Being a Productive Writer is a Shaky Road

typewriter image stock photo
Source: Pixabay | User: oceanverde

I’m halfway through my experience of trying out the tips and tricks in the online course Writing Mastery: Productivity for Writers taught by Jessica Brody (read my review of the course for more information). That review was fine and dandy, but it also happened before I tried any of the tips and techniques, so now that I’ve had a chance to enact some of Jessica’s suggestions, have I become a more productive writer?

Yes! But there’s a caveat.

Have I produced more words this past month alone compared to the past year? Yes.

Have I written every single day, seven days a week? No.

Have I followed every single one of the the course instructor’s techniques religiously and with feverish zeal? For about the first five days, yes. Then…I had to modify some of the steps she mentions in the Morning Magic Routine. Out of the multiple steps outlined for this process, here are the ones I continue to do:

  • I do wear my “writing only” outfit
  • I do write in my Gratitude Journal every writing session
  • I do eat a healthy breakfast
  • I do listen to dark ambient versus binaural beats and have found my usual soundtrack of dark ambient to be more effective
  • I do have a Sacred Writing Ritual, which is to pour myself a cup of coffee or tea and sometimes, to light a small candle.
  • I do write🙂

Has my word count got up? Yes. Exponentially. I’m not exaggerating. The funny thing is that even though I am tracking word count with the fantastic spreadsheet the course instructor provides with the purchase of the course, I feel a sense of satisfaction that I have accomplished something.

This is in stark contrast to the looming sense of dread, fear and shame that I experienced with NanoWrimo last November, where my focus was whether I hit enough words that the program demanded and whether I would fall behind.

So, my word count has, happily, gone up, but I think a big reason for this is because the course helps writers calculate their own average daily word count, and then the rest of the steps are based on you as an individual writer and meeting your own goals as opposed to trying to push yourself to conform to someone else’s required word counts.

The one thing I am struggling with most — and that I wish the course instructor devoted more time to — is the whole getting up early and having enough energy to get through the morning thing. I’ll admit that I still haven’t mastered the art of not relying on a snooze button to get up.

There have been days I have been dead tired for many reasons I won’t get into, and I haven’t been able to get up at 7am despite having moved the time I go to bed earlier than where it was previously (My goal is to get to 6am. Let’s just say I’m still building up to that).

The one thing I completely agree with the instructor 100% about is that a person does their best and most productive writing in the morning. Yes, I know several writers who get their best writing done in the evenings, on their lunch breaks, during their subway rides, and other different times of the day, but for me, switching to mornings has been a gamechanger. 

The other amazing thing this course has taught me is that I don’t need uninterrupted marathon 8-hour days to get writing done and to be productive (although that’s perfectly valid and for those writers for whom marathons are a daily reality, more power to you).

Here are some other things I have found helpful:

  • I have been very good about turning off notifications on my phone, not turning on my phone until my writing session is done, putting my phone in another room, and generally looking at my phone a lot less.
  • I don’t write on a laptop or computer, so I don’t have to worry about turning off distractions on that front.
  • In an ideal world, I would like to check Facebook less times a day but one step at a time.

What I had to cut out or move to a different time of the day because it just wasn’t working for me:

The stretching–I’m incredibly sore upon waking up. This is a daily reality for me. This makes it challenging to move around and I don’t like to add to my pain if I can help it.

The five-minute meditation–if you can swing it, great. I felt this step was a bit cumbersome for me to get through as I already do my meditation in the evenings, but to each their own.

The multiple journalsas I mentioned above, I write in my gratitude journal, which I find helpful, but the goal journal was just turning into me writing the same thing every day, which was “Write x amount of words today”, which is a goal I have met every day I have been writing. I accept that goal-setting is something I need to improve, but I had to cut it down to one journal.

Writing tools–so, many of the course instructor’s suggested guidelines are catered to laptop writers, which is fine because most people do this. I have done it in the past. However, as I did during NanoWrimo, I am writing on my Neo AlphaSmart, which is an electric typing device. The other writers I know who have an AlphaSmart (like Adam Cesare, for instance) swear by it and I’m one of them. If extended longhand writing wasn’t so painful for me, I would write do that.

So, Anita, will I become a more productive writer if I make like you and do the course you’ve been talking about? It’s quite possible, but I find the other things that have contributed to my success are grit, determination, and above all, passion for my project. I am writing a possibly Young Adult Gothic novel, and I am loving every minute of it. On those days when I haven’t written, I hate that icky feeling I’ve received because I want to spend as much time in the universe I’ve created.

