Sunday, May 30, 2010

Joe Konrath's Steal This Ebook

When I got my publishing contract, I had to suddenly learn about how to market and all that fun stuff.  So I found Joe Konrath's "Newbie's Guide to Publishing".  Great book.

So I started following his blog.  And I find myself in agreement with a lot of what he says about piracy, and ebooks, and how the publishing industry should adjust with evolving times.  I have come to respect him enough, and find his opinions and studies valid enough, I plan on self-publishing any other books I write that aren't under contract.

I didn't used to think that.  I used to think that if your book was good enough, some publisher would pick it up, and you would be set from there.  Then I found out how publishing really works, and I'm now of the opinion that if I have to do the lion's share of the work, I want the lion's share of the prophets.

Not that I got into writing to make money.  I long ago knew that wasn't a good motivation to write.

I am a storyteller.  I like writing because then I can weave these tales together for people to enjoy, and be captivated by the world I've created.  And if I'm in control, and I can set my price, and make my own cover, and am directly in charge of my marketing and reviews and everything else, then I can reach even more people.

I mean, I've seen how the price of a book can effect people's decisions to read.  I've had co-workers be all happy that I'm a writer, and they're going to go right out and get my book...and then they stop because of the price tag.  It's not stopping everyone, because I've obviously made sales.  But it is a halting point.

Hell, I personally have problems buying books at their current costs.  I read fast (when I read) and find myself hard put to justify the prices.  Even when I can now claim books on my taxes.  So I only buy what I really really really like.  As a show of support for the author or the series.

But I digress.  Mostly.

Joe Konrath is trying to prove that piracy doesn't negatively affect sales.  (I agree with him that the best way to combat piracy is to lower the price.)  He's now running an experiment through his blog.  Check it out, and let's help with these studies.  I know I'm interested, and there's free reads involved.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sketch

Yes, another painting.  I'm kinda trying to really kick things back into gear, without letting the frustration drag me away.  because having atrophied skills is almost as crushing as people being jackasses.

So, I picked my favorite model.  Mmmmm, Lando.....

I'm playing on playing with it, on doing some different details and practice.  Just keeping working, and using it as my practice piece.  Like a stitch sampler.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Morgan Chronicles

"When the necklace returned, and you weren't with it, I was worried."  Besedie seemed oblivious to the approach of the Chaos pair.  I could feel them now, like a cold breeze across the back of my neck.  "I could tell you'd been busy."

Rhaelgyr shot to his feet, laying a hand on my shoulder.  "We have to go."  The pit of my stomach dropped; Steven and Kurlog were closer than I'd realized.

Besedie looked at me, frowning.  "Still doing what others want?"

I stiffened, glaring at him.  "Instead of doing what you want?"  There had been fights about this, even before Steven came along.  The indulgent father he tried to portray was a lie; he was only kind so long as I was exactly what he wanted.

My father rose.  The room was growing cold, and his breath puffed as he spoke.  "Your head was filled with so many false ideas.  Damn your mother for putting them there."

Rhaelgyr took my arm, pulling me to my feet.  ~Now, Morgan.~  Besedie stepped forward, reaching for me.  The dragon growled, putting himself in front of my father.  "We're leaving."

Besedie laughed, eyes dangerous as he faced off with Rhaelgyr.  "Pathetic elf.  You're barely a race.  Former slaves and scum.  Setians have always been superior.  Now take your hands off my daughter."

The air whispered with magic, Chaos and Order rubbing against each other.  My breath was thick in my chest, my vision dimming as the pressure increased.  "He's not an elf, Daddy."

"What?"  My father's frown was sharp when he looked my way.

"He's a dragon."  Rhaelgyr chuckled, pulling his shoulders back.  We'd taken Besedie by surprise.  "And now we're leaving."  I wrapped myself around Rhaelgyr's torso, flaunting our relationship.

The dragon summoned magic, opening dimensional walls.  I groaned in pain as the power built.  Rhaelgyr stiffened, straining with the effort of teleportation.  "They're too close," he whispered.

Besedie laughed, slowly applauding.  "Good effort.  But my associate will be here shortly.  You should settle in and wait."

