Life, and all that.

It’s been a while, and I’m sorry about that, but I’ve been doing things! I really intended to post here more, it being winter break – I’m a university instructor – but break also seemed like a good time to cross a lot of things off my to-do list, so I did that, instead, and the blog fell by the wayside.

First of all, The Mage is out in both digital and paper forms. [Click!] Hurrah! It was delayed, but Amazon’s support teams were, well, supportive, and the technical difficulties have been surmounted.

Second, there’s a new project in the works, one unrelated to Lost Knowledge. I was teasing it all last year. The van Helsing Legacy: We Shall Not Sleep. There’ll be more information soon, and there are chapters beginning to go up for subscribers on Patreon.

Finally, this year is going to be a cyclone. We Shall Not Sleep will be coming out at some point in 2017, but I can’t yet venture a date. Instalments of No Cage for a Crow will also be releasing regularly. I intended to have Liminality #4, The Martyr out, too, but… I’ve been accepted to a PhD program. Elsewhere. This means that my year is going to be a sledgehammer-blow of seeking housing, seeking employment, moving, starting classes, starting a new day job, etc. I’m over the moon, of course, but I also have no illusions about the impact this will have on my time. It’s going to be greatly diminished, as will my disposable income, and publishing is both time-consuming and expensive.

The result is that everything, publication-wise, is up in the air. I will still be writing, though, and sharing that writing, so if you were thinking about contributing on Patreon, now would be a great time to sign up, to help me continue turning stories into books as my life changes course.

I’ll keep you updated as this journey continues. Wish me luck!

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Tuesday Teaser #31

Every Tuesday, I post a teaser for one of my current works in progress. I invite all of my writer buddies to join in!

The rules:
Post a link, image, quote, or excerpt related to or taken from your current WIP.
State the name of the WIP.
Do NOT explain yourself! Resist the urge to wax poetic. This is a hint, not an outline.

Liminality

So, I’ve been considering reorganizing the Liminality series at some point. Right now, this is just an idea.

Hear me out.

I’ve noticed a trend in feedback I’ve received on Liminality. The general consensus seems to be that The Medium is… dark. Dark and twisted. And it’s supposed to be, and plenty of people have liked that. But it’s losing people, too.

I’ve been thinking that, maybe, probably after the series is complete, I may make The Medium a supplemental volume, a prequel, and put The Mora first. This would require some rewriting as well as reordering.

Thoughts would certainly be welcome, either in the comments here or through my contact page.

Tuesday Teaser #30

Every Tuesday, I post a teaser for one of my current works in progress. I invite all of my writer buddies to join in!

The rules:
Post a link, image, quote, or excerpt related to or taken from your current WIP.
State the name of the WIP.
Do NOT explain yourself! Resist the urge to wax poetic. This is a hint, not an outline.

The Mage

Kim was fully prepared to avoid Daniel Leland for the rest of forever.

Tuesday Teaser #27

Every Tuesday, I post a teaser for one of my current works in progress. I invite all of my writer buddies to join in!

The rules:
Post a link, image, quote, or excerpt related to or taken from your current WIP.
State the name of the WIP.
Do NOT explain yourself! Resist the urge to wax poetic. This is a hint, not an outline.

The Mage

She smiled grimly. “Exactly. You are probably old enough to have noticed. There are more ghosts now than there were a hundred years ago, which was about the time it started. More unable to cross. When Charon vanished, parts of the Veil began to deteriorate, and now there are places that are almost impassable without the help of a medium.”

“I noticed. I thought it was just the population boom. There are more people now than there were then. More people, more dying, more ghosts.”

“I’m sure that’s part of it, but the fact is that something is badly wrong, too. There should not be so many more ghosts.”

Tuesday Teaser #26

Every Tuesday, I post a teaser for one of my current works in progress. I invite all of my writer buddies to join in!

The rules:
Post a link, image, quote, or excerpt related to or taken from your current WIP.
State the name of the WIP.
Do NOT explain yourself! Resist the urge to wax poetic. This is a hint, not an outline.

The Mage

A medium could not kill, so what was he?

Tuesday Teaser #25

Every Tuesday, I post a teaser for one of my current works in progress. I invite all of my writer buddies to join in!

The rules:
Post a link, image, quote, or excerpt related to or taken from your current WIP.
State the name of the WIP.
Do NOT explain yourself! Resist the urge to wax poetic. This is a hint, not an outline.

The Mage

He felt her coming before she reached him. It was an oppressive, almost crushing sensation, like a sound too miserably loud to be borne, the kind that rattles your bones and upsets your insides, but somehow silent.

The last time he had felt that, he had nearly died, eaten alive, his skin peeled away, eyes devoured. It had taken more than a year for him to recover fully from that, but a human would not have survived. He should not have survived, and he was not sure it was a good thing that he had. Survival meant he had to go through all this, now.

The pressure intensified until the little blonde figure pushed outside, head swiveling back and forth as it surveyed the street. Looking for him. Daniel shuddered, thinking that perhaps he should have gone wandering. He was nearly out of cigarettes, and another pack or two would have made the rest of the day a lot more bearable. It would have been better to get lost in Paris, making finding him more trouble than it was worth. But that might have annoyed her, and an annoyed Signe might take it into her head to level a city block, if that was what it took to get to whatever she wanted.

He hadn’t had the presence of mind to find someone who might need him to run errands. She could hardly object to him making himself useful.

Her faded blue eyes locked on him.

The books are back!

For a while, I played with Amazon exclusivity, and I concluded that I’d rather have them absolutely everywhere. So here they are! The exclusivity period is up, and everything is back where it belongs. If you’re a Nooker or an iPadian or a Koboite, or if you’ve got a Scribd subscription, you can find my work there now – and, in fact, they have all been slightly updated, correcting for some earlier formatting issues.

The Siren and Versos will be spreading around the internet soon, as well.

The Medium
Barnes & Noble
iBooks
Kobo
Smashwords
Scribd

The Mora
Barnes & Noble
iBooks
Kobo
Smashwords
Scribd

In the Shadow of the Mountains
Barnes & Noble
iBooks
Kobo
Smashwords
Scribd

The Wailing
Barnes & Noble
iBooks
Kobo
Smashwords
Scribd

The Mage – Preview

As NaNoWriMo progresses, I’d like to share a snippet of The Mage, Book 3 of the Liminality series.

San Antonio, Texas
1985

The teenager in the Mazda’s passenger seat kept her arms tightly folded and the headphones of her Walkman clamped down immovably over her ears. Her mother should have known better, really. You can’t force a fifteen-year-old to move away from all of her friends and expect her to be happy about it.

Somehow, though, that seemed to be exactly what her mother was expecting. She chattered away at the unresponsive girl. “And we’ll be able to go hang out on the Riverwalk,” she was saying, as though the San Antonio Riverwalk was the be-all, end-all reason for moving anywhere. “And we’ll be so much closer to your Aunt Cecilia, and there’s the Alamo, and the culture is just so unique… Kim, are you listening?”

Kim was not listening. She was rolling her thumb across the Walkman’s volume knob so she wouldn’t have to listen.

They followed the big moving truck around Loop 1604 and off into the wilds of San Antonio. It was virtually frontier land, Kim thought. It was tiny for something called a “city”. It would never hold a candle to Houston.

The truck snaked through a tangle of residential streets, beneath a similar tangle of dark, old live oaks. The ground was thick with their powdery, yellow-brown pollen. It lay on sidewalks and rooftops and completely coated any car that had been sitting still too long. It coated the square, gray house that waited where they pulled up, and the unkempt lantanas by the door. It was a ridiculously ugly house, and Kim was pretty sure that opinion had nothing to do with her desire to live somewhere else. It was legitimately awful. Other than small, regular windows, its face was completely featureless. It looked like a prison. Maybe that opinion wasn’t entirely unbiased.

Two big men and a bent-over old one slid out of the cab of the truck and began to unload, with the two muscly ones lifting and carrying and the old one directing. Kim found the room that was meant to be hers and stayed out of the way by sitting on the floor of the closet with her music and a book. It wasn’t even a good book, but it was the only one that had escaped the packing boxes. It was also a library book, and the odds were that Kim was never going to have a chance to return it, now. She had never not returned a library book, before. One more small misery to add to the growing list.

When the men were gone, Kim and her mother unpacked a few boxes, just until they found a pot and two bowls with which to serve their improvised dinner of macaroni and lunch meat.

Two towels and a rolled-up sweatshirt served for blankets and pillows until the bedding could be found.

Some neighbors arrived the next day. One elderly couple brought a blueberry cobbler as a welcome-to-the-neighborhood present. They exchanged phone numbers with Kim’s mom and obtained a detailed description of the family car, including license plate number, so that they could be on guard against trespassers. A young couple brought a bowl of black-eyed peas and a green bean casserole. They repeated the ritual. Lasagna arrived later in the day, borne by a middle-aged couple that seemed to fall almost exactly between the old and the young. Kim was bright and cheerful until everyone was gone, because she didn’t want anyone to think her a morose teenager, even if she actually was one.

When the unpacking was finished, Kim’s mom went to work, and Kim stayed behind with piles and piles of books. She saw to her own homeschooling, which wasn’t exactly legal, but what the authorities didn’t know wouldn’t hurt them. It was only for the end of the school year, anyway. She’d be back in high school come fall.

Besides, a young wizard’s education is a uniquely personal affair.

Math and science and history had their places on her shelves, but memorizing facts and formulas was easy for Kim. Magic was a lot more time consuming. The conventional wisdom was that only so much of it could be taught, and the rest had to be discovered in order to stick, and so Kim huddled in her room with a bag of chips and discovered.

