Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

The Grove Roadtrip

I’ve always been open about how I love to make setting so real that people wonder if it’s a real place. That it is almost a character all its own. One way I do that is through travel and experiencing the pulse of a place. So here are some of the places I visited which inspired Sitka’s Quay from north to south.

Washington:

Deception Pass State Park, Whidbey Island: I have been here many times before. This park has one of my favorite winter hikes. And this photo of Rosario Bay was taken on a bright winter day.

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Kalaloch Beaches, Highway 101

I actually went here twice. Once with my hiking buddy, Evan, and the dogs n October 2015 and once with just the dogs in 2016. The first time it was raining, the second time it was so misty it was easy to imagine that I was the only person on Earth. Each beach is a little different, and they are broken up by wooded headlands.

Beach 4

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Beach 3 Stone Arch

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Beach 2 Tree of Life

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Beach 1 Burl Forest

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Quinault and The World’s Largest Sitka Spruce: I drove out here on the same day I went to Beach 1-3.

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Ape Caves, Mt Saint Helens (Off I-5) I visited this a number of years ago with my sister, but I recently went again with my friend Andrea.

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Cape Disappointment State Park

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The town of Illwaco. Notice how cute these painted buildings are, but most of them were empty.

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Oregon

Ecola State Park: I had an appointment in Vancouver and figured I’d use my free time to drive to the coast.  I think Rosie knew I went to the beach without her. She was not happy.

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Cannon BeachIMG_0407.jpg

Hug Point State Park

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So there’s photos of places that inspired The Grove, I hope you like them.


About The Grove:
The Grove Cover_blogsizedGenre: Contemporary Dark Fantasy
340 Pages
Paperback ISBN: 9780980145908
Ebook: ISBN:9780980145922

Sitka’s Quay appears to be like every other coastal tourist town on Highway 101, but lurking below its southern grove of ancient spruce are three sleeping primordial gods. The Keeper, Dayla Fischer, must remain in control of her magical abilities or fall into sickening madness, but lives a relatively quiet life with her husband, Oliver. That is, until the delusional, but charming Jonah Leifson comes to town with a plan to awaken the Three. Soon, children begin disappearing. With powerful suggestion spells and mind reading abilities, Jonah wins over other sorcerers, meth users, the police, and eventually even her husband. Though no one believes her and she doubts her own sanity, she must stop Jonah, before he wakes the Three and brings about the end of the world.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Grove-Elizabeth-Guizzetti/dp/0980145902/
Barnes&Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-grove-elizabeth-guizzetti/1124461156?ean=2940156779864
IBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-grove/id1153788999?ls=1&mt=11
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-grove-9

Reviews for The Grove:
“Chaos, murder, sacrifice: it was a delicious read, and I devoured it all.” Dan Thompson, The Black Petal

“If you’re a fan of well-written, fast-paced, fantasy thrillers that trot into the neighborhood of horror, you’ll love it…” Fia Essen, Ariel

“Guizzetti’s delusional and magically gifted anti-hero is truly terrifying…” Janice Clark, Healer’s Apprentice Series

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A List of Google Searches for The Grove

I have blogged about how I believe in directed research rather than general research so I don’t fall down a rabbit hole of information. If you are curious to see how much research I do for a novel, today I will post my  Google (and yes I do mean Google) Searches I did for The Grove and tomorrow I will post the bibliography.

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On the trail at Cape Disappointment State Park, Washington Coast.

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Sitka Spruce at Ecola State Park, Oregon Coast

    • Sitka Spruce Lifespan
    • Photo of Sitka Spruce Cone
    • Beaches of Oregon
    • Oregon Beach Plants
    • Beach Towns of Oregon
    • Map of Oregon
    • Taxidermy
    • Gaff History
    • Wicca
    • Wiccan love potions
    • Wiccan sex magic
    • Chinook Jargon / Chinuk Wawa / Chinook Jargon Lessons Seattle
    • Indigenous Faiths
    • Siletz Reservation
    • Siletz Language / Siletz Talking Dictionary / Siletz Dee Ni sentences and new words
    • Yiddish words for Old Woman (polite)
    • Squirrels of the Oregon Coast
    • Paranormal versus Horror Genres
    • Define Cosmic Horror
    • Sasquatch
    • Snallygaster
    • Cryptozoology
    • Legendary Animals
    • Aston Martin convertible
    • Sign for Rip Tides/ Ocean

As you can see some of the searches are for specific or general facts for the book, others are me trying to figure out what genre the novel actually falls under. Of course, some facts were found and then deleted such as the Yiddish words for Old Woman.

