Review: The Singular and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath by Ishbelle Bee

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FROM THE BACK COVER:

1888. A little girl called Mirror and her shape-shifting guardian Goliath Honeyflower are washed up on the shores of Victorian England. Something has been wrong with Mirror since the day her grandfather locked her inside a mysterious clock that was painted all over with ladybirds. Mirror does not know what she is, but she knows she is no longer human.

John Loveheart, meanwhile, was not born wicked. But after the sinister death of his parents, he was taken by Mr. Fingers, the demon lord of the underworld. Some say he is mad. John would be inclined to agree.

Now Mr Fingers is determined to find the little girl called Mirror, whose flesh he intends to eat, and whose soul is the key to his eternal reign. And John Loveheart has been called by his otherworldly father to help him track Mirror down…

In this disturbing fairy-tale for adults, a little girl called Mirror is being chased by a demon called Mr. Fingers. Mr. Fingers is determined to eat her and use her powers to solidify his reign on the Underworld. The only thing between the girl and certain death is a shape-shifter called Goliath Honeyflower.

Set in Victorian England, this book is full of dark characters in darker situations doing terrible things under the guise of being upright citizens. A clockmaker, well sought after, fills his clocks with the souls of children. A boy named Loveheart is taken to the underworld and driven mad. Even the heroine, Mirror, is more than she appears after having been stuffed in a ladybird clock by her grandfather.

There is such a bright and beautiful level of madness in this story. The way the pages are laid out with text that grows and swirls around the page adds to the lovely level of crazy. Our heroes are insane. Our villains are also insane and in the middle is a little girl who isn’t human any more just trying to escape back to Egypt.

I think this is the closest you could come to going mad safely. It has the same feeling as falling down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland but the level of madness is higher, more dangerous and definitely bloodier. The world is well built and easy to slip into. Scents, colors and typography are used to make it into a full body experience.

You are drawn into the world from the first page. Each chapter choses a character’s head to be trapped inside, making you feel closely related to all the characters. Loveheart is more the protagonist than Mirror and he quickly became my favorite character with his flamboyant outfits and black eyes. But Mirror holds her own, aging rapidly to meet the dangers that surround her. And Mr. Fingers is the stuff of nightmares.

For me this was a perfect read. I zipped through the book, caught up in the insane imagery and unusual word choices. It feels very visceral, using all the senses to keep you engaged. If this were a painting you could stare at it for days, the layers would be thick and full of hidden gems.

I highly recommend this book if you are a fan of Lewis Carroll and don’t mind squelchy bloody, gruesome bits in your fairy tales. I would give it five out of five stars. The only thing I can complain about is that it isn’t longer. This story features epic world building with well developed characters.

I am looking forward to reading more from Ishbelle Bee in the future and can’t recommend her enough.

Her website is : http://ishbellebee.com/

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On the Downeaster Alexa…

I haven’t written in awhile. Sorry. I’m in a precarious position where I am flat broke and scrambling. I have to take odd jobs and take on projects and fix pools. I’ve painted houses, made cards for special occasions and for about 4 weeks I worked at a greenhouse. Then they let me go…

It was mental torture. The pay sucked and basically I hated it. But I went out of my way to be pleasant (was told I was rude,) worked my ass off (and kept getting looks like I wasn’t) and basically tried to be a model citizen. There was no sound in the greenhouse. Sometimes the fans kicked on and the silence was relieved for seconds at a time but honestly it was like being in a sensory deprivation tank. And I couldn’t find my MP3 Player.

I did however, remember all the words to ‘Downester Alexa.’  The song is sad and haunting and all about what it’s like when you’re an obsolete human being. He’s a fisherman in a land of no fish and he can’t do anything but what he knows; fishing. So I spent 4 weeks alone, with no sound, working my ass off and singing a song about loneliness. Ha, if anyone had worked with me, seen me or even heard me that might have been cause to get rid of me. Person A – “Tell her to stop singing that song, it’s sad.” Person B – “Let’s just fire her…” But nope. I saw someone at the beginning of the day and at the end..or if I saw the bosses they gave me looks as if I’d peed in their breakfast cereal. It was rough and frankly a relief to be fired.

On the writing side of things, after being fired, I edited 100 pages of my story ‘Life with Amy’ and only have about 20 pages left until I force one of my friends to read the whole damned thing and tell me if it sucks. Maybe I’ll write a story about a greenhouse employee that kills everyone next, as a way of putting my job in perspective… I know I will be spotty on here until I get regular employ. I should be working on a commission right now (3 gods on a field of blue in acrylics–) but I needed to update my playlist to include ‘Downester Alexa’ to remind me that I cannot work in a vacuum.

