House of Crimson & Clover Redesign

The House of Crimson & Clover turns eight this fall. It’s really much older than that, if we’re tracking from the point of inception, 1999, but September 26th, 2011 was the date of the first publication in the series.

The books have come a long way since then. The last book came out on the series’ 6th anniversary, in 2017. Some of the books have hit the Top 100 (and even Top 20) on Amazon, and rose to the top of the charts on Apple Books, Nook, and Kobo as well. A couple have been reedited. They’ve all been through multiple iterations of cover designs. The decision to introduce readers at The Storm and the Darkness or The Illusions of Eventide has gone back and forth.

I’ve come a long way as well since 2011. I’d like to think I’m a better writer. I’m definitely a better designer, and if you didn’t know, I’ve designed all the covers for this series—the good, the bad, and everything in between.

What I’ll be introducing over the next week or two, slowly as I take the necessary time to change what’s required, is the culmination of all of those designs, and of my skills as a designer (which are still, always, evolving).

Without further ado, here are the new covers for the twelve books of The House of Crimson & Clover:

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In addition to cover changes, I’m taking this opportunity to provide final clarity on the reading order by renumbering the series. Instead of The Storm and the Darkness and Shattered both being listed as prequels, they have been renumbered to Volumes I and II. This puts The Illusions of Eventide, previously Volume I, to Volume III. Labeling the first two books as prequels, I believe, caused confusion in readers who believed they were optional to the reading order. The true first book in The House of Crimson & Clover is The Storm and the Darkness. 

I’m working to get these updated at all the retailers, but in the meantime, if you’re in love with the existing covers, now’s the time to grab them before they change!

Here’s a trip down memory lane, on the design progression of The Storm and the Darkness:

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I’ll end by giving a quick rundown of what’s in flight for me writing-wise:

  • Finishing The Seven Series. 1975 just released, and 1976 is coming July 31. I’m getting ready to start the first draft of
  • The second Midnight Dynasty Series book, A Storm of Revelations, comes out Tuesday! This one’s a wild ride, and I think you’ll love it.
  • I’m working on a somewhat secret project, but I’ll tell you this: it’s bigger and more ambitious than anything I’ve ever done, and it’s a fantasy series. The world-building alone has taken me many hours, and I’ve just started writing in the world. Once The Seven is truly done, this will be my main focus for the time being.

 

Happy Reading!

Sarah

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Collection Includes: The Storm and the Darkness, Shattered, and Shame

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Her talent for creating atmosphere rivals Daphne du Maurier. This is modern Gothic with fierce smarts. Can’t say it enough. I loved this book.

– Christopher Rice, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Heavens Rise

Breaking Down the Playlist: House of Dusk, House of Dawn

HouseofDuskDawn_ebookMany authors create playlists for their books, filled with the songs that inspired scenes, characters, or storylines. Throughout the House of Crimson & Clover series, I’ve shared my playlists for the books on my website. Some of these songs were helpful background noise. Others are at least partly responsible for how a book turned out.

As I wrap up the final House of Crimson & Clover book (I’m still not used to typing those words), I’ve created a playlist filled with songs new to the series, as well as those that played pivotal roles in the creation of earlier books.

Here’s some “behind the curtain” notes behind how I chose a few of the songs that appear on the playlist for the final book in the series. The full playlist is at the bottom if you want to add it to your Spotify.

“House of Dusk, House of Dawn” Playlist Notes

Imagine- A Perfect Circle: Maynard James Keenan is one of my favorite artists, and his songs have appeared throughout the playlists for this series. I thought it only fitting to choose one of my favorite covers of one of my favorite songs for the playlist of the final book. The idealistic hopefulness of this song also resonates as this book begins with every single character part of a fight for a better world and a better life.

The Night We Met- Lord Huron: Both the chords and words of this song have a way of sinking deep into your soul. As soon as I heard  it, I knew it would be the backdrop for a particularly difficult chapter. “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, haunted by the ghost of you,” is the kind of line I wished I’d written myself. I don’t want to spoil anything, but you’ll know when you get there.

White Blank Page- Mumford and Sons: I wrote all of “Asunder” to this song on repeat (much to the chagrin of my long-suffering husband). Asunder primarily tells the story of Jacob and Amelia’s separation, which was layered with so many complexities and complications. The powerhouse of emotion behind the vocals on this song put me in Jacob’s frame of mind, and kept me there, heart clenched tight, stomach in knots, all the way to the finish.

