As some of my loyal readers may know, my long-time friend and partner-in-creativity-crime, Gayle, and I have moved forward after five years on our publishing project, Parisian Phoenix.
Our initial launch will feature my Fashion and Fiends chick lit style horror novels. The first three novels are part of the debut. Gayle is the graphic designer in charge of all things visual whereas I handle the words.
We have ordered the ISBNs and barcodes. I have filed for copyrights. We have begun research on various publishing platforms. Gayle has drafts of all the text.
We needed to get an updated headshot for my author photo. Coincidentally, my good friend Joan is starting a photography portrait class. So I asked her to take my headshot and she asked me if she could use the residents of my menagerie as subjects.
Working together with other local artists generates a sense of community that can be a lot of fun.
These are two of my many favorites that Joan took before the start of her class, traditional and non-traditional compositions:
To see more about Joan and her photography adventures, visit her web site: Joan’s Portfolio.
So last night I finished reading the final polished manuscript of my Fashion and Fiends series of horror novels.
There are probably at least six books in the series, though I totally believe the possibilities of the universe I have created are endless.
Recovery is the third novel in the Fashion and Fiends series. My friend Gayle and I are publishing the series as part of our little boutique “press,” Parisian Phoenix Publishing.
I copyrighted all three novels that are print ready tonight. It’s been… oh… 25 years since I copyrighted last. I was surprised to see it’s now $45 versus the $20 it was in the 1990s. And you can upload everything electronically now.
But interestingly enough, the Library of Congress website doesn’t appear to have changed at all since those days since the interface looks like this:
So to recap:
The name Fashion and Fiends refers to the mix of the high fashion world and the supernatural.
The first book, Manipulations, follows a 400-year-old witch as he tries to absorb a supermodel’s water magick in hopes of becoming an immortal being. The story mimics the realities of domestic violence, and the fantastically successful supermodel actually fights her own insecurities and body image issues.
The second book, Courting Apparitions, is a ghost story. The subtext explores grief, depression and impotence and their effects on human relationships.
The third book, Recovery, blends some supernatural craziness with sex and romance, while also diving deep into medicine, the military, and the African landscape. The subtext here looks at the ramifications of French colonialism and explores the complexities of how to blend Islam, multiculturalism and race in the modern environment. And a certain character comes face to face with the monster of Ghoubet.
But when I finished the third manuscript, I was shocked to see some of the rather dramatic things I thought happened in the novel Absolution happening in Recovery. One of my favorite characters was left in serious trouble. So, I had that special author distress where you know you need to save him.
But here lies the kicker— the next manuscript in the series no longer exists except for two large sections of the final two chapters.
So now I have to sit down and write.
Wish me luck.
PS— Tomorrowis Étienne d’Amille’s birthday. He is the fashion magnate in the series. He will be 62. Where does the time go?
Yesterday, the teenagers spent time out of the house— which meant after chores I had some free time. Especially since teenager #1 took her dog.
I sent manuscript #1 of my old Fashion and Fiends series (Manipulations) and sent it to my friend Gayle for design. I last shopped these books to agents and publishers five years ago. At this point, I want my ideas and words recorded and preserved.
I decided to sit down with a slice of coconut cake (from Tic Toc Diner) at Rosie the new MacBook Air.
I wanted to read the second book of the series, Courting Apparitions. I couldn’t put it down. Gayle found it very amusing how much of my own story I had forgotten. But that is the point of putting a story away for a long time. To judge it with new eyes.
I read all 90,000 words— in six hours.
And for the second time this week set a meal on fire. Which, since it was salmon, actually gave it a nice crisp.
One of the main characters of the series, fictional fashion designer Étienne d’Amille, turns 62 this week. In the series, he is 43 and his significant other, investment banker Basilie, is 45. I am currently 45. And Basilie and her sisters represent some of the strongest women I know, so great homage to Women’s History Month.
The series is a feminine version of horror fiction, or a darkly intense psychological version of chick lit. Manipulations focuses on a supermodel who has uncontrollable water magic, which leads to her fashion world success and gives her healing powers, but also attracts supernatural forces.
