Release Day Interview With Crown Prince Felipe and Princess Caitlin

This is by far the strangest thing I have ever written. My brain can’t cope with too much meta, but because today is the release day for A More Complicated Fairytale, I thought I would try my hand at writing something like this. It was weird, but fun.


AMCFTsmallWe’re sitting in the library in the Palace of Nardowyn. It’s a room I know well, as Cait and Felipe spent many of their early meetings in here. The word “library” is a bit of a misnomer, though; “museum” would be more accurate, since as well as the many shelves of books, there are cabinets and glass cases lining the walls, full of rare artefacts collected by the Royal Family over the generations.

Cait and Felipe are sharing a sofa across from me. Between us is a coffee table, which always seemed to have a couple of books lying on it, though that number has increased since Cait has been living in the palace and making the most of full-time access to this room. Felipe has his cane leaning on the arm of the sofa next to him; his war injury is continually improving, but there are still times when the cane is required.

“Thank you for meeting with me today,” I say, and they both nod in acknowledgment, smiling. “It’s been a while since I’ve spent any proper time with the two of you. How is married life treating you?”

They glance at each other, making a quick, silent decision about who will answer the question. “It’s been wonderful,” Cait says. “Marrying into the royal family was a terrifying prospect, but everyone has been very welcoming.”

“And I believe you’ve got some news to share?”

Another glance. Felipe slips his arm around Cait’s shoulders. Wide smiles spread over both their faces.

“We’re expecting a child in August,” Felipe says.

“Congratulations,” I reply. “I’m sure he’ll be a wonderful addition to the family.”

Felipe tilts his head at me. “He? It will be a boy, then?”

Dammit, self, don’t give your characters foreknowledge of major life events. That never works out well.

“That’s all for the next book,” I say quickly. “We’re here to discuss the first one.”

Felipe gives me a sideways look, but he doesn’t press the issue.

“So, how does it feel having the story of your romance out in the world?”

“I’m not sure I was always presented in the best light,” Felipe remarks.

“Well, you can blame Cait for that. It’s from her point-of-view.”

“I was always perfectly charming toward Cait.”

Cait rolls her eyes and grins. “You were an entitled prat at the start.”

Felipe puts on his best wounded expression and claps one hand across his heart. “Cait. It hurts me when you say things like that.”

Cait rolls her eyes again and laughs. She pulls his hand away from his chest. She rests her hand on his knee, still holding his.

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This is a screencap from Phantom of the Opera, but it’s the picture that most matches Cait and Felipe in my mind.

“Anyway,” she says. “I think it tells the story very faithfully, and I’m glad you’ve done so much work in putting it all together.”

“Thanks, Cait.”

“But what’s next for you?” she asks. “Are you going to be staying here or are your next projects taking you farther afield?”

“Well, I’ve got a few projects on the go. I definitely won’t be leaving Nardowyn for good. Ginny’s going to be getting up to a few things in a few years’ time.”

“What sort of things?” Cait’s eyes narrow at me suspiciously at the mention of her sister as the central character in a new story.

“Don’t worry, I promise I’ll bring her home safely at the end.”

“You’d better.”

By the point, the conversation is starting to get a bit too meta for me to get my head around. I stand to go and give a small bow.

“Your Highnesses, thank you for letting me visit you here today. I’ll keep you posted on the status of the book.”

Cait and Felipe stand up to see me out of the library. When we reach the large wooden doors, Cait says, “Thanks once again,” and I turn and smile.

“You’re very welcome,” I reply, and then step out the door. They close behind me and I am left with the task of finding someone who can help me navigate my way out of this labyrinth of a palace.


Don’t forget, you can now purchase A More Complicated Fairytale from the Amazon Kindle store (link to the American site, but it available pretty much everywhere, I think). It’s also on GoodReads if you want to keep it on your radar but not quite ready to buy it just yet.

Cover Reveal: Torn by Kate Sparkes

I do love a good cover reveal, and this one is particularly stunning so I’m excited to take part. Back about six months ago, fellow blogger Kate Sparkes was releasing her first book, Bound, and now the second book in the trilogy, Torn, is coming out! Here’s the synopsis:

Aren Tiernal knows that safety is an illusion, that his cruel and powerful brother Severn will never forgive his betrayal. Still, returning to Tyrea to challenge Severn for the throne would be suicide. It’s not until Severn himself comes to collect what’s owed to him that Aren decides to risk everything in an attempt to bring down the most powerful Sorcerer Tyrea has ever known. It’s a mission that seems doomed to fail, but it’s Aren’s only chance to save himself, his country, and the woman who thawed his heart.

Rowan Greenwood has troubles of her own. Though she has potential to become a great Sorceress, years of being closed off from her magic have left her unable to control her incredible power. When a pair of ominous letters arrive from her home country, Rowan has to choose between her new life and a chance at saving a family member’s life—and just maybe changing an entire country’s beliefs about the evils of magic.

Torn apart by separate quests, Rowan and Aren will have to discover untapped strengths and confront their darkest fears in order to overthrow a ruler determined to destroy them both.

And now for the moment of truth:

 

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I said it was pretty stunning, didn’t I? Torn is being released at the low price of $2.99 on March 31. Pre-order now on Amazon so you don’t miss out on the special release price.

