Nocturnal Lives

Musings from the mind of Amanda S. Green – Mother, Writer, Possessed by Cats

Month: August 2017 (Page 1 of 2)

#Harvey,#Writing: On Writing and Harvey

This morning’s post will be short and sweet. Like many people around the country, especially here in Texas, my thoughts and prayers have been with all those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The images coming out of the Houston area, as well as Louisiana, have driven home how truly minor so many of the problems we tend to complain about really are. That includes the occasional whining this author makes about her evil muse. The writing happens, whether it is what I want it to be about or not. I have a roof over my head and I can — and have — made contributions to the relief effort.

On the writing front, the expanded version of Vengeance from Ashes is almost finished. Unless something jumps out at me today, the final count of new chapters will rest at four. There have been some new scenes included as well. I haven’t done a final word count, but my guess today is that it will come in somewhere between 15,000 – 20,000 additional words. These additions don’t change the plot of the book — or the series — any. They do, however, add to the story and, I hope, make it better.

Hopefully, I’ll be sending the new version out to my beta readers this weekend.

On the Hurricane Harvey front, Harvey continues to wreak havoc on the country. There is the potential for flooding today going all the way up to Ohio. The Houston area continues to suffer flooding and other issues related to having too much water in too small an area. We are also starting to feel the related problems such a natural catastrophe can wreak on the rest of the state and country. Gas prices in the DFW area have jumped $0.20 or more per gallon. Some gas stations have already run out of fuel while others find their supplies being  rationed by the corporate offices.

As an example, the Quiktrip I usually patronize, especially if it is before dawn (this lot is very well lit), ran out of gas last night. The store I went to this morning was down to approximately 700 gallons and the lines were starting at most of the pumps. It won’t be long before it, too, is out of gas and they don’t know when they will get a new supply.

But higher gas prices aren’t the only new development on the Hurricane Harvey front. The Arkema SA chemical plant in Crosby suffered several explosions today. A crew had been left to monitor the plant but they had to be evacuated as the floodwaters rose. While the chemicals involved aren’t toxic, at least that is the last report I heard, they are irritants and some several people, including first responders, had been transported for treatment

There have been other, less serious ways, Hurricane Harvey has impacted the state. The preseason football game between the Cowboys and the Houston Texans has been canceled. The Texans had already been practicing in Frisco because they were unable to return home to Houston. The game had been moved here as well because of Harvey. However, when they got word yesterday (iirc) they could finally get home, the decision was an easy one for all involved. The game was cancelled so the team could finally be with their families and see what they were dealing with. I will say,

We have, as a friend said a few moments ago, an interconnected economy. That means the impact of Harvey is going to be felt in many ways — beef prices because of the number of cattle killed in the flooding, prices of foods made of various grains grown in Texas, prices of items that come into the Port of Houston (and other impacted ports) that have either been lost in the storm or couldn’t come ashore. The list goes on.

We will recover but it will take time. It will also take patience and understanding. Most of all, it will take hard work. So this morning, I’m saying an extra prayer that calm heads prevail and Mother Nature decides to give us a break for awhile.

#Victory Girls: Trump, Harvey and Texans Overcoming

I am excited to be part of the Victory Girls blog. The women I blog with come from all over the country and aren’t afraid to give voice to the conservative point of view. To be included with them is an honor. While I will still talk politics here, most of my posts about politics, President Trump and similar topics will take place over there. But don’t fret. I’ll announce those posts here and on Facebook. In the meantime, please take a few minutes to check the blog out if you aren’t already familiar with it. I think you’ll find it well worth your time.

While you’re there, my first post is now live. As a Texan, it was only natural for that post to be one about the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Specifically, about President Trump’s visit to the state yesterday as well as notice that the Department of Transportation has already freed up monies to help repair roads and bridges damaged by the horrific flooding in Harvey’s aftermath.

President Trump Briefed on Harvey

President Trump and Melania, his wife, listened during a briefing on Tuesday about Hurricane Harvey relief efforts with local leadership and relief organizations at Fire Station 5 in Corpus Christi, Tex. (Photo Credit: DOUG MILLS / THE NEW YORK TIMES)

I was even good. Hey, it was my first post after all. I didn’t laugh at the reporters and social media mavens who were appalled by the First Lady’s high heels as she left the White House yesterday. I didn’t point out the very appropriate white tennis shoes she wore when she and the President landed in Corpus Christie. I didn’t even tell them to get a life when they got all butt hurt over the President’s ball cap or made fun of the cap Mrs. Trump wore. If that is all they can do, well, it shows how pathetic mainstream media has become.

