Week of Mondays

Someone in the neighborhood has been roofing since Monday. Or several someones. The nail guns and staple guns are going like a fusillade. I’ve just made my peace with the fact that Monday’s happening all week.

And it’s been kind of a dilly so far, frankly. Maybe just considering every day Monday is how it’s gonna be from now on, I dunno. But I’ve had a new release, line edits for Sons of Ymre #1 landed, I still have the HOOD omnibus to fold in proofreader changes on, the Black God’s Heart diptych has edits lingering, plus there’s a lot of Hell’s Acre to write.

And Guilder to frame for it, as usual. I’m swamped.

There’s a lot of stuff I’ve crossed off my weekly to-do list–CEs for The Bloody Throne, a contract for some new Ghost Squad books, arguing over the phone with an insurance company (always big fun), and fixing the (not so pleasant) results of the print distribution experiment for Moon’s Knight, not to mention the release day proper for the latter. (For the curious, the print edition is currently available through Amazon; other channels will have it in due time. I have pretty hardback plans, too.)

Yet I feel like I’ve done nothing, and it makes me want to weep.

The only cure is putting my head down and working like a demon though the weekend. Revisions won’t get accomplished, of course–but I think it’s very likely I can get the omnibus proof sorted this weekend and Season Three prepped for September release, which is just within the schedule I set earlier. Which means the omnibus can get sorted for October-November.

That’s the thing about book releases. By the time they happen, the book’s already probably a year (if not multiple years) old. I’m already juggling a brand-new set of chainsaws, and flinching every time I look at the old one(s).

But it’s a nice cloudy morning, it smells like rain though I think that’s a polite petrichor fiction, and the chattering of roofing equipment isn’t quite soothing but it does (hopefully) mean someone’s getting paid for their work on a relatively pleasant day. The heat seems to have retreated a bit, and we’re no longer miserably sheltering in any AC we can find. There might even be tomatoes in a short while, because the plants are looking very happy indeed.

Of course, I probably won’t get out to harvest them, being head-down in a whirlwind of work being my preferred state. I suppose a week’s worth of Mondays is a small price to pay for getting a new book out into the world and making a dent in the massive to-do list. I guess all that frantic work I did during lockdown is sort of paying off? At the time, I was just trying to keep my head above water.

Whomst among us in 2020 wasn’t, though. *sigh*

All right. Thursday also means subscription stuff to get out the door, and I suppose I should start the proof changes today if I’m going to work through the weekend. No rest for the weary or the wicked, and a writer definitely qualifies as both.

Or maybe just this particular writer does.

See you around, beloveds. Be gentle with yourselves, mask up, get your shot(s), and keep holding on.

Even a week of Mondays has to end sometime.

RELEASE DAY: Moon’s Knight

It’s a Tuesday, which generally means new books. And what do you know, this Tuesday it means a new Lili book.

The portal fantasy I wrote last year (during the very bleakest part of that lockdown) was originally going to stay on my hard drive, unread by anyone other than me. My beta readers, however, were going through rough patch (who wasn’t, at that moment) so I said, “All right, here. Have this portal fantasy. It’s not much, but–“

I couldn’t even finish the sentence. They figuratively snatched it out of my hands, read it, then all three promptly informed me that I had to publish it. I sent it to my agent, who cursed me for making her like a portal fantasy, and so, resisting all the way, I was brought to the sticking-post.

So…here it is, for your delectation as well, dear Reader.


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Drunk and disoriented after her best friend’s funeral, Ginevra Bennet stumbles through a door in an ivy-covered wall…and finds herself in a dry wasteland under a dying crimson sun, the only possible shelter a giant stone castle.

If it’s a hallucination, it’s a deadly one; the Keep is full of beauty, luxury, courtly manners–and monsters. The inhabitants rejoice in her arrival, dress her in white, and call her a queen. Greenery returns to their gardens, and the prince of the realm, with his silver-ringed eyes, seems very interested in Gin indeed. It should be the answer to every lonely young woman’s dreams.

But nothing in Gin’s life has ever been what it’s seemed. Not her best friend, not her upbringing, and most especially not her nightmares. Drowning, violent death, a stone roof, and the hallucinatory prince have filled her nights, and Gin hopes she’s going mad–because the alternative is just too scary to contemplate.

Caught in a web of manners, intrigue, and betrayal, Gin has to depend on her sorely tested wits and uncertain sanity. There are Gates at the edge of the wasteland, and if she can escape the castle and its beautiful, terrifying inhabitants, she might just find a few answers and be able to get home.

Assuming, of course, home is where she really wants to be…

Available from Barnes & NobleAmazonKoboAppleGoogle Play, and direct; print edition also available here.


