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Light Magic Available for Pre-Order Today!

Sorry for the silence, everyone, but I’ve been hard at work on Light Magic. In some ways, this has been my favorite book to write to date. In others, it has been the most frustrating. I hope that all adds up to a book everyone enjoys. In the end, it took a left turn on edits and that’s why it is up for pre-order today instead of today being the actual release date. That date is now Feb. 27th.

So, what happened? I realized as I was doing the final editorial pass that I’d done the one thing I hate in books: I’d rushed the ending. A couple of my beta readers mentioned it and I took a hard look at what happened. Yes, I could have released the book as it was but I always want to put out the best book possible and this one could, with a little work, be better. So I finished inputting the edits and made a difficult decision. Instead of rushing the reworking of the last several chapters, I chose to do a pre-order period instead. This gives me plenty of time to flush out the ending and let my beta readers have another look at those chapters. Continue reading

The morning after

Well, last night marked President Trump’s first State of the Union address. To say the reaction from the media is mixed is putting it mildly. The national media seems to have listened to one address and the local media to another. Not that it surprises me. MSM, especially on the national level is still reeling from the fact Trump is in office. Locally, the emphasis was on the positive points of the President’s address. That was a refreshing change.

On the blog front, I know things have been a bit silent here. Sorry about that. I am on the final push before Light Magic comes out next week. That means I’m doing as little non-fiction work as possible. Unfortunately, this is the blog that suffers. However, just to show I have come up for air a little, check out my post over at Mad Genius Club yesterday. What started as a post honoring two people who not only encouraged my interest in writing but so many others as well morphed into a post about those non-family members who help — sometimes by pushing and sometimes by being brutally honest — creators of all sorts hone their craft. Continue reading

Eleven days and counting to Light Magic

Until the release of Light Magic.

These last few days before a release are always nerve-wracking. I stress over making sure all the last minute details are taken care of. I worry about how the book will be received. In other words, I worry. Most authors do. After all, release date is like sending our baby out into the world for the first time. So bear with me as I natter and ramble and sit in the corner, sucking my thumb. Light Magic will go out on time even if it kills me.

Seriously, things are rocking and rolling toward the 6th. I’m excited about this book and hope you guys love it as much as I do. I’ve also started working on the next Honor and Duty novel. Of course, the characters from the Nocturnal Lives series have started reminding me that they still have stories to tell and won’t I PLEASE write them next?

In case you missed it, my latest post in the series on Lenin’s “The State and Revolution” is up on According to Hoyt. Continue reading

Busy, busy, busy

The title of the post says it all. This week and next are going to be very busy between putting the finishing touches on Light Magic and real life demands. I’m going to do my best to blog at least every other day here but, until Feb 6, release date for Light Magic, I might miss a post here and there. No worries, I will pop in as often as I can.

In the meantime, I posted yesterday at Mad Genius Club. Author Earnings and what it showed as well as some changes at Createspace were among the topics discussed. Check it out if you haven’t already.

This morning, I have a new post up at Victory Girls Blog. It seems Sen. Chuck Schumer has done a bait-and-switch, or tried to. In order to get an agreement to end the government shutdown, he agreed to put funding for the border wall on the table. Once the doors opened again, he took that off the table. The only problem is he was already in trouble with his own party and the Dreamers, among others, for even considering putting the wall on the table. Now he’s in trouble with those who don’t agree with his stance to hold the entire country hostage over a single issue — one that shouldn’t be tied to the daily operations of this great nation. Continue reading

Well, the world hasn’t ended yet

A little housekeeping first. The next two weeks will see me head down in the final edits and prep of Light Magic for its scheduled release date of Feb. 6th. Because of that, I’ll be blogging here but there will be some reposting of past blogs or posting of snippets. Don’t worry, though. If anything breaks in the news about current events or the publishing industry that I feel moved to comment on, I will.

