Can You Vague That Up For Me?

Bronwyn Green's Random Thoughts

Pssst! Wanna Win a Kindle Fire HD 8?

Of COURSE you want to win! And here’s your chance…or chances since you can enter several times!

What are you entering to win, exactly? A Kindle Fire HD 8 PLUS 13 ebooks!

The Bound Series

London Bound by Jessica Jarman
Drawn That Way by Bronwyn Green
The Professor’s Student by Bronwyn Green
Nothing Serious by Jessica Jarman
Out of Sync by Bronwyn Green
In Bounds by Bronwyn Green
Safeword Protected by Jessica Jarman

Albion’s Circle series by Jessica Jarman

The Deepest Cut
In My Veins
Edge of Darkness

Rising Blood by Bronwyn Green
Finding You by Bronwyn Green
Tempted to Death by Jessica Jarman

So, enter early, enter often! The more you enter, the better your chances of winning!

Good luck… Ádh mór oraibh!

Bron & Jess

Click link below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Writing Fears and Anxieties

Apparently, it’s time for another episode of Therapy with Bron.

It’s totally cool to back out of the room now. Honestly, I probably won’t even notice. I’ll just assume you were looking for the bathroom or something. Maybe you were trying to find the kitchen? I did just make cookies.

Oh? You’re still here?

*passes the cookies*

Okay, so…writing fears and anxieties. I have quite a few, but I’m willing to bet that they’re not all that different from other writers’ issues. We all seem to have a fuckton of them.

I feel like this is one of those topics I could go on and on about ad nauseum, so I’m just going to stick to the biggest, doomiest ones, otherwise we’ll all be here for ages.

So, in the fear and anxiety round-up, there’s the ever popular:

I’ll never have another good idea again.

This one usually hits as I’m about 3/4 of the way through a book. There a little voice that whispers, “This is it. The last book you’ll ever write. You sure you wanna finish it?”

I hate that voice. That voice is a total asshole. Also, that voice is dumb, because the voice and I both know that I have pages and pages of ideas. But somehow, that voice gets me to listen to it, and I suddenly think all the ideas I’d previously loved are shit. Stupid voice.

The people who buy and positively review or otherwise say nice things about my books are just doing it because they’re being kind.

This is a popular one in my head. Like I’m the author version of that kid with the lemonade stand on the corner. You know the one…he was always kinda grubby and sticky-looking and you hoped that he’d just spilled some of the lemonade on himself and got sticky that way. Because you really didn’t want to think about him actually making the lemonade. And the lemonade itself was always weak tasting and uncomfortably warm–but you bought it anyway, ’cause you felt bad for that grubby, sticky kid.

That’s a really long way of saying that sometimes, I’m afraid I’m that grubby, sticky kid on the corner who people feel sorry for, but instead of questionable lemonade, they’re buying books.

I’m a fraud, and someday, my secret will be out, and everyone will know.

This is the garden variety imposter syndrome that I think most authors probably face. It’s that clawing feeling that no matter how well I do, it’s not because I’ve worked hard to learn my craft or have dedicated tons of time and effort writing these books. Nope. It’s all because of some cosmic misalignment of the stars, and when everything goes back to how it’s supposed to be, I’ll be here like this:unnamedAnd everyone will know that I’ve just been faking this whole time.

Okay, so that’s probably more of my neuroses than anyone can comfortably handle in one day, so I say we should all go troop over to Jess and Kris‘ blogs and see what kind of cookies and anxieties they have going on.

What would the title of my memoir be, and why?

triple banded

Please Note: If Kris Norris ever abandons me, this is how shitty my future book covers will look. *makes plans to bribe Norris with Tim Horton’s tea*

I feel like the “why” of this title can best be summed up by potential chapter headings comprised of things I’ve said in text messages.

1.) If I don’t answer for a bit, it’s because I’m driving home from the motherfucking store.

2.) I’d run away and join the circus, but I have no marketable circus skills. And also clowns.

3.) Yes…I ignored that little voice in the back of my head that said that person was batshit crazy. Again.

4.) Math is hard, yo.

5.) I cannot possibly people today.

6.) I’m sorry my cat hates you.

7.) Look, I just need some cheese.

8.) Is it wrong that I’m proud of my four-year-old niece for using “What the fuck” properly in a sentence?

