COUNTDOWN: “In the House of Souls” Playlist

Only TWO MORE DAYS until IN THE HOUSE OF SOULS!

Do I even need to say it at this point? I love playlists. They’re so much fun to create and arrange and it means I can give each and every one of my beloved writers a mix tape without frantically recording that one song the second the radio DJ stops talking over the intro.

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Can you imagine the postage on these things?

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Even though Dunsmere and the Tuann are a whole world apart from the people of the North, they still share a lot of the same organic, guitar-and-sometimes-banjo driven music. This includes the stripped-down acoustic cover of “Fireflies” by Hearts and Colors and “Nothing Stays the Same” by Luke Sital-Singh. This is rounded out with a heavier Irish influence, with the classic Celtic Woman track “The Voice” and the stomping, fiddlin’ “Gold Rush”.

There may even be a few hints to the story in a couple of songs, so listen closely!

PLEASE NOTE: I don’t know if I have any younger readers out here listening, but a few songs have some big ol’ swearsies in ’em. So don’t repeat them.

Can’t get enough?

Pre-Order In the House of Souls
available November 1st!

COUNTDOWN and Tour Stop: JustAddTea.wordpress.com

Only THREE DAYS until IN THE HOUSE OF SOULS

Kicking off my eBook/Blog Tour, I’m having a lovely cup of tea with my good friend Elizabeth Mays and discussing Writing Motivation, something I find I’m rather talented with!

See you there!

 

And if you need a break from writing or are motivated to read more, don’t forget to

Pre-Order In the House of Souls
available November 1st!

COUNTDOWN: “In the House of Souls” sneak peek

Only FOUR MORE DAYS until IN THE HOUSE OF SOULS!

Today I’m sharing a sneak peek into the novella with one of my very favorite scenes! Enjoy:

By the time Hopper, with Emer in hand, reached the Great Hall the ceremony had already begun.
It was difficult to spot the Lady ahead of the rest of her faery host, but Hopper knew when she’d knelt before the Canneral and Cannersai of the Clan as the fae followed suit.
Unfortunately, this left the girl and alone standing.
“Hopper, what are you doing? You are so late!” a voice hissed from one of the long benches to the right.
It was Weaver, one of her aunts who always sat at the back of the Hall, regularly rolling her eyes at such pomp and circumstance. She waved the girl over.
“Your mother will not be pleased,” Aunt Weaver threatened lowly.
Hopper looked up at the head of the Hall. Her mother, Cannersai Dannoch, had risen from her ornate chair to offer it to the Lady. While the Lady held no real sway over the mortal Tuann, it represented that they were equal, ruling over their own domains. Cannersai Dannoch offered her hospitality in a way only befitting a faery noblewoman.
The Lady Gradum was a blaze of flame you had to look away from, a sun that shone too bright. Her hair was the radiance of the sunset somewhere between orange of gold. Her eyes glinted an intense yellow, flicking her gaze like hot sparks and burning like an iron brand when she held her stare steady.
While another lady, a mortal lady, may have chosen something more subtle or contrasting like a sky blue or emerald green, the Lady Gradum only wore brilliant crimson or fiery orange, vibrant yellow, or bright tulip pinks.
Today, it was the red with a golden brocade pattern of stars, lace of the same metallic color peeping from her cuffs and collar.
“And what are you doing with that toy? Aren’t you a little old for that?” Aunt Weaver demanded.
Hopper shrugged.
“There is many a great thing to announce,” the faery Lady Gradum began, her voice loud and clear, “I’m sure all of Dannoch has wondered why you remain here in Anamit House long after you would have liked to be.
“For that, I must apologize, it was my doing. It is my intention to meet with the Canneral and Cannersai before the weather turns and the Clan is once again on the move. I hope all will agree to remain in this House for the duration of the Seirlough to further cement our plans.
“Should any one object, now is the time to speak.”
No one moved.
“Excellent!
“Cannersai Dannoch, where is your daughter?” the Lady asked.
Hopper whipped left and right, but at the center of the bench, she was trapped.
“You must forgive her, your Ladyship, you know how Hopper has always been,” the Cannersai supplied uneasily.
“Here, hang on to him,” Hopper insisted, shoving the pink-haired doll into Aunt Weaver’s hands.
“Wait- what?”
Hopper leapt up onto the bench.
Her mother still pressed on, “She probably got caught up working on one of her silly projects or lost in a book-”
“Here!” the girl shouted among gasps.
As she tried to jump over the high back of the seat, her foot caught the curved rim and she tumbled forward to the floor.
“Young lady!”
The sound of her mother’s heeled shoes grew closer and closer as Hopper picked herself up and brushed the light-colored dust from her her clothes.
“What ever has gotten into you?”
Cannersai Dannoch tugged Hopper further down the aisle by the elbow.
“Sorry, Mother. I didn’t want to interrupt the ceremony!”
“Your father and I are going to have a long talk with you,” the Cannersai threatened quietly, surely not loud enough for the Lady to hear.
Hopper ignored her and stepped up closer before bowing very lowly to the faery Lady.
She knew her mother certainly wouldn’t like that, she insisted on womanly curtsies, even when Hopper wore trousers like today. She liked anyone bowing before the faery host as if they were the true rulers even less.
“My Lady,” Hopper proclaimed, “What aid can I be to you?”
“As I will be spending quite a lot of time with your people, I think it would behoove me to employ a mortal handmaiden and would ask you to do me the honor.
“I would ask you to serve and wait on me as well as act as emissary between fae and mortal.
“In return I would offer you a Favor of your choosing at the closing of your service.”
Hopper gasped. A Favor! To the fae, that was a powerful currency and from a Lady? She could ask for absolutely anything! She could become a Royal Artificer to the Court!
Before she could come up with a single word, her father, Canneral Dannoch interrupted, “Begging your leave, your Ladyship, but how long would be the length of her service?”
“For the length of my stay, through the holiday.”
“Further, I must insist that while she may serve you, her loyalty still lies with her own people. She will continue to respect the authority of myself,” he turned to level his ice-blue gaze at Hopper, “And her mother above all other directives.”
The Lady grinned but the smile never quite reached her eyes.
“Of course, I would ask no less.”
Canneral Dannoch nodded and sat back down.
The Lady turned to Hopper, “Are you prepared to make your Vow?”
A Vow? Those were magically binding to the fae, a faery had to stay true to its wording or their magic would wane until they died.
A mortal could not be held in such a way, but Hopper was certain the Lady would find a way to punish her disobedience.
“I- I am, my Lady,” Hopper stammered, unable to peel her gaze from the wood floor.
“Then look at me and say these words.
“I am Hopper of Dannoch.”
“I am Hopper of Dannoch,” the girl repeated.
Magic began to spin and swirl at her ankles in clouds of buttery light.
“I Vow to offer my service to the best of my ability.”
Hopper couldn’t tear her eyes away from those of the Lady. They shone like bright stars, they refused to let her go.
“I Vow to offer my service to the best of my ability.”
The magic rose higher and higher.
“Through my service-”
Somehow, Hopper knew the words. Somehow her voice took over,
“I will honor my family, my Clan, and the fae,” the continued in unison, but the Lady’s voice dropped off.
Her eyes grew no less relentless.
“I will serve my Lady with all that I am be it not in violation of the custom and directive of my Clan. For this, the duration of the Lady Gradum’s visit, I am bound.”
Hopper gasped as the words left her, air taking their place. Her chest, her whole body felt as if it was lightly enclosed in a net of warm, shimmering light.
The Vow was completed.

Want to read more?

Pre-Order In the House of Souls
available November 1st!

COUNTDOWN: 10 Reasons to Read “In the House of Souls: a Faehunter Novella”

Only FIVE DAYS until IN THE HOUSE OF SOULS!

My upcoming novella, In the House of Souls is really cool and I mean really cool. But it’s more than just that. Here are some reasons why you should be reading:

10. It’s a good weekend read

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It’s the perfect short book to read in between maxing and relaxing and chilling all cool or fill a lazy Sunday.

9. The characters break all the rules

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Hopper may not like wearing dresses, but Emer, the tiny male doll certainly does! The best part is that no one seems to comment on it, they just let them do their thing.

8. “And I was like – it was only 99 cents!”

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That’s right. It’s a dollar. For the same amount as getting a double-pump of vanilla in your venti skinny soy latte, a pack of gum, or four rounds of a classic video game everyone is bad at, you can get an epic book to read!

9. It’s magical

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I don’t just mean “it’s so cool it’s like magic”, I mean that In the House of Souls is a fully-fledged fantasy world with a unique magic system unlike anything you’ve ever seen!

6. Supporting indie authors is awesome

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The best part about buying from an independent, no-name, self-published author? You know all your money goes directly to them. Store-bought books from traditional publishers give their authors as little as 15% of the sale, but getting In the House of Souls means you are certainly funding my chai tea habit.

