Roots in a Dark History

Some stories come easily. They flow through your fingertips as though the words already exist somewhere and you’re just a wormhole for them to travel through. Other stories take far more work. My novella, The She-Wolf of Kanta, was one of the latter.

Just coming to terms with the story’s inspiration was a struggle. This story had roots in some dark places in history, places that weren’t comfortable to explore. Various Google searches would sometimes stick in my brain late at night with how horrific they were. I’ve got a strong sense of empathy, which can make being a horror author difficult at times.

Today I did a guest post over on the blog: Reading for the Stars and Moon. I talk in more detail about this and why it was so difficult to deal with when writing SWoK. I hope you’ll take a look.

This is Day 1 of my week-long blog tour. Check back here each day for new posts.

The She-Wolf Of Kanta will be released in ebook, audiobook, and paperback copies on April 17, 2018. I cant wait to share Mercy’s journey with you. 👣🌲🐺

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Looking Back on 2017

Despite the political turmoil of 2017, it was actually a really great year for me. Even though I sometimes feel a little overwhelmed at work since I’m basically defining the new role I’m in, I’ve been able to make up for it in writing, cosplay, and trips.

In January I went to my first out of state Con in Alabama, where I met some amazing new cosplay friends. This was also when we debuted out first CMV and created Black Knight Productions Cosplay. I met even more great new friends at SeishunCon in February, and in April I got to debut a new cosplay: Luka Macken from Black Butler.

At the beginning of May, I was able to announce my first novella publication (that wasn’t self-published) with Radiant Crown Publishing. This was the first time I was able to successfully negotiate a contract that wasn’t for a short story (after having to get an attorney involved on a previous one – that’s a whole other story.) It was so refreshing to have a contract be offered that was so pro-author, and it’s been wonderful working with Olivia and her team so far. I’m looking forward to The She-Wolf Of Kanta coming out on April 17th!!

MomoCon came storming along in May, and Luka was welcomed by a much bigger Con. Plus we got to do our first panel of the year on That Butler, the Musical. Promotion for my novella kept rolling along and by this point I was doing interviews for it.

In June I got the chance to visit Mexico, Honduras, and Belize on a cruise. It was a blast! I had such a wonderful time, despite a few complaints about the cruise liner. As soon as we got back, we went to see Book of the Atlantic in theaters, and had that whole fiasco where the film reel was lost. 🙄 Long story short, once we told Funimation about it, they got a new showing put up for us. It was a few months later, but it was wonderful to see in theaters!

By the end of June there was a cover reveal and a giveaway for SWoK (making it all the more real!) and two beautiful maps for SWoK got released as well. By the time DragonCon rolled around, I had both Scarecrow and Pajama William T. Spears being debuted on top of us doing two panels. We did an encore of That Butler, The Musical and also did Black Butler: Upstairs, Downstairs.

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r the DragonCon hype died down, I created a unique Halloween costume I called the Black-Feathered Queen (that I never got the chance to wear 😢). I also finalized Seto Kaiba (sans coat) for AWA. He went over really well! Kelley and I did our first professional photoshoot with Fairyluna Photography and it was a wonderful experience.

Right before Thanksgiving I negotiated the second contract for the year: one for my debut novel Stolen which is scheduled to release from Parliament House Press in 2018. I’m super thrilled to be working with them and have learned quite a bit about marketing from them already. Like I said before, 2018 is going to be BIG.

Finally in December we got to go to Disney World again, which we always love regardless of how often we visit. Even though it was cold and we had some trouble at the hotel we stayed at, it’s Disney, so we got compensated. They even thanked us for pointing out flaws when we checked out. I also helped organize a family photoshoot with Fairyluna again, which only made us want to schedule more down the road.

All in all, I’m grateful for the new friends, the new experiences, and the new knowledge I found in 2017. If 2018 is even half as good as this year was (again, an exception for the political climate), I’llbe happy. I wish y’all the very best for 2018, and who knows, maybe our paths may cross – if not at a convention, then maybe at least in book form. 😉

Narrator for SWoK!

Y’all know I’m a huge fan of audiobooks. I’ve listened to several of them on my commute this year, from Stephen Kong’s IT to The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker. So I was super pleased to find out that my awesome publisher, Radiant Crown Publishing, wanted to publish The She-Wolf of Kanta in audiobook format too!

I’m happy to announce that Kyra McFarland will be narrating the audiobook, and I honestly couldn’t be happier! She has a wonderful voice and does excellent voices to match the sound of the characters. I’m looking forward to hearing her bring my characters to life.

To learn more about Kyra, check out her website at: http://www.kyramcfarland.com/

The Mysterious Mill

Somehow even though I posted this up on all my social media feeds, I never got around to posting this map of Thomas Farrell’s Mill here on my blog. So today I’m remedying that!

When I was asked by my publisher to create maps for my novella, The She-Wolf of Kanta, I knew I had to include the mill. It stands as both a valuable resource for Kanta, but also as an intimidating monolith. What happens behind its powerful walls is both gruesome and bloody, and Thomas Farrell himself is an enigma.

Thomas Farrell’s Mill:

When Thomas Farrell inherited his father’s mill, there was only a single grinder, and it was human powered. The hard physical labor meant a high turnover rate, and the mill was anything but profitable.

See the full map and learn more about Thomas Farrell’s Mill

In the Mood for Halloween

It’s finally October, one of my favorite months of the year! We’ve been busy getting our Halloween decorations up today, which of course meant cleaning up the mess that remained after convention season came to a close last weekend. I also forgot that we got a big bag of miniature skulls to put around the house. So those are going everywhere.

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What I also like about October is how everyone expresses their love of horror! All month long, the Horror Writers’ Association will be showcasing the work of its members in Halloween Haunts. Horror authors will be talking about Halloween, posting snippets of upcoming books, or even hosting book giveaways. Last year I gave away a copy of Not Your Average Monster Volume 2. My post will be up on the 10th titled “The Angry Woman” about our eerie visit to New Orleans and the frightening haunting we experienced.

I also just sent off the final round of edits for The She-Wolf of Kanta! Fortunately the second round of edits weren’t nearly as difficult as the first, but I always enjoy putting together some nice background sounds that make me think of the piece. Usually it’s best without lyrics so that the words don’t interfere with my thoughts. A wonderful app that I like to use is called myNoise. I first got introduced to them as a way to help concentrate at work, but since then I use the app constantly. I bought the full pack to access all their songs, so I can get new sounds as they release them. The great part about it is that you can overlap up to 6 noises at once, all set to their own individual settings. Below are the sounds I mixed to get the feel I liked for She-Wolf of Kanta.

The Huu chant gives some nice low melodic sounds mixed with wordless vocals that give the mix an ethereal quality. The Autumn Walk literally has a person’s footsteps going through dried leaves which I really love since I associate Mercy with that scent and sound. I also really like the cawing crows occasionally with a few cheerful birds, like an idealized view of the woods that Mercy wishes she could visit. Finally the Twin Black Lodges has a nice mysterious/spooky sound that’s hard to describe, but was apparently inspired from Twin Peaks. If you have the app, give this mix a listen and let me know what you think!