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, 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.

Cover Reveal: A Dance with Magic: A Twelve Dancing Princesses Novella

This October, The Twin Kingdoms continue!

A 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.

A 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.

For those of you who have already finished The Rose and the Claw, you may have seen a preorder link for book two in the back. A Dance with Magic continues the Twin Kingdoms Saga by telling the story of a different royal, Kris’s sister Rebecca, and Zahir, her fierce protector. The fairy tale this time around is The Twelve Dancing Princesses, a personal favorite of mine. Clearly, just like with The Rose and the Claw, I took some liberties this time around. For example, instead of many dancing princesses, we have one dancing queen! Still, I hope that fans of the original tale will find much to enjoy here.

You can preorder the ebook of the next novella today! The book will be published on October 6th, 2021, with Midnight Tide Publishing.

The Rose and the Claw: Available in Ebook, Paperback, and on Kindle Unlimited

Enter The Twin Kingdoms!

A woman on a mission…

Rose Gardner never thought she’d leave the small town of West Ridge. But when her husband dies at war, she must return his arms to his place of birth to set his spirit to rest. After traveling into enemy territory, Rose falls into a trap. Held captive in an enchanted manor, she finds herself face to face with a beast who is equally horrifying and kind. Will she manage to complete her quest or be pulled in by the secrets of the manor?

A man haunted by his past…

Trapped within his own home and in the body of a hideous beast, Kris never wanted to share his prison with another. As much as Rose may draw him in with her beauty and stubborn strength, he knows she must escape before the next full moon. After all, he remembers all too well what happened to the previous caretaker.

The dead won’t let him forget the blood on his hands.

I’m so happy to announce that The Rose and the Claw: A Beauty and the Beast Novella, is now available in ebook, paperback, and as part of your kindle unlimited subscription!

The Rose and the Claw represents a lot of important firsts for me. Obviously, it’s the first book in the new series (The Twin Kingdoms), but it’s also my first novella, and my first time with Midnight Tide Publishing. And because this series is all about new things, it’s also the first time I’ve made a soundtrack for the release.

Truth be told, I love listening to a good soundtrack. The one way for a video game to go from a good time to a personal favorite is for it to have killer music. So with The Rose and the Claw, I thought I’d take that love and craft a soundtrack. I’ve picked a mixture of instrumental and vocal tracks that I think really capture the characters’ emotional journey. There’s a track for every chapter meaning that track one represents the first chapter and so on. You can check out the playlist on Spotify, or view the entire track listening below.  I’ve even mentioned the moment where I’ve pictured the music kicking in if The Rose and the Claw were a movie.

I hope, if anything, it results in a more pleasant reading experience.

Chapter 1- The Rosebush
Kris wakes up on the rosebush
Hajime Mizoguchi- Shadow of Doubt

Chapter 2- The Lantern
Rose explores the mansion
Peter Gundry- Chapter 4- The Mystic

Chapter 3- The Captive
Kris and Rose’s first conversation
Livia- The Magician- Instrumental

Chapter 4- The Caretaker
Susannah mocks Kris
Evanescence- Feeding the Dark

Chapter 5- The Letters
Rose reads Susannah’s letters
Kiara Leonard- Deepest Woods

Chapter 6- The Garden
Kris and Rose meet in the garden
June Westfield- Winter Dawn

Chapter 7- The Stain
Rose remembers Martin
Janet Suhh- In Silence

Chapter 8- The Spy
Rose cooks breakfast
Wanderer’s Trove- Midsummer Waltz

Chapter 9- The Library
Kris and Rose read a book
Yuki Kajiura- Sit Beside me

Chapter 10- The Glass House
Kris leaves Rose in the greenhouse
Nam Hye Seung- Time of JungHyuk for Seri

Chapter 11- The Mother’s Moon
Rose is haunted by spirits
Peter Gundy- The Elixir of Life

Chapter 12- The Beast
Kris and Rose are chased
Lindsey Stirling- Till the Light Goes Out

Chapter 13- The Grove
Rose sees a ghostly figure
Evanescence- Even in Death (2016 Version)

Chapter 14- The Fallen
Susannah tells Kris he is not alone
Yuki Kajiura- A Stray Child

Chapter 15- The Visitor
Rebecca tells Rose the truth about Kris
Freigefyhl and June Westfield- Forest of Wishes

Chapter 16- The Butcher
Kris remembers the war
Wayne Strange- The Feast of the Fire Dragon

Chapter 17- The Manor
Kris discovers the truth
Amy Turk- Ganandorf Battle

Chapter 18- The Grave
Happily ever after 
Taylor Davis- Halo of Light

Getting Ready to Launch a New Series: July in Review

July Posts

  1. The Visible and Invisible Writer: June in Review
  2. Reviews are in! Check out early thoughts on my “Beauty and the Beast” Retelling
  3. The Rose and the Claw Sample Chapter
  4. Kdrama Review: Romance is a Bonus Book

Hello, world! As of the writing of this blog entry, The Rose and the Claw, the first book in my Twin Kingdoms series, will be coming out in less than two weeks! And while that’s incredibly nerve-wracking, it also resulted in quite a busy month. Let’s dive into how I spent my time.

