Dry Spells [Covencraft #4] releases June 7!

Dry Spells will be released June 7! It’s up for pre-order at the moment and will be ready to download on June 7th! I’m very excited [as always!]

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I struggle with each book in its own way and then when I get to the end I’m like, ‘huh. Why was that so hard?’ I didn’t know the ’emotional heart’ of this book for a long time, and then when I did figure it out, it was SO OBVIOUS I wondered if I had purposely been blind to it for some ‘as yet still unknown to me’ reason.

I’m always proud of my work. *pats self on back*.  Maybe it’s egotistical or narcissistic, but I work hard at my writing and hope I get better with each book. I’m always grateful I have the opportunity to write and that I finished another story – getting it out of my head and into the computer. The transition from brain to fingers to keyboard to actual-readable-book is a tumultuous one, but I find it rewarding.

I’m already working on the next installment of Covencraft, Uncontrollable Burn. I just don’t know yet if it will be a novella or a full length book. We’ll see how Jade and Paris [and Lily and Bruce and everyone else!] feels about it!

 

 

 

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Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo!

Hi all!
The Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo was this past weekend and, as per usual, I attended with my bro-in-law and my nephews [and a friend of my bro-in-law].
I’m getting so old. I was exhausted after only 5 hrs, lol.
My nephew and I decided to try for costumes this year! While I think they definitely need some work, I’m quite proud of our first attempts! My nephew went as a Warlock from the video game Destiny and I went as the Winter Soldier [BECAUSE EVEN WHEN STEVE HAD NOTHING, HE HAD BUCKY and also, Sebastian Stan].

As usual, I picked up some arty type stuff –  some pins this year and some Funkos.

IMG_4838 IMG_4810 I have a lot of art around my house from previous comic expos. If you want AMAZING ART that OTHER PEOPLE WON’T HAVE, then GET THEE TO A COMIC EXPO. the artists there are SO talented. It’s STUNNING.

I was super proud of my city! there were signs all around that Costumes did NOT equal CONSENT and that disrespectful behaviour would not be tolerated. AND! they had gender neutral bathrooms for those that would prefer that. I gave my nephews a big speech on why this was important. I don’t know if they ‘got it,’ but they are polite enough to listen and nod.

Also, because life wasn’t busy enough, my sister got two foster puppies from AARCS and we’ve had them for about three weeks. Normally puppies have a week turnaround time [before being adopted] but these guys had to wait a week before being fixed [due to them being  young] and now we’re waiting for some results and some paperwork to be processed. So it’s been busy at home. BUT SO FLUFFY and cute. I step in dog pee about 3 times a day, but then PUPPY SNUGGLES.

I’m almost done my edit of Dry Spells, and then it goes off to Donna for SPAG and another editor. FINGERS CROSSED.

 

 

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Dry Spells Cover Reveal!

LOOK WHAT I HAVE HERE!!

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I’m just wrapping up the end of the first draft, and then two things happen – I go back to the beginning and start editing and it also goes out to my BFF/editor Donna for the “Yo, does this make sense mostly or is it a hot mess” initial read though. Usually, my first draft is rough, but I tend not to have too many plot holes or missing items – I don’t like to write out of order. I skipped over two scenes in this book and wrote one out of order, but other than that, I write from start to finish, so I shouldn’t have a hot mess when I’m done, but… I feel like I never know. I’m too close to it when I finish it to tell.

 

I’m still tweaking the book blurb [aka book jacket, aka the hardest thing I write, aka my least fave thing to do] but it should be ready shortly and then book 4 will go up for pre-order. I’m thinking a release date of June 7.

Unless it really IS A HOT MESS, lol. I will be eagerly awaiting Donna’s feedback.

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Feeling like a Princess!

Okay, so if you’re here for the fiction, this is not a post for you.

But if you love makeup like me, THIS IS YOUR JAM, Y’ALL.

I recently ordered some lipstick from Holt Renfrew. In my neck of the woods, Holts is like… the highest of the high end. You dream about shopping at Holts. You resent those that do. But it’s because you’re so jelly.

