Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Hunter's Heritage Chapter One

Hi everyone! To celebrate the end of the semester here's the first chapter of Hunter's Heritage! You can also find it on Wattpad (and you can find the first book, Sterling Silver, on Wattpad too).

Tabitha ducked behind the corner of the building, her hand squeezing the hilt of her sword. A full moon loomed over her, filling the alley with light. This was the one. He had to be the one. Four months of hunting and interrogation and still nothing. No sign of Alistair.
She glanced over her shoulder where her best friend stood, eyes wide as she glanced from Tabitha’s face to the sword.
Tabitha forced a smile to hide her frustration. “Just stay here Chelse and watch how I take this one. Alive.”
Chelsea nodded, her own hands fisted around two silver tipped daggers. Tabitha was teaching her how to use silver and what happened when something sharp and silver was jabbed into the heart of a vampire: they didn’t turn to dust like with wooden stakes. The silver made them rapidly desiccate. Not Tabitha’s favorite form of killing them since it left a body and made things messier, but Chelsea needed to learn the difference.
Tabitha patted her best friend’s shoulder reassuringly and glanced around the corner. There he was: Lawson Reynolds. It had taken Tabitha two months to find him and a whole week to track him down to a small town one state over. Tabitha had convinced Sebastian to stay at the hotel and let her and Chelsea go it alone this time. It would draw too much attention to have all three of them stalking the streets.
Lawson had just staggered out of a local bar with an arm looped around a girl’s shoulders. Tabitha watched as he pushed her up against a wall and they embraced in a sloppy kiss. His lips trailed down to her neck and his fangs gleamed as he craned his head to get a good bite at her carotid artery. That was her cue.
The familiar rush of adrenaline surged through her. Tabitha sprinted out and slashed, her sword cutting a clean line across his back. He let out a howl and stumbled away from his prey, hitting the wall next to her. The blond gaped at Tabitha, eyes wide. Tabitha pointed toward the exit of the alley. “Get out of here,” she ordered.
The girl didn’t waste any time. She bolted, leaving Tabitha alone with Lawson. The vampire seethed, and red eyes flashed up to glower at her. “What was that for?” he snarled. “I wasn’t doing anything wrong.”
Tabitha snorted and drew her second sword from its sheath on her back, yellow gloves wrapped around the metal hilt. “Oh really? You were just about to make a meal out of that innocent girl. I’d hardly call that saintly.”
Before he could reply, she swiped again. He didn’t try to move, and her silver blade sliced into his shoulder. He seethed and grabbed hold of the wound where his skin sizzled and smoked at the silver’s contact. In the back of Tabitha’s mind, she wondered why he wasn’t fighting back or running but at the forefront all she could think about was getting information and how much she enjoyed hurting this vampire. Getting all her frustration out by cutting him up and making him bleed. Blood dribbled down his shoulder and pooled down his back, drip-dropping onto the ground.
“You don’t understand. I wasn’t doing anything wrong. I wasn’t going to kill her. Just take a sip. I have a deal with the owner of this bar. He lets me take a bite out of his customers as long as I heal them up and erase their memories,” he explained, scowling as if Tabitha were the one doing wrong instead of him.
Tabitha narrowed her eyes. She knew some people made deals with the vampires. Let them feed on people but… those sorts of deals weren’t allowed in Rosewood or anywhere near her small town. A deal didn’t make feeding off people okay but… it also didn’t make Lawson as malicious and evil as other vampires Tabitha knew. As bad as the vampire she was currently hunting. Grimacing, she sheathed her swords and took a step back. His body relaxed, and he dropped his hand from his already healing shoulder.
“What is it that you want?” he asked, his voice thick with an old Western accent Tabitha had only ever heard in Western movies. He wore a button-down shirt, jeans and black cowboy boots. Tabitha had heard tell of Lawson from her previous lead who she had dusted a month ago. How he was a vampire who made it his business to know everything about everything, including the whereabouts of some of the more prominent vampires out there. A vampire wearing cowboy boots and talking in a Western accent wasn’t what Tabitha had been expecting.
Tabitha regarded him, keeping her head held high. “I’m looking for a man named Alistair. Heard of him?”
Lawson rolled his shoulders, the cut gone with only the tear in his shirt to prove that Tabitha had hurt him.
His eyes dissolved from a hungry red into a tan brown. “Ahh so you’re the huntress everyone’s been talking bout, huh? Tracking down the big bad Alistair, are we?”
Tabitha nodded. She hadn’t known she’d built a reputation for herself in the vampire community. Though she wasn’t surprised. She, Sebastian and Chelsea had been hitting some of the oldest and highest of the vampires over the last four months, hoping they would have something on Alistair. The closest they had come was about two weeks ago when a Russian vampire named Sasha said she’d seen Emmeline a month ago in New York City. Sasha had even talked to her. When she had asked where Emmeline and Alistair were headed all Emmeline had said was they were moving on to a different city. Sasha had given them Lawson’s name, saying he used to know Emmeline pretty well and that if Emmeline was searching for something, he was the guy she would go to.
So there Tabitha was, hoping beyond hoping that he could give her some clue as to where Alistair and Emmeline had disappeared to.
Lawson leaned against the brick wall and looped his fingers through his belt buckles, staring her down with a lazy gaze. “Well you’ve come to the right place. I know Alistair’s girl and I can point ya in the right direction. I just want one thing in return.”
“What sort of thing?”
Lawson shrugged off the brick wall and came to stand toe to toe with her. Out of the corner of Tabitha’s eye she saw Chelsea tense and step forward, but she shook her head slightly. Chelsea ducked back into the shadows.
“Just a little assurance. I do this favor for you and you do one for me in return.”
Tabitha frowned, folding her arms. “I don’t make a point of owing vampires any favors.”
He gave her words away. “No, no, this one’s easy. You can promise it to me right here, right now. All I want is assurance that once I give you what information you want, you leave me alone and never come after me again.”
Tabitha considered it for a moment and then nodded. “Sure.”
He grinned, holding his hand out. “Deal then?”
“Deal,” Tabitha said, giving his hand a shake.
“Emmy’s an old, ah, flame of mine and she came to me about two weeks ago asking about a particular hunter. You may know of him… He was a Sterling.”
Tabitha frowned. During the past four months, she hadn’t heard anything about Alistair and Emmeline hunting down a hunter. Especially a Sterling hunter. She’d thought she was the only Sterling hunter Alistair cared about.
“Wait… was?” she asked, processing what he had said.
Lawson nodded, shoving his hands into his pockets and leaning against the wall. “Yes, was. Thomas Sterling. Born in Rosewood 1840, died 1869 in New Orleans.”
“I never had any family or ancestors in New Orleans…”
“Well, seems you did. Emmy came asking about where he might be buried. I did my best searching for an answer for her, but only came up with where he died: New Orleans. That’s where I reckon she headed.”
Tabitha nodded. Well at least that was a start. She’d have to ask Derrick about this Thomas Sterling, but now they had a lead. The first solid lead in four months. She grinned. “Thank you. You have no idea how helpful you’ve been,” she said, stepping back.
Lawson flashed her a fanged grin back and nodded his head at her. “Glad I could help. Remember our agreement.”
“I will.” She watched him duck back into the bar.
Chelsea stepped out the shadows, giving Tabitha a questioning look. “I only heard bits and pieces. Did he have anything?”
Tabitha turned around to face her best friend. Derrick was going to kill her when she got home. Tabitha and Sebastian had been coming and going ever since her mother’s funeral and this was the longest time they’d been away in four months. She’d missed so much school she would be surprised if Rosewood High accepted her back.
Nearly two weeks had gone by since the last time she had stepped foot in Rosewood, her home town, and she had ignored all of his texts and calls since leaving. Chelsea had driven out to help Tabitha.
Tabitha grinned, grabbed Chelsea’s hand and headed back toward the hotel they were staying in.  “He had more than something. I know where we can find Emmeline.”

