thorns and fangs

Dead Wrong out…now!

One of the biggest challenges of being an author in New Zealand is that since our timezone is ahead of the US—and the US is where both NineStar Press and Amazon are based—release days arrive here sooner. After counting down to February 26th for what feels like ages, I’ve been waiting all day for Dead Wrong (Thorns and Fangs #4) to go live.

And it finally has!

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Kobo | Barnes and Noble | Goodreads

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Nate’s no supernatural expert, but even he knows a murdered man coming back to life to kill him can only mean one thing—the necromancer is back and out for revenge.

Recruited by Department Seven in a desperate attempt to stop Peter before he claims new victims, Nate quickly realizes he’s in way over his head. His powers are failing him, he’s haunted by Peter’s ghost, and he can’t even remember how he stopped Peter the first time—or why he feels that someone very important is missing from his life.

Ben is fighting for his afterlife. Trapped in the supernatural version of solitary confinement, he knows freeing himself will destroy New Camden’s fragile peace—but what choice does he have? The longer he spends in his magical prison, the harder it becomes to resist his inner vampire. But if Ben wants to help Nate prevent Peter taking over the city, he has to prove himself to his sire—Saltaire, a thousand-year-old vampire with no qualms about using his immense power to suppress Ben’s free will.

As the casualties mount and the city descends into chaos, Ben and Nate must overcome their worst fears and impossible odds—or be written out of existence entirely.

Life After Humanity at Joyfully Jay.

I’ve been in survival mode lately, trying to keep up with my various commitments while also taking care of myself in some challenging circumstances! So it was really lovely to come online to this review of Life After Humanity today! Huge thanks to Kirsty and the rest of the team at Joyfully Jay.

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Life After Humanity Reviewed at Joyfully Jay.

Whereas Thorns and Fangs was told entirely in third-person from Nate’s viewpoint and Uprooted from Ben’s, St. Kevern chooses to alternate their narratives in Life After Humanity. For me, this brought something extra to the story telling. This is because the input of both protagonists is essential to the development of the plot of Life After Humanity and not only because the story is so intense. Both Ben and Nate are attempting to come to terms with their new identities and for them, the revelations are not over. Although they have reached an agreement that they need to go it alone, they actually find their strength in one another. The reader also needs both narratives because there is so much happening to Ben and Nate separately that we would otherwise miss, like Nate’s relationship with the stray dog and Ben’s ARX assessment.

Audio coffee break, anyone?

Another first! This time, first radio interview and first appearance on a podcast combined! I manage to trip up over my tongue a few times, but overall, I think I did okay! Huge thanks to Jessie who was a wonderful hostess, totally making me feel at home.

You can listen here or look for Jessie’s Coffee Shop on iTunes, or wherever you find your podcasts!

(Also author friends? Jessie is always open to new guests and serves a mean cup of coffee!)

New Release: Life After Humanity Out Now!

And it feels good.

I’m really fond of the Thorns and Fangs cast. Whenever I come back to writing this universe, it feels like catching up with old friends (and old not-so-friends). And I’m really pleased with the progress Nate and Ben make in this chapter of their story. While admittedly they take some steps backwards, they both end up coming to some really important understandings throughout this story, and one of them at least ends the story in a much better place.

I’m not alone in this opinion. Life After Humanity already has some great reviews on Goodreads. This one just arrived today:

From Mari Cardenas of Bayou Book Junkie:

This is a very plot-oriented book and there are several things going on in it, one thing is for sure, it will keep you on the edge of your seat with all the twists and turns. It’s brilliantly written and entertaining, action-packed and angsty, with great main and secondary characters. Each installment has been better than the previous one and I just can’t wait for the next book to see how it all will end! Highly recommendable!

Mari also adds (and I would agree with this): Life After Humanity is book 3 in the Thorns and Fangs series and it needs to be read in order or you’ll be thoroughly lost. Also, this book ends in sort of a cliffhanger, so if you don’t like those, just wait until the last book of the series is released in February, thankfully, it won’t be that long of a wait this time around.

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Ben is a recovering vampire determined to pick up the pieces of the life that came to a halt when he was murdered over a year ago—even if that means distancing himself from his few remaining friends. Nate, struggling to navigate his new identity as a Class 3 Unknown paranormal, knows it will take more than mastery of his affinity with plants to convince Ben they belong together.

