Season 2 Preorders!

That’s right! Season 2 of Roadtrip Z is now up for preorder. Patreon “Serial Time” subscribers, of course, get access to the serial as it’s written, AND get ebooks of the draft and finished seasons for free.

Season 2 of Roadtrip Z!

Ginny Mills is a librarian with a mission. She’s determined to get to her family, and not even the crowds of shuffling, infected undead will stop her.

Lee Quartine’s spent his life making do and getting by. He knows how to survive, but now he has Ginny and a small band of survivors to care for.

The power is out. Winter has arrived. The infected roam in packs. Survivors are showing up in the strangest places. And Ginny and Lee haven’t even crossed the state line yet.

It’s gonna be a long trip…

Now available direct, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or (soon) independent bookstores.

I am so excited to be bringing you the continuing adventures of Ginny, Lee, & the gang. I hope you like it–Patreon subscribers are about to start Season 3, wherein more survivors show up, this very week.

Morpheus Skips Me

Some nights, not even warm socks or an extra blanket can keep insomnia at bay. About once a month, sleep decides it’s skipping me and heading for more congenial shores.

This isn’t as bad as it sounds, really. It used to be I couldn’t sleep at all–the anxiety lay in wait, a sharptooth creature with baleful eyes. Now, at least I can plan around that one day a month Morpheus decides to skip visiting. (Insert Matrix joke here.) And Miss B’s regular breathing, not to mention furry warmth, are far from the worst companions while I’m tossing and turning. Eventually I turned the light back on and wrote iterations of cover copy, then polished off The Vice-Consul.

I’m sure reading Duras wasn’t helping my mood. Her books provoke something very close to depression, kind of like listening to Jandek. Also like Jandek, they scratch a particular itch, and every once in a while I find myself scrubbing said itch until it bleeds.

So today is for the last proofing pass on In the Ruins, season 2 of Roadtrip Z. I’m just cranky enough to snag on details, but not too fatigued to say “fuck it, I don’t care.” It’s a good sweet-spot to hit, and after I get everything done, dusted, and uploaded, there’s a gentle run to shake my fidgets (and Miss B’s) out, with the bonus exhaustion factor to make sure I sleep tonight. I should probably also get the makings for red sauce into the crock pot–I wonder if I should do a roux for a base? Choices, choices.

*sits and stares for a moment* A roux might be over-enthusiastic of me. We’ll see.

Over and out.

Frustration Saturation

Quiet intersection
© | Dreamstime Stock Photos
October hath arrived, that most blessed of months, wherein I can finally buy house decorations and candy comes in reasonable bite-size pieces BY THE BAG LOAD. Also, pumpkin spice. I love me some pumpkin spice. Not the chemical syrups, no, but ground nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, all in a handy shaker. It’s like crack, I put it in my coffee, in my morning gruel, in pies and other baked goods. PUMPKIN SPICE EVERYWHERE.

The world is burning, but Samhain approaches, the turn of the witch’s year. I have a lot to think about since the last time the Wheel reached this particular spot.

I took some time off in September to luxuriate in the aftermath of a creative frenzy. Now I’m itching, and I long to get back to work. The pressure behind my eyeballs has reached its normal level, so to speak. There’s the zero of Roadtrip Z’s Season 3 to finish, edits on Steelflower at Sea, and I’m sure now that Afterwar is up for preorder I’ll be getting copyedits and proof pages soon. That’s apart from the epic fantasy I’m currently being consumed by, and now that the weather is cooler I really want to finish the zero of Dog Days.

There’s no shortage of work, and forcing myself to take two weeks of 200-word days, as wearing on my nerves as that was, means I’ll be able to do it more effectively now.

I’d talk about the current fascist mess, but I just can’t. I’ve hit frustration saturation. My resistance today is self-care. And working. It feels wrong to be joyous about Samhain, candy, and work, but I need that joy to get through to bedtime, now more than ever.

I hope you have some joy to get you through your day too, dear Readers.

RELEASE DAY: Cotton Crossing

That’s right, my friends, the re-edited, shiny Season 1 of Roadtrip Z, my Patreon serial, is now available!

Cotton Crossing was a dead end, but not for Ginny Mills. She’s just marking time, getting experience in the county library system, before moving back to a decent urban environment. Then the phones stop working.

Lee Quartine knows there’s no way the pretty girl at the library will even look at him. Especially since he can’t open his mouth. He knows he’s a hick, but when the power starts going out and the woods are full of strange creatures, it’s good to have someone around who can build a fire. And kill.

Ginny, Lee, and their small band of survivors can’t stay put, and moving is dangerous. The infected are shambling in the hills and the concrete canyons of cities.

It’s gonna be a long trip…

Season 1: Cotton Crossing is now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or direct!

We’re now deep in Season 2. Subscribe here to read, chapter by chapter, as the serial is written.

Labour Day Run

A 12km run while uncaffeinated is not quite my favorite thing. Still, I wanted to get my long run for the week out of the way, and what better time than Labour Day? Yeah, sure, the smoke from the wildfires has turned the sun orange, but that means I’ll run better in the shade. I’m not a Spartan, but the principle holds. I turned in a respectable 7:45min per km, too. It may not sound much, but my long-run pace has hovered near 8min for a while, and it’s nice to see it coming down with no change in perceived effort. I guess the tempo runs have been paying off.

Tempo runs are still awful and hateful, though.

I did get out the door early enough that the heat wasn’t awful yet. The problem is, if I caffeinate before a run, I have to wait for the life-giving elixir to settle before I go and shake myself like a champagne bottle in a music video. I dislike throwing up, I hate it when my stomach evicts breakfast while I’m running, and I absolutely cannot stand wasting coffee. There were a lot of people out getting their daily exercise before it gets truly unlivable, and plenty of dogs. Miss B would have enjoyed that, if I would ever let her do more than 5km with me. Six is the absolute limit. She’s still bouncy, but getting older means her endurance is dropping, poor thing. I am in constant fear of pushing her poor little doggie heart too hard.

