When Stars Die’s New Home!

When Stars Die’s New Home!

It’s no secret that my last publisher, Gnome on Pig Productions, folded after being around for quite some time. I wish I could say I was surprised, but COVID has been doing a number on a lot of people, including the new place I work at and one or two of its branches. Lots of businesses are going under, or having to cutting costs by cutting people. I have heard that even the medical field hasn’t been safe from the damage wrought by COVID.

It’s been both an exciting and admittedly rough time. I have just started physical therapy school amid the pandemic, and this means many of my labs, which are generally in person, are now mostly virtual, and that is challenging as I wrap up my first week. As you can imagine, physical therapy is a very hands-on profession, and it’s just not possible to be a good clinician without putting your hands on someone.

When my publisher let all of us know what was going to happen, I had no idea what I was going to do. I had initially thought of doing self-publishing, but that was before I lost my last job, which paid so much better than this new one does. I would have been able to afford it then. Now I have to squirrel away money purely for PT school.

So I decided to pound the pavement again, but I really only had one publisher in mind because they publish speculative fiction, have bestsellers, have several imprints, and overall have an impressive catalogue of books (with fabulous covers to boot). They’ve been around for eight years and also do accept previously published books. I was pining for them at this point. So I submitted and only had to wait a couple of weeks. And as you can guess at this point, I got the contract!

It is with Crushing Hearts Black Butterfly Publishing (or CHBB Publishing). So I think my Stars Trilogy has finally found its forever home, and I look forward to seeing what Mrs. Sarah Brandon has in store for these books. I feel confident When Stars Die is in good hands and am so, so, so beyond grateful it is being given yet another chance to thrive. For a brief, dark moment, I considered giving up on it because maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. But then I thought about how I started working on the trilogy when I was fourteen, and nine years later, it was first published. How could I let all of that work go to waste? I couldn’t. So at this point, I am grateful and relieved.

And in even more exciting news, because I’m obsessed with beautiful cover art, it has been decided between me and my publisher that my trilogy should have new covers. I still love the current covers and think they are beautiful, but unfortunately Viola Estrella, who created the first two, is no longer doing cover art. This trilogy also truly needs a fresh start, so I thought that would be the best course of action. It’s not that I don’t think someone couldn’t make a third cover and have it line up with the style of the first two. It’s simply more exciting to start anew. That means cover reveals!

There is no release date yet, but once I get it, I will let you all know. For now, I will end with the blurb.

When Amelia finds out her younger brother is a witch, they must flee-or die. The city of Malva is rife with puritanical hatred for witches, who are said to embody the Seven Deadly Sins of mankind. Amelia’s only chance of saving Nathaniel, her brother, is to become a professed nun at Cathedral Reims, but doing so means enduring a series of trials: near-starvation, intense isolation, beatings, and blood-sucking leeches. Escalating these are shadowy beings only Amelia can see. After harming her best friend with fire, a witch’s signature, she worries they are after her because she is a witch like her brother, who reveals he, too, can see them.

Oliver Cromwell, a dashing priest at Cathedral Reims, confirms her fears. He tells Amelia that these beings are Shadowmen: dead, unredeemed witches seeking others like Amelia to join their ranks. When this group of rebel Shadowmen begin planning to destroy those who slaughtered them, Oliver is the only one who can protect Amelia and save Malva. Yet, he may prove more dangerous than the shadows themselves–and his love for Amelia fatal.

Manic Monday: Cover Reveal for The Treacherous Flame

Manic Monday: Cover Reveal for The Treacherous Flame

a treacherous flameHere is the cover to my short story, “A Treacherous Flame”! I plan to have it released on November 10th, and it will be free on Amazon.

Benjamin Fairchild, interrogator at Usiburn Tower, is in charge of extracting confessions from witches–and then killing them. His methods are brutal. From crushing thumbs to cutting out tongues, Benjamin is not afraid to use the most extreme methods to get what he wants.

On a crusade to eliminate every last witch he can, Benjamin is currently tasked with a young girl named Emily. She proves to be a most difficult case. Trying to convince Benjamin of her innocence is impossible when he is certain that witches are the biggest embodiment of sin. However, Emily will force Benjamin to discover a secret about himself that threatens to undo everything he has been taught.

