You can check out my books on, and at Barnes & Noble too.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Writing 1103: Punctuation


Punctuation is, just in general, a boring topic. It’s the necessary nuts and bolts of writing; nothing flashy or pretty about it. But, like the essential underpinning of most endeavors, it’s one of those things that can make or break your work. Mainly because punctuation has the power to change the meaning of your work. Proper punctuation helps readers understand what you’re saying clearly; it makes the book more readable and more visually pleasing.

Rather than a dry, textbook walkthrough, I’m hoping to word things my own way here, in this post, so that it’s a little more enjoyable to read about, and to hopefully highlight things in a more practical way. Specifically, I’m going to talk about commas, semicolons, and colons.

Monday, January 8, 2018

RRJ 1/8

I'm doing something I don't normally do, but something that feels like it will be a big help: I'm going to live-blog my Red Rooster writing journal. I keep lots of journals - usually research notes and scattered tidbits and plot bunnies, all of it scattered. In the spirit of New Year's productivity, I'm going to (at least to start with) run a journal for this latest installment in the Sons of Rome series, my only project at the moment, and share it here in case anyone enjoys that sort of thing. I'm super excited about this book, and series, and can't wait to share book two later this spring.


Currently sitting at a little over 32k words. Much progress has been made since I finished that last Dartmoor-related thing and put it out in December. Christmas slowed things down a little, as is necessary; took some time to research – all things Vlad and his little brother in this book and the next are killing me in the best way. Brother vs. brother, anguish, misunderstanding, abuse and heartache – these are the reasons I write books. This is my jam.
Rooster is too good for this world, and also, ferocious.
Red is too good for this world, and even more ferocious.
Sasha is my baby, and deserves all the hugs. 
I love that this series – indeed, even this book – lets me play with different aesthetics. Usually with a book, you’re limited by setting in all aspects. Not so here: I can play with several at once, and it keeps things fresh, makes immersing myself in each setting completely worthwhile.
I also love that this series isn’t formulaic. I like that nothing is rushed. I love the idea that readers will have the chance to actually ship pairings rather than being told, ahead of each book, that everyone is neatly paired off and everything is pre-prescribed.
2k words a day seems to be my sweet spot right now, but I hope to get beyond that tomorrow. I have football brain today.
Writing one thing and only one thing at a time is freeing and amazing.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Writing 1102: Sentence Structure

Writing 1102: Sentence Structure

Happy Wednesday, writer friends, and a belated Happy New Year, too! Marching right along with our 1000 level seminar posts, today we’re going to talk about sentence structure.

The most entertaining books aren’t just the ones that tell interesting stories – but ones that tell those stories well, using language that is easy to understand, and which evokes emotion. Diction (word choice) plays a big role, but before you can dazzle with words, you have to arrange them in a way that makes reading your story a seamless, unconscious experience. Parts of this post are going to sound incredibly obvious, but as a reader, clumsy or repetitive sentence structure is the one thing guaranteed to turn me off of a book; it’s also something I don’t see a lot of freelance editors addressing in the books they are hired to edit. So let’s take a closer look.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Red Rooster Cover Reveal

Red Rooster Cover Reveal

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you’ve all had some moments to relax and enjoy the holidays over the past few weeks. To eat some amazing food and spend time with your loved ones. I managed to sneak in some reading, some researching, and spent all day yesterday watching college football (Roooolllll Tide!!!).

As of today, I’m officially officially back to work, and I’m very excited about all the things I’ll get to write in 2018. White Wolf was not just my favorite project of 2017, or even just my favorite project ever, but the beginning of a series whose stories and characters have haunted me for years, and which I’m so thrilled to finally share with everyone. The Sons of Rome series marks a new chapter in my writing life, one that is hefty, dark, and more complex than all my writing endeavors thus far.

For the first #TeaserTuesday of the year, I wanted to share the cover for Red Rooster, Sons of Rome Book Two.

Red Rooster picks up right where White Wolf left off, finding Nikita, Sasha, Trina, and Lanny in a modern-day mess; this book also revisits Fulk, Anna, and Val, and introduces some new characters who have parts to play in the big picture narrative. If you’ve read any of my three existing series, you’ll know that I like to write ongoing conflicts and plotlines that carry through from one book to the next, and that involve the whole ensemble cast. SoR takes that to the next level; it’s a series full of individual stories stitched together to make one big story, a patchwork quilt of sorts, told in my traditional non-linear fashion. There’s an overarching story at work here, and an endgame, but one that’s going to develop at its own organic pace, with lots of adventure, mystery, suspense, and action along the way. I love this framework, because it’s going to allow me to dig deeper into each character, to take them farther, and explore them in a way that a series of self-contained happily-ever-afters would never allow. It’s decidedly not a series for readers who have to have a standalone, or even for those who don’t like to read outside the romance genre; urban, contemporary, historical – in all its forms, this is an epic fantasy tale at heart, and the journey has only just begun.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

#WorkshopWednesday: Writing 1101

Welcome to the New Seminar!

Hello, all, and welcome to the first Workshop Wednesday of the new revamped series. This is the official start of my new Seminar, and we’re going to tackle a wide variety of writing topics. Since I’m a fiction author, the posts will be geared toward fiction writing, but the basic principles apply to all kinds of writing, professional, informal, or just for fun. My approach as seminar host is to provide as much useful and in-depth information as possible, so that you can take from it what you need or want. Topics will be grouped together on a scale of fundamentals (1000 level) to advanced techniques (4000), mostly as a way for me to keep things organized. Comments and questions are welcome, and I’ll be happy to elaborate on anything and provide additional examples. Thanks for joining me! Let’s get started.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

2017 Year in Review

2017 Year in Review

First of all, I’d like to know where the heck this year went.

Second of all, it’s time for my annual look back at my year in writing. I love doing this, because it helps me consolidate goals and reflections, and helps me put my thoughts in order for the new year of writing and publishing. I feel like I learned a lot this year – and even if it wasn’t all pleasant, most of it was useful. I accomplished a lifelong goal, and I feel positive and ready to attack 2018.

Workshop Wednesday Revamp

Workshop Wednesday Revamp

My major goal for 2018 is to spend more time being productive, and less time falling down Internet rabbit holes. That will mean cutting back on browsing and checking, and more time actively writing books – and more time leading discussion in my “Writers Gonna Write” Facebook group for writers of all kinds. Here at the end of this year, I’ve gotten caught up in putting out first White Wolf, and then Shaman, and I’ve let my “Workshop Wednesday” routine fall by the wayside. I want to change that in 2018, and totally revamp the group with tutorials, prompts, and encouragements. The plan is to build a mix of basic, intermediate, and advanced topics, and I’m hoping to include lots of personal examples, videos, and some book discussion and grammar refreshers.

Look for Workshop Wednesday to resume next week! I’m going to put together a lesson plan outline, but of course everyone is encouraged to post questions in the group if you have a specific topic you want to discuss. Everyone have a wonderful holiday, and I’ll post the first new WW entry next Wednesday.