Royalty Donations for To Dwell in Dreams

As with all of the installments of the ‘Once Upon a Reality’ series, I will be donating 10% of my author royalties of To Dwell in Dreams to a corresponding charity of my choice.

As this novel deals heavily with the ways in which Lyn, the main character, is unprepared for motherhood even as a young married woman, and makes some drastic and tragic choices based on the lack of understanding in her own circles, I have decided that the donated royalties of To Dwell in Dreams will be sent to the Gabriel Project in Denver. The Gabriel Project, through each of the Gabriel ‘Houses’ offers “spiritual and emotional support. In addition we help mothers with baby items such as infant and children’s clothes, blankets, diapers, wipes, toiletries, formula. We can also help pregnant moms and new moms with personal care items. We help with referrals for resources including housing, employment, education, parenting programs, etc.”

I am proud and excited to be able to help support the Gabriel Project through Lyn’s story. Don’t forget, you can purchase To Dwell in Dreams through the publisher (and get a free ebook with the purchase of the paperback!), Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or a signed copy directly from me.

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International Women’s Day: Women Authors

womensday Today is International Women’s Day, a day for celebrating both how far women have come and yet how far women must go to achieve true equality in today’s world. As an author, I would like to celebrate today by calling attention of some of my own favorite modern female authors. I think it is very important that the female voice is allowed authority in the literary canon, especially when it comes to the writing of female experience and overcoming centuries of horrible stereotypes and caricatures of women through all genres of literature.

 

So, without further ado, here is my short beginners list of modern female authors to support and add to your collection:

Tamora Pierce

Marissa Meyer

Parker J. Cole

Amanda Romaine Lynch

Rainbow Rowell

Anita Diamant

Sarah Dunant

Annie Dillard

Terry Tempest Williams

Leslie Marmon Silko

 

 

 

 

 

Followers: what female authors would you add to this list?

Guest Post: The Role Of Historical Fiction in Writing Women’s History

 

 

“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” 
― Rudyard KiplingThe Collected Works

“Whether I like it or not, most of my images of what various historical periods feel, smell, or sound like were acquired well before I set foot in any history class. They came from Margaret Mitchell, from Anya Seton, from M.M. Kaye, and a host of other authors, in their crackly plastic library bindings. Whether historians acknowledge it or not, scholarly history’s illegitimate cousin, the historical novel, plays a profound role in shaping widely held conceptions of historical realities.” 
― Lauren Willig

I wrote my novel, ‘The Black Hours’, because I have an interest in the lives of ordinary people in history. I have always wanted to get behind the facts taught in my history lessons and discover how the politics, religion and social expectations of different times and places affected normal people trying to live their everyday lives, particularly women. Standing in the Museum of Witchcraft in Cornwall one blowy November day, I read with my daughter the list of those victimized by the witch-hunts in England. What struck us both was, firstly, how behind each of these names was a person, with a life, a family, with hopes, dreams and fears, and secondly, that the list was predominantly comprised of women. Now that ‘The Black Hours’ is finished and published, I hope that, in some small way, it tells the stories, the history of these poor women. A history that is reduced to a list of names, for, although we can research the laws, the religions, the culture and the beliefs that caused witch hunts to happen, what the books don’t tell us is how it felt to be a victim of those witch hunts, and, how it felt in particular to be a woman, on the outskirts of society, terrified that you would be blamed for all the tragedies and calamities that befell your neighbors.

The Black Hours book cover

So is there a role then for stories in histories? Can we learn from fiction how life was for women in the past? Read any of Jane Austen’s novels and you will come away with a sense of how it was for certain women in society – take the first line of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ for example:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”

Now, although this line is ostensibly about life in the 19th century for a wealthy man, it also gives us an insight into life for women of a similar class. The problem for Lizzie and her sisters is that there are just too many of them – they must be married or face an uncertain future, and a man with a good fortune is exactly the kind of husband that they need. This gives a real insight into the precarious lives that faced even those women with a good background. And sometimes, just a good background wasn’t enough – you needed the wealth to go with it. In Austen’s ‘Northanger Abbey’ Catherine is viewed as a possible match for Henry Tilney and is invited to his impressive home. However, when General Tilney discovers that she is not rich as he had believed, Catherine is basically banished from the house and has to take a frightening seventy  mile journey home alone.

