Shadow Witch Rising – Now Available for Preorder!

ShadowWitchRisingCover_BiggerCVHello, lovelies!

Today is a big day — Shadow Witch Rising, the first book in my new Copper Falls series, is available now for preorder on Amazon! You can click to order it now, and it will be waiting on your Kindle as soon as the book becomes available in the Amazon store. It will be released on February 23rd.

I had many people asking me to make the HIDDEN series books available for preorder. At first, that wasn’t an option for me because only certain high-profile indie authors had that ability. They recently made it available to all authors, so I hope this makes the ordering process even more streamlined for those of you who want to make sure you have the book ASAP.

If you’re interested, you can find that preorder link here. Thank you so much  — I am so excited to share this story with you!

Cover Reveal and Release Info: Shadow Witch Rising!

I am so excited to share the cover of Shadow Witch Rising, the first book in my new Copper Falls series! My designer is my amazing husband, Roger Vanderlinden. I have loved every one of my book covers, but I literally squealed in excitement when he showed me this one. So… here it is!

ShadowWitchRisingCover_BiggerCV

Gah!! I just love it! For those who missed it, here is the synopsis:

Two people, bound by a powerful curse. 

When Sophie Turner finally returns home to the sleepy tourist town of Copper Falls, she imagines the kind of life she’d always dreamed of: calm, quiet, and peaceful. After years of having her steps haunted by a powerful and devious stalker, she is now living on land settled by her ancestors. She can feel the magic in her blood responding, and she feels like she finally has the chance to build a life.

Until he comes along.

All of her dreams of peace and calm come tumbling down the second Calder Turcotte enters Sophie’s life. The danger he brings threatens everything she’s worked for, everything she’s tried to build for herself.

He gives Sophie an ultimatum: break the curse her ancestor set on his family, or lose the very land that’s allowing her to heal. And as much as she despises him, as much as she fears him, she’s equally drawn to his icy gaze, his strength.

Helping him is the right thing to do.

She never would have guessed how much she’d end up losing to save him.

Links, Pre-Order, and Release Dates

There is an entry for Shadow Witch Rising up on GoodReads — thank you so much to those who have added it already! If you want to see a teaser, I posted one on the blog earlier this week.

Shadow Witch Rising will be available for pre-order on Amazon on January 26th. It will be released on February 23rd.

I cannot wait to share this story with you guys! I’ll have more information about the setting and inspiration as we get closer to release day, but I can tell you that this is a story I’ve been living with for YEARS and writing it has been both maddening and emotional at times. Just as HIDDEN was, in some ways, my love letter to Detroit, Copper Falls is my love letter to the astounding beauty of Michigan’s upper peninsula, which I fell in love with as a kid during the family vacations we took there.

Since this is a new series, any help you can give me in spreading word and sharing the cover, adding the book to your shelves on GoodReads would be hugely appreciated. You guys have always been great at supporting me in that way, and I hope you know how much I appreciate it.

Have a great day!

XO,

Colleen

Extended Teaser: Shadow Witch Rising

I promised my lovely readers over on Facebook that once we hit 300 likes on the page, I’d share an extended teaser from the first Copper Falls book, Shadow Witch Rising. Well, we’re over 300 now (thank you!!) so, as promised, here is your teaser. Enjoy!

* * *

After a few hours of sorting through dusty, grimy boxes, mostly filled with old clothes and other useless crap, Sophie was ready to head back downstairs and declare defeat. Why did people hold on to stuff like this? What good was an entire box of plastic dishes, or boxes and boxes of paperbacks, which had been chewed mercilessly by mice? Books should be read, should adorn a room so you can look at them and remember the amazing places they took you. They should’t be boxed up and stuffed in an attic, left to rot.

She had to grin as she looked though them. Someone, it looked like in the seventies or eighties, had been a big paperback romance reader. The covers, complete with bodice-ripping heroes holding their prizes, made her roll her eyes. Not in a bad way, though. She remembered the same books in her grandmother’s bedside table. She’d gotten her love of books from Nana, and she knew that those stories were a part of what she was now.

