Thursday, July 31, 2014

#Throwback Thursday

Hey all,

I will be bringing you a new Fifty Shades-ish post tonight. But for #throwbackthursday, I'm bringing you a post I made a couple months ago on the Scary Stories Trilogy that was popular in the 1980s and 1990s.
Since I seem to be getting several new visitors here as of late, I think this will also be a good time to refer back to an earlier post in order to offer a little more perspective into what I'm about. 

Enjoy. :)

My Blogpost: "The Scary Stories Trilogy Corrupted Me as a Youth, and I'm Glad It Did

Tiffany



If you would like to join our community and receive content exclusive to email, join our little tribe and Subscribe to my Messages from the Labyrinth Mailing List.. We promise to never share your info or spam you. Ever.

You can also subscribe to my YouTube Channel for new vlogging updates.


******

My stories, "The Cemetery by the Lake" and "Dusk to Dawn" are available at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
and Amazon
"The Cemetery by the Lake" at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
"Dusk to Dawn" at Smashwords
Tiffany on Goodreads
My music is also available at CDBaby
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Abigail Barnette/Jenny Trout's THE BOSS

Love it or hate it, the release of the Fifty Shades series brought the erotica genre to the forefront in literature as well as popularized the BDSM subculture. Eventually, I broke down and read the books. Here's what I thought: the story had promise. But there were several things that held it back from being what I would call a really good read. The first being the elephant in the room that everyone (including some fans of the series) mentioned, and that is the less than stellar writing and/or lack of editing. Then there are the characters themselves who I feel had potential to be three dimensional but just weren't fleshed out in a way where they could have really been - for me - relatable. Add to that, there were aspects of the relationship between Christian and Ana that not only had those in the BDSM community less than thrilled, but also those with experience in abusive relationships.
While I don't claim to be a BDSM expert, I do know individuals within the scene, and I know enough to recognize the flaws that present themselves in Fifty Shades. Therefore, I can only hope that those wanting to try BDSM after reading the Fifty Shades trilogy will do some non-fiction research instead of blindly trying to imitate the actions described in the books.

With that said, I also want to raise the point of this particular series and many of its knock offs typically showing a person into BDSM being into it simply because they are damaged and need cured of their 'addiction.' How many of them show a real, honest to goodness, BDSM relationship in a way that is closer to how such relationships actually work?
I discovered author Jenny Trout (aka Abigail Barnette in the erotica world) via the Jenny Reads section on her blog when I was searching critical reviews on Fifty Shades. She obviously had strong opinions on the trilogy and was doing a rather entertaining chapter by chapter recap of the book. Then, she announced in 2012 that she was going to be releasing a serial novel titled, The Boss via her blog, as an experiment of sorts. It was to be a more realistic and sex-positive twist on Fifty Shades. Of course, something like that can be hit or miss and I was definitely intrigued. I'd also come to enjoy her writing, so I followed along, reading each installment of The Boss as it was released. Jenny (Abigail) herself even stated that this is something that could either end on a very positive note or have her falling flat on her face in trying to achieve it.

So for starters, The Boss had no self-loathing, inexperienced heroine, and the billionaire was not some poor, tormented soul who just happened to strike it rich at a very young age. In fact, The Boss features a 24-year-old heroine by the name of Sophie Scaife who is confident, self-assured in most aspects of her life, and sexually experienced.  And the billionaire, Neil Elwood? Well, he isn't a self-made billionaire in his mid to late twenties. Nope. He is a self-made billionaire in his late forties (yep, you read that correctly).
Now I know some may be cringing at that, but you know what? Jenny/Abigail writes it in a way that works and the reader is able to see and understand their attraction. Plus, it is more realistic to be a self-made billionaire in your forties instead of your twenties. Unless the guy is a trust-fund baby who used his inheritance to start a business, and even in that situation, he still wouldn't really be self-made. Not completely, at least.
Neil is also a sexually confident individual, and while Sophie is experienced, she is new to BDSM. Therefore, he takes the time to make sure she educates herself on the subject, presenting her with reliable (non-fiction) books and material instead of just telling her to look it up on Wikipedia (something Christian did with Ana in Fifty Shades that I had a huge issue with). After all, such a relationship takes a great amount of trust between the individuals involved. Unlike what Christian, Neil made sure Sophie properly researched in order to come to an honest assessment of whether or not it was something she would be interested in. There was also no stalking or tracking the other person, and if Neil or Sophie did cross any boundaries (these people are human, after all), it was made sure an understanding was reached of it not occurring again.
Neil also made sure Sophie knew exactly what was going on during their sexual encounters, especially the first ones. He made sure the enjoyment was mutual. He also didn't get upset when she safeworded him (another issue I had with Fifty Shades...to say that Christian threw a hissy fit when Ana had the audacity to safeword him is a gross understatement).
Now, this doesn't mean that Neil and Sophie didn't have their problems as I already stated above. There is a generational gap, something that does prove an adjustment for both. Jenny does a great job presenting them as flawed human beings who sometimes don't handle their situations in an ideal fashion, but who wants to read about perfect people?

I very much enjoyed reading The Boss and loved it's take on Fifty Shades. While other authors rode the Fifty Shades coattails and used the same formula, Jenny Trout/Abigail Barnette took that and went in another direction. A direction that worked very well.

The Boss series currently has four released installments:
The Boss
The Girlfriend 
The Hookup (a short)
The Bride

2015 is to bring the release of the last two installments, The Ex and The Baby.

