In less than two weeks, my third book, THE DARKEST WEB, comes out. I've been through this before -- the anticipation, the worry that no one will like it, the fear that no one will read it, the dream that some key celebrity will pick it up and take it straight to Reese Witherspoon who will turn it into an Emmy-winning series.
This time it's different. Normally, by the two-week-to-launch point, I'd be a mess of excited agony. This time, though, I'm only beginning to return to human after the brutal loss of both my parents over the winter. We had the funeral for my mom less than two weeks ago. I'm still sorting things and canceling cell phones and getting title to their car so I can sell it. I'm still crying a lot. A lot.
Their deaths weren't related except in the complications of snowballing medical conditions--my dad died right at Christmas after three weeks in the hospital for pneumocystis pneumonia, which he caught because he was weakened by the steroids he'd been on for the rash that was the first symptom of the lymphoma that would have killed him within a few months anyway. My mom went to his funeral and grieved and steeled herself for a move into an assisted living facility, but right before moving in fell and broke her ankle and while in rehab after surgery, developed a UTI that went into septic shock. Their deaths were related, though--I'll always believe this. She didn't want to stay after he went on without her.
My brother and I were left behind, mercifully supported by the families we've built, but now the only keepers of the memories of a lucky life in a warm, slightly messy home filled with love. It's a lot to handle. There was a house to empty and Christmas ornaments to divide and funerals to plan. We did the funerals ourselves. We both gave eulogies at each one, and we did our best to honor parents who--in a world full of cruelty--never once failed to give us a home where we were always safe and loved, and once we left it, to let us know that they were our biggest fans.
My parents read THE DARKEST WEB before they died. They thought it was my best work. They were the ones who taught me to read, write, and love books in the first place. I know they're proud. I hope it does well, but I'm not going to work myself up into a state of pre-launch nerves this time. This time, there were more important things. I know now what the truly important things are.
My father died two days before Christmas, after spending most of December in the hospital and two weeks of that on a ventilator. He had pneumocystis pneumonia, not Covid, not that what the death certificate says matters to me at all. My writing of late has been very limited. I still have a book coming out in April, but my new writing has consisted mainly of my father's eulogy.
It was some of the hardest writing I've ever done. How do you sum up a person--one that you loved, one who loved you, one who made you who you are--in a single ten-minute speech? You can't. But I tried. I will share with you a slightly revised version of what I said at his funeral on January 2, 2022. It is long, but nowhere near long enough to capture what he meant to me, to my family, and to the thousands of students he taught.
Here it is:
Dad was a teacher. He taught, essentially, communication with words. Boiled down, he taught writing and public speaking. I learned one of these much better than the other, so please bear with me as I read what I have written.
Before he died, Dad wrote some directions as to what he wanted to happen after. He said he’d leave the decision as to whether to have this service at all to us. He described himself as a loner, and he said he couldn’t imagine more than a handful of people would come to his funeral. He clearly implied that he did not expect many people to care that he was gone.
He was wrong about that. So wrong. Few people leave behind so very many who care that we are gone.
Dad spent the Christmas season in the hospital. It’s the time when our family lines up on our sofa to watch the same holiday movies year after year. One of our favorites has always been It’s a Wonderful Life, the 1946 classic in which the protagonist, George Bailey, ends up living a quiet family life very different from the big dreams of travel and fame he had as a young man. When he experiences a financial crisis, he wishes he’d never been born. His guardian angel arrives to show him just how much different—and worse—everything would have been if he’d never lived.
My dad was like that. He would have told you—seriously—that he wasn’t special. That in his life he’d never done anything important. He was self-deprecating and modest. He never ran away with the circus to tame the elephants he loved as a child. He never became the great architect whose soaring structures would grace magazines that he dreamed of being as a teenager.
But, oh, what a difference he made.
His life sounds fairly ordinary when described a certain way. He grew up in Iowa, with his sister and brother, went to a teachers’ college, became a journalism and English teacher, and taught high school students first in Iowa, and then in Michigan for three decades. Then he moved to Virginia, to work for the Virginia High School League for another decade. In retirement, he volunteered his time at this theater, doing whatever was needed. He married my mom and they had me and my brother. We added our spouses and three grandchildren to the family. He loved theater and game shows and music and coffee and Christmas and the newspaper in the morning. It was a quiet life. That’s the newspaper obituary version.
But it’s not the story.
