RELEASE DAY: Steelflower at Sea

After pitched battle, betrayal, and escape, Kaia Steelflower has enough gold to feed her troupe of outcasts through the winter. She can settle them in a small villa in Antai, that queen of maritime cities, and look forward to welcome boredom.

Unfortunately, there’s a pirate-infested sea to cross, her difficult new talents to corral, her traveling companions’ problems to solve, a princeling’s attentions to manage, and once in Antai, people keep trying to kill her. Or, more precisely, assassinate the barbarian Redfist, and Kaia keeps getting in the way.

Even the Steelflower can’t kill every assassin in the city. It’s going to take all her sharp wits—and sharper blades—to even try…

Now available at Amazon. Will be available at Barnes & Noble and indie bookstores as soon as the distribution propagates.

That’s right, my darling Readers! Kaia’s further adventures are now available. It’s been a long hard road to get here, indeed.

Please note that Steelflower at Sea will not be released in ebook for the foreseeable future. And yes, there’s a teaser for Book 3 at the end of this edition. I don’t have a projected date for Book 3–Steelflower in Snow–just yet, but I’m thinking maybe late 2018.

And now I’ll go soak my head in a bucket to calm the release day nerves…

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.

Message, Dream, Philosophy

The other night: The Lovers, Nine of Cups, the Devil. All in a row. It’s been a while since I got such a mirrorlike reading, and such clear message.

Of course, this morning, in the long dark shoals before I had to get up, I was jolted out of a dream of Donnie Yen as my werewolf boyfriend during a zombie apocalypse, but I’m not considering that a message. Especially since the heavy breathing I kept hearing in the dream, which I thought was the zombies, was actually Odd Trundles, who point-blank refused to go back in his crate after a 3am “MOTHER I GOTTA PEE, RIGHT NOW, I KNOW I WENT BEFORE BEDTIME BUT I GOTTA, I GOTTA.” He ended up with his giant face in my neck, and my hair on that side is still damp from his jowls.

He still thinks he’s the puppy who slept on my pillow because I was terrified he’d stop breathing altogether. They never really grow up, our furry friends. I’m on the fence about whether we ourselves do.

I’m still making my way through Facing the Extreme. I am having trouble with a few of Todorov’s base assumptions–like the one that human judges can be impartial or objective. I mean, certainly, a good judge aims for that, but is it really possible? It’s more of a goal to strive for than an actual can-be-done-completely-achieved. On the other hand, the book was published a decade ago, and there have been some advances in understanding bias since then. Another set of Todorov’s base assumptions, his habit of gendering responses to totalitarianism, grates on me with increasing regularity. I rather suspect him of cherry-picking survivor narratives to suit his gender-assumption hobby-horses. Unconsciously, of course, but he seems really invested in women being passive, forgiving creatures even when shoveled into death camps.

You can tell what I think of that.

Anyway, we’re near the end of the book, so Todorov’s making assertions that the front half of the text is meant to have set up and provided proof of varying kinds for, and I just don’t see that the narratives (survivor or otherwise) or logic he’s provided bear out said assertions. Still, it’s not a bad thing to have to stop while reading and think hard about just why one disagrees with a philosopher.

The Sekrit Projekt continues apace. Yesterday was a measly 3.5K words, but I got two crucial scenes done and dragged the man with the gun in, kicking and screaming. (He didn’t want to show up just yet, but it wasn’t his call.) By the end of it, I was exhausted, so his appearance needs some polish in order to make it properly eerie. (And he doesn’t have a gun, but a claymore, I think. Or maybe an axe.) But it’s there, that part of the corpse is on the table, and I only have 20K left to write.

*looks at last sentence*

*weeps a bit*

I suppose it’s time for yoga now, and there’s a run to fit in today, too. Going back to bed, while certainly the most appealing option, isn’t even remotely possible.

Ah well. Over and out.

Not New, But Still Shiny

GUESS WHAT.

NO, COME ON. GUESS.

OKAY FINE I’LL TELL YOU.

That’s right. Since the previous publisher went out of business, I’m putting out Steelflower on my own. Currently, you can buy the ebook directly; it will be in KU during the month of June, and the new paperback should be out by the end of June as well.

Yes, I’m trying to get back to work on Book 2. Trying. We’ll see what happens.

There now, aren’t you glad I told you?

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.

Stability Underfoot

I just want to stay in bed reading schlock and playing AbyssRium today. Unfortunately, the flu–I’m pretty sure it was flu, I certainly ached all over for it–has abated, which means I’m back to running. One cannot do that while snuggling in bed, and Miss B, in forced leisure while I hacked, coughed, and shivered, is brimming with energy that needs to be worked off. Otherwise she will find herself Jobs Around The House, and they will likely involve Things Mum Does Not Want Done. I won’t be cross with her for them, because she is Dog and Dog Can’t Help It, but I will be rather cross with myself for being a lazy puppy mum and not providing proper work for her.

The snow and freezing rain all melted off. There was a day when I couldn’t tell if it was raining or if the stuff falling from the sky was melting ice from the tree branches. The trunks were lathered with bubbles, there was so much water running everywhere. We live on a hill, and often the only thing keeping us from sliding down it are the fir trees. They take up an amazing amount of water, and when people higher on the hill cut down a lot of their trees I could really tell the difference in the runoff. Idiots. Branches on the roof are a small price to pay for stability underfoot.

I spent the weekend doing a revise on Harmony before sending it off to my agent and writing partner. It’s not going to see publication, I wrote it specifically and only because my agent wanted to read more YA from me and I wanted to give her a gift. Pretty much the only gift I do not suck at giving is my time and stories, so I invested heavily in this one. I hope she likes it. And my writing partner got it because, well, she kept me sane during finding said time to finish it. I agonized over spending time on it instead of a paying project, mostly because after the Steelflower fiasco and the concomitant financial hit things are tight.

I did try to open up the Steelflower 2 file on Sunday, just to see if the physical reaction had gone down. It hasn’t; I shook and dry-heaved into my office rubbish bin. The feeling of violation is as strong as ever, and I am despairing of it ever going away.

Anyway, I have Cormorant Run copyedits to deal with this week, and Afterwar wordcount to get in. There’s no such thing as a day off for the foreseeable future. I’m also contemplating a serial for my Patreon folks once the new year is here. If you’re interested in that sort of thing. I just have to decide which story simmering in the back of my head will do for such a thing.

And now, it’s time to get out the door and run. Gently and easily, but enough to work off Miss B’s fidgets and make her livable again. She knows, since I’m in my running togs, and is being Very Patient while I sit in front of the glowing magic box. The ways of the Hoomin Monkeys are strange to her, and she tries very hard to be patient, indeed. The need for action is twitching and trembling under her skin, and mine as well. Odd Trundles could also do with a constitutional, since it’s been too cold and slipper for his short-haired, clumsy self lately, poor fellow.

Off I go.