When a book is published, every author feels like he or she could have made that book better. Yet, by the time that book hits the shelves, it’s too late. Well, my book has a second chance, so I thought it’d be interesting to write a post on changes I’d like to make to When Stars Die, even though I know–or am hoping–my publisher, or whatever path I choose, will have edits for me. (Of course, I’d still like to make these edits regardless.)
- I would like to edit some of the dialogue to make it richer and give the characters more unique voices than they already have.
- I want to make Nathaniel’s–Amelia’s younger brother–character much stronger, primarily through dialogue, emotion, and action.
- I want to sweeten the romance between Oliver and Amelia more. Though this is not something I originally wanted to do because I didn’t want the romance to be the focus, I don’t think it’d kill the book to add some nice sugar to it.
- More back story for Amelia. I’d like to reveal bits and pieces of her life before Cathedral Reims. It won’t be too much, as she’ll have plenty of this in the third book, but it can serve to make her a richer character than she already is.
- Darkness. The book is already dark enough, but perhaps adding a smidge more will add more literary depth to it. I’m a combo commercial-literary writer, so it makes sense to me. I already have a few ideas in mind, such as focusing more on Amelia’s psychological state. I want to show her instability more, because she isn’t stable when the book begins, which is obvious, of course.
- My own experiences. I’ve gone through so many things this year, one of those things being a suicide watch at a mental hospital. I understand Amelia more now, and I feel like I can make her much richer by being able to use these experiences and feelings I’ve gained to add more to the situations she finds herself in. After all, I understand those situations now because I have been in them, when, before, I hadn’t been.
- Beauty in darkness. There is a lot of darkness, but I’d like to show that beauty can exist in it, even if there are no lights.
- More relevance on a certain character. Yeah, I want to shine a spotlight on a certain character a tad bit more. After all, she will be the protagonist for The Stars Are Infinite.
- The trials at the beginning of the book Amelia goes through. I want to make these more symbolic, possibly a way of beating the Seven Deadly Sins out of the girls going through trials to become professed nuns.
Well, these are pretty much all of the changes I’d like to make. Hopefully you guys find this interesting. And hopefully if you’ve already bought the book and enjoyed it, you’ll snag a copy of the second edition!
Although my novel is still in publishing purgatory, this doesn’t mean I can’t entice you with a few quotes. I hope you’ll add it to Goodreads and follow my newsletter. You’ll find the link to that on the home page of my website. This newsletter will keep you updated on my publishing journey, offer writing advice, recommend books, and have a main article helpful to both readers and writers
Colette to Amelia: ‘”You have to clear your mind of everything, every bad feeling, every good feeling, every doubt.”‘
Oliver to Amelia: ‘”This is why I love you Amelia, your ardent passion, your willingness to do something. So you should understand why I will not turn back.”‘
Nathaniel to Amelia: ‘”Why did you take us away from Mother and Father three years ago?”‘
Amelia: “My life should fly out on a film reel. It stays locked in the prison of my mind.”
Mother Aurelia to Amelia: ‘”If I didn’t care, I would have kept you here [Cathedral Reims], making you endure trials with the knowledge that you weren’t ready for them. I don’t put my girls through the trials knowing they can’t handle them.”
Amelia: “The nuns are allowed to beat us. Most don’t, but some do.”
Keep in mind that no matter what path my book goes through, there will be some editorial changes.
And shipped straight to your e-readers. I’m still working on proofreads for the sequel, but The Stars Are Infinite will definitely have a 2015 release. If you haven’t had a chance to see its cover, here it is! Just check out my website to find out more information on these books. Happy Holidays, Stars!
Here is the what I think is the gorgeous cover of The Stars Are Infinite!
It is the sequel to When Stars Die. There will be a third book that I plan to call All Stars Align, which will be the final one in The Stars Trilogy. Here is the blurb for this novel:
Alice Sheraton is slated to be executed as a witch; however, her father spares her. He sends her to Finight Hill, a safe house for witches. Here a Shadowman begins to pursue her, and from this Shadowman she learns she has been bound with a terrible fate since birth: either be a martyr to free witches from their misery, or choose to live knowing her existence will bring on more chaos.
This novel has a December release , and you will know more information later, especially when you sign up for the newsletter.
Now here is an interview with Alice Sheraton so that way you get to know a little bit about her before you begin to read this sequel. There are no spoilers. However, make sure you read the first book before buying this one, or else you will get confused:
Hello, Alice. It must be strange being in an interview for you, especially because you’ve spent much of your life never having any attention drawn to you.
