Author Blog

Side Journeys

Writing the series and having my characters interact while working on a novel is one thing, but sometimes other things need clarification. For example, every once in a while, I need to create an artifact that Ari has received from Kai – but I don’t want to go into the story in the current novel. Enter the side journey – a nifty little way that I can flesh out the item’s acquisition while also creating content for my VIP readers.

It’s almost like a bonus for me! I love to write, but I don’t want to craft novels whenever an idea pops into my head. Using these side journeys to flesh out a character or “find” a relic is a fun way for me to develop a back story – and keep developing the relationships between the characters without a 90,000-word count staring me down.


For the Polestar (the relic from Resistant Magic), I send Kai and Ari on a little working vacation to the desert southwest. They managed to find a relic, and I had fun playing with two other Native American spirits – Iketome and Raven. It was a fun project, and let me write a little Paranormal Romance angle for Ari and Kai.

I don’t mind the rabbit holes, but I don’t have time for such frivolity when I’m working on a novel. It’s nose to the grindstone and research aplenty to get one of the Relic Hunter books done. That’s not saying I don’t make notes about the side journeys I intend to create. I write myself a brief reminder and return to it when I’m between books – which isn’t often enough! So as I work on Ancient Magic, subscribers to my VIP list can anticipate a new side journey after the release.


While I’m on the subject, I plan to spin two books off the Relic Hunter novels. In the first, Princess Tyballa Nessinger will be trying to solve the mystery of Dr. Ezra Froelich’s memory problems. I alluded to this in Jealous Magic, but I’m interested to see where Ty goes, and I’d also like to get to know her better.

The second is Sidaffri’s turn to go home and find what happened to the Sand Fire Jinn. This one will take some time because I’ll spin this off from Ancient Magic (the next book’s working title). There’s more to learn about Sidaffri and her history, and I’m passionate about getting the character’s backstory right.

The one character I probably won’t write a back story for is Kai, though. I’m not sure I want to know what he was up to before appearing in Elementary Magic. If you read the legends about Coyote, they’re rather naughty.

Now on Pre-Order (with limited time price special)

The second book in the Fortunes Series is coming out next week (woohoo!), and it’s available right now for only 99 cents while it’s in pre-order. If you haven’t read the first book in the series, there will be a free promo next week on the same day as the new book releases. So, on July 22nd, you can not only pick up the series starter for free, but you can get the second book for under a dollar!

Most of you know I’m still a North Shore girl at heart, so one day, while wandering around Salem, MA, I started to think about a new series featuring a psychic. I wanted her to have a past – because everyone does – but my main theme is always about redemption and second chances…

Calypso Mendelsohn is the character who resulted from my musings that day.

She’s funny, smart, and totally incorrigible. She also has a mission to help others who’ve made mistakes – but Caly has an angle. Her former life as a con artist has left her with bad karma she needs to fix; helping others is her way of repenting. She also has a mystery she’s been trying to solve for years and a slew of shady characters from her past who show up unexpectedly.

Because my background is in art, there’s an art angle to these books. They’re a fun read, with tons of twists and turns and lots of snappy dialogue. For under a dollar, Caly (and I) will entertain you for a few hours – but only if you act now! Go ahead, click those links! I double dog dare you.

In case you didn’t just jump back to the top of this post and click – here’s a little preview:

Fortunes Give & Take

Appeal

A moth was living on the velvet drapes of my booth, and I spent a few minutes admiring his faint spots and furry legs in the dim light from the window.  My tiny space inside Foretold Psychic Parlor was the ideal spot for the little guy to spend a dreary late autumn day in his twilight hours, and I could use the company.  

In Salem, Massachusetts, the November wind was coming off the Atlantic ocean, the sky was spitting rain, and the temperatures hung around freezing.  The bricks that paved the pedestrian mall had an icy shine, and I was counting on some weather-related downtime and a few chuckles courtesy of the slippery bricks.  I spread my tarot cards out on the sun and moon patterned velvet covering the repurposed diner table, choosing my usual Celtic Cross spread of ten cards; face down. 

The electric crystal ball accent lamp cast a faint blue glow inside my enclosure.  I could smell the incense and essential oils displayed near my booth. The new age music that played over the sound system underscored the chatter of the two brave customers debating the merits of various love spells.  I could have solved their argument easily, but if they wanted to throw their money away, who was I to judge?  

