Today I’m blogging over at The Romaniacs about writing from female or male point of view, in particular those *hot* scenes.
At the Heart of a Fairytale
by Vera Nazarian
I must warn you, Cobweb Bride is a fantasy that’s a little bit different from so many books being written now.
For one thing, it is written in a more traditional “vintage” style. There’s a breath of the nineteenth century nostalgia, and a bit of creepy darkness found in the fairytales of the Brothers Grimm, and reminiscent of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen. There is also a sense of many layers, ornate imagery, and a richness of history that can be found in fantasy that fully partakes of the world storytelling tradition.
For another thing, Cobweb Bride is not fast paced. Instead, as any profound mystery, it starts out slow and immersive, and compels you onward into its trap of enchantment. First, it firmly anchors you with wonder, as it illuminates the universe in a glittering mother-of-pearl palette of ethereal colors, using “paint” that is slightly touched by faerie magic, so that snowflakes sparkle like stars, and stars cascade down like snowflakes, until you forget what it is that’s falling, in this alternate Renaissance world blanketed in deadly Winter. And then, the action speeds up, drawing you deeper into the funnel, closer and closer to the scary-beautiful thing at the heart of the fairytale….
This is also a modern-day fable. And at its center is the ancient myth of Persephone and Hades in the Underworld. But don’t be fooled. You will not encounter the myth in its ordinary easy trappings. Instead, you will have to dig deep and search underneath things, and peek inside dark corners, to find it. Because… you are looking for shadows. And here, in this fairytale, shadows are not what they seem.
This is a story of Death—Death, the gentleman, taking on grim, elegant, human form. Death, the irresistible lover, searching for his lost bride. Death, the capricious stranger with control over all of us mortals. Death’s choice—to stop all dying until his Cobweb Bride is found and brought to him—sets in motion a series of world-altering events, like dominos falling.
This is the story of Love—Love of a young peasant girl, love of a granddaughter for her dying grandmother, love of grieving parents for their undead daughter, love of a fair maiden for a brave knight, love of a son for his broken father, love of a princess for a villain, loves of peasants and aristocrats, emperors and witches. In fact, if you draw closer, you will find that there are so many forms of love exemplified in this story that it too is at the heart of the fairytale….
In the absence of Death,
In the presence of Death,
Only one thing remains,
It is Love.
Finally, this is an epic. An ensemble cast of characters, with intertwining lives and pseudo-history, in the tradition of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones, and with just as much “death,” but death that is treated in an entirely different humane manner—because there is no true dying in this fairytale and all the dead remain as active characters throughout—and with sympathetic main characters that serve as permanent anchors throughout the story.
So what then is really at the heart of a fairytale such as Cobweb Bride?
It is you.
Come, take that first step upon glittering virgin snow, and sink inward!
Vera Nazarian is a two-time Nebula Award® Finalist and a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. She immigrated to the USA from the former USSR as a kid, sold her first story at 17, and has been published in numerous anthologies and magazines, honorably mentioned in Year’s Best volumes, and translated into eight languages.
Vera made her novelist debut with the critically acclaimed Dreams of the Compass Rose, followed by Lords of Rainbow. Her novella The Clock King and the Queen of the Hourglass with an introduction by Charles de Lint made the 2005 Locus Recommended Reading List. Her debut collection Salt of the Air with an introduction by Gene Wolfe contains the 2007 Nebula Award-nominated “The Story of Love.”
Other work includes the 2008 Nebula Finalist novella The Duke in His Castle, science fiction collection After the Sundial (2010), The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration (2010), and four Jane Austen parodies, Mansfield Park and Mummies (2009), Northanger Abbey and Angels and Dragons (2010), Pride and Platypus: Mr. Darcy’s Dreadful Secret (2012), and Pagan Persuasion: All Olympus Descends on Regency (forthcoming), all part of her Supernatural Jane Austen Series.
After many years in Los Angeles, Vera now lives in a small town in Vermont. She uses her Armenian sense of humor and her Russian sense of suffering to bake conflicted pirozhki and make art. In addition to being a writer, philosopher, and award-winning artist, she is also the publisher of Norilana Books.
Cobweb Bride Mailing List:
Facebook (author page):
SFF Net Newsgroup:
Vera Nazarian’s Amazon Author Central page
The Official Book Website:
(Cobweb Bride Trilogy, Book One)
by Vera Nazarian
Release Date: July 15, 2013
Publisher: Norilana Books
$24.95 US / 18.00 UK
$14.95 US / 12.00 UK
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Trying to keep a grumpy old man amused is virtually impossible. Trust me, I know. After my own little Grumpy retired, he suddenly became far too interested in what I was doing, for my own good. I couldn’t move without him wanting to know what I was up to or asking if I wanted to have a cup of coffee (i.e. make him one.)
