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Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday Links and Such

It's me, your epically boring author, checking in to say I'm still writing. Big surprise. I'm so sorry for the long wait - we're getting there, we really are! Imagine my disappointment when I think back on this time last year, when I had TWO books out already. The self-loathing, it's real.

Reminders and links for the wait:

- If you didn't catch it at the time, I wrote some Dartmoor Christmas fluff at the end of last year.

- The teaser above is from my Instagram. Mostly farm and book stuff, including links to the talented candle maker who crafted my Mercy-themed candle (I'll be ordering more for a release day giveaway!)

- There's new Dartmoor merch up at Redbubble.

- If it's reading you're after, don't forget that there's Dartmoor cameos, and plenty of Southern vigilante justice in the Russell Series, which I'm currently reformatting for Kobo.

- Don't forget about December's standalone release, Walking Wounded, part love story, part historical fiction, and my favorite project.

- My ongoing romance Dear Heart is available to read for free on Wattpad.

- I'm currently reading The Secret History by Donna Tartt.

Thank you, everyone, for your patience while I work on Hellhound. Here's hoping it's worth the wait.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

#TBT DVD Extras - 4/6/17

Since last week I talked about my favorite project ever, I thought it only fair to talk about my not-so-favorite this week. I shouldn't admit to having a least favorite - that's probably some bad writer etiquette. But it isn't that I mean to say anything bad about the book - it just is what it is, a least favorite of the bunch. It's Tastes Like Candy.

The book does, however, explore Walsh's half-siblings in more detail than in any other book, and that was my favorite part of writing TLC. The Brood is a personal favorite, almost a guilty pleasure. Everybody likes Candy because he's big and bold, but I have a soft spot for Walsh's kin because they're interesting.

I especially love Albie and Fox, who had some fun scenes in this one:

Paul took a breath, hesitated.
            Albie pressed until the first pearls of blood welled up against the knife’s edge.
            “Sixteen,” Paul said on a deep exhale. “But you know she was never mentally sixteen–”
            “Next question: Did you break her heart?”
            “I broke things off with her.”
            “That’s not what I asked.”
            “I don’t think so, no. She never loved me.”
            “What did you think would happen if I ever found out?”
            Paul’s eyes closed, and when he swallowed, the knife jumped in Albie’s hand. “This. I knew this would happen.” Tears beaded beneath his lashes, shiny in the glare of the overhead light.
            Albie pulled the knife away and gave a hard yank on Paul’s hair, throwing him down flat on his back on the concrete floor. He was shaking, he realized, as he reached for a cloth to wipe the knife. “Fuck you,” he whispered. “Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you.”

For me, these guys are the dark horses, the threats no one ever sees coming. One of these days, probably later this year, I'll actually start writing their books.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Cover Reveal: American Hellhound

In case you missed it yesterday on social media, here's the cover for American Hellhound, book six in The Dartmoor Series.

All my initial design ideas involved black backdrops and flashing fangs, red eyes. I thought it ought to look scary and minimalistic. But as with everything I do, when it came down to it, I went in a completely different direction, and this ended up being my favorite cover so far. It has that faded, sepia-toned look of old English photos you might find in dusty, leather-bound volumes in forgotten libraries, which I think definitely works toward establishing a sense of Lean Dog mythology, their roots being English. I also love that I had the chance to use a photo of my dearly departed Riddick, who was just the best dog ever. In casting a hellhound, a Doberman is a pretty good fit. And unlike my current Doberman, Viktor, Riddick was slim and trim and athletic, and altogether "Lean."

I think this might be the longest I've gone without having a cover ready. Usually, I get the cover together early in the writing process, and it helps me stay focused. The cover, for me, has to say don't you want to know more? Something symbolic. Something that piques your interest, but doesn't give anything away. The simpler the better, in my mind. And I intentionally never use humans because that taints the imagination of the audience, I think.

Long story short, I'm pleased, I hope you guys like it. I hope by some miracle I can have this thing finished by May 6th, because right now, that seems like WAY too much writing in too short a time.

Happy Monday, and if you live in Georgia, I hope your power has just been restored as mine has. Storms, go away! Stay safe, everyone.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Book Rec: The Goldfinch

My favorite books - the ones that get shelved in the permanent section of my mental writing library - are the ones that make me feel hopelessly, overwhelmingly like a hack. The ones that inspire me to say, "When I grow up, I want to write like this." The ones that make me want to drag everything I've ever written out into the yard and light it all on fire, lest it have a chance to offend anyone's poor eyeballs ever again.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt is one such book.

Whatever teaches us to talk to ourselves is important: whatever teaches us to sing ourselves out of despair. But the painting has also taught me what we can speak to each other across time.

It was described to me as Dickensian, and that's definitely true, both in the plushness of the narration, and the tragic/poetic journey undertaken by our young protagonist. And also Boris - my favorite character of the book, our modern incarnation of Dodger from Oliver Twist.

I won't spoil any of the plot, because it deserves to unfold without preconceived ideas. But I will say that it contains all of the things I hope (in my wildest dreams) most to achieve in my own writing someday:

- A sense of being present in the narrative, grounded in the setting and all its rich trappings, caught up in the hero's thoughts, so engrossed that, no matter what's occurring on the page, you can't bear to walk away from it. I spent a considerable portion of my reading time last night with a hand over my mouth, breathing through it, gasping.

- A sense of the epic - the weight and importance of the world, revolving slowly, dragging you along on grand adventures that take time to unfold properly.

- A sense of realism, down to flop sweats and fever dreams, shaving nicks and bad pub food.

- And an attachment to the characters, for better or worse, captivated by their stories, gestures, bits of wisdom.

You can talk about "tricks of the trade" all day, but really great books have that unteachable something special. They have "it," and this book certainly does.

For if disaster and oblivion have followed this painting down through time - so too has love. Insofar as it is immortal (and it is) I have a small, bright, immutable part in that immortality. It exists; and it keeps on existing. And I add my own love to the history of people who have loved beautiful things, and looked out for them, and pulled them from the fire, and sought them when they were lost, and tried to preserve them and save them while passing them along literally from hand to hand, singing out literally from hand to hand, singing out brilliantly from the wreck of time to the next generation of lovers, and the next.