Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Any Questions?


I would usually put a post like this up at Outside the Box, but since I do have followers at The Writing Spectacle who don't follow here, I'm putting it there yesterday and here today.   If you've already read it / commented on it there, you can ignore this.  Unless you have further ideas, then have at it.

You see, I'm working on the final book in the Once Upon a Djinn series.  And I want to wrap everything up, if I can.  (Not that I'll never write another genie book, but I want all the questions from books 1-3 answered in #4 so readers can leave feeling satisfied.)  To that end, I was wondering what burning questions readers would like to see answered in this final book.

Now, yes, the book is already written.  All the way through.  And I finished the first edit pass last night.  But I might've missed something.  I don't think I did, but there's always the chance I'm wrong.  This is your chance to tell me what you're dying to know.

Yep, there's always still a chance I won't have wrapped something up to your satisfaction.  Them's the chances we take when we read a book, don't ya know.  But I'm trying.

To help, here are a few things I know for certain I have addressed...

- Zeke's disappearance in book 3.
- the cliffhanger at the end of book 3.
- the mysterious glimpse Jo was given into the future in book 2.
- the ultimatum the other supernaturals gave Jo in book 3.
- what happens with Reggie?
- the disappearance of Hans

Anything else?  I'm sure whatever we don't catch now, JC will catch when she gets her hands on WHTF.  But I want to know what you're thinking.

If you have any non-genie related questions, you can ask them now, too, if you want to.  I'll answer what I can.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Robbery in the Back of Beyond

I was out and about in the world yesterday... Okay, I was out fishing... when I stopped at my favorite bait shop.  It's a little place in the middle of nowhere, near the entrance to a state park.  The two gals that work there are nice, salt of the earth people.  And I chat with them when I'm there. 

The older of the two ladies was working.  And we happened to get on the topic of crime. 

You see, I had picked up a box of worms ($3) and a beverage.  I asked her if the beverage was under $2 because I only had a five with me.  After she assured me I was fine, I explained that I never carry more than my driver's license and a little cash because I don't feel safe leaving my purse in the car while I'm fishing.  She nodded her head and told me she understood because her home had recently been broken into.

In a tiny town in the back of beyond, her home where she'd lived for 30 years without ever worrying about locking her doors had been robbed.

The thieves didn't get much.  She doesn't have much.  She works in a goddamn bait store for petesakes.  They took mostly things she wasn't attached to - which she will still have to pay money to replace - and a few items that were irreplaceable.  Heirlooms.  Memories.  The ring her husband, who had since passed on, purchased for her 50 years ago.  An item that had been her grandmother's.  (She's easily in her 70s, so you can imagine how old that was.)  A dish full of candy that she keeps on a counter for when her grandchildren visit. 

I'd say it was a sign of the times, and perhaps it is, but my family's home was broken into back in 1976.  We lived in the middle of nowhere, too.  Farther away from other people than my acquaintance here.  And of all the things those assholes back then took, the things I think my mother misses most are the heirlooms. 

I think the impetus was the same in either case - things the thieves could turn into money for drugs.  Little things.  Unimportant items in the scheme of things.  But extremely important things to the individuals who owned them. 

Now, I do know some people who insist that if drugs were legalized, crimes of this nature would cease.  I don't agree.  Whether the drugs cost $100 or $20, the people doing the drugs would still need money to pay for them, and since doing drugs leads to an inability to do quality, dependable work, which leads to unemployment, then the drug users would still need to steal to fund their habit.  :shrug:

I don't know.  I know this incident makes me sad.  She's a lovely person, minding her own business, and working to supplement whatever income she has (I assume).  And these silly, stupid motherfuckers break into her house to take her belongings.  

On the upside, she relayed the whole story to me without an ounce of feeling sorry for herself and without the rage I know I'd be feeling.  Like I said, she's a nice person.  I'd be ranting to anyone who would listen.  I'd want blood. 

I left, wishing her luck in the apprehension of the robbers and offering a hope that she gets her stuff back.  We both knew that's unlikely.  They never caught the people who robbed us back in 1976.  The police here aren't any better or worse than those back then, but the obstacles are the same.  Petty crime, small items...

And I came home glad I live here instead of there - even if it's only a few miles difference.  Oh, I know it could easily happen here.  Which is why we lock our doors even when we're home, even if we're just going into the back yard.  Always.  Sad that we have to do that because other people can't keep their hands to themselves.  =o\


Friday, June 23, 2017

And Other Stuff

I said I'd post the new cover of In Deep Wish when I got it, and I did - just not here yet.  So here it is...
It looks even better when you see them all together:


(Yes, it's off center.  That's because it the banner for my Once Upon a Djinn page on FB.)

If you like what you see and you're in the market for a cover artist, those are by the most wonderful Jessica Allain of Enchanted Whispers.  I can't wait to see the next one, which will be red and that's all I can tell you about that right now.

In further news, I got a note from my editor yesterday saying she wouldn't be able to get to Wish Hits the Fan until July 10th because she's in the middle of edits for another customer. Yay for her!  She rocks as an editor and I'm totally excited she's getting more business.  And a little Yay for me, too.  Now I have 10 more days to get this sucker into a less craptastic state.  Still looking at a September launch date. 

Which made me almost laze out last night, but I slapped myself around and edited another 15 pages.  I'll still have this pass done by the end of the weekend.  And I'll use the extra time for polishing, so it's as clean as I can make it before JC gets it. 

And that's it for me.  For now. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Further News and Excitement

I told y'all I contacted my cover artist on Monday.  She contacted me back and she's available.  Already she's sent me a new print cover for In Deep Wish to approve.  Bing bang boom.  (But I'm not sharing it yet.  It's approved but I'm waiting on the ebook jpeg.)

We've also been back and forth discussing ideas for the WHTF cover.  If it turns out anything like what I have in my head, it'll be awesome.  Obviously, not sharing any of that yet either.

Umm, yeah... I'm a teaser.  I'm just so excited I can't NOT talk about it. 

It feels good to be excited about this again.  After months of anti-excited about anything writerly, I'm actually sitting down and working every day.  I'm still not burning up the road, but I'm motoring along.  As of last night, I've edited through pg 109. 

And I'm excited about what I'm reading as I edit.  It's good stuff, folks, if I do say so myself.  Not perfect stuff.  JC stills needs to get her awesome little hands on it and make me make it better.  But I feel good about it now. 

I'm excited.

To that end, I hope this will help all y'all get excited about it, too...



Wish Hits the Fan
Chapter One

What in the name of Uncle Hank is it now?
Just when I thought I could maybe sorta kinda take a freakin’ break, Trygvyr was requesting my presence at the back of the warehouse.  I gazed around the place as if seeing it for the first time.  Not much more than an hour had passed since my allies had come in and kicked Efreet ass.  While they were doing that, I was battling my own father for familial fun.  They’d won.  I’d won.  It was over.
I gave myself a good chuckle over that one and then motioned toward the damaged girl genie who’d been sent to fetch me.  It wouldn’t be over until I was taking the big dirt nap.  And being a djinn meant there were few things that could put me six feet under.
As Raye guided me toward the growing kerfluffle, I could tell we were headed for the cages I’d seen when I entered only a few short hours before.  I’d snuck inside to save my friends from the Efreet, so it wasn’t like I had a boatload of time to check out the contents of those cages.  In fact, I’d forgotten clean about them. 
Until Raye rushed up claiming some sort of things had been found back there.  Maybe if I hadn’t been transformed into a mouse at the time, I would’ve sensed what those cages held.  I guess what Robert Burns wrote was true, the best laid plans of mice really do often go awry in some way or another. 
I mean, the original mouse plan had worked.  It got me inside undetected by everyone but my former dog.  Then we had defeated the Efreet.  And my friends were freed.  And I’d kept Zeke from going over to the shady side of the street, even if he did end up turning human in the process.  Plus, my dog was back to being my tall, blond Viking friend, Trygvyr, again. 
Now?  The after-victory party was iffy.  Some of the people we’d saved were pissed.  The biggest, baddest of the baddies had gotten away.  And something freaktastic was awaiting me in the dim recesses of the expanse strung all over with medieval cages designed to hold even the strongest magical beings.  After all I’d been through, I really would’ve preferred a nice, long nap somewhere warm and comfortable.  Instead, I had more bullshit to deal with.
I pushed past Renee after we reached the cages where my lawyer, Michael, and Hans the bodyguard had been held prisoner by the Efreet menace.  Across from those was the one imprisoning my receptionist, Renee, while the evil bastards had visited unimaginable horrors upon her.  She’d been pretty bad off, but she’d recovered well.  That she had retained her sanity was a miracle, but I could sense the scars she bore.  Not for the first time, I wished we still an our in-house therapist.  Even that traitor Mena would’ve been better than no one at all to help my friend through this. 
The sounds of Raye’s footsteps behind me reminded me that maybe no therapy would’ve been better for her than the half-ass shit Mena had done.  When I’d discovered Raye amongst the refugees from Mayweather Antiquities the night Amun attacked my home, she’d been wrecked at the abusive hands of her Master.  The amount of time she’d spent at our facilities without any progress in her welfare should’ve been a big clue for me about Mena, but finding out she was a traitor had been a slap in the face.  How many people had paid for my ignorance, I had no idea.  How many more would pay remained to be seen.
Either way, it sucked.
I stopped abruptly.  I could hear Raye bring up the rear, but while I was lost in thought, I’d lost track of the sounds in front of me.  Silence may be golden in some cases, but right then it scared the shit out of me.
“Which way?” I asked the girl.
She pointed as she stopped beside me. 
“Lead on, McDuff.”
“Lay.  It’s ‘lay on, McDuff’.”
“I don’t care if it’s ‘lay off the McDonalds’.  You go, I’ll follow.”
She blushed and then took the lead again, this time at a slower pace than I wanted, but I had to deal with it.  The poor girl paused and cringed at a cage I remembered well.  It smelled of water and death.  Natalia, the Rusalka, had been imprisoned inside for longer than I wanted to imagine.  Now, she was off somewhere giving some of her own back to one Efreet in particular.  As horrible as they’d been, I didn’t want to think about what her gentle ministrations would entail. 
Well, maybe a little.  Payback is hell, or so they say.
When Raye stopped again, I knew we’d reached the place.  I’d been correct in my assumption.  These were the cages I hadn’t wanted to remember  After my friends transformed me into a mouse to get into the building, I’d scurried past these cages first.  I’d been horrified then.  Dozens and dozens of cages hung suspended from the ceiling at varying levels. Within each, I could make out a single form. Some of the forms were still bipedal, but some were beasts. Or monsters. Or, in one case, a sick combination of man and monster. I think I screamed. All that came out was a shrill squeak I figured only dogs could hear.
“Why haven’t these people been released yet?” I shouted above my growing dread.
“Oy, love, no need to break the eardrums.  We’re right here.” Basil Hadresham had shunned his day-to-day business disguise of a forty-something, tweed-wearing, classic Brit to look like the teen he’d been when he became a genie.  He was a toe-haired waif who would easily steal your pocket watch after you gave him a dollar for a lollipop.  Right then, I would’ve rather had the older, more comforting model—which is a kind of a mix between Santa Claus and Mark Williams playing the best friend’s dad in those boy-wizard movies rather than my Artful Dodger.  “And they haven’t been released because we’re not sure if we have the means to deal with them all yet.”
I gazed at the cages within easy view.  Too many bizarre faces looked back at me.  Their mouths were moving, but no sounds were coming out.
“We had to block the sound, love,” Basil said, answering my question before I could ask it.  “So we could think.”
I saw Trygvyr, my friend and former pet, walking toward us from between the hanging cages.  His long, white hair had been pulled severely back at his neck and tied with a strip of rawhide.  His eyes pulled at me like twin black holes, where only anger escaped.  His wiry body showed a tautness born of rage and I sure as hell didn’t want to be on the receiving end.  When he got within a dozen feet of us, I could hear him snarling like the dog he’d spent fifteen decades transformed into. 
He moved to brush past Raye and I.  Throwing aside any thought of personal safety, I snagged his arm on the way by.
“What gives?” I asked.
With his eyes still locked on a space far ahead of us, he shrugged off my grasp. “There are still Efreet in the cages?” he asked.
“Last I checked.”
Power blossomed over him like he was preparing to go nuclear.  “If you want any of them capable of speech any time soon, I suggest you get to them before I do.”
When he tried to shrug off my hold on his arm, I stuck to him like I was glued on.  “Whoa.  Hang on a second.  I’d like to kick all of their asses as much as the next djinn, but we’ve got all the time in the world for that.”
Unless I missed my guess, Tryg was mere seconds from boiling over and saying those little words he’d said once before.  ‘I renounce the Rules’ had changed him into an Efreet then and, the way he was acting, they were sure to turn him into one again.
“Talk to me.”
He didn’t even look at me.
“Major!”  I hated using the name I’d chosen to call the dog he’d been, but when the big furball had gotten too engrossed in rabbit chasing to pay attention to me, it always worked.
His dark eyes turned toward me, finally focusing on what was real and not the rage in his head.  “Yes, Mistress?”
I let out a breath I’d been holding so long my ribs hurt.  “That’s better.  What the hell is wrong with you?”
Jerking his arm, he tried to free himself, but I wasn’t letting him go until the steam stopped coming out his ears.  “The Efreet must be made to pay for their atrocities,” he said
“Not the way you were thinking about making them pay, bud.” 
All he did was blink at me like a freakin’ idiot.
“You were this close…” I held my index finger a millimeter from my thumb. “…to giving up being a genie.”
When he shook all over like he still had long fur, and it was wet, I knew I’d finally made an impression. 
One hand scrubbed the side of his face while I held tight to the other arm.  “Odin’s hairy balls.”
“My thoughts exactly.”  I squeezed my hand and pulled him toward me. “Now, I’ll ask again, what the hell is wrong with you?” 
“Wrong with me?  How can you ask after seeing…?  You haven’t seen, have you?”
“When I first came into the warehouse, I thought something was hinky.  Strange and scary and bewildering. But I was a mouse at the time.  Everything’s strange and scary when you’re that low on the food chain. I can’t say for sure whether any of those rodent impressions were real.”  I nudged Basil with an elbow.  “He was just beginning to shed some light when you showed up all hell bent for leather.”


