Rainy Day


As I sit here, writing out this blog post my head feels a bit fuzzy.  It’s raining and almost freezing outside, has been all day, and there are cinnamon rolls (Conjured Mana Buns, excuse me) baking in the oven smelling warm and sweet and yeasty. I just woke up from a nap, you see.  I was reading and warm, and lounging on my bed to take a break from the busy Saturday morning and just dozed right off.  It’s easy to do on a day like this.

I don’t have a ton of things to say here today, thanks in large part to that fuzzy-headedness.  I have coffee and more of that book which is sweet and easy and not filled with the angsty, angry characters I’ve been coming across so often in the fantasy genre lately.  I was looking for a book to review here, but my heart just couldn’t let me read about people who were so determinedly hostile to each other.

males-man-personableSo I’m probably going to write a review of an older book, one of my favorites that I’ve been reading for years, and I hope you’ll enjoy that on Thursday.  Then, I’ll either curl up with another cup of coffee and this book I already have going until it’s time to drizzle the brown sugar glaze on the mana buns.  Maybe chip another few hundred words out of this bonus short story I’ve been fooling around with in the Spirits of Los Gatos universe.  Then this evening The Boy and I will work on finishing up a few more valentines for his classmates— he’s decided to make them each a card rather than just buying a box of them from the store.  I’m both proud of his thoughtfulness and creativity and exhausted at the idea of glue and stamps and stickers for 25 first graders.

In all though, it’s a pretty damned good way to spend a rainy day.


Photo credit: Steve took it via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA

imaginary creatures



Who knows what sort of secret critters and elves live down this way?


I know this post is a little thin, but I’ve been so busy looking things up that I’ve been a bit distracted.  There are so many wonderful monsters out there in the world.  There’s a vampire or two for every culture on the planet, did you know that?  Dracula was merely the most commercially successful of all of them.  There are monstrous birds and dogs and cows.  There are sea monsters and hominids big and small.  And I love it!

The trouble really comes in picking and choosing, then finding enough information to build a character around.  For two of my story universes, the population is widely varied.  There are witches and trolls, kitsune and goblins and gods.  Which means I’m starting to need a binder to keep track of all the details of my versions of all these creatures.

flight-eagle-birds.jpgBut I keep poking around online looking for new creatures and myths to pull into my brain.  For example, I have recently been reading about the stymphalian birds that were the focus of Hercules’ sixth labor.  Metallic feathers and bronze beaks, these raptors were no pushovers, even though the demigod took them down easily enough thanks to some help from Athena and Hephasteus.

Think of that next time you see a pigeon on a statue.  What’s your favorite mythological creature?


kettle-copper-steam-boiling-boil-water-ready.jpgI hit a wall pretty hard in December.  I was working on the show, I was trying to get through the holidays, I was sick (I know, running theme this winter,) and I was trying desperately to get some writing done.  My brain just sort of shut down and the words dried up.  January wasn’t much better, though I did manage to eke out a few paragraphs and get Sarah’s Inheritance out, but the new stuff?  I just couldn’t get rolling on it.

And now it’s February, and I’m several weeks out from the show closing.  I’ve been sick (again…) and I’ve rested and read and watched a lot of terrible TV and a few not so terrible movies.  I’ve gone hiking and had meals with family and friends, and I’ve gone to sit in the audience and watch a show without working on it, and generally worked to recharge my creative batteries, and I can feel it working.  I can feel the stories starting to simmer again.

So far it’s little flashes of inspiration that come through.  An idea for a short story (though it could be a novella, we’ll see how it plays out.) A thought on editing a scene for Kindred.  An idea of a terrible thing to do to Brian while he works on his first solo case.  I’m looking at the next few releases and I’m somewhat excited about them.

Still, it’s proving…. difficult at best let’s say.  I sit down at my keyboard and I can feel the stories churning away in my heart, but the words are still not flowing easily.  I’m not going to push it.  I have Kindred to work on, and projects in process that I can tinker with until I get through this and can get back to working on new things again.  I know that you’re waiting for another Riverton story, and I hope to have the Preludes complete for you this summer, along with Brian’s little adventure.  The fine folks at the Village at Rancho San Calafia have maybe a few more bumps in their road as well, even though Sarah has sorted herself out.  I have a whole new series that I might actually integrate into the Spirits of Los Gatos universe if I can figure out a way to do that.  We’ll see.

So the stories are simmering.  I’m hoping that soon they’ll come to a boil and I can get back to the work I really love.


