A: Ah yes. Dius, the Culler. He has not been forgotten. And I know I say that a lot, but he will get his book. I love his character and he needs his Happily Ever After. And, once I get his book outta the way, that means I can unleash Seph and Zver from Thanemonger. (They’ve got unfinished business to attend to…)
Any more questions? Please feel free to ask them on this post.
I’ve got my cover designer and editor booked for my upcoming projects. So I thought I’d share the good news with all of you!
BY A HARE (Slow & Steady, book 1) – May 23rd
(World Turtle Day!)
THE VELVETEEN TORTOISE (Slow & Steady, book 2) – June 16th
(World Sea Turtle Day!)
A PLANET OF ORCS AND ORACLES (Planet Orc, book 1) – October; maybe the 14th?
(For, um, Orc-tober Valentine’s Day???)
I hope to have pre-order links available for By a Hare and The Velveteen Tortoise by early April. A pre-order for A Planet of Orcs and Oracles will happen late summer. (Fingers crossed!!)
This pretty much fills up my 2022. I’m not a fast writer, so getting BAH and TVT published back-to-back is only possible because I wrote those books in 2020 and 2021. However, I am working on publishing more consistently. My plan is to spend the time between releases writing my 2023 books.
What will those books be? Good question. I kinda know yet don’t know.
If you’ve seen the Facebook post floating around regarding women with ADHD that describes me to a “tee”.
Since I started publishing in 2018, my diagnosis has impacted my productivity and mood. What I’ve come to realize is that I can’t force a book. When I couldn’t write Bane in 2018, I wrote Sarda and Frenetic (an unpublished MS that will probably remain unpubbed). When I tried to tackle Bane again in 2019, I revised and released Rein. After that, I buckled down, wrote Bane, and proceeded to have the worst summer of my adult life. All I did for seven-solid-weeks was Bane.
No one in my family got a summer tan.
Only took the kids to the pool twice.
I gained a lot of weight. Like, a lot.
My mental health suffered.
Then, some how, I managed to bang out The Ugly Dukeling in August and September like it was no big deal.
I dunno. I really don’t.
2020 came. I tried to write Culler and….wrote a free serial about alien tortoises instead.
In 2021, I said ‘Dammit! Culler is getting done!’ Then spent the year writing another alien tortoise serial.
In the beginning of 2022, I said ‘E-FREAKING-NOUGH! I’m writing Culler!’ and ended up plotting Let Down Your Hare (Slow & Steady, book 3), started plotting the entire Planet Orc series, and have begun jotting down ideas for two more Dukeling books.
So, yeah. ADHD. Plus mood dysregulation disorder. And yes, that is another term for bipolar. Wee!
A few weeks ago, it all kinda hit me. Why in the heck am I fighting myself? Just embrace this scattered-ness, Bex!
If I wanna write about alien tortoises on Monday, I’ve got a crap-ton to write about. Orcs in space? Yep. Got myself covered there as well. A bloodthirsty, insanely loyal alien family comprised of nobility and outlaws? Culler’s been waiting for me to get back to him and Seph’s still worried sick about her son.
What I can say is that — barring something totally unexpected — the first two Slow & Steady books will publish in May and June. If my output is steady, I’ll have my draft of Orcs & Oracles done by the end of summer and then will spend the fall and winter on…
Well, anything I want to write.
So, if you’ve got questions for me, feel free to ask.
My impulsivity strikes again! This is a longer excerpt. I had a good writing day. (Go me!)
I’m still not ready to reveal what I’m working on. I’ve got about 30% of the story plotted. I even have the ending! It’s just that sticky middle that I want to sort out before saying anything.
So, here you go. I give you the ending of the Meet Cute/Well Met.
In this very moment, my responsibility is to my missing sister and my niece, who’s been left in my care.
And I am failing.
Frustrated that I’ve been so easily distracted, I place a protective hand over the babe strapped to my chest and snarl at the strange female. “Declare yourself.”
“Declare?” The female’s brow wrinkles in confusion, then immediately rises as if she’s gained enlightenment. Which, based on the intellect she’s demonstrated thus far, I doubt is possible. “Oh! I’m Luce.”
That tells me nothing. Is that her given name? Her clan? The collective name of all her people?
She smiles brightly, revealing her blunt and tuskless teeth, and gestures to me. “Declare who you are.”
“I’m Tanaros, Chieftain of Clan Rynnakko.”
“Neat.” Then she jerks, as if startled, and winks at me. “I mean, well met, good sir.”
Fuck me. There’s too much distracting gibberish in her speech. Perfectly understandable words are being twisted and butchered by her nonsensical babble. She’s speaking Ynglis, yet not.
I grumble in frustration.
She nods at me and her face turns sympathetic. At least there is that bit of good fortune. Her facial expressions are easily decipherable.
In fact, between her constant grinning–which does nothing but reveal how defenseless she is–as well as her open expressions, she’s exceedingly vulnerable yet, at the same time, incredibly enticing.
I want her.
She points at me. “Phrasing is our common enemy.”
I jerk to attention and whip my head around the cave. We’re still alone. For now.
