The Dark Lands

I’m sitting here listening to Hurricane Michael dump tons of rain here south of Atlanta. I’ve been keeping tabs on it all day trying to see where it was going and how strong it was going to be. We’re just now getting the worst of the rain and wind, and we have an interior room we’ve prepped in case a tornado warning comes through. It really is the perfect kind of weather to work on a book though, especially when you’re tackling a particularly dark scene.

I haven’t been posting updates here as much as I’ve wanted. Mostly because I’ve barely been able to squeeze in time to write let alone make regular posts. This weekend I’ll be over at Park 42’s 2nd Annual Fall Festival, a local event with all sorts of Halloween fun – from costume contests to apple cider. Next weekend I’ll be helping my sister out at an art show at the Fall Festival on Ponce in downtown Atlanta. And the weekend after that, Atlanta Horror authors will be doing a Fireside Smores and Horror Stories event, which is exactly what it sounds like.

As usual, October is a heck of a busy month, but I’m happy to reach a milestone on Broken! Finally hit that 20k mark!

 

Project: Broken

A land has fallen. An escape was made. It’s a victory of sorts, but at what price?

Shaleigh has made a terrible mistake, one she may not ever be able to fix. Lost and in a strange land with anger and death all around her, she must navigate her way through treacherous lands on her quest for redemption. Along the way she’ll have to negotiate with the mercurial Queen of the Fae, survive the dangers of the Masked King’s realm, and seek out a terrifying fire dragon.

With two powerful beings hot on her trail, Shaleigh has no choice but to keep moving, or else face the dangerous magic of the Madness that has already caused so much pain and heartache. With her sights on helping her friends and her heart longing for home, Shaleigh is determined, but will it be enough?

BROKEN is Book 2 of the Stolen series

Words Written:
9/15 – 1,028 (Transcribed from hand-written journal)
9/19 – 1,058
9/22 – 1,785
9/25 – 699
9/26 – 1,119
10/2 – 388
10/10 – 1,412

Current Word Count: 20,128 (25%!!)

Progress:
As Tolkien famously said, “Out of the Frying Pan and into the Fire”

They’re in the Dark Lands now with all that it implies. From Black Dogs to Banshees, Shaleigh may not be ready for the mind games she’ll have to play to survive. And she has no choice, she must play by the Masked King’s rules.

Next Up:
How will she get them out of this mess? How will she convince the Masked King that they should be permitted to live?

Commentary:
I’m so happy to have reached the 25% mark on this piece! It was a struggle getting words out today, mostly because Hurricane Michael has been preoccupying much of my mind today. I wanted to sit down and get writing in on Broken though because I felt like it had been too long since I got to work on this. I really love this section of this book and how it’s affecting the characters.

This book is going to have two POVs throughout the piece, so there’s a whole second plotline I’ll need to go back through and write. I think once I’m done with this section, I’ll start targeting that so I can make sure everything shakes out properly for the ending. I’m very much a pantser, but when things get really complex, I have no problem creating outlines to use. I had to do that for Stolen’s ending, and I’m already seeing that Broken’s ending will likely need that as well.

Nocturnal Meetings of the Misplaced by R.J. Garcia


Finished: October 3, 2018

R. J. is one of my fellow writers over at Parliament House Press, and when I heard about this book, I simply had to pick it up!

My review:

I didn’t expect this to be a roller coaster ride, folks. I didn’t expect this to be a book that was a compulsory read once I hit that halfway point. I had trouble putting it down and then looked forward to when I got the chance to pick it up again. When I recently had my Kindle stolen, I was devastated because I wanted to finish this book so bad!

This story starts out with Tommy moving to a new town and having to adjust. He makes new friends: Finn, Silence, and Annie. Things seem pretty normal, until they turn for the worst. I don’t want to say too much because this slow-burn thriller is too good to spoil, but let’s just say when things get real, they get real fast. As a debut novel, I’m super impressed and I’m definitely looking forward to reading more from R.J. down the road! The suspense, the environment, the struggles of these four kids really hit home. You feel for these four and they’re all fighting their own battles. I’m happily giving this book five stars!

What I consider a 5-star book:

  1. Is it a fun read? Did I mention I had trouble putting it down??
  2. Would you recommend it to others? If thrillers in the vein of Stranger Thing appeal to you, then this is definitely a book to pick up!
  3. Does it stick with you? These characters are fantastic, and I think they’ll stick with me for a long time. But ya’ll know how I am. I love characters dealing with dark turns.

My overall rating? 5/5

Unexpected Kindness

Can y’all believe that October is just around the corner? It really is my favorite time of the year, when the weather isn’t too hot down where I live. Haunted houses, spooky hay rides, hedge mazes, apple cider, candy corn, and Halloween parties! Before we dive into a month full of spooky fun, it’s time to serve up a nice slice of optimism for your Friday. I’m very happy to be part of the “We Are The World Blogfest” once again – cause the world needs to be a little bit more bright and cheery.

Imagine you’re on your morning commute, stuck in slow traffic and going around back roads on the more impoverished side of the city. The traffic light ahead seems to be running on slow motion and you’re pretty sure the driver in front of you dropped something on the floor beside her cause she keeps bending over to reach it. It’s a Wednesday and you’re tired but you’re only ten minutes away from work. You’ve got some nice tunes blaring off your phone, so that helps.

