By R.L. Naquin, author of PHOENIX IN MY FORTUNE
It seems like everyone knits or crochets right now. A decade or two ago, everyone I knew did cross stitch. Somewhere in between, everybody was distressing, crackling, marbling and antiquing furniture.
I have participated in each of these things. Countless unfinished cross-stitch projects fill tote bags in the back of my closet. It took me so long to crochet the throw for my bed, I’d moved three times, so the person who’d taught me how to start wasn’t around to teach me how to finish it off. The “throw” grew large enough to cover a king-sized bed, but now sits half unraveled, crammed on top of the cross-stitch bags.
My desk is a grotesque green trimmed in dark purple, waiting for me to sponge gold marble paint on it, but since the initial paint job was over fifteen years ago, I’d have to start over with fresh paint, even if I did still think the colors were good choices. Plus, there’s that one drawer on the bottom. I’d have to sand away the stick figure of a cat my insane toddler painted on it in liquid paper. She’s twenty now. Neither of us want to see that little cat go.
So, that’s me. I want to be crafty. I buy things with every intention of making something spectacular out of them. I start off focused and with a plan. Then I wander off and forget about it. I don’t finish anything I start.
And yet, here we are. You. Me. And the last book of the Monster Haven Stories. I’ve tied all the threads, refinished the characters into something different from how they began, and knitted together a family that, six books ago, didn’t exist.
I know. My analogies always go on far longer than they should.
Phoenix in My Fortune was both the easiest and the most difficult book to write of the whole series. Everything I’d written up to that point was leading to this finale. Yet with each word I typed, I drew closer to having to say goodbye to all those characters I’d grown to love. I fully intend to revisit them in another series or two down the road, but Zoey Donovan’s story has now been told. She could show up in another series, sure, but we’ll be in someone else’s head. From here, Zoey will be somebody else’s side character. After six books, that’s hard for me to grasp.
I’ll be honest. I did some crying while I wrote the end of the book. Goodbyes are hard.
For everyone who stuck around through six books to see how it all turned out, thank you for joining me. For those who haven’t started yet, hop on board with Monster in My Closet, and I’ll take you on a crazy adventure filled with magic, monsters, shenanigans and emotion.
I suppose all I really needed in order to finish was to create something I truly loved.
When Zoey Donovan found out monsters are real, her life changed—mostly for the better. Since then, she’s fought bad guys, saved the world a time or two and earned the love of a growing family of humans and Hidden creatures alike. But the danger that’s chased her from the beginning is finally here.
Shadow Man, aka The Last Hidden, has stepped out of the story humans wrote for him and into the real world, hell-bent on stealing children. Fiction has become reality and Shadow Man intends to break the Covenant, reclaim the Hidden, and kill all Aegises along the way…triple bad news for Zoey and her mother, the only two Aegises still alive.
Zoey will have to rescue the stolen kids and hunt down the most terrifying villain humanity has ever imagined. But how can she fight a creature only invented a few years ago? If Shadow Man triumphs, the world as she knows it will end. If Zoey succeeds in driving him out, the people she loves the most may be lost to her forever.
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Rachel writes stories that drop average people into magical situations filled with heart and quirky humor.
She believes in pixie dust, the power of love, good cheese, lucky socks, and putting things off until the last minute. Her home is Disneyland, despite her current location in Kansas. Rachel has one husband, two grown kids, and a crazy-catlady starter kit.