Silver and Gold has been published!

It’s here! It’s here!

Dawn doesn’t remember how she received her superpowers. She just knows enough to be scared. But with her brother in danger, Dawn will have to face her fears, reliving every single one of her forgotten memories.

As Dawn focuses on the past, Alex remains in the present. Accompanied by surprising allies, he pours through the facility where Dawn was held against her will. The results are disturbing, as are the changes taking place within him. Because Alex’s powers are evolving in ways that he cannot understand. Or control.

Dawn is done running away from her past, but will she and Alex be prepared for what the future holds?


Seriously, what a journey. Silver and Gold first began during National Novel Writing Month in November of 2017. I remember that time very well. I had just started a new job and was struggling to juggle that with SIlver and Gold’s tricky plot structure. Fortunately, two and a half years later, with the help of kind beta readers and professional editors, it has become a much more polished book, and I’m really excited to share it with everyone.

Speaking of journies, Dawn and Alex certainly go on one this time around, with Dawn finally unearthing the truth behind how she got her powers, and Alex making disturbing realizations about his own.

It’s also worth mentioning that this is not Dawn and Alex’s final adventure! While I have mentioned this before, I did need to correct someone just yesterday on it. The Red and Black series is not a trilogy! It’s a seven-book series with a very clear arc planned out. So while we’re not quite halfway there, Silver and Gold helps to progress us along that arc.

If you enjoyed the previous two books in the series, I hope you’ll consider picking up book three, which is available today in ebook, paperback, and as part of your kindle unlimited subscription. But if you haven’t read books one and two, now is the perfect time to give it a chance, as Red and Black and Black and Blue are currently discounted on Amazon.

Thanks to everyone who’s given my books a chance, whether you’ve been with me the entire time, of you’ve just picked them up today.

Writing With Insomnia

I have never been a good sleeper. My mother claims that I gave up naps abnormally early as a baby. As a child, I experienced night terrors. I talked to my first doctor about sleep problems when I was twelve. And things didn’t get easier once those adult-level responsibilities started piling on.

As you might imagine, that doesn’t make it easy to get up and write every day.

There’s no way around it, lack of sleep is bad for writers. It makes hitting that snooze button look oh-so-appealing. And if even if you manage to get to the keyboard, you might find yourself struggling to concentrate, or even nodding off! With stress levels high around the globe, more and more writers seem to be struggling with a lack of sleep. So as a lifelong insomniac, I figured that I would share what I’ve learned from the mistakes I’ve made over the years.

Of course, as I am just pulling from my own experience, it’s important to mention that I am not a medical doctor, so this is not medical advice! Think of it more like those lists of tips you find online about getting better sleep. I have not experienced some of the more serious medical problems that contribute to a lack of sleep, such as sleep apnea. This is where you wake up constantly during the night because you have stopped breathing. Sleep apnea can be really dangerous. Seeing a medical professional really helped out my spouse, and I highly recommend you do the same if you are having problems like this.

But for the rest of you with more run of the mill insomnia, here’s what worked for me.

Sometimes commonplace advice is common for a reason

Unless you’re really new to the game, you’ve probably heard some or all of these. Put all screens away long before going to bed. Go to bed and wake up at relatively the same time every day, including weekends. Only use your bed for sleep and sex. Don’t eat or drink before going to bed. Make sure that your sleep space is quiet, dark, and cool.

This advice exists for a reason, and violating that is a quick way to cause problems. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen people complain about insomnia, only to find out that they randomly stayed up to 3AM playing video games, or rage tweeting on twitter.

I get it. You’re an adult. The idea of having a set bedtime, or limiting how much you stare at your device of choice (whether that be your phone or TV), seems overly restrictive. But when I chose to indulge in these bad habits, I only make things worse for myself. And the same might go for you.

Take time to unwind

Maybe normal people don’t have to deal with this. They wake up with plenty of energy and get tired when it comes time to go to bed at night. That’s not me. I need to unwind at the end of each day (at least an hour, ideally more). If I spend that time doing something like reading, I’m much more likely to fall asleep like a normal person, as opposed to staring at the ceiling for hours on end. Watching youtube videos doesn’t quite do the trick, and going to a 9PM action movie is a guarantee that I will lose at least half a night of sleep.

