Summer Event Schedule

Hi Everyone! I’m emerging from a few months of intense writing and intense existing. Yes, sometimes breathing, eating, and even binge watching Netflix requires far more energy than it should.

My novel is off to some beta readers just in time for me to venture out into the wide world for a few events. It seems my summer will be full of teens and talking about writing–two things I adore.

You can see my schedule below, but I want to tell you a little bit about the first event and how it came about. I’m fortunate to be a part of a local community called the Anselm Society, a group of artists and art patrons dedicated to a Renaissance of the Christian imagination. These are people who believe that artistic expression has tremendous value and should be appreciated and cultivated. They are my people, my saints, my superheroes.

Recently, our member artists have been burdened by a number of suicides in our area and the mental health struggles our young people face. The idea for the Creative Healing Workshop was born from a discussion of how art helped us cope with trials we’ve faced. We wanted to share bits of our journeys and the opportunity to engage in creative outlets, from fiction writing to watercolor journaling to bracelet making. Obviously we’re not mental health professionals, but we are people who see, who know, who care. When I say this issue is close to me, I mean it lives in my house and beats in my heart.

So if you’re in the Colorado Springs area and you or someone you know would benefit from a few hours of creativity and care, please register and join us! And if you happen to be attending any of the below events, come say hi. I’d love the chance to talk with you!

Summer Events

 

 

Gothic Fiction, the Wild and Unknown

I’m a big fan of Gothic literature, so when my friends at the Anselm Society asked me to discuss it on their Believe to See podcast, I was thrilled. You can listen to that podcast here.

I’m often asked which books have influenced my writing, and without a doubt, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and the works of the Brontë sisters top that list. It’s a little hard to put into words exactly why and how those formative experiences with literature affected me the way they did. It’s safe to say I have a fascination with the unknown and the unknowable, and the idea that no matter how civilized we may act, something wild lurks beneath the surface.

It’s the notion of wildness–an untamed quality–that draws me to the writings of the Brontë sisters. I love to think of them traipsing about the moors and creating worlds of their own, steadfastly resisting the constraints put upon them in order to follow the longing of their minds and hearts. I think the recent BBC movie about their lives captures an element of that struggle, and for me, watching it was like spending time with friends I’ve known all my life. If you haven’t yet seen To Walk Invisible I highly recommend it.

As for me, I’m deep in the work of wildness, creating a world–much like ours–where the unknown is only a fingernail scratch away. Of course I’ve given my heroine a twitchy finger. Here’s a glimpse into her thoughts.

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We Have a Winner!

Thanks to everyone who commented and shared what they’re looking forward to in 2017. I especially enjoyed your words about your friends and the book bonds you share. Of course I wish we could send everybody books, but the Book Fairy has smiled on Ryley. (Um, I had my 15-year-old draw a name out of hat. NEVER tell him about the above Book Fairy nonsense. Promise?)

Ryley, please check your Inbox!

I’ll continue to keep the blog updated with giveaways, events, and book news, so please don’t be a stranger. And if you read Curio, Mark of Blood and Alchemy, or The Ice Child, please consider leaving a review on sites like Amazon and Goodreads. Your reviews and recommendations to friends are vital for authors like me.

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Win a Book for You and a Friend!

CURIO is now available in paperback! To celebrate, I’m giving away two copies. One for you and one for a friend. See instructions for how to enter at the end of this post.

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It seems January is a hard month for a lot of people. I happen to like the month because it brings my anniversary, a return to routine after the craziness of the holidays, and of course, my debut novel released in January of last year. It’s hard to believe it’s been a whole year since CURIO hit the shelves!

But I get it. It’s cold and spring is still far away. There’s a letdown after Christmas and possibly stress that came out of holiday interactions. There are bills, and work, and studying, and it all presses down on us like heavy winter clouds. We need a lifeline, something to look forward to, even if it’s just a movie we’re planning to watch over the weekend or a coffee date with a friend.

January is National Mental Health Awareness Month. I don’t often talk about how mental health issues have touched our family because it’s not just my story to tell. I will say that I know intimately how hard the struggle can be. It’s ongoing. It’s up and down. It’s exhausting. It feels impossible.

Two approaches we take (with varying degrees of success, honestly) are to talk, talk, talk to trusted family members and friends, and to acknowledge the hard stuff and the pain, but also try to focus on something we’re looking forward to.

It’s a journey. We’re on it. And in talking about it I hope I’m doing something to combat the stigma around these issues.

In an effort to highlight our lifelines, I want to focus this giveaway on friends and what we’re looking forward to. To be entered in the drawing, please leave a comment with

  1. The name of a friend who would enjoy a free book (first name only)
  2. Something you’re looking forward to (can be anything from a cup of tea to a vacation)

I will draw a name the old-fashioned way and announce the winner on my blog a week from today, January 17th, 2017. You’ll win a paperback copy of CURIO for yourself and one for a friend. (Thanks to BlinkYA Books for providing copies!) Winners must be US residents, but if you live in the US and want to take it upon yourself to mail a copy of CURIO to a friend abroad then we could send both copies to you.

I’ll start. My friend who deserves a free book is Niki. She loves to read and is a champion for YA fiction and the young people who read it. (She already has CURIO.) And I’m looking forward to seeing Emma Watson as Belle in Beauty and the Beast.

Your turn!

 

 

Christmas Giveaway!

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Gift giving is one of my favorite things about the holidays. If you take away all the trappings of materialism, consumerism, and reciprocity what remains is a simple desire to give someone joy. Gifts play an important role in The Ice Child. In fact, the longing to create and to bring others joy is central to Sipp’s journey.

So I’d like to celebrate Christmas and the release of my novelette with a giveaway. I’m giving away a prize pack that includes an ebook of The Ice Child, a sterling silver cuckoo clock charm, fingerless gloves, and other goodies to warm a winter day.

See below to enter and don’t forget to add The Ice Child to your wish list. Happy Holidays!

Ends 12/14 @ 11:59 PM MDT!
US Residents Only

 

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Unveiling The Ice Child

I’m so excited to announce that my holiday novelette is available for purchase!

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Sipp’s story grabbed me during a July road trip. There I was staring out the window at summer-green Southern Colorado and dreaming of snow, Switzerland, and a boy with unusual gifts. I began writing, thinking it would be a fun distraction in between other projects. But Sipp’s journey quickly delved into the effects of prejudice, kindness in the face of cruelty, and an artist’s need for community.

When I nervously mentioned I was working on a melancholy Christmas story to a group of writer friends, one of them said, “That’s actually appropriate. Not everyone is happy during the holidays.” So very true.

I think Sipp’s story taps into an ache we all feel from time to time. Some more often and more acutely than others. Alone in a crowd. Misunderstood. Unseen. Unappreciated. If that’s you, I want you to know that you are seen and your contribution to this world is of immense value. The very spark of the Divine is what fuels your creativity and your desire for beauty–and by beauty I mean things that are good and true, wild and deep, unknowable and yet contained in each of our hearts. Please, don’t stop sharing your magic with us.

If, like me, you find it easy to get distracted in the busy holiday season, I encourage you to look more closely at someone you might at first dismiss. Listen to voices and experiences different from your own. And pay special attention to the unspoken things, to the expressions of art, and the worlds hidden behind an iris.

I hope you enjoy this winter fairy tale. Check back here in the beginning of December for an Ice Child themed giveaway.

Cover Sneak Peak!

Since I’ll be sharing the cover for my holiday novelette at MileHiCon this weekend, I thought it was only fair that I give everyone a sneak peak.

Why am I not sharing the full cover online at this time?

  1. A little mystery is a good thing. (unless there’s a bad smell coming from your fridge, or your walls, or your son’s room)
  2. I don’t have a link yet for readers to order The Ice Child.

BUT, look for that “Available to Order!” announcement coming very soon as well as a winter-themed giveaway closer to Christmas. In the meantime, here’s your first glimpse at the cover and story description.

Vintage pocket watch on satin

Sipp, a clockmaker’s apprentice, dreams of opening his own shop, but the people of Martigny believe he’s marked by the devil–all except for kind, independent Elise. As Sipp’s hope for the title of master craftsman fades, another destiny calls to him on the winter wind. Will answering that call mean leaving Elise behind forever?

MileHiCon Schedule plus Goodies

milehiconI’m so excited to attend MileHiCon in a couple of weeks, October 28-30! I’ve never been before, but my friends in the literary world as well as the sci-fi/fantasy community tell me it’s one of the best cons around.

