Catchpenny is my most recent novel, which I released in serial format. Four parts, one month apart: Wicked Lover, Battle Axe, Cactus Heart, and Gold Mine. It was a fun way to write a story, because I was able to get editor and reader feedback as I was still writing. As a new author, I also thought it would be a great way for a reader to try out my work, without having to invest too much time or money in part one.
This was also published independently, and I produced all the art, video, and graphic design for Catchpenny in its entirety.
Have you ever wondered about that girl at the edge of the crowd? First, the Wicked Lover Trailer…
So, that girl? The one who has dark, bushy hair that hides her eyes while she’s reading, but tight shirts that don’t even try to hide the size of her breasts? You’ve heard the rumors, you know the rude nicknames, and you wonder what she really does when she’s not in school. She never comes to parties and she lives in a part of town to which you’d never venture. Everyone tries to ignore her…but there is something about her that’s impossible to ignore. Especially for the star quarterback, apparently. Because he just asked her to the Homecoming dance, after dumping the head cheerleader.
Catchpenny tells the story from the eyes of “that girl,” and Wicked Lover is just the beginning of this coming of age serial romance. The idea of this story came about as an off-shoot from The Bound Chronicles, and the Catchpenny protagonists have become some of my very favorite characters.
Bound…it has all an audience might look for in a good long read. Action–murder, maiming, and treachery. Love–passion, heartache, and longing. Drama–unfolding mystery, interwoven social connections, and twisting plot-lines. As much as I’ve enjoyed writing about Candy Vale and all her friends and enemies in Bound, the fact is I just can’t stuff everything into one story, especially in my small town Shirley County setting.
After I finished the first book in the series, The Tramp, and I awaited the return of my manuscript from my editor, thoughts naturally continued to blossom. I wondered about all those minor characters in The Tramp that I never expounded upon. What else happened in that classroom, at that game, at that dance? Who do the main characters mention in passing, that could be the most interesting?
She bit her lip at one dark spot plaguing her mind. When Steph had suggested that her son take Ashley Davis to the dance, he had ridiculed her and called her naïve.
“Come on, Mom. Like I’m gonna bring that tight-assed Puritan to the Homecoming dance. Her dad’s probably already locked on the chastity belt in advance.”
“Tristan, my goodness. That’s not a nice way to speak, and that’s not what Homecoming is about.”
“Yeah, right. You take Miss Grundy as just friends, then. I plan to get laid that night.”
He had asked Meg Shannon to the dance, just to drive home his point and enrage his mother—“get her panties in a wad,” as Mike liked to say.
Meg was pretty in a strange way and seemed nice enough (though a little on the dumb side), but not even Steph could’ve ignored the rumors about her loose nature. The poor thing didn’t have much going for her; she lived in the Southern Cove trailer park with a dozen raggedy step- and half-siblings, and a usually absent mother. No father. People snickered that Meg would sleep with almost anyone to spend the night away from her own filthy, overrun trailer home. Everyone would know, of course, why Tristan had invited the girl to the dance.
Steph licked chocolate batter off her wooden spoon and thought she better talk to Mike about equipping Tristan with condoms, just in case. Her son probably wouldn’t accept condoms from his mother. She’d never had to worry about that when he was dating Ashley.
Then, Steph goes about her day.
But who is this Meg Shannon really? Clearly a mother doesn’t have all the answers. And if Steph’s son does take Meg Shannon to the dance, what happens?
What is Meg really like? Who exactly is Tristan?
That’s what Catchpenny is about, and it was such fun to write. Forget about all the intricate plot details and mysterious weavings of the Bound Chronicles. Catchpenny is a love story, plain and simple. I liked to call it an unabashed romance. Don’t think too hard–just enjoy.
That’s how I felt until I really got into the meat of it anyway! But, how can a teenage love story really end up simple? Catchpenny has blossomed into a full-scale, coming of age novel. In four parts.
Part One: Wicked Lover was released July 1, 2015. You can buy it on Amazon HERE. The full novel, Catchpenny, can be found HERE.
The Tramp was the first full-length novel that I wrote, in 2015. I decided to publish it independently, and what a roller coaster journey that was! And quite a lot of work, too: I designed the book interior, painted and designed the cover art, started an L.L.C. to publish it, and I went to dozens of workshops, read tons of books, and attended plenty of writer’s association meetings to learn how to do all this. The Tramp will always hold a special place in my heart, as my first book baby.
At first glance, Candy was a pretty little seven-year-old girl like any other in Shirley County. She was prone to singing and dancing and splashing in the rain, in her yellow polka dot bikini and her favorite red galoshes. John was a normal little boy and he loved playing with his best friend, Candy. But their bond drew a darkness that had long stayed hidden in a small, southern mountain town. Sometimes the truth is in the things you can’t see.
Something happened all those many years ago, and it can never be forgotten.
But our story begins long after that, when Candy and John are teenagers. John, caught up in the business of life, stops spending his summers in Shirley County. And Candy, hurt and lonely at first, moves on as well. She meets Sam, the new boy in town. Even though she has never ventured more than a hundred miles from her home, she has never felt at ease there. Always at odds with her high school friends, her church, her family—and bored with her small town existence—she finds the adventure she needs in Sam. He is cool, confident, independent, and Candy likes that. He lives on the fringes of society, and perhaps she likes that, too. But even with Sam in her life, she is sometimes overcome with a sense of dread, like a shadow has passed, just on the edge of vision. And sometimes the truth is in the things you won’t see.
Something was awakened all those many years ago, that can never be undone.
When John finally does find his way back, it’s to a Shirley County that is much more disturbing than he remembers. He’s accosted by strange dreams and preoccupied with his grandfather’s visions—the evidence scrawled so frantically that the paper is ragged and torn. Howling animal masks and flailing human figures. Teeth sharp as razors. Wherever John tries to find reason in the madness, he’s blocked by evasion and dead ends. He doesn’t miss his old friend Candy’s new secrets, either. And John’s once comforting presence becomes unwelcome, when he uses the brilliant mind Candy has always trusted to turn up troubling information on Sam’s past. Despite the confusion of strained friendships, new romance, and high school intrigues, John and Candy begin to suspect something more sinister lurking amidst the days of football glory and the nights of clandestine rendezvous. And then there is a murder. Sometimes the truth is in what you must see to survive.
There are dark spirits in the mountains of Shirley County, and one of them is bent on revenge.
The Tramp is now available on Amazon, in paperback and ebook format. Find it HERE.
Read an excerpt HERE.
Read more about The Tramp Soundtrack on Her Last Boyfriend’s blog HERE.
A spin-off from my novel, Catchpenny, this flash fiction serial began as an A to Z Challenge with a horde of other bloggers. The challenge was to write a piece of flash fiction (I kept mine to 300 words or less) for every day in April, except Sundays. But it turned into so much more for me! You can read the story day by day, HERE on my blog, or HERE as a whole on Wattpad.
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