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    The Weight of Chains

Let the Competition Begin

My brother Alex called me one evening last week to chat about books, authors, and everything reading related. This is a normal occurence. Everyone in my immediate family is a big reader and we spend a lot of time discussing, recommending, and critiquing books. Family get togethers and holidays become the stage for dissecting various novels and their authors, and become a bit loud if anyone disagrees.

I love it!

So when my brother called, I settled into a comfortable chair and searched my memory for my latest reads, trying to sift out the ones that I thought he would enjoy the most. The conversation was going along like normal, with him telling me how much he enjoyed Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and me telling him about the fourth book in Jonathan Maberry’s Rot and Ruin series, Fire and Ash, when Alex dropped the bomb.

I’ve been keeping track of how many books I read each year in LibraryThing since 2009. Alex started keeping track of his reading the same way shortly thereafter. As we were talking he let it slip that he’s figured out that in five years he will surpass me in total number of books read.

I was stunned!

When I say that everyone in my family are big readers, I’m not exaggerating. Mom, Dad, Alex, and I all love to read, but it hasn’t always been that way. When my brother and I were kids, I was the reader. He was playing video games or building bike ramps so he could cheat death. He didn’t understand why I wanted to read so much. A big part of this is that my brother has a reading disability, so what came easily to me has always been a struggle for him.

It wasn’t until the rise in popularity of audio books that Alex finally unlocked the magic in reading that I’d been enjoying for years. What had always been a horrible fight and miserable experience suddenly became a pleasure. I listen to audio books as well, but Alex is plugged into a book almost constantly. It’s wonderful and I’m happy that we can finally discuss all these amazing stories, but …

Does it make me a horrible person that I don’t want him to catch up with me?

Call it sibling rivalry or displaced guilt because I’m no where near hitting my own personal reading goal this year, but when Alex told me he would surpass me in total number of books read in about five years, I took it as a personal challenge! Suddenly, the audio book is on whenever I’m in the car alone or I’m working on chores around the house. Every day I’m trying to get at least a few minutes curled on the couch with a book. No matter what I do, Alex could still catch me in total number books, but I’m not going to make it easy on him. Let the competition begin!

Oh, and the fact that he listens to his audio books on 1.5x speed should be considered cheating!


Signing at The Fine Arts Company

I will be signing copies of The Weight of Chains on Friday, October 30th from 2 to 5pm at The Fine Arts Company in Hagerstown, MD. Just in time for you to spend Halloween in medieval France!

If you’ve already purchased a copy of the book and would like me to sign it, this would be the perfect opportunity. And if you haven’t picked up a copy, I will have a few on hand to sell.

For more details, check out the Facebook event.

And a big thank you to The Fine Arts Company for having me come and do a signing.


Library Journal's Haunting Halloween Debuts Article

Between interviews, guest posts, and reviews, there have been a lot of posts going up about The Weight the Chains (if you’ve missed any of them, I’ve linked to them all here), but today I’m happy to share the post that has inspired the most excitement and anxiety on my part.

Becky Spratford put together a list of Haunting Halloween Debuts for Library Journal and I am absolutely thrilled to be able to say that The Weight of Chains is one of the six horror books featured. (Thrilled is an understatement, I’m over the moon!)

You can read Becky’s Library Journal article here.

In addition to being included in her article, I’ve also written a guest post for Becky’s blog. She’s a librarian and asked that I suggest a horror author or novel that I thought librarians should know about. Of course, I wrote about J.F. Gonzalez. The post ended up being much more personal than I originally intended, but it was the post I had to write, all of the emotions that I hadn’t written about after his passing. J.F. was my favorite author, my writing mentor, and my friend. Without him, The Weight of Chains wouldn’t have been written. If I can do anything to help a few more readers discover his work, then I’m going to do it! My post goes up on Becky’s blog next week. Watch for a link!


The Weight of Chains - Available Now!

Today’s the day! My debut novel The Weight of Chains is out now.

You can order either the print or Kindle version from Amazon.

I have been working on The Weight of Chains for a long time, so to see it out there where anyone can pick it up and delve into Jeanetta’s story, is just the most amazing thing ever!

To prepare for the release of my novel, I’ve been writing guest posts and doing a few interviews. A couple of the interviews went up today.

Head on over to Little Red Reviewer to hear about my favorite scene in The Weight of Chains and how a spoof newspaper I was a part of in high school inspired me to be a writer.

And in a interview with the Palm Beach Post I talk about the importance of balancing humanity with darker, more violent subject matter and what/who I’m reading. By commenting on the interview you’ll be entered into a chance to win a free eBook edition of the novel.



Anxiety, Writing, and The Weight of Chains

You would think since I’m an editor and have been involved in the release of several books through Apex Publications that having my own book come out would be a breeze. Going through familiar movements, but on a more personal level.  The reality … meh.

I’m not talking about the release of the book itself. The editors at Sinister Grin Press have been amazing. I got some seriously kick ass cover art done by Matt Davis. And since I’ve been setting up reviews and guest posts for Apex for nearly four years now, getting coverage promotional wise has been pretty painless.

What I mean is the massive amounts of anxiety, self-doubt, and fears of failure that have wormed their way into my brain and taken over my every thought.

I’m not saying that I’m not excited about the release of The Weight of Chains. I am. And I’m incredibly proud of my little horror novel. I worked for years to get the story to the point where I felt it was ready to show the world, but despite that there’s still this voice in my head that’s asking “What if it’s not?”

Anxiety is like that. It hovers over every movement I make and every word I type. It pokes holes in my confidence and thrashes any excitement or pride I may have in my own work, leaving all the good feelings hidden and unnoticed in the corner of my mind while it runs rampant.

To be completely frank, it’s horrid and the past couple of weeks have been incredibly hard for me. I’m going through all of the motions of being with it and pumped for the big release day. I’ve dusted off the tattered bits of my excitement and pride and wrung them into interviews and guest posts, Tweets and Facebook updates, hoping that they’re shiny enough, hoping that I’m doing right by The Weight of Chains and giving the book the best chance it has to find its audience. I can’t be certain if I’ve been successful or not.

What I can do is keep reminding myself that I’m not alone. If you talk to many writers, you’ll quickly come to see that anxiety and depression are like a plague that seems to haunt us. Whether it’s the work that brings these feelings out or if people with these mental health issues are drawn to being writers, I’m not sure, but it’s clear that I’m not the first writer to be on the heavy side of the anxiety scale when the release of a book is looming. Which gives me hope.

The Weight of Chains comes out on Monday. It’s a novel about power and control and the chaos that reigns in the lives of those who have been stripped of both. It’s history and my imagination colliding, and hopefully it represents a better version of me than I feel I am now.