You see, Dad wasn’t just a high school teacher. He was the kind of teacher every teenager dreams of, the kind they make Dead Poets Society-type movies about. We have been absolutely stunned by the number of former high school journalism students who have contacted us to tell us what he meant to them. There was a full-page Detroit Free Press article commemorating him. One of his former students wrote to him before he died: “To call you a favorite teacher would be a gross understatement. You were so much more than that. You were a mentor, you were a friend, you were a catalyst and an influence.”
And he changed their lives, so many of those students’ lives. I calculate he taught at least 120 kids, every year, from 1962 until he retired from teaching in 1994. He also taught workshops in the summers to college students and other teachers. Dad has former students at the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Detroit Free Press, USA Today, at NPR, in television journalism, on the bookstore shelves, even one with a long stretch on General Hospital.
He advised the school newspaper, and that school paper wasn’t just a school paper. It came out weekly. It was eight pages. It was professional-class, and it won awards. So many awards. Our house was full of all the awards. He’s been inducted into the Michigan Journalism Hall of Fame—the first teacher ever. He was named the National Journalism Teacher of the Year. He was so famous as a teacher that I became a lawyer rather than try to fill those shoes, even though I secretly wanted to be just like him. And I still do.
My brother and I went to the high school where he taught. People ask whether it was awful to go to high school with your father—and it wasn’t awful at all. Quite the opposite. Dad was so beloved that his popularity made us popular, too. When I was in school, he drove a 1987 red Pontiac Firebird and wore his loud green plaid pants a bit too often (just to embarrass me, I have long suspected). He rode tricycles at student assemblies and once or twice, a donkey in a fundraiser basketball game. Students hung out after school in the classroom he allowed them to decorate. My high school was like a second home to me, because he was there, too.
At the VHSL, he was in charge of academic, non-sports high school activities statewide, including high school newspapers, theater, yearbooks, forensics, and debate. During his long hospital stay, I took breaks to dash ninety minutes home to watch my boys compete in Scholastic Bowl meets. Only afterwards did we find out that without Dad, none of us would have been there. Neither would any of the coaches, judges, or other kids from the other high schools. Dad was the one who made Scholastic Bowl a VHSL event, statewide, in 1998.
He leaves a big hole in our lives. As a grandfather, he made long trips in pre-dawn darkness to babysit. He tossed toddlers in the air way past the age when most of us start feeling it in the lumbar area. My niece, as a toddler, fell asleep on his lap—her parents will tell you it wasn’t just anyone who could make her feel safe enough to do that. He listened and got indignant on my younger son's behalf when his teachers were too demanding—not because they were demanding, but because the assigned work wasn't teaching him enough. As recently as last April, he delightedly trekked five miles around the UVA grounds to watch my sons' reactions as they toured the school they both wanted to attend. My older son got the news he’d been admitted to UVA’s class of 2026 in the hallway outside Dad’s hospital room just three weeks ago, and rushed in to tell "Papa," by then on the ventilator. He got a hand squeeze in return. We know he heard, and was proud.
As a father, Dad was very nearly perfect. Yes, he insisted on watching the evening news every night, back at a time when that meant that our one color television couldn’t stay on The Brady Bunch. Yes, he got really mad when I skipped school for Senior Skip Day and when another teacher personally dragged my misbehaving brother to my dad's classroom during a school day.
But he taught us how to care about people’s stories. How to love the English language and to use it to express ourselves. How to listen, not to assume things, to be interested in everything, and to be informed before tossing out half-baked opinions. He taught us to love theater, love music, to revere education. He taught my brother what fatherhood should look like. We learned how to serve others, how to put them before ourselves, how to think about family first, always, every single day, from him.
As a husband, he was truly amazing, especially recently. Mom has almost as many bionic joints as Steve Austin, and Dad was her only caretaker right up until the day he went to the hospital for the last time. He loaded her walker in the back of his Nissan, pushed her wheelchair, shopped for groceries, refilled her meds, all while cleaning, cooking, doing laundry, and taking care of the yard. He only stopped cutting his grass with a push mower in July. They were married for 53 and a half years after dating only five months. Truly a match made in heaven.
At the end, we all knew—Dad included--that he might not beat the pneumonia making it hard to breathe. We had the time and the knowledge before he was intubated to tell him everything I’ve just told you. He knew he was loved beyond measure, and we know we were loved in return. And really, isn’t that what life is about?
