My Book Has Been Cattified!

Come check out the new cover for THE MANXY MIRROR AND THE STUPIDEST DOG, plus the rewritten blurb, courtesy of MeanKitty!

http://blog.jodywallace.com/2013/03/cattification-manxy-mirror-and.html

A story of Accidental En-cat-ments. Because every story needs a good cat. Even if one has to be rewritten into it.

Here’s a snip of the blurb:

… Slinking around nearby, Ri-Ri is instantly smitten with Princess the Purebred Persian and recognizes in her the ability to launch a new generation of blue ribbon, prize winning offspring…with him as the stud. Oh, yeah….

Great catty fun! Go forth and read, and leave some comment luv for my host, Jody, who worked so hard on this cattification, at the behest of her cat masters.

Becoming Little – Guest Post at Carina Press

My guest post is online at Carina Press. It’s called Becoming Little. Here’s a snippet:

I am of slightly above-average height, but I have written a book about a little person, or a dwarf.

 

In order to get into character, I had to do a lot of mental adjustment. My heroine, Gretchen, is barely four feet tall. She lives in post-medieval Europe, somewhere around the Schwarzwald, or the Black Forest. She has the most common form of dwarfism, achondroplasia. It is the form you are probably most familiar with.

 

In order to get to know my character–to try her out, to see if she would work–I wrote a little scene about the kind of treatment she has to put up with:

Read the rest here!

MineCraft Scenes from The Magic Mirror and the Seventh Dwarf

Part of what I want to do on these three days I took off for my book release is make a video of my main setting using MineCraft. I already have the world laid out; now I just need to shoot, edit and post the video. Easier said than done; I will start bight and early tomorrow.

As a sneak peek, I thought I’d post some screenshots from the MineCraft world along with some excerpts that either inspired the scene, or inspired the story. You’ll see what I mean.

Klein Farm ApproachThe Klein Farm. Or the “Little Farm”.

Gretchen looked up at the yawning door as she entered. It was much like her parents’ farmhouse, with an arched door set in the center of a wooden structure with a high, sloping roof that extended low to the ground on both sides, and walls with thick wooden cross-members forming squares and triangles. It was a good deal more ancient than her parent’s own brick and log farmhouse.

Still, it looked familiar enough to be welcoming; she had grown up around such houses.

This was Klein Farm, Version III. The first version was not on a large enough scale, and the second version did not have enough surrounding land. I omitted the triangles because you can’t get good triangles in a block world.

Home Cluck HomeHome Cluck Home

Homey sounds and smells enveloped Gretchen as she walked through the Einhaus—the smell of cow and horse, the cluck of hens and the baa of goats. The interior walls of the house were much like the exterior, with broad beams making squares and right triangles, filled in with a whitewashed expanse. The low walls formed chambers where the cattle would be driven in at night. Above her on the low second level would be the grain and hay storage…

 

Ahead, she could see a large fireplace dominating the interior wall, with chambers underneath for ovens.

In this scene, the game truly inspired the story. I had watched many videos on YouTube of these sort of outdoor museums (Freilichtmuseum), but I did not get a sense of what it may have sounded like until I started herding sheep and hatching eggs in the farmhouse. Once I started thinking of the sounds, it was easy to think of the smells as well.

HenLooseTroublesome Hen

Later that afternoon, Lars heard a familiar squawking in the main aisle, and he emerged from the oxen’s stall to find Gretchen once again trying to chase down that chicken that always seemed to get loose. He joined in as she tried to grab it, jumping in to intercept the troublesome creature until she finally grabbed hold of it. He followed her as she took it back to the coop and thrust it inside.

Lars to the rescue! I have no idea how this little guy got loose in the game.

RomanticLoftRomantic Hayloft

When she turned to go back to the farmhouse, she noticed a light in a high window. She stopped for a moment, considering, watching the light. Then she went back inside and paused at the ladder leading to the lofts.