Rhaelgyr lunged, slashing at Besedie with black talons.  Blood flew, my father's cheek laid open.  The dragon pushed the attack, driving the elder Setian back.

My headache grew, barely allowing me to stand.  Psychic senses picked up the sound of Kurlog's laughter.  Steven was with him, but I was sure the young Chaos Lord was unconscious.

A broad shouldered guard stepped into the library, holding an arcing baton.  Rhaelgyr was intent on assaulting Besedie, and didn't notice.  I tried to warn him, but only a weak gurgle came out.  I couldn't even move as the guard struck the dragon, driving him to his knees.

Besedie wiped the blood from his face.  His hair was in disarray, his robes torn.  Rhaelgyr was growling, trying to rise, and the guard hit him again.  "Uncouth beast.  Worse than an eld."  My father spat on my lover, walking past.

"Now, my child, shall we get to business?"  Besedie touched my face as Kurlog appeared, throwing Steven's limp body to the floor.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Further adventures of the Taco Baron

Because it's dumb, but really fun.  I'm the green posts.

***

Sizejohn scoffed to himself, eyeing the slapdash and slipshod workmanship. But choosing the cheapest, worst, most rundown place to stay gave the upper crust citizens to impress him by “rescuing” him from his conditions.



Carne Asada surely had upstanding higher class citizens. A salsa vein like the one here always attracted the rich vultures.



The bartender walked up to the middle door and tried to open it. He struggled with it for a moment before throwing his shoulder unceremoniously into it, allowing the door to pop open.

“haHA! Sticks a bit but it’s the finest room you’ll see” he giggled fiendishly.

The odor of stale tostadas wafted out as Sizejohn took a look at the accommodations. A queen sized bed sagging deeply in the center hugged the far left corner, with a cracked mirror and rusted sink to the right of it. On the right wall was a dresser that looked as if it had been carved out the wall itself, looking as if it couldn’t take a fly landing on it, yet alone clothes. The one saving factor was the view. There was a small window on the back wall at the head of the bed, looking out on the Vein.

“This will do just fine good Sir” Sizejohn yawned as he threw his satchel down on the bed. The squishing noise it made when it hit did not encourage him.

“Excellent to hear! haHA!” exclaimed the bartender, “If you need anything, I’ll be downstairs, OH! And the name’s Lucky!”


Sizejohn approached the window, ignoring Lucky as he tottered out of the room. Taking a deep breath, he could almost smell the cilantro at the mine.

Rolling hills disguised the juicy flavors beneath. Only a madman, or a genius, would have prospected for salsa here. Only time would tell whether Carne Asada would thrive, or fall to pieces when the vein ran dry.

“Pico de gallo, the rarest of the salsa ores,” he mused. Rich chunks of tomato and peppers, with the right balance of cilantro and onion, pico was almost a meal unto itself.

Slamming his fist on the window sill, Sizejohn turned his back to the cruel mistress that was a salsa mine.



Chapter 2


Sizejohn woke groggily from his afternoon siesta. In a town like Carne Asada, almost no one was out in the mid-afternoon. The sun was too hot, and the shelter of the buildings were too great a calling. He stretched, and checked his supplies.

He’d brought enough of the good stuff with him to make the proper connections before he would start getting the life-crushing oil in from his storehouse down in Carnitas. It was a simple plan, get the finer denizens of the community hooked on his magic sauce, and the rest would fall into place. He’d be able to get the city to begin to crumble, to where the Salsa Mine itself would start to suffer. Then he’d get himself a stake in the company, and slowly wean the community back onto a ‘higher quality’ of oil. All he had to do was find a patsy, someone he could turn the eye of the town onto once things started getting bad.

Lucky was a possible choice, but only as a last resort. He wasn’t bright enough for people to believe him to be a mastermind, so Sizejohn would keep his eyes open, find someone who would fit the role a bit better.

It’d worked before, many times before….Chalupa Canyon, Quesadilla Junction, Chili Reanno….just that damned Chihuahua incident. Nothing to think about now, that was a long time ago, and he was a lot wilier than he had been back then.



Standing at the rickety dresser and the chipped wash basin, Sizejohn tried rinsing the sour taste of bad picante from his mouth. Amazing how long the bad ones lingered. Some rapped at his door, not too loud, not too quietly. Narrowing his eyes, the taco oil peddler crossed warily to the door. It opened with a jerk and a groan, revealing a middle aged couple.


