Dare to Read

August 15, 2012

For Katey

Filed under: Two Moon Princess — carmenferreiroesteban @ 12:23 pm

If you have read Two Moon Princess, this bumper sticker will make perfect sense.

August 14, 2012

Interview Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

Filed under: Author's Interview,Becquer,Immortal Love,Two Moon Princess — carmenferreiroesteban @ 9:40 am
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As I promised to my fellow writer and friend, Sandra Carey Cody, here is the translation into English of my interview published in El Progreso, my hometown newspaper.

Have questions? Please ask.

Why Bécquer?

Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer is the most romantic of the Spanish writers, maybe the only one among them who was a real romantic.

Bécquer was a dreamer who lived two lives, his everyday life and the one he imagined peopled with beautiful faeries and doomed lovers.

His real life was rather sad. He lost both parents when he was a child, he acquired a chronic illness in his youth, he was rejected by his great love and all his life, he fought and failed to be recognized as a poet.

The only existing manuscript containing the poems he had written throughout his life was lost in 1868 during the Revolution that overthrew Queen Isabel II, and although he rewrote the poems from memory, the collection was only published after his death.

In all the biographies I read about Bécquer, he was portrayed as gentle and simple, honest and brave. He seemed the kind of person I would have very much liked to meet. That’s why I chose him as the protagonist of my novel.

Apart from the work of the eternal poet and writer, what was the inspiration for your novel Immortal Love?

The answer that first come to my mind is Lorca because Federico García Lorca is another character in my story. Why did I choose him? Because his death was a tragedy I would have liked to prevent not only because he was a most remarkable human being but also because he was killed when he was at the height of his creativity.

Lorca, for what I could gather from his biographies and the testimonies of those who met him, was a happy, enthusiastic person, full of life who was always the center of attention. Who wouldn’t have wanted to meet him?

The inspiration for the setting in Immortal Love was Bucks County, PA where I live.

In Spanish, the title of your book is Bécquer Eternal, would you like Bécquer to be immortal?

Absolutely. And I am not the only one.

When this past June, I visited in Sevilla the Exhibit about Bécquer, Bécquer tan cerca… A través del arte (http://youtu.be/73wEJDhKONo), I met Pilar Alcalá (the literary director of the exhibit) and some of the talented artists whose works were in the exhibit. I am certain all of them share my wish that the immortal Bécquer I created in my novel were real.

Was it easy for you to combine these two so different times, the time of the nineteenth century author and the present?

Immortal Love takes place in our time. Although to create the character of Bécquer I also had to imagine his past. Thus, I do have in my mind his whole story and know how he became an immortal. I included only a small part of this story in Immortal love. I hope one day I have the time to write down his complete story.

Bécquer died on December 22, and on the same day there was a solar eclipse, do you believe in coincidences?

Even more interesting is the fact that Bécquer died in Madrid and the solar eclipse was in Sevilla, the city where he was born. As for your question, no, I don’t believe in coincidences. I don’t believe in witches either, but they exist regardless.

Bécquer was a romantic, and you?
Totally. Like Bécquer, I live in two worlds, the everyday world and the one I create in my stories. Without this second life that takes place in my mind, I would find it very hard to live.

You were born in Lugo, how did you end up in the United States?

My ex-husband was from the States. I met him in California during my postdoctoral stay there. Although we lived in Spain for a while and considered staying for good we returned to the States after three years. My marriage ended in divorce, but we had two children by then and that forced me to remain in the States.

What do you most miss from Galicia?

My family, my friends, the food, the land, the language, even the rain. Everything, I guess. This longing that is an intrinsic characteristic in all of us born in Galicia and that Rosalía de Castro described so well in her poems and Gonzalo Torrente Ballester in his novels, is always with me.

Maybe it’s for this reason that my YA story, Two Moon Princess, takes place in a medieval world whose geography, and even names, I took directly from Galicia.

You were in Lugo this past June, are are you going to spend your summer vacation?

My stay in Spain was my summer vacation. I first went to Sevilla to see the Exhibit about Bécquer (Bécquer tan cerca… A través del arte) and then I visited family and friends in Vigo and Lugo.

Which books do you recommend this summer?

Rhymes and Legends by Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer and Poet in New York by Federico García Lorca.

I believe everybody who went to school in a Spanish speaking country remembers Bécquer’s Rhymes and Legends for they were obligatory reading. But, at least in my case, a reading from an adult perspective, unveiled a magnificence in his use of words and a deeper meaning I had missed then.

Bécquer was also a good painter. Even as a writer, he uses words as a painter would ink and colors, leaving, with his descriptions a most complete picture in our minds.

Here is an example. A description of the Madrid he knew when, without money or support from family, he arrived in the Spanish capital looking for fortune. He does not only paint a picture in our minds with his words, but transmits a feeling of profound despair as well.

