Straw Houses (sequel to Sideshow)
Hailey's adventures with her circus family continue, but the new act Fig hired is more than your average teleporting trapeze artists. Murder and mayhem (of course) ensue in the second act of this macabre show. Horror/Rated R (18 and over). Currently, I am stuck on Chapter 7 for this one because what's next is difficult to write. I had the same problem writing the first book, so I'm sure I'll get through it.
Molly and Gerta Goldfinch lost their husband and father, Jacob, under very suspicious circumstances. Add in a vampire, his minion, and his reluctant pet werewolf, and Molly is convinced that foul play was involved in her father's death. She sets out to uncover the truth, with the help of a furry friend, and maybe begin a new career as a vampire hunter to boot. Children's/Rated G (8 and up). I'm on Chapter 3: The Goldfinch Grave. This book is a lot of fun to write, but it's been on the back burner for a while because it's hard to write when Madyson is here. Since the book is for her, I get distracted by running bits of plot by her, which she likes but which doesn't get a lot of writing done. I will probably work on it in the coming week off from my day job, because she will be preoccupied. The sequel to this one is writing itself in my head too...Woeful Witches. Love it!
Thirty Jesuses (and Other Bedlam Stories)
Colleen Macready was a nurse in the New Mexico State Mental Institution's "E Ward" for 27 years. Often poignant mixed with horror and humor, these stories encompass the durability of the human spirit and what the compassion of one nurse can mean to those who are trapped by their own demons. The stories also explore who the real monsters are: those in the institution, or those who dictate how it is run. Corruption at the highest levels eventually lead to the shutdown of E Ward, and the heartbreaking fate of many of "that crazy nurse" Colleen's patients. Horror/Rated R. I say horror because some of the patients were murderers and their crimes are documented here. While this is a work of fiction, many of the patients' crimes are based in fact. I'm on Chapter 4 of this one and it is posing difficulties because the murders must be researched thoroughly before I write them. I'm not a cop, or a forensic scientist; these images and crimes are hard to read, and harder to write. I'll likely work on this one between chapters of my kid's book so I have a little lightness to go with the dark.
The Sound of All Things
Ludwig van Beethoven is well known as one of the world's most influential musicians and composers. Most people know of his personal angst, the loss of his hearing as a relatively young man and his courage in continuing to perform the work he felt passionate about even after his affliction. Some even know of his unpredictable temper and legendary coldness along with his numerous trysts and affairs. What is less well known of him is the contents of his conversation books, small volumes he began carrying with him after his deafness struck, where he would write to his guests and they would write to him. Another sort of man emerges from these pages; often angry and vindictive, or kind and caring beyond belief. An interesting fact struck me while reading these conversation books: Beethoven never approved of his brother's wife, a woman he felt was nothing more than a gold digging harlot. He doted upon their son, however, and was never fortunate enough to have children of his own. Upon his brother's death, Beethoven became fixated with the boy and embarked in a bitter custody battle with his brother's widow in an attempt to steal her son from her. In his conversation books, we can see his interactions with his nephew and his increasing desire to claim the boy as his own and name him his heir. His disappointment in his nephew's choices, particularly that of loving men rather than women and thus ending the Beethoven line, drove the senior Beethoven into such rages that the nephew attempted to commit suicide and though he lived, never saw his uncle again. This is not yet rated but will likely be rated R because of the adult content. I am in the research phase of this book still so no chapters to report yet but I'm very excited to begin. The research about Beethoven and his life is fascinating, and I've written to a few archives overseas to see if I can get copies of some of his conversation books so that I can see his writing for myself. Many of them are gone, some say destroyed by Anton Schindler, but an excellent book titled "Beethoven Letters Journals and Conversations" is on my list of research sources as it is a comprehensive source of information, written in a non-biased manner (I can't wait for it to get here!). Many of the conversation books can be viewed online as well. I enjoy reading them because it's an insight into the mind of someone I've admired my entire life and who lived long ago. The books humanize him in ways many historical figures are not. My book will be a work of fiction, but of a historical nature, so I will not be bogged down with writing from a non-biased point of view and can take some liberties as well.
This is a tawdry vampire/succubus romance thing. Lily Nox is cursed with the ability to draw power and energy from men using her sexuality. She's drained more than a few of them dry by mistake, and the supernatural community is in danger of losing their open status among the humans. They send a regulator to bring her in and eliminate the danger she poses by having one of their own mate with her. Permanently. Lily refuses to go down quietly but she meets her match when Alexander, her fated destiny, finds her and sets out to make her his. She struggles against her fate, and destiny, and Alexander, but in the end her heart is captured by the tall handsome vampire. This is totally Rated R. Maybe X. I'm on Chapter 3 on this one, and it's just some fun fluff I write when I'm feeling...um, you know. Like during True Blood Season when Alexander Skarsgaard is on my screen every Sunday. Is it coincidence that my Alexander looks like Eric Northman, also a vampire? Yes. Yes it is.
The Heart's Compendium
Victoria Brumley is a street urchin, a homeless runaway who has done more than her fair share of things to be ashamed of, in order to survive on the tough streets of Seattle. Jaxon Alvis is a survivor of the same streets but something more, as well. Their meeting is unorthodox, as Jax kidnaps Tori from the streets and imprisons her in his library. He feeds her, clothes her, and shelters her, and keeps her captive, only asking that she refrain from reading a particular book in his library, The Heart's Compendium. Naturally, Tori finds the book and begins to read a heart wrenching story of a fallen man, who she suspects is her captor. Eventually, the main character of the story falls madly in love with the reader, and Tori is drawn further and further into the tale until the final chapter, where the reader is asked to finish the story on the blank pages she finds there. But the book's protagonist isn't the only one who needs rescuing. Thus a tale is written so that the main characters falls in love with the readers, and become each other's salvation. This one is not rated yet either. I just finished writing Chapter 1 but it was echoing in my head...someone posted a meme on Facebook about "someone should write a book where the main character slowly falls in love with the reader." Ok, I volunteer as tribute! Haha. One thing about this one so far: I can't decide if it will be a YA book or not. There is already the threat of a rape in the alley kidnapping scene and a lot of cursing. We'll have to see how it pans out.
And that is it for now! I'm going to try and focus on the first three as much as I can for this year. My goal is to have Straw Houses complete by September (when it's due to my editors and proofreaders) for publication in October. The other two will be finished when they are finished, as they aren't on a deadline. I do have a reader (my editor as well, Annette) who loves the asylum book and is constantly pestering me for chapters (which is great or I'd never finish anything) so it is likely that this will be completed this year as well. As for the Misunderstood Monsters book...well, it belongs to Madyson and will be done when she says it is done. And not a moment sooner.
Happy reading everyone!
PS-don't forget to stop by Goodreads and enter to win a copy of "Dead in the Water" on sale now!
Here's the link!