The Herosinger Is Back

The Herosinger is Back

I feel like I should quote Samwise Gamgee here and say, ‘Well, I’m back!’. I have really missed this blog and so much has happened since the last post!

Where have I been?

Working. A lot. Following Crowning Heaven’s publication, I picked up a third job, drafted a new novel (or two or three), I took an author business course, started training with a huge three-year-old Irish horse, and did a ton of behind-the-scenes work for my next book release this summer!

Since it has basically been a year since I was last here, I thought it would be appropriate to restart the blog with a little Q & A from some of the questions I’ve been asked online in the last number of months. Here goes!


Do you participate in NaNoWriMo? Are you going to participate this year?
Yes! I have participated ever since 2014, and it is my yearly happy excuse to speed-write a novel. And this year? As of right now, I plan to. 🙂

What’s your best advice for new and old writers and what’s your best advice for writers looking into self publishing?

Best advice: Love your art and keep at it. Overthinking, comparison (especially if it’s to raise yourself up) and going stagnant (different from resting/taking breaks) are your worst enemies.

For writers looking to self-publish: surround yourself with quality and seek out professionals that will help you achieve that. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice even if you think you’ll sound stupid. Chances are, you won’t. Deliver on your promises and don’t compare yourself unless you intend to compare yourself constructively. And if you have random questions, find a fellow self-pubbed author or two. Often we are happy to share what we’ve learned.

I think I remember you saying once that you could use both hands as your dominant hand…HOW ON EARTH DO YOU DO THIS AND CAN YOU PLEASE TEACH.

So this is half true. I can use a sword equally with both hands. Writing, eating, not so much. And I practiced. And practiced and practiced. Nothing fancy, just time.

What’s your favorite ice cream?

Mint chocolate chip!

Who is your favorite character from Crowning Heaven?

It changes with the day. Today it is Breac Harward. 🙂

Top book that you’ve read this year?

That’s hard. I really enjoyed The Light Between the Worlds by Laura Weymouth.

What would be your ideal writing retreat?

Out in a northwoods cabin near a large water source or in a cottage by the sea, good food, a few good friends to talk story with and a crazy big goal to accomplish.

If you had to pick only one genre to read in for a year, which would you choose and why?

Historical fiction would probably be my favorite, since you could go all over time to all manner of places.

Would you ever write a book with yourself as a prominent character?

That’s a very good question. I do not like to cast myself usually, however, I did once. So the answer is sort of yes?

What is your outlining process and the writing schedule you follow to complete a book?

It varies from book to book, but here’s the gist:

First draft: When I first get the idea, I write down any ideas in a notebook or notepad on my computer, I often make a playlist and a Pinterest board as well, just getting down the impressions I have of the story. This helps me go back to the original feeling of the book when I hit the middle and get disillusioned.

Then I begin drafting. I usually have some important plot points in place but I do not outline everything because I want some flexibility to see where the story is going. Drafting often takes 1-4 months, depending on how busy I am. I try to set a consistent amount of words per day/week, and I often set a “finish date” so I have something to aim for.

For the actual writing itself, I will often set a 15 minute timer and race it. On very good days I can write 2k an hour, though I’m usually a little slower than that.

What’s your favorite genre to read?

Probably historical fiction, like YA historical fiction. There are so many incredible stories in that genre. However, I am getting fond of certain types of fantasy and sci-fi. Heroic characters are my jam, so wherever I find those, there go I.


Now I have some questions for you (answer any or all!):

What is your top book outside of your regular genre you’ve read this year?

What are you looking forward to the most this summer?

If you could make everyone read one book that you love, what would it be?

Crowning Heaven Official Release!

Crowning Heaven Official Release

Well. Today is the day.

Crowning Heaven has made it. It has been a beautiful three year journey with you all and with this book and I hope that this is merely the start of many, many more adventures.

Blog tour: 

Today we had a Q and A over at My Lady Bibliophile along with a giveaway! She is an incredible friend and a brilliant author of a WW1 spy novel.  Go ahead and give her some love!

