We are three weeks into 2020 and the State Changers series is coming along. Only about 10K more words to finish the final scenes of the entire series. It turns out, writing the last bit of a 4-book series is hard! So many loose ends, so many characters to hear from, so much left to happen. It’s fun, but it’s also hard!
As big part of me will miss Casidhe, Dana and the gang. But since I still have to complete book 4, do rewrites of book 3 and 4, and finalize edits of Fae (book 2); they will still be in my life for all of 2020!. In the meantime, Wolf is getting good reviews in the marketplace and my beta-readers are loving Fae:
I promised to release the theme song for Fae after the New Year; so here it is.
Jennifer Thomas: Illumination - Requiem for a Dream - Track 14
If you are listening to the songs, you will discover that this one is very different in feel and pace than “Secrets” from the first book. And that accurately mirrors the feel and pace of Fae. Where in Wolf we were getting to know Casidhe as she was getting to know herself. In Fae, she sinks her fangs into her new life and runs with it!
The cover art for Fae is getting its final touches for preview on Valentine’s Day.
The Wolf contest is over. But, for fun, I will be posting the questions on social media and allow followers to answer them along with chapter one of Wolf.
The beginning of a new year always fills me with hope and excitement for good things to come. But I also try to review the past year with a grateful heart. The State Changers series continually reminds me that I have to change my state (focus, mood, attitude) to access the magic we have in our souls. There is so much to be grateful for, not the least of which is you!
Christmas is right around the corner and this morning I am feeling so grateful! Thank you for your amazing support for Wolf. It is incredibly fulfilling to see people buy and read Casidhe’s story and then turn around and share it with others. Everyone needs cheerleaders, and I feel very fortunate to have family, friends and fans who love Wolf and can’t wait for the next book in the State Changers series. Good news: Book 2: Fae just went out to my Betareaders and is scheduled for release March 1st!
If you haven’t had a chance to listen to Wolf’s theme song, here it is. I believe it captures the essence of the emotions in Wolf perfectly. “Secrets” arranged and played by Jennifer Thomas on her Illumination album!
Fae also has a theme song. I will reveal it just after New Years and the new Fae cover art on Valentine’s Day! Stay up to date on these releases and the results from the latest contest by subscribing to my Newsletter at www.statechangers.com.
Many Blessings this holiday and always!
I will randomly choose three readers who answer the following five questions correctly to receive a free paperback copy of the second installment in the State Changers series: Fae (release date: 1st quarter of 2020). If you can answer the bonus question, you’ll also receive a State Changers bookmark with your free copy. Oh, and not part of the contest, but if you’ve read Wolf and liked it, please consider leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads! I’d love to see a ton of reviews for Wolf, before Fae is released.
Contest ends midnight EST, January 15th.
Why is Casidhe gay? To me, this is a funny question. I mean, why not? I am fully aware that there is a portion of the population who still thinks homosexuality isn’t right. I am not going to address their feelings, prejudices or beliefs. I can’t. No one can. I believe, the only way their hearts and minds will ever change is when someone they know, and love comes out and they are forced to find some level of acceptance.
As a gay woman, I am continually looking for strong woman characters who also love women. I don’t mean they hate men. I know I don’t. I was married to two men and I loved them both. I have two sons whom I adore. I have brothers and uncles and cousins who are men. I love them all.
I had a psychologist explain to me once that most women are homoemotional–meaning they relate more naturally emotionally to women then to men. The word homo in Greek, simply means same. One can be homointellectual–meaning to connect intellectually better within your gender. It just so happens, some people are also homosexual. It is not something you chose, it’s just in your DNA. Besides, there is much more to Casidhe than being gay, but I will say, her relationship, just like yours and mine, is an integral part of her growth, her choices, and her life.
The tide is turning in media–movies, TV shows and literature. Gentleman Jack, Supergirl, Lost Girl, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Batwoman and countless other movies, shows and books are changing the narrative and giving girls a wider range of characters that reflect who they feel they are inside. Since the suicide rate in gay youth is double that of straight, seeing these examples in media is not only affirming, it could potentially save someone’s life.
