Serpentine Walls Release Party #5 — Let’s Talk Movies!

October 30, 2013

Thanks, all, for joining the party! My birthday has been great so far, getting to hang out with all of you and talk about Serpentine Walls.

GIFTS! Because it’s my birthday, I will be giving out some gifts.  All you have to do is answer one (or more) of the questions I’ll be asking through the day during the party. One of you will win a signed copy of Serpentine Walls and three more of you will win a free e-book of one of my novellas (your choice).

Let’s talk about movies.  I love movies, which you will notice when you read the novel.  My MC, Pete, makes his first film under the tutelage of Matthew, the guy he falls in love with. Pete’s other love interest, Aidan, plays a part in his movie while the rest of Pete’s friends are involved in some way.

The characters also talk about movies a LOT in this book.  I hadn’t realized how much until I went back through and made a list of every movie that is mentioned in the novel.  Here’s the list, in the order in which they appear:

Cinema Paradiso

Hannah and her Sisters

Transformers 3

Ruby Sparks

The Squid and the Whale

Seventh Seal

Animal House

Brokeback Mountain

Sleepless In Seattle

When Harry Met Sally

Sweeney Todd

South Pacific

The Sound of Music

Monsters, Inc.

L’Avventura

Now, Voyager

Mean Girls

Trainspotting

Camille

Casablanca

Romeo and Juliet

Grease

The Hobbit

Pete and Matthew quote lines from Now, Voyager, the classic Bette Davis film.

And one of my favorite lines in the story is the movie line that comes to Pete’s mind when he and Matthew are about to share their first kiss:

Their eyes held, and everything became quiet inside of Pete. It felt like being on a precipice. Screw it, he thought, and before he could lose his nerve, he reached out and took Matthew’s hand.

“What are you doing?”

“Um, holding your hand?” Pete winced as the suave line he could have said if his life were a movie ran through his head: What I should have done long ago….

Okay, question time.  What is your all-time favorite movie and why?

Serpentine Walls Order Page

CJane Elliott Website

https://twitter.com/CJaneElliott

Breaking Birthday Present News!  I just heard from those awesome folks at Dreamspinner that EVERYONE gets gifts!  With the code CJaneBlog you’ll get 25% off all of my books and all Coming of Age books in the Dreamspinner Store. It’s good until 5 p.m. EDT on Friday, November 1!

Serpentine Walls Release Party #4 — On The Couch

October 30, 2013

Welcome again to the party.  We’re having cake and talking about Serpentine Walls.

I’m a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist. My stories often contain some psychological themes and Serpentine Walls is no exception.

The character in Serpentine Walls who stands in for my psychotherapist side is John Borden, Pete’s best friend from childhood. John is a psychology major and is studying the work of Carl Jung, who was a famous Swiss psychiatrist and friend of Sigmund Freud.

Here’s Jung. Ain’t he cute?

Archetypes, extrovert/introvert, collective unconscious – all are concepts developed by Jung. John talks to Pete about “animus projection” in the story, which would take a whole other post to explain.

So let’s talk about dreams. Both Jung and Freud were interested in dreams and the messages that they convey. Pete mentions a few of his dreams in the book. Here’s one:

Excerpt:

Jogging down the sidewalk, Pete let the rhythmic pounding lull him into a meditative state. The wind kicked up, and a fragment of a dream he’d had the night before drifted into his mind.

He’s outside his house, but he’s lost his key and can’t get in. Now he’s inside, standing in the foyer. All of the furniture is unfamiliar. Adults in black mourning clothes are in the hallway, and they say, “We’re sorry for your loss.” His eyes fill with tears and he keeps groping in his pocket for the key, but it’s not there.

Pete wiped the sweat from his forehead. Freud could do something with that. No, Jung. John was forever spouting Jungian theory. He’d have to tell him this one—John loved to analyze his dreams.

I’ve got an analysis. Life sucks. Nothing lasts. People are shitheads and leave you in the end. Like Dad.

***

I think Pete’s friend John might come up with a more positive analysis.

Dreams are amazing. They sometimes seem bizarre but they are the avenue through which our unconscious mind comments on and works through life events.

