Deadly Ever After

The Writing Adventures of The Undead Duo–Julie Hutchings and Kristen Strassel

Thank You, Carrie Fisher

leia-bowie

TODAY’S BREW: Herbal tea because of flu-like symptoms and hot head.

By Julie

We’ve lost Princess Leia.

Side note: 2016, get the fuck out of my house.

Leia and Carrie Fisher are one in the same and completely their own to me. This is the fusion of two incredible women that taught me a lot of things at a very young age:

  • You can make big-ass mistakes and still be strong.
  • Princesses can have a blaster without having stolen it from a man.
  • Princesses can wear pants.
  • Pretty and powerful are not mutually exclusive.
  • A sense of humor can get you through just about anything.
  • carrie-quotes
  • Be honest. Never ashamed. Talk about who you are. Own it.
  • Women don’t need to be paralyzed by their upbringing or questions around it.
  • Strength is in the eye of the beholder
  • “Leia is way cooler than Luke, Jedi or not.” –me, my entire life
  • Princesses/women don’t have to be soft spoken and sweet.
  • Save yourself. Nobody needs to do it for you.
  • Nobody has to be just one thing. Leia held every hat she could get her hands on.
  • Gold bikini or not, she could still choke a bitch.
  • It’s cool to be the only little girl with her dad in the movie theater for a “boys’ movie.”
  • There are no boys’ movies. There is no “boys'” anything.

 

She was a general, but she was still royalty to me.

And she is one with the Force now.

debbie-and-carrie

Now her unbelievably glamorous, talented, hilarious, shining mother, Debbie Reynolds passed away just the day after her daughter, her last words being, “I want to be with Carrie.” I take more comfort in that than I thought I could. Thank you both for adding to the definition of strong.

 

ARTISTS ARE LOUDMOUTHS. OWN IT. By Julie

TODAY’S BREW: Trader Joe’s Gingerbread AND I AIN’T TRADING THIS COFFEE, JOE.

By Julie

So 2016 was a cloven hooved kick in the ass, and the election has all of us praying for death, I get it.

And I commend every artist out there that’s stuck to creating when everything looks so bleak. So uncertain. Lots of authors have spoken out about this recently, and it’s because we know we have voices that are heard, and voices we CAN’T SHUT THE FUCK UP.

What I want to say here is that yes, artists–and I speak to authors in particular because that’s what I know bestest–have a responsibility. We need to speak out, we need to be the loudasses, but not so everyone knows our political opinions, but because the act of speaking out is one that we can support best.

EVERYBODY NEEDS TO SPEAK OUT AND SPEAK UP. Authors are the masters of this because our heads and hearts are so full that it just spills out onto the page and onto our families at Thanksgiving.

An author’s duty is not to splay their opinions out, necessarily. I mean they’re important, and it’s a wonderful thing to be able to identify with and feel united with our favorite authors. But the author’s job when times are tough and the world feels beaten, is to exemplify that having a voice–no matter what it’s saying–is important. Is needed. It’s what creates society, and takes societies down, and changes things. Saying something changes things. That’s what I stand for. That’s what I feel my job is as an author. To move forward, say what I need to say and stand behind it, and encourage the world to be brave that same way. That’s my job.

And what I REALLY want to say is that your work does not have to have political undertones. It does not have to echo what society is today. It does not have to be built on fear or mass opinion. It isn’t what you say that always matters, it’s that you said it.

Sure, I’ve wondered if my work should have more society-reflected themes, undertones that speak of the real world. Maybe they will one day. I’ll let the book make the call. As of now, my work does have all the undertones and themes that any self-respecting English major’s work should have, and they’re important. To me. And they speak of things that II hold close, that make a difference in the individual, like not letting anyone or anything decide your fate for you. (Seems pretty relevant after all, doesn’t it?) THE WIND BETWEEN WORLDS focuses heavily on not limiting yourself to being one thing, not only being what others see you or expect you to be.

We’ve made such progress with the LGBT community, women are making such headway, racism continues to be an eternal fight, and individuality and value is so highly focused upon in our country right now. And we now face oh, a guy who thinks conversion therapy–something actually used on GODDAMN AMERICAN HORROR STORY A FEW SEASONS BACK–is an option. We have Nazis and KKK members openly supporting our president-elect. And that same man treats women like property, degrades and debases them continually, and will be the person to shape a generation.

Everyone has an opinion on these things. Everyone is afraid. Speak out about your political views and your fears, if that’s what helps you. It will help others, too. Others who might be afraid to do it themselves.

But if your way of speaking out is by focusing on things that matter to you internally and not externally, that matters, too. Books that reinforce who we want to be as people, that have morals and show human change and growth all help, too. They speak to the individual just as much, in a different way, and by writing to explore morality, we affect lives on a different level, by declaring who we can be to support the world we want to live in. We inspire change, and having the courage of our convictions.

Whatever you write, write. Make it, or it won’t exist. Say it or it never is said. Confirm your idea, lest it dies. Be part of a world that speaks.

Julie Gives Unpopular Opinion on Suicide Squad

TODAY’S BREW: Trader Joe’s Winter Blend. AND IT’S SNOWING, IT’S LIKE I’M IN A COMMERCIAL IF TJ’S WAS BASE ENOUGH TO MAKE COMMERCIALS.

