Posted in Articles

Twenty Books Published!

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My first book, An Airship Named Desire, got published with Hazardous Press in 2012.

Come August, I’ll have been a published author for seven years now, and I have to say the amount I’ve learned in that time has been immense.

For the longest time, twenty books was my goal. It offered something tangible to work towards in an industry where everything is constantly in flux. I hadn’t planned on doing any self-publishing, but when Hazardous Press, Jupiter’s Garden Press, Breathless Press, Loose Id, Ellora’s Cave, and After Glows Publishing ALL closed down, I went different routes with each of the books. With the sheer number of press closures I was in the middle of, I had begun to feel cursed.

Still, twenty kept me in the game. I’d built in my head twenty as the magic number, where I’d finally spill over into the success I’d been chasing. And now that I’m here at twenty, am I where I thought I’d be? Not in the slightest. However, the mind likes to dream big, whereas real progress is measured by different markers. Has my writing improved in that time? Staggeringly. Each book has me learning new techniques and expanding my horizons. Have I been able to beat my own sales records? I have, and that is something to take pride in.

So, while twenty books isn’t the fanfare and confetti I once imagined it might be, I can still appreciate the discipline learned and how setting that goal gave me a push I needed to keep writing and keep creating. And if I can keep up that trend, I feel like I’ll continue climbing up that mountain until I reach the top.

See you all at forty books!

Posted in Articles

The Journey of the Take to the Skies Trilogy

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Today I want to talk about journeys.

Six years ago to the date, my first book was published: An Airship Named Desire, through Hazardous Press. Back then, I had submitted it around to the big leagues with no luck and hadn’t even considered smaller presses, until I ended up giving it a try. An Airship Named Desire got picked up, and funny enough, that choice paved the way for me becoming a romance author. I was determined to write scifi/fantasy until my fingers bled, but when my publisher mentioned they were looking for paranormal romance submissions if I had any, I decided to give it a shot. …that ended up becoming By the Sea, which was published by Decadent Publishing two years later.

Life is weird and unpredictable that way. You never know where the path will lead you. And over those years, I dealt with a couple publishers closing, including Hazardous Press, which gave me the option to continue the series on my own. I continued working with other romance publishers and found myself writing more and more in the genre, completely falling in love with it. But a part of my heart will always belong to Bea and her ragtag crew of misfits aboard the Desire.

Their journey has taken me from never-before-published, to next year when I’ll have reached twenty books out. Six years, an explosive amount of growth, and a whole lot of memories and lessons along the way. When it came to writing/publishing, I took Bea’s approach the entire way. I’ve submitted even when I’m terrified, I’ve collected so many rejections I’ve drowned in them, I’ve gotten so, so close to goals I’ve only dreamed of just to plummet to the ground. Yet, I’ve continued to get back up. I’ve continued to slam my head against that wall until one day I’ll break through the damned thing. Bea and her crew taught me a little about resilience back then, and I’ve carried that lesson with me the entire way.

So I seriously hope you enjoy this final entry into the Take to the Skies trilogy, because I adored writing this series. However, even though it’s the end to Bea and her crew’s tales, I have so very many stories to share with you, and I hope you’ll stick with me for the adventure.

Posted in Articles

Diversity in Publishing: Enjoy the Ice Cream

Had an awesome conversation with Rob about the issues of diversity in publishing and media in general, whether it’s TV, movies, whatever.
 
In the middle of my rant about why it’s necessary (Rob’s a gem to listen to these, honestly), a really solid metaphor cropped up, and I wanted to share. Right now, there’s a lot of push and pull involving the change that needs to happen. A lot of voices who previously weren’t heard are gaining traction and really fighting to BE heard. However, a lot of times, when people hear ‘hey, we’re tired of it only being straight white guys in books/movies,etc’ it gets filtered as white guys in books/movies are BAD!
 
So, say an ice cream shop only serves vanilla ice cream. And folks eat the vanilla for a long time, because it’s good ice cream and apparently the only shop in town. However, people speak up because they want to see other flavors on the menu. In response, the ice cream shop adds chocolate, pistachio, cookies and cream to the menu boards. Most folks are excited. More flavors! However, others start ranting about how it was better back when it was only vanilla. How the other flavors are crowding out the vanilla. But in all honesty, it’s just adding more variety to the board, allowing more than just one taste. And guys? That’s a really good thing.
 
Now, I know that’s distilling an incredibly complex issue with a lot of facets into sweet, sweet ice cream, but I’m just talking about this one element today. Variety is good, and just because there is MORE out there, doesn’t mean there is less of the thing you liked. So dive in and enjoy the metaphorical ice cream. I know I am.
Posted in Articles

Love Letter to Fellow Writers

We’re in one hell of a business, aren’t we? Every job, every career has it’s ups and downs, but I’ll leave those who are mired in theirs to communicate those woes. For me, it’s always been about writing. I’m sure my story’s like so many others–from the tender age of who-can-even-remember, it’s all I’ve ever wanted. The ability to touch, reach, and change people with my stories. Sensitive, shy little me, always buried in a book.

