Thursday, May 28, 2020

Craving a Character

I crave books like some people crave chocolate. Don't get me wrong, my ultimate treat is a glass of champagne with a side of truffles. But if asked what one thing I crave the's definitely books. If I go too long without reading, I crave it. If I hit too many reads in one genre, I crave another genre. If I get sucked into a multi-volume series, I crave more and more of the side characters.

It's those colorful secondary characters that build up our heroes, that carry their broken comrades up Mount Doom, that are there with shoulders to cry on. And we get attached to them! So when an author turns the spotlight onto one of those beloved supporting's like getting a box of chocolates.

I'm pre-published, so you can't read about my secondary characters yet. But the one who's gotten the most interest and fangirling over would be Mist from my Dark Queen's Daughter manuscript. This book is based off Norse mythology and Mist is the equivalent of a Valkyrie commander. She's foul mouthed, scarred, and as tough on my main character (MC) as she can possibly be, all because Mist sees the MC as one of her sisters. Oh, and she gets turned into a lynx in the beginning because she mouths off to a druid.

That's my pick for which of my characters do readers crave more of the most. Mist of Íssheim. And if you'd like to see the artwork by Eve Ventrue that inspired Mist, you can check it out on Pinterest here.

How about you? Any books you've read recently where you'd have loved to get another book based solely on a secondary character?

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

A girl is no one

Hmm. This week we're supposed to talk about characters that readers are clamoring to know more about or begging us to write about. As a reader, I absolutely know what that means, for I fangirl with the fangirliest who've ever fangirled. As a writer, though... welp.

After my first book, a few people asked for Chloe's story, so I wrote it. I think most of those people who had some interest have already read it? Not sure. If you were one of those people and never got around to buying the book, please feel free to contact me privately. I would be happy to send you a copy. I published it for you.

Other than that, this topic really isn't applicable to me, so I will refer you to yesterday's SFF Seven post, which was super exciting: Jeffe Kennedy, our Sunday blogger, released  her latest book, The Fiery Crown. Check it out!

Aaaaaand I'm off to read. :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

New #Fantasy Release: THE FIERY CROWN by @JeffeKennedy

Out today is the highly anticipated second installment in Jeffe Kennedy's Forgotten Empires Fantasy Romance series!

A desperate alliance. A struggle for survival. And a marriage of convenience with an epic twist of fate come together in Jeffe Kennedy's The Fiery Crown.


Queen Euthalia has reigned over her island kingdom of Calanthe with determination, grace, and her magical, undying orchid ring. After she defied an empire to wed Conrí, the former Crown Prince of Oriel―a man of disgraced origins with vengeance in his heart―Lia expected the wizard’s prophecy to come true: Claim the hand that wears the ring and the empire falls. But Lia’s dangerous bid to save her realm doesn’t lead to immediate victory. Instead, destiny hurls her and Conrí towards a future neither could predict…


Con has never healed after the death of his family and destruction of his kingdom―he’s been carefully plotting his revenge against his greatest enemy, Emperor Anure, waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike. When Lia’s spies gather intelligence suggesting that Anure is planning an attack against Calanthe, Con faces an agonizing choice: Can he sacrifice Lia and all she holds dear to destroy the empire? Or does his true loyalty exist in the arms of his beguiling, passionate wife―’til death do they part?


Available at these Retailers:

Monday, May 25, 2020

And the winners are...

To quote Jeffe: "Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is the Character your readers ask you to write for or are waiting for to get their own story."

The answer is easy. Jonathan Crowley gets the most requests. It's interesting to me, because Crowley is a bastard. I mean that. He's not loveable. he doesn't try to make friends. he's more likely to insult you than to even consider being nice, but he's probably y most popular character to date, seconded only by Rufo the clown, who is absolutely psychotic and will kill damned near anyone at the drop of a hat. 

Jonathan Crowley is an immortal monster hunter. He's been described as "plain," and "average" more times than I can shake a stick at He blends into the background is my point here and he's supposed to. But I've had multiple people to me he's sexy. Male and female. All I can say is that was never my intention. 