 

What she was about to do went beyond what Ange had suggested. And besides, it was impertinent and might come across as desperate rather than merely determined.

 

But Lars had said she was pretty, so…

What is it with me and romantic hayloft scenes? It is almost getting to be a meme. You would think that I had such experience with haylofts, myself.

Garden by New MoonThere is a brief, romantic scene in the garden by the moonlight. But mostly I just wanted to capture this picture of the cool new moon.

The name of the game is MineCraft, and its simple concept has made it tremendously popular. Get it at https://minecraft.net/. It is a great way to visualize your scenes.

Or to just goof off.

So Who's Grumpy?

The Magic Mirror and the Seventh DwarfThe Magic Mirror and the Seventh Dwarf comes out today! As the title suggests, this story is a retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. In my story, the dwarfs live on a farm which has become a sort of refuge for dwarfs, where they can meet and befriend other people like themselves.

Recently, one of my sisters asked which of my seven dwarfs were inspired by which of the seven dwarfs in the Disney movie. I told her there was no association. When she thought that there must be, I said, “Do you really think I have a character in my story that spends all his time sneezing?”

This changed her thinking. And I actually had to change my thinking in a similar way as well. I realized how awkward it would be to have a Sneezy, Dopey or Sleepy in my story, so I purged myself of those personas (such as they are) and came up with entirely new characters. Here they are.

Dieter Klein–Dieter is not a true dwarf–he is simply a very short man. He lives with his wife Marta on his farm. Dieter is used to somewhat unruly farmhands and has a firm but fair hand. Once you cross him, however, there is no forgiveness. He has a thoughtful nature and has filled the house with furnishings that fit his wife’s small frame.

Marta Klein–Marta is Dieter’s wife. She has classic dwarfism–achondroplasia–and has only been able to bear her husband one child who survived. That child, Fritz, is sixteen years old and six feet tall. Marta is practical and a good listener, and becomes a mentor for the two young women who fall into her care.

Gunther–He is the oldest of the farmhands, in his late 40s, and is the general supervisor. He is quiet and not the strongest of leaders, tending to give people more of a chance than they really deserve. He has never married.

Rudolph–He is the next in seniority. He is another short man, but he makes up for it with his impressive physique. A minstrel in the story calls him a Heracles in miniature. He was bullied early in life and unfortunately has turned into a bully, himself. Is he Grumpy? No. Grumpy had a heart of gold. Nuff said.

Klaus–He is the smallest of the male dwarfs at the farm. Despite his stature, he is a smith, skilled in making small items such as nails and hooks. He also is a handyman. He is also young and does not have much confidence, and is often the target of Rudolph’s mistreatment.

Lars–Lars is the newest of the farmhands. He was the son of a court jester, but when his father died he left that life to pursue an “honest living”. He hears about the dwarf farm from a passing minstrel, and for the first time in his life is doing heavy manual labor. However, he never looks back…unless Gretchen is walking by.

Gretchen–When Gretchen arrives at the farm, she completes the seven. She takes up milking and feeding and shopping at the local market. However, the work she does is just a sham–she’s paying for her keep because she actually has come to the farm for the express purpose of picking out a husband. Which may be somewhat mercenary of her, but at twenty-seven years of age, a girl’s got to take matters into her own hands…

The Magic Mirror and the Seventh Dwarf is available at Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google Play, Omni Lit, iTunes and many more online booksellers. I hope you enjoy it!

Cover Reveal! The Magic Mirror and the Seventh Dwarf

Presenting the cover of my next story, The Magic Mirror and the Seventh Dwarf:

To say I am thrilled with this cover is an understatement. I am humbled by it. I think it is amazing. I will be submitting it for awards. I love that they were able to get both Prince Richard and Gretchen on the cover. I love that they put his face in the magic mirror. I love that they made Gretchen so dreamy looking. It is fabulous. Don’t you agree?

Sale! Accidental Enchantments – Volume 2

I am pleased and excited to announce that the second installment of my series of fairy tale retellings has sold! Edits start in just a few weeks.