Now I hear a cup of coffee calling my name. Until later!

A couple of quick notes

I’ll be back later with a full post, but there are a couple of notes I wanted to share this morning.

First, since it’s Tuesday, it’s my day to blog over at Mad Genius Club. As a Texan, my mind is on Houston and all the other communities that have been — or will be — impacted by Harvey. As a writer, I can’t help but look at what has been happening and drawing inspiration from it.

Second, and this is really exciting, I am going to start blogging over at Victory Girls. My first regularly scheduled post will be tomorrow. If you’ve never visited the blog, take a few minutes and head over to look around.

Finally, I should finish inputting the edits and new material into the expanded version of Vengeance from Ashes today or tomorrow. I haven’t done a final word count comparison but I am adding somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 new words. Once done, it will be off to the beta readers to get their opinions. Once I hear back from them, I’ll input any changes needed and then ramp up for the release of the new edition. If everything goes as planned, that will be by the middle of September.

Before I go for the morning, my thoughts and prayers are with the citizens of Houston and all those impacted by Harvey. Please keep them in your thoughts as well and, if you are the praying kind, add a prayer.

Until later!

 

Hurricane Harvey

Despite the early jokes about a large invisible rabbit going to hit the Texas coast, Harvey has been anything but invisible or fluffy. It is going to take months, years in some cases, for the impacted communities to recover. The fact there have been no more deaths than there have been is miracle. Unfortunately, the danger isn’t over and won’t be for some time. More rain is expected and, by the end of the week, some communities will have seen more rain fall in a week than they usually get in a year. No matter how good the infrastructure might be, it isn’t going to be able to handle that much water at one time.

If you’ve watched the news any over the weekend, you’ve seen examples bravery, giving and stupidity. People have pulled out their own boats to go through flooded neighborhoods to help those stranded by high water. Others have done whatever they could to help rescue those foolish enough to drive into high water. And, yes, there have been way too many who either misjudged how deep the water happened to be or who thought if they drove fast enough, they could get through flooded intersections.

One video I saw yesterday showed a man in a large pickup trying to drive through a flooded section of one of Houston’s freeways. People who had either parked or who had walked from downtown to see the flooding lined the roadway and yelled for him to stop. He didn’t and before he knew what happened, his pickup was floating. Yes, floating. Then it was sinking. He climbed through the window and, instead of swimming to safety, he moved to the front of the still floating and moving truck. I swear it looked like he thought he could push it out of the water. Then, when he realized that wasn’t going to happen, he moved to the back of the pickup. At one point, if I remember correctly, he went back into the cab of the truck to get something. He is lucky all he lost was his truck. His lack of judgment — Hell, let’s be honest. He was stupid — could have cost him his life.

Yet, for ever video I saw like that, I saw or heard about at least two counter-examples of people helping friends, neighbors and strangers. Just as times like this bring out the worst in some people, it brings out the best in many more. We will never know how many “every day heroes” made their way through the areas impacted by the hurricane, helping those stranded, bringing them to safety. I salute each and every one of those men and women. They are what helps make this country great.

One of the saddest images I’ve seen so far was of a Houston-area nursing home. Approximately a dozen residents, some in wheelchairs and others on O2, had to be rescued from waist to chest-deep water. Why they hadn’t been transported before conditions deteriorated, I don’t know. It ranks right up there with stories I’ve been hearing of some hospital patients being discharged home prior to Harvey hitting, not because they were medically ready to be discharged but because the hospitals didn’t know what their power situation would be when the hurricane arrived. How many of those patients would have been better served to have been transferred to other hospitals outside of the area and how many then found themselves trapped in their homes by the flooding? (One of our local anchors was worried yesterday about a friend who was one of those patients. The friend had had brain surgery just a few days prior to being discharged because of the incoming hurricane and lived in one of the areas of Houston with some of the worst flooding.)

Should Houston’s mayor have ordered the city evacuated? That is a question that is going to be debated for months. It is easy now, as arm chair quarterbacks, to say he should have. But knowing what traffic is like in Houston on the best of days, I shudder to think what it would have been like with panicked drivers and bad weather.

