Are you enjoying the Louisiangel Series? Would you like to become one of Michael's Warriors and join the C. L. Coffey Street team?
Currently, there are vacancies in the House of Michael! (Other Houses to be opened in the future).
Q: What do I need to do to be one of Michael's Warriors?
A: Just join up using the form below, or head to the Facebook group.
Q: No, I mean, what is expected of me?
A: No, nothing! I want to be able to reward me readers, to thank them - to thank you for reading. I want to give you goodies, rewards and treats. These will range from exclusive swag, to exclusive stories, to the opportunity to see cover reveals before the rest of public. There will be competitions and there will be prizes. You will not be expected to take part in them all - you just do what you fancy, when you fancy it!
Q: So, how does that help you?
A: I'm not saying I don't want your help - I absolutely do. These days, word of mouth is more important than ever, and I really do need your help with that! Sometimes I will need you to whisper, and sometimes I will need you to shout. The thing is, I do not expect you to do any of this just because you're on the Street Team.
Sometimes it will be as simple as sharing a post on Facebook, or re-tweeting something on Twitter. The good news is I'm a bad author when it comes to Social Media (though I am better than Michael!). I don't want to be one of those authors who spam everyone constantly with a 'buy my book' message. But, I do need to let the world know that the Louisiangel Series exists, and I can't do that as well as I would like when I spend my 'free' time writing the next book.
Q: Then why a form?
A: Think of it as two levels of angel. You can be a messenger angel, and you can be a guardian angel! (Or you can be both!)
The form lets me have your contact details (and they will not be shared with anyone!), but this means that I can email you with goodies (I mentioned exclusive stories, right? There will be regular chapters for the Louisiangel Chronicles, and you will get them first!). The physical address (completely optional) means that I can send you out goodies like bookmarks, but there may be some other surprises in there (the clue may be in the question for your date of birth).
If you don't want that, that's absolutely fine! You can just join the Facebook Group! All competitions will be on there.
Q: Okay... is there anything else I need to know?
A: How about the competitions?
If you join and become one of Michael's Warriors, (either by signing up below, or signing up on Facebook), you will be automatically put into a draw to win goodies. These goodies consist of:
* A signed copy of 'Angel in Training', 'Angel Eclipsed', and 'Angel Tormented'.
* 'Angel in Training' key chains
* A charm necklace
* Other mystery goodies which may, or may not, be candy...
This will be a regular competition. You name will only ever be taken out of the draw if you have won previously. Don't worry about not being signed up on the form below - if you're in the Facebook group, I will message you directly to let you know you've won and to get mailing details from you. Seeing how Facebook also doesn't like to let you know you've got the message, I will also tag you in the group.
Another competition... There will always be at least one other competition running on the Facebook Group and that will be pinned to the top of the group. At the moment, you have the opportunity to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card!
So, after all of that, if this is something that appeals to you, please either sign up below, or join the House of Michael Facebook group:
Nearly two months ago, I sat down and wrote a list of all the books I (currently) have in the works: three series of five, a trilogy, at least two novellas, and a collection of short stories.
Then I pulled out the calendar and planned their releases based on my current writing schedule.
… At that rate, I will be writing until 2031. A time where, if we haven’t fallen into some form of dystopian future, we might be planning day trips to the moon.
Needless to say, I need to get writing. And that’s what I’ve been doing. My goal now is to have the last two books out in the Louisiangel series by the end of next year. Currently, I’m planning on April and December, but I do hope to move that up. Then I will (hopefully) be simultaneously releasing Cupid’s trilogy (this is more spin-off, then central to the plot. It will be an LGBT urban fantasy, and Cupid deserves someone to make him happy while showing the world just how awesome he is), and now that you’ve met him in ‘Angel Tormented’, the second series focusing on Gabriel. They’re both still taking form, so I won’t say much more on them, but I will keep you posted.
Otherwise, I’ve been working on book four, ‘Angel in Crisis’.
November is NaNoWriMo and I haven’t been able to complete that in years. The last one was because I had too much going on in real life, and the one before that was because I was editing. When Camp NaNo came up last month, I set myself the target of 50,000 words, and by the skin of my teeth, won! I’ve continued writing, and I'm happy to report THE DRAFT OF BOOK 4 IS COMPLETE!
