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Life in quarantine

My life

Did you know that Shakespeare wrote King Lear during a quarantine? Well, I do now. To which I say Shakespeare wasn’t the primary caregiver of two children who are suddenly home until May 4th (but probably the rest of the year).

Well, The Lioness and the Mouse isn’t exactly King Lear, but editing is going. I’m working on a couple of other projects, but nothing worth sharing about yet.

My writing sanctuary is now a little more full these days. I’m trying to figure out what time of day now works to get my writing done (right now my kids are having “P.E.” so I’m stealing the time at my kitchen table, which had been my favorite writing spot ). My partner and I are trying to figure out who works where so that he can do his meetings without being bothered and I can get my work done without being bothered. I was thrilled when he decided our youngest daughter’s room was the best place in terms of light, privacy, and a power strip that wasn’t already full. That leaves our bedroom and bathroom to me (I hate using the kid’s bathroom–it’s messier than ours).

The fact that I was a teacher for five years (six if you count student teaching) is completely irrelevant. I used to teach middle school math, but today when my oldest had to figure out the height of a triangle based off the base number and the area number. I’ve taught how to do this. I don’t remember it at all. My husband stepped in, and he found out that our daughter hasn’t been watching the instructional videos, so it’s not surprising that she was struggling so much.

The fact that I was a teacher doesn’t matter to my eight year old when I told her she could add more details to her story (which was like five sentences). I was on my bed, so she faceplanted, then rolled around whining “I don’t want to” and then “I don’t want to be an author.” I suggested to her teacher that he do a call a week where the kids could connect, and my daughter was rejuvenated by the contact with her friends (and has now added details).

Speaking of becoming an author, my oldest is writing a Percy Jackson fanfic with two or three of her friends in GoogleDocs, which I think is the coolest thing ever. When I was in high school, I subscribed to a Mercedes Lackey fan zine called Queen’s Own, I think. (I Googled and I couldn’t find the name, which makes me a little sad.) One of the features of the zine was finding pen pals, which I did. My penpal used the name Jaila, and I used the name Lyria. We began a joint fanfic, but one of us would write a chapter and then we had to mail it to the other person. Neither of us had access to a word processor or computer, I guess, because I know it was all handwritten. I’m so sad it’s lost to the sands of time—it was such a product of our ages and the 90’s and how much we both really wanted a talking horse.

I think for me one of the biggest struggles with confinement isn’t the confinement (I”m an introvert, and I already worked from home), it’s dealing with my eating disorders in this context. One of my coping mechanisms over the past two years has been to not eat. I’ve definitely had that, and I’ve missed some meals. But I try to remind myself how awful the experience of refeeding and attending a partial hospitalization program was and that has forced me to eat something at least even when I don’t want to. That’s my anorexia in action. My ARFID (avoidant restrictive food intake disorder) means that I have a relatively small amount of food I consider “safe” to eat, and most other foods incite anxiety and nausea. When I grocery shop, I carefully plan out what I’ll buy and cook in advance. Now I have to go to the grocery store and wing it, which is really stressful.

But you know the hardest part of doing quarantine with an eating disorder? How everyone is joking that the quarantine will make you fat. Eating Disorder patients are already on edge just like you. But when you joke about getting fat, it wakes up the part of us that we fight against every day. Please think before you post.

Okay, less heavy…

Anyone else just realizing how much they touch their faces?

How are you coping with quarantine? Are you quarantined? It blows my mind that like half the country is just out there living their lives. It’s so alien and surreal.

Now Available: Lab Rats

Lab Rats is out and available in the world! 2.99 on Kindle or free on Kindle Unlimited.

Everything changes the moment heartthrob Justin Carson shifts from human to Were Wolf on live television and is subsequently captured.

Dr. Benjamin Wells is tapped by the government to create a test from Justin’s blood intended to identify anyone who might be a Were. Dr. Diana Lutz is the Were Wolf sent by the Were leaders to stop him, and to find and hopefully free Justin, her twin. The only thing stronger than Diana and Ben’s mutual dislike of each other is their sudden attraction. Soon that attraction explodes, and in the same moment Ben learns the truth about his heritage—he’s part Wolf, and Diana is his mate.

