Tag Archives: fantasy

Chapter Thirty-Eight of The Gold in the Dark and a Writing Update!

Illustration courtesy of Ally Grosvenor.

The thirty-eighth chapter of The Gold in the Dark is out! New chapters, complete with brilliant chapter illustrations courtesy of Ally Grosvenor, release every other Sunday at 11 AM EST (and many times earlier)! You can get started on the series with Chapter One right here or on Wattpad.

Well, it’s the same old story these past two weeks–I’m still working hard on my problem child WIP, Beauty and the Beast and Aliens. It’s the type of story where I’m forever realizing that there’s something else I need to add to the narrative, so I go back and do that… then realize there’s something else I missed too… Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat. Is this an exhausting way to write? Yes, but it’s just the way I work, and on the positive side of things, this way of working normally means that my first draft are normally quite clean and don’t require major changes. So let’s cross our fingers and hope that this WIP needs minimal editing.

The Gold in the Dark is also in the home stretch of having all chapters posted! This has been a real marathon, not least for Ally, my illustrator extraordinaire. I’ve been trying to think of what I want to do with the book once it’s fully illustrated and posted. I definitely don’t want to sell the book for money, since its story arc demands a sequel and it doesn’t have one yet. I’m not sure if I will complete a sequel since I’m pretty devoted to other projects right now, but I do have about 30,000 words of one done, maybe more… It’s been a while since I took a look at the Scrivener file.

(I’m also kind of thinking that it makes a lot of sense to get the sequel done and hopefully bring the story to a close so that I could have a complete series and a reader magnet… But the idea of doing that is a little exhausting, so we’ll place that on the back burner for now. :P)

But to go back to the original question about what to do with The Gold in the Dark in the here and now… well, it would be nice to have it available in mobi/epub format and also to get it listed on Goodreads. Kindle Unlimited is out of the question, since that would mean I would have to pull it down from my website and Wattpad, so I’m considering offering it as a free download on Amazon. Amazon technically doesn’t allow authors to list books as free, but there’s a workaround where you can list the book as free on other marketplaces and wait for Amazon to price-match (which they will eventually). So that seems like the best option right now.

Anyway, I’m going to wrap it up here. Have a great (and healthy) rest of your weekend, and enjoy Chapter Thirty-Eight.

Chapter Thirty-Seven of The Gold in the Dark and a Writing Update!

Illustration courtesy of Ally Grosvenor.

The thirty-seventh chapter of The Gold in the Dark is out! New chapters, complete with brilliant chapter illustrations courtesy of Ally Grosvenor, release every other Sunday at 11 AM EST (and many times earlier)! You can get started on the series with Chapter One right here or on Wattpad.

Not much is different these last few weeks–I’ve just been working more on my WIP. The plot and character realizations are coming fast and furious now; I love that happy stage when everything seem to start coming together into a cohesive story. Is there a lot of editing to do? Yes. Is it going to be a good book in the end? Also yes, I think.

I know my posting on the blog has been (extremely) scarce–I’m okay with that, as long as I’m drafting. I miss doing reviews, but I know I’ll get back into them again once I’m done drafting. Lord knows I have thoughts aplenty about the books that I read, but one only has so much capacity for creative attention, and I feel like I’m putting all of it where it counts most, which is in finishing my next book. So no excuses from me–I’ll settle back into blogging soon enough.

Anyway, I’m going to wrap it up here. Have a great (and healthy) rest of your weekend, and enjoy Chapter Thirty-Seven.

Chapter Thirty-Six of The Gold in the Dark and a Writing Update!

Illustration courtesy of Ally Grosvenor.

The thirty-sixth chapter of The Gold in the Dark is out! New chapters, complete with brilliant chapter illustrations courtesy of Ally Grosvenor, release every other Sunday at 11 AM EST (and many times earlier)! You can get started on the series with Chapter One right here or on Wattpad.

I’m so happy that these past two weeks I’ve been continuing to plug away at my WIP. I’ve reached the 60k mark, but somehow feel there’s so much more to go. (!!!) I can’t believe that I once thought this would be a short book; it seems like it’s turning out to be anything but. One thing that’s been a big help to me creativity-wise has been the easing of quarantine here in Connecticut. I can’t go write in coffee shops or at the library yet (even Barnes & Noble is only doing curb-side pick-up), but I’ve been going to my writer friend’s house a few times each week so that we can write together. We’ve made Zoom calls work these past few months, but it’s such a nicer experience to be together in person. ❤

Another notable thing that happened recently is that I found another writer who did a take on a Beauty and the Beast retelling with an alien framework! Or, at least, Amanda Milo’s novella Contaminated claims to be a retelling of the classic fairytale; I did think that claim was a bit looser than most.

