WASTELAND KING Release!

That’s right–at long last, the final Gallow & Ragged adventure is loose upon the world.

WastelandKing_TP.indd

The plague has broken loose, the Wild Hunt is riding, and the balance of power in the sidhe realms is still shifting. The Unseelie King has a grudge against Jeremiah Gallow, but it will have to wait. For he needs Gallow’s services on a very delicate mission — and the prize for success is survival itself.

To save both Robin Ragged and himself, Gallow will have to do the unspeakable, and become what he never dreamed possible…

NOW AVAILABLE through independent bookstores, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.

Release day is always difficult, and none more so than the end of the series. A huge thank-you goes out to you, my faithful, constant Readers; I hope you like this adventure. There was a lot of pain in the birthing, but that’s true of everything.

So. Come around this corner, just a little further. That’s right, into the shadow here. Now, lean in, and let me tell you this story…

The Madhouse Reopens

WhatsOperaDoc After two years, the Madhouse fan forum is back open! It had some significant teething troubles, but I think it’s at least workable now. Enjoy.

We’re also coming up on the release of Wasteland King, the third and final installment of the Gallow & Ragged series. It drops on the 27th, and people are already emailing me with questions and begging for ARCs. I’m sorry, but I have no ARCs to give. (The Madhouse also has a dedicated Gallow & Ragged forum.) I should also say, if you liked the series, please leave a rating or review on the online bookstore of your choice. It really does help, and the more it helps, the more books I can write for you!

Okay, that’s all the shilling I’ll do for today. I know I have to do marketing stuff, but I always feel like a jerk when I do.

The kids have roped me into playing Pokemon Go. The Princess chose Red Team, the Prince chose Blue, so I had to choose Yellow as to keep things fair. (I kind of wanted blue, but alas.) I can see why it’s so popular, but the kids are not allowed to go hunting alone. The risk of walking into traffic or something similar is just too high. On the bright side, I’ve found it can be up while Runkeeper is logging my run, so I can grab a Pokestop or two on my morning sweat-and-stride. I do not catch Pokemon while running, though I will admit to thinking, maybe I should double back and get that one when I’m finished.

So the kids have to buddy up or go with me, and we did a nice long walk last night. We all three bagged a Clefairy, which is good, I guess? I still think someone is going to get badly injured or God forbid killed while doing it, and that dulls any enjoyment a great deal as well as making me somewhat of a wet blanket to go on expeditions with. But the kids are all agog and it’s something we can do as a unit, so there’s that.

And now it’s time for me to go get some of these short stories out of my head, including one told from Perry’s POV for an upcoming Urban Enemies anthology. It’s going to take a couple stabs before I get that one out whole, and there’s the carnivorous mermaid one, as well as one titled Fifteen Wings I need to take a running start and bounce off from before it will settle down. I have no idea why my brain is suddenly turned to short stories; they are viciously difficult for me and I don’t really enjoy them as much as, say, fresh wordcount in a novel. That’s what the Muse wants, and what she wants she gets, at least while I’m in that magical, fairy-dusted period between deadlines.

Release Day: ROADSIDE MAGIC

RoadsideMagiclg That’s right, chickadees–Gallow and Ragged are back, and the stakes just keep getting higher.

Robin Ragged has revenge to wreak and redemption to steal. As for Jeremiah Gallow, the poison in his wound is slowly killing him, while old friends turn traitor and long-lost enemies return to haunt him.

In the dive bars and trailer parks, the sidhe are hunting. War looms, and on a rooftop in the heart of the city, the most dangerous sidhe of all is given new life. He has only one thought, this new hunter: Where is the Ragged?

Now available at independent bookstores, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

This book was hard to write. Robin’s grief was a stone in my own throat, and Alastair Crenn is the sort of character where you’re writing him and constantly saying “oh, honey, NO…” Jeremiah, of course, is full of so much self-loathing it’s difficult to be inside his head.

The entire series was triggered by a dream (the Boy Scout, my writing partner’s husband, sat up in the middle of the night and said the elves are dying) and opened up inside my head, full-blown, in the space of a few seconds when the Selkie told me about said dream. It’s an odd feeling, that–a sort of vertigo, the outside world a faded irritant while the space inside my skull turns becomes the only world I’m interested in. I’m sure other writers have that moment, where everything about a book/series opens up.

Anyway, I hope you like it, dear Readers. I’ve noticed some people saying the language is difficult–“faux-Shakespearean” is my favourite–as if that’s a bad thing. I love words, I love to roll around in them, I love to build rhythmic sentences. And really, the sidhe have been alive so long, of course they sound archaic. Even Spenser might be too modern for them. I am comforted by the sheer number of Readers who have written me to say they love the language, and that the sidhe’s double-edged meanings and layers of recondite insult and compliment are pleasing indeed. Thank you, and I can’t wait to hear what you think of the second book’s adventures and betrayals.

Now I’m headed off to cower in a corner and nurse my release-day nerves, biting my nails and just generally being an anxiety-ridden nuisance to myself. As I do every time a book hits. You’d think it would become easier.

Over and out.

My Poor Corpse

vinicon So I burned myself on the toaster, banged my head on a cupboard, tripped twice…but at least Miss B didn’t try to kill me on our morning run.

Small mercies.

Monday proceeds apace. Three projects to achieve wordcount on, after a weekend of chores and activities. I need a weekend to recover from my weekend, for God’s sake. That might be why I’m late off the mark, here. There’s also planting herb starts to be done today, and setting up to record a reading from one of my books for my Patreon folks–at least, the ones that signed up for them. I have to brush up my diction. (*snork* Because I am a twelve-year-old on the inside.)

I’m almost at the point in two of the three projects where I start building handholds–little bits further down the line that tell me where the story is likely to want to go. That takes up a day of concentrated thinking and internal feeling around, rather like crawling in a dark room with a plug and looking for a socket. One runs blindly into furniture and can’t really see the shape, though one can sense it. But finally, when you find the socket, a light comes on, and all of a sudden you can see the decor.

Tomorrow is release day–Roadside Magic will be going live! So get your preorder on, if you want. I’m hoping people like it. I also have a few posts planned talking about the world of Gallow and Ragged, and where it came from, since people have been asking many questions.

Of course, I am going to be a ball of nerves for release day, as I always am. At least it’s not today. I don’t think my poor corpse could handle it.

Cold News

000zf6sq Hello again, dear Readers. It’s been a few days. I made it through the first gate of the holiday season only slightly singed. Now I can keep my head down and my breath held for the second gate. Once we pass the New Year I’ll be able to relax again.

It’s a crisp, chilly morning. Well below freezing, so Miss B, despite her angst at the thought, will probably stay home when I go for a run. The last thing we need is her paws shredded on ice.

Let’s see–news! I have news.

* I won/finished NaNo this year with The Marked. The zero draft of that book is now DONE, DONE, DONE.

* tinyBATMAN has a full-time nurse now. I swear I’ll tell you how that happened, but not today.

* Agent Gemini releases TOMORROW! If you liked Cal and Trinity from Agent Zero, you’re in for a treat. Now, if you want to read an exclusive excerpt, be sure to sign up for my New Releases newsletter before tomorrow–the sign-up box is on the right-hand side of the very page you’re reading now.

* Speaking of excerpts, my Patreon page has been revamped, and I’m offering more options. You can sign up for excerpts of The Marked, Steelflower’s Song, and the third Gallow & Ragged book, Wasteland King. You can also sign up to hear me read sections of my books. I’m going to be a lot more active in offering stuff over at Patreon–bits of works in progress, things you won’t see anywhere else, things you’ll see even before my editors do. I’ll probably start v-logging questions submitted through the Contact Form, as well.

Agent Gemini is out tomorrow, and Roadside Magic is out on January 26.

As for other news, well, the kids are marking time until winter break, I am shifting to revising Wasteland King and Rattlesnake Wind, in order to get both out the door before the New Year. I’m also blazing ahead on Steelflower’s Song. It will be good to write that book while it’s frosty outside, I think. And it’s also time for me to start working on Leva’s book–werewolves and genetic manipulation, oh my.

It feels good to be back in the saddle, even if my head is somewhat tender from pushing out The Marked. Which probably won’t sell to anyone, but I like the story, so there it is.

Time to get back to work.

Burn Right Well

run! I’m taking a short break in the middle of my working day. The Marked is coming along well, and I think I’ll probably finish the zero this week. Which means my head will be clean, empty, and twitching for the revisions on Wasteland King and Rattlesnake Wind. Not to mention setting myself to finishing the second Steelflower, which is on track to be 100K, as the other one was. The editor will no doubt help me trim it, but it’s a complex tale.

Anyway.

The microwave was attended by an appliance-surgeon just before lunch. It’s a thermal fuse, which I suspected. It’s also the only fuse the guy can’t get at without dismantling the whole microwave, which did not surprise me in the least. (If not for the chunks of bloodstone under my desk, I’d probably blow my computer up, too.) Electronics and I have an uneasy relationship at best. It’s been a while since I made a light bulb explode, though. (Thank God.)

The guy was unsurprised when I told him my tale of sweet-potato woe. “Oh, yeah. Those burn right well,” he said, and nodded sagely. I feel a little mollified that clearly I am not the only one to have ever had this problem, and a little disappointed at the same time.

I mean, if it had been a squirrel, now that would have been a story. Of course I would never willingly stuff a squirrel in a microwave, but you know what I mean.

Which reminds me, I should tell you guys how tinyBATMAN got his full-time nurse. That is, however…

…you guessed it. Another blog post.

Back to work, into the breach, excelsior, and all that.

Time, Energy, Vitriol

steelflower The third Steelflower peek is now up for my Patreon folks! This one is a glimpse into Kaia’s past–one of those scenes you write because you know it has some importance, you’re just not sure WHAT yet. Hope you guys enjoy it.

I’ve finally gotten past the second assassination attempt, and now I know why I was having trouble with it: I had to compress what I thought would be three or four separate scenes into one and a half, and make that one and a half do all the work. (Lo, I am a cruel taskmistress for my poor characters.) Now that those 2k words are out of the way, I can go on, and make some decisions about who goes into the frozen North and who stays behind.

I finally sent off Gallow 3 to my editor. I grew tired of poking at it; it needs another set of eyes, and the wrenching emotional load of the ending was beginning to wear on me. So now I can begin the process of separating from that series. That’s probably some of the problem I’ve been having lately, emotional exhaustion from Robin and Jeremy. Poor things. While no character is me, a great deal of myself goes into each one–one of those paradoxes, and it takes massive amounts of time and energy. No wonder I’m exhausted.

Reader V.M. kicked over an interesting news article today, about Joanne Harris laying some hometruths down.

“This breaking down of barriers has … created a false sense of entitlement, giving some readers the impression that artists and writers not only inhabit a privileged world, in which there are no bills to pay and in which time is infinitely flexible, but that they also exist primarily to serve the public, to be available night and day, and to cater for the personal needs of everyone who contacts them,” Harris will say.

But fiction, she will assert, “is not democratic”, and while “without readers, writers would have no context; no audience; no voice … that doesn’t mean we’re employees, writing books to order”. Joanne Harris, in the Guardian

I scanned some of the comments, and Lord, I should not have. I’ve already seen the vitriol directed at Harris for being a woman on the Internet, and further for being a writer. She goes on to note that not everyone can or should be a writer, just as “not everyone can or should be an accountant, or a ballet dancer, teacher, pilot, soldier or marathon runner.” The ease of self-pub has led to an incredible glut of unedited, indifferently crafted trash[1], and the ease and perceived anonymity of the internet has led to a lot of abuse. The Venn diagram of the two overlapping has a very, very nasty black hole in the middle.

In the end, quality will win out. (That’s my optimism showing.) But the sea of trash is poisoning the literary ecosystem, and the cure is a long and difficult one. I can’t help but wonder what sort of wonderful books we’re missing because writers get tired of the internet shitshow and the hatred when they don’t dance to a particular tune, or because the vast mass of steaming, regurgitated crap is choking the airwaves.

On the other hand, as I’ve said many and many a time before, the internet isn’t ubiquitous, it just feels like it is when you have the luxury of the hardware and leisure time to access it.

Meh. Time to turn the glowing box off and go for a run. And then, when I come back, to keep the ‘net off and get some more writing done.

Over and out.

[1] Yes, yes, I know, “not ALL self-pub”. Put that straw man away, or it will be ruthlessly dealt with.