It took seven years from the initial idea and rough draft, a few rounds of developmental edits, a set of line edits, and proofing to FINALLY get this story to the finish line! I am so thrilled that AFRD will get to be put in readers hands after all this time.
I had initial wrote Luke and Ollie for a prompt, but felt that the constraints of the guidelines (under 35,000 words and a few others) didn't do the story justice. It felt like a story that desperately wanted to breathe and break out of its confines. I also had the added challenge of being an Aussie trying to write a story set in the USA. Ow! It got put aside for other projects that needed my focus once I decided the story deserved better.
I knew it needed some rework and a chance to percolate. Some of the ideas needed shelved while I needed to figure out what I wanted for my characters and the world. I was then going to submit it to a specific book line and started tweaking it for that, however, that idea also fell through.
Work had also started taking all of my hours, leaving me very drained and with little energy and motivation to write. Being able to create when I had no time is a hard slog.
Then everything finally came together. I changed jobs, finally got more time to myself, those pesky developmental edits finally came through, and then it was time to write. The story deals with a lot of different issues, and one of those is mental health. I wanted to make sure I got it right because it's such a sensitive issue. Mental health issues are different for different people, and each individual deals with trauma differently. I wanted to be able to have a conversation around that topic within the mystery of the story.
Hopefully you all will see that all the careful effort has paid off.
Another thing to note is that I talked with the publisher (my MCB!) and we have decided to do an initial release through Kindle Unlimited for 3 months before releasing the book wide. It has been a couple years since my last release and I worry that readers have forgotten about me. To give the story a little push, we have decided KU is the best way to go. But never fear! Releases at all the usual places will happen, just 3 months from February 28th.
A little bit sideways...
Writing took a detour when my every day job took over all my waking hours. It caused some major burnout because I was working so much I couldn't catch a break to pick up my laptop and write.
Good news? I have a new job that isn't consuming me anymore.
Bad news? I am slowly getting back into writing. I needed, and still need, some recovery from overworking. But the juices are coming back.
Some other good news? I finally finished a story, one that I had originally written 7 years ago for a prompt then decided it needed reworking. That finally happened. I know I said this would come out two years ago, however, it's finally happening. As Fire Rains Down is in its second round of developmental edits to make sure that my stop and go rewrites didn't majorly screw anything up. One those are done (it really is checking timelines and such at this point), it will go off to line edits then the proofers!
I am hoping for early next year.
Oh! It also got a new cover because the old one didn't really match what the story evolved into. Isn't it gorgeous?
Good news! MCB has found a narrator for my Smokey Mountain Bears books. They have given an offer and hopefully they should hear back soon to see if we are going ahead. I hope so, I really like the narrator's voice and can't wait for these books to get into audio.
How are edits?
I'm stuck into edits. The day job has kept me busy but I'm chipping away. So far so good, which means I hope to keep my deadlines.
Wish me luck!
A Where Things Are At Update
To my readers who have been patiently waiting for updates for different series, thank you for your continuing patience. I know some of your favorites get books out to you more often, and I haven't. Between my EDJ and being a single mom, I have had my hands full for the past couple years. It's made it hard to get my creative juices flowing after some really long work days. I love my boys and would hate to give them any less than what they deserve.
Things are turning around, bit by bit. I was stuck on Jordan's Accidental Adoption for a long while. The story wasn't going how I planned it. I had to take a step back. Then life took over.
The good news is the first draft of Jordan's Accidental Adoption was finished while COVID19 shut down the NT. I'm working through developmental edits now—ugh, the slog! After I get through those *crosses fingers for THIS weekend* it's off to get line edits and such.
We have 17 November 2020 set aside for its release! In case you forgot, say hello to Nicor—my gamer hellhound.
Jordan's Accidental Adoption
Away from home on a hunt in less familiar territory, Nicor gets hit by the unexpected—his mate. Changing course for the hellhounds of Australia in unexpected ways.
The hunt is on for the merpeople kidnapping young women and making them disappear without a trace. Each dead end leads to more frustration, making Nicor feel the weight of each missing woman more and more. The police want answers the hellhounds can’t give. A break in the case sends Nicor and his packmates to Sydney—away from home and on less familiar territory. When Nicor and the other hellhounds think they’ve cornered their suspects, an unexpected enemy surfaces and causes mayhem for the hounds—leaving a wounded Nicor behind.
