Goals, 2018 Edition #WriterWednesday #Goals #CleanSlateTwoOhOneEight #amwriting #IARTG


Here we are in 2018! Honestly, there were times when I didn’t think 2017 would ever end, but here we are in a new year. And a new year means we get a whole new set of goals, and the plans to reach them.

The best part about goals is that when you have a solid and achievable end game the stops along the way can be fluid. For instance, let’s say you have a goal of living a healthier lifestyle and getting in better shape. (Don’t we all?) Your plan could be to lose 10 pounds, or eat more vegetables, or maybe train for a half marathon. Any of those plans will move you closer to your goal of being healthier, but it’s up to you to choose the best path.

I have several goals for 2018; some are writing-related, some aren’t, and I have a few for which the goal exists but the plan is still in the, uh, planning stages. Here they are, in no particular order (though the writing ones did end up first in the queue):

  1. Release the Gallowglass #3, Homecoming, and two or three tie-in short stories. Homecoming is scheduled for an early summer release.
  2. Golem, The Chronicles of Parthalan #4, will release this year. (Keep your eyes peeled for the cover reveal!) I have some housekeeping to do on that series, which means that the fifth installment, Elfsong, might get pushed back to 2019.
  3. Polish up my YA mermaid mystery and get it submission ready.
  4. Outline two other series that are currently in the idea stage.
  5. Attend as an author at least six live events. I had to scale things back A LOT toward the end of 2017, and I’m looking forward to getting out there and hanging out with readers and writers again.
  6. Complete phase 1 of Sekrit Nonfiction Project.
  7. In 2017 we had twelve new experiences with the Wonder Twins. It was such a success I’m listing that as a 2018 goal.
  8. FINALLY install my raised garden beds.
  9. Continue to prioritize wellness for myself and my family.
  10. HAVE FUN! My grandfather always said that you need to make your own fun, and he was right.

I’ll post updates throughout the year with goal progress, event and release dates, and maybe a few updates on the Sekrit Project. Next week, I’ll recap my 2017 goals—what worked, what didn’t, and what was a raging fiasco. Remember, a goal without a plan is just a wish!

What are your goals for 2018? Let us know in the comments, and we can cheer each other on!

2017-667 Jennifer Allis b02Walker (Gallowglass #2)

Amazon —> http://amzn.to/2AtFIsO
B&N —> https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/walker-jennifer-allis-provost/1127329683?ean=2940154604854

Who is hunting the gallowglass?

When Karina and Robert relocated from Scotland to New York, they expected things to settle down. New York is known for many things, but a hotbed of supernatural occurrences isn’t one of them. Karina returned to her life as a graduate student, and agreed to teach a class over winter break. That was when things got weird: first she and Robert encountered an angry centaur, then a fairy enrolled in her class, and Karina learned that her mentor just might be a deity. When the Seelie King started making unannounced visits to Karina’s apartment in the middle of the night and warning her and Robert to be careful, she knew things were serious.

All of these events led to a single question: Who doesn’t want the gallowglass on American soil?

Meanwhile, Chris has problems of his own. The university grudgingly restored his teaching position, his agent and publisher are hounding him for a sequel to his worldwide bestseller… and he wonders if he can teach again. Write again. Hell, he can barely even speak to a woman after what happened between him and the Seelie Queen. Then a woman—a fairy woman—comes into Chris’s life, and damn it all if he doesn’t want her to stay there.

The god plays their hand, and the Seelie King calls Robert to his side. Alone and more frightened than she’s ever been, Karina tries to solve the mystery of who is hunting the gallowglass. Will Karina find the answer in time, or will Robert be lost forever?




Let’s face it, publishing is not like it used to be. Thanks to innovations in ebook and marketing technology, literally anyone can upload a book and become a published author in hours or even minutes—but not everyone wants to do that, and frankly, not everyone should.

