Friday, March 8, 2024


 Today I'm sharing a character interview I did with one of the cast of Mara Tran's debut novel THE WARD.

Introducing Luc Montague, the Piper. Let's see what he has to say on the subject of the mysterious murders happening in Venisia and the Black Masquerade. 

Thanks to Luc and Mara for doing this interview with me!

Please check out THE WARD if you haven't yet! You can get the paperback or Kindle copy on Amazon

Monday, November 13, 2023

COVER REVEAL! "The Ward" by Mara Tran


I am so excited to share this cover reveal today with all of you! My good friend and writing buddy Mara is finally publishing her debut novel and I actually cannot wait for all of you to be able to read it because it's amazing.

But for now, check out this lovely cover art

Mara is currently running a pre-order for SIGNED copies of the book with exclusive merch (including a very lovely pin!) You can find that on her Ko-fi shop HERE or the book will also be available on Amazon on December 1st

I will also be hosting an author interview/ Q&A with Mara on December 9th! Follow both of us on Instagram to make sure you don't miss that. | Mara | Hazel |

Monday, October 3, 2022

ONE WEEK LEFT to Preorder!

I've extended the Hardcover Preorder period until October 8th so there is now only ONE WEEK left to preorder the special edition hardcovers of The New Emperor's Concerto and Sweet Vendetta Blues (they will only be available through the preorder so if you want to get one, order before October 8th!) 

The hardcovers have dust jackets + laminate covers underneath with the cover art on them. They both include exclusive full color character art and The New Emperor’s Concerto also has an additional prequel story in the back.

If you don’t want a hardcover, the ebook and paperbacks versions are available for both on Amazon!

Sweet Vendetta Blues

 Hardcover Preorder 

(for those who don't have a kindle)

The New Emperor's Concerto 

Don’t forget to get your swag packs if you order a copy! If you’ve ordered an ebook or paperback, fill out the claim form below and I will send out your swag packs including a signed bookplate or bookmark


I am also planning on doing a live book signing and Q&A on my author instagram (@modern_bard67) when I get the hardcover copies in. The date Is still TBD but I will let everyone who has bought a copy of the book know in time if you’d like me to sign your book or bookplate live, or just want to come hang out and ask questions about the book and writing :) If you bought an ebook and filled out the swag form, I will also be signing bookmarks.

Claim Your Swag Here! (US and International)

Thursday, September 29, 2022

The New Emperor's Concerto Second Edition


Taking a little break from Sweet Vendetta Blues to celebrate Concerto today!

Fun fact, this is one of my favorite books that I have written. I had such a good time revisiting it and getting to do some extra art for the back of the book. 

I am also so pleased that the hardcover came out gorgeous! (see pictures below) The hardcover edition is still shelvable even if you want to take the dust jacket off of it. The title is still on the spine, but there is no text over the art. 

You can also purchase the updated copies of the ebook and paperback but these don't have The Butler's Story or the artwork included.

Purchase Links

And don't forget that there is swag up for grabs, including the chibi sticker sheet! 
All you have to do is fill out the claim form (if you buy a hardcover, the swag already comes with it)

I will also be doing a live signing and Q&A on my Instagram after the hardcover copies come in. I will be signing those, and any bookplates and bookmarks for people who have purchased paperbacks or ebooks. The official date is still TBA considering that I don't know exactly when the books will arrive, but probably sometime mid October. Make sure you fill out your swag form so that I'll have your stuff ready!

Now check out the lovely Concerto Hardcover!

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Designing A Character

What goes into creating a character for a book? We can talk all day about characteristics, figuring out what kind of cast will serve a book best, and then still being surprised when your planned villain doesn’t want to be as evil as you expected, or the random side character you put into a scene as a throwaway becomes part of the major plot. Characters can definitely have a mind of their own, and we, as authors, in the same way as parents, really have little control over how they turn out.


