New Book Contract

contract signingFriends! I’m so excited to announce that my new fantasy series has a home. I just signed a three book contract with Bethany House. It is bittersweet to be moving to another publisher and yet I’m excited to work with the people and authors at Bethany.

So what does this mean for you, my readers? It means you will have a new book to read next November (2018). And it also means you won’t be waiting a whole year between books. Yep, you read that right! I will be working diligently with Bethany to have a new installment every nine months. Yeah!

So be watching for the cover for Mark of the Raven, coming soon! And in the meantime, here is what my new series is about:

Mark of the

Lady Selene is the heir to the Great House of Ravenwood and the secret family gift of dreamwalking. As a dreamwalker, she can enter a person’s dreams and manipulate their greatest fears or desires. For the last hundred years, the Ravenwood women have used their gift of dreaming for hire to gather information or to assassinate.

As she discovers her family’s dark secret, Selene is torn between upholding her family’s legacy, a legacy that supports her people, or seeking the true reason behind her family’s gift.

Her decision comes to a head when she is tasked with assassinating the one man who can bring peace to the nations, but who will also bring about the downfall of her own house.

One path holds glory and power, and will solidify her position as Lady of Ravenwood. The other path holds shame and execution. Which will she choose? And is she willing to pay the price for the path chosen?

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Handling Real-Life Experiences in Fictional Writing

coffee dateHi everyone! Hope you had a great Thanksgiving full of food, fun, and family 🙂 It’s the last Friday of the month and that means another coffee date with yours truly. Enjoy.

Maegen asks: “When you write something that is similar to a real life experience you’ve had, does it feel awkward? How do you handle awkwardness in writing?”

When I write, I pour my heart and soul into my writing. I also ask a lot of questions in my writing: questions about myself, about God, and about life. Sometimes that means I bring in my own experiences and flesh them out through my characters. I think this makes my characters more relatable, but it also makes me vulnerable.

When I received back my first set of edits for Daughter of Light, my editor told me not to hold back. He wanted me to dive deeper into what Rowen was feeling and experiencing. That was hard because I didn’t want people to see my fears, my past anger toward God, and my struggles to follow God when life is hard. You see, when I choose to open myself up that much in my stories, it means that negative reviews are much harder to receive. People say readers are not judging me, they are simply judging my book. But when your book is you, then it’s harder not to take it personally.

As I’ve grown as a writer, it has become much easier to bring my life-experiences into my books and not have it feel so awkward. I’ve come to realize that there are others out there who need to read what I have to share, and have been through, or are currently going through, the same fears, doubts, and feelings of worthlessness. Those are the people I’m writing for. My books are a bridge between my heart and theirs. And when I look at it that way, it’s not as awkward to open up about myself.

Thanks, Maegen!

Book Endings and Time Spent Writing

coffee dateHello everyone! It’s the end of the month and that means it’s time for another coffee date with yours truly :). I’ve really enjoyed the questions you, the readers, have been sending me and I’m excited to dive into the next two questions for this month. So here we go!

Daniel asks: “Do you ever get caught up in your book, then dream a new ending?”

I think my characters wish this would happen, and I would simply dream up a new ending, preferably one that says, “Everything they ever wanted to have happen happened, and they lived happily ever after.”

But to answer your question, no. Once I have an ending in mind, that is the one that happens. There might be some minor changes, but that is how the story ends.

The reason for this is the ending is my target as I’m writing the story. I’m constantly asking myself if this scene or chapter is bringing my story one step closer to that ending I have in mind. If I’m writing a story where the hero needs to face a dragon at the end, then go and write a chapter about cute, fluffy rabbits, I’m deviating from my ending (unless the rabbits are eaten by the dragon at the end of the chapter, reminding the reader of the dragon).

When I sit down to write a book, I have to know the beginning, the main events, and the ending. Then I can write. So if I dreamed up a new ending halfway through the book, I have a feeling I’d have to rewrite the whole story :).

Thanks, Daniel!

Judy asks: “How many hours a day do you spend writing?”

I spend anywhere from 2-5 hours a day writing. I write one thousand words a day at least, and depending how fast that scene comes to me is how long I spend writing (and then there are days when I get caught up in the story and write even more words). But in order to keep up with my deadlines, I must write at least 1k words a day. However, that said, I take Friday-Sundays off to spend time with my family and catch up on stuff.

Now, if the question was how long do you spend editing, that is a whole different story (when I get my edits back from my publisher, usually I’m crunched for time and spend 6,8, even 10 hours a day on edits. That’s when I disappear from life for a couple of weeks).

Thanks, Judy!

