Things I Liked in September 2022

Well, September saw the release of my second book, “Vengeful Monsters“, which was really exciting for me. First, thank you to anyone that bought the book. Your support honestly means so much.

I’ve definitely learned that launching a sequel is a bit different than launching the first book in a series. I was pleased with the way things went last week, but I’m curious to see how things might progress from here (or maybe they won’t at all!). I made “Forgotten Monsters” free for five days last week and I ran ads in newsletters promoting it. For it being a year old, I was pleased with the downloads it got. I was surprised that some people even bought “Vengeful Monsters” at the same time! I hope that within the next few weeks, some more people will read my first book and then be interested in buying the second book, but we’ll see.

Anyway, onto the things I liked this month.

I Love TV

I don’t care what anyone says about it – I love “She-Hulk“! I’ve enjoyed all of the Marvel shows to varying degrees, but only a handful of them have felt like they were made for TV. Some of them feel like movies split up over several weeks, which, in my opinion, doesn’t work. So, for me, it’s great to have this half-hour legal comedy every week. I’ve been a fan of Tatiana Maslany since her Emmy-winning turn in “Orphan Black“, and she’s just as good here. The show follows Jennifer Walters, Bruce Banner’s cousin, as she navigates her work life and her romantic life all while being a Hulk. She’s now heading a new superhero division at her law firm, which brings in some colorful characters and cases. It’s a really funny show. My one complaint is that the episodes should be just a tad longer, which is not something you hear often in the streaming era!

It’s baaaack! I’m so glad “The Great British Bake Off” recently started up again. It is such a calming show and I need that right now! This season started off strong. In the second episode, the showstopper challenge produced, by my estimation, quite a few stunning showstoppers. They had to make 3D masks out of biscuits, and I was really impressed by some of the beautiful designs. I have dreams of being on this show (well…the American version, unless I decide to move to England) but while I can bake really well, I struggle with design. So, I’m super impressed by the talent these contestants display. In the first episode though, the technical challenge was a red velvet cake and I totally could’ve nailed that. It’s good to have this show back in my life.

Calls” is one creepy show. I’d heard about it a while ago but, again, I’m new to Apple TV+ so I’m just catching it now. It’s short enough that you can watch it all in one day. Each episode is about fifteen minutes long and tells a bizarre story through phone conversations. After watching the whole thing, you see how there’s also an overarching story, but this is a good one for fans of short stories too. Each episode is a phone call between two or more people. Only text and a visualizer effect are shown on screen, but the voice acting really pulls you in. Each conversation highlights some mysterious (sci-fi) event that is happening that throws the characters’ lives into disarray. The first episode is particularly creepy, but the rest are more sci-fi based. It’s hard to describe, but I had a lot of fun watching this.

The third season of “Servant” premiered earlier this year, but I’m just now getting around to watching it. I really loved the first season, but found the second season dull until the final act. This third season? Whew, it was a ride the whole way through. The premise of the show is that a wealthy couple’s newborn baby unexpectedly dies. As a way to cope (or maybe as a way to feed their denial), they get one of those lifelike reborn dolls to “take care of”. And then they hire a live-in nanny for it. And then their baby somehow is alive again. The husband grows suspicious of the nanny because – duh – their doll just became human under her care. There are so many wild things that happen in the show, and there are so many crazy characters. I say watch it. It’s a fun psychological thriller that could slot in nicely during spooky season.

Books, Books, Books

So, I read a little book called “Vengeful Monsters” this month and I kind of sort of really loved it??? I think it’s the kind of sequel that, if you haven’t read the first book, you could pick it up and understand what’s going on anyway. The characters are all really great. I loved Marissa and Stanley, and it was great to explore them a little bit more in this book. The ending really left my jaw on the floor. And the epilogue? Well, I’m definitely ready to find out what happens in Book #3. I hope you check it out and enjoy it too. It’s a fun one!

I don’t even know what to think of “Coffee, Shopping, Murder, Love” by Carlos Allende. It’s one of the craziest books I’ve read in some time. It’s campy. It’s funny. It has two of the most unlikeable protagonists I’ve encountered in a while. In fact, is anyone in this book likeable? Hard to say. But it works! The book is told through dual perspectives, Charlie’s and Jignesh’s. Charlie is needy and desperate and running out of money. Jignesh is a murderer and needs help covering up his crimes. The way they work together to overcome their plights and find love is truly inspiring!!!


“Vengeful Monsters” is now available for purchase!

