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Monday, September 30, 2019

Fantasy author Connor Coyne: How to Tell, and Show, Like a Champ + giveaway


“Show, don't tell.”

From high school creative writing courses to graduate-level MFA programs, this is some of the most ubiquitous advice given to aspiring writers.

And often, it is good advice for writing.

Telling is a staple of day-to-day conversation, whether we're giving a friend directions to our house or asking our kids to wash up before dinner. After all, you wouldn't show your mother-in-law when she should get to the concert: “Find your seat as the sun finally plunges behind the horizon and all of the shadows converge into a great gray mass.” No, you'd say, “the show starts at 8, so meet us at 7:30 so we can all get seats.”

But the demands of fiction and poetry are quite different from our day-to-day routines. Writers seek to share a memorable, even changing experience, and in so doing it is more important to convey meaning, not data, through their words. To let readers know that this experience is different from any other, and must be read, and read carefully.

“Olga arrived at 7:30,” is a serviceable way to move the plot forward, but it says nothing of the unique experience of that moment in a character's life. But if you wrote, “Olga stepped from her car right as the sun plunged behind the horizon, and all of the shadows converged into a great gray mass,” you are sharing something a reader can imagine themselves, and that brings readers, writers, and characters all closer to a common experience.

Hence, “show, don't tell” is good advice for writers to orient themselves toward the job they need to do.

But once this lesson is absorbed, once writers are comfortable communicating with readers via their senses and observations, is it always good advice?

The greatest assumption in the dictum “show, don't tell” is that these modes are fundamentally different and always in opposition. Neither is true.

One could reasonably argue, that “showing” is just “telling” with a different emphasis. In the above example, the writer isn't telling the reader that “Olga arrived at 7:30,” but that “the sun plunged behind the horizon.” The writer is telling the reader about a sensory experience, not the time of day. Or, to put it differently, the reader has the opportunity and responsibility of greater experience and interpretation, but the writer is still supplying the raw materials that the reader will interpret. In that sense, “showing” and “telling” aren't different kinds of communication so much as the same kind of communication with a different emphasis.

Moreover, showing and telling are not always in opposition, and the most powerful and effective writers know they can complement and enhance each other:

“Olga stepped from her car right as the sun plunged behind the horizon, and all of the shadows converged into a great gray mass. It was the beginning of another night. A longer night. Nights would go longer and longer for months and months, and the last thing Olga wanted was to sit with a bunch of strangers and listen to her granddaughter's faltering clarinet warbles.”

In the above example, the first sentence stresses showing: it allows a reader to see what Olga sees, from her own point-of-view. The middle of the paragraph, however, defaults to telling: it informs us of what the sunset means to Olga. It isn't describing this through physical observation, but it states, with the voice of authority, how Olga feels. In the end, the example returns to showing: now that we understand Olga's melancholy mood and her desire for solitude, a reader's ability to imagine and hear the dissonant music helps strengthen their empathy with Olga. There is no way to imagine this scene without showing, but it is the telling that supplies Olga's state of mind.

If you pick up any well-written novel or short story, you'll find examples of this, with the showing – the sensory details – tied to readerly imagination, and the telling – the information – tied to readerly knowledge. And to be sure, the relationship is negotiable. There are no hard lines. Some writers will attempt to convey all of Olga's thoughts and feelings through her actions and sensations, without ever describing her thoughts at all. This is a very useful exercise for any writer. Other writers will incorporate more information, more data, or reveries and memories and daydreams which, themselves, may be admixtures of showing and telling.

I have grown very frustrated, over the years, by this false dichotomy between “showing” and “telling.” What begins as a useful guide to writers learning to suss out imagination and vigor from the written word ossifies into a stale dictum that limits both imagination and vigor. I challenge all of my students to consider the many ways in which a story can be told – to consider what the reader needs from their story – and then to use both showing and telling to get it done.

In the end, the success of any story is not contingent on the writer's faithful obedience to a set of pre-ordained rules, but to writing that to which readers respond. Writers owe their allegiance not to abstract concepts like “showing” and “telling” but to apply their skills to tell the story that needs to be told in the way it needs to be told.

Urbantasm (The Dying City Book One)
by Connor Coyne
September 6, 2018
Genre: YA, Magical Realism, New Adult, Teen Noir, Lit Fic
Publisher: Gothic Funk Press
ISBN: 978-0989920230
ASIN: 0989920232
Number of pages: 450 pages
Word Count: 85,000
Cover Artist: Sam Perkins-Harbin,
Forge22 Design
Urbantasm is a magical teen noir serial novel inspired by the author’s experiences growing up in and around Flint, Michigan.

Thirteen-year-old John Bridge’s plans include hooking up with an eighth-grade girl and becoming one of the most popular kids at Radcliffe Junior High, but when he steals a pair of strange blue sunglasses from a homeless person, it drops him into the middle of a gang war overwhelming the once-great Rust Belt town of Akawe.

John doesn’t understand why the sunglasses are such a big deal, but everything, it seems, is on the table. Perhaps he accidentally offended the Chalks, a white supremacist gang trying to expand across the city. Maybe the feud involves his friend Selby, whose father died under mysterious circumstances. It could even have something to do with O-Sugar, a homegrown drug with the seeming ability to distort space. On the night before school began, a group of teenagers took O-Sugar and leapt to their deaths from an abandoned hospital.

John struggles to untangle these mysteries while adjusting to his new school, even as his parents confront looming unemployment and as his city fractures and burns.

“A novel of wonder and horror.”— William Shunn, author of The Accidental Terrorist

Excerpt Book 1
Chapter 1
I have to become the Antichrist.

I realized this one night when I was standing on an overpass looking down through a chain-link fence onto the expressway below. Blue neon light shined off icy puddles. The gutters were flush with slush. Empty houses, ragged wrecks, hung out on tiny lots to my left and right. Beneath me, the cars that this city had built were leaving it – some of them forever. Across from me, on a rusted trestle, a freight train slowly passed, bringing in the parts for more cars.

As the train moved on through, I thought about Drake and about how God had fucked him over. How he’d fucked us all over. Then I thought about the house with Jesus graffitied on its side. Orange skin, blue eyes, green thorns. A welter of wounds. I clenched my jaw and my teeth squeaked together. Across from me, the train wheels squealed.

If I wanted to save my friends, I would have to murder God.