When Ben’s application for human status is denied, he must fight to leave the paranormal world behind him while Nate’s generous impulses drag him into conflict with a werewolf pack with designs on ruling New Camden. As Ben’s vampire family draws closer to finding him, his vampire instinct awakens—throwing his continued existence into jeopardy. The hunt for the missing werewolf continues, and Nate and Ben become pawns in Councilor Wisner’s plans to take control of the city. Their only hope is each other—if they can see that before all is lost.

Purchase Links:

Ninestar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Kobo

Life After Humanity: Exclusive Excerpt

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I’m feeling really good about this! The entire Thorns and Fangs series has been me challenging myself. Life After Humanity is no different. I’ve taken chances and written the story I wanted to write. I have second-guessed myself, worried myself, worried my editor… but now that release day is approaching I’m feeling really good about it.

On the theme of taking a chance, I’m sharing an exclusive excerpt today. It’s not user-friendly in that it probably won’t make a lot of sense if you haven’t read Thorns and Fangs (and contains major spoilers for the story), and won’t appeal to everyone–but it is a scene that has appeared in every single incarnation of this story (and there have been a few). It’s also one of my favourites. While saying you’ll either love it or hate feels like too big a claim, this one I think will leave you either really excited for Life After Humanity or faintly confused.

If the former, preorder Life After Humanity from the NineStar website now to get it on January 12th.

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Ben is a recovering vampire determined to pick up the pieces of the life that came to a halt when he was murdered over a year ago—even if that means distancing himself from his few remaining friends. Nate, struggling to navigate his new identity as a Class 3 Unknown paranormal, knows it will take more than mastery of his affinity with plants to convince Ben they belong together.

When Ben’s application for human status is denied, he must fight to leave the paranormal world behind him while Nate’s generous impulses drag him into conflict with a werewolf pack with designs on ruling New Camden. As Ben’s vampire family draws closer to finding him, his vampire instinct awakens—throwing his continued existence into jeopardy. The hunt for the missing werewolf continues, and Nate and Ben become pawns in Councilor Wisner’s plans to take control of the city. Their only hope is each other—if they can see that before all is lost.

Read on for the exclusive excerpt!

(more…)

Going Backwards to Go Forwards: 2018 Goals and Life After Humanity

LifeAfterHumanity-SliderI’ve been in a really weird headspace for about the last month. It started with the lead up to Christmas, and continued, with a few brief breaks, over New Year’s. I seemed to shake it off for a little while, but it would sneak back, insidious and subtle, and before I knew it, I’d spent another day unable to do anything.

I’m still not exactly sure what the cause of it was, but I suspect I let myself get overworked and overwhelmed in December, and by fussing when I should have surrendered, inadvertently prolonged the mood. Yesterday, I had an afternoon of forced doing nothing. I showed up too early for an appointment, and had nothing to do but sit and read. It was glorious. Today, despite having had a busy morning and a full on afternoon babysitting, I feel full of light and energy, and I’m finally ready to face my last years goals.

I’ve been putting it off and putting it off because I have a really hard time admitting failure. And I knew that I’d fallen short of my goals. Luckily, I’d forgotten what those goals were so when I was stewing in my bad mood, I wasn’t beating myself up as much as I might have otherwise.

2017 Goals.
▪ 8 books published.
▪ 1 year entirely supported by writing.
▪ Investing in my work (marketing/learning)

How did I do? Well…

  • 3 books published —Uprooted, Wing Commander’s Curse and The Charity Shop Rejects Live in Concert.

So not great! However, I remembered this goal as ‘8 books written’ and I did slightly better on that front—Life After Humanity, Dead Wrong, Wing Commander’s Curse, The Charity Shop Rejects, Gentlemen Don’t Murder, and Morgen Prince. I also revised Banging the Supernatural, which I think gives me a total of seven books written—and if you count freelance projects I ghost wrote for clients, I can add four more.

I realised in November/December how difficult I was finding balancing my freelance work with my own writing and family commitments. I made the decision that once I’d completed my current freelance projects, I wouldn’t be looking for more. In fact, I’ve launched a serious job hunt. I think having a regular schedule and taking some of the financial pressure off, will mean I stress less and have more mental energy to give to writing. Unfortunately, job hunt is practically synonymous with stress and uncertainty. Here’s hoping that the short term uncertainty pays off with long term productivity!

