Has it been too long?

Yes, yes it has. Like many others, Covid has kept me very busy the last year.

I’ve been furiously working on Seasong, and hoping to get it finished this year. My beta is finishing up her second read-through (and giving me a red-pen in a few places where she doesn’t like my grammar!), so I hope to get it out soon.

I’ve been working on a couple others in progress, such as my Warped sequel, and a new YA book.

In my personal life (aside from my writing and my day job), I’m dealing with snakes and chickens, both of which are interesting to watch and fun to hold.

Reclaiming Verity Teaser

If you’ve read Warped, then you’ve met Gideon. Are you wondering what happened to make Gideon such a bastard? Here’s a teaser to the continuation of his story!


Gideon stalked from side to side of the cavern, passing the fire opal by on every passage. It glowed dimly, and he knew it was absorbing their emotions. There was nothing he could do, though. It was just a stone the size of a chicken egg, waiting for Silas to come take it long after their deaths.

He’s survived almost two millennia only to have another jinn be his downfall. He’d always been wary of the other jinn, knowing that there was much infighting, but he’d never thought that one would willingly kill him in such a crude manner.

“Jess told me not to trust you – or any jinn,” Thea said to him from her seat on the floor beside the nonexistent exit.

“She was right,” he muttered. “Everyone around me dies.”

“I suppose that’s what happens when you stab the people that love you,” she responded sweetly.

He stopped in front of her and glared down at her. “What do you know about that?” he spat, unable to keep the anger from his voice.

She looked up at him, unperturbed by his outburst. Her fingers ran up and down her muddy jeans. “Only what Jess told me. She was freeing you from a curse and fell in love with you. You two had a short fling before she broke your curse, and then you stabbed her and left her for dead.”

“She wouldn’t have died from it,” he said, thin brows furrowed. “I only wanted to keep her away – and it worked, didn’t it?”

At his snarky comment, she shook her head. She rolled a stone between her fingers and flung it away, watching it bounce over the rough floor. “Why would you want to hurt her?”

His hands clenched in fists, and he gritted his teeth. He felt her stare on his back and refused to give in to his anger. “You wouldn’t understand.”

“You can’t stand to let anyone get close to you, can you?” she asked – more of a statement than a question. “It scares you.”

At that direct statement, he turned towards her and glared, letting her see the anger roiling beneath the surface. “Nothing scares me.”

Shattered: Legend Breakers book 2 teaser

If you’ve read Warped, you might be wondering what happens next with Jess and Lucien. Book 2 is written, so here’s a teaser!


“Aren’t you two afraid?” Bastienne asked Lucien and Jess. Her brown eyes were wide, and her chest heaved as she fought back tears.

Lucien gave a shrug as his eyes wandered around the clearing. Overhead, the break in the clouds gave way to the bright sun. It brought a warmth to the clearing, and a light fog rose off the shimmering water.

“We’ve been through a lot worse,” Jess finally said when Lucien failed to answer.

“My curse – the one that kept me as the beast – was much worse than whatever follows us through Paimpont. Whatever is here is a guardian, meant to watch any trespassers. I do not sense any danger, unless we intend to endanger whomever lives here,” Lucien said.

“Which we don’t,” Jess said.

Despite her words, Lucien felt felt the heavy weight of the forest’s eyes on his back. His skin crawled and his shoulders tightened, and he forced himself to take a deep breath.

“Well, that is good!” said a cheery voice from across the pond.

Lucien’s heart jumped and he bit back a snarl as as a figure emerged from the rising fog. He was short, but he held himself tight and straight. His gray hair was greasy, hanging down in dirty strings over his shoulders. He had a beard that was equally unkept, and his clothes looked like he hadn’t washed them in months. Even from here, Lucien could smell him – the stench of sweat and dirt overcoming the stench of the swamp for a brief time.

“Merlin, I presume?” Triston asked respectfully. He kept his distance from the man, taking a step back when Merlin kept approaching them.

“Myrddin, I prefer,” Myrddin said in the exact tone Triston had used. “Somehow, you’ve found me. How, I wonder?” He cocked his head at the group expectantly.

“We need your help. We were sent through a portal and found ourselves out of our time. We are trying to find our way home,” Lucien replied. He watched Triston skirt the group and pond, wary of Myrddin and his watchful eye.

