Sins, Sons, and Siren Songs Cover Reveal




Hard to believe that in just a few more weeks, this book will be released into the wild! So not only am I here to share the cover, I am here to share a few things about the second Pirate Hunter book - Sins, Sons, and Siren Songs.



A song on the wind.

A broken crew to mend.

A family’s honor to be upheld.

Leading a crew is harder than Adi thought. Six months after she took up the mantle of captain, she finds herself facing more problems than she bargained for: a grieving crew and rumors of sirens attacking local ports. But the crew of the High Dragon might have finally found their match in the mythical people of the sea.

Ravin’s life was almost normal, until he finds an assassin lurking outside Master Jermaine’s shop and is forced to flee once more. But Treynair del Mankayl cannot be avoided forever and Ravin has to decide his fate: to run for the rest of his life or stand up and face his greatest nightmare by fighting his father. Only this time, he isn’t just trying to save his own life, but that of another as well.

When Adi and Ravin’s paths cross once more, they are thrown into a storm of myths, assassins, and consequences. But will they be able to weather it with the crew tearing at the seams?



First off, isn't the cover stunning? I'll be honest, it looks soooooo pretty next to the first book (and I'll bet it'll look even prettier once we get the whole series together in a set)!! So yeah, don't hesitate to sweep up this beauty once it's available!


Also, for those who loved the illustrations in Ships, Secrets, and Survivors, Mars Evan is back with chapter headings for this one as well! (And, as always, they are AMAZING!!!)


Fun facts about this book:

-was written during the Covid Crisis & Camp NaNo during April 2020

-I cried on two separate occasions while writing it

-one of the characters was not in the original draft, but when we wrote the third book, we realized we needed to introduce this character earlier (hence his/her appearance in Sins)

-Sarah came up with the title shortly after we had a vague plot in mind, and I was just like "yeah, wow, that's it" and no changes have been made (in other news, the titles for books 3 & 4 are still giving us headaches, haha)

-while Ravin is so much fun to write, Justin will always be my favorite character, and I loved getting to explore his story arc in this book

-the word count is a little shorter than Ships

-we did go back to Ships (after publication) and tweak a few sentences to make things match up a little better with Sins (though no biggie if you have an original copy)


So, are you super excited and want to go ahead and order the book???? WELL GOOD NEWS FOLKS - you can pre-order signed paperbacks of Sins, Sons, and Siren Songs HERE from our website, and you can also pre-order the ebook HERE from Amazon (the ebooks don't include the amazing illustrations though).


If you do preorder, be sure to fill out the pre-order goodie form so as not to miss out on the awesome swag items. You can find the form HERE.


AND ON MAY 4TH BE PREPARED FOR SOME AWESOMENESSSSSSSS


Well, hope that got y'all excited!!! Please go and get you some pre-ordering taken care of, because this is one book you don't want to miss!

Leatherwood Mountains - A Review (or a Warning?)

Last week marked my 7th trip to Leatherwood Mtns. This is a place close to home where you can camp with your horses or rent a cabin and all that cool stuff. Almost everyone in the area knows about it, and they either love it or absolutely hate it.


I understand. Completely.


First off, they have a MAZE of a trail network. Like, just LOOK AT THIS.



Secondly, not only do they have a maze, but they have almost ZERO signage. And the signs you do come across are often unreliable and downright WRONG.





Thirdly, they do a poor job w/ maintenance. So it's not uncommon to plan your route, only to come across a wash-out, downed trees, or some other reason that makes you have to turn around.


First Trip, December 2010. Brought 4 horses and stayed in a cabin with a barn at the top of the mountain. My dad planned out all the routes we were going to take, and as far as I know, we didn't get super lost (or maybe my dad just pretended he knew where we were going the whole time??). We did, however get snowed in, the non-4WD Suburban got stuck in a ditch on the one-way road in the snow, and we at least got to ride the horses in the mountains in the snow. So that was nice.

The only picture of someone on a horse we managed to take (we weren't skilled at taking photos while on horseback then, haha).

Snowy mountains (view from our cabin).

Horses in the snow.



Second Trip, May 2012. Brought our crappy first camper (the one that caught fire)(not on this trip, though)(which I think I forgot to mention in my fire post...tragic) and our 4 horses. We stayed at the river campground with horses in the barn across the road. Nugget fell off the mountain (because he has no brakes and was a bit cooky in the head) and ended up lame. Had to take him to the vet when we got home and put on stall rest (he did eventually heal fine).

