Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Path to Publication- This Is JUST A TEST.


I'm in the home stretch now, and man, I'm tired. But hold up a sec, I wrote a book.

I wrote a book!

Damn. I wrote a book. And now it's ready to be unleashed on the world. If you're wondering how I got here, let me tell you something--I made a lot of mistakes. I fell on my face. Time and time again. But I got back up and kept going. If you are out there reading this and thinking of all the things you wanted to do but didn't--don't worry. You have plenty of time. Go do it.
That's right, go fall on your face, get your butt up, and keep going. 

You are supposed to make mistakes. It's how we learn. The Beastie Boys knew it. I know it, and now, you need to say, "Yeah, that's right. I'm going to go and  _________________. And it's going to be hard, and I will fall down, but it's all good. I WILL make mistakes."

But now it's time to celebrate. There's a party going on in here for real and you are all invited!


I will let you know how it goes in a few weeks and give an outline on how to throw a kick-ass launch party. Right now, however, I need to go kick it.

Yo I'm out and I'm gone
I'll tell you now, I keep it on and on ...

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Everyone Loves (Well-Designed) Swag!


I'm wearing my designer hat. A good friend with awesome hair helped me design these products.

I wanted to make something that people would want to wear--not chuck into a closet (or, worse, into the goodwill bin).

I also wanted something that was not a billboard, something more like:

Curious person: Hey, what's that on your shirt?

Kind, swag-wearing person: Oh, this? Well, I know this author, and she wrote this awesome book about mermaids. No, not the nice ones--these mermaids kill people. It's cool. You'd love it.

So, I give you my swag. I give you an opportunity to spread the word, grass-roots style, about my book. If you like, please support me!

You only have until May 18, 2014, and then this offer is gone. 

I used the crowd-sourcing site teespring.com. Why? Because I did not want to buy 200 shirts, all size medium, all unisex. This seemed like a better idea.

What do YOU think? Head over to teespring.com/wakingthemerrow and see for yourself!

I also made some ads to put on FaceBook, Twitter, and Instagram. Here they are:







Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Goodreads (My) Book Giveaway - 10 lucky winners!

You, too, could be a winner. Go on and click it. It doesn't hurt--I promise.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Waking the Merrow by Heather Rigney

Waking the Merrow

by Heather Rigney

Giveaway ends June 14, 2014.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Monday, March 31, 2014

So what is this book all about? OR What are you peddling now, Rigney?

It's me again. Pimpin' my new book.

It's what I do these days. Making noise, selling a dream. 

Today, I would like to present my book trailer! Filmed, edited, scripted, produced, and directed by me. I am a one-woman production. All me, all the time. (Wait. That's not true. I do have one AMAZING employee, Jo. She's my editor and I adore her. She's probably reading this and cringing at all the improper coma usage.)

Presenting my book trailer in HD! At least, I think it's in HD …




Thoughts? Concerns? Questions? Let me know. I adore feedback!

Also, I have (sadly) not blogged any information about the substance of my novel Waking the Merrow. My apologies. Let me clear that up. Here is my book blurb. What's a book blurb? Helpful, well chosen words usually found on the back of a book, enticing you to open the book, read more, then (hopefully) hypnotically making you buy the book.

Prepare yourself for hypnosis (or you could go watch TV, a fish tank, paint dry … It's your free-time. Use it wisely, dear reader.)

In 1772, angry Rhode Island colonists set fire to a British ship, sparking the American Revolution. Taxation without representation was a motivator. So was the vengeful, man-eating mermaid who had it out for the commanding officer.

That was then. This is now. 

Mermaids, or merrow, still hunt in Narragansett Bay, but these days they keep a lower profile.

At night, centuries-old Nomia seduces smutty frat boys, lures them into icy waters, and feeds them to her voracious kin. By day, she and her half-breed daughter attempt to blend at the coastal Village Playground. 

But Nomia slips up. She makes a friend. Then she makes that friend disappear, and someone notices.

Thirty-something Evie McFagan just wants to make it through working motherhood. But she’s a blistering stew of issues—snarky alcoholic and a friendless funeral director who just witnessed Nomia dismembering a guy at the nearby yacht club.

When Evie believes a mermaid stole her baby, who will help? The Merrow of Ireland? Or maybe anti-hero Evie will surprise everyone, including herself, and will summon the strength to save her own family. 

