I made a couple TikToks about this, but if that isn’t your jam, here’s a whole blog post about it (with links!)
If my books were Halloween candy, what would they be? This feels like it could be a meme, maybe it is? I don’t know, but it came to me in the shower either because I saw someone else do it, or my brain has been internet-ified because there’s no other way to be successful as an indie, and here we are.
Let’s start with Throne in the Dark which I’ve decided is one of my absolute favs:
I know this a weird choice right off the bat, and nobody’s getting Russel Stover in their trick-r-treat bucket, but hear me out. The packaging is fancy and beautiful, and it says “dark chocolate” right on the front, so your immediate thought is “ooo, this is some sexy candy,” right? (Just me? Oh.) Anyway, your expectation for this thing is set up to be something pretty specific from the vibe it gives off, then you unwrap it, bite in, and bam: ALL MARSHMALLOW.
Basically, what I’m saying is Amma is very obviously a marshmallow, Damien’s a marshmallow in a crunchy coating, Zagadoth is a toasted marshmallow, even Kaz probably has a marshmallowy center once you get through many layers of bitter coating, it’s just marshmallows all the way down! And I think that’s pretty indicative of the way I write in general: Look, I’m doing this big-epic-scary thing, but when you pull back the curtain on the story, it’s just me playing dolls with an amalgam of household objects standing in for real-life stuff (kinda like a certain bad guy in another series of mine) and doing my best to not make the mains kiss until the verrrrrry end. Also, raspberry because of all the blood. There’s so much blood in this book that a reviewer couldn’t get through it, and I am deeply sorry for that (it just doesn’t affect me, so I don’t realize how much is there).
The Weary Traveler is a pumpkin-shaped Reese’s because Reese’s shaped like anything but a cup taste way better, and also it’s pretty easy to like, but it’s not for everybody which is to say some people are allergic to peanuts, and TWT doesn’t have any sex in it and that seems to bum people out lol. Here’s the thing: if I realized sex would have helped me sell these books, I would have committed to that and used a pen name, but it’s too late, I’ve branded myself steamless, and this is just how things are now!
Look, I know this isn’t a Halloween candy, but I can explain! Actually, I just wanted to compare The Wayward Deed to a Reese’s Christmas tree because TWD takes place at Christmastime, and if you start reading Vacancy this fall, you can pull out book two in the winter and that would be a special, little treat for you. Also, peanuts, no sex, sorry.
What do you mean, “this is even worse?” Look, The Willful Inheritor takes place during the spring, and I know Reese’s has eggs too, but the third and last Vacancy book is different enough to be its own thing. I went in deep on it, and it’s probably too much for some people, but if you’re really into the series, you’ll probably love it. Still no sex though, which I know is confusing with the creamy imagery in that egg. There is a tiny bit of dry humping though, so that’s something!
The other thing is, the candies that I chose for Vacancy are all shaped like things that they are not and do not taste like, no pumpkin spice, no pine tree scent, no…egg, and in that way, they’re all a little silly and fun, and I like to think Vacancy is like that too: ridiculous but earnest. That actually might be my whole brand. Wow, it’s taken me 7 books to figure it out. Geez.
Okay, moving on to the standalones!
I’m a little annoyed Reese’s changed the branding of the Take 5 because its original black and green is such a strange package which I think is appropriate for comparing it to The Association. Don’t get me wrong, I looooooove my snake/skull/red satin cover, but I have a fair number of reviews for this book that warn other readers that the book is “nothing like the cover!” And I guess that’s fair? It’s a supernatural murder mystery, but it’s also rather silly (it exists in the Vacancy universe, in fact) and it’s much more cozy than it is gruesome. Also, like the peanuts, caramel, pretzel, chocolate, and whatever the fifth thing is in a Take 5, The Association has vampires, werewolves, dwarves, sirens, and witches playing a dangerous game of Who Wants To Be The Next HOA President? It’s a weird amalgam, but it works, and it’s five things!
She’s All Thaumaturgy is my “middle child” book. Nobody cares about her, and she doesn’t get the attention she deserves even from her mom. She’s a Nerds Rope, but I don’t mean that in a derogatory way! I think people who eat Nerds Rope like them (I do), but as a cardy, they’re doing…a lot, which is just like this book. The characters have weird names, I throw in little poems and other snippets at the beginning of some of the chapters in an attempt to parody big fantasy authors, I have an elaborate, powerful spell that tears a hole in the universe to allow communication over great distances that the characters use to essentially text one another, but, like, it’s fun, ya know? SAT is also a sword and sorcery She’s All That retelling, which is just Pretty Woman, which is just My Fair Lady, which is just Pygmalion, so it’s a spin on a classic.
Finally, The Korinniad, my first book, the OG, my weirdest and most intense attempt at humor, and probably the funniest thing I’ll ever do and will always be trying to emulate and spectacularly fail at for the rest of my career. She’s a Three Musketeers simply because I love that candy, so there. Also the hero, Nikeros is basically nougat personified. I’ve actually been wanting to rewrite TK into a trilogy where I really expand on Korinna and Nikeros and make it a full-on Greek myth romcom because I’m in love with the idea of a himbo-cinnamon-roll cupid as a proper romance hero, but time??? Maybe I’ll do a new series based in my version of ancient Greece with a bunch of ridiculous demigod heroes and heroines, and maybe they’ll even have sex? Because there’s nothing more Greek than that.
Anyway, that’s it. If you know me, you know Halloween is my favorite time of year, but the last couple have super sucked, and there’s too much going on this year to celebrate, so this is my Halloween celebration. But next year? Well, I’ll probably be preparing to move again, but the year after that???? I’m planning on turning into a proper bat, so yay! Happy Halloween!
Also, read or listen to The Association, it’s spooky! (But not that spooky!)
And here are the original TikToks: