A Fresh Face!

Coming in to the release of Spring’s Calling, I decided I need to do a bit of a face lift for my social media presence and my website. And here it is! It’s bright and shiny and very me. I have to say I love how the quill looks like it’s writing out my name (yes I’m a little nerdy).

In addition to all my Facebook Page and Twitter profile, my newsletter will be undergoing a visual overhaul as well and soon everything will be uniform!

Here is to great things on the horizon with a fresh new face.

Posted in Website

SPRING’S CALLING Cover Reveal and Release Date!

Well, folks. The time has come to share the cover art for SPRING’S CALLING!

I am really proud of the work that Deranged Doctor Design did with this one. It came together very quickly and really pops with colors and definitely does its job of communicating the genre to the reader. I can’t wait to have this in my hot little hands in paperback.

And in case you were curious about when this book hits the digital shelves, I have that information for you, too! SPRING’S CALLING releases on all major platforms on November 12, 2018! Check back a little closer to release for pre-order links.

Posted in Writing

Kickstarter: A Retrospective

Looking back on this whole Kickstarter experience, it is a little hard to believe that it has only been a week since the campaign ended. This whole journey really started back last October when I had an in-person sit down with the folks at Instafreebie (conveniently located in Cambridge) to learn about their platform a little more and the crowdfunding course they would soon be offering. At the time, I did not have a book ready for launch yet. So, I ended up being a street team member for another author (who happily fully funded her campaign, too).

I watched and learned a lot by helping out this other author with her campaign and I got to vicariously live through her at the time. And, me being me, I started to set my page up really early. Like four months before I launched. I will admit I was not expecting it to be such a time suck or to be so involved. Admittedly, part of the time suck aspect is probably the perfectionist in me. But I worked a LOT on it (my husband compared my effort in planning this campaign with planning our wedding and honeymoon and he wasn’t wrong) and ultimately, I am pleased with how the campaign page itself turned out.

Running the campaign itself was somewhat stressful and much like when I did the Kindle Scout program, the middle part of the month was horrible. I was convinced I wasn’t going to get funded and I’d be horribly disappointed (Spoiler alert: that didn’t’ happen). I also was sort of disappointed with the people who didn’t end up pledging. Though, they did warn us about that in the course. In the end, 56 generous folks got me to 101% funded. The money will cover the final production costs for Spring’s Calling as well as some other production costs for upcoming releases and some funds promotional pushes for Spring’s Calling release. Hooray!

So, given all of the work and time I put into the campaign, would I do it again? Honestly, no. The effort was more than I got back as a return. I had a grand total of one person on my mailing list pledge the campaign and they are the people who should have really been there grabbing up their early copies with bonus content. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure some of them will buy the book when it is released in November (or at least, I hope they do) but it would have been nice to see them order it ahead of time. I’m glad I did it and I learned from the experience (filming videos is hard stuff guys). I also made some really great new author friends who I can support (and get theirs in return) going forward. So hey, I get to cover the costs of publishing this book and I’ve got some good contacts for the future. Not bad at all.

Posted in Kickstarter

A Successful Campaign!

Well, as of 6:00 EDT yesterday, the Spring’s Calling Kickstarter campaign successfully funded. Over the course of the campaign, we raised $2,027 together! Thank you to everyone who pledged and shared the campaign along the way.

We now enter a bit of a waiting game as Kickstarter collects pledges. I should get the money in a couple weeks and then I can start the final steps to get this book ready for publication. I must say, I’m eager to get the reward process underway so that I can then focus on some other writing-related things (even unrelated to this project … can you imagine?)

In about a week or so, I’ll be doing another post looking back at the whole campaign experience and sharing some of my thoughts. But for now, I’m eternally grateful that 56 people found my project interesting enough to back it.

Posted in Kickstarter, Spring's Calling

We’re Halfway There!

We are now halfway done with the Spring’s Calling Kickstarter campaign! It’s hard to believe how quickly this is all going and yet it also feels like it is moving rather slowly. I worked on the campaign itself for close to three months before launch and we are only 16 days away from the end.

As of this post, we have raised $1,532 of our $2,000 goal. We are over 75% of the way there but as I mentioned before, you don’t get your rewards unless we reach 100%. In today’s campaign update, I shared a little profile on two of the story’s main characters, our protagonist Ezri and department psychologist Desmond who is a distant cousin but still very much Ezri’s family.

