Tag Archives: Castle of the Wolf

The Appeal of the Gothic – A Guest Blog on Bookish

Today, I’m on Evie Seo’s blog Bookish, where I’m doing a guest post on “The Appeal of the Gothic”: it’s all about fake ruins, fake castles, and other gothic flights of fancy.

And as you can see from this lovely header Evie created for my post, it’s warm-up for the re-launch of CASTLE OF THE WOLF next week! (I’m so excited about this!)

So please join me at Bookish, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

Preps for the LoveLetter Convention

Last year’s LLC was such a blast, and so it’s little wonder that I’m counting the days until this year’s big event. The conference also offers a good excuse to design some new bookmarks for the new, soon-to-be-released editions of my old novels*. Of course, I had to start with Castle of the Wolf – after all, there’s a dishy man in blue to drool over:

I ordered a few test prints yesterday, and I can’t wait to see how they turn out.
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* I finally figured out a comparatively quick way how to get clean copies of the published novels (or at least clean copies of Castle and Bewitched). I still need to make a few minor changes to both books and clean up a few spelling mistakes that made it into the published versions.

New covers!

Would you like to have a look at the new covers for my old novels? I hope you’ll like them just as much as I do!

For Castle of the Wolf, I’ve decided to go with another grumpy-looking (but scrumptious!) man in blue.

And for The Lily Brand, we need some chesticles, of course!

A Trip down Memory Lane

Visiting my past — that’s what I did last summer when I attended a conference at the University of Freiburg: for the first time in 25 years I returned to the Black Forest, where I had spent a part of my childhood. During my primary school years my family lived in Waldkirch, a small town near Freiburg. I used the town as a model for Kirchwalden in Castle of the Wolf, and the Castle of Wolfenbach was partly based on the Kastelburg, one of the two castles overlooking Waldkirch.

It was strange and exciting and – gosh! – terrifying to go back to the town which I had loved so much and where I had been so very happy. It was a truly wonderful place to grow up: Waldkirch is surrounded by forest, meadows and fields — the perfect playground for a young child. With my friend Anja, I often went “on adventure”, exploring meadows, falling into brooks, discovering ugly spiders. Another friend of mine, Doro, lived on a farm in one of the neighbouring villages. A FARM! How cool is that?! They had cows and chicken, and the kitchen was directly next to the door that led into the cowshed.

This is the apartment house where we used to live on the fourth floor (American style of counting floors). The flat was huge and had several large balconies. Anja’s family lived in the same house, so we typically went to school together (we didn’t always come home together: indeed, when we quarelled at school, we made sure not to come home together *g*).
And this is the view from our old street. See how close the forest is? Back when we lived there, there was only one row of houses along the street and there were fields directly behind the gardens.

The next picture shows St. Margaretha’s, one of the Catholic churches in Waldkirch (I do believe that it gets a mention in Castle of the Wolf). The inside is decorated in the Baroque style — no wonder then that I’ve never liked the more puristic church in my current hometown. 🙂

Next, the market square (that one, too, gets a mention in Castle!). Apart from that ugly, blinking pharmacy’s sign on the right, it hasn’t changed much.

The Bayer-Sepple (a restaurant) still exists …

… as does the “Herrebeck”, a bakery.

And when you turn around, there is still this, of course:

In June I will attend another conference in Freiburg. Naturally, I will return to Waldkirch and will indulge in another trip down memory lane. 🙂

Happy Anniversary!

I’ve just realised that yesterday was my blog’s 5th anniversary. Wow! Time flies, doesn’t it? Back in May 2005 when I started blogging, I was working on CASTLE OF THE WOLF and poor Cissy had been stuck on a steamship on the Rhine for weeks on end, poor girl:

As to my writing life, I’m happily (or not so happily) working on my next novel, The-Book-after-the-First-Publication, which, people keep telling me, is the most difficult book to write. (So this certainly gives me something else to worry about!) The story is again a historical romance, set in 1827 (I needed steamships on the Rhine, and there weren’t any before 1827). Cissy, my poor heroine, got stuck on that steamship on the Rhine for weeks on end because her author was having panic attacks and suffering from severe bouts of insecurity and self-doubt. In the end, I decided to go for the “patchwork approach” and depart from the linear way of writing. So, while she still hasn’t reached that deuced castle in the Black Forest yet, she has at least had some fun in the bedroom! Yeah! *G*

I more or less sold this book (and BEWITCHED) during RWA 2006 when my editor walked up to my table during the big Literacy for Life signing and asked, “Have you talked to your agent?” — “No.” (Cautiously.) “Why?” — “I made an offer for the books.” For the rest of the conversation I was babbling nonsense and tried very much not to hyperventilate. Then Chris walked on and I sat down, still trying not to hyperventilate. My neighbour leaned toward me and whispered, “I know, he’s really cute, isn’t he?” *g* I think that was the point where I started to hyperventilate, after all. “That’s not it!” I shouted. “I’ve just sold TWO MORE NOVELS!!!!!!”

