I am absolutely humbled and thrilled to announce that Kobo has named “House of Dusk, House of Dawn” as a Top 10 Fantasy/Sci-Fi Cover of 2017! This is such a tremendous honor. Many of you know that in addition to writing the books in this series (duh), I also designed all the covers.
Voting for this category is open for the next few days. If “House of Dusk, House of Dawn” is also a favorite of yours, please consider taking a moment to vote. The site is mobile-friendly and is a quick as a single click to vote.
Many authors create playlists for their books, filled with the songs that inspired scenes, characters, or storylines. Throughout the House of Crimson & Clover series, I’ve shared my playlists for the books on my website. Some of these songs were helpful background noise. Others are at least partly responsible for how a book turned out.
As I wrap up the final House of Crimson & Clover book (I’m still not used to typing those words), I’ve created a playlist filled with songs new to the series, as well as those that played pivotal roles in the creation of earlier books.
Here’s some “behind the curtain” notes behind how I chose a few of the songs that appear on the playlist for the final book in the series. The full playlist is at the bottom if you want to add it to your Spotify.
“House of Dusk, House of Dawn” Playlist Notes
Imagine- A Perfect Circle: Maynard James Keenan is one of my favorite artists, and his songs have appeared throughout the playlists for this series. I thought it only fitting to choose one of my favorite covers of one of my favorite songs for the playlist of the final book. The idealistic hopefulness of this song also resonates as this book begins with every single character part of a fight for a better world and a better life.
The Night We Met- Lord Huron: Both the chords and words of this song have a way of sinking deep into your soul. As soon as I heard it, I knew it would be the backdrop for a particularly difficult chapter. “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, haunted by the ghost of you,” is the kind of line I wished I’d written myself. I don’t want to spoil anything, but you’ll know when you get there.
White Blank Page- Mumford and Sons: I wrote all of “Asunder” to this song on repeat (much to the chagrin of my long-suffering husband). Asunder primarily tells the story of Jacob and Amelia’s separation, which was layered with so many complexities and complications. The powerhouse of emotion behind the vocals on this song put me in Jacob’s frame of mind, and kept me there, heart clenched tight, stomach in knots, all the way to the finish.
Where is my Mind?- Maxence Cyrin: I wrote a majority of Nicolas’ scenes in “The Illusions of Eventide” to the Pixies version of this song. Nicolas has always been the character in the series most vivid to me. The most loud. Which is interesting, because in many ways he’s the least grounded. He floated through most of the books, lost, confused, and on the verge either a total meltdown or complete enlightenment. Frank Black’s warbling vocals captured Nicolas’ frame of mind quite well, but I love this calmer version as a way to bring things full circle for the character.
I Go to the Barn Because I Like the- Band of Horses: Finn is not an innocent character, but I have always felt from him, and written into him, a sense of innocence. He is most vulnerable in life when he finds himself standing before Ana, heart in hand. This song perfectly captures that sense in Finn that he is out his element in the face of something he has never wanted more, or needed more, in his life. I wrote most of his scenes in “Bound” to this song, and many in the books that followed.
Everlong- Foo Fighters: This is, of course, the song that brought Jacob and Amelia together, in a scene that happens prior to the start of the series, but is revisited several times on the page (for the first time in “Midnight Dynasty”). I chose this song because I loved it, but also because I have had this recurring dream for years that I’m pulled onstage at a FF concert for a drum solo on this song. I air drum this song in the car more than I should. Writers give their characters little gifts all the time. I thought, who better than to give this to than Jacob?
Dreams- Cranberries: Since this song came out, when I was in middle school, it has always represented happiness even in dark times. A sense of joy after a long storm. As if saying, with a smile, “ahh… at last.” I always knew this would appear somewhere at the end of the series.
A Praise Chorus- Jimmy Eat World: Simply, this song is what gave me the title for the series. I knew what I wanted to convey- the sense of two powerful families, two powerful dynasties- but struggled for months with the right title. This song was on my playlist and one day the words “clicked.” I know Jimmy Eat World borrowed “crimson and clover, over and over,” but I still owe them credit for the moment everything came together.
A few other notes. Alt-J has played a huge part in setting the stage for the second half of this series, and “Intro” is one of my favorites of theirs. It feels fitting as a start to the book. Pendulum is one of my favorite electronic groups, and “Witchcraft” has the right amount of energy to jump us straight into the biggest battle of the series. But every single one of these songs was chosen strategically, and their placement in the list is equally intentional.
