BOYLESS is now available in audio!

Boyless is now available in audio on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. The narrator, Jessica McFarland, did a fantastic job, and I’m so happy with how the production turned out.  I hope you’ll check it out!

Everything’s Fine now available in audio!

The last book in the A Thousand Faces series is off with my editor, and expected back in the very near future for the first (and always biggest) round of edits.  But, in the meantime, I’m happy to announce that Everything’s Fine is now available in audio from Amazon, Audible, and Itunes!

It’s narrated by the talented Katherine Billings, and she nailed the voices of the characters.  I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.  So if you’re an audio reader, check it out!

(I’m also thrilled to say that all of my books are now in audio production, so look for more very soon!)

LONG DARK NIGHT release day!

My vampire novel, LONG DARK NIGHT, is now available on Amazon, in both e-book and print.  I’m so pleased with it–with the book, with the cover, with finally being able to share it with you. It’s one of those that has been waiting for its day for years, and I almost gave up on it many times, but April needed to have her story told, and now she finally has.

Here’s the cover copy:

Sixteen-year-old April is trapped behind the blinds in her apartment, beholden to the schedule of the daily blood deliveries from the local Red Cross syndicate, waiting for Vance—well-respected director of the local hospital by day, vampire lord by night—to finally descend on her and finish turning her unlife into a living hell. From the day he raped her, infecting her with the STD that turned her into a vampire, he’s been watching her, stalking her, trying to make her his, body and soul.

Until the day April seizes the opportunity to choose her own course.  Now on the run in the California desert, April must find the will not only to survive, but to fight back.

SKIPPED now available in audio!

Today I’m happy to announce that SKIPPED is available in audio, narrated by the talented Madonna Lucey!  Find it on itunes, Audible, and Amazon!

Long Dark Night Cover Reveal!

You guys.

I have been waiting to show you this book for ten years.

(Before you ask, yes the final book in the A Thousand Faces series is done.  It’s off with my editor, and will be out sometime before the end of the year!  Unless my editor hates it.  Let’s hope she doesn’t hate it.  But in the meantime…)

Okay, you don’t want to have read this book ten years ago.  It’s been through several different endings, a few different settings, and more than one character has come and gone.

BUT!

Finally it’s ready to see the light of day and I am SO EXCITED to share it with you.

(A note: the subject matter of this one may not be for everyone.  I wrote it because I love vampire novels, but the undercurrent of themes like stalking, abuse, controlling behavior, and rape always disturbed me.  This book is about what happens when you take those themes and push them to the forefront, dealing with them rather than glamorizing them.  It took a long time for me to be pleased with the results, and I hope you’ll love them, too.)

Okay, okay.  The cover, by the brilliant Melody Fender:

Right?!  Melody really outdid herself this time.  This might be my favorite cover yet.

Here’s the cover copy for the book.  It’ll be out sometime near the end of August.  I will keep you posted.

Squee!

Sixteen-year-old April is trapped behind the blinds in her apartment, beholden to the schedule of the daily blood deliveries from the local Red Cross syndicate, waiting for Vance—well-respected director of the local hospital by day, vampire lord by night—to finally descend on her and finish turning her unlife into a living hell. From the day he raped her, infecting her with the STD that turned her into a vampire, he’s been watching her, stalking her, trying to make her his, body and soul.

Until the day April seizes the opportunity to choose her own course.  Now on the run in the California desert, April must find the will not only to survive, but to fight back.

Yes, you can still make a difference

[Posted this on Facebook this week, but wanted to widen its reach.]

I, like many people, have been disturbed by the political happenings of the last week. If you are happy with the way things are going, yay! But this post is not for you.

I have also been disturbed by a sentiment I have seen floating around the Internet that the vote is over, so we all have to suck it up and deal with it. This is not true. In America, we don’t vote in a dictator. Our political system is designed to encourage political participation all year, every year. This is what free speech is all about. If you have a problem with what’s happening, you have every right to participate in political speech to prevent it from happening, or continuing. Our system was built by people who believed we had not only the right to do so, but the moral obligation.

