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Archive for the 'snippet' Category

Friday, September 26th, 2014
Where’s the rubber ducky?

I’m hip deep in shit creek and no rubber duckies in sight. Book’s due soon, and I’m not done. I’m trying to make doneness, but progress is slower than I want. Also, a few days ago, the z, x,c, and v keys on my desktop keyboard ceased to work. I used a Kinesis keyboard. I called the company, and they are sending me a replacement part, and hopefully it arrives asap. But that means writing on my laptop and for whatever reason, that undercuts my creativity. Plus I’ve been having some weird sick stuff happening this week. Possibly as a result of stress, possibly as a result of not sleeping nearly enough, possibly as a result of total panic, or maybe I’m really coming down with something. My guess is the last one is unlikely.

So in an effort to procrastinate while still feeling productive, I’ve started a patchwork afghan. Which is to say, I’ve learned the patch pattern and am working them up. I started a couple days ago. It will take me a long time to complete the project. In the meantime, I realized I have got to start making stuff to get rid of some of my yarn horde. (Some of which was given to me by my mom, so it’s not *all* my fault.) The idiocy is that I saw a skein of cool yarn at the store, bought it, and came up with the patchwork idea for the afghan because I couldn’t think of anything else to make with it. Unfortunately, It’s not a good match with most of my yarn horde. I found one yarn that I can use with it, but may have to, ulp, buy more. This was not the plan.

More people should use shawls. I make this lovely and soft shawl (which a friend taught me to make–thanks Melissa M.!). Here’s the pattern. Only I make it in supersoft, jewel-toned yarns. I wonder who I could make some for? Hmmm. I also make afghans. I guess I could make one of those. I made a bunch to give away for Xmas a few years back. I sometimes make fingerless gloves and I learned a slouch hat last year. These things are nice to work on while watching TV or driving (as a passenger–I know you were wondering). I used to work on them at faculty senate meetings so I wouldn’t kill anyone, and so the meetings would have some sort of redeeming value. It’s not like we got anything accomplished otherwise.

Booklist likes Trace of Magic!

And here’s the usual please please please spread the word on Trace of Magic, post reviews, and otherwise blather about me as much as you’re willing!

All right, back to making fictional words. Oh, here’s a snippet, just because (and no context for you!):

“She’s the empath, correct?” Touray asked.

I rolled my eyes. “Should I assume you know everything about me? What deoderant I wear? The results of my last PAP smear?”

He smiled slowly, his eyes hooded. “I think it’s a safe enough assumption.”

Friday, September 12th, 2014
Friday and yay for that!

Boy made it through the whole week of school. Some sickness, but he has been decently cheery and he’s so welcomed by his teachers. Hopefully he’s making friends again. Girlie, in the meantime, has decided to play the clarinet in band. She also liked the oboe and the flute, but decided against them.

We’ve had lovely weather this week, and yet I’ve had horrible sleep. I’m not sure if I’m staying awake, or not sleeping deeply, or just tossing and turning and not sleeping well. I wake up exhausted. I’ve tried short naps, but can’t fall asleep. I’ve been out walking, not a lot of help. I did end up waking up soaked in sweat last night. Makes me wonder if I’m a little under the weather, though who knows. The annoying thing is that it slows my thinking for writing.

Speaking of writing, Trace of Magic has his #89 on the Kindle romance fantasy book list. Yay! I’m here to remind you again that I’d love a review anywhere if you’d be willing. Spreading the word for me would be fabulous.

And to encourage you, a snippet from the next Book:

“We are not done with this conversation,” he said. It sounded like he’d pushed the words through clenched teeth.
I laced my fingers through his as he wriggled his right arm under me and pulled me tight against his chest.

“Yeah, we are,” I said.

“Not a chance, Riley. We’re having it out.”

I smiled as I felt myself sinking into sleep. I yawned hard, my jaw cracking. It took all the effort I could muster to have the last word. “I know,” I said, loosening my fingers from his and patting his hand. “But when you find out the rest of the story, you’ll be far too pissed to come back to this.” Whatever this was. I wasn’t entirely clear.

Monday, July 14th, 2014
A snippet from the WIP

I very much doubt this will make the final version of this nameless book. And yet, I love this so much I have to share. It is wrong. So, so, so, wrong:

Lately my dreams had been divided equally between erotic images of the two of us together that left my thighs aching and the rest of me more frustrated than an impotent priest on free fuck night at the local brothel, and erotic images of *him with someone else, which left me wanting to skin him alive. I really have mental problems, I swear.


