All Things Book (and not!)

I recently realized that the last time I sent any sort of update was five days before A Soul as Cold as Frost was launched. So, I’m shooting you a message to let you know all that’s happened since then, and what’s coming, and boy oh boy. Being a published author has been a real hoot!

The book launch of A Soul as Cold as Frost was phenomenal, so much better than I expected. My book became available worldwide, hitting the #1 spot on TWO best seller lists within hours of each other. Since then, it was nominated for the 2020 Indie Fantasy Book of the Year with Caffeinated Fantasy, has gotten 43 reviews on Goodreads with 83% of those reviews being 4/5 or 5/5 stars. I’m so proud of this book! Thank you to everyone who bought a copy and has supported me on this journey, and to all you churchy-folk who always boosted my confidence over the years by all your uplifting words. It’s truly remarkable to see how far this book has come from those early stages of plotting out this crazy novel idea I had about a girl discovering a Christmas-themed realm that carried all kinds of hidden gems about the Truth.

After being nominated for the 2020 Indie Fantasy Book of the Year, A Soul as Cold as Frost made it into the top ten and is now in the finals! (The winner will be determined by the number of votes, so if you’d like to vote for me, I would greatly appreciate it! Vote Here)

In other news, I’ve been avidly working on book #2 of The Winter Souls Series, called A Heart as Red as Paint. I’ve finally finished the revisions, and have just sent it off to six beta readers to get their feedback. From there, I’ll be rewriting it (again!) before I send it to my editor. (To see the synopsis of A Heart as Red as Paint, visit my “Books” page.)

In addition to starting the writing process of Book #2 of the Winter Souls Series back in December, I was also asked to participate in a collaboration project called Enchanted Waters, which is a collection of short stories by a handful of different authors, featuring mythical sea creatures. All profits of this project are going to Oceana to help support the health of our oceans and sea life. In this collection will be a short story that I wrote called Merrily, Merrily, featuring Zane from A Soul as Cold as Frost, during his life before he joined the Patrols when he was a pirate on the snowseas. Merrily, Merrily will also be available in a book of short stories I plan to publish in 2020, all of which take place in the realm of Winter. But for this year, the only place to get this story is in Enchanted Waters as part of our effort to raise support for Oceana. The ebook of Enchanted Waters is available for preorder for only $1.99! The price will be going up in March, so if you read ebooks, order your copy now. Pre-order Enchanted Waters on Amazon.com The paperback will be available the day of the book launch (I will keep you notified of when that is!)

In home life, I was pretty thrilled to learn that my son Chase was able to go back to school Monday (today.) I had his lunch packed, his clothes set out, his water bottle filled, and everything else imaginable. I even made a big “To-Do” list for today of everything I’ve been putting off for weeks since lockdown started, as my clingiest kid was finally going to be occupied elsewhere. But then, of course, we missed the bus this morning, because that’s just how we do things. My husband was gone with our vehicle, and my son’s first day of school turned into an hour-long scramble of me trying to figure out how I was going to get him there when I was home alone with no vehicle and three kids, one of which was supposed to be napping. So, to make a long story short, Chase was very late for school today, but he got there. Unfortunately, my youngest son, Austin (or “Austin-Mischief” as we call him at home) was pretty ticked that he missed his nap deadline, so after throwing plenty of snacks at my face and crushing a lob of playdough into the carpet, I spent my morning trying to get him to sleep and finally got him to go to bed about an hour ago at 1pm–thus why I’m able to write this blog post now.

Kids.

Anyway, I hope everyone is well and safe, and I’m sending out all kinds of prayers for random little blessings to fall on your lap today. You are so loved beyond measure, and the Lord has not forgotten your name or where you are.

Peace.

Preorder the ebook of Enchanted Waters

What really lies beneath the waves?

Dive into our magical collection of short stories written by award-winning and up-and-coming authors and follow the ocean’s call.

Meet murderous kelpies, hear the mermaid’s song, find a kidnapped prince, and explore the beautiful underwater kingdoms. Befriend selkie royalty, break fearsome curses, and swoon as you fall in love.

All profits go to Oceana to support their mission to protect the world’s oceans and promote sustainable fishing.

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Into the Publishing World and onto the Shelf

Not every book I write has the fundamentals of my faith interwoven into the fabric of the story. In fact, most of the novels I write are just cool stories. For my debut, however, I wanted to choose one that hit a little closer to home.

Yes, I’m going to attempt to publish a book this year. (Can I get a hallelujah?) I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, I’m not even promising that it will happen, but I’m going to try. I do still have kids at home and most days I feel like someone who wrangles bulls for a living; trying to keep everyone fed, the floors poop-free, and contain them in their pens during nap time. But here’s to the “I’m going to go for it anyway” attitude.
If it doesn’t happen this year, I’ll try again next year. But I have a good feeling about 2020.

As I toss around my ideas for the book title (sometimes out loud by accident – my family loves my maniac one-sided conversations) I try to consider everything. The novel I’ve chosen to publish this year is a young adult urban fantasy Christmas novel, currently titled, PEPPERMINT. The idea behind the title is that regardless of what time of the year it’s being read, I want the reader to feel like they’ve been hit with a tiny burst of cold, which, if you have ever noticed, is precisely what happens when you eat a mint.
But the title has little to do with why I chose this novel as my debut.

When I was younger, my dad used to read The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis to me and my siblings before bed. We would heap onto his comforter and go quiet for hours (which was rare for us – I had two sisters so you can imagine the daily scream-fights.) Every time he finished a chapter, we would come up with calculated arguments, or sometimes just straight up begging, for him to read another chapter. I’m not telling you about this childhood memory to stimulate warm gushy feelings, I’m bringing it up because it was a tradition that took me on adventures every night before bed. It was an exciting time for me as a kid, to be able to bond with my family over a story we all loved. Even if I couldn’t agree with my sisters on anything else, like whose turn it was to get ready in the bathroom in the morning, or whose turn it was to clean a certain room for Saturday morning chores, or even who stole whose stuff, we could all agree on Reepicheep. And Aslan. We could all get swept away to Narnia.

That marked the beginning of my obsession with other worlds.

The simple Calder family tradition (that may or may not have become a tradition by accident) fuelled my inner book nerd and is something I think about all the time these days, because now I have kids. It shouldn’t come as a shock that I want to carry on the tradition with them. There’s something magical about gathering, listening, staying up late just to hear what happens next. I want my children to go on those same adventures, to fall asleep with their minds on brave characters, to create those same bonds with each other over stories. I think with what’s become of this world, with technology sabotaging authentic relationships at every turn, it matters that we start traditions where we can spend real unplugged time with our kids.

I first started writing Peppermint when I had my son five years ago. This book, in a lot of ways, is for him. I imagined pulling out this old Christmas book every season and reading our way through the evenings of the twelve days before Christmas, with snow blowing against the windows and our toes toasting by the fire. Now I have three kids, because frankly, it just took me that long to finish writing and revising the book (oh wait, I’m still revising it), but now I’m getting it ready to go out into the world and share the message of hope. To hopefully start new traditions in other homes, while I pull out my book every year and start a tradition in mine.

My faith plays a role in this one. It’s hard to talk about faith these days, and people are especially against it at Christmas time (and with some of the stories I’ve heard about people’s encounters with the church, I don’t blame them.) But to give them a book at Christmas with no strings attached? I think I can handle that. A present never hurt anyone, even people who have different beliefs. That’s my way to share hope at Christmas 2020.

And just like that, you have all my reasons for my choice.

Just pray I can get my book done and published before the fall.

(No seriously. I will take all those prayers.)
Peace.