Tired Work, In Longhand

I slept most of yesterday–proper sleep, not the falling into a black void for most of the day that’s been happening lately. There seem to be no other symptoms left, or if there are I’m too tired to notice them. The only thing I’m suffering is exhaustion so deep and wide it mimics total apathy. Even breathing seems like hard work.

Still, I woke this morning with what is probably a short-term burst of energy and the urge to listen to old-school Madonna. And I’ve gotten a fair amount of work done in longhand, which I’ll have to transcribe when I can sit up for longer periods of time.

If I’m indeed recovering, the trick will be not pushing too hard. Every time I get ill or injured, I make it worse by putting off any rest as long as possible and then leaping back into the fray the instant I start feeling the least bit better. I know I shouldn’t, of course–I’m always on friends and loved ones to be gentle with themselves after illness or injury.

I give very good advice, but very seldom follow it.

It doesn’t help that over the past few years I’ve witnessed pandemic, rising authoritarianism, and ongoing fascist coup. Even my ability to find silver linings or transmute pain into art is creaking under the strain. This comic strip sums it up perfectly–and also gives me some hope, because it’s pain (you guessed it) transmuted into art.

I should feel better. I should be grateful to be so lucky, so immensely privileged to be able to rest at least a little. I should be happier.

But I’m not. And it feels like a very personal failing.

At least I felt like eating this morning, and the void seems to have retreated. I’m going to have to work twice as hard to catch up; my job requires a constant juggling of chainsaws. Any halt means a rain of buzzing gas-powered sawblades, and who needs that? Not me, that’s for sure.

I’m hoping my optimism–such as it is–will come back. If all else fails, there’s sheer spite, which has kept me going through personal disasters and might as well be pressed into service for worldwide ones. I’d really like to be a nicer person, but if spite is what it takes to survive, well, that’s what I’ll use.

So, while this temporary flush of energy lasts, I’ll let the dogs drag me around the block and see what fires remain in my email inbox. I’ll work as long as I can, and probably end up sacked out on the office floor at some point in the day. The nice thing about that is the dogs will be overjoyed to have me so accessible, and probably stomp on both my kidneys and my liver to boot. I’ll call it “canine massage.”

In about a week vaccinations should be open in our state. That means the Prince and I have a shot (ha ha) at getting appointments. I suspect I’ll feel a lot better once both kids have at least the first jab, and once we’re all three thoroughly immunized I’ll probably have some variety of crying fit from sheer relief. If I focus on that–and on the fact that I have to finish the second book of Black God’s Heart–I can ignore everything else. At least I’m making progress on the latter, if only in longhand. It’s even soothing to write in a spiral-bound notebook again; my gods, how that takes me back.

Boxnoggin is resting his chin on my knee and Miss B is right behind him, crowding close and giving me the full benefit of sad doggy eyes. They want their walkies; who am I to deny them such a small pleasure? Wish me luck, or at least enough energy to get around the block.

Over and out.

Some Magic, and Some Mystery

I’m still ill and only upright for short periods of time, so I’ve got something a little different for you today, dear ones. I’m participating in an upcoming ebook box set with a collection of some very fine writers, and just LOOK at this beautiful cover!



Secrets mixed with magic can be deadly.

Secrets have the power to protect or destroy. Forgotten lore, mysterious weapons, and magical libraries can be dangerous in the wrong hands. Covert missions, secret societies, and lost memories can provide salvation. Prepare for adventure and unlock the many secrets in MAGIC & MYSTERY!

Delve into these exciting worlds with USA Today and International best-selling authors Megg Jensen, Lilith Saintcrow, Krista D. Ball, Skyla Dawn Cameron, Jane Glatt, and Rhonda Parrish.

This collection of 6 novels includes:
•DAUGHTER OF DRAGON ASH (Artifacts of Indarra Book 1) – by Megg Jensen
•SOLOMON’S SEAL (Livi Talbot Book 1) – by Skyla Dawn Cameron
•A MAGICAL INHERITANCE (Ladies Occult Society Book 1) – by Krista D. Ball
•ONE IN THE HAND – by Rhonda Parrish
•PIRATES & PRIVATEERS (The Intelligencers Book 1) – by Jane Glatt
•DESIRES, KNOWN – by Lilith Saintcrow

On sale April 9, 2021; available for preorder through Amazon, Amazon CA, Amazon UK, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and Apple.


My particular offering for this ebook set is Desires, Known, my genie-and-accountant romance packed with snark and not a little gore. This is a limited-time, limited-edition set only in ebook, and it’s chock-full of amazing. I was thrilled to be asked to participate.

And now, since I’ve been out of commission for days and look to be out for still more, I have a few fires to put out while I’m upright and conscious. Pretty sure I’ll run out of steam in an hour or so and have to stagger down the hall, barely making it to the bed before I collapse. I hate being ill, and whatever this is, it’s awful. It doesn’t seem to be Covid, though, since I’ve been able to smell all the way through, there’s no fever, and no digestive upsets. (More than you wanted to know, I’m sure.)

The more I rest, the better it will be later. At least, that’s the hope.

