So What did you miss? Writing, Reading, and Events -- March - June 2024

So What did you miss? Writing, Reading, and Events -- March - June 2024

First, let’s do a little check in… it’s been a minute! A lot of life has happened since the last time I uploaded an post.

It looks like the last time I sat down to chat with y’all was right after the first quarter 20kin5Days.

So the update:

Some of you may have saw this on social media, but I think it’s important to actually put this here in a place where all of my readers can find it. Not to explain my abscene but to give a bit more background information on what I mean when I say “a lot of life happened.” 

In August of last year, my mother was diagnosed with a very rare, very aggressive bone marrow cancer. Seven years prior, she had a kidney transplant and due to the the years of being on dialysis, she was ineligible for a bone marrow transplant which made this diagnosis terminal. Throughout the fall, winter and spring of 2023 and early 2024, my sister and I have shared the duties of taking care of her and her home. She passed away on April 30th and June 1st we will be holding a memorial service for her. She was only 63 years old.

Mom was my first reader and one of my biggest supporters. It's been fun to go back and see the reviews she left on my books. She loved The Lust Diaries and it's spin off The Truth Duet. She was definitely the reason why I never felt all that worried about how those books would be received. 

As you can imagine, my mother passing at such a young age has led to a period of self reflection and it’s made it hard for me to show up in any real way. To be honest, this might to soon to jump back in, but I’m feeling a little bit closer to “new normal” so I figured I’d give it a try.

So, I recently wrapped up the #20kin5daysJune Writing Challenge, and I thought I'd share a bit about my journey, motivations, and what I worked on. Spoiler alert: it was both fun and intense, but totally worth it!

My main motivation was to dive deeper into a story that I fast drafted last winter — my sapphic Christmas romance featuring Kairo and Jerricka from my Small Town Romance Series. If you've read my Small Town Romance Series, you'll remember Kairo McCullough as Atlas’ best friend. In "A Taste of Her Own Medicine," we got a hint of her not-so-secret crush on Jerricka Whittaker, the charismatic barber and owner of Cutz and Cocktails. Readers ask me about these two often so I figured it was time to give the people what they want.

For me, this #20kin5daysJune challenge was the perfect opportunity to expand on their story.I've been wanting to give Kairo and Jerricka more time to shine, to explore their dynamic and let their relationship evolve naturally. There's something magical about a Christmas romance, right? The holiday season brings out all the feels and makes for the perfect backdrop to deepen their connection. And with Xmas in July coming up, there’s no better time to get these ladies wrapped up and ready to deliver. Plus, I don’t have a holiday story of any kind and I’ve wanted to add one to my catalog for years now, so this its a win-win!

For those of you who aren't familiar, #20kin5days is a challenge where writers aim to crank out 20,000 words in just five days. It sounds daunting, but it's amazing what you can achieve with a bit of focus and determination. Plus, being part of a community of writers all pushing towards the same goal is incredibly motivating.

During those five days, I found myself completely immersed in Kairo and Jerricka’s story. I explored their backstories, the charming quirks of the small town that I created for Soni, Birdie, and Agostina, and the blossoming of their relationship against that festive backdrop. Finally, seeing their story take shape so vividly on the page was incredibly rewarding.

Of course, there were moments of doubt and fatigue. Even when I’m operating at my usual 85-90% the doubt and fatigue are in the room with me. And my writing muscle was a bit out of shape, but I kept my head down and managed to add a little under 20k to Kairo and Jerricka’s story. Honestly, the support from fellow writers participating in the challenge was a game-changer. Sharing updates, cheering each other on, and knowing I wasn't alone in the struggle made a huge difference.

So, if you’re ever considering joining a writing challenge, I say go for it! It’s a great way to push your boundaries, make significant progress on your projects, and connect with a community of like-minded creatives. And who knows? You might just find that perfect groove to bring your story to life, just like I did with Kairo and Jerricka.

Latest Book Releases and Updates

I’m currently revising Under the Mistletoe, Kairo and Jerricka’s story, and I’m aiming for a Christmas in July release on the 25th. Watch this space for a cover reveal and a peek at chapter one to whet your… whistle.

Behind the Scenes

I think I can say with confidence that I’m officially out of burn out! Everybody clap! I’ve been writing TONS and can’t wait to share the things I’m working on with y’all — both fiction and non-fiction. During burnout, I never stopped trying to write so there are lots of ideas in my random idea file that are just waiting to be finished. And now that me and my brain are friends again, I’m going to finish them. I’ve  also written some short craft books for romance authors that I’ll be dropping toward the end of July or early August. Two books in my nonfiction catalog are getting revamped/expanded: Basic Character Creation Workbook and the #20kin5Days Prep Book.

