It Has a Title, My Darlings, and I’m Obsessed With Obsession, Apparently

And so, as always, my WordPress blog is behind Twitter on updates, necessitating another round of thinky-thoughts on whether or not this is worth keeping. Dunno. I’ll continue to sit on it till the days comes for me to renew my WP upgrades and so on.

Anyhoo…

My AU 19th century Romanian novel is complete, the first-ish draft currently at 57K words. It’s “first-ish” only because I revise and edit along the way, so who knows what official draft the current incarnation really is.

It also has a title: Children of Hyacinth. Because I said so. >_> Just kidding. There is, of course, a reason behind that, and you’ll have to read the book to find out what it is. Har.

A young Joshua Bell. I used this image of him as inspiration for Iulian Dalca.

So watch this space for more updates on release dates, cover art, etc. You know the drill.

I’ve also started to think about the next book, which I hope to begin work on in April, maybe even overlapping the release of Children of Hyacinth. I at first thought about writing something more lighthearted, seeing as how all of the books I’ve written that’re set in this progressive AU 19th century Europe are pretty dark. Children of Hyacinth is just as dark as the others, and I wondered if I should lighten things up a bit with the next one, which will take place in Scandinavia (maybe Norway?).

The more I think about this series of non-related books, though, the more I realize a connecting thread to some extent, and that’s the theme of obsession. I appear to be hung up (obsessed!) with it, apparently. It’s pretty obvious with Guardian Angel and The Flowers of St. Aloysius and a little more subtle in Hell-Knights. Children of Hyacinth follows the same levels of obsession as the first two books.

This song:

Encapsulates the theme of obsession the way I want to explore it in a future book. Dark, obsessive, creepy “love”. Definitely not the sort of subject to pursue in a lighthearted historical fantasy romance. So for the rom-com-ish story idea I have, I’ll have to shelve it for the time being. The story idea for the Germany novel I plan for the end of the year is definitely, DEFINITELY dark.

Unsurprisingly, the more I take the general plot apart, the more obvious the obsession subject becomes in that Germany-centric novel.

So, yeah – we’ll be dipping into another dark, gothic romance novel for the summer. Then who knows? When 2018 rolls around, I might be doing a complete 180 and will be drowning you all in comedy.

Pondering a Crap Ton O’ Stuff (Oh, and ‘Hell-Knights’)

Two-month break from blogging seemingly over, yay. Guarantee of more consistent future updates still iffy, bleargh. I’ve been on Twitter pretty religiously insofar as maintaining an online presence is concerned. Funny how I used to criticize Twitter as a never-ending cocktail party, and now I depend on it heavily for updates and just plain conversation with others (writers and otherwise).

So many upheavals in the past year led to my blogging attempts grinding to a halt. Andy and I finally took the plunge and moved out of our condo, and we’re temporarily staying with his mom while our old unit’s being fixed up for listing. This week we’re hoping the repairs, upgrades, etc., will be done, and then it’s waiting for a buyer to bite.

Since all of the craziness happened in the last two months of 2016, during the holidays, to boot, when my schedule at work got pretty damned intense, it’s safe to say my writing’s suffered from it. I’ve lagged on my progress, sadly, and when I at first hoped for a mid-February release, we’re now looking at early March or mid-March at the latest. Hell, that’s only if I’m lucky enough to keep this sluggish (and constantly interrupted) pace.

With our new, temporary living situation, writing time’s been hacked to the bone, and I’ve been scrambling to carve out as much time as I could here and there, and the end result is extremely spotty progress. And not to mention lots of blocks because the flow of my brainstorming is severely hampered. I’ve lost sight of so many plot threads and have gone back and did a major overhaul on the story, and I’m still struggling.

Part the first: regarding the next book

My original goal was to publish a long novella of around 45K words. After the overhaul, the goal post moved again to somewhere under 60K. Happily enough, as I’ve got only nine projected chapters left to write as I type this blog post, the final word count is definitely pointing in that direction.

The book’s title will be changed, as usual, seeing as how using “camera obscura” is a wee bit – uh – obscure in terms of reference. I’ve managed to work in elements of religion and mythology in the text, both of which figure quite largely in the AU 19th century I’ve established so far. The defining force in this book, which focuses on Romania, is music.

As of now, I’ve yet to settle on a final title, but I’m getting there. I’ve also got lots of new leads for a book cover. All good things to those who wait, though, and I’ll be able to treat you with the unveiling just before the book’s release. At this point, considering how far I’ve already lagged in completing this novel, I’m not going to do a pre-release listing unless I see a good reason for it.

Part the second: regarding planned future releases

When I first thought of publishing a long novella, I was hoping for a quarterly release of books in that length for 2017. Unfortunately the universe had different plans for me, so I’m back to three books every four months or thereabouts. Pretty much the same release schedule (in terms of month, not specific dates) as 2016.

So the first book of 2017 will be out in mid- to late March (Guardian Angel came out early March of last year). The next book (set in Scandinavia somewhere) will be in July (The Flowers of St. Aloysius was released in July of 2016). The third book (set in Germany) will be in November (Hell-Knights came out in November of 2016).

I won’t be projecting into 2018. One thing at a time, folks. I’m already overwhelmed by real life issues at the moment. But that’s the schedule I’m hoping to keep. I do have plans for career changes for this year, and if that pans out as hoped, I’ll have plenty more time to devote to writing.

Though I remain cryptic as to the nature of that career change, wish me luck. It would be fantastic is things go swimmingly.

Part the third: regarding the fate of Hell-Knights and a multi-format distributor of my books

Welp – I’m sure everyone by now has heard of the implosion of All-Romance E-Books. They didn’t owe me much, so I was lucky enough to be one of those authors who could walk away from the craptastic “deal” they offered as compensation for lost royalties without suffering a pretty bad financial blow.

Unfortunately it also means going back to the drawing board in finding online distributors of my self-published books from this point on. Preferably distributors who offer several digital formats of books. And that meant going back to Smashwords despite my irritation when it comes to their dreaded Meatgrinder conversion system.

At any rate, I shouldn’t complain as Smashwords has been around for a long time now, and they’ve been pretty solid as a company. Ever since All Romance E-Books went full kablooey, my sales over at Smashwords enjoyed a surge once I reinstated Primavera, Guardian Angel, and The Flowers of St. Aloysius.

So now – at long last, I might add – I finally have Hell-Knights listed over there, and here’s the link to the book page. So there you have it. I do apologize for taking this long to get my shit together, everyone. Unfortunately, as it usually happens when life throws you a curve ball, when it rains, it damn well pours.

Anyhoo, that’s it. For now. It’s a long update, but it’s also way overdue. So ta for now, my darlings, and I’ll see you again with a celebratory post regarding my current WIP soon.

Dark Magic, 19th Century Romania, and Vivaldi

All right – so let’s briefly talk about new works-in-progress, yes? Yes. 😀 I’ve pretty much lightly touched on what’s next on my plate over at Twitter, and it’s called Camera Obscura. Note that it’s got nothing to do with anything scientific or anything pertaining to, literally, pinhole images. It will, however, make good use of certain elements and concepts defining the phenomenon, the highlight of which is an inversion of an image and the role of darkness in the way that inverted image can be clearly seen.

Moreover, the focal point or the conduit through which dark magic (or influences from the night world, as previous books have stated it) will be through music. That’s one “inversion” I’d like to play with in approaching the story, and another “inversion” involves the setting.

Camera Obscura will be the fourth book in a non-series that takes place in an AU 19th century Europe. Guardian Angel kicked things off from an AU Victorian England. The Flowers of St. Aloysius took us to France. Hell-Knights brought us to Italy. And now it’s Eastern Europe’s turn, but while we’re zeroing in on Romania for this new book, we’re avoiding everything to do with vampires.

