alpha-gal ain't no superhero but she’ll have upcoming events regardless

So for those who don’t follow me in all the other places where I hold court on the Internets: we finally discovered what is causing my hives. I have an alpha-gal allergy, which doesn't mean that I'm allergic to super heroes.

Due to a tick bite last year, I can no longer eat red meat. Essentially, my diet is restricted to chicken, fish, and vegan food. As a woman who loved roast beef and bacon, this wasn't happy news to me. Fortunately, though, it's something that I can adapt to and might even make for a healthier me, so while I weep and wave good-bye to my favorite foods, I will also probably lose weight and feel better. Here’s to a new phase of life!

In spite of hives and adjusting to a new diet, I had the opportunity to attend MystiCon in February and RavenCon in April. Both were wonderful events, where I got to meet up with some old friends and make some new ones.

Then I came home, and a couple of weeks ago, another tick bit me. This one was an assassin. It tried to kill me with Lyme disease, which I was diagnosed with last Friday. We're in the antibiotic stage right now, and I'm feeling much better this week; although I still suffer some extreme bouts of fatigue.

I'm taking it easy until I get my strength back, because I have a couple of events mid-May and early June that I'm really looking forward to attending.

Greensboro Unbound
May 16-19, 2019
Events will be held in downtown Greensboro, NC

Saturday, May 18, 2019 at 12:30 -- I’ll be joining authors Jenna Glass and Sheree Renee Thomas for a panel about The Real and the Unreal: Speculative Fiction. This particular panel will be held at the Greensboro History Museum, 130 Summit Avenue, Greensboro, NC. If you’re local to the Piedmont Triad area and you’re going to be around, I hope to see there!

ConCarolinas 2019 / Deep South Con 57
May 31-June 2, 2019
8629 J M Keynes Dr., Charlotte, NC 28262

My schedule for ConCarolinas / Deep South Con 57 is now live! If you're a fan local to the Charlotte area, I hope you’ll drop in!

A little farther out is AtomaCon in the Charleston area (one of my very old stomping grounds), November 22-24, 2019. I'll be posting more about that as we get closer to the date.

If you want to keep up with my appearances and dates, you can check out the Events page on my blog.

When I'm not being attacked by killer ticks, I'll be busy working on edits for the next Los Nefilim novel, Carved from Stone and Dream, and working on writing the third novel. I'll share the cover art and blurb for Carved from Stone and Dream as soon as I can. I’m very excited about this one, because you get to see more of Rafael.

Be safe, watch out for ticks, and if I don't see you at a local event, I'll catch you online!

Watch for me ...

A few random thoughts

Before I begin, I want to take a moment and thank everyone who has taken time from their busy schedules to either rate or review either Los Nefilim (the omnibus or the novellas) and Where Oblivion Lives. I know your lives are just as busy as mine, so please know that I appreciate your time! Knowing what you love, or hate, helps me steer the series in the right direction. I won’t sacrifice the story I want to tell, but if there is some small way I can make the series more enjoyable to its fans, I like to do that.

Which brings me to the Los Nefilim Snippets (see the sidebar). I haven’t been around much, but it’s mainly because I’ve got several things going on this year. I’m promoting one book, editing a second, and writing a third. It all tends to take up a bit of time. I wrote the first post in what I hope becomes a series for the fans of quiet moments in the novels: Los Nefilim Snippets. There are only two right now, but I’ll probably add one a week or every two weeks as time allows. They’re fun for me to write—more fun than coming up with blog post topics.

Violin.jpg

Author’s copies finally arrived for Where Oblivion Lives! That means I can now come up with some ideas for a contest to give away a few copies. So watch the blog, my newsletter, and my Twitter and Facebook feeds for those.

I also discovered that I can leave annotations with Goodreads through my Kindle Notes and Highlights. There were about eight things I wish I’d had space to note within the text, so I compromised and waited for publication. You can go to Goodreads and read the annotations. The last two are spoilers and concern Rudi. I’d suggest you finish the book before reading those. I used spoiler tags so they’d be hidden and no one would accidentally stumble on them.

