Anna Lin is done with crying. Her mother has died and her father’s refusing to deal with, well, anything. Her brother Jason, an emergency physician in Vancouver, has long since checked out.
Meanwhile, caring for her mother’s decline and sorting out her estate has iced Anna’s realty career. The bills are piling up. The kids are out of school for the summer. And her husband, Malcolm, is running out of patience.
Beyond frustration, Anna hears raccoons in her Toronto garage late one night. But no neighbourhood pest awaits her.
For the first time in two millennia, mysterious creatures have returned to our world to hunt us. As the strange attacks increase, Anna realizes that she, Jason, and Dave LaRoque Montcalm, a recovering startup CEO and their best friend from childhood, hold the keys to defending their city and the world—if she can convince them to join her.
* * *
Chaos Calling was named an Amazon Hot New Release in Contemporary Fantasy the week it became available for pre-order (April 19) and has remained in the Top 100.
Content advisory: This novel includes significant monster violence. It touches on mental health (including depression, anxiety, grief, sudden loss, and suicide), elder care, breast cancer, police and military violence (particularly against Indigenous people), and Canada’s living legacy as a colonial state, including the Sixties Scoop and residential schools, and the ongoing impact of both of these government policies on Indigenous people.
Before the pandemic happened, I wrote the majority of Chaos Calling on my phone using Wattpad during my subway commute. As authors like Karma Brown have observed, you can make a lot of progress on a creative project by dedicating an hour or so to writing each day.
I’ve written about what it was like to write my first draft on Medium. As it happens, that manuscript turned out to be a highlight reel for the whole series smushed up into one book.
It’s been through six major drafts over seven and a half years. I finished the last three drafts between May 2020 and March 2022 while living under semi-permanent quarantine restrictions in Toronto. These revisions also included professional structural, sensitivity, line, copy, and proofreading edits.
I remain grateful to the Wattpad team for their platform. Composing three drafts of my book on my phone was a beautiful and productive experience. Without it, Chaos Calling likely wouldn’t exist.
I’m so glad you asked. Picturing imaginary monsters well enough to consistently write about them is a real challenge.
I worked with illustrator Helen He to nail down their look and feel. Immediately, Helen grasped their aura of menace. She was also the one to propose that they should have a mouth tentacle (such a cool idea). Helen’s work also helped me to sharpen my thinking about skyworms and their physicality.
I’ll post details here as they become available.
I didn’t set out to write a series. At first, I believed the book that became The Xenthian Cycle would be a single novel. Then it was a trilogy. Now, it’s likely five books.
Consequently, Books I and II spent several years as one story. My structural/line editor talked me into splitting them when we were working on the manuscript that evolved into Chaos Calling.
What does that mean for Book II? Well, it’s already been through several drafts and edits with my beta readers. I aim to finish the structural edits in 2022, at which point it’ll be ready for sensitivity reads, line edit, copy edit, and the manuscript preparation process.
It’s too early to know my publication date. When I have one, I’ll post it here. Want to be sure you don’t miss the announcement? Subscribe to my email list!