FINISHED – The Desert Heart

I’m kind of in shock. I finished the current novel today! I had thought I had a few more chapters to write, but no, this was the last chapter. I’m really, really pleased with how this novel turned out, though.

This is the second novel of a dark fantasy trilogy. I finished the first novel, “The Glass Magician” last year. The second novel, the one I finished today, is called “The Desert Heart.” I’ll write the last novel sometime next year—”The Ghost Dog.”

After I finish writing the third novel, I’ll publish all three, one after another, probably one a month over the course of three months.

It’s all one big long story. That’s not what I usually write. It’s part of why I’m publishing them together. There’s an end to each novel, but the story continues.

But there is no rest for this writer.

By October first, I must finish three stories. Minimum lengths: 3000 words, 6000 words, and 10,000 words. All of them can be longer, of course. And knowing my brain, they probably will be. Luckily, I have ideas for all of them.

So, Yay! Finished a novel! Yay! Go write more!


As some of you may or may not know, I’ve had some issues with chronic migraines that FINALLY seem to be resolving. (The short version: have had migraines since I was 18. Went from 0-3 migraines a month to 12-15, suddenly and without warning. After 13 months, have managed to get my migraines back down to 3-4/month. Now am working on having fewer headaches as well.)

As you can imagine, this threw my writing schedule for a loop.

When I’d had a day job, I’d still managed to write 3000 words a day. When I first went “full time” with writing, I was doing 4-5000 words a day.

This last year, I’ve been struggling to get 2000 words a day done. Or rather, my goal has been 10,000 words a week, so only 2000 words 5 days a week.

I’ve frequently missed this goal (see migraines, above.) But I’m more stubborn than most, and I’ve kept writing regardless.

As of the end of August, it will have been two months with many fewer migraines. And I’m having fewer headaches as well.

I’d made the decision that starting this morning, and going until the end of the year, I was going to up that goal to 15,000 words a week, or 3000 words a day, 5 days a week.

I felt good about this. I was doing so much better physically. I figured this would be a breeze.

Then Sunday morning—I came down with a cold.

It hit me really hard emotionally. Here I was, all set to make a serious run at the writing again, only to get derailed.

I know it’s only for a few days. Maybe I’ll be able to start September 1st. I’m just disappointed.

In the meanwhile, I have the best husband in the world. He made my bacon, got me orange juice and Prosecco. I have coffee, tea, kleenex, and lots of meds.

There’s client work that I must do today. Before and after that, I’ll be napping.

And plotting to write fiction later. When I can.

PS. Though the migraines could be considered a chronic illness, and this cold sucks, I also realized that the last time I was actually sick with something like a cold was March 2015. I used to get sick ALL THE TIME. I’m still kind of amazed that it’s been so long since I was last sick.

Trust Writer Brain

One of the pieces of advice that I’ve heard over the years is “Trust the Process.”

For me, that also means, “Trust writer brain. She knows what she’s doing.”

I still fight with her occasionally when I’m creating and putting a lot of new words down on a page. I don’t know why. She’s always right, and she always wins. (She’s kind of a bitch that way.) However, instead of fighting her for a week or a month, now it’s more like an hour, or sometimes if I’m really being stubborn, half a day.

I can’t write when I’m fighting her, when I’m trying to do something other than what she wants. Can’t create. Can’t do anything. It’s pretty obvious to me, now, when I’m fighting her. Plus, as soon as I admit defeat, the words just flow again.

Currently, I’m going through first reader comments for the latest novel. A couple of really interesting things have come up.

I had two first readers. One of the fascinating things for me is how often they agree on awkward sentences or paragraphs. Possibly as much as 90% of the time, if one marks a paragraph as awkward, the other will have touched on it as well, offering suggested rewrites or just marking it as awkward.

It’s taught me that when this book flows, it flows. It’s really obvious when it doesn’t. Or at least to both of my first readers.

The other thing has been my conscious choice to trust writer brain.

When one or the other of my first readers makes a comment, such as, “This needs more foreshadowing”, I listen to writer brain’s response.

Sometimes she says, “Oh! Right! You need to add more here, and here, and here, and here!”

It was really easy and obvious. That comment spoke to inner writer. It didn’t matter the amount of work that single comment caused. Writer brain was happy to do it.

Or when one of the first readers wanted a scene rewritten to be more visceral. Writer brain happily wrote an extended scene. Boom.

It has worked the other way as well. One of the first readers wanted a different large change. However, writer brain merely shrugged and said, “Meh.”

I’ve gone back to that other comment more than once. Writer brain continues not to be enthusiastic about it.

Though I trust that reader, and I’ve taken almost all of that reader’s comments, I choose to trust writer brain on this one.

