Three Things Thursday-Exercise Edition

  1. I have exercised as much this week as I did in the entirety of February. Just so we’re clear, that is a condemnation of “February Amy” and not an endorsement of “this week Amy.”
  2. It’s Thursday, and I have two trail runs (of 2 & 3.3 miles respectively) and two 45-minute-yoga classes under my belt. My ankles are killing me and I desperately need to gain strength and flexibility if I’m going to keep up with this running gig. Which I am. For as much as the first 1.5 miles hurt (omg-so bad! SO BAD!!!) yesterday, trail running is still the most fun you can have with your clothes on.
  3. Last night, I was so stiff from the running and sudden increase in physical activity that I was desperately worried I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed this morning. I tried to talk The Beer Guy into agreeing to bring me coffee in bed if that turned out to be the case, but he said “no” and something about “enabling.” Turns out, I feel fine today. My ankles and feet are not happy, but the rest of me is only pleasantly sore (which is such a great feeling, honestly).

Post 3.3 muddy, painful miles and I still have a smile on my face.

Writerly Wednesday: Self-Promotion Edition

The inaugural issue (volume 1, issue 1) of my newsletter will be hitting newsstands (or, more accurately, inboxes) in a couple of hours. In this month’s issue, you’ll find an exclusive excerpt from The Waning Moon as well as the first chapter of Raj’s novella.

I’ll send out a new chapter of Raj’s story every month and then, when they’re all out, I’ll compile them and release as an ebook. His novella will cover the three most pivotal time periods in his life: the demise of his kingdom and his transition into undeath, the fall of Constantinople and how he’s directly responsible for Dracula himself, and the havoc he wreaked in Scandinavia in the 17th century.


I finished up my readable draft of The Waning Moon last Sunday night and sent it off to my beta readers. Other than vague threats from my PSM regarding something that hasn’t even happened, things are mostly quiet on the eastern front (they’re all much, much further east than me…).


Work on the cover art for The Waning Moon has begun. I’m really excited to see what Skyla comes up with this time! She’s amazing and I know it’ll be fantastic.


If you’ve read and enjoyed The Cardinal Gate (and we don’t have the same last name), I’d really appreciate an Amazon review! I can’t legally offer you compensation for this, but if I get to 50 reviews, I’d send you a picture of my boobs, or a picture of a pie, or an actual pie if there were no shipping charges involved.


I’ve started my Pinterest board for The Waning Moon. If you want to see what Raj, Finn, Florence, and Isaac look like in my head, you should come on over! There’s also setting photos so you can get a sneak peek of where the action will be taking place in book 2!


Last item! My book review slots are quickly filling up for the next few months. If you have a book release between now and the end of July and want me to review it on the blog, use the form below to get it scheduled!

Book Review: Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs

Mercy Thompson was my gateway drug into urban fantasy. I don’t remember what inspired me to pick up Moon Called so very many years ago, but up until that point, my fantasy reading was much more of the Robert Jordan, Mercedes Lackey, David Eddings variety – i.e. the worlds that were built were other. I still enjoy exploring new worlds (Jeffe Kennedy and Grace Draven are excellent examples of current favorites), but urban fantasy (with vampires!) is where it’s at for me…

I preorder every Mercy Thompson book the moment I can, and because I live on the west coast, they arrive in my Kindle at 9 pm on Monday evening. Plenty of time to finish them before bedtime–if bedtime is after 1 am. Which it was the day this book came out.

The Blurb

Attacked and abducted in her home territory, Mercy finds herself in the clutches of the most powerful vampire in the world, taken as a weapon to use against alpha werewolf Adam and the ruler of the Tri-Cities vampires. In coyote form, Mercy escapes only to find herself without money, without clothing, and alone in the heart of Europe…

Unable to contact Adam and the rest of the pack, Mercy has allies to find and enemies to fight, and she needs to figure out which is which. Ancient powers stir, and Mercy must be her agile best to avoid causing a war between vampires and werewolves, and between werewolves and werewolves. And in the heart of the ancient city of Prague, old ghosts rise…

The Cover


The Review

First, my only real criticism (and this is for the book specifically as well as the series generally): the book basically opens with Mercy getting kidnapped. Again.  There are really only so many times a woman should be kidnapped in her life. (I read a book once where the MC was kidnapped at least four times in one book. That’s bordering on ridiculous.) Mercy has spent a lot of time in this series getting kidnapped and assaulted. The saving grace is that she does get to spend some time rescuing her wolves from kidnapping as well.

Sidebar: I would love to read a PNR or urban fantasy series where the main female character is never once kidnapped or sexually assaulted. (I’m totes okay with physical assault, because violence is part of the genre…sexual violence doesn’t need to be.)

