A Persistent Optimist

If you’ve only read my horror short stories, you may be under the misconception that I am a pessimist at heart. It may surprise you to know that I’m actually the exact opposite. I’m one of the most optimistic people you may ever meet actually. Note that doesn’t mean I’m bubbly, just an optimist.

I’ve been that way for most of my life and I strive to continue to be optimistic even when faced with some very bleak circumstances. If you ever meet me in person, you’ll know that I really do try to share that optimism with others too. (It’s a side effect of being an INFJ I think.) When a friend is in a really deep hole, I’ll pull out a shovel and slowly work to help them out of it. I consciously try to make the world a better place, even if it is through other-worldly horror stories or heart-wrenching fantasy. To continue this not-so-official goal of mine, I’m taking part in the “We Are The World Blogfest” cause the world needs to be a little bit more bright and cheery.

Basically the We Are The World Blogfest means that on the last Friday of the month, we all will post something positive and human. Something that gives you faith in humanity again. Isn’t it a refreshing change?

My April addition mixes a few things I love: short stories and technology.

These little short story dispensers sit in the center of a shop, usually a cafe, and you just plug them in and give them network access. All a user has to do is walk up, hit a button, and a random short story gets printed out. Now these stories can be filtered depending on the environment, such as stories targeting children or targeting a particular genre. Now as you can imagine, they’ve been quite popular in France, but they’re slowly trickling into the US as well!

Store owners love them because people will come in just to get a story, and then they are more inclined to come again since they’ve scoped out the environment. It’s a great draw for customers. Writers (like myself) appreciate them because they get our work out in front of more readers. And as for humanity as a whole? Well I think getting any kind of artistic or literary work out to the public for free is a good thing. We need an excuse to step away from our phone games and work email and conversations to step into a world built on words.

I’ve already signed up for the English version of this to submit a few stories of my own, but they don’t have that portion as beefed up as the French version yet. And unfortunately my French isn’t good enough to decipher everything yet. You can bet I’ll be keeping an eye on this though! I’m eager to see this take off!

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A Big Thank You!

First of all I want to say thank you to all the people who came out for my Facebook Launch Party last week! We had such a great time. There were giveaways, people talked about what essentials they would want in a city overrun with werewolves, I had an impromptu book unboxing – it was amazing! Yes, it was my first book release party and yes, it was more tiring than I expected. It’s taken me a few days to sort through all the giveaways and come to the realization that yes: that book really was published. I’m so grateful though and I’m looking forward to doing it all again in (*checks calendar*) 9 months omg!

If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll pick up a copy of The She-Wolf of Kanta, found on many platforms. If you enjoy it, or heck even if you don’t, I hope you’ll leave a review either on Amazon, Goodreads, or even Barnes and Noble. These all help!

Some housekeeping to address: I’ve added a new section for my 2018 Appearances which now requires its own listing. I’ll link the events I’ll be part of and the Facebook events associated with them so you can add them to your calendar. I’ll be selling copies of The She-Wolf of Kanta as well as signing copies too! Plus I’ll be sharing a booth with Morbid Smile so you’ll get a chance to buy some of her amazing work.

That said, I just added another event to the list. I’ll be a vendor at Henry County Fireworks on July 4th. Yes, this is a very local event (just down the street in fact), but it’s going to be a blast! I love supporting local groups and seeing these kinds of events make more of a showing south of Atlanta. I have other potential events on the horizon too, but I’ll hold off on sharing until I know for sure!

2018 is turning out to be quite a busy year and I’m excited to see what happens next! Thank you for following my journey and encouraging me to continue. I couldn’t have done this without so much support. My goal is that this is one of many books down the road, as you’ll hopefully soon see.

Release Day, Giveaways, and an Excerpt!

I’m so excited to celebrate my book birthday with all of you! This YA Dark Fantasy novella is now available in ebook, paperback, and audiobook. You can find it at:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

iBooks

Google Play

As part of the Launch Party over on Facebook today, you can read the first section of The She-Wolf of Kanta below. Be sure to drop by, we’ll be doing giveaways and talking about werewolves all day – including a beautiful She-Wolf bracelet, a wolf paw print pin, and a signed copy.

If you enjoyed reading this, please let me know and share with your friends! It’s the release day and I hope to get this novella out to as many werewolf-loving YA readers as possible.

 

First Section from

The She-Wolf of Kanta

 

I

 

The crickets were deafening as moonlight streamed down through the branches. Mercy’s pulse rang in her ears and her entire body was tense. Her left calf kept cramping up, but she ignored it. A moment’s delay when the beast showed its face could mean a gory death. She couldn’t fail tonight, not after months of practice. Behind her she knew Father was watching, and she wondered if he felt as nervous. The forest was deceptively peaceful, but Father said they were close, and that if she remembered her training, she could hear them, too.

