COVER REVEAL: Incorruptible

I’ve something special for you guys in lieu of the regular Friday photo post. Feast your eyes upon this, my darlings:

Falling was only the beginning…

Jenna Delacroix is determined to keep her life as simple as possible. Maybe if she tries hard enough to be normal the nightmares and strange occurrences plaguing her all her life will finally recede. But then the monsters arrive—and with them, the man who says he’s her protector.

Lonely and disciplined, Michael Gabon is just a grunt in the Legion’s endless war, but now he’s stumbled across something special—a living, breathing Incorruptible, the first one he’s seen in more decades than he can count. She’s also being hunted. And now, so is he.

On the run without backup, the diaboli haunting their trail, their only hope is working together. Even that might not be enough, because the unclean seem to know more than they should. Whether it’s treachery or bad luck doesn’t matter to Michael. The only thing he cares about is seeing his Incorruptible safe…

…no matter who–or what–he has to kill.


Isn’t it lovely? The cover is from Indigo Chick Designs; I highly recommend all of Skyla’s work and have for years.

I’ve got another treat for you, too–you can read the first six chapters for free, by downloading the sample here. You can also sign up for my newsletter at the same time, but you don’t have to in order to get your fiction fix.

It’s been a super long week and I still have turkey-wrangling to do. Thankfully, the goats have been returned to the care of their regular humans, who were slightly confused at my excitement over my new Capra aegagrus-whistling skills. (That’s okay, the goats and I understand one another just fine.)

But that damn turkey, oof.

I’ll tell you what else happened with Shirley, me, and the turkey next week, my friends. In the meantime, enjoy your free sample, and stay tuned because I’ve so much more coming in the next few months.

Over and out.

No Nap Required

blank

It’s not even 11am and I need a nap. I’m on my second jolt of coffee and have already spent an hour and a half in the car.

No nap will be taken today. There’s too much to do, between school starting for the Little Prince and the hour spent in the car daily.

It will be nice when I don’t have to commute anymore. Really nice.

I suspect I won’t get a lot of fresh wordcount today, but I have a very small, very slight revision pass on a Certain Book I Can’t Tell You About Yet. Hopefully there will be good news on Incorruptible soon, too–as well as a teaser, as soon as all the preorders are set up.

I do so love giving you guys teasers.

I’m sure there’s a million things more to do, but I think I just want to sit and stare for a moment. Get a good breath or two in me, and maybe even some fleeting Zen. Then I’ll make a list, because it’s a day when nothing on earth will get done if I don’t write it down.

At least the dogs have been walked and the second coffee jolt seems to be doing its duty. No nap required–at least, not for the first few hours. We’ll see what happens when three PM rolls around.

Over and out.

Sort Of Recovering

blank

Season 2 of HOOD starts today for my lovely subscribers. I’m pretty pleased, even if I might need three seasons instead of two after all, to get the arcs to fall right. Ah well, never rains but it pours, and that gives me more time to plan other things, I suppose.

The stress of the last week and a half is receding, though not nearly as quickly as I’d like. As I get older, it takes more time to bounce back from the killing worries, both financial and personal, that go along with this career–and, let’s face it, being a single mother. I suppose from outside it looks successful enough, but that semblance hides the fact that our household is hovering barely above the poverty line and it only takes a single bad event–or a single publisher refusing to pay what they owe–to trigger catastrophe. It doesn’t help that I spent the early part of last week working furiously, almost to the edge of burnout, to make sure HOOD: Season One was out properly and to get Incorruptible prepped for release. (The latter won’t be out until September; don’t worry, you’ll know as soon as preorders are up.)

So I’m a little shaky, and even though the worst of the disaster has been addressed, I’m still vibrating in place. (Not quite fast enough to be a squirrel twin, but… close.) The kids were a little worried, since normally I tend to keep a pretty granite poker face; they know that when that calm cracks it means things are Very Bad Indeed.

Anyway, I am recovering, and there are good things. Like the ebooks of my Beauty & the Beast retelling, Rose & Thunder, being on sale for the month of August. (You get about 28% off the regular price.) Also, I may be writing some more romances to keep the wolf from the door, but that’s good because I have a couple stories that fit that treatment perfectly and the editor interested in them is a gem.

The saving grace of the last week and a half has been my subscribers and patrons. That trickle of monthly support provides a thin cushion I’m ever grateful for, and means I can write still more for their delectation. It’s a virtuous circle–I produce better and more when I can sleep at night instead of lying awake in the darkness, my heart pounding, worrying about losing the house.

Funny how that works.

Anyway, I’ve this week’s fiction offerings to put together, and as soon as the cover for Incorruptible lands, the finishing touches can be put on September’s release and I can start thinking about November. Not quite sure if I’ll have anything finished and prepped by then, but hope springs eternal. I have a rather punishing publication schedule.1 A lot will depend on if publishers decide to snap up one or two projects my agent is making the rounds with.

I like self-publishing, but it would be a relief to outsource some of the brute work–formatting, listing for sale, editing–to a company that has deeper pockets and more labor than my own small, sweet self. A vacation’s out of the question, but a break, now that would be nice.

But today there’s coffee to finish, subscription stuff to get up, dogs to walk, a kitchen to clean, and maybe some laundry to do. The fun never ends chez Saintcrow, and I suppose I’d better like it, since it won’t change anytime soon. Making a virtue out of necessity is a writer’s survival strategy.

Over and out.

Brain, Thunderdome

HOOD

I’m a little excited, my dear little sparrows. HOOD‘s Season One comes out next Tuesday (you can download a free teaser here) and I’m trying some new things with distribution and marketing, so we’ll see how that works out. It’ll be nice to have the first season off my plate, since I’m already 30K into the second. I think I can get this done in two seasons, and if publishers don’t snap up Hell’s Acre I’ll do that as the next one. (Considering Season 2 is going to be long, though, there’s plenty of time. For once.)

I’m also revising Incorruptible, which will probably drop in September. There’s other releases scheduled around then, but none under my real name. (Yes, I know you’ll all want details. As soon as I can disclose them I will, not a second before or after.)

Today, however, Serial Time subscribers (on Gumroad or Patreon) get the final ebook for HOOD: Season One way before anyone else does. It’s a tiny thank-you for their support. That small, consistent support means I can plan around several vagaries of daily life and publishing, which means the rest of you get more to read. So, thank you, subscribers! All my other readers owe subscribers a vote of thanks as well, because the books resulting from that support go out into the world.

New release stress is pleasant (mostly), but it’s still…well, stress, and added to the illness of a dear friend and a few other woes, I’m feeling rather in the low end of the pool lately. Work is the only panacea, even if one has to swim against the current of imposter syndrome.

In short, I’m a little tender-skinned. Summer is hardly my favorite time, though by all rights it should be–it’s when the kids are home from school (though the Princess is out of school and working by now) and work dials back a bit. You’d think I’d enjoy it, but I find myself longing for autumn and the rains.

I always work better when it’s raining.

I suppose there’s nothing to do but stick to the plan. It’s never comfortable when one’s brain decides to try killing its container, but like any villain, it can be outwitted. Having an adversarial relationship with one’s own brain isn’t the recommended way to get through life, but one works with what one has.

Anyway, I’d best get a run in before the heat makes everything unbearable. Despite my current bleak mood, I am excited for Robb, Marah, Giz, and the gang to make their debut. It’s just that the excitement is trapped in Thunderdome with a particular brand of anxiety-laced depression.

I can’t decide if I’m Max or Auntie. I suppose I just have to wait to see what happens.

Time to get punching on Thursday, chickadees. Over and out.

Similar Productivity

She-Wolf & Cub

It’s a lovely grey morning, just cool enough that a soft draught comes through the window and caresses my arms. The dogs, having consumed breakfast, are sprawled in various places to embark upon the first of the day’s naps.

B has turned over many supervisory duties to Boxnoggin, since there are enough humans in the house that both of them are required to stick their cold wet noses into every situation and it’s a rather large job even for an Australian Shepherd. Backup is always pleasant, at least when it does exactly what B wants it to.

Boxnoggin does not always do exactly what B wants, so he is added to her list of things to nose-bump and grouse at. Her herding instincts nowadays seem to center on bossing him about, and he’s a good fellow about the whole thing. Every once in a while he simply stubbornly refuses to do what she wants, then they wrestle, and when she’s distracted enough he wanders off to do what he wanted to in the first place and she throws herself down on the carpet to rest after the flurry of activity.

It’s a pretty perfect friendship they have, really.

Yesterday was amazingly productive. 1.7k on HOOD‘s Season Two, then 2k added in revision to Incorruptible. There’s a few nuggets in the latter I don’t remember writing, which is always a pleasant surprise when the nuggets are gold, and only mildly annoying if they’re dross.

Today I am hoping for similar productivity, but only once the coffee has been absorbed. I’ve misspelled everything this morning, my fingers doing a double or triple tap instead of striking true. My speed remains, it’s accuracy I’m after now. Once my accuracy hikes again I’ll start working on speed once more. It’s a serpent eating its own tail.

…I had more to say, but it’s left my head as caffeine has stolen into my bloodstream. I should probably go back to prepping for the day’s work and finding my running shoes. I know where they are, of course, but there’s many a slip twixt the sock and the foot when you have two dogs helping you with every aspect of your morning.

Happy Tuesday, chickadees, and remember: you need the whole corpse on the table before you can begin sculpting and painting it. Get the entire work out, then go back and revise. Don’t be afraid to change midstream, finish a book with its back half vastly different, and retcon it in revision.

Over and out.

An Actual Weekend

Steelflower in Snow

Ever have one of those days where nothing goes wrong for you, precisely, but everyone around you keeps getting packets of bad luck?

Yeah. Like that. Friday came along with terrible news, kept going through car trouble, and ended with me having to stop a teenage bigot from vomiting hatred-harassment, so by the time I got home I was more than ready to throw my purse in a corner and crawl into bed.

I’m finally feeling more like myself again, probably due to the work I did over the weekend. A ticklish scene in HOOD‘s Season Two gave me the answer to a plot problem I had heretofore only trusted would end up fixed eventually (my faith in the Muse knows very little bounds) and I got all sorts of stuff done in Tower of Yden. It was like a mini-vacation, writing exactly what I wanted, and since I ruthlessly closed my doors and was unavailable for anything else, a good deal of housecleaning got done too.

Normally my weekends take a few days to recover from, since I tend to cram in all sorts of things I can’t get to during the working week. But I’m actually feeling almost…rested? Is that the word?

I know, I know. Saying it aloud is a sure way to get hammered sideways by Something Quite Unexpected.

Anyway, today I feel my way through a scene with Robin Hood, Little John, Much the Miller’s Son, and Alan-a-dale. I know it’s important, and there’s a whole tangle of plot and counterplot going on, but I don’t quite have the shape of it yet. After I finish poking, it’s revisions on Incorruptible, which is lingering at about 60K words and will only get bigger. A truly angelic cover is needed, so it’s off to Indigo Chick Designs to look at premades, just to get an idea. (I love all Skyla’s covers.)

It’s also going to be very warm here today, after a couple weeks of decent (if somewhat humid) weather. I should get my run in early so I don’t get laid out in a puddle of hyperventilation and sweat.

In short, I’m somewhat optimistic about the week, despite publishers refusing to pay me. My entire life might explode as a result, but right at this moment nothing’s on fire and I can take a breath, so I might as well.

If it does explode, I’ll deal with it then. I suppose that’s adulthood. I could do without the lingering anxiety, but I suppose nothing is ever perfect.

Stay cool and hydrated out there, chickadees. Catch you tomorrow.

Associated Disruptions

blank

It was a long strange weekend, but at least I got all the housecleaning done. And thanks to the fireworks ban, both the dogs and I were quite calm all the way through. There was artillery in the distance, certainly, but we didn’t have any mortars popping near the house, which I am devoutly grateful for.

Also, I’ve been experimenting with BookFunnel. The first half-dozen or so chapters of Harmony are available for free download here; when HOOD gets its wrap cover and begins wending its way through the last quarter of the publication process there will be a free teaser for it as well. I might put some other freebies up, just to see how they do and if they drive interests to other titles. Might even put up a Freebies & Swag page, but I need to think carefully about whether or not I want the deluge of entitled demands it might spark.

I also spent the weekend polishing off a few books–reading, not writing. The Coldest Winter and The Coldest City, as well as a graphic novel adaptation of The King in Yellow, kept me occupied for an afternoon; I also finished James Holland’s The Rise of Germany and polished off two Christine Feehan novels. The last are like crack, I can’t read just one, kind of like Shannon McKenna novels. Now I’m on to a history of the Byzantine state, which is filling certain lacunae in my understanding of just how things were administered in the late Roman empire.

What I wanted was to get a few more chapters of Season Two done, but the Glorious Fourth and associated disruptions put paid to that little dream. But I got the revised cover list off to the artist, and there’s plenty of time for everything that needs to get done for the next couple books.

I’ve spent a lot of time these past few days thinking about growing up, logistics, rain, how to get a prince back to his homeland, whether or not I want to write The Highlands War, whether or not I truly want to write Hell Tide, how I’m going to get Maid Marian dancing with Prince John, genetic plasticity, and a whole host of other things I’d put on hold to think about after HOOD‘s Season One was sorted. Now all those things have come back to roost and I must give each the time they demand, from a few moments’ worth to a day or so of concentrated thought while the rest of me goes about the business of living.

It’s a form of mental housekeeping. Plenty of writing is keeping the creative cauldron bubbling at a certain pressure so the steam moves everything through one’s internal tubes. Weird facts, historical narratives, tangential fiction–all these things are fuel. So is the habit of observation when I have to leave the house, storing up notes on how these human creatures behave.

Can’t write what you don’t understand or observe. It’s probably the only use of my over-sensitive empathy that won’t drain me to transparency and leave me day-drinking. (Of course, I can’t drink without getting hives now anyway, but you know what I mean.)

In any case, today is for getting a needle back in the groove of work. There’s Incorruptible to revise and HOOD‘s Season Two to pile bricks for, and Hell’s Acre to think about. I’m pretty sure the last will be the next serial, which will be super fun to write. I always did like steampunk.

I hope your weekend was pleasant, dear readers, and that there was a paucity of artillery in your neck of the woods as well. I’ve got a bellydancing bagpiper to listen to while I write, and honestly, since my coffee is staying down, I really can’t imagine anything better.

Over and out.