Dust Cover Reveal

Today, I get to help reveal the cover of Dust by Kara Swanson! I’ve been waiting to read this since I met Kara several years ago and am so excited to be taking part in her special day! Dust is a Peter Pan retelling/sequel and the first installment of the Heirs of Neverland duology.

Blurb

Claire Kenton believes the world is too dark for magic to be real-since her twin brother was stolen away as a child. Now Claire’s desperate search points to London… and a boy who shouldn’t exist.

Peter Pan is having a beastly time getting back to Neverland. Grounded in London and hunted by his own Lost Boys, Peter searches for the last hope of restoring his crumbling island: a lass with magic in her veins.

The girl who fears her own destiny is on a collision course with the boy who never wanted to grow up. The truth behind this fairy tale is about to unravel everything Claire thought she new about Peter Pan-and herself.

Aditional Info

Dust will release from Enclave Publishing in July 2020 with a limited edition hardback. Preorders are open now at this link: http://bit.ly/HN-Dust

Adittionally, there is some awesome preorder goodies! To sign up, just submit a copy of your reciept here: https://form.jotform.com/200117693286153

Looking Back but Moving Forward

Happy 2020, everyone! I’m not too late for a New Year’s post, am I? 😉

As we enter not only a new year but also a new decade, I’m looking back on my accomplishments… and I have to say, there’s a part of me that’s disappointed. There are so many things I had intended to do by now that never happened. I didn’t think I’d still be living at home, for one. But when I think about it, I’ve done several things I never thought I’d get the chance do to, either. So, instead of focusing on the negative, today I’m going to list my top three accomplishments from the past decade.

  1. I graduated both high school and college with honors. And made some amazing friends while I was there 🙂 Hello, Suspects, I miss y’all!
  2. I joined a church that’s truly on fire for God and have attended the Italy mission trip twice!
  3. I not only wrote a book, but have gone to conference and pitched it. This is something I honestly thought I’d never do. I doubted my ability as a writer through most of my teen years and it has taken a lot of encouragement from dear friends for me to reach the place I’m at today. So Sven, Ivy, Amanda, and all my Realmies, if you are reading this, I just want to say a big thank you!
  4. And Bonus: I got my first story published!

Now, that’s a list I can be proud of! And one I’ve kept in mind as I determine my goals moving forward. There are all the usual New Year’s Resolutions, of course: be more active, eat healthier, finish that cross stitch I’ve had since I was ten… But my top three goals for the year are these:

  1. Move out. And I do have a few nebulous possibilities for this!
  2. Indie publish (aka. self-publish) To Slay a Curse. I know it will be a lot of work, but I just feel that’s the right path for me. And I can’t wait to start this adventure and share my work with the world!
  3. Build relationships. This includes staying in touch with old friends, strengthening friendships I’ve made since moving to Cape Girardeau, and stepping out of my comfort zone to meet new friends. It’s daunting, but will be worth it in the end!

So, tell me, what is your biggest accomplishment of the 2010’s (or just 2019)? What is your biggest goal moving into 2020?

I'm Back!

Wow, November has been a crazy month! Even with my social media hiatus I was completely overwhelmed. Part of me wants to take life hiatus and do nothing at all this December 😛 But the rest of me really missed it. So I’ll probably just be on limited usage for a while 😉

Why was I so overwhelmed? I’ll give you a quick run down of my month and a little look ahead at some great things coming up. To start, the main event!

NaNo

I had a lot of fun with my first attempt at NaNo! I joined the virtual write-in for my area once, but found I really work best alone. LOL! However, I checked in with friends a lot and motivated myself by posting fun updates when I hit milestones. As for finishing, if you just look at word count I didn’t do too well. I went in knowing it was highly unlikely I would make 50k. So, I mentally set a goal of 40 with a minimum of 20…and I hit just over 11.

Really, I’m ok with it. My brain very insistently switched tracks to research half way through the month, making it really hard to concentrate. But I still wrote more in a month than ever before and made solid progress on a new project! And hey, I know a lot more about indie publishing now 😉

Personal Life

I’ve also had a lot going on in my personal life. First off, I had a birthday! I celebrated turning 26 with some of my very favorite things: A bonfire, Turkish food, reading, writing, and awesome people. We also had a great Thanksgiving with my Grandma. And wonderful news: I found out I’m getting published! More on that in at the end.

Unfortunately, not everything has been good news. My health went through a few major swings this month. Nothing too bad. I’ve just been really tired and it’s made productivity much harder.

