Review: The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative

Holy cow, I knew it had been a while since I had posted a book review, but I didn’t realize it had been since August, you guys. Oops! I guess you can tell I’ve been balancing a bunch of projects lately. Expect to see several posts over the next few days as I catch up!

Finished: 7/10/2019

I checked this book out from the library on a whim, trying to find a book to read that was light, but still interesting. I wanted to find a book I could learn something from. Writing fiction all the time means I sometimes have to be picky with how engrossed I get into fiction books. I’m always afraid I’ll fall into someone else’s story and world and have trouble crawling back out again.

I really enjoyed this book! I learned quite a lot from it and found it inspired me to get outdoors more. Even though it’s a few years old, the examples of lush cities, nature bathing, and using nature to treat PTSD were still just as relevant and eye-opening.

What caused me to knock off a star was the occasional negative tone the book would take. It didn’t happen very often, and for most readers it probably wouldn’t bother them like it did me. However the narrator at times was just so pessimistic and almost insulting occasionally. For someone who was a world traveler I was shocked by some of the phrases that were supposed to be quirky but weren’t.

However if you’re looking for a book to motivate you to head into the forests for a weekend, or want to learn more about how nature influences the mind and body, this is a great read! Just prepare yourself for the few weird anecdotes and occasional tone shifts.

My overall rating: 4/5

Writing Goals for 2020

Each year in January, I sit down with a pen and a pad of notebook paper and write out all of the pieces that I’m working on. That includes any works in progress, stories looking for a home, plot bunnies, and trunk babies. It really helps me to wrap my head around where I do (and don’t) need to focus.

These are just writing goals. It doesn’t really focus on the final edits and checks that are still to come in for Broken and The Seeking. Nor does it include all the marketing work that will also be going on behind the scenes throughout the year. This list only focuses on writing.

The first thing I noticed, especially comparing this list with my 2016 and 2019 writing goals is that I have a bunch more novels on the list this time! Yes, most of them are admittedly plot bunnies, but I’ve already sketched out character concepts and plotlines for some of these. I’ve also begun writing on a couple of them!

I really enjoy writing series especially in YA Fantasy, and my Two Sorceresses (title TBD) book is going to be the beginning of that. I’ve been turning the plot for that book over and over in my mind to figure out how I want to pace it, who the characters are, and how the plot will ultimately go. It’s going to be dark, magical, beautiful, and sincere.

The Smiling Man (title TBD) is a YA Horror book that came directly from a nightmare. Some of the scenes in this book will be so creepy and unsettling, that I almost decided it was too frightening to put down onto pages. But then again, I decided if it scared me, it should scare others too.

Chosen is my current work in progress. It’s book 3 of the Stolen series and I am both excited and overwhelmed by the prospect of finishing my first original series. There is so much I want to say still and only a single book to pack it all into. My next project, once the Stolen series is done, will be The Blood of Kanta, the sequel to The She-Wolf of Kanta. This will be a full-length book, unlike the novella that is already published. I’ve planned out the basics already, now it’s just a matter of finding the time to write it.

I’ve also listed all of my short stories that are currently either out on submission, to be published, or looking for a home. Some of these I think I could tweak a little and get them out in the world, but generally I try to prioritize my books over short stories.

You’ll notice a few of those short stories are already available to read, such as The Mysterious Disappearance of Charlene Kerringer, Against Our Better Judgment, and The Blade Filled with Stars. That last one is automatically available when you sign up for my mailing list!

I’m so excited for this year, but I’m also anxious about the number of releases I have. I sure do hope my books live up to expectations, but I guess that’s a fairly normal fear for an author, right? Especially one who has only been doing this for a couple of years and is still figuring this all out? It would probably be my boggart.

What are your writing plans for 2020? If you post your plans as well, please tag me so I can see them! Let’s all cheer each other on to becoming better writers this year!

Cover Reveal for Masks!

For some, Mardi Gras is a celebration
For others, it’s a dangerous game

I visited New Orleans once in 2000 with several online friends. I was a senior in high school at the time and it was stressful meeting people who I had never really seen in real life. This was the age of anonymity on the internet, and all I had was a picture of them.

