Wagon Witch and “Gypsy.”

Hello, a brief note saying any descriptions of my forthcoming novel WAGON WITCH’S APPRENTICE using the term “gypsy” are not condoned by the author herself.  I am actively working against its use, in what limited capacity I have in dictating how other people talk about my work.  For those who do not know, it’s a racial slur against the Romani.  I purposefully refer to the travelling people in my novel as travellers for this reason.

My publisher and agent have been notified that this is not something I will tolerate in the circles where I have control.

Thank you.


Hi. I Screwed Up. Nice to Meet You!

In Mary 1, I kill a character.  In doing so, I contribute to one of the (don’t click next link if you don’t want a spoiler) Problematic Horror Tropes that, in other work, drives me absolutely mental.  I was aware of it at the time, was kicking myself for being That Person, but I’d written myself into a corner.  You see (dundundun) the character I kill?  Was my favorite.  By, like, a lot.  Because she was in a lot of ways me and when I’d determined that I was going to nuke someone, I had four characters to choose from and only one of them was likable enough (without being utterly necessary to the continuation of the story into book two) to actually make anyone care.

So I picked the one that hurt.  Me and the reader.  And in doing so, Screwed Up Something Else.

I still feel badly about it.  I wish I’d engineered the book better.  We learn, and I have learned, but I wanted to offer an explanation for what I consider poor behavor.  I try to be socially aware.  I try to not be a privileged white dong when I can be.  In this instance, I failed and I recognize it.  I do better in book two.  I’ll do better in books going forward.

(And just so we’re clear, I’m not looking to be exonerated. I messed up and this is me owning that mess-up.  To anyone I offended, you have my sincere apology.)


MORE Quick and Dirty Writing Tips.

Because the first thirty iterations weren’t enough or something?

*  Every book, yes even after the first, will bring its own anxieties. You will never get over that slightly sick feeling of release and WILL THEY LIKE IT.  You might think it’s related to being a debut?  It’s not.  I’d say it only gets worse because now you have X books under your belt and you’re supposed to know what you’re doing and if you fail you’re obviously a terribad.  No one wants to be a terribad.

*  You may think you have a point in your book–a message you wish to send–and inevitably SOMEONE won’t get it.  Like, you could spoon feed it to the audience, nay back up a dump truck and drop it into their open maws, and some people STILL won’t get it (or more irritatingly, they’ll tell you your message was wrong in the first place so why did you bother?)  Nothing you can do about it.  If you try to address it directly, they’ll tell you you failed in delivery.  Move on.

*   No art is above critique.  None.  If you don’t want negative reviews, don’t make publicly consumed art.  You are not Special.  You are not Above This.  You did not Write So Well that all OTHER works deserve critique except yours.  Get over yourself.  And yes, the point still stands that if you address a dissenting reviewer you are walking onto a field of landmines and will, usually, come out looking like a bully or an idiot.

*  If you are going to get political with your social media feeds, you will possibly lose fans who disagree with your flavor.  It’s a risk you take.  Weigh and consider.  Having opinions and expressing opinions is great, but it’s also not Free From Consequence.

*  Your agent is supposed to be your biggest ally.  If you’re not hearing from them in a fashion that suits you, open the dialogue.  You shouldn’t FEAR talking to your agent.  And if you do?  It’s probably a sign that’s not the agent for you.

*  Being agentless or unpublished is better than being poorly represented in either scenario.  Yes, I mean it.  I watched a friend take a bad deal with a small publisher and any joy of publishing was promptly stripped by an idiot publisher acting less than professional.  Don’t be that person.

*  Published authors (and agents and editors) are not rungs in a ladder.  Do not use us to further your own career.  Interact with us because you like us, our work, but do NOT spam us asking for blurbs or an “in” or anything else that presumes we owe you something.  We don’t.  I won’t be less than a person to my real world friends and relatives.  I certainly won’t be less than a person for a stranger who only wants to know me to milk an Imaginary Publishing Cow.

*  Sometimes publishing cuts plans short.  Option books are rejected, sequels we wanted to write don’t get funded.  Release dates are pushed back.  A lot of things fans think we have control over?  We don’t.  Before you assume your author hates you forever and WHY DON’T THEY SELF PUBLISH IT BECAUSE I NEED THIS STORY, remember we have to eat.  Self publishing is a fine and wonderful way to get words into readers hands, but if I have to choose between X guaranteed advance money to write a book that will pay my mortgage and car payment versus X potential e-book money with no guarantees of anything other than a Wendy’s combo number six and a pack of gum, where do I go?  It’s not because I hate my readers.  It’s because I have living expenses.  It’s because I might not have the money to front a cover artist and freelance editor to properly e-publish.

*  Tagging authors with shitty reviews is an annoying practice and I really wish people WOULDN’T do that?  But they might.  And as the author, you’re expected to ignore that shit.  See earlier thing about landmines.  If you can’t, well, expect your discourse to end up pasted onto some website somewhere talking about what a horrible author you are and SHAME SHAME SHAME.  (Which, in 75% of the cases I’ve seen OF the author interacting with the audience because of bad reviews, is absolutely warranted.  Authors behaving badly often do so with a disturbing flair.)

*  None of your work will ever be good enough for you.  It might look like it’s good enough for a day, but you’ll read it a week later or a year later and see all the flaws.  It sucks, but there you go.  Authors are often perfectionists and their own harshest critics.

*  No, we don’t have much control over our covers unless we’re a superstar author.  Sometimes we get lucky.  Sometimes we don’t.  Soz?

*  Comparing your writing career to other authors is inevitable and STILL an incredibly bad idea.  Every writing trajectory is different.  The stars direct our ships to different ports.  Looking at X author and saying you suck because _________ is a path to madness.

*  Your words can and will be used to make points in internet wars.  Against you, against others online.  Once the book is published, the book pretty much belongs to the readers.  So make sure you stand behind whatever you put to page!  You never know how and where and in what context you’ll see it again.  SURPRISE!

I think that’s it for this edition.


Events, Summer 2015!

Sunday, July 12th, 2pm

YA Author Panel featuring Trisha Leaver (THE SECRETS WE KEEP), Hillary Monahan/Eva Darrows (MARY: THE SUMMONING/THE AWESOME), and Lauren Roy (THE FIRE CHILDREN), Lori Goldstein (BECOMING JINN), and Jen Brooks (IN A WORLD JUST RIGHT)

Toadstool Bookshop, Keene, New Hampshire

YA Author Panel followed by Q&A and a signing.

Thursday, July 16th, 1pm

YA Author Festival featuring twelve YA authors

Bourne Public Library, Bourne Ma

Thursday, July 16th, 6pm (Yes, two in one day!)

YA Slumber Party

Marstons Mills Library, Marstons Mills Ma


Brewster Bookstore, Date TBA

October Events Coming!