All about Fairy Tales 

To those on the outside, publishing a book on Amazon might look simple. You log in and press publish, right? Technically yes, but there are also a lot of little steps along the way, from uploading the final manuscript to getting the correct spine size for your paperback, ordering proofs of said paperback, getting everything set up on Goodreads, post your ARCs to Prolific Works, and of course, so many emails!

July was extra complicated because not only was I putting the finishing touches on The Rose and the Claw, but I also started getting book two ready for publication. As previously mentioned, there will only be a gap of two months between releases for this quartet of novellas. I really wanted to take advantage of that by having a link to preorder book two in the back of book one. This made for a bit of a juggling act.

What complicated said juggling act is that throughout all of this, I was also wrapping up my first draft of the fourth and final novella, which proved to be the most challenging volume in the series by far! I’m not lying. Figuring out these 38,000 words ended up taking as much time as some of the novels I’ve written. But ultimately, I think it was worth the extra time. I’m looking forward to starting revisions sometime in August.

Summer of beta reads

Writing is usually a solitary activity, but one thing that allows us to become stronger authors is knowing when to lean on each other. One of the most popular ways of doing this is asking another writer to beta read a forthcoming work, something I will be doing this summer with two other writers. I spent a big chunk of July providing feedback on a longer fantasy work set to come out later this year. In August, the plans are to switch to a superhero short story for a second author. Ironically, I also have beta edits for my own work to dive into.

In recent months, I’ve seen some pretty big names in the indie space argue against using beta readers, saying that you need to trust yourself first and foremost. And sure, at the end of the day, it’s you and you alone that determines what goes into your book. Still, I can’t imagine not using beta readers for a book that I’m planning on charging money for. I find that after spending hours staring at a book, things start to get a little blurry. I’m so deep in the weeds that I can’t always tell what’s working on not. That’s where beta readers can be beneficial.

In addition, it helps you learn how to take criticism, which is going to happen anyway when you start receiving reviews. You need to know when to seriously consider feedback or discard something that doesn’t match your overall vision. To me, using beta readers is an important part of learning how to trust myself, and I can’t honestly imagine skipping this part of the process.

Sanity Breaks

July was a hectic month, but you can’t spend all of your time working, even when the thing you are working on is something you are passionate about. That’s why I made sure to make time for sanity breaks or fun things to help slow my brain down. This past month, I found time for breaks through gaming, kdramas, and reading. I finished Paper Mario: Origami King, a Switch game I started in June and had so much fun with. I couldn’t help but be drawn in by its charm and gameplay, and the ending really tugged at my heartstrings.

In addition, I finished up a new kdrama: Romance is a Bonus Book. I ended up writing a full review and posting it on the blog, which people seemed to enjoy. Maybe I’ll do that the next time I complete a kdrama.

Speaking of books, I also read and thoroughly enjoyed A Stich in Time by Kelley Armstrong, a super spooky time-slip novel that combined elements of murder mystery and romance. I must admit, I picked up this book not only because I’m a huge Kelley Armstrong fan but also because the initial setup is very similar to a novella I hope to release one day. Fortunately, the stories ended up going in very different directions!

What’s next

As previously mentioned, next month, I will be launching a new series with the publication of The Rose and the Claw: A Beauty and the Beast Novella. I will also be working on beta readers (both of my work and others) and editing the fourth novella in my Twin Kingdoms series. Oh yeah, and there’s also podcasting, blogging, and checking out the new What If? show and Suicide Squad movie.

It looks like it’s going to be another busy one.

Kdrama Review: Romance is a Bonus Book

Not a lot of good has come out of the pandemic, but one positive note is my newfound love for Korean dramas. Usually, when I finish a kdrama,  I just dash off a quick tweet about it and move on, but for this one, I thought I’d delve a little deeper. Obviously, this is a show made in South Korea for a Korean audience, not a 30-something white American woman like myself. I’m sure I missed out on some of the cultural nuances present here, which I try to keep in mind while watching kdramas. I hope you’ll also keep this in mind while reading this review.

