Isabelle Santiago's Blog
March 31, 2014
Talk about fighting the Monday blues. I’ve spent the last three days sick and taking care of sicklings so this spark of awesomeness is a legitimate reason for celebration. Not even this freak snow storm in March can get me down (although I don’t have to like it, *grumpy face*). It’s here! The third and final book in my Guardian Circle series is out! I’m so psyched! This has been a long time coming! *throws confetti*
THE GUARDIAN’S FALL
(Book III, The Guardian Circle)
Phoenix is tired of being second best, so when his entire reason for living walks away without looking back, he refuses to sit by and let history repeat itself. This time, he’s determined to fight for the woman he loves. But Kieran’s influence is strong and to free Amaya of her obsession, Phoenix is going to need help. Hidden deep in the forests of Miari is the one person who might change Amaya’s mind. Except Hana has no interest in revisiting the past. She’s too busy playing saviour to an undeserving nation. Injured and suddenly at her mercy, Phoenix fights to understand the woman she’s become and to uncover the well-guarded secret that motivates her to suggest the impossible: re-open the Guardian Circle and right the wrongs of their world, leaving it all behind for a chance at a better future. But can they do it before it’s too late? Or will they lose everything – again?
Love is Blindness by Jack White
Intro by the xx
Waking Dream by Natalie Walker
The Curse by Agnes Obel
Hero by Regina Spektor
Set Fire to the Third Bar by Snow Patrol
Eavesdrop by The Civil Wars
Over the Love by Florence & the Machine
Breath of Life by Florence & the Machine
Safe and Sound by Taylor Swift ft The Civil Wars
She is the Sunlight by Trading Yesterday
Enjoy! And Happy Release Day!
March 21, 2014
That’s it. The countdown is on, people! Are you excited?! I am! Excited, anxious, nervous… You name it, I’m running the gamut. But in a good way, you know? In a proud, speechless, I can’t believe this is finally ‘the end’ kind of way. I finished my first series! This is huge! *Super excited high-fives all around*
I really loved writing in the same world with familiar characters. Having an ensemble cast helped me explore my themes from different viewpoints, forced me to build thrilling new relationships (not even just romantic ones!), and really let me set the world building up in an epic, sweeping way that was both individual characters and universal. I learned so much about plotting (lifetime pantser here), character growth and continuity. Things I didn’t expect to learn years ago, when I first started putting the characters down on paper, first started fleshing out their world and its ancient traditions. This has been an awesome journey and I see the growth with each book. I hope you guys end up loving the Guardians as much as I do, when it’s all said and done.
So, what do we have in store as we countdown to release week?
Let’s start with a guest appearance at fellow Drollerie Press author Angela Korra’ti/Angela Highland’s blog! She has a nifty segment titled Boosting the Signal, where she offers up fellow authors some promo love. There’s a vignette, not included in the books, told from a minor character’s POV (Bianca/Air) which ties together books 2 and 3 and sets up a major plot point! :) Please check it out!
Also, be on the lookout for the official series playlist. I’m going to put together all the songs that inspired me and offer some YouTube linkage for your listening pleasure. ;)
In the meantime, if you haven’t started the series, what are you waiting for? Book 1- The Guardian’s Mark is on sale for only $0.99! Barely a cup of coffee! ;) so get your read on! Book 2- The Guardian’s Choice is marked down to $2.99 for a limited time. Get it while you can!
March 5, 2014
Why hello there, stranger. You look familiar. Have we met before?
Oh, blog. It’s been such a long time. I’ve missed you! And you too, readers! I know I haven’t been completely out of touch, social media is great for random thoughts, book updates, Firefly personality quizzes – the usual. But the blog… the blog is how we first got to know each other. How we first became friends. And it’s been far too long since we just sat down to chat.
by NKZS at sxc.hu
After my last post, I fell into a whirlwind of activity. The weather had warmed up, I felt good enough to be out in the sunshine, and between get-togethers, baby showers, and last minute planning, I saw the end of June and couldn’t remember how I’d gotten there. Man, time flies! I never even made it to my due date. My cutie arrived a week early and back I went, into the haze of nighttime feedings, dirty diapers, and the all around baby care. Add in one new big brother with tons of questions, excitement, and a little bit of trepidation, and I had my hands full.