Writers, what have been some of your search topics?

If these topics excite your reading buds, consider checking out The Grove on E-book or Paperback.

 

 

Common Author Question Time: I’d like to be an author, but I can’t deal with speaking to groups…

(Note: Sorry that some of you might have gotten an email about this post early. That was a mistake. Now its live and it has a video attached!)  Common Author Question Time is about questions I get all the time when I am out and about at speaking engagements and conventions.


Okay, this time the question is technically not a question, but a statement. “I’d like to be an author, but I can’t deal with speaking to groups…” “Or to strangers.” “Or in public”

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I always reply, “I’m actually rather shy. It’s something I had to learn.”

There are two basic answers for this. Sometimes they will say nicely, “You don’t show it.”

And I’ll answer with “Thanks, I’ve worked hard to overcome it. So many of us, authors, suffer from self doubt.” After that we may have a nice conversation.

The other answer is not quite as nice. Sometimes they answer: “You’re not shy, I’m shy.” “Or I’m a true introvert, you can’t understand.”

At that point, I’m thinking, “Dude, its not a contest.” I say something to the effect: “Being a public speaker is part of the job. So is accounting, understanding basic copyright laws, understanding contracts, marketing and a host of other non-creative activities that I have learned how to do.”

Sometimes they go away, sometimes they keep telling me why I am wrong and they can’t do it. Sigh. So I made this 12 minute video speaking about how to overcome it.

The highlights of the video are:

If you are on panels: Have a few things prepared to your topic. Keep smiling. Respect the other panelists.

If you are tabling: You should know your introduction and book pitch from top to bottom and have a few basic answers prepared to common questions about your project such as:

  • genre and age categories adult content issues
  • your inspiration
  • Your biography
  • when did you know you wanted to be an author

And armed with that knowledge you are ready to conquer the world!

Does anyone else have tips to get over convention fright?


The Grove Cover_blogsized If you like sorcerers deciding the fate of humanity, garden gnomes and ancient sleeping gods, check out my latest book.

 

Common Author Question: What does it feel like to hold your book in your hand?

 

Short Answer: Good. If you like rollercoasters.

Long Answer: My emotions go up and down and up again. Then down again.

When I hold my book the first time, I always feel giddy anticipation. I feel I could skip down the street. I want to spin on the sandy beach and frolic with my dogs.

I feel even more excitement as I send it to the Library of Congress and Copyright Office and put aside a copy for my own library. I feel pride. This thing that I have created over the course of eighteen months has grown into a book.

I start sending out review copies and making marketing materials.  No matter how sublime I thought my prose is, no matter how much I love the illustrations, a tiny hole grows in my heart. My art has left my personal sphere and has grown into a product.

I am thrilled when my first reviews start coming in. It doesn’t matter if the reader loves it or hates it. I’m skipping with joy. Someone is reading this thing I am created. (I will admit, however, that during Other Systems and The Light Side of the Moon my feelings went up and down with every review. Now I am happy to get ANY review.)

The night before the release date, my heart races as I write any last minute blog posts and schedule Facebook Posts. For The Grove’s release I was able to sleep, because Ibooks and Barnes&Noble went live around 10:30 pm PST. That is not always the case. (When The Light Side of the Moon came out, I was in a panic because no one had it on its actual release date.)

Then my book is no longer mine at all. At this moment, it is the world’s book. Readers will read it and make it their own. In the morning, because of the social media push I feel happy and excited. I have done it! I have created a world for people to enjoy! Woot!

I do my best to not check out sales every couple hours. I try not to check if I have any more reviews.Though there is social media stuff and I have a to-do list of small emails and jobs I must finish, I am not as productive as I normally am. I know though I have done the best I can, my words no longer matter, only the reader’s perception of my words. I feel a sense of loss, melancholy and listlessness.  But that too passes.

My first live event for The Grove is September 28th. Every time I think about it I get giddy again. Like I said it’s a roller coaster.

I know there are other authors out there, did I miss anything? How do you feel when you release a book? Comment below!

