Friday, September 15, 2017

FRIDAY FIVE: Dark Matter


A few weeks ago, the last episode of Dark Matter's third season aired on Syfy. A day or two later, SyFy canceled it. Since then, there's been a fan-led movement on Twitter to persuade Netflix to pick up the show for two more seasons so the story can be finished. To contribute to that (and because I haven't done a Friday Five in a while), here are my five biggest reasons I'd love to see this show renewed.

1. The characters
The six main characters (not including the Android) wake up on a spaceship with no memory of who they are. Because of this, they start out more as archetypes than characters. Then they find out that five of the six are wanted criminals, and they have to decide who they want to be--good guys or bad guys. It's a fantastic setup, especially because it allows for some phenomenal character growth. Even the Android gets in on it, going from a machine who thinks she has a glitch to a fully realized individual who accepts her glitches. And with her badassery and big heart, Two has become one of my favorite characters of all time.
 
2. The relationships
Remember when a wounded Three tried to get Five to leave him behind by telling her he didn't care about her? Yeah, I'm crying, too. I've loved watching the relationship between all the characters grow in different ways. Six and Five love each other like siblings, and I was sobbing right along with Five when he left in the third season finale. I love the friendship between Two and Three, who are always kind of annoyed with each other but actually work well together. Also, Two is the boss and everyone respects that. Because she's awesome. The found family trope is one of my favorites, and this one takes place in space!

3. The sci-fi silliness 
Season three alone featured a time loop episode that saw Three learning French from the Android and singing with her while playing the ukulele as well as an episode where they go into "the past," A.K.A. our present day. But throughout all the seasons, we've experienced jumps into alternate dimensions, alternate versions of the characters, the Android cooking with love and discovering hot chocolate, and all kinds of craziness. I have a fondness for shows that can balance serious questions with humor.



4. The potential
Each season has expanded the universe, but there's still so much more to explore! Will Five find her sister? Did Six survive the season finale? (I hope so!) What's going on with Sarah? Will Two decided to try to find the daughter she forgot she had? What's up with the black ships? Will the Android get a new outfit? I'd love to have these questions and more answered in the final two seasons.




5. The big questions
For me, great sci-fi deals with the big questions of life and morality, and the central axis around this show is built is the question of what it means to be human? All the characters struggle in the first season with who they are, who they learn they were, and who they want to be. Then you throw sentient androids into the mix, and the question deepens into what makes a human? Is it flesh and blood, or is it consciousness? With Zairon at war and the galaxy being run by corporations, it also questions the nature of war and freedom.


In conclusion, I'd love to see this show saved--by Netflix or something else!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Exclusive Bonus Content

I'm trying out something new! 

At the end of each of my e-books, I've put a password that will unlock a bonus, unrelated short story. For now, I'm hosting them on a WordPress sister site. You can find one for The Dying of the Golden Day, The Stroke of Thirteen, and "Where You Can See the Stars."

For those who have previously purchased the e-books, tweet/email/send me a picture of the book on your device, and I'll message you with the password!

Hope you enjoy!

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Road to Book Two--Part 1

I've gotten a number of questions, especially in the past week, about the release date for The Heartfriends Book Two, so I'm starting a multi-part blog series to talk about updates! This will be semi-regular and discuss how close to finishing a draft I am, what goes into finishing drafts, and my writing process in general.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

GIVEAWAYS: The Stroke of Thirteen

For the release of The Stroke of Thirteen, I'm giving away four copies total! A Goodreads giveaway will run from July 13th through July 21st for one print copy. Starting tomorrow, you can enter using the link below.



Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Stroke of Thirteen by Carrie Gessner

The Stroke of Thirteen

by Carrie Gessner

Giveaway ends July 21, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

If you prefer to read electronically, I'm giving away three Kindle copies through Amazon. That giveaway also runs through the 21st. 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

RELEASE DAY: The Stroke of Thirteen

The Stroke of Thirteen, a contemporary fantasy novel, is now available!