Today’s the day! You can now purchase “Vengeful Monsters” as either an ebook or paperback! AND you can read it for free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited. In more free news, you can pick up the first book, “Forgotten Monsters“, for free from September 20 – September 24.

I don’t know where the time went. I think I said this last year when I released my first book, but time snuck up on me. I had been planning this day for months, and now it’s finally here. It’s hard to believe! But, I’m very excited about this book. I love it so much, and I hope you do as well.

I thought I’d be less nervous since this is my second time releasing a book. In some ways, I guess I am since I have a better grasp on what I’m doing. But, I’m still learning as I go. There’s still a lot I don’t know. My experiment for this release is to see how marketing “Forgotten Monsters” might translate to sales for this new book. We’ll see how it goes!

In any case, I’m really excited about this book and I’m ready to celebrate its release!

Don’t forget to pick up your copy! I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Preorder “Vengeful Monsters” Now!

So, I am super excited to share that Vengeful Monsters” is now available to preorder for only $0.99!! I’ll raise the price on release day, so now’s a great opportunity to get it for a bargain.

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve gone back and forth as to whether I wanted to do a preorder. I ultimately decided that it would be easier to do one so I could make sure the ebook was ready to go on the release date. Everything about self-publishing seems to be an experiment, so we’ll see how this one goes!

Amazon, for some reason, doesn’t allow preorders on paperbacks so, if you’re waiting for the paperback, that will be available on September 19th. But it’s coming!!

I honestly can’t even believe that we’re less than a week away from the release date. It snuck up on me!

Things I Liked in August 2022

Ahhh! Only 19 more days until “Vengeful Monsters” comes out! It’s gonna feel so good to have another book out in the world. In case you missed it, I wrote about how the story was influenced by some things I had going on in my life. As I mentioned in that post, I wouldn’t want people trying to connect any plot points or characters to my own life, but I certainly use writing as a way to process things.

Right now I’m trying to get all my ducks in a row for this release. I keep debating whether or not I should do a preorder, and whether it might help or hurt me as a new author. There are so many things to think about when releasing a book! But it’s fun work. We’ll see how things play out.

Anyway! Onto the things I liked this month!

I Love TV

I’d heard nothing but amazing things about “Ted Lasso” but I was absolutely not prepared for how much I would love this show. The past month or so has been extremely stressful and I would put this show on every night and it would make me feel better almost instantly. It’s so heartwarming (even when our characters are going through real turmoil in the second season). The show follows American football coach, Ted Lasso, as he’s recruited to coach an English Premier soccer team. The viewer finds out early on that the owner of the team, recently divorced Rebecca, only recruited Ted because he had no soccer experience and she wanted the team to fail to get revenge on her cheating ex-husband (the former owner). But Ted is super charming (he really is) and he kind of wins everybody over. I love everything about this show so much. It’s sweet without being saccharine. The whole cast is essential and they gel so well together. It’s just perfect! I’m sure you’ve already seen the show because I’m late to the game (maybe a pun?), but if you haven’t, watch it!

Clearly, I’m a recent AppleTV+ subscriber because that’s all I’ve seemed to watch this month. “Severance” follows the employees of the very unusual Lumon Industries. All the employees have agreed to this new medical procedure where their work memories are “severed” from their non-work memories. So once they step into the office, they only remember what happened in the office. When they leave, they remember nothing from their work day. Mark, Helly, Dylan, and Irving gradually uncover a web of conspiracies regarding the company and set off to uncover more. This show is a wild and fun ride. It leaves the viewer with so many questions (though some of them are answered by the season finale). Every new episode brings forth a reveal that just blows your mind. The mystery builds over the course of the season until the final episode when my heart was ready to beat out of my chest. You should watch it.

Movies Are Good Too

I really liked the original “Father of the Bride” when I was a kid so I thought I’d check out this new one when it premiered on HBOMax. I’m glad I did because it really was a cute little film. There aren’t any surprises – it’s exactly what you think it will be – but it was the good kind of fluff. The basic premise is that Billy and Ingrid Herrera are having marital problems and they decide to get a divorce. They intend to tell their adult children about it when eldest daughter, Sofia, comes for a visit. Before they get the chance to, Sofia shares that she’s engaged to a man named Adan. So, Billy and Ingrid keep the divorce plans to themselves and get to planning the wedding. Billy struggles with letting his daughters make their own choices and the family clashes some more. Will they be able to put their differences aside, come together as a family, and work together to pull off this wedding? Well, I said there were no surprises, so what do you think? It was a cute movie and worked well as an updated adaptation. So, if you’re looking for something sweet to watch on a rainy afternoon, this one’s a good one.

