Books & Broadswords is Now Available!

Happy new book day! 🎉 Books & Broadswords is out in the world today, in both paper and e. It contains the two stories that were previously posted as free serials on the blog (Books & Broadswords and Rocks & Rapiers) as well as a new bonus epilogue as a thank-you for purchasing the book.

I fell down on promo for this a little bit since life has been busy recently, but I hope you enjoy spending time with Feora, Ansel, Baldric, and Zenira!

Get your copy!
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Google Play | Kobo | Bookshop

The purple and white Books & Broadswords cover on a light blue background with a floral border. Available now!

This novella-length volume includes two romantic fantasy stories set in a shared world, each with a guaranteed happily ever after, plus a new bonus epilogue.

Books & Broadswords

The only thing Feora likes more than stealing the king’s gold is using it to buy books. But when a handsome, persistent knight interrupts her day, Feora must decide if saving his life is worth revealing her true nature.

Rocks & Rapiers

Zenira never wanted to sell her rock collection, but when the new landowner raises her rent, she’s out of options. Armed with a sketchy rumor about a collector who will pay for stones others might consider worthless, Zenira sets out, but she’s met with an icy scowl, a muddy manor, and the overwhelming urge to mend the mess—owner included.

Get your copy!
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Google Play | Kobo | Bookshop

The Barnes & Noble paperback hasn’t linked up with the ebook listing yet, but it’s available here! If you’d like to order a copy from your local indie, the ISBN is 9781641972895.

Happy reading!!

A Week in Paradise

A pink-orange sunset behind a long swimming pool surrounded by palm trees with the ocean in the distance.

Thanks in part to an airline points sale, I spent last week in Grenada in the Caribbean for a much-needed vacation. A friend wanted to go to the Galapagos, but after looking at the prices, we (read: I) decided on something a little more reasonable, especially for a vacation we planned just a couple of months ago.

If I’m going to spend ridiculous money, I need a while to think about it, lol. A long while.

Our resort in Grenada was also a little ridiculous, but on a different scale. It was also incredible. They claim to have the longest pool in the Caribbean at 100m, and I believe them. It was gorgeous! Then, just a few feet past the pool’s end is the beautiful, crystal-clear water of the ocean.

A long, narrowish 100-meter swimming pool lined with palm trees with the ocean and sunset in the background.

The hotel was incredibly lovely, the entire staff was amazing, and I would’ve liked to have stayed another week or two or twelve. :)

This is the shoulder season for tourism in Grenada, since they’re getting closer to the rainy season (and hurricane season), so it was not crowded at all. I don’t know how busy it actually gets, but last week was perfect.

Mr. M and I spent the week snorkeling, swimming, and reading in a cute little cabana by the pool/ocean. It was the perfect amount of fun and relaxing, and thanks to a long-sleeve rash guard and frequent reapplication of sunscreen, I only got a tad sunburned on one day.

I was sitting in full shade, but the ocean is sneaky, and the reflected sun got me anyway.

Our friend Ms. T went on a bunch of scuba dives and brought back amazing pictures of fish and the reef. And a sea turtle! It was almost enough to convince me to try diving, but since my brain is SUPER GOOD at thinking about every possible catastrophe for any given situation, I still think it’s not for me. Though the clear water certainly was tempting.

The three of us did a day tour, which ended up being a little rushed thanks to a hotel mixup, but it was nice to see some of the other parts of the island, and I’m 1000% glad we didn’t try to drive. Not only do they drive on the “wrong” side of the road, they also drive with some innate ability to know who should give way on the steep, narrow, winding mountain roads.

There was a lot of honking involved and more games of high-speed, head-on chicken than I was entirely comfortable with.

No vacation is complete without a lot of delicious food, and we found it, mostly within walking distance of the hotel, which was nice. On our next-to-last day, we also found a great bar just down the beach and had our fair share of cocktails. Every single one of them was delicious. I think this one was called the Purple Rainbow, since after it was mixed it turned bluish-purple:

A photo of me in a pink summery dress and wide-brimmed hat with a pint glass in front of me that is layered with ingredients so it's red on bottom, then yellow, green, and blue.

Unfortunately, our trip home wasn’t quite as nice. The Miami airport was a little bit of a disaster. We ended up being delayed by over two hours, and that wouldn’t have been so bad on its own, but the flight was supposed to leave at 9:45PM and arrive in Austin at midnight.

Instead, we left at midnight and arrived after 2AM.

It was like 3:15 by the time we made it home, and that made for a long day. So today I’m getting caught up and doing laundry and all of that other stuff that piles up after a nice time away. Tomorrow I’ll hopefully get back to writing my work-in-progress, since I need to be making progress on it. We’re practically to June. How did that happen???

