A Lull in the Storm

It’s been a whirl year of books so far, but now things are settling down. This month–besides the release of Fortitude–I worked a round of professional edits on my next release. Murmurs of Evil, book two of The Possession Chronicles, will be available June 11. After finishing that editorial pass, I slipped into book three for a tightening round and now I’m on book four for the sixteenth time. I’m pleased to report the series is still as enjoyable for me to work on as ever–and that feels great.

I’m excited to share more of The Possession Chronicles with readers, so much so that I started an insider’s readers group on Facebook for those looking for more facts and inspiration behind my stories. To join the fun and learn more about my writing process in regards to all my stories, check out Dalby’s Darklings.

If an online group isn’t your thing, be sure you’re registered for my monthly newsletter. I send it out the first week of the month (next week for April), highlighting upcoming news/events, what I’ve been reading, and more.

Sneak peek: next up, I’ll be at Gulf Coast Children’s Book Festival in support of Fortitude on April 4.

 

It’s Time for More Fortitude


Fortitude is ready to be back in the wild.
The new edition (fresh cover and formatting) of my first published novel releases
March 5th by Bienvenue Press. While it did go through a round of line edits, no major changes were made. If you’re new to my books, now is a great time to order the digital copy as it’s on sale for $0.99. It will be on Kindle Unlimited and paperback ordering will be available soon.

Fortitude is a coming-of-age Southern Gothic tale set against the backdrop of the Spanish-American War. Main character Claire O’Farrell is a first generation Irish-American from Dauphin Island, Alabama, and her best friend, Loretta Davis, is a Creole who lives in Mobile. Together, they volunteer as nurses in the Buffalo Soldiers’ camp in the Tampa Bay area. In the days leading up to departure for Cuba, more soldiers lost their lives in the Florida camps from disease and race riots than would die in battle. Dark days are recounted in this historical novel that earned ranking on the “Best Books” list for kids (grades 5th-10th) from Grateful American Foundation in 2017.

Also out in the world this month is Mardi Gras Pieces: A Collection of Short Stories, an anthology compiled by Mobile Writers’ Guild. The Kindle version is released, paperback soon to follow. “Masked Flaws”, a prequel short story to The Possession Chronicles, is included.

Told through the point-of-view of Edmund Easton, “Masked Flaws” takes place the winter before Perilous Confessions (December 1903-January 1904.) Want the backstory of Edmund joining Mystics of Dardenne and their infamous masquerade of 1904 that is hinted about in the first book? Read it in this one-of-a-kind collection by local Mobile area writers. Proceeds go to Mobile Writers’ Guild to help sponsor programming and literary outreach–like the Mobile Literary Festival that is happening on March 16, 2019. I hope to see you there.

 

Hometown Heroes Release Day

It’s release day for this collection of romantic shorts. Find Hometown Heroes: A Christmas Anthology by Bienvenue Press in ebook and print.


I’m happy to share “Courtship and Courage” with you as part of the transitioning of my historical works to Bienvenue Press. This all new short continues the story of Claire O’Farrell and Joe Walker from Fortitude. If you’re new to my writing, these two characters will make appearances in The Possession Chronicles, so you’ll want to catch up with them.

While Fortitude (and my other publications to date) have been primarily targeted for teens, “Courtship and Courage” is my bridge into writing for an adult audience.
Since it’s the first story in the book, the “Look inside” option on Amazon allows you to read the first several scenes, so enjoy!

As always, I’m open for questions and would love to hear from you after you read it.

 

Won Over

Last night I went to a concert for a band I thought of as decent and liked a few songs by them (including one that’s on a soundtrack for a book in The Possession Chronicles.) Usually I don’t attend a concert unless it’s by a favorite because of two things: time and money. But this instance was for a good cause—an early birthday present for my middle child. We journeyed to Orange Beach, Alabama, to The Wharf in the stifling August heat to see Imagine Dragons at the amphitheater.

I was impressed by the fourteen-year-old opener, Grace VanderWaal. Mature voice, peppy songs, and adorable when she ran from a dragonfly and messed up the words. I’d never heard of her before and forgot to look her up before the concert, but it was a good set.

