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Thursday, March 16th, 2017
A snippet and an announcement

First this announcement. Path of Fate has been included in a Humble Bundle with some amazing company. Octavia Butler, Kate Eliot, Elizabeth Hand, Robin McKinley, among others. It’s an amazing bundle and you should definitely have a look.

 

 

Shades of Memory is the name of the fourth Diamond City Magic Book. Here’s a snippet in honor of the fact that the revision is nearly done:

 

“How do we do this?” Price asked, doubt threading his voice.

“A lot of talents work together to make a single spell,” I said again, trying to be reassuring.

“Don’t they usually practice together for years, too?”

“Sometimes.”

“You said you’ve done this before.”

“Sort of. I’ve done it where one of us laid down a spell and the other one laid another on top. If done right, it’s supposed to work.”

“Did you do it right?”

“The second time.”

“And the first?”

I made a face. “A sort of spectacular failure.”

“Define sort of spectacular.”

“Some pretty fireworks. A broken leg. Maybe a small concussion.”

Price sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. “By fireworks, I trust you mean you lit half the city on fire. Dare I ask what you were trying to do?”

“So Robbie had this obnoxious girlfriend,” I began.

“Oh God. This cannot end well,” Price said.

“I already told you that.”

“But now I realize how much worse it’s going to be than I thought. Anything that beings with, So Robbie had this obnoxious girlfriend, must by definition
always end in the worst possible way.”

“I don’t know. Everybody survived.”

Price rubbed his eyes like they wanted to pop out.“Why don’t we move on to getting this blizzard started.”

“You asked.”

“I apologize. I shouldn’t have.”

I shrugged. “Suit yourself.”

“But let’s make this turn out better than it did with Robbie, shall we? You don’t really need another concussion.”

“What makes you think I was the one who ended up with a concussion?”

“Experience and your track record. Am I wrong? Don’t tell me you broke your leg and your head.”

“Why don’t we move on to getting this blizzard started?” I said.

“Good plan.”

“You go first,” I said. “I’ll jump on top.”

He slid a sideways glance at me. “Out here? In the cold? You could get some serious frostbite.”

I hit him on the shoulder. “Behave yourself.”

“You’re the one who wants to jump on top. Not that I’m complaining. I’m easy. I’d go for on top, behind, underneath–”

“Can you just get to work?” I asked, jabbing him with my elbow as inappropriate tingles started up in places they had no business being at the moment.

 

And that’s all for now, folks!

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Wednesday, December 21st, 2016
Snippet

A taste of my sneak project: (no context for you!)

“Are you saying Damon doesn’t get you hot and bothered?”

I flushed. “Unfortunately, no. He does. And now that I have a little better idea what’s going on, I have even less reason to trust him.”

“How so?”

“Because for all I know, he’s thinking about how sexy my DNA is and how he’d like to contract the hell out of me.”

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Saturday, December 3rd, 2016
Bad bad things

I’ve got sidetracked onto working on something I shouldn’t be because of *fun*.  Don’t know if it will ever see the light of day, but if you want a taste . . . here you are! Oh, but first, A HOLIDAY SPECIAL!!! If you’ve not read The Incubus Job, you can get it for just $2.99 at BVC in your preferred e-format. Check it out.

“Tell me about your mother.”

“She’s dead.”

The detective gave me a studiously bland look. “I’m aware. Do you think this is funny?”

I pretended to consider. “Funny–no. Ironic? yes.”

“Do you care to explain yourself?”

“Because I get to plan her funeral.” I already was. It would have to be the tackiest, white trashiest, low-rent trailer park sort of affair for kicking off the dearly departed. I’d definitely serve beer. Oh, and champagne. With Funions and pork rinds and pigs in blankets and deep-fried twinkies. And confetti. Maybe fireworks. Oh! Should I go with a viewing? Dress her in a K-Mart special with blue eye shadow and crimson lipstick? Regret slid through me. No. She’d need to be cremated. I needed her cremated, just to be sure she couldn’t come back as a zombie or vampire. Maybe I’d be allowed to light the match on the fire.

“Miss Wyatt?” The detective said, tapping my knee and interrupting my happy daydream.