How do I even begin to describe “Everything, Everywhere, All At Once“? I don’t even have the words. I’m always up for a good multiverse story and I’d heard great things about this one. The gist of it all is that Evelyn, a Chinese immigrant, has a husband, Waymond, and daughter, Joy. Together they run a laundromat, but they’re being audited by the IRS. To make things worse, Waymond wants to divorce Evelyn, and Evelyn has trouble accepting Joy’s girlfriend, all of which creates friction within the family. While Evelyn and Waymond are meeting with the IRS, Evelyn discovers that she’s connected to parallel universes (I described this very vaguely but it all makes sense in the movie), which are being threatened by someone named Jobu Tupaki. So, Evelyn taps into her multiversal selves to stop Jobu Tupaki from destroying all the infinite worlds. It sounds like a lot – and it is – but it’s such a fun and unique experience. It manages to be action-packed, hilarious, and extremely heartwarming all at once. The film explores the complexities of marriage, the mother/daughter relationship, the father/daughter relationship, the immigrant experience, and so so so much more. My write-up cannot do it justice. This movie is one of a kind and I highly recommend it.

Books, Books, Books

So, the sequel to Alexis Hall’s “Boyfriend Material”, “Husband Material“, came out this month and I was so excited to read it…but it was pretty disappointing. I’m putting it on this list because I did like it (I rated it four stars on Goodreads!). I just didn’t love it, and I expected to. Luc and Oliver have now been together for two years and all of their friends are getting married. As with the first book, the characters are beyond charming and funny, so it was wonderful to dive back into this world. The story? Less charming. Much of the focus is on Luc’s and Oliver’s friends as they get married and I wanted to spend more time with Luc and Oliver. When we did spend time with them, they were bickering about their own future. There were parts of this book that I loved. For instance, without spoilers, Hall took inspiration from “Four Weddings and a Funeral”, so there’s a funeral scene here that I thought hit all the right notes. It managed to be romantic, sad, and funny. I wish more of the book could pull off what this scene did. It might help explain the ending a little more (which was fine, but rushed, and I don’t think true to the characters). Anyway, I enjoyed the book (even if it seems I didn’t). If you read it, don’t expect the same fuzzy feelings you got from “Boyfriend Material”.


The Story Behind “Vengeful Monsters”

So, hopefully, you saw my post announcing the sequel to “Forgotten Monsters” last week. As I mentioned there, I really can’t wait for you to read “Vengeful Monsters“! I thought I’d write how the book came about because there was a lot of stuff going on at that time, and it really influenced how I approached the story.

~*There are some spoilers for “Forgotten Monsters” throughout the rest of this post, so beware!*~

I wrote “Forgotten Monsters” as a standalone with the possibility of continuing the series. When you query literary agents, which I did for this book, they’re interested in the story you’ve written, not necessarily potential sequels. Because what if the first book doesn’t sell? The publisher won’t want a sequel in that case. Once I decided to self-publish, I didn’t have to worry about that as much, so I came up with rough ideas for Books #2 and #3 and started writing them.

At the end of “Forgotten Monsters“, our gang of characters decides to go on a little trip to visit a young woman, Ayanna Jones, who has the ability to change her appearance, so I knew I wanted to pick things up there. As I started plotting out the story, things in my life got kind of crazy. For one, sadly, my dad passed away in January 2020 from cancer. Two months later, the Covid-19 pandemic hit. The situation became weirdly metaphorical. If a writer were to write about grief, I could see them creating a character who had to be locked away, forced to confront what they were dealing with, haunted by memories of their past until they found a way out. And that’s basically what happened here.

I was thrust into lockdown, now stuck inside my home, and was forced to really confront my grief. I didn’t have the usual distractions. I couldn’t see friends or family. I couldn’t travel. No, I was stuck. (We all were, but this post is about me, haha.) I turned to writing to help me process everything.

There are a few things you’ll find in this sequel as a result.

Our characters had just escaped from being under Claire’s mind control. They were finally free! So why do they feel so bad in this story? Why are they struggling so much? One thing I tried to explore in this sequel was how trauma and grief can reverberate. Just because the traumatic event has ended, it doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Our characters are each dealing with this trauma in their own ways. Some express anger, others are more emotional. They’re stuck grieving. They’re forced to relive painful memories. What they attempt to do in this book is to overcome all that.

