Invisible Entente

My Broken Ones

There’s a certain click that often happens for me as I near the end of a series.

At the beginning of a new series, there’s just excitement. It’s a new shiny, a fresh idea, so much to run with to see what happens to the characters forming in my head.

Many of these ideas fade to wisps as I move on before I even set them on paper, but a lucky few enter the stage of actual writing.

During the writing, I’m focused on the mechanics. The structure, the development, hitting the right notes. I put all of my blood, sweat, and tears (often literally) into each novel, to get everything just so.

But in the process, I often lose sight of what exactly I’m doing. I’m too close to appreciate the magic that happens between concept and final draft, the changes that occur to myself as well as the characters as they go from flat one-dimensions to full walk-off-the-page dimensions.

As long as the series remains a work in progress, I’m blind to the real beauty of the work.

Until I reach the final book.

And that’s what has now happened with my Invisible Entente series. Although there are still 2 more to be published before the end (Happy Book Release Day, Howl of the Fettered Wolf!), the finale is already drafted, and I’ m taking my first of fifteen stabs at working it into shape.

And now I’m appreciating how much I adore these characters, how much they’ve meant to me, and how much I’m going to miss them.

I’ve gone on a few Twitter threads about this, but I thought it might be worth it to finally set it into a blog post. Because I feel my readers (or anyone who’s interested, really) should have a chance to see them the way I do. Even if you never grab a copy of the book, even if it’s not your genre, or you’re not sold on the story, maybe you find someone here you relate to. Something that makes you laugh or roll your eyes and go, “Wow, yeah, that’s definitely me/my husband/our hilarious Uncle Ted.”

So what is it I love so much about my Invisible Entente characters?

They’re broken.

All of them.

But they’re not content to stay that way. They face it, accept it, and then come out fighting to see how they can get their shattered pieces to work for them. They inspire me, and it’s been such a treat to work with them.

Look at many of the big fantastical stories/films out these days. They’re all about the origin of the character, the moment that turns them from an everyday Joe/Jane into a superhero.

What I’ve enjoyed about this series is that they all start with power. They know what they are and what they’re supposed to be — what they could become if they let themselves slip — and have spent their entire lives working against their natures, striving to reach their full potential, the best versions of themselves.

Daph HeadshotTake Daphne Heartstone (Death at Peony House). She’s the daughter of a sorceress and a sorcerer, descended from a sorceress of legend, but with strong bloodlines on both sides. At this point, you could just assume that “of course she’s going to come out to be most powerful sorceress. What a cliché!” but the fact is she wasn’t born the most powerful. She was manipulated by her father to believe she would only be worth his love and affection if she strove to attain that goal. She sacrificed so much to reach it — killing, stealing, torturing — that she corrupted herself. So, yes, she became the most powerful sorceress of her generation, but to a point where she couldn’t look herself in the mirror anymore. By the time the events at Peony House take place, the epiphany of where her life has led her has shattered her. She’s afraid to use her power, left to slowly gain back the trust she’s lost with her family, her friends, all without losing what she’s made of herself in her human life. She’s being pulled in so many directions, striving to discover how to move forward while trying to atone for the crimes of her past.

Gabriel Mulligan (Song of Wishrock Harbor) was born a monster, or so he believes. His Gabe headshotfather’s Fae genes grant him the ability to rift from place to place through the Fae dimension (and to eat whatever he wants without gaining a pound, the bastard), but his Gorgon heritage has kept him isolated behind a pair of mirrored sunglasses to avoid turning anyone to stone. He grew up with only his brother for a friend, and since then has limited his social interactions to pure necessity, preferring to do everything remotely. It’s impossible for that kind of loneliness not to eat away at you. He hides it well behind a screen of wit and humor, but he’s constantly on edge, worried that even an accidental glance in the mirror could end his life. To help give back and find some purpose in his life, he opened his private investigation agency, and while it gives him focus, it also pushes him to search out monsters, which constantly reflect his own nature back at him.

And then there’s Allegra Rossi (Shadows in the Garden Hotel), my poor, beautiful succubus. She was born perfect, brought up to put beauty before everything else, but is stuck with a need to kill in order to survive. Her very nature is made up of the ugliness she was trained to avoid, a paradox she’s been struggling with all of her life. Is it any wonder she takes her frustrations and Allegra headshot impatience out on the people around her? She’s constantly stalked by a threat, but the threat is in her own mind. When she finds herself trapped within New Haven’s city limits, it’s almost as though the cage she’s put around her mind has now been put around the rest of her, and she can’t breathe. Her only coping mechanism throughout her life has been to run, because at least in busyness, she can avoid the call of her succubus blood, but that’s been taken away from her, testing her, and pushing her to her limits, which come to a head at The Garden Hotel.

