• Mary K Gowdy

My debut novel is coming out early this summer, and I'm going to answer 10 questions you might be wondering about it. Read on to find out if this book is for you and if so, how you can get your hands on it!

1. What is the title?

The One-Sided Coin. It is also Volume One of The One and the Other Series.

2. What genre is your book?

It is mainly fantasy leaning towards the darker side of the genre. It includes elements of dystopia, gothic fiction, and poetry. It combines the worldbuilding and magic of traditional fantasy with the mystery, focus on character development and interaction, and technology that is found in many of the sci-fi-esque TV shows I love.

People who enjoyed Six of Crows, the Obernewtyn series, and the TV series Lost, Person of Interest, and Westworld will also enjoy The One-Sided Coin. Also, lovers of poetry by Edgar Allan Poe might also be interested in the book's gothic atmosphere.

3. What is the plot of the book?

When Monoria’s institutionalized for burning her house down--with her family in it--she hopes this means that the voice in her mind isn’t real. But a scientist informs her that she’s infected with a parasite, an abomination originating from the mystic world. As part of the Secularists, an organization intent on eradicating anything mystical, the scientist promises to kill the parasite.

Monoria allows him to run tests, but as his methods turn questionable, she realizes that he might not have her best interests at heart nor be telling her the whole truth. The parasite is dangerous, but it also might be her only ally. It warns her that the Secularists will do anything to achieve their goal, even harming anyone that gets in their way. As the scientist nears a cure, she must decide who to trust--the scientist determined to destroy mysticism or the parasite that threatens to consume her soul.

4. Where did you get the idea?

I've had this idea for so long that I don't exactly remember how I came up with it. It went through many different phases before becoming the idea that I wrote my first draft on. Two big sources of inspiration were the smoke monster from Lost (you'll understand why if you read the book) and the song "All That I'm Living For" by Evanescence. When I first came up with the idea, I wrote the first two chapters and quit, because I was a really young writer and hadn't yet learned how to finish what I started.

Several years later, I decided to pick up the project again but only after an intense revamping. And by intense, I mean INTENSE. The whole plot of the first book--and kind of the whole series--changed drastically. Characters were thrown out, created, changed beyond all recognition, and the story that rose from its ashes was the one I wrote.

5. Tell us about the world.

It is set in the country of Loreiak in the world of Azain-leigra-ro. Loreiak is a medium-sized country that encapsulates its own continent in the middle of the ocean. Before the start of the story, it used to be a society dedicated to mysticism before the Secularists overthrew the old government and have since been eradicating all traces of mysticism.

Something that separates Lorieak apart is that one hundred eighty years before the novel's beginning, the sky went dark, a day known as the Darkening. There is no sun, moon, or stars, and though sunlight filters through, the days are cast in an eternal twilight. Across Loreiak, severe climate changes occurred--the western and eastern edges turned into snowy wastelands year round and the Demingin Desert appeared in the center of the continent.

The majority of the plot takes place in the Karack Delusional Care Center, also known as the KDCC. It's a mental institution, hiding something darker at its core. Some of the patients believe that they're not there because they're crazy but are being kept prisoner, and every so often a patient will disappear to the institution's underground tunnels and return in worse shape or not at all.

6. Introduce us to your main character(s).

While the book has a main protagonist, the narrative shifts between the perspectives of an ensemble cast.

The main protagonist is Monoria Fledyia, an 18 year old girl who's always been a social outcast in her hometown. Above all else, she longs for freedom from society and its rules that have oppressed her. Her situation worsens when a violent presence begins to inhabit her mind.

She calls this presence her Ghost. He is a being from the mystic world, speaks only in poetry, and appears as either black smoke or a dark-haired version of Monoria. He's angry at the Secularists for their plot to destroy mysticism and urges Monoria to act out against them by flooding her mind with his violent desires.

Eshrusk Lamcalay is a Secularist scientist, who studies mysticism in order to destroy it. His loyalty to Loreiak and the Secularist's vision for the future is unwavering.

Celond Larp and Attalayla Nageet are two patients at the KDCC, and the story's main romantic couple. They both know that they're not in the KDCC because they're crazy. Celond is haunted by his past regrets and is determined to get released in order to return to his mother even if it means turning a blind eye to the KDCC's shady dealings. Attalayla wants her freedom but is torn by her love for Celond and her desire to get back at the people who institutionalized her, especially Karack who continues to torment her.

Jeriph Seroni is another one of the KDCC's patients not there because of a mental illness. He spends his days pilfering Dr. Renek's gin and sticking his head into everybody's business. However, there's more to his actions than meets the eye.

Dr. Ionio Karack is the founder and head of the KDCC. Like Eshrusk, he is unwaveringly devoted to the Secularists and enjoys lording his power over his patients.

7. How long have you worked on the book?

April 1st, 2020 will be my five year anniversary, and that's with just the revamped idea. In 2015, I wrote the first draft in about 3 months knowing that I was just going to rewrite everything. The first draft is where I figure out what story I actually wanted to write.

