Surviving the Shadows Release Day

It’s release day! Available on Amazon and free with your Kindle Unlimited purchase, Surviving the Shadows! Book 2 in The Bearer of Truth series.

From the underbelly of Reno to the glitz and glam of Vegas, Gabriel, Evander, and the men they call family will be tested, and the final confrontation with Gabriel’s maker may be the end of everything they hold dear.

Release Day Party in my Reader Group Today!

Come join me and several other authors for a fun filled release day party in my reader group! Just click the image above and it will take you there.

This Is Personal

“When a person you think looks good the way they are expresses disgust with their appearance, don’t immediately tell them why they are wrong or roll your eyes in disgust at what you perceive as attention seeking behavior.”

I’m taking a break from talking about writing today. There’s something that’s been weighing on my mind, and if I help one person by speaking out about it, then I’ll consider it a job well done.

This is a topic I’ve often felt I couldn’t speak out about because I’ve been told constantly that I can’t. Comments like: “Oh, you’re being ridiculous.” or “Whatever. Look at this skinny bitch, can you believe she’s had eight kids?” have, in a very real way, prevented me from facing the fact that I hate my own body. I’m not allowed to because everyone says I can’t.

I know I have some form of body dysphoria and I don’t see what others see when I look in the mirror. Logically, I know my weight is within the normal range for my height, neither too little nor too much, right at the top of where it’s consider the “ideal” weight range. But, when I look in the mirror, I see big thighs, a huge ass, and a flabby belly, and don’t even get me started on my upper arms.

Granted, the flabby belly comes from having given birth to eight children, two of whom are a set of twins, and having permanent muscle separation that I neither have medical insurance nor money to get fixed. Unless I can get that fixed, my tummy will always be a bit flabby, and I’m getting better about accepting that.

I actually like to workout when I can find time. But that’s been very hard for me this past year for many reasons, and you can tell in my opinion. I’ve just gotten back into it, and I’m happier for it. Those endorphins do all the good things for me. But even when I was working out all the time, I felt like I looked big. Then two Christmases ago, people started talking about how skinny I was, but in a negative way. I felt like I couldn’t win.

To be clear, I don’t starve myself. I can’t. I love food. I sometimes can exercise enough self control to not eat junk and do portion control (that’s when I got “too skinny” according to others), but my lifestyle as a single mom doesn’t lend itself to being able to be super vigilant about my diet most days. I don’t have the money or time, and honestly, I’m a hungry person who can almost always eat. I don’t, but I could.

So, I workout as much as possible to make up for my shit diet days or I get what I consider chunky. Again, logically, if I just look at numbers, I know I’m being crazy, but what I see in the mirror and pictures is someone who looks out of shape.

Another thing to point out, I never think people the same size as me or bigger look heavy or unattractive, this is totally a judgement I turn on myself, not others. I’m screwed up like that.

I’ve been back to working out regularly for about six weeks now, and I do feel better. However, I’m not losing the weight like I have in the past. In fact, I’m pretty sure my butt has gotten bigger, though it is definitely less flab and more muscle. I was looking in the mirror, upset, close to tears, and started thinking that I’m probably too old now, and I just needed to give up on my body ever being good. And I then I had a moment of realization and started thinking…I have to stop doing this to myself. It’s not helping, and how can I expect to get physically healthy when I’m defeating myself mentally before I even start.

I’ve done all this work on myself mentally, learning to love who I am as person and be happy with that, and I completely overlooked the fact that I’m spewing negativity at my physical self which is just as unhealthy.

So I determined that I was going to learn to accept myself where I am physically just like I have mentally. I went and bought shorts in a bigger size so I could stop skulking around in leggings and sweats or sweating my ass off in jeans when it’s summer weather. I took all the shorts that I just knew I could get myself back into if I worked out enough and either threw them in the donation bin or gave them to my oldest daughter. I got rid of all my size small shirts because my boobs are never going to fit back in those and again, my oldest can wear them. And I ordered a high-waisted swimsuit for the summer to hide my belly.

Now, none of this is going to miraculously cure me of my dysphoria or my negativity. Those are things I’m still going to have to work on. I’m going to have to learn not to stand in front of the mirror and pinch the flab on my stomach or slap my thighs and ass to watch them jiggle while I feel disgusted. I have to stop myself from reinforcing the negative, but here’s something we all can do to help people:

When a person you think looks good the way they are expresses disgust with their appearance, don’t immediately tell them why they are wrong or roll your eyes in disgust at what you perceive as attention seeking behavior. Quite often, it’s real to them, and everyone telling them why they’re wrong leads to repressing those feelings and more build up of nasty feelings inside until they hate themselves.

