From Superheroes to Fairy Tales: March in Review

March Posts

Another month behind us!

Honestly, I don’t know what it was about March. I entered the month with bold ambitions and plenty of things to do, but the next thing I knew, I was at the tail end of it all and only halfway through my list. People were asking me what I was doing for Easter and I found myself thinking “but Easter is weeks away?” when it was only in few days.

But while I may not have been the master of productivity that I had been hoping for, I did manage to get quite a bit done in March. Let’s dive into a few of them!

Preorder Past and Future

The biggest thing to happen in Red and Black world this March was putting the next book up for preorder! Right now, you can preorder the Kindle version. There will be a paperback version as well, but I’m facing a snag in getting it up and ready. Hopefully, everything will be taken care of by the publication date. And if you’re a kindle unlimited reader, don’t worry! I don’t have plans to take the series out of ku any time soon, and that includes the latest installment.

Past and Future represent a turning point for the Red and Black series (hence the slightly different title format). Stakes are raised, and new challenges arrive for both Dawn and Alex. My beta readers seemed to really enjoy this one, and I hope that you do as well!

For more info on the future of the Red and Black series, keep on reading

Beta readers everywhere!

On the writing front, a lot got done during the month of March. First off, I finished the third draft of Red and Black 5 (yes! there will be a fifth book) and sent it off to my beta readers. I also finished the third novella in The Twin Kingdoms, my upcoming series of fairy tale retellings, and sent that off to a second set of beta readers. Then I began plotting out the fourth and final fairy tale novella.

The hope is to have all four novellas published between June of this year and January of 2022. Obviously, that might hit a bit of a snag if the third (or fourth!) novella requires extensive rewrites, but so far, things are on track for a relatively quick release cycle. Which is quite unusual for me! Basically, the only reason it’s been possible is the fact that I’ve been slowly working on these novellas in-between drafts of the Red and Black series for quite a while now, allowing me to bank a certain amount of content.

As you can see, there’s a lot about this series that is very new for me. The fantasy genre isn’t entirely unfamiliar (I did publish a fantasy short story collection last year, after all) but I have yet to publish a fantasy series. Or a novella series for that matter. And, as mentioned above, this represents a very different type of release schedule. I’m curious to see how people react.

One thing that won’t be impacted by this new novella series is my superhero content. You’ll continue to get a new book roughly once a year, including the fifth book mentioned above. Because we’re dealing with full-length novels, they tend to have painfully long beta reading periods, but the feedback is always worth it.

The Wonders of Adulthood

Another thing that took up a lot of my time this month? Just the stuff that comes with being an adult. This includes doing taxes, refinancing my house (still a work in progress), assembling new furniture, getting my dishwasher fixed, and hiring an arborist to trim a bunch of trees on my property. While none of these items were particularly fun, they needed to get done. Let’s hope that April is a little less stressful!

What’s Next?

As you heard me mention above, I’m in the middle of plotting out my fourth and final novella in The Twin Kingdoms. The plan was to complete said novella during Camp NaNoWriMo, and I still intend to do that. But given how April snuck up on me, I’m going to have a bit of a late start.

But the most exciting thing by far that’s going on next month is the publication of Past and Future. The book is all ready to come out on April 26th and I am so ready for you guys to read it.

So many exciting things to come!

Door-Stopper Fantasy and Mind-Bending Superhero Television: My Current Recommendations

With an icy start to 2021 combined with the realities of a pandemic, I’ve found myself spending a lot of time staying in and consuming stories. Some of them have been pretty great, so I’d thought I’d share that love by talking about a few of my favorites. Do you want to know about the most binge-worthy TV shows I’ve stumbled across? Doorstopper novels that have been worth their massive page count? What about some favorite movies that I’ve recently revisited? Read on for more!

Books

The Empire of Gold by S. A Chakraborty– Long books and I don’t always get along. I don’t have anything against them, but my expectations go up the longer the page count is. If I read a 100-page novella, and it’s “just okay,” that’s not really a waste of my time. But when we’re talking about a massive fantasy tome pushing 800 pages? It better be freaking fantastic!

