LOVE IN A TIME OF MONSTERS IS OUT!

This is the post I’ve been waiting to write for years. YEARS! My fantasy novel, LOVE IN A TIME OF MONSTERS, is on sale!

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He has a monster problem

Scotland, 1867. When Rob Stevenson’s brother is killed—and eaten—in the forest outside their estate, Rob’s sheltered world is shattered by a monster infestation. Determined to keep his village safe, Rob’s first duty as laird involves hiring a professional hunter.

She kills monsters

The sole survivor of a massacre in the Congo, Catriona Mornay is rumored to have lost her mind in the jungle. In Edinburgh’s gas-lit streets, Cat’s skill as a hunter is unmatched. Her reputation as a killer of unnatural creatures, legendary.

Two worlds collide

Faced with a rising body count, Rob takes a chance on Cat, hoping that somewhere inside this tortured yet charismatic girl is the hero he’s been searching for. But in this shadow realm of secrets, lies, and underworld crime, their lives overlap in more ways than one. And in an age where harpies flock the sky and serpents rule the sea, it’s even possible for a boy and his hunter to fall in love.

But can their love survive in a time of monsters?

You can buy it here:

Amazon

Barnes & Nobles

Kobo

iBooks

Google Play

The ebook is cheaper than the price of popcorn chicken (or Girl Scout cookies for those of you who do not gorge yourself on popcorn chicken) and will net you hours of entertainment. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll feel a little scared and perhaps… a little sexy? I have a dirty mind, and while that’s no secret, aren’t you curious about my dirty mind when applied to a fantasy setting?

As an added bonus, if you buy the paperback version on Amazon, you’ll get the kindle version for $0.99.

I’m thrilled to share this book with you and hope you enjoy it! And once you’ve enjoyed it… please consider leaving a review (I won’t direct you to where, but allow me to point in Amazon’s general direction) to help others find my work and spread my dirty mind around… rather like herpes but in a more pleasant way.

 

 

The Thief and Mini Flavors of the Week

The Thief is a book I wished I read when I was twelve. I would have harbored a MAJOR literary crush on the narrator Gen. He is like a darker, more cunning version of Nat Eaton from The Witch of Blackbird Pond.

I picked up The Thief over a year ago. It came highly recommended by Mems, one of my regular readers who was also Witch of Blackbird Pond obsessed. She commented that Gen was like Nat Eaton and she couldn’t choose which one is better. In other words, Team Nat vs. Team Gen! So I promptly checked out The Thief from my library, read the first 50 pages, and abandoned it. The beginning was slow, crawling along at a snail’s pace. And while Gen was clever, cunning, and nimble (all enticing and crush-worthy character traits), I must admit I was bored by everything else…particularly the long and arduous quest through what seemed like an endless grove of olive trees in search of Hamiathes’ Gift.

Last week I stumbled upon this Book Smuggler’s glowing review of the entire series, which sparked a renewed interest in the book. In fact, every review I’ve read of The Thief praises the ‘TWIST at the end that will make you re-examine the entire book with new eyes.’

I picked up where I left off (yes, I know it’s freaky how I could remember precisely at what point I abandoned a book). On the whole, I have a new appreciation for this book. It does get more exciting toward the middle and the twist was rather clever. But I am riddled with guilt because I’ve convinced myself I should love the book yet, sadly, I am just mildly fond of it. I am flogging myself for not being more excited or wowed by this twist. Is it because I spend my every waking thought constructing shocking twists that I saw this twist coming? I connected the dots and picked up on the clues long ago! Damn my Ghostwriter watching days! I am now too good of a sleuth to be allowed to read mysteries and middle grade novels with blow-your-mind endings.

Mini Flavors of the Week

I usually twitter my mini flavors of the week, i.e. random crap I’m interested in. But Twitter is a flighty medium for chronicling your life.  Sometimes I want to chronicle this random crap so that five years from now I’ll scroll through my archives and say “Hmm. I wanted to dress like Willy Wonka. What was I thinking?”