My flabby body is real to me, I can see it, but I’m not going to let it control me anymore. The bigger size of clothing was a hard thing for me, but I can see that I actually look smaller in the bigger clothes when I look in the mirror. I have to learn to live with and love my body where it’s at, but I also need to have my feelings about it respected and not treated as if they’re nothing because I’m not perceived the same way by others.

Putting this post out there scares me, especially because when I’ve tried to talk about it before I’ve been told that, as someone who isn’t considered heavy, I have no right to feel the way I do. However, I know I can’t be alone in this, and I just want others like me to know that I’m here, I get it, and I know that the struggle is real for you, no matter what your physical appearance reflects to others.

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Gabriel and Evander – Character Sketches

I recently commissioned Sarah Jo Chreene to create line drawings of Gabriel and Evander, and she went above and beyond. They’re gorgeous! I’ve typed up character sketches to go along with them and share with you all. You can find Sarah Jo Chreene’s page here.

Gabriel Sinclair

Description:

6 feet tall, long dark hair, swimmers build, changeable eyes (violet, blue, gray), graceful, pale skinned, 28-years-old, androgynous, high cheekbones, full lips, arched brows, stubborn jaw

Character traits:

self-sacrificing, snarky, damaged, dominant (but not a jerk about it), fights for the underdog, his mouth gets him in trouble, smart, powerful, trained fighterNotes: Only half-angelus/half-daemon to ever exist, considered an enemy of both as he’s an abomination, the Creator assigned him mentors, one Daemon and one Angelus

Background:

Abandoned in an alley as little more than a toddler, Gabriel was taken in by a Catholic orphanage. Until the age of seven when a priest tried to kill him due to his unnatural traits and a belief he was possessed and needed an exorcism, he lived with the nuns and the other children who came and went from the orphanage. During the exorcism, Gabriel’s powers acted to protect him and flashed him into an alley where a dark mage was waiting for him, having been searching for a power source for a long time.

The following six years of his life were spent as a prisoner (more details in the books), and he was abused regularly. At the age of thirteen, he was rescued by the archangel Michael and was promptly introduced to the Daemon Barabbas, both of whom became honorary uncles and mentors for the young halfling. They trained him to survive at all costs, and he spent the next fifteen years dodging agents of both the Light and the Darkness and fighting them off when necessary for survival. 

At the age of twenty-eight, he was once again forced to change his life when Michael showed up with a team of Bellators, agents of the Light, and a mission for him. There is, of course, a prophecy. 

Father: Daemon Prince, once second to only Lucifer himself, seriously evil

Mother: details currently unknown, Angelus, one of the only females

Other information:

When his story begins, he is fully suppressing his dark side using pain as a coping mechanism. He must feed on blood as well as regular food to maintain full strength, though he does this as little as possible causing his true power levels to be masked. He has only killed in defense of himself or others and remembers every kill.

Evander Ryan

Description:

6’5″, brown hair, green eyes, tanned skin, muscular build, classically handsome

Character Traits:

Arrogant, Leader, Strong, Organized (until Gabriel throws him off), Strategist, Narrow-minded, Believes his own hype, ignorant when it comes to interpersonal relationships, an idiot when it comes to Gabriel

Background:

Evander is the last of the Creator’s handcrafted Bellators brought into being centuries after the others who the Creator had long since granted the ability to find mates and procreate, sustaining future generations on their own. Something of a favorite of the Creator, he was very sheltered and kept ignorant of a lot of the world in effort to create a “perfect” Bellator. (More about Evander’s background in book 2!)

Other Information:

most powerful Sustainer in history, leader of the most powerful Bellator group, Gabriel’s sodalis vitae (life/soul mate)

I hope you enjoyed this little peek into Gabriel and Evander!

Monday Updates

Hello everyone! I have a couple of announcements.

