From Every End

I finally have coffee this morning, no thanks to the dogs. Now I just have to wait for it to cool to a drinkable temperature.

It’s always something.

I spent the weekend doing housework and watching Buzzfeed Unsolved videos. (I like the true crime ones; life is always, always weirder than fiction.) It was pleasant to stay away from the news, though I made the mistake of looking Sunday morning.

The murderous carnival continues, piping merrily down the road to fascist hell.

Anyway, Season Two of HOOD starts this week. I’m going to try to get everything done in two seasons for this serial, but there’s no promises–there’s the Fête and then the Rescue, and they might need a season apiece. After that, unless a publisher buys it, we’ll start Rook and Rose, the first book of which is Hell’s Acre.

That’s the plan, at least. Things are all up in the air here. It would be nice if a Certain Publisher would pay me what they owe; that way I could get the bank holding the mortgage in a fractionally better mood. Writers get it from every end, from theft of our work by piracy or plagiarism to credit woes because we’re basically freelancers. If we don’t pay our bills we suffer consequences, but if publishers/distributors don’t pay us we have little recourse unless we’re already wealthy enough to afford legal representation. It’s a shitshow, frankly, and though I’ve hustled to keep body and soul (and children and dogs) together for multiple years now I’m beginning to get a bit tired.

Just a bit.

In any case, I have plenty of cardamom in my coffee, everyone here at least has their health, and I have more work coming out. I even started writing a story last night, longhand in a spiral notebook as if I was still in high school. It may want to be written entirely that way, which means it’ll already be half-revised by the time the zero’s done, since I’ll have to type it from the handwritten pages. That will be interesting, I’ve rarely had a book come out that way before. Much of Rattlesnake Wind was written that way, and some of She Wolf and Cub. The lucky book choosing to come out that way this particular time is Memory Game, where a woman wakes up in a hospital bed and doesn’t know who she is.

I need to research trauma amnesia now. Hm.

Anyway, best to keep it sharklike–keep swimming or I’ll drown, and wear a big smile. At least there’s coffee, and I can worry about the stack of paperwork on my desk later.

Over and out.

Oh, Publishing…

HOOD

Just a reminder: you can still download the first few chapters of HOOD: Season One for absolutely free.1 So if you want to see if Robin Hood in Space is to your tastes, this is a good way to find out!

Mornings here have been nice and grey, the marine layer shielding us from the worst heat. Of course, that means the humidity’s been through the roof, but at least it hasn’t been hot and feeling like the inside of Mother Nature’s mouth.2 The dogs are puzzled, but I explained to Miss B that this is what summers used to be like back before climate change accelerated.

Boxnoggin, of course, is absolutely surprised by everything the moment he steps outside. Rain, insects, wind touching his rump–it’s all a cavalcade of new sensations every damn time. He’s like a goldfish swimming circuits past a castle decoration and thinking it’s a new one every time. (“Look, Benny, we’re on the Rhine!”)

Yesterday I sent a sample of Hell’s Acre to my agent. So if a publisher wants Assassin’s Creed crossed with Da Vinci Code in an alt-Victorian London, they’d better get on the stick. I’m so tired of trad publishing saying “write the entire series, then give us the first book and in six months we might condescend to look at it.”3 That makes one book pulled from submission (Incorruptible), one full book out (Reader’s Shadow), and two samples (Sons of Ymre and Hell’s Acre) out in the world. I haven’t had this few works on submission in ages; it feels almost like a vacation.

Of all of them, I’m most worried about Reader’s Shadow because the protagonists are teens. I don’t want to set a toe in YA publishing again; twice was enough and both Harmony and Rattlesnake Wind are doing well without having the “YA” imprimatur. Sure, I’d love it if those books could get to the teens who need them, but going through a bunch of people who want me to water them down so some Bible-belt evangelical doesn’t get their panties in a wad takes time and effort I’d rather spend on writing new books.