Again, it isn’t about the amount of work that comment would cause. I’m happy to do the work. However, writer brain doesn’t feel as though that comment needs to be addressed.

I really like this novel. I think that it will be a much stronger novel once I finish incorporating all the first reader comments.

But it will still be my novel. My choices. My words.

For better or worse, I’ve learned to trust my inner writer.

How about you? Do you trust your process, your inner writer? Or do you fight?

No reserves

Spent the weekend at WorldCon in Kansas City, MO. Saw lots of old friends, made some new ones. Networked a little, possibly picked up a little business.

(BUSINESS PLUG: Next cover workshop starts September 7th:

Though my doctor tells me that according to my blood work, I’ve been getting younger every year for the last three years, I still take more time than I used to in order to recover from something like flying and attending a huge con with OMG so many people. (Was smart this con and took serious downtime every day. Think that’s the only way I survived, and why though I’m tired, I’m not exhausted or sick.)

There’s just no juice in the battery today. I can do what I need to do, like cleaning the vacation rental, then I need to sit down and rest. Plus, not many words.

It’s another sign that I’m getting older.

One of the other signs that I’m getting older is that I’m pretty much out of fucks to give. WorldCon isn’t what it used to be. It’s declining. The fans are older, aging out, dying off. It can’t keep up with any of the comic cons, or the other cons that have diversified and are more inclusive.

I wish WorldCon well.

I may or may not attend another one. I’m much more likely to attend Convergence or ECCC. Places where the audience is younger. Where I’m more likely to connect with my readers. If money were suddenly no longer an issue, I probably would go–but it would be for connecting with friends, not readers.

In addition, I’m really not the intended audience of WorldCon. I’m an indie writer. I’m not looking for an agent or a publisher. And WorldCon is very much still focused on trad pub. (One of the main reasons we went to WorldCon was to visit my sweetie’s family, who live near KC.)

So as I said, I wish WorldCon well. I realize that it’s me, not them.

And though I have other thoughts about agents, people practicing law and advising on legal matters  (like contracts) without being licensed and such, it’s time for another cup of coffee and possibly some words.

And MORE Bundles!



I’m in a new bundle! The OUT OF THIS WORLD bundle.

Explore the future and the universe with this exciting bundle of science fiction & fantasy short stories, novellas, and novels. Discover how people will survive, and thrive, as they encounter challenges in outer space or deal with struggles here on Earth.

Mystery and adventure, drama and fear, technology and magic, all have their place in these exciting speculative stories.

Blast away with these fantastical tales to parts unknown and out of this world!

This bundle will only be available until September 4th. So get yours today!


The Fantasy in the City bundle is currently available at distributors for a limited time. 20 short tales of magic and wonder. Once it’s gone, it’s gone for good. So get yours today!

Available at:




Barnes & Noble:


The Not Only Humans bundle is also available at distributors currently.

From galaxy-spanning alien cultures to the discovery of Bigfoot, these page-turning novels feature gripping stories where humans and non-humans work together, fight each other, and even fall in love.

List price if bought individually is over $70.

But for you–just $9.99.

A dozen amazing fantasy and science fiction novels.

This bundle is jam-packed with stories …

* For every reader’s taste.
* Filled with robots and faeries. Demons and trolls and vampires. And aliens, aliens, and more aliens.
* Of unparalleled quality. Bestselling and award winning authors.

This bundle will only be available at distributors for a limited time. Once it’s gone, it’s gone for good. So get yours today!

Available at:
Kobo Books
Barnes and Noble



And the writer is BUSY!!!

Honestly, I don’t think this is unusual for me. Summers are generally very busy for me. Partly that’s because of the vacation rental. I have lots of yard maintenance that I do during the summers, in part, because of the vacation rental. I want my guests to think I have an awesome yard. And that takes work.

Plus, I have MANY THINGS going on.

For example, WORKSHOPS.

Yes, I teach workshops. Two of them, in fact. I just finished the first Covers workshop. I’ll be teaching the Print Interiors workshop next. It starts August 10th.

To learn more, go here:

Another example of things going on: BOOKS

At the end of August, “The Princess Troll” comes out.

The Princess Troll

I also hope to publish the Island Sampler.

At the end of September, “Spoiled Harvest” comes out. This is the sequel to “Poisoned Pearls” and “Tainted Waters”. I’m updating all the covers, so I don’t have links available for it yet.

At the end of December, “The Immortals’ War” comes out. This is a standalone novel, composed of three already published stories as well as three new ones. (“Dancing with Tong Yi”, “War On All Fronts” and “The Sweet Shop”)

In January, I hope to have a new Business for Breakfast book available.