“Madrid wrapped in a light mist, through whose broken shreds chimneys, attics, bell towers and the naked branches of the trees raise their dark crests. Madrid dirty, black, ugly like a gaunt skeleton shivering under an immense shroud of snow.” G.A. Bécquer. Review of the La Soledad by Augusto Ferrán, El Contemporáneo, Madrid January 20, 1861.

As for the book Poet in New York, I only want to mention that Lorca wrote it after witnessing the collapse of the stock market, during his stay in New York in 1929. His reaction at seeing the consequences of the extreme greed of a capitalistic society at his worse could not be more current.

This book also include the poem Take this Waltz, that Leonard Cohen translated into English and sang as a beautiful ballad. (http://goo.gl/dcpGj)

To finish our interview, could you tell us about the best summer of your life?

As the inveterate romantic that I am, I believe the best summer of my life is still to come.

August 9, 2012

Genre blending: Another reason to love Joss Whedon

Filed under: Becquer eterno,Two Moon Princess — carmenferreiroesteban @ 2:50 pm
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by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban




Joss Whedon needs no introduction. He is the mind behind Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. The best show ever, IMHO, for it has it all: fantasy, romance, strong females, sexy vampires, a consistent mythology, a well defined universe, smart dialogue, and thought provoking plots and twists.

Back in the 1990s I watched both Buffy and its spin-off, Angel, religiously for the 12 years combined they were on TV and missed them terribly when they ended. But somehow Firefly, the next show Joss Whedon produced, escaped my radar.

For several reasons, among others that my favorite fictional writer, Mr. Castle, is on it, I came to watch Firefly this past week-end and, not surprisingly, loved it.

In Firefly, Mr. Castle (Nathan Fillion) is the captain of the spaceship Serenity. He and his motley crew travel from planet to planet, surviving as petty thieves in a world dominated by a dictatorial power called The Alliance he once fought.

The most interesting twist in the story is that for all its spaceships and space settings, the show is also an old fashioned Western. Or as the credits tell us, a Space Western.

Because I always find difficult to classify my own books in a certain genre, I love this genre blending definition.

Yes I know we need classifications—without them locating any book/movie would be a daunting task—but for some reason, I find genre definitions most confining and this clever blend of Science fiction and the Western genre that Joss Whedon has created in Firefly both amusing and liberating.

Thanks to him, I will not feel so inept anymore while describing Becquer eterno as a “paranormal, contemporary, love story”.  And Two Moon Princess as both a fantasy and a realistic story.

Thanks to Joss Whedon genre bending is, at least for me, a cool thing to do.

What about you?

February 20, 2012

Where Ideas Come From – 3

Filed under: On Writing,Photograph,Two Moon Princess,YA — carmenferreiroesteban @ 7:24 am
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by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

From Two Moon Princess

That very afternoon, I found myself in Kelsey’s red convertible speeding along the brown rolling hills of the California winter. By early evening, we had reached San Francisco and any reservation I could have had about the trip disappeared. San Francisco was a dream come true—if I could ever have dreamed of such a marvelous place.

For the next two days we explored the city. We crossed the bay and watched the sunset from the Golden Gate Bridge. I could not hold in my awe as we watched the blaze of color nor my panic when Kelsey drove down the steep hills of the city as if she had forgotten that cars had brakes.

February 13, 2012

Where Ideas Come From – 2

Filed under: On Writing,Photograph,Pictures,Two Moon Princess,YA — carmenferreiroesteban @ 5:53 am
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When finally I reached the sand, my heart was beating so furiously against my chest I had to lean against the cliffs and rest for a moment. Then, followed by the piercing cries of the seagulls, I dashed toward the arch along the stretch of land covered by dead algae and broken shells the tide had just started to reclaim.

It was cold under the arch, cold and damp, and the air was filled with strange groans and whispers. It took me a moment—a long frightening moment—to understand that the noises did not come from living beings, but from the water dripping between hidden cracks in the rock.

February 6, 2012

Where Ideas Come From-1

Filed under: On Writing,Two Moon Princess,YA — carmenferreiroesteban @ 6:28 am
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If you anchor your eyes on the rock at the left of the two pictures above, you’ll be see how both photographs are related.

The beach visible on the second photograph is covered by the tide on the first.

If you want to go to the beach, to know whether the tide is high or low is important to make sure there is a beach when you arrive.

If, like Andrea, you can’t swim and want to be under the arch when the full moon rises so that you can cross to Earth, this knowledge is a matter of life and death.