Fortunately, S.A. Chakraborty’s The Empire of Gold absolutely succeeds in that area. Just like the two previous books in The Daevabad Trilogy, The Empire of Gold is an exciting Middle-Eastern inspired fantasy novel that features a large cast of morally complicated characters from a wide variety of backgrounds. The Daevabad Trilogy has never been one to provide its characters with easy ways out, and this book is no exception, making its cast earn all of its wins. It’s been really exciting to see these characters grow and change over the years, and I find myself quite pleased with how everything ended up.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia- Don’t you love it when a book actually lives up to the hype?

Mexican Gothic is just what it promises in its title—a gothic horror novel set in a Mexican setting. In the beginning, our protagonist, Noemí, travels to the rural countryside to visit her recently married cousin, who has been sending her troubling letters. Only when Noemí gets there, she finds herself plunged into a troubling, restrictive house filled with secrets. But the further she digs in, the more horrifying the results are. Will she be able to save her cousin, or will she too be pulled into the darkness of the manor?

I’m not going to give away any more, because it’s best to go in a little blind. But if you enjoy intriguing puzzles and creeping horror that’s not afraid to explore some pretty crazy places, then Mexican Gothic is for you.

What Cats Want by Yuki Hattori- And now for something completely different! What Cats Want is a book about cat care, but what sets it apart from others is its adorable illustrations, also done by the author, Japan’s leading cat doctor. The information presented here is all good. I got this from the library, but I’m considering buying a copy myself in preparation for when my kitty gets a little older. Having that information presented side by side with the book’s cheerful infographic-esque illustrations makes for a very pleasant reading experience. A great selection for cat owners.

TV

Bridgerton– I enjoy a good Regency romance, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen the experience so clearly translated to TV. The show focuses on the story of Daphne Bridgerton, a young woman on the lookout for a match during her first season. Between Bridgerton‘s sweeping melodrama, gorgeous (and gleefully anachronistic) costumes, and its passionate romance, the results are super addictive. I know they’ve just started casting season two, and I’m already looking forward to it.

The Queen’s Gambit– After Bridgerton, I found myself in the mood for another period piece, and while The Queen’s Gambit is tonally different, the results are just as binge-able. This story about a chess prodigy and her rise from orphan to the most celebrated player in the world is drama at its best. Lead actress Anya Taylor-Joy just won a Golden Globe for her performance here, and she very much deserved it. You don’t have to be a chess fan to be swept away by Beth Harmon’s tale, but you’ll certainly come out of the series with a greater appreciation for it.

WandaVision- And now for the show that everyone was watching. When I originally saw the traielrs for the first three Marvel Cinematic Universe Disney+ shows, I could already tell that WandaVision was going to be fantastic, And the results actually exceeded my expectations. As someone who grew up watching sitcoms, getting to see so many of my old favorites combined with superhero action and an intriguing mystery plot, it often felt like WandaVision was made just for me. Seriously. If Kevin Feige sat down with Jac Shaeffer and said, “Nancy’s had a rough year. How can we make her a TV show,” it would look a lot like this. Each new episode was often the highlight of my week.

I know that some people found the conclusion disappointing, but I was incredibly pleased. Wanda’s story about struggling with her grief was compelling from beginning to end, and I am excited to see how the MCU builds on these developments.

Movies

Millennium Actress– If you enjoy unique story structures, Satoshi Kon’s story about the career of a fictional Japanese actress will be catnip for you. Framed by an interview process, Milennimun Actress interweaves Chiyoko’s real-life experiences with her most famous roles, bending reality by jumping back and forth between both. The result is a film that covers both the history of Japanese cinema and one woman’s lifelong efforts to reconnect with her true love. Millennium Actress is a movie that I’ve seen several times now and look forward to watching again.

