What’s been happening?

First off, I know you’ve all been excited about my giveaway. If you’ve been following my facebook page, you would have seen my teaser posts. Each teaser post reveals a clue about an item in the giveaway book bundle.

Teaser #4 has been the most popular so far.

Quite a few of you managed to identify the book. So well done! If you were the first to do so, you will receive an extra chance at taking home this amazing collection of books (not literally. If you win, I’ll post the books out to you, obviously). There are 7 books in total, including 2 x Penguin clothbound classics! This book bundle is valued at $150, so I know you’ll want to get your hands on it!

Keep an eye out for the teaser posts. You’ll have more chances to name the books.

But, PLEASE read the rules. So many people have only completed one part of the rules. They will not be eligible, I’m afraid. There are only 2 rules:

  1. Like and follow my page
  2. Like the post

And that means ANY of the posts relating to the giveaway. It could be Teaser #1 or Teaser #10. As long as you like one of them, AND like the page.

And, there are two other optional steps, which are:

  1. (Optional) For an extra chance, be the first to comment the name of the book pictured (or comment the name from the clue — a quote, or other).
  2. (Optional) Tag a friend who likes reading.

That’s it!

There are a few books in my teaser posts that have not been identified… yet! Hop on over to my page. Look for the teaser posts, and see if you can name the books!

So far, I have posted these teaser pictures. Can you name them?

Giveaway teasers

This giveaway is open worldwide. It ends 30.09.17 11.59pm AEST, and that one lucky fan will be named 07.10.17.


Eleanor by Cadence

Eleanor

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, it’s time to have a look at Eleanor. So what’s going on with Eleanor? As you know, my manuscript has come back from the editor. I’ve received mostly positive feedback, but there are some areas of concern I’ll need to address. So far, I’ve gone over most of the issues. There are a couple of things I’ll need to be more attentive to. My heroine, Eleanor, needs the most work at this stage. My editor really liked Mr Ashwood (Henry), Gaston, and Vivienne, which I am thrilled about — particularly her liking Henry, who I was most concerned about. Despite my readings and research, I have still not been very confident writing male characters, especially someone like Henry, who is the love interest of Eleanor.

“That’s not a good sign”, you must think, considering I am focusing this coming National Novel Writing Month on writing a book from the perspective of the Marquis de Sade. He isn’t too hard to get into the mind of though, as I have been researching him and his works for a number of years now. It’s simply a matter of conveying it, in the right way.

Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked, as always.

Once I make all the changes, I will begin pitching to agents. As you know, I have a few in mind. I won’t name them at this stage, though I will keep you guys up to date whenever I have news.

And, because I’m feeling generous, here’s a little teaser taste of Eleanor.

Eleanor by Cadence teaser


Off topic

Also, did anyone watch the Matildas beat Brazil last week? It was a fantastic match! With a sellout crowd, this alone should encourage the networks to broadcast more women’s sports. Lisa De Vanna and Sam Kerr was amazing. Watching Kerr’s style and determination throughout the match, I could see that it was only inevitable she would score. Well done to the ladies, and I’m excited to see another match soon!

Anyway, I might leave it there this week. Knowing me, I’ll get distracted again, and I’m sure I’ve forgotten some important news I was supposed to give you. Oh well!

 

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Eleanor is back from the editor!

As you know, Eleanor was recently sent off to the editor, to get all prettied and vamped up, but now my beloved debut novel is back in my hands, hooray!

So, right now I’m going through all the mark ups and comments, and the report to see where change is needed to be made in the manuscript. There are a number of minor and major issues to work through, so it seems I will be working on Eleanor a bit longer than I had initially anticipated. Still, I have set myself a reasonable deadline to get through everything. I’m hoping to finish by the end of the month, at which time I can finally start contacting agents.

I have to say that I am extremely happy with the editorial services provided by Phoenix Editing and Proofreading. Amanda J Spedding has been incredible to work with, and I highly recommend her to anyone looking to publish — because every manuscript needs an edit. We’re still in talks because we want to ensure Eleanor gets to as near perfect as possible. I just want Eleanor to have the best chance when I submit to agents and publishers.