I think what I also like about The Boss series, is that it touches on subjects some might consider controversial or taboo for a romance series. And yes, some have been put off by it. But you know what? It calls many "supposed tos" into question, as does her blog. I can always appreciate someone who is able to think critically and call into question what is being pushed, even if I may not necessarily agree with every last thing the person says.

In a way, I can understand why Fifty Shades of Grey and books that follow it's pattern are enjoyed. They are fantasies, and everyone loves a good fantasy. But it should be taken as just that instead of the 'how-to guide' it seems to be turning it into (or already has turned into). If you want a more realistic exploration a BDSM relationship in a fictional setting, check out The Boss.

And one of the best parts about The Boss series is that the first book is available for free in ebook form (the books also come in paperback as well). So what have you got to lose? :)

The Boss on Amazon

The Boss on Smashwords

The Boss on Barnes & Noble NOOK


I will be discussing the series further as the week continues. :)


If you would like to join our community and receive content exclusive to email, join our little tribe and Subscribe to my Messages from the Labyrinth Mailing List.. We promise to never share your info or spam you. Ever.

You can also subscribe to my YouTube Channel for new vlogging updates.


******

My stories, "The Cemetery by the Lake" and "Dusk to Dawn" are available at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
and Amazon
"The Cemetery by the Lake" at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
"Dusk to Dawn" at Smashwords
Tiffany on Goodreads
My music is also available at CDBaby
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound


Fifty Shades of Grey

Well, as I'm sure many know by now, the trailer for the Fifty Shades of Grey movie has been released, complete with a new version of a Beyonce track and everything. After giving it some thought, I've decided that  I'm doing something a little different for the blog this week, making it Fifty Shades Week here. Though not in a way people might think.

After thinking about it, I realized that of all the fads I've seen come and go over the years, I find myself being the most intrigued by the fanaticism over the Fifty Shades franchise. I was planning on discussing this in a blogpost in the near future, and decided why the hell not now with the hype around the movie being started, and all?

One thing I stress here on this blog (and most everything I do) is maintaining a critical eye on pop culture and what is deemed as the new cultural phenomenon by the mainstream media and the powers that be. It is not necessarily my intention to knock the series (though I may in a few areas), but to perhaps study why the obsession when erotica has actually been around hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Why is it being hailed as this 'new and great' thing?

I've mentioned Jenny Trout's excellent and highly entertaining Fifty Shades recaps here before and she even recapped the trailer as well (and as someone who works regularly in the horror genre, I concur with all the remarks being made of it looking like a trailer for a horror film).
She's also written an erotica series titled The Boss, which I will discuss in further detail tomorrow (I'm in the process of editing the post) along with why I recommend checking it out.

Another I will be discussing is Sylvain Reynard's Gabriel series (which I actually did enjoy).

Til then, enjoy the remainder of your weekend.
Tiff



If you would like to join our community and receive content exclusive to email, join our little tribe and Subscribe to my Messages from the Labyrinth Mailing List.. We promise to never share your info or spam you. Ever.

You can also subscribe to my YouTube Channel for new vlogging updates.


******

My stories, "The Cemetery by the Lake" and "Dusk to Dawn" are available at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
and Amazon
"The Cemetery by the Lake" at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
"Dusk to Dawn" at Smashwords
Tiffany on Goodreads
My music is also available at CDBaby
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound


Thursday, July 24, 2014

BYGONE ERAS: Hidden History and a Look at Bunny Yeager

As it is with most bloggers and video bloggers, my posts come from my own views and observations of the world, along with things I've come to learn along the way. My Night Terrors and Bygone Eras blogposts started as a way of me sharing my research, theories, and some interesting findings I made while writing The Birthrite Series. The fire for the Bygone Eras series was lit when I got really tired of seeing otherwise very intelligent people accepting what was being said to them by the mainstream media. A couple also tried saying my characters weren't believable because they supposedly weren't 'true to their eras' (the 1800s and 1930s). In my story, a of my female characters were intelligent, had a love for reading, and boyfriends who were actually supportive even if they (the boyfriends) did struggle a little with subscribing to the traditional male/female roles.

I'm not going to reiterate my entire rebuttal in this post. If you want to see that, visit these previous blog posts:

This is the very first Bygone Eras Series post if you want to read what I have to say on such statements.

I got tired of all the demonization without acknowledgement. It sometimes seems that unless you are only pointing out the negative, people tend to tune you out. Instead of taking comfort in the fact that there were those - men and women - who made waves against the agenda of the powers that be, they just want to reiterate the same tired stereotypes (yes, stereotypes) pushed by our media.
It also seems that there is alot of hidden history. Why is that?
Recently, I came across a college student who referred to herself as a feminist. While I did not take issue with that, I was a little thrown off when she obviously had no idea who women like Susan B. Anthony and Amelia Earhart were. Really??
Now I can hear some out there saying "Oh, but she's young...she can't be expected to know all that yet." I can understand not knowing every last historical figure. Hell, I'm still coming to know several myself. But I was being taught of Susan B. Anthony and Amelia Earhart by fifth grade. And college-aged is not THAT young to where such ignorance should be excused. But at the same, she can't really be blamed. Obviously, somebody failed her somewhere. I do believe in personal responsibility and in people taking the time to look things up for themselves. But unless they are taught the basics on where to look and who to look for, how is someone to know?
This also begs the question of WHY is there so much hidden history? Why are we only shown small portions of what went down before our time? There are so many accounts of events that one really does need to read it from different angles and perspectives in order really gauge a realistic view of what happened.

Since we are on the subjects of Women's History, let's look at a short posting I made not too long ago regarding women in comics, cartoons, and illustrations. How many knew that the first known female cartoonist in America was selling her work at around the turn of the 20th century?

