Hoodwinked by Dickens, Charmed by Scrooge

Charles John Huffam Dickens rise to fame came from a serial publication called The Pickwick Papers in March of 1836, skyrocketing him to international literary celeb status a few years later. Seven years after The Pickwick Papers his novella “A Christmas Carol” was born and went on to long-standing and still-standing popularity.

The energy around the holidays coupled with tidings of good cheer, a roaring fire or a lit tree, a comfy blanket on top a sofa nestled with the Christmas classic makes the season complete. But don’t forget the punch or eggnog for some.

At first glance, it appears to be a dark haunting of a bitter man (Ebeneezer Scrooge), who counters with “Bah humbug” whenever someone mentions Christmas or greets him with Merry Christmas. “Who would say such a thing about the most cheeriest holiday?” a small child says.

Upon further review, it becomes more festive with the past, present and future visits from the spirits and realizations, and then in the end–the laughter and joy of having time to change his evil ways. Oh, no! He dashes from his bed and starts the journey of charming his way back into the world where he was once happy. Charming indeed, that Ebeneezer Scrooge has charmed his way into the lives and homes of the masses. Thank you Mr. Dickens!

The first film adaptation was a short British film version in 1901, titled: Scrooge or Marley’s Ghost. And in 1938 Reginald Owen starred in the first “talkie”  silver screen production of A Christmas Carol. I favor the one w/Alastair Sim and of course the stage play production put on by The Goodman Theatre every year. This year marks the 35th Anniversary of A Christmas Carol at The Chicago Goodman Theatre.

What’s your favorite part of A Christmas Carol? Will you and your’s be watching it or going to see it this holiday season?

The Next Big Thing Blog Tour–THRONE OF OLYMPUS

Much gratitude to Melanie Selemidis for inviting me to participate in this blog tour interview. Melanie @Melpomuse is the mother and author of the coming soon YA Mermyth novel SIRENS OF SANTORINI. Sirens is about 3 generations of women struggling to free themselves from an ancient curse and a young woman’s search for her mythical heritage to find her place, her power, her myth. Look for SIRENS OF SANTORINI soon, as Melenie Selemidis continues to birth it on the sands of Santorini, Greece.

1) What is the working title of your book?

The Throne of Olympus Book One: Blood Bond

2) Where did the idea come from for your book?

The love for Greek myth and the stories I used to tell people when they would hear that my name was Aletha. I would tell them it’s Greek and means “truth” and I made up elaborate tales about how Aletha was the Greek Goddess of Truth and Vengeance. They’d be like, “really.” And I’d be like, “no.” We would have good laugh after.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

Urban Fantasy/Greek Myth/Paranormal Romance

4) Which actors would you choose to play in your movie rendition?

The alluring Lena would be played by Nina Dobrev, Alex Pettyfer would play the brooding Gabriel (Gabe) Andros, his twin sister Gabrie (Gaby) would be the lovely, doll-eyed Tracy Spiridakos, the older sister and family head Sophia (Sophie) would be Alexa Davalos and Johnny Depp would be the perfect, eccentric Directorate member Dodonis.

5) What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Throne of Olympus is the story of how two mortals become a modern-day Zeus and Hera, reviving Mt. Olympus, protecting it and the throne from the impending enemy takeover by the “Unworthy” descendants of the Greek gods.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

My book is self-published by Amazon’s CreateSpace.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I wrote the first draft for books one and two in six weeks and three days.

There was lots of bottled up fantasy prose that needed to come out and a lot of sixteen-hour days of nothing but writing. Here it is three years later and book one was newly released the latter part of November, the exact month I started really writing it three years ago.

I talk about how it should have come out in the summer of 2011, minus the tragedies and setbacks, but my belief is that it actually came out right when it was meant to.

8) What other books would you compare this story to?

The book’s different spin on Greek myths being modern-day with a Greek myth twist makes it somewhat incomparable, but yet uniform in the sense of hero/heroine quests, challenges, good v.s. evil, and a satisfactory resolve.

9) Who or what inspired you to write the book?

In terms of who…Dickens did it for me. A breathtaking performance of A Christmas Carol as a young girl. It was my inspiration for writing in general.

The what…was anger inside from a promise unfulfilled that I made to myself after a close call with death. It was to live my life and become the writer I always wanted to be–because life is too short. It was a dark and utterly unhappy place that I wouldn’t wish for anyone to be in. But never willing to give up on life or the fairy tale, my true writing life had started blossoming. In fact, the first few drafts were pretty dark, so some of it changed as my mood began to lift.