It can be a bit alarming as an author to hear that another book has a seemingly similar premise to your own. It stands to reason that I’m not the first one to think that an alien-human romance is ripe for a Beauty and the Beast take (the idea is kind of obvious if you think about it), but I hadn’t been able to find one on the market until now. Fortunately it turns out that Contaminated, while a very cute story, isn’t at all like my WIP. And that’s the thing: a similar premise approached by two different writers is bound to end up being different, because every writer brings their own creative lens and background to the table. That’s why my writer friend wasn’t at all concerned when she told me her plans to write a cozy cat shifter book–and then she encouraged me to write my own as well when I told her it was one of the best ideas I’d ever heard. Here’s something else to consider: if a reader really likes a book, they seek out other books that will scratch that same itch. So it can actually be a good thing if your book has some similar elements to other works, because readers are often on the hunt for more of the same. How many times have I picked up a book hoping it will be like my beloved Sookie Stackhouse books? The answer is a lot.

Anyway, I’m going to wrap it up here. Have a great (and healthy) rest of your weekend, and enjoy Chapter Thirty-Six.

Chapter Thirty-Five of The Gold in the Dark and a Writing Update!

Illustration courtesy of Ally Grosvenor.

The thirty-fifth chapter of The Gold in the Dark is out! New chapters, complete with brilliant chapter illustrations courtesy of Ally Grosvenor, release every other Sunday at 11 AM EST (and many times earlier)! You can get started on the series with Chapter One right here or on Wattpad.

Not much different these past few weeks, though I did finally get out a new Short Tuesday! It’s not much, but I’m considering it a win. I have another few blog posts planned for this coming week as well. Work-wise our season is finally slowing down again, so I’m hopeful that I’ll have more energy to devote creatively. I’m also going to be working from home until at least July, which I think will also be helpful in terms of creative output? Hard to say, since the wrecking of my normal schedule and routine due to COVID-19 has really hampered writing for me; I know a lot of other authors feel similarly. Even Mark Dawson has been saying that he’s lucky to get in just a few hours a day right now.

In terms of other small victories, I’m also reading more than I have been–I was in a bit of a slump through April, but I’ve finally broken through that and now feel very motivated to read… which is always great for my general creativity as well. I’ve been loving the Beauty and the Beast retellings by Robin McKinley. (She has two.) Just such a pleasure to read fiction by an author who really knows what she’s doing.

Anyway, I’m going to wrap it up here. Have a great (and healthy) rest of your weekend, and enjoy Chapter Thirty-Five.

Chapter Thirty-Four of The Gold in the Dark and a Writing Update!

Illustration courtesy of Ally Grosvenor.

The thirty-fourth chapter of The Gold in the Dark is out! New chapters, complete with brilliant chapter illustrations courtesy of Ally Grosvenor, release every other Sunday at 11 AM EST (and many times earlier)! You can get started on the series with Chapter One right here or on Wattpad.

It’s been another one of those two week periods with not really anything happening on the blog. 😦 I’ve been writing my WIP and reading, but motivation for blogging has been low for me, both due to the quarantine and the fact that it’s crunch time at my job. I know I’ll get back into the swing of things, but it’s just not happening right now. I think I’ll try to get a Short Tuesday post up this week; that would be a nice, achievable victory. I also have an ARC review to write, so maybe I’ll try to get that out for Thursday or Sunday.

But really, I’m just happy that I’m making progress on my WIP. This has been a slow book from the start, and I’ll definitely be happy to be done with it! (And let’s hope that day comes sooner rather than later!!) I’m not sure what I’ll be working on once I finish–there are a couple possibilities. I might swing right into a sequel for Beauty and the Beast and Aliens, since I can see the potential of this book developing into a longer series… or I might work on a different sci-fi retelling… or maybe even a cat shifter cozy that’s been bouncing around my mind for the last month and a half or so. That idea was gifted to me by one of my writer friends–thanks, Dawn. 🙂

Anyway, I’m going to wrap it up here, and I will try my absolute hardest to see you all again on Tuesday!!! Have a great (and healthy) rest of your weekend, and enjoy Chapter Thirty-Four.

Chapter Thirty-Three of The Gold in the Dark and a Writing Update!

Picture courtesy of Ally Grosvenor.

The thirty-third chapter of The Gold in the Dark is out! New chapters, complete with brilliant chapter illustrations courtesy of Ally Grosvenor, release every other Sunday at 11 AM EST (and many times earlier)! You can get started on the series with Chapter One right here or on Wattpad.

In writing news, Camp NaNo is going… okay. I’ve definitely been adding words to my manuscript–not as many as I’d like, but what’s new? 😉 I’m continuing to do Zoom dates with my writing buddies, which has been really fun. And I’ve added a new character to my story; this book has a very small cast thus far, so it’s always nice to add someone new into the mix.