The other thing that our characters begin to explore is their memories. Claire changed all of their memories and now they want to find out who they really are. As they do so, Derik shows up and uses his power of illusion to torment them with their past traumas. This was something I hadn’t anticipated incorporating into the story until I just started writing about it one day. In fact, Derik was never originally part of the story at all but he ended up becoming a major character. Funny how that works. Anyway, the combination of grieving my dad and going through a pandemic gave me a lot of time to think. I’d have random memory flashes of my dad pop up throughout the day. While they weren’t necessarily bad memories (though, some were of his illness), I couldn’t control them and it really made it hard. Much like what happens to our characters, it almost felt like an attack. So, I tried writing what I was experiencing into my characters’ journeys and healing processes.

I don’t necessarily want anyone combing through my writing and wondering how it relates to my life. I don’t think it really works like that, anyway. I don’t think you could look at the characters or plot points I write about and find any specific correlation to my life. But the emotion might be there at times because I use writing as a way to process things that happen to me.

So tl;dr: I did use my story and my characters to help me process things I was dealing with. It really helped me out – I just hope I didn’t put my characters through the wringer too much as a result!

And you’ll be able to see just what I mean when “Vengeful Monsters” releases in just 25 more days on September 19, 2022!

Announcing “Vengeful Monsters”!

I’ve been waiting to announce this for what seems like forever, but it’s finally time to tell you all about my next book! On Monday, September 19, “Vengeful Monsters” – the thrilling sequel to “Forgotten Monsters” – will release, and below you can find the cover and blurb!

Marissa Summers didn’t mean to unleash a telekinetic blast, and she definitely had no idea it would put her mind-controlling mother, Claire, into a coma. But, either way, she’s finally free of that evil woman’s abuse.

Or so she thought.

Because Derik, a troubled stranger, is stalking her, and he knows way more about her life than he should. When he casts illusions that torment Marissa with memories of her traumatic past, it leaves little doubt he has some connection to Claire.

To make matters worse, Marissa soon discovers that Derik can mimic others’ powers, and now he’s after hers. There’s only one reason he could want her psychic abilities — to resurrect Claire.

Marissa is going to need backup, so she assembles a superpowered team to take on Derik. Because if he achieves his goal, Marissa will never be free from her mother’s control…and neither will anyone else.

First things first, I really have to thank Hampton Lamoureux of TS95 Studios for the beautiful cover. He always manages to capture what’s in my head and I’m very grateful for his awesome work and talent. Covers are one very important piece when it comes to marketing and selling a book, so my many thanks go to Hampton.

You have no idea how beyond excited I am to get this book out there (or maybe you do since I just told you). I love “Forgotten Monsters” and I’m so proud of what I did with it, but I feel like “Vengeful Monsters” is where I figured out my voice. So, as I continue to grow and learn, it makes me even more excited for what’s to come.

If you don’t know, this is book #2 in a planned trilogy, and this book really raises the stakes. There’s one scene in particular toward the end that I am dying to hear your thoughts on. I won’t spoil anything, but…it’s a doozy!

I’ve gone back and forth as to whether I want to do a preorder. I don’t feel like I have much of a following so I don’t think a preorder will be helpful to me, but I’m still thinking this through. More to come on that (or, maybe not – I’ll keep you in suspense for now).

Since the cover is now public, I’ve added a new page for the book, where you’ll find the cover, blurb, and a fun little playlist of songs inspired by the characters and events in “Vengeful Monsters”. And we also have a fun new banner at the top!

As we get closer to the release, I’ll be sending out the first chapter in my newsletter, so now is a great time to sign up so you don’t miss anything! Also, feel free to check out my Twitter and Instagram for updates as well.

I can’t believe that in just over a month my new book comes out. I’m so ready for it and I hope you are too!

Let’s do this!

Things I Liked in July 2022

Quick writing update for you before I delve into the real reason you are checking out this blog.

Tomorrow, August 1, I’ll be revealing details of my new book to those who subscribe to my newsletter. So, if you want to keep up to date with all my writing, then feel free to sign up for my newsletter and be one of the first people to see my new cover and blurb. I will, of course, be posting all this information publicly (though a little bit later), but sometimes it’s cooler to be part of an exclusive club.

You have no idea how excited I am to release this book and for you to read it!