The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness– Hayao Miyazaki is my favorite director, but it wasn’t until I watched The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness that I felt like I really understood him as a creator. The documentary, which covers the production of the film, The Wind Rises, dives deep into the mind of Miyazaki, covering everything from his filmmaking process to his personal history and thoughts about the wider world. The result is both honest and enchanting, much like the work of Miyazaki himself.

So those are my current favorites. Any thoughts on the selections above? What about recommendations for me?

Just a little Time Travel: Preorder Past and Future Today

I am so happy to announce that the ebook version of Past and Future is available to preorder today! Are you ready for a glimpse of the future of Bailey City?

His name is Forecaster.

With the ability to see the future, Forecaster has carefully guided many. But his news for Dawn is not what she expects. In five years, she will die, and Bailey City will be destroyed in the battle. To prevent this, Forecaster shows her a vision of the resulting wreckage.

But something goes wrong.

Now, trapped in a dark timeline, Dawn will have to rely on new versions of old friends, a handful of underground resisters, and the powers that exist inside of her. All this and more will be required to survive this dystopian future where SynergyCorp hunts empowered people, and every remaining citizen of Bailey City fears one man above all else:

Faultline.

Past and Future will also be available in paperback and as part of your kindle unlimited subscription. Unfortunately, I can only do preorders for the ebook version. Preorder today to get your copy delivered to your kindle on the publication date, April 26th, 2021.

February in Review: Time for a Little Superhero Romance

February Posts

  1. All Superheroes All the Time: January in Review
  2. Problems with Paperbacks
  3. My WandaVision Theories
  4. Join the Past and Future ARC team today!
  5. Looking for Some Powerful Romance? Then Pick up Beneath The Mask: A Superhero Romance Anthology Today!
  6. My Indie Author Morning Routine (2021 Version)

Phew. February may have been a short month, but that doesn’t mean it was any less busy. While I had wonderful things like WandaVision and the final book in the Daevabad Trilogy to keep me entertained, there were a few times when it felt like I was desperately trying to keep up with things and not always succeeding! But let’s dive into more details on what life was like on the writing/publishing side, at least.

Releasing Beneath the Mask

On February 14th, Beneath the Mask: A Superhero Romance Anthology was released. This included “The First Date Curse,” a brand new Red and Black story starring Sunshine. It’s been fascinating to see the ratings/reviews come in for this one.  I’m hoping it does well, as that will give me the excuse to write even more Red and Black-related shorts. I don’t write a ton of short fiction. The Lady of the Watchtower: Six Stories of Magic and Transformation actually contains stories written a few years back. Getting to participate in more anthologies like this will help keep my skills sharp.

If you haven’t picked up Beneath the Mask yet, it’s currently available in print, ebook, and as part of your kindle unlimited membership. I hope you enjoy “The First Date Curse!”

What’s In a Name?

As humans, we tend to vastly underestimate how long something is going to take us. I guess things just feel more straightforward and simple until we actually sit down to do them. A current example of that was just how long it took for me to get my names changed on all of my books! It wasn’t a perfect process (Goodreads still looks a little funky, and I have yet to update the banner on this website), but as of right now, you can buy copies of all four books with the correct name on them (Nancy O’Toole).  If you happen to find places online that do not at least include the new name, please make sure to let me know!

The Future of the Red and Black series.

Past and Future has officially completed the professional editing process, and the first batch of ARCs has been sent out (if you’d like an early copy of the fourth Red and Black book, then just click here). I still have a few steps left before publication, including waiting on the paperback artwork. But everything is otherwise lined for my goal publication date: April 26th, 2021.

You may be noticing that the publication for the next Red and Black book gets pushed up a month or two every year. Red and Black came out in August 2018, Black in Blue during July 2019, and Silver and Gold in May 2020. That’s because I want to get these books out to you as soon as reasonably possible. Unfortunately, as mentioned above, things are often a lot more time-consuming than they appear. The Red and Black books have a very long beta reading stage, for example. I really appreciate that people have been patient with me, even though these books just don’t come out as fast as some other people’s series.

