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.

Happy Cover Reveal, Stolen!

Stolen has been a book that I’ve been working on since April 2014. When Parliament House Press offered a contract, I was at work and had to keep from squeeing aloud with joy!

I’m so happy to now be able to reveal the cover for my debut novel, Stolen, Book I of the Stolen Series. Coming January 22, 2019 from Parliament House Press.

 

Look at how gorgeous it turned out! I absolutely love the colors, the menace of it, the little touches of fairies and the font. I also love that there’s a person of cover on this book, something that is so rare to find. I love the trees reaching out to her, but the way she walks with determination. There’s just so much here that makes me so very happy! The more you zoom in, the more you see all the careful details that have been added in.

Here’s the synopsis:

It’s difficult taking care of a delusional father by yourself. Sixteen-year-old Shaleigh Mallet would rather explore and photograph dilapidated buildings than cater to her father’s dark episodes. But when she’s kidnapped by a creature who carries her atop a flying bicycle into another world, she realizes this wasn’t the escape she wanted.

In a kingdom known as the Garden, where minotaurs pull carriages and parties are held in hot air balloons, Madam Cloom and her faerie servant, Teagan, rule over the land with incredible but terrifying magic. Shaleigh must prove that she is the reincarnation of a long-dead ruler, not because she believes it, but because it’s her only chance to survive. With the help of a trespassing faerie, a stoatling, and a living statue, Shaleigh hopes to outwit everyone. She aims to break the bonds of servitude and finally make her way home. What she doesn’t realize, however, is that she’s playing right into the hands of a far worse enemy…

Make sure you add it to your To-Read list on Goodreads!

PS: You might notice some color changes around here! I thought I’d update things a bit to match more with Stolen’s color theme. 🙂

 

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.

Stitching Scenes Together

Spent some more time this evening hammering out words for Broken! I’m rewriting this section to fit in with the rewrite I’ve done with the introduction, so it takes a bit of time to stitch everything together properly. I’m sure I’m going to be cutting things later too when I do edits, but for now the goal is just to get the words flowing!

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 – 1,320

Current Word Count: 11,698

Progress:
Not as much written today as I hoped, but I had to slow down once I reached the areas I had to stitch together. It’s part of being a writer, but it’s definitely more common when you’re a pantser like I am.

Next Up:
Getting past that pride and being given an order.

Commentary:
I’m really loving digging into the environments and the sensations in this world. That’s one of my favorite parts right now, that and untangling all the emotional turmoil these characters are in. Oops, sorry guys.

Starting the Sequel to Stolen

It takes a while for me announce a new WIP, especially when it’s a novel. I like to make sure that I’ve figured out the opening and gotten a good feel for the characters. Working on the sequel for Stolen is no different. It was actually harder to start because I wanted to keep the same style and characterization that I left off with in the previous book. There are whole articles that talk about how difficult it is to get that middle book down in a series, and this was no different. It took me forever to get Shaleigh’s voice in the first book finalized, and it’s taken me a while to grasp how everything in Stolen has changed these characters. Sometimes it’s for the better, sometimes for the worse.

Over the last couple of months, my writing for this book came in fits and spurts. Mostly the flow of creativity got interrupted by responsibilities that I couldn’t ignore, and when I read over the story I had so far, I wasn’t pleased with it.

As an author, I know that if I’m not digging it, my readers won’t either. So I keep revising and revising and revising until I get that introduction and opening as good as I can get it. For me, it’s important to start with a solid ground before I build up. Even though the ground is pretty solid from all that happened in Stolen, there’s still a lot that needed to be sorted out.

I write in a way that’s known as a “Planster”. Yes, I will plan and use an outline, but it’s more of a guide for me. Mostly I’m a “pantser”, letting the story and characters lead me along, making sure I hit those plot markers as I go. Those I already have figured out. Those I figured out back while I was writing on Book 1. I have found that when I get near the ending though, that’s when it’s really important for me to have an outline. Sometimes I’ll drop everything to pinpoint the steps and stages for those final scenes. (And you’ll probably see why when you read Stolen when it comes out in January!) When I was working on The Seeking earlier this year, I was very glad to be using Scrivener too, that way I could easily reorganize scenes if I needed to.

Here’s the start of my next book: Broken. It’s book 2 of the YA Fantasy Stolen series. So far it’s already pretty dark, pretty intense, and pretty darn scary. Did I mention this book will take a dark turn?

Project: Broken

Book 2 of the Shaleigh series

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:
6/18 – 4,243
6/19 – 807
6/20 – 482
6/21 – 3611
7/29 – 740
8/7 – 708
8/10 – 2,226

Current Word Count: 10,609

Progress:
Oh my gosh, so much has already happened and I’m only 10k words in! An illness, a revelation, a confession, and even angry outbursts. It’s been an emotional roller-coaster ride!

Next Up:
Realizing that they need to work together in order to correct this and that they need to keep moving. These two have so much to work through, not just externally but internally as well.

Commentary:
Of course, starting a new novel means putting together a new playlist! Once I get it a bit farther along, I’m looking forward to sharing it.