I was warm and snug in my velvet-enclosed booth to the point of feeling a tad sappy about the little career I’d built and the sparse but enjoyable life that evolved around it.  I flipped the first card over and groaned—an upside-down Magician.  That ended the schmaltz in a big way, but the card made sense given my present circumstances.  

My boss at Foretold, Belinda, had been after me for months to schedule my Certified Divination Advisor exam.  I’d been putting it off because I’m more of a people reader with a thin strip of psychic and a broad streak of a con artist that I try to rise above.  Most days, at least.  The Magician card most likely signified my tendency to use my gifts for less-than-honest pursuits, but it wasn’t my fault the path of rehabilitation was so twisty.  

The Magician card currently mocking me could also indicate gambling, cheating, and other things, but the skeletons rattling around in my imaginary closet made it hard to concentrate.  He stared at me with that smug look that indicated he knew all my dirty little secrets.

Those were precisely the reasons I had been avoiding my CDA test.  The last thing I wanted was to wind up in a room of real psychics who might call me out as a fraud.  I’d been called worse, but that wasn’t the point.  I didn’t want to lose my job, pathetic as it was.  I had a feeling that my persistence was no match for Belinda’s, so eventually, I’d wind up in front of a psychic board trying to give a decently accurate reading just to keep my new life precisely as it was.  

I was surprised that I even considered stepping onto that ledge and taking the test.  It wasn’t rational to be so desperate to keep a life most people would aspire to climb out of.  But the truth was, I liked my job at Foretold way more than I wanted to admit.  Before landing in Salem, I’d spent most of my life hopping from one place to the next, living a vagabond lifestyle.  A strong survival instinct had induced my wanderlust in the past, or at least a strong desire to avoid ending up behind bars. 

When I gave up my deceitful ways and decided to try my hand at a law-abiding life, the psychic gig at Foretold seemed like the perfect compromise.  Not only would I be able to use the one marketable skill I had – reading tarot cards –  but people would half expect me to be a charlatan.  Doesn’t everyone dream of being accepted for who they really are?

I had a small apartment within walking distance, and I paid the rent every month.  I knew the real names of some of my coworkers.  My boss usually tolerated the fifteen-minute window that I considered synonymous with “on time.”  I paid taxes (grudgingly, but who doesn’t?), received a paycheck every two weeks, and even used my real identity and social security number.  I wasn’t living large, but I was living legit, and that had to count for something on the karmic balance sheet.

I flipped the next card over and peeked at the forces that would cross my path just as the velvet curtain was pulled back by a middle-aged platinum blond woman with the skinniest legs I’d ever seen.  She was tall and so well put together that my first impression had been of an attractive professional woman.  Her navy pencil skirt was a bad choice given those legs, but I decided to let that slide since it cost more than my entire outfit. 

She slipped onto the seat of the reupholstered diner booth across from me, wringing her manicured hands.  I smiled at my new client and leaned out of the booth about six inches to catch Belinda’s eye.  My boss nodded that the woman had already paid the seventy-five bucks for the reading, and I closed the curtain.  Showtime!

I held out my hand, and my pentacle bracelets jingled against the semi-precious stone ones stacked on my wrist.  It was part of my carefully crafted persona of new-age psychic extraordinaire.

“I’m Calypso,”  I said, smiling reassuringly, so the woman didn’t bolt.

“Maggie McLaughlin,”  She answered, slipping her delicate hand into mine.   I noted she had paired her diamond tennis bracelet with an engraved gold bangle that was just slightly wider, and her single ring was a gold band with an enormous channel-set ruby – all were genuine.

I pushed a lock of wheat-colored curls off my face and dropped my topaz-colored eyes from her moss-green ones as I slid my worn-out deck of cards into a single pile and fanned them out across the table, face down.

“Please select any card.  It’s just to give me an idea of your energy.”  I said reassuringly.

Maggie’s thin hand paused over the deck, and she plucked one from the end, glancing at it before turning it toward me.  Four of Pentacles, upside down.  

That was odd because I expected her nervous state to override everything else.  “You’ve lost something important to you,”  I said, feeling my intuition rise to the occasion.

