Expanding ELLA’s world…

Ella’s universe has expanded. There will definitely be a direct sequel, titled ALICE, THE PLAYER. My plan at this stage is to have Alice out mid-2016. The series will be called Serenity House, as Seth’s ancestral home has its own role to play, that will slowly be revealed. There may even be a third, as the idea of Sleeping Beauty keeps rattling around in my head and just won’t go away.

HenryBut first, there is going to be a quiet, gentle wee addition to the family. As you know, there is a friend of Ella’s who doesn’t say much. He’s easy to overlook. He came back from WWI trapped in his own mind. But he mustered up his courage, tapped me on the shoulder and whispered something intriguing into my ear… what if Rapunzel’s parents were Edwardian preppers…?

And HENRY, THE GtowerAOLER was born.

This will be a companion novella, kind of like a Sunday country drive your parents made you do. Fills in time, but not entirely necessary ;)

Henry’s story starts before WWI, when he used to play with Zel (Hazel) before her parents locked her away from the world. The novella will finish at the same point in time as ELLA. I was searching the internet for information about border towers in Somerset, and found this fantastic property. It’s a tower built in Somerset in the 1840s. Which just proves I couldn’t even make this stuff up! lol

Paperbacks *finally*!

20150914_104934I’ve had lots of people asking about paperbacks, especially Moseh’s Staff. And FINALLY they are ready! (insert applause)

And they are gorgeous, even if I do say so myself :) Keep your eyes open, as between now and Christmas I will run a giveaway to win all 4 of the new edition paperbacks. My plan is to do one for October, November and December. One will be for newsletter subscribers only and the other will be via my Facebook page.

Below are the buy links for the paperbacks from Amazon. You can also purchase them direct from the CreateSpace store.

Nefertiti’s Heart

Hatshepsut’s Collar

Nero’s Fiddle

Moseh’s Staff

Let’s talk about how ELLA ended…

my brainWhen I finished the Artifact Hunters, I need a break. I found MOSEH’S STAFF a
really tough book to write and I needed to recharge. Writing ELLA was the mental equivalent of sending my brain to Hawaii for a week, a fun wee romp. It has come to my attention that there are numerous opinions about ELLA, how I ended it and what should have happened.

I thought I would outline what went through my head. If you have something you want to say, please chime in!

There are spoilers in this discussion, in case you haven’t read the book yet :)

Cliffhanger endings are a marketing ploy

I wrote ELLA as a standalone. I never intended it to be a series or to have a sequel. After all, it’s based on Cinderella and there’s no sequel to that. Sure Ella said no to Seth’s marriage proposal, but she’s only eighteen years old. She loves him, but she doesn’t know if she’s ready for the whole marriage and being a duchess thing. She needs time to figure out her life.

Yes, there are unresolved issues (like the two last seen walking down the road) but I didn’t see that Ella had to pursue them to conclude her story. I saw that the main arc of Ella’s journey had come to a conclusion. She stood up to her step mother and got the guy. Yes it is an open ending but I’m not a person to neatly tie up every single loose thread. I like to leave something for readers to chew over, but it would appear I left ELLA a little too open ended :(

This has been the hardest bit for me to get my head around, because to me it’s not a cliffhanger. At the end of ELLA, when I asked readers what they thought about the possibility of doing a sequel, it was never meant as a marketing ploy to trick you into buying another book. Now that someone has pointed out that my question comes across that way, I absolutely apologise. I am trying to figure out how to fix things for readers, which is what inspired this blog post.

Ella would never have done that!

Here’s the other thing that seems to provoke a reaction…

In the original draft, I had Ella intentionally infect Elizabeth but it didn’t sit right with me. Ella wouldn’t do that to another human being, no matter how much she despised her. This seems to be a sore point for some readers, and it’s on me that I failed as a writer to convey just what Ella was going through at that point.

