So before Midjourney was a thing, I hopped on wombo to play with words, art, and styles to create imagery for I Have Asked To Be Where No Storms Come. This is some of the crazy stuff that came out.

And yes. I’m usually behind the trends.

My prompts were dark western, witch brothers, underworld, lightning goddess, smoke demons, and hellish saloons!

I Have Asked To Be Where No Storms Come releases July 29, 2022 from Crystal Lake Publishing. Preorders are open!

Comparative titles and blurbs.

They’re a pain. Genre feels like a marketing game and sometimes it’s hard to pin your book into one category or another, especially if you’re like me and your elevator pitch attempts sound like, “Imagine Supernatural crossed with Lonesome Dove but like in an alternative history like American Hippo, and with a creature feature like in The Only Good Indians but, like, more dark fantasy slash weird west mash up…”

Good grief.

So to help me get that mess of a pitch condensed and figure out what exactly is my genre, I went through the comp titles I’ve read to guide me and tried to narrow my ideas down.

Alternative History
An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris and American Hippo by Sarah Gailey both feature the USA defined and changed by a singular moment which pivoted the timeline away from known history. The death and assassination of FDR or the introduction of hippos into American swamps.

In I Have Asked To Be Where No Storms Come, the defining moment is more landscape oriented. A huge earthquake created a near impassable canyon between the East and West, leaving the Brightside full of industry and technological evolution, while the West is stuck in the past, with the dregs of industry filtering over piecemeal. Is this Dark and Bloody canyon a natural phenomena? Or is there foul magic at play that created it? Like the two comp titles above, the changed world has resulted in a place of lawlessness, rogues, carnivals, terrible medical practices, and sacrificial magic.

Creature Feature
The Dark Tower series by Stephen King and The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones are books I absolutely loved for multiple reasons, but here, the focus is the creature feature. Whether it’s a half spider human or a vengeful elk spirit, the characters are haunted and hunted by their past and the monsters created from their choices.

In I Have Asked To Be Where No Storms Come, monsters are abundant. But what if our protagonists were the monsters? Evil ancestral magic flows in their veins, which can only be obtained by making a deadly choice. Is this choice free will or fate? And are the “monsters” really evil, or are they doing everything in their power to preserve what they know and love? But, all the while, there is another creature desperately seeking something lost, who knows the depth of grief, and transforms into something unimaginable.

Wild West Magic
In The Book of Tongues by Gemma Files and The Six Gun Tarot by R.S. Belcher, things are tricky considering the colonialism of the American West and especially so in a dark fantasy horror setting. This is probably the thing I struggled with the most. I wanted this to be a story about my home but in doing that, it made me take a hard look at what magic lives in my large corner of the USA. There is a melting pot of magic living in this land. And, it seems to seep through without explanation, from names of places, to stories casually mentioned, to those stories that are only meant for certain ears. How can you know a place, be from a place, without understanding it in entirety? Or, is this a form of conquering and it should be that you belong with the place instead of seeking to uncover every little nuance of it?

I’m getting way too deep here. Let’s reel it back.

These two comp titles have a diverse array of magic within them, from Chinese jade eyes of resurrection to  blood magic of ancient goddesses. In Have Asked To Be Where No Storms Come, the horror element is that this magic is a burden passed down through a lineage, but the origin has been erased from memory. It’s specific to the witch — both the method of tapping into it and what it can give you, what it does to you. It’s the backbone of the land you didn’t even know existed. It’s magic that has been appropriated and used in twisted ways, which becomes integral to our characters.

So, what does our final pitch look like with all this information?

In a United States transformed by a canyon called the Dark and Bloody radiating dark magic, two witch brothers, separated by loss and grief, must fight through a demon-infested underworld to find each other again. Yet, when their ancestral blood magic demands sacrifice, they must each decide what matters most: the world or each other.

Not bad!

What do you think? Too much? Too little? Is it amazing, fantastic, never seen before? Or just bad?

Hey, pitches are hard. Nothing is perfect.

Pre-orders are open! This is for the Kindle version with the paperback to follow.

Pre-orders are incredibly important. Why? They show the big companies with all the money that your little project is making a splash. It’s like you’re waving your support flags, being the author’s cheerleader, proving that this creative project was worth the investment.

So, if you can, help me make a splash!

I Have Asked To Be Where No Storms Come releases July 29, 2022 from Crystal Lake Publishing.

Ruschelle Dillon over at the Horror Tree and I dish about All The Things from dark fantasy books to my new release to that one time I saw a ghost in a Paris train station. Check it out here!

I Have Asked To Be Where No Storms Come releases July 29 from Crystal Lake Publishing.

What a pleasure it was to be interviewed by author Theresa Derwin as part of her Write On series with Crystal Lake Publishing.We chatted about poetry and inspiration and details about my upcoming release I Have Asked To Be Where No Storms Come. Check out the interview here.

Here’s a small slice of the things we talked about:

“I’m a panster writer, but also a “magpie” creator – my little creative cache relies on experiences, tid-bits of conversations I’ve been involved in, speeches and lectures, song lyrics, poems, and witnessing the natural world so that I can funnel my experience all through my imagination and stitch it together into something fantastical.”

I Have Asked To Be Where No Storms Come releases July 29 From Crystal Lake Publishing. Preorders open soon!

An early review of I Have Asked To Be Where No Storms Come has arrived from J.W. Donley from the Epeolatry Book Review and The Horror Tree:

“Rarely do I come across horror fiction with such imaginative elements. Much like Clive Barker’s more fantastic works, I HAVE ASKED TO BE WHERE NO STORMS COME immerses readers in a fully realized world and it feels much larger than what can ever be put to the page.”

Faints. This is an absolute gem of an early review and I thank J.W. Donley and the team at Horror Tree for giving my book their time and attention.

I Have Asked To Be Where No Storms Come releases July 29, 2022 from Crystal Lake Publishing.

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.