About Me, About Writing


The air conditioner broke. ‘Tis the season of dead appliances, apparently…

And the weather forecast is promising a heat wave for the next few days. This matters because we have to order the part in for repair. Ha ha.

It might be better for me to spend the afternoons out on the patio, where I can turn on the misters to cool down. I have terrible heat tolerance.

Anyway, that’s enough whining for now.

Actually, no, it isn’t!

I don’t have any sort of aptitude for marketing. In fact, it’s such a foreign way of thinking for me, that it leaves me so drained and cranky that I end up completely nonfunctional for the rest of the day, then lose all ability to “follow through” afterwards.

I made some queries about how to effectively advertise over the past couple of days, and currently I have e-mails sitting in my inbox that I just don’t have the energy to open. I badly want to retreat to the kitchen to bake something sugary, and forget about the whole subject.

So I’m going to pull back for now. I learned one important lesson about Kindle keywords (use phrases instead of words) that will henceforth be applied to everything I publish, but I’m not going to sacrifice my soul for this. Heck, part of my long term “marketing” strategy was to publish a novel every year, and that ain’t gonna happen if I kill my creative energy.

Not to mention, no one enjoys a cranky mama.

I’ll probably make no-bake cookies to avoid turning on the oven while the air conditioner is broken. Seems prudent.

Anyway, I haven’t finished polishing up Alice and the Warden for official publication yet, and I particularly wanted to fix up the final few chapters where I was *obviously* fatigued when I wrote them.

And I’m working on The Scion Suit MULTIVERSE edition, lol.

I need to stick with what works for me emotionally, since I’m kind of a finicky hyper-sensitive sort that burns out easily. Patience is a virtue, and all that.

About Me

Too Late?

Sometimes I worry that I decided to jump into the whole ‘author’ thing a bit too late. Blogs are, like, totally old hat by now, and everyone has literally switched over to YouTube. Most of ’em haven’t read anything since Fifty Shades of Grey anyway.

The funny thing is, I was planning on retreating for the first half of this year, given that I’m expecting our fifth baby (omg that’s a lot of kids). Instead, the characters in my head have gotten louder, to the point that it’s meaningless to argue that I’ve got my own major life events going on. So, here I am, writing another story.

And I wonder: is there going to be an audience for novelettes posted on some random person’s blog? Even if I put tons of effort into marketing in my own way, will it ever amount to anything? It’s been ages since blogs were the hot new shiny item, and as much as I love fantasizing about being a crazy trend-breaker, I’m not sure if anyone else wants to go along with it.

Am I too late?

In a way, it’s also exciting to discover who’s still out there.

Hello, we’re the weirdos who stubbornly do our own thing, irregardless of where the masses have gone.

The Black Magus

Real Love

I’m a hopeless romantic, through and through.

This was perhaps a bit silly of me, but after “The Scion Suit” gained a smidgen of attention on Reddit, I wondered if I should downplay the romance aspect of The Black Magus to make it sound more appealing to the sort of people who would actually read it — after all, I don’t think that I’d gain much traction with Twilight fans. But, I decided that would be rather disingenuous, considering that it’s right there in the very first chapter.

So there you have it: The Black Magus is the ultimate Mary-Sue fanfic, where the main character is a shy nobody who through sheer coincidence gains the attention of the most powerful magus on the planet. He competes against another magus to win her affection in a saucy love triangle, and ultimately pulls ahead by gifting her the most expensive car ever built. The girl, on the other hand, maintains an emotional affair with the other guy, just to prove how strong and independent she is after she’s married …


I’m totally not awesome enough to write that.

It’s not the sort of crap that’s always portrayed in popular romance novels. It’s also not the sort of “singles together” crap that we’re told to settle for because “romance doesn’t exist”. You won’t find any Taylor Swift songs that fit it.

It’s about devotion and compassion. It’s about two people joining together to become a family, and learning how to be there for each other. It’s about real love.