Intertwining the stories of two primordial families with the colonial history of Narragansett Bay, Waking the Merrow is a dark historical fantasy.


So? Socks still on your body? Or did I blow them off? 

Well, if they're still on, maybe I'm not your kind of author. That's all right. You stopped by anyway and I appreciate it!


Thursday, March 13, 2014

My Cover Story

Ladies and gentleman, readers, fans, friends and family …

I would like to announce the birth of … MY COVER!


 eBook cover




Mock-up for 6"x9" paperback


I'm not going to lie. It's been a wild ride. 

I designed both covers featured above. This was not my original intent. Those who know me said, "You used to be a graphic designer. Why aren't you doing the cover?" and I had my answer ready.

Because I don't want to. I'm writing. That should be my main job. There are a lot of wonderful artists out there. I would be happy to pay them to bring my cover to life.

So I went out and hired two wonderful artists. They are both amazing. But I learned a few valuable lessons. The first lesson? I am a control freak. I admit it. I own it. I wear it like a name tag. Both artists labored away on my behalf, and both times I was not excited about their work. Is that their fault? No. I should have left them alone and done it myself. How did I think it was okay to give the reins over to someone else?

A book cover means EVERYTHING. If you have ever written a book and then chucked it out into the consumer world, I'm sure you would agree.

Your cover is your interview suit. It is your business card. It is your handshake. It tells your readers who you are and what you can offer them. 

You are lying to yourself if you believe a cover does NOT make or break a writer. I mean really, would you hire someone to be your assistant if they showed up in overalls with lipstick stains on their teeth and stains on their shirt? Hell no.

I wish we lived in a society where looks didn't matter, blah blah blah, it's what's on the inside that counts, blah blah blah. But we don't.

You and I both know, dear reader, that when a book jumps off the shelf, it isn't because it has sloppy typography and a half-disguised PhotoStock.com image 

(*Please note: options like the ones I just explained were not offered by either of the amazing artists previously mentioned.*)

I also learned this: No one is going to work harder for me, than me.

If you are in the Independent Publishing Business, you know this. You are an agent, a PR machine, a publisher, a web designer, a booking agent, and your very own personal assistant. It's just the way it is. Honestly, I don't mind at all. At the end of the day, if things are ugly, it's my fault and no one else's.

So I did it. I made my own cover. I put my artist hat back on, rolled up my sleeves, and fired up PhotoShop Elements. I already had a Pinterest board filled with inspiration:



I did my homework. I checked out other covers in my genre, took notes on what worked and what didn't. Sometimes, knowing what you don't want makes knowing what you do want all the more clear.

I like my cover. I would buy it. But I'm not the consumer, you are. Tell me what you think, dear reader.

Would you buy my book?  How do you judge my cover? Leave a comment and let me know. 

After all, I'm driving this here boat, and I have the power to change everything.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Free YA Short - a Zombie Cat named Marvin, Zombie Old Peeps, & Zoe (Marvin's Owner)



So, you like YA, zombies, cats, old people, and a quirky narrator? Well then, do I have a story for you. And it's FREE! Who doesn't like free? Why would they have a saying, "If it's free, it's for me!" if peeps didn't want free goodies? 

Head on over to Stone Crown Magazine, and download Issue #2 which includes my zombie cat tale (pun, pun, pun). It's titled, THERE’S SOMETHING, SORT OF, DEFINITELY WRONG WITH MARVIN 

Here's something else for free! A sample of my story. Enjoy!

Chapter 2
In Which Zoe Discovers Algebra Applies to Zombies

So, like, I already summarized the events this far.
Another great word, huh? Sum-er-IZED. I just love big words!
Let me demonstrate what happened in the last chapter in like, a math problem. This will be so fun!
Marvin + (cemetery + lightning storm) = Zombie Cat > dead neighbor
Don’t you love Algebra? I loved it the first time my math teacher, Mr. Lyons said, “Take out your Algebra book.”
He so said, bra!
Yeah, well, the equation has changed to
dead neighbor x (Zombie Cat) = UNdead neighbor
That’s right. Turns out Mr. Auburn is not dead, like dead, dead. He’s like, Viking Zombie from Icelandia undead.

Like my Marvin image? I made it myself! Feel free to get your own Marvin swag though Society6




Tuesday, November 5, 2013

My Needy Newborn (Novel)

After a year of toiling away--while being a mother, while being a social human--
I completed my second novel. 