Pete’s dream shows that he’s mourning the loss of his old life where his family was together. But it also shows the presence of “adults in black mourning clothes” who sympathize with him. These are helpful figures, an aspect of Pete’s unconscious that is there to support him.

When you study your dreams, you can get much information about yourself that isn’t available through your waking mind.  So here comes the question:

Have you had dreams, good or bad, which stuck with you or made an impact on your life? I’d love to hear about them.

Serpentine Walls Order Page

CJane Elliott website

CJane Elliott Twitter

Breaking Birthday Present News!  I just heard from those awesome folks at Dreamspinner that EVERYONE gets gifts!  With the code CJaneBlog you’ll get 25% off all of my books and all Coming of Age books in the Dreamspinner Store. It’s good until 5 p.m. EDT on Friday, November 1!

October 30, 2013

Beautiful pics CJ! Good luck with your party. Will put it on my to read list!!

Serpentine Walls Release Party #3 — Locations Rock!

October 30, 2013

Location has played a role in all of my books. I usually set my stories in places that I’ve lived. My first novella, Electricity Sparks Inside Of Me, was set in the Washington, D.C. area where I grew up. I currently live in Oregon and most of Mercury In Retrograde was set at an Oregon river rafting lodge. Stay Right Here was set in another city I have lived in and dearly love: San Francisco.

Serpentine Walls is a contemporary novel set at the University of Virginia (U.Va. for short) in Charlottesville, Virginia. I chose U.Va. because I went to school there many years ago and it was fun to revisit the old alma mater in my imagination.

U.Va. has a beautiful and historic campus the core of which was designed by Thomas Jefferson in the 1800s. Central to the campus (called “grounds” at U.Va.) is The Lawn.

The cover of Serpentine Walls shows my two MCs, Pete and Matthew, standing on The Lawn with a bunch of white columns in the background. Those columns line a walkway that runs down each side of The Lawn and is called the Colonnades. Here’s a view of The Lawn and the Colonnades:

That building you see at the far end is Old Cabell Hall where the music department is. Pete and his other main romantic interest, Aidan, attend rehearsals for the student chorus there, and Matthew likes to play piano in the practice rooms.

Here’s another view of the Colonnades as one walks through them. Pete, Matthew and the gang do a lot of walking along the Colonnades as they go to and from classes.

The Corner is mentioned in the story (and the name confused my editors at first). The Corner is several blocks of shops and restaurants right across from the university.  Pete and his friends hang out in various places at The Corner:

And what about the serpentine walls alluded to in the title?  Here’s one:

The serpentine walls are only mentioned in the book once, when Matthew and Pete have a misunderstanding at Professor R’s party in his faculty home. Matthew splits and Pete runs after him through the back garden and along the serpentine wall.

I have loved every place I’ve lived, which is probably why I like to revisit them in my books.

GIFTS! Because it’s my birthday, I will be giving out some gifts.  All you have to do is answer one (or more) of the questions I’ll be asking through the day during the party. One of you will win a signed copy of Serpentine Walls and three more of you will win a free e-book of one of my novellas (your choice).

How about you?  Are you living in a place you love?  If not, where do you want to be? What has been your favorite place to live?

Serpentine Walls order link

CJane Elliott website

CJane Elliott Twitter

Breaking Birthday Present News!  I just heard from those awesome folks at Dreamspinner that EVERYONE gets gifts!  With the code CJaneBlog you’ll get 25% off all of my books and all Coming of Age books in the Dreamspinner Store. It’s good until 5 p.m. EDT on Friday, November 1!

Serpentine Walls Release Party #2 — The Story

October 30, 2013

Okay, all, I’m back.

GIFTS! Because it’s my birthday, I will be giving out some gifts.  All you have to do is answer one (or more) of the questions I’ll be asking through the day during the party. One of you will win a signed copy of Serpentine Walls and three more of you will win a free e-book of one of my novellas (your choice).

