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…

Claw, In Moss

Something was climbing here.

This is my favorite photo lately. A creature was clearly attempting to go up, and Boxnoggin was very interested in whatever it smelled like. His paw could have fit comfortably in the mark, so it could’ve been a dog or a local coyote–though I think the latter might have all moved into the hills for winter hunting. On the other hand, that particular stack of boulders has plenty of nooks and crannies for rodent life, and whoever was climbing may have been in pursuit of a snack.

I’m not feeling well today, so there will not be a Reading with Lili this week. Fret not, though–older episodes are on YouTube for your delectation. It’s a bit of a drag since I was looking forward to nerding out about Murakami Haruki today, but it’s better to wait until conditions improve, as it were.

On the bright side, we finally made it to Friday. In a few weeks this year will be behind us too; I am still stuck in the fluid weirdness of pandemic time.

I wish you a pleasant weekend, my beloveds. Be kind to each other–and yourselves.

Winter in Coneflower

Aliens, I tell you.

I did no cooking yesterday (US Thanksgiving). Instead, the kids and I got take-n-bake pizzas on Wednesday, left ’em in the fridge overnight, and had an easy, early-ish dinner with no stress. It was lovely; it’s an entirely different holiday when I don’t have to cook. More like an occasion than a holiday proper, as the Prince pointed out.

The whole thing was pretty fabulous. There are better years and worse years for holiday stress, and this is shaping up to be…well, not one of the better ones. But being able to keep it extremely low-key was great, eleven out of ten, no notes, highly recommended.

Even morning walkies were also reasonably quiet, and I got to snap a picture of coneflowers going into winter. I’m sure something eats their alien seedheads, or hides in them somehow. It struck me, while attempting to line up the camera (I know it’s still blurry, Boxnoggin did not want to slow down), just how alien they look. Like the succulents flowering at the end of summer.

I enjoy watching life change as the seasons slip by. Biology is a helluva trip.

I even got a run in, so I was holding steady at thirty percent zen for the rest of the day. We’ll probably even get rain, which will make the weekend a delight. Not sure if I’m going to livestream today, though. I might take a week off even though I do desperately want to talk about Emer Martin’s Breakfast in Babylon.

Suppose I’d best get out the door with Boxnoggin before it gets too damp. His paws are so dainty.

I wish you a pleasant weekend, my beloveds. Be gentle with yourselves, please–and with each other. Who knows, by Monday the world might have changed again!

…sorry. I know that’s hardly a pleasant thought given the past few years. All the more reason to take a deep breath now.

Over and out.

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…

Halfway to New

The wind came through hard last night, cold skybreath combing the trees, leaves and needles and cones shaken free. A lot of stuff tapped the roof, but we were all warm and snug in our beds. Especially Boxnoggin, as I spent part of yesterday washing bedding and switching to flannel sheets. Which meant a fresh, dryer-fragrant comforter for him to sleep on, several blankets for warmth and cushioning, and the heated mattress topper, all toasting him from below. He was a happy, happy doge.

I wasn’t so bad myself. It was high time to switch to flannel and more blankets. Most of my trouble sleeping lately has been stress, but some was certainly the change in weather. Now I am roasty-toasted, and feel halfway to a new woman. (Only halfway, the rest is the same old bitter hag.)

Remember the cover reveal for Spring’s Arcana? Well, in a few days we’ll have another for Book 2 of the duology, The Salt-Black Tree. They both release within a few months of each other next year, so you won’t have long to wait between books. It’s very exciting; I haven’t had this kind of trad publisher support before. Maybe it’ll go well?

I can’t think about that or I’ll go mad with worry. Best to just put my head down and continue, one foot in front of the other.

I should’ve been working on different things yesterday. (I won’t list them; on that path lies madness.) Instead, I banged out 3.4k words on the Jolene, Jolene story. It needs a bit of polish and some trimming, then it’ll be off to the agent for her delectation. Depending on what she says it might make the rounds–if it doesn’t, I might just keep it to gloat over, a shiny treasure in my hoard. Don’t fret, though, subscribers will definitely get a taste.

It was pleasant to feel like I could still accomplish something, and to get the dopamine hit from finishing a piece. The crisis of confidence from…certain publishing industry hijinks, let’s say, hit me hard. Fortunately I have lost my patience and as a result become somewhat close to tranquil, and part of that process was apparently writing a short story based on a Dolly Parton song.

What can I say, I’m wired really weird.

Today will be split between the serial and the NaNo book. All the hard work resurrecting a dead series over the weekend is about to pay off. The nausea has gone down, and after I get a run in I’ll probably feel closer to zen than I have in a long time. Of course, before I get out the door I should do some of that trimming and polishing on the short story. It would be nice to send that off by the end of the day. I should collect and re-edit a bunch of my shorts, too, put them in an anthology–in all my COPIOUS spare time, ha. It would be nice to have them in one place.

Last week–and the weekend–were kind of awful. But there’s a silver lining, of course; there always is, even if it’s only a thin thread. I went through a whole-ass process at warp speed instead of letting a certain situation drag out for many more months, and now I can get back to work. That’s one grand thing about my mid-forties. I am no longer prepared to waste much, if any, time. If that makes me a bitch, fine. That’s what they call a woman who won’t let you take advantage of her anyway. Might as well wear it like a badge of honor.

The wind seems to have slackened. There will be plenty of downed stuff and wrack for Boxnoggin to get his nose into, and he’ll enjoy the sunshine. I’d prefer rain, though this is all right–the air doesn’t quite sparkle like champagne, but it does go down smoothly and I’ve the glow of a finished story to keep me warm.

Let us clamber into Tuesday, my beloveds, and see what the day holds.