The tentative title is Face in the Magic Mirror, and it is a reimagining of the Snow White story. I don’t know yet if the title will change. It tells the story of that mysterious being within the magic mirror, how he came to be there, and why he finds the queen so lovely. It is also about the queen’s stepdaughter, and the problems extreme beauty might cause.

But mostly, it is about a young woman with achondroplasia who has never seen another person like herself, and who hears of a refuge for dwarfs. She travels to the refuge in a blatant search for a husband, but none of the men there are quite what she hoped for.

She thinks.

The Sevenfold SpellThis story was actually the inspiration for the whole Accidental Enchantments theme. I imagined this man in the mirror, on the run from the queen, bringing unintentional doom to people every time he is forced to respond to her questions. I couldn’t make the story work so I wrote The Sevenfold Spell, instead. And last year, when I started writing Magic Mirror again, it just flowed from start to finish. It’s funny how these things work out.

If you haven’t read The Sevenfold Spell yet, you can always — ahem — check it out now. 😉

Where Have I Been?

Sorry about the long silence. I’ve been like a lady obsessed.

First, some news. I have 2 stories ready for submission. Yay! I’ll get those suckers sent off by the end of the weekend. Here are the queries I’m working on; this is for The Face in the Magic Mirror, a novella:

Prince Richard is trapped by a spell on a magic mirror, through which he must answer truthfully the vain questions of a very beautiful and ambitious queen. As long as Richard finds the queen the fairest of all, she is content. However, one day, Richard falls in love with the queen’s young stepdaughter, Angelika.

He urges Angelika to flee the queen’s jealous wrath, so she runs to her friends in the woods, a farm worked entirely by dwarfs. There, she meets Gretchen, who came to the farm looking for a husband. She has made her choice, but her heart does not yet agree with her head.

To free Richard, Angelika, and a land in the grip of the evil queen, Gretchen and her betrothed decide to become heroes.

Yeah, so it needs work. My WordPress theme made it italic; I’ll have to find that setting and turn it off. One day.

Here’s the other, for A Little Night Magic, my Regency urban fantasy. Some of you have seen other versions of it before:

Tory is a spy. She’s also a starcaster–able to manipulate starlight. The Intelligence Ministry director, Mr. Bradburn, thinks her specialty should be using her feminine wiles to seduce state secrets out of unsuspecting enemy operatives. And while Tory appreciates the implied compliment, she would like nothing more than to find a way to respectfully decline.

She doesn’t realize that what Bradburn really wants is a patsy. When enemy spies try to steal a new magical prototype, Tory thwarts them and traces the spies back to Bradburn. Before she can gather evidence against him, he frames her for the theft of the prototype. Now, everyone wants the prototype and Tory’s dodging villains like ladies evade louts at a ball.

Disguised as a domestic servant, armed with lockpicks, decoding disks, and a black powder revolver, Tory must evade her fellow operatives, find evidence of Bradburn’s connection to the enemy, avert the plot against the throne, and clear her good name.

So why am I obsessed? Because I’ve been a crazed songwriter lately. I’ve been churning out songs like I’ve never been able to churn out stories. In the last month, I’ve written the music and/or lyrics to four songs (although one needs more polish), and I’ve even set one of them to music. I had already set another song to music last year, so I now have 5 songs. As soon as I write one, another pops into my head. The music generally pops in later.

Here are the titles:

  • So Screwed (with music)
  • Oh, Autism (with music)
  • Worth the Waiting (lyrics only, needs rhymes)
  • How to Write a Country Song (lyrics only, written on Saturday and Sunday)
  • Lady Geek (lyrics only, written yesterday and today)

Most of these are comic songs, except the 2nd and the 3rd. No, I don’t intend to be a singer. No, I don’t have a singer lined up to do demos. No, I don’t have a collaborator lined up to help me with the music. Yes, I’ve been studying how to write songs (hence the 4th song). Yes, I got the appropriate “For Dummies” book. Yes, I am still totally lost. No, I have not given up writing fiction.