Yep, another teaser.  But it's not a total tease because this will be available for purchase in September - good lord willin' and the creek don't rise. 

Maybe by Friday I can untease at least the cover of In Deep Wish for all y'all.  I'm not pushing the artist because this isn't time sensitive, so we'll see.  As soon as I have the final version, I'll post it.  K?

Now, I need to get back to edits.  I should have this pass done by the weekend, and a final read-through with tweaking done by the end of next week, so I can get this to JC. Yay.

Any questions?  Comments?  Stuffs?


Monday, June 19, 2017

Update

First off, because I want to get it out of the way - Wish in One Hand is still free worldwide through the end of today.  (Check your local listings.)  In Deep Wish and Up Wish Creek are still 99c or .99p in the US and UK through the end of today.  Shop early, shop often.  If you already own Wish in One Hand, now's the time to get the other two.

As for the numbers from this so far... 

WIOH - 79 copies out the door as of this post.
IDW - 3 copies sold
UWC - 3 copies sold.

Oddly, those sales mean the ad is paid for.  It was only a $3 Father's Day Promo through Paranormal & Urban Fantasy Bargains. Whether those sales actually came from the ad, or whether they came from my pushes on FB and Twitter, the world will never know.

WIOH topped out at #109 on the free Fantasy/Paranormal & Urban chart in the US.  But it was #50 this morning in the same category in Canada.  Woohoo. 

In other news, I sent an email off to my cover artist to begin talking about the cover for Wish Hits the Fan.  Fingers crossed that she still loves me and will do this last genie cover for me.  It would totally suck if she couldn't because I'm not sure I could find someone to do the fourth cover to match the other 3 without it costing me my first born child.  And I'm sure my first born child wouldn't appreciate me trying to hock her to pay for my cover art.

I'm also seeing if she can tweak the cover for In Deep Wish for me.  Someone... you know who you are... suggested I get rid of Mary and just have Jo.  The more I think about it, the more I like the idea.  Just Jo.  Cool. 

Down the road a piece, I will put all four books into a box set.  Not sure when that'll happen.  If everything else goes well, maybe in time for Christmas.

Okay, well, that's it for me.  Any questions?  Any comments? 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Genies for Free and Cheap!

Okay, so maybe not the genies themselves.  We're against the sale of sentient beings, after all.  But the Once Upon a Djinn books are either free or for sale this weekend.

Wish in One Hand  - US
Wish in One Hand - UK

In Deep Wish - US
In Deep Wish - UK

Up Wish Creek - US
Up Wish Creek - UK


Friday, June 16, 2017

Father's Day Weekend Sale

Hey All!  I just thought I'd drop in and let y'all know that starting tomorrow, through the weekend (6/17-6/19/17), my Once Upon a Djinn series will be having a sale.  Well, kind of a sale.  Wish in One Hand will be free, and the other two (In Deep Wish / Up Wish Creek) will be 99c/.99p.

If you know anything about Jo, you know she has some serious father issues.  Hell, if it weren't for her father, she wouldn't be a genie, so there wouldn't be any genie books.  Jus' sayin'.  So, it seemed fitting to have a sale on these books for Father's Day.  If you don't know anything about Jo, now's your time to find out.

And for those of you waiting patiently (or not so) for the final book - Wish Hits the Fan - it IS written.  It just needs to be edited.  Which I am working on.  Slowly, but I am working on it.  All will be made clear, the threads will be tied up, and this will be the end of this arc in Jo's story.

And just so ya know, Wish Hits the Fan picks up exactly where Up Wish Creek left off. 

I was shooting for August before everything writerly sort of fell apart.  Now, I'm hoping for September.  Sorry about that.  Really I am.  I hate that I may have disappointed any of you.

Anyway, tell your friends.  Buy lots of copies (so I can pay my editor for her work on Wish Hits the Fan).  And enjoy the story!