But, of course, to do that I also have to work on my cover letter more. I have a draft pretty well sorted, just need to perfect it. I also have listed a few agents I want to approach, just have to make sure I approach them at the right time, obviously — a lot of agents will only accept manuscripts at particular times.

I think I’ll leave it there for this week. It’s only a quick update, sorry guys, but I’ll fill you in more when I get closer to finishing up Eleanor. And, hopefully this will be the last time I have to work on this novel before I submit to agents. It’s not that I’m sick of working on it, I’m just ready to let it go.

Book covers, giveaways, comps, and Nano

It feels like it’s been ages since I’ve given you all an update, and I guess it has, as last week I posted up a review of Florence & Giles instead of my usual post.

Eleanor by Cadence

Editing and Eleanor
My fabulous editor is currently working on Eleanor — doing a copyedit and assessment of the manuscript. I’m expecting to hear back (with notes, etc) in a couple of weeks. It’s very exciting! And I can’t wait to hear about all the things wrong with the manuscript 😉

Cover designs
Phoenix Johnson is working on designs for my National Novel Writing Month project on the Marquis de Sade — still thinking of titles — and also looking at putting together covers for my Wings of Malice series! I have some great ideas. It’s just a matter of making it all cohesive — I want all the covers to look like they belong together.

NaNoWriMo project
National Novel Writing Month is coming up, and so I plan to reserve all of October for research and planning for the event in November. As you know, the project will be on the Marquis de Sade — and will focus on several incidents and events in his life. Of course, there will be an overarching plot, but the story will be separated into different chapters and each chapter will look at each incident. So, I guess it will a series of mini stories, but with a plot to join them all together. Does that make more sense now?

I have some particular incidents and events in mind to focus on, and I have the overarching plot pretty well sorted, but I won’t reveal them to you until October. Sorry guys!

Wings of Malice
Okay, onto Wings of Malice. This has already been a major project in the works for a long time now — I think I started it back in 2012 — but, of course, I decided (just recently) to make things harder, I decided to set a challenge for myself and turn my 86,000 word (near complete) novel into a series instead.

I think this is the best option considering the story length itself — I was looking to reach around 120,000 words (if I had my way!) — and I think it is the best option given the genre (fantasy) — even though I prefer standalone novels! I am however looking to write each novel to be read either as part of the series or as a standalone.

At this stage, I am primarily focusing on the first novel in the series. However, as I’ve technically already written the entire story and plot line, I need to now dissemble my novel and put each part in its appropriate novel in the series. This therefore means working on both the first novel and the second at the same time — as they are a little more cohesive, and I want to avoid repetition, inconsistency, etc. The third novel is quite different, and so I shouldn’t have that problem. I’ve already formed a basic skeleton of its parts.

I also went against instinct (sort of) and decided to make Book 1 of the series about one of the sidekicks of the protagonist. Book 2 will focus on the protagonist, and Book 3 will focus on another sidekick (sort of). I don’t want to spoil it obviously.

As I said, it’s still in the works, and I am quite fickle. It could change again before my next blog post. We’ll see.

It will be a massive project, and I will work on it intermittently — given that I will be starting my Sade novel soon.

Comps
In reading through all these books (as part of my list of comparable works to Eleanor), I’ve come to the realisation that “neo-Victorian” literature is about conveying female empowerment and the injustices of Victorian life for young girls and women. At least I think so. I’m planning to write a short essay on the idea. I love reading these novels, and I think there’s absolutely something there for study, which is great, because I love to learn!

A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald by Natasha Lester

Of course, this idea of female empowerment is not strictly limited to neo-Victorianism. O no! Female empowerment “is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken.”
(Sonnet 116, Shakespeare)

I don’t know why I wrote that. It just came naturally. Do not try to comprehend my mind; how it functions nor where it dwells.

Anyway, as I was saying, I have also found, in Natasha Lester’s A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald (which I am currently reading and loving!), this idea of women’s desires being silenced by male oppressors and the expectations of society. Though this story is set in the early 20th century, these same limitations on the feminine still apply. And, sadly, similar (if not the same) limitations will still apply or be relevant for many more years to come.

I will also write a review on Lester’s novel, when I get some time.

