Thursday, November 19, 2020

Thatcher Maugden And The Dream Witch


(Images for illustration purposes only.)

The release date for MIRRORMAZE: A Dreampunk Anthology is fast approaching! Thank you so much to all of you who have already pre-ordered a copy! 

Today I want to put a spotlight on my short story which is part of this first-ever Dreampunk anthology, Thatcher Maugden And The Dream Witch.

Thatcher Maugden is an Edwardian-era magician who finds himself swept into the Dream World by a Nightmare Demon who tasks him with the duty of piloting a dream-skimmer and ridding the Dream World of any would-be trouble makers, aka lucid dreamers. He's resigned himself to his new surreal career until the day that he stumbles upon a Dream Witch who changes everything.


So, for those who really like to dig into fictional worlds and who have read my other books, I'm thrilled to tell you there is a connection. The story of Thatcher Maugden not only takes place in the same universe as the ROAM series, but Thatcher also happens to be Ethan Roam's great-great-grandfather! This is not specifically stated in the short story, but it was my intent while writing. Just some fun background info. and world-building extras for you. :)

MIRRORMAZE releases on December 8th and contains short stories from 22 science-fiction and fantasy authors!

Pre-Order Now!

Ebook | Paperback

❤ Dez Schwartz

Monday, October 26, 2020



Hello Dear Reader-Friends!

I'm so excited to finally be able to share the thrilling conclusion of The Dead Oaks series with you all! This Young Adult M/M Paranormal novella series has been such an adventure to write and I hope you love this ending for Jasper and Wes.


Summary of CURSED ASYLUM (The Dead Oaks - Book Four):

In the final installment of the series, The Dead Oaks Paranormal Society is offered the opportunity of a lifetime to compete against several other teams of paranormal investigators on Fright Team TV, a reality television special, for the chance to win a show of their own!

The production takes them on location to one of the most haunted asylums in North America. But will the group be able to survive the temptation of fame and a chilling curse from beyond?


Immense thanks to all of you who have been with me on this journey since the beginning! Your support has meant the world to me. 

If you've yet to read the series but would like to check it out now that it's complete, you're in luck! The first three books are now only 99 cents!

Happy Reading & Have A Happy Halloween!
♥ Dez

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Preview Cursed Asylum: Special Excerpt!

 My Dear Reader-Friends,

Today I'm sharing an extra special preview of CURSED ASYLUM. An entire scene from Chapter One!

(photos from Unsplash)

So, here you go! A sneak peek from The Dead Oaks: Cursed Asylum.


Jasper rushed to dress the next morning like he always did on Saturdays. Only getting to see Wes on weekends was a challenge. Jasper spent the entire week pining and daydreaming of the time they’d spend together and once the weekend came, the days flew by so fast he barely had time to grasp them. Every second counted and he couldn’t be bothered to waste them on primping in a mirror or trading morning platitudes with his parents. So, he shouted a short, “Have a great day!” to his mom and dad as he zoomed past them having their morning coffee on the couch while watching the news. However, Jasper did take a moment at the door to grab his jacket and scratch Zener, the family’s tabby cat, behind the ear before heading out to meet up with Wes at the park.

Tony’s suggestion of renting an apartment for the weekends had rooted itself in Jasper’s thoughts. While he drove into town, he kept running over the logistics of the scenario and each time concluded it financially impractical. However, his imagination insisted on how amazing having a safe place all their own would be. No more rushing to get ready on Saturday mornings because they’d already be together.

The park was within walking distance from the Shain’s house, where Wes stayed while he visited. Jasper spotted him on the metal bench near the small hedge maze in the center of the park. The park wasn’t too busy this early in the morning. Only a few joggers were on the walking trail and a couple of families with small children were gathered around the playground equipment. The hedge maze appeared to be empty save for Wes who hopped up from the bench when Jasper arrived.

Since when did you become such a morning person?” Jasper asked after a brief kiss in greeting. Wes grinned so wide he could have been rehearsing to be the Cheshire Cat.