Today, I’m going to do my best to keep my temper under control. I’m a military mom. A proud military mom. My son is active duty and is a victim, like all members of our military and so many other federal employees, of the current political tug-of-war going on in DC. When are we, the voters, going to say “Enough!”?

It isn’t monetary concerns holding up the budget. It’s social concerns, namely DACA and related issues. Yes, those are important issues but not so important that we put the smooth running of our government — muchless the safety of our country — at risk. Continue reading

Light Magic – Snippet 4

(This snippet is from the rough draft of Light Magic. There may be — and probably are — misspellings, grammar issues and more that will be corrected in the editing phase. You can find Snippet 1 here, Snippet 2 here and Snippet 3 here. Of course, the usual disclaimers apply. Also, on the current events front, you can find my post about the shooting of Deputy U.S. Marshall Christopher Hill here.)

***

Mom and her letters. She had never really taken to using email, no matter how hard I tried to convince her it was easier and more convenient than relying on the U. S. Postal Service. Any time the topic came up, she’d smile and say I was right. Then she’d tell me a handwritten letter was more personal. I’d never really understood that before now. But, with her letter to me carefully tucked into a folder in the saddlebags on my Harley, I knew what she meant. That letter, no matter what it said, was the last of her I had. Or so I thought. Now there was another letter, one I had yet to see.

Standing there on the sidewalk in front of the café, I closed my eyes and inhaled. For a moment, I focused inward, finding my center. The morning had gone nothing like I’d expected and I felt off-balance. Nothing new, of course, at least not since learning of Mom’s death. But this was different. I felt as if I had stepped into an alternate universe, one where I didn’t know the players or the rules and I did not like that one bit. Continue reading

On history, politics and current day

As you know, for the last couple of months, I’ve been doing a series of posts over at According to Hoyt. The first series was a review of Hillary Clinton’s book, What Happened,. Today started a new series based on Vladimir Lenin’s The State and Revolution (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics). Unlike the previous series where I could employ full snark, this series is going to be a bit more serious. The very subject matter requires it. It also isn’t going to be a straight review. As I sat down to write today’s post, something dawned on me. The reason I felt it so important to re-read TSAR (and yes, I recognize the irony of the acronym) is because I’m seeing many of Lenin’s arguments becoming prominent in our political debates today. That means this new series will be part review and part drawing comparisons with today’s political climate and candidates.

So that’s what I’m up to over at ATH. This series will continue for another three or four weeks.

As for my writing, it’s rolling along. Yesterday was a bit of a wash due to real life — remember, I said as soon as I had a publication date, life would reach up to swat me. It did but the problem was handled and it is back to work today.

Which probably means I need to get off the blogs and get to work. Until later!

On taxes and double standards

I hadn’t planned to do a political post this morning. But, dayum, it’s impossible not to when looking at how some folks are losing their heads — still — over Donald Trump sitting in the White House. I blogged  at Victory Girls about some of the ways the President has successfully become the “un-Obama”, undoing a number of the previous Administrations progressive (I’d use a different word)policies that had negative impact on our country. Now, more than a year into Trump’s term, it is becoming clear that the new tax plan is helping more than just big business and the rich. It is also becoming obvious that liberals love themselves a double-standard.

Let’s deal with the double-standard first. Last year, the media, not to mention members of the Democratic Party, went ape-shit when Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr interrupted Sen. Kamala Harris during questioning of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The offending comment? “Senators, we’ll allow the chair to control the hearing. Sen. Harris, let him answer the question.”

Oh the horror! Twice in a week, the senator was “interrupted” when she continued to badger Sessions. She was stopped because she wouldn’t let the attorney general answer the questions put to him. But how dare a man (gasp!), much less a Republican (double gasp!) tell Harris to allow someone to answer the questions put to him.