It’s interesting that of all the changes this novel has been through in the last six years, Ezri and Desmond have remained at the center. Sure, early drafts had some weird romantic tension that quickly got tossed out the window for professional reasons, but their connection and Desmond’s support of Ezri even when she doesn’t want it or can’t see that she needs it has always been at the heart of this book. I’ve also found that the basic tenets of magic that I devised while writing the first draft have remained largely the same which made subsequent drafts easier in that respect.

I honestly can’t say enough, though, about the great editorial assessment that I received from Rebecca Heyman. Yes, it resulted in the second complete rewrite but it needed it, badly. I hadn’t quite realized that the plot I’d written while an acceptable plot for a young adult protagonist (it was very much a coming-of-age situation), it was not going to work for an adult protagonist. She made me confront some of the aspects of the story that were superfluous (goodbye animal familiar and all-too-convenient brother) and gave me the opportunity to deepen some of the other supporting cast.

I really want to be able to share this story with all of my backers, but we are still $468 away from making that happen. Please, even if you can only spare $1 or $5, it adds up and together we can produce the best version of this book. So, if you haven’t pledged yet, go and grab your eBook (or paperback) copy today!

Posted in Kickstarter, Spring's Calling

One Week In on Spring’s Calling

So, we are about a week in from launching on the 23rd and we are now at 63% funded. I have to admit I’m really happy with how the campaign has gone so far. To those of you who pledged anonymously (as guests), I’m sorry I couldn’t thank you by name. But, I’ll be able to do so when we are funded.

But, 100% funding is still 37% away. If you’ve been to the campaign page and are thinking about pledging, don’t wait. The sooner we hit this benchmark, the more chance we have to make the best version of this book possible. EBooks are available to anywhere in the world and right now, I can ship print books to the US, UK and Canada. If you live elsewhere and want a print book, please reach out to me and I’ll see if I can get it to you.

We are now entering what I’m told is a lull in the process. Like anything that runs for a month, there is bound to be a big push at the start and a big push at the end. I’m trying my best to be patient but I will admit it is hard. I believe in this project a lot and I want it to succeed because you all deserve this book.

So please, head on over the campaign page if you haven’t and check out the project. Feel free to share it on Facebook, Twitter or wherever you frequent on the interwebs.

Posted in Kickstarter, Spring's Calling

Spring’s Calling is LIVE on Kickstarter

Well folks, it’s time. Spring’s Calling has gone live on Kickstarter. From now until May 25th we’ll be raising funds to make the best version of this book possible. But that’s only attainable if readers like you take the leap and get your copy now. You can get eBook and paperback copies months ahead of the official release in November 2018 and for those who get in early, you have the chance to receive a signed paperback and a handmade bookmark by local Boston-area jewelry designer Keith Monsour. There’s only ten available so if you want a beautiful handmade memento to go with your print copy, act now!

Click the image below to make your pledge.

 

Posted in Kickstarter, Spring's Calling, Writing

SPRING’S CALLING – Sneak Peek!

I want to share with you the first chapter of SPRING’S CALLING, my newest book, which releases in November 2018. Keep in mind this is an unedited version.


MARCH 11, 2017

ONE

I fiddled with the squad car radio, finally landing on a late-night radio host preparing to start their show as the clock ticked past 10:30 at night. “Well, my loyal listeners, we are nine days from what some scientists are calling the biggest astrological phenomena in human history. Sure, we’ve all seen a solar eclipse or a meteor shower but never together in the middle of the freaking day!” a deep alto voice said through the car speakers. “According to most reports, those of us on the East Coast, especially here in the Boston area will be in the direct path of the eclipse so get your glasses early and get ready for what everyone is calling a pretty amazing show. The city is reporting that the best place to check this out is down on the Common. So, listeners, let me know will you be there?” she continued.

“It just means that we’re going to be doing crowd control,” my partner, Jacqueline DeWitt muttered.

I turned my attention to her. Caramel-skinned with dark hair held in a tight bun at the nape of her neck, Jacquie kept one hand loosely on the steering wheel as she cranked the heater. She only succeeded in filling the car with harsh, cold air. We’d been partnered only a couple months. While I liked her enough, I didn’t feel like we were friends.