She set the books down, shaking her head.

She got back to work. If there were answers to be found about Calder and his curse, she’d find them. She had to.

After another few hours, she had about half of the attic sorted through. She had a few boxes of things she could use, mostly kitchen and gardening equipment, along with some decorative things that had caught her eye. She had a pile of clothing to donate, several boxes of paperbacks (that hadn’t yet been chewed by mice) and other miscellaneous stuff to donate. She’d already tossed several garbage bags outside. She’d have to drive them to the dump later.

Sophie carried the “donate” boxes out to the front porch and stacked them along one side. She reminded herself to call Purple Heart to come and pick them up. She went out back and did the evening chores in the dark, feeding and watering the animals, giving the goats their second milking  of the day.

As she did, she thought. A name. A date. Something. She didn’t know anything about her family other than Edie and her family’s almost non-existent magic. If Calder had been looking into the curse enough to know (supposedly) that it was her ancestor, then he must have names or dates or something to base that on.

Sophie finished up, washed up a little, then headed out the front door and across the street. Calder was pretty much where he’d been earlier that day, hunched over the car.

She walked up to him and leaned against the side of the car, watched him for a few minutes. He didn’t acknowledge her, and she tried not to let that irritate her.

“Can you tell me anything about the curse? What does it do, exactly? Which of my ancestors did it? Anything you know would be helpful, since I know absolutely nothing,” she said softly.

Calder kept his eyes on the engine. After a few more minutes of tightening things and fiddling around, he stood up and started wiping his hands. “What have you been doing all evening? I knocked on your door twice trying to talk to you.”

“I was in the attic. There’s so much stuff up there, going back who knows how long. I’m hoping I can find something up there that will help me figure this out. But I figured if I can find out what you know, that will give me a head start. And maybe I’ll know what I’m looking for when I find it.”

He nodded and headed toward his front porch. He settled his huge frame on one of the steps, and she sat beside him.

“It happened nearly two hundred years ago,” he began. “My ancestor, Luc, was involved with your ancestor, Migisi.”

She watched him. “What kind of name is that?”

“Ojibwa, we think,” he said.

Sophie pulled the small notebook out of her jeans pocket, wrote the names down. “I was always told there was some Native American in my line, but no one knew much,” she said as she wrote. “Did she live in my house?”

“She at least lived on the land. We’re not sure if she was the one who first lived in the house or whether it was her decendents.”

“Okay.”

“So they were involved, and from what I understand, she was completely in love with him. But Luc had a wandering eye, and she caught him with another woman. She was heartbroken. And pissed off.”

“Rightfully so,” Sophie said, raising her eyebrow.

“You’ll get no argument from me on that.”

Sophie laughed a little.

“Anyway. The story goes that when he went to her to apologize, she had a curse waiting, and she did the spell, and that was that. She moved on. Married another man and had children. Luc spent the rest of his life cursed, mated, and the next generation was born. Cursed, just as he had been.”

“Can you tell me more about the curse?”

Sophie watched as he looked down at his hands. “Our line are shifters. You already know that.”

Sophie watched him. “What do you shift into?”

“Bear.”

“A bear?” she asked.

He nodded.

“Are you the bear my friends smelled around my house?”

“Yeah.”

“So you were spying on me?”

“I was making it clear that was my territory.”

“Why?”

“To keep others away,” he said.

“Is there something I need to be worried about?”

He looked up, met her eyes. Her heart stopped at the intensity in his gaze. “No. Nothing’s going to happen to you.”

“Except for you taking everything I own if I can’t figure this out.”

“I’m desperate, Sophie. It’s getting worse, and it’s only the last few generations that stopped being stupid about the curse and actually started researching how to break it. Started tracing her line. And what we kept finding was that for the most part, you’re powerless. Until you. I was prepared to make the move down to Detroit, but this is so much better. You came here for a reason, and it’s clear you need this place.”

