Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Character Discussion: Men!

Vincenzo Amori - Friend, Protector, Guide and the Dynamic Male Lead.

I wanted take this opportunity to talk about a different type of character. I had initially thought I would spend this particular entry to the character discussion, which I had intended to be about the men, talking about the love interests, or potential love interests. But I decided that talking about Vincenzo first would be the better idea.

Because I strongly believe that not every male character needs to be a love interest. I needed someone who could verbally spar with Grisela and who was interesting enough that not only do I want to learn more about him, but I hope that the readers do as well. There are so many things that go into making up a dynamic male lead, and I thought I would take this chance to talk about what I think those elements are.

First, he needs to have characteristics that would make him dynamic, and of course they would be in line with the story. For Vincenzo, he needed to be worldly and experienced, and have an err of sophistication about him that made him attractive, and would leave an imprint in your mind, as he does with Katrine on their first meeting. Who wouldn't be interested in tall, dark and well dressed with an accent?

Second, he doesn't necessarily need to be the most handsome man in the story. Handsome does not always relate to dynamic. His personality is part of what makes him alluring. He needs to have a background that is suggestive of something mysterious, which would make him more attractive.

Third, he needs to be intelligent and have something to offer the narrator and reader that no one else could. Vincenzo offers guidance to Katrine in a way that no one else can, and friendship in a situation where he could have easily taken advantage of her. He wants the best, but expects nothing in return. He needs to be interesting as a person, have things going on that make him fun to read about. This falls in line with interesting characteristics, which is the largest part of a dynamic male lead.

And last, but not least, he needs to be likable. I like him, I hope the reader does. His likeability would make you want him around, and you hope that he comes back when he's gone. He becomes Katrine's best friend and close companion, she relies on him as one would rely on a father. He balances the rest of the world out, especially Grisela. He's the level.

Vincenzo was a necessity for me in the story because of the sense of security he gave. I really feel that there needs to be someone there that Katrine can fall back on when things get nuts, and he's it. Katrine would not have gone with him if he didn't make her feel safe and secure. (you'll find out what I mean when you read Rebirth).

But dynamic male leads are a necessity beyond love interests. Because, in my opinion, sometimes the love interest isn't so interesting. And not only that, but sometimes they are horribly irritating! Vincenzo is great fun for me on a variety of levels, and in many ways I miss him when he's gone. 

Enjoying these posts? Come let me know! And don't forget to come by my facebook and say hi! 

Monday, 25 February 2013

Horray for 1600!

WOW! I cannot believe how quickly we've hit 1600!
Thanks everyone for coming back and reading a long, I know I say it a lot but I am constantly shocked when I come to this page and see how far the counter has moved. This has been such an amazing experience.

Keep checking back for more new content! And don't forget to check out Rebirth, available on Amazon and Smashwords right now!

Character Discussion: Creating an Icon

Grisela Delphine: Creating an Icon

When I was creating my supernatural characters for this book, there were certain things that I wanted, and certain types of characters that I was interested in having so I could explore their life further.

France has always interested me, not just because of my family heritage but from so many angles. I can't tell you how many projects I did on France in elementary school! But as an adult I started to see France from a different angle, and the fascinating people that it produced constantly interested me.

One historical fiction book/series that I highly recommend is Sandra Gulland's Josephine Bonaparte trilogy. I've never cried when reading a book before, and I cried more than once while reading this series. I knew after reading that that I wanted a true French woman to be part of one of my stories, and I was so fascinated by court life, even after the royal court was taken down by the French revolution, that I wanted my character to be someone who'd experienced court on a variety of levels.

Marie Antoinette has been a private obsession of mine, since I saw the movie The Affair of the Necklace many years ago. My local museum some time back had one of her gowns on display and a guest lecture by Caroline Weber, who's biography of the doomed queen 'Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore To The French Revolution' is amazing, and I was so enchanted by this dress and the queen's designer, Rose Bertin, that I knew that I wanted this to play a big part in the life of my French character. A regular courtier was too boring, in my mind, and if this character was to be a supernatural then they needed something more than that. They needed some depth and a perspective that would make the character engaging.

And, with that, Grisela Delphine was born.

She was a courtier, yes, but a courtesan. Educated, witty, beautiful, intelligent, all the things that one would expect from a French courtesan. Being a courtesan would give her a chance to be so many things that a traditional woman would not be, and experiences that the average person would never have. She's last in a line of courtesans, and, I thought, very interesting as a vampire. Maybe not the traditional take, but a vampire nonetheless.

