Thursday, June 18, 2015

Mary Carter, Author

As most of you know, I've been working on my first novel for about a year and a half now. Check it out!

Just kidding! No, this wasn't written by me. As I've passed the halfway mark on my own book, I'd begun daydreaming about how amazing it would be to see my name on the jacket of a novel, so imagine my surprise when I was browsing in Walmart's book section and actually saw my name on this cover!

Well, she is a blonde... No other resemblance, though.

Sorry to say that I'd never heard of this author before now, but apparently she's been around for a while since she's written and had published about a dozen books. She even has her own website, (which is currently undergoing a face lift). That feels so surreal to me! 

Luckily, recognizing how common my name is, I had already decided to publish under the name Mary Butler Carter. Hopefully that will avoid any confusion. I really do not wish to publish under a pseudonym. (How about Marie Cartier? Or Marya Caterina? Or...?)

I can't be completely sure without more research, but based on the above title and others I peeked at, her stories are about adult relationships, particularly women, along the lines of what I'd consider a "chick flick" if it were a movie. Not really my cup of tea, which would explain my unfamiliarity with this author. (Throw in some fantasy or science fiction, a la The Time Traveler's Wife, and then I can get on board with a chick flick!)

My own target audience is adolescents and young adults. No vampires or werewolves, I promise! After some research, I realized that I had a wealth of cultural traditions and characters that I could mine for tales of chilling suspense and mystery right here in the White Mountains, especially from the local Apache and Navajo cultures.

I've been hesitant to share too much, and only a handful of people have read what I've written thus far. But for those who are curious and would like a small taste of what's in store, here is a short excerpt. At this point I'm working on chapter 38 of what will probably be about a 60-chapter novel (the chapters are relatively short). This excerpt, which I hope hints at what's in store without giving too much away, is the first half of chapter 31:

I yelped in surprise. Beside me, Jewel was weeping quietly, her sobs muffled by both of her hands pressed hard against her mouth. The blackness around us was complete—heavy, oppressive, almost tangible in its oily thickness.
The jolting impacts continued every few seconds, causing the floor to vibrate and our chairs to tremble. In the next room, something fell to the floor and shattered. A framed picture on a nearby wall hit the tile with a thud, splintering.
As jarring as the sounds of destruction were, the all-consuming blackness was far more frightening. Even with the table beneath my hands, I felt disoriented, directionless, vulnerable. It was easy to imagine terrible things waiting just out of reach, razor-sharp claws and teeth ready to tear and slash.
A tiny flicker of light sprang into being on the other side of the table. It cast no glow, but provided a pinpoint lifeline for my light-starved eyes. Then the minute glimmer began to spread, gradually building in radiance, and finally illuminating its origin: the quartz crystal still in Frank’s hand.
His head was bent over the crystal, which was no longer cloudy but had become perfectly transparent and without blemish. The intensifying glow revealed Frank’s round features in sharp lines of light and shadow, rendering him almost unrecognizable. His lips were moving as he quietly chanted words in the Navajo language.
Harold had picked up his chair and was again sitting on my right. His hand reached out and gripped mine tightly.
“We need to help,” he told me in a low, urgent voice. “It’s time for your totem to prove her worth.”
Another blow shook the house to its foundation. “I don’t think I can do it,” I said helplessly. “I need to concentrate.”
                Jewel’s cold fingers took my left hand. She was trembling violently, but her whispered words imparted her growing courage. “You can do this.”
“Focus on the crystal,” Harold directed. “Find your doe there.”
Both Frank’s and Harold’s eyes were now locked on the crystal, so I, too, directed my gaze to the brilliance at the core of the quartz. At first I saw only the blinding light, but then I became conscious of a shimmer at the center of the blaze. I felt drawn into the radiance, until my awareness was surrounded by flashes of spectral color, broken up like light refracted through a prism.
A movement in the darker spectrum caught my attention, pulling my inner vision in that direction. The flashing fell away as I entered the indigo range, moving onward as if through a tunnel and emerging into the darkness of the forest.
I felt the doe’s mind become aware of my presence. She stood alert, waiting.
"Go!” I cried into her thoughts.
Leaping forward, she raced through the trees and bounded over rocks and fallen limbs. I felt the wind of her speed brush the fur on our face. Somehow I knew we were drawing close to the building where my body was seated at a kitchen table, my mind lost in the heart of a quartz crystal.

I'm finally more than halfway through my tale. Soon, I hope to see my own name attached to my own novel. Stay tuned!

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