Updates on THE FATE OF THE TALA and Other Celebrations

Farolitos up on the roof, with a nearly full moon rising – a lovely sky for finishing that job yesterday evening!

I’ve finished the outside holiday decorations and I’m hoping we’ll get the Christmas tree later this afternoon, to decorate tonight and tomorrow. Then decorating will be complete! We’ve also made some inroads on shopping, I got to have a fancy cocktail out at the bar at Inn at Loretto, plus I have several parties coming up, so the season is proceeding apace.

Otherwise I’m head-down on THE FATE OF THE TALA. The insightful and generous Marcella Burnard sent me feedback that helped with perspective on the story, so now I’ve gone back to the beginning to revise, tweak and tighten. Then I’ll finish out the ending. So I’m still on track for a January 15 release date! For those who’ve asked, I am doing preorders on my website store only. That’s mostly because I am not locked into uploading the finished book days ahead of the release date. My plan is to make the book live in my website store first – which means people who preorder there gets the book before anyone else! – then I’ll start uploading to retailers. I totally understand if you’d rather buy through your favorite retailer! It’s just less pressure on me (and I make more money on each copy) to do it this way. It’s been really wonderful to get that preorder income already (with retailer preorders, I don’t get the sales until release day, and the money comes in two months after that) because it helps offset my expenses in publishing the book.

I greatly appreciate all of you who are willing to buy through the website store and I totally sympathize with those of you who prefer not to go with the bother of sideloading, etc.

Hope you all are enjoying the holiday season in whatever way gives you the maximum Delight & Gladness!

Fight Scenes for Peace Lovers

I did a book launch signing yesterday for THE ORCHID THRONE, along with Jane Linskold. So lovely to see that my local indie bookstore, Page 1 Books, has such an array of my books!

It was a fun event and I so appreciate all the folks who took the time to come out.

Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is Writing Fight Scenes. Now, I – somewhat famously, if I want to give myself that much credit – don’t like writing fight scenes. Come on over for advice on writing fight scenes from someone who hates writing them. 

Do You Need a Critique Group – Or Something ELSE?

Yesterday I cooked brunch for writer friends Jim Sorenson and Sage Walker. (That’s me in my Orchid Throne apron that the amazingly talented Minerva Spencer made for me. Isn’t it awesome??)

We sat in the grape arbor, listened to the bluebirds feed their nestlings, and talked all things writing. It got me thinking about critique and what we need to improve our work that ISN’T critique. Come on over to the SFF Seven for more. 

What Dangerous Topic Jeffe Longs to Write

Marcella, sister SFF Seven bordello mate and longtime crit partner, sent me this amazing glitter card. She’s been reading – and giving excellent insight on – this series from the very beginning. If I’d had more time, she would have been top in my thank you’s in the acceptance speech. I remember hitting midpoint on that book, The Pages of the Mind, panicking and sending it to Marcella. Braced for her to tell me I’d gone horribly wrong, down some twisted path of no return, I opened her email reply. In which she scolded me for stopping where I did and to keep going, dammit.

I tell you, folks, there’s nothing better to keep you sane than good writing friends.

Our topic this week at the SFF Seven regards Third Rails in Genre Fiction: What subjects are too dangerous for you to touch? Or do you touch them anyway? Come on over to the SFF Seven to find out what mine is. 

Doing Right by Our Friends

boundbyinkHappy Release Day to Marcella Burnard with the newest in her Living Ink urban fantasy series, BOUND BY INK!!

This is such a cool series, with tattoos that capture demons and bind them to people. Marcella has been a friend for a long time, so seeing her books release is always fun for me. I met Marcella online through RWA’s Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal (FFP) chapter, back in… wow – 2009, I think. We used to “meet” every morning in the online water cooler and do writing sprints. Later, when I happened to be out in Olympia, Washington, she drove down to meet me for dinner. I’ve had a number of writing friends come and go over the years. This business seems to be particularly hard on friendships, with some people withdrawing as our careers and fortunes wax and wane.

Marcella, though, has been a steadfast friend to me throughout – something I’ve really come to value.

There’s a saw that friends are the family you choose and I think there’s a lot of truth to that. I have friends who go back most of my life, nearly as long as some of my family and some longer than the younger/newer family members. How closely in contact we are changes all the time, but the best friends are the ones where that doesn’t matter. I recently saw two college friends while I was out in Baltimore and it was lovely to visit with them, touch base with their lives.

The people who are our friends form the fabric of our lives, their threads interweaving with ours. Maybe part of one space of time, maybe running throughout the length. Their impact on us, and of us on them, can be profound.

This is on my mind because a friend of my mother’s died last week. They’d known each other for around thirty years. They shared a whole group of mutual friends, couples who spent lots of time together, partying, traveling, celebrating each others’ milestones. Her death came as a shock to most everyone in that more-dispersed circle. Largely because no one knew she’d fallen ill. All her friends knew was that they’d left messages that she hadn’t returned. Finally she didn’t return so many that one of them pinned down the husband. Turned out she’d not only been sick, but she’d gone comatose, was on life support and the family was meeting to make a decision. She died the following day and the service set for the end of the week.

None of them got to see her before she died.

Of course, by the time they knew, she was beyond communicating. But, while it’s understandable that a family in crisis will circle the wagons and not communicate such a terrible event, it hurt my mom and the woman’s other friends terribly not to be able to say their own goodbyes. They could have let her know one last time that they loved her. For themselves, they could have tied off that thread, instead of it hanging as a ragged edge.

It’s something to think about – if we suddenly fall ill, is there a list of who to contact? For many of us, a phone call to one or two friends will set in motion a chain of communication. It’s probably worth it to make that list. Just in case.

If not for ourselves, then for our friends who love us.