She could be worldly, well known in many courts across Europe, and a beautiful figurehead for whatever I had my supernaturals doing. She would draw a crowd. She would get people talking. And she would be someone that a young girl from a small village would be in awe of.

But, of course, there had to be more to the story. What happened to her in her life? She's last in a line, what about her family? How did she become a vampire? I tried my best to establish all of this to make her seem more real, and then give me the chance to give her her own story, one day. Lay the groundwork so I could tell her story within the parameters of Rebirth, and hopefully have her as the center of her own book. And because of who she was, her family would be quite complicated, and how many of them were vampires as well? What are they like?

This was a key piece of information for me: Grisela's family. Because I really feel that they would end up as key players in the 'The Afflicted' scenario, and how the whole storyline across the series plays out. I've had this vision, and they are very important.

But Grisela Delphine is an icon, and Rebirth is just the beginning.

Thanks everyone for coming back and continuing to read. I've had lots of fun writing these posts and I hope you enjoyed them! Keep checking back, there will be more to come. 

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Character Discussion: My Main Characters

Anastasia and Katrine: The Birth of A Legend

I'd wrote these posts some time ago, and took them down when the mess started. But with the release of Rebirth I thought I would revisit them.

The Character Discussion posts will be me talking a bit about some of the characters in Rebirth. and letting you, dear readers, learn something about them before you read the book. 
 The best place to start seemed to be with the two main characters, Anastasia and her daughter, Rebirth's narrator, Katrine.

I've talked at great length about the influence of Mary, and the stories that I've heard about the illegitimate children of royalty really shaped how I felt Anastasia would be (not that Mary was illegitimate, but how having that label impacted her was really influential in helping build my character). In many cases, the illegitimate child knew who the royal parent was, and it really shaped their existence, in many ways they profited from it.

But I couldn't help but wonder what happened to those who did not profit from it, who's lives could potentially be destroyed by this knowledge, because of who their birth parents are and what they had done.

In parts of Eastern Europe, the Bathory family was pretty infamous as well as influential, and when all was said and done with Countess Bathory's trial and sentence her name was not to be spoken in polite society. I could only imagine what a person would feel if someone walked into their house and told them their life was a lie, and throwing in the supernatural elements that I added it made it all the more overwhelming.

Someone told me a long time ago that 70% of personality is inherited (what does that say about you?) and I really kept that in mind when I was creating my two main characters, a mother and daughter, and what I would need later while shaping the infamous grandmother.

I had a lot of fun creating Anastasia and Katrine. With Katrine's life experience being so minimal, she would be very naive and quite clueless to the world around her, and I really felt that the reader could experience the shock and confusion of the world with her, and perhaps have that as a way to connect with her as the narrator. Her attachment to her mother is significant, and when things start to change she's unsure how to deal with it without her mother's guidance; a situation that lots of people, including myself, can identify with. Being so reliant on your parents then forced into standing on your own two feet can defeat even the best of people, and I really wanted Katrine to be able to do that regardless of her sheltered life. Because there were these personality aspects that ran through all three women, which I guess you could say was part of the legacy of these women. Their fierce loyalty and determination were important, and keeping that in mind with Katrine caused her to make some of the decisions that others would have backed away from.

Anastasia has always fascinated me, and as I continue to write about her she does more fascinating things. She had really stuck with me from the beginning, and when I first heard that Countess Bathory had an illegitimate daughter before her marriage I could see her, clear as day, I could hear her voice quite strongly. Her early life popped into my head fully formed and how she behaves as an adult and the choices she makes are really a testament to her character. Building her personality, in many ways, came from how I felt Countess Bathory would have been as a person: fierce, loyal, brilliant and utterly determined to do what she felt was best. The person I believed Countess Bathory to be came from Infamous Lady, Dr. Kimberley Craft's magnificent biography, and I think that the clear picture that she painted of the Countess, and the information that she presented so you could draw your own conclusions really shaped what she became, and with the written documents in Private Letters the clarity of that voice only grew stronger, and Anastasia would not be who she was without it. I'm excited now to dive deeper into her character and see how she handles the situation she is now in.

