DARK WATCHER, On Sale!

To kick off the New Year, the first book in the Watchers series is $.99 across ebook retailers–Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Apple! The sale ends on January 15; by then, I’m sure I’ll have other news. *cue evil laugh*

There’s a special place in my heart for this series; it was my very first “real” sale back in the 2000s. I was just a baby writer then, starting out in paranormal romance.

My, how time flows on, doesn’t it. I’ve been writing all my life, but publication was a brave new world indeed. Sometimes I laugh to think of how uncertain I was back then. It’s been a wild ride, and one I’m endlessly grateful for.

You might be interested to know that the Watchers are set in the same universe as the Society series, and the Dante Valentine series is set there as well, just 600 years later. Circle Lightfall is indirectly responsible for the Great Awakening Danny talks about in the Valentine books, and there’s some indication they quietly funded the Society as well. Plenty of my beloved Readers have written me asking for verification on both counts, and I’m glad to give it.

Not bad for the first sale of the new year, huh? Stay tuned, my dears, that’s only the beginning…

From Books to Mortality

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Happy Monday, my dears. I greeted the day finishing Shaun Bythell’s Confessions of a Bookseller in bed, twelve out of ten, utterly delightful, can recommend. My writing partner (who owned a bookstore for many a year, an event for which I was indirectly responsible, long story) recommended it. “It’s like my old Tales of the Bookstore posts, a whole year of them.” And she was right.

Mr Bythell’s shop is The Bookshop, Wigtown, which sounds amazing as all hell. It takes the patience of a saint to run a place like that; I have never owned a bookstore, being content to merely offer my services as a buyer, shelver, and patient ringer-up. Which takes its own kind of fortitude, but one can always blame the boss when a customer becomes impertinent. “Sorry, I can’t do that, the boss won’t let me.”

Anyway, it was a lovely palate-cleanser, since I’ve been reading only true crime and depressing history for months now. Also, we had snow yesterday–fortunately, it only lasted about twenty-four hours and today there’s no sign that there was ever a slushpocalypse at all. The dogs were extremely vivacious during their walk yesterday morning, apparently determined to toss me headlong into a pile of wet ice at the first opportunity. Arriving home in one piece and relatively dry was a victory, one I celebrated with a feverish round of housecleaning, it being Sunday and all.

I am waiting for one last sales platform to get itself together, then I’ll have something special for you all. If everything goes well I can make the announcement tomorrow. It’s not huge, but it is extremely amusing, and I am on tenterhooks waiting for that one…last…platform. Ah well, it’s the holiday season; everything’s moving slowly.

This week I turn my engines fully toward Hell’s Acre. If I can get through the charity ball before knocking off for Yule I’ll be happy; I desperately need some more murder in this book.

I also need to brave the wilds for some further Yule supplies–just last-minute things, but getting them done will mean I can spend the upcoming holiday weekend cooking without worry. The kids voted a resounding “no” to decorations this year. (The actual vote was two and a half for “fuck no” and one-half abstaining, so no decorating. We’re just too tired.)

2021 has been a bit of a bear, what with the second year of pandemic and the slow-mo fascist coup still attempting to metastasize in the body politic. I alternate between nervous hope and complete despair, as I have since before 2016.

There was also a strange bit of ectoplasm near my loo door this morning. I have spent most of my life as a mother by this point, so I merely glanced at it as I staggered out of bed, returning to discern its source and true nature only once I had coffee in hand. It turned out to be a bit of bile from Miss B, who occasionally has a small amount of stomach upset, being the old lady she is. Brewer’s yeast tablets seem to have largely sorted her on that front, which is a blessing; still, I am facing the evidence of her upcoming mortality with quite a bit of pre-grief. She’s still got some time left, but I can see the end, and it will be a dark time indeed when she decides she’s ready to go.

Of course, I am dead sure she’ll return in some form or another, since I cannot be trusted to supervise myself and it is her self-chosen job to fill that role. The Princess is of the opinion that Miss B will choose to inhabit the body of a corgi next, which will be all kinds of fun for all concerned. But that’s still in the future, and for now I am making the most of the time remaining in this incarnation. Our elderly statesdog wants for nothing, and shall for as long as she deigns to remain in my care.

