RELEASE DAY: The Rouje Kith

That’s right, my beloveds! That Damn Werelion Book is now out in the world, both ebook and print!

The Rouje Kith

Zoe Simmons has been on the run for as long as she can remember. No fixed address, no real ID, working under the table and moving on the instant her instincts tell her to. Then a disturbing, magnetic blond stranger appears, saying he’s her twin brother–the one her mother swore was dead seventeen years ago.

The Kith have claimed Zoe, sweeping her into a new world of pleasure, luxury–and violence. She’s always suspected she wasn’t quite normal, and now she’s about to find out how deadly her new fairytale life can be…

Available direct, or at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, and Google Play. Paperback available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and independent bookstores.

A free sample of the first few chapters is also available.

I can’t believe it. My little VC Andrews homage with bonus werelion, all grown up and out in the world. Oh, and you can find the book’s soundtrack here. I know this particular effort has been eagerly anticipated, and I hope you guys like it. (And that cover! My cover artist really went to town.)

I’ve got copyedits on yet another book to get done, so that will help defray the release day nerves a bit. But I’m sure I’ll end up with my head in a bucket, hyperventilating (whether or not the bucket will be full of ice water is the question), so I’d best get on that.

Happy Tuesday, my beloveds. It looks like it’s going to be an exciting one…

Long Calendar Shot

It’s going to be a deadly warm day, so I’m up early. Heaven knows how long this will last, though Boxnoggin is extremely happy about this turn of events. Anything that gets him to a ramble more quickly is good, in his opinion, even if it is a minor change in routine. I suppose it helps that the wake-up routine doesn’t change even if the time does–roll out of bed, take Boxnoggin out, Boxnoggin’s brekkie, Mum’s coffee, Mum staring at the glowing box, a bit of toast, then and only then glorious walkies.

He’s very ready.

I also woke up with Frou Frou’s Breathe In playing on the ol’ skull radio. It’s a Selene-and-Nikolai song–there’s a whole scene that never made it into any of the books where she comes back to Saint City and just basically renovates his nest. “Come on, Nik. Live a little.” Of course she doesn’t touch his hall of cursed objects again, just rolls her eyes and gets rid of some of his more objectionable “antiques”. A very discerning eye and specific aesthetic has Selene Thompson, and Nikolai doesn’t care about the furnishings as long as she consents to stay. (He did decorate the House of Pain, though.)

Anyway. The imaginary people in my head live on, and plenty of their lives don’t make it into the finished works. If I ever write the Hell Wars series with little Lia Spocarelli we’ll see Selene again. She and Danny Valentine have quite a bit in common, though Selene is much more relaxed about things and Dante considers her, like Lucas, one of her few actual friends.

Yesterday I finished American Predator by Maureen Callahan; I’ve been on a real true-crime jag (again) and it’s spread from documentaries to books (again). It’s amazing how many serial killers are only caught though their own mounting sloppiness and incompetence, and further amazing how Keyes’s interrogation was bungled by a single man with an outsize ego. Our entire society is set up to prioritize narcissists and sociopaths, and male ones on top of that. The rest of us suffer endlessly for it.

And with that cheerful thought, I’m about to start my Monday. Looking forward to coming home from an early run, closing up the house, turning on the AC, and plunging into work. I think Avery Black in Hell’s Acre needs to do a few other things before the next assassination, the heroine in the second Sons of Ymre book will be introduced to her new status at a temple, and I’ve got to get a Viking wisewoman and her shieldmaid out of an elvish prison cell. Enough to do even for me, and my decks are cleared (barring disaster) enough that I can settle and simply…write, today.

It’s about damn time. I need a good long calendar shot of nothing but the stories to deal with. Let’s hope today cooperates.

See you around, my beloveds.

Blues and Fuzzy Toddlers

It’s a bright morning, though “sunny” might be a bit of a misnomer, what with the marine layer and assorted haze. I woke up with Robert Johnson playing inside my head, so of course it’s a day for Delta blues. Later today I’ll probably shift to some Mississippi John Hurt–Chicago instead of Delta–because I always seem to end up with him on some warm sunny afternoons with a certain amount of dust in the air.

But we’ll see. Guessing the music is always harder than guessing the weather.