“Greetings,” the man started. He wore all black, with a broad rimmed hat. Sizejohn recognized him as a man of the cloth. “I am Pastor Fitzmutton, and this is my wife, Bedelia.” She bowed her head, hands clasped around a prayer book. “We represent the Carne Asada Welcoming Committee. It is our honor to invite you to dinner at our house tonight.”

If there was one thing that frustrated him more than salsa mines, it was religious leaders. Giving his friendliest smile, Sizejohn replied, “I would love to.”



After receiving directions to the good Pastor’s home, Sizejohn unceremoniously closed the door. And then kicked the corner of it to get it to stay closed.

He stretched, rubbing the stubble on his chin and realizing that a shave would be in order. He should be able to get a bead on the town over at the barber’s shop. He looked back out the window, gazing up at the slowly descending sun. He had about an hour and a half until he was expected for dinner, and he wouldn’t want to be late. Whatever would the holy man think of tardiness?

Reaching into his satchel, he pulled out a fresh pair of clothes. He always travelled light, knowing he could pick up the local attire in town once he’d figured out his angle. Light brown jerkin, faded jeans, they were endless classics that would get him through the evening’s affair. He changed quickly into the new clothes, grabbed his bag and headed out the door.



This barber shop was an interesting reflection of the town. The laborers, the ones busting their backs in the mine, weren’t here. They’d work until dark, and would stay in camp until payday. Life was too hard to waste frivolous chips.


But the well-to-do were here. The mine owners, the banker, the owner of the general goods, all were gathered around the man in the chair. They gossiped, worse than any sewing circle, and plotted, and were a good old boys club.

They all fell silent when he walked in. He was a stranger, an anomaly, and possibly a danger. He gave his best salesman’s smile, brighter than the summer sun. “Good day, gentleman. Word is this is the only place a civilized man can get his grooming done.”

They smiled back, relaxing, taken in with minimal effort.



“Have you got time to give me a quick shave?” Sizejohn asked sincerely, giving the barber a wink as he did

“Of course Sir, it is a pleasure to meet a gentleman with the taste to grace himself with the quality of my establishment” the barber gleamed, returning the wink back. The barber hopped out of his chair, grabbed up his shaving bib, and made a show of dusting the seat off for his customer, grinning the entire time.

There hadn’t been many people who had come to Carne Asada since the beginning of the war, not new people at least. Sure, the camps always had their wagons full of fresh flesh for the mines, but someone who wasn’t elbow deep in salsa 19 hours a day were few and far between. That was part of the reason he’d selected this once bustling mining town. Oh, there was still good business, and people still stopped on their way to other cities, especially Chili Crossing, but it wasn’t the same.

Sizejohn lightly dropped himself into the chair, and looked at each of the men who sat around him.



“Carne Asada is certainly bustling. Must have taken pure ingenuity to set up here so quickly. And with the rail thinking of heading north to Sauerkraut Creek.” Sizejohn shook his head slightly while the barber made up his lather. “That mine sure is something.”

The short man with the heavy jowls adjusted his jacket, rocking back and forth on his heels. “That would be mine. Land given to my granddaddy back in the Potato-Yam war for services rendered.”

“And you held onto it until the right time. Commendable.” The barber tipped Sizejohn back, lathering his face.

The overly tall man in the tan suit nodded his head. “Oh yes. Stackbabber and I spent many summers looking for just the right place to dig. When our guide fell into a sinkhole, all we thought was tragedy. But his loss has brought us this booming town.”

The middle man, leather skinned with narrow eyes, glared suspiciously at Sizejohn. “What is your interest in our town?”

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sketch

Been a while since I did any actual art.  Not counting my doodles.  I just haven't felt capable of it.  This speedpainting shows how slack I've been, and how my skills (such as they were) have degraded.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Morgan Chronicles

~He's not telling the full truth.~  Rhaelgyr's voice was tense.  The focus of the connection was enough to give me a mild headache, and I couldn't suppress a frown.