Along similar lines, we are already seeing some folks criticizing those in the path of the hurricane for not leaving even without the evacuation order. I’ll even admit to wondering that myself. Then I remembered all the potential “paths” the National Weather Service had for Harvey up until less than a day before it made landfall. How many times have the folks on the coast evacuated, only to have the storm du jour veer off and nothing more than some heavy rain hit? How many of those who have condemned them for not leaving considered the cost of doing so? Some people simply couldn’t afford financially to leave their homes. When it because apparent the financial costs of leaving were much less than the potential loss of life, it was no longer safe to leave. They were, in short, caught in a Catch-22.

Houston’s Medical Center area is also under a minimum of 2 – 3 feet of water right now. The doctors are having to look at evacuating the most critically ill of the patients there. But that isn’t the only problem facing the hospitals in the Medical Center area. The hospitals are cut off. That means the only way patients needing treatment can get to them is to be airlifted in. It also means staff and supplies can’t get in. Conversely, the staff members already at the hospital can’t leave. It is most definitely not an optimal situation for anyone.

And before anyone gets too smug about how this won’t impact anyone outside of the areas directly impacted by the hurricane, think again. Consider the importance of the Texas Gulf Coast region to this country’s oil production. Think about the fact that much of our shipping traffic comes into the ports along the Texas Coast. Then consider parts of Louisiana are going to be impacted by Harvey as well. This is not only a local emergency but a state, regional and, to a lesser extent, national one as well.

Hurricane Harvey and it’s impact on the Houston area and surrounding counties is a perfect example of the adage, “there but for the grace of God go I.” Take a long and hard look at what happened and look at your own home and city. Are you, personally, prepared for an emergency? Do you have a plan in place if something were to happen and you were to lose electricity for days? Remember, if you lose electricity, it’s a pretty good bet your local grocer will as well. If that happens, what are you going to do?

Look.

Learn.

Plan.

Prepare.

And, today, pray for Houston and the other impacted areas. If you have the means to send help — donations or actual volunteer hours — do so.

 

 

A Look Back at Mass Effect and What Went Wrong

Let’s face it, there’s been little doubt Bioware has problems, not since Mass Effect: Andromeda was released. From some of the worst facial animations I’ve seen on a game from that studio (you have to go back to long before the original Mass Effect to find them) to news the Montreal studio was being shut down and merged with a new EA studio in the same town, Mass Effect fans have been wondering what the future of the franchise might be.

A week or so ago, it seemed fairly certain the studio was abandoning at least ME:A, if not the entire franchise. There came the announcement that there would be no single player dlc. Oh, they’d continue supporting the multi-player platform but fans wondered for how long. Bioware announced the remaining contracted books would come out but, let’s face it, that doesn’t exactly thrill the hardcore gamer. We want games to play in the Mass Effect universe and we want the questions left hanging in ME:A answered, either on our consoles or on our PCs, not in a book or graphic novel. We want to PLAY the game, not read it. The books are fine, as tie-ins. Not as substitutions.

And yes, I get the irony of a writer saying that.

Now, there is a small glimmer of hope for the future of the franchise. Casey Hudson, the man behind the success of the original Mass Effect Trilogy, has returned to Bioware as its general manager. I, for one, cheered when I first heard the news. When he left Bioware several years ago, I was concerned about how ME:A would fare. Between that and the game being shipped over to Montreal for development instead of staying with the originating studio worried me and, it appears, with good reason.

That said, I liked ME:A, despite its problems — and there were a slew of them. Note, liked it but didn’t love it and I loved the original trilogy. I enjoyed Andromeda’s combat system and the ability to switch between combat profiles on the fly. But a good combat system doesn’t make up for the lack of a compelling story, nor does it overcome lousy animations. Not in what should have been a premier game.

Last night, I sat down after finishing work and decided to play for a few minutes. As I noted in my earlier post, I’ve been replaying the Dishonored series in preparation for Dishonored: Death of the Insider. But I wasn’t in the mood for stealth and decided to start a replay of the original Mass Effect Trilogy. As I did, I found myself thinking about why I keep going back to ME. What is it that calls to me as a gamer? And, other than the animation/visuals, what about ME:A doesn’t call as much to me?

