Writerly Wednesday-Stuff & Utter Nonsense

Issue 2 of the newsletter, complete with an excerpt from The Waning Moon and Chapter 2 of Raj’s stories, should be hitting your in-boxes momentarily. You can head on over to my Extra’s page to sign up for the newsletter. You’ll get the latest issue and a link to all of Raj’s story so you can catch up.

I’m working on balancing my new work schedule with my writing. So far, it’s been working on getting the kidlet and me up and out the door so I can catch my bus and not so much writing. That should keep improving. I don’t have kid drop-off duty on Thursdays and Fridays (and every other Monday morning), so there’s a chance I can get some real work done on the (almost named) book 3 later this week.

I’m feeling pretty positive that after a month or so, I’ll know what I’m doing enough at work to both do a wonderful job as an employee, but give Eleanor & Co. more mental energy. I’ve gotta tell you, though, this whole “getting up early” and “talking to adults” and “commutes longer than 30 seconds” is taking some getting used to. I’m settling into my corner office, though. (It really is a corner office. Kind of. In a windowless basement. At least it’s my very own office? I ordered a SAD lamp today.)

Happy reading, Raj fans! You can always let me know what you think either here, or on my Facebook page!

GIVEAWAY!

I am going to give my 666th Twitter follower a free copy of The Cardinal Gate, and everyone who retweets my contest tweet will be entered to win their very own free copy of The Waning Moon! LUCK!

 

Book Review: Light’s Shadow

Light’s Shadow is the third (and final?) book in the Copper Falls trilogy by Colleen Vanderlinden. I have been anxiously waiting for this once since I finished the second in the series. I knew I wouldn’t have long to wait, because Colleen is a magical writing machine! She publishes fantastic stories every day! (That is an exaggeration, of course. It’s more like once a week.) (I’m not actually sure how often, I just know that her prolificness leaves me in awe. I’m beginning to suspect that her “home school” is just a book sweatshop.) (KIDDING!)

Although I picked this up via my Kindle Unlimited subscription, I should disclose that Colleen is a friend (and my editor) and we are locked in a fierce contest to see which of us can kill the most characters. She did alright in this book, but she really could’ve done better. Too much saving!

Disclosure: I am writing this pre-coffee, so there will probably be more parentheticals than are legally allowed.

The Cover

That hair! That dress! Those bosoms!

 

The Blurb

Born of the Light. Corrupted by Shadow.

After spending her entire life as a servant of the Light, Sophie Turner no longer knows where she fits into a world in which she’s been forced to become the very thing she’s come to hate. She doesn’t know herself anymore, and can’t seem to reconcile her strong belief in the tenets of Light as Shadow magic flows through her body, seducing her, tempting her to do the very things she swore she’d never do.

At the same time, her relationship with Calder Turcotte, the man she’s loved for practically her entire life, is on shaky ground. The things she had to do to break his curse haunt them both, and there’s a distance between them now that she doesn’t know if they can ever bridge.

All of that is bad enough, but when the alpha of the Copper Falls wolf pack ends up dead, Calder finds himself under suspicion for his murder, and it becomes abundantly clear that the quiet life Sophie and Calder crave is further from their reach than ever.

And when an ancient enemy returns to make his final move against Sophie, finally fulfilling his mission, she’ll be forced to rely on the tenuous alliances she’s made, as well as the Shadow magic she detests and distrusts, to save everything that matters to her.

A story of eternal love, forgiveness, and strength, Light’s Shadow is the final book in the Copper Falls paranormal romance trilogy.

The Review

I love the cover – it’s nice to see a more…buxom…woman gracing our fantasy stories (and not just your fantasies, Steve). I also really like Sophie. She’s a realistic blend of soft and strong.

Don’t get me wrong, I like my no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners, wise-cracking, my-weaknesses-are-secret, kick-ass heroines as much as the next person, but Sophie has human weaknesses, and that makes her more realistic. (As realistic as a witch who can throw you out of windows with her brain can be, anyway.)

Her relationship with Calder builds along fits and starts of misunderstandings, deliberate (but necessary) heart-breaking deception, and temper tantrums. I get this. This (except for not being able to break trees with my mind) (and the deliberate but necessary heartbreak) is me (down to the fantastic tatas).

The story winds along at a very good pace, speeding along and then slowing down to let you catch your breath. Although I figured we were in a HEA situation (regardless of body count), there was nothing predictable about the path we took to get there.

There were some scenes that made me gasp out loud and shake my fist in a vaguely threatening manner. Things that pierced me to my soul. People had to make hard decisions and my heart broke more for those decisions than they did for Calder in the second book.

The Quotes

“I’ve never been insulted by someone quoting Emily Dickinson before. That’s new,” Sophie said, looking up at the gray clouds above.

“I try to bring a little class to my insults. Sometimes, anyway,” Esme said.

That delights me, because who doesn’t love an educated, snarky witch? (According to Giles, Emily Dickinson is a pretty good poet…for an American.)

She wasn’t perfect. He knew that. She could be cold and standoffish. She could say things sometimes, not realizing how much they hurt. And she had a bad habit of closing herself off from everyone exactly at those moments in which she needed them most.

To be honest, she sounds pretty damn perfect – at least according to that description. (Or does she sound like me? Out of my head, Vanderlinden!)

The Verdict

This book is a fantastic end to a fun and interesting trilogy, and you should go out and get it immediately. It’s on Amazon (and Kindle Unlimited), and I don’t think you’ll regret a thing. Solid 4.5 stars.

