I’m very late, but everything is now available!
I’m very late, but everything is now available!
I don’t think I’ll ever like a blurb as much as I like the one for Thorns. I initially didn’t like the one I’d put together for Rose Red, but after some back-and-forth with my alpha reader, I sat on it for a while, then turned it into something that works.
Fortunately, it wasn’t as bad as the first few versions of Nocturne‘s blurb. I fixed that one seriously last minute. Rose Red‘s is last minute, too, but at least most of it was already in place. Just had to rework the first main paragraph.
Hair as black as night, skin as white as bone, lips as red as blood…
Just because the princess wakes up doesn’t mean she’s saved.
After Sylvaine and the Sleeping Kingdom awaken from their enchantments, the Hunter Brotherhood struggles to help the cursed population adjust to life in the modern world.
But when Sylvaine turns up in New York City with no explanation, then goes missing, the search leads Olivia, Griffin, and companions old and new deeper into even darker stories, grim tales with more endings that haven’t gone as planned.
From giant rats to stolen hearts, it turns out saving princesses isn’t as simple as a kiss.
I know it’s been a while since I last updated. I had computer troubles and needed to send it out for repairs. It took a lot longer than I thought it was going to, because I just told myself I’d wait until I got it back before doing any blogging. Joke’s on me, I guess.
So we can start with the soft reveal of ROSE RED. I think it’ll be a bit late coming out–mid to late November instead of end of October. I’m just starting on the proofreading, and then it’s got to be formatted and I need to get a proof sent to me before I publish.
Until then, whet your appetite on the gorgeous, white-gothic cover of ROSE RED, the second book in the Thorns series, a custom by Covers by Combs. The fairy/folk tale inspirations for this one are Beauty and the Beast (of course), Snow White (but oddly enough, not Snow White and Rose Red, which is a Bearskin tale–just borrowed the name), and the Nutcracker.
It’s finally here! The first book in the series, THORNS, has been made available across the board.
To love a rose, you must also love its thorns. THORNS invites you down the twisted paths of classic fairy tales, myths, and legends into dark forests, urban jungles, otherworlds, underworlds, and your very own rose-red hearts.
When eccentric artist Olivia Rowe returns to the Castle to fulfill a childhood promise to its mysterious owner, Griffin, an assassination attempt against him catapults her into a world of hunters, witches, and enchantments—where fairy tales are real but happily-ever-afters are far from guaranteed.
With a rogue hunter hot on their heels, they must journey between the modern world and the last remaining magical enclaves to rescue Snow White, the Sleeping Kingdom, and Griffin himself from Bluebeard, a powerful sorcerer on a life-stealing spree to achieve immortality.
I just can’t keep a lid on it anymore, especially since I set up the Thorns series page and bought the domain name.
After working with Covers by Combs, she came up with an amazing custom cover for THORNS, the first book in the series. It’s just so gorgeous, I can’t stand it. Sometimes, when I’m nervous or lacking confidence or wondering what the point of this is, I just open the cover file and stare at it for a while.
THORNS will be available at the end of the month!
Appropriately, this Halloween I’m facing my terrible dread at putting out total dreck by publishing my first novel, Nocturne, a beautifully gothic YA horror novel thirteen years in the making.
I just got the proofs in from Createspace, and they’re so beautiful I could spit. Covers by Combs did exceptional work on the cover and formatting design – I can’t recommend her enough. The paperback has been approved, and they should be ready to purchase at Amazon within a week (UPDATE: They are now available at Amazon!). In the meantime, the ebook is now available.
Seventeen-year-old Callie dreams nightmares every night. Now the nightmares want to meet her.
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2xIALI0
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2ik21pS
Amazon Canada: http://amzn.to/2xFYt7P
Amazon Australia: http://amzn.to/2lAY1Gr
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2A4FHJ1
I’ve submitted everything to everywhere it needs to go. I’m just awaiting the paperback proof, which I expedited to hopefully get it on Oct. 31, but it may come on Nov. 1. All the moving parts are in motion. While I was initially dreading it, I think the anxiety has partially transitioned to excitement.
Aside from an embarrassing OCD loop episode during the finalization of the formatted files (how many times can you read over a blurb before losing your mind? do you really want to know?), I really like the self-publishing process. I like controlling the creative vision; I like being the boss of the process, not the employee. And seeing Nocturne in all my distribution bookshelves, all by itself, only makes me want to publish more. I’ve got the bug, y’all, and it’s dangerous.
I keep having to tell myself that while I have plenty of books in my trunk, they’re not near ready for publication yet. I need to be patient. Nocturne‘s just going to have to be by its lonesome for a while. It deserves the spotlight, though. I owe it that.
I’m shooting for a Halloween release at this point. It’s no gimmick. That’s really just the way it’s turned out.
Shout out to the fabulous Covers by Combs for the custom cover design and formatting.
It’s been eight years since the car accident that stole Callie’s voice and plagued her with terrifying nightmares every night. Four years since her family wrote her off as a lost cause and abandoned her at a boarding school for troubled teens. Despite friction with some of the other residents, seventeen-year-old Callie has nevertheless thrived in a place where they don’t expect her to be normal, but she’s not sure she’s able to thrive anywhere else.
Then one night, a man who calls himself the Guardian pulls her into a subterranean world filled with all the monsters from her dreams and ruled by the Night Mare herself. Down in the darklands, Callie’s nightmarish creations worship her. Down in the darklands, she isn’t tired or sick or hungry.
Down in the darklands, she can speak.
