Eve of the Fae is FREE

Taking a break from my regular content to let you know that, if you’ve ever wanted to read the first book in my Modern Fae series, the ebook is currently available for FREE on all retailers.

Quote from the book Eve of the Fae by E. Menozzi: "The wall I'd built up to resist her broke when her lips parted under mine. I knew I should push her away, but my body wouldn't obey, and my arms tugged her closer. She had no idea that she'd just exposed herself and her family to danger by letting the worst kind of predator in the front door..."

Eve didn’t believe in magic, until she fell in love with a Fae Prince!

Eve wanted a fresh start. Liam was trying to save his kin. Thrown together under the same roof as the winter solstice approaches, can this Fae prince and his mortal love stop a vengeful spirit determined to hunt the Fae to extinction?

If you love fae fantasy romance and forbidden love, grab a copy of the first book in the Modern Fae series for FREE now, and binge the series this weekend before book five comes out on Tuesday!

Top five favorite movies

Years ago, I used to have this list of top five favorite comfort food movies on the about page of my blog. I took it down at some point, but I save the list. Well… there are actually two lists. I’ll get to that in a minute.

First, here are the lists:

Tonight I re-watched 10 Things I Hate About You. It wasn’t until after the movie was over that I realized my favorite scene in that movie… this one:

Was probably partly to blame for one of the scenes I wrote into Ash of the Fae. Maybe at some point I’ll talk about that whole “compost heap” of culture that feeds your story brain, but it’s getting late, and I can’t really use that scene as an example without giving spoilers for the book. So, put a pin in that topic for later.

Watching 10 Things reminded me of the top five movies list I made. Only, when I dug it up off my hard drive, I realized it was actually two lists, not one. And I remembered why I took it off my bio.

While I stand by the choices on these lists, I no longer call things I love “guilty pleasures.” I don’t buy into the concept of feeling guilty about stuff that brings me joy. And there was no way I was going to be able to condense this list down to a real top five list.

Even now, I’m realizing that there are a lot more movies that have left a lasting impression on me and that I re-watch whenever they become available to stream. (Unless they never are available to stream. Those I have on DVD.) There are two movies in particular that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately that I was kind of surprised to find don’t appear on either of these lists.

The first is a romantic comedy. But not just any romantic comedy. A Meg Ryan romantic comedy that, in my opinion, is the BEST romantic comedy: French Kiss. I just found and bought a copy of on DVD because it’s never available to stream, and I really wanted to re-watch it. The only copy I had was on VHS, which I got rid of a loooooonnng time ago.

So, I re-watched it last week, and damn that movie is good. It really should be on that “comfort food” movie list, but I don’t know what I would bump off in order to add it.

The other one I am reminded of every time I walk into my office because I have the (full size, massive) movie poster hanging on my office wall. I inherited this poster from someone we met here on the island shortly after we moved here. I mentioned that there was this one obscure favorite of mine that he’d probably never heard of… The Big Blue (aka Le Grande Bleu). Well, it turned out that he’d not only heard of it, he had the movie poster, and he gave it to me!

The Big Blue was a movie we watched in my French class in high school, and I don’t know what it was (the dolphins, I mean, of course it was the dolphins), but I just fell in love with this movie. It was only later that I figured out that the director of this movie is the same guy who did The Fifth Element and The Professional (aka Léon), both favorites of mine, as well as La Femme Nikita (the French version that was eventually remade into another of my all-time favorite movies, Point of No Return).

So, yeah. What are we up to now? Fourteen movies? All those movies should be on this list. There is no way I can narrow it down to five. Unless maybe I just re-watch all of them over the course of the next few weeks so they are all fresh in my mind?

Honestly, if I did that, I’d probably just come up with even MORE comfort food movies that I love to re-watch. But it sounds like a fun project… I should probably do it anyway. For science. Right? Not because I’m procrastinating on my editing. Definitely not that. 😉

What about you? What’s the last movie you re-watched? What’s your go-to comfort food movie?

That’s what she said…

Since it’s “Teaser Tuesday” today, how about a snippet from chapter four of Ash of the Fae, book five in my Modern Fae series?

This is one of my favorite bits! Here’s the quote from the image:

I sighed. “That’s never going to work. Fun always gets complicated. You were right the first time. Best to lay down the ground rules now and then stick to them.”

“Okay, but I’m still voting for fun. It’s not like I am going to get to find out what it’s like to make out with a ripped Fae who can turn into a dragon. I need to live vicariously.” Angie tugged on the handle of my suitcase as she resumed walking.

I laughed. “You suck.”

“That’s what she said,” Angie called back to me in a low voice.