~I know.  This doesn't feel right.~  I smoothed my brow.  ~We'll see how this goes.~

"What did he do?  Is that where I lost my memory?"  Hopefully Besedie hadn't noticed the pause where I'd been talking with the dragon.

"The whelp had the audacity to demand access to the archives.  He was persistent, and kept at it until you relented.  You saw no harm in teaching him more, and gave him what he asked.

"I realized he was using you, that he was only acting like your friend."  My father sighed, lowering his eyes.  "As much as I disapproved, I allowed you to keep him, and I overlooked much of what you'd done.  You were happy, and that's all I wanted.

"But Steven began abusing his power, slipping away from you, torturing the lower castes.  He went back amongst the humans, teaching them ways of enlightenment and power.  He began arguing with you in public, openly defiant.

"I confronted him when I realized how bad it was.  I asked him to leave, to not see you anymore, and it enraged him.  He lashed out with wild power, throwing a Chaos tantrum.  Steven leveled many buildings before I got you and he away from Setia."

Again, I had stirrings of memory, but also lingering doubts.  He wasn't telling the whole truth.  Rhaelgyr crossed his arms behind me, also picking up that there were lies.  Neither of us were ready to call Besedie on it, though.

"His attack broke the portal, and we were all stuck Between.  You were trying to stop him, to keep us apart.  Steven wouldn't stop, and I only wanted to protect you."  He paused, fighting a well of emotion.  "But you were hurt.  Bad."

"What did you do then?"  I was genuinely interested, leaning forward.  I tried to deny my need to know about myself, but I was burning with curiosity.

Besedie's voice was a whisper, tears in his eyes.  "I tried to send you home.  But for all my knowledge, I am not skilled enough to manipulate the Walls well enough.  You were moved from the fight, but I didn't know where you went.  With Steven continuing to rage, I couldn't follow you.  By the time I subdued him, you were long gone."

"Did you look for me?"

His hesitation spoke volumes.  "Of course.  And when I couldn't find you, I sent a token to guide you home."

"The necklace."

Besedie nodded.  "Even if it didn't bring you back, it would give me a chance to find you."

Rhaelgyr growled across the link, but remained still.  ~What's wrong?" I asked, not taking my eyes off my father.

~Steven's coming.  Kurlog with him.~

There was no hiding my surprise then.  Something was going to go wrong.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Guest writer

So, a lot of times when I stop wanting something, that's when I get it.

Like yesterday.  I said I wasn't going out of my way to promote any more, that I was just going to write, and let that be my marketing plan.  Joe Konrath talks about it all the time; get your name out as much as you can.  Keep writing, and show people you're worth purchasing.

But I got word from a site I'd signed up to guest post on in January.  The current guest bailed, and she had an opening.  So, I jumped on it.

Once I'd stopped waiting, an opportunity arose.  I love that.

So, I'm up on Patricia Pellicane's site.  She has some neat free reads up, and I read a couple of her excerpts in her newsletter.  Check out her stuff as well.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I dunno, some stuff

I'm at a point where I just don't care about trying to market.  What I've done so far hasn't had a huge impact.  It's been two and a half months, and I've gotten no word back from any of my review requests.  I've done the things new authors are supposed to do, and I'm not meeting people, not gaining readers.

Okay, so I've had a couple people tell me they like my book.  That's something.

But I want more.  I want to hear from more people.  I want to know what they liked, and what they didn't.

Considering other issues in my life, I just can't care enough about promoting right now.  It's fucking depressing.

So I plan on focusing on just my writing.  I've got things to work on that matter more to me.

Though, I did join Literotica in hope of cross-promoting.  Because posting stories is a great way to get more readers.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Morgan Chronicles

I'm not sure what I'd expected, but I felt a little let down by our destination.  We stepped into a plain library; case after case of simple books, straight-back chairs, and one long table.  It didn't even smell old, or have a weight of ages.  It was just a collection of books.

My father led us to a set of chairs around a low table.  Three conveniently placed chairs.  He took the middle seat, then looked innocently up at me.

~Devious man,~ Rhaelgyr whispered on a tight link.  Keeping people from overhearing us was good.  With the dragon's whisper, I was certain my father had spies observing us.