Then you turn to notice a women sitting on the side of the road. She’s camped out on top of a large drainage grate, wearing a spaghetti strap shirt and leggings. She’s homeless, you can tell from the mounds of sheets and blankets around her. You feel bad for a moment because you realize it’s like you’re watching someone in their bedroom and it feels wrong. The woman is smiling though and smoothing out the sheets she’s sitting cross-legged on, as though expecting company. That’s when you notice the police car behind her.

You inch the car forward a bit while the traffic light goes from green to red again, still glancing over to find out what’s going on. A female office gets out of the cop car, and your heart sinks for the homeless lady. You hope she isn’t about to be arrested or something. But then the officer pulls out a bag of take-out from her passenger seat and brings it over to give to the homeless lady. They’re all smiles and the officer hangs around to chat with her for a moment while she digs into the fresh, hot breakfast.

That was my commute one humid morning, and yes, I did tear up at the sight. It was one of those brief moments of kindness that just breaks your heart and stitches it together at the same time. It makes you have faith in humanity again. If an officer can take the time out of her busy morning to help a person in need, then surely we can too.

I figured this was also a good time to announce that in October, I’ll be participating in the Authors For Families auction!

“We’re a group of primarily debut novelists eager to do what we can to reunite immigrant children with their parents, and to combat inhumane family separation policies.”

I’ll be giving away a signed copy of The She-Wolf of Kanta to whoever wins the bid, and I may be tossing in some additional swag along with it.

Please share and invite anyone who you think would like to not only get a copy of my work, but would also like to donate to a very good cause!

Tough Times

Dang, sometimes the words flow, and sometimes you want them to flow but they just refuse and life doesn’t help by throwing wrenches into your plans.

It’s been a rough few weeks, folks, I’ll admit it. Maybe I’ll elaborate more on this at some point here, but for now just know it’s been difficult. It’s been tough at times finding the motivation and the time to work on my latest WIP with all the stuff that’s been going on, so please forgive me if my updates or communication has been sporadic. Life has been a bit crazy lately, but I’m slowly finding the groove for this piece again.

It’s interesting to me, as kind of the chef here, that this book has such a very different taste than Stolen does, but all the elements are the same. It’s like putting the same ingredients for a recipe in, just in a different order. The place I’m at is also going to be the calmest part of the entire book, and I’m gearing up for all the rough times these characters are going to be dealing with down the road.

ALSO I’ve got the cover reveal for Stolen coming up on August 28! If you check out my Instagram page, you can view a preview for it in my Stolen story highlights. If you’re not following me already on Instagram, why not? Each week or so, I’m currently posting a little peek at the world behind Stolen which also will be the world behind Broken.

Check out all the posts at #WorldOfStolen

 

Project: Broken

A land has fallen. An escape was made. It’s a victory of sorts, but at what price?

Shaleigh has made a terrible mistake, one she may not ever be able to fix. Lost and in a strange land with anger and death all around her, she must navigate her way through treacherous lands on her quest for redemption. Along the way she’ll have to negotiate with the mercurial Queen of the Fae, survive the dangers of the Masked King’s realm, and seek out a terrifying fire dragon.

With two powerful beings hot on her trail, Shaleigh has no choice but to keep moving, or else face the dangerous magic of the Madness that has already caused so much pain and heartache. With her sights on helping her friends and her heart longing for home, Shaleigh is determined, but will it be enough?

BROKEN is Book 2 of the Stolen series

Words Written:
8/12 – 1,840

Current Word Count: 12,651

Progress:
Finally finished stitching everything together and able to move forward at a good pace. I also figured out how I want to link this in with later scenes. My only big concern is that I’m already 12k into this story and I haven’t even written the other POV scenes yet… so, if that’s any indication, this may be longer than my predicted 80k!

Next Up:
A beautiful but deadly tour of some fascinating specimens. Also an urgent message and some sudden changes.

Commentary:
Finally these two folks are on the same page and moving toward the same goal! I have a lot of pieces to hit before I move on to the next big plot arc and really start hitting on the spooky sections.

Also you may notice that my added words don’t match with my overall wordcount updates. Basically there was a lot of fleshing out of locations and people today, so even though the overall wordcount didn’t budge as much as I wanted, some motivations for characters became far more concrete. Which is good, I’ll need that when I revisit this area later.

The Benefits of Being VIP

I just wanted to take a moment and talk about some of the benefits of hopping onto the mailing list for this site. I know on WordPress especially, I’m bad about just hitting the Follow button and not thinking about it, but that can really limit you on what access you have and what you’re missing out on! So here’s a quick primer on some ways you can keep up to date and get early access to my content.

What You Get

  • Early Cover Reveals. I’m actually drafting one of these right now. And let me tell you, you won’t want to miss this gorgeous cover!
  • Early access to short fiction. I just released a never before published YA Dark Fantasy piece at the end of July exclusively for my VIP groups (for now). And knowing how slow I am, it’s going to be a while before it’s available on my blog haha.
  • Input on all the bookish decisions. For the Facebook group, you can vote on what short story is coming next, have a say on what kind of book swag is coming, and even get to share in any milestones along the way!

Ways To Follow

  • Join the Mailing List
    • You should see a link to it on the menu for this page! Just drop your email address in, and boom, you get the mailing list delivered right to your inbox. If you just want to be kept up to date on everything, organized in a concise fashion, this is the best option.
  • Join the Moonlight Wanderers
    • If Facebook is more your style and you would rather not have more emails in your inbox (I hear you!), then join the Moonlight Wanderers group on Facebook! This team of amazing fans get to experience the journey as I go, and possibly share a few memes along the way.

So why not try one out? If you don’t like it, you can always unsubscribe or leave the group. I just like to make sure my fans don’t miss out on exclusive content!