Tuesday, December 1, 2020

December wrap up & IWSG

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How are we in December already? On one hand, it feels like the year has flown by, and on the other, it seems like a whole lot of nothing happened. Probably because it was all canceled.

2020 the year of CANCELED

Let's hope 2021 is more eventful. In good ways.

So let's see, wrapping up 2020:

I'm mostly booked for events all through 2021 so hey, other than obsessively checking my calendar to make sure I'm not missing anything, I'm all set there.

Bound in Blue: Book 3 of the Narvan is being held over to 2021 for publishing since I was not able to get out and promote Book 2. Book 4 is still slated for Fall of 2021.

Everyone in my house has remained generally healthy.

Cover art for Spindelkin is 3/4 done.

I miss talking to readers but the majority of the few shows I was able to do went really well. So overall, I'm going to call sales successful on that front.

I co-wrote a book, which was an interesting and new experience. That should be out in 2021 as well. 

Which also brings us to this month's IWSG question: Are there months or times of the year that you are more productive with your writing than other months, and why? 

Definitely! I write all year, but November is my dedicated pound out a lot of words month, thanks to NaNoWriMo.

This year I participated in my 15th year of National Novel Writing Month and had my earliest win ever on day 17.  Why? Because I retired as ML last year so I could just sit back and write instead of wrangling writers and hosting events all month. I also didn't have any book-selling events all month. = lots more time to write.

This November, I wrapped up the first draft of The Minor Years: A Narvan novel and the first draft of Spindelkin, a YA fairy tale. Both books were about halfway done at the beginning of the month, so it feels good to have fully finished drafts to dive into editing in the new year.

I also broke my 60K in a month word record with 75K.

How was your 2020?


Tuesday, November 3, 2020

November is for NaNo and IWSG

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I used to be so good about doing blog posts, now it seems I'm down to a monthly update. If you want more frequent information, please follow me on Facebook or Instagram @jeandavisauthor. I'm on those much more often. 

Let's see, since the last post:

I was able to get into a good craft show in Kalamazoo and met a bunch of readers there. If you're one of them, it was nice meeting you even though we were at a distance!

Due to all these canceled events, I've added a tab at the top of this page where you can buy signed copies directly from me. This is an ideal option for those of you avoiding Amazon. Please keep in mind that I only ship within the USA. Sorry, international readers. 

NaNoWriMo preparations were in full swing all month. Heading into year fifteen for me and with all my events canceled, I decided to go all in. My baseline goal is to add 50K of new words across four projects. In truth, I'm hoping to add a lot more than that, but we'll start with the traditional goal of 50K. This year's project line up includes:

    The Minor Years: A Narvan novel - this is currently at 70K

    Spindelkin: YA Fantasy - currently at 27K

    An Urban Fantasy standalone novel - 0K

    A Paranormal Romance standalone novel - 0K

I do have one last book-signing this year on November 28 at The Bluestocking Bookshop. Beyond that, nothing is on the calendar until April 2020. Here's hoping we're back on semi-normal terms with the world by then.

And this month's IWSG question is: Why do you write what you write?

Because the voices tell me to? Ok, not really. I write the books I like to read.

As a teen, I read a lot of mystery, horror, fantasy, science-fiction (both hard and soft). It was normal for me to buy several books every week. For some reason, my mother, also an avid reader, was not a fan of using the public library. However, we did make weekly trips to the small local bookstore. I supplemented my purchased books with library books from school. For the most part, it's safe to say I spent a good deal of my teen years between the pages of a book. 

So when I started writing seriously, with the intent to go for publication, I stuck with what I knew and enjoyed. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

IWSG: Whew! That Was A Productive Month

 Last month flew by while I was wrapped up in so many things. Getting back out to meet readers in person felt really good. As did just being out among people again. 

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The first day of the Newaygo Logging Festival was a tough one. The crowd was fairly steady for a scaled-back event and our booths were all quite spaced out, but it had been nearly seven months since I'd spent a full day being social. I spent the hour ride home in much-needed silence. By the second day, I was feeling more in the spirit of things. By the next weekend at the event in Charlotte I'd found my stride again and everything went smoothly. I've done two more events since. If we connected at one of those shows and you're reading this, it was nice to meet you! 