And finally…
If you’ve read this far, congratulations! The post is quite long, so well done! But also, I shall now impart to you information regarding a giveaway I will be running soon. You will not be able to comprehend the awesome of this giveaway.

I’m putting together a bundle of books — a collection of my favourites, and ones which have inspired me (I’m sure you can figure out which ones they are!) — and giving them away to one lucky follower.

To stay in the loop of this giveaway, and for regular updates on how to get your hands on this amazing collection of books, be sure to like and follow me on Facebook. Keep an eye out for teasers too!

Agents, editors, comps, and comps

It’s been crazy-busy lately! There’s so much to tell you guys, so I’d better do it quickly, before I forget it all.

Firstly, editors (or, more accurately, “editor”)
Eleanor is off with the editor for a copyedit/assessment of the manuscript. I am both excited and nervous as all Hell. I should get Eleanor back mid September, which is fantastic because I want to get my novel out and about asap. Which brings me to…

Agents
I’ve already started making up a list of agents I’m considering. I’m looking for agents who are members of the Australian Literary Agents’ Association (ALAA). The ALAA is the best place to start the search for reputable agents. Thanks, Natasha Lester!

Comparable works to Eleanor
I’m still going through my comps list. I recently read the Penny Dreadful comic, which was, really, a gorgeous read. The artwork is amazing. If you like the television series, I recommend you check out the comics. I likely won’t be able to put Penny Dreadful down as a comp. Though the genre is very similar, I’m not sure the format is appropriate for comparison. Perhaps when/if I get in contact with agents or publishers and they want to know more, maybe I could bring it up. I still think it is relevant. I mean, the “neo-Victorian” genre (including steampunk) is very popular across all media, so it wouldn’t totally be amiss to regard Penny Dreadful as comparative in some respects.

I will do a proper review at a later time, methinks.

I’m also just finishing up reading The Asylum, by John Harwood. I have to say that, seriously, I feel like I’ve struck gold with the novels I’ve picked. The Asylum is, so far, just another wonderfully beautiful read. If you liked Wildthorn, by Jane Eagland, then you will absolutely love this book. Again, I will write up a more decent review at another time. Right now, this is just an update of what’s going on.

So, what’s next to read?
One of these. I haven’t decided yet. I’m also still to find a copy of Emily’s Ghost, by Denise Giardina.

Blue Fringe Arts
The 25th anniversary of Blue Fringe Arts is coming up! I’m really excited… and nervous. I will be submitting two pieces this year; a poem and a short story. After the ceremony, I’ll be sure to post up entries, so don’t fret, guys. You’ll get to read them.

Book Pipeline competition
I’ve just discovered the Book Pipeline competition, which looks to turn works such as novels into TV or film adaptations! I plan to submit Eleanor (once it’s edited). I don’t know what my chances would be, but I’m honestly quite excited about the fact that every entrant will receive feedback on their work! So, as a realist (on occasion), I’m not going to get my hopes up high, but I’m stoked that I’ll get feedback regardless! Yay!

I actually have another work in progress (WIP) — a secret one — that would be more suited for this particular competition, but as it’s still only a WIP, I’ll give Eleanor a chance at entering instead.

Anyway… although I don’t think that’s everything, I might have to leave it there. Sorry, guys! Don’t despair, I’ll be back next week with more of my exciting, sexy adventures.

See you then!

Wings of Malice series

Yes, you read right. Wings of Malice will now be a series.

Let’s first be clear… I’m referring to ‘series’ in the literary world, not televisual. But, possibly in the future that could still happen. Whom knows?

Originally, I had intended to write a standalone fantasy novel, with the possibility of creating two or three spin-off novels, for each of the main characters. Instead, I’ve decided on writing a series (of three books), which will very much complicate things. Essentially, this means dissecting 86,000 odd words, and separating chapters into their respective novels. In summary, I will be writing three novels at once. What fun!

If you will notice, I have updated the novel progress to…

Wings of MaliceIt’s simply my need to constantly make things more difficult for myself, really.

So far, I have gone through my manuscript, and I have begun filtering out chapters, and have been formatting them into some sort of coherent structure. At this stage, Book Three is longer than the rest — the start has been difficult to dissect, unfortunately —  so really I have been forced to work on all three novels at one time, at least for now.

