The Reanimator's Heart

Writing Update TRH #1

I promise the next blog will contain some helpful info about writing, but between allergies kicking my butt, stepping up my writing, and other random life goings-on, my brain is not working. Instead, I wanted to talk a little about The Reanimator’s Heart, which is my current work-in-progress.

Since we last spoke about The Reanimator’s Heart, several exciting things have happened. The first being that I finally finished the synopsis/blurb!

A reluctant necromancer, a man killed before his time, and the crime that brings them together.

Felipe Galvan’s life as an investigator for the Paranormal Society has been spent running into danger. Returning home from his latest case, Felipe struggles with the sudden quiet of his life until a mysterious death puts him in the path of enigmatic Oliver Barlow.

Oliver Barlow has two secrets. The first, he has been in love with the charming Felipe Galvan for years. The second, he is a necromancer, but to keep the sensible life he’s built as a coroner, he must hide his powers. That is until Oliver finds Felipe murdered and accidentally brings him back from the dead.

But Felipe refuses to die again until he and Oliver catch his killer. Together, Felipe and Oliver embark on an investigation that will take them to the darkest corners of New York to uncover a plot centuries in the making. As they close in on his killer, one thing is certain: if they don’t stop them, Felipe won’t be the last to die.

If you are a writer, you understand the head-on-desk weeping that is involved in writing a blurb. Shockingly, this one came together after only about three drafts, which makes me incredibly happy. I highly recommend How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis by Bryan Cohen if you’re struggling to write your blurb. Right now there isn’t a preorder link for The Reanimator’s Heart as I am waiting on the cover from my cover designer first before I set it up, but you can add it on Goodreads if you’re so inclined.

Speaking of the cover, I have been talking to my cover designer for this book and I am super excited to see what he comes up with for this story. His artwork fits the aesthetic perfectly, and he’s done the covers for one of my favorite authors, so I am very excited.

In the meantime, I’ve been writing, playing catch up, and writing some more. Everything around my house is in full bloom, so I am in allergy hell. My body likes to overreact to things I’m allergic too, even with the medicine I’m on that is supposed to tamp that down, so my brain is swimming through the fog most days. April has been frustrating to say the least. I set my word count goal at a very manageable 500 words a day since I’m still restretching my writing muscles, and I managed to fall behind within a few days of the month starting. It took until last Friday to finally hit my current target word count, so now all I have to do is stay on track. Cue the panicked laughter. Truthfully, all I want to do is watch Our Flag Means Death (hooray for the gay pirate romcom we all deserved) and play video games, and if I get a day ahead in terms of word count, I’m taking a day off to rest my brain. During my procrastination time, I also made these character mood boards for Felipe and Oliver, respectively, and commissioned character art from @bloodwrit on Twitter (thank you, Vic!)

Art by Bloodwrit/Vic

I know I’m biased, but I really love Oliver and Felipe. Oliver is brilliant but reserved and sort of sheltered. Felipe is worldly but deeply unsettled about what his life has become though he won’t admit it. Together they’re a fantastic team with enough knowledge to take on almost anything, but can they manage to help each other find a way forward toward the life they want is the question. What I’m also loving about writing this is where future books in the series will go. Oliver’s necromancy really only starts to bloom in book 1, so there are so many places it can go while the specter of past necromancers looms large over him. The Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow meets Pushing Up Daisies feels are ever present in this story, and my hope is that the strange mix of gruesomeness and tenderness are something you all are into.

I think this is where I will leave you all today. If you want a little more of The Reanimator’s Heart to tide you over, you can check out its Pinterest Board and playlist.

The Reanimator's Heart · Writing

Introducing The Reanimator’s Heart

You may have seen me talk about my current WIP, The Reanimator’s Heart, but I realized I really haven’t gone into what the story is truly about. Today, we’re going to change that, especially because this month’s author newsletter will include a never before seen snippet of The Reanimator’s Heart. If you’d like to join my monthly newsletter, you can do so by clicking here.