Ash of the Fae by E. Menozzi

If you’ve read book four (Hunter of the Fae), then you are already familiar with Angie and her love of “that’s what she said” jokes. And if you haven’t met Angie, yet, there’s still time to catch up before Ash of the Fae‘s release, later this month!

Angie is Eve’s best friend. She’s the main character in book four in the series, but she also appears briefly in book one, and again in Eve the Immortal, the Eve of the Fae epilogue novella. Hannah and Ved (aka, Ash) are the main characters in book five.

In this snippet, Angie is talking to Hannah about the Dragon Fae who has just been assigned as Hannah’s bodyguard. Hannah is determined not to hook up with him, regardless of how hot he is, and despite the fact that there’s only one bed at the weekend party he’s attending as her fake boyfriend. (Good luck with that, Hannah. Bwahahaha…)

This was seriously one of my favorite books to write. I can’t wait for you all to read it! And it will be on shelves in just TWO WEEKS! Eeeeek! I am so excited!

In the meantime, if you want to check out the first chapter, you can do that here.

Okay. Now I need to get back to editing Petals and Runes. While I’m working, let me know which June new releases your excited about picking up this month!

Planning for a productive week

It’s the first Monday of June!

Did you know I love the start of a new month? I’m all about that monthly goal reset, and I’m always making tweaks to my productivity systems whenever I feel like I’ve stopped making forward progress.

I love my bullet journal for making lists and taking notes, but sometimes the bigger projects (like writing and editing a novel) get lost in the day to day grind. It’s way too easy for me to get distracted by crossing admin tasks off my list and forget about the big stuff. Especially when it’s just one bullet point among many.

So I came up with the idea to use a little dry erase board on my desk to keep my project tasks top of mind.

Each week, I load it up with all the bite-size tasks that make up whatever project I’m trying to complete that week. Each task is meant to be something I think I can do in thirty minutes (aka, a “sprint”). Then, each morning, I pick four tasks to move to the “Today” section of the board. Once I start a task, I move it down to the “Started” section. And once it’s done, I move it to the “Done” section. At the end of the week I toss the “Done” tasks and reset the board for the new week. It’s very satisfying.

This week, I’ve set up my board with one task sticky for each chapter of Petals and Runes. The project goal for this week is to complete my read through and collect all my revision notes. Ideally, I’m going to focus on reading and making notes, not on actually revising.

I’m not really sure if it’s going to take me a full week to get through this, or not. Every book is different. Sometimes this process goes really fast. I suspect that, since I haven’t been back in this world for a while, this is going to be pretty slow. I think I’m going to have to stop frequently to make notes as I read.

Also, this isn’t the only thing I’m doing this week. In addition to this writing project, I have a lot of other publishing admin tasks to do related to the Ash of the Fae release on the 21st, plus my usual household stuff to do. I’m keeping track of all that stuff in the weekly spread in my bullet journal. So, I think allocating a whole week for this part of the revision process is a realistic estimate.

How about you? How are you keeping track of your to-do list this week?

For the love of YA fantasy tropes

It’s been years and years since I wrote what became the second novel I ever finished writing. It felt really promising at the time. The first pages won contests. They got me full requests from agents. But nothing ever panned out.

Eventually, I gave up and shelved it. I moved on to what would eventually become the Modern Fae series. And I didn’t think I’d ever go back to that novel.

But I never really forgot about it. While I don’t really remember the moment I started writing Eve of the Fae (or really any of the Modern Fae novels), I have a very vivid memory of the book that started out as “The Lost Empire” and eventually became Petals and Runes.

It all started with that scene at the masked ball where she figures out that she’s dancing with the Ruhl. Except, at the time, I hadn’t invented that bit of world-building. He was a king, and his name was Oliver not Elan.

I only know this because I still have the notebook I wrote that first scene in.

My Petals and Runes notebook is making friends with my editing tools…

Perhaps you remember me mentioning this novel before? If you do, it’s because I chopped up my old draft and posted it serial-style on Kindle Vella earlier this year. The last episode posted in April. I took it down in May, and now I’m working on revising it, as well as outlining the rest of the trilogy.

Back before Modern Fae, I didn’t know how to fix my not-quite-there broken novel. You know how they say you should put your finished draft away before you go back and try to edit it? Well, it’s been over five years! And I’ve learned a LOT since then. I think it’s time to put all that to work.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to be breaking this story down and putting it back together again. At first I was dreading this process. It’s both a demoralizing and invigorating thing, the thought of ripping apart a “finished” draft so you can fix it.

But I’m also getting to go back and explore some of my favorite young adult tropes. Like that good old masked ball scene. And the YA fantasy arranged marriage. Not to mention… The Love Triangle!