For more on this history, here's the link to the article: Women in Comics: The Platinum and the Golden Ages

And here is another (which includes the woman I'm featuring today and women I may do a post about in the future): 
Hidden History: Female Pinup Artists

And my own blogpost that sort of touches on this subject: "Mixed Messages and Our Media" or "Check Yourself Before Pointing Fingers"

Recently, pinup model and photographer, Bunny Yeager passed away at the age of 85:

 LA Times Article on Ms. Yeager's life and death at 85

Even perusing articles that tributed her life, it amazed me how few there were paying their respects or sharing these articles (at least in the ones I saw). Again I ask: why are we not giving these women and men the respect and credit they deserve?



For my tribute, I will being by saying that I first heard of Bunny Yeager when I decided to look more into the life of Bettie Page (who I absolutely adore). I discovered more about the photographers who had worked with Ms. Page, and Ms. Yeager was among them. In fact, Bunny Yeager was someone who worked with not only Page, but other models in pinup and erotica throughout the 1950s.
She was born Linnea Eleanor Yeager in Wilkinsburg, PA on March 13, 1929. Her interest in photography was born at a young age. According to the LA Times article, she started practicing in her teens with her friends posing in a variety of poses that were on the erotic side, but nudity was never involved, as there would not be anywhere she would be able to develop them. Soon after moving to Miami, she broke into the modeling industry and became one of the most photographed models in the state.
In the early 1950s, she retired in favor of working behind the camera and attended a photography school. In 1954, she met Bettie Page, and the two worked together frequently, including shooting the Playboy spread that made Page famous (the infamous nude Santa).
Yeager had a way of photographing eroticism, making it beautiful and artful. She was among many driven and accomplished women of the era, making a living in a trade considered rather taboo. Sure, there were those who looked down on what she did, calling it pornography and/or smut, but there were also those who appreciated what she did and still do so today. She made a living in what was considered a 'man's industry' and still, in a way, is. She took what was already being done and creating her own style that made her stand out from her counterparts.

Bunny Yeager is one of many amazing women who should be remembered for the person she was and her accomplishments. She should not be hidden in history. She is one of many who should always be given props.

I future Bygone Eras installments, I will be spotlighting women and men who made waves against the powers that be. I will also be continuing to address the various strawman arguments. My intention in everything I do is not to tell people what to think, but simply give people something to think about. Maybe do a little research of their own. Research that may be a little more outside the box.





Bunny Yeager Official Website
Link to an Interview with Bunny Yeager





If you would like to join our community and receive content exclusive to email, join our little tribe and Subscribe to my Messages from the Labyrinth Mailing List.. We promise to never share your info or spam you. Ever.

You can also subscribe to my YouTube Channel for new vlogging updates.


******

My stories, "The Cemetery by the Lake" and "Dusk to Dawn" are available at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
and Amazon
"The Cemetery by the Lake" at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
"Dusk to Dawn" at Smashwords
Tiffany on Goodreads
My music is also available at CDBaby
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound







Sunday, July 20, 2014

REVIEW SUNDAY: Sara Brooke's THE MAD MONKEY KING


The fair is typically full of fun, exciting rides.
But you've never ridden anything like this.
It sits in silence and waits - its red eyes glowing in the darkness. It waits to offer riders the chance for redemption or a fate worse than death.
The Mad Monkey King is ready to take Gary Moore on a journey. He doesn't realize that he's about to enter a realm that defies everything that's real and logical.
Because once he enters the darkness, he may never find his way out.
The Mad Monkey King is a short story filled with horror, suspense and adventure.


I love carnivals and amusement parks, especially old ones that have a history (I pretty much love anything old with a history). I love stories and films based around them, from Tod Browning's 1932 film, Freaks to the 1962 film Carnival of Souls to 1981's Fun House to 2006's Dark Ride, there is something about setting a dark fiction story at a carnival. Even one of my favorite music acts, Midnight Syndicate released an album title "Carnival Arcane", based on the music and mystery surrounding the old, traveling fairs of yesteryear. So when Sara Brooke announced that her newest story would be taking place one, I was of course looking forward to reading it.
I love Sara Brooke's stories. Some I like more than others, but I always look forward to her putting out a new work. The Mad Monkey King is a short story, therefore reading it is not a huge commitment. Also because it is a short story, I don't want to say too much about it without giving it away, but I will say that as it typically is with this author's stories, you never really know what's coming up (kind of like a dark ride, huh?). Just when you think you know what's coming, you are steered in a completely different direction.
The story is told in first person (by the main character, Gary Moore), thus giving the reader a chance to really experience what the character is going through and his emotional journey. The author does a good job of painting the characters, from the main character to the more secondary ones.
For a while, The Kransen House was my favorite Sara Brooke story, but I think The Mad Monkey King has taken its place...or at least tied with it.

Check out The Mad Monkey King at Amazon and Smashwords:

The Mad Monkey King on Smashwords


While you're at it, check out The Kransen House as well:


The Kransen House on Smashwords

If you would like to join our community and receive content exclusive to email, join our little tribe and Subscribe to my Messages from the Labyrinth Mailing List.. We promise to never share your info or spam you. Ever.

You can also subscribe to my YouTube Channel for new vlogging updates.


******

My stories, "The Cemetery by the Lake" and "Dusk to Dawn" are available at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
and Amazon
"The Cemetery by the Lake" at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
"Dusk to Dawn" at Smashwords
Tiffany on Goodreads
My music is also available at CDBaby
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound


Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Little of What I've Been Up To...