But, for now…

I Love TV

So, the majority of the fourth season of “Stranger Things” aired in May, but I wanted to wait until all episodes were released before talking about this one. We all know what the show is about at this point so I’ll spare you my play-by-play, but I thought this was the show’s best season. The gist, however, is that several teens in Hawkins are mysteriously killed in gruesome ways, which end up being connected to the Upside Down. So, our main characters set out to stop whatever is doing this when one of them starts being haunted by strange occurrences, indicating she may be the next victim. It was creepy in ways the show only hinted at before and, despite the LONG run times of the episodes, I thought it was wonderfully plotted. And how cool is it that “Running Up That Hill” by Kate Bush is blowing up again 37 years later?? So, stream the show and the song!

I’ll admit that I was unsure of “Ms. Marvel” at first. I’ve enjoyed all the MCU Disney+ shows to varying degrees so I figured I’d like this one too, but the first episode left me cold. Lots of people raved about it but it didn’t click with me. But, I continued on and I’m so glad I did. Kamala Khan loves Captain Marvel (so do I!) and she really wants to be a superhero of her own. She accomplishes that when she’s gifted a mysterious bangle from her grandmother, which grants her some pretty cool powers. She goes around town stopping crime, and it’s that low-level superhero stuff that made the show fun. It wasn’t some apocalypse she was averting, which was a nice change of pace. Well, I guess that’s half-true, because she eventually runs into a group called the Clandestines who do kind of want to end the world to save their own dimension. Anyway, the show ended up being really fun and it was wonderful to see a mainstream show give so much care and thought to things like Pakistani culture and the partition of India. The final episode gave some teasers as to what’s to come in the MCU that has me really excited for “The Marvels” to release now.

So I hate “The Boys“. Absolutely hate it. But, I also can’t stop watching. Why did I include it on a list of things I liked if I hate it so much? That’s a great question, which I don’t have the answer to. I’m always entertained by the show (and usually very horrified) but I just don’t agree with the premise that if superheroes existed they’d all be part of some brand and too weak and uncoordinated to mitigate real threats like Homelander. Sure, I can look around at the state of the world and see our problems reflected in the show, but superheroes are supposed to do the right thing! Mostly every character in this show is morally corrupt, though. I can understand that it’s the point of the show, in a way, but it doesn’t always work for me. Anyway, the third season follows along as Homelander basically becomes more unhinged and unable to be controlled. He literally says and does some of the most horrific things imaginable only to gain in popularity (stop me if you’ve heard that before). But, the Boys join forces with Starlight and Queen Maeve to try to take him down with the help of the long-thought-dead Soldier Boy. Despite my distaste for the premise, I do find the show fun and engaging, if frustrating.

Season 3 of “The Umbrella Academy” was recently released and it was another great chapter in the lives of the Hargreeves. The basic premise of the show is that one day in 1989, forty-three women spontaneously became pregnant and very quickly gave birth to kids with superpowers. Eccentric billionaire Reginald Hargreeves adopted seven of those children and raised them to be the superhero team known as The Umbrella Academy. This third season directly picks up where the second season left us. I won’t get too spoilery in case you want to start from the beginning but there are some timeline shenanigans and yet another apocalypse to avert. At times this season felt a little too same old, same old but by the mid-way point, I was fully onboard. The cast of characters are all so great and they help to make the show fun and exciting. So, if flawed superheroes (rather than morally corrupt superheroes) are your thing, this is a good show to watch.

The “Time Traveler’s Wife” did not get good reviews, and maybe it’s because I went in with lowered expectations but I was able to enjoy it. I really loved the book, though it has been years since I’ve read it. The show follows Henry, a man with a genetic disorder that causes him to time travel, as he meets and forms a relationship with a woman named Claire. Henry first meets Claire when she’s a child and he’s time traveling (let me be clear, their interactions at this point are all very innocent, though it’s a complicated situation, to be sure). When Present Day Henry meets Present Day Claire, she has all this knowledge of him from their meetings when she was a kid, but he hasn’t time traveled to her youth yet and has no recollection of her. I may have made that all sound very confusing BUT ANYWAY the two form a relationship and a love story begins. The show ended up not getting renewed for a second season, so much of the book didn’t get covered for the show. But, if you want a tight and enjoyable six-episode series, this one’s worth a shot.

I’d almost given up on “Westworld“. Loved the first season. Liked the second season. Loathed the third season. This fourth season is on par with the beginning of the show and it has everything I loved about it. Part of what I didn’t like about the third season was that it barely had any of the park in it. It seemed like a different show entirely. Well, that’s been course-corrected in this new season because the park is back and it’s changed quite a bit. It’s hard to say what the fourth season is about without giving away some major twists and turns, but it’s been the most fun I’ve had watching in a long time. Do I understand everything? Well, no. This show has always tended to overcomplicate things. But if engaging sci-fi and robots are your thing, give the new season a chance.

