A big plot twist in my life

As this blog post title suggests, I recently had an unexpected twist come up in my life. Something that took me completely by surprise.  Those of you who have been following me for at least a couple of years may recall this post from November 2015 where I talked about some personal troubles I had.  Many of you were kind enough to comment with your support, encouragement, and/or similar stories you’d faced in your own lives. I can’t tell you how much that meant to me.

Now I finally have an update for you and it is good news!

Back in April I discovered I was pregnant.  Yes, really, after ten years of trying.  To say I was shocked would be an understatement, and let’s just say I was certain the pregnancy test must have been broken even if signs pointed toward it being right.  I tapped at the thing, wondering if it was playing a cruel joke on me.  Then I took another test and got the same results.  This was a Saturday night so there was little I could do to confirm it further until Monday when I could call my doctor.  Like me, she’d pretty much given up on me ever conceiving, so needless to say she got me into her office much faster than expected- the next day.  I had to go to the lab first and then be at the clinic an hour later.  Apparently, she and the nurse hovered over the computer waiting for the results to come in and they had broad grins on their faces when they came into the exam room to meet my husband and me.  It was true.  I was finally carrying a baby, and though I would have preferred for it to happen before reaching “advanced maternal age” I’m truly excited.  Better now than never.

Having said all that, deep fear rode me that it could all go wrong at any moment.  Like fate would tease me with something so miraculous and then take it away, so I’ve kept quiet until I reached the second trimester even though I knew some people would be wondering about the next book, but I feared jinxing anything.  During that time, I faced all the usual pregnancy related symptoms (nausea, exhaustion, severe headaches I couldn’t take pain meds for so I just curled in a ball until they passed, and a few other things that are less pleasant to even mention).  These issues are starting to taper off slowly and will hopefully be gone soon now that I’m on week fourteen.  The baby is due in mid-December, for those wondering.

My husband and I have also had to scramble to find a bigger home because our small apartment wasn’t going to cut it with a baby on the way.  I used up the days I was feeling a little better and more energetic to go house hunting and eventually found a great place to rent.  We we’ve been busy packing and will be moving into the house next week.  It’s got a yard and back patio, plus lots of extra space inside so it’s going to be a huge improvement over my current residence.

So all of this is to say, if you haven’t guessed already, that not a lot of writing has gotten done in the last few months like I’d hoped.  Destined for Dreams has been started, but it isn’t near completion yet.  My hope is that as soon as we get settled into the new house I can focus entirely on getting the novel finished.  I’ve been reassured by some of my fellow authors that the second trimester of pregnancy was an extremely productive time for them, especially compared to the first where it’s tough to be creative when it’s all you can do to hold your food down (if you can find anything you can tolerate to eat, that is).  I’m looking forward to buckling down in my new home (new to me, anyway) and giving you all a second novel in the Dark Destiny Series you can truly enjoy to be followed by the last book of the trilogy.

Please be patient with me in the meantime.  I’ll post updates as I have them and an excerpt once I’ve got something polished enough to share.  Thanks again to those who have been supportive along the way!

2017 Book Release Forecast

I hope everyone’s new year has started out well so far.  Last year was a tough one for me in more ways than one, but I have high hopes for 2017.  It’s fresh and shiny, and I’ve got a strong book release schedule lined up.

For the first half of the year, I will be focusing on the Sensor Series spin-offs.  Since I have multiple books planned, I decided the novels featuring side characters would fall under a different series title.  They will be in the “Dark Destiny Series” and the first two novels will feature Cori and Bartol as the main characters and narrators.  I will release the first book, Destined for Shadows, on March 25th and the second in early June.

I’ve found the models for the covers, who happen to be husband and wife and do a lot of commercial photography work together already.  I like this because the chemistry will already be there between them, and they’ve got a look that fits Cori and Bartol well.  We’ll be doing the photo shoot on February 6th.  Very excited to see how the images turn out.  It probably won’t be until the end of February before the cover for book one is ready, but I’ll reveal it as soon as it is.