Some behind the scenes footage of the filming of the new film by Eerie Frequency Entertainment (my character is Porcia) and today, Byron Cherry of "The Dukes of Hazzard" fame was onset to do his role. :)

This film stars Byron Cherry (Dukes of Hazzard), Linda Harrison (Planet of the Apes), Suzie Feldman (The Surreal Life, The Two Corys), and other awesome folks. :D



This second video was of my third day onset. Includes some commentary by my costar, Matt Jefferson. :P


And here is a photo I did from a recent photo shoot with Malcolm Gittins. If you like the brain shirt, visit the Goods & Evil website.







And as always, feel free to subscribe to my YouTube Channel.  I do post things regularly as I do here and try to keep to a schedule, though sometimes other people's projects as well as trying to finish my own may interfere a little (as they kind of are now). But I do try to post something fairly regularly.

Also, stay tuned for my review of Sara Brooke's The Mad Monkey King.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Updates Coming Soon

Hey all,

I'll be posting my new blogpost as well as vids and pics from one of the films I'm on this weekend.

My newest vlog will also be posted soon as well.

Thanks for your patience as I balance a pretty full plate right now. :)

Tiffany

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The History of Women in Comics

An interesting look at women in comic strips and books (the artists as well as the characters) throughout history. The first known female cartoonist in America was producing and selling in her work during the turn of the 20th century.

I thought this might be interesting since a good portion of Descent takes place during the 1930s, right on the cusp of the Roaring 20s and the Depression, and this article covers a nice portion of that era.

Women in Comics: The Platinum and the Golden Ages



If you would like to join our community and receive content exclusive to email, join our little tribe and Subscribe to my Messages from the Labyrinth Mailing List.. We promise to never share your info or spam you. Ever.

You can also subscribe to my YouTube Channel for new vlogging updates.


******

My stories, "The Cemetery by the Lake" and "Dusk to Dawn" are available at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
and Amazon
"The Cemetery by the Lake" at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
"Dusk to Dawn" at Smashwords
Tiffany on Goodreads
My music is also available at CDBaby
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound

Saturday, July 12, 2014

REVIEW SUNDAY: Kimberly Bennett's TWISTED DELIGHTS: A THRILLING SHORT STORY ANTHOLOGY




Twisted Delights: A Thrilling Short Story Anthology is a strange collection of ten short stories which include a homicidal hairdresser, a doomed werewolf love tale & an unforgettable meeting with the devil.

I met Kimberly Bennett at a couple events held at local bookstores and finally got a chance to pick up two of her books (both anthologies), putting both on my Summer Reading List. Recently, I finished Twisted Delights. It's a pretty short read at only 102 pages long and - as the description says - includes ten short stories.
The premises for all the stories are very interesting and solid, and my two favorites, Aisling and Medusa Virus involve two well-known beings from mythology and are complete enough, yet leave things open for the reader. Not all the stories end happily, and you know what? I like it that way. Because sometimes in life, you don't always get what you want and events are seldom tied up neatly in packages. Though in a couple of the stories, I would have liked more of an explanation. For instance, I loved Nightmare. It was one of those stories that had me turning the pages and wondering what was going to happen next. Overall, I was satisfied with the ending, though would have liked maybe just a small hint at why the events were happening to the protagonist and her grandmother. Until Forever is also a good, though tragic tale and Gabriel is cool little story with a nice twist (pun not intended...sort of). There were also a couple stories that didn't quite do it for me, but I think that had more to do with my personal taste.
Overall, I did enjoy Twisted Delights and do recommend it for those looking for short read to settle in with for the evening.

You can check out Twisted Delights on Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble.


Twisted Delights on Smashwords

Twisted Delights at Barnes & Noble

If you would like to join our community and receive content exclusive to email, join our little tribe and Subscribe to my Messages from the Labyrinth Mailing List.. We promise to never share your info or spam you. Ever.

You can also subscribe to my YouTube Channel for new vlogging updates.


******

My stories, "The Cemetery by the Lake" and "Dusk to Dawn" are available at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
and Amazon
"The Cemetery by the Lake" at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
"Dusk to Dawn" at Smashwords
Tiffany on Goodreads
My music is also available at CDBaby
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound


Friday, July 11, 2014

As I fight with my editing software...

...here is another Birthrite Series Playlist. Which I was going to give you this weekend as a bonus. Hopefully I'll get the Castle Blood Interview up and running, but in the meantime, enjoy some music courtesy of Gary Wright, Led Zeppelin, The Mission UK, and more.

Link to The Birthrite Series, Playlist 2

Tracklist:
1. "Dream Weaver" Gary Wright
2. "This Love" Sarah Brightman
3. "Severina" The Mission UK
4. "Skellig" Loreena McKennitt
5. "Alien Embassy" Persephone's Dream
6. "Scarborough Fair" Sarah Brightman
7. "No Quarter" Led Zeppelin
8. "The Mummers' Dance" Loreena McKennitt


If you would like to join our community and receive content exclusive to email, join our little tribe and Subscribe to my Messages from the Labyrinth Mailing List.. We promise to never share your info or spam you. Ever.

You can also subscribe to my YouTube Channel for new vlogging updates.


******

My stories, "The Cemetery by the Lake" and "Dusk to Dawn" are available at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
and Amazon
"The Cemetery by the Lake" at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
"Dusk to Dawn" at Smashwords
Tiffany on Goodreads
My music is also available at CDBaby
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Accuracy in Historical Fiction: Is 100% Possible?