I focused on her. She could have used some under-eye concealer. Maybe a little lipstick. And some rouge. The woman looked like death. “What?”

“I asked how you would categorize your relationship with your mother?”

“She pretty much hated everything about me and I tried my damnedest to earn her malice.”

Her brows rose at my candor. “So you didn’t get along with her?”

Was she deaf? Or just stupid. “Didn’t I just say that?”

“Did you?”

The detective needed her ass kicked. “Yes.”

“ . . . relationship contentious . . .” she muttered as she wrote in her notebook.

Such a mild word. Like my mother hadn’t been the wicked witch of the west. Like she hadn’t spent every minute of every day criticizing and castigating and moaning over my flaws and failures, which is all I was to her. I don’t even know why she’d had me. Or kept me.

“Did she have any other family? Do you have siblings?”

“Don’t know and no.” Because if there was one thing that was true about my mother is that she kept her life a secret from me.
“What about friends? Or enemies? Anyone you can think of who might want to hurt her?”

“Grab a phonebook and start with the A’s,” I suggested.

Saturday, November 26th, 2016
Talking about the Rogue Mage world

So as you might have heard (because I’ve been shouting about it), I have a short story, Ashes and Dust, in the soon-to-be-released Trials: A Rogue Mage anthology. Faith Hunter wrote three novels about Thorn St. Croix. She’s a neomage in a post-apocalyptic earth where seraphs have killed most of the earth’s population. There are those who believe the seraphs are messengers of God, sent to punish people for sins. Others believe they are aliens  (though those people hide because just saying so is sinful). There are a variety of magics and evil in the shape of the Dark–demons and fallen seraphs. Humans and the human world are the battle ground between the Light and the Dark.

Thorn is a neomage–which means she is forbidden to exist, except in what amounts to internment camps for neomages. She lives under the radar as a jeweler, but all too soon, bad things start to happen and she has to take serious risks.

I love this world. It’s so rich and strange and amazing. So I was excited to get a change to play in the world. I was also a little bit panicked. It’s one of the reasons I’ve never even considered anything like fanfiction–playing in someone else’s world means knowing everything about it, and writing in such a way that you’re faithful and don’t break it. I really loved the books, though, and I absolutely wanted to try. It helped that there’s an RPG game based on the world, and I could use the books for that as a reference. And of course, Faith herself.

The conditions of the story were that it could be set in any time pre, during, or post-Rogue Mage stories. I set mine slightly later, and across the country on the west coast. I had a pretty specific idea of what I wanted to do, and thought that it would be easier (and less likely to break the world), if I created my own place in the west where I didn’t have to worry all that much about previously described areas or people.

Writing the story was terrific fun. It flowed out of me fast and was too long. I did my best to cut a lot, but it still ended up on the longish side. Luckily there was room. I think the coolest part of the Rogue Mage world is figuring out how to fit in the world and still bring your own creative ideas to the table. You have to color within certain lines, but there’s still a lot of room for crazy colors and textures and shapes.

Mistral is my main character and what I like about him is that he doesn’t fit well anywhere. I’ve felt like that a lot in my life, and then I found my tribe. He’s looking for that, too, only he doesn’t quite know it. He wants to define himself and choose his own path. The thing is, others don’t exactly want to let him. His story is about standing up for himself and choosing the kind of person he wants to be.

Mistral is an unusual being, which accounts for why if anybody discovered what he is, he’d be dead meat. He’s born of a Dark rma1_trials-ebook-cover-correctedMage mother and a captured seraph father. He’s kylen, with unique neomage powers. There’s no other like him in the world and that’s a tough thing. He knows he’d be hated by everyone if they knew, and so he has to hide. But others also want to use him as a tool for their ambitions. He despises both the Light and the Dark. For much of the year, he travels as a ti

nker and trader. For the rest of the year, he suffers at the hands of an evil master.

When I got to the end of the story, I loved it for approximately 5 seconds. Then I was sure it was a big pile of stinky poop. I was sure it moved slowly, that it wasn’t any good, that it was a dumb plot, and that the whole thing needed to be scrapped. (All of which is pretty typical of finishing things for me). Faith, though, seemed to think it was pretty good. I had some kinks to work out where I’d crossed lines I couldn’t cross–world facts, for instance–and I had to revise my prose, but mostly the story in the anthology is as it was when I finished.

