RELEASE DAY: The Rouje Kith

That’s right, my beloveds! That Damn Werelion Book is now out in the world, both ebook and print!

The Rouje Kith

Zoe Simmons has been on the run for as long as she can remember. No fixed address, no real ID, working under the table and moving on the instant her instincts tell her to. Then a disturbing, magnetic blond stranger appears, saying he’s her twin brother–the one her mother swore was dead seventeen years ago.

The Kith have claimed Zoe, sweeping her into a new world of pleasure, luxury–and violence. She’s always suspected she wasn’t quite normal, and now she’s about to find out how deadly her new fairytale life can be…

Available direct, or at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, and Google Play. Paperback available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and independent bookstores.

A free sample of the first few chapters is also available.

I can’t believe it. My little VC Andrews homage with bonus werelion, all grown up and out in the world. Oh, and you can find the book’s soundtrack here. I know this particular effort has been eagerly anticipated, and I hope you guys like it. (And that cover! My cover artist really went to town.)

I’ve got copyedits on yet another book to get done, so that will help defray the release day nerves a bit. But I’m sure I’ll end up with my head in a bucket, hyperventilating (whether or not the bucket will be full of ice water is the question), so I’d best get on that.

Happy Tuesday, my beloveds. It looks like it’s going to be an exciting one…

Drizzle, Hope

There were some spatters of rain last night, and I woke up with Taylor Swift playing in my head so I can tell today’s run will be full of amusement. At least with the relatively late start I should miss a lot of the panic from drivers on suddenly slick roads. We got just enough to tamp the dust down a bit and make the roads glistenThere is with oil rising to the top–and believe me, I’m not complaining. My soul has expanded a fraction, what with any water falling from the sky. It’s cleaned some of the ash out of the air, too, which is all to the good.

I’ve also got to get through Boxnoggin’s walk, which will be a wonderland of damp things he has to stick his nose in. Again, not a complaint–he’ll be thrilled even though his paws will get wet, and I won’t die of heatstroke coming up that one hill on our route. It’s a win-win!

I meant to work the weekend through on copyedits for Dead God’s Heart, but the Chihuahua of Real Life was coming at my ankles with abandon. The decks are now cleared (mostly), and today it’s back to eyeballing Track Changes. And tomorrow is release day for That Damn Werelion Book, so I’ll be a huge ball of nerves, happy to have anything distracting on tap.

On the bright side, a lot of things I’ve been putting off got dealt with in the past two days. Including a wee bit of website maintenance that should be all but invisible–in publishing, as in websites, what you don’t see is a lot of work. There was also an incident with boiling pasta water which means my typing speed is a fraction less than usual because my right paw is a bit less dextrous than usual.

In any case, once the copyedits are out the door it’ll be time for revisions on Cold North while I get another chunk of Hell’s Acre done–but I’ve got to get the damn CEs dealt with first. Which will light a fire under me, I’m sure. It’s only 350 more pages, how long could it take?


There is a lovely cool breeze through my office window. The trees are taking a deep breath and waiting for more hope to fall. The season has shifted, and though we’ll no doubt have a stretch of false summer, after that the rains will sweep in and everything will be able to heave a sigh of relief. I may even see a changed leaf or two while waiting for Boxnoggin to get his nose out of a clump of wet greenery, and that’s a happy thought.

I suppose I’d better move for the toaster. Boxnoggin will be finishing his morning nap anon, and we all know what that means. If you hear a scream of despair in the distance later, don’t worry–it’s just me looking at these damn CEs.

See you around.

Survival, Temerity

Life…uh, finds a way.

The only green things (that aren’t dusty trees or watered lawns) are weeds at this point in the year. These broad-leaved fellows are everywhere, along with dandelions and thistles. I also enjoy a good thistle–there’s one I am carefully not mowing down in the front yard–but this year, these guys are out in force and I wonder about them. The nice red heart to their broad fanlike leaves, the fresh green when so much else is dust and yellow-dry…

I’ll probably find out it’s some sort of hideously poisonous, invasive plant. Which will just make me love it more, I’m sure. Gotta find the beauty wherever one can.

Life is short. Be a weed, flourish in the cracks. It’s okay to have the temerity to survive.

Go forth and enjoy a lovely weekend, my dears.

