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Novel Magic: Writing With a Vengeance

Writing with a Vengeance: How Flame & Shadow Was Born

By AK Nevermore

Fun fact, my first book, Flame & Shadow, was written totally out of spite.

Yep. You read that correctly, and I’ll ask you to keep the shade to a minimum because at some point in every author’s career you reach that moment of just being done.

What do I mean by that? Whelp, let me go out on a limb by saying that most writers do not begin by churning out a masterpiece. Like, you know that Game of Thrones meme with the horse going from photo quality to something your kid might’ve been able to pee that in the sand? Yeah. That, but in reverse. I mean, I’m sure there’s a unicorn out there somewhere, but I am not one of them.

Nope. Any amount of skill and/or talent I may possess (and yes, both are debatable) was gleaned whilst clawing my way through more classes, critique groups, and webinars than I’d like to admit. And I’m definitely not going to come clean on how much I paid for them, but I will leave it at “ouch”.

So fine, I beggared myself to receive an education. Welcome to America and all that. Where does spite come into play? Well, unlike the myriad of other career paths out there, one in the fine arts comes with the added caveat of critical review.

On art. Which is subjective. But don’t worry, you’re still gonna do it wrong, and I am here to tell you to lean into that steaming pile.

Yeah, for real. See, I started out with a manuscript my heart bled for. It literally held a piece of my soul. I took it through a year long MFA style program. It went through developmental edits. I took all of the advice and implemented it exactly how I was instructed to.

And in doing so, completely killed my vision and my voice.

I mourned the death of that manuscript for six months before ascending to the next stage of grief.


Oooh, I was pissed! They hadn’t even critiqued the book on what it was, they’d critiqued it on what they thought it should be! Yeah. Their vision, not mine, and I had let them do it. Ugh. I took all that fury, twisted all their advice, and channeled it into what would become Flame & Shadow.

I laughed writing it. Like a lot. I didn’t care about the “rules” that had beaten me down six months prior, because this wasn’t for them. It was for me, and let me tell you, the book’s frickin’ hysterical…and all that joy? Yeah, that’s what I’d been missing for I couldn’t even remember how long. Was what had been sucked out of me by the institutionalization of my writing.

And at that point, I was done.

But I sure as hell was going to write something to prove all of them wrong.

Ahhh…spite. Whatever, it worked. Less than a year later, Flame & Shadow scored me a traditional publishing contract, and book two, Air & Darkness, will be on the shelves August 17th.

My biggest take-away? That steaming pile, that beautiful mess, that direct line to an alternate universe you’re transcribing? Write it for you, in your voice, and put everything that makes you sparkle on the page. Because once you do, you’ll never go back, and that’ll show ’em.

Flame & Shadow, Book One of The Dae Diaries

Urban Fantasy with Spice

Half-daemon Envy Starr is destined to die on Midsummer’s Eve, still a virgin, on some crappy cult’s live-stream feed. With thirty days left to live, the chance to escape her fate and get some action compels her into her absentee father’s world of beautifully cultured cruelty.

Once there, she’s the object of a deadly game, slated to alter the Fae realm’s power structure. Worse, the rules keep changing, and everyone has an ulterior motive, including her dae-licious guide, Brennan. Under a geas he’s desperate to break, she can’t trust him, or herself. Stupid Stockholm syndrome…

But unless she can come to terms with what lies in her heart, her unlikely survival will be a fate worse than death. For her, and the rest of Fae.

Meet AK Nevermore

AK Nevermore writes Sci-fi & dark romantasy. She enjoys operating heavy machinery, freebases coffee, and gives up sarcasm for Lent every year. Unable to ignore the voices in her head, and unwilling to become medicated, she writes full time. Her books explore dark worlds, perversely irreverent and profound, and always entertaining.

Connect with AK Nevermore

    A FREE Story by AK Nevermore

    Don’t let the name fool you…

    Envy Starr is a halfling with a bad attitude and a drinking problem. When her best—ok, only friend—asks her to play wing-woman at an exclusive club so he can meet the Fae of his dreams, things take a nosedive before they even get through the door.

    Handsy bouncers, society girls with a vendetta, and that freaking forty-something in a captain’s cap… Yeah, super lame. Silver lining, the stage talent’s way more entertaining one-on-one than when he’s performing for the crowd.

    If only that whole virgin-by-necessity crap wasn’t a thing…

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