10) What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

It’s a modern-day story that’s part of a series, the characters, the fantasy realms and how the characters weave through them, the retelling of Greek myths, the family dynamics of the Androses and Anastoguses.

Check out the answers these unique storytellers share on their blogs next week, December 19th.

Samantha LaFantasie

Amethyst Marie

Luciana Cavallaro

Courtney Farrell

A.K. Taylor

Emm Cole

Holiday Cheer-less

The rush for holiday events has arrived. And with it comes the mundane tasks of plotting and planning parties, decor, meals, entertaining visiting guests and family, etc. Each detail meticulous, down to how many pecans and walnuts needed to make the perfect fruit and nut basket. And the questions…Who will we sit Aunt Martha with this year since she drank a whole bottle of wine, with several vodka chasers, fell out with EVERYBODY last year and still plans to show up? Do we have enough fresh linens? And so on.

There isn’t enough Cherry Maalox and Pepto-Bismol on the planet to fix the uneasy stomachs that some people get around the holidays. Opt for a solo season behind closed doors, bottle of spirits in one hand and clicker in the other? Nod and smile at the table? Engage in idle chatter?

What tips do you have to help readers get through the stresses of the holidays?

Your Book–Keep Marketing Momentum High

For new authors, the task of getting the word out about a current WIP or an upcoming release comes complete with a separate set of worries than that of writing, drafting and editing. Marketing and promo sounds fun. Some of us start the planning stages before we have the finished product. And that’s a good thing–to know what direction you want to go in, but keeping that momentum up during and after is the trick.

Is it enough to simply outline, list what you want and make the proper inquiries? Sure. If that’s your only goal at the time. Having a more strategic plan would be a good way to go or the “Piece Plan” as I like to call it. I had my “Piece Plan” ready and took off from the ground running with it back in late 2009 through 2010 and most of 2011. There was a whole strategy planned out before I finished book one and each piece of the plan had its own spot on my calender. Can you guess what happened? That’s right, momentum went down with the ship–of setbacks and plenty other tedious details.

Wait for it…then comes the realization of new complexities. Now, the marketing and promo thing becomes confounded by the jumbled ways to do it, rolling around inside your head like tiny marbles hitting the wall. “I’m a writer damn it!” you say, shaking your fists and hanging your head low. Ideally, and from new experience, the golden tip is having your manuscript finished, completely finished. A 2-3 month projected release date after manuscript is finished = time+productivity.

What’s that you say? I don’t have time. Sure you do. Remember, you’re finished with your manuscript and have a release date. This part, I learned from my friend Jennings Wright. She has formulas for time. Now this may not be exactly the way she does it, but the premise is there. If you work a regular job, simply give yourself a few extra weeks from your projected release date+amount of writing time you used per day working on manuscript and this = more time+more productivity for your campaign.

If you opt to work on some marketing/promos while you’re still writing the book, jotting down ideas is best until you finish the first couple of drafts. On a side note, putting your writing away when you hit a wall and pulling out your list of ideas can help reignite that writing flow.

Here are some quick tips to keep the fire burning and the task of marketing and promo fun and relatively stress-free:

1) Have fun with it at every stage!

2) Start your list of things you want to use in your marketing/promo campaign, the bigger the better, baby. This keeps a level of excitement cooking. Have fun with it!

3) Do your research. Have fun with it!

4) Make folders to put corresponding ideas and paperwork into or buy a few decorative tablets. You can also use a nice thick journal and add tabs to keep things in order. This will make your starting point more complete. Use bright, cheery, even metallic colors. Anything to keep that excitement rolling. Hell, use black or gray if those colors pop for you. Have fun with it!

5) Finally, your campaign should be ready to piece together. Do it in bites as to not overwhelm. Put your inner Pacman/Ms. Pacman to rest. Have fun with it!

If you start to feel like you’re running out of steam or experiencing setbacks, pop in a movie, watch a show that is similar to what you’re working on, take a walk, a hike, do something relaxing. This usually helps to spark the excitement again. Have fun with it!

Character Bio’s–Meet the Characters of T.O.O.

Check out the Fantasy Realms they inhabit and the Myths they are born from on my Realm Play blog  realmplay.wordpress.com

THE DESTINY ORACLE 

Omniscient narrator.

