How I Outline a Novel

Warning: this post contains spoilers for The Cruelest Curse, the third book in my Dark and Otherworldly urban fantasy series. If you haven’t read it yet, skip this post and come back later.

Plotters versus Pantsers. It’s the eternal writer debate. Like Kirk versus Picard or Batman versus Superman. The question is this:

Is it better to plot out a novel before writing or discover the story as you go?

I’m definitely a plotter. If I don’t outline a novel before I start, I get stuck and don’t finish. (Looking at you, NaNoWriMos of the past.) But my outlines aren’t set in stone, and as I learn more about the characters and story while writing, I tend to take some detours.

Continue reading How I Outline a Novel

Read the first chapter of The Cruelest Curse

The Cruelest Curse hits shelves on November 30th! This is the conclusion to the Dark and Otherworldly series (Start at the beginning with Poison and Honey if you haven’t already), and the story is ending with a bang. Expect tons of sword fights, at least one steamy scene, and one very cruel curse as the title promises.

Want a preview? Check out the first chapter below.

The Cruelest Curse Cover

Chapter 1

Dredarion nearly stepped on the first dead sprite. She lay atop fallen leaves, body no taller than his finger, her delicate arms and legs limp. She’d lost her glow, and one of her butterfly-like wings was bent. She must have choked on the smoke and fallen.

They came across more of them, tiny corpses strewn across grass and tree roots, their colorful wings waving in the breeze and giving the illusion of life. Dredarion and the others stepped carefully. The smoke grew stronger the farther through the forest they trekked. It conspired with the leaves overhead to blot out the sun, so thick between the trees that it obscured everything more than ten feet away. His eyes stung, but that was nothing compared to the cold lump of dread that had settled in his gut. When he coughed, the sound seemed to carry through the entire forest.

Salvador raised a hand for them to stop, and both Dredarion and Leigh obeyed. Dredarion scanned the trees for a threat, but it seemed Salvador was just being cautious. They must nearly be upon the village—or what was left of it, judging by the ash floating in the air.

Continue reading Read the first chapter of The Cruelest Curse

Get FREE Dark and Otherworldly Virtual Swag

As I’m writing this, I’ve got the final edits for The Cruelest Curse back from my proofreader and will be finalizing the manuscript for upload soon. This is a big deal, since it means the trilogy is coming to an end (at least for now) and I want to celebrate. So as a thank-you to all the readers who made the series possible, here’s some virtual swag!

Right click and save to download, and feel free to use them wherever you want.

Phone backgrounds

Here’s the title drop from Poison and Honey.

Phone background for the urban fantasy novel Poison and Honey. Quote says "His lips were like poison and honey; she knew he'd destroy her, but she couldn't resist the sweet taste."
Continue reading Get FREE Dark and Otherworldly Virtual Swag

Read the First Chapter of Sting of Thorns

We are less than a month away from the September 15th release of Sting of Thorns, my urban fantasy novella about fey curses, conflicted loyalties, and magic swords. Check out the first chapter below!

Sting of Thorns Cover

Chapter 1

Dredarion Rath reached the stairs to the dungeons and paused. He felt feverish, sweating under his armor, though the halls of the palace were crisp and cool. He inhaled slowly and started down the steps—not because he was ready but because he couldn’t allow any of his people to see their prince hesitate.

The ceiling was so low that he nearly had to duck. The stone steps were timeworn, the gray brick walls chipped and water stained. The graceful opulence that infused every inch of the palace was absent down there. The light fixtures were the only similarity: metallic lanterns imprisoning tiny glowing sprites, though these were in a sorry state. Their feeble, greenish light barely penetrated the dirty glass, and they shrank from him as he stalked past.

At the bottom of the stairs awaited a damp, chilly chamber that turned his sweaty skin cold and clammy. The stench of piss and feces lingered amid the mildewy air, though the cells lining the right wall were empty save one prisoner:

Leigh Morgan, the woman Dredarion had once thought he might love. Continue reading Read the First Chapter of Sting of Thorns

Urban Fantasy Short Story: Strange Hunt (Part 2 of 2)

Find the Others…before they find you.

Looking for an urban fantasy short story with lots of action and a bit of creepiness? Finished reading Poison and Honey and want more of the characters and world? You’ll probably enjoy Strange Hunt.

