Happy Halloween! Scary Stories, Creepy Houses, and Reflections on The Hallowed

Not long ago, I gave release details for my upcoming novel, The Hallowed, to prepare for publishing later this year. After reading the Gothic horror novel for the first time in a long while, one thing that I decided quickly was that it needed a bit more detail in the timeline and setting.

In my past writings, I’ve always been very vague about the setting, always seeking something fictional and fairytale-like; a hint of ‘once upon a time, in a land far away’. I’ve always been content with that, but recently I’ve felt a need to assign a time period to my stories, at least so that the reader will know that it’s a historical piece going in. Otherwise, how are they to know for certain?

It was not too difficult to decide on this for The Hallowed. I chose the Pyrenees Mountains of France, late 1700s, during the French Revolution. Though this information will play a small part in the story overall, it gives a hint of realism and an acknowledgement of the outside world beyond the story.

This got me thinking. When writing a Gothic horror piece, atmosphere is important. Which brings focus to one of the most important elements of all: the house.


I daresay that the house (or castle, or whatever the setting might be) is as important as any character. The creepiness of the house, the secrets it offers, cannot be overlooked. These places must be precisely mapped, so that the reader feels that they, too, are wandering the hallways at the character’s back.

In The Hallowed, the house is an old chateau in the mountains, built along treacherous terrain. Despite the size of the house, the family is small and there are few servants in the place, creating a dark and quiet setting for the characters to wander about in. It creates a creepy, lonely, afraid-of-the-dark vibe. And of course, there are plenty of hidden secrets.

Perhaps it would have been nice to release The Hallowed before Halloween, in this month that everyone seems happy to focus on the creepy side of things (even those who don’t really like it), but I say that it’s fun to read scary stories all year! In fact, some of us would rather have that in a book.

While all of my fairy tales have a dark twist, I have a select few that are definitely more on the horror/gothic/weird side, which capture the essence of loneliness, despair, and terror — usually in a creepy house setting.

I like spooky houses. What can I say?

Here are a few of my books that go along with the Halloween vibe:

The People in the Rickety House — Did I ever tell you that this book was inspired by a house that one of my childhood friends lived in? It was this big historical house and seemed so open and endless to me — just old and cold and empty sometimes — but I always loved it. Sometimes it seemed like we were the only people in that house, but other times… This book is about a girl and her sister, who lose both of their parents and are sent to live with their aunt in a rickety house in the sticks. At first, Leah’s only concern is her sadness, boredom, and neglect. But then she discovers the ghost in the attic.

The Needle’s Eye — This one is about a secluded island castle instead of a house, but the idea applies. A creepy childhood story, an ominous fog, and a decaying castle (evil spirits included). Three sisters are cursed by three dead princes, and are destined to spend a night on a hidden island, snared by an old story that they are forced to relive. This one is…not for the faint of heart, but it’s mysterious and intriguing all the same. Keep the lights on.

Roses and Black Glass: A Dark Cinderella Tale — Most of my fairy tale retellings are dark fantasy, but this one leans more on the gothic horror side. In early America, our Cinderella works in a morgue. If that’s not enough, her prince is also pretty intrigued by dead bodies. A perfect match, some might say. Throw in a “fairy godmother” who might be a witch, and a prophecy that promises a body count, and you’re in for a ride that gives you everything you’d expect from a Cinderella story (evil step-family, a ball, a beautiful dress, and a glass shoe) plus a few elements that you never would have expected in this bloody good love story.

The Hallowed — Now, I know this one isn’t released yet, but you can get a head-start to reading it over on Wattpad, where I have the first few chapters posted (updated to match the published version). This one is definitely a love story, but not as you might expect. It’s about a man and woman who both have amnesia, and find themselves in a strange house with an odd family. The only link they have is to each other — and they must use that to discover who they are, what brought them to the house, and why they cannot seem to leave…until certain things happen, which may lead a reader to wonder: can they even trust each other? Also, it can be preordered on Amazon. November 7!!

(I didn’t include The Nutcracker Bleeds, because I’ll be revamping that one soon, as I mentioned in my last post, but it is also very horrific, and focuses on a house. And I love it!)

