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It’s been a very slow few weeks. I don’t have a lot to report. I’ll do a quick rundown here, and then give more details below if you like the wordier version. Queen Takes Sunfires 2 is delayed. I just haven’t been able to get into the flow yet. I am very slowly working on Queen Takes Venom, part of the Queen Collection. Unfortunately we’re delaying the print anthology as well. We had planned to have it available at Literary Love Savannah in July, but with Covid-19 and all the implications–specifically, Middle Monster’s graduation was rescheduled to July 31st–I can no longer attend. Many others are in the same boat.

So it’s been a bit of a bummer all around. I’m sorry to disappoint those of you waiting for more Karmen! I’m especially bummed that I can’t attend LLS again this year after planning so many fun things. I miss seeing all the people I met in 2018.

This is a stressful month for me. We’re supposed to be in court in just under two weeks. I had hoped we could come to an agreement out of court, but it doesn’t appear to be in the cards. That was a mental adjustment for me. It’s scary and expensive AF but I don’t have a choice. I’m just focusing on the positive. In a few weeks, this will all be behind me. The uncertainty will be over. I’ll know what I need to do. I just have to stay calm and positive. My blood pressure will thank me!

Littlest Monster turns 17 tomorrow. How is that possible? Remember when I was posting about her going to school just seconds ago it seems? She’ll be a senior this fall and wants to go to medical school. Middle was robbed of her prom and expected graduation event like so many other seniors this year. We’re hopeful that she can walk across a stage in July, but we’ll just have to see what happens over the next few weeks. She hasn’t decided what she wants to do with her future, and I told her that’s PERFECTLY OKAY. No pressure. We have plenty of pressure about everything else. If she wants to take a year off and work, fine. If she wants to go to college in the fall, fine. We have time to decide.

Princess Monster will graduate from college next year with her early childhood teaching degree. Also extremely exciting: she wrote her first book for publication! Meet her pen name: Bobbie Jo Hart. Bobbie from Papa (Bobby), Jo is her real middle name, and Hart from Burkhart. Wolf Point Academy is an idea I had last year. I purchased the covers and had a few notes, but I just couldn’t make it happen. When she saw the wolf covers, she said, “Mom, I’ll write it.” And she did such an awesome job! She took just a few notes I had and the first chapter… and ran with it. She’s already completed the first draft of the second book too!

I, however, am not anywhere near that fast. I am trying to be patient with myself. Intellection is one of my top strengths, which means I need to think a lot. It’s not wasting time – even if it feels like it. I have to get the knot of ideas straightened out in my head before I can make much progress. Unfortunately, stress and upheaval makes all that harder to do. My thoughts are consumed with the divorce and all the what ifs. All my brain cells are firing up frantic with all these crazy scenarios — but when it comes time to write, I get nada. Zilch. Some days I can’t even open the file. Other days, I get 100 words. I count it a victory each time.

I’m going back to my tried and true methods. I’m not blocked, exactly. I just don’t have the energy and fire right now. I am mediating again (Headspace). I am lighting incense and a candle each evening when I start to work. I got more distilled water for my fountain (it had run out while we were under lock down and I was scared to go buy more until I got a mask). I put my headphones on with different binaural programs. Zen music. Deep breathing. Affirmations. I’m trying to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night.

Under two weeks to go. Deep breaths. Shara and the Great One Who Is and Was and Always Will Be have my back.

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General Update, WTFIJW

WTFIJW (What the Fuck is Joely Writing?!?!)

I usually post these in the Triune (Facebook group) but I realized I hadn’t blogged in a while and thought I should try and get back into the habit. (Incentive to join the group – I’m running giveaways every day through Sunday for some signed goodies I picked up from BABE 2020.)

I’ve been pretty quiet the last few days, weeks, and maybe a month. I am still working the Evil Day Job, which I’m extremely grateful for and glad the entire company is able to work from home. It’s been fun to see team members join me at home (I’ve been a telecommuter since 2000) and it’s pretty much business as usual, except for not being able to find certain items in the stores. The girls are all home and the school year is over other than online classes for all three. Poor Middle! She’s a senior this year and missing out on prom and graduation. The school is going to try and schedule an event later in the year.

