Project Update

I thought I’d post a quick update on my projects for anyone who is wondering. I’m working on three books right now. It’s hectic, trust me. It’s weird not having my other books on sale right now while I wait for Kingston.

And man–I’ve realized just how much I have happening with all of my books in this project update!

The books I just signed a contract for with Kingston Publishing: Cheap Guitars has undergone edits and I believe the release date is 10/7. I’m still waiting for my other books to be edited. I think they’re moving the release date up for them as well but I’m just kind of waiting to hear right now.

Cheaper Sunglasses: I haven’t worked on it a few days but I’m trying to figure out a schedule for how I want to do my writing schedule so I can continue to juggle multiple projects while I still have to work on my thesis. I’ll talk about my thesis in a few minutes, but I’m still determined to finish this by the end of the month. The project is currently sitting at 3,522 words.

Cheap Promises: Lord, this thing is driving me nuts, but I think I finally figured out the plot. The project is currently sitting at 47,254 words but I worry a lot of that is going to have to change. It won’t quite take me back to scratch but there are a few chapters I need to completely rewrite to make it work with the new plot. I’m still plotting the ending but I should be able to start working on it after I finish the novella.

Heart Be Still: I’m so proud of this book. I am stuck between a rock and a hard place with it, though. I have met the 15,000-word requirement for my first Thesis course so I think I could technically get away without working on it until January and finish my other projects first, but I don’t think that’s very practical. I took the double-spacing out of it and I’m rewriting about 20 pages today so I can put all of it into the past tense. Then I’m putting the plot in the back of my writing planner so I can keep track of scenes I need to write and on certain days. That’s the trick to juggling multiple projects, by the way–a strict writing schedule. Everyone always calls me so prolific, and I honestly think that’s how I keep myself busy…but I also just kind of want to focus on this book for now.

Anyway, happy writing! If you’re a writer, what are you working on right now? If you’re a reader, do you want a synopsis of all my books? Let me know in the comments!

Big Changes Coming

I thought this day would never come.

I am no longer self-published.

I thought this day would never come.

I am no longer self-published. I signed a publishing contract on the 7th with Kingston Publishing. I’m beyond thrilled to work with them. I want to give a shout out to Stephanie Nicole and B.M. Griffin–I might not have taken this big leap without your encouragement.

They have picked up all of my romance novels: Head Over Hoof, Head Over Heart, Cheap Lies, Cheap Guitars, Cheap Sunglasses, Cheap Tricks and I will be submitting Cheap Promises to them when it is finished. Expect the newly covered and freshly edited versions of books, of which I have poured my heart and soul into the past six years (whoa, time flies!) in January.

The goal is to finish Cheap Promises and work on my thesis as a break before I dive into a seven-book series sometime next year. Before that, I may be working on a rom-com trilogy. If you aren’t a member of Mara’s Marsbars on Facebook, please feel free to join. I may add a few short stories in there later. 🙂

‘Til the Cockiest Asscrack of Dawn

A free short story, inspired by my current MFA course for the speculative fiction module.

Just a little forward: This was a LOT of fun to write for my MFA class. It’s undergoing workshop right now so I may edit it later, depending upon the feedback I get in my class. And no, I have no idea if I’m going to continue it.


‘Til the Cockiest Asscrack of Dawn

Werechickens are always at the end of the pecking order.

Cocks get the worst of it in every way possible.

The waning moon is…Meh. You kind of forget who you are after you deal with 206 bones reducing down to the size of a Jersey giant. The full moon is the worst—it makes it impossible to think beyond digging up garden roots or snuggling and walking under your very normal mother’s feet when she comes out early to feed the flock. (She still hasn’t gotten used to the situation since I started shifting a year and a half ago—I, unfortunately, inherited the werechicken gene from my father.)

If your wings aren’t clipped, it makes things tougher. You’ll gain this inherent, unending urge to fly over the fence to cross the road to the next farm over where the pretty hens—uh…girl—lives.

And you’ll never quite get that landing since your plume of feathers above your comb keep getting into your eyes (I think I have some Polish ancestry, although it hasn’t ever been confirmed).

But all of that is a hell of a lot better than getting your ass kicked by Hawk, the Easter Egger with arrogance issues, or dealing with the vegetarian farmer across the road who shoots first and asks questions later. The dog’s food bowl… or the dead dish. I wouldn’t even wish that on Hawk…

I haven’t had a haircut in six months, and I won’t let Mom cut it because I can fly farther with my wings. It’s just a glide, really, with pointless flapping, but I manage to get around.

If I’m going being honest here, I’m a beautiful cock. I won’t get a haircut because I don’t want to shift and come out looking like an oversized Silkie. I don’t know how those guys do it.

But the waxing moon—that’s when I start to feel human again after being stuck two days as a chicken. There’s a reason I cross the road (and leave all your “chicken crossing the road” jokes to yourself).

Her name is Cami Gilly. She’s the most beautiful girl in school. I’ve been in love with her since freshman year, but I’ve never had the guts to talk to her. I didn’t know how she would react if we got into an actual relationship and she found out about my…condition.