Of the lot, Vera Goodall (Howl of the Fettered Wolf) might seem to be the most grounded of the bunch. Yes, she’s the daughter of a vengeance demigoddess and has to fulfill her role in the balance of the world by considering vengeance contracts from the people who Vera headshotsummon her, but she grew up in a good family home, with supportive and loving parents who showed her how to walk the line between the otherworld and the mundane. But in reality, she’s just as flawed as the others. She’s cautious and restrained, attempting to spin all of her plates without dropping one, and if anyone has ever tried to do this, you know it’s next to impossible. Especially when some of those plates are life-and-death responsibilities. She’s so tightly controlled that she has no idea how to relax and let herself go, which makes it difficult to appreciate the beauty of the world for all its flaws and inconsistencies. And even harder to open herself up to the possibility of life-changing relationships.

Molly Harris, the human of the group, fits in here as well. She’s a sixteen-year-old high school girl who is deafblind and an archer. I spent a great deal of time researching the experiences of people with deafblindness and am awed by the way human beings learn to adapt and accommodate themselves in a rapidly changing world. Not only is Molly working to get through school, on the brink of deciding what she wants to do when she graduates and dealing with all the pangs that come from being sixteen, but now she also has to adapt and accommodate to a world of magic, of demons and angels. Her life has never been ordinary, but now she’s been sucked into the extraordinary, and her growth through the otherworld—her strength and compassion, her courage and cleverness—is constantly at war with her uncertainty and fear.

Finally, there is Zachariel, the daemelus. The angel/demon hybrid who doesn’t know why he exists or what role he’s supposed to fill in this world. Demon mother and angel father, he sticks to the shadows, embraced by neither side. He believes himself to be an outcast, an otherworldly freak, and only his honour debt to Molly and his hope that one day he’ll find answers about his nature keep him on this earth. He is a literal walking struggle between good and evil, each side tempering the other, as he explores one of the oldest questions in the universe: what is the meaning of his existence?

Each of these characters taps into a different part of my psyche and makes me confront questions about myself as well as them as I write them. I love the challenge, the beauty of their flaws, and the trouble they get into as they try to work these situations out for themselves.

The series has been a journey, and while I’m glad it’s not over yet, I’m also happy that the end is in sight so I can finally sit back and appreciate the complexities from a new angle. I believe it’ll make the final draft of the final book that much stronger.

I hope you enjoyed this little bit of insight into my brain! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below. If you’ve already been following the ensemble, then I thank you for helping me produce the next books. If I’ve convinced you to give them a chance, then I hope you fall in love with them as much as I have and encourage you to share your thoughts below.

COVER REVEAL: Howl of the Fettered Wolf

The next book of The Invisible Entente is almost ready to hit the shelves (and thanks to The Book Company on Bank St, I actually mean that literally this time), so I think it’s time for a first look at what’s coming.

In Song of Wishrock Harbor, we learned about Gorgon-Fae Gabriel Mulligan’s longing for the vengeance demigoddess (or semi-goddess as she jokingly refers to herself), Vera Goodall.

Now we see the goddess in action — and she is not happy. An unknown enemy is coming after her most prized possession, and there is nothing she won’t do to keep it safe.

Howl of the Fettered Wolf is the fourth book in The Invisible Entente series. With only two more books to go, the path is being set for what’s coming. A tale full of twists and turns, love and honour, friendship and loyalty, Vera’s story is sure to play with your heartstrings.

You can grab Wolf on June 27th. Be sure you’re signed up for my mailing list for first notice for when it’s available, as well as updates on the upcoming books.


 

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Cover Artist: Ravven

For vengeance demigoddess Vera Goodall, balance is everything. Her life revolves around her contracts, her bookshop, and her dogs, and there is no room for anything — or anyone — else. Every aspect of her life is scheduled, and delegation is a four-letter word.

But when someone attempts to steal The Book of the Fettered Wolf, an ancient text with the power to destroy the otherworld, Vera will need to break all her own rules to keep that balance from toppling.

