Moving Platforms!

Good morning everyone (or afternoon across the sea!) As you know, I recently developed a Patreon page. There, you can join tiers for exclusive content and other great stuff. But I wanted to focus my efforts on one platform rather than jumping around on Patreon, Facebook, and Instagram, so I will be using Patreon as my distribution hub. Everything will be there!

Don’t worry. You won’t need to join a tier to get the free content. It’s basically the same stuff I would post on Facebook, but consolidated in one easy to find place. Now, if you DO join a tier, you will get extras, bonuses, exclusive sales and freebies, and insider access. The tiers are clearly marked and described, but if you are only interested in following my page, you can do that by scrolling all the way to the bottom. Click that “follow” button and (if you would be so kind) maybe share my page on you social media to help me out!

Beginning February 8, 2021, I will move my blog to Patreon. I will send out a reminder link that it has moved each time I write a post in February, but if you want to keep following my blog for free after that, just jump on and follow me on Patreon.

If you have questions, please feel free to comment, make suggestion, or email me at mjpadgett@mjpadettbooks.com.

Here’s a peek at what you will find on Patreon:

  1. Extended behind-the scenes peeks into my current works in progress (this is not the same as the tier-subscribed book access where the subscriber gets the entire chapter)
  2. Downloadable book club materials, bookmarks, and other fun things
  3. Advanced access to sales on my private sales site
  4. Everything you would normally see on Facebook and Instagram

Flash Fiction!

Once a month, my goal is to offer one flash fiction piece to my blog followers. Admittedly, I’m not so great at it, but it is a skill I’d like to work on. This is an edited piece I put out on my newsletter back in the summer, but I thought it might be fun to release it here, too!

I pulled my cardigan tighter around my shoulders as I wandered like a vagabond down the shore, headed nowhere and everywhere at the same time. The waves teased me, tickling my feet every few seconds, washing the sand away with each swipe. Oh, if they could only wipe away the memories as easily… but then, if my memory disappeared, so would he.

The sun settled, taking another piece of my heart with it as one more day without him ended. It was suffocating, really, to think of the last time I’d walked the shore at sunset. Life had been a game back then, our hearts fresh and clean without all the bruising and scars brought by time and experience.

I closed my eyes and let my mind drift back… one year… two years… three… all the way back to graduation.

***

The party, that was where it all began. I carried a case of water toward the refreshment table, but between the sand and my inability to coordinate my feet with the rest of my body, I was a ticking time bomb just waiting to faceplant, possibly humiliating myself in the process. And trip I did…

“Whoa, it’s okay. I’ve got you,” he said. Casey Reardon, also known as that mysterious guy no one could quite pin down but was nice to stare at in class when the teacher droned on like an automaton.

I righted myself while he gripped my elbow with one hand and his own bags of who knew what in the other. “Thanks. That would have been the total devastation of what remains of my popularity.”

Casey chuckled and released my elbow before hoisting the case of water onto his shoulder. “Eh, high school is over, and college is a new beginning, so I think you’d have survived.”

“Maybe, but thanks to you, I won’t spend my summer tending to wounded pride and a lacerated face.” My face flushed as his blue eyes bored into mine. Were they always that pretty?

He smiled and dropped the case on the table, then dumped the bags he’d brought—an array of snack foods to satisfy any craving, including an entire box of chocolate that I eyed like a starved monkey tossed into a pit of bananas.

“Want one?” he asked, scooting the box closer. “If memory serves, they are your favorite, right?”

“How did you—never mind. Yes, they are my favorite,” I said and ripped into the box.

Casey leaned against the table, his devil-may-care attitude on display as usual. The salt air toyed with his hair, cementing a few strands to his forehead as his eyes absorbed his surroundings. The party had only just begun, a little before sunset as usual. I opened the candy, stuck it in my mouth, and then pulled a hair tie from my pocket to tie back my unruly waves. Too much beach time and not enough time with a good conditioner made it a little sticky and difficult to manage.

“So,” he said as he pushed off the table, “where are you headed after the summer break?”

“Me?” I asked, still a tad confused as to why we were even speaking. It was, after all, the first time he’d said more to me than please pass the papers. The guy sat behind me in three classes all senior year, but those four words were all he’d ever said, and usually to the back of my head.

“No, the other girl standing here conversing with me,” he said. A grin spread across his face, dipped into a set of dimples I did not know he had, and forced a sparkle into those ridiculously pretty eyes.

Once more, blush took my face and crept through my cheeks. Thankful it was getting dark, I stuttered a bit then said, “I’m not going to college or anything.”

“What? Rylee Baker is not going to college? How is that possible?”

“Because Rylee Baker would rather leap off a cliff than subject herself to four more years of stuffing her face in textbooks.”