This provides an extra challenge for writers, given that a lot of us write at night, which can include me. I can’t always get everything done in the morning before my day job, so I find myself turning back to the laptop in the post 8PM slot. I know a lot of parents do all of their writing then because that’s when their kids are asleep.

And you know what, I get that. This step is going to be hard for a lot of people. But if you’re like me, it’s near impossible to go from 100 mph to full stop just like that. Setting aside time to decompress (maybe with a book? We writers need to read too!), has always been super helpful for me.

Prepare to switch gears

Here’s one of the things those helpful “how to get more sleep” lists can skip. Just because something works at one point in your life doesn’t mean it’s always going to work.

For example, I used to take an over-the-counter sleep aid that was a huge help. At least, until it started giving me nightmares. Over the past year, I’ve found listening to relaxing music to be vital. Unfortunately, that’s recently become less effective. To combat this, I’ve turned to journaling to help me get rid of the thoughts fluttering around in my head, whether they be about the Coronavirus or a new story idea. The jury’s out on that one.

It makes sense. Our bodies are constantly growing and changing. The world around us is growing and changing too. So the way that we deal with our sleep might have to grow and change as well.

Accepting the truth- sometimes I’m just going to have a crap night of sleep

I recently watched a youtube talk about her sleep struggles. She tried everything, from giving up coffee to some pretty extreme sleep hacking methods. She listed out, in detail, everything that she was doing each night to make her sleep situation ideal. And one thing that became obvious to me (and her as well), was that the stress created by her insomnia was one of the biggest things responsible for keeping her up at night.

I’ve been there. Picture this: it’s 4:30 in the morning, and it’s the second time I’ve woken up. The last time I woke up (around 1AM), it took me over an hour to get back to sleep. If that happens to me again, it will almost be time for my alarm to go off anyway. I worry that I will be slower moving in the morning, which will impact how much time I have to write. I worry that I won’t be rested for work. I worry that my lack of sleep will trigger a migraine. And that worrying just makes it harder to go to sleep.

I think that everyone has a bad night of sleep every now and then, including people who don’t have insomnia. Some nights, I’ll be plagued with a story idea or a frustrating conversation from the previous day. Even under ideal circumstances, I am going to struggle with sleep some nights. That’s just who I am. Stressing over it doesn’t solve the problem. Sometimes all I can do is accept that the problem exists.

So that’s what’s worked for me in my 34-years of sleep struggles. I’m sure as I grow and change, I’ll learn even more. But if you’re like me, a writer that struggles with sleep, I hope you can take some help from this!

Writing While Furloughed: What Impact did Unemployment have on my Writing?

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, I spent the majority of April furloughed from my day job. This meant I “achieved” my dream of writing as my primary profession, right?

Not quite. I quickly learned that there was a big difference between voluntary being a full-time writer and being forced into the situation during an unprecedented global event. But since this wasn’t exactly an insignificant amount of time, I’d thought about I’d cover what I took away from it.

Do more hours in a day = more time to write?

Pre-pandemic, on an average day, I was able to put about an hour and a half toward my writing and other tasks that fall under the umbrella of my creative career. With more wiggle room on weekends, I put in roughly twelve and a half hours each week. And if you’re wondering why that number is so precise, it’s because I keep a detailed time-tracking spreadsheet (and highly recommend you do the same!).

So, according to that detailed spreadsheet, how much time did I put towards my creative career while furloughed? The answer is an average of twenty-eight hours a week. That is more than twice what I was doing before. And the impact was huge. I was able to bump up the publication date of my third novel, Silver and Gold, by a month. I finished a draft of a novella for Camp NaNoWriMo much faster than usual. And I completed a round of revisions of a future novel in the Red and Black series in record time.

So yeah, I got plenty of writing done.

Staying on top of things

But, as mentioned above, time spent towards my “creative career” isn’t always about writing fiction. It also includes blogging, podcasting, marketing, admin work like answering emails, etc.

