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?

We All Need Fortitude

Today–Saturday, June 6, 2020–marks the 122 anniversary of the Tampa area race riots that happened during the mobilization of the troops to Cuba for the Spanish-American War. For my novel, Fortitude, I researched the event from multiple sources and did my best to portray the situation accurately, though it was heartbreaking to dive into such vileness as the triggering event. More lives were lost in Florida (due to disease and bigotry) than in the Cuba campaign of the Spanish-American War.

If you’re not familiar with Fortitude, it’s a coming-of-age Southern Gothic listed with Grateful American Foundation as a “Best History Book” for kids (targeted for 5-10th grades), one of only three dozen books currently on the list. It’s about standing up when you see injustices and helping your fellow man, no matter the cost. The settings are mostly familiar ones to my readers: Mobile, Dauphin Island, Mon Louis Island, and Tampa in 1898. It was my first published novel in 2015 and is now in its second edition with Bienvenue Press, home of The Possession Chronicles–and several of the characters if Fortitude make an appearance in the series.

We must learn from the past and move forward with compassion–and fortitude.

One Week Until the Next Read

Even as the world shifts with pandemic related news, issues, concerns, and more, I’m getting outdoors as often as possible and escaping into my literary world whenever I can.

Scarred Memories releases in one week! The digital pre-order option is up–and has some good news. My novels are going “wide”, which means they will be available from all the major digital platforms (iBooks, nook, Kobo, etc.), not just Kindle. Find all the handy links in one place and purchase for the early bird price of $0.99 here. (Paperback ordering is coming soon.)

If you use any of these digital readers, be on the lookout for Perilous Confessions and Murmurs of Evil (books one and two of The Possession Chronicles). They will be ready to purchase and read in the days ahead–if they aren’t already. Tendrils of Passion and Fortitude will follow into the other digital stores next month.

Also forthcoming is a Possession Chronicles related short story I co-wrote this winter. Bienvenue to the Chateau Rouge is an anthology featuring Bienvenue Press authors who bring their characters to the infamous Chateau Rouge hotel in New Orleans–created by Jolie St. Amant for her paranormal romance series of the same name.

“Revelry’s Requiem” is my offering. It takes place during Mardi Gras in 1911. I refer to it as Possession Chronicles #4.5 because it takes place after the fourth book. Can you guess which  character from my series takes  center stage?

Yes, Father Claudio De Fiore brings his bag of Holy relics to New Orleans. He was requested by Jolie St. Amant to take part in this collection and I had fun seeing what Claudio would do without the Mellings around. You can order it now and read on May 12, 2020.

I hope you are all well, have plenty to read, and are able to enjoy Spring wherever you are. As always, if you want to hear from me more often than twice a month via blog posts, follow me on any of my social media pages as found on my contact page. Happy reading!

The Rundown

The newest release is here!

Find “Safe Embrace”, a Fortitude-Possession Chronicles short story, in Valentine’s Day Pieces, an anthology by Mobile Writers Guild. It will be available locally at a couple indie bookshops, including The Haunted Book Shop, but it’s also for sale digitally.

As a reminder, you don’t have to read the short stories to follow the story line of The Possession Chronicles. The shorts typically fall between the books (“Safe Embrace” is #3.8) and just show a bit more insight and character growth–often of those who do not take the lead in the novels. Examples: the prequel short “Masked Flaws” is about Edmund Easton and “Grace Shadowed”, #3.5, found in Finally Home, features Grace Anne Marley and Dr. John Woodslow.

Last weekend, I was able to catch my favorite singer in action. I’ve been listening to Mitch Malloy for two-thirds of my life and never tire of his vocals. Over the years, his music has inspired me and helped me with several different writing projects. I dedicated the new edition of Fortitude to him.

 

Yesterday, I revealed the cover for Scarred Memories, the fourth book in The Possession Chronicles, in my readers’ group. It’s striking and bold–and brighter than the others with its color scheme–while still keeping a Gothic vibe. Next week, it will be shown to my newsletter subscribers in the February edition before it goes out on social media. Finally, you’ll find it here on my next blog post in about two weeks. If that’s not soon enough, subscribe, join, or follow any of those other options.

Happy reading!

New Year, New Stories

Unless you live along the Gulf Coast, the holidays are over. If you’re in the Mardi Gras zone, you know the festivities have just begun. Besides being a year old this week, Perilous Confessions is fun to talk about during carnival season. A lot of my historical research centered around Mardi Gras in the Port City.

The Possession Chronicles passed its one year mark, but growth is still happening. Three full-length novels are out–four if you count Fortitude as an unofficial prequel–as well as three short stories (if you include “Courtship and Courage”, the Fortitude short in Hometown Heroes.) Here’s a photo I took of the Possession Chronicles related books, including the anthologies featuring short stories, in chronological order of how to read them.

You can find a list of the publications in this order–including what’s to come and projected release dates where possible–on my website’s page dedicated to the series. Next to be added to is Valentine’s Day Pieces, a Mobile Writers Guild anthology, which releases later this month. Look for ordering links in the following blog post (in about two weeks.)

February will hopefully see the unveiling of book four’s cover as Scarred Memories releases in April. Also forthcoming is a yet-to-be-announced short story project that I’m co-writing with a USA Today best-selling author which ties our story worlds together.  2020 will be a year to read and remember.  Don’t miss out–catch up with The Possession Chronicles now!