So thanks for hanging with me. I’ll try to keep you guys posted.

Raw! Unedited! Snippet Sunday – From Snow White Retelling

To celebrate sending my Snow White story to beta readers–which I plan to do before the night is over, I promise–here is a brief snippet.

Lars didn’t lust after his employer’s wife—not really. She was fifteen years older than he, and rather more matronly than he was yet ready for, with a double-chin, well-nursed bosoms and a large, round backside. But she did represent something very desirable to him.

He had never seen a woman shaped like her before. Men, he had seen aplenty—his own father, for one, plus other court dwarfs who regularly amused the royalty. They—most of them—had same thick torso, the same stumpy arms and legs, the same distinctive face.

But on the Frau … well, he tried not to think of what she looked like in the nude. Herr Dexter would thrash him for such thoughts. And so would that giant son of his.

He wondered what the other farmhands thought.

The four of them didn’t always work well together, but they knew better than to cause trouble. None of them wanted to be sent away. None really had anywhere to go, except back to whatever unpromising situation they had come from … except maybe Rudolph. Of the lot of them, Lars only really liked Gunther, who was also the oldest, except for Herr Dieter. Rudolph was pure trouble. Klause was quiet and sullen. Lars had only been among them for a handful of weeks. As the newcomer, he got the hardest work—plowing the field.

I hope you enjoyed it.

Which brings me to a request. I know there are a few German speakers who read this blog. I’d dearly love for a native German to proofread my incidental use of German. If you speak German and are interested, please email me at tia dot nevitt at gmail dot com, and I’ll send you a copy.

As I ran through this story one last time, I took notes on my process because I thought it might make an  interesting blog subject. I’ll post it later in the week. Plus, now that I’m done with this writing and editing marathon (it was more like NaNoEdMo for me), I think I’ll take a little break and breathe some life back into this blog.

This Week in Research – Little People

When I’m doing research, I often find myself researching the small details. Well, but bulk of my research for my Snow White retelling has been big details about small people: namely little people.

I have become a frequent visitor to LPA, or Little People of America. It’s a fabulous website, chock full of information and things I, being typically sized, would never have thought of.

Achondroplasia is the most common form of dwarfism, but there are many different causes of short stature. Most of the dwarfs in my story have this form of dwarfism. Two characters are merely short. In my story, a female with Achondroplasia is married to a typical man who is short. They have a six foot son. When one person with this condition has a child with someone that does not, the chance of a child with Achondroplasia is 50%.

People with this condition often develop lower back problems. There are certain adaptive products available to little people. These chairs not only have short legs, but they have short seat backs, high arm rests, and sometimes built-in footrests. I never would have guessed the high arm rests, but I learned that many people with Achondroplasia have upper arms and legs that are shorter than their lower arms and legs.

I also looked into mobility products, but since my story takes place in times past, I don’t need to read about things like pedal extenders and extra seat cushions in cars to accommodate driving–but I did anyway. A good many people with Achondroplasia also have to use walkers.

But really, the reason I wanted to write about little people has little to do with the Snow White story. When I came up with the Accidental Enchantments theme, I drew some sketches of some characters I had in mind for four stories. One was the prince in Snow White, who I have mostly kept intact with my original vision. However, I only had 1500 words written. I couldn’t make the story work until I came up with Gretchen, a young woman with Achondroplasia. Then, I was able to write the rough draft in six weeks.

And I wanted to write about such a person because they are rare enough to be memorable, yet so rare in fiction. When I have an interaction with a little person, I remember it for years and years. I realize that this is probably both a burden and a blessing to such people. But because of these people who remain fixed in my memory, I wanted to write this story. I’m glad Snow White gave me the impetus to do so, but i wanted them to be genuine characters, not caricatures. And I wanted them to be the main characters.

I just hope I don’t botch it.