Unraveled (Thalia’s Musings, Volume Three) has been sent out to my wonderful volunteer beta readers. Well, “volunteer” might be less accurate than “hand-picked and drafted.” But anyway, I can’t tell you guys how excited I am that the book is finally at this stage! Due to numerous real-life complications, it’s taken me about a year longer than I’d originally intended. I appreciate my readers’ loyalty and patience.
Keep watching for release dates, cover reveals, and all that. 😀
If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr, you might already know that I finished the rough draft of Thalia’s Musings 3 on Friday! Now it’s on to the rewrites and beta. Here’s a teaser to tide you over for now:
It’s been two years since Thalia last heard from the Fates. She has a new mission from Athena: keep Beroe, daughter of Adonis and Aphrodite, alive. Poseidon wants to make Beroe his new queen and use her as leverage to gain a seat at Zeus’ court. Dionysus wants to marry Beroe and give her a life of hedonistic bliss in his forest. Beroe wants to battle for her own hand and join Artemis’ hunters. And Zeus wants Beroe out of the way because she holds the memories of the dead and claims she’s seen him kill Hera.
All the more reason for Thalia to keep a secret she’s discovered: Hera’s in love. With the mortal King Ixion. And they may have been set up by Athena.
Can Thalia save the people she cares about from becoming collateral damage in Athena’s revolution? Will the revolution succeed before everything comes unraveled?
Believe it or not, Beroe (whose name rhymes with Carraway) is not a popular subject in the art world, at least according to my internet searches. I’d think more people would want to draw, paint, or sculpt Aphrodite and Adonis’ daughter. Anyway, here’s an image of how I’ve cast Beroe and her parents in my head.
I’ll be announcing an official title by the end of the month, so keep watching for more updates!
Everyone has to grow up, right? Well, not if Peter Pan has anything to say about it! Peter, a late-twenties man-child and comic book artist living in the small town of Neverland Ohio, has three life goals: 1) NEVER GROW UP. 2) Have as much fun as humanly possible while doing as little work as possible. 3) Win the heart of his best friend, Wendy Darling. With his friends John, Michael, Lily and his fairy, Tinkerbell, Peter is nailing goals 1 and 2. Goal 3, however, is a bit trickier. Wendy Darling, an advice vlogger and overall go-getter, is tired of the never-changing small town of Neverland Ohio and wants to see the world, to become… an adult. It’s Peter vs Growing Up in the battle for Wendy! But is growing up really the enemy? Or is it the solution?
And I like Comedy Central. Peter and Wendy made me laugh. A lot. This is exactly how you’d picture Peter Pan and the Darlings if they were fifteen years older and living in modern America and literally nothing else was changed about them. Peter is goofy, cheeky, and goes back and forth between charming and infuriating. John takes everything too seriously, but is really no less childish than Peter or Michael. He’s essentially Dwight K. Schrute, right down to being Assistant [To The] Editor-in-Chief of his father’s newspaper. He’s contrasted and complemented by Michael, who is Michael Scott as played by Michael Cera. In the fourth episode, Michael and Peter skip work to play video games and share a “magic” brownie. (Yeah, it’s that kind of show.) Wendy, mature to a fault and surrogate mom to her brothers, could’ve easily be written as the resident shrewish buzzkill. She isn’t. She’s quirky, sweet, and fun, and when she tells the boys (and us) that everyone has to grow up sometime, we sympathize with her and want to see Peter and her brothers reach this epiphany, too. So far she’s my favorite character.
Lily Bagha, Tiger Lily’s counterpart, has only appeared in the series trailer and opening credit sequence so far. I’m especially interested to see how the series handles her character. I’m very happy to see that they cast a woman of color, which is more than I can say about another Peter Pan reimagining in the works. This “Indian princess” appears to be of the East Indian variety. I’m not sure how I feel about that. As hugely problematic as Tiger Lily’s portrayal has been in various incarnations, she’s always had a special place in my heart as a female fantasy character whose appearance and ancestry were similar to mine. I can’t help feeling like Peter and Wendy changed Lily’s background as a cop-out, like it was easier to avoid portraying a Native American character poorly by just not portraying one at all. But I can understand and respect the choice to err on the side of sensitivity. And, like I said, at least she’s still brown. I’m withholding judgment and willing to be convinced.
