Heads up, y’all! I’m preparing to release the Grant Wolves series on Apple Books, Kobo, and other retailers. To do that, I have to pull them out of Kindle Unlimited, and Grave Rites (Grant Wolves #6) is coming out a few weeks ahead of the others. If you want to read Grave Rites in KU in the meantime, you can still get it in the Grant Wolves Box Set.
I’m not currently planning any more Grant Wolves books. I had a six-book arc plotted, and it’s finished. I love the world and characters I created, and I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a spinoff series somewhere down the line, but for now I’m focused on Secondhand Magic.
The end is nigh!
What do you get when you cross a werewolf pack, an insular coven of witches, and a shocking murder that neither can ignore?
Find out in Grave Rites, the epic conclusion to the Grant Wolves series.
Nope! They are completely different worlds.
However… I wrote the first draft of Null Witch one year before Early Grave, and it was rattling around in my mind that Emily and Emma might be the same person while I was writing Early Grave. The worlds quickly diverged, both in my mind and on the page, and the two characters ended up nothing alike.
Naming characters can be hard, even when they’re one-off side characters. This is even more true when you’re writing in a series, because every name you use… you can’t use again. Or, at least, you shouldn’t. Hell, even using the same first letter too often can create confusion for readers.
Ask me sometime about how long it took me to notice the “J” problem in Grant Wolves (Joey, Jon, Justin, Jessica, Jenny, Jack, Julie, and Jim—fortunately better known as Harding).
Okay, don’t ask me. I’ll tell you. It took me four books and a character spreadsheet to truly appreciate the scope of that one.
A lot goes into choosing a name at times. Sometimes, the name reflects a bit about their origins. Colt, for example, is a very southern name. Colt is from Texas. The Grant siblings (Samuel, Jonathan, Benjamin, and Josephine) all have old-timey names because their parents were 100+ years old before they were born. Emily, the witch without magic in my Secondhand Magic series, has a very plain name while her siblings (Daniel, Juliet, and Liam) have somewhat more dignified ones.
And sometimes, you just need a name for a random side character that may not appear again… but you don’t want to give them an awesome name you might want for a more evergreen character, and if you start re-using names, people email you to ask if that was the same Tim from book whatever.
Then there is the real-life connection problem. If you give a character the same name as someone you know, they tend to assume you named the character after them and should have something in common with them. For example, Matt, Emily’s ex-boyfriend and current bff. My husband is also named Matt, and he found it a little strange that I named my protagonist’s gay ex after him—but I didn’t name Matt after him. I named him after another Matt in my life—who is also not gay, but is one of my best friends. (I call him my Platonic Life Partner [PLP].)
Another worry? Using a character name that have become synonymous with an infamous character in another work. For example, I would never name an urban fantasy protagonist (especially a wizard) Harry… which makes me wonder: Which came first, Harry Potter or Harry Dresden? Hmm. Looks like the first Harry Potter book came out in 1997, and the first Dresden Files was in 2000. Interesting. The more you know!
I mentioned my spreadsheet earlier. I have a massive one for Grant Wolves (and a smaller one for Secondhand Magic) that contains the details of every character I’ve introduced, be they recurring or one-offs, so I can avoid future mishaps as much as possible. I didn’t create that spreadsheet until book 3 or 4, and that led to some amusing anecdotes, such as using the same last name for two recurring characters that weren’t related—which shouldn’t be a big deal. I mean, there are probably six million Smiths out there. But when it comes to fiction, when names get reused, readers have questions. I want readers engrossed in the story, so I avoid anything that throws them out of it.
Maybe I’ll make it a running gag in Secondhand Magic that every other Pueblo woman Emily meets is named Maria. That couldn’t possibly go wrong, right?
Ghost Magnet review copies available!
I threw this up on Facebook earlier this week, but I figure I might as well toss it out here too. I’ve put a few review copies of Ghost Magnet up on Booksprout, and there are some still available!
So, if your book budget is tight right now due to the pandemic—or just life in general—head on over to Booksprout and claim a copy of my latest release for the low, low price of an honest review.
If you don’t already have a Booksprout account, you’ll have to sign up for one. Don’t worry, it’s free. Booksprout is a great place to find books to review. I know quite a few indie authors who use it.