“See?” The female–Luce–gestures all around us. “This is what I’m talking about. We’ve got to stop using slang and actually speak properly.” She drops her arms and her shoulders slump. “It’s gonna suck.” Then she gives me a small smile; the tiniest one she’s yet to give me. It almost appears apologetic. “Speaking will be difficult.”
I note the change in her tone. It’s now nasally and irritatingly conceited. I don’t like it.
I also don’t like that I’ve gained no information from her at all. Time is running out before Wyrd or any number of Derk come after us.
I’d rather face a squad of Derk than Wyrd.
Snarling, I advance on her. “Tell me from whence you came, the whereabouts of my kith, and by what treachery do you possess her babe?”
“Whoa!” Luce holds up her hands–palms facing me–before making some sort of hand signal. “Time out.”
“Time? Out?” Is she hexing me?
She has the fingertips of one hand pressed into the flatten palm of the other.
That looks like a hex.
“I mean,” she says in rush and then sighs, as if to clear her lungs. “Let us speak to one another again. Please ask your questions once more.”
There it is again. That nasally tone…
I point at her. “From whence–“
“Nope.” She frowns and shakes her head. “Try again, Tee.”
I grind my jaw as I try to pull my ill-used Ynglis from the depths of my memory. “How come you here?”
“Yay!” She’s clapping at me like I’m a wee kullet. “I understood you! I came from the portal. Oh and that?” She points behind her. “That’s a slide.”
I track her finger to the dark exit of the chute we’ve just traveled. “That’s a chute.”
“It is not.” She’s staring at the chute as if she’s offended that it’s not the ‘slide’ that she wants it to be. “Well, maybe it can be both.”
She shrugs. “Why not?”
For reasons. Such as, I’m right. It’s a chute.
But instead of saying all that, I ask, “What’s a portal?”
She looks at me like I’m daft.
“The water back up there.” She points over her head.
Her directional instincts are pathetic. We’re nowhere near the Derks’ central chamber.
“I mean,” she huffs as she flings an arm up, gesturing toward my niece, “you saw me get sucked out along with–“
She stops. With a serious look, she tilts her head to the side. Her wet coils of hair pile onto her shoulder. She thinking about something.
She hums and then nods, as if some great conundrum has been solved. “I’m gonna call her Baby Mona.”
“So, you saw me get sucked outta the water along with Baby Mona. You were there, right?” She narrows her eyes at me, her ‘thinking look’ back on her face. “Maybe you weren’t. I’m just assuming that you were. ‘Cause there were a ton of massively huge guys standing around up there.” Her gaze grows heavy and her voice becomes raspy. “And they all had these sweaty chests and were using their big hands to hold those big axes and…”
“Luce.” I call her back to the moment.
A moment that is just me and her and…Babe Mona. Not a moment crowded with rival males from other clans.
Or rival males from my own clan.
But still. She needs to focus.
“Luce,” I say again.
She blinks and looks at me. “Tee?”
That’s worse than my sister calling me Tanny. “Tanaros.”
I suck in a breath and growl lowly. She’d uttered that insult so carelessly…
I know that she’s not of The Clans. Yet, how does she know this? That I am Unblessed?
Snarling, I grab her chin and tilt her face up, forcing her eye-to-eye with me. I want her to watch the chains that bind my restraint snap. To see my fury raging toward her, like a starved beast desperate to consume her.
I pull each word from the fire in my belly. “Who. Are. You?”
She meets my glare, which is admirable. But ultimately foolish if she doesn’t answer me. I’m not a male of infinite patience when my kith are in danger.
“Do not–” She falters, unable to speak past my hold.
I ease my grip the slightest bit. After all, I do want an answer. “Continue.”
“Don’t. Drop. Baby. Mona.”
With my other hand, I press my tiny niece closer to my chest. “Why would–uff!“
Luce. She’s kicked me, and…
… my bollocks have been punted up into my eye sockets.
I drop her and, as I fall to my knees, use both hands to cradle my niece to my chest. My vision blurs as an awful pain slices through me.
“Seriously!” Luce hollers over her shoulder as she races away, darting down a dimly lit tunnel. “Don’t drop her, you fucking asshole!”
We’re now a few days past the midpoint of November, and I’m pretty sure that I’m not gonna ‘win’ NaNoWriMo this year.
But that’s okay.
I’m about 25% through my goal, which means I have half of my crappy-first-draft/outlining done. This plotting-drafting part of my writing process both excites and frustrates me. So many ideas hit me so quickly that I scramble to get them all on my spark sheet. Some of these early sparks get edited out as I go. Some are sparkingly gems of spot-on character interaction. The sparkly bits really conflict me, because I want to share them sooo badly, but it’s a draft. I really should wait until it’s all polished and published. Right?
Whelp, in this case, I’m not gonna wait. I’m having a blast with Joia and Ryorin. So, enjoy!
[Ryorin admiring Jo’s shrewd and deliberate, yet subtle, machinations…]
Joia: You’re calling me sneaky, Pompous.
Ryorin: I am listing all the attributes that make you The Ruthlessly Cunning.
Joia (arches brow): Right.
Ryorin: Truly. You’ve many admirable qualities.
