Thursday, April 26, 2018

Scatter-brained



Is it allergies, insomnia or something else all together?

This year as allergy season hit me, I am in the best shape I have been for years, and still I can't seem to get ahead of the occasional bout of brain-fog. Last year I forced myself to push through it and keep writing. That was a big mistake.

Most of what I wrote had to be thrown out or heavily rewritten. When I don't feel well, I default to feeding my characters and sending them to bed. And that doesn't make for a very interesting story.

So this year I am trying to be more careful. When I find myself dreading my allotted writing time, I'm trying to change it up. I do some yard work, plotting, marketing, or if it's really bad - read a book.

Reading is a type of research. When I finish a book, I reflect on how I liked the story and what I might do differently. If there are glaring errors, it helps me find them in my own work. And of course, it's fun and relaxing.

I built lots of oops-time into my schedule this year. That was a lesson I learned the hard way. Missing my personal deadlines stresses me out. So I added a little padding here and there and it's paying off. I'm less stressed and more on target.

And now it's time to get back to it.



Thursday, April 12, 2018

High Barrens in Print



The print version has been approved and should be in the stores in a week or so. I had to mess around with the color maps because the book is in black and white. The first version was a dark blur. I sell so few paperbacks that I was going to leave it with a note to visit my website. But that's just the lazy me speaking.

There's so many different parts to getting a book published that sometime I really want to skip a thing or two. Then after a good night's sleep, I realize I need to put out my best product. So I tick all the boxes and cross all my 't's. Give a great, gusty sigh and send it on its way.

It's selling slowly but surely. There aren't any reviews on Amazon as yet, but I did see a 5 star over on Goodreads! Yay.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

I'm in a New Anthology



Blank Tapes Volume 2: more weird and dangerous tales by [Huxley, Paul, Jelfs, Dermot, Ruth, Georgia, Sabo, Alice, Winters, Rosaline, Wenner, Jody, Moritz, Shane, Clark, Tim, Brown, Jacob, Keith, R.]

Blank Tapes is a collection of 17 odd, dark or quirky short stories that don't quite fit in anywhere. It is available for preorder now - click here - only $2.99.  It will be released on April 9th.

In other news...
High Barrens, the print version, has been held up while I mess around with the maps. They came out as small smudgy squares in the front of the book, so I've obviously done something wrong. 

The 3rd book in the Asher Blaine series is coming along. I was a bit baffled as to why the murder occurred, but luckily I've figured that out.

And speaking of that, time to get back to writing.



Thursday, March 29, 2018

High Barrens Release!

High Barrens is now available all over!


Click here to choose your favorite ebook retailer.
Print is in the works. Should be available in early April.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Cover Reveal - High Barrens


Now available for preorder! Click HERE for your favorite retailer.

I think Alex did a super job on this one. It really holds the flavor of the story. I'd love to hear your comments!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

High Barrens Excerpt

Here is Chapter 1 from High Barrens which will be up for presale next week.


