Review Excerpts


Saturday, September 10, 2022

Off the Shelf

Firstly, the release schedule for the Searching the Skies series is still being finalized, but I promise I will let you know when I have details!

Okay, so. Summer has ended, the kids are back in school (thank GOD), and we're all returning to reality after some great vacations. I held firm and did not write a single new word of fiction after finishing up the Skies series in early July, but of course, I was thinking about what I wanted to work on once my self-imposed break was over. As always, I had a few different ideas to choose from, each at a different stage of development.

Let's backtrack a bit. Longtime readers and followers of this blog will remember the saga of Fire Beyond the Frost. To recap, I wrote the whole book, eventually decided I wasn't 100% in love with it, shelved it for a while, and then came back to it. I wouldn't say I did a complete overhaul of it, but I re-edited it and tweaked some scenes. (And, if memory serves, I got rid of one entirely.) Interestingly enough, when it was finally published, it became my most popular book, and I think it's still my highest-rated one on Goodreads.

Back to the present...ish. A few years ago, I was working on a contemporary romance project, and got far enough that I even gave it its own tag here on the blog: Sonata for Springtime. For whatever reason, I just couldn't seem to gain any momentum on writing it, despite having a decent outline, and every paragraph felt like a slog. Rather than forcing it, I decided to put it to the side for a while, and that was when I started writing Hunting Astrid (which also was a success, so that was the right decision!). I didn't know when, if ever, I would return to SfS, but it stayed in my files (as well as its backup), and I did still like the basic story and the characters.

As I started contemplating what I wanted to work on next, said story and its characters started calling to me. I did have about a third of it complete, plus the aforementioned outline, so I figured, why not give it a try? Believe it or not, I stopped in the middle of a chapter way back in 2019, but after rereading what I had, I jumped right back in and finally finished that chapter almost three years later.

So, here we are. The words are coming out again, and I'm rediscovering the characters' voices. There are a few blank spaces in the outline, but I still want to tell their story. As it's contemporary romance, it may not be the most groundbreaking, creative story I've ever told, but I'm hoping it will entertain and resonate with readers. Will it be as successful as Fire Beyond the Frost was after spending a considerable amount of time on the shelf? Who knows.

But hey, at least I get to use that tag here again!

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Finally Finished Up That Marathon

IT IS DONE.

Conquering the Skies, the fifth and final book of the Searching the Skies/Geneva Greyson series is finally finished. I have bundled it up and sent it off; receipt has been confirmed, and now I'm waiting for details on a release schedule. While it's been a fun ride, I won't lie and claim it doesn't feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

The word count of this book wound up going a bit longer than the previous four, which is fair, since it's wrapping up the series in a pretty little bow. I will admit there are times when I have some doubts about some of the plot lines in Books 4 and 5, but I think the series as a whole might be a rarity for me, in that it's more character-focused than plot-focused. And for the core characters, their journey is exactly what I wanted it to be for them, beginning to end.

My goal was to finish this up before leaving for our annual summer vacation, and I made it with about a week and a half to spare. After doing author-ly things nonstop for almost the past year and a half (not only writing new books, but promoting new releases), I have decided I'm not even going to think about writing a new word until September. Summer vacation is when I do most of my reading, and my Kindle is all loaded up and ready to go. I sometimes wondered if I was at risk for burning out while just wanting to get this series DONE, but whatever, it's finished, and I hope this little writing break will do me a world of good.

I haven't decided what my next project will be, though I have some book ideas that are fleshed out enough for me to feel comfortable starting. (Says the pantser.) For now, though, I'm not going to worry about it, and I'll just spend the next month and a half basking in the overwhelming relief I feel. I'll be sure to keep you updated with release news! (Reminder: These days, I'm sharing news faster on Twitter and via my mailing list, so make sure you're all signed up there!)

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Awards Season

I'm thrilled to announce that Disintegration has won the silver medal for erotica in this year's Independent Publisher Book Awards! (aka the IPPYs) This has been a long journey, one that's been well-documented on this blog, and if nothing else, regardless of how long I've been doing this, I'm still learning a lot about promotion and getting my name out there and whatnot.



Apparently I'm being mailed a fancy package with some seals and the actual medal and so on. I MIGHT be giving away some paperbacks with the aforementioned seals in the near future, so be sure you're signed up for my mailing list so you don't miss out!

