A Heckin Good Protec

The dogs want a run this morning. They won’t get one, mostly because my ankle is still tender. Maybe some walkies, if I can get enough coffee in me. As it is, I’m staring at the screen while sucking down as much caffeine as practicably possible, and wondering, as I perennially do after a release or a revision, why recovery takes so goddamn long. 

Even when I force myself into a couple days of doing absolutely nothing that can be considered work (I’m only allowed two hundred fresh words on such a day) it STILL takes longer than I think, and I inevitably try to go back to work, have a spasm of productivity, and then sit, staring and blinking, for about three days.

You’d think I’d have this down by now, but I don’t.

The dogs, meanwhile, are ecstatic. I cook a lot while in recovery, which means the kitchen is full of dropped scraps and lovely smells. There is much snuggling and rolling about on the floor, much playing with toys, and much repeating of “you are a GOOD dog, yes you are!”

The spasm of productivity was getting Atlanta Bound all prepped for preorder and the final chapters of Roadtrip Z prepped and scheduled for patrons and subscribers. That takes a significant load off my diminished capabilities until after the first of the year, which is welcome. It’d be nice to get the box set (all four Roadtrip Z seasons, paper costs may mean that comes out only in e-format, which would be a shame) all settled and ready to be put in the preorder pipe in January, but that’s a pretty high bar, especially if I want to re-edit the whole thing.

*sigh*

Sir Boxnoggin is letting out a series of chesty barks at short intervals, summoning me to come peer out windows at neighbors who are doing yard work. If he glimpses movement, or hears a car door slam/tree branch fall, he is ALL OVER THE BORKING. Which means, of course, that Miss B has to be all over the borking as well. After that, there’s nothing for it, Mum has to get up and investigate and make much of Boxnoggin for alerting and Doin A Heckin Good Doggo Protec. Then Miss B has to horn in and get some snuggles and pets because she did a good heckin protec too.

Consequently, I can’t finish a damn thought. Time to wrap this up and get the dogs leashed for walkies. After they stuff a great many scents into their snouts, they’ll have to come home and process, which means napping. Which means some quiet while I figure out omnibus paper costs.

Wish me luck.

Prospective Jacket

Both dogs are exhausted by roughhousing after breakfast. Which is fine by me, it’ll make walking them easier. It’s also chilly today, with a brisk wind, which Sir Boxnoggin does not enjoy. Miss B, thanks to her wonderful Aussie undercoat, is an all-weather dog, but Boxnoggin may need a jacket if it gets much colder.

I have deep philosophical objections to pet costumes, but a little pink plaid jacket to make Boxnoggin feel like a warm boy sounds delightful. I’ll have to take a handful of treats and measure him up.

He will probably try to eat the tape measure, but such is life with canines.

I spent a good seven hours hunched over revisions yesterday, which was at once a vacation–because my work days are generally about ten hours long–and a torment, because my back has decided it doesn’t like the super-fancy office chair at the moment. Time for pillows and other such things until my back decides once more I and the chair can be trusted.

I almost, almost got to the point where I need to shoehorn another scene in. I think the bastard prince needs to be on a caravan heading into the capital city of his country’s greatest enemy, and seeing the sheer size and scope of said city will have a few effects on him. He’s very much a “go big or go home” character, and it’ll be interesting if he decides to do the former in the series.

As it is, though, I just want this goddamn revision over. The book’s crept past 185K, and if one more person says “but it needs more politics!” I am going to scream like a Munch painting. Since a certain game of thrones has become popular, everyone wants to shoehorn similar things into every damn fantasy, losing sight of the fact that it’s characters people care about that drive the whole thing. Publishers are always looking to force the Last Big Thing into the Next Big Thing, whether it wills or no. Fighting that tendency is exhausting sometimes.

All the same, I love my job, and I’m sure when this book achieves its final fighting form I’ll be proud of it. I’m just tired right now, that’s all.

Which means it’s time to get out the door with the dogs. If we keep moving the wind won’t trouble us much. At least, that’s the plan.

