Saturday, March 7, 2015

Book 1 of the Monsters of Myth Series: Bleed Cinders & Venom

Returning to their normal lives is not what they wanted

And it’s not what they’ll get

Running a business that searches and retrieves lost magical relics has its busywork: invoices, bills, taxes, more taxes, and monsters showing up out of nowhere with murderous intent. Ave and Elliot have finally returned to their previous lives at the apartment, only to find their business is about to get much messier than they had anticipated—or desired, really.

Elliot had indirectly freed the war goddess Ares had mentioned, but her captor wants her back—with Elliot dead, just in case. Ave’s powers have surged like frostbite in her veins, but her intertwining with Toivo has also somehow affected him, changed him, something she feels every time they have sex, and darker things with wide grins will gladly sink their teeth into them both to claim it. The hardest part is who Ave and Elliot will have to rely on when they can’t rely on themselves, and who might die because of it.

But what surprises them all are the secret links and hidden truths, questions bigger than the boy who faked his death, revelations larger than what Ave and Elliot truly are, and with business booming—literally—they will all learn what it feels like to have venom in their veins.

As promised about a thousand years ago, here's the final cover for Bleed Cinders and Venom! This is the first fully designed (and fully intended) wrap-around cover. The first books of the Marionettes series were not designed to be wrap-around covers, but these and every book hereafter will be, for an awesome clean look that'll go sweetly with the matte cover.

The release date is still pending, since it depends a lot upon when we can get feedback from beta readers, and also when we can finish revisions. But, as usual, we'll be keeping everyone posted on updates! In the meantime, go add book 1 on Goodreads!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Update! Super Wow!

Hello, friends! It's been a while since our last update. I've been on a mini-vacay, if it could be called that? Pretty much all I've been doing is working and reading and writing, a LOT.

There's been a whole bunch of things that've been going on here (and just yesterday we were finally able to get our PA license plates after sooooo mannnnny setbackkkksss), including but not limited to adulthood things that really suck. If it's not one thing, it's another.

Like TAXES. Wow. How do taxes. Why did high school never prep us for taxes.

I'm also an A+ fire starter now. I have the burn scars to prove it, and boy have I learned a lot about burns thanks to the almighty east coast winter blues. Luckily for us, we were right on the outskirts of the worst of the winter storms, so the most we got at once when it came to snow was like a foot.


But I did get to see my first white-out blizzard-thing.

I say "blizzard-thing" because they called it a "band", and it was the first time I ever saw wind go at an upward angle. That was neat. Brushing off my car from a foot of snow in the wind was also pretty neat. Really neat. So neat.

We're spoiled here though, at least when it came to snowfall. I still got to learn what -20 felt like. Also really, very, so incredibly neat. Wind chill like that makes you feel like you're walking around naked.

But before winter, I got to see my very first autumn. I might write about it in Marionettes, but I had honestly never seen real, actual autumn before. Hills and hills of gold and yellow and red and WOW. Victoria and I drove out to my first harvest festival, where we got to walk a corn maze.

The one thing that I really appreciate being out of the city is the air. Ain't nothing like breathing in the country air, cool and crisp and delicious. The drive itself was worth it, so fun taking back roads instead of scary freeways. I love seeing all the character that all these places have to offer, whether out in farmland or even in the city. It's just incomparable to Los Angeles.

I mean, even the SUNSETS.

I'm not supposed to be able to take a photo like that without some sort of filter?? It seriously looks like the sun is a slab of butter just melting into the ground. It's positively outrageous. I mean, LA had some awesome sunsets (thank you city pollution), but we just never had...clouds. Those white, fluffy things in the sky. Yeah. We didn't have a lot of that in LA. So sunsets like these are tough to snag.

(Of course, to be fair, I haven't been able to get a picture of sunset like this all winter because, well, that big orange thing in the sky that hurts to stare at hasn't been making very many cameos either.)

Before the cold weather began, we celebrated Victoria's birthday back in September, and, of course, what better way to celebrate it than to take her to an abandoned blast furnace?

This place was amazing, and we had so much free reign to explore where we wanted. I was in true tourist form and got about a million photos of everything, and videos, and--well, it's safe to say that this research we did might show up somehow in the future. Cough cough.