Thanks to relaxing guidelines, I do have one more show in November in Kalamazoo. I'm still waiting to hear on Grand Rapids Comic Con. With both of those being indoors, things are up in the air with restrictions that seem to change every single day.

In addition to finally getting out to talk to readers again, I've been hard at work on Bound in Blue: Book 3 of The Narvan. The last round of edits is wrapping up and then it will head off the to the proofreader and then it's onward to formatting. Without further ado, here's the cover:
I've also been busy writing the blurb for the back cover, critiquing chapters for other authors, reading a couple books for fun, and doing a proofread of a book for a local author friend. I'm also plotting my upcoming NaNoWriMo projects and toying with cover art for Seeker: Book 4 of The Narvan and Spindelkin. I've been on kind of an artwork kick lately. On the plus side, I started drawing again. I haven't done much of that in a very long time, like probably around twenty-some years.

How was the end of summer for you?


Wednesday, September 2, 2020

IWSG: September Happenings


I'm excited and also nervous about finally getting to do a couple book signings this month. Not that I'm 

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necessarily living in fear of catching Covid, but more so because it's been seven months since I've been selling books in public. Will my pitches roll off my tongue like they did when I was chatting it up in public nearly every other weekend pre-plague or will I trip over every word?  Tune in this weekend to find out. 

Then I also have the hurdle of having two new books to sell that I haven't had any public practice with yet since they were both released during the plague season. Advance apologies to everyone I encounter this weekend that has to sit through me stumbling over words. 

Not to mention figuring out an optimal table display with seven books instead of five. I have a plan, but we'll see how it works in real life. I'm sure I'll point to and pick up the wrong books several times before it all clicks into place. 

If all goes well, I have three weekends of in-person events and one online. I'm really hoping all goes well. Crossing fingers and all that. 

So what have I been working on since last month? Updated print and ebook editions of Destiny Pills & Space Wizards, Sahmara, and The Last God are live. I'm working on A Broken Race right now and then I'll be back to edits on Book 3 of the Narvan.

Stay safe and healthy!

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

IWSG: August and Project Updates

And so we come to another first Wednesday. Normally I'd be dragging my feet after a busy June and 
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July event schedule, facing another five weekends of  August signing events, but alas, tis not the case this ill-fated year. Instead, I've been busy working around the yard, building a new shed to house my chickens and ducks, building a run for them, and putting in a new block firepit area. My yard is getting a lot of attention. 

I've also been writing and doing a bit of editing for friends. Now that Dreams of Star and Lies is out, I'm back at work on my next project. An author I've done many events with invited me to co-write a book with him. I've never co-written anything before so this has been an interesting endeavor, and I would guess not the exact norm on how this is done, but it's working for us. It's also a YA fantasy novel on a G-rated level, which if you've read anything I've written, you'll understand this is not my usual realm, but it's been a good warm-up for getting back into my own YA fantasy, Spindelkin, which is on the older end of YA, whereas this current project is on the younger.

Recently, I reformated his first book and edited the second so I was familiar with the story and characters. This, being book three in the series, has been moving along fairly quickly. He's been writing the bare bones of the plot and I'm fleshing it out. Only two chapters to go and then that is heading off to beta readers. 

Once Book three of Traveling Circus is wrapped up, I'll be diving back into my reissuing of Destiny Pills and Space Wizards. No new content, but updating the front and back matter, new artwork, and formatting to match my more recent books. Next up is a final edit of Book Three of The Narvan, Bound in Blue, once I go over the last round of edit suggestions. When I send that off to my proofreader, I'll be diving into the reformatting of Sahmara and The Last God. Now that I can do reflowable ebooks, I'm looking forward to getting all my books updated. 

I'm hoping to have Bound in Blue mostly wrapped up before November, when NaNoWirMo begins. I'm already toying with what to work on for that. I have a vampire story I'd like to try, and if that falls through, I have a book set in the Navan universe half started and Spindelkin to finish. There's never a lack for things to work on, just the energy to do so. 

And speaking of planning.. This month's IWSG question is: "Although I have written a short story collection, the form found me and not the other way around. Don't write short stories, novels or poems. Just write your truth and your stories will mold into the shapes they need to be."
Have you ever written a piece that became a form, or even a genre, you hadn't planned on writing in? Or do you choose a form/genre in advance?

Oh heavens, yes. Often when I start a story, when I'm truly pantsing it, I may have an inkling what genre it might be or what length I'm aiming for, but once the words start flowing... Well, the story becomes what it needs to be.  

The only time I know for sure if I'm going to make the story stick to a novel or a short story, is during NaNo because I need to have at least a very loose plan to make it to 50k in 30 days. That loose plan might only be genre, a character name and an inkling of the beginning scene or end, but it's a plan nevertheless. 

Most of the short stories I've written started without any particular genre in mind. Those usually launch with a concept or 'what if' question and wander into whatever genre fits as I go.

How about you?

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Release Day: Dreams of Stars and Lies

Today is the release of Dreams and Stars and Lies. This collection features five short science fiction stories. They are all unrelated but two take place in far flung corners of the greater Narvan universe, though also not directly related to the series. 

Last year, when I received the news that Caffeinated Press was closing and the first rights for Sipper would be returned to me, I decided to pull this book together. Sipper had been contracted for an anthology so this seemed an appropriate new home. 

Destiny Pills and Space Wizards, my first short story collection, features more lighthearted YA-friendly stories. With Dreams of Stars and Lies, I focus on deeper plots and longer stories more intended for an adult audience. 

The cover features Sipper, one of the two anchor stories of the collection.

Poverty has shaped Tia’s life since childhood, labeling her a roach. A day without hunger pains or despising looks is pure fantasy until she accepts a job offer to explore a wondrous deserted city on a distant world. All she can think about is the life-altering payout she’ll receive in six months. 

A hundred roaches are set free in the city of crystal spires. Their mission: To learn what they can about the previous occupants and to verify that the place is habitable for the host of wealthy future occupants waiting in orbit. 

Well-provisioned, Tia and her fellow roaches scatter to explore the dunes and spires. Then people start to disappear. Are they being picked off to lessen the payout or is there a killer among them?  All the credits in the world won’t matter if she’s dead.

What are readers saying? 

“Davis shows us a new frontier of space discovery, but there is no rover facing the space dust. We are the guinea pigs, and that adventure is not for the meek."  
- Stella Telleria author of Across The Wire

”Jean Davis speculates on a future that seems all too believable. Her stories will entertain, and they will make you think. Don't look in Dreams of Stars and Lies for easy solutions.”
- Joan H. Young author of Accidentally Yours

$9.99 print / $1.99 ebook. Want it free? Review any of my other books on Amazon, let me know when your review has posted, and I'll send you a free ebook of Dreams of Stars and Lies.

Dreams of Stars and Lies can be found in both print and ebook on Amazon and in ebook through Smashwords / Barnes & Noble / Kobo and more.

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Group, check it out here 
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This month's ISWG question: There have been many industry changes in the last decade, so what are some changes you would like to see happen in the next decade?

I would love to see either Amazon playing nice with other online book sales outlets or the other way around. Mostly, if they could all just get along, that would be super helpful and make things easier for authors when publishing their books. I get that many readers don't want to feed the Amazon beast, but Amazon does make it very simple for authors to publish through them. Other places are getting better, but they don't like Amazon, which means if we want to sell elsewhere, we have to publish in multiple places and that often means setting up separate files (because the publishing specifications are different), tracking sales in multiple places, and can cause problems if you want to run a sale. 

On a related note, I wish IngramSpark would reduce or do away with their charge per publishing platform because at least they are a one-stop place to publish. If you don't mind paying for it or if you're lucky and happen to have a promo code to bypass the charge. 