What’s your favorite scary moment in my books? (But without too many plot spoilers please!)

51L5wU1+DnLI’ve decided that in the midst of reading (proofing) my own works, I also needed to read something spooky for Halloween, so I’ve chosen a book called Elizabeth.

It was originally written in 1972, and recently republished. It’s about a fourteen year old girl who might be a witch (or is at least a sociopath). I really enjoy this type of psychological story where you don’t quite know if the narrator is reliable or not. It reminds me of We Have Always Lived in the Castle, another of my favorite books. I’m enjoying it!


So not long ago, I said I would try to read/promote more indie books, and it occurs to me that I already have one to talk about! Especially for this spooky time. A while I ago, I read a book called Ripper by Nikolai Watson. I wrote a review for it over on Goodreads.

As you might guess, it’s a re-imagining of the Jack the Ripper legend. Along with Elizabeth, this one is also a psychological horror, and the best thing about this book is the voice of the narrator as you witness him slipping further into madness and after a while, aren’t even sure whether to trust him.

It’s definitely for horror-lovers, and there are a few cringe-worthy moments, but I really enjoyed reading it! Check it out and show some support for the indie community! We’re not all bad. :p

This week, I finalized The Hallowed and began reading The Nutcracker Bleeds for my second edition edit. That’s going well, but I truly hope to have the first read complete by Tuesday so that I can prepare myself for NaNo. I have a lot of notes for my new book, but I really need to sort through them and get a clear idea for what I’ll be doing when NaNo officially begins on Wednesday! My intention is to go above and beyond with this one — maybe double the word count each day and actually manage to finish this book by the end of the month. I’m not sure if that’s going to happen, but that’s my goal.

Oh hey! There is a Goodreads Giveaway listed for The Hallowed! US only. Check it out!!

And the new Nevermor covers have been updated for the print edition!


Nevermor Cover Updates, Getting Ready to Write, and COFFEE!

While working on my new Nutcracker Bleeds cover with Omri Koresh (Who is amazing. Have I said how amazing he is?) he was so kind as to update my Nevermor covers as well! The art is still the same, but the backs of the printed books have a different layout and the spine is just a little more elaborate. Eeeeee! It’s funny how I can get excited over a little gold filigree, but playing dress-up with books is fun! These are my babies. They deserve the best.

Here’s a preview:












I haven’t updated them as of yet, but I will very soon. I’m not going to stir a lot of fanfare toward this update, but I thought I’d share it with you! I’ll update them all at once, so that if the set is ordered together, they will match. 🙂

It is my dream to one day have all of my covers updated to beautiful art, but that is a work in progress that will likely be ongoing for a while. Still! I feel lucky to have what I do. Nevermor looks beautiful and my artist is the best!

NaNo is fast approaching, and suddenly I feel like I have a lot of work to do in the next week that is not going to be done before NaNo starts. That’s alright, I guess. I’ll just do what I can until then, and then take on a bit more of it through November if I can find the time. I was hoping to just zone out and think about nothing but writing, but maybe I can still reach the word count while I’m busy with editing and other things.

So last week, I had this little hint of fear for just a second while I was thinking about the book I am planning to write in November. All of a sudden I was like “what if I can’t do it anymore?” I haven’t written anything completely new in a while (successfully) and while I think my eye for editing is keener than ever, I was a little fearful of producing an entire story. I thought, what if my life has changed so much and I can’t connect with the characters like I used to?

Before, when I would write, I had long stretches of time where I could sit and ponder and work without worrying about outside factors (such as being called in at work, or having weird shifts at work or…mostly work). But more than that, do I still have it in me?

It’s probably just my anxiety kicking in. I don’t feel it as strongly now, but for a moment, I was worried.

But that’s silly! Of course I can do it. And even if the first draft is crap, I can always fix it later! Gotta stay positive. Maybe I’m putting too much pressure on this work. I mean for it to be a return to my best, and dammit! that has to happen.