Friday, December 7, 2018

Writer's Burnout

So I've realized a pattern in my writing and in my life. I get into a good place with my writing. I feel energized and passionate and happy with what I'm working on. I'm writing for myself and enjoying it because it's my passion and what I love to do. It feels so good and so manageable and easy that I put ridiculous expectations on myself and pile more and more WIP's and projects onto my plate than I can handle. I like being mentally busy and as a writer, working on several different projects at once keeps my mind always going, always thinking and always on different stories at once. For a time it works out. I feel good and excited and like wow I am so good, I'm doing so much and being such a productive writer. Writing isn't so hard, I don't know why people complain. This is a piece of cake. But then for some reason (I'm still not sure how this happens) this productivity and passionate good place I get into with my writing starts to morph into something not so great.
Maybe it's because I give myself too many projects to work on at once, but I start to put high expectations on myself. I start to carve out time every day to write even when I don't feel like it because hey productivity and it felt so good to write this much just the other day so it'll make me feel good today too. I start to put pressure on myself. Then it starts to feed into comparing my writing, my writing career and my writing journey to others. And without even realizing it, writing suddenly turns into a chore, a task to complete, a job. Not a fun job. A hard job. I stop writing for myself and writing what I want and start writing for an audience that is nonexistent in the first few drafts. I start putting ridiculous expectations on myself and start thinking about what will sell and what won't sell and what I'm expected to write and what I shouldn't write. All of a sudden, writing isn't fun anymore. I have no passion, no drive, no motivation. I just feel stuck and frustrated and drained.

This cycle is something I've struggled with for the past few years ever since I first realized that I do this to myself. And every time, I always manage to pick myself back up. It takes a little while but then I take a deep breath and remind myself that I do this first and foremost for myself. Because I love it and it makes me happy and I wouldn't be a sane person without my writing. I remind myself to write what I love and write for myself and stop thinking about what other people might think of what I'm writing. To stop paying attention to this imaginary audience that I feel like I have to appease. I start to get back into writing for myself and loving it and the cycle starts all over again...