Fast-forward to yesterday. Democratic Senator Cory Booker lost his shit during a  Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. The target of his ire? Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen. He “seethed” with anger as he berated Nielsen. But do we see the same level of outrage about his behavior as we did about Burr’s interrupting of Harris? Not only no, but hell no. The media merely reported what happened, focusing on how upset Booker was about the current Administration’s immigration policies and a statement President Trump may, or may not, have said. There’s no uproar over a man daring to try to verbally intimidate a woman. In fact, the usual suspects in Hollyweird (yes, I’m looking at you, Alyssa Milano) applaud Booker and say a woman in a position of power should be able to handle herself in such a situation. If that’s the case, why were they so fucking upset over Harris being politely asked to let the AG answer the questions put to him?

( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Double-standard much? And yet they want us to take them seriously. It’s hard to do with they refuse to apply the same rules of behavior to themselves they demand the rest of us live up to. So, nope, not gonna happen.

Then there’s the outrage of the new tax laws. I’m still waiting for someone to convince me that the law is bad for everyone except the rich and big business. It’s hard to take the law’s detractors seriously when news keeps breaking about how companies are reinvesting their “windfalls” in the business and in their employees. Walmart is raising its minimum wage and giving current employees a bonus. Oncor, which delivers electricity to most of those in North Texas, will be returning its entire — yes, ENTIRE — windfall to its customers. Other companies have announced plans to invest in new training and equipment, not to mention bonuses for their employees. But, to hear the other side discuss the tax changes, it is going to be bad for the common man. I’m not seeing it. Are you?

Better yet, the Administration’s determination to limit tax increases is trickling down to the state level. Here in Texas, Gov. Abbott is pushing for a change in state law that would limit “annual revenue growth of cities, school districts, counties and other local taxing jurisdictions at 2.5 percent.” The short version means local government and taxing entities will be prevented from continuing their push to increase local taxes at unchecked rates. Will it impact the income of local entities? Hell, yes. But it also means they will have to take a hard look at their budgets and cut out the fat.

I’m lucky when it comes to where I live. Our city council has been responsive to the citizens and has done its best to keep its budget under control. I don’t always agree with everything they do but they have managed to withstand a tax rollback election that led to the shuttering of our library for a while as well as the major recreational area in town. Both have since reopened. But then I look at my taxes for the school district and community college district and hospital district, etc., and wonder where the accountability is for some of them.

Looking at all that, I find it hard to see how this first year of Trump’s presidency has been bad for the country or for me personally and I’m not a great fan of Trump the man. Of course, I love the fact we have “Mad Dog” Mattis as SedDef. After eight years of the world knowing it has nothing to worry about where we were concerned because Obama made it clear he cared more about appeasing the enemy than helping our allies, it’s nice to have an Administration not afraid to stand up for the country.

 

Announcement: Publication Dates

This morning’s blog is a bit of housekeeping. I have one set publication date to announce and a couple of tentative dates. Between them will be other projects going on. I simply haven’t figured out where they will fall in this year’s release schedule yet.

The one set date is Feb. 6th. That is when Light Magic will go live. I’m very excited for this release. The book has been a great deal of fun to write — when it wasn’t fighting me tooth and nail. I love the Eerie Side of the Tracks universe and characters. It’s fun to mix a world where magic exists but not everyone possesses it — or is comfortable with it. So mark your calendars. Light Magic will be here before you know it.

If the stars align, real life cooperates and Myrtle the Evil Muse doesn’t decide to play hell with my plans, there will also be a short story set i the Eerie Side of the Tracks universe released for Valentine’s Day. It’s basically written already. So, fingers crossed, I will be able to put the finishing touches on it (and get a cover designed) in time for a Feb. 14th release.

The next major date is May 8th. Again, assuming Myrtle et al don’t interfere, that will be the release date for the fourth novel in the Honor and Duty series. Tentatively titled, Victory from Ashes (this will change),  this book is the final entry in the current story arc of the series. There will be more novels and short stories, some featuring Ashlyn Shaw and others focusing on different characters, both old and new. I’m excited about finishing up this book and then starting on the next “chapter” in the story.

