RELEASE DAY: She’s Fleeing a Byronic Hero

Happy Yule, my beloveds! It’s the darkest night of the year and the day the kids and I celebrate even if we miss the festival on the 25th. Tonight a candle will hold vigil for me, since I have lost the desire to be awake all night. And boy howdy, do I have something fun for you!

You may or may not remember one of IndigoChick Design‘s premade sales, where I snapped up a lovely, enchanting cover I really do have to write something serious for. It was the tagline on the cover that got me, though: She’s Fleeing a Byronic Hero. It reminded me of those 70s pulp gothic romances–women with great hair fleeing old houses. Of course I had to buy it, and I had to write a story.

And this is what happened.


She’s Fleeing a Byronic Hero

Titness McHawttie has fled her marriage to the disturbingly virile Byron Blackheart, Lord Chestthumper. Can she survive a night upon the moors with her faithful almost-unicorn–and will Byron find his vanished bride in time?

Now available direct from Gumroad, from Barnes & NobleAppleKobo, or Amazon. (Paperback also available.)

Note: This is a short story, about 10k words.


There’s all sorts of stuff jammed in here–gothic romance conventions, a pinkish almost-unicorn named Chicken, a dashing highwayman, an aged herbalist beldam, a cold-hearted baroness, Rocky Horror Picture Show callbacks, references to the divine Bette Midler, a distinct whiff of the SNL Scorched Corset skit, and more! Some of my beloved subscribers, whose support gave me the time and resources to write the dang thing, are also Tuckerised in it.

The “Lady” comes from my Yule gift to myself–an honest-to-gosh Scottish title–and “Alana Smithee” is a long-standing in-joke between Lady Skyla Dawn Cameron (also a Lady now) and Yours Truly. It’s 10k+ words of hilarity, and I had a great time putting it together.

I also begged my long-suffering cover designer for a new pulpy cover, and she gave me something great. I mean, just look at it. (I’m particularly fond of the 99p sticker. Takes me back, that does.)

So, just in time for Yule–I was waiting last night for one last sales platform to update; it’s near Christmas and everyone is overwhelmed–Titness McHawttie is fleeing across Heathencliffe Moors, and Byron Perssy Blackheart, Lord Chestthumper (who has fought more than one duel with persons mispronouncing his title) is in somewhat more-than-lukewarm pursuit. I hope you enjoy this little tale, my friends. I had a wonderful time with it.

And with that, I’m off. We’ve a busy day here at the chez, between some last-last-very last-minute shopping to prepare for the weekend, the dogs needing walking, a few spiritual observances, running my weary corpse, and some more work on Hell’s Acre. One I finish my coffee and swallow some toast I’ll be flying low with no brakes; should you hear a howling in the distance, don’t worry, my friends. It’s just me, moving at speed.

See you around.

Playing Wrap-Up

Last night I felt like telling a story, so I told the tale of the Llort and the Fox Princess. I do have another llort tale, but it’s going to have to wait, since it’s a sad instead of an instructive one.

It felt good to get it out of my head, and it was nice to get immediate feedback. Maybe I’ll toss the llort stories into an anthology, if I ever get off my ass about putting one together. I think it would be cool to have a great many of my short stories gathered in one place, and of course I’ve got the rights. The problem is just doing the gathering and formatting. Maybe after I get the Roadtrip Z omnibus sorted out I’ll use a short story anthology as a weekend project.

Anyway, the fourth and final season of Roadtrip Z is now available for preorder and there will be an omnibus. There may even be an omnibus in paper.

The next serial, starting after January 1, is HOOD, and from now until the end of the year I’ll be working ahead on that. So far the plan is for three seasons of Robin Hood in Space, and I have the ending firmly in sight. I generally do; the fun is all in getting there.

i’m also poking at a couple of short stories. The Hansel & Gretel Kung Fu Cannibal story is coming along nicely, and the Alice in WonderlandResident EvilBlade Runner mashup is bubbling in the back of my head, waiting for its time to shine. I need the first line of the latter; once I have that, the rest of the cut will follow.

Short stories are difficult. I have to know the angle of the cut before I even think about putting my hand to the hilt. I’d much rather have a novel’s space to roll around in, but it’s good to do things outside one’s comfort zone. And they’re fun, besides, bite-size pocket universes.

Anyway, it’s a Monday, the dogs want running, and since the world is on fire I might as well work.

Over and out.

Release Day: BEAST OF WONDER

That’s right–the novella that’s been eating my head for a while is now out in the world!