Whether or not the relative ease of self-publishing is good for the industry is a can o’ worms for another post. What we’re going to talk about today are the three broad categories of authors that the rise in self-publishing has created: traditional, indie, and hybrid.

Disclaimer: for the purposes of this article, I’m referring to publishing a novel-length work. Practices differ for other forms, therefore I advise that the writers of such works research accordingly.

Read the rest of this article on the MASFFA blog: https://masffa.com/2017/07/24/traditional-indie-and-hybrid-oh-my/


Writer Wednesday: So, How Do You Write A Book, Anyway? #writerwednesday #amwriting #amediting #plotholes #timeline #authorsofinstagram

I do my fair share of events, which encompass everything from book signings to me teaching creative writing.  The question I’m asked most often is how one goes about writing a book.  Therefore, for the first time ever I present photographic evidence of my writing process:


Glamorous, huh?

The larger white lined page is a timeline for the fourth Parthalan book, Golem…and it goes on for five more pages. The colored circles each represent a different character and the illegible scrawl comprises the main conflict in each chapter. Add to this the three smaller notebooks (full of character details and outlines) and the barest corner of my planner (to ensure I don’t miss any deadlines), and one thing becomes apparent: in order to write a book, you need to do a lot of writing that will never make it into the book.

The moral of the story is that writers need to write lots and lots and LOTS of words before they generate the magic 80k or so that end up as a finished novel. There are no shortcuts, you can’t get “lucky” and have your first uncorrected, typo-ridden draft picked up by a Big Five publisher (at least, none of the first drafts I’ve ever seen would be picked up), and you can’t hire an editor to magically fix plot holes and continuity errors. There is no substitute for sitting in your chair and doing the work yourself.

Is any of this easy? No, it’s not. But after you’ve done the work and beaten every last plot twist and character flaw uppity punctuation mark into submission, you will have done the impossible, and made your imagination real.

Gallowglass Promo Graphic 3

Preorder here: http://amzn.to/2pXXvz3

Writer Wednesday: Wellness Check In #writerwednesday #wellness #amwriting #probiotics

One of my main goals of 2017 is to incorporate more healthy choices into my daily life. I want to feel great, keep my creativity flowing, and (hopefully) be a good influence on my children. Now that I’ve been doing this for a few months, I have a handle on what’s working for me.

  • Incorporating probiotics – I’ve been incorporating probiotics into my diet since mid-January, and I felt the beneficial effects almost immediately. Aside from the physical improvements, I’m much more even-tempered and calm. I get my probiotics from a combination of kombucha and fermented foods like kim chi. (Standard disclaimer: I am no health professional. If you’re interested in learning if probiotics can help you, see out a qualified professional. Here’s an article from The Mayo Clinic, and another from Web MD, to get you started.)
  • I gave myself some curfews – No social media after 10 pm, and in bed before midnight. Really, no one needs more social media, and having an hour to wind down before bed leads to quality sleep. If only I could dream up some new plot twists…
  • I’m eating more real food – I didn’t want to go on a diet so much as I wanted to eat better. Therefore, I didn’t limit myself on what I could have, but I did make an effort to purchase more vegetables, whole grains, and vegetable-based protein. With all that good food in the house, who needs all that processed junk?

Check out this awesome infographic from Positive Health and Wellness:


Thanks to these (and a few other) healthy changes, I look and feel better already. Even though it’s only April, I’ve already successfully launched two titles this year, am on track to release three more, and I haven’t missed a deadline yet. By prioritizing wellness, I have the stamina and mental acuity to keep everything else in line. Will I still have setbacks? Of course I will. Everyone does. But by staying as on-track as I can, those setbacks will be minor bumps, not game-changing catastrophes.

What positive changes have you made in 2017? Tell us in the comments!

Coming June 6: Gallowglass

Karina didn’t set out to free the Seelie Queen’s gallowglass. Now she’ll do anything to keep him.

