Update: Submit Your Questions

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If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably noticed that it’s been nearly one full year since Midnight was released!

In celebration, I’ll be making a post (or maybe a video) with an update on what you can expect in the next few months.  Are you curious about the sequel? My other works? How I take my coffee?

Submit your questions, and I’ll do my best to answer them in the update!

Update: MS Awareness, Interview, and more

MS AWARENESS WEEK
When Midnight was in its early-never-let-anyone-see-this drafts, Jo’s disease was glossed over because I couldn’t figure out what she had. I knew it was serious. I didn’t want to give her the same illness as her creator because that felt like setting myself up for self-inserted Mary-Sue comments. But it also felt like a cop out to not name her disease, or to make one up entirely.  For some unknown reason MS was the one that stuck in my head. Maybe it was because a local bakery was fundraising for treatment for their child who was diagnosed with it. Maybe it was because MS is a term you hear but don’t quite understand what it mean. Maybe it’s because when I reached out to people who had it, read their stories, I saw the unabashed “this isn’t stopping me, it’s just slowing me down at the most” attitude that I wanted to instill in the story.
March 11-17 is National MS Awareness week. In honor of Jo, a portion of the profits from this week’s sales of Midnight will go to the National MS Society for research (the good kind of research, not the Morgan kind). So, buy a copy, buy two, or donate directly at nationalmssociety.org.
WHERE IN THE WORLD IS STEFANI?
If you follow me on social media, you might have noticed that I’m popping in and out with a lot of emphasis on the ‘out’ part. This is because I really want to get this draft of Liminal Boy finished while I still feel like I have a grip on what Lan’s telling me, and also before I start working on a round of edits for The Moonlight Herders.
This means things are about to get busy over here. So, if you want to stay in the know sign up for my newsletter and/or join the street team on my Facebook page.
INTERVIEW!
I was part of an interview by the great Alaina Leary for Bustle on the importance of LGBTQIA+ representation in literature, particularly in regards to relationships vs single status. Check it out here.
IS THAT ALL?
No.
Over the past year, I’ve heard from people. Actual people, not dudes on instagram who send messages that just say “hey.” And these people are nice, and have told me very personal things, and I do my best to be there for the people that reach out to me.
Something I want to do is answer a question I get a lot, which is “Can you tell me what LGBT book to read next?”
I’m slowly putting together a reading list of LGBTQIA+ friendly reads, but I’m falling short in a lot of categories. Leave a comment if you know of a rare gem that doesn’t get enough mentions you want me to take a look at.

2018 Plans

Oh, wow. Look at that. You made it. I’m glad you’re here. It’s been a hell of a year, which makes moments of peace even sweeter. Sit down and I’ll try not to go on for too long.

There’s a whole breed of self-help books that focus on the power of positive thinking. Everything boils down to your attitude and actions. Words choices are key to how the universe reacts to your thoughts.

On New Years Day’s 2016, I found myself in a bookstore (me in a bookstore, big surprise), running into a long-lost friend. They asked what I was up to since graduation.

“I wrote another book. I’m going to self-publish it.”

I wasn’t positive that was what I was going to do. I wanted to, but I didn’t possess the nerve to actually do it. But the store was crowded, and when I have to speak up to be heard, I speak in short sentences and keep the message brief.

I can’t remember what the friend said in response, but it didn’t matter. I heard myself say it, and in that instant I could see this alternative version of myself that actually did it. I envied her. The only thing stopping me from that future was myself.

As you know, I did it. It wasn’t easy. It’s still not easy. Once you publish a book, you’re never done with it. It’s still there, haunting you like a friendly ghost while you’re just trying to do laundry or eat lunch.

Or, in another case, it resurfaces like a zombie from the earth. The handwritten three-book series I wrote when I was 17-18 somehow survived moving multiple times. An entire box filled with notebooks covered in my awful handwriting managed to lurk unnoticed for years in the back of a closet. I could barely bring myself to look at the covers.