Casey’s eyes widened, and his back straightened. I settled in for the lecture, the one everyone seemed to think was necessary, and prepared my customary explanation. He studied me for a moment, his gaze flittering over my face as if he were committing each freckle, each curve, each detail to memory. He pushed off the table and glanced around. More people arrived by the carload, dropping food and drinks off before joining the crowd near the DJ.

“Wanna get out of here?”

“What?” I asked. “We just got here.”

“Yeah, but… I mean, do you really want to hang out with all the same people, or do you want to do something fun and spontaneous?” Casey’s smile spread wider.

A chill crept over me, forcing goosebumps to cover my legs and arms. Casey shirked his jacket and handed it to me, but the chill was not from the cooling ocean air. The scent of barbecue permeated my senses, and the party jumped into action. The DJ pumped up the music, eliminating any chance Casey and I had of carrying on our conversation, which I discovered I was far too deep in to back out. Only a few innocuous sentences, but there was a certain charge between us, something I thought he felt too.

“Rylee?”

“Uh… sure. What did you have in mind?”

He offered his hand and said, “Walk with me? Tell me about the mystery that is Rylee Baker.”

“Are you teasing me?” I asked and took his hand.

He raised his eyebrows and dropped his mouth open. “Me? Tease someone? I’d never.”

I ignored his feigned offense and walked alongside him with no destination in mind. His jacket clung to my shoulders, a warm embrace as we neared the water, but the smell… I couldn’t quite catalog the mix of scents that pleased my senses with each breath. First, it smelled of woodsmoke and pine, cinnamon and apples, and then a hint of mint-like toothpaste. Still more hit me with each inhale—all the scents of Casey Reardon.

“So, what are you doing if college is off the table?” he asked, his hand still firmly grasping mine.

“I’m hopping a plane to Alaska first. My sister is a marine biologist, and she works for this amazing nonprofit that documents the migrations of…” There I went again, rambling on about my sister’s work. It drove my parents bonkers, mostly because they couldn’t understand how I could be so excited about something yet have no desire to follow in her footsteps and become a biologist.

“What? Migrations of what?”

“It’s not important,” I said. “What about you?”

“What about me?”

I nudged his shoulder. He lost his balance and toppled, but I did not escape the consequences of my playful actions. Casey gasped my arm as he fell, dragging me along. The water was warmer than I’d expected, but still a shock when it rumbled over me in angry waves. Casey laughed and slung sand at me when I managed to wiggle free, initiating a sand fight. One thing led to another, and before long, we were both covered with scratchy, wet sand. I was sure there was sand in places it most certainly should not be but hanging out with Casey was too fun to care.

He shook his hair out like a wet dog. “That was fun. I did not expect to have at this party,” he said.

“I wasn’t expecting to get messy at this party.” I wrung my hair out, but it was a futile action given the state of my attire.

“Life is messy, Rylee. I prefer to make it messier, to play by my own rules like you.” The strands of hair that had been cemented to his hair now dripped with saltwater. He licked his lips and made a disgusted face. “Salty.”

I chuckled. “You think?”

He tossed another handful of wet sand at me, but it was a halfhearted throw at best and landed at my feet. I started wandering again with no destination in mind, only that I escape the sounds of the party before my best friend found me and dragged me away from Casey.

“I don’t really play by my own rules either,” I added. “I just… bend the rules. I do what I have to do, then I tease things a little until they bend in my favor.”

“So devious. Tell me more about your plans.”

“What about yours?”

“Nah uh, no distracting me. I really want to know.”

I felt his fingers brush against the sensitive skin on the back of my arm, reminding me I’d lost his jacket in our fight. It was slung over his shoulder, dripping water as we walked. The feel of his rough fingers against the smooth skin was enough to make me wonder why I’d never paid more attention to him, talked more to him, maybe even—

“Hey, you still here?” he asked, dipping his head to look into my eyes.

“Oh, yeah. Sorry. Sometimes I let my thoughts wander a little too far, and they get away from me. Uh, anyway, I guess I’ll just join my sister for a while, then maybe do some backpacking.”

“Backpacking? Like in the forest?”

I paused my walking to observe him. I can’t say why I thought that was the best way to figure him out, but it did give me his attention—all of it, smack in the center of my face. His stare was determined, insistent, and nearly made me change my mind about everything I’d wanted to do so I could stay in our little town just to watch him watching me. I shook my head because those were ridiculous thoughts.

“No, Casey. Backpacking like through Europe or something, maybe… I don’t know, I kind of like the idea of visiting Iceland and that area, maybe more.”

“You mean, you’ll just hop on a plane and go explore? Alone?”

I shrugged and kicked at the sand, accustomed to his reaction since it was the same one everyone gave me. “Yeah. Why not?”

