Musings of a Frustrated Writer

It’s an exciting month here, with Raven Thrall (Legends of the Ceo San Book 1) just weeks away from its official release. 😰😁 (<– that’s me, nervous and excited all at the same time).

The funny part is my mind has been mostly on future projects, including revising the novelette Healer’s Sacrifice (another Ceo San book) and going back to work on a vampire urban fantasy I originally drafted before Raven Thrall.

This story, originally called Strange Bedfellows and more recently renamed Blood Mastery, might be the proverbial thorn in my side as a writer, but I’m determined to get it right before I even think of releasing it. It’s been rewritten once already and has so much backstory that I realized that it has become a plethora of “telling” (a big writer no-no)–all to explain that backstory.

After throwing up my hands with it this morning, I realized that the backstory (starting as far back as ancient Greece and Italy in the 1400s, where my main vampire, Nica, got her start) is indeed more interesting, and the modern story would be all the richer for showing it.

So, I quickly mapped out a short three-book series starting with Nica’s origins. It will be likely renamed again, something along the lines of The Vampire Wars (although that one is probably already taken). I’m not ready to jump right in, though. I’d like to let it stew some more in my thoughts for a while and instead get back to Mariah and her story.

I wrote about 16k words for Revelation of the Dragon during National Novel Writing Month, and I’m ready to get back into that story and that world.  If all goes according to plan, readers of Raven Thrall will want to read the sequel soon, so the quicker I can get it written and revised the better. I’ve already got a basic map of the complete five-book arc for Legends of the Ceo San Series.

I’m also playing around with the idea of getting the audio book for Raven Thrall produced.

Are you a writer or a reader? I’d love to hear from you about your struggles with series. We have to know we’re not alone, right? 😹

Book Review: The Forest House by Tamara Rokicki

The Forest House by Tamara Rokicki
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Warning: Minor Spoilers

The Forest House, Book One of The Ashar Prophecies, is a promising young adult paranormal fantasy from debut author Tamara Rokicki. The book adds a new twist to vampire lore while still keeping  favorite mores alive.

The greatest strength of this novel is its pacing. It’s one of those books where you sit down intending to read one chapter and end up reading six instead. It pulls you brilliantly along with lead character Hera in her journey from anxiety-ridden outcast to high priestess of a sect of vampires she didn’t even know existed. (She didn’t know there were vampires, let alone castes of them!)

The characters, most notably Hera herself, are believable and relatable with strong and unique voices. I was a little worried when I got to the kidnapping part. Kidnapping stories can quickly cross the line to feeling contrived, but with a strong hold on her character and her motivations, Rokicki plays it perfectly.

I feel like we’re still getting to know Aethen, Hera’s love interest, but that’s natural since The Forest House is all from Hera’s point of view. In fact, it makes me want to go grab Rokicki’s short story, “Aethen’s Awakening” to get to know him even better.

the forest house, tamara rokicki, book reviewI am a fiction editor, so I’m kind of nitpicky about these things. I felt the book could have used one more pass for things like the occasional dropped word, wrong word (expect vs. except), and dangling participle. However, these issues were minor and in no way impeded my enjoyment of this story.

It’s a definite page turner. Don’t be surprised when you finish it and are asking for the next one. Write quickly, Rokicki, all right?

Raven Thrall Is Available for Preorder

Raven Thrall (formerly Flight of the Ceo San) is now available for preorder! Yay! I can hardly believe it.

It’s very surreal seeing the cover of my debut novel on Amazon. I’ve had nonfiction published before. I’ve had short stories published, but nothing quite beats this. I’ve been waiting for it for a long, long time.

The story has been written, revised, and reviewed by beta readers, and it is now with the copyeditor (I’ll tell you a secret. My husband is an editor by trade, and he’s the copyeditor, so it’s just upstairs.)

Raven Thrall already has its first review on Goodreads, and I’m working hard to get some more before it’s published.

It’s been a long road getting to this point, especially as an indie author, but I’ve learned so much, and I have a feeling I’m about to learn a lot more from you, my readers! (Again, surreal!)

If you want a little teaser, I’m giving away the prologue of Raven Thrall in the form of a stand-alone short story called “Fly.” You can get it here.

Be sure to let me know how you like it!



What She Wanted (Flash Fiction)*

Tether in hand and eyes forward, Jonathan angled his heels into the horse’s flanks, and she began to move.

It’s what she wants.

Hot tears dripped down his cheeks, fell from his chin. He was glad the three of them were alone. Just him, the seal mare, and Joceyln, all quieter than churchmice.

The salty waves splashed up the meet his ankles, their aroma stinging his nostrils, and the horse—her favorite—slowed, questioning.

“We have to, girl. It’s what she wants.” He didn’t want it. How could he possibly go through with it?