He gave his retirement time to this theater he loved. There are empty chairs here, and that’s okay. This service is being streamed and I think there are a fair number of people watching. It’s still the holiday season and there is Covid and many of the people who owe him so much are exactly where he would be, if he could—with their families.
But if every single person whose life he changed were here, we’d need the UVA basketball arena, hot and sweating in the crowd. We’d be crammed in with thousands of the journalism students he taught, and the subjects of all the stories they went on to break, the teachers he mentored and all their students, the administrators across Virginia he worked with, the current Virginia high school students like my sons participating in extracurricular activities he oversaw, the theater folks he volunteered with, and the friends and family he loved galore.
Dad had a wonderful life. Ours, because he was here, are wonderful now, too.
I’ve written a lot of manuscripts, but before the two Allison Barton books (THE DARKEST FLOWER and THE DARKEST WEB), I’d never written a series. Writing a series has its own challenges—it ups the continuity difficulty exponentially because it requires having to keep all the little details constant through more than just one manuscript. A series requires each book to have a beginning, middle, and end while keeping in mind that the series needs also to have its own, separate, story arc. The main character has to have a complete character arc in each book, while continuing on a larger one over the series.
I honestly never thought about the biggest difficulty writing a series would present: staying in contract to finish it.
Back in the pre-streaming days, and even after to some extent, we’ve all had the rough moment when a beloved television series is cancelled after a cliffhanger season finale. The explanation is always simple: the ratings were bad. The network wanted to give another show a chance in that time-slot. Not enough people cared to watch, and those who were fans are left hanging. Usually, the showrunners and writers get enough notice of impending cancellation to hastily finish off the threads of the plot in the season finale, but not always. NBC cancelled Timeless, a favorite of mine and my children, without resolution. Enough fans complained that they made a two-hour movie wrap-up. I enjoyed it, but I would have liked to have seen another full season.
This happens to books, too. Publishing, like television, is a business. The powers that be can, and do, stop paying for more books in a series if not enough readers are reading the first ones. This can happen even to beloved series—YA readers, because they have disposable income issues, frequently can’t afford to buy hardcover books. They try to wait for the paperback versions, or read at the library. The publishers are looking at the total number of hardcover books sold, not the number of readers, and cancel planned third or fourth books for low sales.
Sometimes, publishers offer a one- or two-book contract for a series, to see if the readership is there to continue it. This is a very good option for the publishers, but not so great for the author or the reader. It means that if sales are lower than anticipated, a second contract may not be offered. The first book or two books are all there will ever be, and decision is made after the author has submitted final edits for what turns out to be the final book, too late to wrap up any loose threads. Readers who’ve enjoyed the series and want to continue reading have no options except to pester the author to disclose online or in a blog what would have happened. Other publishing houses are almost never interested in picking up a later book in an existing series.
I’m sad to report that for the time being, THE DARKEST FLOWER and THE DARKEST WEB will comprise the entirety of the Allison Barton Series. (I’m thrilled to report that I think you’ll be satisfied with where the characters’ arcs end up anyway.) I’m now working on a new, unrelated book about a woman who agrees to a surrogate pregnancy and finds it might be neither as temporary nor as voluntary as she thought, and I hope you’ll hear more about the prospects for that in 2022.
Thanks for reading!
Today is the day. THE DARKEST FLOWER arrives in the world. People can hold it in their hands (or read it on their devices, or listen in their cars, or...). This day was a long time in coming. In the hopes that it helps other authors struggling to get a book published, or helps readers to understand the backstory behind just one book in a huge world full of books, I'm going to get really honest here.
I started writing in 2013, for real. I assure you that first effort wasn't much to write home about, but I kept at it. In early 2015, I got my first agent with my second manuscript. She was wonderful and amazing and a spectacular cheerleader. That second manuscript was a romance and she was a romance agent with a talent for spotting likable heroines people could root for. She put it on sub. It didn't sell. Neither did the next one, or the next one, or the next one, or the next one. The one after that did sell, but to a small press with a tiny readership, and only after I added some murder. For me, romance alone apparently doesn't cut it.
All that failure took some time. In 2017, I was getting depressed about whether I really had enough talent to do this. Difficult questions had to be asked: did I love writing enough to do it even if it never sold and no one ever got to read it? Maybe. I kept writing, but in a much bleaker frame of mind. My youngest child had just finished fifth grade. I had been a PTA officer at his school. I was distracting myself with a binge-watch of Game of Thrones. I took all of those things: dark mood, milestones, my favorite character traits from my then-favorite show, and mixed them into a, well, kind of disturbing stew.
