Thursday, March 09, 2023

Building Your Author Platform (A Twitter Thread)

I have been living this authorlife for nearly 15 years, friends, so when I say this, I hope very much you will take it to heart, because it is a lesson many of us had to learn the hard way--and there is no reason you should have to!

When you are building an author platform, keep in mind you want your audience to be READERS.

It is great to connect with other writers! You need writer friends! But you cannot JUST be talking to other WRITERS on your platform, you need to be building an audience of READERS.

Look, I get it. Writing is what you do, it's what I do, so it's easy to talk about! Of course!!! and to a limited extent, readers are interested in process--the behind the scenes look at what's happening that results in a novel. But that's only AFTER they have read and loved your work!

FIRST you need to persuade them that you have something WORTH READING.

Engage on topics that are thematically related to your work! Engage on topics where the interests overlap with what you're doing in your books!!! Engage with people who are INTERESTED IN THOSE THINGS!

You can talk about writing and process, you can even poke a little at craft but ALWAYS REMEMBER that your audience SHOULD NOT be primarily other writers. Your audience should be READERS.

Other writers, on the whole, aren't going to buy your books. If you're lucky, they'll support your books with some retweets and shout outs on whatever social media service they prefer, but if you want your book to have legs, it has to reach READERS.


"But Amalia," you say. "Writers are readers too!"

YES WE ARE. (Or at least some of us are, anyway.) BUT.

We all have a lot of writer friends and it is flat out impossible--IMPOSSIBLE--to support all of them by buying and reading every one of their books.

We see THE MOST BOOKS. We are INUNDATED with books we feel like we have to read or want to read to support someone we love or are desperate to get our hands on because it looks amazing because we are EXTREMELY PLUGGED IN to what is RELEASING all the time!!!

Your fellow writers are going to be the hardest people to sell your book to, the hardest people to impress with your work, the hardest people to win over as fans because there are just SO MANY BOOKS CLAMORING FOR OUR ATTENTION, including our own!!!

Focus your efforts on building an audience and a platform OF READERS and save yourself the struggle of having to figure out how to retrofit the platform you've built to support your releases later.

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Thursday, February 16, 2023

Tips for Writing Dialogue (A Twitter Thread from 2022)

It is BETTER to have TOO MANY dialogue tags telling readers who is talking than TOO FEW.

Too many--a reader's eye can skip over them as they're reading and they'll fade into the background.

TOO FEW and a reader is pulled out of the story with "Wait, what? Who said this??"

ALSO be cautious about breaking up your dialogue of a single speaker into multiple paragraphs without dialogue tags to indicate that the new paragraph is NOT someone else responding. Yes, you can have an unclosed quotation mark--but if the previous paragraph ends with internal narration or action, then the reader doesn't have anything to clue them in without a tag. You don't HAVE to start a new paragraph after an interjected internal thought/staging.

I totally overuse tags. I will "said" my way through every dang line of dialogue even when I have an action that will work for the beat/cadence pause I need instead. But the word "said" becomes invisible--excessive dialogue tagging is a risk you SHOULD take for clarity. (And something you can always pare back later in editing if it really is too much.)

One more dialogue tip:
It works best at the beginning and the end of a paragraph. Framing it inside a sandwich of action/thoughts/staging can result in the dialogue getting lost to the reader. Sometimes you need it, like if someone's frazzled or tripping but use sparingly.

These thoughts brought to you both by my current writing in which I am trying to rein myself in and let my action beats do a little more of the lifting, and also revisiting an old friend favorite read that lost me in the weeds of poorly framed dialogue this round.

A good, compulsive story with good characters/chemistry who you are rooting for desperately might overcome the technical issues in the actual writing as someone speeds through a book but--there's no reason to give readers an excuse like that to put it down, you know?

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Friday, February 03, 2023

The Gods Make Their Own Rules: A Pagan Twitter Thread from 2020

I've been going through and curating my twitter archive over the last few months, wanting to reduce my public digital footprint, but this is a thread that I feel like could use a better platform. On Twitter, I've talked A LOT about my paganlife and my relationship to Thor. "Come for Thor, Stay for More!" has been a defining element of my brand for a while. Some of those threads really should have been blogposts from the start, probably, and I'll be moving a couple over here for reference now that I've dug them out again!


I have been spending a lot of time thinking and praying and engaging spiritually about my relationship to Thor and the genesis of it and I want to share a truth that I think gets drowned out by Heathens/Norse Pagans and the emphasis on Ancestor Worship.

What matters is this:
Are you having a spiritual experience/resonance/engagement with these gods?

If the answer is YES, then EVERYTHING ELSE is secondary. It does not matter who your ancestors are or where your family came from.