Joia: That you’ve characterized as ‘ruthless’.
Ryorin (nods): Impressively so.
Joia (glares at him because that is not a compliment):…
*A few things. Right now I’m just a fly on the wall, so I’ve got no idea whose the point-of-view character for this scene. Also, I have zero idea if this will make the final draft. But it’s always fun to lock Jo and Ryorin into a room and watch the sparks fly.💛
Ryorin: You’re one of The Restrained’s bestest friends. (Cringes to say so aloud.) How has the male cured himself of his unrelenting idiocy?
Gary (pissed): What?
Ryorin: The male is marginally less of an imbecile than he used to be.
Gary (glaring): The only change in Pyx is that he’s happy as hell with Luna.
Ryorin (internal): But that doesn’t explain it. Because idiots are delusional, thus deliriously happy, individuals. That’s the trademark of being an idiot. The lucky little shits, to willfully be so joyous despite their true circumstances…
“Hey now,” Jo said, her tone kind, but firm. “Not here, Rez. Come on.”
Docile as a bunny, Rez let Jo turn her to usher her from the room.
Ryorin was blocking the threshold.
Like a crack of lightning, the atmosphere in the room shifted.
Joia made a low, disgusted sound in the back of her throat as Pyxis released a thunderous growl.
Ryorin, who had his flat gaze pinned on Jo, shifted his focus over Rez’s shoulder. Rez caught it as well, Pyx was lunging—
“Hoy, Fanboy!” Joia snapped, keeping her eyes on Ryorin. “Quit it.”
Pyx jerked to a stop, which only increased the tension.
Sure, he’d listened to Jo and had backed off, but his nostrils were fuming as his feral growls rumbled at an ultra low decibel. His shoulders had bulked up as well—his muscles priming for battle as they clicked his back carapace plates into place. And as he paced in the tiny space—pivoting after two stunted steps—his furious glare never shifted from Ryorin.
It was all pretty terrifying. In less than a second, Pyx had shed his puppy-ness and burst forth as a hellhound.
Rez was emotionally drained and teetering on another mental drop, but even she knew. Now was not the time to fuck with Pyx.
Apparently, Ryorin didn’t agree.
She watched him flick his gaze from Pyx back to her and Jo. Assessing.
For all the—
Was he actually thinking about taking Pyx on despite his rabid state?
“Don’t even think about it,” Rez snarled.
Jo followed fast on her heels, backing her up with the same ferocious protectiveness. “You do not wanna cross that line, Pompous.”
Ryorin snapped his gaze to Jo, his brow dipping. He opened his mouth, hesitated, then huffed out a dismissive scoff. “I have no quarrel with Pyxis the Restrained.” Then the smug ass just had to add, “At the moment.”
In unison, she and Jo exchanged beleaguered eye rolls.
“And when I do choose to quarrel,” Ryorin snipped, his chest puffing up. “I’m always victorious.”
“Whatever.” Jo jabbed her thumb over her shoulder, pointing at Pyx. “Fanboy checks all the Badass Boxes. Reconnaissance. Extraction. Assault artillery.”
“He kinda makes like a whole army.” Rez tossed in with a ‘you’re screwed’ shrug.
Ryorin scoffed. “Without a commanding officer?”
“Who needs one of those?” Rez shot back.
He squinted his eyes and said flatly, “An army. An army needs one of the those.”
Hell, she’d rather be dealing with Kin’s sucky mom than this shitbag. Ryorin was just so…jack-ass-holelistic…
“You got two seconds, Pompous,” Jo said, again using her thumb, pointing to Pyx over her shoulder, “before I let Fanboy off the leash.”
Ryorin heaved, then pressed his lips into a firm line.
“One,” Jo snapped.
“I’m here to parlay,” Ryorin gritted out.
“Like hell you are. Emys and Kin aren’t here.” Jo scoffed, sounding amused. “And I know Fanboy ain’t in no mood to talk.”
Rez blinked. She had no idea what those two were talking about. And it was obvious that Jo and Ryorin were picking up some past conversation that she’d missed.
Ryorin shifted, turning more toward Jo. “I’m here to parlay—”
Jo cut him off. “Repeating it ain’t gonna make it true—”
“With you!” Ryorin snapped his mouth shut, as if his harsh tone had surprised him as well.
Jo shoved Ryorin, whose eyes shot wide open as he backpedaled out of the room.
No. Jo didn’t have super strength. Just limited bursts of speed paired with limitless intelligence.
Ryorin had backed himself outta the way because—based on his stunned expression—the conceited clown must have thought himself untouchable.
Rez stumbled after Jo. One hand held her towel closed while Jo firmly grasped the other and pulled her forward.
As Jo stormed past Ryorin, Rez caught the look on his face. Flabbergasted. Amazed. Then, either unaware that Rez was looking or not giving a shit, his lips curled. She knew that smile.
Well, that wouldn’t end well for him.
And Jo—as if proving Rez’s point—called over her shoulder. “Stay with Baby Bunny, Fanboy. Let me know if Pompous gives you any shit.”
Yeah. Ryorin might as well flay himself now and get it over with on his own terms…