If you need a reminder, I’ve included a button to my newsletter below. Click on it, subscribe, and you’ll receive it on the day of release.


Being a Bad Author–But for a Reason

Being a Bad Author–But for a Reason

I’m going to admit I have been a bad author lately. Not bad in that I’m not doing any writing, but bad in that I need to do content edits for The Stars Are Infinite, the sequel to When Stars Die. I got them from my publisher and the C.O.O. However, while I have three projects–including this one–going on, I can’t juggle all of them at the same time.

AEC recently advised we submit short stories to magazines that fall in our genre, and that they would do a complementary copy edit. The truth is that I don’t want to do any more paranormal stories after The Stars Trilogy, and I was not in the least bit interested writing a paranormal short story. (I will be doing a novella pertaining to The Stars Trilogy.) Even so, I said I wanted to do it, with a story already burning in my mind. When I looked up who I wanted to submit to, Harmony Ink Press immediately made my list because some magazines do consider 15,000 words short stories, but they consider that a novella. I thought, ‘Hey, this is  a great opportunity to get my foot in their door, because I have this other, bigger novel I’m also doing that I want them to consider, and if AEC approves of doing a complementary edit for a 15,000 word thing, then that’s great!’ But as I began to outline it, the more I began to realize I wanted this to turn into something more because HIP put out a call for a very specific type of work they’re looking for: books with asexual/aromantic characters.

When I saw that on their blog, I knew it was going to be longer than 15,ooo, that it had to be, because I want to represent some of the struggles asexuals face, some of the struggles people are completely unaware of, even among those who are asexual. But the book is far more than that. In fact, the MC finds out she’s asexual not even a quarter of the way through the book, and even before that readers know just what is going to define the book, that it is not her asexuality. However, I’m going to start talking more about this in issue 3 of my newsletter and will not start talking about it more until I hopefully get a contract from them. And even if I don’t get the contract, I will be subbing to other places seeking material along these lines. So if you want the scoop before anyone else, it’d be awesome if you signed up for my newsletter. Issue 2 comes out tomorrow.  I am super crossing my fingers at this time because I have more faith in it than the other book with an asexual character. I have so much faith in it that I’m going to send Mariah, now a freelance editor, the draft of it when I start content edits for TSAI. I usually revise a book before sending out the draft, and while it’s definitely not perfect, I think it’s something she can handle without her eyes bleeding.

In any case, as I began delving into this book, I was originally going to make it a novella, but HIP doesn’t pay advances for novellas–and you only get published in electronic format and not print. This is when I knew I could push it to be a short novel. This is when I knew that I had to, partly for selfish reasons to get an advance, but also because I really wanted to develop the characters and the main theme of the book. I want to make it just as sweet and heartbreaking as John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. (For the record, there is no cancer.)

But I am also binge writing about 8,000 words a day, so I’m ALMOST 40,000 words into the book, having started it just last week. Just 3,000 words away. The climax will be coming in about a chapter or two, that will last probably one or two chapters or so, and then the resolution, which will be about 2 to 3 chapters. I am absolutely positive that I can get it finished this week. Then content edits for TSAI WILL absolutely occur, because they have to occur, especially if I hope for an end-of-year release or at the most the beginning of 2015.

So I am ultimately prioritizing the draft of this book because HIP put out a call for these very specific characters that I’m writing about. They don’t have any books with asexual characters. In fact, YA doesn’t have too many books with asexual characters you don’t have to analyze to know they’re asexual.

I will I will I will start content edits for TSAI and try to get those done in a week, too.

In other news, I just want to mention that When Stars Die has 78 ratings and 49 reviews, on Goodreads at a 4.29 rating. If you haven’t picked up your copy, what are you waiting for? It’s a YA paranormal that can be best compared to The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, especially because of the extreme religious fanaticism expressed in Amelia’s world.

Screenshot (1)The sequel, I am most positive, is going to be absolutely stellar.

The Dancing Writer–Episode One: When Stars Die

The Dancing Writer–Episode One: When Stars Die

when-starsThis is my first podcast. You can find it on Youtube here. It’ll also be on here. I tried to upload the WAV of it, but it wasn’t working for some odd reason.

You can just browse the internet while listening to it, and I’ll try to make it downloadable somewhere if you want to listen to it on the go.

