Thoughts on life after Hidden

Can you tell this is on my mind a bit lately? If you are a regular reader of the blog or if you follow my page on Facebook, you’ve likely seen me talk about “life after Hidden.” Maybe I should just start referring to my creative life in terms of B.H. and A.H.

The period B.H. (before Hidden) was about me finding a way to make a (admittedly meager) living writing. I wrote about gardening and green living and parenting. I had two books about gardening published, and was published in what is still my favorite magazine, Mother Earth News, not once, but three times. I wrote for TreeHugger, which was, to me, like finally getting that stamp of “green-cred” approval.

I started writing Hidden. And this story lived in my mind, and went through multiple drafts over the course of the past five years. And I took the (to me, absolutely fucking terrifying at the time) step to get it out there via publishing it as a web serial here.

And then it came out in ebook form. Through it all, I was goofing around. I was finally giving form to this story that just wouldn’t leave me alone. Molly and company lived in my mind for a long time before anyone ever read them on my blog or in an ebook.

I am surprised, to this day, that the books have found the audience they have. I don’t think it really hit me until after Home came out that, holy shit, people are actually following this story. Way more people than I ever would have imagined. I didn’t think anyone would care about my oddball band of heroes and antiheroes. And I am immensely grateful for every single person who has taken a chance on an unknown author like me. It is more than I ever could have dreamed. It’s a modest success compared to some of my indie author brothers and sisters, but it is mine and I am thrilled beyond belief with it.

Which brings me to life A.H. (after Hidden). We’re almost there, because the final book comes out next month, followed by one final novella (since readers want this story told, and, more so, because I am dying to tell it.)

And I find myself both excited to share the rest of the stories I’ve been living with, and a bit terrified. Excited, because writing runs through my blood just as strongly as my Polish/German/Irish ancestry and I have fun doing it and I learn more about myself and the art of telling stories with each and every word I write.

Terrifying, because what if this was it? What if, as that bitchy voice in the back of my mind so often tries to tell me, I am nothing more than a one-hit wonder? What if I release the next stories, the next series, out into the world, and they sit there, fading into nothingness?

When I shared this fear, a good friend told me that you can only be a one-hit wonder if you stop working and putting books out.

This friend always gives me things to think about. Including, back when I started, the advice that this whole book-writing thing is a marathon, not a sprint.

A life, not a moment.

And I realize that when I started all of this, it was to prove to myself that I could. That I could get past my fear of putting my fiction out there. That I could finish writing books instead of letting partially-finished manuscripts pile up on my hard drive, never to be seen by anyone but me.

And I have done that. But you know what the funny part is? It’s something I think I’m going to have to prove to myself over and over and over again until it feels real. And I think, maybe, I’m grateful for that. I’ve always thrived on being the underdog, on feeling like I need to prove myself. And I’m here again.

I guess I’ll never settle on my laurels, so that’s a good thing.

I have several series and books in the works. Next year, you will see the first books in the series about the vampires from HIDDEN. You’ll be introduced to the Copper Falls series, which I teased here on the blog. and there will be superhero romance, because I am a geek and those are the kinds of stories I get a kick out of writing. There may also be a contemporary romance along the way. We’ll see.

What do I really hope to achieve in posting something like this? It’s not to be patted on the head and told that everything will be fine. :) Partially, it’s to untangle my thoughts, which I obviously do best in writing. But it’s also because I know I have several readers and followers who are starting out, or maybe thinking about seriously giving their writing a chance. And I want them to know that I’m pretty sure the insecurity never dies. And really, it probably never should. I also want them (and me, when that bitchy voice gets too loud) to know that they should keep going, because there’s nothing on Earth like making characters who only lived in your head live in other people’s minds and hearts as well. It’s magic. And it is worth every single second of doubt.

That’s that, then. Back to work.

 

What I’m Writing Wednesdays: Nether Prologue

My time with Nether is drawing to a close. Well, at least the writing part of it is. There will be editing and polishing, but I usually edit as I go along so by the time I’ve finished the first draft, everything is pretty clean.

It is starting to feel final now. I made banners for my Facebook and Twitter pages, sharing the release date (11-24-14!) and, in several of the little promo images I’ve made up to this point, I’ve included the phrase “because all things must come to an end.” And of course, that’s an allusion to the series ending, but it’s also taken directly from the prologue to Nether. I think it’s a good time to share that part of the book!

 

Nether: Hidden, Book Five

Prologue

The Story of Aether and Nether

As told to the Fates by Nyx, Darkness Be Her Name

In the beginning there was Chaos, and out of Chaos was born Darkness, and from the Darkness came everything.

Darkness called Herself Nyx. And She brought order to Chaos.

The first thing She made was to become Her most beloved creation.

The first thing She created, was Aether. Light. Her son.

After Aether, She created more.

Life.

 

And, because balance is essential, She created death as well.

 

She created Nether to balance Aether’s light.

And She set to Aether and Nether the task of creating realms to house the beings She would one day bring into existence.

From the moment she saw Aether, Nether was entranced.

He was light in all the ways she was dark;

Good in all the ways she was evil.

And she felt unworthy.

 

And all of the things she saw in Aether, he saw in her as well:

Someone to shroud him in darkness when the light became too much to bear;

Dark to his light,

Cool to his warmth,

Passionate to his calm.

The other side of himself.

And so, they loved.

 

And it came to be that the differences that had enamored them so

Began to drive them apart.

 

Strife found her first breath in them,

As did Misery, Sadness, Rage, and Violence.

And so, they fought.

The heavens thundered with their power,

And the newly-formed realms were set ablaze.

And the stars came to be;

Eternal proof of their passion.

And of their downfall.

 

When it was over, Aether lay crumbled, broken.

Nether, weakened.

And Nether wept over her lover, begged unforgiving Nyx to save him.

And Nyx could not repair the damage that had been done to Her most beloved creation.

She could not let him go.

And yet, he was beginning to fade.

 

Death would have its first victim.

 

Instead, Nyx used her power to keep Her son alive the only way She could:

By turning him into the realm that would be home to Her next creations.

A place of light, beauty, and hope.

She would never hold him again, but She could feel his presence there, and it gave Her peace.

 

But Nyx is not a forgiving being.

She turned Her wrath on Nether,

And, as punishment for what she’d done to beloved Aether,

Nyx turned Nether into a realm as well;

A realm that would be home to monsters.

It would house evil,

And those who lived there would one day rule the dead.

 

There they would exist for eternity, alive, imprisoned, their strength powering what would, one day, be the homes of beings so great and cruel and powerful that odes would be written and people would pray their names

They would watch life pass them by. Until the end of everything.

Because all things must come to an end. Balance demands that it be so.

 

When it was done, Nyx created the Fates and the Furies to provide guidance and punishment to those who would come after.

And, with Her work done,

With Her heart, Her soul, in mourning,

Nyx slept.

Friday Reads: Eve Langlais, Meljean Brook, Elizabeth Hunter, and Brian Michael Bendis

“Three of these things belong together,

three of these things are kind of the same. 

Can you guess which one of these doesn’t belong here?

Now it’s time to play our game…” 

Sesame Street lyrics just never quite go out of style, do they? :)

So in addition to writing a hell of a lot right now, I’m also on a pretty steady reading kick again, which makes me very happy. This week, I re-read a couple of old favorites by Eve Langlais, mostly because I needed a laugh and she absolutely delivers — If you haven’t read her Welcome to Hell series, it’s worth a look BUT only if you’re not bothered by twisted characters, lots of foul language and quite a bit of steaminess. Since I am a fan of all three, I am a fan of Eve Langlais. Her Furry United Coalition (F.U.C. — get it?) is also equally hilarious and sexy.

On Tuesday, the lovely Elizabeth Hunter released the second novel in her Cambio Springs series, Desert Bound, which I absolutely adored. If you’re interested (AND YOU SHOULD BE… ahem) you can check out my review here. Really, what you should do is go buy the book. Here (Amazon). Or here (BN). Or here (Kobo).

This week, I also had the pleasure of reading Meljean Brook‘s amazing fantasy romance, Frozen. Eventually, I will have to give this book a more thorough review, but for now all I can say is WOW. Little bit of Norse mythology, little bit of a “Beauty and the Beast” vibe, a hero and heroine with a bit of a past together that complicates the situation, and a whole lot of sensual writing. I highly recommend picking it up. I couldn’t put it down and read it in one evening.

