5 Year Anniversary Instagram Giveaway!

I can’t believe it’s been five years since The Poppet and the Lune was published! Five years of indie publishing, five years of putting my weird-ass brain on the page and out into the world for all to see (or, at least, the handful of you who have read my books ;D). What an incredible feeling.

Five years ago tomorrow, it was my birthday. It was a Tuesday. And if I’ve learned anything in this life, it’s that new books are released on Tuesdays (for some reason). And that particular Tuesday was the day my best friend and I released our very first novels: The Poppet and the Lune, and The Dark Wife. It was the beginning of two very different journeys, but two very satisfying journeys all the same.

SO! To celebrate, we’re giving away TWO sets of signed copies of BOTH of our novels! This giveaway is taking place on Instagram ONLY, so if you haven’t got an IG account get on that! (It’s fun, and generally a much happier form of social media than all the others :p) The giveaway ends at midnight on May 23rd, and winners will be announced on May 24th!

Check out the details below, or on Instagram!

mythictalegiveaway

The Timing of Things

84Hello all! It’s been a while!

Life has been life, shall we say? And let it go at that.

But some exciting things have happened while I’ve been absent from this blog! I finally decided to take the plunge and apply for a few low-residence MFA programs in creative writing, specifically programs geared towards writing for children and young adults. And you know what? I GOT IN! I got in to my top choice, even!!! And this July I will be starting my MFA journey with the Vermont College of Fine Arts. *swoons*

What does this mean for my writing, other than my dream-come-true of working one-on-one with established authors to hone my skills? I’m not sure! And I feel bad about that. I know I promised the third book in the Arcana Series by fall of ’16, but now I’m not so certain. What I can promise is that I am working on it. Seriously. And I will not give up on it! I am a Taurus, so when I commit to something I am determined as HELL to get it done (see also: stubborn, bull-headed, etc.). But I also want to do the story justice, so it might take a bit longer to get it right.

Or, who knows?! Maybe I’ll be so revitalized by my MFA experience that I’ll be more inspired and energized than ever before and I’ll get it done even sooner than I thought! Maybe?

But speaking of Arcana Series news, two things! One: we are *this close* to wrapping on the audiobook for The Hierophant! Once again, Maria Marquis has narrated her way into my heart and shattered it into a thousand pieces (in the good way, like some stories are supposed to). I’m absolutely thrilled with it, and downright giddy about starting production on The Tower (omg Pax and his poetry! omg Nikolai’s storytime dinner hour [that’s what I call those scenes in my head…]! yass queen yaaaass!!!). And two: both books are now available in Kindle Unlimited! The Hierophant has been in the KU catalogue for a while now, so if that’s where you first read it and you’ve been waiting patiently for The Tower to join its predecessor, today is the day! Enjoy! :D

That’s all I have for now. I will be trying to update here more often (she says for the kajillionth time along with all the other absentee bloggers who pop in every few months to apologize for their radio silence :p :p :p)! But if you’d like to connect elsewhere in a more reliable and regular fashion, check out my Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook page :) (I’m especially fond of Instagram these days.)

<3!

I’m floating in a most peculiar way.

image courtesy of bowiesongs.wordpress.com

(This is not a memorial post or an obituary. There are hundreds, thousands of those published by now. This is a personal reflection on what David Bowie meant to me, individually. Your mileage may have varied.)

It took me a while to get my thoughts around David Bowie’s passing. See, he was an unusual important figure in my life–not unusually important, but important in an unusual way. A hero of mine? Maybe a little. A favorite musician? Among several. But his influence and importance did not begin there.

I didn’t relate to Sarah. I related to the Goblin King–strange, outcast, scheming. Always wanting what he cannot have. Desperate for a certain kind of love. And yet, so undefined, so ready to absorb all of our projections onto his character. Vague, but limitless. Dreamlike. Sure, a character created by Terry Jones and Dennis Lee, but brought to life by the man himself.

And when I was older and I had the world of music at my fingertips, it was not his rock ‘n’ roll suicide that captured my attention, it was the words of an artist, plunging deep into my unconscious mind. Don’t think you knew you were in this song, and this is your shadow on my wall, and

Cold winter bleeds on the girders of Babel
This stone boy watching the crawling land
Rings of flesh and the towers of iron
The steaming caves and the rocks and the sand.

But it wasn’t like with other music. It wasn’t like listening to the Flaming Lips or Beck or Weezer or whoever I was into back in the day. It always felt like there was a message there, scraps of messages, maybe, trapped beneath the surface of every verse in every song. Not messages to me, per se, but to the world.