But I basically talk about how annoying it was setting up this podcast because of all the technical glitches along the way, especially learning the horrifying truth that Windows 8.1 does not do well with even the best audio equipment.

I also talk a little bit about myself, give a short rundown of When Stars Die, talk some about the book I’m working on now, talk about my job a little bit, and babble about ballet–a lot. And then I go right into reading When Stars Die’s chapter one, which I hope you will all enjoy.

At the end, I mention the first video I’ll be doing, as well as the next podcast.

Here’s a snippet of what the book is about, for those of you who do not know:

Shadowy figures haunt Amelia’s days in Cathedral Reims, and they are waiting for her to join them. Oliver Cromwell, an alluring priest, is the only one who can save her–but he may prove to be just as dangerous.

I hope you all enjoy this!


When Stars Die Available for Pre-Order on Amazon

When Stars Die Available for Pre-Order on Amazon


It’s available for pre-order now, so pick yourself up a copy! It’ll be released on October 22nd.

Synopsis: Amelia Gareth’s brother is a witch and the only way to save her family from the taint in his blood is to become a professed nun at Cathedral Reims. However, in order to become professed, she must endure trials that all nuns must face.

Surviving these trials is not easy, especially for Amelia, who is being stalked by shadowy beings only she can see. They’re searching for people they can physically touch, because only those they can touch can see them. Amelia soon learns why she is being stalked when she accidentally harms her best friend with fire during the third trial. Fire is a witch’s signature. The shadows are after witches.

Now Amelia must decide what to do: should she continue on her path to profession knowing there is no redemption, or should she give up on her dream and turn away from Cathedral Reims in order to stop the shadows who plan to destroy everything she loves?

Game: How Well Do You Know Your MC?

Game: How Well Do You Know Your MC?

tumblr_mhwagm9uQz1qz4d4bo1_500There is this game played on AbsoluteWrite in the Young Adult forum called ‘How Well Do You Know Your MC?’ Basically, you ask a question, the next poster answers it with one of his/her MCs, and then that same poster asks a question. I thought this would be a fun way for readers to know Amelia from When Stars Die more personally because I’m not about just talking about her in plain terms. That’s dull. So, instead, I’m going to throw up some of the questions I have answered as her.

1. Does your MC have a secret?

Amelia: I bear many secrets, one of which could get me and my little brother killed.

2. What’s the worst injury you MC’s ever had?

Amelia:  The worst injury I have ever had are the welts the Mother Superior gave me
during the first trial. They stung for days and would periodically bleed. But I
don’t fault her. Such is the life of a nun.

3. What does your MC think about politics?

Amelia: I despise the papacy. Their iron grip on Warbele is the reason why hatred for
witches is so rampant. Yes, our Vulgate teaches us that we must hate them, but
the papacy is responsible for the witch-hating propaganda all across Warbele.

4. What exotic animal would your MC want if it didn’t violate any major sanctions or laws?

Amelia: I would want a snow leopard. They’re beautiful, graceful, and they blend well
with the snow, something that is common in my city. Malva is chilled a good
portion of the year, so a snow leopard would survive just fine.

5. What excuses does your MC give when they haven’t done their homework?

Amelia: I’m so exhausted from today’s deportment lesson. How can the nuns expect me to
concentrate on homework, especially because I also spent a great deal of time
illuminating manuscripts? I will take punishment. I am too tired to do this
6. Does your MC think about having kids one day?

Amelia: I do not want children because they will most surely be a witch like I am.

7. Can your MC swim?

Amelia: I have never swam before. Mother and Father believe it is not proper for a lady
of my status to do so, although I have known other aristocrats to partake in
swimming at the beach.

8. If your characters was  a pair of shoes, what kind would they be and why?

Amelia: I would be a pair of heeled boots so I could crush anyone who tried to do harm
to those that I love.

9. Does your MC like to write?

Amelia: Writing is only necessary for communication within Cathedral Reims. We do not
dabble in writing for the arts. It is considered a luxury.

10. Would your MC push someone in front of a moving train to stop it from hitting a group of children?

Amelia: I would put myself in front of that moving train. Who is to say whose life is more valuable, that group of children or the would-be victim of being pushed in front of the train? I would rather die than live with any guilt.

