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.

It’s Time for More Fortitude


Fortitude is ready to be back in the wild.
The new edition (fresh cover and formatting) of my first published novel releases
March 5th by Bienvenue Press. While it did go through a round of line edits, no major changes were made. If you’re new to my books, now is a great time to order the digital copy as it’s on sale for $0.99. It will be on Kindle Unlimited and paperback ordering will be available soon.

Fortitude is a coming-of-age Southern Gothic tale set against the backdrop of the Spanish-American War. Main character Claire O’Farrell is a first generation Irish-American from Dauphin Island, Alabama, and her best friend, Loretta Davis, is a Creole who lives in Mobile. Together, they volunteer as nurses in the Buffalo Soldiers’ camp in the Tampa Bay area. In the days leading up to departure for Cuba, more soldiers lost their lives in the Florida camps from disease and race riots than would die in battle. Dark days are recounted in this historical novel that earned ranking on the “Best Books” list for kids (grades 5th-10th) from Grateful American Foundation in 2017.

Also out in the world this month is Mardi Gras Pieces: A Collection of Short Stories, an anthology compiled by Mobile Writers’ Guild. The Kindle version is released, paperback soon to follow. “Masked Flaws”, a prequel short story to The Possession Chronicles, is included.

Told through the point-of-view of Edmund Easton, “Masked Flaws” takes place the winter before Perilous Confessions (December 1903-January 1904.) Want the backstory of Edmund joining Mystics of Dardenne and their infamous masquerade of 1904 that is hinted about in the first book? Read it in this one-of-a-kind collection by local Mobile area writers. Proceeds go to Mobile Writers’ Guild to help sponsor programming and literary outreach–like the Mobile Literary Festival that is happening on March 16, 2019. I hope to see you there.

 

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!

Order Perilous Confessions Now

Yes, you read that right. Perilous Confessions, the first book in The Possession Chronicles, is available to order for Kindle and the sale price is only ninety-nine cents. Merry belated Christmas! I’m not sure how long that price will last, so the sooner you order it the better. Paperback ordering will be up soon, so stay tuned.

 

Next week my January newsletter will be emailed. Included will be dates for my public events and more. Be sure to join to receive these monthly updates and behind the scenes news.

For now, continue to enjoy the wonder of the holiday season. I hope you all have a great and safe New Year’s.

Hometown Heroes Release Day

It’s release day for this collection of romantic shorts. Find Hometown Heroes: A Christmas Anthology by Bienvenue Press in ebook and print.


I’m happy to share “Courtship and Courage” with you as part of the transitioning of my historical works to Bienvenue Press. This all new short continues the story of Claire O’Farrell and Joe Walker from Fortitude. If you’re new to my writing, these two characters will make appearances in The Possession Chronicles, so you’ll want to catch up with them.

While Fortitude (and my other publications to date) have been primarily targeted for teens, “Courtship and Courage” is my bridge into writing for an adult audience.
Since it’s the first story in the book, the “Look inside” option on Amazon allows you to read the first several scenes, so enjoy!

As always, I’m open for questions and would love to hear from you after you read it.