Books

Honor and Shadows is Out Now!

Happy pub day to meeeee! 🎉 I have to celebrate extra hard because Halloween was a big bust at House Mihalik—not a single trick-or-treater darkened our doorstep, and I’m sad. I just wanted to see all the kiddos in their cute costumes and hand out the totally excessive amount of candy I bought. 😭

More candy for me, I guess. And Mr. M. I’m going to need backup to get through it, lol.

But back to the book! Honor and Shadows is the short story that was a preorder bonus for Hunt the Stars, so you may have already read it. The edited version did grow by about 4k words (up to 14k), but it didn’t change too much plot wise, so you can skip it if you want.

But if you do want to buy it, it’ll only cost you 99 pennies, so it’s a veritable bargain! Read it while you munch on leftover Halloween candy and/or recover from a sugar coma, whichever is most appropriate. :)

Honor and Shadows Cover, featuring a woman in silhouette against a space background.

Honor and Shadows is a 10,000-word prequel novelette set just before the start of Hunt the Stars.

The original rough draft was written as a bonus for preordering Hunt the Stars. This is a short action/adventure story with the Starlight’s Shadow crew before they meet the Valoffs.

Captain Octavia Zarola needs an infusion of credits—fast—if she’s going to keep her close-knit bounty hunting crew paid and fed. Tracking down an escaped embezzler on a backwater planet should be a piece of cake, but bounties are rarely as easy as they seem.

As the crew closes in on their quarry, the hunt becomes entangled with a local criminal overlord, and Tavi will have to decide what’s more important: money or honor, and how much she’s willing to risk for either one.

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

Print books are still rolling out. The Amazon version is up now, but the version for independent bookstores and BN is working its way through the system.

That said, the print books are expensive for such a short story because they’re print on demand. I’m not getting rich on them, promise. :) If you do buy one, it’ll match the other Starlight’s Shadow books, and I did spent a stupid amount of time sweating the details, so I hope you like it!

Capture the Sun Release Date Update

If you’ve already preordered Capture the Sun, then you might’ve gotten an email (or two!) from your retailer telling you that the release date changed. Nobody panic, but the date did get pushed back slightly due to issues with the printer.

The good news is that it wasn’t pushed all the way to mid-July, which was the first change. The bad news is that it was pushed from May 9 to June 20.

Cue the wailing and gnashing of teeth. I’ll wait.

I absolutely hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the printer literally isn’t able to bind the book until the end of May, so you can see where an early May release date might have been a bit of a problem. :(

You’ll have to wait just a little bit longer, but I hope it’ll all be worth it in the end. 💕

And if you have preordered already, maybe just double-check that it wasn’t canceled? I think retailers keep the orders active when the date changes, but I’ve heard some horror stories, too, so if you get a chance, maybe just pop over and check. I’ll put the links below so it’s hopefully super easy. Thank you!!!

Preorder now!
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Google Play | Kobo | IndieBound

Edits Are Done!

I sent off the edits for Capture the Sun to my editor this morning! 🎉 Overall, edits weren’t too bad this time, and I only added about 2k to the manuscript, bringing it up to 111k words. This is pretty much right in line with the other two books. In fact, all of my trad books have been around 110k-115k words, so I’ve got consistency going for me!

An iPad on a bamboo desk with the first two pages of CAPTURE THE SUN showing.

I shared the image above on social media when I was doing a final read-through of the book after most of the edits were done, and I’m sure some of you were yelling “ENHANCE!” like this was CSI (no? just me??), so here’s the full text, since it was too long to fit in an alt tag. It’s not final-final, and it hasn’t been copyedited, but here you go, the opening of Capture the Sun:

I’d sworn I would never set foot on Valovia again, but I was about to prove myself a liar. That fact had never been in question, but I tried to keep the promises I made to myself. The screen in my cabin gently mocked me, displaying a green and brown close-up of the planet while the atmosphere buffeting the ship’s hull grew denser as we sank toward the surface.

Valovia had burned me twice already. I usually learned from my mistakes, but once again the promise of money had overridden my good sense. I mentally winced. My former captain, Octavia Zarola, would be so disappointed in me. Tavi had a strict moral compass. Mine was a lot more flexible.

And a lot more lucrative.

Case in point: the sumptuous first-class cabin surrounding me, paid for by Besor Edfo, my contact and potential employer on Valovia. It was an obvious ploy for him to demonstrate that he had money to spare, since I hadn’t agreed to take the job yet, only to meet, but it was a nice touch. As was the prepaid first-class return ticket.

Besor had offered me a truly ridiculous amount of money to recover a stolen figurine for him. Apparently, he and a rival had been feuding over the piece of art for close to a decade, and it had switched hands a dozen times thanks to the efforts of a few recovery specialists.

Officially, recovery specialists were experts at tracking down items that had gone missing, whether through negligence or theft. But in reality, we were often the reason items went missing.

The book is due out in May 2023, but in case you don’t want to forget, here are some handy links for you. 😉

Preorder now!
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Google Play | Kobo | IndieBound

Now I’m going to take the weekend off (woo!), and go mattress shopping (boo!). That sentence was a real roller coaster, lol, but fingers crossed we find something we like that doesn’t cost a fortune. 🤞🏻

I hope you all have a good weekend!

Honor and Shadows, Plus a Tiny Capture the Sun Snippet

Honor and Shadows, the prequel short story set just before the start of Hunt the Stars, is out in just three weeks on November 1!