“That’s… interesting.” He said nothing more but encouraged me to keep walking. We were well away from the party now, just the two of us. I’d left my phone in my car, so there were no calls or texts to interrupt, no social media posts to be made, nothing at all to interrupt our conversation.

“Why interesting?” I asked.

“It’s just really brave, I think. My family isn’t all that happy about what I decided to do either.”

“Oh? Are you finally going to tell me?” I teased.

He shuffled along, building up little piles of sand before kicking them away with each step. “I joined the Army. My mother was plenty mad about it, and my father said it was a waste of time.” The way his tone changed, how his entire body tensed beside me when he spoke, it was familiar. I’d done it a million times a day as I fervently defended my decision to explore the world before committing myself to a life of work.

“I’d hardly say it’s a waste of time. It’s honorable,” I said. “When do you leave for training?”

“Tomorrow morning. So, thanks for making this a nice evening, Rylee. Really, I had a rough day today, and this time with you had been… It’s just been nice, that’s all.”

I smiled and glanced out over the horizon.

“I mean, it has been nice, hasn’t it?”

“Mmm,” I hummed, entranced by the last rays of orange and peach tones that filtered through the clouds where the sun had gone to bed.

“Rylee?”

I turned back to him, but I shouldn’t have. Suddenly, the joy that had filled his entire aura had shifted to something else, something darker, something… lost.

“Casey? What’s wrong?”

“I um… I lied to you just now, but I don’t want to do that. It really has been a great time, and I don’t want to ruin it with a lie,” he admitted.

“You lied about joining the Army?”

He shook his head and lowered his gaze to stare at his feet. “No, that part is true. I lied about my parents. I’m… I guess I’m just so used to making up lies to get through life that it sort of slipped out without thinking about it. But I don’t want to lie to you.”

“Okay, then what is the truth?” I asked, a pit growing tighter and tighter in my chest as I waited with bated breath.

“I’ve been in foster care since I was seven. I’m aging out at eighteen, so that’s why I joined. I needed somewhere to go, a job and all that, and it was the easiest option.”

For once in my life, I was speechless. I’d had no idea, known nothing about his home life for all the years I’d spent in school with him, and my own insecurities about my future crashed around me. They seemed… simple compared to his reality.

“Casey, I had no idea. I’m so sorry. If I had—”

“No, no,” he said, grasping my arm that flailed around as I spoke. “There’s nothing for you to be sorry about, Rylee. I just wanted to tell you the truth, to tell someone the truth for once. And I wanted to ask you…”

He released my arm and ran his fingers through his messy hair. I stepped forward, closing the distance between us so whatever he wanted to say really was just between the two of us. There was no one else around, not that I could see, but his truth seemed like a fragile trinket meant to be handled with the tenderest care.

“What is it, Casey?” I asked, my voice a whisper on the breeze.

“I wondered… I mean, I know we don’t really know each other that well, but maybe… Could we write? Email? Whatever they let us do, I’m not really sure. Maybe I can call you sometime? I mean, I don’t know where they will send me after training, but I think I really want to get to know you better.”

His words tugged at a place in my heart I didn’t know existed, someplace filled with empathy and care and… maybe something more. “Yeah, I’d like that. I wish you weren’t leaving tomorrow,” I said, then blushed at the way my honesty exposed me.

“Can I kiss you, Rylee?”

“What?” I asked as my head snapped up to meet his gaze.

“S-sorry, that was stupid. You wouldn’t want to kiss a guy you just—”

I grasped his shirt and pulled him toward me, only then realizing he was easily a foot taller than me. I kissed him—not one of those cheesy movie beach kisses and not one of those frantic kisses in romantic comedies, but something sweet and tender and filled with emotions neither of us could comprehend or define. I felt his arms wrap around me, protecting me from the harsh wind that cut across my skin like knives. I should have dressed more warmly.

I felt him smile against my lips and pulled away.

***

I sat in the sand, reclined on my elbows, and thought about that kiss. If I had known then how much pain and sadness would come from that kiss… I would have done it anyway. Casey left for training the next morning, somehow taking a piece of my heart with him. I went to Alaska to spend the summer with my sister, and all that time, we wrote and talked as we promised we would. Then he deployed, and the time between letters and calls grew longer and longer until, eventually, they stopped.

It was my fault. I stopped responding first. It was just too hard, too much, and each letter he sent me was like stepping into his world. He saw things no one should see, especially not someone who’d hardly left high school. I couldn’t find the words to comfort him, to tell him that I was there for him though we’d never really been together. Finally, he gave me an out. He let me walk away without hard feelings, and so I did.

I did because it was what my parents said I should do, what my sister encouraged, what my friends wanted. I did it because I was afraid. I was afraid I’d lose all of my heart to him, and if he didn’t come home, then I, too, would die.