9.) I don’t recall becoming a bigamist, but at the same, time, my brain has been nothing but cracks, lately. So…maybe?

10.) The hold music is static-y soft jazz. I am in hell.

11.) Excellent. I feel like the more people we have spreading the accelerant, the quicker it’ll be over.

12.) Filed under bad ideas: Don’t look at fabric you made your kids’ clothes out of. Especially not while you’re ovulating.

13.) I’m gonna need bail money. There’s a neighbor kid out there somewhere blowing a goddam gym whistle.

14.) But in Clue, aren’t you just supposed to murder people with the candlestick? Or are we lighting candles to celebrate afterward?

15.) I feel like we won’t be able to have our podcast if I’m in jail, though.

16.) I have zero of popsicles. And also zero of patience.

17.) Never look a gift moodswing in the mouth.

18.) I am a font of random information.

19.) Fuck that. I’m putting on my ruffle-butt undies and my ruffled bonnet. And we’re gonna go Pollyanna the fuck out of everything.

20.) ADD Powers ACTIVATE! Form of Squirrel!

That’s it for me this week, be sure to check out the other bloggers’ memoir titles. Jess, Jessica, Deelylah, Gwen, and Kellie.

Flash Fiction #54 – What are You Waiting For?

 

flashficsong

Okay, so this month’s song fic was chosen by our resident Canadian and number one Nickelback fan. The song is What are You Waiting For? Here are the lyrics and the video.

Through the open door, Molly stared at what she’d been convinced was the answer to her prayers. It was all there in front of her. Their first apartment together–the one-bedroom loft above the town’s only bar. She glanced at the woman who’d brought her here–to her past, and she smiled benevolently.

Molly had thought the woman was full of shit when she’d told her that it was possible to go back to a time when she as Christopher had been happy. That she could have a do-over and go back to prevent things from ever going wrong in the first place.

As she drew closer to the doorway, she recognized her old leather coat hanging over the back of the chair shoved under the cheap formica-topped kitchen table. He’d always hated that jacket. She frowned. Was that why she’d decided to get rid of it?

She glanced around the rest of the room, smiling at the hideous cow-shaped salt and pepper shakers sitting on the counter next to the hand-me-down coffee pot from her sister. There was the spider plant rooting in a jar in the kitchen window along with a collection of cobalt blue glass bottles. Those had survived a bit longer than the jacket, but all but one had been smashed to pieces in a long ago arguement.

The calendar on the wall next to the microwave read March 1999. If she remembered correctly, they’d only been in that apartment for six months, at that point. There were so many memories here. And most of them had been good. Like Halloween parties they’d thrown or the Christmas feasts they’d invited both their families to. The book club she and her sister had started and the nights they’d spent gaming with their friends.

Molly crept closer to the doorway–a niggling sense that something was wrong. Almost as if something was out of place. But she couldn’t put her finger on it. From her changed vantage point, she could see past the kitchen doorway, through the dining room and into the living room. Christopher was sitting on the couch playing some Xbox game, and a younger version of herself, looking ridiculously dressed up for an evening at home, sat curled up in a chair reading.

Only she wasn’t really reading. She was sighing and staring at Christopher who didn’t seem to have any clue that she was even in the room with him. Nope…he knew. He’d just asked her to get him a beer. Another beer from the looks of it as she noticed the the three empty bottles by his feet.

Past Molly got up and grabbed him a beer from the fridge looking just as dejected and defeated as she currently felt. He barely acknowledged her when she handed him the bottle and returned to her chair.

“What are you waiting for?” The woman at Molly’s side gestured to the open door.

Molly had forgotten she wasn’t alone. “What?”

“I said, what are you waiting for? This is when you wanted to return to, right? The time when things were still good between you.?”

Molly’s gaze landed on the calendar again. On the day that had a big heart drawn in the center of the square–March 20th–their one year anniversary. The day that he’d decided he’d been too stressed with school and work to acknowledge their anniversary. Sure, he’d attempted to make up for it later, but she realized now, he’d never really been sorry. Like the majority of his attempts at amends hadn’t really been about her or their relationship. He’d just been looking for a way to make his current situation more comfortable, and often that meant appeasing her.

How had she been so stupid not to grasp that it had been this way since the beginning? She glanced around the apartment and was again struck by the onslaught of memories. And she realized that almost all of the positive ones were ones that included other people.