Before he had finished, Myrddin was already shaking his head with an almost comical expression on his narrow face. He scrubbed a hand over his drooping cheeks, leaving a streak of filth that made Lucien retreat another step. “I can not help you. I simply can not help you.”

“We need to get home. We were told you know how to use the portals to time jump,” Morgan said as he tried to persuade him.

He took a step away from them. The watered gave a gentle wave under his weight, but he was clearly standing on it. “I am sorry, but I can not help you. There are others who can. Look for Nimue or Bob. Bob’s actually Robert, but he prefers Bob. Whoever heard of a sorcerer named Bob,” he said with a dismissive gesture. “Bob probably won’t help – and if you do find him, he won’t be of any help, but Nimue might – if you can find her.”

“We simply cannot keep traversing all around Europe looking for a path home,” Lucien all but growled. He ran a hand through his hair in a sharp motion before breaking away from Jess and striding to the edge of the clearing, ignoring the stench of the crazed sorcerer.

“Isn’t there anything you can do? Any way you can help?” Morgan asked hopefully, glaring at Lucien before the taller man could say something else.

“I told you,” he said peevishly. He crossed his arms, and at the gesture, the water under him rippled. “Go find Nimue or Bob. Just leave me in peace. You’ll find no help here.” At that, his attention went to a brown and red bird that flittered down from a high branch. “Where? Are you sure?” he asked the bird. When the bird chirped brightly to him, he spun on his heel and stalked off through the fog, disappearing on the far edge of the water. 

Sea Song Cover Reveal

Sea Song Teaser

“I should start at the beginning…what do you know about selkies?” Colm asked.

“Only what I’ve read in mythology books and what Maggie told me – and that’s not that much,” Aine said, shivering a bit when a breeze pushed through the folds of her pelt.

“Ignore all of the stuff you’ve read,” he said with a wave of a hand, “besides the part where we can change into seals: that is the only thing the books have right.”

“What’s the truth? What’s the real story, Colm? How did we start?” she asked, leaning towards him eagerly.

He grinned at her before starting. Spreading his arms wide, he said, “Long, long, long ago, a man and his kin were cursed. The reason has long since been lost, but the curse has not. They were cursed to live in the sea as seals. At first, they didn’t have the ability to become human – they were trapped as seals. For centuries, they lived as animals, but they never forgot their human lives. After several centuries, a raging storm came upon their island, and a woman was stranded there, her ship lying far below the sea and the crew lying with it. She was a sorceress, and she recognized the humans beneath the shape of the seal. Using her magick, she transformed them back into humans – but they didn’t want to give up their seal selves either. So they bargained with the sorceress. If she would give them the ability to become seal or human as they wished, they would fill her coffers with whatever treasures lie beneath the surface of the ocean. Sorceresses are greedy, and she took their deal with one exception – they would no longer be immortal. They could have long lives, but the immortality was against the sorceresses beliefs.”

When I’m not Writing

Every writer has downtime. They all have some time in their day when they’re not writing, not researching, not editing or plotting.

What do I do?

Same thing every night, Pinky.

All right, maybe not try and take over the world, but I do allow myself to relax. When I’m not working or writing, I play video games, read books and surf the internet. And sometimes, during each of those, inspiration strikes.

After watching a “True Blood” episode, a thought came to me.

What if…a King has a royal food taster (someone who eats the king’s food to test for poison). But…what if that food taster was a hypochondriac, and so would always thing he was eating poison…and what if the king was paranoid? How would that all play out? But that’s a post for another day!

When I’m not busying with my novels, I’m reading the following authors (not a limited list – there are many others I read!): Anne Bishop, Kim Harrison, Kelly Armstrong, Laurien Berenson, Stephen King, Mercedes Lackey, Cathy Glass and Charlaine Harris. I’m playing games like the Witcher, Fallout, Elder Scrolls, Dragon Age, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Assassin’s Creed.

Fun fact: I raise chickens!

“To write is human, to edit is divine.”

A quote by my beloved author, Stephen King, expresses exactly what I’m doing right now. Editing. The writing is easy, but the drafts that come after are anything but. I have to look at each word, each sentence, each paragraph and each idea and ensure that they all work together.

Which word works best? Turned? Spun? Whirled? Only looking at everything separately and then together will tell which is the best choice. Should that sentence even be there to begin with? Does it add to the story or does it take away from the flow of the paragraph?

