Online Event!

In celebration of my critique partner’s debut novel that releases tomorrow, June 15, I’m participating in my first official event in over a year. WooHoo!

The event is a Zoom conversation all about Southern Gothic, with just a few highlights about each of our new releases. It’s FREE and hosted by The Haunted Book Shop here in downtown Mobile, Alabama, but everyone is welcome to join us–even if you aren’t local.

Register here to receive the link and come hang out with us for an hour. Candice Marley Conner‘s Southern Gothic YA mystery The Existence of Bea Pearl is the main release we’re celebrating. Besides me and Candice, author Jodi Cain Smith is joining us. She is the founder of the Mobile Literary Festival, which I’ve been lucky enough to work on with her from the beginning. Besides that connection, all of us (including Angela from The Haunted Book Shop) are Mobile Writers Guild members, so it will be like a literary family reunion.

If you have any interest in Southern Gothic or want to learn what it’s all about, join us. There will be a Q&A at the end too.

And, one more time, in case you missed the embedded hyper-link above. Here’s the registration information.

May Thoughts and Adventures

First off, this will be my only offering this month. I’m two and a half weeks into first drafting a novel and preparing for a journey. The adventure will be discussed in my June newsletter. (Now is a good time to register for that if you haven’t already.)

My current project is the third book in what I now know is a trilogy spin-off of The Possession Chronicles. With the first manuscript, I thought I was writing a stand alone. Then I realized those main characters needed to finish their story, nineteen years later. And when I finished that second story, I knew those people and the next generation needed one more novel–and a couple more years–to come full circle. I’m at twenty-two thousand words and feeling great about it. At least today. Emotions over projects have an ebb and flow. Some days everything looks like junk, the next day it can be jewels.

Me with my novels and anthologies featuring my short stories–and lots of azaleas–in March 2021.

One of my June blog posts will have the cover reveal for Haunted Remains, the sixth novel in The Possession Chronicles. I’m super excited for this reveal. It will have a depiction of Alexander Melling as the focus as he is one of the POV characters. It’s about time he gets to share his side of things as the series wouldn’t be possible without his choices. He’ll join Lucy, Eliza, Magdalene, Claudio, and Frederick in this epic cover collection created by Ashley Byland.

I’ll catch up with you in a few weeks. In the meantime, happy reading! If you want to keep up with me in between blog posts or the monthly newsletter, check out my social media links on the CONTACT page and follow me on one (or more) of those sites.

Short and Sale

After ice and snow flurries in January 2014.

As reported two weeks ago, I spent a lot of time on edits this month. My short story for the next Mobile Writers Guild anthology is ready to submit. “Dashing Through the Snow” features a historic snowfall in Mobile, Alabama, and takes place pre-Possession Chronicles, with a few of the characters before they come of age. (Hello, young Sean Spunner!)

Snow is rare within the city of Mobile, a sub-tropical zone. The average snowfall happens once a decade, but snow flurries (little to no accumulation) happen more often–maybe twice that. The first time I saw snow falling was the winter I moved to Alabama, December 1996. I had seen lots of snow in the mountains in California, but never watched it fall. It’s magical!

Speaking of winter…there’s a sale happening now through the month of May for Homeroom Heroes. The digital edition is only $0.99, just in time for teacher appreciation days. If you aren’t familiar with this anthology from Bienvenue Press, here’s the overview.

“Awesome. Bold. Creative.

Homeroom Heroes brings you seven Christmas romances that celebrate our teachers and the compassion and dedication they bring to the classroom everyday. From paranormal to contemporary to historical, there’s something here to fill everyone with the spirit of the season. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Acadiana Writing Project.”

If you’ve missed out on my short story in this book, now is a good time to add it to your digital collection. Even if you save it to read when that season rolls around again, take advantage of the sale price and help out a good cause: Acadiana Writing Project in Louisiana.