This is what happens when she forgets to check:

Down below, the ocean had once more claimed the stretch of land that was the Cove of the Dead, and only the Arch, a naked rock, like an island dressed in foam, was still visible. From where I stood at the top of the cliffs, I could see the waves breaking against the mouth of the cave. I hesitated. The prospect of getting to the arch across the water was not a pleasant one, since I still could not swim. But waiting for the tide to recede was not an option. Lua would be rising any moment now, and I would lose my chance to cross if I did not make it to the cave soon.

My skirts tucked around my waist, I crawled over the boulder that blocked the trail. Turning my back to the ocean, I started down the crude steps carved into the wall. I climbed for what seemed forever until my feet touched the water. Shivering from both its frozen touch and my fear that I would never reach the sand in time, I kept on going, lowering hands and feet one at a time into the now slippery holes. Steadily the water rose, past my knees and up my hosiery.

I stopped then, afraid that my skirts, heavy with water, would drag me down. I was about to climb back when I realized my right foot was not on rock but on soft ground. Tentatively I lowered my left foot. Yes! It stayed level with the other: I had reached the bottom. Taking in a deep gulp of the moist salty air, I released my grasp of the wall and turned.

All I saw was water, dark green, angry water roaring toward me. I yelped as a wave broke against my chest, sending me backward, a hapless doll against the rocks.

From Two Moon Princess (http://goo.gl/VX0r1)

January 31, 2012

Where Ideas Come From

Filed under: Fantasy,On Writing,Pictures,Two Moon Princess,YA — carmenferreiroesteban @ 5:43 am
Tags: , , ,

by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

Where do you get your ideas? is a question every writer has been asked at one time or another.

For me, in many occasions, the idea for a story comes from a real place or person.

To illustrate this, I’m going to post every week, a picture of one of these places or people and explain why / how they made it into my books.

I’ll start with my first book: TWO MOON PRINCESS (http://goo.gl/VX0r1) and the place where this story began for me:

Arch at Playa de las Catedrales (Cathedral Beach) in Spain

Once upon a time, when I was a child, I saw a broken arch on a beach in northern Spain. In my mind, the arch was magical. It was a portal to another world, I called Xaren Ra. Later, I moved to California and Andrea, a sixteen year old princess from Xaren-Ra came with me.

In TWO MOON PRINCESS Andrea travels from her wold to California through an arch the full moon rising turns into a portal between Xaren-Ra and Earth.

After I wrote my story, I found out that, a couple of miles north of the town in California where I first lived when I moved to the States, there is an arch similar to the one in Spain.

Goat Rock, Sonoma Coast, CA

Coincidence? Perhaps.

January 16, 2012

The King in the Stone – Teaser



by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban



Writing the first chapter of a sequel is tricky.

You must give enough background information on your characters and their stories so that new readers can follow. Yet, you don’t want to over explain for you risk boring those who’d read the first book.

But because so many things have already happened before the sequel begins, (enough to fill a whole book, as a matter of fact) and these things define who your characters are and where they stand now, to hit the right balance is difficult, and the first chapters can drag a little.

That’s why it’s so tempting for the writer to add a teaser before Chapter One.

And by a teaser I mean an action scene from further on in the story, that will lure the reader to stay with you through those slower first chapters.

I don’t like teasers when I am the reader. Yet, I must confess I have written one for The King in the Stone. Whether I will include it or not in the final version I do not know.

In the meantime, here it is for your enjoyment.

Hope you like it.

The King in the Stone



A flash of lightning shatters the sky and, almost immediately, the deafening explosion of close thunder shakes the ground. Startled out of her trance, Andrea looks up. Dark clouds, heavy with rain, have turned the day almost to night, dressing in shadows the valley below and hiding the peaks across the ledge from where she stands.

As if waking from a dream, Andrea takes in her surroundings, surprised to find herself  by the tomb of the unknown king, for she has no recollection of climbing the mountain. The last thing she remembers is Kelsey’s voice, so eerily clear through the phone even though she was six thousand miles away, telling her about Julián.

Andrea moans at the memory and, bent in two by the sudden pain twisting her stomach, leans forward. Images of the man she has tried so hard to forget flash through her mind. Julián bleeding in her arms, an arrow through his chest. Julián by the broken arch telling her how much he loves her. Julián rejecting her, stealing the ring from her finger . . . From the slab that covers the tomb, the lying figure of the king carved in the stone stares at her with unseeing eyes.

Another lightning flash streaks the sky and the earth trembles under her feet as thunder rolls once more over the mountains. Heavy drops fall on her face, washing away her tears.

Andrea forces her mind to reason. She has no claim over Julián. He broke their engagement and made it clear he didn’t want to be with her. That was the reason she left California these three weeks past. Whether he’s with Kelsey now or with somebody else should make no difference.

But it does. She can’t lie to herself. She’s hurting too much to pretend anymore. The truth is that moving to Spain has changed nothing. She has not forgotten Julián. His memory has haunted her dreams every night, stolen itself into every one of her waking thoughts.