But I decided to TREAT MY SELF
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I ordered three Lips and Boys from Tom Ford and a Charlotte Tilbury. OMG, I felt SO EXTRAVAGANT AND DECADENT.

AND THEN IT ARRIVED.

A BOX WITHIN A BOX. And that second box, hot pink and TIED WITH A RIBBON.  IMG_4508
And then I opened that and there was a little envelope with my receipt and shipping return label – AS IF I WOULD EVER RETURN LIPSTICK.

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AND THEN a little sticker keeping the tissue paper closed.
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INSERT CHOIRS OF ANGELS SINGING (okay, there is one lipstick missing from this pic and that’s because I HAD TO PULL IT OUT TO WEAR IT IMMEDIATELY. it smelled like vanilla bubblegum and I LOVE IT SO MUCH *sobs into her hanky)IMG_4512

LOOK AT THE PACKAGING (Yes, I’m totes abusing caps lock at this point, BUT THIS IS ALL CAPS LOCK WORTHY)IMG_4513

OMG, I ALMOST DON’T EVEN WANT TO USE IT, IT’S SO PRETTY *almost*
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This, hands down, MADE MY DAY, MY WEEK, perhaps even my month. SO PRETTY. so much fun unwrapping! So lovely to hold, and smell and wear! I haven’t worn the TIlbury yet but the TF is a DREAM. The Lips and Boys collection is smaller than normal size, which makes me a little sad, but VANILLA BUBBLEGUM SMELL. OMG. I CAN’T.

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But if Less is More, just Think How Much More ‘More’ will be!

Wow.

Internets, I’m a woman on fire.

My day job has been non stop for about 18 months and I swear to god, I keep thinking I can’t get any more busy, but I do. I am BLESSED WITH WORK. I don’t like to complain about it because there are a lot of people out there who don’t have work right now. So yes, blessed with work. And I do like being busy and feeling useful. and TBH, I think I’m KILLING IT. no really! I feel very productive and like I’m doing a good job! and I’m getting some super nice and appreciative feedback.

so yes, blessed with work.

But that also means it’s tough to come home at nights and write. I’ve been trying to push it lately because I’m just barely still on target for Book 4, (Dry Spells, Covencraft #4). If I lose any momentum, I’ll start falling behind. I’m already behind where I wanted to be, but I planned for an early finish so there is wiggle room in my goal.

All that to say, I’m running at top speed lately. It makes the days/weeks/ months go by fast and I realized this month is six months since Portia passed. Sigh. I can’t believe it. Half a year already. I still have her pick on my screen saver on my phone. It took it when she was at the puppy hospital. I miss her tons.

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It does help to be busy. I’m at 65000 ish words for Dry Spells, and I project about 95000 usually for a book. so 2/3rds done. I feel like I’ll be pretty close to that word count, but then I always say that and somehow end up going over. We’ll see what happens! I’ve been in touch with the Cover Artist and have him booked for about March so I’m excited to see some cover art and get that motivating me even more.

After Dry Spells, I have the next story idea, but I think it will be a novella length. So, Dry Spells will be a full novel, then Uncontrollable Burn will be novella length, and then the next book will be back to full length.

And that’s all the shrimp there is.

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Dry Spells [Covencraft #4] – update

So, I complained to my sister a few months ago that book 4 of Covencraft (Dry Spells) was the hardest book I’d written.

SISTER: “you say that about all your books”

Me: I DO NOT

SISTER: Yep. You do.

Me: *thinks about it. grumbles because it might be true* “BUT THIS TIME I MEAN IT.”

The thing is, I do mean it every time. Each book has a clear plot to me and a clear emotional feel AFTER I’VE FINISHED IT. but before,  I’m kind of fumbling around in the dark. I thought I’d done enough pre-planning on book 4 that I knew what it was about. And I did, on the surface. But I hadn’t explored what it was underneath. I knew the plot points I wanted to hit, but I didn’t know or understand how I wanted it to emotionally resonate.