Writing in this particular structure actually opens a door to a spin-off I have been contemplating for some time. One of my antagonists is quite a complex character, who I would like to develop a bit more within the series. But, I would also like to show her off in her own novel, as she seems to outshine the heroines.

At this stage I can’t reveal much more about the project, unfortunately. It’s now, technically, in its ‘early days’.

In other news
I have just finished reading Florence and Giles, by John Harding.

This is an amazing book, and I will get around to writing a proper review soon — I won’t do one in this post.

I will say this though… buy this book now! It is in-your-face Gothic, and in-your-face twists and turns. As the quote on the cover of the book suggests…

Imagine The Turn of the Screw reworked by Edgar Allan Poe – The Times

…it is indeed very Poe-esque.

I will stop there. As I said, I will leave the review until later.

What’s next on the reading list?
I haven’t started anything new yet, sadly. These last couple of weeks have been quite hectic, and so far I struggled to finish both Wildthorn and Florence and Giles before my deadlines.

As you can see (below), I still have a few to go. I did also recently order another book, Emily’s Ghost, by Denise Giardina — my first preference — but the order was cancelled sadly, so now I will have to find another copy elsewhere. Sigh.

I may also consider The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James now since finishing Florence and Giles. I do have a copy somewhere, in one of my To Be Read bookcases.

An unintentional review post on Wildthorn

Wildthorn by Jane Eagland

All of my books have arrived in the mail. Woo! I can’t wait to crack into them!

I recently finished reading Wildthorn, by Jane Eagland. It was amazing! But, I will speak (write?) more of that in a minute. I just started Florence and Giles, by John Harding. It was so difficult to choose (from those above), but I wanted to go with something not so terribly close to Wildthorn, in terms of plot or story, as it would possibly all bleed together, and I haven’t had any breaks from reading. So, a different story will have to be the break. It is hard though, as I have obviously chosen a particular type of novel I am after for the comps. I might consider straying away for a wee while, after Florence and Giles — either a break entirely, or temporarily move on to another genre — before my brain implodes.

But firstly, I want to talk about Wildthorn.
I haven’t read a book so remarkably rich in detail, so powerful, and with a plot and story so gut-wrenchingly beautiful yet painful, in a very long time. It was full of twists — some I could see coming, though most I could not — scandals, secret and forbidden loves, betrayal (like, I-want-to-punch-that-person-in-the-face betrayal), as well as I-want-to-punch-that-person-in-the-face-again loss and sadness. I was also very fond of the language, style, and tone of the novel. And, the research that went into this book? The detail of the asylum, the “treatments”, the characterisation of the doctors and patients — just wow!

Wildthorn Jane Eagland

Much like my Eleanor, the heroine of Wildthorn, Louisa Cosgrove, craves a life off the path which has been already laid for her. Her desire to become a doctor is relentlessly and mercilessly crushed by external forces; namely her family, who does nothing but try and rid her of her unfeminine qualities, and her unfeminine dream.

Most of the book explores the consequences of a nineteenth-century woman choosing to defy the societal expectations of her sex. A vindictive plot against her stifles her dream, if only physically, for she is incarcerated in an asylum, Wildthorn Hall, for her crimes against not only her sex, but her family — an unruly woman, seeking a career reserved solely for men, would bring shame to the family.

Louisa is the kickarse heroine we need. She’s not going to go out and start beating up baddies, but her knowledge of the scientific world, for instance, makes me want to be just like her — I think contemporary women would absolutely idolise her. In fact, you could say, she’s just like Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer: independent, intelligent, and is possessed by a desire to harness the dark arts. Well, not quite, but in the Victorian period, a woman’s fascination with such unrefined or masculine things, was just as sinful.

Eagland never stopped surprising me. I’d think I had something figured out, but then I’d be blown away with revelation after revelation.

For instance, Louisa was committed under the name Lucy Childs. Of course, I started off believing it to be some conspiracy. It’s absolutely something that could have happened in nineteenth-century England. Women were committed for all manner of absurd reasons, and it wasn’t difficult to make a woman seem crazy — a woman wanting to be anything other than what was expected of her, is enough for her to be deemed mad — so, I believed her to be honest about her identity, but then I was soon convinced that perhaps her incarceration really was done for her benefit. Perhaps whoever was responsible did really care for her well-being. Of course, I quickly dismissed that idea too, for surely they would have at least considered the rest cure to such a horrible alternative. Yet, the asylum is the ideal place to silence a person — a woman.