Have I mentioned before that I really love coffee? Like, really. I’m not a tea person. I’m definitely a coffee person. The darker the roast, the better. But I don’t drink it black. I still need cream and sugar, but not so much that it doesn’t taste like coffee anymore. It’s a delicate balance. (You understand.) I’m also one of those people who hates it when the waitress comes by and tops off my coffee without asking. It disrupts the balance!!

Does it sound like I wrote this while I was hyped up on caffeine? Because I probably am.

Autumn is for coffee and writing and Autumn’s Grey Solace, which is one of my favorite bands to write to. They have a mellow, eerie sound that I love. It puts me at ease.

Give them a listen! I have to get more coffee now…

As far as what I’ve been doing this week, I’m reading The Hallowed one last time to make sure it’s perfect before the release date. I’m collecting images and gathering inspiration for my NaNo novel (which I may be willing to talk about just a little bit in the coming weeks) and then I’ll be shifting over to reread The Nutcracker Bleeds again before the release date. Also, I think I’m going to format a few of my other works for wide distribution (which I hate to do, because Kindle formatting is so simple!!) But anyway. There is a lot to do! I already feel the end of the year rushing up on me. That’s a weird feeling. I guess since I have to plan out my year in chunks because projects take so much time, this is what happens. I feel more organized now though, and I’m ready to tackle this!

Let’s go! Bring on the coffee!

Also, there is now a Goodreads Giveaway open for The Hallowed! Sign up!

Book Promotion, Mainstream Fiction, and Being an Introvert

I think most know that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result.

I feel that way about my publishing sometimes. I create a book, I edit and try to make it the best it can be, I make a cover, I put it together, and I release it to the world, telling only my own fans about it (for the most part). And somehow, I expect that I will sell more copies than the book I released before it. And though I seek different variations of this and wonder what else I can do to sell more books, I never reach very far because I either don’t know what to do/don’t feel comfortable doing it.

I’m a major introvert. I have a lot of trouble with anxiety, I think too much, and I’m also prone to mild manic/depressive episodes where I get super hyped for something and then I suddenly can’t bring myself to do the thing. It’s difficult for someone like me to promote herself. I’ve gotten a bit better with the social anxiety, and while it might be nice to operate locally with a book signing or something, I have other reasons for not doing that. So I stay in one spot. I latch onto what I can manage, and I tend to stick with it because reaching for other things makes me uncomfortable.

I’ve always thought there are two different kinds of writers: there is the kind that likes to get out among the people and connect with them, and there is the kind that likes to sit in a corner and hopes they get paid for what they write, but they don’t really want people to notice them.

I’m the second type. And I have to wonder: why would people notice me when I don’t want to be noticed?

Not long ago, I feel that I started going down the wrong road — for me personally. I started thinking too much about my writing in terms of what’s popular, and thinking I ought to alter what I do in order to appeal to more readers. The truth is, I’ve never wanted to be popular among the masses. I mean, doing what you love is important, but it’s also important to make money so that you can keep doing it, but I’ve never wanted to push my books off on someone who I didn’t think would enjoy them. If a reader is drawn to my book and they read and happen to like it, then YAY! Read more!! But I’m not the kind of person who wants to stand on the corner and try to make a sale to everyone who walks by.

So, the moral is that I really just need to get right with myself. I think my true fans will notice, and I will definitely notice it myself.

For my last few published books this year, I’ve tried to push myself a bit further each time. I’ve tried to market and get the word out in various forms, but I never reach very far. I’m going to do better.

I’m also reexamining my mission statement (I actually do have one): In an ocean of so many popular books that are read and forgotten, I strive to write books that stay with a reader long afterward. Those that are different. Those that encourage you to think. Those that you’ll never forget. I like to think that all of my books have a touch of something that makes them memorable, and I can’t throw that away.

In addition to The Hallowed being released in November (which I will likely mention continually until it happens) I’m pleased to say that I’m still on track with the other things I plan to do this year. 2018 is still in the future and is blacked out as far as I’m concerned. It doesn’t even exist yet, but I want to work on what I currently have going on and I think the results will be great.

