NEW RELEASE: Elemental Magic 8

The final book in the Elemental Magic series is now available!

After finally discovering her birth name, Natalie West travels to Stanislaus National Park to track down an old friend of her parents who might be the only living link to them. Unfortunately, the man is a recluse and isn’t keen on talking.

To complicate things, a wildfire starts raging in the park, one that Andre Romero suspects has a supernatural origin. Nat’s only recently learned of her elemental heritage and feels completely out of her depth, but she’ll stick with him as they venture deeper into the forest. Their investigation turns deadly, however, when they discover not only is a feral firebird on the loose, but also some hunters who specialize in “exotic” prey. And a group of elementals might just make the best game yet.

Get it on Amazon and B&N

Available for pre-order: An Elemental Christmas

See what Sylphie, Nita, and Aileen have been up to in this collection of short Christmas stories. Available for pre-order on Amazon.

Release date December 8th.

And if you’re not already subscribed to my newsletter, I’ll be sending out a holiday treat on December 1st. Don’t miss out!

aw-aechristmas-750x1125

Drabble 4—Josh

Prompt: Josh — “It wasn’t every day he could leave his half-sister speechless.”

The moment Josh stepped through the front door, Sylphie was storming out from the kitchen.

“Where were you?” she demanded.

He froze in the entryway, hands clutching the strap of his backpack. “What do you mean?” he asked tremulously.

Sylphie scowled and crossed her arms. “Don’t play dumb. We were supposed to walk home from school together. Only you never showed. So where were you? That Travers kid giving you trouble again?”

Josh dropped his gaze to the floor and shook his head. “No.”

“Are you sure? Because I will go over there and—”

“I was in detention,” he blurted.

Sylphie froze, blinking owlishly. “You?”

Josh scuffed his sneaker on the hardwood. “For rigging a bucket of molasses over the door of the boys bathroom…when Dustin Travers was ready to walk out.”

Sylphie’s mouth moved soundlessly, disbelief and something akin to pride flickering across her face. Josh felt the corners of his mouth twitch. It wasn’t every day he could leave his half-sister speechless.


If you have a prompt you’d like to see, just tell me the character and a brief sentence, and we’ll see what I come up with! ^_^

Drabble 3 — Sylphie

These prompts continue to be quite a challenge, but really fun too. Now we’re getting a glimpse into a character’s childhood.


Prompt: Sylphie (Elemental Magic books 5 and 6): “Mascara? What’s that?”

“Look what I swiped off my mom’s dresser.”

Sylphie took the proffered black stick from her classmate and hopped up onto the edge of the sink counter in the girls bathroom. “Mascara? What’s that?”

Heather gaped at her in stupefaction. “It’s makeup! To make your lashes look long and voluptuous.”

Sylphie arched a dubious brow. “Oh, this is the stuff that gives women raccoon eyes when they cry in movies.”

Heather snatched the tube of mascara back and uncapped it. “No, it’s supposed to be sexy.” She lifted the brush coated in black goop to her eyelashes, but then the bell for third period blared, and her hand jerked. Heather yelped as she hit her eye, which caused it to water and smear the dab of mascara that had painted her cheek.

Sylphie grabbed a paper towel from the dispenser and quickly handed it to her. Yup, raccoon face.


Drabble 2 — Andre

Prompt: Andre — “Not that he cared. This was what he lived for.”

“You destroyed another company car.”

Andre turned to his partner. “The alchemist blew up the car.”

Emily scoffed. “You didn’t have to antagonize him.”

“One more nail in the coffin. You know how the agency prefers undeniable proof.”

“If the company refuses to issue you another vehicle, I am not bringing my own car on cases with you.” She started walking away, past the still-smoking scrap of metal that had once been a Buick. Hardly a model to weep over.

“And don’t even think about me riding on the back of your motorcycle,” she called over her shoulder.

Andre merely shrugged. The SPA could deny his claim. Not that he cared. Watching the handcuffed alchemist get shoved into the back of an agency van, he felt nothing but satisfaction. This was what he lived for.


