It’s been a while…

I can’t believe I haven’t published anything on here since February. I had plans to add something new at least once a month. But, as is been happening in life with me more than I want to admit, time got away from me. I was feeling burnt out with life in general during the first part of the year then tried to jump into a big decision which hasn’t gone as I had hoped so I haven’t had much time to come out from the burnout phrase. In fact, I went on vacation a month ago for a week. We hardly did anything expect a couple of shopping days (I can’t remember what else we did) and it got to the end of the week and I didn’t feel relaxed or rejuvenated in the slightest. I even had to step back from that big decision I had been trying to do (more on this in a later post [hopefully]) so I could do some self care over this last month. Its been a time.

But, I’m hoping things are looking up. Writing has been a bit hit and miss lately so I’m trying to set and stick with a regular writing time as well as adding in time to read and scheduling chores on certain days to makes sure they get done. Giving my life a little more structure so I don’t waste the time I do have. I’m hoping this will help with my burnout. I’ve been feeling a little better this month but I’m still working on keeping to the new schedule I’ve set.

Even though my writing is as regular as I would like, I have made some progress. Such as… Tada!… I finally released The Beauty of Magic, the Snow White with a hint of Goldie Locks retelling I’ve been working on for a while! I’ve already gotten some good feedback on it and my local, independent bookstore is caring copies. That has been amazing (I even stopped in their the other day after they sent a customer to the store I work at because they had bought a copy of my book. That was awesome but I had no idea what to say to the reader. When I stopped into the store, I found out the only had one book left and were planning on ordering more. They generosity has made me want to cry).

If you would like to get a copy, you can find it retailers at Books2Buy, Amazon, or ask your local bookstore to order in for you.

I’m also working on a series of stories for Havok that take place all in the same world. The series is called the Legends of Allowen and each story follows a different character. Here is a little more about it:

“Before they were legends, they had a story. Allowen is full of legendary figures, but before their tales were told across and beyond the kingdom, they had challenges that would start them on their path. Young men and women trying to make a difference in their world. A young princess who wants to fight beside her soldiers. A hero who protects others before himself. A young girl who will guide others cross the paths she’s explored (with maybe a wrong turn or two). A young healer whose only wish is to use is to study and use his knowledge to cure others. And a boy who is called by Elihu to speak his words to all of Allowen. Each one will become legends in their own right. And each will have to face trials and challenges to become all they were designed to be to save their beloved kingdom.”

You can read the first instalment now on Havok’s website. It is called “Legends of Allowen – The Escape” and the next one is “Legends of Allowen – Elihu’s Light” which will release September 29th. I also sent in another story just today so I’ll keep you posted there. Also, keep your eye out on my social media to hear about the next Havok anthology, Prismatic, which will also have a story in it by me which was pretty fun to write. Projected release is also September.

I also attended a writer’s conference in July, Realm Makers. It was wonderful. I attended virtually last year and was able to do so again this year. The keynote was by Frank Perretti and he was fantastic. Somehow I ended up a lot of classes that had very similar messages about keeping God at the center of your life and writing because without Him, whether you make it big or not, He is the most important thing so your relationship with Him in the most important. Like I said, it was great. And something I also really needed to hear.

Now, with a novella published, I’m deciding which project to focus on next. In one of the classes at Realm Makers, it talked about creating with God and letting Him guide you on your projects. I’ve been praying between two of them but can’t seem to settle between either one. If you got to vote, which do you think I should focus on next; A Beauty and the Beast retelling where there is no magic and focuses more on the protagonists’ relationship as well as overcoming internal struggles or a middle grade fantasy novel with dragons. The retelling would be one I self-published with the dragon one I’m planning to traditionally publish. I’m excited about both equally but whichever one I focused on would just change the plans on when I would pitch and self-publish my next book.

Hope you enjoyed this writing update and I planning on my next post focusing more on personal stuff. Until then, happy reading.

Happy New Year?

So, long time, no post. Sorry about that. The end of 2020 was really busy with life and the holidays and things just kept moving. Once the new year hit, time just kept moving (funny how that works). I kept thinking about doing posts; writing updates, reading updates, maybe something to encourage others to write. But, I kept forgetting, filling my time with other things, and, before I knew it, we were halfway through February! Needless to say, none of those plans happened. But, I would like to start posting on here more. Making some changes with my platform, so to speak, to incorperate posting more. So, to start, lets catch up to this point because some good stuff has been going on.

