Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Most Glorious Adventure (With Delicious Lobster Bisque and a Viking Ship)

The Draken was mostly put to bed for the winter when we went to see her at Mystic Seaport on Leif Erikson's Day, the deck cleared and the sail stowed and bits of the decking pulled up to allow them to get down into the hold and clean her thoroughly and pump the last of the water out -- but she was BEAUTIFUL, all the same.

Maybe in the spring before she sails on and away, I'll get to see her again all decked out properly for a voyage, and the day won't be quite so miserable and wet and rainy. But the wet and the rain did make the hot Lobster Bisque soup taste that much better going down after we'd gotten our tour and had a chance to get out of the spitting wind.

It seemed fitting though, somehow, to tour a viking ship on such a stormy day. And it sure offered some amazing perspective on those Norse and Icelandic voyages made during the Viking age. Voyages like the ones that Freydis and her brothers made, both with Eric the Red, their father, and apart from him.

In DAUGHTER OF A THOUSAND YEARS, Freydis doesn't encounter any storms on her journeys to Vinland, but she sailed through her share of them when she followed her father to Greenland -- half the ships who followed Eric the Red from Iceland to his new colony in Greenland never made it to the shore, after all, and one of Leif the Lucky's stories involves him fishing out the survivors of a wreck from the water on his way back home.

Going to see the Draken, talking to the crew who sailed her with a modern electrical pump to bail out the water that they took on along the way (because the deck isn't sealed, and any water that lands on it just ends up filling the hold),  who when I asked "what did the Vikings do about the water they took on?" replied "they sank!" was a poignant reminder of how dangerous it was to sail in those days. Heck, it's still dangerous to sail in ours!

Which is all to say that those Norsemen and Icelanders -- going exploring or a viking, either way -- they were stupid brave.

Forged by Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1) Tempting Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1.5) Fate Forgotten (Fate of the Gods, #2) Taming Fate (Fate of the Gods, #2.5) Beyond Fate (Fate of the Gods, #3) Honor Among Orcs (Orc Saga, #1) Blood of the Queen (Orc Saga, #2) Postcards from Asgard
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Helen of Sparta By Helen's Hand Tamer of Horses Daughter of a Thousand Years
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Monday, September 05, 2016

For Will

I remember countless study halls, our heads bent and close together over the desk while we pretended to do our work. I remember so many phone calls, so many afternoons and evenings spent on the phone, cord stretched around corners and shut in doors for privacy before we even had a cordless phone anywhere in the house, talking for hours together about everything (and nothing at all.) I remember promises made and never broken, confessions of friendship and love, discussions of how much white chocolate tastes like coca cola and boys I liked and you hated. I knew -- I knew -- my secrets were always safe. Even though my lunch never was.

I remember green hair, thick and curly and that headshake-spasm meant to push your glasses back up your nose and fix your hair at the same time. I remember dry, chapped hands, and a hundred middle fingers, because we were in middle school and high school, after all. And so much love. Above everything else, I remember the love.

Hugs and linked arms and hands on shoulders, we were never shy in showing our affection -- maybe we were too young to realize how reserved we should have been. Too young to know how much it would hurt if it were all taken away.

I have pages and pages of our lives together, my side of every story written and carefully preserved in journals, both digital and print, chronicling first dances and first phone calls and first fights. I have pictures of everything from the high school boy's bathroom urinals to our lunch table, all of us together in a group (we were always part of a group) -- but somehow, none of that is enough, now. None of it is you.

I would trade it all away to have you back, my friend. To have you living, and happy and fulfilled in this world, so we could be friends again, and reminisce about all those old times, all those firsts. Even the lasts, too.

But I will have to settle just for loving you, for remembering now for the both of us, and I am so, so grateful for even the smallest memories of our friendship that I have left. Because now that you're gone -- really gone -- I've lost a part of me, too.

Friends 4-EVER, Will. You and Me. Always.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Orc Saga: Book Three

Those of you who are waiting patiently for Orc 3--I have the tiniest bread crumb of news to share! A title, at last!

And cover art is in progress, actually, though the book is still in its most beginning stages.

I'm going to be honest here and tell you that this book is giving me fits. Not because of anything to do with the book itself, really, or the story, or the characters. Just because my creative tanks are emptier than empty. (I don't even have fumes to coast on at this point.) It isn't writer's block or anything. I could force myself to get the words on the page and it would probably be fine enough, except for the hating myself. But right now, the idea of writing another book -- any book -- makes me want to run screaming into the woods, never to be seen or heard from again. And honestly, considering I haven't really given myself permission to take a break from writing since 2013, and I've been going non-stop since then jumping from one book to another with deadlines looming, this probably shouldn't be much of a surprise.