While I’ve known this academically, it’s not until the recent events that I realized it’s true, right now, for me, in real life, and my actions should reflect that. For me it’s not a partisan issue. I strongly opposed the last Republican president, but I didn’t feel the need to protest because I always believed that our president was acting in good faith, even though I disagreed with him.

I no longer believe that our president is acting in good faith. I remember now that as an American I have privileges, rights, and obligations. So I’ve been re-educating myself about political speech. If you, like me, want to claim your right to participate in our political process, here are some historically effective and appropriate means of political speech:

You can attend protests. You can participate in strikes. You can tell people what you believe.  You can give money to organizations that oppose lawmakers or that offer services.  You can talk to your representatives about what you see happening and what you hope they will do about it.

Yes, these things really help. You don’t have to agree with me (or anyone) about what needs to be done. You can raise your own voice for any purpose you choose. That’s how we do things in America, and we need to exercise the rights we have if we want to keep them.

I was super intimidated about what to do and where to start. One tool I found useful is thesixtyfive.org, which is a progressive website that tracks what issues are being voted on by your representatives in the immediate future. It will tell you who your representatives are and give you their Washington phone numbers. Another website you might try is 5calls.org; they list different issues and different suggested scripts.

These websites have a progressive agenda. I don’t agree with all of it. You may not agree with any of it. You can also read the news, especially from trusted news sources.  You can fact check the news you consume.  You can read something inflammatory and ask yourself, is that true?  And the do research to discover if it is before you share.  You can look on government websites to find out what’s being voted on this week.  You can Google your representatives.  If their Washington mailboxes are full, you can call their state numbers and fill those boxes, too.

You can also give money to organizations that fight on either side of a given issue.  You can also give money to organizations that serve important purposes and can help feel the gap when the government cuts off important services.  You can also give money to organizations to help fill the gap when the government defunds them.

You can also encourage others to call their representatives.  You can share what you know about how our government works.  When you see political posts on social media, you can encourage those who are upset to direct their complaints also to lawmakers and leaders who can make a difference.

But if you disagree, please do something. Or at least, for goodness’s sake , remember that you can.

A Million Shadows is finally here!

Today I am happy to announce that A Million Shadows, sequel to A Thousand Faces is finally available on Kindle and in print.

A lot of people have been waiting for a sequel. This is the number one writing question I’ve been asked over the last year. A Thousand Faces is the first in a trilogy, and I actually had the first drafts of all three books written before publishing the first.

So why did it take over a year to get this one out? Was I sitting on it and resting on my laurels?

Um, no. Here’s the thing. First drafts are bad. They need a lot of work. And over the last year this book has given me lots of fits. If you asked me when it would be ready, I probably told you it would be published as soon as I could get all the suck out. Not all books are equally easy to write, and this one was hard. And that’s why I’m so happy to say, I did it! The book is done! The book is awesome! The book is ready for you to read!

And as for me? I’ll be over here revising number three.

Here’s the cover! If you haven’t read A Thousand Faces yet, that’s available too!

Everything’s Fine is free today.

I don’t want to talk about politics.  But I do find myself wondering what I can do to speak out against the acceptance and minimizing of sexual assault and misogyny.  This is what I can think of to do: I’ve made my book, Everything’s Fine, free for the next five days.  

I’d love it if you’d read it.  I’d love it if you’d share the link around.  This is all I can do with my one small voice.  It doesn’t feel like enough, but it feels better than doing nothing.

It occurred to me that some people might not want to read anything heavy this week, so I’ve also marked my summer romance, Boyless, down to 99 cents starting tomorrow, for a week.  And while the official launch is waiting on the print to be ready (probably sometime next week), if you’re looking for my sequel to A Thousand Faces, the e-book is already up on Amazon.