Perhaps the book that shows the emotions behind the choices women faced in the past most brilliantly and evocatively is Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. Poor Catherine Earnshaw is pulled between doing what her heart wants, to be with Heathcliff, and doing what society wants – to marry Linton. What Bronte does so well is to show Catherine’s conflicting state – she loves Heathcliff with all her heart, but she still wants the status and ease of life with Linton:  “And he will be rich, and I shall like to be the greatest woman of the neighbourhood”. Emily’s sister Charlotte also explored this theme in ‘Jane Eyre’ -Jane will not risk scandal by staying with Mr Rochester once she finds he is married; not only because of her own strong morals, but also because if she were to follow her heart she would risk everything. She would be beholden to Rochester forever – he would be the only thing protecting her from scandal, gossip and ostracism.

blackwater-cover-1600-2455

So these novels do give an insight into the lives of women – at least a certain type of woman. And they do so in such a compelling, believable way because they were written by women who understood the social constraints that faced them and who surely felt those same frustrations in their own lives. They are contemporary to their time. Historical fiction writers are looking back to the past and imagining the lives of those who can no longer speak for themselves. A lot of historical fiction is concerned with well-known women – Elizabeth the first, Anne Boleyn, Mary Queen of Scots, for example,  all have a plethora of fiction in which they star, and these novels, no doubt, tell us a lot about the lives of women and the challenges they faced. And other historical novels also do this, though their focus may be on men. For example, in Hilary Mantels’ ‘Wolf Hall’ and ‘Bring up the Bodies’, focussing on the life of Thomas Cromwell,  Mantel also tells us a lot about the women of court – Anne Boleyn (again!), the usurped Queen Katherine, the seemingly innocent Jane Seymour  and the breathless, desperate Mary Boleyn in particular. Cromwell’s wife is also strongly portrayed, as is his sister in the beginning of ‘Wolf Hall’.

It is worth remembering, as we peruse history books, that history was, in the main, recorded by men. For women’s history then, perhaps we should look to the(relatively few) books penned by women of the time, and those more recent works of fiction that have delved into the past; look to those novelists who have  put themselves into the shoes of women and portrayed those struggles and triumphs, those tragedies and joys that women have experienced for centuries past. And perhaps we can learn from historical fiction of the very real losses that women suffered, in an effort to ensure those losses are never suffered again. For historical fiction can have a part in teaching us those lessons, helping us to see the women of the past as real people, living through events we can only imagine, and dealing with constraints that we hope we will never have again.

 

Alison Williams is an independent historical novelist and freelance writer from Hampshire in the south of England. Her first novel ‘The Black Hours’, set in 1647, is available now and tells the story of Matthew Hopkins, self-styled Witchfinder General, as he scours the countryside, seeking out those he believes to be in league with the Devil, and Alice, who finds herself at the centre of gossip and speculation. Alison’s novella ‘Blackwater’, the prequel to ‘The Black Hours’ will be available from Monday 3rd March.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alisonwilliamswriting

Twitter: @Alison_WiIliams

Blog: http://alisonwilliamswriting.wordpress.com/

New Publication: A Short Story

My short story, Wanakufa, is now available from eLectio publishing. Download it from their bookstore for .99!

wanakufafinalcover

Here’s the blurb:

In the impoverished village of Kakamega, Kenya, seven missionaries from Colorado arrive to dig wells, pray, and share the culture of the indigenous Luhya tribe. Along for the ride is Julia, a senior in high school hoping to leave her own mark on the world through her service in Christ’s name. Little does she know, she will bring more to this trip than she will ever realize.

 

She is Wanakufa. Dying.

Guest Post: The Message

Hello! I’m E. C. Shore from  Pendragon. I can’t tell you how happy I am to be guesting on Once Upon a Reality. On my blog I share my poetry, reviews, and commentary  on  the various mediums used to convey storytelling, and storytelling’s Message. I am very passionate about its idea, and is always  something      I strive for in my writing. One of my works is very reminiscent of   this (and something that I have been working on for the past six   years). My Alexis Trilogy. It has been an example of an   idea  that began as one thing, and grew into something better, and much      more mysterious. Not just the story, but The Message of my  story—the   choice of this individual. All that life has brought about that      challenges and effects her choices, and how her choices defines  life   as it goes on. So many things interweave into truth.

shorecover2

In this story, not only am I  challenged to write the truth of who and what my main character  Alexis is, how her choices increasingly define her, but someone  who  is real—is something better than the typical sissified, sexualized woman portrayed in media, even in current popular books. It is the  challenge in any women’s fiction, in any time, to portray someone  real. Someone we can believe in.