I did a lot of gardening this weekend–and even escaped sunstroke, a pleasant victory. Today is for catching up on some correspondence and giving Ghost Squad #2 a last bit of varnish before it’s scheduled to go out the door. That should occupy all my working time nicely, especially since I’m continuing a sort-of social media fast. I just can’t handle the firehose of bad news, so in the mornings I’ll have most of it blocked. Which should be great for my productivity even if I do miss eyeing a few group chats while I’m sipping coffee.

I might even get a bit of the space werewolves written today, if I have any energy left beyond prettifying the revisions and getting them scheduled to go out on the deadline.

…this has taken an unexpectedly long time to type, because Miss B is in one of her queenly moods and demanding a great deal of attention, not to mention a great many trips out into the backyard. Some mornings she simply wants to be sure I’m paying attention, like any fuzzy toddler. She would very much like me to get my toast so she may have a toast scrap, and of course after that it’s time for her real goal, walkies.

I haven’t had to carry her up the hill again, so that’s a hopeful sign. Regardless, we are in the sunset of her time with us, and it pains me. So if she wants praise and petting and trips out to the yard, she’s going to get them. She’s earned that, and far more.

I’m on the very dregs of my coffee. The bird-identification app my writing partner enthused over is pretty cool; I use it on the deck in the mornings and on quiet evenings. Dark-eyed juncos, robins, song sparrows, house finches, some goldfinches, flickers–it’s pretty wizard that the app can distinguish between the songs, grab a picture of the likely bird in question, and show it to me all at once. We live in the future, of course, and any sufficiently advanced tech is indistinguishable from magic and all that, but still. The wonder of seeing such things are possible is a pleasant sensation indeed, and one I hope I never lose.

While I might decide hope is useless, wonder never is. And with that (cheery?) thought I’m off to the races. A certain fuzzy toddler needs her toast, after all, even though she’s temporarily turned her nose up at the bacon grease in her bowl. “What? No human carbs? For shame, Mother. For shame.”

I hope your Monday is as peaceful as my morning has been, my dears. It’s a pleasant way to begin the week, and we haven’t had too many of those lately, now have we.

See you around.

Dreams, Revisions, and Screaming

My dreams have been even more vivid than usual. None have the particular tsunami-quality that would make them good books (or even novellas); I think it’s just my brain cleaning house under current stressful conditions. This morning’s skull-movie was waking up in a particular bedroom I’ve seen before (but never in real life), bars of thick golden sunlight coming through the wide windows with wrought-iron muntins, and being addressed by a horned figure with tiger stripes who moves from one shadow to the next.

Oddly, the horned figure speaks in some version of French, and I woke up trying to conjugate a verb so I could reply. Go figure.

I am told some people dream in black-and-white, and some in color. My own dreams are so hypersaturated real life seems pale in comparison, but that’s no surprise since the story-hallucinations I often have are the same. Realer than real isn’t just for portal fantasies.

Anyway, it’s Thursday, I’m almost halfway through revisions on the second Ghost Squad book, and I think I’ve got all the screaming out of my system. I did take some time to put together discrete playlists for both Damage (playlist here) and Book 2, but I think that was the last gasp of procrastination before I buckled down. The dogs kept checking on me yesterday, as they always do when an edit letter lands and I take some time to privately vent my fury.

I’ve talked before about the process of getting all the “how dare you suggest altering my deathless purple prose” out of the way before settling to revisions. Editors are here to make your book/story/whatever better, and they are human beings, not punching bags. Get all your angst, sturm, und drang out of the way on your own, either in your office, locked in your bathroom, screaming into a pillow, or venting to a trusted friend (with their permission and the Cone of Silence, of course). There’s no need to direct any of it to the editor, who is only trying to help. And ninety-nine and a half times out of a hundred, said editor has a good point.

Now, I have been revenge-edited before, but that is exceedingly rare and behaving professionally in that event is even more crucial. Partly out of spite–you don’t want to give this person any further ammunition–but also as a point of personal pride. And it’s easy to mistake one’s knee-jerk reaction to the first round of having a book one has worked very hard on for months or years judged by an onlooker for revenge editing, so you don’t want to open your mouth and be proved wrong later when the dust settles, the emotion clears, and you realize that yes, the editor is right and something needs a fix.

So I alternated my working time yesterday between revisions (got almost halfway, hurrah) and lying on the office floor with the dogs, muttering into their fur about how cruel and unjust the world is to us poor tender writers. They’re used to that sort of thing, and offered no advice, just friendly licks and insistent “well, then, pet us and forget about it.” All in all, wasn’t a bad day, and I’m beginning to think this book isn’t bad at all.