Molly looked at the woman. “I just realized that I’m in the wrong time. This isn’t the right door. I need to go to January, 1998–the seventh, I think.”

In a blink, Molly stood outside O’Toole’s Pub, the biting wind blowing in off the river and the snow swirling in eddies around her feet.

“Is this where you wanted to go?”

Molly nodded as she watched her past self push her chair away from a table full of her friends. Grabbing the cold metal handle, she pulled open the door and entered the bar, the woman following silently behind. Molly rapidly crossed the floor, cutting off her past self as she headed up to the bar, and the two collided.

Molly stopped stopped in the middle of the floor, a sudden chill skating up her spine. She glanced around noticing a vaguely familiar woman by the door. Molly shook off the chill–must have been a blast of cold air from when the woman came in from outside–and walked up to the bar. It was her turn to buy the post finals rounds.

As she waited, trying to catch the bartender’s, a cute guy to her right said, “Let me guess—you just finished your last exam?”

She smiled. “That obvious?”

“Me, too. My name’s Christopher. Can I buy you a drink?”

She stared into the prettiest blue eyes she’d ever seen and shook her head. “Thanks, but I’m here with friends.”

He nodded. “No worries.”

As the bartender took her order, she couldn’t help but feel that she’d dodged a bullet.

Okay, so that’s it for me today. Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ stories by clicking on their names. Jess, Kris, and Deelylah.

How to tell that your child and his friends may have listened to Hamilton a few too many times.

Conversation overheard thanks to the wonders of Skype and broken headphones/mic rig.

Corwin: (also known as my son)  *playing some kind of elaborate Minecraft mod that allows players to be werewolves and vampires, and have spouses and children*

Corwin’s Friend: You procreated. What’s your kid’s name?

Corwin: Phillip. *pauses a beat* My son! Look at my son!

Corwin’s Friend: Is pride the word you’re looking for?

Corwin: No. There is so much more inside me now.

Corwin’s Friend: Careful, Phillip’s gonna be lunch for that vamp.

Corwin: As long as he doesn’t die in a senseless duel defending my nonexistent honor.

 

Please welcome Janine Ashbless to the blog!

Today, I’ve got the fantabulous Janine Ashbless on the blog, and I’m questioning her mercilessly interviewing her about her life in general, and her brand new release.

IBotE cover (1)

 

Broad at the shoulders and lean at the hips, six foot-and-then-something of ropey muscle, he looks like a Spartan god who got lost in a thrift store. He moves like ink through water. And his eyes, when you get a good look at them, are silver. Not gray. Silver. You might take their inhuman shine for fancy contact lenses. You’d be wrong.

Before we get to more of this amazing-sounding book, we’re going to find out a little more about Janine Ashbless – thanks to my nosy intrepid questions. But first off, Janine–in her own words.

 

Bio:

Janine Ashbless is a writer of fantasy erotica and steamy romantic adventure. She likes to write about magic and myth and mystery, dangerous power dynamics, borderline terror, and the not-quite-human.

Janine has been seeing her books in print ever since 2000. She’s also had numerous short stories published by Black Lace, Nexus, Cleis Press, Ravenous Romance, Harlequin Spice, Storm Moon, Xcite, Mischief Books, and Ellora’s Cave among others. She is co-editor of the nerd erotica anthology ‘Geek Love’.

Born in Wales, Janine now lives in the North of England with her husband and two rescued greyhounds. She has worked as a cleaner, library assistant, computer programmer, local government tree officer, and – for five years of muddy feet and shouting – as a full-time costumed Viking. Janine loves goatee beards, ancient ruins, minotaurs, trees, mummies, having her cake and eating it, and holidaying in countries with really bad public sewerage.

Her work has been described as:

“Hardcore and literate” (Madeline Moore) and “Vivid and tempestuous and dangerous, and bursting with sacrifice, death and love.” (Portia Da Costa

Janine-Ashbless-profile2

Janine Ashbless website * Janine Ashbless blog * Janine Ashbless on Facebook

Sinful Press website

What’s a typical day like for you?

A losing battle with my laziness.

Do you have any collections?

Cthulhu Mythos books. Ghost story books. Children’s books. Just books, tbh!

Do you have any hobbies?

