Story Spotlight – A Tale of Magic and Sorrow

For my first Story Spotlight, I went with A Tale of Magic and Sorrow by Lee Hayton. Lee is a fellow Phoenix Prime author. Which means she is a great writer too. The story is a bit dark, but in the best possible way. She has such a way with imagery. By a way with imagery, I mean to say that she is a magician. One of my favorite short snippets:

As she fell silent, Nolan stared at the magic’s light. Each heartbeat sent crimson ripples out in waves, like a stone thrown into a pond. The blue wasn’t just blue, but indigo, violet, teal, and green. The gold formed a shimmering accent, pinpoints moving in set patterns like a sped-up night sky.

After I read it, I wanted to know more. As writer, I love to know how people come up with their stories. As I reader, I am nosy. I reached out to the Lee to get more information about the story. Below you will find her response. Anything in bold is from me.

I came up with the main character for this story when I was writing the description for the (now) second book in the World War Magic series, Bitter Magic. In that, I described true magic as being… “deep, dark, and dangerous. The stuff your great-great-grandfather fought against in blood-soaked battles to eradicate from the earth.” [See what I mean? Great writing] As soon as I wrote that down, I wanted to know more about the type of man who would fight a battle to eradicate magic from the world. Voila! Nolan Helmond was born.

The story was written as part of the Inanna’s Circle Game [brought to you by the creator of Phoenix Prime], where a series of snippets, settings, and character descriptions are provided by the organizer and at least one of each must be included in the story. For my setting, I chose the meadow that seems peaceful, but which on closer inspection has skeletons tangled in among the long grass and an inn run by a husband and wife. [She is not kidding about this. However, it came across as really beautiful to me.] They both fit in with my ideas at the time, and helped the story to grow and change. It went dark, man. I think this is the grimmest thing I’ve ever written, and my first two novels are about dead children. Yeah. Grimmer than that. [Grim in a good way for me.]

I’d like readers to take away a better sense of what to do when presented with a choice between the easy way and the right way. Nolan Helmond is a dickhead, people. Don’t be like Nolan. [Seriously, don’t.] Do, however, buy the next installment in the World War Magic series and embrace your inner grimness. You think this one is dark? Hoo boy. You don’t know what’s coming for you.

A Tale of Magic and Sorrow (World War Magic Book 1)
Exclusive to Amazon and FREE to read with Kindle Unlimited


Bitter Magic (World War Magic Book 2)

Exclusive to Amazon and FREE to read with Kindle Unlimited


Caged Magic (Part of the Rebels & Runes Boxset)

Exclusive to Amazon and FREE to read with Kindle Unlimited


The Last Magic Man

FREE to read as part of the Lee Hayton Starter Library


Check out her stories!

My First Pre-Order

I thought that I would try something a little different. I have never put a book up for pre-order before, so I thought I would try it out. A few days ago, March 28th to be exact, I let this baby loose in the world.

I didn’t really let anyone know. OK, that’s not exactly true. I put it in my newsletter. I wasn’t sure what the reaction would be. Would everyone wonder why I didn’t just release the book outright? Would anyone even care? Who am I even talking to?

  • Imagine my surprise when people actually started buying it! I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised. My goal is to sell these stories. But, I am really happy about it. It’s longer than the stories that I’ve published up to this point. I’m hoping that my stories get even longer. I feel like my writing is improving. I can honestly say the Phoenix Prime has changed my life, and is continuing to do so every day.

I hope that you have something that inspires you too.

So You Want a Sneak Peak? Check Out a Scene from Half Sight

This collection is on presale everywhere. Official release date is March 28th!


I had been channeling a spirit named Sable for over a year. She was an independent artist with an amazing talent, but she had died young. She helped me write my songs. She was just starting to come into her own when she passed away due to the drug overdose. So not a lot of people knew about her. But I had been a huge fan. So, when I was looking for someone to help me write my songs she was my first choice. She can be a little crazy. But that’s what made it such a great artist. She sang hard, and she partied hard. She had never performed in my part of the world, so I never got to see her live, but I watched every video that was online. Unfortunately, there weren’t too many. I knew every single one of her songs by heart.

It is every person’s dream to meet their heroes. Sometimes, it is a bit of a letdown. You build an image in your head of who you expect someone to be and when they are even the smallest bit different, it’s a huge blow. I learned pretty quickly that singing with them helps me keep the dream of them alive. Musicians are my specialty, but occasionally I can go off a bit. For example, actors who sing. Marilyn Monroe is my favorite drinking partner. A lot of people thought that she actually was the ditzy blonde that she portrayed in some of her movies, but she was so much more. She was amazingly smart and a shrewd business woman. I wish I had known her in life.

I am afraid to pull spirits from too far back. I would love to meet Cleopatra. But, my knowledge of Egyptian theology is a bit spotty. They had specific beliefs about the afterlife.  I’m not really sure that is something that I am prepared to deal with. I am pretty much just making this stuff up as I go. I happened to notice that I got a better fix on a spirit when I was around one of my crystal sculptures. That led me to do some research on crystals to enlarge my collection.

Since I had all of this contact with the late great and I already loved music, going into music was a given. I had some of the best mentors to ever live at my disposal. I loved rock. When my career was first starting, I was constantly pushed to R&B music. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it. But I was made for rock and roll.