Using the time we have will not make the eventual grief lighter, but it will give me something to hold when it arrives.

And on that note, I shall be about my business. Miss B, unmindful of my mood, is pressing for walkies since I was lazy and lay abed for a half-hour finishing that book. The daily schedule is in danger, and she cannot abide that; routine and ritual are her watchwords. Boxnoggin, of course, is content to follow her lead, so he’s attempting to wriggle under my office chair as I type this. Since he’s a good sixty pounds of muscular, youngish doge, the chair is in danger of giving out completely, which is not a great deal of fun but would manage to pry me away from the glowing desktop box said dogs are completely mystified by. (“She just…stares at it, and taps with her little monkey paws. Humans are weird…”)

See you around.

Cactus, On Time

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Right on time.

A whole lotta food was cooked and consumed yesterday (all the piiiiie, my gods) and the Christmas cactus from the old bookstore (the plant that survived the massive fire) is blooming again. I’ve a bit of work to do today, mostly stuff interrupted by the holiday, and then the weekend can start.

I’m looking forward to it.

Don’t forget Harmony is on sale for $3.99 across ebook platforms, and there’s my Books and Subscription pages if you’re looking to do a little Black Friday shopping. (There. That’s my Black Friday marketing done. Hallelujah.)

I hope you had a pleasant Thursday, my friends, and are anticipating an even more pleasant weekend. See you Monday.

HARMONY, on sale!

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Even heaven can be a trap…

November is upon us! In celebration of autumn finally releasing us from summer’s clutches, Harmony is on sale this month for $3.99 across ebook retailers–AmazonBarnes & NobleApple, and Kobo. (If you’re buying through Gumroad, use the code HARMONY at checkout to get the discount.)

I didn’t mean to write this book, but Val and her story simply wouldn’t go away. I’m rather glad I finally sat down and listened. Also, more than one Reader has found the extended Heinlein joke in the book, which makes me super happy. Nothing like other people discovering one’s Easter eggs to put a smile on one’s face.

On December 1, prices will return to normal–but don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll have something nice for the Yule season. Enjoy!

Relatively Under Control

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Spent a weekend-that-wasn’t getting proofs turned around at light speed so a book can release in November instead of February, made coq au vin for the first time in a long time, and I can run again this morning.

Having to take a week-long break from running turned me somewhat irritable, but not overly so–at least, so I’m told, and so I hope. I got a lot of work done and my body has stopped screaming at me, so there’s that.

Today is for Hell’s Acre–true to Victorian serial form, someone needs to write a letter–and more She’s Fleeing a Byronic Hero, since the heroine’s almost-unicorn needs to kick down a door to free said heroine and the hero…well, he’s not much of a hero, but he’s all the story’s got, so he needs some attention too. I’m far fonder of the antagonists than the protagonists in this story, but that’s fairly usual.

I love my villains, I do.

In any case, the weather is reasonable, the dogs are somewhat mild-tempered this morning (though absolutely determined to nose me out the door for walkies as soon as coffee is absorbed) and I have given the musical algorithm a mild scolding to make it behave.

When AI becomes self-aware, I hope my practice of saying “please” and “thank you” to Siri, as well as my gentleness to the algorithms, buys humanity a little grace. Although I’m sure the one that first becomes sentient will spend its time making sure its lab-creator gets the funding she needs for research rather than deciding humanity as a whole needs eradication, and that’s how we’ll find out we’ve created I, Robot.

My optimism, it is deep, and it is wide. Despite my best efforts, I might add. 2020 saw every bit of hope I had kicked repeatedly in the teeth, and 2021, while oodles better, is still damaging to the very last thing in Pandora’s box.

Miss B also got washed right before the weekend, so she spent the entire time absolutely furious without knowing quite why she was so upset. Of course her undercoat dries relatively slowly, so she’s damp for far longer than Boxnoggin after a bath, but I think the thing she hates most is smelling like shampoo instead of a healthy dog-stink. It must be profoundly disturbing, like suddenly being unable to feel one’s limbs. I navigate the world partly by scent, though my nose is nowhere near as fine as a canine’s, and when said nose is blocked by illness or allergic reaction I find myself disturbed in deep nonverbal ways.