Eventually, after various attempts to keep him amused, I introduced him to blogging. I set him up a monthly column “Hubby’s Hotties” on one of my blogs: Fortifying Your Fifties. It was to allow him to rant about all those things he generally rants to me about, and give me a break. Of course, being technically incompetent he spent hours writing out his posts in biro then handing them to me to put into the blog. It gave me much more work than I anticipated but it amused him for a while. Five months to be precise. It’s a shame he gave it up because he attracted a lot of followers. Just to prove any old grumpy can blog, here’s his second post which amused quite a few people (I am known as Facing50 in the blogging world):
“My second post, and I have decided to type it all myself. After the grief I got (from you know who) for writing out so much last time, I thought I’d better have a go on my tod. (Facing 50 kept muttering about “A dog” and “barking yourself”.) Facing 50 is going to cut this out from my computer screen and glue it into the blog on hers. It remains a mystery to me, so I leave all that technical gubbins to her.
All of this brings me nicely onto the subject for this week – technology or mobile phones to be precise. I am not a fan of mobile phones. Even when I had to have one for work, I used to turn it off when I went out for the day. If I didn’t, the blasted thing would always ring just as I was in an important lunch meeting with a client. Note I say “lunch meeting”. I was usually on the dessert when the phone rang. Some idiot back at base inevitably wanted the answer to some asinine query that could easily be dealt with without disturbing my crème brûlée.
Even today, Facing 50 insists I carry a mobile with me whenever we go to the shops and split up for a couple of hours. She says it is to ensure I get back to the meeting place on time, and not leave her standing there like a lemon, as I have been known to do in the past. I feel it’s like having one of those bracelets that tracks your every move. Like the ones that released prisoners have. Don’t tell her, but I switch it off. If she says she was trying to reach me, I claim I had no signal when she phoned. Ah, she’s probably just read that bit.
Mobiles irritate me. I detest people who pick up their phone and answer it no matter where they are. If they are in the bank talking to the cashier, they’ll suddenly answer a call and chat, oblivious to the person who is serving them. It’s downright rude. Worse still are those people who walk towards you speaking. You think they are addressing you and are just about to reply, when you notice that “thing” in their ear and realise they are conversing with Bob in the office, not you.
More than calls, I hate texts. I don’t know how to send them and I don’t understand the text language that youngsters use. Even Facing 50 thought our son was sending her “lots of love” for months until she found out “lol” meant “laugh out loud”.
Last post, I received a comment from one of you which read “ROFL”. I worried it might be the sound of her vomiting. I therefore, researched the web to find out what it meant, and in doing so, found some very good text abbreviations for older people to use. I thought I’d share them with you and hopefully, they’ll make you LYAO. See, I’m learning every day.
Try them out and start a new trend:
ATD At the Doctors
ATGC At the Garden Centre
BTW Bring the Wheelchair
BYOT Bring Your Own Teeth
CGU Can’t Get Up
CGIU Can’t Get It Up
FWIW Forgot Where I Was
GGPBL Gotta Go; Pacemaker Battery Low!
LMDO Laughing My Dentures Out
OMSG Oh. My! Sorry – Gas
ROFL&ICGU Rolling On The Floor Laughing And I Can’t Get Up
WAITT Who Am I Talking To?
WTP Where’s The Prunes?”
See, he had potential to be a good blogger. Pity he decided to revert to his old ways and stick to what he knows best; irritating me while I am trying to get on with something. Good luck. Hope you have better luck with your grumpies.
Is your Grumpy Old Man getting under your feet? Is he wrestling with retirement? Are you wondering if you should bundle him up and entrust him to basket-weaving classes? Then this book could be the answer to your prayers. This light hearted guide is packed full of lively ideas, anecdotes and quips. Not only does it set out to provide laughs, but offers over 700 ideas and ways to keep a Grumpy Old Man occupied.
From collecting airline sick bags to zorbing, you will be sure to find an absorbing pastime for your beloved curmudgeon. There are examples of those who have faced extraordinary challenges in older age, fascinating facts to interest a reluctant partner and innovative ideas drizzled, of course, with a large dollop of humour.
Written tongue-in-cheek, this book succeeds in proving that getting older doesn’t mean the end of life or having fun. It provides amusing answers to the question, “How on Earth will my husband fill in his time in his retirement?” It offers suggestions on what might, or most certainly might not, amuse him. Ideal for trivia buffs, those approaching retirement, (or just at a loose end) and frustrated women who have an irritable male on their hands, this book will lighten any mood and may even prevent the odd murder.
The following is an excerpt from a recent article published in Men’s Health on NBC News
The look: A scowling face, a wagging finger, and a shaking head. The targets: The economy. Teenagers. Windmills.
Some informally dub it “grumpy old man complex.” British author Carol Wyer labels it “irritable male syndrome,” a spike in the outward crankiness of guys of a certain age.
“Women have friends and we talk about our problems and we take medication and all that kind of stuff. But for men, it’s something they suppress. It’s a male thing,” says Wyer, author of the upcoming humor book “How Not To Murder Your Grumpy.”
Feeling that they no longer are useful, especially, if a man has held an important position in employment prior to retirement, “can result in severe depression at worst and general grumpiness at best,” Wyer said.
Wyer’s husband of 25 years, John, turned 60 this year and became very grumpy just after his birthday, she says. “I have spoken to other women in the same position who have said exactly the same: Husbands, even those who have looked forward to a big birthday, have become morose soon after,” Wyer says.
John Wyer, who owned his own business and misses “the cut and thrust” of his work, has self-diagnosed his own occasionally gloomy anger as something of a byproduct of Western society’s collective view toward — and value of — people who are 60 or beyond.
“One of the things that really took hold of me was the fact that I was approaching a ripe old age, let’s say, and I felt society can cast you off as a little bit of a no-hoper. I just feel that isn’t right. I feel people in increasing years have a lot to offer. And they shouldn’t cast off to one side. And I suppose my grumpiness is a little bit of a protest against sliding down that particular route,” he said.
“You think, well, gosh, there’s got to be to be something a little more than this. Being grumpy is just my way of getting through it and laughing at myself.”
About the Author:
After completing a degree in French and English, Carol E Wyer became a language teacher. She actually began her working life abroad, in Casablanca, Morocco, where she taught English as a Foreign Language in an American Language school. It was soon discovered that she could speak French rather well, and she became a translator and teacher to large organisations and companies such as ‘Regie de Tabac’, Morocco’s largest cigarette company, and the Mediterranean Shipping Company.
After a few years she was ‘head-hunted ‘to run the English as a Foreign Language department of a private school in the UK. (Imagine Hogwarts without the wizardry.)
Carol taught English up to, and including ‘A’ Level, along with English as a Foreign Language. She also qualified to teach pupils with Dyslexia and became Head of English for Special Needs.
In 1988, Carol set up her own language company called Language 2000 Ltd and worked in schools and for companies. She taught a variety of languages, including basic Japanese, to all ages and translated documents.
A recurrence of spinal difficulties that began when she was a teenager, forced her to give up teaching and choose a new direction. In order to deal with her health problems, Carol attended a fitness course (Premier), took the qualifications to become a fitness instructor and became a personal trainer. That led her to become a trainer for others, particularly for older people who, like herself, had undergone major surgery.
Thanks to older age, Carol now no longer trains people, but she is currently writing a series of novels, articles and books which takes a humorous look at getting older. It is her hope that they will educate through laughter and help others appreciate life.
Carol has written several short stories over the years, including humorous books for children which served to teach them French. She was not able to fulfil her desire to be a full-time author until two years ago when her son flew from the nest, leaving his bedroom which Carol turned into her office.
Since then, she has written two novels, Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines and Surfing in Stilettos, both of which have enjoyed media attention and success, becoming best sellers and winning awards.
Carol writes regularly for author websites and she has recently become a contributing author on a help guide entitled Tutorials and Tools for Prospering in a Digital Age.
Amazon UK Author Page : http://www.amazon.co.uk/Carol-E.-Wyer/e/B005U34XNM/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
Amazon US Author Page : http://www.amazon.com/Carol-E.-Wyer/e/B005U34XNM/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
FeedARead (Paperback version) Surfing in Stilettos :
FeedARead (Paperback version) Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines:
Safkhet Publishing: http://www.safkhetpublishing.com/authors/Carol_Wyer.htm
Member of Romantic Novelists Association:http://www.romanticnovelistsassociation.org/index.php/about/author/carol_wyer
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Emma Holden’s boyfriend goes missing on his own stag night and no-one knows what has happened to him. This is the beginning of a mystery that takes Emma up and down the country, questioning everything she ever knew or thought she knew in a bid to find out what exactly happened that night.
The One You Love is a suspense novel with a romantic element and can be enjoyed by anyone who likes a good mystery. Hints and clues were dropped into the story line but every time I thought I might have it worked out, something else came up to make me change my mind. I liked the way small insights were given as to what was happening that the main characters didn’t necessarily know or, if they did, they weren’t sharing with each other. It unfolded rather like a crime drama seen on TV and kept me hooked and interested the whole way through.
