Tag Archives: writing

November update

This is one of those posts I put off writing because I know it’s going to upset people.  Those of you who have followed me for a while know I don’t get into my personal life much on my blog because I generally feel that should be kept separate from my professional one.  Every once in a while, though, it affects my writing. I feel it’s only fair you all get some explanation as to the reason why you might have to wait longer on a book.  Now is one of those times.

My husband and I have been married for over eight years.  We have yet to conceive despite doing nothing to prevent it.  I wasn’t terribly worried about it in the early years of our marriage because it gave us time with each other to build our lives.  Once I started writing, I wanted to focus on that for a while and get a few books out before adding a baby to my daily routine.  Still, I didn’t do anything to keep from getting pregnant either.  This past summer I turned thirty-five.  My husband and I both agreed we couldn’t ignore the issue any longer and that we were more than ready for children.  Clearly, we needed to take further steps to make that happen.

A couple of months ago we went to see a specialist.  Neither of us have anything in our history that stands out as an obvious cause for infertility.  Other than my chronic migraines and my husband having COPD (which he has under control through meds) we don’t have any major health problems.  I’m not going to get into the fine details since not everyone wants to read that, but suffice it to say we are healthy enough that conception shouldn’t be a problem.  Since that first doctor visit we have been undergoing a number of tests which have all come back normal.  I am told that fifteen percent of cases have no identifiable reason for why there is a problem.  We appear to be falling under that category.

We have reached the point now where they are referring me to another specialist to start treatments that should “help” things along.  I am both excited and nervous about this.  The success rate isn’t very high, but when it does happen it could result in multiple births.  It’s a risky move.  Yet I’m running out of time and don’t have a lot of other options.  If this is the only choice I have, then that’s what I’m going to do.

Through all of this, there’s been a part of me that feels like a failure.  It should be such a simple thing to get pregnant.  Millions of women do it every year with no problem at all, but I’ve never managed to do it once.  A lot of stupid things go through your mind when you face this sort of dilemma.  Am I just not good enough to be a parent?  Did I do something in my past and now karma is coming back to bite me? Is it simply my fate to never experience giving birth to my own child?  Yes, there are other options if things don’t work out, but I really want a chance for my husband and I to have a child together.

For the past couple of months these thoughts have been going through my mind.  With every visit to various doctors I’ve grown more frustrated.  None of them are very reassuring and their answers to my questions are often vague or unhelpful.  It’s been rather depressing and has affected other parts of my life.  While I’ve managed to finish writing most of Darkness Wanes, it’s not finished.  I hate to even admit that out loud.  The final chapters are completely plotted out in detail (that was easy because I’ve known how I wanted to the series to end for a long time), but getting those last chapters written has been difficult.  I’m pecking away at it now and finding my “zone” again.  It’s just been a matter of finding a way to push my personal problems aside.  Once they’re done, I’ll go through revisions next and get chapters out to beta readers.  For those of you who have beta read before, expect an email from me soon asking if you’re up for it again.

I can’t give a definite date for when Darkness Wanes will be published.  There are no more doctor’s appointments for the next few weeks as I wait for a referral to go through so at least I won’t have that to distract me.  I’m going to use this time to buckle down and get the novel done.  My hope is to get it finished by early December, but we’ll have to see how it goes. I don’t want to make any more promises I may not be able to keep.

I know this is going to upset some people.  You’ve been waiting for this book for a long time now and I hate that I let my personal problems get in the way.  I have some of the most awesome readers an author can ask for and you all deserve better than that.  Please just be patient with me as I work to get it done.  That’s all I can ask.

If it helps, here’s the cover for Darkness Wanes.  Usually I do a big reveal post, but I’m just going to let you all see it now.

Darkness Wanes medium cover


Self-publishing and expectations…

Recently I had a visitor to the website who asked several questions about my self-publishing experience. There wasn’t a good way to keep my responses short, though I tried at first. Instead I’m putting my answers in a regular post so that anyone else who is curious can read them as well. Here goes:

“Could you please talk about your experience?”

Publishing is a lot like riding a rollercoaster. Some days I’m on top of the world writing good stuff and hearing back from readers who enjoy my work. Thanks to all those awesome people who commented on my last post! Other days I might have trouble moving forward while working on a scene and/or catch some criticism of one of my books that makes me think I’m the most horrible writer in the world.

There are days I can’t imagine having any other job and that it’s the absolute best. Then I have days where I question why I released my stories for anyone else to read because, obviously, I completely suck. What was I thinking letting anyone see the crazy ideas that come into my head?

Writers have to be deeply in touch with their feelings in order to produce quality work. This is important, but can also make the whole experience more difficult from an emotional standpoint. If a reader is disappointed with your latest book you feel like you let them down though you honestly wrote it the way you believed it had to be written. I thank God for all my encouraging fans. They’re what has kept me releasing the next ones, though I’d probably never stop writing regardless.

“How you went about it. What was the process like? What pit falls did you encounter?”

For how I went about it, you must keep in mind I was writing for a few years before I published and that Darkness Haunts was not my first book. It was simply the first I thought worth sharing with the world. So when I made the big decision to publish I waited nearly a year from the time the first draft was completed before self-publishing it. I queried agents, entered it into ABNA (Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards), and also learned everything about publishing I could.

