Friday, March 20, 2020

It's crazy world out there and in here too

With this whole viral virus thing taking over the world and bringing many things to a standstill, daily life as we knew it a week ago seems so long ago. Today, being my birthday, I thought I'd take a moment to make a few lists to keep all the crazy in perspective.

Things I'm grateful for:

  1. I already work at home. Literally, the entire lower level of my house is dedicated to my home businesses. So hey, zero change for me there. 
  2. My main business is online (on various platforms). I'm all set with social distancing. 
  3. While many people, my son included, are off work due to closures, I'm working overtime.
  4. We regularly buy a three-month supply of toilet paper online and are all set for a while yet. 

Things that have changed this week:

  1. Last Saturday my 89-year-old MIL ended up in the ER for a leg infection. The hospital was full and couldn't admit her. She didn't want to transfer to the next hospital an hour away, so she's currently staying with us. So yeah, I'm working overtime and playing nurse. If I ever get around to publishing The Minor Years, which chronicles Anastassia's time as a Seeker on Veria Minor, yeah, it's based on real-life me right now. 
  2. My daughter is a high school senior and her school is closed for a month. We have no idea how or if graduation will happen. Or AP exams. Or lots of things. Lots of uncertainty going on for a kid who already struggles with anxiety. On the plus side, she gets to do what schoolwork they are assigning on her own time from the comfort of her room and also sleep in. So in that one regard, it's kind of a dream situation. 
  3. I officially became another year older. And after two weeks of overtime with one to go, I'm feeling it. 

Things that are not so great:

  1. I'm trying to evaluate my MIL's health situation and weigh the choice of maybe sending her back to her home or into a nursing home for good. Because apparently, out of five kids, I'm the one willing to make that decision.
  2. Nursing homes are also on lockdown so we can't tour any of them.
  3. I don't currently have time to make a bunch of phone calls, fill out forms, or be a nurse.
  4. I don't remember the last time I had a full night's rest thanks to my own sleep issues and my little dog's peanut-sized bladder and now I'm also getting up at least twice a night to help a full-grown human get out of bed and use the bathroom.   
  5. As it turns out, it's really rough to release a book while events are being canceled left and right and social media is on Covid-19 takeover. 
  6. I really want to be working on Dreams of Stars and Lies, but my brain is too scrambled to concentrate.
I hope you're all healthy, your pantries and TP are stocked and your employers are taking care of you. Until next post, keep washing your hands and let's hope this all blows over very soon!

Monday, March 16, 2020

Release day for Chain of Grey, The Narvan #2

It's release day for Chain of Grey  • The Narvan #2!

You can find your copy at your favorite online bookseller or request it from your local bookstore. If you'd like your library to carry it, you can request that too. The Narvan series is available in both print and ebook.

Chain of Grey (Book 2): Amazon / Kobo / B&N 
Trust (Book 1) is also being re-released.  Amazon / Kobo / B&N

Due to the virus outbreak, my March and April book signings have been cancelled, but I will be happy to sign a book for you at any future events once this chaos gets under control. Let's hope that happens soon.

Life outside the Narvan is not as ideal as Vayen would like. His job is unfulfilling, the people aren't his, and even after five years, Anastassia still hasn't quite forgiven him for stranding them in obscurity. 
Vayen's idle daydreams of returning to the Narvan turn into a nightmare with an assassination attempt. Old friends have become enemies and old enemies are even less happy to see him. Threats barrage him from all sides, endangering not only his own life but those of his family. 
There are too many hands vying for the Narvan, sinking the system into chaos. Vayen's well-intentioned plans have blown up and his homeworld, along with everyone else is suffering. Putting the Narvan together again means showing his face to the High Council, who will want to make an example of him for betraying their trust.
Staying out of it will get him killed. Unfortunately, his odds with jumping into it aren't much better.

Here's a sneak peek of the opening of Chain Of Grey...

I didn’t think my shipping business was overly successful, not to the point where anyone would want me dead because of it. But as I lay there on the floor, observing the fine spray of my blood on my office wall, I had to consider that I might be wrong.

        Heavy footsteps drew closer.

        Damn. I knew I was rusty, but it was still disappointing to know that I’d not done any serious damage with the two knives I’d managed to throw before toppling from my chair. I tried to peer around my desk, but my body wouldn’t cooperate.

        Rhaine was going to be pissed when I missed dinner yet again.

