Are You in the Know?

Hey everyone, how is your holiday season going so far?

Have you started the Riven City series yet? No? What better time then during the holidays?

And if you have, are you all caught up? Big things are going down in the city!

Did you know you can leave reviews for Vella books on Amazon? And give each episode a thumbs up? If you’re reading and enjoying my stories, I would appreciate reviews, follows and likes. That shows Amazon that readers are seeing and enjoying my work, and helps me make money.

And while I would write even without getting paid, the money is nice.

Big Decision

As most of you know, I made the decision to publish all my future books to Kindle Vella. It was not an easy decision, as I have enjoyed working with Kate Conway and Wicked Whale Publishing since 2018.

But indie publishing is expensive, and while my first two novels sold quite well, my last two have not. Some of that has been due to Covid, and not having the chance to get to book events. And some of it is because indie authors in general have a more difficult time getting their name out there.

Kindle Vella is changing that. It is free to publish my books there, and I have access to sites with free imagery I can use for the covers. I can publish episodes (chapters) as often as I want. While it’s true these books can only be read on Amazon, they are always available as long as you have a phone or device and internet.

So far, Got a Bad Case, first in the Riven City series, is available and I am currently writing and posting I Need a Hero, book two. I am planning shorter holiday books to fit into the series as well. The first one, Drop Them Bones, will be published in October, after I finish I Need a Hero.

If you have read Destiny, book one in the Traitors War series, you will be able to read book two, Deceit, this fall/early winter as well.

I hope that if you have enjoyed my books, you will continue to read them on Vella. I appreciate the support, and I love sharing my books with you all.

Got a Bad Case

Book One in my new clean romantic suspense series, Riven City, is now complete.

Now Entering Riven City

On April 13th, the day Destiny released, Amazon announced the arrival of Kindle Vella, a new platform for both writers and readers. Authors will be able to upload stories to Vella chapter-by-chapter. These are called “episodes.” The first three episodes of a story can be read for free, and after that, a reader will need to purchase “tokens” from Amazon (the amount of money for said tokens will vary, and they will be sold in bundles as well). Amazon will split the money made on stories 50/50 with their respective authors.

Why is this such an exciting opportunity? It opens up a whole new way for authors to share stories with readers. I am currently writing a story that will run concurrent with the first few books in The Traitors War series. This story involves characters from the kingdom of Battleclash as well as buccaneers. It will likely be shorter than my published novels, and offer readers a chance to see more of Imperium. It will also, hopefully, keep readers excited about The Traitors War series and engaged with it until the next book releases.

After that side story is published to Vella, I will introduce a new series that will only be published on Vella. Right now it’s titled Riven City, and is set in the city of the same name. Each story will revolve around different sets of characters: police, firefighters, boxers, librarians, harbor patrol, street racers, and of course – criminals. Characters from one story could and will pop into others, thus tying all the stories together. I’m excited to introduce Riven City and its inhabitants to all of you.

Kindle Vella will likely launch before the end of July this year. I will be sharing more about it and the stories I’m posting there in the future. Thank you to everyone who has bought Destiny or any of my Flying Ponies books – I greatly appreciate it and you! If you feel so inclined, leaving reviews of any of my books on Goodreads and/or Amazon would be most appreciated, as well.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Always Roll the Map

Pentallia is a pretty big place; as you traverse it along with the characters in Destiny, it would be advisable to bring along a map of the continent. This particular map is in the front of Destiny; the ones I use as I write are much more detailed. I will share those later. This map was made by my husband, Ryan.

Anyone a fan of maps? Reading them? Making them? I love fantasy book maps. I have a framed copy of the map from The Lord of the Rings on my office wall, right below my flintlock pistol (it’s a model, non-firing) and my two crossed swords (those are quite pointy). Fantasy novels are often set in worlds perceived in the mind of their authors, and as such, don’t share the same places as our world. This can make it hard to keep track of where characters are headed when they’re out and about, especially for the writer.

I knew my world of Imperium was going to be big. The continent of Pentallia, where Destiny is set, is big, too, with lots of kingdoms and places to get lost in. Having maps of Pentallia was going to be essential to tracking my characters’ movements. There are four continents in Imperium: Dracsulam, Ferox, Ignarus, and Pentallia, and numerous islands, that will get introduced later in other books in the series. Keeping track of all those places is a lot of work, but it’s fun. I enjoy making maps of my world.

Certain kingdoms in Pentallia have specific weather patterns, too. Iceflame and Frostwild are both in perpetual winter. Stormsurge is cold and rainy most of the year. WarCry is prone to a lot of thunderstorms that roll in off the Argentum Brine to the west. And some of the kingdoms, like Heartgrove and Halcyon, have moderate weather, with both rain and lots of sun. And Sceptre, home to the Shadowliege guild, is in the Swelters, a desert (which isn’t as hot as you would think with a name like that).

I will share pictures of my detailed maps I use when I’m working on The Traitors War books in a later post. I hope you have a wonderful Wednesday, and stay safe while you navigate this crazy world of ours.

Also, points if you know what movie the title of this post comes from ๐Ÿ™‚

What Comes Next

Destiny has been out in the world now since Tuesday, and has three wonderful reviews (by the way, one of the best things you can do for an author is leave a review on Goodreads or Amazon, or both, if you’re feeling really inspired). So what do I do next? Take time off? Rest? Relax? Celebrate?

Relax and celebrate, for sure. But rest? Take time off from writing? Not so much. My brain and my muse (Glucinda is her name – if you know where I got the name, cookies for you!) don’t really work that way. Book two of The Traitors War is already finished and has gone through the first round of editing. I’m not ready to start book three yet, so I’m switching gears and working on another story idea, about young ladies in a secretive society who kill things during the Victorian age in England. Interested?