* pronoun added to prevent TMI on the book.


Monday, March 24th, 2014
A snippet for you

The boy barfed up a ridiculously expensive pill tonight. Nuff said on that.

And now for a snippet. This is from my nameless novella, and I have not written any words on it for awhile. Same as my other work. But I hope you enjoy. It’s rough. Be patient.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“Whoever killed the incubus was targeting him. Finding him, luring him down here—it was well-planned.”

I nodded, my brow furrowing. This was reasonably obvious. “Yeah?”

Law grimaced. “If he is after the stolen box, you’ll be going after him.”

“That’s the job,” I said.

“This thing is dangerous,” he said.

I was beginning to see where this was going and anger rolled through me. “It is.” I offered nothing more. I was going to see if he was really going to jump off this bridge.

He was.

“What if you can’t handle it?” he asked bluntly.

It was a fair question, and if it had been anyone else but him asking, I’d probably have taken it better. As it was, all I knew was that he was doubting me, questioning my ability. Maybe because of the lich incident, or maybe because I’d failed to grab the box already. Maybe the ghosts made him think I was weak.

“I guess if I can’t handle it, I’ll end up painting the walls like the incubus,” I said. “Let’s hope I’m better than that.”

Law dragged his fingers through his hair. “Damn it, Mal! This is serious.”

“I’m well aware of that, Law,” I snapped. “I just didn’t realize that you had such low opinion of my skills.”

He gripped my shoulders, jerking me against him. “This has nothing to do with your skills, and you know it,” he seethed between gritted teeth. “We don’t know what this thing is, but we know it’s smart and it’s dangerous. What makes you think you can handle it by yourself?”

I shoved myself back. He extended his arms, but didn’t let go. “What makes you think I can’t?” I demanded.

“I don’t think so, but I also don’t know that you can. For one, you’ve decided you’re anti-killing. All well and good, but that handicaps you whether you like it or not. For two—” He broke off.

I waited, chin jutting stubbornly. He didn’t continue.

“That’s it? I don’t kill so I’m doomed to fail? That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.” This time I succeeded in pushing out of his grasp.  “Good thing I broke our partnership up when I did. I knew you wouldn’t trust me to guard your back any more.”

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

I made it to the retreat and got settled in. Met some fun people and a couple hours ago, i buckled down to work. I wrote the beginning of something. I’d like your opinion on it. Would you want to read more? I ask because it’s a little bit different from what I’ve written before and I’m feeling my way. It’s super rough, but thumbs up or down?


I got the fish-eye stare from the concierge when I walked past him into the lobby. I passed through the security net, feeling it ripple across my skin like seeking fingers. My lips tightened smugly. I could go out and come back again and totally change my aural signature. It might remember this version of me forever—and it probably would—but it wouldn’t do it a damned bit of good.

Effrayant was a mashup of the Bellagio and the Bates Motel, with a little dash of old school English castle for flair. The outside was brick and tile with a few thousand windows and a mansard roof that went up six or eight stories on top. The rooms up there were probably long-term residences. The central tower was a good forty stories high, with the four wings sprouting like spokes from its shoulders. The tops of the wings boasted pools, clubs, restaurants, and helipads.

I wasn’t there for the entertainment; I was on a job.

Inside was dark wood, modern furniture, soft lights, and museum quality art. Muted opera music wandered through the cavernous lobby.  The staff all wore Italian wool uniforms in gray, burgundy, and navy, while customers dressed in designer glitz and blue-collar chic.

I couldn’t blame the bellman for looking at me sideways. Wearing Levi’s, a longsleeved cotton shirt from the Goodwill, and a pair of knee-high leather boots that had seen better days, I definitely didn’t look glitzy or chic.

Add in the fact that my luggage was nothing more than a ratty backpack, I was a little surprised that the security guards inside didn’t stop me.  With force. Given how obscenely expensive it was to stay at the exclusive and highly discriminating Effrayant, I figured these guys should have been all over me. Sure, the ghosts make people want to turn and head the other way and let me be someone else’s problem. Security guards ought to be better trained. They shouldn’t let the heebie-jeebies get the better of them. I get that it’s not every day that you get the ghost push-off from someone made of flesh and blood, but Effrayant like to brag their security was the best of the best.