Now, I enjoy quite a few of these tasks (especially the ones geared towards content creation), but some days, they just seem to take up valuable writing time. But not when I was furloughed. Writing time became this near-sacred chunk the morning. For the most part, everything else was pushed to the afternoon. As a result, I was much more on top of things. No scrambling to get in a blog post at the last minute. No taking a week to reply to a simple email. No stressing out when I’d be able to find a couple hours to edit a podcast. The time was right there in the afternoons.

But, as you may have noticed, I didn’t exactly end up putting forty-hours each week.

The impact of global stress and financial insecurity

Even if writing full time is an impossibility, it’s hard not to daydream about it. This was something I’d do, pre-pandemic, structuring imaginary workdays around relaxing walks. But those imaginary workdays never required me to be on lockdown.

I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all been a little more stressed than usual. Sometimes it’s a general feeling of stress, endlessly scrolling through the headlines of the day. Sometimes, it’s personal. This past April, I learned that a friend of mine had lost her husband, an incredibly kind man, to the virus. Even though we were not close, it hurt to learn that he had died.

Sometimes the stress was financial, which is something that impacted me, even though my partner and I are in a better position than many. When the unemployment checks didn’t come in, we could still feed ourselves and pay the bills. But it did make me worry about the future. We had prepared for a period of financial uncertainty, but how long of one?

Sometimes, it was nice to escape from this stress in creative work (especially podcasting), but other times, that wasn’t the best tool. So while I did more writing during this break, I also did more of other things. I spent more time reading, cooking, bonding with my partner, watching TV, and playing video games. And I think that’s perfectly okay. I was still getting the things accomplished that I wanted. Turning yourself into a content making machine isn’t going to be the best way for everyone to handle stressful times. And this level of productivity is what worked for me.

The difficulty of creating new patterns and habits

In those daydreams of hypothetical workdays, I imagined doing things like signing up for conventions, author fairs, and networking events, as well as starting ongoing projects like new podcasts. Basically, a lot of things that required being able to plan for the future, or interact with the outside world. Awful tricky do to during a pandemic.

As an obsessive list-maker, I’m constantly planning for the future, sometimes making and altering to-do lists months in advance. This was impossible during April because I didn’t know whether to plan on being employed or not. Oddly enough, once I learned that I was going back to work, it became a lot easier to look ahead, even though I had less time to work with. What I had was a better idea of where I stood.

I’ve watched writing vlogs and have listened to podcasts from people who have made the jump from writing part-time to full time (albeit, not during pandemic conditions), and a lot of them have mentioned that it takes a while to adjust. Some have said months. Others, more than a year. That’s clearly a lot different than four weeks out of a job.

Lessons Learned

So, did being furloughed turn me into a full-time writer? Obviously, the answer is no. But given the circumstances, I don’t think I did that bad of a job. I was able to bump up both of my projects this year (except to see more about Secret Project Tower, after Silver and Gold is published!), and put myself in a good position for future writing projects. And being able to have separate times for writing and other parts of my creative career really upped my productivity overall.

Part of me wonders if this whole experiment was a sign that maybe I’m not actually cut out to write full time. Still, another part of me thinks that, if given more time and less stressful circumstances, I would have been able to eventually adjust. While it’s impossible to tell, it’s been a crazy ride, regardless.

Silver and Gold Sample Chapter

With Silver and Gold coming out at the end of the month, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to release a sample chapter. It’s from the perspective of a new character for the series, and one that I really enjoyed getting to explore in the novel.

I hope you’ll consider checking it out. And you can preorder the book today!

Chapter One
Alan

Alan Takahashi liked to spend his spare time helping the less fortunate. At least that’s what most people thought. Who else would spend their Friday nights helping a struggling church?

The text message from Brock Dalton, a coworker from Jefferson Financial, appeared on Alan’s smartphone: Come on, man! My grandmother didn’t spend her Friday nights at church, and I’m pretty sure that she’s next in line to be canonized by the Pope.

“Is everything all right?”

Alan looked up from his position at the desk at “Maevis, Maevis Winters.” This was exactly how the thirty-something white woman had introduced herself when she had opened the door for him that evening. She had strawberry-blond hair and was dressed in a floral top with dangling earrings that she kept on touching, like she wasn’t used to the sensation.