I believe I’ve posted here before in very general terms about the “C and D situation” I’m going through right now with That Man. His C is back and the D is still delayed. It’s been a stressful few months waiting on everything. Mediation was postponed thanks to Covid-19 and now he’s dealing with health issues, so I really don’t know what’s going to happen, how long it’s going to take, and what that all means. I feel stuck. Trapped. Unable to move on with my life. And it sucks.

For someone who really needs stability, all this uncertainty is draining.

I hadn’t been able to write much at all. It’s been all I can do to keep up with the EDJ, and I’m sleeping way more than usual and still feeling exhausted. Needless to say, I’m pretty behind on everything.

I know many of you are frustrated that I haven’t written anything really long and meaty since Queen Takes Triune. My plan was for Sunfires2 to be a really nice long book, but the D is still dragging on, and my creativity has taken a huge hit. I delayed the preorder 30 days, but I may need to delay it again. We’ll see. I don’t want to risk losing my preorder ability for a year, but I can also only do what I can do.

The shorter stories may seem like a distraction, and not worth your time. But I can say from a creative standpoint, they’re easier for me to do right now. They don’t take as much extended mental and creative flow to put together. Usually I just need the idea, and they’re small in scope and I can pull them off in a few days rather than months.

Another benefit of writing short stories: they help me with the inertia problem. Bodies that are at rest are really hard to get moving again. The same goes for words and the creative flow. I had been blocked this entire month, but once I had the story idea for Coterie, the #BBBPublishings Mafia anthology, I wrote it in a matter of days. Now that I’m making words again, I’m going to switch back to one of my other projects (Queen Takes Venom and Sunfires2) and see if I can keep that momentum going in my favor.

4thewords has also been a great help to get me making words again. Small goals, even 100 words in 30 minutes, may not seem like much, but again, inertia takes a huge amount of effort to overcome initially. Once I’m moving again, it takes less work to keep that momentum. I may not be fast right now, but I’ll take what I can get.

Stay safe and healthy everyone.

Long live House Isador!

PS Order updates. Shipping from KDP has been sloooooooow but I did finally get all the TVQ books back in stock. I’l be doing my best to get the next orders out this weekend.

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Shop Update

Ack, I’m sorry! I’ve been so behind this year between travel, the Evil Day Job, and now this crazy COVID-19 upheaval. If anyone wants a refund, please contact me. I’m happy to do so.

I finally made it to the dungeon tonight and made up a ton of shirts for the orders. I’ll start packaging everything tomorrow with the goal of getting everything out as quickly as possible.

Thank you for your patience!

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End of Year Panic

It’s the time of year when everyone starts posting about all the things they accomplished in 2019, and I start to freak out that I haven’t done enough. I didn’t write as many words as I’d planned. I didn’t publish what I’d planned. I didn’t do the new things on my list…

I guess it’s the achiever in me (#5 strength). I’ve always wanted to be the best, do the most, go above and beyond. Like I’m literally looking at my word count totals and crying inside, trying to decide if I can write another 30-50K by 12/31 just to make my number more respectable.

Which is silly. It is what it is. Writing frantically to “catch up” isn’t going to fix anything.

I’ve had SO MUCH going on this year. Everything has been in upheaval. It’s been boiling beneath the surface for years, which has put me under nearly unbearable stress, but the volcano definitely erupted in May and nothing will ever be the same. Change is hard. Stress is hard. And I’ve had nothing but change and stress since, and it’s not over yet. I think that’s the hardest part at this point – not having an end in sight. I don’t know how much longer this will take. I don’t know when my life can move on. When I can officially start those new plans. I’ve got countless lists started for those tasks – but I can’t do any of them yet. Not until this is final.

It’s rather like being trapped in the middle of a tornado, just waiting to be tossed out so I can begin to clean up the rubble and rebuild. But until I hit the ground… I can’t do anything.

Given that I’m also very highly dependent on stability to feel creative, that I’ve written anything at all since May is a miracle. So what if it’s only 10K or 20K a month. It’s still incredible given that I’m still trying to wade through neck-deep muck.