You guys should try it, either on your own blogs or something. Have fun at it in the comments section, too, if you wish.

Hypothetical Letter to My Number One Fan

Hypothetical Letter to My Number One Fan

tumblr_mmvgd99cVA1sr5i78o1_500So I have been doing research on pre-sales marketing, and perhaps the most interesting pointer I found was to imagine your number one fan, and marketing everything toward that  number one fan. What I decided to do was actually write a letter to my hypothetical number one fan who hypothetically wrote some fan mail to me about When Stars Die. I just thought it’d be a fun way to keep myself striving toward some pretty high goals for myself as well as a fun, unique way to speak a little bit about the book.

Dear Hypothetical Number One Fan,

I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed When Stars Die. It’s nice to know that you find Amelia a relatable character. She wasn’t really inspired by anything. She took on a life of her own. She had this goal, this almost impossible goal of wanting to be a professed nun, and so every action, every decision she made revolved around that. And she is very protective of her younger brother. It’s why she wants to become a nun. She believes that by becoming part of the Professed Order, she can become closer to Deus in order to cleanse her brother’s blood since he is a witch–and witches, in her world, are worse than murderers, after all. So it’s great to hear you can relate to that protective aspect of Amelia.

As for the inspiration for my witches, well, I wanted there to be a reason for someone being a witch. I wanted witches to be mankind’s punishment for sinning. I wanted people to hate witches only because their religious text tells them–so, in essence, these people are brainwashed to hate witches. They don’t question their text because they’ve been inundated with it so strongly throughout their lives. It’s hard to undo something that has been imprinted from the time you are able to grasp and remember things. But I also wanted the witches to be taboo, for no one to speak of them. Propaganda is the only thing that reminds anyone of their existence. Cathedral Reims is filled with terrifying imagery of witches being strangled, burned, and impaled. I wanted fire to be the only way a witch can be recognized so that way I could create my own reason for why witches are later burned in the book–use their own terrifying power against them.  

As for Cathedral Reims itself, where the book begins, I did do research on convents and hierarchies and how things worked. I even watched a special on a particular convent in America. I concluded that while they move through a hierarchy before being professed, each convent is run differently, so I decided to make mine unforgiving to show just how strongly the country of Warbele is devoted to Deus and how much these people are willing to sacrifice to worship him. I don’t know if there are people out there who would take a severe beating for God, but the characters in my book endure worse to show they are devoted to Deus. They endure beatings, hair pulling, leeches, claustrophobia, and harsh, cold winters on their way to becoming professed as nuns. I’m into the whole religious fanaticism thing, so what goes on at Cathedral Reims is fanaticism–definitely not what modern day convents are like. I find it fascinating that people would give up who they are to prove themselves to an almighty being. I know I couldn’t endure what Amelia does, especially since there is no promise of a wonderful afterlife in spite of what the religious text in Amelia’s world says.

So why did I create a new country instead of using a country already in existence? At first I had an entirely new world planned out, but once I parsed everything down, I no longer had a whole world anymore. But I still wanted new laws, a new governmental system, and I wanted it to be in the 19th century but not hold the same values as the rest of the developed world. In order to do that, I had to create a new country completely ruled by the papacy. The papacy determines the laws, dress, mannerisms, how everyone should act, and who should be in power. While I don’t focus heavily on the papacy, it’s obvious Warbele is a country ruled by religion. The rest of the world doesn’t treat witches the way Warbele does. In fact, the rest of the world would view Warbele’s treatment of witches as barbaric, but Warbele is deliberately shut off from the rest of the world so no one is influenced by the thinking of the other countries.

All in all, I am so happy you loved my book and had so many interesting questions. Feel free to always write to me, and I will always try to answer when I can.


The Inspiration Behind When Stars Die

The Inspiration Behind When Stars Die

In my younger years, I had a crazed fascination with the Salem Witch Trials. It was interesting to me how one village in all of America became struck by witch hysteria, so much so that they wanted to burn anyone they thought was a witch. I did intense research into the subject, trying to find out the origins of burning, who started the burnings, because I wanted When Stars Die to touch upon what started everything in its sequel.