February/March I should have a new novella available.

Then…I don’t know what.

Blaze will have a bunch of things that I’m publishing as well between now and then. And other writers. Stay tuned!

Other things–Am going to Worldcon in a few weeks. Hope to see some of you there. Am starting a new novel tomorrow–VERY EXCITING. I’m not impressed with how hot it has been in Seattle recently. And other NEWS that I’m still sitting on, at least for now.

How is your summer going?

Friday Madness!


In just a few weeks, starting July 13th, I’m offering a workshop in how to do your own covers.

Creating professional looking covers that will make a reader want to pick up your book is one of the most important skills that an indie-writer/publisher can learn.

Though every genre has its own specifics, there are some general principles of what makes a professional looking cover.

This workshop teaches you how to create covers for ebooks as well as print books. It teaches you how to look at a cover and see what makes a professional cover versus and amateur one.

This workshop lasts three weeks. It is taught using InDesign, which is the industry standard for creating print interiors. It costs $200.

To sign up for a cover workshop, click here.


The Fantasy in the City bundle is still going! And yes, I will be offering a BOGO for it next week. So get your copy today!

As part of the bundle, the curator, Jamie Ferguson, was interviewed here:

Interview with Jamie Ferguson


And in other news, look what I’m publishing in a couple of weeks!

A short comic teaching children (and adults) about autism.

By the young woman who I’ve mentored for years! More information soon.


And yes, in August, (August 16th) I will have a new novel! Here’s the blurb:

Most trolls have no natural magical ability. However, Christine does. Enchanted powders swirl up when she walks by. Charms glow.

What happens when Christine tries to direct her magical powers?

Nothing. Nada. Zip.

Something blocks Christine from reaching her full magical potential.

But what?

“The Princess Troll”—the second novel in The Seattle Trolls trilogy and the delightful continuation “The Changeling Troll”—follows Christine on her journeys through a skewed Seattle and her encounters with outrageous and whimsical characters. A coming of age tale for all ages!


Uhmmmm – I think that’s it for this Friday madness. Hope y’all have a good weekend!



This week, I finally hit my weight goal.

This post is going to be about weight and dieting, etc. Read (or don’t!) with your own self care in mind.

I was skinny as a kid. Doctors constantly told me to gain weight. I believe I didn’t reach a healthy weight until I was in my mid-20s. (When I was finally able to maintain a regular menstruation cycle.)

I’ve always been very active. And I’ve always stayed about the same weight. Anytime I rose above it, I merely had to pay attention to what I was eating for a while and the weight would drop off.

Until recently.

Last year, I wanted to lose weight for my wedding. I started paying attention to what I was eating, but the weight didn’t come off.

I figured it was stress.

Earlier this year, I was making the same noises about losing weight, until something in my brain snapped. Instead of, “I would like to lose weight,” it became, “Fuck you. I’m losing weight.”

(I would make a fortune if I could bottle that attitude shift.)

I knew I was already eating healthy foods. (Dead critter, fresh veggies, very little processed food.) What I learned when I started counting calories was that I was eating far, far too much, even as active as I was.

If I hadn’t been that active, I would have been gaining a lot more weight than I had over the last few years. By the time I made the decision to lose weight, I determined I needed to lose about 10% of my body weight to get back to my healthy, ideal weight. (Most people who know me wouldn’t be able to tell the difference in my weight. But I knew and I felt it in my joints that I was too heavy. Knees and ankles kept bothering me.)

So I decided to actually diet. Make permanent changes to my lifestyle and eating habits, as well as track my food intake.

I’d never been on a diet before. I tried a couple of different calorie counting apps. Eventually, I ended up using MyFitnessPal, combined with my Fitbit for tracking activity.

I’ve had a Fitbit for years. I generally averaged 10,000 steps per day, though frequently during the winter I would have less steps. Before I added in my activity to my calorie counting, I was trying to eat the number of recommended calories based on age and what I thought my activity levels were.

OMG. I was starving all the time. How do people do this? I was completely miserable. It was awful.

Once I added in my activity from my Fitbit, my calories per day rose considerably. Almost enough for a full extra meal every day. So part of what made it initially so miserable was that I really wasn’t eating enough.

I still kept my calorie counting app with a lower calorie goal, letting the Fitbit add in more calories every day. Gamifying the system in some ways.

It horrifies me how much I’m willing to do for more calories. How motivated I am by food. It got me moving. I was no longer satisfied with 8-9000 steps per day. Had to be 10K or better.

However, once I got it all connected and dialed in, I started slowly losing weight. Between half a pound to a pound per week.