I was just looking through all my blog posts over the past year. December rolls around and everyone starts looking back on their year and all they accomplished and all they didn't. So, I was just looking through my posts and everything and I think it was around the beginning of the year, the first few months or maybe even last December or November, that I wrote a post about how I want to write for myself and not put expectations on myself. It was about not rushing to publish, to take my time and not put so much pressure on myself. And I stuck with that all year. Really I did. I've been in a good writing place all year, especially this Summer. But then the cycle started up again and November hit and I think I put too much pressure on myself this nanowrimo. I tried not to but I failed big time in not making a big deal about my word count. Nanowrimo was what pushed me over the edge. I got to the end of Second Star and just wanted to be done with it. I was so sick of that first draft I rushed through the ending and was so relieved to stow it away on my flashdrive and click the X button on that Word document. Just the thought of starting revisions makes me feel overwhelmed. And I feel horrible about that. I feel so bad that I feel that way about a project I am so passionate and excited about. I love that story and it has so much potential! But I just... can't bring myself to pull up that document and even look at the first draft. It's a horrible feeling... I know it'll pass, it will, but right now it's just not a fun place to be in.
I finished revisions for Hunter's Heritage and all I have to do is read through it and I'm good with that. Once this semester ends (next week!!) I'll be able to focus more on that and not dread reading over it so much.

But, yeah, I guess that's my long way of saying I have a major case of writer's burnout. I thought I have before, but I have never felt so burnt out in my writing before. Over the past few months I had a lot of classwork to do, I had places to be and things to do and a book to publish and Nanowrimo and it all just piled up and now I'm feeling the consequences for not giving myself a break. All I want to do is write. I want to start fresh and be excited about a new character and story, but just the thought of starting a whole new full length novel makes me want to hide.
A full length novel feels like too much and so daunting right now. And yet, that's what I really want to do. It's so weird to have two parts of me contradicting each other and clashing. On the one hand all I want to do is jump into a new project while the other part of me just can't bring myself to do it.

There's just a lot going on in life right now. I'm sure I'm not alone in that. Some seasons of life are just really busy. Some are physically busy, like going places and doing things and seeing people. Others are mentally and emotionally busy. I'm in a mentally and emotionally busy season of life right now. A lot is changing and I don't know what I'm going to do about that or how to feel about it and I think that mixed with the past few months has contributed to this writer's burnout.

I don't want this post to be all gloomy and sad and me complaining, so if you're experiencing writer's burnout here's what I plan to do to help myself get better. To like re-energize myself and my motivation to write.

  1. It's Ok to Not Write!! This is something I struggle with. Just writing that sentence made me want to cringe. Not writing means you're not being productive which means you aren't being a good writer, right? No. That is not true. Just because you're not putting words to page, doesn't mean you're no longer a writer. As a writer my brain is always going. Always turning over new ideas, always thinking about writing and characters and storylines. But it is Ok to not write words every day. It is Ok to take a break. Writing that is hard for me because I'm not even sure I fully believe that, but I want to and I think this December I'm going to learn to. I need a break from writing. That doesn't mean I won't write if the inspiration suddenly strikes. It just means I'm not going to force myself to write or come up with an idea just because I'm bored and feeling unproductive. 
  2. Start writing for myself again. Stop catering to an audience that isn't even there yet. Stop thinking about what might sell and what won't sell. Stop comparing your writer's journey to someone else's. Just start writing for myself again and not putting so many expectations or so much pressure on myself to make a first draft perfect or finish a project. Despite popular belief and advice from many writers, it is Ok to not finish a first draft!
    Yes, there are seasons of life and certain projects that you should not give up on. Project Hellion has been a two year process. So has Hunter's Heritage and I have a feeling my sci-fi alien Golden trilogy is going to be something that will also take many years. Some projects are worth fighting for and worth coming back. Other ones? They're important to your growth as a writer and good practice, but they don't have to be finished. Especially when you're feeling burnt out, it's Ok to leave a half finished first draft if you're not feeling the exciting and passion. If you try to keep writing even when you have no love for the story, writing will become a chore and feed the burn out. I don't want to do that. I don't want to feed the burn out. 
  3. Self-Care is a real thing and it is important. But what happens when part of your self-care is writing?? I always thought of my writing as self-care cuz that's how much writing makes me feel so happy. That's how much I think writing is fun. But... what happens when writing is the reason you need to do some self-care? I kind of don't know how to answer that question. All I can say is, do something else. When I'm "taking a break" from writing (or more when I'm having writer's block and am frustrated that I can't seem to get anything written) I like to do something that is still story related. I usually read a book or delve into a TV show or movie. I do something that could give me ideas and inspiration and that I enjoy. I've actually been rewatching TVD, kind of immersing myself in the show and that world because I kind of need a break from words in general, which includes reading. (Though one of my Buffy comics came to the library today so I am totally going to be binge-reading comic season 11 of Buffy). So yeah, do something you enjoy. Read, watch a show, take a walk, pick up one of your other hobbies or come up with another hobby. Or write a blog post. Writing a blog post is different than creative writing and that is why I am still happy to write posts like these. Because its a different branch of writing and fun to do. 
  4. Do some Reevaluating. This one should probably be higher on the list, like one of the first things you do. But think about why you're feeling burnt out. Are you putting too high expectations on yourself or too much pressure on yourself? Are you having doubts or comparing yourself to others and feeling bummed out because your writing "isn't as good" as theirs or that you don't have much exposure as them? Or is there something else going on in your life that is weighing heavily on you? Any number of things can cause burn out. Sometimes its a whole accumulation of things. 

