Today’s blog tour post is an interesting one. One of the things that fascinates me about other writers is – what they read. What irritates me the most is hearing an author say that they don’t. If you don’t know what has been written, your very cool idea has likely been done, sometimes with the same title. If you don’t know who and what is popular, you can’t learn from it, and if you don’t read the classic stuff – the works that have stood the test of time – how can you aspire to join them? Just me, of course, but I’m not alone. Famous writers from Mark Twain to Stephen King have tried to pound it into people’s heads that reading is important.
In today’s post, over at author Janna Shay’s blog, I talk about this from a slightly different angle, and explain how it helped solidify the novel Nevermore, a Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe. Edgar, of course, is a writer. He traveled light, but he carried two books. A novella titled Carmen, and a copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
Here’s a teaser, and a link to the post. Remember, the novel is currently discounted, for the length of the tour, to $2.99 in digital. This price won’t last.
“One thing that is true about writers, and has probably always been true, is that they begin as readers. Some fall off over time and get caught up in their own work, but most – I think – carry a love of reading with them from a very young age to their graves… That is one of the things I worked in to my newest novel, Nevermore – A Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe. I wanted my characterization of Poe to be fresh – to carry some weight and to have that ring of truth that helps bring stories to life.
In Nevermore, when Poe arrives at The Lake Drummond Hotel, he has only a couple of bags, and his companion – an old crow named Grimm. He is traveling light, making his way back to his home – and to his dying bride Virginia. He is not a happy man, and he does not live a happy life – and yet – there is a spark in him, and in Grimm, that will not be extinguished…” ==> Read the entire post at Janna Shay’s blog!
THE TOUR SO FAR:
Read about Genres & Why I hate them : ==> AT THE AUTHOR’S CAFE
When I thought about what would work best for another post about Nevermore, I thought maybe I should write about why I wrote the book, and a little bit about myself for those of you reading here for the first time. I’ve written a lot about Nevermore, A Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe in the short time it’s been available, but when I thought about why I wrote it – I realized there was at least one reason I had not yet touched on.
I can’t resist a mystery. I was led to this story by things I discovered researching an earlier novel, and one of the things that I discovered I realized had been bothering me for a very long time. One of my favorite poems is The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe. It’s dark, tragic, a tale of loss and pain – and at it’s core, there is a mystery. Who is Lenore? Research on the subject turned up a number of remote possibilities, but nothing even close to a definitive answer.
Why the raven? What does the bird symbolize? We know that Ravens are psychopomps – that they help to usher the souls of the living into the next world. We’ve seen The Crow – and those dark birds are magic. Whose spirit did Poe write about? His wife was on her deathbed. His parents were dead. Even the girl for whom he wrote his first love poem died. There is no sign, however, of a Lenore and Edgar was a talented poet. He didn’t need to make up a name to play for the rhyme.
I decided to play one of my favorite games as an author. “What if it happened this way?”
I intended this story to be a short flashback in the next volume of The DeChance Chronicles. My main protagonist, Donovan DeChance (who also has a raven – Asmodeus) met Poe long ago near The Great Dismal Swamp, and he hinted about that in Kali’s Tale, book IV of The DeChance Chronicles. I expected to do a short rundown of that meeting and move on to the story I had plotted in my head, but Edgar and Lenore had other ideas.
So I wrote a story of The Great Dismal Swamp. I added a poet with a dying wife, an artist named Lenore who was compelled to release the images of spirits she saw trapped in the trees and water, stones and walls around her, a crow named Grimm, and – a surprise even to me – a revised fairy tale from The Brothers Grimm – who actually wrote a story titled “The Raven” long, long ago.
I wrote Nevermore because I wanted to be a part of something old, and wonderful. I wanted my own dream of what might have happened in that place, so long ago, to join with the stories of and about Edgar Allan Poe. I wanted to write more about The Great Dismal Swamp, which is near my home and a place I dearly love. I wanted, in short, to tell a story, and I hope you’re going to read it – and love it.