Reading Thoughts

So, 2020 has officially ended. I read 48 books of my 54 goal. While I didn’t make that goal, I still read a lot so I’m pretty happy with the number. I also know I read books that I didn’t add on Goodreads (that is how I track my reading) so I might have been closer to that number than I thought. Of those books, here are my top five favorites.

Finding God’s Will for You by St Francis de Sales, The Legend of Zelda and Theology edited by Jonathan Walls, The Neverending Story by Michael Ended, The Green Ember by S.D. Smith, and Moonscript by H.S.J. Williams. I made this image for my Instagram post.

For this year, I set the same goal, 54 books by December 31. Not sure if I’ll make it but right now I’ve read and finished 10 books. I’m also planning on reading all 5 Chronicles of Prydain in a row. Never read them before but have heard good things. I’ve only ever seen the movie and, after reading the first two books, I can say this; the film did not do it justice, but it is a much more serious books than what the film created.

How about you? Any reading goals or books you are jumping into?

Writing Thoughts

Okay, do we even need to get into the book I was going to blog last year? Yes, I think we do. So, if you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know I was going to blog a book and publish a new part (chapter) here once a month. Well that fell by the wayside in April and I never caught back up. I am disappointed in that and it was all my fault. And it wasn’t because I wasn’t writing. It was because I kept jumping to other projects, which didn’t meet the goals for them either (publishing a novella and sending out my middle grade novel to agents). This has been a bad habit of mine for years now and has had this same effect every time. So, it is time to nip this habit in the bud.

Starting at the end of last year, I made the plan to focus on one project and work on it to a certain point before I was allowed to work on any other type of writing. This included flash fiction, which I’ve been publishing a lot of through Havok. Starting in November, I let myself writing as many flash fiction pieces for that month and then was going to exclusively focus on my novella, The Beauty of Magic, which was really close to being self published, for the next several months. So far, it has worked pretty well. I’ve already had one story published with Havok in January with another releasing this Saturday and another on March 9th and finished the draft I have been needing to get through for my novella so I could send it to a proofreader (who it is with right now!).

The plan is to publish The Beauty of Magic, a Snow White retelling mixed with other fairy tales, by spring to early summer so I am still only focusing on that right now. But, since it is with a proofreader and I can’t do anything until I get the draft back, I’m allowing myself to work on other projects. Since this is a laid back time, I’m letting myself bounce to the project I’m feeling motivated to write. That has ended up being a Beauty and the Beast retelling that I am really enjoying. It is going so well and is going to be longer than The Beauty of Magic. I’ve also been working on expanding one of my flash fiction stories into a novel but haven’t gotten that far yet. But, when my novella comes back, those go to the back burner as I return to that story. I’ll keep you posted on it as things develop.

The Beauty of Magic is not the only one I have goals for. In April, I’m going to finish the first draft of Woven Fate, the blog book project I had been working on last year than, after that, if the novella is done and I’m just working on publishing details (formatting, ISBN, copyright, actually publishing) then I’ll return to my middle grade novel, editing it so I can send it to agents and be immediately have it ready to send if they want to see more. If all goes according to plan, (I want to laugh right here) then I’ll be pitching and querying agents my middle grade novel while working on my self publishing goals. I also hope that I might get Woven Fate done and published by November/December of this year. But, I’ll have to see how realistic that is once I can turn more of my focus on it. For now, my novella, The Beauty of Magic, has my attention.

I’ll also still be writing and submitting with Havok during all this so I’ll be building in breaks to write those stories. Also, breaks from your main writing project can be good to keep it fresh and not burn yourself out. The goal would be to plan these breaks. Not be willy nilly about it, thinking, “This will be quick,” and other goals just keep getting pushed off. Everything in there timing and season, right?

If you are a writer, what are some of your writing/publishing goals this year?

Ending Thoughts

So, those are some of my reading and writing thoughts of last year and goals for this year. I hope you continue to follow this blog and enjoy the writing/reading journey. I have another writing related thing I want to start this year (or maybe one or two other projects) but right now I’m going to keep it under my hat until it looks a bit more sure.