This was a friendly, albeit more embarrassing, haunting.

I thought of introducing it to my new paper shredder but stopped short, packed it back into a new box, and placed it under the dozen binders that my more recent stories reside in.

I love my ghosts. I love them some much I’m planning on adding more. They can follow me around as though I were a medium, going about my days.

2018 will see one, maybe two new books from me.

For certain, The Moonlight Herders, the first in a paranormal romance series from Ellysian Press. I’m so excited for this book to finally get out into the world.

Potentially, the second Opposition novel will be released late in the year. Langdon’s story has proven to be the most difficult story I’ve ever tackled, and I refuse to rush it. But I won’t leave you with nothing. I may not be able to give a concrete release date but I can reveal the title.

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Listen, my characters are all my children. I love them, but I won’t hesitate to say Langdon’s a special one. And while I can’t wait to get his story out there, I’m making sure he’s going out there with both shoes on. (And a jacket, scarf, gloves, hat… Montreal is really cold in the winter.)

Yesh. I’m going to need a lot of coffee this year.

I think I used up all of my positive allotment while trying to survive this year, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I was going to list all the good parts of 2017, but it feels fake to do so because that would mean ignoring all the bad parts.

Just a few days ago I felt like Jo, “walking in circles but meeting only dead-ends,” as I looked at a handwritten story from over ten years ago. 2017 saw more effort to move my life in the right direction than ever before, but I still felt like I was ending it the same way I began it. But then I remembered how it felt like a lie to say I was going to self-publish a book, and the flood of everything I’ve done since Past Stefani, the one who wouldn’t even let other people read her work, put all those notebooks into a box hit me.

You truly don’t notice change creeping up on you.  So now, even as I get hit with bouts of dread and anxiety over my work, I can recall how I never thought I’d even get this far and can look forward to everything I know I’m doing in 2018. Thanks for following along.

 

 

Nanowrimo Preptober 2017!

It’s that’s time of the year again. Pumpkins are in style. Candy is everywhere. Writers’ eyes are twitching as they try to hurry and prepare for everything before Nanowrimo begins on November first.

If you’re one of those people who’s Halloween ends with nervously staring at the clock and wondering if you can win this year, don’t worry. I got you covered. I’ve been posting a Nano advice article for every Tuesday in October.

Week One: Trusting Advice

Week Two: Plot

Week Three: Get Your Head in the Game

Week Four: The Whole Picture

Week Five: You

If you’ve got any questions about writing, drop in and send me an ask!

Update: Added link to remaining weeks!

72 Hour Sale!

Wanna enjoy a cup of Joe while reading about Jo?

Now through Sunday, get the Midnight ebook over on Amazon for 50% off!

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Happy National Coffee Day!

#hideabookday and more!

Time for another round-up. Let’s get to it.

Goodreads Turns 10

September 18th was #hideabookday in honor of Goodreads’ 10th anniversary. I took to my alma mater to hide a couple of copies of Midnight. (Fingers crossed they found some good homes.)

Smudge Nose Books

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The final piece in Midnight’s journey was added a few weeks ago when Smudge Nose Books was formed.

Q: What is Smudge Nose Books?”

A: It’s me. Hi. *waves*

Q: What does this mean?

A: I’m still self-publishing, but now with a cute logo for my DBA.

Q: Why ‘smudge nose’?

A: I really love my cat, ok. His name is Peanut. There’s a Peanut (no relation) in Midnight. It seemed fitting.

Q: Are you publishing anything else under the new imprint name?

A: The rest of The Opposition series for certain. I put off creating SNB until I was certain that Midnight would sell. Boy, did you guys prove my hesitation was for nothing. As for anything else? Time will tell. I’m not ruling it out, but my main focus right now is The Opposition, so it’s hard to think about working on anything else.

