Changing Midstream

ripper So…things have now been decided. The Ripper Affair will be the last Bannon & Clare book. Which is fine; my plans were for Bannon & Clare to go traveling, and I’ve been working on the “B&C in Hong Kong” book for a couple months now, but that can go in a drawer. Unfortunately, the numbers on The Red Plague Affair were just not enough to justify the traveling books–which included the “B&C go to America and meet Jack and Cat from Damnation” and the “B&C in the Indus, or, what the hell IS Mikal, anyway?” one. The traveling books were basically a fresh new series, so the Ripper book is a natural endpoint for Londinium’s best mystery-solvers, and it will leave on a mostly-satisfactory note.

It’s a little disappointing, but thankfully, my editor already had interest in another series–remember the trailer-park sidhe? That series, featuring Jeremy Gallow and Robin Ragged (you may remember them from Gallow’s Rescue in the Courts of the Fey anthology) and all their enemies (because, you know, among the sidhe, there are very few “friends”) interested her from the beginning. So, the first Gallow book–which I finished, not thinking anyone would buy it, as I so often do–has taken the place of Bannon & Clare in Hong Kong.

Yesterday was difficult, mostly because I felt like I’d let my editor down. I’ve been working with her for about a decade now, and I felt like I had somehow done something wrong. Of course, she immediately disabused me of the notion, reassured me, and called so I could hear the reassurance in her tone. A good editor is like that–flexible, and committed to communication.

So now I must switch gears, and start working on Rattlesnake Wind, which is a YA I’m writing I don’t think anyone will ever buy (seriously, it’s such a departure from anything I’ve ever done) and gathering visual and emotional food for the second Gallow book. Which means my research reading needs to shift from the Taiping Rebellion and China in the 1890s to fairies, fae, sidhe, and Arthurian legend. I’ll probably be a bit starey-eyed while all that shakes out inside my noggin. Thanks for all your support and kind words–yesterday was sort of a rough ride, emotionally.

And yes, I did visit Emphysema Joe yesterday, but that’s (say it with me) another blog post.

One Forward, A Hundred Back

Christmas - Christmas Broke 20K on the fourth Bannon & Clare book recently. Then I had to get rid of about 3K, because things were going the wrong direction. One step forward, a hundred steps back, that’s what it feels like. But now I think I have the right track, and the past couple days have been pretty productive. Probably because of the parental controls.*snork*

The no-shampoo experimental stage is over. I’ve found that I do occasionally want to use a shampoo with sulfates, just to keep everything balanced. The honey shampoo (super simple, 1Tb of honey, 2-3Tb water, that’s it) works really well, but it also makes things greasy with constant use. So I alternate between honey shampoo and the baking soda/vinegar method, with occasional Lush Godiva washes when things start to feel super-icky. Not surprisingly, going straight no-shampoo is not for me at this point. Eventually, maybe, but the process is long and drawn-out and involves the scalp slowly changing the way it produces oils and reacts to washing. All in all, it’s another small step into hippie granola for me, YMMV, all usual disclaimers apply.

Let’s see, what other news is there? We’ve gotten things ironed out over on the Madhouse forum–much like no plan survives contact with the enemy, no forum ever has a smooth rollout. Thanks to everyone who let me know where the problems were, and a huge thank you to Skyla for getting things all pulled together. Again, I’ll be answering questions at the forum until Sunday, so if you want to ask, come on by!

The ebook of Selene is almost, almost ready. Talk Wordy is doing some proofing, and as usual, Skyla is taking care of formatting and other things. I recommend both of them, especially if you’re looking to self-publish without looking like an advert for bad self-publishing.

Speaking of publishing, I am also running a discount on my editing services this February.

Last but not least…about yesterday’s post. Thank you for all your kind comments. I can’t say more, mostly because it was nerve-wracking to put that out there and I’m a bit emotionally exhausted from it. Thank you.

And now, it’s time to get back to work.

Release day for RED PLAGUE AFFAIR!

Red Plague The service of Britannia is not for the faint of heart—or conscience…

Emma Bannon, Sorceress Prime in service to Queen Victrix, has a mission: to find the doctor who has created a powerful new weapon. Her friend, the mentath Archibald Clare, is only too happy to help. It will distract him from pursuing his nemesis, and besides, Clare is not as young as he used to be. A spot of Miss Bannon’s excellent hospitality and her diverting company may be just what he needs.

Unfortunately, their quarry is a fanatic, and his poisonous discovery is just as dangerous to Britannia as to Her enemies. Now a single man has set Londinium ablaze, and Clare finds himself in the middle of distressing excitement, racing against time and theory to find a cure. Miss Bannon, of course, has troubles of her own, for the Queen’s Consort Alberich is ill, and Her Majesty unhappy with Bannon’s loyal service. And there is still no reliable way to find a hansom when one needs it most…

The game is afoot. And the Red Plague rises.

Now available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and indie bookstores everywhere.

The second Bannon & Clare adventure is now available! For those asking, yes, there will be at least one more book in the series. For those of you wondering what precisely Mikal is, there are clues all through the three books. (Yes, I know I’m evil. Bear with me, there’s news I can’t share yet.)

London’s been the site of quite a few epidemics, and they make for sobering reading. I’ve enjoyed the research to the hilt–well, as much as one can enjoy some of the harrowing descriptions. I generally enjoy research for its own sake, though before I started digging for this series I had no idea I’d like Victorian-era history so much.

Anyway, if anyone needs me, I’ll be a bundle of release-day nerves in the corner, quietly whimpering while I do revisions and editing…

White Rabbit

Happy Easter Follow the white rabbit.

