Counting My Blessings

In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday in the States, I’m taking a break before my final WorldCon CoNZealand write-up to give thanks for all my blessings.

20 Things I Am Grateful For In 2020

While 2020 had been a pretty rough year for most of us, I know that many of you have had it far rougher than I have. My heart goes out to all of you whose lives have been touched by the pandemic — with illness, lost jobs, isolation, election anxiety, or more. Meanwhile, my life changed far less than I imagined it would.

My days have been filled with my dayjob and my nights with my writing. Plus? A LOT of online conventions needing staff.

I’ve been going to the grocery store every month and a half, with the occasional farmers market trip, and not much else outside of my household. I’ve attended three very small, outside gatherings spread across five months. Then, two weeks ago, I topped off my groceries and gas tank, in preparation for the holiday and stayed completely alone until this afternoon.

And so it was that I found myself near in tears of relief as I drove down to visit my mother for Thanksgiving, counting my blessings.

So, in no particular order, here are some of my blessings:

  1. I have a mother who’s been staying isolated and healthy
  2. My mother is within driving distance
  3. I have a job
  4. I can work from home
  5. I have a home that I can comfortably work from
  6. I live in a quiet, safe neighborhood
  7. My health
  8. I have a family and friends who love and support me
  9. I get the Thanksgiving and Year End holidays off from work
  10. I’ve managed to keep my obligations light so that I can keep up with NaNoWriMo
  11. I finally got to meet my newest puppy brother, who was born at the start of the pandemic! [french bulldog]
  12. I have a writer father who understands my dayjob and writing complaints and triumphs
  13. My blog and vlog are having their best year yet
  14. Very few of my friends and family have been impacted directly by the pandemic or job losses *knocks on wood*
  15. My supportive twin sister is my perfect alpha reader
  16. High speed internet — making my job and virtual cons possible
  17. The wonderful and supportive writing communities I’ve found – Write by The Rails and Spilled Ink, locally. My local NaNo writers. The AuthorTube tribe — especially Sarah, who lets me join her stream, and Sako, usually joins my weekly write-in stream, the PitchWars community, the Insecure Writer’s Group, the Sub-it-club and… Um. I’ll stop there or I could be here all night.
  18. My wonderful critique partners and beta readers who have donated their time to help me improve. Especially Ashley Cass – The Book Babe!
  19. Getting to eat food my mom cooked, tomorrow!
  20. Did I mention getting to see my puppy brothers? Charlie, the maybe 9-month-old french bulldog, and Buttons, the 11-year-old papillion.

Author Spotlight: Lauren Sevier

  • a YA author who splits her time working full-time in Cardiology, writing, filming YouTube videos, and being a proud wife and mother.

Readers! Let’s give a good, hearty welcome to Lauren Sevier!

Lauren Sevier is a proud Ravenclaw and YA author who helps mend broken hearts and runs after her wild little boy.

Hailing from the deep south, she writes with as much spice as she cooks with and collects antique tea cups, good books, and great friends.

Lauren, thanks for agreeing to be here today. While most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that as always, let’s start with the important stuff!

If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?

Well, I have two dogs one is a red-haired Border Collie named Lily (yes, after Lily Potter) who is as beautiful as she is neurotic, and a pint-sized criminal aptly named Bandit who is too smart for his own good and dramatic to boot. They’ve both been with us through really hard times, we got Bandit before going through infertility treatment and Lily was purchased as a support animal for my husband after his first hip replacement surgery.

So, even though I could say a dragon or mermaid or gryphon or some other cutesy answer… the fictional doesn’t compare with reality. They’re warm and funny and frustrating, and have beaten away sorrow and loneliness during hardships with a relentlessness that only dogs possess. They’re family and since having our son that’s been made more clear to us than ever, as he is now a favorite partner in mischief.

A loyal dog is worth its weight in gold. I’m so happy they’ve been such a bright spot in your life.

What do you write?

My debut is a YA Fantasy novel, the first in a 7-book series, but I’ve dabbled in YA sci-fi, YA dystopian, and am starting a few projects that would be considered Adult fiction or NA fiction. I started writing as most of us do in childhood or more aptly, adolescence. Silly stories, about batman’s daughter or a girl who lives in an enchanted forest. I think I wanted to imagine a world in which being different than everyone else made you special and not weird.

