Tag Archives: forthcoming novel

Sprinting To The End #NaNoWriMo

At this point, my final NaNo wordcount is looking to be around 90k. Some of those words were easy, and others were hard. I contended with two conventions and one conference, and also the first anniversary of my father’s passing. For an extra challenge, a friend with terminal cancer passed last week when I thought she still had a few more months, and I’ve had some in-house medical drama here.

If you’re a Greatest Sin fan, the medical drama was not about my health. I promise that, though I have a cold right now, I’m fine. Erik is fine too. Yes, I’m drinking plenty of fluids and taking care of myself.

Anyway, I’ll finish the current book later today, most likely, and then see if I can bang out a short story or two between then and Thursday.

If you’ve won or are about to, congrats! I hope you enjoy/ed the congratulatory video.

If you didn’t win and don’t think you will, I feel your pain. Those who’ve been following along already know my basic advice. To sum up: don’t be hard on yourself.

For those who didn’t finish the story, regardless of your wordcount, I recommend keeping on with the keeping on until you finish the story. After November, don’t neglect the rest of your life, but carve out a little time for you and your new writing habit. If 500 words per day fits into your life, then write 500 words per day.

For myself, I have to get back to a bunch of things I let fall by the wayside. On Friday, I have a mountain of tasks to tend, including some long-ignored gaming. Then I have a bunch of planning to work on for 2018.

Whatever you like from my catalog, there will be something for you in 2018. Darkside Seattle: Mechanic will be out soon. Knights 5 has a firm release date of March 27, with a cover reveal coming soon. The Greatest Sin #6 is slated for a soft release date (meaning it might slip) in late May. If all goes well, the next Ilauris book will release in October 2018, and another Darkside Seattle will follow shortly after. For all the supers fans, my next supers book has a soft release date in early July (though it doesn’t involve Bobby and the gang). I have other projects, but can’t commit to any release dates (not even soft ones) for any of them yet.

I’ll also have a bunch of short stories for ya’ll, and I’ve got some stuff in upcoming anthologies. Watch for announcements about Undercurrents, Hideous Progeny, and more! If we’re lucky, we’ll also have Clockwork Conjurations next fall.

What else is on the horizon? Clockwork Dragon, the author’s co-op I co-founded, will open up a Patreon in January. The goal of our Patreon will be to help us pay for our event tables, which will give us breathing room to cut back a little bit on the events and write even more. And that’s really what we all want–more stories. Link coming soon! I hope you’ll consider spending a few bucks to support a group of four indie authors that happens to include me.

Which is to say that November’s fun is about to give way to real life. I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving!

Girls Can’t Be Knights: Coming soon #YA

Portland has a ghost problem.

Sixteen-year-old Claire wants her father back. His death left her only memories and an empty locket. After six difficult years in foster care, her vocabulary no longer includes “hope” and “trust”.

Everything changes when Justin rides his magical horse into her path and takes her under his wing. Like the rest of the elite men who serve as Spirit Knights, he hunts restless ghosts that devour the living.

When an evil spirit threatens Claire’s life, she’ll need Justin’s help to survive. And how could she bear the Knights’ mark on her soul? Everybody knows Girls Can’t Be Knights.

So goes the blurb for my next book, a Young Adult Urban Paranormal Adventure published by Myrddin Publishing. Like many Book 1s, this is an origin story. This is the book I tried to write as Justin’s story and failed because I liked Claire enough to elevate her to main character. But I also liked Justin. So, it’s about both of them. She’s the ingenue, he’s the mentor. They don’t fall in love, because he’s 24 and she’s 16, and that’s gross. Ew.

I chose Portland as the setting because it’s the only place I could think of that meets all the following criteria:

1. I’ve been there.
2. I can go there with relative ease to investigate specific locales.
3. It has lots of trees, and I like green.
4. Everyone knows it’s a weird place.

Lots of places fit 1-3, but only Portland covers all 4. Why did I need a place known for being weird? Justin takes the whole “Knight” thing seriously. He wears armor, wields a sword, and rides a horse. While he could do that anywhere, only in Portland could he do that without attracting a ton of attention.

Cover reveal coming soon!