Alice: It’s true. Much of my life has been spent preparing me to find a suitable husband. I did go to a finishing school before coming to Finight, so I do have a great deal of education. At the same time, when I was in the other school, I was taught to never draw any attention to myself. So I am nervous about this. What will my mother think? I used to love painting, until my mother took that away from me. I am well-read, and I had my own collection of books in my room. I loved being with Sara, who liked to get into all sorts of trouble I never agreed with, but did so anyway. These things are memorable, but if my mother ever found out about them, she would beat me with a wooden board.
What are your parents like?
Alice: My father has been nothing but supportive, and I’d like to think that if I had said something about wanting to own my own life, he would have been supportive. My mother, on the other hand, is an alcoholic, which is why I was born as a witch. The Seven Deadly Sins give birth to witches, and I suppose my mother’s continual sin is gluttony.
How has being a witch impacted your life?
Alice: Dreadful. I don’t even want to think or talk about what led up to my discovery. I was imprisoned in a small, dirty room in Governor Branch’s home. He is a horrid, perverted man married to my best friend Sara, who is around my age: I am fifteen. I was slated to be executed, but my father saved me by paying a handsome sum of gold to Governor Branch. He couldn’t refuse the money, so he and Father decided to send me off to a safe house called Finight Hill. It looks like any other finishing school, and it is in a secluded area.
What were your reactions to Finight Hill?
Alice: I was paranoid at first. It’s lovely on the exterior, but it’s rather bland on the inside. My other finishing school was richly furnished, with original paintings, marble sculptures, fresh flowers. It was, I suppose, like the inside of a rich man’s home. Finight had no such decorations. So I was scared. I thought I was sent there to be executed, that my father truly had no idea where he was sending me. Governor Branch wanted me dead, but when I met Pastor Brandon and a boy named Nathaniel, their presence and kindness swept away any paranoia I had.
Tell us about Pastor Brandon and Nathaniel.
Alice: Pastor Brandon is nice but strange. He falls into these fits where he cries out, “Curse is everyone who hangs on a tree!” This is a sentence commonly used right before witch executions. He also coughs up some substance from time to time. I don’t know what it is, but it’s black. Even so, he has made me feel welcomed.
Nathaniel, on the other hand, is beautiful, and I saw that right from the start, though I couldn’t admit it to myself. He’s also troubled. He smokes a lot, he scratches himself, and he’s reckless, but he has made me feel welcomed at Finight, and I accepted his friendship. Master Akilah isn’t too fond of him because of his reckless behavior.
How do you feel about Master Akilah?
Alice: I can’t stand him. Neither can Pastor Brandon nor Nathaniel. He was rude to me my first day there when he introduced me, complaining that I was late, not even welcoming me. He is the one who created the unnecessarily strict rules rules for Finight, where we are watched at all times, as though we are in an asylum. We do have certain activities that we have to do throughout the day, like studying. We can go outside once a week–under strict supervision. Nathaniel is smart enough to evade some of these rules, but it eventually becomes our downfall. After a certain event takes place, the rules become worse. At that point, we can’t even have doors to our rooms.
You hear voices?
Alice: I’m unsure if the voice is real or not. It sounds real. She at first told me Pastor Brandon killed her. Then she told me I should kill him. She said he knew who I was, and I couldn’t make any sense of that. He apparently knows the future. When I fainted and woke up in my room, her final words to me were, “You will be mine.” We all thought it was stress and nerves. I thought I was insane, but I was so certain the voice was real. And it is. It truly is.
Can you tell us who the voice belongs to?
Alice: Her name is Annarelius, a Shadowman, a dead witch. She wants me because I can set the world free from sin, allowing everyone, even witches, into Paradise.
Tell us about this Shadowman.
Alice: I would rather not.
Are there any final words?
Alice: My story…it is mine and mine alone, rife with the darkness that is innate in the life of a witch. It was a very hard story to tell. If witches are not freed, at least my account will make them feel less alone, if my account will even be allowed to exist. Witches are insignificant. We are nothing. Those who used to love us betray us and automatically hate us when they find out we are witches. This was the case with my best friend, Sara. The Vulgate, our bible, indoctrinates people into hating us, which is why they can hate so easily. I am not sure if this hatred will ever be erased. I have never known any allies to stop the hatred. I have never known any witches to start a rebellion. But our world is filled with nothing but cruelty. The ugliness of our world surpasses its beauty. Love is the only beauty that exists, but there isn’t enough of it.
Those are some very harrowing words, Alice, but I know you will be the one to make that change. Thank you for letting me interview you.
I hope you enjoyed Alice’s interview and will pick up the already available When Stars Die and the not-yet-released The Stars Are Infinite when you are able to pre-order it or buy it on its release day. Remember it will have a December release date and will be mentioned in a future newsletter.
