Nocturnal Lives

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

Author: Amanda (Page 1 of 74)

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!

A quick note

I’ll be doing an in-depth review of Vellum next week on Mad Genius Club. But I wanted to make a few introductory comments today. Vellum is one of many programs out there that claim to help make your e-books and print books look more professional. Most of those I’ve tried haven’t really offered anything you couldn’t do in Word or similar word processing programs.

First impressions:

Vellum is expensive. I’ll not shy away from that. If all you want it for is producing excellent looking e-books, you will pay $199.00. In the past, you could buy single use or limited use licenses. That doesn’t appear to be the case any longer. If you want it to prepare both e-books and print layout, you will have to crack your wallet to the tune of $249.99. That’s a lot of change but from everything I’m seeing and hearing, it is well worth it.

The learning curve is minimal. This is what really excites me. I took a DOCX file and imported it into the program. I am a rank amateur using Vellum and had a file that was ready to import to Amazon, or any other e-book retailer, within 20 minutes or so. Part of the delay in getting that file can be laid directly at the fact I an learning all the ins and out. I have no doubt this will soon be cut to 10 minutes or less.

The learning curve is much lower than on almost every other program I’ve used for e-book creation and the options are much better, in my opinion. I’ll go into details next week but, for now, I’m really excited about the program and the time it will save me once I’m used to it and to being Mac-based for that particular aspect of my career.

So far, I highly recommend the program especially if you, like me, put out more than a couple of titles a year.

Release Day!

It’s here!

Nocturnal Rebellion is live on Amazon.

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.

I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did writing it. Now I’m off to finish my post for Mad Genius Club. Stop by over there in an hour or so and say “hi”.

One more day

Oh, crap! Now I’m going to have that tune running around in my head all day. It’s not that I don’t like Les Miz, but that’s not what this post is about. Worse, I know what my evil muse is like. She will take a song about the French Revolution and decide I need to write something “worthy” of that people’s revolution. Nope, not on the charts. Not right now, at any rate.

Anyway, tomorrow is the day for Nocturnal Rebellion to be released. I can’t wait. I really hope you guys enjoy it. While this ends one story arc for Mac and company, there will be other stories. Mac’s too loud to just fade away. Besides, I like her and her friends.

Here’s the blurb:

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.

In the meantime, I’m back to work today. Next up is an entry in the Eerie Side of the Tracks series. I haven’t figured out if this is a short story or novella, mainly because this one ambushed me not long ago with an opening that won’t let go. The main character is Amy Duchamp, Lexie’s best friend and Miss Serena’s granddaughter. We first met Amy in Skeletons in the Closet.

My gut feeling is this will be the next installment in the Skeletons story arc. At least that’s the way it feels right now. Anyway, here’s what hit me and what isn’t letting go:

“I still say you should have named it Bell, Book and Candle.”

I grimaced. We’d had this discussion before. “Absolutely not. No self-respecting witch would ever name her bookstore after that movie!”

The only problem was I was more than a self-respecting witch. I was a self-respecting witch with bills to pay and who liked really nice shoes. Maybe Lexie was right. Not that I’d ever tell her. . . .

Many of the cast of characters — and I do mean characters — from Skeletons in the Closet, Witchfire Burning and Slay Bells Ring will be making appearances. And, yeah, Lexie’s mom still has her undead problem and her mother-in-law problem. I’m not sure if she will ever learn her lesson.

 

And it’s done!

I just hit the enter button and uploaded the release version for Nocturnal Rebellion. Now comes the waiting. Waiting for Amazon to approve the file and waiting to see how you guys like it once it is available for download on the 15th. I really love this book and hope you do as well.

Whenever I finish a book, there’s a short period of time when I don’t necessarily grieve but when I feel the loss of the characters. After all, they’ve been alive for me for months. Now, suddenly, they won’t be a part of my every day life. It’s as though my best friends decided to move away and we can’t get together whenever we want.

I’m feeling that and more right now. Rebellion marks the end of the current story arc for Mac and company. There are more stories to tell but thing have changed in major ways for Mac, not only in the previous books but most especially in this one. Her life, as a cop and as a shapeshifter, will never be the same. Most of the changes are for the good but some, well, you’ll have to wait and see.

