Category Archives: News

Nemesis is here in T-minus…

There is only one week–ONE! WEEK!–until the Nemesis release!

This week I’m going to talk about how important and very much not a trend accurate, diverse, respectful representation is.

I am asexual. I know this now, but it’s not something I discovered until I was 29. After marriage, divorce, and therapy. For more on that, I’ve written essays about asexuality on my site: Don’t Erase the Aces || Identity, Spectrums, and Labels

Growing up, there were few characters I truly identified with, and none who didn’t eventually find their fulfillment with sex. The lack of representation substantiated my growing belief that my lack of interest in sex meant something was fundamentally wrong with me. This is why I promised myself I’d include an ace-spectrum character in all my books. I don’t want other kids to grow up without the word.

Representation of the world around us AS IT ACTUALLY IS is crucial for so many reasons, and I try to make my books reflect that. I try to do this not just with the inclusion of asexuality, but with everything I trust myself to portray with respectful accuracy.

The cast of the Assassins duology is heterogeneous in race and sexuality, and it’s reflective of the world I grew up in. We need more stories to be mirrors of reality–and we need more of them written by those not usually reflected in those mirrors. Blake’s romantic arc is a close reflection of my own orientation, and I hope she’ll be the same kind of mirror for someone else.

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We’re at the six week mark, y’all.

We’re at the six week mark, y’all. SIX WEEKS UNTIL ISLAND OF EXILES!

Hahaha no I’m not nervous, why do you ask?! Okay, I’m lying, but I’m still here to talk more about Island Of Exiles!

I mentioned last week that Island Of Exiles changed a lot between the proposal Kate Brauning bought and now. That’s an understatement, honestly. SO MUCH changed it’s hard to think about it as the same book.

Unexpectedly, one constant was a character: Tessen.

FYI, he’s based on a teenage Christian Keyes.

Tessen popped onto the page when I was writing the first draft, and he immediately surprised me. Somehow. It’s strange to see a character you’re creating as mysterious, but that was Tessen. Mysteriously intriguing. Tessen demanded page time, and he got it, slowly becoming a much more important part of the story than I’d planned.

After I sold the series to Entangled & Kate Brauning gave me notes, there was basically an earthquake on the desert island. Major pieces of the world rearranged, the language shifted, & everything (& everyone) got a new name. EXCEPT TESSEN.

Not only did Tessen’s name remain when so much changed, it became the basis for my language & naming conventions. For those who don’t know, tessens are Japanese iron bladed fans. Heavy, beautiful, & dangerous. (YouTube | Wikipedia) I named Tessen after this weapon, and I loved both the sound of it and how well it fit his character. Because of this, he became the linchpin to my worldbuilding. The names of everyone and thing else shifted around him.

I’ll talk more about the languages in Island Of Exiles another week, but I will say this now: Tessen was the catalyst for them.

After writing him in 2 books, I can’t say Tessen is as mysterious now as he was at first, but I am no less intrigued. Hopefully, when you meet him in a few (ONLY SIX!) weeks, you’ll be just as in love with him as I am.

Be prepared, though. Khya might fight you for him. 😉

 

Meet Tessen! Order Island Of Exiles.

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Two weeks to Nemesis!

The Calvers and Kindra are back in TWO WEEKS! Things haven’t gotten any less dangerous for them since #Discord. What is new–and what I’ll be talking about this week–is Nemesis’s narrator Blake Marks, a civilian caught in the Calvers’ chaos.

My original plan for book 2 was to carry Kindra through as the primary POV. Second plan had Daelan telling the story. Neither fit. I knew Blake–who I introduced in Discord–needed to be a bigger part of the next story, but I didn’t immediately consider using them as narrator. Eventually I grew to like the idea of a civilian perspective on the world of hit squads, conspiracies, crime, & incredibly gray morality.

Enter Blake, an orphaned, intersex, expressively genderfluid but mentally agender, multi racial and ethnic, pan-romantic graysexual teen. Throughout Nemesis, Blake switches pronouns based on presentation. For this thread, I’ll be using she.

Blake is outside my experience in almost every way, but hopefully my research and interviews helped me write her respectfully. What also worried me about Blake narrating was how different the voice would be from Kindra’s in Discord.

Kindra is sarcastic, brash, bloody, definitively not ace-spectrum, and readers have responded incredibly well to her voice. Blake quips, but is softer spoken. She’s been thrust into a world she barely understands and is trying to cope with major loss. Blake is uncertain where Kindra is confident, conflicted where Kindra is unquestioning, & inexperienced where Kindra is expert. Although Blake is a civilian, she was raised by a military mother & an FBI agent father. She isn’t expert, but she can protect herself.

Hopefully, everyone will love Blake as much as they have Kindra, because I definitely do. She’s absolutely amazing.

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Seven weeks to Island of Exiles!

Did you know? Island Of Exiles is only SEVEN WEEKS AWAY! Each Tuesday until then, I’ll talk about my immense love for this world.