I own a small wood, so I like to work in that with my chainsaw. I play Dungeons and Dragons. I LARP – dress up like a fantasy warrior and run around hitting orcs with rubber swords.

Do you have any bad habits?

See LARPing above. My parents are still waiting for me to grow out of it!

Are there any skills you’d like to learn?

I wish I’d been taught Latin. It would be so cool, in old churches and museums, to be able to read the stones.

What’s your favorite curse word?

“Fucktard.”

What sound do you love?

Evening birdsong.

What sound do you hate?

Sniffing.

Dog or cat person?

Dog – I always have at least two.

City or country?

Country

Get things done early or procrastinate?

Pro …. crastinate

Introvert or extravert?

Introvert

What do you like best about writing?

Falling in love/lust with my heroes and having wild fictional affairs!

What do you like least?

Promo, lol!

What was your favorite childhood book?

The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper. I wanted to be an Old One.

(*Bron wiggles and interrupts* Yes! I loved this series!)

Questions about the book.

In Bonds of the Earth is the second story in the Book of the Watchers series and sequel to Cover Him with Darkness. In Bonds of the Earth continues Milja and Azazel’s story. Were there any significant differences in your approach to the two books and your experience writing them?

They were both lovely, exciting books to write, but there were slight differences in my approach. I wrote the first book with an emphasis on a logical (if twisty-turny) plot that would be (if necessary) fairly self-contained. Milja triggers the action with her decision and then is mostly swept along in it.

The second book was about digging down into the motivations, conscious and unconscious, of the various individual protagonists and antagonists who are trying to do each other over. Milja gets a lot more agency; people are listening to her now. And it finishes on a cliff-hanger because by this point I’ve committed to the full trilogy.

What do you like best about Milja?

She evolves from a simple rather geeky girl with all the right intentions into someone who recognizes her own darkness and strength and is much less afraid to harness it. And she turns out to be really kinky…

What do you like best about Azazel?

He’s so confused and confounded by human emotion – he really doesn’t get people. He has the dangerous innocence of a bull in a china shop.

Is there anything you hope readers take away from In the Bonds of the Earth?

Don’t put your faith in any dogma or any set of rules, or any one person no matter how wonderful they may seem. Think for yourselves!

If you were to cast your book as a movie, who would you choose to play your characters? (feel free to include pictures)

Azazel would be played by Aidan Turner:

5fdf66f9ac95501c1bd12572e44f0ff0

Milja would be played by model Emina Cunmulaj:

img-thing

Egan would be played by Tom Wlaschiha:

Tom Wlaschiha

What’s up next for you—care to share a bit?

I’m finishing off the third in the trilogy – The Prison of the Angels – right now! I have an Apocalypse to stop!

Thanks for having me over, Bronwyn!

Thank you for being here! 

And now, let’s have some more about the book!

Blurb:

“I will free them all.”

When Milja Petak released the fallen angel Azazel from five thousand years of imprisonment, she did it out of love and pity. She found herself in a passionate sexual relationship beyond her imagining and control – the beloved plaything of a dark and furious demon who takes what he wants, when he wants, and submits to no restraint. But what she hasn’t bargained on is being drawn into his plan to free all his incarcerated brothers and wage a war against the Powers of Heaven.

As Azazel drags Milja across the globe in search of his fellow rebel angels, Milja fights to hold her own in a situation where every decision has dire consequences. Pursued by the loyal Archangels, she is forced to make alliances with those she cannot trust: the mysterious Roshana Veisi, who has designs of her own upon Azazel; and Egan Kansky, special forces agent of the Vatican – the man who once saved then betrayed her, who loves her, and who will do anything he can to imprison Azazel for all eternity.

Torn every way by love, by conflicting loyalties and by her own passions, Milja finds that she too is changing – and that she must do things she could not previously have dreamt of in order to save those who matter to her.

In Bonds of the Earth is the second in the Book of the Watchers trilogy and the sequel to Cover Him With Darkness.

Excerpt:

I was giving my long-dreaded presentation on the anniversary footbridge to Misters Ellis, Singh, Constanzo and Mackenzie…when Azazel walked in.

Oh hell.

“Excuse me, gentlemen,” I said loudly, lurching around from behind my desk, grabbing Azazel’s arm and spinning him back to face the door. “Not here, come on, please,” I implored through clenched teeth.

