Meet the Characters: The Phantom of the Opera

The Guardian of the Opera: Nocturne by Cheryl Mahoney is coming out this Friday!  That’s tomorrow, and in Stonehenge Circle Writers tradition, we’re counting down the days with a special feature.  We’re spending this week introducing some of the principal characters from the book, one each day.  Today we turn to the title character of every version: Erik, the Phantom of the Opera.  This Erik is a little different from previous versions, and we look forward to you meeting him – although he’d be more reluctant!

Look for Nocturne on June 5th in Kindle, paperback and hardback, and pre-order your Kindle copy today.

Meet the Characters: Meg Giry

The Guardian of the Opera: Nocturne by Cheryl Mahoney is coming out this Friday!  That’s two days away, and in Stonehenge Circle Writers tradition, we’re counting down the days with a special feature.  We’re spending this week introducing some of the principal characters from the book, one each day.  Today we’re highlighting the heroine of this version, although not most – this book gives Meg the chance to have and to tell her own story.

Look for Nocturne on June 5th in Kindle, paperback and hardback, and pre-order your Kindle copy today.

Meet the Characters: Christine Daae

The Guardian of the Opera: Nocturne by Cheryl Mahoney is coming out this Friday!  That’s three days away, and in Stonehenge Circle Writers tradition, we’re counting down the days with a special feature.  We’re spending this week introducing some of the principal characters from the book, one each day.  Today’s featured character is Christine Daae, the beautiful singer who captures the Phantom’s heart – but did she mean to do it?

Look for Nocturne on June 5th in Kindle, paperback and hardback, and pre-order your Kindle copy today.

Meet the Characters: Raoul de Chagny

The Guardian of the Opera: Nocturne by Cheryl Mahoney is coming out this Friday!  That’s four days away, and in Stonehenge Circle Writers tradition, we’re counting down the days with a special feature.  We’re spending this week introducing some of the principal characters from the book, one each day.  Today we’re featuring Raoul, the Vicomte de Chagny, usually the hero of the story but…well, in this version the focus has been shifted a bit!

Look for Nocturne on June 5th in Kindle, paperback and hardback, and pre-order your Kindle copy today.

Meet the Characters: Madame Giry

The Guardian of the Opera: Nocturne by Cheryl Mahoney is coming out this Friday!  That’s five days away, and in Stonehenge Circle Writers tradition, we’re counting down the days with a special feature.  We’re spending this week introducing some of the principal characters from the book, one each day.  We’re starting off with Madame Giry – more important in this version of the Phantom of the Opera than most, because her daughter Meg is telling the story.

Look for Nocturne on June 5th in Kindle, paperback and hardback, and pre-order your Kindle copy today.

Is the Customer Always Right?

Post by Mattias Bergman

PT Barnum – or somebody a whole lot like him – said “Give the customer what they want.”

More recently, in her book “How to Write and Sell Historical Fiction,” Persia Woolley warns against being too accurate in even the most well-researched historical fiction. Especially if accuracy flies in the face of widely-held misconception. One example used is travel from Scotland to England in King Arthur’s time, across the north of England. Now, of course, the famous Yorkshire Moors are vast expanses of open, largely-treeless hills. In King Arthur’s day, the place was dense woods.

After a lot of give and take, modern-day perceptions won out. The story showed travel across the moors.

This example, and many more examples, are harmless enough. But what of something even more insidious, something we have all (probably) been guilty of in our own writings? Namely, projecting our current cultural environment into the storyline, and often into the narrator’s POV in our stories.

We might do this for all the “right” reasons. Having all of our characters, whether in historical fiction, noir, fantasy or science fiction setting — all of which are far removed from our comfortable 21st-century suburbia/urbia — be social justice warriors of one sort or another. Or, the plot has to move along current culturally-accepted norms (no violence, talk your way out of everything, the bad guy can never be a minority, etc) We may get a warm, comfortable glow from such a slant, feel oh-so-noble in our social gatherings, and perhaps even increase book sales to fellow virtue-signalers.

But is it good writing?

I don’t pretend to have the answer, but I think it’s a question we must all ask. It begs a few follow-up questions:

      • Is such writing just another form of “cultural imperialism”? If so, should we not avoid it?
      • Will such writing “date” our work, shortening its shelf-life? Read some 40s and 50s noir novels, for instance, and see how the author himself treats certain ethnic groups. It kinda grates.
      • Conversely, will writing “true to form” fiction hamper sales and longevity. Witness, for instance, the current backlash against the language in Huckleberry Finn, even if it was a quite progressive and enlightened book for its time.

What do you think?

Release News: Pre-Orders Available for The Guardian of the Opera: Nocturne

We are pleased to announce that Kindle pre-orders are now open for one of our author’s upcoming books.  Nocturne (The Guardian of the Opera, Book 1) by Cheryl Mahoney is now available for pre-order.

Order your copy now

The book will release on June 5th, and will also be available in paperback and hardback.

