Places to Go and Things to Do
A few upcoming events, and a few upcoming programs
It feels a little strange to be planning events right now. Although Covid is still a threat (please continue to wear masks indoors and in crowds; it hurts no one and helps everyone!), we are continuing on, and I’m glad we’ve come to a point where we can safely gather together and celebrate books!
First, an online event, open to anyone and accessible to all! WriteOnCon is something I’ve participated in for years, and I’m pleased to be speaking at a live panel this year (now that I finally have reliable internet). WriteOnCon is a virtual conference, which means all the programming is a mix of written posts, video live sessions, and pre-recorded things. I love that it makes the conference accessible while still presenting a plethora of wonderful learning opportunities.
You can find more information and details, as well as registration links and schedules, by going to writeoncon.org.
I’m currently in the midst of scheduling a handful of live events to celebrate the release of The Princess and the Scoundrel. I’m already booked and ready to go to a big, nerdy national convention that’s not yet been announced, and I’m working on two separate events in Morganton, NC, and another in Canton, NC.
And don’t forget: you don’t have to pre-order or do anything special to sign up for this epic, amazing giveaway!! You could win a trip for two to Disney and the Galactic Starcruiser hotel experience! It is seriously so simple to enter—don’t miss out on this (and please take me if you win!)!
“What chance do we have? The question is what choice.” —Jyn Erso
This summer has been a hot bed of turmoil in our nation. As a former teacher, a library enthusiast, and an author, books are always near and dear to my heart. I have both experienced and witnessed first hand the power of seeing yourself in a book, and the value of knowing you are not alone.
“We read to know we are not alone.” —C.S. Lewis
Currently, there are several groups who are trying to censor books in various local libraries, targetting books by and for minorities. You can read some of the background on this here.
A simple thing you can do right now is look up your county’s library board and write a quick email praising them for the work they do—librarians are hard workers for the community!—and also offering to help them fight censorship if the need arises in your community. Knowing that they have support can make the difference between soft censorship and not, and can help librarians have the tools to better prove the importance of books.
Speaking of helping the community, my local indie bookstore, Adventure Bound, is highlighting another urgent need—meals for children. From their website: “A federal program which benefits school children throughout the United States and which has proven to be remarkably successful during the COVID pandemic is set to expire on June 30, 2022—in just a few days—unless Congress approves its renewal.” Go to their activism page to see more information, including a letter template that you can email to your representatives right now. Children deserve to be fed, no matter what!
Another hot topic issue currently happening in America is the loss of Roe vs. Wade protections. A group of Star Wars fans put together the What Choice charity to fund resources for women, and I am happily donating signed copies of my Star Wars books to the cause. You can find out more here:
Summer of Giving
Members of Patreon and Crown Club are getting gifts all summer long! Every single person is getting something each month of summer. Some packages will also include extra bonuses, such as bookstore gift cards, fancier swag (I have some special metal bookmarks going out soon), and more!
Currently being mailed out: a secret surprise—these are getting dropped in the mailbox on Monday. I enlisted the aid of my husband to help me stuff all the envelopes!
For June, the prize is centered around something witchy, to celebrate Museum of Magic! This fun serial is going strong—the first book is about halfway done, and there will be a sequel! What makes the story even more fun, in my opinion, is the reader interaction. Every episode gets a poll at the end to help dictate what happens in the next episode.
The current poll up is to see whether main character Emmi should use her magic to break a barrier and enter into the fae lands, or if it would be better to walk away and be safe. Whatever the polls say will dictate the next chapter.
The chaos element of writing Museum of Magic has definitely kept me on my toes, and it’s been a ton of fun to write something so mercurial! The best part is, by far, the community that’s built up in Patreon. I love reading all the comments and the thoughts behind the votes and what people think will happen next. It’s basically like a huge joint D&D game that’s ending with a real book (and which will be thanking all the Patreon readers in the acknowledgements!).
You can read the story so far on Patreon, which allows international readers and commenting, with additional room for writing advice and more behind-the-scenes action. Or you can read on Kindle Vella, which has the first three chapters free and is easily accessible from any Kindle App or device, or the website. (Please note: Kindle Vella is currently an Amazon-based program only in America.)
This morning, Museum of Magic was ranked in the top SIX of all YA serials on Amazon, and the top 100 of all serials on the entire website! Thank you all so much for reading! You helped Amazon highlight Museum as one of their featured serials this month!
Back to the gifts! Members of Patreon and my Crown Club will also be getting something related to Blood and Feathers, my first serial, in July, to celebrate the book’s paperback release and a brand new cover designed by Jessica Khoury at Lizard Ink (she’s also the brilliant designer who made my fancy header and footers and other branding designs in this newsletter and on my website). I’m also so honored to see that Blood and Feathers has been shortlisted for a state award in fantasy!
August’s prize is something special… I paired with fellow Patreon user Hallie Bertling for this month’s surprise! I did a gift of book goodies for her subscribers, and she’s making a special sticker for mine. It’s strictly fan art that’s coming from Hallie, not something I commissioned, but I think my readers are going to like the gift they’re getting in the mail from Hal in August! You can get a sneak peek of Hallie’s process in the video below, or follow her for stickers and art videos on her Patreon.
What I’m working on now…
Museum of Magic, a YA fantasy with witches and witch bottles. A new chapter every week. Available on Patreon and Kindle Vella. Subscribe to my Crown Club for weekly reminders of the new chapters posted on Sunday and to be entered in weekly give-aways!
The Princess and the Scoundrel—out in August!
Secret adult science fiction project: currently drafting: 101,000 words written. I’m probably going to finish this draft by the end of the week, then sending it to a friend to read and critique before off to my agent.
YA historical co-written fantasy: 🤐…but news coming soon! Draft is done and with an editor…
Brainstorming for the next project…
Weekly posts and videos about writing at Patreon
SNHU as an online adjunct in the MFA writing program
Accepting critique and coaching jobs with Wordsmith Workshops—in addition to doing Word Lab! Also, we’re starting live and in person retreats again!
Actively doing in-person school, library, and book fair events—book me for panels, signings, and workshops for both adults and teens on writing!