Chapter 2
This is mostly my story, but I’m gonna start out by telling you about what happened to Drake. Just so you know – just so you can see right off the bat – what a bastard God could be and why a lot of us had it out for him.

In the summer of 1993, Drake had just turned sixteen.
He was going to be a junior, and his horror-show-of-a-life finally seemed to be turning a corner. He’d been living with his dad and sister in the trailer park when his mom finally moved out of her little house in the Lestrade neighborhood. She’d given it to Drake’s dad. She knew damn well that he wasn’t going to pay any rent, but she didn’t care as long as he kept the kids. Now Drake would have empty houses next door instead of empty trailers. He, his sister, and his dad had filled a couple dozen Hefty sacks with all their stuff and dropped them in the trunk of their scraped-up Benedict.

One trailer over, Sapphire watched, leaning back against the bent wall, her narrow eyes shaded behind her too-big sunglasses. She was a white girl, also sixteenish, with hair so light it glowed like tallow dripping from one of my mother’s candles. Blue eyes too, quiet laughter, nervous all the time, but silently thrilled to be growing up as fast as she could.

“I ever gonna see you now?” she asked.

“See me at school,” Drake said. “Summer’s done next week.”

“Suck a dick,” she said and laughed.

“Come over to my new place tonight. Come over, what, nine? Bring DeeDee. I’ll get Jamo and TK. Drinks from my dad. We’ll bust up that hospital like we said. I got gold now, you know. Crazy gold.”

And he did. Drake wasn’t a Chalk – fuck those racist fucks – but they were a North Side gang wanting to sell some coke and E out on the East Side, and Drake was their man. Okay, their middleman. EZ set the whole thing up. Drake hated the Chalks but he liked the money and he also liked EZ. How could you not like EZ, talking the way he did? Dude had magnetism.

Even before Drake had unpacked all his shit at the new place, even before the sun had dipped behind the swampy trees shadowing the creek, EZ pulled up in his moon blue Starr Slipstream. A sweet make and model for a blue-collar beater. Rust patches shaped like Martian mountains silhouetted against a dusty sky. EZ called Drake over to the window.

“You straight over here, D?” EZ said. “This all new to you?”

“Naw,” said Drake. “I got all the fiends back on Ash and I’ll get some here too. See my moms lived here years. Lestrade Hood. I know it. Every street. Every liquor store. Every squat the kids go to fuck.”

“What about you?” EZ asked. “You gettin’ some, D?”

“Not now, you know,” Drake said.

“But you got plans on that.”

“I don’t...”

“You better stitch it up then. If boys don’t fuck they die.” EZ grinned without parting his pink lips. Crows feet in the cracks of his mellow yellow eyes. He was white-ish, but he had some black in him, too. It always struck Drake as funny when black kids joined up with the Chalks.

Now EZ leaned out of the car, looking forward, turning to look back, taking in the whole street with its tidy ranches and its burnt-out wrecks. “Le Strayed,” he said, the tip of his tongue probing his teeth like he was rolling a Werther’s.

How old is he anyway? Drake wondered. Older than Drake. Younger than Drake’s dad. It was hard to tell.

“You know,” EZ said. “Jesus was a fool to crawl up on that cross. God made the devil. Devil is God’s tool. Hammer in his hand. And the devil offered Jesus all the kingdoms of the Earth, and don’t you think that was part of Yahweh’s plan too? What you think woulda happened if Jesus had just said ‘yes?’ I bet we wouldn’t be slumming in Akawe.”

Akawe is the name of this city.

A poor city. A beat-up city. A car-making city an hour’s drive from Detroit, but then the cars it made left, along with the money, along with the people. Akawe.

“I don’t know,” said Drake. “I ain’t religious.”

EZ laughed. “No, you ain’t,” he said. “Here. I got something new for you to test for me. Make some night special. Full of secrets.”

He beckoned. Drake leaned in through the open window. In EZ’s palm, a sandwich bag with five white pills.

“What’s that?” asked Drake.

“A new thing,” EZ said. “Chalks call it O-Sugar. Kinda like E. Kinda not. Try it out. Give it some time. Don’t go to sleep. Gonna see the world through God’s eyes. Feel like Jesus would if he’d said yes to his good friend the devil.”

After EZ signed off, Drake helped his dad and his sister unpack until the sun went down and his friends came over. They all sat on the front porch, passed a 40, smoked up, and put the pills of O-Sugar on their tongues and swallowed. They talked about music and cars and love and sex.

About big old TK who had built a Frankenstein sedan from the soldered guts of four different cars.

About DeeDee, sad-in-her-heart that this boy Shawn would never see a woman in her like she saw a man in him. “He’s on varsity, you know,” she said.

Then, there was skinny Jamo with his horn-rimmed glasses. He kept farting. He said he liked the kids’ urinals best because that way his dick didn’t brush the puck.

Drake didn’t talk much, though. He kept looking at Sapphire – her eyes, her face, her perfect nose – and he felt her laughter run his spine like blue notes down a keyboard. She was a song he hoped he might play some day, but not in a crude way. He hoped he was a conversation she might have.

The kids’ hearts started to glow in their chests with a slow, soft burn. That was the beer talking. They walked down the driveway to DeeDee’s Aubrey.

They left Lestrade and crossed the expressway into Anderson Park – brick houses, neat lawns, where the mayor and the college presidents lived – but even these exalted ones couldn’t keep St. Christopher’s Hospital open in crumbling Akawe. The hospital towered in the midst of the neighborhood, full of empty-dark windows and stern staring statues.

DeeDee parked on a side street of prim Cape Cods and the kids walked the last half block to the hospital complex. Above them, the moon waxed, and the whole sky – the everything – seemed to unfurl and offer itself to Drake, limpid and tender. Is that the O-Sugar? Or just the weed? Drake swelled into the wide space of that raw and thrilling moment.

TK led them across the cracked parking lot to the loading dock.

They hauled up the service gate, slipped inside, and descended into the fluorescent-lit basement. There were seven buildings in St. Christopher’s, but underground tunnels connected them all. After hitting a few dead-ends, the kids found their way to the central building. The six-story main building with a floor plan shaped like a giant cross. As they climbed, floor by floor, moment by moment, the shadows around them expanded with opportunities, with regrets redressed, and the future converging upon their pasts. Infinities of little universes hid in the dark corners of that empty space, clear of matter but clouded with tension, ready to emerge.