So, before you ask, yes, there will be more stories in this world. I need to take some time later this year and figure out exactly what they are and start planning them out. Mac is already tossing ideas out there — of course, because my muse is evil, it might not be Mac but her jaguar doing the tossing. 😉

Next up will be a new installment in the Eerie Side of the Tracks series, probably something to follow up Skeletons in the Closet.  I say probably because my muse is EVIL. I never really know until I start working what she is going to make me do.  For today and the rest of the weekend, however, I’m going to be helping with the book sale at our local library.

I’ll be back to regular blogging Monday.

Oh yeah, don’t forget about Nocturnal Rebellion and help spread the word that release date is the 15th. Thanks!

 

Murphy didn’t go home

Last week, I asked Murphy to go home. Unfortunately, he’s decided he likes it here. The fallout from his prolonged visit is that blogging hasn’t happened. For that, I apologize. After a day filled with nothing but repairmen yesterday, I’m hoping today is better. Writing has been happening, in between service calls. That’s what is important.

I’ll try to be back later with a real post. In the meantime, don’t forget that Nocturnal Rebellion is currently available for pre-order. Release date is Aug. 15th. You can click on the image or follow the link above. Thanks!

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.

 

Murphy, go home!

Life is nothing if not interesting. Of course, when it’s interesting in the proverbial sense, I tend to wish for dull and boring. But it is getting there. I simply need to learn to listen to not only my muse — she is an evil bitch but she does seem to know when I need to switch gears and write something new — and to my gut. In this particular case, it would have let me sleep an extra hour this morning and not have to reschedule a trip to the mechanic. Oh well, I’m up if not fully functioning.

Oh, and the plumber is due later today. Hopefully, since this is just the annual check, he’ll find nothing wrong. Please let him find nothing wrong. We’ve already had one plumbing emergency this month. I don’t need any more.

On the writing front, things are rocking and rolling. I’ve set Nocturnal Rebellion aside for the rest of the week. I’ll pick it up Monday or Tuesday of next week, convert it for my Kindle Oasis, and give it one last read. Then the final file will be uploaded for publication. Remember, it is available for pre-order now. Publication date is August 15th.

I will admit, right now I feel like Mac does in the book. Of course, while she wishes for a simple, straight-forward murder to investigate (one without shifters or the government involved), I just want a week without complications.

I am also about halfway through the updates on Vengeance from Ashes. The expanded version doesn’t change the story line but it does expand on some scenes and there will be a few new scenes/chapters as well. I still love the original novel but this is sort of my version of the “director’s cut” of the book. I’m hoping you guys love the additional material as well.

Next up in that series will probably be a short story followed quickly by the next full-length novel. At least that’s what Myrtle the Evil Muse says. Lately, however, I’ve learned there is someone more evil than Myrtle and who has even more control over my writing than she does — Murphy.

And I tell you, whoever invited that Irish trickster and master of chaos into the country, much less to my house, needs to be hunted down and hung. I am so over Murphy right now. So, before he decides it’s time to get up and complicate my life any further, I’m out of here. However, here’s a little tease from Nocturnal Rebellion:

The man crawled slowly toward the bar, dragging himself inch by painful inch. He didn’t know what happened or why. One moment, everything had been normal. Drinking, smoking, whoring. Nothing out of the ordinary. Then the door opened. He’d looked up, as had others, and frowned to see four people he didn’t recognize. Few dared come to the bar without an invitation. Those few who did usually turned around and left before taking more than a step or two inside. That’s all it took to realize The Hellhound was the sort of biker bar outsiders weren’t welcome at.

And there was no way the four were bikers. Dressed all in black, they walked further inside, seemingly oblivious to the looks in their direction. Then they’d stopped. One of them pointed right and then left. Two others broke off, moving quicker and more silently than they should have been able to. As they did, the tension in the room ratcheted up a notch.

That’s when the surreal turned into nightmare. The fourth person, a woman, stepped up to one of the two tops. Before the biker he knew only as Ranger could react, her hand fisted in the man’s long hair. She pulled his head back, baring his throat. A knife appeared in her other hand. Its blade slid along Ranger’s neck. Blood sprayed and she released him, stepping back and watching as he crumpled to the floor. The fallen biker gurgled once, blood flecking his lips, before dying.

