It was 2018 and the reviews were pouring in for my first ever solo publication: The She-Wolf of Kanta published under Aurelia Leo. Readers loved it. They loved Mercy, the dystopian world, the werewolves… the only consistent critique they had was that it was too short. They wanted more!
At first I laughed it off, not sure how I could possibly continue the story. The book was a labor of love eked out an hour at a time in the early morning hours before work. I was writing mostly during the #5amWritersClub on Twitter. I wasn’t sure where I could possibly take the story next even though I had to admit that I left the ending wide open for a sequel. Then the Stolen series got picked up by Parliament House Press and I was swept away in a year full of books, deadlines, and an exciting, busy convention schedule. I came out with Broken, the sequel to Stolen, and the standalone horror novel, The Seeking. I got to be a much faster writer when I was on a deadline and surprised myself with how much I could output when I focused on my writing.
In the midst of all this excitement, the pandemic struck. I had two books come out in 2020 and both struggled to get the same attention that Stolen had in 2019. Big author discovery events like Decatur Book Festival and BookCon got cancelled for good. That summer I also had a different small press close down in the middle of releasing an anthology I was part of. I had just done a bunch of promo for them leading up to release expected that fall. Unfortunately, the owner had a very upsetting meltdown in a public forum online and thankfully closed out the press over the following week. It was very disheartening.
In 2021, the Stolen series closed out with Chosen and I decided to try self-publishing my first book that autumn. In summer, I was informed that She-Wolf would soon be available to renew with Aurelia Leo, or I could have the rights revert back to me. Feeling nervous at the prospect of taking on a new self-publishing project, but determined to learn how to do this, I decided to go for it!
All this history is to say that it wasn’t a single moment that lead to this series becoming a reality, but a series of moments, from wins to disappointments. They all added up. Throughout the pandemic I tried my best to learn the ins and outs of self-publishing and how to be an indie author. I worked hard on my skillset and used The Impostor as my first test publication.
Throughout that time, I thought long and hard about Mercy’s story and her struggles. I realized where I wanted her story to go and how it could get there. I knew that self-publishing this series was going to be ambitious and certainly difficult, especially since I was doing all the work of a writer and a publisher by myself. But I knew I could do it if I just stayed dedicated to it.
Four years after its first release date, She-Wolf has been turned into a 5-book series that I’m rapid releasing over 2022-2023. Each book is still very difficult and time consuming to put together, but I’m so happy with the final product! Every book I release I get a little bit better at this whole self-publishing thing. Or at least, I hope I do!
As you can probably guess, I’m super proud to give a big, happy release day to The Blood of Kanta, the long-awaited sequel to She-Wolf! I think you’ll enjoy how dangerous Mercy’s story has turned.
The Blood of Kanta is now available in ebook wherever books are sold! Paperbacks and hardbacks are on their way too.
This is definitely one of the most unique werewolf stories I’ve read and I love the sciencey vibes entwined!Candace Robinson, Bestselling author
I love werewolf stories. But this is such a refreshingly different take on werewolves. If you’ve read book one, The She-Wolf of Kanta, and enjoyed it, then get ready to have your mind blown with book two, The Blood of Kanta, which is even better than the first one!! I can’t wait to see what happens with Mercy next!!Donna, Goodreads Reader
The Blood of Kanta
Book 2 of The Wolves of Kanta series
Mercy must unlearn her past if she hopes to find her future.
After eluding hunters who wanted her dead, Mercy finds herself in a strange new place to call home. With the help of the bizarre Thomas Farrell and the mysterious Leyda, she discovers how different the world is from what her father taught. The violence of her past still haunts her, but the truth she uncovers rattles her core.
Mercy must put her past and fears behind her, unlearn what she once believed to be doctrine, and uncover her true capabilities as a burgeoning scientist if she hopes to make a difference in Kanta. Drawn to the laboratory and to caring for the werewolves she once worked so hard to capture, Mercy discovers her own true passions instead of those demanded of her.
When Andrei, a young, handsome werewolf, enters her life, Mercy sees firsthand the harsh realities of the werewolves she once demonized.
She wants to help, but does Mercy have the courage and the wits to do the impossible?
Great news, congratulations, Marlena!