Really enjoyable read and I shall definitely be adding the other books in the series to my reading list.
Emma Holden’s nightmare has just begun. Her fiancé vanishes, leaving the battered and bloodied body of his brother in their London apartment. Someone is stalking her, watching her every move. And her family are hiding a horrifying secret; a secret that threatens all those she loves. In a desperate race against time, Emma must uncover the truth if she ever wants to see her fiancé alive again.
The One You Love is a fast-paced suspense mystery, full of twists and turns, following in the tradition of writers such as Nicci French and Sophie Hannah.
Since July 2011 it has been downloaded over one million times, has spent a full month at number 1 in the UK Kindle free download chart (July-August 2011), and reached the top of the US Kindle free download chart.
Paul Pilkington has had material broadcast on BBC radio and ITV television, and was long listed for the 2004 London Book Fair Lit Idol competition. In 2004, Paul was inspired to write his first suspense mystery, The One You Love, through his love of emotional mystery thrillers, such as those by Harlan Coben, Linwood Barclay, Nicci French and Thomas H Cook. His aim is to create fast-paced, twisting and turning fiction that stirs the emotions. His latest mystery suspense thriller, Someone to Save You, was released in 2011. The One You Fear (sequel to The One You Love), will be published in December 2012. Find out more about Paul’s writing:
Follow Paul on Twitter: @paulpilkington
Like him on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/paulpilkingtonauthor
Visit his website: http://www.paulpilkington.com
Everyone knows how important it is to get the book cover right. After seeing my book come up on Amazon alongside its contemporaries, the one thing I noticed was the other books shouted romance or chicklit loud and clear yet mine seemed not to be shouting but more talking quietly. The title, of course, indicates it’s a romance but when flicking through thumbnails on Amazon etc, the title is not often the first thing that grabs the attention of a potential reader, it’s the cover.
Cathy Helms from Avalon Graphics designed my first cover, under my brief of ‘nothing too girly, fluffy or pink’ – well, she took that on board and together we agreed on a cover that was very much ‘me’. The Texan flag design on a stable door, with the star being replaced by a heart. However, on reflection, it didn’t say a whole lot else about my book.
So in an effort to give more of a flavour of the story, ie. a woman at work, a bistro/restaurant, an American influence and a hint of Texas, I cobbled together a very poor Power Point representation – no, I’m not going to show you. Oh, all right then I will and, yes, you can laugh at my graphic design skills ..
That is what Cathy had to work with and the words ‘girly, pink and fluffy’ featured highly this time. Cathy did a great job and this was the first version.
We decided that the cursive script would be hard to read on a thumbnail, especially with my surname which, although an everyday name in France, isn’t particularly common in the UK. We made the pot plants smaller so they didn’t intrude, added the stars and stripes on the blinds, restricted it to three colours and added a border so that on a white background the cover didn’t just merge in.
Although I am sad to say goodbye to my much loved original cover, I do think the objective has been achieved as there is no mistaking the genre of my book now and I have a theme I can take forward for future novels.
I have always enjoyed Christina Courtenay’s books and this one was no exception. An adventure across continents, where different cultures meet, we follow Midori and Nico as they set sail from Japan to England.
Midori was a great character with mixed heritage, a Japanese father and an English mother, she could wield a sword as good as any man, if not better. She was fiercely independent and determined to deal honourably with the situation that forced her to escape from her beloved Japan and seek refuge with her English family in Plymouth.
Nico, captain of the ship that carried Midori to England, was simply delicious. A true leader, strong and well respected, fair and with a gentler side when needed. His meeting with Midori presented itself with all sorts of problems from the start and took him not only to physical places he had no intention of going, but to emotional places which he had long since buried.
Set in the 1600’s, with the English Civil War as a backdrop, there was lots of action and adventure in this book, together with a healthy dose of romance, I really enjoyed spending time with these characters.
How do you start a new life, leaving behind all you love?
It’s 1641, and when Midori Kumashiro, the orphaned daughter of a warlord, is told she has to leave Japan or die, she has no choice but to flee to England. Midori is trained in the arts of war, but is that enough to help her survive a journey, with a lecherous crew and an attractive captain she doesn’t trust?
Having come to Nagasaki to trade, the last thing Captain Nico Noordholt wants is a female passenger, especially a beautiful one. How can he protect her from his crew when he can’t keep his own eyes off her?
During their journey, Nico and Midori form a tentative bond, but they both have secrets that can change everything. When they arrive in England, a civil war is brewing, and only by standing together can they hope to survive…
Twitter : @PiaCCourtenay
Publishers : ChocLitUK