Anyway, I think for a little while I’m going to concentrate on the serial and samples. I’m tired of a lot of things in publishing, and glad that my career is at a stage where hybridization is a possibility. You’d think the publishing industry would understand that without writers they don’t have jobs or profits, but we’re treated like embarrassing afterthoughts and hated stepchildren. Which sucks because I like trad publishing; I like not having to deal with plenty of the minutiae of producing a reasonable printed product. I’m an easy audience, and trad seems set on driving me away.

In any case, none of that changes the fact that I’ve work to do. Today is slated for a chapter in HOOD‘s Season Two, a chapter in Sons of Ymre, and making baked pasta with yesterday’s homemade red sauce.

My dance card’s packed, and the dogs are very excited at the prospect of walkies. First, though, it’s time for a run. Hopefully by now the cereal and coffee are resigned to their fate and will not attempt a high-speed escape.

It’s the little things. Over and out!

RELEASE DAY: Rattlesnake Wind

That’s right, my darlings–finally, one of the books closest to my heart is out in the world and ready for your delectation. I always meant to go back to Wyoming, and I have; though perhaps not in the way anyone might have expected. Dez’s story is pretty brutal, and since she’s young, a lot of publishers wanted it as a YA–but only if they could take some of the blood and meat and gristle out of it.

You can guess my response to that.

It finally found a home with Fireside, the best place it could have landed. It’s one of the more marvelous feelings in the world to able to trust your editor and publisher, to know they’re behind you all the way.

So…I won’t say enjoy, because I’m not sure it’s an enjoyable book. It was necessary for me to write, and doubly necessary for me to send it out into the world unwatered, with colorless fumes smoking from its trembling surface. I offer it with both hands, my friends, and hope it finds you well.

Desiree Sarpe and her family–minus their domineering, abusive patriarch–have settled on the Wyoming plains, where the wind speaks, the grass whispers, and power comes in the strangest, most ordinary of forms. Unfortunately, the past and its terrors can’t be easily shaken, and Dez is about to find out how brutal, bloody, and costly magic really is…

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

COVER REVEAL: Rattlesnake Wind

There are some books that live very close to the writer’s heart, and this is one of mine.

When I was much younger than today, we moved from Great Britain to Wyoming, and the culture shock was immense. The only thing to love about the place was the wind coming over vast sweeps of long grass and whispering secrets into my aching ears. When we left again, this time to move to the Pacific Northwest, I cried as quietly as I could in the car, telling the plains and the wind I’d be back.

It took many a year, but I finally returned. Not physically, but I’m not sure it matters.

Fireside was the only publisher willing to take a chance on this book, for a variety of reasons, and the only publisher I felt comfortable trusting its bloody beating heart to; this beautiful cover was made by Eleanor Chuah. I’m proud and honored to invite you into this book, my dear Readers, and I hope you enjoy it…

The first night we spent in that ancient mobile home, the wind mouthed its corners with a low whispering almost like words from another room.

Desiree Sarpe and her family–minus their domineering, abusive patriarch–have settled on the Wyoming plains, where the wind speaks, the grass whispers, and power comes in the strangest, most ordinary of forms. Unfortunately, the past and its terrors can’t be easily shaken, and Dez is about to find out how brutal, bloody, and costly magic really is…

Coming in December 2018; now available for preorder at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and independent retailers.

If I Can Just…

Woke up this morning with Thomas Newman’s To the Shock of Miss Louise playing at high volume inside my head. Promptly tripped twice making the bed, had to almost drag Odd Trundles out for his morning eliminatory round, barely got the dogs’ food bowls filled without spilling, accidentally stepped on Trundles while trying to make coffee–the dog will be underfoot, it is a bloody constant–and apologized profusely, got scorched by the coffee maker, dropped bits of hot breakfast in my décolletage, there’s not enough coffee in the WORLD, ad nauseam, ad infinitum.

Tuesday is, in short, a fucking Monday. I’m pretty sure getting out the door for my run is going to be an odyssey and a half. If I get through today’s spadework without breaking an ankle I’ll call it a win. Especially since Miss B, a morning dog if ever there was one, is extremely bouncy today.