Writing and editing WARPED, I learned many things about writing. I learned that I like to start a story too slow, so by the time the action comes, I’ve no readers left. Knowing that, I can edit a story so I weave in the background information into the bulk of the story, so the components are there, but the issues dragging down the first chapters is gone, leaving the readers to start the story with a BANG instead of a whimper. (Yes, I bastardized that quote for my own use).

In the last couple of months, I’ve been working hard on SEA SONG, and getting the story of Aine on the pages. I’ve moved past the first few drafts, and now she’s with a beta.

Since SEA SONG is out of commission for a bit, I’ve been working on SHADOW CROSSED (writing!) and SHATTERED (editing). Gideon from WARPED is calling to me, so I’ve been plunking away at his personal story (RECLAIMING VERITY), so there are a few new books in the works. If you were a fan of DEATH TAKES WING, that is also going through edits for a re-release. Keep looking ahead for new materials!


In SHADOW CROSSED, you’ll meet Theodosia, a Princess from the Shadow Kingdom and Mira, a soldier from the Unseen Kingdom.

There are two types of magick: Shadow and Caecus. Shadow magick uses shadow to conjuration (items, such as weapons or clothing) and creations (life, such as humans and animals). Caecus Magick is unseen – healing and purification.

Theodosia escapes her father, the Shadow King, before he can use her power to conquer the Caecus Kingdom. When she meets Mira, Theodosia discovers that their magicks work with each other. Together, they find the Caecus Queen and tell her of The Shadow King’s plot against the the Caecus Kingdom.

In the end Theodosia and Mira, working hand in hand, can defeat the Shadow King father and restore the Shadow Kingdom to it’s former peaceful glory.

Issues while writing: Clearing things up

Generally, when people write, they write what they know. I’m a white female, so generally, I write white characters as well. They may have various nationalities (such as Lucien being French), but they’re white.

I don’t feel comfortable writing characters in a different race, particularly if it has a real world setting. That’s not to say that it can’t be done, because there are authors who do a good/decent job of it.

This became an issue in SHATTERED, WARPED‘s unpublished sequel. I could clearly picture the antagonist. She had dark golden skin, luxurious black hair and dark brown eyes, and a voluptuous figure. She also had an Indian name.

Can you see the problem?

I did, and I spoke to a POC writer about my issue. At that point, I still only had her in my head on not on paper.

When you have a full cast of white characters, and the only POC is the antagonist, there’s an issue.

Sure, she wasn’t based on anyone in particular. She was a supremely powerful sorceress who wanted – and generally took – whatever she wanted. But she was still the only POC of color.

In the end, the character was not scrapped, but she was rewritten. Instead of being an Indian sorceress, she became a version of Elaine of Astolot. Most of my legends and fairy tales are pulled from history, so it follows my story – and more importantly – won’t (or I hope it won’t) make POC readers uncomfortable.

The stages of writing – and finding a good beta reader

There are many stages to writing a book. Here’s my personal list:

  1. Plot
  2. Rearrange plot
  3. Writing (editing lightly as I go)
  4. First round of edits (aka draft 2)
  5. Work on third draft (aka more edits)
  6. Send to an alpha (first) reader
  7. Another round of edits based on beta’s suggestions (draft 4)
  8. Send to my beta reader
  9. Another round of edits (draft 5)
  10. Return to beta reader, who then not only reads and critiques, but also edits to a reasonable degree
  11. Final round of edits (draft 6).
  12. Work on query letter (start this after you get a novel done, because you’ll be editing it the entire time you’re reading!)
  13. Submit to agents or publishers

This process can take anywhere from 6 months to over 2 years to fully realize. Some of the steps also take place at the same time, depending on how my alpha or beta readers are going.

My beta reader is a close friend of mine, Isabella Price, and someone who also runs a successful editing business. We beta each other’s works and work with each other on multiple stages of our books. In my experience, it can be hard to find a good, honest beta who’s not afraid to tell you “This isn’t working” or “This doesn’t make any sense” – or drop compliments like “I love this description” or “I could picture this perfectly”. What works in Ms Price’s and my favors is that our writing styles are different enough that we compliment each other’s styles.

I’ve worked with multiple beta readers, and I’ve had many clashes of character and writing styles. You aren’t going to work good with everyone who wants to read your work, and that’s not a bad thing! Keep searching until you find a beta reader that you work well with, and hang on to them with everything you have.

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