I thought it might be fun this week to give some shout-outs to a few new bookish things! The first is Dabble, a writing service that I think I’ve mentioned before once or twice. I’ve been drafting on Dabble for the past nine months or so, and I really enjoy it; it has a similar layout to Scrivener, but everything syncs to the cloud and you can write from a browser if you want to, so that it’s easy to write from multiple computers. What’s nice is that they’ve added mobile support just a few days ago! I’m sure other writers out there will relate to how it can be really annoying to get an idea for your book while you’re out and about and not have anywhere to write it down–I normally text myself in those situations, but now I can just use the app to jot the idea down in my actual story document. Hurrah!!!

I also want to shout out Self Publishing Formula, which is Mark Dawson’s company that offers courses and webinars for indie authors, as well as an excellent podcast. Most indies probably know Mark Dawson; he’s a giant in the industry. Anyway, his company has been running lots of promos on courses for indie authors due to COVID-19, and now they’re working on a BookBub competitor called Hello Books. It’s not up and running yet, but you can get on a waitlist. Given Mark Dawson’s success in the industry, this seems like an interesting opportunity to grow your list and get exposure.

Anyway, I’m going to wrap it up here. Have a great (and healthy) rest of your weekend, and enjoy Chapter Thirty-Three.

Chapter Thirty-Two of The Gold in the Dark and a Writing Update!

Illustration courtesy of Ally Grosvenor.

The thirty-second chapter of The Gold in the Dark is out! New chapters, complete with brilliant chapter illustrations courtesy of Ally Grosvenor, release every other Sunday at 11 AM EST (and many times earlier)! You can get started on the series with Chapter One right here or on Wattpad.

These past few weeks I’ve really upped my word count on my Beauty and the Beast and Aliens WIP–I’m finally feeling like I’m making some progress story-wise! We’re also officially past that interminable kayaking scene. 😛 A lot of the progress I’ve made is down to writing with friends virtually, since, you know, social distancing. I’ve been doing a lot of Zoom sessions with writing buddies, sometimes even multiple times a day. Over the years, I’ve found that my most effective habit for getting words in is to write with friends–we usually rotate coffee shops or sometimes write at each other’s houses, about one to three times a week for two hours or so. These are not critique sessions; it’s just butt-in-chair time with other people. So I’ve been happy to discover that virtual writing sessions are about as effective for me as in-person sessions, and it’s nice to be keeping up with all my writing friends as well.

Something that’s been another small help to me is Camp NaNoWriMo. A lot of people know about NaNo, but not necessarily about the “camps” that take place during April and July. In the camps, you get to pick your word count and you write in virtual “cabins” with other writers, to help with accountability. This year’s Camp NaNo is an afterthought for NaNoWriMo as a company, in my opinion; with the gutting of the NaNo website last year, it seems that there’s hardly any support for camp this year in terms of online functionality. As far as I can tell, there’s no way to be sorted into cabins; you have to join writing groups yourself in the forum. There also doesn’t appear to be any fun new graphics or merch for this year’s camp, different from years in the past where each camp had its own branding. I’m not really sure where NaNo is at as a company (they’re a 501(c)(3)), but I wish they had made camp a bigger priority than it seems to be. Nevertheless, I’m in a couple cabins, and we’ve been using Discord for chatting while we’re getting words in. So it’s been kinda fun… but also a letdown. :/ Anyone else doing Camp NaNo? I’d be curious to hear other people’s opinions about the changes NaNo is making as a company.

Anyway, I’m going to wrap it up here. Have a great (and healthy) rest of your weekend, and enjoy Chapter Thirty-Two.

Chapter Thirty-One of The Gold in the Dark and a Writing Update!

Illustration courtesy of Ally Grosvenor.

The thirty-first chapter of The Gold in the Dark is out! New chapters, complete with brilliant chapter illustrations courtesy of Ally Grosvenor, release every other Sunday at 11 AM EST (and many times earlier)! You can get started on the series with Chapter One right here or on Wattpad.

So I’ve been absent from the blog for two weeks. 😦 I’ll be honest–worry about the coronavirus has been affecting me for a while, and lately I just… haven’t been in the mood to do much of anything. I’ve actually been following the whole coronavirus story closely since January; for anyone who’s read Specter, it probably won’t come as a surprise that a certain portion of my online hangouts are places that discuss conspiracy theories, “hidden knowledge,” etc (not that I’m necessarily a believer–I just like to read about these things for entertainment!). Anyway, my own personal experience living in China back in the day combined with talk about coronavirus on the websites I peruse has had me low-key freaking out for months–and that feeling has come to a head in the last few weeks as the virus has started to affect life in the United States.

Plus now I’ve woken up this morning with a sore throat and a ninety-nine degree fever. Fucking fantastic. Did I buy all those Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer for nothing?? D:

So as life has become a bit stranger in my area of the world (my husband is on indefinite paid leave from his job, I’m suddenly working from home, we’re ordering most of our necessities online, and all non-essential businesses are shutting down tomorrow at 8 PM), I find that I haven’t been so motivated to blog. That feeling will come back, I’m sure–actually, I’m finishing up an ARC that I can’t wait to write a review for.

