Tag Archives: guest posts

Guest Post: Clemency Crow (Author of Taking Wing) about the Editing Process

 

Please welcome Clemency Crow to my blog today, the author of Middle Grade adventure “Taking Wing”. Welcome, Clemency, and thank you for taking the time to write a post about your editing process!

Guest Post – My Editing Process

I visited 5 schools last week during my Book Tour, and the most common question that was asked was “how long did it take you to write the book?”

My answer was always the same.

It took me two months to write the first draft and over a year to get the book to publishable standard.

 

Scrivener

I have found this programme to be an invaluable asset. After completing my first draft, I would fill in the character sheet using the information I had written in the book. If there was not enough detail or juicy bits, I knew I’d have to go back in and develop that character more. I didn’t do this for everybody, just my main 5 – Freya, Winnie, Elialdor, Elamra and Rald.

 

Sentence Crafting

When I am satisfied that the characters are in tip-top condition, I go back through each chapter at a time and read it with the eyes of a book reviewer. I have a conversation in my head, as you do!

“If I was reviewing this for Crowvus, how many stars would I give it?”

“Well, probably about 3 stars at the moment.”

“Hmmm, would I be happy with 3 stars?”

“3 stars is a respectable score, but I think you could do better.”

“What would take it up to 4 stars?”

You see, it helps to be a little bit bonkers when you’re writing!

 

Proofread, proofread and then, guess what…proofread again!

When I am satisfied that the book is well written, I start the slog of painstakingly glaring at every sentence to find mistakes in the actual spelling and grammar. The computer will pick up some of this, but not all. I make myself promise that I will never say editing is my least favourite thing. Proofreading is now the bain of my life.

 

It’s time to pass the baton

Finally, the manuscript is ready to pass onto the editor. For me, that’s my sister. Some people would frown at using their sister as the editor but I’m lucky in two ways. Firstly, she is the professional editor for Crowvus so she knows her stuff. Secondly, I can give her full licence to be as mean as she possibly can…

“But do you really want the editor to be mean?”

Absolutely! The meaner the better! You can trust a mean editor, as you know they will not give you false praise. I wanted Judith to rip apart my novel looking for flaws. I would much rather that than have ‘proper’ (sorry, Jude!) readers do that when the book is for sale.

When a book is published, it’s very hard to change it. You have to get a new ISBN, and make a big hoo-ha about it being the 2nd edition. It’s really not worth it for a fiction book.

No, you want the mean comments out of the way before the book gets published. My advice would be to get an editor (or a group of beta readers first if you prefer) to look at your manuscript with the meanest, wickedest eye possible. Then, brace yourself.

There is some passing back and forth between the editor and you and the occasional argument can ensue…

“Elialdor is too disrespectful.”

“That’s part of his character.”

“Well, it doesn’t work.”

“But he develops through the book.”

“Not enough.”

“Well…I don’t like you.”

…but there’s occasionally some compromise…

(Judith’s favourite meme)

 

Finally…after much work and exhaustion…you’re done and you can be sure you’re putting a polished, quality book out there.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Taking-Wing-Feather-Down-Book-ebook/dp/B07S63XNQS

www.clemencycrow.co.uk

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46847925-taking-wing

 

About the Book

Title: Taking Wings

Author: Clemency Crow

Genre: Middle Grade Adventure

12-year-old Freya enjoys karate and is the only one in her class who’s trusted with a part-time job. But everything changes when she meets a boy with yellow eyes. She learns about the guardians, and how an age-old fight has stopped them from fulfilling their purpose. Freya finds new friends in the crow tribe but not everything in the castle is blissful. A destructive shadow lies within her and all she needs to do to summon it is close her eyes. But as the guardian’s war rages on, Freya realises that, although the shadow’s power can be useful, it can’t create peace. Freya and her friends must solve the crime that began the war, but can they bring the guardians together before they destroy each other?