I’ve been writing for what seems like forever. My first novel was published in 1987- it was the Star Trek Voyager novel Chrysalis – but that was not the first I sold. My first truly original book was a novel titled This is My Blood– which is sort of a cult classic. In that novel, I played that game for the first time – What if it happened this way? – and I did that by writing excerpts from the Book of the Gospel According to Judas Iscariot, and by suggesting that when Christ was in the desert, he was tempted with one last thing – a woman – Mary Magdalene, a fallen angel raised by Lucifer. Instead of tempting him, she fell in love and wanted to return to Heaven.
In that novel I also wrote about Lilith, vampires, and a lot of other things. It is still probably my most popular novel. What if is definitely still my favorite game. Here is a short excerpt from Nevermore.
“The room had a small chest of drawers along the side wall, and he carefully unpacked and stored his clothing. Next he pulled out the book he was reading, a novella titled Carmen, by Prosper Mérimée, and his worn copy of Children’s and Household Tales – or – Grimm’s Fairy Tales. He set these aside almost without thought and drew forth a thick sheaf of papers bound in a ribbon, his pens, and a small bottle of ink. He glanced at the window. Through the curtains he saw that there was a light. He placed the ink, pens, and paper on the table that rested against the wall beneath the window and pulled the curtain aside curiously.
To the right, along the back of the building and on toward the tavern, only the moonlight shone down to illuminate the trees lining the near side of the Intercoastal Waterway. To the left, however, at the very corner of the building, flickering lamplight danced outside the window of the room adjacent to his.
What had the tavern keeper said? Miss MacReady? And the boy, Tom? “She’s up all hours…”
It seemed that it was true. Edgar smiled. He was no stranger to late nights. He sometimes believed he would be unable to write at all if it were not for the long hours between dusk and dawn, when the world quieted, after a fashion, the light flickered, the paper took on a yellow lamp-light hue, and his imagination wandered. He thought of his desk, and his home – and that brought him to thoughts of his wife, Virginia, and her failing health.
He turned abruptly back to the chair and opened a side-pocket on his bag. He pulled free a large, silver-plated flask and carried it to the table. The wind was picking up outside, blowing in from the south. Trees swayed, and the roaring throaty breath of the storm teased along the walls and through the slats of the roof. It was a proper night for writing, and only the words – and the whiskey – could draw him up and out of the cloud of despair that was his constant traveling companion.
Virginia was always on his mind. Theirs had been a troubled relationship from the beginning, their familial ties, and the girl’s age, but he’d seen something in her – some fragile beauty – that completed him. Now – having filled the hole in his heart, she withered, and he felt the pain like a fist squeezing the light from his world.
If only she’d listen to him. If only the things he knew – the things he could do – could ease her pain. There were curatives – elixirs – potions and charms. He knew he could restore her health, but she would not allow it. Not at what she considered to be the cost of her soul. Not if it meant becoming part and parcel to the powers that swam through the darker recesses of his mind. It was likely that she had trouble deciding if he were evil, or simply mad.
He knew that, despite her wishes, he could save her, but if he did, she would hate him. She would not be happy, and making her happy was all that he craved. Instead, she died, and he drank, and he wrote and he prayed that when all the smoke and dust had cleared that something of worth would remain.
A dark shape dropped through the light from the MacReady woman’s lantern. Edgar walked to the window, glanced out, and actually smiled. He unfastened the sash and lifted the window a crack. The scents of blooming flowers and impending storm wafted in. He lifted the window a bit farther, and with a hop, a large crow landed on the windowsill, then dropped into the room with a thud. It sat glaring at him for a moment, and then, as if satisfied in some way, began to busily and noisily preen its feathers.
“Good evening, Grimm.” Edgar said with a slight, mock bow. “And it is good to see you too. Perhaps I shall groom my mustache while you are busy, as a show of camaraderie?”
