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New Release!

Out today at all your favorite places.

Snow and Mistletoe is the story of wolf shifter Adam and his fated mate Colby.

And the beginning of the Cauldron Creek Series!

Wolf shifter Adam White has never worried about finding his mate. If it happens, it happens. Until the moment he lays eyes on Colby Carter and Adam’s entire world shifts. He knows he’s looking at his mate, even if he can’t be sure until all his senses are engaged. But Adam didn’t expect his mate to be human. And he certainly didn’t expect his mate to dismiss his claim so easily.

Colby has a solid reason for saying no, but he can’t deny the pull between them. When the truth comes out, Adam is still willing to get to know Colby, and Colby wants the same. But it’ll take time before they take the leap to solidify their bond. Adam pulls out all the stops, including bringing Christmas to the middle of July heat, to show Colby he’s willing to do whatever it takes to make Colby happy.

When a medical scare forces Colby to reevaluate what he wants, he’s all in. As long as Adam is. Adam knows Colby is meant to be his, and the more he’s gotten to know the man, the more he wants him. Fate may have decreed Adam and Colby were meant to be, but it’s never that simple. Can these two men find their way to a future together?

On sale at the publisher: https://www.jms-books.com/kris-t-bethke-c-224_240/snow-and-mistletoe-p-3888.html

Or get it from your preferred place: https://books2read.com/u/47N2rL

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Delayed Flash Fic

I know you’ve all been looking forward to the final installment of Jamie and Sean’s story. Unfortunately you’ll have to wait a few more days.

I’m out of town for a funeral and haven’t been in the right headspace to get it written this week. But I’ll get it done this weekend and get it posted ASAP. so look for it in a few days.

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Plantsing

There’s all sorts of writers out there, and all sorts of “rules” writers are supposed to follow in order to be “real” writers.

To which I say: bullshit.

Everyone has their own process, and the important thing is to find out what works for you and go with it. If something doesn’t work? Toss it and try something else. Trial and error is the way to go, and eventually, you’ll find the way that works. My point in writing that out is to say that it took me a long time to figure out my process, the way things worked best for me and made it so I was able to write a story.

I’ve been writing stories since I was ten years old. Of course, I had dreams of becoming a famous author and being rich. As I grew up, it morphed into dreams of just being published. And the more I learned about the whole process, the more I realized that it was highly unlikely I’d ever be rich. And just as unlikely that I’d ever be able to make it my sole income.

But when I was a wee baby author, newly published and on the high of that, I knew I wanted to do it more than just occasionally. That first short story was my gateway drug and I knew all the voices in my head had stories that needed to be told.

So I followed those so called rules, and I failed at most of them, and I felt like an idiot who would never publish again. I couldn’t make a story come to life if I wrote every day, or if I just wrote and wrote, and didn’t edit at all until I was done. (These are just two of those “rules” and there are many, many more).

The truth is, there are no rules. There is only what makes it so I can put words on the page. I don’t write every day, and I edit as I go along. I write when the muse strikes, and I listen to the voices in my head that sometimes take me where I didn’t know I was going.

Which brings me to the title of this post. Authors often label themselves as plotters (as in they work the whole story out, plan all the beats, before they even start writing) or pantsers (as in they fly by the seat of their pants and make the whole thing up as they go along). But there’s another subset of us that are often referred to as plantsers (which no, is definitely not the best word).

For me, that means I get an idea for characters or a scene, and I mull on it, try to figure out if it strikes the muse’s fancy (for she is a fickle bitch) and see if the story can come to life in my head. If it does, then I start plotting. Except…it’s a barebones plot. Usually by chapter, a few sentences, maybe a paragraph, of the mood I want to invoke, the beats I want to hit, the high points. I work through the whole book that way and usually can spot plot holes or if the idea I have is going to work at all.

Then I take that barebones plot and I start writing. But here’s where the pantsing comes in…because even though I have an idea of what I want to accomplish with each scene and chapter, I don’t know how I’m going to get there. Until I start letting the characters live and breathe on the page that is. They tell me how they talk and think, and then the story takes off. Within the framework of what I’ve already built, the story has a mind of it’s own.

Sometimes it does what I expect. Sometimes it doesn’t. And if it doesn’t, then that’s just fine. If I need to rework things as I go—add new plot points or get rid of others—then that’s what I do. And I read and reread and go through it all, over and over again, as I’m writing. This ensures that when I finally finish the story, I’m nearly on the final draft (though it gets a few more passes with tweaks and edits and polish after that). And also that the story works, which is the most important thing of all. Because I’m not one who can take a pile of words and rewrite them all to make it work. It needs to happen as I go along.