 

 

Author Bio

I can’t remember when I wrote my first story. We had a word processor when I was very little. It was an archaic piece of technology with no mouse, which meant you had to know the codes for it to work. My sister, Judith, and I wrote several stories using this. I think one of my stories was about a mammoth, probably during my I-want-to-be-a-mammoth-when-I-grow-up stage.

When I was a bit older, during Year 3 at Primary School, another sister brought home several A5 grey jotters and gave one to Ginny and Judith to plan and write their stories in. Naturally, I wanted a notebook too, so I said I was writing a story called “The Rule of the Unicorns”. I never finished that rather peculiar tale, but it meant I got one of those A5 grey jotters!

A good few years down the line and I’m a Primary Teacher in the tip-top north of Scotland. To encourage a love of reading in my pupils, I write a story with them in for their Christmas present. The first thing they do is flick through and try and find their name – but I hope they enjoy the story too!

When I’m not teaching, I love writing, working on my allotment and I’m crazy enough to be doing a Science degree at the same time.

 

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Author Website

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Guest Post After Gardens

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Today I’m hosting a guest post by author Katharine Coldiron, the author of women’s fiction “After Gardens”. The author is sharing her editing process with us.

Guest Post

Most of the best writers I know who’ve shared their writing process seem to be quick drafters and painstaking revisers. Writing is rewriting, they say, and my unscientific study has told me that writers who enjoy revising are going to keep writing in the long term instead of giving up in frustration. Writers who dash off something that’s immediately perfect are so rare as to be nonexistent; most need heavy editing to be any good at all.

Which kind of leaves me out in the cold. Although I’ve gotten used to it over the years, I hate revising. It depletes me, makes me depressed that I couldn’t write it ideally the first time. (Perfectionist much?) Instead of writing and revising the way a normal writer should, I’ve created an entire writing process with the explicit aim that I spend as little time revising as possible.

Here are my seven steps:

  1. I draft by hand. I used to be quite precious about which notebooks and which pens I’d use, but I’m more indifferent to all that now. As long as the paper’s generous and the pen writes smoothly, I’m good.

  1. As I’m writing, I correct the draft by hand. The arrangement of words in one sentence affects the next sentence, and vice versa, so I’m keeping around three sentences in my head at once. Also, sometimes I feel like two or more synonyms might work, so I’ll write all three in just in case. My drafts are a mess! Sometimes I’ll X through whole paragraphs and start over. It feels safer to do this by hand, because the paragraph isn’t lost forever to the delete key.

  1. I type the draft into my computer, correcting as I go. Sometimes the paragraphs I Xed out in the previous step are better than I thought. Sometimes I have a “what was I thinking?” moment and leave out whole pages of drafted material.

  1. I set the project aside for a bit—at least a week, preferably a month. I’m too deeply inside the story right after drafting to even comprehend what a non-me reader will make of it.

  1. I come back to the project and check carefully for revisions. Because of steps two and three, this step is like a third revision rather than a first. Sometimes this step involves physically cutting and taping paragraphs together!

  1. I give the story to my husband. He’ll be the first to tell you that he’s awful at feedback—most commonly, he returns to me and says “It’s good,” and that’s about all—but if I press him, he can tell me things about the story I can’t see for myself. It’s important that he’s my first reader, because he knows me well enough to know what I was probably thinking vs. how it came out on the page.

  1. I go through the draft once more to correct for what my husband has explained, if anything, and to catch any other issues. If it doesn’t seem finished, for any reason, I’ll go back to step 4.

Then, it’s ready for prime time. And it was relatively painless! All I had to do was come up with a writing process that no normal writer would ever use.

A bit of advice to close us out: don’t be like me. Learn to love revision. It’s the best way to sustain a writing life, and it’s the most effective way to make finished writing better than a first draft ever could be.

About the Book

Title: After Gardens

Author: Katharine Coldiron

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Maya, a weekend at a hot springs with her boisterous friend Rhondey is just what she needs to move forward after her divorce. For Rhondey, it’s an opportunity to help Maya cut loose a little, shed some of her inhibitions. Maya doesn’t see the need to shed anything, and she’s not looking for a teacher. But the more Maya clings to her privacy, the more difficult it is for her to recognize her true teachers…and the right moment to step free.