I was also really happy with the ending. A lot of the time writers tell stories by feel. What I mean by that is we are searching for that ending that clicks and says more than just the simple plot. That it delves into character and makes the story robust and interesting in ways that weren’t clear until the end. It’s like going through maze and looking back to see that

all those little twists and turns were really a glorious pattern.

Now I need to go back to work on finishing my fourth Diamond City Magic book, which remains untitled. It’s so close to done, but I’m looking for that ending that clicks, and I have a feeling that a little farther away than I hope it is. I feel the story coming together toward that finish, though, and I’m super pleased about it.

I also am working on the second Mission: Magic book, and I just turned in a Horngate Witches story for an upcoming anthology. It jumps about four years after the end of the last book. And then I got blindsided by a dream last night that is parlaying itself into a book idea that I think is pretty awesome, but needs to be fleshed out a whole lot more.

Here’s a little snippet from the story:

    They’d not gone much farther up the rutted road — perhaps a mile — when Ebet emerged from the shadow of a tree. He moved into the center of the road to face Mistral, his movements flickering fast. The daywalker was inhumanly beautiful, with black hair that hung to his waist and a lithe, muscular body. They were all of a kind — black hair, slender, piercing eyes, and Michelangelo faces. And evil.
    “You are late for your lessoning,” Ebet said, his voice sweet as a clarinet. “The master grows anxious.”
    “The roads washed out south of the delta. I was trapped on the wrong side.” The floods and delay were not news. Nor did they make the delay forgivable.
    Ebet dipped his chin, a slow, vicious smile curving his mouth. “I am to remind you to hurry.” He lifted his hand and held it out. Dangling from his fingers was a collar.
    Mistral blanched despite himself.

If you’d like to order Trials, here’s a quick link to Amazon. You can preorder now, and it releases on November 28. I’d love to hear what you think about it.

trials-2

Saturday, September 24th, 2016
Doing Stuff

I like to go to estate sales. They sell all sorts of things that either I want and didn’t know it, wanted and didn’t want to pay full price, or stuff that’s interesting but I don’t want. My favorite thing is to find really old stuff that I have no idea what it’s used for. I usually take pictures and then go find out, or sometimes people at the sale know (usually customers). I’m just tickled when I find that stuff.

This weekend I ended up going to three different sales. Two were normal–fairly recent ranch houses with your usual kinds of stuff. I got cheap knitting books (six of them!), some cds, a really cool iron rose trellis (I’ve so wanted one of those but didn’t want to pay the retail price for them), and a kitchen spoon. I seem to melt those or toss those out with alarming frequency. Anyhow, they just disappear.

At another sale, I coveted a metal plant stand. It had six round pot holders and they all folded up under each other. You could position it in a circle or a line or a zig-zag. But it was more than I want to spend. But I did get a black marble rolling pin. I waffled on it, then decided it could work well for me. It’s freaking heavy. I got home, washed it, and then used it to roll out some bread dough before rolling it back up and putting it in the pans to rise (sourdough buttermilk bread!). It worked like a dream. So much easier for my daughter, too. She wanted to help. This will be really nice for making cutout cookies, too. And a couple weeks ago we got a gingerbread house form so it will probably help us make that.

The other sale was in a really old house. It was in not so great shape, but the woman who owned it had been a spinner and a sewer. There were at least 5 spinning wheels. So cool. And at least as many sewing machines, some antique. The owners hadn’t thrown anything away for a long time. I went because of rumors of a yarn stash, but it was mostly gone before I got there. But! I mentioned they had the wheels to a friend. She told me her sister wanted to try spinning. I took pictures of all the wheels and emailed them to her. Her sister ended up buying one.

I think spinning is so very cool. They even had this handcranked carder machine. I didn’t even know those existed.

We also took stuff over to donate. This is stuff that’s been in the garage waiting for us to want to use it. Since I didn’t anticipate it happening any time soon, I decided it would do better helping other people.