But now I’m home, a cold shower has been had, and that first glorious sip of coffee has slid down my throat. Now I’m waiting for the real jolt to hit, but that first small taste is the most pleasant part of most mornings. The rest of the day is for working on the zero of Roadtrip Z‘s Season 3. I had to write an awful scene involving a bigot last week, and it was dreadfully hard. Now I have the skeleton and can trim and pack it, but the main challenge will be not looking away from how horrid people can be. It doesn’t even take a zombie apocalypse for most people; as long as they don’t perceive a social cost to being an asshole. That’s part of why calling out bigotry is so important.

Anyway, there’s a big zombie attack coming up, and Lee’s going to have to make some decisions. Plus, I might have to give the librarian a cricket bat for up-close zombie fighting. She’s not too keen on a Louisville Slugger, for some reason. I mean, you can fight off a zombie with a golf club if you have to, you use whatever tool is to hand in an apocalypse, but she really, really wants a cricket bat.

I don’t know about these people in my head. They seem a little strange.

Enjoy your Labour Day, everyone.

*wanders away to make more coffee*

Chewable Air

This morning’s 7km run was a beauty, except for one thing: the air quality. Apparently the haze that makes the light so deliciously golden is a way of getting all one’s minerals in one’s breath, so I ran most of the last half with deep drilling pain in both lungs. I’m sure I’ll be coughing up chunks of interesting colors later in the day. At least at home, with the windows closed and the ionizers going, it’s a little less thick.

And, strangely enough, the haze made each band of smell on my route more intense. Fabric softener, a few small nasty threads of bloating roadkill, honeysuckle, asphalt, jasmine, roses, passers-by and their cologne, dogs with their dry-oily notes, cut grass, warm earth. My sensory map of the neighborhood is undergoing constant revision, probably because the utility work is bringing up a bunch of weird smells from underground and every time I pass a work site I get a blast of diesel and sweat. You could probably plonk me down anywhere in a mile radius with a blindfold on and I’d know where I was by scent alone. You’d think all the crap in the air would deaden my nose, but it just makes my chest tighten up.

At least I have some post-lunch coffee to get me through the afternoon. I intend on getting the last half of Roadtrip Z’s Season 2 revised today, after I get the Patreon episodes scheduled. *cracks knuckles* After that my focus shifts to the zero of Season 3, where the dominos start falling and people–well, more people, at least–start dying. I have all the dominos arranged and I know what happens, with only a few gaps in my understanding for the series to surprise me.

Once the Season 3 zero is in the can, I’ll think about if I want to finish it as a serial. It would be nice to bring it full-circle, but we’ll see if people are still interested at that point.

So today is all about grinding, slow, picky, detail-oriented work. It’s for the best, what with the Little Prince starting school this week, I’m already in a take-care-of-details mode. Once he’s settled nicely in the school rhythm, I can have whole chunks of the day back for the fierce, one-pointed concentration necessary to keep all the moving parts in this story working together instead of zooming off in different directions.

Well, onward, I guess. Excelsior, and all that.

Little Odd Troubles

WHY YES, I AM IN A MOOD TODAY. How could you tell?

Part of it is the wind. When I lived in Wyoming, one expected it, but up here, a constant stream of rushing air is a little less tolerable. Normally I quite enjoy it, like the sound of rain, but last night Odd Trundles woke me up every. two. hours. with a combination of “SOMEFING HIT DE ROOF, IMMASCAIRT!” and “I THINK I NEED TO PEE. MOM? MOM, I THINK I NEED TO PEE.” Naturally, as soon as I struggled out of bed and shrugged into my robe, Odd decided he really didn’t want to leave his nice warm crate at all, even if Miss B, cranky after the second or third episode, got her snoot in there to try and drag him forth.

So yeah. I’m cranky as fuck-all too, today.

*time passes*

I love this weird, yeasty little dog, I really do. And proof of it is, even as sleep-deprived as I am, I still rush to comfort him when one of his legs stops working and he freaks out. Bulldogs have weird neurological and spinal things because they’re so corkscrewed. Occasionally, if Odd moves wrong, something goes haywire and one of his back legs either goes numb or won’t respond, and this scares the little fellow so much that without instant soothing, he has one of his seizures. Thankfully, I was right next to him, and if I don’t freak out he’ll stay calm. It takes a steady voice, gentle hands, and a little pressure in particular places to short-circuit the seizures, almost like an interpretive dance. Miss B, anxious to help, almost precipitated the seizure afresh by attempting to grab his leg and MAKE it work for him, so that was an interesting few minutes. Now he’s resting comfortably with a peanut-butter-smeared muscle relaxer to make sure he stays loosened up.

My heart is still pounding. If someone would have told me the things I’d do to keep a rescue bulldog functioning, I’m not sure I would have believed it. On the bright side, there’s generally a clear-cut fix for everything that ails him, and while I’m focusing on his little troubles I’m not thinking about the current on-fire state of the country. So there’s that.

I need some tea. It’s Thursday, so another chapter of Roadtrip Z is up at my Patreon; the first part is still available for free! When we reach the next Patreon goal I’m going to vlog a reading from Steelflower, pronunciations and all. There’s some other exciting news I can’t talk about just yet, but I’m working on three deadlines at once right now, so that gives you an inkling.

Off I go to brew more caffeine, just to keep myself upright until I can crawl back into bed tonight. Hopefully both Odd and I will be exhausted enough to sleep the whole way through.