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Map of Silidor Valley on Kickstarter

Map of Silidor Valley on Urban Realms

Hey Everyone!

Lots of excitement going on!

My new company, Urban Realms is on-line and already making sales of our Silidor Valley map. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s a map of the San Francisco Bay Area done in Hobbit style. And to celebrate the opening of the Hobbit movie, I’m putting the maps and screensavers on sale. So stop by and pick up a map for the Hobbit lover in your life.

I’ve also been busy taking my map around to bookstores and gaming stores, and one of them has asked me to do a signing.

Quest of the Faes

Catherine’s first book

Saturday, December 14th from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Booksmart
in Historic Downtown Morgan Hill, CA

80 East 2nd St.
Corner of 2nd St. & Depot St.

Booksmart is now carrying, not only our map of Silidor Valley, but also my first book, Quest of the Faes which I wrote and illustrated at the age of 18. It’s a fantasy novel for children in the middle grades. I’ll have the original illustrations along too.

I’ll also be handing out free copies of my short story, My Brave Girl. Which is the story of my main character, Francesca DiCeasare’s birth. And because I’m just that sort of writer, it takes place during a pirate battle.

So stop by and say hi! I’ll be the one with elf ears…

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First chapter of Lady Blade up on wattpad

First chapter of Lady Blade up on wattpad

Hi Friends,

Great news this morning. What a nice way to start a hectic day!

Chanticleer Book Reviews sponsors the Chaucer Awards for Historical Fiction along with contests in a number of other genres.  They just published their list of finalists this morning and yours truly was on it. Yippee!

Winners will be announced Nov, 30th.

If you’re interested to read the first chapter, it’s available on wattpad.  It’s free to read, and here’s the link:

Lady Blade – Chapter One

It is the story of the daughter of an Italian Fencing Maestro who is forced to serve aboard a pirate ship.

Thanks everyone!

C. J.

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First chapter of Lady Blade up on wattpad

First chapter of Lady Blade up on wattpad

Hi Friends,

So, how do you stuff a 600 page (double spaced) book into a 120 page screenplay? Seriously, I’d like to know, ’cause I’m having a hell of a time.

Okay, so I do have some ideas. I originally wrote Lady Blade as a screenplay so I have the original work to start from, But in the five years I spent writing the book the story has changed quite a bit. There are a ton more characters, lots more difficulties for my main character Francesca  to overcome, more subtleties and subplots. I know I have to let them all go, but it hurts.

So I’m saying goodbye to Willy Brown, the orphaned 16-year-old son-of-a-gun (or son of a woman who worked the docks) who trained Francesca in her topman duties – working the lines and sails above deck on the ship.  And who Francesca saves when he’s going to be strung up for stealing from another pirate.

Sayonara to Tuit, the tattooed islander who takes the “bad luck” off Francesca in a moonlight ritual. And goodbye to the ritual too.

Farewell to Mr. Hart, the ex-navy sailing master who refers to Francesca as Mr. DiCesare because he doesn’t approve of women aboard ship.

And to Old Nob, the ageless, leathered leader of her messmates who scurries through the rigging like a squirrel.

And so much more.

Creating them was a joy. Losing them is painful. But it’s not like they’re going away for good. They’ll still be there in the book. I can always go back and visit. And I do like that the process of adapting the story back to the screen makes me really focus on what’s important.

Still, it’s painfully obvious why people always go to the movie and then say, “I liked the book better.”

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First chapter of Lady Blade up on wattpad

First chapter of Lady Blade up on wattpad

Hi Friends,

I’m thrilled to see that in the month that the first chapter of Lady Blade has been up on Wattpad it’s already gotten over 200 reads! Great news. I’d love to keep the momentum going! So if you haven’t taken a look, it’s free to read, and here’s the link:

Lady Blade – Chapter One

My short story, My Brave Girl, about Francesca’s birth during a pirate attack, has gotten 192 reads! If you haven’t read the story yet I do believe it is my best so far – and it’s free! So if you like pirates, tall ships and mayhem, here’s the link:

My Brave Girl

Thanks everyone!

C. J.

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Read the first chapter on wattpad

Read the first chapter on wattpad

Hi Everyone,

Some good news.

First, my short story/prologue, My Brave Girl now has over 100 reads on Wattpad. I’m gratified to see that so many people are enjoying it.

My short story, Francesca and the Baron’s Son has 44 reads and the first chapter of Lady Blade, which I just put up 6 days ago is already at 36 reads.

They are free to read so check them out if you haven’t already:

My Brave Girl

Francesca and the Baron’s Son

Lady Blade – Chapter One

Second, and I don’t want to jinx it here, but I’ve got a publisher reading Lady Blade as we speak. Fingers crossed.

Thanks everyone!

C. J.

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Sigh,

An image created by the poster.

An image created by the poster. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love being a writer. I love the opportunity to take something I’ve imagined and make it come to life on a page. I love getting into the hearts and minds of my characters and caring about what they care about. Creating people, places and situations is a little like playing God and who wouldn’t love that.

What I don’t love – leaving my future as a writer in some stranger’s or strangers’ hands. I’m talking, of course, about waiting for the announcement of the winners of the next round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Competition. The winners won’t be posted until next Tuesday and I’m already nervous. This could be a huge break, one I’ve been working toward the last ten years.  Or not.

I know what you’re thinking, “yeah, like anyone likes to wait.”  I get that, but there is a sense of helplessness that goes along with waiting for your fate to be decided – especially when you can’t argue your case or at least face your judges. At least if you’re sending your manuscript to an agent, with a little research you can put a face, a name, and some sense of character to the person that’s judging you.

Am I whining? Yup. Sorry. Thanks for listening. It’s just the downside of the job that needs to be dealt with – hopefully without ulcers. At least next time I need to write an anxious and frustrated character I’ll have visceral experiences to draw on.

A gigantic hug and galactic thanks to everyone who’s reviewed my first two chapters for the contest.

Done whining, back to work.

Catherine Thrush

PS. If you have a few minutes to read and review the link is above.

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Hi Guys!
You’ve all been great! I’ve got 26 stellar reviews on my entry into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest. Thank you so much! If even a quarter of what you’ve all said it true I did my job well.

Currently there are 5 people with more reviews than me (one person has over 70! Can you believe it!) Since the next cutoff for the contest is the top 25 entries – and there are 5 categories – I’d love to be in the top five in the number of reviews in my category. So if anyone one out there hasn’t done a review yet and has a few minutes to read the first two chapters of my historical fiction novel, Lady Blade, and do a review, I’d be over the moon. It doesn’t need to be a long, a few words is just fine.

You can download the chapters free from Amazon for a Kindle. If you don’t have a Kindle you can also download a Kindle app for free to your computer or PDA.

So if you haven’t already, please help me win $50,000 and a book deal, and I hope you’ll enjoy the read in the meantime.

Here’s the link to LADY BLADE entry

What’s it about you ask? Well, here is the pitch that got me this far in the contest.

Francesca DiCesare is the daughter of Italy’s most illustrious fencing maestro – and his most gifted pupil. From the speed of a parry, to the power and grace of a perfect lunge, she sees the art of the sword as an elegant and electrifying dance. Francesca never thought of her sword as a weapon; not until the morning of Papa’s duel – not until Papa lay dying and his opponent lay dead by her hand.

Forced to flee Italy or face the gallows, Francesca takes ship for England vowing to uphold Papa’s uncompromising code of honor.

Francesca enjoys the sea’s ever-changing moods and thrills at the bucking deck and the snap and hum of the crisp white sails – until pirates attack from the starboard bow. She fights with all the skill Papa has given her, and eight pirates die by her sword before she’s taken captive by pirate captain Will Massey.

Forced to join Will’s crew as they raid the Spanish Main, Francesca is drawn into the pirates’ nefarious world, and to the bold and vital captain. As she makes friends with Carter, an orphaned ship’s boy, and Miller, a grizzled old pirate, she learns that life is seldom as black and white as Papa led her to believe, and that Papa was not the paragon of honor she thought him to be.

Francesca’s swordsmanship earns her respect among the pirates and wins her the captain’s heart. To her horror, she discovers she adores being a pirate – not the killing, which flays her conscience day and night, but the freedom, and the thrill of adventure. Can she give up the man she loves and the life that she seems destined to live to keep her vow?

You guys are the best!

Catherine Thrush

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Hi Everyone,

Now that I’ve made it into the quarterfinal round of the Amazon Contest, the first two chapters of LADY BLADE are posted on Amazon for customer reviews. That means anyone can put in their two cents worth and the results go toward deciding who wins!

Sooo, if you have a few moments, I would be eternally grateful for some reviews – if you like it. It’s free to download the chapters to your kindle app.

Here is the link:

LADY BLADE Excerpt

Thank you for your support!

 

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LADY BLADE is my as-yet-unpublished historical adventure novel. This excerpt  from chapter three and takes place in Livorno, Italy in the early 1700s.

 

Francesca headed for the nearest ship, but when the sound of marching feet caught her ear, she spun. A company of infantrymen trooped down the main thoroughfare toward the docks. Her breath hissed out. She thought her knees might buckle, but she steadied herself and hurried in the opposite direction. Do not run. Don’t run. Don’t…

She twisted and turned randomly through the alleys as the purple clouds moved in. They weren’t after me. They can’t be. It’s too soon. But she had no way to be sure. Perhaps word had spread more quickly than she imagined. Tarrentino was rich and powerful. The search would be fierce. She kept going.

After an hour, the alley she followed dumped her out into an open square. Francesca stopped. In the center of the cobblestone square, workmen were erecting the rough timber outline of a gallows. Francesca’s mouth went dry. Her shoulders crumpled as she backed out of the square and turned and ran. It’s not for me. It’s not for me. Please God, let it not be for me.

 

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LADY BLADE is my as yet unpublished YA historical adventure novel. This excerpt is from Chapter Three. Francesca is the daughter of Italy’s most illustrious fencing Maestro and Achilles is her horse.

She had no idea how long she had been sitting there when she felt Achilles nuzzling her, urging her to get up. She knew he was tired and hungry. His insistence got her to her feet.

Francesca looked around at a loss. She had left home that morning without money, food, or clothing, except what she wore. She shivered, despite the warm day. She sucked in a breath and took stock. Her clothing was a mess. She couldn’t see the white ruffles at her throat but she ran her hands over them and came away with a few leaves from the forest. Her tailored woolen coat, which hugged her body, was snagged and soiled here and there with dirt, or blood. The wide cuffs and lapels were missing a few silver buttons. She brushed herself off as best she could then ran her fingers through her dark, tangled hair. With no comb it would be impossible to remove all the knots. She twisted it into a bun and used a strand of hair to secure it in place. It would have to do.

She moved down the alley to the window of a darkened building and stared at her distorted reflection in the wavy glass. She didn’t look like a murderer. She looked no different from when she left home that morning. But now she was a wanted criminal.

She rubbed a smudge from her high cheekbone, and wiped away a line of blood from a scratch along her arched eyebrow. There was nothing she could do about the frightened look in her green eyes.

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