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Uncontrollable Burn (Covencraft #5) – Blurb and cover!!!

LOOK WHAT I HAVE HERE!!!

I’m still on target for an early June release. I’m aiming for June 6 or 13th!

You can face your past, but it doesn’t mean you’re free…
Jade thought facing a Gorgon and her past demons (including the one that shows up in her pantry on occasion), meant she’d get over stuff. Auto-magically, so to speak. It turns out, it’s not that simple. Still recovering from her time in the Dearth and her meeting with Medusa, Jade tries to understand her feelings for Paris. Is she ready to deal with her past as an assault survivor and move forward? Or is she perpetually stuck where she is?

Jade also struggles as Lily pushes for them to be independent. Now that they’re no longer sharing a body, they can lead separate lives. It should be everything Jade ever wanted.

Sometimes for the future, something has to burn…
While Jade struggles with her personal life, the Coven is called upon for magical assistance. A forest fire rages out of control, unable to be stopped by mortal forces. Any witch proficient with fire is called to help. If there’s one thing Jade is certain about, especially now when nothing else feels right, it’s fire.

Out of the frying pan…
If Jade can’t get the fire under control then landscape, houses, cities, people are in jeopardy. It’s gotta be easier than dealing with her feelings, right? Or has she just made the biggest, most fatal, mistake of her life?

Edits – and some notes on book 5 (Covencraft)

I’m editing book 5 (will have blurb up shortly) and sometimes, a particular song sticks with me through a book. For this one, it’s ben The Razor’s Edge by Digital Daggers.

This one really speaks to me for Jade and her struggles.  Here are the lyrics. Bold emphasis is mine.

“The Razor’s Edge”

I think I’m lost
I think I’m broken
It’s not what I wanted
The verdict won’t change
I’ve gone off the razor’s edge
Thought it would be different
Was treading the water
‘Til it took me under

Quick retreating
So stuck in these feelings
I’m taking the beating
It won’t let me go, go, go

I’m scared ’cause the past
Keeps pulling me back
Distorting the future
It’s holding me close
It loves me the most
It’s tearing the sutures

It won’t let me heal
It tells us what’s real
There is no truth there
My vision’s gone black
I’m scared ’cause the past
Keeps pulling me

Seems I forgot
Which way I was going
Echoed mistakes (mistakes)
Repeating again

Quick retreating
So stuck in these feelings
I’m taking the beating
It won’t let me go, go, go

I’m scared ’cause the past
Keeps pulling me back
Distorting the future
It’s holding me close
It loves me the most
It’s tearing the sutures

It won’t let me heal
It tells us what’s real
There is no truth there
My vision’s gone black
I’m scared ’cause the past
Keeps pulling me

I’m scared ’cause the past
Keeps pulling me back
Distorting the future
It’s holding me close
It loves me the most
It’s tearing the sutures

It won’t let me heal
It tells us what’s real
There is no truth there
My vision’s gone black
I’m scared ’cause the past
Keeps pulling me back
I’m scared ’cause the past
Keeps pulling me

 

I also have a song that I’m listening to for book 6 [Untitled as of yet] by Digital Daggers, BUT I CAN’T TELL YOU BECAUSE OF SPOILERS.

BUT IT’S THERE. AND I KNOW IT.

Uncontrollable Burn [Covencraft # 5] – status update!

You guys! I am THISCLOSE to finishing primary writing on book 5. My first draft is usually pretty close to my end draft [which is good or bad – take your pick!]. I’m just about to start chapter 17 [as it is numbered right now] and I think I need about 5000 more words to wrap it up. Then we’ll see what gets added/deleted during edits.

As I posted earlier, I have clinical depression and I just changed meds. Me finishing this book couldn’t have happened without it. Or rather, I could have done it, but a June release? Dude. IDK. I was working all of January and February to be on time and I’m a little behind, but I’ll make it! But if I hadn’t felt better? I would have still been back at 250 words a day, which is how I wrote book 4. Like, it can be done. But it sucks. Writing a book like that feels like chiseling out of marble with a teeny-tiny chisel. You can do it. Your exhausted and defeated most of the time, but it can be done.

But! I’m AM feeling good, and writing faster so that didn’t happen!

