Dragon Con

Dragon Con is just around the corner, and I’m an attending professional. Below is my tentative appearance schedule. Be sure to drop by and see me. Looking for something to read before the con? Aphrodite is on sale for .99 cents.

Title: Reimagined: New Takes on Old Stories in YA
Description: Whether it’s new takes on Camelot or Greek myths, or retellings of classic books or fairy tales, YA literature is full of reimaginings and retellings. Which are your favorites, & what makes a retelling work?
Time: Fri 11:30 am  Location: A707 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Mari Mancusi, Kaitlin Bevis, Esther Friesner)

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Title: Young Love: Writing Romance in YA
Description: What is love? How do we write romance for a young adult audience? What is enough, & what is too much?
Time: Fri 01:00 pm  Location: A707 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Kelly Lynn Colby, F T Lukens, Kaitlin Bevis)

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Title: Writing & Rewriting Your YA
Description: Come chat with our authors about making your characters strong, your plots thick, & your beats on point. How to take your writing from good to great through the magic of revision.
Time: Sat 04:00 pm  Location: A707 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: A. J. Hartley, Kaitlin Bevis, Sara Hanover)

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Title: Thrills & Chills in YA
Description: YA can be suspenseful & even terrify you. Whether knife-wielding killers, pandemics & plagues, or werewolves & vampires, come hear about what gives us chills.
Time: Sat 07:00 pm  Location: A707 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Caleb Roehrig, Kaitlin Bevis)

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Title: Reading Session:Kaitlin Bevis 
Time: Sun 01:00 pm  Location: Marietta – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Kaitlin Bevis)

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Title: Author Signings:
Time: Sun 04:00 pm  Location: International Hall South 1-3 – Marriott (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Laura Hayden, Jeffrey Falcon Logue, Kaitlin Bevis)

Ask Me Anything: Jason and Jason

I have two different Jason’s waiting in my ask box, so I decided to combine their posts.

Jason 1 asks, “Will you be writing any more books in the Daughters of Zeus series?”

Yes. I will be writing an Artemis series. It’s been delayed a good bit due to Covid, but I should have updates once the world goes back to normal.

There’s a little I can tell you. Artemis will be a point of view character. Aphrodite and Persephone and the rest of the Pantheon (including Hades) will make appearances. Medea and Otrera will be playing a role. The plot will be taking place mostly after the events of Venus Rising as Artemis has been tasked with hunting down the spoilers that escaped when Persephone spoiled. And there will be flashback scenes to the early days of the Pantheon.

Jason 2 asks, “Thank you for the offer to ask you anything! I’m a SG Guild member, but found you through a Google search on the obligatory scenes in Women’s lit. I’m writing a new series on what I’m terming Men’s lit and since it is a genre that doesn’t actually exist (yet) there is zero information on it. The closest I can think of is Women’s lit. Unfortunately, I can’t fine any information on obligatory scenes on the genre. Everything I’ve found is in the overlying genres such as Historical Fiction, Thriller, etcetera. 

Do you have any insights into what the obligatory scenes in Women’s lit are?

Thanks for you time.”

You’re welcome!

I’d argue that most lit has been men’s lit, but I think the difficulty you’re bumping into here is that obligatory scenes occur within genre fiction, and the word genre there is actually more accurately described as a sub-genre. Once you broaden out to genre as in broad category, you’re not going to find obligatory scenes.

For example, take the sub genre of space opera. It’s going to have the obligatory scenes and conventions, and it probably also has some borrowed tropes from a cross-genre like romance or heist. But a space opera is a sub genre of science fiction, which has its own, less specifics conventions. Not so much with the obligatory scenes. Take a step back and science fiction belongs to the wider genre of speculative fiction. There are a few conventions that make a book a part of the speculative fiction genre, but they’re loose fitting to make room for horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. Take another step back, and you’re in genre fiction, which only requires your work have fictional elements and be set within a specific genre.

