Like any sequel worth its salt, Tides doesn't just continue the story started in Mud. It also expands the world. And along with an expanded world comes new characters. 

With Tides' launch two weeks away, today I'm giving you an exclusive first introduction to the most important and beloved members of this fresh set of characters about to come your way.

Xam --  A soldier of Ir-Nearch, Haven's sister city. Like so many others in this awful middle realm of Terath, he escaped a wrathful dictator. But now he's found peace in his new home ... and captured one of our heroes' hearts.

Helda -- In a ruthless world, the leader of a free city must be ruthless too. Which makes Helda the perfect woman for the job. Rough years rebelling against unfair regimes have hardened her and sharpened her loyalty. All this makes her an ideal ally as an unstable world teeters toward war, and a foreboding enemy.

Avi -- Jordan's adopted brother, who he grew up with side by side in Haven. We met him oh-so-briefly in Mud, and he's still there, serving as his brother's right hand man. These two have a very brotherly relationship--by which I mean complicated.

Nabi -- A young resident of Ir-Nearch, with a big, brave heart...and a Gift she handles better than The Chronicle of the Third Realm War's adults. A great deal of power in a very small package, Nabi packs surprising spiritual power.

Koreh -- This is a woman full of power, and she is hungry to unleash it. Now that the barrier between the Underworld and Terath is broken, she's the first to break free and take up the fight for all the demigods feel they were cheated of twice before.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As Tides' October 31 launch nears, I'm taking a spoiler-lite look back at where we left our beloved heroes. (Don't forget to join the celebration! There's great ways to join--and win prizes.)

Rona is voiceless for most of Mud

Without giving too much away for those with Mud on the to-be-read list, once she is finally given an opportunity to speak, what she says changes everything.

Let's just say ... it wasn't an exception.

Rona's stay in the Underworld timeless, so for her, now that she's back, her past traumas might as well have just happened. On top of that, she is struggling with the new trauma of her return to life. If that's not bad enough, her past might not be done with her yet.

But Rona's more interested in looking ahead. A war is on the horizon, and she's determined to help end the destruction she feels she had a hand in starting. Even if it means she's stuck wroking with Jordan and Adem to do it.

Rona has a lot of anger in her--but she isn't hung up on it. She's saving it to channel into something productive. Along the way, she ends up taking on a lot more than she signed up for.

The most powerful thing about Rona is, she's willing to shoulder what others can't or won't, even if it means winging it. When everyone else starts to crumble around her, Rona is at her strongest.

Or at least, that's what she's telling herself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As Tides' October 31 launch nears, I'm taking a spoiler-lite look back at where we left our beloved heroes. (Don't forget to join the celebration! There's great ways to join--and win prizes.)

Despite the size of Jordan's presence in Mudhis role was actually quite small. He served more an important source of heart for Adem than anything else. He was also a child for most of the story, albeit a particularly gifted child.

And it was a harsh, strange childhood at that, living under the cruel dictatorship of Epoh, raised by a mother who had lost her mind, and instilled his very particular specialness upon him in all its weight. Then of course, he lost his sister, too. Even so, Jordan's unique gifts for connectiong with both people and the Gods have served him very well so far.

Now Jordan has grown up. He has started to take on significant responsibilities as Haven's leader--a role his gifts paved the path for.

We all hit a point as we grow up where coasting on our natural gifts isn't enough anymore. How we respond to that moment can significantly shape our adulthood. As Tides opens, Jordan is about to hit his friction point.

And all that is happening around him only piles on the pressure--more and more people are seeking refuge in Haven and its sister cities; the demigods are breaking free from the Underworld and the Gods ... well, it's hard to tell exactly what Their plan might be.

In the midst of it all, Jordan must be a leader for his people and wrangle the likes of Adem and Rona. It's not a job I'd want to shoulder. And one few would be equipped to take on.

Let's hope Jordan and his gifts are up to it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As Tides' October 31 launch nears, I'm taking a spoiler-lite look back at where we left our beloved heroes. (Don't forget to join the celebration! There's great ways to join--and win prizes.)

At the start of Mud, Adem was lonely and sad--cursed, in a way. This despair was what first inspired me to write about Adem, before I knew anything about Epoh or Haven, the Gods or the Underworld. I had to know why he was so sad.

It doesn't take long for this to come out. After all, he's bound to protect a box he can't open, and over and over, he's an unwilling killer in its name. Which is how he ended up isolating himself and lets Epoh's horror grow around him.

It turns him into a being with a worn-out soul and a naive heart. Which is how he gets into so much trouble in Mud.

But Adem has picked up a few friends along the way--and enemies. The consequences of his efforts, regardless of good intentions, are still unfolding.

Surely he's learned a few lessons from it all. Right?

One of the things that captured my imagination about golems at the start of this series was the way these creatures have a tendency to spiral out of control from their makers, over time. Some have become killers, or took their orders too far, and became almost impossible to stop.

Granted, I've taken a lot of liberties to these golem myths in a way I can only compare to what Stephanie Myers did for vampires. But I feel like the distance between Adem's commands and his heart are bound to manifest. What about you?