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Dreams of Stars and Lies Preorder

A collection of five short stories, including Sipper:    

Poverty has shaped Tia’s life since childhood, labeling her a roach. A day without hunger pains or despising looks is pure fantasy until she accepts a job offer to explore a wondrous deserted city on a distant world. All she can think about is the life-altering payout she’ll receive in six months. 
A hundred roaches are set free in the city of crystal spires. Their mission: To learn what they can about the previous occupants and to verify that the place is habitable for the host of wealthy future occupants waiting in orbit. 
Well-provisioned, Tia and her fellow roaches scatter to explore the dunes and spires. Then people start to disappear. Are they being picked off to lessen the payout or is there a killer among them?  

All the credits in the world won’t change anything if she’s dead.

Dreams of Stars and Lies is now available for preorder in ebook format for $1.99. Print books are coming soon for $9.99 via Amazon

Release date is June 30.

Pre-orders are currently available on Amazon and Smashwords

Free ebook offer: From 6/1 - 12/31 of 2020, post a review of any of my other books on Amazon. Email me or message me on Facebook with your desired ebook format and email address and you'll receive a free ebook copy of Dreams of Stars and Lies.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

ISWG: June and Cover Reveal for Dreams of Stars and Lies

How is it June already? Even with most everything closed for a couple of months, you'd think things 
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would be more relaxed, but it sure doesn't feel that way. I've been finding plenty to do and because my day job is half e-commerce, I've still been working too. 

Since it's time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post, I'll start with writing-related happenings. The question this month is: Writers have secrets! What are one or two of yours, something readers would never know from your work?

Well, it's not a big secret that I have a new book coming out soon. Dreams of Stars and Lies will release late June or early July. With all my usual signing venues shut down right now, I'm feeling a little more relaxed with the publishing schedule I'd originally set up for the year.

Dreams of Stars and Lies is a collection of five short science fiction stories. The front cover features a scene from the story, Sipper.

Poverty has shaped Tia’s life since childhood, labeling her a roach. A day without hunger pains or despising looks is pure fantasy until she accepts a job offer to explore a wondrous deserted city on a distant world. All she can think about is the life-altering payout she’ll receive in six months. 

A hundred roaches are set free in the city of crystal spires. Their mission: To learn what they can about the previous occupants and to verify that the place is habitable for the host of wealthy future occupants waiting in orbit. 

Well-provisioned, Tia and her fellow roaches scatter to explore the dunes and spires. Then people start to disappear. Are they being picked off to lessen the payout or is there a killer among them? 

All the credits in the world won’t change anything if she’s dead.

In other news, I'm trying my hand a co-authoring a book. An early YA book. Secret? I've never managed to write a story for that age group, though I've tried. We'll see if I can keep my dark and twisted plot brain harnessed.

And an actual secret? Long ago, the genre I first wrote in? Mystery. I was surrounded by mystery books as a kid. My mother was addicted to them and so when I started reading chapter books, guess what area of the bookstore I was introduced to? Yep. Mystery. While I do enjoy working that angle into my stories now, it's not something that ever quite clicked for me as far as writing. I still enjoy reading it though. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

ISWG: May Flowers and Rituals

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Welcome to this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group post. It's finally spring here in Michigan, meaning the weather is generally above freezing now, even at night. Is it warm? Not reliably. One day it's 70 and sunny the next it's 35 and raining with occasional spurts of snow flurries. But, on the bright side, flowers are finally blooming and my ducks are growing up.

But before we get to flowers and ducks, I should probably talk about writing. There hasn't been a lot of that going on. Though I did manage to read a book so that's progress - more so than binge-watching 8 seasons of Vampire Diaries and season 4 of The Last Kingdom.

Dreams of Stars and Lies, my next upcoming release, is progressing nicely. I have two short stories to finish formatting and then I'm waiting on the cover art. Look for the release of this collection of sci-fi stories mid-summer.

Bound In Blue: The Narvan Book 3 is going through another round of edits before it hits proofreading, but that is also on track for a Fall release.

Book signing events continue to be cancelled, with my next possible one now in July. I miss talking with readers and networking in person with my author friends. This is part of my lack of motivation. I usually come home from events all energized to work on whatever next project I have on deck, but right now life is a too quiet.

This month's question is: Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting into the zone?