So I worked hard. I read every book I could get my hands on, studied the guidebooks of writing, forced myself into the disciplines. Like so many others, soldiered through NaNoWriMo. I honed my craft, and even today I’m still learning. I’m ALWAYS writing. My college years were spent jotting down stories between classes, and my spare moments stolen by my laptop, a pen and paper, and whatever story claimed control of my brain.

And then came submission time–and the ensuing rejections. There’s nothing quite so vulnerable as that first time throwing your work out there and receiving those emails. That your work isn’t good enough–and let’s face it guys, there’s a part in every one of us longing for that validation, even if it’s as simple as someone wanting to share your world for a moment. So I’d get shut down, take my open wounds, and learn from them. Countless hours spent in scouring blogs for tips, spent workshopping with friends, or in forums. As so many of us do.

Over time, you build the thicker skin–you grow more resilient to the blows. Query rejections? What ever! Try, rejections to your full. Try rejections to your manuscript when you sub it off to indie publishers. That’s when the nails pierce deeper, when the vital organs are hit, and some days, you wrap yourself in a blanket and hide away, too torn and tattered to face the world. Those are the darker times, and I don’t wish them on anyone–but I also know we all go through them. Get angry, get sad, get desperate–but get up. You keep getting up. And you keep writing.

For me, my first book was independently published, and I’ve gone that route through several others. Here’s the deal folks, publishing, whether it be with the big leagues or the little guys, isn’t the end. It’s not a Jane Austen novel where you’ve had your back and forth repartee and marriage is the big final ending. Any married couple will laugh at that novelty, because we all know it’s just the beginning of the work. Same goes with publishing. Get a book out and you don’t bask in the glow of a thousand suns.

The reality? Unless you’re one of the rare few who gets lucky on first strike–lands an agent, a book deal, and a mass following–it is hard, excruciating, and often defeating work. And you’re still fighting. Always fighting. One thing doesn’t change though–even with the heartbreak, even with the negative reviews, bad days, poor sales, rejections–we’re still writing. Most times it’s a tireless, thankless job, but it’s always there. The compulsion to write never leaves a writer. Maybe you take a break, maybe you spend some time apart, but it’s there, the words written in your bones, your DNA, in every strand and fiber of what makes you whole.

Bleak outlook, right? Anyone who knows me though can expect what’s coming next. I go through my emotional swings all the time, but at the end of the day, I can’t help but hope. I can’t help but dream and believe.

One thing we have through all of this is each other. We’ve got a community full of people WHO UNDERSTAND. Who get it. Who’ve been there. Others who have faced the rejections, who’ve faced bad reviews, who’ve been knocked down a thousand times and keep standing back up. We keep writing. So this is me, reaching out, in case you haven’t found your community yet. In case you haven’t found those folks who dust you up when you’re down, and understand what you’re going through.

Your struggle is valid–it’s real, and it’s tough. All the negativity and all the hurt can threaten the gentlest of souls, but don’t let it harden you. Don’t let it scare you away, make you quit, or make you snuff those dreams out. From that struggle, learn. Grow bolder, and stronger, until the world has to take you seriously. But for now, when the world is harsh, and it threatens to steal your summers away, take solace that you are understood. We’re here in the trenches with you.

Posted in Updates

Hunting for Spring News

So folks, you know that urban fantasy gem I’ve been posting excerpts for? The bushel of chaos that descends upon Philly with Conor and Brenna’s story?

Hunting for Spring has a publisher! I just signed with Loose Id!

Thrilled to be working with these guys, and I’m so excited to share this story with you all! Not only is urban fantasy one of my favorite genres to write, but it’s set in Philly, a city I grew up right outside of. Hope you’ll join me for one wild ride!

Here’s the first paragraph, albeit unpolished, so you can get a sampling of what you’re in for:

Back in the old days, hunters were revered. Everyone had heard of Van Helsing and hell, the Inquisition. These days, the burden of tracking mythical beasts fell to those with the bad luck of being born into the wrong family, because a hunter’s abilities only passed down through bloodline. After all, if Conor Malone could ditch the responsibilities of his clan and somehow forget all the horrors he’d seen, he wouldn’t be stuck tromping through a nasty part of West Philly, trying to avoid stares and the permeating stench of bird shit.

Posted in Updates

Solid Ground’s Release Day!

Release day!!

Solid Ground is out with Boroughs Publishing!

Solid GroundMags Javiks has one day left with Lex before she boards her ship to start ambassador training. One more day to confess her feelings for him. If she lets this opportunity slip away she may never get another one.

Buy it at these retailers:

All Romance Ebooks

Amazon

Smashwords

 

Inspiration for this story:

So, I started writing this due to an image prompt of a girl standing in front of a futuristic cityscape near dawn, hair blowing back in the breeze. The rest just kind of poured out of me with very little planning.

I will say, I tend to write a lot of young adult themes, and this fit in line very well. Regret is something I’ve thought very heavily on, and the whole concept of graduation, or of leaving places and people behind tends to bring up those emotions when things are left unsaid. While I’m probably the opposite of Mags–tend to be very expressive with my feelings–I can still empathize with the hesitation and fragility of the moment, of being scared about that sort of vulnerability.

Many thanks to Boroughs Publishing for taking a chance on the story, and hope you enjoy!