DIVIDE Blog Tour – The Challenge with Fairytales

Guys! Today I have something special for you. I’m SO pleased to be part of author Jessa Russo’s blog tour for her fab new book DIVIDE, a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, with a few amazing twists and I HIGHLY recommend it! Today, Jessa’s here to talk a bit about the challenges and highlights she faced while writing a fairytale retelling.

Take it away, Jessa!

 

I’d say the biggest challenge in writing a fairytale retelling is, to put it simply: staying true to the fairytale, while making your version completely unique and one-of-a-kind.

Seems easy enough, right? But it’s not. Because you run the risk of either straying so far from the original that your readers don’t know they’re even reading a redux, or, on the other hand, you may go the opposite direction and write something so similar that readers know exactly what’s going to happen at every turn.

This would be boring, no?

If I’d written something too much like Beauty and the Beast, what’s the point in reading it, right? Just go read the original or remember the Disney version from your youth. But if my version is so far removed from the original(s), then it’s not really a redux.

So, sigh. In comes the dilemma.

I wanted to give readers a story that stuck to the original—or, more honestly, that stuck to the Disney version, since that’s really where my inspiration came from—but I wanted my version to have a few twists and turns that readers weren’t expecting. Sure, there’s a centuries-old family curse, and a beast, but . . . there’s also the underlying nod to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and the gender bending/putting the beauty and the beast into one character, as well as the side characters and their arcs . . . so many different things that, I hope, add to making DIVIDE more than just a redux.

I think that’s what is hardest to do with a redux: that aspect of making it believable and relatable, familiar and true to its predecessor, yet completely surprising enough that people aren’t guessing as each plot twist comes, and seeing the story before it unravels.

That’s the challenge in writing any story, though, isn’t it? Surprising your readers.

I’ll keep trying, if they’ll keep reading! 😉

 

 

DIVIDE:

Divide e-book coverFrom senior class president to dejected social outcast, with just the flick of a match.

After accusations of torching her ex-boyfriend’s home are followed by the mysterious poisoning of her ex-best friend, seventeen-year-old Holland Briggs assumes her life is over. And it is. But not in the way she thinks.

As Holland learns the truth about her cursed fate—that she is descended from the Beast most have only ever heard of in fairytales—she unites with an unlikely ally, good-looking newcomer Mick Stevenson.

Mick knows more about Holland’s twisted history than she does, and enlightening as it is to learn about, his suggestion for a cure is unsettling at best. Holland must fall in love with Mick in order to break the spell, and save their future generations from repeating her cursed fate. Having sworn off love after the betrayals of her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, this may be difficult to accomplish.

Complicating things further for Holland and Mick, time runs out, and Holland’s change begins way before schedule. With Holland quickly morphing into a dangerous mythical creature, Mick struggles to save her.

Should they fail, Holland will be lost to the beast inside her forever.

 

You can buy DIVIDE at:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Out Today: GYPSY by @trishaleighKC

You guys! I’m SO excited. Today is the release day for GYPSY (The Cavy files) by the amazing Trisha Leigh.

I have a special place in my heart for this book. A few months ago, Trisha asked if I’d read it and provide a blurb if I liked it. This was the first time I’d been asked to blurb as an author and talk about an honor! I’ve been a HUGE fan of Trisha’s forever, and for her to ask me to read and blurb pretty much made my year.

Of course there’s always the worry that you won’t like the book, but OMG you guys. I couldn’t put this one down. I fell in love with Gypsy, and the world that Trisha built. Her writing is absolutely gorgeous, and I ended staying up all night so I could finish it. I’m waiting desperately for the next book now!

This is what I had to say about it:

“Smart, suspenseful, and full of amazing science, I fell in love with Gypsy from the first page. The constant threat of danger, the hint of romance, and the mysterious backdrop of Charleston hit all the right notes. I devoured this book, desperate to uncover the secrets behind the Cavies and their strange abilities. Gypsy is the kind of YA Sci-fi I love, with believable characters, fantastic relationships, and a plot that kept me turning the pages well into the night. Trisha Leigh has written one of my favorite books of 2014 and I can’t wait to see what happens to Gypsy and the other Cavies next!”

 

So – in honor of release week, Trisha has priced GYPSY at .99 cents for the week. This is a freaking STEAL. If you like romance, sci-fi, or basically amazing books, GET THIS ONE NOW.

You can thank me later.

 

Blurb:

21519379Inconsequential: not important or significant.
Synonyms: insignificant, unimportant, nonessential, irrelevant

In the world of genetic mutation, Gypsy’s talent of knowing a person’s age of death is considered a failure. Her peers, the other Cavies, have powers that range from curdling a blood still in the vein to being able to overhear a conversation taking place three miles away, but when they’re taken from the sanctuary where they grew up and forced into the real world, Gypsy, with her all-but-invisible gift, is the one with the advantage.