        The footsteps stopped. Something tingled inside my head. The telepathic barriers I’d erected years ago dissolved as my strength faded. The tingle came again as someone invaded my mind. It was a familiar touch, one that sent my head reeling as much as the blood loss.

        The blurry form of my killer loomed over me. “Oh Fuck! Vayen? Is that really you? You’re alive?”


Whispers told me I was dreaming, but I ignored them in favor of enjoying a quiet meal with my family. We sat around the table in our little house on Veria Minor, Ikeri shoving sweet yellow fruit into her mouth until her cheeks were bulging, Daniel looking guilty, and Rhaine giving me a look that said I should ask why. I didn’t. Instead, I slowly ate the meal I’d made after coming home from my day at Dugans, savoring this normal moment I’d never thought to have.

A moment that wouldn’t exist if the High Council hadn’t drugged me into forming a bond with my partner. If they hadn’t demanded that I kill her. If we both hadn’t had to give up what we’d worked so damned hard for and ended up here, around this table.

Ikeri giggled. Juice dripped down her chin. I laughed, ignoring the pressure in my head that was likely the warehouse informing me of a late shipment. Rhaine and I had agreed on no work or datapads at the table. I’d deal with it in the morning.

Except, it occurred to me that it wasn’t a message on a datapad. I tried to will the pressure away. I’d closed off all my telepathic contacts from my previous life. Other than Daniel, who was sitting right there picking at his dinner, no one else in our colony was telepathic. Beyond that, my link was gone. No one should be in my head in any manner.

My hand itched for a gun, but I hadn’t used one of those in five years. They were safely locked away in a chest in a closet under the armored coat I’d folded up upon arriving on Minor. For peace of mind, I allowed myself two small knives when I left the house, but I was home now and they were put away. I didn’t need weapons anymore, certainly not in my own home.

We were safe here. I picked up my fork and ate another bite.

Ikeri slid off her chair and grabbed my hand, tugging me toward the common room where we sat most nights to watch the local vids. Rhaine was talking as I stood. I had the sense that she was telling me what trouble Daniel had gotten himself into, but the words I heard were wrong, muffled, confused. It wasn’t her voice, but a familiar man’s voice. One I didn’t want to think about. Ikeri tugged at me again, more insistent and with more strength than I expected. I started to fall.

I woke with a gasp to a view I never thought I’d see again. I prayed to Geva I’d stepped out of one dream and into another, but when I blinked for the tenth time, the cold metal room was still there. The grey metal ceiling, metal walls, crisp white sheets on the narrow bed, my old clothes on the shelf beside me—my room on the buried ship on Frique.

Merkief stood over me with his hands clasped together as if he’d been praying. “I’m so sorry. If I had had any idea you were Isnar K’turoc, I would never have taken the job. I swear. It wasn’t one of your known aliases, and it was just a quick and easy contract, no setup.” He grimaced. “Sorry, not to make you feel insignificant.”

“It’s all right. That’s what I was going for.”

Had I ever really been gone? Being on the ship again made my years on Veria Minor seem almost surreal. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

IWSG and Chain of Grey Release Announcement

If you're not familiar with 
Group, check it out here 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.

It was a busy February! Productively so, even. Which was a nice change of pace given the past couple months. First up was the redesign of Trust. After my publisher shut down at the end of 2019, rights reverted back to me. I wanted to stay with the current distribution and layout so I relearned InDesign, of which my knowledge was twenty-some years old from when the first version of the program launched. That Desktop Publishing trade school class is still paying off all these years later, I tell you. Go trade school!

After a bit of tweaking on in the inside, the content is all the same, barring a few typos which I fixed while I was there, I played around with the cover a little too. Everything is generally the same. The book is currently out of print but will be re-released in both print and ebook on the 16th.

Which brings me to Book Two: Chain of Grey. Release date is also the 16th. The initial batch of print books arrived today and I'm happy with how they look. But, let me tell you, it was a stressful month of reformating the one, and formatting the other and nailing down the cover details on both in order to have them for the start of my book signing line up for the year. I hadn't used Ingram before, but now I've learned that too. So much learning. And waiting to see if the finished product turned out right. Talk about insecurities. Gah!

Big sigh of relief! I'm happy to be able to release them into the world very soon.

If you would be willing to host a blog post around release day, please let me know.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

IWSG and Book Two of the Narvan Cover Reveal

If you're not familiar with 
Group, check it out here 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.

I'd say I know where January went, but it was all a blur so let's hope 2020 month #2 is a little more kind with sleep and time availability.