Crowley has shown up in UNDER THE OVERTREE, SERENITY FALLS (WRIT IN BLOOD, THE PACK and DARK CARNIVAL) CHERRY HILL, BLOODLINES, BOOMTOWN, ONE BAD WEEK and in at lest a dozen other novellas and short stories. There are more planned and currently I am writing THE TOURIST'S GUIDE TO HAUNTED WELLMAN which will also favor him heavily as a main character. He will continue to be a complete bastard throughout that story, too. 

I have absolutely no idea why he is considered sexy. I don't intend to investigate the matter. I just let it happen. 

Just for the record, he faces off against Rufo the Clown (number two on the I-Have-No-Idea-Why-There-Is-Fan-Fic-Of-This-Character-But-Okay list) in SERENITY FALLS and in ONE BAD WEEK. I know they'll encounter each other again, too. 

Crowley, by Alan M. Clark

                                                  Rufo by Dan Brereton

Sunday, May 24, 2020

The Forgotten Empires: Who's Next?

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is the Character your readers ask you to write for or are waiting for to get their own story.

Since THE FIERY CROWN, Book 2 in the Forgotten Empires, comes out on Tuesday (!!!), I'm *very* aware at the moment of all those secondary characters that readers are asking about. This trilogy focuses on Queen Euthalia and the Slave King Conrí - Lia and Con - and their epic battle to defeat a totalitarian emperor. As early readers plow through - seriously, I *cannot* believe how fast some of you read! - this second book, they're looking forward to Book 3, THE PROMISED QUEEN, - and beyond.

So, the questions I'm getting now are ALLLL about whose stories might come next. Who are readers asking about? In anecdotal, completely subjective order, I'm going to say the intensity of interest is:


Everybody seems to want to know what's up with our favorite enigmatic wizard. Will there be more stories with Ambrose? Yes. Yes, I absolutely think so.


The emotionally and physically scarred warrior woman who serves as Con's lieutenant and sarcastic bestie has excited a lot of interest. She definitely has adventures ahead of her!


The intense interest in Percy kind of surprised me - and he's definitely taken on a larger role as the series progresses. I have ideas for what could happen next.


It could be this is mostly me glomming onto anyone who mentions Ambrose's raven familiar. But you all also haven't read THE PROMISED QUEEN yet. Just wait.

Who did I miss? (From this series, Carien - I know you want to say Zyr!)

Available at these Retailers

Saturday, May 23, 2020

One Track Mind for Writing Tools and Apps


Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is "Updated writing tools/apps - what's new and different in your writing world."

I don’t use any tools or apps in my writing other than the keyboard (which gets replaced several times a year since I literally bang away on the keys as if I was still typing on the old Royal typewriter I got when I was 8!), the laptop and WORD. Sometimes I might actually use a pencil and a piece of paper for the odd note here and there.

Everything else is up to my Muse…who is housed in my own brain, not on a computer or other device.

I’m not much for apps in the rest of my author life either. I’m on Facebook and Twitter as places to connect with other authors and my readers. I have an old fashioned Wordpress blog but it works for my purposes. I have an Instagram account, where I post daily (usually earrings of which I have hundreds of pairs, cat photos, book snippets and flowers) and a Pinterest account where I forget to post. I tried Books+Main (exactly – who has really heard of it, especially in the scifi romance world???) I’m open to new things but not exactly a person who rushes out to seek and exploit them.

I use Canva a lot. It’s a program for making designs, documents, graphics etc. In conjunction with that and my other social media I also use DepositPhoto for stock photos to give my posts pizzazz without worrying about copyright infringement issues. (They license the photos and I trust them. So far, so good.)
I like Canva as for me it’s pretty self-intuitive and it fits my skill level. And my patience quotient! Which is really important because I am not at all patient. I want to get in, do the thing I came to do, download it and exit the program. I’m sure Canva has all kinds of potential and capabilities I never touch but I’m not the type of person to log and play and try things out. I’m very mission focused. I need a promo graphic for the new book – GO. Make it, post it, move on to the next thing.