All this said, Tides is not Adem's story. He's there, and he's still a key player, but he's not our storyteller anymore. So as you enter Tides, you don't only get to the next story in the Third Realm Wars, you also get to see Adem from someone else's eyes.

Unfortunately, Rona is no mood to be forgiving with him, after all he's done. All the same, these two have a lot in common--their lives have stretched over the ages, they have seen the horrors of these wars before, and they have both experience a lot of violence and trauma.

Could their common experiences mend the bond? Or could it prove too combustible?

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As my new novel Tides approaches release day, I am hosting some giveaways to celebrate! This week, I'm sharing about the "why" behind the selections in my three hand-picked novel collections that make up the top prizes. 

Check out the SFF Classics Collection and the SFF Strong (& Unusual) Female Protagonists Collection, too!

No question, the sci-fi/fantasy genre needs a whole lot more STPs--strong female protagonists.

But there are traditional STPs (think Lara Croft, Wonderwoman, Castle's Kate Beckett) and then there are ... well, more complex female characters, ones that refuse to fill the mold of any archetype.

As you know, I adore a solid antihero, and this plays heavily into my writing. Rona, the protagonist of Tides, is no exception to that. (I can't wait to hear what you make of her.)

So for this final giveaway book collection, which you can win by spreading the good news about Tides's release during the launch, I chose my absolutely favorite female oddballs and misfits of speculative fiction.

These three leading ladies are so unique, so complex, so willfully deviant from protagonist expectations, you may not always be sure if you're following the hero or the villain. But I promise--you'll always be riveted.

Blackbirds

You'll love Miriam Black or you'll hate her. Honestly, she wouldn't care either way. This sharp and tough rebel embraces her rough edges. Considering any time she touches someone she sees how they'll die in graphic detail, and can't seem to do anything to stop it, it's easy to understand how she got that way.

But then she meets Louis Darling. When she discovers he dies because he meets her, and that she's the next victim, she has to break all her rules.

Miriam may have the blackest heart you'll ever encounter, and the foul mouth to back it up. But she's still easy to love thanks to her intelligence, wit and creative thinking.

Library of Mount Char

This is an extremely hard one to describe, because both the protagonist and plot defy what we typically expect from a novel. A year after reading it I'm still not sure what to make of it, but it's stuck with me.

Carolyn was a normal child once. But that was before her parents died and she was taken in by God-like figure who she and several other orphans call Father. The Library holds the secrets to his power, and each of the orphans has been tasked to master an area of his abilities. These formidable tasks are pushed onto them with ruthless and punishing measures.

But then, Father goes missing. And Carolyn has a plan. Only trouble is, this calculating, stoic, and love-starved girl keeps it to herself until the very end.

Her Fearful Symmetry

This is a lesser-known work from the author of The Time Traveler's Wife, and one I much prefer over the bestseller. Two American twins on the verge of adulthood spend a summer in their recently deceased aunt's London flat.

As the twins explore London and their aunt's neurotic neighbors, they also start to observe a presence within the house.

I won't spoil the end for you, but you won't believe the strange bonds and tensions that keep these twins in constant friction throughout the novel, or how far they are willing to go in pursuit of a spirit.

 

 

 

 

As my new novel Tides approaches release day, I am hosting some giveaways to celebrate! This week, I'm sharing about the "why" behind the selections in my three hand-picked novel collections that make up the top prizes. 

Check out the SFF Classics Collection and the SFF Strong (& Unusual) Female Protagonists Collection, too!

I love a great story in just about any form, but comics strike me in a way no other medium can.

I was first drawn to comics for hte traditional superheroes ... but I've unwilling to comit ot the massive entangled Marvel or DC  universes (okay, and a little intimidated), and thus I soon picked up other titles.

My favorite thing about comics storytelling is the way they commit to full-on weirdness, and these favorites from my pulls deliver it in spades. Along with well rounded, complicated heroines.

You're gonna love them.

Saga

Stunning imagination goes into the creation of every alien creature in this world--illustrator Fiona Staples is a genius. Even the dark and monstrous things in Saga hold a certain elegance.

This comic took the shell of Romeo and Juliet--star-crossed lovers on different sides of a war--and turned it into a complex space opera world with rich diversity and representation that enriches the world--including a number of badass women.

Paper Girls

This show captures the same '80s throwback nostalgia as modern sci-fi classics like Stranger Things and Super 8, with a crew of preteen girls you would never wnat to mess with at the center. They're pioneers, after all--the very first female paper delivery people in the town of Stony Stream.

I was hooked from the opening sequence, where Christa McAuliffe of the Challenger makes a guest appearance as a wrathful astronaut-angel. Also featured: time travel.

Bitch Planet

The social commentary in this comic is laid on thick, and in a really great way. And are you seeing this cover? This artwork is gorgeous.

From one of my personal creative heroes, Kelly Sue Deconnick, this series takes place in a future world where noncompliant women are branded and deported to a prison planet for punishment.

I could go on, but just you wait. You, too, will soon be lining up for your NC brand at your local tattoo shop.

As my new novel Tides approaches release day, I am hosting some giveaways to celebrate! This week, I'm sharing about the "why" behind the selections in my three hand-picked novel collections that make up the top prizes. 