I love to hear from my readers and if you have a burning question you’d like answered during my end-of-the-month coffee dates, please leave it in the comments below 🙂

Heirs of Tirragyl by Joan Campbell

Heirs Blog Tour Banner

I am so excited to be part of the blog tour for Joan Campbell’s Heirs of Tirragyl, the second book in her award-winning fantasy series! I’ve know Joan for a couple years now as a fellow author at Enclave. It has been my pleasure to work with her and now it is my pleasure to share with you all her latest book. So here we go!

***

Love live the queen . . . ?

Since birth, Nyla has shared everything with her twin brother–royal tutors, the right to the throne of Tirragyl… even their soul. Many believe it wholly belongs to Alexor and should be returned to him regardless of the sacrifice–Nyla’s death. However, her future isn’t the only one in question.

A threat looms over the kingdom. The influential Lord Lucian intends to seize the Grotto, an underworld settlement known for harboring fugitives. And if legend is to be believed, it is also the hiding place of the most powerful of objects, the Guardian Rock. As Nyla fights for her life, she realizes she’s not only a soul heir but also the sole hope for the kingdom’s survival.

Heirs of Tirragyl

***

As a mother of boy/girl twins, this concept is fascinating to me! I can’t wait to dive into Heirs of Tirragyl. If the story has intrigued you as well, here are the places where you can purchase your own copy:

 

Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Kobo // iBooks

And don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads list!

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35644582-heirs-of-tirragyl

 

And did I mention there is also a giveaway going on? Here you go! 🙂

Enter to win an e-copy of Joan Campbell’s Heirs of Tirragyl! (Open internationally.)

Giveaway Link: giveawaytools2.com/giveaway.php?sk=43721765606

 

Oh yes, and there is a Facebook party Saturday morning (tomorrow morning!) where I will be a guest for the launch of Heirs of Tirragyl and will be giving away a signed copy of both Tainted and Awakened! So don’t miss out!

Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/282951055541535

Calling all book readers! Join us as we celebrate Joan Campbell’s release of HEIRS OF TIRRAGYL, book two in The Poison Tree Path Chronicles, on October 14th from 10AM to 12PM EST (4PM South Africa Time, 9AM CDT, and 6AM PST).

Grab your favorite drink and snack and be prepared for a fun time of chatting with the author, games, and giveaways.

Special guests Morgan Busse and Jill Williamson will also be sharing their books and joining in the fun. 

 

I hope you can join us!

 

About the Author

joan-campbellJoan Campbell is notoriously bad at finishing things but, ever since she found the key to the portal, she’s been escaping into worlds far more intriguing than her own. In her word-spun worlds, magic can be harnessed, kings and queens rule supreme and ancient books contain coveted secrets. Her characters face division, danger, their own fallible natures and—ultimately—grace. While her husband and two daughters have learned to fend for themselves, a hungry whine or meow inevitably breaks the spell and brings Joan back to her everyday life in Johannesburg, South Africa. Here Joan wields a tennis racket instead of a longbow and trains writers instead of warriors, knowing full well that the pen is mightier than the sword. Chains of Gwyndorr was a gold medallist in the 2017 Illumination Book Awards.

Social Media Links

Website // Facebook // Twitter // Amazon Author Page // Goodreads

 

Tainted is on SALE!

Tainted Sale FacebookJust in case you missed it, Tainted is on sale this week! For my birthday 🙂

*Squeal!*

So if you’ve never read Tainted, or haven’t downloaded it yet, now is the time to do it. You can’t beat that price. It’s cheaper than a pumpkin spice latte (and way better in my opinion, although I do love my pumpkin spice lattes 😉 )

Here you go: http://amzn.to/2bvcZZv

Enjoy, my friends!

What I’m Writing Now and My Writing Routine

coffee dateWahoo! After almost a year (a year filled with deadlines, moving twice, and the release of almost two books) I am resurrecting my monthly coffee date posts. I love this post since it gives you, my readers, a chance to ask me questions and gives me a chance to interact with you! So without further ado, here we go!

Timothy asks: “What’s the release date and synopsis of your new series you are finishing up the first volume of?”

A timely question since I just finished the edits on the manuscript in question and just sent it off to my critique partners! As I’ve waited for the release of Awakened, the second book in my steampunk series, I’ve been writing a whole new fantasy series. This new series will follow a young woman who has inherited her family’s secret ability to dreamwalk (the ability to enter a person’s dreams and see their hopes, thoughts, and memories). Here is the back blurb:

Lady Selene is the heir to the Great House of Ravenwood and the secret family gift of dreamwalking. As a dreamwalker, she can enter a person’s dreams and manipulate their greatest fears or desires. For the last hundred years, the Ravenwood women have used their gift of dreaming for hire to gather information or to assassinate.

As she discovers her family’s dark secret, Selene is torn between upholding her family’s legacy, a legacy that supports her people, or seeking the true reason behind her family’s gift.