There’s a tool named Book Brush which many of my fellow authors swear by and I did sit through an excellent private demo by one of their inhouse experts. I saw all the cool features and the “overlay this/tint that/animate the other thing and here are our 10,000 backgrounds”…but for me it’s just too much. I did try it out, but it’s not self-intuitive on my level, whatever weird and idiosyncratic level that may be, so I got frustrated, I knew I could have done what I needed to do on Canva faster and been done…so I didn’t pursue Book Brush any further.

I have used Book Funnel maybe three times, when author friends invited me to join specific scifi romance giveaways. The thing is, I have a newsletter but I only send it out when I have a new release of my own. It’s also a very small, organically grown list. So on the list of ‘sharing’ that BF tracks and reports back to organizers, I show up as pretty much a freeloader – I’m there but not sharing. Except I am, just on my various other platforms BF doesn’t track! I’m always very clear up front with the organizer about where I will share the BF if they include me.  So I don’t do many BF’s and that’s fine with me, although I’m always honored to be invited.

I use Mail Chimp for my newsletter but I don’t actually use it – I have a lovely person who prepares my NL for me after I write the content and sends it out. She swears laughingly that it’s too complicated for me and she’s probably right.

I still use Triberr (a social media sharing tool) to share blog posts but it’s basically a legacy tool that I expect to go away at some point. It’s time has passed, at least in my humble opinion.

I’m going to have to learn to Zoom and fast, because I’m doing both a book reading and a scifi romance panel for the upcoming online, free AMAZINGCON being put on June 12-14 by the AMAZING STORIES MAGAZINE. "A different con for a different world." I contribute to their online blog and I’m excited about doing the reading and Q&A session (I’m going to read from Aydarr, the first book in my award winning Badari Warriors series about genetically engineered soldiers of the far future and the human women they love) and the panel discussion. I have New York Times and USA Today Best Selling Author S. E. Smith and USA Today Best Selling Author Pauline B. Jones on my scifi romance panel – WOOT! 

Lots of other fun content on the conference’s schedule too, weighted more to science fiction than the romance.

So far I’m totally inexperienced with Zoom but I know I need a good background and that there’s a mute button. Wish me luck!

(And check out the AMAZINGCON site for more information…)

Friday, May 22, 2020

Not Entirely Writing Apps

Writing apps. I've pared down my list this year. Maybe it's quarantine. I don't know. But the whole financial insecurity thing has made me conscious of what I pay for these days. So a bunch of random subscription services got the axe. The one I am using, though, is 4thWords this is a website where you create a character and progress through a story line by 'defeating' monsters who require that you write a certain number of words in a certain time frame - all of them reasonable. There are special events and different rewards to chase if those things light you up. Or you can sit back and pursue a project as you see fit. You have complete control over how you approach the environment. I happen to like the structure and the defined time frames. It gives me permission to brain dump. Most of that is garbage, but every once in awhile, I glean a really great story piece out of it.

Then there's Calm. Sure it's a meditation app. I don't actually use it for that. It also has a huge selection of sleep music to select from as well as ambient soundscapes. When Dad decides he's going to watch some craptastic war movie at incredible volume, I'm gonna need something keeping my blood pressure near normal. Calm and a pair of headphones do a good job of that.

For book formatting (for ebooks) I use Jutoh. I can produce any format I want, including .mobi. It does an amazing job of sorting through your manuscript and telling you if something won't pass muster for Amazon. I guess they have this weird fetish about Em and En dashes. Don't get me started. Regardless, Jutoh builds the encoding seamlessly. I won't lie. It does have a learning curve, but it's not steep and there are great tutorial videos to step you through everything. It didn't take me but a day to figure out how to get a book formatted, built, and saved out to every single file type I needed. Because I'm a dedicated Windows gal, I can't use Vellum, which I hear is THE software to use if you can. Sadly, it's only available for Mac. And based on what it costs to get a Mac, that's never going to happen.

What else is there? I'm always open to the new and cool.
PS: I still have unreasonable love for OmmWriter. But you knew that already.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

New writing tools or apps?

I don't have the mental bandwidth to research new/up-and-coming writing tools right now... I still use Scrivener (Scrivener 3) and I love it. That's all I've got!

How about you? Have any new apps or tricks to share?