Since all of our prayers have been answered!” Wes rocked on his feet with pent up exuberance.

Well, that’s not much of a feat since I don’t pray,” Jasper teased. He locked elbows with Wes and led him into the hedge maze in an effort to help him funnel out all his apparent excess energy while they walked and talked.

I’m so excited, I don’t even think this is the best way to tell you this but I’m going to do it anyway,” Wes said. “I just can’t keep it to myself until we see Liv and Tony later and I didn’t want to relay the message through texts because this is definitely one of those things you have to announce to people in person.”

You’re rambling,” Jasper pointed out while they rounded a hedge.

Wes took a deep breath and stopped Jasper in his tracks by unlinking their elbows and pivoting to face him. Wes grabbed Jasper by the arms as though he were about to need steadying.

I submitted an audition tape with clips of our work to a reality show competition about paranormal investigators and—they accepted us! We’re in!” Wes shook Jasper’s arms. “We’re going to be on television!”

He let Jasper go and ran his hands through his long black hair, brushing wild strands out of his face where they had fallen in his excitement.

You did what?” Shocked, Jasper’s body locked in place like he'd had a nightmare where someone was chasing him, and he couldn’t run away because his legs had become heavy as stone. The thought of being on network television caused years of carefully managed social anxiety to crash over him in a giant wave. Sure, they had a web series, but that was different. They had a niche audience, and he could control how much he would be seen, and he tried to stay off camera whenever possible. But a reality show? No. No way. Everyone in the nation would be watching and criticizing.

This is the chance of a lifetime! I can’t wait to tell Liv and Tony.”

Jasper fought off the rapid sensation of distress building up. “You should have told us before you applied!”

Wes knitted his eyebrows. “Why? So, you could shrug it off and say ‘no’? See, this way if we were rejected—no harm, no foul. But now that we’re accepted, we can celebrate! And start preparing. We’re supposed to fly out to film over winter break.”

Jasper continued walking the maze in silence, allowing Wes to ramble on about what the reality show entailed. He couldn’t talk Wes down when he was this enthusiastic about something. Jasper would have to leave that job to Liv. She was much better at bursting bubbles.

Winter break was in three weeks. Maybe that would be enough time to talk some sense into him.

And, it gets better!” Wes’s announcement broke through Jasper’s desperate thoughts.

Oh, I doubt that,” Jasper muttered.

Wes didn’t seem to hear him. “We get a paycheck! Like a pretty big paycheck. Just for being on the show. Which means we could totally get our own place once it’s over.”

Jasper slowed his pace. So, Wes had Tony’s suggestion on his mind too? Maybe this reality show was a strange blessing in disguise. He’d just have to figure out how to be the most uninteresting person to ever be on television so they wouldn’t spend much time filming him, right? He could do that. His peers had once nicknamed him Casper.

Jasper knew how to be invisible.



In the final installment of the series, The Dead Oaks Paranormal Society is offered the opportunity of a lifetime to compete against several other teams of paranormal investigators on Fright Team TV, a reality television special, for the chance to win a show of their own!

The production takes them on location to one of the most haunted asylums in North America. But will the group be able to survive the temptation of fame and a chilling curse from beyond?

Now available for Pre-Order on Amazon!

I'm looking forward to release day and can't wait to share this exciting conclusion to The Dead Oaks series with you all!

What's Next?

  • Mirrormaze: A Dreampunk Anthology releases December 8th! My short story, Thatcher Maugden And The Dream Witch, is included. (published by Fractured Mirror Publishing)
  • Riding Acadenemies, my first M/M Contemporary Romance, will release late 2021. (published by NineStar Press)
BONUS Cursed Asylum Excerpt:

Thanks for reading!

❤ Dez

Thursday, October 15, 2020

5 Tips + One BIG MISTAKE When Writing A Novella Series


I've just finished writing my first novella series and the final book is set to release later this month. Check out The Dead Oaks: Cursed Asylum here! 

If you're unfamiliar with the term, a novella is a story that is typically 15K-40K words in length. A novella series is exactly what it sounds like--a book series made up of these sorts of mini-novels.

So, I'm sharing my thoughts on the process of writing a novella series and what I've learned. I'm not saying this is the only way to do things. Every writer is different and you should always trust your gut. But these are the steps I took and what I feel was my biggest mistake!

1. Plan Your ARC

Chances are, if you're considering writing a novella series then you already have a pretty good idea of the story you want to tell or the characters you want to explore. You don't need to know all the details from the start but make an effort to loosely plot either a story arc or your main character's arc from the beginning. This will help you avoid writer's block along the way and is useful in spotting the overall "theme" of your series. Knowing the theme in advance will make marketing your story much easier down the road.

2. Choose Your Format

Will your books be stand-alones with a common thread or will they be sequential and necessary to read in order? Will they be written in first or third person, or possibly have multiple POVs (points-of-view)? Whichever you choose, keep this consistent throughout the series. If a reader loves your first book enough to move on to the next one, it's because they are going to expect more of what they adored the first time. Also, if possible, try to keep each book around the same length. If your readers are accustomed to your stories being 30K words then they might feel cheated if the next book is only 15K words (the exception being short-story spin-offs or those "Book 2.5" situations where the reader understands it will be shorter ahead of time). 

3. Keep A Series Reference Manuel

Some writers call it the "Series Bible" and it can be as little as a one-sheet reference, or a tabbed binder, all the way to an entire intricate Wiki. This will just depend on how robust your story-world becomes and physical or digital is up to your personal preference. For The Dead Oaks, I kept everything in a notebook. For future projects, I'm considering trying the Wiki method.

4. Consider Your Marketing Early

Consistency is key, right? This is just as true when trying to reach an audience. I stumbled with this in the beginning by not having the foresight to plan for all of my covers to match. Book two in my series stands out when set next to the others because the cover is so different. I highly recommend thinking about how you want to market your series and then planning for all of the covers to have a consistent design. Whether you hire a designer or design them yourself, make things easier by choosing elements early that you can incorporate onto every cover.

Along with cover art, start thinking about the online spaces where your ideal readers spend the most time and begin constructing a plan to reach them there. The earlier you make those connections, the more readers you'll have right from the start of your first book release.

5. Create A Release Schedule (MY BIGGEST MISTAKE)

I'm telling you. That whole consistency thing is more important than you may realize! Just like keeping your covers consistent and your format similar, readers tend to prefer books with consistent release intervals. Who would've thought? Apparently, not this novella newbie. lol In a way, my books were consistent but with such short novels releasing a full year apart from one another it was definitely hard to keep up the excitement and momentum. I was juggling more than one series and also writing a few standalones in between. My biggest piece of advice if you choose to write a novella series is to focus on ONLY that series until it's completed and to keep to a release schedule. You don't have to publish a book every month, but at least 2-4 times a year will make it much easier to keep your audience's attention. There are so many great books out there vying for readers, so just do your best to make sure you have something for them more often than not.

I hope these tips help you out if you're working on your own novella series! I love answering writing-related questions, so always feel free to shoot me an email or send me a Tweet and I will try to cover it in a future blog post!

Thanks for reading!

♥ Dez

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Pre-Orders For CURSED ASYLUM Available Now


Hello, friends!

CURSED ASYLUM (The Dead Oaks: Book 4) is now available for pre-order on Amazon! This final installment in my YA MM Paranormal Novella series, The Dead Oaks, releases October 26th. Just in time for Halloween!


In the final installment of the series, The Dead Oaks Paranormal Society is offered the opportunity of a lifetime to compete against several other teams of paranormal investigators on Fright Team TV, a reality television special, for the chance to win a show of their own!

The production takes them on location to one of the most haunted asylums in North America. But will the group be able to survive the temptation of fame and a chilling curse from beyond?