I mean, come on. That’s pretty damned predictable. Besides, we’ve already tackled that in Italy.

So the “inversion” here involves Romania and Italy “switching places” with regard to defining cultural and historical elements. Italy was known as one of the great hubs of art, literature, and music, while Romania seemed to be shrouded more in folklore and myth, at least on a very superficial level. So I’m switching things around, hence the use of “camera obscura” for the book’s title.

Of course, the main plot and conflict will heavily be all about inversions and the significance of darkness – literal and otherwise – and everything will be wrapped up tidily in my favorite genre to write: gothic fiction. You know, same old, same old, but still so crazy fun to immerse myself in as a writer.

The two videos I’m sharing in this post are two very specific musical sources of inspiration for me, and I’m referring to not just the compositions, but the actual movements. The 1st movement of Vivaldi’s “Winter” and the 3rd movement of “Summer”. Note: Antonio Vivaldi = Italian composer (see: yet another “inversion” involved in Camera Obscura – seriously, folks, playing with the concept is so much fun).

As I’m trying to revive my online presence via blog, I hope to post more inspiration stuff pertaining to the new book in the near future. I suppose I can end this for now by giving our new young heroes their names: Cosmin Vasile and Iulian Dalca. As before, this will be a gay New Adult book.

E-Book Giveaway and a Review, Hark!

Okeedokee, as threatened, there’s an e-book giveaway happening right now over at The Novel Approach. My guest post is really a quickie introduction to Hell-Knights and an excerpt.

Add your name in the rafflecopter, and two winners will be chosen when the time comes. Good luck, my lovelies!

And Prism Book Alliance recently posted a review of the book, which makes me all shades of trippy-happy. Now if you’ve already gotten a copy of the book, thanks so much for your support! I hope you enjoy it, and be assured there’ll be future books set in the same universe coming at you next year. 😀

Now Available: ‘Hell-Knights’

My newest gay New Adult historical fantasy novel is finally here.

TITLE: Hell-Knights
CATEGORIES: gay | new adult | gothic | historical fantasy | alternate universe | romance | victorian | paranormal
LENGTH: 111,787 words
PURCHASE LINKS: Amazon (e-book) | Amazon (print ) | All Romance E-Books | Createspace (print) | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Here’s the blurb:

Decima is a centuries-old Italian city on the water, a vanity project meant to be a fairy tale escape for the titled and the privileged. But something in the distant past had turned it into a murky, putrid dreamscape instead, a crumbling city haunted by a scourge of revenants whose origins and purpose now seem destined to be hidden in the shadows forever. Not even the brave, dogged attempts at fighting midnight creatures by the descendants of a select bloodline can rid the city of the near-daily threat.

Michele De Santis is a young minor sorcerer, a reluctant champion who, along with his twin sister and his cousin, has lost too much through the years and has resigned himself to a life of endless midnight hunts while selling healing and protection spells and artifacts during the day. A life of loneliness, of a forced solitude in a desperate bid at keeping collateral damage at a minimum appears to be his only future.

When long-dead corpses suddenly turn without vampire bites, logical patterns no longer hold true, leaving the weary hunters baffled and unsure for the first time. Decima’s bronze guardians fall silent for no reason, a dark, binding spell muting their warnings. A long-abandoned church shows signs of life in the most grotesque ways imaginable. And everything seems to point to an unknown threat, one that’s long lain dormant but has been awakened by the arrival of a young English heir and his amateur antiquarian uncle.

Romance and the gothic layer ‘Hell-Knights’ with the dark, rich textures of an alternate universe Europe, a nineteenth century world where magic reigns supreme, and love knows no gender.

I’ll be doing an e-book giveaway over at The Novel Approach on Thursday (Nov. 17), so watch this space. For that promo, two e-book copies will be up for grabs.