One thing has become REALLY clear to me in the last few months:
My relationship with Thor predates my awareness of him. My engagement with Thor predates my awareness of him.

I don't know how it gets decided, who ends up in which god's "house" (so to speak), but I was ALWAYS his.

It was always and ONLY just a question of me waking up to that realization--that he was there (and I'm coming to a realization, more recently now, that he was ALWAYS there, in shapes and forms that protected me from crisis before I had the vocabulary/context to understand.)

That ANY god is speaking to you on ANY level is the critical heart of the matter.

EVERYTHING ELSE is window dressing and entirely subjective and could very well be completely meaningless to your personal spiritual journey.

Maybe it is fate or maybe it is choice--maybe it is just some kind of inevitable ineffable universal mathematical equation, I don't know. But. It seems to me the gods make their own rules, and our job is just to choose if we want to say yes or no when they make themselves known.

This is not to say that community does not matter or play an important role in parsing our experiences of the divine, because of course it does--your community in the NOW matters. The people you choose to surround yourself with matter.

My Catholic Italian-American ancestors? They're still a part of my spiritual life. But who they are plays no part at all in defining my relationship to the divine--that's between me and Thor, between me and my gods.

I'm not saying this because I think it is an ABSOLUTE for any other community to accept--I'm saying it because it is MY truth, and if it is my truth, it is POSSIBLE it could also be someone else's, but they felt like it couldn't be because there's so much emphasis on "ancestors."

If you needed someone to give you permission to embrace whatever experience you're having with Thor or Freyja or whoever, REGARDLESS of where you were born and what your family culture might be historically, then this is it. Right now.

I'm giving it to you.


Disclaimer: I do not believe this gives anyone a right to speak over indigenous voices or to impose their interpretation of their spiritual experience with any divinity over any existing culture's truth.

What is true for one person is not necessarily true for ALL people.

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Monday, December 19, 2022

2022 Release Wrap-Up!

I released a few titles in 2022!


Exclusive to Patreon, available to read in full on the web for as little as a dollar a month, or in a handful of downloadable ebook volumes for as little as 5 dollars a month! (Watch Patreon for news of an extremely limited edition paperback/full ebook release in 2023.) This is a wild adventure, one part billionaire romance, one part medical drama, one part science fiction/fantasy, with some extreme mafia romance vibes because this billionaire’s money is absolutely ill-gotten, and he doesn’t pretend otherwise. First two chapters are FREE to read!!


I took another pass through the book itself, spiffed it all up again, and created new chapter headers exclusive to the Hardcover edition interior. Plus! A pretty new cover to match the HONOR AMONG ORCS Hardcover design!


all my non-Fate of the Gods short stories in one slim volume, available only in paperback (because digitally, most of these stories are available to purchase or read for free elsewhere as individual titles) UNLESS you are a Patreon Patron, in which case--you can still grab the exclusive ebook edition at the $5 level!
Get the paperback on Amazon or Bookshop or ask your library to order it or Whatever!


Want to know how Nic and Kate became friends after their rocky start as romantic--well, I hesitate to even call them rivals, to be honest, because Nic wisely stepped aside and offered her best wishes. BUT. You know that their earliest hangs once she started dating Will must have been Hella Awkward! AND THIS IS THE STORY OF HOW THEY GOT OVER IT! (Ebook only! Available wide!)


in Paperback and Ebook! Come home to Heron Lake this holiday season and spend Solstice with Nic, your favorite pagan, Will, Kate and Sully at Abe and Violet’s new digs! (Their house has a phenomenal lake view!) Then stick around for Christmas, too! If you’re looking for a pagan inclusive holiday read, this one is FOR YOU! (And PLAYING TO WIN, book one in the series, is FREE across all your favorite e-tailers, too, if you just want to dip a toe in to my contemporary romance world first, before committing.)

Anyway, come find me on Patreon and uh, buy my books, too!!!

Friday, December 16, 2022

Revisiting Forged by Fate, and Show vs. Tell

I'm revising FORGED BY FATE right now, for... well... reasons, and this book--there is so much of this book that I still love desperately, but in coming back to it twenty years after I started writing it, I've noticed some things that my baby authorself was doing, thinking it was THE RIGHT WAY TO WRITE that, well. Were kind of the opposite of helpful in getting my points across.

Let's talk about Show vs. Tell.

As a baby author, I was clearly determined to show everything! Instead of telling people how a character was feeling, I used physical responses. He hesitated. She closed her eyes. He tightened his jaw. She shifted away.

Listen. These kinds of small physical movements are all well and good--but there's a problem with relying on them as the sole means by which you communicate emotion. And that problem is this: By themselves they don't actually communicate the underlying emotion at all.