The first novel, in case you're hung up on the word "second," is in a drawer. I learned from it, I enjoyed writing it, and someday I might go back and do something with it. But for now, it's relegated to the bottom of a box. But I digress...

The new novel is like an infant. 
I gave it life with my body and mind, and it now lives, outside my body and mind, in its own world. Ten percent of the time, I think of my novel/infant with the awe of a new parent, "I made this! How clever it is! Look at it, world! It's the greatest thing ever created!"

Then there's the rest of the time.
It's just like a newborn--always needing my attention, always sucking my time, always dirty, always full of poop.

I sent it off to the babysitters, aka the beta-readers. They looked after it for awhile and are giving me their reports. "It was very good overall, but sometimes it misbehaved."

So, my work is not done. I'm in the third draft stage where, as its mother, I'm teaching it manners, how to express itself properly and clearly, while grooming it for inspection by the outside world.

In the meantime, I'm also grappling with the decision about where my novel should go next. Much like the choice a parent makes regarding their off-spring's education, I worry endlessly about making the right choice. The classic, public vs. private school vs. homeschool debate is now the (very new) traditional publishing vs. self-publishing debate.

As writers, we all want our novel babies to have the very best attention, the very best care, and the comfort of knowing that they WILL BE A SUCCESS!
Even if they smoked a little pot in high school, maybe bombed the SATs, or just plain sucked at sports, we want that novel to win, win, win! and then buy us a nice vacation home when we are old and gray.

But that's not why we create, is it? We create because we have something inside of us that needs to break out and live outside our heads. We write because we are driven to do so. If you are reading this, and have written a novel, a short story, or even a poem, you know. You know that, in the end, it's all worth it.
The act of creation is greater than the end product.

And it doesn't matter if the novel ends up in a doctor's office (on the waiting room side table) or never leaves home, we are proud of what we have done.

At least this is what I am telling myself as I strategize my novel's next move... calculating my pageant momness, giving my novel pep talks, and choosing just the right cover, so I can boldly say,

Buy my novel! It's the greatest thing ever created because, I MADE THIS!







Thursday, August 1, 2013

Update My Blog, Lackey (or) What I Would Do with an Intern

It is summer.

I am never home.

I have, however, been working on my novel.

I even picked out a title:

WAKING THE MERROW

It will be available...when I finish it. Sorry, I am a one woman show. Right now, I am wearing the editor's hat. If you've spent time with me, you've seen me toting around my printed manuscript. It has more stains on it than the creamer counter at Starbucks. In fact, I think it might have spent a few, quick seconds hanging out on said counter. It has red pen all over it. There are post-it notes, paperclips, giant slashes, and big notes like: GO LOOK IN YOUR PURPLE NOTEBOOK FOR THIS NEW CHAPTER everywhere.

It's Franken-Manu. Poor thing.



I can, however, tell you four things I have learned while wearing the editor's hat:

1. I use the word "that" too much. That word is everywhere. It's kind of useless, like daylight savings. Watch for it and see. You'll notice it's like garnish. You can take it off the sentence plate and your word food will still be lovely.

Here's an example:
All I saw was the faint image of trees and darkness., but I heard that laughter, shrill laughter…

Here's me at my worst:
It was weird that I thought to think of him at all., that I had dreamt of him and that he had urged urging me to wake up.

2. I have sharpened my continuity vision. As I read for pleasure, I'm catching all sorts of boo-boos (and excessive use of the word, "that.") I also notice it on television, in movies, and in my own work. I have changed the last name of one of my main characters several times. I have had a crowd of men talking and have forgotten who spoke last.
I have had characters live in a six hour day (no, the scene was not in, or near one of the global poles.) 
These boo-boos are no longer. Thank you, editor's hat.

3. I know why some authors make one, really wonderful book and then suck after their debut. You work hard, real hard, on your first big deal, then, with a little luck, you get an editor to help you on your next one. But perhaps you rely on the editor to make your next piece better? Perhaps your edge is gone, like all the coffee and olive bread you ate while editing your first baby? Perhaps you are too burned out from the long process of the first one, you just don't have it in you to top yourself?
Maybe. Maybe not. It's just a caffeine, blurry-eyed speculation.

