LOCKE AND KEYE IS FINISHED!

I’m so excited to announce that last night I finished the final draft of Locke and Keye and sent it off to my editor! It has been quite a long haul full of unexpected changes and complete turnarounds from the original idea. I started out with the concept of a 10,000 word novelette based on the different customers visiting a locksmith shop, and I ended with over 50,000 words – a full-size novel – based on the locksmith shop’s charming but controlling owner and his carefully picked, loner employees. I’m going to do a video on the painstaking process shortly, including the enormous overhaul the book underwent and how I stayed motivated when things got confusing and my time became limited.

I’ll let you know as soon as I have a publication date, but now I can say with even more certainty that Locke and Keye will be published this fall. Yay!

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Interviewed by Too Full To Write!

I’m thrilled to be featured on Too Full To Write today. I was interviewed by David Ellis, a fellow author who writes poetry, short stories, and flash fiction. He also took part in 2016’s NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month), and you can see the poems he wrote throughout the month here.

In our interview, I discuss why I write, the research I do, writing motivation, my 15-year publishing plan, and more, including who I would want to act in an Anatomy of a Darkened Heart movie. See the full interview here. Take a look at the other authors David has interviewed on his site as well!

Indie Pride Day FB Party Takeover

Today is Indie Pride Day, and it’s going to be a day of fun and giveaways! My time slot at the Facebook party is 6:20 p.m. to 6:40 p.m. Eastern Time, and here’s the link. I will have multiple giveaways and easy ways to win, so be sure to stop by! See you then!

 

Indie Books Be Seen 2016

 

GEMS OF STRENGTH Facebook Party May 28

Today, May 28 is the Facebook party for Gems of Strength, the first anthology in the Gems of Sisterhood anthology series. Come join us here! The party will run all day, and my time slot is 3 p.m. Eastern Time / 2 p.m. Central Time. I’ll be giving away a Kindle copy of Anatomy of a Darkened Heart, a Kindle copy of Gems of Strength, and a surprise gift! Have fun with us today. Can’t wait to see you there.

YouTube Review of Anatomy of a Darkened Heart!

Yesterday, Peter Clark the Writer left a magnificent YouTube review of Anatomy of a Darkened Heart. I’m so excited to share it with you! He even reads some of his favorite passages and lines, and see that in the background? That’s the wallpaper wrapping paper I used to send him his signed paperback. It’s pinned to his board! Coolest guy ever? I think so.

If you’ve read Anatomy of a Darkened Heart or if you’re interested in reading it, please pass on his video! Peter really covers the book and its many facets well. Thanks for watching!

On ArtistFirst Radio Network Tonight!

You read that correctly! Tonight at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time I’m going to be live on ArtistFirst Radio talking shop with Vicki Drane. I hope you’ll listen in, but if you don’t have time, don’t worry! A recording will be available afterwards.

Remember, Wednesday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time here: http://www.artistfirst.com/drane.htm.

Featured by Author Ben Starling!

Today I was lucky enough to be on author Ben Starling’s blog! He interviewed me about my writing life, Anatomy of a Darkened Heart, and what’s coming next for me. You probably know what I eat when I write, but do you know what I wear? I think you’ll be surprised, for a dark fiction author. 🙂 Come check it out here.

While you’re on his website, don’t forget to take a look at his latest book, Something in the Water, An Ocean Romance. You can enter to win it on Goodreads until May 2. Good luck!

Anatomy of a Darkened Heart and Shakespeare

Saturday was Shakespeare’s 400 year anniversary, and somehow I feel sad he’s gone…for 400 years. Even though I could never meet him, I feel a huge connection to him. His plays made Anatomy of a Darkened Heart happen. My interest in most of the elements that make up AoDH came from my experiences reading Shakespeare. He built me into the reader and writer that I am.

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Hamlet: I would say Hamlet had the biggest influence on my writing career and on the Dark Victoriana Collection in particular. This was the first piece of literature that introduced me to the sheer depth psychology can give characters not only within their own selves, but in their impacts on others and their interpretations of others. Wow. Without this play, I’m actually not sure AoDH would exist. Even with the number of books I’ve read involving important aspects of characters’ psychologies, none of them have ever struck me the way Hamlet did, and I truly believe I would never have developed such an appreciation and love for psychological depth without having read it.