But really, I don’t care if you buy my books.  Read this one for free.  It’s the only thing I can think of to do.

 

 

The Mommy Writer Loses Her Mind

[This post is part of an ongoing series of how I get work done with kids at home.  As always, a disclaimer: I’m not sure anything I say will be useful to you unless you are me, and have my particular kids and circumstances.  But before I had children everyone told me I’d never have time to write, and this is my message of hope: for me, anyway, it’s not true.  Not even a little bit.]

When I had my first child, I had to do edits on my first published novel in the first few weeks of her life.  I remember that I prioritized writing over everything besides the basic biological needs of me and my child.

With the second one, things went somewhat differently.  Part of this was because this time around I have a four year old who needs my attention, so not every napping moment could be spent writing.

But a lot of it was because I basically lost my mind.

With both my kids, I was really worried about post-partum depression.  I have some risk factors, so I watched closely for signs.  But I missed my (quite obvious, in retrospect) symptoms of post-partum OCD, because I was only vaguely aware that’s a thing that exists.

Turns out it does exist, and I have it.

A lot of people thing of OCD as obsessive cleaning or being irrationally bothered by small things.  What gets talked about less are the obsessive thoughts about death and danger and horrible, horrible things every waking moment of the day.  One of the reasons I missed my post-partum OCD was because it felt like normal anxiety.  I worried.  A lot.  Obsessively, all day long.

I checked my child’s breathing about a hundred times a day, because if I didn’t, I was sure he would die.

I never let him sleep in his car seat/infant swing/bouncy seat because if I did, I was sure he would die.

I followed every SIDS guideline, obsessively.  I was sure that if I didn’t, he would die.

Every time I did something normal, like walk up the stairs, I thought about all the horrible things that could happen–like hitting his head on the railing, or dropping him.  I was pretty sure the stairs were going to cause him to die.

Every time I put my kids in the car, I would think about getting in a car accident, and the horrible things that could happen.  These things always happen when you least expect them, so I was sure if I didn’t think about it, my kids would die.

I did a lot of thinking about car seat positioning.  When I only had one, she sat in the middle of the back seat–the safest place in the car.  Now that I have two, they can’t both sit in the middle.  So if I put one on one side and one on the other, I felt like I was choosing which one was going to die when we inevitably got in a car accident.  I thought about this every time I put them in the car.  If I didn’t, I was sure they would die.

I could go on.  It got to the point that I didn’t even want to take care of him anymore, because if someone else had him, I didn’t worry he was going to die.

When I really started to realize something was wrong was when I put that together in my mind.  I thought that by thinking of these things, I could actually prevent bad things from happening to my children.  Like there was some kind of causal link between my thoughts and random, unlikely danger.

That, friends, is craziness.  And I knew it, but I couldn’t make it stop.

At about eight weeks, my anxiety level was so high I was having panic attacks on a daily basis.  I was traumatizing myself with all these thoughts.  And I could not make them stop.  My OB said I probably had anxiety.  He suggested drugs.  The drugs made me sick and I stopped.

And then the OCD latched on to my writing.

I got to the point where I couldn’t write a sentence.  Like literally could not do it.  I didn’t know how to write the right sentence.  I didn’t know how I had ever known how to write the right sentence.  How did words go together?  How would I know what to write?  I knew all the advice.  I had been just writing the words anyway even when they sucked for seventeen years.

But now I couldn’t.  Completely couldn’t.

And that, crazy as it is, was when I knew something had to be done.  I went to my primary care doctor, and got an OCD diagnosis and a different drug, which made me sleep through about a week, but then, about three weeks in, magically fixed my brain.  All the obsessions went away.  Ninety percent of the anxiety went with it.  Now, looking back, I could see that I had OCD with my first child, too, and it never went away, not completely.  I’ve probably always had some of these tendencies, but post-partum hormones ramp it up out of control.