Cover story


So one of the things I’ve been working on lately while I’ve been failing to get words on (digital) pages and editing Spirit’s Kindred is lining up book covers.  I’m sure many of you haven’t given a lot of thought to them.  After all, for an average reader, they’re just the pretty picture that may or may not be your sort of art.  Thing is that’s the whole point.   A cover is the very beginning of whatever story is contained behind it.  It’s what a reader hits before the first line of the book, before the synopsis or blurb, and often it’s  even before the title.  So it’s got to be solid.

Sarah’s Inheritance is a totally different kind of cover than I’ve used before, and I’m Sarah's Inheritanceactually somewhat excited by it.  I like the painted feeling of it, and it fits in quite nicely with other covers in the genre rather than standing out, which is more important than I knew when I started.  See, going back to the ‘beginning to tell the story’ point I made a second ago, what a reader such as yourself wants to know about a book when they scroll by it on the ‘Zon, is what sort of story it contains.  If a book has a tough looking pair of people in full combat gear and bazookas, you’re not going to pick it up expecting a sweet teen romance coming of age story, right?

But a decent cover can really cost.  Anywhere from $150 and up for a custom created book cover that a writer can be proud of, and that can really put a dent in the proceedings.  So I’m looking at my calendar and pondering the projects I have lined up, and I’m trying to figure out timing and designers and what sort of images to put with which story (which is not a skill I excel at, let’s just say shall we?)

The upside, however, is that I’ve gotten to look through a few amazing portfolios of some really fantastic artists.  Not that I can afford $500 for a single ebook cover right now, but hey, a girl can dream, right?



As you are all well aware, I spent last week dying of the plague.  Well, okay, not actually dying but damn was it bad.  Everyone here had it in various stages and the less-sick of us took care of the more-sick.  The Boy stayed home for three days, and then when we finally sent him back to school we found out that not only was it a half day but his teacher thought he wasn’t his usual bonkers self so he should come home even earlier than the rest of the kids.  And then Friday there was no school anyway.  Sheesh.

AND as you all know I wasn’t doing a whole ton of writing because honestly I just couldn’t focus.  So instead I slept.  And I read some.  And I watched a lot of Netflix.  Some that I thought was pretty decent (I quite enjoyed The Finder, and Haven seems to be pretty cool so far.) and some was… well…  I got more history lesson out of the ghost hunting show than anything else, but hey, it did give me an idea for a possible short story.

water well

Photo credit: dantelecan on Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-SA

And that’s the part I’m really excited about.  I didn’t do much writing at all, but I sure did start getting ideas again.  Taking the week off to be sick (which I do realize is a luxury,) turned out to be a pretty great way to start refilling my creative well.

I’ve mentioned a few times here and on the Facebook page that I’ve just been banging my head against a wall built of writer’s block.  Nothing I tried really helped much and poor Brian was languishing in the muck as a result.  Instead, while I was sick I managed to come up with a List Of Terrible Things To Happen to the poor guy, just by sitting on the sofa and watching The Boy play hidden object adventure games.  That led to me rethinking a scene early on in the book, which will end up rejiggering several other scenes down the line, and as a result, I think it’s going to be a more interesting book.

I would never have come up with all that if I hadn’t stepped away from writing to take the time for myself instead.  Added bonus benefit?  We got to be super selfish with our germs and this horrible flu-plague didn’t spread past our household.  So hooray!

I hope none of you have had to suffer any of the nasty illnesses going around this winter— it’s been a bad one, I know.  But if you have, I hope you came out the other side like I did: with a renewed excitement for your current project, whatever it may be, and a bit more mental energy to put towards it.


In case you missed all my fuss, Sarah’s Inheritance is now out, and available on Amazon!  As a launch week special, it’s discounted to 99 cents through the 4th of February.


cold and flu medications

I’m sorry I don’t have a post today, and that this apology is going up so late. I have been coughing so hard my eyes crossed the other day.  I’ve had a headache that you wouldn’t even believe.  I’ve tried to write but got about a sentence down before my brain started melting.

So instead of a decent post here, I’m going to put up a link that I sent out to my newsletter subscribers a little bit ago.  It will take you to a site called BookFunnel where you can get the first few chapters of Sarah’s Inheritance, and you can read them for free before the book goes up for sale on Sunday.  I hope you enjoy it!

I also hope I can stop coughing and that my eyeballs stop trying to escape my head.  It’s the little things, you know.