Movies Are Good Too

Last Night in Soho” is a trippy little movie but it was a lot of fun. It follows fashion and design student, Ellie, as she moves away from home to London. She moves into an apartment owned by Ms. Collins where she starts having strange dreams. Or are they visions? In them, she’s transported back to a nightclub in the 60s where she inhabits the body of Sandie, an aspiring singer at the club. As the movie progresses, Ellie becomes concerned with the path that Sandie is heading down. Ellie dreams of some truly horrible things that happen to Sandie and it begins affecting her waking life. Who was this woman? Was she real? Where is she now? The film gets a little creepy and a little mysterious as Ellie tries to parse out what really happened to Sandie. Check it out!

Books, Books, Books

Wow. It’s such a good feeling when you get excited each day to read more of a certain book. “Under the Whispering Door” by TJ Klune was amazing. It was recommended to me by my mom, and I never usually read books recommended to me (even though I like recommending things to anyone who will listen [or to those who read my blog]). Anyway, I’d never read anything by Klune before but I’m going to have to change that going forward because he might be joining my “Favorite Author List”. The story follows Wallace Price, a pretty terrible person who recently died from a heart attack. Now a ghost, he’s collected by a Reaper who takes him to a charming little tea shop where Hugo, the owner, will help Wallace cross over to the other side. As Wallace learns to accept his death and his mistakes in life, he and Hugo form a deep connection and bond. This book had me in stitches and tears at different times. It’s truly something special, and it gets you thinking about life, death, and all the things in between. If you’re like me and never read recommended books, well, STOP THAT AND READ THIS BOOK!


Gearing up for the Sequel

In a couple of weeks, I’ll be posting a whole bunch of information on “Forgotten Monsters #2” including the cover, blurb, and release date (so, basically, all the important things!). I’m so looking forward to it. I feel like I’ve been teasing it forever, but things are finally in motion. I have my book cover now and I LOVE it. I can’t wait to share.

Getting ready to release this book feels different in some ways from releasing “Forgotten Monsters” but it’s similar in many ways too. In both instances, I really have/had no idea what to expect. Even though I am very pleased with how well the first book sold and was received, I don’t know if anyone actually liked it enough to check out a new book by me. I don’t feel like I have much of a following yet so is anyone going to even know I have a new book out?

Everything I’ve read about releasing a sequel suggests that promoting the first book will help sell the second book. So, I’ll go back to some of the newsletters I’ve run ads in to hopefully bring some attention to my work. I’m updating the back matter of “Forgotten Monsters” to include a link to where you can buy Book #2. I’m also adding Chapter 1 to the back matter. We’ll see how that goes. It’s funny how things are still a bit of an experiment this time around.

I’ve talked a bit before about how my writing has changed since completing “Forgotten Monsters“. I started that book in 2015, and I wrote both sequels in 2020 and 2021, respectively, so I’ve definitely grown as a writer since I first started. I feel more confident in this new book as a result. But I also have the fear that maybe people just won’t like the direction I’ve taken the story. Or maybe they won’t like how I write now! (The change hasn’t been dramatic, but I am for sure being dramatic now.)

I also think a lot about my release schedule. A lot of advice for indie authors says to rapid release your books in order to make the greatest impact. That’s lovely advice, except I can’t write that fast. To me, being consistent is more important. I plan to publish a book per year for the time being because I know I can stick to that schedule. As my writing has changed, I’ve also picked up the pace too. So maybe someday I’ll be a little more prolific, but that day isn’t today. It does make me wonder about the sequel, though, and its chances for success. Have I waited too long? Will anybody care???

And what does success mean for me, especially for the sequel? Right now, I’m happy to just go along for the ride. It’s all still new to me and I’m learning a lot as I go. So, I think as long as I keep learning and adjusting as needed, and as long as some people still enjoy my work, I think I’ll consider it a success.

Anyway, I’ll be sharing all sequel information (including cover and blurb) through my newsletter in early August, so if you want to see it first, then now is a good time to sign up!

Things I Liked in June 2022

Okay, so we’re really halfway through the year, huh? It’s crazy to me. While time is flying, I’m actually really excited about the coming months. If all goes according to plan, I’ll have my book cover soon and I can finally start providing some information on my next book. I received my copyedit back, and now I’m just waiting on the cover. So once I have that, we’re good to go. I am beyond excited to get things going with this book.

