Author Archives: Lee French

About Lee French

Lee French lives in Olympia, WA with two kids, two bicycles, and too much stuff. She is an avid gamer, casual bicyclist, and lackluster gardener. Most of her writing is done in a Beanbag of Comfort +4. Best known for her young adult urban fantasy series, SPIRIT KNIGHTS, Lee is an active member of SFWA, PNWA, and NIWA.

Doing Something, Even If It’s Not Much

As of sometime today, this month’s story is, as usual, no longer available for free. If you missed it, The Price of Tea is now available on Amazon and Kobo for $0.99USD.

Honored Sentinel Tester Ikumi Hane has served her country for decades without fail. Her greatest challenge has been the weather and her aging bones. Until now.

Who ever thought one little girl could cause so much trouble?

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It’s challenging to go on with the process of writing stories and trying to sell them while terrible things are happening in the world. Part of me wants to hide under the bed and write about fuzzy things with happy endings until the bad things go away and my friends stop arguing with each other about guns and mental illness.

The rest of me is aware that such behavior doesn’t make anything better. I’m not here to open up a dialogue on difficult subjects, though. Other people are better at it than me, and they’re doing an admirable job.

What I can do is make a few statements that I hope aren’t terribly controversial.

  • It helps no one if we continue to paint mental illness as dangerous. Most mental illnesses do not make people violent.
  • Mental health problems are not shameful.
  • Our culture in the US has serious problems and not enough willingness or courage among our “leaders” to face them.
  • No matter how much we may disagree on something, you and I are not so very different.
  • Nazis are bad.
  • Institutional racism is also bad.
  • Failure is not bad. Not learning from failure is bad. Repeating mistakes and expecting things to turn out differently is also bad.
  • Worrying more about blame than solving problems doesn’t change anything.
  • Consent is good. Enthusiastic consent is even better! Learning the difference requires interacting with other human beings and sometimes making mistakes, and then learning from those mistakes.

Go forth and be excellent, my friends.

#NewRelease: Darkside Seattle: Mechanic

It’s so pretty. All grease-stained and, hm, that could be dried blood. Maybe.

Mechanic–no relation to Jason Statham–is the third novella in the Darkside Seattle collection. This time, we dive into the barrio side of DeeSeat. Mead First controls the zone, but the Acosta family is its heart and soul.

Isabella Acosta counts as an elder in the barrio because she’s managed to survive to 39. She’s an honest auto mechanic who also chops cars because you do what you have to on the Darkside.

Someone wants to take advantage of her, and the moral flexibility that comes from growing up in DeeSeat. Isabella isn’t going to take that lying down.

Available on Amazon and Kobo, in ebook and print. Its first event will be Miyakocon 3 in Salem, OR.

Time To Start Getting That @RAGBRAI_IOWA Feeling #RAGBRAI

Ragbrai is my favorite thing to do by myself. It’s hard. It’s terrible. It’s wonderful. It’s insane.

I don’t change my biking look much from year to year.

See that smile? Look at that smile. That’s not my “Oh, I’m having my picture taken” smile. That’s my “This is the worst best thing ever!” smile.

This Saturday, January 27, while I’m in the Book Garden at the Tacoma Home & Garden Show, the fine folks running Ragbrai will announce the route. I’m excited!

…Except I can’t go this year.

*huge, dramatic sigh*

In addition to the struggle of job vs bike training, my mom needs me. Longtime readers know that my father passed away in November of 2016, a little over a year ago. He died one week shy of my parents’ 50th anniversary. My mom is now alone and has been struggling with that. So we’re going to take a trip together, and it’s going to be…a thing. It’ll be a thing.

Pop quiz! What’s the one time I can go on vacation?

If you guessed the last two weeks of July? DING, DING, DING, CONGRATULATIONS! You’re a winner!

And so, I’m not going in 2018. Odds are low I’ll return in 2019 or 2020, either, because the demands of my job keep getting bigger, not smaller. Being over 40 with knee (and wrist, and neck, and back) problems I’d prefer to keep minor, I may never return for another week in the corn.