The bird glanced up at him, and then continued working over its tail feathers in complete indifference.
Edgar closed the window and took a seat at the table. He arranged his papers carefully, gathering those he’d written the night before on top of a larger stack of blank sheets. He always began by re-reading what he’d just finished. It served as a quick pre-edit, and it dropped him back into the story with a fresh ‘reader’s’ perspective of the work.
“Perhaps,” he said conversationally, “I shall write a story about a bird – a great black one who is too often inattentive. Grave things might happen to such a creature, don’t you think?”
The crow didn’t even bother to glance up at this. Edgar chuckled, and turned to the pages before him. He had meant to write a story of romance and intrigue, but as he read, he saw that – once again – the melancholy that served as his muse had taken over and driven dark spikes between the pages. It was clear that one lover must die at the hand of the other, and that the mystery would depend on the circumstances. The young man in the story was quite mad – as was so often the case – mad and absolutely brilliant. Misunderstood. Lonely.”
THE TOUR SO FAR:
Read about Genres & Why I hate them : ==> AT THE AUTHOR’S CAFE
In today’s blog tour post, I talk about Magic, the various kinds wielded by characters I’ve written, what I think about things like Ritual Magic, The Tarot, I Ching, and other similar subjects, and how I use all of that in my writing. There’s a little bit of memoir, and a little bit more about Nevermore – because I want you all to read it. Here’s a little snippet to lure you over to the main post:
“One of the repeating themes in my novels, stories, and ongoing series works is the existence, and use, of magic. I believe strongly that there are a lot of things in the world that cannot yet be explained. Today’s magic is probably tomorrow’s science – at least that’s how it’s played out in the past – so I like to handle things occult and mystical with care and as much insight as possible.
As a younger man, I intended to become a minister. I spent my last couple of years in High School, and my first couple in the United States Navy, certain that I would be spreading the word of the Lord throughout at least the Tri-State Area. I like to say – I got better. Over time, I believe that most free-thinking men and women who spend any extended period involved in organized religion come to realize that, while love thy neighbor is a great standard to live by, it’s not any more likely that the big Kahuna of the Israelis is up there watching us with fire and punishment in his eye than it is that Zeus, or Odin are doing the same. We should not, in other words, need to live our lives in accordance with words written by largely unknown authors and in reference to a world that has passed mostly into the dust of time, to guide our actions or beliefs.
Anyway – when I shifted gears from my roots in organized religion, I turned to more esoteric sources. I studied the Kabbalah. I studied the use of Tarot cards, and the I Ching…” ==> Read the Full post – LET THERE BE MAGIC – at the Buy the Book Tours Blog
THE TOUR SO FAR:
Read about Genres & Why I hate them : ==> AT THE AUTHOR’S CAFE
Since today is a day off from the blog tour (to be resumed first thing in the morning) I thought I’d take a moment to tell you all about something else I’m excited by. My first children’s book, The Kingdom of Clowns, was released this past week in hardcover and paperback. A lot of you may not be aware that I write children’s books – mostly because I’ve never published any of them before. When I met artist Dan Monroe, I knew it was time to move forward and test the waters. Dan illustrated and designed the book around my words…
This story is special to me because, when my kids were young, I wrote Dr. Seuss-like poems for each of them. The first, and most complete, was The Kingdom of Clowns, written for my oldest boy, Bill (Will to everyone now), and I’m happy to have it ready now before he returns from his first deployment on a submarine in the US Navy.
The poem below is not part of the book, but was also written for Bill – it’s in a similar style..
A Boy and an elephant both went out,
One with a football, the other a snout
As long as a boa constrictor, and grey,
To the field by the river to frolic and play
The boy threw the football quite high in the air,
And he caught it again, as it fell back from there,
While the elephant wandered a little behind,
They were out for a jaunt; it was time to unwind
And again with the football clutched tight in his hand,
The boy flicked his wrist like a taut rubber band
And the ball took off flying up, up, and away,
And he reached out to catch it the very same way
That he’d caught it a hundred and ten times before,
And expected to catch it just that one time more
But his hand came up empty; the air was the same,
Something was very much wrong with his game.