Author Bio

Katharine Coldiron’s work has appeared in Ms., the Times Literary Supplement, the Rumpus, the Manifest-Station, horoscope.com, and many other places.

Find Katharine at kcoldiron.com or on Twitter @ferrifrigida.

Links

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Twitter

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Guest Post: Why Love Was Such a Powerful Motivator for Vincent van Gogh’s Creativity

 

Guest Post by Giuseppe Cafiero

 

In a letter to his younger brother Theo, Vincent once wrote “What is done in love is well done”. It is through this, and other correspondences, that we can understand how important the concept of love was to van Gogh’s art.

In his personal life, van Gogh was unlucky in love. Though he pursued a number of relationships during his short life, he never married nor had children. The objections of his family brought an unhappy end to his involvement with one of his muses, former prostitute and model Sien Hoornik, while a later relationship with a neighbour, Margot Begemann, led to her attempting suicide because her family were opposed to the match.  

While this pain only contributed to the misery that Vincent already felt so keenly, it also deeply informed his approach to painting. In another letter to Theo, he states that “In order to work and to become an artist one needs love”, and it was that expansion of consciousness elicited by love that can be clearly seen in his expressionistic style. The intensity and immediacy of his passions were directed instead to the scene before him, with van Gogh embracing his impressions of the natural world without fear or restraint. In sharing his thoughts on a new love affair to his beloved Theo, van Gogh could as easily be describing his unique approach to art: “One loves because one loves. Then we keep our heads clear, and do not cloud our minds, nor do we hide our feelings, nor smother the fire and light, but simply say: Thank God, I love.” 

So for van Gogh, heartache was transfigured on to the canvas, representing a revolutionary act that allowed him to be a participant in something he viewed as otherwise precluded to him. It also served as a rebellion against the restrictive religious atmosphere that his father, Theodorus, had tried to inculcate when Vincent was still a young man.  

Here was an artist who was led by the heart; one driven to try and capture the truth with the same sincerity and striving as would be expected towards a lover. This capacity for love fuelled his creativity and is what still attracts us to his bold and bright paintings today.

Vincent Van Gogh: the Ambiguity of Insanity by Giuseppe Cafiero is out now as an audiobook on Amazon, Audible.com and iTunes.

About the Book

Title: Vincent Van Gogh: The Ambiguity of Insanity

Author: Giuseppe Cafiero

An abrasive itinerary of the presence of women, the landscape and obsession. Such are the internal paradigms that went through the compelling life of the Post-Impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh.

Not flesh and blood women, but the woman as a guide: Mrs. Jones, the woman as a mother; Kee Vos; Christine Hoornik of Siena; Margot Begemann. The Portrait-women such as Augustine Roulin and Madame Ginoux. And then the backgrounds, endless, unforgettable in this genius’s works: Isleworth, Amsterdam, le Borinage, Arles, St. Remy, Auvers-sur-Oise, where Vincent van Gogh spent his life trying to capture the colors, the atmosphere, the light.

The pain of finitude and his obsession with achieving redemption through art, with intimate and stormy religiosity, with brotherly love, with the French noon sun and, in short, with death. A hard-working and unwavering life where art interacted, in a painful gesture, with the iron will of a hand that never lost its way.

The life of a beloved and devoted man, silenced by the anguish and despair of creation, who could only find peacefulness when he found his own death.

Vincent Van Gogh: the Ambiguity of Insanity is a fictionalized biography and gripping novel of the life of the Nineteenth-Century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh. The author, Giuseppe Cafiero, draws a psychological portrait of the Post-Impressionist painter through the women that marked his life and the cities in which he lived.

