Jun 072015
 

When I was writing Season of Mists, I scoured the internet for dress images of the era. As a visual writer, I find it difficult to describe a dress with the loving detail needed when you don’t see something physical manifested in front of you. Now finding “the right” dresses took forever. I wanted something around 1888, which made the search difficult since most of the dresses were dated either early 1880s to early 1900s. I took a leap of faith and started with a template and added to it in my mind.

In Season of Mists, Justine Holloway is a seventeen year old girl away at a french finishing school when she learns her parents both died in a fire. Suddenly, a girl from a middle class family, learning enough to snare a decent match, is now thrown into the world of wealth and mystery. Although in mourning, she attends her first ball. The fabric would be a deep silver with black ribbons, pearls and rossettes:

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House of Worth | c. 1882 This dress is in the Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity exhibition currently at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is stunning in person. The train has wide pleats of satin and tulle that fan out perfectly.

“It’s here, Justine,” Frances squealed. In her hand was a large cream box and behind her, Molly trailed, her expression less thrilled. Her godmother placed the package on the bed and motioned for Molly to open it.

“It just arrived. Let’s have a look.”

Molly removed the lid and Frances swooped in. She took the dress by the shoulder hem.

Out came a dark, steel gray gown with hand embroidered clear beading around a low neck line. The effect, as the couturier suggested, was stunning. Strands were draped across the bodice above a black lace and disappeared into a small cluster of silk rosettes with small pearls positioned above shoulder. Down the skirt’s front panel, the same beading blossomed in an array of glittering flowers and vines. The material was flat and smooth, meant to show off the painstaking detail. In the back, the dress’ train was draped in layers and accentuated with a garland of black silk flowers. Seeing the stages could never have prepared Justine for the sense of awe that struck her practically speechless.

“I have to say, that fashion house has a loyal patron in this household. Justine, this color will suit you so well.”

“Seeing it like this was almost worth being treated like a pin cushion.”

Frances laughed. “I have a feeling it was more than worth the pain. It would be far more striking in a blue or even cream.”

“What do you think, English?” Justine asked. Frances was right, it was worth the pain.

“It’s lovely, Miss.”

“You sound as a fish on market day. What troubles you?” Justine asked.

“Nothin’, Miss Justine.”

“English, have Mrs. Cripps send up tea. Be quick girl because you’ll need to do Miss Justine’s hair next for practice.”

The cut was perfect and made Justine feel quite grownup. Despite everyone’s insistence that she did not have to wear somber colors, she was pleased to see how well the black rosettes complemented the color.

 

That ball does not end well for our blushing heroine. Normally as young woman wouldn’t be out in society without being introduced into society, however, that was done in the Spring. In the meantime, debutantes had to wait patiently for her turn to be presented before the Queen before proposals could begin. Her next gown is for the opera where they see Aida with the mysterious Egyptian Ambassador. I was drawn to the back of this dress with all the decor down the sides. I added big puffed sleeves and more pearls. In my mind, I created what I would want to wear:

 

Beautiful dresses on this fashion plate, 1882

Beautiful dresses on this fashion plate, 1882

That night, Justine examined her reflection in the mirror of her boudoir, turning to look over her shoulder to see the lovely long train of her gown. The color was dark, since she still considered herself in half-mourning, a period in between black and vibrant color. Her gown was a deep blue silk embroidered with small silver beads that swirled from the bottom hem up to her bodice where a sash of the same hue encircled her waist, made petite by the tightly laced corset.  On the bodice of the dress, silver beads adorned the modest neckline and elegant short puffed sleeves. Dangling down her shoulders was black lace and more shimmery beads. In the back, yards of material was tucked and folded into an accordion train decorated with fabric rosettes and ribbon.  The fabric was heavy but stunning.

            “I look…” Justine’s voice faltered and Molly knew just what her mistress felt. She herself could not think of a good enough description. Somehow seeing the couturier hold up the fabric against her skin and trying to imagine how the drawn design would look on her didn’t quite make the same sort of profound effect.

            Then Justine smiled. “How many tucks does the bustle have?”

            “I told you the seamstress knew what she was doin’,” Molly said proudly. She picked up the train and straightened it out for her mistress. “Never seen anythin’ with so many buttons.”

            “It is far more elegant than anything I’ve ever worn. The dressmaker did a fabulous job.” Justine ran her hands down the bodice. “It’s a shame my mother cannot see me in it.”