Over and out.

Boxnoggin’s Monday Morn

Lord Boxnoggin is a Very Curious Dog, in both senses of the word. He is ever ready to Do A Protec when a car door slams somewhere in the neighborhood, or when the doorbell rings, or even when it’s foggy outside and he just doesn’t like the way a certain fir tree is looking at him.

Right now he’s thrown himself dramatically to the floor in my office, since brekkie has been eaten and now he must endure Mum’s poking at a glowing box before getting to the real morning business: a run. My ankle is finally ready for light jogging, and he’s thrilled to bits. This morning has been Unsatisfactory to Boxnoggin for a variety of reasons, like:

Boxnoggin: BREAKFAST! WAIT, NO BACON GREASE?
Miss B: THERE’S PITA CHIPS! WOOHOO! *grabs one and trots away to eat it in secret*
Boxnoggin: WHAT? I DIDN’T GET ANY! MUM! NO FAIR!
Me: They’re right there, under your kibble.
Boxnoggin: HOOMINS ARE MAGIC! I CAN HAZ PITA CHIP! *trots away to eat it in secret*
Miss B: *returns, full of self-importance, and sticks her nose in Boxnoggin’s bowl* ANYTHING IN HERE FOR MEEEEE?
Boxnoggin: MUM! MUM! SHE’S IN MY BOOOOOWL!

Or, for example:

Boxnoggin: WHAT THE HELL?
Me: It’s fog, it’s fine. It’s just water vapor.
Boxnoggin: BUT NEW! DIFFERENT! CHANGE IS BAAAAD!
Miss B: GET OUT OF THE WAY, I’VE GOT TO PEE.
Boxnoggin: NOOOOO DON’T GO DOWN THERE, IT’S BAAAAD!
Miss B: WHAT THE HELL, DUDE, I’VE GOTTA PEE!
Boxnoggin: LET ME BACK INSIDE. I’LL PEE THERE.
Me: No. Go down the stairs.
Boxnoggin: BUT I CAAAAAAN’T!
Miss B: GET. OUT. OF. MY. WAY.
*fursplosion*
Me: STOP IT, BOTH OF YOU.
Both Dogs: EEEEE MUM’S BORKING, WE MUST BORK TOO! BORK BORK BORK!

But the biggest, most unsatisfactory event of the morning was the squirrel on the deck railing who laughed at Boxnoggin, while the latter damn near cleared the bloody thing and went sailing into the yard. The squirrel–I think it’s Batgirl, but it was moving too quickly to be absolutely sure–levitated aside to reach yet another fir tree, chittered a few nasty terms having to do with Boxnoggin’s mother wearing Army boots or some such, and vanished upwards, laughing all the while.

And Boxnoggin? While this was occurring he did his best to tear the railing off the deck, screaming about VENGEANCE and CHASE IT and MUUUUUM, so Miss B, not to be outdone, began to yell too.

At least it’s a Monday morning, and hence one I don’t have to worry about sleeping neighbors upon.

…The Princess just arose from her slumber, and of course both dogs have to supervise her morning routine. That’ll give me about five minutes of peace before they trot back to see if I’ve moved or taken the opportunity to tie my shoes, which means a run is coming closer.

I’d better act quickly. Over and out…

COVER REVEAL: Rattlesnake Wind

There are some books that live very close to the writer’s heart, and this is one of mine.

When I was much younger than today, we moved from Great Britain to Wyoming, and the culture shock was immense. The only thing to love about the place was the wind coming over vast sweeps of long grass and whispering secrets into my aching ears. When we left again, this time to move to the Pacific Northwest, I cried as quietly as I could in the car, telling the plains and the wind I’d be back.

It took many a year, but I finally returned. Not physically, but I’m not sure it matters.