Her hands clenched into fists, Andrea hits the stone, swearing at Kelsey for her betrayal. How could she? Kelsey is her cousin, her confidant. Kelsey knows how much she cares for Julián. How much she wants him back.
Not anymore. Knowing he doesn’t love her is one thing. Learning he is with Kelsey quite another. Now, at last, she will forget him.

She turns her back to the tomb, and starts toward the trail. But the rain has turned the soil to mud, and, losing her footing, she falls face down.

Spitting water and dirt, Andrea scrambles to her feet. By the light of the next lightning flash, she sees the gap on the mountainside, an open mouth calling to her, and dives through the sheets of water pouring from the angry sky toward the wall. The rope she remembers from the previous evening is still hanging down into the cave. She grabs it in her slippery hands and climbs down.

She has barely reached the ground­­—welcome, dry ground, firm under her feet—when the mountain shakes again. Andrea stumbles and, falling on her knees, raises her arms over her head, a weak protection against the gravel falling around her like solid rain.

When the noise finally stops and Andrea opens her eyes, the cave is in total darkness. Has she gone blind? she wonders as she fights back her fears. I’m not blind, she reassures herself. That’s absurd. But if she isn’t, why is it so dark?

She looks up, squinting her eyes. But it’s useless: no ray of light steals through the wall of rocks. The opening is gone. Of course, the thought breaks into her mind. The earthquake has provoked a slide and closed the entrance.

A wave of panic washes over her as she realizes she’s on her own. No one will ever come looking for her. Why should they? She told no one where she was going when she left. She’s buried alive, and this cave, up in the mountains of this world that is not hers, will be her grave.

Andrea screams, a name, a broken word, a feral cry for help that, as she feared, dies unheard against the cavern’s walls.


January 5, 2012

My Road to Publication

by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban




I have good news and bad news.

Tanglewood Press, the publisher of my YA novel Two Moon Princess, has agreed to publish its sequel, The King in the Stone, in 2012. But (and this is the bad news) only as in e-book.

After waiting for so long to see my book in print, this has been a disappointment, and made me reconsider my decision of publishing with them.

The fact that I will not have a printed copy is not the only reason.

If I sign a contract with them, I will lose all my rights.

I will not be able to choose the cover

or write the blurb

or keep the title if my publisher decide to change it.

I chose the title, The King in the Stone, for reasons you’ll understand after reading the story. And I really, really want to keep it.

I wrote a blurb some weeks ago, (http://goo.gl/A6Ggm) and, although it’s still a work in progress, I want to be the one to write the final version.

And I hired an artist to design my cover combining three pictures of my choosing, and the cover she created fits my story so perfectly I don’t want to give it up.

Because I feel so strongly about these three things, I asked my publisher if she would agree, please, please, pretty please, to keep my cover, my blurb and my title.

And she said, “Um. Maybe. Let me think about it. I will get back to you.”

So, I wait.

As soon as my publisher tells me whether she agrees or not to my requests, I will let you know and reward your waiting with me by posting the cover I created, here, just for your eyes.

In the meantime, to be prepared to go solo, in case she says no, I asked my friends and fellow writers who have boldly gone this route already to share their experiences with me and my readers. Starting next Thursday, I will publish their guest posts.

Please come back and made them feel welcome.

And if you are an author who has published independently, please contact me and send me your story. I would love to hear it and share it with my readers.

December 22, 2011

That Elusive Perfect Title

Filed under: On Marketing,On Writing,Two Moon Princess,YA — carmenferreiroesteban @ 12:37 pm
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by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban



The Cover, the Title and the Blurb, the three things that determine whether we buy a book, are chosen by The Powers of Be, not by the author, in the traditional publishing business.

I discussed the cover of my YA fantasy, TWO MOON PRINCESS, in a previous post where I explained I had no saying on it.

I didn’t choose the title either. My original title was LEAVING THE CASTLE, because in the book my protagonist, Princess Andrea, tries again and again to break free from her father’s castle and this struggle is what motivates her throughout the story.

Which title fits the story better, which one is more catchy to prompt the readers to grab the book, I do not know. But the importance of the title is hard to ignore. It was reading about the title of the new released remake of the Swedish trilogy THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO that made me ponder about that elusive “je ne sais quoi” that makes a title unforgettable.

In Sweden, the trilogy had a quite different title. One that defined the spirit of the book exactly and expressed the point Stieg Larsson was trying to make with his story, that abuse against women exists even in Sweden, considered by many the most liberated country.

The title there, if you wonder, is THE MAN WHO HATED WOMEN.

Appropriate? Absolutely. Catchy? I’m not sure.

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO on the other hand catches your interest immediately. But does it match the book?

What do you think?

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