Best Short Story!

Just a quick update!

I’ve just returned from the RealmMakers conference and awards banquet. Of the five short story finalists, two were mine! They were “Neon Green in D Minor,” a cyberpunk retelling of the Pied Piper fairy tale, and “Love My Neighbor,” a contemporary fantasy.

And “Love My Neighbor” won Best Short Story!

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D-Dames is here! D-Dames are here? The book of D-Dames is here!

Plural titles can be tricky, because the correct phrasing will sound wrong if the listener doesn’t know it’s a title. But, to the point, a new book is out!


D-Dames is a collection of short stories about women with elemental magic in World War 2. These stories were written originally and separately for the elemental anthology series from Tyche Books and edited by Rhonda Parrish, but now they are collected for easy enjoyment together. And I’ve also added, through the power of ebook expansion, annotated versions!

(Ebooks are cool, because they’re kind of little Bags of Holding, able to hold a great deal more without increasing your shelf footprint or carrying weight.)

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Software Wars, or Why Updates Aren’t So Simple

 So, I thought updating my ebook and paperback files would be relatively simple.


It started with a good plan. I would update an older series I hadn’t done much with, actually collect them as most people didn’t even know about all of them, and give them fresh covers for today’s market. No major overhauls, no big deal.



The cover updates were actually quite fun. I knew I wanted to keep the primary art, so there wasn’t too much to do. And I made a cool little series logo to number the stories.

(“I made” in this case means “I put together and modified some pieces of clip art” but just go with it, I’m proud of it.)

Anyway, the cover updates went well, so hurray.


The text update I wanted to make was the romanization of the Japanese in the stories. Without getting too technical, there are several systems for converting Japanese into Latin characters, so that for example the two syllables おう might be rendered oo, ou, ō, or oh. American readers tend to interpret these different renderings in different ways, so a reader not already familiar with Japanese might imagine a very different pronunciation.

I had originally used an older Hepburn system, writing warlord as daimyou, but the Revised Hepburn system has become the dominant system, rendering the same word daimyō. I’m personally not as keen on this because it’s sometimes harder to reverse engineer to the original Japanese word (ō can equally represent おう or おお) but I recognize that it’s good to give readers what they expect.

So I sat down to update the Japanese to (mostly) Revised Hepburn. I thought this would be a straightforward process. I’m going to greatly shorten the telling and just say that while I did not do any find/replace for vowels or vowel combos, only for a complete word like onmyouji to onmyōji, somehow Word got overexcited and made some additional changes anyway.

Suddenly my characters were in dangerōs trōble.

But not all /ou/ combos were updated, resulting in sentences like “you will have a rōgh time,” and I just could not find any sort of system for the extra changes. And while I could have gone back and started over, that would mean manual changes for every Japanese word anyway, so I went ahead and did manual checks for the whole manuscript.


So revision took a lot longer than it was supposed to, but at last it was done. On to the printing! This is easy stuff!

Well, no. Because the PDF software I’ve used for years saw the new vowels with macrons and promptly panicked.

While MS Word was handling the new characters just fine, DoPDF could not render them without doing ridiculous kerning and making all kinds of layout issues. The result was illegible.

I checked the DoPDF support forums but could not find a thread for a similar issue. I tried to register to start a new thread, and was instantly perma-banned. At registration. For “spamming.”

How could I spam before I even completed registering an account?

I found a support email address and wrote for help, but that was two days ago. So.

I then exported the paperback PDFs directly from Word, which KDP accepts but which Ingram dislikes. So paperbacks at Amazon have been updated, but paperbacks everywhere else have not, until I can get new PDF software.

New Books

But finally the ebooks everywhere are fully updated and the Amazon paperbacks are fully updated. Paperbacks at other retailers will be updated as soon as I have new PDF software (suggestions welcome).

Patreon supporters will get the fancy collected boxed set ebook this month—all supporters, regardless of tier, because that’s how we’re getting back into the swing here.

I’d really appreciate your reviews on these poor stories I’ve definitely neglected for years. And I’d really, really appreciate any tips if you should find any remaining typo from where MS Word brōght the enthusiasm.

My plan is to make these into audiobooks too, but first I need to recover from these simple updates!

Kin & Kind, at last

So I was having an exchange with someone who ordered a paperback copy of Kin & Kind for a friend, trying to make sure she understood that it would not reach her friend before Christmas, and was that still okay?