“I’ll lose a lot more if you can’t help me,”  Maggie said, pulling a glossy business card out of her designer handbag and laying it on the table.  

My eyes took in the sleek logo of a bullseye target with faded ink on the right-hand side that morphed into a sun.  

B.R.C., Ltd.  

Daniel St. James, Consultant

I took a deep breath and nodded, feeling a smile settle on my face.  “How is Dan?”  I asked.

Maggie’s sigh of relief was so loud in the small space that it startled me a bit.  “Dan’s fine.  He said you could help me sort this out.”  

Oh, brother!  Do-Gooder-Dan would be the new bane of my existence if he sent everyone with a problem to me.  He had some faith that I could continue to rise above my nature, and I admired his optimism.  The monkey on my back was named Temptation, and she could talk me into almost anything.  

The Bureau of Repentant Criminals, Ltd was Dan’s way of helping people with shady pasts get a second chance.  People like Dan and me, and apparently like Maggie.  Since I’d helped Dan once, it made sense that he’d send someone my way, but I doubted it was because he had any illusions about my altruism.  Dan understood that I always appreciated an under-the-table income boost.  An honest living never pays as well as the alternative.  

Getting a second chance for someone could have me walking the narrow line between psychic advisor (my new profession) and con artist (my first love), but I’ve been known to tapdance on a few tightropes.  I had been staying legit, but the thought of using my less savory talents still made me drool.  Clearly, karma alone isn’t a great motivator.  I stomped down hard on my excitement before I got carried down that slippery slope.  I needed to evaluate the situation and do the complicated math of a karmic cost/benefit analysis.

“Well, let’s see what you’re up against,”  I said, picking up the cards and handing them to Maggie.  “Please shuffle them until it feels right.”  

Her face gave away her surprise, but she reached for the deck anyway.  I watched the cards slide between her thin fingers while calculating the cost of being lured into another shady situation.  The risk/reward ratio wasn’t running in Maggie’s favor.  

My name, Calypso Mendelsohn, was pretty well known in Salem because of the publicity Belinda needed for her business.  My internet reviews were great, and I had seen my face on a poster advertising Foretold.  I was fast becoming too well known to slide easily into an alias and not get caught.  Fast becoming, but not quite there yet.  

When Maggie handed the deck back, I laid out a ten-card spread and flipped the first card.  “This is you, the questioner,”  I said, pointing to the card.  “This card indicates that your situation is time-sensitive.  You must act now or risk losing control.”  

“That’s why I’m here.”  Her skeptical tone made me look up, and I smiled at her expression.  

“Didn’t Dan mention the psychic thing?”  I asked.

“He did.  I just…”  She trailed off and her brows furrowed.

“Well, despite what you expected, this is how I work.  Stay with me, and you’ll see what I mean.”  My words were confident because as much as I might fall back on my people skills during a challenging reading, my cards are dead-on when the client is in trouble.

I forged ahead, flipping the next card because I understood the urgency of Maggie’s situation.  That wasn’t my intuition kicking it; it was the fact that nobody went to Dan unless they were out of options.  I mused about what Maggie and her expensive wardrobe might have done.  Lied about the paternity of an illegitimate child?   Orchestrated a hasty change in a will to be the sole heir to a rich uncle’s fortune?  Murdered her lover?  Her lover’s lover?

There were so many possibilities because people did terrible things to preserve their relationships, reputation, or lifestyles every day.  My cards would ferret out her little secret, so I settled in to enjoy the suspense.  

Maggie’s jaw was set, and I could see the knots of tension that made her thin shoulders creep toward her ears.  I was betting it was something juicy, so I let the anticipation build as I watched her expression change with the turn of each card.  I studied her features from beneath my lowered eyes and noticed that my first impression of her had been dead wrong.  Maggie McLaughlin wasn’t an attractive woman at all. 

Her nose was enormous, and pressing her thin lips into a tight line made them even more noticeable.  Her eyebrows had been waxed to perfection, and I suspected the arch had been tattooed on by a skilled esthetician in some swanky Boston salon.  Her hair alone probably took an hour to style because there wasn’t much actual hair despite the illusion of volume.  It was mainly extensions and products.  

I took in her expensive clothing, chic yet understated gold jewelry, and the beautifully crafted ring on her long, perfectly manicured finger.  Maggie McLaughlin was as much a fraud as I was, but she packaged it very differently.  