I *think* I have time to fill the tanks. I *think* I have time, still, to write and complete Orc 3 to keep the end of 2017 tentative/hopeful release date I've put out there. And I want to meet it -- I want to have this book done and in your hands and not have it hanging over me anymore. But I don't want to give you a third book that is just me "getting it out of the way" either. It won't be my best work if I do that, and I don't want this third installment to betray your faith in me, or betray Arianna and Bolthorn's characters, either.

So what I'm going to say is this: please, please understand that I'll try my best to deliver, but I need to make sure I don't burn myself out, and that means I need to take some time off from writing long form, and take some of this pressure off myself to produce. I need to rebuild and refill my creative reserves to give you the best book I can give you and keep myself from turning writing into a thing I hate. And if that means that Orc 3 does not arrive before the end of 2017 -- that's just how it will have to be. I'll try to write you some Orc Saga novella/short story type something to tide you over if it comes to that, but that's all I can promise right now -- all I feel comfortable promising.

I know some of you will be upset by this news, but I thought it would be fairer to put it out there now than to pretend like everything was on schedule and cruising along.

Thanks so much for your understanding! And don't forget that you still have two more releases from me as Amalia Carosella to look forward to -- TAMER OF HORSES this October, and DAUGHTER OF A THOUSAND YEARS in February 2017. I'm also hoping to put together a Fate of the Gods novella/short story collection for you all, so you can get all the small side stories together in one volume in print and ebook edition -- maybe with something new (short form) that you haven't seen before, too. I have a couple of completed novels in my back pocket, also, that I'm considering releasing for you (like maybe that Thairon book? If you might be interested?), but I don't have any firm ideas of when or IF that's something I can take on right now. I'll keep you posted, of course, when/if anything gets nailed down.

Take care of yourselves, my creative friends! Give yourself permission to take a break, and do what you need to do for you.

Forged by Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1) Tempting Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1.5) Fate Forgotten (Fate of the Gods, #2) Taming Fate (Fate of the Gods, #2.5) Beyond Fate (Fate of the Gods, #3) Honor Among Orcs (Orc Saga, #1) Blood of the Queen (Orc Saga, #2) Postcards from Asgard
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Helen of Sparta By Helen's Hand Tamer of Horses Daughter of a Thousand Years
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Thursday, July 28, 2016


If you've been with me on the blog for any length of time, you probably know how much I love Norse Mythology. So when my editor suggested they'd like to see something non-Bronze Age from me for my next contracted book, leaping into the Viking Age seemed like really the only logical choice. And when they asked me if I'd consider writing a dual narrative -- with two timelines -- I almost immediately knew what I wanted to use for connective tissue between the two time periods. I knew that if I was going to write about a pagan Freydis, that I absolutely 100000% was going to write about a Heathen woman in our contemporary world alongside her.

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And when I told other people that was what I wanted to do, how I wanted to weave these threads -- I don't actually know what I expected. But I didn't actually expect people (with the best of intentions!) to tell me I shouldn't do it. I didn't expect to be discouraged. I didn't expect to hear that writing an explicitly non-Christian protagonist in a contemporary setting could kill my book, would kill my book, because people might organize against it and pile on bad reviews. I didn't expect my family and friends to suggest I play it safer with maybe just an Atheist instead of a Heathen, if I *had* to include a non-Christian main character in the contemporary half of my book.

I didn't expect to find out that people in my life don't think there is room for a person who shares my faith to appear in a work of fiction. Not if I want it to sell. Not if I want to be successful.

Imagine that.* Take a minute and think about it. How would you feel if someone told you to write yourself and the people like you out of your story? That including yourself and people like you on the page would mean failure. Would mean people dumping 1-star reviews all over your release just because you were daring to write a book that reflected a different experience than their own. Imagine learning that people maybe don't think you deserve a place at the table at all. That in the complex tapestry of literature, there is no room for you. You're better off just being erased and replaced. You're better off erasing and replacing yourself, and maybe it'd be better for that character to believe in nothing at all rather than believe in your gods or share in your faith.

I wrote the book anyway. I wrote it and I poured myself into it, and all my fears, and all the opposition, and all the hurt. I wrote it and I kept writing it even before I knew I had my editor's complete approval. And I promise you, there were months of stress and anxiety and terror that I'd invested everything into a book that wouldn't be accepted, and at the end of it, I'd have to write something else instead or destroy the book to make it more "acceptable" to "the market."