Monday, March 21, 2022

The Home Stretch (of what feels like a marathon)

The release of A Flame Among the Stars went swimmingly, which is always a good thing. Reviews are popping up on Amazon and Goodreads, and they're largely favorable. As of right this second, I don't have any additional promotional events coming up, but that can always change!

As the saying goes, however, there is no rest for the weary. In addition to wrapping up AFAtS and promoting it, I've been working on finishing up the Geneva/Searching the Skies series. Book 4, Chasing the Skies, kind of went slowly, probably because I was promoting a bunch of other things while trying to write. There were a few times I questioned whether I still liked the plot I'd come up with, and one night I even debated scrapping the whole thing, but it worked out, it's done, and I'm satisfied with the results.

So, here we are at the end with Book 5, Conquering the Skies. I had a better mental outline going in than with Book 4, though there are still some details in the middle I need to flesh out. By my calculations, I estimate I'm roughly about a third of the way through, but since this is the final book, I won't mind if it goes a little longer.

It's funny - after spending so long with these characters, there are points where it almost feels like the book is writing itself. I know what they're going to say, how they're going to feel in any given situation. There have been times when I've had an idea for the plot, thought "no, that can't happen because of XYZ", and then actually included one of the characters pointing out that something can't happen because of XYZ. In fact, for the first plan I had for wrapping up one of the plot lines, I finally realized it would be out of character for our gruff but lovable space heroine and I have to do something different. (At least I realized before writing it out!) A lot has happened in five books, and I want everything to make sense and be satisfying for readers.

I still have a fair amount to write. As I've said before about other projects, I'm not quite at the point where I can say "the end is in sight!", but that point of being able to say that may be in sight. And really, it feels like a significant place to be, near the end of a five-book series that I wasn't sure was ever going to happen. I have no idea what I'm going to write once I'm done with Geneva & Co., but I think I'll finally take a bit of a writing break and play some games and catch up with Netflix. But first, to the finish line!

Friday, February 11, 2022

A Flame Among the Stars - Available Now!

Oops, I'm late with updating again. Bad Thea. *slaps wrist* (Though I guess I'll take this opportunity to remind you to follow me on Twitter and sign up for my newsletter if you haven't already, as that's what I've been focusing on lately!) A Flame Among the Stars is now available in paperback and Kindle Unlimited, and the book launch has been going great so far! The cover was finalized while I was doing the last bit of edits, so I didn't get a chance to share it with you before now, but behold!


Gorgeous, right? Now on to the blurb and link. Newsletter subscribers already got a peek at an excerpt, so there's another bit of encouragement for you!

Blurb:

The kingdom of Dardrith is under attack from hordes of juvenile dragons. When the king offers marriage to his daughter as a reward to whoever can discover the source of the dragons and prevent future infestations, Meg’s best friend, Ronan, convinces her to help him win the ultimate prize and save their families from a lifetime of poverty. Despite her initial reluctance, they also enlist the aid of Ronan’s sister, the village blacksmith, and a stranger Meg meets in the local marketplace.

The band of aspiring heroes doesn’t travel far before the identity of the stranger is exposed; she is none other than the king’s daughter herself, Princess Celendra. Aside from being the heir to the throne, Celendra is keeping some other secrets. During a battle with a group of dragons, she reveals she has magical powers, the ability to conjure and manipulate elements such as fire and water. Furthermore, she confesses that, like Meg, she would prefer to pursue romantic relationships with other women, which she hasn’t told her father.

As they journey throughout the land, Meg and Celendra embark on a passionate fling, though Meg tries not to form any deep emotional attachment to the princess due to their respective social classes. Following revelations about the dragon attacks and her family history, Celendra must choose between doing what’s expected of her or taking charge of her own destiny. The future of Dardrith is at stake. Can Meg and Celendra find a way to remain together while protecting the people and home they love?

***

Available in paperback and on KU!

Sunday, January 9, 2022

From 2021 to 2022

Hey, I'm only a week late with my "year in review" post! 2021 was a busy year writing-wise and 2022 looks like it's going to be the same. Let's recap what happened and what's coming up!

2021:

The big event of this year was re-releasing the Disintegration series. New edits, new formatting, new (awesome!) cover art...and then I had to market the damn things. Overall, I'm happy with how everything went, and I'm beyond thrilled that these books I've loved so much for so many years are back out in the world and resonating with new readers.