I am also tall and slender but not rail thin like Maggie.  My wheat-blond curls are rampant.  My makeup is not the porcelain perfection of heavy foundation, but rather just eyeliner, mascara, and lipgloss on great bare skin.  My vibe is approachable bohemian psychic; Maggie’s is of a sleek and wealthy professional you’d want to do business with.  

Yet I didn’t want to do business with Maggie at all.  All the veneer in the world couldn’t hide the desperation in her eyes, and that ground was usually littered with landmines.  

“The man who poses such a threat to you is not one to be taken lightly,”  I said, tapping the card.  “He’s ruthless, and his reputation is well deserved but also carefully crafted.  His identity is filled with affectations, but those hide something far more sinister.”  I looked up at Maggie.

“Nicky Shades,”  She said.  “He’s my problem.”  

I nearly scooped up my cards and dragged Maggie McLaughlin out of Foretold by the scruff of her bony neck.  Nicky Shades wasn’t someone I needed to show up in my cards.  Despite his eccentricities, the biggest bookie in Boston was dangerous with a capital D.  

“I can’t help you,”  I said, pulling the cards to me and knocking them on the table to get the deck back in neat order.  “It’s probably best to just forget whatever you lost.”  

“Oh, I wish I could do that,”  Maggie said bitterly.  “That’s the whole problem.  Nicky Shades has the painting, and he’s going to auction it.  The minute that painting gets appraised, he’ll know it’s a forgery, and I’m as good as dead.”  

I dropped my deck of cards.  “You passed a forgery to Nicky Shades?”  I hissed, horrified.  Of all the stupid things to do!

“I didn’t,”  Maggie ground the words out, but she kept her tone as quiet as mine.  “My partner passed it to him, and now that he’s dead, Nicky thinks this is the perfect time to sell his half of the lost Watanabe.”  She held her hands in the air and waved them around in a mock celebration before plunking her elbows on the table and resting her forehead in her hands.  Her voice sounded agonized when she continued.  

“If it were real, it would go for a fortune.  Since it’s a fake,”  Maggie’s voice trailed out, and she physically deflated; she expelled a loud breath, her head bowed, and her shoulders curled, making her look sunken.  She swiped at what I guessed were angry tears.

I flipped a card from the middle of the pile because I couldn’t help myself.  Five of Swords.  That wasn’t good.  Humiliation, dishonor, and degradation were never positive experiences.  When I saw Dan St. James, I was going to kill him.  

In the meantime, I suggested an out to Maggie, “Can’t you blame the dead guy and pretend you’re shocked?”  It seemed like a simple enough solution.  It had worked like a charm for me on more than one occasion.

“I could if I didn’t have the other half of the diptych hanging in my gallery.  If Nicky’s part is determined to be a fake, mine will be too.  My gallery will go under, calling all my past sales into question.  It’ll ruin me and everyone who works for me.”  

I puffed out my cheeks and looked at the evident misery on Maggie’s face.  “So get it out of your gallery.”

Her face shifted from misery to exasperation.  “It’s been there for years, hanging right behind the sales desk.  Thousands of clients have seen it.  I can’t even count how many times I’ve been photographed with that damned thing for articles in newspapers and magazines.  The outcome will be the same if I wear it around my neck or hide it under the floorboards.”  

“Did you know it was a fake?”  I whispered.

The misery was again etched into the lines around her eyes.  “My partner did.”

“So, when did you find out?”  

“A few months ago, I went through the records to help Lindy’s son settle the estate.  I’m just grateful Lindy was stupid enough to write it all down.  I might have found out too late if he’d been a little less impressed with how clever he was.  He commissioned the painting years ago from some forger who’s in jail.  They even paid a kid who was great with chemistry to fake the pigments so it would pass the sniff test.”    

My heart stopped before restarting in a racing rhythm like a galloping horse with one missing shoe.  “Pete?”  I squeaked, suspecting I knew the forger too well.

“Oh yeah.  Good old Pete, the thorn in my side,”  Maggie said.

If Pete Argenet were the jailed forger, there was an excellent chance my missing brother Jazz was the chemist.  I hated it when fate played on my weakness.  