Let’s talk about Serpentine Walls. I love the cover by L.C. Chase:

Blurb:

Reeling from the news that his parents are divorcing, Pete Morgan starts his junior year at college cynical about love and commitment. Although his new openness to one-night stands does wonders for his sex life, fighting his romantic nature proves harder than he’d anticipated. He soon finds himself pining for a glamorous senior, Aidan, who doesn’t mind taking Pete to bed but shows no interest in commitment—at least not with Pete. And Pete’s attempt at a “friends-with-benefits” relationship with sophomore Jed leaves Pete feeling empty.

One bright spot in Pete’s year is Matthew, an easygoing graduate student who assists Pete in making his first film. Matthew has some baggage too, and has sworn off relationships and sex altogether, so Pete feels safe to enjoy their friendship. But he falls for Matthew anyway, not able to fight his growing conviction that Matthew is the perfect guy for him. Even if Pete can accept that he made a mistake when he turned his back on relationships, that doesn’t mean Matthew will feel the same. With a few life lessons under his belt, Pete’s ready to take a chance on love. As he finds the courage to bare his heart to Matthew, he can only hope that Matthew will take a chance with him.

Serpentine Walls is set in college.  It was fun to write college-aged characters and think back to how life was for me back then.  I was still trying to figure out what I wanted in life and who I was in the world.  I think you’ll see my characters going through the same process.

So here’s a question or two.  I can never ask just one question so feel free to answer only one or more:  Did you go to college (or are you in college now)? If so, what is one of your favorite memories? If not, what was behind your decision not to go?

Okay, I’ll be back again soon with more!

Serpentine Walls Order Page

https://twitter.com/CJaneElliott

CJane Elliott Website

Breaking Birthday Present News!  I just heard from those awesome folks at Dreamspinner that EVERYONE gets gifts!  With the code CJaneBlog you’ll get 25% off all of my books and all Coming of Age books in the Dreamspinner Store. It’s good until 5 p.m. EDT on Friday, November 1!

Serpentine Walls Release Party — Welcome and have some cake!

October 30, 2013

Hello! CJane Elliott here ready to chat with you and celebrate the release of my novel Serpentine Walls. It’s also my birthday, so thanks for helping me celebrate.  Enjoy some virtual birthday cheesecake:


Got a slice?  Good!  Enjoy and I’ll be back soon to talk about Serpentine Walls.

Serpentine Walls Order Page

CJane Elliott Website

CJane Elliott Twitter
Breaking Birthday Present News!  I just heard from those awesome folks at Dreamspinner that EVERYONE gets gifts!  With the code CJaneBlog you’ll get 25% off all of my books and all Coming of Age books in the Dreamspinner Store. It’s good until 5 p.m. EDT on Friday, November 1!

One Last Thing— An Excerpt

October 30, 2013

Why not end with an excerpt from The Gospel According to Cher? Good night, kittens.

Excerpt:

Hyperventilating did not enter into the equation. Rampaging nerves threatened Patrice’s muscles. He swore even his nose tip twitched in sick stress. His first big night sprawled before him and here he stood, ready to scream.

Tonight marked his debut at Club Mauve’s well-respected New York City drag review. The club’s mammoth interior made the Key West club Patrice had performed in appear tiny. Patrice refused to look through the curtains again. The sight twisted his intestines into little purple bows. Laughter and talk filled the space. The audience collected to pass judgment on the newbie.

Patrice wished panic would stop strangling his insides. The sensation slithered up to bother his throat. He needed to sing, not choke out the lyrics.

He shut his eyes and tried to relax. First he concentrated on his right fingertips, relaxing his arm until he attempted to defuse his tense shoulders. He focused relaxation down his left arm. Patrice commanded his silly nerves to stop messing around under his skin. He tried to untie the nasty intestinal bows. His serious problem almost made him laugh and cry, but he didn’t want to ruin his makeup.

Nothing happened. Tonight when he needed her most, Countess Dragonballz decided to ignore him. She hid in an interior mental closet, filing her long nails. Tonight she launched a sudden snit fit over not being allowed to come out to play, and slammed the door. The sullen diva needed to come the fuck out now! Patrice needed her style, the same style she had provided during his audition and the rehearsal. Only her style would save his ass onstage. If he blundered onstage as good old frightened Patrice O’Malley, he’d stand there and cry for sure. He’d be the classic colossal failure, the no-hit embarrassment of the night—or more like the turd of the town.

