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Through the Cracks is almost done. Here's the cover:
Over the Edge was an exploration of depression from the inside. Through the Cracks is more of a look from the outside - at how easy it is to not look deeper, to let signs of other's struggles slip past unnoticed.
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The sequel to Over the Edge is called Through the Cracks.
It's due out soon...ish, but I haven't said much about what it's about...
Last year, Cierra tried to kill herself and instead discovered a secret portal to another world. Encouraged by the people she met there, Cierra finally felt like she made some headway against her depression. Until she receives a suicide note from her best friend, Olivia.
With Olivia in the ICU, Cierra struggles not only with the guilt of not seeing her friend's pain, but against the mental illness she thought she'd beaten.
Worse, a dark secret from Zach's past draws Cierra back through the portal and threatens to separate her from everyone she loves.
And now you know :)
If you haven't yet read Over the Edge, you can grab it here so you'll be all ready for when the sequel releases.
If you've ever wondered, a typical book I write is a little over 50 000 words. Over the Edge was about 53 000, Confessions of Innocence about 54 000. Age of Innocence was around 60 000 with an about 10 000 word short story with it.
Through the Cracks has been in the 40 000's for a couple of months.
Untitled book I shouldn't be writing is nearing 23 000. And what's untitled book I shouldn't be writing about? I'll just leave the below in all its not-too-spoilery, first-draft, Word-grammar-and-spelling-squiggled goodness.
Note to self: just add 'Ayin' to the dictionary already...
Anyway, that's what I'm doing right now - namely writing the book I shouldn't be writing instead of working on the ones I am supposed to be writing. Still no idea when that untitled book will be ready, but I'm hoping end of September for Through the Cracks... The cover reveal is probably not too far away - watch this space.
Grab the ebook here!
Beginnings are hard (Innocence #5 alone has 4 completely different first chapters.) But, it wasn't until I was trying to wrap up a 5 book series that I realised exactly how hard endings can be...
I really thought this book would have been out months ago, but wrapping up all the loose threads and doing justice to all those characters wasn't easy. I hope I pulled it off in the end - sorry about the wait. I know they've only been out in the world for a couple of years, but I started writing these books in 2008, and it's really weird to think that I won't be writing that story anymore.
But... I might have thrown a few words into a book that focuses on a different character in the same world. A whole lot of characters from the Innocence Cooper series pop in and out, too. This is a barely an idea at this stage, but eventually it should be an actual spinoff book or series... watch this space.
That, of course, is getting ahead of myself... next out will be Through the Cracks - the sequel to Over the Edge. Which is probably the last book in that series... Over the Edge was always meant to be standalone, until it wasn't... Through the Cracks should be out around September of this year.
After that, I'm launching a new series - book one is called The Reaper's Heart. It's a paranormal romance... more on that later.
Anyway, I really hope you enjoy book #5! It's introductory price is $2.99, but since it is quite a bit longer, it will probably go up - be in quick. It is available in KU, too, and will be for the foreseeable future.
Blurbs are hard.
So, this here may not be the final version... but since it's the version that exists right now, it's the version you can read:
After taking over the Council, Innocence Cooper thought leading it would be the easy part. Then a witch turns up dead, magic itself starts dropping in and out like bad Wi-Fi, and her boyfriend's father, Sam, goes missing.
All signs point to witch hunters, and Innocence's boyfriend, Elliot, is the next one in their sights.
With the hunters blocking magic, fighting them seems impossible, but there's no hiding anymore. Can Innocence save her Council, her people and her city?
Age of Innocence will be the final book in the Innocence Cooper series, and I'm excited for you all to get to read it. Its vague release date is June or July 2017. If you want to be the first to know when the ebook releases, join the mailing list. (Paperback is usually within a couple of weeks of the ebook.)
Innocence #5 now has a cover!
The covers in the Innocence Cooper series are based on the active powers used in the series - this one on golden light. All covers in this series have been designed by Rebecca Frank .
The book itself is still in progress - I don't yet have a concrete release date, but it deals with Innocence and her new Council facing the threat of witch hunters. Included after the novel will be a short story (Ghosts of Innocence.) More info to come...
Anyway, I think the I Am Not Innocence cover is still my favourite, but this one is pretty great too. Leave your comments on the cover below :)
There are a lot of alternate versions of scenes or partial scenes from Trials of Innocence (book #3.) Since Age of Innocence (book #5) is taking longer to get right than I expected, I thought I'd share some with you. They aren't necessarily as fleshed out or proofread as scenes in the final book, but sometimes it's fun to see what might have been.
Fair warning, these are bound to contain at least minor spoilers for book #3
It’s not revenge.