As they race to be the first to discover the blood test and prevent the other organizations from endangering all Weres, Ben must decide whose side he’s on. Will he betray his people? How far is Diana willing to go to save her brother, and what is she willing to sacrifice?

CW: Violence

Here’s an excerpt, right after Ben has shifted back to human for the first time.

Finally all that remained was the nude form of a human man on his hands and knees. He panted, his sides heaving as he sucked in great gasps of air.

“There. You did it. Try not to shift without me until you get the hang of things,” she said, laying a hand on his shoulder.

His head snapped up, and he pulled away as if she’d burned him. “I didn’t try to shift this time, as you phrase it. How can I prevent it? Then I’ll never shift again, and I can pretend this was all the result of some food poisoning.”

She crouched down. “At some point you’ll start craving it like a drug. If you wait too long, you’ll lose control. There’s a reason we don’t let our children into your world until they’re old enough to keep their form. There’s a reason that werewolves figure into mythology. You have to maintain control. Emotions will make it harder—anger will cause a growl or a snarl, for example.”

“Then you should stay far away from me,” he pushed to his feet, gasping from the pain of his skeleton realigning. “It’s your fault that I shifted in the first place!”

Diana toyed with her braid. “If you don’t let me help you, I’ll go straight to the Lioness, right now, and she’ll assign someone else to you. Assuming she lets you live.”

“Who, or what is ‘the Lioness’?” Ben took a step toward her, then looked down in horror at his nudity. His hands immediately cupped himself to hide his privates away from Diana.

“She’s the ruler of Boston. Think of her as the Queen.” Then she smirked. “You’re going to have to get over any prudishness you have over nudity.”

Ben’s face grew crimson, although how much was anger and how much was embarrassment, she couldn’t tell. “I have a spare set of clothes in my office.”

“Go get dressed and we’ll talk more.”

She watched Ben storm into his office. The lights went on, then off a few minutes later. When Ben came out, dressed in his spare set of clothes, his shoulders were hunched. “Fine. I will accept your help.”

“We’re going to have to tell the Lioness eventually. She’ll find out,” Diana warned him. “But I think it’s best if you attend my ‘So You Found Out You’re a Werewolf’ seminar first. You have a lot to learn, and no time to learn it.”

“You can do all of this quickly? Does it still hurt?” Ben’s face was vulnerable and frightened. A child who’d just learned that the rules he’d lived by no longer applied. He picked up his torn shirt, then let the fabric slide through his fingers.

“You won’t notice it after a while, it’s over so fast,” she said.

Diana stripped off her clothes and shifted. She shifted back, and tossed her unbound hair over her shoulder.

“See? It gets that easy,” she said with a smile.

Ben was frozen, barely even breathing.

“Ben?”

“Y-you’re naked, Diana.”

She glanced down. “Well, yes. I don’t have spare clothes here like you. I told you, you’re going to have to get over whatever Puritanical belief system you have about nudity.”

His pupils were dilated, and he kept looking at her body then looking away.

“How can you be calm about being naked in the middle of a lab?” Another peek and another quick look away.

“Because I don’t have the same human hang-ups about nudity? Here, I’ll get dressed.” Diana rolled her eyes and pulled on her clothes. By the time she’d pulled her top over her bra, Ben was studying a box of pipettes as if they held the winning lottery numbers.

**Ben, it will get easier. I promise.**

He looked at her, although his eyes dipped to her now-covered chest before moving back to her face. His eyes searched hers.

“I can’t be a monster.” His protest was soft, almost tearful.

Diana’s instincts scraped at her. Another Wolf was in pain. She needed to do something. There were no Alphas to step in and deal with the hurt. She was the only one who could help him. She closed the distance between them, and pulled him into her arms.

“Oh, Ben. We’re not monsters, we’re just a different kind of p—”

Diana’s voice cut out as her nose told her something terrible.

Ben wasn’t just a Wolf.

He was an Alpha.

And she was his mate.

I have free copies for any reader who promises to leave a review. I have pdf, mobi (kindle) and epub (nook/kobo/google play books) versions available. Leave a comment here to be contacted, or email me at delilahnight at gmail dot com.

Meet Ben, Diana, and Justin

One of the fun parts of writing a book is imagining your characters. On pinterest, I like to create boards where I effectively cast my books. Here are my takes on Diana, Ben, and Justin.