Hear me read Ghost Magnet!
I sat down with the lovely Melissa Banczak of the Books Cubed Show recently to catch up and read a couple chapters from Ghost Magnet.
Check it out here: https://youtu.be/JPyOOEVaCrU
If you like what you see/hear, follow Books Cubed on YouTube or your Podcast app of choice for more interviews, raves, and reads!
Thanks for having me, Melissa! It was a pleasure to chat with you, as always.
Grant Wolves #6 is a beast.
I’m still working hard on Grave Rites, the sixth and final installment of Chris and Joey’s story. This book has been a long time coming. I started it, tossed it, rebooted my outline and started again, set it aside for a few months…
Yeah, it’s been a beast to write. It’s going to be worth it in the end, but I think I have more blood, sweat, and tears in this one than anything else I’ve written. People sometimes ask me if I’m going to be sad to move on, and I don’t know what to say. Right now, it feels like I’ll be so relieved to finally be done that I won’t have time for anything else!
I’ve released a couple of Grant Wolves related things outside the core series, so in case you like to read chronologically… this is what I’d recommend!
What’s a funeral without a few extra bodies?
The Grant Wolves are still reeling from the loss of their matriarch, and Joey has some dauntingly large shoes to fill.
But when the funeral of the century becomes a fight for survival, can Joey and Chris keep it together while everything falls apart?
P.S. Early Grave is discounted to 99 cents in celebration of Grave Legacy’s release. If you’ve been on the fence about diving into this series, this is an excellent time to test the waters!
It’s official! Grave Threat is live on Amazon, available for purchase and Kindle Unlimited borrowing.
You might also notice that the first two books have received a bit of a face lift. Each has a new title and a new jaw-dropping cover. (Thank you, Covers by Christian!) They’re still the same great books, just in new packaging.
Grave Threat picks up a few weeks after the conclusion of Shallow Grave. A lot of things are still up in the air for Chris and Joey, but they’re starting to settle into something resembling normal life. Then an old enemy resurfaces, and they’re forced into action once more. Can they survive the road trip from hell?
P.S. Early Grave (Grant Wolves #1) is discounted to 99 cents in celebration of Grave Threat’s launch. If you’ve been on the fence about diving into this series, now is an excellent time to test the waters!
Are you a Kindle Unlimited subscriber? If so, you’re going to love this news! The Grant Wolves series is now available in the Kindle Unlimited lending library. If you’re not a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, don’t worry. The series is still available for purchase on Amazon.
Now, let me take a shot at answering some questions you might have.
Why did I decide to take the plunge with KU? It’s very difficult (and expensive) for an author to build an audience in four places at once. About 90% of my sales have been on Amazon, and when polled a solid 50% of my newsletter subscribers self-identified as KU subscribers. So I’ve decided to focus on Amazon for now.
What does this mean for non-Amazon readers? In order to enroll in Kindle Unlimited, I had to pull the eBook version of these titles from other retailers. However, iBooks, Nook & Kobo readers take heart! You’ll still have a chance at book three before it goes into KU. Join my pack so you don’t miss out on that announcement.
Will these books ever be available outside Amazon again? Absolutely. My long term goal is to make my books available everywhere, to anyone who wants to read them. I’m not sure when that will be at this point. It might be when the series is finished, or maybe in six months, or a year. Right now, I just don’t know.
What does this mean for ARC readers? You’ll still get your ARC copies in whatever format you want, so you can load them onto any eReader.
If you have any other questions, feel free to comment below or reach out to me via email.
I’ve got a little tradition over on my Facebook page where I post updates on Wednesdays about my Work In Progress (WIP). Today, I’ve got an excerpt to share so I’m putting it here! This excerpt is hot off the pages of Shallow Grave (Grant Wolves Book 2). It’s really hard to find passages from this book to share that aren’t spoilerific. I hope you enjoy this one.
The gym was blissfully empty when Joey stepped inside. The scent of old sweat, disinfectant and canvas tickled her nostrils as she walked over to the supply cabinet and retrieved the hand wraps. It’d been years since Sam taught her how to do it, and her fingers fumbled with the wraps until she gave up and flung the strips of white fabric on the floor. She didn’t really need the padding, did she? She’d heal. Besides, what was a little physical discomfort compared to the ache in her chest?