I’ve mentioned before that I have an interest in writing comics, so I have a few “how to write comics”-type books on my shelf, and writer Brian Michael Bendis (Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, All-New X-Men, and about a zillion others) published his book Words for Pictures this summer. I’ve read through it a couple of times now, and definitely recommend it, not just for those interested in writing comics, but for those interested in writing any kind of narrative. I tend to “see” my books in pictures, so I guess maybe that’s why I find books like this so helpful, but he offers a lot of great general writing advice in addition to information about the business of writing comics.

Next from the TBR pile: I’m reading Grace Draven’s Entreat Me (and LOVING it so far!) and Marina Warner’s biography of Joan of Arc.

So… what are you reading? Give me something to add to my to-read list. PLEASE! :)

Hidden #TBT — The time I wrote a HIDDEN Christmas story

I was messing around with my blog a little and found this — and I had completely forgotten about it! I wrote this short story to coincide with the release of Lost Girl in ebook form, and I had this posted on the blog as a little extra for readers who stopped by the blog after reading the book.

It takes place a couple of months after the events of Lost Girl, and before Broken. I’d forgotten how much I loved this story. I had a lot of fun writing it. If you want to read it, you can check it out here!

What I’m Writing Wednesdays:

I’m in the closing stretch of writing Nether, and Earth Bound is just about finished as well! I even have release dates for you:

Earth Bound (Hidden, Book 4.5) — October 31

Nether (Hidden, Book Five) — November 24

It’s getting to the point where I don’t want to share much more from the current books since I’ll start giving things away and I hate spoilers. I’m so wrapped up in Nether right now that I’m not working on much else, so for this week’s “What I’m Writing Wednesday” all I have is this little snippet from Nether to share:

* * *

“You can’t die,” Nain said, picking up where we’d left off before the cursing incident. “Doesn’t mean it won’t still hurt.”

I shrugged. “I’ve been beheaded, incinerated, eviscerated, stabbed, shot, and buried alive. I don’t think it’ll be that big of a deal.”

* * *

Oh, Molly. Being a badass. I love her. :)

Have a great day, all!

Book Review: “Desert Bound” by Elizabeth Hunter

UnknownLet’s be honest. If you know me at all via the blog or social media, you probably already know how this review is going to go (because you probably already know that I’m a big fan of Elizabeth Hunter’s work.)

So let’s get that part out of the way now:

I love this book.

I love Alex and Ted.

I love the setting and the romance and the mystery and Elizabeth Hunter is disgustingly talented.

You should buy this book as soon as you possibly can. 

All right. Now that that’s out of the way, here are some thoughts about WHY you should read Desert Bound (and the first book in the Cambio Springs series, Shifting Dreams).

I should probably start by saying that when Elizabeth asked if I wanted to beta read Desert Bound (yes, I am a lucky, lucky girl and I may have jumped up and down with joy when she asked…) I was a little burnt out on shifter romances. I had read several of them earlier this year and through the summer and I just wasn’t feeling the whole shifter thing (um, other than MY shifter, of course). But I knew that Elizabeth knows how to tell a damn good story, and I was excited to see what would happen with Ted and Alex.

Needless to say, this book made me appreciate shifters again. 

Ted is exactly what you expect an alpha female to be: strong-willed, independent, straightforward, and honest. And Alex is the best kind of shifter male: alpha in a true alpha way, meaning he can do the tough and gruff thing very, very well but rarely needs to because posturing is stupid when everyone knows he’s the big dog (er, wolf. You know what I mean.) I loved that not only was he NOT an asshole alpha, but he took his role in his pack and community very seriously. And that care and strength extended to his relationship with Ted.

The relationship was, of course, the core of the book, and it was very well done. Their relationship had an almost melancholy feel to it. These are two people who loved each other dearly, who had a whole lot of history between them, and it had all fallen apart somewhere along the way. Reading the way they worked through their past issues, and the way they both gave a little to make it work (and make it last!) was wonderful. The love scenes were very well written: steamy and sensual and Hunter does a fantastic job of making sex not just a plot point, but very much integral to the way their relationship evolved. Beautifully done.

I also enjoyed the way she handled the extensive cast of characters in Cambio Springs. Each one felt real, as if this was someone who could easily live next door to  you. I wanted to know more about each and every one of them (particularly a somewhat surly bartender.)