It took me about two years to rewrite that draft into something palatable. I revised it several times over after that, taking breaks to work on other projects, mainly poetry. I finished the last line edits last summer and then got kind of scared to publish it so I procrastinated for a couple months. Eventually, life circumstances made me get over that fear, and here I am with it coming out in a couple of months.

8. What else about your book might pique a reader's interest?

The mystic figure of the Ghost speaks only in poetry, so there are sonnets, other poetic forms, and passages of free verse through the novel. There exists a link between poetry and the magic of the world.

The novel is also separated into nine episodes like a TV show. TV is one of my favorite story telling mediums, and I try to tell as much of my stories through dialogue and action rather than internal narration.

The One-Sided Coin features many female friendships (because we need more of those), several heist and chase scenes, and philosophical contemplations on the relationship between beauty and sin.

9. When is it coming out? Where can I buy it?

Early summer, probably June. It will be available on Amazon exclusively for the first few months and then later I may put it on Barnes & Noble and Kobo.

10. Trigger Warnings

The One-Sided Coin deals heavily with mental illness particularly depression, suicide, and anxiety. There's also torture, some graphic action scenes, and some sexuality.

If The One-Sided Coin interests you, you can read the first 50 pages by signing-up for my email list! You'll also be the first to know about upcoming news.

#writing #debutnovel #fantasy #book

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  • Mary K Gowdy

Welcome to 2020! I can't believe we're back in the 20s. I have big things planned this year, but before we get to that, let's look at my goals for last year.

1. Work on three Work-In-Progresses at once

The three projects I wanted to work on were The One and the Other Volume One, Poetry Book #1, and my NaNo 2018 novel. I didn't really complete this goal. I did finish The One and the Other Volume One, wrote some poems, and wrote the first chapter of my NaNo novel, but I didn't work on them all enough to claim I reached this goal. I said in my 2019 goal post that I wanted to have finished 90% of the poems in Poetry Book #1, but I didn't accomplish that.

2. Hit 100 subscribers on YouTube

When I made this goal, I honestly wasn't sure I was going to reach it. Out of the four goals I made, this was the only one that was somewhat out of my hands. I was shocked when not even halfway through the year, I not only met this goal but far surpassed it. As I'm writing this post, I'm sitting at 825 subscribers. I'm almost to 1000! My growth has not been because of how much I've been positing but what I've been positing. I've focused on filling the gap of the poetry advice videos in the YouTube market and it's paying off! Thank you to everyone that has subscribed!

3. Promote Sensuality.

I'm not sure I promoted this as much as I originally intended when I made this goal, but I did enough to consider this accomplished. When I reached 100 YouTube subscribers, I hosted a giveaway where I gave away three signed copies of Sensuality. One of the recipients ended up leaving me a review! The first review is a huge accomplishment. I didn't end up soliciting for any other reviews from book reviewers, though.

I have been posting excerpts on my Instagram from not only Sensuality.'s poems but also other poems I've written. I've been growing a small following there, and the platform is proving to be a cool place to share my poetry with my friends. I don't usually talk about my poetry since I find it difficult, so I'm glad that I'm able to share my love for poetry with the people in my life this way.

4. Start Monthly Newsletter For My Email List

I did not do this. I sent out one email this entire year. Crafting an email takes time, so I often don't want to do it.

Other thoughts:

One thing that's stood out to me is my changing mindset when it comes to social media and marketing. For the longest time, I felt embarrassed at the idea of marketing my writing because I didn't want to spam people or I thought that my friends would think it's ridiculous. I chose to share my poetry on Instagram anyway, and the response from people has been fantastic. I no longer see posting as some spamy way to get followers but as a way to share what I am working on with the people that are close to me (and other people on the Internet who stumbled upon me). I hope to take this mindset shift with me to email marketing and send out more emails this year. I'm shifting the focus of my emails to be less about getting people to engage with what I'm already posting and to be more about giving people a sneak peak into my projects.

Well, that's 2019, and Time has demanded we move onto a new decade.

Instead of doing a goals post, I'm going to try something different. I haven't read any of Brandon Sanderson's books (yet) but I love reading his State of the Sanderson posts he does at the end of every year. That dude is such a productive writer! I can only dream of producing as much content as he does one day. In his State of the Sanderson posts, he gives updates on all the projects he's working on, and I decided to do something similar.

I'll start with the obvious candidate:

The One and the Other Volume One

I'm finally publishing it! I really could've published it at the end of last year but I was too overwhelmed by the process to start. But this year I've accepted that now is the time. I'm also graduating college this May, and I fear that if I go off into the real world still without having published this book, I won't have the means to publish it for a long time. Also, there's no reason to wait. It's finished. The plan is to publish in the spring.

