Welcome to 2023, everyone! I like to think that the start of a new year is a chance to step back from the holiday insanity, calm down, and reset. And it is, mostly. But it also means that I dive headfirst into my projects and get things churning right along. I'm always happiest when I'm creating, so my new year had been productive already.
Anyone who knows me knows that my creative endeavors only happen because I make sure they do. Everything you see from me--my books, my art, this website--comes from me putting it all together. I am a one woman show and it makes me proud to call all of it my own. Not that I'm opposed to collaboration or anything. But I'm a picky, perfectionistic control freak and quality is right at the top of my list of priorities. I strive to put out the best material I possibly can, so I hold myself accountable for that.
In that vein of quality output, I spent almost all of 2022 teaching myself how to use 3D modeling software in order to fulfill a longtime desire to create all of the artwork for my book covers and accompanying media. I did the piece above just today, and it shocks me when I compare my most recent pieces to the first ones I did. I've learned a TON from creating models of my characters and using the software to put them in the poses and environments I need. I used to be pretty darn proud of what I was able to achieve with Photoshop composites, but now that I know what else I can do, I can truly represent my characters in the ways I always saw them in my head. It takes a ton of time and many, many, many little tweaks, but my workflow gets better all the time.
The piece up top is of my character Maki Kirseren, from my upcoming book Triton's Destiny. I'm currently posting scenes of it on Wattpad and will publish it probably in the spring (for more information, please see this post). The art was created with Daz Studio, and I've had an absolute blast learning how to make my imagination come to life. I very much want to eventually redo all of my book covers, but for now, I'm focusing on the new ones. There are only so many hours in a day, after all. Or days in a year.
I wish everyone a great new year and hope those looking for inspiration are able to find it. I know it's difficult for me at times too, but as long as I'm still creating, I consider that a success. There's always something in my head desperate to escape. Maybe that's because my mind is a dangerous place to be and my ideas are exercising their right to self-preservation. In any case, there's no shortage of new material on my horizon. So stay tuned for the next adventure. I hope it'll be a good one.
Thanks for reading.
Well, here it is again. The end of another year. No matter what's going on in any given year, the end of it always manages to sneak up on me, and this one is no different. All things considered, 2022 hasn't been that bad (certainly better than the last couple years), and 2023 already has some good things in store. If anyone's waiting on new books from me, then you'll get at least two in 2023, maybe three. One of those is coming very soon.
The second you can actually start reading now. I'm posting my draft of Triton's Destiny on Wattpad as I go, with updates every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I'll do all the usual things with it and publish as I always do, so if you're hoping for a paperback, there will be one next year. Be advised, however, that even though I write pretty clean drafts to begin with, this is not the book's final state. The published version will inevitably have changes. Hopefully not many, but I never know exactly what a book looks like until I've edited it. So, if you're going to join me on this journey, I hope you enjoy the ride!
It's also time for the Smashwords End of Year Sale, and, as I do every year, I've enrolled almost my entire catalog (only Asteria is not included, since I just published it last month). Everything is discounted, and half my catalog is listed as free. So, if you've been wanting to check something out, start or finish a series, or simply grab something on sale for the holidays, I invite you to hop on over to Smashwords and pick it up. The sale runs through January 1.
Thank you to everyone who's supported me this year. I do this because I love to write, and it makes me happy to know there are people out there who enjoy my stories. You're the ones who keep me going. Happy holidays to everyone, and I'll see you in the new year!
Thanks for reading.
Thanksgiving is over and now it's all Christmas, all the time! Although, let's be honest... some places started the Christmas stuff in August... As for me, the house is decorated, the tree is up, and Christmas Cogs has been updated.
Along with the new cover, the story's been revamped and expanded, and I've posted it up in parts on Wattpad, in addition to the new files available for download on the Free Reads page.
As of right now, I'm not planning to update Happy Newt Year, as I'd like to focus on something new, but I'm not ruling it out entirely. Book Two of the Galactic Explorers series will be coming out early next year, and in the meantime, I've got something brand new outlined which will debut over on Wattpad as I write it. I'll post about that once I've got a link to share and I invite everyone to come join the journey and watch with me as the story unfolds. It should be fun.