I’m happy with where the book has gone, emotionally and action-wise. It’s always a nailbiter to see if other people like it, but at least if they don’t, I know that I like it. [and if you don’t like it, I hope you tell me GENTLY why so I can review and learn! But if you post a review, you should know I make my sisters read them for me, lol. See my page on reviewing for why]

I will be in contact with the cover artist shortly and hope to post that as soon as it’s ready! I’m EXCITED. I don’t have the back blurb written yet, but will post as soon as I do. This book, generally, is a straight continuation of book 4, Dry Spells. Jade is continuing to deal with Lily being her own person, her feelings about her past, and her feelings for Paris. And then while she’s working on that, a Forest Fire happens! DUN DUN DUN.  Stay tuned!

 

 

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Rape Culture, Sexual Assault Survivors and Covencraft

Boys will be boys.

She was drunk and and at a party. What did she expect?

She didn’t say no, so meant yes.

He’s got such a bright future ahead of him, it would be a shame if he suffered for this.

Jesus, I’m so sick of rape culture. I’m sick of a society that STILL questions victims. A society in which EVERY OTHER CRIME the defendant is the one on trial, but with rape, the victim bears the burden.

If you take the things said about rape victims and say them about gun-shot victims, you can no longer ignore how ridiculous they are.

Did you wear that outfit on the off chance you might get shot? Didn’t you know that it’s legal to carry firearms in the USA so you could be shot at any time and by leaving your house, you were agreeing to potentially be shot? Did you tell the gunman, explicitly and several times, NOT to shoot you? Too bad. Your silence was taken as a yes.

When I hear that, I want to walk up to these people and ask them if they want to be punched, and then, before they can say ‘no’, punch them in the neck and let them know  I took their silence as consent.

Or how about flipping it around to mugging – by wearing that nice watch, weren’t you in fact asking to be mugged? Don’t you think that’s a message to all the muggers out there that you had a watch and if they wanted it, they could mug you because you were advertising it?

What about car accidents?

Car accident? Didn’t you agree  an accident could happen when you got behind the wheel? Isn’t driving on the freeway like saying you don’t care if you’re sideswiped? In fact, you’re open to it? Since you didn’t have a sign explicitly stating you didn’t want to be crashed into, isn’t it likely that you DID??

If you’re telling me that men cannot control themselves around women because of what women wear, then I say in return, why am I not locking PEOPLE UP BECAUSE THEY ARE UNCONTROLLABLE?? You know what we do to uncontrollable creatures? Creatures with no will power, with no higher reasoning, with no morals to discern what’s right and wrong? WE INCARCERATE THEM IN ZOOS AND JAILS. For they are animals and cannot abide by our society’s rules.

Rape culture is abhorrent to us all, or at least, it should be. Women should not live in a society where this is considered unavoidable behavior and men should not tolerate the notion that some members of society believe their sex is so animalistic, immoral and uncontrollable that they cannot be responsible for their own actions.

I was so incredibly moved to write this post by the recent letter of a rape victim to her rapist, which has since gone viral. Her words were raw, evocative, eloquent and haunting. While I found the entirety of her letter moving, the part that stuck with me the most was when she wrote if her rapist had acknowledged what he’d done, admitted guilt and remorse, she would have considered a lighter sentence. I have never read such grace and mercy on earth. She wanted the acknowledgement of what he’d done, and for him to admit it was wrong. She would listen to it. She would acknowledge it. And she could not even get that.

I’ve said before that people are often uncomfortable when I discuss rape culture. They should be. I am. It’s wrong. We should all be uncomfortable about rape it until it is erased.

In my Covencraft novels, my lead character, Jade, is a sexual assault survivor. Book 4 deals with her assault a lot more than any other book. I didn’t want to focus on the actual act of the assault or the violence of it, because I find that often happens in modern media. It’s only for the shock value. The immediacy of the violence. Instead, I hope I’ve conveyed what we don’t usually see in media – the aftermath. The media shows us the trial [if there was one],  the articles and the outrage, and the shock and horror. But there is still life afterward and each person approaches it differently (note, my book deals with a female protag, but I do not mean to exclude male victims of rape). My character Jade has an intimately related character, Lily, and while they both experienced the same thing, they process/deal with it differently. Each day afterward, each week, each month, each year, are individual experiences and no one is more real or authentic than the other.

