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!

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.

DSC_0005

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.

Anatomy of a Darkened Heart Review by Darker Voice!

Yesterday I was blown away by Travis West’s (Darker Voice’s) wonderful words about Anatomy of a Darkened Heart. Travis isn’t a guy who likes any ol’ book or movie, so I was on tenterhooks as I read every word he wrote. Here’s a sample of his review: “The language is melancholy and beautiful, concise but with a Victorian flair that keeps you reading page after page, word after word.”

See Travis’ full opinion here, and if you want to learn more about the man himself, visit him here.

 

19th Century Jewelry!

The website I’ve sponsored this month, The Victorian Era, has a well written and visually stunning post up about Victorian jewelry. You’ll find everything from symbolism in jewelry (you know that’s my favorite section) to styles you may not have heard of, summarized beautifully and succinctly, and did I mention the beautiful pictures?

Come visit Geerte’s post here. I’m sure you’ll love it!

Symbolism in the Victorian Era

I’m proud to say that this month, I’m officially sponsoring a fantastic website dedicated to the Victorian Era, and it’s appropriately called The Victorian Era! Geerte researches 19th century history and shares fascinating information, including little-known facts and details that are hard to find without doing in-depth research.

My blog post on The Victorian Era website is “Symbolism in the Victorian Era“, and it will give you a good idea of just how crucial symbolism and its interpretation was in the 1800s. From fans to flowers, parasols to jewelry and beyond, everything meant something.

Hope you enjoy the post and the rest of Geerte’s wonderful site!

Victorian Mania: Amie Winters Shares What’s On Her Nightstand

YA fantasy author Amie Winters just shared what’s on her nightstand – Victorian books! Anatomy of a Darkened is one of her current reads, and I’m beyond thrilled at her words about my book!

What I also love about her post is the Victorian ambiance she sets. If you want to know more about the real 1800s, the imperfect, darker side of it all, check out the links in her post, which range from killer clothing (no, but literally) to real live examples of Victorian shops. She also has some crazy pictures to make you smile.

Enjoy!

 

 

Why Anatomy of a Darkened Heart Doesn’t Have a Christmas Scene

Victorian Christmases are beautiful, full of tradition, and multi-faceted in celebration. In fact, many authors of both books and scripts would love to put a gorgeous Christmas scene into their book. So why isn’t there one in Anatomy of a Darkened Heart?

You’ll notice that I used the words “beautiful” and “gorgeous” to describe the way Victorian Christmases are 26813854depicted, and that’s one reason why it wouldn’t fit into AoDH. A holiday with such deep religious meaning could work well, but it could also be very forced. AoDH focuses heavily on psychological tension and manipulation, and including a Christmas scene would be just as difficult as including a birthday scene – neither would make much sense because they are celebrations of life. They are essentially the opposite of AoDH’s theme.

I thought about Christmas and birthday scenes, rethought, tried to write one, hated it, and threw it out. It just didn’t suit the book as a whole. One of the most important things a writer can do is double and triple check that every scene in the book is necessary, and a holiday or birthday scene just wasn’t. It was awkward, stilted, and even though I wanted to put it in, the book rejected it.

What is an author to do when the book and the characters within it say, “NO!” When you’re dealing with characters like Elizabeth and Abigail, you listen.

Anatomy of a Darkened Heart’s First Video Review!

I got my very first video review from fantastic horror author Rocky Rochford! My favorite suite of his works is the Don’t Turn Around trilogy, which can be found on Amazon as Wait and Bleed. Rocky also writes poetry, romance, and…well, just about everything! He’s quite a dark horse.

Special thanks to Rocky, of course, who read Anatomy of a Darkened Heart twice before giving it 5 stars and publishing his video review!

The Scary Reviews Talks About AoDH

Yesterday I was thrilled to find horror and dark fiction review website The Scary Reviews had posted a review of Anatomy of a Darkened Heart. I have to say, when I found out the wonderful David Spell was reading my book, I was nervous. AoDH is certainly dark, but it isn’t horror. Some people say AoDH creeps them out while others enjoy its darkness with no creep factor. David is a seasoned horror reviewer, so you can imagine my split feelings between excitement at his reading my book and apprehension. What if it simply didn’t hit the mark of being dark enough to satisfy a reader with so many dark fiction books under his belt?

See for yourself why I’m excited about his review.

I’m so fortunate to be featured on David’s new section of his website “Women in Horror”, a project that’s very exciting for us females who want to be recognized for our darkness. Make sure to check out the other ladies who have been and will be featured on David’s site. David’s interview with me will be posted December 15, so stay tuned for that as well! (Update: find the interview here!)

Book ThanksGiveaway Starts Now! AoDH Giveaway!

Starting right this minute, I’m launching ThanksGiveaway, a month-long book giveaway of PDF, print, and audiobooks from a wide range of authors. You can look forward to at least one book giveaway per week this month, starting with mine.

This week you can enter 9 different ways, and some entries can be done once per day for bonus entries. Enter to win a PDF copy of Anatomy of a Darkened Heart, the first book in the Dark Victoriana Collection, today through Monday, November 9.

ThanksGiveaway Schedule

Monday, November 2 – Monday, November 9: PDF copy of Anatomy of a Darkened Heart
Monday, November 9 – Monday, November 16: paperback signed and personalized copy of Eva Lesko Natiello’s The Memory Box (U.S. entries only)
Monday, November 16 – Monday, November 23: 2 U.S. and 2 U.K. audiobook copies of Josh de Lioncourt’s Haven Lost, the first book in The Dragon’s Brood Cycle series
Monday, November 23 – Monday, November 30: surprise giveaway!

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway of Anatomy of a Darkened Heart.

What readers are saying:

“Ms. Stratos captured the Victorian ethos perfectly, her writing capturing the punctilious manners and circuitous language of the Era. I found myself changing allegiances as I learned more about each character.” – T.H. Pine, Amazon reviewer

“It’s thought-provoking, eerie, and one of the best books I’ve read this year.” – Autumn, Amazon reviewer

“Psychologically compelling and full of depth, intelligent, beautifully written, literary but easily accessible, Anatomy of a Darkened Heart may well begin a new era of dark Victorian-era fiction.” – Jason Greensides, author of The Distant Sound of Violence

A pair of eyes underlined in weary darkness and punctuated with a knowing stare. These are not the normal eyes of a newborn baby. Abigail Delilah is the firstborn of three Whitestone children – and she is the most regretted.

But is it really her fault?

She can’t help that the revelation of Father’s wretched secret coincides with her birth. She can’t help the fear she feels during Mother’s psychological – and physical – assaults. As the shadows grow stronger over her soul and the noose of pain tightens around her neck, Abigail will find out which is stronger: her family’s wicked assumptions about her or her true self.

Take your first step into the Dark Victoriana Collection with Anatomy of a Darkened Heart.

Multi-layered with motifs, symbolism, and psychological depth, this tale of dark Victoriana will appeal to the literary reader and the leisure reader alike, combining key facets of several popular genres. And don’t be afraid to get addicted – the collection continues exploring the intertwining threads that weave together the complex tapestry of the Whitestone legacy.

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway of Anatomy of a Darkened Heart.