From the beginning of the first Mass Effect game, you knew there was something at stake. You knew the bad guy you fought was just the prelude and so much more was at stake than your own life or the survival of your ship and crew. There was an urgency in Mass Effect that built through ME 2 and culminated in ME 3. (We will forget about the ending of ME 3, which I still think is a cop-out)

But there is more to it. From the very start of Mass Effect, while you are watching the introductory scenes, you get a feel for Commander Shepherd. You know there is a history there, one you want to explore. It doesn’t matter which backstory you choose. You already know something about Shep and you want to find out more about it and you want to know how it will impact the game ahead.

You don’t have that with ME:A. All you know at first is there has been a colonization effort launched prior to the end of the original trilogy — something we never heard of before. That bothered me because, in the middle of a war where the players know that to lose means the extinction of all sentient life, there should have been some mention of plans to send people out of the galaxy in the hopes of saving civilization that way. But nope, no mention of.

The real problem, in my mind, with Andromeda is that Ryder, whether you play as Scott or Sarah, isn’t compelling. Sure, Ryder is thrust into the role of Pathfinder when Alec Ryder, the father, is killed. Until then, Ryder is simply another member of the Pathfinder team, not even the second-in-command. What you wind up getting is on the job training of your Pathfinder but in a very Mary Sue way because nothing goes wrong. Oh, there are evil aliens that want to rule the Andromeda sector but there are no missions that fail. No side quests, at least that I recall, where you can fail to rescue someone or something and that, in turn, has an impact on what happens next.

Since Andromeda came out, I’ve played the game twice. Once as Scott and once as Sarah. It was fun but it doesn’t rank up there as the great game it could have been. I said in an earlier review of Andromeda that the biggest mistake Bioware made was in calling this a Mass Effect game. I understand they wanted to cash in on the franchise but all they wound up doing is damaging the franchise, possibly fatally.

It takes more than having a character dressed in N7 armor or having a few recordings of fan favorite Liara to make this a Mass Effect-worthy game. Easter eggs like opening the right dialog boxes to reference Miranda Lawson aren’t enough either. There was a feel, a sense to Mass Effect that is missing in Andromeda. Bioware didn’t want another Commander Shepherd. That was their biggest mistake. This game needed a hero. Instead, it got an intern trying to step into daddy’s shoes and doing so without ever stumbling.

Nope, that’s not the way to do it.

We knew from the beginning that the Ryder, brother and sister, would live. We knew they would find someplace for their “Arc” to dock or land. We knew they would fight the bad guys and prove they belonged in Andromeda. And we never got the feel of being in peril we got from Saren or Sovereign in the first game. We never had a manipulator like the Illusive Man in ME2 and ME3. We never doubted we would win out.

What does this mean for the future of Mass Effect? With Hudson back at the helm of Bioware, not all hope is lost. He has tweeted that he would like to explore the universe again. But that most definitely isn’t the news the fans want. We want to know there will be a new game, one worthy of the first three. There is potential with ME:A. It was dropped due to poor management, poor design decisions, outsourcing to under-qualified designers and programmers. We’ll not even talk about the writing. But the potential for future GOOD games in the ME:A universe is there or Bioware could do what some fans have wanted since the end of ME3 — it could go into the future of the Milky Way or allied space and show us what’s happened and how everyone managed to come back from the destruction of the war.

Heck, it could pick up from the one ending where there was a glimmer of hope Shepherd was still alive.

One this is certain, if Bioware drops the ball again with a game like ti did with ME:A, the studio will be in serious trouble. Gamers can forgive a great deal but they can’t forgive bad game after bad game. We have long and vengeful memories at times.

 

The Question Has Been Answered

When I published Nocturnal Rebellion last week, I’d secretly wondered if there would be any more books. I had finished the story arc and, to be honest, I had no idea where the series might go from there. I think that’s one reason I’d been so busy making notes on other projects. Some of you told me you hoped there would be more books and that means more to me than you know. I love Mac and company and really didn’t want to think of not writing in that universe again. But I had no idea what to do next.

Then, BAM!, inspiration hit. It started subtly. Questions began to form in my mind that would need to be answered if I took the series any further. Before I knew it, I had something like three pages of notes and questions. But I still didn’t have a real plot, only things to keep in mind. I didn’t worry. The fact the questions were starting to hit meant my subconscious had been working on the issue without me realizing it.

So I kept making notes. Music played, coffee was had and, before I knew it, I had the bare threads of a plan. No, not an outline, but enough to let me know where the next book or two will go. It’s enough for me right now. I’ll finish up the basic notes today and then file them away. Next week, I’ll review the various projects I have waiting on my desk and pull together a more concise publishing schedule. For now, however, I am turning my attention to two things. The first is finishing up the special edition of Vengeance from Ashes. I am really excited about the additional material I’m adding to the original version. It doesn’t change the story but it does expand it. Once that is finished, I’ll pick back up with Victory from Ashes (and that title will change). I have the book drafted but set it aside for awhile. Now I can go back with fresh eyes and do a hard edit and rewrite what’s needed. In the meantime, I’ve been working on Light Magic, the next installment in the Eerie Side of the Tracks series..

For relaxation, I’ve been replaying the Dishonored games. I’ll admit, I owned Dishonored for probably a year before playing it the first time. My son recommended it. My initial hesitation about the game came from the stealth aspect. I’m not a big fan of games where stealth is the major component. So, the game sat on my hard drive until I needed something new to play. That’s when I realized it was so much more than a simple stealth game. This is my third play through of Dishonored and I’m enjoying it as much now as I did the first time.

When Dishonored 2 came out, I wasted no time buying it and playing it. I’m not sure the story was quite as compelling as the original, but I enjoyed being able to choose between Corvo (the playable character in the original game) and Emily (a grown-up version of an NPC in the original). The two characters had different powers and that helped give a different feel to the game depending on who you chose to play as.

The reason I’m replaying the games right now is because a third game, Dishonored: Death of the Insider, will be released next month. It takes another NPC from the first two games, Billie Lurke/Meagan Foster (sorry, spoiler there), and makes her the playable character. Also returning is Doud, the playable character from two of Dishonored’s dlc-s.

It is obvious, not only from the price of the game but from comments from the developers, that this isn’t a full-length game. However, it is supposedly more than a dlc campaign. We’ll see. I may regret paying full-price but the develops didn’t disappoint with the first two games, so I’m going to trust them this time.

Here’s a clip showing some of the gameplay.

I am looking forward to seeing if the game pans out. Now it’s time to get to work.

Later!

Busy writer is, well, busy

First off, today is my day over at Mad Genius Club. Please check it out. I talk about changes in plans and writing habits and a little bit more.

As noted over at MCG, one of the things I’ve done over the last week is set up my publishing schedule for the next year or so. I say “or so” because Myrtle the Evil Muse made sure to infect me with several titles I hadn’t planned on. One of them I am really excited about. It is in the Eerie Side of the Creek series and introduces some new and, I think, exciting characters. Yes, our regular cast of zanies and not-so-zany is there as well. I know the basic plot and my subconscious is already tweaking some of the plot points I noted down. More on this when I start writing it.

I also want to thank those of you who have bought or borrowed Nocturnal Rebellion. I’d really appreciate it if, after you read the book, you went over to Amazon and reviewed it. Those reviews help.

Yesterday was spent writing a series of blog posts, some for here and some for other sites. I’ll post links to them on this blog when they go live. It was fun writing them but it also meant little fiction was written yesterday. So today I have to double-down.

One thing that surprised me after finishing Rebellion is my reading. Usually when I finish a project, I tend to spend several days reading fiction. The first day is light, easy reading. Titles I don’t have to really think about. This is reading to escape and relax. After that, I might go to more challenging books. This time, it’s been non-fiction from the start. Among the titles I’ve either read or am reading right now are:

The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison.

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz.

Economic Facts and Fallacies by Thomas Sowell.

Now it’s time to get to work. Until later!

Old plots made new

Like most writers, I’ve been telling stories for as long as I can remember. Once I knew how to write, I started putting those stories down on paper. Some, I remember and others I no longer do. That’s like there are some of those old stories I still have in hard copy, whether written out long hand or typed or printed. Most of them will never see the light of day. No way and no how. However, that doesn’t mean some of those characters or the plots don’t come back to tickle my imagination from time to time.

That is exactly the situation I found myself in last night. I’d spent much of the day doing writerly housekeeping. I blogged about some of that yesterday. Maybe that’s why, when I finally packed away the laptop and relaxed for the evening, my imagination refused to settle down. But, instead of thinking about any of the titles I’d made notes on during the day, it turned to a “novel” (and I use that term loosely) I wrote probably 25 years ago.