But, with how the story of Rebirth played out, Anastasia did not play as strong of a role as I had originally anticipated when I first had the idea for the book. At first I was a little disappointed, but in the end its all worked out rather well, and it will give me a chance to really tell what's become of her in the future.
And when I went and looked at what happens to Anastasia in the coming books, I realized that she was really meant to play a stronger part in coming events, and that more of her story could be told at another time. Part of that story will be told in Book 2, Ikon. 

I have to thank those who took the time to read this post originally, and who came back and took another look now. I had great fun writing it, and was happy that I could come back to it. 
There will be more posts like these in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!   

Friday, 22 February 2013



Are you a Pinterest user? I sure am!
I think its by far one of the best, and most fun, social media outlets for writers right now. I can share my visual inspirations with you, and now I have!
I've set up a board called 'The World of the Danse Macabre' so I can share some of my visual inspirations for Rebirth, and the whole series. Go check it out!

You can get to my Pinterest page directly in the links collum of this blog, over on the right side of the computer screen. Users can look ne up my searching the board name or me directly, my username is rtmaurice.

Look forward to seeing you there!

Thursday, 21 February 2013


Hi everyone!

I've put Rebirth in for a giveaway that's being run by author Kim Scott over on her site. It's a giveaway for a young girl named Liliana, and to help raise awareness for heart defects. Go over and check it out, there are 45 great books and a Kindle up for grabs. And you would be in the running to win a copy of Rebirth!

Good Luck!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

I'm baaacckk

Hello everyone!

So, here we are! Happy Release Day!

Thanks everyone for sticking around. Here the links of a few places you can find Rebirth right now. I'll continually add more as they come up. 

And, I have to add, any errors in formatting are my own, it was my first time doing an ebook.

Come show me some love! Like Rebirth on facebook, some say hi on twitter @heartbamboo or drop me a line on Goodreads. I would love to hear from you!
If you like the book, great! Tell a friend, post a review, come let me know!

And stay tuned! There will be some new and exciting things to come....and also news of Book 2!

Monday, 18 February 2013

Happy Birthday Queen Mary I of England, or as I call her The Lady Mary

    Any longtime reader of this blog will know a bit about my love for Mary Tudor, Elizabeth I's older sister.

To be quite frank, I have thought of her quite a lot in the months since I lost my mother.
I never knew that grief could be physically painful, and I wonder if some of the health problems that Mary had were related to the grief that she could not appropriately express. I'd already felt like I understood Mary in relation to being set aside for Father's 'new life', but now I feel even more connected to her. Grief is a very powerful and sometimes completely overwhelming thing that no one can understand until you live it.

I've been following a Tudor related website called The Anne Boleyn files for some time now, and I can't say enough about not only the quality of the content but the continually fascinating posts by its creator, Claire Ridgeway. She does an amazing daily posts called 'Today in History' that I look forward to, and have been constantly inspired by.
She has three books, The Fall of Anne Boleyn: A Countdown, The Anne Boleyn Collection: The Real Truth About the Tudors, and On This Day In Tudor History that are available for download on Amazon. I just got them and I am looking forward to digging into them.

Here are a few links to posts about Mary from The Anne Boleyn Files, and its sister sight, The Elizabeth Files:

 Any suggestions on a Mary related book/site/blog/movie/show I need to know about? Leave it in the comments section, or tweet me with the hashtag #mary and tell me about it! I am always looking for something new to read about her. I'd also love biography recommendations!

So, I ask today that you hug your mother and not only think of Mary and Catherine of Aragon, but of me. Because a time will come when she'll be gone, and you should cherish every single moment.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Happy 1500!

Hello everyone!

Happy 1500!
I have to say, I am humbled every time I look at that counter. The very idea, as I've said, that people read my every day thoughts and my stories is so amazing to me that I don't even have the proper words.

Thank you for stopping by. Thank you for coming back. I hope that you'll keep coming!

I'm hard at work on that formatting, as I'm sure my twitter readers know. It's a complicated process, but its worth it for the product to look nice in the end. And its nice that there are formatting 'rules', so people don't just post things willy nilly and that the readers don't end up scrolling through a ridiculous amount of blank pages. It'll be up and ready to go Feb 20, so keep checking back for the links.
That day is also my 31st birthday!

Tomorrow I'll be spending my first Valentines Day with my future husband, which I am really looking forward to. And shortly after that is Queen Mary I of England's birthday (or the Lady Mary Tudor, as I often refer to her), so I will be doing what I plan on making my yearly post about Mary. It will be her 497 birthday and all.

