Happy Autumn!

Happy Autumn, Aledan Merfolk! It’s been an entire season since I’ve seen you (although I’ve been on Twitter, obviously), so I thought I’d update you on what’s been happening here. Let’s go in backwards order!

Nebo Retreat!

Last weekend I went to Nebo, NC for a writing retreat on Lake James, and I wrote an entirely new first scene for Fie Eoin! My agent read the first two chapters last month and sent back notes, one of them being that the book starts too late and I needed a new first chapter to set up the current first chapter. So I went back to the first day Kindra tries to join the trainees and started there (I tried to go back to when her father died, but I just couldn’t make it work). I actually really like the new beginning, and I’m going to try to get another scene in there if I can. If I can’t I still think it works better than the current first chapter. Of course, now I have to edit the current first chapter again to delete the info you find out in the new first chapter. Wheee editing!

Two days before Nebo, Hurricane Irma hit. And while we didn’t get the brunt of the storm, it was still extremely windy and rainy, and three tornadoes touched down within a mile of our house – scary! We all made it through just fine (even the chickens) with only one large branch coming down and a small lake in the front yard. This weekend is devoted to cleaning up the small stick debris in the backyard. Fun.

I was able to see my new niece twice this summer, the first time when I went home to visit my momma on her birthday (and because she got a new kidney!), and then when my sister came down Charleston way to visit for a week. So here’s some baby pictures, because you can never have too many baby pictures:

And speaking of babies…we had a baby! A baby squirrel! ^_^ “Puppy” was only with us for a few days before he went to the vet to continue rehabbing, but Hops the dog was absolutely in love with her puppy, and I was pretty fond of him too. Still, cats and baby squirrels don’t mix.

And last but not least, I’ve read a ton in the past two months since I’ve seen you! Last I posted, I was reading CITY STAINED RED and I finished that on the boat last weekend (yes, there was a boat at the retreat!). It was REALLY GOOD. I especially liked page 470, when Asper the super pacifist kicks someone’s ass (he deserves it). I read that page four times.

I also read STILETTO by Daniel O’Malley, THE OBELISK GATE and THE STONE SKY by N.K Jemisin (Holy Carp you guys, this series was one of the best I’ve ever read!), the BOBIVERSE series by Dennis E. Taylor (super fun sci-fi that I just re-started listening to yesterday), THE GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE by Mackenzi Lee, and AGENT TO THE STARS and REDSHIRTS by John Scalzi.

Finally, I’ll leave you with this thought from Speak the Ocean. Being an author is weird.

Have a wonderful weekend, Aledans, and a wonderful autumn! I’ll try to update more often this season 🙂

 

What a Wild Spring! (pic heavy)

Happy Friday, Aledan Merfolk! We’re a little over a week into summer, and I’ve barely posted any updates this year. I was silent for pretty much all of spring, with the giant exception of my publishing news, so I wanted to catch you up real quick.

Spring started with the birth of my niece, who I absolutely adore:

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Hubs and I spent a week visiting her, her extremely tired parents, and Mt. Vernon, where we made a new friend:

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It was a windy day!

And for two months everything went back to normal. I read/listened to a bunch of books: The Vicious Deep series by Zoraida Cordova (I’d already read this series, but re-read it this spring), A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab, The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu (I liked it until the ending, which was just disappointing for me), Mechanical Failure by Joe Zieja (TWICE! I listened to the audiobook and it was so hilarious and I started it over and listened again!), The Paper Magician triology by Charlie Holmburg (Emery <3), The Seafarer’s Kiss by my agent-sister Julia Ember (f/f Little Mermaid/Vikings!), Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta (which quickly became my FAVORITE BOOK EVER! It’s so beautifully written and feminist af), Binti Home by Nnedi Okorafor, When Dimple Met Rishi by one of my real-life BFFs Sandhya Menon (the most adorable meet-cute you’ll ever read <3), The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (if you haven’t heard of this one, well I just can’t help you), and Our Dark Duet also by V.E. Schwab (that last chapter, guys, oof).

Now I’m listening to Stiletto by Daniel O’Malley (sequel to The Rook, which I enjoyed), reading The City Stained Red by Sam Sykes in paperback, and Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor in ebook. Why yes, I do read multiple things at the same time.

For much of the spring I was also working on editing StO into a YA, but that’s no longer necessary because Reuts bought it as an adult book! I actually found out about it the day before I left for NYC, and you can read all about that here. If you haven’t already, you can add SPEAK THE OCEAN to your Goodreads TBR list!

