Weekly Words: Untouched by Robert J. Crane


It's already the end of January, what?!

And it's a Friday. so far, I've finished two books, so I'm proud of myself. One was short, non-fiction, and non-good, so there's that, but the other was the precursor to the book I'm currently reading: Untouched by Robert J. Crane.

Still haunted by her last encounter with Wolfe and searching for her mother, Sienna Nealon must put aside her personal struggles when a new threat emerges – Aleksandr Gavrikov, a metahuman so powerful, he could destroy entire cities – and he's focused on bringing the Directorate to its knees.

The ending of Alone was very interesting, as Sienna's true power finally manifested, and at least one of her mother's weird rules made perfect sense. I also looked up the definition of paranormal, and I understand why this is labeled that way now. With the introduction of this new character and starting with his past, I'm curious to how the rest of the story will play out. We still have no clue where Sienna's mother is, and like Sienna, I still don't know exactly who to trust. I've already seen a little growth in Sienna, but mostly because her stupid decisions have led to trauma, so hopefully there will be other ways her character arc develops, as I'm reading a grown man writing a sheltered teenaged girl. I'll see.

What are you reading?

Weekly Words: Alone by Robert J. Crane

 


Happy New Year! I can't believe it's 2024. When you get older, time seems to move so much faster. I'll be 40 in July! How!?

Anyhow, with the start of the new year, I've started my most lofty reading goal yet, and that is to read 24 books this year. I have friends who have read 100, and I know I can't do that, but I can at least read two books a month if I get off my phone.

On that note, I have decided to chip away at my growing Kindle collection and have started with Robert J. Crane's Alone from his Girl in the Box series.


Sienna Nealon was a 17 year-old girl who had been held prisoner in her own house by her mother for twelve years. Then one day her mother vanished, and Sienna woke up to find two strange men in her home. On the run, unsure of who to turn to and discovering she possesses mysterious powers, Sienna finds herself pursued by a shadowy agency known as the Directorate and hunted by a vicious, bloodthirsty psychopath named Wolfe, each of which is determined to capture her for their own purposes...

Having written an objectively annoying teenager trying to take on the world herself, Sienna has made me mad several times in this book. She has spent most of years training to fight, and not being allowed to leave the house, so when she thinks she can take on the aforementioned psychopath who is not only psycho but noted as being a very old mythical-type creature, I knew she was delusional.

I'm curious to see how this pans out, because I want to know where her mom is, why she left, and more importantly, what Sienna actually is. The header on the Kindle also notes this series as being paranormal, but it's so far more supernatural, which is why I labelled this post as both.

The dialogue is great. Sienna is an asshole, and I do love an asshole main character. I just wish she wasn't also naively stupid. Hopefully she learns before the bodies stack up.

What are you reading? What are your reading goals this year?

Monthly Review

 

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Happy December!

I was supposed to come back last week to talk about Blue Hen Comic-Con, but it was a busy week. Overall, the Comic-Con was good. One thing I did observe, and observed during Dover Comic-Con as well, is that most of the teenagers/young adults (the target audience for Fractured Princess) passed by my table. They're definitely more interested in the anime/scifi aspects of conventions, which I totally understand. Still pretty painful to witness, BUT I did meet a great author who had flyers for an actual book convention, so I am going to sign up for that. Book conventions will obviously be a better draw, so the books I didn't sell will go towards that, if I still have them by then. We'll see. It was also a lesson on not to plan what bills you'll get to pay off afterwards, because I only broke even, so nothing was paid off. On a positive note, at least I broke even.

Also, I have yet to unpack my car...Maybe next year haha.

I haven't failed my reading challenge, but I've failed my reading challenge. I'm reading a book that is thankfully short, because it's bad. I don't like bashing other authors, because I know the time it takes to write, but it was clear this author needed way more guidance, training, and editing than they received. It reminded me that I also still need to read up on writing, because 1) I literally started the series I'm currently working on TWENTY years ago, and 2) there is a lot I probably still need to learn, even though I've been writing for decades now, and especially as an independent author. Do I want to try to traditionally publish the next series? I'm not even sure. It's a nice thought, but if the industry still hasn't changed, why bother?