The Ambush Trail (super fun).

Camping right beside the river <3

Nugget doing his thing....NOT walking.



Third Trip, May 2015. For my "graduation party slash birthday party" sorta thing, we went with some friends and did a big ol' horse camping trip. Stayed at the campground with a total of 8 equines. This is the first trip where I know for a fact that we got lost on two seperate rides and ended up just finding a road and taking it back down the mountain both times. Spirit choked on his grain and had to be taken to the vet mid-trip (he came back later that day and was fine, though we didn't ride him out on the mtn again).

The barns (view from the campground).

Heading out to the trails!

Tip-toing around the rocky creek.



Fourth Trip, December 2016. Just the family going for a quick trip. Rented a cabin at the far, far end of the mountain, and kept the horses down at the main barn. Pretty laid back and short trip, we did some new trails. A decision was made that Cord was getting too old for trips like this. Another decision to buy some breeching was made when Pepper's saddle ended up at his ears on a long downhill.

Up on the mountain in the dark, looking down at the lights from the trail barn at the bottom.

Taking a break on one of the steeper portions.

Running along a ridgeline.



Fifth Trip, May 2017. Me, Mars Evan, and Sarah went on our own for a "riding and writing retreat". Stayed in a cute little "cabin and barn" combo building which was really cool. Found a trail that went straight up and ended up turning around half-way bc it kept GOING UP. Actually had a lovely time, though getting a 4-horse trailer turned around in the tiny mountain cabin driveway was rather challenging and left a nice dent in the red trailer. There was a obstacle clinic going on at the main barn at the time, and they let us ride our horses through the course....bc we showed up that evening while going for a quick bareback stroll....

Tree down on the trail - Mars and Sarah lifted it up while I led the horses underneath it.

Going up another steep climb.

Coming back down the mountain.


Sixth Trip, May 2020. Due to covid, I was no longer working, so a friend and I planned a trip. We rented a cabin down at the main barn and went for a few days. Got lost once, and got re-routed due to poor trail conditions almost every time. My mom came and hiked along with us once, and Sarah and Joe came up for a run as well. Our two horses were very well behaved and we enjoyed the trip.

Letting the young-un's go for a ride.

Coming down the hill.

Our little cabin down at the bottom of the mountain.



Seventh Trip, March 2021. Camped at the trail barn across the river (for the first time). After the first ride, Shadow coliced and I stayed up late into the night watching him before deciding to drive him to the vet in the wee hours of the morning. After the vet said he was good (but would need to stay for a few days under surveillance) I went back to camp, had breakfast, and we went out again (but one horse short). We took turns walking and/or riding double. But otherwise, had a good trip. (And Shadow is home now, doing quite well.)

Pulling into ride camp across the river.

Whoops!! We just went down a "double black diamond" trail! (In our defense, there wasn't a sign at the other end....)

Our awesome trail mount line-up!



So, what'cha'll think?? A place you'd like to come experience? Or pass up? MWAHAHAHAHA

Cover Reveal Sign-Up!

THE DAY HAS COME!!!!!

(okay, so not quite...not revealing the cover yet)




That being said, we are preparing to reveal the cover for Sins, Sons, and Siren Songs. And WOW GUYS HELP HELP HELP ITS AMAZINGGGGGGGG!!!!!

This story has been such a tear-fest to outline and draft and edit and re-write, and I can't believe it's coming out in just two more months! (Um, okay, check that....less then that.)

If you'd like to see the cover and share in the reveal, fill out the following form and then HOLD ON TIGHT TO THE RAILING YALL CUZ THIS SHIP IS GETTING READY TO SAIL


Things to excite you about the cover:

-beautiful
-WOW help
-matches nicely with the first cover
-the sooner I can get this book on my shelves the better

Things to excite you about the BOOK:

-talking ships
-even more assassins
-oh and lots of knives (again)
-but some pretty epic sword fights
-FIRE
-Adi get's a hat with a feather in it
-lots of singing

Anyone else looking forward to release day? I know I am!!! <3

The Order of the Pen Street Team





Do you love clean YA and NA fantasy? Do you want to be the first one to hear about new releases? Maybe get some fun little snippets and memes? Be the first one to set eyes on new covers?


Well, The Order of the Pen Press is creating a street team! We are looking for some folks to join the team and help share cover releases and publication announcements.


Interested in joining the team? Fill out the form HERE!! <3

Running Vibes




That tired feeling you get when you finish a run, and how your muscles ache and you just want to shower and go to bed...and then how good and alive you feel the next morning.


