Ashes of Onyx Has Sold

I’m very excited to announce that my latest novel Ashes of Onyx has sold to City Owl Press. It’s too early to say exactly when the book will release. We have a few rounds of edits, cover design, ARCs, and all that fun stuff to do, but the first big step has been made. 

But wait, that’s not all…

Blackstone Audio has signed to publish the audio edition. The current plan is to do it as a simultaneous release with the print versions. As a big-time audio book addict, I’m very excited to be working with Blackstone for this project. 

I have no clue yet who will be performing the audio book. We have a lot of time before that part gets decided. First, we’ll need to hammer out all the edits/revisions with City Owl, getting the book all nice and clean before Blackstone is ready to record. Again, there’s a lot of moving parts, and this is only a single (albeit, large) step in the whole process.

A huge thank you is in order to Patty Carothers and Amy Brewer of Metamorphosis Literary Agency for making the deal. It wouldn’t have been possible without them.

But what’s the book about?

Oh, well I’m glad you asked. Ashes of Onyx is a totally new book, unrelated to my Valducan or Black Raven stories. Here’s the one-sentence description:

After dragging herself from the pit of drug addiction, former sorceress Kate Rossdale races across the globe and across worlds, hunting for lost Carcosa and the magic-thief who robbed her of everything.

It’s a fantasy, of course, and in my normal fashion it gets pretty dark. The sub-genre is where it gets a little tricky to define. It’s modern-day. It’s got multiple worlds. It’s got monsters. It’s got drugs and adult themes. It’s got Carcosa. It’s even got some Sci-Fi. Some might call it Urban Fantasy, other might say Horror, or Portal. All of those are correct, but also very wrong. The sub-genre is best fitted into New Weird.

As things progress, and we get a few rounds of edits under our belts, I’ll have more information and a cover to show off. But until then, we’ve got one big step out of the way in releasing this new book.

I Got an Agent

I’m very please to announce that Patty Carothers of Metamorphosis Literary Agency will be representing me as my literary agent.

In addition to any foreign and media rights on the Valducan series, she’ll be finding a home Ashes of Onyx, and I’m very excited to have her.

Ashes of Onyx has gone through several large revisions since I initially finished it. I’ve gotten some invaluable feedback from a writing group I joined as well as some industry people. With all that, I attended DFWcon Agent/Editor Conference this past June as a guest author, and while I was there, proceeded to pitch my latest novel to several of the attending agents. Patty was among the ones on my Pitch List, however our schedules never aligned, and I never had a chance to speak with her. Every time I saw her, she was either talking to a pack of authors or one of us was hurrying to a panel.

So once the conference was complete, I went ahead and sent her a query letter. Instead of the others I sent at that time, which all began with something like, “I really enjoyed speaking with at you at DWFcon,” followed by some detail we might have spoken about or shared to help jog their memory since they probably spoke to 200 authors over those 2 days, this one simply said, “I’m terribly sorry I never got a chance to speak with you.”  Not the best intro, but better than nothing, I suppose.

Normally queries after a conference take a few weeks before an agent can reply. They get a surge of fresh queries all at once, in addition to the constant river their inbox normally receives. But I sent it, and then I waited.

For 8 hours.

Technically, it was 8 hours and 2 minutes. I’d expected 8 weeks. It was the second-fastest agent reply I’ve ever received (The reigning king was 1 hour and that was a rejection. But that’s a very different story). However, this one wasn’t a rejection. She requested the full manuscript and synopsis, which I quickly supplied.

And then I waited.

12 weeks.

That’s pretty standard, especially for a manuscript request. Honestly, the most difficult thing about being an author is learning the patience of a mountain. After that, everything was pretty quick – long phone call, several emails, talks with some trusted peers about their opinions, and then the contract. And here we are.

While signing an agent doesn’t guarantee that the book sells, it’s a big step. I’ve had several friends who secured some big-name agents and never sold the book. But having an agent is necessary to open a lot of doors and helping secure the best deal once you’re through that door. It’s having someone in your corner that believes in you and can coach and guide you. I’m pretty damned happy.

Now, for those wondering what Ashes of Onyx is about, or just curious what my query letter said, here you go:

Kate Rossdale was once the most gifted sorceress to rise in Onyx Tower, Baltimore’s greatest coven. Then a murderous betrayal left her stripped of her magic, friendless, and on the downward spiral of drug addiction.

But all of that changes when she’s hired by a man she doesn’t trust. The payment: Restoration of her magical powers. The job: Murder. As enemies close from all sides, Kate races across the globe and across worlds, venturing into exotic realms of forbidden dreams as she hunts for Lost Carcosa and the magic-thief who robbed her of everything.