This is Diana. I looked for someone with their hair in a braid, as Diana does in the book, but I couldn’t find a picture I liked. So I shrugged it off, and found a picture of the character with hair down. I really liked this picture.

This scene is after Ben shifts for the first time. Neither Diana nor Ben had known he was a Wolf.

Diana’s instincts scraped at her. Another Wolf was in pain. She needed to do something. There were no Alphas to step in and deal with the hurt. She was the only one who could help him. She closed the distance between them, and pulled him into her arms. * “Oh, Ben. We’re not monsters, we’re just a different kind of p—”

Diana’s voice cut out as her nose told her something terrible.

Ben wasn’t just a Wolf

He was an Alpha. And she was his mate.

Ben was the hardest character to cast. I couldn’t find a scientist picture that I thought was hot enough, so I started looking at professors and found this picture. Ben doesn’t wear glasses, and he’s a bit young for Ben, but he’s the closest.

This scene is right after he’s shifted back to human, shortly after Diana’s excerpt.


He couldn’t have pulled his head away from her neck if he wanted to, which he did not. Her scent was the only thing tethering him to his body. Without her, who knows what sort of horrific outcomes would happen? He clung to her. He stroked up and down her back. He ran his hands through her silky hair. His tongue slid out of his mouth and licked her neck. Licked her neck?

“I hate you,”he muttered.

In some ways, Justin was the easiest character to cast. Hot actor with dark hair and light eyes? Little bit of smolder? Check.

This is from chapter 1, just before Justin shifts.

Despite everything. Despite Weres being involved in the project at every level. Despite all the care being taken to turn out strong performances, even if they couldn’t exactly portray Were society. Broken Dreams should have been his. He was fucking perfect for that goddamned role. But no, they had to cast a human. And Stephen had let them.

Have you ever cast the books you write or read?

My self-publishing experience

My first book, Capturing the Moment, was put out by Totally Bound in 2016. I had to do all the marketing, but Totally Bound dealt with the final edit, the formatting, the cover–all that jazz.

I have chosen to self-publish the Weres of Boston series in part because I want to switch between m/f and f/f and m/m stories, and it’s not easy to find a publisher that is willing to let you jump around in your pairings like that within the same series. I have made less than $100 USD on Capturing the Moment, and the ability to put my book on KU is also a big appeal to self pub.

The first part of self-publishing was easy. I wrote the book, sent it to my betas, and sent it to my editor. The difference is that once that was done, it was all up to me.

For my cover, I went to Fiverr. I looked for an artist who did book covers, and for less than $50 they did my cover and made my Twitter and FB banners as well. (It was more than $50 after the tip). The people I worked with are called spotondesigns and they were great.

I naively went to kdp and set up Lab Rats for pre-order. I rushed and didn’t read the fine print, and once I committed to 2/11, it was basically set in stone. Which was too bad for me because I didn’t understand how hard formatting is to learn. I didn’t really have enough time, so I hired out my formatting to Robin Covington, who I know through a Romance Facebook group. She knocked it out of the park.

Last night I loaded the print pdf into kdp along with the book cover. The book will be priced at 8.99, which is too high, but Amazon didn’t give me much in the way of choice. The kindle version is 2.99 or free on Kindle Unlimited.

However, it wasn’t quite as smooth as it sounds. I worked with a second cover artist, and the covers they sent were laughably bad. Had they been my only option, I would have gotten really discouraged. I also wanted to hire an artist off Deviant Art, but they were too expensive (although I’d love to hire them eventually to make a piece of art based on Weres of Boston). Before I found Robin, I was also being quoted numbers two to three times higher than Robin’s rates.

Having gone through it would I do it again? Yes. I think self publishing has a learning curve, and it will get better (and I’ll have more skills) with each new book.

Cover Reveal: Lab Rats

Lab Rats is coming February 11, 2020! Pre-order here.

Everything changes the moment heartthrob Justin Carson shifts from human to Were Wolf on live television and is subsequently captured.

Dr. Benjamin Wells is tapped by the government to create a test from Justin’s blood intended to identify anyone who might be a Were. Dr. Diana Lutz is the Were Wolf sent by the Were leaders to stop him, and to find and hopefully free Justin, her twin. The only thing stronger than Diana and Ben’s mutual dislike of each other is their sudden attraction. Soon that attraction explodes, and in the same moment Ben learns the truth about his heritage—he’s part Wolf, and Diana is his mate.