My writing rituals usually include, turning off the lights in my office, sitting in my comfy chair, lighting a candle, maybe some incense, and making words happen until the story starts coming out of my fingers. Sometimes that means writing with my eyes closed to further block out distractions. It's often the getting the fingers going on the keyboard that is the most important step. Once that happens, the story isn't far behind.

And now... flowers and ducks
The ducks are getting their wing feathers, not that they will be doing much flying.

Violets are one of my favorite flowers

Fancy daffodils after one of the many spring rains

Yep, we had more rain

Not a stick! This Easter Hognose snake slithered through the yard.

Nap time for duckies

Monday, April 27, 2020

Visiting Donald Levin's Blog

Today, I'm doing a blog visit for author Donald Levin's Indie Monday. We talk about The Narvan series, writing, and my upcoming projects. If you like Mysteries and Michigan Authors, check out his books while you're there. We've done several author events together and he's a great guy.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Online reading of Trust

Last week I did an online reading session with How Writers Write with my long distance poetry buddy Michael D Jones. He's got a new book out too.

We talked about Trust, The Narvan, Chain of Grey and writing in general. Check it out here

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

IWSG: April Lockdown

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I am fortunate to work from home all the time, so my income is generally not affected by this whole Covid-19 mess. But we have my elderly MIL staying with us so she's not home alone during this shelter in place decree.

Beyond that, most of my book launch events for Chain of Grey were canceled so I've been doing a few virtual ones.

Check out Quarantine Con for some fun con merch from the comfort of your own home.

or this author reading and interview series by How Writers Write
I'll be doing a reading from Trust on April 16 and having a chat with my poet pal, Michael D. Jones about his new poetry collection.

And also, I had the itch to add to our pet inventory.

It seems that I don't ask for anything for my birthday anymore. The past few years, I just get a new pet. 

It started with my little dog, Bitsy, five years ago.

My pond with goldfish.

Then came chickens.

Then, after losing a couple to illness and a hawk, the next year, we had chickens round two.

And this year, ducklings.

Next year? I think I'm good with creatures to take care of now, but I'm not going to say it won't happen.

Really though, with all the crazy going on in the world right now, we needed a little cute, cuddly fun.

I was just going to get two ducklings, but once I was there at the store looking at the big bin of ducklings of the variety they'd ordered at my request, my gut whispered for me to get three. Always listen to the gut.

We're on shelter in place until at least April 13 so that gives us plenty of time to get acquainted with our new ducklings. We've had them since March 24.

Right now, these adorable little feather babies are living in my writing room. How is that working for writing? Not all that productively I must say, but they're darn cute so I'll forgive them for making so much noise. Soon enough they'll be living outside and we won't be seeing quite as much of one another.

These three are Indian Runner ducks. They'll be generally flightless and will help clean up the bugs in the yard and my flowerbeds in between playing in the pond and hanging out with our chickens. We're just hoping they all get along. We won't know if they are male or female for a few weeks yet so here's hoping we have a couple females because I'm looking forward to some duck eggs.

How are things in your corner of this crazy world?

Friday, March 20, 2020

It's crazy world out there and in here too

With this whole viral virus thing taking over the world and bringing many things to a standstill, daily life as we knew it a week ago seems so long ago. Today, being my birthday, I thought I'd take a moment to make a few lists to keep all the crazy in perspective.

Things I'm grateful for:

  1. I already work at home. Literally, the entire lower level of my house is dedicated to my home businesses. So hey, zero change for me there. 
  2. My main business is online (on various platforms). I'm all set with social distancing. 
  3. While many people, my son included, are off work due to closures, I'm working overtime.
  4. We regularly buy a three-month supply of toilet paper online and are all set for a while yet. 

Things that have changed this week:

  1. Last Saturday my 89-year-old MIL ended up in the ER for a leg infection. The hospital was full and couldn't admit her. She didn't want to transfer to the next hospital an hour away, so she's currently staying with us. So yeah, I'm working overtime and playing nurse. If I ever get around to publishing The Minor Years, which chronicles Anastassia's time as a Seeker on Veria Minor, yeah, it's based on real-life me right now. 
  2. My daughter is a high school senior and her school is closed for a month. We have no idea how or if graduation will happen. Or AP exams. Or lots of things. Lots of uncertainty going on for a kid who already struggles with anxiety. On the plus side, she gets to do what schoolwork they are assigning on her own time from the comfort of her room and also sleep in. So in that one regard, it's kind of a dream situation. 
  3. I officially became another year older. And after two weeks of overtime with one to go, I'm feeling it. 

