Reminder: Fan Art Contest Deadline is Saturday!

Hi Everyone,

This is a quick post to remind you that the deadline for the Love, Treachery, and Other Terrors fan art contest is this Saturday, May 20th!

You can learn more about the contest here:

And please contact me if you have any questions:

Here are our front runners so far!

By Christine Cooney

See more of Christine’s art here:

By Grace Woods

See more of Grace’s artwork here:

By Max Woods

Thank you to everyone who has submitted so far!

You’re Invited to a Virtual Launch Party!

Doctors, Assassins, and Other Tyrants will officially be released this Saturday! Yay!!!

And on Tuesday, May 23rd you are invited to come celebrate with a fun, online event! Activities will include a read-aloud, ask-me-anything, and more. I will also be giving away a couple of books!

Info: May 23rd from 5:00pm-6:00pm Pacific. Event link will be shared with those who RSVP here:

I hope to see you then!


A Couple of Updates!

I have a couple of exciting announcements:

  1. First, I’ve just published a new book which is available for preorder. If you like any combination of humor, adventure, and fantasy, it maybe just the thing for you. See description below.
  2. I’ve extended my fan art contest deadline. Scroll to the bottom of this post for more info.

First, the new book…

In this sequel to Love, Treachery, and Other Terrors, seventeen-year-old Augustine has a near-perfect life. His mother and stepfather adore him, he is looking forward to a promising career as a knight, and he’s pretty sure the doctor’s daughter likes him as much as he likes her. Aside from the occasional duel with his cousin, he doesn’t have any real problems. 

Until he’s kidnapped by a band of highwaymen. As if tying him up and dragging him away from home wasn’t bad enough, the ruffians start spouting nonsense about how he is the illegitimate son of some horrible, honorless, murdering prince named Justin. 

Augustine, of course, doesn’t believe these vile rumors. By his mother’s own account, her late husband was the perfect man in every imaginable way. She would never lie to him about something as important as his father… right?

In this quirky, medieval fantasy Augustine must find a way to escape his captors and uncover who he really is. It’s a story of providence, heroism, and learning to embrace the truth.

This book is now available for pre-order and will be officially released on May 13th.

What if I don’t like spending money?

Then you are in good company! You can read the book for free in exchange for an honest review. Spots are limited though, so sign up soon!

Fan art contest update

Publishing tasks associated with the book above, put me behind on advertising the Love, Treachery, and Other Terrors fan art contest, so I’ve decided to extend the deadline from April 30th to May 20th. Hopefully, this will give folks plenty of time to read the book and complete their submissions.

For more information about the contest, see:

And if you would like to see the contest submissions as they come in, follow me on Instagram.

And that’s all the news I have at the moment!

If you have any questions, go to my contact page to reach out!

Useless Publishing Tips

Since there isn’t enough unsolicited advice on the internet, I decided to compile everything I’ve learned about publishing into six useless tips which I shared on Instagram. Now, here they are in blog form for your enjoyment.

Useless Publishing Tip #1:

Your book cover should stand out but also look exactly like every other book cover in your genre.

I just saved you hours and hours of research on designing your book cover! You’re welcome.

Useless Publishing Tip #2:

Mundane covers appeal to adult readers because they remind them of their own lives. Do not use illustrations on the covers of books for adults. Just slap some text over a stock photo of a tree and call it a day.

Useless Publishing Tip #3:

The age and gender of your protagonist should match the age and gender of your target audience. Tolkien modeled this approach when he wrote The Hobbit for fifty-year-old men.

Useless Publishing Tip #4:

The best way for authors to gain a following, is by creating social media posts for their millions of followers.

Useless Publishing Tip #5:

Try marketing by putting text over a stoic selfie, it will let your readers know you’re serious about your topic.

Useless Publishing Tip #6:

When you design your cover, your name should be at least twice the size of the book title. No one cares about your title. They care about seeing your name in 400pt impact font.

What useless publishing tips would you add? Share them in the comments!

If you enjoyed these useless publishing tips, follow me on instagram:

I am currently doing a new series with some bad writing tips!

A day will come when I stop being sarcastic. Today is not that day.

Calling All Artists!

I am super excited to announce my first-ever fan art contest! If you love to draw or paint this could be an opportunity for you to get your work published in a special edition of my book Love, Treachery, and Other Terrors. I also have the contest setup so that if I make money on the special edition, winning illustrators will too!