Also, I’m still plugging away on Marrow Bone Creek. I finally have a description for what I think this series will be.

Marrow Bone Creek is a Southern Gothic, Paranormal Women’s Fiction, and Horror Romance Anthology series set in a haunted Appalachian lake resort town. There’s something for everyone here, and it will center the narratives of Black and Indigenous Peoples in the region. It’s a story about generational curses, blood debts, and the enduring power of community and heritage in the face of supernatural forces. The series delves into the complex relationships and histories that bind the townspeople together, exploring themes of love, loss, and redemption as they confront the dark secrets lurking beneath the surface of their idyllic town. Through the lens of horror and romance, Marrow Bone Creek weaves a tapestry of interconnected lives and untold stories, all while honoring the deep cultural roots and resilience of its diverse characters.

The world I’m building here is big. Bigger than anything I’ve ever done and for that reason, I’m kinda nervous about how I’m going to share all of it. My kneejerk is to give all of it to you at once, but that’s not going to make sense. I’m still playing around with ideas. Maybe y’all have some suggestions. Should I start my Patreon back up? Start something like it on my website? Vella? Radish? Just release the books without introducing you to this massive world I’ve built in the last three years? Tell me what y’all think!

What I'm Reading:

One of my favorite things about planning, plotting, and writing this Marrow Bone Creek series has been the research. I can’t remember how long it’s been since I created a DIY MFA in Black Folklore, but I’ve read and learned so much! Back in April for Poetry Month, I read Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place by bell hooks and was hooked by the very first poem, but that is one of many books about Affrilachia that have exposed me to a world and my people in a way that still surprises me. I’m slowly making my way through this Kentucky Voices series. They’re not all my cup of tea but they have all informed my work on this series in some way and some in very surprising ways. No matter how long I’ve been at this, I always find these little connections my mind makes so interesting, but back to the first poem in this book. They’re numbered and not titled.

I don’t know how this happened but this poem, the very first poem in this book, is the whole theme of Marrow Bone Creek. The cycles of death, decay, birth and rebirth, are all present in this series and this poem embodies it! This is the thing that I love about research. It always makes my longer, more detailed books richer. And I just like learning new things. Over the next few months I’m going to be sharing bits of this world with you so keep an eye out for that.

Writing Tips & Shit

Over on there are a bunch of blog posts for romance authors and if you haven’t started listening to the podcast, you’ve got some episodes to catch up on before I start it back up again. Last quarter’s focus was author branding there’s a few posts on that as well as some free Branding For Wordmakers course. You can also find the dates for the next Wordmaker Community events! Next up is the mid year Plan-A-thon. I’m also restarting my once a week #JustTheTipTuesday posts which will focus on romance which will be an ongoing series. This series will be good for authors and readers in my opinon and will start from the basics. Let’s call it Romance 101. The first post goes live THIS Tuesday, July 2nd!

Also, if you’re looking to take advantage of my editing services, sign up for the Wordmakers newsletter! Subscribers hear about those openings first and if I fill my books, I don’t promote again until the end of the quarter.

Events and Appearances

If you’re interested in seeing me live and absurd, One Love Reunion is happening this month in Nashville! It’s basically a guaranteed hook up with all my fav author friends so if you’re down to clown, you should come through!

Promotions and Deals

If you haven’t read Liquor & Laundry yet, the ebook is on sale in my store. This is a short, filthy, sweet, but intense story that handles some complex inner conflict. There’s a lot packed in this novella, but it is a novella, so be cognizant of that before you grab your copy. I'm also revisiting this series soonish! 

If you’re unaware, Katrina Jackson is one of my fav people in romancelandia.

She’s rereleasing her Welcome to Seaport Series with new covers, character art, and I’ve heard that there are audiobooks in the works too! She’s soft launching a Kickstarter to get this done so make sure you jump on her newsletter to know when it goes live!


Another of my favs, Brynn Renée aka, Jack Harbon is running a sale on one of her most popular books, Meet Cute Club, so make sure you bounce over there and grab it while the getting is good!

If you enjoyed this rambling braindump why not share it with your friends? Spread the love and let them in on all the latest updates and fun stuff I've got going on here. I’d love to hear from you! Got feedback or suggestions for what you’d like to see in future here? Drop in the comments and let me know. Your input helps make this community even better.




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