Moving Forward on Fashion and Fiends

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— Tomorrow is Étienne d’Amille’s birthday. He is the fashion magnate in the series. He will be 62. Where does the time go?

North Carolina memories (and the great little town of Littleton)

So, on my little girl’s 14th birthday we found ourselves in North Carolina. Our plan was simple: the Sylvan Heights Bird Sanctuary in Scotland Neck and the Cryptozoology & Paranormal Museum in Littleton, N.C.

I fell in love with Littleton, with it’s population of 640. It reminded me of the small town near my childhood home (population, 400) but a tad more vibrant.

Littleton had several churches, three restaurants, a police station, an independent pharmacy, an independent hardware store, a library and an arcade.

And the newspaper box had about a gazillion copies of a freebie newspaper that appeared to be an advertising supplement to the local daily. It was literally one broadsheet, both sides, which made it four pages. About 2/3 of one page was the classifieds.

And in the middle of this broadsheet was the weekly Food Lion circular.

And it was in this sweet town we found Grandpa’s Barbecue where I had a good helping of sweet potato pie and the best potato salad I had ever eaten. The potatoes where practically puréed.

From there we went to the Crpytozoology Museum, which I believe I mentioned in an earlier post.

That place was two rooms in this couple’s house. He was a retired photographer from the New York Daily News and he said the area has a strong paranormal pull.

Day 7… and we’re not killing each other

Today is my daughter’s 14th birthday.

She wasn’t happy when I sailed across the room and leapt on her bed screaming in a falsetto, “it’s my baby’s birthday!”

At 6:30 a.m.

Today we hope to make it to around Richmond, Va., since we are due home tomorrow and I have to be back at work at 7 a.m. Monday.

I wonder if they missed me.

Our exciting plans for today include the bird sanctuary that was closed on Monday and an afternoon visit to the paranormal museum.

And finally… the Quality Inn right off I-95 in Fayetteville, N.C., may have been my favorite hotel balancing price and function. With taxes the room was about $70. The breakfast wasn’t exciting but in included a variety of hot items in addition to the continental selections. And personally, I loved that they offered peanut butter with their bread products.

The room was clean but sparse. Refrigerator a tad busted up but while trying to freeze water bottles into ice cubes for the cooler we almost had one freeze. The water pressure in the toilet was poor. But the pool open 10 a.m. to dusk and it was clean and a nice size for a small hotel. Coffee was decent. And they had a former room on the first floor converted into a fitness center. And a public laundry room.

This manuscript made possible by a loving husband

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On Friday, one of my college acquaintances, now an editor of a mystery imprint at a small press (and one I love!), posted a call for manuscripts for the Quirk Books “Looking for Love” contest. The postmark deadline of the contest is today. And despite an overly busy schedule I thought, what the heck I’ll submit.

Quirk Books is a small press that for the last ten years has published, well, quirky books. I’ll refer to their web site to summarize their company: “Quirk Books is an independent book publisher based in Philadelphia. Founded in 2002, Quirk Books publishes 25 strikingly unconventional books every year. Our bestsellers include the pop culture phenomenons Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. We also publish award-winning cookbooks, craft books, children’s books, and nonfiction on a wide range of subjects. Learn more about us and explore our books here on QuirkBooks.com.”

I’ve known that my paranormal fiction set in the high fashion industry doesn’t quite fit the genre norms for paranormal romance, chick lit or women’s fiction. I also know that if Quirk is looking for love, I got love.

I use the supernatural in my fiction to explore what makes a healthy relationship. The supernatural love interest in my manuscript turns out to be a bully, and the ingenue’s experience mirrors that of a domestic violence victim. Meanwhile, the divorced guy… Perhaps this would be a good place to insert the 250-word synopsis I prepared for Quirk.

Weird stuff happens to Adelaide Pitney, house model at couturier Chez d’Amille. It always has. When she meets Galen Sorbach, an aspiring photographer, she thinks he’s cute.

For once, she hopes to have a normal boyfriend. 

Galen recognizes Adelaide for her latent healing powers, magick she’s accidentally used in large quantities. As a fire mage, Galen never mastered water magick so he wants Adelaide’s power to gain immortality.

Galen’s sister Kait has spent 400 years as elemental water guardian. She has been assigned to subdue Adelaide’s magick, but Kait delays. Adelaide is the last mortal from Kait’s family line with healing powers. Kait’s reluctance allows Galen to manipulate Adelaide into believing her magick presents a danger.

 The incident that attracted the attention of the guardians involved Étienne d’Amilles’s ex-wife, Basilie. Adelaide healed Basilie and made it possible for her to conceive Étienne’s child. 

Magick explains so much in Adelaide’s life, like how she seduced Étienne a decade earlier and he never realized it was her. Galen shares this secret, threatening the peace between Étienne and his pregnant ex-wife. The fall-out leads to a car accident that Étienne survives because of Adelaide’s help. 

 These five people– a 400-year-old Irish witch, her adopted brother, the American supermodel, a French fashion designer, and his rich ex-wife– find their lives intertwined as they explore just how far they will go for love and just how much they can forgive. 

So I struggled with this synopsis as only a writer can struggle, and the only day I had to print the manuscript was Sunday. Then I got called into work early.  And my husband, he volunteered to print it for me. I had one manuscript box left.

And yesterday, it went into the mail. It almost didn’t since the money I gave my husband to mail it has somehow disappeared.