Feel free to comment with stories of crap jobs you’ve worked. I love being sympathetic and empathetic.

 

Chapter 1 Slowly Plugging Along…And Randomness

The writing continues…oh…so…slowly. The dialogue is fun and very silly. I still need to add some background stuff and flesh out the sites and sounds but it is happening. It might take an all day marathon of Matt Smith tomorrow to brush up on the banter but I think I can suffer through that. It did lead me to web searching a few little gems of the old show and some of those wonderful webisodes Moffat likes so much. It’s all research I tells ya. I also bought another Doctor Who Book to read (more research,) new Wii cables (Inky the Guinea Pig ate the old ones,) and a Jackson Pearce novel because she is brilliant.

Jackson Pearce is  also wonderfully friendly and responds to tweets directed at her, near her or around her. I’ve talked to her about things like: Sleepy Hollow the TV show and whether or not Abby and Crane will end up together and Amazon mix ups. It reminds me that I want to be as accessible to my readers when I am as published as she is. She also does clever videos online. I hate the sound of my voice so…maybe, maybe not. Ok, tangent over. But there was a point. Ohe yes there was: follow me on Twitter… @1fuzzymonster — I will respond to you because I have nothing better to do with my time. (That’s a lie. I am very busy making ebook covers on fiverr and searching for gainful employ. Hire me and I will work for money. But I watch General Hospital every day and I check Twitter when Sonny Corinthos is on. Sorry Maurice Bernard, you are amazing but your character is so….1993.)

This week I have promised myself to get back on the writing horse. I have an unfinished short story. I have at least 3 novels in need of rewrites and edits and my Doctor Who Book. I also apparently made some money in royalties from Amazon for some books I self published. Unfortunately I can’t remember what email address I used. Go to work that one out this week. I was thinking of adding more to that… If you want to read a good one I wrote with Drew Pepin, check out Circles. It’s only 99 cents and it’s not that long…It’s also super violent. Ha, I am usually less gory and more silly/supernatural but this was a great collaboration with a great writer and friend.

I will hopefully hit you guys back later in the week with some good news on the job front, the freelance writing front and on whether or not a person can go mad watching the same few seasons of Doctor Who over and over again (ask my BF and he’ll say, ‘yes.’)

Feel free to hit me up about writing in the comments. Also if you have a self published book and you want me to interview you for this super random blog of mine, drop me a line. I love to pick other writers’ brains. Mmm brains.

It is Begun….

Outline is finished! 

After my lovely interview with the incredibly talented and congenial Charlie Daye, I thought I might kick my own ass into gear. So I actually sat down a few days ago and worked out what was wrong with my outline: Predictable. So I added some more conflict and changed out who the baddies are and bam, completed outline.

Today is the important one though, because I have actually written the opening gambit of my novel. I have a working title (it is terrible) and an opening gambit (which is passable so far…) and I am super excited to get to the part with the Doctor. He is, after all, the fun part. I’m very excited. Of course this means my Writer’s Block is also very excited. My Writer’s Block likes to get into my head and stop me from writing by making me worry about unrelated things. Currently it is busy worrying about an uncompleted (and maybe impossible) art project I have due for tomorrow. It’s making me mental. But I’m going to keep on being proud of my opening gambit and try to focus on being excited.

My step plan is working in so far as I have done the first couple steps:

1. Come up with an idea(s)
2. Add some subplots
3. Complete Outine

Next is: Write 3 Chapters. 

Wish me luck… In the meantime maybe I’ll haunt some other authors and get the lowdown on how they do it. Stay tuned all.

Interview with Indie Author Charlie Daye

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I want to be a paid author. So do most of the people reading my blog I’m betting. So why not learn from the people who are already out there doing it? So I sent Charlie Daye a bunch of questions in the hopes of sucking all the awesome knowledge out of her Indie heart.

Charlie Daye began writing at the tender age of thirteen. With an obsession for romance, happy endings and the supernatural she delves into your greatest fantasies and worst nightmares. She will have you laughing, crying, falling in love and getting angry. She will always give you a HEA but getting there is the journey worth taking. Charlie Daye has authored several Paranormal Romance novels including The Hunter Series, Breeders and Request. Going where her muse takes her, Charlie has ventured out of the steamy romantic PNR with her new fantasy series Children of Kria.

KK: What is your process for coming up with novel ideas?

