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Sunday 28 July 2013

Sample Sunday - Ravens snippet

Time for a snippet from the upcoming Crescent book. Usual warnings apply : there may be typo's, this may not make the final cut, or it may be changed when it gets to that stage.

In this particular snippet, I reckon the wolf family from Blood Moon Dance have mellowed the Brute a bit.

Have fun.


The whip-crack of air rushing to fill a large vacuum hissed through the night, and what was left of the pond crumbled into so much white dust. The mouth in the step shuddered and fell inward, suddenly toothless.
Jadah watched the spiders mill aimlessly for a bit. One of them noticed her and jumped upwards. She could have sworn it had a faint look of surprise on its face as it sailed through her and splattered itself on the ground.

“Heh.” She put her hands on her hips and revolved slowly, looking around. Most of the creatures were ambling towards the house now, and the sanctuary of their webs.
She drifted slowly away from the yard and through the town. The inn where Amber had stayed the first night was over-run with rats. The landlady was a pile of white bone behind her counter.

Brin had taken the squad horses with him, but the Brute had been stabled behind the guard-house. Jadah headed that way with a heavy heart, but knowing Amber would ask, made herself go and look.

The stable-lad was nowhere to be seen. Jadah sighed, and moved down the stalls, a brief glance in each showing her all she needed to know.
The Brute stuck his head over his door and sneered at her. Jadah stared back.
She moved inside the stall, surprised when he only snorted and tossed his head. He’d never gotten out of the habit of trying to bite her.

The stall walls were splintered and gouged where he’d kicked and pounded against them, and the ground was littered with squashed furry bodies.
“Mice, eh?” Jadah asked him.
He snorted.
“I know someone who’ll be glad to see you,” she told him, and watched his eyes gleam. “She’s safe. Well, as safe as she can be, all things considered.” She looked at him. Putting a saddle and bridle on him was pointless; she could move faster than he could, and she’d yet to meet the horse that would carry a ghost on its back. “Shall we go?”
The Brute stamped a foot and rumbled, and a bit of the straw behind him stirred. A small, furry head poked out of it and whimpered at her.
Jadah looked at the horse, then at the walls again. He’d been fighting right enough, and not just for himself.
“Really?” She said to him. “A puppy?”
He snorted and stamped again, and Jadah grinned and went to get the saddlebags. This was going to be an interesting reunion.

Thursday 25 July 2013

A bad day in London - Moments of WTF, universe.

It's been quiet in my little part of the world. Head down, busy writing, busy working, busy trying to figure out whether spraying someone on the train with my deodorant would be considered assault - that kind of thing. (And the guy on the train was pretty rank. He smelt like a refugee from the Mines of Moria had shacked up with that cave troll, and made a baby, and it was on my train. And it hadn't been potty trained.)

Yesterday made up for it.

Yesterday going pear-shaped started around midnight, when the assignment I was working on evaporated as I started the last paragraph. I can swear in several languages, and I pretty much used all of them, treated Stacey to a non-stop litany of curses as I lurched up and down the passage, shaking my fist at the ceiling. I'm STILL fuming about it.

I decided to have a bath. There was a spider in it, dancing around on thin, spindly legs like an elderly ballerina. I threatened it with death and went back to my room.

I was supposed to be heading out of town for the day on work stuff. I got to Kings Cross, got my ticket, got on the train, which for once was ready to board early.

I settled in, decided to read until the train left, yanked out the kindle, and crossed my legs, and promptly fell off the seat. This is what happens when you sit too close to the edge of a train seat with no arm rests.

I caught my elbow on the down and stripped about half an inch of skin off of it, which I didn't notice because I was rolling around on the floor, holding my elbow and making little squeaky noises. Since I hadn't let go of the kindle, I slapped myself on the ear with it.

After I picked myself up and sulkily sat down again, I checked my bag to make sure nothing had fallen out during my encounter with the train floor.  I pulled the tickets out and checked them.
My stomach lurched.
I checked the address I was going to, and felt the prospects for the day nose-dive sadly into the tarmac in front of me.
Wrong city. I had tickets for the wrong city.

It isn't payday yet. I can't afford to buy new tickets because buying them on the day means the train company bends your credit card over a chair without the benefit of KY.

I texted my boss. No response.

I phoned the place I was going to and rescheduled for next week.

Texted my boss again. No response, which is not surprising since neither one of those texts has reached him as I write this. (With my luck, they'll beep through at around 3am on Sunday morning. That should make for a super start to my Monday.)

Then I headed into the office. Sitting down was painful due to large, strange shape bruise I now have on one of my buttocks, and every time I rested my elbow on my desk it screamed at me and called me names.