What’s been nice is that with the shift from working in an office to working at home, I’ve been able to write more of my WIP. Beauty and the Beast and Aliens continues to crawl along, and like I’ve said before, I really like this book–it’s just that the process has been slooow. On a random note: does anyone reading this post kayak or have a friend who kayaks? Because there is an extended kayaking scene in the book, and I’m certain that some things are incorrect, so I’m on the hunt for someone to give me pointers. :XD

Anyway, I’m going to wrap it up here. Have a great (and healthy) rest of your weekend, and enjoy Chapter Thirty-One.

Chapter Thirty of The Gold in the Dark and a Writing Update!

Illustration courtesy of Ally Grosvenor.

The thirtieth chapter of The Gold in the Dark is out! New chapters, complete with brilliant chapter illustrations courtesy of Ally Grosvenor, release every other Sunday at 11 AM EST (and many times earlier)! You can get started on the series with Chapter One right here or on Wattpad.

Chapter Thirty marks the end of Part Two, and it’s one of the key chapters of the book. Reading through the chapter gives me such nostalgia, because I spent so long crafting the rest of the book so that it could lead up to this point. Unlike my other books, I spent a long, loooooong time brainstorming for The Gold in the Dark and working out plot points, since I was a new (and hesitant) writer. Now reading back through the chapter, I almost think this turn of events is too much, but I’ll stick by it–I’m mega proud of GitD as a first book.

This week I’ve been rekindling my love for my WIP. Writing the Beauty and the Beast and Aliens book hasn’t been the smoothest journey if you’ve been paying attention to these updates, but I do think that I’m settling into drafting again, as best I can. What can I say–I’m an editing kind of girl! I can edit for hours, but drafting is like pulling teeth, mostly because I just want to edit what I’m writing the whole time. And even though I hate drafting, I do really like how this WIP is progressing! Will anybody else want to read it, or just little ol’ weirdo me? Time will tell, hahaha.

Anyway, I’m going to keep it short and sweet this week. Have a great rest of your weekend, and enjoy Chapter Thirty.

ARC: Mageborn by Jessica Thorne

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for sending me a free advanced reader copy of this book for an honest review. Mageborn debuted February 18th.

Jessica Thorne’s book The Queen’s Wing blew me away last year; I fell in love with its characters, its science-fantasy feel, and the can’t-look-away plot. So when I saw that Thorne has a new series out, I immediately hit the request button on NetGalley. Mageborn was an all right read for me, but I don’t think that it measures up to Thorne’s other series, unfortunately. In all honesty, I do think that because I’ve read the other series and know Thorne’s potential, this knowledge kept me from fully falling in love with Mageborn.

The premise is pretty interesting–a woman who tracks down rogue magic users is given an assignment that puts her in close contact with the heir to the throne. There’s a lot of your standard fantasy tropes: court intrigue, prejudice against those with magical abilities, shaky or repressed memories, brewing rebellion. I saw some people on Goodreads complaining about the Graceling and Sarah J. Maas comps–I don’t see much of SJM in Mageborn, but I was reminded of Graceling throughout, especially because of the jumbled memory thread of the plot. The problem is that Graceling did it much better. It’s been a while since I read the trilogy, but it sticks pretty heavily in my mind, and I’m not sure if Mageborn will. I enjoyed it while I was reading, but there wasn’t one thing that stuck out to me as setting the book above other fantasy.

There’s another thing that I debated mentioning, but I’m just going to go ahead and say it: there are too many fragmented and repetitive sentences in this book for my taste. I don’t remember Thorne’s other series relying on these stylistic choices so much, or perhaps the intense plot of that series made it so that I didn’t notice. I noticed it here, though, a lot; it feels like you can’t go two sentences without a fragment or repetition. For example:

She didn’t pull away and for that he was grateful. Stupidly grateful.

Or this one, which takes the repetition to a ridiculous level:

“Tell him… tell him I didn’t want this. I didn’t want any of this.”

“He knows, pet,” said Simona. “Divinities protect and defend you, he knows.”

Did you count? That’s tell him, I didn’t want… this, and he knows, all repeated in the span of twenty-six words. Don’t get me wrong; repetition can be a powerful tool for writers to place emphasis on something, but you can’t go a page in Mageborn without seeing Thorne leaning on these writing tricks. It got old for me fast, sadly, in the same way that SJM’s writing can wear on a person.

Essentially, I had decent fun reading this book, but it didn’t leave me with a deep impression. Maybe I’ll pick up the next in series, but mostly I’ll be hoping for a third in Thorne’s other series, since there are still a lot of plot threads left to explore there.