Over to the side, you’ve got your other categories of fiction. This is where literary fiction comes in. Literary fiction can absolutely borrow from the tropes, scenes, and conventions of genre fiction, but it doesn’t have to. The entire point of literary fiction is for authors to experiment with the craft of writing. A work either starts as a literary fiction, where the author is intentionally breaking conventions, such as The Night Circus (which absolutely borrows from several sub-genre tropes), or it graduates to literary fiction when the writing community notices a particularly skilled break in conventions, like every famous author you’ve ever read. Whatever it was they did, they broke ground there and expanded on the art of writing. Their techniques may eventually become common place, but when they did it, it was a convention breaker.

Women’s literature is as broad a category as fiction. The only requirement is that it feature a given subject’s impact on women. Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale absolutely fits as speculative fiction — science fiction— post-apocalyptic in the obligatory scenes and conventions. It’s also literature because her writing style and approach broke the conventions enough to set her own tropes. It’s also women’s literature it focuses on the impact of this particular dystopia’s issues on specifically women.

That’s also why I’d argue that by strictest definition, the vast majority of literature has been men’s lit, exploring a given issue’s impact on men. Women may be present (as men are in the handmaid’s tale) but they aren’t the focus.

So, long answer short, your obligatory scenes are going to come from which sub-genre you hang your story onto, so long as you focus on the impact your stories issues have on men specifically, you’re within your category.

Review: Khthonios by M.M Kin

book cover for M.M Kin's Khthonios. Features Hades, holding a horned helmet as he sits on a dark throne against a blue background.

I love reading Greek mythology retellings, and Kin’s novels are no exception. I’ve known since her Seed’s series that she puts an amazing amount of detail, all painstakingly researched, into her novels, but I was curious how she was going to handle that in Khthonios, because based not the summary, there were two major hurdles to overcome in writing this book. 

The first is that Khthonios is a prequel story which begins with the death of Uranus and covers the rise and fall of Kronos, the imprisonment and freedom of the “Big Six” and Hades’s eventual rise to the Lord of the Underworld. There is precious little out there that covers this fascinating time period, but Kin managed to include the existing lore (real mind-benders, like Kronos eating his children) in a way that felt logical and true to the world. 

The second is that prequels represent a real challenge for character development, because as an author, there’s this fixed point you can’t cross in your earlier work. But you’re learning more about your characters as you write and they’re going through things that will impact their development. Often prequel characters either feel stagnant or more developed than their later counterparts, but Kin handles that development deftly. These characters felt consistent, and the story gave insight into some of their eccentricities in the later books. 

As always, Kin utilizes incredible detail and imagery. Her writing style in this book reminded me a bit of of the early chapters of Miller’s Circe. I think this may be my favorite book in her world yet.

You can learn more about Kin and her books by viewing her page on amazon or smashwords.


Ask Me Anything Bob and Luna

Luna reached out to me with the  “Ask Me Anything” submission form to ask the following:

I just finished reading the entire Daughters of Zeus series! WOW, what a wild ride that was. I read it all over 2 weeks and really enjoyed the characterizations, imagery, and pacing. (Without dropping apoilers for anyone who may be reading this) At the end of the 6th book it seems as though you created an opportunity for a new series centered around Artemis…do you expect to continue this story in a new book or maybe a mini series on wattapad? 
Also, thanks for the world that you created and shared with us all!

Thank you so much! You are absolutely correct. I wrote the end of Venus Rising with the intention of following up with an Artemis series as she hunts down the escaped spoilers. I’d planned to write the Artemis series after completing Blood and Other Matter, but I was sidetracked by another project that I’m super excited about (think Sailor Moon meets Once Upon a Time), and then the pandemic hit, and right now things are kind of crazy writing wise.

I can tell you I have an outlined book for Artemis. I just need to get my act together and finish writing it. Hopefully when schools go back to normal, I’ll be able to make more progress. In the meantime, thank you for your patience :).