ASHES OF ONYX is a 118,000-word adult New Weird fantasy much in the vein of Clive Barker’s IMAGICA or Stephen King’s DARK TOWER. My publishing experience includes the four novel VALDUCAN series, as well as many short stories. My fourth novel, REDEMPTOR, was recently released as an Audible Original Production. I’m a two-time Audie Award finalist for Best Paranormal Audiobook (2015 and 2016), a SFWA member, and have an extremely active YouTube channel with over 22,000 subscribers.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

That’s it. Pretty simple. 

Right now, the next step is a new round of revisions. Patty has some suggestions to help polish it up and fix any rough parts. Once that’s all done, we’ll begin the process of finding it a home. That part can take a while, but as I said before, authors learn the patience of a mountain.


Life Comes At You Pretty Fast: A General Update

Things have been busy since my last post, but it’s a Good Busy and not that Oh, God, Kill Me Now Busy.

While the separation from Ragnarok Publications is still ongoing, my Black Raven Series has found a new home. I’m mostly sure the Valducan Series has also found a new home, but we’re still in talks and I’ll make a big announcement once we’re all signed and pretty.  I’m not worried. 


Achievement Unlocked

In the middle of this all, I spent 10 days touring Israel with a 2-day hop into Jordan to explore Petra. It was amazing. I walked in several ruins, visited historic sites, floated in the Dead Sea, stood atop an aqueduct, visited many museums, and petted more than a few stray cats.  I have piles of notes to use for future stories and even made several updates to Ashes of Onyx in some related areas (Those who follow my blog know that travel is my #1 source for inspiration).

My YouTube Channel has been shooting up in popularity.  I had my first video to break the 100,000 views milestone. While I’m still but a tiny channel in a sea of giants, I’m growing.  It’s currently at 4,500 Subscribers and has now made enough revenue to have covered my meager expenses (which means I’ll be spending even more on costumes and some half-decent equipment).  

This upcoming weekend (September 22-24, 2017) I’ll be a guest author at FenCon.  You can find my schedule HERE.

Finally, ASHES OF ONYX is complete. It surpassed my initial estimates and came in at 114,000 words. I’ve completed my full read-through, made many changes, and BETA Reader response has been extremely positive. It’s currently in the Querying Phase, which means its still a long, long way from any release.  While a complete stand-alone from any of my other works, I have started toying with the idea of a second story set in the same universe. Still too early to tell.

That’s it for now. I hope to have some more announcements soon.


What I Have Brewing

So while we’re waiting for Redemptor (Valducan #4) to release this November, I’ve been busy working on something new. Something very different.

My current Work-In-Progress is under the working-title Ashes of Onyx and it’s coming along rather nicely.  It’s a bit hard to describe (which is a problem when it comes to pitching it) but it’s a culmination of many ideas and concepts that I’ve enjoyed. It’s part Urban Fantasy, Horror, and Portal Fantasy. I’m about 75% sure the proper genre tag for it is New Weird.

Here’s the short description/pitch:

Kate Rossdale was once the most gifted sorceress to rise in Onyx Tower, Baltimore’s greatest coven. Then a murderous betrayal left her stripped of her magic, friendless, and on the downward spiral of addiction.

But all of that is about to change when she’s hired for dangerous job by a man she doesn’t trust. The payment: Restoration of her magical powers. The Job: Murder. As enemies close from all sides, Kate races across the globe and across worlds, venturing into exotic realms of forbidden dreams as she hunts her target – the magic-thief who robbed her of everything.

I can list a whole lot of favorite stories that served as inspiration for it. Problem is that any time I try to describe it by these works, people respond with, “Oh, so it’s like <Insert Completely Wrong Example Here>,” to which I have to reply, “No.”  But, I’ll go ahead and list some of them here.

Neuromancer, Imagica, The Dark Tower, The Devil Rides Out, The King In Yellow, and whole list of other tiny influences.

In short: It’s something like this, but not really,


So to answer the initial questions people ask based off of the influences I cited:

So is it cyberpunk?  Not at all.

Are there gunslingers?  Nope.

Does it explore the deeper aspects of human sexuality? No.

Does it include Satanism?  Hahahaha…. No.

Does it feature The Yellow King?  Um… yeah. But we don’t refer to her as a king.

So it’s a Yellow Queen?!  She prefers empress, but this is getting close to Spoiler Town, so I’m going to stop answering questions.

Is Spoiler Town near Carcosa?   It’s a suburb of it.

Right now the First Draft is at 64,000 words.  I’m estimating the book will run 100,000 total, so it’s safe to say that I’m 64% done.  I’m hoping it’ll be finished by September, and unless some unforeseen variable kicks in, I might have it knocked out before then.  The 60-80% portion of any book is always the hardest for me to write. After that will come the task of editing and then the gauntlet of pitching it to an agent. 

So for those of you who have been wondering why my blog has been so quiet, there you go.  Now that I’ve announced the project, I should be giving more updates as it progresses.