First in a series sale- Red and Black and The Rose and the Claw just 99 cents!

Would you like to add some ebooks to your black Friday haul?

Both Red and Black and The Rose and the Claw, the first books in both of my series, are currently being sold for just 99 cents! In addition, both books are part of kindle unlimited. Print copies are also available (and make great holiday gifts!)

 

In addition, Red and Black is currently part of a Black Friday-themed group promo with superhero-fiction.com. So if you’re looking for some more superheroes to add to your TBR, then check out the this website for the full list.

And lastly, The Rose and the Claw is part of another group promo, this one is with my fellow authors from Midnight Tide Publishing! Check out the books above, which are all on sale for 99 cents to $1.99. You can find more information on these awesome fantasy titles here.

Happy shopping!

Attention Rapunzel fans! ARCs of The Wayward Tower are currently available!

Are you ready to dive into a new Twin Kingdoms novella?

I am so happy to report that the advanced readers copies for The Wayward Tower: A Rapunzel Novella are currently available for reviewers! The Wayward Tower is the third book in my Twin Kingdoms quartet, and is set to be released on December 8th 2021.

Getting early reviews (ideally the week of release) is an important part of the book selling process. Do you like to review books? Would you be up for reading The Wayward Tower early? Then please let me know by leaving a comment here with your email, or emailing me at nancyotoolemeservier@gmail.com. I am currently looking for reviewers for amazon, goodreads, bookbub, and book blogs.

Read on for more information about The Wayward Tower.

The Wayward Tower: A Rapunzel Novella (The Twin Kingdoms, 3)
Release Date- 12/08/21

Trapped in a tower

Aria knows how to escape imprisonment. All she needs to do is to lead Prince Victor to his death. But she has no desire to become a murderer or assist the man that holds her captive. Instead, Aria discovers a possible solution in unfamiliar magic. The Wayward Paths may lead her to freedom, but they will require her to come face to face with the shadows of her past.

The foolish prince

Victor’s life is in danger. After barely escaping a deadly masquerade, he finds himself a target of The Mage King, an ancient being who requires royal blood. Not that Victor takes that too seriously. He’d rather think about Aria, the beautiful and mysterious woman that visits him in his dreams. Aria’s past holds the key to the identity of The Mage King, but will their encounters provide him with answers or result in his demise?

What dangers lie on The Wayward Paths?

Cover Reveal: The Wayward Tower: A Rapunzel Novella

This December, experience Victor and Aria’s story with The Wayward Tower!

Trapped in a tower

Aria knows how to escape imprisonment. All she needs to do is to lead Prince Victor to his death. But she has no desire to become a murderer or assist the man that holds her captive. Instead, Aria discovers a possible solution in unfamiliar magic. The Wayward Paths may lead her to freedom, but they will require her to come face to face with the shadows of her past.

The foolish prince

Victor’s life is in danger. After barely escaping a deadly masquerade, he finds himself a target of The Mage King, an ancient being who requires royal blood. Not that Victor takes that too seriously. He’d rather think about Aria, the beautiful and mysterious woman that visits him in his dreams. Aria’s past holds the key to the identity of The Mage King, but will their encounters provide him with answers or result in his demise?

What dangers lie on The Wayward Paths?


To be honest, Rapunzel is never a story I thought that I would retell. I’ve never had a huge connection to the original fairy tale (although I love both Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale and the movie Tangled). But when  it came time to explore Victor and Aria’s story, I knew that there was no other fairy tale that fit them, and the series as a whole better. One of the major themes in The Twin Kingdoms is isolation, after all. What better way to explore that then by exploring Rapunzel’s tower?

Plus, one of my beta readers had practical experience with super-long hair.

The Wayward Tower: A Rapunzel Novella will be released on December 8th 2021, and is currently up for preorder on amazon. Like the previous books in the series, it will be available in ebook, print and as part of your kindle unlimited membership. ARCs will also be offered to reviewers. If you’d like to be one of them, please keep an eye on this space, or sign up for my monthly newsletter.