But those five I had, man they were the worst best.

January Round-Up #amwriting #superheroes #cyberpunk

And look! There’s the branding for the superhero stories.

As promised, the January story is no longer available for free. If you missed it, Frigid Shame, a story from the Maze Beset universe, is now available on Amazon and Kobo for 99 cents.

Alice, a former medical school student turned ice-generating superhero, has some issues, and she needs to sort them out. Winter, it turns out, is her new favorite season, whether she likes it or not.

Next month’s story will take us to the Asian-inspired culture of Ilauris in a story titled The Price of Tea. If you’d like to make sure you find that story while it’s free, be sure to sign up for my newsletter, and you’ll get an email shortly after the story is posted every month. Link in the menu bar above.

In other news, the books of the Maze Beset trilogy have received a facelift. Again. Lots of folks complained because they liked the old blue cover for Dragons In Pieces. I heard you. That cover didn’t work because too many folks thought it said “epic fantasy,” but I’ve gone back to a simpler blue scheme, followed up with a simpler red scheme and a simpler green scheme.  Click through on the cover to find them all on Amazon.

If you purchased a copy of the yellow cover for the first book, I still have a few copies of the second and third, and will continue to bring them to shows until I run out for folks who want a matching set. I don’t have any more copies of the original red and white covers for book 2 & 3, though. There was an incident with an overwatered plant next to a cardboard box on my desk…and that was that for my small back stock of the old covers.

But wait! There’s more! The next Darkside Seattle novella is available for pre-order on both Amazon and Kobo.

Isabella lives in DeeSeat. She breathes it. People respect her family for doing the right thing and standing up when others would lay down and die. Even when it gets them killed.

Gangs rule DeeSeat, or so they want to believe. Isabella just wants to survive, and she’s tired of having to fight so hard for that.

Mechanic is the third novella, but you don’t have to read them in order. Street Doc, Fixer, and Mechanic each stand on their own. Next on my DeeSeat plate is Hacker, a story about a man with a VR problem.

And finally, if you like my stuff and want to help me out even more than just buying my books, Clockwork Dragon–the authors co-op I helped found and am part of–has launched a Patreon. We have no idea what we’re doing, but I’m sure we’ll figure it out. For just $5 a month, you’ll automatically get an ebook of every novel-length release from four different authors, myself included, at least two weeks in advance of the release. For 2018, we expect that to net you at least 7 books. Before publication.

Cheers!

Happy New Year 2018

Spirit Knights 5: Boys Can’t Be Witches is officially out of revisions. Probably. I have one more day to waffle over it before sending it for copyediting. There might be a few more minor tweaks. We’ll see. Cover reveal coming soon!

This marks the second time I’ve ended a series, the first being the Maze Beset trilogy. This time is different because it’s a 5 book series, and I didn’t go into it intending to write a series. I feel…unsettled, I suppose. Like I’m putting something behind me, which is something I have no trouble doing, but at the same time, it’s hard to walk away from a collection of characters who so obviously have cool things yet to do.

Currently, I have loose plans for three more books in the same world, but none of them featuring Claire as anything more than a background character. Hopefully, she won’t elbow her way into a starring or co-starring role for these. My feeling at the moment is Claire is done being a YA character. When I come back to her in the future, she’ll be an experienced adult, and the world will be a crazy place. A crazier place.

In other news, the exciting thing today is Clockwork Dragon’s new Patreon. In case you’re not already aware, Clockwork Dragon is an author’s co-op (or coop, which also seems appropriate to me) I helped found. Four of us penmonkeys throw all our books on a table at a bunch of shows and sell them together. It’s so much easier than all four of us going it alone. Our Patreon will help us work these shows without feeling so much of a crunch to push, push, push, push the books. The lower our effective costs for any given show, the more fun we can have, the more bills we can pay, and the more time we can spend writing, which is a win for everyone, because then you get more books.

If you’re not familiar with my fellow co-op authors, I present to you Jeffrey Cook, Nikki McCormack, and Sechin Tower, who are all amazing writers. I enjoy hawking their books at least as much, if not more, than my own.