Collaboration is Key

Every book I write is a collaborative effort. I always try to emphasize that because there’s a perception that books are only crafted by the author. While that may be the case for some books, it is not the case for mine.

I ran into trouble trying to find an editor for The Blood of Kanta and the rest of The Wolves of Kanta series. I thought I had someone lined up, but it turned out that was for a sample edit and it would take six months after I approved the sample for a full edit. That was my bad, I misunderstood what I was signing up for. But I simply couldn’t wait that long.

I found Lara Zielinsky’s information on the Wide for the Win Facebook group. She was listed with high praise, so I reached out and explained my situation. Lara gave me a sample edit and worked out a schedule for me. She made this stressful situation so much easier to deal with. She not only put together a series style guide for me but also gave me wonderful feedback for The Blood of Kanta. She encouraged me to lean into the science more and not be afraid to go into more detail. I’m endlessly grateful to her for helping me out when I was in a dire situation, and for her incredible notes and feedback. I’m thrilled to have her for the rest of The Wolves of Kanta series!

Each cover was also carefully crafted. I worked with Harvest Moon Premade Cover Design for the entire Wolves of Kanta series. Blood of Kanta’s cover was especially fun to make because of the vials in her hands. I especially like the one that looks like poison–that was her suggestion! She was wonderful to work with each time I needed some graphic or had a question. I honestly can’t recommend her enough!

Finally, there’s the map of Kanta, which I intend to include for every book in the series. My sister, Kelley M. Frank, put it together after working closely with me on the look and style. She kept it simple but also added a lot of important places to keep the map relevant for the entire series, which I love. One of the best parts of having a map of the world while I’m actively writing the series is that I can reference it as I go.

Each book is a collaboration project put together by me and several creative professionals who are all far more experienced in their field than me. As much love as my books get, remember I could never do it alone.

Thank you to Lara Zielinsky, Harvest Moon Premade Cover Design, and Kelley M. Frank for all your help. I look forward to working with each of you again!

If you love their work as much as I do, go visit their sites below and give them some love!

Happy Release Day to The Blood of Kanta

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!

The Wolves of Kanta series

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?

Feeling Superstitious?

I’m pleased to share that Midnight Tide Publishing has setup a Kickstarter for Emporium of Superstition – a collective anthology of horror and dark fantasy tales based on superstitions.

Pledge tiers include everything from getting a personal acknowledgement in the book to incredible swag like bookmarks, horror themed candles, and a custom art piece to be commissioned from my sister and partner in crime Kelley M. Frank (https://morbidsmile.com/).

About the Book

Having gotten the privilege to have helped beta read one of the stories in this anthology, let me tell you it is dark, disturbing, and spooky! Perfect for fans of Stephen King, Joe Hill and American Horror Story. Here is the synopsis:

Heed the warnings, or you could be next.

A society of Old Wives’ comes together in this collection of suspenseful stories. In between these pages, twelve authors draw on ancient tales your grandmothers warned you about. From demons living amongst humans, to ghosts lurking in the shadows, and even gods looming above, these recountings will surely inspire a fright.

Open the book, turn the page, for it may be the last thing you do.

Emporium of Superstition is an anthology full of superstition, suspense, and horror. If you love Survive the Night by Riley Seger, Stephen King, Joe Hill and American Horror Story, then you’ll not want to miss this thrilling collection.

But don’t take my word for it. This anthology has already gotten some incredible praise!

“This gorgeous, epic tome of dark fantasy and horror tales is absolutely unforgettable. Featuring established authors like Theresa Braun and Candace Robinson along with a number of promising newcomers, this book takes you on a journey through magic and the macabre. You don’t want to miss Emporium of Superstition. It’s sure to be one of the best anthologies of the year.” — Gwendolyn Kiste, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Rust Maidens and Reluctant Immortals

Stretch Goals

What I’m reeeally excited for are the stretch goals! The main goal on this Kickstarter is $800 to cover editing, marketing, cover art, and production costs. But if we can climb up to $1000, there will be additional stories included that revolve around superstitions! And if it gets over $1000, there will be a second drop of additional stories.