Growing up I had a hard time, I had flaming red hair (hence the childhood nickname of ketchup head) and too much imagination for my peers. Even among my family members, I was considered odd, preferring to stay inside and read instead of going shopping or to social events. As someone so hyper-active and extroverted it seemed a contradiction and people couldn’t seem to figure me out. As I grew older that transformed into writing song lyrics on my front porch swing and reading classic literature and poetry. For years I had the impossible dream of writing a novel of my own. Admitting it, even to myself, would have opened up my fragile hope to ridicule and criticism, the same kind that had devastated me for my entire adolescence.

In fact, it wasn’t until I met my former writing partner that I even dared to dream about it. She introduced me to fan-fiction first, a toe in the water, a pressure-free environment in which to explore and experiment with my writing. Then, during one of the hardest moments of my life, she gave me a writing prompt to get my mind off of the world around me for a little while. Two days later I emailed her a completely original non-fan fiction first chapter and it blew her away. Neither of us knew I had that kind of passion and talent. Ever since then, I’ve been completely unable to turn it off, much to my husband’s chagrin. (He can’t seem to keep up with all the stories I have working at a given time, LOL).

I was just sharing notes on a panel from former fanfiction writers talking about all of the skills it gives writers — whether they play in their own worlds or continue with shared universes. I’m thrilled it’s a path that worked for you and that you’ve found the strength to put your works out there for others to read. It can feel like sharing your soul and waiting for judgment.

What do you like to read?

I have a busy schedule, so reading is a luxury and also an essential part of honing my craft. So, I have to constantly multi-task (via audiobooks) and prioritize by being really selective with my reading. I read pretty extensively in my genre which is currently YA fantasy, but I also read craft books, self-help books, books for research, and occasionally a romance novel to let off some mental steam (i’m a hopeless romantic and love the happily ever afters).

I hear the busy schedule, and am jealous of people who can absorb stories through audio books. I’ve gotten better with short stories, but for longer stuff, I need a long drive or I need a longer commute. YA fantasy is my first writing love, too. And bring on the quick-reading romances that you know are going to end on a happy note.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.

Write Every Day.

Write every day. I can’t tell you how much I hate seeing people perpetuate this advice to the point that it is considered a professional standard. Not only is it unrealistic, I think for some individuals it could be really unhealthy. Between my full-time job in Cardiology, traveling for work, being a mother to a toddler, a wife to a husband with an incurable auto-immune disease, and my writing goals… writing every day isn’t only impossible, it’s unhealthy.

This is such a widely accepted piece of advice that people are normally taken aback by how strongly I feel about it. Writing, like any artistic endeavor is a creative pursuit and you can’t draw on a well that is empty. Taking breaks from writing and recharging yourself is so necessary to keep yourself healthy and productive.

I would amend the advice to say instead, ‘Work every day.’ There are so many things you can do that can help further your writing journey other than writing; reading, research, learning about publishing trends, working on your marketing plan (for self-publishing) or query letter (for traditional), building your social media platforms, and so much more! Things that can take away that pressure to perform that can leave you feeling weak or drained. Or, as Bilbo Baggins once put it, “like butter scraped over too much bread.”.

Best thing about writing advice is you only have to take the bits that work for you. I can manage writing everyday for NaNoWriMo, but the rest of the year, I have a pace that’s a bit more realistic for my life. And reading definitely reminds me why I want to do this in the first place.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands.

Write like it matters, and it will.

Libba Bray

Libba Bray is one of my favorite authors and she once said “Write like it matters, and it will.” This is something I say to myself like a motto when I have to push through deadlines or find inspiration when I’ve hit a wall. What is the point of writing this? I ask myself, constantly. Does this matter to me? If it does, WHY does it matter to me? Because if it doesn’t matter to me, if it doesn’t make me feel anything: passion, horror, sorrow, vindication, whatever it may be then my readers won’t have the same experience.

My motivation behind publishing isn’t to make a ton of money, or become famous, it’s to connect with other people. To hopefully touch them or inspire them, to make them feel something, to help them escape the mundane or downright awful. I want my writing to matter to my readers in the same ways it has always mattered to me. I can only hope that one day it will.

That’s so encouraging. I know my dream is that someone I don’t know, that didn’t get the book from someone I know, finds out who I am and tells me it’s their favorite story.

Shameless Self-Promotion time!

Songs Of Autumn

What if your entire life you knew the exact day you were going to die?

Magick in the Kingdom of Aegis has almost run out. When that happens, the seasons will stop changing, the tides will cease to turn, and the sun will no longer be able to rise and set. The only way to save the lives of her people is if Liz agrees to be a blood sacrifice in a brutal ceremony that will take her life.