It may be that no one but me ever feels those deeper emotions in my books, but I NEED THAT connection to understand the plot. Book 1 was about belonging for Jade. Book 1 for Paris was about learning more about his Coven. Book 2 was about both Paris and Jade learning what belonging meant and how they both responded to that emotionally – how far will you go in response to a feeling of belonging? for Jade it meant she’d be willing to protect the Coven even if she didn’t’ feel she truly belonged.  Book 3 was about recognizing your past and trying to come to terms with it – both with Jade with respect to Lily and Paris with respect to the Coven and his mother. Book 4… I only recently realized book 4 is a continuation of that – recognizing your past and OWNING it. How do you come to terms with things you didn’t want to know? Or wished you didn’t know? or things you knew but wanted to ignore?

I thought I knew what book 4 was about but as I started working through it, it became clear I didn’t until recently. I finally feel I know where I want to go with Jade and Paris emotionally. That doesn’t mean that the reader will see it or that I’m even adept at conveying it or I know exactly what plot points I want to hit. But, I feel I know what I want Jade and Paris to FEEL when I work on this book. I feel like my ‘craft’ as a writer is uncovering these things and trying to convey it. I might not be successful. People might read books 1-4 and not see any of the deeper emotions I’m working toward. but…. I know they’re there and I’m trying.

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Cleaning out my Junk Drawers

Internets. How you been?

I started going regularly again to the gym 4th and then on the 11th signed up for the 30 in 30 challenge [30 classes in 30 days – spin and/or yoga]. I’m about as flexible as a steel pipe, so the yoga is a struggle for me, but I realized it’s a struggle because I NEED it and OH WHY CAN’T IT BE EASY?

This morning I either had a breakthrough or a breakdown. Still not sure which.

My hips are TIGHT and I don’t mean that in a -ph- phat kind of way, [Yo, that shit is TIGHT, y’all!]. I mean that in an industrial strength elastic that has no give kind of way. So all hip openers, hamstring stretches and just general leg flexibility movements are tough. This morning, I found the hot yoga room extra hot [I don’t like the heat, but I do find the stretching easier and I like my gym which is a HOT YOGA and spin place, soooooooo hot yoga it is.]. When it’s that hot, I feel like there’s no oxygen in the air. I’m breathing but there’s nothing actually getting in my lungs. Sometimes, it makes me start to panic a little. But, I could handle that. But then, everything was HARD this morning. Downward dog was hard, child’s pose kind of hurt, side plank was impossible and don’t even ask about standing splits. It’s so far from the splits, I’m pretty sure you can’t even tell what pose I’m trying to do. Plus, a friend just lost her dog and I feel for her so much. Of course it makes me think more of Portia and how I never really had a good cry after she died because I was SO BUSY and every time I felt a cry coming on, I was at work or at the grocery store or at the yoga studio or on the C-Train. and then when I was finally home and COULD CRY, I was exhausted and went to bed.

And my hips HURT this morning. Not HURT like “Geez you need to stop this before you bust one of these hips”, but hurt like “Oh god, if I try to get out of this lunge, I don’t know if this hip joint will hold me! I’m going to fall over!” way.

So I’m there and it’s hot and I’m tired and it hurts and then I feel like I might throw up and then I just wanted to CRY. But I felt torn – should I just cry? my two sisters were in the room and the yoga teacher is a GEM and a SWEETHEART so, I could have had support. But, I’m a solitary crier and people around me when I cry makes me uncomfortable, so I probably would’ve just preferred to start crying and then leave and get in the shower. But then again, if I started crying, that’s going to make an awful start of the day and my eyes will be all red and puffy…

IDK. they say your hips are the emotional junk drawer of the body and maybe I’ve finally done enough yoga to start cleaning them out.

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2015 – a reading Round-up!