I walked in and all six of thick-necked best of the best got busy picking lint off their coats, making me the check-in clerk’s problem.

Poor thing. I could tell she wanted to be anywhere else. That’s Tabitha’s fault. She can put the fear of Jesus into just about anyone without hardly trying.

Tonight she was trying.

She didn’t want to come into Effrayant. She thought it was too dangerous. She was right, but that didn’t change the job.  I wanted to tell her to suck it up and settle down, but she was only a thirteen year old girl and dead or not, her hormones were raging. She wasn’t going to listen to me, of all people. Plus she still had a lot of PTSD issues from how she got killed. Or so I assumed. I had no idea how it had actually gone down. I only knew she was pissed as hell and she had nightmares that occasionally leaked into my dreams. If any of what happened in those nightmares had actually happened to her, she had a right to her attitude.  Hell, she had a right to have gone right over the edge into insanity-land. I didn’t think she had, but it’s not like she talked to me. Another issue she had going on was that she didn’t trust anybody and when she got scared, she killed first and asked questions later.

Tabitha’s a poltergeist—she’s a pretty effective killer when she wants to be—which is why I was glad the security guards hadn’t bothered me. I might not have been able to hold her back without force, and I didn’t like doing that. It reminded her and all the others that I could snuff them out without much effort.

That’s me—Mallory Jade, former Exterminator. In the bad old days, if you wanted something or someone killed, for a fee, I’d kill it—from ghost to banshee to terrorist to disgruntled employees. I don’t even know how many final deaths I’m responsible for; I don’t want to know. I quit that life; left it behind like dust in the rearview. I don’t kill anymore. I’m a fixer now. If you’ve got a problem, I’ll help you fix it, so long as I don’t take anybody’s life or half-life or dead-life. The money’s better and I get to sleep at night.

Unfortunately, these days I sleep with ghosts. They like to attach to magicians, but that’s usually guaranteed suicide. Most of us with enough power to attract ghosts also have enough power to send them off to the final death.  It’s a moths to the bug zapper situation. I’m the rare exception, since I’ve sworn off killing. I don’t even like binding them off so they can’t come near me. It’s not like they take up space or weigh anything, and they do have their uses.

Like helping me to fake my aural signature and making unfriendly types look the other way. Unfortunately, it looked like they were going to make the check-in clerk pee her pants.  I sighed and pushed down on Tabitha slightly. The girl-ghost recoiled and struck back at me. I held her tight against me. I didn’t need her flinging furniture and blowing up computers. It wasn’t any more painful than a bear hug, but I could tell she her fury was shifting to panic, and that would not end well.





Saturday, December 21st, 2013
In which a book is completed

Trace of Magic is done and sent off to my editor and agent. I’m sure there will be comments and revisions to come, but for now, it’s a done book. Finally. I had it drafted weeks ago, but with all that’s been happening with the boy and getting my office painted, I was seriously slow on the revisions. I finished early this morning on the Solstice. Very auspicious.

Happy Solstice!!! I love this day. This is the rebirth of the year for me, when the days start getting longer and somewhere deep in the ground, roots are thinking green thoughts. Tonight is also the night the moon holds sway longest. I’m named for the moon goddess. She’s out hunting evil tonight and make sure that the white light shines over the world.

The boy continues on no better. The earliest appointment I’ve been able to get so far is January 21st. I hope to hell we can get in earlier than that.

And a snippet from Trace of Magic:

He looked back at us. Something moved across his expression as the overhead light faded slowly. He deliberately set his gun on the console. The threat was clear.

“One more thing. I want to know what you aren’t telling me. Right now.” But he looked at me, not at Taylor.

I didn’t blink. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I didn’t either. I mean, I was hiding everything I could from him. How was I supposed to know what exactly had set off his radar?

“The haunters.”

“Oh. Them.”

“Yeah, them.” He pointed at me. “If I’m going to help you, you can’t lie to me.”

“Who says you’re going to help me?” I tossed back, knowing full well I should just shut the fuck up before he put a bomb in my shoes.  Don’t get me wrong. I won’t pretend that I really cared that he’d killed the guys who were chasing us. After all, they shot at me. But Price had blown them up like they were as disposable as Kleenex. I knew I was, too.

“I did,” he snapped.