But as I sat in the wet sand thinking of what love might have been, thinking of what I’d lost and might never find in another human being for as long as I lived, a shiver shot down my spine. I grasped my cardigan, but no amount of clothing would stave the chill.

Four years had passed since that last letter, six years since that party… six years since I fell in love and didn’t know it until it was gone. And now, that part of me I was sure would die if something happened to Casey was dead anyway. Sure, I loved my work and lived a full life, but something was always missing. Something gnawed at me every day, begging me to glance over my shoulder and go back in time.

I sighed and tucked my feet closer to me, hugging my legs against my chest. My chin settled on my knees as I watched the last of the colors fade into the darkness. I was the fool who let him get away, and for that—”

“Rylee?”

My spine stiffened as I whirled around at the sound of my name. Not just the sound of my name, but my name spoken by… him.

Casey.”

“I… came home for you, Rylee. I’m… I’m home. Permanently.” He offered his hand to me, then asked, “Will you walk with me?”

I’m not okay… But I will be…

Here we are, barely a week into the new year, and I’m not okay. Don’t get me wrong, my writing is finally flowing again, homeschooling is great, we’re doing really well in most regards… but my heart aches for my country. How did we get here? The truth is, it’s not the fault of one person—not even close. This sort of hatred takes time to cultivate, to really seep into the bones of a nation and its people. It seems 2020 was just the kind of year we needed to see that all bubble to the surface.

For a long time now, I have avoided or politely declined to comment on my political beliefs because, frankly, that’s not why people follow me on my public pages. I strive to write books that offer hope and love and soul-soothing kindness to my readers. And while I completely understand wanting to distance yourself from following people whose beliefs drastically depart from your own, I also think it is important to hear those beliefs because they come from the minds of living, breathing, God-created individuals.

I’m sticking with my gut here and not discussing politics with anyone who doesn’t want to hear it, but I also can’t stomach watching what is happening in my country anymore without saying something. If 2020 taught me anything, it’s that people are prone to dramatics, often self-centered, and thoughtless (I add myself to this list most days), but I have also seen acts of pure, undiluted, real love. The year also taught me that there really is a swamp—and it runs deep in BOTH of the main political parties here in America. We’ve seen some genuinely astounding actions from both Democrats and Republicans at every level of government, and I, for one, am so sick of it.

I believe in my heart that most people are charitable, loving, and—though prone to sin—also carry a deep desire for repentance. I have, like many others, seen the absolute worst in my country this past year. No matter your stance on the virus, our government, and the multitude of other things we have chosen to allow to divide us, I want you to know that I care about you. I might disagree with you (I might even shake my head at you or roll my eyes,) but I still love you and respect your right to live and breathe and take up space in this same world.

We have let politicians, celebrities, CEOs, tech-moguls, and so many others tell us how we should feel, what we should think, how we should act, what is acceptable and what is not—enough. We’ve all been given a brain, and I, for one, desperately want to use it free of the influence of people whose self-interest is always at the front of theirs. This has been proven by the hypocrisy perpetrated before our very eyes. Their pedestals are far too high, in my opinion.

Not all, but most don’t care about you. They care about their image… but the grocery store clerk, the random person in the same aisle as you at the store, the bank teller, the driver beside you at a red light, and so many others… they care a lot less about their image and more about getting through the day just like you. I try to remember that. Yeah… I fail a lot (like yelling at the driver who totally cut me off in the Dunkin’ Donuts line.) But one of my goals this year is to recognize my own self-righteous behaviors and address them more often, let the little things go, and to remind myself daily that I am meant to serve something higher.

My prayer for America is this—that we can take a step back, remember that so many people look to America as a beacon of hope, life, love, and liberty, then begin to repair the bridges broken by the far-left and far-right, the corrupted masses whose only goal is to create chaos for self-gain. They broke the bridges, but we—the living, breathing lifeblood of this country—can fix them. We don’t need the government for that. We don’t need celebrities to tell us how to do that. It’ll take work. A lot of work and MASSIVE amounts of compromise (that’s still a thing, I’m told.) I mean, I’ve been called some nasty things for my beliefs, and that’s hard to forget… but I’m willing to if it means we can change this mess into something better.

I am the daughter of a God who suffers no fools, and I would be a fool if I didn’t admit I know this won’t happen overnight. It might never happen, but my family members didn’t fight and/or die for America for me to turn my back on it. I won’t. When I think about it, I’ve seen more love than destruction this year, and I know THAT’S the real America, not the one the media blasts 24-7 for the rest of the world to see. I know the real America is people coming together to create a better country for all. I’ve seen it in my community, and I know it can happen anywhere. When you support people, give them the love and grace, and respect they deserve, they tend to do the right thing. Those who don’t, well, God bless them, and I pray they learn to serve others as they serve themselves.