I’m tired of seeing stories in entertainment media about rape that have no aftermath. I’m tired of reading about campus rapes, date rapes, other rapes where the media drops the story after the trial as if that were the end of it. I’m tired of seeing rape used as a plot device for a character, but most especially as motivation for a male character [as in, my significant other was raped, I must now go forth on my quest of vengeance and justice and nevermind MY SIGNIFICANT OTHER because I am the wronged party here!]. There are stories to be told in the aftermath. Survival stories, struggling stories, heartfelt stories of distrust, disillusionment and recovery. Or maybe not. Maybe there is no recovery. Maybe there is a victim that never feels like a survivor.  Someone who does not or cannot live with their assault. That story is worthy of being told as well. That story has value and merit; it is real and to never tell it, is to dishonor it.

Rape happens. Until we significantly shift and change our society, it will continue to happen. I don’t want it to be the end-all be-all of the narrative. I want to know what happens after. I want to know the victim as MORE THAN A VICTIM. I want to know her story. I want us to keep talking about it. We cannot fix what we will not talk about.

Status Update – Covencraft, Historical romances

Hi all!

To keep the momentum of my writing, I decided to jump right into the next Covencraft story as soon as I finished book 4, Dry Spells. The next ‘story’ is Uncontrollable Burn and it deals with Jade’s feelings for Paris and a wildfire burning out of control.

OH THE SYMBOLISM

Le problem is I don’t know if Uncontrollable Burn will be a full length novel [80-110,000 words] or novella length [45-75000 words]. I thought it would be a novella, but as I work through the beginning, maybe it will be long, IDK.

Le struggles.

It will be done, no matter what the length. I just don’t now if it’s a novel or a novella. You’ll find out as I do!

That also means, I don’t know when I am returning to Margaux Gillis realm of historical romances. The next story will either be a sequel to Ravenwood, featuring Charlotte, or a new story – either a ghost story or a Jekyll and Hyde bit. STAY TUNED.!!

 

 

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!]

DrySpells_Cvr_MED
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!

 

 

 

Dry Spells Cover Reveal!

LOOK WHAT I HAVE HERE!!

DrySpells_Cvr_MED
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.

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.

IMG_3800

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.

Covencraft – Jade and Paris – Jade’s Demisexuality

I’ve been thinking a lot about something and I’d like to address it. I know that some of my closer readers [friends and family] have expressed a notion that Jade and Paris really should be getting it on by now [they have said it in a nicer way/classier way, but that’s essentially what it boils down to]. This leaves me feeling like I need to address or discuss Jade/Paris and their interactions, or lack thereof. [those of you in fandoms will recognize the SLASH ‘/’ as used when people are in a romantic and/or sexual relationship and isn’t to be confused with just general interactions. If I wanted to talk about their friendship, I would type Jade-Paris, but when I use the slash, there is something ‘more’ implied about their relationship].

Yes, I know, Jade and Paris haven’t so much as kissed in my books but I feel there is definitely an attraction there on both sides. Whether it’s something the readers are in support of or notice, I’m not sure. But, for me, as an author, it’s there. Jade feels *THINGS* with respect to Paris. She’s just not sure how to articulate them or even address them. And I think that in as much as Paris ‘lets’ himself feel an attraction to Jade, he does.

Let’s look at Paris first, since he’s the easier of the two. There are spoilers for book 2 below this sentence……

 