I hear the asshole raccoon overhead.

He tries to eat me every time I shift, and tonight is no different.

He flies from the trees with all four legs spread out, hissing and spitting and trying to grab my wings. If he pins me, I’ll be dead, and I’ll never be able to check on Cami. But I was smart—I haven’t cut my toenails in over a month. My back talons are long and sharp, and I manage to hook one in the raccoon’s eye. He hisses and makes weird raccoon noises, but he doesn’t stop. He is determined to kill me. I manage to get in one, sharp peck to his ass and then kick at him again. This time, my foot, and all sharp claws, manage to hook his face, and I peck him again. The whole time I’m clucking loudly, but I go at him with the force of a rooster protecting his hens, and he finally lets out a defeated cry before he limps his ass away from me.

Freaked out, trying not to let the chicken take over, I take refuge on top of Mr. Gilley’s chicken coop, right outside of Cami’s bedroom, breathing hard. He tried to claw the top of my shoulders, but as I preen myself, I don’t find any terrible damage. I forced meal worms down before I made the decision to jump the fence. They’re awful, but at least I get fast healing powers from them. I found this out completely by accident when I got into a conversation with another werechicken on Facebook.

Crap.

This dawn is just getting worse.

Cami is dating Heath Nottingham, one of the cockiest Bourbonsville High quarterbacks. I’m not completely certain, but I think he makes her depressed. I hear her television as I hop onto the ledge of the fence near her bedroom. Chicken hearing isn’t the best, but I hear soft arguing.

I recently found out Heath is a vampire.

I hate vampires. He’s not of the prissy variety, either. He’s old. Like Nosferatu-weird-teeth-old. I’ve seen his vampire face and he looks worse than one of those yellow-eyed renditions of the creature from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, only his eyes turn red. I got on Google and started doing research on this guy. It wasn’t easy. Vampires don’t like were-animals, and they laugh at werechickens. We’re at the bottom of the pecking order in every way possible. This guy preys on young girls, and he lives life over and over again as a teenager. I think he was turned when he was seventeen or something.

But it’s the scream—the heart-wrenching scream—that has me damn near banging my head against the Cami’s bedroom window. I peck and peck, but I can’t get inside. Heath hovers over Cami, his hand fisted in her blonde hair, fangs sharp and glinting against the light of the television. Cami struggles and tries to fight back, but Heath pins her like she’s made of feathers.

It’s by chance that I find the weak spot in the window screen.

I fly at Heath’s head, crowing, bucking, talons out. I’m Hawk—no one messes with my hen—er—girl. I scratch and peck and drive Heath into the rising dawn light.

He wails from the light, turns into a bat, and flies outside.

It is the single most awesome win for werechickens everywhere.

“…Kenny?”

I look down.

Crap.

I’m human again.

A naked human…

With, uh, standing issues.

And a freezing ass.

“Uh… hi, Cami.”

“You—how—you’re a chicken?”

Update: Cheap Tricks

It’s not easy to decide that you need to push back the publishing date of your next novel, but it happens. I can’t express how sorry I am that I won’t be publishing Cheap Tricks in April, but I will say that it is better for the story. That gives me a little more time to finish it, and for my editor and beta readers to read through it. It gives me time to see if anyone wants to read an advanced copy, who might leave good reviews, and help me get traffic to the book. It’s going to be the last one in the Cheap series for a while. I don’t want to say it’s done, because I could write stories about Amy and her cousin when they’re adults, but for now I want to focus on a few other projects like a stand alone and a small trilogy.

This story has been the hardest one for me to write yet. I think a large part of it has to do with that I am being harder on myself, but also there are more themes and subplots I must deal with, and I want to make sure I wrap up everything correctly before the book is published. There’s also the small issue that I wanted to include some Civil War-era letters that Sophie finds on her Mamaw’s farm, but I’m not sure if they’re going to make the final cut. Hey–who knows, maybe I’ll write a historical Cheap story. That would be fun. 

So, as of now, the release date I’m aiming for is like June 9th. That gives me plenty of time to try to get the book in tip-top shape. To let my editor look at it, for me to rewrite if I feel like something needs to be ironed out, to let my beta readers get their hands on it, and for me to order the print proof so that I can check and make sure there aren’t any final errors. Being an indie author isn’t easy sometimes, haha. So much goes into it that sometimes I think my head might explode from the pressure I’m putting on myself to produce a book, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Right now, I’m rearranging scenes, and even deleting a couple chapters that I decided will not work for the story. It’ll be a much better book in the end, and I might actually finish it now at the end of the month. I just happen to feel way more comfortable with the June release date than one in April…because I’m not going to publish a first draft. That’s what gives Indies a bad rap. I had to learn that lesson the hard way when I finished Cheap Guitars and published it (I have some EXCITING news about an Author Anniversary Edition for that one, but I’m not releasing any actual details yet).

Okay. I need to go rework a couple things and check on my brother’s cats. If you are a reader, I thank you for your patience. If you want to subscribe to my newsletter, you can go to my Facebook page here and find the email subscription button (I’m still trying to figure out how to put that in other formats).