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Image of a fairy silhouette riding a rainbow. A cloud below the rainbow with the words The Realm printed on it.

Fine Art Friday Week One

Hey Fans, Friends, and Fellows,

I’ve been challenging myself to make more art. Some of that art will be linked to my books and some of it won’t. Not all of it will really be “fine art.” Some of it will just be “fine” art. Honestly a lot of it won’t live up to the lofty expectations that Fine Art Friday implies, but it’s a pretty catchy name so I’m taking creative license with these posts. Today I’m sharing something inspired by the bar in my novella Moon Witch Lost. If you’ve read it you might remember that I described The Realm’s sign as a rainbow with a fairy riding it. I decided do a mock up of what the employee shirts would look like based off the sign’s description.

I ended up liking it enough to post the design on my threadless artist shop. (Yes this is a shameless attempt to cash in on my art, disguised as a way for super fans to get closer to the world of my books.) I hope you all get a smile out of it.

Thought-Provoking Thursday Week One

Hey Fans, Friends, and Fellows,

I occasionally have episodes of sleep paralysis. It is scary ass hell. When it passes, I can’t get myself to go right back to sleep. In that initial time of being back in control my brain is still in panic mode and so every horror movie scenario suddenly seems possible. Is there ever a time when even the most irrational things seem possible or even likely for your characters? Take some time to figure out what scares your character or what makes them paranoid. Do they have any control over it? How can you use that for your story?

Shadow-Blessed Ep. 1

Wide brim hat, tarot cards, runes, pendulum, and tree of life onyx necklace on a black blanket

Every eye in the lobby was on me. My all grey and black hipster wardrobe always drew some attention. This was extreme, though. I knew what they must be wondering. Is he one of them? Is he a witch? Maybe he’s a vampire. I did my best to act like I couldn’t feel them staring at me. I went straight to the front desk and checked into a room. Without looking back to see if I was still holding everyone’s interest, I took my room key and walked to the elevator. This new world order was not going to be good for my anxiety. A jovial couple joined me, waiting for the elevator. They stopped laughing when they saw me. I decided to take the stairs rather than confine myself in a small space with strangers. It was better cardio anyway. I took the stairs two at a time. I didn’t slow my pace until I was in my room with the deadbolt locked and the security latch in place. 

I heard rumors for weeks leading up to it. The day that the world changed. The day that the supernatural world outed itself to the mundane world. Talk like that wasn’t all that uncommon. I’d met plenty of magical beings who wondered what the world would be like for them if they didn’t have to hide. It had always been just talk. Now we would find out exactly how close our imaginings were to reality. I didn’t know for sure who’d decided to bring our community out of the shadows. The initial news focused on four groups: witches, shapeshifters, vampires, and the fae. My best guess was that The Coven and its equals in those other groups got together and agreed to this calculated risk. Coming forward as a community gave us a lot more control than if technological advancement eventually proved our existence. There was only so much that could be cast-off as a hoax or good CGI. All I knew was that it didn’t change much for me.

I’d been hiding for most of my adult life. The Coven was the governing body for all witches in the United States. They wanted me dead or alive, preferably dead, because I’d killed one of their own. It wasn’t a misunderstanding. I knew what I was doing. I also knew the consequences of doing it. Even if they hadn’t caught me in the act, they would have found out it was me. They’re the most powerful and skilled witches in the country. There were at least four spells I knew that could have revealed my hand in Vincent Tanner’s death. It didn’t matter that he was a monster or that he wasn’t well-liked by over half of The Coven’s members. It didn’t matter that he’d murdered someone I loved. I’d killed one of their own. If they didn’t hunt me down, other ambitious witches would call their ability to maintain control into question. 

Their hunt wouldn’t stop because they’d decided to reveal magic to the world. It could, however, change the playing field. I didn’t know how yet. The worst-case scenario I could think of was that they would publicize the fact that they were trying to find me. I learned to handle hiding from The Coven’s witch hunters. But I couldn’t hide from the whole world. That’s what I’d have to do if they decided to share my face with the media. The news cycles filled with magic on every level, from national to local. The mundane world sensationalized every little tidbit fed to them. They could easily turn the search for me into the biggest America’s Most Wanted episode ever. I set up several Google alerts meant to tell me if the general public had joined the chase. I checked my phone both for general news about magic and for any specific hints that I needed to drop off the radar completely. 

As soon as I’d heard the first report that witches were real, I gathered all the supplies I needed and hunkered down. I didn’t sleep much for the next few days. It became more apparent with each passing day that The Coven had more significant issues than finding me. Like every other major issue in America, there was a schism in public opinion. There were those who were ready to condemn us and those who wanted to celebrate us. Until they got things a bit more settled, I felt a bit more comfortable knowing that I wasn’t the priority that I once was. I knew that didn’t mean that they’d call off the search. It meant I could breathe. 

I gave it a full week in the hotel. The television played the news all day and night. I listened for keywords while scrolling news sites. Depending on the source, there were stories of hope or reports of doom. I was certain that movers and shakers were orchestrating the positive press. They might not have caused any of the disasters, but they made sure that the right people were there to look like heroes. It wouldn’t be so hard to plan with a few clairvoyants to predict things that would draw plenty of attention. For every article about magic saving the day, there was one about an opportunist blaming their crime on magic. The Coven would have a plan to expose the frauds and deal with any cases that might be true. I wasn’t their biggest fan, but I knew them well enough to know how much they think through their decisions. A reveal this big had to be in the works for a while before I’d killed Vincent. 

