Sunday, May 19, 2019

Release Date and Cover Reveal

Houston, We Have A Release Date

A few months ago, The Wildrose Press (TWRP) offered up a contract for Enemy Within, Enemy Games, and for the three, as yet untitled books that will finish out this series. The series has a name now: Chronicles of the Empire and the books will be numbered so it will be easier to know where you are in the arc of the story. 

This is the cover for book one, Enemy Within. The books will be ebook releases with a print on demand option. 

Here's the back cover:
Horrific torture in an alien prison torpedoed Captain Ari Idylle's military career. Stripped of command and banished to her father's scientific expedition to finish a PhD she doesn't want, Ari refuses to fly a desk. She intends to have her command back by any means possible, until pirates commandeer her father's ship, and she's once again a prisoner. Perhaps this cunning captor isn't what he pretends to be. 

As far as Cullin Seaghdh is concerned, the same goes for Ari. Her past association with aliens puts her dead center in Cullin's cross-hairs. If she hasn't been brainwashed and returned as a spy, then she must be part of a traitorous alliance endangering billions of lives. He can't afford the desire she fires within him. His mission comes first. He'll stop at nothing to uncover her true purpose and protect what is his, even if it means her destruction.

The release date for Enemy Within is July 17, 2019. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Funny Thing Happened Since Last I Was Here

So I live in Florida, now. That two year gap in blogs - that was me working on keeping some people and pets alive. Succeeded with the people. Ultimately lost the battle with the pet as you do when they're as old as he was. (The youngest two are now 15 and they're fine. Ish.)

The move from Washington State to the west (Gulf) coast of Florida was a massive undertaking because it wasn't just my nuclear family, I managed to convince my parents to move with us. Do you know how much stuff you manage to accumulate when you own 5 acres of land, a house, a boat, a tractor - for realz a tractor (and a bull dozer)? Trying to sort through a lifetime of my parents' stuff in a compressed time frame so they could sell the house was intense. But we did it and here we all are. My husbands' parents, his sister and her kids had been in this area for years. This moves a portion of my side of the family into the region. The only ones missing are my sister and her daughter.

That move diagonally across the continent wasn't just a matter of mileage. Culturally, I swear to you I need a mentor to comprehend Florida. While for the most part, we all speak the same language and have base cultural experience in common, the day to day details are totally different. Tiny example - in WA when I go for the annual physical, it's everything - breast exam, pelvic, blood work - everything in one single appointment. Not in Florida. PAP smear and breast exams are a separate appointment. No big deal. It's an expectation reset. One in a long line of expectation resets I've had to navigate since moving. It's good for my brain. I get that. But apparently my brain is a three year old who hasn't had her nap, because once in a while, she plops down on her butt in the middle of whatever I'm trying to cope with, crosses her chubby little arms and refuses to budge.

Banging my forehead against the wall hasn't helped. So I really think there ought to be a mentorship program available. I don't know - maybe through the department of licensing you know? To encourage you to update the plates on your car. Go in, swap your plates, get assigned a cheerful volunteer you can text with things like "Best steak in town in a restaurant that isn't a tourist trap - go!" or "This snake just latched onto my shoe, here's a photo, how loud, exactly should my screams be?"

One of the things I absolutely give Florida props for: you can make an appointment to get your drivers license or your car license plates. An appointment. WA state didn't do that. You took half a day off work, went in, stood in line, and took your chances. Oh. And sunshine. My goodness, the sunshine.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Parenting Fail

I have a confession. Last night I failed as a parent and as an adult. Now I get why my mother TO THIS DAY tells the story of walking the entirety of JFK International Airport trying to find her 8 year old (me) a hotdog and failing. My father had been stationed in Iceland. He'd been there for months while we lived with my mother's parents waiting for Dad to find housing for all of us. When finally he did, my sister and I were taken out of school, removed from our doting grandparents (very likely to my mother's everlasting relief), our beloved felines abandoned - one pregnant - and here we were. About to leave the United States in the middle of winter, bound for the great unknown. We had to get dinner before getting on the plane. I was offered a steak. I wanted a hotdog. Pizza? HOTDOG.

My poor mom. Faced with little kids desperate for some sense of familiarity and comfort and she couldn't make it happen.

This morning I have complete empathy for that twenty-something woman trying to parent an 8 and a 6 year old. This morning, I am also more grateful than ever that I never had children of my own.