So yeah, those are four things I will definitely be doing to try and recover from this major burnout. I also will be praying about it and asking God to show me the way. I have to trust Him with this and pray that He can lead me out of the burnout and back to a place where the gift He gave me makes me happy and becomes fun again.

I hope this has been helpful and lets you know you aren't alone if you're feeling burnt out too.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

First Snowfall

So, I considered putting this short story into the back of Project Hellion (and maybe I still will) but for now I wanted to share it on here with you guys. It's also on Wattpad if you want to read it on there. I was feeling the Christmas spirit and I thought this would be a fun little story to write. It's more like flash fiction or I guess could be considered "deleted scenes" from Project Hellion. Anyways, here it is:

Delphi grinned as she peered out the window, her breath frosting the glass in front of her. The first snowfall of the season on Christmas Eve which was sort of perfect. It made her second Christmas without her parents or brother bearable and a little more magical. Amparo City got cold during the winter, but it rarely snowed, so to get to wake up to the snowflakes blanketing everything in sight felt like a good omen.
She got ready, pulling on a pair of jeans and a festive turtleneck with little snowflakes and Christmas trees on it. Christmas was her favorite time of year and nothing was going to ruin that for her. Not the fact that she wouldn’t get to see her parents or brother. Not the Shadows. Not the Protectors or her former friends. Nothing. Delphi was determined to make this the best Christmas ever. She practically skipped down the stairs of the team’s safehouse and into the kitchen but stopped short when she surveyed the miserableness in front of her. Tomorrow was Christmas Eve and there was no tree up, no stockings, no decorations of any kind. Just Blizzard hunched over his mug of coffee like any other morning and Riley yawning and flipping through the newspaper, his black hair uncombed and messy.
Delphi could feel her smile begin to fall, but she refused to let this sorry scene in front of her ruin her Christmas cheer. Sure, they’d been really busy the past few weeks and Delphi still wanted to take down the Shadows more than ever. But she was willing to take a break for Christmas.
Riley lazily glanced up from his paper and flashed her a grin that normally would have made her heart flutter and her heart melt. Today though except seeing this place decorated properly for Christmas day would make her heart melt or flutter or anything. She gave him her biggest smile back though and walked around the counter to kiss his cheek.
“Did you see it’s snowing outside?” she asked, leaving Riley to make herself some cereal.
He nodded not even bothering to look out the window. “Yep.”
“Isn’t that fun?” she pressed. “A white Christmas! The last time I had a wait Christmas was when I was like twelve.”
He shrugged. “Sure, it’s… cool.”
Delphi’s smile began to slip and this time, her Christmas cheer could do nothing to save it. She frowned, setting her bowl of cereal down hard enough on the counter to make the milk slosh over the sides. Blizzard and Riley both looked up in surprise. “Do you not like Christmas or something? Don’t tell me you’re a Grinch.”
Riley scratched his temple, a grin kicking up his lips. Delphi didn’t return it. She glanced between him and Blizzard waiting for one of them to reply. Blizzard’s icy blue eyes widened after a minute of silence. “Oh, you wanted us to answer that?”
“I thought it was a rhetorical question,” Riley said, shrugging.
“Well it’s not,” Delphi shouted, hands on hips. Her cereal bowl sat forgotten in front of her. “So, do you?”
“Do we what?” Riley asked, going back to staring at his paper.
Delphi blew out a breath of impatience. “Do you not like Christmas?”
“It’s Okay.”
Delphi’s jaw dropped, and she turned to Blizzard, hoping for him to redeem Riley’s nonchalant answer with an enthusiastic reply. But then he just gave her an indulgent smile, lacing his fingers around his coffee cup. “I enjoy Christmas.”
“That’s… that’s it… That’s all you two are going to say? Does no one here have the Christmas cheer?”
Just then a gust of snowy wind blew in with Kitty, who slammed the door shut behind her and pulled her coat off. Her green cat eyes scanned the scene in front of them and she grinned, probably noticing the scowl on Delphi’s face.
“What did they do?”
“They’re ruining my Christmas cheer,” Delphi pouted. “Do you like Christmas?”
Kitty snorted as she threw her coat onto the back of the couch and loped past Riley into the kitchen. “Now I understand why you look like someone ran over your puppy. We don’t celebrate Christmas in this house.”
Delphi had never felt so horror-struck in her life. She felt like someone had punched her in the gut. “What?”
“You heard me. It’s not that we hate the holiday or whatever. We just… never do anything for it. We don’t even exchange gifts.”
“Well… well…” Delphi was at a loss for words. She pinned all three of them with a disgusted look. That was… unacceptable. Delphi refused to live in a house that had no Christmas cheer and if none of them were going to lift a finger to make this holiday special, then she would have to do it herself. An idea formed in her mind and her frown turned up into a grin. “Well,” she repeated, “that isn’t going to happen this year. This year we’re celebrating Christmas. All of us.”
Blizzard raised his eyebrows at her. “Are we now?”
“Yes,” Delphi said, suddenly swiping the newspaper from under Riley’s nose. Riley’s head snapped up. “Hey.”
“Don’t hey me. You don’t have time to read the paper today.”
“Why not?” He seemed genuinely dismayed and any other time Delphi would have thought it was cute, but with everything she now had planned she didn’t have time to fawn over Riley’s cuteness.
“Because you and Blizzard and Kitty are going out shopping today.”
Kitty clapped her hands behind her and when Delphi turned to glance at her, she found Kitty beaming at her. “Yay! I love shopping,” she squealed.
“Good. You three are going shopping for gifts.”
Blizzard and Riley shared a look and Blizzard opened his mouth, looking like he was going to disagree, but Delphi held up a finger, shushing him. “You are going shopping today whether you like it or not. And while you all are looking for presents, which I’ve already done, I’m going to be decorating!”
“We don’t have any decorations in the house,” Kitty cut in.
“Not even in the garage?”
Delphi shrugged. “That’s Okay. I can buy some.”
“So we’re all going shopping today?” Kitty asked.
Delphi nodded, sharing her smile. “Yep! So go get ready you two. We leave in ten minutes.”
For a second neither Riley or Blizzard moved and then they seemed to realize she wasn’t messing around because they quickly jumped up and went upstairs to get ready. Delphi grinned. She was going to make this the best Christmas they’d ever had.
By the time Delphi finished shopping for decorations she was about ready to collapse on the couch. But Kitty had texted and said they would be home within the hour, so she had to hurry up with the decorating. She hung garland on the stair’s banister, hung mistletoe in thresholds and put up snowflakes and little Christmas-y figures on flat surfaces. Delphi stuck a bunch of candy canes in a glass bowl on the coffee table and then put up the small Christmas tree she’d gotten. It wasn’t the most amazing Christmas tree Delphi had ever had but it would do. She hung ornaments and lights and then stepped back to admire her work. It felt so much more cozy and warm in there now. So much more Christmas-y. 
And right on time too. 
Just then the front door flew open and Riley, Blizzard and Kitty rushed in. Kitty laughed as they all entered and set down their bags of stuff on the couches. All three of them stopped though when they got a good look at the house. Delphi beamed with pride, hands on hips. “What do you think?”
“It looks... amazing,” Riley said, flashing her a small smile. 
Delphi grinned back as he came over and pecked her on the forehead. “You did great.” 
“It’s definitely decorated for Christmas...” Blizzard trailed off, rubbing his neck. 
Kitty grinned, flopping down onto the couch and grabbing a candy cane. “Well I love it. Nice going Delph.” 
“Thanks! Who wants hot coco?” 
Everyone raised their hands and Delphi headed into the kitchen with Riley whole Blizzard and Kitty went to put the wrapped presents under the tree. 
“Honestly Delph, you did a great job. I haven’t celebrated Christmas in... years,” Riley said, a sad smile on his lips as he got the milk out. “Not since I left my family.” 
Delphi stopped from getting the mugs and faced him, seeing the sincerity in his eyes. She couldn’t imagine what that must have been like. His father had hated Supers and hated him for his wings. One day he threatened to rip Riley’s wings off and Riley ran away to protect himself. Tremble found him and took him in. Delphi just couldn’t imagine not having any Christmas traditions or memories for so long. 
She touched his arm. “Well I’m honored that your spending your first Christmas in years with me.” 
He grinned and leaned forward kissing her. Effectively stealing her breath away. “I wouldn’t want it any other way.” 
Delphi kissed him back and then grabbed the rest of the mugs while he heated up the milk on the stove. Once the hot chocolate was made they all sat in the living room - even Blizzard - and Delphi turned on all her favorite Christmas movies. Half way through Elf, Techno showed up claiming they had forgotten about him and said Spy and Tremble were too busy for festivities. No one minded though. 
Riley and her snuggled on the couch, eating popcorn and drinking hot coco. It was the best Christmas Eve she’d had since her parents and brother were sent to prison. 
They must have fallen asleep because when they woke up next, it was morning. Christmas morning was even better. Kitty made breakfast - Delphi had no idea she knew how to cook - and once they all ate together they exchanged gifts. Delphi was surprised when Tremble came in... wearing the same clothes and mask he always wore, and though he didn’t have presents he did sit on the couch and watch everyone exchange gifts. Only Riley and Blizzard had thought to get the clad in all black villain something. Blizzard jokingly got him a black sweater and Riley had gotten him new gloves. 
An hour later, with wrapping paper strewn on the floor Delphi sat with Riley on the couch admiring the charm bracelet he’d gotten her. Kitty and Tech were laughing in the kitchen and Blizzard and Tremble had stepped outside to talk. 
“Thank you, Delphi,” Riley murmured, his arm around her shoulders. 
Delphi craned her neck up from where her head rested on his shoulder. “For what?” 
He grinned down at her. “For giving me a perfect Christmas.” 
Delphi smiled back and kissed him. “I hope we have many more Christmas’s together.” 
“We will, I promise. We’ll beat the Shadows, and everything will settle down and we’ll have many more Christmas’s to come,” Riley assured her. 
“I hope so...” she trailed off. But she decided not to dwell on what could be. She wanted to be here right now in the present. With Riley, her boyfriend and her friends having a nice quiet Christmas Day. They would have today to celebrate and be together and then tomorrow they would go back to their fight against the Shadows and Delphi would make sure the Shadows Lost. She would do anything to make sure she had more days like today. 

You can find Weapon Icean and Project Hellion here: Author Central

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

What do You Want to be Known For

So I wrote this post in the middle of October and never got around to posting it. This is something I thought a lot about as I wrote and then rewrote Second Star and considered what I want to do with it after.

Anyways, I'm feeling some different things right now. It actually does have some to do with the fact that I graduating in December and I'm not really sure what 2019 will bring. Well, I do know at least one thing that I want to do. Since 2016 I've been a self-published author. I've spent two years learning so much about my craft, about the publishing industry and about myself. I think that last part is the most important part. I want 2019 to be the year that I try my hardest to get traditionally published. 2019 will be the year of querying literary agents and that is why, amongst the business of life in the last two months of 2018 (and probably the first two months of 2019), I plan on preparing one of my manuscripts, learning to write a killer query letter, researching literary agents and sending them out. This seems like a snap decision, but I've been thinking about it on and off all year. When it comes to big decisions (and small ones) I have a tough time and tend to take a looong time choosing. Its a gift and a curse. ;) After a year of really thinking about what I want my future as a writer to look like, I've decided to give this other route a try. It sounds like a lot of work, it feels daunting and I think that's one of the reasons why I've been so hesitant to do it. (Actually, right before I write this post I was working on Lies my characters believe for Sterling Silver and some of the questions were about what the characters are hesitant to do and why). But I feel like I finally have the patience to do it. I've also prayed a lot about it over this past year on and off and I just feel like this is the right time. The only question is (and it's sort of a very important one) is which manuscript I want to focus my energy and attention on.

Initially I was planning on working on Sterling Silver and querying it. I wrote that book when I was like 18 and I've been working on it on and off for a long time. I love the world I built, I love the genre, I love the characters. I'm a fan of TVD and The Originals and Teen Wolf, and I really do love the supernatural genre. But... I'm not so sure its the right book to be my first to try and get published. (Do vampire books even sell now or has Twilight ruined them forever??) That little question has been one of the reasons why I was hesitant and then I realized that that shouldn't be the reason why I'm hesitant. I shouldn't be worried about what will sell and what won't. I don't want to write books (or even revise them) with the mindset of will this sell? Should I change this scene or add this because that's what's expected of my genre? All the other authors are doing it and writing this, so why shouldn't I? That isn't a very good mindset at all.

Yes, when it comes down to it, one of the most important factors to a literary agent is whether your book, the genre its in and everything about it is sellable. But I want to write books I love and are passionate about first and foremost. Anyways, I think I got a little off topic, as always. ;) What I'm really trying to say and what's been on my mind the past few days as I've really dug into Sterling Silver, really thought about it and talked with friends about it, is whether its the right book to publish. When I wrote Sterling Silver, it was a passionate project. A love letter to TVD and The Originals and Teen Wolf. I don't even know where that book came from. It was one of those books that I sort of blacked out on and just wrote it and finished it in a month because I loved it so much. And I did enjoy sharing it on Wattpad... I just don't know if I want to share it anywhere else. I feel like Wattpad is a good place for Tabitha's story. I feel comfortable putting it on there cuz its a pretty informal site. Obviously I want the books I put on there to be really good and readable and enjoyable, but there's less pressure sticking it on Wattpad. It feels like a hobby, like a passion project when I put something on Wattpad and I'm good with that. I'm good with Tabitha being a passion project and hobby on Wattpad. Maybe that'll change one day, but right now that's just where I think I want to keep her and her story because to be honest, I'm not sure, if by some miracle, I do get published that I want to be known for vampire books. Vampires come with many lines that are grayish and that I'm not sure I want to cross or even touch. I was far more daring with my writing when I was 18 than I am now when it comes to the content and I think that's because I've grown up and matured and know myself and know what I am willing to write and what I am not. I have guidelines and rules for myself and I want to keep them. To be honest, even writing a werewolf book and wanting to publish that seems less scary or wrong to me because its just different territory.

So, what I'm trying to say is, I've been putting a lot of thought into what sort of stories I want to be known for. I don't want to be known for dark or bloody stories or stories that go a little too far with the physical stuff and with vampires, I feel like that can be kind of easy to fall into, especially with a rebellious, spontaneous protagonist like Tabitha. For real, I have no idea where Tabitha even came from. She just popped up amongst my more chill, emotionally expressive characters. Even Delphi is more rational and in control than Tabitha!

