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19 July 2015 @ 10:56 am
New Stories About Old Friends: for those who don't know, I continue to write short stories and novelettes about the characters of my old Del Rey fantasy serieses. These are available on Smashwords (smashwords.com) and on Amazon Kindle Direct. Most are $4.99. Smashwords supports all the major platforms (epub, kobo, mobi, pdf, etc), and I believe markets to sites for Nook, ePub, etc. Kindle Direct is - well, for Kindle.

So far, there are 5 Antryg and Joanna novelettes, 3 tales about Sun Wolf and Starhawk, 4 stories about Benjamin January (actually, two of these are about what Rose does while Ben is out of town), 2 each concerning John and Jenny in the Winterlands, and the gang at the Keep of Dare. Also available are the 4 stories that I wrote, over the years, for Sherlock Holmes anthologies, two of which are fantasy and two of which are "straight" Holmes stories: two are narrated by Watson, two by Mrs. Watson. Lastly, there is the vampire-on-the-Titanic novelette, "Sunrise on Running Water," in which Don Simon Ysidro from my vampire series has a very brief cameo (he has FAR too much sense to be on the Titanic himself).

I used to sell these stories on my personal website - I no longer do.

But, I will continue to write new stories about old friends, and post them on Smashwords and Kindle Direct (and announce them on LJ and FB... Twitter just makes me crazy).

I hope you all enjoy them!
10 January 2018 @ 10:36 am
Yesterday and the night before it rained like a car-wash. Very nice for a writer who gets to stay indoors, at least until classes start up again.

I'm at the point in First Draft (of the next vampire book) where I have to sit down and organize my Guest Cast, which means finding names for even fairly minor characters so I won't get hung up when I need them. This is always fun, because I'm also figuring out who the villain is, who are the red herrings, what's the name of the villain's wife's maid (or, is the villain actually the WIFE, and in which case how much does her poor spouse know about what's going on?) This is AFTER I've figured out the big technical things like, COULD an ocean liner be attacked by German submarines a day or two from landing in New York? (Yes, after March of 1917).

I have a book called, Mrs. Byrne's Dictionary, (I think I've mentioned this before) which contains all sorts of obsolete and archaic words, like pantarbe (a mythical stone which supposedly attracts gold magnetically) and forslack (to hinder by laziness). A lot of these sound like names. Thus, the maidservant gets called Miss Malkin (a dish-mop) and Don Simon's rather thick-headed henchman is Captain Palfrey (a mild-mannered riding-horse). I have a book of seventeenth-and-eighteenth-century French slang which I can use for the same purpose. There is also, of course, People's Names, by Ingraham - names of every ethnicity and culture including Native American and Tibetan, with sections on ancient Babylon and Classical Greece and Rome. (The Rome section is a doozy!).

Georgette Heyer used to name characters after towns and villages in England, which I've done also. A World Atlas is a fount of possibilities.

Lately I've also used a wonderful website called Fantasy Name Generators, which spews forth TONS of likely-sounding names: Cajun, Ibo, Tahitian, Phoenician... suggested tavern-names and place-names... Some of these I'll use as they appear, others I'll tinker with for something that sounds right.

I start back teaching Feb. 5, so I'm getting as far forward as I can. First Draft is always a bitch.
26 December 2017 @ 10:56 am
I love those parties when, an hour after the guests have HELPED ME WASH UP before departure, the house looks as if nothing whatsoever has happened there. A beautiful Christmas Day with my family, concluded by quietly watching TV with the cat on my lap.

This morning I celebrated the true beginning of my Rest Period (prepping for Christmas luncheon, above, made the preceding week not count) by clearing mass quantities of accumulated shit out of my study - "rest" in my case meaning, "get as much done on the rough draft of the next vampire book as you possibly can before teaching starts again." The cats are freaked and grieved, since a) cats hate change and b) some of those junk-piles had become favored napping-places. I have regretfully come to the conclusion that the Really Big CHair will have to be cut up with a chainsaw and carried out of the room in pieces (as my friend Hazel had to do with George's desk). Unearthed piles of old photographs, and a staggering quantity of very old store credit cards which will have to be chopped up into little pieces in spite of the fact that most of the places they're for don't exist anymore - does ANYBODY have a Spiegel's card at this late date?
23 December 2017 @ 06:35 pm
Five weeks off - to get started on the next vampire book, to paint pictures, to spend time with my friends. To rest. Turned in grades today, spent the rest of the day doing "prep" cleaning in the study (digging out material of the last two books; unearthing tons of old photos); setting up for the Family Christmas Monday.

It's chilly here so the cats are overwhelmingly affectionate.

Best wishes to everyone for the new year.
14 December 2017 @ 01:51 pm
Just put up two "Further Adventures" onto Amazon and Smashwords.

I don't know why, but the activity always fills me with anxiety.

"Karate Masters vs the Invaders From Outer Space" is Antryg and Joanna lending a hand as extras in a low-budget schlockfest martial-arts movie - only to discover that someone or something from another dimension is out to destroy everyone in the project. I must say I had a hoot writing it, and an even greater hoot painting the cover.