I drummed my nails on the velvet table covering, trying to swallow the words lodged in my throat.  It was a hopeless attempt because they escaped anyway.  Although my voice was quiet, Maggie hung on every syllable.  

“I’m not saying I can help, but I know you’re in deep trouble.  I’m off tomorrow, and I could come to your gallery.  Maybe I can give you a few ideas about how to get out of the situation.”  I offered.  “No promises, but I can try to think up something that might get you clear of the mess.”  

My offer wasn’t as generous as it might have appeared.  If my brother worked on that forgery, there might be a clue about what happened to him on that canvas.  Jazz and I had been a team until the day he headed out the door and disappeared without a trace.  I couldn’t go to the police; they might find Jazz, which could be worse than him being missing.  There was always the chance that Jazz had taken off because the heat was on, but it was a slim chance at best. 

I’d taken it upon myself to find my brother and had followed his trail to the Boston area.  My money ran out just as I came to a dead end, so I’d decided to stay in Salem and (to my dismay) eventually wound up building a life for myself.  Since settling down, it seemed fate was determined to bring me clues, but they hadn’t led anywhere so far.   

Now, Maggie McLaughlin was dangling another piece of the puzzle, and I was powerless to resist grasping at it with desperate fingers.

“It would be great if you’d do that,”  Maggie sighed, “I could use any ideas I can get at this point.”  She fished in her bag and slid another business card toward me.  This one had the gallery’s name and a North Shore address that would bring me to a zip code lined with mansions and paved with old money.  Fate just kept throwing rose petals in my path because it knew my mercenary heart too well.  Fate also has a sick sense of humor, so I was pretty sure those petals were just to cover up the sinkholes.

“It’ll cost you a hundred bucks for a traveling consultation,”  I said, lowering my voice because Belinda frowned upon such side jobs.  

Maggie pulled a crispy bill out of her purse and laid it on the table without blinking.

First, know your girl

As a pattern designer, every collection started with “knowing my girl” – who was going to fall in love with the pattern? What products would they be interested in? I take the same approach to write my books. I know my girl…Arienne, Caly, Cleo, and all of the other strong women I create as the imperfect heroines of my stories. For this post, I wanted to give you a glimpse of Calypso Mendelsohn, my Salem, MA psychic. Since I have a visual arts background, I thought it might be fun to give you images this time – as well as a few quotes – as if Caly had taken over my blog!

I wonder if Dan Brown goes through this.

I’m deep into research for the next book in the Relic Hunter series and wanted to take a moment to talk about what that looks like for an Urban Fantasy author. Since I write a contemporary story using historical objects and myths, getting my characters from point A to point B involves a lot of – well, magic.

I start with a region – or a myth – and then I follow all of the online rabbit holes I fall into until it all comes together. And it does come together, like a little miracle the universe created just for me.

Okay, maybe it isn’t really created just for me – but it sure feels like that today!

I’ve been hot on the trail of my main villain in the series since the last book, but I didn’t know how I was going to get Ari and the gang to hook up with my mystery villain – until today – during my seventh marathon tumble down some pretty amazing rabbit-holes that all lead to the same place – or at least I can make them lead there by taking a few short, logical leaps.

I wonder if this is what Dan Brown goes through. I wonder if he has an idea for his protagonist and then the story just plays itself out in the research. Maybe someday I can ask him. But since today isn’t that day, let me tell you about my process for this book.

You probably remember I’ve used the concept of syncretism several times in my books. Simply put, syncretism is combining different beliefs and merging or assimilating them into one theology or mythology. Think of Ancient Rome – when they conquered a new region, they incorporated the gods and beliefs of that religion into the greater system of Roman religion. It made the conquered feel like their old ways were valued and available, so that was a win for Rome – the downside for us modern writers is it’s hard to figure out what originated where because the more recent (Roman) versions are an amalgamation of everything that came before from every region they conquered.

This time, I’ve left my comfort zone of Rome and traveled back to the Achaemenid Empire (Persia) and guess what? The Romans didn’t invent syncretism. The ancient world is a mish-mash of legends and myths that traveled from Hellenistic Greece, through the Persian Empire, the Empire of Alexander the Great, and ancient Egypt. The threads are thin and knotted – but they’re there.

So let me take a moment to give a huge shout-out to all of the archaeologists and scholars who followed those knotted threads to find the origins of the stories that are about to get woven into the relic hunter universe.

