Category Archives: About Me

North Georgia is Burning

North Georgia is burning. The Rough Ridge Fire is destroying the Cohutta Wilderness area. If you read my Witch’s Path books you may recognize that name. That’s where the majority of A Witch’s Rite takes place. I have good memories of the area, and it’s very dear to so many of my friends and family.

Every day the numbers go up, but more than 21,000 acres are involved. The Cohutta Wilderness is only 37,000 acres. With no measurable rain in recent weeks, and none on the forecast, odds are the entire Cohutta will be consumed. I know when I go back it won’t look the same.

Even where I live, miles and miles away, smoke has settled over the city, making the sky hazy and breathing difficult. There’s been so much smoke around the greater Atlanta area that fire departments here have been fielding calls. The news picked up the story to inform citizens that they weren’t smelling a fire, but smoke from Rough Ridge that had settled here.

In the news it’s a fire, a bad one, uncommon in this area, and the result of a very dry summer and fall. To those of us who’ve lived in those mountains and love those mountains it’s so much more. We’re losing something beautiful, unique, and precious.

http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5078

Photos from the Rough Ridge Fire in Georgia

The Noveling Time of Year

In November people all around the world spend 30 days doing their very best to write 50,000 words. National Novel Writing Month, or as most people call it NaNoWriMo, is what started my career. Both Witch for Hire and A Witch’s Path started out as NaNoWriMo projects.

I’ll be doing NaNoWriMo this month and encourage anyone dreaming of writing a novel to make their way over to http://nanowrimo.org and join in! One of the best part of NaNoWriMo is the fellowship. Often writing is a very solitary event, and this is one time where it’s easy to find other writers and make new friends!

Late August Update

The past two weeks, and the entire summer if I’m being completely honest, have been difficult. I’ve been ill with mysterious stomach issues, which have made being productive and happy difficult. While I’m confident this will get sorted out, my health isn’t the focus of this week’s update, the impact on my work, however, is pertinent.

The prequel to Fey Hearted, tentatively titled Human Fey, is in the works. If you’d asked me in July how long it would take to write, I would’ve told you two weeks for the first draft (20,000 words in two weeks means average 2,000 words for 10 work days which is well within my abilities when I’m healthy). Add another week to tidy it up before it went out to beta readers, then two weeks for the beta readers to get back to me. From there, anything from a day to a week of additional work to get it looking good before it could get scheduled for edits (the editing process has its own timeline). Basically, three to four weeks of heavy hands on work. Two of those weeks I’d be working on the beginnings of another project (Witch’s Path Book 6 in this case).

That hasn’t how things have gone. I first got sick back in June and it was all I could do to get A Witch’s Rite to the editor in anything remotely resembling a timely fashion. When A Witch’s Rite finally went to an editor, two weeks later than I’d initially intended (basically the time I was going to use to write Human Fey), I figured a week off to rejuvenate, rest, and read would do wonders. Then I would jump into Human Fey and knock it out in two weeks.

I was wrong.

When I’m sick I don’t feel creative. In fact, I often can’t create. I can’t picture worlds. I can’t see characters. I can’t do what writers do. All I can do is be sick.

All of this has been to get to one very simply point.

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry because it feels like it’s taking forever to write a relatively short project. I’m sorry because I know you want books to read and I want to write them. I want to be more productive than I’m capable of right now. In June and early July, I could be tough. I could push through. These days I’m not feeling so tough. I’m tired, I’m worn out, and I’m sick.

It pains me to say I’m still working on Human Fey, but I’m proud of the work I’ve done. Right now I’m more than a quarter of the way through the first draft. For the 6th book of the Witch’s Path Series I’ve got the skeleton of a rough outline and an idea for the title.

If these updates sound repetitive, be patient with me. This isn’t the summer I wanted or the level of productivity I expect from myself. There are big plans for cool and awesome things. As soon as I’m back in fighting shape I’m going to attack all of them. Until then, slow is the expected pace and I’m sorry for that.

~N

Interview with A New Look on Books

Rae over at A New Look on Books asked me to to an interview and I can finally share it with you!

