Tuesday, September 16, 2014

YARDLEY BRINGS MURDER AND WHIMSY TO MADHOUSE

Elegant Murder and Tragic Prose are in the Stars This Fall
Mercedes M. Yardleys New Release is Nothing Short of Beautiful

Monday, September 8thCrestview Hills, KY—“Murder and whimsy. These things may sound incompatible, but dark fantasy author Mercedes M. Yardleys latest novel manages to entwine the two concepts with lyrical language, beautiful imageryand a high body count.

Ragnarok Publications is proud to announce the release of Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy, coming on September 29th. A dark but lovely fairy tale, this is Yardley at her finest: a tapestry of lush imagery, poetic prose, and beautiful violence about a woman destined to be murdered and her flight from Fates inevitableyet seemingly terriblemarksmanship.

Yardleys fans are no strangers to her lovely, tragic style. She is also the author of the acclaimed novella Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love, winner of the 2013 Reddit Stabby Award for Best Short Fiction, and the novel Nameless: The Darkness Comes, the first of The Bone Angel trilogy.

The creation of Pretty Little Dead Girls was something special for Yardley, however: Pretty Little Dead Girls was created out of sheer joy, Yardley says. I've never experienced anything like it. This novel was written in three weeks. It bled from my pores, it was so intense. But so joyful.

Hugo award-winning artist Galen Dara was commissioned to create a cover image that would capture the idea of lovely murder. The result, coupled with the design skills of J.M. Martin, is absolutely stunning. So stunning, in fact, that Ragnarok Publications has decided to release a special, limited hardcover edition of the book. Only one hundred of these signed hardcovers will be available, and preorders have already begun.

Also included in the package for the preordered hardcovers is a signed print from artist Orion Zangara, renowned for creating fairy tales with his lavish pen and ink drawings. Dark and evocative, this stunning image by Zangara was made with a particular scene from Pretty Little Dead Girls in mind.

Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy is not just a novel; with the poignant words of Mercedes M. Yardley, and the haunting images of both Dara and Zangara, it is, without a doubt, a work of art.

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The special signed hardcover edition of Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy, along with the Orion Zangara print, is NOW AVAILABLE FOR PREORDER. http://www.ragnarokpub.com/#!apocmon-boneangel/c234g

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Contact Ragnaroks Publicity Coordinator, Melanie R. Meadors, with questions and/or requests.

Monday, September 8, 2014

ATTENTION: Wytovich Throws Lawrence C. Connoly in Madhouse


On Ghosts, Revenants, and Revision

By Lawrence C. Connolly

Copyright © 2014 by Lawrence C. Connolly


Lately, I’ve been contemplating ghosts.


I don’t mean the revenants of dead people, but rather the specters of books that were never born. Titles such as Harlan Ellison’s Blood’s a Rover, a yet-to-be published book that I saw advertised for release from Ace in the early 1980s, or the Orchises Press edition of J. D. Salinger’s Hapworth 16, 1924, which received considerable advance notice in 1996 before the author pulled the rights.

Sometimes these ghosts achieve a semblance of existence, usually after the authors are no longer around to stand in their way. Such releases are almost always incomplete and appended with editorial notes to outline what might have been (or worse, finished and revised by literary continuators who claim to know the authors’ true intensions).

In the early 1970s, the always eccentric Truman Capote referred to his long delayed Answered Prayers as a “posthumous novel” because “either I’m going to kill it, or it’s going to kill me.” The unfinished book was eventually released in 1986 – two years after Capote’s death.

Other well-known books that were abandoned either by death or disenchantment include J. R. R. Tolkein’s The Notion Club Papers, Edgar Allan Poe’s The Journal of Julius Rodman, and Mark Twain’s The Mysterious Stranger. It remains to be seen if Stephen King’s The Plant, started in 1982 and currently unfinished, will become one of these.

The abundance of such ghosts isn’t surprising, given the nature of the creation process and the fine madness shared by many writers. For us, it’s not just about getting the words right. As Patrick Rothfuss writes on his blog:

Words are just the tip of the iceberg. [It’s also about] the order of scenes, characterization, tension and subplot. I obsess about these things. I don’t want them good. I want them perfect.

Rothfuss cites these as just some of the reasons why his second novel, The Wise Man’s Fear, came out years after its anticipated release date.

In all, I think that Ted Thompson, author of The Land of Steady Habits, best identifies the reasons for such delays (and the ghosts that can result from them) in a recent article in Salon.

I think deep down we know when we’re done. There is something driving your writing, something that you might not understand, that has to be expressed for the project to be realized. If it hasn’t yet been found, or hasn’t yet been made clear, you’ll feel it and you’ll know you’re not there.

Those inner feelings are more important today than ever. In an age driven by publication deadlines and the option of rushing a work into print via a proliferation of self-publishing platforms, it seems literary ghosts are the least of our concerns.

Agent Rachel Gardner addresses this problem in a blog post titled “Quality Books Take Time.” She writes:

[I]t takes [time] to write a high quality book. I’m not talking about a book that everyone has to love. I’m talking about a book that has the basics: a solid story, well-developed characters, conflict that engages the reader, a satisfying resolution, well-crafted sentences and paragraphs, literate use of words, and a lack of typos and other egregious, noticeable errors [. . .] .

With the proliferation of self-pub, online retailers are flooded with books that contain almost none of those basics. Books that scream “vanity” and “I just wanted to get rich quick.” Books that say, “I was too impatient, or too arrogant, or too ignorant, to either learn the [. . .] most basic writing techniques, or to get an editor’s eyes on this before it went public.

Elsewhere in the blog, Rachel references a famous Paul Masson ad from the 1980s, in which Orson Welles proclaims that the winemaker will “Sell no wine before its time.”

Writers should be guided by the same dictum. They need to be honest with themselves and trust the inner voice that says This isn’t what you mean or This isn’t working or You can do better. I’m not saying that deadlines aren’t important, simply that they sometimes can and perhaps should be adjusted when the book demands it.

I spent a lot of time this summer thinking about such things.

Earlier this year, my novel Vortex: Book Three of the Veins Cycle was scheduled for a summer release. Ads appeared, review copies went out, and I began what was to be a string of summer appearances in support of the book. But even as the machinery geared up for the release, something was nagging me, a sense that the full potential of the story was yet unrealized. I suppose it would have been easier in the short term to let the book come out. Instead, I requested a delay.

Since it was the third and final act in the cycle, I knew from the outset that Vortex was going to be a challenging book. It was the place where all the narrative arcs and mysteries needed to come together, where the true nature of the cycle would be revealed and the series drawn to a close. The first version of the book did these things. That wasn’t the questions. At issue was how it did them. I didn’t want the book to feel rushed, to give the impression that characters were simply hitting their marks. Their actions needed to be fully motivated, with the revelations growing out of their decisions. To make that happen, I needed to live with them a little longer, spend a little more time exploring the potential of their lives and the reckoning of their choices.  

The additional revisions took three months. The work was intense, and I admit that I worried early on that I might be conjuring a ghost. Nevertheless, within weeks, the book began to truly come alive.

I turned the manuscripts in last month. No regrets this time. The extra time was worth it, and I can now rest knowing that I have given it the fully realized life it deserves.

It comes out in November.

Lawrence C. Connolly‘s contemporary fantasy series The Veins Cycle concludes this winter with the release of Vortex. The first two books in the series, Veins and Vipers, have just been reissued in both print and ebook form. This week (September 5-10), the ebook edition of Veins is on sale for 99 cents at AmazonBarnes & Noble, Kobo, and Fantasist Enterprises. Fasten your seat belts, and enjoy the ride!