As one of the authors, I can’t tell you how hard it was to choose a superstition to tackle because there are so many fun ones. But I really hope we hit those stretch goals so I have an excuse to do it again!

Limited Time

Like every other Kickstarter, this only runs for a limited time. And if we don’t hit our goal by July 7th, then nobody gets any cool swag, no spooky artwork gets made, and marketing for this book will be very limited. I really hope that doesn’t happen because this anthology is going to be amazing!

So please hop over and check out the pledge tiers and help us bring this beautiful, spooky book to life!

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Happy Cover Reveal to The Blood of Kanta!

Here we are! Happy Cover Reveal to The Blood of Kanta, Book 2 of The Wolves of Kanta series!

It honestly took me some time to figure out where I wanted Blood of Kanta to go. If you’ve read Book 1, The She-Wolf of Kanta, you understand the intense moment the first book leaves off at. It was a hard decision trying to figure out where to take the story next. The city of Kanta itself is as much a character as Mercy, and I wanted to do them justice.

I didn’t expect a host of other characters to step forward to add their stories to the tale. The next thing I knew, the world was fleshed out in a tapestry of struggles and hope.

The Blood of Kanta is the sequel that demanded to be told. And I can’t wait to see what people think come release day!

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?

The Blood of Kanta releases June 21, 2022

Movie Review: You Won’t Be Alone

The other day I got to attend a movie screening for a Macedonian film from independent film company Focus Films: You Won’t Be Alone.

If you’ve read my work, I have a love of shapeshifters and people who can take on the appearance of someone or something else. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed working into my novels, from the Stolen series to The Seeking to The Wolves of Kanta series. Imagine my surprise and delight to find this film which portrays a shapeshifter I had never heard of before.

The screening we saw had a multitude of issues, as many who screen foreign films have likely seen before. The poor employees tried multiple times to get subtitles to work, but after three or four stops and starts they gave up. Still the story was so visual and the interactions so visceral, we didn’t need dialogue to understand what was going on.

(We’ll get a screener sent to us soon so we can rewatch with subtitles, so I’ll be coming back to update this post once we do!)

The story follows the birth of a baby who is claimed by a shapeshifting witch despite her mother’s pleas. The mother keeps the girl in a cave I believe out of fear, coming occasionally to wash her face, bring her food, and clean her hair. Once the girl is a teenager, the mother and the witch fight, and soon the girl has a new caretaker—the witch in her mother’s body.

Throughout the film we see the girl abused by the witch, pushed repeatedly away from enjoying living things and instead pushed towards embracing death.

At one of my favorite scenes the witch watches the girl dance among the fireflies. The witch grabs one and pokes at it, trying to get it to move, then gets annoyed when she realizes she’s killed it.

When these two part ways, the girl explores a local village and we get to see the grotesque way that she and the witch shapeshift. This was gruesome but also strangely intimate at the same time, almost reminding me of birth.

This movie is the kind of dark fantasy I truly like and rarely see. It’s amazing to get to see it come to life on film. It doesn’t shy away from sex or gore, but these are simply portrayed as part of everyday life for these creatures. It was amazing to see the kind of story I usually only see written in book form be brought to life on screen. It was powerful, subversive, and strangely empowering.

I honestly can’t recommend this film enough. It was one of those movies I am instantly going to buy on Blu-ray and keep for my collection when it comes out. It’s a feminine, sexual take on a horrific folklore shapeshifter that grabs your attention and refuses to let go. The acting is incredible, the special effects were practical and surprisingly well done, and the set designs were gorgeous and immersive.

If you enjoy dark fantasy movies such as Pan’s Labyrinth or In the Company of Wolves, this is definitely worth checking out!