Of course, I never found the origins, but over time, I did evolve and mold the idea of why one became a witch in the first place. Were they witches through sin? Were they demons spawned by God? No one ever chastised the parents who gave birth to them because clearly they came from “pious” wombs. That is when I began to fashion the idea that they were born of the Seven Deadly Sins. A parent who committed a deadly sin for a prolonged period of time would give birth to a witch. Of course, the parents aren’t aware at first. Sometimes the parents are never made aware. Just as in the Salem Trials, it is the witch who must bear the burden alone. But the existence of witches does punish those who are non-witches; however, that is only answered in the sequel.

I was also fascinated with convents and the 16th century. But When Stars Die doesn’t even take place in the 16th century because I wanted to move Amelia to the 19th century to push her closer to the sequel. I was just reading so many Tudor books then, with some 19th century flavors throw in the mix.

I can’t even tell you where the fascination with convents came from. I just like the idea of a girl who bears a dark secret becoming a nun that must purge her soul of sin. I think the idea also may have come from watching a documentary on one modern day convent. But modern day convents are different from one you’d fine in the 19th century. However, because each convent does its own thing, so, too, could my convent–within reason.

But, really, When Star Die doesn’t have a simple point of inspiration. The idea just evolved over the years as I matured as a person and writer. The direction I wanted the book to go was always the same, but how I ended up there had to be changed and fleshed out over time as my writing and storytelling skills evolved.

That’s what’s difficult about being a teen writer. Perhaps I could have cashed in on the whole teen writer thing, but my gut was also churning, telling me the writing isn’t ready, you still have maturing to do. And luckily I listened to it, because When Stars Die wouldn’t be what it is now and who knows if it would have sold well in the condition it had been back when I was younger.

In any case, I leave you with a small summary of When Stars Die:


Amelia Gareth’s brother is a witch and the only way to save her family from the taint in his blood is to become a professed nun at Cathedral Reims in the city of Malva. However, in order to become professed, she must endure trials that all nuns must face.

Surviving these trials is not easy, especially for Amelia, who is being stalked by shadowy beings only she can see. They’re searching for people they can physically touch, because only those they can touch can see them. Amelia soon learns why she is being stalked when she accidentally harms her best friend with fire during the third trial. Fire is a witch’s signature. The shadows are after witches.

Currently it is with AEC Stellar Publishing. Look out for more news!

The Dancing Writer’s Samples

The Dancing Writer’s Samples

when stars rise Some of you have requested samples of my writing. Since I hate posting rough drafts, and When Stars Die is under contract, I can give you a taste of its sequel though a small part of chapter one. I’ll even through in samples of some dialogue. While this has been looked at and professionally edited, it is, of course, still a proof and not a final copy.

These are just samples and some of them are out of context.



Chapter One Sample

I am a child of The Seven Deadly Sins. Witches, many people believe, are worse than murderers.

Rivulets of blood stream down my back as I think this, splashing red dots on the parquet floor that look like cherry spatter. On my knees, I watch this in a dirty mirror and even count the number of welts I wasn’t able to keep track of during my whipping sessions: fifteen. Perhaps there are more.

One welt for each year of my life.

I touch a welt on my shoulder and wince. Since movement is difficult, the rest sting as well. The flesh is puckered and cracked, sending forth beads of blood that join together and trickle down my side, caressing the ribs sticking through my pale, clammy skin. This will be the last welt I ever receive in my life. I take comfort in knowing I’ll never be beaten again. Or I should take comfort in knowing I’ll never be beaten again.

Tomorrow I’m going to be burned at the stake.

Dialogue Sample

Father comes over and plants soft hands on my shoulders. “I wish you could stay here, but Governor Branch would only let you go if you were exiled from here. Gallows Hill is safe, I promise you.”

Exile. A word meant for criminals.

“If it’s so safe, how come you and he know about it?”

He rests a hand on my cheek, bends down, and looks up at me. “He receives a lot to keep quiet. You don’t think Governor Branch lives as well as he does on tax payer money, do you?”

I take this to mean Governor Branch knows the location of certain safe houses, and he only keeps this information from everyone else in the towndue to money.

My insides boil at the thought that my life is a bargain, something to be bought and sold to the highest bidder. I pull away from him. “I. Don’t. Want. To. Go.”