Now Patrice’s nerves felt as tangled as kitten-attacked yarn. He liked that analogy better than the yucky intestinal bows. Kittens and yarn seemed less disgusting. Before Patrice turned for another pacing session, cool fingers massaged his bare shoulders.

“Sweetie, even your shoulders look frightened. Relax for me.”

Patrice whirled into Hindy’s comforting embrace. “I’m such a stupid ninny. Fear of fucking-up hammers my head. Can’t you hear the noise?” He refused to voice his terror over Countess Dragonballz’s petulance. No. Maybe Hindy’s supportive love would coax her out. She loved to perform for Hindy.

“Nonsense. You’ll be a star. You look amazing, erotic and exotic.” Hindy tapped a fingertip against Patrice’s glamorous Egyptian-influenced eye makeup. “You should give a few of these tattered queens makeup tips. You understand color and contrast.”

Patrice almost purred in delight. Yes, this was what he needed. Hindy’s loving support worked wonders for Patrice’s terror.

The angry rattle of high heels clacked across the backstage floor. “Excuse me, no visitors back here right before the show, yo. Git yo skinny ass outta here right now.”

“Break a braid.” Hindy kissed Patrice into near orgasm. Panic over smudging his sparkly lip gloss tripped across his mind. Tough. Hindy’s devoted kiss meant far more to him. The kiss untied the intestinal bows.

The scolding voice swept closer. “Yo, who the fuck dja think—”

Hindy released Patrice. He winked at Patrice before he turned and straightened his shoulders in regal disdain. “Rhoda, I am Marc’s friend.”

Ouch, Patrice thought Hindy’s frosty voice froze the tall drag queen’s eyeballs.

A sputter prefaced a reply. “Oh, yo, look, real sorry, Hindy. I didn’t recognize yo from behind.”

“I’ll let the incident pass.” Hindy winked at Patrice one last time before he stalked from the backstage.

Patrice tried not to giggle. Long purple nails prodded his shoulder. Rhoda stared at him in high interest. “Yo, Hindy’s your man?”

“Yeah, he’s mine.” Hopefully forever and ever.

Before Patrice ducked, Rhoda Lottamen swatted her long nails at Patrice’s cheek. “Wow, yo one lucky girl. Hey, yo okay? Yo look rattled. Look, I heard yo in rehearsal. Yo gotta gift, girl.”

“Thanks.” Yeah, Countess Dragonballz had the gift. How could she come out to play at the rehearsal and hide away in such record speed?

“Our audience loves it when someone actually sings instead of lip syncs. Yo also know howta work your swag.” Rhoda tapped her talons against Patrice’s nose. “Like Count Dracula said, yo gonna be great. Yo, tell me yo feel peachy fuckin’ keen.”

Count Dracula? Why did everyone think poor Hindy looked like a vampire? He never acted dead, especially not in bed. This time Patrice giggled in acknowledgement. “Rhoda, I feel peachy fucking keen.”

“Hell yeah, yo do. Dragonballz, yo is gonna knock this hot mess outta the atmosphere. I hate sayin’ knock ’em dead, because who wants a dead audience, yo? Don’t yo worry, I’ll warm them up good for yo, cutie pie.”

“Thanks, Rhoda.” At least Rhoda Lottamen liked him. Patrice sensed getting on Rhoda’s bad side resulted in banishment. He knew the imposing mistress of ceremonies would teeter out to trash talk and crack jokes between acts. Offstage, Tomas Rodriguez talked street, but onstage his Rhoda developed a throaty contralto and perfect diction. The sultry Rhoda didn’t look as divinely divaesque as RuPaul, but she came damned close.

Piano music rippled through the club’s interior. Rhoda minced to the mirror for a last-minute inspection. She patted her towering fire-engine-red beehive and tugged at a crooked gold strap. “There’s the start of my intro. Girl, be ready to shine in like ten, yo.”

“Peachy fucking keen.”

“That’s right, sugah, we are all peachy fucking keen, every last one of us scintillating bright stars. We are here to bring joy to the pretty boys.” Rhoda Lottamen’s diction came to life.

