Update on the Dragon’s Breath Series and a snippet

I know a lot of people have been wondering when the next installment of the Dragon’s Breath Series will come. So sorry for the delay! There has been a lot going on in my personal life that has caused this, but I am working on the next book. As of right now, my goal is to publish it in late September or early October (2019). I’ll update here as I know more.

Thank you so much for your patience. I know it’s been a long wait, and I appreciate every reader who has stuck by me. As a small compensation, I’m including a snippet from Captured in Flames (book 5 of the series) here. Keep in mind this is not the edited copy so there may be some minor changes before the book is finalized. Those of you who are in my Facebook fan group have already seen this excerpt, but I wanted my broader audience to have a chance to read it.

Aidan and I continued moving along and came out from under the bridge, blinking into the bright sunlight.  I breathed a sigh of relief.  Crossing the border always felt even riskier than being in pure dragon territory.  The interstate was littered with demolished cars, burn holes, and rotting corpses to remind everyone—dragons and humans alike—of how dangerous it could be to anyone who passed through there.  No one used those stretches of highway unless they absolutely had to and only as long as needed.

Aidan led me a bit farther into shifter territory until we got behind some buildings where we wouldn’t be easily seen.  It was quiet with only the wind rustling through the trees nearby to break the silence.  Not even the birds chirped.  We were still too close to the border to see any activity except the occasional dragon patrol, but even they weren’t around at the moment.

“We must get you clean,” he said, wiggling his nose at my snot-covered garb. 

The tight pants and halter top I wore looked similar to black leather, but the outfit was really camrium.  A fire-proof cloth Aidan had designed for me that had additional sorcerer spells cast on it so it could protect against blades and bullets.  It was much more flexible than leather, which was important when one needed to move easily and quickly to fight.  More than once, the warrior garb had saved my life.

I looked to the left and right, confused.  Since the dragon cold had started spreading, I’d been bathing at our home before he returned at night from patrols.  This problem hadn’t come up before.   “There’s not exactly a shower around here for me to use, or even a pond for that matter.”

 “Stay close as I shift, and the flames will burn you clean,” he instructed.

“Wow.”  I cocked my head.  “Why have you not mentioned this nifty trick before?” 

Every night this week, I’d had to station myself in front of a wash basin and scrub myself for an hour to get all the snot and spit off of my clothes, hair, and body.  Never mind collecting all the water I’d needed for that.  And all along, there’d been a faster way that would leave me totally sterilized of germs.

“I never had to worry about you bringing illness to my people until now.”

Oh, right.  That would be bad.  “Good point.”

He moved closer until we almost touched and began shifting from human to dragon.  The first time I saw him transform I was terrified, but I’d grown used to the process since then.  Flames licked up his body, fanning against me, and I could just make out a shadowy figure as it stretched and grew into beast form.  After a minute, the fire subsided and his red dragon form appeared.  It was still a bit frightening to see him this way, but I’d learned to love the man and the beast.

I dropped my gaze to inspect myself and found not a speck of snot on me.  That was one impressive sterilization process.  I smiled at him and wagged a finger.  “I won’t forget you can do this.”

************************************************************************

Two more excerpts from the novel have been shared in my Facebook fan group that you can read if you join. If you just want to make sure you don’t miss when Captured in Flames is out though, make sure you sign up for my book release alerts. I’ll also post the first couple of chapters here shortly before publishing the novel.

November update

This is one of those posts I put off writing because I know it’s going to upset people.  Those of you who have followed me for a while know I don’t get into my personal life much on my blog because I generally feel that should be kept separate from my professional one.  Every once in a while, though, it affects my writing. I feel it’s only fair you all get some explanation as to the reason why you might have to wait longer on a book.  Now is one of those times.

My husband and I have been married for over eight years.  We have yet to conceive despite doing nothing to prevent it.  I wasn’t terribly worried about it in the early years of our marriage because it gave us time with each other to build our lives.  Once I started writing, I wanted to focus on that for a while and get a few books out before adding a baby to my daily routine.  Still, I didn’t do anything to keep from getting pregnant either.  This past summer I turned thirty-five.  My husband and I both agreed we couldn’t ignore the issue any longer and that we were more than ready for children.  Clearly, we needed to take further steps to make that happen.