Paris is obviously a guy and feels an attraction to Jade on a simple/visceral level – she’s attractive. I wouldn’t say Jade is drop-dead gorgeous, but she doesn’t have to wear a bag over her head either. She’s also the kind of person I imagine gets better looking as you know her, because at first [and most of the time, still] she’s kind of bratty. But, Paris is also Coven Leader and I feel that he’s had to sacrifice a lot of his personal life at the alter of Leadership. I think he’s keenly aware of his position in the Coven and how, if he did feel an attraction to someone, his position as a person of authority colors that. I think it’s why he had a history/relationship with Veronica – she was also in a position of authority as a Coven Leader of her own Coven and he didn’t worry so much that he may be abusing his ‘authority’ while in a relationship with her as she had a similar position herself. I think that Paris is always hyper-aware that anyone he may show an interest in may have a hero-worship complex for him because of his power and his authority. It was always known since he was young that he would be Coven Leader an in that sense, he’s not just a ‘regular person.’ People have pre-evaulated judgements/feelings toward him. I think that he’s also so busy that he’s turned a blind eye to that aspect of his life. It’s one of the reason that Callie and Paris are so close as FRIENDS. She’s always been in his life since they were both young. She’s able to be there for him as a friend, but not as a romantic interest. She has a boyfriend [Nick, who we don’t really see ‘on screen. I feel like I know him rather well because of scenes I’ve written for him in drafts that didn’t make the cut or alternate universes that haven’t happened]. So Callie has NO romantic interest in Paris and neither does he have an interest in her. While Paris may feel attracted at times to people [I’m not TOTALLY sold on him being STRICTLY heterosexual. I feel like he could be a 1 or 2 on the Kinsey Scale and not exclusively a 0], it’s not something he focuses on because he has his work and that takes up almost all of his time. But to be honest, I don’t worry/think as much about Paris’ sexuality as I do about Jade’s.

 

HERE THERE BE SPOILERS FOR BOOKS THREE AND FOUR – YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED

 

 

In my mind, I clearly identify Jade as a demisexual and she just always has been.

demisexual flag

Demisexual Flag

While I’ve not explicitly stated it in the books, Jade is also sexual assault survivor and that definitely has an impact on her current relationships and how she views interactions. To be clear, she was demisexual before she was sexually assaulted. It’s not a response to her trauma, it just IS the way she IS. Lily, on the other hand, is not demisexual. She experiences sexual attraction a lot easier and more freely than Jade. I may explore that in a later book, I’m not sure. Lily might get her own series. It’s all… kind of up in the air. But I do clearly see Jade as demisexual. She has to have a STRONG connection with someone BEFORE she even thinks of them in a sexual manner. At times, it may appear that she is asexual or repressive, but it’s just that she takes a long time to process things and she can’t even fathom being sexually attracted to someone without having a connection and she DOES NOT connect with many people. At all. I’ve no doubt that she IS attracted to Paris, but that attraction really took time for her to grow into. She has to get to know him but also, has to be in a place where she feels more secure and safe in her environment. When she first joins the Coven, she’s not in that place. She’s nowhere near the head space she needs to be in to address those feelings. When that’s coupled with her past as a sexual assault survivor, it takes her a long time to EVEN acknowledge her attraction to Paris, which is where we see her, I think, at the end of book3, Double-Sided Witch. The arrival/appearance/return of Lily is a catalyst for Jade in more ways than one. Lily can point things out to Jade that Jade cannot see herself, but also, with Lily no longer being ‘gone’ or ‘dead’, Jade is finally able to move forward.

So, where do I see that going? Well, I’m not sure! I’m sort of watching them [Jade and Paris] to see how it goes. It’s very important to me that Paris respects Jade’s boundaries and I think he’s keen enough as a leader and a person to see and recognize those boundaries even when she doesn’t explicitly state them. The fact that at the end of book 3, Jade willingly, WITHOUT REAL THOUGHT, reaches out and touches Paris is a big thing for her. I’m sure in this time/age/world of sex-sex-sex, it’s considered a non-event, but for Jade, that’s a real moment. One that I’m not sure either Jade or Paris may recognize. Lily would be able to see it for what it was, and I may have her address it. The other way we ‘see’ Jade’s feelings for Paris is through Bruce – Jade’s familiar. Bruce’s feelings are a mirror or a composite of Jade’s and, being a LIZARD [lol], he’s a lot more free in expressing them. We see Bruce in book 3 SEEK PARIS OUT to let him know there’s a problem [Bruce’s scaly patch] and we also see Bruce showing a fondness for Josef – something Jade feels as well. In book 4, I’m hoping to explore that, and maybe have Paris tune in a bit more to it. He knows familiars have the same/similar emotions as their witches, but I feel like he may need to be hit with a Clue-by-four and really have that, OH WOW moment in book 4.

I’m still working out what this all means for them as I write book 4 and tentatively sketch out book 5! But, those are my thoughts. Do with them what you will.