Fireside was the only publisher willing to take a chance on this book, for a variety of reasons, and the only publisher I felt comfortable trusting its bloody beating heart to; this beautiful cover was made by Eleanor Chuah. I’m proud and honored to invite you into this book, my dear Readers, and I hope you enjoy it…

The first night we spent in that ancient mobile home, the wind mouthed its corners with a low whispering almost like words from another room.

Desiree Sarpe and her family–minus their domineering, abusive patriarch–have settled on the Wyoming plains, where the wind speaks, the grass whispers, and power comes in the strangest, most ordinary of forms. Unfortunately, the past and its terrors can’t be easily shaken, and Dez is about to find out how brutal, bloody, and costly magic really is…

Coming in December 2018; now available for preorder at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and independent retailers.

Paradox, Revisions


Already this morning I’ve woven in 400 words, gone through yesterday’s added scene twice to layer in detail, and made a couple global changes. The Maiden’s Blade is growing slowly, tortuously, and now the largest problem is where to salt in the other scenes needed to bring another character’s arc forward here instead of in the second book.

I know what happens, but just when is largely a matter of choice, not chance. A project this large means the paradox of absolute submission to the work and absolute control over its fine points is even more marked, and holding both horses steady instead of letting them careen in different directions to tear the work in half is a matter of balance and one-pointed concentration so fierce it almost robs me of breath.

It doesn’t help that the revisions are late for a number of reasons, not least of which is the complexity of the task. I haven’t attempted anything this complex in one single volume before; even Roadtrip Z is split up over several seasons. (Which reminds me, I have to get the last season’s unedited ebook formatted for my beloved patrons this week, too. Never rains but it pours.)

So it’s Tangerine Dream on the playlist, a gallon of tea, and cross-checking fictional dynasties. All favorite things, and they make a hard task bearable.

See you on the other side, chickadees.

Rush Resurrection

I resurrected in a rush this morning, since Sir Boxnoggin, He Who Chases Squirls, was trying to get under the covers with me and ended up punching me in the face. My yelp must have been puppylike, for it brought both dogs to try and lick anything of me they could reach. “DON’T WORRY, MUM, WE’LL SAVE YOU!”

After that, well, there was no more room for sleep, and my heart was pounding anyway, so…I rolled out of bed and into my running togs. The dogs both need some work to settle them so they stop stealing each others’ rawhides.

We never could have rawhide while Odd Trundles was around. The danger of it getting stuck in his poor compromised airway was too great. There was the time the Mad Tortie fished an old chunk of it out from under the couch, thinking she was Being Helpful, and that didn’t end well, let me tell you. It was one of the many times we almost lost that little fuzzy snuffler.

I was just thinking yesterday about how much I miss Trundles. He was a good dog. Smelly, yeasty, constantly in need of medical attention…but a lovely dog. Not a mean bone in his body.

Anyway, I’ve another 20K to add in revision for this damn epic fantasy. I’m hoping I can get the needed effects without making the book break 200K. I’m already sick of the story and there’s two more in the trilogy to write. I need a break, but I’m not going to get one. Plus there’s Atlanta Bound to format into ebooks, and the whole Roadtrip Z omnibus to put together to go on sale after the first of the year.

No rest for the weary or the wicked. Time to swallow the last bit of coffee, get the leashes buckled around my waist, and take the dogs for some work. Hopefully they won’t pull in different directions very often. But if they do, I’ll drop my center of gravity and keep going.

Funny, how that skill translates into other areas of one’s life.

I wish you safe running on this Monday, my friends. Just drop your navel a little and keep going.

It’s the only way through.

Ours Now

Yesterday was a very quiet day. We have a sick neighbor, so we made extra at each step and sent it next door. The Princess was settled on the loveseat with both dogs, but when she was called away to finish up some baking, Boxnoggin and B decided warm cushions were not to be left to waste.

They even got ham brought to their silly selves, like the spoiled brats they are. But really, look at those faces. Could you deny them anything?

Anyway, I hope your holiday was as low-stress and full of good food as ours. And I am thankful for you, my darling Readers. You’re all amazing.

Here’s to another year of stories. And especially dog stories.