However, I think one of the good things about limiting my writing sessions to 1 or 1.5 hours at a time is that it keeps my energy and passion for the project going–if I spent 3 or 4 hours a day writing this project, which I could, ostensibly do, I would get sick of it after a while and I wouldn’t have enough energy to carry me through to the next day.

By limiting my spurts of “you only get to work on this book for a finite amount a day, and you’re on a timer, so make the most of it!” I think I am setting myself up for the achievable results I am seeing, with a huge increase in output.

This course has been a godsend for me because I know so many writers who have worked out their own routines and know what works for them and they are generally jiving with their writing processes.

But for the longest time I struggled with not understanding the circumstances that got in the way of me getting writing done, and now that I have figured them and found a solution to get around those obstacles (for the most part), my writing productivity has definitely improved.

I encourage everyone who is struggling with not getting writing done to take a look at this course I am talking about and try it out. See if the outlined methodologies work for you. I know it seems overwhelming or like it’s a lot, but once you get to the stage where you’ve formed a habit, you will want to keep it up. I know I do🙂

Want To Be A Productive Writer? Get This Course

writing mastery course udemy

Last month, I took a course on Udemy called Writing Mastery: Productivity Hacks for Writers that gave me the tools to become a more productive writer, far more than all the volumes of books, articles, blogs, podcasts, conference talks I have consumed over the past two decades.

In all the years that I have battled to be more productive and to find out how to be more efficient as a writer, to get good quality words down on paper, I read some variation of the same things such as that I would have to wake up earlier, turn off or block distractions, write first thing in the morning, do research before sitting down to write, and the same things over and over again.

Try the Pomodoro technique. Try writing for just 5 minutes with a timer and see if that helps. Write during your lunch break. Write after work on the subway. Write in public places like coffee shops or libraries that are free of distraction and temptations. Buy expensive software and devices that “guarantee” you will become a more productive writer if only you’ll hurry and buy [insert product here] now!

The course on Udemy that I heard about through the writer grapevine was helpful because the instructor provided concrete, easy-to-use tips and techniques. There’s nothing here that’s rocket science. Although changes in general require commitment, period, such as establishing a regular and consistent routine, Jessica emphasizes the fact that it takes time for us to form new habits and that even she slips up from time to time.

This course is not a variation on all those blog posts and articles you’ve already read that pontificate upon common sense things, like “Wake up earlier and you’ll have more time to write.”

Now, before I go way off track, one of Jessica’s biggest suggestions is to wake up earlier. BUT it’s not just another common sense thing in this case. She explains why waking up earlier is beneficial, and it’s not just because of time. Turns out that the brain is like a computer, and if you overload it first thing in the morning with things like social media, cell phones, news, TV and other distractions, the writing part of your brain will be tired and sluggish and it will take time to get into the writing mindset.

At least half, if not more, of the apps, techniques and hacks that the author includes in her course are things I had never heard of like binaural beats, developing a “morning magic” routine, and the fact that we must think of our brains as computers. And like computers, it’s important not to overload the system or run too many programs at the same time.

Best of all, Jessica doesn’t waste time evangelizing expensive software or ridiculously expensive equipment that, while it looks great and may help some folks with productivity, is too cost prohibitive for most writers and doesn’t necessarily guarantee better results.

Sound like something you might want to sign up for? The course organizer, Jessica Brody, has very generously and graciously offered a discount code so that you can buy the course for $19 instead of the regular fee of $30! Just click the underlined link here and makes sure you don’t miss out on this wonderful deal!

The course is affordable, and it definitely has something that even the most seasoned writer will be able to make use of, so check out this wonderful course🙂

As a bonus, Jessica has also provided a discount code so that you can buy another one of her courses, CREATING HIGH-CONCEPT IDEAS THAT SELL, for the price of $15, which is a great deal as the regular fee is $20. Just click on the underlined link and you’ll be ready to go!

Book Review: Fear the Reaper, ed. by Joe Mynhardt

fear the reaper book cover

Fear the Reaper
ed. Joe Mynhardt
Crystal Lake Publishing
Purchase information
404 pages, 2013
*** Review copy purchased online *** 

Things start off with “Hecate” by Adam Lowe, which is about the Greek goddess of witches, Hecate. The language in this poem is very evocative and the poem ends on a creepy note.

Next up we have “The Life of Death” by Mark Sheldon. It starts out on a more humorous note. It’s anachronistic on purpose, making similes to modern-day references. This is the origin story of Death, real name Mortimer (nicknamed Morrey). It’s a sad tale, ultimately, but humanizes Death, which makes things more interesting.