By Julie

So I saw the much-hated SUICIDE SQUAD yesterday. (Reel Film Reviews called it “rather aggressively unwatchable,” for instance.) I was skeptical for the following reasons, none of which had to do with reviews:

  1. I’m a die-hard fan of Heath Ledger’s Joker. you-complete-me-joker
  2. And I’ve just never liked Jared Leto. Add to that the unavoidable media frenzy of what a creep he became to stay in character, like sending used condoms to his cast mates, and it was unpromising.
  3. The portrayal of Harley Quinn had me angry before I ever saw the movie.
  4. I’d seen THE KILLING JOKE, (one of three women in the four women in the theater, myself and my friend being half of them, and with good reason), which I’d been looking forward to, and was sorely disappointed.
  5. I’m a Marvel girl at heart, though I adore Batman.
  6. I just can’t Affleck in general, and held a grudge about him being Batman when Bale is so perfect, and I hate Superman. The trickle down of annoyance followed after BATMAN V. SUPERMAN (which I actually liked after seeing it, despite its downfalls), had me not so thrilled for related movies.
  7. I heard Enchantress wasn’t given enough of a role and I really like the idea of that character, but like I find in most DC material, they never fully realizes her potential. (Insert here another time I’ve proclaimed with red face, “AND THAT’S WHY I SHOULD WRITE THIS CHARACTER, GODDAMMIT.”)

HERE’S WHAT I THOUGHT NOW, A BUNCH OF OPINIONS JUST BELCHED OUT AT YOU.

OKAY. So I saw it and (like with BATMAN V. SUPERMAN) was extremely pleased and surprised by the awesome character intro. Viola Davis as Amanda Waller gave these characters all the background they deserved and in a really uniquely villainous, misguided  way that had me hooked. I really loved how varied all their stories were. And like B V. S, I was later annoyed by how much the story fell apart, how half-assed the character development was WHEN IT WAS RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF THEIR STUPID FACES TO DO, and was left saying, “Well, I probably have to see it again? Or something?”

THE VIOLATION OF THE JOKER: Just like happened with the Affleck Batman, I was made to think differently about the character, and I LIKED IT. I’m a goddamn hard sell on my beloved comic characters being CHANGED UNDER MY FRIGGING NOSE. You know, Leto did something amazing–he made me remember that Joker is a goddamn VILLAIN. Heath Ledger was brilliant, unquestionably. But I loved him. I loved him. I understood him a bit (don’t arrest me), and he was intelligent and so sane about his insanity. About his reasons for not having reasons. And Christ, he was funny. And hot in a creep way. (You determine who the creep is here.)

From Leto’s first moment on screen, I was revolted. HE was revolting. His look, the way he spoke about Harley, the way he treated her in that first scene was just maddeningly gross and demoralizing and everything that could ever be wrong in a relationship, if you could even call it that and not slavery. And then. AND THEN. We see his joy and pride in claiming, “I’m not going to kill you, I’m gonna hurt you, real bad,” when he captures her in Arkham, and then she belongs to him. It gave me flashbacks of THE KILLING JOKE, but way, way worse. I went from revolted to a sort of hysterical nausea with violent undertones of terror. And he just goes on and on to abuse her worse and worse, and she loves him for it. And in spite of him being on screen so little, goddamn did he command a presence that left a shadow throughout every scene of the movie. Congratulations, Leto. I despise you and respect you.

And Harley Quinn. I have so many feelings about Harley Quinn in general. She has a cool factor, most certainly, in the comics, in the merchandise…

And because this is my goddamn blog, I get to go on a short tangent. The DC Superhero Girls toys? Great idea. Good step forward to superheroes being just ONE FUCKING AISLE IN A STORE. NOT BOYS’ SUPERHEROES AND GIRLS’ SUPERHEROES. AISLE THREE, FUCKING SUPERHEROES, THAT’S WHAT THE SIGN SHOULD SAY. And then Lego gets involved, and gives Harley THE POWER OF DATING! the-power-of-dating

Great start, DC. Kill me. Not to mention that Harley Quinn is a sorta tough sell to me on a child’s character. Because no.

Back to the movie. Harley was portrayed as–well, you’ve seen it. Daddy’s Little Monster, in her booty shorts and uber-high heels and pigtails, which is neither here nor there–she can wear whatever the hell she wants. What gets me is the little girl voice and the pandering to her sexuality from the first frame. She’s a psychiatrist. Why is she talking in this annoying frigging voice, sounding like a teenager trying to sound stupider than she is to get the attention–

Oh. Oh, okay. I get it. It’s an act, to a degree. And there is a scene where she puts it on, clearly, and the rest of the squad sees it a bit, and we get a glimpse of her sadness at who she is. There’s a scene where she psychoanalyzes Deadshot as well, through the rose-tinted glasses of her “love,” and we get a glimpse of the perfectly sane Harley underneath. She’s been reduced to this little girl image by the Joker that seems like it starts with the electro-shock that made her generically crazy, but it’s his subsequent treatment of her that makes it come to fruition. So HARLEY I have no problem with in this movie. I think Robbie did a great job with her. It’s, as usual, DC’s treatment of women (see also: Batgirl, for instance, and yes, Lois Lane who everyone seems to love but me), that ruins Harley Quinn. Granted, comics in general sexualize women, but Harley is sort of the pinnacle of it.

And yeah, there’s a disgustingly vivid misogynistic overtone to–basically everything DC. We could talk all day. I mean, even Batman has his moment with Harley, like a true dirtbag, and I don’t like that one bit. Not at all. But as far as Joker and Harley, we’re supposed to detest their relationship. It’s not supposed to be adorably crazy. It’s not supposed to be remotely healthy, or have a bright side. We’re supposed to be disgusted beyond words, and I like to think that the movie was made with this in mind, not ignorantly. Of course, I could be wrong. Though I’m never wrong, you just have a different version of right.