Which is always a relief, since it’s a sign that I’ve achieved enough distance from writing the damn thing to contemplate it calmly. Always a blessed event.

And yet I am only halfway, and I have dogs to walk, my own corpse to run, and the subscription drop to get sorted before I can go back to it. The drop might be put off to Friday, as sometimes happens if I find I don’t want to break momentum. We’ll see.

So…it will be a busy Thursday, my beloveds, and I’d best get started. At least there are a couple eclairs left to soothe the sting, and if I am a Very Productive Writer who gets the damn revisions done by the weekend I can work on the space-werewolves-and-pro-wrestling erotica as a treat.

It’s good to have things to look forward to. I bid you, my darlings, a civil adieu.

A Browne Day

Woke up with Jackson Browne’s In the Shape of a Heart on my mental radio; the dogs, while understanding nothing of the song, are nevertheless quite happy to have me croon to them. Especially if it’s accompanied by ear-rubs or chest-skritches, and they like Browne far better than, say, the mornings I wake up with Penderecki or Marilyn Manson on the dial.

The stormwrack has largely been cleaned up. The damage isn’t as bad as I feared, but it’s still going to need an insurance adjustor to come out and take a look. Fortunately, that’s scheduled. Snow is pretty, but I could have done without all this bullshit.

I’m pushing to get the werelion story fully uploaded as a serial; it’ll be up until June, then pulled and refurbished for actual publication. Might as well; my recent experiment in trying to channel just the tiniest fraction of the massive, entitled self-confidence of a mediocre dumbass is bearing fruit. Sure, it’s a terrible story, the literary equivalent to scenery-chewing. But it’s not unfinished and everyone I’ve told about the damn project–or given tastes, teasers, or chunks to–has said it should be out in the world. So…here we go.

I also want to get it posted and out of the way before revisions for Ghost Squad #2 land. That’s Klemp’s book, and the beta readers liked it well enough. Now I can incorporate some of their suggestions with the editor’s, and the book will be stronger for it. Maybe that’s why I have this particular song running around inside my cranium. It does seem to fit Klemp and Beck, except the ending is far, far less bittersweet.

I think my editor would have been very cross if the book had decided to end otherwise, though. She really likes Klemp. (Wait until I get to Jackson’s story. The entire Squad is in for a rough ride on that one…)

Anyway, the dogs are quietly getting their first morning nap out of the way while I absorb coffee, but will soon wake up again and start lobbying for toast scraps. They got tiny dabs of grease in their breakfast kibble, but apparently nothing is as valuable as dry sourdough I’ve slobbered on. The little furry weirdos obviously think it some manner of manna, which mystifies me. But at least they wait patiently, then “sit pretty” for their scraps, and both enjoy the ritual. So do I, though I don’t consider it quite as necessary as they seem to.

Time to get this song off repeat and dump some bread in the toaster. Thursday’s going to be busy, especially since there’s a tonne of special stuff going out to subscribers, and if I work through the weekend the werelion story will be fully (though temporarily) out of my hair. Which might mean a day off, and by then I might even be tired enough to take a mini-vacay instead of simply using the time to catch up on correspondence and administrivia left hanging fire while I get the damn werelions sorted.

Of course, I could cue up Somebody’s Baby, since it’s apparently a Browne kind of day. That’s a good song to dance around the kitchen with while sourdough’s being turned into toast, and the dogs will be more than happy to waltz along.

There’s the day’s lesson, my dears. Don’t forget to do a little dancing–the world’s on fire, we might as well.

I’ve been saying eh, we might as well a lot lately. It’s probably not healthy, but it’s better than screaming. Or so I keep telling myself.

See you around.

First Hit

Woke up with P!nk’s True Love playing in my head. I am puzzled–I barely know the song, it’s my daughter who’s the hardcore P!nk fan around here. But the radio inside my skull picks tracks on its own schedule, never mine, so I guess I just roll with it until something else burrows in. At least my habit of listening to music most of the day means I’ll get another earworm in short order, if not while doing the morning work then while running. I should rearrange my running soundtracks to keep everything fresh, too…but maybe not this week.