I know. That last one was huge in YA for a while, and you either loved it or you hated it. The love triangle for me is one of those tropes that, when it’s done well, can hook me into a young adult fantasy romance like nothing else.

There was a love triangle in the original version of this story, but it got kind of lost (or at least muddled) by the time I reached “the end” of that finished / polished draft. That’s one of the things I’m working on bringing back and strengthening during this revision.

The decision to do that might have been a little inspired by my current favorite YA love triangle: Bree / Nick / Sel from Legendborn by Tracy Deonn. In case you were wondering, I am team Sel all the way. The cover of book two (Bloodmarked) alone is making that one of my most anticipated new releases for the second half of 2022.

So tell me. What are some of your favorite young adult fantasy romance tropes? Are you team love triangle? Or do you hate it? What are some of your favorite young adult love triangles?

May Reading Wrap-Up

May turned out to be an excellent reading month for me. I read four fiction and three non-fiction books. Plus, since it was my birthday month, I got a whole bunch of books that have been on my wish list! Some I received as gifts and others I bought with gift card money. Combined, I have so many stories to read that I should probably do a book haul post!

What I read in May… Starting with the fiction books:

  • Legendborn by Tracy Deonn — I think this was my favorite book I read in May. It’s the first YA fantasy I’ve read in a while, and it reminded me of all the stuff I love about YA fantasy. The feelings. The magic. The adventure. The friendships. The love triangles…. I especially love this new take on the Arthurian legends. I can not wait for the next book in the series!
  • The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake — Okay. I definitely get what all the hype is about. I think if someone had said this is a “one of us must die” secret society book, I might have picked it up faster. I was absolutely loving this book up until the last few chapters. Then some stuff happens that kind of felt like it came out of nowhere. I don’t know. I need someone to talk to about this book, and none of my bookish friends have read it yet. Overall, I really liked it, though, and I’ll definitely be checking out the next book.
  • Never Saw You Coming by Erin Hahn — I love this series of loosely connected stand-alone YA contemporary romances. Erin Hahn has become an auto-buy author for me, and I am incredibly picky about contemporary romances! Maybe it’s that Midwest vibe I get from her books (I grew up in the Chicago suburbs). More likely it’s the characters. I also really love the complexity she packs into these books. Even though they are definitely written for a young adult audience, they don’t shy away from the difficult topics. Her characters are going through stuff, but you know (because it’s romance) that they’re going to be okay in the end, and I’m here for it.
  • Supernova by Kass Morgan — I really wanted to read this so that I could complete the duology. I mean, it’s a young adult space academy adventure! This type of story is my jam. Usually. I wanted to love this book, but I just didn’t. I liked it. I just didn’t love it. I don’t think it was necessarily the book’s fault. I just wasn’t vibing with any of the characters. But it was still a fun read.

I also read a handful on non-fiction books related to the business of writing. Those were (in order of most to least helpful): The Book Marketing Audit: Get Better Results with a Better Plan by Kilby Blades, Secrets to Selling Books on Social Media: Social Media Marketing for Writers – How to Get Readers to Buy Your Book by Bethany Atazadeh and Mandi Lynn, and A Book A Week: How I Outline and Draft a Full Novel in Just A Week by Kate Hall.

Here’s what my “Outbox” spread ended up looking like:

Notes covered up to avoid sharing spoilers.

I started trying to put notes next to each of the books I read. As you can see, that lasted for only the first two. Then I got lazy. So lazy that I didn’t even bother printing out the covers for the non-fiction books I read. I tried to use a star stencil for the ratings, but they are not lined up or spaced very well at all. Probably not going to try that again.

Your turn! What was your favorite book that you read in May? Have you read Atlas Six? If you did, what did you think of the ending? Let me know in the comments.

June reading journal set-up

My June reading journal set-up is live!

Below is the link to the full video on YouTube…

In the video I mention the four books that are on my TBR for June. They are:

  • Engaging the Enemy by Elizabeth Moon — my current in-progress read
  • Intuitive Editing by Tiffany Yates Martin — a writing craft book to help me with my current project (which I promise I’ll talk more about in a future post)
  • A Dance With the Fae Prince by Elise Kova — my pick for International Fairy Day on 24 June
  • How to Find a Princess by Alyssa Cole — a book I’ve been wanting to read for a long time that keeps getting put off

I also mentioned that there are a whole bunch more that are at the top of my TBR, I just didn’t have the covers printed out. So I didn’t add them to the pocket. One of those is the book that I’m planning to start this weekend: A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark.

The SFWA Nebula Conference was a couple weeks ago, and I was reminded again how much I’ve been looking forward to this book after reading the novella set in the same world (The Haunting of Tram Car 015). They’re basically mystery novels set in a sort of steampunk alternate Cairo. I really loved the novella and can’t wait to read the novel.