Now for more coffee and to get back to work on an editing gig before sitting down to do some more writing. Later!

What say you?

A little more than a week ago, Justine Damond was shot and killed by officers responding to a call about a potential sexual assault. Unfortunately, it is all too common to pick up a newspaper or see internet headlines and seeing a police-involved shooting. But this one, in many ways, illustrates a problem — several problems actually — with the current state of not only police training but the public’s confidence (or lack thereof) in the police.

Justine Damond, an Australian currently residing in Minneapolis, did what any law-abiding person should do when they think a crime is going down. She called the police. She not only called once but she called at least twice because it was taking so long for a unit to respond and she was worried. You see, she heard something near her backyard that made her fear a woman was being assaulted.

On her last call, she was informed the police were almost there. That’s where things go from real to surreal.

The police unit nears and Damond goes outside. As she neared the squad car, a shot rang out and she went down.

Damond, who was (iirc) in her pajamas and who was unarmed wasn’t shot and killed by the suspect. Nor was she shot and killed by a well-intentioned neighbor. No, she was shot and killed by one of the two officers responding to her call for help.

What makes this case even more of a head-scratcher is that she was approaching the squad car from the driver’s side. However, instead of the driver pulling his service revolver and firing, the shot came from the passenger in the car. This officer unholstered his weapon, aimed across his partner and opened fire. My first thought in hearing this was that his partner would be lucky to get out of that with little to no permanent damage to his hearing. The second was to wonder what the officer saw that his partner, the man closest to the supposed threat Damond presented, did not.

Where this entire incident is troubling is two-fold. The first is that the officers’ body cameras were not rolling. Now, this might be departmental policy. I’ve read that Minneapolis police aren’t required to engage their cameras until they get out of their squad cars. If so, it is a foolish policy. Those cameras, as well as their dash cams, need to be rolling as they near a scene. Any cop with more than a month’s experience on the job will tell you things can and do happen before you arrive at the address where a call originates from. It can be as simple as seeing the suspect walking down the street to getting a better picture for later (as in for court) about what the cop is walking into and what helped form their judgment and caused them to act a certain way.

In this case, we are missing all this. The driver of the squad car said they heard a loud noise and that startled them. Unfortunately, there is nothing to back him up on that. And, to the best of my knowledge, that includes his partner, the shooter. As of last night, when I last searched out information on the case, the shooter had yet to make a statement. Oh, he apparently talked to a friend who said he was startled when Damond came running toward them. But that has been all I’ve seen where the shooter is concerned.

And, frankly, if he was startled by a woman running toward him in her pajamas, there were still steps he should have taken before shooting her. He should have ordered her to stop and hold her hands where he could see them. He should have told his partner to move the car. Those are just two things. But, to the best of my knowledge he did none of them.

Now, according to the friend, he is upset because he is being thrown under the bus by other cops. Perhaps, then, it is time for him to give a statement and tell everyone his side of the story. Otherwise, all we have is conjecture.

Oh, and a supposed witness who may or may not have seen the shooting. The witness most definitely saw what happened afterwards and can testify about the demeanor of both officers involved.

This is a tragedy that never should have happened. I am a supporter of cops and all first responders. However, I look at situations like this and wonder if it was poor training, poor trigger discipline or what that brought about this situation. Sure, Damond should have waited for the cops to tell her to approach but she did what I’m sure any number of us would have done, especially after having to wait for the unit to arrive. She ran forward to, presumably, tell them why she called.

And she paid for it with her life.

It is situations like this that cause the public to lose confidence in our police. I applaud the Minneapolis mayor for asking the police chief to resign. Between this incident and others in the city, it was one step they mayor could take to show the public she was not going to sit still and wait for a repeat. However, it doesn’t bring back Damond. Nor does it answer the questions we all have about why the officer fired.

Worse, there have been stories alluding to the fact the officer has been involved in other incidents that bring his judgment or actions as a cop into question. I’m sure we will hear more about that as the case progresses. My fear is that we will learn this is a cop who should not have been on the street but was allowed to remain there for who knows what reason. If so, I hope to hell Damond’s family and fiance sue the shit out of the city and the cop.