 

Failure during National Novel Writing Month

Like many, I am a big fan of fantasy author Brandon Sanderson, especially The Reckoners, a gritty superhero series that takes place in this world where only villains get superpowers. I loved the original trilogy to pieces, so when a spin-off was announced back in 2017, I was super hyped. But by the end of 2018, it was a much different story. The book had been canceled. Sanderson just couldn’t make it work.

I remember being shocked. What did he mean the book wasn’t coming out? He had written drafts! There was cover art! Plus, the idea of needing to scrap a book entirely seemed almost amateurish. Sure, I have many novels, including a complete trilogy that will never make it off of my hard drive. But those were all written before I published Red and Black. Don’t you eventually become experienced enough to prevent trainwrecks like this?

Flash forward to November 2020 to me hunched over my laptop working on the sixth Red and Black book. It was, of course, National Novel Writing Month, the time of the year where I thrive the most as a writer. 2020 was my tenth NaNoWriMo, and I had yet to encounter a loss. In fact, not only did always I manage to bang out 50,000 words, but I usually completed the entire novel with days to spare.  But 2020 was different. I was getting in my words every day, but something was very, very wrong.

Despite having plotted much of the novel out in advance, Red and Black 6 had problems. This includes several false starts, and while there are a few genuinely exciting set pieces, the vast majority of the book is just the characters feeling defeated and talking about how they have no idea how they’re going to face the challenges in front of them.

Basically, being passive as fuck.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think your characters need to be super proactive in every second of the book. We all have times when we are paralyzed by the lack of options in front of us, and there are structurally appropriate moments for characters to go through this too.

It is not structurally appropriate for those moments to take up the majority of the book. Especially when that book is a superhero story. I knew that I was in trouble long before I limped across the 50k finish line. I may have “won” NaNoWriMo, but I had done it with an utterly unusable book.

The question was, why?

One of the answers is probably obvious: the pandemic. November of 2020 was a pretty scary time. No vaccines had been made available yet. Families were facing the reality of much smaller, or even solo, Thanksgivings and Christmases. I lost a family member, and I was far from the only one. It was fitting to write a book where the characters felt like they didn’t have a lot of options in front of them. None of us did.

This might distract someone from writing, but the crazy thing was that it wasn’t like that for me, at least not initially. As COVID-19 made its way from China to the United States, I found myself turning back to an unfinished series of fairy tale novellas that became my Twin Kingdoms series. When I was furloughed from my job, I buried myself in edits for the next Red and Black book. In a world where every norm was being stripped away, fiction became a realm of comforting predictability. I couldn’t control the national death toll, but my books were another thing entirely.

But that wasn’t the only thing I was juggling.

At the tail end of September, one of my cats needed to be rushed to the vet due to a urinary blockage. This led to a lengthy hospital stay, several surgeries, vet bills, and a difficult recovery period at home. I usually spend a large chunk of October preparing for NaNoWriMo, but with all the rushing around, that time was cut dramatically short. The prepwork I did manage was spent sitting on the floor next to a drugged-up cat who couldn’t understand all of the trauma he had just experienced to keep him alive.

And then November first happened, the day when I usually wake up early to get in my first 2000 words. Instead, I spent the entire day was crying my eyes out.

It’s not worth getting into the specifics of why my marriage fell apart. I’ve already written about it, and this blog post is already too damn long. But while it’s been as amicable a divorce as possible and my former spouse and I remain very close, the day we separated was not an easy one, and the rest of NaNoWriMo was basically the same. Writing was no longer an escape for me. Writing was hard. It didn’t matter that I had done this nine times before. It didn’t matter that I had published multiple books. My life had hit a level of stress where I just couldn’t expect to produce like I had when I was happy or even just overwhelmed by the pandemic.

The book was doomed.

One of the most common pieces of advice for authors, “write every day.” It’s one I take seriously, even if sometimes my “writing time” is spent on more administrative tasks rather than the act of writing itself. It’s almost a necessity to those of us who are authors with a day job. We so rarely have large chunks of time to dedicate to our stories. And when you do something every day for years, it becomes a part of your routine and then a part of your identity. I write because I want to share my stories, but I also write because I need to. So when the writing fails, it feels like I am a failure too.

So much of the language around National Novel Writing Month is based on the concepts of habits and routines. And that’s for a good reason. One of the best ways to tackle a seemingly overwhelming goal is to chop it into manageable chunks. But it also makes the process cold and mechanical when writing can be a very emotional act.