This was before 9/11 happened, so the flight over was completely different than it is today. It was also before Katrina hit and I remember us driving over bridges and seeing all the buildings underneath, all the homes that in a few years would be seen on TV underwater.

For me, it was a special moment, a way of letting go of the stress of my academics and visiting someplace new. At the time, I was stressed out from applying to colleges and I didn’t know where I would be the following year. It was a period of transition and a period of reflection.

When I was asked by the wonderful editors of Filles Vertes Publishing if I wanted to participate in an anthology about New Orleans, I jumped at the opportunity. You see one of those online friends of mine passed away a year ago, and she was absolutely in love with the place. She was also a big supporter of my work. I wanted to honor her with a story about the city she always wanted to move to.

I am thrilled to share the cover reveal for Masks an anthology about Mardi Gras and the themes that surround it. My story, “La Femme en Rouge”, is a tale of transformation and of reflection. I associate New Orleans with a place to help me make big decisions in life, and I think my story reflects that. I wanted to capture the lights, the smells, the sounds, the moods, the mixture of perspectives, and the economic struggles.

I hope you’ll dare to explore the fantastic tales within, and maybe you’ll also find yourself transformed. After all, Mardi Gras is all about shedding your skin. Coming 3/31/2020.

A Holiday Surprise!

Over the weekend, I was amazed and humbled to reach 1,000 followers on Instagram! I was so thrilled and instantly I knew I wanted to find a way to give back to my readers. Then I remembered this fun, quirky tale.

This story was originally published by Zharmae Publishing Press back in 2013. I go into more details about what happened on my Facebook Moonlight Wanderers group and on my mailing list, but basically the rights all reverted back to me in 2016. Since then, this story has been functionally out of print, and I thought it would be wonderful to make it available once again!

I’m happy to announce that The Mysterious Disappearance of Charlene Kerringer is now available to pre-order as a standalone ebook on Amazon! The story officially releases on Friday, November 29th and if you love film noir and fantasy creatures, I think you’ll enjoy this one!

Some dames are nothing but trouble.

Detective Harris is a private detective who is out of luck and out of cash. When a woman walks into his office in tears, he decides to take a gamble on what he assumes is an open and shut case. What he doesn’t realize is that nothing about this case is normal.

This short story was a semi-finalist in The Zharmae Publishing Press’ Spring 2012 Writer’s Competition.

Cover Reveal for Broken!

Happy Halloween, dearies! It’s my favorite holiday of the year — and one of the busiest times, which is why I’ve been so bad about posting this month. Everything else gets put on hold for a while though because this is so very important.

I am so pleased to be able to share the cover reveal for Broken, the second book in the Stolen series with you!

Take your time, it’s a gorgeous piece!

I love SO much about this cover. I literally squealed when I realized that the rocky outcroppings hovering above were in the shape of hearts. Broken is about more than the journey, it’s about hurting and healing along the way. It’s about Shaleigh figuring out who she is and exploring the chambers of others’ hearts. And there she is, refusing to back down, refusing to be intimidated by the path before her. She sees the light at the end and only has eyes on that. She has come so far from where she began in Stolen, and I’m so proud of her.

Broken

Book 2 of the Stolen series

A land has fallen. An escape was made. It’s a victory, but at what price?

Shaleigh has made a terrible mistake, one she may not ever be able to fix. Lost and in a strange land with anger and death all around her, she must navigate her way through treacherous lands on her quest for redemption. Along the way she’ll have to negotiate with the mercurial Queen of the Fae, survive the dangers of the Masked King’s realm, and seek out a terrifying fire dragon.

With two powerful beings hot on her trail, Shaleigh has no choice but to keep moving, or else face the dangerous magic of the Madness that has already caused so much pain and heartache. With her sights on helping her friends and her heart longing for home, Shaleigh is determined, but will it be enough?

Broken releases on April 7, 2020 from The Parliament Press.