Tell us about your journey of becoming an author and publishing your first book. Any extra advice to fellow dreamers?

I wish my journey to being a published author was inspirational, something novelists told themselves to bolster their spirits as they were working toward publication. I spent years wanting to be an author, writing in my spare time, and thanks to National Novel Writing Month in 2010, finally writing what would become my first book. I half-heartedly revised Witch for Hire several times, but life marched on, and I abandoned the book.

It wasn’t until the summer of 2013 that I started to get serious. At the time I was horribly depressed and was clinging to anything that I enjoyed. I went back to work on Witch for Hire. Over more than six long months I did the best editing I could, had a cover made, and figured out how to format an e-book.

The entire time I spent working on the book, I held onto the project with dogged determination, not letting anything get in my way. My fears and doubts didn’t matter any more. I didn’t care if I failed, so long as I tried. I knew, with absolute certainty, that I would regret never trying far more than I would regret failure.

January 11, 2014, I published Witch for Hire. I published it without telling my family because I didn’t believe the book would do well and I didn’t want to fail in the eyes of my loved ones. To my total shock, the book did well and in the spring of 2015, I quit my day job and started writing full time.

As for advice to fellow dreamers, I recommend finding a happier path to publication. Aside from that, you should find some likeminded friends, work on your craft, and you absolutely must read and write a lot. Odds are you’ll end up working two jobs to support yourself the one that pays bills and writing. It takes a huge amount of self-discipline to write after work, and on your weekend, instead of sleep, Star Wars, or friends. Along with the work ethic of a god, you’ll need an iron will, and the determination of a starving dog guarding a juicy bone.”

 

Looking on your website I see you have multiple writing projects at once. How do you manage to juggle all the characters, themes, and arcs for each project?

It isn’t easy, but after several years of working on my Witch’s Path Series, I wanted some variety and Fey Hearted wanted to be written. The story arcs are the easiest things to keep separate because Fey Hearted and its sequel are stories of personal growth, while the Witch’s Path Series is adventure based. In addition, the characters, worlds, and themes are distinct, which helps.

The Witch’s Path series is typically somewhat humorous, with magical absurdities, snark, and a strong connection to the world we live in. Fey Hearted is serious and thoughtful, focusing on themes of love, happiness, and consequences. The themes have helped shape the world and story into something very different from my other works.

The most confusing part is the creatures. Often when I dream up a new creature there’s the potential for it to go into either world depending on how it’s presented. I’m still working on that issue. Hopefully that aspect of the two worlds will clearly delineate while I’m writing the sequel to Fey Hearted.

 

Why focus on the fantasy/supernatural/science fiction genre?

Dragons! Unicorns! Magic! Things I always wished were real.:-)

Wait, I should give a serious answer. Growing up I read so many novels with fantasy elements and I fell in love with the genre. Not only does it transport the reader to a wonderful new world, but it’s allows you to enjoy adventure without living through the hardships. Plus, many of the problems characters face in a fantasy world mirror ones each of us face in life. To me, that gives the reader a way to process a problem that they may struggle with in real life in a much less threatening way.

 

What is your favorite element of writing about the supernatural?

The ability to create anything. The only limits are my imagination and ability to convey the information to the reader.

 

How do you go about creating one of your characters?

It depends. Every character develops slightly differently. Some are created because of what the story or other characters need. I find my main characters usually shape the characters in the rest of the story. Michelle, my main character from the Witch’s Path Series, came to me in a dream. Rose, from Fey Hearted, was more a creation of the world. I really wanted someone different from Michelle, and who could still be fierce. When I started to develop the world, I realized that it wasn’t enough for her to be fierce. She needed to be strong enough to fight convention, live with harsh consequences, and be passionate about family and happiness. Rose developed into a much quieter character, which was more challenging to write, but well worth it because I found new ways to demonstrate her abilities.

Excerpt from Fey Hearted

Fey Hearted is on sale for $0.99 June 9-16 on Amazon

 

Originally published at A New Look on Books June 11, 2016.