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At last!

I am pleased to announce the official publication of Restraint.



The journey from fanfic to published novel has been a long one. It involved a steep learning curve, certification as an editor, and eleven full drafts over three years.

The resulting novel is 43% smaller than its fanfic original. Its average chapter length dropped from 3600 to 2100 words. I toned down the period language a bit. Tightened up the plot. Cut a few characters and a couple of subplots.

And yeah, deleted a lot of scenes, some of them beloved. Those were hard decisions. But I think it's a better story now.

Its heart remains the same. It's still the romantic, bittersweet story of lifelong forbidden love between a portrait artist and a nobleman who face down gossip, blackmail, and censure to be together any way they can.

a word-cloud in earth tones on a black background, featuring John, Tristan, and keywords from the novel Restraint


Anne Hawley aka DarkEmeralds holding a copy of her novel Restraint

You can get it now in print and Kindle from Amazon, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, and Amazon Australia.

And Iif you do, 'd be so pleased and honored if you wanted to write me a little Amazon or Goodreads review, and tell your friends.

Cover art for Restraint, A Novel, by Anne Hawley, depicting a long haired young man in Regency attire, white poet shirt, brocade waistcoat and tight-fitting yellow buckskin breeches, lounging in a high-backed chair



Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.

Tell me about your ear

Who here likes audiobooks? Can I ask you some questions?

What's important to you in a reader/narrator/actor--particularly in fiction? Have you ever figuratively thrown an audiobook across the room because some particular thing about the reading bugged the crap out of you?

For example, do you value voice quality above all? Can't stand certain types of voices? Would listen to Alan Rickman reading the phone book?

Or is vivid characterization most important? Do you like really dramatic character readings? Or are subtle variations enough for you to keep track of the story?

How much do you care about authentic dialect, accents, and accurate representation of, say, foreign words in a text? 

What about male versus female voices? Have you ever felt that an audiobook would have been improved by an actor of a different vocal gender? 

And pacing: do you use the playback speed control on your audiobook app if someone is too slow? Too rushed?

Here's why I'm asking: I'm thinking seriously of hiring a voice actor to create an audiobook of Restraint. I know what I like, but in the long process of workshopping the novel I've learned that my taste is pretty specific, maybe even alienating to people who might like my work if I opened it out a bit more.

I can't please everyone, of course, but if I'm gonna shell out for this production, I'd like to get a sense of your taste, too, and try to meet it.


Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.

Receiving criticism

What's the best and worst criticism you've ever received? And how did you assimilate it?

I'm thinking mostly of feedback on writing, but I'm interested in experiences of any kind of critique you may have received on any kind of activity.

Here's why: In September I'll become a certified Story Grid Editor. There's a big discussion among Story Grid course-mates about how to make sure the client is ready for the editorial work.

Well, receiving feedback is a skill, and I want to write a little book or cheat-sheet for prospective clients to help them build that skill. I've managed to acquire it, but I don't know how I did it.
  • Do you have the skill?
  • How did you get it?
  • Was there a particular turning point?
  • Or do you avoid critique altogether? If so, why? And is there any ideal situation under which you'd be open to it?
Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.

Cover shoot progress

I now have most of the props for my book cover photo shoot. Spray paint, pins, hot glue, RIT Dye, masking tape, old curtains, bits of hardware, an actual riding crop off eBay--I really haven't had this much crafty fun in ages.

The lighting is pretty good. I'm pleased with the complementary orange/blue color scheme--which was a happy accident. It was time to put a body in the chair and start testing poses.

So I asked my sister to don the shirt and drape the (very skinny) "buckskin breeches" (linen drawstring pants, still awaiting modification) over her legs, and strike the attitude.

I liked the effect, so I pasted on the head of the actual model I hope to hire for the photo shoot.

test book cover art for Restraint, showing a long haired and barefoot young man in Regency garb lounging in an ornate wingback chair

(The professional graphic designer will be charged with a real layout and real fonts. It's still up to me to tweak the costume. The draped column might have to go.)

What do you think?

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.

Meet Gudrun

Have you ever had that dream where you're not quite flying, but where every step you take carries you a mile across the landscape? Or where you can descend flights of stairs in a single graceful bound?