THE HOUSE OF WILCOX

LENA WILCOX ~Twenty-two-year-old loving, single mom, protector in general to those in need or who appear to be helpless, oblivious at times to her own circumstances.

CAREER: Data Entry Analyst

LIKES: Coffee—lots of it, all the time…everyday.

DISLIKES: Bullies, abusers, people who abandon (Linx’s father), and her childhood.

LINX WILCOX ~Lena’s three-year-old loving, playful son.
LIKES: Pancakes, whipped cream, chocolate syrup and ice cream.
DISLIKES: None yet.

RICHARD WILCOX ~Lena’s adoptive father—deceased.

HANNAH WILCOX ~Lena’s adoptive mother—deceased.

THE HOUSE OF ANDROS ~Descendants of high Greek gods—Enemy of the Unworthy

GABRIEL (GABE) ARES ANDROS ~Blindingly wealthy and sexy twenty-four-year-old magnate, brooding son and heir of Greek coffee mogul Antones Andros—from old money.
CAREER: Investor/coffee empire heir and exec.
LIKES: His family, his Greek bloodline and history, fencing, being a realist, and his space.
DISLIKES: Strangers, the Unworthy, people who meddle in his affairs and emotional attachment.

GABRIE (GABY) ANDROS ~Gabriel’s twenty-four-year-old meddlesome, carefree, fun-loving, spoiled twin sister, daughter and heiress of Greek coffee mogul Antones Andros.
CAREER: Coffee heiress and personal shopper (to herself).
LIKES: Her family, her Greek heritage, shopping and buying things, flaming saganaki, the game of pool, fencing, clubs with dance floors and fun.
DISLIKES: The Unworthy

SOPHIA (SOPHIE) ANDROS ~Thirty-year-old Sophistocrat sister to Gabriel and Gabrie Andros, and eldest heiress of Greek coffee mogul Antones Andros.
CAREER: Head of Andros family and Assistant Chief Medical Examiner at prominent Chicago hospital.
LIKES: Her family, her Greek heritage, medicine and surgery.
DISLIKES: The Unworthy, being the head of the family, wrestling with keeping family secrets.

ANTONES ANDROS ~Father of Gabriel, Gabrie and Sophia—deceased.

MILA ANDROS ~Mother of Gabriel, Gabrie and Sophia—deceased.

MIKOS ANDROS ~Ageless, charming Greek coffee mogul, brother to Antones Andros and uncle to Andros siblings.
CAREER: Greek coffee mogul, family overseer.
LIKES: Family, Greek heritage formulating coffee recipes and traveling.
DISLIKES: The Unworthy.

INANNA ANDROS ~Distant cousin of Andros siblings, visiting from Greece.

ALBERT ~Hired help for the Andros family.

CYPRUS ~Gabriel’s faithful dog.

THE HOUSE OF ANASTOGUS
Descendants of the first demigod Argus
First family of the Unworthy—Enemy of the Andros family

KALEB ANASTOGUS ~Twenty-four-year-old suave millionaire, an Unworthy, and birth father of Linx Wilcox.
CAREER: Mergers and Acquisitions Financial Analyst.
LIKES: Taking what he wants, being possessive and getting his way.
DISLIKES: Zeus and the other Greek gods, the Andros family, being told no, rejection and driving in the rain.

NICOLOS ANASTOGUS ~Kaleb’s scuzzy, abusive twenty-two-year-old brother, millionaire and Unworthy.
CAREER: Mergers and Acquisitions Project Manager.
LIKES: Torturing his wife, taking what he wants, being in control and being outspoken.
DISLIKES: Zeus and the other Greek gods, the Andros family and most people.

DEMETRI ANASTOGUS ~Kaleb’s millionaire older brother, old class mixed with modern nuance, keeps to himself.
CAREER: Architect for family Mergers and Acquisitions firm.
LIKES: Designing various structures and just about everything else.
DISLIKES: Seeing the woman he loves with another man.

ALEXA ANASTOGUS ~Kaleb’s fourteen-year-old mute, OCD sister, skittish around most people.
LIKES: Not talking, staying inside her head, puzzles and spinach soup.
DISLIKES: Being sedated and the bad things her father and brothers do.

DEMETRIUS ANASTOGUS ~Distinguished, charismatic millionaire father of Anastogus family, an Unworthy and head of the Unworthy first family region.
CAREER: CEO of ANASTO-GUST Mergers and Acquisitions Inc.
LIKES: Family, money, power, royalty and plotting revenge on the Andros family.
DISLIKES: The Andros family.