There are a lot of good, reliable and caring cops out there. Just like we don’t see good news reported in the media, we don’t hear about them. That gives us a jaundiced view of our police forces and makes the job harder for those who are good cops. My one hope is if, as I suspect, this turns out to be a bad shooting, the cop feels the full force of the law. That’s not because of his sex or his race or his beliefs or anything except he is a cop and cops should be held to a higher standard than the average citizen in situations like this.

God’s rest, Ms. Damond, and I hope your family eventually finds peace. I doubt there can ever be any understanding in this situation.

Life’s back to normal

Or at least as normal as my life ever gets. Monday, This week has, so far, turned into a bad farce. Between the normal “life” stuff that tends to interfere with the writing, there’s been a leak that was related to both the new HVAC and the sewer system. That, in turn, wound up soaking a good bit of carpet in the hallway and my room. You know it’s bad when I agree to have a plumber come at 10 at night. Anyway, that is fixed, fans are running and the carpet is slowly drying. This weekend, I’ll see about replacing the pad but that may wait.

It would be easy to wallow in the fact my schedule has been shot to hell this past week. I’m behind on so much, not just writing and other things. Hell’s bells, I had been wallowing — until late last night. That’s when reality slapped me in the face and I realized that as frustrating as things had been, they aren’t really bad, not in the whole scheme of things.

Let me back up a bit. Around 4:30 yesterday afternoon, I was sitting in the den, laptop booted up, trying to get into the mindspace to write. That’s when an emergency vehicle went hauling ass down the street, sirens blaring. By the time I got to the door, two cop cars, lights flashing but no sirens, were racing past. They disappeared around the curve at the bottom of the street and I went back inside.

My initial thought, because the cop cars were rolling hot but silent was that there might have been a break-in. Possibly even a domestic disturbance or assault of some sort. Our neighborhood is really very safe but, once in a blue moon, something happens. That’s especially true during the summer when tempers run as hot as the temps outside.

Unfortunately, the truth of what happened was far worse than what I’d imagined. A three-year-old is dead, a drowning victim. He was found in the backyard pool. Details are, naturally, scarce right now but the cops are saying no foul play is suspected. This appears to be one of those horrible tragedies and my heart breaks for the family.

And it puts everything into perspective. Yes, I’m late on a number of projects. But all that does is make me have to work harder to get caught up. So, enough with the excuses and the self-pity and everything else. It could be so much worse and it’s not. This is something I can keep from getting worse.

In the meantime, my heart and my prayers go out to the family of this little boy. Their lives will never be the same.

Oh hell, it’s a Monday

I really hope today isn’t an indication of how the week is going. The dog wanted up at 0430. Then I couldn’t get back to sleep. Of course, part of that is because the carpet went SQUISH as I walked barefoot down the hallway. Now, any pet owner knows the feeling, literal and figurative, when that happens. You don’t know whether you want to turn on the lights to see what you stepped in or continue on in ignorance.

Well, I already had a pretty good idea. No, it had nothing to do with the animals and everything to do with the new HVAC. Twice before, pre-new installation — we’ve had this before when the overflow pipe clogged. Still, I had to check. Yep, the carpet is soaked through in a couple of places in front of the intakes and in my bedroom. Oh joy.

At least the AC guys can be out sometime today.

Oh, but that’s not the end of the morning’s problems. A look out the front window shows a leak in my sprinkler system. So, in a short time, I’ll be out there digging up my front yard, trying to figure out what happened overnight. With my luck, it won’t be anything simple like a crack in the line. Noooo, it will be the fargging valve — which means a call to a repairman for that because that valve box is lost. More than 25 years of soil shifting, overgrowth, etc., has buried it and I can’t find it. I know because I’ve looked for it before (even using the plat the installers gave us, the plat I know to be wrong because the heads aren’t where the plat shows them.)

So I’m pushing coffee until I’m awake enough to deal with at least one emergency and afraid to look around too closely for fear I might see something else requiring immediate attention.

Oh, and a new story idea hit me over the weekend that will probably start taking shape while I’m working on the sprinklers. My muse uses times like that to take over my consciousness and get the creative juices flowing. The fact it’s something I hadn’t planned only makes it more interesting to Myrtle the Evil Muse. Add in the fact that my writing for the rest of this year and the beginning of next is already planned out and she will just take it as a challenge to see if she can get me sidetracked.

Sigh.

Please, don’t let the rest of the week continue as it has started.

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