Monday, October 15, 2018

The Beast of Black Pond is available for purchase! Here are some things about it...

Well, Spine Chillers: The Beast of Black Pond is out in e-book form and hard copy on amazon. I'm so exited! I thought you might want to know a few things about this book and the series in general, so I thought I'd write a blog about it. I hope you enjoy it.

First of all, I'd like to tell you a little about this book that you might not know. It was the first book of this series that I wrote. It's gone through quite a few revisions before it became what it is today. When the book started out, the actual "beast" that haunted black pond was a creature known as a "grim." (You might have heard of a "grim" from the Harry Potter series. It actually is based on the legend of "black dog" ghosts or "hellhounds.") 

Anyway, the original "beast" in the pond was a spectral dog that dragged unsuspecting victims in to drown them. While I liked the image, it didn't seem to fit. So I used the idea in another story that I began to work on in tandem called Spine Chillers: Big Bad Wolf

A little off topic, those who have read the story Spine Chillers: Big Bad Wolf know that the actual creature chasing Jane isn't a black dog or wolf but a wendigo. A wendigo is a spirit of someone who was a cannibal when they were alive. It's an Algonquin legend. I did a great deal of research on the subject and tried to stick as close to the legend as possible. The only way I deviated that I know of it is that it originally came to Jane in the form of a spectral wolf. The reason it took the form of a wolf in my book was because it possessed a wolf to continue to hunt humans in an inconspicuous way. The imagery of a terrifying wolf spirit was taken from the original story of The Beast of Black Pond, but I think it works better in Big Bad Wolf.

Anyway, the real villain of Spine Chillers: The Beast of Black Pond is something much more terrifying because the legend is still alive today. I didn't realize this until I did the research and started noticing imagery of this creature on signs, subdivision names, etc. In a few days I'll talk a bit about it. (I don't want to give away any spoilers here, so I won't tell what it is just yet. I'll be sure to tell you that the blog post is a spoiler in the title.) 

Another bit of trivia, Duane is my favorite investigator of the series. This is why it is his idea to create the club to fight monsters. He was an NPC in one of the games I ran for my friends called Little Fears. He was the "rich boy" but his parents were negligent. They aren't maliciously negligent, but his father is a surgeon and his mother is a nurse, so they tend to work long shifts and are tired when they get home. Because they don't approve of Duane's dream to write horror novels or horror comics, he tends to be the black sheep in his family. (Because his father is a surgeon, in the incident on the boat his father was able to bandage Duane's leg and stop the bleeding. He sent Duane to the hospital because he didn't have the supplies to treat the wound properly on the boat.)

The working title of this series was originally based on Duane's club called "Junior Investigator's Club." I chose Spine Chillers because after composing a list of potential titles it seemed the best. I didn't realize at the time that the name was taken. I even did a search for the name and nothing came up. Ironically, I did a search after publishing the first book and found out later this series name has been used before. I chalk it up to fate. If I had seen that there was another series with the same name, I wouldn't have named it the same thing. Funny how that happened. I think I give the theme of the "spine chiller" a darker style anyway.

I guess for now I've talked enough, but I'll be continuing to blog about this until the next book Spine Chillers: Empty Eyes comes out on October 28th. We're almost to Halloween. Spine Chillers: The Beast of Black Pond and Spine Chillers: Empty Eyes take place around this special occasion, so please pick up a copy soon to live out the story at the perfect time!

Monday, August 20, 2018

Blog Tour! 08/20/2018

Monday, August 13, 2018

Samrae Duke is my new artist!

Hey Everybody,

Sorry it's been so long. I just wanted to go ahead and give you an update on the progress of the Spine Chillers series and to tell you some changes that have occurred recently.

First of all, I have a new artist for the series. Samrae Duke. Madalyn McLeod couldn't finish the series because she's become very busy lately, understandably so. Samrae has worked with Madalyn before and I'm pleased to say that her style is similar, very detail oriented, and is just as beautiful. Even though I'm sad that Madalyn couldn't complete the series, she helped me find a great replacement artist and I'm very grateful for that. If you'd like to see more of Samrae's art, please follow this link.

Samrae Duke's Art

I know you'll love her work, especially if you are a fan of fantasy art. Please visit her page!

In other news, the Spine Chillers series is coming along nicely and I'll be kicking off a blog tour for it very soon. I'll keep you posted on where the interviews and blogs are going to be posted. In preparation for the tour I've updated my website with a few more blog entries and a new banner. It's a simple website, but I think that it looks a lot better now that it's been tidied up.