4. I need an intern. Someone who will buy the groceries, cook dinner, vacuum, weed, mow the lawn, do the laundry, clean up the house, and make me coffee (then clean the damn French press--this alone, is worth an intern's weight in gold.) I need someone to do all the things Heather does while wearing the housewife hat. With an intern, all I would need to do is play with Livi, paint, and edit  write.


Fantastic writer/mom/artist/ seeks intern for all menial jobs. 
Pay is non-existent, but the glory of being around our home would result in fame and fortune in the future (possibly. No guarantees.) Hours are long, but rewarding. Must be interesting and self-less, eccentric and efficient, good-natured and hardworking. Please send all inquiries to this slightly frazzled mermaid.

xoxoxo

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Where I Began...

My daughter, exploring the woods as her mother did so many years ago...
My parents sold my childhood home today.

As they've been packing up their lives into old liquor boxes and moving crates, I have been wandering, dream-like, from room to room, and all around the five wooded acres. It’s similar to walking through spider webs. 

Memories catch me unawares, sticking in my mind, pulling me into the past. 

People I have not thought of, experiences, small inconsequential moments, and conversations long past are draped invisibly over every tree, every wall, every window--everywhere I turn.

My sensitive disposition has been overwhelmed. I feel like a clairvoyant in a graveyard. Too many voices fill my head at once, demanding my attention. It has made saying farewell difficult, painful almost. I sympathize with anyone who has sold their childhood home, or any home that had been part of the family for an extensive amount of time.

A home is a family member.

I am the daughter of a stonemason and a mother who has been known to dabble in the arts. These two individuals designed their home together. A modified saltbox was what I was told to say when describing the style of our house. In my young mind, I always envisioned the Morton’s Salt Girl with the yellow umbrella featured on the side of our home.



The interior is an open floor plan, with a loft that features private rooms. Privacy, however, was not prevalent in an open floor plan, and so I frequently fled to the safety and comfort of the surrounding woodland forest.

It was here that I felt at peace. 

My father did as well, and I believe my younger brother was comforted in his youth, by all the trees, the brook, and the promise of building the perfect “fort.”



We had our favorite places. 

A hollow created by briars where a small person could climb in and feel safe, surrounded by thorns.

The Hole, a strange moat my father had dug around a maple tree. He lined the moat with stones, creating a wall inside the hole. Both my brother and I have ridden our bikes into The Hole, falling down three feet and landing precariously against the trunk of the maple. Many a nervous driver worried themselves into a cold sweat in fear of backing into the moat.



The brook was another haven. My brother and I were forever searching for fish in the trickle of water that ran over moss-covered rocks and through leaf clogged inlets. No fish were ever found, but that didn’t stop us from wishing.



In the spring, frogs and salamanders brought awe and wonder to our lives. Many an afternoon was spent damming the flow of water to create deep pools that we tried, unsuccessfully, not to fall into. There were countless waterlogged penguin-walks to the house; our jeans soaked and heavy, our shoes squishing, and our extremities frozen. 

The Rocking Rock was a large rock on another even larger, flat boulder. We could wobble it with our small legs, creating waves and splashing one another.



As we grew older, and spent less time together exploring and playing in the woods, I found solace in the trees, the large boulders, the deer paths that I would follow until they faded away into nothing. I could gather myself, recharge, renew my soul. Being a sensitive, artistic kid (read, the weird kid who said strange things at strange times),

I was often exhausted from trying to act “normal.”

The angst that follows the pressure of being social, popular, beautiful, interesting, humorous, cunning, and fun could be shed like a second, unwanted skin. After junior high, and then high school, I walked for hours. I sat and stared at the trees. I listened to the birds. I avoided hunters by hiding (can't believe I was never shot.) Sometimes I made a fire or brought my journal and wrote frustrated rantings about how much I hated my life, my small town, and my lack of an interesting existence.

How misguided I was.

I had no idea that the time I spent in the forest created who I am.

My father bought THE HOBBIT for me in fifth grade. I read it cover to cover. I also found Stephen King around that time. These two literary influences confirmed my surroundings for me. The shire was no different then our backyard. The farm in CUJO could have been down the street. The wooded town and swamp scene in CYCLE OF THE WEREWOLF could have been a stone’s throw from my doorstep.



As I went on my walks, more and more in the cover of darkness, I believed in the possibility of horrors in the woods, but I knew the truth of it.