Like most writers, I am an avid reader. or rather, I try to be. This year on Goodreads, I pledged to read 40 books and I made my goal with some to spare! Some books were hardly book length (more like short stories), but I counted them all. Especially since I don’t count the fanfic reading I do on goodreads ;). I don’t finish anything I don’t really like, so if I finished it and it’s listed below, I enjoyed it. Here are the snapshots of my Goodreads list!

 

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Okay, Ravenwood is my OWN book. It still counts! I read it, like, 12 times while doing edits.

What stuck with me:

The Success Principles [Non Fiction, self betterment]– I feel like this is a book I will continually return to and re-read as I progress. I really enjoyed this book and felt empowered while reading it. I AM RESPONSIBLE FOR MY OWN SUCCESS! If I work hard, I can do it!

Dead Mountain [Non Fiction, true story, mystery] – WOW. What a story. ALL TRUE [with some speculation tossed in]. This was a book that I TOLD EVERYONE ABOUT. a true story about a group of hikers that died in Russia in the 1960s. Amazing story. Has tickled my brain re: Infrasound.

Dark Space [M/M Romance, Sci Fi]- THIS ONE HAUNTS ME. I read a couple Lisa Henry books this year and HOLY GOD. she is SO GOOD. Her narrative voice is amazing and PULLS YOU IN. I felt like I WAS HER CHARACTERS. I read it in one day and then cried happy tears when I saw Henry had just released a sequel.

The Riddle of the Labyrinth [Non Fiction, true story, languages]– Another amazing story, this time on the decipherment of Linear B. WHAT COMMITMENT. Unbelievable. I can’t even focus on a book sometimes so reading about the effort and time these people put into deciphering an unknown language is truly fantastical to me.

Reflections in General – As a reader I am HUMBLED by the storytelling abilities of the books I’ve read this year. Shirley Jackson, Dean Koontz, Lisa Henry… I’m in awe of their ability. I hope my own writing grows and that I get better as I go!

What am I reading now? – I’m currently working on The Noonday Demon by Andrew Solomon. Having struggled with depression for most of my life, I was amazing and gobsmacked by some of Solomon’s insights during a Ted talk. I immediately picked up his book. I’m also re-reading Fingerprints of the Gods. I read this one in 2007 and really enjoyed it. With a trip to Peru coming up this year (29 WEEKS AND COUNTING), I wanted to re-read to refresh my mind. Just as engaging the second time around. I’ve pledged to read 50 books this year, including writing 2, so I guess my decision to give up almost all television was a good one.

Happy reading!

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My Brain is getting Crowded

So. I haven’t been writing lately. Combination of still being in a bit of a funk about Portia, being hella busy with the day job and just… I don’t know. Stuff. I go through these phases where my anxiety creeps up on me and then it seems like everything sends me into a panic. Respond to comments on the blog? PANIC. Sit down to write? PANIC. Pick up the phone at work? DOUBLE PANIC.

I’m trying to break it all down into tiny, manageable bites. Today was to sit down and get 500 words done on book 4. A small goal, one that I know I can do. And then it would be a little deposit of good in my emotional bank. Goal achieved – got 538. And I still have more time to write, so anything else I get now is gravy.

But when I don’t write regularly, my crazy seems to leak out into my dreams. The more I’m away from the keyboard, the more bizarre my dreams get. I tried to write down one I had a few days ago:

I dreamed I was some kind of timeless, immortal woman who had captured some people in the upper floor of this grand old house. They had all agreed to enter the floor, but they didn’t know that as soon as they agreed, they were trapped there until I let them go – everyone was now immortal in this place. It was like a large apartment suite – the kind you would see in a really old castle or townhouse.
I was kind of dressed like I was from teh 1920s. I had a sort of manservant that was outside the apartment suite, or the Tea Room, as I kept calling it. He could bring us [or rather ME since he only did stuff for me] things from the outside world. He brought liquor and food [although we required none] and would take my things out to be drycleaned. he was dying of some kind of cancer and I was going to miss him terribly once he passed.
 