If you need to catch up on the rest of the series, the first three books are now only 99 cents each!

And if you're already a full-fledged D.O.P.S. fan, you can show your support by grabbing an official Dead Oaks Paranormal Society t-shirt from Redbubble! ROAM merch is also available.

Keep an eye on this space in October because I'll be sharing more things soon! 

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Author Life FAQs

If you follow me on social media then you may have seen me ask for questions to be sent in for an FAQ. Thank you to everyone who submitted one! It's been a while since I've done one of these, so here we go!

How do you actually finish a book? I keep getting stuck on revising the same chapters over and over and never seem to move forward.

I've given myself a rule that I'm not allowed to revise ANYTHING until I've completed the entire first draft of a book. If something is really gnawing at me, I do keep a notebook by my laptop to jot down big changes that I want to make later. My advice is to not get hung up on grammar or revisions and just plow through the story. You can fix it all once it's been written.

Did you always want to be a writer?

I've always loved writing but I had no idea I would be a writer. Initially, I wanted to work in paranormal research. Then, I wanted to be an actress and participated in every high school theater production. I had planned to get a Drama degree, but when that didn't pan out due to life events at the time, I ended up getting a BFA in Studio Art with a specialization in Graphic Design instead. I worked as a graphic designer for ten years, then as the Executive Assistant at a Contemporary Fine Arts museum before finally staying home to write full-time. During all of that, though, I was constantly writing because that's my true passion. I just ended up being lucky enough to have a spouse who has volunteered to support me (both emotionally and financially) while pursuing my dreams.

Is there a genre you haven't written yet but want to?

I would say I've dabbled in most fiction genres and found ways to incorporate elements of them all into my stories. I haven't written a non-fiction book yet and I do have a potential idea for one but I don't know if/when I'll write it.

Will there be more ROAM books?

This isn't going to be the answer you want (or maybe it will be?) because I can't give you a hard yes or no. For now, the ROAM series is complete. However, I do have ideas for a new series down the road that would essentially be a continuation. But there are no solid plans for anything yet.

That being said, I do have a standalone short story titled Thatcher Maugden and the Dream Witch which will be published in Mirrormaze, a first-ever Dreampunk Anthology, later this year! It's technically a prequel to the ROAM series and the main characters are relatives of Ethan Roam.

How long does it take you to write a book?

This varies, but anywhere between 3-6 months has been my standard timeframe. I'm working on trying to speed up my process. I would love to be able to publish a new book every quarter of the year but I haven't gotten quite that fast yet.

If you could turn any of your books into a movie, which would it be and who would you cast?

Oh, definitely ROAM. In fact, I've done a blog post on this in the past with some potential casting choices.

Have you had any paranormal experiences in your own life?

So many! This is why I initially was interested in a career in the paranormal. Now I just use my passion and experiences to write about it. So, in a way, I suppose I ended up with a Paranormal career after all. *wink*

I hope you enjoyed this short FAQ session! Feel free to submit questions to me anytime and I'll compile them for the next one.


Monday, July 13, 2020

The Dead Oaks: Cursed Asylum - COVER REVEAL!

The title and Cover Reveal for the final book in my YA M/M Paranormal novella series, The Dead Oaks, is here!! Cursed Asylum is now available to add to your TBR list on Goodreads!

In the final installment of the series, The Dead Oaks Paranormal Society is offered the opportunity of a lifetime to compete against several other teams of paranormal investigators on Fright Team TV, a reality television special, for the chance to win a show of their own!

The production takes them on location to one of the most haunted asylums in North America. But even if they survive the horrors of the night, will the temptation of fame and a curse from beyond end up disbanding the Dead Oaks Paranormal Society for good?

I'm doing my best to get this book out to you by mid-Autumn (2020 willing! *fingers crossed*). As always, you can keep up with me on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook for updates. Or, join my newsletter to make sure you're always the first to know as soon as a book is released!