On another positive note, I did have some people at the Convention ask about an audiobook. I streamed my first recording, then immediately realized I wasn't close enough to the mic. I'll try to stream again, but I'll have to figure out a configuration, because the little sound box I have (aka borrowed) is small, and I need to fit a mic, my laptop, and my head in that thing! So, all that said, streaming most likely won't be happening. I wanted to have a fun way to engage on Twitch with my writing, though. Maybe writing sessions, but I'm so spacey with those. It would force me to focus, but I don't want to be forced to focus. I'm so annoying.

Anyways, I cannot believe December is here already. The older you get, the faster time seems to go by. Someone said it's because as a child, you don't really have much past to look back on, so it feels slower? Something like that. All I know is I'm supposed to have completed an audiobook by now, read more books, and finished all of my unfinished games, and none of that happened. *facepalm* I hope your November went well, and I wish everyone Happy Holidays! See you in January!

Just Checking In!

 


Happy Friday!

Let me start by saying Thank you to all veterans for your service! Veterans Day is also my mom's birthday, so we will be having our now standard British Brunch in her honor tomorrow. Last year I brought Yorkshire pudding and this year forgot that I bought the mix on Amazon, but the recipes I've seen just say I need flour, so what the heck was in the mix? Are they cheating us?

So, I had a goal to read Edgar Allen Poe's complete works in October, and the first story I encountered was so fricking boring that it took me until November to finish it. I have to learn to speed read, but I also need to read some of the other million books I have on my Kindle.

Last Saturday, I attended the first Black Women's Health Conference founded by my play-cousin, and it was AMAZING. I can't wait for next year. It was amazing. Somewhere in the middle of it, I realized what I need to do for one of my next book projects. It might've been around the "Burn it all down" portion of Q&A. Either way, I'm excited again about that particular story.

I'm coming up on another paste-a-scene in my writing, so I'm happy about that. I'm glad I wrote so many salvageable scenes and chapters before I started Divided Princess again. It really was just that I needed to put new scenes and ideas in their proper places. This is going to make the story so much stronger. Did I mention the Women's Meditation Retreat I was in last month? If not, while meditating, God gave me a key to the ending of the series, and I could've fallen out right then. It makes so much sense. I'm extra excited about it and can't wait to get there. This story has morphed into something I never expected, especially as I had planned for it to be one book and have no sequels.

Next weekend, I will be at my first two-day convention, Blue Hen Comic-Con, and I had to buy less books that I wanted. Only 9 less, but...eh. I sold 35 books in one day at the Dover Comic-Con, if I remember correctly. I have 66 for two days. This could work. I'm just nervous. I also hope one day I'll be selling not to recoup what I bought and pay off some bills, but to have some extra cash. Of course, that's not the main goal, but it would be so helpful. I usually go live when I finish setting up, and because this one is indoors, I only have to set up my table, so I'll go live a little longer this time. I will most likely check in the Friday after next to share how the convention went.

I started this post an hour ago with the hope to post at Noon, and I'm out of words to say. Have a great weekend!

Monthly Review

 

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It has been two months since my last monthly review, but honestly, not much has changed. I'm editing a little more than I'm writing, but I'm at the point where I'm about to pull scenes from the first and second pass of this book, and I think after that, I'll be moving steadily.

Reading-related segue, I just had to force myself to finish a Facebook story, and I feel like my attention span is getting worse. On the other hand, I'm realizing I never had much of an attention span. I would literally be taking notes in class while writing a story. I used to read during commercials, but also now we can skip those, so my reading has continued to plummet. Not to mention my phone is glued to my hand. I really need to force myself to read, because I have HUNDREDS of books now that I need to read, from as far back as 2016, I'm sure. All that so say, I have not finished a book this month. I haven't even finished the short story I'm reading (Poe's Hans Pfall short story), and I know half of that is because he's just rambling. I need to stop trying to read things just to read them and read what interests me. That should be a revelation, but it is.