Sparks and Mild Danger

I finished the CEs on Ghost Squad #2 late yesterday evening…just in time for other CEs (for The Dead God’s Heart) to come ramblin’ round the mountain. I’m not even thinking about that last bit, though, since there’s revisions on Cold North to get done and I plan on pushing for at least the bulk of the serial loaded into the cannon as well. Too much work for any mortal, but that’s how I like it.

Left to my own devices, I might get a trifle edgy.

It was a reasonable temperature last night and looks set to continue being so, despite the red-flag warning. A bit of a breeze and low relative humidity means we’re all now holding our breath and hoping nobody does anything stupid to cause sparks. I am extremely glad to see summer fading; this last one has been awful not just temperature-wise. My soul (and the rest of me) could really use some rain.

There have also been more than a few dead squirrels lately–mostly young ones, found on our daily walks or in the backyard. Of the former, one seems to have been a roadkill casualty, and watching it degrade as I haul Boxnoggin past (because he would very much like to investigate something that smells so pungent, Mum, oh please) is…interesting, even if heartbreaking. The backyard ones are buried in what used to be the rose garden, poor things. It seems there’s always a certain amount of die-off at this point in the season, misadventure pruning the ranks before autumn’s bounty sets in.

Considering that Boxnoggin almost caught two separate young arboreal rodents this past week, too–neither seemed very worried about him until his jaws almost closed, while I was inhaling to yell oh no you stupid squirrel, RUN–I can’t help but think the entire thing a function of natural selection. If they’re that unwary, they won’t last long; Boxnoggin is loving, and sometimes quick, but he is an exceedingly mild danger compared to the smarter predators tree-rats must face.

Yesterday’s Read with Lili was all about Sheridan le Fanu’s Carmilla; it’ll be up on YouTube this afternoon. Due to popular demand, I suppose the next one will be reading another few chapters, since we haven’t really even seen the titular character yet. And I’m getting nervous over the ebook release of That Damn Werelion Book, though doing the paperback one first was supposed to help ameliorate the nerves as well as cut down on piracy.

Time is still unglued. I can’t believe it’s only a Thursday. Of course, with the way my schedule’s going to be for the next couple months, the days are going to blur together even more. Thank goodness for personal electronics; I wouldn’t even know what damn month it was without checking my phone.

I suppose we stagger onward toward Friday, then. Courage, my beloveds, the weekend is almost here. Even though I’ll work straight through, it’ll be nice to know it’s happening.

See you around.

Zero to Rings

Well, I finished the zero of Sons of Ymre #2 late Friday night, so the weekend was a bunch of piecework I’d put off until that was done. The zero is awful, full of holes and bracketed notes, but at least it’s not awful and unfinished. Future Me is going to hate me for leaving the amount of plot gaps, notes, and the like, but it couldn’t be helped.

Which means I can turn all my attention to the copyedits for Ghost Squad #2 now. Once that’s done it’ll be juggling new text on Hell’s Acre and revisions on Cold North, and once the latter is done I can move to the second in the Tolkien Viking werewolves trilogy. So all my spooky season work is cut out for me. By the time Samhain hits I should be caught up.

Should be. Gods willing, the creek don’t rise, and the news cycle stops chewing at my ankles.

Oh, and in a week, That Damn Werelion Book releases in e-format. I did have serious thoughts about not releasing it in ebook at all, due to massive ongoing piracy; I was argued out of it. But before that, there’s a new Reading with Lili to prep for–buckle up, bitches, because we’re reading Carmilla this Wednesday. I haven’t decided whether we’ll read the whole thing to kick off pumpkin-spice-and-skull season, or just enough of it to give you the experience. Either way, it’ll be fun. I also have plans to read a bit of Dracula to you right afterward, since Stoker was partly in conversation with le Fanu, and then maybe some Varney to finish the trifecta of Victorian Vampire Vichyssoise. (Because it’s cold as the grave, get it? GET IT?)

Look, I amuse myself mightily; some days, I’m the only one who will. At least the weather is cooperating. It does get warm in the late afternoon, but the wind kicks up in the evening and it cools enough that sleep isn’t an impossibility.

Oh! And I watched not only the Wind season of Seven Souls in the Skull Castle, which was great, but also the first two episodes of The Rings of Power this past weekend. My inner nerd was deeply delighted–I’m all in for Galadriel’s “you do not know who you are fucking with” 20s. She was born in Valinor and by the time the First Age ended she was an adult, but still young for an Elf (even if she was tutored by Melian in Doriath) and I can 100% see the scion of two high kings whose mother-name was “Nerwen” deciding that Finrod’s killer (who was indeed Sauron, as Gorthaur the Cruel who held the island of Tol Sirion during Morgoth’s time) needed a dose of the same medicine. Now, Finrod was part of the quest for the Silmarils, so in canon he wasn’t “hunting” Sauron but instead keeping that dumbass Beren alive–but for the purposes of storytelling I’m down with this because it means the television series about the Second Age doesn’t have to drag in Feanor and his bullshit more than glancingly. (I noticed the difference in how Elrond and Celebrimbor treated Feanor’s hammer, which was a nice touch.)

Still would like to see a whole series about That Bitch, Feanor, and His Stupid LEDs. But problems of interpretation would make it super difficult. Anyway, Galadriel choosing to spend her “clubbing 20s” out clubbing orcs is 110% on brand for the Man-maiden. And I love her actress, whose eyelid twitch when confronted with stupid men is a work of art.

I do have one quibble, though. When an attendant comes to tell Elrond that Galadriel’s returned, she says there’s a meeting Gil-galad won’t have him in. “Elf-lords only.” We’re supposed to believe that Gil-galad–let alone any elf-lord who survived the Wars of Wrath–would get snitty with Earandil the Mariner’s son, a descendant of Beren and Luthien through Elwing his mother, and kin to a Maiar (because Luthien’s mother was Melian herself)? That shit simply does not fly. Even if Elrond was young for an Elf (practically a baby compared to even Galadriel) he was still of that lineage, and nobody but nobody would dare suggest he wasn’t of the Eldar, and ELDAR ROYALTY at that. That’s the only thing that jolted me out of the story, frankly.

I loved the Harfoots’ pop-up village–if ever something Tolkien was meant for a Disney ride, that would be it–and I am firmly Team Poppy.

Plus, I’m calling it–the comet was Olorin’s grand entrance, because Curumo would never be caught dead in rags, much less dependent on the kindness of smaller beings. Plus, the dude can’t be Annatar, who would have shown up nice and handsome and in any case was still swanning around Middle-Earth with Orcs, not coming straight from Valinor. (I love the falling-star motif, since basically Manwe and Varda forced Curumo to accept Olorin as part of the deal.) Now, technically and canonically the Istari arrived at the Grey Havens near the beginning of the Second Age, but this is certainly more dramatic and brings in a nice sense of bookmarking–the ancestors of hobbits were kind to an Istari upon arrival, and he remembers that pity (because he was, after all, a disciple of Nienna) for his entire time on Middle-Earth during the Second Age. (There are some suggestions he was there during the First and we definitely know he was there in the Third, but the hints of him during the Silmarillion are just that–mere hints.)

If that preceding paragraph made no sense to you, it’s okay. You don’t have to know any of that shit to appreciate folks playing in Tolkien’s legendarium as he so desperately wanted them to during his lifetime, I promise. It’s great television and fans of the Jackson screen treatments will enjoy the show. Plus the bigots are super mad that it doesn’t prioritize their bigoted little selves, so that’s a powerful inducement to watching it over and over again.

Also, if anything happens to Arondil, we riot. Dude’s a cinnamon roll with a bow, and we all know how I love that dynamic. I am Team Go Bronwyn Go, too. Anyone who says their romance is uncanonical just hasn’t read deeply enough in the Unfinished Tales and other materials, so we can discount their opinion.

Boxnoggin is trotting up and down the hall, and I suppose I’d best get a run in today, too. Back to the word mines; I am told this round of copyedits is light but there still might be a problem or two in there. If I manage to get these turned around in reasonable fashion this week I might not be so behind at all, and that is a glorious thought. Unfortunately I have to hop to and get breakfast down the hatch before anything else is possible. It feels like a Monday since I took Labor Day mostly off.

At least I feel somewhat rested. That’s a lovely change…

Chewing Steel

…wait, what?

This is the (filthy, I know, but I’m not cleaning that) top of the Yankee Squirrel Flinger DEATHRIDE 5000. It’s made of steel. And yes, those scratches?

They’re toothmarks. They go around the entire rim. The little arboreal menaces can’t get at the sunflower seeds through the bottom–not reliably, even with the battery low–so they’re trying to chew in through the goddamn top. I have to admire the hustle, even if I’m taken aback by the attempt to bite through steel. Good heavens.