Gallowglass Promo Graphic 3

Preorder here–> http://amzn.to/2nG62e5 http://amzn.to/2nG62e5


Writer Wednesday: Getting Things Done #writerwednesday #amwriting #amediting #motivation #giveaway

It’s no secret that I have a packed schedule for 2017. With five novels releasing, two big events, and a slew of smaller appearances, it’s a wonder I’m not running around like a chicken with my head cut off. My secret for getting things done is perhaps the most low-tech trick out there: an old-fashioned to-do list.

I typically work off of several to-do lists. I have the main one, with the big goals, and several little ones. For instance, here is my current main list:

  • Review/approve Gallowglass ebooks
  • Golem cover info to designer
  • Golem draft complete by 4/30
  • Gallowglass #2 complete by 5/31
  • Gallowglass # outline by 4/15
  • Finish outline for YA
  • Research: Scandinavian folklore, County Clare local legends, Crail/Perthshire folklore

If that looks like a lot, it’s because it is. The easiest way to tackle such a lost is to break it into smaller parts. Therefore, here’s today’s list:

  • Finish Scandinavian folklore book
  • Golem to 80k
  • Write blog post (yep, this one)
  • laundry (because real life happens too)
  • Review swag/stock for upcoming events

Now, that I can handle in a day.

Not only do these lists keep me organized, as I tick off completed tasks I feel accomplished. It’s like I’m giving myself a few little mini-awards while I’m working toward my overall goal, and who doesn’t like rewards? Come to think of it, I think I deserve some chocolate.

Do you have any tips or tricks for tackling your to-do list? Share them in the comments!

Have you entered the huge amazon gift card giveaway? Click here to throw your name in the hat (figuratively speaking, of course): Giveaway!

Spring flowers


Writer Wednesday: Let’s Talk About Wellness #amwriting #wellness #writerwednesday

desktopLet’s get right down to it: I have a lot going on this year. With five novels releasing, and all the associated marketing and appearances that I have scheduled (who knew that most of the work happens AFTER you finish the book?) I have my work cut out for me. So, what can I do to give myself an edge, and make sure all of this gets done?

Simple: focus on wellness.

Like many others, when my scheduled gets packed the first thing I cut is self-care, and that is quite possibly the worst tactic for a creative individual. Not only do we creatives need to focus on wellness so we can continue creating, if I ignore my health and get sick or exhausted, I’ll start missing publishing deadlines and other commitments. Therefore, keeping my health in tip-top shape is my number one priority.

Over the past months, I’ve made a few small changes that have improved my overall health. Now, I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist, so please don’t take any of this as professional advice. But I did do a crap ton of research, and what I’ve listed below has helped me. If you think you also may benefit, I recommend talking to a trusted health professional, and researching the holy heck out of these topics.

  1. I increased the probiotics in my diet – This is something that I came across during my wellness research. The link between gut health and mental and physical well being is profound, and one of the best ways to maintain that health is probiotics. I started with daily servings of kombucha (a fermented tea); now I brew my own kombucha, and I eat other fermented foods, such as kim chi and Greek yogurt, on a daily basis. The effect on my mental state has been amazing.
  2. I became religious about rest – Not just sleep, but rest in general. In the past, I would plug away at my day job for nine or ten hours, shut of my work computer, and immediately fire up my laptop and work on my next release. Since I work at home, I didn’t even have a commute separating my work times; I literally worked for twelve to sixteen hours every day, with minimal breaks. Now I get up at least once an hour and do something besides work, even if it’s just to walk to a different room and look out the window. I also take a few hours for myself after my day job ends. After doing this for a few weeks, I realized that I was getting more quality work done in less time.
  3. I started eating vegetables for breakfast –  Gotta eat your veggies, right? As much as I love vegetables, I could never manage more than two or three servings per day…until I started having kale and eggs for breakfast. Lately, my weekday has been sauteed kale, tomatoes, and onions, and scrambled eggs for breakfast; a grapefruit as my mid-morning snack; and quinoa and whatever leftover vegetables I have on hand for lunch. (Dinner is pretty much dictated by my kids, and that’s just fine.) How’s that for a healthy menu?
  4. I ended a toxic friendship – And let me tell you, I never saw that one coming. This individual and I had been friends for a few years, and after a series of events I realized just how one-sided our friendship was. For instance, we each subscribed to a paid newsletter, and would share each issue with one another. We did that to save money; writers are poor, you know. Well, the one I subscribed to was $60/year, whereas the one she paid for was $15/year–and the rest of our friendship was similarly uneven, and emotionally draining. Closing the door on that friendship was tough, but I just couldn’t keep doing that to myself. That individual and I had very different ideas of what friendship is, and I do wish her well.