5. What a wonderful world

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If you’re looking for a well-realized, one-of-a-kind world where faeries live in harmony with mortals or a  new universe stuffed with political intrigue and magic, then plant it right here. You’ve found it.

4. It’s great for all ages

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While Hopper might be young, this book isn’t strictly “Young Adult”. In movie terms, I’d place it at PG-13, a great middle-of-the-road, great-for-almost-everyone (over the age of 12 or so) read.

3. It’s perfect for commutes

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If you have a long train ride, a bus commute that goes on forever, or a carpool with people you’d rather not make small-talk with, this book is perfect for making time go by faster.

2. There’s more where that came from

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In the House of Souls is set in the magical same world as Faehunter where dangerous faeries roam. So if you liked this book, there is much, much more on the way!

1. Because you’ll have my eternal gratitude!

 

Get all this and more when you read!

Pre-Order In the House of Souls
available November 1st!

Blog & eBook Tour Schedule and Countdown to “In the House of Souls”

To promote my upcoming novella “In the House of Souls” (you’ve already pre-ordered it right?) I’m visiting a few friends to have a nice chat.

Here are the stops so far (more coming soon!):

10/29JustAddTea.wordpress.com article on Motivatio

11/13WhyWordsWork.wordpress.com writing About Writing

11/18St. Paul Filmcast talk about the movie Penelope and my upcoming novella

11/26Interview on ScarletWriters.com

Stay tuned for more stops, interviews, and super-cool articles!

The week leading up to book launch, 10/25 – 11/01, is also packed with book giveaways, games, and more! It’s like a carnival you don’t have to leave home for.

In the House of Souls: AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER

What’s the best day of the year and why is it November 1st?

Why, because it’s the day IN THE HOUSE OF SOULS: A Faehunter Novella comes out!

If you’re like me and simply cannot wait for November, In the House of Souls is available for pre-order for only 99 cents (or rough equivalent for my foreign faery friends) on Kindle eBooks.

Pre-Order Now

Three weeks is an awful long time, so here’s what you can do in the meantime:

Rick-Roll yourself 8640 times

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Read the entirety of the Lord of the Rings triolgy 82 1/2 times.

(Slogging through the Silmarillion and wondering why there were no women in the Fellowship not included.)

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Play The Elder Scrolls series. Once. Maybe.

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Research up on some W.B. Yeats and faery lore and get hype.

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Stay tuned for giveaways, games, news, and more as we count down to release day!

Whatever you choose to do, make sure you come back on November 1st to read
In the House of Souls: A Faehunter Novella!

 

“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” Review

(While I am more than committed to #KeepingTheSecrets, there are mild-to-moderate spoilers here for folks who are talented at squinting, connecting dots, or discovery charms. This is your warning.)

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As of this writing, I’ve just wrapped up a whopping near nine hours of theater, walked 30 blocks to avoid the midtown trains, spent an hour on the Subway reading reviews and TV Tropes pages, marched the 20 mins home and have immediately sat down to write this review.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a play that doesn’t leave you when you leave the theater. While it doesn’t weigh as heavy as say, Les Miserables or leave you as emotionally shaken as the surprisingly graphic Anastasia, the magic is something alive and living and it takes root in those willing to believe.

That being said, any production, no matter how beautiful and charming and amazing can still have its flaws, and it’s no secret that Harry Potter has found more than its fair share of criticisms.

Here are my own feelings:

The Good Stuff

Music

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I expected to be enthralled by the staging and being thrown back into a magical world I’ve always loved so much. I didn’t expect to be so taken in by the music.

Composed by indie musician Imogen Heap, the score combines bubbly vocals with stirring strings, but the instruments never seem to bog down the modern sounds. The energetic beats were incredibly refreshing when I sat down expecting the same-old full pit orchestra with cinematic, but unremarkable swells.

I plan on looking into where to find the soundtrack immediately to have it underscore literally everything I do from now on.

Movement

While Harry Potter is a straight play – and one of the only shows on Broadway now with no singing and dancing, it features a huge amount of choreographed “movement”. Incredibly synchronized with sound queues, beat-for-beat and step-for-step with the music, the movements are not only very cool-looking, but also highly metaphorical. Certain steps represent boarding a train, gathering for class, learning to control magic, or travels in time and space.

Movement makes up for a relatively minimalist set but also ensures the show is full of action and momentum.