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Guest Post Inside the Chinese Wine Industry

Guest Post

How Writing Inside the Chinese Wine Industry Expanded My Ability  to do Research

 

Recently, I completed my third nonfiction book; it was a research-heavy-project that was about wine in China called Inside the Chinese Wine Industry.

 

I studied history in both college and grad school where I was taught to start a project by asking broad historical questions and to do background reading namely through secondary sources. Then we were encouraged to drill deeper to find the right primary sources for the subject of our inquiry.

 

For this particular topic, I had to deepen my understanding not only of Chinese culture and history, but also of wine and the global wine industry. This is where I began. Then, when I started to get a grasp of the background knowledge, I looked more specifically at the Chinese wine industry.

 

The background info allowed me to broaden my scope and create a solid context to look at the industry. It helped that I was freelance writing at the time and writing about the Chinese wine industry which allowed me to get paid to do research on the topic, further propelling me.

 

Next, I read every book available in English that I could find that had anything to do with the topic. I supplemented this by doing exhaustive research in databases and the web about the topic. The interesting thing that I found was that unlike writing a straight history about something that happened a century ago (for example), this was a blossoming topic of increasing interest. As a result, there was new information coming to light all the time and always a new article to discover and read.

 

This made writing the book challenging because I was desperately trying to keep the book as current as possible. However, trends, projections, and other information were rapidly changing, forcing me to go back and change parts of the book that were no longer relevant or had changed due to new developments.

 

Additionally, with a topic that was current and increasingly popular, other things were changing the picture as well. For example, President Trump’s trade war with China was a new wrinkle that was altering the course of Sino-American relations and as a result, aspects of the Chinese wine industry. I would be remiss not to include some of these aspects in the book.

 

Eventually, I felt as if I was on a great hunt where I had to shoot at a moving target. This was drastically different than any experience I had writing purely historical accounts.  It was a new challenge for me and one that not only continued to stretch my understanding of the topic and the process, but also challenged me as a writer and researcher.

About the Book

Title: Inside the Chinese Wine Industry

Author: Loren Mayshark

Genre: Nonfiction

The wine business is one of the world’s most fascinating industries and China is considered the rising star. A hidden secret, the Chinese wine industry continues to grow at an amazing pace and is projected to soon enter the top five producing nations, supplanting long established countries such as Australia. Inside the Chinese Wine Industry: The Past, Present, and Future of Wine in China takes you through the growing Chinese wine scene.

Wine has had a meteoric rise in China over the past two decades. The nation is projected to become the second most valuable market for wine in the world by 2020. One recent study concluded that 96% of young Chinese adults consider wine their alcoholic drink of choice. Not only does Inside the Chinese Wine Industry explore current expansion and business models, it journeys back to the past to see where it all began.

 

There are more than seven hundred wineries in China today. Although it’s bit of an oversimplification, the vast majority of the wineries fit into one of two categories: the larger established producers who churn out mostly plonk to meet the growing demand for inexpensive wine and the newer wineries that try to cater to the tastes of the wealthy Chinese with money to spend on luxury goods like fine wine. In the words of wine guru Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible, “The cheap wines from the very large producers have mostly verged on dismal.” However, this should not be considered a blanket statement regarding every wine from large producers. Also, she has positive reflections regarding the level of wine produced by “cutting-edge wineries” which she finds “far better.” How good are they? MacNeil asserts: “Some of these wines are so good they could easily pass for a California or Bordeaux wine in a blind tasting.”

 

Author Bio

Loren Mayshark studied Chinese art, religion, philosophy, and history while earning a B.A. in history from Manhattanville College in New York.  After graduation, he attended The Gotham Writers Workshop and the prestigious New York Writers Workshop. He has written about the Chinese wine industry for The Jovial Journey and Sublime China.

After college, he supported his itinerant lifestyle by working dozens of jobs, including golf caddy, travel writer, construction worker, fireworks salesman, substitute teacher, and vineyard laborer. Predominantly his jobs have been in the restaurant industry. He cut his teeth as a server, maître d’, and bartender at San Francisco’s historic Fisherman’s Grotto #9, the original restaurant on the Fisherman’s Wharf. While working with a colorful crew of primarily Mexican and Chinese co-workers.