Also on the plate for release before July 4th is a short story/novella in the Nocturnal LIves series. As I noted the other day, I’d made a few notes about it. Those notes have blossomed into a full story in my head and I’m chomping at the proverbial bit to write it. I’ll say this. The story puts Mac in a situation where she would so much rather be facing down half a dozen crazed killers or renegade shapeshifers. To say she’s out of her element is putting it mildly. VBEG

Other than that, please head over to Mad Genius Club this morning and check out the guest post by Jacob Lloyd.

Inspiration struck and life sucked

As I sit here, sipping my second mug of Death Wish and wishing it would kick in, I find myself shaking my head. The liberals are still losing their shit over something the President may or may not have said. The MSM is treating it as a done deal, many calling Donald Trump the most racist president we’ve ever had. All the while, they ignore Dick Durbin’s rather dubious track record for truth when it comes to talking about what he supposedly heard in private White House meetings. Add in the local weather talking heads who can’t figure out if we’re going to see a few snowflakes overnight or face Snowmaggedon. All I can say is this is a great time to be a writer because you don’t have to struggle to find a story people will believe. Real life is so unbelievable, just about anything we write will fly.

Speaking of writing, I’m at the point in Light Magic where I’ve been writing so hard and fast that I had to come up for a breath of air over the weekend. I figured I’d play some video games, write a post or two for Victory Girls and just relax. Boy was I wrong. Saturday night, I got hit with the sledgehammer of inspiration. But, as sometimes happens, the process was different and, fortunately, it hasn’t taken me out of the mood to finish up Light Magic.

I’ll even admit, part of the inspiration came from current events. No, I’m not going to be more specific than that. But it hit and I had to put down the game controller and pick up the iPad Pro and make some notes.

I guess this is where I make another admission. I’ve known from before I finished writing Vengeance from Ashes where the current story arc would end. What’s given me fits is the opening chapters of the next book in the series. This book will end the current plot arc and lead into the next phase of the story. I had the middle and end but not the beginning.

And it was pissing me off.

Then inspiration struck and, with Apple pencil in hand, I started making notes. Except, unlike every other project before it, this was different. Instead of the kind of half-plotter notes I usually make before starting a project, this was more idea plotting. I didn’t open a new document in Word. Instead, I went to the Notability app. Using the Apple pencil, I’d make a note in one color, draw a box with an idea in another, and so on. Within 45 minutes or so, I had enough down that I had a feel for the opening section of the book, something I hadn’t had before. Better yet, it fit with the rest of the book as I have it outlined in my mind.

Now, there are probably a couple of very proper little old ladies at church who are still trying to figure out what I was doing before the service started yesterday because, once again, inspiration hit and the iPad Pro, along with the Apple pencil, came out of my purse. I made another couple of quick notes, saved them out and put everything away.

What that means is I am ready to begin writing the next book as soon as I finish up with Light Magic — YAY!

It also means I have finally found an alternative to having to turn on the light in the middle of the night to take notes when inspiration hits. It also means I don’t have to worry about losing the slip of paper or notebook — or having the cat chew on it or me spill coffee on it. Everything I do in Notability is backed up to Dropbox. I can email it to myself or send it/back it up to a number of other services as well. Best of all, I do my best plotting with pen and paper and Notability is the best app I’ve found when it comes to that sort of thing.

I hadn’t realized how badly I needed an app like this until this weekend. Before, I’d been making notes in Word or similar program. The problem with that is my brain identified it as “writing”. So the few notes I meant to take often morphed into a detailed outline of a chapter or three — or more. The problem is I then felt like I’d written it and didn’t want to go back and do it all over again. This is why I’ve never been a successful “plotter”. Now I can make my notes — and I do mean notes, complete with diagrams and such — and save them out. I can refer to them on my iPad Pro as I work or connect the iPad to an external monitor and have them “blown up”. There are even ways to print them out.

Cool!

Now it’s back to work, after doing a few chores around the house. Until later!

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