Writers are more than just book-making machines. Acting as if the traumas of the wider world and our personal lives do not impact our ability to create is delusional. Every burden we experience leaves a weight on our shoulders. And while writing can be a fitting distraction or release, there’s only so much weight you can bring to the keyboard until everything gets poisoned. And it doesn’t matter how experienced or professional you may think you are. Sometimes books fail.

It’s now October 2021, and I am once again facing National Novel Writing Month. This year I am returning to Red and Black 6 with hopes of completely rewriting it from scratch. The story is very different. The characters are more active all around, someone who was slated to die doesn’t even show up in the book, and my protagonist, Dawn, has a much stronger emotional arc.

Part of me worries that I will once more fail. That I’ll get to the keyboard on day one, and all of my careful plans will fall apart. Because while the world looks different than it did a year ago, on both a personal and global level, things still aren’t great. But it has not been a purposeless year. I have struggled, but I have also produced works that I am proud of (including that series of fairy tales I mentioned!). I attend regular therapy sessions, which is not an easy thing for me. I have learned to take time for myself to unwind (albeit not without guilt). And I honestly believe that I have a stronger story in me this time around.

And ironically, one of the books I have been reading while plotting this out is Lux by Brandon Sanderson and Steven Bohls, a brand new Recokners novel. Not the same book that Sanderson initially talked about writing back in 2017, but something different. 2020’s NaNoWriMo may have been a failure, but that doesn’t mean that the book that grows out of it has to be.

Wish me luck.

The Twin Kingdoms Expands! Read a Dance with Magic Today

It’s here! It’s here!

As of today, the second book in my Twin Kingdoms series, A Dance with Magic, is available in ebook, paperback, and on kindle unlimited. Just like the first book in the series, it’s a fairy tale retelling. The fairy tale in question is “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” and the book focuses on Kris’s sister Rebecca and Zahir, her personal guard.

Here’s the full summary if you haven’t seen it yet:


The chance for freedom

Rebecca has lived a life of restrictions. Once a scared princess, ruthlessly controlled by her older brother, she now finds herself inheriting a kingdom that never expected to have a queen. Facing the possibility of engagement to a man she cannot stand, Rebecca takes her first chance of freedom: an enchanted masquerade located beneath a trap door.

The loyal soldier

Zahir has lived a life of loss. A peerless swordsman and trained fighter, he once fought for his country. Now he only raises his blade in defense of one: his queen and dearest friend, Rebecca. But secretly, his feelings expand beyond friendship. It will take all of Zahir’s skill to protect Rebecca from the true purpose of the masquerade, a force more sinister and older than either of them expect.

Or may be able to survive.


Pick up the newest book in the Twin Kingdoms today!

More than a Writing Machine: September in Review

September Posts

  1. Beauty and the Beast meets My Hero Academia: August in Review
  2. Are you looking for a good retelling? Then check out the Fairy Tale Book Fair!
  3. A Dance with Magic Sample Chapter

September is a time of transformation. It’s when most people—or their kids—go back to school. It’s when the leaves start to change here in Maine. And even though it’s been very warm and has only started feeling like fall over the past few days, you can definitely feel the temperature shifting. The days have started getting shorter. This weekend, I’ll be packing away my sundresses and yanking the air conditioners out of my windows. So it’s appropriate that I’ve also been shifting my mindset from the beginning to the end of the Twin Kingdoms series.

This might sound a bit premature, given that the first book just came out in early August. But the thing about writing is you need to be ahead.

The writing front

This month, a big chunk of my time was spent working on the third draft of the fourth and final Twin Kingdoms novella. I like to stay that by this point in the process, I focus on technical aspects like word choice, typos, and commas. But the truth of the matter is there are always a few bigger issues leftover from draft two. In contrast to previous drafts, this one was relatively painless. So much so that I’m actually kinds of nervous that I missed something important.  Regardless, the novella is currently in the inbox of my beta readers.

Speaking of beta reads, I actually did a pass on the fifth Red and Black book! I’m still waiting on a couple more people to get back to me and hope to be able to send it off to my editor by the holidays. So progress may be slow for Dawn and Alex, but it’s certainly happening!

