Updates and Information
I have come bearing a few quick updates. As some of you may know, my partner Gary and I have recently officially launched our publishing company, Toil and Trouble Studios and it's various imprints. Getting it up and going was the fulfillment of a dream come true. Signing our first author, Ash Clark was another! Be sure to give her debut title, The Fate of the Princess a read.
Aside from preparing for Toil and Trouble's next anthology, I am steadily working on Twilight's End, as well as Goose Creek or Bust, the next DarkWorld and DarkWorld YA titles. I was hoping to have both of them done by now, but now that I am working with other authors to help bring their stories to life, it has slowed me down just a tad. But I am still working on them, and they will be finished sooner rather than later.
I am also working on a new Middle Grade series, The Thorn Twins. The Thorn Twins is a project born out of love. My granddaughter is a reader and it hit me that I didn't have anything that was appropriate for a soon-to-be 9 year old. That just wouldn't do. So the first book in the series is my birthday present for her, my Jazz.
I will be posting a cover reveal for Twilight's End next month!
After completing the finishing touches on my first collection of poetry, Ramblings from an Unquiet Mind, I am back to work on both the next Freaks book, Goose Creek or Bust, as well as the next Val and Irulan story, Twilight's End.
When I first started writing Crimson Dawn I shared it on Wattpad. The story found an audience and gave me the courage to seek publication. The next story I shared on Wattpad was Freak Among Freaks, which went on to become a finalist in the Watty Awards.
I've decided to put the first draft of Goose Creek or Bust on Wattpad as I've done in the past with other works. In addition to Wattpad I will also be putting the chapters here on my website.
I hope you all check it out, and if you read it on Wattpad, remember to vote!
I know that a lot of you guys have had a long wait since the last Val and Irulan full-length story. Since work on their next book, Twilight's End, is in full swing, I have decided that I would share a small snippet of each chapter as I go.
What I share will be unedited from the first draft, so things will change by the time it is released. And some snippets will be larger or smaller than the ones before it. But it will give you guys a sneak peek at what's to come.
So here we go. Here is your first peek at Twilight's End.
...“As a general rule, I’m not scared of a fight. If the past few months have taught me anything, I’ve learned that with enough time, I can punch, kick, or blast my way out of any situation,” I sighed as I turned to look at my wife, “but this is different. I can’t punch my way into making the Vampire Council see things my way. I trust my brother, but putting the arguments in Vedo’s hands makes me feel helpless.”
Instead of the words of comfort I expected Irulan to give me, she frowned and folded her arms across her chest. “Our way,” she said. Her voice was so low that if it wasn’t for my enhanced hearing, I wouldn’t have heard her.
“What are you talking about?” I asked, trying to keep the annoyed tone out of my voice. We’d all been through a lot and I didn’t want to get upset with her. Not now when we had to leave in an hour.
“We want them to see things our way,” Irulan replied. “David is my son as well, or have you forgotten?”
“I can’t believe that you even had to ask me that,” I spat, unable to hide my anger. “I know you love him just as much as I do. Why would you−”
“Because you, Val, and Tamerlane spent half the night going over vampire protocol and archaic rules and never once thought to include me in the discussion,” Irulan huffed. “Did you not think I needed to be a part of that, or am I supposed to show up today and be the supportive, but silent wife and let you all handle everything?”
I was pissed. I wanted to scream and shout, but because of what I’d become since awakening my Fae genes, losing control was dangerous for the people around me. Not only could my ill mood spill over and affect others, if I wasn’t careful I could draw strength from their emotions as well. Feeding from someone's emotions drains them in a way that a few pints of blood never could. I might be irked with my wife, but I would never risk hurting her like that. So I took a moment to pull back my growing anger before I responded.
“Ire, your day was just as fucked up as mine was. Maybe I was just trying to be a good wife and let you get some rest,” I sighed.
“That’s a lie,” Irulan spat, not missing a beat as she touched the side of her head. “Aside from the fact that I’ve known you your entire life, I also have a direct line to your thoughts. So please don’t stand there and pretend that leaving me out wasn’t your way of getting back at me for her.”
She did it. She brought up her ex. I didn’t want to have this conversation now. I’d intentionally avoided it because I need to have a clear head. But there was no way around it now. She’d opened the door.
“Not all of my thoughts,” I grunted as I tried to push by her and head for our closet. But Irulan grabbed my arm, refusing to let me go.
“And what’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means exactly what I said,” I sighed. “You may be my equal in many areas, but shielding isn’t one of them. If you caught a glimpse of my thoughts it’s because I let you.”
“So why the thoughtful wife line if that’s how you feel, Val?” Irulan huffed. “By the gods, say what you mean. It may sting but at least I can respect the truth.”
The truth. I thought about the many truths that were running through my head and an icy wave spread through me, replacing the anger with cold calm.
“Alight, Ire, here’s the truth. Your demented ex almost killed my grandmother. My family lost good vampires trying to protect her. She helped that banshee cut a path of devastation through the city that will take months and millions of dollars to repair. She could have gotten not only my brothers, and my best friend, killed, but our son and his friends as well, and when it came down to the wire, you hesitated. I could have died and you hesitated. Hell, she was in this realm because of you. So part of this entire mess is on you.”