There has also been some unpleasant stuff going on at work. Can’t say too much here. But essentially, my amazing boss had to resign suddenly due to a very serious health problem. Not only are we worried about her, but it has been very rough managing the workload. If you believe in prayer, I would ask that you pray for everyone involved as we try to figure our way through the rest of the school year.

So, it’s been a lot. But over all, things are truly looking up as we go into December and Christmas!

Looking Forward

As mentioned previously, I’m getting published! I found out a couple weeks ago that a story I submitted to Havok was accepted. For those who don’t know, Havok is a publisher of Speculative Flash Fiction (aka Sci-fi and Fantasy stories under 1,000 words). They post a free story to their website every day. And mine will be going up January 3! It will be my first published work and I am so incredibly excited!

In other news, I’m very seriously considering going indie for my books. As I have never had a business course, this really scares me. But I’ve been doing extensive research and my dad is an accountant. That’s got to count for something, right 😉 My current goal is to get this all up and running by the end of 2020.

So, that’s been my whirlwind of a month! Whew, made me tired just writing about it. How was yours? Anything exciting happen? Is there any way I can pray for you as we close out the year? Drop a line in the comments below or send me a message!

NaNo Announcement!

I’ve been hearing about NaNo for years, and was always so daunted by the idea of writing 50K in a month that I never tried. But this year, I’m finally joining in, and I’m so excited! However, in order to give this thing my best effort, I’ll be taking a short hiatus from social media. Look for me in December with all the updates!

For those of you who don’t know about NaNo. It’s officially called National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and is a great community building program to assist writers in completing a book of 50,000 words in one month. I’ve been exploring the new site and there are tons of cool features! From pep talks by well known authors, to forums where you can ask questions or just geek out, to buddies who encourage each other and share work, writers of every level can find something to love. And don’t forget your personalized page for each WIP! They even have a special Young Writer’s Program. If you’re a student or teacher of writing, definitely check this out!

I’ve been doing a ton of prep work through the month of October as I want to be sure I can give this thing my best shot! Though I won’t be too worried about winning 😉 I’m just looking to have a good time and find some motivation to get started on a new project.

What’s this project, you ask? Well, if you read my Red Warnings story from Sunday, you’ve got a pretty good idea! I’m so proud of that story, I’ve decided to build off it and bring to you a Norse inspired Little Red re-imagining 🙂

Intrigued yet? Let me whet your appetite with a rough blurb!

A Shieldmaiden of the Drake Clan sworn to protect her people, Svenja finds herself inadvertently in possession of a dangerous magical cloak. She knows to use the cloak will be to unleash an ancient curse. But when her little sister is taken by the dread Warg Clan, the soul-sucking cloak’s power may be the only thing capable of saving her.

Need more? Lets top it off with a pretty aesthetic!

And that’s all I can say right now 😉 Have a lovely Thanksgiving and I’ll see you in December!

Red Warnings

A dire warning. A cursed cloak. A wolf that steals one’s soul. What’s more fitting for Halloween? If you like Little Red and Werewolves, you’ll enjoy this! I’d give it a PG 13 rating for some darker themes and a little blood.

All my life I have been warned. Mother had a list. Don’t play in the river, you’ll catch a cold. Don’t pet stray dogs, they carry disease. Don’t scowl so much, your face will stick. The boys will break you. The woods will kill you. And the wolves will steal your soul. But there is one warning that stands out from the rest.

“Listen well, Little Rose,” Granny said on my birthday, handing me a package. Inside was a fur cloak dyed a deep red. I brushed my hand across the soft pelt and gasped at an odd tingling in my fingers. Granny pulled my hand back and held my gaze. “This cloak holds a great power, one that can protect but may just as often destroy. You will learn to use it properly in time. Till then you must never put it on if I am not there.” This is the only warning she has ever given, and the only promise she has ever asked of me.

*****

I trudge, grumbling, through the whirlwind of snow. Where has that girl gotten to? She was right beside me not five minutes ago. Honestly, how many times must I remind her to stay within shouting distance? I stop again to peer about me. With hair that dark, my wayward sister should be a beacon in this pale storm. But I can’t see far through the thick, soft white. I will have to rely on my ears.