 

How on earth do I do that?  How do I create someone bigger? Someone who is a real soldier? I   go deep, again and again, into my story. I dig like I’m trying to      reach      the center of the earth. I give her story my time, my sweat. Six years and I’m still going, because I want to know her truth—and      little by little I learn it. I learn new truths every time. Yet  even then, when I picture her, try to feel her, she is still a mystery      to      me. I know so many things about her, about qualities that she has,  but still, in the end, she feels like something of a mystery.

 

I wonder if that is part of the   truth—so many of us are strangers. Even people we know well. We   know things about them. Love things about them. We feel like we   know  them, but do we truly? How am I to create this young woman   fighting to keep her family afloat in a time of when they may lose everything      important, and she finds herself taken away? Placed in a position  where she cannot even reach them. She is in the midst of complete  strangers. And her story is her choice to partly let go of any  hope  of returning home, of fighting for her family, and      keeping them fed and in the safety of their home; and   instead  striving to defend something else that is worth defending   now—strangers, a different culture that has so many things wrong   with it, but some many things worth saving. Strangers who are a  normal people.

 

Perhaps the answer is simple, at  least in part. We can’t expect to find complete and utter  understanding. Because human beings are amazingly changeable,   surprising—of fathomless depth. But there are so many around us who  have left their real stories behind. People who have been fathers  and  mothers, laborers and soldiers. Their words are there for us.   Perhaps  I will find part of Alexis’s truth in their words.

 

Shorecover1

Perhaps they can help show us  the way, with our own writing.

 

 

I’d love to see y’all over at Pendragon! I  can also be found on Facebook, Figment, an  Authonomy.  And Kindle, if you’d like a look at what I have up. I would love to hear from  you, be it to just say hi, to share an idea, or to state that I’m      from another planet. (I’d enjoy the latter very immensely).

I also have another blog, Out My Front        Door~A Girl’s Take On Life, where I share my daily life and      progress as I strive for my dreams. Occasionally I share      writing/art-related topics on there as well!

E.C. Shore

Cassandra by Starlight Blog Tour Stop!

About Cassandra By Starlight: 

Falling in love makes Cassie Wallace’s everyday and normal life much more complicated that she’d ever thought it could be.

Being an independent and somewhat unconventional woman, she?d never intended to fall head over heels for a handsome, charming and younger man, one who lived a life she?d only ever imagined before on the big screen.

But Bennett Saville, up and coming star of theatre and film and filthy rich to boot, was one such man. From the tips of his shiny Armani loafers to the auburn curls on his head, he turns Cassie’s world upside down. From their initial tragic meeting to the dangers that threaten them both as their relationship grows more intense, Cassie finds herself a willing participant in Bennett’s world. She learns about a life in show business and living with a man who is constantly on show to the world – not to mention having to face the fact that women throw themselves at him with regular abandon.

Cassie embraces the challenges as only she can, in her usual feisty fashion, lending humour and compassion to their developing relationship. And when violence and fear comes calling for them both, it takes the two of them to hold the dangers at bay and face the events together.

An Excerpt from Cassandra By Starlight

About the Author, Susan Mac Nichol:

Susan Mac Nicol was born in Leeds, UK, and left for South Africa when she was eight. She returned to the UK thirty years later and now lives in Essex. Her debut novel ‘Cassandra by Starlight’, the first in a trilogy, has recently been published by Boroughs Group Publishing in the US.


Sue has written since she was very young, and never thought she would see herself being a Romance writer, being a Horror/Psychological thriller reader all her life. But the Romance genre is now something very close to her heart and she intends continuing the trend.

 

 

 

Why You Should Care About Cassandra by Starlight:

The book deals with the issue of female on male rape as well as schizophrenia. It’s primarily a romance but does have a dose of suspense in it. There are two lead characters-Cassie who is deeply in love with Bennett, the other main character. Bennett is an actor and is stalked and raped by a fan. The author did extensive research and has been credited by a well-known male rape survivor/activist who has had to deal with a lot psychological effects and ridicule since the attack.

To view the author’s explanation about Female-on-Male rape and her inclusion of it in her debut novel, see her post about it here  on Evolved World. I personally welcome awareness of the fact that rape is a crime that can happen to anyone, and encourage fiction that pushes for more recognition of male victims alongside female victims. Having known both males and females who have been sexually harassed and/or raped by other females in my own life, I would love for all critique of rape culture to recognize the evil of every form of rape, be it gang, date, female-on-female, female-on-male, male-on-female, or ‘stereotypical’ stranger in the alley rape. I support the attempt by the author to bring this taboo subject some more light in a way that can truly resonate with the lives and intellects of her readers.

