The World We Live In

Growing up: musings on my life

This post is from my other blog, Stay Awake. I’m excited to post more frequently there. Well, the last time I posted was about 4 years ago, so that isn’t saying much, but what I have to say feels like a lot. And it is. Even the title of the blog post feels nerve-wracking and vulnerable because it sounds like I’m pigeonholing myself, and labels are difficult for me right now when it comes to faith. But I do think exvangelical is a term that partly describes where I am right now.

If you fancy reading about my personal story, the things that go on with the person who writes fantasy and fairy tales, then check it out.

Some things we outgrow over long periods of time. We wake and find our old skin has stretched taught, itchy and restrictive. I find myself scratching off pieces years at a time. Sometimes I peel off long, painful swathes that leave me raw. I’ve wondered where to put my thoughts about these things that no longer fit, feeling the urge to share them boldly, honestly, in ways I’ve only shared with a handful of trusted friends up til now.

I’m talking about things I grew up with that I’ve wrestled with, gleaned from, picked through the rubble searching for something to salvage, and tossed out altogether. I’m talking about things that don’t really fit with my Instagram account because social media isn’t the best place to have nuanced conversations, even if those conversations are mostly with myself. (I hope you’ll join me, if any of this resonates with you.) I’m talking about purity culture, white christian nationalism, conservative evangelicalism, systems that may have benefited me as a white woman and which also harmed me grievously and certainly harmed those who don’t have my privilege. I’m talking about growing up as an autistic female with ADHD and no small amount of religious scrupulosity. 

Finish reading this post here.

Books and Stories

Favorite Second Quarter Books

Solita by Viven Rainn

Solita by Viven Rainn was my most anticipated read of the year, and it did not disappoint. Sadie lives in her parents’ Hacienda Espinosa, alone with herself, her suffering, and her grief-soaked past…or so she thinks. When she unearths a demon cursed to sleep beneath the house, she begins a journey of embracing what she has tried so hard to ignore. But can she see past her grief enough to find a future free of all that entangles her?

I’m a huge sucker for gothic tales. Set in the Philippines, Solita delivers on all the haunting, atmospheric qualities you’d hope for in such a novel, and the author’s gift for creating feelings of dread, curiosity, grief, longing and desire in each scene blew me away. There’s plenty of steam without it falling into ‘adult’ territory if that isn’t your thing. I’ve never read a book featuring a demon as a love interest before, and I’ll admit, have always been skeptical of that kind of thing. As a presence, a representative figure, and the love interest, Silas ticks all the boxes for a fully-fledged character. And watching Sadie grow throughout the story had me cheering for her, a character I was completely invested in.

Another thing I adore about gothic novels is how they can use the external to illustrate the internal. Both the Hacienda and the demon, Silas, serve as contrast and mirror to Sadie’s tortured soul. A story about what we embrace in grief and how we can only move forward when we’ve plumbed the depths of our despair, Solita is a masterpiece of its genre. And it’s the first of a series, which is especially good news if you hardcore stan Sadie and Silas.

Spinning Hair Into Gold by Caitlin Keely Gemmell

Spinning Hair Into Gold by Caitlin Gemmell is one of my favorite-of-the-favorite reads this year. A delightful blend of poetry and short stories, this collection offers us glimpses of Oriana, spinner of fate, who dwells in a world of selkies, fairies, and magic. Oriana is a character from another project of the author’s who wouldn’t stop pestering her until she wrote about her. I’m so glad she did.

I can only describe her writing as comforting, enchanting, familiar yet wondrously new. It’s for lovers of fairy tales and myths, and feels both deeply personal and universal. As someone who isn’t a huge fan of the hardcore, assassin girl trope set in a world she alone can save (although who can say no to a sword-yielding woman?), I adored this book that felt like an exploration of fairyland, a journey through someone’s vivid inner landscape. Each word drops like a pearl of delight–exquisite, meant to be savored. The other characters we meet in the story are somehow both ephemeral and distinct, all of them connected by the same threads that run throughout the whole book.

