Cover reveal!!!

It’s here!!! The cover for Descent of the Vile! I’ve updated the page with my current works and posted this on my social media, but for those of you who haven’t seen it, here is the cover!

There is more information about the book on the Written Works page or on the World Castle Publishing website. Thanks so much for supporting my work and for patiently waiting. I’ve been so excited to share this with you. Enjoy!

Young Soon Doolen

I don’t know how to explain the impact that Young Soon Doolen had on my life. Her daughters were my best friends throughout middle school and high school. We stayed close after graduation. I grew up with all of them. Although I am very close with my own family, Young Soon was almost like another mother to me. Her untimely struggle with Alzheimer’s Disease was a tragedy. Her recent death even more so. Her funeral is today, and I wish I could be there. However, my financial situation is grave, and I can’t travel right now. I can’t express my regret enough that I am not there to say good-bye.

I will miss her. Even when Alzheimer’s had taken so much of her memory, she remembered me. I can’t say how much that means. I know she got worse since the last time I saw her, but I just want to remember her as I saw her and as I knew her. My thoughts are with my other family today. I can’t begin to comprehend how they must feel. Although I am grieving, I know their pain is worse than mine.

This is a photo of Young Soon that I took after her granddaughter did her makeup. Alzheimer’s had already taken it’s toll, but she smiled when I asked if I could take her picture. So happy. I’ll miss her.

3 precancerous growths

3 of the 4 polyps removed from my colon were precancerous. This does not mean they were going to turn into cancer, only that they could. One of them is a particularly nasty one with a higher rate of turning cancerous (likely with a poor outcome). Therefore, I’m extremely grateful that they were spotted and removed by the doctor. I will need screenings more often, likely every 1-3 years because of the cancer risk.

I can’t stress the importance of these screenings. As unpleasant as it was, cancer is worse. Get your screenings folks!!! Don’t put it off. You are too important.

Colonoscopy is done!

Yesterday was the colonoscopy, and the hospital staff couldn’t have been nicer. They remembered me from my endoscopy and made me feel welcome and safe. They explained everything thoroughly and answered all of my questions. They never made me feel like I was asking too many either.

The results will be made available in a few days, but they found 4 polyps. This is somewhat normal for my age, but they can turn into cancer, so it’s important to have the screening. They removed the polyps and will biopsy them to see if they were cancerous or not to determine if anything else is needed and when I need to go back.

Today, I am back on my normal diet as yesterday my stomach felt a little upset and I didn’t feel like eating much. However, I am now having my first coffee in 5 days and I’m overjoyed. Hopefully this means I can go back to writing. I won’t talk about my current project just yet, but hopefully I can give you some hints soon.

Just remember that Descent of the Vile will hopefully be released before the end of the year. I’ll keep you updated when I have news. Just for now, we’re waiting for the book to go into editing. It will probably be at least June or maybe later before that happens. So nothing is taking any longer than it should.

Lastly, take joy in the little things. Life is made up of moments. They’re not all “big moments”, but usually “little moments”. Those are the important ones that often get overlooked. Don’t forget them. They’re the ones our lives are made of and that make it worth living. Find peace in your everyday moments and your life will be much happier. You never know how much time you have, so don’t forget to smell the flowers, pet the dog, and taste the coffee.

Sleeping

I meant to post an update after my procedure yesterday, but it turns out that general anesthesia took it out of me. I slept all day and most of the day today. I put pads down for Sophie and made sure she had food and water. She’s fine but a bit bored. I, on the other hand, just feel generally wiped out, which is not much different than before actually.

My stomach is fine, thankfully. There was some narrowing in one place that they expanded with a balloon, and there was a spot of redness in the duodenum, which they biopsied. I’m waiting for the results.

My colonoscopy was moved to Monday so I’ll be doing that a day earlier than expected. So I probably won’t be posting for a couple of days. Due to my resistance to pain medication, they have to put me under general anesthesia instead of conscious sedation. It takes a bit longer to recover from that apparently (at least for me). I’ll try to update soon. While this is going on, I haven’t been doing much writing, but it won’t effect the release of Descent of the Vile. Thanks for your patience.

Test number two

Today is my second cancer screening. I’m not really concerned that I have cancer, but it’s best to be sure. Perhaps they’ll find something else. Who knows? All I know is that I’ve been very ill, and I need to get better. I have people who depend on me and a dog who loves me.

