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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JordanCon Schedule

I’m late getting this out but things have been quite busy these past few weeks!

Yes, I will be at JordanCon this weekend as an author guest! I’ll be on a total of four panels, two of which will be on Friday afternoon:

This is my first time attending JordanCon and it’s going to be as an author guest, so I’m super excited! You can also find me at Author’s Alley all weekend long.

Hopefully I’ll get to see some of my readers there!

In the meantime, check out the interview I did with them!

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!

Happy Third Anniversary to Stolen

It’s hard to believe that Stolen has been out in the world for three solid years! It seems like it was a hope and a dream on my harddrive just a little while ago.

I remember when I wrote the first book I was so scared about sharing the characters with the world. I was worried what people would think about Shaleigh, Mawr, Colin, Teagan, and Talek. It’s one thing to have characters living in your head and maybe know a handful of people who had read your book or know details, but seeing it live in the world where anybody could pick it up and read it… that was a whole different level!

The outpouring of love this series has received over the years has blown me away. I’ve had people message me directly, write incredible reviews, and tell me it’s one of their favorite series. That kind of affection was something I only dreamed of years ago when I was desperately trying to find a home for this intimate tale.

I wanted Shaleigh’s story to be personal, something that would connect with readers, something that would be filled with incredible scenery, beautiful vistas, and faraway lands–but also be a comfort book. I wanted it to be a story that people returned to because they wanted to spend time with the characters again. Or they wanted to reread to see if there were any clues early on. Or a story they pull off the shelf like a warm blanket out of a hope chest.

Three years later and I still have such a love for this world and these characters. I definitely want to return to them again at some point. I’ve been writing occasional shorts and making plans on scraps of paper, but not daring to put too much time into it yet. I know how easy it can be to fall into a new work in progress! But I wanted to take a moment today to reflect on this series because even though the trilogy has ended it is still very much a part of me and my future plans.

Here’s to three more years, Stolen!

Beyond the Cogs

Beyond the Cogs

Finished: 12/13/2021

Full disclosure: I was provided a complimentary copy by one of the authors. All opinions are my own.

This collection features three novellas, so I’ll be discussing them individually.

The Soulless Ones by C. Vonzale Lewis

I had the opportunity to be a beta reader for this incredible adventure, and I was absolutely in awe of the changes Lewis was able to incorporate from the rougher draft I read before. She has an incredible knack for creating unique characters and spectacular worlds, and I absolutely love her creativity in this story. It has an Old West feel with a distinct steampunk style and deals with monsters reminiscent of vampires. Her unique style really shines in this story. It’s an absolutely fun read and I truly hope we’ll get more stories about Parasol because I could read a whole collection about her adventures!

The Rogue of Vangard by Nicholas J. Evans

This tale was more abstract and more visually focused so it took a bit for me to warm up to the story and characters. Once we get into a steampunk taxi ride with a law-straddling driver, a stuffy top politician, and our thieving protagonist, the entire story shifts with growing tension. We learn how corrupt the city is that our protagonist is stealing from, we learn how brainwashed the politician is, and how controlled the magic is in this world. The ending is the topping on the cake so I can’t spoil it here, however I was sad to see this unique world end. I grew to love so many characters in such a short few pages. I would love to read more in this world!

Gossamer and Thorns by Elle Beaumont

Now this story was reminiscent of the Vincent Price classics such as Fall of the House of Usher. Wealthy young Kris has fallen in love with Emilie who has a chronic disease. He lives in an abusive home with his father who is obsessed with transferring human souls into automatons. Kris’ father is an even more unbalanced Victor Frankenstein. Admittedly, I don’t usually read romance stories so since Kris and Emilie’s relationship filled the majority of the story, that was a struggle for me. Readers who love a budding romance will probably adore this story. It had some wonderful twists that I didn’t see coming and I was pleasantly surprised by the ending.

Overall this is a strong anthology with only a few authors but with a wide variety of steampunk. As a fan of steampunk (and a dabbler in it myself), I had an absolute blast reading these. Definitely recommended for readers looking to dive into another world for a while. And I’ve found new authors to obsess over.

My rating: 5/5 stars