In Chapter Eight of FORGED BY FATE, there's a moment when Eve is still new and still struggling to understand the world and the people around her. She's with Adam in a cave where he and the other residents of the Garden have taken shelter, and he is--well, imposing himself on her, really.

 Eve shivered at his touch, and that seemed to please him. He raised his hand to her face, cupping her cheek and drawing his thumb along her cheekbone. She forced herself not to look away. Not to move. But everything inside her twisted. She wanted to crawl away into the darkness, but there were no shadows now to hide her. His face was so close she could feel his breath on her lips.

“Lord Adam!” She jumped, though the voice was familiar. Reu.

Adam closed his eyes for a moment, then turned his head slowly. “What is it?”

Now, Eve is new, so there's a certain amount of grace I need to give myself here, because trying to write someone who literally was only just created and is still in the process of understanding literally everything around her is AN UNREAL CHALLENGE to start with. But. Read that last line again:

Adam closed his eyes for a moment, then turned his head slowly. 

What is it actually telling us about Adam's response, emotionally? I mean, we might guess, as readers, what past me was trying to convey. Maybe he's tired. Maybe he's annoyed by the interruption. Maybe he's actually angry. Maybe he's just power-tripping, making Reu wait on principle. You, the reader, cannot actually know. BUT. Eve does. And the reason she knows is that he's touching her, and we know already from the text that when Adam is touching her, whether he realizes it or not, his feelings and thoughts bleed through the contact.

So why was baby author me holding back? 

Because of the age old mantra: Show, don't tell, a rule I was foolishly trying to live by to my detriment.

But showing, by itself, is IMPRECISE. I'm not communicating effectively what's happening, I'm leaving my readers to guess. And while there's nothing wrong with that, in the right circumstances--when the point of view character is guessing too, for instance--in this one, I was letting a mantra get in the way of clarity.

Eve shivered at his touch, and that seemed to please him. He raised his hand to her face, cupping her cheek and drawing his thumb along her cheekbone. She forced herself not to look away. Not to move. But everything inside her twisted. She wanted to crawl away into the darkness, but there were no shadows now to hide her. 

His face was so close she could feel his breath on her lips.

“Lord Adam!” She startled, though the voice was familiar. Reu.

Adam closed his eyes for a moment, then turned his head slowly, his body stiff with impatience. “What is it?”

Impatience. Now you, the reader, know precisely what emotion is motivating Adam's physical response, just like Eve. His patience is reaching a limit. Time for her is running out. Am I telling, by including that word? A little bit. But in telling, in giving that word to the reader, I'm making the passage STRONGER. My writing is clearer and more effective and Eve's response afterward, is given more support.

(And yeah, I changed Eve's jump response, too, because she didn't jump. Her response was small, a start of surprise. But baby author me hated the word startle and bent over backward to avoid its usage--again, to the detriment of clarity.)

Show, don't tell is a valuable piece of advice for writers. ALL TELLING is boring as heck! We all know that! But it isn't a hard and fast rule that we need to contort ourselves to accommodate. Let it be a MODERATOR, sure, but when it gets in your way, like almost every other "Rule" of writing--it's okay to throw it out.


Glad Yule, friends!

Tune in next year for some fun announcements regarding what's coming down the pipe--or join me over on Patreon, and for as little as a dollar a month, you'll find out before the year is up :)

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Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Winter Games is here!!

I should have posted this on the blog last month, but I'm slow about updating--honestly, I count myself lucky that I managed to get it out in my newsletter in a timely manner! BUT!!!! 

WINTER GAMES IS FINALLY HERE!!!! You can get it in paperback or ebook from pretty much anywhere--or request your local library to order it in for you, even! Order now and get your copy in PLENTY of time before the Winter Solstice, so you can celebrate along with Nic!

Winter Games is available from all your fave E-tailers!

I am so so so thrilled to share this book with you all. At least those of you who are enjoying my Amalia Theresa offerings, anyway!!! And if you haven't dipped your toe into my contemporary romances, I can hope that having a delightful winter holiday special to look forward to might encourage you to join in on the fun! (And as you may or may not remember, book one, PLAYING TO WIN does have some fun Halloween Costume Party adventures also--so now is a great time to grab your FREE copy for some seasonally appropriate sexy romance!)

A lot of love went into the design of both the ebook and paperback editions of this book, and I hope you'll all be as pleased with how it came out as I am. Patreon Patrons got a peek at the interior designs and chapter header avatar images I created, and non-patrons can read the first two chapters of Winter Games for free right now over yonder--so go forth and try before you buy :)

If you want to know more about WINTER GAMES or any of my other Amalia Theresa books, including content warnings--I've got a series page for that!

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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Winter Games is Coming!