If there was one thing I’d learned by then, it was to not ignore warning dreams. If I’d paid them more attention from the start, things between me and Egan might have gone very differently back in Montenegro…

No, better not to think of Egan, not when Azazel was around. One guy at a time was quite enough to wrap my head around. Especially this guy.

He humored me though, this time, letting me pull him out of the meeting room and through the open plan office without resistance. We attracted a lot of stares, but there was nothing I could do about that except hold my head high.

“Where are we going?” he asked.

“Out. Anywhere.”

“You’re so impetuous.”

I didn’t need to glance up at his wicked smirk. I could feel it burning its way into my breast.

Bryce, the beardy guy in my new team who’d shown me the ropes of the job and seemed just a tiny bit too eager to talk every morning, stood up from his cubicle to intercept us. “Milja, is everything okay?”

“It’s just fine,” I rasped, towing Azazel faster.

“She’s insatiable,” my demon lover confided with a helpless shrug to my colleague as we swept past.

Bryce stared, mouth open.

“Goddamnit,” I muttered, and Azazel chuckled.

Sometimes it was hard to remember that he’d risked everything to save me.

We reached the doors at the end of the room and I pushed through, past the lobby with the elevators and into the concrete stairwell of the emergency stairs beyond. The only people who came here were smokers on their way to the roof, and it looked empty for now. My panicky momentum fizzled away and I swung to face him.

“What are you doing here?”

“What do you think?” he countered, taking my face in his hands.

“Azazel—” But he cut off my protests with his hungry kiss; a kiss that lanced through me all the way to my core. I gave up resisting, and speaking, and almost breathing, as his lust rolled over me in a hot wet wave. I slid my hands around his neck and tangled my fingers in his messy hair, pulling myself into his embrace. His body was hard as rock, his hands heavy on my waist and hips. The yearning for his touch that smoldered in my flesh day and night woke to a roaring heat.

I’d missed him. His skin, his smile, the peppery scent and salt taste of him. The sweetness of his lips and the harsh rasp of his stubbled chin. I’d missed him so much—like an addict missing her hit.


Ebook Buy Links:

Amazon UK * Amazon US * Apple * Barnes and NobleGoogle Play * Kobo

Paperback Buy Links:

Buy direct from Sinful Press * Barnes and Noble * Waterstones * Amazon UK * Amazon US

Musical Musings #2

musicalmusings

Continuing our new feature, Musical Musings, we’re sharing songs that make us feel hopeful, feel happy or make us cry.

Okay, so starting with a song that make me feel hopeful. Unless this is your first time on the blog, I feel like you’ll pretty much be expecting this first one. My Shot is from the Hamilton soundtrack and it’s sort of my go to song when I need motivation to keep going. Whether it’s to keep fighting the uphill battle of a career in publishing or continuing to have enough energy to continue to protest, and not become complacent in terms of anything that’s currently happening in our country.

And in terms of hope, I’d be remiss, for obvious reasons, if I didn’t share this live version of MILCK’s Quiet that was recorded at the Women’s March in January. It gives me hope shaped goosebumps every time I hear it.

There are actually a bunch of songs that make me happy just to hear them (and of course, sing along), but these are the two that jumped into my head at the same time, so you get them both.

Gang of Rhythm by Walk Off the Earth always makes me smile. My sister, Cait, insisted that I listen to them. She was hoping they’d cure me of my love for Mumford and Sons. It didn’t work, but it did give me a new band to love.

Ani Difranco’s Little Plastic Castle is another one that just makes me smile to hear it. It also makes me want to take a roadtrip.

As much as I adore sad songs, there aren’t a lot that consistently make me cry. However, these two kill me pretty much every time I hear them. The first is, It’s Quiet Uptown from (you are unsurprised) the Hamilton soundtrack. The first time I heard it, I had to stop what I was doing and just weep.

Because my husband is awesome (he could only get three tickets, so he stayed home), the kids and I were able to go see Hamilton in Chicago on the 5th of this month. I figured I’d cry during It’s Quiet Uptown, and boy howdy, did I. But what I didn’t expect was that my son would also cry, and of course, that made me cry harder. So we ugly cried together.

