Soundtrack Monday: Sinister Kid

The Marked

I had the beginning of The Marked inside my head for a long time. One of the things keeping me from writing it was Preston Marlock; he is a cagey character, slippery and desperate.

I don’t deny I was often frustrated with him. I had Jude, I knew what made her and Aggie tick, and to a lesser degree the Skinner. But Preston? Oh, he didn’t like being pinned down. He didn’t like speaking at all.

So instead of talking, I began to play him music. He would come creeping out during the damndest songs, but it took a while to get the one that would reliably draw him from hiding.

What’s it like, I wondered, going through an unnaturally long, unnaturally violent life and never being able to touch another human being without killing them? Once I put the question that way, I realized the problem wasn’t that Press didn’t want things. He just buried the wanting, because he thought it wouldn’t do any good.

If there’s ever a character who exhibits the kind of despair the nuns of my youth called a sin, it’s Press. After a while, I’d hear the first bars of Sinister Kid and think about him, and he’d start talking.

I just had to slow down enough to listen.

Sigh, Tuesday, Sigh

Steelflower in Snow

It’s Tuesday. I got out early for a run, but there was still someone with their damn dog unleashed. It’s like a sickness with these people, every time it’s bloody sunny they wander out without properly caring for their dogs. Asshats.

*clears throat* Good morning, all! The mass-market PB size of Steelflower in Snow is now live! (There’s a trade paperback edition of The Marked out now, too.) Note that these are the same books; they’re just different sizes for your convenience. Due to piracy, there is no ebook version of Steelflower in Snow planned. I’m also having trouble working on The Highlands War for the same reason. Why bother writing more Kaia books if people are just going to steal them?

Also, The Complete Roadtrip Z is now on sale in paperback! It’s omnibus time!

If I focus really hard and let go of having to write The Poison Prince in anything approaching linear order, I might even get a zero draft done on time. Might. I know I could just miss the deadline, but I haven’t done that in over ten years and I don’t want to start now.

I just heaved another sigh, thinking about this. At least I have Jonathan Coulton’s new album to get me through the day, and a lunch meeting with a fellow writer. I’m generally the one saying “it’s not as bad as you think”; maybe I’ll get someone else saying it to me this time around.

…I’ve nothing very interesting to say. I’m on a Twitter fast for a week or so; I took the app off my phone and have the site blocked during normal working times. It’s nice not having the firehose of raw-sewage bad news on all the time; maybe it’ll let me work without feeling the world’s on fire and why on earth should I bother since we’re all going to die except the rich?

And even they will strange on blood when the rest of us are gone.

I suppose I’m in the mood to write dystopia again, but why? Nobody listens. (Bitter? Me? Well…yes, a little.)

Yeah, I suppose I’d best turn off the wireless and work before I have to leave for said lunch meeting. I need my fire back in me, and it’s not going to happen if I sit here and think about things going wrong.

Let us band together and kick Tuesday in the pants, my friends. It’s the only way out.

Release Day: THE MARKED

themarked-lg It’s time! It’s finally time! That’s right, it’s release day for The Marked!

A winding road, a freak storm, and a lightning strike. Jude Altfall’s life, just beginning to coalesce after her divorce, is shattered afresh. Dazed with grief, she’s not sure if the weird things happening around her are hallucinations…or something more. And there’s the mark on her hip—a tattoo she can’t for the life of her remember getting.

Preston Marlock left a shadowy government agency two years ago, to hunt a killer. Each time the bastard strikes the trail goes cold, and not even Marlock’s more-than-natural abilities are helping. Now the killer’s taken one of his very few friends, and there’s a surviving witness. The Altfall woman is now that most precious and fragile of targets, newly Marked. All Marlock has to do is dangle her like bait, and the killer will eventually show up.

The Skinner knows some people are different. Special. He has a collection of stretched skin and pretty pictures, each harvested with care. The trick is to take them while the victim is still struggling, still alive, otherwise their power is lost. He is careful, methodical, and precise, but chance robs him of a prize. Once he realizes Jude Altfall has what he covets, and has possibly seen his face, her fate is sealed. And just to be cautious, the Skinner might swat at the annoying fly who has buzzed along his trail for two years.

Sometimes you survive. You bear a Mark. And some things are worse than death.

Paperback available through Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and independent bookstores. Ebook edition currently available through Payhip, Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

Special thanks are due to my Indiegogo backers, who are the best of the best (especially the lovely and gracious Ann Aguirre) and to Skyla Dawn Cameron, who helped me bring the book baby to print. And, as always, thanks go to you, my dear Readers. I hope you enjoy it

Writing The Marked was extremely difficult, and I was very sure it wouldn’t find a home in trad publishing. I’m very glad to have the resources and the backing to bring it out this way, and I hope you like it. If this book does well, I’ll be able to write Book 2, full of secret societies, conspiracies, murder, and longing.

Now doesn’t that sound like fun. If anyone needs me, I’ll be suffering my usual release day nerves over in the corner…

THE MARKED Preorders!

themarked-lg That’s right, you can now preorder The Marked!

A winding road, a freak storm, and a lightning strike. Jude Altfall’s life, just beginning to coalesce after her divorce, is shattered afresh. Dazed with grief, she’s not sure if the weird things happening around her are hallucinations…or something more. And there’s the mark on her hip—a tattoo she can’t for the life of her remember getting.

Preston Marlock left a shadowy government agency two years ago, to hunt a killer. Each time the bastard strikes the trail goes cold, and not even Marlock’s more-than-natural abilities are helping. Now the killer’s taken one of his very few friends, and there’s a surviving witness. The Altfall woman is now that most precious and fragile of targets, newly Marked. All Marlock has to do is dangle her like bait, and the killer will eventually show up.

The Skinner knows some people are different. Special. He has a collection of stretched skin and pretty pictures, each harvested with care. The trick is to take them while the victim is still struggling, still alive, otherwise their power is lost. He is careful, methodical, and precise, but chance robs him of a prize. Once he realizes Jude Altfall has what he covets, and has possibly seen his face, her fate is sealed. And just to be cautious, the Skinner might swat at the annoying fly who has buzzed along his trail for two years…

Ebook editions are currently available for preorder at Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. (Note: The paper version is coming soon!)

A great big thank you goes out to EVERYONE who contributed to the Indiegogo campaign. It would have taken a LOT longer to bring this baby to the light if not for you. I am pleased as punch to give you the book about grief and semi-sentient tattoos I’ve been talking about for so damn long. Preorders may–may–ship early, but not for at least a week.

And now I’ll be a quivering mass in the corner, as is usual at this point in the book process. I’m already hard at work on the next few stories for your delectation.