ANYWAY – the best part of this book? Mercy is a self-rescuing kidnap victim. (The other best part? Bran. I love me some Bran. He is terrifying and awesome, which is exactly as he should be.)

Oh wait! There’s a third best part! Larry!

[Elizaveta:] “The blue room should be adequate for the goblin king.

“We don’t call ourselves that,” said Larry dryly. “That was just that one movie. I mean, ‘Larry the Goblin King’ just doesn’t have the right ring to it.”

Ooooh – and Stefan and Marsilia! I do enjoy the vampires (Wulf gives me the wig, though.)

One of the interesting parts of this book was that the chapters were split up between Adam and Mercy chapters, and that made the timeline…a bit wibbly-wobbly (Ms. Briggs is a Whovian; there’s a Matt Smith in the book who is definitely not the Doctor). I enjoyed it immensely and thought Ms. Briggs did an exceptional job with that. It was also fun that most of the action took place in Europe – particularly Prague. (Prague, along with research destinations to the southeast, is my next planned destination…the Beer Guy and my PSM were both recently there [oddly enough, at almost the exact same time…were they hanging out without me?].)

The Verdict

It’s hard to keep a series and characters interesting and fresh, and Patricia Briggs has managed to continue to do so. This was more than worth the time and money spent for the latest in the series and I’m definitely looking forward to Mercy’s next adventure.

The Disclaimer

None for this one-I bought this book with my own money, and as far as I know, Patricia Briggs not only doesn’t know I’m writing this review, she has no idea who I am at all.

Further Disclaimer

Once, I made my ex- stop in the Tri-Cities for tacos towards the end of a loooooong road trip on the off-chance we might run into some Fae or werewolves or coyote-girls. (As far as I know, we didn’t.)


Hitting the refresh button on my brain

I wrapped up my draft of The Waning Moon last night and sent it to my beta readers. Fortunately for me, one of them was traveling for work today and got through the first five chapters on the plane this morning! (shout out to Nichole!)

Timeline Aside: I finished The Cardinal Gate in December 2013. I finished the second draft in the summer of 2015. I sent it to an editor in September 2016. This is not the ideal turnaround time for a series if I want to keep people interested! (I wrote this book in the summer of 2014, but did the second draft in 2.5 weeks…so progress?)

This week, I’ll write the blurb (ugh) and a synopsis (double ugh) for The Waning Moon and start working with my cover artist.

Newsletter will go out Wednesday with an exclusive excerpt from The Waning Moon as well as the first chapter of Raj’s story.

I’m excited to do some writing again! Raj’s story needs to be finished and I have a new book to outline and write so I can use my Iceland research!

Today, though…today is about recharging my overtaxed brain cells. I headed up to the trails to get a little bit dirty. I ran in the general vicinity of the first gate–Forest Park where Eleanor spent so much of her time!


PS – If you haven’t yet, head over to Amazon to see the fantastic reviews The Cardinal Gate has received – and leave one of your own!

Five Years

This is the first of two “five year” posts I’ll write in the next three weeks. It’s been five years since my father died after a too-brief battle with glioblastoma multiforme.

For some reason, it’s hitting me harder this year than the last couple. I don’t know if it’s because my life was in such upheaval last year or because it’s a milestone year or a combination of all these things.

I miss him so much. It breaks my heart that he never got to meet his grandson. I would give almost anything to see them together and eavesdrop on that conversation.

I’ve done nanowrimo every year since he died (except the first year–the PPD was still holding on too tight that year), and just published the first book I wrote after his death.

Even though the book has more adult language and strong sexual content than he probably would’ve preferred (especially in a book written by his daughter), I know he would’ve been so happy to see my name in print (by the way dad, I am the highest ranked Cissell on Amazon…nyah, nyah, nyah).

A small selection of Cissell books…

When I was a sophomore in college and having a really hard time, he gave me my first dragon. It’s been with me ever since. He took that dragon and slayed it in his fiction, I took its strength and made it my own.

Without him, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today. It’s been a hard year, but I’m surviving, and I owe a lot of that to my dad.

I wish he was here to see what I’ve accomplished and see how I made the dragons my bitch.

I wish he was here to meet my son–my dad would be blown away by the mind on my kid.

I wish he was here so I could call him up and have him tell me everything’s going to be okay.

I wish he was here.

Dragon Gallery

The poem

My essay on postpartum depression; title (and opening poem) courtesy dad

The quilt square my father embroidered for me, complete with our poem.

My (second) dragon tattoo-this is inspired by the dragon on the quilt and was done in memorium…

Our books and our dragons…they almost kinda look alike…


I wish he was here so I could tell him one more time how much I love him. At least I can tell everyone else…