Cover Reveal!

It’s allliiive!!

I’m delighted that the cover for I Have Asked To Be Where No Storms Come is out in the world! Artist Felipe Knoll did a fantastic job taking my character descriptions, world building, and long winded emails to parse it into this stunning image.

Preorders will be up soon, but the book will be available in print and ebook on July 29, 2022. So, I’ll be blathering on about it until then, you poor souls, you. Until then, feast your eyes on this beaut!

In 2021, I was thrilled that Crystal Lake Publishing chose to publish my dark fantasy western horror novel, I Have Asked To Be Where No Storms Come. The standalone novel will be released July 29, 2022 (coming really soon – cue excited and anxious tyrannosaurus rex screech).

I started writing this… Egad, in 2014/2015 as a side project to procrastinate on my other book I was writing, Sharks of the Wasteland (Outland Entertainment, 2020). I think that’s the only way I accomplish things — procrastinating efficiently. It’s a strange tome, focused personally on exploring what it means to be from somewhere with all the implications of the past, belonging to a place, and the diffusion and infusion of melding mythologies on creative influence. It’s full of:

Witch brothers
Family over the greater good
Psychopomps and demons
Transformative powers
Wild west prairie magic
A fractured USA
A hellish underworld

I recently finished up the edits and am looking at the daunting task of marketing… But the cover is gorgeous! My prose slants to the embellished, I’m in love with beautiful sentences and imagery, so this novel is a bit dense, but god, some of it feels like my best work to date. An official preorder link is on the way!

I’m Back!

Hello dear reader — it’s been a while, hasn’t it? I assume you’re been like me: surviving the pandemic, pondering your life purpose, procrastinating on writing by joining three book clubs (seriously, I was in three virtual book clubs at once… Apparently I’m desperate to connect with my fellow bookworms. Don’t worry, I paired it down to one).

I did play pandemic bingo and almost got a blackout. I got a sweet Labrador just as the pandemic kicked off, also got pregnant and had a gorgeous baby boy, was laid off, started freelancing (pretty successfully!) and the began working full time again with a very cool company as an editor. My sourdough starter still needs some work, though. It’s been busy, without feeling busy.

I was pleased to be accepted into the Science Fiction Writers of America and the Horror Writer’s Association. You know, some of those awesome young, aspiring dreams come true. I also edited an amazing anthology, Marvel Xavier’s Institute: School of X (which is pretty damn good), and have a new book announcement coming out soon… details to come very soon, I promise! My second book in the Celestial Scripts series, Seams of Shadow, released to some nice praise and I’m working on the concluding installment.

A novel I acquired and edited, Papa Lucy and the Boneman, earned a Publishers Weekly Starred Review, and like a proud mama bird I preened for author Jason Fischer and his success. It’s seriously such a good book. Horror Mad Max but like fantasy, too. A couple other books I acquired and edited have released and are doing well, and it feels amazing to have these stories you uncovered through the submission pile or through a Twitter contest become a book you can snuggle on the couch with, with a cup of tea or coffee, of course, and get lost in them. Kate Martin’s The Soulless is a soaring dark fantasy and Raelyn Teague’s The Wolf’s Name is a cozy historical magical realism tale. Check them out and see why I fell in love with them.

So, while feeding my munchkin at 3am and rocking him until I felt seasick, I felt the need to document all this and plonked words down in my phone. Clumsily, with one thumb and lots of backspacing and using autofill, but words nontheless. It’s been a journey I hope to share and hear yours.

Preorders Open Now!

Preorders for the second Celestial Scripts novel, Seams of Shadow, is now open! Head on over to Amazon and get your copy. With all the supply issues happening, you won’t regret it!

The novel will release on October 12, 2021 and continues Eos’ journey as she deals with evil parasitic soul-monsters, shadow-hounds, and emerging rifts opening up between her world and a mysterious underworld.

Reviews are have compared it to Furyborn by Claire LeGrand – be still my heart! If you’re a Netgalley or ARC reader, request a copy now and check out new reviews over on Goodreads.

For the first time, I decided to sign up for the Goodreads Challenge.

This is a big thing for me. I don’t like committing to a ‘challenge’ because then it begins to feel like a chore, and honestly, I didn’t need the online book-guilt if I didn’t complete the challenge and have to live with the ‘I thought you were an author, don’t authors like to read?’ bit from my peers. But, fortune favors the bold, so I took on ten books and then was promptly thrust into a pandemic where I became a full-time freelancer.