The only one who’s safe, if the world finds out what they can do.

When the Cavies are attacked and inoculated with an unidentified virus, that illusion is shattered. Whatever was attached to the virus causes their abilities to change. Grow. In some cases, to escape their control.

Gypsy dreamed of normal high school, normal friends, a normal life, for years. Instead, the Cavies are sucked under a sea of government intrigue, weaponized genetic mutation, and crushing secrets that will reframe everything they’ve ever been told about how their “talents” came to be in the first place.

When they find out one of their own has been appropriated by the government, mistreated and forced to run dangerous missions, their desire for information becomes a pressing need. With only a series of guesses about their origins, the path to the truth becomes quickly littered with friends, enemies, and in the end, the Cavies ability to trust anyone at all.

 

A Writer’s Guide to Hustlers, Harlots and Heroes

I am SO pleased to have Krista Ball on my blog today to talk about her newest book –  Husters, Harlots, and Heroes: A Regenc and Steampunk Field Guide. This is the follow up to her previous book – What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank. Both of these are invaluable research tools for writers, and even better? They’re SO much fun to read! So, without further ado, here’s Krista!

 

Harlots_frontI came into Hustlers, Harlots and Heroes with a good grounding in what “poor” looked like in a Georgian or Victorian setting. However, I wanted to know what everyone out there saw as “poor”. I turned to social media and posed the question, “When you think of the Regency era, who do you consider poor?”

The Regency period is just a small period that this book intersects, but it is a trendy time period. If you know of the Regency period, it’s probably because of Jane Austen. Perhaps you own all of her books, movies, modern variations, and manners guides. On the other hand, perhaps you were forced to watch Pride and Prejudice in 1995 by your university sweetheart and still mourn the loss of those six hours.

So I asked the question and the list was nearly all of upper middle class to upper class women deemed as “poor.” None of these women were allowed or expected to work. They had servants and relied on the charity and good-will of others. Now, having a servant or helper wasn’t unusual for impoverished people of the era; this was a time before microwave ovens and laundry machines. But consider, however poor old Miss Bates in Emma might have been, the maid-of-all-work that worked for her would have been even poorer.

It’s at this juncture that we must butt up against the myth that women didn’t work back then.

Most women worked jobs, as did most men. They worked for themselves or others, but they worked nonetheless. Money didn’t grow on trees. The meager social safety net that existed was appalling. The majority of British people worked bloody hard just to survive. Balls, fine muslin, and crinolines were things of fantasy for many teenaged girls, as were the horses, sports cars – I mean curricles – and fine claret.

More people were poor, as opposed to comfortable. Even fewer were wealthy, and still less were rich. According to the social researcher Charles Booth (1840-1916), 31% of late-Victorian London’s residents lived in poverty. The majority of the rest just above poverty, and most had fallen into poverty at one point in their lives.

01 Georgiana, Duchess of DevonshireI don’t fault any writer for thinking that women such as the infamous Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire (1757-1806), were a dime a dozen. Georgiana’s life has been highlighted in several books, paintings, and even a feature film. During her lifetime, she travelled in such exalted circles that the Prince Regent himself once had a temper tantrum in her foyer.

So when writers sit down to write a poor family in Regency London, it’s easy to think a woman relying on her wealthy brothers was the poorest of the poor, excluding maybe the destitute sleeping in the gutters. It’s understandable to mistake that no women worked, since we don’t often see heroines working in the most popular books from the era, with the exception of being a governess – and the most famous of those inherited a fortune and married a wealthy man. Ladies in more modern novels sometimes enter a romanticized version of prostitution, where everyone is a glamorous courtesan and not addicted to gin, where their first client rescues them with a marriage proposal.

I’ve read plenty of romances and adventure books where women living in the “depths of poverty” were well-educated, but lived in three-bedroom apartments, received small annuities to keep them afloat, and travelled extensively in their own little part of the world. For a duchess, sure, that would be poverty. For most Londoners, that would be winning the life lottery.

This is an excerpt from Krista D. Ball’s new book, Hustlers, Harlots, and Heroes: A Regency and Steampunk Field Guide. C 2014, published by Tyche Books.

 

Sounds amazing, right?!

You can grab Hustlers, Harlots, and Heroes at AmazonKobo, and Smashwords (Apple and B&N soon).

For those who haven’t yet read the previous guide – What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank – it has been reduced to just 99c to celebrate the launch. That sale is only going to last a few days, so grab it while you can.

