Chat With Me At Multiverse

Come see me at Multiverse this weekend!

This weekend you can attend a FREE virtual convention that covers everything from writing to fandom love. It’s a three-day con and there are going to be some amazing panels to watch. No need to sign up, just show up. They’ll have information going up soon on how to get on their Discord server so you can chat with folks in real time throughout the convention.

I’m going to be in a panel on Sunday at 1:00PM on Characterization: Crafting a Villain with some absolutely fantastic fellow authors. Panelists will be watching and commenting live on Discord in the #write channel. Come join our discussion on crafting villains!

In addition to the panel, I’ll have one-on-one mentoring opportunities available Sunday afternoon. Have you ever wanted to pick my brain on publishing? Or on writing? Or on whatever writerly problem you want? This is your chance! I’ll have 8 fifteen minute sessions available, Sunday afternoon after the panel. Pick a slot and you can chat with me on Zoom.

Here are all the main links you’ll need:

I’m super excited to get to chat with y’all one on one! There are also a lot of other folks doing mentoring too, including authors and editors. Some people will even be accepting pitches. This is honestly a fantastic free opportunity so make sure you take advantage of it!

Some Big Changes Ahead

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you’ve probably already seen one announcement, but I wanted to make sure my website followers are aware as well. Things have been moving fast this past month, both expected and not so much, and I’ve been trying to figure out how to organize it all in a way that makes sense for you all.

First things first, let’s start with a beloved book from my backlist.

The She-Wolf of Kanta

This book was my first solo release, available in print so I could hold it in my hands. It’s very tightly written, fast-paced, and is also one of the most highly rated stories I’ve written. However one of the biggest criticisms I’ve received on it is that it’s too short, and I definitely agree. It’s a novella, at a little over 20k words, and while it’s a wonderful story on it’s own, I felt like there was more to be told.

So I felt it was time to pull it from Aurelia Leo Publishing even though it’s had a wonderful run there. Olivia, the owner, was wonderful and the book had some beautiful internal artwork included with it too. When the rights were up for renewal, I felt it was a good time for Mercy’s story to move on.

I’ve already outlined the anticipated sequel, The Blood of Kanta, a full-length sequel to the highly acclaimed novella. It’s a book I’ve wanted to return to for a while, but with my current deadlines with the Stolen series, I haven’t had the chance to. I hope that will change soon and I’ll get to return to the unique world of werewolves and Kanta.

If you want to see progress on things that I’m currently writing, make sure you subscribe to my mailing list. I send out emails on the first and third Saturday of each month, and I plan to show more behind the scenes inspiration and progress of my works in progress.

“The Impostor”

You may have seen some of the news going around about Filles Vertes Publishing recently, and I’m afraid it’s not good news. They had scheduled my short story “The Impostor” to release in Link by Link coming this December. However I just received notice that the publisher has cancelled this anthology.

Based on the information I’ve received, I’m not surprised this happened, but it’s still disappointing to have my story homeless. It was written for a very specific theme, so finding another anthology to take it will be a challenge.

This is honestly one of the struggles I’ve faced in being part of small press anthologies. Some of the small presses do well long term and some don’t, but this leads me to what I plan to do with “The Impostor”.

Making New Plans

Looking at all the stories I’ve published over the past ten years, and the stories that I haven’t published, I have a good amount of spec fic stories (fantasy/scifi/horror) available. I’m looking at publishing them together in an anthology as my first collection of stories. In the rudimentary table of contents I put together this weekend, I found around 7 stories that had never found a home, many of them dark and experimental, misfits who also struggle to find acceptance.

So that’s my plan, and “The Impostor” will be included in this anthology. I’m very proud of all of these stories and I really am looking forward to sharing them with everyone.

Oh, and while I was doing inventory of my writing folder this weekend, I remembered that years ago I actually wrote several short pieces that were the beginning inspirations for the Stolen series. The characters were slightly different then than they are now, but the emotions and the pain expressed in them are very much the same. So… those will likely be included too!

So while I’m disappointed at this turn of events, I’m also excited for what comes down the road. There are a lot of possibilities I see available, and I still have two book releases coming out over the next 7 months. (Oof!)

Thank you all for supporting me through all this and for listening to this little peek behind the curtain. One last bite of advice before I go.

I took part in the Self-Employment Productivity Summit run by John Edward Lawson. One of the big takeaways that he mentioned and that has stuck with me is that when you run a small business, you represent that business in everything you do. And being an author is a business. From chatting online to going to stores to managing a table at a show. Every action you take reflects not only yourself but the business too. As someone who grew up among teachers, professors, and state employees, it’s something I’ve known my whole life. But it does bear repeating during this time of COVID.