I have an exciting announcement, one which will enhance and re-shape the world of Crimson & Clover going forward, allowing me to leverage the potential of the vast world I’ve built while continuing to produce stories with crisp, new ideas.
I would like to introduce to you The Saga of Crimson & Clover, an overarching universe that will contain multiple, perhaps many, series within.
But first, let’s back up a bit.
If you are a reader of The House of Crimson & Clover Series, I imagine one of the draws for you to be the fully fleshed and developed world. If so, we have something in common. I have, for many years as a reader, sought out series with a sense of universe behind them, becasue I find it easier to lose myself into the escape reading creates. There’s a saying somewhere about how readers choose to live in many worlds, not just one. And as a reader, I would be perfectly happy with a series that never ends, if it was within a world I love and there was still compelling stories to be told.
As an author, I’m not so very different. I’ve spent as many hours developing this world, and its characters, as I have writing them. I could throw together an encyclopedia, there’s so much material. Think of it like the proverbial tip of the iceberg. I’ve only been able to share a sliver so far.
As I near the end of the current arc of major storylines in The House of Crimson & Clover Series (Prophecy, Curse, Empyrean War, etc.), which will be wrapped up in Volume 10 (fall of 2017), I look forward to exploring the ideas I have for the C&C universe overall. I see a lot of our main characters continuing on as the story is pulled in closer to New Orleans, and other branches of the family (The LaViolettes, the powerful female-led line, for one, and far more on the Sullivan side) coming further into play. I also want to explore other potential storylines, such as returning to mysterious Summer Island, or maybe even some Empyrean tales set in Farjhem. When I do, I want them to be contained within their own series, so new readers don’t have to read 40 books to catch up, while existing readers can continue to enjoy all this universe has to offer.
I plan to restructure the world of Crimson & Clover to accommodate more stories and additional series within that world. The overarching world will be The Saga of Crimson & Clover, and within that saga will be different series, each of which can be enjoyed on their own (self-contained), or to enhance their enjoyment of the saga overall.The series you are all reading now (Volumes 1-10), is, of course, The House of Crimson & Clover series. When I continue the story, this will begin another series, The Midnight Dynasty series. Although it will be a continuation of the lives of the characters from The House of Crimson & Clover Series, it will also begin new storylines that don’t require the former series as a prerequisite. The main thing I want you to take away is that all of these individual series can be read on their own. You can read The Midnight Dynasty series without having read The House of Crimson & Clover series, as I’ll provide just enough backstory for new readers to track. The number of books per series will vary, depending on the story I need to tell.
This is a visual representation of how the Crimson & Clover universe will be structured:
The Crimson & Clover Saga
The House of Crimson & Clover Series
Volumes 1-10 (Final book fall 2017)
Vampires of the Merovingi Series
Volumes 1-? (First book planned summer 2017)
The Midnight Dynasty Series
Volumes 1- ? (First book spring 2018)
Crimson & Clover Lagniappes
What’s not changing? The House of Crimson & Clover Series, and the books within, haven’t changed. The Crimson & Clover Lagniappes (Bonus Stories) can still be read as standalones, at any point in the series.
The main change to be aware of is that now The House of Crimson & Clover will be part of a broader universe, with more stories and series on the horizon.
*Example Series, to me, means endless possibilities. As I mentioned above, I have endless ideas, and the more nuanced this world gets, the more possibilities open up. I could honestly see myself writing in this universe the rest of my life, and that’s why breaking out additional series, to me, is the right move. It helps give readers different entry points, and lots of options.
Q: What does this change about the existing House of Crimson & Clover Series?
A: Nothing specifically. The House of Crimson & Clover series, and all titles within, will remain the same, and all the Lagniappes (bonus stories) can continue to be read as standalone stories. What IS changing is that this series will now roll up to a broader Saga of Crimson & Clover universe.
Q: What about the Lagniappe (bonus) stories? Are those tied to a single series, or all?
A: Since all titles within the Crimson & Clover Saga, no matter what series they belong to, all sit in the same universe, I see the Lagniappes in the same way. These stories tend to revolve around specific characters or occurrences that are not tied to the progression of the stories, but shed more light on a person’s past or experiences. Lagniappes, then, are tied more to the saga then the individual series within.