And, since this is a mystery, I should also note that the mystery element was very well done. I was worried at a point in the story, wondering how in the world Hunter was going to make it all work, and damn if she didn’t pull it off in a surprising, yet perfect way.

This book is just another example of Hunter’s ability to provide a story with amazing depth and living characters. I cannot wait to read more about the inhabitants of Cambio Springs.

 

Friday Reads: Master of Crows and Thor #1

Moc_med-210x300Book Review: Grace Draven’s Master of Crows

One of the things I want to do more often is showcase authors whose work I enjoy. Most often, they’ll probably be indie authors, because these are my people. :) This week, I want to talk about Grace Draven’s Master of Crows.

*stares at you intensely*

You HAVE to read this book. Have to. Go get it. Now.

But then come back so I can tell you how amazing it is.

. . .

Okay. All set? Good.

I guess the first thing I have to say about Master of Crows is that I’m pretty sure Grace Draven is some kind of writing talent-enhanced cyborg. It’s really the only thing that makes sense. It is unnatural to be able to write this beautifully, to so perfectly capture a scene  that your reader feels like she’s right there with the heroine. Draven’s descriptive talent is inspiring, and makes Master of Crows one of those books in which, once you’ve set it down (or your Kindle battery has died on you), you feel as if you’re waking from a dream.

She doesn’t just say things like “the curtains fluttered in the breeze.” No, Draven makes you see it:

“Curtains of faded lapis and rust fluttered outward, snapping in the wind like a Kurman dancer’s skirts.”

Isn’t that gorgeous? Can you see it? I love the imagery there. And that is just one small example of the attention to detail shown throughout Master of Crows; details that make the story feel so alive and vibrant that you never want it to end.

As to the story, I can’t say enough good things (can you tell?) Draven loves her anti-heroes, and Silhara is a complicated, intelligent character. I love that we (as the reader) come to understand his character alongside Martise (the heroine), adding even more to the feeling that we’re there with them. As Martise comes to know him deeper, to learn about his code of honor and his history, we see a character who started the story very much as the villain become so much more. Silhara’s character development was exceptionally well-done.

Martise is my favorite kind of heroine: intelligent, resourceful, complex, and with plenty of backbone. Again, we see wonderful character development with her. I can confess to not feeling much for Martise either way as the book began. That changed fairly quickly, and, like Silhara, I came to appreciate her so much more than I thought I would.

And because Master of Crows is fantasy romance, the romance should really be discussed. It is intense. A slow burn, an enemies-to-lovers story that flows beautifully. It is the story of two people who really seem not to belong anywhere finding themselves, and then finding a place together. It isn’t instalove (or even insta-like, really) and they have to work their way to the realization that they care.

And when they do… remember how I said Draven is a master of description and detail? Her love scenes are to die for.

Master of Crows has everything: intrigue, anti-heroes, faithful sidekicks, romance, moody settings, beautiful writing… can you tell I loved it?

Grace Draven Online

Thor #1

4078196-thor_1_coverI know I have fewer comics fans, but if you are into comics, you really should take a look at Thor #1, which came out this week. To see my review, check out my Geekerella blog.

What I’m Writing Wednesdays: Week Three

It’s Wednesday again, which means it’s time for another tiny sneak peek at what I’m currently working on. Unlike the last snippet I shared, this isn’t something you’ll have to wait much longer to read! This is from the upcoming installment of Earth Bound, which you’ll (hopefully!) have in your inboxes on Friday.

The set up: Meaghan goes into work the morning after she and Heph have their date/Zeus battle. Nain leaves, and, for a little while, it’s just Meaghan and Molly in the loft. Here’s some of what happens.

* * *

“Do you have any questions?” Molly asked.

“About?” Meaghan responded, knowing full well what the goddess was asking.

“Christ, I feel like a mother giving ‘the talk’ for the first time,” Molly muttered. “About Hephaestus, or what he is, or his parents, or whatever. This must be overwhelming,” she said, taking a seat on one of the stools. “And Heph is so wrapped up in you, he’s probably not even realizing what a shock all of this might be.”

“Is he wrapped up in me?” Meaghan asked quietly. When she looked back up, Molly was watching her, empathy in her features.

