Checking Out Fiction Unboxed

So I signed up for a Kickstarter (something I never do by the way) for a program called Fiction Unboxed and if you’re a writer or you’re just curious about how writers do their jobs or you’re one of those assholes who say “I could totally write a book if I wanted to I just have too busy of a life”—let’s hope you’re really not one of those assholes—then you should consider signing up too.

What is Fiction Unboxed?

Fiction Unboxed is this really cool program being ran by two great authors from Austin Texas – Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt. If you sign up and contribute what you get to do is watch these two guys write a novel from the ground floor up. Depending on your level of contribution depends on how much you see and how much you get out of it. At the level I donated at I get to watch these two authors go through their process (which is probably much different from my process) and see how they make their magic happen.

Why do I want to do that? Because no one, NO ONE, except maybe J.K. Rowling and Nora Roberts is an absolute Jedi Master Yoda when it comes to writing. There are still tricks and techniques that we can learn—and teach—to each other as writers. Seeing how someone else does their process and does their work will help me evaluate what they’re doing, compare it to what I’m doing and then see how their process can help  me make mine better. And what comes from an improved process? Better stories.

How I explained Fiction Unboxed to my husband (who is not a writer): It’s like I’m Volkswagen and Toyota just invited my engineering and design team in to see how they make cars. When my time at Toyota is over am I going to stop making Volkswagens and start making Toyotas? No, but what I’m hoping is that I can learn about how they move their Prius down the line so that the next time I’m designing and building a new Beetle I can take what I’ve learned from them and use what applies in my work to build a better Beetle.

Which FYI—if that would have happened I guarantee you that the new Beetles would still look like Beetles and not some sort of toaster with a Cougar complex.

Anyway, Fiction Unboxed—it’s a cool program for authors and nonauthors to check out how one duo puts out a lot (and I do mean a lot) of fun stuff every year.  If you want to  learn more and possibly get in on the fun here is an article about it from the Austin Business Journal and the website for Fiction Unboxed as well as their publishing company Realm and Sands.:



What’s Coming Next

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on my blog (I know I know, bad author no Starbucks) but I’m starting up again and I thought a good place to start was with what’s coming up. So here we go:

1.)    My novella—Sleeping with the Enemy—comes out Tuesday in the Spellbound in Sleepy Hollow Anthology with Boone Brux and Rosalie Lario. If you like witches, ghosts and all sorts of funny romance then this anthology is for you. And oh, yeah, it’s $0.99 when it releases so talk about a good deal—three novellas by three different authors (two of them are wildly funny and allowed me to come along for the ride) all for the price of a normal novella.

You can buy it here:





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2.) My St. Louis Superhero trilogy is churning along. I don’t have definite publication dates yet but I can tell you that His Secret Superheroine (St. Louis Superheroes Book #1) has been through it’s second pass edits with the editor and His Sidekick Situation (St. Louis Superheroes Book #2) has been through it’s first edit pass with the brilliant Allison Blissard at Entangled Publishing. The Villian Who Loves Her is almost finished and it should be heading into the publisher early this summer. So lookout for more information on this trilogy.

3.)    If you haven’t finished the Speak of the Devil series (my first series of books) all of them are now out and available for sale. Do Matt and Faith get happily ever after? Will the world end before they can finally get some time alone together?  What sort of secrets is Malachi hiding? (trust me even I didn’t see some of them coming). Find out by picking up the whole trilogy now. And if you comment below with an email I’ll even send you a special bonus short story on how Lisa ended up a succubus.

You can buy them here:








I’ve been thinking a lot about fairytales lately. My new series, the Chronicles of Nerissette, is based on a group of teenagers who get sucked through a book of fairytales in the library and end up in a magical world that’s on the brink of civil war. As I was writing these books I spent a lot of time pouring over fairytales and fairytale retellings, trying to figure out what it was that made them resonate. What is it about princesses locked in towers and brave princes on white horses that sticks with us. Then I found a quote by G.K. Chesterton and it seemed to sum it up for me:

“Fairytales don’t tell children that dragons exist; children already know that dragons exist. Fairytales tell children that dragons can be killed.” ― G.K. Chesterton

The problem was—in my books, the dragons are the good guys. Not to give away too big of a spoiler—it’s pretty obvious really if you’ve gotten past about page 3—but the love interest in my series is a dragon. But I rolled the quote around in my head and I realized that old G.K. had it half right. It’s not the dragons we need fairytales for—it’s the evil that the dragons in old school fairytales were meant to embody. And I think that’s what fairytales and Harry Potter and all those stories that resonate for us is that all of them show us the same thing—that in the end the good things in life—love, friendship, loyalty—they can defeat the evil things.

Once I figured the whole psychological thing out I realized that I didn’t love fairytales any less because I’d figured them out. I realized I loved them more. And because I love fairytales and their retellings so much I’ve put together a list of my top 5 favorite fairytale retellings and I hope you love them as much as I do.

1.)The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor – this is the first book in a trilogy that sees Alice in Wonderland taking on a whole new, steampunk feel. A relatively late comer to this series (I picked all three books up off the bargain table at a Barnes and Noble) and spent an entire weekend going “not now I’m reading”. Now whenever my husband sees one of them on my nightstand he just plans on ordering pizza to feed him and the kids.

2.)Enchantment  by Orson Scott Card—I’m not a fan of his politics but I don’t think anyone can deny that Orson Scott Card can write one heck of a story and in my honest opinion this one leaves Enders Game in the dust. A retelling of Sleeping Beauty that’s set in Post-Soviet Russia it involves time travel, a talking bear with one eye, Baba Yaga and a disappearing 747—all of it told from the poor confused hero’s POV.