My father intended us to be separate, to drive a wedge between us.  It might have worked if Rhaelgyr cared about social graces.  As I sat, the dragon claimed the other chair, and brought it to my side.  Meeting my father's challenging stare, he sat.

Silence grew as the two men glared.  After several moments, I cleared my throat.  "You said you had answers for me," I reminded my father.

"Of course."  He shifted his gaze from the dragon to me.  "What do you need to know?"

As much as I didn't want to admit weakness, I needed him to talk.  "Everything.  I don't even know who you are."

He shook his head.  "A shame.  I'm Besedie, your father.  Makesie, your mother, died in childbirth with your younger sister.  She was always wild, putting too much faith in natural ways.  You're so much like her."

I'd never been like the others.  Even then, I'd been different.  My choices now made sense in the light of this revelation.  Besedie kept talking, giving me little time to absorb anything he said.

"I indulged you, and taught you how to rule.  When you were ready, I gave you your own hamlet to control."  Anger seeped into his voice as he continued.  "You met that wretched Steven there.  You began to teach him, despite the proscriptions.  You saw him in secret when I denied you.

"Eventually, you taught him the ways of enlightenment.  And he became Immortal."  My father looked away.  "He was well-behaved, and respectful to you.  My fears seemed unfounded."

"So how did he become a Chaos Lord?"

"Corruption.  Humans crave power, and he started seeking more.  He was never content as merely your companion, and began seeking more power.  As he gained it, he became less tractable.  Wilder, defiant.

"Then came the night he attacked you."

Unease crawled up my spine.  I couldn't pinpoint the source, and I tried to keep my doubts from my face.  There had been a fight; vague recollections of heated words came up.  But no sense of violence, of an actual attack.  "What happened?"

Besedie's expression was sad, his eyes glittering.  "Steven tried to take my daughter away from me."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Life of the taco baron

This is why I should not be allowed to get bored with friends at work.  We went back and forth, telling a random story.  I took it up first, and it went from there.  And, I'm completely crazy when I'm calls.  So I do things like forget the character's name.

Sorry about the lame format, this is all cut and paste from stupid work email.

****


More Sizejohn, the notorious Taco Baron, surveyed his new land in Utah…..
He stepped down from his magnificent steed and looked out upon the vast emptiness before him……
“Fine taco lands…..fine taco lands indeed….”
He smiled as he mounted his horse, and headed down into the little town of Carne Asada.
Carne Asada was a booming salsa town, slapped together almost over night.  The paint was barely dry on a building before merchants started plying their trade.  The salsa vein had barely been struck, but already the rails were preparing to come through.  A hefty profit awaited the man who could carve out a ranch in these times.
 
Sizejohn pulled his horse up to one of the many saloons in town. They were all the same, peddling third rate hot sauce and dusty tamales. He’d seen it a dozen times before. He saddled up to the bar and ordered a triple shot of extra-hot picante. The bartender, a smaller gentleman with a missing eye he’d stuffed with an old tortilla brought him his drink without a word. Sizejohn took the drink down, disappointed as always by it’s quality. This town would be just as easy as the others.
 
Inspecting the glass with a knowing look, Sizejohn smacked his lips.  “Fine vintage this is,” he lied to the bartender.  The little man frowned, unused to being complimented.  “A local brew, if I judge correctly.”
“Yes.  The Widow Verde makes it from a family recipe.”
“Could I bother you for directions to her home?  A fine lady such as herself must surely be interested in another brewer.”
The bartender’s one eye lit up.  He knew the drink was garbage, and looked forward to a better source.  “Surely there’s some way I can help.”
Sizemore laughed to himself.  It began.
 
Sizejohn forgot that his name wasn’t Sizemore, just for a moment. He’d been having these lapses lately. Too much travel, too little rest, it was like a two day old combination platter---a bad idea.
Too many names, in too many places.  Too much dust caught in his clothes, too many long days of beating sun.
It was time to settle in.
“Let me get my case, my fine man, and we’ll see if you can help me.”  Time to peddle the taco oil again.
Taco oil was a creation that had first emerged after the taco famine of ’43. Without the delicious seasonings which had been provided by the southern colonies, whole cities had fallen to the carnage. And then there was the taco oil. The process of creating the liquid was a closely guarded secret, each Baron’s family having their own version. But they all started the same, with a base of whatever type of beastial fat which was most readily available would be cooked down and down and down, until it became nothing but a thick sludge of almost no flavor or color. Then the Baron’s work began, combining the horded ingredients from the old days into the concoction until a single drop could turn a paella into a Taco Feast.
 
