May 2021 Update

Child of Aurumice came back from my editor.   I'm still reviewing all the comments, but his overarching concern is both exciting and gut-punching. I have written two books. My editor's intuition is dead on, as when I wrote the original outline, it was two books.  As the story evolved, I thought I didn't have enough content for two stories, so I left it as one book, the length rivaling Mark of the Castle. I need time to process all the comments before I rush to make this change.   If I go through with it, bad news for you all, book three is delayed.  However, on the bright side, you get two books and more story! This isn't the only Centernia project on the horizon. For years, I've written short stories from different parts of the Centernia timeline, from Elina's childhood to Nico's ultimate sacrifice.  I had considered putting the stories up on the website for free or offering them for 99 cents each.  Neither felt right. Instead, I'm experimenting with a

January 2021: Child of Aurumice Status Update

  This month, the third Centernia novel left my hands and went to the editor.  I will not be able to announce a release date yet, but this is one of the final phases.  Once it returns, I’ll be able to make corrections, format it, and release it into the wild. :-)

Ultimate Centernia Playlist

  Centernia book three, Child of Aurumice , is in the hands of the final beta reader.   It’s time to dust off this old blog.   So much has happened.  The world broke.  I’m hiding in my house in upstate NY, spending my days chasing my kids. I haven’t seen the inside of a Wegmans in eight months. Illustration work has exploded in a great way and at the same time I’ve had some medical challenges. When I sat down to write this post I wasn’t sure what my goal was other than to present a teaser for Child of Aurumice .  A chapter? A short comic?  How can I give you a taste of this wild new story of castles and misguided mages?  I settled on a playlist. I write to music.  Through the years I’ve amassed a gigantic playlist for Centernia of over five hundred songs.  I’ve sorted through them, and I present you three Spotify playlists, one for each book.  I invite you to make your own interpretations.  For those of you who are just too curious, I’ve created a list below the links with character as

The original Mark of the Castle Outline

I was organizing my studio and came across this tattered old document.  As we’re coming upon the one year anniversary of Mark of the Castle, I thought it would be a perfect time to share the original outline.   As I completed each chapter, I would fill in the chapter number with a scribble of pen.  The yellow, green, and lavender backgrounds denote the three acts of the story.  I always had a solid path, but I wandered on and off it as the plot evolved.  I’m a very digital person, but sometimes I just need something physical to grip onto and reassure myself that I am moving forward.  This document was only ever intended for my eyes.  It’s not spell-checked, half-thoughts are scribbled, but this is as close to my brain as you can get. So without further introduction, this is the Mark of the Castle that could have been. :-) Click here to view the six page outline in full-screen mode.

Spring 2019 Q & A

Here are the top Q & A’s from this convention season: Is there a third book?  When is it coming out? Yes! There is a third and fourth book in the works.  I’ve moved past outlining and have written approximately one hundred pages as a skeleton draft for both books. This initial document is essentially a collection of arguments.  There are no transitions from chapter to chapter, sparse descriptions, very little setting other than castle or basement or mall.  This draft is a lot like a sketch, I can move things around quickly and trash unnecessary scenes without wasting time. When I wrote Mark of the Castle, I learned a harsh lesson on book release dates.  I couldn’t predict death, car accidents, depression, babies, or brain tumors.  So I’ll just say I’m progressing forward towards an undefined deadline.  Just stay with me, keep sharing your books, and I promise you there is more story to come. Will book four be the end of the series? Book four will be the end

Depression in Centernia

"Centernia is realistic fantasy."  This is a phrase that's been repeated to me many times during convention conversations.  Centernia hits on a variety of heavy topics...divorce, drug abuse, sexuality, economic imbalance...all wrapped up in a wild tale of magic and mayhem. I would like to analyze a few of these topics in greater depth, starting with depression.     *****Book 1 & 2 Spoilers Ahead***** *********** Nico is a character who experiences an inordinate amount of trauma.  At the end of Return to the Castle , his parents are dead, Misa is dead, he's been doomed to a life without physical intimacy and he's about to become enslaved in the Mines of Briken.  At the opening of Mark of the Castle , we can add torture, physical maiming, and an encounter with a Sinari woman.  He’s hunted by mages and he fears that returning home may put Teren in danger.  There's not much more that could be done to torture this man. Throug

Genericon 2019 Changed my Life

On Friday afternoon I dropped my kids off at my parents’ house, loaded up the car, and traveled I-90 with Octostar Creations for Genericon 2019.  We came back late last night in a blustery and rainy wind storm and I am still in awe of this weekend. I’ve been to Genericon in 2015, and 2017, it’s one of my favorite college cons.  This time was a very different experience. Very. Very. Different. It was my first returning con with Mark of the Castle.  The response was insane, to put it mildly.  I was approached by dozens of fans with stories I never expected to hear, from a mom who secretly purchased the book for her daughter and photographed her reaction to someone who had used the morality of Centernia as a topic for a college assignment.  I was approached by artists, aspiring audiobook narrators, and clusters of friend groups who had been passing around a copy of Centernia for years.  There were people who had bought it at other cons, including NYCC 2014, the year I launch