A blonde stewardess, her hairspray-teased head cocked at an impossible, lolling angle, smiled with blood-threaded teeth as a pilot’s disembodied voice floated through an aluminum tube. Ladies and gentlemen…ladies and gentlemen…

Outside small thick windows, hungry grey air screamed. Light and dark revolved, crunch-thumping as carryons, magazines, purses, and other daily objects became missiles tumbling through space, flickering through eyelid-flutter strobes. Right and left changed places, and a woman in the red skirt and brown coat held her seat arms with white knuckles, staring at the stewardess in the jumpseat. Trim, uniformed arms and legs flopped like a doll’s; the blond stewardess gazed with wide, horrified, glazed blue eyes and that crimson-laced, jolly rictus.

One last terrific jolt raced through a winged tube that had been meant to carry three hundred people to Cincinnati. Then the windows cracked, and the roaring swallowed every soul on board.

It was over.

But that was just the beginning.

Note: This is a novella, approximately 20K words.

Now available direct, through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or your favorite ebook platform.

Mermaid Doesn’t Wait

This morning’s been all about soaking up the weird dreams I spent last night having while listening to Blue October. I still remember where I was the first time I heard Hate Me, they lyrics staying with me long enough that I got home and fired up my old Windows laptop (good God, that was a long time ago) to search for them. Approaching Normal is one hell of an album, and one that I’ve never felt the urge to write any books to just because it is so raw. It forces me to listen instead of write.

The mermaid short story will be finished today, I think. Then it’s into revisions for The Marked. Getting that done as soon as possible and through the copyediting and formatting is the priority now. Once that’s finished, I may look into the genie story again. It would be nice if a publisher would show some interest in that or in Afterwar, but I’m not holding my breath.

On that note, every once in a while, I’m going to quietly and politely ask that if you liked one of my books, you head on over to Amazon or Barnes & Noble or wherever you like, and at least leave a rating. Ratings and reviews get books pushed up in the algorithms, and that means more books sold, which means I can afford to write more books for you. (It also means I can pay my mortgage. I’m a big fan of that.) If you have the time and the inclination, I’d appreciate it.

There’s another short story pressing on the back of my brain to be told–the Fifteen Wings one–but that’s going to have to wait. It’s not finished marinating yet, and in any case, short stories are just not a good use of my working time unless they’re already sold. If the mermaid would wait, that would be nice. But this mermaid doesn’t wait, I think. Especially when she’s hungry.

The Princess is playing Chopin in the living room, which marries uneasily to the music playing softly through my desktop speakers. It makes me smile. As soon as I finish this I’m off for a run, and then it’s work, work, work. As usual. I feel like the year’s turned a corner, which would be nice if it hadn’t taken over half of it to do so. Of course the news is still terrible, but I have a faint glimmer or two of optimism welling up inside my tiny, shriveled, blackened little heart.

I’ll take it.

Muse, Exercise Vengeance

The Muse has decided that I need to write short stories after finishing revisions on Cormorant Run. I finished a 7K short for an upcoming anthology, and it made me feel almost frantic with loathing. Not because the story is bad, though it could very well be, but because it’s Perry. If there’s a single character that makes me want to scrub myself with hot water, bleach, and a wire brush, it’s him. If I didn’t feel like scrubbing myself raw after a scene with him, I went back and did it again, over and over. Trying to do justice to a hellbreed’s disgustingness is no small order.

So it’s leaving that zero draft to soak in itself for a little bit, while I write the carnivorous mermaid one–alternately titled Fish and The Sea Has Time, though I suspect in the end its title will be a third choice–and then it’s straight into revisions for The Marked. I know Cormorant Run will need another pass, because it’s just that type of book.

So it’s all short stories all the time over here, for at least the next couple of days. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say I dislike writing them, I do find them difficult in different ways than novels. A full-length book is an endurance contest, and I am particularly fitted for those. Short stories are a sprint, an iaido cut instead of a drawn-out slugging match, and they require that I know the arc already before my hand even moves for the hilt. It’s an entirely different set of mental muscles, one I don’t use naturally. So, short stories are hard, and I prefer not to work in that vein.

Which just makes it ever so much more ironic that the Muse is serving them up now. “Here,” she says, “is the entire arc, I already did it for you, now write me this.” Serving up what she thinks I need, dammit. It doesn’t help that short stories aren’t very financially viable, either. Not a good return on my investment of working time. Although I should put together a collection of them, one of these days.

It doesn’t matter–my job is to swing for what she pitches, no matter what brand the spinning globes are. But I really would prefer it otherwise. I think maybe she’s getting back at me for exercising her in new ways. Cormorant Run was probably the strangest thing I’ve ever written to date, and Afterwar, the next big project, is similarly complex, new, and terrifying.

So maybe the Muse is just giving me her version of a breather before we go into the trenches for Something Different again. it’s a version that’s twice as much work as regular work, of course, because the Muse is a bitch and wants me to despair.

*sigh* Off I go to write a mermaid. Enjoy your Monday similarly, my chickadees.