A retelling of the Phantom of the Opera from a new perspective, here’s a bit about the book:

Set against the backdrop of 1880s Paris and the stunning Opera Garnier, The Guardian of the Opera: Nocturne brings you the familiar tale from a different direction. Meg Giry met the Phantom once when she was twelve years old, a new ballet dancer lost in the Opera’s maze. Years later, when an Angel of Music offers singing lessons to her best friend Christine Daaé, Meg is sure she knows what’s actually happening. But as strange events unfold and the pieces stop adding up, Meg has to wonder if she truly understands the Phantom—or Christine.

Erik is a man of many talents and many masks, and the one covering his face may be the least concealing. The opera house is his kingdom and his refuge, where he stalks through the shadows as the Phantom of the Opera, watching over all that occurs. He never intended to fall in love; when he does, it launches him into a new symphony he’s certain can only end in heartbreak.

We hope you’ll consider checking it out.  Visit Cheryl’s blog, MarvelousTales.com, for more information.

Cover Reveal – The Guardian of the Opera: Nocturne

Today we’re very pleased to share the cover reveal for an upcoming book by one of our authors.   The Guardian of the Opera: Nocturne by Cheryl Mahoney, the first in a trilogy, will be out June 5th – just about two months away!  Today, we get to share the cover with you.

First, a little about the story, from the back of the book…

Set against the backdrop of 1880s Paris and the stunning Opera Garnier, The Guardian of the Opera: Nocturne brings you the familiar tale from a different direction. Meg Giry met the Phantom once when she was twelve years old, a new ballet dancer lost in the Opera’s maze. Years later, when an Angel of Music offers singing lessons to her best friend Christine Daaé, Meg is sure she knows what’s actually happening. But as strange events unfold and the pieces stop adding up, Meg has to wonder if she truly understands the Phantom—or Christine.

Erik is a man of many talents and many masks, and the one covering his face may be the least concealing. The opera house is his kingdom and his refuge, where he stalks through the shadows as the Phantom of the Opera, watching over all that occurs. He never intended to fall in love; when he does, it launches him into a new symphony he’s certain can only end in heartbreak.

Scroll down to see the cover!

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

We hope you’ll get your own copy come June. 🙂

Picking Up Someone Else’s Threads

Post by Cheryl Mahoney

I shared a few weeks ago about my experience writing Chapter Two of Pesto, Pirouettes and Potions, a collaborative novel with three other authors.  We’re writing it round-robin style, each writing a chapter then passing it on to the next person, and my second turn came around again recently.

I had a lot of fun reading through the five chapters we had so far, and then writing up Chapter Six.  I got into a nice flow of conversation between the characters, getting to know their dynamics a little more.  I had the chance to play with Charlie and Lola, our two heroines, and their friends Nathan, who dances in the ballet with Charlie, and Mario, Lola’s roommate.  Mario is a flirt who thinks Charlie is cute, Nathan likes to tease straight guys who assume he’s gay (he isn’t), Charlie is totally freaking out over her crush on Lola, and Lola is trying to convince herself not to crush on Charlie–so it’s awkward all around and it was so much fun to write.

This was the first chapter I wrote picking up after other people wrote theirs – I wrote Chapter Two previously, but since it was introducing Charlie (while Chapter One introduced Lola) it was pretty independent.  I really enjoyed being able to riff from things other people had written–like continuing Charlie’s tic of saying “oh goddess,” or building from a previous-chapter moment when Charlie introduced her dog.  I probably wouldn’t have thought of either element, so I loved springing off of the ideas to continue building.

My last post mentioned setting the stage for things to play out louder, possibly in chapters written by others.  For Chapter Six, I got to see the opposite side of it, continuing to build something other people started.  It’s awesome to get such great ideas to play with.

Here’s an excerpt that shows a couple ideas someone else created continuing to grow in my chapter!

**********

Was this whole business, stalking the Pilates classes, showing up at brunch, going too far?  Was Charlie building way too much on one charged exercise class, and one not-quite-a-date?

But it had been such a good sort of date.  It had been a long time since she’d felt a connection like that.  And Sammy had liked Lola—who had understood his name.  Charlie only introduced him as Samwise when she wanted to see if someone would catch the reference, pick up the semi-secret code she was sending out.  And Lola hadn’t just asked about Lord of the Rings, she had asked Sammy if he was a Hobbit.  So adorable.

Oh goddess, she had it bad.

We Meet Again

Blog Post by Karen Blakely

It’s interesting, to have four authors writing a story about two main characters. Two writers are sharing Lola, the chef, and two of us are sharing Charlie, the ballerina. I like Charlie. Among other things, she’s tough, graceful, vegan, into herbal remedies – and she’s lonely.

Because I need to know my character before I start writing, I touched base with my Charlie compatriot a couple times. We decided on a few external features and some of the more critical internal truths for Charlie. That’s one of my favorite things; finding out who my character really is and understanding how they’re going to react to the world around them.

Charlie is intrigued by Lola. Maybe nothing would have come of their first brief encounter, but they end up running into each other the next morning. That was my job in Chapter Four. To get them back together and into a Pilates class.

Continue reading “We Meet Again”