The multiple pairs of sneakers you now have to own: road shoes, trail shoes, trail shoes for muddy trails, the spare pair in your car in case you forget the pair you actually wanted to wear, the super old favorite pair that you can't seem to throw away, the new pair you need to break in but plan to wait for the next run, because this run you need your comfortable shoes...


Finishing a group run and hanging around afterward comparing times and chatting about how you feel and how that was a good or a bad run and what races everyone is doing next and what goals everyone is training for.


"Good job!" - a phrase the faster runner repeats when passing the slower runner (meant to encourage them)


Those awkward few miles of a run where you are running the same pace as an up-hiller, and you happen to be a down-hiller....so you get left behind on every uphill, and then speed past the other runner on every downhill...and repeat for about five miles of hills...


The fun of looking for races to do, and using them as excuses to travel. "Let's do this race at the beach!" "Let's go to this race in SC!" "I've always wanted to go here - let's go to a race there!"


The fun of visiting friends/family and going running with them (for fun, or at races).


Me: *stopping at an aid station halfway through a half-marathon*

Nearby cop, directing traffic off the running course: Doing alright, miss? Need a ride back?

Me: *wipes sweat out of my eyes* Do I look that bad??


Deciding that yes, we needs alllllll the leggings.


Me, running on the road feeling like I'm getting absolutely nowhere. (Also feat. the people in the car trying to make that turn and I'm just trying to get across the crosswalk.)


Wondering where to put all those age award medals, and being jealous of those runners who make cute little displays in their living room or office or whatever.


Faster runner: *passses me* Good job, good job!!

Me: *tries not to look like I'm dying* *sweaty grin*


All the swag!!! The useless swag. The useful swag. The cool swag. Sunglasses, bumper stickers, chapstick, gift cards, coupons...


That one time you felt really good and beat someone who normally finishes ahead of you.


Feeling horrible and still going for the run because no matter how bad you feel, it'll feel worse if you miss a few runs and then try to get back afterward.


Feeling amazing during the entire run and being totally convinced you have a new PR and checking your watch and...you're actually slower than last time (which explains why you feel good, haha).


Me, in the middle of a long run.


Running in the cold and being completely frozen at the beginning and sweating worse than in summer at the end.


Running in the cold and being completely frozen the. entire. time.


Running in the perfect temperature and deciding to go an extra distance because it's absolutely perfect out and you feel amazing.


Running in the heat and sweating the entire time and people are looking at you like you're crazy, but melting tomatoes can't be crazy, right??


Faster Runner: *passes me again* Good job!

Me: *suddenly realizes why runners turn up murdered....it was the slower runner getting sick and tired of the chipper, faster people passing them over and over*


Realizing that running opens up so many more places to you: you're always looking for new parks, new trails, new routes to run; vacation spots and activities now take you to scenic overlooks and little bunny trails where hardly anyone else ever goes.


Getting to a creek and hop-scotching your way across on the rocks only to turn around and see a barefoot runner (or sandeled runner)(or hardcore runner) legit just run right through the water and zoom past you with this obvious "you sissy" look on their face.


Getting to a creek and hop-scotching your way across on the rocks and then watch a first-time-trail-runner look at you in awe right before they slip on a stone and fall into the water.


Me after navigating a creek crossing without getting wet.


Passing walkers and hikers and wheezing "on your left" and being disappointed when no one catches your reference.


Seeing a friend waiting for you at the finish while you were convinced they were behind you the whole time.


 Finding random food and runner fuel lying on the ground and just picking it up and eating it because you might as well.


The cross-fitters who came wildly unprepared for the distance run.


The starbucks barista dude that you can't quite keep up with.


The heavy, old guy who finishes before you.


The dude in blue jeans and boots who finishes before you.


The pregnant lady who finishes before you.


The dude in the Chick-Fil-A cow suit who finishes before you.


The ten-year-old who finishes before you.


Being the only one in your age group so you get the first place medal even though you were legit the last person to cross the finish line in the entire race.


Being still out on the course and hearing the announcer call your name in the age awards.


Dogs.


Me, passing someone slower than me: Good job, good job!!!

Audiobooks - Yay or Nay?

I think it's safe to say that most of us keep track of how many books we read every year. Some of us do the Goodreads Challenge, others simply list off and maybe review these books in monthly or yearly wrap-up blog posts. Maybe we share how many books we've read with others, or maybe we keep it to ourselves.