“Lucky you,” Sophie muttered.

“For what it’s worth, I don’t make a habit of bullying women.”

“Congratulations,” she said icily.

He took a breath, and she shook her head in irritation. One bright spot in the situation was that she had a couple more months in her house. Of course, that would probably be it, because her chance of breaking a curse as powerful as this one was probably less than zero. “The shifter part isn’t the curse, though,” she finally said, determined to at least try to figure it out.

He shook his head. “We were born shifters. And, until we hit puberty, we can shift into our animal without any problems. After that point, shifting becomes a punishment of its own. When we take our animal form, we become more beast than man. You have friends who shift. You know that even though they have the senses, reflexes, and instincts of their animals, their thought processes remain human.”

Sophie nodded, watching him. Why did he have to be so good-looking? It was hard to hate him when he looked at her with that intense, serious gaze, when she could still see the boy she’d been so enamored with.

“Okay. Well, with the men in my family, we start losing that humanity. At first, it’s just…” he paused, shook his head.

“Calder. I need to understand. Okay?”

“At first, it’s like your beast starts taking control when you’re in that form. It does things you’d never do, out of its mind, and all you can do is watch. You’re still in there, but you’re powerless to do anything other than wait it out. At first, it’s really only a problem on full moon nights. The rest of the time, we hold it together, and it’s almost normal. Full moons are a nightmare.” He paused. “And its not that our beast is evil. It’s just desperate. The real thing with the curse is that it makes you just endlessly dissatisfied. There is no such thing as enough food, enough water, enough violence, enough…” he trailed off, and she caught his eyes sweeping over her body before he looked away. She felt a blush rise to her face. “Never enough,” he continued. “We want it all, all the time, and getting it never satisfies. It’s like having an itch that never stops, and slowly but surely, it drives you mad. And the more insane you get, the less of your humanity you can remember, until, even in your human form, when you can remember to take it, you’re like an animal.”

She was watching him, and the concern, the empathy in her eyes made it hard for him to breathe. Her scent surrounded him, and the warmth radiating from her body made him want to touch her so badly he burned with it. He forced his mind back.

“My father hasn’t shifted back to his human form in over six monhts. He is likely lost to us. The best any of us can do is keep him contained, so he doesn’t hurt anyone. My younger brother cares for him, but it’s not easy on him. We agreed that I would be the one to… convince you to help us. And I can feel the curse strengthening in me as well.”

“And your brother?”she asked him.

He shook his head. “It only affects the oldest male in each family. And we’ve tried ending it that way. Tried not getting anyone pregnant, or killing off the eldest son before the curse begins… it either jumps to a younger siblling or to a male cousin. She wasn’t messing around when she made that curse.”

She was quiet for several moments. “Your dad and brother. Do they live around here?” she asked, and the tremor of fear in her voice grated at him.

“No. They live in they middle of one of the larger state forests. Almost entirely isolated.”

She nodded, and he watched her. She seemed to be thinking.

“So, the hunger. That’s the real part of the curse. Right?”

He nodded. “That seems to be it. That we would never be satisfied. That the constant dissatisaction eventually drives us mad.”

She was watching him. Jesus she smelled good. His bear, his beast, practicaly rumbled in ecstasy at her scent. So warm beside him, her curvy body warming his, her thigh almost touching his.

It was hard to breathe.

“And you say you’re starting to feel the effects of the curse?” she asked softly.

He nodded.”I still mostly have control of my beast.”

“Mostly,” she repeated, and her fear scented the air, made his beast raise its head in interest.

“It’s bad around the full moon,” he said. And he knew, already, that this next full moon would be absolute torture. There was something he suddenly wanted more than just about anything else, and it would make his beast even crazier. “The equinox is hell. That’s why I put that deadline in there. This is the first year I’ve started losing control, and I know from watching my dad that the equinox is a nightmare. Fall and spring,” he added.

“Why?” she asked.