The drugs, though, they are amazing.  I’m back to writing now.  I write with my kid in the bouncy chair, and if he falls asleep, I don’t panic.  I can let him nap without going in four or five times to make sure he’s still breathing.  Fastening a car seat can just be a thing that I do, and not something I have to think about and obsess over.

I’ve always prided myself at being the writer who gets it done, but sometimes you just can’t, and that has to be okay.  Or it’s not okay, but it doesn’t change the facts.  Brains are weird.  Life is crazy.  Sometimes things get in the way and you have to push through and keep at it, but sometimes things get in the way and there’s nothing to be done.

Fortunately, especially with kids, life can also change pretty quickly. What’s impossible one day is possible the next.

And it’s on to another adventure.

Duskfall

Today is the release day of DUSKFALL–debut novel of the awesome Christopher Husberg. This is one of my favorite epic fantasy novels ever. I love the genre, but I put down far more of the books than I finish, because of the epic fantasy tendency toward slow pacing and bloated description. DUSKFALL is a novel that moves, the characters are compelling, and  the world is awesome and well-drawn.  Seriously, you should read it right now.  But in case you need more convincing, here are my three favorite things about it.

Not counting the gorgeous cover, of course:

#1: DUSKFALL has women in it.

Okay, this seems like it should be a given, right?  But SO many of the epic fantasies I pick up have a) no women who are not love interests, b) no women who are side characters, or (sometimes and!) c) only women who are spoken of by other characters/treated by the narrative in condescending, objectifying, or gender typical ways.  This might be better than our Tolkein roots in which there are almost literally no women, but not by, you know, a lot.

The women in DUSKFALL, on the other hand, are full characters with their own motivations and goals.  I love each of them for different reasons.  Their actions serve their own character arcs.  These characters are not always “likeable.”  I never felt like they were token.  They felt like people who happen to be female as opposed to women who are written as if femininity is the foremost (or only!) aspect of their character.  They were all different from one another!  There are romance arcs, but they’re secondary to the central character arcs of each of the women.  Winter, especially, had one of the most horrifying and compelling arcs I’ve read in a long time.  AND, while the book doesn’t go out of its way to call attention to the fact, as main characters the women outnumber the men.  All without changing the tone of the dark epic fantasy book which will surely still appeal to male readers, probably even as a primary audience, given the state of the genre.

It’s shameful that this makes the list of my very favorite things about this book, but this was the best handling of female characters in an epic fantasy that I have perhaps ever read.  It made my inner feminist do a happy dance.  For real.

#2: I want to avoid spoilers, but there’s an addiction story that was the best handled portrayal of addiction that I have ever seen in fiction.  I generally avoid drug narratives in books and films, because glorification of drug use often makes me feel physically ill.  This one, however, was so artfully done, I felt incredible empathy for the character, though the behavior of this character was truly classic (and rightly terrifying) addiction behavior.  There was a scene near the end of this arc that was at once awful and incredibly powerful.  This is fiction at its best–dealing with darkness in realistic ways without stumbling over messages or glorifying illness.  I wish I could say more but…spoilers.

#3: It does things that I thought couldn’t be done, and does them well.  DUSKFALL, to my great surprise, had not one but three elements that are hard to pull off in new and interesting ways: amnesia, vampires, and elves.  I didn’t know it was possible to sell a book with elves in it anymore, but these elves work wonderfully.  (And kind of Vvardenfell-esk, which puts them close to my heart.)  The amnesia is plausible, well-structured, and generally well-written.  And the vampire was just plain awesome.

I limited myself to three things, but if I was going to pick a fourth, it would be how much more story there obviously is to be told.  It sold in a five book deal…and I wish I had the sequel already.  And the one after that.  And the one after that.  And the one after that.

But hey, if you haven’t read this one yet, you still get to read it for the first time.  Lucky you.  Get to it.

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