Out and about with friends, Jordan stumbles on an unforeseen complication in his long life—his mate. How could a hellhound be his mate? Weren’t they natural enemies? Jordan knows how other Sups view his kind. To make matters even more problematic, the hound has been hurt and doesn’t seem to remember that he’s a demon from Hell or has a human half. Jordan knows he can’t just walk away, so he takes the hellhound back home to his refuge and studio.
One fateful encounter after a gallery showing changes both their worlds forever. The amnesiac hellhound adopts Jordan as his human. Only problem is Jordan isn’t human, and he’s not sure his mate will accept all of him when the hound’s memory returns.
When Sups go bump in the night, the hounds bump back.
Isn't Nicor gorgeous? I can't wait to share him and Jordan with you. These boys gave me some trouble, but they got it together in the end! ;)
It's actually what comes before. :D Remember this? A one-off set in the US that I was working on forever ago? As Fire Rains Down almost done!
MCB has set aside 27 October 2020 for its release.
As fire rains down from out-of-control forest fires, Luke finds a hurt but powerful Demi-God in its wake. Those kinds of shifters should only exist in legend and more importantly, is the powerful shifter friend or foe?
Forest fires around California have got everyone working overtime. Between Luke's volunteer rescue efforts as the fires rage and his keeping up with regular police duties in his sleepy hometown of Half Moon Bay, he's barely had time to eat, let alone catch some shut-eye. It doesn't help that some out-of-towners have been pressing locals to sell up because they want to turn the little oasis into a hopping tourist destination.
Half Moon Bay is a place of sanctuary for shifters like Luke, with most of the town being descended from one kind or another. It's an open secret among the locals. One they're willing to fight to protect.
But the newest flames cutting a path toward town rage hotter and fiercer than normal forest fires. Something isn't right. Finding an overpowered elk shifter in the forest as it burns down around him and Luke causes more confusion—everyone knows those kinds of shifters exist only in legend—and the questions just keep jumping the firebreaks, especially when a dark presence falls on the town and their homes start burning too.
So what does everyone think? Exciting? I can't wait for you to meet Luke and Ollie. (American English, why did I think it was smart to set a book in the US again?)
Okay, so really, what's next?
That's a good question. I recently made some goals for myself, and I hope I can live up to them. I have plans. Scary.
Even if my two almost ready releases don't quite make the exact days, they will be released this year. No doubt about it. The rest, well... here's the semi-short version.
I'll be releasing the first three Smokey Mountain Bear books in audio starting around the holidays. :D There is a reason for this, but let's look at the lovely audio covers done by Catherine Dair.
Why now, Toni? It's my goal to release two novellas and two novels each year going forward. Hopefully I can meet that. Because it's my goal to start finishing up some series next couple years.
The first will be my Smokey Mountain Bear sleuth. It's also the next book I'm working on after Jordan wraps up. There are two more books in the series and these stories a fun little bit-size pieces of PNR fluff that I love. It's time to wrap these boys up in bows and give them away. It's my goal to release the final novella Christmas time next year.
The other two series I'm looking to finish are The Atherton Pack and Hounds of the Hunt. They won't get finished next year, but I want a book in each out. These books have turned into longer novels for me, and the hounds take some special planning since they fight the bad Sups. Between Smokey Mountain Bears and two more in each of those series, that matches my own goal of two novellas and two novels in a year.
If all goes according to plan, that would mean The Atherton Pack and Hounds of the Hunt will finish up in 2022. My wolves only have two more books while my hounds have three.
All of these will be getting audio releases as well—for as long as you guys want me writing, I will. I am grateful for all the support you have given me all these years.
Once my bears, wolves and hounds—oh my! finish up, I'm taking a look at what series I will wrap up next, and which to dust off the shelves. Yes, I haven't forgotten my books that haven't been re-released. I have plans after all. (No, Max, I haven't forgotten you. Plans, I said.)
The Borillian Twist's first book has been sitting out there all by its lonesome and sorely needs some love, just like my boys. Ah, how I miss my one sci-fi mpreg series. Wouldn't everyone love to see where I go with that? I also have my Fear series—my lone contemp series. I haven't quite decided what I want to do but I have idea. Then there's my shelved series--Tassie Wolves, The Thompson Agency, and Hot Encounters.
There is a reason I haven't put these back out. I didn't want to just publish them and leave them hanging. Life has been in the way. I have to find a balance between my books and my life. So, I've been sitting on them until I've got more books in the series to give to you guys. It seems only fair that when I release them again that I give you more of them. ;)
Hopefully my plans will work themselves out. Just like with the upcoming year, I will be rotating which series I work on, trying to finish what I have out there first then moving onto the spin-offs or working in the next series on rotation.