“Stumps” by Jeff Strand is about an immortal main character but immortality doesn’t mean he can’t be killed or wounded. The price is incredibly steep to maintain his status. Others figure out what he can do, and although it’s a grim tale with macabre elements, there is humour, as well, and it was one of the best pieces of the bunch.

In “Death Squared” by Rena Mason, two boys, Billy and Trent, ride their bikes to the house of a female classmate who recently committed suicide. Trent learns the hard way that once you damage someone badly enough, you can never take it back. When you remain faithful to someone you know is as horrible as Billy is, you can never erase that stain from your soul no matter how hard you try to scrub it off. I also enjoyed the ominous note upon which this story ended.

“The Culling” by Richard Thomas reminded me of The Lottery and The Hunger Games. In this twisted tale, the townspeople sacrifice their own to appease beasts. There’s a wonderful twist at the end that I won’t spoil, but this story was one of the more memorable ones.

Robert S. Wilson introduces a main character who can stop death from happening in “The Death Catcher” but the thing is that after people cheat death, they don’t feel as good as they thought they would. This story had a definite sci-fi bent to its horror and reinforced the theme that a person can try to cheat death but won’t get very far.

“Spectres” by Taylor Grant is about Matt, who seems to have just come out of a coma. It’s also more in the sci-fi horror vein. He wakes up with someone else’s memories after volunteering to spend ten years frozen in a statis. He learns the hard way that everything comes at a price, and I thought this story ended on a very effective gut punch.

“Der Engel Der Liebe” by Dean M. Drinkel is historical fiction tale set in Vienna in 1870. This is another story that wastes no time making circumstances absolutely horrible for the characters involved. If you like stories of Jack the Ripper, you’ll enjoy this macabre tale.

Next up is “Do No Harm” by Joe C. McKinney, which is about a doctor who gets kidnapped by vampires so that he can figure out why a boy they ‘turned’ isn’t transitioning into a full vampire. He’s got his work cut out for him and the results turn out to be very interesting.

To cap off the anthology, we have “Non-Returnable” by the late Rick Hautula. In it, a bookstore employee is worried that her boss will fire her. He hassles her about a physics book she decided not to buy, but her life starts to take on some truly bizarre turns. It’s very fitting that this story would be the last.

Overall, Fear the Reaper is another good quality anthology from Crystal Lake Publishing that features great horror stories centering around the theme of Death and they’re all very diverse so there is something for every horror reader to enjoy.

Book Review: Vile Men by Rebecca Jones-Howe

vile men book cover

Vile Men
by Rebecca Jones-Howe
Dark House Press
170 pages
*** Review copy from the library ***

A few people recommended Vile Men, a short story collection by Canadian author Rebecca Jones-Howe, when it first came out at the end of last year and they mentioned how impressed they were with the writing, so I recently had the occasion to read it and I’m glad I did. Far from being simply a short story collection that revolves around the theme of terrible things happening to women, the stories are a heady mix of different perspectives that will have you reeling after you’ve finished each one. It’s a quick read, but these stories are very heavy and will definitely make an impact on you.

The first story is “The Paper Bag Princess,” which puts a whole new–and far more disturbing spin–on the children’s classic by Robert Munsch than you would think. It’s about a girl who puts a paper bag on her head when she is intimate with men. She has different faces depending on their preferences. In one way, it’s incredibly tragic that she feels she has to do this and that it’s the only way she can, but in others it’s also her way of getting back some control. This set the tone for the rest of the collection very well.

Next up we have “Blue Hawaii” which revolves around a girl who is a former alcoholic and she now lives with her sister and her baby. She gets involved with a male neighbour who has a different drug of choice and things descend from there, but this story definitely did not end the way I thought it would.

“Tourist” continues the departure from where you think the story will be going and then it goes in a completely differeny way. This time we meet a girl who falls for an older man but lives with her friend and the friend’s husband, who are trying to have a baby. She knows it is an odd arrangement, but doesn’t really have anywhere else to go. The protagonist turned out to be a very disturbed individual, but I liked seeing her journey mapped out. With this story, I felt a bit let down because I was holding my breath waiting for something momentous or earth-shattering to happen, which it never did, but other than that, I enjoyed this tale a lot.

“There’s a certain kind of man who goes for damaged girls.”

