Coming Soon–and Revisiting an Old Title

First off, let’s flash back a year. Right before my part of the country went into pandemic mode, Mobile Writers Guild celebrated a new release. Valentine’s Day Pieces is the third in the anthology series by this Mobile Bay area writers group I am happy to be part of. We all kept busy writing throughout the trying year of 2020 and released another title in time for Halloween.

As typical, my anthology offering can be read alone, but if you want to get the most out of your Possession Chronicles reading experience, collect these short stories. They dig deeper into the side characters and give insights (secrets!) into some of the main players you won’t find anywhere else. (My favorite example of that is a juicy tidbit about Ruth Melling you will only find in the short “Grace Shadowed” in Finally Home. Or maybe Father Claudio De Fiore’s escapades in New Orleans…)

How many are in your collection?

Along those lines, my next release is my first ever novella. Chronologically, it’s #1.5, but I wrote it after completing all eight novels in the series. Picking up the day after Perilous Confessions ends, Mosaic of Seduction digs into the twisted Melling family tree like you’ve never seen before.

Set in 1905 between the finale of a notorious love affair and the demonic infestation of Seacliff Cottage, Mosaic of Seduction creates ripples on both sides of Mobile Bay as Eliza Melling orchestrates a love triangle too devious for polite society.

At eighteen, free-spirited Eliza’s artistic drive is overshadowed only by her thirst for the forbidden. She wants her appetites quenched—both creatively and physically—but her lust for freedom rules them all.

Newly arrived in America, Deacon Claudio De Fiore had set aside the natural man in his quest to serve God, but when his desire to protect Eliza eclipses his training to become a priest, he must decide where his true allegiance lies. In a scandal only a Melling could produce, Eliza entraps the deacon while publicly courting a man from her elite social circle.

Step into one of the most tumultuous years of The Possession Chronicles in this tantalizing novella spanning the Mardi Gras season that began in Perilous Confessions and ending after the birth of a tragic new year.

Cover reveal and ordering link coming soon! This will be a FREE digital download for all, but also available for purchase in paperback. Get ready to learn more about Eliza, Claudio, and Sean–who you’ve read about in the last two anthology shorts (Halloween Pieces and Homeroom Heroes).

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 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!

 

Mardi Gras History

Mardi Gras. I’ve always had a love or hate relationship with it. As a child growing up in California one of the highlights of the year was a box of beads, throws, and Moon Pies my mother’s cousin would send us. The magic of the sparkling beads, fun toys, and the wonders of sugar coated marshmallow pies. What wasn’t to love?

As I grew older, my understanding changed. Carnival is a time of excess and indulgent behavior and people use it as an excuse to sin. Behind the beauty in the pageantry, filthy behaviors happen within some circles. Tens of thousands—and more—dollars are spent only to pelt parade watchers with plastic, guzzle booze, and litter the streets. Think of all the good that money could be used for instead—a waste!

Then I discovered the historical origins and my understanding evolved further. Bachelors in Mobile began the first society as an impromptu parade through town to disturb the peace. The wildness was celebrating the New Year and the timing eventually expanded to be enjoyed before revelers humbled themselves for Lent. After the Civil War, people in the Port City needed something to lift their spirits and carnival was brought back. Today many of the societies donate to non-profits and do volunteer work throughout the year within the community.

While parades and extravagant balls aren’t my personal style, I’ve developed an appreciation for the colorful history it gives Mobile, Alabama. Before I began writing what is now the first book of The Possession Chronicles, Perilous Confessions, I researched the history of Mardi Gras in Mobile through books as well as newspaper articles from the 1905 season I wrote about. I knew I didn’t want to use real society names, so I asked the opinion of a writer friend who had tackled high society and Mardi Gras in a contemporary setting for her YA/NA novel Want. Stephanie gave me permission to use the society she created for her modern take on carnival in my series. I had a lot of fun creating the roots of Mystics of Dardenne and I’d like to think Isaac Laroche would find the Dardennes’ antics entertaining—at the very least.

Writing is all about stirring emotions. Things the author and the reader are passionate about are the best things to use, but passion isn’t always positive. The feelings I’ve had about Mardi Gras throughout my life (from wonder to disgust) can be found within Perilous Confessions. Just as with any topic, whatever your take on carnival season is I hope you’ll continue to find new information and insight to further your understanding of this unique event.

It’s release day for Perilous Confessions! You can read the first five chapters with the “Look Inside” option. (The digital sale price of $0.99 won’t last forever.) To check out Stephanie and her books, find her on Goodreads. Happy reading!