Breaking the Silence & Book News

It’s been quiet here since early February (cue crickets). February itself was simply lost time due to a bad bout of flu that turned into pneumonia and put me in the ER a few times. Three actually, but I'm better now.

Now I’m making up for lost time with several book projects, two of which I’d like to share with you now.

More Clockwork Cat!

The sequel to The Girl and the Clockwork Cat should be coming out this year if all goes according to plan. Due to the red tape of traditional publishing, I don’t have a release date yet, but I promise to share as soon as I have something solid to offer (including an official title).

Something New!

Having experienced the world of traditional publishing with all its ups and downs and learned a great deal in the process, I am now exploring the world of self-publishing with my Forbidden Things fantasy series.

Taking this project on has sucked up massive quantities of time. Even with all the things I learned working with a publisher, the learning curve for self-publishing is steep. There are many things that I was aware of and even had a hand in with my publisher that I am now managing myself. Quality writing and editing are critical, but there are so many other things necessary to make a book that will draw people in and keep them coming back for more. You need great copyediting, cover art, interior design and formatting, promotion, and much more. You even have to get your own ISBN and bar codes! Every time I accomplished something, there was something new I hadn’t thought of yet waiting around the corner.

I’m happy to say that I am finally far enough in the process to announce that Forbidden Things book one: Dissident will be coming out in early July. Watch for a cover reveal in June. I am now deep into edits on books two and three and hope that taking these on myself will allow me to keep a more aggressive publishing schedule.

more books
more books

In other news:

We saw Mad Max: Fury Road the other day. As long as you aren’t offended by violence, I strongly recommend this move. If nothing else, it is worth seeing for the amazing visuals and the creepy way it sucked me in so I didn’t know how ice cold my toes were until it ended. It’s a non-stop action extravaganza with almost no dialogue that somehow fits in some compelling emotional moments.

Now to finish some promotional work on Forbidden Things book one before I succumb to the temptation of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt again.

Happy reading, writing, watching, playing or whatever tickles your fancy!

In Silence Waiting and Working

I'm excited to announce that my short story, In Silence Waiting, is now available through This story was a semi-finalist in the Writers of the Future 2nd Quarter 2009 contest and came close to publication in Jim Baen's Universe right before they closed up shop.

In Silence Waiting

silence_frontThe New Gobi desert is a dangerous place. The only way to cross with relative safety is with guided caravans using genetically engineered slaves, the cynta, creatures designed to sense the dangers of the desert.

When the guide is killed in a tragic incident partway through the crossing, his shackled cynta finds an unlikely ally among the people in the caravan. This ally bring the cynta hope for greater freedoms, but there are still the dangers of the New Gobi to face and many others in the caravan who would keep the cynta a slave.

The cynta can face the threat of the desert alone. The threat of continued slavery, however, is one it cannot conquer without help. Without the ability to speak, can the cynta build a strong enough bond with its new ally to weather the challenges lying ahead?

In other news, the sequel to The Girl and the Clockwork Cat is out with beta readers and I'm now working madly on an unrelated project for NaNoWriMo. Any other crazy NaNo addicts out there? I imagine you're to busy writing to read this right now, but ganbatte!

I'm currently a few thousand words behind because I started the month sick and now...


Yep. Curse you EA.

Happy writing and reading (and gaming)!

Rising from the Ashes

A dramatic title, I know, but when your computer dies, it is really dramatic. Even if you have the important stuff (writing) backed up, losing your computer means losing your ability to work effectively. This time around, when we pulled the hard drive, it looked like it had started melting. Definitely dead. hE928D296

On the up side, if your computer dies right before bonus time when several wondrous new games are lurking on the horizon…

Borderlands Pre Sequel

DA Inquisition


…it can be a blessing in disguise.

Criteria for a new computer for me is simple.

  1. It has to be quiet, so it doesn’t drive me bonkers when I’m writing.
  2. It has to be able to run upcoming games with ease.
  3. It has to do everything without overheating.

Now for a little amateur video.



