Friday, March 20, 2015

On the habit of overthinking

So when I was a kid, I was a messy-red-haired freckled skinny thing with a single-mom who worked nights as a bartender, who wasn't exactly the world's most empathic mom. God help her, she tried, but she was a bit on the broken side in many ways. We lived a very difficult life, and as you grow up you can say "wow, more pain for me as an author to write into the stories" but when you're a kid and the little mean girls in the school are calling you names because you catch the school bus in front of the town's gay disco (lime green, and obvious) those "write the pain" lessons don't mean much.

So bullying: yeah. I get it. And it gives you this habit of overthinking everything. I don't think you ever entirely get over being bullied as a kid because you are over sensitive as an adult, you examine every damn nuanced thing and wonder "Is this when it starts?" Because you're always expecting it to happen again. You learned those lessons, that it takes one second to go from hanging out and being friends to being punched in the arm every day. And adults either seem to not get it (perhaps because they were never bullied?) or not believe you that it's really painful. "Oh, really? She just stole your hair tie? That's not the end of the world, get over it." And I'm an adult now and I can see that-- it really wasn't the end of the world. But oh, it felt like it. And you're always waiting for that shoe to drop again. For the glint in the eye of the natural born bully to start up. And sometimes it does... adults can be just as vicious.

Sometimes, it makes you say the wrong thing. Trying to fit in, which you never really learned how to do, you will say something cruel yourself. Trust me that when that happens, the overthinker doesn't ever forget it. The person you might have said it to or about might have long-forgotten it ever happened but it is going to keep you up at night.

It sounds kind of ridiculous as I write it out. And you might be wondering what the point of this rant is, then.

Overthinking is what gives me the ability to write. To imagine how a character might be feeling in a situation like that, to wonder what the sound of a ghost in her very worst moments, trapped for eternity, might sound like. To visualize the joy of finding a friend, even then. To hear the sound as the wolves circle you, growling low in their throats, as a lion chuffs your scent over her powerful glands and smells you delicious.

So, on those nights when I'm explaining to my oh-too-sensitive daughter why sometimes you just have to push through that pain, and I know that one day, when she is older, she will be able to write like nobody's damn business, and yet as a child of a really ridiculous childhood I know that the pain she feels because a teacher once ate a popsicle in front of her without offering her a bite is nothing compared to my own being homeless and/or almost being killed and/or harmed in other ways as a child---- pain is pain. Overthinking it, over analyzing what that meant-- that's my superpower. And I'm gonna keep on keepin' on. Just fair warning to anyone who wants to push something rocky and pointed my way: you might end up in one of the stories, cleverly disguised but there. And you might just be having the worst day of your life, eternally, as the Author laughs and laughs. The last laugh, indeed.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Lady In Blue!

Announcing the prequel to Mariposa, Lady in Blue, available now on Kindle and KU! It's a short story, and a perfect introduction to the adventures I am planning to continue releasing this summer as the stories are ready of the Children of Mariposa series!  You'll be amazed at how far back the adventures we will follow the Lady we first meet in the lobby of the historic Menger hotel in downtown San Antonio, Texas... and it's all just the beginning!

Get Lady in Blue here:  
and read the novel, Mariposa, here:
and Mariposa in paperback:

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Mrs. Fredericks

I remember it well. Fourth grade, Mrs. Fredericks' classroom, Abbeville Louisiana. 1979.  I wrote my very first fictional story, called "Christmas in a Cave." It was about this family where the dad had lost his job, and they had no money, no house. They did, however, know of this cozy cave just behind where their house used to be, so they packed their stuff into bags and lit a campfire and lived in the cave. On Christmas eve, the dad scraped together the supplies to go and get a real Christmas tree, and some small presents. But on the way home, he ran into his old boss and it turned out they were hiring and Dad got a JOB!

This was my first taste of critical acclaim for my creative writing. Mrs. Fredericks praised it highly. In front of the whole class!  Including Carmen, my arch rival. Other kids looked at me with a jealous, admiring gleam in their eyes. Appraising my fame, wishing for their own.

I was hooked. This writing thing: it could gain you all the riches in the world!Fame! Fortune! The envy of people you go to lunch every day with! Maybe even to sit next to that boy you've had a crush on for the whole school year!

From that moment on, I've always been a writer. Some of the stories, granted, have not had the amazing power of "Christmas in a Cave" with its topical, hard-hitting social commentary on the rising plight of the homeless in the Reagan era. Themes of good vs. evil and the power of faith, family. But I've always written. And that moment of teacher advice, of acclaim, was something that truly shaped my path as a reader and writer. Teachers have a lot of power, y'all.