Things that are not so great:

  1. I'm trying to evaluate my MIL's health situation and weigh the choice of maybe sending her back to her home or into a nursing home for good. Because apparently, out of five kids, I'm the one willing to make that decision.
  2. Nursing homes are also on lockdown so we can't tour any of them.
  3. I don't currently have time to make a bunch of phone calls, fill out forms, or be a nurse.
  4. I don't remember the last time I had a full night's rest thanks to my own sleep issues and my little dog's peanut-sized bladder and now I'm also getting up at least twice a night to help a full-grown human get out of bed and use the bathroom.   
  5. As it turns out, it's really rough to release a book while events are being canceled left and right and social media is on Covid-19 takeover. 
  6. I really want to be working on Dreams of Stars and Lies, but my brain is too scrambled to concentrate.
I hope you're all healthy, your pantries and TP are stocked and your employers are taking care of you. Until next post, keep washing your hands and let's hope this all blows over very soon!

Monday, March 16, 2020

Release day for Chain of Grey, The Narvan #2

It's release day for Chain of Grey  • The Narvan #2!

You can find your copy at your favorite online bookseller or request it from your local bookstore. If you'd like your library to carry it, you can request that too. The Narvan series is available in both print and ebook.

Chain of Grey (Book 2): Amazon / Kobo / B&N 
Trust (Book 1) is also being re-released.  Amazon / Kobo / B&N

Due to the virus outbreak, my March and April book signings have been cancelled, but I will be happy to sign a book for you at any future events once this chaos gets under control. Let's hope that happens soon.

Life outside the Narvan is not as ideal as Vayen would like. His job is unfulfilling, the people aren't his, and even after five years, Anastassia still hasn't quite forgiven him for stranding them in obscurity. 
Vayen's idle daydreams of returning to the Narvan turn into a nightmare with an assassination attempt. Old friends have become enemies and old enemies are even less happy to see him. Threats barrage him from all sides, endangering not only his own life but those of his family. 
There are too many hands vying for the Narvan, sinking the system into chaos. Vayen's well-intentioned plans have blown up and his homeworld, along with everyone else is suffering. Putting the Narvan together again means showing his face to the High Council, who will want to make an example of him for betraying their trust.
Staying out of it will get him killed. Unfortunately, his odds with jumping into it aren't much better.

Here's a sneak peek of the opening of Chain Of Grey...

I didn’t think my shipping business was overly successful, not to the point where anyone would want me dead because of it. But as I lay there on the floor, observing the fine spray of my blood on my office wall, I had to consider that I might be wrong.

        Heavy footsteps drew closer.

        Damn. I knew I was rusty, but it was still disappointing to know that I’d not done any serious damage with the two knives I’d managed to throw before toppling from my chair. I tried to peer around my desk, but my body wouldn’t cooperate.

        Rhaine was going to be pissed when I missed dinner yet again.

        The footsteps stopped. Something tingled inside my head. The telepathic barriers I’d erected years ago dissolved as my strength faded. The tingle came again as someone invaded my mind. It was a familiar touch, one that sent my head reeling as much as the blood loss.

        The blurry form of my killer loomed over me. “Oh Fuck! Vayen? Is that really you? You’re alive?”


Whispers told me I was dreaming, but I ignored them in favor of enjoying a quiet meal with my family. We sat around the table in our little house on Veria Minor, Ikeri shoving sweet yellow fruit into her mouth until her cheeks were bulging, Daniel looking guilty, and Rhaine giving me a look that said I should ask why. I didn’t. Instead, I slowly ate the meal I’d made after coming home from my day at Dugans, savoring this normal moment I’d never thought to have.