Wish me luck!
Holiday Hijinks is Out!
This year has been full of challenges, so I wanted to bring a little humour to its close. That was where the conception for Holiday Hijinks happened. To bring some joy and laughter into everyone's homes this Christmas. We have Adze and Archie trying to get away from the pack and relaxing, but of course, for Adze, things never seem to go the way he plans.
The new Hounds book is already available at my publisher, Mischief Corner Books, and at Amazon. I will share the links as they come up so watch my twitter and/or Facebook accounts. Print will be coming a bit later.
From my family to yours, I hope you have the very best Christmas... and no demon stowaways in your baggage. Even Adze had trouble with that one.
It's been a while! Or, Hello Again
I know it's been some time since I've made an update. I do try to keep the website up to date, but I know an actual announcement now and again is helpful.
This year has had its up and downs for me. It was exciting to have the newly rebuilt Hounds of the Hunt taking the world by storm — and having Joel Leslie voice my boys was beyond thrilling. And it was also exciting to have my Atherton Pack break into the translations market with RB picking up the series and translating them into French.
My personal life has had its fill this year, which has affected my creative output. The EDJ has needed a lot of my time, and being a single mum, so has the child due to various circumstances. Between the two my creative output hit a wall.
Things are changing and looking up. I have a Christmas story, Holiday Hijinks that is a more light-hearted affair, with the hellhounds coming out next month, and the juices are flowing, so I am going to dig right into Nicor's story next. The hang-ups there have been unkinked and I'm looking forward to bringing everyone more stories from my hellhound universe.
I am also NZ to attend Wham Bam Author Jam! this month, and it always excites me when I get to met my readers. I hope to see as many of you there as I can! And to leave you with a goody, here is the cover of the next Hounds of the Hunt book (cover art by the fabulous Lou Harper).
This year the holidays seem to be rubbing Archie the wrong way. He can't stand that damn happy music blasting in the stores and all over the radio. The decorations went up far too early—and don't even get Archie started on how cheery everyone is.
Seeing the holidays cause Archie to slip back into a depression, Adze decides to take matters into his own hands. The one thing his mate has always wanted is to see the Tudor houses in England. Besides, it’s the perfect time to escape the humdrum heat in Melbourne. Adze can’t think of anything better than curling up in front of a roaring fire with his mate while snow falls outside.
Of course, life would never be that easy. Baby demon stowaways and Christmas Krampuses hell-bent on doing good leave the pair wondering just where things went wrong.
New in Print!
All Cocks & No Bull Blog hop
Welcome to the All Cocks & No Bull blog hop where you can check out some great MM books by some truly talented Gay romance/fiction authors.
Make sure you visit each author to check out their latest releases and go in the various draws for some pretty awesome giveaways.
Coming January 13th - A Bears Bear - Book 3 in the Smokey Mountain Bears series.
"Matthew," Christian said, his voice low and deep. The power in it sent shivers down Matthew's spine.
"Yes?" he squeaked. Matthew cleared his throat before trying again. "Yes?" This time his voice only shook a little.
Christian smiled knowingly at him. "I was wondering if you and I could have a word in private?"
Private? What the hell had he done? Matthew racked his brain, trying to think of anything he might have forgotten recently that might have angered or annoyed his Alpha. He couldn't come up with anything.
"Sure." Matthew stood and closed the lid to the ice chest. Christian placed his hand on Matthew's shoulder, leading him inside. Matthew looked around fanatically for someone to stop them, but no one seemed to be paying them the slightest bit of attention. He swallowed the lump in his throat and resigned himself to his fate, whatever it might be.
Christian led Matthew to his office. Matthew had never had cause to be in this room before. The mahogany desk with matching wood and leather chairs sat pride of place in the center of the room, and off to one side was a bookcase filled with books. Matthew could see several of them had Christian's mate's name on them—Vincent Marsden.
"Take a seat," Christian said as he closed the door behind them. The Alpha was acting strangely, especially when he checked the hall just before the door closed. Christian walked over to where Matthew was sitting. Instead of taking a seat behind the desk as Matthew would have expected, Christian hiked a leg and leaned against the edge of the desk just to the side of him.
"Thank you for taking a minute to speak with me."
"Anything you need, Alpha." Matthew nodded. His hands were already sweating. Matthew rubbed them back and forth on his pants, hoping to dry them.
