Scarlet Letters

The not-so-private thoughts and rants of Elizabeth Donald, journalist/author and founder of the Literary Underworld.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Fall Deathmarch: Online Edition! Vol. 3

Day Three of the Virtual Tour In Which Elizabeth Never Gets Stranded in Chicago.



Courtesy of the fine folks at Seventh Star Press and Tomorrow Comes Media, I'm doing a blog tour and interview blitz this week. Thanks to everyone who came to the live chat tonight! Much fun was had, plus the trivia contest and there may have been some Glenfiddich involved. Maybe.

Posts to date:

It's No Good to Anybody In Your Head, hosted by Shells Interviews
• Writer Wednesday Interview, hosted by Book in the Bag
• In Defense of Horror, hosted by The Den of Debauchery
• The Eroticism of the Vampire, hosted by Beauty in Ruins

The blog tour is linked and coordinated at Tomorrow Comes Media.

Naturally, this whole thing is intended to promote Nocturne Infernum. What's that? Good lord, you really haven't been reading this blog, or my endless blatherings in social media. Nocturne Infernum is the compilation of all three Nocturne books, following the adventures of my vampires in their alternate-history Memphis and the terrible, horrible things that befall them. Muahahahaha. Seriously, the Nocturne books were my maiden voyages into becoming a published author, and I had a wonderful time tormenting my Memphis miscreants. I wouldn't mind coming back to that world again!

You don't have Nocturne Infernum? I'm happy to report that the ebook version is only $4.99. You can't beat that with a stake - er, stick. You can also pick up the paperback edition via AmazonBarnes & Noble or Literary Underworld. I will have limited stock in hand at Archon this weekend - come by and see us!

What, you already bought the original versions? Well, not to put too fine a point on it... then you have the first drafts. I think of Nocturne Infernum as "the author's cut." It allowed me to trim out some stuff that I didn't want to include in the first place, fix the things that were added, mistakes I made as a beginning author, and generally make it into the book it was meant to be. I'm very happy with Nocturne Infernum, and I think you'll enjoy it too.

So please join me on this week's blog tour, come say hello at Archon, and let me know what you think of the new book!

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Fall Deathmarch: Online Edition! Vol. 2

Day Two of the Virtual Tour In Which Elizabeth Doesn't Have to Bag Her Shampoo. I could get used to this.



Courtesy of the fine folks at Seventh Star Press and Tomorrow Comes Media, I'm doing a blog tour and interview blitz this week. Today's post is below:

• In Defense of Horror, hosted by The Den of Debauchery
• The Eroticism of the Vampire, hosted by Beauty in Ruins

The entire blog tour plan is linked and coordinated at Tomorrow Comes Media. Coming tomorrow: an interview and another blog post! And at 8 p.m. CDT, I will be in the Literary Underworld Tavern chatroom to talk about the book, take your questions and maybe give away some prizes!

Naturally, this whole thing is intended to promote Nocturne Infernum. What's that? Good lord, you really haven't been reading this blog, or my endless blatherings in social media. Nocturne Infernum is the compilation of all three Nocturne books, following the adventures of my vampires in their alternate-history Memphis and the terrible, horrible things that befall them. Muahahahaha. Seriously, the Nocturne books were my maiden voyages into becoming a published author, and I had a wonderful time tormenting my Memphis miscreants. I wouldn't mind coming back to that world again!

You don't have Nocturne Infernum? I'm happy to report that the ebook version is only $4.99. You can't beat that with a stake - er, stick. You can also pick up the paperback edition via AmazonBarnes & Noble or Literary Underworld. I will have limited stock in hand at Archon this weekend - come by and see us!

What, you already bought the original versions? Well, not to put too fine a point on it... then you have the first drafts. I think of Nocturne Infernum as "the author's cut." It allowed me to trim out some stuff that I didn't want to include in the first place, fix the things that were added, mistakes I made as a beginning author, and generally make it into the book it was meant to be. I'm very happy with Nocturne Infernum, and I think you'll enjoy it too.

So please join me on this week's blog tour, come say hello at the chat and at Archon, and let me know what you think of the new book!

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Fall Deathmarch: Online Edition!

This is my favorite kind of book tour: the kind where I don't have to pack anything.



Courtesy of the fine folks at Seventh Star Press and Tomorrow Comes Media, I'm doing a blog tour and interview blitz this week. Today's post is below:

The Eroticism of the Vampire, hosted by Beauty in Ruins

So be prepared to see much of this information posted and re-posted all week, with my apologies, except not really. It's all part of my evil plan for world domination. Muahahahaha.

The entire blog tour plan is linked and coordinated at Tomorrow Comes Media. I will repost this list each evening with the links to the various content, and additional content on this blog as well.

At 8 p.m. CST Wednesday, I will be in the Literary Underworld Tavern chatroom to talk about the book, take your questions and maybe give away some prizes! Links will be posted here Wednesday morning.