“I’m ordering it for her before the book was even supposed to be out!”

Well, that’s a valid point, if the book was still on schedule it wouldn’t even be on sale before Christmas, so you make a good argument and thank you. :)

Because, yes, Kin & Kind is releasing early!

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G is for Ghost

G is for Ghost

G is for Ghost releases today. It has 26 stories, one for each letter of the alphabet. There are 26 days ’til Halloween. Coincidence?

A teenage girl’s classmates begin disappearing only to haunt her dreams, ships full of ghostly passengers in need of release test those who are tasked to give them peace, psychopomps whose job is guiding the spirits of the dead to the other side meet in a support group, and more fill these pages.

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Forgot to grab a seasonal read? SonOfAWitch!

With the equinox, we’re officially heading into autumn here on the northern half of the world, and it’s time to break out those seasonal stories!

If you want to go light on the spooky and heavy on the fun, you’ll probably enjoy a collection of stories about magic going horribly, hilariously wrong.

No one is perfect—not even a witch. Witches have amazing power at their fingertips to do unbelievable things. That magic can come in really handy sometimes too. They can make someone fall in love, poison an apple to enact a sleeping curse, banish an enemy to an alternate reality, or just conjure up some Nutella when there is none in the house. But what happens when those spells go horribly awry? 

SonofaWitch! contains six humorous contemporary fantasy stories of magic spells gone wrong by Laura VanArendonk Baugh, Sara Dobie Bauer, Lissa Marie Redmond, Frances Pauli, Mara Malins, and Adam Millard.

SonOfAWitch! is currently on sale right here through Halloween for your reading pleasure. Get it signed to your favorite goblin.

If you want something with just a bit more chill for your spine, consider the sister anthologies Corvidae and Scarecrow.

Need a quick gift for that bookish friend (or yourself)? I still have some collectible Gen Con Pin Bazaar enamel pins, and they’re adorable! This clever pendragon will gladly protect your bookbag or lanyard—and he’s discounted when you buy with a paperback!

A quick read of a spooky story? Try The Lonely Frost in the Kitsune Tales series. Or read about Robin Archer’s Halloween perils in Circles & Crossroads.

And of course you’ll want snacks with your stories, right? Try dozens of s’more variations you’ve never thought of. (If you have a Kindle Unlimited subscription, you can read it for free, or it’s available to buy on Amazon.)


A Chimera Story

Origin: Palace of Knossos. Height of restored fresco 78.2 cm. MM III-LM IB period. Heraklion Museum

Today I’m happy to announce the re-release of a story you might not have seen before.

This story was originally published in C is for Chimera, a 2016 anthology edited by Rhonda Parrish. I’m proud of this story for several reasons. First, I actually do like the story itself, its imagery and its theme. Second, I’m proud of how it happened.

She Speaks In Flames

I wasn’t supposed to be in this anthology. I was just ending a vacation in Denmark with my husband when I got the message from Rhonda. One of her anthology authors was not able to turn in a story, and because it was an alphabet anthology it needed a full 26 stories, one per letter, and would I be able to write a story to theme in the two weeks before it went to layout? Oh, and for the letter N?

Of course, I said, without the faintest idea of what that would be.

I started a story on the flight home, about medical chimeras and genetic engineering, but it had, like, two decent lines and I trashed it. Then I started another story, about a prince and the original Greek Khimaira and its dark foretelling, and this one started to come together.

(By the way, that’s where the Ivory Throne came from! I had just seen Denmark’s throne made of unicorn horns narwhal tusks.)

I had a lot of fun researching this piece, which I did a fair amount of despite its short turnaround. I drew on some unorthodox ideas of Atlantis and a lot of earthquake and volcano research, from a frighteningly fast geological crack in Africa to toxic gasses that kill in seconds.

The first bull mentioned in the story is a red roan, and of course that is a reference to the famous bull-leaping fresco from the palace of Knossos. If you’re going to borrow from history, at least make it obvious!

The chimera itself I kept very close to Greek legend, and I used a well-known Etruscan statue for visual inspiration.

Get It!

I’m happy to have this story out again. It has a new title for independent reading and two shiny new formats.

I’ve just added short story benefits to my Fae Tier on Patreon, so supporters at Fae and above will get it this month, in both ebook and audio, or you can pick it up separately here on my website.

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