Joey approached the punching bag and brought her fists up. The smack of her knuckles against the bag was satisfying, but it barely moved. This was a special bag, reinforced to handle the heavy blows of supernaturally strong arms. She punched it again and again, even kicked it a few times, venting some of her overwhelming emotions. A few tears slid down her cheeks, unbidden and barely noticed. Her knuckles started to ache, but she pushed the pain aside. Each punch was both punishment and salvation.
“Wow, whoever’s face is on that bag is in a world of hurt.”
Joey whirled to find Ben standing nearby in workout attire, his toned arms folded across his chest. She hadn’t even heard him come in, wasn’t even sure how long she’d been going at it.
“You don’t know the half of it,” she said, flexing her aching hands. Her knuckles were bruised, scraped and bloody, but the skin was already tingling as it healed.
Her brother’s eyes lowered. He walked toward her for a closer look and whistled low. “Damn, girl. Anything you want to talk about?”
“No.” Joey’s answer was swift and firm. “Did you want some time with the bag?”
“Ha! No. I’m not getting in between you and… whatever this is. But if you want someone to hold the bag, I’m here.”
Joey considered it, then shrugged. “How about giving me a few pointers?”
He smiled and nodded, but the concern didn’t leave his eyes. Of all her brothers, Ben was the most empathetic. Normally, he was also the easiest to talk to but she didn’t want to talk to him about this. She didn’t want to talk to anyone about this. Just thinking about it made her chest tight.
“Let’s get you cleaned up and wrapped first,” Ben said.
Joey ducked into the bathroom to wash her hands, then let Ben wrap them for her before they approached the bag once more. Ben gave it a quick wipe down, then draped the bloodstained towel over one shoulder.
“Okay, slugger. Fists up, elbows down. Dominant hand in back. There you go, perfect. Your stance is really good, have you done this before?”
“Sam gave me a few lessons before I moved out,” Joey said. She remembered the body positioning better than anything else—she was a dancer, after all.
“That explains it.” He moved behind the bag and leaned one shoulder into it. “Okay, remember to start from a relaxed position. Exhale as you punch and tighten your fist and body when it hits the bag.”
Joey did as instructed, wincing as her battered hand impacted with the weighted bag. The wraps did help, at least. She tried a few more jabs, correcting her arms or feet movements according to Ben’s advice. The lesson proved a better distraction than her frustrated amateur poundings. It gave her something to focus her mind on as well as her body.
By the time her ringing phone interrupted the lesson, she’d worked up a sweat. Her fingers had difficulty extracting her phone from her pocket with the wrap still snug around her knuckles, but she managed to fish it out before it stopped ringing. She glimpsed Dean’s name on the display as she swiped her thumb to answer.
“I’ve totally been meaning to call you,” she said, right off the bat.
“Aw shucks, I’ve been on your mind? I’m flattered. Is this a bad time? You sound winded.” The familiar cadence of his voice brought back memories of their time together, working to free Chris’s spirit from bondage on the astral plane.
“I’m at the gym. Anyway, I still need to pay you, but also… I’ve got news for you. I can’t really get into it on the phone. Can you come over?”
“Your place your your parents’?”
“This isn’t just some ploy to get me where your mom can intimidate me some more, is it? Mum’s the word, I swear.” Dean had been rather roughly exposed to the family secret while under her employ, something Adelaide didn’t take lightly.
Joey rolled her eyes and ambled toward the water cooler. “I can intimidate you just fine on my own, thanks. But seriously, strictly a social visit. Aside from the payoff anyway.”
“Alright, alright. I’m meeting a client over dinner, but I can swing by afterward. Around eight?”
“That’ll work. I’ll see you then.”
Joey hung up and stuffed her phone in her pocket again after goodbyes were said, then filled a paper cup with water.
“Dean?” Ben asked. He’d begun taking a few bare-fisted swings at the bag while she was on the phone.
She turned to give him a quizzical look. “How’d you know?”
Her brother shrugged. “Context.”
“Ah.” Joey downed the water and tossed the cup into the trash, then strode back over to the bag. She smacked her fist lightly against her palm. “Okay, ready for round two.”
You’ve read book one, right? If not, grab a copy and get ready for the electrifying sequel you won’t want to miss!