So yes, I plot and I pants. My characters absolutely have their own voices and own minds, and all I can do is go along and tell their story. I’m working on Cauldron Creek 2 right now, and because I have that barebones plot, I think it’s going to work.

As so will the rest of the series.

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The Series Situation

It’s no secret, because I’ve talked about it before, that I am a series junkie. I absolutely love series. Be it ones that follow the same MCs throughout all their adventures and on their way to their HEA or ones that have a common theme—friend group/family, same town, club, etc.—it doesn’t matter. I love them with the fiery passion of a thousand suns.

It never fails to draw me in and keep my attention. Even when they go off the rails or hang on too long, it takes a lot for me to give up on a series. I absolutely have to see them though. I need to see those MCs get their HEA, or I need to see all the people find their forever…whatever it may be, I need to be there for it all.

Now, I’ve written a lot of standalones. But that doesn’t mean I don’t always think in series. Even those standalones often have a character—or idea—to which a sequel could happen. It probably won’t for most of them at this point but that’s because other series are, in fact, happening.

I’ve written a few series as well. There’s Requiem Inc., which I still love with my whole heart (and I haven’t given up on bringing Tyler’s story to you yet!). This one might be my most creative series, though it sparked from an idea I stole, with permission, the world building is all mine. I love the world I created, and I love the continuing through thread that means these books are best read in order.

And there’s the Landry’s Fall books, which all take place in my fictional town in the Adirondacks, which I will probably never leave completely behind and will revisit again in the future. This one is fun for me in that each story is actually a standalone, but there are fun cameos of previous characters.

There’s the two books I wrote with Nell Iris, in the Family Found series, which I’m hoping to resist and bring you the rest of the guys of V Wilderness Adventures.

Heck, I even brought Pounds and Grounds, and Joshua, from Pumpkin Rolls and Porn Sounds into Gingerbread and Good Tidings. (And we definitely may revisit Pounds and Grounds in the future.)

Basically, series are my true joy. To read and to write. And my hope and intent is that this year, I can focus on sequels. Bring you more of the series I’ve already begun, and the new one I just started. Snow and Mistletoe will be out in July, and that’s the start of the Cauldron Creek series. My notebook is filled with ideas for more.

So if you love series as much as I do, stay tuned. Because I seem to have found my passion again, and it lies in series.

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The Paranormal Obsession

I have always loved the paranormal. Ever since I was a young child. I cut my teeth on sci fi/fantasy, and so it certainly wasn’t a leap. The mythos behind supernatural creatures has always fascinated me.

But when I started writing, my stories were all contemporary. Part of that, a small part, was that I didn’t think paranormal sold as well, and hey, as much as I love writing (and in fact, would wither away without it) it’s also a job, and I have to take that into consideration. But the other part of that was fear. Building a contemporary world is easy, because we live in it every day. I just needed to put the pieces together to fit my MCs. It was harder to make sure all the pieces fit together for a paranormal world.

But that didn’t stop me from devouring PNR as a reader. I love paranormal romances, and want nothing more than to have every last one of them in my eyeballs.

I dipped my toes in the PNR world. Beholden, Accepting Submission, and even the Requiem Inc series, to a degree. But still, the majority of my work is contemporary.

And don’t get me wrong, I love to read and write contemps too. I love any story of people falling in love, overcoming their obstacles, and finding their HEA (or HFN). I’m all about the love.

But PNR in particular has always drawn me in. Which is why I’m very much leaning in that direction of late. In July, the first book in the Cauldron Creek series will be out. There are at least three more planned for that series.

The current serial on the blog features werewolves (though in my published works you’ll find I prefer the term shifter, as there are not just wolves. Since there’s not as in-depth world building with the flashes, I went with ease and used werewolves). But even though the burgeoning idea was sparked by Jamie’s food issues, I still ended up in PNR territory, because that’s where my brain is currently at.

There’s another series I’m also dying to write, though I’m still working out the details on just how I can make it work like I want, which also is, you guessed it, paranormal. That one has a lot of moving pieces though, and would, probably, be a little longer than the books I tend to write (which sit in the 20k-30k novella territory). Plus I’m going to have to talk to people to get details for things I only have peripheral knowledge of. But PNR is the focus of that too.

All this is to say that I have always been obsessed with PNR, and I want to write more of it. Does that mean I’m giving up writing contemporary? Certainly not. But my muse is definitely focused on shifters and magic, world building and alternate reality, than it is on the everyday contemporary. And since I’ve had such a hard time getting words on the page for quite a while now, I’m going to indulge the muse.

I hope you’ll come along on that journey with me.

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I’ve Been Missing

So yeah. Been a while huh?

I know, I know. That’s an understatement.