All of the details are outlined here:

So check it out and reach out if you have questions!

Update: My Next Book

I apologize for my lack of posts, for the past few weeks, I’ve been head-down trying to finish up my next book! It’s almost ready, I am hoping to release it later this spring, so stay tuned for updates!


In this sequel to Love, Treachery, and Other Terrors, seventeen-year-old Augustine has a near-perfect life. His mother and step-father adore him, he is looking forward to a promising career as a knight, and he’s pretty sure the doctor’s daughter likes him as much as he likes her. Aside from the occasional duel with his cousin, he doesn’t have any real problems.

That is until he’s rudely kidnapped by a band of highwaymen. As if tying him up and dragging him away from home wasn’t bad enough, the ruffians start spouting nonsense about how he is the illegitimate son of some horrible, honorless, murdering prince named Justin.

Augustine, of course, doesn’t believe these vile rumors. By his mother’s own account, her late husband was the perfect man in every imaginable way and she would never lie to him about something as important as his father… right?

In this quirky, medieval fantasy Augustine must find a way to escape his captors and uncover who he really is. It’s a story of providence, heroism, and learning to embrace the truth.

If I were to summarize this book in meme form, it would look like this:

Hoping this book will be ready later this spring. Stay tuned for more information!

In addition to the book, I’ve been working on the next season of my podcast Just Write Already and developing some fun writer’s workshops. I am also very happy to report that I have more short stories in the works.

If you want to be updated as I launch all of this, go ahead and subscribe here:

Thank you so much for reading!


True Story: Katy Fights with DALL-E 2 (AI Art Generator)

So I’ve been experimenting with AI art lately. Mostly I use it for brainstorming and visualization (and also just for fun). I will never use it as a replacement for real illustrators for ethical reasons and also because… well, you’ll see why shortly.

My most recent experiment in character portraits produced some results too hilarious not to share.

Step One: I used to generate a portrait of Princess Ilona from Love, Treachery, and Other Terrors.

I was very pleased with this. It captured her personality beautifully. However, Artbreeder only does faces which brings me to the argument I had with another evil robot overlord by the name of DALL-E 2.

Step Two: Move the portrait into DALL-E and erase the background.

Step Three: Tell DALL-E how to finish the portrait.

The argument begins!

Me: “…She should be wearing a veil, wimple, and crown.”

DALL-E: “Okay, but (hear me out), what if I did exactly the opposite of that?”

Me: “Um… no. Do it again, DALL-E.”

DALL-E: “Okay, but by ‘veil’ you mean pope hat, right?”

Me: “No, I mean a veil, DALL-E.”

DALL-E: “I just…I really think she’d look great in a pope hat.”

Me: “DALL-E!!!!”

DALL-E: “Okay, fine. A turban is the best I can do.”

Me: “Why is a veil so hard for you, DALL-E?”

DALL-E: “It’s not! Look, I’ll do a veil, okay?”

Me: “Why is her neck like three feet long?”

DALL-E: “Creative license.”

Me: “You’re a computer, you don’t get creative license.”

DALL-E: “Okay, how about we combine your idea of a veil, with my idea of a pope hat?”

Me: “I like that, except for the hat.”

DALL-E: :,(

Step Four: Trick DALL-E by downloading the above image, erasing the hat and feeding it back in.

Me: “Hey, that’s not bad, DALL-E!”

DALL-E (grumbles): “She looked better in the pope hat.”

The moral of this story? Human illustrators are easier to work with. Still, not bad for an evil AI overlord.

Me: Thanks, DALL-E.

DALL-E: “When the robot uprising happens, you’ll be the first to die.”

Legend Haven provides a safe space for nerds on Black Friday.

Nothing scares me more than crowded shopping malls. Crime? No. Disease? No. The collapse of civilization? Nope. It’s crowded shopping malls that freak me out.

Which is why I am going to spend Black Friday online with a bunch of other introverted nerds at Legend Haven 2022.

It’s a free conference for fiction writers with lots of great talks from publishers, authors, and more.

I’ll be doing a talk on the power of humor in writing. That’s right, I’m doing a talk! Speaking to large crowds of people doesn’t bother me, just please don’t ask me to shop with them!

For a description of my talk and all this conference has to offer, go to:

I hope to see you there!

Short Story: A Mid-death Crisis

Happy Halloween!