Hey all,

Sorry for the delays in posts over the passed couple weeks. Things got crazy with filming and trying to finally release Descent. Since it's getting close to when Descent (The Birthrite Series, #1) will be ready for release, I wanted to do a post on the historical fiction genre. While The Birthrite Series isn't exactly Historical Fiction as the genre is defined, there is much of it that does take place throughout some major events in history, like Roma Slavery the Great Depression.

Before I begin, here are some cool and informative links on the subject from the points of view of other writers/authors. Both of which stress authenticity over accuracy.

Stretching the Facts to Historical Fiction

How to Write Historical Fiction: 7 Tips on Accuracy and Authenticity 

So, as I stated in posts before, The Birthrite Series took me nearly four years to compile. After a lot of research and experimenting with different characters and scenarios, the story went from only being one book to five with a couple spin off novellettes/shorts. And it was about three years before I was happy with something I could even call a first draft. Part of this was due to the amount of research I did as I compiled that first draft. Once I had a direction (when I came up with the beginning concept of the four bloodline patriarchs: Nicolae, Jonathan, James, and Hector), a lot of historical research went into their four stories and I made myself crazy striving for accuracy. Not that this is a bad thing, but I also read reviews on various books in historical fiction and books of other genres that took place at certain times in history as my series does. And let me tell you...damn some people can be brutal at the slightest factual error! And sometimes not even that.

I will use one of my favorite movies as an example. Here is the trailer for the movie "Ever After" starring Drew Barrymore (and both songs featured in the trailer are also on the playlist for The Birthrite Series: "The Mummers Dance" by Loreena McKennitt and "Fable" by Robert Miles).


A couple weeks ago, I was looking at some comments regarding the film, and one person commented on how the values shown in the film were "too modern for its' time."  Now granted, this person did not elaborate beyond that, so I can't really say what parts of the film the person actually meant. However, my rebuttal for that is "Ever After" is a take on the Cinderella story. The "Cinderella" character, Danielle (Drew Barrymore) is a forward thinking woman living in Renaissance-era France. In fact, one of the main points of the story is that Danielle IS a forward thinking young woman, thanks to her father who encouraged her to read and grow intellectually before he passed away. This is what sets her apart. Also, wasn't the Renaissance era also the start of the so-called  "Enlightening"? Meaning many were embracing new ideals not considered acceptable during the Medieval era and altering their ways of thinking a little. So why should some of the values presented be THAT far-fetched? Is it because the characters didn't adhere to the rules still being pushed by the powers that be of that time?
It seems to be a trend in stories set in historical times that if the characters don't "follow all the rules" and express some form of rebellion, than you get the "WHAT??? They NEVER would have done that! This author/writer needs to do their research!" comments.
I've come to accept that there will always be purists, and no matter how much research is done, they will always find something to nitpick about. While I've come to accept it as being 'the nature of the beast,' some of this did cause me a lot of self doubt as I wrote Descent.

Here's the thing I've come to find about history (as well as the writers in the articles I linked to at the beginning of this post). Much of it is bias. Yes, there is truth in bias, but the recounting of that truth depends on who you are talking to or reading about. Not all the facts are there, and sometimes you do need to "fill in the blanks" with your own educated guesses (which will be different from the educated guesses of others). This is where the 'authenticity over accuracy' comes into play. Tone is important while writing about other eras as is language. And yes, language can be a BEAST and I found this out quickly while writing Descent.
In Descent, we begin in the mid 1800s with Nicolae Ganoush, Jonathan Blake, James Livingston, and Hector de Fuentes. Nicolae is a Roma (or "gypsy") slave in Romania. Therefore, he does not even speak English. Based on my research, the Roma have their own language based in ancient Sanskrit but are also likely to be able to communicate with those outside the Roma community out of necessity.
Then there is Jonathan, who does speak English, but with an Irish brogue.
James Livingston is from the aristocracy, so he would speak the VERY proper English of that time.
Then there is Hector, who lives in Mexico. While he may have learned some English, Spanish is his first language.
Then, the second half of the book takes place in the 1930s, which means a more modern tone than the 1800s, but still different from the 2010s.
So I had my work cut out for me.
Tone, atmosphere, and language ARE important in a historical setting, most definitely. And this is not as easy as it may seem. Obviously, I can't write in the exact words and languages of Nicolae and Hector, and even with Jonathan's accent, striving for 100% accuracy would have been impossible, not to mention make the book VERY unreadable to readers. Even with the slang in the half of the book taking place in the 1930s, I still had to pick and choose just enough to set the right tone while at the same time, not alienating readers who may not be familiar with such terms used at the time.
You want to create an authentic atmosphere, yes. But you also don't want your readers having to reach for a thesaurus every other sentence or throwing your book across the room in frustration because they don't know what the hell your characters are saying. But on the same note, the wrong tone can do that too. What helped me was reading books and watching films from the said eras and getting a feel for how they spoke and acted. From there, try to come to a happy medium.
With my non-English speaking characters and even for Jonathan with his brogue, I simply tried to maintain tone and mannerisms appropriate for the era they live in.

Now, many may look at this and say "well, that's why you should only write what you know." Really? While I will agree that this might be good advice for a new writer just starting out, I thought one of the main points of creating any kind of art was to challenge yourself and step outside the box. Plus, all the fun is in the research and seeing your characters come to life through it all.