Hope you are having a great new year so far and, until next time…

The Witch’s Cat: The Blue Moon Hunt

It’s that time of year again. Time for another story of Vivienne and Onyx. I based this story around the fact we have two full moons this year during October. I had hoped to write and publish this story sooner but time got away from me. It happened to work out, though, because the second full moon of October was Halloween which made the timing of this story perfect.

If you haven’t read a Witch’s Cat story before, you can read last year’s, “Origins“, here and my very first one, “The Witch’s Cat“, in the Paws, Claws, and Magic Tales anthology (the ebook is free) through the Fellowship of Fantasy group.

So sit back and enjoy this year’s story, “The Blue Moon Hunt”. This will make my third story with these characters and each has been published in October. I hope to return to these two again next year so stay tuned.

***

Cover created by Savannah Jezowski with Dragonpen Press

Onyx padded through the brown, curled leaves as he wove through the trees. The full moon cast a silver glow all around him, his black fur blending with the shadows of the night. As distant voices reached him, he stopped, ears twitching while taking in the sound.

It was the villagers, out on the hunt for the beast terrorizing them these last few months. During each full moon, a werewolf emerged from the forest, killing livestock and tearing the square apart. But this month the villagers’ superstitions were working overtime. Two full moons. With double the death and destruction imminent, they’d gathered to decide what was to be done. Onyx had been in attendance with Vivienne and the words of the villagers still echoed in his ears.

“We have to kill it before it kills us. How long will it be satisfied with animals?”

Vivienne stroked his fur as shouts of agreement rose around them. The farmer and his son to their left the loudest of all.

“Halloween is the second full moon. I say let the hunter become the hunted. Let us meet the beast before it comes to us and kill it!”

The shouts almost made him go deaf.

Tonight was Halloween, and the howls of the werewolf rang through the air as the full moon glared in night sky. Onyx was glad for the extra light if he hoped to find the creature before the villagers. He just wondered why it had to be him.

Skipping around a tree, he halted. There, just five feet away, stood a mangy wolf. Dressed in raggedy clothes, it stood hunched, head hanging low with its mouth agape and dripping saliva. Its eyes were silver like the moon.

They stared at each other.

Then, raising its snout to the sky, the werewolf howled.

“Because dogs like cats!” Onyx swung around and bolted back the way he’d came. While he would have liked to have given the mutt a good scratch on the nose, he didn’t feel like risking becoming a werekitty.

The werewolf lopped after him, barking as it ran. Yells in the distance came closer as the villagers heard the commotion. Thankfully they were still a good distance away. Still, he’d rather not have them interfere. Onyx shot to the right, hopping to lead the werewolf farther away before dodging to the left again.

Nips at his heels and hot breath on his tail challenged Onyx in all his skills of running, jumping, twisting, and shimmying he knew. But it only slowed the beast down so much.

They came to the forked tree and Onyx jumped up, scaling the trunk. He’d just tucked up his tail when the werewolf snapped at him. As he settled on a branch, the wolf circled the tree, watching its prey. Keeping a wary eye on the dog, Onyx glanced about. But it was just them. The wolf came around the far side of the tree when a gust of wind sent leaves flying from the ground.

Vivienne walked toward them, snapping open her cloak as she approached the werewolf. It stepped back, waving its head left and right as it cowered backward until it hit the tree. It whimpered as it hung its head. She stopped, still as the night as the werewolf cowered.

When it looked up again, it gave whinny grunts, like those noises when humans believe their dog is talking to them.

Lowering her cloak, Vivienne took out a glass vile filled with a silvery liquid and removed the cork. She reached toward him and poured the contents down its throat.

The werewolf whimpered as it shrank in size and its hair fell out until a hunched over man sat at the tree’s base. Lifting his head, he blinked as the final bits of silver faded from his eyes. The farmer’s son looked up at Vivienne before glancing at his torn clothing.

“Me? I was…”

Vivienne slowly nodded.

“I… Oh, no. Did I…” he chocked as he said, “…kill anyone?”

She shook her head.

He dropped his head into his hands as his body shook.