We got a little snow at my house overnight and it's looking a lot like Christmas around here, so I'm going to grab a warm drink, queue up some holiday tunes, and get back to work. Enjoy the holiday magic, everyone!
Thanks for reading.
Yes, I'm very well aware that it's Veteran's Day today and not yet Thanksgiving, but turkey day will be here before I'm ready for it, so I'm going to post this now while it's fresh.
Don't get me wrong, though. I am very thankful for the veterans in my life. Growing up as a military brat, I understand very well the sacrifices made for family and country. So I'd like to give a shoutout to the veteran who influenced my life the most--my dad. Thanks for everything, Dad. So many of the details in my stories come from the experiences I've gained from bouncing around the US and the world and having the opportunities to explore my interests. And my family was always right there with me. You guys are the best.
So... Custom-built Family, one of the stories up on my Free Reads page, has been updated, expanded a bit, and features a pretty new cover. Christmas Cogs is the next one to get a makeover and will be forthcoming in the next few weeks. If you'd rather read over on Wattpad, I've posted it there as well.
I'm so grateful for everyone who's supported me and my writing journey over the past several years. Creativity is an ever-evolving process and I'm always amazed by the progress that can be made in a short amount of time. I'm convinced that no piece of art is ever truly finished and the fact that I still find things to tweak after I deem something 'done' just underscores that belief. I like to think that at least my art is getting better as it evolves and I hope others get the same enjoyment out of it that I do.
In case I don't have a chance to update again before the holiday, I wish all of my American friends a very Happy Thanksgiving. And for those not celebrating a 'stuff your face' day, I raise my glass to you too. Thanks for reading.
In redesigning my site, I remembered that I have several short stories that aren't quite suitable for the Free Reads page. So, I've decided to put them up on Wattpad for people to enjoy. I posted the first chapter of Forbidden today and will upload subsequent chapters weekly until it's complete.
These first few stories I have to share are older ones, so if they sound familiar to you, then you may have read them before. I am, however, editing each of them as they're posted, for clarity, voice, and simply because my style has evolved over the years I've been publishing and I'd like to give these a proper dust-off. They're all getting new artwork, though, so check that out at least.
Forbidden is a story from the world of Syndraya and my Legend of the Grimoire series. It's the bittersweet tale of a teenage William Hannigan's first love and his struggle to find his true self in a country where same-gender partnerships are illegal. It's quite literally a story of forbidden love, full of the emotion and drama that Mr. Hannigan embodies so well. William is one of my oldest characters (very literally), so it was interesting to explore the past of one of the voices who's been with me from the beginning. I hope everyone enjoys it.
Thanks, as always, for reading.
You've heard the phrase, 'not my circus, not my monkeys'? Well, this is definitely my circus and I wrangle all the monkeys here. In my ever-expanding universe of demanding performers, I may be the ringmaster, but it's the sarcastic simians who run the show. I don't even pretend to know what's going on.
And that's why I'm here with a shiny, redesigned website and yes, a new series on the horizon. Web design isn't particularly hard on its own, but coupled with my perfectionism and exacting creative aesthetic, this endeavor has me exhausted.
In case you weren't aware, this circus is a one-woman show. But it's a labor of love. Because I adore my characters and their stories and if I didn't give them an outlet, they'd drive me nuts. So I might as well share the chaos.
Asteria is the first book in my new Galactic Explorers series. I'm not entirely sure where this series came from beyond my desire to write something science-fiction-y. It's turned out surprisingly easy to write, with ideas flowing out of my head like they were meant to be written down. Honestly, this is the first series with which I've experienced that feeling. It's kinda weird.
And yes, this is definitely a series. Book two is already written. Book three has a cover and I'm getting ready to outline it. Book four has a premise. Beyond that, I'm not sure yet. But the ideas are there. 2023 will be an interesting year. Stay tuned.
Leah Ross is a writer and graphic designer with a penchant for loud music and sappy love stories. She believes that love should be both unconventional and unconditional, rules are negotiable, and age is nothing but a number.