For a ball that goes up as we all understand,
Cannot stay, it goes upward, and then it must land
So he spun in a circle and stared at the sky,
And he asked his friend elephant, “Do you know why?”
I have tossed up my football quite high in the air
But it did not fall down, and I’m wondering where
It could be, for you see, it is not in the sky,
And it’s not on the ground, and I’m wondering why
It is not in my hand like it landed before,
And the elephant could not stand one second more
Of his secret and lifted his long, long grey snout
And he swished it around and he twirled it about
And the boy saw his football, caught snug as can be
In the trunk of the elephant, tall as a tree
And the elephant laughed, and he tossed the ball high,
So it sailed so far up it was lost in the sky
And though it flew higher than ever before,
The ball fell back to Earth, the boy caught it once more
And the boy and the elephant went on their way,
They continued their jaunt, and enjoyed the bright day.
Now…go get yours kids a copy of The Kingdom of Clowns! Also – check yesterday’s post for all of the stops I’ve made so far on the Nevermore blog tour…buy that book! Seriously.
So, on this fifth day of the great blog tour that I hope at least some of you are following along and reading what I’ve put together. Hope I’m reaching some new people / readers also… I have a lot of confidence in Nevermore – a Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe – but my confidence won’t make you read it. I’m hoping 27,000 words or so of promotion will do that … I figure it can’t hurt…
Today’s post is about how moving to the south has changed my writing, and affected the worlds my characters inhabit. When I lived in Hampton Roads, Virginia, it was very urban. The cities are big, there is a lot of action, business, and integration with the rest of the country (largely due to the huge military population). Bringing the family south (and not even that far south) to North Carolina dropped us into a completely different world. Without our move to Hertford, I’d never have created Old Mill, North Carolina, or conceived The Not Quite Right Reverend Cletus J. Diggs, not to mention Nettie the swamp witch. Another thing I would not have done is written the novel I’m asking you to try.. (only $2.99 in eBook for the duration of this blog tour) – Nevermore. Here’s a short sample of today’s post and a link to the rest – as well as links to the tour so far.
“Over my years as an author (more than 25 of them since I got serious) I’ve placed my stories in a wide variety of settings. Since I spent the early years of my career in the US Navy, a lot of them in San Diego, CA, the first large, fictional city I created was San Valencez, California. Then I spread out from there, creating Lavender, California and Friendly, California, up in the mountains.
As I matured, I spread the wealth back to my origins, small town Illinois, and created the town of Random, where my novella Roll Them Bones took place. There are more stories in store for all of these places, but over the last few years, my muse has brought me south and east, to the fictional town of Old Mill, North Carolina, where I’ve now told a number of stories, and expect to tell a lot more.
The south is the perfect setting for dark fantasy. History is longer and deeper here, and old ways linger…” ==>Read the rest of this essay at The Open Book Society Blog…
THE TOUR SO FAR:
Read about Genres & Why I hate them : ==> AT THE AUTHOR’S CAFE
Today, I am being hosted on Blog Tour Day Four – at The Author’s Cafe. I particularly enjoyed writing this guest post because it’s something I probably would have written here anyway. Today’s post is about not allowing agents, editors, publishers, or – really – anyone tell you what you should write, or what you can’t. It’s one of the biggest shames of the publishing industry, in my mind, that authors have become convinced they have to emulate the “big thing” to get ahead, that they have to write just one thing so as not to confuse fans, and that they have to do what their agent tells them. Newsflash. The agent works for the writer, and if that’s not true, it’s not really agenting – if your agent isn’t enthusiastic about what YOU DO and how you do it, you have the wrong agent. Anyway, here’s a short excerpt from today’s guest post:
“Genres and Why I Hate Them
By David Niall Wilson
All through my career I’ve been plagued by a couple of misconceptions and a string of bad advisors. The misconceptions are:
A: You should write what’s hot.