But today, my main focus is more on the character’s physical design, which is actually a lot more important than you might think. There’s a lot of things that go into the visual design of your character that can affect the story itself. I’m approaching this topic as both a writer and an artist. I love drawing my own characters, and it can take just as many drafts as a story itself. My goal with this post today is to help writers think about their own character designs. For the artists among you, I hope this might help you streamline the process a little, and for the non-artists, this might also help you give a more detailed description in your stories or even when commissioning art from other people.


First, we start with the general appearance of the character. I usually use these blanks: Name (of course), AgeEye ColorHair ColorEthnicity, Distinguishing Features (like if your character has a scar, always wears a certain necklace, or something else that is unique about them.) I’ll usually then follow this up with a short character description, and backstory which is also very important. Backstory can often determine how your character acts, dresses, even their features in some ways. Do they have a traumatic backstory? Were they born in a different country? Do they have a specific accent or mannerism? Why is that? This isn’t even all stuff that you ever have to use in the story itself, but it’s good to know. For example, it took me a while before I knew why Sebastian wore eyeliner, but I never wrote that into the book either because that wasn’t really important to the storyline. 


Clothing is also very important to think about. Obviously, you’re probably not going to put your medieval fantasy hero in jeans (unless that’s part of the aesthetic you’re going for!) But say you want to write a steampunk novel. You can look up Victorian fashion to get ideas and then modify the outfits the way you want. Is your character an orphan, are they from the upper classes? Are they more nomadic? If you’re writing a historical novel, it’s a good idea to research the period’s clothing so that you can accurately imagine what your character’s clothes and hairstyles might be like. How well would they be able to move in it? A fantasy sword fighter? They can 100% have a cool coat, but maybe consider designing it so that the sleeves are detached at the armpits or there’s a slit in the back for better movement. Practical and aesthetically pleasing. Want something futuristic? Come up with your own materials. I had a fun time thinking about bulletproof materials for everyone’s coats in The New Emperor’s Concerto. Jack and Sebastian might want to ask the British about that at some point.


Do you ever have the issue with pinning down exactly what your character looks like? It can take a while. For me, I either have a solid idea via some pre-existing reference, or it takes me a little bit to actually come up with the character’s looks. This is why I love being able to draw my characters myself, because it helps me go through designs that just don’t work. My advice to artists who want to come up with a character design is just do stream of consciousness sketches until you find something you like. They don’t have to be detailed, in fact, vague shapes are often better, and eventually you’ll figure something out.


For example, here is the complete evolution of Jack and Sebastian’s character designs from my very first one, to the finalized character art:

Very first boys, Jack had floofy hair

Some outfit designs I did not entirely keep

Figuring out hair (again, rejected uniformed detective Jack)

I don't know if I've mentioned how much I love holsters (also Sebastian's tattoo moved around a lot in early stages)

More finalized designs (First attempt at Jack's arm)

The sketches I did for the final character sheets that are in the hardcover

And of course, the final colored art

So that’s a brief example of how I go about designing my characters. I really think having visuals, even if it’s just a Pinterest board makes for a richer experience and also helps ease the way for descriptions that will help the reader to better see what you do when you’re writing.


If you have any questions about character design, drop them below!

Sweet Vendetta Blues Release Day!

 It's The official release day for Sweet Vendetta Blues! All versions of the book except the Hardcovers which are still only available as a preorder, are now available!

(Open through October 2nd)

(for those who don't have a kindle)

Get your copy today! And don't forget to send in your swag claim form to get your swag pack! (This will be open through the end of October)

If you buy a copy now, I will be signing hardcovers, bookplates, and bookmarks or character cards for anyone who sends in swag forms LIVE on my Instagram sometime in October!

Also...we finally have actual pictures of the hardcovers!

Monday, September 26, 2022

Ask Jack and Sebastian


Jack and Sebastian have volunteered their time to answer your questions about the book, their lives, or whatever else you might be curious about. Leave your questions in the comments or submit your questions on Instagram 

The post with their answers will be going up Friday!