To date, 2015 appears to be the year of the sequel for me. This is a good thing. I’ve never been able to write sequels, or series. And yet, every bit of marketing advice out there says you must. I’m not sure I agree with that — I think it’s more important to write things that you love.

However, last fall, I asked the brilliant Kristine Kathryn Rusch about this. The advice she gave me was priceless: If I want to engage my butterfly brain, each book must be unique. You can’t just write the same story over and over again, or even really continue the story from one book to the next.

Since I started following that advice, I’ve been able to write more series characters. Each book is unique. I actually enjoy the challenge of that, while keeping the characters and their voices true.

So what exactly does that mean? Let me explain.

Warning – lots of pictures under the cut.

AHMMAY2015webSo last year, I had a short story published in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. This year, I have another one. It’s in the current issue. It’s a sequel to the first Rabbit story–The Curious Case of Rabbit and the Temple Goddess.

But wait! There’s more.



Dancing with Tong Yi and War On All Fronts

Cover for Dancing with Tong YiLast year, I wrote a story for the Uncollected Anthology theme, “Magical Motorcycles”, entitled Dancing With Tong Yi.

The blurb:

Tong Yi works for Huli Transport, a company that specializes in rides and transportation for those who aren’t quite human.

When the newest job comes up—delivering a message to Zhang Guo Lao, one of the Eight Immortals—Tong Yi assumes the job will be tricky because the immortal likes to play games.

He has no idea that Zhang Guo Lao isn’t the only one interested in “dancing” with him.

War On All FrontsFor this upcoming issue of the Uncollected Anthology, I have a new short story, entitled, “War on All Fronts.” It picks up where the other one left off. It’s actually a novella, about 18,000 words. It will be out May 1st.

The blurb:

Tong Yi carries the mysterious message of Zhang Gua Loa back to his boss.

The Immortal had said there would be war. But between whom? And why?

Huli Transport takes advantage of the situation to become the messenger service of choice in the war zone. They promise to remain neutral, and to deliver messages to all sides.

In the meantime, Tong Yi has battles of his own to fight, both with his older brother and his own growing understanding of magic.

But in the middle of a war, is it possible for him to remain neutral? Or has his side already been chosen for him?

Poisoned Pearls and Tainted Waters

Poisoned Pearls CoverLast year, I published one of my favorite novels, Poisoned Pearls. It features a very voicy smart-mouthed lesbian.

Here’s the blurb:

Working at a sex & toy shop like Chinaman Joe’s Good Luck Parlor keeps Cassie in smokes and off the streets. It isn’t glamorous. But it’s a life.

Then again, Cassie is just normal, not one of the blessed. No paranormal abilities, no telepathy, no pre-cognition. Normal.

But when someone kills Cassie’s best friend in the alley behind the store, the police start looking at her. Hard. Particularly when the Post-Cog on the case swears she’s involved, somehow.

Then someone strangles a prostitute right there in the store.

Cassie knows the cops are wrong about everything. She didn’t do it, and the deaths aren’t about drugs.

But to prove them wrong Cassie has to stop gods she didn’t know were real and prevent Ragnarok.

Her life will never be the same.

Tainted WatersOn May 26th, Book View Cafe will publish the sequel, Tainted Waters.

Here’s the blurb:

A terrorist bomber threatens Minneapolis during the run-up to the Aquatennial. None of the Post-Cogs can get a fix on him: whenever the bomber arrives, the timelines get corrupted.

Cassie has other problems, too. No one will hire her because of how she came into her abilities. Her life of bliss with her girlfriend Sam has soured. She’s even fighting with Chinaman Joe.

When Cassie discovers that the bomber moves like Hunter, the vet who claims ghosts taught him, she’ll have to invoke the Norse gods—as well as any others who are listening—to stop the madmen determined to raise the dreaded Old Ones and create Hell on earth.

I’m so excited about this book. And there will be a third…I’ve already written about half a dozen scenes for Spoiled Harvest. It will probably come out before the end of the year.

The Popcorn Thief and The Soul Thief

The Popcorn ThiefThen I will be relaunching one of my favoritest stories, The Popcorn Thief.

Here’s the blurb:

Ghosts get stuck sometimes.

Franklin helps them move from this world to the next. Sometimes that means giving a ghost a ride so they can confront their killer. Other times, it means listening to the wind in his fields and the trucks blowing down the interstate and hearing the songs a ghost needs to sing.

Generally, Franklin happily does whatever a ghost needs. It’s his duty.

Then Gloria shows up. She wants Franklin to steal the crop of his rival, Karl—they compete every year at the Kentucky State Fair for the blue ribbon prize for who grows the best popping corn.

Franklin’s no thief. His mama taught him better.

But something else is out there, hiding in the fields. Something much worse than a ghost.

A creature that’s not interested in stealing crops, but in taking people’s lives and powers.

A thing that Franklin and his family must stop.
The Soul ThiefI didn’t think there was another Franklin story. Turned out I was wrong.

Come June 30th, Book View Cafe will publish the second in the Chronicles of FranklinThe Soul Thief. Here’s the current blurb:

Ghosts get stuck sometimes.

Franklin sees it as his duty to help them along, get them to pass from this earth to the Beyond.

But some ghosts start returning. Haunting Franklin. Destroying his crops.

Franklin learns he must use an ancient, powerful blade to force the ghosts back Beyond.

However, someone else wants that blade, for purposes that involve life and death, not just for the ghosts, but for all the living as well.

And there are other sequels planned. I believe the next novel I’m working on will be War Among the Crocodiles, the final in the The Shadow Wars trilogy. But as this post is long enough, I’ll leave that for another day!