Naturally, the whole thing is intended to promote Nocturne Infernum. What's that? Good lord, you really haven't been reading this blog, or my endless blatherings in social media. Nocturne Infernum is the compilation of all three Nocturne books, following the adventures of my vampires in their alternate-history Memphis and the terrible, horrible things that befall them. Muahahahaha. Seriously, the Nocturne books were my maiden voyages into becoming a published author, and I had a wonderful time tormenting my Memphis miscreants. I wouldn't mind coming back to that world again!

You don't have Nocturne Infernum? I'm happy to report that the ebook version is only $4.99. You can't beat that with a stake - er, stick. You can also pick up the paperback edition via Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Literary Underworld. I will have limited stock in hand at Archon this weekend - come by and see us!

What, you already bought the original versions? Well, not to put too fine a point on it... then you have the first drafts. I think of Nocturne Infernum as "the author's cut." It allowed me to trim out some stuff that I didn't want to include in the first place, fix the things that were added, mistakes I made as a beginning author, and generally make it into the book it was meant to be. I'm very happy with Nocturne Infernum, and I think you'll enjoy it too.

So please join me on this week's blog tour, come say hello at the chat and at Archon, and let me know what you think of the new book!

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fall Deathmarch stumbles into the final lap

Two time zones, three airports, four hours' sleep and five cabs in a 27-hour marathon brought me home today. Yesterday. I think.

I no longer remember what time zone I'm in or where I'm supposed to be, and this is posting tomorrow morning anyway. I stepped off the plane and went right back to work, and I am so tired I'm surprised this afternoon's story is in English.

For those who followed my misadventures on Twitter, I am going to hold off on narrating the insanity that was my return from Florida until I know how the story ends. Suffice to say it was the worst transportation mess I've ever been in, and hopefully ever will be.

My brain is still trapped at baggage claim in Chicago and my energy is stuck in a kiosk in Orlando, so I will hold off on anything more substantive until they catch up. I will report on the amazing Excellence in Journalism conference, which I cannot recommend more highly to any journalist in our field; on the delights of seeing Florida again three years after that vacation when Jimmy tripped on something, and yes, on my battle with American Airlines.

Best of all, I get to unpack for a while. This weekend is the relative sanity of a shift at the newspaper and Strange Folk (attendees, not doing a signing this time), and then it's Archon!

Advance warning: next week is the blog tour and review blitz for Nocturne Infernum. Have I mentioned the ebook is only $4.99 for all three books? Just a subtle hint.

Also, to the plethora of new folk joining me after the conference: this is my personal blog, not affiliated with either the St. Louis Pro chapter or the Belleville News-Democrat. My personal Tweets can be found at @edonald, and my journalism-related tweets are @BNDedonald.

Now... sleep.

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Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Another Dragoncon in the books...

Home again, for slightly more than 48 hours this time. Dragoncon was a pile of fun with very few sour notes, and despite the utter insanity of trying to get in and out of Hotlanta with 85,000 of my closest friends, I had a wonderful time.

I am not going to try to list all the people who were awesome this weekend, because I will inevitably leave someone out. I will note that Keith, Wrenn, Meredith and Heather were the best of roomies; it was always a party in our room. It was delightful to see old friends, meet new ones, and share the good words with all the terrific people in the panels. I am always grateful and honored to be among Dragoncon's guests, and the show never disappoints.

(Boy enjoyed all the cosplay pictures, by the way. And he is squeeing all over his vintage-style Captain America poster. It's possible I raised a geek.)

In case you missed it: The Daily Dragon did an interview with me, and I also participated in an author roundtable discussion on traditional publishing vs. self-publishing.

I am dead on my feet, of course, but I get two days to snuggle with my menfolk and, of course, get back to work. Then it's off to Imaginarium, because I'm crazypants. 

As a side note: I sold the very last of The Cold Ones this weekend. There are still maybe a dozen copies of Blackfire available, but as you know, that series is out of print. If you bought Cold Ones and don't have Blackfire, I'd suggest picking it up soonish. Who knows when it will rise again...

But I want to take an extra moment to thank the good people who bought books from me. It may be a small thing to you, but it is a HUGE thing to those of us trying to haul books at a con. It helps us pay our expenses, and it reminds us that there are real people enjoying our work. That's a creative boon like no other, and it means everything to us. Thank you, and I hope you enjoy the book.

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Friday, September 04, 2015

Book Review: Silver Tongue by AshleyRose Sullivan

Suppose George Washington was a werewolf? Even better: suppose his affliction caused him to delay crossing the Delaware River, and thus the patriots lost the Revolutionary War?

That moment spurs Silver Tongue, a wildly creative and enjoyable young-adult adventure following three young people in an alternate universe where three nations exist in what we would call America: New Britannia, Nouvelle France and Nueva Espana. 