Here goes something…

I am at work. Probably. Unless I got lost and took the wrong bus and ended up in  Gresham or something.

That seems unlikely, but you never know with me. When I first moved to Portland, I would occasionally get on the wrong light rail line and not realize it until I was pretty far away from where I was trying to go.

Anyway, not the point.

I am starting a new job today. I’m a wee bit nervous. This is probably not surprising. Also not surprising? I wrote this Sunday night, because I wasn’t sure if I’d have time to blog today.

I went to the new place o’ work on Thursday and got my employee ID number, found the building in which I’ll work, and selected my office. Today, I’ll get my benefits information (oooooh! Health insurance!), my employee ID, and my transit pass (ooooh! Trimet annual pass!).

It’s weird starting a new job. I was with my last employer for 8.5 years. I was promoted twice and switched departments once, but I still knew what I was doing and where I was going.

I am unaccountably nervous about today. Last night, I prepped my coffee, made breakfast, packed a bag (including my special Doctor Who mug), made the Bean’s lunch, set my alarm, picked out my outfit (none of my work clothes fit. none. ZERO.), double-checked my alarm, had a very serious conversation with the Bean about the extra-special double importance of being a really good listener in the morning so that mama wouldn’t be late to her new job, triple-checked my alarm, laid out my jewelry, found my shoes, poured a beer, and quadruple-checked my alarm. (Which is funny, because I bet I didn’t sleep a wink last night.)

Stress makes my already less-than-spontaneous personality even less flexible. Starting a new job is not as stressful as wondering if I was going to have enough money to feed the Bean in early February, but it’s pretty damn stressful. And I need routine to survive stress.

I’m hoping that after a few days, I’ll feel a bit more comfortable–I know the work, just not the culture and specifics. I’ll develop a routine–both for my new job and for my writing/editing/working out.

It’s going to be hard at first, and I’m prepared for that. I know what I need to do to combat that.

  1. Sleep
  2. Self-care (saying no is good)
  3. Move (now that I have to leave the house most days, that should happen easily)
  4. Eat regularly. This does not mean I can eat a Kind bar every five hours and call it meals. Apparently. Or at least so I’ve been told.
  5. Read – I know that seems like an odd thing to add to my list, but when I get stressed, I stop reading much. I’m not sure why, but I will sit and play stupid games on my phone for hours, which just gives me a headache. I love reading, it’s stress-relieving, but apparently when I’m high-anxiety, I’ll do anything to avoid feeling better (including sleep, exercise, eating right, and reading).

So – I’m probably surviving, right? WHO KNOWS!? Not you. I could be lying in a ditch in Gresham, and you would think I was learning all about my different dental insurance options.

Cross your fingers that all is well with me…now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to finish up my future post and go check my alarm. Again.

Hmmm…maybe there’s one more thing I should add to the list. This is in the first-thing-in-the-morning slot now.

Three Things Thursday: Adjustments

  1. It’s officially official now. I have a job. With an offer letter. I passed the background check and I start on Monday! This is exciting for several reasons!
    • They are planning on paying me in dollars!
    • There is this fancy thing called “health insurance” that they have!
    • I will be contributing to society in a meaningful way but have to deal with 100% fewer surgeons!
  2. It’s at an institution that I respect doing a job that I both know how to do and feel is important-especially in an era where science is not as highly valued as it should be.This news means I need to readjust everything I’ve been doing. I’ve been doing 5-7 hours of writing or editing or marketing (including blogging and reading books to review on said blog). I’ve also been going to bed late and getting up late for months. This means I’ll have to get back to my schedule. My first instinct is to dive in, metaphorical balls to the wall, starting Monday. Up at 5 every day, in bed by 10:30. Realistically, I’ll probably have better luck (and fewer annoying-to-others-snooze-button-issues) if I ease in and get up 15 minutes earlier every day until I’m back to my regularly scheduled morning cheeriness.
  3. This will, in no way, impact the release date of The Waning Moon. That is still set for late June. It’s with my editor right now, the cover design is being finalized, and I will need to do revisions, proof-read, and write the final back-of-the-book copy. I can do that with zero trouble between now and June. What it might impact is the release date of book 3, since that is a heavy rewrite. It might also impact my prolific blogging schedule as I adjust to being away from my home computer for 47+ hours/week.

The takeaway here? Yay job!

Writerly Wednesday: What Am I Doing?

My book is with my editor, who is probably editing out all the deaths so she can win our super serious killing contest.

I am working on book three in the series. Funny story! I wrote Book 3 in 2014-2015. I wrote Book 4 in 2016. I have now decided that book the third needs to be split into two. So, I found my split point and am now rewriting book three to be long enough and murdery enough.

I’m three chapters into the rewrite, and have already killed two street urchins. (Do I get bonus points if I kill off kids? Or do I lose points if I don’t fatten them up and eat them?)

I’m hoping to get through the book this week and decide where it needs fattening up and get through the rewrite and second draft by the end of June so I can send it off to my beta readers in July and get started on the rewrite of the 4th book, which will be more significant.

At some point, I’d like to write something new. I’m working on Raj’s story (chapter two will go out with the newsletter next week!), but can’t write the next book in Eleanor’s series until I get back from Romania. I’ve been doing almost nothing but writing and rewriting and editing since December and I’m itching to start fresh with a blank page.

I think once I get The Waning Moon out the door, I’ll start on my 13th century Icelandic novel. I am so ready to do the research!

In the meantime, I just need to buckle down, put my nose to the grindstone, and other hard work clichés so I can ramp up both my productivity and my kill count.