So my father is my alpha reader, meaning he’s gotten to see everything I’ve written basically as soon as I type the last period.  The popular advice is not to let your friends or family critique your writing, but my family is full of teachers and they’re basically sitting there itching to whip out their red pens and correct some foolishness.  My dad is pretty thorough in his critiques, and usually helpful, even when I disagree with him, and while he couches things in a fun sort of way (one critique was entirely composed of a conversation between his muse and mine.  They got a bit scrappy at one point…) he is never afraid to pull his punches or add his two cents.


Recently, his two cents include a discussion of food.  We all know that Michael, being a demon, had to adjust a bit to food here in the Human Realm, but my father took it a step further and supposed that Michael like many immigrants before him, would have brought the flavors of home with him.  If we can have Italian-American food, and Sweedish-American food, and Tex-Mex and so on, why not Demon-American food?

So here.  I present to you some photos of Demon-American cuisine, as best we’ve discovered it thus far.  It’s actually been pretty delicious.  Seems a bit heavy on the meat, but I’m personally not complaining…

I can’t quite describe the spices used, but they’ve been used heavily.  There’s been dried fruit and medieval pastry and various kinds and cuts of meat involved.  If you had to guess what sort of food a migrating demon would want to bring with, what do you think it would be?  I’m pretty sure that they didn’t eat just meat…

Big Reveal

You guys, I have a cover!  I have a couple, actually, but one of them’s for the newsletter folks.  ANYway.  I got the cover for Sarah’s Inheritance, and I’m super excited!  Wanna see it?  Oh, okay then, I guess I can show you.

Sarah's Inheritance

Pretty wild, huh?  I deliberately wanted this cover to be different from the Riverton Novels since it’s a distinctly different universe.  I don’t have a ton to say about it here, but I’m really pleased.  I’ll be finishing pulling the book together today or tomorrow, and make it available January 28.  Here’s the ‘back cover copy’ (even though there isn’t a back cover right now…)

Sarah knew she was getting a house.  She didn’t know about the rest of it.

Learning of her grandmother’s death shook Sarah Richards.  She hadn’t seen the woman since she was a child, kept far away on the other side of the country by her controlling mother.  They had built a long-distance relationship though secret phone calls and unmentioned emails, and even though Sarah was now well into adulthood she still hadn’t gathered the courage to go visit the grandmother she missed, and now it was too late.  Now, though, she owned the house Gran had lived in, and Sarah was determined to break free of her mother’s grasp.  Moving from New York City to a town just outside of San Jose, California was scary, but she felt drawn there to learn more about her grandmother, and if she was lucky, to find her own path in life.

What she didn’t expect was to be thrown into a supernatural battle between monsters from her worst nightmares and Gran’s strange, not-quite-human friends.  It turns out that the house was the least important part of what Rosemary Richards passed down to her granddaughter, and now Sarah has to decide if she is willing to learn more about the world she’s been dumped into or if she would rather go back to her mother where life was dull, but at least it was safe.

Sarah’s Inheritance is the first book in the Spirits of Los Gatos series.  If you like Andre Norten and Jaymim Eve, you’ll enjoy this tale of one woman finding out what she actually wants from life.  Buy Sarah’s Inheritance now and see what secrets Los Gatos is hiding.

StockSnap_3BWN7KIF4TI’ve been chipping away at Brian, as well.  It’s a pretty rough first draft so far, and I feel like it’s really short.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do about that, but I’ll get it off to my alpha reader in the next couple of weeks I hope, so we’ll see about all that.  Spirit’s Kindred is bubbling along as well.  It’s out to my beta readers right now, and I’ll be hopefully starting edits on that in a week or so.  I’m really afraid that I’m going to have to push the publication dates back a bit, though.  Life has gotten way more full of assorted crap than I’d left time for, so it’s all going a bit more slowly than I hoped, so we’re looking at end of February maybe early March for the Sarah sequel.  We’ll see.

Anyway, what do you think?  It’s pretty different, isn’t it?

I’ve got such a headache…

So I guess this is another post in what seems to have turned into a self-care series.  Hi!  *Waves*


Photo credit: piermario via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

By the time you’re reading this, the show I’ve been working on for the past few months will have closed.  It’s bittersweet since it was a wonderful show and the cast was fantastic— both in their roles and in rolling with, well, a series of very live theatre events.  I’m just as much a ‘keep on muddling through’ sort as the next theatre person, but sometimes one simply can’t do that and you have to send the audience home halfway through act two.  Sometimes the machinery breaks or everyone gets sick at the same time, or the HVAC system shuts down, or the freaking weather outside swells everything into immobility or lord only knows what else could go wrong.  You’d be amazed.  Still, it was a great time and I’m kind of sad that it’s over.  There was some amazing talent and some of the highs matched the lows we had (parties, friendships, shared meals, a marriage proposal complete with spotlights and a full live orchestra…) and my fellow spot-op and I were laughing in the last show almost as much as we were for opening night.