     Flint came home from the graveyard knowing that her life was finally going to change. Her father’s death set things in motion that had been stagnant for far too long. The house was somber with the whispered condolences of her neighbors. She laid out a meal for them taken from the winter stores that she had spent the summer putting up. She could be generous because she knew she wouldn’t need them. There was no reason to stay here anymore.
     Only four of her six brothers were present. Steel, the oldest, was a soldier for the King and too far away to return for something as paltry as the death of a father who had disowned him. Flint had sent Steel a warning as soon as she saw her father’s spirit fire dim. Her brother understood what was about to happen. A few weeks later, a bundle of sturdy woolen cloth arrived for her with a handful of silvers hidden inside. She hadn’t seen Steel in years. It was more than she’d expected and a kindness that lightened her burdens.
     Granite, the other missing brother, was in the lockup again, probably for another bar fight. He’d been given that name in the hopes that he would be persistent. Instead, he was stubborn and blockheaded. She knew he cared even less than Steel about their father, but she’d have to find him.
     “I’m sorry to intrude at a time like this,” said a stocky man in threadbare clothes.
Flint knew he wasn’t the least bit sorry and wondered if he’d had to borrow those clothes to present such an impoverished aspect. “Good day, Mortar,” she said civilly.
     “I’m wondering about the bills.”
She knew this was coming. Her father owned money to a lot of people. “I promised you’d be paid. It’ll take a bit of time to sort it all out, but everyone will be paid.”
     He scrutinized her with a sour look. She held her head high. There was nothing for her to be ashamed of. The debts weren’t hers. But she had promised everyone in town that they would be paid. Mortar finally came to the conclusion that pestering wouldn’t advance his cause and slunk away. She let out a soft breath of relief.
     Her other brothers stood awkwardly by the hearth, heads hanging, brows furrowed. Not a one of them mourned. Their father had been a hard man, unfair and selfish. It was a relief that he had finally passed, and yet it was still hard to lose a parent. He had been a larger than life figure, ordering her about for her entire life. She would miss him in a fashion, but she didn’t mourn him either.
     Coal glanced at her. She knew he’d be the first to speak. “What do you need?” he asked. Second oldest son and seventeen years her elder. He still treated her like a child when she’d already passed marrying age, but she knew it was out of love and forgave him.
     “Can you handle the sale of the farm?” she asked, knowing it was a burden. Coal was a blacksmith in a town on the western edge of the barrens. It was a good three-day ride to come back here.
     Coal shrugged. “You think he’ll sell it?”
     In a fit of pique, their father had disowned Clay, the oldest, and left everything to Granite, his fifth son. Flint thought it was because with his drinking and fighting, that was the son most like their father. “He’ll want the coin more than the land.” She knew in her heart that he would never come back here. Granite wouldn’t know what to do with the land. The house would fall down and the fields go to weeds unless someone else made things happen.
     Her brawny brother fidgeted, dropping his eyes away from her. “Who will ask him?”
     “I will.” Flint was the only family member that could talk to Granite without putting him into a fury. She’d been thinking about the proper phrasing since the moment her father’s health had started to fail. She’d asked around and found a buyer for the land. When her father became bedridden, she’d sent the livestock to her brothers Clay and Basalt. They had a farm of their own up north near the Icy River. None of her neighbors questioned it. A sick man couldn’t take care of his animals. She still had her brother Marl at home, but his heart wasn’t in it. He was another one that shouldn’t be forced to work the land. He was across the room speaking with the Servants of the Lady of Shadows. She knew that when they left, Marl would go with them.
     “I don’t need any of it,” Coal said, bringing her back to the issue at hand.
     “Nor do we,” Clay said, joining the conversation.
     Basalt made a face. He never could keep his emotions hidden. “You gave us the animals, I guess that’s fair.”
     “It’s more than fair,” Clay snapped at him. “How much do you think someone would pay for this place?”
     Flint stepped between them. “Most of it’ll go to pay Pa’s debts.”
     Basalt grunted his understanding. He was almost as hard-headed as Granite but had a much sweeter nature. Flint knew that he was thinking of his betrothed and the house that they were building.
     As soon as the conversation had started, the rest of the neighbors had slipped away. It was just family now. Flint sent her brothers to the table while she fetched the parcels she’d made up. They were quiet as she handed them out. For Marl, youngest son but still six years older than she, a warm shirt she’d sown from the fabric Steel had sent. She gave him the things he might need while in service and sent him off to find the Servants.
     “Soft-hearted boy,” Basalt grumbled fondly.
     “It’s where he belongs,” Flint said. She wasn’t sure when she had become the de facto head of this family. It had come about like an icicle forming from a single drop of water. The day her mother died, that drop had started and even though she was the youngest, she’d taken it all on.
     “Not a calling I’d choose for anyone,” Coal mumbled.
     “He’s kind and honest,” Flint said. “That’s who I want to hold my hand when I’m dying.”
     Her brothers grumbled their agreement uneasily. She wasn’t sure if it was the topic of death in general or her death that had them so discomfited. She knew that she was the only thread left that kept them a family. If she raveled away, they would all trundle along in their separate lives without expending the energy to stay connected.
     She gave Coal a shirt also. This one she’d spent a lot of time thinking about. Coal didn’t need money. He was a skilled blacksmith and had built a good business for himself. What he needed was a woman in his life. So she’d made a shirt that showed off his broad shoulders and deep chest. She’d done some fine handwork on the collar and cuffs. The buttons were shiny brass from their father’s old uniform.
     Coal recognized them. She could tell by the way his eyes got misty. He was old enough to remember how their father was before the drink turned him dark. Something she’d only heard about, but never experienced for herself.
     “Thank you. This is a fine shirt,” Coal said
     For Basalt and Clay, she gave them the few useful items from the house and all the tools from the shed. “But what about you?” Clay asked. “Don’t you need…,” He waved at the yard unable to finish the sentence.
     “I’m leaving,” Flint said.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

High Barrens Map Reveal!

My first attempts at map making. This is probably the 3rd or 4th version.

This is the map of High Barrens in the world of Haroon. This covers most of the journey in the book.

____________________________________________________________________

Here's a look at the other countries where a bit of the action takes place. I will be adding these to the website soon.

High Barrens is on track for release on March 29th. It will probably go up for preorder the week before.

As usual, Alex has made a gorgeous cover for it. I'll be doing a cover reveal soon. Stay tuned!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Lots of Irons in the Fire!

The fantasy book that gave me fits has finally been finished. Whew. This whole thing has been a lot more complicated than I expected. It will be a stand-alone in a shared world with other books. I will have characters visit from one book to another, but each book with have a complete story.