He spent much of his young adult life exploring the wine industry from Sonoma Valley to the North Fork of Long Island, immersing himself in vineyards and learning valuable lessons. He has traveled extensively in South America, Europe, and Asia.  He presently splits his time between Western New York and Sweden.

His first book, Death: An Exploration, won the 2016 Beverly Hills Book Award in the category of Death and Dying and was a finalist for book of the year in the 2016 Foreword INDIES Awards in the category of Grief/Grieving (Adult Nonfiction). Inside the Chinese Wine Industry is his third book.

For more information visit his website: lorenmayshark.com.

Keep up with him on Twitter: @LorenMayshark

 

Links

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Facebook Book Page and Facebook Author Page

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Book Tour: Sweet Dreams

Guest: How to Make Cupcakes for Pupcakes

When bakery shop owner Maggie Roby can’t have what—or who—she’s yearning for (COUGH*** oh-so-delicious Jake Sutton***COUGH), she goes crazy baking stuff. You want big buttery chocolate chip cookies? She has them. A crunchy caramel pecan pie? She made one. How about a sweetly tart Texas key lime jubilee? DONE.

The best substitute for sex, Maggie decided, was pie.

And since she couldn’t eat enough pie to make those bad feelings go away—whipping up pastries all morning, every morning, kind of ruined a person’s enjoyment of baked goods—she kept her ovens working overtime.

Now her display case was packed with pies. There was caramel delight pie filled with soft piped caramel and drizzled with chocolate. There was butter pie bursting with butter, sugar, eggs, raisins and walnuts covered in a crisp pastry shell. And there were crumbly apple tarts bubbling over with oats, cinnamon and brown sugar.

She assembled the ingredients for lemon meringue. Between customers, she returned to the kitchen to add her grandmother’s special lemon curd filling to the bottom of a short crust and then she layered in the fluffy meringue. After she slid the pie in the oven, Maggie washed the pastry board and set it to dry.

Now it was ten a.m. two weeks after her sister’s wedding, Cuervo had returned to being the drowsy little hamlet it was and she was bored out of her skull. And restless. And so not thinking about Jake Sutton.

 

Fortunately for Maggie, she has her pug, Gus, to distract her. And when she’s not knitting adorable little sweaters for him, she uses her downtime to make the occasional doggy treat. I mean, seriously. Who can resist those big syrupy pleading eyes? You might have a pair of those at home, too, which is why I wanted to share Peanut Butter Pupcakes (cupcakes for dogs) that I’ve adapted from a terrific recipe on UrbanBlissLife.com. I think you’re gonna love it. Well, someone you know probably will.

Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup quick cooking oats
  • peanut butter, slightly warmed to make it spreadable, topped by a Milk Bone or other dog treat

 

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line a cupcake tin with 6-7 cupcake liners—online, you can actually find cupcake liners that have dogs on them. Super cute!
  • Combine the egg, peanut butter, oil and shredded carrots in a large bowl. Don’t add sugar! Sugar isn’t good for canine constitutions.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and oats. Add this to the carrot mixture, and stir, adding in a splash of water if the mixture gets too thick to deal with.
  • Spoon the mixture into the cupcake liners.
  • Bake for 15-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few crumbs on it. The tops should be a lovely golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack.
  • Once cooked, frost each cupcake with peanut butter and then add a Milk Bone or other doggy treat on top. If you’re like my friend Carol, you’ll invite a whole bunch of other dogs and owners over to snarf Pupcakes and wear humiliating hats. Hello, Instagram!

Enjoy!

In a little town in the heart of Texas, the same old story can turn into happily ever after . . .