That said, I still managed to finish and edit the final book in the Guardian Circle series! And yes, while I realize it is a bit late (don’t look at me like that), it’s done! Like, officially, FINISHED. It is now in the formatting stage and I’m hoping to release it within the month! An exact date is forthcoming.
Now that the series is complete, I’ve set my sights on other projects I’ve had waiting in the wings. I haven’t decided what to work on yet. Nothing seems to be striking my fancy quite as much as it should, but I think that’s mostly because I’m in a little bit of mourning. Saying goodbye to Zerah is hard. It’s my book baby. And I’m still suffering from book hangover. So, I’m taking it slow. Doing a little dance around the books that interest me and writing stuff here and there that interests me. Soon though. I’m hoping to feel that rush and that excitement soon. Once the fog of sleeplessness and sadness drift away. All I need is a kick in the pants and a good book to put me back on track.
Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi
Speaking of good books: IGNITE ME by Tahereh Mafi has been out for like a month now and I’ve yet to read it. I am a terrible fan. Even though I have shouted her praises from rooftops and in telephone conversations.
I have a feeling after finishing that series, I’ll be furiously typing and rearing to go. Her brilliance inspires me. I love a great story told beautifully. And she’s a master at that. Yes. I am intense in my love for her. I don’t deny it, nor do I regret it. I embrace my geekiness.
Anyway, it’s great to be back, shooting the breeze. I hope we can get back into some semi-regular swing of things, reacquaint ourselves. I still have my hands full, but thankfully, things are settling into a nice rhythm, as life often tends to.
What about you all? How have you been? What are you up to? Read anything good? Seen any good movies? TV shows? Tell me all about it! I look forward to hearing from you!
May 15, 2013
That’s all I have left.
I’ve been watching the calendar countdown like a ticking clock, waiting for D-Day. As you can imagine, my to do list is endless. It grows exponentially each day. They practically know me by name at Ikea. I’ve built more furniture in the last few months than I have in the two years combined of living in this apartment. I’ve changed my mind about six times regarding the color scheme I’m going to use for the nursery. I’m fielding ‘why is it taking so long questions’ from my four-year-old left and right. And of course with only seven weeks to go, we’re coming upon baby shower season.
Amidst all of this I got it in my head that I needed to finish what I started. I couldn’t go into labor knowing that my young adult series was still in progress, Especially because I had promised a Spring 2013 release. But could I really do it after having been set so far back? I did spend nearly 5 months so ill I couldn’t sit at the computer. And the last 2 catching up on lost time.
I knew I didn’t want to force it. This story had always come to me and its own unique way. But as the days passed, I grew more anxious about the future of my project, my baby, knowing once that second child came home, work would come to a standstill. At least for little while.
Then somehow, inexplicably… it hit me. The ending. That final that had eluded me for so long. I stepped out of the shower yesterday minding my own business when the scene unraveled in my mind. Line by line, even dialogue, all came perfectly. I scribbled as fast as I could in a notepad because I knew I wasn’t going to have time to wait for the computer to boot up. But my fingers weren’t fast enough.
I saw the other side of 4 AM. And just like that it was over. This enormous part of my life for the past seven or so years had just ended. With seven weeks to go.
I’m so thrilled! And sad. And relieved. Hahaha! I’m so conflicted by it all, but at least, one thing I’m sure I feel is proud. To have written a series and seen it through to the end. I’m going to miss these characters and this world. But they’ve taught me so much about writing, character growth, and plot development. They’ve become like real people to me and I love them for it.
So I might just make that Spring deadline after all.
Look out for The Guardian’s Fall, book 3 of the Guardian Circle Series.
Phoenix is tired of being second best, so when his entire reason for living walks away without looking back, he refuses to sit by and let history repeat itself. This time, he’s determined to fight for the woman he loves. But Kieran’s influence is strong and to free Amaya of her obsession, Phoenix is going to need help.
Hidden deep in the forests of Miari is the one person who might change Amaya’s mind. Except Hana has no interest in revisiting the past. She’s too busy playing saviour to an undeserving nation.