I gathered everything I needed to call Sable. Purple was her favorite color, so I had purple candles in a circle on the table and some amethyst crystals on the table. Her music was playing softly in the background. I pulled out my wand and tapped it on the table. I said my spell and called her to me. I had a show coming up, and I needed her help.

“Sable, are you there?” I asked. I felt the chill in the air before I heard her voice.

“Don’t I always come when I’m called?” she asked, appearing beside me.

“Sounds like you’re a little upset,” I said.

“I’m dead. Why waste my time with emotions? Maybe I just get tired of being your little lap dog,” Sable said.

“You know that’s not what this is. Please. I’m having a terrible week. I just need help prepping for tonight’s show,” I said.

“The free ride is over chick. If you want my help, you have to give me something in return,” she said.

“Our deal was I bring you back to this side to make music, and we hang out,” I said.

“Look, kid, that’s sweet. But, I don’t need any more friends. I want to perform,” she said.

“I’m not sure how my fans will respond to a ghost on stage,” I said.

She laughed.

“Bind me to one of your amethysts and take me with you. Or let me in,” she said.

“You know I can’t let you in. I won’t let a spirit ride me,” I said.

“Fine. Your loss,” she said and disappeared.

Busy Busy Busy

Hello Musers,
I don’t know about you, but the last month has been a busy one for me. I have been writing and editing like crazy. If you want to see what I have in the works, check out my WIP page.

As you already know from this post, I am in the middle of the Phoenix Prime workshop and it has me working overtime! It is challenging, but I love every minute of it. The obvious results are my publications.

Last month, I was working on the Hell and Earth Series. Some of the stories are still in edits, and some are already published. Stay tuned for those new arrivals.

This month, I’m working on the Final Witch Series. It’s based around Linda from the Hell and Earth Series. She is a police detective who uses her witchcraft to solve crimes. I love weird and unsolved crimes, so I think this will be tons of fun to write.

Do you know of any strange crimes, or unsolved mysteries? Let me know in the comments! If I use it, I’ll thank you in the acknowledgments and name a character after you!

Rebels and Runes Anthology!

Hello Musers!

I told you big things were coming! I’m a part of this amazing new anthology on pre-order on Amazon. I’m writing in the presence of greatness y’all. Some of the other authors featured in this set are New York Times and USA today bestsellers. I am beyond excited.

What is it about? I’m glad you asked.

Take a trip to the future, or to the ruins of some of today’s great cities. Tales of magic, malice, mayhem, and a little bit of madness can be found in this collection. If you enjoy books containing shifting creatures, monsters, wizards, sorcery, and witches then this is the boxed set for you.

The official release date is March 28th. Pre-order today!

Free the Phoenix 

Hello Musers,

I told you big things were coming! If you want some free scifi stories, look no further! Head on over to Instafreebie and check out Phoenix Ascendent!

If you like time travel, my story is for you. While you’re there, be sure to check out the rest of the Phoenix Collection!

Stay tuned for more stories coming this weekend.

Primed to Publish

Things are about to change around here! I am knee deep in an awesome writing workshop called Pheonix Prime. I am learning a lot. But, more importantly, I’m writing more than ever. By April, I will have at least 35 more stories published! 

Here’s the overview:

        Phoenix Prime is a Ph.D. level workshop that spans approximately four months. It uses applied industrial psychology to address components of writing, marketing, branding, business and contract issues, productivity, etc. that combine Creative Writing and business perspectives.
 The participants will create a portfolio to showcase their work alongside students in doctoral programs in several major universities. The objective, in addition to expanding the professional growth of all the participants, is to study the impact of the independent author-publisher on the commercial fiction industry.
 TL;DR – if your friend is in this program, they will be planting roots in their office chair. Be kind. Bring snacks. They’ll come up for air sometime in April. Keep an eye out for new books!

Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Stuff

To anyone who doesn’t watch Doctor Who: sorry. Basically, I’m talking about time travel!

I arbitrarily picked time travel as the main topic for my Nanowrimo 2016 novel. It was a genre that I love and wanted to try writing in. In order to be better prepared, I also read Write to Market by Chris Fox. After trying the research plan he suggests,I was thrilled to find that I had picked a good genre!

I’ll be doing more research until November. By which I mean watching movies and reading books. Tough life, I know. Lol.

I’ll be posting strong points in the movies and books I come across. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know.

False Starts

Looking back at the novels that I have tried to start I found one major commonality. I have taken writing prompts and written responses. Some have the responses have come out great. Because they are so great, I decide that they should be a novel. Or, at least, a longer work. Which has been failing for me. Another reason that this approach failed was pantsing. If you’re not familiar with what that is, it is writing via flying by the seat of your pants. So no preparation, no character work and no development. Pantsing can work for a few hundred words, but a few hundred pages is a whole different animal.. Some authors are able to do it well. I am not one of them.

At one point, I decided to write under a pseudonym and only publish prompt responses. I was bored before the week was out. There are an endless amount of writing prompts out there, so the possibility for material is endless. I will still be writing them to exercise my writing muscles. I’ll share the good ones here too.

The last thing that I have noticed about my false starts is losing interest in longer works. All of my research tells me that the middle of a novel is the most tedious. I have definitely found that to be true. I know that I can fix this by outlining a bit more and just powering through it. And that is exactly what I plan to do.