"There's no reason to be nervous," Christian assured him, chuckling lightly. "You've done nothing wrong."
Matthew nodded as he sighed in relief.
"I know we don't know each other very well," Christian started and Matthew nodded again. "However, you've known my younger brother for years."
"I have. He's a good guy."
"He is. Can be a pain in the ass sometimes, but I love him nonetheless." Christian chuckled.
Matthew was too nervous to do anything more than smile.
"Anyway, I happened to overhear a conversation you had earlier on the phone."
Matthew swallowed and fisted the denim of his jeans in his hands. Would Christian stop him from going on vacation? Was there a sleuth in Chicago? Did he need to notify them of his travel plans?
"Yes?" he asked quietly.
"You're planning to travel to Chicago, is that correct?"
Matthew nodded slowly.
Matthew furrowed his brows. Why on earth would Christian think his travel plans were excellent? "I don't understand."
"I was wondering if you wouldn't mind doing me a favor."
"A favor? Me?"
Christian nodded. "I'm trying to go through the sleuth, one by one, and get to know everyone as the Alpha. But Bobby trusts you. And I was hoping I could too."
Trust me? To do what? Matthew went back to rubbing his hands on his pants. If he could comfortably put them in his pockets sitting down, he would have, but he couldn't.
When Matthew didn't say anything, Christian smiled kindly at him and continued. "I have an item that I plan on purchasing that I don't feel comfortable with the postal system handling. I was wondering if you wouldn't mind picking it up while you're in Chicago and bringing it back for me."
Matthew's mind raced. What exactly was his new Alpha into? Surely it wouldn't be anything illegal; drugs and guns were just a couple of the things that popped into his mind. Matthew shook his head. There was no way Christian would put a member of his sleuth in danger like that, but he couldn't help but ask.
"I won't get into trouble for doing this, will I?"
"No." Christian laughed. "Although if Vinnie finds out, he might have a few words to say to you.
"Vincent?" Why would Christian's mate want to talk to him if he did this?
"The item in question is from Tiffany's," Christian said, raising his brow.
Matthew's eyes widened as everything suddenly made sense. Oh wow! "Yes," he blurted. "Yes, sure, okay, I would be honored. Anything you need."
Christian chuckled, placed a hand on his shoulder, and squeezed. "Thank you. You can understand why I don't want an item such as this being posted or even couriered to me."
"I can. I'm touched that you trust me to collect it and deliver it into your hands."
"You're of my sleuth. I would trust you with my life."
Matthew's eyes teared up at the absolute sincerity he felt from his Alpha. No one before had ever had so much faith in him.
"Thank you. I won't let you down."
"I didn't think you would. When do you travel?"
Matthew informed Christian of his plans so far and told him that he'd let him know as soon as things were more concrete.
"Great. I'll organize everything from my end and send the details you'll need to collect the item on my behalf. You'll require some form of identification I'm sure."
"Yeah, won't be a problem."
"I heard you're planning on going to the Bears game while you're there."
Had Christian overheard his entire conversation? "Yeah, my friend got us a couple of tickets."
"That's great. I have a friend from college, Hudson Rose. I'll give him a call and see if he can meet you and your friend after the game. Show you around a little."
Matthew's heart skipped a beat, and his mouth hung open in astonishment. "Hud-Hudson Rose?" Matthew spluttered. Surely Christian couldn't be talking about whom Matthew thought. "The Hudson Rose? Defensive tackle for the Chicago Bears Hudson Rose?"
Christian's smile was indulgent. "One and the same."
Matthew thought he might faint. Hudson Rose was one of the best defensive tackles in the league. The Bears had managed to hold on to him for the last three years, and Matthew had heard Hudson had just signed another three-year deal with the club worth more money than Matthew could contemplate spending in several lifetimes. The fact that the man was also hot as fuck and regularly graced the pages of the top eligible bachelors in the country had his mouth going dry at the mere prospect of meeting Hudson.
"Really?" His voice squeaked. Matthew needed to see someone about that.
"Yes, I'll give him a call tomorrow, see if he can spare an hour or two after the game."
Matthew nodded, not sure what else to do. His brain had just about shut down. How was he supposed to concentrate with Hudson Rose hanging over his head?
They chatted for another couple of minutes, ironing out a few details, and then Christian stood. "I don't have to tell you this is to be kept on the DL?"
"Not at all, he won't hear about it from me."
"Great, now I think it's time we rejoin the party. Grab another beer and get something to eat before there's nothing left." Christian walked to the door, Matthew following along behind him.