At midnight, about an hour and a half after I'd finally gotten to sleep, Autolycus woke me by pulling my hair. Okay. To be fair, he was kneading, but he knew exactly what he was doing. "Mom," he purred, while drooling lovingly into my face, "I'm hungry." I was annoyed, but I got up and made him something to eat.

He snubbed it.

I was more annoyed, but I took it away and offered kibble.

He snubbed it.

Angry at that point, I put the kibble away and climbed back into bed. I must have misunderstood. But the second I put my head on the pillow, there he was. Yanking my hair and, now, licking my face. I got really mad. "WHAT?? What do you want?"

The boy recoiled and slowly, sadly turned his back and curled up. A little orange ball of misery that clearly said I'd stomped on his tiny, tender feelings, you big meanie.

Still grumbling, I got up again and got him water. Maybe that was his issue. I put the dish before him. He turned his face away. His ears drooped. I could almost see his little shoulders shaking in grief.

Oh my gawd. M A S S I V E  G U I L T. Who's supposed to be the adult here? Who's supposed to remember that the boy is aged and ill and that I'm lucky to get to be awakened by him at all? That's right. Me. The cat parent who is failing as a parent on an epic scale. Brilliant. Cue the abject apologies.

He did not want to hear them. Also did not want to be touched. Okay. I deserved that. No problem. Let's try a few more food options, shall we? Let's start with the current favorite - a can of Tiki Cat Lamb and Beef Liver. (Barf.)  As I got yet another plate and dumped grotesque globules of goo thereupon, the DH, awakened by all the drama, rolled out of bed to attend to business. I set the plate of food before the cat.

He ate. No histrionics. No accusation. Just a plain, simple, intimation that I'd been 100% unreasonable about being awakened at midnight so I could dirty four plates, and three of them for nothing.

As the DH and I stood beside the bed waiting for the cat to finish eating (what? You thought he'd get up??) I sighed.

What I said then, I say again this morning: I hope to all the gods that I am the only person on the planet so fatally attracted to creatures that seem bent on exposing my every flaw as a human being.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Repelling Boarders

Shortly after midnight, last night, Autolycus woke me from a sound sleep to indicate that he was hungry and would I please provide him with a midnight snack. This by way of kneading my hair with intent to harm. I rolled out of bed and got the boy a plate of food, which, of course, I had to take *back* to the bed because, what? You expected him to get up?? He tucked in.

I took the opportunity to check on the girls. Cuillean snoozing in her heated bed atop the fridge. Check. Hatshepsut - uh oh - Hatshepsut is stationed at the door to the cockpit. Standing at attention. Her gaze riveted in that clear "Mom, something's out there" gaze I'm finally coming to recognize.

I grab the flashlight. Oh, look. The canvas door has been pulled open. The 2 gallon water jug I put in front of that door (to keep Hatshepsut from letting herself out) has been shoved to one side. Great. We had a visit from the local masked bandit. Except. The compost bag is still inside. Huh. He must not have gotten in past the water jug. Flick off the light and start to turn away.

Hatshepsut does not abandon her post. In fact, she repositions. It isn't quite a shout of 'you idiot, it's still out there' but it's close. So I scan the cockpit. Looks clear. And I open the door. That's when I hear it - this odd, metallic scraping sound. Thinking I'm walking into an enclosed space that contains a raccoon, I hesitate, my heart going from 'wish I were asleep' to 'oh shit' in a flash. But no. The noise is coming from outside the boat. I flip on the overhead light with the intent of scaring away anything or anyone lingering outside my boat. Doesn't work. Just blinds me. Flip the light back off, suck up my courage and unzip the door to outside.

There's the raccoon. On the finger pier, just aft of my boat, staring at me over the corpse of a brand new 2lb bag of cat kibble.

No longer merely human, I hiss at the little bastard and climb out onto the transom. He grabs that bag of kibble in his teeth and bolts. I pursue, still hissing. It's raining. It's almost 1AM. I am dressed in a tee shirt and a pair of fuzzy slippers. But I chase that damned raccoon up the dock for several yards - to that light post Autolycus is looking at in this photo - until the raccoon decides discretion is the better part of supper.

He drops the bag of kibble and makes his break.

I only wanted the kibble. That's Autolycus's favorite. Stuff is $12 a 2lb bag. That raccoon can just pay for his own damned bag of noms.

I only hope none of my neighbors were up at that hour of the night. . .

