Cockroach of Hope, Plus Giveaway

Hello, Monday. We won’t hurt each other, will we?

I might have recovered from breakdown, portal fantasy, and release day all in quick succession. Might. At least I have coffee, though it’s too hot to drink just yet. And I’m not allowed to work on the next unsellable book–honestly, the Muse is pissing me off at this point–until I at least have the last season of HOOD‘s zero in the can.

I know exactly what I need to write, at least. So there’s that. Mornings for HOOD, afternoons for Bloody Throne, and evenings after dinner for The Black God’s Heart. It’ll be a fine schedule and will get me to deadlines intact if I can keep it.

Ay, as Hamlet would groan. There’s the rub.

I suppose if I don’t look at the news I might even be able to do it. The march of cruelty, stupidity, and fascism seems overwhelming in scope and durability. All I want is to go back to writing squirrel stories and violent kissing books, dammit.

In any case, at least one beta reader has informed me that the portal fantasy doesn’t suck. Which is nice, even though it won’t sell. Pretty sure the aliens-arrive-and-boy-is-everyone-pissed romance won’t either, but that one isn’t having thoughts of usurping my regular working time. It will have to be content with weekends and stolen bits around the edges, at least until HOOD‘s zero is in the can. You never know, the aliens story might have enough legs (ha ha) to end up as a serial.

I do need to spend some time thinking about what story will go into the serial slot after HOOD reaches its end. I like to have a few months’ worth of chapters saved up so subscribers don’t miss a single Thursday of fiction-y goodness. Because life happens, and apparently, so does *gestures* all this.

I also have an announcement! The August Zombie Audio Giveaway is now live! Three lucky winners will receive free Audiobook.com codes for Cotton Crossing, first in the ROADTRIP Z series. Multiple daily entries are allowed, too. Newsletter as well as Patreon/Gumroad subscribers got first crack at the giveaway, of course. So if a free audiobook is your jam, just hop on over and enter.

Maybe Monday isn’t that bad after all. Of course, it’s not even 8am yet, so it’s far too early to tell. I have hope, even though I’d rather not because it’s so painful when slowly crushed by endless 2020 bullshit. But though fragile, that motherfucker is hard to kill.

Like, say, cockroaches. I’m trying to be a tiny little cockroach of hope.

And with that simply stunning (I’m sure) mental image, I shall bid you a civil adieu for your own Monday, dear Reader. May we all get through today without hurting each other.

It’s all I’m hoping for, right now.

Proof Positive, For Me

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Woke up with a few story ideas running around my head, which hasn’t happened for about a week and a half. For most of that time I was absorbed in finishing a (messy, oh so messy) zero draft of Moon’s Knight.

I don’t know why my mini nervous breakdown needed me to shred my hands producing around 10k words of a portal fantasy every day for over a week, but that’s what it demanded so that’s what I did. Now the story’s finished and I’m on a much more even keel. (Well, as even as my keel ever gets.) My hands hurt, but ice, stretching, and ibuprofen will take care of that; I feel oddly clear, like a just-washed window.

I suppose I needed to prove to myself I could still finish something. It feels like 2020 has lasted decades and I haven’t “finished” a single thing. Irrational, yes–but when the Muse gets an idea in her head, it’s almost impossible to dislodge. She is rather stubborn.

Anyway, the proof positive that I can, indeed, finish a whole-ass 100k portal fantasy (that will never be published, I’m pretty sure) has managed to paper over some bare nerves, and I’m ready to lunge through the last half of HOOD‘s Season Three, catch up with The Bloody Throne, and keep The Black God’s Heart at a low burn by poking at it after dinner and around the edges of the other two projects. It will do me no end of good to be working on actual paid projects instead of being possessed by something I know is necessary for my mental and emotional well-being but not quite salable.

Maybe I just needed something simply and solely for me, however janky, farfetched, or outlandish. It’s been a while since I wrote something purely for my own enjoyment, managing to turn off the inner critic for a substantial period of time. Or maybe the Muse just threw that into my pit because she needed a rest from the other three projects. Who knows?

Tomorrow there’s a new release; later today my newsletter and subscriber fiction drops go out with links to a brand-new giveaway. (Subscribers–either newsletter or Patreon/Gumroad–get first crack at giveaways; don’t worry, I’ll post the link here and on social media after the weekend.) I recovered from finishing the zero by prepping all that yesterday, so I should be good for a full day’s work.

One of the things I’ve learned after decades in this job is when to just simply let things arrange themselves. When taking a break will actually make me more productive in the long term, when to follow that tiny internal voice whispering this is what you need now, trust me. I used to think working myself into the ground was the only way to get anything done. Now that I’ve been around a while, I know a little better–or I’ve simply accumulated a large enough body of work to be able to rest once in a while while the gravity of that body slings me through orbit without needing much fuel.

…now there’s a metaphor.

Off I go to update a series page, since Finder releases tomorrow. I’m already feeling the anticipation and dread of release day. It’s a good thing my nerves are re-wrapped, at least a little.

See you around, beloveds.

Which Habits to Toss

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It’s the last week of February, so I’m changing things around a bit. By now I know which of the habits I fondly imagined starting in January are going to work, which need a little more tweaking in order to work–and which I can merrily throw out the window, happy that I gave them a good old try and even more satisfied that I can toss ’em.

With extreme prejudice, sometimes.

There’s a full day ahead. I long to be done with Sons of Ymre, and I think I have a shot at it. There’s the Tuesday writing post for Haggard Feathers to get finished and edited–it’ll be on proofreading, part of the “getting your book ready to debut” series. I want to do a series on marketing in March, but honestly most of my advice on that is “don’t, most advertised marketing services exist only to remove money from your pockets.”

So maybe I’ll ask subscribers what they’d like to see in March. Hm.

I’m seeing some people come to my site by searching for my name and “e-piracy,” so let me just put my statement out there: Don’t steal/torrent books. I’m not even going to add a please, I shouldn’t have to beg people not to fucking steal.

Miss B is draped over her memory foam, microfiber-covered office bed, signing heavily each time I shift in my chair. She wants her walkies, having had breakfast–and helped herself to no little part of Boxnoggin’s as well. They tend to switch bowls halfway through a meal, as if they aren’t given pretty much the same thing. B gets a little more wet food in deference to her age and dental status, and Boxnoggin gets more dry crunchies because he enjoys slavering and cracking them, chewing as loudly as possible.

But halfway through breakfast or dinner they mosey to each other’s bowls with the precision of Ziegfield girls switching marks on a brightly lit stage, and all the pleading or scolding in the world won’t stop them. I suppose the grass is always greener and the other bowl always more attractive.

That’s my Monday. I’ve recently had the kind of good news that, while enjoyable, upsets a number of other plans, so I need to spend serious time thinking about the fallout today. Which is going to be just as pleasant as peeling my own fingernails off, I suppose, but at least it’s for a net good.

Some more coffee would also do me a world of good, I suspect. I’m cranky enough this morning to crack the world in half with a sharp word or two.

The Free Agent February giveaway is still going on; there are three days left and you can enter daily. It will be nice to alert the winners once they’re drawn, and brace myself for next month.

Leap years. They never quite sit comfortably, and this one’s no exception. At least after the 29th we’ll feel more synchronized, right?

Don’t tell me if I’m wrong. I’d rather have a little hope.

See you around, Readers.

Disenchanted, and a Viral Giveaway

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Well, it’s Thursday. I woke up disenchanted and suspect it’ll only get worse, though I did figure out that Sons of Ymre wants to be two books instead of one, and the gobs of wordcount I’ve been producing are because my brain is trying to finish a zero of book one before it will let me move to book two.

I wish the Muse would have let me know before now, purely for scheduling reasons, but her ways are not our ways, and heaven help those who expect them to be.

Today, once I get the dogs walked, is all about proofing. I don’t care what the Muse wants, this book has got to get proofed, and I’ll thank her to let me get it done so we can eat in the near future. I can’t work starved, and she should know that by now.

The spirit might be super willing, but the body has its own needs.

Anyway, it’s Subscription Thursday and everything is prepped and ready for that to drop. And I have news for you all–a brand-new giveaway for February!