But ENCHANTRESS. Whoa, Nellie, was she kickass. I loved everything about her–Cara Delavigne was great as June Moone, very likeable even from the few scenes we have of her, not as Enchantress. I mean, I want a whole Enchantress movie. I want the novelization. I want the comic series. I want the toys and the artwork. Superb.

367d433500000578-3702679-magical_incantation_cara_delevingne_transformed_into_her_enchant-m-1_1469174747131

 

But, like BATMAN V. SUPERMAN, it started out with amazing potential, had me bought in right away, and then the conflict just crumpled. I don’t believe much of it. I don’t believe the world is in danger and that a guy who can shoot and a woman with a bat can fix it. I don’t believe Harley would make the move “for her friends” that she did at the end when her (hurk) “relationship” with the Joker could be restored instead. And I don’t buy that Deadshot would choose Harley’s life over his child’s future. It starts amazingly, then just sorta falls apart in its complexity, just like Affleck vs. Cavill, which I clearly also need to blog about because I have all the opinions.

 

 

Julie, Not On Display

TODAY’S BREW: cupcakes.

By Julie

The world has gone mad. If riots in the streets were the least of our worries, the sun could shine more brightly, but instead we have been cast into the gloom of an orange glow that is so tremendous it flays us alive. And we did it to ourselves.

In the midst of this terror, you wonder, WHERE IS JULIE HUTCHINGS? WHAT DOES SHE THINK? WHAT IS SHE DOING IN THIS, THE DAWN OF OUR FINAL DAYS?

Oh, I’ve been kickin’ it, you know?

I unplugged an awful lot. (See also: “Are you on Facebook?” “BAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! gasp. BAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” and “Did you see that tweet?” “NO! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”) Part of that was relieving myself of the brain-insistence that the universe will turn to goo if I don’t blog on a regular schedule, if I don’t answer emails for a day, if I go for even a couple of days without opening my laptop.

Not just for political reasons, but personal reasons. I needed to occupy my own headspace , remember who I was before people on the other side of the screen existed, and wow, do I feel like Julie.

SORRY, WORLD.

You know what I’ve been up to? Making like, 3 dozen cupcakes at a time with my kids. I got a tortoise (he’s kind of a jerk and it is the best thing ever). I’m editing for clients like WHOA. (hit me up, writers. My rate could change come January.) I did stuff like buy new curtains, get rid of old furniture, things that exist and affect me in my personal space. I’ve been writing (though not as much as I’d like) and planning my next books. I’ve been going to the park even when it’s too cold to feel my fingers. I’ve been reading. I’ve been teaching writing courses and helping the elementary kids with their writing at the boys’ school. I’ve been breathing and doing one thing at a time.

I couldn’t recall the last time I’d done one thing at a time.

I’ve been doing things for folks that have helped me when I was down.

I’ve been watching TV.

I’ve been Christmas shopping. (too much)

I’ve been breathing and enjoying everything.

I’ve been writing in notebooks rather than on my laptop a lot and that feels so grass roots and like home that I could just cry.

Anyway, I now feel like I’ve rested, and that I can weave blogging in a lot more without wanting to close the door and not speak for the rest of the day. I want to share with you guys again. But for a while, I just wanted to be happy with my family and friends in my physical life and be Julie, not on display.

But now ROGUE ONE is coming out, and I can’t make any promises. I live at the movie theater now.

 

Get HAUNTED, YA Horror by Jolene Haley and Brian LeTendre!

TODAY’S BREW: Cozy Sweater Pumpkin Apple Picking Fireplace Crisp Air, medium roast

I’m kidding.

By Julie

I have the extreme pleasure of showing you the second book in Jolene Haley’s and Brian LeTendre’s Woodsview Murders series. This is HAUNTED, a YA horror coming out on October 11 from Horror Twins Press. Perfect timing for an eerie, atmospheric, exciting read, so get on it!

haunted-3d-book

Haunted on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26010171

Last October, corpses piled up in Woodsview, Massachusetts faster than autumn leaves in the dead of fall. The small town changed forever when Jeremy Kane, known as the Harvester, slaughtered Avery Blair’s classmates, her friends, and Jason, the love of her life. Avery was supposed to die too, but she narrowly escaped, killing the Harvester in the process. Avery and her best friend are trying to move on and leave their horrible past behind. They’ve enrolled in college, and taken on new challenges. Avery has a campus radio show, and Quinn has found a release—and a new relationship—on the roller derby track.  The Harvester nightmare was laid to rest, along with the bodies of her friends and the remains of the killer. But what’s dead doesn’t always stay buried. With the anniversary of the slayings, comes a suspicious death on campus. When two of their dorm mates disappear, Avery suspects that the Harvester is back to finish what he started.  Avery Blair is haunted by the ghosts of her past—memories of the slayings that torment her days and curse her sleepless nights. She can dismiss the visions of Jason she sees everywhere, but she can’t ignore the signs that scream the Harvester is back…for blood. One thing is certain—people are dying, and the killer is determined to add Avery and Quinn to the carnage. Can Avery separate fiction from reality and find the killer, or will the ghosts of the past finally consume her? Jeremy Kane is dead. He can’t possibly be back from the grave, can he?

 

Read the first half of HARROWED (book #1 in the series) for free on Wattpad or buy the entire thing on Amazon for only 99 cents!