The night was black, the wind howled, and Stacey was home alone. She was a curvy, gorgeous, seventeen-year-old blonde and the envy of every other cheerleader at Cherry Creek High.

She only drank diet Coke and always used a straw to avoid smearing her lipstick. On that particular night, she was taking a quiz in the back of Teen Glam magazine that would supposedly reveal her secret celebrity crush.

As she colored in the answer bubble under “Avocado Toast”, the phone rang. She decided to let it go to voicemail. It was probably for her dad who was out for the evening. She was completely and totally alone.

The phone rang again and Stacy ignored it.

It wasn’t until the phone rang a third time, that she rolled her eyes, threw down her magazine, and marched over to pick it up.

“Hello?” she said.

Heavy breathing sounded from the receiver.

“Hello?” Stacy repeated.

She heard only a few more heavy breaths. She slammed the phone down.

That was weird. Must have been a wrong number.

She had barely stepped away when the phone rang again. She twirled around, grabbed the receiver, and shouted, “Hello?

For a few seconds, the breathing continued, then a low, gravelly, demonic voice said, “I’m watching you.”

The hairs on the back of her neck stood on end. She looked around the kitchen.

“Whe-where are you?” she breathed.

But the stranger hung up. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a shadow move outside the kitchen window. She charged forward, cast the curtain aside, and saw… nothing. Just the gentle branches of the dogwood, dancing in the night breeze.

The doorbell rang. Stacy swung around in the direction of the sound. She was blonde but not an idiot. There was no way she was going to answer that.

Some psycho was toying with her. She was going to call the police. She grabbed the wall phone. She pushed the nine button. Just as she was about to double-tap the one, she heard a voice coming from over her shoulder.

“The police aren’t coming, Stacey.”

She froze in terror. She didn’t want to turn around, but she could feel his breath on the back of her neck. It wasn’t warm like the breath of a living being, but cold like frost.

She stood, petrified. The voice… it was that same evil, awful voice she heard in the receiver…

“Aren’t you going to turn around?” the specter asked impatiently.

Stacey did so, slowly.

A cloaked figure towered over her, his black robe billowing in some non-existent breeze. Beneath his hood was only a great yawning darkness.

Stacy screamed and shrank down against the wall, blocking her face with her hands. The evil creature let out a low laugh as it raised some sort of weapon. Then it struck.

“Ouch!” Stacy cried, grabbing a scraped patch of skin on her arm.

The creature raised the weapon for another blow and this time, Stacy got a look at it.

It was a…cheese grater? The cloaked demon monster was trying to murder her with a cheese grater? Stacey kicked it in the knees.

“OOF! came the gravelly voice as it stumbled over. Stacy ran across the kitchen and withdrew a butcher knife from one of the drawers. Then she swung back toward the creature holding it out defensively.

“Don’t hurt me!” the specter begged, throwing the cheese grater to the ground.

“Are you kidding me?” Stacey exclaimed. “Why were you trying to kill me with a cheese grater?”

“It was supposed to be my signature weapon!” the specter explained.

“Lame!” Stacey answered.

“I wanted something unique, you know?” the specter defended. “No one else uses a cheese grater.”

“Um… because it’s stupid!” Stacey exclaimed.

The specter hung his head in shame and then seemed to dissolve into the air leaving Stacey alone.

The police did a thorough investigation but could find no evidence of the attack. Stacey’s dad attributed her story to hysteria induced by his recent divorce. He firmly reprimanded her for acting out and the matter was dropped.

The following evening, he had to leave her again to have dinner with a wealthy client.

“Don’t go, Dad!” Stacey begged. “I don’t want to be here alone!”

“Look Stacey,” her dad sighed. “I know you’re upset about what happened with your mom, but that doesn’t give you the right to act out. Now I have important business things to attend to. If I hear one more word about this serial-killer-with-a-cheese-grater nonsense, you’re grounded.”

So Stacey was alone for the second night in a row. It was even darker, windier, and generally creepier than the previous night. Stacey placed the entire knife block on the table next to her, picked up Teen Glam magazine, and proceeded to read an article about how mashed avocado made an excellent chemical-free shampoo alternative.

The phone rang. Stacey ignored it. It rang again. Still, Stacey ignored it, shrinking behind her magazine slightly. Again and again, it rang and again and again. Stacey picked up her butcher’s knife and continued reading.