 

The novel fairy visited last night and now The Grove is here!!!

Full of anticipation I went to bed last night…and lo and behold… my next dark fantasy novel, The Grove is now live. The novel is available at Amazon for the Kindle and Paperback, Barnes&Noble for the NookKobo, and IBooks.

The Grove Cover_blogsized

“Chaos, murder, sacrifice: it was a delicious read, and I devoured it all.” Dan Thompson, The Black Petal

“If you’re a fan of well-written, fast-paced, fantasy thrillers that trot into the neighborhood of horror, you’ll love it…” Fia Essen, Ariel

“Guizzetti’s delusional and magically gifted anti-hero is truly terrifying…” Janice Clark, Healer’s Apprentice Series

“I was blown away…” Madison Keller, The Dragon Tax Saga

 

About The Grove:
Sitka’s Quay appears to be like every other coastal tourist town on Highway 101, but lurking below its southern grove of ancient spruce are three sleeping primordial gods. For an eon, their bloodthirsty dreams have radiated into the ground and restore anyone who walks within the Grove. The Keeper, Dayla Fischer, must remain in control of her magical abilities or fall into sickening madness, but lives a relatively quiet life with her husband, Oliver, their cat and garden gnome roommates.

That is, until the delusional, but charming Jonah Leifson comes to town with a plan to awaken the Three. Soon, children begin disappearing. With powerful suggestion spells and mind reading abilities, Jonah wins over other sorcerers, meth users, the police, and eventually even her husband. Though no one believes her and she doubts her own sanity, she must stop Jonah, before he wakes the Three and brings about the end of the world.

340 Pages, Published by ZB Publications (September 13, 2016)

E-Book ISBN: 978-0-9801459-2-2
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-9801459-0-8

As I said above, the book is available at Amazon for the Kindle and Paperback, Barnes&Noble for the NookKobo, and IBooks

Want to know more? Check out a preview at ZB Publications? Or watch this video of me reading the first scene!

A hiker creates a fake forest

The Grove Cover_blogsizedOn Friday, I talked about how I built a fake town called Sitka’s Quay for The Grove. Today, I’ll discuss how I created the Grove for The Grove. As I said, one of my first decisions, I make when writing a story is if I should make up the setting, or set it in a real place. But there are also a few different things to consider if one is building a place where no humans live than creating a town.

As many of my fans and friends know, I am an avid hiker so I’ve been to many trails near the Ocean, in the mountains and forests. I have lived in the Pacific Northwest my entire life and I have done some volunteer trail maintenance. Trails are designed both to work with the environment, is dependent upon who owns the land and how that landowner wants the land to be used and with the people who uses them. Since when I am writing I want it to feel real…

When I envisioned the Grove, I wanted most of the trails to be family strolls, not hard wilderness hiking. The reason? It’s logical.

The landscape was inspired by Hug’s Point State Park, CapeLookout State Park, Ecola State Park, OR and Kalaloch Beaches, WA (which I’ll go into more depth in an upcoming blog post about inspirations.)

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Kalaloch Beach 4 Trail

Sitka’s Quay is two miles north, so its not going to be wilderness hiking. Like many places on the Oregon Coast its right off of Highway 101. Part of the Grove, is covered by the brackish Lake Elsie which would expand during the winter and contract during summer. This area would be covered in boardwalk.  The main trails basically circles the forest and then leads down to a beach. It would be fairly accessible. People would walk their dogs there or go fishing in the lake.

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Tycho surrounded by ferns, salal and blackberries

Also though there is some hills and cliff faces off the beach, realistically this would only be a couple 100 feet over sea level even at the highest point

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Trees would be Sitka Spruce, Douglas Fir, and Western Cedars. Smaller plants would include Oregon grape, thickets of salal, wild lilies, and ferns.

I describe it thus in Chapter 1, Scene 3:

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That being said, not everything remained the same, I originally named the Grove, Sutter’s Grove for Sutter Kane the writer whose work opened doors to another dimension from In the Mouth of Madness. However in the dialogue everyone called it “the Grove” and I ended up removing the three times it was referred to Sutter’s Grove in narration by draft 3.

So that’s how I created the Grove within The Grove. Let’s talk worldbuilding! What are some of your favorite things to create? How often do you change things?
The Grove is available for Kindle at Amazon and it will be coming on September 13th in Paperback and everywhere else.