As they race to be the first to discover the blood test and prevent the other organizations from endangering all Weres, Ben must decide whose side he’s on. Will he betray his people? How far is Diana willing to go to save her brother, and what is she willing to sacrifice?

CW—violence is committed against the captive Wolf by the soldiers holding him captive

Cover by Spotondesigners on Fiverr

Anorexia, or where I’ve been

Guys, I have to be honest with you that 2019 kicked my ass from start to finish. I had significant depressive episodes, and I was battling and losing to anorexia. It’s been a lot of therapy, and my medication is still being adjusted. There was also a lot of energy absorbed by the usual–chronic pain, parenting, etc.

I stopped posting here because I couldn’t handle it. I couldn’t maintain the facade that everything was okay when my life was the farthest thing from okay. Not the lowest point of my life, but it’s among them.

I’ve decided to share my story in hopes that it might help someone else. I was not educated about how fat people can still be anorexic—in fact, I joked that I could be “anorexic” until I was actually anorexic. I thought of anorexia as something that happens to teenagers, not mothers in their forties.

I have a long history with hating my body, and I have been restricting since I was young, although never like this. Primarily my restricting has been the other component of my eating disorder–what’s called Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, or ARFID.

The restricting that turned into full blown anorexia started by accident in the summer of 2018—what a therapist called momorexia, because I was eating small bites on the go, stopping at the first hint of fullness because I was super busy. I lost weight, and since I was losing at a “safe” pace of 8-ish pounds a month, or 2-ish a week, I shrugged off my initial concerns that maybe the weight loss wasn’t such a good thing, or, more to the point, that it wasn’t happening safely. I kept restricting further and further, taking every less bite of food as a moral victory. After all, I’ve been in a body that has weighed 200+ pounds for the past twenty years, and every doctor I’ve talked to from my back surgeon to my pcps have urged me to lose weight. I’ve done dieting. I’ve done exercising until I hurt myself. But I never was able to move the needle much at all (because, as science tells us, our bodies tend to have a set point weight, and it’s really hard to move that needle when it’s possible at all) until restricting.

When I told my doctor that maybe I wasn’t being safe in late November (by which point I was eating less than I ever had, and my weight has never been about overeating). She told me to eat at least 1200 calories a day and it would be fine. AT LEAST. My fucked up brain said if 1200 is good, under 1200 is better. After all, it’s not like I’m losing weight too fast.

Then I began counting calories explicitly. Weighing food. Measuring food. Then my weight plateaued in February 2019. Then came the spreadsheet, and the game I played with myself, which was effectively “how few calories can Delilah eat without having dizzy spells?” In April I blew up at my therapist over eating—the first time she’d seen me fully lose my composure in nearly four years of weekly or bi-weekly therapy. I ended up confessing everything. She talked to a colleague who specializes in eating disorders. The colleague strongly urged me to seek evaluation and treatment. I made an appointment with Stanford’s eating disorder clinic for evaluation, but I also made an appointment with a plastic surgeon. I knew how many pounds I was away from “overweight” as opposed to “obese.” I was constantly getting positive feedback.

I shopped in straight sizes for the first time ever as an adult. Clothes became a way I compensated myself for all the awful shit I was putting myself through. But I was a pretty absent mom because I was so exhausted all the time because I wasn’t eating.

Then came the first week of June. I ended up in the ER for pain we thought was a kidney infection, but was actually a cyst on an ovary. But as they ran tests, they found that my potassium was extremely low–even dangerously so. I was given a mega dose, and told to follow up with my doctor. Then came the multi-day nausea (which I now suspect was a series of worsening panic attacks as there is a clear pattern between nausea and anxiety attacks for me) and dry heaving, during which I ate virtually nothing and threw up what I did eat and drink.

I got evaluated by the eating disorder team, and it didn’t go well.

But the real bottom of the barrel, and the reason I ended up getting help was that I collapsed at my older daughter’s fifth grade graduation. I felt like shit—I could barely pay attention because it felt like there was something on my chest and that I was struggling to breathe normally. I survived through it, although I remember nothing beyond what I was physically experiencing, which took over everything. When the room started telescoping, I told my husband that I needed to leave and go to the hospital. He agreed, and I went to the car while he went find our daughter and tell her what was happening and why we were leaving. At the car I started feeling really faint, and staggered to the front office where I asked them to call 911. I got taken away, dehydrated, mid massive panic attack (the source of the chest pains, most likely, based on tests), and on the verge of fainting in an ambulance. Instead of celebrating graduation with my daughter.