I was trying out a new print distribution service for the paper edition, figuring it was a great time to experiment. The experiment did not go well, so I’m making other plans. So yes, the paper edition is forthcoming–it was supposed to drop a full week before the ebook, but like I said, the experiment didn’t go well. (Translation: I will not be recommending that particular print distro to my publishing friends.) So I’m sort of scrambling to get the rest put together, and I’ll tell you when the paper edition goes live. [ETA: It’s live! You can find it here.]

I suppose today is a release day, though I intended to just quietly drop this book with no warning and no fanfare. Best-laid plans, and all that.

So, uh, I wrote a book. Here it is. You might like it, though I kept telling the beta readers, “It’s very slight. There’s not a lot of action. It…dammit, I’m still talking, why are you walking away and reading at the same time? THAT’S DANGEROUS!”

I suspect I am a trial to my poor beta readers as well as everyone else, most days. So I’ll just go stick my head in a bucket like usual on release days, and let the world do as it will. Maybe now this story will leave me alone.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday Irritation

Well, trying a new print distribution service has not been going well, but that’s why we test things–to see if they will. I’m *thisclose* to yanking the book and sending it through another print distro, but I’m giving the company one final chance to make this right. If they choose not to take it, I yank the book, go with a previous print distributor, and chalk it up to a failed experiment.

Oh, and tell everyone I know not to use this particular print distro. There’s that, too.

In any case, I’m swinging wildly between “nobody will read the damn thing, chillax” and “it’s going to be the most hated book in the world FOR NO REASON so you’re going to feel bad, why not just feel bad now and avoid the rush?” I suppose plenty of that is normal; at least, it happens with every single blessed book release. I probably shouldn’t have told anyone about the book, just dropped it on the sly.

Of course, the cover is so good I couldn’t resist. It’s just so damn beautiful, and perfect for the story.

In any case, I’ve finished a morning’s worth of work, and now it’s time to finish absorbing coffee and walk the silly fur-covered toddlers as well. They are beside themselves, both because I did not share my brekkie (it was not toast, it was doughnuts, and they were mine) and because they know the next step in the routine is me tying my shoes (with their close supervision, of course) and brushing my teeth, preparatory to buckling them into harnesses and dragging them around the block.

They can’t wait.

Josephine Baker is finally being laid to rest at the Pantheon. It’s about damn time. I wish the news articles wouldn’t say “First [Minority] to X.” I wish they’d say, “First [Minority] Finally Allowed by Bigots to [Do the Thing]”. Because that’s what it is. It’s not the first person in a particular population to do extraordinary things, it’s just the first time existing power structures have deigned to be forced into noticing, and that needs to be highlighted. The back side of exceptionalism is just as damaging as front-facing racism.

It’s like not “noticing” women until they’re safely dead and can’t messily, personally agitate for their rights anymore. The sops thrown to memory are supposed to be mistaken for progress, and it irks me. Every time I see a “lifetime achievement” award for a woman, I know that she should have won twenty others decades earlier but wasn’t allowed to because some goddamn white man wanted a trophy instead–and, quite probably, stole her work to boot.

In any case the coffee cup is dry, which means now I have to push dog snoots out of the way as I tie my shoes, and the morning may proceed apace. I’m not looking forward to yanking and redoing print distro stuff, but that’s part of the cost of self-publishing. The print edition was supposed to be out a full week before the ebook, but the distributor put paid to that, and I suppose I am a wee bit justifiably irritated with the whole thing. Ah well, at least it happened on this book and not another.

Silver lining, that. And so we’re off for a walk. Happy Monday, my beloveds.

Days Off and Electronic Sobbing

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I stayed up relatively late last night finishing the bulk of the copyedits on The Bloody Throne (book 3 of Hostage to Empire, which is wending its way towards publication slowly but surely). I think it’s pretty much done except for one last brief pass to tuck in a few stray threads. It was written last year during lockdown (like a couple other things) and my body remembers the stress and strain. I was wondering why I felt so nauseous and unsettled reading some of the passages before I remembered when, precisely, it had been created.

The body knows, my friends. It always knows.

Fortunately this morning is cloudy and very cool. It’s the first time in weeks I don’t feel like I’m gasping for breath, and I’m not sweating while standing absolutely still. It’s GLORIOUS and I want more. The weather app says the heat will return tomorrow, but after that it might taper off a bit. A high of 75F is ever so much nicer than a high of 85F. I know people who live in warmer places will scoff at the PNW’s delicate mushrooms, but honestly, I live here for a number of reasons, not least the temperate clime.

We’re about a week from the ebook version of Moon’s Knight being officially out too; the print version should have been released today but isn’t propagating through channels just yet. Ah well, that’s the cost of testing new distribution methods. And honestly…I don’t think the book will do much. Of course, this is a constant refrain; part of pre-release nerves is the deep unshakable belief that one’s book will sink like a stone, with nary a ripple.