5/17 Annie Hawthorne over at Curious Wren hosted me to talk about my journey with Heaven as a character:

5/18 Anne Rhys interviewed me at Father’s Joy blog:



I will be setting up a a giveaway in the next couple days as I sort through a few things. Thank you for your patience. It’s going to be good.

The Book: 


Heaven Cassidy has only ever wanted one thing: a family. But when she opens a letter from her long-lost mother, she finds herself running for her life. Swept into a world of proud queens and ancient feuds, Heaven must decide whether her dream is worth taking on the responsibility of two kingdoms, one of which wants to crown her and the other to kill her.


Hope you all have a great evening!


Announcing Crowning Heaven Blog Tour + ARC Giveaway Winners!

Announcing Crowning Heaven Blog Tour + ARC Giveaway Winners! (3)


Hello hello! Going to keep it sweet and simple today! First off:

Blog tour: 

I am looking for some bloggers who would like to be a part of a blog tour I am setting up! It will probably run between May 15-18, but I can flex on second date depending on people’s availability/how many people we get.  ARCs will be available to those who need them, and you do not need a large amount of followers to participate, so if you are interested at all, go for it!  I am planning a big giveaway and some other exciting things!

You can use the sign-up form below, or just shoot me an email at!


And now for what you probably have been actually looking for:

Giveaway winners! 


And they are:


Mackenzie Keene


Katelyn Buxton


I will be emailing you ladies shortly about the ARCs!

And thank you to everyone who participated! I can’t wait to share this book with all of you!

Crowning Heaven Cover Reveal + Win an ARC!

Crowning Heaven Cover Reveal

Today I have something very exciting to share with you: the cover of Crowning Heaven! And to celebrate I am giving away two ebook ARCs!

I can’t tell you how excited I am to finally share this book with you. Years of work, love, and crafting these characters (my favorite part of it all!) have gone into this book, and I am seriously excited to be able to give away a copy to two winners!

The book releases on May 15, 2018 and will be available for pre-order soon. Giveaway link is at the end of the post.

Synopsis: Heaven Cassidy has only ever wanted one thing: a family. But when she opens a letter from her long-lost mother, she finds herself running for her life. Swept into a world of proud queens and ancient feuds, Heaven must decide whether her dream is worth taking on the responsibility of two kingdoms, one of which wants to crown her and the other to kill her.


Ready for the cover??



Wait for it…




Isn’t it beautiful? I can’t wait to share the book with you all! Don’t forget to enter the giveaway! It only runs for five days so make sure to enter soon!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Join the Street Team!


Greetings on this cold and rainy Saturday!  I am starting my street team/Crowning Heaven launch team, and I would love to have you be a part of it!

What is Crowning Heaven, you say? 

Crowning Heaven is my YA Portal Fantasy novel, and it releases May 15th. For more information, here are some links to a synopsis and snippets.


Inside the form, I explain a lot, but here are a couple common questions:

What is an author street team?

An author’s street team is simply a group of individuals who love to read and are willing to spread the word about their books!

What do I have to do?

This may vary some (and no one is expected to do everything) but here are a few general things:

-Leave a review on Goodreads or Amazon.
-Read Crowning Heaven (Advance Reader Copies will be available).
-Participate in a cover reveal.
-Host a stop on a blog tour or post about the book on your blog/website.
-Post about Crowning Heaven on social media accounts.
-Participate in polls within our team HQ.

But there are perks: 

Members of the street team get:

-The very first look at the new developments (cover design, book swag, etc).
-First chance at ARC copies of Crowning Heaven
-Book swag
-Access to a members-only group where we chat and scheme and have loads of fun!
-Exclusive giveaways, deleted scenes and other such goodies.


If you have made it this far and are still interested, go ahead and fill out the form below! I am looking forward to sharing this great adventure with you!

Six Elements of a Book I Will Pick Up and Probably Love


A Stunning or Intriguing Cover

People say not to judge a book by its cover and while I actually do agree (there are many great books with horrible covers or covers I could stare at all day but wouldn’t touch the insides of), the cover is the first thing that grabs me. A cover should give the reader an accurate idea of what they are in for, and many is the book I have seized because it’s cover promised me I was about to go on a great adventure.