 

About Brian LeTendre:

Brian LeTendre is the writer of the Parted Veil horror series, which includes Intrusive Thoughts, Courting the King in Yellow, Lovecraft’s Curse, and Lovecraft’s Pupil.

A gaming, comics and horror lover, Brian has co-hosted and produced a podcast about geek culture called Secret Identity since 2006, producing well over 1700 hours of programming. He also hosts and produces podcasts about writing (See Brian Write), music (Thrash It Out) and gaming (Co-Op Critics).

Brian lives and works in Massachusetts.

Brian on Twitter

Brian’s Blog

Brian on Amazon

Brian’s Podcasts

About Jolene Haley:

Jolene Haley is the author of the Woodsview Murders series (Harrowed and Haunted) and the Orchard Pointe series. She’s also the curator of the best-selling horror anthologies The Dark Carnival, Halloween Night: Trick or Treat, and the upcoming first of its kind, a YA pizzathology titled A Pizza My Heart.

She runs a YA horror blog The Midnight Society, self-love blog and magazine Shine Bright Gang, and Hocus Pocus & Co., a small horror press. She writes every genre under the sun, but prefers horror.

When she’s not writing she can be found cuddling her two dogs and enjoying the beach, where she lives.

Jolene on Twitter

Jolene’s Blog

Jolene on Goodreads

Jolene on Facebook

Join the book buzz using hashtag #WoodsviewMurders

cover reveal: INIQUITY by Melody Winter

TODAY’S BREW: Apple Cider Donut. My next coffee will just be a long list of everything associated with autumn.

By Julie

I’m wildly excited to introduce Melody Winter to you all, and show you this book which I have begged her for on several occasions while it was being written. This premise, guys. THIS PREMISE. And she has such a powerful way with words, you’ll be stunned. Get ready for INIQUITY.

iniquity-cover

IT IS COMING. October 25th, 2016

Genre: New Adult, Dark Romantic Fantasy

Athena Harrow is about to turn twenty-one, but there will be no celebration. What is there to celebrate when the world is ruled by demons?

She hates the darkness the demons brought with them and longs for the light to return to the world—a world she only vaguely remembers. The people in her forest village blindly accept the life the demons forced upon them, even tolerating the yearly ascension ceremony where all the girls who have turned twenty-one are either sent away to serve the Master Demon or left in the village and forced to procreate.

But Paymon, the assigned village demon, selects a different role for Athena, a role that pits her against the village. While she adapts to her new life, Erebus, a younger, more powerful demon, arrives, and Athena must play a dangerous game with his emotions in return for information about the demon’s reign of darkness.

As Athena’s dreams of restoring the light begin to fade, her life with Erebus takes an unexpected turn, and this time it’s her life being put to the test.

Set in the forest around Buttercrambe in North Yorkshire, England, INIQUITY explores the frightening, darker side of romance and the uncontrolled emotions it can unleash.

 

PRE-ORDER LINKS:

Amazon.com: Link to Iniquity on amazon US  

Amazon.co.uk: Link to Iniquity on amazon UK

 

About the Author:

melody-winter-author-photo

Growing up, Melody showed a natural ability in art, a head for maths, and a tendency to write too long English essays. Difficult to place in the world when she graduated, she pursued a career in teaching, but ended up working in finance. Melody is convinced the methodical times she spends working with numbers fuel her desire to drift into dream worlds and write about the illusory characters in her head.

Melody Winter lives in York, North Yorkshire, England with her husband and two sons. When not dealing with football, rugby, and a whole plethora of ‘boy’ activities, she will be found scribbling notes for her stories, or preparing for another trip to the nearby beaches at Scarborough and Whitby. With an obsession for anything mythical, Melody revels in reading and writing about such creatures, and creating her own.

 

Website Goodreads Facebook Twitter Pinterest

Cover Reveal! (and so much more) PRETTY WICKED by Kelly Charron

 

TODAY’S BREW: It’s 95 degrees. I AM a cup of coffee

By Julie

SO EXCITED FOR THIS BOOK. I don’t tell you guys enough what I’m reading. I’ll do that soon, but for now THIS BOOK.

Pretty Wicked Printable 330 6x9

 

About PRETTY WICKED:

The daughter of a local police detective, fifteen-year-old Ryann has spent most of her life studying how to pull off the most gruesome murders her small Colorado town has ever seen.

But killing is only part of it. Ryann enjoys being the reason the cops are frenzied. The one who makes the neighbors lock their doors and windows on a hot summer’s day. The one everyone fears but no one suspects. 

Carving out her own murderous legacy proves harder than she predicted. Mistakes start adding up. And with the police getting closer, and her own father becoming suspicious, Ryann has to prove once and for all that she’s smarter than anyone else—or she’ll pay the ultimate price. 

Praise for Pretty Wicked: 

 

“This creepy novel places you inside the mind of a twisted teen killer, which is even more unsettling because of how familiar and normal she seems. Be prepared to leave the lights on and look at the people around you in a whole new way.”

 

-Eileen Cook | Author of WITH MALICE

 

 

“Dark and haunting, this witty thriller with its petite feminine anti-hero is an American Psycho for teens. Be prepared to sleep with the lights on.”

 

Lisa Voisin | Author of THE WATCHER SAGA

 

 

“Pretty Wicked is fresh, thrilling, and deeply haunting. I’ve never read anything like it! The story escalates from page one and will leave your pulse pounding as you wonder just how far Ryann will go. 5/5 stars.”