Bob also asked for some resources for a report he’s writing. Bob, I wrote a blog about Greek gods associated with love and marriage here, here, and here. But your best best for a report is to check out Theoi.com.

Ask Me Anything: Caitlin

Caitlin reached out to me with the  “Ask Me Anything” submission form to ask the following:

 Oh my goodness I devoured the Persephone books in one sitting I loved them! Do you plan to write more? I would love to see the relationship between Persephone and hades grow along with how she is growing into her new powers and dealing with the loss of her mom. Also in the end zuse mentioned something worse coming was on the edge of my seat wondering what it could be!

Thank you so much! I’m so glad you enjoyed the books :). Persephone’s story continues in the Aphrodite trilogy. Aphrodite is the only point of view character in the first book, but she sees a lot of Persephone, and in the third book, Persephone is back as a point of view character. I hope you enjoy Aphrodite’s trilogy as much as you enjoyed Persephone’s.

YA Scavenger Hunt Winners!

 The YA Scavenger Hunt Winners

We want to congratulate all the YASH winners this fall season. Thanks to all our amazing authors and all the dedicated readers who hunted tirelessly for bonus material. Wasn’t that awesome? I think so!

The News You’ve Been Waiting For

I know you’ve been wanting to know who won our grand prizes, so, with a drumroll, here are the names of our team winners. 

The RED TEAM grand prize winner is…Shruti Gupta!

The BLUE TEAM grand prize winner is…Cathy Mason!

The PURPLE TEAM grand prize winner is…J Lenni Dorner!

And the BONUS grand prize winner is 

If you entered individual author contests during the hunt, we are listing them below as they are updating us. Some authors may be notifying winners individually. Check back as we will continue to update this page during the week. 

AMALIE HOWARD-Giveaway Winner: Champagne Millin

AMANDA MARIN-Winner of $20 Amazon Gift Card: Kristin Duncan

AMY MCNULTY-Winner of a $25 Indie Bookstore Gift Card: Ramona Reads

BREEANA SHIELDS: Winner of a $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card: Stephanie Reyes

BRENDA DRAKE-Winner of Library Jumpers Series: Megan S.

COLLEEN HOUCK-Winners of the Tiger’s Promise/Reignited e-book combo: Kaela, Jenna Kilgore, Megan Coppadge, Tashia Jennings, Veraunica Wyatt, Theresajs, Kristi Baker, Nancy Storms, Olivia Berard, Neko Tatsujin, Alysha Parent, and Lily M.! Winners of the Terraformer audiobook: Candice Gigous, Katherine Paschal, Rachel Verna Shepherd, Auburn, and Bella. Winner of the Colleen Houck Super Fan Bonus Pack: Dina Eltawil!

DEBBIE MANBER KUPFER: Giveaway Winners: Kayla K. McDonald, J. Lenni Dorner, & Tashia Jennings

EMIL SHER– Winners of a signed book: Kristin Duncan, Katie Hawse, Christa Sloan

EVA POHLER-Winner of a $50 Amazon gift card and a paperback edition of The Marcella II: Daniella Bonagura

HELEN VIVIENNE FLETCHER-Winner: Katherine

KRISTI HELVIG-Winner of a bonus e-book giveaway: Kaytee

NATALIE MAE-Winner of a signed copy of The Kinder Poison: Samantha Deen

TRICIA COPELAND- Winner of a Kingdom Journals Ebook Set: Bella

PATTY BLOUNT-Winner of a $10 Amazon Gift Card: mel**ie_br**@yahoo.com

VANESSA BARNEVELD-Giveaway winner: J Lenni Dorner

YVONNE VENTRESCA-Winner of Black Flowers. White Lies: Megan Coppadge

Kaitlin Bevis – Winner of an ebook of choice, Bella!

Congratulations to all the winners!

Before signing off, I wanted to thank all of our readers and the many authors who have participated in the hunt over the past decade. A reader asked why we were closing the doors on the hunt and I wanted to share my answer with you. 

