Owl Manor – the Dawning, now on Amazon http://amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=Gothic+Suspense%2CB07H9JDFMN
“I could feel the moisture on my arms, hear the rustling of leaves and twigs, the hooting of owls. He turned to face me and stood still, waiting in the gloom…”
Sometimes the tide sweeps us into a fog where dark forces are at work…
All of a sudden evil and good become blurred…
Stifled by the repression of women in the 1800s, trapped in a loveless marriage, Eva lives a life of dissatisfaction and frustration. The tide sweeps her to the Rocky Mountains during the gold rush in 1859, where she finds unexpected hope at Owl Manor, a strange, dark place with owls in the very fabric of its walls.
But the stakes are perilous. Shadows wander the dim corridors. The owner of the manor is moody, volatile. And spellbinding.
Owl Manor – the Dawning, the first standalone book in a trilogy of Gothic Suspense novels, is inspired by authors such as Daphne du Maurier (Jamaica Inn), Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Marina, Shadow of the Wind), Kate Morton (The Forgotten Garden).
Filled with Poe-esque atmosphere, dark ambitions and supernatural elements, this book is a must read for fans of Gothic Suspense!
Now on Amazon Kindle for $2.99
My husband and I visited Picasso’s masterpiece, Guernica, at the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid recently. What an honor. I had done my masters thesis on a comparison between the elements of Modern Art, specifically Guernica, to Gothic literature, both visually expressive mediums. And seeing the original gave me chills. Spanning an entire wall in the museum, it was profoundly dreadful, but thrilling at the same time. Dreadful because of the tragedy it’s based on, a tragedy that has been endlessly repeated over time, is being repeated even now, and thrilling because of the power of creative expression. Throughout history the injustices, cruelties, agonies and miseries, as well as the beauty of life have been recorded for all posterity by masterful artists in the form of writing, and painting.
Guernica is about the slaughter of innocents. The painting is based on the bombing during the Spanish civil war in 1937 of the Basque town, Guernica, by Fascist allies of Franco. It was Market Day in Guernica, and thousands of innocent civilians were killed, among them merchants, women, children and animals. One might think that perhaps a realistic painting would have done a better job of portraying the horror. But Picasso expressed through Cubism the madness of war in a way that realism could not have accomplished. Cubism was a product of industrialism and technological advances of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, a time which saw the development of photography and its unique perspectives, angles and compositions. It is created by tearing apart photographic, or realistic representations of subjects, and reassembling them in unexpected collages unrelated to reality. Basically it replaces order with disorder, a process equivalent to madness. And what is war if not madness?
Expressed through the stabbing, piercing aspects of Cubism, the blacks, grays, whites and dark blues convey the disorientation of an attack during the night, when all that would be visible would be a chaotic jumble of figures highlighted by brilliant flashes of light, and darkness. The images: a dead man with his arms outstretched, a woman with torn clothing, a wounded horse, a woman howling as she cradles her dead child, a house in flames in the background, all bombard us with emotions: panic, confusion, terror, agony. They remind us of what we have done wrong in the past perhaps in the hopes that these will not be repeated, or perhaps to expose the darkness that is an integral part of human nature, and of what we are capable of if we are not mindful of it. Because that’s what Art is all about, right? Expression. Perhaps an expression of madness.
Thanks to redheadedbooklover for an awesome review!
“Owl Manor is a phenomenal, addictive piece of fiction that left me shocked and astonished. Never before have I read such a unique, imaginative, enthralling piece of literature; Zita Harrison, the author of this exciting novel, is incredibly talented because she knows just how to capture her reader’s imagination from the very first page. As I read this book, I struggled to put it down, so much so that I found myself reading it into the early hours of the morning thanks to Harrison’s incredible talent to hold the reader’s attention. Already I would implore you book lovers to read this book because it is incredibly unique and unlike anything you have read before!”