The next book in the Los Nefilim world is called Carved from Stone and Dream. I’ve been busy locating photos that evoke the essence of that novel’s story for the cover art, as well as coming up with cover copy (blurbs, etc.) for it.

If you want a hint (and a teeny excerpt) about Carved from Stone and Dream, the key refrain will be: “Don’t blink:”

Miquel stared back, projecting a calm he didn’t feel. This was another interrogation trick: mention a loved one and watch the source carefully for a twitch, or a tear, or a blink. Anything to indicate the jab hit a nerve. Miquel knew that if he showed the slightest interest in Diago’s welfare, Benito would use Miquel’s fear as a cudgel. Don’t blink.

I’m also getting a great deal of glee every time someone signs off one of my social media accounts or a review with “Watch for me.” You guys are made of awesome.

I’ll be around.

Watch for me.

Hey, hey, it's release day for Where Oblivion Lives!

It’s finally release day for Where Oblivion Lives, and the book kicks off with an awesome review at RockStarLit Book Asylum!

WhereOblivionLives.jpg

“I would have given this book six stars if GoodReads would have let me. Well worth checking out and quite easy to jump in at this point. But, I can guarantee if you’re like me, you’ll want to go back and catch this series from the start.” —Jennifer (BunnyReads)

I’ve got an interview coming up on Thursday at the Fantasy Hive, where I’ll be talking about the novel, and I’ll be at MystiCon this weekend for a ton of excellent panels. You can find all my comings and goings at my Events page.

If you didn’t pre0rder, you can still get a copy at:

Scuppernong Books HarperCollins | IndieBound

The talented Vikas Adam narrates the audiobook, which is available from Audible.

I've got news: MystiCon, Greensboro Bound, and ConCarolinas

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

Time got away from me during the final half of 2018. I had so many things happen—some were quite wonderful and others not so much. The upshot of it is that I simply didn’t have a lot of time to blog. The next Los Nefilim novel was due on February 8, 2019, and due to many circumstances beyond my control, I was woefully behind in writing it. Likewise, the deadlines for helping my Pitch Wars mentee, Elvin Bala, were also falling roughly into that time frame. Working with Elvin took no time at all … the novel, Carved from Stone and Dream, almost killed me.

Emerson inspecting early copies of where oblivion lives and she gives them black cat approval.

Emerson inspecting early copies of where oblivion lives and she gives them black cat approval.

So I essentially dropped everything that wasn’t novel or Pitch Wars related and disappeared to get ‘er done, and I did, we did, everything worked out, and I took this past weekend off and died ded and rested. Now I’m back to tell you about Where Oblivion Lives and gear up for promo and cons in 2019.

I spent a little time tweaking the webpage to make things easier to find. You can see a list of categories in the righthand sidebar.

I’m working on an interview for the Fantasy Hive and a couple of guest posts this week. In preparation for upcoming conventions, I’m devising panel topics to submit. Speaking of conventions, I’m also getting geared up to hit the con trail in 2019.

Cons and festivals

On February 22-24, I’ll be attending MystiCon in Roanoke, Virginia (you can find my full schedule here), and on April 5-7, I’ll be at RavenCon in Williamsburg, Virginia

May is going to be a busy month. I’m very excited that I will be attending Greensboro Bound (May 16-19), a local literary festival in Greensboro, North Carolina. Then I will be at ConCarolinas, which is hosting Deep South Con 57 (May 31-June 2) in Charlotte, North Carolina.

November 22-24 will find me back in sweet Charleston, South Carolina for AtomaCon. I lived in Charleston during the mid-to-late 1980s and haven’t visited the city in my years, so I’m greatly looking forward to heading south again.

So that’s it for now. There will be a lot more in the coming weeks.