Romance is a Bonus Book is an utterly charming friends-to-lovers romance that takes place within the publishing industry. Featuring strong performances, a soundtrack filled with memorable kpop songs, and some of the coziest aesthetics I’ve ever seen on screen, Romance is a Bonus Book is more or less consistently enjoyable from beginning to end.

The show stars Lee Na-young as Kang Dan-i, a former hotshot marketer who put her career aside to raise her daughter, a decision that comes to haunt her. After her marriage falls apart, Dan-i finds herself destitute and unable to find a single company willing to hire her. Despite her impressive job history and go-getter attitude, no one can get over the gap in her resume. Desperate, she lies about her background to get an entry-level job at the 5th largest publishing house in Korea, where her childhood friend, Cha Eun-ho (played by  Lee Jong-suk), happens to be an editor.

Romance is a Bonus Book‘s biggest strength is its ability to create sympathy for its characters, and nowhere else is that more obvious than with Dan-i. It’s impossible not to feel for her and want to cheer her on, even when she makes a decision that you know will eventually blow up in her face. Her plight also shines a light on a common struggle: just how difficult it can be to make up for a gap in your resume and how that impacts mothers. The companies presented here are even willing to hire clearly inexperienced, unqualified people over someone in Dan-i’s position, feeling that it is easier to mold a blank slate rather than bring on someone who will need to be retrained. This is hilariously illustrated with the character of Ji-yool, a spoiled new recruit who ironically ends up having one of the most satisfying arcs on the show.

As far as the romance goes, I ended up enjoying it, although I may have made a different decision than Dan-i did! The show revolves around a love triangle during its beginning and middle episodes, between author/editor/professor Eun-ho, Dan-i’s childhood friend, and book designer, Seo-joon. Sure, Dan-i’s relationship with Eun-ho is based on a deep bond forged after years of friendship but Seo-joon is adorable and has a cute dog!

In all seriousness, there were aspects of the romance that didn’t always work for me. There were a few moments where Eun-ho inferred that he and Dan-i were meant to be. She just didn’t know it yet. And while that was technically true in this case, I feel like highlighting such relationships encourages men to try and coerce otherwise unwilling women into romance. In addition, Romance is a Bonus Book has one of my least favorite scenes that show up in pretty much romance-based kdrama I’ve watched. Here, the wealthy half of the potential couple buys the less wealthy half of the potential couple a whole bunch of stuff.  I know there’s a wish-fulfillment aspect to this trope, and I feel like it’s handled better here than in other shows. After all, Eun-ho is Dan-i’s best friend, so it doesn’t look like he’s trying to buy her love. At the same time, it’s just so much stuff! In addition, it feels like it’s done to justify Dan-i’s neverending collection of oversized blazers and cozy knits.

Admittedly, I did really like those cozy knits.

Romance is a Bonus Book may be a love story combined with a tale of triumph over adversity, but it’s not all lightness and hope. Several scenes in this drama are frankly devastating, including reflections of Dan-i’s sad past. In addition, there are some flashbacks of a character taking care of a family member who is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. These particular scenes are short but so heavy that I hesitate to recommend this series to someone going through something similar. But while these sad moments can make the show hard to watch, they only make the lighter, more triumphant ones more satisfying by comparison.

There may have been aspects of Romance is a Bonus Book that didn’t always work for me, but I found so much more about it to enjoy. Highly recommended if you’re looking for a romance-based kdrama and happen to love to read.

The Rose and the Claw Sample Chapter

It sounds crazy to think about it, but I will be launching The Twin Kingdoms in a little over two weeks. The Twin Kingdoms is a series of fairy tale novellas, and the first book, The Rose and the Claw, is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

I know that this is a new genre for me, and very different than my superhero hero novel. So if you happen to be on the fence about things, I’ve included the first chapter below to help you make up your mind. The novella is available to preorder today.

FYI- The chapter is from the beast’s perspective.

Continue reading

Reviews are in! Check out early thoughts on my “Beauty and the Beast” Retelling

The Rose and the Claw: A Beauty and the Beast Novella, comes out in just over three weeks (!!!), but reviews are already rolling in. If you’d like to check out what other people have said about the first book in my Twin Kingdoms series, check out the snippets below, and click on the links to read the full reviews.