And there you have it, four simple steps to wellness! I began these changes two months ago, and I have to say I feel better than I have in years. As these changes become habits, I’ll be adding even more “wellness hacks” to my routine.

Do you have any wellness habits? Tell us in the comments!

Rise of the Deva’shi (Parthalan #3) will release February 28! Preorder here: http://amzn.to/2ku5kO4

rotd_final_frontcover2A stolen girl. A legendary champion. A plan that might destroy Parthalan once and for all…

Aeolmar, First Hunter of Parthalan, leads a solitary life. Having long since abandoned his quest to kill Mersgoth—the demon that murdered his family—Aeolmar moves through his days with cold efficiency. Everything changes when he leads a training mission in Brennus, where he’s attacked by Mersgoth himself, and saved by an unlikely heroine.

Latera, first born and heir to Gannera’s throne, is kidnapped and left for dead in Parthalan’s vast forests. A lone human amongst Parthalan’s fae, she makes a home in Brennus, and lives a quiet life—until she finds herself defending a wounded First Hunter from a clutch of demons.

Back in Parthalan, Harek warns Asherah of something called the deva’shi—a warrior loyal only to the demon lord, Asgeloth. Both Aeolmar and Latera suspect that there is more to this deva’shi than what Harek has told them, but before they can learn the truth, Parthalan’s borders are attacked. Will Aeolmar and Latera be able to stop the deva’shi in time, or is it a distraction to hide Harek’s true plans?

RISE OF THE DEVA’SHI – book three of the Chronicles of Parthalan


Writer Wednesday: Finding Time To Write In Three Easy Steps #WriterWednesday #amwriting #goals #inspiration #findingtime

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” — Robert Louis Stevenson

And that’s exactly what you’re doing when you write, whether it’s a grocery list or participating in NaNoWriMo, planting seeds. Unless you’re going for instant gratification via social media or blogging, when you write something it takes time for it to pay off. But no matter what or why you’re writing, you need to get the writing done first.

Which leads me to the following list, my release schedule for next year:

Rise of the Deva’shi (Parthalan #3) – February 2017

Changing Fates (Changes #3) – April 2017

Gallowglass – June 2017

Golem (Parthalan #4) – September 2017

Bride of the Gallowglass (Gallowglass #2) – November 2017

Well, that’s certainly ambitious.

There are lots of reasons why 2017 will go down in history as Release Madness, the main one being that three of the above titles are extremely close to completion (they don’t need more than a final edit/proofread and finalized covers), and the other two are very close to final draft status. Still, that’s a helluva schedule, and I’m not even mentioning my DDJ (Dreaded Day Job), wrangling the Wonder Twins and Wonder Dog (the parrot is above our shenanigans), or grad school. So how the heck will I find time to write?

Simple: I will make time.

Honestly, that’s really all it comes down to. Whenever we have something we’re passionate about, be it writing or woodworking or running marathons, we find the time to do it. We all get the same 24 hours each day; some of us choose to use them wisely, others binge on Netflix (says the girl who watched 2 seasons of Daredevil in four days. What? It was, um, research.)