A moment that wouldn’t exist if the High Council hadn’t drugged me into forming a bond with my partner. If they hadn’t demanded that I kill her. If we both hadn’t had to give up what we’d worked so damned hard for and ended up here, around this table.

Ikeri giggled. Juice dripped down her chin. I laughed, ignoring the pressure in my head that was likely the warehouse informing me of a late shipment. Rhaine and I had agreed on no work or datapads at the table. I’d deal with it in the morning.

Except, it occurred to me that it wasn’t a message on a datapad. I tried to will the pressure away. I’d closed off all my telepathic contacts from my previous life. Other than Daniel, who was sitting right there picking at his dinner, no one else in our colony was telepathic. Beyond that, my link was gone. No one should be in my head in any manner.

My hand itched for a gun, but I hadn’t used one of those in five years. They were safely locked away in a chest in a closet under the armored coat I’d folded up upon arriving on Minor. For peace of mind, I allowed myself two small knives when I left the house, but I was home now and they were put away. I didn’t need weapons anymore, certainly not in my own home.

We were safe here. I picked up my fork and ate another bite.

Ikeri slid off her chair and grabbed my hand, tugging me toward the common room where we sat most nights to watch the local vids. Rhaine was talking as I stood. I had the sense that she was telling me what trouble Daniel had gotten himself into, but the words I heard were wrong, muffled, confused. It wasn’t her voice, but a familiar man’s voice. One I didn’t want to think about. Ikeri tugged at me again, more insistent and with more strength than I expected. I started to fall.

I woke with a gasp to a view I never thought I’d see again. I prayed to Geva I’d stepped out of one dream and into another, but when I blinked for the tenth time, the cold metal room was still there. The grey metal ceiling, metal walls, crisp white sheets on the narrow bed, my old clothes on the shelf beside me—my room on the buried ship on Frique.

Merkief stood over me with his hands clasped together as if he’d been praying. “I’m so sorry. If I had had any idea you were Isnar K’turoc, I would never have taken the job. I swear. It wasn’t one of your known aliases, and it was just a quick and easy contract, no setup.” He grimaced. “Sorry, not to make you feel insignificant.”

“It’s all right. That’s what I was going for.”

Had I ever really been gone? Being on the ship again made my years on Veria Minor seem almost surreal. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

IWSG and Chain of Grey Release Announcement

If you're not familiar with 
Group, check it out here 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.

It was a busy February! Productively so, even. Which was a nice change of pace given the past couple months. First up was the redesign of Trust. After my publisher shut down at the end of 2019, rights reverted back to me. I wanted to stay with the current distribution and layout so I relearned InDesign, of which my knowledge was twenty-some years old from when the first version of the program launched. That Desktop Publishing trade school class is still paying off all these years later, I tell you. Go trade school!

After a bit of tweaking on in the inside, the content is all the same, barring a few typos which I fixed while I was there, I played around with the cover a little too. Everything is generally the same. The book is currently out of print but will be re-released in both print and ebook on the 16th.

Which brings me to Book Two: Chain of Grey. Release date is also the 16th. The initial batch of print books arrived today and I'm happy with how they look. But, let me tell you, it was a stressful month of reformating the one, and formatting the other and nailing down the cover details on both in order to have them for the start of my book signing line up for the year. I hadn't used Ingram before, but now I've learned that too. So much learning. And waiting to see if the finished product turned out right. Talk about insecurities. Gah!

Big sigh of relief! I'm happy to be able to release them into the world very soon.

If you would be willing to host a blog post around release day, please let me know.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

IWSG and Book Two of the Narvan Cover Reveal

If you're not familiar with 
Group, check it out here 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.

I'd say I know where January went, but it was all a blur so let's hope 2020 month #2 is a little more kind with sleep and time availability.