For what it’s worth, my daughter is so understanding of all of it–which almost makes it worse. She’s forgiven me. I have yet to forgive myself.

Inpatient treatment was recommended, but I was able to find what’s called a partial hospitalization program near me. Partial hospitalization was a six and a half hour a day commitment, but I could live at home. I’d go there, eat lunch (supervised), do two hours of therapy, eat a snack (supervised), two hours of therapy, dinner (supervised), then home. I was at that level of treatment for pretty much the entire summer, initially six days a week, although I moved to five pretty quickly.

I have mixed feelings about my treatment program, but I can’t deny that they saved me from a far worse fate–despite being 180 pounds, despite losing at a safe rate—I was courting heart damage and death with my actions. I developed and still have a problem with being orthostatic (blood pressure changes dramatically when moving from laying to standing, which can cause fainting among other things) because of it.

I went several months without treatment and began to backslide.

In late 2019 I was able to connect with an eating disorder specialist and dietician, and I am currently working with them to pursue recovery.

Were there any bright points? Lab Rats was 90% edited during 2019. I started leading my younger daughter’s Girl Scout troop. I had a short story in an anthology. I wrote the forward for an anthology put out by Jayhenge (again, I’ll highlight that in another post). But that’s about it.

So how to move forward when I’m not quite out of the woods yet either eating disorder or mental health meds-wise? Well, I started 2020 by putting Lab Rats up for pre-order (I’ll do a promotional post with an excerpt another day), so that feels significant.

Writing feels foreign to me as I’m really out of practice. I didn’t write much of anything new for 2019–editing Lab Rats was all I could manage. But I’m starting again, and even if it feels hard and stilted and sucky at least it’s happening.

Season’s Change

I should have posted this several months ago. I’m dealing with some really intense personal stuff this year, and when it isn’t kicking my ass emotionally, it’s lobbing grenades into my plans. I may or may not post again specifically to talk about what’s going on with me, but that’s for another day.

Anyways, I’m sorry I’m just sharing this now, but I’m in a new anthology! If you remember, I loved Chemical [se]X when I read it and reviewed it in December of 2014. After I reviewed it, I told the editor, Oleander, that if she ever did a volume two to please let me know. She did better than that, and asked me if I wanted to contribute!

I first heard the song Persephone years ago after a friend shared his Escape Key album with me. Michelle Dockrey wrote the song. The line “They all forget I had a choice, y’know/I could’ve chosen not to eat or drink” clicked for me. I knew that one day I would write my take on Persephone.

Hey, guess what I wrote for an anthology about aphrodisiac chocolates?

I changed the pomegranate into a chocolate with a pomegranate filling and I had a story where eating chocolate would be a key part of the larger story. I could’ve gone with other myths (my oldest daughter’s middle name is Athena), but it made sense to do Persephone/Hades.

Rape of Prosperina by Benini
Often also called Rape of Persephone

I’ve never liked how passive Persephone is often written. So I knew that my Persephone would be in the model of Michelle Dockrey’s. She would make a choice, rather than have choices made by other people about her life. When it came to Hades, I remembered that he didn’t only create Tartarus, but also the Elysian Fields.

Excerpt:

She’d gone willingly to Apollo’s bed.  Sun was vital in the growth of plants.   But the sex had been….pedestrian.  Boring.  Uninspiring.  Just as she’d always found it.

“What’s wrong with me?” she whispered.

As if in reply, the ground started to shake. Soil exploded upward as a team of black stallions spewed forth.  The god driving the chariot was clad in unrelieved black from head to toe.  Surely he was hunting some poor lost soul.

Persephone’s breath was knocked from her body when Hades’ powerful arm snatched her.

“What are you doing?” Persephone gasped.

She was shocked when no trees bent to block her abduction, nor did sylphs step forth to attempt a rescue. The only sounds were the pounding of the stallion’s hooves and her own ragged sobs. The iron band of his arm held her tightly against him as the horses dove back into the underworld. 