Viral Agents

That’s right! Two lucky winners will receive signed, personalized copies of my Viral Agents books–Agent Zero and Agent Gemini, sent media mail anywhere in the world.

I love these books, and I’m excited to be sending them as prizes. You can enter daily, and there are all sorts of fun things you can do to get extra entries. The giveaway ends on February 27, 2020.

So if you’re interested, just click here or on the book cover to the right, and enter to your heart’s content.

I have coffee to finish and the dogs to walk, then it’s settling on the couch with tablet and pen, tricking my brain into thinking I’m proofreading on paper. For some reason I don’t “see” the errors the same way if I’m looking at a vertical screen; I need the horizontal and a pencil-shaped object clutched in my dominant hand. So much of this writing gig is figuring out how to game your own brain and responses to get the effect you need.

Of course, that’s life as well as writing, so I’d better get to it. The world–and the Muse–doesn’t wait for our pleasure, more’s the pity.

Over and out!

While They Stay

The weekend was… busy. The neighbor’s beloved Big Cat–more properly a dog in a feline body, one of the few cats I’ve ever met whose fuzzy belly is not a trap–came down late Saturday night with what we’re almost sure is saddle thrombosis. The vet at the animal hospital agrees, so now it’s just keeping him quiet and stable long enough to get him to his regular vet, where further decisions will be made.

Poor fellow. He’s got painkillers, so his human is probably feeling worse than he is at this point. I just wish I could punch the offending disorder right in the face, knocking it out of his poor kitty body and restoring him to health. May Bastet watch over him and his human today.

So that’s happening. I did get the winners of the Happy New Strange Angels Giveaway notified, so at least there’s that. And I got plenty of housework done in between trips to the animal hospital and helping with Big Cat. I swear, I need Monday and Tuesday to recover from every damn weekend lately.

I feel like I want to change up some of the Soundtrack Monday vibe, too, so I’ve got to think of that. Maybe I’ll highlight a song on a working soundtrack instead of one for a published book. Hm.

…I’d add more, but I’m too tired. I should probably think about breakfast; 6am was just too early for a nervous stomach to accept anything but coffee. I’m tetchy despite a short run. Maybe wanting to punch intangibles will go away when I get something solid in me, but I’m not betting on it.

The rest of today’s work involves outlining, after a fashion. I know I’m going to throw out the outline halfway through when the true shape of the work becomes visible, but before then it’s nice to have handholds, even if they’re entirely wrong. As in warfare, no plan survives contact with the enemy but planning is indispensable nonetheless.

Hug your furry friends today, my dears. They are with us so briefly, and give so much while they stay.

*sigh* Onwards, I guess. If I sit still and think about it, I’ll drown.

The Valentine Test Giveaway

Dante Valentine

The fever is still hanging around and I’m hacking into tissues like a consumptive heroine in a Victorian novel. Of course, this means I have all sorts of ideas that may or may not be good ones, so here we go:

I’m trying something new this month, dear Readers: a giveaway!

I’m testing a giveaway process for signed, personalized author’s copies. Since I don’t sell said copies, and since I don’t do signings anymore (except for the Powell’s Authorfest. which sadly I have to miss this year due to a punishing publication schedule), the copies are piling up. I only need a very few of them for my brag shelf and associated personal uses, so what to do with the rest?

Well, give them away, I guess.

So. From now until October 15, you can enter to win one of two (2) signed, personalized copies of the Dante Valentine UK omnibus. Winners will be chosen on the 18th. I’ll personalize and sign your copy, then send it anywhere in the world. Future giveaways might be restricted to the US or the US, UK, & Canada, depending on what kind of cash I have for postage that month. I may even do a dedicated giveaway page on the ol’ website, I’m not sure yet.

Time will tell if this is a great idea or a terrible one, but if it gets the boxes out of my garage and maybe makes a few Readers happy, I’m down with it.

I may even do giveaways of less-physical objects in the future, though probably not ARCs due to piracy concerns. But, for example, a manuscript critique or a free cover copy revise? That’s do-able.

Anyway, if you’re interested, scroll on down and enter. We’ll see how it goes.