I’m not a huge country music fan. I mean, sure, I like some old Johnny Cash and Emmylou Harris, but the newer country really isn’t my thing, but there’s a Garth Fucking Brooks song that makes me cry so hard any time I hear it that I have to turn it off or leave whatever place it’s playing, because I just can’t.

It’s The Dance. At my nephew’s funeral, one of my brother’s friends played and sang this song. It gutted me then, and it still guts me now. Just hearing the chords is enough to throw me back to the funeral, so if you want to hear it, you’re going to have to youtube that one yourself.

That’s it for me and this edition of Musical Musings. Be sure to check out the other bloggers’ posts. Deelylah, Jess, Gwen, Torrance, and Kellie.

Promptly Penned: Three More Days

promptlypenned

Prompt: Three more days of this.

I looked at the calendar.

January 17th, 2021. 

Three more days of this. Just three more days, and the nightmare would be over.

That’s it for me this time–short and sweet. Be sure sure read the other bloggers stories. Jess, Deelylah, Jessica, and Kris.

Flash Fiction #53 – The Room

flashficphoto

19861754_s

It’s time for another photo flash fiction, and I have a feeling this one is going to be pretty short–partially because of the idea I have, and partially because of the million and twelve things I need to accomplish today because I’ll be out of town all day on Sunday when I usually start writing these. I should also mention that this story was inspired by this picture in conjunction with another photo a friend texted me yesterday morning. So, Amanda…this one’s for you.

***

Amanda sighed as she headed toward the last cottage on the lane. There had been rumors that someone was living there after hours, and based on what some eagle-eyed teenagers from one of the local school tours had pointed out earlier that afternoon, she had a good idea of the squatter’s identity.

She stretched her neck from side to side as she walked, trying to loosen the perpetually tight muscles. Why had she thought managing a historical reenactment village was a viable career change? More importantly, why had she thought hiring David Mulder was was a good idea?

She supposed she’d fallen prey, much like the majority of actresses in the village, to the effects of the last residual bits of stardom that clung to him no matter how much shit he rolled in. She’d been stunned when the washed up television actor had shown up for the open casting call, and of course he’d nailed everything he’d read for–Washington, Jefferson, Madison. But he’d insisted on taking the smaller part of Paine. Said he didn’t want to be a distraction. And he’d smiled that crooked grin–the one that always seemed to reach his heavy-lidded eyes, and she’d hired him on the spot. She was a moron.

Pausing outside the cottage door, she lifted her hand to knock, but thought better of it. It wasn’t like this was someone’s private residence. Shaking her head at herself, she opened the door and immediately regretted it.

David lifted a teacup in her general direction. “Hey, bosslady.”

She opened her mouth, but nothing came out. David Mulder, former star of various sci-fi shows and crime procedurals, was sitting, bare-ass naked, on the kitchen counter, holding a historical reproduction teapot and matching cup. The coordinating creamer was sitting in his lap. A half-eaten pizza was to his right, and an empty sandwich bag was next to his hip.

“I made tea,” he added unnecessarily.

“I see that.”

He blinked at her, a slow, lopsided smile lifting his lips. “Want some?”

Whatever the hell was in there would likely get rid of the tension she’d been carrying for months, but she said, “I’m thinking probably not.”

He shrugged. “Suit yourself.” Tossing back the contents of the cup, he poured himself another.

“We need to talk.”

He frowned. “Is this about Abigail Adams’ boyfriend? I didn’t even know she–”

“No,” she snapped, interrupting him. “And her name’s Brittany.”

“Right. Right. Brittany.”

She knew he wasn’t going to remember the name. “This is about the rumors that someone is living here after hours. And,” she added, her voice growing louder, “the weed growing in Benjamin Franklin’s garden.”

He frowned. “I was just going for historical accuracy.”

“Look. I gave you a chance. You’re gonna get me fired.”

“Pffft. Nobody’s gonna care about this.” He slouched against the wall and took another drink.

She sighed. “As soon as one of the parents from today’s tour group gets wind of your horticulture project, I’m jobless. And so are you.”

He didn’t say anything, but he didn’t look at her, either.

“You can’t stay here after hours,” she continued. “You can’t grow weed here. And just to remind you, this is an education center, so this entire property is smoke free.”

“I’m all over that last one. I gave up smoking.”  He lifted his cup and grinned. “Makes a damn fine tea, though.”

