Everything will be delayed


As you all know, I have been working on the 9th book in the Rise of the Iliri series.  I had planned to get it out in April.  Well, if you look at the calendar, you will see that’s not going to happen.  It definitely wasn’t intentional!

Two weeks ago, my father went in for a routine health test, and was immediately hospitalized.  It seemed he needed a quadruple bypass.  Multiple complete blockages, serious concerns about the risk of a “widowmaker” heart attack, and a very terrifying thing for my family.

I’m happy to report that my father came through surgery just fine.  He’s now in the recovery phase.  (And he’s very not happy about all the things he can’t do.)  The downside is that my mother is unable to care for him on her own.  As the closest (physically) relative, and the one with the most flexible schedule, I’m at her beck and call.  Doesn’t matter if that’s heading over to help lift him from bed, running around to fill prescriptions, or anything else.

After all, this is my dad.  While I know that all of you are waiting with bated breath for a book, my family is more important.  I’m not even sorry about it.  The doctors expect his recovery to take 6 to 8 weeks, possibly more.  This means that my full days of writing have become minutes instead.  I’m still going, but I’ve done a LOT of cutting out some pretty pathetic prose that was written when my mind was elsewhere.

And none of us want a bad book.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: The book will be released when it’s done.  This is true for all of my books, and I’d much rather make you wait than give you a bad book.  So, while I could probably whip out some crap and publish it for money, I will NOT do that to either my readers or my characters.  It’s just not worth it to me.

But it’s still coming.  There are still some pretty intense revelations in this book.  I hope y’all are prepared because the angst of worrying about my own family might even translate into the story a little.

So, while I still don’t have an ETA on the release, I will say that we’re planning a preorder, so you’ll have at least a month’s notice.  I’m late.  I’m sorry I’m late.  I’m most definitely not sorry that I’m putting my family first.  I think that all of you understand.

I’m just happy my dad is going to get better.  Eventually.  I might kill him before he gets there, but we’re all going to make it through this!

The Joy of Trolling!

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So, I have a facebook fan group.  Most authors do, but mine is a TON of fun.  One of their favorite things to do in there is theory craft about where Rise of the Iliri is going next.  And well, don’t judge, but I can’t help myself.

I poke.  I nudge.  Sometimes, I even give them the real answer, but they tend to overlook it in the midst of all the insanity going on.  Now, with the 9th book gearing up for production, it seems we’re all back at it.

I’ve dropped some hints about the future (nothing too spoilery, though).  I have confirmed a few things.  I’ve also answered honestly in such a way that says absolutely nothing.  It’s a fun game for me as an author.  It’s practice for how to lay down those layers in a book, putting tidbits out there that are factual, but easily obscured.  The kinds of things that when looking back make you want to slap your head and go “Oh, it’s RIGHT THERE!”  And, when it comes to writing intense epic series, that’s kinda important.

But more than all of that, it’s amazing to see people get excited about the stories.  It’s amazingly humbling, actually.  For me, these were just things I thought up.  Now, people are getting tattoos, making groups to theory craft, and something I wrote has become an integral part of their daily entertainment.

Seriously, people, that’s intense.

See, I never wanted to be famous.  I have no interest in being rich (I will take comfortable, though). I also don’t care if people know me, like me, or have any opinion on ME at all.  Because my books are not me.  They are works of art, like a painting made of words, that convey a feeling.  Having so many people feel because of something I did?  It’s mind-boggling.  It’s wonderful.  It’s truly awesome, in the literal sense of that word.

So, y’all have fun with it.  Pronounce those names however YOU want, misspell them all over, and convince yourself that everyone is going to live or die.  It’s wonderful to watch, and I can’t tell you how honored I am that y’all actually give a damn.

Doesn’t mean I won’t troll you, though.

After all, I can’t let you think you’ve solved the plot before the last book comes out, right?  I mean, where’s the fun in that?

Lies, Lust, and Love

DO trilogy release dates

First, I’ll answer the question I get asked most.  The final book in the Dark Orchid Trilogy will be released on March 16th.  It’s almost done, and the 9th Rise of the Iliri book comes next.  Then Demons Muse #3.

This steamy little story is almost done.  I’ve had most of it sitting on my hard drive for a very long time.  When I realized that I needed to do some serious research to complete the next to last ROTI book, well, it made sense to give my readers something to occupy their time.  The Dark Orchid Trilogy seemed perfect.

It’s hotter than my usual work.  It’s based on sex – -and the acceptance of our own desires.  See, as a young reader, I always found myself immersed in fantasy worlds where blood mages and sex mages were evil, horrible, and yet there was never a reason why.  Those things are just “bad” inherently, right?