There’s so much I can’t say yet. Maybe I’ll never be able to say it all (because TMI on the ‘Net is forever). But I will say this.

Fear held me back for years. A writer’s imagination can be a crippling gift in that regard. Everything that could possibly go wrong or be horrible was easy for me to imagine. So I was rooted in place, afraid to make a move. Afraid to take that stand. Afraid to take the first step.

But once I took that step and the rest was inevitable…

I can’t even begin to describe how freeing it has been. Yes, it’s been hard. Everything that I feared actually DID COME TRUE. Every single thing I’d lain awake dreading and thinking about for years actually did happen. And then some.

Yet all that bad stuff STILL can’t compare to the freedom and relief I felt as soon as I took that step and committed my path to where I needed to go for myself. My imagination didn’t even come close in that regard. There are so many wonderful things ahead. So much dreaming that I can do now. So much freedom.

I’d been making compromises to stay afloat. To endure. To survive. I didn’t even realize how much I’d compromised and given up on, until I didn’t have to do it any longer. How many dreams I’d killed. How many basic requirements that I’d given up on.

So my goal for 2020 and beyond is to not compromise when it comes to how I’m treated.


Stories published this year:

  • Queen Takes Darkness
  • Queen Takes More
  • Princess Takes Academy
  • Queen Takes Camelot
  • Queen Takes Triune
  • House Isador boxed set
  • reformatted and re-released: Lady Wyre’s Regret, Lady Doctor Wyre, Lord Regret’s Price, and Her Grace’s Stable.

Total word count through 12/15: 189,173

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Managing My Plate

One thing I’m trying to do better this year is two-fold. I’m trying to control how much I put on my plate–but I’m also watching the size of my plate.

I don’t want to get into the red zone as in the picture above. Actually, I think it’s too late. I’m in the red-zone, eating on a little saucer, and wondering why there’s no room for anything else.

See, what I didn’t realize for a long time is that the size of your plate can change over time. When you’re going through stressful situations, a health issue, family trouble, etc. the size of your plate can actually decrease. Suddenly all the things you can normally handle and do without second thought keep slipping off the sides, no matter how hard you try to hold on.

It’s like plopping a huge spoon of Granny’s heavy mashed potatoes (she makes them with sour cream and butter) in the middle of the Thanksgiving plate, and all the stuffing, gravy, and green bean casserole drips off the side and stains the tablecloth. A travesty all around!

For me, that’s when something ridiculously minor would send me into a tailspin. Something I could normally take onto my plate without issue was suddenly too much. Everything starts falling apart.

So how do you move from the red plate to the bigger ones?

Some things are completely out of our control. You can’t change a health situation and make it magically better. You can’t resolve family issues overnight. But there are other self-care things you can do to make sure at least the plate doesn’t keep shrinking – or to take some of the tasks off the smaller plate with grace and knowledge that you’re doing the absolute smartest thing to take care of yourself.

For me, that means I’m super behind with NaNoWriMo. This week has been rough. I had TWO after-hour Evil Day Job support issues that affected my three-day weekend. Nothing messes me up like a 2-3 AM work call. Stress PLUS loss of sleep! I had a hard time getting back to sleep, and then I overslept, so I felt like I was behind all weekend. Though I still didn’t feel rested.

Maybe that’s not a big deal for most people, but I typically run all week on 5 hours of sleep each night. I rely on the weekends to catch up. So when I lost my weekend sleep, I started out this week run down. Weepy for no reason. Mentally exhausted.

So much for my grand plans for writing like crazy this week until I leave on another trip next week.

But, again, there’s nothing I can do about that now. I can’t control when a work issue arises. But I can control my mind frame this week and take steps to ensure my plate size doesn’t slip down another notch, or too much starts falling off the sides.

For one thing, I kept saying over and over, “I’m so tired. UGH.” Which of course made me feel even more tired. Every time I caught myself saying that, I changed it to “I’m getting the rest I need.”

Now saying that is a start – but I also have to follow up on that with smart action. Am I getting the rest I need? Not if I’m staying up until 11PM-12AM trying to write when I’m already mentally worn out. Rather than fight to stay awake, I’ve been going to bed 10-10:30 PM. That means I’m only getting a little writing done, but I have to let my sleep catch up a bit or I’m going to get so worn down that I’ll be sick. I’m traveling next week to Houston for RAM (Romance Author Mastermind) and I don’t want to come back with nasty con-crud that goes into something worse because I didn’t take care of myself.

