Multiplicity of Mortal Reasons

The Marked

After a few dry days, the rains have moved back in. It’s a dark, damp morning outside my office window–just the way I like it, and my soul expands with each drop hitting the roof. October was extremely difficult all the way ’round, not least because the rain just wouldn’t come. But that’s over now, thank goodness. And there’s another holiday sale, to add to the Winter Portal Fantasy fun!

From December 8 to December 12, The Marked–a horror suspense novel featuring grief, danger, and living tattoos–is $4.99USD in the US and Canada through Kobo. I can still remember the Indiegogo campaign that gave me the time and funds to write it, which I’m still super grateful for. I do have to get around to its follow-up The Oracle, but it’ll be a while. I still have to get through the rest of Hell’s Acre plus the other serial planned for after Gemma and Avery’s adventures are finished.

Although “finished” is a merely relative term. I know what happens to each of my characters, even the bit players, after a book or series is “done”. Sometimes I choose not to continue with a series (like the Romances of Arquitaine) because I know what looms ahead and prefer not to write some aspects of it. I don’t know if other writers are the same, but I’m sure some must sense what happens after.

Sometimes I don’t continue because “what happens after” is private, meant only for me and the characters in question. And sometimes the vagaries of the publishing industry mean I don’t have the resources to continue–like with the Bannon & Clare books, or the Hell Wars trilogy featuring little Liana Spocarelli from the Danny Valentine series.

In short, there’s a multiplicity of reasons, mortals being what they are.

Yesterday was a marvelously productive day, including getting the narration done for the next Great Chapters episode. The next Reading with Lili will feature Murakami Haruki’s Kafka on the Shore, which I haven’t read in a hot minute and am delighted to be encountering again as if for the first time. So I’m looking forward to that, but only after I get some more serious work on Hell’s Acre and another chunk of revisions knocked off today.

After three years of pandemic, and now a triple pandemic (big fun!), I have to pay for each productive day with a few which…aren’t so kind. Still, I was afraid this entire week would be taken up with nonsense, and am relieved that only half of it was. Small mercies, silver linings, and all that. Though I have been afflicted with some coughing, heaviness in the lungs, and nasal drip since Monday–if being forced to endure that bloody useless endeavor infected me despite careful mask-wearing (because precious few of the people I was required to sit near followed suit) I will be Quite Put Out.

There’s precious little recourse since I’m not independently wealthy enough to make the State treat me like an actual human being. It’s enough to drive one mad.

…I am rather cheerful this morning, aren’t I. At least the coffee is soaking into my poor benighted tissues, so I should head brekkie-ward. Boxnoggin will absolutely despise walkies in cold rain, but the alternative is rather worse and all his protests, besides availing him naught, will wear him out so he behaves in a moderate fashion for the rest of the day. He’ll probably curl up next to the heater in my office afterward, though I hope he doesn’t keep licking the damn thing.

This dog, sheesh. I don’t even know.

Thursday is well underway, and it’s time to gnaw on some toast. I wish us all luck today.

Given how 2022 has behaved so far, I think we’ll need it–in case the year has one last hurrah planned…

Soundtrack Monday: The Hunter

Remember lockdown? I know, how on earth could we ever forget. We all had our ways of coping. Mine was…to write.

Big shocker, I know.

I was occupied with paying projects, sure. But there was a story that just wouldn’t let me go–an image of a blood-red, massive sun hanging in a tired sky over a giant castle, its stone walls fraying as the will keeping it whole faltered. The vision kept returning, and I knew someone was about to go through a door and find themselves near the structure.

And so I started writing Moon’s Knight. The story burned through me hard and fast, every waking moment I wasn’t occupied with survival or other projects eaten by its hungry flood. And while I was writing, Sam Tinnesz’s The Hunter burst into my musical algorithm. It was quite fortunate, because the song fit “the prince in black” perfectly. By the time I first heard it, I knew the basic dimensions of the story, I knew Ginevra Bennet was the woman stumbling through the door, and I even knew who the traitor could be. (It was a choice of three characters, and I was surprised as anyone by the time the zero draft was finished.)