But it took a real expert to tell true taco oil from a copy.  They smelled the same in the bottle, even looked the same.  Once cooked, false taco oil slowly drove the user insane, until they wandered off to die alone.
Smirking, Sizejohn knew this bartender was no expert.
He pulled his satchel from his side dropped it softly on the bar. He undid the old bronze zipper which housed the delicacies he so skillfully peddled. He reached in and gingerly pulled out a single bottle. The bottle was a deep azure, and as he held it up to the light the old bartender grunted with glee, slowly running his tongue across his green, fuzzed teeth.
Sizejohn leaned in close to the man “Now this, my friend, is something you will never forget”………
 
Too late, the bartender tried to restrain his joy, to act like a seasoned pro.  “Taco oil is taco oil.  What makes you so special?”
“This is the taco oil of royalty.”
The gleam came back, the jaw slacked.  “Do what now?”
Sizejohn grimaced, but continued.  “Passed from the ancient Mayan emperors to the Aztecs, to Coronado himself, this recipe is better than El Dorado or the Fountain of Youth or the Mother Lode.”  He lowered his voice.  “Would you like to try?”
 
Before waiting for an answer, Sizejohn reached back into his satchel and brought forth a single tortilla chip. He plucked the stopper from the top of the bottle, and poured a single, stringy drop onto the center of it.
“Now listen friend” Sizejohn whispered softly to the bartender, “this is more than is recommended as a taste, but I’ve got a good feeling about you”.
Sizejohn delicately handed the chip to the man, who grabbed it with his grimy fingers and shoveled it into his mouth. He stood there for a moment, unmoving, the smallest of movements coming from his lower jaw.
At least the man was tasting it, Sizejohn thought to himself, disgusted by the whole affair. Just a few more towns and he could be done with this forever. Or maybe this would be the one, his swan song, his masterpiece. This town, it could be the one…..
Sizejohn snapped back to the matter at hand, looking over at the dazed look on his new ‘friend’s’ pock-marked face, “So when do we begin doing business?”
 
“It’s like fireworks in my head!”  The bartender couldn’t stop moving; he tapped everything on the bar, touched the tortilla in his socket, ran hands through his hair.  Sizejohn knew this reaction, knew he had another satisfied customer.  “We gotta tell the mayor, and the sheriff, and everyone.”
Sizejohn chuckled.  “Let’s start with a room, and a meal.”
“You got it, mister.  Right away.”  The little man scurried off to make arrangements.
Hopefully this wouldn’t be the Chihuahua Incident all over again.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Morgan Chronicles

My heart skipped a beat.  It was a struggle to breathe, like I'd been punched.  Thoughts ran helter-skelter through my skull, and the only thing I knew was that this was my father.

Rhaelgyr stiffened, and his growl dropped.  Though he didn't challenge my father, he kept me pressed back, standing between us.  "Morgan?" the dragon asked softly.

I didn't know what to do.  Frozen, indecisive, I merely stared at the man in the portal.  I couldn't even meet Rhaelgyr's eyes when he glanced my way.

"Come to me," my father said, extending his hands.

Panic enveloped me.  This was the man who'd erased my memories, punishing me for a moment of weakness.  And I couldn't remember his name.  I couldn't remember my childhood.  I couldn't remember if we'd argued before he erased my memories.

I stumbled back, mouthing words my voice refused to form.  The dragon stayed with me, backing up as he returned to glaring at the elder Setian.

My father's eyes narrowed as he frowned.  "Why so much fear?  His hands dropped.  "I've been waiting for you."

Scoffing, I finally found words.  "After what you've done, you would wait for me?"

His frown deepened.  "What have I done?"

"Erased my memories.  Banished me to wander."

His face paled, eyes widened.  "I did no such thing."

I didn't believe him, but he seemed so sincere.  Memories stirred from my subconscious: us arguing; him disappointed, me idealistic; accusations and hatred; judgment from a council.