But my editor loved it. She loved the book even before she knew I was Heathen, like Emma. Then she loved that it was personal -- that it FELT personal and real -- she didn't ask me to tone down my Heathenry. She didn't ask me to erase my faith or my SELF from the book. She just did everything she could to support me, to give DAUGHTER all the care and attention it deserved to put its best foot forward. And I can't tell you how grateful I am, how relieved, how thrilled that I'm able to offer this book to the world, to my fellow Heathens (who may still, naturally, find fault in my portrayal, because Heathenry is so variable.)

That doesn't mean I'm not still afraid.

I am still afraid that the other voices, the other people are right. That because I included myself and my explicitly non-Christian faith in this book, it will fail. I will fail. I am still terrified that there is no room for me to exist in our literary world. That maybe I would have been better off erased.

I hope I'm wrong.

I hope that you'll all prove me wrong. And every one of you who buys this book -- who loves it, or just likes it, or at the very least respects and supports it even if it isn't your personal cuppa -- you are my hero and my lifeline. You are beacons of light and warmth. You are everything good in this world, and the only thing I hope is that there are enough of you to make it clear to my editor, to my publisher, to the literary WORLD that there is always room for one more at the table -- that readers are not only willing, but eager to make that room.

*If you're a minority of any kind -- by creed or race or orientation or gender -- you probably don't have to imagine this scenario because I'm sure it's already been your life story. 

Forged by Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1) Tempting Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1.5) Fate Forgotten (Fate of the Gods, #2) Taming Fate (Fate of the Gods, #2.5) Beyond Fate (Fate of the Gods, #3)
Honor Among Orcs (Orc Saga, #1) Blood of the Queen (Orc Saga, #2) * Postcards from Asgard * Helen of Sparta By Helen's Hand
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Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Glory of Books on Shelves

To fully appreciate my elation, and why this deserves its own post, you have to understand that my books have been in boxes since last April/May, when the flooring of doom project began. They are still not all unpacked, but I'm making some significant headway -- and plan on getting this unboxing project completed before the end of the summer.

My efforts have been hampered by a number of complications -- one of which was the loss of a bookshelf when we tried to relocate it to clear the room for the flooring install. It just literally fell apart in our* hands. So when I finally did start unpacking... well, the shelving we did have filled up FAST. As you can see.

I had to make some cuthroat decision about what books were going to be shelved and what weren't, in the shorter term, until we accepted delivery of a bookshelf... um, let's call it a donation, from a family member. This of course meant that once the new bookcase was delivered and set in its assigned location, I had to reorganize the books that were already shelved -- because there's a method to all this madness. Series and Genre and Author all have to be taken into account! And then also the sizing of the books (because Thor forbid there be a standardized trade paperback size.) You have to arrange them in such a way that more books can be positioned horizontally on top, because ALL THE BOOKS, and spaces is always at a premium. As you can see. Um. Again. (That towering stack reaching into the sky is because that whole top shelf is the TBR pile and I obviously didn't take into account the reality of the number of unread books I accumulated this past year between cons and, you know, trips to the bookstore. Whoops.)

But there is hope! Light at the end of the tunnel! Or at least temporary light, because I know for SURE this is not all my historical fiction titles:

a shelf from the unpictured still in progress donated bookcase

And this is definitely not even all my YA fantasy/sci fi, though I am excited to report that I have been able to consolidate most of my unboxed YA titles on the shelves above and below. For the moment.

Sooooo there's still not a small amount of reorganization in my future, but I'm getting there. Slowly but surely, but surely all the same. And I can tell you already I'm going to need at least one more 6ft bookcase, if not two, in order to shelve all the books I have left.

But there is NOTHING in this world more satisfying than looking at my well-ordered books on their shelves, so I can promise you I won't be giving up on the dream of every beautiful book in its place.

In the meantime, I hope you're keeping up with me at! Carosella Author!me has been... very busy.

*These hands probably belonged to my cousins and/or brother and/or bffs.

Forged by Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1) Tempting Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1.5) Fate Forgotten (Fate of the Gods, #2) Taming Fate (Fate of the Gods, #2.5) Beyond Fate (Fate of the Gods, #3)
Honor Among Orcs (Orc Saga, #1) Blood of the Queen (Orc Saga, #2) * Postcards from Asgard * Helen of Sparta By Helen's Hand
Buy Now:
Amazon | Barnes&Noble