She stalked over to him, grabbed his cup and gulped down the cooling liquid. “Put your fucking clothes on, David.”

That’s it for me today, be sure to check out the other bloggers’ stories. Jess, Deelylah, and Kris.

It’s Finally Here!

So, awhile ago, like probably two years ago, (which is a long time in internet time) I met Victoria. She had commented on my blog and we chatted back and forth a bit. When I procrastinate have time, I like to check out the blogs of the people who stop by and talk to me.

To this day, Victoria’s blog, The Opposite of Popular remains one of my favorites. It’s in my top five, along with Jenny Trout and The Bloggess. First off, Victoria’s hilarious. She’s also smart and has an appealing sort of half conversational – half confessional tone to her writing. The first time I was there, I must have read fifteen posts in a row. I was delighted to learn that she was writing a novel. Not only was she writing a novel, she was writing a Beauty and the Beast retelling with a side of Casanova.

Well, it’s time, people. That Beauty and the Beast retelling with a side of Casanova is available TODAY! It’s called The Rose and the Mask , and it’s fantastic. (Full Disclaimer: I was lucky enough to get to read an ARC, and it’s so much fun. I really, really loved it.)

 

It’s true that I love fairy tales and fairy tale retellings, but often, they fall flat. That doesn’t happen in The Rose and the Mask.  I’m also a sucker for good dialogue, and Victoria is a dialogue genius. Honestly, I can’t say enough good things about this book. Just do yourself a favor, and go get it!

But first, I’ve got a little interview with Victoria, so you guys can get to know her a bit, too.

What’s a typical day like for you?

I work part-time in an office so some of my days are pretty much the same as they were before I started taking writing seriously: work, home, dinner, TV, bed. Sometimes, if I’m really lucky, I’ll be so absorbed by my current writing project that I’ll spend my lunch break scribbling in a notebook and dash straight to my computer when I get home. As for writing days… well, there’s really no such thing as a typical one. What they have in common is that they all contain writing, procrastination, snacks and crushing self-doubt, in varying proportions. I’m working on enlarging the “writing” slice of that particular pie!

Do you have any collections?

Oh, yes. To name a few: Lego Minifigures, My Little Ponies, those beautiful hardback editions of classic books that have been A Thing recently. And that’s before we even start on my Disney stuff. Let’s just say that I have nine Disney Beauty and the Beast mugs, and they’re the tip of the iceberg…

Introvert or extrovert?

I’m definitely an introvert. Other people are awesome and I love many of them dearly, it’s just that I need a lot of time to myself. Although I will admit that it’s sometimes hard to draw a line between “I need some time to myself” and “I just want some quality time with my pajamas”.

What do you like best about writing?

I think, because of the introvert thing, I find it a lot easier and more satisfying to connect with people through the written word than face-to-face. A lot of my friendships are online for that reason. I think I come across a lot better when I’ve had a chance to edit myself!

I also love playing with language. I get a lot of fun out of arranging words, and I like the fact that I can often somehow sense whether a sentence is right or not. I’ve no idea if I’m correct because I’ve no idea whether I’m actually any good as a writer (how do you know?) but, when that happens, I feel like I am.

What do you like least?

The lack of… supervision, I guess. This is actually one of the best things about writing, particularly if you’re self-publishing—you get to write what you want, when you want, how you want. But it’s also incredibly difficult in a way I didn’t see coming until I started trying to treat writing like a job. I mean, in a regular job—at least the low-level kind I’ve had—you have a manager who is expecting you to do your work within a certain timeframe and to a certain standard, and who’ll correct you if you mess up. They’re also there to train you and to give you feedback, even if that’s just to confirm that you’re on the right track.

With writing, particularly with your first book, and particularly when you’re self-published, there’s none of that. Nobody cares whether you finish it or not. No one’s going to confirm that you’re doing well or nudge you back on course if you’re not. No one’s going to identify any gaps in your knowledge and suggest further training. All of that has to come from you. Learning to do all of that is at least as hard as learning how to actually write, and just as important if you want to make a career out of writing.

The Rose and the Mask is your first book – HUGE CONGRATULATIONS!!! It’s a fantastic Beauty and the Beast retelling with a side of Casanova. Can you tell us what drew you to those two tales?

