Fortitude, Take Two

Today is the fateful day.

Fortitude, my first published novel, is relaunched into the world with a stunning new design.Did you know Fortitude is listed as a “Best History Books for Kids” choice by Grateful American Foundation for its historical accuracy and reader engagement?  

Ever think about what would happen if a feisty Irish-American teen volunteered to serve the Buffalo Soldiers in the Jim Crow South?

Travel to the Tampa Bay area in 1898 with Claire O’Farrell of Dauphin Island, Alabama, and find out.

Kindle/Kindle Unlimited

Paperback

More ordering options to support local bookstores can be found here.

Photo Recap

Just over five weeks ago, Perilous Confessions came into the wild.

In less than three weeks, the new edition of Fortitude will be published.

And sometime in the next month, a new Mobile Writers’ Guild anthology with a Possession Chronicles short story included. (Cover image of the book coming soon.)

Add in the Christmas anthology “Courtship and Courage: A Fortitude Short Story” was published in this past December and it is safe to say I’ve had a frantic few months in the realm of authorship.

And there are still two more novels—books two and three of The Possession Chronicles— and another possible anthology to come in 2019.

If you want to keep up with the latest information including cover reveals and public events, be sure to join my monthly newsletter that sends out the first week of the month—nothing more, nothing less. I hope your days have been filled with experiences you love as well.

Perilous Confessions Soundtrack

Perilous Confessions, the first book in The Possession Chronicles, has been out in the world for just over two weeks. You know what that means, right? It’s time to unveil my soundtrack for it!


My writing process starts with creating a “mood music” playlist for my project that I listen to almost exclusively while I’m first drafting the story. (Perilous Confession‘s playlist has 474 songs, so I didn’t get bored with the music.) From that list, I create a soundtrack once the first draft is complete. Once I work edits–which has its own “editing playlist”–I adjust the soundtrack further until final edits are complete through the publisher.

The following is Perilous Confession‘s musical journey.
Spoiler:
If you listen to each song in order, you will known the story line, so you might want to save until you’ve finished reading.

1. Fools Rush In by Rick Nelson

2. New Love in Town by Europe

3. When You Love Me by Martina McBride (who the book is dedicated in part to.)

4. I’ll Cry For You by Europe

5.I’m the One by Mitch Malloy (my favorite singer, who I got to see in concert and say hello to last weekend. He’s the new lead singer for Great White but I love his solo work.)

6. Sweet Salvation by The Cult

7. Wait for Sleep by Dream Theater

8. Mr. Ego (Take Me Down) by Helloween

9. When I See You Smile by Bad English

10. Where I Used to Have a Heart by Martina McBride

11. Lucy by Hanson

12. Love is on the Way by Saigon Kick

13. Let It All Go duet by Birdy and RHODES

14. Father Time by Richie Sambora

What songs would you add to the Perilous Confessions soundtrack or mood music playlist?

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!

Winter Wonderland

There is an epic level of awesomeness happening in my life right now, but where to begin? The basics—and I will expound on all of these things in my December newsletter next week, so if you haven’t yet, subscribe!

I’m traveling and experiencing new things such as wintry weather in the Pocono Mountains. Cold and ice are much more glamorous on the big screen than in reality. But I do prefer autumn/winter clothes to summer, so that’s a plus.

 A week from today marks the newest release for my literary collection (which is doubling in the next two months.) “Courtship and Courage”, a Fortitude short story is included in Hometown Heroes: A Christmas Anthology published by Bienvenue Press—my new home for my historical fiction projects. Proceeds from the sales go to Cajun Navy Relief. I wrote the story specifically for this charity project as a stepping stone from Fortitude (written for teens, though adult readers have also enjoyed it) to The Possession Chronicles (my forthcoming series for adult readers.) And, yes, Claire and Joe make the transition to my series as well. You haven’t seen the last of them.

 Here’s the synopsis of “Courtship and Courage”: Witnessing the race riots before the soldiers left for Cuba during the summer of 1898 didn’t stop Claire O’Farrell from opening her heart, but it prevented her from wanting to share it. The stormy Mobile Bay winter proves the right catalyst for Joe Walker to prove his devotion to the woman he loves, though Claire is determined her choices have made her unworthy.

Read it for as little as ninety-nine cents and help others rescue and relieve the stress natural disasters cause along the Gulf Coast.

And the third item I want to share—shout about actually—is the cover reveal for Perilous Confessions, book one in The Possession Chronicles. Newsletter subscribers will be the first to see it in less than a week. (Another reason to join the list! I email only once a month during the first week with the best highlights and information about my literary news, including what I’m reading.) The day after the newsletter, I’ll share the image on social media and update my website, etc. with the gorgeous, Gothic cover.

Three years after the release of my first book and there’s a plethora of activity in my literary life and lots more to come—like three new novels in 2019, for one thing. (Another hint: if you don’t have it yet and want this edition of Fortitude in your collection, buy it soon. As I write this, the Kindle version is free.)

More next week in my newsletter (it’s separate from this blog, so you need to join on there too), but you can find me on multiple sites on the web in the meantime. Find all my links on my contact page.

Taking Over

Mark your calendars!

author Alisha group Boonies

On Monday, October 1, I’ll be doing a “take over” on A.L. Vincent‘s author group page. She writes Southern contemporary romance  as well as Southern paranormal romance with vampires, ghosts, and the like under the pen name Jolie St. Amant. (Yes, she’s  a Bienvenue Press author, among other things.)

The topic of the day will be The Possession Chronicles (my Southern Gothic family saga) to kick off the spooky season.

Join the group to be part of the fun.

Here’s a sneak peek at a vintage visual I used for inspiration for several scenes in Perilous Confessions, book one of The Possession Chronicles.

1904 Alex Dardenne skeletons

P.S. If you haven’t signed up for my monthly newsletter, now is a great time to do so. October’s news will be headed your way next week.

Literary Reflections

Last Saturday I gave my “Kid Lit 101” presentation to a group of writers in Gulfport, Mississippi. While what is categorized as (upper) middle grade is my first literary love, the past few years I’ve been focusing the majority of my reading time on Gothic—classic Gothic, Southern Gothic, Gothic Romance, etc.—to be sure I’m doing the category justice with my own stories.

Revisiting the books I touch on in the presentation (which are everything from baby books to young adult novels) was like visiting old friends. I haven’t given the presentation in about two years, much less dove so deep into conversation about my favorite coming-of-age genre, so it was refreshing. I remembered why I started writing—awesome books like these. And rereading Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson this weekend helped solidify that.

The past few days I’ve forced a separation for myself from The Possession Chronicles. While I’ve been writing and editing the eight books in the series almost non-stop for over two and a half years, I still love everything about it. I’m not sick of the characters or the story lines. I could happily move to round ten of edits on book six, or any other draft, but I know I need to distance myself from this epic project before I tackle professional edits for book one, Perilous Confessions (releasing January 8, 2019.)

So in the meantime, I’ll be exploring the scary world of the MG/YA manuscripts I wrote as a teenager. Maybe I’ll find a nugget of hope within one of the stories that with major resuscitation (thanks to decades of acquired experience) would be able to bring one of them to life. If not, at least I’ll be able to see how far I’ve come as a writer.

What helps you rediscover your literary roots?