"Hag in the Water" is John and Jenny - mostly John, because when the gnome wizards of Ylferdun Deep come looking for Jenny to help solve the murder of one of their number, she's out of town. In spite of the fact that, as he says, there are pigs on his farm with more magic than he has, John steps in to help solve the crime.

These should be up - Amazon and Smashwords assure me - within 72 hrs.

Merry Christmas!

I have been, by the way, struggling with stress and minor health issues - knees and back - which slow me down. But I'm off teaching until early February, and hope to be back at least a little more regularly here, between starting new projects.
04 April 2017 @ 09:24 am
Open Road E-Book Sale!
Open Road, the e-publisher which handles both my digital backlist and that of George Alec Effinger, is having a sale in April.
On April 6, The Silent Tower will be available for $1.99 in the US.
George’s short novel Death in Florence will be downpriced to $2.99 on April 20.
The same day, April 20, the Sun Wolf and Starhawk series (Ladies of Mandrigyn, Witches of Wenshar, Dark Hand of Magic) will all be $2.99 across the US.
The series will go on sale for the equivalent of $2.99 in Australia, Canada, the UK and India on April 26.
Dragonsbane will be $1.99 on April 29.
They tell me that all these one-day sales will be featured in various e-pub newsletters (BookBub, Early Bird Books, etc), but keep an eye out at Open Road.
24 December 2016 @ 05:19 pm
Christmas Eve, as a difficult and painful year is ending. Windy here, and chilly for California (my friend Laurie, who grew up in the Bitterroot Mountains of Idaho in a cabin which was heated only by a wood-stove, sneers at me if I say, "It's cold."). I look forward to a quiet evening watching something simple and pleasant on TV - "American Graffiti," or possibly "Godzilla" - and rising early to do the Family Thing: the first Christmas without my Dad.

I will tender my usual apologies for not being better about posting this year. I feel a bit like I've fallen off the planet, and have not seen nearly as much of my friends as I'd wish, something I'll try to remedy in the new year. I find I'm still not back to 100% of my energy after having pneumonia almost two years ago (my friends who've also done that have warned me this is perfectly usual); I get tired more easily, and am grossly behind on my writing, mostly due to losing the summer to Dad's illness. I don't go back to teaching until February 6, so with luck will catch myself up. I'm pleased - and mildly surprised - that I DID complete a book this year, the World War One Zombie Apocalypse novel "Pale Guardian," (7th in the Asher and Ysidro series) which, people tell me, is already on sale in the U.K., so I'm looking forward to getting copies any time. I also managed to do a couple of novelettes for Amazon, including a Ben January story involving the infamous Moon Hoax of 1837. Again, with luck, I hope to get a couple more up early in the new year.

Many thanks for your patience and support. I wish all my friends here a happy holiday - I would say the cats with you one also, but that would be a lie and you all probably know it. The cats don't give a crap about anything but their dinner. (They'll all spend the day in lock-down tomorrow, and serve them right).

Merry Christmas to all, and to all good-night.
18 October 2016 @ 10:11 pm
Wow, thanks for the prompt and excellent replies to my pistol question.
The main thing I needed to know was, Was this thing really a thing? I read about it on-line, and it sounded so weird that I needed a little corroborative evidence. (My niece tells me she actually held one).
Thank you, Ross TenEyck for the link to the site! Badgermirlacca, thank you, but it looks like I won't need to be questing further.
I still think it sounds really weird, but at least nobody's going to be e-mailing me with "That's just an urban legend" or "I'm a major gun expert and I've NEVER heard of such a thing."
Bless you, one and all!
18 October 2016 @ 03:28 pm
A question to the Group Mind.
I need information - for purposes of the plot - about rare old guns. Specifically, about a kind of small "ladies' pistol" of the 18th century whose barrel - at least according to the article I read on-line - was screwed onto the frame of the gun, AFTER the load was placed. (Of course, like all 18th-century firearms, you could only shoot the thing once before you had to re-load).

Does anybody know about these things? (We're into REAL antiquarian territory here).
06 September 2016 @ 10:17 am
Settling into the "new normal" after a difficult and tiring summer which has left me - among other things - grossly behind in my work. I am teaching two classes this semester, working on the next Ben January novel (the first of a two-book contract which was one of the positive things about the summer), and trying to find time to do the next Further Adventures tales. I'm still also trying to finish a fantasy novel, and am shuffling around with two Further Adventures serialized novels, which, as I recall, Further Adventures fans said they'd be open to, even though they WOULD be serialized. (And there's always those seven or eight historical romance mysteries floating in the background, that I've been trying to get to for YEARS).

I will be Guest of Honor at Con-Dor in San Diego, March 3-5, and will also be a minor, local-talent guest at Gallifrey One 17-19 Feb (and am trying to get into the Art Show again).

I had my birthday and used part of my birthday money to get a new crop of weird t-shirts to wear to teach in. I have finally been able to steal a couple of hours here and there to get back to painting. I did sleep a lot.