We've also brought in a new member of the family. She's a rescue cat, found abandoned in a dumpster, and in the very beginning, she looked like this:

When she came into the shelter, her back legs were injured. We have no idea what happened to her, but she was a very gentle creature and loved to be petted. She might have had a prior family before, because she's very sweet and has never lashed out, whether in fear or anger, like other rescue cats with triggers do. When we first got her, though, she was absolutely terrified of the sound of cars, and she took a long time to adjust.

But now, she's much healthier, and so healthy that she is simply a head:

(Her face looks like that because she knew I was going to put this on the internet. I have about 30495834 more photos of her, so one day I'll just make a cat post. We have some seriously weird ones here at the house.)

We've also been total nerds. Weekly now, we've been having meetups with friends and playing this totally addicting DC deck-building card game.

This was the game I would have one if Victoria hadn't lucked into FIVE FREAKIN POWER RINGS. Here, we've bent the rules and we're playing with both heroes and villains, makes things a lot more interesting. Also did I mention I would have won if Victoria hadn't scored five freakin power rings? Yeah. But rematch this Sunday. REMATCH.

As far as book news goes, I've finally felt grounded enough to start doing giveaways on Goodreads again. If you haven't seen, you can also add the next book in the Marionettes series, and also the first book in the Monsters series. Once I do the official post for the Monsters book 1 here on the blog, the cover'll go up. Aw yeah.

As always, we're still writing, a lot. We just finished revisions on the first book of our steamy NA urban fantasy series, Empath, which has been a lot of good fun.

I've been querying lit agents on this one to see how it does, but as always, things are up in the air. All we can be sure about is that it's been a ton of fun to write, and it's even taken us by surprise all over the place. We'll see what happens!

Progress continues. We're in a continuous state of moving forward, which is always good, and there's so many things I need to do to reorganize this blog that I should make a checklist. Omg.

Until then, look forward to the official Monsters Book 1 post!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Some Ave Art!

Before I was making money at job-things, my holiday and birthday gifts to Victoria would always be art. This year, since we were budgeting all our savings for moving, we didn't really have much money to spend, so I worked on a portrait of Ave on and off between our packing and unpacking times.

So, in celebration of Monsters coming closer and closer to a tangible thing, here's the ever brilliant Avery.

I struggled with this a LOT. Before I'd sat down to paint her, I'd been painting character portraits from our other WIP like bam, bam, bam, two hours resulting in awesomeness, very close to the original vision I started with.

Ave, however, took one full do-over and about 10-12+ hours. Keeping track of time was tough since I had to use little pockets of time here and there, but she was quite the struggle to get just right.

Still, I have to remind myself that, as I paint more and do better, my critiquing eye expects more out of me. So these previous paintings I did, in my brain, are a whole lot better until I let time pass, keep painting new things, then come back to them. Then I can see that I certainly have made progress.

I used to be pretty proud of that black-and-white sketch. The two pictures were painted with similar methods, and Kali on the left was the first time in a looooong time that I had tried painting over a sketch without full line art. Ave on the right is the most recent painting I've completed.

Writing also works the same way sometimes, but also, sometimes, I look back at what I've written and get excited because, "Wow, this is still good????" So, I mean, both things are good things, as long as we keep doing the writing and doing the painting.

For now, Ave's printed out and framed, ready to go up on the wall.

Saturday, September 13, 2014


So, after nearly a month after our departure from California, we're finally starting to settle down in our new home across the country.

It's such a weird change too, weather-wise, because I'm so used to September being the hottest month of the year for California. Here in Pittsburgh, I've been staring wide-eyed out our windows at these autumn-like clouds with autumn-like rain and autumn-like winds giving me autumn-like chills I don't know what to do with myself.

But now that we're here with our own address, I was FINALLY able to order a proof of the redone FtSW's cover. If you didn't know, the original first two books' covers were done in lamination with a default Createspace spine. More recently, however, I went back through these covers and redid them with a MUCH better spine, plus the newly added matte cover option.

I love cradling the matte book covers to my face and making sweet cooing noises, yes I do.

On a separate, less embarrassing note, books two and three also tell you on the cover now which book comes next in the series. Book series that don't make their chronology obvious have always been a pet peeve of mine, but after working in a bookstore for most of a year, I developed a stink eye for them too.

An ugly, ugly stink eye.

But take a look at these spines. Look at them. Just look.

Sighs contentedly.