And the next day I left for NYC! It was overwhelming and awesome and I can’t wait to go back! We saw The Colbert Report and Waitress (with Sara Bareilles <3), ate at Delmonicos, Lupa, Russ and Daughters, and this amazing, tiny, Trini place called Trinidad Golden Palace (it was actually my favorite food of the whole trip!). We also wandered around the city and met up with one of my CPs, Natasha Razi!

Right before the trip I dyed my hair bright magenta with blonde streaks. I wanted to look like my mermaid Erie (she’s on the Home page, if you’re curious)

And last but not least, my mom got her new kidney! I’m going to see her in July, and my niece will be there too, so I’m sure I’ll be back with another photo-heavy post 🙂 Until then it’s time to finish editing Fie Eoin before I get my StO edit letter! MY FIRST OFFICIAL EDIT LETTER FROM AN EDITOR!

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Me being super excited on the subway after WAITRESS!

You Can Add SPEAK THE OCEAN to Goodreads!

Hello again, Aledan Merfolk! It’s a big week around here (if you missed yesterday’s post, StO is going to be PUBLISHED!), and shortly after the announcement yesterday, a Goodreads Librarian made a page for Speak the Ocean! Which means you can add it to your TBR and it’ll email you when it’s published!

Check it out here: SPEAK THE OCEAN

Speak the Ocean is going to be PUBLISHED!

Happy Wednesday, Aledan MERFOLK! I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted, but I haven’t updated because I haven’t been able to talk about the most exciting thing: SPEAK THE OCEAN is going to be published by Reuts!

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Haven’t heard of SPEAK THE OCEAN yet? Here’s the Publisher’s Marketplace announcement:

Mermaids and Margaritas for everyone!

I actually found out the day before we left for our NYC trip (I know I still haven’t posted pictures from the trip…I’ve been kind of overwhelmed). I finished my work a couple hours early, went to the bathroom, and BAM! A text from my agent asking me to call him. That’s right, friends, I found out I was going to be published in the bathroom (this is why I didn’t call you immediately, Eric) ^_^

The past few weeks have been a complete whirlwind, but I spoke with my editor and signed the contract on Monday!

Signing

Why yes, that is a MERPONY t-shirt that says “I couldn’t get anymore magical if I tried.”

I’ll have more details later, like publication dates and whatnot, so make sure you follow the blog, my Facebook Page, or Twitter to keep up to date!

I’m an Auntie!

Happy Friday, Aledan Merfolk! It’s been a long time since I’ve updated you, and if you follow me on Twitter you know why. There’s been a lot going on, but I’m here today to tell you about the best of it:

Meet my niece, Sophie!

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I have never been a baby person, but I AM IN LOVE <3 We spent last weekend with her, and the only time I put her down was when Hubs begged to hold her instead (he is also in love).

Here, have some more pictures:

We also spent some time with college friends, toured the Smithsonians, and hung out with the animals at Mount Vernon, but tiny Sophie was by far the best part of the weekend and I miss her so much already <3

Now that we’re home, I’m back on the editing train! It’s been a month since I’ve done any really good writing stuff (I’ve mostly been reading in preparation for editing), so it’s nice to be back on the horse pony (dolphin?) 🙂

Have a wonderful weekend, Aledans. I’m going to spend mine Skyping with my sister and niece!

A “Short” Update of Writing and Reading and Yoga

Happy Thursday, Aledan Merfolk! This is going to be a quick update, because I’ve got a cold that’s turning my brain fuzzy, but I wanted to let you know that I finished STORY FIX and figured out how to fix the Kaye parts of Fie Eoin! I know who her antagonist is (it’s not who you’d guess), and I’ve started rewriting her half of the book with this in mind (which is also aging her voice up, which was desperately needed).

Of course then this cold hit and fuzzed up my brain, AND my agent-sister Erica Cameron had a book birthday on Tuesday, so I’ve put aside FE for a moment to read ISLAND OF EXILES. This book is so beautiful. Every chapter has artwork in the heading, and the glossary has artwork, and the cover is simply gorgeous! The writing’s good too 😉

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Look how beautiful that is!

Instead of listening to an audiobook lately, I’ve been getting ready for bed with the Sleep With Me podcast (based on the recommendation of another agent-sister, Bassey). I really like the Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes, because Hubs and I have been re-watching the show for the past year and a half (usually only one or two episodes a week, which is why it’s taking so long).

I’m happy to say that last week I did yoga four times! I wanted to keep that up this week, but if I did downward-facing-dog right now three pounds of snot would run onto my mat, so I’m going to wait until this cold is done to pick that back up. Yoga with Adriene has a 30-day yoga primer that starts with an Ease Into It session and gets progressively more difficult. I really like the instructor, and needed to start out with something easier, so I’m enjoying these sessions a lot.