As for the "they NEVER would have done that" comments, I propose this: Who the hell wants to read about people that do nothing but follow the rules? Maybe someone out there might disagree, but I like my stories to have tension and keep me on the edge of my seat. Oftentimes, this occurs because someone is doing something they ideally should not be doing. And isn't history full of rebels and people who made waves against what the powers that be pushed? If not, we would not have had any of the historical revolutions that took place. We would not have had suffrage movement or the Roaring 20s. We would not have had things like Woodstock. We would not have had the Renaissance (hence, "Ever After").
While I do agree that it is essential to take society's rules into consideration and be as accurate as you can there, what ABOUT those rules would drive the character to rebel? What events are taking place that affects that character's decision making. To a degree, everyone is a product of his or her environment whether that person is a rule follower or a rule bender/breaker.

The authenticity over accuracy rule does not mean you should just willy nilly write "whatever." You should always research and strive for as much accuracy as possible, but also accept that 100% accuracy is next to impossible and that there will always be "that guy" with something to say how 'wrong' you are. 



If you would like to join our community and receive content exclusive to email, join our little tribe and Subscribe to my Messages from the Labyrinth Mailing List.. We promise to never share your info or spam you. Ever.

You can also subscribe to my YouTube Channel for new vlogging updates.


******

My stories, "The Cemetery by the Lake" and "Dusk to Dawn" are available at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
and Amazon
"The Cemetery by the Lake" at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
"Dusk to Dawn" at Smashwords
Tiffany on Goodreads
My music is also available at CDBaby
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound


Sunday, July 6, 2014

New Blog Schedule

Hey all,

So I'll be getting back to a schedule of sorts this week. Here is the NEW BLOG SCHEDULE .

Thanks all. :)




If you would like to join our community and receive content exclusive to email, join our little tribe and Subscribe to my Messages from the Labyrinth Mailing List.. We promise to never share your info or spam you. Ever.

You can also subscribe to my YouTube Channel for new vlogging updates.


******

My stories, "The Cemetery by the Lake" and "Dusk to Dawn" are available at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
and Amazon
"The Cemetery by the Lake" at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
"Dusk to Dawn" at Smashwords
Tiffany on Goodreads
My music is also available at CDBaby
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound

Saturday, July 5, 2014

"Inside the Castle Blood Hearse" or "Yes, I'm Still Alive"

Hey all,

So life happened this week and I did not get to properly edit my new Castle Blood interview. This is some footage from inside the Castle Blood hearse that took place afterward. :) I do plan to get back on a schedule of sorts within the next week or two and have it ready for next Friday. I'm also writing an article for Ravenous Monster Webzine.

I'm also going to be filming for the movie, "Midnight Massacre" this Tuesday and will have footage from that as well. :)

"Descent" should also finally be released in the next week or two. Hopefully sooner, but I'd rather over estimate a little.

Stay tuned for those and feel free to subscribe to the YouTube Channel, like, and share!

Also, check out the cool little Jack Skellington on the dashboard!




If you would like to join our community and receive content exclusive to email, join our little tribe and Subscribe to my Messages from the Labyrinth Mailing List.. We promise to never share your info or spam you. Ever.

You can also subscribe to my YouTube Channel for new vlogging updates.


******

My stories, "The Cemetery by the Lake" and "Dusk to Dawn" are available at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
and Amazon
"The Cemetery by the Lake" at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
"Dusk to Dawn" at Smashwords
Tiffany on Goodreads
My music is also available at CDBaby
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound

Friday, July 4, 2014

New Sara Brooke Release!

Happy 4th of July! Here is the new release by Sara Brooke. :)


The fair is typically full of fun, exciting rides. But you've never ridden anything like this. It sits in silence and waits - its red eyes glowing in the darkness. It waits to offer riders the chance for redemption or a fate worse than death. The Mad Monkey King is ready to take Gary Moore on a journey. He doesn't realize that he's about to enter a realm that defies everything that's real and logical. Because once he enters the darkness, he may never find his way out. The Mad Monkey King is a short story filled with horror, suspense and adventure. 

Get it on Amazon:

 

And on Smashwords:
The Mad Monkey King, by Sara Brooke  




If you would like to join our community and receive content exclusive to email, join our little tribe and Subscribe to my Messages from the Labyrinth Mailing List.. We promise to never share your info or spam you. Ever.

You can also subscribe to my YouTube Channel for new vlogging updates.


******

My stories, "The Cemetery by the Lake" and "Dusk to Dawn" are available at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
and Amazon
"The Cemetery by the Lake" at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
"Dusk to Dawn" at Smashwords
Tiffany on Goodreads
My music is also available at CDBaby
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Interview with Author, Selah Janel

I had the awesome privilege of getting to interview Selah Janel as she promotes her newest work, Olde School. It's also cool when you read someone's interview answers and realize how alike you are! Read on and check out her really unique stories (yeah, I realize that "unique" tends to get overused, but it is very fitting to Ms. Janel and her works) :D


BIO & INTERVIEW

Selah Janel has been blessed with a giant imagination since she was little and convinced that fairies lived in the nearby state park or vampires hid in the abandoned barns outside of town. The many people around her that supported her love of reading and curiosity probably made it worse. Her e-books The Other Man, Holly and Ivy, and Mooner are published through Mocha Memoirs Press. Lost in the Shadows, a collection of short stories celebrating the edges of ideas and the spaces between genres was co-written with S.H. Roddey. Her work has also been included in The MacGuffin, The Realm Beyond, Stories for Children Magazine, The Big Bad: an Anthology of Evil, The Grotesquerie, and Thunder on the Battlefield. Olde School is the first book in her new series, The Kingdom City Chronicles, and is published through Seventh Star Press. She likes her music to rock, her vampires lethal, her fairies to play mind games, and her princesses to hold their own.