The stories I do want to be known for though, are ones that still talk about and have the dark elements. We live in a sinful, dark world and I'm still going to do mean things to my characters like kill some of them and ruin their lives and stuff cuz isn't that a writer's job?? But I want to be known for stories about the power of love. About hope, light in the darkness, sacrifice and just good, kind characters. And right now, I feel like the book that has the most of that stuff in it is my Peter Pan Retelling. Wendy is a character that I channeled my struggle with depression and anxiety into and I've wanted to write a story about both of those things for a long time because their something that I have struggled with and still do struggle with. Their close to my heart and I want to make people who have felt the way I have, feel hope and like they aren't so alone and that what they're going through, others are going through the same thing. But Second Star to the Right is sort of a mess right now. Its still a rough (very rough) draft that is an intimidating 106,000 words. I've never written or revised a book that long before and it sort of scares me to even think about diving into it, let alone having it finished by February 2019. I don't know if that will happen, but I think I want to try. I think Second Star is the book that I want to query and try to get published. I'll continue to pray and think about it, but I don't know, I just feel like that's the right one, like Wendy's story came to me at just the right time when I started to seriously think about querying.

So yeah, that's what's been going on in my head lately. On a different note, I really do appreciate everyone who takes the time to read my posts. Thank you for reading these ranty posts that are mostly just me thinking through my fingers. You have no idea how many writerly decisions and epiphanies about myself or one of my books or something happening in life at the time I have had while writing one of these posts. I just hope they're encouraging or helpful to you because I find writing posts on here to be extremely helpful and just a good way to get my thoughts out of my head and onto a computer screen where I can figure out what I'm really thinking. So thank you, I appreciate the time you take out of your day to read these. :):)

And now, since it is almost ten o'clock and tomorrow sounds like its going to be a little busy (probably a lot busy) with doctor appointments and carving pumpkins I should probably get off here and go and chill cuz its been a long day. I hope you all have a great week!

Friday, November 30, 2018

November Monthly Wrap-Up!

I can't believe this... November is a day away from being over and we're on our last month of the year!! Where has 2018 gone? I think I say this every year, but seriously, I feel like this year has gone by so quickly, especially these past few months. My classes and my excitement and rush to have them over with has made the last few months go by so quickly. In just two weeks I'll graduate with my associates and a few weeks after that it'll be Christmas!! :O

Anyways here's what my November looked like:

November Writing: Well, I officially finished my fourth ever Nanowrimo! I'm at 70,000 words in my Peter Pan/The Tempest retelling and I had really wanted to finish it by the end of November, but tomorrow is the last day of the month and since I've written zero words today, I don't see me finishing the book by the end of the month. :( That's Ok though because I still won Nanowrimo and even went beyond the fifty thousand word count, which is an accomplishment in and of itself. But, yeah, for November I've been focusing on the first draft of Second Star 2.0.

November Reading: I read two books this month. Not very impressive, I know, but they were two really good books. First I started reading The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein (which was... darker than I thought it would be, though I should have figured it would be dark because of the name haha) and then the newest Keeper of the Lost Cities book came out called Flashback and because I'm kind of a bigger fan of that series, I set down The Dark Descent and read Flashback. Let me just say, it was amazing! Little twelve year old, tentative Sophie Foster has grown up so much!! She's now fifteen and a fighter and fierce while also being so kind and sweet and compassionate. The twists and turns (and relationships) in this book surprised me big time, but in the best way possible. And that ending? It wasn't even like an action packed, crazy cliffhanger. It was more of a like whaaaat, I couldn't have read that right ending that just leaves you wanting the next one so badly! I can't believe I have to wait till next November for book nine!! I gave myself some time to process and mourn the ending of another Keeper book and the fact that I have to wait another year for the next one and then continued The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein. I was hooked on the book in the beginning, but by the time I had finished Flashback, I kind of just wanted to get it done with. Let me tell you, that book is not for the faint of heart. Seriously, I was floored by the ending. It was so twisted and dark and crazy and totally horror... I don't read horror and I didn't really think it would be that... dark and twisted. Actually I kind of went into the book with no expectations and I think that's why it surprised me so much. Overall though, the characters, the relationships, they were truly amazing. So deep and complex and messed up and toxic. You can tell how much Kiersten White poured into that book, how much time she spent on research and developing her characters. It totally showed and that was awesome to see.

November Life Stuff: Well... let's see... I would say the most notable thing (or two) about November is that I published two books in one month! Granted, it took me two years to get one book ready to publish and the second book was small and an on the whim let's publish this sort of thing. But still, it was pretty awesome and hitting publish on a book is so addicting. Firespot The Red Panda, my first children's story, is out (and because this is my blog and I can promote as much as I want without feeling bad about it, Firespot The Red Panda would make an excellent Christmas gift for a child or grandchild or niece or nephew). The second one is one that I am insanely proud of! Project Hellion has finally been released. It's only in ebook form right now, but by next week it will be up in paperback form too! I can't wait to hold my superhero duology in my hands and have Project Hellion and Weapon Icean side by side on my bookshelf! Another shameless self-promotion moment: Weapon Icean is on the Kindle for 0.99 and Project Hellion is on there for 2.99 so right now is the perfect time to start reading book one and its sequel! :) (Links for all the books are below). What else happened this month? There was Thanksgiving. That was fun, though the turkey wasn't fully cooked so we didn't really eat much of that and my mom had an allergic reaction to something (nothing super serious or anything). But overall, it was a good Thanksgiving. That evening we got to see Ralph Break's the Internet and it was so good! I loved it so much and it was so sweet and cute and well done. It gives me hope for Disney that they still have some original ideas. (Don't get me started on their idea to reuse The Lion King to make more money). Classes have been brutal, especially math class. I can't wait to be done with it. I plan to throw a giant party in celebration.