Harbinger #Excerpt

We’ve got a final draft, folks. Probably. Barring squirrel attacks and other natural disasters. I present for your enjoyment the opening of the book.

The Greatest Sin #2: Harbinger

Chapter 1


Chavali did not consider this a proper response to the current situation. Why Eldrack sent her with this madman, she had no idea, because he clearly suffered from at least four kinds of derangement. Although she’d carefully avoided touching him, and thus hadn’t sampled his thoughts, he played the part of a lunatic more than half the time. Such as now.

“This is a grand opportunity to get some hands-on experience with everything you’ve been practicing, Chavali.” Algie smiled brightly, holding his hands up in surrender. He did this because three men with blades held weapons on the pair of them. Another two stood in the tall grasses off the side of the road with bows ready to fire.

Chavali held her hands up, too, facing the five men. “Is it?” Although she had no intention whatsoever of giving anything up to some band of thieves, Algie’s desire to fight them left a sour taste in her mouth.

“Yes,” the more senior Fallen nodded gleefully, “I think so.”

“Shut up,” the apparent leader snarled as he approached. “Quit yer yapping, halfbreed, and hand over what you’ve got.”

“His manners are quite poor,” Chavali observed dryly. She had fear of these men. If any of them had great skill, they wouldn’t be out here, harassing travelers for whatever coin they might carry. Choosing her and Algie as targets did give her concerns about how far they might go, given they had neither horses nor any other outward signs of wealth. Care needed to be employed. Algie might not agree.

“This,” the leader shouted, “is a robbery! You give us whatever you have, and we let you live!” He desperately wanted them to take him seriously. Desperately.

Instead of doing so, Chavali lowered her hands and clenched them into fists, which she planted on her hips. “So you say. What if we intend to rob you instead?” Her eyes flicked about, noting the position of the sun in the cloudless sky, judging the distance to a stand of trees nearby, and considering if that low hill ahead might be close enough to use somehow.

“We certainly could,” Algie agreed, sounding serious and thoughtful for the first time since they left the Tower yesterday. “I could take three of them, that leaves two for you. You can take two of these idiots. Rush the archers and I’ll handle the rest.”

The leader’s eyes popped with indignation. “You can’t just stand there and discuss-” He made an angry, frustrated noise. “Tactics!” The word exploded from his mouth. “You’re talking about tactics for fighting us right in front of us!”

Snaking her hand out, Chavali patted the leader’s cheek hard enough to smart. “You poor thing. All out of control and about to die.” In the brief snatch of contact, the spirits showed her his thoughts: no different from his words and actions. This bandit bit off more than he could chew and groped for how to handle it without losing face among his men. They wouldn’t follow a leader who couldn’t lead.

Algie took that as a signal and wrapped an arm around her waist. A blast of magical power pushed outward from them, knocking the three men back on the dusty road. He shoved her towards the archers, and since she expected it, she used the momentum he provided to throw herself at the remaining two men. Too stunned to react, the idiots stood there as she plowed into both – one with a shoulder and arm, the other with her hip and knee.

Tumbling to the ground with them, she pulled her knife and rolled to be clear if either managed to attack in return. One of the archers hit his head hard enough to make him slow to stir. The other dropped his bow and rolled onto his hands and knees. “Head up, Chavali,” Algie called out cheerfully, “don’t lose your advantage!”

She ignored him and flung herself at the archer again, keeping him on the ground with her. All she’d learned so far covered only the most basic ways to use the small blade in her hand. If it got to be a fair fight, it wouldn’t go well for her.

Announcing The Greatest Sin #2: Harbinger

Oh. My. Goodness.

I had high hopes for this summer. Release Harbinger in August. Finish the next Ilauris-based book. Finish the next Bobby book. Read a lot.

Yeah, none of that happened. Instead, I had the most stressful yet awesome three weeks EVER as I not only sent my kids off for longer than we’ve ever been apart before, but also moved from the right coast to the left and did Ragbrai in the middle. So many details! So many annoyances! So many surprises!

For the record, Idaho is the scariest fricking place to drive on the highway in the universe.

But that was weeks ago. I’ve finally settled in and gotten back to work. Everything is happening later than I wanted. It is, however, still happening. Case in point: Harbinger is real, and it’s in the final editing stages. More importantly, we have a cover.