Injured and suddenly at her mercy, Phoenix fights to understand the woman she’s become and to uncover the well-guarded secret that motivates her to suggest the impossible: re-open the Guardian Circle and right the wrongs of their world, leaving it all behind for a chance at a better future.
But can they do it before it’s too late? Or will they lose everything – again?
February 7, 2013
I’ve put off writing this post long enough. The truth is, I didn’t even know what to say or how to say what I was actually thinking and feeling. Ironic, seeing as how my being an author usually means that writing things down is my specialty. But I guess like with anything else, you can’t write down something you don’t fully understand. Even the best stories can fall apart if a character is withdrawn, hiding secrets from everyone, including YOU, the creator. A good plot can unravel in a big messy heap if there’s some motivation you don’t understand. This is true about life, too. When you don’t even know or understand your own thoughts, it can be difficult to make sense of anything at all.
Ok, I’m talking in circles. Let me try to be more succinct. I’m pregnant. With Baby #2. Normally this would be a cause for joy and great cheer. Let me rephrase that, it IS a cause for joy and great cheer, except unlike many women, my body does not seem well built to carry children. What does that mean exactly? Isn’t carrying a child just the most natural thing in the world?, I thought to myself over and over again. You have no idea how it messes with your head to think you’re the exception to a well-set rule, something that for generations has gone on without a hitch and provided so many women with countless joy. Everyone has a little morning sickness. That first trimester can be really rough. What I experienced was something altogether more sinister, a monster that consumed me completely.
I have twice been the victim of a little disease called hyperemesis gravidarium, a disease recently made famous by Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge. It affects anywhere between 0.2 and 2 percent of women in developed countries, but honestly, I think the number might be higher, since its a disease that often goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. I certainly had it with my first baby even though I never knew it. I have memories of days spent passed out on bathroom floors, my flushed face against the cool tile, trying to catch my breath after a vomiting session that left me empty, without enough energy to stand. I didn’t even have a night of alcohol and partying to blame it on. This was not a toilet hugging hangover. This was a crippling and terrifying nausea. Constant, day and night, aggravated by smells. Bringing a paper bag with me if I had the energy to go anywhere at all. Leaving my job, a job that I seriously LOVED, because I was afraid of gagging, dry heaving, or worse- actually throwing up on a customer or their food. *_* The thought is just so beyond disgusting.
Today I went back to posts from 2008 because I was curious to see just where I was mentally, how things were faring for me compared to this time around. I found several summer posts that I spent at the ER with IVs. I kept saying it was dehydration (which, it was), but I blamed it on the summer, on the heat, on fatigue. It was none of those things. It was HG. And at one point, even though I knew that, I couldn’t even really share how horrible it was because most people just don’t get it. They think, shouldn’t you be happy? You’re having a baby! So many people want to have a baby and can’t! Or worse: everyone has a little morning sickness. It’ll pass. Eat some saltines. Drink some gingerale. We’ve ALL done it.
So I accepted that. I suffered in silence all the while wondering what the heck was wrong with me. I remember this post very vividly, the post where I tried to express my frustration to the anonymous Internet without actually saying anything at all. July 22, 2008. A beautiful person and writer friend emailed me shortly after that post to remind me that she was there, if I needed to talk to anyone. Cora Zane will never know how much her reaching out meant to me. She gave me a sounding board, reaffirmed that it was ok to feel confused and conflicted and scared. She was a support system when I didn’t even know I needed one. Two months later, sometime in September 2008, I came clean and told the world (and officially the Internet), that I’d been knocked up.
This time was different. I knew before I even peed on that stick that I was pregnant. I knew because I felt… oddly familiar. The tingles of a downward spiral I recognized. I was going to get sick again and not even being sick the first time prepared me for what was to come. I made a few ER runs, was on some strong anti nausea medication before I even had my first official OB appointment. I couldn’t keep down any food, let alone water. I started the weight loss. The first time, I lost 15lbs. This time, I managed to stop around 7. I attribute that to the doctors aggressive treatment. And I’m forever grateful. While the medicine never made me feel 100% better, it made my days manageable. Taking care of a toddler in that condition is HARD. Seriously, ridiculously hard. Even making lunch was a chore because, oh my gosh the smell. Then the severe motion sickness kicked in and I resigned myself to bedrest. Most days it was a marathon to make it to the bathroom at the end of the hall without getting violently ill. I loathed my body, my weakness. I questioned my parenting, my natural feminine instinct. Truth is, who I was as a human being got tossed on its head and I didn’t know what was up or down anymore, just that I was miserable and sick and so delirious that I didn’t want to be any of those things anymore, ever again.