He shrugged. “I think it has to do with the bear part of what we are. Fall, a bear would be preparing to hibernate. He’d be stuffing himself with food and getting sleepier. And spring,” he forced his thoughts away from that.

“What’s with spring?”

“That’s mating season,” he answered, trying to keep his voice flat.

“Oh,” she said. She looked away from him, tapped her pen against the small notebook she’d been jotting things down in.

“So, Migisi. Do you know anything else about her?”

He shook his head. “The only reason we know her name at all is because there’s this story that Luc ended his life in front of his own son, and he screamed “is this what you wanted, Migisi?” right before he jumped off one of the outcroppings on Brock Mountain.”

“Is that how it usually ends?” she asked quietly, and the compassion in her eyes made him hate himself even more.

“Sometimes,” he answered. “And sometimes, we go beyond the point where we even have enough sense to know we should end it. My father is there now. Even if he wanted to end his life, he’s too out of control to even attempt it. It’s like he’s hardly in there at all anymore.”

“It seems like she went kind of overboard on the curse thing,” she said. “Is it possible there’s more to it than that?”

He shrugged. “I don’t know. It’s possible. All I know is what’s been passed down over the years. We lost track of her line for a while. Your place sat empty for decades in the early 1900s, I guess. And then we found Edie, which led us to you. Edie didn’t know anything about anything. She knew you all have some magic, but she also knew that it was pretty much nonexistent in her.”

“My mom had no magic at all,” Sophie said. “I didn’t know anything about witchcraft in my family until I felt the first bit of power in me when I was a teenager. I asked my parents, and they told me it was nonsense. And then we moved away from here. I think they thought that would end it.”

He watched her, felt the almost irresistible urge to try to comfort her. It wasn’t the words, necessarily. It was something behind them, some sense that she’d been through more than her share of bad.

He couldn’t afford to worry about her feelings now.

He looked across the road, at her little cottage. “Have you found anything up there?” he asked, gesturing toward the small window in the attic.

She shook her head. “Not yet. But at least maybe I’ll know it when I see it. If there’s something up there that can help, I’ll find it. And now I have names to work with. What was Luc’s last name?”

“Same as mine. Turcotte,” he answered, watched her write it down. “Sophie,” he said, unable to take his eyes off of her and hating himself all over again.

“What?” she raised her gaze to his, and heat shot through him at just the meeting of their eyes.

He almost said it. Almost apologized for the mess he’d made of her life, for the way he’d strong-armed her into helping him.

“If you find anything out, let me know,” he said, aware of the short, gruff tone of his voice.

He watched as she withdrew into herself again. There was still that compassion in her eyes, but it was like watching a door close, watching her pull away from him.

What did he expect?

“I will. And I should get back to work,” she said, standing up.

He stood up, too, walked with her down his driveway.

“You don’t have to come with me. It’s not like I’m going to get lost or anything.”

He smiled a little. “I know. ”

* * *

There we go! I should also have a cover reveal for you pretty soon. I am so excited to share this story with you!

My Word for 2015: Better

This Captain Marvel t-shirt says it all.

This Captain Marvel t-shirt says it all.

It’s been a few years now since I started adopting a word for what I want for my life in the year ahead. 2014’s word was “forward.” And, damn, did I move forward in 2014. I didn’t accomplish everything I hoped to, but, at the same time, I did much better in certain areas than I could have expected last December when I was planning the coming year.

I knew, in December of 2013, that I wanted to finish the HIDDEN series in the coming year. I knew that I wanted to continue to make my living from writing (at the time, most of my income came from my job with About.com) and continue to grow the small audience that HIDDEN had at the time. I wanted to get healthier. I wanted to read more.

“Better” might seem like a stupid word. Of course, the whole purpose of setting goals is to get better, right? But “better” has to be my word, because it would be all too easy, considering the year I’ve had (a year that saw me selling WAY more books, to a much more positive response, than I ever could have imagined), to let up a little and rest on my laurels.