Riding an ebike is like that.

Meet Gudrun*.Collapse )

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.

Cannabis update

I find that vaping is harder on my lungs than I'm comfortable with, so, having toked up a whole half gram of cannabis concentrate, I'm looking for alternatives.

I suspect that my uptake wasn't good (I coughed it all out instantly!) and that I might not have gotten adequate doses, because after that first miraculous end of toothache misery, I couldn't replicate the pain-relief results. Once the offending tooth was extracted and the local wore off, I was in misery and no number of hits on the vape pen had the slightest impact.

But I can't keep relying on ibuprofen, and I am not resorting to opioids. I have arthritis, it's a problem, and joint-replacement surgery isn't really on the table.

So, next stop: sublingual CBD tincture.

Also, actually doing the exercises I went to physical therapy to learn. And maybe not sitting so much.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.

Cover shoot first mockup

There's been some progress on the book cover photo shoot. Here's the first mockup, just to test color contrast between the costume and the chair.

Yellow trousers, white formal shirt, and a red and gold brocade vest draped over a red wingback chair to resemble a Regency gentleman lounging, for the Restraint cover shoot

Those are Goodwill garments in roughly the right colors and shapes. We decided that with the pale costume we'll want a dark chair, so here we're testing red rummage-sale curtain fabric. We've got a bronze-gold-brown-red pair of drapes coming from eBay.

The backdrop will be a nearly-black wall, aka my living room, so pretty soon I'll have to drag that chair indoors.

Meanwhile, I've acquired some fake gold leaf for illuminating the decorative elements, and a white linen tablecloth that will make a pretty nice poet shirt. Sewing will ensue. Really quick-and-dirty, fusible-and-glue sewing.

Then we just need to find the guy. Think "finding the guy" thoughts, please!

a poster advertising for a male model for a book cover photoshoot

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.

Adventures in Cannabis

Lately I've been hurting more than mere ibuprofen can handle--osteoarthritis, mostly, but a motherfucker of a toothache right at the moment.

So, though I've never been much for getting high, today I tried medical marijuana for the first time.

It took a lot of homework for me to get here. I read books, attended a workshop, and spent several hours on Leafly. I asked my doctor (who, as a naturopath, is all for it). I researched cannabinoids, terpenes, strains of sativa and indica. I read about the different dispensaries. Learned something about the labyrinth of laws surrounding legalization in Oregon. Became engrossed in delivery methods. Decided on vaping. Vaping is fast-acting and doesn't stink the joint up.

Harlequin is a sativa strain bred for high CBD and low THC, which translates to "pain relief without getting high", and my neighborhood dispensary sells it.

So off I walked to Kings of Canna on 15th and Prescott, and came home half an hour later with some paraphernalia and drugs.

A white zip bag, a vape pen with USB charger, a cannabis cartridge, some retail packaging

But look! It comes in retail packaging. There are USB chargers and LED indicators. The only baggie in sight was the fancy opaque white zip-lock bag mandated by the State of Oregon for carting the goods off-premises.

It's a couple of hours and several hits of Harlequin later, and behold! The tooth isn't really hurting anymore.

Heh. Maybe I need a new icon.
A vaporizer pen with a bright blue mouthpiece. A cannabis oil capsule is attached. The device is emitting curls of vapor

ETA: And I really don't feel high. Maybe a teeny bit hazy. I might have eaten a box of cookies...

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.

Cover Art

I need a book cover!

There are quickie template-based designs online, and there's $5000 for original artwork, and there's not much in between.

"Well, what do you want to wind up with?" asked my sister Helen.

"Basically this," said I:
Working cover of Restraint, a photograph manipulated to look something like an oil painting, featuring Jared Padalecki's face on Johnny Depp's tuxedo-wearing body slouched in an enormous baroque brocade armchair, all in tones of red and gold

"...but a) without Jared Padalecki's face; b) not stolen from a copyright fashion shoot with Johnny Depp; and c) featuring a poet shirt and buckskin breeches rather than that 20th century tuxedo."

"So let's do our own photoshoot."

Wait. What? Do it ourselves?Collapse )

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.

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