“Yes, of course,” Alan replied.

His voice came out flat, almost annoyed, which wasn’t surprising given that the church deacon and head of St. Augustine’s small, in-house food pantry, had been breathing down his neck, literally, for the last fifteen minutes.

Alan wasn’t Catholic. If pressed, he identified as an atheist, but he wasn’t particularly attached to the term. Perhaps it was a result of being raised in a household without a designated faith, or his own aggressively practical nature, but Alan had never seen the appeal of belief in a higher power. And while it may have surprised his coworkers, his reasons for helping St. Augustine’s had nothing to do with a spiritual calling or even a desire to do good. Instead, it was due to a small voice in his head, the voice of his father from more than a decade ago.

“You know you have to consider others besides yourself from time to time.”

Of course, there were times when he found himself wishing that he had listened to his father’s voice a little less often.

Today was one of those times.

“You know, Alan…is it okay if I call you Alan?” Maevis asked.

“That’s perfectly fine, Ms. Winters,” Alan replied, rifling through a pile of receipts.

You’re almost a full decade older than I am, after all…

“Oh, call me Maevis. There’s no need to be so formal.”

“If you say so, Maevis.”

“It’s just…I’ve never been much good with numbers. But I couldn’t just see the food bank die after Eva passed. Seemed a sin to do so.”

As she spoke, she leaned forward. Alan paused, and for a second closed his eyes to compose himself, hoping deeply that Maevis Winters was just socially unaware. That she wasn’t intentionally pressing her breasts toward his face. It was just something that happened when one was busty and happened to be standing—hovering—next to someone at just the right height.

Alan wasn’t the traditionally attractive alpha male. Not like the tall, broad-shouldered Brock Dalton with his chiseled jaw and muscular frame. No, Alan was slight of build and on the short side, something that had caused him much consternation growing up. As someone who had graduated from high school at fifteen, he’d always been the youngest person in the room, and his small stature and delicate features made him look even more so.

But once he had matured, Alan had found himself the subject of a lot of female attention. Alan, being of Japanese descent, had dark brown, slightly wavy hair, and almond-shaped eyes. This, combined with his tendencies to dress very nicely, pulled in women like Maevis Winters like moths to a flame.

And while Alan was open to relationships with women, he was picky about whom he chose to spend his time with. And the types of people that tended to be drawn to him rarely matched up with that.

“So, uh…Alan, I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the cafe next door—”

“Are you sure these are the only receipts?” Alan raised one from a local grocery store in his left hand. “The numbers don’t add up.”

“That’s what I said! We’re short by…what is it? Three…three…”

“Three seventy-three.”

“Yes! And no matter how much I try, I can’t figure out where that—”

“Is it the exact amount of change that one would have had for this bill, which was paid with a twenty? Is it possible the last person who went to Market Basket accidentally pocketed the change instead of bringing it back?”

“Of course! Oooh, I bet it was Andrea. Stuck-up bitch is always trying to tell me what to do. Thinks that she knows everything because she’s in school now—”

Maevis’s voice trailed off as Alan passed her the receipt. And whether it was the date, or list of items that did it, Alan could pinpoint her moment of realization.

“Well,” she said with a sniff. “It was likely an honest mistake…Andrea’s honest mistake.”

“Of course it was,” Alan replied, proud that he managed to keep the disbelief from completely bleeding into his voice.

“That does it, then!” Maevis said. “And it only took you a few minutes! No wonder they say you’re so smart.”

And most of that time was spent locating the receipts.

“I guess that leaves us with some time—” she began.

“You might find it easier to prevent such confusion if you had a more organized system,” Alan said. “Perhaps a spreadsheet where people can record expenses? A pen-and-paper system would also be sufficient.”

Or at the very least a designated place for people to leave receipts.

“I think that’s a great idea!” Maevis replied. “Why don’t we discuss it over coffee, at that cafe.”

“I don’t drink coffee.”

“Oh, right, you look like more of a tea drinker to me.”