“Lilly!” As soon as the cry leaves my throat, I know she will never hear it. The howling wind yanks fiercely at my braid and claws through my threadbare skirt. I hug the basket to me in an effort to keep both the fresh bread and myself warm. I have the cloak with me, of course. I carry it always, hoping Granny will give me another lesson. But no matter how the cold bites, I will not put it on alone. I made a promise.

I stumble on. Every moment the storm grows more frantic and I with it. How could I have lost her again? If mother were here … but no, don’t even think that far. Mother is gone and never coming back. This bundle of raven haired, bright eyed curiosity is all I’ve got left, and if I don’t find her soon…. But not to worry! Not to worry, we are well overdue at Granny’s by now. Surely, she will have sent someone to fetch us. Perhaps Lilly’s there now. That’s when I hear the scream.

Running blind, I head in the direction of the marrow-freezing sound. “Lilly! Lilly!” Another scream, much closer now. Then silence. A few more feet and I stumble over something in my path. Sprawled upon the snow, I take little notice of my scattered belongings. What draws my attention instead is the nightmarish form I fell over. My sister, bloodless pale, lies contorted under me. A dark shadow lurks behind.      

Watching her dark blood pool against the blinding snow, something snaps within me. Warnings and promises alike dissolve in the heat of my fury and fear. Snatching up my death-red cloak, I throw it on, staggering at the power coursing through me. I’ve had very little training yet; instinct will have to do. The shadow leaps forward and a viselike grip encompasses my chest. My nails elongate just in time, sharpening as I shove back hard. A loud crack. Moans fill the air. I’m now snarling above a cowering huntsman.

“Please,” he begs, “I didn’t realize! It’s so hard to see.” But there is no feeling left in me. I lunge.

It’s over quickly and I stand panting in the cold; even this pelt is not enough to block the chill residing within me. I have never before felt this emptiness from the cloak. I want to take it off, shove it away, but find that I can’t. No matter how hard I try to stand, how viciously I tug at the red fur, it will not be moved. And that is when I finally understand. My howl cuts straight through the sharpest wind and echoes across the woods.

I should have heeded the warnings. I should have kept my promise. For the Wolf has stolen my soul.

Oath of the Outcast Review

This one’s not actually YA, but it’s so good I had to write a review!

When I saw this cover, I was intrigued. I mean, how awesome is that font? And ‘Dragon Keep’? I’m all there! Then I saw some of Claire’s posts and realized it’s a Scottish fantasy about brothers. At that moment, I knew I would love it.

Synopsis: Years ago, Rhys MacDuffy was brutally cut off from his clan, stripped of his name and inheritance, and banished to the remote Dragon Keep. Perched high above the Shang Pass in the land of Alsaya, he assumed the mantle of the Mountain Baron, serving out his sentence as the overseer of the worst outlaws and outcasts.

But one day he receives a desperate message from the clan who disowned him: MacDuffy’s Seer—his beloved brother—has been taken by their enemies.

With his band of Mountain Brigands and an unwelcome sidekick, Rhys leaves his mountain stronghold to find and rescue his brother. The tide of war is rising amongst the Clans of Alsaya, fueled by the magic-wielding sect of Druids who seek to unleash a dark force the world has long forgotten.

Can the bond of blood run deeper than banishment?

Things I Loved:

  1. Rhys/Mountain Baron: The brooding hero with a dark past and heart of gold. I love that for all his gruff exterior, he really cares about people. He’s basically spent the past seven years running around the mountains adopting the unfortunates and doing away with the truly evil.
  2. Family Bonds: I love a good sibling story, and this is one of the best I’ve read in quite a while. Rhys may be bitter and hold nothing but hatred for his former clan, but NO ONE touches his little brother. No matter how hard he tries, he just can’t escape the fact that he still loves his family, and they haven’t given up on him either.
  3. The Side Characters: So, there are a lot of them, and most don’t get much page time. But the main ones are all complex, multi-layered characters with distinct personalities and their own solid backstories.
  4. No Romance: While I read a lot of wonderful YA books that have great relationships and deal with serious, deep issues, it was so refreshing to take a step out of the norm and try something with a bit less boyfriend drama and a little more lives-on-the-line drama.

A Note of Caution:

As I mentioned before, this one is not YA and deals with some darker content than most of what I review here. I didn’t think it got too graphic, and I’m a wimp when it comes to bloody stuff, but if you are sensitive to subjects like torture read with caution.

My Rating: 5/5

An action packed story of the fierce loyalty between brothers. Full of dynamic characters, snark, and man drama. Seriously can’t wait for the sequel!