To enter the giveaway for a free copy of Cassandra by Starlight click here. You can even win entries for commenting on this blog post!

 

Guest Post: ‘Ears Open, Tongues in Cheeks’

Today, I have a guest post from author Kerry Connelly. As a female author who deals with hard issues in her own writing, I asked her to submit a piece relating what part she sees fiction having in being able to cope with some of the tougher aspects of life. Enjoy! 

Injecting Humor into Writing

Let’s just get it out there and call a spade a spade, – life, yes life, the ride you’re on righ404129_10150676222513494_8751347_nt now, – without ever having paid an entrance fee, or having left the comfort of your living room – is tricky.

Tricky, tricky, tricky.

It can be tough, rough, overwhelming and frustrating- sometimes it may feel like it’s all a little too much to handle, which is why I believe humour is such a necessary part of life.

Moods – or emotions- the bad the good and the downright ugly- are all a necessary part of life, as the saying goes ‘how can you appreciate the sweet if you don’t taste the sour?’ Imagine going through each day without the hint of a smile, a chuckle or a grin – what a deeply depressing existence that would be! Times can get rough yes- because life can be rough, and whether humour is used as a defence mechanism, a way to relate to other’s or simply as an off-the cuff remark to brighten someone’s day- it’s definitely a necessity. That’s why I use humour in a lot of my writing- It’s needed, it’s a necessity, a way to relate to others’, and a personally cathartic experience-which can turn into a whole lot of fun.

When life throws us a confusing, frustrating, unhappy, rough, or overwhelming situation, I figure it’s best to try and learn from it. I heard a great phrase once, that I found out was spoken by the great Winston Churchill who said, ‘A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity while an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty’, and as true as that saying goes, humour is a form of optimism and can be injected into many concepts and situations to help lighten the heavy load! Which is what happened when writing my current title ‘Observation City’.

‘Observation City’ was the joyous manifestation of many day to day hard felt experiences, situations and concepts I had either experienced myself, that had happened to friends, or had heard about in one form or another. These interesting concepts of feeling pressure to conform, wondering about your direct karma, doing things that you know you shouldn’t, or wanting someone you can’t have, (to name a few), where all produced from spilt milk, and many handled with some tongue- in- cheek humour rather than moodiness and tears.

Let’s throw in a couple of examples, beginning with a personal account.    I once met a beautiful man, a gentleman in all sense of the word, handsome, smart and naturally kind- he was married to the woman of his dreams.

Every time I was around him I could only feel ripples of happiness, an overwhelming feeling that wow- this man could actually be my soul mate, it was a feeling I hadn’t experienced before.

WHY UNIVERSE WHY? Why would the universe let me meet such a man when he was clearly unavailable?  How frustrating and what a rubbish situation for me, every-time we were around each other apparently I would just ‘glow’, when I’d told my friends he was married, they just couldn’t believe it.  It began to make me wonder -Was this just cupid’s idea of a sick joke? Or something else completely? …And so ‘Cupid’s sly eye’ was born, the first piece in ‘Observation City’.DSC04662

On a wider influenced scale, I had heard many, many people, in their late teens to their late 20’s all complaining about the same thing- an issue I had been struggling with myself- general dissatisfaction. Where was this dissatisfaction coming from? And why was it such an issue that crossed the gender and age gap so broadly? Thinking about things I realised that a generalised society placing emphasis on earning the big bucks, buying a big house, acquiring a ‘high and mighty’ job title – was seemingly getting people down, and so came forth ‘The New 27 Club’ and ‘The notion’.

‘Observation City’ became a bit of fun, a witty collection of relatable situations often injected with snippets of humour. I’m happy to say I have received some letters and reviews from men and women who have said they’ve enjoyed it and they have related to certain pieces which has helped change their outlook on things in their own life. – Something I never expected but has been wonderful to hear.

Indeed humour can be injected into many a situation – if only you choose to do so.

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Thankyou Elizabeth for having me. And readers please feel free to contact me via my Facebook Page, Good reads or Official website. I’d love to hear from you.

–    Kerry Louise.

 

To contact Kerry:

FACEBOOK 

WEBSITE: 

GOODREADS: 

 

TO BUY OBSERVATION CITY.

BOOK DEPOSITORY (Free shipping)

AMAZON: 

BARNES AND NOBLE

C/S: 

Or search your favourite online book store.