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

Geeks and Things is Now Available in More Places!

Hey folks,

I just wanted to let you know that I’ve expanded distribution for the “Geeks and Things” Cozy Mystery series to some new online retailers and subscription programs.

You can now get the entire series on Inktera and Scribd and through Kobo Plus and Playster. I’ve added links to the Book page here. So if you’ve wanted to get the series but they haven’t been somewhere you shop, hopefully now they will be where you can snatch them up!

Happy reading!

Posted in Geeks and Things, Website

MUSE SONG Release and Sale

Muse Song is now available for purchase. From now until January 13, 2017, it will be on sale for $0.99 at all e-tailers. It will then go up to full price of $3.49 so grab your copy at the discounted price while you can. If you enjoy what you read, please leave a review at whatever retailer you use.

You can find buy links here.

Thanks again for all the support!

Posted in Muse Song, New Releases

Muse Song ARC and Pre-Order

For those of you interested in receiving a free copy of MUSE SONG prior to release, you can sign up to receive an Advance Reader Copy at this link.

By submitting a request to receive a copy, you agree to post a review on either Amazon or Goodreads on the day of release.

If you would prefer to wait and pick up a copy on release day, January 10, 2017, feel free to pre-order it from your favorite e-tailer. The book will be available through Amazon, B&N, Kobo and iTunes.

I am excited to share this novel with the world. It’s been quite the labor of love over the last seven or eight years and I am glad it is finally being released into the world.

Posted in Muse Song, New Releases

Kindle Scout Results and Looking to the Future

Well, Kindle Scout is over and while I ended up with about 2 1/2 days on the Hot & Trending list at the end of the campaign and had 445 page views, I did not get selected for publication. But, that’s okay. Kindle Press is extremely selective in what they publish, as any publisher should be, and I was ready to put this work out into the world on my own anyway. I would definitely consider doing another Kindle Scout campaign if I have a work that fits within their criteria again. After all, I’m hoping to have the sequel ready to go by end of 2017 or beginning of 2018.

But focusing back on “Muse Song”, I will be publishing it in both print and ebook in early January. I’ll be releasing it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo. Once links are available I will be sharing them on the series page. I intend to release the book free for the first 3-5 days to garner some interest before raising it back up to full price.

For anyone interested in getting a copy ahead of release, I will be sharing a link to request an Advance Reader Copy next week. My mailing list will be receiving this information before anyone else so if you want first crack at it and you are’t already on the list, I’d suggest signing up now.

I would just like to thank everyone again for supporting me in the crazy adventure. It means the world to me.

Posted in Muse Song, Writing

Kindle Scout – Week 1

9 days down, 21 to go. I launched my Kindle Scout campaign for Muse Song on October 12, 2016. For those not in the know, Kindle Scout is a reader-powered platform run by Amazon which gives authors the opportunity to have their books published through Amazon’s Kindle Press. Readers can signed up for free (you just need a valid Amazon account) and nominate books that interest them based on cover art, description and opening chapters. If a book is picked for publication, anyone who nominated the book gets a free copy shortly before publication. This works out well for both readers (who doesn’t love free books?) and authors (they get a lot of free buzz ahead of launch day). And if the book isn’t chosen, readers are still notified by Amazon when the book becomes available for purchase.

My first week’s stats are not overly impressive. I’ve had 142 page views in the first 9 days of my campaign. Most of the traffic has been through Kindle Scout’s pages (rather than external sources). I’ll be honest, I haven’t done much this first week in terms of promotion. I shared the launch on my Facebook page and tweeted a bit, but I know I need to step up my game. And that is where you come in. I need your help to move this campaign forward. Please feel free to share the link (below) to the campaign with your friends and anyone who might be interested in getting in on the ground floor. Please keep in mind that in order for your nomination to count, it needs to be in your list of nominations at the end of the campaign (November 11).

So to cast your vote, please click the picture below!

Nominate

Posted in Writing

COVER REVEAL: MUSE SONG

As I’ve mentioned before, I am in the process of putting out my first young adult novel which is the first in a trilogy. As of now, I am currently in the process of setting up a campaign on Kindle Scout (I will be posting a longer, more in-depth post about that process once the campaign is live) but I wanted to share the cover art for the book before it goes live.

I am very proud of the cover art (done by the fantastic artists over at Deranged Doctor Design). It was an extremely easy process and I am so thrilled with what they managed to come up with. I will definitely be using their services again for the rest of this series and other future works.

Posted in Cover Reveal, New Releases