This quick updated ended up being a little longer than I anticipated, so I’m going to stop here and go buy some more cold medicine. Have a wonderful weekend, Aledans, and I’ll see you soon!

Baby Showers and Activism

Happy Friday, Aledan Merfolk! It’s been a long, draining week that started in a tiny plane and running from one side of Dulles airport to the other with all my bags in three minutes, and ended with my neck and rib going out in an excruciatingly painful manner (probably because of said plane and running). The neck and rib are back in place and I made the connecting flight, so everything’s good, but I’m exhausted and ready for a weekend at home filled with reading, writing, and animals (and possibly another trip to the theater to see Rogue One).

Last weekend I flew home to Michigan for my little sister’s baby shower. Her belly was so big, and I got to feel my niece kick! It was wonderful <3 I saw lots of friends and family for the first time in years (the last time I saw most of them was my sister’s wedding), and we had a wonderful time celebrating this new little nasty woman while other women around the world were marching. We also played Catan and went to see Hidden Figures, which was the best way I could think to spend the day of the inauguration.

Ah, the inauguration. All week (hell, since the election), I’ve been drowning in politics. Several folks posted this article: How to #StayOutraged Without Losing Your Mind, and one of the points was to chose the issues that are most important to you and focus on those, otherwise you’ll drown trying to focus on everything. So I’ve chosen my issues: women’s reproductive rights (I set up monthly donations to Planned Parenthood last year), and science, especially now that the EPA and other government agencies are under a gag order. I’ll RT other causes to bring awareness, and do what I can, but I’m focusing on the two things that are most important to me at the moment.

In reading news, I finished possibly the best overall series I’ve ever read with MORNING STAR by Pierce Brown. I really can’t say enough amazing things about this series, especially considering the political climate we’ve found ourselves in. I also caught up on the Gentleman Bastards series with THE REPUBLIC OF THIEVES which was possibly my favorite of the series because Sabetha is such a great character.

Other than the audiobooks, I’ve been reading STORY FIX to fix my stories. And it’s working! I figured out what’s wrong with Kaye’s storyline in Fie Eoin, but I haven’t successfully figured out how to fix it yet. I’m going to try to write a query for her side of the story to see where I can strengthen it and see if that helps me figure out how. She needs more conflict, and to tie into the core story more, but I’m not quite yet sure how to get there and keep what I need to happen in. Either way, I highly recommend Story Fix if you’re floundering with your novel.

Keep working, keep fighting, and enjoy your weekend, Aledans!

Me and my “sisters” celebrating little Nugget <3

Welcome to the new(ish) Mermaids and Margaritas!

Happy Thursday, Aledan Merfolk! At the end of last year I told you Mermaids and Margaritas was moving to a new site, and here we are (same address, but self-hosted). Everything looks pretty similar to what it used to be, and everything should be moved over, but you’ll notice the colors aren’t so glaring and there’s some beautiful Erie artwork by Diana Beebe in the sidebar now (you can see the whole picture on the Home page).

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. Hubs and I had a very low-key but lots-of-food season. We played a lot of video games and watched a lot of movies and read a few books. Since THE HATE U GIVE (which you have to read), I’ve read THE PURLOINED POODLE (an IRON DRUID CHRONICLES short story, from the POV of Oberon the Irish Wolfhound), RED RISING by Pierce Brown, and it’s sequel GOLDEN SON (OMG THAT ENDING!), and a CP book that I loved but can’t tell you about yet. I dnf-ed WINTERSONG – I liked the first half okay, but the second half was too slow for me and I wasn’t that invested. I started TRUTHWITCH by Susan Dennard and THIS SAVAGE SONG by Victoria Schwab.

So, it’s 2017. Last year was both amazing (I signed with an agent!) and horrible (election and then Hubs lost his job for a month). I have to confess, I haven’t done a damn thing writing-wise since November. I did write a little Yule/Ocean fluff scene (I wrote it on Yule, set during Yule, because that’s how I roll), but I haven’t done any actual work. It’s time to hop back on that pony and take the reins, so I’m reading STORY FIX by Larry Brooks to make a plan to get Fie Eoin in shape.

Guess what else I’m getting in shape? ME. I know, everyone’s doing that in January, but it’s really really time to actually stick to it. So no drinking on weekdays, yoga at least twice a week, and I need to get to some cardio (now’s the time to do it – it’s cool enough to run outside right now. Come summer I’ll have to get a gym membership to run or do it at like 3am so I don’t die of heat stroke). Have I mentioned how much I hate running? But I have audiobooks now, so I’m hoping that’ll work better than music. They even make cleaning the bathroom not so bad.

And that’s the beginning to 2017. Newish website. Newish Me. But as always: working on Fie Eoin 😉 Have a wonderful beginning to your new year, Aledans, and I’ll see you back here on Sunday for a gorgeous custom pony!

