Monthly Archives: December 2014

THE NUTCRACKER BLEEDS Hardback Edition is here!

It’s been a while since I’ve written a post, and I apologize for that. I’ve been busy, and unfortunately only part of that has been with writing, but I’m hoping that I can do a little better in 2015. I know there are a few things I really need to address – mostly about the Nevermor trilogy – but I’m going to save that for another post and stick to the matter at hand.

I have not yet shown any pictures on the blog of The Nutcracker Bleeds hardback copy, so I’m going to do that now!

IMG_0478[1]IMG_0484[1]IMG_0480[1]IMG_0485[1]As you can see, the book looks great! It’s 6×9 black linen casewrap with gold foil lettering on the spine, with matte dust jacket on the outside.

The binding is sturdy, the printing looks nice, and I’m very happy with it overall. In fact, if I can find the time, I plan to sit down with it myself and have a read to get the full experience on Christmas.

This edition of the book is only available through Lulu.com, and can only be purchased by US buyers. but the ebook and paperback have both been set up for extended release, so those should be widely available by now. If you want to find it, (or my other works) just try doing a search for ‘Lani Lenore’ at your favorite online bookstore and see if I show up. (If you need links for different countries, let me know and I’ll see what I can come up with.)

A reminder: there is a coupon code for Lulu right now that will save you 25% now through Christmas! Enter KTP4 at checkout to get this deal (also may have to set up an account with Lulu).

Each time one of books is printed and sitting on the shelf in front of me, I feel so excited, and I just hope that others have that feeling as well. I know that some of you do. 🙂

Another year is winding down, and it has been another great one for me and my books. Thanks to all of you for your continued support, and I hope I can make next year just as great! I’ll be back with more Nevermor news as soon as I can get my affairs in order. (I’m moving soon, so my life is in a bit of disarray, but I hope to be back to normal after the holidays.)

If I don’t manage to post again before the end of the year, I hope you all have a great one, and you’ll hear for me again soon!

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Lani Lenore’s The Nutcracker Bleeds and the history of the famous tale

The History of the Nutcracker

To celebrate the release of The Nutcracker Bleeds, I thought I’d give a bit of history about the original work (and some nice info about my own), along with some of the elements I considered when recreating this tale.

When we think of The Nutcracker, certainly we think of the famous ballet by Tchaikovsky, but what seems to have been forgotten is that the ballet was inspired by a book. The original story of the Nutcracker is actually called The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. (or Nussknacker und Mausekönig)  and was written by a man named E. T. A. Hoffmann, who Wikipedia describes as “a German Romantic author of fantasy and horror”. (Sounds like my kind of guy.)

Since The Nutcracker has not been done by Disney (to my knowledge), the story is perhaps only a distant thought in the mind, but most people likely know the premise: On Christmas, a young girl receives a nutcracker which she falls for over all the other toys. After being broken by rough handling from her brother, the nutcracker is cared for by the girl until she discovers very soon afterward that he is alive – and the other toys as well! A battle between toys and mice commences, with the girl watching on from her full-size as the nutcracker battles the seven-headed mouse king. In the end, of course, the Nutcracker is revealed to be human.

You can read the original story online, for free, right here.

The Nutcracker Bleeds

When I first began writing this book in early March 2003, the main character I started with was much like young Marie from the original story. The character still exists, in fact, and her name is Olivia. She is a girl enchanted by Christmas, with a particular believe in fantasy worlds, ready to accept a new reality. I wrote the first six chapters(which I later combined to be the first two chapters). That was where I had stopped.

I looked ahead into the story a bit to see what I could see – looking for some point I could write up to, like connecting the dots. There were no dots. Do you know what I saw?

Dead-end after dead-end.

For my version, this sort of character simply did not play into my images of horror. I needed a female character that was stronger of mind – someone not so willing to be thrust into an unnatural world of magic and horror. That was when I decided that everything I had written was boring and not worth continuing.

In October of 2006, I decided that I was boring. I’d been writing (I never really stop) but I had the urge to twist another fairytale. Instead of making a new one, I decided to go back through my files and see what was there – stories that I had laid out ages ago but never took very far. That led me back to reading what I had written of The Nutcracker Bleeds.

I read through a bit, and that was when I saw Anne.

I had forgotten about her – the nurse – a character overshadowed by Olivia, who is the complete focus, not only of the story at that point, but of some aspect of every other character’s life that had been mentioned. I thought to myself: “How much creepier would it be to not throw the girl into a world she already accepts, but instead to throw a completely sane woman into something she can’t accept and refuses to?” It was perfect. Anne was my character.

As mentioned in the book description, Anne is a nanny, looking after a disturbed teenage girl, Olivia, who is fixated on dolls. Anne is, perhaps, not a loveable character, but one thing is certain: she has her agenda, and she sticks to it. That is, until she finds herself immersed in a world of madness where toys and mice battle for power, a cold-hearted nutcracker seeks revenge for the past, and there is danger around every corner for a young woman made of flesh.

“A dream?” the nutcracker questioned, now seeming disgusted with her. “Would you like to hear a nightmare?”

He advanced toward her, footsteps steady and measured. This time, she backed away, but he did not stop.

“I know you can hardly imagine, but do try as I paint the picture for you,” he menaced, then continued with his tale.

“Having always been something, I understand it must be difficult to imagine what it’s like to be nothing, so instead, just imagine that you are in the most deep and peaceful kind of sleep. There are no dreams. Everything is darkness and you feel nothing but comfortable in it.”