Release Day: DIVIDE by @JessaRusso

You guys! I’m SO excited that today is the release day for DIVIDE, a YA Fairytale retelling of Beauty and the Beast, by the amazing Jessa Russo! This book pinged on my radar a few months ago and I’ve been desperate to get my hands on it, so I’m freaking excited it’s finally out! (Not to mention Jessa’s one of my favorite people on Twitter!)

To celebrate, Jessa’s having a Facebook party all day today where you can win all sorts of fantastic prizes! Stop by and check it out!! And of course, check out the blurb for DIVIDE. You can pick up a copy at any of the links below!

 

DIVIDE’s LINKS: 

Goodreads

 

DIVIDE’S BLURB:
 
Divide e-book coverFrom senior class president to dejected social outcast, with just the flick of a match.

After accusations of torching her ex-boyfriend’s home are followed by the mysterious poisoning of her ex-best friend, seventeen-year-old Holland Briggs assumes her life is over. And it is. But not in the way she thinks.

As Holland learns the truth about her cursed fate—that she is descended from the Beast most have only ever heard of in fairytales—she unites with an unlikely ally, good-looking newcomer Mick Stevenson. 

Mick knows more about Holland’s twisted history than she does, and enlightening as it is to learn about, his suggestion for a cure is unsettling at best. Holland must fall in love with Mick in order to break the spell, and save their future generations from repeating her cursed fate. Having sworn off love after the betrayals of her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, this may be difficult to accomplish. 

Complicating things further for Holland and Mick, time runs out, and Holland’s change begins way before schedule. With Holland quickly morphing into a dangerous mythical creature, Mick struggles to save her.

Should they fail, Holland will be lost to the beast inside her forever.

 About Jessa
head shot 1Jessa Russo believes in fairytales, ghosts, and Jake Ryan. She insists mimosas were created for Sundays, and that’s not up for discussion. She’s obsessed with the great city of New Orleans—where she’s collected too many beads to count, eventually married her sweetheart, and visited graveyards they don’t include on maps.She’s loud, painfully honest, and passionate about living life to the fullest, because she’s seen how abruptly it can be taken away.

What began as a desire for reading and writing young adult paranormal has bled into stories of all kinds. From fantasy to pre-dystopian to erotic contemporary, Jessa’s stories always include romance, though she’s given up on pigeonholing her work into a category or genre box.

Jessa was born and raised in Southern California, and remains there to this day with her husband (a classic car fanatic), their daughter (a Tim Burton superfan), and a Great Dane who thinks he’s the same size as his Chihuahua sister.

ENTWINED, the final installment of Russo’s Ever Trilogy, will be released late 2014, as well as an erotic romance written under a pseudonym. Stay tuned!

 

An Update and a Shiny New Story

I’ve been feverishly working on the sequel to The Star Thief, so I haven’t been around the internet as much as I’d like, but I wanted to give a quick update on something else fun coming soon.

In between edits, I’ve been working on a spin off short story that bridges the gap between the ending of The Star Thief, and the beginning of Athena’s Ashes.

Fortune’s Risk will be a stand alone short story that you won’t *need* to read between the two, but will just provide a little fun before the darkness of the second book. Even better, it’s going to focus on two of my favorite characters – Captain Finn and Viktis the pirate as they’re on the run together. Talk about conflict!

I’m hoping to get it out early this summer, so keep an eye out! And if you sign up for my newsletter, you might just get it a little earlier than everyone else!

And just to give you a teaser, here’s the potential opening. It’s still a bit of a work in progress, so this may end up changing 🙂

 

[blockquote source=”Fortune’s Risk”]

 

Captain Nick Finn raised an eyebrow at the Ileth pirate lounging in the captain’s chair.  He knocked the alien’s booted feet off the railing where they were propped. “You want me to do what?”

 

“Help me throw a poker game.” Viktis sat up and glanced around the bridge, lowering his voice so the rest of the Athena’s crew wouldn’t hear him.

[/blockquote]

Talk about a Good Monday! My IndieReCon Nomination

With all of the stuff I’ve been doing around the STAR THIEF release this month, it was an amazing and humbling surprise to get an email over the weekend informing me that ULTRAVIOLET CATASTROPHE had been nominated for a Best Indie Novel award at the online conference IndieReCon.

I am incredibly grateful and humbled to be included in this list of amazing books and a huge thank you to whoever nominated me. I’d give you a big old squeeze if I knew who you were 🙂 (And it might be a creepily long hug, fair warning!)

There are some other amazing books nominated, but if you liked UVC and wanted to vote (and tell your friends to vote) for ULTRAVIOLET CATASTROPHE I would so appreciate it! Votes run through the 27th with winners announced on the 28th.

I already won the lottery with all of you amazing people to support me, but it’s always fun to be included in something like this.

Thank you ALL so much for your support and encouragement! You have no idea how much it means to an author!!!

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