The good thing is, I’m not very good at that whole “resting” thing.

But we all slip, and I want to stay driven. Focused. I want next year to be even better than 2014 was. I want to be better. (And, as a side note, the only one I want to be better than at the end of 2015 is the Colleen I am right now.  I’ve never seen myself as being in competition with anyone other than me.)

So what do I want? What does “better” look like to me?

1.) I want to be a better writer. I want every book I put out to be the best it can possibly be, and every book after it to be better than the one before it. I want to continually grow as a writer. I want to push my boundaries, venture out of my comfort zone. I want to write things that will keep the lovely readers who buy my books up at night, unable to stop turning pages. That’s what I want.

2.) More reading. This one isn’t even that hard, because I love it, but I want to focus on reading more widely next year. I read a lot in my own genre this year, and it was a lot of fun, but I also think it would be fun to venture out of PNR/urban fantasy once in a while. :)

3.) Healthier. Outwardly, this is a simple “lose 50 pounds,” but it’s not just the number on the scale. The thing is, I’m quite happy with the way I look. I don’t hate my body or myself because I’m carrying more weight. I don’t have any health issues, and I know my husband thinks I’m beautiful. This is just one of those things for me. There are a couple areas of my body I could be more pleased with, and I recognize that losing weight will make me happier about those areas.

4.) More present. It is very, very easy for me to kind of get stuck in my own head. It’s very easy to obsess over parts of the writing business I can’t control. What I can control, and what will ultimately make an actual difference in my life and my overall state of well-being, is being present and attentive in the other parts of my life. Being there, really there, with my kids and husband makes all of us happier, and I want to focus on not letting myself slip into glancing too often at my phone or laptop when we’re all together.

So, that’s it. Better. That’s what I want to be at the end of 2015.

Happy New Year, lovelies! Thanks for helping me make 2014 one of the best years of my life. <3

My Favorite Books (and Comics!) of 2014

Ah, 2014. What a year. Not only was it an exciting year for me professionally, but I was able to read SO MANY books and comics this year that I absolutely loved. I thought I’d share some of those here.

Favorite Novels of 2014

(Note: I read them this year. Not all of them were published in 2014. And I know this list is very indie-heavy, but that’s what I read. :) )

the-singer-c-copy-190x3001. Elizabeth Hunter’s The Singer. Just….gah! I loved The Scribe. I’ve been honored to have beta read both books in Hunter’s Irin Chronicles, and damn did my girl out-do herself with The Singer. Hunter’s writing has this kind of haunting, rich quality to it that sticks with you. Her ability to describe a place to the point where you swear you can even smell the scents permeating the air… it’s just amazing. I loved the first book in the series, but The Singer is in many ways an unforgettable book.

2. Grace Draven’s Master of Crows. I was introduced to Draven by Elizabeth Hunter, and I’m so glad for it. Master of Crows is fantasy romance at its best. There’s a darkness there, a sensuality, and characters that stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page. Draven’s writing is best described as lush. Sensual. I swear the woman could describe beige walls in a way that would make them sound sexy. This is a must-read.

3. Meljean Brook’s Frozen. A unique take on Beauty and the Beast (one of my favorite stories, ever) but with… frost giants. Oh, yeah. This book had me on the edge of my seat the entire time — full of tension and sensuality.

4. Eve Langlais’ Welcome to Hell series. I read this entire series over the course of a couple of days and honestly laughed out loud several times. Langlais has a wicked, sometimes twisted sense of humor, and this series was both hilarious and sexy as hell. (Ha. Hell. Get it?)

5. Nora Roberts’ Cousin’s O’Dwyer trilogy. Witches, Ireland, horses, gruff sexy Irishmen… what’s not to love? I’ve alway loved Roberts’ writing, and the way she describes the setting in this series makes it feel like one of the characters; it’s that integral to the story. Loved this series.