B: You should choose a genre and stick with it so fans don’t get confused.
I won’t get into the long string of bad advisors, except to say that at least two of my agents turned out to be crooks (one went to jail for it), one told me things were being submitted and I later found out – not so much. Still another advised me to pick a bestselling book and try to do something “like that” – which led to a string of outlines, with three chapters each, that said agent could not “get behind.” I had her get behind me, and it worked out better. I sold all of those books….” ==> READ THE REST OF THE POST AT THE AUTHOR’S CAFE.
THE TOUR SO FAR:
Today – day four of the blog tour – there are two sites to visit. That’s just how it works sometimes, I supposed. To keep it “shaken up” however, one is a guest post about how I work with history in my fiction – the other is an interview with me over at HSIB where I am the featured author / book of the day.
I hope you are all following these links…reading what I wrote. I put a lot of time into this. If you don’t believe that coming up with something interesting 27 times in a row without a break is hard, give it a try …
Sales are slightly up on Nevermore – A Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe – but I hope you’ll give it a try. If you are reading this, you (at least in theory) are interested in my work. If reviews and reactions are to be believed, this is one of the best things I’ve ever done. If you are a long time fan, you’ll find some familiar faces in the pages of the book, and you’ll want to know what happened before I finish Book V of the The DeChance Chronicles.
Anyway… today’s fare:
Today’s Guest Post is at Romance Author Melissa Keir’s Site – Sexy Between the Covers – titled “History is in the Point of View.”
“History is in the Point of View
One of my favorite things to do as an author is to take a story, legend, bit of history, or something else very familiar to people, and look for the holes in it. Most history is reported by survivors, for instance, and nearly all of what we think we know of the past is skewed, just like the evening news, in one direction or another. In broad strokes, we can see the outcomes of things that have happened, but the reality of how they happened, well, that’s always up for debate.” ==> READ THE ENTIRE POST AT MELISSA’S BLOG!
Today’s interview is the HBS Author’s Spotlight:
“Congratulations on your new novel: Nevermore. What do you have on the drawing board next? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?
I never have just one thing in progress these days. I am working on Book V of the DeChance Chronicles, which I can only say continues on both from Book IV, Kali’s Tale, but also from Nevermore, a Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe. Nevermore really should be marked book 4.5 – even though Donovan DeChance only appears very shortly, because it is the lead-in to all that happens in book V – working title – A Midnight Dreary. Originally, the story that is Nevermore was intended as a flashback. It just grew beyond expectations.
At the same time, I am working on a Young Adult novel titled HOODS that I expect to become a series as well. It involves a group of teenagers in an inner city environment who have unique abilities. Sort of like “Alphas” or “Heroes” but gritty.
Along with this, I’m working on a long-term project titled Tattered Remnants that is a serial killer novel, of sorts…nothing I write is easily classified, but I think I like it that way. It helps me (over time) reach a wider readership, and keeps me from getting pigeonholed as this or that sort of author. I’m a storyteller. I have a lot of stories to tell, and not all of them are the same kind…
You have a good following on twitter. Since you started before the social media buzz, what impact has social media relationships had on your current success? How much has it changed your book launch process?
I find that Social Media is a very frustrating marketing environment…” ==> READ THE INTERVIEW AT THE HBS SITE
THE TOUR SO FAR:
Today is the third day of my Nevermore blog tour. Not every day, but most of the days of this tour, there will be a stop at a different blog – some are reviewers, some are authors, others just like books. At each stop you can enter to win free copies of the book. At each stop you have the opportunity to read Chapter One of the novel. Then, the unique part – each stop has either an interview with me (all different) an interview of one of my characters, or a guest post. Today, the stop is at Nancy Jardine’s Blog – the “Welcome Wednesday” post of the week. Since it’s a guest post, and I was given no direction, I started off with the beginning… Authors don’t really like the question “Where do you get your ideas?” very much. I have a lot of answers for it, but it’s mostly irritating, because it’s not a question that you can simply answer. What I did in this guest post is to reverse engineer the question – where did I get the idea?
