Category: Unrelenting

Unrelenting to Be Published in 2022

Unrelenting to Be Published in 2022

Well, it’s official! Unrelenting, my co-written contemporary fantasy debut, will be published in Spring 2022!

via GIPHY

I cannot wait for you to read Unrelenting! You’ll get to know a determined woman named Bridget as she takes the search for her missing sister, Dahlia, into her own hands. When she discovers the disappearance is linked to a hidden, magical society, Bridget must decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice to find Dahlia.

After having multiple wonderful conversations with Not a Pipe Publishing, a small traditional press in Oregon, my co-author, Jessi Honard, and I decided it was the perfect home for our novel.

We met Not a Pipe through the great folks at Pipeline Media Group after Unrelenting was a finalist in the 2020 Book Pipeline Unpublished Contest.

Wanna know more? Click here to check out the blog post on our book’s website.

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If you’re reading this, thank you. There’s already a long list of people who have been supportive and instrumental in this process. Friends, family, beta readers, writing critique groups, query letter editors, advocates, and champions. Thank you all. And the journey’s just beginning!

Unrelenting: Finalist in Book Pipeline Unpublished Competition

Unrelenting: Finalist in Book Pipeline Unpublished Competition

Holy bananas.

I’m SO proud (and overwhelmed and amazed and chuffed and and and!!!) to report that Unrelenting has been named a finalist for the sci-fi/fantasy category in the Book Pipeline Unpublished 2020 competition!

This means the novel is among the top 3 for the genre, and we’ll find out about our final placement on November 5.

You might know the book by its working title (The Grigori) or the series working title (The Deathless Gods). Here’s a quick synopsis, if you aren’t familiar with the novel’s premise:

In their single-parent household, Bridget has always acted like a second mother to her half sister—so when Dahlia goes missing as an adult, Bridget believes she alone cares enough to find her. The investigation jolts to an unexpected halt when unexplainable, murderous smoke attacks her during her investigation. Recognizing she needs backup, she partners with James, a supernatural enthusiast and Dahlia’s former classmate.

As they research, explore, and eavesdrop, Bridget and James learn Dahlia’s disappearance is linked to a hidden world ruled by powerful beings who wield elemental and physical magic, like firestorms and plagues. One ruthless faction has kidnapped Dahlia, convinced she holds the key to unlocking lost abilities. With options dwindling, Bridget and James team up with questionable magical allies to save her sister, and Bridget must decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice for her family.

I co-wrote this contemporary fantasy novel with Jessi Honard (my best friend, hiking/camping buddy, and business partner), and… let’s just say there were a lot of happy tears when we heard the news.

Of course, we’re thrilled that we’ll be able to take advantage of the prizes, including consideration from producers for film/TV adaptations, invitations to writer events, and possibly circulation to agents/publishers/editors.

But honestly, the biggest gift is the affirmation. We put 6 years into the book, building the world, creating the characters, imagining the magic, reading every sentence aloud. We’re proud of it. We know it’s an enjoyable read… at least for us. But it’s been a tough year (as we all know). It’s been hard to muster the energy to write and query. Imposter syndrome has been creeping in.

This news has been electrifying. Someone — beyond our partners, families, and friends who’ve always had our backs — believes in us.

We can’t wait to share this story with you, and hopefully this is the push the manuscript needed to get in front of decision-makers who can actualize our dream.

Stay tuned! I’ll let you know how it goes in November. 🙂

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And if you want to join our newsletter specifically for Unrelenting (which you may know by our original working title, “The Grigori”), please click here and visit the “Learn More” page.

November 5, 2020 Update: While Unrelenting was not selected as the Grand Prize winner in the fantasy/science-fiction category, we are still just SO grateful to be finalists. Excited to see where this takes us!

It’s Time to Query Unrelenting

It’s Time to Query Unrelenting

EDIT: Unrelenting has found a home with Not a Pipe Publishing! Click here to learn more.