The conventional wisdom, in Kim’s opinion, was crap. Her mom would have absolutely turned inside out if anyone had suggested teaching a teenager to drive by sticking her behind the wheel of a car and telling her to have at it, and if there was one thing that had been drilled into her head since birth, it was that there was absolutely nothing more dangerous than magic. It was like teaching a teenager to drive by sticking her in the cockpit of the Space Shuttle. Her cousins all got more guidance than she did, she was certain. But then, none of her cousins had mothers all set and lined up to take over North America’s most powerful Circle as soon as the patriarch decided he’d had enough.

Her cousins all had dads, too.

They had been in San Antonio about two weeks when the next-door neighbor got back to town. Kim was helping unload groceries from the trunk when a dark green Lincoln Continental coasted up into the next driveway. Its driver climbed out and ducked into the back seat to retrieve a battered brown suitcase. Then he straightened, shooting upward like a stalk of bamboo, tall and thin and wiry.

Kim gaped. He had to be six and a half feet tall, with his brown fedora pushing him toward seven. The afternoon light fragmented against the sharp angles of his narrow face, almost startlingly white beneath dark hair majestically winged with gray. Piercing, frost-pale eyes regarded her and her scrutiny with mild affront from behind wire-rimmed spectacles. A muscle twitched in his jaw, like a failed attempt at a smile.

He was spectacular. Spectacularly frightening. Sort of like her grandfather, Kim reflected.

“Good afternoon,” he said crisply, raising incredibly long, white fingertips to the brim of his hat. “Ma’am, Miss.”

English, Kim thought, or something like it. The ‘r’ was missing from ‘afternoon’, and ‘ma’am’ lengthened into ‘maahm’.

“Afternoon,” said Kim’s mom. Her fingers dug painfully into Kim’s upper arm and squeezed, pushing her toward the house.

Kim stumbled a step away and stopped. Her mother nudged her again, and she pushed back in irritation.

“Hi,” Kim said brightly. “I’m Kim, and this is my mom, Cindy. We just moved in while you were away.”

“Cynthia Reed,” her mom clarified. She gave Kim another discreet prod.

The man nodded, staring hard at Cynthia. “Daniel Leland,” he replied. “It’s a pleasure.” His sharp gaze traveled to Kim. “I think your mother wants you to go inside, Miss. It is usually best to do as your mother wants.”

Kim felt Cynthia stiffen beside her.

Daniel Leland’s thin lips twitched into an expression a little too sardonic to be called a smile. He locked his car and strode up the sidewalk to his front door, disappearing inside.

Cynthia seized the last remaining grocery bags, shut the trunk, herded her daughter inside, and locked the door.

“Holy beans, Mom,” Kim griped. “What the heck was that? I’m supposed to be polite, but you get to be a complete jerk to that man?”

Cynthia pressed her flat palm to the door and whispered a single word. Kim could feel the power that surged through the house’s walls, its windows, its roof, down into the foundation and the surrounding soil. It felt like caulk, something that was meant to stop up holes.

“That’s not a man,” Cynthia muttered. “Our neighbor is a vampire.”

 

Expect The Mage out some time in 2016. In the mean time, you can start the series with The MediumIt’s still only 99¢ for Kindle.

NanonanonanonanonanonanonanonanoWRIMO!

Forgive me; I cannot take the time out of my mad word rush to write a blog post of any length, so you get a photo, instead.

Behold! The Nano workspace!

That is coffee liqueur. All the writing utensils. Cough drops, just in case. And the ‘encouragement’ (by which I mean motivating stares of disapproval and accusation) of multiple saints.

Back to the book!

WriMo is Coming.

[Insert Dramatic Sean Bean Here.]

I’m doing it, friends. The plan is to have two complete drafts of two different books by the end of 2015.

I am working now on something very close to me, something that has been in the works for approximately four fifths of my life, now, if not a little longer. Agonizing to write, because it must be perfect. Not just solid, not just plot-hole-free, not just well edited and well structured, but perfect. (If I vanish abruptly and am never heard from again, you may assume that it sucked me in and didn’t let go and I have been subsumed into my own fiction. Rather a romantic concept, if only I could escape the fact that, in practical terms, this would probably involve a padded cell.)

November, however, will be set aside for The Mage. We’re getting there. I’m expecting this to be the halfway point of the Liminality series. In Book One, Lenny the Medium started things in motion. In Book Two, Jadwiga the Mora returned to the world of the living. Book Three, as the title may suggest, sees Kim the Mage come into her own at long last.

But, dear reader, the Shadows are closing in.

I’m expecting to have The Mage ready in late April or early May of 2016. It may interest you to know that my working title for Book Four is The Martyr.

I believe “Bwahaha” is the appropriate phrase.