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  • A Tiny Present

    My tiny little present to you is a playlist of some of my favorite Christmas/holiday songs. Some are traditional favorites with a twist, others aren’t traditional at all. I hope you enjoy them!

     

  • Thankful place setting

    Do you even turkey, bro?

    I don’t know what’s happening here, but the turkey looks rightfully concerned.

    If you’re in the US, and you celebrate, happy Thanksgiving! I’m doing this a day early because tomorrow I’ll be sleeping in and then cooking one side dish for our small family get together. My brother is hosting, so most of the cooking is on him and my sister-in-law.

    If you’re heading to a get together that could get awkward, or even ugly, remember Captain Awkward has some great scripts so you can be prepared. I’ve linked to the family category, but all her stuff is amazing. Truly the no bullshit advice columnist we all need. Also, take care of you.

    If you aren’t in the US, you should totally try some green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, and pecan pie.

    In either case, have a great day! If you can’t think of anything to be grateful for, remember that I’m grateful for you.

  • October!

    October is my favorite month. Not only is it home to my favorite holiday Halloween, it’s also the month of my birthday, my mom’s birthday and my anniversary. October is full of good things for me. I even (inadvertently) have Halloween cats!

    Agent Floofy Buttkins and Rorschach. It's so far proven impossible to get a good picture of them both at the same time.
    So big good things in October. I also tend to reexamine goals and set new ones. Refresh and hit the reset button. This October, I’m hitting the reset button on my writing. Not entirely, but I’m giving my books and newsletter a makeover and adding a few secrets for subscribers.
     
    Along with all that, I still need to get some pumpkins and run to Costco for candy. Our neighborhood is hit or miss for big numbers of trick-or-treaters. Some years we run out early, and some years we’re eating fun-sized candy bars well past Christmas.
     
    I’m not sure I’ll have time to make a new costume this year, and right now, both kids are saying they don’t want to trick-or-treat, which makes me sad. I’m hoping they change their minds. Even if they don’t want to troll the neighborhood for candy, they have fun handing it out to the kids who visit our house.
     
    The critters are covered since I picked up a cardboard haunted house with a scratcher floor for the cats and a skeleton sweatshirt for the dog at Aldi. Their “finds” section gets me every time.
     

    What are you dressing up as for Halloween?

  • This keeps happening

    Meet Rorschach.*

    I actually do have book type things to tell you, but first: cat.

    Sterling, my sweet summer child, ended up being very, very sick. He would sneeze in fits, the end of his nose was torn up, and his lymph nodes were swollen. Just about every 30 days we were giving him the FIV/FeLV combo test, and the third one came back positive for FeLV. Unlike FIV, where infected cats can live normal, happy and healthy lives, feline leukemia virus is a bitch of a disease. Unfortunately, Sterling’s infection progressed rapidly into lymphoma and his quality of life tanked.

    I am so grateful to have given him a home for four months where he was loved and lavished with affection. He certainly gave me years worth of love in return.

    Out of that sadness came more love! Though I have had tuxedos, Rorschach is my first all black cat. Along with Agent Floofy Buttkins, I can say I have Halloween cats. 🙂 I brought him home yesterday and as you can see, he’s settling in quite nicely.

    If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, prepare to be inundated with (more) pictures of all three animal writing assistants.

    And now the book stuff!

    If you haven’t grabbed a 99c copy of Brimstone Born or Born of Ashes yet, be sure to get one before the weekend is over! Monday morning they will go back to their regular price ($2.99).

    You’ll also want to get signed up for my newsletter (handy box is on the upper right ➹) so you can gain access to the new secrets page. All sorts of fun stuff is going there, like free short stories, world maps, character lists, behind the scenes pictures and info… basically it’s your all-access pass to insider goodies.

    Hermann Rorschach c.1910

    * I totally had to look up how to spell Hermann Rorschach’s name correctly and in so doing, saw a picture of him. I’d always pictured some stodgy old dude with a creepy mustache (totally looking at you Nietzsche), but as befits my handsome boy, he is actually a historical hottie.

  • Team Building/Born of Ashes updates

    With the Born of Ashes release approaching quickly (preorders will be available May 7th!) I decided to put together an ARC team. Read all about it and apply to join on the oh-so-cleverly titled ARC team page.

    I’ll be sending ARCs of Brimstone Born first, with reviews due on May 13th. Those team members who’d like to continue the series will then be sent an ARC of Born of Ashes.

    To get you all caught up before Born of Ashes releases, Brimstone Born will go on sale for $.99 on May 11th.

    TL;DR:

    • Join the ARC team!
    • Preorders for Born of Ashes available May 7th, with the release date set for May 14th.
    • Brimstone Born available for $.99 for a limited time starting May 11th.
  • Finished the Cover!

    I’m pretty pleased with how the cover for Born of Ashes, empyrean book 2, has turned out. I wish she featured more prominently, but my feedback crew (and I) didn’t like the way it looked with Arathusa’s wings not fully visible. Even so I think she looks pretty badass.

    Now I’m working on the blurb for the back cover. Summarizing a ~70,000 word book into ~100 words that gives you an idea what it’s about without spoiling the whole story is hard. It’s honestly the hardest part of the whole process for me.

    I’m also working on maps to include in this and future empyrean series books. You’ll be traveling to a few more realms you didn’t visit in Brimstone Born, and I think a map might be helpful. Once the Empyrean map is finished I plan to make them for each individual realm as well. I’ll be putting those up on the Super Secret Page of Awesome as they’re finished (gain access to that by signing up for the newsletter ~>).

    What do you think, is there anything that needs tweaking on the cover? Let me know!

  • Too many stories…

    As my editor scalpels Born of Ashes with red ink I’ve been trying to decide which series to start next. (Empyrean book 3 is already underway, but sometimes to keep the word fires burning I need to switch to a different story for a bit.)