But they aren’t.  We’re all the result of both those things.  It’s a part of human nature.  And in the back of my mind, a wheel began to turn.  I wanted to explore the life of a sex mage.  Along the way, I also began to ask what made a sex mage.  Clearly, it wasn’t love, but sex is tied so closely to that emotion.

There’s also the fact that I really enjoy challenging myself as a writer.  I wanted to see if I could write a plot based around some pretty hot sex, without losing the reason for the story.  My readers know that I like to tackle some pretty heavy plot subjects.  I think sexuality counts among that.  From our own hangups to our desires, and so much more, it shapes us as a person.  Recognizing the line between love and lust?  That’s a very big part of it.

Be warned, the Dark Orchid Trilogy is not a typical romance.  It’s not even a standard reverse harem.  This is a story of how lies can be good, how lust can heal, and how love is a deadly and dangerous weapon.  Oh, and it’s the story of a “worthless” woman who dares to disagree with others’ opinion of her.

So, we have one more week!  There will not be a preorder.  Due to a tiny little family downtime (Caught the flu) I’m pushing this right up to the limit.  My love for my staff -who has doubled down to make this happen – and my beta readers who are always there for me when I need it.  You guys rock.

And after Spell of Love’s release, prepare for more torture about Sal’s next adventure.  I promise, none of you will see this one coming.

I’m only slightly insane.


Long ago, when I first started releasing books, I did it all wrong.  I didn’t know, and there was no one to teach me, so I made it up as I went along.  According to Google, I was advised to write the first book in a series, just in case the publisher didn’t want to contract the whole set, so I wouldn’t waste my time.  So that’s what I did.

Then, I found that traditional publishing isn’t for me.  I wanted to get paid for my work (yeah, I know, crazy stuff).  I wanted to have control over the representation of my characters.  No white cover models for my black or Hispanic characters.  I wanted to have boundaries be pushed and lines get crossed.  I wanted to write MY stories, not the diluted type expected with mass media.  I don’t do well sitting back and letting someone else make my decisions for me, and work doesn’t scare me.

So, I put out my stand-alone book, One More Day.  It was well received, even if hardly noticed.  Wonderful reviews, but very few of them.  I realized my problem was discoverability, so I wrote another book.  Then another.  The whole time, I was working on more in the background while I saved up enough to publish.  And still, I didn’t think I should finish a series.  I wanted more options.  It never dawned on me that indie publish and trade publishing have such different rules and needs.

Now, I have too many series on the go.  Rise of the Iliri is almost done (Will be finished in Mid 2019).  The Demons’ Muse should be done by the end of 2019.  Gamer girls will end early in 2020.  And, during one of those breaks, I decided to release a trilogy to fill the gap.  It’s done, so why not?

BUT!  And this is a big but.  I will not be making myself insane going forward.  Instead of following the pressure of reader demand, I’m going to write out the entire series and quick release.  I like how this is going with the Dark Orchid series – three books in three months, even though I spent a quiet year writing them in the background.  The readers enjoy the fast releases.  The visibility is good for my sales (and thus keeping my lights on) as well.  It’s like a win-win.

This means that 2019 will have a LOT of books coming out.  It means I will be pushing myself a bit.  It also means that 2020 will be simpler, easier, and cleaner.

To all authors just starting out, learn from my example.  DO NOT release the book when you finish.  Write the entire series.  Give yourself the room to make fixes before you’re on a deadline.  I know it’s thrilling and exciting, and you think this is going to be your big break, but that’s not how it works.  You end up spending most of your time trying to get noticed, and not putting words on the page.  You find that the deadlines you’ve made aren’t long enough.  You get frazzled, feel stressed, and have a greater chance of giving up because of it.

But if you do, push on.  Anything can be fixed.  All mistakes are chances to learn and improve.  If I can clean up the messes **I** have made, then you, too, will be fine.

And 2020 is going to be SO NICE.  I’m really looking forward to a bit less insanity.

He calls me an artist


I remember the first time my husband called me an artist.  I was sitting in Pizza Hut, of all places, with my best friend and her husband, discussing the song “Take me to Church.”  And yes, I was discussing – they were looking at me as if I’d lost my mind.  To them, a song was just a song.  To me, it was a million pieces of effort that blended together to make something even bigger.

At the time, I was working for an internet service provider during the day, trying to sneak in time to ride horses between that.  I’d dabbled with writing, but I thought no one would ever see it.  It wasn’t good enough, I thought.  I wasn’t meant to be an author.  I was simply venting on screen to myself.