So yeah, that was my November. Thanksgiving, horrid math, two books published. And it got chilly out and we got to put up our Christmas tree early! Usually we don't put it up till much closer to Christmas, so to get to put it up before December has even arrived is pretty fun.

Here is the link to my Author page where all my books are: Author Central

How was your November? :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Project Hellion Is Out Today!!

After two years of working on this book on and off, it is finally out in the world!! I am so excited to share this story and I hope everyone who reads it loves it as much as I do.

You can get it now on ebook (the paperback will be out soon!): GET PROJECT HELLION HERE!

Here's a little about the book:

Delphi is ready to fight back. Two months have passed since Delphi acquired her icy abilities and the Shadows have kidnapped her and revealed her to the world. She’s fallen into the rhythm of a semi-normal life of friends, school, and training.

But after a mission where something goes terribly wrong, her cousin and Boy Wonder, leader of the Young Protectors, benches her from the team. Delphi runs away to stop the Shadows on her own, sick of the Protectors holding her back, and allies herself with the one person she never wanted to see again: Tremble. As she digs deeper into the history of the Shadows, dark and surprising secrets are revealed. Project Hellion, a sinister scheme set into motion by the Shadows longer ago than anyone thought, is the final piece of the puzzle and Delphi is the only one who can stop it before it’s too late.

In the final chapter of Delphi’s story, lines between good and evil are blurred, and Delphi finds herself in a role she never thought she would play. Maybe being a villain wasn’t so bad after all.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Project Hellion is out for Pre-Order!!

Hey guys! So Project Hellion is the first book I've ever used the pre-order option on KDP for and it's pretty cool seeing it up there like that! I'm interested to see how it goes and if anyone is willing to give this book a chance. It's only for pre-order until Wednesday, which is when it will be out on ebook! It'll be out on paperback soon too.
Image result for excited gif the flash

This book has been two years in the making. I wrote the first version for Nanowrimo 2016 and then the second version (which is what is published today) for Nanowrimo 2017. I spent all of 2017 and 2018 on and off revising, editing and polishing it. There were lots of times when I was tempted to give up, when I thought I would never see this book published or ever share it. But those doubts never stopped me from pursuing this story. I was so determined to make this story a reality, to make this book real that I refused to give up. Delphi's journey in this book is something I'm very proud of and I am passionate about. It's the sort of character arc I enjoy in other books and I enjoyed writing it so much! I loved getting to write The End on Delphi's story and though Astoria still calls to me for a story of her own, I'm giving that world of superheroes and villains a break so that when I do come back to write Astoria's story, I have fresh eyes for it. I'm just really proud of myself for sticking to the story. I learned so much about writing and who I am as a writer during the two years I spent on this book. I really hope you all enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it! :)

So, on Wednesday, Delphi's story will officially be finished and that makes me so happy to get to say that. And because I am hoping people will buy this book and will read it, I have to do some self-promotion here, Ok?

Weapon Icean, the first book, is on the Kindle for only 1.99! So if you haven't read Delphi's story yet, now is a great time to do that! You can find it HERE! Here's a little about it:

After being injected with a serum that gives sixteen year old Delphi icy cold abilities, she is thrown into the world of the Protectors. The team of superheroes that watches over Amparo City and protect the world from enhanced criminals and villains. Soon after she wakes with her strange new powers, her world is flipped upside-down again.

Her parents and older brother are revealed as super-powered villains and a new dark organization rises from the shadows to enact their long awaited plan against the Protectors.
Can she trust the Protectors or the handsome, winged Eros and his sinister telepathic boss, Tremble, who believes the Protectors are prejudice against those who look different from "normal" Supers. 

Maybe, for Delphi, fitting in and living up to impossible superhero standards is overrated.

And Project Hellion can be found to pre-order right HERE! If you don't pre-order in the next three days, make sure to get it on Wednesday when you can download it straight to your Kindle! Here's a little about Project Hellion:

Delphi is ready to fight back. Two months have passed since Delphi acquired her icy abilities and the Shadows have kidnapped her and revealed her to the world. She’s fallen into the rhythm of a semi-normal life of friends, school, and training.

But after a mission where something goes terribly wrong, her cousin and Boy Wonder, leader of the Young Protectors, benches her from the team. Delphi runs away to stop the Shadows on her own, sick of the Protectors holding her back, and allies herself with the one person she never wanted to see again: Tremble. As she digs deeper into the history of the Shadows, dark and surprising secrets are revealed. Project Hellion, a sinister scheme set into motion by the Shadows longer ago than anyone thought, is the final piece of the puzzle and Delphi is the only one who can stop it before it’s too late.

In the final chapter of Delphi’s story, lines between good and evil are blurred, and Delphi finds herself in a role she never thought she would play. Maybe being a villain wasn’t so bad after all.