Where is my Mind?- Maxence Cyrin: I wrote a majority of Nicolas’ scenes in “The Illusions of Eventide” to the Pixies version of this song. Nicolas has always been the character in the series most vivid to me. The most loud. Which is interesting, because in many ways he’s the least grounded. He floated through most of the books, lost, confused, and on the verge either a total meltdown or complete enlightenment. Frank Black’s warbling vocals captured Nicolas’ frame of mind quite well, but I love this calmer version as a way to bring things full circle for the character.

I Go to the Barn Because I Like the- Band of Horses: Finn is not an innocent character, but I have always felt from him, and written into him, a sense of innocence. He is most vulnerable in life when he finds himself standing before Ana, heart in hand. This song perfectly captures that sense in Finn that he is out his element in the face of something he has never wanted more, or needed more, in his life. I wrote most of his scenes in “Bound” to this song, and many in the books that followed.

Everlong- Foo Fighters: This is, of course, the song that brought Jacob and Amelia together, in a scene that happens prior to the start of the series, but is revisited several times on the page (for the first time in “Midnight Dynasty”). I chose this song because I loved it, but also because I have had this recurring dream for years that I’m pulled onstage at a FF concert for a drum solo on this song. I air drum this song in the car more than I should. Writers give their characters little gifts all the time. I thought, who better than to give this to than Jacob?

Dreams- Cranberries: Since this song came out, when I was in middle school, it has always represented happiness even in dark times. A sense of joy after a long storm. As if saying, with a smile, “ahh… at last.” I always knew this would appear somewhere at the end of the series.

A Praise Chorus- Jimmy Eat World: Simply, this song is what gave me the title for the series. I knew what I wanted to convey- the sense of two powerful families, two powerful dynasties- but struggled for months with the right title. This song was on my playlist and one day the words “clicked.” I know Jimmy Eat World borrowed “crimson and clover, over and over,” but I still owe them credit for the moment everything came together.

A few other notes. Alt-J has played a huge part in setting the stage for the second half of this series, and “Intro” is one of my favorites of theirs. It feels fitting as a start to the book. Pendulum is one of my favorite electronic groups, and “Witchcraft” has the right amount of energy to jump us straight into the biggest battle of the series. But every single one of these songs was chosen strategically, and their placement in the list is equally intentional.

You can find the playlist below on Spotify:

Pre-order House of Dusk, House of Dawn now:

In the end is our beginning.
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2ueOkxx

Introducing: The Saga of Crimson & Clover, a World of Southern Gothic Fantasy

I have an exciting announcement, one which will enhance and re-shape the world of Crimson & Clover going forward, allowing me to leverage the potential of the vast world I’ve built while continuing to produce stories with crisp, new ideas.

I would like to introduce to you The Saga of Crimson & Clover, an overarching universe that will contain multiple, perhaps many, series within.

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But first, let’s back up a bit.

If you are a reader of The House of Crimson & Clover Series, I imagine one of the draws for you to be the fully fleshed and developed world. If so, we have something in common. I have, for many years as a reader, sought out series with a sense of universe behind them, becasue I find it easier to lose myself into the escape reading creates. There’s a saying somewhere about how readers choose to live in many worlds, not just one. And as a reader, I would be perfectly happy with a series that never ends, if it was within a world I love and there was still compelling stories to be told.

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The Saga of Crimson & Clover, a world of Southern Gothic Fantasy containing multiple or many series.

As an author, I’m not so very different. I’ve spent as many hours developing this world, and its characters, as I have writing them. I could throw together an encyclopedia, there’s so much material. Think of it like the proverbial tip of the iceberg. I’ve only been able to share a sliver so far.

 

As I near the end of the current arc of major storylines in The House of Crimson & Clover Series (Prophecy, Curse, Empyrean War, etc.), which will be wrapped up in Volume 10 (fall of 2017), I look forward to exploring the ideas I have for the C&C universe overall. I see a lot of our main characters continuing on as the story is pulled in closer to New Orleans, and other branches of the family (The LaViolettes, the powerful female-led line, for one, and far more on the Sullivan side) coming further into play. I also want to explore other potential storylines, such as returning to mysterious Summer Island, or maybe even some Empyrean tales set in Farjhem. When I do, I want them to be contained within their own series, so new readers don’t have to read 40 books to catch up, while existing readers can continue to enjoy all this universe has to offer.

