that is later discovered by the heroine, Tris, and she ever after calls him by his real name: Tobias.  Now…I have nothing against the name Tobias (I have this super cool friend with that name, though we call him Toby).  But it did. not. suit. him.  It drove me nuts.  And just as Veronica Roth changed the name of the “hero” half-way through the book to a completely different one, I’ve done the same with Leopold.

Is that allowed?  Because when I was writing the first draft I planned on Evangeline calling him “Bastian” throughout the entire book- true identity revealed and all.  But then…it happened.  He became Leopold., because he’s different than Bastian, just as “Esmeralda” is different than the Evangeline he knew in prison- they’ve both changed and they’re both following a different set of protocols and fulfilling different roles in such their current setting.  So.  Have I done wrong?  Because I don’t think I’d want to change it now.

I’m rather in love with Leopold, in a different way that I was with Bastian.  Does that make sense?  Oh well.  I hope it does. :/

[P.S. world- did y’all hear that Henry Cavill is playing Superman with Amy Adams as Lois Lane?  I’m not freaking out or ANYTHING.]

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I’m horribly lacking in self control when it comes to writing.  In the past month I’ve started so many new novels, it’s not even funny.

These include:

My SteamPunk-ish story Finding You, which some of you have read.

A post-Civil War retelling of Beauty & the Beast where the “beast” is a well-to-do black-guy in a super racist southern town and “belle” is a girl who is forced to get work taking care of his manor to save her family from destitution.

A fantastical tale of adventure about a slightly deformed young man who, fearful of people, decides to see the world and makes it his goal to go everywhere man has not (he ends up in a desert land modeled after the middle east (especially what I saw in Hidalgo and Lawrence of Arabia) where a fabled crazy land no one is allowed to cross is walled off…he decides to enter anyway, with the help of a young guide who is a girl who has to dress as a boy to get past the guards and all sorts of randomity).

 

 

A SteamPunk retelling of “Snow White” that involves gypsies and the circus and a knife-thrower who’s called the “prince” of his art.  (See what I did there?  He’s the “prince” in the story but not really a- oh, you got it? Okay.)

A tragedy about a girl with a bucket list that includes falling in love, and a young man whose “business” is selling dreams and making them come true.  The fellow, Cal, is based on Bobby Hicks down to the tattoos, gages and beanie.  So you know he’s fantastic. 😉  And there’s an extremely important scene at a carousel- hence the image.

A second draft of my original “baby”, “Betrayal”/”Treachery”.

And a romantic fantasy about a girl who can draw “memories” out of objects, like music out of the walls of a ballroom, etc.

My imagination (even though half of those aren’t even great) has been going madder than usual.  If that’s possible.  So I beg your forgiveness if my posting has been decreased or distracted or overwhelming in some ways and less than satisfactory in others.  I’ll shape up, I promise.

Also, as you can see, I even went about making “fake” covers for some of them. I just love making covers. It’s sad, a little.

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I know I’ve done this “announcement” thing in the wrong order, but I’m here to tell y’all about my latest might-be-masterpiece-after-a-dozen-drafts, “Finding You”.  I had this idea for the first scene (though instead of a rooftop it originally took place in a field) and started writing, with no thought to the fact that I had no storyline whatsoever.  I didn’t even have names for the characters.  But I saw something in my head and had to write it down.  “The Flash” (as Emily Starr would have me call it) of inspiration comes to me like this A LOT, but 9 1/2 times out of 10 it results in crumpled papers that sit for years in my file box and never see the light of day after the first moment I’ve written them.

This time, however…it worked.

I decided I wanted my world to be a SteamPunk one (I’ve never read or written any SteamPunk before; my experience comes completely  from video games and internet image searches, so bear with me) and I wanted it to be about separation, and then searching.  I didn’t know that a mixed up plot about war and trafficking and white-hot brands and outlaws and a brothel and other crazy random happenstance would evolve, though.

But…it has!

I’ve written about twenty pages (the chapters are less than a page each) and I’m anxious to post more, after I make sure that what I’ve got lines up with my vision for the story.

For once I’m super excited about my supporting cast: that’s not to get your hopes up, because they could be absolute rubbish, despite my best efforts, but I’m looking forward to their stories as much as I am to my protagonists’.

If you’ve read any of “Finding You” on Figment, you’ve met Tam and Isla, my hero and heroine.  They’re opposites: he’s bold and thrill-seeking, she’s quiet and meek, friends all their lives, and basically, they love each other.  This love is newly realized when circumstances cause Tam to join the army, and misfortune finds Isla kidnapped and on her way to be trafficked with a score of other girls to be sold to underground brothels and clients.  It’s not fun.

But amidst her horrific circumstances, Isla (unable to get word to / from Tam, obviously) learns who she is, and becomes one of a cast of other “unfortunates” that I cannot wait to write about.  Including, but by no means limited to two of my guys:

Des – modeled in looks after Dominic Cooper, in personality kinda (wait for it…) after Peter Pan.  Let me just say that I’ve had a “back-of-my-mind” crush on Peter Pan since I read the book as an 11-year old and thought he was the greatest thing to hit planet earth…sort of.

Oliver – a slave since he was a kid, when he got his tongue cut out (he can’t talk now…in case you didn’t derive that) but happens to be quick with anything that involves his hands: machinery, sleight of hand, lock picking, etc and is rather adorable and is kinda like a kid even though he’s like 17.