One of my friends once told me they couldn’t “get into” David Bowie because his songs and his lyrics just seemed “so random.” And I get that. I really do. But to me, nothing in any of his work was either random or obtusely deliberate. It seemed, to me, that he always captured the essence of what he was going for…it was just never the thing you expected, or necessarily felt completely comfortable with. It’s easy to write an album of love songs, but it takes passion and guts to write and album about “the Ritual Art-Murder of Baby Grace Blue: A non-linear Gothic Drama Hyper-Cycle,” that “centers on the characters of a dystopian world on the eve of the 21st century.”

If ever there was a modern vessel for the muses, David Bowie was it. Even knowing he was facing death, David Bowie turned his fear and his thoughts into art, and made his death a part of it in a tasteful, impressive way. I cannot think of a more badass–or more comforting–way to leave this world. In many ways, David Bowie’s way of approaching, planning, and experiencing death may be one of the most inspiring things he’s done.

Death and I have an agreement. I do not hate death. I do not fear death. I do not pretend to like it or that I do not grieve when the ones I care about pass away, but I do not blame death for my grief, because grief comes from loving, not from loss. So I am not devastated by David Bowie’s passing, even though he was hugely influential in my inner creative live and during my formative years. Rather, I am happy to celebrate his life, and his acceptance of his own death, by taking up the gifts he gave us–his music, his videos, his films–and letting them remind me of my work and re-fuel me as an artist.

Rest in Peace, David Bowie. The world is better for having known you.

2015 Year In Review!

2015! What a Year! Let’s take a look.

As 2015 dawned, I was working full-steam ahead on a little sequel that would be known TOWER-smallas The TowerWhile that took up most of my creative attention for the first few months, come spring I found out I was among the ten incredible writers selected to attend Nova Ren Suma’s Young Adult Novel Writing Workshop at Djerassi! Basically my head exploded and I rode that high until halfway through summer. <3

In the meantime, I was finishing up edits on The Tower AND working with the incredible Maria Marquis on the audiobook version of GHOST CITY. I also started work on the novel that I brought with me to the workshop, (working title:) SAVAGE CASTLE, which I discovered was Too Fast, Too Furious a pace for me to continue with that precious gem. I know myself, I know my stories have a longer gestation period than some, and I conceived the idea and churned out the first 75 pages way too quickly (as much as I am still in love with the words I’ve written and the idea of the book) without letting all of it take firm root in my head and my heart. (Soon, though. Soon.)

ghost city audiobook imageOver summer, I attended Nova Ren Suma’s Djerassi workshop where I got to meet not only the author of my favorite YA novel to date (who is also an amazingly lovely person! Er, Nova is, not her book. That would be weird, if her book was also a person. Although…*jots down story idea*), but also nine other incredible and talented lady authors whose books I can’t wait to read when they are published! I had the thrilling, if harrowing, experience of doing my first reading (public speaking, blech), and the invaluable experience of talking about craft and industry with other authors from around the world.

Then BAM–the Ghost City audiobook was released!

BAM–The Hierophant read-along! 15 poorly planned days of insanity wherein I revealed read-along-rounded2little known facts and insights about The Hierophant, and even somehow got over my fear of being on video and posted a few vlogs where I got to read from the book and ramble about what I liked about writing it.

BAM–The Tower – Book II in the Arcana Series was released! Finally, after two years of writing and revising and editing until my brains fell out, my very first sequel was set loose upon the world.

AND THEN…rest. Lots of rest. Because it turns out I can’t keep up with the pace I was setting for myself in writing/publishing, in addition to working a full-time job.

And then…some sadness, too, because I made the mistake of comparing myself and my process and my speed of writing to that of other writers, faster writers, more accomplished writers.

And then…some writer’s block, as well, because what I want my books and my writing to be does not fit into the molds that others have shown me, and when I ignore the wild, outrageous ideas that inspire me to write, I end up listless, lost, disconnected from the story (and ignoring wild, outrageous me is specifically why I haven’t been able to work on SAVAGE CASTLE, something that’s only obvious to me now as I type this).

In short, 2015 was a very busy year that started with a bang and ended with a much-needed nap. But I’m slowly getting back on track, I think, reminding myself to trust the story, to trust the little inspirations that come along the way, and stop thinking about what one “can” and “can’t” do when writing a novel, or a sequel, or within the nebulously defined category of “young adult.”

So what am I working on, now that the bleak fog of writer’s block has finally lifted? As promised, finishing up the first draft of Book III in the Arcana Series is my main focus for the time being (when I’m satisfied with it, I will announce the title! Oooh what tarot card could it be??!!). I don’t want to be a mean author and make people wait years for another sequel. But after that, SAVAGE CASTLE has my full attention. I have…*strong feelings* about that book and, without putting too much pressure on myself, I know I need to get that novel written, for myself, as much as for my career.

