And Malicious is finally here!

The final book of the Puzzle Box trilogy is finally here! Check out this gorgeous cover:

Malicious---ebookcover

Summary:

After the events of Malevolent and Malcontent, Libby and Mal are reeling from their soul separation. Libby has learned to use life motes in new, amazing ways. Mal has regained his humanity, yet is crushed under the weight of the devouring power laid upon him. Despite this, their devotion to each other has grown into passionate adoration.

When a new type of undead appears, Mal tries to stop the revenant’s insane misuse of magic. The revenant is aided by a terrible monster called the Hunger. Not even the Marchers can stand before them.

Now Mal and Libby must discover their own deepest secrets to end the zombie apocalypse and defeat the revenant and the Hunger, or lose everything they hold dear.


It’s hard to summarize the third book of a trilogy without giving away every last detail of books 1 and 2, but there you go. The other two books are on sale right now, so if you want to dive into the trilogy, now is a good time! I’m working on the paperback, and hope to have that out in the next few weeks. In the meantime, here’s the links to the first two books, Malevolent and Malcontent.

Book 1


Book 2

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What’s scarier than Halloween? (The struggle is real)

Halloween is careening toward us, rife with ghosts, monsters, princesses, and jack o’ lanterns. Pretty much everybody loves it, if only for the cooler weather and the changing seasons.

And the pumpkin spice.

pumpkinspice

Today, I just did something scarier than dressing up and wearing fake fangs.

I finished editing Malicious.

This means preorders and cover reveals and hammering out a decent summary that doesn’t give away every last detail about books 1 and 2. (Is that even possible with the third book in a trilogy?) And worst of all: The Resistance.

Seth Godin defines the Resistance as the lizard brain, the part of your psyche that wants to survive. It doesn’t like changing the status quo. “We’re safe right here,” it says. “Why should we do something scary like publishing a book? We might get bad reviews or something! Let’s just sit on it and never show it to anybody.”

I think there’s something spiritual that goes on, too. I’ve seen other authors talk about it. These voices start whispering, “Why should you even bother? You’ll never amount to anything. The book isn’t any good.” And so on. It’s like, really extreme negative self-talk. I generally have pretty upbeat self-talk, so when this negative stuff starts, I always notice it. Once I address it in prayer, it stops.

And publishing a book is pretty terrifying. Particularly the end of a trilogy. The story has to pay off all the plot and tension set up in books 1 and 2. I want my readers to put it down with a satisfied sigh and walk around with warm fuzzies for a day or two. You know, the kind you get when you finish a REALLY good story and you’re all contented inside.

This was also the hardest book to write. I’ve rewritten huge chunks of it over the course of a year. I’ve slaved and fretted and brainstormed. But when I got it back from my editor, she said this was the smoothest of my books she’s edited so far. My beta readers were enthusiastic, saying this was the best book I’ve written yet. That kind of encouragement should make me feel invincible.

But the Resistance drags its feet. The struggle is real.

How about you? Do you get scared when you’re about to finish a huge project? Or am I just weird?

Malcontent sneak peek and Kindle Unlimited freebies

uf-promo-image

I’m participating in a promo this week! Paranormal romance and urban fantasy, all free on Kindle Unlimited. There’s some really good stuff in there. So I’m entering my paranormal romance Malevolent! Click the pretty below to check it out!

malevolent-cover4

Read for free on Kindle Unlimited! Infomercial GET!

Anyway, Malevolent has been out for more than a year now. I would have had the sequel out already, but I kind of had a baby in November, and that always sets back all artistic endeavors by six months. Anyway! Book 2, Malcontent, is in final revisions and awaiting the jaded eye of a professional editor. I thought my loyal readers might like to read the first chapter and see how Mal and Libby are coping with the fallout after the events of book 1.


Libby

“You’re going to have to tell your parents eventually, Libby,” Mal said.

It was a hot August morning, and the sky was that brassy white color, like the lid on a casserole dish. Mal was gently wheeling a beehive on a dolly to its new position near the blueberry field. He’d poured so much smoke into the bees that they were comatose.

I leaned against a fence post and folded my arms. “I know what’s wrong with me. You know what’s wrong with me. I don’t need a psychiatric evaluation.” I tried to sound defiant, but inside I was quivering with terror.


Continue reading “Malcontent sneak peek and Kindle Unlimited freebies”

Almonds, bees, and monsters–writing what you know

Writing instructors always say “write what you know”. I’ve always taken that to mean “write what you’ve felt or experienced in some way”. For instance, I’ve never been mauled by an animal, but I’ve been pecked by chickens, bitten by dogs, and scratched bloody by an iguana. Extrapolating from that is pretty easy.

But I wanted to go out on a limb and write something completely different from my Spacetime books. I grew up in California’s central valley, and spent many years of my childhood climbing/playing in a treehouse built in an almond tree in our back yard. I watched it bloom in the spring, picked almonds off it in the fall, and watched it sleep in the winter.

Also, one of my earliest memories was of my parents’ beehive. I must have only been two or three, and I got the bright idea to take a stick and see how far I could poke it into the beehive. A bee stung me right between the eyes.

Another memory is of watching my mom and dad harvest the honey. They had a centrifuge that to me looked as big as a garbage can. It filled the middle of our tiny kitchen. My parents were so delighted with the honey and the comb, and we had honeycomb in our freezer for months afterward, that it remains a very positive experience in my memory.

But what to write in a setting like this?

I wanted to write a romance, and I wanted there to be a monster. But I don’t like vampires, and I’ve done werewolves in other places. Also, every other creature has been done–I’m talking elves, fairies, angels, demons, every kind of animal shifter, witches, even Cthulhu has featured in a paranormal romance. I wish I were kidding about that last one.

Diana Wynne Jones says to look at what everyone else is writing, take that idea, rotate it 90 degrees, and write that. So I tried to do that by using a monster that is always bad. Always. I searched Amazon over and over, and in the few instances where this monster did pop up, they’re always pure evil. It was a challenge to take it and develop it into a sympathetic character whom you can root for, and even see working in a romance.

Basically, I wrote that I knew–my childhood environment, my fascination with beekeeping, and an unusual monster who is never portrayed as a hero–and out came Malevolent.

malevolent-cover3

Libby is a high school senior who should be preparing for graduation. Instead, she’s been bedridden for six months with valley fever, stuck on her father’s farm in California’s central valley.

When the beekeepers arrive in February, bringing their bees to pollinate the almond crop, one of them looks like a vampire, acts like a vampire, says his name is Malevolent, and tries to murder Libby’s lousy boyfriend. Yet he offers her honey that dramatically improves her illness, and his bees sing words that she can understand.

Mal took up beekeeping in order to preserve the last remnants of his humanity. What started as a simple trip to California quickly turns into something far more complicated, as he meets a lovely girl who is deathly ill, infected by Mal’s own brother. Feeling guilty and responsible, Mal sets out to heal her with his precious, magic-infused honey, and with each passing day, comes closer to breaking his personal creed:

Befriend Many, Serve Some, Trust Few, Love None.

Once healed, Libby has the strength to break up with her boyfriend–touching off a war between Mal and his brother. This escalates into a realm of awful magic Libby has never dreamed of, where she is both pawn and prize in the battle against a Necromancer. In the end, Libby must face her growing feelings for Mal, and decide whether to destroy him–or rescue him from his soulless existence.

Available on Amazon

It was fun to “write what I knew”. I got to go back and research my hometown in a new way, as well as how almond orchards work, and the importance of bees to the farmers. What came out was Malevolent, a complete labor of love.