Category Archives: Releases

Harbingers Ebook Now Available!

Harbingers, the highly anticipated sequel to Blood’s Force, is now available in ebook format! :D

You can find it at:

I’m still working on the paperback. It takes a lot longer to get the layout and cover just right, order and approve proofs, and so on. I’ll let you know when it’s available.

Also, FWIW, I’ve been trying for over a year to get into Google Play, but they’re still not accepting new signups. I’ll keep checking back!

Harbingers Cover Reveal And Progress Report


You guys! Sword and Starship Book 2: Harbingers is making progress toward being a thing you can read! :D

This beautiful cover, just like the last one, was done for me by Chris Howard. Here’s the full-wrap version that will be used to make the paperback cover:


And here’s the current draft of the back cover blurb, something I’ll  continue to chisel at right up until publication:

The Quest Continues To Stop A Killer “Curse!”

Dame Jessamine is a woman of science in a galaxy rife with superstition. The knight errant with a spaceship for a steed continues her mission for truth within the barony of Nidaros!

A mysterious crop-withering blight spreads through the barony’s soil. The court magicians have blamed two siblings of spawning the crisis through witchcraft. Convinced of their innocence, Jessamine has rescued and now secretly harbors Verahl Naustvik aboard her spaceship. Meanwhile, his sister Thordia flees to the Harbinger, a crashed space station from the distant and more enlightened past.

Approaching the Harbinger is an act punishable by death, but Jessamine won’t let that stand in the way of a second rescue. Thordia, and the Harbinger’s surviving technological secrets, may be Nidaros’ only hope against the blight. Jessamine prepares to embark—only to be betrayed and set upon by vengeful court magicians.

Now, one wrong word or gesture will lead to deadly charges of witchcraft. Jessamine must protect the Naustviks and brave the Harbinger, all while striking a balance between ritual and reason. If she can’t maintain the peace long enough to discover a cure for the blight, the entire barony will starve—unless its far-off masters decide to “restore order” with military action first!

The book is still a draft right now, but it’s a complete draft of about 136K words, which is 50% longer than the final draft of Blood’s Force. Yeah, a lot happens in this one!

As of this week, I’ve submitted the draft to my editor. In the next few weeks and months, she’ll do her final read-through and provide comments for improvement. I’ll then need a couple of months to make one or two more editing passes on my own, both for incorporating her comments and applying some spit-polish. Once that’s done, I’ll be ready to publish! My goal is to finish before the end of 2016, but that’s not a hard deadline. If it takes a little longer to put forth the best version of the book possible, then so be it.

I’ll continue to keep you posted as things happen! Trust me, I’m as excited for this release as you are! :)

2015 Goal Review, And New Goals For 2016


Let’s pretend it’s not February already, you guys. Let’s pretend this is completely timely and topical. Last year, I posted a list of my goals for 2015. Let’s see how well I actually did!

* The novel, duh.

“The novel,” Blood’s Force, did indeed become a thing by the end of the year. Hooray!! :D It’s available in 2 formats and 4 platforms. In the process of getting it ready for prime-time, I learned a lot about my strengths and weaknesses in writing. I also learned a lot about ebook and paperback creation, which will help me on the next go-round.

* A promotional, free-to-read short story that takes place before the events of Blood’s Force.

This is not on my plate anymore! I’ve learned, after several tries, that there’s just no way I can do the Sword and Starship universe justice within a short story. The ideas I had all quickly ballooned to novella length, 20K to 40K words as opposed to the 10K or under I’d been hoping for. At that length and degree of effort, I’d be taking serious time away from novel-writing, and it’d be harder to justify giving the end result away for free. So, no prequel—at least not right now—because I’d rather get the next novel done as soon as possible!

* At least 1 more short story for Retiring The Gods, hopefully 2.

I’ve got 2 drafted that I’m hoping to release in another month or so. If you don’t have a copy of this series yet, go get one! It’s free! :)

* Start outlining and drafting the next Sword and Starship book. In the process, pick up skills and tricks to make eventual ebook conversion easier.

This was before I knew I’d be splitting my original manuscript into two parts. So I’m already editing and revising the second book, called Harbingers. I intend for there to be a third book, but that’s well off my radar at this point (though I do have some ideas of how to structure it).