The weirdest part of this wonderfully weird show is Tinkerbell. We never see her. She’s always on the other side of the camera in Peter’s videos. And she’s a fairy. An actual fairy. A tiny glittery creature that flies and communicates through chiming sounds. And no one sees this as odd or remarkable in any way. At first I was like, “Does this mean the show is set in a parallel universe where everyone knows fairies exist and is cool with that? Does it mean there’s a deeper reason none of the characters have left Neverland, OH? Is Neverland like The Village? Or The Truman Show? Is Tinkerbell a mentally challenged human that everyone pretends is a tiny glittery fairy? Is Peter a mentally challenged human whose friends refuse to contradict his pet delusion?” Regardless, I loved the fact that Tink’s personality is exactly what it was in the Disney cartoon: a catty, jealous bitch who adores Peter and is possibly plotting against Wendy’s life. She cracked me up then and she cracks me up now.
Upon my second viewing, I discovered the Kensington Chronicle’s website and had my questions answered. Fairies are a real thing in the Neverland universe. The Chronicle’s website describes Tinkerbell as the only fairy officially in residence, but that didn’t stop a number of roleplaying Twitter accounts for fairy characters from popping up. Yes, it looks like Peter and Wendy is going to follow Welcome to Sanditon‘s footsteps in incorporating a social media roleplaying game. I hope they do a better job than Sanditon at keeping the main story as the focus. I found Sanditon hard to follow without being involved in the RPG aspect, which I know is hypocritical since I was one of the first people to join Harriet’s Music Club in Emma Approved. (That reminds me, I need to record a “Breathe and Believe” cover this week.) (Update 6/30/14 – I did.) Anyway, click on the Kensington Chronicle even if you aren’t into RP. It has backstory info like the fairy stuff I just shared, Peter’s cartooning, John’s column, and links to Michael’s Tumblr and Wendy’s Pinterest. And, of course, all the characters are on Twitter.
Gentle readers, this week it is my pleasure to introduce to you a charming and insightful program devoted to bringing classic literature to the masses, aptly entitled Thug Notes.
Each episode of this webseries opens with a stately, elegant theme reminiscent of Masterpiece Theater. We join Sparky Sweets, PhD (played by co-writer Greg Edwards) in an elegant library filled with timeless literary classics. In the first half of the episode, Dr. Sweets summarizes the selected volume for his gentle viewers. In the second half, he delivers a brief yet impressively thorough analysis of the book’s themes and literary background, highlighting key quotes from the book and sometimes its literary influences onscreen. All of this is accompanied by delightful stick figure composite animated illustrations. The highlight, of course, is that with the exception of verbatim quotes, Dr, Sweets’ reviews are conducted entirely in the vernacular commonly associated with organized crime in urban America, i.e. “gangsta.”
Selected volumes may include classic fantasy like The Hobbit, in which dwarves enlist the aid of Bilbo Baggins because “some dragon be shackin’ on their turf,”
Greek epics like Homer’s Odyssey, in which “[Bleep] be gettin’ real up in the kingdom of Ithica,”
Or even romances like Pride and Prejudice, in which Dr. Sweets says of Mrs. Bennet, “I ain’t sayin’ she a gold digger, but Bingley sure as hell ain’t no broke [bleep].”
You may recall me mentioning that the stereotyping of persons of Latin American ancestry as “thug” or “ghetto” is a cause of exceeding great displeasure to me. Such stereotyping is no less displeasing when applied to Americans of African ancestry. However, when a negative stereotype is satirized and subverted by a skilled comedian, that is quite another matter. Edwards and his co-writers are evidently people of excellent intellect, education, and refinement, a fact made all the more prominent by Sweets’ exaggerated thuggish persona. While the language and at times the subject matter of these reviews are unsuited for the workplace, Thug Notes are a worthy pursuit if one wishes to combine education with entertainment. Click here to peruse them at your leisure.
As you may remember, I’ve been following Pemberley Digital’s latest webseries, Emma Approved. It’s a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Emma, in which Emma is a professional matchmaker/life coach, Knightley is Emma’s business partner/accountant, and Harriet is Emma’s personal assistant.