Read more at:
$2.99 for Kindle at
What I love about Michelangelo’s sketches is the different sides of humans he manages to brilliantly capture. Like these two images I put together of anger and calm. People say one cannot be appreciated without the other. Perhaps that’s true – without having experienced rage, can one truly strive for calm?
If the rage comes from things life throws at us that make us angry, maybe the calm comes from accepting that life does this, and will continue to do this, and that ultimately our peace of mind is in the way we react to it. Or don’t react. It’s not up to life. It’s up to us. Our ultimate challenge in life.
Like when people cut us off on the road. When my husband and I go for drives, we have to agree beforehand that we won’t react to anything. Let people cut us off, flip us off, act however they want. It’s their issue, not ours. We will not react. It’s very difficult. We’re conditioned to react. And we’ve both had life throw things at us to make us angry, which is behind my writing Gothic novels.
But we’re realizing that we have a choice. We can hold onto that anger and let it define us, or we can let it go. What happened in the past isn’t going to change. But it’s over. We need to learn to let it be over.
Of course, it’s complicated. We find ourselves reacting to people and speaking to our own kid in ways that are colored by our own negative experiences, without realizing it. All we can really do is think afterwards about how it affects our kid, and how it reflects experiences that have made us angry and unhappy, and decide to be mindful of it going forward. I will not be defined by the past is one of my regular mantras. I will not be like my parents. I will be better, less judgmental, kinder. And it makes me feel better about myself. Because when I act like those I didn’t like, I don’t like myself. That makes me angry with myself, hate myself even, and it taints my perception of things and my behavior towards others.
Recently I visited an old, dying relative who clings to things from the past that eat him alive. And he’s dying. Really? I wanted to say. This is what you focus on as you die? I did say, “Let it go. It’s not worth obsessing over 20 years later.” And he said “I can’t.” It made me incredibly sad. For him and for all those who feel this way. Maybe this is a current awareness, what with meditation and mindfulness becoming fads. And people from previous generations just don’t know how, aren’t even aware that letting go is an option. But for me, it has become a goal. For my own sanity.
To end with a quote that totally hits the mark: “You either get better or you get bitter. It’s that simple. You either take what has been dealt to you and allow it to make you a better person, or you allow it to tear you down. The choice does not belong to fate, it belongs to you.” – Josh Shipp, award winning speaker on teen issues and bestselling author. Well, we’re not teenagers. But there are issues that permanently stain our lives, way past the teen years. And it’s really not simple at all. But we owe it to ourselves to try to get better, to find the calm, don’t we?
Sorry I haven’t written in a while! I’ve been totally bogged down with marketing my current book and writing the next one in the Owl Manor series! Peace.
75% due in the beginning. The rest due before work on final begins.
1. Initial consultation:
- What is the book about?
- Mood, images you have, or have in mind. If you already have images, you can send those to me.
- Colors, fonts (bright? Dark? Monochrome? Bw?; fancy fonts? Blocky? Quirky? Jazzy? Fun? Etc.)
- Layout: simple – one image and text? Complex – blend of images and text? Do you need me to look for images? Photos or vector art? Literal or symbolic?
- Text for front cover and back cover
- size of book, number of pages
2. Pass 1:
3-6 rough comps. Pick and choose direction, narrow down to one look, request changes (color lightening, font changes, etc.)
3. Pass 2:
2nd round of comps: 2-4 depending on pass 1.
4. Pass 3:
One comp with changes requested in pass 1. Any further changes at this point are minor. Proof title, taglines, author name, etc.
5. Pass 4:
Final high res cover. Layout and design are final.
6. Pass 5 for PRINT – if you need a full cover spread with spine and back cover:
Send me blurbs, bios, photos, etc for the back cover, and templates if needed.
7. Pass 6:
Layout of full spread with everything in place. Proof everything carefully and return to me.
8. Pass 7 and 8:
Any further text changes. No more changes after Pass 8.