One last thing: while we were lounging around in the pool, I overheard someone’s new business plan. He was talking about his idea, trying to convince his significant other that it was a good idea (with very limited success, lol). He wasn’t intending this to be the slogan, but this sentence that came out of his mouth was pure gold:

Dog Cologne: Because Dogs Smell Like Shit

If you use that to make a zillion dollars, remember to give me and the unnamed man at the hotel our cuts. Maybe then I can go back for another week. :)

Let’s Try This Again

The benefit of making your own book cover is that it’s relatively cheap in terms of dollars, though not always in terms of time. The downside is that if it doesn’t look how you expected, you have no one to blame but yourself.

I made the original Books & Broadswords cover, and while I liked it, something about it bugged me, especially at small sizes. So I made another one, then another one, and finally this one, which is the one I’m finally happy with. And since I’ve sent it off to my agency to be updated at the various retailers and I don’t want them to reach through the internet tubes and murder me for being indecisive, this is going to be the final form.

It’s brighter and matches the cozy fantasy vibe a little better. Behold!

Books & Broadswords Volume One cover. White text and sword, book, and magical icons on a purple dragon-scale background.

The new cover is still rolling out to retailers, and since I replaced the file here on my blog without updating the name, you may see the old version until it falls out of the browser cache, but the image above is an entirely new file, so you should be seeing a cover with large white text, a rose border, and various icons on a purple dragon scale background.

If not, blame the gremlins. :)

I finished edits this week, and the print preorder will hopefully go up next week. The stories didn’t change too much, but I did add around 1400 words, bringing the total word count up to just under 35k, so you’ll get a little more story with your story.

If you want to secure yourself a copy for the June 11 release, I’ll drop some handy links below. Happy almost Friday!

Get your copy!
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Google Play | Kobo | Bookshop

Totality

Yesterday, our house was in the solar eclipse’s path of totality. The forecast was… not great, so I wasn’t expecting much. Some sunlight had broken through in the morning, but by noon, it was gray and overcast.

Behold, half an hour before eclipse time:

An overcast sky where the sun is not visible

Technically, I think the sun is in frame, but I couldn’t tell you for sure because all of those horrible clouds covered it up.

Still, ever the optimist, I grabbed my eclipse glasses, my nice camera, and Mr. M, and we trooped outside to see what we could see.

I didn’t grab a tripod because :waves at cloud photo:

As we got closer to the time, the clouds started breaking up a tiny bit, so the sun would peek through for a second or two. I had a solar filter made for binoculars, so I tried to freehand a photo with it and my nice camera, and that went about as well as you would expect.

This is the best one, and if you zoom in, you can see it’s a rare triple sun thanks to camera shake. Also, light was bleeding in from the side of the filter, so the bottom right looks nice and spooky.

A slightly blurry crescent of sun taken through a solar filter

The crescent of light kept shrinking until finally, darkness fell around us. It wasn’t pitch black (but it never is in the city), but it was dark enough for the street lights to come on and for our security cameras to switch to night mode.

Then, the clouds broke and we could see the sun… or what was left of it, which was just a faint ring of light. Cheers went up in the neighborhood as we all stared in awe. It was obscured by clouds, but totally visible.

A total solar eclipse in a cloudy sky

There’s still a decent amount of camera shake here, but I’m happy with how it turned out. Heck, I’m happy we got to see it at all.

It was unreal. I know people say that being in 99% coverage is completely different than being in totality, but I didn’t believe them until yesterday. As soon as the tiniest little piece of the sun came back, the clouds lit up and the coolest part of the day was over.

The next two total eclipses here in the US are in 2044 and 2045, so you have plenty of time to make plans. :)

Sun Haven

A screenshot of Sun Haven, with my little winged demon character standing in front of a house and above a planted field.
Behold my kingdom! Don’t judge my disaster of a crafting area. :)

During the recent Steam sale, Mr. M bought us a new game: Sun Haven. It’s very Stardew-esque, except it has more of an RPG feel because you level up different specialities (farming, combat, fishing, etc) and you get to choose where to put your points to customize your character.

It’s awesome!

We had to go to Ft. Worth this weekend, so we didn’t get to play too much, but we’re probably ten-ish hours in and having a lot of fun. My only minor complaint—and this might not be a complaint for someone who only occasionally plays co-op—is that the main quest progresses separately for each character.

So while I’ve been moving the story forward, Mr. M has been toiling away in the mines, and he has no idea what I’m talking about. 😭

If you decide to check it out, be sure to set the day length in the options. There’s no stamina meter, so you can do as much mining, farming, and exploring as you can fit in a day. By default, days are twenty IRL minutes long, which feels a little rushed. For a more relaxing experience, you can set it as long as forty minutes, and the game will save in the middle of the day if you need to quit, so you don’t lose progress.

We were most of the way through Spring before we figured out that we could make it easier/more fun by adjusting the day length, so let me save you that pain. :)

I have a barn full of animals I diligently pet every day, and Mr. M has a field of plants, and we just killed a slime monster boss, despite being somewhat ill-equipped for such a difficult battle.

I’m also kind of accidentally romancing one of the villagers. He asked to chat with me privately, and I was like “Sure!” and then it was actually a date. Oops. This is not actually that different from how it worked back when Mr. M and I were dating, lol.

If you like Stardew and RPGs, I highly recommend checking it out!