Anne listened as she moved along the edge of the shaft, following the wall so she wouldn’t trip as she traveled backward. Still, he gained ground on her.

“Suddenly, you open your eyes, and around you is a world you’ve never seen before. You realize that you’re alive and all at once, everything that it means to be alive hits you with the weight of a thousand bricks. You’re hungry. You’re thirsty. You have desires of the flesh. It’s only then that you realize that you don’t have flesh with which to devour or to satisfy your lusts. Any food that you manage to stuff inside your body, rots. Drink soaks through to your outer skin if you’re cloth–if not, it doesn’t run through you at all. There is no release. Some are better off than others. Like that ballerina. Clothing can be removed and she has a desirable shape. She gets attention from the others. But still, the general rules are the same.

“There is only one certainty, and that is that there are other larger living things around you, and you can’t let them see you move or hear you speak, or they will be on to you. Your world is still a part of theirs and they can’t know. You have absolutely no morals or understanding thereof, and the only one there to teach you is a disturbed little girl who doesn’t even know the answers herself–one who thinks that this is all a wonderful game and doesn’t understand that it’s very real. What do you think would happen to you?”

Anne had stopped, for somehow he had managed to back her into the wall as she’d listened to him in horror. Her face was pale and her breathing was unsteady, but she forced herself to look at him. He was completely terrifying to her, but she believed everything he’d said.

“I’d be completely mad,” she couldn’t help but answer.

You can take a peek inside The Nutcracker Bleeds on Amazon: here

The nutcracker bleeds cover

The Nutcracker Bleeds is currently available in all formats (ebook, paperback, and hardcover) and you can order your edition today!

Amazon, Smashwords, CreateSpace (paperback), and Lulu (hardback). Coming to other online booksellers soon!

Put a little horror in your holiday and check it out! 😉

The Nutcracker Bleeds Hardback Edition – Details

As I’ve announced, The Nutcracker Bleeds will be released on December 3rd as an ebook and in print. In this post, I’m giving more info about ordering the hardback version of the book, as promised.

I’ve considered several options for printing, and while CreateSpace remains to be the best I’ve come across for paperbacks, I finally decided on Lulu for my hardback print-on-demand needs.  (For those of you who are curious about the pros and cons of printing with Lulu, I’ve included some info at the bottom of this post.)

I’ll break the bad news to you first: this edition of the book is currently only available to US buyers. I’m sorry, but that’s the way it has to be right now. I don’t have the time to sell them myself, so I can’t order copies and ship them out – yet. For now, I decided it was in my best interest to let Lulu handle it for me, and they’ll only allow US buyers. Another thing: I decided not to do extended distribution, so Lulu is the only place you can get this edition.

 Details

I don’t have a copy of the book to show off yet (but I will as soon as I do), but what I can say for now is that I’ve had a few hardback books printed from Lulu before, and they do a nice job. The printing of the cover art is good and the paper is nice, so I knew I was turning to a service I trust.

The book has 393 pages, 11 pt. Garmond printed on cream paper, with a page layout that I’m rather proud of.The book will have a black linen casing and gold foil lettering down the spine, covered with a full color, matte dust jacket.

Pricing

I know that the question you all have is: How much does it cost? I’ll answer that as best I can.

The list price of the book is $24.99, however, from the release of the book until December 25th, you can use a special code to get 25% off all print books at Lulu, my book included. So, instead of paying $24.99, you can get the book for $18.74!  But you can only use the code if you are a registered user of Lulu. Creating an account is easy, and you can get the discount!. Piece of cake.

That code is: KTP4

Here’s another something special for those who are reading this blog page. Not only can you get this great deal, I’m going to give you a head-start. You can order your copy of The Nutcracker Bleeds TODAY! I have it posted as a private listing, but you can go right ahead and order it by clicking HERE. This is not a pre-ordering, you are actually getting to order it 2 days early. 🙂

The nutcracker bleeds cover

 

The Nutcracker Bleeds by Lani Lenore, available December 3rd on Amazon, Smashwords, and Lulu.com in ebook and print formats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pros and Cons of Lulu:

I promised a bit of info about dealing with Lulu, so here it is: When I started looking around for methods to print and distribute a book in hardback format, there were a few options that crossed me. The option at the forefront was originally to let Amazon (CreateSpace) do the work. They would take the same file I’d created for CreateSpace, and for a one time setup fee of $100, they would turn my book into a hardback, which I could then buy copies of to sell. They would not list or distribute the copies themselves. After a while of thinking about it, I decided that was not as good as it seemed. I also considered Lightning Source, but once again, I felt that the setup and cost was not worth the effort. Finally, I decided to go with Lulu because of simplicity of setup, and because of the print on demand service.

I did not choose Lulu because it was the cheapest option per unit, but I did choose it because in the long run, it was still the cheapest option for me. Having someone else to sell and ship the book for me saves a lot of trouble, and the royalty is still decent if buyer’s purchase from Lulu. There is also an option to sell on Amazon, but that production cost is so high that the royalty is stretched thin, and there is hardly any profit left.

As far as the printing, there are a couple of things that annoy me about Lulu. One of those things is that sometimes the spine doesn’t line up perfectly, but that is more noticeable on their paperback books. Another thing is that the printing and shipping service takes quite a bit longer than CreateSpace. The first copy from CreateSpace usually gets to me within days, whereas Lulu tends not to rush, and winds up taking a week or more.

Those are a few of my insights. So, those of you seeking to self-publish might keep these things in mind.