What’s Next?

One of my February goals was to get the third draft of Red and Black 5 all finished up and off to my beta readers. Unfortunately, because some other stuff ended up being so time-consuming, I didn’t quite make it to the end. As a result, finishing the draft of Red and Black 5 will be top of mind for me in March, as well as preparing for Past and Future’s April publication.

But of course, that’s not the only thing I’ll be working on next month. As I mentioned in my 2021 Publication Road Map, the back half of the year will include the release of a new novella series of fairytale retellings. And if I want to achieve all of those goals, I need to start working on those as well.

Wish me the best of luck in keeping up this balancing act!

My Indie Author Morning Routine (2021 Version)

One of my most popular blog posts is My Indie Author Morning Routine. And while the continued traffic is great, it does feel a little misleading, because my mornings look a lot different from 2019! The pandemic has caused me to think more about my health, which has resulted in a couple extra steps.

There’s nothing wrong with my old routine. And if you’re looking for a really simple and straightforward morning routine to inspire your own, then go ahead and take a look. But you’re aiming to find a balance between writing and health (or just want to see what I’m up to!), then check out my current routine below.

The Night Before- One of the first things you’re going to notice about my new routine is that I get up earlier than I used to. And as someone that’s a little brain dead first thing in the morning, this requires a little more planning. So the night before, I always set aside both my work clothes and my workout clothes.

5:30AM- Wake Up- Yup. I’ve become one of those insanely weird people who voluntarily get up well before dawn! And while there are certainly days that I regret it, it really is the best way to get everything done. Just like in 2019, I make sure to start off my day on the wrong foot by scrolling through my phone for a good 15 minutes. Sorry if you were looking for a more idealized routine, but I’m going to err on the side of honesty. One thing that does help get my tired ass out of bed is my light clock, which starts to “raise the sun” about fifteen minutes before I get up. As someone who suffers from migraines, going from a perfectly dark room to a fully lit one can be super triggering, so this little clock is actually one of the most useful items I own.

5:45AM- Get Ready to Exercise- By now, I’ve put down my phone and have stumbled out of bed. I use the next fifteen minutes to get into my workout clothes, place my outfit for the day in the bathroom so I can get dressed right after I shower, feed the cat, and get my workout video/weights ready. And if it sounds like maybe that should not take 15 minutes, I’d like to remind you that this is not an idealized morning routine, and I am SLOW after I wake up.

6AM- Workout- At around six, I dive right into 30-45 minutes of exercise. This is something new to my morning routine if you are to compare it to the old one. Yes, I still get my lunchtime walks, but with the pandemic, I’ve been thinking a lot more about stepping up my fitness. I work out 4-5 times a week, with at least two days dedicated to strength and two that are more cardio-focused. Exercising also helps to wake me up and get me moving a little bit faster.

6:30-6:45AM (depending on how long I work out)- Shower- This one is pretty self-explanatory. I’m sweaty from working out, so I shower. After this, I work on skincare and get dressed for the day.

7:00AM- Breakfast and Getting Ready– One thing that hasn’t change from my last routine? I still eat breakfast! This is followed by packing my lunch for work and any other tasks that help me get ready, like brushing my teeth.

7:25AM- Writing Time- I know what some of you might be thinking. This is supposed to be an indie author morning routine. Where’s the writing? Well, here it is! Each morning I try and get an hour in of writing time. Some day, “writing time” is just that, working on my latest project. Other times it’s more focused on content marketing (such as writing this blog post) and other business-related things. By this time, all of my morning grogginess is gone, and I can really focus on getting the work.