Just make sure you read Part 1 first, or else you’ll probably be pretty lost.

Strange Hunt Cover

Sal’s magic compass took them down a back road, bringing them to a dilapidated house. Woods covered most of the large property, and a sign at the end of the dirt driveway warned about trespassing and how the building was condemned. It was legible thanks to a nearby streetlamp, but as they crept down the driveway, the trees blocked the light, and the thin sliver of moon shrouded in clouds overhead was no help.

Leigh couldn’t see exactly how rundown the house was, but she was glad it was abandoned. If a family had still lived there, the Others would have taken them all.

Continue reading Urban Fantasy Short Story: Strange Hunt (Part 2 of 2)

Read the First Chapter of Poison and Honey

Do you like urban fantasy? How about tough, determined heroines? Cunning, villainous princes? If you answered yes, then have I got the ebook for you.

If you want a sneak peek of Poison and Honey, check out the entire first chapter below.

Poison and Honey Cover

Chapter 1

Leigh Morgan was having a nightmare about the horse-headed man when someone shook her awake. Her eyelids shot open, and every muscle in her body tensed. Where was she? Where was the closest weapon?

Awareness followed a second after consciousness. Kitchens. Dozed off. No danger. Well, no serious danger anyway. Mistress Yibba’s plump face filled her vision, the disapproving line of her mouth like a cut in a lump of dough. She slapped Leigh for nodding off, which Leigh took without comment. Thank God Mistress Yibba had woken her up first. If she’d slapped Leigh while she’d been sleeping, Leigh might have struck back before she could stop herself, and that would have been a disaster.

“Lady Kalivildra rang for tea,” Mistress Yibba said. “Bring it to her room. Quickly.”

Her tone would have been threatening if Mistress Yibba were… well, threatening. But she was just bluster and sloppy slaps. Pretending to be contrite, Leigh took the tea tray from Mistress Yibba’s hands, bowed, and left the drowse-inducing heat of the kitchens for the cool palace halls.

It was late at night—early morning really—but the evening’s revelries were still winding down. Music drifted through the corridors, an enchanting nocturne that enticed the listener to search for its source. An open door to one of the gardens revealed a woman in a luminous ball gown, dancing with several naked, green-skinned men. Moans came from a secluded corner where two half-dressed, inhuman bodies were entwined. A drunken man stumbled to bed, the feathers of his wings ruffled and his ornamental mask askew. Leigh walked past it all, more bored than anything.

Until someone grabbed her arm and pulled her into a shadowed alcove. Continue reading Read the First Chapter of Poison and Honey

More About Poison and Honey

We’re about a month away from the release of Poison and Honey, and I’m getting really excited! Some positive early reviews are coming in, and if you have a Goodreads account, you can now add the book to your to-read list.

A refresher on what it’s all about:

Poison and Honey Cover

Leigh Morgan has known that magic existed ever since an unearthly monster abducted her sister. It’s why she’s in Otherworld now, posing as a servant in its dark, decadent palace. She’s gathering intelligence and working with a small band of allies to bring down the Others and free their human captives. Her mission depends on blending in, so the last thing she wants is to attract the attention of a cunning prince.

Dredarion Rath wants one thing: to disgrace his older brother and prove himself the worthier heir to the throne. And out of all the servants in the palace, he chooses Leigh to help him. Just her luck.

Now Leigh has to keep her work a secret from a bewitching man who sees right through her–and who’s not nearly as cold and inhuman as he seems. She can’t screw this up, or the humans forced into servitude will never go home. But juggling two conspiracies at once, it’s only a matter of time before it all comes crashing down, and the man she’s falling for has her executed for her betrayal…

I’ve daydreamed about the book, plotted the book, written the book, rewritten the book, and procrastinated on the book by making pretty aesthetics and book quote art.

Speaking of which… Continue reading More About Poison and Honey

Cover Reveal: Poison and Honey

I am in love with this cover, you guys. I’ve saved a copy of it on my phone, and sometimes I just stare at it and sigh happily. It fits the atmosphere of the story perfectly, and I hope you think it’s as great as I do.

Poison and Honey is an urban fantasy novella about a woman infiltrating Otherworld to free the humans held captive there, and it’s release date is July 15th. The full book description is below along with the cover.

Are you ready?

Prepare your eyeballs for something amazing.

Continue reading Cover Reveal: Poison and Honey