Yesterday, Reliquary, my latest adult novel, was published. It's an urban fantasy with hints of erotic romance, and writing it (and the other books in the series, all of which I wrote last year and will be published over the next few months) helped get me through one of the toughest periods in my life thus far.
I experienced four major life stressors in 2015. My marriage ended. I had to leave the job I'd had for ten years and dearly loved. I moved from the home I thought I'd grow old in. And one of my children was diagnosed with what will be a lifelong medical condition that requires constant monitoring and intervention (Type 1 diabetes). I am fortunate to have friends and family who love me dearly and support me unconditionally, but even so, I'm gonna be honest--I'm okay now, and much happier than I was, but there were times last year when I thought I was going to crater.
Reliquary was the story that came to me as I walked through the painful early days of 2015, and telling it carried me through the weeks and months that followed. The series is about Mattie, a woman who thinks she has the life she wants, and then is forced to choose between her safe, predictable small-town world and the much bigger, scarier, and less certain world of magic. Her decision does not occur in one moment--it is a process that plays out through the series--and although (sadly) I don't have special powers or Asa Ward in my real life, writing the books allowed me to work through some of my own decisions.
Maybe I'm not supposed to admit that. It's all about the story, right? It has to stand on its own. (I think it does. Also, Asa Ward.) But I think writing and reading are redemptive in so many ways--they offer us a safe place to to explore our feelings, to tread paths and live out choices we cannot (or might not yet), for whatever reason, experience in our everyday lives. They give us characters and events and dynamics to bounce off of, to hate or love, to embrace or push away. When stories work, they capture moments and emotions with such intensity that they slide under our skin and into our bloodstream.
I wrote Reliquary because I needed to. I had to. It is pure escape, dark and sexy and fun, yet more psychologically real than almost anything I've yet written.
I'm so happy I get to share it with you.
Mattie Carver’s engagement party should have marked the start of her own personal fairy tale. But when her fiancé, Ben, is violently abducted the next morning, her desperate quest to find him rips her away from small-town life and reveals a shattering truth: magic is real—and Ben is hooked. It’s not the stuff of storybooks. It’s wildly addictive, capable of producing everything from hellish anguish to sensual ecstasy almost beyond human endurance.
Determined to find out who took Ben and why, Mattie immerses herself in a shadowy underworld and comes face-to-face with the darkly alluring Asa Ward, a rogue magic dealer, infamous hustler…and her missing fiancé’s estranged brother. Asa has the power to sense magic, and he realizes Mattie is a reliquary, someone with the rare ability to carry magic within her own body, undetected. Asa agrees to help find Ben on one condition: Mattie must use her uncommon talent to assist his smuggling operations. Now, from magic-laced Vegas casinos to the netherworld clubs of Bangkok, Mattie is on a rescue mission. With Asa by her side, she’ll face not only the supernatural forces arrayed against her but the all-too-human temptation that she fears she can’t resist.