Anyway, also now that we've started settling in, Victoria and I have been able to sneak in some writing time. Book 4 of Marionettes is at about 95% completion. Yes, almost done. Just a few scenes are left, and then the end. It's definitely the biggest book of the series so far, and begins an arc I'm reeeeally excited about.

As mentioned before, book 1 of Monsters is currently with betas, and book 2 is already about a third of the way completed. It's totally wild.

(Victoria laughs at me whenever I say "wild", because I say it about everything. "That floor display is wild." "That cloud formation is wild." "That part of the wilderness is wild.")

So, up soon is going to be the cover and preview of book 1 of Monsters, aaaaas promised. I just want to do some slight final tweaking with the cover before I finally debut it because I'm never satisfied.

It's gonna be wild.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A New Fancy Update

So, some seriously exciting things have happened since the last post. As always, the overall quiet here just means that we’ve been busy-busy-busy, like hugely, and let me tell you all about these seriously exciting things!

Firstly, the first book of Monsters is finally in the hands of our betas. So, our original intended release date has been slapped in the face, but things are moving, and we’re feeling tentatively good about everything.

Secondly, and this is the true criminal behind our absence: we’re moving! And I don’t mean, you know, right down the street or around the corner. I don’t even mean within the same state.


We’re moving to Pittsburgh.

Wowowowow. But why Pittsburgh? Victoria is actually originally from the Pittsburgh area, and she moved down to California to be with—ehehehe—me. But! An opportunity opened up for a comfortable living situation in Pittsburgh, and so we’re seizing the heck out of it. That means we’ll be living in the actual setting of Marionettes and Monsters.

Freaken awesome.

(You know, until it’s winter, and we have polar vortexes, and I lose all my fingers and toes.)

So, we’ve spent the last couple of weeks pillaging our room, throwing clothes into bags to be donated, trashing things that need to be trashed, and otherwise condensing our belongings into a tiny, little car. That’s all we’re taking with us—whatever can fit.

Luckily, we’re also tiny, little people.

I never thought I’d say that.

We did have a small bump recently (and by “small”, I mean “huge”, because we didn’t expect a driver in a parking lot to slam into the side of our car, and that’s been a Scion-sized wrench in our plans), but all systems are still go and we’re planning to be on our way the week of the 17th (in two weeks *breathes heavily*).

On our road trip, we plan to take pictures too, so we may just update the blog with our adventures, whatever they end up being.

Okay, and thirdly, in the interim of Victoria working and completing her revisions of Monsters, we ended up starting a new project. Already we’re about 90k words in, a couple hundred pages. The extra fun thing about this story is that it’s a New Adult Paranormal Romance. Or maybe it’s a New Adult Urban Fantasy.

Whatever the case, it’s a steamy, psychological urban fantasy set in Los Angeles. I don’t want to say too much about it yet, but I’ve already done a ton of concept art for it and penned an early draft of a synopsis. It’s looking pretty darn sweet so far, and Victoria and I are both vibrating from excitement with this one. We might even seek traditional trade publication??

It’s been so long since I’ve had to send out queries to literary agents.

Like, four years?

Like four years.

(Shhh four years is a long time ok it’s like 1/7th of my life.)

Okay, I think that’sssssss it. Yeah. The next couple weeks are going to be a stressful mess, what with how we tried to cram all the work hours we could into a small amount of time, and also all the pre-moving preparations we have to make (on top of the car repairs, which we’ll be praying to every god in every pantheon to be fixed in time for our departure).

As usual, more updates to come. Until then, stay awesome-possum.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Book Two Poster Art!

So, after months of working on these two on and off, in-between writing and working, finally I've decided to divorce myself from this tumultuous relationship. Er, in short, I'm counting these as done enough. I found myself starting to obsess, so I knew it was time. Time to move on. Time to meet new people.

Eheheheheh, seriously though! I was driving myself crazy and repainting over and over again. But, I did learn a ton while painting these four kids. I mean, a LOT. Part of the reason why it took so long to finish these two posters was because I was learning so much -- I could see all kinds of flaws and things that I could do better.

In the end, it just came to a point where, if I tried to improve upon what I had, I'd have to start almost all over. That's totally counter-productive.

But, just looking back at book 1's poster, which I finished a year ago this month, crazily enough, I can see all kinds of improvement, and that makes me feel all floaty.