Today, another chapter opens on that journey from my very first taste of the power of the written word (and as silly as the above is, there is a kernel of truth in the awakening to my own skill that happened that day so long ago). My novel, Hoodoopocalypse, which dropped in a soft launch this weekend, is now available on ALL THE PLATFORMS! Kindle, Nook, Kobo, I-Tunes Books. Soon it will be out in print paperback.

It's a really neat story, and I've gotten some super amazing reviews. Last night I even had to pause our watching of The Simpsons to read one of them to my husband; it was so very exciting to have people who I'm not even related to so they don't have to pretend to like it LIKE IT!!

So yeah. I know I've been blabbing about this book for a while. But it truly is a cool story. I know books are probably like children and you're not supposed to have a favorite among them but I'll tell you a secret. Shhhh. Come in close:  "This one is my favorite so far." Sorry other books but it's true.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Hoodoopocalypse is LIVE

So when you post on Amazon, it usually takes a couple of days for the Amazon code-gnomes to get it posted and live to buy. But today, my book actually is live, and ready to buy! So if you've been waiting, go get it now! 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Hoodoopocalypse is Coming Tuesday!

Today I launch both my cover art (which is to. die. for) and my promotional video for the book, which I hope will be book one of the Hoodoo series of the Apocalypse Weird project (follow that link down the rabbit hole for more info). I already have a fan interested in writing some fan fiction in my world, too, which, by the way, feels amazing. Someone is fan enough that I might already have FAN FICTION of MY world. (stops to un-blow mind.)

This has been a very wild ride. The collaborative project launched two weeks ago with the first five books from my friends, and I've been talking about them for months, and their books are doing great on amazon. I can't wait to join them, and the book should be ready for pre-order sometime this weekend.

It's all been a great collaborative team, and the parties in the staff lounge can get pretty wild. Our "writhing tentacles from other dimensions" cleanup bill is really huge, and housekeeping is always threatening to quit.

There is one guy we don't like to talk about in the breakroom, cause he hears us and the last time he overheard someone talking about him, they woke up in Carson City naked in a bathtub full of gummi bears, an empty bottle of cheap gin next to them, and written in lipstick on the wall next to them "Dial 477 for a good time." The therapy bills for that one are still keeping the company in the red, let me tell you.

But Doctor Midnite said I could tell you a little bit about my book. We are, after all, revealing the truths, the dark underbelly of the world that's coming soon.

And so, here without further adieu, is my book trailer:

and my cover art, which so help me will make my brain just shut down right here on this sunny sneaux day in Shreveport.

This cover art was done by Mike Corley, and he's been doing the art for the whole group of authors. I have to say I love mine the best (of course I do, why wouldn't I?) But oh wow. Everyone so far has mostly picked the "Hero pose" of their characters looking strong and ready for action. But me, I am a little contrary, and wanted to pick "bad guy pose."

This is Kalfu, the demon of Possession, and the main Big Bad of my book. He is the "evil twin" of Papa Legba, the Voodoo loa of doorways and crossing over. But Kalfu is some bad juju-- he is a bokor, or black magician, and he really gets things moving in New Orleans and Shreveport (my home town), in the Apocalyptic direction we all love to read about. And yes, that is my beloved French Quarter. And he is doing terrible things to it.

My story is a little different from the first five in that there's a lot more magic, a lot less realistic sciencey bits. My apocalypse moves into dimensions that cross between a lot of different boundaries. And I really can't wait until the rest of y'all can follow me there. Next week!

Laissez le End Times Roulez! Y'all. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Coming soon: Bookmarks!

When I send a print copy to someone right now, I tuck a cute little version of the witch on a dandelion logo that's at the top of my blog over there.  Up there ^. It's purple, and has my website on it.

But that got me thinking: BOOKMARKS ARE COOL!!  So I went and found a website that does bookmarks, and made one with the purple logo. I just ordered them, and now I want them instantly in my hands. Seriously, would whomever is in charge of inventing the thing on Star Trek, what are they called, that makes things appear, just get it over with already!? And while you're at it, bring me some Earl Grey, Hot.

These are nerdy, daily things that I do which take up an inordinate amount of time. But it's all for the fans.. my dahlings. The fans....

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Blogger weirdness!

So for some reason, I must have clicked a button wrong in blogger and deleted half of my blog drafting from yesterday, as well as some things from other blogs. Augh! I lost some major content when I was playing around with the format, trying to add some cool things (like a mailing list sign up contact thingy). I don't know what I did. Usually blogger is very easy to work with but I messed it up yesterday, for sure. I will maybe go back & re-do the blogs that basically are now showing in first draft form, having lost a lot of formatting, links, etc, that had been put into them. But man, what an annoying thing to happen! And I don't even know how it did! I usually come in maybe once a day to track "siteviews" and I just discovered it just now.

Anyone know how to "wayback" a blog mistake? Sheesh.