Summer Writes, Reads, and Edits

It’s meltingly hot here in Mobile, Alabama, which means it’s a typical August along the Gulf Coast. My favorite thing to do in August are indoor activities including reading, writing, and editing.

On August first, I completed the first draft of the final manuscript in the trilogy I began in the autumn of 2019. It took me until December 2020 to complete the first book (about fourteen months), but this year I was able to knock out the second and third over-written installments in three months or less each. Hooray! (And when I say over-written, I mean it. The third project ended at 126,165 words.)

My plan is to release this nameless trilogy after the main body of The Possession Chronicles is completely published–which will hopefully be by the middle of 2022. That means plenty of time for working the dozens of rounds of edits each of the manuscripts need before they become books. Last week, I chronologically edited all three of them for the first time and I’m pleased with the overall trilogy arc, but I know individually they each need a lot of cutting and polishing.

Right now, I’m working my final personal round of edits on Barren Devotion, the seventh novel in The Possession Chronicles. It’s officially draft twenty-five, but it will get a couple more go-throughs with the editor I’m assigned to work with by Bienvenue Press. I’m hoping for a Winter release, but it will be Spring ’22 at the latest.

Now for the reading news. Last week in POSSESSED: Timeless Gothic Reads group on Facebook, I co-hosted a week-long discussion on Darkwater by Dorothy Eden. It was great to share one of my favorite novelists with fellow Gothic fans, many who were reading her for the first time. Dorothy Eden is my favorite for Gothic Romance (which Darkwater is), but I love her family sagas even more.

One of the visuals I shared during the discussion.

My current read is Steamboat Gothic, a delicious Southern Gothic family saga by another favorite author, Frances Parkinson Keyes. I’m not quite halfway and already it’s nudged into the top five of her books that I’ve read so far. Thinking it will be a top three contender.

You can follow all my reading adventures on Goodreads. I chart what I’m reading and leave short reviews when complete. I’ve read 30 books so far this year.

What are you reading right now?

Summer News

A few things of note during the summer heat.

First, the digital edition of Hometown Heroes: A Christmas Anthology by Bienvenue Press, is currently on sale for only $0.99. It’s a collection of five sweet holiday romances featuring local heroes in all walks of life–both contemporary and historical. My offering in the collection is “Courtship and Courage: A Fortitude Short Story.” It released last December and proceed benefits Cajun Navy Relief.
Bienvenue Press is doing another charity Christmas anthology this December. The 2019 release will benefit animal rescue. My new story, “Grace Shadowed” (a Possession Chronicles short), will be included. More information in the months ahead.

In other news, POSSESSED: Timeless Gothic Reads is hosting our summer read discussion August 4-10 on a special event page associated with our Facebook group. Our seasonal book–chosen by voting–is from the Gothic family saga genre and is Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews. For the autumn read, we’ll be dipping into the classic American Gothic genre. Voting on the title to read will happen next week. Now is good time to join if you’d like to participate. The seasonal reads are optional for members. We do discuss, share, and recommend Gothic literature from all sub-genres (classic, horror, Southern, family saga, romance, etc.) at any time and Gothic authors are allowed to post promotional items on Fridays. Check it out–it’s not as scary as you think.

The second book in The Possession Chronicles released last month. Now’s a great time to read Murmurs of Evil as book three releases in November. I’ve heard from several readers that they enjoyed it even more than the first book, Perilous Confessions, and it’s the only book in the series that you can reasonably read without having read the book(s) before it. Check out the “Look Inside” option to try out the first five chapters or read for free on Kindle Unlimited.

Questions, comments, and reviews are always welcomed. Happy reading!

 

FORTITUDE Sale

I hope everyone’s summer is going well. There’s been a few shakeups and adventures in my end of the world, but I’m doing good.

Today is a quick post to let you know the Kindle edition of Fortitude is on sale through the weekend for $0.99.

In the vein of Southern Gothic coming-of-age novels like To Kill a Mockingbird and The Secret Life of Bees, Fortitude gives the reader an experience rich in the climate and culture of 1898 Alabama and the Spanish-American War camps in Florida. It’s a great summer read for ages twelve through adults, so tell a friend.

What’s on your summer reading list?

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?

Get Possessed

As discussed earlier this month, I have two reader groups on Facebook–one for middle grade through young adult books and another for Gothic literature. Have you joined either?

POSSESSED: Timeless Gothic Reads is growing and the membership has decided to do seasonal group reads, which are not mandatory to participate in, but an extra layer of fun. Our summer book is The Shivering Sands by Victoria Holt, one of the iconic names in Gothic Romance from the past fifty years. The week of August 19 we will dedicate discussions to this title, but as always, all conversations about Gothic literature are welcome at any time. Be sure to join us if you can.

What have you been reading this summer?