This message got a little preachy, so I’ll close here. I know why you follow me, and I pray that I can keep offering you the little sliver of peace or the moment of distraction you need to boost your spirits and your hearts so you can keep fighting the good fight. For my followers who are not Americans (or Christians), I thank you for your support all the same. I respect you and want you to know that I am always here to lend an ear—truly. I try to respond to every email within the day (forgive me, some end up in the spam folder, and take a minute). It doesn’t have to be about my books or even about writing—if you need an ear, I’m here. You have all been so good to me, and I pray I sufficiently return your grace.

At the end of the day, I am here to serve you by the grace of God, the only Leader who holds my heart.

All my love,

MJ

“Depart from evil and do good; seek peace, and purse it.” Psalm 34:14

New Release! The Heart of the Darkness!

Some of you might have seen this a few days ago… because I accidentally scheduled the post for January 2020, instead of 2021. Figures. Isn’t that just the kind of thing 2020 would make me do? Sigh… but in case you missed it, here it is again… officially this time… released TODAY!

It has finally arrived!

The last installment of The Immortal Grimm Brothers’ Guide to Sociopathic Princesses released on January 1, and I can’t seem to wrap my mind around that! I’ve been writing the series for two and a half years, but at the same time it feels like it flew by.

I made a lot of friends on that first book (my amazing alpha team!) and I’m very excited to announce the spin-off series that follows the second generation of kiddos in the Black Forest. Don’t worry, this isn’t just a continuation of the original series. Nope, these folks will have their own troubles tracking down bad guys and kicking monster butt!

Stay tuned for the announcement for the first book in Tales from the Immortal Black Forest coming soon! Until then, dive into the seventh and final book in the original series! Did I mention it has an ORIGINAL            fairy tale? Yep, that one is all mine—no remakes here!

Check out the blurb!

Everything has led to this moment, the final showdown between good and evil in the Black Forest. After Annabell’s shocking revelation, the forest’s royal families aren’t sure what to believe anymore, let alone what their future might hold. Forced to train and plan for the worst, they still hope for the best—that their beloved Annabell has not forsaken them all.

Cole, the mysterious man who tricked them all, has many more surprises up his sleeve as he works toward his goal of absorbing the power of the Seven Sworn. But who is he, and where did he come from? More importantly, what is he? The answer is the key to saving the Black Forest from all darkness, but at what cost?

Must the Seven Sworn die to save all they love… or will Annabell come through at the last second? Are the families strong enough to fight what comes next… or will the power of an ancient love ruin them all?

With more twists and turns than any other volume in the series, The Heart of the Darkness is sure to leave you wanting more.

You can find The Heart of the Darkness at your favorite online retailers!

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08L6YRPT5

Others: https://books2read.com/u/mKzaLP

As always, thanks for reading and following me!

Favorite Things…

In case you missed it…

In my November newsletter, I announced that I would be featuring things I love, mostly made by small business owners and artisans (hopefully many by my readers). This month I featured Sidewalk Candle Co., a Laguna Beach-based small business run by two of my lovely beta readers and their mom!

A selection of candles offered by Sidewalk Candle Co.

These candles are made from 100% soy wax grown in the USA, and they smell fantastic. Book lovers seem to also love candles for some reason. They go together like cookies and milk… hmm, snack time!

Let’s give these ladies our love! Grab a few presents for friends, or just hoard them for yourself while curling up with a good book. Might I suggest the Fresh Brew candle paired with The Love Project! Oliver’s obsession with coffee fits nicely with this coffee-scented candle.

I’ve burned mine for several hours, and it’s nowhere near ¼ burned yet, so I feel like I really got my money’s worth from this purchase! You can find their website here!

The Stars Wait Not Book Review

Ryllis Camden has a secret—she can talk to nature, and it speaks to her in return. But her gift is forbidden by the Vilarian Star Realm who controls her planet, and the penalty is death. When she’s falsely accused of treason and exiled to the Vilarian home world, hiding her power becomes even more critical. But how can she hide anything when she’s forced to toil in the home of the emperor’s youngest son?

Kresten Westermark might be a prince, but long ago he shunned a life of luxury to work as a telepath in the Vilarian Imperial Fleet. His job demands he treat his new prisoner as a slave and test his deteriorating telepathic powers on her, but the only thing on his mind is the growing attraction he feels toward the earnest young woman tending his gardens.

As the mountain winter fades, a reluctant respect between the two becomes trust, and trust soon blossoms into affection. But when the Fleet arrives to arrest Kresten for treason, Ryllis must make an impossible decision.

Save Kresten’s life—or hers.

Sometimes you want a book filled to the brim with action and adventure, high-stakes and intense relationships, and a plot that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Other times, you want something immersive that lets you develop a relationship with the characters while they are on their own journey. It’s slow and steady, building to a conclusion that gives you peace.