She got into position in the middle of the clearing with her foot poised above the pedal switch. She tried to calm her mind and focus. The clamor of crickets surrounded them, but that was merely wrapping the noises beneath. She tried to listen closer. She heard an owl in a tree, her father’s raspy breaths, and the heavy, padding paws of the beast stalking her. Her mouth was dry and her body began to tremble. Father had said she would panic, that it was a normal reaction to facing one in the wild for the first time. That was the deciding moment, he had said. She needed to keep control of herself, but that was so much easier when she knew they weren’t near, when she knew it was safe.

Then she saw it. Through a thick patch of bushes, a pair of yellow eyes caught the moonlight and locked on to hers. Mercy froze. It was said when you looked into a werewolf’s eyes, you felt how easy it would be to become its prey. Facing one required both a strong mind and a strong body. It was as much a mind game as a physical one, and never had Mercy felt so small and insignificant. She had a very sensible and primal urge to run away. There was no way to prepare for that moment, Father had told her. That was the gamble of going trapping to begin with, whether or not you would be able to contain the urge to flee. She felt her legs shake but forced herself to stay rooted to the spot. If she ran, both she and her father could be torn apart.

When the werewolf lunged forward, the only thing Mercy could think of was how big it was. The careful planning she and Father had done over the past months was suddenly forgotten, and her mind went blank. When the creature leapt into the air, its arms out to its sides and its black claws extended, she went rigid with terror. All she could do was stare and gape and be fascinated by the size of it. She forgot the warnings, she forgot everything, until her father cried out behind her.

“Mercy!”

He cocked the gun and pulled her free from her trance. If he shot it, the beast was useless, and their work wasted. She slammed her heel down on the switch and jumped backward just as the beast landed. Four long black claws sliced at her back as she turned on her heel. She winced but didn’t slow down. Five seconds, Father had said. That was all the time she had before she was caged in with the beast. She locked her eyes on the branch she had put down as a marker and forced her legs to move. It was actually easier when she didn’t have to look the beast in the eye. Mercy leapt at the last moment, clearing the branch. Behind her she heard the cage hit the ground and the metal pin lock into place.

The werewolf was snarling, biting at its cage, its teeth making tiny indentions in the metal. The cage always made them hunch down so they looked smaller.

She turned to her father. “I’m glad you didn’t shoot.”

He was standing with his rifle held out, still aiming at the frantic, caged werewolf. “You were slow.”

She took a deep breath to get her body to stop shaking. “I panicked.”

He nodded and finally relaxed his arms and lowered the gun. “I warned you about that.” He went to the front of his truck and pulled out a long tube and a metal dart. Mercy had crafted many of them over the years, from whatever metal scraps they could find. The dart’s long metal tip was about three inches long, made to penetrate any part of the beast’s body. He loaded the dart and walked up to the cage. The werewolf within snarled and backed away, almost as if it knew what was coming. Father held up the tube, and with a single puff of air struck the beast in the leg. It let out a long, lonely howl and slumped to the floor. Its eyes drooped and a bit of saliva dripped down between a pair of sharp canines.

“It works fast, doesn’t it?” she whispered.

“You move that slow again, you’ll get worse than a few cuts on your back. You’ll be dead, or worse, one of them.” His blue eyes were hard as he glared at her. “I’d hate to have to hunt you down, Mercy.”

She didn’t look away or flinch under his gaze. “I know. It won’t happen again.”

He walked around the cage until he was near the beast’s rear then cursed under his breath.

“What is it?”

“It’s a female. I thought for sure you would have attracted a male, but I guess you’re too young for that still.”

Mercy felt a pang of frustration at her father’s words. She wasn’t technically a woman yet, and that would hamper her usefulness as bait. Male werewolves were drawn to women, not little girls. She didn’t understand why a female werewolf would come for her, though she supposed that considering how the males were preferred, there were probably more females left in the forest. Females were worth far less though.

Father slammed the side of the cage and crouched down to eye the beast with a curl of his lip. “If I had known it was female, I wouldn’t have wasted a dart on it. I should have checked first.” The werewolf rolled its eyes lazily to look in his direction.

Mercy put a hand to her father’s shoulder. “It’s alright. Maybe we can still bring her in. Surely somebody can use her.”

He sighed and got to his feet. “I doubt it, but I guess since I’ve already wasted the money, it couldn’t hurt to try.” He motioned to the leather straps hooked on to the tail end of the truck, and the ramp they would use to pull the beast into the truck bed. “Strap her up. We’ll drag her worthless ass in.”

Mercy nodded and set to work.

Counting Down to Launch in 3…2…1

If you’re subscribed to my mailing list, then you already know how busy things are around these parts. We’ve planning a book launch party over on Facebook, there’s the second blog tour going on right now, and I’ve had a guest blog about my nightmares posted up on the Parliament House Press Blog. Basically things are hopping, and I’m just trying to keep all these things straight haha.

The reviews for The She-Wolf of Kanta have been coming in and they’re just so GOOD. You can check out my Facebook Author page or my Twitter feed for links to all that’s going on, but let me try to break down all the things.