With the help of Gabriel Mulligan, the Gorgon-Fae who threatens the walls she’s built around herself, Vera sets out to protect the book from those who wish to use it. Along the way, she unveils the lies that have created the foundation of her life, and each new revelation blurs the line between friend and enemy.

In the midst of chaos and intrigue, balance becomes a matter of survival. Vera must decide who to trust and how much to open her heart if she wants to protect the otherworld and everything she holds dear.

Cover Reveal & Big IE News

You  know how every now and again, there’s a book cover that stops you in your tracks and you have to take a moment to appreciate all the subtleties and nuances of the image? The little details that would have been so easy to leave out, but the cover artist knew what a difference it would make if they slipped them in.

That’s what Ravven has done for me with Shadows in the Garden Hotel. With a brief description of the character and story, she has pegged Allegra Rossi’s character so solidly that I can’t picture her any other way.

So, of course, I don’t want to keep her a secret any longer. Please meet the latest addition of The Invisible Entente.

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*hands handkerchief to clean up drool*

Once you’re ready, feel free to check out the blurb for the story that’s coming your way on April 18th:

All Allegra Rossi needs is her beauty, expensive champagne, designer clothes, and enough souls to keep her succubus appetites satisfied.

Everything seems to be in place until a photo shoot at New Haven’s prestigious — and supposedly haunted — Garden Hotel sets her dreams for a perfect life crumbling. Not only has her handsome, charismatic boss captured her interest, threatening the careful restraints she’s placed around her succubus nature, but the hotel’s reputation turns out to be true. Worse: the specter has targeted Allegra as its next victim

If Allegra wants to stay alive and keep her heart intact, she will have to unleash her demonic instincts to shed light into the darkness before the shadows consume her.

What I thought would be my most challenging story of the series has easily become my favourite, and I look forward to sharing it with you.

Even better, I look forward to sharing it with all of you, even if you’re not a Kindle user.

That’s right. As of today, The Invisible Entente series will be leaving the Kindle Select program and migrating to other distributors, including iBooks, Nook, and Kobo, as well as Amazon. I wanted to give it a solid effort, but the fact of the matter is I hate excluding people.

Available now

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The Invisible Entente Prequel Novella

 

 

 

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Death at Peony House

 

 

 

wish_promoSong of Wishrock Harbor (available now on Amazon) and Shadows in the Garden Hotel will migrate over in April 2017. To be the first to know about these releases, be sure to sign up for my mailing list by following this link http://eepurl.com/GIJkz

 

 

 

Book Release: Death at Peony House

The ghosts of Peony House have awoken, and you can finally find out why – Death at Peony House is officially available on Amazon!

peony_promoThis urban fantasy with a mystery twist follows the story of Daphne Heartstone, the sorceress and journalist first introduced in The Invisible Entente prequel novella that was released last month.

Eight months later, one of the most powerful sorceresses of her bloodline is now wary of her own magic. Losing herself to her power would bring Daphne back to the dark path she once walked, breaking promises to her family, and taking away her chance to build a solid life for herself.

But, of course, the best laid plans rarely happen as we want them to. One night, on a tip, Daphne heads to Peony House to dig up the next morning’s headline. Unfortunately, she finds herself facing the shadows of her past and has to find out whether she’s strong enough to stare through them without getting sucked back in.

Death at Peony House is available for $3.99 (less than a speciality coffee!) or free through Kindle Unlimited!

Grab your copy today

 

Grab a Free Novella

To celebrate DEATH AT PEONY HOUSE’s book birthday tomorrow, I’m trying to get as many people as possible to start right at the beginning.

To achieve that end, THE INVISIBLE ENTENTE prequel novella is FREE to download on Amazon until September 22.

entente_promo“If you’re reading this note, I’m already dead.  I find even more pleasure in the idea that one of you will soon join me.”

At the precise moment of warlock Jermaine Hershel’s death, seven strangers are transported into a magically sealed room with only a letter from the dead man to explain. If they want to go home, the way out is simple: discover the murderer — and kill them. Tensions rise as each stranger reveals their connection with Jermaine, but the puzzle isn’t so easy to solve. At least one of them is lying. In an unlikely alliance, they have to act quickly to unravel the mystery before the murderer acts first.

This 130-page locked-room urban fantasy mystery introduces you to the team of unlikely and reluctant heroes that make up The Invisible Entente.

