January was a good writing month. I was blessed with three weeks of full-time writing—no kids, no day job, and even the garden was relatively low-maintenance.
Fatemaker, the third and final book of my Fatecarver series, had been hanging over my head for months. I’d meant to write it during the winter school holidays, but a different book jumped out and wrote itself down instead (more about that in a moment). In the lead-up to Christmas, I finally wrote out a detailed outline of Fatemaker, so when I hit January, the writing flowed at a rate of over 4000 words per day for weeks. On 25 January, I typed The End on the series, which felt amazing.
But I didn’t just write a novel in January. While banging out Fatemaker, I was also preparing for the publication of Demonic Summoning for the Modern Woman—a cosy urban fantasy I wrote when I meant to be writing Fatemaker during the winter. I sent a brief to the cover designer and the manuscript to the editor early in the month. Working with the cover designer was a nice distraction and break throughout the month, ending with a fun and bold cover I love. Then, on the last day of the month, I got the manuscript back from the editor, so Demonic Summoning for the Modern Woman is well on its way to a March publication date.
But that isn’t all. I wrote a new short story, almost finished a second short story, and fired off a bunch of magazine submissions, one of which resulted in an acceptance that squeaked into January on the 31st.
January was supposed to be focused on marketing—I’ve got a fun promotion project in the works—but I simply didn’t have the time or headspace to do it. I did, however, manage to make some progress, and at least get the ball rolling.
Weekly blog posts and my monthly newsletter rounded out the workload of January’s 10 to 12-hour workdays.
In fact, I accomplished so much in January, I’ve ticked off the majority of my 2023 first quarter goals. It was a great way to start the year!
Young Adult fantasy is a popular genre, not just among the teens it’s primarily geared toward. Who can resist a good coming-of-age story or a swashbuckling adventure?
Here are some YA fantasy books from authors you may not have heard of before. They include all sorts of awesome things like dragons, samurai, mermaids and Greek gods. So whatever your tastes, there’s something for YA fantasy lovers here.
The last thing Marella wants to hear is that they’re moving halfway across the ocean during her senior year. But her father’s been posted as Ambassador to Pharlandzi, a rival mermaid kingdom, and no amount of pleading is going to change the inevitable: Marella is leaving her school and all of her friends behind to swim in strange waters.
As an ambassador’s daughter, she’s expected to know all the etiquette, curtsy to the right people and bite her tongue around others. But that tongue of hers has always gotten her in trouble, and now she’s in too deep. She doesn’t know who submitted her name into this challenge, but the one thing she knows? It’s death, or victory, and her father didn’t raise a loser. She’ll come back a dragon-riding warrior, or not at all.
She must enter the realm of the dead, or lose the one she loves forever.
Grief becomes revenge when Shou vows to kill the kami king. Only one weapon can destroy him, and it is lost in the realm of the dead. Driven by her hope to save the one she loves, Shou goes where even the kami cannot follow.
But the realm changes those that enter it. And a price must be paid, one that Shou’s allies do not want her to accept.
Further betrayal awaits Shou. And a final decision as the prophecy is unveiled. For with the death of the kami king, another must rise to take his place.
The epic conclusion to The Kami Prophecy, a YA series full of action, mythical creatures, and romance, all set in a fantasy world inspired by feudal Japan.
The fate of the kingdom rests on the shoulders of a young warrior touched by the gods…which prince will she choose?
Ilia is Gods Touched, a young warrior who has spent her entire life sequestered behind the walls of the temple of the goddess of war. The goddess herself brought her there, leaving her in the care of two other misfits, with only the warning that her visions of the future would put her in the path of the gods. Now, so many years later, that prediction has come true.
Prince Aristo has been raised to be king, but when his parents put together a tournament for the eligible young ladies of the kingdom to fight for his hand and an unlikely enemy appears instead, will Ilia’s help be enough to spite the gods and help Aristo keep his kingdom, or is there something deeper at play?
All Lucille ever wanted was a perfectly normal high school experience, but her town doesn’t do normal. Not when a few Latin words set her hand on fire, the entire town gets possessed by evil spirits, and the cute guy she’s got her eyes on brings a freaking sword to the battle.
Now Lucille has to make a decision: return to her cushy, and safe, life-style at the boarding school, or face the monsters that hunt her and the magic that lurks inside of her.
A Drop of Magic is the first of this action-packed YA fantasy series with the wit of Buffy, the magic of Charmed, and all the drama of the Vampire Diaries.
I’m pleased to announce the release of Fatewalker–book 2 of the Fatecarver series!
What will you become–woman, falcon or snake?
Kalish is a Fatewalker, chosen by the god Iskra to save her people and their enemies from a common threat. But how does a young woman who’s been banished by her own clan convince anyone to listen to her?
As her shape-shifting power grows, her influence does too, but Kalish’s personal goals—a home and a people she belongs to—seem as far away as ever.
Personal and societal struggles intertwine as Kalish and her followers grapple with the question, not of who they are, but of who they wish to become.
Book 2 of the Fatecarver trilogy is another action-packed fantasy, full of strong female characters and magic realism! Pick up your copy today and continue your adventure!