Other Things

What have I been up to? Other than the stuff you just read? Writing. Lots and lots of writing. Also, BOOKS. Always always books.

I’ve been going through a lot of books. Here’s a few of some recent discoveries, all YA favorites with amazing girl MCs:

  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  • If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
  • The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

I’ve left a few short reviews on my Goodreads account about my recent reads. If you want to know what I’m reading next or want to suggest a title (or just yell about whatever book you’re reading) follow me there! I’m getting more active on Goodreads, and it’s surprisingly easy to get sucked into spending an hour there. My TBR pile is now out of control thanks to that site. I regret nothing.

What else?

If you’re following me on Instagram you’d know I’m having a contest for a print copy of Midnight. There’s still plenty of time to enter.

Also, there’s a newly formed street team on Facebook: The Opposition Street Team! It’s still in it’s early stages, but if you want to apply to be a beta reader for my next book, you might want to join so you can be the first to know when that’s going down.

It’s almost fall, you guys! Which means the next time you hear from me it might just be a bunch of photos of apple pie and skeletons.

Until then…

 

 

The Second Act

Oh, Summer.

There’s something about Summer that drives me crazy. Maybe it’s the 118 degree heat. Maybe it’s the dust storms. Maybe it’s the bugs that creep into my house and antagonize my cats. Maybe it’s that I was made for cold weather. (That’s when I typically hit peak writing form.)

I can listen to rain soundtracks all I want but nothing can take the place of the real deal. I’m ready for cooler days, rain, and longer nights. But time moves faster for no one. So, I’ll just have to wait.

I’m stuck in limbo right now, trying to write the next Opposition novel while still promoting the first one. Jo’s story was one that threw me for a loop. The story that came out in June isn’t the story that I set out to write. The first draft of Midnight was called The Opposition, and was told with alternating perspectives. What I ended up with was a massive book that could easily break someone’s foot, or trigger a small earthquake. So, Midnight was narrowed down to the heart of the story and told from Jo’s perspective. That’s sounds lovely, doesn’t it?

It wasn’t.

It was a tearful, caffiene-sponsored mess of ripping out scenes and character development, beloved puns and storylines. But I didn’t let things go to waste. As soon as I realized that The Opposition was a series, everything else was filed away for later use. Sometimes literally. My massive tome shrunk down to the inciting incident of the series, which was Jo’s mysterious rebirth and hunt for Jamie. After sectioning that story aside, I was able to fully develop everything that happens next. And frankly, I’m thrilled that I suffered through the deconstruction of The Opposition novel to create The Opposition series. I’ve honestly never been prouder of anything else I’ve written. Because, even though I’m writing about non-real-life things, this feels like the most honest story I could write at this point in my life.

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In order from bottom to top: The Opposition transforms into Midnight.

(There were more than three drafts. Much more. The other drafts remained as computer files. I try to not kill too many trees with my writing.)

*Minor Spoilers for Midnight. Jump to “Patreon” to avoid.*

Book two is not told from Jo’s perspective.

Now, don’t get upset. Let me explain.

Jo was the character doing things while everyone else sat around eating Chinese food, slowly getting suspicious of their predicament. Jo is still in the next book (quite a lot actually). Jo is still doing Jo things: causing disruptions, making bad puns, etc. She is just not the narrator of this story. And this leads to the delightful opportunity of describing Jo through others’ eyes.

For this next go-around, it’s Langdon who will be doing the describing.

Earlier this year, not even a week after I finished Midnight, I started on his story. I got about 60k before I stopped, threw out the entire thing (save for one paragraph*), and took a look at what went wrong.

I love Langdon, but like Jo says, he never does a single thing I tell him to do.**

The funny thing about when I get stuck on a story is that I never get stuck on plot; I get stuck on tone. While the plot of the next book is the same plot of that 60k I threw out, it’s a matter of finding the tone that feels authentic to Langdon/ Lanny/ Lan/ Peanut.