There was nothing out there but squirrels.

The knowledge that I was alone, always alone, comforted me, helped me squash fears of the unknown, gave me strength to face anything, made me fearless and daring.

But it was fun to play, “what if?”

What if a werewolf did live in the forest, and would prowl beneath my window at night?


What if that strange box with the D.E.M. logo on it, down by the river, the same one our brook ran into, housed a beast that they didn’t want to be found. But a young girl did find it. She peered inside and saw feral, yellow eyes glowing in the darkness…

What if rabid dogs, vicious and violent, lurked in the woods, waiting to pounce on children, tearing them to pieces?

What if small fairies lived beneath the large mushrooms that grew near the immense trees? What if they caused mischief in the light of the full moon, while I slept nearby?


I wanted to believe these things, but I knew they were not real. They made my life rich, these beliefs, they made me who I am.

So, now, as that haven, filled with the beasts and fairies of my imagination is passing on to a new family, one that will provide new children for the forest, 

I need to let it go.

Those memories will remain with me. Some I share with my family, some I carry in my heart.

Yes, I am sad, but I am also forever grateful for that home, those woods, that brook, those dark places of nature where ferns grow wild, lady slippers bloom, and skunk cabbage lures unsuspecting children into releasing its foul scent.



 Thank you, 707 Sherman Farm Road… Thank you.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Scrivener Gushing: Import your Research and GO!

Scrivener is almost as good as these chocolate-filled beignets...Almost.

If you have not read my post, Scrivener Is My New Obsession,  go on and do it. I'll wait right here for you and drool over the above desserts I had at Sweet in Worcester, MA.

Oh good, you're back. Now you understand why I'm blogging about it again. I'm OBSESSED!

Get ready to have your socks blown right off your body... Ready?

Did you know you can put all your research notes into your Scrivener work document?
That's right.
You can.
You can put all your photos, webpages, notes, videos, etc. into one neat place.


This allows you to do your research in advance, import it all, and then write without being distracted by unnecessary web safaris that sap your writing time. 




Here's a good example. The above photo shows how I imported four photos into the file, "Mausoleum Images" (you can see that folder in the lower left corner of the screen shot in the section known as, "The Binder.") You can pop these photos out like I did by selecting an image in the folder and then hitting the "QuickRef" icon button on the top menu bar (you can see it above the image of the naked lady riding a sea creature, it's to the left of the yellow "Comment" icon button.)

As you can see in my body copy, I left a note to myself to write a description of a nautical mausoleum.

So I would not slow down my writing flow, I left this note for myself during my first draft. If I had stopped writing to go looking for photos, I would have ended up buying new flip-flops, checking my email for an hour, or doing something else equally stupid. 


On another day, I went and imported the photos from the web. Now, when I am working on my second draft, in a self-imposed/no-internet-available location, I can spread these photos out and make my writing super shiny, lush, and detailed. Oh yeah!

You can also import web pages for future use.

Again, this is a smart thing to do so that you can spend countless one afternoon doing research and then have all your information together, at your finger tips, when you are once again at that self-imposed/no-internet-available location.

Here's a quick tutorial on how you can import a web page:

1. Open your browser, do your research. Select and then copy the url address.

2. Open Scrivener. Make a blank document and/or folder in your Binder under the icon "Research" (Note: You can rename this folder anything you want.) With the blank research document selected in your Binder > Go to "File" > "Import" > "Web Page"


3. When you see the new menu appear (like in the screen shot below) it should have the web address already there from when you hit File > Copy in your browser (neat, huh?) You can give it a title:


4. If you don't want all those web graphics and just want the text on the page, you can convert the web page to plain text.
Here's how: Documents > Convert > Web Page to Text (really, a six year-old could do this for you...)


5. Now your web research should look like this:

I'm always looking for ways to trick myself into writing and not messing around...Got any good tips? I would love to hear them. 

In the meantime, I hope this excessive Scrivener gushing was helpful!




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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Highlight Reel


That's not wallpaper--that's 8 hours of my life (spent masking and painting) I will never get back.

I’m starting to understand how this whole Internet personality thing works. 
In short, it’s a highlight reel. 

Are we really only putting the best of ourselves out there for the world to see?  For the most part, no one shows the crap they’re not proud of... or do they?