3.)Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine—Who doesn’t love a good Cinderella story? And one with a couple of inept fairy godmothers who keep screwing things up? The story would be a keeper just from that but throw in spunky Ella and her view on the world and that just makes it a classic as far as I’m concerned.

4.)Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire—Before the musical there was the book. Wicked embodies the spirit of “the winners write history” better than any other book I’ve ever read.  This book tells things from the other side though and it changed how I watched the Wizard of Oz from that day forward.

5.)Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce—Little Red Riding Hood with an ax to grind—quite literally. Scarlett and Rosie are characters that captured my heart and sort of made me wish I could have traded my brother in for a sister back when we were young.





One of Those Odd Weeks

So it’s been one of those odd weeks. Oldest started school and that means we’re all back on the grindstone. Sure, I have youngest at home with me but it’s different somehow.

When Oldest is off school I work on a sort of as-needed/when the mood strikes sort of way. If I have a deadline or I have some free time and I want to write I do. Otherwise I try to act like a school teacher and enjoy having a summer vacation. I spend time with my kids. We hang out by the pool. I purposely make sure I do the one thing that I told my boss I wanted to do when I quit my last corporate job. I spend more time with my kids and less time working– that’s a luxury that I get as a full time author and I tend to exploit it like mad over the summer.

Now though, Oldest is back to school and I’ve been back to actually working for a week. I spent all of last Sunday getting prepped. I have goals. And a to-do list. A calendar of plans and scheduling and deadlines. I have a kanban flow board on the web that lets me track the progress of each and every one of my projects. I have engineered myself into a place of complete focus. And that works for me. I’ve written more this week than I have all summer—not counting the times I was on deadline—and my brain is chattering with new ideas and plots and I’m more energetic than before.

But there’s still this part of me that keeps glancing out toward the pool. Missing popsicles and water gun wars.

I love my work and the life it lets me have, but man I won’t lie and say there are times that I wish that summer wouldn’t ever end.


Everlast was released Tuesday. After two years, three houses, and a dozen rewrites the girl who soared into my head on the back of a dragon has finally been unleashed—with her dragon—on the world.





Is It Time For School To Start Yet?

Summers are a mixed blessing around my house. The kids love the fact that they’re out of school (and who can blame them?) but my Oldest is a competitive swimmer so summers for us aren’t like they are for normal people. From the day school lets out until the end of July we’re at the swimming pool at the crack of dawn 6-7 days per week. Yeah, you read that right. Every day. Five days a week of practice and then a swim meet on Saturday (and sometimes Sunday). All through June and July.

Then there’s August. August is known as the Month of Culling in our house. August is when I finally get a chance to get the house clean because I haven’t had time in June and July. August is when laundry finally becomes caught up. August is also the time my in-laws visit. So add that in. And family vacation has to be squeezed in as well. So for the first three weeks my house is a flurry of cleaning, cooking, packing, unpacking, and recleaning. Then comes school shopping (and man is that fun with two kids who outgrow everything?) and getting them ready to go back.

But the first day of school? That my friends is a holiday. This year I plan on spending it on Colin Firth movies. Or possibly marathoning Sons of Anarchy episodes. Then again I might cherry pick SOA episodes so I can make sure to get all the episodes where Charlie Hunnam and Theo Rossi are taking clothing off. And then I might be able to fit some Colin Firth movies in. Either way, the first day of school involves me, in my jammies, on the couch, thanking the deities above that I have nine months to get caught up and refreshed before summer starts again.

We Are Disney World Bound

I know that I haven’t blogged in a while because of the insanity going on here with getting 3 books out the door in edits, Oldest’s swim season and all the other various stuff going on. But summer is almost over and it’s time to get the blog going again.

But first? This week, this week I’m on vacation in Florida so make sure to check my Facebook and my Twitter feed so you can check out the pictures of all the things I’m doing while I’m not writing.


PS I didn’t even take my computer this week so that’s pretty amazing if you think about it—I don’t think I’ve been without my laptop for years. Like seriously years.


Anyway, have fun peeps. I’ll see you in a week

Searching For New Heroes and New Ways of Finding Inspiration



So right now I’m trying to plot ahead (because my plotting stage is exceptionally intense) and I’ve been searching about for new heroes. Especially paranormal heroes. So I’ve been going back to the classics. And when you’re a romance writer the classics are Jane Austen and Shakespeare and the Bronte Sisters but even more than that you can go back to the original sources—places like mythology, folk tales, fairytales, the Bible even works but blame my Catholic upbringing that just seems weird to me. And I have a ton of ideas. A ton of them. Now as I dig through tumblr and pinterest and all these other places looking for visuals to help sculpt these stories in my head I’ve also got to figure out music and plot and who I would cast (I told you my plotting stage is exceptionally intense) and then if the story is even worth writing. And those are the days that I’m incredibly jealous of the authors who tell you that a story came to them in the shower (I’m looking at you Jennifer Armentrout) and it is just stunningly complete. Because that’s not me. For me, it’s a grueling process and right now it seems I’m spending about an hour to two hours a day working through that process so that in six months I’ve got something to write.

What about you, other authors? Do you have a process or do things come to you fully formed? Do you go searching for visuals to fit your stories when you plot them?

And readers, what kind of classical heroes and heroines do you like to see revamped?

Meanwhile, attached at the top is the visual that my lovely friend Tracy came up with for the Upper YA/New Adult I’m working on and below is attached a sample playlist that I’m using when I write it.

Mission Prom Short Playlist