By the time they reached the roof, they all felt dizzy and disoriented. Before, their yearning spirits had stretched into each new second, each new room. But now that the potential for movement threatened actual motion – now that acceleration accelerated – they put their hands in their pockets and tried to slow down. The speed of everything was getting weird on them.

“Babies, I gotta sit down!” said Jamo.

They all sat.

“I feel like, like sad and sore,” said Sapphire and she plucked at her hair.

“Hold my hand, Saph,” said DeeDee, and they all held hands.

Far off, the sound of a train rang out and, at that moment, the city lights opened wide like eyes, and the stars glowed and exploded, and heat spilled like syrup from above. Dust and clouds, spinning and shining with lightning and friction. Planetoids and asteroids whirling with volcanoes down jets of solar steam. As the train whistle sang, its sound was compressed, compacted, tonally shifted upwards, higher, with panic. As the pitch got higher and higher, Drake felt better and better, and it terrified him. He climbed on top of himself – palms pushing down on his head – to hold his soaring heart in place, but the shadows everywhere slid up convex hypotenuses from the streets below. They weighed down invisible tightropes that connected to the tallest buildings Downtown. Everything kept turning bluer and bluer. Turning to blue and purple.

The shadows swung their arms. They were the remnants of that abandoned place, humanoid, with blue coins replacing their eyes. They had flown away when their owners checked out and went home or died at the hospital. Now, they returned, suctioned in, pulled back toward the points of departure.

But as the shadows converged and became more humanlike, Drake’s friends had been reduced to matter and residuals. TK and DeeDee and Jamo and Sapphire had all lost their eyes and their ability to speak. Their faces had become smooth planes of flesh and, finally, pure fields of electricity. Small blobs, data balls, started to grow and divide. Oxygen bloomed. The kids floated – impossible! – but happening, and as they did the lights got brighter and brighter, heightened and compressed, flattened and overheated.

“Sapphire...” Drake tried to say, and he leaned toward her, straining to see her features again. He wondered what had happened to him and his friends. What was happening around them. On every side. He imagined their height, sixty feet up. The death it represented.

Then, as if in response, space itself pressed in and Drake felt himself stretched out over the edge of the building. He fell. He was falling. Yellow-blue parking lot lines dropped away behind him and approached. They got small. The last thing he saw before he hit were black streaks of grypanian spirals, dotting away and multiplying.

The sky was a dome, but the parking lot was deep.
by Connor Coyne
September 26, 2019
Publisher: Gothic Funk Press
Number of pages:
Word Count: 175,000
Cover Artist: Sam Perkins-Harbin, Forge22 Design
Urbantasm: The Empty Room is the second book in the magical teen noir serial novel inspired by the author’s experiences growing up in and around Flint, Michigan.

John Bridge is only two months into junior high and his previously boring life has already been turned upside-down. His best friend has gone missing, his father has been laid-off from the factory, and John keeps looking over his shoulder for a mysterious adversary: a man with a knife and some perfect blue sunglasses.

As if all this wasn’t bad enough, John must now confront his complicated feelings for a classmate who has helped him out of one scrape after another, although he knows little about who she is and what she wants. What does it mean to want somebody? How can you want them if you don’t understand them? Does anybody understand anyone, ever? These are hard questions made harder in the struggling city of Akawe, where the factories are closing, the schools are closing, the schools are crumbling, and even the streetlights can’t be kept on all night.

John and his friends are only thirteen, but they are fighting for their lives and futures. Will they save Akawe, will they escape, or are they doomed? They might find their answers in an empty room… in a city with ten thousand abandoned houses, there will be plenty to choose from.

Excerpt Book 2
In the perfect past, in the flushest years at Ellis Island, as overladen ships waked the gray waves and passed into New York Harbor, small groups of Greeks clustered at the prows  and pointed at the broad banks of twinkling lights in the distance.

“Είναι ότι η New York?” they'd ask a deckhand or whoever happened to be standing nearby. “Ya,” he'd reply. “That's Coney Island.”

“Coney Island,” the emigrants repeated in awe, leaning out over the churning ocean to get a better look at their new home. It was sparkling bright, shimmering, these ethereal, auroral sparks in the morning twilight, murmured invitations from the Cyclone, the Wonder Wheel, to taste the delights of the Boardwalk, of Luna Park, Steeplechase, Dreamland, and rapture on off of the Parachute Drop. The lights preceded the long queues, the dirty work, the discrimination against these Orthodox Christians with their swinging censers and their woolly bearded priests. In the hard years to come, the emigrants always held that first vision of Coney Island in their memories, because it was their first, unsullied glimpse of the Americas, and it had seemed to confirm the promise of a better life here. That's why, days, or weeks, or years later, having saved up scraps from their factory jobs, or having snuck small fortunes overseas, sewn into their threadbare jackets, when they opened hot dog stands in the industrial cities of Southeast Michigan, they called them “Coney Islands.”

That's the story I was told growing up. Like so many of our New World origin stories, it's pretty much bullshit. The immigrants called their wieners “coney islands” because they bought them at Coney Island, and the local Chamber of Commerce banned the words “hot dog” because they figured the stupid immigrants might think their wieners were made from actual dogs.

But when the supposedly stupid immigrants arrived in Michigan and started selling their own coney islands in the nineteen teens, they decided to improve their product. Thus began a long process of prayer and experimentation, roots plucked from tiny backyard gardens, cattle slaughtered at the altar, with providential navigation toward the apotheosis  of the hot dog.

The core of this creation was the wiener itself, and from 1914 these were produced under arcane secrecy by the Richard Goerlich Bavarian Encased Meats Company, later known simply as “Goerlich's.” Perhaps as a nod to the melting pot that threw the German Lutherans in with the Balkanites, a Goerlich was made out of many animals. A puree of pork and beef with secret spices all pressed together in a lambskin casing, tied off and smoked over a hardwood grill. The pork content meant that these Viennas could be grilled for longer than other wieners without burning and shrinking. The spices were sweet and sour: traces of mustard, sugar, vinegar, and salt. When you bit into a Goerlich, you felt the skin snap before your teeth sank into its soft inner flesh.