Do I now?

“It’s better if we stay here, especially if you would like me to create a system for you,” Alan began.

“Oh, come on, live a little,” Maevis said with an awkward laugh. “You need to let your hair down every now and then. I mean…I’m the Catholic—”

“I hope you’re not thinking that I’m here for anything other than helping you with your finances.” Alan’s voice was suddenly sharp.

Maevis’s mouth snapped shut.

“I have no interest in coffee or tea, regardless of what it looks like I enjoy. I’m just here to help the St. Augustine food bank. Would you like me to continue?”

“Oh,” Maevis said, looking down. “I thought…” Her face reddened. “Yes, that’s fine. Let me grab you a file folder or…something.”

As the woman left the room, Alan felt something inside him relax. How was that considered flirting?

Then he heard a loud sniff from next door and closed his eyes in frustration.

Alan Takahashi wasn’t blind to social conventions. It was why he usually spent nights with Brock Dalton or other coworkers, grabbing drinks. It was why he had tried to nudge Maevis away from the concept of romantic entanglement before rejecting her outright. Networking. Being conscious of other people’s feelings. They might not be concepts that came easily to him, but he could see their purpose. Although there were times when a strict adherence to such standards pushed his patience too far.

In all honesty, though, being subtle around that woman wasn’t working.

He heard Maevis’s voice pipe up, just as sharply as his had been, from the kitchen. “Hey, what are you doing here? You can’t be—”

Her voice cut off. Alan heard a muffled thump.

Almost like a body falling to the floor.

He sat up straight in his chair. Remaining quiet, he heard what sounded like footsteps, multiple footsteps, heading down the hallway from the kitchen.

A hallway that eventually ended up at this office.

Thinking quickly, Alan reached out and unplugged the lamp on the desk. He backed up into the shadows and crouched. Once he had nestled into the corner between the bookcase and the wall, he paused and breathed once, twice…

On his third breath, two figures entered the room.

And each of them held a gun.

One of them, a woman with short blond hair, flicked on a flashlight, held level with her gun. She swept both across the room at eye level. She then nodded to her partner, who stepped forward and tried to flick on the desk lamp.

The light from the hallway cast a silhouette, making her partner’s headshake clear. The woman dipped her head to indicate that he should look under the desk. The man nodded and circled back around. He crouched quickly, sweeping his flashlight beneath the desk, and paused. After a second, he stood up again, shaking his head. The flashlight swept dangerously close to Alan’s hiding spot.

“The brother’s not here,” the man said, voice low and raspy.

“Bad intel,” the woman responded, just as quietly. “Move out.”

With a sharp nod, the man followed the woman out of the room. Staying completely still, Alan listened to the sound of their retreating footsteps as they made their way to the exit. He held his breath as the kitchen’s outer door clicked shut.

And then he stood, letting that breath out in one long exhale. As he did, his body transformed back from a pure, almost smoke-like shadow to a well-dressed twenty-five-year-old man, a look of concern on his face.

Alan took a step forward, and almost tripped over his own two feet. He paused, leaning on the desk chair. The lightheadedness would last only a couple of seconds. It happened pretty much every time he used his powers. Alan had learned all about their limitations in his teenage years.

Of course, as a teenager, he had also found plenty of uses for his abilities, collecting information, keeping an eye on people. Unlike his sister, he had never intended to use his powers to save a life, not even his own.

His sister…

Alan shook his head. Dawn. Those two were connected to Dawn somehow. Did that mean she was in trouble? He felt a tightening in his chest at the thought.

Which quickly went away, as logic prevailed. Dawn was perfectly capable of taking care of herself when it came to two individuals with guns. It was why they were here that was the problem.

Alan straightened up, knowing what he needed to do.

Lingering over the desk, he swept up the many receipts and placed them in the cardboard box filled with petty cash that Maevis had shown him. He didn’t need to turn the light on to find his way to the bookshelf, where he placed the box. An added benefit of his powers was excellent night vision. He reached to the hook on the wall where his suit jacket hung, and headed down the poorly lit hallway, through the kitchen, and toward the exit. He placed his hand on the doorknob, then paused.