For the books I’ve released this year, I’ve been starting them all on KDP, at least for the first 3 months. People seem to be reading them, but Amazon/Kindle is very unclear about how much I’m making from those reads. It’s very odd. I’ve been trying to figure out how all of that works but really, it’s sketchy at best. Of those books, I still have not moved them on to other sales channels because I haven’t decided if I should, or if I should just out them back into KDP. Has anyone else had any luck understanding all this?

In addition, I’ve reduced prices on most of my print books! I’ve realized that in my own book shopping, I have a price point I like to hit, and I always look at the number of pages I’m getting for the price. I don’t want to buy a small book for an outrageous price, so I’ve examined my own books and reduced the prices (to test). Prices now range from 5.99 to the usual 14.99. Many of my full length novels are now 10.99. I think that works better for a paperback. I know I’d be more willing to pay that price for a book.

Also, I’m just too excited to not talk about this, even though it’s early and I’m supposed to only talk about The Hallowed, but I can’t stop myself.

Soon (December probably) I’m going to release a 2nd Edition of The Nutcracker Bleeds! New edit, new description, new graphic design, new cover art, with commentary!! It looks amazing, just as it always should have looked, and I am sooooo excited! I’m not going to show it yet — no no, it’s not time yet.

I’m sitting here plotting evilly about it right now. Muahaha

I’m going to do more giveaways soon, before Christmas (yes, I know it’s still October) but I feel that I’ve had real luck getting noticed this year, so I want to keep that up. Wish me luck!

Question though… am I moving too fast? I know I’ve been putting out a lot of work recently, but I want to stay on the map.

Also, The Hallowed!

And thank you all for being here!Hallowed ad

The Hallowed Release Details and Indie Book Boxes

FINALLY The Hallowed is finished. It’s edited, it’s printed, it’s up for preorder. 😉 The book will be released on TUESDAY NOVEMBER 7, and will be available on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited. And as always, there is a special price for preorders of the ebook. (the print version should be available on the same day. No preorders for that one.)

Amazon preorder

Add it on Goodreads!

Here’s the cover!! Do you like it? I think it gives off the Gothic vibe, just short of having a ‘woman running from house’ image on the front.

Hallowed front cover

A beautiful woman. A handsome man. A secluded manor, and a family with wealth and intrigue. But it only sounds like a fairy tale…

Celia wakes up to a room she doesn’t remember, in a house she cannot recall. Suffering from amnesia, she doesn’t even recognize her own face.

Her circumstances only get stranger from there.

She meets the LaCroix family, who took her into their home after an accident that left her unconscious and confused, but there is something unsettling about them. Irving, the head of the house, is more than hospitable. His wife, Anjessica, pale and pregnant, seems to grow sicker by the day. Baltus, an elderly gentleman, looks at Celia with an interest that disturbs her. The youngest member of the family, Maynard, stares at the floor and hardly says a word. Twin maids keep watch over the house with hard stares.

Then there is Adam.

Celia doesn’t remember him, but they share a common bond: they were in the same accident. Somehow, he doesn’t remember her either. They must rediscover each other to unlock the past, but the attraction between them is so strong that neither wants to complain. They are invited to stay as long as they’d like while they recover their memories, but it doesn’t take long for Celia and Adam to decide that they don’t want to stay in the sprawling mountainside chateau.

All around them, doors are locked. Someone is always watching. Celia and Adam must rely on one another as they plan for a means of escape – and try to uncover the secret of why the family will not let them go.

Are you a blogger or reviewer who’d like a copy? Contact me! bountyhunter_lani@hotmail.com


Back in July, I was lucky enough to have my book Nevermor requested for the Literary Vacation Club Book Subscription Box, and that was very exciting for me! The idea of having my books in a subscription box had crossed my mind before, but I wasn’t sure how to go about it. Now I’m thinking that this might not be a bad thing for me. So this week, I’ve been researching other indie book boxes (and otherwise) in an effort to get more of my books out there. I have a couple of prospects, but nothing definite yet. Still, it feels good to get to work and be proactive — even if it stresses me out and makes me nervous, which it does. My anxiety is definitely kicking in, but I’m not going to let that stop me!