 

 

The research for season of Mists was stretched to fit the story line but was so fun to write. Searching for dresses and fabrics was quite the task. I hope you enjoy seeing my inspiration as much as I did creating them in my mind.

 

som_cover1_raw-ish2Season of Mists is on sale at Amazon here and for my lovely UK visitors, you can buy it here.

 

Want to download a sample of Season of Mists? Click here to head over to Divertir Publishing and enjoy!

 

Summary:

The year is 1888. Justine Holloway finds herself an orphan after her parents die in a horrific fire. She is sent to live with her godparents, Harold Mendenhall and his sister Frances. On the boat ride home, she meets Amun Farouk, a handsome Egyptian Ambassador who is also sailing to England to meet her godfather. What Justine does not realize as she dons the veil of mourning is that Harold runs a secret organization under the nose of polite society, much to the dismay of his genteel sister. The Council was created for the protection of humanity from the Varius, refugees from a parallel universe who shift their form while others channel the forces of magic. They seek refuge in Victorian London, hidden in the slums, easily forgotten until a human ends up incinerated or sucked dry. Drawn into the plot against her will, Justine finds herself the object of a vampire’s lurid obsession. According to ancient texts, vampires kill humans for fodder, their blood and the air they breathe inferior, but this killer has other intentions for her. Does Justine’s survival depend on Amun or will he kill her to save humanity?

 

jencJen Corkill has an unholy fascination with Victorian literature, although contrary to popular belief, she doesn’t wear a corset. She does drink way too much coffee when she writes and enjoys watching the BBC. Another rerun of a Jane Austen remake? Game on! While you don’t need a reason to put the kettle on, nothing like tea and scones for dabbling in the Regency or Victorian eras.

Apart from her historically nerdy side, Jennifer also LOVES Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate, and looking up into the night sky with her eldest daughter, wondering if there’s life on other planets.

Life is as it should be raising her kids in rural Nevada with her amazing, head banging husband.

 

 Posted by at 5:00 am
May 162015
 

Season Of Mists is available on Amazon. But why not try a free sample first? Head over to Divertir Publishing to download your copy!

som_cover1_raw-ish2The year is 1888. Justine Holloway finds herself an orphan after her parents die in a horrific fire. She is sent to live with her godparents, Harold Mendenhall and his sister Frances. On the boat ride home, she meets Amun Farouk, a handsome Egyptian Ambassador who is also sailing to England to meet her godfather. What Justine does not realize as she dons the veil of mourning is that Harold runs a secret organization under the nose of polite society, much to the dismay of his genteel sister. The Council was created for the protection of humanity from the Varius, refugees from a parallel universe who shift their form while others channel the forces of magic. They seek refuge in Victorian London, hidden in the slums, easily forgotten until a human ends up incinerated or sucked dry.

Drawn into the plot against her will, Justine finds herself the object of a vampire’s lurid obsession. According to ancient texts, vampires kill humans for fodder, their blood and the air they breathe inferior, but this killer has other intentions for her. Does Justine’s survival depend on Amun or will he kill her to save humanity?

 Posted by at 10:53 pm
Jan 102015
 

som_cover1_raw-ish2

My first book will be published soon through Divertir Publishing. I just finished the last edits of the galley prints and now I am looking forward to the last leg of the journey.  The stages of this book has spanned several years. I started the endeavor after my mother died in 2008. Throughout my life, I sent her snippets of my work, bits of narrative I never truly committed to. Then, once I lost her, the drive to complete something became overpowering.  I cannot even tell you how many revisions this has gone through – how many friends I begged to read and edit, and how many times I played video games just to avoiding working on it.

 

In the end, the realization of having a publication ready book sitting on my hard drive is a great feeling. I will have more information regarding a release date so keep checking back.

 

 

Summary:

Justine Holloway prepares for her debut into society, compliments of her godparents, while the underworld of London groans with unfettered abhorrence. The Varius are refugees from a parallel universe who shift their form while others channel the forces of magic, an element that once flowed freely between both worlds. They seek refuge in Victorian London, hidden in the slums, easily forgotten until a human ends up incinerated or sucked dry. It is the job of the Council, created for the protection of humanity, to step in and eliminate the threat.

What Justine does not realize is her godfather runs the Council right under the nose of polite society, much to the dismay of his genteel sister. Justine suspects something mysterious is brewing when the handsome Egyptian Ambassador heals before her eyes. It’s an image she can forget and a mystery she wants to solve.