I had written my first anti-heroine, Kira. She was the opposite of likable, so I added a second point of view character, Allison, to be the moral counterweight (and let her have the romantic subplot so as not to get too far from my roots). I revised it over that fall and sent it to my agent. For the first time, I really thought I had something good.
My agent didn't love it. She really didn't like the unlikable "heroine." She wanted revisions before she would agree to send it out to publishing houses for consideration. I agreed, since I had just sold the small-press book (LYING BENEATH THE OAKS) and had all the pre-launch edits and activities to do for that one.
In January 2019, LYING BENEATH THE OAKS came out. It sold decently well for a small-press book and got pretty good feedback on Amazon and Goodreads. I was, and am, proud of it. I asked my agent if it was time to send out this next manuscript.
She didn't want to. She just didn't like it. Keep in mind, this book with the unlikable antiheroine was very, very far from the tone of the book she'd originally signed me for, and also it was not then in its current state. It did need improvement, but it was clear that I'd moved away from the type of book my agent was a superstar at representing. I couldn't give up on it. We parted ways.
I started over looking for an agent with this new manuscript. I got plenty of rejection for it, but one agent saw the merit in it early. She said she'd look at it again if I let Kira's hateful flag fly even more. Up to that point, I'd been toning her down. This agent gave me the courage to go the other direction. I went, and it was absolutely the right way. Within three months after sending the first query, I had a new agent (not the one who suggested the revision--though all the thanks to her!). Sharon got the book right down to the push and pull of the two POVs. She understood right away that the book was a legal thriller and a whodunit, but most of all it was about privilege and motherhood and the way they can warp who we are.
THE DARKEST FLOWER went on sub. I got rejected a lot. A whole lot. Editors hated the ending. They didn't feel satisfied by the outcome. I began to lose hope, but all in all, it only took four months for the amazing Liz Pearsons at Thomas & Mercer to see what it could be if I changed that ending. She bought it (I got the news on Friday the 13th, a day that will never again be unlucky for me) and gave the chance to do it.
So here it is. Today I hold in my hands the proof that my instincts were right. That it was worth having to search for a new agent, worth all those years of revising, worth completely re-writing the ending. If you are an author still waiting for that break, trust your instincts. Know that it can happen after you--and others--almost give up. If you're a reader, go stand in a bookstore. Turn in a slow circle. I promise you that almost every book you see has a story like this one. Every one of them represents someone's dreams coming true.
Hi and welcome new visitors!
My book, THE DARKEST FLOWER, has been an Amazon First Reads pick for this month (May 2021, for those of you reading this later) and totally, completely out in the world as of June 1! The address for this website is listed on the Amazon page for the book and in the author bio at the back of the actual novel. I’ve noticed a lot of new traffic here, from all over the U.S. and from the world (hello, Malaysia!), which is thrilling, because it means people are reading and are interested enough to see what’s here. I don’t know if I’ll ever be blasé enough not to be wide-eyed at the thought of people reading my words in small towns in Louisiana and Montana and Illinois and big cities like Los Angeles and London. THANK YOU!
Here is just a quick update as to where things in Writing World stand, for anyone who’s visiting for the first time.
Thank you all again, from the bottom of my heart, for reading. I can express a lot of things in writing, but one of the things that escapes me entirely is how to tell you all how much it means that you spent your time on my words.
My new book, THE DARKEST FLOWER, is available for download a month early on Amazon First Reads as of today. It doesn’t go officially on sale until June 1st, and anyone who prefers to read a paper book or a library copy has to wait until then, but for all of May 2021, any Amazon customer can read—and review—THE DARKEST FLOWER. The reviews are the point, actually. They’re the reason for First Reads—to build up word of mouth to drive sales for the lifetime of the book. There will be a lot of reviews. They will not all be positive. I am ready.
The advice given to authors is always the same: Don’t read the reviews. Reviews, they say, are for readers, not authors. Don’t read them, don’t get offended by them, and don’t, whatever you do, engage with or argue with any review. It’s all great advice and I have no intention of responding in any way to a bad review. Share away if you hated my book. That’s your absolute right as a reader.
I’m going to read those reviews, though. I always do.
