RELEASE DAY: Duty

The wind has shifted westward and we’re supposed to have rain this very day, which should clean the air a bit. I can’t wait–my eyes sting and I cough every time I have to step outside. And, wouldn’t you know, it’s also a release day!


Duty

After nearly dying on his team’s last mission, Paul Klemperer is heading home for the first time since signing up for the Army. His hometown’s grown a little. The inhabitants are older. And life has moved on, but some things are still the same. Like the way he feels about the girl he left behind—who ended up marrying someone else.

Beck Sommers has a divorce in the works; if she can just hold on, she’ll be able to leave this godforsaken town. Unfortunately, her soon-to-be-ex-husband has other ideas. Her first love Paul has returned as well, making things even more complicated. And then there’s the corruption, the drugs…and murder.

Beck’s determined to fix what’s gone wrong, but she has no idea how deep the corruption goes. And Paul? Well, he’s a little behind on the local news, but one thing’s for sure—he’s not letting Beck get away this time.

First, though, he’ll have to keep her alive…

Now available from Barnes & Noble, Apple, Amazon, and Kobo

If you’re interested, the book’s soundtrack is here.


This is Book 2 of Ghost Squad. I knew Klemperer–who readers will remember as a much-needed bit of lightness in Damage, being nearly brained by a milk crate–was going to head home for a family reunion and get into trouble. It took a bit of work to get him to open up, because he’s the Squad’s jokester and those tend to be extremely lonely people. He’s Dez’s second-in-command, and likes being in that particular position; it’s his job to get people moving in the right direction with a minimum of bitching once his squad leader has decided on a course of action. Consequently, he tends to cover his real feelings with a shield of jokes, evasion, and deep competence others often mistake for indifference. I watched a lot of M*A*S*H growing up, and Klemp takes a little from Hawkeye, a little from Radar, and a whole lot from Trapper John. He’s also very exceedingly loosely based on a certain soldier, anonymous by his own preference, who was gracious enough to tell me about some of his experiences in-country and his difficulties upon return. (Thank you, my friend; you’re one funny motherfucker.)

And then there’s Beck, who was left behind and suffered at least as much. There were no bullets or mortars, yet those aren’t the entirety of what makes a war zone. Getting her to open up was a chore, though I understood the problem wasn’t that she didn’t want to talk. She just knew nobody would listen, so she resolved to shut down. Which…I understood, having used the same strategy myself. Often, at great length, and to my own detriment.

Granite River is a fictional place, though it’s set in a very specific geographical region–the southern end of northwestern Oregon, at the end of a long chill damp winter before spring has done any appreciable warming. My beta and early readers told me, sometimes with a great deal of discomfort, that I’d absolutely nailed the dynamics of living in a small town with a dead textile mill (or other industry) and a lot of meth swimming through. And one of my early readers told me, in tones of awe and great discomfort, that the book was a little difficult to read because it described her own experience in an abusive relationship.

The human being in me was horrified at having caused any distress, while the writer in me pumped her fist and was gleeful at having gotten it right.

Individual writers have individual fascinations. One of my particular hobbyhorses is the effects of trauma–how people deal with it, and how they recover. What are the effects on someone’s personality after they’ve suffered something violent or horrifying, whether it be abuse or combat? What’s the way through? This fascinates me both because of my own traumatic experiences and those of people I care for. A soldier’s post-traumatic stress might not be seen the same way as an abuse victim’s, but both suffer after the fact. How do people cope, and how do they break when they can’t–or aren’t allowed to?

I already have the next installment of the Squad’s series in my head, though it’ll have to wait until revisions on the second Sons of Ymre are done. But in the meantime, here’s Klemp and Beck’s story, and I hope you like it.

Now I’m gonna go stick my head in a bucket and hyperventilate, as is my wont on release days. Happy Friday, my beloveds, and I hope you like this latest offering.

See you around.

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…

Jumprope Tuesday

My body is taking vengeance for atmospheric conditions neither it nor I control. The heat’s broken–at least, the really terrible stuff has, there’s still the garden-variety summer terrible to deal with. But that’s fine, it cools off at night, and in a couple days I’ll have fully bounced back.

At least, that’s the hope. I’m keeping coffee down, which is a blessing and a half. Attempting to deal with all this sans caffeine is an unpleasant prospect at best.

Today’s the official day for That Damn Werelion Book‘s paperback release. Amazon’s still listing it as “preorder” even though the release date is August 2. Ah well, it wouldn’t be a book release without some giant headache. In my more charitable moments I ascribe it to a lot of moving parts having to be just right. In the less-charitable, well…the less said about that, the better.

I managed a reasonable amount of work yesterday, and have high hopes for today as well. It’s akin to watching a jumprope as it rises and descends, catching the rhythm, and jumping in. The next scene in Hell’s Acre wanted to be written dialogue-first, so now it’s a matter of stitching around what the characters say, adding action and description tags to make clear how they said it. In certain cases I want the emphasis clear, in others the reader must supply their own. With that done I can also start building on the groundwork for the heroine in the second Sons of Ymre to figure out things in the temple aren’t what they appear to be (and now Prince’s Thieves in the Temple is playing inside my head) and the “hero” needs a bit more grinding into the dirt before I’ve forgiven him.