It was a bit of fate that I got involved in a couple of book clubs. I’d always wanted to be in one, but it always felt like a far-off activity that sounds fun but really isn’t. The ones I have been involved in were full of people who didn’t read the book and generally wanted to drink wine and gossip (which, nothing against that, but hey I spend time reading a book-club book I wasn’t fond of to begin with and which wasn’t in the genre I enjoy, so I want to talk about the book, damnit). Also and frankly, I wasn’t really interested in most book club books. Instead of reading, say, Dune, we were picking up the latest Oprah sensation. Blerg. But this time, I decided to give it a chance. I was going insane being inside my house and talking to myself about books.

And, to my surprise, it has been enjoyable. So while I haven’t read much SFF so far in 2020 for pleasure, I have read a lot. I’m not going to review many of them in detail…because…well…no one wants to hear my take on a bunch of books that I didn’t really care for, but I have read a bunch of stellar poetry. Here’s a list that graced my eyes this past year:

tenderminded, non-compliant by Catheryn Tarazi

A self-published collection of poems that spoke to my aging millennial soul. There’s a lot that resonated with me inside these poems, mainly dealing with purpose, disappointment, and foraging for hope when there feels like there might not be any. There’s a lot of fighting for personality, about being crushed under how life just didn’t work out the way you’d hoped, and forgiveness towards your childhood dreams for not coming true. It’s a beautiful collection.

A four year old once told me, with all the sincerity she could muster, that

her heart hurts

and i almost said out loud: holy shit is this where it starts?

is this how it all happens? Feelings are feelings, no matter how small

the person who feels

them, so it must be true that she could look at me describe the side effects

of my solitude, the

pitch perfect tone of my exhales hitting empty walls, bouncing back towards

me

and whispering in the night, “You need to get your shit together.”

Boy with Thorn by Rickey Laurentiis

I stumbled on this one after discovering a snippet of one of their poems, Southern Gothic, which simply gave me the chills:

About the dead having available to them

all breeds of knowledge,

some pure, others wicked, especially what is

future, and the history that remains

And I usually follow those chills to their inevitable conclusion. I’m not a big poetry fan, rarely do I get the same overwhelming surge of emotionality that I receive from fiction, but to quote Emily Dickinson:

“If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only ways I know it. Is there any other way?”

This book took a couple of reads from me. I had to read a poem, let it simmer, and then come back and read it again. But it was completely worth it.

Ghost Stories by Taylor Lear

Oh god…if I could write a love story to this author I would. I absolutely adore every single piece in this book. It’s about billed as “a collection of love stories, told in poems, from one would-be lover to another.” I could wax and wane about the beauty of The Lighthouse Keeper for eons (and did so to my husband, who didn’t get the same response from it). It’s full of that breathless waiting—begging to express what lingers in the heart, the agony of if or when it is expressed that it’s not enough, the terror of rejection. Mythology oozes from the tales, pulling on ancient stories to explain little everyday emotions clogged in the throat.

I am building a lighthouse here, upon this rock

this spiny sea, this spine-flung end of the world, this edge

of space where there is only white vinyl paint and tallow-fat

to burn for shipcalling. Please don’t come, do not come asking

for me to love you in a picket-fenced way, do not hope for

well-tended roses in my mouth when you will only find

alewives and eelgrass instead

So good. Go find it.

Here’s the rest of my Goodreads list:

  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
    • Meh.
  • Deadmen Walking by Sherrilyn Kenyon
    • More pirates please! And more plot. But what a cool cast of characters.
  • A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
    • I get the Kell/Holland vibes people have told me about. Pretty good, I enjoyed it, even if I didn’t find it as groundbreaking as people had told me it was. But I’m a picky bitch, so.
  • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
    • Found it to be white bread at first, and then suddenly I was crying at the end, so that means it was pretty darn good, right?
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
    • Blerg. Some interview with the author said that when she writes, its like building a house and she’s wallpapering the inside of a room while the rest of the house is still a wooden structure…which accurately describes this novel for me.
  • Bitterrroot by Susan Devan Harness
    • I thought I’d hate this book. It blew my mind. This memoir was so touching and beautiful and while I’m not Native or an adopted child, some of her experiences resonated so strongly to me and aligned with a couple of interactions that I have had personally. It’s a Montana book, which might be why I connected with it so much, but damn, that sensation of detachment and loss in a state so big and flat just got me.
  • The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri
    • Good. Solid. Dreamlike. I couldn’t get my footing in the narrative sometimes and the whole thing felt like a smear and wash of color and images, but I think that’s the point of the story that is so wrapped up in immigration and fleeing your home and PTSD and losing everything.
  • Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg.
    • I thought there would be more lesbians. Can we get more lesbians, please?
  • The Great Pretender by Susannah Cahalan
    • Psychiatry is a trap. Medicine is a trap. But you should still be hopeful while you’re drugged out of oblivion and misdiagnosed and everything that has made a splash is because of ego.