A Goerlich alone, however, was not enough to make the superior coney. To turn a Goerlich into a coney, you had to top it with coney sauce, mustard, and onions, on a fresh bun, on a hot plate with a hot cup of coffee on the side. To do it right, everything must be fresh. Even the mustard, the simplest ingredient, must taste as sharp as a paring knife and shine as bright as the sun. The Balkanites didn't just chop their onions into large, trapezoidal chunks. Onions were precision-cubed by calloused hands at half the speed of sound before being swept into oak barrels and sealed and chilled and called into use. Akawe Ashkenazi bakeries supplied the buns, which the Balkanites steamed before setting them onto waxed paper gracing elliptical china plates. The thick plates kept your food from burning your fingers. The thick cups kept your coffee from cooling off.

I haven't described the sauce. I've saved the best for last. Finely ground beef heart and beef kidney, mixed with beef suet and more ground up Goerlich's, browned minced onions, and sanguined spices. Which spices? Cumin and chili powder and something else. Something magical. Nobody knows what but the coney chefs, and if they told then they would not be gods.

The truth is, they may not have realized at first the specialness of what they had created. These Greeks, these Macedonians, these Albanians, these Rumanians had arrived in factory burgs to take up jobs in the factories and to serve the factory workers. The immigrants hemmed trousers, cobbled clogs, thatched nobs. They sold their coneys on the side, to earn a little extra, but soon they noticed that the coneys brought in more ducats than their other trades.

This was filling food; as heavy as it was delicious. The X Automobilians, whether sweating in the foundries, grinding through midnight shifts at the metal center, or straining over dies and tools in bright light for hours, could fill up in five minutes with a coney and coffee. The perfect food for an assembly line town, as demonstrated by the ordering shorthand that sprang into life like a new language: “One up” meant a coney with everything; a milestone of verbal economy and the inverse relationship of calories to syllables. So coney stands became Coney Island Restaurants. They bloomed fruitful and fecund, increased in number. Multiplied across the earth and increased upon it.

By the mid-twenties some three-dozen Coney Islands in Akawe served up tens of thousands of coneys a day built by hundreds of restaurant employees. Balkan assembly line workers bent over their stations for hours: one man grilled the Goerlich's, another steered it to its bun and plate, where the next station assembled the dressing, nothing written down, everything achieved with hands and voice, as demanding of speed and rigor as riveting.

I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that there were so many Coney Islands that they were served over the river; two restaurants opened on the midst of the East Street Bridge and stayed there for decades. I'm not exaggerating when I tell you that the Coney Islands were open 24-7-365. Once, during a flood, a Coney had to hire a security guard to watch the door because the owners had lost the keys years earlier.

The Coney Islands thrived along the factory zones. They pulsed along the Akawe's main arteries. They anchored each neighborhood and kept their street corners noisy all night long, from the wail of the evening whistle to the chiming of the church bells.

When the factories started to wither, the Coney Islands did too.

They held out longer than the factory jobs but, one by one, the great restaurants closed their doors. Midnight Oil Coney Island, Akawe Old Fashioned Coney Island, Delicious Coneys, Joe's Original Coney Island, and most of the others dried up through the 80s. By 1993, there were less than a dozen left.

About the Author:
Author Website-Book Website
Goodreads-Gothic Punk Press
Connor Coyne is a writer living and working in Flint, Michigan. 

His first novel, Hungry Rats, has been hailed by Heartland prize-winner Jeffery Renard Allen as “an emotional and aesthetic tour de force.”

His second novel, Shattering Glass, has been praised by Gordon Young, author of Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City as “a hypnotic tale that is at once universal and otherworldly.”

Connor’s novel Urbantasm, Book One: The Dying City is winner of the Next Generation Indie Book Awards 2019 Young New Adult Award. Hugo- and Nebula-nominee William Shunn has praised Urbantasm as “a novel of wonder and horror.”

Connor’s essay “Bathtime” was included in the Picador anthology Voices from the Rust Belt. His work has been published in, Belt Magazine, Santa Clara Review, and elsewhere.

Connor is on the planning committee for the Flint Festival of Writers and in 2013 he represented Flint’s 7th Ward as its artist-in-residence for the National Endowment for the Arts’ Our Town grant. In 2007, he earned his Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the New School.

Connor lives in Flint’s College Cultural Neighborhood (aka the East Village), less than a mile from the house where he grew up.

Tour Giveaway 
2 signed print copies of Book One 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Book Review: The Savior (The Black Dagger Brotherhood Book 17) by J.R. Ward

The Savior (The Black Dagger Brotherhood Book 17)
by J.R. Ward
April 2, 2019
Pages: 497
In the venerable history of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, only one male has ever been expelled—but Murhder’s insanity gave the Brothers no choice. Haunted by visions of a female he could not save, he nonetheless returns to Caldwell on a mission to right the wrong that ruined him. However, he is not prepared for what he must face in his quest for redemption.

Dr. Sarah Watkins, researcher at a biomedical firm, is struggling with the loss of her fellow scientist fiancé. When the FBI starts asking about his death, she questions what really happened and soon learns the terrible truth: Her firm is conducting inhumane experiments in secret and the man she thought she knew and loved was involved in the torture.

As Murhder and Sarah’s destinies become irrevocably entwined, desire ignites between them. But can they forge a future that spans the divide separating the two species? And as a new foe emerges in the war against the vampires, will Murhder return to his Brothers... or resume his lonely existence forevermore?

Murhder was kicked out of the Black Dagger Brotherhood twenty years ago when he went crazy when he couldn’t save a female that he had visions of. He has spent those years in solitude in the attic of a bed and breakfast he purchased to hide away. When Wrath, the King demands he signs paperwork he heads back to Caldwell to ask a favor and to give Wrath the paperwork he has demanded.

Sarah has been living in a fog for the past two years since the death of her fiancé until the FBI starts asking questions about Gerry’s death and the company she works for. Determined to find out why the FBI is sniffing around, Sarah starts looking through the house to see if Gerry left any clues for her to follow.

The chemistry that Ward puts between her characters is fantastic. There’s an undeniable attraction, stubbornness, and hope that makes her book series favorites among her readers. When she writes a story there are always underlying storylines that connect her books and leaves you wanting more and this one was no exception.

Getting 5 sheep

Denise B

About the Author:
J.R. Ward is the number one New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series of vampire books. She is a winner of the prestigious Romance Writers of America RITA award for Best Paranormal Romance and is a multiple RITA nominee. A graduate of Smith College, she was a double major in History and Art History with a medieval concentration in both and she still longs at times for a return to those days sitting in dark lecture halls, looking at slides of old triptychs and reliquaries. Prior to becoming a full time writer, she was a corporate attorney, serving for many years as the Chief of Staff of one of Harvard Medical Schools premier teaching sites. Her idea of absolute heaven is a day filled with nothing but her computer, her dog and her coffee pot and the Brothers, of course.