Spinning Hair Into Gold is a book I look forward to revisiting time and time again.

Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix

Full of Regency era hijinks, complete with magic, disguises, adventure galore, and a little romance, Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix was a very fun, lighthearted read.

Lady Truthful goes to London to search for her family’s stolen emerald, which has magical powers. She must disguise herself as a distant cousin–who happens to be male and French–in order to do her own reconnaissance. Put in a strong-willed older aunt, a light case of enemies-to-lovers, political implications, and all the Regency details you’d hope for (a ball, naturally, is among them), and you’ve got a story that surprised me with a take-charge heroine and a happily ever after.

When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain by Nghi Vo

After reading Vo’s The Empress of Salt and Fortune, I was eager to read the next installment in the author’s series of interconnected novellas featuring the Cleric Chih.

Chih’s role is to record stories on their journey throughout Ahn, an empire full of Vietnamese-inspired myths and magic, beauty and danger. Readers can follow Chih’s adventures in any order that they like, and I found this story to be my favorite so far.

In this case, Chih is escorted by guard Si-Yu and her mammoth, Piluk, to their next stop when they are surrounded by a group of unusual tigers. An exchange of stories may be the only thing keeping Chih and Si-Yu alive, but will it be enough for their escape?

Vo’s Singing Hills Cycle celebrates queer love and Vietnamese heritage and imagination. So clever I laughed at times, every word intentional, When the Tiger Came Down from the Mountain explores meaning making, different perspectives, and what happens when these two things meet. The results aren’t neat and tidy, but they are wondrous, and that is perhaps the point.

Jane in Love by Rachel Givney

(Contains small spoilers!)

After failing to secure a marriage proposal, no longer a young girl, Jane Austen unexpectedly finds herself in the 21st century in search of love. And not just the 21st century: on the film set of Northanger Abbey, a book she hasn’t even dreamed of yet.

Enter Sofia Wentworth, an actress in the film who fears her career is over now that she’s no longer a twenty-five-year-old sex symbol, cast as the matronly secondary character rather than the young, lead role. Enter Fred, Sofia’s brother, a reluctant extra who finds himself drawn to Jane the moment they stumble into each other on the dance floor of a scene. Sofia takes Jane under her wing, convinced she’s part of some elaborate scheme, and helps her get familiar with their strange new world. Meanwhile Fred, whose house they’re staying in, ‘has the audacity to be handsome, clever, and kindhearted’. Jane begins to fall in love with him, but there is a cost to remaining in the modern world. Is she willing to pay it?

This book was delightful and heartbreaking. I loved the similar themes in Jane and Sofia’s lives as ‘aging’ women in an unforgiving world, and how it’s as much a story about them supporting each other and their friendship as it is a love story between Jane and Fred. There were a few times the story fell a little flat for me, but they were such small incidents that honestly it hardly lessened my enjoyment of it. My biggest beef came from the fact that the story painted Jane as someone who felt a bit dismayed by her own sharp tongue and sharp insights into human folly, when in fact that’s one thing I love most about her. But, creative license. I’m not the one here who read Jane Austen’s letters, so there very well may be more truth to that than I know.

(Spoiler) The cost: Jane discovers that her books, which she has yet to write in her time, begin disappearing in the 21st century the longer she stays in it. She loves Fred, yet it isn’t enough. She reflects on her mother’s life: how much Mrs. Austen loved to read and write, yet never had time for such pursuits. Writing is something that fuels Jane like nothing else, but try as she might, she can’t write in the present day. And she knows that, like her mother, a family might love her and provide companionship, but it would keep her from the very thing that makes her feel most alive. It made me feel grateful that I, a woman in the 21st century, have the means to choose both. (End spoiler)

For anyone familiar with Jane’s works, this is an imaginative romp full of familiar themes, humor, characters we’ll recognize, and a love story to swoon for. (Oh, and an adorable librarian. Seriously.) It made me appreciate the fact that books don’t have to be perfect: they just have to capture our hearts. That’s no small feat, and this one certainly captured mine.