I can't talk about work, but suffice to say I've attempted to wipe yesterday from my memory banks. When I got home I re-wrote the assignment, realised that my right eye was swelling up (allergies. Yay!), and the left had a couple of burst veins.  I looked demented.
My hair had decided to channel the Bride of Frankenstein, my elbow was stinging, and my butt was throbbing. And then I got dive-bombed by a daddy-long-legs, a flying ant, and a mosquito, in rapid succession.

Wednesday, I'm not talking to you anymore.

Friday 19 July 2013

Invasion of the email snatchers - moment of Aargh

Yesterday, I spammed myself.

Actually, let me re-phrase that. I checked my junk mail, and found two emails from my email address, to me, flogging stuff. The first one is for some medical site (?). The second one told me I'd just won a massive inheritance, and I was happy to share it with myself. I had the urge to write back and offer to exchange it for the winning lottery numbers I just got, but I restrained myself.

Apparently I've crossed wires with some alternative universe where I'm a spam-bot. I changed my password.

Today's me-spam stepped it up a notch. I got more medical stuff, with the eye-watering title of "Low Prices Pills" (I'll spank me for the grammar later, right now I'm too busy cringing). I also got told I could fix my erection problems, and erectile dysfunction is now a thing of the past. I can please ALL the ladies in my life.

Well. Lucky me, then. Now all I have to do is find several willing ladies, a penis, and the inclination to use it.

It's not often I'm left speechless, but psuedo-me has achieved this.

Sometimes, it's better not to go into the alternative universe theory.

Sunday 14 July 2013

Thoughts for the week: standing witness for the dead.

A couple of months ago I would have said that nobody in the western world would get away with killing a child.

I would have pointed out that stalking and shooting an unarmed adult would be grounds for a prison term, at the least, let alone a teenage boy.

I would have thought that nobody who has a functioning brain cell would look at a couple of stupid pictures (and I thank whatever deity runs my live that Facebook and the rest of the social media circus hit well after my own teenage years, because there are some things that are better left forgotten), and decide that killing this kid was justified. Because, well, hunting down and shooting a boy isn't usually acceptable, no matter how much candy he had on him. Wearing a hoodie and being dark-skinned shouldn't be a death sentence in any country.

I would have said that the sad little man who declared himself tin god, and passed a death sentence on a teenager in the street because he didn't like the look of him, would spend a good long time pondering his new cell-mates, because if you climbed out of your car and walked after me with a weapon, I'd damn well take a swing at you if you ran after me.

I would have said that stalkers don't get to use the self-defense charge.

When I get it wrong, I get it very, very wrong indeed.

I have no idea whether Trayvon Martin's family have the strength or the resources to bring a wrongful death suit. If they do, and this is their choice, I hope they win. Because nobody should have the right to hunt down your child in the street, shoot them to death at close range, and walk away without repercussions.

I do not care whether or not he was on drugs, got into fights, or posted pictures with rude hand signs. If you're going to shoot someone for that, you'd have to take out half of Hollywood, never mind 90% of the teenagers on social networking sites.

I care about the fact that he was young, that he was unarmed, that he was walking back from a shop with candy he never got to eat, a bottle of iced tea he never got to drink. I care about the fact that this was needless, senseless waste.

I care about the fact that I can think of several ways to bloody my own nose and get wet grass on my back, and abrasions on the back of my head. I can't think of a way to get repeatedly hit by somebody that won't leave them with torn up knuckles that go beyond a single small abrasion on one finger.

We can't change what happened, not the fact of this young man dying on wet grass, or the outcome of the jury trial.
But we can remember. We can state categorically that was done was wrong on every conceivable level. We can tell people that walking in the rain is not a crime. We can tell people that being a teenager in a gated community is not a crime, no matter how much certain aspects of society wish it was.

We can tell the world to stop blaming the victim. And when the justice system fails, when the very concept of justice is rolled in the mud and left to lie weeping, we can stand as witness for the dead.

Thursday 11 July 2013

Ye Pirates have struck. Avast!

And yea, verily, there came upon the author the day her first book was discovered on a pirate site, and there was much growling and cursing and gnashing of teeth.

And there was no contact form on the pirate site, and no way for the author to say unto them; "Take down my book, you thieving bastards," and there was further growling and cursing and gnashing of teeth, with added helplessness.

And the author felt like someone had kicked her puppy, and did share her woe with her family, and felt a little better, and shared some more with Facebook, and felt better still.

Some hours later, the author returned to the site, and verily, did notice something strange, for the google-link address thingy and the actual website name differed from each other. And the author declared, "WTF?"

And on the web page beside her book, now ravished and squished into a PDF format, and yea, still with the old cover on, the pirates were offering extra free copies to anyone who completed a survey, and the author started to giggle.