1. Classic movie kick: I recently watched Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? and then watched an entire documentary on Bette Davis. I wish I can be half the alpha female she was. I also wish my eyes were half as big as B.D.’s. That being said, I’ve got Bette Davis Eyes stuck in my head.

2. Speaking of songs from movies: I’ve been singing Peggy Gordon from The Proposition for the past two years. Okay, you may think this is really weird: I’ve watched this montage repeatedly, mostly for the song but also for the ‘meaningful looks.’ These ‘meaningful looks’ break my heart! I find them very existential, like “maybe the meaning of life exists in the lyrics of Peggy Gordon.”

3. I’ve watched the Plastic Jesus banjo playing part of Cool Hand Luke more times than I can count! Paul Newman sings a requiem for his dead mother and a single solitary tear falls down his cheek. It’s a lot deeper than I’ve made it sound. SOB! This movie is the reason I want to learn to play the banjo!

4. Night of the Hunter anyone? It came to me while I reading Monsters of Men that if Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking Trilogy were a movie, I’d fantasy cast Robert Mitchum as Mayor Prentiss. Of course, Robert Mitchum is dead, hence the term ‘fantasy casting.’ But this clip perfectly explains my reasoning. Sometimes I sing ‘Leaning’ when I want to be creepy and scare little children on Halloween.

 

 

Visual Overload: Book Collages Galore

Gormenghast (Inspiration: Gormenghast Trilogy by Mervyn Peake)

Cotton Candy Dreams (Inspiration: Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson)

Cleopatra (Inspiration: Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare)

Horatio Hornblower (Inspiration: Horatio Hornblower Series by C.S. Forester)

“Jamie and Claire”

The Outlander YouTube movies are increasing in number and getting better by the minute. A few months ago, these fan videos were primarily casting oriented, but now, they’re branching out into storytelling territory. With that said, I would like to introduce a new Outlander video entitled “Jamie and Claire” that deserves honorable mention in telling the story all the way to the end of Dragonfly in Amber. There is, however, an anachronistically modern picture of Claire (casted as Anna Friel) that raised my eyebrow just an inch north of doubtful before I was quickly won over by the music (“Bonny Portmoreby Loreena McKennitt) and creative subtitles.

Men of the Mist

It it a truth universally acknowledged that if you’re going to have crush on a dashing fictional hero, you might as well go the extra step and provide him with his own atmospheric mist. My earliest memory of being able to see man-mist occurred on my first reading of The Witch of Blackbird Pond. The sardonic young seaman, Nathaniel Eaton, makes an appearance from out of the mist of the Connecticut River in order to come to Kit Tyler’s rescue. From that point on, the mist never receded from his general vicinity.

Nor did the mist leave Sydney Carton’s side as he took his final stroll along the cobblestone sidewalk under Lucie Manette’s window. Likewise, if Outlander were ever to be made into a movie, Jamie Fraser would have his own fog and wind machine. He must have wind blowing through his flaming red hair at all times! None of this sissy mist, I demand a gale for this God among men!

And last but not least, Mr. Darcy came out of the mist… in slow motion. And yes, there was a faint breeze tousling his Regency era sideburns ever so gently askew…

Of course, this was all in my imagination. Never did it cross my mind that others were thinking the same thing. Until one day, in a smoky theater in Westwood Village, I feasted my eyes upon this image and nearly fell out of my seat from sheer exhilaration.

All around me, there was a collective intake of breath from the female audience as Mr. Darcy, played by Matthew Macfayden, came out of the mist, his morning-walking coat billowing behind him as he approached Elizabeth Bennet in, dare I say it, slow motion. What a thrill to see the image that has been ruminating in my mind realized before my eyes. And then, after this scene, the theater erupted into a collective sigh.

The male audience, however, were not amused.

