Mardi Gras Mood

Crisp January days always remind me of Alexander Melling and Lucy Easton in Perilous Confessions. The first book in The Possession Chronicles released three years ago this month and is set between December 1904 and February 1905.

This time of year, camellias are in bloom, chill days make me yearn for a cloak, and if I hear bells from the nearby Catholic church, consider me gone because my mind is reviewing the settings, costumes, and characters.

If the seasonally appropriate weather is in conjunction with Mardi Gras news, that compounds my distraction. Lavish masquerades, swoon-worthy scenes, and enough scandals to ignite gossip flames for weeks–that’s what you’ll find in Perilous Confessions.

Completing the 1905 carnival season, the only novella in the series comes into play. Mosaic of Seduction picks up immediately after Perilous Confessions, showcasing the aftermath of Alex and Lucy’s relationship, as well as bringing into play debutante Eliza Melling’s first year season in society. To say she makes the most of it might be an understatement.

Why am I rehashing books that have been out for a while? Because their Kindle editions have new pricing. Perilous Confessions and Mosaic of Seduction are now both priced at ninety-nine cents each.

It’s a great price to fill your digital library and tell your friends so you can discuss the series. The spectrum of characters has plenty of room for choosing sides, ‘ships, and everything in between. Root for your favorites and hope those you despise get what they deserve–it’s all acceptable within the pages of historic Mobile Bay.

As always, I’m happy to answer questions about any of my books or short stories. I also do author visits and presentations–both in person (Mobile and Baldwin counties in AL, and coastal Mississippi and Pensacola areas) and virtually. Check out the contact page for ways to get in touch.

Winter Greetings and Farewell

The shortest day on the calendar seems like a good time to bid goodbye to you in 2021. It’s been a productive year for me. Here’s a quick recap of the notable literary happenings.

I published two novels and a novella in The Possession Chronicles through Bienvenue Press. Haunted Remains, Barren Devotion–now available in print and Kindle editions–and Mosaic of Seduction. I’d love to hear from you as you read the books, so don’t be shy about emailing, reviewing, or commenting. (There’s one more novel to go in the main series. Look for Reckless Rebellion in April 2022 to see what happens to the Melling and Davenport families as the next generation comes of age in the 1920s.)

Another short story in a Mobile Writers’ Guild anthology published–my fifth in as many years. Find “Dashing Through the Snow” in the Stormy Pieces collection.

I’ve completed a new trilogy, with over half a dozen drafts of each of the novels so far. The series is The Malevolent Trilogy and I’ve created a page on my website for it. Yes, it’s another Southern Gothic family saga that’s related to The Possession Chronicles (a spin-off), but it can be read alone.

A new Possession Chronicles linked short story, “Mystic Misperception”, was written and submitted for consideration in a Bienvenue Press Mardi Gras anthology for 2022.

And I’m finishing up final edits before submitting a short story for the 2022 Mobile Writers Guild anthology with the theme “retold classics”. It’s a reimagining of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Rappaccini’s Daughter” (my favorite short story by Hawthorne) and it’s my first time working a retelling. I had fun infusing Southern Gothic elements into the turn-of-the-century Mobile setting, though the characters are completely unrelated to anything or anyone in The Possession Chronicles. (I had to prove to myself I could write something besides my series.)

There will be lots of news to share in 2022, but in the meantime, there is plenty to read–both from myself and the other authors and genres you follow. I know my TBR stack is in the hundreds. How about your reading pile?

I’ll be back to blogging (typically twice a month) in January. Until then, may you stay cozy and read often in the days ahead. Happy holidays and have a great new year.

Sugar and spice, with story lines a little naughty and nice…

Best Books Article on Shepherd

This past month, I had the opportunity to create a Top 5 list of my choosing for a new reader website, Shepherd. I decided to fangirl over my favorite historical Gothic family saga books. You can find my feature here.

MY TOP 5 PICKS.

Next month, the Shepherd site will get a new front page, topic pages, and search option. They are still building and growing–and looking for authors to create more lists. They were professional (I worked with three different people over the process) and efficient. I recommend the website for both readers and authors.

P.S. Barren Devotion‘s release is soon coming–possibly this week in the ebook form. The paperback is being delayed, but I’ll keep you posted on the availability.