I can’t take credit for initializing this discussion. It came from my brilliant, stylish sister-in-law, the Because of Jackie blogger, Meagan. We were examining another fashion blogger, let’s call her Blogger X, and trying to discover the secrets of Blogger X’s success. This person’s writing was deplorable yet her photos were spot on, their styling was enviable and Blogger X made it all appear effortless.

Hell, their child was styled better than I have ever appeared in public!

Yet, Blogger X had an admirable amount of devoted followers despite the fact that they used “ha ha ha” as sentence ending punctuation. Not only that, Blogger X clearly had a wardrobe donated for the explicit purpose of getting the attention of followers such as Meagan and me. We were green with envy and flummoxed.

Then Meagan said the words that have stayed with me and have forever changed my thinking, 

“People only blog the highlight reel of their lives.”

It’s so true. I give you, Exhibit A: The day before Easter:

Is it real life? Or a highlight reel? Damn you, Pinterest.
 Looks effortless, doesn’t it? Looks quick and easy, no?

The photo does not show the fact that it took me four hours to do this. It does not show the ramifications for this stupid compulsion such as: not having dinner ready until almost 7:30, forgetting to bring my own dinner and breakfast contributions to Easter the following day (or my daughter’s Easter basket for the egg hunt), scrambling to make the Easter Bunny happen, being too exhausted to even relax Easter Eve. No, the photo leaves that frazzled storyline to the wayside. Instead, you see what I want you to see: perfection, creativity, and ingenuity.

That’s not healthy.

We as women, drive ourselves insane and for what? Praise, glory, internet fame? What is the point?

From now on I am tempering every inane idea I find on Pinterest with the Highlight Reel Injunction.

I must ask myself, “Is this endeavor worth losing all sense of time and responsibility for very little return? Do I really want to see the look of manic, creativity-gone-wrong reflected in my husband’s disappointed gaze? Is it worth it?"

No. It’s not.

Beyond the obvious maternal gig (I do adore being a mother!), I enjoy writing and I enjoy painting. Those are the two things in this world that I feel competent in. They are my happy places. I need to keep things in check and stay where I belong.

Life should not be a competition.

Yet, as young girls, our DNA dictates that we should climb over one another to reach some unachievable pinnacle.

Did the cave women try to outdo one another to see who could make the best saber-tooth: stew, jewelry, and or fashionable fur cloak?

God, I hope not.

Remember the Highlight Reel Injunction, dear reader—you’re only seeing the best, so don’t sweat it.

You’re awesome just the way you are.


Monday, April 8, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern




My one sentence review: Breathtaking visual manifestation that invites you to become a spectator in a world filled with magic, intrigue, sorrow, and delicious elegance.

If it were a tea it would be Earl Gray with subtle Victorian steam punk notes infused with metaphysical magic (and magic seems like such a demeaning word—it’s so much more than magic), suspense, and a hint of Shakespeare.

In the elegant, majestic world that Ms. Morgenstern has created, we are swept up in the epic, mysterious game between the brash, unlikeable illusionist Prospero and the stick-to-the-shadows elusive Mr. A. H….you’re not supposed to know his name because he can put a whammy on you, he’s that good.

The story unfolds as these two characters pit protégés against one another in a competition that has indefinite guidelines and a setting that is clear only from the title, “The Night Circus” or “Les Cirque de Réves” or "Circus of Dreams" for the non-French speakers.

The novel takes place circa late 1800s- early 1900s in a time where clocks and steam locomotives were the technological advancements of the day. It’s not hard to slip into a world where color is sparse. When I think of Victorian England, the dominant color that comes to mind is gray, dark gray, and yet, more gray. This setting is wonderfully chosen because it allows the magnificence of the circus, who’s color-scheme is rigidly neutral—black, white, and gray, elegantly contrast against the rich intensity of the magical illusions created by the two protégés, Celia and Marco.

You could spend hours reading solely about the Les Cirque de Réves, and Morgenstern delivers as she indulges you with small chapters that explicitly explore the sights, sounds, smells, and lures of the intricately constructed circus.

When you read these it’s as if you are there, wandering through the black and white striped tents in your buttoned leather shoes, a strange delicious treat in your hand, while the night sky sparkles above your encounter.

The whole experience is luscious!