For me, The Stars Wait Not by Anne Wheeler was a breath of fresh air. It was a little infusion of science fiction, a touch of sweet romance, and a storyline that kept me involved to the end. I read the book in about three days, which is a record for me since my schedule is usually packed! I loved the characters, their interactions, and how the story progresses at a pace that is reasonable while still offering little bits of surprise here and there.

An added special touch are the illustrations. How many adult books can you find with illustrations? It’s a thoughtful gesture by the author that helps draw the reader further into the story while not being so intrusive they distract from the story. While not necessarily filled with high-stakes adventure, the book is, in fact, a more realistic depiction of a prisoner’s life on an alternate world, and that is enough to make you feel genuinely connected to the protagonist.

And the cover? I love the constellations mixed with the leaves, and after reading the book, it makes so much sense. It’s simple yet beautiful.

I can’t wait for the next book in this series! If you’d like to purchase the book, you can find it here!

New Release!

The second book in The History of Goranin trilogy is here! I’m so excited to share this next installment of the story with my readers. There are so many new characters, twists and turns, and surprises you’ll need a seatbelt (and more tissues).

In case you haven’t started the series, you can find the first book, Eiagan’s Winter, at Amazon (or click the title for a link.)

Check out the blurb and bonuses below! Click on the books to redirect to the Amazon page!

When Eiagan Allurigard sacrificed herself to save her people, the Kingdom of Goranin was supposed to prosper, but now dark forces threaten to wipe the kingdom from the map permanently. The new Queen Emora continued her sister’s fight for freedom, but at what cost?

The once amiable princess has become a tyrant worse than Eiagan ever was, and the rebels are run out of The Banished Lands, forced to make a new life on the Rynkald Islands where they work to build a new army—one that can turn the tide against their once beloved rebel leader.

However, things are not what they seem in the ravaged land of Goranin. Immortals with dirty hands and hardened hearts and those who prey on the weak wait to strike, ready to take all the land for themselves. What was once a battle to save Goranin becomes a struggle to save every kingdom from the clutches of evil. Chaos abounds as our band of rebel fighters struggle to stay alive and reclaim their homeland.

The Revenant Queen is packed with adventure, unbelievable monsters, deep roots and layers of intrigue, and the strength of a family forged in pain and grief.

Want to listen to my Spotify playlist? Just click here: The Revenant Queen

All About It Blog Series – Week Seven

Here we are in week seven of the All About It series! This week I want to talk about a new series that doesn’t have any releases just yet. Christmas in Chatswain City was born from my love of the holiday season beginning in October on my daughter’s birthday! There are so many wonderful times to be had from then through the New Year, but it all seems to fly by so fast! I wanted to create a series where people can fall into that holiday spirit even when it’s 100 degrees outside!

Those of you who used to follow me on Wattpad will recognize some of the books in the series since they were initially written and posted there! However, they will be reshaped to fit in a new town—the fictional town of Chatswain City—and will center around Christmas (for the most part, but I might venture into other seasonal fares from time to time.)

As usual, many of the characters will be loveable, quirky, hot messes with loads of heart. I can’t wait for you all to read the first installment, The Cupcake Criminal, which I hope to have rebranded and released in time for Christmas (fingers crossed), but if I don’t, then it will definitely take you back to the holidays no matter when it comes out!

Here are some commonly asked questions about this series:

  1. What is the target age group?

Anyone can enjoy these books. They will be clean and free of too much dark drama. The drama will be minimal and contained, solved by the end of each book, and focus on positive outcomes.

2. What are the ages of the characters?

This will vary, but usually early to mid-twenties, with a few minor exceptions.

3. What is the content rating?

PG to PG-13 depending on the situational content, but it will always be free of cursing, vulgarity, and sex. Topics such as depression, anxiety, and others might be addressed.

4. Why did you start this series?

Because I love winter and all things cold (Seriously, what was Olaf thinking with this summer business?)

5. Should I read the series in order?

Nope. Each book is a stand-alone novel or novella that takes place in the fictional town of Chatswain City, but the characters will not be making any cameos in each others’ books.

What is already available? Well… nothing yet, but if you are signed up for my newsletter or to this blog, you’ll be the first to know when The Cupcake Criminals releases!

Here’s a look at the first book coming and a short quote scene:

What happens when a down on her luck woman gets hit with bad news one too many times? Why, she steals a cupcake delivery van, of course!

When a hot delivery guy brings an elegant proposal to the wrong doorstep, Abby can’t help herself. She’s already lost her boyfriend, her job, and now her mind, so what’s left to lose? In a moment of clouded judgment, Abby kidnaps the delivery man and steals his van. What ensues is nothing short of catastrophic, but when things go from bad to worse, Abby realizes there was always one thing she could count on—or maybe four. Her best friends.

