Long Calendar Shot

It’s going to be a deadly warm day, so I’m up early. Heaven knows how long this will last, though Boxnoggin is extremely happy about this turn of events. Anything that gets him to a ramble more quickly is good, in his opinion, even if it is a minor change in routine. I suppose it helps that the wake-up routine doesn’t change even if the time does–roll out of bed, take Boxnoggin out, Boxnoggin’s brekkie, Mum’s coffee, Mum staring at the glowing box, a bit of toast, then and only then glorious walkies.

He’s very ready.

I also woke up with Frou Frou’s Breathe In playing on the ol’ skull radio. It’s a Selene-and-Nikolai song–there’s a whole scene that never made it into any of the books where she comes back to Saint City and just basically renovates his nest. “Come on, Nik. Live a little.” Of course she doesn’t touch his hall of cursed objects again, just rolls her eyes and gets rid of some of his more objectionable “antiques”. A very discerning eye and specific aesthetic has Selene Thompson, and Nikolai doesn’t care about the furnishings as long as she consents to stay. (He did decorate the House of Pain, though.)

Anyway. The imaginary people in my head live on, and plenty of their lives don’t make it into the finished works. If I ever write the Hell Wars series with little Lia Spocarelli we’ll see Selene again. She and Danny Valentine have quite a bit in common, though Selene is much more relaxed about things and Dante considers her, like Lucas, one of her few actual friends.

Yesterday I finished American Predator by Maureen Callahan; I’ve been on a real true-crime jag (again) and it’s spread from documentaries to books (again). It’s amazing how many serial killers are only caught though their own mounting sloppiness and incompetence, and further amazing how Keyes’s interrogation was bungled by a single man with an outsize ego. Our entire society is set up to prioritize narcissists and sociopaths, and male ones on top of that. The rest of us suffer endlessly for it.

And with that cheerful thought, I’m about to start my Monday. Looking forward to coming home from an early run, closing up the house, turning on the AC, and plunging into work. I think Avery Black in Hell’s Acre needs to do a few other things before the next assassination, the heroine in the second Sons of Ymre book will be introduced to her new status at a temple, and I’ve got to get a Viking wisewoman and her shieldmaid out of an elvish prison cell. Enough to do even for me, and my decks are cleared (barring disaster) enough that I can settle and simply…write, today.

It’s about damn time. I need a good long calendar shot of nothing but the stories to deal with. Let’s hope today cooperates.

See you around, my beloveds.

SELENE, On Sale!


The Dark Watcher sale ended January 15, but I’m having fun.

So I’ve decided Selene will be on sale for $2.99 across ebook retailers until the end of January. Selene is set in the same universe as the Valentine series; it was, in fact, written well before Danny’s adventures, though I knew they were heavily interconnected. This means it’s also in the same universe as the Watchers and the Society; it occurs well after those two but before our Necromance’s timeline.

Selene’s relationship with Nikolai does reach a sort of equilibrium in the (included) short story Just Ask, and I always thought of writing a novel dealing with her carving out a territory of her own in the Putchkin. Alas, that will have to wait, but in the meantime the adventures of our favorite tantraiiken are available for a song.

Available direct (use the code “SAINTCITY” at Gumroad checkout), and through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, or Kobo.

Soundtrack Monday: Erase, Rewind


Monday here is quiet except for the rain, and very cold. I just finished a rather difficult revise on The Poison Prince, book two of what I call Hostage to Empire–the publisher calls it something different, but I don’t let that trouble me. Today, therefore, is somewhat of a two-fer, but not in the usual way.

The Cardigans’ Erase/Rewind figures on not one but two of my book soundtracks. First, it leapt onto the very first book soundtrack I ever did, for smoke. It plays as Rose is frantically scrambling to escape things she can only vaguely sense after the murder that kicks the book into high gear; then it cropped up on Selene‘s soundtrack as she tries so hard to swallow her grief and unravel the mystery of Danny’s death.

