I had a fantastic weekend at Balticon in the Inner Harbor of Baltimore (this is exactly what gets burned down in my book Walking Through Fire, by the way). It was nice to see people again, to snack on cannolis in Little Italy and enjoy a paleta, a Mexican frozen treat made from strawberries and then dipped in chocolate.
My panels (and fellow panelists) were fun and we had spirited discussions.
I moderated: Keeping Your Anitheroes Likable
I moderated: What Should I Read Next
I was a panelist for: Magic in the Ancient Mediterranean
I was a panelist for: Gods as Characters
I also had a reading and chose to read from “Swan Dive” in Musings of the Muses and then the first chapter of my upcoming novel, Ashes of Regret.
One note about reading the first chapter. I asked certain of my high school students to critique the content and I was pleased as an author to receive the feedback about what was confusing or what could be changed, but as a teacher I couldn’t have been more proud. Seriously, I’m amazed by my students and the skill and energy they bring to working with language and determining the elements of a story.
So, without further ado, here is the cover for Ashes of Regret. I will launch the novel at Shore Leave this July.
I love this time of year! Friends, family, and food are the heart of the holiday and I appreciate the emphasis on gratitude and the opportunity for me to grow by choosing to focus on the good and not the setbacks. For example, this year has been the year of anthologies for me. I have short stories in: Black-Eyed Peas on New Year’s Day, Thrilling Adventure Yarns 2021, Once Upon a Dystopia, Dark Cheer: Cryptids Emerging, AND an acceptance for an anthology forthcoming in Spring, 2022.
Check out this beautiful cover!
My short story “Gargoyles of Prague” is being included in the anthology DARK CHEER: CRYPTIDS EMERGING Volume Blue. The story is based on my experience of being a mother of a child with a life-threatening illness and the year I spent teaching English in Prague, Czech Republic. It will be released in early December by Improbable Press. Please enjoy this excerpt:
When the hospital door closed behind his mothers, Toby stepped closer to the window. In the gloam, the urban landscape had morphed from buildings into mysterious shapes. Grit – rock against brick – scraped outside his seventh story window. Curious, Toby leaned his forehead against the cold glass to see better. No locks on windows this high; only solid panes.
Suddenly gray claws came into view and dug into the brick wall to find purchase. Wings the same shade smacked against the window. Then a gray face, chiseled, filled the window. A feline face with carved nose, eyes, and whiskers. Wings pressed tightly to its back. Sharp teeth and a tongue that hung out in mid-pant. A statue. One of the creatures that decorated so many of Prague’s ancient buildings.
“Come out,” the gargoyle said. The voice sounded like it looked: coarse and solid.
Toby’s hands trembled. “I don’t know how.”
“Yes, you do.”
More good news! Improbable Press has chosen to turn my short story into an illustrated children’s book! I will share details soon, but I’ve seen the artist’s portfolio and I can’t wait to see what she does with Toby and my gargoyle and the incredible Charles Bridge.
AND…I have another story acceptance for an anthology centered on Greek mythology and history.
For those who have stuck with me after reading my novel Walking Through Fire, I have the rights back from the publisher and I sent off the draft of ASHES OF REGRET (Book 1.5 that features Tamaki) for a final editorial readthrough. I’m also working with a graphic designer for the cover and a map!
Finally, I had the opportunity to be a guest on MOUTHFUL OF GRAFFITTI, a podcast for musicians and authors hosted by Brad Cox. Take a listen here as I talk about our pandemic chickens, local festivals, and more about the inspiration for “Garygoyles of Prague.”
I have a lot of plans for 2022 in the works and I can’t wait to share them with you as we get closer.