 

Favorite Comic Series of 2014

images1. Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Val De Landro. Yes. I know we’ve only had one issue of it so far, but it belongs on this list because reading it was like being punched in the gut. I had a very visceral reaction to it, and I don’t react that way very often to comic books. Aside from the story and art itself, both of which are amazing, has been the reaction to the series. It has been kind of amazing to see women embracing the “Non-Compliant” label that has been the series’ handle since shortly after Kelly Sue started talking about it. And the essay by Danielle Henderson at the end of the first issue beautifully explains why, I think, I and so many others had such a strong emotional response to it. From the essay:

“The striking thing about Bitch Planet is that we’re already on it. We don’t have to get thrown on a shuttle to be judged non-compliant – be a little overweight, talk too loud, have an opinion on the Internet – or be a woman of color…”

In a year in which we’ve seen female game developers and journalists threatened in sickening ways for daring to exist and have opinions, in a year when we’ve seen, once again WAY too many stories about women being harassed, harmed, and belittled… I think this was a year in which something like Bitch Planet was exactly what some of us needed. It’s hard to explain. And I also have to confess that I just wasn’t sure how into this I’d be. I love Kelly Sue, but this didn’t really seem like my “thing.” Very glad to say I was wrong.

2. Thor: God of Thunder by Jason Aaron. When Aaron tells a story, the man goes BIG. This series, from beginning to end, was an amazing ride, and I was sorry to see it end. But, not really, because it led to…

3. Thor by Jason Aaron. The new Thor, who also happens to be a lady (yes!) was one of my favorite comics moments of 2014. I wrote about it here, and I’ll admit that re-reading that issue still gives me chills.

4. Captain Marvel by Kelly Sue DeConnick. This is another series I’ve loved from the beginning, but this year saw Carol Danvers going into space and being an absolute badass punching spaceships and beating up on aliens. What’s not to love?

5. Rat Queens by Kurt Busiek. Foul-mouthed, tough, hilarious characters make this one of my favorite comics EVER. Add to it the fact that anyone who’s played D&D, Warcraft, or any other RP games feels very much at home in the world Busiek has created, and I’m pretty much in comics heaven. I love the Rat Queens, I love the secondary cast of characters, and I love that there are no delicate little flowers here. It is perfection, and I have yet to read an issue that doesn’t have me dying of laughter at least once.

So, there we go. There’s my year in reading. I didn’t realize until just now how much girl-power my favorites had in common, but I guess it makes sense. I can’t wait to see what next year’s reading brings me!

Announcing: “Soulhunter,” a new HIDDEN story for newsletter subscribers!

It’s time for a new story for my newsletter subscribers, and I have a feeling many of you will be excited about this one — I know I’m loving writing it!

Before we go any further, though: if you haven’t read NETHER yet, stop here. Major spoilers ahead.

You’ve been warned. :)

 

Right. So… new story. How about a synopsis?

 

soulhunterWhen the god of death asks for a favor, saying “no” really isn’t a smart thing to do.

…And when the god of death is your best friend, the thought doesn’t even enter your mind.

 

When Eunomia left Detroit and her team to find herself, she imagined she’d spend some time traveling, and then head home to take her place on the superhero team she’d come to think of as family.

 

Life never does work the way you expect it to.

 

Her homecoming is cut short when the god of death gives her a task only she can accomplish. And it may end up being exactly what she needs:

“There are souls that elude the ravens, that hide from my judgment. Find them, and bring them back to me.”

Eunomia. Right hand of the Angel. Guardian.

The last of her kind, is now….

Death’s Soulhunter.

And the most lost soul she’s hoping to find, is her own.

 

This is Eunomia’s story, and it takes place after the events of NETHER. If I find that I like writing this, and you guys like reading it, I can definitely see Soulhunter becoming a spin-off series. We’ll see how it goes.

I’ll start sending chapters in January — there’s no point in trying to get anything like this going during the holidays. As with Earth Bound, the installments will come weekly, and the stories will be released as ebooks after my newsletter subscribers have had the opportunity to read the entire story. I hope you enjoy it!