So, keep checking back for more updates!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

New Things!

Hi Everyone!

So, here are my latest updates:

As I'm sure you can see, I've put up a countdown for the release of the ebook - my projected date is February 20th (which also happens to be my 31st birthday!). Keep checking back for links to where you can pick up your copy!

The facebook page is live, and I am in the process of populating it. Go over and hit 'like', there is more coming!

Keep checking back for more stuff!

And how that I'm rolling onto the 1500 mark (pretty good, I think!) I have to admit, I'm pretty overwhelmed by the idea that not only do people want to read my random thoughts, but keep coming back!
So, thank you all!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Prepping for #rebirth

Hello all!

I wanted to fill you all in on my progress, and let you know about the exciting things that will be going on in the next few weeks!

I have decided it's about time that I relaunch myself and my debut novel, Rebirth. So in the next few weeks I will be prepping for the ebook release, which I am planning to have up on Kindle and Smashwords (unless I have some major technical difficulties!), and I am hoping to put the book back in print as soon as possible afterwards. In the coming weeks I will be reestablishing my online presence, creating a new facebook page, tweeting my progress (it's @heartbamboo if you're interested!), and putting up the book info on Goodreads. I'm also hoping to hook up with some great pages and bloggers I've met on facebook that are fighting the good fight for us indie authors. I'll be sure to update this page and my twitter, and the facebook when I get it up and running, with where I'm at and any other exciting stuff.

I also wanted to say thank you to everyone who has stuck with me during this hick-up, I appreciate all your kind words and encouragement! Don't worry, you won't have to wait for Book 2 forever - while all this exciting stuff is going on with Rebirth I am plugging away at editing Book 2 and making it as wonderful as I can. So, stay with me, because it's coming.

And I bet you are wondering what the #rebirth means in the subject of this blog? I will be attaching it to all book related tweets etc leading up to and around the launch of Rebirth. I would LOVE it if anyone who wants to tell me the story of their rebirth, words of encouragement, or fans who read the book by the other name and want to tell me what they loved about it, their favorite line, characters, anything, tweeted me and attached it to their tweet....come show me some love!

That's all for now! Keep checking back for more updates!

Monday, 4 February 2013

Movie Review: Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters

Hello everyone!

I am so happy that I'll have a chance to discuss this movie!
I read a lot of reviews before I went to the theatre, and I have to say that some people's complaints are unnecessary. You don't go see this sort of movie for historical accuracy! While I agree, it wouldn't hurt, but this is a full out action flick and such details are not expected.

The premise of this movie is pretty simple. After the infamous incident that made Hansel and his sister Gretel famous the duo turn into a ruthless pair of witch hunters, complete with leather outfits and some bad ass gear. They end up in a small town there children are being nabbed, but the incidents seem a little different. They discover more then they bargained for on a variety of levels, digging into their painful past and in the form Famke Janssen, the woman I will always know as 'the woman who didn't end up playing Erzsebet Bathory'.

This movie is a fantastic example of 3D used well. There were several times that I jumped when things came flying at the screen - my fiance jumped too, and that NEVER happens! Its gory where it should be, its smart, the CG effects are great, and its an all around fun time.
I love a fairy tale retelling. And while I agree with some other reviewers that there were some occasions to really push this movie that much further that weren't taken, I really liked this movie for what it was. I loved the subtle exploration of good and evil in the form of 'all witches are bad', and I thought the backstory of what happened to H&G's parents and why they did what they did was really well thought out, and the writer's had really done their homework. While I would have liked some things explored further, I didn't expect it from an action movie. This was fun to watch and kept me entertained.
Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton as the title characters are great. I've been a big fan of Arterton since Prince of Persia, and I think she brought the perfect blend of pretty and badass that this role desperately needed. Jeremy Renner has been great in every movie I have ever seen him in, and he did not disappoint here.

Overall a great movie, I think. It'll be interesting to see if they make a second, I will definitely go see it!
If you're on the fence, give it a try. You might be surprised, my fiance sure was. He even said 'it was a lot better then I thought it was going to be'. If you love a different kind of fairy tale mash up, you might enjoy this.
Anyone looking for historical accuracy in terms of wardrobe and small details, this isn't it. The only movie that I have ever heard of that would come close to accurate is The Duchess with Keira Knightley.