So, fewer words than I’d hoped, but hopefully nothing else is going to fall off my plate and make a mess. It’s not the end of the world to be behind on NaNoWriMo or even to not “win” the 50,000 words. It’s not a YOU LOSE situation. I’d rather keep a steady pace and survive to write next month and next year than win NaNo and suddenly find myself blocked and unable to write for months because I’m burned out.

If you’re behind on NaNoWriMo, you’re not alone! Let’s keep plodding together.

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Queen Takes Camelot Release

Who knew that class in Arthurian Lit back in college would be so useful? I had too much fun warping these beloved tales. I’ve always loved the idea of the Once and Future King, but I hated that Guinevere was always caught in the middle and blamed for everything, including the ultimate fall of Camelot. You know by now that I hate making my heroines choose!

Queen Takes Camelot is available in Kindle Unlimited.

The Once and Future King has always been my curse. 

You think King Arthur is a hero. 
You blame me for the fall of Camelot. 
Because I refused to choose. 

Yes, I loved Lancelot. Once upon a time, I loved Arthur, too. I loved all of his friends, even Merlin, the cantankerous wizard. 

But Arthur’s jealousy destroyed our love. He smashed the Round Table, banished Lancelot, and locked me in a burning tower. He would rather see me dead than love another man. Even his best friend. 

So now I’m doomed to repeat this grim tale over and over until Arthur wins my love. But this vampire queen will never choose Arthur. Not after what he’s done. I will certainly never choose him over Lancelot. 

I will never settle for just one knight. Not when I can have them all. 

Oh, and this time? Arthur will be the Once and Dead King, because Camelot is mine. 

This expanded version contains both Queen Takes Camelot & Queen Takes Avalon!

The Once and Future King has always been my curse.
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Meditation and Gratitude Tools

These are a few of the tools I’ve been using over the past few months to reduce my stress and improve my overall wellbeing. Some of the links are affiliate links.

The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. I first read this book over a year ago and it was one of the first steps I took to making a better practice of self-care. I started doing meditation right away, but the visualization and affirmations took longer to stick.

I used Headspace to learn about meditation. I really love his sessions on creativity and self confidence and have listened to both series at least twice.

The I AM Journal. This was one of the first tools I started using to get into a better gratitude habit. I loved the idea of writing down only THREE THINGS every day that I was grateful for and concentrating on my feelings. What I wanted most of all. How I would feel when I achieved those things. I don’t currently use this journal just because I don’t like to have yet another place to write stuff down in. But it got me started into the habit I’m using now.

I bought a copper fountain for my office and I love the constant gentle sound. I’ve got some crystals in it too that I’ve collected from various places. I don’t know that they make me feel better, but they’re pretty and I like them. Water is important for my muse (I’m starting to understand this more). As in my wizard story Nightgazer, “wellspring” is a metaphor for where the magic happens. I often picture Story bubbling up inside me like a fountain, and the sound reminds me to let the water — and the words — flow. It’s not so much work/effort, but tapping the well and letting the water come.

My Himalayan salt lamp is always on in my office. I love the gentle, warm glow that it casts so much that I bought another for my bedroom. I also have these salt tea light votives that I use in my office and around my tub when I take a bath. Again, I don’t know that they truly make me “feel better” fighting the negative ions in the rooms and such, but I *like* them. The glow is very comforting and makes me feel good when I see the light.

When I start a low-key sprint, I always do better if I put on my headphones and use one of my apps to help block out noise. Usually Naturespace but lately I’ve also been using Brainwave 35 with my own playlist of songs like Tibetan Singing Bowls, Crystal Bowls, etc. Very zen and relaxing.

Be Focused Pro is my timer app with set 10, 15, or 25 min sprints. The hardest part for me is stopping at the break and actually starting again. It’s easy for me to get distracted. I typically struggle with 25 mins. I lean toward 15 usually, but sometimes all I can manage is 10 mins. I do what I can when I can.

