Cover Reveal! C is for Chimera

Today we unveil the cover for C is for Chimera, the next installment in the Alphabet Anthologies and my first appearance there. Are you ready? Continue reading

Old Notes & Plots, New Year

English: Puma_Punku

Puma Punku blocks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So while I was cleaning the house — I do that every epoch or two, believe it or not — I found some index cards with plot notes. I’m not actually an index card plotter, but I did some detective work and determined, based on the debris strata and corresponding artifacts, that these were from a writers’ conference workshop from 2013, I think. We were supposed to invent a novel plot from scratch within the workshop.

Here’s the short summary I found: Continue reading

Writing RPG Scenes

“A little help?” called Angie. “I’m down sixty-four hit points! This thing is killing me!”

Cassandra didn’t even look up from the figures on the table. “I know! That’s why I’m about to hit it in the head with a mace!”

“Cassandra, you’re the cleric! I want some healing.”

Cassandra glanced at her character sheet. Morningstar or broadsword? She should have buffed the sword. “Quit your whining, I’m busy.”

Angie’s voice was insistent. “Healing?”

“Fine, fine.” Cassandra raised a hand overhead and pointed at Angie. “Cure moderate. Take—” she rolled two dice— “twenty-two points back.”

The GM frowned. “Hold on, her character’s twenty feet away from you. You can’t cure from there.”

“Faith’s reach! I took that feat. I can touch from range distances.”

“Thanks,” said Angie. “Now I can run away screaming.”

“And leave the cleric alone in the front line?”

“There shouldn’t be a cleric in the front line!”

“Shut up, you.”

“Right, then.” The GM sighed. “You’re that kind of cleric. This is going to be a rough game.”

Writing RPG sessions feels like cheating, because I basically just polish our own game transcripts.

I am that terrible non-healing healer. You may commence empathy for my party.

Think Swag, part 2

So I took your advice and suggestions on colors, and now the shirts are coming.

The shirts are coming.

You want to see one of the designs? Continue reading

Win An ARC! And, Guest Geeking

coming-soon-from-wwp-201x300[1]So, I think I’ve mentioned that I have a couple of new short stories in anthologies coming soon. If you’d like to be one of the super-special-awesome people who have it before it releases, you might want to jaunt over to editor Rhonda Parrish’s site and enter to win.

Mark, Alena, and Laura as characters from The Scarlet PimpernelIn other news, today I got to talk about cosplay as a Guest Geek on Michael G. Munz’s blog. No free books there, but it’s got pretty pictures, and you can learn about other geeks and his own books.

Preview: Panic Attack

Panic-attack

Panic-attack (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wanted to share an excerpt from a short story I sold a few months ago. This is taken from near the beginning:

He could not look away, could not move, could not speak . His chest was tight and his lungs constricted, and a distant part of his mind realized he was having a panic attack. Another fragment of rationality told him that was impossible, that he had no pulse to pound in his temples and no breath to catch. He was experiencing only what his subconscious thought he should, patterned by a lifetime of… life, when faced with a salient stimulus from a highly traumatic experience.

He swallowed against the pressure in his throat and drew a deep breath of what he knew wasn’t air. He closed his eyes and exhaled, counting to twenty. Then he opened his eyes again and faced his murderer.

No release date yet for the anthology, but I’ll let you know when I have one! Probably mid to late 2015.

Found Story Bits

old typewriter welded onto a chain pedestal at the Bottle Tree RanchSometimes you walk away from a story in progress for a little while — in this case, because I’ve been working a lot and traveling — and you forget what you were doing.

And then you come back, and you read over what you had, and you’re like, “Did I write that?”

I opened a file again tonight for the first time in weeks, and this is on the most recent page:

“I have a burned arm. It’s not like I’m crippled. And I don’t need to be able to handle a sword or anything.”
“No, but you use your hands for your magic.”
“That’s a focus tool. It’s not strictly necessary.”
He gave her a skeptical look. “And what happens if you can’t use your hands to focus?”
She twisted her mouth. “Don’t stand too close to the target, okay?”

I wonder how it turns out?

History: When Fiction isn’t Whack Enough

Herod the Great

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why write from history? Because seriously, even my caffeinated imagination couldn’t make some of this stuff up. From my (very rough) NaNoWriMo work in progress:

“Now, don’t judge him too harshly,” Saman said. “After all, the man is capable of deep love. When he left for the dangerous task of negotiating with Octavian, he feared that if he died, he would be separated from his wife, who would surely find another husband with her great beauty. So he left orders that should Octavian kill him, she should be executed at once, so that no other man might have her and he could be with her in death.”

Arash simply stared at his master.

“She learned of this, and rather than appreciating his vast devotion, she grew to hate him. In the end, he tried her for treason and saw her executed, and he grieved for a great while.” Saman’s voice was flippant, with a deeper undercurrent of disgust.

“I… should think he might,” Arash ventured.

“He named a tower for her,” Saman said. “The Miriame. It is quite beautiful.”

This is a lot of time-consuming research — really not ideal for the on-the-clock NaNoWriMo — but I confess to having some fun with it. I may post more findings later, but in the meantime, I’m quite behind on my word count, so back to work!

A Halloween Treat

Two cousins, the boy dressed in military camou...

Two cousins, the boy dressed in military camouflage and the girl in a ballerina outfit, wait outside a door as they go trick-or-treating,. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ll be honest, there’s a trick to this treat: this is only an excerpt. Not the complete story. (Sorry!) I’ve turned in three stories in the last two days, and there just wasn’t time to get this one done, too.

But I wanted to share at least a bit of it, because it’s seasonal, and it’ll be a fun peek behind the curtain of the writing process to see how it develops. Some stories keep a similar feel from the beginning, while others are hardly recognizable by the end. This one will change significantly before it’s done! but that’s why it’s called a draft. Also, please enjoy a glimpse of the quite-real Irvington Halloween Festival and maybe mark your calendars for next year!

I’d love to hear your comments on this work in progress, so please don’t be shy. Also please note that it will be available for a very limited time, because it is just a draft — and trick or treating doesn’t last forever! Continue reading

It’s October!

Autumn leaf color in Shinnyo-do, Kyoto, Japan

Autumn leaf color in Shinnyo-do, Kyoto, Japan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s hard to pick a favorite time of year — I like pretty much everything except March — but October would be near the top of any list. The colors, the slanting light, the crisp temperatures along with favorite traditions such as bonfires, pumpkins, and spooky stories.

I write this from a train car rolling through autumn colors. Trains are a great way to experience scenery, and I’ll have a travelogue post soon to share with you. But I have something else to share as well. Continue reading