  • 1 year entirely supported by writing.

Success! I did expand into dog-walking and babysitting, but I supported myself throughout all of 2017 primarily by writing, mostly freelance work. I find it really reassuring to know that if necessary, I’ve got this as a fallback.

  • Investing in my work (marketing/training).

Actually, I did make headway in this direction, too. Not as much as I’d like, of course, but overall, I didn’t really need to beat myself up as much as I did.

2018 goals.

I’ve only got one 2018 goal, and I’ve already mentioned it—publish a book or story a month throughout 2018. I’ve got January and February covered, but I’m already behind. I’ve only just started on the story I intended to write in December, but I’ve suddenly realised that’s okay.

In 2017, I struggled to write in January. I started the new year enthusiastic but tired, and my creative project quickly got overwhelmed by doubt and a freelance project I was working on.

In 2016, my January got taken over by school and cold and being sick. Can’t remember January 2015 either, but I’d be surprised if I got anything done. And I know that January 2014 I struggled to write anything at all.

This is a really obvious trend. So obvious that I really need to acknowledge it, take some pressure off, and celebrate what I have managed to achieve. Even if it doesn’t feel like much. Even if it’s a step backwards.

And speaking of backwards…

Life After Humanity (Thorns and Fangs #3) releases in one week!

Life After Humanity came about in a really backwards way. I wrote it as the second book in the Thorns and Fangs series, learned a hell of a lot while editing Thorns and Fangs, pretty much rewrote it a second time, submitted it to NineStar, and was in the early stages of reworking it when a writing friend helpfully pointed out the series was missing something, and I realised Life After Humanity was book three, not book two. It was on hold while I wrote Uprooted, and the ways that Ben and Nate developed in Uprooted meant that I had to rewrite Life After Humanity a third time (or possibly fourth time)—and it became something entirely different. There are things I miss from the earlier drafts, but this story leads into Dead Wrong in a really powerful way, and makes the series really hold together, so I can’t regret the changes too much.

I do regret that I didn’t see what was missing sooner, or that I didn’t plan the entire series before jumping in and getting started writing. But I’m wondering if I shouldn’t just let that go. After all, a big part of Life After Humanity is Ben stepping back to get his life straightened out, even though that means putting his relationship with Nate on hold. I support sideways moves or even a step back to regroup when friends or family members need to figure out life stuff. Why is it so hard to give myself the same permission?

I am really nervous to see if readers are willing to allow Ben and Nate a step backwards. I think it’s necessary for their development individually and together, but it’s not something you see a lot of in typical romance. Luckily, I think my readers appreciate atypical romance…but we’ll see! In the meantime, stay turned for sneak previews, where the central plot of Life After Humanity came from, and more.

Dead Wrong: First Draft Complete!

It’s been a while since my last update. There’s two reasons for that. First, I went back and edited a bunch of old blog entries dating back to 2014. It was actually quite nostalgic, reading entries as I worked on Thorns and Fangs, chronicling my struggle and enthusiasm.

I failed to realise however, that in editing the blog posts, I would cause them to crosspost  to Twitter and Facebook. Whoops! I inadvertently spammed my timeline. Sorry! After that debacle, I decided I should hold off posting for a while to avoid annoying anyone.

The other reason I haven’t been updating, is because I’ve been busy working on Dead Wrong—the fourth and final book in Thorns and Fangs. And approximately an hour ago, I typed the last words of my first draft, giving Nate and Ben a very, very, well-deserved HEA.

It feels good! I was surprised how easy it was to step back into New Camden and into the lives of these characters. Writing Nate, Ben, Aki, Gunn and Kenzies, I actually felt like I was hanging out with old friends. While I am really happy for Nate and Ben, getting to the point they are now, I feel somewhat bittersweet knowing that this is the end of our journey together.

I’m comforting myself by reminding myself that October is the start of a new chapter in this story. I’m revisiting Banging the Supernatural (And Other Poor Life Choices). I’ve been sitting on the completed first draft of this, Aki’s story, for years now. And I’m glad I waited. I now see that what was going to be a self-contained side-story has the potential to be a new series, with a second, possibly even a third story waiting. What can I say? Aki doesn’t make things easy, not even for himself.

This also means that I am on track for my insane goal of writing a story a month from July through December. I still have a lot of work ahead of me, but I’m feeling positive. Three down, three more to go!