This was when I started scouring the Internet. There had to be an explanation. A REASON. The Internet is an interesting place. For all its crap (and let’s face it, there’s a lot of it), it can certainly be an unexpected blessing. There are little pockets, communities, of women who have suffered from HG, are suffering, and they have been my support line. I reached out to author Ashli McCall and her group, Beyond Morning Sickness. Their love and warmth and support have been invaluable. They not only sent me her book but also put me in touch with a volunteer who emails me regularly to check in. Guys, I can’t emphasize enough how life saving these services are. The book, while insanely thick, was exactly what I needed to read at the right time. It changed my perspective on my entire experience and helped me to be grateful for the small happinesses I did have, to clutch them tightly during my darkest days. My support group penpal let me cry and vent, let me express feelings I was ashamed of, and not only virtually hugged me but told me that she understood. TRULY understood. She sent me pics of her brand new baby and reminded me: THIS is what we do it for.
I’m now 4.5 months along. Nearly halfway through my pregnancy. Most people don’t even know yet. Up until a few weeks ago, I weighed exactly what I had before I was pregnant because despite gaining back the weight I lost, I lost nearly 10 lbs. I wasn’t showing. I had to leave my PT job at the bookstore- AGAIN. And this time, with no prospect of returning which broke my heart more than I was willing to admit. I’m only just starting to get excited by the prospect of being a mother again. Only now starting to eat and enjoy cravings and other baby related things. This journey has been long and exhausting and while I see the 20 week mark as my physical healing point (its when things improved with Boy#1), I think this pregnancy has left me with emotional scars that might take a while to heal.
So that’s where I’ve been, if you’ve all been wondering. That’s why I’ve been so silent. I’ve been battling this great beast, battling myself, trying to hold my family together while their matriarch fell apart. It’s not been an easy journey and I’ve caught myself wishing for a simpler time. But now that much of the worst is behind me, I am trying to find positive things to look forward to. Like Baby Registries, Baby Showers, ultrasounds… and the other things that were lost to me due to my weakness: reading, writing, social media.
I finally feel like a human being again. And I hope that this experience, like all experiences a writer goes through, gets funneled into the voice that creates my worlds and characters and produces something beautiful from it, just as I hope to hold that little baby in my arms.
October 12, 2012
So with Tales From the Hollow Tree reopened for the Fall (YAY!), I thought I’d post a little something that’s been nagging at me. The untold story in The Guardian’s Choice is definitely that of the missing Guardians, those who undoubtedly woke up in New Zerah but we’ve yet to see. What happened to them?
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the little freebie and if you like it, please check out The Guardian’s Mark and The Guardian’s Choice, Books 1 & 2 of my Guardian Circle Series! If you like Fantasy and Romance, I think you’ll find something to love in my Elemental Guardians.
October 3, 2012
by iamcaptainbasch on LiveJournal
So, as you may or may not have noticed, yesterday saw the release of THE GUARDIAN’S CHOICE come and go and there was no post, no celebration, no confetti.
It’s not because I forgot. It’s because of Murphy.
Who is Murphy you may ask? He’s this dude who likes to come around and mess with you. He’s the one who, were he in the Hunger Games, would be sure the odds were not in your favor.
He’s a trickster, of the worst kind. Often known to throw things off kilter, to make things that have otherwise been planned and perfected go off with the hitch you were supposed to have avoided.
Yes. THAT Murphy.
He stopped by my house yesterday and threw a wrench in my release day!
That said, I kicked him out and told him that I didn’t cook enough dinner for him to stick around. Today I celebrate the ACTUAL release of the second book of my Guardian Circle series!
