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Rising for Autumn is Out Tomorrow!

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Get the book on February 7th, here!

Crisis and danger have become second nature for Alanna Carrington. After all, as the boss of the Philadelphia Coven, she’s responsible for upholding the laws amongst the supernatural. Which means when the Order of the Serpent rears its ugly head, this time with the most powerful necromancer this city’s ever seen, she’s the one person who can keep Philly safe. Ex-Order djinn and now ally, Samuel Karim, happens to be the best-suited guy to help. Except he’s also the first man who’s stoked her interest in far too long, and ever since she commandeered the lamp he’s tethered to for safekeeping, he also hates her guts.

As the Order gathers the necromancers of her city and sparks a dangerous alliance, she finds herself working with Samuel Karim more and more. Hatred turns to passion, and when he exhibits a strength and compassion that breaks through her ironclad defenses, she finds herself falling deeper despite the complications between them. Yet with her city under siege and their lives on the line, the sharp desire between them erupts into the temptation to break their own rules, before the Order of the Serpent robs them of the chance permanently.

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Inspiration for Rising for Autumn

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Buckle up, guys. This is about to get personal.

So, back when I started writing the Philadelphia Coven Chronicles, I knew I wanted to write Alanna’s story. I mean, strong female leader of an entire Coven is right up my alley. And while characters like Jev who are loud, crude, and optimistic come naturally for me, I wanted to write a different sort of strength, the quiet, serious type. I’ve seen plenty of guys written that way, but not as many women in positions of leadership and what burdens they might bear. So from the start, this wasn’t going to be a lighthearted romp but would have a more serious bent to it. Since I’m a pantser, I never know what the story’s going to be about completely until I set about to writing it and inspiration leads the way.

And then, last year around this time, a friend of mine committed suicide.

As I was going through my own grief, I began to write Alanna’s story, working through some of that complex mesh of feelings through her character. They always say write what you know, right? Alanna was strong, the responsible one, and as a big sister, I could empathize with her a thousandfold. But worse than all the weight of the Coven depending on her, of all the deaths on her conscience, one hit her the most–when her brother took his life the year before. Through Alanna, I wove my way through my own tangle of feelings, and did my best to honor the memory of the friend who had passed. Of what he might’ve been feeling when he reached that crossroads.

Alanna and Sam’s story is one of two broken, guarded individuals finding a way to trust again. Finding a way to heal. They’ve both been doled terrible hands, and as they come together and coax each other out of their shells–well, their love was a beautiful thing to behold. Sam, the djinn who’s had control wrenched from him every time his lamp found a new owner, meets the biggest control freak of them all, Alanna. And if anyone can empathize with the powerlessness that dwells beneath that neuroses, it’s her. Even though real life often isn’t as kind, I needed the hope of a happy ending for these two, and in the end, that’s what I love about the romance genre the most.

To those who’ve contemplated suicide, who have hit that brink of desolation, this is my love letter of compassion. Please, reach out, even if it seems too much to bear. (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255)

To those who have lost someone to suicide, my heart is with you.

To my friend Glenn, this story is for you.

Posted in Articles

New Years Reflections

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Anyone who’s met me can pretty quickly tell I’m expressive and sentimental person, so the TLDR of this all is I’m incredibly grateful for everyone who’s supported me this year, the readers who’ve shared their love and excitement for my books and the friends who’ve helped me keep going when times were tough.

That being said, 2016 WAS a difficult year. There were so many curveballs that made me have to think quick, on my feet, and replan. So many hopes I had that fizzled out, rejections to weather, and some really significant deaths as well, of a friend earlier in the year and then later my grandfather.

Writing has always been my solace, my way of processing, and my way of fighting, and because of all the external things, I think I had one of my most productive years. Most of the Philadelphia Coven Chronicles books were written this year, and I wrote like I was running out of time (thanks, Hamilton), perhaps because of all the death experienced, of all the loss my friends and family also suffered.

In 2016, we bore witness to some ugly realities–war, death, hatred, so very, very much hatred. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say it shaped me and affected the way I want to write from here on out. I’m proudly feminist, but I wasn’t doing my part in diversity in my earlier works–that changes from here on out. I’m going to write books that defy boundaries, that defeat prejudice, and that show people how to love again–how to hope. Lofty words, so you’d better all hold me to it. I’m writing the stories I love, but with a renewed purpose and with a renewed vigor to fight in 2017 in my own way.

As for you, my lovely friends and readers, I want to thank you from the very depths of my heart. You were the light to my dark days, the reminder that someone IS listening, the support and spark I needed to keep writing and coming up with stories when I had a tough time. I love your enthusiasm, I love your comments on my site, and I value each and every one of you. I am overfilled with gratitude for you all.

2016 was a rough year, and we may have rough times to come, but I always have hope for a better future, for one that we can create ourselves, here and now.

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Loss, Life, and That Other Stuff

A little over a week ago, my husband and I lost a close friend of ours.

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To be honest, I keep getting stuck there. I’ve been running on autopilot–working, interacting, swapping the normal bullshit, and hell, I’ve even been able to laugh. Don’t get me wrong, there were the breakdowns and the tears too, but they’re random and hit all of a sudden. Usually over the weirdest stuff too. We held a sweet, small sort of memorial on Saturday at midnight, where the old cinema used to be where he and my husband did Rocky Horror for so long. It was a sad but wonderful way to honor him and I thought it had given me closure. I’ll be honest, I’m pretty new to this close loss thing, so I’m kind of just stumbling forward and blindly groping ahead.

Tonight I realized it still has me in its grips in a very real way. I’ve got wonderful friends and amazing family, but I just feel so detached right now. My emotions have been flayed and the reality is that attaching again is work that I’m just not capable of right now. Maybe I’ve been ignoring or jumping over thoughts of the loss because it’s easier, but even though it’s not someone we saw every day, he was still a dear friend. And even though I thought I was okay, loss leaves marks.

Which leads to the living part of things–that neverending battle I call my writing career. Don’t get wrong, I’m still writing, editing, and submitting. That’s my job and to be honest, I can still plunge back in. However, I wasn’t prepared for the hurdles right now. Slowness. Lack of sales. Rejections. And worse? This month has been the herald of indie presses closing. Friends of mine had announced that Three Worlds Press was closing, and then one of the big whammies hit for other friends, Samhain Publishing closing. I didn’t have anything with either of those presses, but then the inevitable came–Jupiter Gardens Press announced that they’ll be shutting down as well, and they had published my YA dystopian, Snatched.

‘No worries,’ I said. ‘I’ll just re-publish it on my own. It’ll be great!’ And genuinely, I guess I was feeling hopeful, or just choking on my own bravado. It wasn’t until a day later when the reality sucker punched me. It’s not that I can’t do something with it–it’s the loss of a publisher who believed in me enough to publish my book. It’s the way I feel about all of my publishers who took a chance on me. There’s a power in that advocacy that might not be omnipresent in my mind, but times like these I really understand how much it means to have someone in your corner.

Despite my detachment and despite the numb, I haven’t lost my gratitude. That’s something I fight to keep evident in my life. So today, I’m number one most grateful for my husband who’s beyond amazing. I’m grateful for the support that I have in friends and family, and for my readers who bring me so much joy and keep me in this writing game. And I’m grateful for my publishers and editors, those who chose to take a chance on me in the first place. Love all of you, so damn much.