I wanted to agree with her and bemoan the likely detail but I already had plans. When I was a little girl, I’d been told about the prophecy that laid out my destiny. I’d have to face off against some great evil when a solar eclipse and a meteor shower fell on the Vernal Equinox. The Equinox was supposed to be a time when the world came back into balance between light and dark magic, neither one stronger than the other. Not like with the Summer or Winter Solstice when power ebbed and flowed toward good or evil. But this year had been different. The cold clung to the world longer than it should have. It was just that much harder to cast a spell. I’d spent the last decade honing my skills in preparation. But all the prep in the world couldn’t quell the nugget of fear in my chest.

“You okay?” Jacquie’s voice cut through my thoughts, pulling me back to the car and the icy air.

Tiny beads of sweat broke out along the nape of my neck chilling me even more. “Yeah … just thinking. You’re right. Crowd control is going to suck.” Even though I liked my partner, I couldn’t share my burden with her. The magical community survived because of secrecy.

The conversation was cut short by the dispatch radio sitting in the center console between us. “Units needed at the corner of Kneeland Street and Albany Street.”

Jacquie scooped up radio. “Unit fifty-seven responding, we’re two blocks out.”

She flipped on the lights and siren and put the car in drive, pulling out into the traffic surrounding the Common. We sped past at least three Dunkin Donuts—rivaled in number only by the Starbucks on nearly every opposite corner—ignored the stoplights and hung a hard left until we reached Kneeland Street, nestled between Chinatown and the theater district. We pulled up to find an ambulance and the coroner’s van parked on the street blocking traffic. I spotted the Assistant Medical Examiner, Patricia Karo, bent over an Asian man’s body. Climbing from the passenger seat, I pulled my jacket tighter as the frigid air—another sign that the world was out of balance—wound its way through every fiber of my being. A gust of air tugged several strands of auburn hair loose and I brushed them aside.

A pair of uniformed officers cordoned off the area with crime scene tape and shooed a couple of nosy bystanders away so we could get by. Jacquie pulled on latex gloves and went to join Tricia by the body. I kept my distance. Even from where I stood at the periphery of the scene, I could clearly see the man’s chest was unnaturally concave, as if something had crushed him from above. A quick glance around the scene didn’t present any obvious culprits. Something tickled my magical senses, begging me to pay attention but I couldn’t place it. I turned back to the body lying prone on the sidewalk. I’d never worked a homicide before and my palms grew damp as the weight of the responsibility hit me. I glanced over at Jacquie as she methodically moved around the scene. I could only hope to be as good as her.

For an instant the man was gone, replaced by a woman with a blade protruding from her chest. The scent of fresh strawberries bloomed around me and the white-gold pentacle necklace around my neck thrummed warm beneath my jacket as my magic reacted to the memory. I tamped down on my magic as I blinked away tears. The scene returned to the dead man being poked and prodded by Tricia.

I’d earned my Detective’s shield two months ago, just shy of my twenty-fifth birthday. I didn’t flaunt my skills. I did just enough to prove useful to the brass, to get the right amount of attention so they’d remember me when it came time for promotions. Doing anything more would have been dangerous. The wrong people could have taken notice. Like the Order of Samael or the Authority—the so-called benevolent governing body of the magical community.

My decision to join the force wasn’t without ulterior motives. Ten years ago, my mother was murdered. Everyone in the magical community knew it but she’d simply been buried with little fanfare. Despite obvious signs of foul play, there’s been no police report or investigation. The Authority had convinced the outside world that she’d simply died of natural causes. I’d never forgotten the truth, though. Ten years was a long time for her killer to walk free. But now the shield on my belt gave me license to hunt them down and make them pay.

But my mother’s murderer would have to walk free just a little longer. Another man deserved justice now. I watched Jacquie crouch down and pat down the man’s pockets in search of an ID. I stepped away and turned my back to the scene and my uninitiated partner.

Beneath the pentacle I wore a small sandalwood infused charm that helped cleanse my magical palette, allowing me to pick on any signs of magic in the area. Magic like anything in the universe obeyed certain laws. It couldn’t be created or destroyed. Just redirected and reshaped. I pressed my fingers to the smooth glass surface and inhaled. With the metaphorical slate wiped clean, I picked up on the cloying scents of rotten garlic and the loamy smell of wet limestone. For a moment, the combination turned my stomach and fought back my gag reflex. This had been what my senses had been alerting me to. The smells intensified the closer I got to the body and I knew it meant our victim had been killed with magic. A practitioner only gave off one scent which meant whoever had killed the victim had been working as a team. A person’s magical signature was like a fingerprint. But that didn’t mean I could pick it out just walking by them on the street. They needed to be actively using their ability or have used them in the last day.