When I first started these two posters, I did preliminary sketches for both of them, but I finished the obvious two characters first:

Let me just say that, wow, I learned a lot about both skin color and hair in this painting. Darker skin reflects light and color differently, and this required an incredible amount of learning and repainting. I even took a long break, painted some other things, then came back and retooled a LOT. And I'm glad I did, because it made a total difference.

Also, hair? Forget it. I suck at hair. It's my own fault for spending so much time learning face and skin while giving no attention or practice to hair beyond basic squiggle marks.

I threw together a finished look at the end, which is why there's a ton of things still wrong or could have used a bit more touching up, but gosh. I was probably going to step on all ten of my toes if I kept going.

So, I started and spent forever on the second poster:

To me, personally, I can see a huge difference in skill level between this poster and the first one. It's almost embarrassing. Eeeeeee.

But, here I learned more about sculpting different faces, and then even more about HAIR. I tried so many different ways of painting the hair that again, totally embarrassed. Hair is so tough!!!! I studied techniques from other artists and ended up wanting to shave both of these guys by the end.

I'm glad I didn't.

I can't imagine either of them really pulling it off.

You can get a closer look with the detail shots I put up on the Tumblog (which is also another way you can see such a difference in skill level between the first and second painting ahahaha sob). I'll make a post with process shots of the second poster since I totally obliterated the pre-painting levels of the first one later, because that had an extra step than book one's poster.

I have an idea what I'd like to do for the third books, but for now, a much needed break.

And by "break", I mean working on something else about the series.

It never ends.

More to come soon!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Status Update!

Hello, friends!

So, I realize it’s been a while since the last update. Like I mentioned before, we’ve been working a lot. Constantly. Since I have two non-writing jobs now, with Victoria at full time, and seriously none of our few days off matching up, it’s been tough squeezing in writing time.

Or any time.

Ugh. It’s been so aggravating.

So, the first book of Monsters of Myth, Ave’s series, Bleed Cinders and Venom is intended to be out by the end of spring. We’ve been doing a lot of work with the first draft to make it the most awesome of possums, but that also means it’s been taking a lot of time.

A lot of what we have to do we have to do together. So, we catch a few hours here and there around our work schedules. We still want to have a late spring debut, with the latest being an early summer debut.

As Victoria and I have been working on book 1 of Monsters, I’ve also been working on book 4 of Marionettes, Open the Path to Fire, which I’m about a little under halfway through, and things are coming together sweetly. Once BCV is finished, I’ll be able to chug ahead full speed. Hahchachachacha.

We’ve also been talking about the end of OPF a lot.

Like, a lot.

The two books do two different things that hit us right in the feels, and I just can’t wait to actually finish writing the second half of OPF, oh my blob.

I also can’t wait to finish and share the covers. They’re looking pretty snazzy. BCV is very much almost finished – I just have to do a few more things. These two covers are also the first covers actually designed to be full wrap-around covers, and I can’t wait to see what they look liiiiike.

Speaking of which, the proof of book 3’s paperback finally arrived (after waiting nine full days for it, geez). I’m so floored by how awesome it looks. Take a look:

Alrightalrightalrightalright. It’s friggin gorgeous, and I love to caress it gently with the first book and the novella. Now that I've finished fixing any formatting errors, it should be available very soon.

Tweaking the second book’s cover is my next project, that way we can have a lovely matte matching set. Maybe we’ll stick them altogether on the dresser. With bookends. Yeaaaah, that’d look rad and so official-like.

Anyway, these slow months are pretty slow, but we’re still hard at work. Even during the times I can’t write because Victoria’s at work, I’m still working on the next set of promo posters (and painting hair is the bane of my existence – why is it so hard??).

Although, at the end of this month, we’ll be returning to PA, and I’ll be taking the camera to grab photos for new covers, which is so exciting I could do a pee dance. I’ve gained a lot of new insight with how to use images for covers, which’ll help me with my perspective and composition. It’ll also be spring, so I wonder if anything will be in full bloom.

Though, sending me to take pictures when things are in bloom is dangerous – I’ll have five thousand pictures of flowers and zero pictures for covers. Oops.

So, that’s it for now. As we get closer to a more realized release date for book 1 of Monsters, we’ll definitely be posting more details, including snippets, the synopsis, and, of course, the shiny new cover.

Until then, stay awesome!