I’m experimenting with Productive – Habit Tracker this week to keep an automated list of my basic self-care tasks each day. So far I really like it, but I don’t know that I’m ready to spend for the Pro version yet. I love that it lets me color code items (so I have gold stars for sprints, and blue for zen stuff like meditation) and it keeps stats for me – though long-term, it’s hard for me not to get too focused on perfection and stressing about checking off an item. Which defeats the whole point of relaxation!

I’m still experimenting with visualization tools.

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On Stress, Healing, and Burnout

For personal reasons I can’t yet divulge entirely, I’ve been forced to cut back on my production this summer.

At first, I was angry. I had so much to do. So many plans that had to be put on the back burner. This was going to set me back months, maybe longer. Would hot trends even be hot in 3 months? 6? A year?

If you’ve been in publishing long, you know the answer to that.

I told myself it didn’t matter. I could still write ahead and have a whole bunch of stories ready to go. But the reality of all the stress I was (and still am) under slapped me in the face so hard it took my breath away, as well as my words. It was hard to be productive when I knew I couldn’t do anything with it. It was hard to focus when I was under so much stress. It was hard to be motivated when my personal life was in complete upheaval.

I need stability. But I also need deadlines. These are elements of my personality that I have been trying to embrace.

I had neither.

So I stewed for awhile. I cursed. I tried to come up with a plan and motivate myself. I created a new bujo and used a bunch of Washi tape to make it pretty. It was better than nothing — but I still wasn’t getting a lot of words. If I was lucky, I could get about 250-500 words — if I succeeded in even opening the file! — on the Princess Takes Unicorns prequel I’ve been working on for like a year. It’s only a short story. Why couldn’t I finish it?


I didn’t want to give myself a heart attack or stroke from the stress — or even cancer or other illnesses. (I watched Heal on Netflix.) So I was forced to slowly begin to work on ME not a story. My first efforts were to begin meditation again. Not everyday, but more frequently. I ordered an “I AM” journal and worked on my gratitude and affirmations. I came up with a mantra that I repeated when I was stressed or upset. Over and over and over, because yeah, it’s been a rough few months. I started writing down affirmations in a spare journal as often as I could remember to do it. Just free-writing a whole page as often as possible.

I started listening to that still voice inside me. I started trusting in my gut. I went through a forgiveness process and actually burned the paper where I’d written my hurt down. Not once but several times lol.

I took more long baths with candles and bath bombs. I read more. I indulged in Netflix horror movies. I bought some incense and started a little ritual when I went to my computer to help me relax, even if I didn’t manage any words.

And I started doing the things I *knew* I should do to help with productivity. I just had resistance to them. Mainly, low-key sprints and setting a timer.

A lot of writers use sprints and are very successful with them – but I have to be careful. I have just enough achiever in my strengths that I want to be the best. I want to do well. I want to be the fastest. And if I’m not, I avoid it. I put immense pressure on myself to type like a mad person when that timer goes off – and if I’m mentally not in the place to achieve a lot of words, I don’t want to do it. I avoid it. Because I know I’ll be disappointed in myself.

This took a mind shift, but I think I’m finally in a better place. I don’t use the timer so much to “sprint” but to focus. The word count doesn’t matter. It only matters that I’m working on ONLY my story during that time. If I’m reading and editing, that’s okay. If I’m just adding a few lines, that’s okay. If I’m writing slowly and relaxed… THAT’S OKAY! I just need to dedicate the TIME to do the work.

The words started to come. Slowly, yes, but the words are flowing again. It’s more of a gentle trickle than the rushing Amazon River, but I’ll take it. I’m learning to embrace that ebb and flow better.

In all of this, I finally realized exactly how close to burnout I probably was. Forcing myself to write while under this major stress would have probably pushed me over the brink. I don’t know how long my muse would have been incapacitated if I’d kept pushing and forcing the words over the summer. I had all the classic signs of burnout:

  • difficulty focusing
  • tired all the time
  • no motivation
  • no creativity
  • irritability
  • wanting to veg and binge Netflix

Granted, the Homelife stress has been extremely high for years and was certainly contributing to the approach of burnout. But I also wasn’t taking good care of my muse. That’s why Checkmate and Triune took me soooooo long. I struggled to focus. I had a lot of “I don’t wanna” and I didn’t know why or how to get over it.