  • Surviving the Shadows is once again with my editor. I added 13.5K to the manuscript, and it’s currently sitting at just 6 words under 100K. Through edits it’ll either gain those words or lose more, we’ll see. lol
  • I have started a Patreon. I really want to be able to focus on writing alone, and it’s really hard to do so when I’m editing too. I did shut down my editing business for all but a few clients, but it meant a huge hit financially. So I will be creating exclusive content for Patreon subscribers only. I have tiers as low as $1 a month. The link is here. This will allow me to write and hopefully make up some of the financial differences. All my books will still be published on Amazon and in KU. My Patreon content will be bonus content or side stories I don’t plan to publish. Though in the higher tiers you will get early access to parts of my books, and even input. I will begin adding exclusive content this week.
  • I’m going to be better about sending out my newsletter once a month. I was just going to do it when I published a new book, but that means only sending it about every three months, and I’d like to stay in contact more than that. That goes for this blog too. I won’t be posting exclusive content here, but I will post everything I’ve chosen to be public information. So lore and things like that which will be important for all readers to know will continue to be posted both here and publicly on my Patreon.
  • I am going to start a group on Facebook, and I will post a poll on my author page about names. This whole process is to be and get better about interacting with my readers and getting the word out about my books so I can grow my readership. I appreciate each and every one of you for being with me through the roller coaster that establishing myself as a serious author has been and will probably continue to be for quite a while.

Autism Awareness Month

Autism doesn’t just affect children. Autistic children grow up to be autistic adults.

Today I’m participating in something near and dear to my heart: a blog hop for Autism Awareness. When I first signed up for this it was already something I believed in wholeheartedly, but it has become even more important since I’m on my own journey with my youngest son for a diagnosis, and while the diagnosis is not autism so far, I have been told he has autistic tendencies. He’s just more social than a lot of autistic kids (with adults), and they’re being cautious about diagnosing him with it for now.

But on to what the post is supposed to be about today: childhood toys. I have eight children, so my experiences with children’s toys are vast and wide, but since this is an autism blog hop, I’m going to focus on the toys my youngest loves. He’s a solitary player, so his favorites require no participation from anyone else at all. Sometimes his favorites are frustrating for him, but he loves them so much and has learned to come to me to “fix” it. I spend a lot of time putting small Legos together because he also has hyper elasticity in his joints and doesn’t have the coordination for the smaller Legos. Legos are his jam, and he can spend hours playing with them and making a huge mess.

As he is a bit obsessive about what he’s into, Legos are the end all and be all for him. He will reluctantly play with other toys, especially heavy things (my kettle bells are a source of endless, yet scary, amusement) because the weight soothes him, but he always returns to the Lego table in the end.

My Books

I have two books out currently and book 2 in my The Bearer of Truth series will be releasing in June. It’s called Surviving the Shadows.

You must read book 1, Shadowing the Light, before you read book 2. I also have a novella that’s connected to the world though not directly in the story line called A Blaze in the Dark.

Surviving the Shadows Blurb

Gabriel has been gone longer than predicted, and Evander is growing increasingly worried each day that passes without his mate’s return. Confounded by their leaders’ lack of answers, Evander and the team begin to fear the worst.

In the midst of fruitlessly searching Miami for clues to the Daemon Abaddon’s whereabouts, Evander begins to have disturbingly vivid dreams. With a little help from a newly-returned and empty-handed Michael and Barabbas, Evander discovers Gabriel has been calling out for help across their nascent mate bond. With a little backup from an unlikely source, they set off to rescue Gabriel from the depths of the hell.

Gabriel is old friends with torture, and his captors haven’t been gentle. He survives the physical pain, despite growing weaker every day. Gabriel resolves to survive long enough for rescue, or to die fighting, until a Dark Seer begins to dredge up the terror of Gabriel’s horrific childhood, threatening to destroy his mind and soul. Nearing the end, Gabriel manages a last-ditch effort to contact help, reaching out to Evander in his dreams.

Against all odds, Evander and the team fight through hell to reach Gabriel, and they all face the ultimate price. Sacrifices made for the bonds of brotherhood nearly break them, and Gabriel learns the hard way that embracing the darkness while fighting for the light may be the only way to survive.

From the underbelly of Reno to the glitz and glam of Vegas, Gabriel, Evander, and the men they call family will be tested, and the final confrontation with Gabriel’s maker may be the end of everything they hold dear.

Surviving the Shadows is an LGBTQ urban fantasy with a romantic subplot. It is a direct sequel to Shadowing the Light and reading the first book in the series is essential to enjoying this one.  

I will be giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner. All you have to do is comment and tell me what your favorite childhood toy was.

Visit RJ Scott’s website to see everyone who is participating in the blog hop.

Charity

I am supporting the The Ehlers-Danlos Society. My son suffers from hyper elasticity in his joints and struggles to do minor things on a daily basis. It affects everything from how he holds a spoon to the way he sits and can be very frustrating for him.

“The Ehlers-Danlos Society seeks world-wide awareness—and a better quality of life for all who suffer from these conditions.

From genetic research and international medical symposia, to patient support and learning conferences, every gift, no matter the size, helps to advance our cause.