Claire is a half-Native woman living in Nouvelle France, a bright and adventurous young woman with special powers and two best friends: Sam, the brooding werewolf who hid his secret curse inherited from his disgraced great-grandfather, General Washington; and Phileas, a young gay man fascinated by science. 

After mysterious men in red coats murder Sam’s family, the three set off on a journey across the three nations to find the killers. We come along for the ride, exploring a quasi-steampunk 1839 world with one foot in our history and one in the world of fantasy. Meet inventors and ruffians, traveling actors and religious fanatics; meet the Frankenstein family and P.T. Barnum, who has the best soliloquy I’ve read in years:

As you grow into this world, you come to realize the grit of it - the way reality lies on you - weighs you down. What I make, what I do in all ways… they are all valid. Their validity lies in the needs of regular men, regular folks all across the world who cannot sustain on mere reality…
My purpose is to lighten the mood, to bring light and hope in a world of grit and darkness. It is only to do that which the Creator himself does, it is only to provide something to believe in. Whether it be a gentle giant or an Indian princess, the people - all people - need something worth hoping for.

Alternate history stories rely more on world building than story, and Silver Tongue is no exception. The world AshleyRose Sullivan has created is fascinating, from her vision of the not-United States to the secret lives of werewolves. Claire is an enjoyable protagonist, with the inevitable love stories - but not ones that follow the traditional path, which brings a breath of reality to this fantasy. There are few enough young-adult books in speculative fiction with Native protagonists that Claire is a remarkable addition: her Native ancestry is not the primary focus of the book or her character, and yet it is not a passing mention; it is part of the tapestry of her story without being its only thread. 

Other characters are equally well-formed: Sam manages to overcome "brooding werewolf" in his sometimes-strained relationships with his two best friends; Phileas rises above the "token gay best friend" to be, sometimes, the most useful member of the team and often its conscience; and the mysterious William, who joins up partway through, is a brilliant twist on Frankenstein's aftermath in a way I have not read before.

If I have any quibble, it’s that I am a die-hard traditionalist on the issue of “all right” vs. “alright,” and while I know the latter is becoming acceptable in general parlance, I will die on that hill. It says something about this book’s fascinating world that I was able to move past that, one of my pet peeves.

It is clear that there is room to explore the three nations further, and one truly hopes Ms. Sullivan will do so. I will definitely sign up for the journey.

Purchase in print or ebook


Silver Tongue by AshleyRose Sullivan is published by Seventh Star Press. Eagle-eyed readers will no doubt notice that I am also published by Seventh Star Press. However, and I can't believe I even have to say this but these are the times we live in, no compensation was provided for this review, nor was its content influenced. For further details, please see the CultureGeek Credo. Please note: this review is cross-posted to CultureGeek.

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Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Dragoncon Stalking Guide

Actually, you stand a pretty good chance of finding me this year. Due to postal shenanigans, my name didn't go out in time for me to snag panels, so I'm a late addition. My panel schedule is pretty light. Does that mean I might actually get to attend a panel I'm not on? Shush with the crazytalk.

Thursday: Traveling to Nashville. Hi, y'all.

Friday: Traveling to Atlanta.
- Panel: "And That's the Truth!" on building a career with nonfiction. 2:30 p.m. Hyatt Embassy.

Saturday: Atlanta.
- Panel: "For Survival: Four Days Later" on basic survival techniques once you've lived past the initial Big Whatever. 4 p.m. Westin Chastain.

Sunday: Atlanta.
- Panel: "Developing Characters Who Come Alive," and I'm the moderator. Eeeek. Someone gimme questions! 2:30 p.m. Hyatt Embassy.
- Reading: Whatever I decide. Any suggestions? Offering a free limited-edition chapbook of Gethsemane while supplies last. 5:30 p.m. Hyatt Vinings, to be followed by alcohol.

Monday: Traveling to Nashville. Unspecified social gathering.

Tuesday: Home!

As I said, super light. I am not in the dealer's room, as I have run out of booths to bribe. I will have a small quantity of books with me, so if you want the new book, we can meet up! Or come to the reading, which is the best place to snag me.

I am not bringing my whole stock, and I am not bringing my artwork or posters unless specifically requested. Speak now or forever hold your pieces! This posts at noon Wednesday, so get your order to me at booksales @ elizabethdonald.com tonight and I'll be sure to reserve your stuff.

I will be live-tweeting from Dragoncon on @edonald, which auto-posts to my personal Facebook page. Apologies in advance for the massive spam, but I'll try to make the costume pics worth your time. I'll be tagging the Dragoncon posts and possibly adding #falldeathmarch, for the fall tour of crazy.

Up after Dragoncon: Imaginarium is next weekend in Louisville, Ky., then it's Excellence in Journalism in Orlando, Fla. Whee!

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