A couple of months ago we went to see a specialist.  Neither of us have anything in our history that stands out as an obvious cause for infertility.  Other than my chronic migraines and my husband having COPD (which he has under control through meds) we don’t have any major health problems.  I’m not going to get into the fine details since not everyone wants to read that, but suffice it to say we are healthy enough that conception shouldn’t be a problem.  Since that first doctor visit we have been undergoing a number of tests which have all come back normal.  I am told that fifteen percent of cases have no identifiable reason for why there is a problem.  We appear to be falling under that category.

We have reached the point now where they are referring me to another specialist to start treatments that should “help” things along.  I am both excited and nervous about this.  The success rate isn’t very high, but when it does happen it could result in multiple births.  It’s a risky move.  Yet I’m running out of time and don’t have a lot of other options.  If this is the only choice I have, then that’s what I’m going to do.

Through all of this, there’s been a part of me that feels like a failure.  It should be such a simple thing to get pregnant.  Millions of women do it every year with no problem at all, but I’ve never managed to do it once.  A lot of stupid things go through your mind when you face this sort of dilemma.  Am I just not good enough to be a parent?  Did I do something in my past and now karma is coming back to bite me? Is it simply my fate to never experience giving birth to my own child?  Yes, there are other options if things don’t work out, but I really want a chance for my husband and I to have a child together.

For the past couple of months these thoughts have been going through my mind.  With every visit to various doctors I’ve grown more frustrated.  None of them are very reassuring and their answers to my questions are often vague or unhelpful.  It’s been rather depressing and has affected other parts of my life.  While I’ve managed to finish writing most of Darkness Wanes, it’s not finished.  I hate to even admit that out loud.  The final chapters are completely plotted out in detail (that was easy because I’ve known how I wanted to the series to end for a long time), but getting those last chapters written has been difficult.  I’m pecking away at it now and finding my “zone” again.  It’s just been a matter of finding a way to push my personal problems aside.  Once they’re done, I’ll go through revisions next and get chapters out to beta readers.  For those of you who have beta read before, expect an email from me soon asking if you’re up for it again.

I can’t give a definite date for when Darkness Wanes will be published.  There are no more doctor’s appointments for the next few weeks as I wait for a referral to go through so at least I won’t have that to distract me.  I’m going to use this time to buckle down and get the novel done.  My hope is to get it finished by early December, but we’ll have to see how it goes. I don’t want to make any more promises I may not be able to keep.

I know this is going to upset some people.  You’ve been waiting for this book for a long time now and I hate that I let my personal problems get in the way.  I have some of the most awesome readers an author can ask for and you all deserve better than that.  Please just be patient with me as I work to get it done.  That’s all I can ask.

If it helps, here’s the cover for Darkness Wanes.  Usually I do a big reveal post, but I’m just going to let you all see it now.

Darkness Wanes medium cover

 

Publishing delay…

I’ve been putting this off because I hated to break the news, but I’m going to have to delay publishing Stalked by Flames.  A few too many things in my personal life came up this month that severely delayed my getting through revisions.  Family troubles, illness, round after round of thunderstorms and massive flooding in my state–a lot of things.  As soon as I’d think I could get back to work something else would come along to throw me off my game.

In addition to that, I’ve just been taking longer to get the story how I want it.  One of the great things about this stage in my writing career is I’ve learned a lot through publishing the Sensor Series.  I’ve been taking all those lessons and applying them so that this new series can start off with a bang, but it has meant revisions have gone slower.  Plus a good deal of research and fact checking has gone into Stalked by Flames.  Not that I don’t have a lot with my other books, but this story has some major elements I haven’t had to deal with before.

I’m rather amazed the guy at the water treatment plant in the town where this book takes place didn’t hang up on me the other day.  I needed to know how the long water would keep running if dragons invaded and knocked out the power grid.  A reasonable question, right?  Of course, I did introduce myself as an author and gave him a brief summary of the story first.  Still, it was a little awkward to ask.  I must say I’m grateful there are sci-fi/fantasy lovers everywhere and he understood my need for information.  We had a nice fifteen minute chat on all the possible scenarios so I could be sure I got it right in my book.  I’ve had other phone calls like that where people were just as cooperative.  And no federal agents have showed up on my doorstep wondering what I’m up to, so that’s a bonus.