Now I will sit on it for a while (move onto book 5, 'Angel Exalted') and try to read books 1-3 before even thinking about coming back to the draft. I shared my editing process earlier, but my first step is check for continuity.
After that, that’s when the editing process kicks in. While there’s a possibility that I might be able to get it out this year, I can say for certainty that will not happen. I’m saving for a house, and hope to be in a position to buy early next year – which means covers and editors need to go on hold for a bit. I’m not prepared to deliver anything sub-par, so unfortunately, that means you need to wait a little longer.
I will be continuing to write though. Like I said before, there’s a lot of books I want to write, and I want to get started on those additional scenes for this current series. Those will be going out on this website and Wattpad. Both of which are free to read, so you will have something to tide you over.
I also haven’t sent a newsletter out in a while, so I need to do that. That will be the first place for the bonus stories, so make sure you sign up if you want to read them first!
I'm guessing, by now, you've seen the cover for Angel Tormented, right? On the off-chance it hasn't appeared in your social media - here it is:
Created by the amazingly talented Amalia Chitulescu at Amalia Chitulescu Digital Art, Amalia has once again provided me with a stunning cover which captures a particular scene perfectly. I am so pleased with it!
Find out exactly what the rules are, and what can be broken;
Find out what is going on with Joshua and me;
Get much, much, much better at using a sword;
Work out where Lucifer is and defeat him…
With people are camping outside the churches in the city, waiting for their own miracles, trying to keep a low profile has been an easy task. Michael has had her under house arrest and with the cherubim gone and the remaining angels too busy (or lazy) to help, Angel has been too distracted to worry about the fact there are two Princes’ of Darkness in New Orleans. Until Ty – the nephilim she doesn’t know if she should trust – comes to her with information that could lead to the end of Asmodeus.
When tragedy strikes, Angel has her hands full trying not to let the convent descend into chaos. The list of things Angel must accomplish keeps getting longer, and as each item grows more important, so too does the urgency at which it must be completed. With her list of allies constantly changing, can Angel remove the evil from New Orleans and keep Joshua safe?
Angel Tormented is the third book in the Louisiangel Series, available from online retailers for pre-order now. (Release: June 14th, 2016)
This is a very difficult review for me to write. I hate to be so negative about a series, but this really was not my cup of tea!
I remember reading the series when it first came out in 2007. From the first book, I had every one of them on pre-order - for the hardback editions too. I must have really enjoyed them to do that...
I do know that at some point, (that point turned out to be book 7) I stopped reading them (although I continued to pre-order them). There was a lot going on in my life back then, and I thought it was because I simply didn't have the time. Re-reading them, I found the exact point that turned me off - but I'll come to that later.
The premise of the books is a good one. Having finished them, I still think that. A vampire finishing school with a story that draws up on ancient Cherokee legends. Sadly, for me, the execution just didn't do it for me.
I think at this point, it might be better to list the good and the bad...
And right there, that's where I need to stop...
There were some highlights - I really liked Aphrodite and she was the only one who seemed to have real character growth! But was it enough for me to read these books again? Nope. I'm not even sure what to do with the copies that I have...
February 17th marked the one year anniversary of the release of Angel in Training, (and Angel's birthday), and to celebrate, I'm hosting a giveaway over on Goodreads where you can win not one, but two paperback bundles of "Angel in Training" and "Angel Eclipsed".
Amy Poehler – Yes Please
Let me say this first before we continue the review for this book. I do not read biographies in fact I can count the amount of them I have read on one hand (three including this one) and the other two I was severely disappointed in (Gordon Ramsey's Humble Pie, and Richard Ayoade's Adyodae on Adyodate). However this book far surpassed any exceptions I may have had.
Throughout the book Amy preaches it's quality not quantity that gets you to where you want to be and I have to believe she's right especially in reference to this book. When I first picked this up I thought I would get bored learning about the early days of Amy's career because as much as I love her comedy I do not know the ins and outs of it and I thought I would find it confusing and boring, I had already decided to flick through those pages. However, to my surprise, I actually really enjoyed learning about Amy's past and how she developed over the years, and I came away with a better understanding of improv and comedy. Part of this I believe is the way that Amy managed to put her voice across through her writing. You feel like your talking with a friend you have know for years and it is a comfortable read that you find for some reason you can just not put down.