Donations to The Ehlers-Danlos Society are critical to our continued ability to raise awareness and visibility of EDS among the general public. Your contribution of any amount will assist in our overall mission and is sincerely appreciated.”

Donate here.

WIP Wednesday – StS

I shared the beginning of the prologue for Surviving the Shadows during an author takeover on Sunday. Now that it’s been a few days, I’m going to share it here. Rewrites are coming along, and it looks like I’ll be able to hit my new deadlines, but again, no official release date until my editor has it. I hope you enjoy this in the meantime!

Unedited

Copyright Miranda Turner 2019

Prologue

Gabriel wasn’t sure how long he’d been trapped in this place, but it had been more like weeks than days. The heat and darkness pressed in on him, blinding him to his surroundings as he hung there, miserable and sweaty. He’d been there long enough that his hunger had given way to a deep emptiness in his gut and his lips were cracked from lack of moisture. His long dark hair lay in a tangle down his back, both wet and greasy. It had been so long since he’d properly bathed. To feel the cool touch of water on his skin sounded like heaven. He was lucky if he got water to drink.

The sour, decaying smell of the air here had caused him to gag in disgust when he was newly arrived. Now it had become his normal, invading his pores until his scent matched its foulness. One more sign of how this place was taking him over, fundamentally changing him into something closer to the darkness—at least, trying to. He was too strong to let it win; he had to believe that.

Gabriel gazed down at his once powerful body, now emaciated, frail, and incapable of saving him from his current situation. His captors kept him under control by not providing him with food or allowing him to feed. Every rib in his torso stood out in stark relief, and his mouth was so dry his tongue was swollen. His blood moved through his veins like sludge, pushed by his barely beating heart.

He’d been weakened already when they captured him. Barabbas’s training had to be harsh to be effective. And, as part of that training, he’d brought Gabriel to the Underworld, thinking that being closer to the source of his Daemonic power might help him connect the two halves of his soul. It had worked, at first.

Gabriel, what’s wrong with you? Get up,” Barabbas scolded him as he lay on the floor after having been flattened by a blast of fire.

“I’m trying, Uncle. I’m just so tired. Everything on me hurts. This is what I imagine humans feel like when they’re sick. But I can’t get sick, can I?” Gabriel was baffled. Why did he feel so terrible? The lethargy was bone deep and almost painful. He didn’t even want to get up. Maybe he could just take a nap right here.

Barabbas walked over and kicked the bottom of his foot. “Get up.” With a groan, Gabriel rolled over and got to his knees, but as he tried to stand, his knees gave out and he went crashing back down.

“Fuck. I don’t like this. Something is wrong,” Barabbas said, grabbing Gabriel and pulling him to his feet. “We’re getting out of here.” Barabbas flashed them back to the human realm, and Gabriel was able to take a deep breath for the first time in what felt like days.

Even with the setback, he’d been getting closer to achieving his goals of a cohesive soul, a Daemon side that was comfortably under control, and returning to his team when they’d snatched him. He’d just still been too weak to fight off the sheer numbers they’d sent after him. From what he could tell, the process of integration had completed in this dark place out of self-preservation.

The two halves of his soul had become one mid beating in an effort to help him survive. The merging had stolen his breath and drawn his legs up to his belly as a sharp stabbing sensation assailed his chest. The breath had sawed in and out of his lungs as he regained his equilibrium before Dantalion, his demonic tormentor, could take advantage of his weakness. It was only later he’d realized what had happened.

Now, his captors were keeping him as weak as possible, and the longer he was here, the less fight he had. Something about the atmosphere seemed to suck his powers away just like before.

No…not his powers. It felt like it was ripping out part of the very soul he’d worked so hard to heal.

Running Too Fast; Hit a Tree

You know those moments in life when you “think” things are going well: you’re finally getting a handle on things, you’ve made excellent decisions to help your life run smoother, and you just have to get through this last month? Then BAM, tree to the face. I’m in one of those moments right now.

I recently posted of my decision to shut down most of my editing business because it was hurting my writing. It was hurting it more than I knew. I’ve already pushed this book back once because of family illness in February, then in March we were hit with Influenza A and it took us out. Through all of that, I wrote a book…badly.

Don’t get me wrong, the story has great bones, and it’s fixable. But it definitely needs fixed. I’m worried that I will lose you guys through this process of me finding the right balance in my life between editing, family, and writing, but I at least believe I have finally found it, which will alleviate these problems in the future and allow me to hit my deadlines.

