DESTINY HAS ARRIVED

Good afternoon, everyone! How are you today? Is it spring yet where you live? I live in west Michigan, on the Lake Michigan side, and it’s definitely spring, if a little chilly yet.

I thought I would share some background about my new YA fantasy novel, Destiny. It’s book one in my new series, The Traitors War, and its about a group of young people trying to navigate the changing landscapes of their home kingdoms and their continent of Pentallia as war approaches, from both within Pentallia itself and from across the Argentum Brine sea to the west.

I got the inkling for this story back around 2005, and had some of the main characters, such as Lisette, Conrad and Bannan right from the get-go. Others got added in as I started a big three-ring binder and added notes and pictures of characters taken out of magazines (this was before Pinterest). As time went on, I added more notebooks and ideas, and gave up the binder, instead splitting the growing number of notebooks into ones for places and characters.

I sent a very early version of Destiny to a small agency back around 2016. The agent was very nice, but declined that story (titled Peril at Stormsurge). I set it aside when I got the idea for Lift and the Flying Ponies. It was always in the background, though, and even as I worked my way through the Flying Ponies books, I fussed with what I called “Pentallia.” I wrote two more versions, neither being what I was looking for. They centered more around Princess Anora Cardiff of Castle Frayfight (whom you will meet in book two), and I knew that wasn’t where the story needed to start. Anora was never meant to be the main character, either.

Once Spin, the third and final Flying Pony book was published (spring 2020), I went back to “Pentallia” in earnest and started rewriting it yet again. This version made its way to my husband Ryan, but it still wasn’t the story my characters and I wanted to tell. Thus, in late August of 2020, I again sat down to rewrite it (this was probably the seventh incarnation of “Pentallia” at this point). Finally, the story clicked with both my muse (whose name is Glucinda, by the way. If you happen to know where that name came from, you get two cookies!) and my characters. I finished it during late September and immediately started editing and polishing.

The book was now titled Clandestine, and it was sent to my editor at One Wicked Wordsmith in late December. From there, it went through some more editing to add in details about Pentallia. Once we were happy with that, it was sent to Kate Conway, who owns Wicked Whale Publishing, and who puts my books together for me. We decided the series should have crowns on the cover, and I actually have a water colorist who will be doing my future covers for The Traitors War. It was decided the title was too long; no matter how Kate placed it, it looked too awkward, and it was renamed Destiny.

From there the book was added into Amazon and ARCS (Advanced Reading Copies, or proofs) were ordered and a few were passed on to people for early reviews. Once corrections were done based on the ARC (and there are always corrections), the book was made ready for publication, and as of today, is now ready to meet the world.

I hope you enjoy Destiny. I hope you find yourself immersed in the story, and that you click with at least one of the characters. Book two is now done and through the first round of editing, and I’m hoping for a spring 2021 release.

Have a wonderful week!

SPIN HAS ARRIVED!

I have copies available directly from me. It’s also available on Amazon, along with Lift and Tilt, as a trade paperback or ebook.

All the Holiday Cheer and Catching Up, Too

Hey everyone, long time no talk, yeah? Yeah. I haven’t kept this website as updated as I’d originally planned when I started it. I’ll get right to the point: life has been rough this year. I fell and broke/dislocated my right ankle way back in February, which was not fun. Lots of rods and pins had to be installed. We’ve dealt with other medical issues all year, and as of now, my maternal grandmother’s health is failing badly, and we expect this to be our last Christmas with her.

On a brighter note, I have sent Spin, the final Flying Ponies novel, to my editor and am waiting to hear back from her. It was a difficult book for me, much more difficult than either Lift or Tilt were, but maybe the last book in a trilogy is supposed to be. There’s a lot to wrap up, a lot of expectations riding on those final words. But I think it’s good. I think it’s fitting. I guess in March or April, when Spin gets released, we’ll see if the readers think so, too.

We saw Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker yesterday, and for me, it was everything it needed to be. Talk about wrapping up a series! Wow. And we know there’s more to come from Disney. My family just subscribed to Disney+ on Saturday, so we haven’t started The Mandalorian yet, but I’ve heard good things about it. My favorite fandom will always be Star Wars; my husband is a huge comic book fan, and I’m quite fond of a number of heroes, especially in the DC universe, but for me, the saga that George Lucas started back in 1977 will always be my fandom home. Rise of Skywalker was emotional for me, and I know it will be for a lot of people, just as it should be. It’s the ending of an era, and with Disney helming the franchise now, it opens the way for a new one.

I have the first novel in my next series all done, except for the crucial editing. It’s titled Clandestine, and it’s the first in the upcoming Traitors’ War series. It is set in the fictional world of Imperium, and the first book plays out on the fictional continent of Pentallia, a place where magic, called Illumination, has been outlawed. Different characters will tell the story through the series, including (but not limited to) a princess, a prince, a Shadowliege (assassin), a Knightagent (think a sword-and-gun wielding CIA agent), and an emissary searching for her place in the world. My plan is to release Clandestine in October of 2020, but we’ll see if that is feasible. The first chapter of it will be included in the back of Spin.