I tell myself that every day. That my mission to kill is about protecting anyone else Kim’s coven – my targets – would seek to hurt.
They’d lived for more than two thousand years and wreaked havoc on countless lives. Mine was just the latest. And it couldn’t be allowed to continue.
My name is Innocence Cooper, and I am no one. Heir to nothing. Ruler of nothing. Just a witch with a goal. A vendetta. A hit list that I’ve reduced to one name: Jim Sanders. Their leader.
I must have tracked him two hundred times. Always a different city, a different country. And every time, gone by the time I got there.
Alternate Innocence and Bullet scene where they meet in his office not on rooftop
The last time I’d seen him, he’d been powerless. He’d left Red Vulture before they could kick him out, and neither of us had really known what he was going to do next.
Now, he was back in that leader’s chair.
“You could have called,” he said. “Then you’d know I work here.”
I could have called. But I’d been afraid to. I’d pictured Bullet in the gutter, or on a park bench – or, at best, some sort of leaky, mouldy, rundown old building. The problem with Are you okay? was that he could answer No.
He closed his laptop lid and regarded me. “I know.”
Like always, his expression gave so little away. Was he mad at me, or just being as cold and distant as he was with most people?
I leaned on the desk. My fingers crackled with purple lightning and I pulled back.
“What’s that?” he asked.
“Huh? The purple energy?”
“Fire is when you’re angry. Ice when you’re hurt or scared. What’s the purple energy for?”
I was surprised there was anything he didn’t know about me. “Nervous energy,” I said.
The very edge of his mouth turned up, like he was trying not to smirk. “Do I make you nervous, Shadow?”
“It’s Innocence,” I muttered.
“Really?” I caught the hint of a laugh in his voice, and he raised his eyebrows. “You’ve gone back to that?”
“It’s not that bad.”
“Worse than Trevor.”
I traced the lines of my left hand with my right. “I guess.”
“Can I ask you something?” he asked.
I let him read my answer in my eyes.
“When you asked Fume to help you hunt down the members of Kim’s coven, how close did you come to asking me?”
I dropped my gaze. It had never even crossed my mind.
It should have. Bullet would have killed them, not just played defence. He’d had more experience in fights.
I reached one hand across the desk, touching the backs of his fingers with my own. Again, all I had to say was, “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be.” His eyes were on my hand, his expression still blank.
I wondered if he’d pull away. If I should pull away.
A purple spark jumped from my skin.
Bullet sighed heavily and leaned back in his chair, his hand falling from my reach. “You chose him.”
“Technically speaking, I should be calling security.”
I shrugged a shoulder. “Why aren’t you?”
“Because it’s you.”
“Maybe we can be friends.”
He smiled. “Didn’t realise we’d stopped.”
“So you got your power back and what?” I asked. “You came straight back to lead Red Vulture?”
The papers on the desk were perfectly straight. His pens were organised by colour in a holder. His laptop cord wasn’t even twisted. More than anyone – more than me – he’d always looked at home there at that desk.
So it was a little surprising to hear him say, “I’d rather not have to lead. But there wasn’t really anyone else.”
He tilted his head. “You miss it.”
He knew me better than I knew myself. He always had.
“You know,” he said, “we could use you. There’s a war going on, after all.”
If Bullet commanded them, they would do as he said. They would accept me if he told them to.
It seemed smarter to join the winning side of the war, end it quickly and pick up the pieces in the aftermath. To take back Red Vulture and instate myself as the conqueror and ruler of the side of good.
Erin would be safe as Bullet’s prisoner – and out of my way. And the world would be united, the prophecy fulfilled.
There was only one problem: Elliot.
He wouldn’t see it as a means to an end. The second I became the leader of Red Vulture, he would leave me. He would think the position would lead me to kill. Fighting the war would lead me to kill. And he was probably right.
“I would rather you joined my fight,” I said.
“I’m on your side,” he replied. “Even if it doesn’t look that way.”
I raised my eyebrows.
He walked around the desk and slid a hand onto my shoulder. “You think I’m out in those battlefields every day because I want to kill random people?”
“No, I... Why don’t you just tell everyone not to go?” I asked suddenly. “No fighters, nothing the Resistance can do.”
“Tried that,” he said. “It caused the worst ice raid we’d ever seen.”
He traced from my shoulder to my neck. “I’m out there because” – his fingers tangled through my hair to my jaw – “those are your people. And they need protection.”
I closed my eyes as his thumb made its way towards my lips. Then I caught his wrist with an icy hand. “Please don’t.”
He and I had never been much for words. More for comfortable silences and casual contact. But this didn’t feel casual.
“Hurt or scared?” he asked in a whisper.
“Dating someone else,” I replied.
