May Thoughts and Adventures

First off, this will be my only offering this month. I’m two and a half weeks into first drafting a novel and preparing for a journey. The adventure will be discussed in my June newsletter. (Now is a good time to register for that if you haven’t already.)

My current project is the third book in what I now know is a trilogy spin-off of The Possession Chronicles. With the first manuscript, I thought I was writing a stand alone. Then I realized those main characters needed to finish their story, nineteen years later. And when I finished that second story, I knew those people and the next generation needed one more novel–and a couple more years–to come full circle. I’m at twenty-two thousand words and feeling great about it. At least today. Emotions over projects have an ebb and flow. Some days everything looks like junk, the next day it can be jewels.

Me with my novels and anthologies featuring my short stories–and lots of azaleas–in March 2021.

One of my June blog posts will have the cover reveal for Haunted Remains, the sixth novel in The Possession Chronicles. I’m super excited for this reveal. It will have a depiction of Alexander Melling as the focus as he is one of the POV characters. It’s about time he gets to share his side of things as the series wouldn’t be possible without his choices. He’ll join Lucy, Eliza, Magdalene, Claudio, and Frederick in this epic cover collection created by Ashley Byland.

I’ll catch up with you in a few weeks. In the meantime, happy reading! If you want to keep up with me in between blog posts or the monthly newsletter, check out my social media links on the CONTACT page and follow me on one (or more) of those sites.

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!