Two Years Old

Perilous Confessions, book one of The Possession Chronicles, was published two years ago. Since then, there’s been seven related short stories published and the first five novels in the series are available. And it all began when the editor of my first two novels (Fortitude and Corroded) encouraged me to try my hand at horror in the autumn of 2015. I went with Southern Gothic, though a couple of the books (Murmurs of Evil and Tendrils of Passion, which I wrote first) are considered Gothic horror.

I’m sure the news is in your part of the world is similar, but the big announcement along the Gulf Coast is the 2021 carnival season being put on hold/cancelled/adapted. People are still decorating, buying king cake, and eating Moon Pies, but large gatherings like the masquerades and parades aren’t happening this winter. That sounds like a good excuse to dive into Mardi Gras seasons of the past.

Now is a great time to visit or revisit the book where it all began–or did it? Besides being written after I completed what is now books two and three in the series, I also wrote a prequel short story to The Possession Chronicles after writing all eight novels. Have you read “Masked Flaws”? It takes place the winter before Perilous Confessions, during the infamous 1904 carnival season mentioned in the first book. The year of Edmund Easton’s initiation into Mystics of Dardenne.

You can read “Masked Flaws” in the Mobile Writers Guild’s Mardi Gras Pieces anthology or claim a free digital download of the short story after subscribing to my monthly newsletter.

Do you have a favorite Mardi Gras themed read?

New Christmas Story

It’s nearly here! The third instalment of the Bienvenue Press charity anthology series, Homeroom Heroes, releases December 15, 2020. Each story in this collection features an independent woman working in the education system. From historical to contemporary and suspense to paranormal, these winter themed romances are sure to make for cozy reading.

My offering, “Natural Selection in Life and Love”, is Possession Chronicles #6.1. I write my short stories as stand alone tales so anyone picking up the anthology can follow it, but there are tidbits included in them that readers of The Possession Chronicles will not be able to find anywhere else. (Example: “Grace Shadowed” in Finally Home gives a scandalous tidbit–just one line–about Ruth Melling that is spilled no where else in the series. And it’s juicy!) For those seeking to read The Possession Chronicles in order, this story is best read after Hostile Charms–there will be a spoiler if you haven’t completed the last novel released.

If Sean Spunner’s name sounds familiar, it’s because it is. Sean has been in the background as the “chipped tooth Dardenne” since Perilous Confessions (book one) through Hostile Charms (book five), but he’s also made brief appearances is shorts like the prequel “Masked Flaws” and last Christmas’s “Grace Shadowed”. Most recently he starred in my Mobile Writers Guild anthology short “The Portrait of Eliza Melling”, which released in October 2020’s Halloween Pieces.

My historical reference for Sean Spunner. Members of my readers group know I call him my book boyfriend.

But we’re not done with Sean Spunner yet. This winter, I have a novella coming out and he plays a major role in it. Mosaic of Seduction, Possession Chronicles #1.5, tells the story of the year between Perilous Confessions and Murmurs of Evil, February 1905-January 1906. It’s told through the point of view of Eliza Melling and Deacon Claudio De Fiore. Yes, it tells that story–the one readers have always wanted to know more about–and Sean Spunner is tangled in the middle of it. Look for more news about this forthcoming novella in the weeks ahead. Oh, and it will be a FREE digital book for all, not just Kindle Unlimited. Happy holidays!

Gratitude Check In

We’re halfway through November. Though life as we know it might not be what we expected a year ago, there are plenty of things to be thankful for. Yes, I write a lot of Gothic stories but I’m a Pollyanna at heart. I may not play “The Glad Game”, but I do have a window full of prisms (that look especially lovely this time of year when the sun is lower) and I always try to look on the Brightside.

So what’s the happy news? I’ll choose three things out of many.

1. I’m enjoying my new glasses. I’ve been using OTC readers for several years for increasingly numerous things and finally got an eye exam last month. On a walk one day last week, I decided they make a good flower holder.

Me. No filter. No makeup.

2. I’m almost done with the first draft of a new novel. I’ve mentioned before that I was slamming out first drafts of The Possession Chronicles novels (average word count for those was 120,000) in about two months. Ode to 2020 and emotional exhaustion, I’ve been struggling to complete a novel I began a year ago this month. I passed 75K on it last night and hope to complete it by Thanksgiving/the end of the month.