Maybe he hadn't erased my memories.  Maybe he'd been forced to do so.  Was it possible he regretted what had happened to me?

I had to know.  Touching Rhaelgyr's arm, I stepped around the dragon.  "Will you tell me what happened?"

"Of course I will."  He smiled.  "I'll tell you everything."

I laced me fingers through Rhaelgyr's striding forward.  I felt good, my heart light, and looked forward to what my father would reveal.

"Just you.  Not the elf."  My father's eyes darkened, the brilliance of his smile fading.

Rhaelgyr stiffened, and I gave him a warning squeeze.  Warning bells went off in my head.  Why couldn't he tell the "elf" was a dragon?  "He comes with me."

"You don't need a bodyguard," my father chided.  If he'd been waiting for me, wouldn't he be happy to see me no matter what?  Or had my affair with Steven been too much?

"I do need him.  He's my only friend right now."  Rhaelgyr gave me a mental smile.

My father's face went blank.  "As you say."  He gestured to the portal.  "Join me, and I shall explain everything."

Monday, May 17, 2010

Birthday contest winners

Thanks to everyone who participated.  Very awesome.

Thanks for the birthday wishes.  31 isn't a number I understand yet.

So, for the winners.  Marsha Moore and CR Ward give me a buzz with your shipping addresses.  ( RavenCorinnCarluk at Gmail dot Com ).  Everyone else can have one of the spiffy little blood drop bookmarks I've made; give me a buzz as well.

Hope you ladies enjoy the books, and thanks for the support.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Morgan Chronicles

"That's ridiculous."  My statement was half-hearted, as it was clear the necklace had left me at this point.  More answers awaited me when I found it.

Rhaelgyr shrugged, facing down the road.  "Maybe it didn't physically leave.  Maybe it was recalled by whomever gave it to you."

I narrowed my eyes as I approached.  "There could only be one person."

The dragon began following the trail.  "You suspect your father?"

"You don't?"

His tone was light, as if we were walking in the park.  "It could have been the Gray Lords."

"That was a cover story.  Implanted memories."  I sped up, moving ahead of Rhaelgyr.

"Are you sure?"

my shoulders stiffened, but I kept walking.  I wasn't sure, and that was the rub.  Steven knew my father had erased my memories to punish me, and my subconscious confirmed it.  But the time between the erasing and me showing up in the vampire realm was unaccounted for.  Any number of years could have passed.

I could very well have been working for the Gray Lords.

Rhaelgyr drew abreast of me.  I didn't answer him, and he didn't expect one.  My silence was answer enough.  So we followed the trail, and I told myself the past was behind me.  Digging into the missing parts was still making forward progress.

Or so I kept telling myself.

"The trail ends," Rhaelgyr said.

We stopped at the end of the road, facing a massive building.  It was featureless, looming, and the trail disappeared into its side.

"There's another dimension."  The border radiated heat, made my skin prickle.  "Something's waiting for me."

Rhaelgyr laid his hand in the middle of my back.  "You can tell?"

I snorted, covering a sudden wave of fear.  "Yeah.  I'm not feeling just the dimensional wall."  Sweat beaded on my forehead.  "Something knew I was coming.  It's..."  I paused, stepping back as the membrane began to thin.  "It's coming for me."

Rhaelgyr growled, going on the defensive.  The building shimmered, and the dragon pushed me back, growling louder as a figure stepped out.

"Hello, Daughter."

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Guest blogging at Fang-tastic Books

It's pretty cool to see my name up on a big site, to be out there and trying to introduce myself to people.

So, stop by Fang-tastic Books, and enter the contest there.  One lucky commenter gets an autographed book.

Also, to keep clutter down on Roxanne's blog (since the comments are contest entries), I'll entertain questions, comments, whathaveyous over here.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cheeky Reads guest blog

The post went live on Cheeky Reads.  Read an excerpt from a book I've got in planning.  Not even writing it yet, but I wrote up a scene for this guest spot.

Stop by, leave a comment, check out her reviews on other books.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Morgan Chronicles

He rose, raching for me.  "Where to first?"

"Back to that little stretch of Between," I said, giving him my hand.  "That seems to be the last place I had it."