Dear Readers,”Believe me when I say we didn’t come to this decision lightly. When weighing the costs both in time and money compared to the benefits of networking with readers, fellow authors, and promotion, as well my own personal commitment to the project, I had to finally come to terms with the fact that it was time to close the chapter on this beloved event.
But sometimes letting go of something good isn’t a bad thing. Sometimes it just means you’re making room for something new. Something better. 
I’m also keeping the door open to the possibility of a return to the hunt someday. If times change or things shift enough in the industry, it’s possible the hunt might enter a second, perhaps, improved phase. 
You never know. 
Thank you so much for your interest in the YA Scavenger Hunt and books in general. 
It’s so nice to hear from impassioned readers such as yourself. There aren’t as many around as there used to be, which is a little sad. Maybe, together, we can change that. 
All the best,
The YA Scavenger Hunt Organizers

May you all be safe and happy and always have a good book to read.

Ask Me Anything: Cuyler

Cuyler made a great catch using the “Ask Me Anything” submission form.

Hey, Kaitlin,

Your writings about Sean Coyne’s Story Grid have helped me immensely.

I just had a question.

On the chart you’ve created of the 5 Leafs of Genre, you’ve listed the sub-genres of Horror as Uncanny, Supernatural, and Superuncanny.

Sean doesn’t include Superuncanny. He has Ambiguous instead. And when I read your post on the Horror Genre, you listed Ambiguous as well.

So, I’m wondering what your thoughts were on this, and why you listed Superuncanny instead of Ambiguous?

And, what is Superuncanny?

If I can base my past experience with your amazing writing advice, I’m sure your reasons for this will also be helpful.

Thanks for all the help you give us new writers.

Thank you so much for pointing out that discrepancy!

Super uncanny is Robert McKee’s word for the sub-genre Shawn Coyne calls ambiguous. In the ambiguous/super uncanny subgenera, the reader isn’t sure whether the supernatural is at work or if the protagonist is losing their mind.

I prefer the term ambiguous, because to me, the term super uncanny indicates to the reader that the plot is both supernatural and uncanny not that the audience is guessing between supernatural and uncanny. But from a writing standpoint, you would need to hit both sub-plot conventions to keep the audience truly guessing, so either name can work.

I hope that helped clear things up, but please let me know if there’s anything further I can clarify.

YA Scavenger Hunt

Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!

Red Team

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all for a chance to win a whole different set of books! I am a part of the Red Team–but there is also a a blue team and a purple team.

If you’d like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE
 
Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the Red Team and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).
 
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by Sunday, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
brenda-drake-author-photo3-300x212-1
SCAVENGER HUNT POST
Today, I am hosting Brenda Drake on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt!
Brenda Drake is the New York Times bestselling author of the Library Jumpers series, the Fated series, THUNDERSTRUCK, and ANALIESE RISING and the founder of Pitch Wars and #PitMad. When she’s not writing or hanging out with her family, she haunts libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops, or reads someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment).
 
Find out more information by checking out the Brenda’s website or find more about the author’s book here! She’s also on instagram, facebook, and twitter @brendadrake.
AnalieseRisingGraphic
 
When a stranger gives Analiese Jordan a list of names before he dies, the last thing she expects to see is her own on it. Not. Cool. Her search for answers leads to the man’s grandson, Marek, who has dangerous secrets of his own. Both are determined to unlock the mystery of the list.

But the truth is deadly. Analiese is a descendant of the God of Death, known as a Riser, with the power to raise the dead and control them. Finding out she has hidden powers? Cool. Finding out she turns corpses into killers? No, thank you.
Now the trail plants her and Marek in the middle of a war between gods who apparently want to raise an army of the Risen, and Analiese must figure out how to save the world—from herself.