I had a table at a women's conference a couple of weeks ago. I had 16 books left from Dover Comic-Con, so I brought those and sold 8. Grateful for those who bought a book. I really wish more people had been interested, but I guess at least I have less books to buy for the Blue Hen Comic-Con, if only 8 less. I don't think this is a just a me-problem, but getting financial support for these things is pretty hard, and I try not to let that discourage me. It does worry me wondering if I'll be able to recoup what I risk, especially in this economy. The Patreon didn't work. I was literally just making videos for my younger sister. I want to do more marketing or promotions like Bookbub, but those also cost money. Self-publishing is a hard road, but I took it for a reason. I think I just have to be okay with the idea of writing being a hobby unless I get noticed and become a big name.

Last Saturday, I streamed while recording the first two chapters of Fractured Princess. I already have to re-record them. I wasn't close enough to the mic, but I hope to get the book recorded so I can publish the audiobook before the year ends. I really enjoyed doing it. I'll probably try to re-record today--though I won't stream it. I've posted pieces of the first chapter so many times already. It took two hours to post two chapters, and the two chapters together, I think were about an hour and a half long, before editing, so I'm pretty sure it takes at least three times as much time to record as it does to listen, and the audiobooks I've read have been about 8 hours long. *Crying Pepe emoji*

I think that's all that's happened. Oh! I saw Wicked! with my younger sister for her birthday. Amazing! Wasn't a fan of the ableism in the story, but aside from that, really cool how they worked the backstory and background of the Oz universe.

Okay, that's all for real. Good luck to those doing NaNoWriMo. I will be working on this book for sure, but not participating.

Happy Halloween!

Happy Friday! I'm on Threads!

 


Howdy ho!


I'm in the office today because of an open house (blugh), but I just wanted to stop by and say that I am now on Threads! I need an "old Twitter"-like outlet where I can just word vomit whenever I feel, so I'm going to be using that. I already have a stan post for Chris Stapleton planned. XD


Click this link to visit and follow me!

Quarterly Goals: Conventions and Sales

I saw a Reel the other day asking September if it has someone to be, and that's a great question, because how is October on Sunday?



It is a fifth Friday, so that means it is time for my quarterly goals. Last quarter, I sought to publish Fractured Princess, and I did! It is now available in all text formats (see the links below!). My goal for this coming quarter is to record and publish the audiobook. I had started practicing reading it aloud last quarter on Twitch, but then I got sick for an entire month, so now I have to strengthen my vocal cords and lungs back up. I definitely want to get the audiobook out before the year is up, though.

Also, of course, in the next quarter, I would like to try to have--at least--the first two parts of Divided Princess completed. I know just about all of the major plot points. I just need to connect them. If I can say "THE BOOK IS FINISHED" in January, that would be just the bees knees. Wish big. Work big.

My other goal was to make my reading goal. I've read 11 books so far, so that means I'm going to make the 12! Depending on how many I finish, I'll try to add a book a quarter. No promises. I'm only doing it for myself anyway. I started Poe's complete works, because I've only read a few of his short stories and one poem in school ("Annabel Lee"; I haven't even read "The Raven"), so I'm going to power through this weird story about Hans Pfall, which is mostly a rambling so far, and go from there.

Another goal is to try to get more sales in. For me, that will mean a little more marketing and trying to get into more conventions as a vendor. I have Blue Hen Comic-Con in November. I didn't make the cut for the Multiverse Con in October. I know there is a big fantasy one in D.C. in the Spring? Early Summer? So, I will keep an eye on that. Marketing and social media-ing is tougher. I deleted my Twitter account, so I'm down an avenue. I'm thinking more about Threads than any other newer outlet. I like Spoutible. It's being ignored even by articles listing new social media apps, but so far, it's the one with the least issues. I need to keep a better presence on Facebook, but they always recommend I post around 7:00pm. I mean, I guess I can schedule something, but I like to be in the moment. We'll see.

Anyhow, those are my goals. Have a happy Spooky season! I'll see you next month. ;)

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FRACTURED PRINCESS is now available in Kindle, Paperback, and Hardcover! Get your copy today!

Kindle Edition (amazon.com)

Paperback Edition (amazon.com)

Hardcover Edition (amazon.com)

Paperback (barnesandnoble.com)

Quick September Writing Update

 


So just a quick update, because I haven't blogged in 3 weeks.