Book Review; Seduced by a Demon King (Eternal Mates Paranormal Romance Series Book 17) by Felicity Heaton + giveaway

New York Times best-selling paranormal romance author Felicity Heaton is here today for the book tour of her new paranormal romance release, Seduced by a Demon King, the latest release in her popular Eternal Mates world.

There are now seventeen books in this series, but don’t worry, you can dive right on in with Seduced by a Demon King, or start at the very beginning with Kissed by a Dark Prince, which is just 99c at all retailers right now. Binge-read to your heart’s content!

If you love big worlds packed with detail and every paranormal species imaginable, together with hot alpha heroes and strong heroines bringing them to their knees, then this series is definitely for you. Plus, each book has a happily forever after and there are no cliff-hangers, because there’s nothing worse than a cliff-hanger!

Seduced by a Demon King (Eternal Mates Paranormal Romance Series Book 17)
by Felicity Heaton
Saddled with a crown he never wanted, King Tegan of the Second Realm of demons is a warrior born for war stuck ruling in a time of peace, bound by the pact that cost his brother his life. Chafed by the ties that have held him shackled to his throne for the last thousand years, Tegan plans an escape from his prison—one stolen night meant to give him a taste of freedom, but one that will lead him to the greatest battle of his life.

A fight to claim the heart of a bewitching fae female who might be his fated mate.

According to many in her clan, and the idiotic incubi who infest the fae town where she lives, Suki puts the suck in succubus. Down on her luck, and in danger of being kicked out of the family she loves, she’s determined to prove her worth by bagging and tagging a powerful male. When she sets eyes on a mysterious, panty-melting demon warrior in a nightclub, things finally seem to be going her way, but his shadowed aura and guardedness warns he won’t be an easy mark.

Seducing him is going to be the fight of her life.

When the battle is done, will the victor have the forever they want, or will this war cost them both everything?

So a smokin' hot demon king walks into a bar ...

Suki is an underdog succubus with a heart of gold. Tegan is a restless demon king feeling the weight of his crown and looking for adventure in the mortal realm. A chance nightclub meeting sparks instant attraction, but their happily ever after proves more elusive. Tegan wants proof someone can love him for his true self, not his title. Suki wants to finally prove herself to her succubus clan by "bagging and tagging" an impressive catch. While both have an initial agenda, their connection deepens and is threatened by secrets, enemies, and potential war.

Seduced by a Demon King is everything I love about the Eternal Mates series. The combustible attraction and sexual attention between Suki and Tegan is riveting. I jumped into this series at book 11, Haunted by the King of Death, and had little trouble navigating the Eternal Mates universe. Just when I thought this series might be running out of steam, Heaton has reignited the flame. I'm hooked once again. And that is why I regard Felicity Heaton one of the reigning queens of paranormal romance. Seduced by a Demon King has been one of my favourites of the series so far. It's addictive sexy paranormal entertainment that's difficult to put down; I read the whole book in a single day.

While many instalments in this series can be read as stand alone, it's fun when you can identify some of the characters making cameo appearances throughout. A mere mention of vampire mercenary Lord Grave Van der Garde from book 11 had me drooling. I guess you always remember your first.

Five Sheep

Bianca Greenwood

Tegan’s battle plan was sound.

A simple feint. Trick the eye. A stroke of genius.

With a dash of the fates smiling upon him, he might escape this prison tonight.

This castle had been his cage for a thousand years, since the night his brother had been murdered, the throne beneath him a shackle that held him fast, unbreakable except through death.

He ran a steady hand over his right horn, feeling the smoothness and the slight bumps where the enchanted gold had been inlaid into the grooves he had carved himself. Some of the bumps were barely noticeable, a sign of how many times he had performed this act since Edyn had died.

The plan was sound.

But still a trickle of nerves ran in his blood.

Or was that excitement?

It had been so long since he had experienced that emotion that he was unfamiliar with it now. He pondered that as he swigged from his pewter mug, the brew sweet on his tongue. One of the few pleasures he had left in his long and tedious life.

Excitement. Fear. Pain. The high of victory.

Everything he had loved had been stolen from him the night he had been thrust into a role he had never wanted.

Although perhaps he would have lost it all anyway, even if his brother had survived.


He cursed that word.

He cursed Edyn.

He cursed the throne.

He cursed his kingdom.

Tegan mentally took that one back.

As much as he despised the truce with the First Realm of the demons and the elf kingdom, as much as he despised his throne and his advisers who sought to keep him tethered to it, safely holed up in his castle, he couldn’t blame his people for what had happened to him.

Perhaps he was the one who was cursed.

Cursed to lead a dull and peaceful life for the rest of his days.

Tegan leaned to his right, dropped his chin on his upturned palm as he planted his elbow against the arm of his black throne, and huffed.

He had been born for war, not peace.

Yet here he was, presiding over a feast celebrating the anniversary of the truce his brother had formed with the neighbouring demon realm and the elves.

Celebrating peace.

He could practically feel his life draining from him, one grain of sand at a time through an hourglass that was shielded by layers and layers of steel designed to keep it safe from harm.

What sort of demon wanted to be safe?


He craved battle, adventure. A glorious war or two every decade wouldn’t go amiss either. But here he sat, his backside stuck to a throne he wanted no part of, doomed to rule a peaceful kingdom while the other demon kings indulged in lavish wars, were out there on the frontline spilling blood and breaking bones.

He lifted his cup to his lips again and took a deeper draught of the mead.

Gods, he was bored.


It was Edyn’s fault.

His older brother was meant to rule while Tegan did all the fighting as commander of their Royal Legion, not broker a damned peace treaty and then die, leaving the Second Realm in Tegan’s hands.

He growled low in his throat.

A few of the warriors celebrating at the long feast tables that lined the grand hall of the castle paused to look his way, their brew or their females forgotten as they checked on him. Tegan glared at them all, tempted to flash his emerging fangs as his mood took a sharp dark turn, plunging him into the mire of thoughts that had been his own personal hell since the night someone had placed a crown upon his head.

The warriors returned to their drinks, laughter spilling from their lips as they toasted him and cheered, as if that would lift his mood. He drummed his short claws against the layer of stubble on his cheek as he surveyed the room, dark gaze passing over the towering carved black columns that supported the vaulted ceiling high above him.

