Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of August 2019

I was incredibly shocked and honored that SHROUDED LOYALTIES was featured on both Amazon AND Barnes & Noble’s “Best SFF of August 2019” lists! The Bookseller’s Picks from the BN Sci Fi & Fantasy Blog highlights its “decidedly different take on military SF,” while Amazon Book Reviews says it “mixes science fiction with THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER and garnishes it with the spywork of John Le Carre.” And just after my release day, I was blown away by this full review from the B&N Sci Fi & Fantasy Blog, titled You Won’t Know Who to Trust Amid the Military Sci-Fi Thrills of Shrouded Loyalties. Click the links to check out the full reviews!

New Book Announcement and Cover Reveal!

I am thrilled to announce that my next novel, SHROUDED LOYALTIES, will be released by sci fi publisher Angry Robot in August! It’s about a naval officer who receives dangerous powers when her submarine travels through an alternate realm of existence and is attacked by a monster. She must figure out how to use these powers to save her country from invasion, all the while unaware that her partner is a spy and her brother is an enemy collaborator.

 

In addition to espionage and betrayal, this novel addresses some issues near and dear to my heart, including the gaps that lack of communication drive into our relationships and the temptations that lead us astray in our darkest hours. Through three very different POV’s, I examine subjects such as gender roles in differing societies, the challenges of anger management, and the difficulties of living with self-loathing (this last being a topic I have personal experience with, and drew on extensively as I wrote).

 

So if you love reading about espionage, submarines, betrayal, alternate realms with mysterious monsters, or relationships that seem broken beyond repair, SHROUDED LOYALTIES might be a great fit for you! And if you prefer having books read to you, I’m excited to say that it’s already been picked up as an audiobook, too!

 

CLICK HERE TO PREORDER NOW!

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And as a bonus, read an exclusive excerpt from the book on Sci Fi Now!

Holding the Ashes Release!

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I hold you tight, to keep you alive

As though my heart could make you thrive.

I see every second your spirit deprived...

But if I keep you close, maybe something will survive.

 

I am excited to finally announce the release of Holding the Ashes! Told in 10 episodes, this post-apocalyptic western is about a thief named Svana who withholds a soul from her death god. Plagued by grief and guilt, and hunted by her loved one’s killer, Svana struggles to save those she can, armed only with the ashes and words in a dead rock star’s journal. Dark and gritty, but with splashes of hope, Holding the Ashes is a journey through grief, memory, and regret, and addresses the ultimate question about whether it’s ever okay to let go.

From now through September 1st, I am offering a new-release deal of only $10 for the paperback (plus shipping) if you contact me directly! I’ll send you a signed copy, plus info about other books in the storyverse and Fiction Vortex’s StoryShop app. And if you don’t have my first book yet, 1920’s Soviet thriller The Deadliest Echo, I’ll include that for only $5 until the end of the promotion!

As always, I appreciate shares and word of mouth, and am ecstatic to finally share a novel that’s been near and dear to my heart for the past couple years. I hope you love it as much as I do!

Samplers

The first episode samplers are in! This volume includes the first episode from each of the four stories in our world:

Witness Song, Episode 1: The Company of Horses

Midnight Agency, Episode 1: Restless Spirits

Holding the Ashes, Episode 1: Shattered Ashes

I Speak for the Kraken, Episode 1: Our Little Island by the Sea

 

The sampler is available in paperback on Amazon. You can also download the Fictionite app on your mobile device and follow any or all of these series' for free during their live runs! Visit fictionite.io to learn more!

Out of Excuses Writing Retreat and Cruise 2016

This year’s Writing Excuses cruise was absolutely incredible. I spent a lot of last year’s cruise overwhelmed and exhausted, so this year I took care to give myself private blocks of writing time every day. The difference was amazing! Recharging myself this way gave me a freedom and energy I didn’t feel last year. Between the insightful lessons (on both writing and life) and the unique feeling of being amongst others like myself, this experience doesn't compare to anything in the world. Here is an overview of the trip’s highlights:

 

Saturday

 

Best part? Meeting up with friends I haven’t seen since a year ago and feeling like not a single day has passed. Other best part? Meeting brand new people and realizing within our first conversation that we aren’t strangers at all. The ship—Oasis of the Seas—is huge and overpowering, but this time I’m ready. I’ve got this.