8:25AM- The Hair- Okay, traditionally, I am not someone who spends a ton of time on my hair. But thanks to the pandemic, I haven’t been to a salon in almost a year, and the result is a significant amount of growth. I hate to use any kind of heat on my hair, but as my locks have gotten longer, the longer it takes for them to dry. Like, the entire morning! As a result, I let my hair air dry for most of the morning and blow-dry the rest of it before I have to run out the door. in

So there you go, my new and improved morning routine. Maybe I’ll be back in 2023 with yet another one? Honestly, I hope it doesn’t get any more complicated than this one. A three-hour morning routine is kind of ridiculous. And as much as productivity experts seem to be moving the clock back further and further (why get up at 5:30 when you can get up at 4!), I honestly can’t see myself fitting more into my AM. This way, I make sure that I get everything important done. And that’s really what a morning routine should be all about.

Looking for Some Powerful Romance? Then Pick up Beneath The Mask: A Superhero Romance Anthology Today!

Ten tantalizing tales of masked heroes saving the day and falling in love.

From sweet saviors to steamy angelic warriors, reluctant heroes to grumpy playboys, this anthology has something for everyone who’s ever fantasized about being a hero…or falling for one.

Do you dare to peek behind the mask and live out your sweetest, darkest, steamiest fantasies?

Each story includes superheroes and swoon-worthy HEA’s!


I am so happy to announce that Beneath The Mask: A Superhero Romance Anthology is out today! This collection includes my short story “The First Date Curse,” which involves Dawn’s best friend, Sunshine, finding a superheroic hunk of her own. The content level is similar to what you’d find in my Red and Black series (PG-level romance, with some violence and swearing), but some of the other stories will be quite a bit steamier. The collection has something for everyone, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading it.

You can pick up your copy today!

Join the Past and Future ARC team today!

By now, you know the drill. Book reviews are super important! They help readers figure out if a book is right for them, which helps authors find the right readers and sell more books. In fact, they’re so important that authors are willing to give out free copies of a book for people who say they are up to posting reviews on places like amazon, goodreads, or book review blogs. The reviews don’t need to be particularly long. They just need to be honest.

Past and Future, the fourth book in my superhero series, will be coming out on April 26th, and having a few reviews is a super helpful way to start things out right. If you’d like a free copy of the book and think you’d be able to post a review within the first couple of weeks of sales, I’d really appreciate it. Just click here to fill out this google form to apply, and I’ll get back to you when the book is ready in the latter half of February.

Here’s the back of book summary (and amazing cover) for those who haven’t seen it yet.

His name is Forecaster.

With the ability to see the future, Forecaster has carefully guided many. But his news for Dawn is not what she expects. In five years, she will die, and Bailey City will be destroyed in the battle. To prevent this, Forecaster shows her a vision of the resulting wreckage.

But something goes wrong.

Now, trapped in a dark timeline, Dawn will have to rely on new versions of old friends, a handful of underground resisters, and the powers that exist inside of her. All this and more will be required to survive this dystopian future where SynergyCorp hunts empowered people, and every remaining citizen of Bailey City fears one man above all else:

Faultline.

My WandaVision Theories

This isn’t what I use this blog for. It’s usually about promoting my books or talking about writing. But I can’t help it. I’m just so sucked into WandaVision! And given that I write about superheroes, veering down an MCU sidepath isn’t that much of a change. So I’m going to post a few of my theories after watching the first five episodes of WandaVision.

But before I get into things, just be aware that these are not my super ultra predictions that I believe will 100% come true. I’m just as susceptible to red herrings and misdirection as any other viewer, and with every episode of the show, I seem to come up with more theories. Episode 5, “On a Very Special Episode…,” just got me thinking a lot.

First Theory- Wanda DID respect The Vision’s Wishes

In episode 5, we learn from S.W.O.R.D. Director Tyler Hayward that The Vision specifically stated that if he were to die, he didn’t want to be brought back to life or turned into a weapon. We’re also shown footage of Wanda breaking into a S.W.O.R.D. facility and stealing his body. This indicates that she, mad with grief, went against The Vision’s wishes to experience the life that they were never allowed to have together.