My best friend and my husband convinced me to take it further.  He pointed out that the blog I used to have was popular.  I pointed out that it wasn’t for my writing, but rather the subject.  He captioned comments about how many people loved my words.  I agreed to send a query letter.  She researched all the information I could ever ask for.

To this day, he still doesn’t read my books.  He has no clue what I write, and he doesn’t care.  He says he doesn’t need to know.  He likes the stories better when I try to explain them.  Which, let me add, is a jumbled mess of reasons, theme, and skipping around.  Mr. Perfect doesn’t care.  In his mind, I’m the best writer ever, and that’s kinda a big deal.

Now, he calls me an artist all the time.  As he sits and listens to me freaking out about the conflict not being intense enough, the rising action lasting too long, or the foreshadowing being all too obvious, he laughs.  It’s kinda nice, though, having someone around reminding me to just keep it simple.  He’ll stop me and say, “Just tell the story.  No one cares about the rest of that crap.”  He’s right, too.

I think that’s the trap that so many of us fall into.  We read the how-tos, we scour the internet for advice on how to be better.  Rarely, do we remember that the secret to an amazing story is right in the middle of our chest.  It’s the part that pounds so hard in fear when we admit we made something, and the bit that races when we wait to hear if we failed.  It’s the strange organ that has nothing at all to do with emotion, and yet everything.

It’s all about the heart.

We’re told to be careful, warned that we’ll offend someone, and prepared for rejection.  How often do we, the artists of the world – regardless of the medium – dare to just jump blindly?  Dare to just plug our ears, ignore all the caution, and throw ourselves into the wind?

Ok, not completely blind, because that would be foolish.  We need to be prepared for the fall, and ready to clean up the mess we make.  I’m talking about editors, beta readers, harsh critiques that break our fragile little hearts, and enthusiastic praise that puts them back together.  Then there’s the hardest part of all: knowing that we may not fly.

Because sometimes we don’t judge it right.  Sometimes we miss.  Sometimes, what makes our blood rush doesn’t resonate with others.  But you know what?  That’s ok.  Being an artist is the bravest thing in the world.  Every day, we offer up the biggest thing of all – our souls.  We drain them out, letter by letter, until thousands of others can taste the pain, joy, and victory with us.

When we get it wrong, it’s just a step.  Forward or backward, they all count.  If we stop trying, that is when we fail.  If we keep moving around, eventually we’ll learn to waltz.

So, tonight, when my husband tells me I’m his little artist, I think it may be the biggest compliment of all.  He doesn’t care if I’m a little frazzled, if I go from talking about one book to another in the middle of a sentence, or if I forget that I’m actually talking because I had an idea.  He just smiles at me like I hung the moon, brings me another coffee, and tells me it’ll be great.

(and if you’re wondering, that beautiful piece of art at the top of this was made by Mr. Perfect for the Dark Orchid series.  getbook.at/pol )

Words, words everywhere


Where I live, it’s winter.  That means the sun sets early, the days are cold and wet (doesn’t really snow here, but it is the rainy season) and outside fun grinds to a halt.  Luckily, I’m a night person, so this works out.  No more fighting to get up early enough.  No more struggling to maintain a decent schedule.  At this time of year, it’s just me and my words.

And, in 2018 I hired not just one assistant, but two.  I have people to do the things that I hate.  Wonderful, amazing people.  Katie and Kitty both dove in to lighten my load.  Where one keeps my external stuff – like social media, scheduled engagements, and release hype – moving, the other keeps the internal stuff – plotting, groceries, and locating my head when I set it somewhere and forget – from getting out of hand.  Know what this means?

I have one job.  I write.

Before I published my first book, I fell in love with writing.  I didn’t mean to.  I didn’t plan to.  I most certainly was not one of those people who spent her life dreaming of being an author.  Nope, I fell into it unexpectedly.  I just had to vent, and that venting became a rather long series called Rise of the Iliri.  And then another idea happened, then another, and then a herd of others.  It seems like this is my calling.

But being an author isn’t all about writing.  In fact, writing might be the smallest part of it.  There’s marketing, engagement, promotion, editing, formatting, covers, contracts, and SO much more.  It’s exhausting.  I was spending hours every day trying to keep up with this stuff, and the words always got pushed aside.

But something happened this fall.  My own personal dream team came together and things CLICKED.  A gift from Katie.  An off-handed comment from Kitty.  A plot book.  When those things combined, something happened, and I found myself able to spend a little quality time with my words.  Then my husband mentioned that I seemed less stressed, possibly even less intense with the workload.  But, I’d just doubled my monthly word count!  How was this possible?