My goal for 2020 with this website is to update it once a week, and to talk about not only life in general, but the writing and author life. I hope to keep telling interesting stories.

Merry Christmas, everyone, or if you prefer, happy holidays. May the season bring warmth to you and yours, and may you make wonderful memories with friends and loved ones. My husband and I always wrap presents today, on December 23rd, and watch a movie while we do it. And tomorrow night, on Christmas Eve, after the service at our church, we hang the stockings and put out the presents, and then relax with a bit of Jack or maybe some rum, mixed in with Coke or eggnog. I like our traditions, and I know you all have yours, too. I hope they include Jesus, but if they don’t, know He is always willing to meet you.

Have a wonderful day, ladies and gents.

TILT IS COMING…

Hey everyone, I know I haven’t been posting here as much lately. I tend to post more to Instagram and cross-post to my Facebook author page and my Twitter account. But there is big news afoot…

Tilt, book two in The Flying Ponies trilogy, is releasing on Saturday, March 2, 2019. I am having a book launch party at the Shelby Area District Library (where I work) on March 2, from 4-6 pm. Both Tilt and Lift, book one in the trilogy, will be available to buy. I will also sign the books.

Here is the back cover copy for Tilt:

Charlotte Flynn is on a mission. 
Betrayed by both Penumbra and her Uncle Baron, Charlotte is seeking the missing Flying Ponies in the hopes of uniting them against their wayward leader. Joined by Dreadful, a crazy cavalry horse; Black, her new boyfriend; and her family and friends, she plans to find the missing carousel horses before Penumbra and Baron do. 

But the hunt won’t be easy. An old friend of Black’s shows up, with intentions that might not be as honorable as she says. The Tyranny holds some of the Flying Ponies in their possession – and they’re not giving them up. Penumbra, determined to have all the carousel horses to himself, will stop at nothing to defeat Charlotte and Dreadful.

And if that isn’t enough, Charlotte discovers she, like her traitorous uncle, has magic flowing through her. Determined to bring the Flying Ponies back together no matter the cost, the sixteen-year-old may end up paying the ultimate price.

I look forward to seeing everyone! If you have any questions about the books, characters, the Flying Ponies, or writing in general, please feel free to ask them. I love talking about writing!

Tiltcoverfront

DONE!

It’s official, people! I finished my edits on Tilt at 1:55 AM (Eastern time) this morning! That means I can send it to my editor!

Whew. I’m tired! I should be headed to bed but now I’m making lunches for hubby and the kids. I love my indie author life! I’m so excited!!

Announcement over.

Round Two Down!

I just finished the second edits, the color edits, on Tilt. Next up is taking all the changes and incorporating them into the manuscript. I’m hoping to get Tilt to my editor by the middle of December.

This book has been a lot easier to work with than Lift. The story knows where it’s headed, and believe me, BIG things go down in book two! Almost all of the Flying Ponies get introduced, and you get to know Dreadful more.

I hope to release Tilt in mid-winter (Valentine’s Day would be fun, wouldn’t it?). Check back on my social media as I will be updating where I am with the publishing process.

Editing With Color

I am now on the second round of edits on Tilt, book two in The Flying Ponies trilogy. This second stage is what I refer to as my “highlighter” round. Each pertinent character and sometimes story line gets assigned a different color highlighter. As I go through the manuscript, I use those colors to mark characters. I do this so I can see how many times a character is in a scene or on a page, and to make sure they continue all the way through the book. If a certain color stops, I can make sure there’s a reason why that character or story line disappears.

This strategy works well for me, and I like flipping through all the pages of the manuscript and seeing the different colors. As a writer, it’s interesting to see which characters run the show. In Tilt, the Flying Ponies themselves are quite involved in the narrative. You will meet almost all of them in the second book; and hopefully, you will like at least some of them. Each of the 32 Flying Ponies are based on actual carousel horses – some of them are on working carousels around the United States, and others are to be found in museums. The model horse for Dreadful, for instance, is at the Frontier Museum at Cedar Point Amusement Park, in Ohio. In the middle of this month I will be visiting Cedar Point, and am excited about “meeting” the bay cavalry horse Dreadful is modeled after.

Using the different colors also appeals to me as a creative person. I love to color, and highlighting my characters is almost like coloring my novel. Who knows – maybe someday there will be a Flying Ponies coloring book! The one major story line that I assigned a color is the relationship between Black and Charlotte. I’ll admit – I think they are an adorable young couple, and I’m having fun watching their feelings for one another develop, especially since a certain older brother doesn’t like that.