They raced along the River Styx. Persephone remembered the stories she’d been told as a child—always keep a coin in your shoe in case you must pay Charon’s fee. Hades had no need of coins for passage. The stallions leapt the water with no more trouble than she might have had stepping over a small stream.

The landscape passed too quickly for her to comprehend what she was seeing.  At times she had the impression of tremendous beauty and peace while music swirled around the chariot. At others, paralyzing fear nibbled at her and cries of agony assaulted her ears.  They raced deeper into the Underworld until Persephone knew she would never find her way back to the river.

A building in the distance grew larger.  Black as obsidian, with turrets stabbing upward, the castle seemed no more welcoming than the god beside her. The stallions slowed to a stop by the entrance.  Hades hefted her over a shoulder and carried Persephone into the castle. She trembled like a sheaf of grain in a wind, too frightened and angry to speak.

It seemed as though Hades walked for hours before she was tossed onto a bed.

“Why? Hades, what purpose?” she asked, tears running down her face.

“Zeus said you can’t bring forth the harvest. He seemed to think that since the ground is dead around you, and the people are dead around me that we would be a perfect match.  He gave you to me in marriage.” Hades’ voice was emotionless.

“M-marriage?”  Her teeth chattered as his words set in.

“Yes.”

“What are you going to do to me?” she whispered.

“Nothing! I’m not interested in sporting with a terrified girl. Stay out of my way, wife.  In time, let’s hope that we can tolerate one another.” Hades frowned, before adding, “Don’t eat or drink anything. Keep out of the kitchen.” He left, kicking the door shut behind him.

Persephone shivered at the finality of the slam of the door. Fear dug into her skin like a bramble. Underneath the fear, though, there was relief. She wouldn’t have to receive the offerings of grain and flowers accompanied by pleas to warm the land for their plows.

From an Amazon review- Delilah Night’s take on Persephone, which had me hooked from the opening lines: “they forget I had a choice, you know. I could’ve not eaten.” I loved how deftly consent was woven into that tale which could’ve gone so easily into Belle & Beast terrain.

Buy it on

Playlist for Lab Rats

For me, music is essential to the creation of my story. Once I have an idea of who my characters are and the tentpoles of a new story, I’ll create a playlist for the book. Over the course of the writing, the list gets pared down to songs that are meaningful to me.

Here’s a list of five random songs from the Lab Rats playlist. I’ll try to give a spoiler free reason for them.

1-Lonely by Demi Lovato–There are many points where this song fits either of my leads. Ben grew up in an emotionally stunted borderline abusive family, and he keeps everyone at arm’s length and avoids personal connections. Diana is in the doghouse because her twin is the one who exposed the community, and as a result, she has to den by herself when she’s never lived apart from a pack.

2-It was Always You by Maroon Five–They’re fated mates. That’s pretty much it.

3-S&M by Rihanna–They don’t like each other very much and there’s definitely some semi-hate fucking as they first come together. While there’s not actually any BDSM, the song still spoke to me.

4-The Kiss from the soundtrack to The Last of the Mohicans movies–I was relatively young when I saw this movie, and the scene this music is from hit me hard. Since then, when I have an hungry, urgent kiss in a book, this song usually ends up in that list.

5-I Hate Myself for Loving You by Joan Jett–again, they don’t like each other, but are attracted to each other from the very first day.

Is writing for fun, profit, or other?

Welcome to week 1 of 52 prompts from Marketing for Romance Writers.

This week’s question is Writing–Doing it for fun, profit, or other?

I’ve been telling stories as long as I can remember, so I’ve never been motivated by money. The problem with the word “fun” implies frivolity, and writing isn’t a frivolous act for me. I suppose that means I fall into the “other” category. Or at least I used to.

Turning professional has really exposed how much of writing is marketing, and how hard it can be to find an audience and to profit from your writing. Unless you’re Nora Roberts or Beverly Jenkins you can’t expect the money to come pouring in. So, sure, you can say you’re writing for the money, but I don’t know how long you’ll last if that is your motivating factor.

Is writing fun? Yes, although I hate editing. But when I get sucked into the worlds I’m creating and am in the story with my characters, I’m having a ton of fun (well, except when they make me cry, but even that is fun in its own way). I would argue that I wrote primarily for fun when I used to write drafts of stories, not really bother with editing, and then threw them up on websites like literotica. The comments stroked my ego, as did the numbers that told me how many people had read it.