Since this is an Insecure Writer's Support Group Post, and I'm bowing out of the usual monthly question, I'll at least cover some writing stuff. What am I feeling insecure about this month? My event schedule. I'm booked through August already. However, I've scaled back this year so I can meet some publication goals and not be stretched quite as thin as I was last year. But I had a lot of fun meeting so many readers at various cons, faires, festivals, and craft shows. But I also want to get some new books out, because they're done and just sitting there glaring at me. But. But. #needaclone

I'm also hesitant to load up my fall because my daughter will be going off to her first year of college and she's been suffering severe anxiety issues. I'm hoping this will go really well for her and she'll love it. She's very excited and is planning to share a dorm with a long-time friend. They act as mutual support pals for one another already, each with their own issues so, yeah, hoping for the best, but thankful she'll only be an hour from home if something arises. 

January did allow me a few days to do an edit for a friend. It's been a while since I've had time for that and it felt good to dig my claws into a book again. Crazy thing about that, I've had two other author friends inquire about edits/critiques in the past couple weeks, totally out of the blue. Must be something in the air. 

With the Narvan series back in my own hands, I've been busy doing a bit of tweaking to the formatting and cover of Trust before I republish it. That has also allowed me to get warmed up for formatting Chain of Grey and finally motivated me enough to kick out the cover. I'd been banging my head on the desk over cover images for most of the month, which was not helping with my stress level at all. My intention is to have the re-issue of Trust and the new Chain of Grey book live by the end of the month. Good to have goals, right?

This coming weekend I'll be over in Lansing with ten of my fellow Michigan Authors at the Mid- Michigan Women's Expo. We have an awesome network of indie authors and I'm trading a weekend visit at one of their houses for a weekend visit at my house next month for the Grand Rapids Women's Expo. Keeping expenses low is a goal we all share. 

Shall we get to this cover? Because I'm already stressing over what to do for book three, Bound in Blue, which is also up for publication this year, and I need a few minutes of feeling accomplished. Without further ado...

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

January IWSG and 2020 Goals

This year launched with a stressful and exhausting beginning. I haven't had a quiet day since Dec 28. It's been one long exhausting day and overtime after another. Great for paying bills, as far as the overtime goes, but with everything else on top, it's been a lot to deal with. The other stuff is mostly health issues for other family/extended family members but it's beginning to take a toll on me too. Thankfully, I don't have anything author-related planned until early February. I hope to be more awake and alert by then.

My annual one word resolution is READ. I've been so focused on writing/editing for the past couple years that I haven't had much time for kicking back with a book.  I hope to do better with that this year. To get me in the right mind-set, I'm looking into a book club at a nearby indie bookstore. Beyond that, my TBR stacks are spawning baby stacks. It's out of control...but I keep coming home with more books. So yes, I need to tame those a bit.

2020 Goals:
1. Due to the publisher of The Narvan closing down at the end of last year, first on my list is republishing Trust myself.
2. Chain of Grey: The Narvan - Book Two, is proofed and awaiting formatting and then is next up for publication.
3. Publish a second short story collection. The stories are all written, but await a final edit and then the whole proof/format/publish routine.
4. Publish Spindelkin - a MG fantasy/fairytale. This was my NaNo 2019 project. It needs an ending, but is generally outlined and then onward to editing/beta reads and the rest.

I'll be doing slightly less events this year so I (in theory) have time to accomplish these goals. I'll be updating the list over there ---> as events are added throughout the year.

If you'd like updates on when any of those projects are published, please sign up for my newsletter. Also over there ---->

If you're not familiar with 
Group, check it out here 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.

And now, its time for the first Insecure Writer's Support Group post of 2020. This month's question is: 
What started you on your writing journey? Was it a particular book, movie, story, or series? Was it teacher/coach/spouse/friend/parent? Did you just "know" suddenly you wanted to write?

This is a popular question. Which, thankfully means it's an easy one to answer. My third grade teacher launched me into writing with a Scholastic writing competition. I wrote a horrible little story about a dog who got lost, complete with pictures, and won for our grade. That meant I had to go to the local college to an award ceremony, which was utterly terrifying for an extremely shy kid. A year later, my fourth grade history teacher and I clicked and I started slipping her short stories (which were also awful, btw), and she would covertly slide them back to me the next day with encouraging notes on them.

So for all you teachers out there, doing your little one on one things with what little time and energy you have in light of everything else, it's greatly appreciated, even it's not apparent at the time.