Saturday, August 29, 2020

Tattered Slippers Tour: THE MIDNIGHT SHOW RELEASE DAY! Feat. The Pros and Cons of Writing in the Jazz Age!


Hello, everyone! It's official: The Midnight Show is out in the world! I'm so excited that I get to share this book with y'all. As a reminder, if you purchase the book in paperback format today through the 31st and send a proof of purchase to, I'll send you a signed bookplate to go in the book!

(Side note: due to some technical issues — aka KDP not telling me that I needed larger bleeds on my pages until after I'd ordered two separate proof copies, what the pumpernickle — there may be a slight delay on paperback availability. They should be up by the end of today, if they aren't already. Thanks for your patience.)

Now, you know, stories don't come out of nowhere. For everything anyone ever writes, there's at least of a bit of a journey to get there. And today, I thought I'd share some of the story behind The Midnight Show in a somewhat . . . unusual . . . way. But first, a bit about the book, for those who are just getting here!

About . . .

The Midnight Show

This mystery is the case of his dreams — and her nightmares.

By day, Dayo Temitrope is a swinging singer, an up-and-coming star with a shining career ahead of her. By night, she’s . . . well, she’s not sure, but whatever she does leaves her every morning with sore feet and worn-out shoes. And after six months, she’s had enough.

Enter Bastian Dennell, a private investigator just trying to get by. When Dayo hires him to find out where she goes at night, he’s sure it’s his big break: his chance to establish himself and get the funds to pay off his family’s debt. Plus, he gets to work with his favorite singer, even if she isn’t exactly what he expected. What could be better?

But first he has to solve the case — which means navigating a tangled web of strange dreams, fair folk schemes, and show business. It will take all Bastian’s wits, along with the shining talents of Dayo herself, to figure out the truth before the curtains close for good on Dayo’s career.

A jazz-age-inspired twist on the Twelve Dancing Princesses from the author of Blood in the Snow.

Find it on: Amazon || Goodreads

The Tattered Slippers

The Tattered Slippers are six retellings of the Twelve Dancing Princesses fairytale, each one fantastical and magical. You don't want to miss any of them! You can learn more about the books and find the full tour schedule on the tour page.

The Tattered Slippers are the result of the 2019 Arista Challenge. The Arista Challenge is hosted by Kendra E. Ardnek; it invites fairy tale authors to come together in community as they work on unique retellings of a selected fairy tale.

Pros and Cons of Writing in the Jazz Age

So there I was, halfway through May, with Hadestown in my headphones, a few characters niggling at the back of my mind, and an unexpected surplus of time on my hands. The Tattered Slippers group reveal was creeping ever closer, and Kendra was keeping the Love and Memory alpha chat buzzing with cryptic comments about her excitement for the lineup and teasing me with the promise that she’d accept a late entry if I sent one in. I’d planned to sign on for the release, but Blood in the Soil (or possibly Blood in the Earth) was fighting me on every page, and I knew — had known for months — that I had no chance to whip it into shape by the release. I thought that was that.

But there were those characters — ! A private investigator with a heart of gold who tried to hide his feelings under a callously professional demeanor and a jazz singer whose sunny smiles masked an ever-growing desire to just be left alone when she was off the stage. They’d been born as alternate universe versions of major characters from another Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling, but they’d become their own people while I wasn’t looking. And they wouldn’t leave me alone! 

There was clearly nothing else for it. I had to write the story. I set a goal for myself: I’d make the most detailed outline I’d made in years, then write like mad to have the book finished by the beginning of June. It was crazy — but it was a novella, nothing more. Perhaps even a novelette. And, anyway, compared to ancient Asia, how hard could it be to write a Jazz Age-inspired story? 

Headphones on. Writing music playing. I was about to find out the answer.

Pro: The soundtrack is an absolute bop.

I’m used to hard-line definition between writing music and for-fun music. Writing music is instrumentals: Lindesey Stirling, Two Steps from Hell, Brunuhville, Brandon Fiechter, soundtracks, the works. If it’s not instrumentals, it’s Kalafina or Korean folk and the lyrics are all in a language I don’t know two words in. It’s inspiring. It’s non-distracting. It also all sounds the same after a while. 