As soon as I finish the Bloody Throne copyedits for realsies and schedule their turn-in, I think I might attempt to take a day off. The kids are making noises about tying me to the couch again–jokes, I’m sure, but with a glint in their eyes I recognize from the mirror.

I get super nervous on “days off”, though. A day without writing causes an itch to begin under my skin, and the discomfort mounts until I literally, physically have to write in some fashion. Of course I usually solve this problem by working with something I deem unpublishable on “days off”, but a significant number of those projects have actually sold, so…I’m not sure what to do. I’m happiest while working, which is fortunate because if I ever stopped the entire casa might sink into a mire, House of Usher-style.

Past Me also put the entire Nibelungen cycle on the playlist at some point, so that’s thirteen hours of Wagner playing in the background. I don’t know whether this was a prescient choice or a penance. I know I can halt the queue and change it at any moment, but I’m curious how this will play out. I may have to alter it slightly and go on one last Pink Floyd binge before summer ends and I can’t listen to them again until the next summer solstice. The poor music algorithm doesn’t know what to suggest to me next, throwing up its digital hands and reduced to electronic sobbing.

One thing I’m going to try not to do today is look at the news. I feel incredibly guilty, since it’s long been an article of my faith that part of a writer’s job is never to look away from the hard bits of living. We’ll see if I succeed. The torment of falling down on my duty by not looking may well outweigh the damage of gazing at the fire.

In any case, the copyedits are almost done and dusted, and once they’re finished the only thing left on that trilogy will be proofs for the final book. It’s not a bad story, I think, but unfortunately a constellation of outside forces conspired to make it extremely stressful. Soon, good or bad, it will be over, and that will be a relief. On to fresh fields and pastures new, so to speak.

I hope you get a chance to breathe today, beloveds. It’s been a while since I could take a deep lungful, and it feels sinfully good. Be kind to yourselves, and excellent to each other.

Over and out.

Insomnia and the Knight

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The weekend was a nightmare of heat, being unable to sleep because of said heat even with the air conditioning on, hives from the heat, and the underwater sense of too much insomnia. My eyelid didn’t start twitching until late Sunday, so at least there was that.

On the bright side, Moon’s Knight is releasing before the end of the month. PLEASE NOTE: If a retailer link on that page doesn’t work, it’s because that retailer has the book but isn’t listing it just yet. I have literally zero control over when they get their databases updated, and distributors like Amazon don’t allow preorders if you’re not using their (heavily weighted against the author) proprietary service. (That’s why I offer .mobi versions through my Gumroad store.) And yes, there will also be a print version. I’ll do an official announcement later, probably on the formal ebook release date, which is August 24, 2021.

Along with the insomnia I’m deep in the pre-release “everyone will hate this book” weeds, helped along by the fact that I wrote Moon’s Knight to literally escape the worst and darkest of last year’s lockdown and am bringing it out only because beta readers and my agent were very insistent that it needs to be out in the world. I’m trying to take deep breaths and remind myself that the book’s gonna do what it’s gonna do, people are gonna do what they’re gonna do, and I have little to say about it either way.

I did get some sleep last night, since the heat has (temporarily, I’m sure) broken, and this morning is actually quite pleasantly cool. It looks like it’ll be only mid-80s instead of in the hundreds, so I suppose that’s a blessing. I’ll be able to run, at least, and that shall set me right.

Or, if not quite right, at least well on the way to becoming so.

Even the dogs got some good rest last night, so they’re bright eyed and relatively bushy-tailed. They’re wanting walkies with a vengeance, but I think they’ll need another tour of the yard before they’re ready. Boxnoggin has a distressing habit of wanting to squat in oncoming traffic unless he’s previously offloaded. Apparently emptying his bowels on concrete in front of fast-approaching cars satisfies some deep instinctual need.

I don’t even know. All I do know is hauling him out of the way gets old real quick. Little weirdo.

So. Walkies, a run, a chapter of Hell’s Acre, a hundred or so pages of copyedits, and and chewing my nails about Moon’s Knight are all on the docket today. Sounds like a reasonable day’s work, all told.

I’d best finish the coffee and get to it.

The Jam Loosens

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I woke from a dream of cleaning a house I’ve never lived in, with music playing in my head. The former doesn’t happen that often, but the latter is pretty much a constant. I rolled over, got Boxnoggin’s wet nose stuck in my face (he was attempting to get me to wake up so we could go do fun things, Mum, come on!) and heard the plucky opening riff to the Muppets’ Happiness Hotel.

Pretty sure that means a good day, even if an unrelentingly weird one.

The weirdness has been off the charts lately. The only thing I can think to do is begin my fall nesting–a few of my friends already have, and with the current plague news, well, I’m going to need my tiny safe nook to be as cosy as possible.

Especially if we need to share space with friends or family suffering fallout.