See you in a bit…

Luck to Get Through

I’m pretty sure it’s not the plague.

Of course when I start watching a series of lectures on the Black Plague1 and reading John Kelly’s The Great Mortality2, the Prince develops a deep cough and I’m afflicted with postnasal drip and a fatigue so deep I feel like I’m under a mile or two of clear water. Of course, I don’t know why I expected anything different. We’re both coughing in spates, though we can both smell so it’s probably not the current plague.

Though it would be ironic, don’t you think? So close to vaccines being at least theoretically available. (The appointments to get them jammed into your arm are somewhat less than available; there’s always a catch. Always.)

Work proceeds apace. Sending off the revision for Book 1 of Black God’s Heart means now I can really get started on Book 2, swinging from one handhold to the next. The other spot in my working day is taken up with Hell’s Acre, which is beginning to move into my skull and make itself very comfortable indeed. And I just saw cover drafts for it, which are going to be amazing.

While I’m juggling those two, Cold North will be a refuge, and a way to make them both behave. Either you tell me what happens next or I go to the Tolkien Viking werewolves is a helluva threat.3 It might even make the steampunk sit up and take notice.

Regardless of how exhausted I am, work needs to get done and dogs need to be walked. I’m only hoping for the luck to get through this, whatever it is, and have it not be plague. I’m hoping it’s just the result of a pretty intense pollen season; anecdotal evidence has the cherry blossoms and forsythia filling the air with a vengeance this year. I’m somewhat at a loss to figure out how the illness found us in lockdown, but even with masks and the Prince’s distance learning we still have some points of interaction with others, like the Princess’s job and my own venturing out for things that can’t be delivered.

All the same, we haven’t had nearly the cold/flu season we’re wonted to in this area, for which I can only thank the masks and hope they stay.

I can still smell coffee, and the Prince says he feels much better this morning. (Since he actually went to bed at a decent hour, but that’s another story.) So maybe it’s not quite as bad as I feared yesterday, but I’m still so tired. My eyelid isn’t twitching, but even my hair feels exhausted at this point.

Here’s to hope. I hate feeling it, since the last year and a half have been full of hope rising only to be kicked in the teeth. It just keeps coming back, whether I will or no.

And with that cheerful note, I’m off to let the dogs drag me around the block. Fortunately they know exactly where to go, and habit will keep them mostly behaving. Habit will also pull me through another day’s work.

Suppose I’d best get started.

Safely in Springtime

I survived another release day, and made it through the weekend after finishing yet another awfully hard revise. Now I can go back to actual creation, for some short while.

Unless, of course, I want to proof an omnibus. It’s gotta happen, and yet I have a deep and severe case of the Don’t Wannas. All I wanna do is write, dammit, preferably with some video game music going in the background.

I was real, real close to paying for a month or so of WoW this weekend too, but Borderlands scratched the itch. I’m still not sure if Blizzard deserves my cash. Until my conscience is easy on that account, I’m going to have to refrain.

Although listening to Darnassus music on loop is good for certain kinds of writing. Video game soundtracks are designed to be immersive and easily looped, which makes them great for wrestling with plot problems.

Anyway, I should send off the revision today and take the dogs for a walk. I’m slow and logy this morning, probably because of the wild weather sweeping through. My writing partner reported big fat wet snowflakes (someone’s shaking Baba Yaga’s counterpane) this morning, though they didn’t stick; my sinuses warm me there will be barometric fluctuations. Fortunately I’ve written with atmospheric pressure changes sending spikes through my skull before.

It might even add something to a combat scene. Who knows?

Anyway, the wild weather and plum blossoms have us safely in springtime. The dogs are gleeful and we did a lot of cleaning this past weekend. There was even mopping, which is one of my Least Favorite Things, especially since I didn’t have the damn spoons for it all last year. Bit by bit, the rebuilding continues.

Time to throw another hoodie on and get out the door. I mean, the dogs could technically walk themselves, but they don’t make good choices. It’s best I go along to keep them from chasing something they shouldn’t.

*wanders away, humming about manic Mondays*

RELEASE DAY: Damage

Good morning, everyone! We’ll get to the Friday photo in a bit. It’s a release day! That’s right, today Damage is out in the world.


Damage

Keeping her safe will be his hardest assignment yet. . .

Reeling from trauma and divorce, Cara Halperin takes what should be a simple job with an expensive agency. As a nanny to rich children, she shouldn’t have much to worry about, and her job is just complex enough to keep her from brooding. Unfortunately, the agency’s sent her into a trap.

Vincent Desmarais wants to go back into the field, but instead, he’s put on leave. The diagnosis? PTSD. No problem–he can pick up security work on the side to keep himself sharp–that is, if the side work isn’t just as dangerous as the bloody places he’s longing to get back to.

When the lights go out, Cara and her young charge have only one option: to trust the new security guy. Vincent finds himself unwilling to abandon them to fate or let them out of his sight. If the trio wants to stay alive, they’ve got to trust each other. . .

. . .but that may just be what their enemies are counting on.