I’ve just about got the first quarter of the book where I want it.  That is always the hardest part for me and takes the longest to get through because all the groundwork is laid there.  It had been a while since I’d started a new series and I’d forgotten how complicated world building, character introductions, plot, etc. could be when you don’t have previous books to rely on.  This is an all-new cast with dynamics that are rather different from my other books.

Needless to say I’m estimating it will take a few more weeks to get through revisions on the rest of the book and bounce the manuscript back and forth with my editors.  My hope is to have the book out by July 25th.  If anyone would be interested in doing a beta read of the early chapters (about 20k words) let me know by Sunday, June 28th.  Please only respond if you’re serious about looking them over and can have them back to me in a few days.  For those who email through the contact page or comment here, I’ll get the file to you on Sunday for you to look over.

Thanks to everyone for their patience.  I am very excited about this novel and hope to have it out soon.  For those who haven’t signed up for my book release alerts and want to be sure you don’t miss Stalked by Flames when it comes out, click here.  You’ll only receive emails when I publish new books, nothing else.

Self-publishing and expectations…

Recently I had a visitor to the website who asked several questions about my self-publishing experience. There wasn’t a good way to keep my responses short, though I tried at first. Instead I’m putting my answers in a regular post so that anyone else who is curious can read them as well. Here goes:

“Could you please talk about your experience?”

Publishing is a lot like riding a rollercoaster. Some days I’m on top of the world writing good stuff and hearing back from readers who enjoy my work. Thanks to all those awesome people who commented on my last post! Other days I might have trouble moving forward while working on a scene and/or catch some criticism of one of my books that makes me think I’m the most horrible writer in the world.

There are days I can’t imagine having any other job and that it’s the absolute best. Then I have days where I question why I released my stories for anyone else to read because, obviously, I completely suck. What was I thinking letting anyone see the crazy ideas that come into my head?

Writers have to be deeply in touch with their feelings in order to produce quality work. This is important, but can also make the whole experience more difficult from an emotional standpoint. If a reader is disappointed with your latest book you feel like you let them down though you honestly wrote it the way you believed it had to be written. I thank God for all my encouraging fans. They’re what has kept me releasing the next ones, though I’d probably never stop writing regardless.

“How you went about it. What was the process like? What pit falls did you encounter?”

For how I went about it, you must keep in mind I was writing for a few years before I published and that Darkness Haunts was not my first book. It was simply the first I thought worth sharing with the world. So when I made the big decision to publish I waited nearly a year from the time the first draft was completed before self-publishing it. I queried agents, entered it into ABNA (Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards), and also learned everything about publishing I could.

I researched cover artists, editors, ebook formatting, paperbacks, and a lot on marketing. Though I refused to change to a genre that might be more salable (people were saying urban fantasy was a dying genre), I did study my market so as to gauge my expectations. I also followed other authors and read about their experiences, soaking up every bit of information I could.  At the end, I even changed the title to something more fitting and catchy than the original.  It wasn’t Darkness Haunts until two months before I released it.

Continue reading

New release date for Darkness Clashes and sale for Darkness Haunts

I’ve been putting this off because I was hoping I wouldn’t have to let you all down, but revisions for Darkness Clashes are taking longer than expected.   It’s my hope to make this the best novel yet and that’s not something that can be rushed.  The new release date is September 14th (just under three weeks from now).  Please don’t shoot me…at least not if you want to get the book eventually!

To make it up to you all, I will be posting the first three chapters by the end of the week to tide you over.  There will also be a chance to get some cool promo items in that post.  Just make sure to check back so you can get the details (I promise it’s easy).

Also, I’ve reduced the price of the first novel in the series, Darkness Haunts, to 99 cents.  This sale only lasts until Friday, August 29th, before it goes back up to $3.99.  If you know anyone who might be interested in trying the book out this would be the time for them to grab a copy.

Thanks for your patience and understanding.  I promise the delay for Darkness Clashes will be worth it 🙂