When a deadly vampire makes his devious intentions known, her survival might depend on this strange Egyptian. Unfortunately, he can’t figure out why he’s so drawn to her, or whether he must kill her to save humanity.

 

Excerpt:

A lanky man wearing the livery of a deckhand strode to the side of the captain’s cabin and peered into one of the portholes. He licked his lips and dug inside his pockets.  At first, Justine contemplated going to her cabin but his gaze did not alter as he stood, eyes fixated on the room she’d just left.

“Excuse me…can I help you?” Justine ventured. “Is there someone inside you wish to speak to? The captain perhaps?”

The man did not respond. He acted as if she was invisible. Whatever drew him to the cabin smothered any sense of life or breath. Without looking down to see what he brought out of his pocket, Justine noticed a metal necklace, a medallion of sorts, clutched in his grasp. He brought the trinket to his face near the porthole glass, hot breath fogging the glass. His long fingers rubbed the shiny metal, twisting it this way and that as if ready to smash it through the window.

“The Master said this’d find him…” His words came out in an elated whisper. The young man’s attention darted from the necklace to the window and back. He licked his lips again and finally blinked in rapid succession. Then, he smiled. The expression of delight brought a childlike innocence to his intense errand but it did not last. As before, he twitched, his hands trembling. “Why is it not working?”

Justine stepped back, fearing he’d throw the necklace to the floor in a rage. Snarling, saliva seething from his mouth, he beat the medallion. Was the man mad?

“Excuse me?” Justine repeated. “Are you alright?”

Whatever haze clouding the deckhands mind cleared. He jumped and stared at her, no doubt startled at her appearance. There was nothing between her and his pale eyes, so empty and devoid of color. It was as if she looked through a window into an empty room where nothing lived. Something vile animated his corpse, legs and arms moving towards her like a marionette. The railing was the only thing separating her from the frozen water below. Cold metal burned through her gloves. Justine shivered wishing she’d had run away when she had the chance. His breath brushed against her exposed skin, a putrid smell that made Justine feel compromised, unclean.

“Stop…you’re frightening me,” Justine whined. Nothing wanted to move. Her legs turned to stone beneath her. All she could do was stand there, desperately wanting to get away, to put as much distance between herself and the vile creature as she could. He was close enough to reach out and wrap his hands around her throat.

Oh God, please, let this not be Jack the Ripper. Justine had read the headlines of the murder stalking London.

The deckhand never touched her, yet she still felt his body. “Tell him to fear me for I know his secret.”

“Wh…what? What secret?”

Raised voices echoed from the cabin. Shoving whatever necklace he held back into his jacket, the deckhand ran down the length of the deck and disappeared.

Justine wasn’t quite sure what just happened. Had the man been speaking about someone in the cabin? Mr. Tinnen or the captain? Of course the easiest answer could easily have been the man was mad, but that did little to ease the panic. Her hands trembled and not from the cold. Justine grabbed the ends of her shawl and wrapped them tight around her. Every time she blinked, she saw his eyes burning into hers. She fled to her cabin and locked the door behind her.

 Posted by at 6:14 am
Apr 122014
 

This is the first time I have ever participated in a character introduction and although I started off bubbly and ecstatic, actually coming up with the right words took a bit of time and careful thought. Who was my main character? I know her so well and yet trying to describe her to you was quite a delightful trial. Thankfully I had Madame Gilflurt’s blog to give me a good idea what I wanted to say.

While there is a heavy paranormal aspect to the plot, I enjoyed creating my character’s opulent Victorian world. It is a bit of an obsession for me. In college, I focused on British Literature with a minor in European History. Not sure where it originated, but the Regency, Edwardian and Victorian eras are my favorites for fiction. If you have a love for literary classics, I used quite a few Elizabeth Gaskell, Austen and Alcott quotes inside my narrative. They were placed with loving care.

Dresses, ball room and all those delicious details made the writing come to life for me. When I read, it is what I look for and devour hungrily. 

A mix of ancient magic, Victorian gowns, and tea brought in by liveried servants.

At the bottom of my introduction, you’ll find links to some amazing authors whose work I have enjoyed reading. I hope you drop by their corner of the void on April 15th and meet their wonderful characters, the culmination of years of hard work so lovingly slaved over.

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1)What is the name of your character? Is she fictional or a historic person?

Justine Holloway is my fictional main character. Similar to the dime novels of the Victorian era, she is a normal, middle class girl away at boarding school. Like many girls of the era, her parents wanted the best for her which meant purchasing a good marriage.  While the character is my own, I have tailored her attitude and behaviorisms to befit the era.