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


It’s strange to see stuff I worked on during lockdown (not the book itself, but the publication and production process) reach release. Publication takes a long time, which means we’ve been in lockdown for what seems like bloody well forever. But the book–my love song to a particular movie starring Matthias Schoenaerts–is out now, it’s live, and I’m going to be spending most of the day roaming the house and twitching from release-day nerves.

You’d think it would get easier after so many titles. Alas.

As for the Friday photo, get a load of this guy.



Yep, that’s Boxnoggin attempting to disembowel one of my favorite couch pillows. I gather–and this is my translation, so it might be a little blurry–that it “looked at him funny.” Fortunately he didn’t manage to eat much of the stuffing, so that was all right. And I had another slightly less wounded pillow to stuff into the case too. Small mercies.

Have a good weekend, everyone. I’ll be trying to recover from release day and revisions at once. Multitasking self-care saves time, right?

Right? (If I’m not right, don’t tell me…)

Over and out.

Order, Ritual, Merry-Go-Round

Tomorrow’s a release day, and I am all at sixes and sevens. I have even snarled, “oh, for fuck’s sake” thrice before coffee, which isn’t quite a record but does herald an Interesting Morning.

The dogs are trotting up and down the hall, peeking in to see if I’m moving towards walkies yet. Soon Miss B will settle herself with a sigh in my office door, so I can’t possibly leave without tripping over her. Boxnoggin, of course, is keeping watch out the front window. If a gust of wind comes down the street, he’ll start screaming his fool head off, in the hope of drawing me out to see what the ruckus is, and while I’m out there of course he might as well ask about walkies.

There is an order and a ritual to mornings chez Saintcrow, and the canines don’t want us to forget it.

I dreamed of snow, which isn’t usual in spring. Snow, and wolves, and black pines under a white coat. The coffee is helping get the images stowed properly; what I really want to be doing is working on The Cold North. Instead, I’ve the revisions on Black God’s Heart to finish, Book 2 of that to write, Hell’s Acre to get underway (though the entire thing is outlined, as far as I ever outline anything) before I can even think of slotting the Tolkien Viking Werewolves into the merry-go-round.

Still, it’s a good sign that a book’s living in my head. The past year has been so strained, I sometimes thought I’d lose words altogether. I’ve only lost words once in my writing life–that was post-divorce, buying the house–and it’s a terrible feeling. Even having a book up and die on me (like the Steelflower sequels, or Deadroad) isn’t so painful.

I’m also moonlighting with The Innkeeper’s War, which centers on a very cranky ex-mercenary who runs an inn, and one day her old adventuring friend the wizard shows up with a farm boy in tow. Then her inn gets burned down, and…but that’s giving the game away. Maybe I’ll write it, maybe I won’t; for right now it’s fun to have bits of different things for the machine inside my skull to chew on.

Keeps it from chewing on me. At least, that’s the idea.

I suppose I’d best finish this coffee and stagger for the door, which will trigger a cascade of excitement from the canine component of the household. I was wise enough to get my shoes tied without their help this morning, though, which qualifies as a win.

At least, I’m going to treat it as such. And try not to think about a release day tomorrow. Fingers crossed, and all that.

See you ’round.

Snail-House Rock

I have coffee, and have pulled back from some social media. Last week was not optimal for a variety of reasons, but I’m sure having access to all that at my fingertips didn’t help. It’s time for yet another “retreat into the snail house” period, not least because we’re having more sunshine (spring hath definitely sprung) and that means all sorts of mad people are out on the sidewalks.

It’s not that I think the sidewalk are mine alone, of course. I’d just like it if others shared with a bare minimum of courtesy, that’s all.

In any case, I attempted to take half Sunday off. It worked moderately well; I’m only itching to get back to work the usual amount instead of beside myself with furious scratching. So, progress! This book isn’t going to revise itself, more’s the pity.

Of course even if it would I might not let it.

So it’s getting the dogs walked between bands of rain, getting my own weary corpse shambled at what passes for high speed just afterward, onward, excelsior and all that. The good thing about the werewolf story I spent last week moonlighting with is that it’s so different than anything else I’m writing it was almost like a vacation, and it provided a crucial bit of distance. Now I’m fairly sure I won’t need to rip out a lot of under-structures in The Black God’s Heart; I think I can fix another intrinsic problem with a single scene. Which is a blessing, since I don’t want to add too much more to Book 1.

Have to leave some dishes for the second course, and all that.

All things considered, I’m glad to be back to work. It wasn’t comfortable to skirt the edge of burnout the way I have for a few weeks. Trying to process last year and still keep moving with current projects is deeply un-fun, and leaves little time for anything else.

I know NaNo is in November but I’m probably going to do one in April just to get this book off my plate. My fingers are already throbbing with the thought. It will be nice to be out of revision and into creation again; I’m definitely more comfortable in the latter state than the former. A period of high focus is just what the doctor ordered, and of course, before I forget, there’s a book dropping later this month.

It’s neat to have preorder graphics! I like it a lot.

I’d best finish my coffee and get to it, then, hadn’t I. The book won’t revise itself, and Monday won’t machete itself either. The work of the weary or the wicked is never done.

See you around.