    Since I have a horrible aversion to making decisions, I will put it to you.

    [forminator_poll id="759"]

    P.S. I kind of love my cow. I’ve named him Herman. I’ll have to work Herman into the story somehow. Anybody know why aliens abduct cows anyway? Seriously, why is it always a cow?

  • And then this happened…

    Meet Agent Floofy Buttkins.

    After buckets of tears I did what was right for Dr. Krieger and placed him back into the loving care of the Furkids FIV+ suite. I loved him dearly, but it became obvious that he wasn’t happy with us. He was definitely a throw back Siamese. Way back to the guarding temples era. My husband said he’d made the entire house his temple, I was his monk, and every other person in the house was a ninja trying to sneak in. He would get frustrated with me because I was doing absolutely nothing to help him protect me.

    The incredibly kind Furkids volunteers and their dedication to finding him the perfect home (one where he can be the only four legged resident) is the only reason I was able to leave him. He is amazing and will make someone incredibly happy.

    As luck would have it one of the volunteers contacted me within a week. She was fostering a big orange kitty who just so happened to be on my initial short list. She asked if I wanted to come meet him so of course I said yes. He is a giant floofball of love. His fur is softer than a chinchilla. I never thought we’d find a cat more laid back than Sterling, but we have.

    He has toe floofs. TOE FLOOFS. I am so incredibly honored that his foster mom chose us for his forever family. I now have two, perfect house panthers to trap me in my chair and make me write, and one goofy dog to make sure I take breaks.

    When I was younger, mom and I had a Manx named Hika. At the very end of her nose, right where the fur stopped, she had a darker bit. I can’t tell you how long mom and I scrubbed at that poor cat’s nose with washcloths before we realized it was part of her fur.

    I caught myself doing the same thing with those two dots at the corner of his left eye. They look like dried wet food, or eye boogers, but I suspect they are darker fur or maybe freckles. I’m not entirely convinced in either direction, but seeing as how he’s had the same two dots in the same place since I first saw him back in December, I’m leaning toward it being part of him. In any case, I’m certain he’ll be relieved when I stop trying to scrub them off.

    Pictures of Agent will join those of Sterling and Mouse in their domination of my Twitter and Instagram.

  • This also happened.

    Turns out I can’t go very long without a purring fluffball lap warmer.

    Mr. Sterling

    Dr. Krieger

    I was going into purr withdrawl so I told my husband I was getting a cat. He’s not a cat person and wasn’t thrilled, but he knows who he married. LOL I searched high and low for another Manx, but the few I found weren’t lap cats and that’s one trait I wasn’t willing to compromise on. I actually looked at breeders of American Bobtails and Desert Lynx at one point but the reputable ones want $600+ for a kitten. I have nothing against responsible breeders, but no.

    I added big cats, like Maine Coons, to my search. Two rescues kept coming up in my Petfinder over and over, so I decided to just go and spend some time with the kits and see if anyone adopted me. I filled out applications and got pre-approved with both before going. Both are “cage free” so the cats roam their space.

    I got to the first one before they officially opened (after coordinating with them to do so). I walked through all of the different rooms, discussed possible fits with the volunteers and spent a good deal of time with a huge ginger they’d rescued from Qatar. When I got ready to go none of the kits had really laid a claim, so I told them I’d take some time and maybe come back that weekend when fostered kits would be there.

    They spent the next 10 minutes pressuring me to make a decision. “Which one are you taking home today?” “Who’s she adopting?” “Let’s get this paperwork filled out.” Etc. It killed any desire I had to adopt from them.

    I moved on to the next rescue, FurKids, where I met Adoption Counselor* Erika. She is personable, no pressure, and most importantly, she listened to what I wanted. She walked me around the facility to the different rooms. When I said I was fairly open, but would prefer a big male, she asked if I would consider adopting a FIV+ cat.

    I had done research on the virus earlier when a Manx I was considering had tested positive. I knew that I have the time, wherewithal, and space to care for a positive kitty. So I said sure. When we entered the room Krieger poked his head out from his hiding place behind a couch and I was instantly smitten. I had no idea such a thing as a Lynx Point Siamese existed, and the sheer beauty of this creature took my breath away. Then he came out, head bumped me, and then promptly went back into hiding. He became mine at that moment.

    Then it became a question of who else I’d take. I narrowed it to three, and then decided to come back the next day hoping to talk to the volunteer who worked that room. He had left earlier, but his wife was still there and she called him. They conflabbed and of my choices they said Sterling had the least chance of being adopted. He was super sweet and chill, but didn’t have the big personality and drive to put himself out there that the rest of my short list had.

    I adopted them both the same night and scheduled to pick them up the next Monday.

    Behavior in a shelter – even an excellent one – is not an indicator of how they’ll be when they get home. Sterling is only a year old but in the shelter I would have sworn he was an old man. After just a few hours at home he was out and asking for pets. Krieger soon followed and has turned out to be pretty bold. Not at all like the shy, hiding scaredy cat seen in the shelter. Neither of them are enthused about the dog, but I’m not too worried. They are big, full grown cats and Mouse is respectful of the teeth and claws even though he still gets too excited to play and snort them.

    TL;DR We got two new cats. Expect lots of pictures of the new writing assistants.

    *Not sure why, but this title cracks me up.

  • So this happened…

    The paperback version of Brimstone Born is available on Amazon! I can’t tell you how it feels to hold your actual book in your actual hands. Unless you’re also published, so you already know. It’s a flabbergasting, gibbity gobbet, amazing and terrifying thing. I’m so grateful for all the support on this journey, and can’t wait until I have the whole series lined up on my shelf!

    http://amzn.to/empyrean1pb