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The House of Crimson & Clover, a 10 Volume Paranormal Southern Gothic series within the broader Saga of Crimson & Clover world.

I plan to restructure the world of Crimson & Clover to accommodate more stories and additional series within that world. The overarching world will be The Saga of Crimson & Clover, and within that saga will be different series, each of which can be enjoyed on their own (self-contained), or to enhance their enjoyment of the saga overall.The series you are all reading now (Volumes 1-10), is, of course, The House of Crimson & Clover series. When I continue the story, this will begin another series, The Midnight Dynasty series. Although it will be a continuation of the lives of the characters from The House of Crimson & Clover Series, it will also begin new storylines that don’t require the former series as a prerequisite. The main thing I want you to take away is that all of these individual series can be read on their own. You can read The Midnight Dynasty series without having read The House of Crimson & Clover series, as I’ll provide just enough backstory for new readers to track. The number of books per series will vary, depending on the story I need to tell.

This is a visual representation of how the Crimson & Clover universe will be structured:

The Crimson & Clover Saga 

The House of Crimson & Clover Series

Prequels
Volumes 1-10 (Final book fall 2017)

Vampires of the Merovingi Series

Volumes 1-? (First book planned summer 2017)

The Midnight Dynasty Series

Volumes 1- ? (First book spring 2018)

Example” Series*

Volumes 1-X

Crimson & Clover Lagniappes

Bonus Stories

 

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Vampires of the Merovingi, a brand new series within the Saga of Crimson & Clover, coming Summer 2017

What’s not changing? The House of Crimson & Clover Series, and the books within, haven’t changed. The Crimson & Clover Lagniappes (Bonus Stories) can still be read as standalones, at any point in the series. 

The main change to be aware of is that now The House of Crimson & Clover will be part of a broader universe, with more stories and series on the horizon.

*Example Series, to me, means endless possibilities. As I mentioned above, I have endless ideas, and the more nuanced this world gets, the more possibilities open up. I could honestly see myself writing in this universe the rest of my life, and that’s why breaking out additional series, to me, is the right move. It helps give readers different entry points, and lots of options.

 

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Midnight Dynasty, a new series within the Saga of Crimson & Clover, coming 2018

 

Q&A

 

Q: What does this change about the existing House of Crimson & Clover Series?

A: Nothing specifically. The House of Crimson & Clover series, and all titles within, will remain the same, and all the Lagniappes (bonus stories) can continue to be read as standalone stories. What IS changing is that this series will now roll up to a broader Saga of Crimson & Clover universe.

Q: What about the Lagniappe (bonus) stories? Are those tied to a single series, or all?

A: Since all titles within the Crimson & Clover Saga, no matter what series they belong to, all sit in the same universe, I see the Lagniappes in the same way. These stories tend to revolve around specific characters or occurrences that are not tied to the progression of the stories, but shed more light on a person’s past or experiences. Lagniappes, then, are tied more to the saga then the individual series within.

Q: What will the additional series’ be about?

A: The possibilities are endless here, and I have so many ideas brewing. I can tell you The Midnight Dynasty series will be more centered around the Deschanels and Sullivans at home in New Orleans, and more family-centric drama. This includes introducing and exploring other branches of the family, such as the LaViolettes. I also have a series, Vampires of the Merovingi, in production, which will be more of a historical fantasy bend, covering the de Blancheforts and how they stepped into their live as dhampir (vampires). Those are the two series I will focus on in the near (next 1-2 years) future. Beyond that, I have lots of ideas, and it’s a matter of prioritizing them.

Q: How many books will be in each series?

A: The answer depends on how the story arcs progress for each individual series. I can say The House of Crimson & Clover Series is definitely a 10 book series. At this point, I can’t predict how long the others will be.

Q: When will the last House of Crimson & Clover series book be published?

A: Fall of 2017.

Q: What are the next series’ coming after The House of Crimson & Clover?

A: Vampires of the Merovingi, a historical fantasy series about how the de Blancheforts came into their powers as vampires, and Midnight Dynasty, which centers around the Deschanels and Sullivans with matters closer to home (a continuation of where the story in The House of Crimson & Clover left off, but can also be read on its own. The first series will be out in summer of 2017, and the next series in early 2018.

Q: Do I have to read The House of Crimson & Clover before I read the other series?

A: Not unless you want to. I’m intentionally structuring each series to be read on their own. Undoubtedly, there will be those who preferred to read the different series in a specific order, but it won’t be required.

Q: What can we expect from you in 2017?

A: In the spring, Volume 9 of The House of Crimson & Clover, Within the Garden of Twilight, is releasing. Closer to Halloween, expect the final volume of the series to be released. Also, this summer, the first title in Vampires of the Merovingi will be available.

Q: So you have three series listed here. What comes beyond those?

A: It’s hard to say. I have so many ideas, so many notes, that I could write within this universe for years and years to come. Once I have The House of Crimson & Clover wrapped up, and both Midnight Dynasty and Vampires of the Merovingi well on their way, that will be the time for me to prioritize those ideas into next steps.

Q: What about projects outside of the Saga of Crimson & Clover?

A: In all honesty, for me writing has always been about following the passion, and the vast majority of my passion lies within the world of Crimson & Clover. But I do occasionally dabble elsewhere. From time to time, you’ll find original work from me in projects designed to raise money for charity. These are usually very short reads, but they fall outside the world of Crimson & Clover. I also have a title available in the shared sci-fi world of The Complex, titled The Last Dryad. Beyond that, Becket and I are still writing our mystery series, The Text Message Serials, and are currently exploring our options for publication.

 

The Hinterland Veil (C&C Volume VII)| Cover Reveal + Pre-Order Available!

TheHinterlandVeilCover_ebook.jpgI hope everyone had a wonderful holiday with their loved ones! Many of you have asked me about release information for Volume VII, and so I’ve been busy with a holiday surprise of my own.
THE HINTERLAND VEIL will be released on March 22, 2016! Volume VII picks up the story threads of Finn, Aleksandr, Anasofiya, Agripin, Nicolas, and Mercy, bringing each of their adventures to a climax. From Ireland to Scotland, from Finland to Russia, the Deschanels are back to fight for what matters most.

PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY NOW!

The campaign begins. Bravery conquers fear. Fate races time.
Amazon | BN* | iTunes | Kobo*| Google Play 

*BN and Kobo are on holiday hiatus from publisher updates. Pre-order will likely become available around the new year.

Don’t forget, The House of Crimson & Clover Volumes I-IV is still on sale for $.99 (90% off list price!) until 12/31. A perfect time to catch up on the series, or send the gift to a friend!

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Amazon | BN | iTunes | Kobo | Google Play | Goodreads

Season’s Greetings!
Sarah

Farewell 2015… Hello 2016!

VolumesIthruIV-3D-260x2842015 was a crazy, exciting, tumultuous, eventful, wonderful year. Looking back, I’m thrilled at the results, and looking forward to an even more eventful 2016.

Here are some of 2015’s highlights:

  • Hit the USA Today Bestseller’s list for the first time- twice!
  • Participated in the Anne Rice Undead Con in NOLA as a panelist for the second year in a row.
  • Wrote and published a total of EIGHT new titles (2 full lengths, 6 shorts). Among them were Volumes V and VI of The House of Crimson & Clover, Empire of Shadows and Myths of Midwinter.
  • The Storm and the Darkness was featured as a favorite title on the Dinner Party Show by Christopher Rice.
  • Participated in several great multi-author boxed sets with other wonderful authors.
  • Released two boxed sets of my own work: Volumes I-IV and Lagniappes Volume 1 (collection of shorts).
  • I set aggressive business goals for myself for 2015. I hit those goal in November, and have since been exceeding them.

As the year comes to a close, I wanted to share with readers what they can expect in 2016. You can always find the most up-to-date info on these projects (and others) on my website.

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The House of Crimson & Clover

Volume VII of The House of Crimson & Clover: The Hinterland Veil
The Hinterland Veil brings readers back to the story of Finn and Ana, as they both work toward reuniting after the events of Empire of Shadows. Readers also get a lot more of Aleksandr, who is quickly growing into a man and finding his own way in the world. Coming March 2016.

Volume VIII of The House of Crimson & Clover: The Secrets Amongst the Cypress
The Secrets Amongst the Cypress picks up both where Empire of Shadows and The Hinterland Veil left off. Specifically some answers around where we left Jacob and Amelia. Estimated Fall 2016.