Synopsis: When Grace Pembleton inherited her grandfather's business in rural Pennsylvania, she had no idea what else she was in for. She thought life as a bed-and-breakfast owner would be a quiet one, that the only trouble she'd encounter would be making enough coffee for guests.

What she gets instead is a violent gnome, a resident ghost, a secret society, and continuous brushes with the supernatural. Even with new friends at her side, she struggles to fulfill her family's legacy of protecting the town.

Then a new threat arises, and it wants Grace.

The print edition, available on Amazon, contains the bonus prequel short story, "Where You Can See the Stars." The e-book edition will be released on July 11th. You can pre-order it on B&N Nook, Google Play, iBooks, Kindle, and Kobo.

Friday, June 23, 2017

FRIDAY FIVE: Wonder Woman

So, I saw Wonder Woman for the second time the other night. Because there have been a ton of reviews already and I'm not sure if anyone would care to read it if I wrote one, this is more a list of things I found AWESOMELY COOL about it.

Themyscira
I want to live on a beautiful island that frees me from the patriarchy and where Robin Wright teaches me how to be a badass. Also, the wildlife! The cow that witnesses Diana's jump across the valley to retrieve her weapons amused me, and I loved the goat watching teenage Diana spar with Antiope, but my favorite were the white peacocks.

Diana's relationship with Hippolyta
One thing I dislike is when writers confuse 'fighting' with 'conflict.' They end up writing shouting matches and physical violence when conflict can be shown in other ways. So when Hippolyta found Diana and Steve before they left the island, I braced myself for something similar. And when it didn't, I knew I was in good hands. Instead of a shouting match or even an actual, physical fight, Hippolyta wants to know if Diana knows what she's getting into and then says, "You have been my greatest love. Today, you are my greatest sorrow." The moment beautifully encapsulates their mother/daughter relationship. Hippolyta knows she can't keep Diana on Themyscira because she's meant for greater things, but she also can't and won't hide her heartbreak at the prospect of losing her.


Diana's relationship with Antiope
First of all, Antiope's amazing. I need all kinds of Antiope backstory. I need to know everything about her, especially her years mentoring Diana because we only get a glimpse of it in the film even though it's such a formative relationship. And it's important to depict that relationships between women can be supportive and nurturing.




Etta
I wish there had been way more screen time for Etta, but what we got was pretty amazing. She's funny and welcomes Diana immediately, and she delivers the most meta line that takes a shot at a well-worn trope: "Specs. Suddenly she's not the most beautiful woman you've ever seen." This movie is filled with rich little moments, and all of Etta's are completely endearing, especially the one where she just rolls with Diana entrusting her with her sword and shield. I respectfully request of Patty Jenkins a sequel set in the roaring 1920s with Diana and Etta tearing down gender expectations while saving the world.

No Man's Land
As far as I'm concerned, this sequence is iconic. It is the bar by which I will judge every superhero movie from now on, and it's made even better by Rupert Gregson-Williams's score, which you can listen to on Spotify. For the first time, I watched a woman be the hero rather than just part of the ensemble (and usually the smallest part at that). And not only was she the most powerful figure on the screen, but her power came from love. She loves the world, and she loves mankind and wants to protect them from war and pain, even if they don't always deserve it. In a world that seems to get meaner with each passing day, seeing a protagonist driven by love matters, and that's why I'm looking forward to watching this one again and again and seeing what the second movie brings.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

New Platforms

My epic fantasy debut, The Dying of the Golden Day, is now available on more platforms! Find it at:

B&N for Nook



and Kobo!