Q: What will the additional series’ be about?
A: The possibilities are endless here, and I have so many ideas brewing. I can tell you The Midnight Dynasty series will be more centered around the Deschanels and Sullivans at home in New Orleans, and more family-centric drama. This includes introducing and exploring other branches of the family, such as the LaViolettes. I also have a series, Vampires of the Merovingi, in production, which will be more of a historical fantasy bend, covering the de Blancheforts and how they stepped into their live as dhampir (vampires). Those are the two series I will focus on in the near (next 1-2 years) future. Beyond that, I have lots of ideas, and it’s a matter of prioritizing them.
Q: How many books will be in each series?
A: The answer depends on how the story arcs progress for each individual series. I can say The House of Crimson & Clover Series is definitely a 10 book series. At this point, I can’t predict how long the others will be.
Q: When will the last House of Crimson & Clover series book be published?
A: Fall of 2017.
Q: What are the next series’ coming after The House of Crimson & Clover?
A: Vampires of the Merovingi, a historical fantasy series about how the de Blancheforts came into their powers as vampires, and Midnight Dynasty, which centers around the Deschanels and Sullivans with matters closer to home (a continuation of where the story in The House of Crimson & Clover left off, but can also be read on its own. The first series will be out in summer of 2017, and the next series in early 2018.
Q: Do I have to read The House of Crimson & Clover before I read the other series?
A: Not unless you want to. I’m intentionally structuring each series to be read on their own. Undoubtedly, there will be those who preferred to read the different series in a specific order, but it won’t be required.
Q: What can we expect from you in 2017?
A: In the spring, Volume 9 of The House of Crimson & Clover, Within the Garden of Twilight, is releasing. Closer to Halloween, expect the final volume of the series to be released. Also, this summer, the first title in Vampires of the Merovingi will be available.
Q: So you have three series listed here. What comes beyond those?
A: It’s hard to say. I have so many ideas, so many notes, that I could write within this universe for years and years to come. Once I have The House of Crimson & Clover wrapped up, and both Midnight Dynasty and Vampires of the Merovingi well on their way, that will be the time for me to prioritize those ideas into next steps.
Q: What about projects outside of the Saga of Crimson & Clover?
A: In all honesty, for me writing has always been about following the passion, and the vast majority of my passion lies within the world of Crimson & Clover. But I do occasionally dabble elsewhere. From time to time, you’ll find original work from me in projects designed to raise money for charity. These are usually very short reads, but they fall outside the world of Crimson & Clover. I also have a title available in the shared sci-fi world of The Complex, titled The Last Dryad. Beyond that, Becket and I are still writing our mystery series, The Text Message Serials, and are currently exploring our options for publication.
After a brutal war between Humans and Metas an uneasy truce is declared in the Seldova solar system. At the conclusion of the treaty signing, the Complex is created on the lone planet, Lorn. The Complex is a blended community of Humans and Metas, all sent to test the waters for a more peaceful existence between the two races. Living under a domed community can only mean one thing for the Humans and Metas. Chaos.
I’m thrilled to introduce a three-part series with the diversely talented Eric Shaw Quinn, New York Times bestselling author and co-host of The Dinner Party Show. On June 7th, he released his most exciting and ambitious work yet: a biographical narrative of the powerful love between biblical heroes David and Jonathan. Widely lauded as a beautiful retelling of 1 Samuel 18:1 & 3, Quinn sat down to chat with me about the book and his experiences in sharing it with the world.
The series begins with an “in his own words” guest post from Eric, continued the following week with an interview, and, finally, the best for past: an exclusive excerpt from The Prince’s Psalm!
Part One: Guest Post Written by Eric Shaw Quinn (July 5th) Part Two: An Interview with Eric Shaw Quinn (July 12th) Part Three: An Exclusive Excerpt from The Prince’s Psalm. (July 19th)
The Prince’s Psalm- A Guest Post by Eric Shaw Quinn
I’m not really a Bible person. As a gay person, I never really felt welcome in the Christian church around which I grew up. I wasn’t sure what offended me more. The Christians who used their bible and their faith to justify discriminating against and even killing gay people, or the Christians who claimed they didn’t hate “the gays” but did nothing to stop the destructive actions of the lunatics who did. One thing was for sure. Both groups turned me off to the whole thing. It turned out to be a personal blessing as it allowed me to explore my spirituality unfettered by outdated ideas. I got the chance to decide what I believe and what I don’t believe. Without five-thousand-year-old, out of date rules to encumber me, my faith continues to evolve. The only thing I’m certain about is that I don’t believe in organized religion. I think it’s a harmful and destructive force responsible for most of the evil in the world today.