The Publishing Front

Of course, I didn’t only spend September writing. I also have a book coming out next month!

A Dance with Magic is the second book in the Twin Kingdoms series. It focuses on Rebecca and Zahir (who appear in the final few chapters of The Rose and the Claw) and retells the fairy tale, “The Twelve Dancing Princess.” I’ve spent quite a bit of time this month getting the novella ready for publication, whether it be in distributing ARCs, sharing sample chapters, or finalizing the files so they’re all ready to go on October 6th.

In addition, by the end of the month, I started making moves toward getting book three ready for publication. I still have a long ways to go with this one. It’s a good thing it’s not coming out until the beginning of December.

Where else have I been?

One thing I feel a little bad about is because so much of my attention has been on the new series, the blog has been a little neglected. Sure, I still do these monthly check-ins and promote the new series, but I don’t get to write about other topics as much as I used to. And while those posts don’t necessarily appeal to everyone who stops by my blog, I feel like they were good for showing that there’s more to me than being a writing machine.

One place where you can still get that is on my Instagram, where I share pictures of the books I’ve read, cool things I’ve found on my walks, and of course, my cat Coraline looking adorable. The fact that I only need to post a photo instead of typing up a blog post is a lot less stressful. If you’re on the platform and don’t mind my uneven photography skills, I’d suggest stopping by.

What’s Next?

On October 6th, A Dance with Magic: A Twelve Dancing Princesses Novella will be available on Kindle, in print, and as part of your kindle unlimited subscription. Please consider preordering if you haven’t already. Beyond that, there are the beta edits for the final Twin Kingdoms novella to work on, but my main focus this month will be getting ready for what’s arguably my biggest writing month of the year.

That’s right, National Novel Writing Month may seem a long way off, but November is just around the corner. I hope to spend as much as October as possible getting ready. This is especially important this year because I plan on completely rewriting last year’s book.

That’s right. I may have written 50,000 words during the 2020 NaNoWriMo, but the results were terrible. I hope to write an entire blog entry on the topic, but needless to say, I committed pretty much every mistake in the book, and I did it all on a storyline that I have been looking forward to writing for years. Even if I managed to smooth out the draft, it would be insulting to my readers to ask them to pay for this.

So I’m throwing it out and starting all over again.

This, I know, is going to result in some consequences. I try and get a Red and Black book out once a year.  The gap might be bigger with this one. But I would rather people wait a little longer than put out a work that I’m not proud of.

Let’s see how round two goes.

A Dance with Magic Sample Chapter

A Dance with Magic: A Twelve Dancing Princesses Novella, is coming out in about two weeks! For those not in the know, A Dance with Magic is the second book in my Twin Kingdoms series, but it can also be read on its own if you’re just a fan of the fairy tale. If you’d like to check out a sample, check out the chapter below. I hope you’ll consider preordering A Dance with Magic!

Continue reading

Are you looking for a good retelling? Then check out the Fairy Tale Book Fair!

Hey everyone, just wanted to give you a quick heads up that The Rose and the Claw, my “Beauty and the Beast” retelling, is currently part of a month-long book fair that’s all about fairy tale retellings. Also worth mentioning, if you are a kindle unlimited subscriber, a decent number of these books can be found on ku, and are specially marked as part of the book fair.

So if reading The Rose and the Claw has put you in the mood for more fairy tales, or you’re just looking to explore some new books, then I’d recommend checking it out.

Beauty and the Beast meets My Hero Academia: August in Review

August Posts

  1. The Rose and the Claw: Available in Ebook, Paperback, and on Kindle Unlimited
  2. Cover Reveal: A Dance with Magic: A Twelve Dancing Princesses Novella
  3. Pick up your ARC of A Dance with Magic Today!

Hello all! This post is going out a few days later than intended, but that’s because I had a jam-packed August. And honestly, September is shaping up to be the same. Let’s dive into the specifics.

Publishing The Rose and the Claw

It’s not every month that you launch a new series! At the beginning of August, I published The Rose and the Claw: A Beauty and the Beast Novella. Thank you to everyone who has picked up the first book in my Twin Kingdoms series so far, especially those who have taken the time to leave reviews. Yes, it is a bit of a departure from my superhero stuff (I’ll touch on the Red and Black series in the writing section below), but I’ve been a fan of fairy tales since before I could read and have always wanted to write a series like this.