I only managed a few chapters in revision yesterday. Book launch plus finishing a first draft under a severe time crunch has scraped me dry and left me reeling. I thought taking the weekend completely off might help, but apparently that wasn’t enough. I itch to be back at work, and at the same time, find myself dry-firing. Which, you know, is great for aiming and teaching purposes, but it doesn’t get stuff crossed off my to-do list. If I can just get through this first revise on Atlanta Bound

Wait. Wait a second. Wasn’t I just saying “if I can just get this first draft of The Maiden’s Blade out the door, I can relax”?

I was, wasn’t I.

*headdesk*

Anyway, it’s 9am, time to get out for a run while it’s still relatively cool outside. Let’s all hope for no broken ankles, and maybe when I come home I’ll have a better idea for the day, one that doesn’t involve me driving myself past threadbare and into full-blown burnout. Maybe. Except it’s June, which means edits for Rattlesnake Wind are going to land and I’ve got those comic book scripts to get off the ground, too.

No rest for the weary wicked. Let’s kick Tuesday in the pants, my friends.

Over and out.

Two Awesome Things

Western Diamondback (Crotalus atrox) Yesterday two utterly awesome things happened.

The smaller awesome thing: I finished the zero draft of Rattlesnake Wind. That was my NaNoWriMo goal this year, and it happened. The book has been tormenting me for YEARS and it’s finally, finally done. It’s no longer unfinished. It is an ex-partial. It will be put in a drawer for a while, so I can finish the zero draft of Gallow 2. (No rest for the wicked.) If I can manage to get Gallow 2 to zero draft form by the end of November I’ll consider myself a badass for at least a week.

The bigger awesome thing, though…my girl C had another PET scan yesterday. The cancer-masses of Hodgkin’s (she calls them “cancer nuggets” because she is just that hilarious) that were visible last time?

Gone. Gone, gone gone. GONE.

She still has to finish the remaining months of chemo, but we have official proof that it’s working. She’s officially in remission. This is the best possible news at this stage. You could knock me over with a feather, I’m so weak-kneed with relief and happy enough to explode. Her fighting chance just got a whole lot better.

I know a lot of you sent help and support in various ways. Thank you so much. Thanks are also due to the fabulous cadre of medical professionals fighting for my girl.

And now, the sun is coming up and it’s time for me to head back to work. I’m hoping today is only moderately awesome. Yesterday about did me in.

Over and out.

Motion

Silk Road #10 One of the things about regular running is the glory of taking a rest day. Just one at a time, though, because if I don’t run for a couple days, I start feeling itchy and dissatisfied, everything under my skin crawling. It makes me wonder what might have been if I’d known cross-country running was done mostly alone in high school. Of course, I loathe team sports and even at that tender age I had very little patience for the verbal abuse often masquerading as “coaching” in schools–I was getting enough of that at home, thanks–but if I could have run, alone, for significant periods of time…I just wonder. Of course I couldn’t have let anyone at home know I liked it, or it would have been taken away, but still.

I’ve also regained my balance after the past week. I’m seeing the funny side of everything now, which is good. Once I start seeing the absurdity, it means I’m okay.

Anyway, today is a rest day. I’m within striking distance of finishing Rattlesnake Wind and near the big crisis of the second Gallow book; I plan on trying to finish them both at the same time. Hopefully it won’t make liquified brain matter slide out my ear-holes. We’ll see.

There’s motion happening on Steelflower 2, though it might not seem like it. Someone suggested I look into funding it through Patreon instead of Kickstarter. It would mean changing that to a monthly patron thing, and doing the book as a serial with a chapter every month. What do you guys think of that option? (Note that I might not be swayed by any opinion but my own on the whole thing, but I’m still asking.) My agent and I are discussing how long we should wait for publishers to decide go/no go. So things are happening, they’re just behind the scenes.

And with that, it’s time to turn up the music (a lot of Ennio Morricone today) and get started on the day. Damn the torpedoes and the liquified brains, and full speed ahead…