In two days, I will begin querying agents for a contemporary fantasy/suspense manuscript for adult readers called Unrelenting.

In the story, Bridget’s sister is missing and everyone has given up hope. Everyone except Bridget.

Determined to take matters into her own hands, she begins a desperate search for answers among the misty streets of Cleveland, Ohio.

What she finds points to something far more ominous than a missing person’s case. Bridget is caught up in an unpredictable world of ancient magic and sinister secrets, hidden in plain sight.

To find her sister, Bridget must adapt to this new reality, team up with an unlikely companion, and forge an uneasy truce with supernatural beings called Grigori before it’s too late.

You can read more about the book and sign up for email updates at https://thegrigoribooks.com/. And you can follow announcements on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

I co-wrote this novel with my best friend and co-business-owner, Jessi Honard. It’s one of my proudest accomplishments to date. Here’s how the process has gone down so far.

Original concept + draft

Six years ago, Jessi and I had the seed of an idea. What if angels lived among us? And what if they weren’t all that angelic?

We did some research and came across the Grigori. The Book of Enoch tells the story of how many of these angels, also known as Watchers, fell to Earth. We discovered the artwork of Peter Mohrbacher. We couldn’t keep the idea from growing into more.

So we started drafting a story.

As we wrote the first draft, we realized the story needed to change a lot. So we moved on to the second draft. Then the third. Etcetera.

The final drafts

By about the seventh draft, we were ready for beta reader feedback. We had ten incredibly generous readers who gave us wonderful food for thought.

We spent the next year implementing those changes, learning, and honing our craft more and more. We started studying storytelling and novel structure more intensely than we ever had before.

We attended the (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!) Writing Excuses Retreat in 2019, learning from masters like Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, K. Tempest Bradford, Howard Tayler, Cory Doctorow, Piper Drake, Dongwon Song, and more.

We kept refining and refining until we wrapped up the ninth draft.

Preparing to query

The writing, revising, and editing process took us six years.

The next step was reaffirming our game plan. These days, writers are fortunate to have different paths to publication. Jessi and I are seasoned marketers, so we could probably have some success self-publishing.

But from the beginning, we’ve always envisioned this novel going the traditional route. It just felt right to us.

So we recommitted to that game plan, and taking the question up with those who know the industry much better than we do! That means querying book agents, who could then put our manuscript in front of a publisher.

But it’s not as simple as reaching out to a bunch of agents.

First we had to land on some comp titles (which was NOT easy).

Then we had to research agents to see if they’re open to queries and a good potential fit for the manuscript. We’ve looked into their manuscript wish lists and the authors they currently represent to narrow our search.

Then we hired an author who is also a professional query letter and book manuscript consultant to review our query letter and first ten pages. The feedback on the pages was GLOWING. But we have some work to do on the query letter.

This week, we’re finalizing the letter and submitting our first agent query.

What’s next

I don’t know.

I know the process of finding an agent will take some time. Months. Years.

And then we still have to get the book sold to a publisher and wait for that process to come to fruition before we can hold the book in our hands.

But I’m so proud of what we’ve done.

Honestly, finishing a manuscript I’m so proud of, in collaboration with my best friend, has already made me feel like a success.

Everything else is a whole pile of cherries on top.

My 2019 Recap

My 2019 Recap

So long, 2019. It’s been a frenetic, crazy year. It’s also been good to me, but I’m so happy to put in the rear view mirror.

For years now, I’ve had a ritual of settling on a Word of the Year. My 2019 word was ACTUALIZATION. Knowing me, I picked it to avoid the woo-woo concept of “manifesting.” Equal parts woo-curious and woo-skeptic right here, y’all. 🙋

Basically, I wanted to actualize all the learning, growth, and self-discovery I’d started in 2018.

That meant creating a few things:

  • Epic growth in my business
  • More financial freedom in my household
  • Improvement in my mental and physical health
  • A completely edited manuscript for my co-written novel

Here’s how everything shook out.

