My first book published was not the first written.

Vanity in Dust was my first published novel BUT it was the fifth book I wrote.

There’s this idea about writers churning out a perfect novel and that being the end of it. And for someone, somewhere, I’m sure that’s true. But for most of us, we have more stories to write than we’ll ever have time to put into words and writing, like any other art, is something that gets better with practice. I learn new things with every book. The first few mostly taught me how to go about writing and finishing a story.

Originally I was writing high fantasy–the kind with sword clanking, thrones at war, and lots of betrayal. I read a lot of fantasy as a kid so it was naturally where I went with my own writing. Fantasy has always been my go-to genre. When I walk into a library or a bookstore, I go straight for Fantasy. It’s my anchor, and my comfort zone. I didn’t even try anything else until I joined a writing site when I was seventeen and started branching out. After that, I tried writing urban fantasy. And then, after FOUR BOOKS, I wrote Vanity in Dust, which is somewhere between high fantasy and urban fantasy. It’s a purely fantasy world, but far from medieval inspired, with modern themes and technology all powered by magic.

Even Infernal, the island horror I have coming out soon, isn’t the first horror novel I wrote. My first tries were just that–a try. Not a failure, because it moved me closer to getting it right, but not a win either.

This isn’t to say that the books I wrote before the ones published have been tossed aside (though a couple definitely have been). Some just haven’t found their place yet or need more work. Because getting a book published is work. There are great steps between creating an idea, turning it into a manuscript, and getting it publisher-ready. Fortunately, I love all the steps–I just wish I had more time.

I haven’t written a perfect book yet. If I do, it might not be until I’m seventy, hopefully with dozens of books under my belt. And, I admit, I kind of like that idea.

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INFERNAL ~ Cover Reveal

Shrouded in Mystery

According to the legends, those who venture onto the shores of this cursed island never return.

Abandoned

Valerie DeNola and her sister Julie have chosen to ignore the legends and the warnings. They have been selected to lead a team of explorers to the island to discover the mystery surrounding it. But once ashore, they become cut off from the outside world, and what they discover is something they could never have prepared for.

Inhabited by Death

Now they must fight against an unknown presence that is picking them off one by one. No one can be trusted, and when even nature rises up against them, all seems lost. Their one hope is the extraction team they know is coming. But will any of them survive to see it arrive?

 

Grinning Skull Press has released the cover for my horror novel, Infernal!

I love it and I can’t wait to hold it in my hands.

Coming soon!

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Extreme Editing

The emotional roller coaster of extreme editing! One week to get through my edits for Detox in Letters. I jotted these down last month when I was knee deep in edits and pretty much been caught in the whirlwind of work and editing until now.

Day One: Everything is amazing! I’m on fire. My edits are a breeze, my plan is solid, this is going to be a piece of cake.

Day Two: Okay. Things aren’t quite as easy as I expected. My energy levels have waned. Why is there no food in my house? Didn’t go to the gym. But I did make it through 90 pages of edits.

Day Three: I have never read this slow in my life. No gym. I’m running out of milk for the coffees. This is getting serious. Couldn’t see straight by the end of the day, but I made it to page 207! We’re 2/3rds through this thing.

Day Four: I’m doubting everything. What happened to Day One feelings!?

Day Five: My brain is SO tired! But there’s a dragon and it’s AMAZING!

Day Six: A last run through of my comments to myself and then searching the words I overuse. It’s not good for the self-confidence levels…

Day Seven: The required hour of staring blankly at the screen repeating “It’s done. We’re done. Just let it go.” before finally sending it to my editor.

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2018

I’ve never  been particularly sentimental about New Years but I do love the opportunity to make lists and organize. It’s like each year is a drawer full of the things we did, thought, read, and experienced.

In 2017,

  • I published my first novel, Vanity in Dust
  • Did a bunch of writing and editing on other projects
  • Read piles of books
  • Wrote a scifi
  • Put together half a dozen Ikea things
  • Visited my family in California
  • Dyed my hair pink (admittedly, I did very little of the work, but I did sit still for a long time)
  • Visited New York for the first time ever
  • Went blonde
  • Turned 30

And what do I hope to put into the drawer of 2018?

  • Publish the second book in the Crowns & Ash series, Detox in Letters
  • Read all the books piled in my Amazon cart plus all the ones I run into this year
  • Figure out how to put screws in that concrete wall in my kitchen
  • Find an agent for my scifi series
  • Do a bunch of book giveaways!
  • Get pastel mermaid hair
  • Publish a horror
  • Write at least one more book

Wish me luck! And I hope all of your years get better and better.

The beautiful picture at the top is another amazing photo by Linn Arvidsson of Books and Knitting. Check out her webpage or add her on instagram if you like pretty book pictures in your feed.

/Cheryl

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