Relating to Amy was easy because she's so real and down to earth, she doesn't make a big deal out of being popular and she has the same thoughts and fears as every one else and I felt like this endeared her to me even more.
We had some similar experiences growing up and we share some of the same issues surrounding teenage years and early twenties. I had always thought I was a weird child when reflecting on my childhood with some of the things I got up to, so, in turn, had developed into an odd adult. It has taken me a long time to learn to be comfortable in my own skin and reading about Amy's thoughts, feelings and reactions to certain situations (the creepy hugging thing) she had been in has made me feel less alone in the world. There are people like me and it makes you happy to know that.
Overall I would recommend this book to anyone with a creative edge. It really helped me change my view of the world and myself and made me less afraid to look to the future and what it has in store.
Okay, it's only the three main books, not the two prequels, and this is why...
BEWARE THERE WILL BE SPOILERS!
At first upon opening the Maze Runner I found myself a little perplexed by the publisher’s comments in the first page. To say it made me curious was an understatement but I also saw it as a challenge. I am used to reading the usual spiel displayed by publishers when they try to big up a book but this was different it was more informal than usual.
When the book started I was in the same thought about the main character, Thomas, who woke up in what seemed to be in a fast-paced 'what the hell' moment. That kind of adrenaline filled ‘I need to find out what’s going on’ motion stuck with me throughout the whole of the book and made me keep reading. Even at the very last line I was like..... OMG! I need the next book now because of the cliff hanger it landed on.
The second book started out pretty much the same way as the first however I found myself wanting to scream at times because I wanted to know what was going on and I still had enormous unresolved issues from the previous book that sort of, but didn’t quite, get answered in the previous one.
Despite the explanations (fleeting and brief – that was the point) of the reasoning behind WICKED doing what they were doing because they were tracking brain patterns, I was not satisfied with any of the answers at all especially with Teresa turning on Thomas and then turning back again, and then the issues with Brenda and how everyone ends up at the same place at the same time. By the time they got to the Safe Haven, I was feeling a little underwhelmed as I know the characters were (the sign of a good story or a bad story?)
By the time I got to the third book I was like WTF how can this be happening to this group of kids again because by that point they have been through so much the whole scenario seems completely evil and unfair. Honestly, it is like there is no reprieve for these dudes whatsoever and it makes me feel awful for them. Also the whole two books before ‘The Kill Cure’ were literally about Thomas wanting to remember things and understand what was going on, however, when it gets to the point where WICKED want to give back everyone’s memories he suddenly decides he doesn't want to and for me as a reader that was a huge let down because it means I don’t think I will ever get the answers to the questions I have and let's face it that's not much of an incentive to finish the book....
While I can say I loved the first book, overall, and I'm glad I can check this off my 'to read' list, I would have to admit that this was not my cup of tea.
When I wrote Angel in Training, I had no idea what I was going to do with it. By that, I wasn't sure if I wanted to self-publish or go the traditional route.
In the end, I decided to do it myself. I won't lie, it's because I'm a control freak and I wanted to see the process through from start to end. I also wanted to have the final say on the cover. I adore Amalia's work and I couldn't image them with anything else.
While I don't regret this decision for one moment, it has been hard work.
Firstly, I don't write full time. I have a very demanding full time job (which I enjoy) and I also DJ (which I enjoy). I don't consider writing to be a hobby, but it's not the job which puts the food on the table. That being said, I take it just as seriously as if it were the main job.
When it comes to the book I put out, I want it to be the best quality it can possibly be. I have a very thorough editing process, to the point I have been told it's excessive. I don't care.
So this is what works for me.
1) I finish writing the book. I ignore it for a couple of week. In this time I read the previous books again and I work on the next books. Once at least two weeks have passed and the previous books re-read, I send the book to my kindle to read through. At this point I'm really only looking at story flow and plot continuity. If anything doesn't match or add up, I make a note of it but only make the changes after I've finished reading.
2) Once I'm happy with the flow, I go through it on my computer, but this time I change the font. I write in Times New Roman and this edit happens in Comic Sans. I find it helps me spot the mistakes more easily.
