Next Stop: The Fantastic and Horrific

Oh lordy, it’s been a while since I updated my progress on this WIP, hasn’t it? I’ve been dutifully working on it, not enough to really complete NaNoWriMo, but still doing some major progress all the same. This story has gone down some dark roads and some characters have really surprised me as I’ve gone along.

Happy Thanksgiving to everybody who celebrates it! I have a heck of a lot to be thankful for this year, including getting both a novella and a novel picked up by two separate small publishers! During the break, I’ve been making plans for booths and panels for next year and even though I’ve got a lot to learn between now and then, I’m super excited for this next phase in my writing career!

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

Current Word Count: 26,201 (Omg a whole 13k more since my last update!)

New Words Written:
11/6 – 2,019
11/7 – 2,096
11/8 – 2,147
11/19 – 2,226
11/25 – 1,519

NaNo Progress:
17,890/50,000 words

Progress:
Some very tense moments and some characters change directions completely. The Seeking is over but the devastation has only begun.

Next Up:
Dahlia will have to deal with the outcome of the Seeking and the renewal ritual will soon begin.

Commentary:
Oh my gosh, it makes me so pleased to see that this book has gone over the 30% mark! I’m practically a third of the way through on this novel and I’m really happy for that. The plot is precisely where it needs to be at this point, and soon we’ll be heading into the fantastic/horrific portion of this world. I already know of at least one scene I want to clean up, but I have to remind myself that this is draft one and it’s okay to leave it for now.

My love of the supernatural will definitely be showing soon and I can’t wait. The novel in many ways has built up to this section of the book, but it’s also a part I intend to pants my way through, so it’s exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. It will be both intense and horrifying, and it’s also the scene that inspired this whole book.

I also got a couple of sample pages back for the print edition of The She-Wolf of Kanta and OMG they’re beautiful! I can’t wait to have the copies in hand and be able to share them with all of you!

Advertisements

Stolen: A New YA Fantasy Book Coming Soon!

So yes, I’m running behind on NaNoWriMo again, but this time I have a very good reason for it! I’m very proud to announce that after looking for a home for over two years, Stolen has finally been picked up for publication!

The digital ink is just drying on the contract, but Stolen has been picked up by the amazing folks at Parliament House Press. I forget how I found them, but I absolutely loved their aesthetic and their covers are simply gorgeous. I’ve followed their line for several months now and all of their titles are so intriguing! According to their site, they’re trying to be the Guillermo del Toro of indie publishing world, and their title listing and range of styles really proves that. Run by the role model Shayne Leighton, who has had a hand in multiple areas of the entertainment industry, they’ve got an impressive list of upcoming books.

Here’s a quick run-down:

  • There will be ebook, audiobook, paperback, and hardback copies. Omg hardback… definitely a first for me!
  • Yes, it will be distributed, and according to a friend of mine who works in a Barnes and Noble, it’s a distributor that they work with regularly.
  • It’s Book 1 of a YA Fantasy series. Only the first book has been signed right now, so that gives me motivation to finish up the other two books!
  • Yes, I am super excited! Can’t you tell?

Here’s the rundown of what Stolen is all about!

Shaleigh is tired of dealing with her father. To escape from the delusions he lives in, she explores condemned buildings with her best friend. But when she is kidnapped by a creature who carries her atop a flying bicycle into another world, she realizes how much her father needs her, and is determined to get back home.

In a kingdom known as The Garden where minotaurs pull carriages and lion statues work as librarians, Madam Cloom and her faerie servant Teagan rule over the land with incredible but terrifying magic. Shaleigh must prove that she is the reincarnation of a long dead ruler, not because she believes it to be true, but because it’s her only chance at survival. By befriending Teagan’s ex-boyfriend, Talek, who has a plan to get her out, Shaleigh thinks she has outwitted everyone. She’ll do anything to get home and that might be her biggest mistake.

I love the community that Parliament House Press has and even though I’ve just signed with them, they’ve all welcomed me with open arms. I can’t wait to get this book out and into the world!

If you want to learn more about what it took to get Stolen here and the long journey it’s had from conception to completion, take a look at my recent newsletter that came out. If you enjoy reading stories like these about the patience and pitfalls that being a writer takes, please consider signing up for my mailing list! You’ll be the first to know about any new publications coming out, and the first to know about appearances I’ll be making.

Well that was gruesome

Ever write a scene where you just sit back in your chair and give a deep sigh, knowing that you probably just wrote something that will haunt somebody’s nightmares if this ever sees the light of day? I love those moments. Those moments are what make me really enjoy writing horror. A little voice in the back of my head worries that some things are a little too dark for YA, but who’s listening to them anyway?

I was very behind on NaNo (I know, and it just started!), so I’m up late tonight finishing up. No, I haven’t even started on today’s wordcount yet, but damn it feels good to be up to speed at least!