They managed to slip back outside without drawing attention to themselves. Matthew headed back to the ice chest and pulled out the beers he needed. He found his group still standing on the lawn, all four of them laughing uproariously.
Bobby looked at him and grabbed a beer. "What took you so long, man? A person could die of thirst waiting for you."
"Yeah, sorry." Matthew handed out the other beers, then opened his own and took a long swig. His afternoon certainly hadn't gone as he'd expected.
He looked forward to the announcement between his Alpha and his mate. Matthew was happy with the small part that he was able to play in making Christian's wishes come true.
Now if only he could find someone of his own to spend the rest of his life with. Matthew sighed and turned his attention back to the group, smiling at the story Clayton was retelling. For now, he was happy right where he was.
Simply leave a comment along with your email address to go in the draw to win any item from the Mischief Corner Books Redbubble store to the value of $25USD.
You can have a look at all the awesome items for sale here:
Click the authors below to check out their posts.
Hennessee Andrews, Andrew Jericho, Evelise Archer, Penny Brandon, Bronwyn Heeley, Nic Starr, Jess Buffett, RJ Jones, Freddy MacKay, NJ Nielsen
Unexpected Mate Audio Giveaway
My publisher, Mischief Corner Books, is in the process of branching out into foreign translations and Audio (I'm so excited about this). I've been very lucky. Unexpected Mate, Holland Brothers book 1 is the first Audio to be released. I love the job Narrator Dominic M McCartney did on bringing my boys to life.
To celebrate this momentous occasion I'm giving two people the chance to win a free cope of the Unexpected Mate Audio book. Simply Comment and let me know who your favourite narrator is and which book you love listening to.
I'll announce the winners on Sunday.
A Bear in the Woods
As I mentioned the other day on Facebook A Bear in the woods has been taken off the shelves. Don't worry if you're yet to get a copy, it will be back out on the 20th June. ABITW has undergone a couple of changes as an anniversary gift, one of which is the stunning facelift. Thanks go to the very talented Catherine Dair who has kindly agreed to create the covers for all the stories in my Smokey Mountain Bear series... I absolutely love what she did with this cover. Vinnie is just perfect and poor Christian is passed out cold.
Today, May 17, is the international Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia. I'm proud to take part in the Hop today to try and bring a little awareness to this awesome campaign.
You can visit the Official site of the movement here: http://dayagainsthomophobia.org
and the Hop site here: http://hopagainsthomophobia.blogspot.com.au
I wanted to touch briefly on the subject of gay marriage. As most of you know I'm an Aussie. I'm proud to be Australian, I love my country and the people in it. I also believe that every person deserves the right to marry the one they love. It shouldn't matter what form the couples come in M/F, M/M, F/F, or what gender the individuals started their life as. Love is Love.
Currently here in Australia it is illegal for anyone but a man and a woman to marry. The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) in October 2013 passed legislation in their parliament allowing gays to marry in the ACT. The was a historic moment for out country. The first marriages were performed on December 7th. However, on December 12 the federal parliament butted in. With the help of our illustrious leader they took the matter to the high court and a unanimous vote found that the ACT's Same sex marriage act was inconsistent with the federal marriage act.
It is believed that if change is to happen it can't take place on a state level, instead it's one that will have to be decided in federal parliament.
What I want to know is why isn't our federal ministers listening to their voters.
In a Galaxy research poll conducted between 2009-2012 the following was found:
64% of Australians support marriage equality.
76% of Coalition voters want our PM (Abbott) to allow a conscience vote on the subject.
81% of young Australians between 18-24 support marriage equality.
Hopefully with these figures and more, showing the resounding support of the Australian public for marriage equality for all, the government will pull their heads out of their asses and finally step into the twenty first century.
You can find out more about Marriage Equality in Australia here: http://www.australianmarriageequality.org/
Today I'm giving away a signed paperback of one of my books and an e-book copy of any of my backlist. As well as these prizes you'll also have the chance to with a Catherine Dair Skip & Pip T-Shirt, Freddy MacKay signed paperback and e-book, Angel Martinez T-Shirt and e-book, $15 Amazon gift card from MCB and 2 paperback MCB Anthologies. Enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win.
Below is a list of all the amazing people (Authors, publishers, artists, bloggers, reviewers) who are taking place in the Hop. Be sure to stop by their blogs and check out their posts.
Toni Griffin lives in Darwin, the smallest of Australia's capital cities. Born