It’s Friday, my friends; we made it through another week. I’ve got five scenes (more or less) to write before I can call Sons of Ymre 2’s zero draft finished, stick it in a digital drawer to rest, and shift to the copyedits that really need to be turned around soon. Labor Day is Monday, so the neighborhood kids will be getting in their very last gasp of summer before returning to school on Tuesday. I guess we all have things to celebrate.

And if there’s something in our way, I suppose we take a page from the squirrel handbook and simply…keep chewing.

Have a good weekend, my beloveds.

Toothmarks and Video

The coffee is particularly tasty this morning, the marine layer is back, and it’s a decent temperature–for however long that lasts, which might only be until this afternoon but I’ll take it. I’m choosing to believe the trouble I’m having with a certain signup and onboarding process is a result of low caffeine levels and not a particular company making it difficult in order to avoid payouts.

Call me an optimist.

September hath arrived, hurrah! It’s pumpkin spice season–I sort of want to don a mask and head out to collect a small bottle of coffee syrup, not to mention take a look at some earrings. And naturally I am very ready for the weather to turn. Even if it’s not rain, cooler afternoons will be a blessing.

The big news here at the Chez is the Yankee Squirrel Flipper DEATHRIDE 5000 running out of juice far earlier than expected–probably since the heat is affecting the battery–so the level of sunflower seeds in it dropped dramatically. The problem was remedied with the charger, and yesterday I refilled it, slapped the battery back in, and found out the steel cap to the tube of goodies bears multiple tooth- and clawmarks around the rim.

That’s right, the goddamn arboreal menaces have been trying to chew their way through solid metal. Hell hath no fury like a hungry squirrel, I guess. It’s not that I mind feeding them–well, maybe I do mind, but the neighbors have that particular neighborhood duty covered and I am under no obligation. Besides, the birds need food too, and I much prefer them even if they’re a shade messier.

At least they’re not trying to chew through steel. I should take a picture of the cap; I made the Princess look at it for verification, since I absolutely could not believe what I was seeing.

I’ve also started something kind-of-new, Reading with Lili. For as long as it’s fun, I’ll read first chapters (and other things, like that famous fanfic) to you, with commentary. (And silly voices, sometimes.) I’ll stream new ones on Wednesdays (or so) on Twitch, and they’ll go up on YouTube after a decent interval. Since they’ll fall off Twitch in a week or two, YouTube is where they’ll live in perpetuity.

I can’t believe I’m doing this, but the response has been so overwhelmingly kind that I might as well continue. And if I get to do things like enthuse about Moby Dick’s first chapter, what’s the harm? I’ll only continue so long as it amuses me, which is a good way to do anything.

The whole streaming thing started because my agent wanted me to BookTok, but that’s so not my style. It’s much more like me to sit down for a half-hour or so to tell you weird things about literature, or just read you some famous fanfic for fun. Ideas for upcoming Read with Lili sessions include the first chapter of Sheridan le Fanu’s Carmilla, maybe some Varney the Vampyre (I’m noticing a theme) and maybe some Lovecraft to get us through spooky season, then perhaps the first chapter of Fifty Shades because it started as a fanfic and I’d love to see what all the fuss is about, and so on, so forth.

I like sharing my enthusiasms. And this might keep me out of trouble, since otherwise I might want to do something silly like set up an OnlyFans to read Victorian erotica with as straightfaced a delivery as I can manage. (Still not entirely decided against that, by the way.)

In any case, there’s walkies to accomplish and a run to get done while it’s still a decent temperature outside, and I am spitting distance from finishing the second Sons of Ymre book. I had wanted to be finished with this beast by now, but various life stressors (including ongoing pandemic) have interfered. So all my engines have been turned to it, and I’m not even looking at the copyedits for another book until I have the zero draft of this one sorted. On the bright side, I’m very near the end–the last set-piece battle is about to commence, during which I need to get the “hero” stabbed (or bitten!) in the ass again. (I promised my editor as much, and by the gods I intend to deliver.)

All told, I’ll be working through the weekend, but that’s not unusual. Right now, I’ve got to get some toast, and Boxnoggin is reaching the end of his morning nap so he knows walkies are nigh. He’s been very excited about local kids going back to school, since it means he can watch out the front window to bark his fool head off when they come walking home. It’s a job he takes very seriously. There’s a subscription drop to get handled today, too. No rest for the weary or the wicked, not while we’re also breathing.

Time to get started.