 

Sunday

 

A day at the Bahamas! We go to an incredibly hot and muggy botanical garden and zoo, where we walk through a rainforest path and see beautiful parrots and lizards and flamingos and some awesomely huge spiders. Then we sit down for some writing time. I’m stuck on something, and it’s frustrating. But I have some great conversations with a couple writers on the way home, and store the ideas I get.

 

Monday

 

We spend today on the ship. We take a great class on outlining, then watch the Writing Excuses cast (Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler) record several episodes of the podcast! No spoilers here, but there is some really great stuff coming out in the next few months. Also, two veteran members of the retreat, Miko and Jessica, get married on the ship today, officiated by Mary herself!

 

Tuesday

 

We are at St. Thomas, in the Virgin Islands. Trever and I, in the interest of saving cab money, decide to try walking to a beach. Our writing friend Steven comes along. We walk through an industrial district we clearly aren’t supposed to be in, then head down a narrow curvy road without sidewalks. It is intermittently rainy, with lush vegetation all around us. We are rewarded; we walk past a hotel and find a virtually empty beach. We jump right in and swim for a while. There is nothing like swimming in the Caribbean—absolutely no shock value of cold when you get in the water. It’s amazing. Later that night, we have dinner at the same table as Brandon Sanderson. I talk to him about some of the things I’ve been struggling with in my book. He has great answers to my questions.

 

Wednesday

 

We are at St. Maarten. We shop for a little bit, but it is an extremely hot day, and before long, we go back to the ship and swim in the pool. Trever helps me realize I have been trying to start my book in the wrong place. I go back to my room and write 2,800 words. Adding that to my 1,300 of the day before, I have reached 4,100, which is my second-best record in a 24-hour period. I can’t stop smiling.

 

Thursday

 

We watch Dan Wells’ film adaptation of I Am Not a Serial Killer. It is pretty good! Then we take an amazing class about Personal Narrative. We participate in a free-writing exercise, something I have never tried. In the course of this exercise, I have an epiphany about things that have challenged me my entire life, and give me new insight about why I am the way I am. In fact, self-discovery has played an unexpected role this whole week. It’s a big part of what makes this trip a life-changing experience for me. At night, we participate in a cosplay, with the theme of sci fi or fantasy weddings. It is my first ever cosplay. Sandra Tayler gives me a prize for her favorite costume. I have to keep the train of my dress from getting stepped on all night, but it is worth it!

 

Friday

 

Today is jam-packed with classes and Q&A sessions. There is another mindblowing class about world building as related to our own ancient history, as well as a really cool one on characterization. I’m exhausted by the end of the day. But I am happy the cruise has been such a success this year—I wouldn’t change a single thing. There’s no other vacation I can say that about.

Joyeux Noel

For a good Christmas movie this season, I’d like to recommend a rendition of my favorite Christmas story of all time—the World War I truce of 1914. The movie is called Merry Christmas, or Joyeux Noel. It’s a spectacular version of a truly amazing event.

Writing Excuses Retreat 2015

Just got back from a wonderful week-long writing retreat and cruise with the members of my favorite author podcast, Writing Excuses! It was an absolute whirlwind and I learned SO much and met the most wonderful group of writers and new friends. I hope to be able to attend something like this again in a couple years. Thanks so much to Brandon, Mary, Dan, Howard, and all the guest authors who made this event possible and extraordinary!

Caught Between the Pages Blog

I had the honor to be featured on a blog today--Caught Between the Pages--where blogger Kayla called The Deadliest Echo "one of the best books I've read so far this year." Thanks for having me, Kayla! Read the full review here.

Kayla also featured me on Career Talk Tuesday! Click here to read a little bit about how I came to become an author.