Here’s how I find time to write:

  1. I write at the same time every day. For me, that means after the Wonder Twins get on the bus, and my husband goes back to bed. This gives me about an hour of peace and quiet per weekday. Of course, I can write at other times, but having a set schedule is very helpful.
  2. I strive to meet my word count. usually my word count is 2000 per day. I don’t hold myself to that if I’m in deep edit mode, since I’m often deleting while writing, and keeping track of all that is maddening.
  3. I take days off. Forcing yourself to write is not the way to create compelling stories. I get much more quality work done when I take breaks from writing, and 500 good words beats 2000 filler words (that will likely get deleted) any day.

That’s how I do it! How do you find time to write? Tell us in the comments!

htts-1Enter to win an ecopy of Heir to the Sun! https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/1ad36b898ed7a91e

virgin_queen_final-draft_text2The Virgin Queen is on sale for 99 cents: http://amzn.to/2fh2tWM


Writer Wednesday – Take Care Of Yourself #WednesdayWisdomForWriters #amwriting #wellness

Recently, I was discussing con crud with a writer friend. What’s con crud, you ask? I assure you, it’s just as gross as it sounds.

This ailment got its vivid name because it tends to pop up among conference and convention goers a few days after the event in question has ended. Typical symptoms include congestion, cough, and a general feeling of malaise. I know, makes you want to sign up for even more conferences, amiright?

For years I thought that con crud was the inevitable result of being packed into a hotel or other public facility, breathing in the same recycled air as hundreds if not thousands of others, subsisting on stale coffee and cookies, and sleeping less than usual. Many anecdotal cures promise to cure the crud, ranging from taking high doses of vitamin C to eating raw garlic. They never worked, at least not for me.

But what if con crud wasn’t inevitable? What if by making a few small changes to my pre-con routine, I could avoid con crud altogether?

This called for science, and its buddy, research. In true mad scientist fashion, I used myself as a test subject.

I put my plan in motion shortly before I attended Necon this past July. During the week leading up to the event, I slept a full eight hours every night, and took at least one nap per day. I doubled my water intake, eliminated alcohol, and made sure to consume vegetables and protein at every meal. Basically, for a week I behaved like a normal healthy person, not my usual overstressed, pretzel-munching, coffee-guzzling self. And guess what?

I didn’t get con crud!

By resting, keeping myself hydrated, and eating as well as I could manage, I got my body into the best condition it could possibly be in BEFORE the con. While at the con I still drank the stale coffee, and I didn’t sleep nearly enough, but I didn’t get con crud. In fact, after four days at Necon I didn’t even have my usual post-con fatigue. In short, I felt great.

So, what does this have to do with writing? Quite a bit, actually. First of all, your creative impulses are a higher level function than talking or moving around or breathing, so when you’re not feeling 100% your body naturally diverts resources and energy to where it’s needed most.  If you imagine your creative process as the top 10% of your energy, you can (probably) visualize what I mean. And have you ever tried writing when you’re sick or tired? It’s not easy.

Therefore, the better shape we keep ourselves in, the better our creative output will be. I’m not saying you should live like a monk, and ingest nothing  but spinach and water and sunlight. Just take the time to take care of yourself, and know your limits. If you have a big event, a deadline looming on the horizon, or are taking part in a writing challenge (ya’ll didn’t think I’d forget to mention NaNoWriMo, did you?) be cognizant of your habits. You’ll never make your word count if you’re too tired to type.

Do you have any tip on avoiding con crud? Tell us in the comments!

I’ll be at Whipowill Stables for their open house on September 18, selling books and playing with horses. Learn more about the event here.

StrangeAuthorsSign up for my mailing list here and get a free ebook anthology, Strange Authors!

Writer Wednesday – So, What’s In Your Writer’s Toolbox? #WednesdayWisdomforWriters #amwriting #craft

A frequently heard manta among writers is “hone your craft”, and it’s true–writing is a craft, just like woodworking or glass blowing. And just like those crafts, you need the proper tools in order to bring your artistic vision to life. Hence, the writer’s toolbox.