There’s also a super-cool dance the bad guys do. It’s just wonderful to behold.

Character

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Here’s the thing about Harry Potter. He’s the teenage protagonist in a book intended for 10-to-16-year-olds and while it’s fun to watch him wangst through a PTSD meltdown, he’s the rebellious hero of the plucky resistaince who you know will win out in the end.

You don’t see him as a mature human with real grown-up depth. You don’t see him as vulnurable, deal with real adult fears, or face the prospects of perhaps failing at being a father. And that is a beautiful thing to see unfold onstage, especially when it’s as wonderfully acted as this current cast played it.

Stage Magic

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I fully admit that sitting down for this show, it’s 60-70% of what I was there for. The Cool Stuff.

There’s fire shooting out of wands, instantaneous on-stage quick-changes, trap-door affects, transformations, flying wirework performances, moving staircase montages, spinning clocks, and a supercool blacklight-induced reveal that I won’t spoil here. And more.

If you’ve got even a passing interest in stagecraft, slight-of-hand, or practical effects, this show is a spectacular.

The Not-So-Good Stuff

(Much more spoilery spoilers abound here. If you’re really into secret-keeping, skip this section)

Central Conflict

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There’s no easy way to put this. The entire central conflict revolves around the fact that the boys want to save Cedric Diggory’s life (remember him?) but if they cause him to fail the Triwizard Tournament, he will delve so deep into bitterness and self-pity, the kid will become a Death Eater and usher in a new holocaust at the hands of the Maginazis.

Yeah. Cedric Diggory who took his Quidditch losses in stride. Cedric Diggory who offered Harry help with his own Triwizard challenges even if it meant the possibility of setting himself back. Cedric Diggory who had caring and supportive parents who loved him to the ends of the earth and grieved over his death until their own final breaths. Cedric Diggory.

You know what would have made a better plot? Saving someone who actually mattered to Harry and his children. Sirius Black, one of the only adults in Harry’s life who didn’t see him as a means to an end or as some mythological hero and who Albus could look up to as the heavy metal flying motorcycle rebel hero he never knew. Remus Lupin who didn’t treat Harry as an extension of his father, who left behind his own orphan who could easily come back with his own angsty blame against the Potters. And Lupin so deserves a more accurate representation. (I refuse to be sorry for this, David Thewlis always seemed like he had little understanding or interest in his own character).

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Literally anything but turning sweet, normal Cedric Diggory into some evil cape-twirling racist.

Themes and Resolution Dissonance

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One central theme running through The Cursed Child is that ones parents do not necessarily determine their destiny and that it’s okay to seek love, care, and validation if it’s done in a healthy way.

This is completely dropped when it comes to our main villain.

This antagonist, revealed very late in the show, is another orphan-of-war who was brought up, much like Harry himself, in less than pleasant circumstances without much by way of loving care. While Harry has pity and affection piled on him despite his numerous mistakes that nearly and actually resulted in the deaths of others, our heroes refuse to even consider the perspective of the villain.

They made it clear that all they sought was love, validation, and appreciation from their parents, and have gone about finding it by any means necessary. They felt the need to be “evil” in order to achieve these goals that the heroes themselves work to because they weren’t given the same support or options.

Not only that, but the heroes are practically hand-delivered a golden opportunity to reverse the ravages of time and bring this neglected person into a more healthy home, but instead the “good guys” merely fling them off-stage with the promise of locking them away in the cold, lonely villain prison where they’d live out the remainder of their days under the threat of their souls being forcibly sucked out.

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  • Some actors seemed a little too keen on acting exactly like the characters in the movies did. McGonnagal and Hagrid in particular seemed to be trying a little too hard.
  • Hagrid also had a very strange moment after something extremely tragic where he kinda blunders in like a big pile of jolly joy where canonically he was absolutely distraught. It made him seem a bit flat.
  • Ron, too, got flattened to little more than a joke character and comic relief, the writers sort of missed the point of him.
  • If two of the characters were male and female, they would have been each other’s love interests with absolutely zero changes to the script, but because they are the same gender, they had to have an extra heterosexual love interest shoehorned in.
  • Some strange religious imagery where there never was any before in the world of Harry Potter. Not that I have any particular problem with it myself, it just seemed a little out of place.
  • Time travel plots.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was a good show. It was a magical, exciting ride, and while long, certainly worth the time. While it had its issues, returning to the world of Harry Potter was a journey I’ll never forget.