Recent releases and upcoming news for more!

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Greetings! 

It’s been a busy year for me so far, which is somewhat exhausting given that it’s not even March yet. I’ve had a lot of stuff going on, some good, some bad, so keeping up with my blog has been a chore I’m slacking on. 

But have you heard the good news? This one’s a two-fer!

The Devil & the Dreamer, the sequel to The Witch & the Wolfwood, released on January 31! Pick up your copy and find out what became of Iris and Helena, and what secrets get revealed about the true origin of Helena’s powers.

In upcoming events, Trail Blazer, my novel with magic and gunslingers in a western-like land without mercy, is set to release soon, and I’ll have more information available in the coming months.

A little sneak preview from Trail Blazer to whet your appetite: 

“Humans wouldn’t stop killing our kind. Verygg—you’ll learn about her in Whitebird Hollow—she was a powerful calamity. Split the land to make an impassable gap between us and them. Scorched the sky and broke the earth in two. Sacrificed herself to save all of witchkind.”

“Then how come witches don’t stay in Whitebird Hollow, where it’s safe?” asked Wini, perplexed. 

Dahlia’s brows drew downward. “Because when you build yourself a place of safety but you ain’t allowed to leave, that’s not a home—that’s a cage.”

How are your writing projects coming along?

I’ll be updating in a couple of months with some news about Trail Blazer’s sequel, so stay tuned!

We Who Burn is available in audiobook!

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It’s been just over a year since We Who Burn, my epic necromancer fantasy, was released, and in that time it’s gotten a lot done!
On top of receiving a five-star award from Readers’ Favorite, it’s now also available on Audible, and it sounds absolutely amazing.
The even better news is that if you’ve already purchased the Kindle ebook version, you can get the audiobook for a discounted price (or use your regular Audible credits). I don’t know about you, but I love saving money, so I consider that a win-win. My narrator, Jonathan Waters, did an excellent job of bringing these characters to life and really giving them a three-dimensional quality, so I know you’ll love listening to him.

If you like magic, tales of revenge, steamy romances, and twisted gods, then you’ll definitely want to pick up your copy here, or purchase it through Amazon.

Happy listening!

Publishing updates!

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It’s been a while since my last post, and I’ve got some news to share! 

The first is that my book Trail Blazer, will be out soon! 

Trail Blazer is a weird fantasy western and book one of a duology, and my main character Dahlia was an incredibly fun person to write, so I can’t wait until you get to meet her on release day. 

The second big piece of news is the announcement of book two in my LGBT+ urban fantasy novel series, “Lies & Legends,” which focuses on Helena and Iris’s continued journey after the dire events of book one, The Witch & the Wolfwood, which released March 30, 2021.

Book two, titled The Devil & the Dreamerwill be finished soon and should be available to order by the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022, which means you won’t have to wait long at all. 

And lastly, I was incredibly proud to have earned a position as a semi-finalist in the Writers of the Future contest (first quarter of 2021) for one of my short stories. I got some truly inspiring advice on my work from David Farland, which was an incredible experience.

I hope everyone is staying safe out there! Keep an eye out for future reveals of book covers and release dates.

New releases, updates, and more!

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I hope everyone’s been doing well given the circumstances.

Last month in July, it was my distinct pleasure to have my short story, “Precipitation” published in The Sirens Call 50th issue! If you’d like to read it, along with many other wonderful short stories, you can download a free copy here.

In other news, my urban fantasy novel, The Witch & the Wolfwood is going to be getting a cover soon, and I am beyond excited! This will be my first book with publisher Filles Vertes (FVP), and I’m looking forward to doing a cover reveal soon. This title, featuring smart-aleck private eye Helena Birch, will be available in April 2021, hopefully in time for an in-person return to JordanCon here in Atlanta.

Last year I had an idea for a story pop into my head, and it was so in depth that I plotted the book in about an hour and wrote it in a month and a half. Now, that very same book is coming out in just a few days! 

We Who Burn is a dark/paranormal fantasy novel about a necromancer trying to resurrect her lost love while being hunted by a witch-burning order with a world-destroying scheme in their sights. If you’re a fan of sword and sorcery, a kick-ass female protagonist, and a little bit of romance, then pre-order a copy of We Who Burn now! (You don’t even have to wait that long!)