The Beastly Bride edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

This book is just what it looks like: an anthology of stories and poems around the theme of animal people by a variety of authors. I love anthologies. They’re a treasury of diverse stories, each one different in style and subject matter. I never love every single story, but I find some of my favorites in each one and discover a few new authors whose work I want to further explore.

For this collection edited by the inimitable Datlow and Windling, I’m simply going to share a few of my favorites.

PISHAACH by Shweta Naryan: a girl who doesn’t fit in with her family recalls the tales her beloved Grandmother taught her before disappearing. When she discovers she has an affinity for playing a certain flute, she discovers something more: her grandmother’s stories are true and full of more than she imagined. As her family makes life increasingly difficult for her failure to speak and her thriving musical abilities, can she find her place in another world?

Rosina by Nan Fry: a young woman betrothed to a prince is cursed and transforms into a snake. No wedding, then. After wandering the earth alone and in her strange new body, Rosina finally regains her human form. But does she want to reclaim the future stolen from her now that she’s experienced something different?

Coyote and Valorosa by Terra L. Gearhart-Serna: I was already halfway through this light-hearted, witty story when I realized it had 1)a father who makes a promise regarding his daughter 2)a creature who demands this promise 3) roses, and 4) a spirited girl at the center of it, who takes matters into her own hands. This is one of my favorite fairy tales retold, and I loved it.

Our World · The World We Live In

June Gems

Summer Solstice has passed, and I can hardly believe the month is almost over. June has been characteristically hot and full of treasured moments. I wanted to share some of the beautiful things we’ve witnessed with you.

Blueberry picking has become a favorite June pastime. Contrary to what these pictures may suggest, we found plenty of ripe berries, although my children had more fun feeding the sheep than filling their buckets.

We’ve visited four different springs this month, and the wonder these clear waters inspires will never cease to thrill me. Although, the depths of some of them make me a little nervous. 😉 These pictures are from two springs: Peacock Springs, which is very deep and has a prehistoric quality to it, and Royal Springs, which has more shallow water areas and a lovely stream that flows to the Suwannee River.

I found these zinnias while walking on Summer Solstice evening. My mother-in-law must have planted them. They were such a lovely discovery and I brought one of them home with me, where it greets me at my kitchen sink every morning.

There’s something so uplifting about finding and sharing beauty. The longer I live, the more terrible the world becomes, the more I find that beauty is a vital necessity. Not so that we can disengage and ignore suffering, but so that we can remember that we’re alive. So we can be reminded that it all belongs: the painful and the beautiful, the difficult and the easy, the tearing down and the building up. The more I cling to beauty, the more I find meaning and strength. It’s doubtful I’ll stop talking about it any time soon.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Probably thinking how relieved I am that prehistoric water reptiles don’t exist any more, yet also how cool would it be if they did?
A Writer's Journey · My Stories and Poems

Flower and Cloak: New Cover and Interior

A while ago I delisted the paperback format of my fairy tales. The interior margins were too close to the spine, making reading not as pleasant an experience as it should be. I also hadn’t given the paperback a title page, for some reason.

A snippet from Tyrant, the middle story. Great love story, icky margins 😉

I hired someone on Fiverr to help me with formatting. She did a great job, was very responsive and affordable. But I discovered that the margins were still a little off–I hadn’t known how to ask for that specifically–and with a little tinkering, I reverse-engineered the format and fixed it. Hurrah!

Much better! And look at that pretty chapter page. 🙂

Another thing that bothered me was the cover art. I’m pretty new to creating my own, and it soon became clear that my current design wasn’t as artistically pleasing as I first thought.

This is one of those many things that indie authors can go round and round on (or is that just me??). After much additional perusal of book cover art on Pinterest, I settled on a redesign that isn’t too different, is a little simpler, but feels more elegant.