And yea, there is additionally a form on ye pirate website for anyone willing to steal a book to complete as compulsory registration, including home phone numbers and email addresses, and the author was surrounded by the golden glow of realisation. For verily, this particular pirate site is data mining, and those who give up their information shall be visited with an absolute plague of cold-callers, email spam, and a shit-load of junk mail.

And the author, still giggling, closed the web-page, and reflected that Karma can be a stone-cold bitch, but is usually well-deserved.

Here endeth the lesson.


I've said it before folks, and I'll say it again: if you can't afford one of my books, drop me a message in the comments. I'm happy to send it to you. Pirate sites on the other hand… well, there's a reason pirates were considered the bad guys. Do you really want to be giving personal information to a bunch of guys who are happy to upload stolen work?

In other news, both WolfSong and Blood Moon Dance are on special from today, as part of Sci-Fi/Fantasy promo event over at Tim Flanagan's blog here. Although the event only required a price-drop on (99c) and (79p), I've done it across the board, so if you have a kindle or smart-phone with the app, go ahead and click away. The individual book links are also on the side-bar of the blog.

Sunday 7 July 2013

Sci-Fi Fantasy Kindle Event 13-14th July 2013 - Counting Down

The countdown to next week-end's big event has started.

This is going to be awesome for anyone who likes their sci-fi/fantasy, both adult and YA.

Circle the date, and watch this space for reminders.

Wednesday 3 July 2013

Blog Raiders: Mia Darien

I haven't had a guest blog here for a while, and it's a genuine delight to have Mia Darien swooping in for the day, and blogging about the origin of Nykk Marlowe. It's a pretty fascinating development process.

Take it away, Mia!


The RPG History of Nykk Marlowe

The road that any character takes, from being a vague concept in their writer's mind to the three-dimensional creation you read on the page, is a long and winding thing. Some are a little longer and more winding than others. Many of my characters, for example.

Anyone who knows me, or has read certain interviews I've given, knows that I have a long history of role-play games. (I never did table top, but play-by-email and play-by-forum/collaborative writing style games.) It started with something called Minidragon Isle about fifteen years ago, then moved into McCaffrey's world of Pern, before landing in Robert Jordan's the Wheel of Time and also Star Trek.

I've since then written in fandoms and original creation worlds, and many of the characters that started in novels ended up in my role-play and many that started in role-play ended up in my novels.

Nykk is one of the latter, but it took longer with her than most.

In 'Written All Over Her,' there are about five segments called the Prelude, Interludes, and Postlude. These stand out because they are written in Second Person and we "see" Nykk as a teenager. The reason I included these segments was because it was the character biography (tweaked for the book) written at the first RPG I applied to write Nykk as a character at.

Inspired, a little, by Chelsea Cain's "Heartsick," I created Nykk and she started at my game set in The Wheel of Time. Her name was Nykkolaia Zeran, and for those who know the series, she was a Novice aspiring to the Blue Ajah. (The Ajah of Justice, which lets you see how her ending up a cop was no surprise.) However, when I started the character, I wrote her as a fourteen year old, and newly freed from her traumatic past. She was difficult to write with other people.

An early version of Nykk

I then brought her to an original world that I created, a game I ran. She was a unicorn rider, traumatized by the demons of the world. I worked her into a major plot line, but she was still difficult to write. That version ended up dying.

See, she has a fascinating history (to me, at least) but to write her too close to the trauma I inflicted on her was hard. She was traumatized, and withdrawn. In a role-playing environment, you write back and forth with other people. She didn't do well socially.

 Despite this, I couldn't let her go. She then went into the World of Warcraft, as a mage who preferred using ice, because she had an aversion to fire. This time she was older, still a little withdrawn (think Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) but better than before. She took on some slightly...twisted tendencies, modeling herself a little after what had happened to her, but I had to stop playing the game for a while and thus had to stop writing her there. 
Another early Nykk.

What, oh, what was I to do with Nykk? I liked her very much as a character, and thought she was a fascinating character study, but after three venues, where could I put her next?


A lot of characters have ended up here, and it is a place of strange beings, yes? It took a little work to take her from a high fantasy setting and put her into a paranormal world, as well as build a mystery on her history, but it ended up working a lot better. Not that she's been any easier to write, of course, but it just seemed to work so much better. Plus, writing her as a thirty-something established adult helped immensely, and the solo-writing novel avenue avoided that social part. All this just seemed more suiting for her.

Now I can't think of her being anywhere else!

* * *

Author Bio: Mia Darien is an indie author of speculative fiction, and a New England Yankee transplanted into Alabama clay. No matter her geography, she continues to stubbornly and rebelliously live the life of her choosing along with her family and pets. She doesn’t miss the snow.

Author Site:

"Written All Over Her"

...on CreateSpace (Print):