Abby’s best friends since high school pull out all the stops to save their friend from going down in a blaze of glory. And if they can’t help her, well, then they’ll just go down with her.


Lucas sighed. “Look, we can ride around town all day in a stolen cupcake van, or you can pull over and walk your happy butt home. No harm, no foul. I mean it. I’ll make up a lie my boss will believe, and we can just pretend we never met.”

I caught a glimpse of his hand from the corner of my eye. He was fishing around in his pocket, and I remembered that I had no idea how to be a good kidnapper. Kidnapping 101, take your hostage’s phone before he calls the police.

“Hey! Give me that!” I grabbed at him, nearly driving us off the road. There was another honking serenade behind me as I swerved this way and that in a haphazard attempt to relieve Lucas of his cell phone. I wouldn’t stop until I got it, which was, in effect, the best way to get him to just hand it over.

“You’re going to get us killed you nutcase!” he shouted, then threw his phone at my head. It bounced off my shoulder and hit the dash, illuminating the screen for a moment before it landed on the floorboard. His home screen displayed a candid snapshot of an adorable little girl.

“Is that your daughter?” I asked. My heart began to race as extreme guilt sank in. I had not considered Lucas’ life outside of his shady, spicy cupcake dealing business, but now that his personal life was literally glaring at me, I knew I had to give up my plan to… Well, I didn’t know what my plan was or its purpose, but surely, I had one… right?

“Not that it’s any of your business, but yes, it is my daughter,” Lucas said as he scrambled to snatch his phone from the floor before I could. I swerved again, because cupcake vans are a surprising pain in the bootie to drive, but regained control quickly. Lucas whacked his head on the dash, but he did not retrieve his phone. It slid under my seat ensuring there would be no additional covert calls to the police, the FBI, the CIA, or any other national security agency that might want to arrest a woman who’d stolen a bakery van.


After that, I have no less than ELEVEN more books ready to in this series. Many are already written and just need some tweaking, while others are partially written or have detailed notes and scenes ready to go. I hope you all enjoy reading the series as much as I enjoyed writing the first drafts of these books!

Here is a peek at a few to release down the line!

All About It Blog Series, Week Five

Welcome back to the All About It blog series that introduces readers to my book series!

On today’s agenda is the series with the weirdest name (maybe) ever: The Immortal Grimm Brothers’ Guide to Sociopathic Princesses!

This series is a seven-book series of fairy tale adaptations with big twists! It has mostly great reviews with a few who just didn’t like the premise at all—the magical system, the time and setting, and other things (and that one person who really hated that I omitted everything the Grimm brothers did in their lives other than writing fairy tales)—but that’s okay! Not everyone has to love my books! I’m just glad it has a following of folks who really do love it!

This series is geared toward young adults, but I have many adult readers who like it too! If you like fairy tale adaptations flipped on their heads, you would love this series. I call it my Teen Wolf meets Grimm’s Fairy Tales with a Wicked twist series because it has a little to appeal to everyone—werewolves, magic, a twist that makes your beloved princesses the bad guys, and more!

Here are those commonly asked questions again:

  1. What is the target age group?

Adults and teens who love fairy-tales with a paranormal twist.

2. What are the ages of the characters?

Once again, that’s hard to pin down because some of the characters are reborn, some are immortal, others have magic that keeps them from aging the same as humans—but ultimately, the characters range in age from 18 into adulthood, and includes multiple generations.

3. What is the content rating?

There are no sex scenes or cussing in these books, but there is violence against monsters and some human death. I’d say PG to PG-13.

4. Why did you start this series?

I wanted to add a twist to the fairy tales I loved as a child, but with elements of magic and paranormal creatures people love so much in modern-day fantasy.

5. Should I read the series in order?

Yes, yes, yes! If you don’t, you will be so confused. Each story has its own conclusion, but it sets up the next book in the series. The series has many small hurdles in each book, but a long plot that follows the whole way through.

Here are all the details:

Snow Kissed, Volume One, is the first look into the world of Schwarzwald.

Eighteen-year-old Calla Benson is like any other normal teenage girl. She has a secret crush on her best friend, likes music and movies, works hard to make good grades, and does her best to stay out of trouble. But once in a blue moon, Calla is anything but normal. There’s a predatory animal lurking inside her, just waiting to rampage through the forest once a year.

One fateful night, Calla comes across something she’s never seen before—someone like her. After a tense meeting in the forest, Calla dives headlong into a fantastical land she never knew existed. She learns things are not always what they seem, and she is farther from normal than she ever imagined.

With the help of her best friends, a pair of quirky brothers, and a family she never knew she had, Calla embarks on a mission to save her people from a treacherous queen. With wolves, witches, deathly secrets, and mysterious lands (and a few confusing boys), Calla’s life is flipped upside down. It’s the stuff fairy tales are made of… because being a teenager wasn’t already difficult enough.