Bonus Content

 The Gods and Goddesses in ANALIESE RISING by Brenda Drake

Mythologies have always intrigued me, and writing a story filled with them was a blast. There are several gods and goddesses from the many mythologies around the world in Analiese Rising. It was fun writing a modern spin to their personalities. To keep this post short, I’ll only talk about ten of my favorites. Though, all of them are. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t have made it into the book. So here they are, ten of the gods and goddesses from Analiese Rising.

  1. Sidapa comes from Philippine mythology. He’s the god of death. In the novel, he doesn’t have his power anymore. He’s in love with the Bulan and sees him only during the full moon when the other god can come down to earth. He loves make up and fashion and has all the arrogance to go with his impeccable style.
  2. Oyá is from African She’s an Orisha of winds, lightning, and violent storms, death, and rebirth. She’s a kick butt goddess, and she makes a grand entrance into the story.
  3. Lugh comes from the Irish mythology. He’s a trickster god. There’s hardly nothing he can’t do. He has so many powers and magical items. I decided to explore his more trickster side, which was tons of fun to create.
  4. Thor aka Bjorn—do I need to tell you about him? Okay, I will anyway. He’s the hammer-wielding Norse god who can control lightning and thunder. In my novel, he goes by one of his many aliases, Bjorn.
  5. Inanna, the ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, war, and political power, keeps Ares on his toes. She’s a powerful goddess and doesn’t let others walk over her. She poses as an owner of a matching making company.
  6. Horus is a sky god in ancient Egyptian mythology. He’s associated with the falcon. Analiese first runs into him as her Uber driver.
  7. Ares is the Greek god of war. He’s arrogant and an instigator. Of course he is.
  8. Bastet, the Egyptian goddess of protection, used to be worshipped as a lion form before becoming a cat. She’s been involved with Analiese’s family for centuries.
  9. Pazuzu is the Babylonian demon god. He’s the demon that possessed the little girl in The Omen. I have to say it creeped me out writing him. He dresses in a trench coat, is unkempt, and looks menacing, as all demons do. Or do they?
  10. Janus is the Roman god of beginnings, transitions, doorways and passages, endings, and time. In the novel,he protects the entrance into a creepy catacomb filled with skeletons used as art that Analiese and Marek must enter to search for a clue left behind by Marek’s grandfather.

And there we have it, ten of my favorite gods and goddesses from Analiese Rising. Who are your favorites from the mythologies around the world?

Thanks for a great post, Brenda. You know I’m a huge fan of mythology myself, and I’m pretty partial to Persephone. 😉
Don’t forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me,  Brenda Drake, and more! To enter, you need to know that my favorite number is 2. Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the red team and you’ll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!

CONTINUE THE HUNT
 
To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author! Don’t forget to 
FRED2020
Bonus Giveaway
As a thank you for visiting my blog and participating in YASH, I’m offering an additional giveaway. Comment below with the book you’re currently reading for an opportunity to win an e-copy of your choice for any book I’ve written.
 
 

The Fall 2020 YA Scavenger Hunt Teams

Fall 2020 is here. That means it’s time to introduce your YA Scavenger Hunt teams! As some of you might already know, this season, sadly, will be our last. Though we might reinstate the hunt at some point in the future, we will be putting it on hold at least for the time being. 

That means the time to win these fabulous YA Scavenger Hunt prizes is now! For those of you who have never joined the YA Scavenger Hunt before, it’s not too late. Here’s a sneak peek of the prizes that await.

Fall 2020 YASH Prizes

Fall 2020 YA Scavenger Hunt Blue Team
Fall 2020 YA Scavenger Hunt Red Team
Fall 2020 YA Scavenger Hunt Purple Team

That’s a total of sixty YA Scavenger Hunt book prizes. Not only can you win a bunch of great new reads but authors will be giving away multiple prizes on their websites during the hunt as well and there will be a $50 Amazon gift card up for grabs too. 

Which 2020 Fall YASH team are you the most excited about?

New to the YA Scavenger Hunt?

That’s totally fine. We have a YouTube video that explains the process and we will be checking in on the YASH website during the hunt to answer any and all questions you might have.