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Amber Skye Forbes is a dancing writer who prefers pointe shoes over street shoes, leotards over skirts, and ballet buns over hairstyles. She loves striped tights and bows and will edit your face with a Sharpie if she doesn’t like your attitude. She lives in Augusta, Georgia where she writes dark fiction that will one day put her in a psychiatric ward…again. But she doesn’t care because her cat is a super hero who will break her out.
Hello all readers and followers! My publicist, Sebastian Starcevic, wanted me to inform all of you about the anniversary book blast of When Stars Die that will be taking place on October 22nd on various book-related blogs.
As you can see from the graphic on the right, it will include a prize, some interviews, and a lot of other awesome things that you’ll only know about by following the book blast. There will be a $20.00 Amazon gift card giveaway. There are a few ways you can go about being entered for it and racking up points to win the gift card. Signing up for the newsletter will earn you the most points, but you will have to wait for the 22nd to see what all the fun will be about!
If you want to be a part of this book blast, direct all inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. By participating, you will automatically be entered into the $20.00 Amazon gift card drawing. You will receive a media kit upon desire of wanting to be a part of the book blast.
This is my first podcast. You can find it on Youtube here. It’ll also be on here. I tried to upload the WAV of it, but it wasn’t working for some odd reason.
You can just browse the internet while listening to it, and I’ll try to make it downloadable somewhere if you want to listen to it on the go.
But I basically talk about how annoying it was setting up this podcast because of all the technical glitches along the way, especially learning the horrifying truth that Windows 8.1 does not do well with even the best audio equipment.
I also talk a little bit about myself, give a short rundown of When Stars Die, talk some about the book I’m working on now, talk about my job a little bit, and babble about ballet–a lot. And then I go right into reading When Stars Die’s chapter one, which I hope you will all enjoy.
At the end, I mention the first video I’ll be doing, as well as the next podcast.
Here’s a snippet of what the book is about, for those of you who do not know:
Shadowy figures haunt Amelia’s days in Cathedral Reims, and they are waiting for her to join them. Oliver Cromwell, an alluring priest, is the only one who can save her–but he may prove to be just as dangerous.
I hope you all enjoy this!
I know this was posted a few months ago, but I just thought I should share it. Now there are possible spoilers in this review, so tread carefully.
Young adult literature is popular, as evidenced by the above post. What caught me most about this specific passage though was the mention that it is embarrassing that so many adults read young adult novels, the implication being that you’re hooked on to your teenage years. I don’t know about you, but I don’t wear any rose-colored glasses about my teenage years. I suppose the older one gets though, the more tempting it is to put on rose-colored glasses about one’s childhood, forgetting all the messy emotions you feel as you’re growing up, the total lack of freedom, having to be 100% dependent on people to care for you, and all sorts of other things that actually make me grateful that I am not a child anymore. I suppose one can wish to return to one’s childhood with the wisdom one has now, but no one is going to treat you as any less of a child just because you know arguing with your parents is senseless.
In any case, I find it offensive that young adult novels are still being held below adult novels and literary classics. Sure, there are some classics among young adult novels, but they’re classics for children, not classics overall. No one considers it embarrassing that there are kids who read adult books or that teens are forced to read classics they likely don’t relate to. But we’re still belittling young adult novels as less than other genres, even children’s literature, for reasons I can’t comprehend.
I suppose popularity breeds resentment, but books are popular for a reason. The public isn’t concerned about the nuances of writing so much as writers themselves, so they’re not as picky about artful writing as we are, which is probably why a book like Twilight was so popular among average readers but so scorned among the writing community.
I don’t think young adult fiction is popular among adults because we want to re-claim our teen years. I think young adult fiction is popular among adults because we want to remind ourselves how messy the teen years actually are. And they are. They’re rife with muddled emotions, hormones that screw with every decision you make, relationships that can turn potentially disastrous; forced to act like an adult but treated as a child; and so many other things that make the young adult genre as popular as it is.
I love the young adult genre because I love dramatic character change and emotional stories. Teens are chockfull of the potential to develop dramatically, thus creating emotion-centered characters that are very much about themselves.
While Suzanne Collins may not have the best prose available, she sure the heck knows how to craft an ingenious story, and story should take precedence over whether or not you can create artful prose that rivals the prose of the classics (I shoot for both, but at the end of the day, I want readers to love my story more than my writing).
I think it’s fantastic that teen fiction is popular among adults. This popularity has brought more notice and awareness to the young adult genre as a whole, and I find that amazing. While some people still scoff, you can’t deny how popular young adult literature has become within the last ten years.