Vivid, Real Characters

This is maybe the biggest element for me. I can stomach weak or choppy plot, minor flaws, a boring setting, cringe-worthy descriptions, (and even straight-up bad writing sometimes?) if I love the characters. If it weren’t for the people in books, I wouldn’t be a reader and I wouldn’t be a writer. And the first thing that really grabs me in a book description is whether the characters sound good or cliché. That’s the real selling point for me.

A Good Twisty Plot

I love to be kept on my toes by a plot. Let the characters make unexpected decisions, let the book take a sudden and unusual turn, let the loyalties of characters change. Usually if I can guess the ending, some of the excitement goes out of the experience.

Unique Premise or Twist on a Classic

A classic retelling in a totally different setting? A premise that doesn’t sound like fifteen other current books on the market? Turning clichés on their heads? Sign me up.


There’s a reason why when people finish a book, they feel like they’ve been somewhere, or lived it. That is (most of the time) due to good atmosphere. Many of my first stories and writing projects were about people and places and cultures I had never been in because I read books about them, and I felt like I had lived it once. I had fought sharks in the warm south seas with Mafatu, marched south of the Rio Grande with Lee, dodged the Sheriff of Nottingham with Robin Hood, raced along the streets of Sienna in the heart-pounding Palio. Atmosphere is everything.

For the last one I’m going to actually do a negative element:

Lack of Cliche Attitude

Cliche attitude is a big reason I may put a book down or simply not enjoy it. Characters who are consistently resisting responsibility, wondering why authorities ‘just don’t understand them’, men reduced to whining boys, broody handsome men you want to give your heart to immediately, girls who consistently show up all the men in skills the men have been practicing all their lives….



What elements do you look for in a good read? Are there any elements that make or break a book for you?


Also, look for a second post later in the week; I will hopefully be announcing street team details!

Big Crowning Heaven News

A BigCrowning Heaven Announcement

I can’t believe I’m about to say this. Deep breath.

Today is the big day!

After years of working, seemingly endless revisions, many betas and yes, tears, I have a release date for my YA portal fantasy/spec fic Crowning Heaven.


Heaven Cassidy has only ever wanted one thing: a family. But when she opens a letter from her long-lost mother, she finds herself running for her life. Swept into a world of proud queens and ancient feuds, Heaven must decide whether her dream is worth taking on the responsibility of two kingdoms, one of which wants to crown her and the other to kill her.


Wait for it…

And the date is…

May 15th!

What can you do now?

-Add it on Goodreads. If you shelve it, it’ll notify you of any giveaways of this book, which I am planning.

-Follow me on my blog or on my social media (in the sidebar) because that’s where I’ll announce any new developments.

-Scream, because that is the mature thing to do.

-Spread the word. If you have read Crowning Heaven or you are just excited like I am, you can tweet about it, share this post, or anything else your little heart desires.

Street team opportunities will be coming hopefully in the next two or three weeks, as well as pre-orders, a newsletter, big changes to this site, and much more.


I love you all!

February Roundup

February Recap

February has been a hard month and a good month. It was kind of my January, actually. I got a lot of work done in January, but it didn’t feel like I had quite gone back to normal life yet. I feel like I finally hit my stride in February. Anyway, here’s the roundup.


In My Life

I trudged through snow, splashed through puddles, made my first latte art, watched Black Panther, baked Maori bread and Hungarian chimney cakes, read books, had lovely coffee shop conversations with friends, followed the Olympics, won an ARC, chatted with my editor, played Dvorak, went to Orchestra Hall for a concert, belted Broadway songs in a hayloft (where my co-workers couldn’t hear), pulled multiple twelve hour work days, cuddled under blankets on cold mornings, shared cocoa and an early morning with a little brother, celebrated sibling birthdays, kicked off the NASCAR season with pizza, ate tons of Chinese food for the New Year.



Read: The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, Fifty Reasons Jesus Came to Die by John Piper, Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz, and A Gathering Tempest by Catherine Jones Payne.

Book Haul:

Breakwater by Catherine Jones Payne

Reclaiming Shilo Snow ARC by Mary Weber (Am I excited? Yes I am.)