My father is a man of strong faith. He’s had his own struggles with religion. In his lifetime, he’s pursued a career as a minister, studied for a doctorate of divinity at SMU and left the church altogether over its views and inaction on segregation. More recently, Dad was personally shaken when his delegation to the Methodist convention was denied a chance to speak about standing up for gay people against those Christians who wanted to use the church as a weapon against others. His faith remained strong, however. Later when his own minister decided to be a dick in public about the incident at the convention, my father stepped away from his church’s regular organized observances. Still, despite being in his eighties now, he continues his work at the church-based soup kitchen he helped start after he retired. That’s just one of his Christian outreach efforts where he tries to do “unto the least of these.”
It was the nineties, the heyday of Christian hate against gay people. On the television airwaves and beyond, alleged Christians felt free to just say whatever hateful, hurtful thing they wanted to and about gay people. Yet my father’s faith and his belief in his own mission was strong enough that he turned to that same faith for answers to his conflict. In a Bible study group with whom he was reading and discussing the Bible chapter by chapter, he came upon the first book of Samuel and, as he read on, to 1 Samuel chapter 18 which begins:
And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.
2 And Saul took him that day, and would let him go no more home to his father’s house.
3 Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.
My father could see the truth in these beautiful words. These two men — one of them arguably the second most famous person in the Bible – were not only in love, but pledging their commitment to one another as David was taken into Jonathan’s family. This was gay marriage, right smack dab in the middle of the holy book that was being used to argue against the idea and to justify the hatred of and discrimination against gay people throughout the world. I don’t know where my father was when he read these words or what his Bible study class had to say about it, or if leapt to his feet and raced to call me or just remembered to let me know what he’d found when we next spoke. I do know that from the moment I first heard those words more than twenty years ago, the novel that became The Prince’s Psalm was born in my heart. Thanks Dad, for sharing your faith with me and for inspiring me to tell Jonathan and David’s love story.
The road trip from Minnesota to Pennsylvania and back is meant to be the final adventure before four friends go their separate ways in the fall.
Except nothing goes as intended, beginning with the unexpected addition of Catherine Tate, Jessie Keller’s new girlfriend. Sam Kent denies his attraction to her while simultaneously deflecting unusual interest from his pal Hannah Lopez. Dickie Dean is the socially inept book lover who surprises them all.
Amidst a malfunctioning vehicle, being caught in the middle of a robbery, beer drinking, mosquito attacks, and other teenage drama, the five experience courage, broken hearts, fear, and laughter. Most importantly, they make memories.
Lindy Zart is the USA Today bestselling author of Roomies. She has been writing since she was a child. Luckily for readers, her writing has improved since then. She lives in Wisconsin with her family. Lindy loves hearing from people who enjoy her work. She also has a completely healthy obsession with the following: coffee, wine, bloody marys, peanut butter, and pizza.
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday with their loved ones! Many of you have asked me about release information for Volume VII, and so I’ve been busy with a holiday surprise of my own.
THE HINTERLAND VEIL will be released on March 22, 2016! Volume VII picks up the story threads of Finn, Aleksandr, Anasofiya, Agripin, Nicolas, and Mercy, bringing each of their adventures to a climax. From Ireland to Scotland, from Finland to Russia, the Deschanels are back to fight for what matters most.
PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY NOW!
The campaign begins. Bravery conquers fear. Fate races time.
Nothing I ever say about this body of work (I hesitate to call it a novel. No other work of fiction exists like it.) will come close to offering up the sum total of my thoughts. I’ll do my best.
It took me a couple years to pick this book up. While I cherish my physical books, I often buy unknown (to me) authors in Kindle format, and take the books on my travels. The lack of a Kindle option kept me passing it over on my reading list, until it didn’t. Heading into my annual New Orleans trip, something told me this was the book I had to have with me. So I ordered it.
This is not an easy read. Nor is it a page turner. It certainly isn’t a book you can or should pick up when you’re sleepy or distracted. But it is, hands down, the most ambitious work I’ve ever held in my hands. And yes, I’ve read (and love) War and Peace.