Usually for me, the more pressure I apply and the tighter the deadlines, the better I perform. Usually. So it was hard for me to admit that I was probably not in a good place. My mind kept insisting that I should just push harder. My “feelings” were just feelings and I should be able to write just as much even with my Homelife exploding around me.


So while it has been a frustrating summer… I can also look back and admit that I was exactly where I needed to be. I needed to spend these months forming some new self-care habits. I needed the down time. While the Homelife stress isn’t any better yet (though things are in progress and I hope it can resolve in the next few months), I have found my stride with writing. Yes, it’s slower. But that’s okay. The flow is there. I’ve almost finished the short prequel and I plan to spend the first 3 weeks of October expanding Queen Takes Camelot.

Yes, I know. After all my talk above about stress, I set a fairly tight pre-order date! But I need the pressure to make sure I actually focus and work, and I have other pressing reasons for that deadline.

It’ll be a good test to see if my new habits will continue to help me keep moving forward, manage the stress, and still find space in my head to be creative. I’ve got a checklist I’m trying to do every single day, both for sprints and for self care. I may post more often in Oct just as an accountability.

Let the words FLOW!

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A Their Vampire Queen Update

At the end of Queen Takes Triune, I told you that Shara needed a break. She needed downtime with her Blood, to rest and play and just simply BE Shara. She can’t face the next trial until the other queens come to the table.

All of that is true.

But there’s more.

People ask me things like How many more books will there be? Is Helayna Ironheart going to be a Triune queen? Who are the other Triune queens? How many books will there be? Who’s the next bad guy?

And I’m like uh…. I don’t know. Not until THEY TELL ME.

I know that sounds crazy but I’ve learned over the years to sit back and let the story come to me – rather than me chasing and forcing it to happen. A lot of this is personality. It’s just how I’m wired.

I’m a high INPUT and LEARNER personality. I’m also on the cusp between FEELING and THINKING, as well as JUDGING and PERCEIVING. (I think it’s my Gemini nature – I pull on either side depending on what I need. I’m a writer – but I’m also analytical and work as a computer programmer.) That means that most days I consider myself an INFP on the Myer-Briggs personality scale, but I also sometimes have other qualities (INFJ, INTP, INTJ) driven by my analytic side.

I can sometimes apply the analytic side to writing and make things happen, but generally, it’s best for my writing if I LET it happen. If I let my emotions and intuition guide me, I feel like more “magic” happens, and that’s what I love most about writing. I love it when pieces come together in a magical, special way that just ARE. They weren’t planned out.

I honestly didn’t know why xyz was important. I just knew it was needed. Example: I still don’t know what special thing Kevin had written into his conciliarius contract with House Isador. I just know there WAS something special and unique and when it’s important and affects the plot, it will be there waiting for me to know.

That’s great and all, but it makes it hard to explain to you when the next book(s) will be here and which queen will do what, because I honestly have no idea until they show up and tell me what’s going on. So when I said Shara needed a break, that was true. But I also needed time for my subconscious to start working on some of these other details. I needed time to let some things unfold magically in my head that I wasn’t even aware of.

I need time to let those ideas bubble in the background while I indulge my LEARNER and INPUT until the well is full again and overflows in a deluge. So maybe I’m making bracelets, crocheting something, watching a new show (I’m really enjoying Carnival Row), making shirts for Penned Con, etc. while I’m also reading and researching general things. Like… death masks. Pretty cool stuff. Ancient mythologies (you know how much I love them already.) And…

Boom, something triggers me, in a good way, and I start to know things. I don’t know why these things are true yet, but I know they’re important, so I write them down. Then more comes, maybe while I’m in the tub, or as I’m trying to fall asleep at night, and I start to get excited, because I know the story is finally coming. I can help this process along sometimes by working on other things (nothing makes one idea perk up like when I set a deadline for something ELSE because let’s make this as complicated and pressure filled as possible. That good old “P” in INFP.)