TA: First, introduce yourself to our lovely readers.

SJ: Hi there, lovely readers! I am Selah Janel and I tend to write all sorts of speculative fiction. I gravitate to fantasy, urban fantasy, and horror, though my new book, Olde School, is cross-genre. Really that means I can write every genre at once and wreck them all in one fell swoop. I also have worked professionally in theatre and entertainment for a while in costume design and construction. I am a lover of ideas and a reader of everything.

TA: As a writer myself, I'm always interested in hearing about the writing process of other writers. Would you care to discuss how you approach your writing?

SJ: For me it depends on the title. This newest one is a little bit of an anomaly for me, because it originally was supposed to be a short story and turned into a series. However, everything usually starts with a concept or basic idea. It usually involves me wondering about something or noticing a quirk about something I see or think about in my everyday life. There are so many cool things right in front of us all the time; it amazes me and drives me a little crazy that people aren’t in awe of the entire world around them! When I think of all the people I pass by daily and all the stories they’re currently living, or the little moments or things I pass by when I’m out and about...there are countless ideas and inspirations just waiting to be explored. It’s beautiful, a little bit of magic in the mundane all sitting right in front of our eyes.

 After I have a concept or basic idea, I usually start developing a loose plot and delving into the types of characters the story might have. Once I have a basic idea and the characters, I’ll usually know exactly what I want for the first few pages of a short or the first three to five chapters of a story. I usually have an ending in mind, or at least a direction. There may be a couple other plot points that I definitely want to have, but I leave the rest open to give the characters time to develop and give me more ideas. I find that the longer leash I give them, the more headspace I have to be inspired by their personalities and the possibilities they present. I’ve learned that at least for me it’s very rare that I can plot out a story point by point and have it work. In my writing I need wiggle room, I need that space for growth. I don’t like writing to specific genres so much as I do writing what the story or the idea calls for. For me, keeping that point of view helps me focus on details and characterizations that hopefully connect with readers rather than if I was going into things trying to write a “horror” story or a “fantasy tale about a different world.” I’ve also found that I will overwrite tremendously in the first few drafts and then once I get edits back I’ll do a lot of shaping and tightening on my own, especially with my book manuscripts.
It’s not uncommon for me to revamp whole sections or really dig in and finesse something or change something around later in the game if it’s not ringing true to me.



TA: As far back as you can recall, what was the first story you ever wrote?

SJ: As a little girl I definitely went through the phase of re-writing fairy tales and other stories I was familiar with in my own style, but I’m fortunate that I actually have some really early stories scrawled out on that large, grey/tan paper with those really wide red and blue lines, usually accompanied by some scribbled illustration. There was one about a witch trying to be nice, and another about a tooth not wanting to be brushed. The earliest, though...when I was little I was given this blue plastic typewriter. It was finicky on its best day and I wasn’t allowed to play with it very often because I would just go through paper like a madman, trying to get the keys to type perfectly. I slammed out weird little snippets, fairy tale re-vamps, all sorts of things. A few years ago I was going through a mountain of stuff my parents had saved and I actually found some of those stories! I’m going to wager that the earliest was this really short piece about an evil dragon named Jack who kidnapped a princess. I still have it, and I actually featured it (and other stories from my childhood) on my blog under the tag “the lost manuscripts.” I cringe and laugh so hard posting these! It just kills me how egotistical and shameless I was as a little girl. It’s just beautiful, especially reading this particular piece because I fully remember and acknowledge thinking one particular piece of dialogue was so brilliant and crafting the whole story just so I could use a particular line that I thought was just hilarious at the time! I also apparently had the idea that if I changed like a letter in a name that no one would EVER know I was referencing a Disney heroine or myself (I cannot tell you how many leading ladies my childhood stories had that was basically me with a very obvious name change. Self-insertion at its unapologetic finest)!

And yes. There is recording evidence of this story called, appropriately, “A Story of the Middle Ages.”

http://selahjanel.wordpress.com/2012/03/27/sj-the-lost-manuscripts-a-story-of-the-middle-ages/
Don’t judge me.

TA: What are some challenges you face as a writer and author?

SJ: My brain tends to move faster than my time constraints. I have so many ideas, and the past couple years have been a little rough trying to adapt my daily schedule to fitting in all the writing I want to do, plus all the promotion and business work I have to do. I’m still trying to find that balance, and it still drives me a little crazy, though I will readily admit it’s a worthwhile battle.

I tend to...I don’t know that putting myself down is an accurate term. I think I get overwhelmed sometimes because my ideas tend to be a little out of the box, so it’s hard to bounce concepts off people if they aren’t used to me. Sometimes that turns into me wondering if it’s a viable idea or if I’m doing anything remotely worthwhile. I eventually get out of that funk and carry on, because that’s what you need to do. I get impatient with myself – I’ve always said I’m my absolute hardest critic. It’s not necessarily that I want everything right NOW, but I can see how things could play nicely together later down the road, so I have to curb myself from trying to play in every idea at once or going ahead with something that just plain isn’t ready yet. Patience and balance are definitely things that I wrestle with every single day.

TA: Tell us about your newest works.

SJ: Olde School is the first book of the Kingdom City Chronicles and was released in March through Seventh Star Press. I’m so proud of this one. It’s been a lot of work and it’s turned into a combination of so many of my loves: fairy tales and folklore, urban fantasy, horror, silliness...I feel like it really turned into a book that is truly, definitely from me.