Watch for me …

Contempt and Love in the Days of Online War

Recently, I saw a tweet in which an individual professed s/he would never read a novel that used the word “mankind” in the blurb. Since the tagline of my Los Nefilim series has the word “mankind” in it (not once, but twice, mind you), the comment sort of drew me up short. I knew the tweeter, and the prejudice made me kind of sad, because I thought the individual might have enjoyed Diago and Miquel’s story.

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News about Manifesto: UF (#SFWApro)

Yesterday I received an email from Stacey Turner, Owner and Managing Editor of Angelic Knight Press. Angelic Knight Press is being acquired by a larger publisher and some titles from will not be carried over into the new imprint--Manifesto: UF is one of those titles. On December 1, 2014, Stacey will be removing Manifesto: UF from online distributors. All of this is normal and good and as it should be.

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A new look to the website (#SFWApro)

A new look to the website (#SFWApro)

Wow. I knew you guys were awesome, but you just blew me away last week. On Friday, I received an email from Clarion West that we have achieved Tier 3, our $100 goal! As a matter of fact, we shot over the goal and collected $160.00 in donations for Clarion West.

You people simply rock!

What this means is that I am now about to offer up not one, not two, but all three of the tiers to some lucky folks. Here is what I'm going to do:

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Year end wrap-up (#SFWApro)

A look back on 2013

I read a lot of novels by men during 2012 and 2013, because I wanted to analyze the differences between male and female authors. The Gender Bending post of late 2012, early 2013 was one of my most popular posts ever; although, I hesitate to call it mine. Several wonderful authors contributed to that project in late December 2012 through early January 2013, so in many ways it belongs to all of us. Thank you again to everyone who contributed their time and energy to make that project work, especially to the fans who guessed and commented.

What we found out was what we already knew: unless the name automatically indicated a gender, there was approximately a 50/50 chance that the participants would guess wrong.

My writing

Dolorosa (Book 2 of the Katharoi series). I completed a solid first chapter to Miserere's sequel, Dolorosa. I had just started work on the synopsis when Night Shade Books initiated the sale of the company to Skyhorse/Start. For a variety of reasons, Dolorosa was put on hold.

Given the time limitations that I have for writing, I have to focus on projects that have a chance of selling. I spent most of April and May trying to work out a feasible schedule for the project and finally decided that anything with the Katharoi series had to be placed on hold for the duration of one year at the very least.

Miserere: An Autumn Tale. Is now available at Audible where it is drawing some very nice reviews.

In other good news, Miserere has officially earned out on the Skyhorse side of the debit sheet. For that little miracle, I owe all of my thanks to everyone who has purchased a copy of Miserere, either ebook, print, or audio. You have my deepest gratitude.

Miserere also took a major shout-out on Tor.com in the Under the Radar series. Check out the Under the Radar series for more great books that you might have missed.

Short Stories. Given all of the upheaval going on around me in April/May, I concentrated on short stories:

  • "La Santisima" is an original short story that is here on the blog and you can read it for free.
  • "Naked the Night Sings," is merely one of the many fine stories featured in Manifesto: UF, edited by Tim Marquitz and Tyson Mauermann, Angelic Knight Press, 2013.
  • "Love, Crystal and Stone," will appear in Neverland's Library Fantasy Anthology, edited by Roger Bellini, Neverland Books, March 2014. You can read an exclusive excerpt from "Love, Crystal and Stone" at Fantasy Book Critic.

I also wrote two more short stories that will be going on submission after the first of the year:

  • "Down to the River" a coming of age story about a young sin-eater.
  • "White like Snow" a story about two brothers who find a haunted castle.

Cygnet Moon. I have a synopsis and almost 50,000 words on this novel. I'm really pleased with both the story and the characterization so far.

General observations

In spite of all of the set-backs, I don't feel too bad about 2013. I wrote over 30,000 words on short stories and 50,000 words on a new novel. That figure doesn't include word counts from submission packages, blog posts, interviews, etc.

Not bad. In 2014, I will finish Cygnet Moon and begin work on Dolorosa. More and more people are asking for Miserere's sequel and in every review people mention that they would like to revisit Woerld. I hope to make that possible for you.