There’s also some stuff about magic and the world they live in, and a few other characters who have some dialogue and whatnot. You know, that necessary story-type stuff, to flesh it out into an actual novel and set up the sequel.

So, I have decided against downplaying the romance aspect of The Black Magus, because it is the entire foundation and structure of the novel. Please, don’t dismiss it because of a few bad stereotypes — I assure you that this story is different.

The Black Magus

The Black Magus characters


I know.

I spent over a year working on the first draft for this novel, and these are the only notes I made on the two main characters.


I confess, I’m terrible with notes, so I often find it easier and more organized to keep all of the information in my head. I don’t create character charts, or worksheets, or blah blah blah, because I make a point of locking everything in my mind.

Which is probably one of the reasons why I don’t fit in with writing communities.

Besides. Most of the time, I just listen to what they have to say anyway.

So, here we are: introducing the two main characters from The Black Magus, my upcoming fantasy romance novel.

Are you as excited as I am?

About Writing


Why do I complain so much about contemporary literature?

Personally, I’m not likely to run into any sort of shortage of used books to read — as anyone who has been in a thrift store can attest to — so the hottest new releases don’t have any affect on me no matter how badly they are written. If I were to speak truthfully from the coldest place in my heart, I think it would be a relief if publishing houses died wholesale. Good riddance.

Contemporary literature is all about making money. Idealistically, we want to believe that ‘high quality = more profit’, but the popularity of the YouTube channel ‘5 Minute Crafts’ is undeniable proof that sentiment just isn’t true. Profit comes from tickling algorithms coupled with click-bait, and corporations have turned it into a science.

The thing is, ‘5 Minute Crafts’ and its ilk aren’t harmlessly mediocre underneath all the hype. I’ve seen videos promoting burning your hair with a candle, soaking strawberries in bleach, and other such activities that have no business in a DIY context, and should never be tried at home. Seriously, burning your hair is not a fast way to get rid of split ends, it is a stinky way to get rid of your hair. People are prophesying that these channels will one day kill YouTube.

Let’s bring the topic back to books: publishing houses, and by extension writers, are excessively geared towards money. The algorithms utilize formulaic stories that just so happen to hit all the right trending key words, and the shiny covers function as the click bait. Whether or not the story is actually well written and engaging is never the question.

You see, it doesn’t matter how much teachers extol the virtues of reading, no one is going to bother if the experience is a tedious one. Every time I hear someone say that they hate reading, I sympathize with the statement, “Most books suck.”

I say that as a writer.

The last I heard, fiction sales have been steadily dropping for some time now, and I don’t believe that the popularity of video streaming or video games has anything to do with it — movies have existed for quite some time, and the adage has always been, “the book is better” up until now. I believe that fiction is dying because no one gives a shit if the reader has an enjoyable experience or not, so long as they can collect on the royalties.

Statistically I also contribute to “the death of the novel”, because I haven’t purchased anything new in the last ten years, even though I still read books. I’m not voracious by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m usually working my way through something. I’m sure there are others who read plenty of fiction, but who also prefer used books, or websites that provide content for free. Humans have loved storytelling since the dawn of time, and that isn’t going to change.

I complain about contemporary literature because, as a writer, I often feel like I’ve dedicated my life to a field that is gaining an increasingly bad rap through blatant mismanagement. It doesn’t matter how much love and attention I put into producing quality works if people have been taught through experience to hate reading in the first place.

Since I’m not delusional enough to believe that my solitary rumblings are going to have any sort of effect on the world, I often wonder what other sort of venues are there for connecting with readers. How can I publish novels without resorting to books? How can I stand apart from contemporary literature?

About Me

Disguised Genres

About ten years ago, I purchased a book that described demonic possessions in the summary on the back cover, and the first chapter was about the main character performing an exorcism. Seemed legit, and I had yet to learn to be jaded, so I went ahead and paid my scant pennies for the thing. However, after about a hundred pages in, the book was spending far more time and attention on gay BDSM than demons, and by the end it had never turned around. It turned out that the exorcism in the first chapter was the only exorcism in the entire book.