The Outlander Movie: Black Jack Randall

Jonathan Rhys-Meyers was born to play Jonathan Wolverton Randall. Although some of you may not have considered him for the coveted role of Outlander’s arch-villain, I’m here to convince you that he could do the job.

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Black Jack Randall has a sneer; I see it with Diana Gabaldon’s every word. His calm, gentlemanly exterior conceals a steel-trapped mind and a dark, insatiable monster. This sneer erupts as if by compulsion, contorting his otherwise handsome features into the face of evil and then, all of a sudden, the sneer vanishes…

Jonathan Rhys-Meyers has been sneering for a decade. He has full, sensual lips which, in ordinary circumstances, deem him eligible for pretty boy status, but so often in films, I’ve seen those lips pulled back into a rictus of contempt. Out of any actor in his generation, he excels at the cold, merciless stares, the smiles of dubious intent. His role as the ambitious Steerpike in Gormenghast (2000) is one of the best movie villain performances since Anthony Perkins in Psycho (1960). Jonathan Rhys-Meyer’s Steerpike simultaneously garners our hatred and sympathy; he commits cruel, unspeakable acts, yet he manages to illuminate his humanity with an animal howl of desolation.

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I liked Black Jack Randall despite what he did to Jamie Fraser. There were parts in Outlander in which I despised him, but toward the end of Dragonfly in Amber, Diana Gabaldon pulled a fast one on her readers by revealing some of Jack Randall’s redeemable features. He’s not your typical, mustache-twitching villain, but one who is textured and undeniably human.

As the series’ main villain, Jack Randall creates perfect melodrama; he’s the lingering presence pursing Jamie Fraser across the four corners Scotland as diligently as Inspector Javart pursued Jean Valjean throughout France. If you consider how much of the first book is dedicated to escaping Jack Randall, you’ll realize what an important character he is to the series and how casting him is a decision not to be taken lightly.

The actor who plays Jonathan Wolverton Randall has a daunting task ahead of him: he must be able to play a believable, multidimensional villain and then turn around and play the thankless role of Frank Randall. I handpicked Jonathan Rhys-Meyers mainly on the basis of his immense acting range. Although I haven’t considered his physical resemblance to Jack Randall, I have to admit that Jonathan Rhys-Meyers does have Black Jack’s lithe, tennis player physique.

Some of you may be tempted to write Jonathan Rhys-Meyers off as being too much of a pretty boy, too androgynous, or too slight in stature for the role. But if you measure him against his towering Scottish foil, you’ll come to realize that a little bit of androgyny may be necessary to accentuate the differences between Black Jack and Jamie Fraser.

The important part is capturing Jonathan Wolverton Randall’s sneer. If casting directors can only get the sneer right, audiences will know we’ve got a villain to reckon with.

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“Gerard Butler as Jamie Fraser”

I’ve found another Outlander Casting video on YouTube worth mentioning. Although I still believe that “Outlander: Part I” is the Citizen Kane of the Outlander Internet movies, this new video entitled “Gerard Butler as Jamie Fraser” has one thing going for it: a collection of knee-weakening Gerard Butler pictures set to the Celtic Women’s version of “Scarborough Fair.” The soundtrack is usually what makes or breaks Outlander YouTube movies; otherwise, all you’re left with is a collection of celebrity photos cut with random stone-circle pictures. Since I’m more partial toward a faster-paced soundtrack, I find Celtic songs such as “Scarborough Fair” to be the most effective in capturing the Gaelic atmosphere. Likewise, “Outlander: Part I” makes a genius soundtrack choice with Salva Nos by the Mediæval Bæbes. I’ve seen one movie-maker set Outlander to techno…er…I’m not judging, I’m just speechless.

Once again, the owner of “Gerard Butler as Jamie Fraser” has disabled embedding for reason unfathomable to me–don’t they want publicity from Outlander Fans? So if you want to feast your eyes on the chiseled Mr. Butler, click on the link and enjoy!

And yes, I inherently think this post is a blatant excuse to post more Gerard Butler pictures.