Excerpt From My Latest Release, SAKE.

Today, I decided to share with you all an excerpt from my newest work: Book 4 of the Core Series. I’m getting really excited because there’s only one more book to come in the Core Series and I can feel the end forming in my mind. Today, please enjoy a glimpse into the world of Ima, Judge of Pain, as she becomes one of the most heartbreaking villains you’ve ever met.

Sake eCover

Sake: A GREY NOVELLA

From Chapter Six

Birth

Ima brushed her silver hair herself. Her sprite had gone to do her bidding, and she knew that once she had Sirce out of the way, once the Great War commenced, the phoenix would bargain with her to save her pathetic world and the red dragon who lived in it.

“It’s almost time,” she told herself. In a few moments, the ninth turn would end and the tenth would begin. One thousand years.

She was alone as she walked over to the mirror that sat on her wardrobe, always covered in a cloth of black velvet. She felt…different than she ever thought she would. It was as though bones that once were made of glass had been encased in stone. The book and the truth it held gave her courage—not to rule the world or sit on the highest throne, but to tear it apart. It’s all wrong. The whole world is all wrong.

She sat at the wardrobe and prepared herself, her eyes closed. She knew that once she removed that velvet cloth, she would have to stare at herself—her real self. And she would not be young. Her skin would not be soft and frost-kissed. Her hair would not twist over her shoulders. She would be one thousand years old. She would look how she’d felt inside. Like dying. Like a prisoner to her immortality—all bones and rust and dried blood.

A knock on the door.

Ima left the covered mirror and twisted the key in her lock, opening her heavy door without a moment of hesitation or fear. If it was Sirce, the Accuser would not be able to hold her much longer. If it was Lor, she would curse him for keeping silent when she stood up to Sirce, but she would not kill him. Not yet.

The swinging door revealed a tired, worn Papu. He was the same as he always had been, but the light had gone out of his eyes, his skin a dull gray, his shoulders slumped.

“Sirce had no choice but to let me come to the courts for the birth ceremony. Rules are rules.” He reached out, touched his hand to hers, though Ima did not move. “I am here for a night. I thought I would come see you.”

Ima only stood, unmoving, unmoved.

“Ima? Aren’t you glad to see me?” But his hollow eyes said that he was not glad to see her, either.

He moved to her, like a ghost over deep waters, and put a cold hand to her back. Her skin prickled, but she did not move as he forced his lips to hers. Ice against ice, they kissed for as long as they could bear it. When Papu finally pulled away, there was no telling smile, no wink. No light.

Ima didn’t know what to say.  Her heart did not race, her breath did not catch. Papu might as well have been a tree in the sky garden or a root half-buried in the soil.

“Ima?” he whispered, his arm still around her, their chests still touching.

“You left me.”

He shook his head.

“You left me, Papu. You left me with him.”

“I told you—”

“No!” And a rush of pain knocked him off his feet. “You are the same as the rest of them. The same as Sirce.”

“Ima, we never asked to be put here. I never wanted this. We deserve more. We deserve to live and to die. Life is worth nothing if death doesn’t chase it.” He got to his feet and stepped toward her. “Our hearts cannot find one another if the paths we are on never converge. I want more. I want…I want an end. I want to die.”

Ima took a shallow breath. “Good things, once dead, are meant to be buried. Hearts are meant to be burned.”

Papu stood inches from her, and he would have kissed her again if not for the pain that leaked from her lips. “So burn them, Ima.”

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3 Things I’ve Learned About Indie Publishing (So Far)

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I have been an author for about 3 weeks, so I thought I’d share the vast and incalculable amount of knowledge I’ve harnessed so far through publishing my debut novel, “Core.”

1. Don’t call it self-publishing.

Why? Because self-publishing, in my opinion, has a negative connotation to it, as though no one believed in me and I had no choice but to go it all alone, like some sort of lesser-than. Indie publishing, now? I feel like I’m doing something different and bold and daring–breaking the norm and blazing my own trail. It just sounds cooler, and thus, makes me feel cooler. I find myself advertising my book as indie instead of keeping it a secret. It went from “oh crap, they found out I’m only self-published” to “yes, my book is awesome and I did it myself! BOO-YA!”

2. Don’t do it yourself.

I know exactly one sentence ago I was bragging about that feeling of accomplishment that comes with knowing I did it all on my own. But the truth is I didn’t. And I suggest you don’t either. Why? Because doing it all by yourself is lonely and sad and not as much fun. I’m thankful I had my own little mini-team of helpers. My husband–who is my editor, cover artist, promoter, publicist and manager all in one (all volunteer and unpaid, I may add; what a trooper). My best friend, who edited all of my manuscripts–even the old crappy ones. Who laughed with (and at) me as we poured over each sentence of my work, and who is always there to send me a “you’re-a-freaking-genius” text when I feel down. My sister, who gushes over everything I do, even if it’s lame. Who hangs up on me when I call her to see how she likes it so far because she’s “not finished and it’s too good to put down so stop calling or she’ll block my number.”

Without these people, I wouldn’t have “Core.” I wouldn’t be an author.

 3. Don’t freak out.

I can’t tell you why I burst into tears when I think sales aren’t going well. Or hyperventilating when my mom-in-law starts texting me all the mistakes she found in the first version. I forget to remember that freaking out isn’t going to boost sales and it isn’t going to inspire me to write a better sequel. All it does is make me stall. So what do I advise you do? Call up someone who’ll tell you what you need to hear. I recommend someone who you know will tell you how perfect and wonderful and gifted an author you are; someone who will pull a lie out of their butts and tell you that at any moment, millions of people will discover your book and you’ll feel silly for freaking out. If you don’t have anyone like that, shoot me an email and I’ll tell you! It doesn’t necessarily have to be 100% true. It just has to get you to stop crying. Or whining. Or screaming.

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In summary, this is all brand new to me, and the most valuable thing in my world right now isn’t book sales or ranks or royalties. It’s encouragement. It’s a great review I didn’t expect. It’s a friend running up to me and squealing about how excited they are to be reading my book. It’s my family member wrapping me in a hug and saying how proud they are of me. This is what keeps me going, keeps me from hiding in my closet with a dozen copies of “Core” and using the pages to sop up hysterical tears brought on by the false belief that I’m a failure.

If this post does nothing else for you, I hope you find a bit of encouragement here. You’re not a loser, or a failure, or whatever your silly head tells you. You’re an author. You worked hard. You’re still working hard. And believe it or not, you’re already changing the world.

Chin up, fingers down, and keep typing.

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 (By the way, “Core,” made it to the top 5 of amazon’s bestsellers for Sci-fi/ fantasy in print this week!)