Rhaelgyr worked on teleporting us, using Chaos magic to open dimensional walls.  Instead of raising my hackles, the magic felt good.  I could almost touch the power with my mind, and I longed to do so.  Relaxing in his arms, I opened my senses.


Power ebbed and flowed all around us.  Different energies mingled, stirring each other.  Heat and cold fluctuated.  Light and dark created shadows and highlights.

And all of it was right at my fingertips, begging me to use it.

I was a magic user.  One of the few mages amongst my people.  Setians were lore-keepers, philosophers, and many other pursuits that allowed them to observe the universe.  They knew about magic, and its uses, and the many classes of energy manipulation.

But they didn't do it, because it involved being active.

Setians were impartial, chronicling the passing of the universe.  Watching was more fun than doing.

Nuzzling closer to Rhaelgyr, I knew I'd been different.  Neutrality wasn't for me.  I had needed to get out and do something.

Like raise Steven to immortality.

Magic dissolved, revealing the Between city.  No flames burned, though scorch marks covered everything.  The sidewalk had shattered under the heat, the road bubbled and warped.  "I've never seen dragon fire damage firsthand."

Rhaelgyr grinned, teeth sparkling.  "This was nothing.  I could have melted the buildings if I tried."

"Scary," I murmured, looking around.  This was the spot where I'd first seen Rhaelgyr, where I'd met the humans, and Kurlog had attacked the dragon.  This was the last place I'd had my necklace.

I hadn't done anything to lose it, though.  I'd fallen, sure, but nothing major.  Nothing had caught at me, I hadn't snagged anything.  So where had it gone?

"It was here," Rhaelgyr said, touching my side.  "It's leaving a trace in the air."

I opened my senses, newly aware of magical energy.  Seemed magic ability had been locked away with my memories.  Was enlightening Steven such a horrible crime I had to be punished and stripped of my powers?

Finding the necklace might give me the answers to that.

Rhaelgyr was right; there was a silver path in my mind's eye.  A path left by the necklace.  Drawing a deep breath, I followed it down the alley, exiting on the next street over.  This was where I'd met Tessa.  Seemed like a lifetime ago.

This was also where Id parted ways with my necklace.  I'd turned one way with the human, but the silver trail moved the opposite direction.

I frowned, Rhaelgyr facing the direction of the trail.  "Nothing happened here.  My necklace didn't just get up and leave on its own."

The dragon took a step into the street.  "Apparently it did."

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sorry about last week

Not much from me last week.  Sorry about that.  Just got tied up in everything, and kept forgetting what I was supposed to be doing.

So, Morgan Chronicles this week.  Getting to the end of the arc.  Whatever shall I do after?

Guest blogs coming up this week, as well as the end of my contest.  Birthday time!

Those guest blogs will be at Cheeky Reads on Wednesday, and Fangtastic Books on Thursday.  Oh, so awesome!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Embers and royalties

Fighting sickness, still.  On antibiotics, but they're at the stage where they're making me feel worse.  Sucks to be me.

Though, I did use it as an excuse to catch up on my reading a little.  Finished Laura Bickle's Embers.  It was great.  I liked the story, and the mix of characters was intriguing.  I LOVED Sparky.  Every time Sparky would do something almost random, and wild elemental like, it would make me reach out and pet my cat.  He's a goofy happy familiar in his own way, and Sparky kept making me think of him.

Laura's descriptions of Detroit really got me into it, and made me feel some of the decay and waste that Drake was going up against.  Very nice.

And I loved the Lantern concept.  A medium who basically has a little furnace that can eat ghosts.  VERY COOL.  I may have to borrow the idea.  ;)

Granted, seeing as I'm a dragon freak, I was rooting for Sirrush.  I want more from him in future books.


For myself, it's now two weeks until my birthday.  Plenty of time to join in my contest.  I've even got a couple of guest blogs coming up on the 12th and 13th.  Stay tuned for those.


Got my first royalty check.  Not wanting to brag here, but just to say it feels....weird.  It feels good.  It's tangible proof that my storytelling is good enough to make people buy it.

So, a HUGE thank you to everyone who bought my book.  It means a lot to me.  I hope you enjoyed it, and I hope I've got you looking forward to the next book.