He was a total jackass in the first book, after all.

Boxnoggin is very happy this morning. In the first place, the windows are open and he can trot from place to place, getting a good snootful of a dawn breeze. In the second, it wasn’t gasping-hot last night, so I wasn’t as restless as I’ve been and he got more than the briefest of snuggles this morning. His walkies won’t be a misery, either, which is all to the good.

I have the strangest feeling today is Monday since yesterday was so physically miserable as to blur into a smear. I don’t quite dislike Mondays–they get a bit of an unfair reputation, being the first day back after weekends and all that–but I really don’t want to suffer them twice a week. Once is plenty. I have to keep glancing at the top of my screen to verify that yes, it’s Tuesday. Perhaps it’s my brain cooking from the weather.

The sun has reached a gap in the cedars, filling my office with summer gold. The particular quality of light in different seasons has always fascinated me, as well as the difference between, say, a hazy light-blue summer sky (you can tell it’s going to be hot and there’s no rain in sight) to the aching, piercing deeper blue of autumn-on-the-knife-edge-of-winter. A pale thin gold of sunshine in winter is distinct from the heavier, richer light of certain fall afternoons, and the rain-washed blue of spring sky seen between heavy clouds is in a class all its own. There are things to love about each and every shade.

In fact, I’ve been gazing out the window so much, enjoying a cool morning breeze, that this has taken a bit longer to write than usual. My coffee is tepid now, and Boxnoggin is waiting patiently for me to make some toast since that’s the next step before walkies. I might even keep said toast down, as it’s not still sticky-hot and humid. The only way to find out is to finish this, bolt the last of said coffee, and get started on the day.

I just had to check again to make sure it’s Tuesday. I can’t decide if this bodes ill or means I have an extra day’s productivity stored up in my fingers, waiting to be unleashed.

Suppose I’d best go find out. Wish me luck, my friends, and I wish you a pleasant (and hopefully temperate) day in return.

RELEASE DAY: The Bloody Throne

That’s right, my beloveds–the third and final Hostage to Empire book is officially out today!


The Bloody Throne

The great Zhaon empire is in turmoil. The emperor is dead and the crown prince has fallen to hidden schemes, leaving his most dangerous brother to assume the throne. The imperial court is seething, and whispers of war grow to shouts. The once-vanquished kingdom of Khir marches again to regain their honor, the savage Tabrak raid the borders after ravaging the South, and assassins lurk in the shadows seeking imperial favor. 

Komor Yala, her own position uncertain, finds shelter in marriage to the cunning Third Prince. But there is little safety in Zhaon. Death and destruction mount as a blood-drenched summer ends, and to the victor will be left an empire—if it is not turned to smoking ruins first. 

The wheel of destiny is turning, and all will be caught under its weight…

Now available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, and independent bookstores.


The entire series has had a difficult path to publication–no book is easy, mind you, but some are a little more challenging than others. Plague, uncertainty, changes in the editing team, all sorts of outside events all conspired against the entire trilogy. I’m rather surprised to have reached this point, frankly. There were several times during the writing, let alone the production process, where I thought it couldn’t possibly be finished.

But, like all love songs, it managed to reach triumph in at least one way.

Release-day nerves have me firmly in their grip. A run might blunt the sharp edges, but only a little. I’ll be hard pressed to settle to any real work today; I might try my hand at a livestream around lunchtime if I can scrape together the energy and ignore the anxiety. (But don’t bet on it.)

There’s a certain sadness to seeing years of work–not just my own, but that of the editorial and production crews–come to fruition. Of course there’s a great deal of joy and relief, I’m just feeling the pangs of separation. The book (and the series) has to make its own way in the world now. Publishing means that I’m already working several books past the end of this one; it’s like seeing one’s past self encased in amber. If not for delayed gratification, there would be none at all in this industry.

Anyway, I’m halfway through my coffee and the office is quiet. So is the grey morning outside my window. The dogs have not yet started lobbying for me to make toast and get underway, so I suppose I’ll take a deep breath and enjoy the peace while I can.

Have a lovely Tuesday, my dears. See you around.

Something Indeed, Survival

Another mist-drenched morning. The dogs are very calm, probably because all the clouds come down to earth muffle extraneous neighborhood noise. Except, of course, the helicopter that nearly buzzed us last night. It sounded low enough to take off a few roofs. Both kids came out of their rooms, wondering what the hell; the dogs were anxious for a bit, glancing in my direction to see how they should take the event.

Wonder what was up with that. And I’m slightly amused by everyone looking at me to see if they should worry about an Unexpected Event. Of course, that’s part of the essence of motherhood–and there was the time I, as a chaperone, stood up on a bus of fourth-graders beginning to spool themselves up on a field trip and hissed, “When it is time to panic I will let you know.”

Peace was restored, the troublemakers in the back were model citizens for the rest of the ride, and I was much in demand for class trips after that.

So. It’s Thursday. The Marked is on sale, and Sons of Ymre #1 is due for release later this month. Which means my own brand of panic will be in full bloom; release days always put me in a state. So far, February’s been an…interesting month. January seemed to last forever; this particular calendar-division isn’t far behind. I keep saying, “You know, last year…? I think?” and one of the kids will say, “Mum, that was last week.”

I mean, I’ve known all my life time is subjective, but this is ridiculous.

Perhaps some of the slipperiness of the fourth dimension lately comes from a certain form of completely accidental vengeance. The thing about time, and about surviving, is that sooner or later one outlasts a few things. Say, for example, that the Universe serves up a great deal of karma to someone who tormented you mercilessly when you were young and therefore temporarily helpless. (Though when you’re under eighteen and trapped it doesn’t feel temporary. Far from.)

Now, self-satisfied social mores might bleat that one isn’t supposed to feel any satisfaction from such an event, especially if one was born female and ruthlessly battered into being a polite, perfect victim because that serves the interest of entrenched powers. But watching karma (also known as “consequences”) come around the mountain like a freight train to paste a long-ago abuser is…well, it’s something.

It’s something indeed.

So time has lost most of its meaning, I’m enjoying my coffee on a quiet morning, and every once in a while the thought, “Huh, I survived,” drifts through the warp and weft of my concentration. For most of my life I never even compassed that I might. My own survival was invisible, because it did not occur to me that it was possible. And now I’m here.

I suppose I could always be so calm in disasters because I assumed I was already dead and most of my “life” was just marking time waiting for the cosmos to notice and update the paperwork. As a coping mechanism, was it ideal? Hardly. Useful? Very. Effective? In various ways, yes.

And now, in this the third year of pandemic, I look out my office window to see the fog pressing between cedars. I listen to the dogs breathe as they wait, half-napping, for morning walkies. If this is a victory, it’s a quiet one. The plague might still get me, and if it doesn’t the ongoing fascist coup (what, you thought that was over? Ha!) probably will. But I’ve lived long enough to see the muscled arm of cosmic consequence administer a well-deserved bitchslap, and I didn’t have to lift a finger.

At the moment, it’s enough. And my coffee, sipped slowly, tastes very good indeed.

RELEASE DAY: HOOD Omnibus

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…

RELEASE DAY: She’s Fleeing a Byronic Hero

Happy Yule, my beloveds! It’s the darkest night of the year and the day the kids and I celebrate even if we miss the festival on the 25th. Tonight a candle will hold vigil for me, since I have lost the desire to be awake all night. And boy howdy, do I have something fun for you!

You may or may not remember one of IndigoChick Design‘s premade sales, where I snapped up a lovely, enchanting cover I really do have to write something serious for. It was the tagline on the cover that got me, though: She’s Fleeing a Byronic Hero. It reminded me of those 70s pulp gothic romances–women with great hair fleeing old houses. Of course I had to buy it, and I had to write a story.

And this is what happened.


She’s Fleeing a Byronic Hero

Titness McHawttie has fled her marriage to the disturbingly virile Byron Blackheart, Lord Chestthumper. Can she survive a night upon the moors with her faithful almost-unicorn–and will Byron find his vanished bride in time?

Now available direct from Gumroad, from Barnes & NobleAppleKobo, or Amazon. (Paperback also available.)

Note: This is a short story, about 10k words.


There’s all sorts of stuff jammed in here–gothic romance conventions, a pinkish almost-unicorn named Chicken, a dashing highwayman, an aged herbalist beldam, a cold-hearted baroness, Rocky Horror Picture Show callbacks, references to the divine Bette Midler, a distinct whiff of the SNL Scorched Corset skit, and more! Some of my beloved subscribers, whose support gave me the time and resources to write the dang thing, are also Tuckerised in it.

The “Lady” comes from my Yule gift to myself–an honest-to-gosh Scottish title–and “Alana Smithee” is a long-standing in-joke between Lady Skyla Dawn Cameron (also a Lady now) and Yours Truly. It’s 10k+ words of hilarity, and I had a great time putting it together.

I also begged my long-suffering cover designer for a new pulpy cover, and she gave me something great. I mean, just look at it. (I’m particularly fond of the 99p sticker. Takes me back, that does.)

So, just in time for Yule–I was waiting last night for one last sales platform to update; it’s near Christmas and everyone is overwhelmed–Titness McHawttie is fleeing across Heathencliffe Moors, and Byron Perssy Blackheart, Lord Chestthumper (who has fought more than one duel with persons mispronouncing his title) is in somewhat more-than-lukewarm pursuit. I hope you enjoy this little tale, my friends. I had a wonderful time with it.

And with that, I’m off. We’ve a busy day here at the chez, between some last-last-very last-minute shopping to prepare for the weekend, the dogs needing walking, a few spiritual observances, running my weary corpse, and some more work on Hell’s Acre. One I finish my coffee and swallow some toast I’ll be flying low with no brakes; should you hear a howling in the distance, don’t worry, my friends. It’s just me, moving at speed.

See you around.