When I first wrote Crimson Dawn, I envisioned it as an ongoing lesbian vampire series. I chose DarkLife Saga as the series’s name. If I remember correctly, the book’s first chapter was written in about an hour. Once that chapter was done, I stopped, went back, and worked on the backstory for the world that my characters inhabited. The more I wrote, I became compelled to delve into the lives of other supernatural creatures and write their stories.
Because of Marcus Daniels and his connections to Val, I intended for those first characters to be werewolves. But David was firmly entrenched in my thoughts, so the wolves had to wait. David’s story became Freak Among Freaks and the first YA DarkWorld story. Freaks picked up a decent audience on Wattpad, and I love YA fantasy, so I began fleshing out more of the teen side of my DarkWorld. I was so entrenched in the teen world that I outlined stories for witches and fae and was about to tackle werewolves when I got sidetracked.
That sidetrack was Black Moon Rising. I won’t rehash my struggles with BMR, but I was put off from writing for a while. When I returned, I was still wary of Val and Irulan, so it was finally time for my werewolves to shine. I knew I wanted Marcus to connect the two stories, but I wasn’t ready to tell his story. I considered telling Thade’s story, but it hadn’t come to me yet. And aside from that, I wanted another lesbian protagonist. I don’t remember the catalyst for Still’s creation, but as soon as I had her name, I knew that she would be the opposite of Val.
Where Val was accustomed to living her life in the spotlight, I wanted Still to be the anomaly. In a world where supernatural beings lived their lives in the open, Still would keep her status hidden. Where Val’s attraction to women was a revelation, Still would be an out, loud and proud member of the LGBTQ community. Once that was established, her backstory and supporting characters came quickly. Wolves of Goose Creek was born and would be an entirely new series set in the DarkWorld. Or so I thought.
After a few months of writing, I knew that line of thinking was a mistake. There was no way I would be able to keep up with separate series for each creature and do the same with the YA side. Not and keep my sanity intact. That’s when I thought about Kelly Armstrong and her Women of Otherworld books. She wrote about werewolves, witches, necromancers, and more, and they all fell under the same series title. Bazinga!
My DarkLife Saga became Tales from the DarkWorld. The YA stories would all fall in the Freaks series, and all my creatures, henceforth, would frolic together and live happily ever after. Well, not too happy because that would make for a boring story.
If you’ve read Crimson Dawn and its sequel and decide to read Ascension, you will recognize Marcus Daniel’s and get to see him in a role other than the Sentinel commander. If you haven’t read Crimson Dawn, you can jump into the DarkWorld with Ascension without any confusion. The stories are connected but not intertwined. Not at the moment.
Those stories are coming.
A timeline and reading order will be coming soon.
It's been a while since I've written a blog post. It took me a long time to return to my novels and stories for many reasons. I stopped to focus on comics and learning the art of comic creation for a few years, which, as a 30 plus year comic lover, I had wanted to do since I was in high school. I found that I love to create comics. The world-building is just as fascinating and rewarding as the world-building I do when I write my stories.
The other reason was Black Moon Rising. I had never felt pressure when I wrote. Writing had always been a joy and an escape. But once Crimson Dawn was released and had begun to find an audience, people began to ask about the sequel. I had always planned one, and it was on my schedule, but when I write, it's like my characters talk to me, and I write because I feel compelled to share the story of whoever is talking to me at that time.
After spending so much time on Crimson Dawn, those characters were taking a break, and I was focused on other stories. But my publisher at the time began to ask me for the sequel. So then, not only did I have readers asking, I had my publisher pushing for another Val and Irulan book. So I stopped working on what I was doing and shifted to what would become Black Moon Rising.
While I love the story, I struggled to get it done. Each month that I wasn't finished, it got harder and harder to work on it. In the midst of working on it, my publisher ceased publishing fiction. My two previous works were returned to me, and I was told that I would be better off publishing myself. I was gobsmacked. Sure, I had self-published two short stories, but that was nothing like publishing a full-length novel.
To say that I felt defeated was an understatement, but I pushed through and finished the book. The version of Black Moon Rising that made its way to Amazon pains me. Reading what I made available to my readers makes me want to cry. I can do better, and I should have. But at the time, I just wanted to get something out there. I deserved every scathing review that I got. The editing is non-existent.
Black Moon Rising made me want to never rerelease another book. So I stopped writing and shifted to comics. I put it out of my mind and moved on. But I love writing. My characters and stories are my babies. I eventually came back to them, but I still ignored the mess that BMR was. I refused to look at it on Amazon or my KDP page. But I can't ignore it anymore. It's time for me to do better.
I have temporarily pulled it so I can edit it. I won't be making changes to the storyline itself. As I said, I do love the story. But it desperately needs some refining. And a new cover.
Black Moon Rising will be back shortly.
I am a mother of two, grandmother of one, auntie to too many to count (my number of siblings is in the double digits).