But in any case, I'd like to pose this question: do audiobooks count to your book-reading goals?




I personally think listening to a few audiobooks is certainly fine, and can certainly be counted towards your Goodreads Challenge or other reading goals. I only end up listening to three or four throughout the year, usually while driving to and from work (I only have about a 10 minute drive).

As long as you are paying attention to the audiobook and actually listening, I think counting a lot of audiobooks is still fine. I know there are some folks who either don't have lots of sit-down time or else struggle to concentrate for more than five minutes on a print book but can stay focused while listening and doing some hands-on task (like cleaning or drawing).

If your main method for consuming literature is audiobooks while driving to work or cooking dinner, that's perfectly fine. Just make sure the audiobook doesn't become background noise and you zone out for three chapters. Just like my whole "if you speed-read the whole book and skipped whole pages and remember almost nothing about the plot afterwards, did you really read it" thing (cuz I can be soooo guilty of this). Use discernment here, y'all.

If you read audiobooks and turn the reading speed up fairly high...I have mixed emotions. At first I might be inclined to say that that's cheating, but then again, some folks can read or listen at fast speeds and still comprehend the whole thing. If you're one of those superfolks, more power to ya.

Ultimately, you do what works for you. Listen or read or do a mix of both. But if you're listening to audiobooks at twice the speed and not even actually listening half the time...maybe it's best you don't count that book. Same as if you speed-read a book and skip pages at a time...maybe don't count that one, either. Use common sense. And maybe be sure to tell people "I listened to audiobooks at double speed this year while driving to work" so they aren't in shock that you consumed over 200 books...

What do y'all think? Yay or nay to counting audiobooks? Pet peeves about reading challenges? Time to rant in the comments!

Also, what kind of reading challenges have you set for yourselves this year? I'd love to know!

Run Chicken, Run!

I normally condone animal abuse, but I make an exception for chickens.


Roosters, to be more specific.


If that two-foot-tall pile of feathers wants to come at me with its claws of fury then I will kick that little bugger like a football and feel zero remorse because that furious beastie had it coming, mate.


This is actually a stock chicken picture I pulled from Canva the day I created the blog post. Not one of my chickens, lol



In my years of farm life, I have encountered quite a number of spikey, hate-filled roosters. Some were occasionally violent, only pecking when they felt that you were too close to their hens. A few roosters ignored adults but went after small children, dogs, cats, baby goats, and anything else that they felt they could actually best in a wrestling match.


And then there was Jaco.


Jaco was a beautiful speckled sussex rooster, and his favorite hobby was eating people alive. Not only was he close to three feet in height, he had a nasty habit of flying over the pasture fence and prowling the yard, waiting for some unsuspecting person to come into view.


One of the few (or maybe only) times I heard an adult scream in terror was when a friend who was boarding her horses at my house walked her new horse to the horse pasture...and didn't see the incoming chicken bent on protecting his domain from anything that didn't have a beak and feathers.


Jaco somehow survived a hit-and-run with a bike, a shovel-wielding Russian, and numerous "yeet him into the air like a football" kicks. Not once did he ever limp or get injured...or show signs of remorse for his misdeeds.


Worst of all, this rooster had a soft side. If you could push through his beak-and-nail defenses and get him in your arms, he would turn into a nice little pet. Tuck him under your arm and pet his pretty feathers and feed him some grain and he'd sit there all nice and happy and chuckle to himself while pecking the corn ever-so-sweetly from your palm.


Then place him back on the ground and he'd scuttle over to you, hackles raised...


We gave him away to some hunting friends, and said that we didn't want to know what they were planning to do with him.


None of our roosters since have been quite as mean. We did have a Black Australorp rooster named Toothless that turned mean. We penned him up in a small hutch, claiming he was too pretty to sell or eat (or maybe we just felt a little guilty about Jaco's fate?). Eventually the cow broke the hutch and Toothless was inadvertently freed....and he never bothered to attack us again. Perhaps he learned his lesson.


As of right now, we have two roosters - a Rhode Island Red rooster that is the perfect rooster, and a gray rooster that has never actually /attacked/ but does that little beady-eyed-side-shuffle that you chicken owners know all about. He does jump out of the pasture and lead his little band of freedom flighter hens, but is for the most part, quite docile. I still don't trust him, of course.


Never trust a rooster.


And for anyone wanting a picture, I dug through the computer and managed to find this picture of Jaco himself.