When Amaya wakes, with only the memory of her world’s apocalyptic destruction, she is surprised to find herself alone in a world deceptively similar to her own. But there’s so much about Zerah that’s changed. The Holy Grounds are gone. The Temple is destroyed. And all that remains of their ancient society is a vast, barren space.
Lost and confused, Amaya is forced underground into the dark heart of the neighboring province, hiding out among the monsters – unnatural products of their Maker. She loses all control of her empathetic power, spiraling toward madness, until Phoenix finds and saves her. Together they work to build the semblance of a normal life, but he wants more than she’s prepared to give, and try as she might to forget, she’s still haunted by memories of a man she was never meant to love.
Torn between her fear and her need to be redeemed, Amaya seeks out the very person she’s been running from. He presents a tempting offer: he will free her of the Mark that enslaves her to the Guardianship, a Mark that carries only ghosts of a past better forgotten, and give her a chance at a new life.
All it will cost is her soul.
Anyone who is moved to leave a review, please leave me a comment and link so that I can enter you to win some fancy swag!
September 29, 2012
With THE GUARDIAN’S CHOICE only days away from release, you can now grab the first book of The Guardian Circle Series, THE GUARDIAN’S MARK, on SALE for only $2.59! (And really, who doesn’t love a sale?)
If you’re new to the series this is the perfect time to jump in! If you like Fantasy fiction (ie. world-building, historical touches, a large and diverse cast of characters) as well as aspects of Science Fiction (superpowers!, elementals – think Avatar: The Last Airbender, X-Men), then you’ll find something to love in The Guardian Circle series. There is love, duty, friendship, and an endless fight to control destiny.
I hope you’ll join me on this journey! Happy reading!
September 24, 2012
by eyesthatslay on LiveJournal
Hey there blogosphere!
With the release of The Guardian’s Choice quickly approaching, I thought I’d offer up a few e-ARCs for your reviewing pleasure!
Please feel free to contact me through email (isabelle dot m dot santiago at gmail) or in a comment below if you’re interested!
Happy blogging, peeps!
September 13, 2012
This summer was a non-stop whirlwind. I’m talking full-fledged, “Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore” type tornado. There were days when I saw the other side of midnight and still didn’t manage to even turn on the computer. And though I could easily access the net through my iPad or my phone, more often than not, I was passed out in bed with my jeans still on and my mascara all cakey because the idea of getting ready for bed was just too much, knowing I’d have to get up and do it ALL OVER AGAIN the next day.
I’ve never had a summer like this one. I’m not sure what happened. I’m infamous for being incapable of saying no, but this was ridiculous. Fun, yes. Exhausting, yes. But ridiculous.
One thing that sucked up all my time was keeping to my weight-loss goals. I am that chronic dieter. The girl that since middle school has felt too fat and whose weight has won a gold in olympic yo-yoing. I’ve never been good at sticking to anything. I always got discouraged and quit. And I just didn’t want to quit anymore. This was going to be MY summer. When I took charge and said no more. I’m WORTH IT.
I graduated from P90X. Me! I couldn’t even do a knee push up when I started. Now I can do a few “boy” ones. I feel great. I’m down almost 50lbs since last year. I feel confident, I feel excited. Honestly, I feel like anything is possible right now! It’s exhilarating!
Other than that, everything else was just summer stuff. Weekend trips, family vacations, cookouts, day trips, park, pool, mall, etc, etc etc. My 3 year old has lots of energy to burn and its impossible to do it sitting at home when the sun is so bright in the sky!
That said, I miss writing. I miss the interwebz. I miss Facebook!! Ha ha. Though I’ll admit, it’s nice to know I can live without it.
So it’s September. Fall is right around the corner. The air is taking on that beautiful, crisp cool that I love. And summer, with all its craziness is just about over (though it shows no signs of wanting to slow down).
There’s only a month until The Guardian’s Choice releases! I’m making all the last minute arrangements and psyching myself up to get back to work.
Go ahead and add it to your TBR list over at Goodreads! Feel free to ask me questions, to make predictions about what’s going to happen to the gang, or even swing by and say hello.
In the meantime, bring on Autumn.