Word Witch and Professional Daydreamer

Category: The Lady of Souls

“The Lady of Souls” turns 4!

Four years ago today, I achieved my biggest life-long dream: I became a published author.

First of all, let’s just stop and marvel at that idea for a moment. How often, really, do we manage to achieve the one thing we’ve wanted most since we were kids? And that’s a shame, really, because there is so much that we could do, if circumstances were just a little bit more in our favor, or if we had just a little more time, or if we were able to try just a little bit harder. I know how incredibly lucky I am, to be able to say that, and I couldn’t have done it alone. I had enormous support along the way. From my parents, from the very beginning, when I was a little kid and telling people I would be an author one day; and from friends and family, who cheered me along the way; and from my husband, who did so much I literally can’t list it all. I’ve had emotional support, labor support, financial support, to make this happen. Not everyone is so fortunate. Thank you. I love you all.

My first-ever paperback proof, with bonus Helpful Cat. Not pictured: my stunned, elated grin, as this whole thing becomes real.

These past four years have been a wild ride, and nothing at all like I expected it to be. It’s so much more work, and so much more joy, and so much more stress, and so much more laughs. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Every day is something new, every day is a chance to do what I love most in all the world.

Thank you to everyone who’s ever bought my book. Who’s listened as I ramble about my career. Who’s asked me what my books are about, and enthused about my answers even if it wasn’t your particular genre. Who’s cheered my on at my writer’s group. Who’s said “hi” at a signing. Who’s left me reviews, who’s told their friends about me, who’s written to me. My heart is so full, and I am so, so grateful to have you all by my side.

This is where it all started: with a head full of characters, a fat manuscript, a stack of edits, and nothing but hope that it would all come together in the end.

Happy Birthday, little book. This is just the beginning.

They exiled her from the capital & forbade her magic. But as the walls of the living and dead break down, what they don’t know… might just save them.

Or Read the first chapter for free!

Did You Know…? “The Lady of Souls” Edition

Can you believe it’s been almost four years since this book was released? I certainly can’t! I’ll have more of a “retrospective” post up for the actual anniversary itself, but as a lead-in, I thought we’d do another round of “Did you know…?”, this time for my very first published book-baby: The Lady of Souls.

  • Everything about this book and this series started because in Guy Ritchie’s “Sherlock Holmes” movie from 2009, there’s a scene where Sherlock is wearing old-timey black sunglasses as he investigates a tomb that’s been broken open. I absolutely love the visuals of that movie, and seeing that particular aesthetic, combined with the smart-but-obnoxious character stereotype, just really made me want to write THAT. So I built up someone who would wear those sunglasses, placed her in a time period where the clothes and aesthetics fit, and ran from there.
  • Kaedrich developed because any sufficiently Sherlock-ish archetype needs a grounded counter-part to balance them out.
  • The name “Praxis Fellows” came about because there were two names I absolutely loved that both followed a similar convention: the first name started with P, the last name started with F; the first name was slightly quirky and used a few “harsh” sounds, and the last name was more normal, rounded, and mellow. Paxton Fettel was one, from an old video game. The other was from a real person Graeme works with.
  • The Lady of Souls underwent about 5 major revisions—and I mean ripping it down to the bones and completely changing the plot. Several locations and concepts from those old version ended up becoming part of later books, including the city of barges.
  • Kaedrich’s gender and sexual orientation also shifted around when I was first plotting things out, though when I actually started writing, it settled pretty fast.
  • The design and aesthetics for the land of the dead were inspired by an episode of “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey”, where we see halls of extinct creatures, and massive museum displays of forgone species in their natural habitat.
  • Some of my earliest fans may remember, but the series was actually published under a different name at first, and changed the The Beacon Campaigns when the paperbacks came out a few weeks later.
  • What I call “bone lakes” are real things, though they’re usually not white. In the real world they’re called alkali lakes, caustic lakes, or “soda lakes”, and you can read up on them here, but these three photos by Nick Brandt inspired the use of them in my book.
  • The cover also went through a lot of permutations before I settled on the final version. For one of them, I actually had to get artsy and give myself a fake Praxis tattoo for a wrist photo shoot. Pro-tip: the trick is to use an eyebrow pencil.

Okay, that’s all I’ve got for you today! As you can see, this book was quite the learning experience, going through a number of huge changes before it finally became the copy you can hold in your hands now. But it was all worth it. While there’s a few things I wish I’d done differently, on the whole I wouldn’t change my experience with it for anything.

Haven’t read it yet? That’s okay! You can read the first chapter for free!

Sale Alert: Smashword’s Summer/Winter Sale, July 2017

Heads up, folks!

This month, my Beacon Campaigns books are going to be part of Smashword’s 9th annual Summer/Winter sale! For the entire month of July, at Smashwords, you can get The Lady of Souls for free, and both Fixing Fate and Heart’s Blood at half-off each. That’s three books for the price of one, so really, how can you say no? Simply click the links below, and enter the appropriate promo codes. Then download, and enjoy!

The Lady of Souls — Promo Code SW100

Fixing Fate — Promo Code SSW50

Heart’s Blood — Promo Code SSW50

P.S. If you buy the books this month (or even if you’ve already read them!), please consider taking the time to leave a review on your favorite retailer—not just Smashwords, whatever you like! Reviews are super-important for getting visibility on a book, and the more people see my books, the more I can afford to write for you all. Reviews don’t have to be long, even a single line saying whether or not you enjoyed it is a big help. Thanks!

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