For those curious about Destined for Shadows, and not wanting to wait for a sneak peek, I do have a 450 word snippet up in my Facebook fan group.  All you need to do is join to check it out.  There are regular updates there for where I’m at in writing, future plans, giveaways, and monthly book club discussions where readers can discuss what else they’re reading aside from my novels.  There are also chances to win ARCs ahead of release dates.  Be sure to join if you’re interested.

For the second half of 2017, I will be going back to the Dragon’s Breath Series.  The tentative release date for Captured in Flames (book 5) is late August.  I also hope to release the sixth novel (yet to be titled) by late November or early December.

As for audio, those of you waiting for Forged by Flames can get your copy on February 14th.  Yes, it happened to land on Valentine’s Day, but at least it’s an easy date to remember.  I can’t say anything yet on Christmas with Dragons.  I’m hoping to work something out on that soon for audio, and I’ll let you know once I have more news.

Feel free to ask any questions if you have them and wishing all of you a happy 2017!

Christmas with Dragons update

I just wanted to let everyone know I’m working hard to finish edits on Christmas with Dragons and expect to have it out by the end of the weekend (the 18th).  In the meantime, I wanted to go ahead and post the first chapter for you all to get started.

Hope you enjoy and that everyone is having a wonderful holiday season!

*****

Chapter 1

 Bailey

 

I inched my way out of the bed, trying not to disturb the sleeping dragon lying next to me.  Even in his human form, he took up a lot of space with his legs sprawled across the mattress.  It made it that much more difficult to get around him, though I had to admit the sight of his toned, muscular body tempted me to stay.  Who knew a fire-breathing dragon could turn into a sexy man with olive skin, spiky black hair, and high cheekbones that gave his features a chiseled edge?  I might be genetically programmed to kill both shifter and pure dragons, but Aidan had somehow found a way around that problem and into my heart.

I touched my toes to the cool wood floor and expelled a light breath.  Almost there.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Aidan snaked his arm around my waist, dragging me back across the bed.

“Nooo,” I protested.  “I’ve got things to do.  It’s bad enough you made me sleep past noon!”

He’d gotten me to the point where I kept dragon hours, which meant I didn’t go to bed until almost dawn.  It was putting a cramp in my slaying activities since I liked to catch the beasts while they slept in their dens.  Aidan should have appreciated my strategy, considering I was killing his clan’s enemies, but our relationship was still new and he didn’t like letting me out of his sight very often.  At least, not since we started living together a couple of weeks ago.

“More important than me?”  He nuzzled my neck.

The spicy scent wafting from his hot skin was familiar and comforting, weakening my resolve.  I turned my head to find him staring at me with intense, yellow eyes.  “I’ve got to meet Trish in a little over an hour to go Christmas shopping.”

“Christmas shopping?” He lifted a brow.

“Well, yeah.”  I paused to search for the right words, considering we’d actually be looting stuff out of stores that hadn’t been open since the dragon apocalypse seven months ago.  Food, medicine, and products people used on a daily basis were mostly gone, but plenty of other stuff was still out there.  Norman—a suburb of Oklahoma City—was down to maybe forty percent of the population it once had, and among those left, people generally only took what they needed.  Traveling to get stuff and transporting it all home was too dangerous to grab many luxury items, especially since we didn’t have trash service anymore to get rid of the old stuff.  “It’s more like searching for gifts.”

He nodded.  “I have heard of this holiday called Christmas.  The humans at the fortress celebrate it each year after Dragomas, and our merchants enjoy great profits from both occasions.”