It’s been a rough couple of years. Yeah, years. I think 2020 itself needs no explanation, but it’s been even longer than that for me. Lots of stuff and reasons, but I don’t think I need to rehash them. Some of them I’ve mentioned here before, but essentially, this site went dormant for more than a year.

I’ve finally done a bunch of the admin that needed doing, and so links are updated, books have been added, and you’ll be able to find my stuff in the books tab if you need to.

I’ve also begun Flash Fic Friday again! It was always one of my favorite things, but considering so much of my problems over the past two years has been trouble with words, that fell by the wayside. But I’ve got something new going there, and we’ll see more of Jamie and Sean, the werewolves, this Friday. So stay tuned for that!

And I’ve finally managed to finish something new! Considering last year, the number of stories I published was thin on the ground, and it’s been a while since I even pubbed at all, that’s exciting news. It’s called Snow and Mistletoe and it’ll be out in July. There’s a reason for that. It’s a Christmas in July story. And there’s shifters and magic and fated mates. Oh, and it’s the first in a series, so yes, we’ll be visiting Cauldron Creek again in the future. More details when I have them.

And I have a lot of ideas, so hopefully more will keep coming. It’s my goal, anyway. This year might not prove to be as fruitful as years past, but I’m certainly hoping I’ll get the words on the page. Wish me luck!

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What Kind of Year Had It Been?

Kind of a crappy one, to be totally honest.

The world is on fire. Literally in Australia. Between politics and idiocy and gaslighting and all around fuckery, it’s been tough.

In May, I pulled all my titles from Dreamspinner Press. With their failure to pay, they breached our contract and I was able to get the rights back to all 11 titles I had with them.

Eventually I got paid but I’m one of the few. And far more authors are owed far, far more than I was.

The nonsense is still going on.

Romancelandia blew up in the past week. With good reason. I’m not a member of RWA and now I’m glad I could never scrape together the funds for membership. I won’t rehash it all, there are plenty of people out there who have done it far better and more eloquently than I can.

I became mired in depression and it took me a long time to see it. Part of me thinks I should have known by the sheer fact I had no desire to write or knit and those creative pursuits are my biggest passion. But depression can do that to you. Make it so you can’t see the forest for the trees.

I changed jobs and loved my new position, only to have the rug yanked out from beneath me and forced into a position I did not want. And it was a terrible situation for me. So I changed jobs again.

But in all the weight, there is some good.

All of my titles have been republished with JMS Books. Save one, the third in the Requiem Inc series, which will be out next month.

I did manage to get some new words on the page. Forever Nine and Miracles in Space were released this year. (Buy links in the books tab at the top) Accepting Submission will be out next month.

And I’m banging out a short story right now that has a tight deadline that should be out early next year as well.

I have been woefully less productive than I wanted to be. When I look at this, I feel as though I’ve failed. No, that’s not right. But fell short for sure. Short of my goals and short of my hopes. And that’s a hard pill to swallow.

It’s been a tough year. A hard year. But I did manage words. And I did find my knitting mojo again.

So maybe 2019 wasn’t the best year. But it’s nigh on over, and 2020 looms.

I’m going to work on getting more words on the page so I can bring you all more fluffy, happy, satisfying HEAs. Because goddess knows we all need that right now.

Here’s wishing you all that 2020 is your best year yet.

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Why I Don’t NaNoWriMo

The first time I did NaNo, it was five years ago. I’d heard it was a thing but never really looked into it. But then I was a newly minted published author and I was like, man, I need to do this! I’m an author! Let’s go!

I had my brain engaged and I started writing as soon as the clock ticked over to November 1st. I came home from work every day and wrote. I wrote like a rockstar! And I wrote 51,000 words in ten days and had a finished book! I was amazing.

And every single word of it was garbage.

I spent the rest of the month trying to fix it, but I basically just….couldn’t. And that’s when I learned that my brain does not write this way. I need to adjust and change as I go. And I need to take breaks from a story and just figure out if what I’m writing is the right thing to write. I need to let things percolate in between. So while I can (and do!) write a lot of words in quick succession, the whole push behind NaNo isn’t what fuels me and I don’t produce quality words. And when I don’t start with something that’s close to what I want in the first place, it’s impossible for me to edit and tweak and fix and polish.

I tried it again the year before last with that in mind, just on my own, and worked in the way that I know I work best. But I didn’t complete the challenge and that felt like a failure, even knowing that any words at all is a win.

So I don’t NaNoWriMo. Because it doesn’t fit my process and my brain can’t let go of the feeling of failure when I don’t do what I should.

But to all you authors out there that do and can? Rock on! You’ve got this! You’re going to write amazing words this month, and we’re all looking forward to seeing those words in print. All the blood, sweat, tears, frustration, and joy will be worth it in the end. I’m cheering you on the sidelines.

Write on, writers!

