New year, new projects!
If you’ve seen my Works in Progress page, you may have noticed that I have quite a few for someone with only one or two releases a year. And that’s because I’ve been saving things up for a (hopefully!) prolific 2021. This includes more in the Red and Black universe and an exciting new series.
So let’s get into that!
Winter- Name change and “The First Date Curse”– For reasons that I’ve already gotten into on this blog, I will be changing my name in 2021. To be honest, with everything on the publishing horizon, it just seemed smart to get that out of the way early. So by the end of January, I hope to have my entire catalog turned over to Nancy O’Toole. If you’re in the small minority of people who buy print versions of my books, alphabetizing them should still be easy peasy.
My first release under this new name comes in the form of a short story, “The First Date Curse,” which stars Dawn’s best friend, Sunshine. While I love writing Sunshine, the fact that she’s a normie means that she’s usually restricted to the sidelines. With “The First Date Curse,” I was able to put her front in center in a fun story that introduces a brand new hero. “The First Date Curse” will be published this winter as part of an anthology put out by Superhero-fiction.com. The anthology’s focus is superhero romance, and my contribution has a nice mixture of love and action. Once I have the preorder link, I’ll be sure to share it everywhere.
Spring- Past and Future– Spring will bring the fourth book in the Red and Black series, the recently announced Past and Future! If you like darkest timeline scenarios and time travel, you’ll love Dawn’s accidental trip to a dystopian version of Bailey City. I had so much fun writing Past and Future, which really raises the stakes. Also, more so than any other volume in the series, it’s really Alex’s book. To get into the reasons why would be too spoilery, but I hope that everyone enjoys it.
Cover art and preorder link coming soon! Eeeee!!
Summer and Fall- The Twin Kingdoms Quartet– Now we’re getting into the brand-spanking new stuff. 2021 will see my breaking into a new genre: fairy tale retellings. Sure, I did dip my toe into things in 2020, but this year I plan to fully dive in with a novella series. Four books are planned, with at least three of those coming out next year.
Like many people, fairy tales were my first introduction to the fantasy genre. I have fond memories of reading “The Wild Swans” over and over again from a fat anthology of children’s stories. I remember being introduced to a wide variety of tales from “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” to “Brother and Sister” by watching the Grimm’s fairy tale anime. And of course, there was Disney, who’s versions of “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Little Mermaid” and “Cinderella” have become the default version in my mind.
But one thing that I’ve noticed, as an adult that still loves fairy tales, is that most of the retellings I’ve come across still star kids and teenagers. I read one last year that starred a twenty-year-old, which felt like quite a twist. This makes sense when you consider many of the original tales and the age when most people are introduced to them. But does it have to be that way? Do our princesses always need to be fresh-faced youths?
The amazing Twitter account, Into the Forest Dark (@elliottblack3), recently tweeted that “Fairy tales are not about innocence but the loss of innocence through trauma. The protagonists travel through the perilous world of the fantastic, which they have to overcome, in order to find healing and transformation,” a statement which I wholeheartedly agree with and perhaps explains another reason why fairy tales are so often associated with coming of age.
But that transformation is not limited to adolescence. We all have been through trauma and have experienced loss during this pandemic, whether that’s the loss of loved ones, the loss of financial security, or the loss of vital life experiences. And that’s not even counting the rest of the trials and tribulations that came with 2020 and those that have yet to come. But just like the heroes in our favorite fairy tales, that loss does not need to drag us down forever. We can be healed and transformed.
This summer, I will launch The Twin Kingdoms, my fairy tale novella series, with a “Beauty and the Beast” telling. But my Beauty is someone who already has some life experiences behind her. Rose is a spitfire, a tough-minded 30-something widow who’s life has been forever transformed by the war that has gripped The Twin Kingdom for nine years. To set her late husband’s soul to rest, she must travel into enemy territory. In a land filled with people who despise her, she is trapped in an enchanted manor with a hideous and secretive beast, a scarred soul with his own past burdens.
I can’t wait for you to meet Rose and Kris. I can’t wait for you to meet everyone! In fact, I will be looking for places and ideas to promote this new series to make sure that it can find its audience, people like me that never stopped loving fairy tales.
But as I’m gathering ideas for that, I’m going to be focusing on promoting Past and Future and the Red and Black series. Keep an eye on this blog (or join my newsletter) for more information on all my projects.
2021 is going to be quite the year.