But here’s the thing, why do we trust Tyler Hayward? In this episode, we saw that he could be devious (when he arms the drone that Monica sends in). We also know from his conversations with Monica in episode 4 that S.W.O.R.D. has strayed from its previous space-focused missions in light of the blip and is specifically focusing on sentient weapons, like The Vision. Is it that much of a logical leap to assume that they’ve strayed into even darker territory?  The Vision’s body contains both vibranium and highly advanced technology. Could they be using that knowledge to create weapons? To bring back The Vision in a twisted way?

Maybe in breaking into that S.W.O.R.D facility Wanda wasn’t mad with grief but furious that this organization was desecrating the corpse of the man she loved.  And perhaps she didn’t go to Westview to start a new life and raise a family, but simply hide out. Only when she got there, something went wrong, and Westview itself-or the darker force behind Westview-brought The Vision back.

Second Theory- Wanda is NOT in control of Westview

It’s possible that Wanda’s reality-warping powers are what’s behind a lot of chaos in Westview, but I don’t think that she’s the one in the driver’s seat. Maybe she’s being controlled by someone else (a darker force). But during her argument with The Vision, she points out that just how unlikely it is that she would be able to control every action of thousands of people in Westview. She even admits to not remembering how everything began. And you know what? I totally bought that. For one thing, Elizabeth Olsen’s delivery was so genuine.

Secondly, it’s just too early.

It’s like a police procedural, where they bring in the cheating spouse to be interrogated halfway through the episode. At the time, it seems so obvious that they are the murderer. But it always ends up more complicated than that. Unmasking Wanda as the ultimate evil isn’t something you do in episode 4. That’s something you save until closer to the end.  So I’m calling this one a red herring.

Plus, we’ve already seen the town manipulating Wanda and Vision to do things already, such as have children. What if they were manipulating Wanda (or her powers) in other ways? What if the town wants Wanda to stay and are simply providing her with things they believe will keep her happy, such as reviving The Vision, giving her babies who might have the happy childhood that was stolen from her, and even reuniting her with the twin brother.

Third Theory- Death is permanent 

During episode 5, Wanda’s twin boys discover a puppy. When he, unfortunately, dies by eating poisonous plants in Agnes’s garden, they are devastated and beg their mother to bring him back. Wanda states that this is something she cannot do. Death is permanent.

And then a false Pietro arrives at the end of the episode as if to confirm it.

As previously mentioned, Westview has been manipulating Wanda since the beginning of the show by seemingly giving her what she wants a way to convince her to stay in town. And what does she want the most? To be reunited with her lost twin, something she has lingered on multiple times. The fact that he appears right after Wanda and The Vision have a huge fight might be in effort to placate her. To convince her to stay even longer. But if that was the case, wouldn’t Westview deliver the Pietro from Age of Ultron? Unfortunately, it can’t. Because, as previously established, death is permanent. And the closest that it can manage is to pluck a version of Quicksilver from another universe.

But what about The Vision? Isn’t he back from the dead? That’s when things get a little more complicated.

Because The Vision is a sythezoid. He can’t be killed by conventional means. What brought him to life was the mind stone (something that is pointed out in this very episode). And even though the stone has since been removed from his head/destroyed, it lives on in Wanda. Wanda received her powers from the mind stone, and it’s by exploiting that connection that The Vision is revived.

Only it isn’t really him. We’ve seen, where Wanda is shaken from the illusion, that The Vision is just a walking corpse. And we now know that he is only a shadow of the man he was before, his memories of his time before Westview, erased. And Wanda knows the truth about this. That the second they step outside of Westview, that The Vision will be no more.

This brings me to my final theory, that I will be crying buckets by the finale as I have to say goodbye to Paul Bettany’s Vision for good.

Problems with Paperbacks

As mentioned in my 2021 Publishing Road Map, one of the things I need to do this winter is update my name on my books. From this point on, I’ll just be writing under Nancy O’Toole (as opposed to Nancy O’Toole Meservier), and I wanted my backlist to reflect that, as well as this year’s releases. And for the most part, that’s worked out just fine! All of my ebooks have been updated, and I’m working on switching over my online presence.

