Tag Archives: young adult

Release Day! #ebook #books #NewRelease #YA

Portland has a mutant cockroach problem.

Book 4 of the Spirit Knights series is a real thing, not just a cover anymore. The pre-order has been 99 cents, and the actuality is now still 99 cents until I wake up tomorrow morning (3/22) and change it to regular price.

Ghost Is the New Normal picks up where Ethereal Entanglements left off, finishing up the Thanksgiving weekend. Now, even more to be thankful for! If you’re new to the series, the series kicks off with Girls Can’t Be Knights. This series is also available in audiobook. Book 4’s audio releases one week from today, on the 28th.

And remember, be kind to your indies: leave reviews! You don’t have to wax poetic or barf out paragraphs about it, just leave a sentence or two about the things you loved (or hated) the most.


Cover Reveal and Pre-Order: Ghost Is the New Normal


Book 4 is a real thing with a real release date: March 21, 2017. It has a pre-order at only 99 cents (this price will only last until March 22!), and it’s all ready to go so I can have copies in hand for Norwescon (Seatac, April 13-16). The audiobook is scheduled for release one week later, on March 28. I’m excited about this one because it has giant mutant cockroaches. And also ghosts and dragons, of course.

Claire has a big problem, Drew has a smaller problem, and Justin gets to have some fun. Iulia causes trouble. Avery is sensible. Enion remains adorable and Tariel is still the only real grownup in the room. If you’re new to this series, check out where it begins with Girls Can’t Be Knights, available in ebook, paperback, and audio!

With this book’s release on the horizon, I can now also officially state for the record that the Spirit Knights series will have a total of 5 books. That’s right, Number Five will be Number Last for the series. But that’s not the last you’ll see of Claire, Drew, Justin, and the rest of the crew. Claire and Justin kind of already aren’t Spirit Knights anymore, you see. I freely admit that this series began with a book I wasn’t expecting to make into a series. It’s gone places I didn’t really foresee. As such, the series title doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense anymore.

Which is why, following book 5 of Spirit Knights, I’m shifting to a different line of attack with this stuff. There will be more stories, some about Claire and some not. They’ll all take place in the same world where Portland is extra-weird. But they won’t all take place in Portland, or even in the PNW. I’m looking forward to spending time with the kind of people affected by [spoiler] [spoiler], and [spoiler].

Spring Fever!

I’m contractually obligated to remind folks that Backyard Dragons releases this Friday. If you’re interested, I strongly recommend reading Girls Can’t Be Knights first, as Dragons is a sequel. CAUTION: This is Young Adult Urban Fantasy WITH NO ROMANCE. Seriously, there’s no romance. Please don’t read it and get mad there’s no romance, because there’s no romance. It’s an ACTION/ADVENTURE series with a female protagonist.

I also must point out that Working the Table: An Indie Author’s Guide to Conventions is now available in paperback. The ebook version will be available whenever Amazon is able to figure out why their system is spazzing over the file. Hopefully, by the end of this week. If you have any interest in pimping your own books at events, this book can help you make your first event more of a success than a “learning experience”*.

With that stuff out of the way, Spring is springing where I live. This weekend, we had gorgeous weather here in the PNW. After spending the past five months chained to my laptop, working nearly nonstop on Backyard Dragons, a handful of anthology submissions, book 4 of The Greatest Sin, Chowndie, Ethereal Entanglements, and the next Ilauris book, I set it down. For, like a half an hour. I went outside. There was this bright, yellowish thing in the weirdly blue sky.


The view out the window of my office. And when I say “office,” I mean “bedroom.” You may hate me for working from my beanbag if you so choose. You may also gape at what we in the PNW mean when we say “clear skies.”

I had to check the internet to find out that’s what the sky looks like when it’s not cloudy or raining. Who knew, amIright? Apparently, that bright light thing is called “the sun,” which seems kind of a silly name to me, but I’m not in charge of things like that. I prefer “daystar” or “cancerlight.”

Since the weather was so pleasant–all the way into the 60s–I went out and did some gardening. Okay, I really only planted four bulbs I picked up at the Portland Home & Garden Show. I’m taking a chance on an oriental lily this year. According to the saleswoman, whose business happens to be about five miles from my house (because of course I drove over 100 miles to discover a business where I live), they don’t get red lily beetle here. Allegedly. We’ll see. The rest of the bulbs were daylilies which are sort of my gardening chocolate. As opposed to actual chocolate, which is my writing chocolate.

I feel it’s only fair at the point in the year to warn people who enjoy my spring and summer Ragbrai-related posts that I’ve decided not to go this year. Don’t panic. I’m not dying and have had no major injuries. This year, instead of journeying to Iowa for the best week in the multiverse, Jeffrey Cook and I are embarking on a midwest road trip convention tour under the Clockwork Dragon banner. The timing of the cons we’re working makes Ragbrai impossible. I’m hoping to get back to the corn in 2017. I’ll probably still talk about it, because no matter how awful Ragbrai is, it’s still the best vacation ever.

P.S. You really should read Knights before Dragons. I’m not kidding. Will Dragons make sense without? Sure. In the same way Empire Strikes Back makes sense without A New Hope. See? Grab Knights first. Then brace for Ethereal Entanglements this summer, which is book 3 in the series.