One of the first persons I told the news was Kathleen Givens. She was such a dear friend, and I still miss her very much.

Whee!!!

At the moment, the good folks at AAR are running their Annual Reader Poll, in which you can vote for your favourite romance novel published in 2007, most hanky read published in 2007, author most glommed in 2007, worst wallbanger of 2007, and other nice things. So if you love romance novels, please head over to All About Romance and join in the fun!

I’m very happy to report that CASTLE OF THE WOLF made the list of interim results: it’s listed under “Most Tortured Hero” (teehee!).

Littlebird Blue on THE LILY BRAND

When I sent out ARCs for CASTLE, I also sent one to the Green Man Review and Camille Alexa picked it up. She didn’t like the book. She read it twice, just to be sure, but she still didn’t like it and she was very sorry about this, which becomes quite obvious when you read her review: even though it’s a bad review, she still had a lot of nice things to say about the novel. (It becomes even more obvious when you read the blog post she wrote after said review went online. She’s a real sweetheart!)

Anyways, I offered to send Camille THE LILY BRAND in the hope she would like this one better than CASTLE. And apparently she did! *biiig smile* She blogged about it today and had again lots of nice things to say about my writing style:

Sandra is an excellent writer. I love her sense of detail, her unusual settings, especially her use of dark, broody landscapes with their hint of fey and madness.

Now isn’t that nice? She goes on to say that TLB “as a small but enthusiastic fan base.” Cool. I didn’t really know that. I mean, I knew that there are people who’ve enjoyed TLB — and some of them quite a lot! –, but I didn’t think of it in terms of a fan base. (But hey, I’m the girl who constantly worries her manuscripts might kill her poor editor!)

Okay, so Camille goes on to say: “[TLB]’s exciting in the ways of the best grand adventures: unapologetic.” Hehe. (Have I already mentioned that some of my friends were quite shocked when they read TLB?)

~*~

More reviews: Deb from CA Reviews gave CASTLE an 8 and wrote:

This is a lovely spin on the classic “Beauty and the Beast” kind of tale. Lovers of myths and fairy tales will find many references here that add an extra dimension to the story. To say that Fenris is a tortured hero is understating things considerably. He has a decent reason, unlike many other heroes of this type. And Celia is a great character. She is innocent in many ways, but she is also intelligent and strong-willed. When life offers her a chance and a challenge, she does not back down from it. The story has a wonderfully gothic feel with a touch of the paranormal. I’m hoping to see many more books from this very talented author.

🙂

In addition Carrie Lofty, who’s the founder and one of the contributors to Unusual Historicals, blogged about CASTLE a few days ago: she didn’t like it 100%, but overall, she seems to have enjoyed it as she ends her review with: “. . . Schwab does a marvelous job of setting the Black Forest scene. Loved it. We get quirks, holidays, and a peek at a culture generally ignored by romance writers.”

Now I just need to find out how to stop speaking Chinese in class.

A Piece of the Black Forest in Dallas*

On Tuesday, the day before the RWA conference started, I dragged Kris Alice to a nearby mall (and a very lovely mall it was!) (even though most shops were somewhat above our budget). OF COURSE I had checked there was a bookstore in the mall or nearby, thus we ended up in a huge Barnes&Noble. And OF COURSE we had to march to the romance section and check whether they had CASTLE.

“Ooooh!” I wailed, standing in front of the shelf with the Ss. “They don’t have it!” (Accompanied by sad-little-puppy face.)

Kris gave a grunt, reached up, and — “Don’t they?”

“Oh,” I said. Then beamed at her, “Look! They’ve got TWO copies! TWO!!!”

A this point Kris started to do some reorganization on the shelf (which was easily do-able since the books weren’t tightly packed at all), while I searched for my camera in my handbag.

“I need to take a picture!”

Sigh.

“And another one!”

“Sandy.”

“And another one!”

“Sandy.”

“And –“

“SANDY!”

And thus I was cruelly dragged away from the two copies of my book. Just imagine how much fun it would have been to spend the rest of the day in front of that shelf and be on the look-out for potential readers!! I’m sure the two books felt totally and horribly lonely when I was forced to leave. They probably even cried…

* This is a somewhat embellished account of the events of Tuesday, 10 July 2007.

Smart Bitches Review, or Wheeee!!!

While I was away, I got a lovely, lovely review from the Smart Bitches, which included several mentions of the word brilliant (as in “[Cissy]’s freaking brilliant” or “Schwab’s use of multiple legends and fairy tales to parallel the protagonists’ story is particularly brilliant . . .”). To say I’m thrilled would be an understatement. 🙂

Schwab’s storytelling also has tight turns that drop the reader like a rollercoaster from merry heights of whimsical happiness for Cissy into plunges of holy shit terror and uncertain fear – which make it bloody hard to put the damn book down. The mix of nefarious characters, mystery, intrigue, and deep, churning sexual attraction don’t help either when you might be trying to get something else done.

You can read the whole review here.