Alan turned his head to the left, where Maevis Winters lay. From his angle he could see that she was alive. The rise and fall of her chest were evidence enough.

You know you have to consider others besides yourself from time to time.

The voice of Alan’s father echoed in his mind, and for a moment, he was sitting across the table from him. At the same café they had gone to when Alan was having problems with school (never academically, of course. It had always been an issue with peers, or a teacher). And as always, Alan found the words, said with his father’s infinite patience, to be soothing enough.

But they were also troubling.

Unlike the rest of his family, compassion was not something that came easily to Alan. His late father had been a caring man, prone to self-sacrifice, a trend that his sister, who moonlighted as the Actual superhero Hikari, seemed to follow. And while his mother shared his more reserved nature, whether it was with her writing, or in her former profession as a doctor, he knew she cared about using her skills to help others. Alan cared about his small circle of family and trusted friends, but that was pretty much it. So instead, he found himself falling back on his own strength, his intelligence. Alan didn’t know how the two infiltrators had chosen to knock out Maevis Winters. There could be serious consequences if she weren’t attended to in a timely manner.

With a sigh, he walked over to the woman who had managed to waste his precious patience in such a short block of time. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his cell phone. As he turned it on, the text from Brock Dalton was still visible on his screen.

He ignored it, dialing 911.

“Nine-one-one. What’s your emergency?” a crisp voice replied.

“I would like to report a break-in at St. Augustine’s church,” Alan said.

He kept his words precise and to the point, already thinking ahead to what he would do after dealing with the police. He would have to call work and let them know that he was going to need to take a few days off. They would be upset, but not able to do much about it. Alan only took time off for family emergencies, and if Jefferson Financial pushed him on it, it would be all too easy for someone with his skillset to find another well-paying job. JF hadn’t been the only firm who had tried to hire him after he had finished up with school.

After that, his thoughts ran toward home, to Bailey City. To his mother and his sister, Dawn.

Yes. He and Dawn had much to talk about.

Guess Who’s Taking Part in the Superhero-Fiction Virtual Conference?

That would be me!

As you may have guessed from the name, superhero-fiction.com is an awesome resource for fiction with a focus on the superheroics. On the week of May 18th, they will be holding a virtual conference with five great looking panels. Yours truly happens to be on two of them. Here’s more information on my panels:

Superhero Romances- May 18th, 2020. 6PM EST
Even Superheroes need a little loving. One of the most prominent sub-genres with superheroes is romance. What does it take to write a superhero love story and what happens when things get steamy? How does having powers change the rules of love?

Superheroes On Screen- May 21st, 2020. 6PM EST
The world has exploded with superheroes. Whether it be on the big screen or the silver screen, heroes with super powers are everywhere. What has taken these comic book properties and made them so accessible to new audiences? What might the future hold for these stories?

Anyone familiar with either my books or podcast know that these two topics are near and dear to my heart. I am thrilled to get to chat about them with a whole bunch of talented authors. This is especially exciting as 2020 was supposed to be the year that I tried to take part in more conventions and author fairs. Today, I learned that that one that I had hoped to attend has been canceled due to the coronavirus. Fortunately, virtual conferences like this can help fill that void.

If you’d like to check out the full schedule, just go to the conference section on superhero-fiction.com. I’ll be sure to update this space, as well as my social media if anything happens to change.

Hope to see you then!

Furloughed and Fancy Free: April in Review

April Posts

  1. When COVID-19 Came to Maine: March in Review
  2. Personal Update: So I’ve Been Furloughed
  3. Silver and Gold Cover Reveal and Preorder
  4. To Be or Not to Be: Productivity as a Writer During a Pandemic
  5. Supervillain Origin Stories and Badass Female Detectives: 5 Recommended Reads
  6. Plus Ultra! Go Beyond with One for All: Season Two
  7. Surprise! Silver and Gold is Coming out next month!

Stuck at Home

Talk about a month I didn’t see coming.

At the beginning of April, I was furloughed from my day job and encouraged by my boss to apply for unemployment. Around the same time, the Governor of Maine let us know that she was shutting down the state until April 30th.