The candles in the middle of each long black wooden table illuminated the faces of his warriors, playing over their dark hair and horns, flickering over their bare chests as they shoved and laughed, caroused with the females he had brought in for the celebration.

At least someone at the feast was enjoying themselves.

Edyn had always said the people came first.

Something he and his brother had agreed upon. Although Tegan liked to place his warriors first, a hang up from his days serving in the legions, leading them and witnessing the toll battle took on them. Now peace took its toll on them instead.

So he had agreed to tonight’s feast.

His men needed to blow off some steam, and if drinking and females could supply them with an outlet for it, he would gladly sit through a thousand boring feasts. He couldn’t give them war after all.

He had once contented himself with feasts, mead and females. It had worked for a while, taking the edge off, but now he found them dull.

What he wanted now was a battle. A war. It was the only thing that could improve his mood. The news from the other demon realms wasn’t helping. Several of them had gone to war recently, and although he had lobbied his advisers and made a valiant attempt to let the Second Realm join the Third Realm in their battle against the Fifth, their answer had been the same as always.

He must maintain the peace.

Tegan huffed again.

Maintaining the peace was exhausting. It went against his very nature.

He went to take another mouthful of his brew and frowned at the bottom of the large pewter mug when he found it empty. He held it out to his right and the male standing there refilled it for him. He nodded, lifting his mug to thank the male, and drank deeply, emptying half the tankard in one go.

A few of the warriors in the room tugged females away with them.

Almost time to put his plan into action.

He just needed to be patient for a little longer.

But patience wasn’t his strongest virtue. It lacked a little.

He tapped his foot, jiggling the female seated on his left thigh. One he had completely forgotten about, even though she was about to become a key factor in his battle plan.

She immediately went into action, fawning over him, running fingers over his shoulder, shifting the material of his loose white shirt as she murdered his language so badly, he struggled to interpret her meaning. “My lord, your muscles. You are strong.”

Tegan slid her a look he hoped conveyed how irritating she was. It didn’t stop her. She prattled on, all smiles as she flicked blonde hair over her shoulder to reveal a hefty amount of cleavage. Unsurprising given how tight her red leather bodice was.

He wasn’t sure what species she was, and he didn’t care.

He tuned her out as he surveyed his warriors. Were they really content with feasting and females? He wasn’t.

How was he meant to continue like this?

He was a warrior at heart, but every day he had to pretend to be something else. Worse, he had to be someone else. He no longer recognised the male who obeyed the wishes of his advisers even though he was tired of hearing them all tell him he had to place the peace of the kingdom above all else. He no longer recognised the male who sat on the throne, listening to the complaints of his people.

They were not content, not as they were meant to be anyway. Many came to him to complain about everything from their neighbours to the travelling traders he permitted to roam through the kingdom to sell their wares.

He settled his gaze on two males, both close to his seven-foot height, both packed with as much muscle as he was. Commanders like he had been. Demons born for war. They weren’t content. They stood to one side, had been there all night, deep in discussion and ignoring the advances of the females.

Talking of war? Of glorious days long past but not forgotten?

He wanted to speak with them, to relive the days they had fought beside each other, the great battles they had witnessed in their years and the close shaves that had brought them dancing dangerously with Death.

The female seated on his knee showed no sign of moving though and the two guards who flanked his throne, standing slightly behind it as if he wouldn’t notice them there, would stop him if he tried to speak with them. No doubt they had strict orders from the court to keep him from talk of war and battles tonight.

The two males glanced his way, lingered and dipped their heads, raising their tankards at the same time. He could see the weariness in their eyes, as if they were a reflection of him. The inactivity grated on them as viciously as it did on him.

If he could give them war, he would do so in a heartbeat.

Tegan mentally took that back too.

As much as he hated the peacefulness of his kingdom, as much as he craved doing battle, he couldn’t just go to war. The majority of his people had become accustomed to this dreadful peace. They enjoyed it, finding pleasure in having a land dominated by stability and peace.

He was their king, whether he wanted it or not, and he couldn’t deny them that which they desired—a kingdom not at war.

More of his men left with females in tow. Soon.

The night was growing older, the feast becoming louder, the merriment infectious as the gathered warriors consumed mead by the barrel and sampled their females, selecting the one who would pass the night in their bed.


He had successfully managed to pass the day evading his advisers, which had lifted his mood. Or that might have been the punishing training routine he had indulged in, competing in mock battle with four of the finest warriors in the Royal Legion. They were always kind enough to help him fill the tedious hours of the day and grant him some escape.

Tonight, he had meant to carry out his usual method of filling the dark hours.

A long time ago, that would have meant bedding one or more females, living up to the rumours that he had a harem of them at his disposal. He had quickly grown bored of females after ascending to the throne though.

Females were too compliant, always too willing to throw themselves at his feet in a grand effort to please the king.

So now he filled his night hours with a different sort of entertainment. A guilty pleasure he found himself indulging in more and more often recently.


His aide called him voracious. He had a thirst for knowledge that kept the male constantly teleporting back and forth to the mortal world to bring him more books. Since becoming king, he had learned twelve languages, both written and spoken. He had studied the culture and history of every mortal country, and every fae and immortal realm. He had learned about music and art, and as much as he could about the modern human world.

He had read books on almost every subject imaginable.

He had a library in his private floors of the castle, a sanctuary few knew about, one he was adding new shelves to and expanding every year.

That was where he had intended to pass the night after managing to escape the feast.

Only he had finished his last book while dressing for the feast.

So his plans had changed.

Had grown more thrilling.

He meant to escape more than the feast.

More than the castle.

He meant to escape Hell for the first time in a thousand years.

Just the thought of seeing the modern human world with his own eyes had adrenaline surging through his veins and he couldn’t contain the smile that tugged at his lips as his heart soared. He turned it on the female as she sidled closer, attempting to conceal the true reason for his excitement in case the guards were watching him.

She fluttered long black lashes, her grey eyes sparkling at him as she stroked the horns that curled from behind the top of his ears, her fingertips lightly tracing the curve of them down to his lobes in a way that did nothing for him.

She leaned in closer still and murmured in his ear, her use of the demonic tongue leaving a lot to be desired as she mangled his language in an attempt to seduce him. “Your horns are so big.”

He supposed she meant to use the old adage about a demon’s horns having a correlation with the size of his manhood.

