Novel Release Party 6/7/11 – “The Keepers”

You are invited to a Novel Release Party!!! For “The Keepers” by Monique O’Connor James Where:  Online When:  Tuesday, June 7, 2011 http://www.astraeapress.com http://www.moniqueoconnorjames.com “The Keepers” is finally making its debut on Tuesdays, June 7, 2011! The Ebook Edition will … Continue reading

Why NOLA? The Setting Quandary!

From the beginning, there was no question “The Keepers”, would be set in New Orleans, Louisiana, in the French Quarter.  A friend asked me why I’d chosen NOLA, in lieu of Baton Rouge.  (My next novel is set in Baton Rouge, no worries.).  My answer, at the time, was, “Are you kidding me?”

The fact is, I’m in love with my home state. I think most people like where they live, but I flaunt my love of Louisiana, the same way I tout my love of America.  The place I call home is steeped in heritage, culture, art, music, good food, good people, and stereotypes which make us laugh. God chiseled a boot at the bottom of the American pie; a land to love for those who would, and a place to mock for those who wouldn’t.

A dart thrown at a map of our decadent home would, no doubt, land on a magical place.  So, why New Orleans?

The story, like the French Quarter, centers around St. Louis Cathedral.  I challenge you to find a church as beautiful.

The church is infused history, but beyond that, when one enters you know you’re in a holy place.  Perhaps, being raised Catholic has skewed my opinion, but the spirit is alive and well, under the extensive artwork and intricate architecture of the Basilica. 

During a pivotal scene Jess and Justin are sitting, by the Riverwalk Fountain.  I could think of no better place to find out your boyfriend, is in fact, an angel.

 

The murals painted on the back of the benches depict the crest of each Spanish province. A few steps away you can feel the breeze blowing off the mighty Mississippi and watch riverboats and tugboats navigate the powerful current.

Jess wanders down Royal Street to pass time and later, Dawson’s apartment is described, as one of the many beautiful buildings with wrought-iron balconies where ferns hang under ceiling fans, all year.

Maybe, that’s Clyde’s brother, he looks a bit young to be the old mule, besides Asher isn’t about.

I could upload pictures for the rest of the afternoon, but the question will come back to why I chose the French Quarter, still.  For the price of gas, I can get in my car and drive an hour and twenty minutes, park in a crowded parking lot, and hop the street car or make the trek on foot, and be transported to another world, where all that matters is forgetting who you are, and remembering how to have fun.

Jess and Justin didn’t need to forget who they were, but, perhaps, discover themselves.  The answers they found were so magical, not another place on the planet, would do.  And so, to New Orleans, I tip my hat. 

She was knocked down, but a day in the Quarter and you will see, she has risen again.

Monique O’Connor James

Author of “The Keepers” coming in June from www.astraeapress.com.

www.moniqueoconnorjames.com

Angel Fact and Lore

In honor of the upcoming release of “The Keepers”, I  thought I’d share some angel myth and facts!

Angels transcend every religion, every philosophy, every creed.  In fact, angels have no religion as we know it…their existence precedes every religious system that has ever existed on Earth.” – St. Thomas Aquina

If you type the word “angels” into any search engine you’re inundated with a plethora of angel lore and facts.  Every religion has their own take on angels, but they all believe in their existence.

The ten ranks of angels are:

Seraphim – Closest angels to God

Cherubim – depicted as babies, but actually are described as frightful creatures in the Bible.

Thrones – Bring Heaven’s justice to Earth.

Dominions – Oversee angels so God’s will is done.

Virtues – perform miracles of grace and valor on earth.

Powers – Guard the Earth from Demons and Guide souls to Heaven (Justin and his brothers).

Principalities – Protect specific regions of the Earth.

Archangel – messengers who deliver decrees to mortals

Angels – most accessible to man with human like qualities.

According to Jewish lore each child is born with 11,000 guardian angels & Gabriel is said to have 140 pairs of wings. Jess’ guardian has chosen a different path, Dawson is a true fallen.

“The Keepers” angels were created in pairs; each having a counter-part – “Two sides of the same shiny coin.” 

Angels don’t eat or sleep, although, Justin and Rory, do enjoy a beer from time to time.