There will be many books written and edited using this computer, which is its primary purpose, but there will also be epic gaming.

The best part is, now that I have a working computer again, I can get back to editing the next book.

One New Thing: May 2012 - Visiting Diablo

For the game geeks out there, I'm not talking about the newly released Diablo III, but I will admit that a chunk of Memorial Day weekend was dedicated to that worthy pursuit. Sadly, my first hardcore character died at level 7. (Cue mournful violin music.)

Anyway, on to the one new thing. May was a rather crazy month (a theme that seems to be bleeding into June), so finding time to squeeze in a new experience was a challenge. However, my kayak was up to the task.

Yeah, that gorgeous thing in the foreground is my kayak. Because I name everything (not much of an exaggeration, actually), I have given my kayak the name Umi Tonbo (海蜻蛉) or Sea Dragonfly for those not versed in Japanese.

Umi and I and our partner in crime...

embarked on an exploration of Diablo Lake, a much underused and remarkably beautiful lake in the spectacular North Cascades. Unfortunately, everything went perfectly, which doesn't make for much of a story. No one capsized in the jade colored glacial waters and the weather was so fantastic we were able to play in the paddle-thru boat wash.

The full trip tallied up to almost 10 miles of paddling out to the dam (or as far as they would let us go)

and around other parts of the lake with a stop off at an island for lunch. All around, it was a fabulous way to kick off the Memorial Day weekend. What adventures have you had lately?

My Beloved Witcher and Me

After the unexpected popularity of my last post, Are You Popular Enough to be an Author?, I’ve decided to possibly alienate most of you today by going into something I haven’t really talked about on my blog. I'm a gamer geek. There, I admitted it. But I am very selective about my games. I like to play RPGs and, as an author, I really want a good story and good characters in my games. When the story and characters are well done, it’s like playing a book. I love it. Probably my favorite games of all time in that respect are The Witcher and The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. Why am I so enamored with these games?

1. To start with, I get to step way out of my reality when I step into the role of Geralt of Rivia. Let’s face it, in my normal life I'm not a monster slaying mutant badass who goes around brawling in taverns, saving elves (who will probably return the favor by trying to have me killed), and bedding buxom bruxa.

(Actually, he doesn't bed a bruxa and they were more buxom in the first game, but it had a nice ring to it.)

Geralt isn’t really human anymore, nor is he one of the standard nonhuman races (elves/dwarves) so he often gets shunned by all sides, but they still need him because he’s a monster slayer (and many women, it seems, are secretly drawn to his soft-spoken dark and mysterious demeanor – not to mention some other things).

2. The game world is gritty and complex with a life all its own. I never feel like areas stop existing just because I’m not there. You are forced to deal with political schemes and racial conflicts that have spiraled out of control to the point that Geralt can no longer extricate himself from the chaos. You have to pick sides in conflicts where neither side is clearly wrong or right and the results of your choices have significant effect on later events and the outcome of the game.

3. Combat requires some thought and preparation. You are a monster slayer. Battling beasties is what you’re designed for, but you can’t just run into any battle with your swords blazing and expect to survive. Potions can only be taken before combat and then you can only take so many without suffering toxicity, so you have to choose wisely. There are a variety of approaches you can take to battle aside from just swords, including use of bombs, throwing daggers, traps, signs (magic), and weapon enhancements.


There are so many more things I love about this game, not the least of which is that the game studio, CD Projekt Red, actually seems to give a damn about what their customers want and they do a great job trying to meet demands. They recently released The Witcher 2 on Xbox 360 with several hours of new content not included in the original PC version. Being the great company they are, they gave that new content free to anyone who already owned the PC game.

That brings me to why I decided to write this now. With all that new content to discover, I’m playing the game again, only on the new Dark difficulty this time (Easy, Normal, Hard, Dark, Insane). Why Dark? Because there are special weapons and armor you can craft in Dark mode that aren’t available in other modes and that’s just irresistible. Given my propensity for dying in this mode, however, I don’t see an Insane play through in my Geralt’s future.

Any other game geeks out there? What is it you love about your favorite games?