Historical inspiration for the main character.

This project is a Possession Chronicles spinoff–a stand alone young adult Gothic novel that takes place in 1897. I get to weave in my Fortitude research (which took place in 1898) as well as Possession Chronicles tidbits, and give a detailed backstory to a minor character from the series (Sean Spunner) while name dropping a few of the main families from the series (Easton and Melling). I’m back to my coming-of-age roots with this one, complete with first person POV for the main character and teen angst/hormones with other main players. (Ever wonder what a Mystics of Dardenne member was like before his initiation, you’ll find out with seventeen-year-old Sean.)

3. Another sale on books! There’s been a lot of those lately. While I share them on social media pages and, if timing is right, in my monthly newsletter, I’m making an effort to include my blog/website with news like this. In celebration of the forthcoming Homeroom Heroes Christmas charity anthology, Bienvenue Press has the digital editions of the two previous Christmas anthologies on sale the month of November. Hometown Heroes benefits Cajun Navy Relief and Rescue and features a Fortitude short, “Courtship and Courage”. Finally Home proceeds go to regional animal rescue nonprofits. You can read Possession Chronicles short #3.5, “Grace Shadowed”, there.

These Christmas anthologies are romance collections, so my stories are a bit cheerier/happily ever after than typical, but I do keep the hint of Southern Gothic readers have come to expect from me. Find “Natural Selection in Life and Love”, Possession Chronicles #6.1 (which takes place the winter of 1912-1913), in next month’s release of Homeroom Heroes.

That wraps things up for me. How are things going for you? Are you able to find the Brightsides in your life?

New Release for Halloween

After last month’s hurricane and then being without use of a computer for over two weeks due to delayed repair issues from Hurricane Sally, I fell off my typical twice a month blogging schedule. Fortunately, I feel like things are back to “normal” for me now–if normal is a spectrum, I’ve at least got a toe on it.

Computer screens aren’t supposed to look like this.

The big news is my latest release–a Possession Chronicles short story. Halloween Pieces, the fourth anthology from Mobile Writers Guild, is available now. A collection of poetry and prose all revolving around Halloween features the diverse membership of our coastal Alabama group.

The four Pieces anthologies. I have a short story in each, from left to right: “Of Goats and Gators” (the short that was my springing board for Fortitude), “Masked Flaws” (The Possession Chronicles prequel short featuring Edmund Easton–this story also available as a free digital read when you subscribe to my newsletter), “Safe Embrace” (a sweet Valentine’s Fortitude/Possession Chronicles crossover with Claire as the main character), and “The Portrait of Eliza Melling”.

My offering, “The Portrait of Eliza Melling”, is historical Southern Gothic–this time with a strong paranormal flare as reader favorite Eliza Melling (who we haven’t seen actively on page since Perilous Confessions) returns in the form of a ghost on Halloween night 1910. It overlaps the Halloween Flirts dance featured in book four, Scarred Memories. Thanks to Eliza’s biting sarcasm, it ended up with a touch of dark comedy. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.

Find Possession Chronicles short story #4.1 “The Portrait of Eliza Melling” in this new collection.

Any of The Possession Chronicles stories make great reading on autumn nights. They aren’t all creepy, but the horrors of family secrets and scandal can be just as chilling.

Happy spooky season reading, everyone!

Find more images like this one on my Instagram account. I post a lot of Instagram exclusives you won’t find anywhere else.

Digital Sale on Multiple Titles

Let the release week shenanigans begin!
In celebration of book 5 of The Possession Chronicles, Bienvenue Press is running a sale on several of the titles in my Southern Gothic family saga series. Check it out.

Not only can you get Hostile Charms for $0.99, but you can buy Perilous Confessions for the same low price as well. And Murmurs of Evil, a reader favorite for it’s creepy Gothic setting, is on sale for two dollars off! This is the biggest sale ever for my titles, so take advantage of it.
Now is a great time to dive into the drama of the early 1900s and catch up with the Melling, Easton, and Davenport families so you’re ready for Hostile Charms on September 8. If you already have them all in your collection, consider telling a reader friend or gifting digital copies this week. You can always search for “Carrie Dalby” at your favorite ebook store, but here’s a handy link that will give you access to each of The Possession Chronicles titles with shopping links to all the major digital platforms selling them. Shop with Books2Read dot com.