KIMBERLIN ANASTOGUS ~Tortured wife of Nicolos Anastogus.
CAREER: Housewife.
LIKES: Whatever Nicolos tells her to like.
DISLIKES: Being married to Nicolos, her choices and her life.

LOMAX ~Hired Unworthy thug for the Anastogus family.

ADRIANNA ANASTOGUS ~Mother of the Anastogus children—deceased.

OTHER CHARACTERS
~LOWER EARTH~
Earth
PAT MILLER ~Lena’s birth mother.
CHLOE ~Gabriel’s girlfriend.
CALLIOPE PAPAPPOLIS ~A seamstress, an Impartial—mutual friends with the Andros family and the Anastogus family.
PETRUS PAPAPPOLIS ~A tailor, an Impartial married to Calliope.
MERV ~Pat’s boyfriend.
TOMMY ~Manager of The Coffee Bar
KATHLEEN ~The Anastoguses nurse.
MR. GRIFFIN ~Shady landlord.
AUNT DINAH ~Kaleb’s Great-Aunt.

~OLYMPUS~
High up on the mountain
LAYSIA ~Royal Noble
ILIOS ~Keeper of the Scrolls
PHOENIX ~Olympus Guide
ANEMONE ~Royal Arranger
THE GOLDEN OAK ~Tree of Knowing.

OLYMPUS DIRECTORATE ~Hand-picked ancients to the God of Gods.
Females
NEBE
THETIS
ANDRESIA

Males
DODONIS
TALLAS
MELIOS

THE GOD OF GODS ~Over the gods, including Zeus, the drive for all beings carrying them to their fate.

INNER REALM
Sphere first inhabited by Impartials
NYLA ~Trickstress—Descendant of Hermes.
SOD ~Trickster—Descendant of Hermes and Nyla’s brother.
ALLURA ~Temptress
KERREPUS (KERR) ~Leader of the Impartials.
TOLO ~Kerr’s teenage son.
KERRIMA ~Kerr’s estranged teenage daughter.
IMPERICA ~Kerr’s estranged wife.
JOPE ~Imperica’s father.
BAX ~Flower hut vendor.

UNDER EARTH
House of Hades
HADES ~Dark King, ruler of Under Earth
PERSEPHONE ~Dark Queen, Hades’ wife and co-ruler of Under Earth.
LUTARUS ~Under Earth’s Chief Tomber.
CERBERUS ~Three-headed Under Earth hound.

Realm Play–New Author Blog

I would like to take this time out to thank all my followers and fans. This is also an invitation to check out my new author’s blog on WordPress titled Realm Play at realmplay.wordpress.com

I created Realm Play as a mainstay for my novel series, upcoming projects and to journal my journey so far. Thanks for taking the journey with me! Feel free to interact on the T.O.O. Throne of Olympus Fan Page, browse around and get to know the characters, the myths and their realms. Let me know what you think and if any of you have tips on how I can make the site better, please let me know. Suggestions are welcome!

Book One  Cover 001

As for A Novel Perspective, I will continue to post on this blog. And sorry I haven’t been posting much lately, but with the release of T.O.O. and recovering from a nasty stomach bug…been swamped. Hope Realm Play will make up for some of the lost time and it will updated and more content added as it becomes available. Thank you guys so much for reading my posts, your support means a lot to me.

~ A.M. Day

Christmas Towns

Christmas holds different significant meanings for people: religious meanings, commercial and of course the favorite one for children…the fantasy behind it. Well, raised on the two topics not to discuss–politics and religion, the one I would like to shine the spotlight on is the fantasy one.

We never had Christmas in our house growing up. No tree, Santa who? No decorations, unless you count the candy canes and glitter ornament-adorned evergreen trees I would make out of red and green construction paper. Mommy would let me tape a few to the front window. And I tried hard to believe in Santa Claus. It came as no surprise that not only would Christmas be brought to life in my own home as an adult, but the fantasy of it would be so great. I used to want to live in an actual Christmas Town, where 24/7 it would rain, sleet and snow Christmas any and everything. My town had lights that never went off, snow-covered cottages with ample color and candy accents (think old-fashioned Gingerbread houses). And every house had a brick fireplace.

Share how you see your Christmas Town? Would it have reindeer? Would it be a Christmas Farm? Would it look like a scene straight from How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ Whoville?