As for making ebook conversion easier, I’m experimenting with some tricks. If they do indeed help streamline the HTML conversion process, there’ll be a blog post on that later.

* Keep writing monthly articles and screening submissions for The Daily WTF.

Yep, kept up with this as well, and earned a promotion to Editor, so I’m also supervising some of the other writers. My income went up a little bit in the process, which I can’t complain about!

* Keep up with weekly blogging.

Admittedly, I’ve been worse about this. When I got close to publishing Blood’s Force, it fell by the wayside, and I’ve found all kinds of reasons to keep putting it off since. Part of it is that I’m not sure what I want to blog about. I’ve done about all the writing advice I’ve got in me. I think in the future, I’ll focus more on what’s on my plate or on my mind, and also give the occasional update on where I stand as a self-employed person.

* Continue improving my blog and website as much as I can.

This remains a continuous process. Why, just this past week, I spent several hours fighting to fix CSS changes that WordPress pushed on me without notice or consent. If you happened to witness my blog turn black and green for a little while? Yeah. Thanks, WordPress! Gotta keep those mad skillz fresh somehow, I suppose! :D

* Keep up with other interests- which is hard when I’m trying to cram so much writing in.

YES. Yes it is. I still struggle with this, and with knowing whether I even really want to do all that other stuff anymore. Part of me does, but whenever I have time, I too often think Eh … I should really clean up around here, or something like that.

* Think about travel. If not going somewhere, at least plan something for 2016.

My husband and I went to breathtaking London in December! :D

OK, so not bad overall! I’m really happy with what I managed to accomplish in 2015, and I’m hoping 2016 will prove similarly productive. Without further ado, here are my Goals for 2016:

* Finish and publish Harbingers.

This is THE BIG ONE. I’m not sure whether I’ll actually get it done this year, but it’s what I’m putting my full-time energy toward.

* Release 2 new Retiring The Gods stories, draft 1 or 2 more.

I’m planning for the release to take place in a month or two here. I’ll send out the update through my mailing list, so if you’re not already on-board, click here to sign up!

* Keep writing features and editing at The Daily WTF.

There may be additional WTF projects in the pipeline this year, and I may be helping out with them. We’ll see!

* Find new kitties. Maybe.

I can’t believe it’s been 6 months since my cats passed away. Even now, sometimes the pain is just as sharp as the week it happened. There are still, still, parts of my house I haven’t cleaned because they were the last places my boy Rochester camped out. If you know how much of a neat-freak I am, you know how insane this is.

I’m having a hard time moving on, but at the same time, I miss having floofs to cuddle. I’m slowly opening to the idea of another pair of cats, once we’re done taking care of a few things around the house that go much better without cats. Replacing all our carpet, for instance.

* Find a real-life girlfriend.

This is a task my therapist has given me. I’ve never had super-close female friends as an adult, and have trouble even fathoming such a thing, but I’m playing along for now. Hilariously, the search has all the ups and downs of dating … which makes me think that giving less of a damn will aid me over the long run. Seriously, I never had luck finding men who were interested in dating me until I said “Screw it, I’m done looking and I don’t care anymore.”

* Figure out what The Deal is with the hobbies I’m having trouble following.

Is it time for us to part ways? Or am I just not being disciplined enough?

* Blog regularly enough for what it is I want to be blogging about.

Again, think I’ve built up my treasure trove of writing advice pretty well. Hopefully it’s helpful to someone. I hope to move forward with more stuff about me, my work/progress, and my books.

That’s all for now. Best of luck with all your 2016 goals! :D

Blood’s Force Is Here!


I can hardly believe it, but Blood’s Force is done! And published! :D I’ve accomplished what I set out to do when I quit my job back in 2014, and I can’t wait to keep going with more books.

As the series name (Sword and Starship) implies, the novel is a genre-bender featuring knights running around from planet to planet in search of quests and adventure. The original spark of the premise came to me in 2006. I started a short story with it, but it went nowhere. In 2009, I picked up the same main character and fleshed out a different plot idea—for a novel, as opposed to a short story.

Cue several years of clueless drafting, re-drafting, scrapping, and tire-spinning, as I had no idea how to actually construct a novel. Still, I got a draft done. Then, thankfully, RJ Blain came along to tell me I’d really just written a big short story, and needed to flesh things out further.