The problem is, Liz isn’t ready to go.

With the help of a mischievous wanna-be soldier, Matioch Steele, Liz dares to take her fate into her own hands. Defying a blood-thirsty sorcerer, her desperate flight teaches her how to truly live while Mat finds out what’s worth dying for. Each other.

Love, Death, Magick, and Mystery come together to weave one girl’s epic tale of self-discovery.

Her song will echo within us all.

Check Lauren Sevier out across the web!

Website | Instagram | Twitter |Goodreads | Amazon | Youtube

Writing For Young Adults

Welcome to Part 11, the penultimate of my WorldCon, CoNZealand panel write ups.

The panelists for the titular panel were: A.j. Ponder (as moderator), Katya de Becerra, Darie Little Badger, and Joe Struss. The panel description was as follows:

Does writing for young adults differ from other writing? In what ways?  How do writers approach it? What are some examples — from classics and from the panelists own work?

In the modern publishing industry, YA is a booming and, for now, a seemingly ever growing market. Despite the huge variety found within the category, there are two unifying requirements:

  1. The age of the point-of-view (POV) character needs to be young adult themselves, typically sixteen to maybe nineteen.
  2. The story must address issues that are important to young adults – such as coming of age, starting their independent lives, and establishing their own identities.

    While these themes can be explored in adult literature, those characters are often dealing with the aftermath of the decisions they made as young adults and the shape of the lives those decisions created.

Why is all the best literature YA and what makes it so great?

Obviously, we can’t list all the reasons, but here are some of the ones that easily sprang to mind for the panelists.

  1. YA literature is targeted toward teens as they’re growing and changing, and can be a formative part of their growth.
  2. YA literature is often about characters who are transitioning from childhood to adulthood, and that sort of growth makes for good stories. Stories are almost always about change.
  3. It has a great source of variety and diversity.
  4. There is a lot of space for experimentation in YA, with the genre expectations less strict
    • Graphic novels
    • Horror stories within a story
    • Epistolary – which is more texting than letters and newspaper clippings these days.
  5. Books can help model ways of handling things teens are going through, in a way that’s removed enough to not be traumatic, nor preachy. They can help with topical matters, trauma, depression, anxiety, and more.
  6. Dystopian YA shows that you can stand up to huge systems and make a difference — it’s an empowering message

What are the limits on cursing, sex, gore, violence, etc within YA?

It’s continually evolving. It used to be, you couldn’t use the ‘f’ word. And then you could use it once.

For the rest? It can be there, as long as it’s there for a story reason, not just for shock value, titulation, or gore’s sake. Consider your audience and write it in a meaningful way.

Mistakes To Be Wary Of

Of course, with writing, if you do it well enough, nothing is truly a mistake. But, these are things you may want to avoid:

  1. Chasing trends – the market fluxuates and your story may come after the enthusiasm has died down, especially if you’re being traditionally published, a process that can take years.
  2. Giving up too soon – publishing is a hard business, but perseverance can take you a long way. Maybe your road to success is your fifth manuscript, or your 200th agent query, or your twelth re-write, or self-publishing. But, you’ll never know if you give up.
  3. Not reaching out and hanging out with better writershaving a supportive group of writers you can call on is so helpful during the process. Having good friends who are better writers can only push you to reach their levels.
  4. Not being open to constructive criticism
    • CAVEAT – Constructive criticism from people you trust. BEFORE the work is published. After it’s published, it’s no use to you and will only make you second guess yourself.
    • There is very little to glean from negative reviews, unless you have structural or sensitivity issues. It’s best just to not read reviews. Or have a friend only forward the ones they think you need to see.
  5. Not writing things you enjoy or not using a voice that works for you and/or the story
  6. Not reading widelywhile you shouldn’t chase trends, you should know the shape of your market, and reading outside your genre just broadens you.
  7. Not doing your teen research – A lot of writers these days have teens magically loving 80s music and pop references. While there are some teens who do, they’re not the norm, and the trend is a bit overdone these days. Also, you have writers ignoring technology. If you’re doing a contemporary story, pay attention to the apps teens are using, how they’re using them, current slang, and more. These things become outdated quickly.
  8. Overdoing the angsty teen stereotype – Okay, this one wasn’t in the panel, but I skipped that phase, myself. (Right, Mom?) And when done poorly, it makes it hard to connect to the whiny main character.