In last Thursday’s episode, “Back in Business,” Harriet’s interpretation of Emma’s life coaching took the form of starting an online music club.
Harriet wrote a song, posted it on Emma’s YouTube channel, and included sheet music in the description so viewers could join her new club by uploading a cover.
So it came to pass that I spent my weekend joining a YouTube music club founded by a fictional character who originated in Regency England.
I’m on Harriet’s Twitter list and everything. ^_^ Want to play along? Click the image below for information at Emma’s website, and keep an eye on the hashtag #HarrietSongs on Twitter.
Can I just say this one more time, because I find it both baffling and awesome? Go to Emma Woodhouse’s website or Harriet Smith’s Twitter hashtag. Harriet Smith is following me on Twitter. Clueless has nothing on Emma Approved.
~ My Thalia’s Musings logo tests well in the three-year-old female demographic. Maybe I should use the blurb “I weally like dis ding!” on my next book cover.
~ I’m always impressed by particularly well-written action scenes in books, because I feel like film/tv is generally a more suitable medium for that kind of thing. In related news, I’m currently hating myself for plotting a novel that requires action scenes.
~ Aphrodite and Adonis had a daughter together in classical mythology. This is canon. One would think the daughter of the Ultimate Forces of Divine Hawtness would be a common subject for artists. Numerous searches on deviantART, Tumblr, Pinterest, and good old Google Images have indicated that this is not the case.
~ One thing I regret about my earlier volumes is putting Echo and Pan together. I did it for very personal reasons as a form of wish fulfillment. They would probably need therapy in real life. Echo should’ve ended up with Eustychus.
Clio, as I hope my Thalia’s Musings readers know, is the Muse of History. It’s quite evident that Clio and Thalia have both bestowed their blessings on Azie Dungey, creator and star of the historical comedy webseries Ask A Slave.
Ask A Slave is a comedy web series based on the actress’ experiences working at Mount Vernon portraying one of George Washington’s slaves. All questions and interactions are based on true life events. Watch Lizzie Mae, housemaid to President and Lady Washington, respond as modern-day Americans say the darndest things about history!
Lizzie Mae is fictional, but her awesomely snarky answers to modern Americans’ questions are based on extensive historical research. Sometimes her guests are as fictional as she is. Other times she interviews real historical figures like Seneca chief and dignitary Red Jacket, and abolitionist Tobias Lear. Lizzie Mae’s interviews challenge stereotypes about life in colonial America, especially in regard to race relations, in an engaging, entertaining way. I always laugh and I usually learn something when I watch them.
So, if you’re a fan of quirky web comedy videos and/or American history, check out Ask A Slave! Here’s the first episode to get you started:
And here’s one more shot of the lovely Azie just because:
The rough draft, that is. I’ve drafted 8 of a projected 16 chapters. I’ll give more timeline details as I have them, but for now I can say that I’m looking at a Spring 2014 release. Like the first two volumes, Volume 3 will be posted serially at ThaliasMusingsNovels.com for free and sold for Kindle and NOOK. Hopefully I’ll have more progress reports around the first of the year.
This concept is very near the top of my “Why The Effing Hell Did I Not Think Of This First??” list. We all have Pinterest boards that in no way reflect our actual lives, right? If Pinterest had a dime for every not-engaged woman who has a wedding pinboard- oh, wait, it probably does. Anyway, freelance writer Tiffany Beveridge took the imaginary pinboard phenomenon and owned it. She does not have a daughter, toddler or otherwise. What she has is a pinboard dedicated to her nonexistent daughter named Quinoa (that’s pronounced “keen-wa,” for those of you who weren’t raised by crunchy moms).
Beveridge captions all the pins with quips and anecdotes about little Quinoa and her baby hipster friends who have names like Chevron and Hashtag. Whether you think little kids are automatically adorable and precious, or you’re perpetually annoyed by your parent friends’ social media, or both, you’ll likely find some lolz in #MIWDTD. You can follow Quinoa’s adventures in fashion on Tumblr,Twitter,Facebook, Instagram, and the pinboard that started it all. And in Spring 2014, Quinoa is coming to bookstores! As a fellow web creator, I’m totes not bitter always glad to see something that started as a social media joke seriously why the hell didn’t I think of it gain this kind of success. 😀