This con also marks my artist/maker husband’s debut as a panelist. If you follow me you know I often refer to Kory as The Mad Scientist, which couldn’t be more apropos as he’s recently gotten into Lichtenberg Fractal Wood Burning. Rest assured, The Mad Scientist WILL NOT be bringing his electrified probes to the con! He will, however, be sharing his knowledge of Steampunk costume creation, with me chiming in occasionally with useful comments like, “That looks uncomfortable.”

alchemyI’ll be talking about first novels and Dystopian fiction and will have a table in Author’s Row with books to purchase. I’m bringing cards to give away with a free download offer for Mark of Blood and Alchemy: The Curio Prequel (while supplies last.) So if you’re at the con, come find me!

Here’s our official schedule:

Friday 4:00: First Novels (Evangeline)

Friday 5:00: Minimalist Entry Level Cosplay (Evangeline and Kory)

Saturday Noon: The Parsimonious Steampunk (Evangeline and Kory)

Sunday 11:00: TechnoCostuming (Kory)

Sunday Noon: 31 Flavors of Dystopia (Evangeline)

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Finally, I’m hoping I’ll be able to share the cover for my holiday novelette, The Ice Child, coming this November. I’m so excited about this winter fairy tale I’m affectionately referring to as my Emo Christmas story. Who doesn’t need the tale of a downtrodden clockmaker’s apprentice with a magical secret this holiday season? Watch for more info about Sipp’s story coming soon, but in the meantime if you want to get a feel for the aesthetic check out The Ice Child Pinterest board.

 

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Curio is SIX MONTHS old!

Where has the time gone? Curio turned SIX MONTHS OLD this July!

In celebration, I am giving away a FREE SIGNED HARDBACK as well as a wind-up pocketwatch for all your Steampunk needs. 😉

Giveaway STARTS at 12:00 AM MDT on July 20 (tonight!) and ENDS at 11:59 PM MDT July 28. (Open to US Residents only.)
Please share with your friends, and don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter for more news about special events!
Now for a very important question:
what is your favorite Steampunk accessory, and why?

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A Day in the Life

I ran across this day-in-my-life post I put together for a local writers’ group in May of last year and it made me smince (smile and wince.) Crazy times! Things are different this year. My husband isn’t recovering from knee surgery, I’m not rushing to hand in edits, and our household is down to only eight hungry mouths. So what am I doing today? Working on a speech on Steampunk in YA for The Brass Screw Confederacy, which I’m attending next month.

But last year…

Monday, May 18, 2015, the day I was supposed to hand in my “Day in the Life of a Debut Author” piece.
Also the day my macro edits and epilogue were due.
6:15 Alarm goes off.
6:15-6:45 Deny the existence of daytime. 

6:45-7:00 Attempt to wake oldest child only to discover last night’s puke incident is NOT the distant memory we’d hoped for.
7:00-8:15 Feed three out of ten mouths, make lunch, drive youngest to school.

8:20-9:00 Make breakfast for my husband (home recovering from knee surgery) and myself. Drink lots of coffee. Discover that sprouted bread can go very, very bad.
9:00-9:20 Message writer friends about level of brain deadness, lack of sleep, inability to write, conviction that MS is utter rubbish. Given appropriate sympathy and encouragement and told to Suck it up, Buttercup.

9:20 Do, in fact, suck it up and open document for epilogue.
9:20-10:00 Stare at blank screen, read through final pages of MS, stare at blank screen some more.

10:00 to 12:00 Write.
12:00 ish Make lunch for hubby, oldest, and myself. Feed three out of ten mouths. Strongly suspect reports of earlier stomach ailment exaggerated. Shower.
1:00-3:00 Write.

3:14 Remember “Day in the Life” assignment and text Beth to ask if I can get it to her tomorrow.
3:15 Pick up youngest from school
3:20-4:00 Write.

4:00 Drive husband to post-op appointment.
4:15-5:00 Write final scenes, including vital kissing scene, in the parking lot of the orthopedist. Cry.

5:15 Realize that it is 7:15 in Grand Rapids where publisher is and I have yet to do a necessary search and replace in the MS. Also, I cannot hand in epilogue two seconds after writing it. Am something of a disaster.

6:00-9:00 Heat up dinner. Feed seven out of ten mouths (Excellent ratio!) Help youngest with homework (Editing and revising. Ironic. Mommy has no brain cells left.) Fold laundry. Put kids to bed.

9:00-11:00 Watch stupid TV.