“Guilt?” he asked. “You feel guilty because you don’t feel guilty?”
“Is that even possible?”
Bullet leaned against the wall and sighed. “You miss leading Red Vulture. Maybe you miss me.”
“Don’t make me do this again,” I said.
Break your heart, I thought. He would scoff at the term. He would claim I couldn’t hurt him – that nothing could. But he couldn’t fool me.
Alternate Innocence and Bullet scene in Innocence's apartment, chapter 7
I wasn’t used to those blue eyes avoiding me. He was often silent, but never quite like this. Never like there was a barrier holding back his words.
“Thank you,” I whispered. “For helping with this.”
He shrugged. “It’s nothing.”
“Not to me.”
He turned then, studied me for a moment. “That look,” he said, “is the only form of torture that has ever got to me.”
He shook his head. He drew a breath. “That look that says you care. But not enough.”
“I… care a lot,” I said.
“But not enough.”
I didn’t want to think about what he meant by that. About the unfortunate, unchangeable fact that I wanted Elliot and not him.
I reached my hand out, fingertips brushing his wrist. It was easier to say I was sorry with a touch than to form the words.
He straightened. He didn’t pull away.
“I missed you,” he murmured. “Like you wouldn’t believe.”
My voice was weak. “I missed you, too. A little.”
I felt him tense, his weight shift on the couch. He looked at me, his jaw set and his gaze hard. “Really?”
“Is that so hard to believe?”
“I know everything about you, Shadow. Except what’s in your heart.”
Titles are always difficult. Sometimes I know the title while I'm writing the story, sometimes I pick it out before, but often I agonise over it after the first draft is done.
In the Innocence Cooper series, each book had at least one working title before getting its final title. Let's take a look...
Book #1, Confessions of Innocence:
First title: 'Darkness' - probably never a real contender for the actual title, but it was the name slapped on my early drafts.
Second title: 'Redefining Innocence' - yup, this one ultimately became book two's title, but it started life as an idea for book one. And yes, this is super-confusing if I ever want to look through old drafts.
Book #2, Redefining Innocence:
First title: 'Illuminating Shadow' - based on the idea that Innocence was going by 'Shadow' for a time.
Book #3, Trials of Innocence:
First title: 'Tears of Innocence' - if you've read it, I'm sure you understand. But it never really felt right, and 'Trials of Innocence' has a bit more meaning to the story.
Book #4, I Am Not Innocence:
First title: 'Queen of Witches' - I still love this one, but I really wanted this book to fit the pattern of the other titles and end with the word Innocence.
Resigning myself to the fact that I'm human, it looks like there will be no more new releases from me this year... which means 2017 is shaping up to be pretty good.
My top priority is Innocence #5, Age of Innocence. Sadly, this will probably be the last Innocence Cooper novel :( Unsadly, it's probably not the last of the world or all of the characters. And it comes with a bonus short story at the end called Ghosts of Innocence.
There is an Over the Edge sequel in the works - tentatively titled Through the Cracks. I'm not one to force a story to be longer than it wants to be, so this might be a novella. Or it might work its way up to a full novel. Either way, it's looking good for 2017 release.
I have a new series in the works as well - I feel bad when I work it on it, because I know some people out there are waiting on some of the above, but it's a lot of fun. It's a YA paranormal romance... and that's all I'll say for now. Book one and maybe even two of this series could make it out there by the end of 2017.
And, of course, who knows what I'll write without really meaning to write it...
I Am Not Innocence is out now. Get your copy here. (Currently available in ebook form from Amazon, also free to read with KU.)
Finding the afterlife not to her liking, Innocence Cooper's archenemy, Kim, uses her connections to get her hands on a possession spell. Kim plans to use it on Innocence – to slot into her life and fool everyone. But Kim didn't count on Innocence having a powerful, recently deceased ally, and the process might not be as seamless as she hoped.
Born a spellwrite and with the rare ability to use more than one active power, Kimaya was hailed a queen by the witching world, her power envied and revered. But she wanted to throw it all away for the ungifted boy who stole her heart. The decision to sacrifice her position for love will cost her more than she could possibly imagine.
When I started writing about Innocence, I was originally going for the whole villain protagonist thing - where the villain is the main character. But the world I threw Innocence in made things a little more complicated - good and evil weren't so easy to pin down. So I Am Not Innocence is another take on the villain protagonist idea, with someone a little more solidly in the villain camp.
The title is a play on 'I am not innocent,' because Kim would be the first to admit she's not, and, of course, with the possession spell there's the idea of her literally not being Innocence. Because what's the point of a title with only one meaning?
This one was a lot of fun. I think it's the best one yet. I hope you enjoy it :)