As I mentioned in the previous post, the new direction went very well! The majority of the second chapter was the scene I mentioned in that post (where I was worried I wouldn't be able to use it), so I am at the third chapter now. I was about to keep jumping into the action, but no, I need a little more regular time for Cyan and Jonnie (although, I did sneak in a bit of suspense in the second chapter). By the fourth chapter, I believe it will be time to get into the meat of the story, and with so much already written, I'm partially sure the rest of the writing will be done quickly. I won't declare a date, but things are looking up. I'm excited.

I, for sure, need to make at least a Quarterly Review post next week, so I'm going to start working on it now. haha See you then!

Weekly Words: Am Reading Mo Xiang Tong Xiu's Mo Dao Zu Shi

 

Open book that says "Weekly Words"


Well, happy September! Summer is basically over, and I've only been on the beach in San Pedro, Belize. Woe is me. I started August with a sinus infection and ended it with COVID, so I'm hoping for a slightly better September.

While sick, I spent this week rewatching Steven Universe. I love that show. But also, I started a new book, which I'm super excited about, because it's the basis for one of my other favorite shows, The Untamed on Netflix: Mo Dao Zu Shi by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu.

Book Cover: Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation 1. Mo Dao Zu Shi by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu. Two teenage Chinese boys in traditional feudal clothing in front of the full moon.

Resurrection and Revenge.

Wei Wuxian was once one of the most powerful men of his generation, a talented and clever young cultivator who harnessed martial arts and spirituality into powerful abilities. But when the horrors of war led him to seek more power through demonic cultivation, the world's respect for his abilities turned to fear, and his death was celebrated throughout the land.

Years later, he awakens in the body of an aggrieved young man who sacrifices his soul so that Wei Wuxian can exact revenge on his behalf. Though granted a second life, Wei Wuxian is not free from his first, nor the mysteries that appear before him now. Yet this time, he'll face it all with the righteous and esteemed Lan Wangji at his side, another powerful cultivator whose unwavering dedication and shared memories of their past will help shine a light on the dark truths that surround them.

I watched the show twice and started the manhua (Chinese version of anime) on Youtube, so I know this highlighted scene like the back of my hand, the first time the wild horse Wei Wuxian (right) went head-to-head with the very strict Lan Wangji (left). I'm 82 pages in at the moment, and so far, the Netflix show stays very true to the book, Chinese censorship laws notwithstanding. There's much more detail about the characters, of course, so we get an even more well-rounded image of them. There are even things I'm noticing in the story as a whole that I missed in the show.

The tv version of the story is a frame story, but in the book, it's written more like flashbacks. Either way, we start in the present and go back into the past to learn why exactly Wei Wuxian was summoned back to life: which was to discover a truth that his summoner uncovered and was ostracized for. We embark on a mystery filled with a little humor, what I expect (from the show) to be a lot of trauma and sadness, and fantastical romance that lives on Tumblr so prominently it's how I discovered the show in the first place. If you stumble upon any iteration of this story, I hope you love it as much as I do!

Monthly Review: It worked!

 

Black and white photo of woman writing in notebook
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August is almost gone, and I've only been to a beach out of the country. I'm first world problems sad.

But on the bright side, I cracked my writer's block! As I said in my last writing update, I wanted to give Jonnie and Cyan a normal life for a little bit. Thus, I started over yet again, but when I did, I wrote a little over 4,000 new words! I'm so excited and pleased with this new first chapter. And on top of that, I get to use a scene I didn't think would fit into the story, but now it does! I was trying to figure out how to connect a major part of the plot, and now I know (almost) exactly how to do it!

Aside from catching up on my DVR and rewatching Futurama and now Steven Universe, that's really all I've done with the month. Next weekend, I hope to get back to practicing voice work so I can record this audiobook. I hope to have more on that soon. Also started reading a book I'm super excited about, so I'll talk about that next Friday! I know I threw out my schedule, but I mean, it'll be the first Friday, so why not do a classic Weekly Words post?

Have a great rest of August!