The fist book Spine Chillers: The Scarecrow is coming out on August 31st. If you love horror and are nostalgic about middle grade horror, please pick up a copy. I strive not to disappoint. The second book will be coming out in the middle of September. After that, I plan on two books in October, Spine Chillers: The Beast of Black Pond comes out in early October and Spine Chillers: Empty Eyes in the middle of October. I've finished the last book (for the time being) The Firefly. This story is about the legend of the Adze. It should be coming out in November.

I have plenty of ideas for others in this series, but for now I'm focusing on the first five. If all goes well with the blog tour and I have decent sales, I might produce one for December about the Krampus. Wish me luck. I would love to write that story.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to the blog tour. Thank you so much for all of your support. Keep reading!

Friday, August 10, 2018

Who has two thumbs and is a Hufflepuff? I'm a Hufflepuff!

Hello all,

Long story short, last night I decided to get on my.pottermore.com to figure out what house I was in and to basically just do something a little different and fun. The results were both expected and surprising. I guess we'll start with the house.

I knew it was going to happen, but deep down I was hoping I was going to be sorted into Gryffindor or Ravenclaw. Yeah, I'm a Hufflepuff. The hat probably wouldn't have to even get on my head to shout that out. (Sort of like when it got close to Malfoy's head and just shouted "Slytherin" without even a second thought.) When the questions first started I could already tell by my answers that I was going to be placed in Hufflepuff. 

I guess there are worse houses to be sorted into though. I mean, Cedric Diggory was awesome. Tonks was one of my favorite characters, so I guess overall I' m good with this. There's just this stigma about this that being a Hufflepuff makes you seem like some sort of outcast, (I'll link the video at the end...) but the main thing about the house is loyalty to friends, family, and using your magic to protect others. So, overall, I guess I'm happy with the my house. The more surprising result in terms of houses was that my husband, Joel, was also a Hufflepuff. That's not to say he doesn't value the things associated with being a Hufflepuff, but neither of us saw it coming.

Once that that was out of the way I was all like, "Hey, now I get to see what my patronus is! Sweet!" I was nervous, but I was sure it was going to be some sort of cool animal like a wolf, stag, or cat, or something awesome. Well, my patronus is apparently a dolphin. Yay. Flipper is my patronus. I...don't...even...

Okay, so now to find out what type of wand I have. I was hoping it would be phoenix feather because that's just awesome, but I think you know what it was...hazel wood, unicorn hair core, 11' "surprisingly swishy flexibility." Yeah, unicorn hair core. Well, that's okay too. Apparently the dragon heart-string ones are a bit temperamental. 

Thing thing about this wand is that it can be very powerful for the user, but is temperamental if someone other than the user tries to cast anything with it (especially if its master experienced a recent emotional trauma or was in bad mood). It's "A sensitive wand, hazel often reflects it's owner's emotional state, and works best for a master who understands and can manage their own feelings." Also, it gets so attached to its owner that it "dies" when they do.

And there you have it. I'm a Hufflepuff! (Apparently through and through...)





Sunday, June 24, 2018

Blog Tour and Spine Chillers

Hey Everyone,

I just wanted to update you on the progress of the spine chillers series. I've been looking into blog tours and I think I've picked one for August and September. I'm waiting for them to get back to me with the details.

The first book of the series, Scarecrow, will be ready for purchase in the beginning of September. The second book, Big Bad Wolf, will appear at the end of September. I'll keep you posted on the exact date they will be available and the date that the blog tour will begin closer to time.

The first book cover is nearly complete and it's beautiful. I'll be revealing during the tour. I hope you like it as much as I do. Madalyn Mcleod has done a wonderful job with the artwork and her attention to detail is very appreciated.

I've nearly completed the fifth book of the Spine Chillers series, Firefly, but to be honest, I'm having a little trouble figuring out the final few chapters. I have no doubt it will come to me, probably very soon, but in the meantime I'm working on a new mid-grade dark fantasy story. I think it has a great deal of potential.

Basically, the new story follows a girl who gets lost in the forest near her home and wanders into the land of fairy tales, but the fairy tales have become twisted and happy endings are very few. She finds out quickly that finding a way home is the least of her worries as she faces fairy tale monsters, and everyone in the world is drawn to her presence like moths to a flame.

I actually am very close to finishing the dark fairy tale story, so I might do some work on that in the future. I have some ideas for at least three books, possibly even more since there are many, many fairy tales to explore. When I finish the first one, I think I'll send it to my contact at Penguin/Random House. Wish me luck.

Anyway, that's what I've been working on recently. I'll keep you updated as I get more information, and about everything else that I've been up to lately.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Get Motivated!