Very few songs make it onto two soundtracks; this one was a surprise to me because I rarely listen to the Cardigans at all. But it’s catchy, and it speaks to all of us, trapped as we are in a flow of time only going one way. There’s also a certain sadness in both characters–no matter how hard Rose or Selene wish for it, they can’t go back.

Nobody can.

Enjoy the tunes, dear Readers. I’ll be back on the usual schedule tomorrow.

Soundtrack Monday: Out of My Mind


One of the things about Selene is that we never see inside Nikolai. We don’t see how similar to Selene he really was, as a paranormal1 trapped by Grigori. In his mind, he’s much better than Grigori ever could be, because he allows Selene a few choices.

You become what you despise, you become the mask you wear, so be careful of both.

Anyway, if Selene was ever a movie, Duran Duran’s Out of My Mind would be playing at the end–Nikolai waking alone, Selene embarking upon her immortality, free at last. I did plan on writing Selene’s adventures as a standalone, but piracy of the book put paid to that. I simply couldn’t afford to.

How could you dare to become so real, Not just a ghost to me? That’s Nikolai, baffled by how Selene manages to slip through all his defenses and strike at the only tender, mortal part he has left. I often wondered when Selene would realize he let her go, once Grigori was gone, because of the old adage about when you love someone.

I played this track over and over while writing the last chapter of Selene, and had to listen to it obsessively while writing Just Ask.2 If I do end up writing the Hell Wars with little Lia Spocarelli, we’ll get to glimpse this pair again.

In the meantime, enjoy the music.

Blank, Pointy-Tooth Screens

Cormorant Run

The weekend passed in a blur, between chores and getting wordcount in on Damage. The best thing about it was the rain moving in. It is now officially autumn, and I couldn’t be happier.

I always work best when the rains settle like an inverted grey bowl, tip-tapping the roof and window, hissing between leaves beginning to turn, plopping into puddles. Maybe it’s all the negative ions being thrown up, maybe it’s the ambient white noise, maybe it’s the petrichor, maybe it’s the cleaning of the air. Maybe it’s all of them.

I also watched Wes Craven’s Dracula 2000 and its two “sequels”, the latter only loosely related to the first movie but starring Jason Scott Lee. I don’t quite uncritically love them, I’m aware of how bad all three movies are. The first one played with some extremely interesting themes and the third had the right ending1 instead of an action-movie Gary Stu vomit-fest, so all in all, they’re not bad.

Vampires are a blank screen we use to project a number of anxieties onto. I know–I’m guilty as charged, between Selene2 and the scurf in the Kismet series.3 Both had their uses, and I might be ready to write Tarquin’s story. Or even Imprint, the Beguine vampire smexy-story I’ve been adding chunks to over literal years.

But first I’ve got to finish Damage and get the Season 2 zero of HOOD out of the way. Now that I’m in the productive half of the year, that might even happen in a hurry. And of course there’s running, running with dogs, walking with dogs, parenting, and making sure my meatsack doesn’t give out under the pressure.

It feels like juggling chainsaws, complete with the risk of lopping off a hand when one grabs the wrong way. Tiger by the tail, and all that.

I should also get the monthly newsletter out of the way. Incorruptible goes on sale later this month, too, so there’s housekeeping to do for that.

It’s a good thing the rainy season’s long in these parts. I’d probably never get anything finished otherwise. Time to finish absorbing my coffee and get with the program; it might be dangerous to stay in one place.

Over and out.

Soundtrack Monday: Sleep


I’m getting back in the habit of sharing the music behind some of my books. I tend to listen all day, every day, and certain songs weave themselves into scenes and characters like kudzu through a fence. (I won’t be doing full soundtracks anymore, the ones I’m working on now can be found on Spotify.)

Today’s track is the Dandy Warhols’ Sleep, which is the track expressing (part of) how Nikolai feels about Selene. He’s not quite human anymore, having been alive a very long time; someday I might tell the story of how he dealt with the interregnum between Selene’s escape and her return to Saint City.

Anyway, if you want to know what was playing in my head while I wrote Selene sending her hated, absolutely necessary lover to what she thought was eternity, this is it.