Take *your time* is how it felt sometimes

Blue! The last cover was black. This one is blue. Blue happens to be my son’s favorite color, but that’s not why we picked it. Note the clever wordplay of ‘Take a plunge’ with both water and a knife on the cover. Isn’t that clever? Nod your head and agree to boost our egos.

Harbinger continues the tale of Chavali and the world of Tilzam. She’s settling into her new life and has brand new problems, idiots, and annoyances to deal with. As you might guess, there are knives and water involved. Some of both are metaphorical, because Erik and I are sneaky like that.

Excerpt coming soon…

The Greatest Sin #2: Harbinger

I’m pleased to announce that The Greatest Sin #2 has a title! The second installment of the series is called Harbinger, and it follows Chavali as she continues to adjust to her new life and job. This time, we venture to Ket, a city on the coast with a lot of problems. Chavali doesn’t actually care about any of those problems, but has to wade into them anyway to help discover the fate of an agent of The Fallen.

The story twists and turns through intrigue and danger. Spies! Knife fights! Illusions! Culture clash! Some really strange things happen, revealing more about the world of Tilzam and offering hints about the future of the series. And a future there will be, as Erik and I are already discussing pieces and parts for the next book.

We’re expecting to release Harbinger in August, and that’s fabulously exciting. Hopefully, we’ll be able to keep up the pace of two books per year. The first book, The Fallen, is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.

Up Next: Damsel In Distress

The book is done. More or less. Hopefully. Despite this being my fifth, it’s still nerve-wracking to proudly proclaim that I’ve finished tinkering and futzing with a book and am now moving on to formatting and finalizing the covers. Damsel In Distress will be out in March. Given the way that it works for indie authors, I can’t say exactly what day is “release day” at this point, but I can say that I’ll be formally announcing it through various channels on March 20th. So, there’s still time for me to have a crisis of confidence about Chapter [whatever] and change things.

This book already has a Goodreads page. Which is cool. I’m excited. As with Dragons In Flight, the print version cover will be a little bit different than the ebook version. Not a lot, but a little.

Introducing Damsel In Distress

My next book is a stand-alone fantasy novel called Damsel In Distress. It tells the story of a young woman’s descent into abuse and climb back out of it, while finding herself in the middle of a legend about a sword and a demon. She’s an extraordinary person I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for several years already, as she’s one of my favorite Dungeons & Dragons characters.

Before I say anything else about it, I would like to be very clear that I have never been subject to abuse. This book is not remotely an autobiography being told through a fantasy lens. Sabetia is not a stand-in for me any more than any other character I write is. In order to portray her as accurately as possible, I did a fair amount of research into the subject.

With that out of the way, this is not a book strictly about abuse. It’s about deeper things than that. When I originally conceived Sabetia, what I wanted to play was a gentle healer who shied away from the violence inherent in a typical fantasy environment, despite being forced to participate in it. She went through three iterations before becoming who she is in this book, and I’m really happy with the results. Spending so much time with a character really does make a difference in the final result for a writing project.

The full cast includes several men, all of whom want Sabetia to be or do something for them. Her struggle is to find a way free of that and become her own person, a separate and distinct individual. Survival is also kind of a challenge when swords and demons and cruelty get involved. Perhaps the most entertaining character, though, is one of the other women, Evi. A scholar with a sunny disposition, short attention span, and near-eidetic memory, she’s charming and delightful – the type of character that tends to steal whatever scene she’s in. I was so taken with her that I’ve included a preface from her point of view:

The story contained herein is a fictionalization of my collected notes regarding the Sword of Kailesce (pronounced ‘Kī -less’). While I have done what I can to ensure the facts of this account are true, much liberty has been taken, especially with dialogue, some of which I do not remember taking place despite being there. Likewise, I cannot say with certainty what anyone felt at the time, nor can the author. Further, I find the characterization of myself to be entirely inaccurate. I do not ‘bounce’, and never have. I also do not fill the air with idle chatter for hours on end. ‘Prattle’, indeed.

In fairness, it is true that I do prefer books to men.

-Evi Narien, Archive of Ar-Toriess

The remainder of the book, aside from the prologue, is told in third person, from Sabetia’s point of view. I expect to release it in late February.

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