Unfortunately, I’ve come up against a bit of a snag with my paperbacks. This requires me to get corrected covers from my artists, which may take some time. So, for now, you’ll find that three of my paperback books are missing from amazon (Silver and Gold is the only one to emerge unscathed!).  I’m sorry if this causes anyone confusion or frustration, but please know that I am doing my best to correct this, as well as switch over any other places online that may still have me listed under the old name.

I’ll be sure to update this space once everything is resolved.

UPDATE- Everything’s been taken care of now.

All Superheroes All the Time: January in Review

January Posts

  1. 2020: The Good Parts Version
  2. Superheroes and Fairy Tales: My 2021 Publishing Road Map
  3. Playing Catch Up: My 2021 TBR (Warning! Long Books Ahead!)
  4. Past and Future Cover Reveal! Get ready for Red and Black 4!

That’s a wrap on the first month of 2021!

I must admit, usually by the time I get to this point, I’ve more or less fully settled into things. I’ve figured out how to date all of my spreadsheets with the new year, and I’ve already forgotten some of my resolutions. But 2021 is a little more complicated. Maybe it’s because the political bullshit of 2020 decided to linger into January. Maybe it’s because the vaccine rollout has had so many issues. Or maybe it’s the more personal stuff piled on top of that.

Regardless, with a new president here in the United States, I feel like we’re heading in a more positive direction. Maybe in a month, 2021 will start to feel a little more real.

I certainly didn’t waste any time on the writing front, though. So let’s get into those!

Beneath the Mask- Just around the Corner

One of the things I worked on last month is getting ready to release Beneath the Mask: A Superhero Romance Anthology.  As mentioned in my 2021 Publishing Road Map, this includes “The First Date Cruse,” a short story that takes place in my Red and Black universe. It stars Dawn’s best friend, Sunshine, who unfortunately doesn’t get to play a huge role in Past and Future.  I thought I’d make up for that by giving Sunshine her own story! “The First Date Curse” takes place soon after Silver and Gold but can be read at any point in the series.

As you might have surmised from the subtitle, Beneath the Mask is all about superhero romance. This shouldn’t be too much of a change for fans of the Red and Black series, as Dawn and Alex’s relationship has always been pretty central, but keep in mind that there is a wide variety of heat levels in this collection. My story is very clean, but there’s plenty of spicier material from other authors.

Past and Future (and Beyond!)

The Red and Black series really dominated my January. With a shiny new cover, Past and Future is another step toward publication. If everything goes to plan, I should have the book up for preorder by the end of February.

While Past and Future sat in my editor’s hands, I found much of my attention on book five of the series, which is currently in the revisions stage. It will take a bit more work before it enters the lengthy beta reading process, but I’m happy to say that everything is going according to schedule.

Let’s hope things stay that way.

One Year of One for All

January also featured a different type of milestone. My podcast, One for All: A My Hero Academia Podcast, has officially been out for a year! The first episode went up on January 26th, 2020, and we’ve been posting regular content since then, only taking a single one-week break in the upload schedule.

It’s been a crazy year. If you had pulled me aside in January 2020 and told me everything I had ahead of me, I would have probably volunteered for a year-long coma, right then and there rather than live through it. But at least through it all, My Hero Academia has continued to be a damn good show, giving me moments of levity and distraction through some of the darkest moments of 2020. It’s the perfect anime for a rewatch podcast.

Here’s to another year.

What’s Next?

You can probably tell from above that February will be dominated by the Red and Black series once more. Not only does Beneath the Mask come out, but I need to get Past and Future ready for publication. And when I’m not working on that, I will be continuing my work on book five.

Another one of my goals for this new year is to stick to a more regular blogging schedule. Last year was a hot mess. When I was furloughed, I posted multiple times a week. And then, when my life more or less fell apart, my updates were far more sporadic. But I really want this year to be successful, and part of that success means not neglecting you guys! Let’s see how long I can stick to this.