So that’s my plan. Now it’s your turn. What are you reading this weekend? What’s on your TBR for June?

A different sort of writing fuel

I did it!

Day 200 of running every day!

Back on the 15th of November I decided that I was going to try to run at least one mile every day for as many days as I could before I had to take a break. At the time, I was really trying to keep myself moving through the long dreary winter when the days are short and wet and I’d much rather stay inside with a book than go outside and get sweaty.

Once I made it through the winter, I wanted to see if I could make it to 100 days. Then it was half a year. And now that I’ve hit that 200 day milestone, I think I have no choice but to go for a full 365 days!

The side benefit of running every day that I didn’t realize before I started is it really feeds my writing brain. I don’t listen to music or podcasts or audiobooks or anything but the birds and the wind in the trees when I run, because I like to let my mind unwind and wander. And do you know what happens when my mind isn’t focused on anything in particular except keeping my feet moving? I come up with the best story ideas.

Sometimes it’s as simple as the answer to “what happens next?” Sometimes it’s a clever plot twist or a character motivation that leads the story in a new direction. Regardless, I’m always much more motivated to get back to writing after I go for a run.

Which is good, because before I left for my run today, I was completely unmotived to write. And very, very stuck.

I’m trying to get my brain back into a new project. It’s one I haven’t touched for a long time, and I’m really feeling that “I don’t wanna” inertia. Seriously, though, getting back into a project after you’ve been out of it for a while is the worst.

Now that I’m back and showered and feeling extra accomplished because I hit that 200 day milestone, I’m going to do what I do when I don’t want to go outside and run. I’m going to put my butt in my chair, open my Scrivener file, and make myself do something on this project for at least ten minutes.

I’ll let you know tomorrow how it went. And maybe tell you a little more about what I’m working on.

How about you? What’s getting you moving and keeping you motivated today?

Feels like Monday

It’s time for a mid-morning coffee break.

I don’t have a fancy espresso machine. Instead, I make my Red Bay espresso with my Rok and foam up some oat milk with my new cow-print foamer wand.

I’m off to a bit of a sluggish start today after taking the long weekend off.

I spent a good portion of the weekend reading (more on that when I do my May reading wrap-up post), hanging out with family, and reflecting.

Somewhere in there I had an idea. I had been thinking about getting more active on social media, specifically Instagram. I did some research. I started coming up with a plan.

Then, while I was taking my mid-morning coffee break this morning, I thought, “But I could just do this on my blog.”

If you’ve been following me on here for a while, you already know that I’m a writer, notebook enthusiast, and devourer of books. But did you know that I’m also a trail runner who is closing in on a 200 day running streak? Or did you know that the fifth (and last) book in my contemporary fantasy series is coming out later this month?

Nearly all my blog posts are about my reading journal and what I’m reading. But what if I branched out a little more? What if I also posted about my writing process? Or my deep thoughts while sipping my mid-morning DIY espresso? Would you hate it? Are you only here for the reading stuff?

So, here’s my weird little plan. I’m going to try to post every day in the month of June. Both here, and on Instagram. This one will be a longer, more thoughtful version of whatever it is I post over there. If you like the post(s), I hope you will engage (you know, like or comment, or both), so I get a better idea of what you like to hear about.

What do you think? Terrible idea? Good idea? Got any tips for making a better at-home cappuccino, especially when you’re using oat milk instead of regular milk? (And don’t say buy an espresso machine, because I don’t want one cluttering up my counter space.) Let me know in the comments.

May Reading Journal Set-Up

Is it nearly the middle of May already? Yes. Yes, it is.

Did I just finish editing and posting my May reading journal set-up video? Also, yes.

Better late than never, right?

Here’s the video if you want to check it out:

It’s short (less than four minutes)…

Since the video was late (and really short) this month, I’m adding an in-progress photo. This is the book stack list of books I’ve read this month, plus what’s currently in my TBR pocket.

So far, I’ve read three books: Legendborn by Tracy Deonn, The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake, and Never Saw You Coming by Erin Hahn. I really enjoyed them all. This month’s reading is off to an excellent start!

After those I started two different sci-fi books.

The first is the companion novel in a YA space academy duology (Supernova by Kass Morgan). I picked up the first book a while back because “space fleet academy” is one of my favorite tropes and Kass Morgan wrote The 100 (which I never read but did watch and enjoy as a television series…at least for the first few seasons).

The other sci-fi book I’m reading is book three in an adult space opera adventure (Engaging the Enemy by Elizabeth Moon). The first two books were really good, and so far, I’m really enjoying book three.

How about you? What are you reading this month?