As her waking life deteriorates under the weight of exhaustion and other complications, Callie’s nightly forays into the nightmare world also begin to take their toll. And it’s getting harder to tell which world is really the nightmare.
At the time I wrote the first draft of Nocturne, then called Nightmare, I was at a strange place in my experience of the horror genre. I’d read most the RL Stine oeuvre from children’s books to young adult, then devoured Christopher Pike. Dracula was (and still is) one of my favorite novels, and Jekyll & Hyde was my favorite musical. I’d started reading Stephen King and Thomas Harris in secret, because my parents thought I was too young for them. I’d been introduced to a handful of horror movies, but only PG-13 at the time. I loved horror, but I was still fresh enough to it that I hadn’t started seeing the mechanics of the genre—the conventions, the cliches, the timing, that sort of thing.
It wasn’t until my freshman year of college that I really started watching all the rated-R horror movies I’d always wanted to watch, and it’s been steady consumption since then. But I wrote Nightmare in the summer between the end of high school and the start of college, before I’d introduced myself to Freddy Krueger or Michael Myers or the Wishmaster, before I’d experienced the sensuality of Coppola’s Dracula or the brutality of Saw and Hostel, before my family had started bingeing on The Twilight Zone every New Year’s, before I knew about the meta-horror of Scream or the way a person can use horror trends to gauge a whole society’s fears.
Between the first draft and the first rewrite, I had about nine years to develop a finer palate for horror appreciation as well as my skills as a writer. I added a few new elements to the story to add some much needed meat to the bones (the first draft was a little more than half the size of the final draft) and fixed the beginning and ending. (Beginnings are always my weak spot, but that original ending was truly awful, and even at the time I knew how unsatisfying it was .) It only needed one more reworking to fix some of those new elements before I was finally satisfied with the body of the novel, somewhere around two years later, and set forth polishing it.
And now here we are, thirteen years from the first draft. I don’t know how many versions there have been—somewhere between twelve and fourteen. It’s a love letter to the horror genre, a sprawling examination of demons that have plagued me from puberty through adulthood, though I don’t suffer nightmares nearly as often as you might think. Nocturne itself, a novel of nightmares, isn’t based solely on mine. I made sure a few of them make a cameo, because how could I resist?
Parasomnias (sleep disorders) have intrigued me more over the last few years, though, because I started experiencing the hypnagogic hallucinations commonly referred to as exploding head syndrome, which sounds a lot more alarming than it is.
I sometimes wake up to the sound of a terrible scream that’s almost mechanical but still sounds so very human—except I experience the sound as though it comes from inside my head. It isn’t thought-sound. I experience it as actual sound. I’ve also woken up to thumps and knocking. On occasion, I’ll think the cat has jumped onto my legs or I’ll think someone’s tapping me awake, but nothing is there (touch hallucination, a bit rarer).
Just last night, I had some trouble in the middle of the night passing between dream state and waking consciousness with some auditory hallucinations—voices of my family that I knew were from evil spirits, actual voices that woke me up because they were heard and not just thought, but I kept waking up first in the dream before waking up for real, so it got a little confusing.
It’s a fascinating phenomenon, and though these auditory hypnagogic hallucinations are usually accompanied by a sense of dread or the feeling that what it’s coming from is evil or demonic, once I’m awake, the worst I feel is a bit unsettled. As long as these things don’t repeat when I’m completely awake, I calm down pretty fast. It helps knowing what’s going on and not actually worrying about evil spirits in my bedroom. I think if I had visual hallucinations as creepy as the auditory, I’d be much more freaked out. It would be a lot harder for me to convince myself that what I’m seeing isn’t real.
And strangely, just this year, I’ve also had markedly more nightmares than usual. I’ve always had bad dreams, but they say the difference between a nightmare and a bad dream is that a nightmare wakes you up because your brain can’t handle it anymore. The tornado dreams I’ve had all my life used to create tornadoes all around me, with only the threat they’d hit. Now, however, they’re hitting. Last night (after the hallucination/evil spirit nightmares), I dreamed interstellar grasshoppers were crawling into people’s mouths and taking them over. The zombie dreams are getting more intense. One night, I woke up from a tooth-crunching dream with aching teeth—I assume from grinding them, but for a second, I thought I’d really crunched my teeth down. I got a sleep guard pretty soon after that.
Sometimes I’ll die in a dream and jolt awake with a hypnic jerk, which I’m also prone to, and there’s a theory that hypnagogic hallucinations are just hypnic jerks translated into sensory representation because the brain gets its wires crossed.
But I’m a little strange, because about seventy-five percent of the time, even though I still have residual terror in my system, I’ll be so intrigued by the nightmare upon waking that I’ll deliberately go back to sleep to try to go back into the dream and see what happens. Side effect of being a horror geek, I suppose, and I’m always on the lookout for the next horror idea. I won’t lie—I’ve come up with a few good ones by doing that.
Here’s hoping that Nocturne is just the first fresh hell I can share with you. Because these hells are far preferable to the ones I have to wake into.
It’s on the internet now, so it must be true.
I intend to self-publish Nocturne—my first novel and a YA horror standalone—somewhere in the realm of late September or early October of this year.
I also plan on self-publishing Thorns—the first book in my fairy tale remix series—in November or December, but that will ultimately depend on how soon I can get my cover commissioned and on what editor in his or her right mind will tackle a very long novel. It may need to be in January or February instead.
Suffice it to say, no more waffling. These books have had multiple edits, multiple eyes. It’s time.