As is so often the case, it’s a dual answer – history, and one of my other stories combined. I’m not going to spoil the post by going on about it too much here.. If you would like to know more about how the novel was conceived, how I came up with the character Lenore, and to read a very nice review of my book, head on over to NANCY JARDINE’S BLOG and check it out!
From the review (I love this): “The language flows beautifully, harking back to olden times. It is a dark tale which left me a bit staggered at the end- but I don’t do spoilers- read this really good tale for yourself!”
ALSO today, I was interviewed for Blog Talk Radio for the tour:
THE TOUR SO FAR!
So, it’s day two of the big blog tour has arrived, and I have been interviewed by Hywela-Lin for her blog. This was a fun interview, not necessarily the same old questions, and I went out of my way not to provide the same old answers, as well. One of the tricks of this blog tour thing is – in my opinion – mixing it up. If you have nothing new to say, and twelve blogs interview you, asking the same old questions and getting the same old answers in slightly different hats, well, I think you can see how boring that would be. I am not famous. Instead, I strive for interesting. I believe (probably foolishly, but there you go) that if I make a real effort, I can show people who I am, and why I write what I write, and why it would be worth their time to check it out. One thing you learn in life is that even those who are already mildly interested in you have their reasons. Sadly, for me, only a small portion of those interested enough in me to know who I am are also interested enough to read my books.
I wish I had a small truckload of copies of Nevermore … I would ride to the next two fan conventions I could reach and just hand out copies. I wonder how many I’d have to hand out before a sufficient number actually read them, and then talked about them, and it became a “thing?” We’ll never know, sadly – books are expensive. I DID lower the eBook price on Nevermore – a Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe to only $2.99 for the duration of this blog tour. $2.99 is still in the impulse buy range, right? I want to give you that impulse, so, without further ado…
Here is a very short bit from the interview with me over at Hywela Lin’s blog… and a link to the rest. Below that are links to yesterdays posts, where I conducted interviews with my own characters, Donovan DeChance, and Edgar Allan Poe…
READ THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW AT HYWELA LYn’s Blog – along with an excerpt from Nevermore. Enter to win copies of the book – or just buy it already!
First, let me start by posting a link to the main site for the blog tour. At this site you’ll find a schedule of all the blog stops, all the ways you can enter to win copies of the Hardcover, trade paperback, audio and eBook editions of Nevermore – A Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe. The book is discounted for the length of the tour from $4.99 to $2.99 – nearly half off! You can find tour info here: The Buy The Bool Blog Tour for Nevermore!
The First two stops on the blog tour required me to do something I have never attempted before. They are “character interviews,” where I sit down in a virtual room and chat with the characters from my own worlds and novels …quite the change from other types of guest posts I’ve written in the past. Sort of half fiction, half real – and as it turns out, not a bad exercise in getting into the head of your own character. As it turns out, I actually had questions, and probably have a lot more – I limited myself this time out to things that relate one way or another to Nevermore…
At LAURIE’S THOUGHTS AND REVIEWS – there is an interview posted today with the protagonist of my series, The DeChance Chronicles… It’s an interesting way, I think, of showing how the series ties in with Nevermore, and hopefully convincing readers of Nevermore that they might want the entire story…and vice versa. Assuming Donovan has fans, I want them to know it is important for them to read Nevermore.
DNW: Today, I am interviewing Donovan DeChance, book collector, mage, sometimes private investigator – and some say – hero. The book Nevermore, a Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe would never have happened if not for Donovan’s chance visit with Poe so long ago, so I thought it would be appropriate to see what he has to say on the subject. I’ve spent a lot of hours chronicling your adventures, Donovan, but I must say – despite all of that, I still have a lot of questions.