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You all are the best. I wanted to start out by saying thank you. Last newsletter, a number of you replied after reading the exclusive excerpt and expressed excitement & encouragement. A few of you even asked to beta read! Every kind word meant a lot to me! It can be hard to be in between publishers. I haven't had anything release in four years, and I admit sometimes it feels like it'll never happen again. But I love writing, and my agent is unbelievably supportive of my current projects. We just have to find that one editor who loves my work, too. Knowing you all are still here energizes me more than I can even express! 

For those of you who love the monster academia book I've been sharing, I put another exclusive excerpt below. And I included more than usual. 

I hope you enjoy it! 

Without further ado, back to our regular programming....

Already Spooky Giveaway

Before I get into Pitch Wars news...

I don't know about you all, but I get in the Halloween mood long before it's officially fall. It's been 100 degrees here for a week, and I cannot wait for cooler weather, apple cider, and ghost stories. I'm actually reading a collection of paranormal tales from Ireland right now!

Since we last spoke (in May?!), I graduated from the Doniphan Leadership Institute at William Jewell College. I also finished a major revision with my agent and started to near the end of a first draft on my monster academia book. I have some other news, too! 

Before you scroll down, don't forget...

Every newsletter includes a (hidden) giveaway.

The winner of my last newsletter was Miriam Y., who won a 10-page critique, and Hannah V., who won any eBook. This time, the winner will receive any eBook that is spooky (totally up to interpretation). But that's not all! You can also win a first chapter critique up to ten pages.

Good luck!

Pitch Wars Mentor Update


Last year I co-mentored in Pitch Wars with longtime CP Sandra Proudman. Together, we mentored Miranda Sun, and she recently announced that she was offered 
representation by Paige Terlip at Andrea Brown Literary. Now Sandra and I are back to mentor as Team Stellify! Stellify means to be turned into a star. It's associated with myths and magic, and I can't wait to meet our magical mentee. This year, we will be mentoring a middle grade writer, but that's all I can say for now! Watch the Pitch Wars website for future dates. The wishlist blog hop starts September 11! Get your manuscripts ready. It's going to be a fabulous year. 

SAT Update & Writing Tips


Since speaking in May, I had my 30th birthday! I admit that I wasn't entirely thrilled by this prospect, but every day is a blessing. Right? RIGHT?! Honestly, though, it was a really nice day full of unicorn balloons and lemon cake. 

In other news, our home renovation is coming right along. So is wedding planning! We're supposed to get married in September, but with the Delta variant, we don't know what will
happen, which is a bummer. It's times like these that I'm grateful I have books to disappear into. Books I'm writing, books I'm reading for fun, and craft books to study.

I've been reading "20 Master Plots and How to Form Them" by Ronald Tobias, and I think it's really helpful for those writers who are struggling to get to the core of their outline. It's been helpful to me, too, when considering my future revisions for my monster academia book. Something that really stuck out to me was considering your manuscript's midpoint: If your Midpoint is positive, your ending will typically be negative, and vice versa. I had never thought of my Midpoints that way before, but once I took a step back and considered this tip, I found it to be true. 

Wattpad Update


After a pandemic hiatus, I have started updating TOOK ME YESTERDAY (book 2 of the Tomo trilogy) on Wattpad again!

I'm not going to lie, this book is kind of bonkers. When I set out to write a series, I know each book needs to feel special. The way that I do that is by identifying each book's subplot genre. For example/ In the Timely Death trilogy, book 1 is a paranormal romance, book 2 is a paranormal mystery, book 3 is a paranormal action. In the Tomo trilogy, book 1 is certainly dystopian action, but book 2 is dystopian horror. (Time will tell what book 3 is.)
I encourage anyone writing a series to keep that tip in mind when plotting it out. 

When each book has its own sub-genre, it'll help them stand alone, while also inviting new energy into the storyline.

What's your favorite part of reading a series? Tell me by replying to this newsletter, and you'll be entered to win the giveaway! If you prefer entering elsewhere, you can visit me on Wattpad and comment anywhere.

 
What I've Been Reading and Loving
All adults novels this time around! I've been reading a lot more of them as of late. I'm also writing more adult. Anyway, these are my recent favorites that I hope you check out! A Touch of Darkness is a fun Hades and Persephone retelling. The Poppy War is particularly brutal. You can always follow what I'm reading on Goodreads.