The first story of the collection to feature a male point of view is “Grin on the Rocks” about a guy who is pursued by older women, or so he would have us believe. It turns out he has far more sinister intentions and this is a story that is full of trigger warnings for women, so I would advise discretion. It will make you very angry in parts.

Probably the center-piece of the collection comes with “Masturbating Megan’s Strip Mall Exhibition” which focuses on a girl who, ahem, pleases herself to customers at the adult entertainment store where she works. The genesis of how she got her nickname really hit home for me, but instead of bothering her, she seems to have twisted it to subvert her identity as an adult. Readers should make sure not to miss this story.

“College Glaciers” concerns a university student with erotic fixations who is drunk and/or high while taking a cab late at night to get back to her dorm. Once again, the author turns the reader’s expectations on their head with how things turn out, so I liked this tale.

“He’s older because they always are.”

Following that story is one called “Slippery Slopes,” which is a bit on the longer side but is another powerful read. Luke has major anxiety. He has a smoking problem (cigarettes). He also has a wife, twin children, and she is expecting another child on the way. He keeps insisting that there is a child in their neighbourhood who is going around stealing from people and the entire story builds to a crescendo. He crosses so many lines and you will find yourself questioning whose side you are on by the end.

“Thinspiration” plays on our culture’s obsession with girls who go to dangerous lengths to be thin. A gunman takes the main character hostage and orders her to drive, but it’s not clear where they’re going. When he pulls up to a restaurant, something unexpected happens and although I found this tale to be a bit more anticlimactic in some ways as compared to the other stories, there was definitely power in the exchange of the characters toward the end.

Perhaps the most directly horror-related or horror-themed story is “Better Places,” another viciously disturbing tale of a woman who finds herself in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. She finds a haven with a guy, but what he puts her through is worse than what the zombies could do. This is one of the most unflinching and raw stories of the entire collection and again, if you’re sensitive to the subject matter of assault, read this one at your own peril. This one was a far more satisfying read for me and definitely one of the ones I would rate higher.

“Historical Hotties” is the story of two teenaged girls who are desperately freaky. The protagonist is hugely unpopular and she approaches a Goth-type girl in the class to work on a project in pairs. What’s so bad about them? Well, for starters, the protagonist things Stalin (yes, that Stalin) is attractive. Not just a little bit either. This story also examines how strange and fraught with tension the protagonist’s relationship with her parents, particularly her father, is, and will leave you reeling after you’ve read it.

Next up is “Cat Calls,” a story that turns the phenomenon of men calling out crude and lascivious things to women as they pass by or whistling to them on its head by making a man the object of the affections of a seriously depraved young woman on the Vancouver SkyTrain subway. We learn that the male protagonist is married, a bit unhappily despite his insistence otherwise, to a woman with whom he tried to conceive but they’ve had difficulties. She has succeeded as a realtor and the dynamic of their relationship has changed more than he thought it would. This story definitely has a huge gut-punch for an ending and it was also one of my favourites.

Another creepy story is “Modern Beasts,” which is about a young girl, Eva, whose mother drops her off at the public library each day while she goes off to protest against the government. The head librarian, Mindy, isn’t particularly nice but she has a boyfriend, Owen, who is. He takes an interest in Eva and tells Mindy that he can watch her and read to her. This story will destroy any reader who struggled with their parents as a child. Anyone who was desperate to hang on to that special someone, the adult who “got” them and didn’t see them as a hindrance or an annoyance…this story will ruin you.

The last tale, “Ghost Story,” was about a couple who are in London, England, on a trip. It’s the creepy and unsettling tale of what happens when Melody’s lover, Lewis, goes missing, and all the implications of that event.

One of the things that stuck out most about this collection for me is how painfully accurate the author’s depictions were when it came to the decay of relationships between couples who have been together for a while. It’s inescapable in some ways, but there’s nothing sadder than one person in the relationship who is still completely head-over-heels for their partner but the other person hasn’t reciprocated that in a while.

The unifying thread of the entire collection is how unflinching and honest these stories are. They are raw. The author does not hold back her punches. At all. They are devastating and they can contain many triggers for women, but they are a fascinating look at what happens when characters do the things they know they are not supposed to, but they do them anyway and cross the lines into the furthest reaches of themselves, which makes for a gripping and fascinating book.

I would not classify this book as a horror collection, but many fans of horror, mystery and suspense will enjoy it. Others still who like contemporary pieces of women’s fiction that are the furthest thing from romance will also enjoy this book. But really, anyone who wants a substantive collection of short stories that explores the furthest depths of the human psyche needs to pick this book up. It is a book that will challenge you as a reader. It is not easy to get through, but ultimately it provides a cathartic reading experience.