CD: Truthfully, I don’t really have a process. Most of the time, my idea come to me because of something I’ve seen or experienced. And every once in a while it will be because of something crazy a friend has done.

KK: How has your life and personal experiences influenced the creation of your novels?

CD: It’s influenced it greatly. About 50% of my characters are based on people I know and about 25% of the stories come from real life experiences.

KK: So you do base your characters on people in your life?

CD: Absolutely.

KK: How long did it take you to complete your first full length novel?

CD: 3 Months

KK: How many drafts do you typically create?

CD: Just one. I don’t see the need in duplicating my work repeatedly.

KK: When did you decide to become an author? Was there a big ‘Eureka’ moment or was it more of a subtle stumbling into it?

CD: *Laughs* It’s something that just kind of happened, I guess. I’ve been writing poetry and short stories since I was a kid but the idea for my first full length novel came when I was working in a cemetery. I thought it would be cool to write a story about a haunted house and so The House was born.

KK: What made you decide to go Indie?

CD: The thought of signing my rights away to a large corporation for any length of time is unnerving to me. My books are like my children, so it just made sense to keep then with me. Not only that but I’m obsessively picky about the books covers which you don’t really get a say in with most publishers. I think my cover artist secretly hates me! *Snickers*

KK: What part do you think social media (twitter, Facebook…) plays in marketing your books?

CD: I think FB and Twitter are great for getting the word out about my books but think it’s an even better option for my fans and readers to connect with me. It allows them to ask questions or simply converse back and forth with myself or other fans. And yes, I do respond personally to ever post and email I receive.

KK: What advice do you give to new authors starting out or older authors who want to go it alone and publish on Kindle, Nook and other independents?

CD: For the newbies… Keep it up. It’s hard work but if you have the drive it’ll pay off in the end. Just make sure you have honest beta readers and a great editor. For the older authors… you guys know how hard it was to get started and luckily have had some assistance in getting your name out there. As in indie, all that work is now on you so be prepared for tons of leg work.

KK: Where do you write? Do you have a designated area?

CD: I write in what I refer to as my dungeon. LOL. My office located in the basement of my house.

KK: What sustains you through a Fantasy series? Do you plan a story arc or do you wing it?

CD: I write on the fly. I wait for the story starts to bubble over then sit down and right until every last detail is on paper.

KK: What made you choose fantasy as your genre?

CD: Fantasy is actually new to me. Most of my fans are used to my PNR (Paranormal Romance) novels. But when I started writing my first Children of Kria novel, it took on a life of its own which took me from the PNR world right into the world of Fantasy. It’s been a little nerve wracking and am I bit terrified but it’s a new adventure I can’t wait to start.

KK: What is the new series about?

CD: Children of Kria was something I came up with while having a bad day. And since killing people in today’s society is highly frowned upon, I decided to create a world of immortal assassins that seek justice for those who would never get it on their own. Each story focuses on a different character in the world of Kriation and each character responds to a different kind of heart ache. Let’s take the first three books in the series, for example… Fury (Book 1) responds to the betrayal of a man to a woman, Raithe (Book 2) responds to rape, Vengeance (Book 3) responds to slavery and so on.

The stories will differ from character to character. In some instances you made read about how the assassins came to Kriation and in other instances you may read about a hunt they go after already being a Child o Kria and in some instances you’ll get both. The books are action packed thrill rides that are dark and deadly. They deal with issues that some may consider taboo or just downright disturbing.

This will be a new writing style for my current fans who are used to my paranormal romance novels. You will find no romance in these books since they are considered fantasy novels, however, I’ll still give your happily ever after.

KK: How do you approach writing? Do you set a time to write each day or do you write when the mood strikes? Wear funny hats? Play music?

CD: I write when the mood strikes me. I find if I try and write when I’m not in the mood, the story turns out horrible and I have to delete everything I wrote. So, for me, it makes sense to wait.

Check out a sample from Charlie Daye’s new series Children of Kria:

 Whatever was left of my heart had just been destroyed. It was bad enough knowing he married that horrid woman but it was something else entirely when I had to listen to them make out over the phone. The pain in my chest became so intense that I couldn’t breathe. I sat up and reached for my shot glass and the bottle of vodka that was currently sitting on my nightstand. I looked at the glass briefly before tossing it aside and drinking straight from the bottle. I just wanted the pain to stop. I wanted my life to go back to the way it was before I got involved with Gyan. I sobbed. Who was I kidding? I wanted Gyan back. I wanted him so much that the thought of living another day without him had me pulling my pocket knife out of my drawer and bringing it with me to bed. I began to mindlessly slide the blade across my arm. With every slice, the pain of my broken heart began to lessen. I sliced until I couldn’t lift my arm to hold the knife anymore. I slumped over on my bed and stared blankly at the puddle of blood that saturated my floor. A tear rolled down my cheek as the pain in my chest once again reared its ugly head. I closed my eyes and pleaded to the darkness, “Please make the pain go away.” As the darkness began to close in and the pain began to fade, a bright light began to take shape. It was iridescent in color and seemed to twist and turn until a very distinct shape took form. It was a woman with bright red hair and a white gown that flowed around her body like mist. Here eyes were the color of the raging sea during a storm. She lifted me up and cradled me in her arms like a baby. It was the most comforting feeling in the world. I smiled weakly, “Are you an angel?” She smiled and brushed a piece of my long dark hair away from my face, “No child. I am Kria.” Synop: I am a seeker of vengeance; A mender of broken hearts. I respond to the siren call of loneliness and despair. I was once a human woman; Very much like you; Until my heart was destroyed by the man I loved. My only purpose now is to avenge those that have been betrayed. I am Fury… And hell has nothing on me. Tag: Welcome to Kriation, where the brokenhearted come to seek the justice society can never give them.

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If you’d like to get in contact with Charlie Daye, check her out on Facebook, Twitter, Good Reads and on her website.

Creative Procrastination?

You would think this outline is the manuscript by how slowly it is coming together. Tonight I managed to get chapters 5-7 down. I think that this is a cause for jubilation. But it almost didn’t happen.

I wrote out chapter 5 and got stuck by the need to procrastinate. But! I decided to procrastinate by writing a short story. Yep. So does it really count as procrastination if I was in fact writing and being creative? Well yes. Mostly because I was avoiding writing by doing other writing. But it did get me started on a nice science fiction story. Once I finish and polish it, I’ll submit it. If/when it gets accepted, it will build my street cred, right? Then when I go to the BBC with my novel, I will be a recently published author. See how I BS this? See how even now I could be outlining more chapters and resort to blogging to avoid it?

I fear organization. I fear it. But only creatively.

I have some interviews with other writers coming up. I’m excited to suck the writing knowledge from their marrow and make it my own. Mwaha ha ha ha. So there’s that to look forward to. Okay, enough… gotta get the outline done. The dang book is only 13-14 chapters and I’m at 7, the halfway mark.

Outlines Are Boring!

I just got rejected… from a job interview. My story is still sitting in the received bin over at Analog, no worries there. But the job thing was a bummer. I like to eat food when I’m writing. But it’s going to be okay because I have started outlining my Doctor Who novel. 

The ideas all came flooding out of me one night when I was bored. I scribbled in red ink all over my sketchbook. There are diagrams and one sentence ideas plus some ridiculous sketches and things that will definitely be used against me when my boyfriend tries to have me committed (oh yeah, that’s happening in my future.) Two hours later, I had triumphantly crafted my five sentence back of the book blurb to show friends. I sent it out to 3 of my friends. 2 were very excited and said they would be honored to read my sample chapters (whenever I got them written, that is.) I asked the third one if he would read it and he said, “I don’t know.” 2 outta 3 ain’t bad.

After that I stalled out for two days. I had some subplots to think about. I wasn’t writing anything but I was busily inventing the planet and the aliens and the ideas and the themes. I just kept rejecting the subplots as too obvious. But after a while I just said, “Let that develop as you write or we’re never going to get anywhere!!!!” My sudden outburst startled my guinea pigs and knocked the crippled one over. (I am so sorry, Screwball.) And subplots were had by all! Plus bananas were also had by all.

Now it was time for the outline. Boy oh boy did I avoid that for a few days. I cleaned a bit. Played with guinea pigs. Did a job interview. Did a follow up job interview. Went drinking, hoping I was celebrating getting the job. Went shopping and got jeans with a gift card. went to another party…and so on. A few days passed and I got to today. Yep: Rejection Day. In an email. Bummer. I frantically applied to a bunch of jobs and panting, decided what the hell? I started the Outline

So far it is a flimsy thing, filled with only 2 and a half chapters. But it is BEGUN! There’s no turning back now. Only problem is: Oh my God, is it boring to write an outline! I know some people thrive on all this structure but I may as well be an anarchist for how much I abhor organizing a novel. But I researched some templates and I will plug away until this thing is done. Because then I get to write 3 chapters. That will be fun. I can already hear the Doctor’s voice in my head telling me what jokes to add and little bits of scientific data about the planet I’m on… Frankly he’s driving me nuts.