This was a bonus story for people who preordered HTS, and while the edited version is a little bit longer, it didn’t change too much, so if you got the preorder bonus, don’t feel like you need to buy it. But you can if you want! I won’t stop you! 😂

Honor and Shadows Cover, featuring a woman in silhouette against a space background.

Honor and Shadows is a 10,000-word prequel novelette set just before the start of Hunt the Stars.

Captain Octavia Zarola needs an infusion of credits—fast—if she’s going to keep her close-knit bounty hunting crew paid and fed. Tracking down an escaped embezzler on a backwater planet should be a piece of cake, but bounties are rarely as easy as they seem.

As the crew closes in on their quarry, the hunt becomes entangled with a local criminal overlord, and Tavi will have to decide what’s more important: money or honor, and how much she’s willing to risk for either one.

Preorder now!
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play

Print books are coming, but I’d really only recommend them if you absolutely adore print, because print-on-demand is expensive, especially for a story that clocks in just under 14k words. (Yeah, I know the official text says 10k, but that’s because I didn’t update it after I edited the story.)

The print books should, if everything goes to plan, be the same size as the trad books, but I haven’t gotten a proof yet to confirm. Fingers crossed!

And now why you’re here: a little peek at Capture the Sun. I’m editing it now, so I shared a couple of very tiny snippets on Twitter yesterday, but here’s a slightly longer look at each of them. They’re not copyedited, subject to change, etc, etc.

Snippet the first:

I was traveling under a false name, so even if he was on the lookout for me—which I very much doubted, my hubris wasn’t that high—he wouldn’t know I was back on Valovia. And Zenzi’s population was over two million, so the odds that we would accidentally meet were incredibly slim.

Still, I crossed my fingers to ward off bad luck.

Nilo had his own gravity, much like a black hole, and in this, at least, I was smart enough not to be drawn in a third time—no matter how much I was tempted by his charming grin and sly wit.

Snippet the second:

I schooled my face into sharp amusement. “Did you forget that I speak Valovan? I’m not your treasure.” No matter how much the endearment made my heart race.

His expression softened and his thumb slid over the sensitive skin above my pulse. “Are you sure?”

It took a mighty effort, but I managed to pull my wrist away from his intoxicating touch. “Yes, I’m sure.”

“We’ll agree to disagree,” he said, echoing my words back to me.

Lexi and Nilo are so much fun! I kind of forgot how much I love this book because parts of it felt like such a slog (thanks, burnout!), but now that I’m editing, I’m delighted that I wrote it, lol. And my editor agrees! She told me it was “absolutely the perfect book for Lexi and Nilo” and if that’s not high praise, I don’t know what is. :)

Books, Edits, and New Stories

Today brings an absolute bounty of new books from some of my favorite authors!

Ruby Fever by Ilona Andrews

First up, happy pub day to Ilona Andrews for Ruby Fever! I’ve been in a horrible reading slump for months, but this book smashed through it. It’s so good! Catalina and Alessandro are perfect for each other and this book is an excellent end to their trilogy. It’s intense, y’all, so block off time to read it straight through. You’ll thank me later! :)

I’m friends with Ilona and Gordon, so I’m biased, but it’s an objectively fantastic book (and series!), and it got a starred review from Kirkus, so I’m not the only one who thinks so!

Two more books out today that I’m excited to read: To Catch a Raven by Beverly Jenkins (two words: Grifter. Heroine.) and Heartbreaker by Sarah MacLean.

I told you today was a book extravaganza! :)

I finished edits on Honor and Shadows, the HTS prequel novelette. The story didn’t change too much, but the word count grew from 10k to nearly 14k because I added a couple of new scenes. It’s off for copyedits, and I haven’t received edits on Capture the Sun yet (but I have seen an early draft of the cover and it’s 😍!), so that means I get to work on something new.

I sent my fantasy romance beginning to my agent, and she enjoyed it and told me to keep going, so I started working on that. It’s (very loosely) inspired by Beauty and the Beast, and I’m having an absolute blast so far.

I wrote 1500 words yesterday, which is a lot for me, and it was joy from start to finish. Earlier this year, I was skating on the edge of burnout, so it’s nice to work on something with no expectations and no deadline. I don’t know if this will end up with a traditional publisher or not, we’ll just see how things go, but I’m hoping to maybe have it written by the end of the year.

Maybe. I’m not going to push myself quite as hard this time around, and I still have edits/copyedits/etc for CTS, plus the holidays, so it might push into early next year.

I’m trying to be okay with that. We’ll see how that goes, too. 😂

In less good news, I heard from my publisher that they will not be printing physical Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) of Capture the Sun. (Note: This is for the early reviewer copies only, and does NOT affect the final copies. The book will still be available in print.) There will be e-ARCs, and they are going to try to get me a few bound copies for my standard ARC giveaway, but if you are a reviewer who is used to getting a physical ARC, that won’t be happening this time. Printing and paper costs are through the roof, so they had to make cuts, and unfortunately, CTS was cut.

But since I don’t want to end on a sad note, here’s a picture of my first attempt at Japanese Milk Bread (recipe from King Arthur). It’s a little lopsided because I didn’t exactly divide the dough evenly, but it tastes delicious!

An uneven loaf of Japanese milk bread on a wire rack.

Making it was fussier than my standard sourdough, so it won’t be an all-the-time bread, but it is beautifully soft.

And since I bought real milk for the bread (we usually drink non-dairy milks), I also made the soft cinnamon roll recipe, and that one is a definite win! I’m convinced that coffee and a cinnamon roll is the breakfast of champions. :)

Have you tried any new recipes lately?