I’m thrilled to be able to reveal the cover of Squelched. Release date January 2020.
Tory’s life is comfortably routine. She has her cat, her job at the Laurel Glen Library, and her friend Jess. She’s happy and content … until she loses her job, finds her deadbeat dad, and discovers she’s a monster with deadly powers.
FBI Agent Nico Michaelson was hoping for the assignment to launch his career. Instead he’s stuck following Tory and her crazy cat. But is she really the monster the government believes she is? And is he willing to kill her, or would he rather ask her out?
Sparks fly in this lighthearted urban fantasy in which the only likely casualty is one man’s heart.
Last Friday was National Poetry Day. Unfortunately, I didn’t get around to posting a poetry blog on the day, but I did work with my students on poetry all week.
When I give my students a writing challenge, I like to do the challenge alongside them. That way, if they’re shy when it comes time to share what they’ve written, I can share my writing first. Usually, they’re willing to share after hearing my hastily-written first-draft junk.
So, needless to say, I wrote a lot of poetry last week. A lot of silly, poorly thought-out poetry. Here are a couple of them that made my students giggle.
They think I have a superpower
A skill that’s so superb,
It rivals every other hero.
Villains it perturbs.
I smile inside because I know
They are all mistaken.
The only skills that I posses are
Smiling well and faking.
Cat by the Fire
He worships his god,
Prostrating himself nightly
Before the fiery altar,
His rumbling prayer
A tuneless drone.
His faith and devotion
As he attacks any
Who prevent his adoration
Of the winter god.
In the Fish Tank at the Library
There once was a mermaid so fair
Passersby all stopped to stare.
She hated the looks
And hid behind books.
A book-loving mermaid is rare.
I’ve neglected my blog lately. Between springtime and the end of the school year, I’ve felt like my time at the computer has been limited, and I’ve felt the need to focus on editing.
I know, most people would take any excuse to avoid editing, and I admit it can be daunting to wade through a 70,000-word first draft of a story, knowing it needs lots of work.
It’s a bit like tackling the garden in springtime. If I look at the entire garden—all 300 square metres of it (about 3200 square feet)—when it’s waist-high with weeds in September, I freak out. It’s too much to do. I think I can’t possibly clear all that area, turn all that soil, haul compost to it, and then plant it. It’s more than one person can do.
But I do it every year.
I divide the garden into 26 beds, and I make myself a weekly plan from September through November. Each week, I have certain tasks, certain beds to prepare, and I don’t let myself look at or think about everything else that needs to be done. Each piece seems doable, and since I think I can do it, I dive right in without freaking out. Bed by bed, the entire garden is cleared, turned, composted and planted. When I arrive at late November, I can look at a beautifully prepared and planted garden and think, “Wow! I did that!”
It’s the same with editing. A first draft of a novel is a horribly weedy garden—there are inconsistencies, plot holes, leaps of time that make no sense (sometimes unintended time travel, too), typos, spelling errors, grammatical errors, scenes that don’t advance the plot, scenes in the wrong places … the list of problems with a first draft could scare anyone away from editing.
So I break it into chunks, just like the garden.
I read through my novel over and over, and each time I focus on one or two problems. I start with the big ones—continuity, inconsistency, plot holes, pacing. Then I move on to smaller problems—characterisation, dialogue, action within each scene. Then I move on to even smaller problems—grammar, spelling, and regional language issues. With each reading, I focus on a subset of things, ignoring everything else.
And suddenly, editing isn’t overwhelming. It’s manageable and even enjoyable, because I can see the improvement at each step of the way, without fretting about all the work still to come.
Hence the neglected blog—when I’m having fun editing, sometimes I forget to stop and do other things.
I sit down at my desk and breathe a sigh of relief. It’s quiet here, in my office. Not like the noisy library where I worked yesterday.
But, no, that’s not true. I hear the roar of the surf in the distance. The trickle of the artificial stream in the garden overlays the sound of the ocean. When I step to the office door, a goat greets me with a maa. Starlings mutter in the treetops, magpies warble on the fenceposts, and a fantail chitters in the shed. A plover’s percussive call is underlain by the chirping of a thousand crickets.
The neighbour rumbles past in his tractor, carrying a bale of silage. I can hear his son in the paddock shouting and whistling at his five barking sheep dogs.
It is far from quiet.
And yet …
Somehow, the sounds here caress my thoughts, rather than intruding upon them like the horrible Muzak from the library cafe, or the screams of tired children, or the drone of the automatic returns machine—please place the item on the trolly.
The fantail flits in and out of the story I’m writing without knocking over my coffee. The goats and sheep graze beside me without barging across the keyboard. The crickets keep to the grass. The tractor rumbles along without leaving tire tracks on my manuscript. The ocean doesn’t even wet my toes.
But somehow, I’m certain these sounds end up in my stories, caught up in the weave of plot and characters. The fantail is there, in the flick of a character’s fingers. The ocean is the relentless sound of the plot line. The tractor is the rumble of disaster bearing down on my protagonist. The goats’ deep maa is the voice of wisdom, and the crickets’ chirping lightens the mood.