I started writing The Reanimator’s Heart, or at least toying with the idea, while I was struggling with my mental health getting worse during covid and losing my dad. At the time, I had been working on Trousers and Trouble, which is such a joyful book that I was struggling despite knowing where I was going. This book, on the other hand, is definitely a reflection on loss, autism/neurodivergence, chronic illness, grief, and the things left behind after death. At the same time, this book is actually coming out far funnier and lighter than I expected. Are there heavy themes and a high body count? Yes. Are these characters having a grand old time and incredibly charming? Also, yes.

First off, where does The Reanimator’s Heart fit in the Kara Jorgensen extended universe?

It is technically an off-shoot of The Paranormal Society Romance series. The story takes place in the New York Paranormal Society as mentioned in Kinship and Kindness where Bennett works. Originally, I debated including this book as part of the Paranormal Society Romance series since it runs concurrently with what I already have planned, but neither of the love interests are trans (and there’s a trans MC in each of those books) and the book is a bit more mystery than romance. Like a lot more of a mystery than romance. Then, as I was brainstorming The Reanimator’s Heart, I realized I had an idea for a second book with the same couple. It just made sense to split this book off into its own series, which will be titled, The Reanimator Mysteries.

What is The Reanimator’s Heart about?

The Reanimator’s Heart is like Penny Dreadful meets Vienna Blood with a healthy dose of Tim Burton’s style of levity (like Pushing Up Daisies). That sounds incredibly contradictory, but my work is generally on the Gothier side of dark complete with at least some of the campiness that makes the Gothic so much fun.

Here is the rough working blurb:

Oliver Barlow is the coroner for the New York Paranormal Society, and he has been harboring a secret from his coworkers: he’s a necromancer. He often solves cases by briefly reviving the dead, asking them a few pointed questions, and sending them back to the great beyond. Anything more and he could be treading into dangerous territory. His life working (and living) in the basement of the Paranormal Society has been going smoothly until Felipe Galvan returns to the Paranormal Society after a bounty hunting mission across the country. For years, Oliver has had a crush on Felipe, and they soon find themselves working on a case together involving a murdered nun. All is going well until the same person who murdered Sister Mary Agnes comes for Felipe. When Oliver finally musters up the courage to ask Felipe Galvan out, he finds him dead, and accidentally reanimates him. But Felipe will not go quietly. He refuses to die until they figure out who murdered him and solve the case. Things far worse than murder are afoot in Manhattan. Oliver and Felipe soon find themselves facing a cabal ready to unleash something horrific into their world.

As you can probably tell from the blurb, this is probably a little closer in tone to my Ingenious Mechanical Devices series with murders, monsters, and m/m romance.

Why am I so excited about this book?

Because I love Oliver and Felipe. Oliver is the science goth of my heart. He’s sweet yet awkward, and a lot of what he deals with comes directly from my experience as a neurodivergent person. If you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to be in an overactive, overthinking brain, you’ll definitely get it in his point of view. On the other hand, Felipe is dashing, courageous, but much like Oliver, he presents a mask to the world. He has plenty of his own issues that he’s running from. He grapples with what it means to be undead and to suddenly have one’s powers and life suddenly change (cough chronic illness analog cough).

Speaking of Felipe, his extended family has been one of my favorite parts of writing this book. Felipe is in a lavender marriage with his wife, Louisa, who is a relationship with a trans woman, Agatha Pfeiffer. Together they have a daughter, Teresa, who is in college studying art and design. Felipe, Louisa, and Agatha raised her together. I really enjoyed working in another trans character, especially one who would have been part of a growing trans culture back in Germany (if you’ve never heard of this, please look up Willi Pape or Magnus Hirschfield) and who has a child/family.

The details.

The Reanimator’s Heart will probably be out in the fall of 2022. I’m not setting a date or preorder until I completely finish the manuscript, but you can add it to your Goodreads TBR by clicking here.

At the end of the month, I will send out the first sneak peek of the story exclusively to my newsletter subscribers, so if you’re interested, you should sign up here or by clicking the button below. You may also want to sign up in order to get the first look at the cover in the future and to get some interesting weirdness packaged and emailed to you every month.