One house I went to this summer had really cool lights. They’d made them out of salvaged materials and were so cool. Wish I’d taken pictures. I sometimes find really cool rocks at sales. It’s one of the main reasons I go. I’ve found some really cool desert rose, giant pieces of obsidian, a lot of petrified wood, and

Now I’m doing some writing.

And for you–a snippet from the next Diamond City Magic novel! I hope you like.

     “These shoes are Louboutins,” she seethed, gracefully hopping over a slushy puddle.
“How does an FBI agent afford those?” Patti asked.
“I’m frugal.”
“You’re on the take,” I corrected.
She shrugged. “And I’m frugal.”
“I thought that word meant cutting coupons, eating peanut butter and ramen every night, buying generic, using one-ply toilet paper, and shopping at dollar stores,” Patti said. “I can’t picture you doing any of those.”
“Your lack of imagination doesn’t interest me,” Arnow said loftily. “How much longer must this idiotic adventure go on?” she asked me.

Monday, August 1st, 2016
Diamond City Magic #4 Snippet

Here’s a snippet from Diamond City Magic #4:

Questions bubbled in his mind. Pointless and useless. He had no idea who’d taken him, how, or why, or where they were taking him. Had they harmed Christina? By God, but the question irritated him. He shouldn’t even care. The girl had been nothing but trouble. First, dragging Clay, him, and Riley into the middle of a turf war, and now this. He should have dumped her at the hospital or fire station. Why the hell hadn’t he? Riley. She’d want to know the girl was on her way home. When had he gone so soft that he cared what his brother’s girlfriend thought of him?

There was no good answer to that.

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016
Owned

I am owned by dogs. I admit this. Corgi boys. They pretty much make me do whatever they want. Lately, they hear sirens and they want to howl. But it isn’t enough that they howl by themselves. Oh, no. They come running to me and no matter what I’m doing, I have to stop and howl with them. If I don’t, they bark at me until I do. So then I howl (I don’t even want to know what kind of crazy this makes me look like), and then when they decide they are done, they stop and I must pet them to soothe . . . I don’t even know what I’m soothing, but it’s needed.

And a snippet from the WIP, because it seems like a good time for it, from the current Diamond City Magic book:

I held out my hand. “Just give me my fucking phone.”

We played who-would-blink first game and he went down. I’m nothing if not stubborn. I was the champion in the family. Tiny dug in his back pocket and produced my burner phone.

I punched in Taylor’s number. She answered on the first ring.

“What?”

“I need to talk to Touray.”

Silence met my announcement. But where Jamie and Leo would have badgered me for information, Taylor stuck to business. “He’s gone. I’ll text his number. Give me a second.”

The phone went dead. A few seconds later, the blue message light began blinking. I dialed the number. My mouth was oddly dry. For some reason, I was nervous.

He picked up just as fast as Taylor had. “Touray,” he growled.

“Riley,” I said.

His shock lasted about a split second. “Where the hell are you? Is Clay all right? What’s going on?”

“We’re with a potential . . . partner,” I said.

I could feel his attention sharpening, drilling through the phone. I resisted the urge to take a step back. Like that would help. “Partner?”

“He wants to take control of Calavera,” I said. “Clean it up, get rid of the bad eggs and restore the community.”

“What the fuck is going on, Riley? Because I don’t have time for this shit. The city is wrecked and your father–”

A chill ran up my spine and my stomach knotted. “Vernon? What’s he done?”

‘That is what I’m trying to figure out, which is why I don’t have time for this.”

“Would you have more time if I told you we’re sort of captives and Price has a broken leg? We’re negotiating help.”

Touray’s voice went molten and quiet. I’ll admit I cringed a little and was very glad he was not in the same room. I glanced around the dingy walls that had been white and now were gray with age and dirt. I half expected to see him appear out of nowhere. He was a traveler.

“Explain.”

“You know about the trace job?”

“I am aware that you took one. I do not know the details beyond the fact that you’re looking for a teenage girl.” His words were carefully clipped and formal, and I could hear the taut wire of his patience stretching thinner with every second.”

“Story short: missing girl lured by a known rapist and and killer holed up in Calavera. We got jumped, captured, and Price’s leg broke. We need a tinker and some manpower, and Tiny here is willing if the trade is worth it. Maybe you should hear his terms,” I added and passed the phone over to Tiny before Touray could ask anything else.