 

Tiana Warner | Author of ICE MASSACRE & ICE CRYPT

 

NOW I WILL LET YOU READ SOME, LOOK:

 

I heard the bell ring in the distance. Lunch was over. I leapt up to go when I was struck with panic. What if someone had seen me walk out there with Veronica? No one could know what I’d done. My breath hitched.

I ran as fast as I could back to the yard and to the first teacher I saw.

“Mrs. Hopkins! Come quick, Veronica’s really hurt!” I pretended to be hysterical so effectively that she couldn’t understand me the first few times.

She bent down so we were at eye level. “Where?”

“We went into the woods at the far end of the property. I’m sorry. I know we’re not allowed, but she fell and she’s not moving! You have to hurry!” I sobbed, shoulders shaking, snotty nose. I don’t know how I’d managed to look so distraught, but I nearly convinced myself.

Mrs. Hopkins turned to a kid named Austin, who was in the grade ahead of me. “Go get Mr. Chute. Tell him to call 911 and to come out and meet me in the woods.”

Austin, who was paper white, nodded and took off like his ass was on fire.

I ran back with Mrs. Hopkins to the rocks where I’d left Veronica. She was in the exact position I’d left her. Thankfully there was no miraculous recovery waiting for us.

After she was taken away in an ambulance, Mrs. Hopkins and Mr. Chute walked me back and called my parents.

My dad showed up to the school, hugged me, and told me how brave I was.

After my mother had finally stopped fussing and checking on me every twenty minutes, I sat on my bed and thought about Veronica. It would be weird not to see her in class every day or hang out with her at lunch, not that we hung out that much. I was usually with Bao-yu anyway, but sometimes she came along. Maybe now B and I would be better friends. She wouldn’t have to share me anymore.

I wondered what I was feeling—if I was missing Veronica. But I didn’t think that’s what it was. The twinge in the bottom of my stomach didn’t have the achy hollowness that people refer to as a pit. It was more like butterflies.

 

 

 

Link for Amazon: 

https://www.amazon.com/Pretty-Wicked-CharronKellyebook/dp/B01KAX8VLQ/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1471040176&sr=8-6&keywords=pretty+wicked#nav-subnav

 

Link for Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31394680-pretty-wicked?ac=1&from_search=true

AN INTERVIEW WITH THE WONDERFUL LADY WHO WROTE THIS SCARY-ASS BOOK!

 

Questions about Pretty Wicked:

 

  1. What inspired you to write such a dark character?

 

I’ve always been fascinated with psychology and human motivation. Whenever I read a novel or watched a movie or television show, I was drawn to the villain. I wanted to understand what made them act the way they did––delve into what happened in their lives or minds to make them the person they had become.

 

When there was the odd story from the “villains” point of view, it seemed to characterize them as “misunderstood” and usually spun them into a likeable character who was the hero of that new version of the story. I wanted to write something unique and portray the villain realistically. What would the story look like if they were a true villain? I got the idea for a teenage serial killer who was unapologetic about who she was and what she wanted and thought it was really interesting to explore what her point of view would be if she drove the story and the “villain” was the detective trying to stop her.

 

  1. Is this your first novel?

 

Pretty Wicked is the second book I wrote and the first to be published. I have been writing for ten years. My first book was a YA urban fantasy that took me seven years to complete because I kept stopping for huge chunks of time while I completed my degrees (English Lit and Social Work). I finally got serious about writing in 2013 and have just completed my fourth novel.

 

  1. Why did you choose to self-publish?

 

I did query it to literary agents and received a lot of positive praise for the book. In the end I kept hearing the same feedback: it’s a fascinating concept, the writing and voice are great, but we don’t think we can sell such a dark book to a publisher. I completely understand this. I know this book is going to be very polarizing. People will either love the concept of hate it. So far I have had overwhelmingly encouraging feedback from readers who understand that this is a fictional story that is trying to do something different from most novels. There was some interest from small publishers but the wait times were longer than I was comfortable with. I decided if I wanted to see this book out in the world I was going to have to do it myself. It was an intimidating process, but luckily I have an amazing and brilliant support group who helped me along the way.

 

  1. What genres do you write in?

 

Psychological thriller, urban fantasy, and horror. I have two YA urban fantasy books, though one may never see the light of day. It’s my first book and would need to be rewritten before I decide its fate. The second (currently titled Wilde Magic) is the first in a planned series that I am very excited about.

 

Here is a short blurb:

 

The novel follows fifteen-year-old Ainsley Davenport as she moves from her life in Maine to attend a prestigious boarding school in Massachusetts after her widowed mother marries a wealthy man that she can’t stand. At Ashbury Academy, Ainsley meets a group of students whom she finds more sophisticated and exciting than any kids she’s ever encountered. Ainsley is pulled into a world of wealth and extravagance, but it isn’t long before she realizes some things aren’t adding up and there is more to Ashbury than meets the eye. One of the oldest covens in history, The Wildes, is hidden beneath the school grounds. Magic is alive and well, and the coven is actively training new witches in this secret enchanted society. Ainsley soon recognizes that she may be in over her head when she uncovers secrets that she was never meant to know. The magical kind. The deadly kind.

 

  1. Is Pretty Wicked a standalone novel?

 

The Pretty Wicked series will continue with adult books. The sequel, Wicked Fallout, is currently going through editing and the third book in the series is brewing in my mind. I have some very fun ideas for Ryann.

 

Wicked Fallout takes place twelve years later when Ryann is 27 years old. That’s all I can say right now as to not reveal spoilers.