3) Next up I print and edit, going through each line with a ruler.
4) By this point, it's ready for the beta readers. I have a few because I think multiple opinions are important. I have beta readers who will tell me what works and what doesn't. I'm exceptionally lucky to have them! I don't ask them to do any edits, but either make comments or feed back their opinions.
5) Hopefully they like it and there's not too many questions or things that don't make sense. If anything needs addressing, I address it. I also give the story another read through on the screen.
6) Now it goes onto my first editor. She picks up mistakes, but she also makes sure it makes sense. The story is set in America and written in American English so I need to make sure that translates okay (yes, this can actually be a problem!)
7) After this comes back, I go through the edits and accept/reject/rephrase where needed. Then it goes on to the next editor. He looks at my spelling and grammar. This time, we go through it together (he's local!) over a couple of evenings - I enjoy this part!
8) Because I'm paranoid, it goes out to two people at the same time for a proof read. When they both come back, I go through them side by side and combine anything they've done into one document.
9) Believe it or not, we're not finished yet. It gets formatted into the correct layout for the book and I get my first proof copy back from the printers. This is my favourite part - holding a copy of the book in my hands. I get to go home and curl up with the cats and read them the story... okay, I'm not actually reading them the story. They tend to fall asleep very quickly. But I do read it aloud. Here, I'm not finding much wrong in the way of spelling mistakes, but I find that when reading aloud some sentences don't flow as well as they should. I commit book sins and scrawl all over it with my red pen. Finished, I go through the book and make the changes to the word document. Depending on how many changes there were, there might be a second proof copy and it's read aloud once more.
I'd say the whole process takes three months and it's fair to say that I probably have more people looking at the manuscript than anything that's traditionally published. The reason for this is two-fold. Firstly, I care about my story and I care about the reader - I'd be doing an injustice to both if I just threw it out there. Secondly, it's because anyone can publish anything these days, and I know that people have been burned when it comes to buying self-published work. Because of this self-published authors are held to a higher standard than traditionally published authors - even when I find the best-sellers with errors in them. It's not fair, and it's not the way it should be, but if someone wants to complain about the errors in my books, I want to be able to tell them I do everything I can to get a good quality novel out there.
The other thing, is that when I re-read the stories, if after all that I still find something, I will update the existing books. I know that doesn't help with the already published paperbacks, and although it's possible, most people won't update their e-books, but I'm not going to let a typo sit for the next reader if I can help it.
What's your process?
What a year 2015 has been!
2 books out, 2 book signings, a trip to New Orleans, half of book 3 written, and somehow managed to surpass my Goodreads Reading Challenge of 20 books, by another 10!
At the time of writing this book 3, Angel Tormented, is finished with a word count of 98,025 words. That's the longest first draft yet!! It's going to go through the editing process now - I expect it to lose quite a few of those words. I have quite a long editing process, which I will share in another blog post sometime, but as I've said before, it will be a June release at the latest. I am hoping that I can bring that back, but this is largely dependant on my beta readers, proof readers, and editors, and the workloads they already have.
In other news, I have started book 4, although it will probably be the summer before I can really tackle it.
For 2016, I'm going to keep a record of every word I write because I'm curious as to what the end of year word count will be. Considering I've already written about 60,000 words, I think this will also go up.
Reading wise, I've set myself the challenge of 30 books this year. My goal is to complete some of the series I've had on my shelf but never finished.
First up is The House of Night Series. According to Goodreads I got to book 9 (I thought it was 7), and there's 12 in the series. I don't know why I didn't finish it - maybe book 9 will give me some clues. I've just finished book 7 for the second time, but 2016 started off with 6.
Also on the list is the Beautiful Creatures series - a friend bought me the books for Christmas and I'm looking forward to reading these.
I'll be finished off with the Chicagoland Vampires books. I love these books, but life got in the way and I've had the last four delivered on pre-order, but sat on the shelf unread. The final book in the series is out next March, so I'll probably finish off the year with that.
What are you reading this year?