I’m not quite halfway through the book with the colors; once that round of edits is done, I’ll let Tilt sit for a week or so and then go through it again, this time looking for anything that feels out-of-place. I’ve signed my book contract for it, and the book will probably go to my editor in the early winter, and then finally to my publisher. I expect Tilt to release around March-April of 2019.

If you’re a writer, the highlighter round might work for you, too – and it sure makes your manuscript pretty!

 

But What If It’s Bad?!

Yeah. I’m going to be blunt. I’m afraid to start editing Tilt, book two in The Flying Ponies trilogy because, GASP! what if it’s bad? Having gone through the editing process last year starting around this time with Lift, book one in the trilogy, I know it’s not fun. It’s not supposed to be, I don’t think. Oh maybe, if you can kill enough of the darlings and know where to embellish and how to do so, but what if the story itself isn’t good?

Sure, you can rewrite. You can do as many drafts as you pretty please. Still, the story itself, the inner thread that holds all those scenes and characters together – what if that’s so far past gone that you can’t find it? Or it unravels as fast as you grab at it? Then, might I ask, what?!

So this, then, is my dilemma. I am set to print off Tilt and start the editing process around August 30, give or take a day or so. I was eager to begin the process with its predecessor. I didn’t know any better. Some writers love editing and rewriting. For them, that’s where they find their story. For me, it’s not. I already know my story. I know where it’s going and what it should look like at the end of the book. It’s all those lines in the middle, the ones that twist and shape the story. What if those aren’t as elegant as I thought? What if my clever writing isn’t?

I’m not looking for assurances or reassurances. Maybe insurance – wait, that’s what my day job is for, so I’ve got something to fall back on should this writing endeavor fail. This is just me wringing my hands inside my head and wondering why on earth I thought I wanted to write for anyone other than myself. You know, though, I think every author, every writer, goes through this. At some point in time in your career, anyway. I’m just dragging my feet. That’s all there is to it.

So…onward into the unknown. We’ll see if the story is really there, if the characters are doing what needs to be done and in a timely manner.

We’ll see if these Flying Ponies are continuing in their nefarious ways!

Bittersweet

I finished the first draft of book two in The Flying Ponies trilogy, Tilt, last Saturday night. As I sat there, staring at my computer screen, a little disturbed by what I had just written, I thought, Wow. I only have one more book with this crew. Then it will be on to something else. And that realization hit me quite hard.

You see, writers get attached to their characters. We live with them in our minds and hearts, day after day. Someone can read your story and think, yeah, I enjoyed that. And then they move on to something else. But writers don’t get to do that. At least, I don’t. Those people, those wooden horses that fly, are now part of me. They always will be.

And I will miss them when their story is complete, when I’m not thinking of and working with them daily. They’ll still be with me, but they will no longer be in the limelight. They’ll have to move over and make room for the next story’s characters.

That’s how it should, of course. No writer can rest on his or her last story. There’s always going to be another to tell, another to share with the world. But you still miss the last one you told.

I know I shouldn’t be waxing poetic about The Flying Ponies yet. I still have to edit and polish Tilt. It probably won’t release until spring 2019, and then I have the third and final one to write, Spin. After that, yeah. It will be time to get sentimental.

But the next story is always calling, even now, even with Tilt just starting to cool off, stored on my flash drive and laptop. Still, it’s hard not to feel some bittersweetness.

I kind of want that carousel ride to last forever.

Write Your Story

I did an author meet and greet yesterday at Gales IGA in Hart, and I had a ball! I sold some books, but what was more fun was just talking about Lift with the people who came. They were genuinely interested in learning about the process and the inspiration, and I thoroughly enjoy talking about it.

It’s been said that if you can’t find the kind of book you want to read, then you need to write it yourself. There’s a danger in doing that, of course – what if no one else likes your story? Well, to be honest, should a writer care about that? Yes, at least a little. Most working writers hope to make some money, though most of us know we will never make enough to quit our day/night jobs. That’s a reality that needs to be faced.

It doesn’t mean, however, that you shouldn’t write that story that you want to read. Somewhere out there are other people who need your story, too. They might not even realize it until they see it sitting on a local book store’s shelf or on Amazon. Not every person will click with your story, and that’s okay. How many books have you read that didn’t do it for you? That’s no reason to hold back.

I love my story. I love my characters. I can’t wait to share book two of The Flying Ponies trilogy with all of you. It’s a story I would’ve loved to read, but no one had written it, so God gave it to me to write. For better or worse, the Flying Ponies are mine now.

What story do you want to read that hasn’t been written yet? Perhaps it hasn’t been written because it’s waiting for you to do it.

Have a blessed Memorial Day, everyone. Remember our fallen soldiers and what they did to protect the freedom we as Americans enjoy.

(I found this quote on Pinterest.)