I highly recommend The Rose and the Claw especially if you enjoy well-paced and well-written fantasy-romance novellas with great characters and intriguing supernatural elements. I can’t wait to read the next story in the series! – Julie from One Book More

Really interesting take on the tale as old as time. Great world building, interesting and engaging characters. It’s the first in a novella series so it’s short and sweet with a promise of more. – Sissy Lu from Book Savvy Reviews

If you like twisted fairy tales, this is truly one of the good ones.- Chandaly of Goodreads

This one is definitely a unique retelling of the fairytale and a quick read since this is a novella. Despite the fast read, it was very good. It was dark, and sweet, and just an all around good retelling of the fairytale.Anais of Goodreads

This one was really original and it had some surprising twists and turns!! I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to the next story in The Twin Kingdoms!!Donna on Goodreads

The Rose and the Claw: A Beauty and the Beast Novella, comes out August 4th 2021, and is currently available for preorder.

The Visible and Invisible Writer: June in Review

June Posts

  1. Focusing on Fairy Tales: May in Review
  2. Get ready for The Convention of Heroes!
  3. ARCs are here for The Rose and the Claw: A Beauty and the Beast Novella.

A lot of time, when we talk about the nuts and bolts that go into being an author, it boils down to time spent writing versus time spent doing everything else, like admin work or marketing. But sometimes, I think that from a reader’s perspective, it looks different. First, there’s the visible writer. This is the version of the author that makes important announcements, shows up on your podcast feed/inbox, and is available to chat with on social media. Then there’s the invisible writer or all that work that happens in the background. Much like an iceberg, what’s visible on the surface is only a fraction of what lies beneath.

So for today, let’s divide my June recap into those two categories. Because it was objectively my busiest month of 2021, but it may not have appeared that way.

The Visible: Convention of Heroes

On the visible side of things, it’s hard to beat’s annual Convention of Heroes. After all, I was very visibly on video!

The Convention of Heroes was a virtual fan con all about superheroes. There were basically two tracks: a creator track and a fan track, and I was fortunate enough to appear on panels for both. I started off the week with the How to Craft a Hero panel that really got into the nuts in bolts on superhero character creation. Tuesday, brought things to the fan side of things with the Anime and Manga Supers panel, which is also the first panel I have ever moderated. I went into things nervous and overwhelmed, but thanks to the awesome folks on my panel, and support from the superhero-fiction team, it went quite well. My part in the conference ended on Thursday in a very NSFW panel about Romance in Superhero Media, where we got to talk about THAT recent Batman controversy.

All and all, it went very well, but the iceberg metaphor still applies here. Each panel involved plenty of prep, from conversing with the superhero-fiction team to coming up with questions and answers. I was very glad that I happened to take that week off as a vacation because I honestly don’t know how I would have had time to juggle everything had it been a standard workweek. This is likely a sign that I need to do only one or two panels next year, if for my sanity than anything else.

But let’s see how I feel about that next year.

Also, on the visible side of things, you’ve probably seen me out and about on social media talking about ARCs! The release date for my next book (and series starter!) The Rose and The Claw: A Beauty and the Beast Novella is just around the corner. So I spent quite a bit of time trying to build up hype through the use of early reviews. I still have a few ARCs available for anyone who wants to jump on board, so leave a comment with your email address if you’d like me to send you one.

The Invisible: Writing, writing, writing

It feels strange to be talking about the fourth and final book in my Twin Kingdoms series when the first book hasn’t even come out yet, but since I plan on realizing these in relatively quick succession, I need to make sure that everything is cued up properly.

And boy, has that been a challenge with this one!

Sometimes I think that, as writers, we can get a little smug over time. The things that once tripped us up as newbies don’t always impede us after several years. We’ve figured out how to maintain a writing schedule. A blank page no longer intimidates us. Unfortunately, while the fact that we are more experienced and knowledgeable can be helpful, it doesn’t change the fact that each book is going to provide us with a different set of challenges.

Part of this has to do with the book itself (a series finale!), but that’s not the only factor. Challenges can come from other places as well. As mentioned above, I had a lot to juggle this month. It almost makes me wistful for the times when all I had to focus on was writing because the more you have to multitask, the harder it can be to get that necessary momentum to see a draft to its end.

All of this is to say, I am still working on that novella and a little irked that all of these problems mean that my other projects have been inevitably pushed back. But the book is in a much stronger place now than just a few days ago, and I am confident that I can finish this draft. It’s just going to take some patience.

What’s Next?

More juggling! Between getting ready for The Rose and the Claw’s Publication, working on future books, podcasting, and beta reads, I honestly don’t know how I’m going to get through the next month without dropping something. In a way, I already have. My podcast, One for All, has gone from weekly to every other week.

Let’s hope I don’t need to cut back in other areas.