I’ll be honest. There has always been something about the main character in that novel that’s intrigued me. Hell, let’s be honest, it’s called to me. But I knew the novel wasn’t anywhere close to salvageable, much less publishable. So it has sat and, unknown to me, it’s been waiting for me to figure out what to do with it.

So, instead of going to bed last night when I should have, I pulled up what what I have been able to find on old discs and read through it. Oh my, my instincts were right. The book is a mess. A very big, stinking pile of a mess. But there is some goodness in there as well. The biggest issue is that I tried to put too many plots and sub-plots into the mix. Even though I know the story, I got confused. But, there was some good stuff in it, more a feel and characters than actual writing and plotting.

Let’s face it, the story structure sucked eggs.

So, hoping I hadn’t just cursed myself with yet another book or — gasp — another series, I shut down the laptop once again and went to bed. I slept better than usual and woke with the main character and her backstory teasing me. I can almost see where my subconscious wants me to go and have already made three pages of notes.  I’m still not sure it will work, at least not in the way my mind is currently taking it, but I’m intrigued.

I know enough now about writing to understand this will be something where I throw out everything I wrote before, barring one or two scenes. But the main character and her backstory are awesome, or at least they have the potential of being awesome. She’s been broken and has worked hard to pull herself and her life back together again. She most certainly isn’t a superwoman or a Mary Sue. The scars are what makes her interesting and human. I love those kinds of characters.

Below is a scene from the original work. I think I’ve posted this before but, if I have, it’s been a long time ago. But this is what started me thinking about her again and that got Myrtle the Evil Muse thinking, which is never a good thing. At least not for my schedule. The only thing I have done today is change the main character’s name because, well, it will have to be if I actually move forward with this project. If I do, I don’t know if this scene will actually make it into the book or if it will only be referenced. Anyway, here goes.

***

Coarse ropes bit painfully into skin rubbed raw. Rivulets of blood, some dried and others all too fresh, traced a wild map of varying shades of red down her body. Lips, dry and cracked, bled onto the filthy rag that gagged her. Her mind screamed in fear and agony. Screams of silence. She no longer possessed the strength to even moan in protest. All she wanted, all she prayed for, was a release from her torment. Even death was preferable to what she’d been forced to endure the last few hours.

Had it only been hours? It seemed like an eternity in the Hell the village priest had warned them of when she was younger. That Hell where all your sins were revisited upon you in the most horrendous ways because you’d been foolish enough not to repent.

But this wasn’t Hell. This was all too real.

Eyes closed, she forced herself to breathe slowly, evenly. Through the fog of fear and pain, she knew one thing: she couldn’t let him know she was awake. If he knew, he’d hurt her again and she couldn’t stand that. She simply couldn’t!

Dear God, just take her before it begins again.

The rustle of leaves, the tread of a step and she knew her ruse hadn’t worked. But maybe she was wrong. Please, let her be wrong, let it be an animal, anything but him.

She lifted her head and forced her swollen eyes open. Despair washed over her. It was Hell. Hell on Earth and she could do nothing about it.

“Well, little one, have you been enjoying our time together this afternoon?” One finger lightly traced a pattern across her breasts and down her belly.

His voice sent shivers down her spine. A single tear tracked down her cheek, burning the cuts he’d so carefully inflicted earlier. Her stomach knotted and lurched and she struggled not to be sig. The small part of her brain that still worked knew that would be bad, very bad, gagged as she was. But what did it matter? She’d soon be dead any way. Did the manner of death really matter after all she’d been through?

“What is it, Meggie? Too choked up to talk?” he taunted. His hand cupped her right cheek, his face so close she could smell the stale odor of whiskey on his breath as well as the cigarettes he’d smoked – and used for things her mind flinched away from. “Surely that’s not the case. I’ve never known the time when you’ve not had something to say.”

Even if she hadn’t been gagged, she couldn’t have replied. She’d never have the words necessary to tell the shitehawk how she felt. He’d stolen apart of her that day, a vital part. One she’d never be able to recover.

Damn him!

When she didn’t respond, not that much of a response was possible, he laughed gaily. Then his hands turned rough as he once again sent them across her already battered body. If she could have, she’d have shuddered in revulsion. Instead, she moaned lowly as she realized the nightmare wasn’t over, not yet.