I also released a short story, Sweet Escape, which is now on Kindle Unlimited after retiring from the role of being my newsletter freebie. Feedback on that one has also been good, and I'm happy with that, too. (How could you *not* be happy when chocolate cake is involved?)

As far as writing and planning ahead goes, I signed a bunch of contracts for some upcoming releases, which I'll elaborate on in my next section, appropriately titled...

2022:

The first round of edits plus the mock-up of the cover are done for A Flame Among the Stars, my upcoming lesbian fantasy romance. Longtime artist buddy Boobulon is doing character artwork for the main cast, which I also can't wait to share! No official release date yet, but we'll still label it as "coming soon!"

I also successfully accomplished many parts of another big item on my to-do list - rebooting the Searching the Skies series. To quickly recap, Book #1 was my first published book ever, Book #2 came out about a year and a half later, but while Book #3 was planned, it never happened for various reasons. At the beginning of 2021, I fiiiiinally wrote Book #3, which didn't take long at all, since it had been bouncing around in my head for many years. I also realized it didn't have a satisfactory ending to the series as a whole, so my planned trilogy is now five books long. (Hey, it worked for Kevin Smith.) I signed contracts for Books 1-3, and I'm nearing the end of writing Book #4 now.

I have another short story that's just about ready to go, but I'm trying to space out my publications. This one just needs one more quick edit, formatting, and a finalized cover. For that last point, I'm still working on my basic graphic design skills, but I was able to create a pretty cool text effect for the title. Somewhere in the back of my head, I do want to write more short stories, yet, as we all know, these things take time.

Lastly...I have to figure out what I want to do with The Edge of the Sphere, the last of my books where the rights reverted back to me after the publisher shut down. I'm kind of torn here - I do still like a lot of the story, though I definitely don't consider it my best work. It needs some editing, though not a ton. (I think I even started working on that a while back, but I don't even know off the top of my head.) It needs a new cover, and I'd have to decide if I want to tackle it myself or outsource it. If/when I get around to re-releasing it, I'd probably do a paperback version, so I might want to turn this one over to the pros again. My biggest issue, though, is marketing and promotion. Do I really want to spend a lot of time on a book I like very much, but may not love? Do I just want to sort of passively put it out there and let my other books sell it for me? I don't know. When I have the schedule for everything else more formalized, maybe I'll think about putting it back out there during a quieter period.

Whew! That's quite the list! Somewhere in here, I need to catch up with my reading and my Netflix, both of which have been seriously neglected over the past year. But first, back to writing the final chapter of Chasing the Skies! (Yes, it has a title already, yay me!)

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Trope-Tastic Tuesdays: Birds of a Feather

Trope: Birds of a Feather

Description: We're all familiar with the Opposites Attract romance trope. Birds of a Feather is pretty much the opposite of Opposites Attract. (Oh ho ho, see what I did there.) Here, both characters in a relationship have similar personality traits and share common goals and interests. Birds of a Feather can also involve a number of sub tropes (though they're not necessary), such as Friends to Lovers.

Examples: Katniss and Gale from The Hunger Games, Harry and Ginny from Harry Potter, Tris and Four from Divergent, a whole lot of Jane Austen couples, many of the successful relationships on The Office

Pros: Birds of a Feather is probably a bit more realistic than Opposites Attract. After all, nothing but conflict after conflict would get exhausting after a while. People are often drawn to partners who are similar to them, and that can form the basis of a solid relationship.

Cons: In fiction, there has to be some conflict, or else things would get boring quickly. (Though that conflict doesn't have to come from inside the relationship, of course.) And even if the characters are similar, they have to have some distinguishing characteristics, or else the Love Interest just turns into a dull copy of the Main Character.

It's also worth noting in both the examples I mentioned and the full list on TV Tropes, Birds of a Feather is NOT a guarantee of a happy ending. Do with that what you will.

Would/Did I Use It?: Indeed I have! (I've also used Opposites Attract, but I think I lean toward Birds of a Feather more.) Most recently, I have Ro and Reggie from The Fall of the Midnight Scorpions. Soon after meeting, Ro even points out that she thinks they'll get along because he's a lot like her. That doesn't mean everything is sunshine and roses, though; some of the traits they share are darker or have negative connotations.

Probably the next strongest example I have of this trope is Jasmine and Aras from Out of Orbit. Both are strong leaders dedicated to the people they serve...and while this is one similarity that draws them to each other, it also poses a risk of interfering with their future happiness together.