Going with so little sleep had left me a little too scattered. I didn’t think about it when the knock on the door came with the pronouncement of housekeeping. I unlocked the door to tell them that I didn’t need anything. The actual staff had been respecting my do not disturb sign all week. That should have tipped me off. I hadn’t opened the door more than a crack when the man on the other side threw his entire weight into it. I fell backward. If it weren’t for the hall light casting my attacker’s shadow in my path, I would have hit the floor and gotten stepped on. Instead, I let the shadow swallow me up. I landed on the bed in the next room. My attacker didn’t let my disappearing act stop him. He came charging into the room. I didn’t recognize him. The last hunter that got close enough for me to see him was skinnier. I guess he got taken off my trail. It didn’t matter, though. I’d learned from my last close call. I grabbed my go-bag and let the shadows take me to safety. I stepped out of the shadow of a fake plant in the lobby. A little boy gasped when he saw me appear. Good thing I didn’t have to worry about scaring the mundanes as much anymore. Maybe things would be more different than I thought.  I didn’t stop moving. 

I slung my go-bag over my shoulder and left the hotel. Besides what I was wearing, all my clothes were in the duffle bag I’d left behind. It was all replaceable. The hunter wouldn’t be able to use any of it to find me, thanks to a spell I cast on all my clothing. I heard the hotel fire alarm going off before I made it down the block. He’d used magic on something in my duffle bag. It was all on fire now. With any luck, he’d suffer some burns and couldn’t come after me right away. I couldn’t count on that, though. I needed to put as much distance as possible between the hotel and me. 

I walked into the closest parking garage, looking for the most inconspicuous car I could find. I got lucky and found a grey Camry in a corner with a burnt-out light above it. The model was old enough that it still worked with an actual key instead of a key fob. I took my universal key out of my bag and slid it into place. The car started without issue, and I started driving. I paid to leave the garage with the same card I’d used for the hotel and then dropped it out the window before turning out into traffic. I wouldn’t be able to use it anymore past this point. If someone found it and started using it, there was a chance that would lead my hunter in another direction. He wouldn’t hurt them once he figured out what happened. By that time, I’d be well on my way out of town.

El’s Happy Chick Playlist

Hey Fans, Friends, and Fellows,

I’m currently writing on a novel featuring Elaine McCrae as the protagonist. If you’ve already read Moon Witch Taken and Moon Witch Lost, you’ll remember her as one of my protagonists. I love building characters but there isn’t always time or purpose to add certain details. This holds true for the music that my characters like. I thought it would be fun to post a playlist on here so that you can get an idea of El’s taste in music. I’m going to be adding the music I post for #MusicMonday as a side widget on my website too. I hope you all enjoy El’s Happy Chick Playlist.

My Social Media Plan.

Earlier this month I started trying to figure out a social media plan. Honestly I’ve never had much drive to master how to get social media famous. The more I’ve thought about it the more certain I was that I needed a schedule for posting if I’m really gonna get into it. I thrive more with a routine than with spontaneity. So I’ve come up with some categories to focus on to make sure I’m posting regularly.

On Mondays I’m gonna be posting songs, albums, and playlists that my characters like. I’ll probably work in songs that inspire new scenes for me and might even post those scenes along with the music.

Tuesdays I’m planning to post two pages of original content. By my calculations, two pages in most word processors come to 1350 words on average. If you write just two pages a week for a whole year you end up with around 70,200 words. That’s a pretty good length first draft to start from. The story I’m going to posting will be set in the same world as Moon Witch Taken and Moon Witch Lost but it will focus on a new protagonist. It will also be set earlier in the world’s history, starting at the time when the mundane world learned magic is real.

Word Count Wednesday is going to be exactly what it sounds like. I’ll be posting a weekly word count to keep myself motivated. I’ve started a Facebook group called Page Positivity. The idea behind it is that writers can post however much writing they got done that day and get praised for it. If you’re a writer looking for accountability and encouragement please feel free to join. We can push each other with positive reinforcement.

I would love for this to become a discussion day, but it will probably just start with me rambling about writing. We’ll see what comes of it.

I fancy myself a multimedia artist. While I love writing and will keep doing forever, I also get a lot of joy out of creating other forms of art. My goal will be to post a new piece of art I made every week. It might not all be “fine art” as the hashtag says. I love to craft too but whatever I create that week will be showing up on Friday’s posts.

I’m sure you can guess what #Caturday is gonna focus on. That’s write it’s all about them cats. Photos, videos, and stories all starring the cats in my life.

I follow someone on tumblr who uses this hashtag, Shelfie Sunday, a lot and I love it. I’m gonna post pictures of my bookshelves and pretty books in general.

All these events kick off tomorrow, Feb 1st. I’m pretty excited about it. If you end up doing your own version of any of these hashtags tell me about it 😊 I’d very much enjoy content in any of these themes.

That’s it for me tonight. Wish me luck with this new social media scheduling stuff. Good night y’all.