Here is a look at the main characters in the first book, Calla and Wil!

Artwork by Ana Karina

To view additional characters from other books in the series, you can visit my website character art page here:

There are currently six books released in the series! You can find descriptions of the books on my website here:

The final book, The Heart of the Darkness, is in the planning and outlining stages. Some scenes are written, and it is coming together nicely. I hope to have this available by the winter of this year! Soon after that, I hope to have a complete illustrated Grimm Guide with everything fans need to know about the series!

All About It Series – Week Four

Welcome back to the All About It blog series that introduces readers to my book series!

Today we jump into my favorite series! The overall series is called Archives of the Ancient Kingdoms, but within it are shorter series. Currently, I am writing The History of Goranin. This trilogy began with Eiagan’s Winter, and its sequel, The Revenant Queen, will release on September 1!

This series is a lot different even from my fantasy series because it is focused on an older audience, and the writing style is drastically different. While young adults might still like the series, I wrote it for adults who like sprawling epic fantasies like Game of Thrones. Side note… I’ve never actually read or watched Game of Thrones. I know, I know… I’m so behind!

This first trilogy in the “franchise” of the Ancient Kingdoms follows Queen Eiagan Allurigard, a feared-dragon rider whose rule is… well… less than ideal. If you are a fan of dragons, magic, and the gray between right and wrong, this series is for you!

As an interesting addition, I will say I wrote the first book, Eiagan’s Winter, based on a dream I had. I had been praying for inspiration for some grand idea that would help me take my writing to the next level. That night, I had a dream so vivid, I immediately got up to write it all down when I woke up. From that, the book was born.

There is a lot of me in Eiagan. By that, I mean, as someone who suffers from anxiety, I often find myself stuck in my own head. I also must remind myself to see the beauty in the world, because so much of anxiety is rooted in fear and darkness. I channeled all of that into Eiagan and found myself more connected to her than any other character I have ever written. I mean… if she were REAL, she would terrify me, but I suppose that was the point of writing the book—to remove those feelings from me and put them elsewhere. In this case, I put it all on Eiagan.

Here are those commonly asked questions again:

  1. What is the target age group?

Adults who enjoy epic fantasy and long-game plot. Young adults might also enjoy the series, but the characters are adults.

2. What are the ages of the characters?

Um… that’s hard to answer. The protagonist was made immortal when she was nineteen, but she’s actually several hundred years old. Others range from mid-twenties and up. Flashback scenes are from birth to adulthood. Short answer—all of the ages?

3. What is the content rating?

There are no sex scenes or cussing in these books, but the violence is graphic—very, very graphic—but not gratuitous. It’s what you would expect in a book that describes war. Probably an R based on violence, but otherwise PG-13.

4. Why did you start this series?

I wanted to bump up my writing game, but I was also stuck in a battle with anxiety that had no end in sight. This was my outlet.

5. Should I read the series in order?

Yes. Each smaller series under the umbrella of Archives of the Ancient Kingdoms should be read in order, or the story will not make any sense. However, once additional sub-series release, those can be read in any order. For example, when I complete The History of Goranin trilogy, I will be working on The History of Nelaravore duology. You could read either series first, but those books within the series should be read in order.

Here are all the details:

Eiagan’s Winter  (available now at Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited, coming soon to audiobook):

The land of Goranin has survived the rule of the dreaded Allurigard bloodline for centuries. Suffering perpetual winter at the hands of a tyrannical, bloodthirsty queen, the people seek out a savior to restore their land to its former glory. They find one in Moriarian of Varrow. Moriarian makes grand promises, and the people of Goranin invite him in as their new leader.​

Eiagan Allurigard, the feared dragon-riding Winter Queen, wants nothing more than peace and quiet. Her people push her to the edge, stage uprisings, and revolt against her absolute authority. When her immortality is stolen and Moriarian attacks, Eiagan barely escapes her castle alive. With a gaping abdominal wound and nowhere to hide, she seeks out an unlikely ally in her quest to reclaim her throne.

​Moriarian’s promise of salvation is too good to be true, and the people are subjugated to a fate worse than death. As Moriarian ravages her land, Eiagan seeks revenge against him and those who betrayed her. Haunted by memories of her past, Eiagan joins forces with a band of rebels, a healer who believes he can save her blackened soul, and a den of dragon-shifters determined to free the land of oppression once and for all.

​Traitors, a wicked sorcerer, and deadly creatures threaten their survival, but the queen is determined to win back her birthright at all costs—even if it means sacrificing everything.

You can click on the image below to order!

Here’s what’s coming!

The Revenant Queen, The History of Goranin II, is in the final stages of editing! It is available for pre-order at Amazon now! To order, you can click on the image below!