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?

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.

Coming Soon–and Revisiting an Old Title

First off, let’s flash back a year. Right before my part of the country went into pandemic mode, Mobile Writers Guild celebrated a new release. Valentine’s Day Pieces is the third in the anthology series by this Mobile Bay area writers group I am happy to be part of. We all kept busy writing throughout the trying year of 2020 and released another title in time for Halloween.

As typical, my anthology offering can be read alone, but if you want to get the most out of your Possession Chronicles reading experience, collect these short stories. They dig deeper into the side characters and give insights (secrets!) into some of the main players you won’t find anywhere else. (My favorite example of that is a juicy tidbit about Ruth Melling you will only find in the short “Grace Shadowed” in Finally Home. Or maybe Father Claudio De Fiore’s escapades in New Orleans…)

How many are in your collection?

Along those lines, my next release is my first ever novella. Chronologically, it’s #1.5, but I wrote it after completing all eight novels in the series. Picking up the day after Perilous Confessions ends, Mosaic of Seduction digs into the twisted Melling family tree like you’ve never seen before.

Set in 1905 between the finale of a notorious love affair and the demonic infestation of Seacliff Cottage, Mosaic of Seduction creates ripples on both sides of Mobile Bay as Eliza Melling orchestrates a love triangle too devious for polite society.

At eighteen, free-spirited Eliza’s artistic drive is overshadowed only by her thirst for the forbidden. She wants her appetites quenched—both creatively and physically—but her lust for freedom rules them all.

Newly arrived in America, Deacon Claudio De Fiore had set aside the natural man in his quest to serve God, but when his desire to protect Eliza eclipses his training to become a priest, he must decide where his true allegiance lies. In a scandal only a Melling could produce, Eliza entraps the deacon while publicly courting a man from her elite social circle.

Step into one of the most tumultuous years of The Possession Chronicles in this tantalizing novella spanning the Mardi Gras season that began in Perilous Confessions and ending after the birth of a tragic new year.

Cover reveal and ordering link coming soon! This will be a FREE digital download for all, but also available for purchase in paperback. Get ready to learn more about Eliza, Claudio, and Sean–who you’ve read about in the last two anthology shorts (Halloween Pieces and Homeroom Heroes).

New Christmas Story

It’s nearly here! The third instalment of the Bienvenue Press charity anthology series, Homeroom Heroes, releases December 15, 2020. Each story in this collection features an independent woman working in the education system. From historical to contemporary and suspense to paranormal, these winter themed romances are sure to make for cozy reading.

My offering, “Natural Selection in Life and Love”, is Possession Chronicles #6.1. I write my short stories as stand alone tales so anyone picking up the anthology can follow it, but there are tidbits included in them that readers of The Possession Chronicles will not be able to find anywhere else. (Example: “Grace Shadowed” in Finally Home gives a scandalous tidbit–just one line–about Ruth Melling that is spilled no where else in the series. And it’s juicy!) For those seeking to read The Possession Chronicles in order, this story is best read after Hostile Charms–there will be a spoiler if you haven’t completed the last novel released.

If Sean Spunner’s name sounds familiar, it’s because it is. Sean has been in the background as the “chipped tooth Dardenne” since Perilous Confessions (book one) through Hostile Charms (book five), but he’s also made brief appearances is shorts like the prequel “Masked Flaws” and last Christmas’s “Grace Shadowed”. Most recently he starred in my Mobile Writers Guild anthology short “The Portrait of Eliza Melling”, which released in October 2020’s Halloween Pieces.

My historical reference for Sean Spunner. Members of my readers group know I call him my book boyfriend.

But we’re not done with Sean Spunner yet. This winter, I have a novella coming out and he plays a major role in it. Mosaic of Seduction, Possession Chronicles #1.5, tells the story of the year between Perilous Confessions and Murmurs of Evil, February 1905-January 1906. It’s told through the point of view of Eliza Melling and Deacon Claudio De Fiore. Yes, it tells that story–the one readers have always wanted to know more about–and Sean Spunner is tangled in the middle of it. Look for more news about this forthcoming novella in the weeks ahead. Oh, and it will be a FREE digital book for all, not just Kindle Unlimited. Happy holidays!

Release Day in One Week

The day is nearly upon us. Hostile Charms, book 5 of The Possession Chronicles, releases next Tuesday, September 8, 2020.

Set during the first half of 1912 in Mobile, Alabama, the continuation of this family saga brings new faces and the return (if they ever left) of the demons that plagued the characters inside Seacliff Cottage–and more.

Springtime in “Azalea City” is charming, but danger often lurks behind beauty. Find out Frederick Davenport’s side of the story and see how far he is willing to go to protect his girls. Preorder on digital platforms now for the sale price of $0.99.

Missing any of the novels in The Possession Chronicles?
Find their digital editions here or order autographed copies of the paperbacks through The Haunted Book Shop.
Happy reading!