I’ll post more after the test. I need to be at the hospital in an hour so I’ll be busy for now. Wish me luck!

Next test is scheduled!

I was waiting on the referral for endoscopy, but it came through today and the test is now scheduled for this Friday. Unfortunately, the colonoscopy is still scheduled for next Tuesday as they could not get them both at the same time. So, I’ll have to undergo anesthesia twice (not what I wanted to do). But at least there might be some answers coming. <fingers crossed>

Preparations

Starting tomorrow, I will be on a low-fiber diet and taking medications to prepare for my colonoscopy. Although it is definitely a routine procedure, I’ve written about my fear of anesthesia before. However, I know I need to have the test done as it’s extremely important to have the cancer screening. My symptoms are not likely due to cancer, but if I catch it early I am better off.

I bought my groceries yesterday, including broth, juice, jello, and tea for the day before the procedure as I won’t be allowed solid food that day. I also have to be fasting the day of, so hopefully there’s a Whataburger waiting for me as soon as I’m done. Well, I can dream.

Anyway, I know some of you may not have done this before either. I know people who have had several of them done and they’re fine, so I’m trying not to think about it too much. I know the next week will likely be relatively unpleasant, but it’s necessary. So I won’t be doing much as my stomach problems will increase temporarily due to the medications. I’ll just have to spend the day near the bathroom, I suppose!

So, whatever happens, I know I will likely gain some insights into what is bothering me. Hopefully, we’ll be a step closer to diagnosis. Wish me luck!

Indies Today Review

Received this four star review for The House of Wynne Lift from Indies Today. Enjoy!

Why would a man of considerable wealth choose a life of reclusion, completely cut off from the outside world? For some 20 years, the mysterious Wynne Lift has taken up residence in a cave known as The Castle Tower. How did he build a home in such a remote location? What kind of mental state results from decades of isolation? Has he gone completely mad? Or does he simply value privacy above all else? These are the questions that Professor Foster Livingston and reporter Peter Wylie intend to answer. After an arduous trek, the two curious men arrive on the inhospitable doorstep of Wynne Lift. Armed with little more than wild theories and baseless speculations about the enigmatic homeowner, the curious professor and the inquisitive reporter knock on the front door. What they find inside the house of Wynne Lift shifts from pleasantly surprising to something dark and sinister.

Wound tight with suspense, The House of Wynne Lift is a Hitchcock-esque tale that packs quite a punch in a short timeframe. While the plot is riveting, the mismatched characters add a chilling psychological component that drives the story. Quirky companions from the start, the reporter and the professor seem to have little in common beyond a mutual dislike for one another, adding friction to the story before the real threat is ever revealed. Without a doubt, however, the highlight of the story is the perplexing Mr. Wynne Lift. A bizarre fellow from the moment we meet him, Lift proves to be both gracious and demanding, accommodating and menacing. The tension and fear climax into a fever pitch as his true temperament and a few skeletons in his closet are revealed, adding a frenzy of last-minute action and drama. A revitalized twist on a familiar theme, The House of Wynne Lift is impossible not to devour in a single terrifying sitting.

Here is the link to the original review:

https://indiestoday.com/the-house-of-wynne-lift-by-cheryl-pena/

Marvels of the Underworld by Hermione Lee

I interviewed Hermione Lee for the release of her debut novel, the award-winning In the Name of the Otherworld. Therefore, after reading the second award-winning novel in this series, I interviewed Lee again. Here are her answers to my questions:

1. This book continues the epic narrative begun in In the Name of the Otherworld.  Where did you get the inspiration for this story?

I derive inspiration from everywhere. For Marvels of the Underworld, I simply needed something to do to vent my creative energies. I planned the outline in December, 2019, but could not write it because there was this national high school entrance exam in May 2020. Tired of being confined to a classroom every day, I wanted to do something wild and insane, which led to my planning a novel that seemed ridiculous, involving an unexpected invasion, a haunted manor, a romantic confession in a dark forest, a whimsical mountain with magical vines and a transfigured water wheel, a technological center in a fantasy world, a conservatory chase, and a murder mystery. I suppose it’s my way of coping with the immense pressure—spinning stories that are bigger-than-life.

2. The story seemed very ambitious to me and combined genres very well.  Was this something that you had planned in the beginning?