And if you’re not already signed up for my newsletter… this might be a good time to do that. :)

EDIT: Many of you know that I keep Pinterest boards and YouTube playlists for each project. You can find those here, if you’re into that kind of thing:

Playing with Words

I’m hard at work on Copper Falls #1 — I should actually have a title for it soon so I can stop calling it that. Titles are hard.

I’m still grinning over the response Nether has received. I seriously have the best readers in the world, and Nether has stayed right around or higher than #1,000 overall on Amazon since its release. So thank you!!

I was talking to my husband last night about writing stuff, and we got into a discussion about the fact that, at our core, writers are entertainers. We may not see ourselves as having anything in common with a comedian standing on a stage or an actor shooting a scene in front of a camera, but we are entertainers just as much as they are. We talked about how, when I let myself get too bogged down in worrying about responses to things or “being taken seriously” the writing suffers. I get timid, and I start dreading the page.

But when I remember that writing, at its core, should be nothing more and nothing less than playing with words, with entertaining myself first, the writing flows. And it’s fun. Still hard a lot of the time, still something I struggle with, but I enjoy the struggle.

That makes no sense. But it’s true.

I started writing Hidden because I couldn’t not write it. Because I had these characters in my head and they were interesting and I wanted to see what they would do. The entire Hidden series was written in that spirit. I never expected anyone to read it, so when I did crazy shit like kill off a major character or add a crazy twist to Molly’s heritage, I didn’t do it wondering if I’d be taken seriously. I did it because I wanted to see what would happen next.

It’s easy, when you make your bread and butter from selling books, to obsess over rank and awards and the number of Twitter followers you have who actually give a damn about your books. But when that happens too much, we lose sight of what we’re really supposed to be doing: playing with words.

My Writing Warm Up

I don’t know how common this is, but I find that I need to warm up to write in the morning. I get up around four, take the dog out, pour some coffee down my throat, and try to get my brain in working order. (I am not, nor ever will be, a morning person. Having four kids requires me to get up and write early to have that time to myself.) And I can’t launch right into the current work in progress. I don’t want to goof around on Twitter and Facebook, because you lose hours that way. So I usually work on a story I’m writing only for me, something I don’t expect anyone to ever read. I’ve written stories about my World of Warcraft hunter, stories about characters who I just find interesting and I want to see what happens to them. The stories are never structured, and they usually just kind of end abruptly when I’m tired of them — I don’t have to finish, because they’re only for me.

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Iounn and Zig-Tarash have a complicated relationship.

My current writing warm up? Smut fiction about my warlock from World of Warcraft and her wrathguard. I don’t actually write erotica, obviously, but I’m having fun and seeing what happens next. And I find that, once I’ve reached my couple-hundred words of that story, I can launch into Copper Falls easily, my brain already working and ready to create. Giving time to something I’m doing just for fun, I think, extends that sense of fun and “let’s just see what happens” into the work I’m actually planning on publishing. It lets me take risks, try things out, without worrying “oh, I’m going to have to revise the hell out of that later.” I can play, and stretch my boundaries, and then come to the pages of my current work-in-progress in the right mindset.

This is also a great tactic for those struggling with writer’s block. I suffered awful block during the writing of Nether (again, because I let myself become WAY bogged down in worrying about how it would be received) and I started a romance fanfic about a comic book character I like. I remembered what fun it is to play, and the writing of Nether went a lot easier after a while.

So, it’s something to try. And I think it’s something I’ll always have to remind myself, especially when the writing gets hard. I need to remember that instead of taking myself seriously, I need to let go and play.

Grateful…

This Thanksgiving, I’m truly grateful for my life. Not only do I have an amazing family, a comfortable home, and good food to eat (things that, unfortunately, many people do not have) but, in addition, I’m able to support my family by doing work I love.

I write. And people are willing (and sometimes, very happy!) to pay me to tell them stories.