I have a layout – but this trail is at least two books until the arc can be closed – so get ready for another wild ride – this time through the desert sands of Persia!

A day at the Bazaar

This is one of the things I love most about being a writer: I get to have adventures from the warm comfort of my office, and Theo gets to go everywhere with me. Today is a little cold (there’s a good amount of frost on the leaves) and I have a billion things that I should be doing as a productive adult. Instead, I’m heading off to scout locations for Ari’s next adventure.

After I’m done scouting the Bazaars of Turkey and Iran, I might swing by a party that Caly should be attending in the Southie neighborhood of Boston. I had dinner last night with Darius, the great Persian King, and I visited with a few art forgers in my living room. It’s amazing what I can find out on my smart TV.

As I look out over my backyard this morning, I know that forsaking my weekly chores for research is the right decision. I’m back at my day job in this post-covid world (it’s not really post-covid, yet…but I’m an optimist) and I just want to escape from that pressure cooker on the weekend and do something enjoyable. Not that my job doesn’t have enjoyable moments, but there’s very little magic happening, and witty banter is kept to a minimum because my colleagues and I are all so busy.

I have a sense of time pressure, though. Construction on Theo’s fence began this week and my mind is starting to drift to garden plans and plant propagation. When the impending snow melts and the first flush of spring arrives, I’ll be outside creating my oasis. It’s been a twenty-year dream of mine, and I’m finally going to make it happen. I’ll even have a blog about it in case you’re interested (after all, I am a writer and artist…so blogging is just second nature and it keeps my writing muscles flexed).

So I must get back to the bazaar! Time is ticking and I need to tell you all about what’s happening for Ari and Caly before it’s time to start working in the garden!

Coming Soon!

I’ve been super busy writing and I wanted to let you know what’s coming up in the near future.

New Content for my VIP list! I have a new short that’s coming out soon. In Resistant Magic, Kai mentions a character you haven’t heard of: Simon Jampa. My VIP list members will get to read all about him in Simon’s Lake.

Since my VIP list has already received two short stories from me, I’m bundling them with a third short into a little box set of stories that take place outside of the series timeline. In the new box set, I’ve included Hedgehog Tea – a short story that I wrote several years ago for the “A Cup of Christmas” Collection. It’s a cute little story about Salem, MA and some of the interesting characters in that town. Oh, and Calypso Mendelsohn has a walk-on scene.

Speaking of Calypso (Caly) – her new adventure is coming out this fall. This time she’s in over her head because she’s settling into her new life. Trouble finds Caly – usually by walking into her booth at Foretold and presenting her with an opportunity to use those less savory skills! It’s still just too much to resist for my favorite psychic (outside of Nan, that is).

For Ari’s fans – don’t worry – the next adventure is in the works. A few of you have mentioned wondering how the new characters will adjust to the modern world so I’ve given you the answer (and a whole new mystery) in Ancient Magic. This is EXACTLY why those reviews and comments are so important to me as an Indie Author.

UPDATE: The new short story my VIP list just got is actually about the Gnomes because Simon’s story is developing into a novella!

Maybe the universe appreciates my new process.

It doesn’t usually happen this fast for me – and perhaps I’m crowing about a fleeting moment of success – but it’s a big deal for me, especially this week.

I’ve been unmotivated, stressed, and generally frustrated by my inability to get into my office and produce something good – something that would make me keep writing the next installment in the Relic Hunter series so I can publish it sooner rather than later. All week I’ve struggled because the last paragraph I wrote last weekend just didn’t seem to have a direction. I spent the rest of the week obsessing over the fact that I had no plan, no vision, and I began to worry that perhaps I’d never write another book as good as the last one!

So today (out of desperation) I went searching for the relic that would become part of the basis for the new book. Within an hour I could see the whole book unfolding. The threads were clear – I had a relic, and I had a plan. The minute it all slid into place, I sat back and realized the angst of this past week was due to a lack of trust in my process as a writer. Part of that process is NOT WRITING.

Yes, that is what I meant. Writing daily and powering through scenes that are going nowhere might work for some authors but it does not work for me – EVER. When I get stuck I need to walk away, completely abandon the project and do other things for a while until I have a moment when clarity descends as if from heaven and I’m back at the computer again, writing furiously to get all of the ideas out before they evaporate again – because that’s a different part of the process, aparently.