Because of the industry and her own past, no one sees the danger of her body image issues and lack of self-esteem instead only seeing her as “the girl in the pictures” which allows her to fall into otherworldly domestic violence.
Courting Apparitions is a ghost story. The characters involved have to cope with their own emotions and relationships as a ghost, and the witches who want its power, haunt them. It’s as much a story about recovering from depression and reconnecting/forgiving loved ones as it is about the supernatural.
Author Jonathan Maberry once told me that if I wrote my stories as paranormal romance, or pitched them as such, I would find success. But as funny and poignant and incredibly sexy these stories are, the romance has a gritty reality to it that I can’t tone down.
Gayle always said I like to torture my characters, but I really just want them to overcome terrible things so I can bring out there strength and admire them. They become my heroes in addition to the heroes of their own stories.
Today I finally had my eyebrows done after a long hiatus from Hyperion Salon where I have my nails and waxing done. I still can’t spare the money for a mani-pedi but brows is a $10 investment that yields great benefits.
Since the teenager had to be at band camp at 8, and I was due at the salon at 8:30, I decided to go to Dunkin’ since I had a free beverage credit.
It was chilly and raining so I thought I might order a hot latte, some sort of fancy caffeinated beverage. In the end, I decided on an iced matcha latte with skim milk as I adore matcha but am not willing to pay $5 for some green powder in a glass of milk.
I got to the drive thru window and she is clearly handing me an iced coffee latte.
I’m like…. ummmmm
And she looked at the tag and it was clearly supposed to be an iced matcha latte.
So here’s the cool part… when they made it, it looked like they used a medium amount of skim milk and a large amount of matcha.
It was dark, and rich, and chunky the way I like my matcha drinks.
Then after my brows, which now look amazing, I went to the chiropractor. I listened to Thurl Ravenscroft (the voice of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and Frosted Flakes’ mascot Tony the Tiger).
I listened to “Yes, we have no bananas” four times in a row and was single along at top volume in my best barbershop quartet voice.
What fun, right?
Tonight I am having dinner with my friend Bill (the author of the Kink Noir series— next volume coming soon! More info here: Debauchery and Projects with Bill).
It’s nice to know that there can be fun summer days after all.
Yesterday was a frolicking good day of silly adventures and hearty chores— I feel the after effects of hauling all that trash from the garage yesterday burning in the tops of my thighs.
This morning I enjoyed coffee with my mom in my home and then sat in the morning sun and read more of William Prystauk’s manuscript, Debauchery. He asked me to edit the final manuscript before it heads to the printer as his regular editor was unavailable.
Bill and I have been friends for more than a decade now and I told him I’d love to take a look if he didn’t mind as I’m a HUGE FAN of his previous Denny Bowie novels— it’s just the right blend of counter-culture, dark crime, intelligentsia and erotica.
Bill takes on some kinky themes. His characters experience the best and worst of the human condition. They ooze love. They survive trauma. They admit their weaknesses and accept their fetishes. They explode in rage and sometimes toy with pain.
Everyone seems vibrantly alive yet always on the precipice of tragedy.
And while one person might look at the words, the events, the violence and the various expressions of sexuality and squirm in the face of its counter-mainsteam manifestations, the way Bill has crafted the tale makes the more disturbing twists easier to stomach and nothing is ever gratuitous.
The first book, Bloodletting, focused on love and acceptance— that a real relationship won’t ignore any part of a person or their desires. In Debauchery, the antagonist examines not only the motives of the people involved in his current missing person case but also challenges his own world view and his connection to his own unorthodox living arrangements.
Bill has made a valiant effort to keep each novel in the series a stand-alone, but please don’t start with this one. I think the reader needs to read at least one of his previous books to appreciate the depth of Denny Bowie’s angst.
Or shall I call him Dennison?
I know Bill was pleased with my one week turn-around on this just slightly more than 80,000 word manuscript. But when the story is this compelling, and has such a strong, unique voice, you can’t put it down easily.