In the novel, you hear the story of the Grigori, a group of fallen angels who mated with female humans.  The angel/human half-breeds were said to be giants, and some believe the Incubi and Succubi who many think are ghosts are actually Grigori. 

Look for more fun stuff to come!

Monique O’Connor James

Author of “The Keepers” Coming soon from www.astraeapress.com

www.moniqueoconnorjames.com

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJWQxpRNJZg

 

 

Novel Anarchy Part 1 – Critique Partners and Networking

First let me start by introducing myself. My name is Monique O’Connor James, and writing holds my heart. Perhaps not as tightly as my husband and children, but it does make a valiant effort to steal my time and love with its wispy little tentacles. I’ve been writing since I can remember and like most novelist, once I’m hooked into the lives of my characters they consume all my free moments.

My journey into completing a novel, sans editing and hair pulling, started with the thought in mind that I would be happy if my family and friends enjoyed it. Let me confess right away, that I’ve always had a problem with authority, rules, and the concept of coloring inside the lines. When I started researching what it takes to get published…well, let’s just say the endless lists of wants from publishers and agents sent me screaming from my computer pledging I would never yield. Hopefully, I will post a series of blogs addressing the various rules of the writing realm, and how I bucked the system. My goal is to relate how I either gave over and learned something, or how I’m still holding fast to my own opinions. These blogs are being shared to help others who become frustrated and need a laugh.

With that lengthy introduction behind us, I wanted to begin with the following tale of woe which will possibly give insight into the depths of my hatred for all things regulated. The first time I admitted to a stranger  I was writing a novel, he smiled and said, “You should get involved with a writers group, the support will help you feel connected to the outside world.” Looking back, I think this was the first time I chuffed at a suggestion relative to my writing. I tried to stifle the blast of air that escaped my lips, because let’s face it, the other party to this conversation was being incredibly polite. He listened dutifully to an extended description of the characters who at the time had squatters rights on my brain.

What this patient person could not possibly know is the hours I spent fantasizing about the life of a writer. I pictured myself  a loner, writing my stories and then allowing just my closest friends to offer advice. Of course, that advice would be something along the lines of, “Wow, this is the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen. You are a genius!”

I’m not sure what the real reasons were for my attitude about networking with those that shared my passion. If you asked my therapist, he would say  I was insecure and hoping to keep my work hidden from any critical eye. However, if you asked my best friends, they would guess my ADHD prevented me from slowing down enough to care what anyone thought of the first story. In a whirl of giddiness, I would soon get on with the new one brewing in my psyche.

Regardless of the reasons, I stuck to my mantra for sometime. I wrote, check the spelling, shot it off to a friend for a hefty pat on the back, then moved along. There is a need in every artist, and I hadn’t accounted for it. It drives the singer of songs, painter of waterfalls, and writer of novels to require a wider audience to share with them the excitement they have for their work. This progression is inevitable, even when the artist convinces themself it is “just a hobby”.

As I’ve grown, I’ve posted my work on various websites. Along the way, something astonishing happened. I met other writers. Eventually, those writers would sacrifice their time and effort to guide me and my writing in a constructive and gentle way. I wanted to believe that I had bucked the system, and stood fist raised high giving the publishing world the proverbial finger, but I liked the things I was being taught, and moreover, I enjoyed the company of the people who were sharing their knowledge with me.

In the spirit of this epiphany, I hope that all writers reach a place where they can network with their kindred spirits. I have come up with a list of things we gain from these friendships, and hope it reminds us to reach out to others and never turn away a helping hand. I hope you get as much from this particular lesson as I have.

  • Only another writer can commiserate with insight about yet another reason your current MS was rejected.
  • Your fellow writers know what it is to be awaken by an overbearing character who demands a rewrite of their tumble down the stairs, until they feel you have done it justice.
  • There are people who appreciate your opinion and need your feedback on their work.
  • There are selfless and incredibly generous people who will read your work, help smooth out your plot and tell you when you have more commas than actual words.
  • For the low, low price of only asking, you may have a friend who is willing to type the myriad of changes you redlined on your work, so you can get a fresh look at it.
  • Writers are funny and can bring a smile when you most need it.

Here’s to 2011, growing in our talent, and learning something new that makes us better writers and by default happier people.

Cheers!

Monique James