The world is the Lands of Haroon. The book is High Barrens. It is on track to come out on March 29th. I am waiting to see what Alex comes up with for this cover. I'm sure he'll give me something great again. The final read thru is going pretty smoothly then off to the final edit for grammar and punctuation.

While High Barrens was out to my second-round reader, I started work on another Asher Blaine mystery. It was a lot of fun to get back into his world. I'm still sorting out the murder and perpetrator, a couple of red herrings and various backstories, but it's going pretty well. This one will be in a corn field in Kansas.

And even while I've got two books in flux, I kept getting ideas for the next adventure with Tillie and Angus. Although I had planned to get back to Hunter and Trash before that. Fingers crossed that allergy season doesn't take took great a toll this year!


Thursday, February 8, 2018

Spring! (Not Really)


It's one of those days where the sun is shining and I want to go play in the dirt.

But it's way too soon.

It's a cheating kind of day. Makes me feel like I should be putting seed in the ground...which is still partly frozen. And there's a chilly wind that reminds me it is only February.

I poked around the yard. Pruned some roses that had gotten badly overgrown. Pulled a couple of weeds. Everything is too wet to do much work out there. But I had to go out and feel the sun on my face after a week of gray skies and rain.

Found a lot of daffodils poking their green fingers out of the ground. Crocus, too. I want to pull back the leaves to look for more, but it's too soon. Sigh.

Hurry up spring!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Lessons Learned in Print

It only took 2 proofs this time around.

Since I only do this a few times a year and several months apart, I am always relearning the process. I was also a little sleep deprived due to another bout of insomnia. So when I realized I'd left a couple pages out, it took me over a day to figure out how to get them back in there. Sigh.

Print copies should be available all over, if not now, then in a day or two.

Sales for the series didn't blast off as they had when Gleanings came out. At first, I was disappointed. Then the trickle of sales continued through the rest of the month, making January the best month ever. Woohoo! I'll take that over a pop and fizzle any day.

Thanks to everyone who has invest in this series. I hope you enjoy book 4!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Back to Asher

When I finished Dark Deeds, I though I was saying good bye to the series. I had left Asher in a good place. It was time to move on to other things. But I forgot how much fun his story is to write.

I'm finally settling into a rhythm of writing, and I've discovered that I like to hop into different series. It helps me change gears and keep everything fresh. Starting in March, I will have four series in rotation now. However, I don't think I can produce four books a year. I'm set up for three this year, if I can learn to write faster, I'll try for four next year.

I struggled with two books last year which completely threw me off my stride. I don't think I scheduled in enough time for life-in-general. This time I have set up a whole year of writing with lots of wiggle room for anything that comes down the pike. And so far, I am a little ahead of myself, which is just amazing.

So Asher is off on another adventure. I'm only a couple thousand words into the draft and already I'm having a blast.

If all goes according to plan, it will be out in August.


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Last Chance to Get Lethal Seasons for 99c

Tomorrow Lethal Seasons - book 1 of A Changed World - will go back to normal price. Grab your copy for 99 cents now. Click here for a list of retailers.

Lessons Learned - book 4 of A Changed World - is now available at all retailers. Click here to find your favorite.

The next book coming out will be a high fantasy stand alone. I've got the release planned for late March unless something goes sideways. The toughest part is coming up - writing the blurb. This book was supposed to come out last year, but it had some issues. It's taken me awhile to find the proper ending. Now that I have that, I can push on the the next stage.

While that one is out to readers, I will be drafting the next Asher Blaine mystery. I had actually planned to go back to the Transmutation series, but Asher whispered in my ear that there was another murder about to happen. That book will possibly be out this fall.

Keep an eye on the blog or website for updates.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Cover Reveal!


Another wonderful cover from Alex Storer for book 4 of A Changed World.

Lessons Learned is now up for preorder at various retailers. You can check your favorite here. It will be on sale all over on January 18th.

If you haven't started the series yet, book 1 - Lethal Seasons - is only 99c until the 18th. See the list of retailers here.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

A Changed World - book1 - only 99c

Lethal Seasons is currently on sale for $0.99 on all retailers. Visit my website for a list of them. Click here. It will be discounted thru to the 18th when book 4 comes out. Then it will go back to the regular price.

Book 2, Scattered Seeds, will be loaded into the new retailers today and should be available all over by this weekend. I will load links into the website as soon it goes live on the other sites.

Book 3, Gleanings, will be loaded into the new retailers next week and should be available all over by next weekend.

Book 4, Lessons Learned, will be released on the 18th. It should be available all over at that time. I've got a cover reveal here on the blog on the 11th, and it will be available for pre-sales at that time. So come on back to get a peek at the latest wonderful cover from Alex Storer.