Irulan gasped and tears filled her eyes as the human glamour faded and was replaced by raging storms. I regretted the words as soon as they left my mouth. “Oh my god, Ire. Baby, I didn’t mean it.”
I reached for her but she leaned away from my touch.
“Don’t,” she muttered as she wiped away tears. “We both know that you did. At least now it’s out in the open and we can deal with it. But for now, I’ll leave you to finish getting ready for the tribunal. I’ll get dressed in my old room.”.
What's to Come
Now that my writing is back on track (knock on wood), I wanted to stop and take a moment to let you guys know what I have in the works.
First on the docket is Faeries, Fangs, Fembots, and Fur. This will be my second anthology and it will have more than just stories set in the DarkWorld. There will be a mix of both fantasy and science fiction shorts. I am thrilled to announce that the anthology will include a story from the author, Eternity Philops.
Faeries, Fangs, Fembots, and Fur will be released on July 12th and is available for pre-order now on Amazon.
After Faeries comes the third Freaks title, Goose Creek or Bust, which will arrive in December of this year. Goose Creek or Bust will take us back to the Wolves of Goose Creek through the eyes of Still's younger sister, Maya. If you've read Ascension you'll know that Still and Maya's relationship was left a tad rocky due to the events of the book. (If you haven't read it, what are you waiting for?) Goose Creek or Bust will find their relationship on the mend, but a new set of problems will test the sisters in ways that could leave Still packless.
The first title of 2023 will come in the first half of the year. It will be the long-awaited direct sequel to Black Moon Rising, Twilight's End. Twilight's End will pick up directly after the events in BMR. We will not only find Val and Ire facing off against the Vampire Council to fight for their son, David, but we will also see them back in the FaeLands to deal with the fallout of FaeVar's actions. I know that for some, this one is long overdue. The wait won't be much longer.
2023 will also see the release of The Land of Not, the fourth Freaks title and the direct sequel to The Road the Was. The Land of Not will have an appearance from my favorite vampire/fae hybrid, Valeria Trumaine.
Aside from the third Faeries and Fangs anthology, I am unsure if any other titles will be ready for a 2023 release, but Retribution, the direct sequel to Ascension, The Sea of Is, the sequel to The Land of Not, as well as a direct sequel to Freak Among Freaks have all been outlined.
I can't wait to show you all what I have in store for my DarkWorld.
As always, thanks for the reads.
When time was young, the Morrigan foretold of their coming. A new Triad would rise that will lead the world down the Road to Was, and restore the Earth to as it was before the Great Divide. Over time the Morrigan’s prophecy became rhyme, and less and less people believed their words to be true.
The prophecy is real. Meet Theory, the first of the new Triad in April.
The Great Divide
The Earth as now is broken,
a glimmer of its former self.
It was one
but spells undone,
and single became triple at once.
The world of Was
long before time
was one less kind
and filled with mire.
For the former, Is
was a land of
mystics, magic, and fire.
Ruled by the Sidhe,
kings of Faerie and kin.
They were forces of nature.
Seasons changed at their whims.
Factioned in courts of
Light and Dark,
Summer and Winter
were the tops of the lot.
The best of the best
they saw in their own,
only worst in the other
so animosities growed.
Wars were waged.
Winters did rage
with the fury of the
Dark Court’s might.
The lands were scorched
by Light Court torches,
wielding Summer’s light.
Tenfold thousands of years,
carry on, yes they did.
But in silence
another force grew.
Though smaller in size,
and shorter of life,
and untrained in the arcane arts;
the dawn of mankind
signaled change and in kind,
opened the fair folk’s eyes.
They multiplied like the wind,
a thousand for six,
their numbers soon
flakes in a blizzard.
Thus the coming of man
signaled peace for Fae lands.
Light and Dark united as one
to hold hearth and home.
They took up the sword.
Blood rivers were wrought.
And with enchantment,
pierced mortal hearts.
But man would not fall;
their numbers a wall,
the Fae could not surmount.
So the High Court kings
pulled out of their sleeves,
a dark plan to force them out.
With the Mantle of Seasons,
and spells beyond reason,
they ripped the Was three apart.
One for Faeries and kin.
One for demon and ilk.
One for mortal born.
This they did.
But try as they might,
many bonds still held tight,
linking the realms to another.
So since time began
our world slowly mends,
healing to become whole again.
The time will come
when three will be born,
who shall travel the Road to Was.
And lead the Now
back to the Is,
that was before the Great Divide.
Sisters three they will be,
born the same of one mother,
shall be recognized as so:
One demon ilk with darkness of self.
One sidhe with elemental smarts.
One mortal born with a mask to be worn,
until the time to be, is was.
And how do we know
that their words are so,
when the Was is past, long forgotten?
The prophecy came
from the First Morrigan.
The keepers of order and right.
Though they foreshadow hope,
they issue this warning;
the Yet may still be undone.
For the Olden Sidhe kings
took an oath on all things,
that the Mantles of Seasons would rest.
Nevermore to adorn,
High Court royal arms.
A vow above all to be kept.
For the force of the seasons,
inside living beings
is the power to make three, none.
If the Mantles are worn
surely chaos will come,
and the Was could be Un.
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.
Black Moon Rising
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).