Guest Post: Your Baby is Ugly by Bishop O’Connell

the returned book cover

Guest Post: Your Baby is Ugly by Bishop O’Connell

We’re all familiar with the term; someone tells you something you love, and probably put a lot of work into, is wretched and worthy only of contempt, and thus, you’re a complete failure. Well, at least that’s what most of us hear, and hopefully for only the first few minutes.

But what we should be hearing is that something we love, and probably put a lot of work into, is not the greatest creation of the human animal. That’s good news, stay with me here, because it means there’s room for improvement and a chance to hone our craft.

If you’re like me, you might’ve had some similar experiences. I’ve been a storyteller for as long as I can remember. In first grade I started writing short stories, which the teacher would read to the class at story time. This provided my first taste of adulation. It also provided my first taste of how far some people will go to express their dissatisfaction with the quality of your work. Was the lost lunch money worth the praise?

Well, I’m still writing, so there’s your answer. I’ve been writing, or making up stories in one form or another, since I was a kid. Learning of the long and proud history the Irish have with storytelling brought me a lot of satisfaction. I’m exceedingly proud of my heritage and storytelling is another way I bond with it. I did some stage acting for a while, which to me is another form of storytelling. In fact, being a performer was once a key part of storytelling. In time, I grew used to people telling me I was good at telling stories and should pursue it. What I didn’t know was that storytelling and writing are two completely distinct things.

When I entered the work force and began my adult life, my book in progress never seemed to get finished. Yes, I was “that guy” for a while, and I sincerely apologize. Most of my problem stemmed from constantly rewriting what I’d already written and making little or no progress forward. I still struggle with this a bit, but I digress.

When the manuscript was finished, I felt convinced I had a good story, strong characters, and something worthy of being my introduction to the literary world. No, I didn’t expect to get a letter from the president of a major publishing house asking where I’d been and saying the world was so glad I’d finally arrived. But I thought I’d written something at least as good as what I was finding on bookshelves at the time.

Many, many rejection letters later, some of which were less than gentle, I decided to try again. I wrote another book. This one practically wrote itself and I was thrilled with the outcome. I’d bought some books on dialogue, character development, and such, and thought I applied them well. Then I decided to take advantage of making a good living and hired a professional editor to look it over. I

knew it wouldn’t be cheap, but I also know that reading through a full book and making notes isn’t something that can be done overnight and, as a professional in a different field, I respect the value of a professional’s time. I chose a respected editing firm, run by one of the authors of perhaps THE book on self-editing, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers.

My beloved urban fantasy was eviscerated. Or that’s how it felt. While there was some genuine praise (not that I saw much of it), it was just enough to keep me from jumping off a bridge. I started to wonder why I ever thought I could be a writer. But I’ve always been someone who doesn’t like being beaten down. In fact, I sort of thrive on spite. When someone knocks me down, I’ll get back up just to tell them they can’t keep me down. I think it’s the Irish in me.

I took time, looked over the comments, and decided to apply them. I changed some of my beloved characters, which was like amputating my own leg, with a plastic spork, then I removed large pieces of the story and rewrote others. Several rounds of editing later (it took several hits with the two-by-four) the book was something different. The story was still there, but now the writing didn’t get in the way. In fact, it actually improved the story. What a concept!

I learned about repetition; telling something and then saying it again. When you show people what happens, but worry the reader didn’t quite get it so you make sure, or just hammering the same point home again over and over. See what I did there? I will say when I saw, for the tenth time or so, my editor commenting “Repetition, don’t treat the readers like idiots.” I had a good laugh. He’s skilled at his craft, but apparently didn’t recognize, or appreciate, the poetry of that. Or perhaps he did and was laughing his ass off as he wrote it.

I also learned about having good subtext (and trusting your reader to pick it up), the concept of exposition (when to reveal something and just how much of it to reveal), and about all of the other common problems most first time writers fall into, and trust me, we do.

Mostly though, I learned you can’t write in a vacuum. You have to have someone else look at your work, and if you can afford to hire a professional, do it. When we write, most of us make all kinds of typos, miss entire words, or have sentences that start one way and finish another. We can catch some of these on our own, but we’ll read the sentence with the missing word and our brains will fill it in, so we’ll never see that it’s missing.

You need someone who isn’t in the trenches, and isn’t emotionally vested in your story as it is, to look at from above and get the whole picture. A published author, I can’t overstate what a benefit it is to have a professional editor looking over my work.