 

  1. Ryann is not a very likable character. Do you like her?

 

I actually do. I really enjoyed writing her. I don’t agree with anything she does at all! In that sense, Ryann is deplorable! But what I like is her humor and wit and the way she owns who she is. She was a fun character to write because she is so different to most characters out there. It’s like when you see a Hollywood actor discuss their favorite roles. Often they say the villain roles were their preferred because it was more fun and exciting to play. There are forbidden elements that make it a bit more exciting than the standard hero. It’s no different for me as the writer.

 

  1. What is your writing process?

 

I have a day job so writing usually happens in the evenings and on weekends. I work in a school so I am fortunate to have shorter days, two vacation break periods, and summers off which really help me carve out the time needed.

 

On a writing day (Saturday or Sunday) I will get up, shower, eat breakfast, procrastinate with some TV and then get to it. I’ll make a coffee and park myself on my couch (even though I have a beautiful desk in an actual home office). I’ll write for about 2-3 hours (about 1500-2000 words on average). I may do another session later that evening if I’m really inspired. I watch a lot of television and read widely to inspire my creativity and ideas.

 

I also have an amazing group of friends who are writers as well and we meet up to have writing and brainstorming sessions, which is fantastic!

 

kelly charron

 

Kelly Charron is the author of YA and adult horror, psychological thrillers and urban fantasy novels. All with gritty, murderous inclinations and some moderate amounts of humor. She spends far too much time consuming true crime television (and chocolate) while trying to decide if yes, it was the husband, with the wrench, in the library. She lives with her husband and cat, Moo Moo, in Vancouver, British Columbia. 

 

Connect with her:

 

Sign up for her mailing list or check out upcoming books at: http://kellycharron.com

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KellyMCharron

 

Facebook: https://goo.gl/UNkH3g

 

Goodreads: https://goo.gl/rf4NlM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ALL MY OPINIONS ON WRITING by Julie

TODAY’S BREW: So much water, all the water I can find except toilet water

By Julie

Oh, some people probably won’t like this.

I’m seeing on Twitter lately an awful lot of writers feeling down on themselves for a variety of reasons. This is probably as ranty as you’ll ever see me. PREPARE FOR THE ALL CAPS. Were you ready?

A lot of people say, “Stop putting it off. Stop looking for the right time. Just do it.” Then a lot of other people say, “So if I can’t write every day I’m not a real writer? Stop telling me what to do. I have REASONS.”

FIRST OF ALL, WRITING ADVICE IS LIKE PARENTING ADVICE. LISTEN TO SOME, BLOW OFF WHAT DOESN’T WORK FOR YOU. THERE IS NO NEED TO DEFEND YOURSELF. THERE IS NO NEED TO LIST YOUR REASONS. YOU HAVE NOTHING TO PROVE TO ANYONE BUT YOU. NOBODY IS SAYING YOU HAVE TO DO IT X WAY.

Next, I see a lot of people skulking in the shadows about a certain pitch contest IT’S CALLED PITCH WARS. I HAVE OPINIONS. (shocking)

First, I have a problem with pitch contests in general. Publishing is a beast. You’re the tiny wave in the big ocean no matter what you do. It’s a fact. You’re one of thousands doing exactly what you’re doing, fighting to be heard, to be represented, to see your book on shelves, to just FINISH YOUR BOOK sometimes. Adding to that a peer-driven contest in a fight that we’re all TOGETHER in adds a layer of stress that just doesn’t need to be there. There are lots of success stories, lots of them, I’m sure. But I find that the people entering are scared to death more often than not, if they don’t get picked they feel like failures, and it’s all over Twitter constantly, in a positive way consistently, but if you’re one of the folks not entering? IT IS ALL YOU SEE. It creates this behind-the-eight-ball feeling at best. For me, it’s a struggle to see mentors talking about all their likes and dislikes personally while everyone else waits to see if it’s them they’re talking about. We are each other’s peers. Support comes in many ways, and I find adding competition to it to be the exact opposite of how I feel: that writing isn’t a competition. There’s room for everyone to write.

Which brings me to my next THING TO RANT ABOUT. Writers worry about failure. We worry about failure constantly, then put ourselves out there in a world where failure is fairly inevitable much of the time. You can feel to finish the book. You can fail to start it. You can fail at querying, at self-publishing, at traditional publishing, at NaNo, at revising, at getting agented, at your own goals every day. AND YET WE DO IT.

In regards to pitch contests, this works against us. Because there are a lot of folks that worked their asses off that didn’t get picked to be on the dodgeball team. They took a lot of hits, and still didn’t make it. Two things about this:

  • WHY IN HELL WOULD WE PUT EACH OTHER IN THIS POSITION WHEN WE GODDAMN LIVE IN THIS POSITION??
  • YES, MANY OF US WILL NOT BE CHOSEN ONES. BUT WE DID NOT START WRITING TO GET A TROPHY FOR PARTICIPATION.

Failure is in the eye of the write-holder. (I made up “write-holder.” *jazz hands*). Did you start writing because you wanted a trophy? Because you wanted to prove yourself to a bunch of people you met online? Because you thought it would make you rich? Because you thought it was easy? Because you were looking for an award for just showing up? NO. YOU DIDN’T. YOU WRITE BECAUSE YOU NEED TO WRITE. YEAH, THAT’S RIGHT, I’M SAYING “YOU,” BECAUSE I AM NOT JUST SPEAKING FOR MYSELF. SHOW ME THE WRITER THAT DOES IT FOR ANY OTHER REASON THAN THAT THEY NEED TO, AND I WILL SHOW YOU A PERSON THAT HAS SPENT TOO LONG OUTSIDE THEIR OWN HEADS.

