Hidden Release Day

Happy holidays! It’s cold outside, even here in sunny San Francisco. No fog this time of year, lol. It’s the perfect time to curl up with a warm blanket, a hot drink, and a good book. Speaking of which, I have exciting news!

Today is the release day for my new novella, Hidden, a YA urban fantasy prequel to my Crossroads series. Hidden tells the story of Lennon’s Auntie Cat as a teenager. It is available on Amazon for $0.99.

Cat Lau’s world turns upside down when her father and brothers return home without her mother. Life on the Crossroads is always perilous and sudden death a constant threat. Her mother died in battle, but no one will tell her how or why. Her father consoles himself in the bottle. One brother prepares for an arranged marriage while the other plays vengeful games. As her family falls apart, an enemy within uses secret passion and a powerful weapon to manipulate them. Cat is determined to learn the truth, but will she discover that some things are better left hidden?

Hidden is part of a multi-author project titled Hidden.

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From sci-fi to romance, fantasy to cozy mystery, and many more, the Hidden Project has something for everyone. Each author has taken the same title and put their own spin on the story, leading to a wide range of stories in a variety of genres.

Follow the weekly release of all 70+ books!
http://hiddenreader.com
www.facebook.com/HiddenReader

Got any last minute holiday shopping? Books make lovely gifts. Fake and Folly are both available in paperback format. Suitable for teens and adults!

Fake_WP   folly_WP

New Book Covers

I’m excited to announce that my Crossroads series now has new book covers. They were created by the immensely talented Julie Nicholls. I love how beautiful, mystical, and intriguing these new covers are. Fake and Folly are available now on Amazon. Hidden will be released in mid-December.

Fake_WP  folly_WP  HIDDEN_WP

 

Folly Launch Day

Exciting news! Folly (Crossroads Book 2) launches today. It is available in ebook and paperback on Amazon. It is the follow-up to Fake (Crossroads Book 1), also available on Amazon. To celebrate, both ebooks are available for $0.99 each for a limited time.

Fake  Folly

What is the Crossroads Series? Imagine our contemporary world with an underground society of urban warriors. Maginalized people who have formed clans and fight each other for supremacy.

Two families are at the heart of the story. The Lau family are the hereditary rulers of the fierce warriors known as Two Dragon Clan. The Sparrows are Strowlers, a traveling people, but outcast from their clan because of their unconventional ways. When Lennon Lau and Penny Sparrow meet, they set into motion what could be the destruction of their clans and the Crossroads. Behind the scenes, an ancient dragon watches and waits, determined to save his species from extinction.

Keep up with the world of the Crossroads by subscribing to my monthly newsletter, Wandering Times. News, contests, deals and steals! SUBSCRIBE NOW and receive a free coloring book, Dragons: A Crossroads Coloring Book.

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NaNoWriMo Book Launch

Welcome to November 1. For those of us who participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), this is a big day. Thousands of novels will be launched. Some have been planned meticulously in the days/weeks/months previous to November. Others are being conceived starting today.

Many writers will not finish their novels. Most of those who do finish will find themselves with a very messy first draft. Finishing or perfection are not at the heart of NaNoWriMo. This month and this movement are all about writing. People who otherwise can’t find the time to write will do so this month.

To all of you who participate, I salute you. Each sentence you write brings you one sentence closer to your dream. If possible, don’t write alone. Find a write-in in your area by joining a region on NaNoWriMo website. Participate in a NaNoWriMo word sprint. Go to or start a local Shut Up and Write Meetup. Find your tribe and write like you never have before, with joy and passion and no internal editor.

Today, I’m launching my debut novel, Fake. It was first written during NaNoWriMo and that first draft was a hot mess. After many drafts and a professional edit, I’m very proud of the final results.

You can do it, too. I know you can. I have faith in you. Now, write that book!

Making Your Own Magic

This past summer, I listened to the audiobook version of Felicia Day’s memoir, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost). Listened, rather than read, because I saw her in person on a panel at Denver ComicCon and thought she was a delightful and engaging speaker.

Almost anyone who considers themselves a geek is familiar with Felicia Day. Along with recurring roles on Supernatural and Eureka, and co-starring in Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, and being a consummate gamer, she created and starred in that seminal Internet video series, the Guild. In her memoir, she tells the story of how she pulled together this show using spit and chicken wire, inspiration and perspiration, and a whole lot of caffeine. Her budget was whatever she could beg, borrow or steal. In other words, she made her own magic and the result was a phenomenon.

Felicia Day’s memoir spoke to me. It said you can make your own magic happen, too. Coincidentally (or was it?), while I was listening, I received a conditional resubmit letter from a publisher. It basically stated that they were interested in my novel, Fake, but wanted me to submit a rewrite with some substantial edits, including changing the point of view. This isn’t the first time this has happened. A few years ago, I submitted another book to a publisher and got a similar request. I did the rewrite and didn’t much like the results. It altered the story and characters too much. I resubmitted and was rejected. All that work for nothing. Or was it?

During that time, I was living in Colorado, and after receiving the rejection I had a bit of a meltdown and went to stay with a friend in San Francisco. While there, I wandered the streets and came up with the idea for Fake and the world of the Crossroads.

The offer from this latest publisher brought me to my own crossroads. Do I take that chance again? Do I send the manuscript to another publisher? Or, like Felicia Day, do I make my own magic?

I chose magic. I put myself on the path, and steep learning curve, of indie publishing, which I’ll blog about in future posts. I’ve submitted Fake to Amazon’s KDP program. It’s now available for pre-order and will launch on November 1, 2016.

Hitting the button that submitted my final draft was the hardest part. I wondered why and then realized it was the final step in saying farewell to my dream of being traditionally published. Making your own magic means discovering and owning your own power. Wish me well on this journey. May you discover and make your own magic and dreams come true.

Binge Complete

As part of my summer binge, I decided to watch the 189-episode telenovela, Lo Que La Vida Me Robó (What Life Took from Me,) on Netflix. I finally finished watching it. That was one long binge! As a viewer, I enjoyed its riveting and twisting storylines. As a writer, I appreciate the show for its characterizations.

Unlike U.S. soap operas, telenovelas come to a conclusion. Since the end of the main story will be reached, the characters are compelled to change and grow, or so one would hope. I felt this was done particularly well with Lo Que La Vida Me Robó.

Classic love triangle. Who will Montserrat choose?

Classic love triangle. Who will Montserrat choose?

The main story concerns a love triangle between lovely young Montserrat Mendoza and her suitors, Alejandro Almonte and José Luis Álvarez. Montserrat plans to run away with José Luis, a marine stationed at the local naval base. However, her money-grubbing mother, Graciela, forces her into the arms of Alejandro, who just inherited a large fortune.

Sounds fairly typical, but it’s not. At its heart, this is a rags-to-riches-to-rags story. Money is the root of all evil and those with it, or obsessed with becoming rich, find themselves far unhappier than those without it. At one point, one of the characters says he is glad he lost his fortune because it had brought nothing but evil to his life.

As the main protagonist, Montserrat changes over the course of the series, going from a naïve and sheltered girl to a strong, determined woman. She makes mistakes, some of them pretty bad, but she also learns from them rather than repeating them endlessly.

The other main and secondary characters grow and change, some for the better, some for the worse. Avarice and vengeance play a huge part in how the stories progress. Some characters overcome their worst instincts while others cannot or will not.

I was impressed by the depth of the characters and by how their story arcs played out. As an author who is writing a series, I took note of how the characters progressed and how each pitfall and triumph made them change and yet remain the same person.

It can be hard to keep momentum going in a series. Lo Que La Vida Me Robó is an example of how that can be done. Watch it for the excitement and fun of a juicy good drama, but also appreciate the writers for knowing how to tell a story.

Random

I live in Millbrae, California, a small suburb about 10 miles south of San Francisco. It’s got a nice shopping area in easy walking distance from my house. Every now and then, I will walk past some random item that has been abandoned on the sidewalk. After I walk by, I always think, “I should take a picture of that.” Last night, I finally did because this piece was truly random.

Now, when I die, Now don't think I'm a nut, Don't want no fancy funeral, Just one like ol' King Tut.

This unlucky pharaoh was left on the bench outside the Kohl’s that closed about a year ago. He’s had a rough time of it, but whoever abandoned him thoughtfully placed him face up and left a portion of his broken beard beside him.

It’s such a “Wait. What?” moment when you pass by something like this. There’s no store nearby that sells such items, so it had to be carried there, but why? Plot bunnies hop around items like this, wanting to take you down the rabbit holes of possibilities.

Is Broken Pharaoh’s appearance on a suburban mall bench mysterious or mundane? The great thing about random items is, it’s all up to you.