Her decision comes to a head when she is tasked with assassinating the one man who can bring peace to the nations, but who will also bring about the downfall of her own house.

One path holds glory and power, and will solidify her position as Lady of Ravenwood. The other path holds shame and execution. Which will she choose? And is she willing to pay the price for the path chosen?

 

The first book, Mark of the Raven, is currently under consideration at a publishing house. Once I know more, I will definitely let you all know. Until then, Awakened comes out November 14th!

 

Ralene asks: “How has your writing routine changed over the years as the kids have gotten older?”

It is much easier to have a routine with older children! I can even write in the summer, even though I cut my wordcount in half in order to spend time with my kids. A typical day for me goes with sending my kids off to school, writing my first 500 words, cleaning, cooking, doing whatever I need to do, then writing my second 500 words. Some days I write more, but I always write at least 1k words a day to stay on track and finish a book in a year. However, my family is still my priority, so writing happens when they are at school, and when they are home, the writer in me is put away and the mom comes out. Thanks for asking!

Do you have a question for me that you would like answered during my monthly coffee date? Feel free to post it below and I’ll place it in my que. Until next month, bye!

Villains: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Villians

Villains: without them, there would be no heroes.

But where do villains come from? What causes a person or a being to go down that dark path? And do they realize what they’ve become?

I once read that a villain is the hero of his or her own story. I’m not sure if that is true for every villain. After all, some villains know they’re bad and they don’t care. But there are others who think they’re the good guys. I then realized that in the broad scope of things, you could break villains down into three categories: the good, the bad, and the ugly. So let’s start with the good villain.

 

The Good

These are the villains who believe they are saving the world. Or they believe that the end justifies the means.

A great example of this type of villain is Wilson Fisk (aka Kingpin) from Daredevil. The writers for Daredevil did an excellent job creating a sympathetic—even likable villain—in Fisk. He wants to save Hell’s Kitchen, the neighborhood he grew up in. And when his back-story is revealed, you understand where he is coming from.

But what Fisk doesn’t seem to realize (but the viewer does) is that he is going about it all wrong. You can’t work with bad guys and expect a good outcome. You can’t murder and manipulate and expect people to be fine with that. As one character pointed out during an episode, Fisk is going to have to choose who he is: dark or light. But he can’t be both.

Another villain who believed he was saving the universe is Jacen Solo. In the Star Wars Extended Universe, Jacen Solo is the son of Han and Leia and twin brother of Jaina. As an adult, he begins to have force visions of the future where galactic war breaks out. In order to prevent this, Jacen goes further and further down the path of the dark side until he becomes a Sith himself. He never recognizes what he is doing—or who he is hurting— in order to save the universe. To him, the end justified the means.

 

The Bad

However, not every villain sees himself as good. There are those who have been hurt so bad that they don’t care who they hurt back. Or they believe they are better than everyone else. And some just want to see the world burn.

Loki is what I would call an elitist villain. He sees himself above everyone else.

Loki: “I’ve come too far for anything else. I am Loki, of Asgard and I am burdened with glorious purpose…”
Nick Fury: “We have no quarrel with your people.”
Loki: “An ant has no quarrel with a boot.”

(The Avengers, 2012)

Loki gives no thought to the humans of Earth because compared to him, they are nothing—just ants.

My own villain from Heir of Hope—Valin, one of the Shadonae—is also an elitist. A being with the power to twist a person’s mind and reality, he can control anyone he touches. When he was younger he left his people behind to find his way in the world. He discovered quickly that most humans are suspicious of anyone with power. When they found out Valin was different, they tried to kill him. This created a hatred inside Valin’s heart toward mankind. That, coupled with his superior abilities, caused Valin to believe he is above humans and there is little reason for them to exist. They are only pests to be eradicated or consumed.

And we all know The Joker from The Dark Knight. He has no delusions that he is a good guy (he has other delusions, but not that one). He thrives on chaos and violence and his only ambition is to smile and watch the world burn.

 

The Ugly

Lastly, we have those villains who are more disgusting than scary. The best example of this is Jabba the Hutt from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. I don’t know anyone who is scared of Jabba. However, he is definitely ugly and worthy of this category.

 

Conclusion

Villains, just like heroes, evolve to become who they are in the story. For some it is a drive to see things changed for the better but at the cost of lives and even themselves. For other villains, a deep hurt drives them to hurt others. Then there are those who believe they are better than anyone else. And finally there are those who are rotten to their very core and may even look like it on the outside.

Villains are a necessary evil (yes, I went there). They give us a glimpse of what could happen if the hero makes the wrong choice. They can even be a warning to us, showing us our own dark potential. Good, bad, or ugly, villains will always be a part of great stories.

So who is your favorite villain? What kind of villain is he or she? In what category would you place him or her?

 

*Image by Davidswartz

In Darkness there is Light

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