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The Truth of the Matter

Every time I go to the doctor, I’m asked if I’m depressed. I get it. I have pretty severe anxiety, and anxiety and depression (as an NP once put it to me) “play very well together.” On the whole, depression is not something I experience. So I can truthfully answer that no, I’m not depressed.

But these last few months…hell most of this year….it’s been different. I have felt so very uninspired. And I’ve blamed it on the publisher who shall not be named and the very super crappy situation at the EDJ (which thankfully will be changing in a few weeks). And they’ve definitely played their role in all of this. The mental and emotional energy I’ve had to put into dealing with all that has left my well empty.

And just today, I had a face palm moment of realizing that another reason is because I have been absolute crap at taking my medication. Not for any reason other than I keep forgetting and then it gets pushed around and hidden under something and then I really really forget.

Words have been like pulling teeth. I haven’t knitted hardly at all. And I haven’t worn makeup in weeks, and that’s my favorite form of self expression. For a super creative person like me, to not be creative and fill the well has made things so much worse.

So the lack of spoons and the lack of meds…yep. I’ve been depressed. Only I didn’t see it for what it was. Needed a little tough love.

And it also makes me feel better, in a way. Because there’s a reason that I’ve been so uninspired and uncreative. And there are things I can do to help myself. And I am making those changes. I’m unhappy with the me I’ve been lately, and unhappy with my lack of engagement.

So expect things to change around here! I’ve updated this site so that all the links and covers are current for my rereleases. I’ve got the books that are coming soon up as well. And Flash Fic Friday, which has sadly been absent for an unforgivable amount of time, will be making a come back later this month.

A Timely Gift rereleased today! So if you haven’t had a chance to read it you can check it out here! If you’re in the mood for a holiday story that starts with a solstice gift and ends on Christmas, be sure to take a look. And it’s on sale right now! (If you read the original, no need to repurchase. There have been minor tweaks, but no substantive  changes. It’s still the same story)

And coming up in just a few weeks is Miracles in Space. Y’all. I’ll do a dedicated post for this one soon but it’s an homage to my beloved Star Trek. It’s got alien races and politics, and I kid you not, a language that has rules and was created for me by an actual linguist. (who also happens to be my brother, but that doesn’t negate the linguist part) Oh and mpreg. You can preorder it here. And it’s part of a trio of sci fi stories, so if you’d like, you can get all three in one collection. Check it out.

So to sum up? I’ve been in a bad place, and it’s been a combination of outside and inside forces. But now that I’ve fully recognized it, I will do what I can to help myself. That’s not to say I won’t still have bad days, but here’s hoping they become fewer and farther between.

 

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The State of Things

Yeah, so it’s been a while. And I always keep saying that I’m going to do better about keeping things updated and then never do. I need to try, that’s for sure.
But the truth is…I’m mentally wrung out.

I haven’t spoken much about the Dreamspinner debacle. I don’t intend to go into specific detail here either. I think it’s pretty well known that authors (and other content creators) are not getting paid and that there’s a lot of…waffle coming from the DSP staff, in particular the CEO. I don’t need to rehash it. I pulled all my titles with them back in May after yet another excuse about late payments.  Late payments have been going on for quite a while, and there was always some excuse. And then everything started coming out, and I bit the bullet and requested my titles back. I was granted reversion immediately, and began the process of republishing them with JMS Books. Just about everything should be back out for purchase within the coming months, and some titles are already out again.

And as of today, no, I still haven’t gotten paid for Quarter 2.

I will say I’m sad at the state of things with that press, but it’s also not the same press I first signed with more than six years ago. And I need to do what is best for me and my writing career if I intend to keep writing.

With all that being said, it’s no wonder my creative mojo has kind of tanked. Not only is there this going on, but the day job has…gone a bit sideways and it’s also taking it’s toll. I find myself out of spoons, and fucks, and I just can’t at the end of the day. Most of the time.

I’ve been stress crafting soaps. And knitting some. And watching people create things on YouTube.

But in my heart of hearts, despite everything else, I am a writer. I have been since I was ten years old and first put pen to paper. And fingers to keyboard. I constantly live with voices in my head, plots and characters, and interesting turns of phrase. I’ve improved in my craft, and with each new thing I write, I try to get even better. I love creating stories, and helping my guys find their happily ever after. I may not be the most popular author in a fairly saturated genre, but I have a particular voice and there are those who enjoy my style, my characters, and my narrative.

So today I break ground on a new story. Today I remind myself that there are readers out there who want to see what I have coming up next. Today I remember it’s not all about the money, and that the joy of writing a story is it’s own reward. (Don’t get me wrong, the money is important as I, and all authors, deserve to be paid for our work. But it’s not the only thing.)

Today I start Declan and Luka’s story.