Spread the word, grab your copy, and step into a version of our world where even the smallest coincidence might be a part of  greater, growing pattern.

Once you’ve finished, come join the party! Every birthday needs a celebration, and book releases are no different.

Tomorrow, from 4pm – 10pm EST, I’ll be hosting the Facebook launch party. Choose your favourite snacks and chat with a fantastic group of authors and have a chance to win some great swag. Hope to see you there!

The Invisible Entente has come to play

As I continue to my spontaneous BLOG POSTS ABOUT EVERYTHING streak, I figured I might as well take the time to blog about my new book release. Because, y’know, I have one. S’cool. No biggie.

NO! WAIT! DON’T WALK AWAY! I’m actually REALLY EXCITED about this book release, because it marks my first steps into official urban fantasy. I’ve played with the genre in private for years, but I’ve finally worked up the courage to slip into a non-epic genre and build castles in a new sandbox.

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“If you’re reading this note, I’m already dead.  I find even more pleasure in the idea that one of you will soon join me.”

At the precise moment of warlock Jermaine Hershel’s death, seven strangers are transported into a magically sealed room with only a letter from the dead man to explain.

If they want to go home, the way out is simple: discover the murderer — and kill them.

Tensions rise as each stranger reveals their connection with Jermaine, but the puzzle isn’t so easy to solve. At least one of them is lying. In an unlikely alliance, they have to act quickly to unravel the mystery before the murderer acts first.

Don’t get me wrong – I love and miss my Andvell gang, but the Invisible Entente is a brand new kind of trouble. Supernatural and mythological figures trapped in a locked-room mystery, tempers being tested (and when you have the power to set fire on things with your mind, that can be dangerous), and alliances being formed.

This prequel introduces the characters I’ve spent the last couple of months with and launches the first in a 7-book arc as it goes through each of the characters and culminates in…well, you’ll find out when you get there.

These characters are witty, dangerous, powerful, conflicted — all the good things you want to see in a bunch of reluctant heroes — and I hope you fall in love with them as quickly as I did.

The novella (130 pages) is available through Amazon for 99c or through KindleUnlimited for FREE, so grab a copy, brew a cup of tea, and then leave a comment below to let me know who your favourites are.

Grab your copy now!

If you’re not sure yet, you can read an excerpt here

What’s next?

What is the title of your work in progress?

The Invisible Entente series

Book 1 – The Invisible Entente, a prequel novella

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I wanted to come up with some new content for my newsletter subscribers. I enjoy sending free short stories for my loyal readers. So I tried to come up with a new, exciting idea.

Recently I’ve been reading a lot of Agatha Christie novels and over the winter, BBC’s Poirot mysteries were my go-to to pass the cold, dark evenings. The more I watched and read and studied Christie’s style, the more I realized I wanted to stake a stab at writing a cozy mystery. Who doesn’t love the round-up at the end where the spunky detective accuses everyone in turn, building up the suspense until she denounces the real murderer?

But I’m a fantasy author, and I didn’t want to step too far outside my genre, so I brainstormed ways to merge the two – and the IE prequel was born.

Currently, this novella is available for free for my newsletter subscribers, but in another month, it will be removed from the subscription bundle and will be available to purchase via my usual ebook/paperback distributors.

From there, as it seems to happen, an entire series revealed itself. Each of the characters introduced in this round-table mystery is getting his or her own fantasy/mystery novel.

What genre does your book fall under?

Urban fantasy with a cozy mystery twist

What is a one sentence synopsis for your book?

Prequel: Following the death of a mad scientist warlock, seven murder suspects are transported into a magically sealed room and only six can leave.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Self-published – and I couldn’t be more excited about it. My team behind this series is strong, and the results will show it.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

The prequel took me a couple of weeks, but each novel takes me about a month. The rest of the work comes during edits and early outlining.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

One of the elements I’m most excited to play with in this series is taking familiar creatures/characters from mythology and twisting them into new forms. Among others are a descendant of Vidar, the Norse god of vengeance and silence; a Gorgon-fae, the descendant of Medusa; and a sorceress from the line of Morgan le Fay.

Each character has a unique voice, and a unique perspective on the humanity they both live in and apart from. Each story touches on a different aspect of “otherness” and what it means to stand on the outside looking in.

I’ve got some really fun ideas for promo and can’t wait to get started.

Expected kick-off date: August 2016