“You want to join the rest of us, rookie?” Jacquie called, holding up the dead man’s wallet.

Embarrassment warmed my cheeks and I turned back to the matter at hand. I pulled out a pen and notepad from my back pocket and wrote ‘Limestone and garlic. Two killers with magic used in last 24 hours?’. After donning latex gloves of my own, Jacquie passed me the man’s wallet and I pulled out his ID: Edwin Cho. He lived in Chinatown not far from the scene. Given that it was late evening on the weekend he was likely on his way home. I added his name and address to my notepad.

“Do we have any idea what crushed him?” I asked, addressing Tricia.

She was busy taking pictures of the man’s injuries. “Nice to see you Ezri. That shield looks good on you.”

“Thanks.” We’d worked together when I was in uniform and had become friends. Not the stay up late in the night talking about our lives but friendly enough to have drinks or a quick meal on occasion after a long day.

Both of us caught Jacquie’s impatient arched brow and Tricia cleared her throat. “No cause of death yet but I’m guessing it was whatever made these crush injuries. With the right angle and amount of pressure, a grown adult could exert enough force to crush someone’s chest like this. I’ll know more once we get back to the lab. But, this is the second case like this I’ve seen in the last few days.”

“Where was the other victim found?” Jacquie probed.

“I’ll send over the files but it was out by the Esplanade. Same crush injuries.”

I stowed Mr. Cho’s ID back in his wallet and handed it off to one of the uniforms who hung back with an evidence bag at the ready. Limestone clogged up my nose as I got close to Mr. Cho’s chest. Not everyone is sensitive to other’s people’s magic and my skills weren’t infallible. My twenty-four-hour window for identifying magic had come after years of practice. Based on the strength of the smell, Mr. Cho hadn’t been dead very long and his attackers had left the scene recently.

“Do we have a time of death?” I pressed.

Tricia shook her head. “Based on what I’ve seen of the body, I’d say only a few hours. Rigor’s barely set in. I can give you a more definitive time of death after autopsy.”

“It looks like there’s some dust or residue on his jacket. Our killer, if they used their hands, might have left some prints.”

Tricia snapped a few close ups of Mr. Cho’s clothing. Without warning, a new smell hit me: ashy and sulfurous. I tried to repress my gag reflex again but I could taste the bitterness on my tongue. As calmly as I could I stood up and started to walk the perimeter. I stopped short a few paces from Mr. Cho’s body. A pale woman—her eyes hollow and unseeing and mousy brown hair hanging matted around her face—blocked my path. Despite the lifelessness in her gaze, I knew she saw me, knew what I was. The sulfur and ash of her magic bloomed into a fiery corona around her head before she disappearing completely. I blinked a few times until the afterimage faded.

What the hell was she?

“Ezri, you still with us?” Jacquie’s voice drew me back to reality for a second time.

Our gazes met—her intense brown to my green—and heat crept up the nape of my neck. I needed to avoid making zoning out a habit. I made a note of the stranger’s disappearance before capping my pen. “Yeah, I was just thinking that this is a fairly public area. I mean you’ve got Tufts Hospital and the orange line just up the way. Someone had to see something but there’s hardly anyone out. And, there are bound to be security cameras nearby that must have caught what happened.”

Jacquie nodded. “I’ll put in a request when we get back to the precinct.”

Turning back to the body I asked, “I mean, do we know who called this in?”

“I got the call from the paramedics about ten minutes before you two showed up. From what they told me, whoever had called it in didn’t stick around,” Tricia answered, spreading a black body bag out on the sidewalk.

I hadn’t even noticed the ambulance leave the scene but traffic was now flowing slowly through the makeshift blockade of our car and the coroner’s van. With the body now on its way to the morgue and no eye witnesses to speak of, there was little reason to stick around. I peeled off my gloves and made my way back to the car. Jacquie slid in behind the driver seat and looked at me.

“You’re going to lead the notification of next of kin.”

I swallowed back the lump of nerves rising in my throat. “Are you sure?’

“You’ve got to start sometime.”

