now playing on my laptop: Dumbledore’s Office from Ambient Worlds on YouTube

Hello Fantasy Family!

Check it out—we have a FATE OF DRAGONS map!

Wooooo hooo! What do you think?

My epic fantasy series will release at the beginning of April. I can’t wait to share this world and these characters with you.

The dragons live in the Lapis and Jade caves while the elves hang out in the Forest of Illumahrah. The last human in this world, Vahly, lives with the Lapis dragons and can be found gambling at the ciderhouse on Dragon’s Back ridge.

The artist’s name is Ren and I found her on Fiverr years ago. She also did the map for the Uncommon World. 🙂

colorSugarrabota copy.jpg

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currently playing on my laptop: Geyer by Mitski

Hey there! I recently released FOREST OF SILVER AND SECRETS inside the Uncommon World bundle and I thought I’d share a non-spoiler snippet today. 🙂

FoSaS-Final300 gold

So far, the reviews have been fantastic. I’m simply thrilled. This novel features trees that come to life, a new and tempting romance, and plenty of humor and thrills. Early readers have said it would be great for fans of Brandon Sanderson, Leigh Bardugo, JRR Tolkien, and many more fantasy authors that I respect with my whole heart. I hope you enjoy it.

Here is Kinneret, your favorite fierce sailor and salt witch, back again and ready for action!

The pewter clouds swung low and balled like fists as Kinneret turned the stubborn wheel, the wood smooth under her calloused hands. She wished to let the ship go where it may, let the storm have them for a bit to keep damage down, but there was no time for that. They had to be at the main Silvanian port before the most powerful merchants went off for their seasonal hunts along the northern coasts and the Northern Isle folk sailed back into their foreboding region. The Silvanian king would leave for his country estate very soon.

Wind whipped Kinneret’s hair around her face. Salty water dripped into her mouth. “Sails down. Tie them up. The wind will take them and we’ll be headed under.”

Calev and five fighting sailors battled the jib sail’s tie. Its end cracked across the deck like a great whip, then circled back. Against the ship’s side, it snapped and tripped two sailors who landed hard on the planks. That jib sail needed to come down. Now.

The reedy man in the sky cup climbed down the main mast and hurried to help another sailor knot the lines securing the foresail. Thunder echoed across the unending horizon. A school of fish rippled beneath the waters’ surface.

From the stern, Oron gave Kinneret a nod. It was time for Salt Magic. Though the magic never worked as well outside the Pass’s cursed waters, it was worth a try.

“Take the wheel, Ridhima.”

The woman slid into place, long-fingered hands curling over the indents where Kinneret’s had just been.

“Watch it, kaptan!” Calev shouted.

The jib sail’s line zipped over Kinneret’s head. She ducked. Calev leapt and snagged the tie right out of the air.

Water chilled Kinneret’s feet through the spaces in her sandals. The soft, leather bag of salt on her sash was full and ready. She drew out a handful and threw it above her head. The storm snarled like an angry desert lion and swallowed her offering whole.

Wind and rain,

Strength and pain,

Sea, I hear you,

Sea, I see you.

Sail and dodge,

Push and pull,

Sea, hear me,

Sea, hear me.”

The wind sounded different here, storm or no storm. They’d left the Pass now and this stretch of water felt like a stranger, one with a familiar face, but a foreign voice.

A wave reached high and crashed against the jib sail. The ship moaned.

Oron shouted through the open door that led below deck. “All hands! On deck now!”

Sailors streamed onto the deck, some half-dressed with just one boot or missing a shirt.

Oron grabbed the two closest. “Forget tying. Just cut the jib loose. Now!”

They rushed across the deck toward the sail at the bow, pulling knives from their sashes. Everyone else clutched onto posts or the masts. Two sailors lashed down the sealed barrels of Old Farm’s finest wheat heads—they’d kept that part of the load above deck to watch for mice. Calev and Oron tied themselves and several others to the main mast.

Raindrops thickened into a deluge. Water drummed onto the decking and soaked Kinneret through. The Salt Magic had to work. She was not about to die from a storm at sea after all she’d been through. No. Even if they were out of the main waters of the Pass and far from where her magic thrived.

Lightning flared from above. A crack sounded, and all heads turned toward the sky cup. A jagged line marred the foresail mast, but the support held. If that mast broke, it would come down on the sailors like a giant hammer and most likely punch a mean hole in the ship. Kinneret gripped a post and clung on, her heart hammering. Shouts and prayers rose from most mouths, from Calev, Oron, and the others tied to the neighboring mast. The sea growled and raised a gray-brown hand to strike again.

Grab the new set, including this brand new novel, right HERE.

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Believable Writing: The Texture of a Place

now playing on my MacBook: All Night by Big Boi (thanks to my thirteen-year-old)

Hello writers and readers!

Do you ever find yourself reading an especially awesome book and realize you FEEL like you are ACTUALLY there?


Usually, that’s due to scene details.

The author perks up all of your senses with the smell of the sweating horses, the cold water splashed on the neck, or the taste of a salty, pistachio cookie. They bring you the TEXTURE of a place.

Here is an example.

What did Rome feel like to me the first time I visited?