On any given day, Maggie Roby has cake batter on her sleeve, flour where the blush supposedly goes, and sore feet from standing since dawn. For her sister’s wedding day, she’s added a side of heartache. Maggie’s failed marriage taught her that love is a lie and commitment a mistake, and it was an expensive lesson. But with her bakery thriving and her life simplified to work, family, and knitting for her pug, Maggie thinks she’s bought some peace. Until Jake Sutton walks in and she realizes she isn’t safe from desire at all . . .

Jake has model-perfect looks and about a billion dollars to throw around, but Maggie also sees the same never-say-die grit she prizes in herself. The attraction between them is hotter than her oven in July. But when Jake decides to restore the old Art Deco movie theater right around the corner from her bakery, she worries that temptation is a little too close for comfort. And the added ingredient of a man from her past only complicates the mix. This time nothing less than true love will do. If she can learn to listen to her heart, she just may be able to have her cake and eat it too.

 

About the Book

Title: Sweet Dreams

Author: Stacey Keith

Genre: Romance

In a little town in the heart of Texas, the same old story can turn into happily ever after . . .

On any given day, Maggie Roby has cake batter on her sleeve, flour where the blush supposedly goes, and sore feet from standing since dawn. For her sister’s wedding day, she’s added a side of heartache. Maggie’s failed marriage taught her that love is a lie and commitment a mistake, and it was an expensive lesson. But with her bakery thriving and her life simplified to work, family, and knitting for her pug, Maggie thinks she’s bought some peace. Until Jake Sutton walks in and she realizes she isn’t safe from desire at all . . .

Jake has model-perfect looks and about a billion dollars to throw around, but Maggie also sees the same never-say-die grit she prizes in herself. The attraction between them is hotter than her oven in July. But when Jake decides to restore the old Art Deco movie theater right around the corner from her bakery, she worries that temptation is a little too close for comfort. And the added ingredient of a man from her past only complicates the mix. This time nothing less than true love will do. If she can learn to listen to her heart, she just may be able to have her cake and eat it too.

 

 

Author Bio

Award-winning author Stacey Keith doesn’t own a television, but reads compulsively—and would, in fact, go stark raving bonkers without books, most of which are crammed into every corner of the house. She lives with her jazz musician boyfriend in Civita Castellana, a medieval village in Italy that sits atop a cliff, and she spends her days writing in a nearby abandoned 12th century church. But the two things she is most proud of are her ability to cook pasta alla matriciana without burning down the kitchen, and swearing volubly in Italian with all the appropriate hand gestures.

 

 

Links

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Website: www.StaceyKeithAuthor.com

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Guest Post The Truth About White Supremacy, Sexism and Mind Control in America

Guest Post by A.L. Bryant

I’m probably not like most traditional writers who have a set editing process for their book. After finishing the rough draft, I read it over several times and change it along the way. I determine where the weak areas are that don’t flow with the overall concept and change them. After going through this process several times, I feel satisfied and complete the final manuscript.

About the Book

Title: The Truth About White Supremacy, Sexism and Mind Control in America

Author: A.L. Bryant

Genre: Religion, Spirituality & New Age

Take a journey through America to unearth the truths behind white supremacy and sexism in society. Delve into the deepest and most fascinating secrets behind racism and sexism—the secrets they do not want you to know and may not realize.

Examine the origins and progression of racism, sexism, relationships in America, and the science and psychology behind what is real and what is an illusion. Discover how mind control is the weapon of choice to keep certain groups in power and others in the dark and oppressed. This book gives different perspectives from the physical to the metaphysical.

Finally, we explore astonishing revelations about why we are here, who we are, and how to heal and evolve to a higher spiritual level. Explore the mind-blowing revelations and proven facts that will challenge the way you think about people, life, and the universe.

Though this book focuses on America, its breathtaking discoveries can be applied everywhere, and with anyone around the world.

 

Author Bio

A.L. Bryant is a former journalist, with articles published in the San Diego Independent newspaper and on popular blog sites. In 2003, Bryant won a literary award for a children’s story.

