Saturday, July 23, 2016

Saturday Snippet

It's been a minute since I've posted an excerpt, huh?

In which Victoria fulfills her duty as a "daughter" of an English country house by hosting their village's little kids and Ursula tries to figure out her place as a new countess-in-waiting:

You can listen to "The Schuyler Sisters" as you read this, by the by.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Shuffle Along

My best friends and I went to see Shuffle Along: Or, the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921, and All That Followed last night.

As you can probably surmise from the title, Shuffle Along was a show that opened on Broadway (well, on 63rd Street) in 1921. The book was written by Aubrey Lyles and F.E. Miller and the music composed by Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake. The show was the first to have a jazz score, the first to be written, directed, and produced by African-Americans and starring African-Americans on Broadway. It starred lots of famous entertainers like Lottie Gee, Paul Robeson, Josephine Baker, Florence Mills, and Adelaide Hall, among others. It was the first major show to have black love interests on stage. The show's popularity among white audiences contributed to the flourishing of jazz into what became the Jazz Age, influenced composers and performers such as George Gershwin and Al Jolson, and ushered in the Harlem Renaissance.

And yet, I'd never heard of this show until Shuffle Along: Or, the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921, and All That Followed opened on Broadway a few months ago. It's the story of how the original Shuffle Along came to be--and what happened after.

Unknown or obscure bits of history? Something illustrating people of color in historical times? Theater? Audra McDonald?

Yep. You know this is exactly my alley, right?

Sadly, the musical is closing on July 24th.

Monday, July 11, 2016

100 pages + Some Promo!

I hit 100 pages of this Victorian mish-mash of a novel! Yay! It's actually feeling engrossing again!

I mean, 100 pages is about the length of that there novella that I wrote and released last year, so while this story is far from finished (I literally cannot wait for NaNo, where I think I might write a bunch of short stories), I have a very good idea of where I am in StoryWorld.

In other random bits and pieces:

So far, I've had ten sales of Pearl in July. I have no idea where this uptick of sales is coming from (Bestie: "Maybe a book club's reading it!"), but I'm grateful to anyone who downloaded it!

Thus far, I've not done much--if any--promotion for Pearl, since a) it's a first release, b) it's a novella, and c) I keep reading that the best thing an indie author can do is write the next thing. I write about as fast as a snail moves, I don't write in a typically popular genre among self-published books, but since I have a story coming out in the upcoming The Thing That Turned Me, figured that I'd do some promo for Pearl to coincide with the anthology's release. It'll be the first time I'm doing something like this, so it'll be interesting to see if it actually moves more copies or not.

I have another Kindle Countdown set for August as well as possibly two ads in ebook-related newsletters that same week, so we'll see if it actually contributes to more sales or not.

In the meanwhile, follow Stay Classy Publications on Twitter and/or Facebook to see some some of the authors and learn more about the stories in The Thing That Turned Me.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Middle-itis, Dialogue, and Characters

IWSG post for July time! The Insecure Writer's Support Group posts every first Wednesday of the month. July's co-hosts are: Yolanda Renee, Tyrean Martinson, Madeline Mora-Summonte , LK Hill, Rachna Chhabria, and JA Scott! 

It's July already? Gosh, where has this year gone? 

I'm still drafting my Victorian-set story. As usual, my drafting pace is plodding. I wish I could write faster, but my pace is my pace, I suppose. I've been strangely spacey the last month or so when it comes to writing, even a little disinterested. 

Clearly, I'm in full Sagging Middle-itis. I'm also having some issues with where to go with the story line next; I know where it's going, but as always, I'm having that little problem with planning the next steps in how to get to the next part. 

The connective tissue of a story has never exactly been my strongest suit. 

However, to answer the IWSG question for July--What's the best thing someone has ever said about your writing?

I can think of two things. Different people have told me that I write really good dialogue--I think what they mean is that the dialogue doesn't seem forced or too crafted but that it's not boring either? Some of it's even funny! I hope! 

I've also been told that my characters (well, some of my characters) are pretty reasonably engaging. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

3 Awesome Women of the Late Victorian Period

I recently finished reading Courtney Milan's The Suffragette Scandal, which takes place in the 1870s and is about Free Marshall, an investigative journalist who runs a newspaper called The Women's Free Press--for women, by women, about women.

Because I'm plodding along in late Victorian land and my three POV characters are all women, I'm looking around at the different things ladies were doing in the 1890s and in the decades beforehand. 

We've already covered the Dollar Princesses, American girls who married into British noble families and oftentimes, saved those families from complete ruin. Ursula Houghton, my character, is one of them.

But there are many, many other interesting, complex, fascinating women in that time period, who may or may not end up influencing Victoria, Ursula, Beatrice or any other upcoming characters.

Courtney Milan says that Free Marshall was partially inspired by Nellie Bly, who you may know as the journalist who made a 72-day around-the-world trip, beating the fictional Phileas Fogg in 1888. But Nellie Bly was also a serious journalist in an age when women journalists were rare. When she started writing, Bly was relegated to the fashion, society, and arts stories, but she went to Mexico to serve as a foreign correspondent at 21 years old. She also feigned insanity in order to be committed to the Women's Lunatic Asylum on Roosevelt Island, in order to write an expose about the conditions there, which were deplorable. 

Lillie Langtry was an English stage actress. Known for her beauty, Langtry moved in high circles. Though married, Langtry and her husband lived apart and she had affairs with Edward the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII), the Earl of Shrewsbury, Prince Louis of Battenberg, among others. She had one daughter, who was definitely not her husband's child. Lillie began acting in 1881, needing money, and was encouraged by Oscar Wilde to do so. She later formed her own production company and toured all over the UK and America, acting in various plays including Shakespeare, She Stoops to Conquer, and other parts. In 1901, she became the manager of the Imperial Theatre in London.

Sophia Duleep Singh, also known as Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, was born in London to Maharajah Duleep Singh of the Punjab, who was exiled to England when the British took over the Punjab (and the Koh-i-Noor Diamond). Sophia grew up in England. Her godmother was Queen Victoria. Sophia was a socialite in the 1890s, lived in a house at Hampton Court Palace, and became a suffragette, joining the Women's Social and Political Union. She funded women's causes, chaired meetings, and made speeches, but because she was Queen Victoria's goddaughter, she was never arrested, brutalized, or force-fed like other suffragettes were. She also became a supporter of Indian independence.