March Break is Meant for Reading!

It’s that time of year again, at least around here:  March Break.

When I was in school, this meant ample time to devour new books, while begrudgingly finishing projects and papers that were ruining my fun.  My bag of goodies from the library would hang heavy from my arm, but the comfort of those books made it all worthwhile.

Whether you’re a student on break or a parent taking time off with the kids, reading time is great self-care.  Whether you’re on the beach or curled up on the couch, you can’t go wrong.

For those looking for something to read (or something to gift a teen reader), I’ve decided that March 14th and 15th will be free Change of Season days on Kindle.  Help yourself to a brooding mystery, where nothing is what it seems and knowing who to trust is nearly impossible.

For the marathon readers like me, its sequel, Waiting For A Star To Fall will be on Kindle Countdown pricing as well–meaning the faster you grab it, the deeper the discount!

(The prequel story, Pretty In Scarlet, remains free on Wattpad.)

For details on both titles, head to my Amazon profile pageAs for what I’ve been up to, I have exciting news in the works for a new project, a third installment in the Autumn Brody series, and more!


Codename WTZ: The Music

I can’t write without music.  I know, zero surprise.  But I can’t.

The first step in my writing process (after the initial idea, of course) is building a writing playlist.  For those who don’t work this way, it may seem like a diversion.  “Shouldn’t you be outlining?  Developing character studies?  Doing research?”  Yes, yes I should be doing all of these things.  In fact, I am doing them while choosing the playlist.

I write cinematically, for lack of better term.  Every scene plays out in my head like a film.  My morning commutes are often spent with my eyes closed, picturing my characters and letting things unfold–winding them up and watching them go.  Every great film has a perfect score and/or soundtrack.

In building a playlist, I am defining my characters.  What music do they like?  Do they care about music, or is it another distraction in our digital world?  Do they have anthems?  What is the main mood of each one?  Music defines that.  Music also shapes the tone of the story.  Is it dark and gritty?  Brooding with a slow build?  Is it frenetic or playful?  Choosing the music that will accompany me through a lengthy process sets the vibe of the project.

Once the first raw draft is on the virtual page, I then set out to create the soundtrack.  Writing playlists are usually 200+ songs deep–unwieldy beasts meant for a shuffle.  The soundtrack, which I share on a book’s details page,are the songs that are directly referenced by characters or set the particular vibe of each chapter.  They’re the core of the characters and their journey.  Sometimes, my favourite songs to write a project to have no set place in the final soundtrack.  Sometimes, I endlessly repeat them to get that draft done. Either way, the soundtrack is distilled to the critical pieces for the next step:  revisions.

All of this is to say that my new project, codename WTZ, is entering revisions now, and I’m very excited.  Taking a few months away from the story has given me new insights into scenes that felt rough or incomplete on first go.  It’s also given me time to hammer out the soundtrack for the journey.

So, what does a team of security guards groove to while slaying zombies and dealing with demanding corporate lawyers? Take a spin below and find out!


New Year, New Project

*peeks out from her blanket fortress of winter cozy*  Is it 2016 yet?  Yes?  Excellent!

For many people I know, 2015 was a bumpy ride, self included.  It was one of those awkward years, filled with metaphorical growing pains, highs and lows in rapid succession, and Muses that didn’t necessarily want to cooperate on busy schedules.

It was also the year I released Waiting For A Star To Fall, a book I’m very proud to have in my catalogue, and the year I toyed with Kindle Select and other promotional tools as an indie author.  That’s the thing about choosing indie: you don’t simply write, or even promote.  You must coordinate every detail, from cover art to typesetting.  And while I’m quite happy to do so, it’s always nice to put an end to that cycle and create again

Nanowrimo 2015 kicked off the new creation cycle, yielding the first draft of a project I’ve spoken very little about–until now.

Codename: WTZ

I’ve never enforced any rules on my writing.  I don’t have a set genre, nor a proverbial playbook that guides my stories.  To date, I’ve written paranormal mystery and a legal suspense-thriller.  I simply walk in with characters, wind them up and watch them go.  Their interactions and growth (or lack thereof) are all that matter.

It shouldn’t be surprising , then, that I see nothing unusual about my next project being a zombie tale, laced with dark comedy.

We’ve seen the zombie genre from the perspective of many:  military, everyday families, teenagers, cops… It is a genre we devour eagerly.  We’ve seen it played for scares, for gore and for laughs, and we’ve lapped up all three. There’s a reason AMC keeps churning out new shows about the undead.

For me, the best zombie stories are the ones that really explore how zombies echo our lives, and the ways we live them–or fail to live up to their potential.  I also love the ones that can make me laugh at the doom.  My next book, which we’ll affectionately call WTZ for now, marries the disgruntled apathy of the working class with the first seventy-two hours of a zombie apocalypse.

Joshua Rivers, a struggling student trying to pay his tuition for his final year of university, reluctantly takes a security job at a prestigious office tower.  Assigned to the swing shift–deemed the worst schedule possible in the industry by his peers–he is thrown into a world where drunks and self-important businessmen assault, demean and dehumanize anyone in uniform, and employees take it with a smile.  It is a world where catching wrongdoers becomes a game, and where energy drinks are arranged in a hierarchy of potency, as they shamble through the long hours on little sleep.

It’s also a world where the zombie apocalypse arrives, with the expectation they will defend their blast-proof glass palace for barely more than minimum wage.

WTZ is a look inside the lives of the faceless people most of us pass daily without a second thought:  security, maintenance, store clerks.  It’s also an exercise in creative zombie slaying via office supplies.  As Josh and his coworkers fight for their survival, their mantra is one many of us have echoed in our lives:

“I am not getting paid enough for this.”

In the coming months, as I begin the process of editing the book, I’ll be sharing more about the six people at the heart of the story.  Like my very sweary Brit, who made research particularly fun for this one.  For now, you can read the first-draft take on the Prologue over on my Nanowrimo profile.

Happy New Year!