“How? How did you know it was me?”

Onyx dropped from the tree and sauntered over to Vivienne. He jumped into her arms and purred. Smiling, she tapped Onyx’s nose.

“Why would you help me?” he said. “I… spread rumors you were behind the werewolf. Secretly, I think we all did.”

Vivienne stroked Onyx’s fur and scratched under his chin before looking up at the man. But she didn’t answer.

Shouts drifted to them as torches appeared through the trees.

“No.” The farmer’s son scrambled to his feet. “They’ll kill me once they find out.”

Vivienne stepped toward him, her finger out to silence him. She waved her hand and a path of glowing, white flowers sprang up. “Follow these and you’ll make it home without anyone finding you.”

“But the moon—”

“Won’t bother you anymore.” She turned to leave and scratched under Onyx’s chin.

“Wait. How can I repay you?”

She smiled over her shoulder and said, “Don’t think poorly of others in the future. What they look like on the outside does not reflect what they are on the inside.”

Vivienne and Onyx disappeared into the night shaded forest. After a few moments, they heard the farmer’s son walk off as he followed the path home, the flowers fading as he passed them. By the time the villagers arrive, they’ll find nothing but an empty, glass vile.

“Night’s Journey” Art Giveaway

I have a new story releasing with Havok Publishing today titled “Night’s Journey”! Summary: Sonora is deathly sick. To reaffirm this knowledge, death visits her every night. Determined not to be stolen away, she decides to face this adversary but death isn’t who she thought he was.

I love this story and enjoyed writing it so much. When I found out that Havok accepted it, I commissioned art from Hannah Williams (she is also the author of Moonscript which was a great book). Many writers I know have hired her for art of their characters which are beautiful so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for this story. And, boy, did the art turn out beautiful.

To celebrate the release of “Night’s Journey”, I’m giving away a print of this art to one lucky winner! Just read the story on Havok‘s website (available for free today only then becomes part of their Member Only story) and come back here to enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter below by sharing what you liked best about the story.

Good luck and I hope you enjoy “Night’s Journey”.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Where’s Woven Fate?

Where

Hey, readers. If you’ve been following my blog you’ve probably noticed that it’s been really quite. I unfortunately got behind with Woven Fate and been busy with other projects to work on that. So, what exactly happened? Well, life just happened.

Time really opened up doing the stay at home order and I did get a lot of writing done. But, not for Woven Fate. I used the time to finish the second draft and start and finish the third draft of my novella The Beauty of Magic which I feel I’m more behind in (I had wanted a release date for last year). So I got far in that one and even passed it off to beta readers (working through those now). I also used the time to work on some flash fiction pieces. So I wrote, just not Woven Fate. I kept thinking I would be able to get to it once I had these quicker, shorter pieces off my plate so I could focus on the blog story.

But, as I’m sure you already guessed, that didn’t happen. Things began opening up again, I went back to work, time got tight, I’m working on packing to move, and then the writers conference I’ve always wanted to go to is being hosted online this year so I signed up… which I’m able to pitch a novel at so I have to work on some final edits for that. *Face palm here*

So, time just filled up with life and other writing. I had to put some things on the back burner, one of which was Woven Fate. But, it is not alone on that burner. I also forced a flash fiction writing hiatus on myself because I would allow myself to write one because “it is short and quick” (and it is) but with my limited time it actually prevented me from getting to my longer projects by a week or two. I’ll be lifting that hiatus here after the conference.

Where does that leave Woven Fate? Well, I still plan on working on it and having it finished by the end of the year. But there will be a lot of catch up when I can get back to it. For now, I have to finish editing my novel for the pitch in case the agent wants to see the first three chapters and The Beauty of Magic has waited to long so I want to finish the beta edits and another read through of that and send it to a proofreader. At which time I’ll be able to return to Woven Fate, starting with Part 4.2 and then working on catching up. To dedicate time to this project, once The Beauty of Magic is published, I will not be starting another novella until after Woven Fate is done.

To finish a writing project, you have to set priorities and focus, which sometimes means setting limitations in other areas or projects. This is how I have to set them for now and I hope this will help me accomplish and finish some of these projects, all of which are dear to my heart and I want to see completed, out in the world, and the best they can be.