In any case, I’ve a list of Autumn Preparation Things. Some of them are small and will fit around the bigger list of Work Things What Landed In The Past Few Days. It’s feast or famine in publishing, dry spell or monsoon. CEs (the third and final Hostage to Empire book is top of the list) and proofs (HOOD fans, the omnibus proof just landed, so very soon Season Three will be out and the omnibus will be available for preorder) and cover drafts (Moon’s Knight is that much closer to publication; once I get the final cover the trigger can be gently squeezed), not to mention revisions on the diptych of The Black God’s Heart.

Plus there’s Hell’s Acre to get daily wordcount in on, and the sequel to Damage to build. (And Guilder to frame for it. I’m positively swamped.)

In between all that is cleaning and arranging for fall–the most wonderful time of the year, frankly. I’m ready for it to cool off; the recent heatwave is no fun and doesn’t really break overnight. We have some air conditioning, so we’re a little better placed than most, but it’s still unrelentingly bad. And gods know we need some proper rain.

I’ve recovered some little bit of my harmony. The tetchiness and ill feeling have subsumed under the sheer amount of work; maybe I just need to be buried under Stuff To Do before my mood improves. Having safe spaces to vent some of my feelings at current events helps as well. Holding that sort of thing in, no matter how useful a skill, eventually curdles and turns one rancid.

I don’t like being angry. Sure, I’m often irritated, but outright anger isn’t usual for me. I can count the number of times I’ve been actually, for-real angry in my life on one hand and have fingers (plural) left over. Current affairs, however, are managing the feat splendidly, and I hate it.

Anyway. There will be a glut of news in the near future, my beloveds–preorder information for Moon’s Knight once that gets all sorted, Season Three of HOOD and the omnibus scheduled, maybe something good on the Tolkien Viking Werewolves front, so on and so forth. But today is all about copyedits with some Zoe Keating in the background to drown out the noise in my head, not to mention the dogs needing their morning walk. I won’t be able to run until the weather breaks; heat sensitivity is an awful thing.

I am cherishing the return of my usual equanimity, even if it means the Muppets will be playing inside my skull when I wake. All in all, it could be worse. Oh, and thank you all for telling me how you’re getting through this; your comments helped me see good things.

Onward and upward, excelsior and all that. The dogs have been very patient, but they need walkies before it gets too hot to breathe. Time to bolt the remains of my coffee and embark.

See you around.

Uncorking With Jealousy

I did manage to brush up against copyedits yesterday…but then a cover draft landed for Moon’s Knight and getting that book moved up in the queue took precedence. A final proof pass has been finished, and now the cover is the last piece before I can send it out into the world. It’s a relief–I wrote it last year during the darkest days of lockdown, it utterly possessed me, and just getting it out and away will represent a victory of sorts.

And boy howdy did the cover draft make me happy. My cover artist is amazing, you guys.

I’m still feeling like a hopeless, burned-out hulk, though. Four years of increasing fascism crowned with a coup1 added to a bloody pandemic for the last year and a half is apparently my limit.

I suppose, to be absolutely fair, it’s not the pandemic per se but the ongoing fumbling in response to it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to have adults in charge again, and yet I could wish they weren’t so beholden to corporations whose entire goal is keeping a serf class too sick and scared to organize and resist their metastasizing.

Anyway, I’ve hit the wall bigtime. It was nice to reread the portal fantasy though; the sense of escape, even though I was proofing, was extremely welcome. And of course days when I can run, the stress chemicals are purged and I get a few hours of tenuous harmony before the discomfort mounts again.

Today is for forcing myself through walkies and a run, then back to the copyedits. I’m sure something will land in my inbox that needs attention; the best way to uncork something in the work process is to throw up one’s hands and focus on another task that needs doing. I call it “the jealousy principle”, because if a book is giving me trouble I often shift to the next one in the queue and let the first know it’s basically being ignored.

The Muse, like certain movie psychopaths, will not be ignored, thank you.

I know there’s reason for hope, but my supply is barrel-scrapings at the moment. And years of hoping, only to be kicked in the teeth, have left their mark. Sinking myself in work seems like the best option, as usual and even though it might contribute to the burnout. It’s still vastly preferable to the alternative.

What’s getting you through, my beloved? Drop them in the comments if it pleases you; I could use some nice things to get excited about.

I suppose it’s time to finish my coffee, choke down some toast, and get the dogs strolled around the block. Running before the heat mounts is also a good idea; the last thing I need is to pass out at the fifth kilometer or so. I’ve had enough of being flung to the pavement; the dogs are responsible for roughly eighty percent of all the time I’ve spent picking gravel out of my own flesh.2

Off I go for Tuesday. Maybe it’ll be less ugh than Monday. If not, well, I’ve work to do, and that will keep me occupied, if not quite sane.3

And I’ve got the machete, too.

Over and out.