Once you delve deeper, you start to doubt yourself, and you start to fear that you would have been committed, had you lived in Victorian England.

This should be enough to scare you from ever attempting time travel.

Reasons for admission

Solving the puzzle of who was responsible for Louisa’s imprisonment had me devouring page after page. It was impossible to put this book down, save for sleep. And, I never stopped hoping for her to make it out of there alive. I wanted her to make it out, she had to. I wasn’t going to accept otherwise. Of course, I won’t divulge whether she did or not. You’ll have to find out yourself 😉

My only qualm is with the ending. It wasn’t satisfying for me, but as you know, I’m very particular about endings!

There are a lot of similarities between Wildthorn and Eleanor, which I am happy to see. I think Wildthorn will make a fantastic addition to my comps list for when I submit to agents and publishers.

Be sure to get yourself a copy, and tell your friends. Wildthorn is a must read!

I rate this book a Wuthering Heights.

The scale:
10. Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
9. Wormwood: A Drama of Paris – Marie Corelli
8. Tess of the d’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
7. Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
6. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J.K. Rowling
5. Fox in Socks – Dr. Seuss
4. The Da Vinci Code Dan Brown
3. The Catcher in the Rye J. D. Salinger
2. Dune – Frank Herbert
1. Fallen – Lauren Kate
0. 50 Shades of Grey – E. L. James

Read more about the scale here

Anyway…
I didn’t actually mean for this post to turn into a review like that, I just had a lot to say about the book. I probably have a lot more to say, but maybe I’ll save that until later.

What was I actually going to talk about? I can’t remember. You know what, fine. This can be a review post, haha!

Comps, cover letters, editors, agents

I know I gave you guys an update last week, but it feels like it has been months. Maybe it’s because I just keep forgetting to tell you about all the awesome stuff that’s been happening. Such as… historical fiction writer, Fiona Mountain, is now following me on Twitter!!!

Cadence twitter Fiona Mountain follower

If you remember, I recently mentioned how much I loved her novel, Rebel Heiress (also known as Lady of the Butterflies), so I was gushing when I saw my Twitter notifications!

Lady of the Butterflies by Fiona Mountain

Firstly, let’s get this out of the way…
Despite still being sick, I feel so much better this week. To all those concerned, it’s okay, don’t worry. My blood test results came back — all negative.

Now to the important stuff
It seems things are progressing a lot more quickly now since finishing Eleanor. I’m further into my comparable works list, I’m taking a course on writing pitches and cover letters, Pitch Your Novel: How to Attract Agents and Publishers (by the lovely Natasha Lester, and hosted with the Australian Writers’ Centre), I’ve booked an editor (the one I was after, yay!) to start working on my manuscript in August, and I’m now on the search for an agent (the course name would have given that away!).

Cadence Tweets Natasha Lester AWC

If you are interested in the course, you can find more details here.

Yes, because I am so fickle and indecisive (you would have noticed this as you joined me on my journey as I wrote Eleanor — I moved from writing a novella to novel, from considering self-publishing to traditional, and now from unagented to agented… fingers crossed!), I am now on the lookout for an agent. There are a few I know of, and have been considering, so I will work on that while my manuscript is being edited.

I just want to make sure Eleanor has the best chance at publication.

To do this, I have to write a CV/cover letter (including a pitch). This is something that is really important, so I have to ensure I do it right — to sell myself, and Eleanor, as best I can.

Regarding the pitch
I’ve had my latest one critiqued by The Book Doctors (Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry). While I received mostly positive feedback, there is also a lot I need to work on still to perfect it. A pitch is around 200 words (maybe a bit more), and is basically similar to what you would find as the blurb on books (unfortunately, I haven’t updated mine yet — you’ll find the old one on the cover art). So, for this task I will be checking out a lot of blurbs, and looking at ways to write something clear and concise to illustrate the awesomeness that is Eleanor.