I don’t want all characters to be gay. I just think there should be more. Equality. And bytheway, gay people come in as many shapes, sizes and personalities as straight people. Please don’t assume you know what we look like, feel like or act like. The diversity of humanity didn’t skip over homosexuals.
Sunbury Press, my publisher, has received some “interesting” phone calls and messages since Wolf’s release. It’s a small independent press with very few titles that host gay characters (Tough Girl in the Jam by Larry Loebell is another), so this response was fairly new to them. I have to give Lawrence Knorr, Sunbury’s owner, credit for the way he is handling it. In my mind, if you don’t want to read something like Wolf, don’t. There are millions of other choices out there and hundreds more from Sunbury Press to choose from. I don’t like a lot of books published, but I never wrote a hateful email to tell them about how their books offended me. I simply chose another.
I didn’t know I had so much to say on this subject until I sat to write. Let me end with what one of my favorite writer/directors, Joss Whedon (Serenity, Buffy, Avengers, Justice League) said when he was asked, why he writes about strong women. “Because you are still asking me the question.” I agree with him.
Note: If you don’t agree with me, or in any way find this blog offensive, feel free to unsubscribe. Please don’t send me an email to voice your dissent.
Save for the amount of time it takes, it’s harder to write a blog than a novel. Why? Because a novel is made up and a blog is not. In a blog, if it is to be any good, you have to be authentically yourself. It is for this reason alone that it has taken me this long to sit down and begin this.
But, if I get past the “vulnerability hangover” (Brene Brown), I have a lot to say about Wolf and the whole State Changers series.
Writing this series was so much fun. Actually, more fun than I often felt I deserved. I mean, isn’t it lazy, or irresponsible to write for the shear pleasure of it? You know, you can’t make any money at art and if you enjoy it, it must be wrong in some way. But, no matter, I came back to this series again and again, compelled to tell Casidhe’s story.
I talk about Casidhe as if she is a real person because, she very nearly is, in my mind. She’s grown up during our time together and I am very proud of the woman she has become. Does that sound arrogant? If you’ve ever attempted a novel, you’d know it isn’t. From someplace deep inside, characters emerge onto the page and they often surprise you. I take credit for Casidhe and her life, but I don’t really know how I can. Casidhe, Dana and all of the State Changer’s characters are a mystery to me and I feel profound gratitude to be the conduit for their existence.
The idea for the State Changers series came to me a couple of years ago, and then finally started to take shape in an extended outline that I poured over and researched for months. I even got the first act of the first book written in rough form but then, my brother got sick. Cancer claimed his life two summers ago and that event hijacked my heart and mind for months during and afterward.
When I returned home, the mourning continued. Everyone’s process is different. Mine resulted in new floors in our living room and office. Newly painted ceilings and the first three books in the series. I actually finished book one: Wolf and wrote the next two books in two months.
Maybe I was escaping the pain of my brother’s death, but it felt more like I was channeling the grief into something else entirely. It is more than a little ironic that my brother would never have read these books. But I choose to think he is more accepting where he is now.
If you read my first novel, “the 100th human” published in 2006, don’t expect this novel to continue that story. The genre is different. The story is different. I am different. I often wondered all those years between published novels if I had another book in me.
In early January of 2019, when I finished Wolf’s first draft, I was overwhelmed with emotion. I had been listening to Jennifer Thomas’ song, “Secrets” during the writing of Wolf. That song like no other, took on the dimensions of the story. The sadness, the struggle and the triumph. On that cold winter morning, sitting by myself in my living room, the final words typed out onto the page, I asked Alexa to play that song and turned up the volume. As the melody reached its peak, with tears streaming down my face, I stared out my front bay window. I had done it. I had written another book. I was a writer. At the very moment of climax in the song, a bald eagle swooped down in front of my window as if, it were a messenger. I crumpled on the floor in sobs. Was that my brother? I took it as a nod from the Universe.
Since that moment, I have felt blessed to have this story, to know Casidhe and Dana, to be given the gift of such professional pleasure and to honor the passing of my brother the best way I know how. As I write this blog, I have only the final act of the final book to complete the series. They will be released over the next two years and I wish you some measure of that same pleasure as you read them.
In deep gratitude,