The people I had trapped with me were angry, scared and at times violent. I was more… amused or entertained by this than anything else. I dont’ know what I was planning. I do know that at one point, I curled up in this big easy chair – and this chair, I had the knowledge, used to be in some sort of a men’s club back in time. I opened one of the side pouches and found some cigarettes and lit one. As I sat there, one of the women I was keeping hostage came and sat in the chair next to me and I said something like “How easy it would have been to be a man back then. With items like this at your disposal, everywhere you went.” and I was so angry at how hard it had been to be a woman in history.
 
I had several lovely things picked up from drycleaning by my servant and my hostages ended up playing around in them like kids playing dress up. capes, hats, big scarves and feathers. This also amused me. They thought my things were so extravagant.
 
There was on person who said he wanted to leave, and he demanded it. he was escorted to a weird kind of old fashioned elevator and one of the other hostages went with him, saying he could accompany him on his trip down, but wouldn’t be leaving with him. As the elevator descended, it was consumed by fire, and the man who wanted to leave [he was young, maybe 20 or so?] turned to paper money and then to ash, only his mind was still present and he had this knowledge that he would be burning ashes for the rest of eternity. the fragments of him fell through the bottom of the elevator grate and then the elevator rose again, with the other man who had accompanied the younger, now ash one, coming back to the Tea Room.
 
There were large bay windows for one section and you could see the world outside, but they could not see in.

About two days after that one, I had one where I was playing some kind of game with people where I had to crawl through tunnels and small spaces [this is actually a recurring theme in my dreams. I have to crawl through a vent or some kind of portal and it only works as long as I don’t think too hard about it. but if I DO then I can’t fit through. And I’m always super anxious that it won’t work because I’m thinking so hard about it and then I won’t fit]. I was just about to crawl through a small vent when I noticed there was a stairwell off to my left. I went up the stairs and found myself in the top floor of a strange kind of house. It was like a little self contained place all on it’s own. And there were these two women there, who were more like girls. They were misshapen and didn’t speak any language I understood. and I had this sense that they were kept up in this attic, but not as a punishment. More like… a protection. Their caregiver arrived – a lady that started yelling and screaming at me for finding them and as she rushed toward me, I grabbed a chair and used it to ward her off only I pushed too hard and she fell out the window. And now these strange girls were without a caretaker. The stairs down from the attic had a complicated mechanism that the girls couldn’t use and but that I was able to and I found myself exploring the rest of the house. On the second floor lived another woman. She was the sister of the woman I’d accidentally killed. She didn’t tell me who the girls were, only that they belonged to her sister and her sister had left life to take care of them and so she followed her sister because that’s how their family worked. She was showing me old pictures of them from before they entered the house. they were beautiful women – dressed in fancy items and with silky, shiny, styled hair. I felt awful for what I’d done but I kept remembering how she’d charged at me and I didn’t mean to push her, it just happened. The sister didn’t seem angry with me. But did seem sad about being trapped in the house.

So, yeah. It’s time to start writing again. My brain gets too full when I don’t.

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Spending time with your Tribe

Ah! Squee weekend! That time of year I get together with my fandom friends [many of whom write, create art, do crafty things and/or are voracious readers].

And then we talk. We talk about a lot. The thing is, there are things that you need to talk about with your female friends – things you can’t find on the internet, or if you do, you don’t feel as comfortable discussing. I don’t mean naughty or salacious conversations [although we have those too!] but things that are important to us. Not only do we discuss, we problem solve. I love this group of people. We are committed to helping each other out. We’ve discussed feeling overextended at work, feeling overwhelmed by life, not knowing where this particular story is going, not knowing if this idea we have is better as a short story or a novel. We’ve also talked about dying our hair and finding a good mascara and bemoaning finding a good bra that fits correctly (this actually ended with a bra-buying trip to a department store).

It just makes me feel like I belong and that I’m safe with my friends. I know I can bring up a topic, ANY TOPIC, and it will be treated with reverence and seriousness. We’ll discuss, we’ll solve the issue or come up with some things to try and I’ll feel better. And then someone will utter a double entendre and we’ll laugh pass around more wine.

I just love spending time with my tribe!

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