The thing is that while writing is fun, there’s so much more involved with professionally doing it. You hold yourself to a much higher standard, you have beta readers, you go through drafts (don’t even get me started on how many drafts fucking Plunder has been through), and then you either submit to a company (who will expect you to market your own books) or you self-publish (which carries a lot of issues like formatting, making a cover, etc). It is time consuming and often draining. Marketing is where I struggle and, if anything, makes writing less fun for me.

So why bother? If editing is a hassle and marketing can be soul-sucking why do it for anything other than fun? I want to share my stories with the world, and I hope that I will eventually find my audience. I’m still a newborn when it comes to everything that isn’t writing.

I also don’t know how not to write. The stories grow inside me until I have no choice but to write them down. For me, writing is like reading–a compulsion, something as vital as breathing for me. I don’t know how not to do it. While I have taken breaks in writing, I’m still telling stories–to myself, to my kids, to the cats, whatever.

Why do you write?

Year in Review 2018

2018 was…a year.

As a political junkie, I feel exhausted. Being involved in politics as a member of the Singapore Country Committee of Democrats Abroad and doing some social media for the national organization was nothing like living in the US. From there, it was a matter of reading newspapers and such and getting a lot of information, but at a digestible pace. In the US, especially under our current regime, it’s like drinking water from a fire hose. And while I’m thrilled with the gains made in the midterm elections, I know the 2020 fight is right around the corner and I’m already tired.

I volunteered at my daughters’ school almost every week. It has made me miss some of the things I loved best about teaching. But I’ve also been reminded of all the things I hated about it. I’m still transferring my credential to California as a back-up option, and I could sub right now if I wanted to (my school is desperate for subs) but for me it’s a last resort, at least right now.

Those two things took me away from my writing a lot of the time. Not having a nanny has been an adjustment, and also took me away from my writing. But by the end of the year I started to find my balance.

I spent a lot of the year revising Plunder (yes, still) and my editor is just about halfway done with the edit on it. There will be one more revision after this to strengthen the opening, but it’s almost there.

NaNoWriMo kicked me into high gear. I wrote 80k words in 30 days, which was a huge positive. This is what I’m more or less capable of when I prioritize my writing. I wrote one shitty novel that I’m not sure is worth revising, and one really solid book that is already with an editor–Lab Rats. In December I wrote the sequel to Lab Rats, which is called The Lioness and the Mouse, which is currently with my betas. While I’m waiting on feedback for that, I’ve started the third book in the series, which is currently untitled.

My only publication in 2018 was For As Long as You Need Me in Blood in the Rain 4.

A vampire who only hunts men. A war veteran with PTSD. Will she be his death or his salvation?

Read a sample from For as Long as You Need Me here.

This was a view on the vengeance trope that worked a lot better for me, and I liked the way that Sam was more aware of what was going on than he initially seemed.“–Amazon Review

What will 2019 bring? For certain, I’ll be self publishing at least the first two books in my paranormal series. The series is currently unnamed–If you’re good at naming things like a series, reach out. Lab Rats’ publication will be dependent upon how long my editor needs, how long getting a cover takes, how difficult it is to format for Kindle Unlimited, that sort of thing. The biggest hindrance to publication, though, will probably be whether or not I enter it into a contest. The contest I’m considering means I can’t pub it until the summer.

At this point my goal is stay in the paranormal lane in 2019. I will definitely be spending 2019 revising/writing books two and three in my series. The other series I’ve worked on and will continue to work on are my North Pole Chronicles–the first three stories in that series are free on my website. I plan to turn the third story (Comet 2.0) into a full length novella, and work on the sequel. Both my Shifter series and my Reindeer series feature many different pairings, so I wanted to keep control of them and self-publish.

I am tired of Plunder. I still plan to revise the start to make it stronger, but I think that this editing pass will take care of everything but fixing that opening chapter. If there is any kindness in the universe, I can send Plunder off to a traditional publisher in 2019. I know I said 2018, but at this point, the date is going to be largely driven by my editor, which is fine, even if I am sick to death of that book.

I’m definitely considering editing another anthology, but I don’t have a theme that I’m particularly interested in at the moment.