I love the idea of the indie book box as well. I think it’s a worthy effort, because everyone knows that indie books don’t get as much attention, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t gems out there *cough*. I want to read more great indie and small publisher released books as well, so if I find anything good, I’ll let you know!



In other news this week, I’ve been lucky enough to get in on a beta read for Omri Koresh’s project Nuerva, an art book with an accompanying story. It’s pretty amazing so far! Of course I’m a fan of his work (he created my Nevermor covers and hopefully others in the future 😉 So if you like fantasy art that’s beautiful, colorful, strange and often leans toward the erotic, be sure to check out his work and show some support! There’s no release info for his book yet. It’s still in very early stages, but if you’re interested, you can follow his blog for all upcoming info.

On that note, I really need to get back to reading more. I’ve been working a lot lately but I should read something to carry me through the end of the month. I’m so excited for November! Not just because of The Hallowed release, but because I’m looking forward to tuning out and writing again. NaNoWriMo! It’s been so long since I’ve gotten lost in a new project and it needs to happen.

So for the rest of this month: The Hallowed promotion, book planning and research, and an overhaul on housecleaning.

I’m also trying to decide where in my house I want to nest for the month of November as I write my new book. That’s also a project. The area needs to be clean and set up properly so that I can work with inspiration, but without distraction.

How about you? Read anything good lately?

Weekly Post (Attempt), The Hallowed, and Exploring New Genres

I’m trying something a bit different.

I haven’t been too current with this blog as time has passed (the blog just had its 5-year anniversary) but I want to do better. When I look back at old posts, I realize that there are long stretches of time where it seems like I’ve fallen off the face of the Earth, but the truth is I’m thinking about something/working on something all the time; I just don’t say anything until I’m ready to make a big announcement.

So! It’s high time I held myself to a standard. I’m going to (attempt to) write a post every week just to let you know what I’ve been up to — even if there isn’t much to say. Who knows? Maybe I’ll just ramble on about something I’ve been thinking about, or something I’ve been doing, reading, discovering, whatever.

I don’t talk much about my personal life, mostly because I’m probably the most boring person in the world. Other than the fact that I write, there is very little that’s interesting about me. I’m okay with that, but I’m going to attempt to be a bit more open with who I am, what I’m doing, and what I’m thinking.

Okay! Time to get started!

First off, I need to talk about The Hallowed, my next novel to be released. It’s an original gothic horror. I still haven’t chosen a release date, but I know it will be sometime in November. Whether it will be early or late in the month, I haven’t decided, because I have a couple more things I want to do this year. 1.) Release The Hallowed, and I need to get that finished up and out of my head as soon as possible, because 2.) I’m going to write (start writing) a new book in November for NaNoWriMo and I need to start (finish) planning. 3.) I want to read through The Nutcracker Bleeds again and maybe do a second edition release before Christmas. SO many things, and only 3 months left.

Plus, I kind of need to have my wisdom teeth removed, so we’ll see where THAT takes me.

The Hallowed is almost finished. I already have a cover designed and a print proof in my hands! I’m reading through it again (and may read it AGAIN) and then I believe it’ll be ready. It will likely be up for preorder soon and I can start showing it off. I like how it looks!

If you don’t know anything about The Hallowed, I’ll definitely begin to talk more about it soon. I think there is still a sample of it on Wattpad… It’s not the latest version, but I’ll update it soon.

Hallowed ad

In other news, I’ve been exploring some new genres as far as my own reading and the possibilities of my writing. I’ve been specifically interested in Weird, Bizarro, and I hear there is one called New Weird, which is supposed to have similar content but be more poetic in the writing department. I’m not much for Satire, but I do like weirdness. I love to read/write a book where anything can happen, and as far as my own books go, those are always my favorites. I’ve also become more interested in Sci-fi lately, so maybe all of these things will wrap up together and I’ll have a book. We’ll see.

I think that’s about it for now. By next week, I hope to have reached a decision about The Hallowed‘s release date and I’ll share a bit more about that. Until then!

Project Nevermor 5 Year Anniversary!