Ten Thousand Thorns by Suzannah Rowntree


For those who haven’t seen my social media posts, I got my manuscript back from my editor and so most of my writing, okay, actually all of my writing this month has been editing Crowning Heaven. It’s currently at that hard and thankless stage, but I’m confident that it’s at the best it’s ever been and I cannot wait to share it with all of you!



What I’ve Been Listening To:

Black Panther soundtrack: Make sure you find the score, not the rap songs written for it. I particularly recommend A King’s Sunset and Wakanda.

Homecoming by Thomas Bergersen. Because this music is Crowning Heaven.

Justice from Murder on the Orient Express. All of Patrick Doyle’s score is incredible, but this track is genius.



Book releases!!

Mary Weber is releasing her sequel to The Evaporation of Sofi Snow (Reclaiming Shilo Snow) on March 6th, and I had the privilege of winning one of her ARCs. Which is good news because I raced through her first book and it left me on a cliff hanger.

Also, Catherine Jones Payne is releasing her sequel to Breakwater (Crosscurrent) on the same day! Talk about one good day!

Crowning Heaven Announcements

March will be the month where some big announcements roll out. Can’t say more than that yet, but I am excited for the coming weeks!


In the north you can’t really count on spring until sometime in May, but March is always where winter turns the corner and you get sun again and some gentler temperatures. I am so ready!

Seven Book-Related Goals for 2018

Seven Book-Related Goals for 2018

I don’t know about you, but sometimes it takes a little time post-Christmas to let life shake out before I can set goals that I know I can handle. I often have to recover from Christmas anyway. It’s hard to see what direction the year is actually going when you are staying up way too late and watching movies with out-of-town family, am I right? So here are my big goals for this year.

It’s going to be good.


Publish my debut novel:

Barring a calamity, Crowning Heaven, my YA portal fantasy will publish this spring. Watch this space! There will be exciting announcements forthcoming, street team opportunities, and some new things coming to The Herosinger.

Read more books by authors I know

The wonderful thing about making friends in the writing community is that you get to share in their writing and publishing journey. Even though I am in a penny pinching stage of life, my goal is to find ways to get my hands on as many of my friends’ books as I can.

Keep a writer’s journal

My sister gifted me with a beautiful journal this Christmas and last month I started to chronicle my daily successes, failures, and the odd things that happen to inspire (or stall) my writing. The goal is simply to be consistent with it.

Cultivate a beautiful bookshelf

My room is getting an overhaul which means there is now a beautiful white bookshelf I can use for photos. I will readily admit I haven’t time or an eye for anything dramatic, but I would love to start collecting my favorites and my friends’ published works and display them. #shelfies anyone?

Join a book group

I would love to get more involved in the reading side of my writing community, and Mary Weber just started a book group on Facebook which I am joining. Now to just get my hands on the book….

Go on a writing retreat

A couple of my good writing friends and I have talked before about going on a writer’s retreat together, and I feel like this could be the year. I love the idea of getting so much writing done and having fun at the same time!

Meet more writing friends

I am hoping to go to a writer’s conference or two this year and if it works out, I am going to finally meet some of my long-time writing friends! I can’t wait to be able to chat face-to-face over coffee or have long discussions with you all!


Your turn: do you have any big or book-related goals this year? 

The Train to Belkuah Snippets Post

-The Train to Belkuah -Snippets Post

If you remember, I had six different story ideas for NaNoWriMo, and you, my lovely readers, voted.

The Train to Belkuah was an easy winner, having five more votes than any of the other projects.  And I am happy (OK, relieved) to say that I finished the entire first draft during NaNoWriMo!

To celebrate and to thank you all, I am sharing snippets today!

Quick synopsis: When Zebedee Delray is abducted from his train car on the way to Cambridge, he thinks it is a terrible mistake, no more. Laid up with a broken arm, he is forced to stay in Wales at the home of his rescuer, an Indian baker who holds an odd sway over four young men who hang around the bakery too much to be a coincidence. 