“You’re a Tyet man,” I accused, sudden anger getting the better of me.  Taylor clutched my hand warningly. I ignored her. “Now that you know there are haunters involved, your incentive for finding Josh disappears. Since someone in the Tyet is clearly behind his kidnapping, I’m betting you’ll probably jump in to help cover it up, or do whatever dirty work they need you to do. You know Josh cares about Taylor, I’m guessing the Tyet will want you to use her for leverage. You know the drill: cut her, make her hurt, make him talk. We’ll be lucky if anybody finds our bodies.”

Taylor gasped and I put my arm around her, my stomach clenching. I hadn’t meant to put it so baldly, but here we were in the back seat of an enforcer’s car with nowhere to go and a gun aimed at us. Mincing words seemed pointless. My chin jutted. “Am I wrong?”

His face worked and then he twisted around and slammed the car into gear. The wheels spun and the rear fishtailed as he jumped on the gas. I had no idea where he was taking us. But at the rate he was driving, we might be headed straight for hell.

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013
Doodads and updates and snippet

I forgot to mention that I finished Trace of Magic a couple days ago. Go me! I talk about ending it over at Magical Words today. Specifically about ending creep. I’m pretty happy with the book so far, but only because it’s done and I haven’t reread it to find out what needs to be revised. I’m in that lovely state of denial.

My friend Christy Keyes has suffered some significant  brain injuries this last year and she and her husband are struggling. If you can donate to her cause or spread the word or both, please do. I set up a gofundme site for her today. It’s here.

Have you ever noticed that family can drive you to a level of anger that no one else seems to be able to do? My son is a teenager and he’s behaving as such. Perfectly normal, but apparently I need to adjust better. And maybe go sit in the jacuzzi tub for awhile.

I did go to the chiropractor today. I feel better, but I’ll have to probably go back again. As long as I get better soon, I’ll be happy.

I’m tired of Black Friday commercials. I won’t be shopping on Black Friday, either. Unless I run out chocolate, which is highly unlikely. I just made a batch of rolls with mashed potatoes in them. I didn’t mash the potatoes very well. Hope they turn out. Also didn’t use unsalted butter, and didn’t adjust the salt levels in the bread. It’s my first go round with this recipe. The dough was nice an elastic when I set it to rise the first time. Here’s hoping it all turns out. I plan to make cinnamon rolls later. I ground the wheat myself, so it makes for tastiness.

On Small Business Saturday, Devon Monk and I will be signing and possibly reading at Reader’s Guide Books in Salem, Oregon, from 11-1. So if anybody can make it, please do!

And a little snippet, with names redacted:

“I hurt you,” he said tonelessly.

“You didn’t mean to,” I said carefully. I couldn’t get a read on how he was feeling or what he was thinking.

“I could have killed you. I wanted to kill you.”

“You didn’t know it was me.”

He shook his head and looked down, anger and fear rippling across his tight expression. “I did.”

I could only stare. My stomach turned inside out. [redacted] made a growling noise and started forward. I thrust out my hand to stop him. “Why?” I could barely push the word out. I felt strangled.

“I wanted to be dead.”

“You thought I’d kill you?” I squeaked, incredulous.

“You should have killed me. I asked you to.”

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013
dogs and mountainsand a snippet

Corgis are the cutest dogs ever. Here are mine, being spoiled and cute.


And then there’s this picture of Mount Shasta, near Weed, featured in Crimson Wind. If you don’t know about that, why not?


The man smashed his hand and finger today. I had to watch while he drilled two holes in the nail to release pressure. He wouldn’t let me do it. He didn’t trust me. Thought I might drill to the bone. He’s right.

I’ve been making progress on the end of Trace of Magic. Here’s a snippet (it’s rough and hasn’t even been proofed, so be kind):

We loaded up into a one ton SUV near the entrance. Price and Touray took the front and Josh and I got into the back. None of us spoke. Price was seething and Touray was icy. Josh had lapsed into total silence. I pushed him into his seat, bending his arms and legs like a stiff doll and buckled his seatbelt, more to keep him from freaking out and attacking the rest of us than anything else.

I hobbled around to my side and slid into my seat. I shut the door with a long sigh.

“I’m taking you to Maya,” Touray said to his brother as he keyed the engine over.

“We need a dreamer for Josh,” Price said. “The sooner the better. He’s in worse shape than I am.”

“He can wait. I want you looked after.”

“Go to Cass first. You can travel to fetch Maya.”

“Can I? My magic doesn’t seem to be working at the moment.”