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

Current Word Count: 13,414

New Words Written:
11/2 – 1,192
11/4 – 2,078

NaNo Progress:
1,833/50,000 words

Progress:
Some hiding places are better than others, and some risks really aren’t worth taking. This scene started out tense, and then got a whole lot worse for everybody involved.

Today’s Research:
Various animals including tapeworms, spiders, and owls. I know, a pretty strange mixture!

Next Up:
An unexpected visitor, and Dahlia must learn to come to terms with what just happened.

Commentary:
Not bad for trying to catch up! I know I still have to hit the wordcount for today (Day 4), but I’m still pretty pleased! Also this scene was super intense, and 2k words just flew by once I got going. Dang. I wasn’t joking about those nightmares either, heck I think I just gave myself nightmares! But that’s good, right?? 😉

If you’re also doing NaNo, why not send me a buddy request? Here’s my profile page!

NaNo Day 1: Success!

Hoo boy, it’s the first day of NaNoWriMo! I’ll be honest, when I woke up this morning, I was both excited and nervous. It took a bit to shake off the remnants of Halloween last night and get into the mode of writing today. Even though I’ve participated in and won multiple NaNos in the past, the first day always makes me anxious.

This year I’m even rebeling by working on an already started novel. I do that during most of my NaNos because it’s easier for me to already know the tone, the environment, and the characters.

If you’re also doing NaNo, why not send me a buddy request? Here’s my profile page!

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

Current Word Count: 10,144

New Words Written:
11/1 – 1,833

NaNo Progress:
1,833/50,000 words

Progress:
A bittersweet family reunion gets abruptly interrupted. Dahlia has a number of obstacles to pass, and this Seeking is turning out to not be following any of the rules.

Today’s Research:
Rattlesnakes! Apparently they’re normally 2-3 feet long, though they can grow up to 8 feet long. They’re also pretty much all over the North and South America.

Next Up:
Dahlia finally reaches her destination, but nothing is as stable as she had hoped it would be.

Commentary:
Ya’ll have no idea how happy I am to see that progress bar up to 12%! I was worried I would freeze up when I finally sat down to work on this novel again, especially since it’s been almost a month since I’ve actively worked on it. Fortunately the words have flowed quite nicely, and I’m looking forward to unfurling this world and the craziness that Dahlia has to deal with on a regular basis. Also, I got more than the minimum word count requirement for today! Here’s hoping I can keep up this beautiful pace.

Writing Diverse Books

If you’re at all involved in the writing or publishing scene, you know how big of a push there is right now for diverse books. There is a very sad dearth of novels in the world that have protagonists who are a Person of Color (POC). Historically most novels don’t have any POCs except maybe a token one here or there. These characters are often relegated to having the smallest role in a story, if they have much of a role at all. Current novels are trying to tip the scales so that people don’t have to reach so far to find protagonists that represent them that they can connect with. Hence the hash tag #WeNeedDiverseBooks was born.

I’ve tried to embrace this more in my writing, especially in the novels/novellas that I write. My WIPs of the last couple of years have all had protagonists who are POCs, but as you can see from my picture on the sidebar, I am a white woman and therefore will always have more difficulty in writing from a different perspective from my own. However that doesn’t mean that I just don’t do it because it’s more difficult, it just means I do more research to do it properly. There are plenty of things in writing that I’m not an expert in, but have to learn about to write it realistically.

I strive in my stories to write all my characters as realistically as possible, that includes flaws, mistakes, backgrounds, etc. It’s important to do the research to represent your POC characters realistically as well. I thought I’d do a shout-out to one resource that I’ve found invaluable in this: Writing with Color. This site has been incredibly helpful for me, from helping to point out appropriate skintone descriptions to describing hair, they have a ton of useful content available. As useful as their site is though, that should only be part of the research.

Stuff Mom Never Told You is an excellent podcast that’s gone through multiple hosts in the past year or so. However you can still find all their excellent podcasts online, which still reference books for even further research. Here are a few of my recommendations:

I consciously try to put more women and POCs into my stories. I think it’s important to get more stories into the media that include POCs so that there’s a higher chance that we’ll see them more represented in movies and television shows, so there are fewer incidents of tokenism and caricatures and just outright racism. It’s a slow process, but slowly the arena seems to be changing for the better.

My novella coming out on April 17th, The She-Wolf of Kanta, includes a teenage black woman who has to survive a town rampant with werewolves and human trafficking. A novel I currently have out on submission, Stolen, includes another teenage black woman who is kidnapped into another world and has to somehow prove that she is a reincarnation in order to survive. The novel I’m currently writing, The Seeking, has a teenage black woman who is in a loving lesbian relationship, but also must hide from the entire town for a full day each year in order for her family to keep it’s place of power. Diversity is very important to me, and sharing stories that include diverse people is a major goal of mine.

And what about the LGBTQIA+ community you might ask? Let’s save that for another post, but trust me, it’s just as dire.