Approaching every piece from the human perspective, Bryant has always sought to uncover, not just the facts, but the real issues behind the story. During this discovery process, and through personal interactions spanning over 25 years, Bryant is exposing tangible evidence about why some things occur in society.

 

Links

Amazon: Amazon

iTunes: iTunes

Youtube

Website: https://spiritrevelationsblog.wordpress.com/

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Guest Post Just Like The Bronte Sisters

Every Woman Has the Same Story

By Laurel Osterkamp

Okay, so you recently had a baby and you’re having trouble getting your groove back. Your kind husband (who is also your doctor) rents a summer house with this huge nursery, but the nursery isn’t for the baby; it’s for you. You’re to stay in the nursery, day in and day out, and because you need “rest” you’re not to read, write, workout, care for your baby, or do anything at all interesting. Your one diversion is to stare at the nursery’s ugly yellow wallpaper, until you begin to believe there’s a woman trapped behind it. And then, your purpose is to free that woman, but what you don’t realize is that you’re really trying to free yourself.

It could happen, right?

I’m of course referring to the famous short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Maybe you once read it in a high school lit class? In my latest novel, Just Like the Brontë Sisters, “The Yellow Wallpaper” is briefly mentioned, when one of my main characters, Jo Beth, is stir-crazy and paranoid during her pregnancy bed-rest. I also just had my high school AP Lit students read “The Yellow Wallpaper”, and write an essay on it. AND I just finished The Widow’s House, by Carol Goodman, who uses The Yellow Wallpaper as inspiration for her entire novel.

So, the story has been on my mind.

And here’s my conclusion: While the author, Charlotte Perkins-Gillman, never achieved brilliant-author-status like Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë, or Daphne Du Maurier, she did accomplish something big. She created an “everywoman.” We hear about “everyman” in literature: that universal male character we can all relate to, because his struggle is our struggle. Well, I’m not the first to believe that a man’s struggle is different than a woman’s, and the reason Perkin’s-Gillman never gave her main character a name is because she is everywoman.

Now, I’m not saying we’re all destined for insanity, or to be locked in a poorly decorated room by our controlling husbands. But I do believe that every woman’s story has a shared element. We’re looking to free that person inside us, the one who is trapped by society’s constraints, people’s expectations, or our own poor choices. Every woman’s story, on some level, is about empowerment and finding our voice. Because, as women, we are expected to make other people happy first, before satisfying our own yearnings.

All my books have been about women and empowerment. None of my characters are victims, and only a few are insane. And I should add, there is a lot of great fiction out now, with kick-ass female protagonists, truly empowered gals we’re rooting for from page one. BUT, at the very least, those kick-ass protagonists must struggle to hold onto that empowerment.

It’s not their fault. And it’ the reason “The Yellow Wallpaper” is still referenced today. We’re all looking to find that woman inside us, and to keep her from creeping away.

About the Book

Title: Just Like The Bronte Sisters

Author: Laurel Osterkamp

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Sisters Skylar and Jo Beth adore skiing and they virtually share the same soul. After an accident, Jo Beth flees to Brazil, leaving Skylar behind in Colorado to obsessively read the Brontë sisters. While abroad, Jo Beth meets Mitch and her life takes some unexpected turns, until tragedy leads free-spirited Mitch right into Skylar’s empty arms. With their Heathcliff/Catherine romance in full swing, Skylar wants to trust Mitch, but did he harm her sister? Loving Mitch could make Skylar lose everything. Just Like the Brontë Sisters is an unconventional romantic page-turner inspired by Daphne du Maurier’s My Cousin Rachel, full of magical realism, literary references, a ghost, and some healthy doses of suspense.

 

 

Author Bio

Laurel Osterkamp is a Kindle Scout/award-winning author of women’s fiction and suspense. Her “day job” is as at Columbia Heights High School, where she teaches creative writing, college writing, and AP Lit. She resides in Minneapolis with her husband, two chatty children, an overweight cat, a gecko, and a hissing cockroach (don’t ask). Her other loves include chocolate, jogging, and boots.

 

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