The book is currently out in ebook, paperback, and as part of your kindle unlimited subscription if you’d like to check it out.

Writing, Writing, Writing

While launching a new series is exciting, that’s only how I started the month. The rest was spent on future projects. For the majority of August that was working on revisions of the fourth and final book in The Twin Kingdoms series. I still need to do another pass on this one, plus beta reads and professional edits before it’s ready to go, which puts me on track for my early 2022 publication date, but only just. Hopefully, this book is finished up with minimal speed bumps.

But I didn’t spend the entirety of August in The Twin Kingdoms. By the end of the month, I was working on the first round of beta reads for the fifth book in the Red and Black series. It was a lot of fun to get to dive back into Dawn and Alex’s world, especially with the sixth Red and Black currently percolating in the back of my mind for this year’s National Novel Writing Month.

It’s Podcasting time!

With all of my time spent writing, I found myself falling a bit behind on another one of my creative endeavors, podcast editing. As a result, I ended up setting aside several days just to edit episodes for One For All: A My Hero Academia Podcast. Anna and I are about halfway through season four right now. Which, when you’re dealing with a show that’s currently airing its fifth season, is a little nerve-wracking! Obviously, if we catch up with the show, it makes it awful difficult to do a rewatch podcast. A couple months back, we ended up switching from weekly episodes to every other week due to time restraints, but we might want to end up sticking to this schedule for purely practical reasons.

Regardless, if you’re a fan of MHA, and haven’t checked out the podcast yet, here’s our most recent episode!

What’s Next?

Quite a bit, actually! A Dance with Magic, the second book in the Twin Kingdoms series, is up for preorder. As mentioned before, I’m currently hard at work at the fourth and final book in the series. National Novel Writing Month is in November, which seems far away but is actually just around the corner!

In addition to all that, one thing I want to focus on this fall is craft. I’ve noticed recently that a lot of the writing content I’ve been consuming is related to things like marketing, writing habits, and self-publishing news. And while all of that stuff is important, I want to make sure that I continue to grow and develop as a writer. I’ve heard some people (including people I respect!) refer to craft as beginner stuff and feel that they’ve reached a point where they’ve moved beyond that. And that just baffles me! Maybe I’ll feel differently once I have dozens of books out instead of six, but I feel like craft is one of those areas where there is always room to grow. There are always elements of your writing that can be improved upon or new areas to break into and learn about.

I hope to report back on some of these craft elements later this year and let you know how they’ve worked for me!

Until then, back to writing!

Pick up your ARC of A Dance with Magic Today!

This October, explore a new chapter in The Twin Kingdoms series with new characters and a new fairy tale.The chance for freedom

Rebecca has lived a life of restrictions. Once a scared princess, ruthlessly controlled by her older brother, she now finds herself inheriting a kingdom that never expected to have a queen. Facing the possibility of engagement to a man she cannot stand, Rebecca takes her first chance of freedom: an enchanted masquerade located beneath a trap door.

The loyal soldier

Zahir has lived a life of loss. A peerless swordsman and trained fighter, he once fought for his country. Now he only raises his blade in defense of one: his queen and dearest friend, Rebecca. But secretly, his feelings expand beyond friendship. It will take all of Zahir’s skill to protect Rebecca from the true purpose of the masquerade, a force more sinister and older than either of them expect.

Or maybe able to survive.


A Dance with Magic retells the fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses/Worn-out Dancing Shoes but with a bit of a twist. Instead of many dancing princesses, we have one dancing queen! I’m currently looking for a few good book reviewers that post on Amazon, Goodreads, and book blogs. If you think you can get the reviews up between now and release week (October 6th), then please email me at nancyotoolemeservier@gmail.com, or just leave your email in a comment here.

In addition, if you’d like to read A Dance with Magic but haven’t read book one of The Twin Kingdoms (The Rose and the Claw), then you’ll be happy to know that it stands alone pretty well. Also, The Rose and the Claw is currently up on amazon and as part of kindle unlimited, if you happen to have a subscription.