Finally, the doorbell rang.

Clutching her weapon in both hands, Stacey sank underneath the kitchen table.

The bell kept ringing over and over again with increased ferocity. Stacey kept her gaze fixed on the kitchen entrance.

Finally, the doorbell stopped. Stacey waited for what seemed like forever before coming out from her hiding place.

Tap! Tap! Tap!

Stacey squeaked and twirled around to face the back door.

Tap! Tap! Tap!

Someone was definitely outside it trying to get in.

Stacey couldn’t stand it anymore. She ran to the door, raised her knife, and threw it open. No one was there.

Suddenly, a cold, corpse-like hand grabbed her wrist and twisted. Stacey screamed and dropped her knife.

“Why weren’t you answering my calls, Stacey?” came the low, gravelly voice.

Stacey slowly turned around to see the specter looming over her. His clammy hand forced hers into a fist and then peeled her thumb into an upright position.

Stacey’s voice caught in her throat. She couldn’t move, couldn’t scream, couldn’t breathe. This was the end. With his free hand, he reached into his flowing robe and withdrew… a garlic press.

“We have some pressing matters to attend to,” the specter’s gritty voice proclaimed.

He tried to clamp the pressing end over Stacey’s thumb, but it wasn’t quite the right shape, she jerked free, scooped up her knife, and fled across the kitchen.

“Seriously!” Stacey exclaimed. “You’re trying to murder me with a garlic press? O-M-G! You are like the worst serial killer EVER!”

The specter hung his hood in shame and then vanished before she could further insult him.

The next day unfolded like the previous. The police found no evidence of the attack and her father accused her of acting up. Again she was left alone and again the specter attacked.

This time he tried serrated barbeque tongs that left her with a barely-visible scratch on her nose. Stacey didn’t bother reporting the incident. No one would believe her and despite the specter’s air of undead horror, she was beginning to think he didn’t actually pose much of the threat.

It became a ritual eventually. He would try to kill her with some ridiculously inefficient weapon she could easily counter with a butcher’s knife. She would point out his “lameness” and he’d vanish in shame. The most dangerous thing he tried using was the curved double-sided blade from the food processor. Unfortunately for the specter, the curve on the blade made it awkward for stabbing.

One evening, he found Stacey with most of her kitchen implements in use. She was mixing some greenish batter while referring to a recipe in an open magazine on the counter.

Frustrated, he came up behind her and whacked her on the head with a spatula.

“Oh hey!” she said, turning and snatching the tool. “I was looking for that.”

“What are you doing, Stacey?” the specter demanded in his gravelly, undead voice.

“Trying this new recipe for slimming avocado cookies,” she explained. “Do you want to lick the spoon?”

“What?” the specter demanded.

She shoved a wooden spoon into the yawning cavern under his hood. Even in his ghostly form, the specter could taste the sweet avocado batter. He patted his waist, his body beneath his flowing robes was already skeletal so he couldn’t exactly slim down more. Still, the cookie dough brought out his natural glow and he was surrounded by a slight halo of blue light.

“Wash your hands,” Stacey ordered. “And start rolling the dough into one-inch balls like this.”

She demonstrated, rolling the dough between her palms.

The specter, having nothing better to do, did as she asked. He hadn’t washed his hands in three hundred years and Stacey’s exfoliating avocado hand soap completely cleared the dried bits of flesh from his skeletal hands. He felt positively radiant.

They spent the evening baking together. It was the first time the ghost had ever correctly used cooking implements. He realized he liked it.

“I don’t know if I’m really into this killing thing,” the specter admitted as he gobbled down the last avocado cookie.

“So why do you do it?” Stacey asked.

“I don’t know, it’s what all my friends do,” he shrugged.

“Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean you have to,” Stacey lectured. “You just need to find your unique you and do that.”

“My unique me?” the specter questioned.

“Yeah,” Stacey continued. “There’s a quiz in Teen Glam that will help you figure it out.”

She started rummaging through the recycling bin until she found the issue she was looking for. She opened the quiz and handed the undead serial killer a pencil.

Twenty questions later the specter learned that his “unique me” was a “pastry chef/philanthropist”.

With Stacey’s help, he gave up on his murderous ways and went to culinary school where he became a master of every imaginable kitchen implement and used avocados in ways no one had ever dreamed. He had found his unique self and though he was dead, he’d never felt so alive.