Oh, gosh. I could go on for days about my love of Beauty and the Beast—and frequently have to be prevented from doing so. But I suppose what it boils down to is that it’s a story about people who are different, and isolated by that difference, but find a meaningful, literally-magical connection with one another. When I rediscovered the story as a weird, socially-awkward teenager, that aspect of it seized me right in the core of my being and I guess I’ve never quite shaken it off.

Of course, Beauty and the Beast has a lot of troubling implications—well, not even implications. The harmful message that love can transform a cruel “beast” of a man into a gentle “prince” is right at the heart of the story, at least as we’re most familiar with it. I was very mindful of that while writing The Rose and the Mask, and a lot of the challenges I faced were to do with reworking that message while still retaining what I loved about the original. But I think that’s the value of retellings: passing on much-loved stories, but allowing them to adapt and grow when they need to.

As for Casanova… well, he’s just a fascinating character! He’s remembered as this great romancer, of course, but that’s actually one of the less interesting things about him. He was a musician, a professional gambler, a spy, a criminal—in fact, he famously escaped an allegedly inescapable prison, using a scheme that involved a spike hidden in a Bible hidden under some pasta. How do you read about that and not want to write about him? But what really fascinated me is that he was able to convince a lot of people that he had magical powers, often to his own great benefit. That ended up being a major component in how I portrayed him in the book and sent a lot of things in a lot of interesting directions! (She says, mysteriously. You’ll have to read the book!)

What do you like best about Faustina?

She copes well under pressure. I love to read (and write!) about women who can take things in their stride, because I’d like to be better at that myself. There’s plenty about her that’s, shall we say, less-than-admirable—like the career in burglary and art forgery—but I’d be happy to learn to channel her in a crisis. I also think she’s pretty funny, although there’s a chance I could be biased.

What do you like best about Benedetto?

He’s funny too, although, again, this is coming from the person who wrote his jokes. He’s also quite comfortable with who he is—as much as he can be, given certain curse-related complications. He’s a thoughtful introvert and he’s self-aware in a way that Faustina isn’t, so much. Having said all that, though, I think we’d drive each other up the wall if he were a real person. He’s much too tidy and careful to cope with me!

Is there anything you hope readers take away from The Rose and the Mask?

I guess I just want them to have fun. Life is hard and scary and often much, much too serious—and there should be literature that reflects that. But I’m not the person to write it. I’m not good at that. What I’m good at—at least, what I hope I’m good at—is fun, creating a place to escape to. If someone finds even a tiny bit of happiness in my work, then I’ve done something worthwhile.

Of course, if they could also take away from it a sense that I’m awesome and they’ll buy all my future books, that would be nice too.

What’s up next for you—care to share a bit?

I’m working on a Cinderella retelling, set in the same universe as The Rose and the Mask and bringing some background characters to the fore. I’m having a lot of fun with it: creating a new couple who are very different to Faustina and Benedetto, and finding new ways to twist the story. It’s been hard to focus on it while preparing for the launch for The Rose and the Mask, but I’m excited to get back to work on it soon!

theroseandthemasksmall

Blurb:

Faustina is a beauty and a thief, not necessarily in that order. She doesn’t believe in magic, just luck, and hers has run out. The last thing she needs is to get roped into a ridiculous revenge plot by her brother—especially when that brother is Giacomo Casanova, Venice’s most notorious libertine.

Benedetto Bellini has never been particularly lucky. The fact that he’s under a beastly curse proves that. Now he’s got a second problem, one that’s washed up on his island in its undergarments and attempted to steal his silverware. He finds Faustina intriguing and infuriating in equal measure. And, thanks to the curse, he’s stuck with her.

Faustina doesn’t know what to make of the sweet, shy and deeply irritating man holding her captive. Does he have something sinister in mind, or is he just trying to keep her safe? And why won’t he take off his mask?

Click here for an excerpt. (Do it. No, really, doooooooooooooooo it.)

Buy Links: Amazon *** Amazon.uk

Bio:

Victoria Leybourne is an author, blogger and tea-drinker who was born in England but grew up on the internet. When she’s not writing, you can usually find her vigorously making excuses for not writing while watching animated movies, belting out showtunes and/or attempting to pet every cat within a three-mile radius.

Victoria is on Twitter and Facebook and has a website. She is also the proud owner of The Opposite of Popular, a well-named but otherwise poorly-thought-out blog.

Post Navigation