“Hello?” Tiny said warily into the phone.

The room pulsed and crackled with sudden magic. Neither Price nor Tiny would be able feel it. “Shit,” I said and then a furious Gregg stepped out of nowhere and trained his gun on Tiny.

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016
The Incubus Job release is only a couple weeks away

I’m getting nervous, but the good news is that as of today, preorder links are up at Smashwords and Kobo. I’m hoping to have Nook and iBooks up within a few days. Go to the Incubus page for direct links.

I had a good writing day. My back and neck and head are finally starting to improve, thanks to the chiropractor. Though she’s having a hard time with my back because it’s so tight. Tomorrow I will have a massage in order to loosen it enough to adjust. Or so’s my hope.

Anyhow, the good writing day. It was fun. I like it when writing is fun. I was working on the fourth Diamond City Magic book (the third–Whisper of Shadows–will be out in April).

And here’s a little snippet for you from The Incubus Job to whet your appetite:

“Did you know something like that could fit inside such a little skin?” I asked Law, backing up some more. I shoved more energy into my shields and reached down to fiddle with the chain on the nearest goat. I was hoping that once freed, they’d be able to escape.

In the meantime, Hana—or So’la because, let’s face it, Hana was now just a skin suit on the carpet—swelled like one of those sponges that are the size of a postage stamp until you get them wet and they turn into a small car. Its skin was gun-barrel blue, and it appeared to be sheathed inside a thick layer of Vaseline. I was willing to bet that the goo would eat a person’s skin.

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016
What I wonder

I was wondering today if, in Stairway to Heaven, when Robert Plant sings “There’s a feeling I get, when I look to the west, and my spirit is crying for leaving,” whether that is perchance a reference to the Grey Havens. It wouldn’t be the first time that Zeppelin referenced Tolkien. Take for instance, Ramble On. “T’was in the darkest depths of Mordor, I met a girl so fair.
But Gollum, and the evil one crept up and slipped away with her.” I mean, the stairway to heaven leads upward, so looking to the west and crying for leaving, really suggest something more like Grey Havens. I like to think so anyhow.

I was reading through a couple chapters of Whisper of Shadows (book 3 in Diamond City Magic) and I was really pleased. I’ve been worrying (see my last post on Imposter Syndrome) and I’m at least willing to entertain the idea that this book might be good. Not entirely convinced, but yeah. Trying to get there.

So a small snippet for you (it will release on April 15th!!!)

I had to get out of here. I lay face down with my head twisted to the right, my hands curved up toward my face. I pushed up with all my might. Nothing. Why I thought I’d be able to get out now better than before, I had no idea. Logic wasn’t actually something I was using at the moment. I pressed my head into the cold cement floor and closed my eyes. As fear rose up over me again, I forced myself to count breaths inside and then out, and I didn’t let myself think of anything else. Slowly I found myself relaxing. If you could call ratcheting down from overload to just completely terrified. I kept breathing. It’s not like I was going anywhere.

 

Sunday, November 1st, 2015
The aftermath

A rain storm moved in just in time for trick or treating in our neighborhood and even though usually we get swarmed by kids getting driven into our neighborhood and so on (last year we ended up with 200), this year we ended up with only about 80. What that means is a lot more candy leftover than we planned on. Cause I didn’t plan on any. Yeah. Not good.

In the meantime, the man came down with the flu. The real flu, despite the fact that we got shots this last week. Too damned late, I guess. Here’s hoping the rest of us don’t end up with it. He’s in misery. High temp, intestinal distress, chills, nausea, all the rest. A friend just reminded me of tamiflu, so thinking we should look into it.

I started writing for nano today. Didn’t get far, but at least I started. I’m pleased about that.

Here’s a little piece of it.

He paced. He pounded the walls until his fists were bruised and bloody. He kicked the door until he broke bones in his feet. The room offered no weapons. The bed was bolted to the floor, as was the table and the lone chair. The toilet had no seat or lid, and the faucet was motion sensitive. Only his mattress, the toilet paper, and the white cup could be mobilized, and while he could make a knife of the latter, it would have done him little good. No one came.