August News: Update on Liminal Boy and Other Stuff

I really should write more blog posts, my friends. I really enjoy reading others, but when it comes to writing my own I blank. Does anyone really want to hear how my food allergy elimination diet is gong? I haven’t had cheese in ages, and I am very sad about this. Is there anyone other than me who is interested in pictures of my cat? (Actually, considering that one picture of Butter has over 1k notes on Tumblr that might be a yes.)

I’ll get to the news and have a TLDR at the end for anyone who is too busy.

What I’m Working On:

The Moonlight Herders is finally out! I wrote that story in 2014. It was picked up by Ellysian Press in 2016. I’m so happy that Hattie and her herders are making their way into readers’ homes. If you’ve already picked up a copy, please leave a review on Amazon. (Or wherever you like to leave reviews.) Now that the pre-publication work is done, I’ve been able to put more focus on the second Opposition book…

Liminal Boy. I started writing Langdon’s story in February 2017. I’ve thrown out about 3-4-5-6? drafts. This week, I finally finished my current and most successful draft.

This draft isn’t going to need a drastic overhaul like all the previous ones. I quite like this one. It holds true to the vision in my head much more than all the others. Now all I’ve got to do is rearrange it, fill it out, cut it, and wrap it in some masking tape so it doesn’t fall apart. Langdon’s story is a puzzle whose pieces fit together no matter what angle you put them together. I’ve just got to decide which is the right picture I want it to show.

As for now:

Word Count: 122k

First word: Midnight

Last word: angel

Feels Like the Song: 505 by Arctic Monkeys

(For reference, Midnight is around 85k and feels like Uma Thurman by Fall Out Boy.)

Have I ever mentioned how I link songs to book? I majored in Creative Writing. A teacher once said she compares plot arcs to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody to help students understand how tension should build in a story. I never shook the concept and took it even further. Now I find a song that matches each of my story’s pacing. Beat-wise, not lyrically. Lyrically, I have playlists for some individual characters filled with no less than 40 songs each. However, the lyrics “may death find you alive” and “middle of adventure, such a perfect place to start” is very Jo and Langdon, respectively.

I’ve already got some beta readers lined up. And I’m DEFINITELY looking for sensitivity readers, so if you think you might have some spare time in a few months to read LB please send me a message and tell me a little about yourself. I might re-create the Facebook group on my page if there is enough interest. If you don’t know if you’re the “right” sensitivity reader– if you saw something in Midnight you feel like you have authority on, you’re the one I need. Additionally, if you follow me on social media you might have picked up on hints I’ve not very carefully dropped, I need someone who can help me accurately write someone who has a service dog.

Sometimes revisions move quickly. Sometimes they don’t. I can’t promise when LB will come out, but I will certainly keep you updated on the progress.

One of the biggest problems that delayed LB (other than life/work stuff) is that his story is very difficult. Emotionally. Mentally. Literally?

While Midnight was the “kick-off” with minor foreshadowing and only a few hidden clues, Langdon’s story is packed with both of those, is non-linear to a degree, and requires full knowledge of specific concrete details of the final two Opposition books. There have been several times I’ve had to stop and write chapters from the POV of the other two characters so I could write his story.

(Who are they? I’ll reveal the POV of the third book after LB is published, but I’d really like to hear who you think the other two main characters are. I’ll give you a clue. You’ve met both of them in Midnight, but you only know about one of them.) (And CPs I already told– no cheating!)

Life Stuff:

I am turning 30 in less a couple of weeks.

30.

30.

I have no idea how I got this old. I always thought people who were 30 were adults, but I still feel like I’m 17. Or maybe that’s because I’ve spent the last 18 months in the mind of a 17-year-old boy.

Anyway. While I might not think I’m really 30, the highlight of my week is grocery planning and I’ve contemplated picking up crocheting again (I need some sort of stress relieving hobby that doesn’t involve words. Any suggestions?) so I must be.

My life is nothing like I imagined it would be when I was young but I’m so grateful for that. I never aimed high as a child when planning my future, so my image of me at 30 was pretty boring. Now I can say I have two published books, a college degree, and a lot of interesting (real life) stories to tell.

I like aiming high now. I haven’t figured out what my next goal is other than publishing the rest of the Opposition and the dozens of other stories in my head. A small voice keeps telling me to go eat something with dairy in it, but I won’t listen to it.

TLDR: All of my time is going toward finishing LB. No other on-going projects but plenty are gestating in my head. And I’m old.

Cover Reveal: The Moonlight Herders

Moonlight Herders - Ebook Only

Coming soon from Ellysian Press:

Everyone in town knows Hattie Lynch is crazy. The sidelong looks, pulling kids away from her, and barking at her prove that. Even Hattie doubts her own sanity. But she will learn the monsters are real.

The threat to her town is real. And the threat to her and her cousin Amanda, alone in their creaky old house next to the cemetery – yeah, that is real, too.

When Amanda falls for the charming Jonah, the girls find out that some monsters can be good. In fact, some monsters are downright necessary when an evil force raises the dead right next door.

Jonah belongs to a werewolf pack and they will do what those before them did – send the roaming dead back to their graves permanently. If they can discover and stop whoever is behind the awakenings.

 

Update: Submit Your Questions

Moodboard Jo.png

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.

LiminAl Boy-3

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!