Hey Everybody,

I just wanted to write this because I know it's been a little while. Currently, I'm trying to get motivated in general. I don't know what's wrong with me, but I've felt like being lazy for about a week now. I can't afford to be lazy with two children, but it is what it is. All I want to do is nap, play video games, play my table-top RPGs, and watch anime. Ugh. I think I really really need a vacation. I hate feeling lazy when I should be working...

The weather in SC is on its way to being a slow broil, so going outside during the summer is a battle of how much water can you drink to make up for the sweat. Needless to say, the air is a winter breeze inside of the house. For some reason I can never balance my internal temperature during this time so I end up curled up in a blanket in the house losing the sleep war, or I step outside and feel uncomfortably warm like I'm cooking a little on the inside. Don't get me wrong, I do love SC but I'm not a fan of the heat. You can only take so many clothes off in public. At least in the winter you can bundle up with as many as you can.

I've watched some very good anime lately. "Darling in the Franxx" is surprisingly good and for once I like all of the characters. (Of course, when one of them inevitably dies I'll be devastated, but I intend to find out what happens.) It's ongoing, so I'm still in the process of watching it. It's a story about mecha fighters in a post-apocalyptic setting that are teenagers. Male and female pairs have to work in sync to operate the mechs and they are fighting in a war against bio-mechanical monsters. The sexual tension is pretty thick and there are some moments where you're just thinking "Oh, Japan..." with the "Oh, You..." meme face, but it's still really, really good. It does inspire me to write something like this in the future, but that is a ways away.

"Magus Bride" was fantastic. It's a fantasy that takes place in the modern day and focuses mostly on fey magic. The story is good, the characters are awesome, and the animation is beautiful. It might be one of my new favorites, though "Darling in the Franxx" is catching up. The main character of "Magus Bride" is a rare person that can see into the supernatural world and has the ability to wield powerful fairy magic, but the problem is the more magic she uses, the less time she has to live. It doesn't have much action, but the stories are all very interesting and dramatic.

In terms of video games I'm still playing World of Warcraft. I really should pick up VR Skyrim again, but I don't have my VR legs yet and I'm worried that I'll be sick. I won't give up on it, but I am giving it a break. In terms of table-top RPGs

I'm about to run a "How to Train Your Dragon" RPG using the PDQ system (it's a system with an easy, flexible dice mechanic, so it lends itself well to player-driven stories).  I'm playing in a friends PDQ game about a society where monsters and normal people are trying to coexist. I'm playing as a fairy member of the constabulary who is trying to help withhold the accords between the humans and monsters and investigate supernatural crime. It's a fun game and I'm really, really enjoying it.

And, that's about it (for now) in terms of the things I've been up to other than writing. I haven't written in a week and I plan to get back to it this week once I feel inspired. I'm still halfway done with my fifth story in the "Spine Chillers" series and the cover art for the first book is coming along nicely. I'll keep you posted. I also intend to read "A Wrinkle in Time" soon and I'll let you know what I think about that.

Well, I'm off to lunch. Take care. Keep reading and writing.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Seeing some Results

Hey Everyone,

I just wanted to let you know that the "Fireflies in Autumn" story is coming along nicely. (As I said, working title, I need something a little scarier...) Anyway, I'm working on that and also talking with my artist about the cover of the "Scarecrow" story. It's looking very good already and we're only in the thumbnail stage. I'm really excited about seeing the finished product.

I thought I would also mention that I'm planning to release the first book, "Scarecrow" around the beginning of September, and the second book, "Bad Wolf" around the end of September. Sometime in the first week or two of October I'll publish "The Beast of Black Pond," then, around Halloween, I'll publish "Empty Eyes." Finally, the fifth book will be available in the beginning of November, the one currently called "Fireflies in Autumn." After that, I'll be taking a break from releasing books in the "Spine Chillers" series to see if I can establish a large enough fan base to justify more.  I'll need your help for that.

If anyone has children, or knows any children, in middle school or late elementary school that like reading and horror, please let them know about this series as soon as it is released. I'm planning to do some consignment in local stores, but word of mouth helps more than you know. Also, I'll be blogging more often and trying my best to get the word out.

For those of you who check my website, I'm aware it needs to be updated. I'm planning on adding a link to Blood God and doing another banner on the top with all three books. Also, I'll update all the relevant information about the completed Young Adult fantasy series, Blood Rain, Blood Moon, and Blood God, and my upcoming novels. Just bear with me, a lot has happened so recently and Blood God might've slipped under the radar which was not my intention. It is the final book of the Blood Rain series, and I think it measures up to the others, but it came out during an inopportune time.

Anyway, that's my news for now. I'll probably have more to say later in the week. Take care. Keep reading and writing. I'll keep you posted.