Air heavy with history. Spicy. Well-worn stone and bird wings fluttering. A cacophony of laughter and shouts. Engines roaring and a cool wind through aromatic cedars. Red wine dancing over the tongue.

That, to me, is Rome.

When you read, hopefully the author knows the setting. Maybe they have been there or, if it is purely in the imagination, they have lived in that place in their mind for so long, it feels truly real to them. They will bring the texture of the world to you through the senses. Specific and strong. 

Have you read a book that gave you the texture of a setting?

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What I Learned at a Book Fest

now playing on my laptop: Alaska by Mogli (thanks Kristin)

I recently attended the Southern Kentucky Book Fest in Bowling Green and had a fantastic time. In addition to wandering around in dragon themed leather armor and heading to White Squirrel for the greatest burger ever (hello spiced apples and blue cheese), I was lucky enough to talk to my lovely fellow writers and a TOOOONNN of amazing readers.


I write fantasy that teens and adults both seem to enjoy (thankfully!), so I participated in Friday’s teen day when area schools bring middle and high school students to the book fest to attend workshops and buy books. Saturday was the open event, and I talked to more adult readers during that 9-3 session after doing a talk on Fight Scenes.

Here is what I learned.

Readers want to quickly understand where a book fits into their current mind shelf. They are constantly asking themselves: Does this book I’ve never seen sit next to Percy Jackson or Salt to the Sea on my mind shelf?


A quick synopsis is great for readers, but not nearly as quick and consumable as a few good comparative titles. And the titles need to be VERY well known. They need not be exactly right. Just very much in the same genre and with the same tone and feel.

This may seem like an obvious thing, but for us writers, we can lose touch with the basics of getting our stories into the right hands when we’re caught up in the details of publishing. We should keep these comparative titles in our heads during plotting, drafting, revising, and on and on. It’s not a copying thing of course. You know that. It’s just remembering and focusing on where this story sits on that mind shelf. Humans have a strong need to categorize. It helps us problem solve quickly. It’s a good thing most of the time. (I try not to do it with people if I can help it, because people are complicated.)

What are some books that sit side-by-side on your mind shelf?


The comparative titles (not all are books!) for my series that readers seemed to latch onto are as follows:

(I didn’t come up with these. The readers at the book fest did.)

The Uncommon World SeriesLord of the Rings, Percy Jackson, Pirates of the Caribbean, Graceling, The Hobbit, Eragon

The Edinburgh Seer SeriesHarry Potter, Supernatural, Shadowhunters, X-Men, Avengers but with ghosts (lol)


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Bucket List for Writers

currently playing on my laptop: Nothing because I needed some silence today

Do you have a bucket list—a bunch of things you must do before you kick the bucket?

I do. I revise it each year on New Year’s Eve by the fire.

But I also think I need a Writers Bucket List. There are just certain things I really NEED to do because I’ve researched them and just cannot stand the idea of never doing those activities IRL.

  1. I practice archery and I used to ride, but I’ve never shot an arrow from horseback. Must do. (It’d be a plus if I do it in Turkey or Iran or somewhere I haven’t been)


2. How about nosing around Iceland? Yes please. It has such a dramatic landscape!


3. Dog sled!!!! How cool (literally and figuratively) would this be?!


4. I have such a longing to eat my way through a German Christmas market!


5. And I MUST see Egypt. My uncle went there years ago and I can’t stop hating him a little bit for not taking me.


What is on your bucket list???

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My Favorite Weapons

currently playing on my laptop: Ghosting mixtape 


Well I should begin this post with Wit as #1 fave weapon to fight the darkness, the baddies, the foul-intentioned fools of this world. But if I’m honest I really love a nice, big stick.



I’ve trained with a bo staff and a set of escrima too. Love them. Sticks are light (if you get the right size) and make almost any movement possible. They aren’t fussy. Don’t require much care or attention. They pack a great punch and I know for sure I would give any evil one some real trouble if he/she tried to get at me when I had a stick in my hand. Plus you look like a badass when you spin and strike. 

Another favorite is archery. I LOVE a beautiful, wooden recurve bow and arrows with gorgeous fletching. I’m not that great at it, but I’m okay when my dumb shoulder and elbow allow me to practice. (getting old ain’t for sissies) I love using a weapon that Legolas approves of. I mean, c’mon.


I also truly enjoy the Chinese broadsword. It’s so shiny and flashy and could do some serious bad guy damage if push came to shove.


What weapons do you like in your life and in the books you read?

(PSA: Kids, don’t play around with stuff. Use that good head you have and get the proper training and safety courses. You will not look badass if you chop your own foot off.)

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Character Study

currently playing on my laptop: Lucky by Aurora

Last week when I was in Frothy Monkey (a local coffee shop), I began studying the faces around me. This is a writer thing. I am not original in this. But I figured I’d lay out my findings because sharing is caring, y’all.


I will probably swap these people’s genders and use them in a future series. (I have things already plotted out and I’m excited)

Here is a screenshot of the notes I took on my MacBook air

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I generally do these when I’m procrastinating, but it’s a good stall. I don’t usually put these “people” in my books as they are, but many, many of their traits—both physical features and mannerisms—go into my characters. 

Do you do enjoy people watching too?


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