Epic growth in my business

My business partner and I hit this one out of the park. We grew our team from 6 to 10, upleveled our clients, and invested in networking events that were a great fit for us. (Yes, this introvert networked. Hold the applause, please.) As a result, our 9th year in business was our best yet, and we made more than 2.5x the revenue of our next highest year.

In 2020, we’re focused on stability and optimization at this new level.

More financial freedom in my household

My husband and I moved to New Mexico three years ago and bought a house right at the tippy top of our price range. The result was a beautiful home on 3 wooded acres… with a mortgage that stressed us out like nobody’s business. We decided in 2018 to downsize our square footage and mortgage. It only took 6 months to sell our house 😓 but sell it we did.

The new home ticks all the right boxes. It’s smaller with a better layout for us, costs less, and is closer to amenities. The downside? It needs major renovations. Demolition kicked off before we moved in during March 2019, but it’s January 2020 now, and we’re still renovating.

I can’t even express to you the amount of frustration, angst, hours on hold, and dust storms this has created in our lives. We’re slowly unpacking, but we’ve been more or less living out of boxes since October 2018. Frus. tra. ting. (In a first world problem kind of way.) But we’re getting there, slowly but surely. And the lower mortgage is definitely easier on the pocketbook.

Our goal for 2020 is to wrap up renovations and make this house feel like a home.

Improvement in my mental and physical health

Until I was about 28, I was the picture of self-confidence and poise.

And then I started to feel like crap. I was filled with self-doubt and self-loathing. I didn’t trust myself, and I didn’t believe in myself.

Most of it stemmed back to unprecedented challenges I was facing. I no longer had a steady paycheck and was self-employed at poverty levels. I was traveling full-time in an RV, without a steady community or friend group at my fingertips (holla RV friends, I love you, but I couldn’t see you all the time… the internet only does so much). I discovered I was a conflict-averse people-pleaser, which meant I wasn’t as strong as I’d thought. By the time I was 31, I was desperate for help.

So I sought it out. I was, not shockingly, diagnosed with depression. Finally, I felt empowered, because I had a diagnosis and a treatment plan.

Last year marked my 3rd year of counseling. Plus I added to my mental health treatment weekly personal training at the gym. The difference has been amazing. Even though I still have super-rough days, I’m feeling better all the time.

The key for me has been accountability. My therapist and my personal trainer are expecting me to show up… so I DO show up, and I do the work.

In 2020, my plan is more of the same — to continue caring for my mental and physical health. No compromising. This is the most essential thing for my well-being. (And yours, btw.)

A completely edited manuscript for my co-written novel

I flubbed this one, but not for a lack of trying.

My business partner and I have co-written an urban fantasy novel titled Unrelenting. We’re super proud of it. And a teensy bit perfectionistic.

In February, 2019, we got an offer from a New Mexico publisher to put the book on paper and get it into stores. Hello, dream come true!

We were in the midst of post-beta-reader edits at the time (which is a no-no… you’re supposed to submit a fully edited as-good-as-you-can-make-it manuscript to publishers, but fortunately he is SUPER gracious).

We’re now on a final pass of revisions. But between moving, living in a construction zone, business insanity, and life in general, that process has turned into a 12+ month slog. That super-gracious publisher friend also understands that we want to find an agent, so that’s next on our list.

In 2019, we did also attend a fantastic 9-day conference for fiction writers led by some of the most incredible humans, authors, and agents on Planet Earth. We loved it so much, we’re attending again this year.

In 2020, I’ll finally actualize my 2019 goal of a fully edited manuscript, querying it to agents, and starting on the next project! Can’t keep this girl down.

2020 is for boundaries.

In order to achieve what I want in 2020, I need to get serious about boundaries around my time, energy, and choices. But that’s a whole ‘nother blog post.

Happy belated New Year, everyone! May it be a productive, prosperous year for us all!