Questions have been coming in and I've been responding as and where I can. I've also collected them all up - if one person has asked, I'm sure another will - so here you go (this will eventually get added to the FAQ section too):
1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I have been writing for as long as I can remember. My first real story was a ‘Chose your own adventure’ we were required to do in an English class in high school. I think I would have been around 14? I wrote it with my friend and at the time it was brilliant. Otherwise, my first ‘novel’ would have been a fantasy that I started when I should have been revising for my GCSEs (please don’t follow my example!). It’s finished – it took quite a few years, and while I’m proud of that accomplishment, I have no desire to set that free in the world.
2. How long does it take you to write a book?
It’s hard to say. They’ve all taken a different length of time, but for varying reasons. I was lucky enough to be able to write Angel in Training within about 4 months (for the first draft, at least), but I was able to write that at my day job as well as at home (ssshhhhh!). I guess the third book, Angel Tormented is probably the ‘norm’. I’m about two thirds through in about 2 months. With some dedication, I’m aiming to get the first draft done in 6 months.
3. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I work a full-time day job (9-6), and then DJ at least two nights a week. I’m not able to write as much as I like, but I will take what I can get. When I do write, it’s with the laptop on my lap, usually on my bed. I live with three cats, so it’s the only space we can all fit without them sitting on my laptop (this works 97% of the time!)
4. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I’m not sure? I guess my inability to put my plots onto paper. I have three series, each with 5 books and at least 1 novella, and an additional series of (currently) 6 books and they all live in my head.
5. How do books get published?
With hard work and patience. I can only speak for the self-publishing route, of course, as that is the route I chose, and while I don’t doubt that there is hard work and patience required when you go with traditional publishing, when you do it by yourself, you do it all yourself. Well, maybe not the editing (I’m a firm believer that no one can successfully edit their own work!), nor the cover creation (I wish my Photoshop/art skills were a fraction of what my cover designer’s is), but everything else is what I can do.
6. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
I lived in Louisiana for a while, so I have first-hand experience of being in New Orleans – that was partly what drove me to setting the story there. Someone of the experience comes from time spent there, combined with a bit of help Google. The rest may draw on some other life experience.
7. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
My second job is DJing – I’m a nightclub DJ (and wedding DJ in the summer) and I love this. Otherwise, there’s not much time left over. I watch a bit of TV, and I’m trying to take up running.
8. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I think it goes back to just how much work is put into it – outside of writing it. Also, how despite this, I love it. I would love the ability to write full time.
9. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I’m on the fourth (the first being that one which will not see the light of day). I’m not sure I could chose a favourite though. I like them all for different reasons, though there’s a special place reserved for Angel in Training, because it was the first I published and told me I could do it.
10. Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
It’s probably the same suggestion any other writer will tell you: write. The more you write, the better you will get at being able to sit down and churn stories out. The more you write, the better the quality the writing. It’s practice. And read. Read to find out what you like and what you don’t like: styles, voices and points of view.
11. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Yes, regularly, and I love it. They’re mainly telling me to write faster!
I did get told by one reader that she love my books more than the Dresden Files, while another said he was more excited about mine than the Game of Thrones books. I still get giddy when I think of that!
The other thing I love to hear is their ideas of what the characters look like. I've had the ideas in my head (and that's now available in the Extras section), but I find it interesting to see what picture I've painted in someone else's head.
12. What do you think makes a good story?
Anything that can take you away from the real world and submerge you in another. It doesn’t matter if it’s a romance, a true crime, or even a space opera: if you can forget what’s going on in your life, then it’s a good story. What makes a great story is when you care about what’s happening in that story.
13. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I think I went through everything. I wanted to be a vet, a lawyer, and astronaut – but always a writer. I have a very old friend (I’ve known her since playschool – about 2 years old) and she said I was always telling her I was going to write a book one day. I don’t think I was doing at quite that age, but it’s certainly been something I’ve always wanted.
14. Who is your favourite character?
I can't choose! I like them all for different reasons. I will say I have the most fun with Cupid. Actually, I've realised that I will be able to share Cupid's story further - I can't promise when yet, but I can promise that he will be having his own dedicated novella at some point in the future.
The thoughts and musings of an author who can't get her brain to shut off.
I don't like rating books. I think a 'good book', much like 'good music', is subjective.
Buy the Louisiangel Series