Keep your head up and keep being creative. Stay safe out there, folks. ❤

Book Releases: It Gets Easier As You Go [#AuthorToolboxBlogHop]

I’m back with another Author Toolbox Blog Hop post this month! This monthly blog hop gives advice by authors for authors. Today’s post is focuses on how doing book releases gets easier as you go, and why. Check out all the posts in this month’s hop!

When I released my debut full-length novel, Stolen, last year, I was daunted by the amount of work that had to be done prior to release day. There were eARCs to send out, book reviewers to reach out to, blog tours to organize, and in person signing events to schedule. I only had some idea of the workload it would take, and it was only when the wave passed by that I realized how much work it was and how well I handled it. I also realized how to do it better next time.

Now I’m prepping for the sequel for that book, Broken, to be released on April 7th. This book release is very different from my experience with Stolen, and I wanted to share what I think has improved this time around compared to last time.

  • Book signings are easier to book. Last year I went to a number of small and indie bookstores to do signings. It was an eye-opening experience. I had to find places that would take an indie author and a small publishing company. Not all bookstores do, and I was shocked to discover that. This time around, I already have locations that I’ve made connections with. Some of them, like Story on the Square and The Southern Pen, stock copies of my books already and are preparing to stock Broken as well. This takes a huge weight off my shoulders this time around.
  • Have readers to reach out to. If you’ve ever started going down the rabbit hole of trying to find ARC book reviewers, you know how helpful this is. Most times when I reach out cold to a blog site, I get crickets. And there are a ton of potential book bloggers. It’s just a lot of time spent with sometimes very little reward. This time around I have a group of ARC readers and reviewers to reach out to, people who loved my first book and are excited to read the second book. Not having to spend time organizing all this also takes a huge weight off of me.
  • I have local fans. I’ve been to enough local shows and events now that I have people who work hard to come out to my book signings and readings. It’s so flattering, but it also means there’s the pressure to create regularly and to constantly improve my craft. I enjoy this, so I don’t mind. It also means that I don’t setup a signing and don’t have anyone appear any longer. I usually at least have one person show up.

These are just a few of the areas that I think are easier this time around, but each one makes a big difference. Instead of gaining all of these contacts and experience, I can focus on new projects and organizing all of these events instead of trying to find them.

For those looking to publish multiple books, I hope this eases that feeling of being overwhelmed when faced with what to do on your first book publication. It will get easier as you go, even though it doesn’t seem like it will at first. The goal is to improve as you go, learn the ropes, make mistakes, and get better with each release.

Interview with Heather Kindt

Remember me mentioning how bad I was about sharing interviews here? Especially around a book release? It’s such a busy time that sometimes posts fall through the cracks. I’ll share hen on social media, but sometimes I forget to post them here.

Well here’s another poor interview that I forgot to post. This one is with fellow Parliament House sister, Heather Kindt. (Her book, The Weaver, comes out soon!) I talk about what inspired me to write Stolen and even mention some of the earliest original works I’ve ever written. (You’ll be surprised!)

I also discuss my journey on becoming an author, from my fan fiction days, to focusing on my computer science degree, and finally getting back into writing again. Every person’s journey to finding their craft is different, and these days there are so many potential paths to take too.

I hope you enjoy it!

Interview with Parliament House Press Author, Marlena Frank

A Quick Breather

I am currently waist-deep in edits for my upcoming novel, Stolen, which is due out in January 2019. On top of that, we have the 4th of July Family Fest on Wednesday that we’re preparing for. It’s a local festival and the owners invited us to attend, so of course we said yes.

Needless to say, I feel like I’m busy constantly at the moment. It’s a good busy, but still busy. That said, I wanted to give some updates!

  • Stolen is going to have 2 other books in its series. Book 2 is tentatively titled Broken.
  • I’m doing Camp Nanowrimo this month (you know, whenever I have the time to write…) to get that word count going on Broken
  • I’m taking a trip this month that I’ll be considering my first one for book research. I’ll be studying a cruise ship layout, and yes, I’m planning it to be another YA Horror novel. 😈
  • I’m still working on my Leafeon cosplay for DragonCon. If you want to see updates, hop on over to my Instagram and check out my stories. I try to post short updates there.
  • Finally, you may notice some changes on this blog! I’ve finally taken the plunge for the first time in 8 years (omg have y’all been listening to my rambling rants that long??) and have upgraded my blog. I plan on getting a custom domain name and maybe even sell some original stories on here as well. I’m not entirely sure yet, but once I have the time, I’m going to iron out some details.

Anyway – that’s all I have for now! If you’re an American, please try to enjoy the 4th and keep your head high. I’m hoping to have a lot more fiction announcements down the road! Thank you for reading my work and supporting me – every kind review or appreciative note inspires me to keep going. 🙂