Do you have any idea how insane that is? This is something I’ve wanted since I was eleven years old and I sat scribbling really bad fanfic (was there a word for it then? Because that’s what I was writing) and I was getting to a point in my life in which I was starting to think I’d never actually do it. I was writing and proofreading for a living, and had nearly reached the point of settling on that being good enough. I scribbled down the beginning of Molly’s story when I was pregnant with my son. I wrote between taking care of my kids and feeding my newborn daughter and being sick and tired… because it was fun, and because it made me happy.

I never, in a million years, expected it to go anywhere.

As much fun as writing is, it’s kind of incomplete unless there’s someone there to read it. And that is where you come in. This year, some of those long-held (and nearly abandoned) dreams of mine came true. Thank you for helping make that happen.

(Related: Nether’s release was my second-most successful release day yet — Strife still holds the record for biggest release day. I don’t think the timing was great on my part, but for a holiday week release, I’m very happy! So thank you again!!)

XO,

Colleen

Nether is here!

Nether_UpdatedCover_700Here we go — NETHER! It’s here!

Here’s the description:

Molly Brooks has faced every foe thrown at her: power-hungry gods, hateful spirits, plotting demons, and everything in between.
She has been betrayed. Lied to. Tortured. Possessed. And she has fought her way back from the brink, time and time again.
It all leads up to this.
Two Titans, formerly imprisoned by Molly’s family, now walk the mortal realm.
The vengeful ancient, Nether, finally freed from her prison, longs for revenge against those who decided her fate.
And this time, Molly just might not be enough to fight them all, despite having everything to lose.
This is the final installment in the Hidden urban fantasy series.
It was almost exactly a year ago that I published Lost Girl. What a crazy, amazing year this has been. Thank you so much for taking this journey with me. Words can’t express how much it’s meant to me to hear that people love Molly and her crazy friends. I never imagined my weird little story taking off the way it did, and for that, you have my eternal gratitude. Thank you so much!
I can’t wait to hear what you all think! Your reviews are very, very much appreciated!

Friday Reads – 11/21/14

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve done one of these Friday Reads posts — final edits on Nether took up pretty much all of my time! Unfortunately, it’s also meant that I haven’t done as much reading as usual (and the new Warcraft expansion is also partially to blame for that! :) )

Here are a few of the things I’ve read that I’ve absolutely loved.

I was fortunate to be able to read Elizabeth Hunter’s entire Shadows and Gold novella (thank you, my friend!), which she’s currently publishing as a serial on her website. AMAZING. Tenzin is one of my favorite characters of Hunter’s and this, as well as her other Tenzin novella, The Bronze Blade, are both fantastic reads.

I’ve also read the first two books in Eve Langlais’s Kodiak Point series, Kodiak’s Claim and Outfoxed by Love — both very fun reads, and I definitely plan on reading the rest of the series. Eve also has a Kodiak Point book in the Kiss of Christmas Magic collection, which I’m currently reading my way through  — if you love paranormal romance, you need to grab this collection! It’s only $0.99 and contains 20 never-before-published novellas by some of the bestselling authors in the genre.

As far as comics, I’ve been catching up and revisiting some of my favorites via trade paperback. Hawkeye vol. 3, Captain Marvel vol. 1, and Lazarus vol. 1 and 2 (which I’ve read before but wanted to read again — glad I did. It’s probably one of my favorite comics right now) were all part of the rotation these last couple of weeks.

I’m also currently reading Amy Elliot Bragg’s Hidden History of Detroit, which has been on my TBR pile for quite a while.

I’m hoping to get more reading done over the next few weeks. I’m currently beta reading for a Twitter pal of mine and I have books on my Kindle by Killian McRae, Jill Myers, Jasinda Wilder, Marjorie Liu, and Amber Jaeger that I’m looking forward to reading. I’m also anxiously awaiting the trade paperback of Kieron Gillen’s The Wicked + the Divine, which will be out later this week.

So, that’s my list of recent and future reads. Any recommendations?