But man am I glad I don’t have to go in this week.  Or next.  In fact, I only have a few days where I’m filling in for someone in February, and I’m otherwise free as a bird until the end of May!  Well, free to be a writer and a mom full time again, anyway.  Although… this week, I might take some time off the writing part.  I’m exhausted.  Physically, emotionally, spiritually, you name it and it’s tired.

Going in to work at a theatre is both energizing for me and also draining.  I have to use a lot of spoons to beth through all the perfectly normal interacting involved, but at the same time, it’s seriously unhealthy for me to spend my whole life sitting behind my computer not interacting with anyone at all.  I love my characters but they’re not really real people, and they can’t substitute for them.

Also, getting home late after the show and the kind of long drive, then getting up to get The Boy off to school on time has been leeching my sleep away for months now.  I try to grab a bit of a nap in the afternoon before I get him home from school and head out, but lately, I can’t seem to get my eyes shut.  So my body is starting to complain bitterly about all of it.

And then there’s Brian.  Bloody half-demon whiner.  I can’t get him where I need him,


Photo credit: Sander van der Wel via Visualhunt / CC BY-SA

and I can’t figure out where else he could go to get him to cooperate.  I’m clearly missing something here, and no matter how hard I try to sort him out, I’m failing miserably.  My creativity is feeling tapped out.

I love working in theatre.  It soothes something inside my soul that I can’t really put into words very well (says the writer…) But at the same time, I need to balance it with time spent away from the drama, both literal and figurative.  It takes a lot of inner strength to be able to go on with the show, and I’m about tapped out.   So.  I’m going to take it easy on myself this week.  With some luck, I’ll have some news for you on Thursday regarding upcoming releases, but mostly I’m going to sleep and read and try to get some non-ladder based exercise.  Maybe even some fresh air!  Self-care.  It’s the thing that keeps the novels flowing.

Talking to myself

I was listening to a podcast called Write Now the other day and I’ve been binging pretty hard on the backlist.  I love the advice she has because even when I disagree with it it’s making me think about whatever the subject is.  I even love the interviews, which I have to be honest, isn’t usually the case.  I usually find interviews to be kind of awful on Placeholder Imagepodcasts, but I suspect that’s just me.  But I like Sarah’s interviews.  She calls them Coffee Talk, and that’s really what it feels like.  Just kind of hanging out and listening to friends chat.

One of the episodes is titled Self Talk.  It’s about how you talk to yourself as an author, and I really really had to be honest with myself.  I am not so great at this.

Now, unlike Sarah in the podcast, I don’t usually tell myself things like ‘you suck.’ or ‘why did you think you could do this?’  But I do something at least as destructive, I think, if not worse.  I say why bother?

Oh man, the insidiousness of that one.  Why bother if nobody’s going to read my book?  gnome-garden-decoration-dwarf-littleWhy bother if it’s costing me more to get my work out there than I’m making?  Why bother if nobody’s going to like my work?  Why bother if this excuse or that excuse?  It’s endless and unrelenting and absolutely brutal, and the Anxiety Gnomes bitch in with everything they’ve got once I start going down that road.

And it’s such total bullshit.

Why bother?  Because.  Words and pictures are basically the two best, most direct ways for a human being to get information directly from one brain into another one.  Because since I’m not very skilled at pictures, words are my best bet and I promise you I am full of words.  Because stories are how my brain works, why I’m alive, and how I get through every single day.  Even if only one person reads my book (though I hope it’s more!) that’s one other person on Earth that has shared one of my stories, and that connects me into the bigger world.

Also, I sound a lot less crazy if I talk about my characters instead of just the voices in my head…


Photo credit: Marvin (PA) via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC

So instead I’m trying out different things to say when I catch myself thinking these things.  I’m trying out phrases more along the lines of  ‘Well, this is a neat idea’ and ‘someone will enjoy this one’ and ‘if I can amuse even one person the way other authors have amused me, then that’s the goal.’  I know it’s cheesy as hell and makes me feel kinda ridiculous, but it beats the heck out of talking myself into inaction.  And anything I can do to stick it to the Anxiety Gnomes has to be a good idea, right?