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18 More Days!

18 more days until The Earl and the Artificer comes out! *screams internally*

Now that I am done editing and formatting my ebook, I am super excited for everyone to read it. Thus far, I’ve posted the blurb and the first chapter, but what is The Earl and the Artificer really about?

Well, it’s the third book in my historical-fantasy series, The Ingenious Mechanical Devices. While none of my books are continuations and can be read as stand-alones, they all share the same characters, world, and atmosphere. The stories take place in the 1890s and follow the lives of characters who often want more than what their station and society allow. Because it’s historical-fantasy, there are often anachronistic devices, creatures or plants that seem otherworldly, and a world that changes when could have been, now is.

The Earl and the Artificer takes place a few months after The Winter Garden, following Eilian and Hadley’s wedding. You may remember them from The Earl of Brass. For their honeymoon, they journey to his family’s ancestral home, Brasshurst Hall, which has been abandoned for nearly thirty years. Eilian expects to find a typical Georgian, Austen-esque manor but soon finds Brasshurst is a strange mix of styles combined to create an asymmetrical monster complete with a steam-powered greenhouse jutting from its side. The strange house isn’t completely vacant. Within its walls lay plants of untold value and Randall Nash, a distant relative whose hobbies include making a nuisance of himself and collecting secrets. Nash’s brusque (and rather disrespectful) manner reminds Eilian and Hadley of their outsider status.

This outsider status is something I wanted to explore in The Earl and the Artificer. You know when your high school or university teacher mentioned themes running through a work? Well, being an outsider and whether we should try to live up to expectations are ideas that run throughout the work.

Eilian is adjusting to his new titles of earl and husband, neither of which come easily. After spending his whole life avoiding being nobility, should he embrace it to make others happy? Can he even balance the archaeologist with the earl? Hadley is going through a similar identity crisis. She’s now a countess. Imagine going from being middle class and doing labor-intensive work meant for men to being treated as a lady and being expected to act as such. For some it sounds like a dream: servants, money, a big house, anything you could ever want. What it really comes with: infinitely more rules and regulations, a learning gap, parties, expectations, people calling you an upstart since you climbed the social ladder.

Several other characters in the story deal with their own versions of being an outsider including a budding young writer spending his holiday in Dorset, his cousin who is dealing with choices that have been forced upon her, and a downtrodden maid forced to do her master’s bidding. I won’t say more, so I don’t give anything away.

Is there anything you would like to know about The Earl and the Artificer?


 

If you’re interested in pre-ordering The Earl and the Artificer, you can do so here for 99 cents. Book 3 releases January 30th! Paperback information is coming soon.

eata final cover

 

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Errant Plots and Acccepted Proposals

The other day I received an email from the director of my graduate program that my thesis proposal was approved! Not only that, but she wanted the file to use as an example of what a proper MFA thesis proposal should look like. I beamed with pride for most of the day, and I feel as if a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. In the fall, I will officially begin my thesis and finish up with my MFA in May of 2016, which really means I’ll be going into book three full force as soon as possible.

Part of the reason I hoped my proposal would pass in one shot is that I am trying very hard to separate myself from what I wrote in it about book three. For the professors to approve your proposal, you need to show that you have your shit together and are really prepared to take on a big project and actually finish it, so you have to provide a lot of info about your work even if you really haven’t thought it through yet. It’s all subject to change (thank god), but I had to do quite a bit of cooking up of ideas in a brief amount of time. Now, my very anal analytical side wants to take all of my half-assed ideas from the proposal and check them off, but I know it won’t turn out well. The ideas I wrote down aren’t forming the story I would like to read.

Because of this, I know I need to take a step back and re-evaluate my ideas and where the story is going. It’s been on the backburner for about three weeks while I was working on classwork, but now that the semester is wrapping up, I can finally go back to it. It feels great to be able to finally go back to my writing after a self-imposed hiatus, yet it’s daunting knowing that I need to figure this out before moving forward.

My writing style is somewhere between plotting and flying by the seat of my pants. I don’t like to plot the whole thing out, but I need to know where I’m going before I begin writing a chapter. This system gives me structure but allows for fluidity and for my characters to stretch their legs a bit.

At the moment, I feel a bit lost with The Earl and the Artificer. I have a few chapters done, which are shaping up to be a good foundation, but it feels like an insurmountable task to figure out where I’m going.  The good thing is, I say this every time I begin working on a new book and by 10,000 words in, I’m usually fairly on my feet. I don’t think the anxiety goes away until I’m two chapters away from finishing it.

I’m also back to reading historical fiction again, which always seems to help. I’ll be outlining and diagramming and creating monstrosities that look more like summoning circles than outlines, but now that my proposal has been accepted and my final paper is well under way, I should be able to finally get into book three. I plan to keep everyone posted on the writing process and what I discover along the way with research or writing or myself, but first and foremost, I must write.

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