Exclusive Sneak Peek

 
I'm nearing the end of the first draft of my monster academia book. It's a little longer than what I'm aiming for, but I'm a chronic overwriter. I love soaking in the details. For some context on this scene, my book revolves around a grim reaper who is solely responsible for collecting the ghosts of monsters. He's the last deathkeeper, and he's out to collect the wandering dead...

The clock struck thirteen. 

Deep beneath unconsecrated ground, the soirée had begun, and Kallon Blackmoor stood on the other side of campus, toeing the edge of the property. Leaving without express permission was forbidden, as was ignoring his invite to the party.  Not that he minded missing the latter. He never was the type to enjoy schmoozing with those who opposed him. But the brood expected the deathkeeper’s presence, and directly defying the brood often resulted in imprisonment, or death. The least Kallon could expect was an order to meet with the disciplinary committee—if he didn’t make an appearance before sunrise.

The glistening dark told him he had little time left, but he couldn’t resist the sweet pull of bergamot, nor the acidic taste growing at the back of his throat.

The death he’d sensed in the library earlier that week was close enough to taste.

It’d grown stronger by the hour, but within the last few minutes, it’d become unbearable in its proximity. 

He drew in a breath to savor before stepping over the boundary, the soft ground sinking beneath his boots. He walked as quietly as the squelching marsh allowed until slurping caught his ear. A satisfied sigh followed. A voice. 

“Took you long enough,” she said. “I admit I thought you’d collect me much sooner.”

Kallon stepped around a bend of bushes to see a woman seated on the ground, her back facing him. She held something in her lap. Her silver hair, usually pinned up, lay in tatters around her shoulders. The ends had frayed into see-through wisps. The beginnings of a ghost’s unraveling. 

“Helena,” Kallon spoke to the headmistress, “do you know that you’re dead?”

She tilted her chin to look over her shoulder. “I can see your horns, Mr. Blackmoor. Of course I know.” Her eyes trailed up, up, up into the sky, where he felt his horns grow far and long. “The rumors do you an injustice. They’re much larger than I was expecting.”

Kallon didn’t have the heart to tell her the truth: the more elaborate his horns, the more sin a monster committed. The worse their fate.

“Where I’m going, is it bad?”

“I don’t know,” he answered honestly. 

She sighed and turned to look over the muddy marsh instead of the school grounds she had spent her life cultivating. A career cut short. A life taken. 

Kallon would’ve asked her who murdered her if it wasn’t for the fact that murder victims could never remember their last moment’s of life. Not only were their lives taken, but their death was stolen from them, too. They were left only with the feeling of injustice. And hunger to live again. 

Helena hunched over whatever she held in her lap. “I was going to do great things.” 

“You already did.” Kallon stepped toward her. 

“More things, better things,” she growled. “I was so close.”

“I know.”

“Let me stay and finish—”

“You can’t.”

Murder victims were the ones most likely to go mad, driven by time stolen from them. If Kallon didn’t collect her soon, she could turn into a ghoul. 

“Please,” she begged as he closed in. 

One more step and he’d be right behind her. The citrus scent was dizzying now. Kallon could taste nothing else. Think of nothing else. He could not wait to hold it in his hands. 

“How am I any different than Nathanial?” her voice broke through his trance. 

He blinked. “Nathanial is a friend.”

“And I am your teacher.”

“Not anymore, Ms. Petrigrue.”

Before he could collect her soul, she whipped her torso around to face him, and only then did he see what lay in her specter’s lap. 

Her own body. 

The clothes soaked with mud, a thick drag line coming up from the marsh to where she sat now. She had pulled herself out. A ghost made solid by consuming flesh. 

Helena’s specter had eaten her right cheek. Plucked out a few teeth. Swallowed those, too. Her specter reflected that. 

She’d become a ghoul already. 

No wonder she’d managed to stay so solid, speak so fluidly. She would consume herself if it meant staying alive. 

Kallon had to end this now.

I hope you all enjoyed the sneak peek. Being able to share my WIPs is a joy. I think of it as a way of getting my stories out in the world, even if they never get published. I love sharing that with you all. And I appreciate your kindness. 
 
See you all again in December!
 
Thank you for your continuous support.
 
<3

*Grabby Hands*

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