A very happy Boudin. Just because.

Screw You November; Thank you December

Happy Friday, Aledan Merfolk! It’s been over a month since I updated you on my life, and there’s a good reason for that. Everything went to absolute shit in November. My entire life was turned upside down (not just because of the election, but that’s certainly part of it) and it’s only just starting to right itself again.

After my read-a-thon in October, I was finally feeling really creative and started working on Fie Eoin (again. Yes, I know, hush), and then the election happened. I stayed up until almost four am, mostly crying, but also railing against the universe for being so utterly stupid. When I went to work Weds morning I was scared and sleep-deprived and depressed, and I had no idea it could get even worse.

My husband called me at lunch. His company had “re-organized” because of the election results and his position had disappeared. Not twelve hours after the election was called, my husband lost his job.

And thus started the shittiest month of my life. Aside from Thanksgiving weekend, I haven’t slept in four weeks. I caught a bad cold the next week because I was so stressed out (and drunk most nights) that I tanked my immune system. I’ve had horrible canker sores for most of that time (stress and/or processed sugar does this to me – did you know your epiglottis and tonsils can both get canker sores? That’s fun). Paying bills left me in tears because I knew I wouldn’t be able to pay next month.

But so many of Hub’s coworkers have been working overtime trying to find him a new position in the company, and this week it paid off: Hubs has a new position in the company!

After a month hanging out by my ears, my shoulders are sore now that they’ve gone back to their normal position as my shoulders. And sleep! Holy Aleda, I think I could sleep for two weeks straight and still not be caught up. Yesterday I slept through the chickens screaming to be let out of the coop. I was so tired I pulled their cries into a dream that I was letting them out, and when Hubs got up to let them out I told him I already did it (I hadn’t – they’d been screaming for half an hour).

Other than Thanksgiving, which was low-key and as relaxing as it possibly could be, there was one really bright spot in my November: YAllFest. As always, the huge YA Lit book festival was amazing, and heart-filling, and so needed this year. I went with one bookish goal in mind: get a copy of THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas. And not only did I accomplish my goal of getting an arc, but I also met Angie and got my arc signed! And you guys, this book was so devastatingly good. So absolutely needed that I’ll be running a giveaway for the one I pre-ordered closer to the pub date. I also plan to run a giveaway for some of the other arcs and swag that I picked up that weekend, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

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Angie is such a sweetheart! Go pre-order her book!

I hope you have a wonderful, relaxing, life-affirming weekend and holiday season, Aledans. If you need a shoulder to cry on, I’m here <3

October Was A Busy Month (with photos!)

Happy Friday, Aledan Merfolk! The last time we spoke, I was cleaning up post-hurricane. There’s still one pile of leaves/branches in the backyard that we have to get bagged up, but it hasn’t rained since Matthew and I’m sick of inhaling all that dust (every time I blow my nose it’s black from dust), so we’re waiting until after it rains to get that final pile cleaned up. Despite that final pile, all the animals are super happy that the backyard is once again back to normal.

Look at all those happy animals! And a bonus picture of Modelo looking like a cat instead of a shadow (he’s a Havana Brown, which means he usually looks all-black until the sun hits him just right and you can see he’s actually dark brown).

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My sister and I

Aside from hurricane cleanup, it’s been a busy month. My little sister came to Charleston for the weekend and I got to see her tiny baby bump! I bought my niece her first My Little Pony (Princess Twilight Sparkle, of course) <3 And Hubs and I went to see Loreena McKennitt in concert, and I cried through basically the entire thing. The concert was SO good, and we were SO close to the stage. Then we stayed downtown that night to pretend we were on vacation 🙂

I also finished my edits, and have started working on Fie Eoin again. And I read. Holy gods have I read. After months of struggling to get through books, I devoured the following this month: EMPIRE OF STORMS (it took me a while to get into this one, but once I hit the halfway point I was hooked), A HALL OF KEYS AND NO DOORS, A WORLD WITHOUT YOU, THE PAPER MAGICIAN, AND I DARKEN, THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA, and I’m currently reading THE PURLOINED POODLE and THE HUNDRED THOUSAND KINGDOMS. Half of those were audiobooks, which means I’ve been super busy at work, because it usually takes me a month to get through an audiobook.

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Panoramic of the Loreena McKennitt concert

And that was my super busy October. Birthdays and Hurricanes and Clean-up and Family and Concerts and Editing and Reading. Whew! I’m sleeping in tomorrow.

Oh yeah, and I did one other thing:

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Just helping to stop the apocalypse in my spare time…

Have a wonderful weekend, Aledans!