It’s true, those novels are two utterly different creatures, but they both possess a different part of my heart. And I dare to hope that, someday, they might touch the hearts of a few other people, too.

So that’s it for 2015! Happy New Year everyone! May 2016 be a year of incredible stories for all of us. :)

 

November Update – Goods and Services

Hello! It’s been a while.

October rushed by in a haze of colorful foliage and fun-sized candy bars, and by fun-sized I mean full-sized, and by candy-bars I mean expensive dark chocolate and cheap red wine. (What can I say? Being 30 is thrilling and delicious.) While the wheel of the year has turned from the Autumn Equinox to the Witches’ New Year, and now to the month of NaNoWriMo and Thanksgiving, a lot has been going on in the world and in my life.

What do I have to report back to you? Oh, you know. A little of this, a little of that.

First off, if you’ve ever wanted to purchase signed paperback copies of any of my books, you can now do so directly through my website! Simply click on over to the Books page, click “Add to cart” on any of the books you’d like, and checkout through PayPal! (You don’t need a PayPal account to checkout.) All the orders go straight to me so if you have any special messages or instructions, let me know!

Also, since I have been formatting books for friends and family now for ages, I am pleased to announce that I have decided to start offering my services professionally. I have over 5 years experience in the self publishing world for both digital and print novels, and my own catalogue of professionally formatted books to prove it. So if you have zero desire to learn about formatting and every desire to publish your novel, please don’t hesitate to contact me for a free quote. (Also, if you’re participating in NaNoWriMo this month and you decide you would like a paperback copy of your novel once you’re done with it, mention that it’s a NaNo-Novel and I’ll take 25% off the price of your basic print interior layout!)

In book news: I continue to hammer away at Untitled Arcana Book 3! I will post more as that develops.

I hope everyone has had a lovely autumn so far!

 

 

Happy New Year

It’s still the beginning of the academic year for lots of people. It’s the beginning of Persephone’s descent into the Underworld. It is the end of the Days of Awe–the stretch of days between Rosh Hashannah (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur. To me, it feels like new beginnings.

Maybe it’s because these past ten days were the holiest days of the year for my ancestors. Maybe it’s because I am winding down from the riot of spring and summer, into the magic and quiet of autumn and winter. Perhaps I have not quite begun the actual descent into Hades, but I am on my way through the wilderness, to the entrance to the world below. I feel like I am on a pilgrimage, but with only a vague idea of my destination.

~*~

I’ve taken September off from writing. It felt like the right thing to do, when certain projects had obviously become too fraught with anxiety–when my creative self could not hear itself speaking through the clamor of outside voices. This is what happens, every time, when I worry too much about the “rules” of writing and publishing, or what other people say I can and cannot do. I have a bad habit of always believing other people know better than I do, and while it is excellent to be open to new ideas, it is never a good idea to let outside influence undermine your internal guidance.

I’ve lost the thread of too many good projects that way. Now, I am taking September to clear out those instructive voices, to reconnect with that part of myself that remembers why I write stories in the first place. I am taking the time to read books and cook good food, to explore new ideas and opportunities, and to reestablish a place for spirituality in my life. Writing will always be my most sacred act, but sometimes it loses its sacredness when it is tied up in earnings and reviews and the expectations of others. There must be other places for spirituality to shine through, safe spaces that have nothing to do with birthing stories into the world.

But what I have re-learned this month, as I have re-learned again and again in my life, is that some stories–the best stories, even–are for yourself. And some of those stories you need to keep to yourself–at least for a little while. For any kind of magic (and writing novels is the greatest kind of magic I know), there is power in containment, in holding a secret in your heart and your hands, feeling it take on shape and form. The stronger your knowing of the soul of that story before you bring it into the world, the easier it will be to feel your way through the telling of it. The stronger your knowing of the soul of the story, the easier it will be to know good advice when you hear it, too.

~*~

So what is the (writing) plan, now?

I flatter myself to think that some of you may be interested in knowing something about when you can expect Book 3 in the Arcana Series. ;) I can’t say anything definitive at this point other than it is coming. Unofficially, the plan is to have it out around this time next year. But a lot can happen in a year, and in fact I am expecting quite a bit to happen in the coming year (some of it writing-related, some of it life-related), so I won’t make any promises I can’t keep.

What I can promise is that I love this series, and I love you guys, and my pen will not rest until the entire story is told!