Check out the SFF Comics Collection and the SFF Strong (& Unusual) Female Protagonists Collection, too!

The Classics Collection will go to one lucky winner from among those of you who join my ARC readers list to read a free digital copy of Tides and review it on Amazon in the first week of release, between October 31 and November 7.

This was a hard collection to select--the classics are classics for a reason, after all. The list of classic sci-fi and fantasy novels runs deep and holds major cultural implications.

Ultimately, though, I stuck by three that have stuck with long past that first read, and have influenced my writing as I build out The Chronicles of the Third Realm Wars series.

Here they are:

Frankenstein, Mary Shelley

This incredible novel gave the world two truly incredible things: The archetype of the mad scientist, and also the tragic monster. I choose this novel for both of these gifts.

From Dr. Jekyll to Dr. Walter Bishop to Lex Luthor, the mad scientist is one of my all time favorite sci-fi tropes--and one of the most feasible. The lure of knowledge--and the power that comes with it--is just too great, and ultimately, I think we're all mad scientists at heart.

Then, of course, there are the consequences of that drive. Frankenstein's monster has grown a shadow in our culture even greater than his character on the page. Though capable of terrible things, ultimately he's sad, troubled, and lonely.

Adem emerged from my imagination out of the same dark corner where that poor guy lurks.

The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkein

I am not, by and large, a Tolkein fan--a statement that I know could get my "fantasy author" card revoked, but it is what it is. And while you could not pay me to re-read The Hobbit, Tolkein's collection of Middle Earth mythology bewitched me from the first page.

I've always had a great love for mythology, and I find Tolkein's writing style particularly suited to it. Personally, I have greater respect for Tolkein's creation of a complete mythology for his world than I do for making up his own language.

This collection is stunning. Will you lose track of who's who? Absolutely. Almost immediately. But the language and imagery is so lovely it doesn't matter.

The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury

Now look, it's possible you have heard me rave over Ray Bradbury once or twice before, but I'm doing it again anyhow. The man deserves it, and this incredible novel double deserves it.

This may be my most-read book of all time, and I've got the beaten up paperback to prove it. I will forever say that this is Bradbury's greatest work, and that's saying a lot when the same man also produced Farenheit 451. 

This novel dances seamlessly between science fiction and fantasy, and artfully crafts an alien planet into a complex portrait of humanity. As rich in prose as it is in imagination, the short stories that make up this novel are etched deeply into my soul with its magical blend of wonder, nostalgia and strangeness.

Want to win this collection? Join my ARC reader list and get your digital copy of Tides--this is the last week to join! 

This Saturday, I will be signing books and giving away swag at Baltimore Book Festival!

The Baltimore Book Festival features hundreds of appearances by local, celebrity and nationally known authors, book signings, more than 100 exhibitors and booksellers, nonstop readings on multiple stages, cooking demos by top chefs, poetry readings, workshops, panel discussions, storytellers and hands-on projects for kids, live music, and a thoughtfully curated  food, craft beer, and wine program.

If you're in the area, come out and say hello! I'll have something awesome to give you, and there will be tons of other authors there for you to discover, too.

Between travel, visitors at home, and a bachelorette party for my sister, it's been nutso these past couple weeks. But I finally got to sit down and focus long enough to share some exciting news I got last weekend:

Mud is Kindle Book Award Semifinalist!

Open to all books available on Kindle, this recognition was given to the top 20 selections in each of seven categories. I am so incredibly honored to have Adem's quest on this list, alongside some pretty awesome sounding titles.

See the full list here.

Remember how I told you the manuscript for Tides, the second full novel in the Chronicels of the Third Realm War series, was with my publisher getting all polished up and pretty? I can finally prove it.

The second full novel of the Chronicles of the Third Realm War series is releasing this October!

Check out the official teaser blurb:

Rona didn't ask to be brought back from the Underworld, and now that she is alive again, she’s angry enough to raise hell.

It’s a good thing too, because hell is coming for her. As the realm braces for another round of wars between the Gods and the demigods, Rona’s fate is entangled with the unlikely heroes responsible for bringing her back to life: a golem marked by the Gods and a man with the touch of destiny upon him.

As this questionable duo heads out to face the unknown and stop the realm from destruction, Rona will be damned if they’re going to stop her from coming with them. Together, they embark on a quest to stop the war before it begins. For if they can’t stop the demigods, the entire middle realm of Terath will be torn apart, and everyone in their way destroyed.

But the fate of the realm isn’t the only thing Rona has to worry about, because the past she killed herself to escape is about to catch up to her again.

That's right, I handed the narrative off to Rona, and hold on tight, because she is pissed. It's going to be so awful/amazing, you guys. I can't wait.

And hey, as the release draws nearer, I've got some pretty great opportunities coming down the pipeline, with chances for you to WIN BIG with some swag, gift cards, and my hand-picked all-time favorite novels for you to win.

You can get a jump on the first of these opportunities right now: Get an early digital copy of Tides before anyone else can get their hands on it! All you gotta do is leave a review on Amazon.

Sign up here -- there's going to be some great prizes involved for those who do it, with more details to come soon.