We All Need Fortitude

Today–Saturday, June 6, 2020–marks the 122 anniversary of the Tampa area race riots that happened during the mobilization of the troops to Cuba for the Spanish-American War. For my novel, Fortitude, I researched the event from multiple sources and did my best to portray the situation accurately, though it was heartbreaking to dive into such vileness as the triggering event. More lives were lost in Florida (due to disease and bigotry) than in the Cuba campaign of the Spanish-American War.

If you’re not familiar with Fortitude, it’s a coming-of-age Southern Gothic listed with Grateful American Foundation as a “Best History Book” for kids (targeted for 5-10th grades), one of only three dozen books currently on the list. It’s about standing up when you see injustices and helping your fellow man, no matter the cost. The settings are mostly familiar ones to my readers: Mobile, Dauphin Island, Mon Louis Island, and Tampa in 1898. It was my first published novel in 2015 and is now in its second edition with Bienvenue Press, home of The Possession Chronicles–and several of the characters if Fortitude make an appearance in the series.

We must learn from the past and move forward with compassion–and fortitude.

Pinterest Boards

As a highly visual person, I enjoy utilizing Pinterest for research and story ideas. I have boards for each of my novels and even some of the main characters, as well as for favorite things like books, movies, and colors.

While I search things on Pinterest, I also do a ton of research for my historical fiction in person–on location and in libraries. I have a lot of research photos that I haven’t added to Pinterest, though I sometimes post about them on social media. Here are a few samplings from the 1910 Mobile Register newspaper I came across while researching for Scarred Memories–great examples of how truly modern the era was.

Would taking the time to upload my research photos be something you’d be interested in seeing? (I’m adding these two to the Scarred Memories board now.)
Give me a follow if you’re on Pinterest.

Bienvenue and Happy Release Day

It’s here! Bienvenue to the Chateau Rouge, the paranormal romance anthology that includes my first ever co-writing project released today!

I wrote “Revelry’s Requiem” with Jolie St. Amant, who acts as hostess for all these stories as they are set in her world of the Chateau Rouge series. While the other three authors also had to play by her rules, I was the lucky one to be able to co-write a story with her. Why? Because she loves my character Claudio De Fiore of The Possession Chronicles and invited him to New Orleans to play. Looking back, we might should have declined the invitation. Bringing a priest to hang out in a bordello inhabited by vampires during Mardi Gras 1911 isn’t the best idea. Sorry, Claudio!

As always, my anthology short stories can be read alone though they have their chronological order within The Possession Chronicles. Find the listing of all stories relating to the series–and purchase links–on The Possession Chronicles page. Happy reading!

 

One Week Until the Next Read

Even as the world shifts with pandemic related news, issues, concerns, and more, I’m getting outdoors as often as possible and escaping into my literary world whenever I can.

Scarred Memories releases in one week! The digital pre-order option is up–and has some good news. My novels are going “wide”, which means they will be available from all the major digital platforms (iBooks, nook, Kobo, etc.), not just Kindle. Find all the handy links in one place and purchase for the early bird price of $0.99 here. (Paperback ordering is coming soon.)

If you use any of these digital readers, be on the lookout for Perilous Confessions and Murmurs of Evil (books one and two of The Possession Chronicles). They will be ready to purchase and read in the days ahead–if they aren’t already. Tendrils of Passion and Fortitude will follow into the other digital stores next month.

Also forthcoming is a Possession Chronicles related short story I co-wrote this winter. Bienvenue to the Chateau Rouge is an anthology featuring Bienvenue Press authors who bring their characters to the infamous Chateau Rouge hotel in New Orleans–created by Jolie St. Amant for her paranormal romance series of the same name.

“Revelry’s Requiem” is my offering. It takes place during Mardi Gras in 1911. I refer to it as Possession Chronicles #4.5 because it takes place after the fourth book. Can you guess which¬† character from my series takes¬† center stage?

Yes, Father Claudio De Fiore brings his bag of Holy relics to New Orleans. He was requested by Jolie St. Amant to take part in this collection and I had fun seeing what Claudio would do without the Mellings around. You can order it now and read on May 12, 2020.

I hope you are all well, have plenty to read, and are able to enjoy Spring wherever you are. As always, if you want to hear from me more often than twice a month via blog posts, follow me on any of my social media pages as found on my contact page. Happy reading!

Mardi Gras and Southern Gothic

It’s that time of year, again. Mardi Gras. The day (season) of indulgence. Last January, I blogged about it on a personal level–check it out here. Today, I’d like to take a minute to tie Mardi Gras with my Southern Gothic series.

I found this explanation of Southern Gothic Literature online last year on a visual image, so I don’t know who to credit for it:

The South’s reputation for sultry decadence lives on in a literature that meshes the moody romanticism of Gothic novels with the American South’s sensibility of tragedy and doom.

Brilliant, right? When I read it I said “Yes! That’s what The Possession Chronicles is all about.” Tragic events and doomed choices, all layered within romantic ideals that don’t always hold up in the humidity.

Mardi Gras is prominent in Perilous Confessions, the first book in the series, and there isn’t much in life more decadent than those masquerades. My tagline for the book is “Their love brought scandal and demons.” You can’t get much more doomed than demons. Add in the backdrop of carnival season with the juxtapose of life and death symbolized in much of Mobile, Alabama’s Mardi Gras history looming in the background–not to mention Catholic guilt–it creates a greater sense of urgency to the characters’ choices. A “play with Folly all you like, but come Lent it needs to stop” attitude that might be easier said than done when you dive into addiction and other psychological issues.

 

How do the characters hold up? Read to find out.
And I’m always happy to discuss.