In the meantime, though, here are some things I liked in June.

I Love TV

Heartstopper” on Netflix is maybe the cutest little show I’ve seen. The plot is pretty straightforward. Charlie is a young, gay school kid who falls in love with his jock classmate, Nick. As the two get to know each other, Nick begins to question his sexuality because he’s actually falling for Charlie too. The two experience their fair share of obstacles but what I loved about this show was that every time a character had the opportunity to do a “bad thing” and disappoint you, they did the right thing instead. There is a lot of horrible stuff happening in the world right now, so it was nice to have this light, dreamy show to take my mind off things. It’s like a warm hug, and I think everyone could use a big hug right now.

Okay, well, this one got canceled recently, so there will be no third season, but the show did a lot in the two seasons it had. “Made for Love” follows Hazel, who has been married to tech billionaire, Byron Gogol, for ten years. He’s basically held her prisoner all that time at Gogol Headquarters (called The Hub), even having implanted a tracking chip into her. Hazel finally escapes and reunites with her father, but Byron is hot on her tail. He wants to fix their relationship. He claims he didn’t realize how unhappy she’d been, but she won’t hear it, so he goes all out (and does some more questionable things) to try to win her back. Have I mentioned this is a comedy? Because it’s a comedy. I want to reassure you that even though this delightfully weird show was canceled, the end to season two could be considered a satisfying ending. The show reminded me a lot of the excellent and also canceled-too-soon “Better Off Ted“. Watch it! Watch both!

The second season of “Hacks” premiered back in May and it’s every bit as good as the first season. I can’t remember if I discussed season one at all but the general premise of the show is that legendary Las Vegas stand-up comic, Deborah Vance, needs new material. She’s not connecting with audiences in the way she used to because, quite frankly, times have changed but her jokes haven’t. So, she hires comedy writer Ava Daniels to bring a fresh take to her act. The two oftentimes mix like oil and water but there’s a real connection between them, nonetheless. The second season follows the two of them as they go on tour to test out some of the new material and, of course, they get into some shenanigans. I don’t want to spoil too much because there are some hilarious wrenches thrown their way, but please watch! It’s a sarcastic, hilarious show, which honestly has so much heart at its core.

Movies Are Good Too

You don’t get too many romcoms nowadays. Even fewer are gay romcoms. So, good thing for “Fire Island“, which is a spin on Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice“. The premise is simple and straightforward. A group of queer friends head to Fire Island for a week-long vacation, and some of them pair up with different men, which puts a strain on their friendship. One of the guys, Noah, doesn’t really believe in finding love, especially on the not-so-body-positive Fire Island, which is only reinforced when he meets the seemingly stuck-up, Will. But of course, as these things go, there’s more than meets the eye, and I’m sure you can guess how things turn out. It’s a cute film, it’s funny, and it’s great to see some diversity in a mainstream romcom!

I’d heard a lot of great things about “The Worst Person in the World” so I was excited when it finally got added to Hulu. It’s a Norwegian film and was nominated for two Academy Awards this year (Best International Feature Film and Best Original Screenplay). The story follows twenty-something Julie as she floats through life, never really settling in one place. She gets into a relationship with a comic artist named Aksel, who is older than her. But then she crashes a wedding and meets Eivind, which complicates things. Julie doesn’t always make the best decisions. I’d describe her as impulsive, and it doesn’t really benefit her. But watching her navigate life and really become who she is at the end of the movie is a worthwhile endeavor. It’s funny, but also devastating at times. It’s definitely worth a watch.

Books, Books, Books

Well, Kate Kane is back in “Shadows and Dreams” (Kate Kane, Paranormal Investigator #2) and she’s got a new case to solve. Things start out messy enough when she’s put on trial for killing a vampire prince by the Council of vampire oligarchs. But she’s also having dreams of some ancient evil killing her. Might these two points be connected somehow? Throw in the return of some undead wizards who tried sacrificing Kate fifteen years ago to raise this ancient evil, and you’ve got yourself quite the entertaining read. As I’ve mentioned, I’m making my way through the works of Alexis Hall and I’m really loving this series. It’s funny (almost bordering on “Twilight” parody sometimes), quirky, sexy, and creepy. So, if urban fantasy is your go-to genre, why haven’t you started this series yet?