There’s a dense fog advisory on, but our particular tiny biome–a couple of blocks on the side of a hill–is clear. The dogs were incredibly eager to get outside this morning, then both turned their noses up at breakfast and are now engaged upon their first nap of the day while I am forced to remain upright and (presumably) conscious. Sometimes I envy the damn canines. On the other hand, I’m not fond of chasing squirrels or licking my own paws, so I guess it works out.

I spent the weekend attempting to do something like resting, but it didn’t quite happen. Consequently I’ve a severe case of Monday exhaustion and my nerves are only half-wrapped. The sparks are pretty, though, and I’ve a baseball bat right by the desk.

The week’s first punch just maddened me. You know that trope where someone hits a fighter and said fighter just regards the opponent with a blood-grimed grin, very happy they’ve finally been given the chance to unleash their temper? Yeah. Like that. Each mouthful of coffee is another weapon in my arsenal.

I’m also looking forward to the upcoming launch of the third and last Hostage to Empire book. My goodness, the series had a rocky road, and the final book was written during lockdown so whenever I read passages I remember the uncertainty, and shiver a little. I’m glad to be moving on to new things, and very thankful for the production crew.

I unboxed my author’s copies of said book on last Friday’s Tea With Lili, which will stay live for about two weeks before being replaced. I’m going to give the streaming another month to see if the performance anxiety goes down. Each time I do one of those things I end up shaking with stress and anxiety, though I’m told I appear very calm; maybe it’s my habit of slowing down when things get weird that does it. Holding the appearance of calm is necessary when one has dogs or small children, since they largely take their cues from the adult in the room. If I start losing my shit they start ramping up, and that’s not good for anyone.

I might throw caution to the winds, get some correspondence and administrivia out of the way today, then spend the rest of the day doing an initial polish on the werewolf story before making some decisions about whether or not I want to serialize it. If I put the Carnivale soundtrack on repeat I might even shake every other earworm out of my head, and maybe the brainweasels will stop yelling too. There are a lot of them crowding my bone headpan.

Brainweasels. Earworms. Sleeping dogs. Sun burning through fog, and I keep looking around my office thinking I should clean this place up. There are several things I’ve just stuck in corners or on top of the cabinets because I don’t have any bloody time to deal with them during a pandemic, and they’ve now been sitting, solidifying, for years. Might as well rearrange things and give them a permanent home…

after I get some toast, walk the dogs, run my corpse, spend two hours getting paperwork to the accountant, and do everything else on the list today. No rest for the weary or the wicked, and these days I’m both to the very hilt.

Happy Monday, my friends. I hope you have a baseball bat handy too, and that the first hit only makes you mad. One way or another, we’ll get this week sorted.

See you around.


Today is a frabjous day, calloo callay, because the omnibus of HOOD–all three seasons in one place–is now available!

Anglene is smoldering. The galactic insurrection is supposed to be crushed. Robbhan Locke, a Second Echelon soldier, has returned to his birth planet along with other veterans, finding Sharl Notheim holding all of Sagittarius in his mailed fist for Parl Jun the Regent.

If the Gran Parl Riccar can be found, he could save all of Anglene. In the meantime, Robb, Marah, and their friends are going to have to do it themselves–if they survive.

The war is over, but “peace” is a relative term

Available at Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, and direct at Gumroad. Paper edition available through Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Note: Due to Amazon’s policies, the ebook will not be listed there, but don’t despair–if you’re a Kindle reader, we’ve got you covered! If you order through Gumroad, you’ll automatically get access to a .mobi you can add to said Kindle or Paperwhite.

Big, epic thanks are due to my beloved subscribers, without whom this series would never have seen light of day. (A surprising number of publishers didn’t want Robin Hood IN SPACE, but that’s their loss, I think.) Several subscribers are also Tuckerized, which always gives me a happy feeling when I reread.

Special thanks must also be given to the veterans who answered my questions about what “coming home” was like for them; I did my best to tell the truth, as you told it to me.

If you’d like to listen to the music that fueled the serial, you can find the playlist here.

In other news, every roof in the neighborhood has a thick white layer of frost on it, and the fog has also furred branches with soft white. As the sun mounts things will start to drip, and there will be brief gilding on every surface. Everything is oddly still since we’re still under some kind of inversion; this weather is odd indeed. It raises the hackles.

Still, coffee must be had, the dogs must be walked, and I’m hard at work on other stories. January’s turned out to be a busy bee of a month indeed.

See you around…