I love to write books and would write in any case, but I certainly wouldn’t go through the struggle to publish books if I didn’t want to share my writing with other people. If there were no reviews, publishing a book would be like dropping it into the ocean, vaguely wondering if any fish watched it sink. Reviews are proof that other people are reading my books. I’d be flat out lying if I claimed not to prefer the reviews that express a deep and abiding love for my characters, the story, the twists, and the writing.
But I like the bad reviews, too. After spending years writing and trying to get published, I’ve developed a pretty thick skin—hundreds of rejections will do that to you. Here are the reasons I read my bad reviews, and why they don’t bother me as much as they might.
After having said all that, now I’m worried you’ll think I WANT bad reviews. No, of course not. Please don’t go out there and TRY to hurt me, okay? My skin is thick but it is not titanium. Every author dreams of getting raves and tearful emails of adoration from readers, and I’m no different. Having a book go out into the world with my name on it is a big deal—and part of that deal is knowing that reviews are good and reviews are bad.
I hope you enjoy THE DARKEST FLOWER and post a review. If you don’t enjoy it, I still want you to leave a review. Thanks for reading.
Every writer who's ever tried to get anything published knows the compulsion to check email. It's more than a compulsion; it's like an imperative. There's a pull that feels as undeniable as the tides, if the tide came in every three minutes. I've checked my email at stoplights, at soccer games, in restaurant bathrooms, on the tops of mountains, and on Christmas morning.
Email giveth, but email taketh a hell of a lot away. Try to get it back.
The road to publication goes like this:
1. Finish manuscript. Email it to people to read it. Check your email for their thoughts.
2. Once your readers say it's good enough, begin querying agents, several at a time, over the course of weeks and months (and sometimes years). Check your email constantly for their verdicts.
3. Once you have an agent (that you got after getting a happy email), go on submission to editors at publishing houses. Their responses will come at the rate of about one every three and a half weeks. Check your email every three and a half minutes for updates.
4. Once you get a book deal, prepare for publication. Wait for your cover, your blurbs, your reviews and promotion opportunities and interview requests. Check your email for all those, too.
5. Once your book comes out, start over at step 3 (if you have a single book deal) or step 4 (if you were lucky enough to get a multiple book deal.
I've been through all these steps, and while, like any writer, I really love receiving happy good news emails, the whole thing is unhealthy. Deeply, soul-killingly unhealthy. I love writing books, but I was a happier person before I started checking that email inbox so often. Especially while querying (step 2), which initially lasted fourteen months for my first agent and three more months for my second, my self-worth got way too attached to the ding of my email. I let that happen. I let those brief emails that said "not for me" or "not quite ready" define me and my purpose on this earth for far too long.
Don't let that happen.
Writing is not my only purpose on this earth, and I forgot that. By all means, write if it makes you happy. Write even if it's merely that you can't NOT write. If you value peace of mind and serenity at all--totally honestly--stop writing for publication altogether if you can.
But don't write because you need some stranger in New York or L.A. or wherever to tell you you're worthy. You're worthy even if you deleted every word you've ever written right this minute. Try remembering the rest of your life. Take a look at your kids and think about how recently they were tiny and how soon they'll be gone. Hug your spouse or your mom or a dog. Go climb a mountain. Sit on a beach and dip your toes in the waves. Go out and stare up at the stars. Binge a TV show. And read--other people's books, preferably in a genre you don't write so there can be no comparison to your own works and relative ease in being published.
There's no easy answer. I didn't resist when it was the worst (while querying and on sub), and I don't do as well as I'd like even now. All I can do is keep trying to put down my phone long enough to see the forest and not just the trees--and the sunrise, and my sons' smiles, and the crackle of the fire, and the blue of the sky in the spring. My family and my life.
Two days ago, my publisher sent me an email with these words in the subject line: "New Trade Review."
This was my first-ever trade review. My first book was published by such a small press that all the trades opted not to review it. The trade magazines, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Library Journal, are widely read in the book industry. Library systems and booksellers read them to decide what to order (translation: how many copies will sell). Buzz can be created. The vast majority of books released each year never appear in their pages.
It's a big deal to get a review in a trade, any review, because that means my cover and my story will show up in the inboxes of everyone in the book world--the same book world that has meant so much to me since before I could see over the library circulation desk.
It's a little hard to believe.