Celia is Prospero’s daughter. He treats her with so much what-not-to-do-while parenting nuances that you wonder how she is not a more violent, destructive individual. Instead she is lovely—bright, conservative of spirit, controlled and yet both powerful and very warm and likeable in a subtle way. She too, is an illusionist, her extraordinary abilities beautifully explained in a lush believable way by Ms. Morgenstern. We follow her journey back and forth through time as she struggles to identity and fulfill her destiny as game champion all the while employed as the illusionist in the Les Cirque de Réves.

Marco is Mr. A. H….'s protégé found in an orphanage. Throughout the boy’s journey to manhood, Marco is given countless books on conjuring, magic, illusion, mysticism etc. As Marco grows more and more powerful in a vacuum, he, too is given no love. Again, it’s amazing that his character is as likeable as he is given his cold up-bringing. We follow his story, as he becomes the assistant to Mr. Chandresh Christophe Lefévre, the wealthy, flamboyant gentleman who serves as the front man, financial backer, and initial planner for the circus. Marco spends his time in the novel behind the scenes of the circus, weaving his magic workings from afar in an attempt to become champion in his own right. And, oh, these workings are visionary delights!

To say more would spoil the enchantment that is The Night Circus. Yes, there is romance, but it’s so much more than that. Yes, there are other characters that weave their own tales, building to the intense, climactic ending. But you can discover this on your own.

Go on, step right up, buy your ticket, and begin your own journey. I promise you won’t be disappointed…


Friday, April 5, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: MERMINIA by Emm Cole



I made a point in my post, I am a Word Farmer, to support my fellow authors. I’m staying true to that.

But with a disclaimer: I will not review another indie author unless I enjoy their book. To take the time to slam a fellow writer is just plain ugly. So, if the book is indie, and I review it here, it means my socks were successfully knocked off my body when I read it.

Let it be known, that despite appearances, I do not seek out mermaid fiction. I dig mermaids, but not to the extent of a super-mer-fan. That’s not me. I was skeptical before I read MERMINIA. Would I like it? Would I want to return to my GAME OF THRONES reading marathon to escape it? The answer was a distinct, NO. I stuck with it because I was entertained by the world building, committed to the characters, and intrigued by the flow of the story.

Ms. Cole crafts a world in which several species of mermaids coexist beneath the sea.

The book begins with an overview of the story within her story—a myth that explains the creation and subsequent division of land-dwellers/sea-dwellers through the creation of a ring. At first, I thought: a little too Tolkein—ONE RING TO RULE THEM ALL! But no, it leaves the notion of Middle Earth behind in a hurry.

Operating on a territorial clan-system, the mers in her story are physically different in their appearance, behavior, abilities, and beliefs. As in most stories that have a rudimentary feudal system at its core, there is always one bastard who wants to wield power and dominate those around him/her.

Enter Merconius, a Litiant (think merman species on steroids) mer and the ultimate crappy father who seeks world domination. 

Guess what he’s searching for? Yes! One ring to… BUT before the story is over in fifteen pages, his young son, Gabriel has a soul and a conscious and throws a sea-monkey (I couldn’t resist!) wrench into Merconius’ plans. I'm not spoiling a thing...you'll see the mechanics of the "how" yourself.

Meanwhile, years later, the quest for pan-oceanic domination continues. Merconious is still hell-bent on using his army to find the ring. This is bad news for the peaceful, but not sissy, Merminians who’s turf needs to be scoured for said ring.

This is where we find our main character, Selinne. 

She’s a Merminian (another species, smaller than Litiants. Females have healing hands) and she has an independent spirit similar to Brave’s Merida. In other words, she’s of important birth, but she’s female and therefore expected to behave a certain feminine way--which she rebukes. This causes all sorts of problems including her subsequent capture by Litiant soldiers. The novel takes off from there. 

Expect underwater dragons, psychic bitchy mermaids, a love triangle, awesome battle scenes, another creepy mer-species, and a cliff-hanger ending that has me waiting to read more.

Emm has a wonderful way of describing her world, allowing the reader to slip beneath the waves effortlessly and enjoy the nautical scenery. The creatures are unique, frightening, and interesting. The book did indeed pique this reader’s interest and successfully prevented me from renewing my Dysfuntional relationship with George R.R. Martin.

That’s hard to do…I love that big man.

You can get your own copy of Emm Cole’s MERMINIA on Amazon.com and be sure to stop by her author blog, EmmCole.com . You can also find her on Twitter, @byEmmCole