Waiting for the Deluge

The prospect of rain has me positively giddy.

At first they said “Wednesday” but now the fronts appear to be arriving Friday, and I’m sure that will change too as the day gets closer. But it’s September, the rain is on its way, and soon I’ll be able to run while water falls from the sky. Puddles and grey skies and relief from incessant glare and heat–oh, I’m ready. I’m so ready.

My favorite time is almost upon us. There is a Spirit Halloween pop-up very close by; it’s the one time a year I can get decorations matching my everyday aesthetic, and at a good price too. The only thing I miss is giving out candy, but between the dogs and the plague, well, that’s going to have to wait. Some years I would put a large bowl of candy and a “take one” sign out, and while the younger kids could absolutely be trusted several parents and teenagers apparently cannot.1

The “ruin it for everyone” crowd starts small, and close to home.

I’m very sure my irritation will also smooth out as soon as the first drops are well and truly fallen. I’m looking forward to the spike in productivity rain always brings me, too. I could use it; I’ve spent the last few weeks doing formatting, forcing a certain print distro to do their bloody job or communicate with something approaching professionalism2, proofing, CEs, spot-reading–all the stuff around writing that isn’t writing.

I have finally gotten through all that (except for the proof pass which will land next week, I think, and finishing up that book will be such a relief) and it’s time for me to settle into more actual writing instead of just stealing a few minutes here and there. Of course so much in life conspires to keep me from the keyboard, and I resent a great deal of it. Just leave me alone to write, I want to howl. Leave me alone with my thoughts and the thing I was meant to do.

I don’t often close my office door–for one thing, even though the kids are grown the old habit of being on call 24/7 for them does not go away–but I’m considering it. Not to shut out anyone in the house, though the dogs will probably play some version of Rum Tum Tugger3.

No, instead it will be a signal to shut the rest of the world out, including online. My empathy has been pummeled like a speed bag, and I need time to heal. Or something, I’ll just be glad when the drubbing stops. I need a breath, even just half a breath.

Maybe my furious productivity all year to keep from sinking was a bad strategy. Maybe it wasn’t. Maybe I’m just tired and longing for rain. I won’t know until the first drops fall and I feel that huge, numinous relief.

Other people are hopeful in spring. I’m hopeful when the PNW turns grey and chilly, when sodden leaves clog gutters and storm drains, when the world smells like cold wet fir and mushrooms in moldering forest litter. Maybe this winter I’ll feel like baking again; I did practically no bread last year–why bake when there was no hope, or so little hope I had to reserve it for tiny spoonfuls?

…I didn’t mean to write most of this, but I think I’ll let it stand. There must be other people anticipating the advent of autumn with quiet, longing relief. Besides, there are the dogs to walk; Boxnoggin will not like the return of wet days but very much likes being toweled off when we return from soggy rambles, and also loves the office heater when I am forced to drag it out every fall.

I didn’t even have the spoons to put it away in spring. There are many little things I’ve looked at all year and just thought, “I have no energy for that, it’ll keep.”

Which turned out to be right, but every time I look at some of those small things I feel a definite draining sensation. Maybe this weekend I’ll forego the usual chores and just have a day of doing things I’ve put off. But that’s days and days from now, and I’ve writing to do.

Always, there’s writing to do. I can’t wait to get to it, so I bid you a very civil adieu, beloveds. I hope you have something pleasant to anticipate today, if not all week.

Back to Scratching Itch

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I’m settling down to my blog post a little late this Thursday, mostly because I’ve been fighting with print distributors. Well, fighting is a strong word. I’m simply being very clear about expectations and deadlines.

*sips tea*

I tested a new-ish print distro with four books, and have seen a 75% failure rate. Certainly not ideal by any measure, and let’s not even talk about people not bothering to read an email before they cut-and-paste a reply. To be fair, I know the reps are quite probably overworked–which is why I try to make it easy, giving all details for maximum clarity in every. single. email.

To be even more fair, the matter has finally escalated to the level where something has a chance of actually getting done, so that’s a good thing.

Had I been in publishing less than almost two decades (my, how the time has flown) I would probably just have given up on all four editions, but I know when to be stubborn by now. I have been treading the edge of Karen as this thing wears on, because by the gods, I will not be undone by a bureaucracy.

I will say the irritation was great fuel for the morning’s run. I woke up with grandson’s “Oh No!!!” in my head at high volume, so that was on repeat for a nontrivial number of kilometers. I’m still a bit sore (and dotted with various bruises) from the swift and complete moving job we did for a friend Tuesday, too. Stretching, a tonne of hydration, and going to bed early tonight will probably make me right as rain.

Today I get a burrito for lunch, some fun subscription stuff drops for my beloveds, the dogs are relatively calm, and while very warm the weather is not overly awful. And I get to throw both a heroine and her suitor into a Very Dangerous Situation, with bullets flying.

It feels good to be writing again, instead of dealing with distribution hassles, formatting, edits, or proofs. Just scratching the itch for twenty minutes or so on a day when I’m exhausted juggling other chainsaws is not optional. For the rest of this month I’m back to producing new words instead of dealing with the ones I’ve already written, and it is marvelous.

I wish you a lovely Thursday, my friends. May we all get a chance to do something we like today, instead of enduring what we must.

Over and out.

Schlepping and Small Talk

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There’s a forest of Post-it reminders festooning my desk, things are stacked on every horizontal office surface, and even coffee isn’t jump-starting my brain today. I could blame the holiday weekend, but really it’s a function of six months’ work crammed into the last two weeks and now another week full of things having a social component, which wears me out almost as much as multiple edits.

I did mean to clean my office yesterday, but Other Things intervened. I won’t get a chance today, either. I shouldn’t mind so much, but also I won’t get a chance for more than a half-hour or so of writing time. I’m going to be masked and carrying heavy objects for a great deal of the day, and while I don’t mind the workout (I swear to the gods I’m getting a run in today too, I needs it, precious) I am flinching in advance at the requirement to make small talk with people during the schlepping.

Small talk being one of the banes of my existence, naturally.

It must also be Toxic People Home Week, because I’ve spent a nontrivial amount of hours so far patiently repeating, “This is not normal, this is not fine, and you don’t have to put up with it” to people I love, with a heaping helping of “no, that shit’s toxic, it’s a trap, maybe consider not engaging.”

And it’s only Tuesday.

I don’t know if it’s the change of seasons, being out of the house more, the Delta variant, or the horse paste, but it seems like not only are nasty people looking to practice cruelty on not just their usual victims lately but also a whole clutch of new ones. I’m hoping it’s the last gasp of a dying, venomous creature, and that if it’s dodged we can collectively move on.

We’ll see.

At least if I get a run in I’ll have my zen and patience fully refreshed. I’m looking forward to it, and looking forward even more to that half-hour of writing time. Both will get me through the day–and coffee, yes. Coffee will help. Everything is an endurance contest now, and while I don’t find such contests pleasant, at least I know how to handle them at this stage in my life.

Small mercies. And it’s a lot easier when one has decided, frankly, that one has no more fucks to give. The Post-its can stay where they are for another day, it won’t hurt anything.

I wish you a pleasant Tuesday, beloveds. Fall approaches, and it’s a great time to go no-contact with horrid people if one can. If one can’t, the grey rock method can also help.

And with that advice, I’m off to walk some lovable, furry brats. See you around.

RELEASE DAY: Moon’s Knight

It’s a Tuesday, which generally means new books. And what do you know, this Tuesday it means a new Lili book.

The portal fantasy I wrote last year (during the very bleakest part of that lockdown) was originally going to stay on my hard drive, unread by anyone other than me. My beta readers, however, were going through rough patch (who wasn’t, at that moment) so I said, “All right, here. Have this portal fantasy. It’s not much, but–“

I couldn’t even finish the sentence. They figuratively snatched it out of my hands, read it, then all three promptly informed me that I had to publish it. I sent it to my agent, who cursed me for making her like a portal fantasy, and so, resisting all the way, I was brought to the sticking-post.

So…here it is, for your delectation as well, dear Reader.


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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 from Barnes & NobleAmazonKoboAppleGoogle Play, and direct; print edition also available here.


I was trying out a new print distribution service for the paper edition, figuring it was a great time to experiment. The experiment did not go well, so I’m making other plans. So yes, the paper edition is forthcoming–it was supposed to drop a full week before the ebook, but like I said, the experiment didn’t go well. (Translation: I will not be recommending that particular print distro to my publishing friends.) So I’m sort of scrambling to get the rest put together, and I’ll tell you when the paper edition goes live. [ETA: It’s live! You can find it here.]

I suppose today is a release day, though I intended to just quietly drop this book with no warning and no fanfare. Best-laid plans, and all that.

So, uh, I wrote a book. Here it is. You might like it, though I kept telling the beta readers, “It’s very slight. There’s not a lot of action. It…dammit, I’m still talking, why are you walking away and reading at the same time? THAT’S DANGEROUS!”

I suspect I am a trial to my poor beta readers as well as everyone else, most days. So I’ll just go stick my head in a bucket like usual on release days, and let the world do as it will. Maybe now this story will leave me alone.

Happy Tuesday!

Insomnia and the Knight

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The weekend was a nightmare of heat, being unable to sleep because of said heat even with the air conditioning on, hives from the heat, and the underwater sense of too much insomnia. My eyelid didn’t start twitching until late Sunday, so at least there was that.

On the bright side, Moon’s Knight is releasing before the end of the month. PLEASE NOTE: If a retailer link on that page doesn’t work, it’s because that retailer has the book but isn’t listing it just yet. I have literally zero control over when they get their databases updated, and distributors like Amazon don’t allow preorders if you’re not using their (heavily weighted against the author) proprietary service. (That’s why I offer .mobi versions through my Gumroad store.) And yes, there will also be a print version. I’ll do an official announcement later, probably on the formal ebook release date, which is August 24, 2021.

Along with the insomnia I’m deep in the pre-release “everyone will hate this book” weeds, helped along by the fact that I wrote Moon’s Knight to literally escape the worst and darkest of last year’s lockdown and am bringing it out only because beta readers and my agent were very insistent that it needs to be out in the world. I’m trying to take deep breaths and remind myself that the book’s gonna do what it’s gonna do, people are gonna do what they’re gonna do, and I have little to say about it either way.

I did get some sleep last night, since the heat has (temporarily, I’m sure) broken, and this morning is actually quite pleasantly cool. It looks like it’ll be only mid-80s instead of in the hundreds, so I suppose that’s a blessing. I’ll be able to run, at least, and that shall set me right.

Or, if not quite right, at least well on the way to becoming so.

Even the dogs got some good rest last night, so they’re bright eyed and relatively bushy-tailed. They’re wanting walkies with a vengeance, but I think they’ll need another tour of the yard before they’re ready. Boxnoggin has a distressing habit of wanting to squat in oncoming traffic unless he’s previously offloaded. Apparently emptying his bowels on concrete in front of fast-approaching cars satisfies some deep instinctual need.

I don’t even know. All I do know is hauling him out of the way gets old real quick. Little weirdo.

So. Walkies, a run, a chapter of Hell’s Acre, a hundred or so pages of copyedits, and and chewing my nails about Moon’s Knight are all on the docket today. Sounds like a reasonable day’s work, all told.

I’d best finish the coffee and get to it.

Uncorking With Jealousy

I did manage to brush up against copyedits yesterday…but then a cover draft landed for Moon’s Knight and getting that book moved up in the queue took precedence. A final proof pass has been finished, and now the cover is the last piece before I can send it out into the world. It’s a relief–I wrote it last year during the darkest days of lockdown, it utterly possessed me, and just getting it out and away will represent a victory of sorts.

And boy howdy did the cover draft make me happy. My cover artist is amazing, you guys.

I’m still feeling like a hopeless, burned-out hulk, though. Four years of increasing fascism crowned with a coup1 added to a bloody pandemic for the last year and a half is apparently my limit.

I suppose, to be absolutely fair, it’s not the pandemic per se but the ongoing fumbling in response to it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to have adults in charge again, and yet I could wish they weren’t so beholden to corporations whose entire goal is keeping a serf class too sick and scared to organize and resist their metastasizing.

Anyway, I’ve hit the wall bigtime. It was nice to reread the portal fantasy though; the sense of escape, even though I was proofing, was extremely welcome. And of course days when I can run, the stress chemicals are purged and I get a few hours of tenuous harmony before the discomfort mounts again.

Today is for forcing myself through walkies and a run, then back to the copyedits. I’m sure something will land in my inbox that needs attention; the best way to uncork something in the work process is to throw up one’s hands and focus on another task that needs doing. I call it “the jealousy principle”, because if a book is giving me trouble I often shift to the next one in the queue and let the first know it’s basically being ignored.

The Muse, like certain movie psychopaths, will not be ignored, thank you.

I know there’s reason for hope, but my supply is barrel-scrapings at the moment. And years of hoping, only to be kicked in the teeth, have left their mark. Sinking myself in work seems like the best option, as usual and even though it might contribute to the burnout. It’s still vastly preferable to the alternative.

What’s getting you through, my beloved? Drop them in the comments if it pleases you; I could use some nice things to get excited about.

I suppose it’s time to finish my coffee, choke down some toast, and get the dogs strolled around the block. Running before the heat mounts is also a good idea; the last thing I need is to pass out at the fifth kilometer or so. I’ve had enough of being flung to the pavement; the dogs are responsible for roughly eighty percent of all the time I’ve spent picking gravel out of my own flesh.2

Off I go for Tuesday. Maybe it’ll be less ugh than Monday. If not, well, I’ve work to do, and that will keep me occupied, if not quite sane.3

And I’ve got the machete, too.

Over and out.

Habit’s Wake

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I suppose one could describe my current state as “in a mood.” The business of publishing is fit to drive one to distraction, and a particular neighbor is running a pressure washer for hours at a time while the noise goes right across my nerves, dragging spikes and sandpaper.1

It could be that I need a win, however small. It could also be that I’ve hit the limit, so to speak, in many a way. Living with extreme empathy, while great for pouring myself into a character’s skin and figuring out their motivations, is a distinct drawback under current conditions. The number of people who seem to have precisely none while I got a quadruple measure is heartbreaking.

I seem to have reached the limit of even my quadruple measure, to be honest. It pains me to feel that perhaps the bigots who were screaming “fuck your feelings”, refusing to mask up and take the pandemic seriously, are in effect reaping what they have sown. If it weren’t for the collateral damage–the innocent caught in their plague-bearing fire–I might even think it a wee bit justified.

We could have been done with this by now. A few weeks of paying everyone to stay home, vaccinating, and masking afterward could have fixed it. But no, some greedy corporations had to have their serfs kept sick and terrified, and some racists just had to have their fix of propaganda-laden cruelty.

I need a rest in the worst way, but if I take one work piles up and all I do is circle the house aimlessly, wishing I was working so at least I could peek into another world since this one is proving so unsatisfactory. And publishing, festina lente as it is, with the ones at the bottom producing everything the entire edifice depends on–the writers, in case there was any doubt–treated as embarrassing afterthoughts to be abused instead of the jewel of the whole system, well. It’s enough to drive one to distraction.

There’s coffee to swill, and walking the dogs to be done. The minutiae of daily life goes on. Maybe a run will help me feel better. Copyedits have landed, and at least accomplishing those will push a book (and a series) another step towards the finish line. But oh, I’m so tired; I just rolled out of bed under protest and I am already exhausted.

If not for habit dragging me along in its wake, I might decide to simply crawl in a hole and close it up after me. The thought holds a definite attraction.

What’s getting you through the day today, my beloveds? I hope it’s something pleasant. In any case, any way of getting through the day is acceptable. The important thing is to reach the evening somewhat intact.

Suppose I’d best get started. See you around.