And let me tell you, it has been one weird-ass month. I’ve always considered myself an introvert and a homebody, but to have the option just taken away is another thing entirely. Even though I prefer to spend much of my time solo doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate going out to my favorite restaurant or spending time with family. The christening for my niece was supposed to happen this month. The fact that that event didn’t take place, and wasn’t even rescheduled feels strange.

And that’s one of the more anxiety-making things about this pandemic, the fact that no one really knows when it’s going to end. If someone had sat me down at the beginning of the month and told me that they were sorry, but the library was doing sudden emergency repairs, and I would end up with a few weeks off, I would have been okay. If the CDC came on the news tomorrow and told us that they could guarantee the virus would be taken care of a few months, then I’d have something to work towards. As an obsessive list-maker, being unable to plan for the future is far from my natural state. It makes it way too easy to get lost in the weeds.

But if there’s one thing that April has been good for, it’s been my writing.

Returning to Camp NaNoWriMo

As recently mentioned, I have been putting work into a fairy tale novella. Also known as Secret Project Beast, this story is currently with beta readers. While I have no idea when this project will see the wider world (it kind of snuck up on me, so I didn’t budget for it this year), I do know that I’d like to be the first book in a series. So for this April’s Camp NaNoWriMo, I wrote the first draft of the second novella in the series. And given that I was furloughed about halfway through the writing experience, I ended up finishing it a lot sooner than I expected. It needs plenty of work (all of my rough drafts, too), but I am looking forward to pivoting back towards it in the future.

Silver and Gold (and beyond!): The Future of the Red and Black series

When I wasn’t writing about fairy tales, the month of April was focused on The Red and Black series. My extra free time, combined with the fact that my proofreader finished ahead of schedule, meant that I was able to push up the publication of Silver and Gold a whole month! And while part of me is nervous about releasing a book during a pandemic (will people be more likely to read it because they have more time? Are people less likely to read it cause aaaaaah! stress!), indie publishing tends to be less about the launch anyway. If people prefer to buy my book in June, then they can still do that then.

I also spent a fair amount of time on a future book in the Red and Black series. Not Red and Black 4, which is currently with beta readers, but book five. Much like Silver and Gold, Red and Black 5 is very tricky on a plotting level (albeit for different reasons). I ended up coming up against quite a few roadblocks but still made fantastic progress.

Honestly, while the pandemic isn’t turning me into one of those hyper prolific writers that can put out a book a month, my speed is undoubtedly up. If this furlough situation results in everything getting bumped up a little, then I think that would be an excellent example of making the best of a bad situation.

What’s Next?

At the end of April, I received another piece of surprising news: I will be returning to my day job on May 4th!

I’m not gonna lie. While I’m happy to return to work (especially given that the unemployment I applied for never kicked in), part of me is a little nervous. We appear to be on the other side of things here in Maine, but only just. It certainly won’t be back to normal at the library I work in. For thing, we won’t be open for patrons, save for a curbside pick up service during limited windows. It’s evident that even under ideal circumstances, we will be dealing with the reality of a pandemic for months to come.

But on a happier note, next month, Silver and Gold will be coming out! I’m still working out the kinks, but my third novel will be out on May 25th. And that is more than a little exciting.

Surprise! Silver and Gold is Coming out next month!

Good news, everyone! The latest book in the Red and Black series is coming out a little ahead of schedule.

As you may have heard me mention, I have recently been furloughed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. And while this hasn’t always been fabulous for my mental health, it does mean that I have a lot more time to work on writing and other creative things. Combine that with the fact that my proofreader finished Silver and Gold ahead of schedule, and I thought, why wait?

As a result, the ebook for Silver and Gold will be coming out a month ahead of schedule on May 25th. I am currently working with my cover artist to make sure that the paperback version comes out around the same time. I honestly can’t make any promises there, but even if there is a small delay, it will be out soon! And of course, the book will be available to anyone who has a kindle unlimited subscription.

Preorder Silver and Gold today, and it will show up on your device on May 25th. I can’t wait for everyone to read it! In the meantime, you can also add it to your to-read pile on goodreads.