New Release and Digital Sale

Yes, back-to-back blog days. I didn’t want to squeeze this information at the end of the already long post about the cathedral, so I waited. Get ready for two digital reading tidbits.

The Kindle edition of Stormy Pieces is now available. It’s the fifth in the Pieces series–anthologies by Mobile Writers Guild. I have a short story in each of the books.

My offering in Stormy Pieces is “Dashing Through the Snow”, set during the record six inches of snow Mobile received February 14-15, 1895. Yes, it’s linked to The Possession Chronicles, but you can read it alone. It’s my oldest setting to date, but still in my favorite era. All the stories, poems, and even a play in this anthology relate to storms in some way though the collection covers an eclectic mix of genres and style–as all the anthologies do. (My story is a historical coming-of-age romp.)

Also news-worthy is a digital sale of Bienvenue to the Chateau Rouge.

This anthology by Bienvenue Press (publisher of The Possession Chronicles and the second edition of Fortitude) features romances written by several PB-published authors that all take place in Jolie St. Amant’s vampire-owned hotel in New Orleans, the Chateau Rouge. It first published in May 2020, but if you missed it, now is a great time to add it to your Kindle collection.

If that sounds familiar, but the cover doesn’t quite look like you remember, it’s because it received a little update. The stories are all the same, the anthology just received an overhaul on the exterior.

2020 original cover v. the updated 2021 art.

My story in this anthology is my first-ever co-writing project, “Revelry’s Requiem”. Jolie St. Amant is a HUGE Claudio De Fiore fan and wanted him to come visit her characters in New Orleans. Because of that, we had to travel back in time compared to the other stories. I suggested Mardi Gras, 1911, right after Scarred Memories took place so I could utilize Claudio’s cousin, Valentino as well because Claudio wouldn’t willing get involved with vampires, but his frisky cousin would.

We took turns writing the scenes, but as in my own projects, the characters didn’t stick to the original outline. The story brought us new twists, giving it that organic, character-led feel. Once you read it, you’ll be able to catch the nods to “Revelry’s Requiem” I plant in Claudio lines within The Possession Chronicles, though you’ll never hear the details of what happened in the main series. (But every time he mentions New Orleans, you’ll know who/what he is thinking of.) If you like vampire stories or Claudio, give this book a try.

COVER REVEAL for BARREN DEVOTION

This weekend brought a happy surprise. My publisher commissioned the cover art for Barren Devotion, the next novel in The Possession Chronicles. The cover–along with all the others in the series plus the newest edition of Fortitude–was created by Ashley at Redbird Designs. She’s super talented and easy to work with. This time around, she merged my chosen background image (the actual cathedral in downtown Mobile that the characters attend) with the model (representing Melissa), added the stormy sky element to allow the lettering to shine, and did a lot more touches that make it ooze Gothic vibes.

I’m beyond pleased with it and excited to be able to use an actual setting location for the image for the first time. (No, I haven’t forgotten I promised a post about the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. It was on schedule for this week, but is now bumped to later in the month to allow this indulgence.) Take a look at the series. One more book to go after this one.

Here’s the synopsis for Barren Devotion. If you aren’t caught up on the series there will be spoilers. If you’ve read through Haunted Remains, including the sneak peek of the prologue for Barren Devotion, this won’t be too traumatizing.

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While World War I has the globe in turmoil, the Melling and Davenport clans have their own unrest. After the shattering loss of their youngest child, Frederick and Melissa mourn in their own ways, but Melissa’s isolation leads to further heartache that stretches the bounds of repair.

Father Claudio De Fiore is always first in line to comfort, but his moments with grieving Melissa Davenport eclipse his vows to the church. Will he go too far when the previously independent woman buckles under her sorrows?

Longtime friend and employee to Lucy, Naomi Joyner has witnessed everything amid the turbulent life of the Eastons and Mellings. Trapped between the draw of her first lover and being a loyal companion to declining Lucy, Naomi must decide if she wants to continue with the never-ending drama of the Mellings.

Find out who will survive the war years in this formidable installment of The Possession Chronicles.

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Yes, Melissa, Claudio, and Naomi are the point-of-view characters this time, but there are plenty of scenes with Alexander and everyone else–including the Dauphin Island characters. Who are you most looking forward to seeing?