Not ever.

***

As I said, this was written years ago. My craft has, I hope, improved, but this character is one that keeps coming back to me. We’ll see where it goes, if anywhere. In the meantime, don’t forget that Nocturnal Rebellion is now available for purchase. You can click on the link above or the image to the left for more information. Or you can click on any of the images on the right of the page for information about those titles.

Until later!

Holy Cow!

I am late posting today because I’ve been doing some writerly housekeeping. I love writing series but the problem is it sometimes gets difficult to remember exactly what you have planned in the future and which series is supposed to come next in your publishing schedule. That is especially true when you have an evil muse like mine. Yes, Myrtle, I’m looking directly at you.

So, I sat down this morning and decided I needed to get down on paper — well, on my hard drive — a few notes about the projects I have coming up. It’s my way of looking at my schedule, seeing if it is workable and where I can fill in with some of the new projects I’d like to do.

What I came up with are basic plot outlines or simple notes on six different titles, belonging to three different series. So, here’s what I have on my plate over the next 12 to 18 months. Remember, there will probably be other titles as well because I have a couple of stand-alone books I want to do.

Victory from Ashes (current working title and will probably change). This is the 4th book in the Honor and Duty Series. I have updated my plot notes to go along with the very rough draft I already have written.

Foil of the Gods (current working title). This is the 3rd and final installment in the Sword of the Gods series. I have a very, very rough draft I wrote some time ago but wasn’t happy with. Today I pulled together some plot notes (6 pages of them to be exact) that will help pull the draft together and bring the series to a satisfactory end.

There are four titles currently set in the Eerie Side of the Creek that I’ve plotted out over the last two days. Two will be novellas. One is, I think, a short story but it might morph into a novella. One is a novel. The two definite novellas are the continuation of Skeletons in the Closet and will bring that particular story arc to a close. Again, I’d had other ideas for the follow-up to Skeletons but they didn’t feel right. These do.

You’ll note that I haven’t mentioned anything else happening in the Nocturnal Lives series. Nocturnal Rebellion ended the current story arc. I am starting to get a feel for where the next “chapter” will go but I’m going to let that germinate for a bit. All I can say for sure is I woke up this morning with the sound of Mac’s voice in my head asking if a baby born to two shapeshifters who shifted into jaguars required diapers or kitty litter boxes. Yes, there was more than a hint of panic in her voice. No, I am NOT going there — at least not right now. But there are more stories in that universe to come. Whether they include Mac and a baby — and diapers or kitty litter — I don’t know.

No, Myrtle, we are NOT writing that right now!

So, that’s been my morning. It’s kind of nice — and scary — to see actual words on paper detailing these upcoming projects. It does look like I’m going to be very busy over the next year or so. Guess that means I’d better get back to work.

Oh yeah, you can click on the book covers to the right of this post if you’re interested in any of my work. Now to get back to work.

Cover Reveals

I am so excited. I have the covers for my next two projects. The first is for Light Magic, the newest title in the Eerie Side of the Creek Series. This book acts as a bridge of sorts between Skeletons in the Closet and Witchfire Burning by bringing some of the characters together. I can’t wait for you to see where it goes. Anyway, here’s the mock-up for the cover.

This second is the mock-up for the expanded edition of Vengeance from Ashes. There is still some tweaking to be done, but it has the right feel and I’m excited to see what the final version will be.

I’ll be back later today with another post. Until then, why not check out Nocturnal Rebellion?

All she wanted was a simple murder case, one uncomplicated by shapeshifters or interfering IAB investigators. What she got instead was much, much more.

Now three cops are dead and Mac’s world will never be the same again. It is up to her to find the culprits and bring them to justice. But what justice? That of cops and attorneys and criminal courts or that of the shapeshifters where there would be no record and a quick execution of punishment, whatever that might be?

As she walks that fine line, Mac walks another tightrope as well. Shapeshifter politics are new to her and, as she has learned, more complicated than anything she ever encountered as a cop. One misstep can lead to not only her death but the deaths of those she cares for. Like it or not, she has no choice because she has learned there are other things just as inevitable as death and taxes. Sooner or later, the world will learn that shapeshifters aren’t just things of legend and bad Hollywood movies. If that happens before they are ready, Mac and those like her will learn the hard way what happens when humanity learns monsters are real and living next door.

Later!

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