It snowed this past weekend, which made me think of the book’s opening, Gin’s drunken stagger ending at a door in the ivy, and naturally I had to listen to the entire soundtrack again while doing my weekly housecleaning chores. And I also peeked at some of the scenes from the book again, particularly the Whispering.

It’s not a bad little book, I think. My agent–and several beta readers–said it should go out into the world; if it provided me with a little relief from the terrible uncertainty of those days, it could perhaps help someone else. I’m a sucker for that kind of argument, and of course my fabulous cover artist went super pulp with its jacket.

Every time I hear The Hunter now, I think of the prince in black, the terrible cat-creature he rides, and his take-no-prisoners loneliness. He’s rather a pitiable figure, silver fingers and all; astute readers will recognize both the Wild Hunt and more than a tinge of Hades and Persephone in the tale.

I suppose he received the ending he deserved. I think everyone in the story did, and that pleases me. Even if some pearl-clutcher had a problem with Gin’s language.

But that’s (as always) another blog post.

Winter Portal Fantasy Sale

I told you there was going to be a sale this month, didn’t I? Well, there’s more than one, but…let me explain.

From now until Boxing Day, the portal fantasy I wrote during lockdown is $4.99USD in ebook on certain platforms.


Moon’s Knight

Drunk and disoriented after her best friend’s funeral, Ginevra Bennet stumbles through a door in an ivy-covered wall…and finds herself in a dry wasteland under a dying crimson sun, the only possible shelter a giant stone castle.

If it’s a hallucination, it’s a deadly one; the Keep is full of beauty, luxury, courtly manners–and monsters. The inhabitants rejoice in her arrival, dress her in white, and call her a queen. Greenery returns to their gardens, and the prince of the realm, with his silver-ringed eyes, seems very interested in Gin indeed. It should be the answer to every lonely young woman’s dreams.

But nothing in Gin’s life has ever been what it’s seemed. Not her best friend, not her upbringing, and most especially not her nightmares. Drowning, violent death, a stone roof, and the hallucinatory prince have filled her nights, and Gin hopes she’s going mad–because the alternative is just too scary to contemplate.

Caught in a web of manners, intrigue, and betrayal, Gin has to depend on her sorely tested wits and uncertain sanity. There are Gates at the edge of the wasteland, and if she can escape the castle and its beautiful, terrifying inhabitants, she might just find a few answers and be able to get home.

Assuming, of course, home is where she really wants to be…

Available at sale price here until December 26, 2022; trade paperback and hardback also available at regular price.


I’ve also dropped the ebook price on a lot of my other self-published tales (including That Damn Werelion Book) and I know some of my publishers have holiday sales going on, so if there’s a story you’ve been aching to read, maybe mosey on over to the Books page and take a look. You never know, the price might be lower for a while.

Not only that, but due to the recent merger between Draft2Digital and Smashwords, many of my ebooks have much lower prices during the Smashwords End-of-Year sale.

There’s also some news that isn’t quite a sale, but it’s pretty cool so I’m putting it here. Two of my books, left publisher-less when Fireside Fiction folded, were re-acquired, have brand-new covers and are being re-released!

That’s right, Rattlesnake Wind and She-Wolf and Cub have been re-covered (if that isn’t the term I’m making it the term) and will be out in new form later this month. (December 13, if you’re keeping track.) So if you missed them the first time around, now’s a good chance to pick them up. Both were books of my heart in different ways, and I’ll forever be grateful to Fireside (especially the inimitable Brian White) for believing in them–and in me. I was sad to see the press go down, but I’m glad I was able to be a part of it in some small way.

I’ll be doing a bigger cover reveal and announcement later in the month for both books, but you get to hear about–and see–it a little earlier right here. I’m pretty excited–if you can’t tell.


The Marked

From December 8 to December 12, The Marked–a horror suspense novel featuring living tattoos–is $4.99USD in the US and Canada through Kobo.

I really do have to write The Oracle, which is the follow-up book featuring Preston and Jude’s further adventures, as well as a shadowy secret society determined to bring down several governments. But I need a chunk of time and funding in order to do that. Ah well, maybe it can be a serial one of these days. (After I finish the serial planned for after Hell’s Acre, naturally…)


If you like humorous little things, three of my comedic works–SquirrelTerror, Jozzie & Sugar Belle, and She’s Fleeing a Byronic Hero–are 50% off during the Itch.io Winter Sale.


Last but not least, another thing that’s not a sale. You guys know I often do “soundtracks” for my books–music I listen to while writing, or to get certain characters to speak. I had a lot of them up on Spotify, but I left there before the whole Rogan debacle. (Less said about that, the better.)

I’ve slowly been getting a few soundtracks up on my Apple Music profile. Even if you don’t use that platform, you can still see the songs, and I’ll be putting up more when I have the time. I know a lot of you are curious about my writing process, and music is a significant part of that. So, enjoy!

Now if I can just get to the 31st without a disaster, I’ll be glad to put this year to rest. It’s been a weird one, and that’s saying something after 2020…

Boxnoggin Bartleby

Woke up with the Decemberist’s Yankee Bayonet playing in my head. It’s on the Gallow & Ragged soundtrack, but the sea-shanty aspects of it also always make me think of HOOD. It’s the sort of song Alastair Crenn and Jeremy would hum while on the rails, and Alladal would play with for a performance in one of Sharud’s many kultur-dives. I think Ged would know it, certainly, and might even think of it while dreaming of resting in Marah’s arms.

Some songs make lateral connections between stories for me, a type of musical connective tissue. And there’s no doubt it’s a catchy tune.

It’s the first day of December, so holiday stuff is in full swing. Which means I’ll be hiding at home for the foreseeable future unless absolutely forced to go somewhere. The amount of unhappiness and tension swirling around scrapes against all my nerve endings, mixing with childhood trauma. When I was young, this time of year was always mounting, deadly anticipation of the worst until the inevitable explosion, and I still can’t fully relax.

There are bright spots. I’ll be busy, head-down in a revision I’d rather not do but it’s paid work so that’s fortunate. The Jolene, Jolene story may–may–have found a home, we’ll see. If I bring all my engines to bear I might also get the second season of Hell’s Acre to at least zero draft status by New Year’s, which will give me comfortable running room to prepare the next serial. And I have a really fun sale planned for you guys, going until Boxing Day–but more about that tomorrow, I’m slightly behind myself this morning. (Or ahead. Not sure.)

The forecast is muttering about snow, but that’s probably just up in the hills. Here we only get wintry mix, as a rule, and I should’ve named Boxnoggin “Bartleby” instead, because he would really prefer not to, especially while it’s raining. While he’s inside he cannot wait for walkies, but once we actually get outside he is incensed that I would force him “to do such a thing, Mother, how dare!” Then, when we arrive home, he goes to one of his (several, cushioned, very comfortable) beds (including my own) and curls up, giving me super reproachful glances every time I walk by. For the rest of the day getting him to go outside for loo breaks is a Grand Production of Preferring Not To, Mother, Thanks Very Much, and I am clearly the worst pet owner in the world for forcing him to unload outside and return to a nice warm house. By tomorrow morning the entire experience will have left his empty but surprisingly thick skull wholesale and the cycle will begin anew.

This dog, I swear. I will never lack for laughter while he’s around.

In any case, Boxnoggin Bartleby complained all during his first loo break of the day but has since forgotten it and visited my office twice now, eager to move me toward breakfast and walkies. He’ll realize his mistake as soon as we step outside, I’m sure. Right now he is ensconced at my office door, gazing intently at me. I can feel the weight of his expectations against my shoulder, not to mention the side of my head.

Off we go then, upon the merry-go-round of canine amnesia. There are even several leaf blowers hard at work in the neighborhood–the music of autumn’s ending, indeed. Most of the leaves are down, except for that one willow tree…

…but that’s (say it with me) another blog post.

See you around.

Bracing For Optimism

Boxnoggin has decided to go back to bed. Apparently a Monday is too much for even his spirit, and the leftover warmth is simply too enticing. Alas, I am forced to coffee and actual consciousness–or whatever approximation of the latter I can manage.

I spent the last of the weekend finishing Rebecca Suter’s The Japanization of Modernity, all about the work of Murakami Haruki. Consequently I think this week’s Reading with Lili will be about Murakami’s fabulous (in every sense) Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, which I haven’t read in a hot minute. I was going to do Nancy Price’s Sleeping With the Enemy, but that can wait.

Price’s book got me through some rough times. I didn’t manage to see the movie until five or six years after I’d actually read it, so the two are only vaguely connected inside my head. And every time I water my African violets, certain bits of the book wander through my head.

It’s nice to have a plan–to have more things I want to share. I don’t think I’ll ever run out of cool books to talk about; it’s far more likely troll comments will make the entire project unsustainable, or the platforms I use for streaming etc. will burst into flame and sink into the swamps of corporate malfeasance.

I am also (apparently) a giant optimist this morning.

There’s work cut out for me today. Correspondence, figuring out the next step in Hell’s Acre, prepping for a big revision push–plus some copyedits–once December 1 hits, and a million other things I haven’t looked at the to-do list for. I know I’ll feel better after I get a run in, but at the moment my internal engines are catching and sputtering a bit. While I love the weather this time of year, I absolutely despise “the holidays”, and bracing myself for them is never pleasant.

The coffee has cooled, I feel like I’ve typed very little of real importance, and even though Boxnoggin loves the shelter of a warm bed he’ll be off-kilter all day if I don’t drag him out for walkies. You’d think a dog who protests so much over any deviation from routine and habit might be eager to get out the door no matter the state of the outside world. I can’t really blame him, though. I’d be back in bed if I didn’t have so much to get done today.

Or if not “done”, at least stabbed twice and left with a promise. I’d really rather be working on the bloody fanfic, but paying projects must when the devil drives, or something.

Yeah, I’ll definitely feel better after a run. Already this morning I’ve bandaged a minor injury that will make said run somewhat of a misery, but I need the sweat and endorphins too much to care. At least the laundry’s done, the plants are watered, and someone else is in charge of mopping the kitchen. Damn near a holiday, right?

Courage, my friends. I think I’m at the nadir of my detox from Twitter, and the next few days will see a marked change in both my mood and my productivity. All I have to do is stick today out; I hope your Monday will be similarly endurable.

Wish us both luck, my beloveds. Let’s get this bitch to Mount Doom.

Week, Story, Pursuit

I have decided I will not leap like a feral wolverine upon the fresh new week. Instead, I will pursue it like a stoat, steady and fixated, until the arbitrary sevenday drops dead of exhaustion and I may feast.

…I may have been watching a lot of Casual Geographic lately, can you tell? In any case, I’m more comfortable as a pursuit predator anyway. I may not be awfully fast (save for when I’m teleporting to save a toddler or a dumbass canine from Bad Decisions) but I am patient, and there’s plenty of endurance lingering in this ol’ wreck.

Anyway, welcome to Monday, everyone. We were at dinner last night and my daughter obliquely referenced Edmund Pevensie’s taunting of the Telmarines. I commented that Edmund being known as “the Just” was as close as CS Lewis could get to admitting he admired the Jesuits, then I laughed like a loon and both kids looked at me like I’d lost my mind.

Which happens rather a lot, but it doesn’t mean I’m wrong. I always wanted to write a story where Aslan was the Big Bad, Jadis the White Witch and Edmund were the heroes, and the other three Pevensies were kind of bumbling impediments except for Susan, who is awesome no matter which way you slice it. And it is my firm headcanon that Susan never forgot Narnia, she just knew her homeworld needed her more. Because let’s face it, Aslan is a complete, humorless, psychopathic, unjust, incredible dick and I wouldn’t want him yanking me around more either.

Any Christian allegories have a difficult time covering up the sheer maliciousness of their sky god, especially in the Old Testament; really, the problem with allegory is that it lays bare a great deal of what one wants to hide as well as the truth one wishes to distill and reveal. I always suspected Lewis wrote ol’ Screwtape more to convince himself than anyone else. Tolkien seems to have viewed Lewis as Treebeard, taking so much of “the long view” as to be paralyzed with indecision; on the other hand, an Ent’s crisis of faith or confidence might not be visible to even an elf walking alongside through shadowed woods.

November was supposed to be the month I wrote the second book of A Particular Series, or at least 50k of it. Alas, it was not meant to be, but at least I think I’ve resurrected the damn thing. It took a lot of work, a lot of dry-heaving over my office wastebasket, forcing my recalcitrant body to the task. Of course my meatsuit is taking revenge at the moment. Apparently I will patiently coax any creature except my own stubborn self. Regardless, today is for stepping back into that world; this trilogy is having a difficult birth. Misunderstood by everyone but its mother, I suppose. I have to have some kind of faith it will all come out right, that it will reach the people who need it.

Sometimes I admire Lewis’s faith. Sometimes I pity his loneliness–always waiting for someone else to rescue one, instead of building a raft of whatever trash is to hand. The problem with the waiting is that the bones of those who waited in vain are silent; it’s only the “saved” we hear from, confirmation bias at its most absolute. I want the skeletons to stand up, to take their murderers and betrayers to account.

These are the things I think about on a Monday morning while my coffee cools. When I finally down the dregs, Boxnoggin will be waiting for me to make breakfast, beside himself with joy at the prospect of crusts and walkies. To him I am the changeless elf, a sorceress who can make light with a flick of her fingers, a goddess who provides kibble, warmth, direction. Makes me wonder if the gods see humans as we view dogs–they don’t make good choices, but they’re loving. Look how I dressed mine up! Oh, ouch, I can’t afford to take this one to the vet…why, oh why, are their lives so short?

I can’t decide if we make stories to escape the confines of the world, or because our world is so impossibly beautiful. Porque no los dos, right? In the end, what matters is the transmutation, the act of creating, the act of love.

So I lope after this week, reserving my strength, following tracks in sand as the wind rises, noting broken branches which speak of my prey’s direction and speed, discerning slight scuffs on bare rock. I hunt this arbitrary division of time, moving through other universes written into being by people long dead, creating my own out of the infinite multiverses lingering in my own bones and breath, the stories lined up around the block waiting for their chance to speak through me.

As I pursue, so am I pursued. That chain is infinite too.

But I’m done with coffee now and Boxnoggin is prancing down the hall. The hunt is afoot, and so I must be as well. See you around, my beloveds.

(But Aslan’s still a dick. I SAID WHAT I SAID.)

COVER REVEAL: The Salt-Black Tree

“But Lili,” I hear you say. “You just did a cover reveal not too long ago.” And yes, you are absolutely correct–but the two books of The Dead God’s Heart will be out within months of each other, so the publisher’s getting ducks-in-a-row now. It will be nice, since readers won’t have to wait too long for the series to be “finished”, per se. Two whole years’ worth of work will pay off…next year.

That’s publishing, baby. Anyway, are you ready?


Isn’t it pretty?

Since the series features American divinities and one hell of a roadtrip, of course there are cars–Dima Konets’s low black sports car, Maria Drozdova’s old Léon-Bollée, a Cadillac driven by a certain Coyote, and more. I’m also pleased about the snake, which is kind of a vehicle all its own.

There’s a burst of furious activity happening behind the scenes right now–copyedits, page proofs, queries on said page proofs–so everything is in place for the release of Spring’s Arcana next May. Considering that I wrote these books during lockdown and other assorted pandemic foolishness, it’s feeling rather strange to see them inching towards their debut.

The wind is up, and I’ve much more to do today. I just had to share the loveliness, though. Happy Thursday, my friends. We’re almost through the week…