Do NOT let other writers and mentors, or agents and editors or ANYBODY ELSE make you feel like a failure. WRITE THE BOOK YOU WANT TO WRITE. IT MAY NOT BE AN AWARD WINNER, IT MAY NOT BE SOCIALLY RELEVANT, IT MAY NOT BE AN AMERICAN CLASSIC BUT IF IT IS THE BOOK YOU WANTED TO WRITE, COMING ACROSS THE WAY YOU WANTED IT TO IN THE END, THEN NO AMOUNT OF AGENTS, PEERS, REVIEWS, ANYTHING CAN MAKE YOU FEEL LESSER ABOUT WHAT YOU’VE CREATED.

YOU WRITE BECAUSE YOU HAVE YOUR OWN VIEW OF THE WORLD AND IT’S ONE THAT HASN’T BEEN SEEN YET. DON’T LET ANYONE MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE IT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

AND ANOTHER THING. *YOU* CAN CONTROL THIS FEELING. NOBODY ON THE OUTSIDE IS GOING TO MAKE ME FEEL LIKE THE THING I CREATED ISN’T GOOD. NO CREATION IS BAD. NO. CREATION. IS. BAD.

*breathes deeply* *coughs*

So, I would also like to say that no matter what stage you’re in of writing, you are no less a writer than published ones, famous ones, self-pubbers, traditional pubbers, none of them. You’re a writer if you write. Every writer has moments of self-doubt. That’s good. Self-doubt makes us work harder. I had the conversation earlier today with a writer that said she was starting a book that was so ambitious it was inconceivable even to her. I said that’s the work that’s always best because we worry over it so much that there’s no chance of anything slipping by. But you do have to write it to find out.

And we come full circle. Telling writers that they have to write is like saying you’re not a student unless you go to school. You’re not an architect unless you build. You’re not a Subway employee, especially if you just go behind the counter and start making sandwiches and get removed from the building. What.

It is a fact. TO BE A WRITER YOU HAVE TO WRITE. Nobody is trying to make you feel bad about yourself when they say it. They’re trying to encourage you to create the thing you want to create, even if maybe you don’t feel like it. I don’t feel like going to the gym a lot but I always feel better after I did it. Unless I didn’t eat first, and then I mostly pass out. But anyway, don’t fail yourself by looking for ways out of writing. Whether it be every day, every week, only on Christmas, whatever. Coincidentally, if anyone tries to tell you that your process of writing is the wrong one? They suck. We are writers because we suck at sticking to rules. Because we were tired of looking for approval. Because we create, and do it our own way.

THE ONLY STEADFAST RULE THAT CAN’T BE BROKEN BECAUSE IT IS GODDAMN SCIENCE IS THAT TO BE A WRITER YOU HAVE TO WRITE.

No one is better than you at telling your story. Nobody else can do it like you do. Write it for you, not for anyone else’s approval, and you’ll shrug when even the most disappointing of “rejections” or bad reviews roll in. Above and beyond anything else, writing doesn’t have to be solitary, but it starts there. Trust yourself, writers. You know what to do.

Julie’s Version of a Strong Female Character

TODAY’S BREW: Chocolate Mint until my heart grows legs and runs away

By Julie

joss whedon quotes

This quote from the almighty Whedon makes me swell with pride. That strong women are on the radar, that we’re moving forward. Also, like Joss, IT INFURIATES ME AND MAKES MY INSIDES BURN LIKE A FOREST FIRE.

I’m overjoyed–OVERJOYED–to be writing fresh words again (ahem, the mark of a strong woman), on the sequel to a book that I finished (strong). The main characters are five witches. I’m going to account for here, what makes them strong, and there probably won’t be anything about magic.

  • they’ve all faced oppression, abuse, questionable (gently worded) parenting methods, and still face every day
  • they make lots of mistakes, and keep moving forward
  • they learn to support each other despite coming from a place where they were taught to hate each other
  • their sexuality and identifications. Enough said.
  • they’ve been called failures and fight to prove to themselves that they’re not–even when they fail
  • they break rules that don’t work and make new ones, that sometimes work but often don’t and they keep making more
  • the way they fight their Big Bad has yes, a lot to do with magic, but a lot more to do with overcoming their fears and thinking outside the rules set for them
  • they get back up
  • they all have vices, none of them are solely “good,” and none of them are “the bad girl with a heart of gold,” or the villain. They’re all more than one thing.
  • they’re seventeen–and hold a world together out of necessity. They’re afraid and they still do it. They do it because they’re afraid. They look for answers to find a way out of it. They screw up a lot, sometimes irreversibly. They move on. All traits of what strong adults do, and what strong adult women do. It starts somewhere.

None of them know karate. None of them are trying to prove themselves to a boy. Some of them have body issues, some of them have drug problems, some of them are smart-mouthed but it’s not the only thing that defines them. They’re more than one thing. I didn’t write them with the intent of being “strong female characters,” I wrote people. I wrote people I’d want to know, people with thick stories, opinions, journeys within themselves to take. I didn’t write them “as teens,” I wrote them as people.

IT’S TRUE, TEENS ARE PEOPLE AND THAT’S NOT THE ONLY THING THEY ARE.

The thing about each of these young women that I think is cool is that if you were to ask them what makes them strong, their answers would be widely varied, if they thought they were strong at all.

What we think of them is not necessarily what they think of themselves. Not everyone will agree on what makes a person strong–or a girl strong–or a woman strong. One thing that is true without question is that it will be questioned whether or not they’re strong female characters.