My biggest gripe is when historical story lines come out with arrogant, headstrong, female characters. Those personalities were few and far between and never made public.  Many of the pioneering women began their journey after the children left the home.

She’s traditional – quiet, a bit mainstream with a firm knowledge of her parents’ expectations of her.
the-london-dungeon32) When and where is the story set?
The story begins November of 1888. An ominous buzz of Jack the Ripper permeates the parlor rooms of London.

3) What should we know about her?
Before her sturdy shoes touch English soil, brought home with the depressing news of her parents’ death, Justine is placed into an impossible position where she is forced to leave the drawing room illusions behind.  In the home of her godparents where everything seems normal, a secret brews beneath the marbled granite and Justine is the missing puzzle piece.

7857 4) What is the main conflict? What messes up her life?

As recently orphaned Justine Holloway prepares for her debut into society, compliments of her godparents, the underworld of London groans with unfettered abhorrence. The Varius are refugees from a parallel universe who can shift their form while others channel the forces of magic, an element that once flowed freely between both worlds. They seek refuge in Victorian London, hidden in the slums, easily forgotten until a human ends up incinerated or sucked dry. It is the job of the Council, created for the protection of humanity, to step in and eliminate the threat.

What Justine does not realize is her godfather runs the Council right under the nose of polite society, much to the dismay of his genteel sister. Now, Justine finds herself the object of a malicious vampire’s attention. Of course that notion doesn’t make sense. Before the division of worlds, vampires considered humans nothing more as a means to an end, yet whoever is after Justin wants her for more than the blood pulsating beneath the skin. It is that secret that must be discovered before the killer finds her. That is, after she decides what to wear to the opera.

5) What is the personal goal of the character?
In the beginning, Justine is the victim, trying to understand why God could be so cruel. Then, in a moment of fear, she makes the choice to fight back. That is when Justine becomes far more than the average Victorian girl. She changes her fate and must embark on that journey of truth to understand her new place in the world.

oldbook_LargeWide6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?
Pretty certain the title is Season of Mists since we have a book cover made and contract signed. Cannot wait to do a reveal!

7) When can we expect the book to be published?
Divertir Publishing has the edited copy after some requested changes so hopefully early Autumn? That would be lovely. Truly the zenith of years of hard work and ego smashing.

 

Thank you for joining me as I introduce Justine Holloway and I hope you’re enticed to learn more about her world. I am excited to encourage those wonderful authors below to open their worlds up to us as intimately as each of us has done before. Tune in to their posts April 15th.

 

______________________

Ryan Stansifer

Jenna-Lynne Duncan

Marina Viktoria Giorgii

Suzanne van Rooyen

Stacey Wooten

Elisa Ayala Nuckle

 Posted by at 11:32 pm
Jan 082014
 

editingredpenOkay, not really but it makes for an interesting mental picture.

Three NaNoWriMos ago I wrote a really cute Steampunk cinderfella story. In the plot, the princess must chase after the prince and find him. I never finished the ending because I couldn’t quite find the right scene. Now, it is in my head and ready to go. Here is an excerpt from where I am editing currently – be warned it is rough:
Alistair did not respond although Ileana doubted he would. Faith did not come easily to many – the ability to trust in something a person could not touch or taste. It wasn’t a flask easily pulled out of the pocket and consumed. Despite that, she touched his face. “Despite your past, I will stand beside you.”

“I wish I was coming to you with a title or something of worth. Ileana, I was a laird of ancestral lands but I never appreciated that heritage. I all but walked away from the obligation. Now even that is denied to me – given to another who has no claim to the land. Graves of my family lay in the earth, bought for with blood and that man and his daughter have it all.” He pulled away, putting distance between them. A growl, so guttural it hardly sounded human. “I am nothing – I have nothing- not even my family ring.”

“Oh…” That jolted her memory. Ileana dug in her pocket and pulled out the trinket she’d carried around for months. It had felt so heavy, scrutinized for symbols and clues. Now, in her palm, the ring hardly weighed anything at all.

“My ring.” Alistair hesitated before taking it. “Where did you find it?”

“You dropped it at the ball. I’ve had it all this time, trying to find you. See, there’s one thing we can scratch off your list. I call that fate.”

 

With three kids all wanting mommy, let’s see if I can get this finished by this weekend. What literary masterpiece are you working on?

 Posted by at 11:36 pm