YA stories these days run the gamut of genres and intensity, just like the true lives of teens themselves.

If you’re writing for teens, just be careful. With the popularity of YA books amongst adults, more and more YA books have main characters that teens often claim sound like adults. Keep the teen perspective in mind and write for the intended audience — or age your character up and just do an adult novel.

Do you enjoy YA novels? What are your favorites?

Have you written a YA novel? What did you find to be your biggest struggles?

P.S. Over on my podcast, this week’s episode is : How To Write? You Do You!

There are more ways to write a novel than there are writers — and what worked last time, may not work this time. In this episode, I talk about all the advice out there — and ways you can use and adapt them to work for you.

What Fanfiction Can Teach Genre Writers

Welcome to Part 10 of my WorldCon, CoNZealand panel write ups.

The panelists for the titular panel were: Susana Polo (as moderator), Brent Lambert, Ira Alexandre, Jess Weaver, and Alexandra Rowland. The panel description was as follows:

Fanfiction’s popularity continues to grow, tapping into the special creative connection between authors and fans. What is it about this literary nexus that is so fascinating and stimulating for fans? And what might authors have to learn from fans who write it?

Fanfiction, for those of you who are unfamiliar, are stories written by fans of books or television shows or movies or games or whatever, expanding or reinterpreting the stories that the author presented. The official material is known as “canon”. (One ‘n’, not talking about the large gun). Fanfic has often been seen as ‘fringe’, even within fringe genres.

Although, these days, more and more professionally published authors are admitting to having written fanfic either in the past, or present.

In fact, an Archive of Our Own (or AO3), a website that hosts fanfiction from any writer who created an account, won the Hugo in 2019 for best fan work. Fanfiction as a derivative work is definitely becoming more accepted.

What Draws People To Fanfic?

There are tons of draws for both readers and writers of fanfic to enjoy:

  • more nuanced explorations of the characters and worlds that they adore.
  • unapologetically weird stories, freed from market pressure
  • a community with a certain level of acceptance — of ‘weirdness’ and letting people do their own thing, follow their own interests, and exploration
  • a found-family sense of community
  • a way to explore “what ifs”
  • turning conventional stories into far more diverse ones, giving more people representation
  • despite some stereotypes, the quality is often on par with non-fanfic writing
  • writing stories for an already existing fanbase — original fiction has to create that fanbase from scratch
  • the pure joy of sharing something you love

Popular Fanfic Tropes

  • slash fiction –
    In the days of yore, when fanfiction was originally shared online, it would often have the names of the main characters it featured in the title with slashes between their names. Such as “Kirk/Spock” or what-have-you.

    One very popular subgenre of fanfiction arose, called “slash fiction” in which canonically straight characters were shown in non-straight relationships. This type of fanfic became very common in the days when that sort of sexual preference was hidden in the subtext, if included at all. Some of these stories were sweet crushes, some were romantic stories, and some were straight up smut.
  • characters we always see ‘saving the world’ written into calm, coffee shop sort of situations
  • slice of life stories
  • fanfic enjoys the contrast: characters from loud/action heavy stories often get quiet fanfic, while characters from quiet stories often get action heavy stories
  • cross-overs! What would happen if character from this fandom met the character from that fandom? Doctor Who and Buffy or what-have-you
  • ‘but there was only one bed’
  • friends-to-lovers
  • ‘slow burn’
  • canonically divergent – but what if X had never happened

What Can a Writer Learn From Fanfic?

The biggest thing many writers learn is how to accept constructive criticism. When you’re putting your work out there, either in its entirety, or a chapter at a time, you’re getting likes and comments and unabashed love. But, while the readers love both the source material and your stories, and honestly just want the best and most nuanced reflection of the cannon work, their comments can be biting.

Fanfic, at its heart, can also be a deep criticism of the canonical work, in prose format.

Writing Fanfic teaches:

  • besides dealing with criticism — both constructive and not
  • how characters work
  • pacing
  • what excites readers and keeps them coming back
  • it lets them experiment with voices and styles and genres
  • Plus? plenty of tough love on grammar and more

Writers and their own Fanfic Communities

Writers have historically had a fraught history with fanfic. Some writers have embraced it (see the Lovecraftian universe), some revile it, wanting complete control over their created worlds and characters, and some have done both.

Legal disputes over the original author using plots similar to those found in fanfic of their works have led many authors feeling compelled to ban others from playing in their creative worlds.