~*~

Happy new year, peeps. I know it’s a few months early for most of you, but I just love a chance for new beginnings, don’t you?

THE TOWER is born, and THE HIEROPHANT is free!

ebook covers

Today is the day! The Tower is now available for Kindle! (Coming soon to other retailers, as well as paperback!) And guess what? If you haven’t had the chance to read The Hierophant yet, it’s available for FREE in the Kindle store from now until Saturday! :D

Let me go all-out-honest here, as I tend to do on this blog: I am absolutely in love with this book, as any proud book momma should be…but, I’m also terrified. Every book that gets published anywhere requires tremendous courage and faith to see it through to the end, but it turns out sequels come with their own special set of fears that would have otherwise never crossed my mind if this had been a stand-alone. The main one is: what if this is nothing like what the readers are expecting? Or worse: what if this is nothing like what the readers want?

But this is the story I’ve written, the story I love, and the story I hope the reader will love, too. It’s a story about a teenage girl who loves so fiercely. It’s a story about learning to trust your own instincts when exploring the fuzzy line between right and wrong. It’s a story about embracing your power–embracing every single part of who you are: the beautiful, the ugly, and everything between.

But ultimately, The Tower is a story about healing. And sometimes, the road to healing is just as dark and winding as the road that leads us to our wounds.

I hope you love it even half as much as I do. <3

~*~

As for the NEXT book in the Arcana Series, all I can say is this…

Kyla sure is awesome, huh?

;D

THE END of The Hierophant Read-Along!

THE END of

read along

Welcome to THE END of The Hierophant read-along! Check out this post if you don’t know what I’m talking about, and join the conversation on twitter with the hashtag #ArcanaRA :D

* * *

We’re done! And this time there’s no waiting to find out what happens next because TODAY is The Tower‘s birthday! :D

RECAP: Chapters 64 – END (Book 1)

Chapter 64: It’s two months after Ana has been released from the hospital. She hasn’t heard from or seen Trebor at all, and she’s miserable without her magic–she never realized how big a part of her it was. But she takes a lesson from her father and tries to keep living.

Chapter 65: Ana takes a nap and when she wakes up there are texts from an unknown number on her phone (but it’s Trebor) asking her to meet at the orchard. Ana almost doesn’t go because she knows Trebor is only going to say goodbye, but at the last minute lets her heart decide and races out the door.

Chapter 66: Ana meets Trebor in the orchard and tells him how she feels–how she’s mad, and hurt, and refuses to say good bye–refuses to let Trebor promise her anything at all. But they love each other, and that has to be enough, for now.

* * *

AND NOW, a video! …is what I would have said if I’d had the time to film and edit one :( I’m sorry, I suck! There were a million and one last minute things I had to do for The Tower’s release and, well. Let’s just say that NEXT time I do a read-along, I will plan better (also space it out more! *passes out from exhaustion*)!

So that’s it for The Hierophant Read-Along! Thank you so much for reading with me and chatting with me about Book 1 in the Arcana Series as I prepared for the release of Book 2! Stay tuned for the official post on The Tower‘s release, and keep an eye out to see if you won anything! I’ll tweet at the winners tomorrow! <3

Day 14 of The Hierophant Read-Along! Chapters 60-63!

Day 14

read along

Welcome to day 14 of The Hierophant read-along! Check out this post if you don’t know what I’m talking about, and join the conversation on twitter with the hashtag #ArcanaRA :D

* * *

We’re almost done!!! Tonight we finish, and tomorrow The Tower is released! :D

RECAP: Chapters 60-63

Chapter 60: Ana confronts Madame Cevaux and the skinwalker (in Andy’s body)! In exchange for Kyla’s safety, she gives herself to them, lets them slit her wrist again to try and bleed her out while the skinwalker takes over. But she uses her powerful human magic in combination with her mother’s protection spell to blast them away and send Madame Cevaux and the skinwalker back to Sheol! Trebor runs to her to heal her, just as the other Irin show up. After he heals her, he’s captured by Faye, but they stand separate from the other Irin. Raven, the leader of the other Irin, blinds Ana to magic, making her effectively powerless and harmless to the Arcana–and Trebor lets her.

Chapter 61: Kyla takes Ana home, and Ana has a small nervous breakdown in the driveway when her father comes out and hugs her, and begs her to tell him where she’s been. She see’s Laura, his new lady friend, for the first time, and doesn’t like her on sight.