Am I the only one who sees the beginning of the first Matrix movie now and smiles fondly, thinking that the Wachowskis telegraphed everything in the first ten minutes? I can’t be. Still, it makes me happy to see that now, it’s a storyteller’s ruse.

Happy St. George’s Eve, everyone. (St. George’s Day.) Tonight’s the night vampires are most traditionally active. Look for blue glows over caches of buried treasure, but beware of wolves. And, you know, razor-licking Wallachian noblemen. Of course, if they’re Gary Oldman, that’s all right, right?

Today I sink back into the Ripper book, making it pretty for first-draft round. If I can get that done and sent off this week (bit early, but that’s good) I can turn my focus to Ruby’s book. I’m going to have to trust that she knows what she’s doing, that her story will come along as it needs to. Trusting the work is an ongoing process, and one I don’t know I’ll ever fully catch the hang of.

So, yeah. I am nervous about following that particular rabbit down the hole. I have a very foggy idea of what the story entails, but it doesn’t feel like enough. What would feel like enough, I wonder? The books never end up where you think they will, they never grow quite as they appear ready to, and by the end one has grown or shrunk with little control over the process.

No wonder we’re all mad here.

A Better Cathedral

Three friends Cherry trees all abloom, daffodils and hyacinths exuberant, people dragging lawnmowers out of winter storage. Spring is here. (Life is skittles and life is beer…)

I went for a long run yesterday–Sundays are shaking out to be my long days, 9.7km to build my run volume–and was surprised by a feeling of almost-cheerfulness after the fifth kilometre. Part of one of my longer routes goes past a church, and I felt sorry for those stuck inside. The sky’s a better cathedral. Anyway, I’m becoming quite philosophical when I run. Maybe I need a tougher training regimen, because if I have enough breath to philosophize (even internally) something must be wrong.

Anyway…I finished that damn dinner scene. I had to have all the pieces in place before I flicked the first domino. So now it’s a deliberate sacrifice of a queen on the board, and a race against time. It will start deceptively slowly, with Emma Bannon remembering things she’d much rather not while she trolls the darkest parts of Londinium.

See you on the other side.

*dives again*

More, Less

Countryside - Lipperland So for New Year’s I made the decision to safeguard my writing time a little more aggressively than I have been. It means less social media, more closing the door to my office, less being an unpaid therapist for people, more nailing myself in my chair and letting those who need a free psych session find it elsewhere. More running, more writing, more staring out the office window as my brain tunes itself to that hum of creative daydreaming…and less twitching when I suspect someone might want or need something from me.

For someone used to leaping at the slightest application of current through the electrode labeled “I NEEEEEED you”, it’s incredibly difficult. My semi-obsessive need to take care of those around me is, no doubt, great for some things. It’s not so great when I’m having to struggle to meet my deadlines.

Anyway, so I’ve backed off tremendously on Twitter. It’s a form of micro-blogging that drains off energy and pressure needed for other things. Like, oh, my website. And the Ripper book. (Bad Lili, stuck at a dinner party for days. Time to scrap that scene and move on, says I.) And a million other things, including the piano lessons the Princess has expressed an interest in.

So today I cut 2K of bloody useless words and move on. Maybe the inspector doesn’t need to attend dinner in Mayefair. Maybe Emma and Archibald need to have a big, deadly knock-down drag-out over the things they’re hiding from each other. *is thoughtful* I suppose any long-term relationship, of whatever stripe, occasionally needs an air-clearing.

OH, and I should tell you guys about Odd Trundles and the veterinary office, and how he chewed a can of Squeezy Cheez, and the amazing eye-watering stench…but that’s another blog post.

Catch you tomorrow, chickadees.

Damnation, the Zombie-Killing Cowboy

Hey guys, remember that zombie-killing cowboy story I was talking about? Well, you can now buy it in e-format.

***

The West is a wild place, where the poison wind blows and the dead walk. But there is gold, and whiskey, and enough room for a man to forget what he once was. Until he no longer can.

Jack Gabriel’s been the sheriff in Damnation almost since the town grew out of the dust and the mud. He keeps the peace–sort of–and rides the circuit every dawn and dusk with the chartermage, making sure the wilderness doesn’t seep into the fragile attempt at civilization. Out here, away from the cities clinging to the New World’s eastern rim, he doesn’t remember what he was. Or at least, not much.

But Damnation is growing, and along comes a schoolmarm. Catherine Barrowe is a right proper Boston miss, and it’s a mystery why she would choose this particular town, where everything scandalous and dangerous is probably too much for a quality lady like her. Sometimes the sheriff wonders why she came out West–because everyone who does is running from something. He doesn’t realize Cat may be prickly, delicate, and proper, but she is also determined. She’s in Damnation to find her wayward older brother, whose letters were full of dark hints about gold, and trouble, and something about a claim.

In a West where charm and charter live alongside clockwork and cold steel, where hot lead kills your enemy once but it takes a blessing to make his corpse stay down, Cat will keep digging until she finds out what happened to her brother. If Jack knew what she was after, he could solve the mystery–because he killed the young man, and for good reason.

The thing is, Cat’s brother just won’t stay dead, and the undead are rising with him…

This is set in the Bannon & Clare universe, because when Bannon & Clare go to the New World, these characters have a small role to play. It just fell out of my head while I was agonizing over another book, and I’m so glad it did. I had SO MUCH FUN with this, you cannot even imagine. From Cat’s arrival in Damnation to the very last page, I had an absolute ball with these characters. There’s horses, and gold claims, and peril, and gunsmoke, and saloon girls, and just basically all the Western tropes I could find and pay homage to. I hope you like it, I hope you have as much fun (or more!) reading it as I did writing.

Enjoy!