Is Your Curiosity Piqued?

Excellent. Now all you have to do is wait for the hunt to start. You can begin hunting on my blog on September 29th, or to make sure you don’t miss out, you can head over to the YA Scavenger Hunt page, scroll down, and sign up for notifications with your email on the right.

What About the Secrets This Season?

This final season of the Scavenger Hunt needs to be special so because of that, I think I’ll write something new as a gift to my readers. It will be a special little scene of something. I don’t know what it will be yet but it will be a fun surprise.

Did You Miss Out on The Last Hunt?

Not to worry. There are links to all the fun launch party events I did around my last publication, TERRAFORMER, which you can check out on this blog post

Ask Me Anything: Becky

Becky asked a fantastic question using the “Ask Me Anything” submission form. Her question does contain a spoiler for Blood and Other Matter, so continue at your own risk.

You have been warned. On to the question.

Becky asks

 How does Tess come back to life at the end of “Blood and Other Matter”? I just finished the book and don’t know if I understand how she came back. Her body was cremated, so she shouldn’t have a physical form. Does the demon still have control over her in some way? What did the Estrie mean by; ‘that forms a powerful connection that, for obvious reasons, doesn’t often get explored’? Please help me understand because I love she’s back, but just don’t understand the how. Thank you! 

First of all, Becky, thank you for reading Blood and Other Matter. That’s a great question, and I’ll do my best to answer it. 🙂

The ending was intended to be a bit open ended, but the happiest interpretation is by far that Tess is back, alive and kicking. There’s a few key things in the scene and the story that allow that to be possible within the rules of the ritual, in-world magic, and the timing in the story.

Let’s start with that connection. According to the Estrie, there’s a connection that forms between a person who dies and the last person they think of. Typically, one half of that party stays dead, so it doesn’t much matter, but in Tess’s case, she thought of Derrick before being made a host for the Estrie. That link allowed the Estrie to pull on Derrick’s life-force when Tess’s wasn’t enough to fuel all the murder and mayhem. That’s why Derrick kept getting nosebleeds and passing out every time the Estrie used more of her powers than Tess could handle. It also allowed for two-way teleportation. The Estrie could always teleport to the people marked as sacrifices, but the link allowed her to return Tess to a safe, alibied location. Teleportation is specifically described by Derrick as being ripped apart and pieced back together. Both of those facts are about to matter, but first…

There are two rule of the ritual that come into play in the ending. The first is that the victims can’t be killed by the Estrie unless they consent. Tess never did. There were injuries outside of the Estrie that could have killed Tess, but up until that final night, the Estrie healed Tess before they could be fatal. So in the interpretation that Tess dies and Derrick is dreaming, the bonfire and/or pencil are her cause of death. In any other interpretation, re-inflicting the wounds was an action taken by the Estrie, so technically, Tess couldn’t die from them.

The last major detail is the timing of the ritual. The ritual didn’t start with the lighting of the match, it started with the drawing of symbols and chanting the right words at the right time. The match lighting was just a sign it worked. In order to complete the ritual, each sacrifice had to die on the first night of the lunar phase they were marked for. Though Josh was killed early ensuring the ritual couldn’t be completed, Matt was killed on time. By the rules of the ritual, that meant that the Estrie technically had possession of Tess until the first night of the full moon, when Josh was due to be killed.

Dorian’s alarm clock goes off at moonrise on the full moon. Since Josh is unable to be sacrificed, the ritual ends. Since Tess can’t be killed by the Estrie, and the connection dictates she be teleported back to Derrick when the Estrie is done with her, it’s entirely possible that when she pops up on his porch dripping wet from the ocean where Dorian scattered her ashes, that she’s in the exact same shape she was in since before the ritual began.

Or maybe by killing Josh, Derrick took his place and the Estrie is there, using Tess’s form because she knows it will get to Derrick and it’ll be that much easier to guilt him into consenting to be sacrificed.

It could go either way.