Writing Update: Man, I'm Stuck

 


This is a quick post so I can say I posted. Haha

But seriously, I'm a little stuck in my head on this sequel. As I've said before, I started from scratch after writing about two-thirds of it because I didn't like the direction it was going emotionally. But now the I've started over, I've been dragging and doubting if I should've. I haven't written as much as I did the first pass, most likely because I wrote SO MUCH that first pass.

The one thing I really wanted to do from the beginning was give Jonnie and Cyan time to live without struggle. I think that's part of the problem. I haven't let them do that. Does it make for a good opener, though? If I do it right, it just might. I just have to work on it.

I do know, which I've probably already said as well, that scenes/chapters from the first pass are needed for this one, so they weren't written in vain. They're just waiting for where they belong.

And last but not least, I don't necessarily need to plot the main story, but definitely the backstory that plays into it. It's so meaty, and I need to make sure I get it right. It CAN'T have any flaws if it's to hit the way I need it to. I'm still really excited about it, though. I hope y'all are too.

Birthday Shenanigans and Writing Update

 


Happy Friday!

It's the last week of Cancer Season, and I don't know where the time went, but I had a great birthday week! Last Saturday, I went to Salted Vines Winery down in Frankford, met an amazing singer who I plan to see again when she's there, and had some great food and wine with my family. Monday, I went to my favorite restaurant, Greene Turtle, with my friends. Wednesday was my birthday, so after I went to Starbucks for my free drink, haha, I went to the mall and ran up my credit card for the new FFVII remake, Funko Pops, some shirts, and shoes. Then, I came home and fiddled with my OBS to practice a stream (this sentence is hilarious) on Twitch. I made a couple mistakes that I can easily fix. The price is doing things myself. 

Did I write, though?? I did, but???

So, I updated some mid-series backstory and conversation that actually makes it on the story about sed backstory. I reread what I've written so far, and I do feel like something is missing between my first two chapters. I'm not wholly sure why, save a feeling like I'm escalating things too quickly. Then again, it's nowhere near as escalated as Contagion destroying Aterholt Manor, so I don't know what my problem is. This is the problem with being a pantser, though. I know how the story ends. It's just a matter of getting there.

Can I get book 2 written by the end of the year?? If I set my mind to it! I already have chapters and/or scenes from the first take that I'm going to incorporate into this take. I had literally finished the first two of three parts before I decided to start over, so the material is there. And as I said before this book is going to be longer than FP by a few chapters. I was going to say hundred pages, but no, I think just a few chapters. 

It can be done, as Grampa Joe sang.

Next week, I will be in Belize, so I will see y'all in August!

Weekly Words: Am Reading Sher Lee's Fake Dates and Mooncakes

 

Happy July!

It's my birthday month! As I venture into my last 30-oughth, I'm excited for the things I have planned the rest of this year. FP Take 3 has been an adventure, and I plan to ride it into the next book. But first, some easy reading!



This year, I'm trying to immerse myself in some more diverse reading and support my fellow authors of color. I'm starting with Sher Lee's Fake Dates and Mooncakes, a YA romance whose cover I absolutely love (CORGI!). The colors are vibrant and reminiscent of mooncakes, I believe. I can't wait to try some one day. Here is the blurb:

Dylan Tang wants to win a Mid-Autumn Festival mooncake-making competition for teen chefs—in memory of his mom, and to bring much-needed publicity to his aunt’s struggling Chinese takeout in Brooklyn.

Enter Theo Somers: charming, wealthy, with a smile that makes Dylan’s stomach do backflips. AKA a distraction. Their worlds are sun-and-moon apart, but Theo keeps showing up. He even convinces Dylan to be his fake date at a family wedding in the Hamptons.

In Theo’s glittering world of pomp, privilege, and crazy rich drama, their romance is supposed to be just pretend . . . but Dylan finds himself falling for Theo. For real. Then Theo’s relatives reveal their true colors—but with the mooncake contest looming, Dylan can’t risk being sidetracked by rich-people problems.

Can Dylan save his family’s business and follow his heart—or will he fail to do both?

There are some high stakes right out the gate, and I feel for Dylan. I also love his family so far. Also, Theo is pretty adorable. I don't read contemporary romance that often, but I'm almost never disappointed. I can't wait to see how Dylan and Theo's story plays out.

What are you reading this month?