Monday, June 12, 2017

REVIEW: Whispers at the Altar, Allan C.R. Cornelius



Obviously, I'm a lover of fantasy fiction. I've particularly loved epic fantasy, but the more I read of it, the less excited I was about it. Although I still love the atmosphere of the genre, all the stories were beginning to feel the same. So, I was pleasantly surprised with Whispers at the Altar. In this first book of The Altar Trilogy, Allan C. R. Cornelius combines the best aspects of the genre with fascinating characters in order to tell a fresh, exciting tale.

Christa is half-elf and half-human in a world where the elves and humans live in separate spheres. Through her story, Cornelius explores the ramifications of such a separation on individuals and on society as a whole. When Christa is accepted at a school for magically gifted elves, she has to fight for respect from both professors and classmates. It's at this school that the story is at its most compelling--not only for Christa's internal journey, but because of the supporting cast. Too often, friendships among girls are depicted as trivial or unnecessarily catty, but here, Christa's relationships with Sinna, Westrel, and even Vaniel are formative and given the opportunity to change and grow.

In a book world that gets hung up on the "likeability" of female characters, Cornelius is unafraid in his portrayal of his young heroine. A far cry from the perfect heroes of the genre, she's headstrong and eager to prove herself and in doing so, makes mistakes. It's that exploration of Christa's character--who she is, what she wants, and what she's willing to do to get what she wants--that is the book's core strength.

While Christa is the book's main focus, Steven provides a perspective of what's going on in the world outside the school and broadens the novel's scope. His relationship with Brogan grounds that story line and lets Cornelius explore the theme of family set against the backdrop of a shifting world. The imagery of Steven's chapters is a particular strength, and the two story lines meet up in a satisfactory way during the climax.

Cornelius's first installment in The Altar Trilogy is a must-read for fantasy fans, especially those who are looking for a fresh take on the genre.

Whispers at the Altar is available for pre-order and will be released in July! Check Allan out on Twitter and on his website.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

APPEARANCE: Uniontown Public Library Author Series

        
“Creating a Fantasy World”
Saturday, January 21, 2017
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM



Join us for an evening with Carrie Gessner, author of The Dying of the Golden Day. Carrie will discuss how a rich setting built on magic, culture, history, and more can enhance speculative fiction. A Q&A session with the author and book raffle will follow.


Free tickets available at the Main Desk!
~~~
UNIONTOWN PUBLIC LIBRARY
2017 AUTHOR SERIES

Throughout 2017, the Uniontown Public Library will showcase the talent of novelists, short story writers, and poets. Each month, a writer will visit the Library to share their experiences as published authors. They will offer a short talk on a subject related to their genre, do a reading from their work, and participate in a question and answer session with the audience. A meet-and-greet and book signing will follow.

These events are free and open to the public — you do not have to be a member of the Uniontown Public Library to attend! Each event will be ticketed, with the free tickets becoming available at the Library’s main desk before each author’s visit. Seats are limited, so we encourage you to get your tickets early.


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Favorite Books of 2016

In terms of reading, this past year was an improvement! I still have trouble focusing when I first pick up a book and sticking with books, but I'm working on it. I'm also hoping to listen to more audiobooks in the coming year.

Where'd You Go, Bernadette? - Maria Semple


Funny and out there in a perfect way. I like books about lost people.








Kindred - Octavia Butler

I can't believe I hadn't read this before last year. Looking forward to reading more Octavia Butler.







Code Name Verity - Elizabeth Weinstein

This book broke my heart, and I liked it. I love historical stories, and I love that this one revolved around the bond between two female protagonists.









Postcards from the Edge - Carrie Fisher

I ordered an audiobook from my local library before Christmas. It didn't come in until the 29th, two days after Carrie Fisher died, and when I went to pick it up, I decided to browse the shelves, which I don't typically do. This has been on my to-read pile for a while, but when I saw it that day, I knew the time to read it had come. It was lovely and dark and did exactly what the best fiction does--make me feel a little less alone.

Under the Banner of Heaven - Jon Krakauer

I am unusually fascinated by religions as well as true crime, and this was an interesting, well-written look at one time those two interacted.