Julius Caesar: Planning, scheming, and secrets, not to mention some class A manipulation. Julius Caesar was the first time I saw a character manipulated so heavily, he carried through a plan to become something he was not only incapable of but didn’t even really want. That manipulation and its results stayed with me to help create the levels of manipulation in AoDH.

Henry IV parts 1 & 2, Henry V: Good-hearted characters don’t always start out that way – and vice versa. The processFeatured Image -- 1269 by which Prince Hal slowly becomes King Henry is one that creates a character I feel like I traveled with for a long time. I felt proud of his progress and I also felt the pain of his decisions. The closeness to this character and his development was the first time I really cared about what happened to a character as if they were a person I knew. Without that feeling, I don’t think I could’ve written Abigail’s character in a way that makes readers squirm as her life takes darker and darker turns.

Macbeth: This is not my favorite of Shakespeare’s plays, but it did show me how to write a convincing slow mental breakdown, not to mention some good manipulation and scheming. I can’t think of another book that has a slow insanity quite like this, and for those who have read AoDH, you know where this comes in.

Shakespeare will forever be my greatest writing influence, even in the general way of having so many meanings behind his carefully chosen words, phrases, and sentiments. Happy 400th anniversary, Shakespeare. Your writing will never fade. Not now, and not in another 400 years.

~~~

Anatomy of a Darkened Heart can be purchased on Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble. You can also buy the paperback directly from me, the author, here on my website, signed and customized.

Go Indie Now: The Latest Indie Trends

Indie is where you discover brave new adventures in creativity. My friend Joe Compton, author of Amongst the Killing and super fantastic supporter of all things indie, has started a website called Go Indie Now. It’s the place to be for live interviews, events, and more, all revolving around the latest in indie culture. Authors, musicians, movie producers, and loads of other indie artists are and will be featured constantly and consistently to give you your indie fix.

I was lucky enough to be featured on Go Indie Now’s very first podcast and YouTube video series! My chat with Joe was so much fun, you’ll feel like you’re sitting right there with us. Visit his video and comment so we can all discuss: https://youtu.be/taoN8PaU6Qg?t=48m53s. That link takes you right to my chat with Joe, but watch the whole video for more interviews, all so completely different: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taoN8PaU6Qg&feature=youtu.be. Don’t feel like watching a video? You can listen to the podcast of our chat: http://goindienow.podbean.com/e/goindienow-episode-1-interview-with-christie-stratos/.

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The next HUGE event is the weekend of April 8-10, when Go Indie Now will be having 72 hours of live coverage for the Brain to Books Cyber Convention. That’s 3 full days of interviews, chats, music, first-look book trailers, and all sorts of cutting edge things. Everyone will be talking about it, so be sure to stop by Go Indie Now’s site! I’ll be moderating a discussion between some amazing women in the publishing industry, and I’ll probably participate in more than one live event. Watch my blog for dates and times.

In the meantime, be sure to congratulate Joe on his wonderful support of all things indie!

Connect with Go Indie Now:

YouTube

Podbean

Twitter

Monday Thoughts on Creativity: Risk and Failure

Monday keeps coming around again, but I didn’t send it an invitation…

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This is so extremely true. Creativity isn’t about waiting for inspiration to strike, it’s about living in an inspired state. That’s how I see it. Some times are more creative than others, but if I don’t allow myself to live in my creativity, I start to lose my place in my writing. I literally can’t remember what I’m doing with a current work in progress.

That being said, taking risks and failing can be SO HARD! When you’re very attached to your work, it’s a part of you, so a risk is actually scary and a failure is devastating. This is what it’s like:

Risk: Let me try going in this direction with my story, I think that will work well. Yes, this is great, now I’ve spent a month on it and it’s really exciting. Oh wait, I hate it. Oh my goodness, it’s total garbage and doesn’t work at all. Oh no, now I have to start over!

Failure: I hate myself. I hate my writing. I hate everything I touch. I’m not worthy of a pen.

Yes, it’s that dramatic. But when we take these risks and we fail and we cry (and cry again), we also learn what went wrong and whether it could or couldn’t be avoided. We unveil another layer of our creativity, another secret to our inspiration. And finally, we learn that it’s worth it, through all that pain and torment, to do it again and again. And again.