“You have no idea,” Molly said with a small smile. “He’s nuts about you. He’s told you that, though,” she added.

“He has. I just don’t quite believe it.”

“Heph isn’t a liar,” Molly said.

Meaghan sat on the stool next to the Angel, her tea forgotten. “If I ask you stuff, do you promise not to tell him? I don’t want him to think I’m prying, but I just—“

“It’s okay,” Molly said. “It’s between us.”

Meaghan took a breath. “Aphrodite.”

“Was a coldhearted bitch who never brought him any happiness and murdered two of my closest allies right in front of me,” Molly said, ending with a snarl.

“That whole goddess of love thing, though,” Meaghan pointed out. “And she must have been gorgeous, right?”

Molly let out a small laugh. “Goddess of lust, maybe. I don’t think Aphrodite loved anyone but herself. She was gorgeous. Physically perfect in every way. I hated her,” Molly finished, and Meaghan laughed. “She had kids with Ares, not her husband. Theirs was an arranged marriage, and they never should have been forced to be together.”

“Did he love her?” she asked softly.

Molly shrugged. “I doubt it. He lusted after her, for sure. He’s admitted as much. Early on, he wanted a real marriage with her, but the longer it went on, the more she insisted on continuing her thing with Ares, Heph went from being hurt, to pissed, to just not caring.” Molly paused. “Their relationship was not good for his ego. Not in that department, anyway,” she finished quietly. After a few moments, she added, “I think the two of you have that in common, probably.”

Meaghan nodded.

“You’ve been thinking you couldn’t possibly live up to what he had,” Molly said. “Really, the thing is that maybe you’re showing him what an actual relationship feels like, for the first time in his existence. And if you mess around on him, if you break him, I hope you can run really, really fast, because I will have a problem with you.”

“I wouldn’t,” Meaghan protested. “We might not work out,” she finished quietly. “I don’t even know what we have, really.”

“Not working out is one thing. It happens. I’m just saying: be honest with him. If you decide you’re done,  then you’re done, but don’t sneak around behind his back, and don’t lie to him. And for the record, he’d never lay a hand on you in anger,” she added, reading the concerns in Meaghan’s mind.

“You didn’t see him last night,” Meaghan said, speaking the fear she’d been trying to shove away. “So much rage. And that kind of power is terrifying, and I barely lived through being with somoene who had a tiny speck of the amount of power Hephaestus has.”

“Heph and his father have issues,” Molly said, toying with an envelope from the ever-growing pile of mail on the kitchen counter. “You should ask him about it sometime if what you saw last night worries you that much. That’s his story to tell. Not mine.”

“But you were fine telling me about Aphrodite?” Meaghan asked, confused.

Molly shrugged. “You knew all of it already, or at least you started to put it together. You know Aphrodites’s sons aren’t Heph’s. And you’re not dumb. It doesn’t take a genius to know what that means.”

Meaghan crinkled her brow. It was slightly annoying that she was broadcasting her thoughts to Molly and Nain all the time, but she guessed it was also kind of convenient, too.

“I think I love him,” Meaghan said.

Molly met her eyees, gave her a small smile. “Well… duh.”

 

* * *

That’s it for this week!

What I’m Writing Wednesdays: Week Two

For this week’s “What I’m Writing Wednesday,” I thought I’d share the beginning of one of the side projects I’m working on. I need to have at least two things in the works at all times, because then, even if I get stuck on one project, I can be working on something else. Right now, I’m working on finishing Nether and Earth Bound, but I also have this book in the works for those times when the HIDDEN world is just driving me too crazy.

This is the beginning of the first book of what I’m calling “The Copper Falls series,” which will be out next year. It will be paranormal romance, and not at all related to the HIDDEN series. So, here’s the opening scene in the first book (which I don’t have a title for just yet, so we’ll just call it “Copper Falls #1″ for now.)

 

* * *

Copper Falls #1

Chapter One

Sophie unlocked her front door with a sigh of relief. Long day. A busy day, which was always good, but she was more than ready to take a cup of tea out to her garden and lose track of everything other than the perfume of herbs and the trilling melodies of the birds in the woods that bordered her cottage.