When he realizes that his cloudy memories of his abduction don’t match anything in this world, things get strange. But they swiftly turn dangerous when he realizes he is being followed, and that the bakery is a disguise for something much bigger….

And now for the snippets!

He held the umbrella over the both of them as if the closeness beneath its canvas expanse would keep them together longer, shut out the inevitable parting.

“Do not forget, Tamar,” he whispered.

“How could I ever?” She slipped off her left glove to show a thin silver band upon her slim ring finger. “I am yours, Delray. Yours to be forever, and I will not put it off again, even if the trousseau isn’t finished until July.”

He laughed.

A sudden burst of outdoor light and the whip of rain spray revived Delray a little—enough to see the racing of the trees, the boulders as they rushed past.

“Go,” said a voice clearly in his ear, as if speaking to him, and the world ceased its racing as the ground tumbled upwards and he crashed to the piney heather.

“He would have fallen asleep immediately if you had,” said a voice with scorn.

“And maybe never woke up,” said the first voice, taking on a bulldoggish tone.

“He’s stirring, give him another dose.”

The bitter taste of silver knocked against his teeth, and something smooth and bitterly silky slipped down his throat.

The darkness swam and swirled, but he heard many other things, as if in a dream, before it took him over again.

He cleared his throat. “This is a mistake.”

“A what?” asked the same woman, a tall, ivory-skinned beauty with jet black hair and bright lavender eyes.

“A mistake. You have the wrong man, because I haven’t the slightest what is going on here.”

One of the fellows laughed as if he had made a joke.

“What do you suggest we do then, Mistake?”

Morning,” he greeted, coming through the door and seeing Jeremy perched on a table. “Don’t you think you should get down?”

Jeremy slid down sheepishly as Shay turned from his rolls with a stern look.

“What did I tell you, Jeremy?”

“Sorry, I forget. Besides, aren’t I older than you?”

“It’s not your bakery,” returned Shay, chopping nuts with a large knife and not looking up.

“Perfect weather—a little sun. They won’t be out in fair weather.”


“Belkuans. Dark Belkuans in general. We don’t want to be seen with the cola.”

“The what?”

Tash grinned, a brief burst of sun in the dark ice his face had taken on since the day before. “You’ll see. Hazelthorne has a very particular weakness.”

The Little Man still looked reluctant, but nevertheless he unbuttoned his shirt, slipped his right arm out of its sleeve, and displayed his upper arm, on which, tied with a tight leather band, was a small red jewel.

Tash looked at it closely. “A fine thing,” he answered quietly.

“You lie, you know what it is. I see it in your eyes,” said The Little Man.

They left the last door, the Little Man setting the blue bird’s-egg stone just so, and they started making their way up the hill.

They had not gone a quarter of a mile from the place when there came on the wind a high sound, both eerie and beautiful. It was as if a dog could sing, or a woman could be a beast. Every one of them froze.

“We’ve been betrayed,” whispered Shay, going pale.

Thank you, Staghorn,” said one of the women, as Delray was led before their half-moon of chairs.

Staghorn smiled that clear, amused smile and tapped his chest with his fist before flinging his arm wide. “My greatest, most beloved pleasure.”

Then he was gone, almost as if he had vanished into the misty light, and Delray was alone, facing the row of strangers.

I forgot to give Mrs. Patterson the rent,” said Jeremy sadly. “I wanted her to remember me fondly.”

“She will. No one bakes pies for people they don’t like,” Bryn said in an uncommon show of goodwill.

It wasn’t on the shelf where it always sat. Odd. He stepped forward and then almost fell in a mess of oil and glass.

The lamp had been shattered on the ground, as if flung from its place.

Blast. Now he would have to look for a candle. His foot hit more glass, more than it should have from just the lamp, and scuffed against paper.

Then something, he didn’t know what, perhaps just a creak of the shutter, made noise across the room and suddenly he was full of the feeling of danger.

He had to get out of here.

You must trust what I do. It is not right that five should die for one.”

“But you are ten times the rest of us.”

“In knowledge, perhaps. But in lives, no.”


What was your favorite snippet? Did you participate in NaNoWriMo? Feel free to share or link to any snippets posts you’ve done; I’d love to see them!