Touray glanced over his shoulder at me. I shivered at the greed and speculation in the look. Like he was shopping and had just found a Picasso in a thrift store. Not that he’d be caught dead in a thrift store. But you get the point.

Sometime in the fight I’d swallowed the quarter. It was fast reaching its limits. Between sucking up the null field and the magic in the mountain, it was nearly overloaded. I shrugged at Touray because I had no idea when it would run out and when he’d get his powers back. I could deactivate it, but that would take a lot of energy and at the moment, I was fried. They could sort out what they wanted to do. I was just along for the ride at this point.

I leaned my head back against the headrest and closed my eyes. Mistake. I instantly became all too aware of my injuries. My entire body throbbed like Yosemite Sam’s thumb after Bugs Bunny wacks it with a hammer.  Fifty times the size it ought to be and pulsing like a pufferfish on crack.

Touray made a frustrated sound. “Fine. We’ll go to Cass. Where is she?”

“In a house on the top level.”

“Maya’s closer. I’ll travel for Cass. As soon as I can.”

I felt his eyes on me again.

“She won’t like that,” Price said.

His voice was a little louder. He’d turned his head to look at me, too. My fingers twitched and I clenched them together.

“Too damned bad,” Touray said. “I’m not wasting time driving in this mess if I don’t have to.”

They started talking about the attack the building and what they needed to do to head off their enemies and pretty quick I drifted off to sleep. No dreams, thank goodness. Apparently my mind needed to rest as much as my body.

I woke up awhile later. We were still driving—if you could call it that. We inched along. Snow whirled around us. The headlights showed nothing but a wall of white. I wondered how Touray was even staying on the road.

Maybe he’d drive over the edge of the caldera and solve all my problems in one quick fall.

“Finally,” Touray muttered. He started to glow around the edges and the rest of him thinned so I could see through him. He began to speed up, following some sort of path his magic opened up to him.

Thursday, October 17th, 2013
Trace of Magic snippet

I don’t have much to share today, except that my shelves are finally in and we’ll get them this weekend, and hopefully install them too! (there’s more work to them than just setting them in the house and loading them up, sadly)

So in celebration of shelves, a snippet for you:


“I’ll take care of her,” Touray said after a slight hesitation. “I promise.”

My heart stopped beating as Price considered. Then he nodded. He grabbed his jacket off the table, glass sprinkling to the floor, then jogged down to the white doors and left. He never once looked at me.

Touray faced me. He scanned me up and down like I was defective. I wanted to squirm, but the bottom of the cage was too full of glass. I’d already cut my feet. I didn’t dare make them worse, not that I was going to need them. I doubted I’d get a chance to go anywhere before I died. He had told Price he would take care of me, but I’d watched enough movies to know that probably meant he was going to kill me.

I heard pops! and canisters thudded down through the empty windows. I was blinded by strobe flashes. An acrid smell washed through the space. Almost instantly my nose began to itch and my eyes began to water.

“Cover your nose and mouth,” Touray ordered, pulling off his shirt and tying it over the lower half of his face. I did the same, the turleneck fighting me all the way. I was now in a cage, shirtless and wearing only a bra, with blood trickling down my neck and back and smearing the floor under my feet.

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013
Waxing and waning

For the first time I have hit a spot in this novel where the scene isn’t working. I know what the problem is. One of the characters isn’t coming through fully here, so it’s feeling very flat and plastic. On the other hand, part of the scene rocks. I’ve introduced a new character that just makes me giggle. She’s really obnoxious.

This part, however, does work so far. So I’m sharing because all the interesting things I thought of telling you today went out of my head. Except you should look at this. It’s about Lake Natron in Tanzania where the water turns the animals into statues on account of chemicals from a volcanic eruption. Really surreal and cool.

and here’s the snippet:

Price stopped and turned me face him. “Screw Josh. He got himself into this mess without any help, and he’s a selfish bastard for dragging you into it with him. He’s not worth your life, Riley. No one is.”

I blinked at him, trying to figure out which of his eyes were real and which were the double vision pair. “Isn’t that your job? I mean the cop one, not the one where you kill people for the Tyet.”

Saaahmackdown! Cass said in my head. The word vibrated through my skull, sending aching ripples down my spine. Oops, sorry. But there’s more to you than I thought.

“My job is to hunt down bad guys. Not die.”

“What do you do when you’re the bad guy?” I waved the question away. “Nevermind. It’s none of my business. But I get the picture. You aren’t planning on dying for me. Message received.”