*Notice how I’m not guaranteeing you’ll have the bestest first event ever. I’m not a huckster trying to profit from your hopes and/or dreams. I just want vendor rooms to be great places and am perfectly happy to share my experiences to help others. Jeff feels the same way.

Learning Curve #amwriting

Top 10 Lessons I learned from writing Backyard Dragons, my 11th self-published book, 2nd in a series of…3 or 4. Or maybe 6. We’ll see.

  1. High price editors who can take you on short notice are probably not worth it.
  2. When an editor either doesn’t ask or doesn’t say what they use upfront, always specify your preferred editing style (Chicago, AP, British, or otherwise) when handing over a manuscript.
  3. Selecting a release date three months in advance can be fraught with peril.
  4. Line editors should not be relied upon for content editing. They miss information while focusing on grammar.
  5. Good cover design is not hard, it’s just a matter of knowledge tempered by experience. A good eye helps a lot, as does a second opinion. So, it’s hard.
  6. I’ve been using certain commas wrong for at least 30 years.
  7. Always check the manuscript for ‘the the’ and ‘and and’.
  8. When an editor isn’t a member of the intended audience, take all their advice and commentary with a thousand grains of salt. Spoiler alert: adult men may not like this book that was written for young (in age and at heart) women.
  9. Readers unfamiliar with book 1 will generally be confused by the little things in book 2+ and there’s only so much I can do about that.
  10. I hate deadlines. (Just kidding, I already knew that.)

Backyard Dragons is the sequel to Girls Can’t Be Knights, and it’ll make a lot more sense if you read that book first. It’s now available in paperback and the ebook is available for pre-order with a release date of March 11, 2016. It’s also available on Kobo and iTunes.

Cover Reveal: 3 At Once

DamselECoverThis brilliant new cover for one of my older books comes courtesy of Kirbi Fagan. She did a fantastic job, and I’m pleased to have been able to find a female illustrator for this project.

Despite this not being quite her usual milieu, she did a phenomenal job and I couldn’t be happier.

I’ll have copies with both covers for a little while. Until I run out, I’ll be offering the old ones at a discount. There’s nothing truly wrong with those books, they’ve just got the old cover. If you see me at an event and want the old cover version, ask and I’ll pull one out of the secret stash under the table.


My very first book, Dragons In Pieces, is also getting a facelift. As with Damsel In Distress, the previous cover art was nice, but not right for the book. This one is much more appropriate for its genre. It’s also cool.

Keith Draws handled this one, and he’s also working on Chains and Flight, so more reveals will come soon! I still have copies of the old version of this one too.

SK2ECoverAnd finally, the new book! Backyard Dragons is scheduled for release on March 18th. It’s the sequel to Girls Can’t Be Knights, my young adult urban fantasy story about Claire, the first ever girl to become a Spirit Knight in its two-thousand-year-plus history. Justin, her mentor, is having a rough day. Claire’s isn’t so hot either. But, dragons!

This fun cover was designed by the talented Lia Rees, someone I met through Writerpunk Press.

2016 is shaping up to be an exciting year full of even more changes, appearances, and books than 2017! I’m thrilled to be buckling down for the last edits on Backyard Dragons this week and next, then diving into the fourth book of The Greatest Sin, which will hopefully be out in time to take to GenCon. With luck, the third Spirit Knights book, Ethereal Entanglements, will be hot on its heels.

Next Stop: @RustyConWA

OrcaCon wiped me out. I didn’t even spend all weekend there and I came home so tired I could barely think straight. Thus, a post about it in the afternoon instead of the morning. We had a very good time in Everett and are looking forward to participating again next year. The staff and volunteers did an incredible job organizing a first-year con that felt like it had learned all its mistakes five years ago. As a result, it was a great way to start the new year.

Rustycon33This weekend is RustyCon, an established convention held in Seatac. This is RustyCon’s 33rd year, and we have good feelings about it, even with its infamy. I’ll be in the Marketplace with Jeff, offering books under the Clockwork Dragon banner.

We’re hoping to have copies of Jeff’s latest release, Street Fair, the second book in the Fair Folk Chronicles. Coming soon: a cover reveal for Backyard Dragons. After many trials and travails, the book is on target for a release at FLYA in Portland, a one-day Young Adult centric convention in mid-March.

I have some anthology submissions to finish up, then it’s on to the third book in the Spirit Knights series, Ethereal Entanglements. Hopefully, that book will released in time to take to GenCon this year. Along with it, this spring holds more new releases and more conventions. In 2016, I’ll be a busy bee!

Girls Can’t Be Knights Cover Reveal

You’ve seen the blurb before. This book leaves the stable on June 12th. It’ll be available for pre-order starting June 3rd. Girls Can’t Be Knights is packed full of stuff in a compact, easy-to-devour form. It has ghosts, family, sarcasm, daddy issues, police brutality, callous disregard for authority, sarcasm, and adorable little girls in pink tutus with stuffed unicorns.

Claire likes her socks mismatched and her memories tucked safely out of reach. Justin suffers from an excessive level of sass in his life. Together, they aren’t going to fall in love, but he will teach her what it means to be a Spirit Knight, even if it kills them both.

Chapter by Chapter, a wonderful YA blog, is running a giveaway for this book until June 4th. Good stuff.