A Tribute to Anne Rice

In the mid-nineties, I was a creative, angsty, depressed teenager living on a steady diet of grunge and existentialism, feeling perpetually misunderstood—something familiar to many, I think, especially in my Xennial generation. Books were my only effective outlet in a childhood with shifting stability, and they shaped new worlds for me, ones I could escape to when needed, which was often.

When I came upon Anne Rice’s The Vampire Lestat, subsequently devouring everything else available that she’d ever written, that escape took on more substance. Here were characters who were also perpetually misunderstood, but had found acceptance and clarity as lovable misfits. They were imperfect, sometimes evildoing, and often sympathetic in spite of their choices. Anne’s use of language as a lyrical journey painted the backdrop to a world I wanted to live in. I’d never wanted to trade places with anyone real, but I often dreamed of being a Mayfair.

Anne led me down the path to my writer’s voice. Though I had been writing since I was seven (saucy little shorts that were ahead of my time, but that’s another story, for another post), in her bold choices I saw a path I was meant to take; a place for my own dark and strange heart to find voice and audience.

Anne introduced me to New Orleans. A lush, wondrous world that sits within ours but somehow exists entirely separate of it. An old soul of a city, with a pulse that ripples through the live oaks and the upturned sidewalks, and the cities of the dead. Where second lines sing and dance the background of the culture of celebration, of the living, of the dead. A place where dreams are born, and live on forever, long after the dreamer is gone.

My House of Crimson & Clover series was a love letter to Anne, in many ways. I found my own words, my own voice, but both were birthed from her courage, her daring. I sought to bring New Orleans to a new generation of readers, as she once had with me, and for those who already knew it well, to feel as if I’d done their beloved city justice. That though I’d never lived there myself, I understood it to be a living, breathing thing that would outlive us all.

Anne gave me community. I was extremely fortunate to have been invited to be a featured author at her Halloween-time Undead Con event two years in a row, of which her long-running Lestat Ball was part of. It was there that my world blossomed, meeting even more wonderful people, people who I bonded with because of our love for Anne, but who became something more than that, bigger than that. I discovered my best friend Shawn through this community. I met my soul sister, Raven. My co-writer and dear friend Becket, and his lovely wife Stina. Anne’s son, Christopher. I met the people who I would come to know as my family. They are too numerous to name, but they know who they are. We’ve all been holding each other extra close through this loss.

Anne gave me mentorship. Indirectly, as a result of this community, where she was so generous with herself, and her time, and her wisdom that could be summarized, quite simply, as “to be a writer, just write.” Directly, in the treasured moments I got to speak to her one-on-one, to try (and fail) to articulate the impact she had on me, and why I could never repay that.

Anne saved my life as a teenager. She gave it meaning as an adult. Now, coming into my middle age, these impressions have offered me the path I want the rest of my life to take.

The loss of Anne Rice is devastating. It’s total. It marks the end of an era that meant so much, to so many.

But, as a dear friend of mine said, Anne is timeless. She is bigger than the eighty years she gave us, and her work and impact will transcend whatever comes next.

This same friend also referred to Anne as my “Literary Mother,” and that felt right. Anne had many, many literary children, who are all feeling orphaned and unmoored at the loss, but we’ll find our way. We have each other. We have her words, which will live on forever, in all of us. Beyond all of us.

If you have ever enjoyed my books, know that they would not be here if Anne hadn’t opened my world up to new possibilities, almost three decades ago.

Thank you for reading.

Anne and I at St. Alphonsus Church in 2015

Great Expectations: Plot Over Hot

There’s a place for all types of literature in this world. Where there is an audience, there is a writer eager to deliver. However, if someone cracks open one of my books expecting a damsel in distress, a cookie-cutter hero with abs that could slice open drywall, and gratuitous sex, they are going to be disappointed. Continue reading

A to Z Blogging Challenge: 26 Post Recap

A2Z-2013-BADGE-001Small_zps669396f9Wow, what a month! 26 posts in 30 days. Sorry, make that 30 posts because each week I also posted a quick recap. Phew!

I honestly had no idea what I was getting myself into. It challenged me to go beyond just those things I knew I wanted to post and to think more creatively about what I wanted to share. As a result, I wrote a series of writing advice articles, expose pieces on my book series, and a number of other things I ordinarily would not have thought of. Oh, and I met some really awesome bloggers along the way. Pretty cool.

That said, I’m not convinced I would do it again. It limited me on what I could post about, and I ended up with a ton of posts I had to push until May (I know I could do several posts per day, but that’s overkill), and it was incredibly time consuming. BUT…I definitely recommend everyone try the challenge at least once. It will challenge the way you organize your thoughts, in a good way!

Last Chance to Read St. Charles at Dusk Free on KDP Through 3/31

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St. Charles at Dusk will be free to borrow through the Kindle Lending Library for two more weeks only.

I posted last month that I was removing St. Charles at Dusk from KDP Select (the Amazon program that makes your Kindle book available on the Kindle Lending Library, and gives writers a share of the profit anytime a book is downloaded), as the program requires you to distribute your work exclusively through Amazon while you’re enrolled. I’ve had readers express interest in the Nook, Itunes, etc versions and this will allow me make it available in those formats as well.

St. Charles at Dusk will be in the program through March 31st. So, if you’ve been looking for a chance to read it, risk-free, before the sequel comes out (Spring 2013!), then, here you go! (Note: To download, you actually need to search for the book via your Kindle device or software)

Cheers,

Sarah

New to series? Read more here.

St. Charles at Dusk- Prologue – (Installment 4 of 4)

In September of 2011, I self-published my first novel, St. Charles at Dusk. This year I have also submitted it for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. You can read more about this series here.

St. Charles at Dusk started as a standalone story, but since then I have written several additional stories about the two central families, the Sullivans and Deschanels. This has turned into a series, The House of Crimson and Clover, and I am currently working on editing the second book, The Storm and the Darkness for publication in 2013. Continue reading

St. Charles at Dusk- Prologue – (Installment 3 of 4)

In September of 2011, I self-published my first novel, St. Charles at Dusk. This year I have also submitted it for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. You can read more about this series here.

St. Charles at Dusk started as a standalone story, but since then I have written several additional stories about the two central families, the Sullivans and Deschanels. This has turned into a series, The House of Crimson and Clover, and I am currently working on editing the second book, The Storm and the Darkness for publication in 2013. Continue reading

St. Charles at Dusk- Free on KDP Through 3/31

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Actually, its been free on KDP for about a year, but I’ve decided to remove it. If you’re not aware, the KDP program puts your novel in the Kindle Lending Library (a virtual library that is free for Prime members to borrow one novel at a time), but with the stipulation that you are not allowed to publish your novel in e-book format on any other channel. Which means you can’t sell it through anyone except Amazon. This pays off for some of the more popular writers, but due to the updated algorithms at Amazon (which many others, far more knowledgeable than I, have written about at length), has actually given me almost no downloads. Thus, I’ve decided to remove it, and to start focusing on other channels (BN, Itunes, Smashwords, etc). It will still sell on Amazon as well, just not as a free-to-borrow option. Continue reading