“What is Dragomas exactly?” I asked.  I’d heard him mention it to his sister recently when she came by our house—or lair as Aidan referred to it—but I hadn’t had a chance to ask more since I was on my way out at the time. Continue Reading →

Updates on the Dragon’s Breath Series (now on all major retailers)

I’ve got a few updates for you all on the Dragon’s Breath Series.  First, it is no longer in KU (Kindle Unlimited), and I’ve just uploaded books 1 & 2 onto the other retailers (Nook, Kobo, and iTunes).  For those wondering, I don’t have any plans to put it back in KU in the near future.  If you are one of the individuals who has been waiting for the novels to be available outside of Amazon, you will find purchase links to the first book (Stalked by Flames) below.  Thanks for being so patient on this.

NOOK     KOBO     ITUNES

Next, I’m on the later stages of edits for Forged by Flames, but it is taking a little longer than expected to finish.  This is mostly because I’ve stretched myself a bit thin trying to get too many things done around the same time.  I’ve also had edits with the Kerbasi holiday story, cover and promo design stuff, forming the Facebook fan group, handling various correspondence from my publishers (I’ve got a French book release on the 28th and Dancing with Flames just came out in audio last week), and the list goes on.  It’s been more than a little hectic.

Having said that, I am getting close to finished.  If there’s a delay in publishing book 3, it probably won’t be more than a day or two.  This is just to give me some breathing room to make certain the novel looks good before I publish it for the masses. I will post another update sometime on Wednesday, and should I not be able to release it on the 27th, I will at least put up the first few chapters to read here on the blog so you can get started.  The actual book release would follow within a couple of days after that.

In addition to everything else, I am also participating in a Halloween Facebook party with a bunch of other UF authors.  While it starts on November 26th, my day for posting contests with prizes isn’t until the 30th (must have Forged by Flames ready before then!).

banner-for-oct-2016-uf-author-facebook-party

I have got some tote bags with the newest book cover on them, a pewter dragon figurine, and other awesome things I’ll be giving out.  Don’t miss your chance to possibly win some of these prizes and join the party.  Here’s the link:  https://www.facebook.com/events/172431569855039/

And that’s all for now.  I’m off to get some more work done!

Susan Illene’s Dark Avengers

This is quick post to let you all know about a new Facebook group available for fans of my books.  Up until now, there hasn’t been an easy place to go once you’ve finished the Sensor Series or Dragon’s Breath Series novels to discuss it with fellow readers.  I thought it was about time to change that.

One reason I haven’t done this before is that I don’t have time to run it myself, and I didn’t feel right about it anyway because it should be a place where you can hold discussions freely without my involvement.  Thankfully, I found two awesome ladies (Rachel and Sarah) who follow both my series and were happy to run it for me.  They are also part of the team that helps with brainstorming for my novel covers and planning the cover model photo shoots.  They know my books well, and I’m confident they’ll make great moderators.  I will stop by once in a while for special posts and Q&A sessions, but other than that it’s all for the readers.

The title of this post may have tipped you off on the name of the group.  After much thought and consideration, we went with “Susan Illene’s Dark Avengers“.  We tried a lot of different ideas in an attempt to find something that didn’t favor one of my series over the other, and for whatever reason that one stuck with us the most.  It’s catchy.  Just go with it 🙂

Things to expect with the group

  • Sneak peeks at covers before they’re revealed anywhere else
  • Exclusive giveaways
  • Early snippets from upcoming books
  • Character highlights before the next novel releases to help refresh your memory on who they are and where they were at the last time you saw them.
  • Reminders for when books release in various formats (ebook, audio, paperback)
  • Q&A sessions with me
  • Group discussions of my books before and after releases (anything with spoilers will be marked accordingly for those who may not be caught up)
  • A chance to hang out with like-minded readers

There are probably more things I’m not remembering to list right now, but you get the basic idea.  This will be a closed group with two moderators who will post regular topics and help keep things civil so you can feel comfortable there.  If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, and you want to join the Dark Avengers, the link is below. The moderators will be checking in regularly to approve new members and welcome you to the group!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1657437984566674/