I am SO EXCITED about WINTER GAMES! It CANNOT be overstated at this point, and I'm saying that while in the midst of my least favorite part of the book production journey, too, so you KNOW this is something special! 

So to celebrate and get you all ready for WINTER GAMES, book one in the series, PLAYING TO WIN is currently FREE across all your fave e-tailers!

Because the only downside of WINTER GAMES is that you'll really want to have read the first three books in the series to get the most enjoyment out of it! It doesn't matter what order you read those other three books in at all--they all stand alone! But you'll want to have read them and given yourself the chance to know these three couples individually before they all come home for the holidays this season!

HAPPILY, Playing to Win is ALSO a perfect fall read, so you can low-key gear up for spooky season and join Kate and Sully on a Halloween Costume Party adventure while maintaining a cool, blue, it's-still-summer, no rush, exterior. If that's how you roll, anyway. (Just don't pollute Sully's coffee with Pumpkin Spice--he is opposed to flavored coffees of all stripes. Pure unadulterated brews or bust! He is not, however, above sipping the Spooky Juice at said Halloween party, which is one of the greatest mysteries of his character.)

But I'm not really here to talk to you about Playing to Win, or Kate and Sully and their... foibles (content warnings on my other blog!). I'm here to tell you more about WINTER GAMES! So!! 


With Abe and Violet’s engagement uniting the Fowler and O’Sullivan families, Kate and Sully, and Nic and Will are coming home for the holidays to new dynamics they didn’t exactly anticipate. Starting with Violet’s plot to host them all under her own roof in the lead-up to Christmas Eve in order to give her new sister-in-law Nicole the pagan Solstice celebration she deserves.

But big holidays are never easy: Will and Violet’s dad is still holding a grudge against Nicole for stealing his son away from Fowler’s and their mom is strong-arming Violet over where she spends Christmas going forward; Will isn’t quite sure how to feel about his sister’s sudden engagement to his best friend’s big brother after missing the entire lead-up of their whirlwind romance and is starting to regret his big cross-country move; and nearly four years into their marriage with no plans for grandchildren, Kate still struggles to feel like she belongs among the close-knit O’Sullivans--especially now that Violet’s marrying in--even while Abe faces the limitations of his injury and what that means for his participation in family events.

One thing’s for sure: there’s no shortage of emotional overwhelm to go around this holiday season, but if Violet has anything to say about it, there’s going to be even more love.

A heartwarming return to Heron Lake, Winter Games takes place just a few months after the epilogue of Playing House.

For the month of August, you can pre-order WINTER GAMES for just $2.99 (ebook)--but the price goes up September 1st, and at release it'll be $4.99, so don't miss out on a great deal for a holiday special filled with all kinds of love and warm fuzzy delights!

If you're a paperback reader like I am, HAVE NO FEAR. I'm hoping, fingers crossed, to have the print edition available by mid-September. And depending on how my next print proof turns out, this might be my prettiest interior ever. We'll see!

Last but not least, all my Patreon Patrons will get early access to the first two chapters of WINTER GAMES in early September! (And they've ALREADY gotten a peek at one of my favorite scenes, as well as a glimpse of what else is in store for this contemporary romance series!) Come join the fun for as little as a dollar a month!

This month is a particularly good time, because New Patrons at the $5 level are getting almost 18 dollars in ebooks (if they don't already have SON OF ZEUS and SETTLING UP already--nearly $10 in the patreon exclusive ebook editions of COST OF LIVING and OF GODS AND JOTUNS, regardless!) and ALL patrons get access to a huuuuuuge archive of goodies, including:

  • The Serialized Chapters of SON OF ZEUS (in full!)
  • The Serialized Chapters of COST OF LIVING (in full! AND digitally exclusive!)
  • Refuge: A Short Story (digital exclusive)
  • The Rule of Fate: A Short Story (digital exclusive)
  • Frost Bitten, Twice Shy: A Short Story
  • The Foundation of Rome: A Short Story

And a WHOLE LOT MORE bonus content and sneak peeks of what's in progress, including:

  • Orc3
  • A Cinderella Retelling set in the Orc Saga world
  • My Trojan War book (formerly known as Paris of Troy)
  • The Original First Three Chapters of HELEN OF SPARTA from when the book was still part of the Fate of the Gods series and Helen was Eve
  • More than One Fate of the Gods novella/side-story
  • The first chapter of the sequel to SON OF ZEUS
  • A taste of my Heracles book
  • A look at the next Playing to Win pairing
  • Winter Games Teasers, too!!

 SO! Definitely check it out if you're a patreon type!  

(Yes this was a lot of graphics in this post and a lot of information and I am sorry/not sorry, but it's been a VERY BUSY SUMMER and I just want you all to know everything!!!)

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