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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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ladybladechap1coverHi Everyone,

I’m trying to forget the fact that two publishers have agreed to read my novel. I hope that by telling you I can put it out of my mind for a while. We’ll see if it works.

First off, many thanks to my amazing agent Frank for unleashing Lady Blade upon those unsuspecting publishers – who will remain nameless in the hopes of not jinxing it.

I am, of course, grateful for the opportunity – but it is also agonizing. I’ve had a low-grade headache for days now since Frank told me. You know, the little annoying ache brought on from a slight tightness in the shoulders and jaw from knowing at this very moment someone might be reading your work and either  sighing or smiling. The feeling that your future rests in others’ hands our of your control.

I know that’s not true. If they say “no” life will go on. Frank and I will find other publishers to try, and failing that, I will self-publish. I even like the control that self-publishing offers these days, though I know that I could use the marketing help a large publisher could provide. So I tell myself it’s no big deal either way. But the headache continues.

Part of it is the waiting. I’m not good at it. I know it’s part of the job and comes with the territory, but I don’t have to like it. One major publisher debated for six months, going back and forth and giving it to more people to read before they finally said no. I’m hoping we’ll get quicker replies either way this time, but who knows.

Anyway, I’m done bellyaching about my good fortune. I’m such an ingrate. Thanks for listening.

If you’d like to read the first chapter it is free to read on Wattpad: Lady Blade – Chapter One

Now I’m forgetting all about it and getting back to work.

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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Hi Friends,

Well, in the two weeks that my short story has been up on Wattpad it’s already gotten over 60 reads! Great news. It also got 4 votes, although I don’t really understand what the voting is all about. Still, I’ll take it.

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

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A new swashbuckler from C. J. Thrush

A new swashbuckler from C. J. Thrush

Hi Friends,

I’ve put another piece of Francesca’s story on Booksie and Watpad to read for free.  This is the story of Francesca’s birth and of course, me being who I am, it happens during a pirate attack. As if a ship full of Barbary Corsairs wasn’t enough for her father to deal with, I throw in a very pregnant wife and a mother with a broken hip. I am just so mean! The story is called My Brave Girl.

My Brave Girl on Booksie

My Brave Girl on Watpad

I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do with this. I think it will either be a prologue for Lady Blade or it will be the first chapter of the prequel to Lady Blade. Either way, I really like it and couldn’t wait to share it with people.

Here is a little teaser for you:

Salerno, Italy
June 8th, 1701

                Thurio DiCesare, the world-famous fencing maestro, felt his heart beat a staccato rhythm as he hurried toward his mother’s house. Chaos filled the narrow, cobbled streets packed with horse-drawn carts. Men and women ran in and out of houses piling wagons with belongings. Children wailed. Men driving carriages cursed as they tried to squeeze between other vehicles and became wedged, bringing traffic to a standstill. Voices rose, fist fights broke out.

                Fools, thought Thurio. Their avarice will doom them. If they left their belongings and fled they might have a chance.

                He turned a corner and entered the blue door of a gray stone house. He called out as he rushed up a staircase two steps at a time. “Mary! Mother! Where are you?”

                Two women appeared at the top of the stairs, their faces pale.

              Mother wore a navy-blue dress that, along with her gray hair, was so tidy as to be severe. She leaned on a carved-wood cane. “What has gotten into them?” she asked. “The entire town is in the streets!”

            Thurio reached his wife Mary and took her in his arms, relieved that she and their unborn child were safe for the moment. He buried his dark face in her red hair and breathed in her earthy scent. She pressed away and looked up at him with spring green eyes.

             “What is it this time, my love,” she said. “Is the world ending yet again?” There was bravado in her light tone, but the narrowing of her eyes meant she was frightened and her heart pounded. The Scottish accent to her Italian words reassured him as nothing else could.

            “Barbary corsairs,” said Thurio, moving past them into the bedroom. “They’ve raided Amalfi and are headed this way.”

            “Slavers,” hissed Mary, putting protective hands around her swollen belly.

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Francesca and the Baron's Son

Francesca and the Baron’s Son

I’ve been receiving tons of nice comments on the short story Francesca and the Baron’s Son and I’m gratified. I’m especially gratified that people are cheering for Francesca as she stands up to the local bully. Why? Because that bit is based on my own childhood.

Okay, so I didn’t grow up in Tuscany in the 1700s. But if you substitute suburban Wisconsin for Tuscany, the 1970s for the 1700s and a bicycle for the horse, you have my summers in a nutshell.

The girls weren’t my cousins, or twins, just the neighborhood girls I hung out with. But I will admit I never could figure out how dolls were supposed to be fun. I was more into red rover or kick the can or anything that involved running around the neighborhood at breakneck speed.

We had two bullies on our block, Kurt and Jim. Jim wasn’t bad when he was by himself, but add Kurt and he was a bully too. They were two years older than me and loved to ride their bikes over whatever the girls and I were doing, smashing it to pieces. So I regularly planted myself between them and the girls. This often meant that I went home with split lips, bloody noses or black eyes. And yes, I usually got punished for my troubles. But like Francesca, I’d do it again. And I will say, they went home hurting too.

Thanks everyone for your great response to Francesca and the Baron’s Son. We’ve had over 400 downloads in 4 days. Today is the last free day, so get it now if you haven’t yet.

Catherine Thrush

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Hi Friends,

FrancescaBaronsSonGood News! My short story, Francesca and the Baron’s Son is now available in digital format for the Kindle. For the next five days it will be FREE to download.

Francesca and the Baron’s Son

In Tuscany during the 1700’s a girl had to know her place or there were consequences.

Try telling that to Francesca DiCesare, the eleven-year-old daughter of Maestro DiCesare, Europe’s most renowned fencing master. Francesca has more courage than common sense, and learns her lesson – just not the one they were trying to teach her.

Set amid the blushing poppies in the Tuscan countryside, this is the first in a series of coming of age stories.

This story introduces Francesca, the title heroine of my novel, LADY BLADE. The novel takes place when Francesca is eighteen, so this is a precursor. Personally, I’d like to keep the story for free, but Amazon frowns on that apparently, so after this promotion it will be for sale for 99 cents a pop. I’ll do more free promotions as often as Amazon will let me, which I believe is every 90 days. So feel free to download and share with friends. And if you like it, I would love a review or  “like.”

Thanks to everyone who gave me feedback on the cover picture! I think it turned out well!

I hope to have more stories soon!

Catherine Thrush

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