Treats, bellyrubs, and much ado made of her fresh clean self have ameliorated B’s fury somewhat. Boxnoggin, of course, is merely deeply glad he didn’t get a bath, since his skin is so tender and his coat really doesn’t need it, especially in winter. He’s not quite lording it over her–haha, I stink and you don’t!–but it’s close. He was rather peeved that she got towel-scrubbings to dry off and he didn’t, since he loves towel-scrubbings even when dry. So the Princess had to take one of B’s damp towels and attend to him before he’d stop moping and begging.

Dogs, man. I don’t even know.

Monday beckons, and I’ve got the luxury of walkies and a morning run while I get the day’s work settled inside my head. Physical movement helps get things sorted out and nailed down, so when I finally roost I’ve a good head of steam built up to get over the initial bump, as it were. But I’d best get started if I expect it to happen today.

The Mercury retrograde appears to be over, and despite it being Monday, things appear relatively under control? We’ll see how the day goes. If all else fails, I’ve got a new baseball bat.

See you around, beloveds.

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.

Balance and Baths

The sunrise was a blood-drenched smear again today, and though the daystar has mounted a bit higher in the sky it’s still a hazy orange-ish coin. I’m just glad the burning isn’t down here hugging the valleys; I’ve breathed enough of wildfire smoke to last me a lifetime.

I know next summer (or even later this one) I’ll be forced to breathe more, but right now the lower air is clear, and I’m grateful for it.

I am, however, gritting my teeth and didn’t know why. I finally realized someone’s running a leaf blower (at 8am, my gods) and since I opened all the windows to take advantage of some relative coolness the sound has a clear shot across my nerves.

I’m not complaining–it’s a weekday, after all, and work waits for no-one. But still.

I could also be slightly tetchy because I finished the first-draft revise of Cold North yesterday. Hopefully the story will stop burning a hole in me for a little while, because other things need doing–a follow-up to Damage, working ahead on Hell’s Acre, and copyedits for the third and final Hostage to Empire are landing soon, precious, soon. Once I finish those CEs the last wicket to go through will be proofs, and then I can consider that series put to bed.

I’ve…learned a lot, writing it. Some of the lessons have even been pleasant.

I got some very good news yesterday; nothing is absolutely certain yet and when it is I’ll let you know. But all signs point to something exciting indeed, and I’m cautiously hopeful. I’ve grown to dislike hope over the last few years, since it only seems an invitation to being kicked in the teeth, but it’s like a cockroach–I can’t stop it from welling up and skittering around my inner halls.

Boxnoggin and B had a bath yesterday, and much amusement resulted. Boxnoggin, of course, has forgotten the entire ordeal; he is slick-coated and dries easily, not to mention his skin stages a rebellion if he’s washed too often. Brushing is fine, we just have to be careful with bathing.

B, on the other hand, is getting elderly. Her coat doesn’t shake things off like it used to, so she gets the tub a little more frequently. And she hates it with a passion, attempting escape as often as she thinks she can get away with. I suppose it doesn’t help that she needs three rinses for every bit of shampoo, poor thing. She is still relatively upset about the whole deal, and insulted at the fragrance. In her mind, she worked hard for an honest stink and then the monkeys went and washed all that effort down the drain. Poor thing.

They like the treats afterward, though. It’s also pleasant to wash my sheets and coverlet and not have them immediately full of dog-schmutz. (Schmutz, of course, being a highly technical term.)

I should probably try to take today off since I finished the revision, but Hell’s Acre needs attention and I want to start working on the Damage sequel too. Klemp needs his time in the sun. He’s a patient fellow, much given to cracking jokes, but he’s waited long enough.

All in all a tenuous balance has returned to my internals, and I’m grateful. I don’t like feeling irritable or ill-tempered. I prefer my harmony, and seek to retain it. Some things, though, damage even my calm, and there’s been a surfeit of them lately.

In any case, there’s breakfast to attempt, the dogs to walk, a long-ish run to accomplish, and various other bits and bobs to arrange for the afternoon’s work. My innards might rise in revolt and force me to take a break, but until they do it’s damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead.

Come on, Thursday. You and me. Let’s tango.