“We do glitter!” Patrice fixed his smudged lipstick. Hindy had sparkles on his lips. The notion pleased Patrice.

He gave his presentation a long, hard look. Instead of embracing the standard Cher motif, he adopted a Cleopatra vibe. The look matched his gold-and-turquoise-beaded braids. Tonight he wore his favorite gown—a tight purple sequined sheath that showed off his lush ass and his right thigh via a daring side slit. He only needed to wear a little padding for his hips. Patrice never overdid his boobs. He added padding to create curves but no overkill. He left the major chest-packing stunt to the Dolly Parton queens.

The piano music swelled in crashing drama. Screams and cheers followed. “Hello, kittens, mmm, did you sweet boys become sexier since we last met? I should know; I Rhoda Lottamen!” Laughter pushed Rhoda into her act. “Like you, cutie. How many times did you pony up for me, Trigger? Mmm, I like to ride ’em high and drain ’em dry!”

As he grinned, Patrice hummed under his breath. Something shifted in his mind. A door banged his skull. Heat blazed through his mind to destroy his fear. Countess Dragonballz pranced into her dramatic center. She flounced and snapped her fingers.

Peachy fucking keen. Countess Dragonballz tossed her braids and swayed her hips. Time to shine.

“I am pleased to announce our first act, a virgin to the New York City stage, but I suspect not anywhere else. This newly found royalty wiggled her luscious ass to us all the way up from sultry Key West. Break a nail for the fabulous Countess Dragonballz!”

Countess Dragonballz mentally thanked Rhoda for stating her fine Southern pedigree. She had trained under and on top of a few drag legends.

The Countess thrust her right leg through the curtain opening. Next her right arm beckoned to the waiting crowd. Her silver and gold bangles sparkled in the spotlights. Cheers fanned Countess’s vanity. She strutted onstage in a hip-swinging sway, propped one hand on her hip, and surveyed her court. “Hello, my goodness, you’re all here to see little old me? I am utterly thrilled to see so many succulent gentleman callers under one roof. I hope you can handle the coming heat.” She swung her hips in anticipation. “I plan to turn it up to one hundred and twenty. Ready to melt, my dears?”

The applause tickled her. Countess Dragonballz smiled and rubbed her hands. “I have a little tune I’d like to share with you. I dedicate my song to my Hindy.” She blew a kiss toward Hindy. Dragonballz felt Hindy’s adoring smile slide over her body.

One last deep breath filled her lungs.

Showtime. Peachy fucking keen.

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4280

Things That Bite, Bark and Bump in the Night

October 29, 2013

‘Tis the time of the year to read spooky stories. I’m into horror, ghosts, demons, and vampires. Still can’t quite get into shifters. I dunno, there’s something about “sorry, darling, now I’m gonna get furry and rip out a few throats” that stops me cold. Yeah, I know, vampires also rip out throats but they can be a little more elegant about the situation. The rebel in me also doesn’t like the whole “I’m the big, bad pack leader; listen to me or else” attitude all too common in shifter stories.

That hasn’t stopped me from writing a shifter story. Of course the story is a comedy and there’s no pack. Guess I already broke a few shifter rules, eh? I planned to make that story my NaNoWriMo focus, but I have a few loose ends I need to cauterize before things become bloody.

Speaking of bloody, I do have a vampire story in Blood Sacraments. My first published story!

What things that bump, bite or howl in the night do you fancy?

Let me know. Someone will win a copy of my demon dark comedy To Save A Shining Soul. Booo!

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2376&cPath=55_394

Inspirational Overlook #1

October 29, 2013

No, tennis great Rafa Nadel is not in any of my books.

Weeellll, he might have inspired my character Marcelino Moya, object of romantic obsession in Cupid Knows Best and supportive secondary character in The Gospel According to Cher. Might have. A little. Halfway. Three-quarters of a way. Is that a measurement? *eye roll*

Gospel According to Cher: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4280

Cupid Knows Best:

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3303&cPath=55_394

Hello, I’m Man Ray. I’m Harebrain.

October 29, 2013

I think I might have designed Word Press but I’m not sure. Then again, I am a Harebrain.