Eleanor by CadenceSo, that was the old one, as in the oldest one. Below is my latest one, with some changes.

“Eleanor Clarendon-Addams is no stranger to the macabre. For most of her life she has been consumed by her passion for human anatomy. And after the untimely death of her father, a revered anatomy professor, her ambition intensified. In her despair, she sees only one path, she desires only one thing: to continue her father’s work. But as she is confronted by the societal strangleholds of her sex, she finds the path to her dream laden with thorns. Her dream is declared unbecoming, unfeminine.

When Eleanor is banned from her father’s university by the newly-appointed professor, Dr. Hollioake, her goal of becoming an anatomist falls apart. She is left with a numb emptiness, and a longing she must silence. Her dream is dying.

Just when all seems lost, like-minded student Henry comes along and brings Eleanor from the precipice. He helps her find her way once again, and all reason and rationality that may have begun nesting in her mind vanish. A love begins.

Amidst the pressure of Victorian London society, and failed by her own sex, Eleanor’s dream is quickly becoming a nightmare. Caught between a world of body snatching and scandalous societies, her sister’s fall from grace, and a love she feels unworthy of, Eleanor verges on the brink of insanity.

So blinded by her passion and removed of any logic, she risks her sanity and her soul to keep her father’s memory alive, but soon discovers that to reach her dream she could lose so much more.”

What do you think? Would my blurb influence you to purchase Eleanor?

I’ve already noticed a number of differences in the advice I’ve received from The Book Doctors, and that offered by Natasha Lester in the course. The Book Doctors seemed to suggest authors should avoid writing rhetorical questions into their blurb/pitch, whereas Natasha Lester encourages it. I am inclined to agree with Natasha (as rhetorical questions are all over blurbs — I very rarely see a book without one), so I will put one back into my pitch.

Now, to comps
As you know, I’ve been working through my comps list, which is a list of novels that could be comparable to Eleanor — I pretty much have to read within the genre (and sometimes outside of) to find out. This list is something that will need to be included in the CV/cover letter for agents and publishers.

Dodger by Terry PratchettSince I was sick last week (I think this illness has been with me around two weeks now!), I struggled to finish Dodger. I failed to reach my deadline, which meant me having to start and finish reading The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein within four days. I did manage it though, haha!

I must say, I was a little disappointed with Dodger. I was expecting so much more. Apologies to Terry Pratchett fans! The plot and story weren’t really plausible in my opinion, and Dodger acted quite uncharacteristically, but as I’ve said before, it is a children’s book (a surprise considering some of the language!), so I can’t be too annoyed about that. And true to Oliver Twist style, there was an unbelievable happily ever after — which I despise. Well, not despise, but I do prefer tragedies (if that is still an apt term these days), or even the occasional open ending, because they are more realistic to me. A HEA with a marriage, for instance, makes me question what comes next. Surely a divorce, right? Since most marriages end in divorce? Anyway, maybe I’ll give myself some more time before I consider writing up a proper review of all these books I’ve been reading.

The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein is another story. I instantly fell in love with it. It will definitely make my comps list. It’s similar to Eleanor in language, style, and theme. I will look at more of Peter Ackroyd’s works now, to see if there are other novels to be added to my list.

I am also considering Natasha Lester’s works as possible comps too.

Next on the comps list?
I will be starting Wildthorn, by Jane Eagland, which sounds like it will be another amazing read. My lovely, supportive brother bought it for me for my birthday, along with the next book on my comps list (which I will tell you about next week!).

And, oh my god! The cover of Wildthorn is so pretty and shiny!

Now, I realise this blog post is getting quite long, so I think I will end it here. If I can think of any other updates I may have missed, I’ll put them in the next blog post.

But, one last teaser?
Okay, my lovely graphic designer, Phoenix Johnson, is working with me on ideas for my next project — a novel about the Marquis de Sade. I’m still thinking about titles at the moment, and even the story and plot are still coming together in my head. The cover will simply be a mock-up/teaser to help me commit to the project during National Novel Writing Month, much like how the cover for Eleanor came to be. But we’re also working on ideas for my second novel, Wings of Malice. As soon as the covers are made, you guys will be the first to see them!

Thanks again for joining me. See you next week!