So here we are at last! With all that out-fleshing, I now have a complete book and a draft for the second in the wings. It’s really nice to have cleared the novel “hurdle,” so to speak, and I’m looking forward to getting back to writing once I’ve completed my last publishing goal: getting Blood’s Force into paperback.

Right now, it’s in ebook format at Amazon, Kobo, and Nook (Barnes & Noble). If you read it and leave an honest review, you’ll help me stay in the book-writing business. And I’ll be much obliged! :)

Blood’s Force: The Quest On The Horizon

bloodsforcecover(Cover art by Chris Howard)

I can hardly believe it! I’ve balled up the manuscript for Blood’s Force, the first of the Sword and Starship books, to hand to my editor, RJ Blain.

I’ve been performing my own editing and rewriting pass, with significant feedback from my spouse, since February. In that time, Dame Jessamine’s quest has undergone drastic improvement. The manuscript lost a few thousand words, gained them back, and lost them again: 88,000 words across 22 chapters at the moment.

September marks the beginning of the second major editing pass! After I’ve acted on RJ’s feedback, I’ll perform an additional “sanity” pass or two- actually printing out the whole darn thing at least once- before declaring the manuscript ready for publishing. Given this is my first novel, and I’ve yet to experience the full spectrum of quirks regarding ebook generation and uploading to vendors, I don’t want to commit to a solid release date. I still hope to publish the ebook by late 2014, or early 2015. A paperback version may take longer, but is also something I intend to do via Amazon’s CreateSpace service.

Join the quest- read this book for FREE! Click here and provide your email address. I’ll give you an advance review copy of the ebook once it’s ready!

In the sliver of time between now and September, I’ve been tackling a few side projects:

  • A short story (I’m targeting 6-8,000 words) to introduce the Sword and Starship universe. Blood’s Force editing takes precedence, so there’s no ETA for this story. Whenever it’s ready, I’ll make it available for free.
  • Retooling the CSS and HTML for my main website. It looks prettier, and uses HTML5! That may not mean much to you, but I can’t describe how awesome it is to start over with files that aren’t cluttered with seventeen custom DIV classes. My next order of business is to make the site friendlier for small screens- although early feedback indicates the site looks good as-is on some mobile devices.
  • Studying up on the kind of front- and backmatter an ebook novel should have, and where. For instance, a table of contents at the front seems obvious, right? Well, many ebook makers throw the TOC at the end, so that the book sample Amazon, B&N, etc. shows the customer has more actual story in it.
  • Learning how to write good marketing copy and blurbs. This is so outside my skillset, but critical to get right! I’ll be working at it for years to come, I’m sure.

That’s where I stand currently. I hope you’re as glad to hear about this milestone as I am to reach it!

Any words of advice or encouragement? Feel free to drop me a line in the comments!

In Perpetuity: Free Download

ipcover_cropAstronaut drawing by Mark Bowytz – Cover design by Ellis Morning

My short story In Perpetuity– originally published in the May 2014 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact– is now available for free!  Choose your format below:

In Perpetuity represents several thrilling firsts: my first attempt at hard science-fiction, my first published short story, and my first serious effort at compiling ebooks.  (And I thought website/browser compatibility was tricky!)

The story began as one of many unfinished projects from my college days.  In 7 years, its skeleton migrated across 2 state lines, 8 domiciles, and 3 PCs.  One day, I rediscovered it and gave it a skim.  You know what?  This one has promise.  I should really complete it.

I took the finished draft to the wonderful Pittsburgh Writers’ Group for feedback.  One of the comments: “Excellent. Get it published.”  So I did.

Shopping a short story to a publisher requires patience and professionalism, but the effort pays in more ways than one.  I could actually walk into a bookstore and find my work “in the wild,” which for me was more exciting than the paycheck (but I’m totally not dissing the paycheck here).


I hope to do more short stories in the same universe as In Perpetuity, but at the moment, my work on Sword and Starship takes precedence.  I’m about 2/3 of the way through my first editing pass with Blood’s Force, and I’m learning a lot about the reality of editing a large work as I go.  Still on track for my targeted release date.  I’ll probably have an even clearer idea by the end of September.

Hope you enjoy the story!  If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment or email me.  I’d love to hear from you!