I researched cover artists, editors, ebook formatting, paperbacks, and a lot on marketing. Though I refused to change to a genre that might be more salable (people were saying urban fantasy was a dying genre), I did study my market so as to gauge my expectations. I also followed other authors and read about their experiences, soaking up every bit of information I could.  At the end, I even changed the title to something more fitting and catchy than the original.  It wasn’t Darkness Haunts until two months before I released it.

Continue reading

Back from NOLA and other updates

I just got back last night from a trip to New Orleans.  This was primarily a research trip, but my husband and I had a good time while there.  I would have preferred going sooner than this since some parts of Darkness Clashes do take place there (no spoilers, not to worry), but that was the soonest my husband could take off work.  He didn’t want to miss it since he’d never been to Louisiana.  This meant sketching out those scenes and/or writing a tentative draft of them ahead of time due to the tight schedule, but now I’ve got everything I need to fill them in.

Facebook fans have seen a few of the trip pics I’ve posted, but I’ll post a couple here as well (see below).

Susan at restaurantSusan on Bourbon Street 2

I stayed at The Olivier House and loved it.  Our room had older style furnishings, which is what I wanted, but it also had modern amenities like a television and cable.  With the final World Cup games taking place while there, this was particularly important to the husband.  I’ll confess to not watching, but I do want to congratulate Germany for their win!

I’m also excited to let you all know my cover artist and typographer finished the cover for Darkness Clashes during the trip.  It looks amazing!  I’ll be revealing it exclusively with Bitten by Books on July 25th, but will post a link here as a reminder on that day so you can check it out as well as the official blurb.  For now you all will have to satisfy yourselves with the new website header (top of this page) that has a never-seen-before pose of Lucas and Melena.  No, it is not the one on the cover.  This shot was taken for promo purposes only.

That’s it for now on updates.  It’s back to the grindstone for me so I can have this book ready by the end of next month.  Hope all of you are having a great summer 🙂

Playlist for Chained by Darkness

For those of you who are curious what songs I listened to while writing Chained by Darkness, I’ve got them listed below.  Some of them influenced the story overall while plotting/writing and a few were particular to certain chapters/scenes.  I’ll link all of them to iTunes and put up YouTube videos for a few of my favorites among them.  Enjoy!

1)  Insensitive by Jann Arden

2)  It Must Have Been Love by Roxette

3)  Wait For You by Elliot Yamin

4)  See You Again by Carrie Underwood

*Influenced the epilogue

5)  Just a Dream by Nelly

6)  The Way by Ariana Grande

7)  Titanium by Madilyn Bailey

*Influenced chapter 1 & 4

8)  Love is Blindness by Jack White

9)  Radioactive by Imagine Dragons

*Influenced chapter 2, 9, & 14


10)  The Freshmen by The Verve Pipe

11)  Now or Never by Three Days Grace

12)  Take Me Under by Three Days Grace

13) Not Afraid by Eminem

*Influenced chapter 14

14) Lose Yourself by Eminem

*Influenced chapter 15


15)  One Last Breath by Creed

*Influenced chapter 1

16)  My Sacrifice by Creed

17)  I will Remember You by Sarah McLachlan

*Influenced chapter 17 & epilogue


18) Angel by Sarah McLachlan

19) It’s All Coming Back to Me Now by Celine Dion

*Influenced chapter 16 & 17

20) Because You Loved Me by  Celine Dion

*Influenced chapter 17


Feel free to comment if any of these songs are your favorites 🙂

Playlist for Darkness Taunts

MusicI know some people are interested in what music an author plays to help inspire them while writing a novel.  For anyone who wants to know which songs I’ve been listening to as I make my way through Darkness Taunts, the list is below.  It’s a rather eclectic mix of genres because I like a little of everything.

Do keep in mind that not all of them relate to the story, but help set a tone for a scene.  A few have key lines that resonate with me while the song itself doesn’t actually fit.  Some do not pertain to the main character, Melena, but to other characters and their side stories.

They are in no particular order and all song titles are linked to iTunes:

1) Savin’ Me by Nickelback

Favorite lines-

Heaven’s gates won’t open up for me, with these broken wings I’m fallin’

2) How You Remind Me by Nickelback

3) All You Wanted by Michelle Branch

4) Always by Bon Jovi

5) Gotta Be Somebody by Nickelback

6) It Matters to Me by Faith Hill

Favorite line-

Baby tell me where’d you ever learn to fight without saying a word.”

7) Skinny Love by Birdy

Favorite lines-

Who will love you? Who will fight?
And who will fall, far behind?”

8) You Belong With Me by Taylor Swift

9) No Surprise by Daughtry

Favorite lines-

There’s nothing here in this heart left to borrowThere’s nothing here in this soul left to say.”

10) No Love by Eminem (featuring Lil Wayne)

Favorite lines-

I don’t go around fire expecting not to sweat.”

11) Not Afraid by Eminem

12) Tourniquet by Evanescence

13) Love the Way You Lie by Eminem and Rihanna

14) Too close by Alex Clare

Favorite line-

And it feels like I am just too close to love you.”

(Love the beat to this song and it fits a very specific scene)

15) No Church in the Wild by Kayne West and Jay Z (feat. Frank Ocean)

16) Down by Jason Walker

17) In the End by Linkin Park

18) Cooler Than Me by Mike Posner

19) You Make Me Sick by Pink

(This is actually the ringtone I use for when my husband calls, but it works for the book too)

20) Naseny El Donia (Translation- Make me forget the world) by Ragheb Alama