I had really wanted the demons.

Around the same time, I had purchased my field guide to demons (on clearance at Barnes and Noble, lol) and was ravenously studying everything I could find on demonology, so I thought it would be fun to throw in some brain candy on the same topic. When I had purchased the book that I had described above, I had been looking for a very specific sort of story, but what I got was completely different genre. The description never mentioned anything about BDSM or homosexuality, and I had been too naive and earnest to risk spoiling the plot by turning to page 150 to figure out what I was actually getting myself into.

It was such a huge disappointment, that it was the last newly released fiction novel I ever purchased. The best way I can describe it is that the author didn’t actually know what to do with her initial idea, so defaulted to the adage “sex sells” with the hope that no one would notice. As the reader, I felt like I had been sold fetish erotica in disguise, and I hate it when the product doesn’t match the labeling on the box.

So where on Earth is the literature for a girl obsessed with spiritual themes?

I still haven’t found it.

About Writing

Surprise me – but not too much

The book, Lost in Math, talks about how some dudes, using the magical power of MATHS, scientifically prove that, on a scale of 1 being super predictable and 10 being extremely unpredictable, all popular music, from Beethoven to Lady Gaga, rated about a 4-6. Only, you know, they used sciencey terms to make it all official and whatnot.

The author goes on to say:

Intuitively this means that good music lives on the edge between predictability and unpredictability. When we turn on the radio, we want to be surprised — but not too much. Not so surprisingly, then, popular music follows quite simple recipes, and you can sing along when the chorus repeats.

This observation about music, I think, carries over to other areas of human life. In the arts, in writing, and in science too we like to be surprised, but not too much. …

Lost In Math, Sabine Hossenfelder, chapter 5

The author then goes on to explain the effect that this has had on the scientific community, but this isn’t a science or math blog, so we’ll stop there.

We’re going to apply this phenomenon to novels.

As readers, we don’t like stories about people who simply wake up, brush their teeth, go to work, eat dinner, then go to bed at night. Why? Because that’s how most of us live. Sometimes we mix it up with vacations, trips to the zoo, or whatever floats your boat, but day-to-day life is routine. We don’t have to pick up a book to experience it.

As readers, we also don’t like stories that are too bizarre. We don’t like having too many new concepts and terms thrown at us all at once, or reading a story that is completely unrelatable on any level. That’s why the Redwall series, for example, humanizes its animal characters — they wear clothes, cook food, fight with swords, and refrain from leaving droppings on counter tops — because that’s what the human audience relates to.

Therefore, writers need to learn how to balance between predictable and unpredictable if they desire a wider audience. Make it interesting, but relatable. Put a new spin on old ideas. Blend cliches with unique concepts. Trust me, most readers won’t constantly reference a companion encyclopedia to know what the heck you’re talking about; they’ll just quit reading.

Twilight was insanely popular despite its amateur writing, because it took the familiar ideas of romance and teenage angst, and paired it with the brand new idea of vampires that sparkled in the sunlight. Just one new angle on a mountain of cliches skyrocketed it into a #1 best seller. I mean, c’mon, who else would have ever thought of sparkly vampires?


Surprise your readers!

But not too much.

About Me

To photo or not to photo

The book I’m currently reading (Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock) has a great big picture of the author on the back cover. I showed it to my husband and commented, “It would be absolutely mortifying to see a picture of my face displayed like that.”

One of the things that I really like about writing is the anonymity of it. I can hide behind characters, and reveal my innermost thoughts without revealing anything at all. I strive to be, as the author, completely invisible in my novels.

Of course, with setting up an author’s page on Amazon, they ask for a bio and photos.

I wonder, do readers really care what the author looks like?

Personally, I don’t.

Personally, sometimes I wish that I didn’t know what an author looked like.

I’m contemplating whether or not I ought to include that particular bit of info, and hide safely in my anonymity.