A half hour later, Imagine Dragons took the stage in an epic opening with “Radioactive.” First point: several songs in and I appreciated their talent completely. The sound was tight, energy good.  (I love hearing bands live and often prefer live versions to album versions of songs by my favorite bands.) And I’ve never seen so many confetti cannons before! They didn’t wait for a finale—they were going off throughout. Only the giant balloons were saved toward the end.

Second point: about two thirds of the way through the concert, the members came around to a small stage in the middle of the venue, halfway up the seating area and did three songs in an acoustic set. The only thing better than live versions are live acoustic versions. (Another point.) Most of the members played several instruments (bonus points) and they showed appreciation for the people in the back (like us.)

Even more point (are we still keeping score?): during “Demons” (one of my Possession Chronicles songs—lots of inner demons and otherwise in the series) Dan Reynolds did a shout out to youth suffering with depression and anxiety, urging them to seek therapy and find empowerment there like he did, and not take their lives because they are loved and needed. The whole show was like a party, positive vibes and sing-along fun until they ended with “Believer.” Much respect for Imagine Dragons!

Is there a band that won you over when you saw them live?

Weeding Through It

This past week I was struck with plot problems, which coincided with both a beta reader critique as well as a Revise and Resubmit from a publishing company. One major issue was pacing and the other was that I missed the mark on a key turning point for two main characters, which in turn reflected on other issues needing to be strengthened. Yes, this is for book one in the Gothic family saga that’s possessed my time, energy, and effort the past two years. And since this issue was pointed out in the first manuscript the effects will ripple through the seven other stories in the series.

After my initial freak out—which I let simmer over night—I read through the critique/suggestions again and decided to turn to the place I go when I need to plot: the yard. Yes, it’s January but on the Gulf Coast there’s always yardwork to be done. After the last freeze, the remainder of the lantana plants were ready to be pruned for the season and the flower bed was in need of weeding.

So I took my pensive thoughts, grabbed the wheelbarrow and pruners, pulled on my gloves, and set to work. By the first half-hour I knew the problem wasn’t as big as I feared. The situations, people, and history were there already, I just hadn’t dug into that corner of the character’s past thoroughly because I didn’t want to wallow in that part of his dark life. As I worked, I allowed my mind to wander and focused on two despicable people associated with the character in question that I knew could be involved. It was easy to narrow down the right one once I gave myself permission to dig deeper.

After about an hour, I knew which minor character would be the catalyst and began forming the outline of a new character from the shadows of the past I’d kept locked away. The new character was always there, just not named or explored.

With the situation, characters, and history mapped, I processed where in the manuscript the information could be placed. As organically as the history came to me, it was clear to see that there were natural places to insert the backstory into the manuscript without jarring or taking away what was already there. Looking at the coming manuscripts, the revelation only solidifies the anguish and choices he will make in the stories as the saga unfolds. The history was there all along, I only needed to prune away the unnecessary layers hiding the base of the character’s life.

When all else fails, go to the garden.

Where do you go to think?

Literary Night Presentation



If you are in the Mobile Bay area, next Tuesday night Gallery 450 on Dauphin Street is kicking off 2017 with monthly Literary Night events, co-hosted by Mobile Writers Guild.

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Yes, I have the honor of being the first presenter. I’ll share my experiences of researching and writing historical novels set in and around Mobile, including Fortitude and my current projects (more news on those to come soon.)

Reminder: If you aren’t signed up to receive my newsletter, now is a good time to join the list.

YA Event

UPDATED June 7, 2016:
On the afternoon of June 11 at 1:00pm , I’ll be the featured young adult author at the Spanish Fort (Alabama) Barnes & Noble for a book signing during their NATIONAL TEEN BOOK FESTIVAL. They will have copies of Fortitude and Corroded for sale, which I’d be happy to sign, and lots of other cool things.

For details about this store’s B-Fest events, check out their Facebook event page.

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For the run-down of “B-Fest”, happening at all Barnes & Noble stores nation wide June 10-12, 2016, check out their Teen Blog. http://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/teen/join-us-in-store-for-b-fest-our-first-ever-national-teen-book-festival/

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