“Natural Selection in Life and Love” was inspired by events in my family history–which is rare for The Possession Chronicles. Yes, I had an ancestor lose his job over discussing Charles Darwin. To find out more about the short story and the events from my family history archives, read the opening note from the December 2020 newsletter. (And if you aren’t subscribed to my monthly newsletter, you can remedy that from this link as well.)

It’s always the right season to relax with a book. Keep reading and enjoying your Spring.

Springing Along

After finishing the first draft of my latest project at the end of March, I took a few days off to reset my mind. Powering through 118,000 words in just over two months merits a mini-break. Then, I dove into what I think was my final round–or next to final round–of self edits (draft twenty-four) of Barren Devotion, the seventh novel in The Possession Chronicles.

One of the period pieces of photography that helped me set the mood for Barren Devotion.

Yesterday, I completed the first draft of a short story to submit to the next Mobile Writers Guild anthology. The deadline is May first, so I’ll be powering through edits the next few weeks. I even gave it the first round of edits last night after only a couple hours away from it–not the best thing to do, but I’m on a time crunch. Generally, the longer you’re away from a project, the easier it is to see the flaws. Fortunately, I have just enough time to submit the story to my critique group so it can have more eyes on it before submitting. That’s always a good thing–especially for writers like me with dyslexic tendencies.

It looks like the rest of April will be spent editing the short story, while waiting to hear from the editor of Haunted Remains, the 6th novel in The Possession Chronicles. The next book releases this July and several editing rounds with a professional will be happening before then. And the cover art–I always look forward to that.

I already have an idea for another project, but it’s on hold until I see to these deadline projects. I tend to get obsessive about projects and find it difficult to balance more than one at a time, so I hold back the new ideas until I get a clear creative calendar. That doesn’t work for everyone. A lot of people I know, if they don’t act on an idea, they lose it. For me, it builds up like pressure behind a dam and when I get to it, it spews out. Not a pretty visual, but first drafts are messy.

At least, that’s how it’s worked for me the past few years. Creativity has an ebb and flow, just like the rest of life. I used to not be able to fast draft. Now I can–except for last year. It took me thirteen months to draft one novel when the previous six novels took an average of two months each. But this last one put me back on my fast draft schedule. I don’t force it–I go with it. Life is too short to be overly hard on yourself, especially with creativity. Take breaks, reset, allow your output to change with life’s demands. We’re human.

Cover Reveal for Mosaic of Seduction

Cover art for the next release–my first (and so far, only planned) novella–is here! Though a series of eight main novels, The Possession Chronicles continues to grow with short stories, this novella, and my current works-in-progress: spin-off novels. Welcome Eliza Rose Melling to the the cover art world of this Southern Gothic family saga.

Cover design for Mosaic of Seduction (and the rest of The Possession Chronicles) by Asley Byland of Redbird Designs.

I finished the first draft of Mosaic of Seduction a year and a half ago. It was an interesting feat to juggle because it is #1.5 and the first two books in the series were already published–and the third in final edits–when I wrote this one. (Translation: everything was set in stone, as opposed to when I wrote all eight novels before publication of the first and could go back to earlier books and tweak things to fit the evolving narrative.)

While I knew the basics of what happened between Perilous Confessions and Murmurs of Evil, I didn’t have answers to all the details. Eliza Melling’s side of the story was more colorful than I expected, and like her father, she didn’t play fair. She threw me some massive curveballs–like being engaged–that I had to make work with the already published storyline. And Claudio! He didn’t share with Magdalene half of what he went through with Eliza at Seacliff Cottage. Filling in this missing year from the timeline was both fun and frightening.

Be on the lookout for Mosaic of Seduction. “Buy” links will be forthcoming–within the next few weeks. It’s a quiet release, no set release date, but it will be FREE to download digitally from your favorite online bookseller. A paperback edition will also be available for purchase for those collecting the physical series. Enjoy this special addition to The Possession Chronicles and the unfiltered view it gives you into the Melling family dynamics.