Some part of him felt that he should be enjoying her attention and the feast, but he wasn’t.

Something wasn’t right, and it hadn’t been for a long time.

The female pressed against him, her breasts threatening to spill from her corset as she leaned her side against his chest and her arm came to rest along his shoulder. She pushed her fingers through the longer lengths of his black hair and skimmed them over the shorn sides to tease the more sensitive base of his horns.

He still felt nothing.

He swigged his mead as she traced patterns on his chest, working her way over to the lacing on his shirt. She toyed with the ties, curled them around her fingers and tugged, clearly intending for him to move closer.

He took another mouthful instead.

He wasn’t interested in the female. He hadn’t asked for her company, had given her no indication he desired her attention, yet here she was, fawning over him.

“You have masculine beauty,” she husked, and he gritted his teeth. Whoever had taught her to speak the demon tongue had done a bad job of it. “Strong male.”

Did she think her praise would rouse his interest and make him want her?

It had quite the opposite effect.

He had lost interest in carousing with females when he had realised they were only interested in one thing—his throne.

He despised the fact every female he met viewed him as a throne, not a male. They wanted the power he could give them, the status. They didn’t really want him. Of course, he could sleep with them and discard them, slaking some of his hunger on them, but where was the fun in that?

He preferred a challenge, something that would appease his hunger for battle. If he couldn’t do battle physically, he would do it mentally. He wanted a female who would be that challenge for him, one who would make him fight for her.

His warriors and his younger brother Ryker, the current prince, weren’t complaining about his lack of interest in the females. All the more for them.

Gods, Tegan envied Ryker a little. He had freedom, came and went as he pleased, while Tegan was locked in his castle, only allowed out with an entire entourage of advisers and bodyguards, and even then it was only to official functions where the kingdom needed to be represented by its king.

Ryker had everything Tegan had lost, and Tegan would give anything to return to that life.

His dark eyes scanned over the feast. Edyn would have lapped this up. He would have loved sitting on the throne with a female on his knees, soaking up her praise and that of his people.

Tegan hated it.

A thousand years he had endured this dull and unsatisfying life.

That changed tonight.

His battle plan was sound, everything was in place. His strategy had been checked from all angles, every little thing accounted for and covered. All that was left was to put it into action.

He signalled the male to his right, who eagerly bustled over, his jug at the ready. Rather than allowing the male to fill his cup, Tegan placed it on the tray in the male’s other hand and nodded.

Tegan grasped the female’s slender wrist, pulled it from behind his head and pushed her forwards, forcing her off him. She tottered a little, giggled and swayed against him as he stood.

The two males guarding him immediately moved forwards.

Tegan turned on them. “I do not require an audience.”

Both males dipped their heads and pressed their right hands to their bare chests.

He cut them off before they could mention standing guard outside his rooms. “You are done for the night. Enjoy the feast and the females.”

The two exchanged a glance and then looked beyond him, to the males who were still celebrating, pawing at the females on their laps and calling out to the others that wandered around the room, seeking a partner.

The younger male on his right looked as if he might mention the orders the court had given them, but the other male grabbed him by the back of his neck and pushed him forwards, guiding him towards the nearest females.

Phase one of his plan successfully completed, Tegan tugged the blonde female towards the side door of the grand hall, one only he could access. She stumbled along behind him, still throwing compliments and things he supposed were meant to sound seductive. He paid no attention to her as he mounted the spiral steps, eager to reach his rooms and move on to phase two.

The female slowed him down, so he turned and scooped her up into his arms and took the steps two at a time instead, making swift progress towards his private floors. She stroked his chest and shoulders, even went as far as pressing kisses to his throat as he kept his focus ahead of him.

Almost there.

Light chased back the darkness ahead of him and he quickened his pace, his heart pounding harder as he thought about what he was going to do.

He set the female down as soon as he reached the broad torchlit corridor at the end of the stairs and pulled her along behind him as he stormed towards the door of his apartment. She continued to twitter, babbled words that were lost on him as he went over his plan again, ensuring everything was perfect.

He shoved the wooden door open with the flat of his hand and pulled her inside, shoved her aside and released her as he closed the door behind him. She moved around his drawing room, saying things he didn’t hear as she studied the paintings that hung on the black stone walls and ran her fingers over the glass that covered the long low display cases that lined them, eyeing his collection of weapons, helmets and other things from all the regions of Hell.

His trophies of war.

She fell silent, her eyes landing on him as he pulled his shirt off over his head and discarded it on the wooden floor.

Her throat worked on a hard swallow and she sidled towards him, heat kindling in her eyes as she approached. She raked them over his chest and stomach and that heat became a fire.

“You are beautiful, my lord.”

Tegan turned away from her, grabbed the black shirt he had laid over the back of his wine-red wingback armchair before leaving for the feast and donned it. Disappointment flared in her eyes.

He ignored her and tackled the buttons on his shirt. Buttons. They were fiddly small things, irritating him as he fumbled with them, trying to close the shirt of mortal fashion that Ryker had given him as a present.

He wasn’t sure how his younger brother could wear such things.

It was tight and restrictive, made his back itch as his wings pushed for freedom. He focused to keep them hidden as he adjusted to the confining feel of the shirt. If he attempted to swing his sword arm, he would rip the damned garment to pieces.

But then, he supposed it hadn’t been made for fighting in.

When he had first tried it on at Ryker’s insistence, his brother had assured him it was all the ‘rage’ for males to wear such tight clothing in the human world, an apparent attempt to reveal their physique whilst still being dressed.

Tegan glanced at himself in the mirror above the fireplace behind him when he was done with the buttons. He arched an eyebrow at his reflection. He supposed the cut of the cloth was rather complimentary. It stretched across his broad chest and tightly gripped his biceps, and even hinted at his muscular stomach.

“You look divine,” the female purred in approval in the common tongue and he conceded that he did look rather good in human fashion. “Do I get to peel it off you?”

He flicked her a glare, stooped and picked up his coin purse from the table beside his armchair. She swayed towards him, her eyes on his chest, clearly intent on unbuttoning the shirt he had just put on. He moved around her, crossed the room to a set of black wooden drawers, and pulled the one on the right open. He picked up a smaller coin purse and hung it with his other one on the waist of his black leathers.

He turned back to the female.

He would get into trouble with his advisers if they got wind of what he had done, but he didn’t care. He needed a change of scenery. He had been stuck in this castle for the last thousand years. It was time he got out.