And, lastly, as mentioned above, I’m gearing up to start promoting “Forgotten Monsters #2” so now is a good time to sign up for my newsletter. You’ll receive exclusive updates and content PLUS you’ll get a free short story, “A.I. Advertising Intelligence“. I don’t email very often and I will never give out your information, so you won’t be spammed.

Some Pride Month Book Recommendations

Happy Pride Month, everyone! Below is just a small sampling of my favorite LGBTQ+ books, or books by LGBTQ+ authors, that I think you’ll enjoy. I would love to know what some of yours are too, so feel free to leave some suggestions in the comments!

I’m trying not to repeat books that I’ve talked about before. We already know how much I love “Boyfriend Material” by Alexis Hall, and I don’t think we need another post about it (but still, check it out!). In any case, here are some suggestions.

Kate Kane, Paranormal Investigator Series by Alexis Hall

Why it’s included: Okay, well, I did have to include Alexis Hall, but I haven’t talked about this book series yet. I’m wrapping up the second book in the series (“Shadows and Dreams”), so I can’t speak to later books just yet. So far, I love what I’ve read. It follows – you guessed it – paranormal investigator Kate Kane. In the first book, “Iron and Velvet“, Kate investigates a werewolf death outside of the club owned by vampire prince Julian Saint Germain. This creates tensions between the werewolves and vampires in and around London, complicating Kate’s investigation. Also complicating her investigation? The intense attraction between her and Julian (who, to be clear for the sake of this post, is a woman). It’s a funny, sexy, and spooky addition to my Pride month collection!

How to Bang a Billionaire Series by Alexis Hall

Why it’s included: I never really considered that there might be an entire romance subgenre dedicated to being with a billionaire, but I’m learning new things all the time. I feel like this book series was written in direct response to “Fifty Shades of Grey“, but I love how well-written it is, and it has that Alexis Hall charm to it that I love. The story follows Arden St. Ives, a recent Oxford graduate, after he meets billionaire Caspian Hart. Caspian is handsome, brilliant, and living with quite a few skeletons in his closet. The two quickly form a strong sexual connection, with Caspian taking charge and Ardy surrendering himself to his paramour. Ardy falls hard and fast but Caspian’s past prevents him from forming a deeper connection. It’s a (very) sexy (and explicit) and sweet trilogy!

Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman

Why it’s included: Seventeen-year-old Ellio lives in Italy with his academic father, and a young man named Oliver stays with them one summer for six weeks as he works on a manuscript. Ellio quickly forms an attraction to Oliver, but Oliver isn’t very clear about how he feels in return. The story takes place in the late 80s when being gay or bisexual was a little more hidden and a lot scarier. One thing the book excels at, I think, is exploring Ellio’s attraction, which includes deep emotions of doubt and worry, hope and lust. I just think it’s a really beautiful, well-written book.

Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

Why it’s included: From what I’ve gathered, author Sarah Gailey identifies as queer and nonbinary, and they wrote quite a fun urban fantasy story. Private investigator Ivy Gamble is not magical like her sister Tabitha, which is totally fine because she never wanted to be magical anyway. Instead, she has her own business, an empty apartment, and a slight drinking problem, so who needs to be magical when you have that? Ivy’s been hired to investigate the murder of a faculty member at the magic school where Tabitha teaches. It’s a fun little mystery that forces Ivy to contemplate the life she could have had, in addition to forcing her to examine her past and her relationship with Tabitha.

Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies by Michael Ausiello

Why it’s included: Michael Ausiello is a former Entertainment Weekly writer and current writer at (which he created). He wrote this memoir in honor of his late husband, Kit Cowan, who died of a rare form of neuroendocrine cancer in 2015. It’s honestly a heartbreaking read, but it actually helped prepare me for my dad’s own terminal cancer diagnosis in 2018 (I think I finished reading the book a month beforehand). The memoir begins with the acknowledgment that Michael and Kit had been having trouble in their relationship. Then came the cancer diagnosis. What follows is a tragic but somehow funny story of deep love and unending support during a dark time. It’s not an easy read, but it’s strangely uplifting, perhaps because of the resilience and love the two exhibited. A movie is actually being made starring Jim Parsons and Sally Field, so now’s the time to check out this touching story.

And, lastly, I’m gearing up to start promoting “Forgotten Monsters #2” so now is a good time to sign up for my newsletter. You’ll receive exclusive updates and content PLUS you’ll get a free short story, “A.I. Advertising Intelligence“. I don’t email very often and I will never give out your information, so you won’t be spammed.