There are a few other ideas nestled away in notebooks in my office that I plan to tinker with on and off in-between books in The Traitors War. Most of those ideas involve fantasy elements in some way; fantasy is a substantial part of my writing wheelhouse, and I don’t have any plans to stray from it for the next ten or so years.

The Traitors War will probably (I say probably because I’m not exactly sure yet) be a run of six books in the main series, accompanied by one standalone and a duology; all three books will be continuations of the main series, and will feature some of the characters (the ones who survive, that is….muwhahahaha….) These will take, if I publish one book a year, the next nine or so years. After that, this idea I’m working on could be published, or one of my other ones. At this point, I can’t say. A lot depends on my muse and what other ideas we come up with during that time.

At the moment, though, I’m working up a first draft of the Victorian killer girls, and I’m liking what I’m seeing. The characters are telling me who they are and what their goals and dreams are, and that’s an excellent start to our relationship. It will take at least one or two more drafts before it will be what it needs to be, and before it ever goes to my editor, but we’re getting there. It’s a process. Destiny took sixteen years to get ready. We’ll see if these ladies can beat that.

Have a wonderful weekend! If you’re traversing Pentallia, make sure to take a weapon, or maybe find a Shadowliege for an escort. They’ll be fairly harmless, as long as they don’t have a kill order for you, and they know where all the best taverns are.

DESTINY HAS ARRIVED

Good afternoon, everyone! How are you today? Is it spring yet where you live? I live in west Michigan, on the Lake Michigan side, and it’s definitely spring, if a little chilly yet.

I thought I would share some background about my new YA fantasy novel, Destiny. It’s book one in my new series, The Traitors War, and its about a group of young people trying to navigate the changing landscapes of their home kingdoms and their continent of Pentallia as war approaches, from both within Pentallia itself and from across the Argentum Brine sea to the west.

I got the inkling for this story back around 2005, and had some of the main characters, such as Lisette, Conrad and Bannan right from the get-go. Others got added in as I started a big three-ring binder and added notes and pictures of characters taken out of magazines (this was before Pinterest). As time went on, I added more notebooks and ideas, and gave up the binder, instead splitting the growing number of notebooks into ones for places and characters.

I sent a very early version of Destiny to a small agency back around 2016. The agent was very nice, but declined that story (titled Peril at Stormsurge). I set it aside when I got the idea for Lift and the Flying Ponies. It was always in the background, though, and even as I worked my way through the Flying Ponies books, I fussed with what I called “Pentallia.” I wrote two more versions, neither being what I was looking for. They centered more around Princess Anora Cardiff of Castle Frayfight (whom you will meet in book two), and I knew that wasn’t where the story needed to start. Anora was never meant to be the main character, either.

Once Spin, the third and final Flying Pony book was published (spring 2020), I went back to “Pentallia” in earnest and started rewriting it yet again. This version made its way to my husband Ryan, but it still wasn’t the story my characters and I wanted to tell. Thus, in late August of 2020, I again sat down to rewrite it (this was probably the seventh incarnation of “Pentallia” at this point). Finally, the story clicked with both my muse (whose name is Glucinda, by the way. If you happen to know where that name came from, you get two cookies!) and my characters. I finished it during late September and immediately started editing and polishing.

The book was now titled Clandestine, and it was sent to my editor at One Wicked Wordsmith in late December. From there, it went through some more editing to add in details about Pentallia. Once we were happy with that, it was sent to Kate Conway, who owns Wicked Whale Publishing, and who puts my books together for me. We decided the series should have crowns on the cover, and I actually have a water colorist who will be doing my future covers for The Traitors War. It was decided the title was too long; no matter how Kate placed it, it looked too awkward, and it was renamed Destiny.

From there the book was added into Amazon and ARCS (Advanced Reading Copies, or proofs) were ordered and a few were passed on to people for early reviews. Once corrections were done based on the ARC (and there are always corrections), the book was made ready for publication, and as of today, is now ready to meet the world.

I hope you enjoy Destiny. I hope you find yourself immersed in the story, and that you click with at least one of the characters. Book two is now done and through the first round of editing, and I’m hoping for a spring 2021 release.

Have a wonderful week!

The Unboxing of Destiny

The title says it all ๐ŸŽ‰๐ŸŒŸ This post is late, but here is the video ๐Ÿ“ฝ๏ธ

Destiny Cometh…

Destiny, first in The Traitors War series, releases Tuesday, April 13th.

Capture the Ponies!

Some visitors to this website may not know about my first trilogy, The Flying Ponies, so I thought I would do a quick post. This is the back cover copy for Lift, the first book in the trilogy:

For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Flynn, moving into the heart of the Michigan woods with her family is the biggest adventure sheโ€™s ever had. A self-proclaimed geek girl with a penchant for Sherlock Holmes, she wonders if sheโ€™ll ever have an exciting quest of her own.

But when she discovers an antique carousel tucked into the woods near her new home, her life soon spins out of control. For the ponies are so much more than their faded paint portrays. Filled with primal magic, the ponies are alive, and they have been waiting for her for a long time.

With the help of a young carousel caretaker named Black, Charlotte soon discovers that the Flying Ponies are in danger from others who want to possess them and their magic. Drawn into a battle for the carousel and ultimately the entire world while navigating her first true romance, Charlotte may have more adventure than she ever bargained for . . .

The Flying Ponies are available on Amazon, as both trade paperbacks and e-books.

SPIN HAS ARRIVED!

I have copies available directly from me. It’s also available on Amazon, along with Lift and Tilt, as a trade paperback or ebook.