The panelists shared a story of a guy from a Marvel fanfic community who disappeared, and the community was thrilled one of their own had made it! He’d been hired to write for Marvel! But. When Marvel found out, they dropped the job offer. It can be tricky.

So. Should you read fanfiction of your own works? It might be a bad idea. Once you put your world, your stories out there? The ideas belong a little bit to every reader. The experience of their connection to your book belongs to them. And being told that your reading of a book was wrong… invalidates that experience.

In the fanfic community, there is a belief that your work lives beyond you, and can exist on a whole ecosystem of beliefs.

Two views can be valid at the same time, without invalidating one or the other. But, it can be a struggle to internalize and balance other peoples’ opinions about your works.

Of course, there are some writers who write fanfic of their own stories — things that let them explore ‘what ifs’ of taking the characters or the stories in a different direction. As one of the panelists shared, it can give you the space to be black or queer or both. It can be healing to do your own fanfic, counter-balancing all the work you have to do to be palatable to the market, and remembering what it is to write someDthing not beholden to anyone (except the ‘like’ button).

Fanfic is filling the role of folk-art in our modern culture. We have a need to communal stories and this lets us explore this. Copyright allows people to make money and to own their own story and canon.

Have you written fanfic? Have people written fanfic about your original works? Tell me about your experience!

Author Spotlight: Laura Detering

  • former dancer, worship leader, high school teacher, and cardiac sonographer turned happily-ever-after author.

Readers! Let’s give a good, hearty welcome to Laura Detering!

Laura Detering is a happily married mom of 2 girls. She spends her days very differently than she ever did before and it’s not because of COVID.

A few years ago she was struck with invisible neurological conditions (Chronic Vestibular Migraines and MDDS) that have left her disabled. Finding herself mostly couch and bed ridden in chronic pain, instead of letting depression keep her down, she was encouraged to continue to try and heal as well as begin a lifelong dream, writing.

Laura, thanks for agreeing to be here today. What a struggle! I’m so glad you’ve found your way to writing. While most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that as always, let’s start with the important stuff!

If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?

Oh my word, I haven’t really ever thought about it because most pets trigger my asthma! In real life, I would love a little “hypoallergenic” lap dog (maybe like a Morkie?) to keep me company while I write as well as be a friend for my daughters.

In the fantasy world, I would love an Ikran (flying dragon of Pandora). I mean besides the obvious (who wouldn’t want to fly?) they are warriors and their coloring is beautiful!

Lovely choices! All right thinking people usually have an eye on a dragon. And puppies are classics for a reason!

What do you write?

Common themes you will see in my writing are hope, happily ever afters, and mostly clean romance. I hope to never be boxed into a specific genre or age group.

I took time off of my job to raise my kiddos with plans to return to the workforce once my youngest was old enough to start school.

Around 18 months before that was set to happen, I felt God nudging me to write my book based on a recurring dream I had as a child, something I had always felt called to do. I figured with only 18 months left, I better hop to it.

I spent 2-3 months researching names, making timelines and webs, bare-bones outlines, etc. From late January of 2017 to the beginning of April 2017, I had my very first draft complete. I wrote late in the evening once everyone was asleep with the show Friends in the background. I got through one set of edits, and then I set it aside for a few months.

By the time I picked it back up, my conditions hit. Editing was painful and painfully slow afterward. I started planning The Witch in the Envelope in 2016 and I am just now publishing it.

Writing is tough when everything is going well. It takes a determined person to push through and focus with all you have going on. I love that you choose to write happily-ever-after stories, keeping your focus on the positive.

What do you like to read?

Give me all the fluff, romance, relationship tropes, and happily ever afters! My neurological conditions tax my central and parasympathetic nervous systems so I do not do well with anything that causes me stress. I do have a problem though… if a book has sucked me in, I HAVE to finish it as fast as I
possibly can. It’s an addiction, really.

I’m right there with you on ‘having’ to finish a book. Let hear it for those stories that you just ‘know’ are going to turn out okay.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.

Write Every Single Day.

It’s not physically possible for me. I have to give myself grace for days when my body says, “absolutely not today.”

I used to beat myself up about it, which caused stress, which caused my body to go into a flare, and well… you get the idea. Even if I wasn’t sick, life ebbs and flows a lot and having younger kids is a feat in itself. I am not saying to make a bunch of excuses all the time and not make your writing a priority; just don’t beat yourself up about it.

One hundred percent. Life has to be your priority. Making space for your writing doesn’t mean ignoring the things around you — be it family, day-jobs, or your own health – all of these things often need to come first.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands.