But the hardest thing I learned was when I received comments, from friends or editors, was to read the comments, and then walk away. You need to get yourself away from the story and criticism. Get angry if you want. Swear, stomp, beat on a punching bag for a while. Whatever you need. Maybe even write a scathing reply then, and this is very important, DELETE IT.

Once you’ve calmed down, go back and read the comments again. When you feel your emotions building up, rinse and repeat. When you can really listen to what you’re being told, consider why the person thinks that. Now, they could well be wrong. Even after four books, there are times I just plain disagree with the editor and kept things the way I want, or I go in a different direction entirely.

If you have a friend doing this for you, be grateful, especially if he or she gives you more constructive feedback than “I liked it,” or “it’s good.” If you managed to find a good editor, and be sure to do your research, remember that this is someone who’s professional and knowledgeable; likely they have a degree, or plenty of experience, and likely both.

Also remember, you’re paying for his or her advice! No point in paying if you’re going to ignore it all because the editor doesn’t suggest you’re the next J.K. Rowling or Stephen King. There should be examples in the comments of what you’re doing right. If there aren’t, don’t assume everything you’re doing is wrong, ask. But keep in mind an editor isn’t paid to blow sunshine up your backside.

His or her job is to help you make your book/short story/novella/screenplay/poem/manifesto the best it can possibly be. An important lesson I’ve learned over the years is that different editors have different opinions, so don’t be surprised if you work with two different editors and they contradict each other. The literary world is capricious at best. It’s not just enough to have a good story that’ll sell. You have to get said story in front of someone who recognizes it as such, and do it when that person is open to seeing it.

When I first wrote this piece, I hadn’t yet landed my publishing deal from Harper. It’s now two years and four books later, and this piece still holds true. Over the course of my writing career, both and pre and post publication, I’ve learned some hard lessons. Some of those were costly; sometimes in ego, sometimes in cash, and sometimes both.

Before getting my publishing deal I received more rejection notices that I care to think about, both with and without reviewing the manuscript. But I kept writing because I had to, for me. This is still the case. The Returned marks the end of my current contract with Harper and I’m going through the familiar panic of wondering if I’ll get another. But I keep writing, and I’ll keep writing no matter what happens.

Just as before I knew that one day I’d get published and see my book on shelves—this was a great day—I know now that I’ll get another publishing deal, and one day I’ll make a living on my writing. I know this not just because I’m published now, but because of what I knew before that happened: No one has ever succeeded who gave up. The people who succeeded say you can too, the people who gave up say you can’t. As one of those who made it, let me add my voice to the chorus. You can do it too.

Who are you going to listen to? Me, I was, and still am, too spiteful and stubborn to give up.


bishop o'connell author photoBishop O’Connell is the author of the American Faerie Tale series, a consultant, writer, blogger, and lover of kilts and beer, as well as a member of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. Born in Naples Italy while his father was stationed in Sardinia, Bishop grew up in San Diego, CA where he fell in love with the ocean and fish tacos. After wandering the country for work and school (absolutely not because he was in hiding from mind controlling bunnies), he settled Richmond VA, where he writes, collects swords, revels in his immortality as a critically acclaimed “visionary” of the urban fantasy genre, and is regularly chastised for making up things for his bio. He can also be found online at A Quiet Pint (, where he muses philosophical on life, the universe, and everything, as well as various aspects of writing and the road to getting published.

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Almost a year after their wedding, and two since their daughter Fiona was rescued from a kidnapping by dark faeries, life has finally settled down for Caitlin and Edward. They maintain a facade of normalcy, but a family being watched over by the fae’s Rogue Court is far from ordinary. Still, it seems the perfect time to go on their long-awaited honeymoon, so they head to New Orleans.

Little do they know, New Orleans is at the center of a territory their Rogue Court guardians hold no sway in, so the Court sends in Wraith, a teenage spell slinger, to watch over them. It’s not long before they discover an otherworldly force is overtaking the city, raising the dead, and they’re drawn into a web of dark magic. At the same time, a secret government agency tasked with protecting the mortal world against the supernatural begins their own investigation of the case. But the culprit may not be the villain everyone expects. Can Wraith, Caitlin, and Edward stop whoever is bringing the vengeful dead back to life before another massacre, and before an innocent is punished for crimes beyond her control?

Buy The Returned in eBook format (Release date: July 12, 2016):

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | iTunes | Kobo

Paperback Edition (Release date: August 23, 2016):
HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Buy signed copies from:
The Fountain Bookstore


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