It was only going to be for a short time. Everyone would think he was sleeping with the female in his quarters. He would be back before he was missed.

He just wanted a taste of the current mortal world to see if it was as exciting as the stories painted it to be, filled with marvellous technology that sounded like fantasy to him. He had heard tales of it from the Third King and his mate, glorious stories of a world that was vastly different to the one he remembered.

Electronic communication devices that could be used to speak with someone across the globe? Impossible.

Giant metal birds that carried mortals to far-flung destinations? Laughable.

But he had heard the stories coming from the Third Realm and the king himself had told Tegan all about the miracles of mortal technology. Thorne was using the technology to bring electricity into the demon realm he ruled.


Tegan glanced at the sconces burning on the black wall, at the dark wooden furniture of the office that adjoined his drawing room, and the paintings hanging on the walls. Mortals had things that took paintings. No, that wasn’t right. They called them photographs. They displayed them on their walls rather than paintings now, and such photographs appeared on electronic devices too.

Thorne had shown him such a strange device when the demon king had brought his new queen to visit. The mortal queen of the Third Realm had one in her possession.

It had been magic.

It had awed him.

A flat rectangle no bigger than Tegan’s hands side-by-side but it had been colourful and bright, and she had touched it and things had happened. His advisers had deemed it witchcraft of the darkest degree and warned him against it, but Tegan had been fascinated. He wanted to see more of these mortal inventions.

He wanted to possess them.

It wasn’t as if he was committing a crime by leaving the kingdom. He was king. He only meant to go out to a place the Third King talked about and also purchase some more books. Small steps. If the mission was successful, perhaps he would go out again.

He grabbed hold of the female. She pressed closer to him, sliding her hands over his chest and leaning into his embrace. Tegan kept hold of her as he summoned his portal. The black abyss opened beneath them and the female squeaked as they dropped into it. They landed in the free realm, in the middle of the town he had once visited. People on the black cobbled street between the obsidian stone buildings stopped to stare as he pushed her away from him and distanced himself.

“This is as far as you go,” Tegan said.

Confusion danced in her pale grey eyes and she tried to get closer to him again. He backed off a step, maintaining the distance between them, and the confusion turned to anger as he spoke.

“I am leaving now.” He took the smaller coin purse from his belt and tossed it at her.

She caught it and he teleported before she could give him hell, nerves and excitement clashing inside him as he dropped back into the black abyss.

Heading to the mortal world.

That filled him with an unsettling, but thrilling sensation.

His life had been static for the last thousand years.

Now he was going to taste freedom.

And something told him his life would never be the same again.

Book 1: Kissed by a Dark Prince (Just 99c right now!)
Book 2: Claimed by a Demon King
Book 3: Tempted by a Rogue Prince
Book 4: Hunted by a Jaguar
Book 5: Craved by an Alpha
Book 6: Bitten by a Hellcat
Book 7: Taken by a Dragon
Book 8: Marked by an Assassin
Book 9: Possessed by a Dark Warrior
Book 10: Awakened by a Demoness
Book 11: Haunted by the King of Death
Book 12: Turned by a Tiger
Book 13: Tamed by a Tiger
Book 14: Treasured by a Tiger
Book 15: Unchained by a Forbidden Love
Book 16: Avenged by an Angel
Book 17: Seduced by a Demon King

About the Author:
I'm a NEW YORK TIMES, USA TODAY and International Best-Selling Author writing passionate paranormal romance books and series for adults.

I love to create detailed worlds, twisting plots, mind-blowing action, intense emotion and heart-stopping romances with leading men that vary from dark deadly vampires to sexy shape-shifters and wicked werewolves, to sinful angels and hot demons! All of them alpha as you would expect in paranormal romance!

If you love your angels a little dark and wicked, my best-selling Her Angel romance series is for you. If you like strong, powerful, and dark vampires then try the Vampires Realm romance series or any of my stand alone vampire romance books. If you’re looking for vampire romances that are sinful, passionate and steamy then try my Vampire Erotic Theatre romance series. Or if you like hot-blooded alpha heroes who will let nothing stand in the way of them claiming their destined woman then try the Eternal Mates series. It’s packed with sexy heroes in a world populated by elves, vampires, fae, demons, shifters, and more. If sexy Greek gods with incredible powers battling to save our world and their home in the Underworld are more your thing, then be sure to step into the world of Guardians of Hades.

Author of:

Enter the grand tour-wide giveaway to win one of a $75, $50 or $25 Amazon Gift Card at the Seduced by a Demon King book page. This giveaway is international and open to everyone, and ends at midnight on October 8th. Enter now:

Friday, September 27, 2019

Cover Reveal and Preorder: A Symphony of Starlight (Abby Sinclair #4 by Allison Pang

A Symphony of Starlight (Abby Sinclair #4)
by Allison Pang
Release: October 8, 2019
The road to Hell is paved with good intentions . . . and sometimes unicorn puke.

In the span of a few months, mortal TouchStone Abby Sinclair has been trapped in a painting, had her memories stolen, and been Tithed to Hell, killed, and brought back to life by the OtherFolk. Now she’s pregnant and torn between her incubus lover, Brystion, and her elven king of a husband, Talivar. Otherworldly love triangles notwithstanding, she’s more than content to set the political drama of magic and mayhem aside and quietly settle into motherhood. But nothing is ever that easy . . .

Years ago, Abby’s best friend, Melanie St. James, virtuoso violinist and DoorMaker to the CrossRoads, lost her soul to the Devil in return for an enchanted violin. Now the magic of her violin is fading, and the Devil is calling in her debt to serve Him as His TouchStone. In an effort to escape the terms of this reckless bargain, she flees to the CrossRoads with her lover, Nobu.

But reneging on a deal with the Devil isn’t the wisest of moves, especially when He knows Abby is the only one who can bring Him what He wants. And when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Abby and her friends to find a way to stop the violin from consuming Melanie’s soul before it’s too late, even if the journey takes them straight into Hell itself.

About the Author:
Allison is the author of the Urban Fantasy Abby Sinclair series, as well as the writer for the webcomic Fox & Willow. She likes LEGOS, elves, LEGO elves…and bacon.

She spends her days in Northern Virginia working as a cube grunt and her nights waiting on her kids, cat, and an obnoxious northern breed dog, punctuated by the occasional husbandly serenade. Sometimes she even manages to write. Mostly she just makes it up as she goes.