To that, I say, I don’t have to prove a thing to anyone.

 

 

 

Not Giving Up Saves Lives …by Julie

TODAY’S BREW: Are popsicles coffee?

By Julie

I’m not quite sure how to start this, even though I wrote an outline, because I FEEL it so much. I feel all of the obstacles lying flat beneath my feet, the signs all pointing the way I led everyone to go, and this is what not giving up is about.

Sammy has made so much progress recently it’s unbelievable. Truly unbelievable. A few things have gotten us here: the right diagnosis, the right medication, the right commitment, the right amount of help and the right kind, and a child that lets nothing put him down. All over the past month or so, Sam has gone from NEVER using the potty, to ALWAYS using the potty. He’s learning to separate himself when he feels angry and asking for quiet moments with me reading when he’s ready. He’s speaking really, really smoothly, with zero to minimal jabber, or “word salad.” His attention span is spectacular. This child is a miracle, and he made himself that way.

I hear an awful lot that most mothers would not go this far to support their child. I’ve suffered a lot–but we have suffered a lot. And I cannot let my child suffer. I don’t have the ability. I don’t have the ability to quit some things. Growing, helping, loving, teaching my children is one of them.

Because if I teach my kids that there’s a time to quit, they’ll see nothing but the limits to reach.

If I teach them that their happiness is negotiable, what chance do they have of pushing limits to find it?

If I teach them to stop the harder it gets, I’ve taught them that what they’ve pushed through was unnecessary.

If I teach them to give up, have I taught them anything at all? I’ve only taken from them. Taken their light at the end of their own personal tunnels, taken the depth of their feelings and made light of them, taken their ability to ask “what if” and think of all the other boxes to think outside of and break through. I’ve taken their ability to stop at nothing because I’ve shown them that something can stop me.

We’ve been watching a lot of America’s Got Talent, and I love these people that will stop at nothing, no matter how unconventional their dream. For some people, the dream is just to be happy. But this one made me cry harder than the rest.

I saw this when Sam was just sitting beside me, playing a building game on my tablet, something that would have been too dangerous (yes, dangerous), he wouldn’t have had the ability to sit and do anyway. Pato, because of his OCD, was unable to leave the house, couldn’t ask for help, resorted to begging for money to support himself. To make it where he has is incredible, but all I could think was, my Sammy will never have to experience that because we fought to combat OCD. First.

It’s easy to yell at a child who dictates who goes in what order up the stairs when you’re carrying armfuls of groceries and he’s been making your life hell all day. But seeing what the alternative does to him makes it non-negotiable for me. Imagine that such a trivial thing could throw a child into a wild-eyed sobbing episode for an hour, that he’d remember this moment for days. Imagine facing that every day, having to fight not only himself, his own brain, but to fight for understanding, too. When he can’t understand it himself. Can barely tell us what he wants.

How do you not help that child? How do you not put his needs first?

Because we did this, because I knew what Bipolar Disorder looked like when I brought him to the pediatrician at barely four, because we treated what we could then–OCD and Hyperactivity Disorder–and we were “on watch” for a mood disorder, because we knew what was happening when that mood disorder became real, because we didn’t stop, Sam has every chance of not going through the hell that so many other people have. We got this. That is what not giving up is.

NOW ABOUT ME. ME ME ME ME ME ME.

This summer so far was not about me and my needs, and I knew that going in. I had a strict timeline of what I wanted for Sam, what I needed from professionals, what I needed to see in changes due to behavior therapy and medication, and I needed to see what I could do having him home during such immense changes. July 15th was my deadline for a lot of things. I also was doing editing for clients and trying to have FUN with the kids, because I refuse not to have fun. (We have had so much fun.)

Now is the time for me to focus on my work. What *I* need. So as not to stretch myself too far, I had to suspend working on my own writing because I don’t want to hurt myself (think nervous breakdown, ulcerative colitis, debilitating panic attacks), and I refused to do my best I could do without it being my best.

I made all the right choices.

I have a new list of agents to pitch THE WIND BETWEEN WORLDS TO….a book whose query is now a shining thing of magnificence that begs for reading, and a book that I am now finally able to finish the sequel to! I’m halfway through the sequel, and have a good start on the prequel and had to stop in May to concentrate on other things. My time has come.

Wait, weirdo, you’re writing a sequel and a prequel to a book that isn’t even being published yet?

YES I AM BECAUSE I DON’T STOP AND THIS BOOK WILL NOT GO UNNOTICED.

I don’t write because of what anyone else wants. I write for what I need. And every moment of my life is teaching something to these two amazing kids. They will see that my passion is what drives me and I drive it right back. That I give all I have to get more, and what I want is dependent on nobody but myself. There is no magic number of rejections, no “almosts” in my world. There’s always another way. There’s always more roads to travel. I’ll dig relentlessly making my own if that’s what it takes. And because this is who I am, it is now showing my kids who they are. What they can do and what won’t stop them on their way to it. It’s why Sam remembers little things I say like, “You like what you like. If you like the Alice in Wonderland tea set and you want to offer tea to everyone while doing ninja moves, then hey. You like what you like. Nobody can stop you.”

Be you, everyone. Stop at nothing to be who you want to be. Define your own happiness. Make your own rules–they’re just ideas anyway. Rules about publishing, rules about how young a child can be to show a certain illness, rules about what to say and who to say it to, rules about gender, rules about love, rules that we make for ourselves…. Reshape your world to be what you need. That’s what not giving up is about.

 

Post Navigation