Dividing Plots: The Phoenix Hatchling

Book 1 of The Seasons of the Phoenix

(Just a reminder: The Phoenix Hatchling is still a work in progress with no release date scheduled.)

Calico from Infinity 8 must have slipped out for donuts, but he could be back any minute. While he’s run off WITHOUT ME (huffs in offense), I’ve turned to The Phoenix Hatchling manuscript.

Over the last few days, I’ve realized how I can flesh out Hatchling since I made the decision to cleave it in half. A few weeks back, I split this story because Plot A and Plot B were:

1) seriously overpowering each other and butting heads
2) really had nothing to do with each other
3) was making the book into a uber doorstopper even longer than Through Rain and Missing Mantaurs
4) Plot A’s abrupt ending would not provide a sense of satisfaction or completion, especially since it slid like a home run into Plot B.
5) the ending of Plot B would have been rushed, crappy and unfulfilling.

Even as I do this, I am still disappointed that I had to sideline a character (Plot B) until book 3. But it works better this way.

Who is this sidelined character for book three? I can’t give away all the secrets just yet, but I’m sure you know if you’ve read The Phoenix Embryo.  As for the title of book 3, that I can tell you. Book 3 is called The Phoenix Fledgling. I also think this title matches Plot B much better.

So, you ask, what’s in store for Hatchling then? Well, I’ll just say Trose was down, but not out.

Author Interview: Jeanne Marcella | million words

Source: Author Interview: Jeanne Marcella | million words


Welcome to the third in a series of author interviews! Today I’m talking with fantasy author Jeanne Marcella about inspiration, self-publishing, and what it’s like to write outside the norm. I’m thrilled to talk to the wonderful author of The Phoenix Embryoabout her creative process and experience.

Sarah: You’ve described your work as transgressive dark fantasy. Can you tell me a little about why you chose to call it ‘transgressive’ and what that label means?

Jeanne: “Transgressive” was a genre label I encountered on an online critique site a few years back. When I looked it up, it seemed to fit with how mainstream readers were describing my work. So I went with it. While I never personally thought of my work as transgressive, both my books did anger and disgust a lot of people. I did get some mocking, but that’s the risk an author takes.

I had wanted to share humanistic ideas about love, gender, sentience/personhood, and being trapped in a certain skin or alienlike body that would get people to think outside the box. That didn’t happen until I found new writer-friends, and discovered the support of the LGBTQ community.

Sarah: I know it’s cliché to ask an author where the ideas come from. But you have such unique and unconventional ideas that I just have to ask. Where do they come from? What inspires you?

Jeanne: Oh, goodness, where do I even start? If I can use a cliché of my own, it’s like a telepath. They’re just bombarded by thoughts every second, and they can go a little nuts. It’s like that for me. It could be a single word. The light streaming through the window. Breathing. I can’t keep ideas out of my head, even when I sleep. Everything inspires me.

I’m crossing my fingers now that I have critique partners who encourage and understand me, and once I get the second edition of Through Rain and Missing Mantaurs back off the ground, I’ll be much more prolific. I just feel I’m still trying to get myself unstuck from past failure, and that novel is the last reminder of it. Having people who understand you is just so…freeing! That’s my inspiration.

Sarah: You create very dark fantasy worlds, where the threat of violence is a given constant for the characters. Do you think this grim atmosphere plays a role in shaping your characters? How does it affect them? Jeanne Marcella

Jeanne: The gritty atmosphere does shape my characters, making them struggle and claw to discover themselves, and their way. But I also think the characters play a major role in shaping the world around them.

A good example of this is the characters I’m working with now. Pony and Mardyth from Through Rain and Missing Mantaurs.

Pony is a gritty, half-breed mail courier who can barely read. She’s at the very bottom of society. Mardyth is a pampered, highly educated courtesan who guarded the elf queen.

So very different, but you’d want both of them on your side in a knife-fight. Just those descriptions alone really assist me in worldbuilding. Discovering their likes and dislikes, and how they react to their peers builds enough layers to keep things interesting.

Sarah: You’ve self-published your novels. Can you give us some insight into why you made that decision? Do you feel it was the right one?

Jeanne: I did shop The Phoenix Embryo and Through Rain and Missing Mantaurs around to properly-targeted agents, and a few small presses. All I got back were impersonal form rejections. By this time, I felt like all the opportunities were pretty much behind me.

I’m not old, mind you, but old enough. Pursuing traditional publishing any further made me sick to my stomach. Especially when traditional markets make you wait at least two to three years before your book is even printed. It’s even longer when dealing with an editor or agent, or if your title gets bumped and the slot is filled by a more popular author.

I didn’t want to waste any more time on trying to get someone’s attention. I had stories and ideas to write. So self-publishing it was. Besides, it’s all about the story, the imagination, and being immersed in my characters and writing universes.

The Phoenix EmbryoSarah: You’ve spent a significant amount of time revising books you’ve written a number of years ago. I’m curious how you’ve grown as a writer, and if you think your style has changed since then.

Jeanne: I don’t think my voice has changed, but I’ve noticed my style streamline slightly as I revised The Phoenix Embryo. I’m seeing a huge difference now as I rework Through Rain and Missing Mantaurs.

By streamlining my style, I mean I’m working to optimize my sentences in the fewest words with the most impact. The most common example: Getting rid of the bulk of unnecessary dialog tags such as ‘said’ or ‘replied.’ These can enhance your story just as much as bogging it down. They can be replaced with action tags where the character does something that pertains to the scene, or with emotion.

Sarah: Can you tell me, in a few sentences, about your recently published novel The Phoenix Embryo?

Jeanne: The Phoenix Embryo is a dark fantasy drama for mature readers, with heavy LGBTQ elements. I describe it as Lord of the Flies on Mr. Spock’s planet of Vulcan. Throw in phoenix gods, magic, and tiny hints of steampunk.

Thank you so much, Jeanne, for talking with us! If you want to buy her books, you can find her Amazon page here. You can learn more about her on her website, or catch her on social media: 

Twitter — Facebook — Pinterest

Seasons of the Phoenix Update February 2015

Acanthus Breese by M. Mercury.
Acanthus Breese by M. Mercury. Thank you!

At a minor crossroads of frustration and indecision, (I’m supposed to be working on my second edition of TRAMM) I swept together the scattered fragments of The Phoenix Hatchling.

The Phoenix Hatchling  is book two of my Seasons of the Phoenix saga. The gathered material above is just over 200k. This consists of scenes removed from The Phoenix Embryo that didn’t work, or ran the main plot into a different direction.

Maybe about 30% of this is material for Idris’s book, and a bit for The Phoenix egg. A small combination of this also includes scene-repeats from Embryo that need culling.

Hatchling may be told in a two-part structure within its pages. I have yet to sort through the material.

Idris’s story, The Phoenix Reflection is already written in a rough first draft format. It’s been sitting around for a while, and at this point, it appears to be a Male/Male action or drama romance. Again, at this point I am unsure if Reflection needs to be split into two separate books–but I am leaning toward that. There might be two strong plots that need equal attention. I won’t know for sure until I tackle said project. Idris’s adventures will not be under the umbrella of Acanthus’s SOTP series title, but the stories are related.

A simpler breakdown:

Seasons of the Phoenix
(Acanthus Breese)

Idris Wynn Breese
(Series Title Pending)

The Phoenix Egg (pending) The Phoenix Reflection
The Phoenix Embryo now available (click for details) X
The Phoenix Hatchling (work in progress) X

I will probably have to work on Phoenix Hatchling, and Phoenix Reflection side by side, because of the related content. Some of the story in Reflection may overlap Embryo. Again, time will tell if I need to split Idris’s story into two separate books!

The Phoenix Embryo

GLBTQ dark fantasy drama. Phoenix gods in human form. Warrior priests. Life vs Death. Caged within layers of a false society. Acanthus Breese must also come to terms with his unique heritage before his predecessor’s flame burns its last.

Book 1:
Revised 2nd edition with maps and extended content. Think Lord of the Flies on Mr. Spock’s planet Vulcan. Then turn the volume past maximum. Ebook now available at Amazon,  Apple/ibooks, B&N Nook, Kobo, and Smashwords. Sale price of .99 cents through the end of February 2015. Print copy coming soon.

Twelve-and-a-half-year-old Acanthus Breese and his yellow-robed peers have survived without an adult presence for seven years. They’ve scavenged. Endured madness, starvation, and murder after the adults imprisoned and abandoned them without a backward glance. They’ve clawed their way to civilization and questionable sanity at the guidance of one of their own.

Thirteen-year-old Edward Dasheel is a direct descendant of the goddess Staritti and the red phoenix god, Dasheel. Because of Edward’s love and leadership, Acanthus and the other boys know that despite their regretful crime of harming Staritti and driving her away, hope for redemption remains.

Acanthus knows Edward better than anyone; he knows Edward hides dark secrets about their exile, the adults, and specifically about him. So it is terrifying when suddenly the adults return, pushing themselves back into their lives. What do they want after all these years? And why?