So that’s why I’ve been getting through some tasks that have been on my to-do list for awhile, like re-releasing Lady Wyre. Because I knew the best way to get these silent queens to show up and start talking is to tell them to shut up while I do something else. Reverse psychology for the win!

This is a long-ass way of saying that I have made some decisions on the future of Their Vampire Queen. Three queens have announced themselves as Triune candidates and are willing to step up to the table (literally!) and help Shara with the future.

I’ll be posting more details in the Triune group over the next few months and even opening up some polls etc if you’d like to play along with titles or things like that. It’s too early to set dates yet, but these queens will hopefully be arriving early next year.

The rest of this year…

Things are complicated by some personal shit going on. I’ve had to put a brake on several projects until I get my life sorted out and finalized. However, my plan of attack for the rest of the year in no particular order (you know that if I type this out that it will actually cause a rift in the time-space continuum and nothing will go according to plan but I’m going to try anyway):

  • Princess Takes Unicorns prequel finalized (up to some events that drove Princess Takes Academy).
  • Lady Wyre’s Rebels (third NEW book for Lady Wyre to finish her incomplete trilogy)
  • Queen Takes Camelot – expanded

While these things are slowly being worked on, I will also be letting the three queens chat in the back of my head and building some momentum until they’re ready to break free. Goddess let it be soon!

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The Story Behind the Story – Part 1

With the re-release of Lady Wyre’s stories coming over the next few months (Lady Wyre’s Regret is available free right now, and Lady Doctor Wyre re-releases August 26th), I thought I’d talk a little about these books for the newer people who may not have been around in 2011 when she first came to be.

First of all, it astounds me that she’s EIGHT years old. It just doesn’t seem possible.

Your first question may be why on earth did I choose the Regency period for a SF mash-up?

My first actual published story was a Regency short story in a now defunct ezine. Yep I know. Given Shara’s dark and bloody story, that may surprise you lol. But when I was younger, I read a TON of Regencies. I read EVERY Regency Signet my small-town country library had on the shelf. Years later, I loved Amanda Quick. I loved the gowns and titles, the stories of wallflowers and rakes, Dukes and nannies. And of course I loved the great Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters.

But I’m not an historical writer. I can (and did) research the time period, but it’s not my speciality. I was afraid of making title mistakes especially. But they were so fun – much more fun than the more strict and staid Victorian period.

When steampunk began to rise in popularity, I was intrigued, definitely. But I couldn’t get into the Victorian period at all. I also didn’t really care for the “steam” aspect – which is kinda important for steampunk! Duh. But it got my brain bursting with ideas.

What if… Regency ladies ran amok in space? Even better – what if ladies REIGNED in space? Because the number one thing that always irritates me is patriarchy in SF. Come on, people! There are so many reasons that women could and should be more powerful than in a traditional patriarchal society! Let’s play. Let’s have some fun and encourage women in sciences and positions of power. Let’s make that the NORM.

So I knew I wanted the main character to be a lady. A duchess, naturally. But I also wanted her to be special. I took some elements of Doctor Who (which is why she’s Lady Doctor Wyre), the fun outlaw adventure aspect from Firefly, and the elements of Regency Society that I enjoyed – and turned them on their head. Instead of the Mamas hot on the heels of the dashing young (rich) lord for their daughters, they’re hot on the heels of the dashing powerful (rich) ladies for their blushing sons.

Lady Wyre is just the beginning of what I hoped to do in this world.

But circumstances were stacked against her. The main problem, I think, was that I was stretched over too many series at too many publishers at the time. I took over a year to release the next stories each time, and that’s just too slow, even back in 2011. We also struggled with marketing. We tried marketing her as steampunk – but she’s NOT steampunk. So it just never took off like we hoped, even though Lady Doctor Wyre was nominated for a Romantic Times Book Reviews award. Then, of course, Samhain went out of business entirely, and I was adrift and unsure what I wanted to do.

So hopefully I can correct those mistakes this time around and give her a better chance at success. I love this story world too much to let her languish on my hard drive any longer!

A mash-up of Jane Austen and Firefly, this series puts ladies in charge–in space. If you love a Regency romp and space opera adventure, join Lady Wyre on her adventures.