To all of the awesome people who have been so kind as to read Miserere and give the book a shout-out whenever and where ever you can. Thank you!

Celebrate the season in whatever way you see fit. I'll be with the most tolerant people in the world ... my lovely family.

I'll see you again in 2014.

Watch for me.

why so silent?

While I'm letting a short story percolate, I've returned to work on Cygnet Moon. I don't have any taglines or blurbs for this novel yet, but I am thoroughly enjoying the story. The protagonist has finally begun to show me a few moments of subtle psychological imbalance. That trait has prevented the story from slipping into the tired old frame "young person goes into the world to mature."

Makar is twisted around the edges--his madness is embedded in his DNA and comes from both his mother and his father. I'm still discovering all of his quirks, but this one surprised me as I completed a scene the other day:

“Swear your loyalty to me, Makar.”

With the suffocating whiteness of her ar’nel gone, I could breathe freely once more. My eyes still burned and refused to focus properly, but I glimpsed the shadowy image of Balian as she stepped close to Mother’s side.

I disengaged myself from Tatiana’s grip and knelt before Mother. “I swear on the names of my ancestors and on the blessed name of my grandmother Queen of Heaven Norayn ib Jebid that I will fulfill my duties to our people and protect them from harm.”

“With your life.”

“With my life,” I whispered to the floor, then kissed the hem of her robe and made sure to smear my blood on the underside of her gown. She wouldn’t notice until this evening that she had carried a part of me with her all the day. The very thought of my blood on her person would horrify her. “I will not dishonor this house.”

Ah, family.

I've also been working on some guest posts that will be showing up online over the next few days and weeks. I'll keep you notified of when those go live.

I'm over at the Ranting Dragon, making a case for Marion Zimmer Bradley's novel The Mists of Avalon as my choice for their Great Fantasy Novel series.

Tomorrow, my big post of the week will be at BookSworn.

I'm really excited about the Manifesto: UF anthology that is coming September 1. I've had a chance to read several of the stories and I love the way that Tim and Tyson have segued from one story to the next. There is a definite flow to the anthology that makes reading the stories in order very smooth.

One thing I've loved about the various stories that I've read so far is the scope of urban fantasy. Manifesto: UF has a little something for everyone.

I'll be talking more about my story, "Naked the Night Sings," over at Suzanne Johnson's blog later in September. Suzanne is an agent-mate of mine, we're both represented by Marlene Stringer. You can read about Suzanne's urban fantasy novels right here.

While I worked on "Naked the Night Sings," I thought a lot about the fine line between urban fantasy and horror. Of course, we all know what happens when I start to think--either nothing good comes of it, or I end up writing an ungodly long blog post about it.

So that is what has been going on behind the scenes. I hope you've been busy too.

#SFWApro

a few quick thoughts

A lovely gentleman emailed me on Facebook to ask for a status update on my current novel. His email made me realize I'd been rather lax about the blog. So here, for what it's worth, are a few updates:

  • I'm involved in the final edits of THE GARDEN. Due to the need for a new chapter towards the end of the novel, the dynamics in two subsequent chapters have changed somewhat, so I'm working on the rewrites of those scenes.
  • Another part of wrapping up my final edits includes reading the text out loud for clunky sentences and poor grammar. It's time consuming, but the process helps me catch missing words and/or clumsy phrasing.
  • I'm also finalizing some research on honorifics for Hebrew kings. Yair Goldberg has been invaluable in sending me information, so I should have those details hammered out soon.
  • Speaking of research, I'm working a blog post about the need for research in a novel. I'll keep you posted about that.
  • I'll be talking about Urban Fantasy and Gothic fiction on the newest Mind Meld. Watch SF Signal for updates.

To all my dear friends in New York City and in the northeast: My heart goes out to you in this terrible crisis. Please keep yourselves safe and know that we are thinking of you--and sending whatever aid we can.