The Navidson Record, or the story that everything else in this book centers around, is, at its core, with all the loveliness and exquisite detail stripped away, a tale of found footage. Especially disturbing footage, from narrators who don’t have the funds for special effects of the nature required to create their extraordinary experiences within the house, leaving behind years of speculation by critics, experts, psychologists, paranormal hunters, authors, and all nature of individuals.
Pulling back further, telling the story is Johnny Truant, an incredibly unreliable narrator who has come across a collection of analysis on The Navidson Record, and, as he begins to assemble and make sense of it, his own reality spirals further out of control. Most of his contributions to the story are a collection of nonsensical ramblings, sometimes for pages and pages on end, with seemingly no connection to the narrative. In the back of the book, there is also a collection of letters from his institutionalized mother, known as P, whose exact diagnosis is never given but evidence leans toward schizophrenia. As with P’s words to her son, it is unclear how much of what she relays to him is the result of her paranoia and hallucinations, and what is real (if anything). Similarly, It is unclear how much of Johnny’s rambling is a retelling of reality and how much is simply from the fabric of his imagination. After all, he tells (and shows us) what a practiced liar he is (not to mention his relationship with drugs).
As Johnny adds footnotes to The Navidson Record, he continuously tells the reader that most of the sources don’t actually exist, and his research turned up no evidence of any of the people involved in the project. Again, it is unclear if this is because it does not exist to him, or to us, or both.
At the center of the tale is, of course, The Navidson Record itself, a story told through Hi 8 footage, cassette recordings, interviews, journal entries, and critical analysis. Will Navidson, his family, and all those he brings into his terrifying discovery of a house with continuously shifting dimensions and intentions, all react very differently to events, both at the surface and deeper down, where the house leaves its mark. Deeper still, the Navidson Record is really two stories: that of the wonders of the house and what it means/where it came from, and the enduring relationship of Will and his partner Karen. Taken separately, they are both fascinating, rewarding stories, one relying on the supernatural, and the other, something more sublime. Taken together, the tale seems to send a deeper message, about the restorative and unshakeable nature of love itself. Will and Karen are not necessarily sympathetic characters, but your sense of what drives them toward one another is nothing short of magnetic.
Layered in through the 700+ pages were exhaustive source notes, quotes, psychological analysis, and all manner of detail that, while overwhelming to the reader, helped to bring this into something cohesive. Dare I say it, real. Was it all necessary? Not to tell the story, no. But I suspect the author wanted to do far more here than simply tell a story. He wanted to leave his readers changed. Questioning.
I could dive in further, but, truly, this isn’t a book I can explain effectively to others. My husband asked me what it was about, and I started to tell him, then came up short. Read it for yourself. Push past the slow parts and rest assured, every detail, every word, every layer is part of this tremendously powerful and delicate dance.
After months and months of working to smooth and color the text for this fifth volume in the series, Empire of Shadows is off to my editor at the end of the week. Guess what that means? If you guessed coed naked pillow fight, you would be wrong. But if you guessed cover reveal, you are the winner!
Speaking of winners… I’m holding a contest over on my Facebook page. $10 Gift Card is the prize. If you like free stuff, I recommend checking that out. The pinned post has the deets.
Still working on an appropriate synopsis and blurb, and hope to have that soon. Pre-order will be live in the next few weeks.
What else can I say? This is my most ambitious work yet. So if you’re not caught up on the series yet… I recommend carving out some time! Below you’ll find a ton of shameless retailer links for your convenience or to ignore. Continue reading →
Beyond Midnight: Asunder, Book 3.5 in the House of Crimson & Clover, is now LIVE across all major retailers!
Broken and dispirited, the Deschanel family reels under the weight of a family curse. Lives were torn asunder, as their numbers diminished.
Amidst their pain, another prophecy takes shape. One laid by the ancient druidic Quinlan clan, in a time long forgotten. Seers across the family have borne witness to fragments. Distraught by the loss of her soul’s true love, Amelia begins to dream of an unknown man and a woman, designated by fate to live their story over and over again, throughout time.
Now, destiny reaches across the centuries.
In the family’s darkest hour, a reckoning with the Empyrean Senetat is fast approaching. Hope becomes the necessary consolation for grief, as the Deschanels come together to make their loved ones whole, in order to face this uncertain future as a united clan.