As she turned and grabbed her mail out of the box, she noticed a rumbling motorcycle turn into the driveway down the road. The farm had been empty for nearly a year. She grimaced. The idea of hearing a motorcycle all the time wasn’t exactly appealing. She shook her head and went into the house.

The second she walked in, everything just felt right. She breathed in the clean, natural scents of the herbs drying from the beams above, beeswax. The soaps she’d made the day before were curing on wooden racks in the next room, and they perfumed the entire house. She flipped on the radio, started bobbing her head immediately as Rihanna wafted from the speakers.

She shrugged out of the white button-down top she wore to work, shimmied out of the crisp khakis. She pulled on a pair of well-worn jeans and a faded Detroit Red Wings t-shirt.

She was  in the kitchen, debating over whether she wanted a salad or scrambled eggs for dinner, when there was a knock at the door. She glanced in that direction, then at the clock. She never got visitors out here. That was the entire reason she’d been so thrilled to have inherited this in the first place.

She sighed and glanced out the round window in the door. There was a man standing on her porch, clad in denim and a t-shirt. He was facing away from her, looking across the road. Longish, wavy, dark blond hair. Very, very broad shoulders.

Sophie opened the door a little, kept it braced with her leg. “Yes?”

The man turned around, and Sophie’s mouth went dry.

His hair was a little unruly, and he had a short, neat beard. Long black lashes. Icy blue eyes.

Eyes she’d dreamed, not knowing what it meant. Visions that spoke of danger and heartbreak, and always, those eyes. Sophie tried to force herself to remember to breathe.

“Hi,” he said, and his voice was deep. Low. Almost a growl. “I just moved in across the road. There’s a goat in my yard. Wondering if it’s yours.”

She blushed. “Oh, shit. That would be Merlin. Sorry.” Sophie slid her feet into the sandals she kept by the door and stepped out onto the porch. Beside him, she felt tiny. He was easily over six feet tall, and her five-five put her roughly at chest level.

And what a chest it was, she thought to herself.  Holy broad-and-muscled, Batman.

“I’ll get him. I’m so sorry about that. I just got off work and haven’t even checked on them yet.” Stop babbling, she told herself, and clamped her mouth shut.

“It’s not a problem.”

“It will be if you plan on having livestock. I’ve been putting off reinforcing the fencing. I’ll have to get on that.”

“Not planning on any livestock,” he said as he followed her across the road.

“No? You’ve got over sixty acres, right?” she asked.

“Yeah. Mostly, I just wanted somewhere quiet and where I could spread out a little. No neighbors on top of me.”

She smiled to herself. He sounded like her. “And your first day in, you have a neighbor’s goat in your yard.”

“Well, goats I don’t mind so much,” he answered, and she could hear the smile in his voice.

They crossed the two-lane road side by side, and it occurred to her that she was walking away from her home, her sanctuary, her safe haven, with a man she’d (maybe?) seen in frightening visions.

If she was one of those witches who could summon fire or wind or something, she’d have less to worry about it.

She cursed her stupidity, but walked with him nonetheless. It was entirely possible this was not the man from her dreams. And, anyway, she was new at this witch stuff. What the hell did she know about visions?

She followed him around the side of the house, up a long gravel driveway, and there was Merlin, standing there, calmly chewing at some grass near one of the fence posts.

“Merlin, you devil,” Sophie muttered under her breath. She clicked her tongue at him, and he raised his chocolate-brown head and studied her. She walked toward him calmly, nonchalantly. As if she had no intention whatsoever of grabbing the blue nylon collar he was wearing and leading him home. She was aware of tall, muscled, and gorgeous watching her, and felt even stupider for the ploy she was making.

Sophie sprung at the goat and he tried to buck away, but she grabbed his collar and held tight when he tried to fight his way away. He pulled, and tried to pivot, and she planted her heels in the soft soil and tried to hold him fast. After a few attempts of breaking free, he just gave her a bored look and bent to chew at the grass near their feet.

That settled, Sophie chanced a glance toward her new neighbor. He was watching her, an unreadable expression in his eyes.

Sophie gathered as much dignity as she could and led Merlin back toward the driveway.

“Sorry about that,” she muttered, well aware that her face was burning with embarrassment.

“No problem,” he answered. “Does he get out a lot?”