As for today, today I must say I’m delaying my book to give you the best book possible. I don’t want to let you guys down, and I don’t want to let my characters down. That’s exactly what I’d be doing if I didn’t take the time to fix what’s broken. I hope you’ll stay with me, and while I’m hoping for the release to still occur in May, I’m making no definitive date announcements until it’s with my editor.

But I will show you the full cover by the amazing Lou Harper as a bonus.

The End of a Chapter

When I first became a member of this community of authors, writing professionals, and fans, I was a reader, and I always will be. As I got more involved in the community, I slowly began to become a Beta reader and even had the nickname “The Plot Doctor” for a while. Upon the realization that I was to become a single mother of eight (I mean, I knew how many kids I had. It was the single part that was a surprise.), I moved to full time editing work. But in my heart of hearts, I was always a writer.

Yesterday, I posted on Facebook that I was shutting down my editing business. I’m keeping a select few long term clients so that I’ll be editing at most two books a month. This way, I will have time to write and be a mom, not just some sort of editing gremlin who never sleeps and is always grumpy and often sick. Plus, I need downtime too. I just have to make it through this month, which is frankly going to be hell.

This month I have five books on my editing schedule, not to mention edits on my own book will be returned to me. I already had to push my book release back because of editing work and the crazy amount of illness that has occurred in my home this winter. Not only were the kids dropping left and right, but my health was compromised by the crazy schedule I was keeping and trying to care for my family at the same time. It was this that ultimately led to my decision to shut it all down and focus on my number one passion: writing.

Starting in May, I will have at most two books (maybe three on occasion) on my schedule for edits, leaving me plenty of time to craft my own stories. Getting book two of The Bearer of Truth series done has been a nightmare. Add to that the normal impostor syndrome, worries about how readers are going to take the book, some feedback that shook me for a while, and I had a soup of self-doubt, anxiety, and depression just waiting to drown me. But, ultimately, I pulled up my big girl pants and made some changes to the story, though not too many. I have to write what is in my heart and go where my characters lead. I have beta feedback to go through and edits are coming, and I know I will put out the best version of the story possible.

This book isn’t about the fluffy love stuff. Book one wasn’t really either, which is why it wasn’t marketed as a romance but an urban fantasy. This series is slow burn when it comes to the romance. They have more important things to accomplish, and let’s face it, Gabriel and Evander aren’t getting anywhere near a healthy relationship until they can take the time to work on it, and time is something they just don’t have right now. Plus, they’re both kind of assholes sometimes.

I hope you all will stick with me through their journey. It’s filled with many perils and a lot of heartbreak, but I promise it’ll be worth it in the end.

Surviving the Shadows – The Bearer of Truth – Book 2

In other news, I have a tentative release date of May 6th for Surviving the Shadows. I will be doing a preorder once again, and it should be up before the original release date since I had promo already scheduled all around that date. When the preorder link is live, I will release the full cover, but for now, here’s a cover tease and the edited and reedited blurb. Blurbs are hard. lol

Blurb – Surviving the Shadows

Gabriel has been gone longer than predicted, and Evander is growing increasingly worried each day that passes without his return. Confounded by their leaders’ lack of answers, Evander and the team begin to fear the worst.

In the midst of fruitlessly searching Miami for clues to the Daemon Abaddon’s whereabouts, Evander begins to have disturbingly vivid dreams. With a little help from a newly-returned and empty-handed Michael and Barabbas, Evander discovers Gabriel has been calling out for help across their nascent bond. With a little backup from an unlikely source, they set off to rescue Gabriel from the depths of the Underworld.

Gabriel is old friends with torture, and his captors haven’t been gentle. Despite growing weaker every day, Gabriel resolves to survive long enough for rescue, or to die fighting, until a Dark Seer begins to dredge up the terror of Gabriel’s horrific childhood, threatening to destroy his mind and soul. Nearing the end, Gabriel manages a last-ditch effort to contact help, reaching out to Evander in his dreams.

Against all odds, Evander and the team fight through the Underworld to reach Gabriel, and come face to face with mortality. Sacrifices made for the bonds of brotherhood nearly break them, and Gabriel learns the hard way that embracing the darkness while fighting for the light may be the only way to survive.

From the underbelly of Reno to the glitz and glam of Vegas, Gabriel, Evander, and the men they call family will be tested, and the final confrontation with Gabriel’s maker may be the end of everything they hold dear.

 Surviving the Shadows is an LGBTQ urban fantasy with a romantic subplot. It is a direct sequel to Shadowing the Light and reading the first book in the series is essential to enjoying this one. Please see the disclaimer on the Copyright Page for content advisories.