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Until next time, stay safe!

The Witch & the Wolfwood

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Coming soon, in 2020!

Cross Faded is out NOW!

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The last thing Ezra Ashford expected to see in his apartment is a woman in medieval armor hunting a scarab the size of a Great Dane. But being an addict can do terrible things to the brain, and while he’s no stranger to hallucinations, this seems a little too real to be just in his head.
Despite the woman’s warnings for him to forget everything he’s seen, Ezra’s once tepid existence is quickly overwhelmed by bizarre monsters. From the siren in his local bar to the fly-faced man packing fish at his day job, he can’t seem to stop seeing these creatures everywhere. Ezra can’t tell if he’s burned out or if he’s going crazy like his mother did years before.
And doing what comes naturally to him—getting high to forget it all—isn’t working either. Ezra soon finds himself in a turf war between two rival dealers that lands him directly in police crosshairs, wanted for arson and murder.
The harder Ezra tries to ignore his problems, the more abysmal things become. And the threat grows substantially graver once he finds out that an ancient monster, Bandon, has taken a sudden and irrevocable interest in him; and that all the others he’s taken a liking to have disappeared to parts unknown, never heard from again.
After a lifetime of running from his problems and chasing down his feelings with every new high, Ezra feels powerless to stop his downward spiral out of control. Lost in a world he feels rejected him and plagued by monsters that may or may not be in his head, Ezra must try to find out what’s happening before it’s too late and his personal demons end up consuming him completely.

Cross Faded is the first of one of my new urban fantasy series, and just came out on May 4! You can get your ebook copy at Amazon for only $2.99.

Self-Doubt Doesn’t Care Who Or How Successful You Are (So Just Do ‘The Thing’ & Write Your Novel)

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I’ve been writing since I was a little girl. Mostly, I would just draw pictures and follow my mother around the house and tell her the stories I’d come up to go along with them and be ecstatic when they went on the fridge. I was also a voracious reader, but I was never content to only read; I always wanted to create. I didn’t know what writing was, really; I just knew I had stories to tell.

Writing wasn’t about plotting or world building when I was young; I just wanted to put all my ideas down.

I used to write stories for my friends and then leave them on cliffhangers for weeks while I figured out what came next.

In high school, I was the editor for the paper and wrote several articles. I created “Stickman! The Series!” which was an ongoing comic I passed out to various people in my classes. It was filled with dark humor and constantly skirted the safety of a PG-13 rating in every issue. By the end of my senior year, I was making a handful of photocopies in the library because people I’d never even met before had read it and wanted more.

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“Hello dear sailor, I’m a siren, here to kill you.”
“Kill me? Why?”
“It’s what I do. I gotta be me.”
(10th grade humor. You’re welcome.)

But through all of this, I never once had much doubt about my ability to write. It was just something I did.

Writing was as much a part of me as breathing. But without knowing why, I knew I wanted to get better. So I started researching how to write. And this is where I hit my first real hurdle and my lack of skills became self-evident. My talents were raw; they were unformed clay next to master sculptures. I saw the divide, and for the first time, it bothered me that I wasn’t a better writer. It was like seeing color when I never even knew I was colorblind to begin with. But I was still excited to dive in and learn, so I did. I started reading everything I could find on how to be a better writer.

But the more I learned about writing, the harder it became to write. As technical concepts starting taking root, it felt like my knowledge was actually ruining my ability.

Before, I wrote what I wanted, completely in the dark as to whether it was good or not. But the more I took in, the less the words seemed to flow.

No one ever tells you that self-doubt isn’t just a natural instinct you get handed the first time you put a pen to paper. It’s a creeping sensation that comes out of nowhere. Like walking into a classroom you’ve been in a hundred times before and realizing that something seems different. The desks have been rearranged. You’re not by the window anymore. You have a new seating chart and your buddy is this prick that constantly asks what you’re working on and then compares it to everyone else’s work to make you feel bad.

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And when you start to understand the technicalities of what you’re doing (or not doing, as the case may be), writing isn’t “easy” anymore. It’s not comfortable. It’s not fun. It’s a jerk that looms over you and keeps whispering, “Just quit already.”

So what happened? How did you get dejected from Paradise and sent crashing into this new world? Are you actually a bad writer?!

The moment you become self-aware, your brain is not going to take it easy on you. Suddenly, all those books you loved before aren’t just for you to enjoy. They’re also a model of everything that you aren’t, and that you may never be. And when you compare yourself to them, you’ll feel incredibly foolish for even trying.

By the time I graduated, I was exhausted from “creating” on demand. I shelved many of the books I’d started because I literally got sick of them. I was tired as hell of writing. I had more doubts about my abilities than when I’d started. I was scared of what would happen when I actually finished my novels. When I tried to publish. Would everyone hate it? Would they tell me that my efforts were incomprehensible garbage?

This fear compelled me to quit writing for a little while. I threw myself into work instead and got a position as an editor with several indie publishers. I doubted myself for choosing writing as a college major. I wrote only enough to keep the hinges oiled, and considered jobs outside of my field. But then I got a job with an online magazine as an editor and writer. Inside, I hoped the writing portion wouldn’t come, and for a few months, I got my wish. I was a writer who was afraid to write. The fear of how I would be received had crippled me.

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The first time I was assigned an article, I had a full-blown panic attack. I had to get up and walk away from the computer because I was petrifiedof writing again, especially for a widespread audience. My biggest writing credits at this point were publications in my college newspaper and some minor poetry anthologies.

But I knew, under the fear, that I wanted to do it. And that I wasn’t going to let anyone—least of all me—ruin it. I decided, pass or fail, it wouldn’t be because I gave up.

I wrote the article. It took hours. I hated every minute of it. I was convinced it was the worst drivel I’d ever produced. But when I was done, I realized that I’d written. I’d gotten through it, and I could breathe again. Sending it in to the editor was like a weight lifting off my chest. Then came the next assignment. And the next. And before I knew it, I was writing 4-5 articles a day on a variety of topics. And so I stopped focusing on the technical aspects of how to “craft” everything. I focused instead on the writing. I had a job to do; I had to produce. So even if it still terrified me, I did it.

Before I knew it, I had written over 200 articles.

And while this was going on, I discovered the drive to just sit and write. I stopped self-editing so much; stopped telling myself I couldn’t do it. I let the technical aspects I’d learned guide me, but I put down the story I wanted to tell (reminding myself every time that I could edit later), and suddenly, writing was happening again.

I think I repeated Terry Pratchett’s quote, “The first draft is just you telling yourself the story,” like a mantra, whenever I felt like I couldn’t make it.

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In late 2015, two years after graduation, I finished writing my first soft sci-fi novel, Mercury in Retrograde. I edited it for months, waffled on my resolve, and then finally wrapped it up and researched query letters. And even though I felt that same doubt that said I wasn’t any good, or that no one would like it, I sent it out. I cried because I thought it was the dumbest thing I’d ever done.

Just over a year later, it was published. And just over a year after that, it got silver in a book awards contest. And even now, knowing what I know, the voice in my had still tells me that it’s not good enough. That I’m not good enough.

The hardest part of writing is the deceptive idea that it should be easy. That it should always feel fun, and that if you’re struggling, it’s because you’re a hack. But this simply isn’t true.

Writing is an exercise. A mental one, sure, but you’re working out muscles you may not even know you have yet. It’s going to hurt quite a bit before it gets better. And just like anything in life, you can either use it to make you stronger, or you can cave in and let it smother you.

Don’t focus on your fears. Focus on what you can control. Don’t wait for inspiration; make inspiration happen. Sit down, write that novel.

Don’t worry about what people will think of your book. Write the story that you want to tell; edit it later.

The voice in the back of your head is never going to be satisfied, even when you exceed what you thought was ever possible.

So don’t let it stop you.

 

 

 

Mercury in Retrograde on Sale!

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This week, Mercury in Retrograde is on sale on Amazon for only .99c!

Given that I’m nearly done with the sequel, I’d say now is a perfect time to buy! Get your copy now, so it can meet all of your other TBRs and make friends.