The last month or so, I’ve been preparing for this time, for when I’ve reached my goal weight. I keep wondering, how do I maintain it? How do I have a healthy relationship with food? I’ve been so focused on what I’m eating. How do I kind of push it to the background again, yet not over eat?

I really started paying attention to how I felt after I ate. The amount of fullness I had after 200 calories. 300. 400.

I would like to be able to trust my body not to eat too much.

However, food and activity is more complicated than that. At least for me.

What I’ve learned is that on a day with a LOT of activity, I may or may not be extra hungry that day. (My husband and I regularly put in days of 23,000 steps or more, at least once a month or so. Or I spend the day working outside on the farm—my Fitbit doesn’t show that many steps, but I’ve been hauling wood for hours and know I’ve burned a lot of calories.)

The next day, after so much activity, whether I’ve eaten a lot or not the day of the activity, I’m starving. What is normally satisfying, isn’t.

So it isn’t as simple as I’d like for it to be. I do have a good scale now, and I plan on using that once a week to make sure that I stay on track.

I’m going to let go of my calorie counting. Not this week, maybe in a week or two. Once I figure out how it feels to eat a regular amount of food, not 100 calories less than what I burn per day.

It’s been an interesting experience, this dieting.

I will never do it again. I will never gain weight like I did, putting myself into a position so that I have to lose it. I will stay on top of my weight. This was far too miserable an experience to want to repeat it.

And while I’d never recommend dieting to anyone, I would recommend the MyFitnessPal app. It was kind of awesome for helping me figure things out. Plus it gave me an overview of my nutrition, to see where my gaps were (for example, I really need to supplement my calcium).

I’d also recommend my Fitbit, but I’ve loved my Fitbit for years and years. I tried a Fitbit Charge for a while. It gave me more calories per day (yay!) but I hated wearing anything on my wrist, and soon went back to my Fitbit One.

This and that

I have been trying to post more regularly. Some weeks I manage it. Other weeks I’m not as successful.

This week, I don’t have as much news. Just bits and pieces, really.

Point #1: the 2016 Write Stuff bundle is ending this week.

If you haven’t picked up your copy of this great collection of writing books, you need to act quickly. It’s going away.

The Write Stuff 2016 ad

Point #2: The Not Only Humans bundle is also ending this week.

This is a fun bundle with lots of really different, fun stories in it.


Point #3: In July, I’m starting a new workshop for cover design. I’ll be posting more about that every week for the next few weeks. Let’s just say I’m really excited about this new workshop!

Point #4: I’ve been writing. A lot.

“The Princess Troll”, which is the sequel to “The Changeling Troll” will be out in August.

“Spoiled Harvest”, the third of the Cassie stories and sequel to “Poisoned Pearls” and “Tainted Waters” will be out in October.

This month, I’m finishing up Tong Yi’s story, writing the rest of the novel started with his stories (“Dancing with Tong Yi”, “War on all Fronts”, and “The Sweet Shop”).

This novel is different than others I’ve written. It started out as stories, and has continued as such. At this point I think there are only three more “stories” to finish out the entire novel. They’re titles currently are: “The Immortals’ War”, “Girls’ Night Out”, and “Kiss. And Make Up.”

I hope to finish the Tong Yi stories by the end of June. If I can make that deadline, this novel may be available before the end of the year.

Point #5: The Island Sampler is just about finished!

As I’ve said before, I write all over the map.

So I created a map, trying to figure out just what I wrote, as well as to help readers find what they want to read.

Then I created a “sampler” of all the different types of thing I wrote, and am compiling it into a single entity.

Once the sampler is finished, I’ll be sending it out to everyone who has signed up for my newsletter, and as a free gift for anyone who signs up for my newsletter.

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Point #6: Not sure there is a point #6. So have a picture of a kitty instead.



FINISHED and Cat Sitting

This morning, finished the first draft of Spoiled Harvest!!!!! This is the third book in The Cassie Stories. I’m going to give it a month’s rest, look it over one last time, then send it to first readers.

Currently, I’m planning on an October publishing date.

I’m currently cat sitting in Lincoln City. Here’s a shot of the view from my writing computer this morning:



Rough life, I know.

The plan is for me to “clear the decks” as it were. I have a short story I must write, several others I have to clean up.

Then next week, I start the next novel! I wrote three stories about the Immortals’ War for the Uncollected Anthology. (Dancing With Tong Yi, War On All Fronts, and The Sweet Shop.) Now it’s time to finish the full story with a novel. Well, kind of. Writer brain thinks there are three more “episodes” to the story, already named and some idea of what happens. We’ll see when I actually start writing.


There will be other NEWS later this week!

In the meanwhile, have a kitty picture. Because. Kitty.