My first trade review--and maybe only one, I don't know yet--came from Kirkus. I have enough author friends to know to be a bit afraid to open that review. Kirkus reviews are short, 300 words or less, always contain mostly plot, and can be dismissive, mocking, even rude. They sling around phrases like "not enough" or "fine but" or "less than." Many of the books that got dinged in that way went on to become New York Times bestsellers, but it had to sting. Fortunately for me, the joy and gratitude of learning I'd been reviewed at all still frothed through my veins and propelled me to start reading before I remembered any of that.
And they liked it! (You can read the full review on the home page of this website.) There was no snark. No comparisons to other works in which THE DARKEST FLOWER was found lacking. Not a single negative anywhere. They said my main lawyer character "burns with a hard and gemlike flame" in service of her client, which, quite frankly, is such a great compliment and so beautifully phrased I wish I'd written it. They said the story as a whole was "a female-forward courtroom drama," which is exactly what I intended it to be.
I will breathe a huge sigh of relief. Even if the other trades ignore the book entirely, or hate it outright, I've achieved a milestone I never thought I'd see when I despaired that I'd ever get to hold a book in my hands.
Yesterday, I got a notification from Twitter that it had been seven years since I signed up. I'd resisted Twitter for a while. The word "tweet" as a verb was so precious that it made my skin crawl. I couldn't imagine that anyone would be interested in anything I had to say, but I'd written my first manuscript and had just started querying and I'd learned quick that there was writing intelligence to be gleaned there.
I started by following publishing houses. After that, the algorithms began suggesting for me other people to follow within my area of interest: literary agents, publishing house editors, well-known authors. I followed everyone I could and followed back anyone who connected with me who had writing in their bio. The staggering amount of information at hand changed my life--and made me serious about getting published. These people were doing it--why not me?
Twitter isn't perfect and probably, overall, has not exactly assisted in calming my already busy life, but I'd never be a published author without it. I met my first critique partners there--in an online writing contest I heard about on Twitter. I learned about inciting incidents, story beats, saving cats, comma splices, to avoid people waking up at the beginning of chapter one, and that using the word "said" in my dialogue tags was preferable to "exclaimed" and "replied." I connected with other writers and exchanged query letters, first chapters, and later, whole manuscripts. I read agents' feeds about query mistakes and what they wanted to see in their inboxes. Publishers shared information on trends and overdone tropes and I learned. Side benefits: I learned early about much-anticipated book releases, discovered Goodreads, and once interacted with Betty Buckley, famed singer of "Memory" on Broadway.
I never took a creative writing class in school, though I took many that required persuasive writing. Without Twitter, I might never have learned all that was wrong with that first manuscript in time to write the better second one that eventually got me an agent. Sure, Twitter is full of political hot air and self-obsessed celebrities and spoilers for every form of entertainment you love. Though it's not how I learned to write, it is how I learned to write what might sell. It's how I found the other writers who would help me make that dream come true.
The word "tweet" still kind of makes me cringe. If you're interested in becoming a published author, though, Twitter is still where I'd recommend you start. Really, it's indispensable.
You can start by following me: @kbuttonw
This week I posted "blurbs" from other authors who have read THE DARKEST FLOWER.
There's a certain kind of terror that goes with asking busy authors to take the time to read your book. They have deadlines, book launches, and other writing friends' work to critique, not to mention day jobs and families. It is a gift you are asking for-- the most valuable one of all. There's also the terror of sending your manuscript baby out for its first real reviews. Up to this point, it's only been read by close friends, your agent, and innumerable editors, most of whom rejected it. It's terrifying to hit send on an email like that, knowing that these lovely authors may be the first to tell you they hated your book and just cannot bring themselves to blurb it--or maybe worse, even finish it.
I was beyond fortunate. One hundred percent of the authors I asked enthusiastically agreed to read THE DARKEST FLOWER, and did read it, by or well before the deadline, and they each wrote a truly lovely blurb. A few even reached out to message me privately and that means the world.
How do I repay them? The gratitude is overwhelming, and needs a direction. Huge gestures come to mind, but skywriting is expensive, ambrosia and nectar hard to come by, and I'm kind of attached to my firstborn child.
Instead, I did what I would want in return: I bought their books. And I'm urging you to do that too. Their names and most recent works are listed on my home page on this website, on the Amazon page for THE DARKEST FLOWER, and will appear in the opening pages of the book itself when it comes out.
the darkest web:
The Darkest Flower:
Lying Beneath the Oaks: