Fog and Publishing

It’s a quiet, misty morning. Miss B made her feelings known early, and nosed me out of bed. Boxnoggin and I could have easily slept another few hours, but Miss B is an old lady and wanted her breakfast. So here we are. At least there’s coffee…

…and news just landed in my inbox that Draft2Digital is buying Smashwords. Of course I breathlessly raced to a few fellow writers to discuss, and the prevailing feeling seems to be “better than Amazon buying it just to turn it into a zombie cesspool of harassment like they did to Goodreads.” It looks like the erotica component of Smashwords, with their relatively new self-tagging system, will get greater distribution (for non-“taboo” stuff, i.e., the Very Bad, No One Will Touch This For Good Reason, What’s Wrong With You things) and to my mind that’s a good thing. The Smashwords store (in all its, ahem, glory) will probably remain for the “taboo” stuff, which is also a good thing.

The big consideration is this makes D2D even more of a viable alternative to KDP, and that is a distinct good. Amazon is the elephant in the room, and a nasty one at that. Competition may be unwelcome to Bezos, but for authors it’s a gat-damn boon. I’ve been waiting for a market correction to deal with Amazon for a long while, and while this isn’t it (D2D’s still far too small to truly challenge the behemoth) it’s at least a step closer.

For readers, this means greater variety; anytime we get alternatives to Amazon it’s a net good for consumers too. So I’m cautiously hopeful.

What excitement first thing in the morning, eh? I’m only three-quarters of the way through my coffee, even.

Yesterday’s Tea with Lili is up; in it, I talk about NFTs, the recent Gumroad thing, types of publishing, and self-care. Not in huge depth, since it’s only fifteen minutes. I’m liking the short format, though it’s not what Twitch recommends. Apparently one isn’t a real streamer unless one does it for hours per day, but I don’t have that kind of time. I’m still playing with schedule, format, and a couple audio issues, so we’ll see what happens.

Also, the cover reveal for Sons of Ymre is up over at Patreon, too. All subscribers got the cover reveal early–just one of the ways I say “thank you” to my beloveds.

I suppose I’d best get some brekkie, and get the dogs walked. I might even get to run before the vapor burns off, which will be nice despite the risk of seeing Pyramid Head through the drifting cloud. Of course, if I did see something like that, I’d already be running, so the reasonable reaction (running away) would be a no-brainer. Of course, if he was menacing another poor civilian, I’d probably have to Get Involved–a particular pastime of mine, attempting to aid underdogs.

I would probably die early and messily in a video game. Or who knows, maybe I’m an NPC. Now there’s a story idea, albeit one I don’t have time for at the moment.

Happy Tuesday, everyone. It’s starting out rather a doozy. Can’t wait to see what happens next.

Boostered, and Well-Filling

The Princess, being a frontline worker, had her booster appointment on Tuesday; the Prince and I went along to ask if they were doing walk-ins as well. Fortunately, it was one of the few pharmacies in the area offering them, there was nobody else in the store, so all three of us got our booster and flu shot at once.

The relief is immense. So immense, in fact, I’m not sure how much of being absolutely wiped out yesterday (and frankly, almost totally wiped out today) is psychological, and how much is my immune system pitching a gigantic fit. Either way, it’s far, far better than suffering the plague or influenza, so here we are.

The kids both had mild arm soreness and a wee bit of fatigue. So far their side effects are very small, which I am unendingly grateful for. I am logy, still a bit feverish, and brain-fogged, but the fatigue has gone down a bit. I will say, whether it was the relief or the fever, I had hypersaturated, very odd dreams.

None of them were worthy to turn into a short story, let alone a book, so that’s a bit disappointing. But I shall persevere. Gods know I have enough material to keep me busy, even after shoving three books out the door and into the wild, wild world.

All my engines can turn to Hell’s Acre for a short time now, then I can give Ghost Squad #2 a bit of a shake and a towel-down before sending it off to beta readers. At the very least I have to get all of the brackets out.

Song that never ends, no rest for the weary or the wicked in our benighted world, and all that.

Before I forget, a huge shout-out to everyone who told me what movies, books, songs, and the like they’re using to refill their wells right now. You guys are a very eclectic bunch! (Feel free to add what you’re reading/watching/loving right now! I always love hearing about it.) I’m reading Burkert’s Homo Necans (because that is my idea of fun) and have been talked into watching the Wheel of Time series on Amazon.

I knew a few WoT fans in high school, and their behavior over the book(s) convinced me I wanted nothing to do with the entire thing. Later, I shelved them during my many stints as a bookstore worker, and the behavior of the male fans there just deepened my conviction. But, as one of my friends pointed out, misogynistic neckbeards are up in arms over the Amazon Prime adaptation being “diverse” and “woke”, so it’s probably worth a try.

I like the costuming (I am Team Suspenders, and some of the sweaters delight my inner knitter) and the CGI is great, not to mention Rosamund Pike and Daniel Henney. (The latter sparked one of my favorite characters in the Livi Talbot series.) So, all in all, it seems pretty awesome and I might give the books a try, though that Rand guy irritates the living DAYLIGHTS out of me already and I can’t wait for him to get stabbed by a giant trolloc or eyeless thing already. I’m only a couple episodes in, so we’ll see. I might even give the books a whirl, who knows?

So today is for gently getting back to work–only for a few hours, there’s no use in courting burnout–and getting subscription stuff out the door. Not to mention walking the dogs and prodding my poor bewildered corpse through something approaching a run. I haven’t had a run in days and it’s beginning to wear on my nerves.

I never, ever can get the hang of Thursdays, but one must suffer them all the same. Time to strap some shoes on, grab some toast, and get the dogs walked.

See you around, beloveds.

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.


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

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.

A Peevish Start

Well, it’s a Monday again. A brand-new week. Yes, I know weeks are imaginary constructs, but so is money and we need that to survive too.

I did a deep-dive Twitch stream on the Valentine series on Saturday; the hour-and-a-half of me talking about imaginary people (it turned into a Japhrimel discussion, since I get so many questions about him) will stay up for a few days.

I like knitting and talking, though I only got a few rows on that scarf done, being occupied gesturing with steel knitting needles instead of actually knitting for most of the stream. Normally I use bamboo, because it catches the yarn just as I prefer and makes the entire process easier, but I didn’t have a set of size-3s and the very thin, fine cashmere needed a much smaller needle than I usually work in.

At least it’s cooling off at night, so we can sleep in some comfort. Small mercies–the only kind we ever get, right?

It’s not that I’m in a pessimistic mood, I think? For one thing, I have coffee. Sweet, blessed caffeine is about to sink into my tissues and provide the strength to get through the day.

I can’t wait.

Today is for some administrivia, a chapter in Hell’s Acre (remember, you can read the first bit of the serial for free here), and getting seriously underway on Sons of Ymre revisions. The latter needs the majority of my attention for the foreseeable future, though what I’d really like to be doing is writing the second book of Cold North. The pressure on that book will mount the longer I stay away, though, so I can afford to let it boil a bit. I know exactly how the rest of the trilogy goes, which is both curse and blessing.

I also have Moon’s Knight–the portal fantasy I wrote at white heat last year–working its way through the publishing process with a placeholder cover while some other moving bits fall into place. One more proof pass and the actual-factual cover, and we’ll be good to go. Preorder links are slowly populating, so there’s that.

It’s nice to have a surfeit of work, though I’m disappointed about a few recent developments on the publishing front. That’s fine, it’s all part of the career, and it won’t kill me. I’ll just be peeved about it for a wee bit.

It’s a peevish kind of morning, and my choice of office jam (thrash metal) isn’t helping. I can already tell I’ll be harnessing the power of irritation to get through the day. It’s not a bad thing–any fuel will do on a Monday–but I will have to make very, very certain I don’t bite or claw without cause.

And the dogs are eager for walkies, so I must attempt some breakfast once the coffee has settled my stomach, then take them rambling. The marine layer providing nice, reasonably-cool mornings is a gift and a blessing; the damage from the latest heat dome is everywhere. It hurts a little to see crisped vegetation and dead leaves, knowing what’s responsible and that the train won’t halt anytime soon.

…maybe I am slightly pessimistic, but I can blame it on Monday and curl up in my dark cave of an office to treat ill temper with a dose of work. Time to switch out the music–I think some Massive Attack will soothe my savagery somewhat–and wander towards the fancy-dancy new toaster.

May your Monday go smoothly, beloveds. Stay cool out there.

Certainly a Goal

Spent the last few days listening to my computer read a book I’d written, following along in the text while looking for holes, typos, and inconsistencies. It’s a good way to proof. I also can’t get over the fact that I can write something and have a computer read it to me.

We live in the damn future. The only thing missing is the flying skateboards, and though everyone knows how much I love the concept, the technology would probably cause more problems than it ever dreamt of solving.

Of course the book is full of neologisms and strange character names, so each time one was mispronounced I was either amused or irritated to some degree. But that’s a small price to pay for the ease with which this type of proofing allows me to see typos and homonyms and and and. Spending my days staring at words on a screen means sometimes I read what I meant to write instead of what’s actually there, so one has to almost trick one’s brain with novelty or discomfort in order to find errors.

Anyway, now I’m hopeful that damn book will leave me alone for a while, since due to other moving parts, the rest of the production timeline is now entirely out of my hands. Of course the remaining pieces will all fall in a row at the most inconvenient moment, probably when I’m head-down in another thorny revision, but that’s the way it goes.

If a book ever passes smoothly through the production process with no hassles whatsoever, I’ll probably get nervous and pull the plug, sensing a disaster looming after release. Problems solved before mean fewer problems after, or something like that.

In any case, I have a second jolt of coffee to balance out the fatigue from today’s run. I know I’ll have more energy in the afternoon; morning exercise does that. I just have to get through the valley of my body whimpering why on earth did you do that to me, let’s go back to bed or at least have lunch. I also tossed a Caprese salad down the hatch, so that will give me some strength for post-meridian revisions.

How in the hell did it get to be Thursday? Oh, right–a Monday off and a few days living in an alternate universe will do that to you. I suppose I should stop poking at this blog post and get my legs under me.

So to speak. I keep saying I do have a backyard story to tell my best beloveds, but it’ll have to wait until next week or so. You’ll like it, though, it’s a real corker.

Onward, upward, excelsior, and all that. Friday can’t come soon enough–as long as I can get some damn work done today, that is.

All signs point to “well, that’s certainly a goal, but whether or not we can get there is an open question…”

Refuge in the Work

I did not wish to leave bed today. I want to stay snuggled, wringing the last few drops of happiness from my solitary road trip this weekend. Alas, there’s work to be done–not only the daily work of living, but also Cold North is possessing me and I really do have to get some other stuff shoehorned in around the book filling my brain or I’ll fall behind.

And that cannot be borne. There’s a mortgage to pay, after all.

There is a silver lining, though. It’s been a long while since I finished a piece of writing and was so excited I had to send it to the Selkie1 with the urgent request to “OMG LOOK HOW PRETTY THIS IS TELL ME I’M PRETTY”. Yesterday, there was a scene involving elves, massive reindeer, a snowstorm, and Viking werewolves, and I knew while writing that I had something special.

It made me realize just how long it’s been since I’ve been deeply excited at work, enough to blurt out in all-caps to said writing partner. It was very nice when she replied with the requested squee and a bonus “this is my favorite part”–incidentally, a bit I knew was good as soon as it left my fingers. It’s like a well done iaido strike, you just know before your hand even twitches for the hilt that it’s already happened, and it’s beautiful.

Even with the solo road trip, all the socializing lately has cut deeply into my energy level. Getting some precious alone time means I realize how hard I’ve been running my engine in the red, and for how long.

Of course, I take refuge from everything in work. Heartbreak? I write. Irritation? I write. Depression? I write. Worry? I write. Everything gets poured into stories. It might not be the best coping mechanism, but it’s mine–and it even pays the bills most of the time.

Of course, publishing being what it is, I also have to spend a nontrivial amount of energy nagging to get things done, but I suppose that happens in any industry. I often find myself staring at my inbox muttering “All you have to do is your damn job,” and not even at publishers–at anyone, frankly. I’m sure I can be just as frustrating. Irritation seems to make the business world go ’round.

But I’ve the rest of today for dog-walkies, running, and getting some Viking werewolves into a pitched battle with some high-powered Nazgul, as well as getting that damn combat scene done. It’s not that the scene is unfinished inside my head or needs more marinating, it’s that my after-dinner working time has been eaten by recovery and social engagements. Due to the boom of video meetings during lockdown, I’ve been more social in the past two years than I ever have in my entire life, and I need to prune some of that back even if the caretaker in me screams “but people neeeeeeeed you!”

Yesterday the music queue served up a chunk of Pink Floyd, which was fine since it’s after the summer solstice. I absolutely cannot listen to the Floyd in the dark half of the year; it does bad things to me. Consequently The Wall or Dark Side of the Moon are inextricably linked to summer inside my head, and it was super pleasant to realize not only did I have enough light to listen, but I also had enough emotional bandwidth.

The big thing will be not re-injuring myself because I feel temporarily good. It doesn’t help that I have to keep producing or the entire house might sink into the sea. Writers tend to die with their boots on, and it’s unlikely I’ll ever be able to retire. On my good days I think that’s fine, because the stories are lined up around the block and there’s no way I’ll get to them all in my allotted span.

Of course, that could be my own particular attempt to bargain with mortality–you can’t take me, I have deadlines to meet and stories to write. Death won’t listen, but ’tis human to make the effort, so to speak.

And with that borderline-morbid thought, my friends, I bid you a civil adieu and get out the door for walkies. Both dogs are increasingly antsy, for they can tell I’ve finished my coffee and next comes the ritual Tying of the Shoes With Canine Assistance That Is, In Fact, No Assistance At All.

See you ’round.