Write the story you want to read

If I had spent time on social media researching all of the writing advice out there, I may never have started writing in the first place.

As a newbie author, it is easy to get swept away in the opinions and advice of others, no matter how well-intentioned. That can include lies that your story isn’t needed right now, or the market is too saturated, or it doesn’t fit current market trends, etc. Write what you want to read because you will read it…. dozens and dozens of times.

One-hundred percent! Chasing the market typically ends up with people six months late into an over-saturated market, with writing that lacks heart. When you care about your story, it shows.

Did You Always Want To Be A Writer?

Heck Yes! Well, no… maybe?

I had an awesome 1st and 2nd-grade teacher. She had us re-write fairytales with a twist and I loved that. I wanted to turn my recurring dream into a children’s book.

Slowly, I began to hate writing. Ugh- a ten page paper was like pulling teeth. In high school, I worked 2-3 jobs at a time and was involved in many sports, clubs, and activities. I did volleyball, dance, musicals, madrigals, and SAVE. I also took AP and honors courses. I never had time to read and all my writing was for school. I hated everything that we were assigned to read and most topics/prompts we had to write on.

It wasn’t until my second year of teaching high school that I fell in love with reading again. Thanks, Twilight! Becoming an avid reader again, my desire to write sprang back to life.

So, Twilight, huh?

I know, I know. It is a super unpopular opinion. However, I will ALWAYS be grateful to that series! So, I was teaching history for half the day and ethnic dance the second half.

I started seeing kids reading. You would think this would be common in a school setting, but it really wasn’t. Everywhere I went, I would see a handful of kids reading wherever they could find a spot to get to a few more pages and they all were reading the same book. If I had a few minutes of free time at the end of class, kids were whipping out this book instead of their cell phones.

I asked some of the students in my dance class what the book was about. When they told me the premise, I scoffed. A human falling in love with a vampire in a love triangle with a wolf? What the heck? I’m not reading that. But, this one student challenged me to read it over the weekend and told me to come back and answer him one thing, Team Edward or Team Jacob. Well, he was right! I LOVED it. (I’m team Edward by the way). This book series allowed me to connect with my students in a way I’d never had before and we had so much fun!

It also allowed me to connect with my older sister as well. I will never forget being super pregnant, wearing a team Edward tee, going to see New Moon in Orlando on opening weekend with her. The audience made it that much better!

You will never hear me diss Twilight fans. While not for me, the genre is right up my alley. And? I find that you’ll see a lot of literary criticism on what teenage girls and “moms” like to read, listen to, anything that becomes popular with women is often mocked or derided for someone’s idea of its merit. They find condemning stuff that they aren’t the target market for easy.

Plus? The popularity of things with these groups just shows me that these are likely underserved markets, starving for more. Let me stop here before I really start to rant…

Shameless Self-Promotion time!

The Witch in the Envelope is my debut novel and the first in the trilogy. I am very proud of myself for not quitting on this project even though my brain hated every second of my 5 minute stints at the computer and made me pay for it with dizziness and disabling migraines.

I hope Liddy’s story allows my readers to escape this harsh 2020 if even for a short time. I am now finding treatment that has helped me some as well as new technology that I am getting more comfortable with. I promise it will not be another 4 years for book 2 to hit shelves (I plan to release it in the spring or fall of 2021).

Book 1 in the TWITE series…

As a child, nightmares of a hauntingly beautiful yet vicious witch plagued Liddy Erickson. But when she wakes one morning with a deep gash on her chest in the same place the witch attacked her, she realizes these were no ordinary dreams. Shortly after she confides in her best friend, Will, his entire family disappears along with her memories of them.

It’s now 1998, and seventeen-year-old Liddy has one goal: to move out of the cold Chicago suburbs after graduation. Two things that are not in her perfectly planned life: fun and dating. That is until the new transfer student catches the eye of every girl at Wheeling High School. With intriguing scars and eyes that seem to glow, he awakens something inexplicable in Liddy and proves to know her even better than her closest friends. This forbidden attraction could be her greatest downfall…or her saving grace.

When a stranger with a distinct melodic chime to his walk saves Liddy from opening an enchanted envelope, he reveals an outrageous claim that she is a lost Watcher and the saving grace for their homeland, Cristes. As Christmas draws near, Liddy must decide if she can trust the stranger’s orders or risk condemning an entire nation.

Check Laura Detering out across the web!

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Amazon |