 

Facebook Launch Party

Come chat with me about werewolves! Enjoy the giveaways! Maybe even see me on video. This is taking place all day on Tuesday, April 17th, so make sure you drop in and enjoy the fun!

Two-Week Book Tour!

There are interviews about what I keep on my nightstand, deleted scenes that are seeing the light of day for the first time, reviews, and even a giveaway! It’s great to wake up every morning like it’s Christmas and see what’s been posted. I’m forwarding these out to my Facebook and Twitter feeds which will hopefully make it easier to keep up with. Check out the schedule below!

Tour Schedule:

Week One:

4/9/2018- BookHounds– Interview

4/10/2018- Twinning for Books– Review

4/11/2018- What A Nerd Girl Says– Guest Post

4/12/2018- The Life Stories– Review

4/13/2018- A Gingerly Review– Excerpt

Week Two:

4/16/2018- Jena Brown Writes– Review

4/17/2018- Confessions of a YA Reader– Excerpt

4/18/2018- Fantasy Book Critic– Interview

4/19/2018- Reese’s Reviews– Review

4/20/2018- Novel Novice– Guest Post

 

Come See Me!

Right now I have one festival finalized, but I’m waiting to see if any of the three other events pan out. For me, this has been one of the more stressful things – not because I’m shy about being around people (I can thank cosplay for helping with that haha), but because they’ve been kind of crazy to organize. I think I’m starting to get the process down now though, so expect to see more announcements down the road.

May 19th – Geranium Festival – McDonough, GA

I’ve been going to the Geranium Festival for years and it’s always fun to see what’s available! I think I still have a black and white picture of my sister and me dressed for the Old West from a few years back. So it’s crazy to think that I’ll actually be a vendor there this year! I’ll be sharing a tent with Morbid Smile, Heartfelt Knots, and a few other crafty friends. If you bring your copy of SWoK with you, I’ll be happy to sign it too. Come by and say hello!

 

Writer Wednesday Blog Posts

I’ve done several of these for the Parliament House Press Blog, trying to pull back the curtain on the writing process and talking about time management, the hard road it took to get to publication, and how my nightmares inspire me. That last one just got posted yesterday!

As hectic as it’s been, I’m looking forward to doing this all over again in January 2019 when Stolen gets released!

I’m thrilled for The She-Wolf of Kanta to finally see the light of day after years of thinking her story wasn’t marketable. I can’t wait for you all to visit Kanta and experience Mercy’s world. I hope you’ll join me next week when SWoK gets released!

Meanwhile I’m off to go organize the rest of these posts and events!

The Finish Line!

Oh my gosh, you guys. I can’t believe I’m writing this. I just finished the first draft for my YA Horror novel The Seeking!

I had to look back over my blog to see when exactly I had started writing this piece, and it was back on September 11th of last year – so about six months back. That’s a wonderful rate for me – The She-Wolf of Kanta took multiple years to finalize. This draft on the other hand needs work of course, but I generally know where it needs to be fixed and tweaked.

The Seeking was a novel purely inspired by a dream I had. I was Dahlia in that dream and I had a position of power in a society. I saw the Gray People lurking in the trees and had this horrible feeling of dread. It was poignant. When I awoke that feeling lingered with me for just long enough for me to scratch out the scene I had witnessed – and that’s how this novel was born. I guess you’ll have to read it if you want to find out what that scene was.

For now though, this book is being put aside so that I can take some time to celebrate and forget the novel so I can tackle the edits with fresh eyes next month.

Project: The Seeking

Each Seeking, the magic that protects the city of Carra must be renewed, which means the children of the High Family must go into hiding. Whether it be through disguise or bribe, through trusted friends or perfect hiding places, every child of the Priest family must avoid capture for the full day.

When things go wrong with the renewal, it’s up to seventeen-year-old Dahlia, the middle child of the Priest family, and her girlfriend, Bisa, to escape Carra and find the magical beings responsible for the protection. They must learn who would require such a cruel game to be played every year and if the protection of the Gray People is really worth such a deadly cost. What they will discover is far worse.

THE SEEKING is a YA dark fantasy novel

Words Written:
3/8 – 924
3/14 – 5,538 (OMG muse, calm down! haha)
3/26 – 2,058

Current Word Count: 67,102

Progress:
DONE!

Next Up:
Putting it aside for edits next month!

Commentary:
I can’t believe the progress I made on this book on the 14th. It was one of the final big scenes, and I had been putting it off for days because I knew it would be difficult to tackle. I kept finding other things to do instead of work on it, then on Wednesday my sister was like: “Why don’t you just work on it now?”

It seems simple, but damn. I was like, why not? Next thing I knew I had churned out 5.5k words and it was dark outside. I feel so good getting this novel finished. I already have some ideas of where I want to try to find a home for it. Meanwhile I can go play some video games for a bit and let my brain step out of the sauna for a little while.