Of course, many of a writer’s tools are intangible. We need things like a solid understanding of grammar, punctuation, and the many nuances of language. If we decide to write in a dialect we must research that area of the world, watch and listen to native speakers, perhaps even track down someone from that area to answer our questions about local colloquialisms and syntax. In fact, a strong tendency toward research is probably a writer’s greatest tool. We must understand what we know, and what we need to learn. The devil’s in the details, as they say.

That’s all well and good, but what about the tangible tools? First and foremost, you need a comfortable place to write. It doesn’t have to be a desk, the location only needs to allow your words to flow. For years I wrote propped up in bed, and then while seated on a stool at the kitchen counter. Some like crowded coffee shops, others a silent library. Either way, a good location is essential.

Once your writing space is secure, you need to decide how you will write. Pen and paper, quill and parchment, on a laptop? In this day and age you will certainly save a few steps if you utilize some modern technology (check out Kevin Hearne writing with an old fashioned typewriter here.) but there is something to be said for getting the words out longhand. As for software I use regular old Microsoft Word, but I have many friends who swear by Scrivener. To each their own.

In my opinion, the best, most important a writer can have is networking. Whether online or in person, getting out there and meeting other writers is the best thing you can do for your craft, and your writing career. It’s how you will learn about conferences and events, writers groups, and other events. And the amount of beta readers and editors and cover designers you can meet at one decent-sized event beats hours of internet searching any day.

What’s in your writer’s toolbox? Tell us in the comments!

I will be at Glendi September 9 -11, selling books and eating baklava. Learn more here.

StrangeAuthorsSign up for my mailing list here and get a free ebook anthology, Strange Authors!

Writer Wednesday – Always Spring For The Good Shirts #AmWriting #Marketing #Promo #WednesdayWisdom

Today we’re going to talk about something that’s just as important to successful writers as proper grammar and strong characterization: making a good first impression. This can be done in many ways, and several of them have nothing to do with the actual quality of your writing.

Now, don’t for a moment think that I’m suggesting your writing should be anything but top notch, and polished until it’s and perfect as you can get it. But let’s face it, the writing isn’t always the first impression someone has of an author. There are many other ways to make contact with new readers, either via a website, social media, personal appearances, or swag.

Yes, swag matters. A lot.

Let me tell you about my husband. He’s a rock star (locally, anyway) which means that we have an abundance of band t-shirts in our house. You know the shirts I’m talking about – they start out black with vibrant designs silk screened onto them. After a few washes, the fabric  fades and possibly pills, and the design cracks and flakes off.

Whenever that happens, you know the band settled for the cheap shirts.

What difference does this make? Well, out of sight out of mind, for one; the main purpose of swag is so people have a handy little reminder of who you are, and what you do. And if your swag disintegrates or looks sub-par after regular use or wear, that doesn’t leave the best impression.

Sometimes we hit the nail on the head, and get swag that is both well designed and long-lasting.  I worked at a liquor store over ten years ago, and one of the sales representatives gave me a Magic Hat shirt. I’ve been wearing that shirt almost weekly since then, and while the design is faded it’s still legible. Even better, the fabric hasn’t shrunk or thinned out to nothing. In short, Magic Hat sprung for the good shirts.

What does this mean for us authors? First and foremost, swag should be well designed. If you know your way around graphic design programs there’s nothing wrong with designing things yourself. There’s also nothing wrong with hiring someone who knows what they’re doing—remember, you can reuse the same designs again and again, so consider that in your cost benefit analysis. As for printing, if you don’t have a nearby print shop a quick internet search will reveal a plethora of online retailers.

Don’t be the author with the home-printed bookmarks and crooked logo. Trust me on this.

By being choosy about our swag—and making it as professional-looking as possible—you strengthen your brand and appeal to a wider audience. There are all sorts of articles out there advising authors how to strengthen their brand, and professional, well-designed swag is an easy way to stand out from the crowd.

What do you think about swag? Love it, hate it, or collect it? Tell me in the comments below!