thorns and fangs

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!

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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!

Name This Dog! Contest and Excerpt.

I’ve been working away at Thorns and Fangs Three (yes, it does have a title—but considering that this is the fifth title I’ve come up with, I’m sitting on a bit longer to be sure this is the one). It’s going a little slower than I would like, but I am pleased with how it’s coming along.

And since I’m enjoying myself, I thought I’d share the fun. Check out this handsome fellow:

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Woof.

He needs a name. Or rather, his Thorns and Fangs counterpart needs a name.

I know that not everyone reads excerpts, so for the spoiler-free crowd, Nate adopts a stray dog, Aki wants no part of it, and they have to agree on a name for the poor creature (if you enjoy spoilers, read on to see what the poor dog has already endured). Please give me possible names for the dog (a comment on Facebook, Goodreads or WordPress, a tweet, an e-mail, any method okay). The deadline is midnight March 31st NZ time, at which point I will pick the most suitable name to use in the story (and hopefully be able to give the winner a prize as well).

You can make as many suggestions as you like, but unfortunately there is only one dog, so only one winner.

Thank you very much for reading and I look forward to your suggestions!

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The Unexpected Benefits of House-sitting.

Since I last wrote a blog post, I have been in two different houses! One of them was my sister and brother-in-law’s house where I spent two nights, but I am now back in Banks Peninsula in beautiful Diamond Harbour.

This is my third official house sit, fifth if you count house-sitting for family. There are a lot of cool things about house sitting. I get to hang out with some lovely pets (this house and the last house had hens, so I’m getting fresh eggs every day for free!). I’m relearning Christchurch by spending time in different parts of it. Most importantly, I get some concentrated quiet time in which to work on writing.

One of the cool things about house-sitting is getting to see how other people live. Every house I’ve stayed at has been unique. The first was a historic cottage, the second a multi-layer house with windows, light and incredible views. This is a family house that has grown with its owners. And with every new house comes new bookshelves.

It’s been really interesting seeing what different books the homeowners have chosen to collect and keep. The historic cottage was owned by an artist and a professor, and they had books of poetry, first editions, non-fiction about the war and cookbooks. The family in the house with a view had only a few books, but their books were all fairly recent best-sellers, making me think they don’t hold on to books.

Current house? Well …

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Yup. That is ‘How to Propagate Plants,’ ‘The Cook’s Garden,’ ‘Practical Gardening for Amateurs’ and the ‘Yates Garden Guide,’ among others.

No signs of any twin farmers or suspiciously fast growing plants (yet), but I will keep you updated.

Uprooted Blog Tour Continues!

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Uprooted is officially out! Alpha Book Club has a release day excerpt, with the chance to win any ebook of your choice from NineStar Press. And Uprooted already has one review on Goodreads, a very solid four star review from Andrea. It feels a little like Christmas part two, actually!

 NineStar Press | AmazonARE | Smashwords | Barnes and Noble | 

And now that Uprooted is out, I can share this:

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