I buckled my seatbelt and put Mr. Cho’s address into the car’s GPS. As we pulled away from the scene, I glanced back at the spot where the woman had vanished. I’d never seen magic like that before. The fact that the scene was steeped in spells set off alarm bells in my head. I wasn’t sure what evil I was supposed to be facing—no one had ever filled me in on the specifics—but this couldn’t be a coincidence. Mr. Cho’s death was linked to what was coming and I needed to figure out how if I had any chance of successfully meeting my destiny


If you want to read more of Ezri’s story, please go to the Kickstarter campaign page here and pledge to support the book. Your generosity could put us over the edge and make the best version of SPRING’S CALLING possible.

Posted in Kickstarter, New Releases, Spring's Calling

Kickstarting My Next Book

I am two weeks away from taking a big leap into the unknown and I wanted to fill you all in on it. On April 23, 2018 I will be launching my first Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to help produce my next book, SPRING’S CALLING.

Wondering what Kickstarter is? Here’s the short version: it is a crowdfunding platform for all manner of creative projects. Up until this point, I’ve covered the costs of publishing my books myself and while I’ve definitely made some money from selling my work, I’ve expended a lot of funds to get them out into the world. That’s why I’m taking this step and asking readers like you to support me in producing my next book.

A few years ago Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas launched a campaign to help fund the Veronica Mars movie (I am a proud backer of that campaign). Basically, creators put their projects out there and in exchange for funds pledged by backers, the creator offers various types of rewards. I will be offering both digital and physical rewards for my campaign. You’ll be able to see the campaign when it launches on April 23, 2018 (I will of course be sharing the link on all of my social media and on the blog).

I really hope you’ll join me in bringing this book to fruition and make it the best possible version it can be. See you all in two weeks!

Posted in Kickstarter

A Look Back at 2017

HAPPY NEW YEARS!

In only a few short hours, we will say goodbye to 2017 and ring in the New Year. Before that happens, I wanted to look back at the year I’ve had and share it with you all, because you have been a big part of it!

The year started with the release of my first young adult novel, MUSE SONG, in January 2017. Admittedly, it hasn’t done very well on the sales front but I do have it up on Instafreebie where it’s been downloaded nearly 700 times. Would I have liked those to be verified sales netting me a royalty? Of course, I would. But, as I’ve continued on this publishing journey, I’ve come to realize that this is a long-term investment. And this means that this book has reached nearly 700 readers. Maybe some of them will go on to purchase my other works and that is what tis is really all about.

The biggest personal milestone for me in 2017 was getting married to my long-time partner of nine years, Robert. We celebrated our nuptials on April 7, 2017 surrounded by friends and family at a beautiful hotel in Boston. It was an amazing night and everyone had a blast.


[Our Wedding Day]

After tying the knot, we embarked on a three-country, ten-day honeymoon. We spent time in Paris, Edinburgh and Zermatt. The skiing in Switzerland was downright terrifying (they don’t have any barriers on the sides of their trails … on sheer cliff faces. Not conducive to a safe skiing excursion for the blind girl) but the rest of the trip was a lot of fun> We saw a castle in each country (a requirement of mine) and we got to see lots of other tourist-y stuff (Robert’s request).


[A little romance by the Eiffel Tower]


[Some fun at Edinburgh Castle]


[Staying warm-ish at the Matterhorn]

In turning back to my year in writing and publishing, the back half of the year was pretty amazing. As I mentioned earlier, I’m now utilizing Instafreeibe as a mechanism to get my books out to more readers for FREE. Thanks to that service, my mailing list went from roughly 200 people before September to clocking in at about 800 as of today. The fact that you have read something of mine and enjoyed it enough to sign up is amazing and I am so immensely grateful to each and every one of you. You are the reason I do this. In a similar vein, in looking back the total of books sold (and yes, I include “Pains and Penalties” which is free to begin with in this figure) has exceeded 14,000. It may be down from my figures from 2016 but the fact that 14,000 copies have reached new readers is gratifying. It spurs me to keep going and putting new content out.

As I look toward 2018, I hope to be able to make significant strides in the process of putting out my next novel. Either by late 2018 or early 2019. And I hope to be able to bring you more sneak peeks and some fun contests. Keep an eye out for something for audiobook lovers in the early new year.

Thank you again for being with me this year. I hope you all have a happy and safe New Year and I’ll see you in 2018!

Posted in Misc