Building a fake town in a real state, in a real country

 

The Grove Cover_blogsizedWhen working on The Grove, (or any story really) one of first the decisions I made was if I should set The Grove in a real town or a fake town. I have set books in real places. I set Out for Souls and Cookies and the opening scenes of Other Systems and The Light Side of the Moon in Seattle and Lure was set in the Klondike.

When researching this book, I traveled down the coast and visited many of the small towns. Yes, I could have set it in Cannon Beach, OR or Ocean Shores, WA and not changed much of the story, however I wanted to write my own history for this town. I already started when I visited MOHAI and began learning Chinuk WaWa (also called Chinook Jargon) I also know that meth abuse is a BIG problem for much of rural United States and many small town rely on tourist dollars. While I mention places in the novel which are real such as Seattle or Portland, the main setting of Sitka’s Quay is a fake town.

Sitka Quay Tourist Map.jpg

While the book was in editing, I created this tourist map, using all the locations I mention within the book. 

Inspired by real places during three trips to the Oregon Coast, I took notes and decided to create data for the 2010 Census in order to create the setting. Once I have this data, it is easy to create something that feels so real, the reader thinks they could actually go there.

Geography:

Faces the Pacific Ocean to the west and is hemmed in by two headlands, the city would have a total area of 1.54 square miles with all of it land. Highway 101 runs through town.

Demographics:

473 fulltime residents of the town in 207 households.  The average household size would be 2.07 and the average family size was 2.70.  The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there would be 96 males.  23% of households have family members under 18. The median income for a household was $36,708.

Males had a median income of $24,203 versus $22,272 for females. 17.1% of households fall below the poverty line.

Racial Makeup: I decided early in the writing process that Sitka’s Quay would be much more diverse than the population of my inspiration towns due to an influx of an artist’s colony in the 1960’s and 70’s. Two generations after the free love era, there is much more people who claim two or more races including the protagonist, Dayla Fisher, because love knows no racial/nationality/religious bounds.

40.2% White

37.1% from two or more races

12.7% Latino

4.4% Asian American

2.2% African American

1.6% Polynesian

.4% Native American

1.4% Other/Chose not to answer

Religious Makeup Special Note #2: In the novel, the antagonist, Jonah Leifson, claims that “Sitka’s Quay has a 30% Wiccan Population.” That is technically incorrect, but since he’s an outsider, Dayla didn’t bother to correct him. (So I don’t want to hear any guff when the book comes out.)  Careful readers will see a variety of people with a variety of faiths. In the hypothetical census, Arial Fisher (Dayla’s father) would have said Jewish, even though he doesn’t actually practice Judaism anymore. And Mia Blaise (Dayla’s mother) would have probably picked Pagan or Indigenous Faith, depending on her mind set when the question was posed. Both would be correct.

26.4% Non-denominational Christian

22.3% Catholic

18.3% Wiccan

10.3% None

7% Hindu

6.7% Pagan

4% Jewish

1.7% Indigenous Faiths

1.2% Muslim

.5% Other Faiths

.6 Chose not to answer

Housing

There are 612 housing units at an average density of 408 homes per square mile. The summer population swells to 2000-3000 individuals who rent or own summer houses. (Of course, they would answer the census from their primary residence.)

Climate:

Sitka’s Quay has a mild and wet climate due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean.

Annual precipitation averages about 90 inches. From October through April, daytime temperatures range from the mid 40s to the high 50s with abundant rain.  Nighttime temps drop ten degrees. Snowfall is rare but winter floods are a common occurrence.  May and June are mild with average temperatures in the upper 60s. July, August and September temperatures average in the mid 70’s – although daytime temperatures can occasionally soar into the 80s and 90s for days at a time.

Current Primary Language: English

Other Languages: There are small populations who speak Spanish, Chinuk Wawa, and/or Siletz Dee-ni. In fact, there is a Catholic Service in Spanish and Siletz Dee-ni every Sunday, because it’s a way that Father Ben can feel close to his people though he must live apart.

Besides English, I decided Dayla also knows Siletz Dee-ni , Chinuk WaWa, some French and Yiddish.

So that’s how I built a town. I’d love to hear from you.
Do you like books set in real or fake towns? What are some of you favorite “fake” towns?

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