I finished my last line edits a couple of weeks ago and have just sent it off to my proofreader. I've also commissioned a cover designer but they won't be able to work on it till end of February/early March. I'm hoping to reveal the cover and official release date soon after, so like mid-March.

I'm announcing the title on my Instagram this coming Monday! I'll finally be able to call it something other than The One and the Other Volume One [which is such a mouthful]. You can follow me here. I'll also be sharing updates about my novel to my newsletter subscribers before anyone else. They already heard the title last Wednesday. If you want this upcoming information before anyone, you better sign-up!

In the new couple of weeks, I'll also be releasing the finalized back cover book blurb and a YouTube video with details about the novel.

There's a lot of work ahead, but now that I've started the process, it doesn't seem so overwhelming. I've been preparing for this for years by researching all that I could about the process. I can do this!

Poetry Book #1

This isn't anywhere close to having a title, so I'll be calling it this generic name for a while. This year, I wrote a handful of poems for it, revised some others, and cut down ideas for unwritten poems that I've discovered would have been unnecessary or combined two ideas into one. I'm less than 15 poems away from finishing, though this is not counting revisions. Once I publish The One and the Other Volume One, this will be my main project till I finish the first draft of all the poems. I would love to have a completely finished manuscript by the end of the year. This is a project that I'm considering traditional publication for. Poetry is a vehicle for me to express opinions about things I care deeply about, so traditional publication appeals to me because of its larger reach. Self-publishing is still an option, though.


I wrote the first draft of this for NaNoWriMo 2018, re-outlined, wrote the first chapter, and haven't touched it since. Don't get me wrong, I love the world, the characters, the plot, etc. Just between everything else, I don't have the time or focus to devote to it. For now, it's regulated to a project that I'll work on for the brief moments where I feel like it.

The Rest of The One and the Other Series

The One and the Other will be a five book series. Since I've finished the first volume, I started fiddling around with an outline for the sequel and realized that I need to write a novella between volumes one and two. This novella will be a prequel that occurs over 180 years before the first volume and will revolve around an important figure mentioned in the first novel. I've already sketched out an outline, so really the next thing to do is to start writing whenever I have time.

But before I put pen to paper--or more accurately fingers to keyboard--I need to create a series bible for The One and the Other. If you don’t know, a series bible is a document or a collection of documents that has all the information about the plot, characters, settings, etc. that have made an appearance so that way the author can use it as a reference guide. It’s a must have tool if an author wants to avoid continuity errors and wasting time looking up what they wrote in previous books when writing the new one. I also want to make a series bible in order to remember which small plot threads I need to weave into the sequel's plot. I'm going to try to do this before I go too far into outlining volume two.

2020 is going to have many awesome things! This is the moment I've been working up to for several years, and I'm overjoyed to share my novel with you. Sign-up for my newsletter, follow me on Instagram, or head back over to this blog soon so you don't miss any exciting news. Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!


Mary K Gowdy

#amwriting #writing #debutnovel #TheOneandtheOther #fantasy #poetry #2020 #newyearsresolutions #writinggoals

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  • Mary K Gowdy

It's been a while but I wanted to wait till I had something worth updating about. I have several things actually!

Most importantly, I have finished edits for The One and the Other Volume One (except for line edits but I won't be doing that till I'm preparing to publish it). It feels. . . weird. I thought I would feel ecstatic but I almost feel like there's this void in my life that I'm not sure how to fill anymore. Don't get me wrong. I'm glad I'm finished, but I worked on that book for four years and it feels strange to not have to work on it. I have other projects I need to work on--which I'll get to talking about in a second--but I've been procrastinating on beginning them.

Right now, a friend of mine is reading TOATO1. She says she'll be done with it in July and able to tell me what she thinks. I did beta-reading last summer, and though I've thought about doing another round, I'm considering letting my friend be it (unless she tells me that a lot of things need to be change but fingers-crossed that doesn't happen). I've also let the writing group I'm a part of read a 10 page snippet and all they pointed out were mostly line edits. I feel like this book is going to get any better. I'm proud of it while also knowing that I can do better with my next book. It's time to move on.

Meanwhile, I've been. . . terribly unproductive. For the past few weeks. I've been working a lot at my non-writing job so there's that.

Back in May, I wrote the first scene and a half of my new standalone Chervaux. I thought I wasn't going to touch it at all but I just felt the urge to work on it. It's my whenever-I-feel-like-it project.

Haven't written any poetry. I will get back into it. Soon. I want to write 19 poems before the end of the summer. Why 19? Because I need 38 (approximately) to finish my full-length poetry book so 19 is half that. Once I finish 19, I'll take a break and come back to it later.

My YouTube channel has grown. I passed 100 subscribers two weeks ago, and to celebrate, I'm going to do a giveaway! A video about that will be coming out soon. And my "How To Write A Poem -- Tips for Beginners" video has passed 6000 views! Every time I check the view count, it amazes me.

More YouTube videos will be coming in the future. Stay tuned. . .

Till next time!

#writing #update #YouTube

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