Catch me at the 2020 Montana Book Festival this week at 3pm MST on Zoom. I’ll be rubbing shoulders with Hank Green and Hugh Howey as we play Mad Libs together. The event is called “Fill in the ___: A Live Literary Mashup.” Click the link to register!

The details: Join contemporary science fiction and fantasy authors Hank Green, Hugh Howey, and Gwendolyn N. Nix in an interactive game of Mad Libs! Missoula author Jeremy N. Smith will guide everyone through a series of writing prompts and word switcheroos, resulting in funny stories and surprising connections. Attend this event and join the fun—come away with a story of your own, co-written by your favorite authors!

Why you should come: You’ll be able to laugh at me as I struggle to remember what gerunds and adjectives and adverbs are and embarrass myself in front of my peers. We’ll be creating a story out of of Mad Libs, and you can join along and create one, too!

Book Release!

My novel, Sharks of the Wasteland, released yesterday! Lots of positive pre-reviews are rolling in, which I read even though my editor told me to never read reviews, but I did anyway! September 1 was full of shark-stuff in celebration. I wore my whale-shark leggings. My puppy had her favorite hammerhead shark toy. There was a lot of love and support for the project, and even a Facebook post in the process behind creating the cover art, which made the day that much better.

For me, a book release is a stressful affair. It’s amazing to see your imagination-child bound and printed, but at the same time it also feels like you’ve put a piece of your inner soul on the shelf are willingly encouraging people to read and judge it. So much work has gone into the novel in the background where no one can see, and while it released today, the production of it has been going on for more than a year, so it is with immense relief and yet excitement that I see it on the shelves. I’m very proud of it. I hope you’ll take a moment and give it some love, too.

Here’s how things break down if you’d like to support the book and want to know the best way to do so:

  1. Want to buy local? Call up your local bookstore. Ask them to order the book in for you. They’ll realize there is a market for the book and possibly order more for other interested customers.
  2. Buy from the Outland Entertainment website. That’s our direct sale line. They get the most profit because there are no middle men involved! Yay!
  3. Buy from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Scribd, or any other online retailer you prefer.
  4. Check it out from your local library or on Hoopla! Even if you don’t want to buy it, you can still read it and enjoy it! Seriously, as an author, that is still considered support.
  5. Please leave a review! A couple of words can make my day. Thank you for your support!

Cover Reveal!

Den of Geek was gracious enough to host my cover reveal of my new post-apocalyptic science fiction novel, Shark of the Wasteland, releasing from Outland Entertainment in September 2020! I talk about the inspiration behind the cover, how it ties into the story, and you can read this lovely piece here: https://www.denofgeek.com/books/sharks-of-the-wasteland-cover-reveal/

Also massive thanks to the Outland Team, and especially Alana Joli Abbott for fantastic editorial skills and Jeremy Mohler for crafting this beautiful cover. Preorders are open on Amazon now here: https://www.amazon.com/Sharks-Wasteland-Cataclysm-Cycle-Gwendolyn/dp/1947659847

Cover REveal on Den Of Geek!

I’m excited for my new novel, Sharks of the Wasteland, to join the ranks of the Outland family alongside our amazing post-apocalyptic science fiction books! Den of Geek will graciously host a cover reveal tomorrow, May 19 at 12pm ET, so be sure to check out their website and blog to see what this fantastic cover (created by Jeremy Mohler) will look like!

My short story, “What Nightmare are You Living In?” was featured on Starship Sofa this past summer. It’s a wonderful little story about monsters with bottle cap eyes and a retired soldier whose life isn’t what he thought it was going to be. Listen to it here.