It was five years ago that I first announced my plans for Nevermor, right here on this blog. I created the blog for just that purpose, but it has gone beyond the Nevermor trilogy, expanding to more of my works that I wrote in years past. After five years, I’m finally finishing off those works I’ve held in reserve, and I’m nearing the time when I will publish something truly new!


I currently have 12 published works and counting. Every time I look at the growing number, I can hardly believe it. I’ve achieved a dream of mine! My books are for sale and many are in print! It’s something that only a few years ago, I never dreamed would be possible without an agent, publisher, and a lot of luck, but here I am!

I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, and the best is yet to come!

So what’s happening now?


Since the release of Dark Depths in June (and Daughters of the Deep in July), I’m busy planning my next release for later this year. I mentioned earlier that it would be The Hallowed, and I’m sticking to that, though I don’t have a date yet. I’m currently on the last bit of editing, and I’m hoping for a November release date.

I’m gearing up for NaNoWriMo in November and I’m very excited about the book I’m going to write for that. I feel that I’m getting out from under the load of my past works, rediscovering myself, and I feel I’m getting back to the root of what makes my writing great. I hope to take you all on that journey with me!

Also, Jack and Jill has been given a little makeover — inside and out — and is finally available in paperback as well as on Kindle. I know I said August, but I meant September. :p


Not only that, but I’m working on myself as well. I’m trying to be healthier, happier, and put more time into my writing. Just a couple months ago, I decided that I wanted to work less at my “day job” and put more time into writing again. Working and having a career (other than being an author) is just not something I’m interested in, and I realized I would never be happy with anything else. I’m fortunate enough to be able to do this (for now) and I plan to put more time and effort into my marketing and promotion in the near future.

Things are good! I hope things are going just as well for you. 🙂

Dark Depths Release and 2017 Plans

I know this is old news to most of you, but Dark Depths is available now in ebook and print formats on Amazon.com! Well, the news is not quite two weeks old, so maybe it’s not so old after all. :p

With that news comes more: After being unable to publish anything since September 2016, I now know what the rest of 2017 is going to look like for me. I’m pleased to say that I’m going to be busy — in a good way.

Not long ago, I was grumbling to anyone who would listen about how I haven’t been able to focus on writing and publishing since I’ve been working my current day job. Yes, I’m not a full-time writer, as I know many of us aren’t. That aside, I’m pleased to say at this point that I’m able to cut back my hours a bit and have more time for what I love most. I know that this is certainly not a reality for everyone, and I was beginning to think that it could not be one for me, but an opportunity arose and I took it. Maybe now I can get my thoughts in order.

Now enough about that. Let’s talk about the rest of the year!

Releasing Dark Depths in June brings more good news in July: the release of the Dark Depths follow-up novella Daughters of the Deep. This short book is meant to fill in a few blanks in the Dark Depths storyline and paint a more accurate picture of what Treasure’s life was like before she rescued Nathan at the beginning of Dark Depths. Daughters will be released July 18, and is available for preorder right now. While it is only up for ebook preorder, the book will also be in print, even despite its short length.

Following that, I’m going forward with 2 more projects before the end of the year. That’s right — 2 more!

August (or possibly September) is going to see a revamp of Jack and Jill. The book is getting a new cover, and it is coming to print for the first time ever! Published in 2014, Jack and Jill is currently available on Amazon, and can be read for free with Kindle Unlimited.

Beyond that, I have one more book project that I definitely want to release later this year. This one is a fan favorite and one that many people have been waiting for. If you guessed my second gothic horror, The Hallowed, you’re right! I’m already working on it, editing and trying to make decisions on portions I want to rewrite. I have not decided on a release date yet, but I’m thinking about November for this one.

So, to recap:

Daughters of the Deep — July 18

Jack and Jill — new cover and print version — August/September

The Hallowed — November/December

I’m very excited about these projects (as I always am) but perhaps more pleased with myself for making these plans. (Since I’m not good at that sometimes.) There are several other things I have in mind, and am also anxious to work on. Previously I had mentioned the likelihood of a Dark Depths audiobook, and I meant that, but for now I have no projection of when that will be available. I have a few other books that I still want to publish, and then I really need to focus on writing new material!

Things seem to be moving in the right direction now. How’s your writing year going?