Friday, January 1, 2016

The Lost Kitten

Had a dream last night. I'll spare you the details. Suffice it to say there were two kittens. One plump and happy and outgoing. The other was smaller and shy. The two were sisters from the same litter (and thus, ostensibly, ought to have been the same size.) Insert all the random weirdness that is dreaming here. Until. Somewhere in all of that nonsense, I realized I hadn't seen shy kitten in a very long time. She hadn't come out to eat or anything. Uh oh. Cue the dramatic and heart-wrenching John Williams score. I HAD TO FIND HER. And I was scared to find her all at the same time for fear that I'd come across only her dry, shriveled up corpse. I did find her, curled up in a clothes drawer (even my subconscious gets cats) with her sister. She was tiny. Pitifully thin and wasted. But not dead. The dream ended with all of the emergency measures and plans to nurse her back to health.

Why tell you this? Because that kitten is writing.

I haven't written a single sentence on any story since the middle of November. (The kitten I haven't seen in a long time.) Sure, there are excuses and moderately good reasons for it. But the fact remains, I've been looking for that particular kitten for the past two weeks and with this dream, it's clear I'm holding a limp body in my hands - a body that's just about ready to give up unless I initiate some drastic intervention.

For the curious, the fat, outgoing kitten is day to day life - the things that suck up all of your attention when given the chance.

Funny. I know what to try for a sick kitten. Droppers of water and kitten formula. Warmth. Physical contact close to the heart (kittens cue off of mom's heart beat, so tucking a sick kitten against your skin close to your heart helps.) I don't know what to do for sick writing. Except maybe to approach it gently with the intention of dribbling in a few words at a time many times a day. I'm told it's a sign of a healthy mind if you begin taking positive action to solve problems in your dreams. Don't recall where I saw that, but I'll take it. And trust that it will spill over to actually solving the not writing problem. I hope.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Amazing Day

Yesterday, something amazing happened. It had been a rough day. Autolycus, our bob-tailed boy, was sick with a terrible cold. Everything we did to support his health only seemed to sink him deeper into misery. I hadn't managed to get a word written since Monday. Those of you who know me, know that means that I'd begun disintegrating since it is writing that keeps me sane. Ish. By this time, the doubts had hit full force. Everyone else in the world writes faster, more, better. If you have a pursuit you love, you may know what I'm talking about.

Then. Out of the blue, on Facebook, I get this from my cousin:

"Thought I'd let you know that "Nightmare Ink" helped Betty get through her chemo treatment like "sliding through butter"! She started reading it off my tablet & didn't finish so I found my old Kindle & charged it up & surprised her with it the next week. She was giggling like a girl! So thank you so much!"

Yeesh. Still makes me tear up.

I think I've mentioned my Aunt Betty before now, but just in case, here's the story again. See, I was a lonely kid. My fault, really. I kept waiting for my passel of cousins to yell, "Come on!" No one ever did. So I got left behind a lot. (I don't wait for an invite anymore. I barge right on into the group.) One particular day when all the other cousins had gone off to have fun while I ended up sitting on my grandmother's porch feeling sorry for myself, my Aunt Betty walked up with a box and plopped it down next to me. "Here," she said. "Read these. You'll like them." It was her collection of Andre Norton books. I started one and I was hooked. Andre Norton and my Aunt Betty are directly to blame for infecting me with the writing bug. :)  How do you thank someone for something like that?

Yesterday, Aunt Betty, via my cousin, gave me yet another gift - the awareness that what I write might not be changing the world - but for the few hours it takes to read one of my stories, what I write might change one person's world for the better. Humbling. Easy to forget that story telling is a form of sharing love and energy.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Worst Day Living on a Boat

The worst of living aboard a boat isn't when it's stormy and the boat is bouncing all over the place. It isn't when lightning strikes in the waterway not 100' from the boat - though that WILL get your attention. It isn't even when the temperatures are hovering in the single digits.

The single worst day living aboard a boat is the day the head (toilet) breaks. Because you never find out it's broken until you need to flush. And let me tell you, to fix the head in a boat requires taking the whole thing apart. Raw sewage is always involved. Bad day.

But second only to that are the days you walk all the way up to the showers, undress to get into said shower, and discover you left your towel on board the boat. A football field or more away.

For someone without a sentimental bone in her body, I am SO nostalgic over the days when my beloved would bring me a towel warm from the dryer as I got out of the shower. Sigh.