It’s the final countdown! Three more days to go before the release of Scarred Beauty, Volume 2 in the Wylder Tales Series. A year ago Prism Book Tours hosted a book tour for Craving Beauty, filled with fun interviews, and top secret info on the characters & the world. This past month we have been revisiting the novel that started it all. As this is the last blog repost in our miniseries, I thought we could get a little more personal. The following blog post shares my personal journey “getting there” and was first published in Nov 2015 on the lovely Zerina Blossom’s Books.
What I Learned From Craving Beauty
I started writing “Craving Beauty, Vol. 1” sometime back in 2009. About this time I was still writing some intense Lord of the Rings fanfiction with my twin best friends. We had many serious nerdette sessions where we plotted out future events for our “characters”. One of those sessions I broke out my brand-spanking-new manuscript for a darker Beauty & the Beast retelling. The twins listened to me read the first chapter aloud and were gracious and enthusiastic as ever, bless them. The first draft was horrible, but I kept tinkering away at it in the hopes it might become something great. In fact, it was my NaNoWriMo entry for 2014 because, yes, I was still writing it at that time.
Of all the projects I’ve worked on since I started writing professionally, Vynasha’s story has stuck with me the longest. It has been drafted and re-drafted, revised and edited and revised again. At times I wanted to throw in the towel and give up because I thought I would never see the day it would publish. Some authors in that position might have set it aside for a later date, or put it away for good to collect dust. And I might have done exactly that except for one thing, I love the story. I love gothic romances and fairy tale retellings, and “Craving Beauty” is somewhat of a conglomerate of the two. It has elements of horror and high fantasy with the necessary Byronic hero and a heroine who isn’t your average “Beauty.”
My beta and friend, Allison and I worked on new revisions this last year. I finally sat down to finish what I started six years ago. Part of my incentive came from real life. I had gone through several major life changes, from moving, getting married to getting pregnant for the first time. I lost that pregnancy, as well as the second one a couple of months later. About this time last year, I lost my day job. To say this last year was hard is an understatement. But rather than wallow in self-pity like I wanted to do, I tried to stay busy, to keep writing. Craving Beauty as you know it was born from those tough months. Much of Vynasha’s journey is shaped by the loss she suffers before we meet her. After everything that happened this last year, I feel like I know her a lot better.
I learned a lot about myself as a writer and about writing while working on Craving Beauty. From my first editor, Sara O’Connor, I learned that while prose is a very lovely thing, you can’t substitute it for dialogue. People will get bored if you insist on describing the silver trees for the fifth time in a chapter. Sara not only helped me retool and reshape the rough draft, but how to believe in the story. My beta, Allison taught me perseverance. Long after I wanted to give up on the story and writing in general, Allison was there helping me pick up the pieces. From famed thriller author, Stephen King’s “Memoir On Writing”, I learned that real authors actually pen multiple drafts of their works. Not all of them, but many do three to four drafts and its okay if you don’t publish your first. Good chance is your first draft sucks as bad as mine did.
It’s amazing how writing a book can become a reflection of your life and how you’ve changed over time. Since I started working on Vynasha’s story, a lot has changed I’m happy to say. And I’m glad I didn’t give up when I had the chance. My biggest encouragement to you fellow readers and writers is to never give up on your passion in life, no matter what life decides to throw at you. I believe everything happens for a reason, good and the bad. It’s up to you to decide how you are going to take what comes your way, whether you turn it into something ugly or beautiful. I’m happy to tell you that I am not only pregnant again, but expecting a healthy boy this next month around Christmas. I might be praying I don’t go into labor at an awkward time, you know, like while we’re carving the Christmas ham. I’m also happy to share the release of Craving Beauty with y’all. Vynasha’s journey is centered on her faith in a better life for her and Wyll, and the hope for a brighter future. It’s been a long journey, but one I wouldn’t trade for a peanut butter cup.
If you would like to read more about Craving Beauty, visit the Goodreads Page
or if you really are intrigued, please feel free to purchase at the following links