Old and new.

Overall, I’m so happy with the changes. The paperback is available for sale once again, along with the ebook.

Books and Stories

My characters agreed to an interview

Princess Ardin and Prince Gatlin answer my pressing questions with hilarious answers…

Sometime not long after Ardin welcomed Gatlin to Sedonia, they kindly agreed to make time in their busy schedules for an interview. The week was such a blur that I don’t even remember when we sat down. It might have been the day after the Summer’s End Festival. I do remember we shared a plate of flaky pastries and hot tea on the western terrace. Anyway, I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

SA: Thank you for allowing me to interview you, Your Highnesses. First, Princess Ardin: what do you love about having your cousin here for several months? 

A: It’s great having someone here my own age for a change! And…it’s fun to tell someone new about the history of our home. 

(whispering): Everyone else has probably heard it all.

A shrugs and nods

SA: What are you enjoying about your stay in Sedonia so far, Prince Gatlin?

G: (brushes pastry crumbs from his shirt) Besides the food, spending time with my cousin! She’s almost as fun as Dominic.

A: Excuse me?

G: I mean you know a lot of interesting things, probably more than Dom. And fine, I admit it—you’re a better rider than he is. 

(beaming): I just beat him at racing.

SA: This brings me to my next question: How has it been adjusting to being here/having him here?

G: Ladies first.

A: It isn’t hard at all. I have someone else to talk to. He’s a little rash sometimes (laughs as Gatlin makes a show of checking his skin) but…he probably makes faster decisions than I do. 

G: Probably. Let’s see…you don’t eat fish here much, which is kind of sad. And I miss the ocean. Sometimes it’s almost too quiet here without my brothers. But I like Sedonia. We’ll get along just fine. 

SA: What are your cousin’s best and worst qualities? 

Ardin and Gatlin look at each other and burst into laughter.

G: That isn’t fair! I haven’t spent that much time here, but…oh, all right: She has a habit of…lecturing.

A: I do not!

G: I didn’t say that was the best or worst, though, did I? It’s the worst. But! Your best quality is…your hospitality.

A: I’ll accept that. Thank you. As for you…you’re so much fun. I guess I do forget to have fun sometimes, and you remind me. I don’t know what your worst quality is yet. I suspect I’ll figure it out soon enough. 

SA: What do you love about your countries?

A: I love our Festivals and traditions. I don’t love all our rules, but I do love how we can change things, and how the people are willing to learn too. Oh…and we have the best honey.

G: It’s true! And you have those birds, the corvuls. 

A: I like our corvuls too. 

G: I love the Alvarian sea, and the food, and the animals—animals like the buron don’t live anywhere else but home. And the people. The people are fun and hard-working.

SA: Where do you see yourselves in five years? 

A: I think…I think I’ll be more involved in law-making by then. And I’ll participate in other issues on a smaller level, too. Perhaps including the hiring of a new steward.

G: I’ll be picking up more duke responsibilities, probably for some of the coastal regions (my favorites!) And I want to keep riding and fencing. Forever.

Princess Ardin declined to comment on her last statement. Is something amiss in Sedonia?

Character portraits by Dawn Davidson Arts.

Read more about Ardin, Gatlin, and a suspicious member of the castle staff in A Land of Light and Shadow. Since it’s my book’s second birthday, yay! the ebook is on sale for 99¢ this whole month. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as enjoyed writing it!

A Writer's Journey · Books and Stories · My Stories and Poems

May Treasures

It’s May, one of my favorite months of the year. The blackberries are growing along the fence, the wildflowers are still blooming, and it’s hot enough to go swimming in the afternoon.

It’s a month of birthdays, Mother’s Day, and our 15th wedding anniversary(!!).

To celebrate the latter, we went to Kanapaha Gardens in Gainesville. I especially loved all the little mossy pools and streams.

The sub-gardens included the Knot Garden, the Hummingbird Garden, and the Medicinal Garden, among others.

There are also some great book deals for this month. To celebrate the two-year birthday of A Land of Light and Shadow, the ebook is on sale for 99 ¢ all month.

click on the image to check it out!

I also have a couple of book fairs for you! The titles are pretty self-explanatory, and as always, click on the images to peruse the offerings.

Overall, May feels like a full and busy month. We’re replacing our flooring before we move this summer (date TBD). I’m hoping to get some writing in between everything going on. I also feel myself returning from a reading slump. Yay, escapism!

I hope your month goes well, and thanks for visiting my little corner of the interwebs.

Books and Stories

Favorite First Quarter Books

Spindle & Dagger by J. Anderson Coats

In early 12th century Wales, Elen is captured by a warband. By healing the war leader Owain and telling him she offers the protection of her namesake saint, she spins a tale that ensures her survival.

Owain has kept her safe and fed for three years in a tumultuous and uncertain world. But when he captures Nest, wife to the English king, and her three small children, Elen begins to see that there may be another way to live.

She begins to see that her lies cannot keep her safe forever.

A story of trauma, courage, and sisterhood, Spindle and Dagger is honest and raw, yet not too detailed or graphic. It looks at a complicated relationship without romanticizing it or glamorizing Owain’s character. 

He may have treated Elen well by the standards of the day, but she was still used as a pawn. It took so much courage for her to face her past decisions, the trauma that forced those decisions upon her, and to imagine a different life for herself.

This was my favorite novel from January. I loved, loved the relationship that Elen and Nest forged. The author handled some really tough concepts very well in my opinion. The writing was beautiful and piercing in places, both for its insight into the times and for letting us walk in Elen’s shoes. I’d add a TW for r*pe and violent death.

African Icons: Ten People Who Shaped History by Tracey Baptiste

This was such a fascinating read. Baptiste shows us glimpses into history not often taught, at least that I knew very little about. The book moves chronologically. In between each figure’s chapter, the author includes fascinating info about how the world was changing, both on the African continent and the world at large. I haven’t read a lot of historical non-fiction, but this book was never dry or boring.

Some of my favorite historical figures to learn about: I had no idea that Aesop was from Africa. Most believe he came from Nubia. Like many, I grew up familiar with his Aesop’s tales featuring clever (and not-so-clever) animals and the associated morals, but always thought he was Greek.

Another favorite person was Tin Hinan, the woman who founded a city in the Sahara Desert. Baptiste traces her legacy through the culture she left behind, which in many ways was matriarchal.

Finally, I think my favorite was Terence. Captured from Carthage, enslaved, and taken to Rome, he gained his freedom and became one of the leading playwrights of his day, standing out among the rest.

Most Roman playwrights simply rewrote old Greek plays. Terence was the first to not simply rewrite, but take characters and plot points from various works and combine them into entirely new plays. He also did away with the long, boring summaries preceding each play (talk about a tension killer). He wanted his audience to be surprised, and surprised they were.

Sadly, he disappeared during a sea voyage. Historians are uncertain whether he died or simply never returned to Rome, slipping into historical oblivion. This makes me want a story in which the playwright goes on this journey, arrives at a new destination, and writes himself into a different narrative, just like he did with the characters in his works. Tracey Baptiste, can you please write this?

John Eyre by Mimi Matthews

A gender-flipped Jane Eyre that leans even more into the Gothic than the original? Yes please! Matthews takes Charlotte Brontë’s classic and spins her own version, one that follows the familiar story and examines gender, power, and love in fascinating ways. Anyone familiar with the original will recognize most of the elements while experiencing enough spine-chilling tension to make putting the book down difficult if not impossible.

Just a brief summary:

After the death of schoolteacher John Eyre’s friend Helen, he seeks employment elsewhere and becomes the tutor to two boys in a secluded manor. The boys, silent and thin, spark pity and deep concern in their tutor. The house itself is surrounded by an unnatural, vision-inducing mist. Then he meets Mrs. Rochester, the boys’ guardian and a mystery herself. John Eyre falls in love with the enigmatic woman and finds himself deeply enmeshed in a house full of deadly secrets.

I can’t talk much about it without giving too much away, but I’m dying to discuss this with someone who’s read the original.

Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett

If it’s a book about Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, and Magrat Garlick, I want to read it. Pratchett sends the witchy trio on a quest across the discworld because Magrat, the youngest, has inherited a fairy godmother post, and she’s got to find the girl she’s supposed to help. Naturally, mayhem and hilarity ensue.

Pratchett takes fairy tale elements and, of course, turns them on their head, in the way only he could: with satire, humor, and humanity. Along the way the witches meet a plethora of characters: dwarves, pale creatures in underwater rivers, wicked witches, and witches that don’t quite fit neatly into a single category. Oh, and Nanny Ogg’s cat Greebo plays more than one role and adds his own, shall we say, unique flair.

I read Pratchett when I need something light and funny, yet not without substance, and this did not disappoint.

This Poison Heart by Kalynn Baron

An MC with the ability to grow plants? A mysterious house full of secrets? A walled garden full of poisonous plants? Sign me up. Kalynn Bayron, author of Cinderella is Dead, delivers another spell-binding story in This Poison Heart.

Briseis Greene and her parents, Mom and Mo, run a flower shop in Brooklyn. When Briseis’ aunt dies and leaves her the family’s old house in rural NY, the three of them go to investigate. Briseis discovers a place where her strange abilities can thrive, but of course, there’s more to the house than meets the eye. Family secrets, deadly poisons, and ancient ties to Greek mythology lead her on a trail that will alter her life forever.

Aside from the premise, the characters really stole my heart in this one. Mom and Mo (short for Mom) are hilarious and adorable. They and Briseis have a loving bond with enough shortcomings to make it feel real, while also providing a refreshing departure from the usual teen/parent angst in YA fiction. I giggled throughout the book at their banter and jokes.

It’s not a fast-paced book, and it doesn’t need to be. There’s enough mystery and tension to drive the story, and the ending will leave readers glad there’s a sequel.

Books and Stories

March Book Deals

Happy almost end of the month!

It’s time to share a handful of free and discounted books. These are by authors with whom I’ve teamed up to help promote each other’s work. To learn more about them, simply click on the images.

I hope you find something to enjoy, and happy reading!

Forced to choose between loyalty to the king and what is right, Gavin spares an innocent woman’s life, only to discover that saving her won’t be as easy as he thought.

All Laurel wants is revenge on the man who murdered her sister, even if that means sacrificing herself in the process. When a masquerade ball provides the perfect opportunity for her plan, will she succeed?

Or will the price of vengeance be too high?

* When you sign up to get this ebook, you are signing up for the email list of Young Adult Romance Books.com (a partner of Cece Louise).

“No matter who we are or where we are from, we all have a story.”

Welcome to the world of Zypher, a new fantasy world where magical abilities are the norm with diverse people like the Galia, Aloka, Fariga, and many more. In these seven short stories you will find martial artists who experience growth, a girl struggling with her self-image, a boy in a heated battle with his emotions, and others who endure struggle, strife, and fear as they discover who they are and why they matter. Each story has a unique theme and charm that will resonate with young adults & adults alike. Zypher touches on topics like:

  • Self-acceptance & growth
  • Racism & prejudice
  • Stereotypes
  • Uncontrolled emotions
  • Helping others

Inspired by stories found in movies, tv shows, video games, and animation. Zypher is perfect for middle grade & young adult readers or fans of contemporary fantasy. The stories in this short story collection will transport you to a new world, teach you valuable lessons, and provide the magical blend of action, adventure, and heartwarming tales!

A Writer's Journey · Books and Stories

Connection, Envy, and who is Flower & Cloak for?