She had a number of high stress situations in a short space of time. Ella went to the ball, confronted her step mother, took back her emotional power, vermin attacked, they found the nest then she gets home to find Elizabeth trying to smother her father. By this stage she is not only physically exhausted, but mentally numb. There’s only so much your mind can process before it shuts down. In that instance, her mind clutched at the familiar and what it knew – being the maid. She had to stop the blood from hitting the carpet. It really was that simple.

Why didn’t she slay them? Because they hadn’t turned. Elizabeth’s infection is running faster but it wasn’t complete. Ella is a slayer, not a murderer. If she had slayed Elizabeth and Louise it would have been murder. She struggles with the work she does for the village and the toll on her soul, she wouldn’t intentionally murder someone and that would have been inconsistent and if she had, imagine the mess on the carpet!

How can I fix things?

Ella n SethHere’s where I need your thoughts, because I honestly don’t know what to do. There are a number of options. I could pull ELLA from sale, rewrite the ending to make her actions clearer, and sit on it until I write a sequel to tidy up all the loose ends. Or I could add a disclaimer at the start that there are unresolved issues.

What do you think? Should it have had a happy, tidy ending? Do you think the story should wrap up in one edition or should I pursue the idea of a sequel?

Author Melanie Karsak and The Shadow Aspect

Today I have fellow author and friend Melanie Karsak stopping by. Now we have very similar tastes, with steampunk, historical, add a dash of romance –  but today we are talking zombies :)

About The Harvesting Series

Shadow AspectIt’s all fun and games until someone ends up undead!

When mankind fell, Layla and the residents of Hamletville fought to survive. They managed to keep the undead at bay only to be seduced by an ancient fiend: vampires. The survivors soon found themselves running for their lives. But where could they turn in a world turned to shadow?

Cricket was perfectly happy working the carnival, but the flu that swept the globe took the last of what she knew and loved. Cricket and Vella, and Cricket’s loveable mutt Puck, found safety with another group of survivors…but not for long. No one can hide when death seeks them?

The Shadow Aspect Novel Description: 

When Layla took the final step through the labyrinth, she thought she was saving the ones she loved.

She couldn’t have been more wrong.

Layla and the other survivors now find themselves caught in a war for our world, the unwitting victims of a grudge seething for eons. Surviving the zombie apocalypse has become the least of their worries as they come up against vampires, shapeshifters, and fae. When she uncovers an unspeakable horror, whom can Layla trust? The carnie girl? The doctor searching for a cure? The tarot reader? The stranger with alluring gold eyes? Or the man she loves?

The wrong choice could doom them all.

When the world burns, mankind’s shadow side rises. Do we deserve to survive?

Out now at AMAZON

About the author:

Melanie Karsak is the author of the Amazon best-selling steampunk series The Airship Racing Chronicles (Chasing the Star Garden and Chasing the Green Fairy) and the award-winning horror/dark fantasy Harvesting Series. She grew up in rural northwestern Pennsylvania and earned a Master’s degree in English from Gannon University. A steampunk connoisseur, white elephant collector, and zombie whisperer, the author currently lives in Florida with her husband and two children. She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.

Connect with Melanie online:

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/OSPDH
Blog: http://melaniekarsak.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMelanieKarsak
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/melaniekarsak/

To celebrate the release of The Harvesting, Melanie is giving away an Amazon gift card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Who imagined a sequel to Cinderella?

Well my weella2e fun romp (with zombies!) is out in the world and I’m blown away by the number of people enjoying ELLA’s story. Thank you so much.

Now, as you know, it’s my twist on Cinderella. And as we all know, there’s no sequel to Cinderella. When I wrote ELLA I never imagined a sequel. Then people starting asking and I realised, yip, there  be another story lurking in there.

So  it looks like I might need to write a follow up novel. Yes? I’m only just bouncing ideas around in my head at the moment, so it won’t be written/available until 2016. But at this stage, I’m thinking ALICE, THE PLAYER and it’s going to involve a croquet mallet… :)