Since this is an Insecure Writer's Support Group Post, and I'm bowing out of the usual monthly question, I'll at least cover some writing stuff. What am I feeling insecure about this month? My event schedule. I'm booked through August already. However, I've scaled back this year so I can meet some publication goals and not be stretched quite as thin as I was last year. But I had a lot of fun meeting so many readers at various cons, faires, festivals, and craft shows. But I also want to get some new books out, because they're done and just sitting there glaring at me. But. But. #needaclone

I'm also hesitant to load up my fall because my daughter will be going off to her first year of college and she's been suffering severe anxiety issues. I'm hoping this will go really well for her and she'll love it. She's very excited and is planning to share a dorm with a long-time friend. They act as mutual support pals for one another already, each with their own issues so, yeah, hoping for the best, but thankful she'll only be an hour from home if something arises. 

January did allow me a few days to do an edit for a friend. It's been a while since I've had time for that and it felt good to dig my claws into a book again. Crazy thing about that, I've had two other author friends inquire about edits/critiques in the past couple weeks, totally out of the blue. Must be something in the air. 

With the Narvan series back in my own hands, I've been busy doing a bit of tweaking to the formatting and cover of Trust before I republish it. That has also allowed me to get warmed up for formatting Chain of Grey and finally motivated me enough to kick out the cover. I'd been banging my head on the desk over cover images for most of the month, which was not helping with my stress level at all. My intention is to have the re-issue of Trust and the new Chain of Grey book live by the end of the month. Good to have goals, right?

This coming weekend I'll be over in Lansing with ten of my fellow Michigan Authors at the Mid- Michigan Women's Expo. We have an awesome network of indie authors and I'm trading a weekend visit at one of their houses for a weekend visit at my house next month for the Grand Rapids Women's Expo. Keeping expenses low is a goal we all share. 

Shall we get to this cover? Because I'm already stressing over what to do for book three, Bound in Blue, which is also up for publication this year, and I need a few minutes of feeling accomplished. Without further ado...

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

January IWSG and 2020 Goals

This year launched with a stressful and exhausting beginning. I haven't had a quiet day since Dec 28. It's been one long exhausting day and overtime after another. Great for paying bills, as far as the overtime goes, but with everything else on top, it's been a lot to deal with. The other stuff is mostly health issues for other family/extended family members but it's beginning to take a toll on me too. Thankfully, I don't have anything author-related planned until early February. I hope to be more awake and alert by then.

My annual one word resolution is READ. I've been so focused on writing/editing for the past couple years that I haven't had much time for kicking back with a book.  I hope to do better with that this year. To get me in the right mind-set, I'm looking into a book club at a nearby indie bookstore. Beyond that, my TBR stacks are spawning baby stacks. It's out of control...but I keep coming home with more books. So yes, I need to tame those a bit.

2020 Goals:
1. Due to the publisher of The Narvan closing down at the end of last year, first on my list is republishing Trust myself.
2. Chain of Grey: The Narvan - Book Two, is proofed and awaiting formatting and then is next up for publication.
3. Publish a second short story collection. The stories are all written, but await a final edit and then the whole proof/format/publish routine.
4. Publish Spindelkin - a MG fantasy/fairytale. This was my NaNo 2019 project. It needs an ending, but is generally outlined and then onward to editing/beta reads and the rest.

I'll be doing slightly less events this year so I (in theory) have time to accomplish these goals. I'll be updating the list over there ---> as events are added throughout the year.

If you'd like updates on when any of those projects are published, please sign up for my newsletter. Also over there ---->

If you're not familiar with 
Group, check it out here 
and find links to all the other 
participating writers.

And now, its time for the first Insecure Writer's Support Group post of 2020. This month's question is: 
What started you on your writing journey? Was it a particular book, movie, story, or series? Was it teacher/coach/spouse/friend/parent? Did you just "know" suddenly you wanted to write?

This is a popular question. Which, thankfully means it's an easy one to answer. My third grade teacher launched me into writing with a Scholastic writing competition. I wrote a horrible little story about a dog who got lost, complete with pictures, and won for our grade. That meant I had to go to the local college to an award ceremony, which was utterly terrifying for an extremely shy kid. A year later, my fourth grade history teacher and I clicked and I started slipping her short stories (which were also awful, btw), and she would covertly slide them back to me the next day with encouraging notes on them.

So for all you teachers out there, doing your little one on one things with what little time and energy you have in light of everything else, it's greatly appreciated, even it's not apparent at the time.