But wait! There’s more! If you haven’t read Bound already, you’ll be mighty confused when you try reading Torn. But for this week only, Bound is available for only 99c, which gives you really no excuse to not read it and catch-up! 😉

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Book Review: Island of Glass by Ruth Nestvold

Title: Island of Glass (Age of Magic: The Glassmakers #1)
Author: Ruth Nestvold
Genre: Fantasy/alternate history
Date Read: 30/11/14 – 01/12/14
Rating: ★★★★

Review:

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I have read some of Ruth Nestvold’s books of short stories, but I have to admit it was a while ago. However, when Ruth started sharing excerpts of Island of Glass on her blog for WIPpet Wednesdays, I became pretty excited to read it in its entirety. It did not disappoint.

Island of Glass is set in an alternate 17th century Venice,  where alchemy won over chemistry and thus began the Age of Magic. Chiara Dragoni is a maestra glass maker in Murano and like all glass makers of the period, is forbidden to leave Venice, lest she share the secrets of glass making with the rest of Europe. When Chiara’s uncle is arrested after being caught on the mainland, Chiara comes up with a plan to bargain for his safety, but little does she realise how much her life is going to change thanks to one small gesture.

While it’s not entirely obvious from that brief summary, the story draws a lot of parallels with Cinderella, Most notably the glass slippers Chiara makes as a gift for the prince in exchange for her uncle’s freedom. However, do not expect to simply mad the name fairytale you already know, just in a different setting. The prince in this story is a complete slime bag,  who made me shudder nearly every time he opened his mouth. He serves to make Chiara realise exactly where her heart lies, and pushes her to realise her deepest dreams.

Chiara herself is a strong, well rounded character; she works hard to get what she wants, but she is not infallible, and needs advice from friends and family members surrounding her. Her main love interest, Pasqual, does not actually play an enormous part in the story, but when he is there, he is quite charming, and also a character who has his own goals.

It is also quite clear that Ruth Nestuold has done her research into Venetian life at the time. While she has  tweaked certain parts of history to suit her alternate world, much of it is based in our own history, and the world felt authentic as I read.

The end of this book left me cheering for Chiara and Pasqual, but also concerned for what might happen to them in future; the prince and his mother do not sound like ones to be crossed. l can’t wait to see what happens in Book 2!

#ROW80 Check-in: Publishing ponderings

What I learned at work this week: non-writers do not understand things like “This character is being frustrating right now.” They all just looked at me funny, as though to say “What do you mean you don’t have complete control over this fictional character of your own creation?”.  And then tried giving advice that didn’t really help at all, because character in question was Prince Felipe, whom I know very well, but they don’t know at all, and then my lunch break was over and I hadn’t achieved very much.

row80I did finish reading The Nutcracker, however, and while I haven’t written an outline yet, I have got a page of notes and questions that will have to figure in the outline… There may have to be some serious rejigging of the 7500 words I wrote essentially off-the-cuff; certain scenes will parallel the original story if I change them around a bit more. A lot of these plot elements were in the abridged version I read a while ago; I probably could have avoided this if I’d made more notes at the time, but hey, we win some, we lose some.

After doing that on my lunch break at work on Thursday, I then got about 40 minutes of editing on AMCF done in the evening (give or take). That combined with half an hour on Friday night and an hour or more this morning and I’ve achieved about two-and-a-half hours this week, surpassing my writing goal of two hours a week. So yay for that! I’m actually finding these revisions relatively painless. If I keep going at my current rate, I should have the second draft finished pretty soon.

I visited all my sponsor posts! Yay! As for my short stories goal… I’m really tempted to scratch that off my goals for this round… My focus is well and truly on AMCF at the moment and I don’t feel like I want to be writing short stories and submitting those, because that will take me away from my bigger WIPs! So… yeah, short stories can come at some other time.

I have been doing some thinky thinking since Wednesday, though. It started when I read Alice Janell’s Wednesday check-in in which she excitedly announced that she had sold her first novella to Taliesin Publishing, whose website I then proceeded to have a poke around. Then on Thursday night, my housemate asked me how the writing was going and mentioned that some friends of hers have recently started up The New List Books, a brand new publishing company based right here in the same city as me and devoted to showcasing the best of up-and-coming authors. I also remembered Cassandra Page mentioning that she had recently signed with Turquoise Morning Press.

Since starting with ROW80 18 months ago and seeing so many fabulous self-published indie authors, I had thought that would be the way I wanted to go when I finally get something to publishable standard. I think my main reason for this was, to be honest, that self-publishing seemed like the “easy” option (in some ways, anyway; I’m not completely naive about the process). But since reading up on these indie presses, I’m kind of keen to see whether I could get accepted by one of them… The idea of query letters and submissions always made me feel a bit queasy, but suddenly I feel a bit bolder about the whole thing. And if it doesn’t work out, self-publishing is always there to come back to.

Either way, though, it’s going to be a little while before I need to make any of these decisions. A More Complicated Fairytale is only in its second draft and about a third of the material in it is new for this draft, so I will need feedback on that and I envisage doing at least two more drafts before I start thinking about submissions. But it is something that I will be keeping in the back of my mind.

Anyhoodles, I’m off to visit my new baby cousin this afternoon, so I’m going to finish up there. I’m not sure what time I’ll be home tonight, hence getting the post done early. But I’ll catch you at check-ins over the next couple of days! 🙂 (Oh, and by the way, my sponsor post goes up on the ROW80 blog tomorrow; keep an eye out for it!)

~ Emily