Now? I had jazz. I had swing. I had electro-swing. It was, as I said, an absolute bop and a much-needed change of pace. However, there was also an unexpected downside . . .

Con: You will have “Swinging on a Star” and “I Found My Yellow Basket” stuck in your head for weeks solid, and nothing will dislodge them.

Despite Ella Fitzgerald's refusal to stop singing in the back of my head, though, I made good progress. I had my story well outlined, my characters profiled, my world built. I had written enough of the story that I could secure a last-minute entry into the Tattered Slippers group, and my characters were, astonishingly enough, cooperating. I’d also discovered another advantage of my chosen era.

Pro: Research is so astonishingly easy.

I’d spent the last year writing in an ancient Asia-inspired world, where getting the answer to any historically-based worldbuilding question was almost guaranteed to take significant effort wading through irrelevant search results, dubious information, and articles meant for scholars. Now? Abundant reliable information; original sources written in a language I knew; photos. It was blessedly easy. I wanted to know what kind of shoes women usually wore? When Band-Aids or an equivalent were invented? What types of appetizers or hors d'oeuvres might be served at fancy restaurants? Easy as a search and a few clicks. Of course, with such ease comes a certain danger that you might have guessed by now . . .

Con: There was too much information — so much that it was easy to get distracted.

Also known as:

Con: At one point, trying to figure out what my characters would eat for breakfast turned into a good twenty minutes researching the history of Grape-Nuts cereal . . . and then didn’t use most of what I learned.

(Fun fact: Grape-Nuts are partially responsible for the existence of the Andy Griffith show. I am not making this up and am still pretty amazed and amused by this fact. You can read about it here.)

Despite periodic research distractions, though, the writing continued to go astonishingly well. My characters were mostly cooperating, and while I did have a bit of a change of plans — enough so that I missed my June 1 deadline — it was manageable. By June 7, I had a full draft ready to send to both Kendra and betas. Also by this time, I’d developed a hearty appreciation for another benefit of my chosen era:

Pro: Finally, familiar technology!

For possibly the first time in my writing career, I could assume that many of the modern conveniences available to me would also be available to my characters. They had cars. They had telephones. They had flashlights. They had refrigerators — some of them, anyway. They had out-of-season fruit. It was magnificent. Except, of course, for one problem . . .

Con: I kept forgetting that said technology existed. 

(And that is the other reason why poor Bastian walks almost everywhere and forgets his camera that one time. I forgot he had another option. Sorry, Bastian.)

In between the end of the story were several rounds of edits, but those were actually easy compared to the madness that was editing Mechanical Heart. And now we come to today: story finished and published and available for all of y’all to read and enjoy. And the question arises: are the pros enough? Will I be back to this Jazz Age world?

Absotively. (And hopefully, you’ll come with me when I return.)

Are you excited for The Midnight Show? Do you think you would want to write a Jazz Age-inspired novel? What other time period do you think would be fun? Please tell me in the comments! And don't forget to check out the rest of the tour stops!
Thanks for reading!

August 29 Tour Stops

Dreams and Dragons: Pros and Cons of Writing in the Jazz Age
Five Reasons to Read:
Knitted by God's Plan


Guest Posts:
Cobonham: A Day in the Life of Dayo
Rachel Rossano's Words: A Day in the Life of Bastian
Abby's Blog: Like, But Not the Same
Character Spotlights:


  1. I've been enjoying quite a few Jazz Age retellings this year. I'll be adding this one to my collection!

    1. Yay! Also, what other Jazz Age retellings? I want to read them too. :D

  2. I said 'quite a few', but on second count there were just two. I think I got my books mixed up. Anyhow, there's January Snow by Hayden Wand (Snow White) and Death Be Not Proud by Suzannah Rowntree (also Snow White).

    1. Cool cool cool. I read Death Be Not Proud (I love that book!), but I'll check out January Snow.


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