“Be reasonable. If Governor Branch allowed you to stay here, people wouldn’t be kind to you at all. You know how they are in this village. I can’t protect you forever.”

I close my eyes. “Mother isn’t coming to say good-bye, is she?” I don’t know why I bothered to ask. Father’s eyes make the answer clear. He just can’t bring himself to disappoint me.

“Alice, don’t do this to me.”

Description Sample 

“And we’re here,” the driver announces, coming upon an enormous manor that rests on a cliff overlooking rapids.

I shrank against the seat, intimidated by the sheer size of the structure. I’ve never seen a building so enormous in my life. Then again, I’ve never traveled far from Belhame.

From where we are I am able to make out enormous gargoyles on the blackened shingles of the roof that look like they want to come alive, swoop down, and dig their stony teeth into my flesh. There’s a rusty bell on a bell tower behind a peaked roof, one that looks like a signal for funeral services. Thick vines choke the manor, and they cover so much of the building I wonder if the inhabitants inside are able to breathe.

The most frightening décor of Gallows Hill are the stained-glass windows. I have no idea if they are supposed to serve as a warning or not, but they contain pictures of shadowy creatures holding crosses as if to ward me off.

I tug my father’s sleeve. “I don’t want to be here.”

These are just some samples of my writing. Once the release nears for When Stars Die, I will be posting chapter one of it! As per my contract manager’s advice, of course.

The Planning Behind My First Novel, When Stars Die

The Planning Behind My First Novel, When Stars Die

Not finalized cover.
Not finalized cover.

I started When Stars Die when I was fifteen–now 22. I had finished its sequel (a whopping 180,000 word monster) and decided my sequel needed a prequel. The book was once titled Croix Infernal, Hellish Cross. It had the same characters and similar plot thread, but the writing was juvenile as was the storytelling itself. So I put that on the back burner for a few years to pound away at its sequel, Witch Tourniquet. I eventually parsed that novel down to about 90,000 words many years later, but after Georgia McBride told me the plot had de-railed, I knew it was not going to work as a first book and that I needed to resurrect the prequel.

I called it Lady Tourniquet to match the Tourniquet theme. How did I plan to go about fixing this book?

For one thing, all the details that were lumped together in half the book of Witch Tourniquet needed to be sprinkled throughout the entire book of what is now When Stars Die. I took Georgia’s de-railed comment as a sign that an outline was a must for the revision of When Stars Die.

I went through and carefully outlined each chapter, making certain to note important themes, plot threads, twists, and even character development. I noted every tiny detail to prevent plot holes. I also took a lot of Georgia’s advice from Witch Tourniquet and used that advice for the revision. The most important piece of advice I ever received from her: Make sure SOMETHING happens in every chapter, whether that be character or plot development. So each chapter I revised needed to either develop character or plot in some way. Thus, I made certain to note what would develop each chapter, whether it be one or both. Once I had the outline, I sat my butt down and began pounding out the revisions, trying to keep with my goal of a chapter a day.

Once I pounded out the revision, I took everything I learned from Georgia to self-edit the manuscript. I chipped away at everything you can imagine: plot holes, needless sentences, poor sentence structure, awkward character interactions, ect. I constantly referred to Georgia’s advice because I had learned massive amounts about how to edit my own work. The outline, more than anything, was my most vital tool for self-editing.

Will work for beta reader.

But the book had to be cooked again, so I stuck it back in the oven for a beta reader, Mariah Wilson, to read. I knew she would finish it because she loved the new version of its sequel (and she only read half). I’m a bit bitter about beta readers. I find them, offer to read their stuff, and they start my book, but they never finish or have to drop out due to life. I also never learned as much from them as I thought I did. Especially having Georgia critique my writing made me lose faith in a beta reader’s ability to truly help, until I realized they’re beta readers, not editors. I needed to take care of the iffy stuff first before using a beta reader to take care of the excess dirt.

But apparently I’m a decent self-editor. Mariah never found anything wrong, and Raymond Vogel of AEC Stellar even told me I have a gift for self-editing. But it was all because of Georgia McBride. Without her, When Stars Die would probably be flailing around somewhere.


That was the basic planning for When Stars Die. I can’t even tell you how inspiration struck. All I know is I always wanted to write about the 19th century with nuns and a convent and have witches thrown in there somewhere.