Chapter 62: Ana wake up in the hospital and overhears the nurse telling her father they want to do more tests on her because of her elevated blood platelet count (a sign of cancer, but Ana knows it’s just because of Trebor’s healing magic). She lies and tells her father she had temporary amnesia from the car accident and didn’t remember who she was, and that’s why she was wandering the city for days. And she also says she doesn’t remember much of what she did those days. Her father tells her that because of her breakdown the doctors want to keep her in the psychiatric ward for a 72 hour observational period.

Chapter 63: Kyla visits Ana in the psych ward. Ana is pissed at Trebor for not stopping Raven from blinding her, even though it was the only way to keep her safe while he ran–and he did have to run. But she’s also sad he’s gone and misses him, and she can still feel his heartbeat within hers. Ana asks Kyla about what happened outside of City Hall when Kyla…changed. Kyla attributes it to black-out rage triggered by overprotectiveness. But is it possible that Madam Cevaux was telling the truth about Kyla’s father, or lack thereof?

* * *

Some fun facts!

-Originally, there was a lengthy storyline about “crazy Laura” (Abe’s new girlfriend) and how Ana disliked her, and Abe was totally blind to all of her eccentricities. She had a perfect daughter who had committed suicide, for seemingly no reason, and her whole house was plastered with pictures of her. Laura was always talking about her as if she was still alive, comparing Ana to her, like “Laura was on the tennis team, what do you play?” “Violin.” “In which orchestra?” “None…just by myself…” She was also a clean-freak who handled everything with gloves and put too much sugar on/in everything. It obviously didn’t fit with everything else–and besides, Laura has a very different role to play, now. (BUM BUM bummmm) I might use that character in something else, though…

* * *

I’m so sorry, but there is no video today! There has been too much last-minute stuff to address in preparation for the release of The Tower tomorrow, and there was no time left for awesome video-making :( Hopefully I will have something for you tomorrow, though!

In the meantime, feel free to chat with me on Twitter, or use hashtag #ArcanaRA to join the conversation and automatically be entered to win some free books, and maybe a pocket tarot deck!

Until tomorrow!

Twitter!

Facebook!

Tomorrow: Chapters 64-END\!

Day 13 of The Hierophant Read-Along! Chapters 58-59, plus an embarrassingly poorly made film!

Day 13

read along

Welcome to day 5 of The Hierophant read-along! Check out this post if you don’t know what I’m talking about, and join the conversation on twitter with the hashtag #ArcanaRA :D

* * *

Did you do the reading?! :D

RECAP: Chapters 58-59!

Chapter 58: Ana and Trebor return to Iritz and Trebor is freaking out because of the nightmares he was having in Sheol about Ana dying. They kiss–they tell each other they love each other–they realize it’s pretty much impossible to be together. Kyla joins them just in time for Raven to show up and try to take control–then hellhounds join the party and Ana and Kyla have to run off with a random Irin to protect her from skinwalkers but THEN they run into the creepy old Zee lady who is pissed because Ana killed her son, and they’re running through downtown past city hall and they see Andy, and Kyla flags him down but Andy slits Ana’s wrist??? And Kyla…well, it’s hard to describe what Kyla does, but it certainly seems like she goes supernova and somehow uses magic to force Ana to run to safety.

Chapter 59: Ana is bleeding to death on the steps of a cathedral. She starts yelling at the Universe, and just before she passes out Trebor finds her, and heals her, which means they legit have that havati bashrat bond Trebor was talking about. Andy shows up, and he’s clearly possessed by a skinwalker, who he apparently made a deal with a while ago. But the skinwalker wants Ana, and the Zee have Kyla, and now Ana has to make a trade.

* * *

Fun facts!

-I tried to make the chase through downtown Buffalo as accurate as possible, but there has been so much construction in the past few years that it’s totally inaccurate now. Especially at the waterfront, where chapter 60 will take place–that’s been completely restructured. But there is in fact a cathedral down that way made from red Medina sandstone which is where I imagined Ana bleeding to death. :D

-Before writing this, I was in a Film 101 class and made a silent movie downtown that was basically just a guy running from demons. It’s terrible, and all of the film ended up so ridiculously over-exposed because some know-it-all jerk face I may have been dating at the time was responsible for taking light meter readings. The whole thing ended up being a huge joke (the pretentious French title translates poorly to “Thriller” and for some reason the protagonist blames President McKinley for his troubles) but I will link you to that movie now because I think it’s funny. Also it has a few good (but waaaay over exposed) shots of downtown Buffalo.

Terrible. Terrible. Terrible.

* * *

That’s all for today! Questions? Feels? Use hashtag #ArcanaRA to join the conversation and automatically be entered to win some free books, and maybe a pocket tarot deck!

Twitter!

Facebook!

Tomorrow: Chapters 60-63!