 Yes, it was. I thought it would be fun, and I was ready for a challenge. I also felt the need to test my limits and see how many more milestones I can achieve as an author. I’m still challenging myself to new heights recently, and I plan to never stop doing so.

3. Do you have a favorite character of yours, or someone you feel is underrated in your books?

 Eric Williams, an extremely brave character who stood up to his evil mother, is very underrated. I wrote a companion novel for him (Eric’s Tale), which takes place between In the Name of the Otherworld and Marvels of the Underworld

I also feel that his girlfriend, Eileen Spencer, is an obscure character rarely noticed or favored by any readers. She, too, will have a companion novel dedicated to her in the future.

4. You’ve also started a Facebook page called Writing and Writers to promote indie authors.  Why is this something that is important to you?

World Castle Publishing has published some of the best books I’ve ever read, and I hope that with more promotion, more people will get to peruse those wonderful, thought-provoking works. 

It’s a pity that indie authors and publishers receive so little attention. In my opinion, many World Castle books would put the New York Times bestsellers to shame. Although my fledgling page is still quite new, doing something to help these authors is better than doing nothing at all. 

5. Do readers need to familiarize themselves with In the Name of the Otherworld before they read Marvels of the Underworld, or do you feel they will still be able to follow the narrative?

No, that is not necessary, although some of the character development in In the Name of the Otherworld will make the readers realize and acknowledge each character’s growth more compared to Marvels of the Underworld‘s predecessor. I did include some brief explanations of the events in book 1, but of course, reading book 1 before starting book 2 would certainly offer the readers a more complete insight of the plot and characters.

6. The next book in the series, War of the Chaotic Worlds, was actually broken into two novels.  Although the release date is not currently available, do we have this to look forward to as your next project?

 Yes, it will be my next publication, although it isn’t my “next” project. I finished War of the Chaotic Worlds last August, then moved on to complete Once Upon an Enchantress, Helen’s Tale, The First Buds of Spring, Eric’s Tale, and Zack’s Tale, challenging myself to penning comedies, psychological horror novels, romance novels, adult novels, and novels focusing on male characters. Those are very new endeavors for me, and I enjoy expanding my potential and experimenting with these interesting ideas.

7. How long did you plan Marvels of the Underworld before beginning the writing process, and how long did it take to write the novel?

I planned the outline in December 2019 and started working on it on October 9th, 2020. I finished it after four months, on February 8th, 2021. I also made February 8th the birthday of Helen Edmunds, the second female protagonist of the Otherworld trilogy, for this very reason. 

I keep track of my writing achievements and important dates in my iPad’s Notes, so they wouldn’t get lost in my hazy memory. I like having something to look back on when strolling down memory lane in the future, which is why I record and value every milestone in my journey.

8. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?  Where do you find your inspiration?

 I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was 10. I wrote a book, which I intended as a novel then, but bagged it after two months. I then started writing again when I was 13, though the quality of my manuscript was rather poor. The book I wrote at 13 turned out to be In the Name of the Otherworld, and is quite unrecognizable compared to its first draft. As for the book I started at 10, I am trying to rewrite and find an agent for it. It’s a middle grade fantasy novel about sibling rivalry, and how stories have the power to heal relationships and connect hearts.

I don’t find inspiration; it finds me. People always say, “You have to experience more to write well,” which I find highly patronizing. I believe that writers are writers not because they experience more, but rather because they feel and derive more from what they experience. For instance, you may see an escalator descending into a subway station. I think of it as a silver river pooling into a vast gray cave where underground trains run. And ding! Here comes a bout of inspiration. 

9. Where do you usually write your novels?  Do you have a favorite place to write?

I write them mostly in my room, but I get out my iPad and write whenever I feel like it. I absolutely love writing in Starbucks and at my grandma’s house. They have a certain charm on me and my work, and I can produce lots of high-quality writing in both places. Chalk it up to the magical latte, which my grandma always lets me have!

10. Do you have any hobbies or anything you do when you are not writing?

Reading! And sometimes, drawing. I rarely read fantasy or sci-fi, but if the book or story is well-written, it stays with me. I never read romance or erotica unless it’s written by my friends. I’m fine with horror and mystery, but not very obsessed with either genre. I adore thrillers, especially legal thrillers. My favorite books consist mostly of YA novels without a specific genre. Bridge to Terabithia, Nineteen Minutes, and Defending Jacob are my top three. 

Marvels of the Underworld is available in multiple outlets, including Amazon.