Kingdom City is a fairy/folktale based society that’s modernized. Trolls use laptops, there are just as many CEOs as royals, princesses use dating sites to attract suitors’ attentions. It’s not too much different from our world in that they view magic as fiction or old wives tales. Within this world, Paddlelump Stonemonger is a successful businesstroll, though many brush him off because he looks and acts too nice. Even his house maid starts to try to manipulate him, not to mention the fact that the city politicians are after his land!

And then he finds out that magic really is real, and it’s horrible. There’s a lot of fun characters in this book – feisty waitresses, talking animals, troll businessmen, goblin lawyers, an ogre sheriff. It’s a lot of fun and there are a lot of different layers to it. Even if you’re not familiar with some of the stories I draw from, you can appreciate it as a fun adventure. It’s one of those titles where I think there really is something for everyone, since it draws from so many different genres and blends them together in a unique way.




TA: What's coming up for you? Plug away!

SJ: I just re-released a short, historical vampire story through Mocha Memoirs Press. Mooner takes place in a late 1800’s lumber camp saloon and explores what happens when you put different personalities and moralities together in a small enclosure on one of the few evenings where a group of strong-personalities can cut loose. To add to it, the central character is fairly naïve, and then in comes a stranger with a terrible thirst who will do anything for a drink.

I’m also working on pieces for a couple of anthologies, as well as preparing some stories for an issue of Trail of Indiscretion dedicated to my fiction. I’m also polishing up two stand-alone novels and getting ready to shop those out. Then there’s always Kingdom City! I’m hoping to do a side collection of short stories based around the female characters of the first book, then move on to book two. There’s a lot I want to do, and I’m really excited for all of it! Thanks so much for having me on your blog so that I could talk about my projects!

More on Olde School by Selah Janel

Book One of the Kingdom City Chronicles



Available at:  Kindle       Amazon Paperback   Amazon UK    Nook    B&N Paperback     Kobo

Genres:
Cross-Genre: Fantasy, Fairy/Folktale, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Horror
 

Kingdom City has moved into the modern era. Run by a lord mayor and city council (though still under the influence of the High King of The Land), it proudly embraces a blend of progress and tradition. Trolls, ogres, and other Folk walk the streets with humans, but are more likely to be entrepreneurs than cause trouble. Princesses still want to be rescued, but they now frequent online dating services to encourage lords, royals, and politicians to win their favor. The old stories are around, but everyone knows they’re just fodder for the next movie franchise. Everyone knows there’s no such thing as magic. It’s all old superstition and harmless tradition.

Bookish, timid, and more likely to carry a laptop than a weapon, Paddlelump Stonemonger is quickly coming to wish he’d never put a toll bridge over Crescent Ravine. While his success has brought him lots of gold, it’s also brought him unwanted attention from the Lord Mayor. Adding to his frustration, Padd’s oldest friends give him a hard time when his new maid seems inept at best and conniving at worst.

When a shepherd warns Paddlelump of strange noises coming from Thadd Forest, he doesn’t think much of it. Unfortunately for him, the history of his land goes back further than anyone can imagine. Before long he’ll realize that he should have paid attention to the old tales and carried a club.Darkness threatens to overwhelm not only Paddlelump, but the entire realm. With a little luck, a strange bird, a feisty waitress, and some sturdy friends, maybe, just maybe, Padd will survive to eat another meal at Trip Trap’s diner. It’s enough to make the troll want to crawl under his bridge, if he can manage to keep it out of the clutches of greedy politicians.


Selah’s Links:
Blog – http://www.selahjanel.wordpress.com
Facebook Author Page – http://www.facebook.com/authorSJ
Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/SelahJanel
Amazon Author Page - http://www.amazon.com/Selah-Janel/e/B0074DKC9K
Goodreads - http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5622096.Selah_Janel






If you would like to join our community and receive content exclusive to email, join our little tribe and Subscribe to my Messages from the Labyrinth Mailing List.. We promise to never share your info or spam you. Ever.

You can also subscribe to my YouTube Channel for new vlogging updates.


******

My stories, "The Cemetery by the Lake" and "Dusk to Dawn" are available at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
and Amazon
"The Cemetery by the Lake" at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
"Dusk to Dawn" at Smashwords
Tiffany on Goodreads
My music is also available at CDBaby
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Thrift Store Haul and New Sara Brooke Title

A little bonus video as I finish the final edit and ebook formatting of Descent (The Birthrite Series, #1).
I absolutely LOVE thrift stores, yard sales, flea markets, etc. This was the result of my last adventure which cost me under $23.



I did forget one item in this particular haul because I had already put it in with my DVDs. I also got the movie, Darkness Falls on DVD for $3.00. It's a horror film about the tooth fairy. Apparently, she isn't so nice after all. I guess even her job can become redundant to the point of becoming homicidal.

If you enjoy this video, Subscribe to the Channel, Like, and Share. :)


And, here is also a cover reveal for a new Sara Brooke title. I'll post more info when it is released. :)





If you would like to join our community and receive content exclusive to email, join our little tribe and Subscribe to my Messages from the Labyrinth Mailing List.. We promise to never share your info or spam you. Ever.

You can also subscribe to my YouTube Channel for new vlogging updates.


******

My stories, "The Cemetery by the Lake" and "Dusk to Dawn" are available at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK. More retailers will follow, but Smashwords is pretty compatible with most e-reader and PC formats.
and Amazon
"The Cemetery by the Lake" at Smashwords and Barnes & Noble NOOK
"Dusk to Dawn" at Smashwords
Tiffany on Goodreads
My music is also available at CDBaby
Support great authors and independent bookstores at Smashwords and Indiebound