So, that’s what I’m working on now. Langdon’s story. He’s on speaking terms with me again, but the promo for Jo’s story is still tying me up, taking away time from writing. That, and other things.

Patreon

I’m restarting my Patreon account soon, within the next month. I’m finalizing the rewards, making sure that I have the goods to offer in return for support. If there’s anything you can think of that you would want/ would incite you to make a donation, press that contact button at the top right and send me your suggestion. I want to make this Patreon exciting for both sides.

Other Things

The winners of my Goodreads give away have been notified, and their prizes will be sent off in the next couple of days.

Over 1,300 people entered my give away!  That’s… a lot.

A lot.

I’m sitting in the same chair that I wrote the majority of Midnight in. I never thought I would one day publish it, much less say that 1,300 people clicked a button to try and win it.

Maybe one day I’ll be able to say that I can’t believe 1,300 people bought my book.

You know what’s hard?

Reviews.

Getting reviews is hard, my people. If you’ve read Midnight, please leave a review on Amazon, or some other site where it’s available.

Oh, and promotion. That’s harder. I don’t want to be the person screaming, “BUY MY BOOK” every time you log onto your social media accounts, but if I don’t tell people about my book, they won’t buy it, and suddenly I’m seventy-three years old, sitting in an office at a job I hate because I needed money to feed my cats and gave up on my dream.

Help me out and put your creative skills to good. Use the tag #midnighttheopposition on your posts. Bookstagram your copy with some fairy lights. Make Jo proud and take a picture of it next to some poutine, or make her really homesick and take a picture of it somewhere in Brooklyn. Make a tumblr post with your fancast or favorite quotes. Impress me, and I’ll send you a postcard with a clue.

Until Next Time

Let’s recap:

Stefani is tired of Summer.

But not tired of Summer’s Child.

Reviews. Posts. Recommendations.  Those warm my heart faster than a cup of coffee.

Be sure to keep an eye out for my Patreon account.

Later, alligators.

 

*It’s a really good paragraph, my dudes. You will be impressed.

** That was a snarky line I added in editing, while also busy writing the second book. I have no qualms about side-jabs at my own characters.

 

The Witching Hour

What do you call the time after midnight? Three AM is the witching hour, where all sorts of chaos is free to go down, but I’m taking about my girl, Jo, right now.

Midnight came out just over two weeks ago, and it’s been one hell of an adventure in that short amount of time. The crazy thing is, I know this chaos is just getting started. In between sending out signed copies and trying to not melt in the 120 degree summer heat,   I’ve been busy plotting my next move on the second Opposition book. But what about you? Well, here’s the low down on stuff you can do:

At this very moment, there is a giveaway on Goodreads. The contest runs until July 14, so enter soon.

Likewise, I’m accepting questions on my Goodreads author page.

Starting this Sunday, July 2nd, I will be the featured author on the Ellysian Press Facebook Group. Drop by anytime during that week and ask a question then stick around and check out the other authors from the Press.

Lastly, if you’re one of the people who’s read Midnight, are reading Midnight, or plan to read Midnight (or were a beta reader in her prenatal stage), please please please leave a review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and/or Goodreads.

I’m off to drink some coffee before all the ice in it melts.

 

Midnight Round-up

The ebook is available on:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

The print version is available on:

Amazon

Createspace

Note: If you bought the ebook from Amazon be sure to go to Manage My Settings on your ereader to update the file. (I addressed some typographical errors. The update should be sent out any hour now. This does not affect the print or Barnes and Nobles ebook.)

Also, if you are outside North America you will still be able to purchase the ebook at any of Amazon’s sites.

How to Buy Midnight: The Opposition, Book One.

As of right now, you can pre-order the ebook from Amazon.com.

The print version will be available on Amazon on June 13th!

Also on June 13th, the book will be available on Barnes and Nobles.com.

Stay tuned for more updates on how to get a hold of your copy.