When I’m not writing I’m creating the covers for stories I intend to write someday. I’m creating blog images, facebook posts, instagram puzzles – anything that’s NOT writing – but a million things related to my writing. That’s how I work. Abandonment isn’t ever total with me, it’s just that I move on to another aspect of being an author. And it’s okay that my method isn’t everyone else’s method for getting the next book done. The point is, that’s what works for me, and I need to trust that if I give it enough time I will have the epiphany that will make it all come together.

I think the rest of life needs the same philosophy. How many times have you struggled and worried to make something happen only to walk away and have it land in your lap? I’m not saying give up the struggle – I’m saying give up trying to force it to happen on your timeline. Act intentionally, lay the groundwork, and situation will develop when it’s right – without all of the angst and suffering you usually endure.

So go sit on the couch, crack open a new book (preferably one of mine), and breathe. The answers are coming, but the universe, the muses, and miracles don’t work on your schedule but when it’s time for them to arrive, they do.

Stay sane, stay safe, and go binge watch the Indiana Jones movies.

Best,

Leigh

New Release!

I’m so excited to have finished the 5th book in the Relic Hunter Series – the paperback is available now and the ebook is coming in a few days. Prime Day on Amazon really messed up my release because I don’t want to drop the book and have it swallowed up in all the commotion of Prime Day! I’m looking at June 25th as my release date for the ebook – it’s one of my favorite numbers.

I’m pretty sentimental about Resistant Magic because it marks a bit of a turning point in my journey as a writer. I wrote my first book way back in 2012 – it took me about 3 years to write it and I agonized over every single sentence. That was a great learning experience, but I wasn’t sure back then how far I’d go with my writing.

I remember adding up my book sales that year and realizing I’d earned a little over $300 for that book. That was exciting enough that I wrote Destructive Magic, then Unplanned Magic, and a few books in other series that I will be returning to. That’s when life derailed a bit – right as I was finishing up Legendary Magic – so there was a long pause in my writing. The pandemic of 2020 started me back up and I pushed through Jealous Magic and really started taking this writing thing seriously.

I took it so seriously that I’m being published for the first time since I won a poetry contest in 3rd grade. I have a short piece in Louisiana Literature this summer, and that should be out right after I publish Resistant Magic. In fact, I’m also half way done with Fortunes Give & Take – the second book in the Fortunes Series. That will be out this fall, then I’ll return to Ari and the gang.

Writing has often been my salvation – my imagination has gotten me through the normal down times every life offers and it has shown me a clear path forward. I am happiest in my office overlooking my garden, creating new adventures for my characters and connecting with my fans (I stumble to write that because it seems so surreal that THOUSANDS of people have read my work now…and my reviews bring tears to my eyes).

More than a decade ago, I set out to write fun fantasy fiction incorporating my love of history and mythology with a clear intention to entertain and provide a fun escape to my readers. When I think back to how far I’ve come, I am humbled and grateful that I have had the support to accomplish these goals. So as I wrap up one career (the infamous day job) and move toward transitioning to my new career as an author, I want to remind all of you that it’s not too late.

That one small action so many years ago began this journey. I hope you find the courage to take one tiny step on your own fantastic adventure.

The History behind Resistant Magic – Relic Hunter Book 5

Welcome! I’m so glad you’re curious about the history behind my fun fantasy books. This time, we’re off to Rome – with a few side jaunts into the Achaemenid, Byzantine, and Macedonian Empires.

Julian the apostate

Robert the Pious

Theodosius I

Here’s a brief bit about Nusku to get you started! For more extensive information on Mesopotamian deities, here’s a cool site with photos.

For information on jinn – I found so many sites, but my interpretations are totally from my imagination. Just in case you want some jinn info, here’s a cool link.

Achaemenid Empire

The Late Roman Empire

Constantinople

Today is the last day

I was in the middle of final edits when my computer died. Since I’m also a graphic designer, I had to have my new computer built – which took about three weeks – but now that it’s here, I’m back to editing and will have a pre-release blitz coming up in the next few weeks.

The book is available to pre-order – and I have the price set at .99 cents – but that’s changing TODAY so if you want to grab your copy, today is the perfect day to do that.