Are Authors Losing Their Audience?

I read an excerpt from The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr, and I have to say it struck a familiar, sad chord with me. Carr, along with a handful of peers, admit that while they were once voracious readers, they now can barely stand to sit and read an entire work of prose. It pains me to say that I must count myself among them. I thought perhaps it was just that my tastes in books had changed, or stress and being overworked has left my brain too tired, but the more I read of Carr’s explanation of the Internet’s role, the more it resonated with me.

On a strange flip-side, these same people who no longer consume books in mass, seem to be at their most creative as writers. I can attest to this as well, for I have been more prolific in my writing in the past two years than the first three of my author career combined. Carr attributes this burst in productivity to the vast amounts of knowledge that sit right at our fingertips, needing only an Internet connection to access them. Thus, reading actual books for information becomes obsolete. And while it’s true that Google and Wikipedia have become allies for me as a writer, why has my appetite for prose suffered as well?

According to the examples cited in the book, I’m not the only one. Former devout English Lit majors confess they haven’t picked up a lengthy novel in years. SparkNotes and Shmoop have become the bane of English professors trying to educate a generation that has been bottle-fed instant information. I’m currently halfway through Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, which the English class I’m interpreting for is supposed to be reading, but it is a struggle to keep at it with any diligent concentration. I can remember a time when I would have basked in the flowery language, the poetic imagery, but now I find myself becoming distracted. Skimming. My finger twitching with the urge to scroll rather than turn a page.

Gone, it seems, are the days when I could immerse myself in a book for pleasure. Even when reading something I do enjoy, sometimes I find myself inexplicably skimming over the very craft I work so hard to hone. My brain flits hither and thither, the need to switch windows and look at something else interrupting in shorter and shorter time increments.

All of this leaves me with a rather troubling question as an author — who am I writing for? Is there an audience out there for my work, or are there only a resilient few of strong mind in a dry and dusty land? I never would have thought I’d lose my love of reading books. In fact, I have remained resistant to several elements of technology in protest of getting swallowed up in/by them. But if my brain itself and the way it functions, as Carr proposes, has been affected so drastically without my realizing it, what of others? Are we all slowly being altered on a synapse level by our technology? Are we in some ways creating the first evolution of Borg?

When it comes to the publishing industry, I see a lot of discourse focused on how to make the sales, how to create a fan base, how to market. But is it possible that in a few more decades, it won’t even matter? Is society hemorrhaging readers without us noticing? I would be very curious to know how many book sales then convert to actually being read, and read in full, not just skimmed. The business person probably wouldn’t care, but the reader I used to be, and the storyteller I am, does. Because there is a void where books used to take up a significant part of my life. And I don’t know how to undo such damage.

Drabbles

Hello blog, it’s been a while. I know I’ve been woefully absent for the past year++…and if there is anyone who comes back to read this, then virtual cookies to you for being so loyal.

One way I thought I might get back into blogging is to start writing drabbles based on reader prompts. Hopefully it would be a neat way for people to request things they’d like to see with some of their favorite characters beyond the books, and a fun challenge for me.

Here’s one a lovely reader sent me:

Aileen — “She didn’t ordinarily do this kind of thing, but this was no ordinary day.”

“Are you done yet?”

“No. And stop asking; you’re changing the contours of your facial features.”

Aileen almost scowled, but remembered to bite it back at the last second. She didn’t normally do this kind of thing, but this was no ordinary day, not when an up-and-coming local artist wanted to theme his next collective project on environmentalism and the sea. Aileen just didn’t know why she had to be the inspiration for his current painting. Live, in person. For almost an hour now.

And the bubbling commentary from the peanut gallery in the aquarium nearby was not helping. Especially since she was the only one who could hear it.

“Lift your chin.”

“This way.”

“Other way.”

“I wanna be in the painting!”

“Shut up,” she muttered.

The artist huffed. “Hold still!”