Secret House of Crimson & Clover Project
There’s not much I can say here without a major spoiler, but fans of the series will be clamoring for this one!

More Short Stories
This includes new shorts, as well as publishing shorts previously only available in boxed sets, such as The Menagerie (my Crimson & Clover erotica), and A Band of Heather (the Colleen and Noah Christmas short).

More Multi-Author Boxed Sets
I love the comradery of working with other authors, and also the opportunity to gain exposure with new readers. Expect to see me in several more of these in 2016.

 

Other Projects

Collaboration with Another Fantastic Author on a New Series
What I can tell you is this: we’re working on not just a single book, but a series. Think thriller, with murder mystery wrapped in. The other author is one of my favorites and our collaborations so far on this have been fantastic. I wish I could say more, but we aren’t ready yet to announce!

Sci-Fi Novella as Part of Multi-Author Sci Fi Project “The Complex”
35 authors, including myself, are coming together to provide novellas in a shared sci-fi world, known as The Complex. All stories in this collection will be released individually on December 10, 2016. You can follow more news here: http://thecomplex.info/

New Horror Novella: Innocuous
Horror has always been, and still is, one of my favorite genres. It was about time I started dipping my feet in as a writer, and Innocuous will be my first effort. I haven’t set a publication date yet, but I have started the pre-work.

 

Is that all for 2016? Maybe. Who knows! That’s the beauty of the creative brain… you never know where it might take you. The above list keeps me on target and disciplined, but if a new project comes across my desk, one that inspires me, I may find myself making time for it. Stay tuned!

Myths of Midwinter is HERE!

MYTHS OF MIDWINTER, the sixth volume in the bestselling Paranormal Southern Gothic series, The House of Crimson & Clover, is now available on all major online retailers.

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Amazon | BN | iTunes | Kobo | Google Play | Goodreads 

Quillan Sullivan lost his twin brother two decades ago, a tragedy he never fully experienced due to his unusual ability to see and talk to Riley when no one else can. He believes this “gift” is a fluke, until the haughty, vainglorious love of his life, Estella, returns after several years abroad, and rips his world apart.

Estella Broussard loathes Quillan. He’s the last person on Earth she’d ever bless with her presence. To her great dismay, he alone holds the key to achieving her deepest desire. She will do anything to reach her aims, no matter the warnings… no matter the cost to Quillan.

Nerys guides Finn and Aleksandr on their mission to find Anasofiya and bring her home. Finn accepts her help, on the condition she keep no secrets. She relays what she knows… all except the visions her old companion has sent her, regarding a terrifying menace to the Deschanels back home: A necromancer has emerged, and this ominous knowledge has fallen into the wrong hands.

The threads of fate weave the Deschanels and Sullivans down perilous paths, as a centuries-old warning emerges: Seduction to sinners. A legacy in splinters. Beware, the myths of midwinter.

________

Need to catch up on the series first? The series prequel THE STORM AND THE DARKNESS, is on sale for $.99. This is a fantastic chance to start this bestselling paranormal series by picking up the book New York Times Bestselling author Christopher Rice calls, “modern gothic with fierce smarts.” **SALE ENDS TODAY!**

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Amazon | BN | iTunes | Kobo | Google Play | Goodreads 

Ana Deschanel made a terrible mistake. The only chance of protecting the other people involved is to flee New Orleans, the only home she has ever known, for the quiet solitude of Summer Island.

Summer Island, Maine (population 202) is not the tranquil escape Ana imagined. The locals are distant and cold, especially her neighbor, the reclusive veterinarian Jonathan St. Andrews. Her only lifeline is the kind but odd caretaker, Alex Whitman. Showing up at all the right moments, he warns her she is completely unprepared for a Maine winter. As the first seasonal storm approaches to whispers of an island shutdown, Ana realizes she may soon be cut off from the rest of the world.

After a surprising encounter with Jonathan’s brother, Finn, Ana finds herself braving the storm to return something to him. Unprepared for the Maine storm, she slips and falls onto the jagged rocks along the shore. The St. Andrews brothers find her in the nick of time, but she remains unconscious. As the storm worsens, the St. Andrews brothers learn there are other, more sinister forces at work closer than they ever imagined.

With no help from the outside world, they must find a way to protect themselves from both the storm, and the growing darkness that looms across the island.  

Sale ends 10/20.