She was walking down the driveway, and the fact that he joined her only made her nervous. “Yes. I’ll fix the fencing. I just need to get the replacement fence.” And the money to pay for it, she thought to herself. “Goats are a major pain. Wish I’d known that before I bought them,” she said aloud.

“Why do you have them, then?” he asked, putting his hands in his jeans pockets as they crossed the street again.

“For their milk. I make soaps,” she said, shrugging. “Made more sense to have them around for that. I was stupid to accept a male, though, since I could just borrow a male when I need one for the girls. I felt sorry for him,” she finished, feeling like a babbling idiot.

She glanced toward him, noticed a blank expression on his face.

“Anyway. It won’t happen again,” she said, looking with hope toward her door. Something in her told her to run from him, to get away and stay away. She’d be setting wards tonight, she thought. Weak as hers were, they were better than nothing.

“If it does, at least I know who he belongs to,” he answered. “I’m Calder, by the way.”

“Sophie,” she said, glancing toward him again, feeling relief once they stepped into her yard. She could feel the energies of her own magic, that of her ancestors, there. It was the only place she felt safe.

“Well, Sophie—“ Calder began, when a delivery van pulled up. The driver jumped out and passed a clipboard to Sophie. She knew what it was already, tried not to show her panic. She signed, and the driver handed her the thin brown envelope, departed without another word. She looked down at it, hating that her hands were shaking.

She’d failed.

She took a breath. “Sorry again about the goat. Welcome to the neighborhood,” she said absentmindedly. “Excuse me.”

* * *

And, that’s that! Have a great day, all!

 

What I’m Writing Wednesdays: Week One

I’m going to try this, and we’ll see how long I stick to it. The goal here is to share a snippet of whatever I’m working on every Wednesday. I really do want to try to establish a more regular blogging schedule. One more thing on the interminable to-do list, I guess. :)

For this week’s “What I’m Writing Wednesday,” I thought I’d share the opening lines of NETHER. I shared it on Facebook this morning as well. I’m kind of surprised by how emotional I am over this book. Highs and lows, and the knowledge that I’m going to be both excited (because I can’t wait to share this story with you guys) and sad to see HIDDEN end. The words “I am Molly Brooks…” have been part of my life for four years now, since Molly became Molly in that third draft of what became “Lost Girl.” It’ll feel kind of weird to start a novel without them.

Without further ado, here are the beginning lines of NETHER:

 

My name is Molly Brooks.

Not many know me by that name.

To them, I’m the Angel.

Superhero.

Goddess.

I can’t even think either of those two words with a straight face.

And yet, here I am.

The people of my city are becoming accustomed to seeing me soaring in, wearing my customary black, and punching whoever needs to get punched.

They’ve seen me freeze troublemakers with a word.

And they believe the spin our government has put out about me.

It helps them sleep better at night.

What they don’t know, in general, is that the villains don’t listen to me out of fear or respect.

They listen because they can’t not listen. Because I have control of their mind and actions, and that unless they’re mentally strong, they don’t have a chance in hell of fighting back.

They don’t know that I can steal the abilities of those around me, that I feed off of emotions and power. They don’t know that, should I ever lose my mind, there’s not a whole lot that can stop me.

Lucky for them, I have no goddamn intention of losing myself again. Ever.

I have fought my way back from death. Torture. I have been at the edge of the abyss, and I’m still here.

I have been captive. I have had to fight for myself. I have been bonded to the immortals, possessed by an angry primordial being. And where she was, where Nether lived in my soul, I feel emptiness now.

And I welcome it. 

For the first time in my entire life, I am learning exactly what I am. Who I am.

I was a lost girl.

I was a freak.

Widow.

Monster.

Goddess.

Prison.

Hero.

And, now, I’m figuring out what it means to be me, to live by my own terms, to stop dancing to the tune set by those who came before me.

My life.

And I swear on everything I am that I am going to make it a good one.

that I’m going to be the hero I’ve always wanted to be.

The woman I want to be.

I am done playing games,

being afraid,

fighting what I am.

This is my life. 

And there will be no help for those who try to take it from me.

 

The book is almost done! About one more week of writing, then a couple of weeks of editing and tweaking. I am a bundle of nerves and emotions right now.

I’ll have another installment of EARTH BOUND for my newsletter lovelies on Friday. Have a great day!