Today I’m sharing my 3 most recent Instagram posts. Like so many on social media now, while I love the connection I’ve found there, engaging through the app has become something I need time away from more often.

This means I’m trying to post here more often over the next few months. It means I’m toying with the idea of sending my newsletter twice a month instead of once.

Today, though, I hope you enjoy these three posts.

Connection can be a funny thing.

Sometimes small talk can be a way to get to know someone, and I can enjoy it.

Sometimes I want to grab people by the shoulders and ask them, what do you really want out of life? Is this it? What makes you feel alive and when was the last time that happened? What keeps you awake at night and wakes you up in the morning? Can you tell the difference between heart-crushing anxiety and livid, bone-crackling anger?

Read the rest of the post HERE.

Little Red is for the feisty ones underestimated and dismissed by those with more power, years, or authority.  

Flower Heart is a love letter to those who’ve been wounded but who still seek connection.

Tyrant was written for those navigating a startling life with a loving partner, trying to be true to both.

To read about the last two stories, The Dragon of Shining Valley and The Witch’s Caveat, click HERE.

With two books published to my name, it’s no surprise that I still feel envious of other authors’ accomplishments. 

Sometimes it seems like an even more frequent occurrence now than before I was published.

I forget who said this, but not too long ago I read something like, “jealousy is showing you what you want”. 

Of course, jealousy/envy can be a destructive force if ignored or weaponized. But I think this person was really on to something.

Read the rest of the post HERE.

Books and Stories · My Stories and Poems

My Fairy Tales are Here (plus a Poison Poem)

Flower and Cloak: Five Fairy Tales is officially out in the world!

Once again, here is the blurb:

Flowers reveal identities. Identities conceal secrets. Fairy tales remove the cloak.

A fearless girl faces her most cunning foe, and this one stands on two legs.

A young man with a secret strives to make a place for himself in a harsh and unwelcoming world.

A fugitive who must rescue her lover finds that the life she left behind isn’t what she thought it was.

A dragon falls in love with a god, but their differences may keep them apart.

A witch strikes a bargain with a forest spy, leaving both with more than they expected. 

Explore heritage, friendship, and love in many forms in these three retellings and two original tales. Follow five characters as they discover that the past, the present, or the person they thought they knew conceals far more than they imagined.  

Flower & Cloak is available in ebook and paperback, at multiple retailers. You can find out more by clicking this link:

or here: https://books2read.com/u/mBw8lA

Sometime later this month I might share a bit more about the book. Publishing one isn’t something done in a vacuum, either creatively or communally. But today, I’m keeping it simple.

(As one note–the price of the ebook goes up from $1.99 to $2.99 tomorrow, so now is the best time for a deal.)

Speaking of publication, I’m also pleased to announce that a poem of mine, A Bitter Jewel, was accepted into Phantom House Press’s Exquisite Poison anthology!

This was a pleasant surprise. I really wasn’t expecting to be published. I don’t write a lot of poetry, but the idea I had seemed to be a good fit, and a good friend of mine who is a poet gave me some excellent suggestions for improving it. So I really have her to thank as much as myself.

Phantom House Press is a place for authors who write in multiple genres, cross-genres, or those who have a hard time fitting in. I’m so pleased and proud to be a part of their team.

They’ve opened preorders for the paperback today and will have ebooks available soon. They also have some pretty fun merch. You can check them out through the link below and read the blurb for the anthology, too.

So pretty!!

or here: https://www.phantomhousepress.com/store-1

This feels like a rare, once-a-year type of post: a new book of my own and a piece of my work accepted by a publication. These are certainly the highlight type of posts.

Maybe this year I’ll get back to sharing more often on my blog (she says with possibly misplaced hopefulness). I miss slice-of-life blogging and other writerly entries. But everything ebbs and flows, and as I’m sure many of you can relate, sometimes the flows of life mean that you’ve got to choose your ebbs.