March Madness

Pollen abounds, as do health hijinks and mega download numbers. This month started with great literary news–Perilous Confessions made it to #1 on the Saga Fiction chart for free books during a sale on Amazon U.K.–and I added in some medical scares (I’m good, for now), all while coated in lovely yellow dust–the accessory of spring.

Mirror Lake at Bellingrath Gardens & Home in Theodore, Alabama (Mobile County) on March 22, 2021.

Between all that, I’ve been trying to finish the first draft of my newest project. I began writing it January 17, 2021. Last night, I got to 101,004 words on it. There are a few more chapters to go, which I hope to complete by the end of the month. The project is still unnamed, which is weird for me, but it’s an unnumbered/stand alone Possession Chronicles tie-in novel set the spring-summer of 1916 (between books six and seven of the series).

For those worried about that massive word count, I over-write. If you think my books are heavy on descriptions, you should see what I cut! I also naturally write in a passive voice, which is cumbersome and wordy. I tend to cut close to 10% of the word count in the first dozen rounds of self edits just by addressing those two things. But The Possession Chronicles novels are long. They average 106,000 words. My worse overwrite was Perilous Confessions. The first draft was 132,000 words (which I wrote in 53 days)–finished product was twenty thousand words less.

If you haven’t already, be sure to download a copy of Mosaic of Seduction. It’s listed for FREE on Amazon, nook, Kobo, and more. Paperback copies are now available too.

Eliza Melling is shocking readers–even those who are caught up on the series. There are plenty of surprises, even though this is #1.5 and five novels are published. Don’t assume you know the whole story about Eliza’s year between Perilous Confessions and Murmurs of Evil.

My Facebook readers group, Dalby’s Darklings, is doing an online book club style discussion about Mosaic of Seduction April 9-11. This is something I do the month following a new release for the readers group. We dive into the characters and settings through questions/answers and conversation starters. I also do a giveaway and often hint at what is to come–especially about the series. These discussions are hosted on a separate Event page so there are no spoilers in the main group. You are welcome to join us. If you can’t attend, I’m always happy to answer questions via email, direct messages on social media, questions post on my Goodreads author page, etc. Find my contact info here.

Gratitude Check In

We’re halfway through November. Though life as we know it might not be what we expected a year ago, there are plenty of things to be thankful for. Yes, I write a lot of Gothic stories but I’m a Pollyanna at heart. I may not play “The Glad Game”, but I do have a window full of prisms (that look especially lovely this time of year when the sun is lower) and I always try to look on the Brightside.

So what’s the happy news? I’ll choose three things out of many.

1. I’m enjoying my new glasses. I’ve been using OTC readers for several years for increasingly numerous things and finally got an eye exam last month. On a walk one day last week, I decided they make a good flower holder.

Me. No filter. No makeup.

2. I’m almost done with the first draft of a new novel. I’ve mentioned before that I was slamming out first drafts of The Possession Chronicles novels (average word count for those was 120,000) in about two months. Ode to 2020 and emotional exhaustion, I’ve been struggling to complete a novel I began a year ago this month. I passed 75K on it last night and hope to complete it by Thanksgiving/the end of the month.

Historical inspiration for the main character.

This project is a Possession Chronicles spinoff–a stand alone young adult Gothic novel that takes place in 1897. I get to weave in my Fortitude research (which took place in 1898) as well as Possession Chronicles tidbits, and give a detailed backstory to a minor character from the series (Sean Spunner) while name dropping a few of the main families from the series (Easton and Melling). I’m back to my coming-of-age roots with this one, complete with first person POV for the main character and teen angst/hormones with other main players. (Ever wonder what a Mystics of Dardenne member was like before his initiation, you’ll find out with seventeen-year-old Sean.)

3. Another sale on books! There’s been a lot of those lately. While I share them on social media pages and, if timing is right, in my monthly newsletter, I’m making an effort to include my blog/website with news like this. In celebration of the forthcoming Homeroom Heroes Christmas charity anthology, Bienvenue Press has the digital editions of the two previous Christmas anthologies on sale the month of November. Hometown Heroes benefits Cajun Navy Relief and Rescue and features a Fortitude short, “Courtship and Courage”. Finally Home proceeds go to regional animal rescue nonprofits. You can read Possession Chronicles short #3.5, “Grace Shadowed”, there.

These Christmas anthologies are romance collections, so my stories are a bit cheerier/happily ever after than typical, but I do keep the hint of Southern Gothic readers have come to expect from me. Find “Natural Selection in Life and Love”, Possession Chronicles #6.1 (which takes place the winter of 1912-1913), in next month’s release of Homeroom Heroes.

That wraps things up for me. How are things going for you? Are you able to find the Brightsides in your life?

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.

Sprucing Up

This week, I’m undertaking a spring cleaning project on my website and social media accounts. New visuals, updating links, and more. Be sure to browse, but here is the updated banner photo.

Scarred Memories is a week in the wild. You can order it from your preferred digital store–it’s available through eight retailers. Signed paperback copies will soon be available through The Haunted Book Shop in Mobile, Alabama. Order yours now. They ship and offer curbside pickup.

I’ve only heard from a few Possession Chronicles readers so far. As always, reviews are great if you can take a minute after reading to leave one on your favorite book website. I’m also happy to take comments/questions via social media posts, email, etc. Another opportunity for being heard is the online discussion I’m hosting with my readers group May 22-25. 

The event photo is the backdrop of the cover of Scarred Memories–a living room in decay, symbolic of Lucy’s life. My favorite detail (which is obscured on the cover by the title/lettering) is the dark spot over the fireplace where a cross once hung. What intrigues you in this setting?

I hope all is well for you this spring. 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!