And when the time changed, it only got better.  I’m lazily writing, taking breaks, spending more time laughing with friends and doing REAL things, and dropping 15,000 words a day.  Sometimes only 2,000, but that’s ok.  I have TIME to play instead of write.  Then, because I had enough time (and someone in my facebook group gave me the idea) I accidentally dropped a complete rough draft in just over 2 weeks.  It felt GOOD.

It felt rejuvenating, and I immediately dove into the next book.  Then the one after that.  I realized that if I finished up a mostly complete trilogy, I could dedicate more time to getting ROTI 9 perfect.  A couple of weeks of work, push back ROTI 9 by 2 weeks (maybe 3, can’t recall) and spend some quality time with Sal.  As a bonus, while my readers waited, they’d have something that’s been sitting on my hard drive to help pass the time.

I can’t really see the downside.  I already had to push ROTI 9 back to March because of other reasons (contractors tend to have holidays).  That would mean THREE months without my readers getting a book. Oh, I know y’all will wait for it to be good, but I have this trilogy, and three months… and the numbers are just lining up, and it means I get to be with Sal…..

The little bit of time it’ll take to get it ready would give me a wonderful mental break to relax, refresh, and come back at ROTI with the loyalty it deserves.  It gives me the chance to figure out a little hole I accidentally found in the Demons’ Muse series (whoopsie!  Don’t worry, it’s already handled) and a set of books I adore would finally get to be seen!

I know some people hate when authors do this.  When we release books while another series isn’t finished, it makes them crazy.  To me, I know what’s happening on the back side.  I know these books are almost done.  They will appeal to some people and others will hate them.  Also, if I wait to release them until both ROTI and DM are complete, they’ll be sitting here, done, for another year!

So, I’ve decided to bribe my readers for patience by giving them a complete trilogy while I make sure that the next to last book in Rise of the Iliri answers many of the questions you’ve been asking.  Not all.  No, some of those have to wait for the end, but a lot.

And while I’m at it, I’ve found that joy again.  The love of being lost in words, letting worlds and ideas flow through my fingers, ready to be consumed by your eyes.  I’ve found my happy place.  It’s in the words.  These wonderful, amazing words that transport us to different places and times, allowing us to be the hero of our own story.  The words that make reality fade to nothing and remind us that it’s ok to feel, that emotions are power (mm, that’s a hint) and that feeling them is nothing short of magic.

Oh, lookey what I’m doing!


The 8th book in the Rise of the series just released.  The reception has been amazing, and I’m still stunned at how many people have fallen in love with those pale beasts as hard as I have.  Currently, I’m on track to end the series in ten books.

But, Rise of the Iliri isn’t my only project on the go.  Currently, I’m enjoying the beaches of Vesdar, the forests of Tyrnigg, and trying to cope with the barrenness of Daemin.  In other words, I’m writing the second book in the Demons’ Muse series.  It has an official title: For Love of Evil.  It also has a very beautiful cover, but you’ll have to wait to see that.

My goal is to release at the end of November, possibly early December.  I won’t give a specific release date yet because I’ve learned (over and over again) that the moment I do that, I suddenly forget where this story is supposed to go.  Nope, no jinxing myself.  These demons (and angel) are moving along rather nicely right now, and I’m more than happy to let them play a bit.

And once Demons’ Muse 2 is done, I will be putting the finishing touches on Gamer Girls 3.  Oh yeah, that means THREE MORE BOOKS this year.  And next year should be even better.  I’m aiming to release six, plus an extended box set (if all goes well).

Things are moving.  All of that behind the scenes stuff I mentioned has been handled.  Books are going to be coming out hard and fast, so I hope you’re all ready for this.  And, just to make it even better, I got one more exciting release to tell you all about.

When it Rains, a menage love story.

Click here to read the description

Kitty Cox, who wrote the Gamer Girls series with me is finally releasing her solo debut novel.  I got a chance to read it early (benefits of writing together!) and let me assure you, this is amazing.  Sometimes, even strong women can find themselves in a bad situation.  Kitty does an amazing job of showing one woman’s escape from her abusive husband and how the dreaded future can end up a dream.  This book is amazing.  Brook isn’t a victim; she won’t let herself be.  Instead, she’s going to take back her life and own her happiness.

I don’t know how she does it, but Kitty has a way of taking the darkest subjects (seriously, if you haven’t read FLAWED, you’re missing out) and making them into something so inspiring.  This is not a dark book.  Yeah, it has some serious subjects, but somehow she had me cheering for Brook from the very first page.

So you, my lucky readers, will get to enjoy four amazing books in three months!  Brace yourself, because the end of 2018 is going to be a whirlwind.