And then I’ve got some fairly sinister villains planned, with names like Zachariah Curram and Ambrose Hoctor.  So I’m feeling happy about this story.

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Oh, and these are Tam and Isla:

(Alex Pettyfer)

 

(same as cover…random image)

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve officially introduced my favorite and also most hated character into Proxy: The Messenger.

In my head he’s the greatest thing to hit planet “whatever-planet/world-my-book-takes-place-on”, but unfortunately my execution so far has been less than brilliant.  To put it bluntly, I’ve written 85 pages of Proxy and I can hardly stand the guy, even though I love him! And wrote him to be quite the character! And as far as working through his relationship with Roe (who I am siding with at  the moment because she’s at least being true to who I told her to be) to get to the point where there’s some chemistry between them?  Yep, not happening.  He goes between seeming like a jerk, to being cryptic, to being flat-out impossible to understand.  And I swear, he hasn’t listened to a word I’ve written about him! It’s completely driving me nuts.

However, if it’s any consolation, he’s rather gorgeous.

I wrote this story years ago about this girl who was going to have an arranged marriage, then this guy comes to her family’s home in the middle of a storm, stays a bit with them, they fall in love, and then her fiancé arrives and the cool guy has to leave, because it’s awkward and painful to both of them, and then the girl runs away, and then there’s a search on for her, and Cool Guy volunteers to help (because he wuvs her) she does too (in the guise of a boy) because she wants to be close to him, and there’s confusion and all the clichés you can imagine and he eventually realizes who she is and BAM. They decide to run away together. And I never really wrote the ending or decided what the conclusion would be.  You probably don’t care a hoot for any of that. Anyway….I based Cool Guy’s appearance on Jude Law.

Why? You ask.  Just kidding, you didn’t ask, because it’s obvious.  It’s Jude Law.

But when I trashed that story I kinda wanted a place for the overly attractive and thoroughly British Mr. Law among my writings.  And hello! Here he is: The Messenger.

 

So there you have it.  I wanted to rant about how troublesome he is for me to anyone out there, and you, my dear blog (and possible readers), seemed like the best option.  But now I’ve got to get back to work on writing him.  And eating copious amounts of mashed potatoes to sooth my irritation.  And listening to the overly-epic Master and Commander soundtrack.

Also…new chapter!!

Some of you know that I have an embarrassing and ongoing love affair with sticky-notes.   I’m sure my family thinks I’m some kind of freak, since my mirror, walls, bureau, headboard, and desk are all covered in them, some scribbled feverishly in the dark when I’m supposed to be sleeping and slapped to the nearest hard surface, others when my eyes pop open in the morning and all I can think of the next plot development or character’s back-story I’ve thought (or dreamt) of.

It’s pathetic.

And then one day my friend Anderson mentioned in casual (facebook) conversation, this thing called “Listhings” that he thought I might enjoy. Little did he know…. *maniacal laugh, maniacal laugh*

I’ve become obsessed. It’s like sticky-notes…on my laptop.  And you can have pictures, and put script in bold, and italics, and cross it through, and you can drag things around and add checklists and…I’m in love with it.  I’ve made half a dozen “boards” (not to be confused with the nearly as epic Pinterest-style boards) and I have to force myself to stop at that for now.

So anyway.  Because I love y’all, I will let you in on my secrets.  In previous posts, such as “Leopold” and “Evangeline” Ihave introduced you to my leading characters.  I’ll put a couple of screenshots of my board here, but if you’d like to officially view it, put a comment on this blog and I’ll send you an invite to view the board.  🙂  Be warned that there are dozens upon dozens of spoilers.  Don’t read beyond the section with the pictures if you don’t want to know the entire plot. 😉

I like to put questions I’m pondering as well:

And then random things that overwhelm me because I want to live up to them:

Anyways, that’s it for now.  Comment or message me if you want the password to view it in full!

So guess what? I just added a chapter to Proxy!!  I’m sure you’ve all been holding your breath.  Yep. It’s taken me long enough, but there you have it, chapter two.  So I thought I’d introduce you to a few of the characters (I can’t include my favorite yet as he hasn’t shown up in the story yet…grrr) :

Firstly, there’s Roe.  That’s obvious.

I don’t have her completely pegged yet, but I have a kind of wispy idea of her in my head.  Since in the three years I took trying to write this story and failing over and over again I was spurred on to write this draft by watching the movie Hanna, I identify Roe a little bit with Saoirse Ronan- I’m a big fan, even though I don’t find her all that pretty. Perhaps that’s why- she fits with the idea I have of Roe, but more in mien and personality than looks.

I kinda like it.  But watch Hanna and you’ll get a better idea, aside from the light hair.

Other random pictures that inspire me:

I love this last one even though there’s not a masquerade (that I’ve planned, at least) in Proxy.

And then as far as Jude goes:

This may be the only attractive picture ever of Liam Hemsworth (and I’ve yet to find one of his brother), in my opinion.  I cannot bring myself to join the “Liam-Hemsworth-Is-So-Hot” bandwagon. I just don’t see it. Plus he kinda annoys me. Aside from being Australian, I don’t personally think he has anything going for him.  Especially since he played Gale…but I swear that’s beside the point.  Howevvvverrrr…he’s exactly as I picture Jude from the second I thought of his character.  So there you have it.

Anyways… NEW CHAPTER!

(I have actually written over 60 pages, but I haven’t yet typed them into my computer.  Old-fashioned, I know.)