This week? Why fantasy at all? My existing backlist makes it obvious I enjoy writing other things, so why this? And why now? Most of the picture books I best remember (like Strega Nona & Everyone Knows What a Dragon Looks Like) included magic.

My Dad read Hobbit to me and introduced me to movies like Willow and The Princess Bride. It was all lovely & fascinating. When I could pick my own books, I gravitated towards the ones with magic and adventure and plausible impossibility. I discovered Tamora Pierce early, & she quickly became my first ever favorite author. Tortall & Evelyn were places I lived in. I read my way through a lot of what my library (and, later, various bookstores) had to offer me, and I loved the beauty of it all.

Fantasy is familiar novelty, safe adventure, a testing ground for new theories & thoughts, and an escape that can teach you about reality. Anything can happen in a fantasy world so long as you ground it in the reality the characters know and accept. The scope of that is awesome.

When I was in high school, it finally occurred to me that I could try writing one of those books I loved so much. I had NO idea what I was doing, so what I ended up with was thinly veiled, unfinished, nonsensical Tamora Pierce fanfic. I should point out that I didn’t know what fanfic WAS, but somehow I still managed to write it.

After college, I tried again. My first novel attempt was more paranormal than fantasy, but I grabbed a new fantasy idea fast. That book isn’t #IslandOfExiles, but they’re connected. They exist in the same world, and I could absolutely bring it back in. But CollegeWIP didn’t work either. It was too big, too complex, and too much for baby author Erica. I put it aside. Reluctantly.

Then, I wrote. More paranormal and more contemporary. I learned. I grew. Eventually, I had a new idea. But could I write it? Fantasy was still a great love of mine, but the writing of it had become a scary, impossible target, one I wasn’t sure I could reach. But I *REALLY* wanted to create a sweeping fantasy, and that desire was stronger than my fear of getting it wrong. So I grabbed this new idea, remembered everything I loved about fantasy, and tried one more time to build my own universe.

What I came up with then is only partially what you’ll get a chance to read in February. So much changed as the book developed. Things that didn’t? The Nevada-like setting, the militaristic society, the style of magic, & the sibling bond at the story’s core.

What Kate Brauning saw in the original mess of a proposal I gave her I will never understand, but she helped me make real a dream. Island Of Exiles is the achievement of a goal I set in 2001. It’s taken me FIFTEEN AND A HALF YEARS to finally have my fantasy world.

We’ll let that number sink in for a moment.

Fifteen. And a half. YEARS.

I don’t know what will happen once the Ryogan Chronicles trilogy is out and done. I don’t know if I’ll write more in this world. Maybe one day I’ll find the right spark to help me create an entirely new world with a new system of magic and new social issues. Maybe Ryogan Chronicles will be it for me in fantasy, my one shining, magical moment in the annuals of fantastical history.

All I know if that in seven weeks, my first fantasy baby will be out in the world, and I am BEYOND excited to share it with you all.

Visit Shiara! Order Island Of Exiles.

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Only Three Weeks to Nemesis!

Three weeks from today (THREE! WEEKS!), Nemesis releases. Three weeks from today, I close out a series for the first time.

Getting an official “The End” is amazing. I have 3 series running now, and neither of my others is close to over. Granted, Assassins is a duology instead of a quartet or quintet, but original plans had Dream War or Laguna ending first. Life and publishing happened, so somehow it’s come to pass that the third series I started is the first to cross the finish line.

It’s sad, in a way. I feel like I missed the chance to really live in this world. The writing and editing of both books were a whirlwind. However, it might be best. The Assassins stories are bloody and dangerous in a way my other books aren’t. Writing a series like Assassins, and especially a book like Nemesis, when the world too much reflects the subject was hard.

In three weeks, though, you can meet Blake and reacquaint yourself with Kindra and the Calvers. They’re fighting a modern war, and the conclusion of that complicated battle closes out the arc started in Discord. In three weeks, I say goodbye to a cast of characters for the first time. Maybe by then I’ll know if I’m more excited or sad.

Help me celebrate the end! Preorder Nemesis.

Buy it from: Riptide/Triton | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book DepositoryBooks-A-Million |IndieBound |
Add this book to Goodreads.

 

Giveaway Alert!

Giveaway Alert!

Do you like books? Do you like mysteries? Well, now you can have both!

Here’s how it works:

Our 140+ participating authors will sign and wrap a book. You enter by following the instructions below. You can enter on as many author’s pages as you want, so be sure to hit all of their pages for more chance to win!

If you’re one of our lucky winners, you’ll receive a book, but you won’t know what you’ve won until you unwrap it.

To enter:

*your task (either signing up for a mailing list, following a Blog, Twitter or Facebook account)

Then fill out this form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeQmnuadU70ZfdNLA8iqcWAxZth1QKQniWRVM_2XLRtm2gNsw/viewform, checking off which actions you’ve completed and enter your email and mailing addresses. For more entries, click on the link for each author. You must complete the task AND fill out the form for your entry to count. All entries will be verified.

That’s it!

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Look what I got today!


Look what I got today! Nemesis is a real book and I have them in my hands and YAY! Only two months until this releases into the wild. 😄

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