Friday, March 29, 2019

Updates, Such as They Are

I don't have much to talk about with regard to writing/editing today.  I'm still in that limbo place - can't start anything new until I finish UatB and I can't finish UatB right now.  Meh.

Yesterday, the sale for Project Hermes came to an end.  With only my own postings to FB groups, I only sold one book.  I did, however, see movement on some of my other books, so I'm counting it as a win.

I have a sale starting next Wednesday for all of the SCIU books.  DE will be 99c/99p.  The rest will be $1.99/1.99p.  Thru the following Tuesday night.  I didn't manage to set up any paid advertising for this, so we'll see how it goes.  If nothing else, I'll be pimping it on the FB groups.

Someone is currently reading through the SCIU series in Page Reads, one after the other, so that's nice.  They're on Early Grave right now.  I hope they enjoy it.  They must've enjoyed the other two to keep reading them all. 

I do have the ideas necessary to write the fourth SCIU book, but the gumption isn't there.  (See above.)  This may be where I can use my Wrongful Termination title idea, but I'm on the fence about that.  That title was originally meant for one of the Dennis Haggarty books.

I'm planning a sale for the Once Upon a Djinn series for May.  Same general idea as the SCIU sale - the first book at 99c and the rest at $1.99.  Hopefully, by the end of next month I'll have money to pay for advertising.  :fingers crossed:

And maybe I'll do a Dennis Haggarty sale in June.  My goal for 2019 was to do at least one sale a month with advertising.  I'm managing at least one sale a month, but not the advertising part.  Let's hope I can get back on track with that.

All in all, despite the slow March, this hasn't been a horrible sales year so far.  Not the best year either, but I shouldn't complain.  It's been a horrible writing/publishing year, but I have hope for the next nine months. 

Sometimes that's all we can do - hope.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Being an Adult and Putting Bacon in the Pan

We were watching the game show 'America Says' yesterday... it's a show where they asked Americans to fill in the blank on a statement and then the contestants have to guess America's top seven answers..  Anyway, the statement was "I felt like an adult when I got my first ____________."  Most of the answers were easy - car, house, etc. - but there was one nobody could get.  When it was revealed, the final answer was PAYCHECK.

Hubs and I looked at each other in disbelief.  Neither of us were adults when we got our first paychecks.  Looking back, my first actual pay CHECK came when I was 17, but I'd been making money one way or another for many years before the checks started coming.

I don't remember what my first paying job was or even how young I was.  A couple of my siblings and I used to pick trash out of the neighbor's fields after windy days for a dollar a bag.  I did some parts assembly - putting rubber thingies on alligator clips for one of Dad's friends' company.  I did some data entry for the company Mom worked for.  When I turned 13, I was allowed to babysit for a dollar an hour.  After that, I was a housekeeper for the manager of the horse farm for like $6 a week and I mucked stalls in exchange for riding lessons.  All before I was an adult.

Then when I was a senior in high school, I got an official job working on a different horse farm where they paid minimum wage - $3.35 an hour - and wrote actual checks.  And took out taxes.  That part kind of sucked, but it was part of life.  Still didn't make me feel like an adult, though.

Before my daughter had her first paycheck job - which wasn't until she was actually an adult, come to think of it - she babysat, did data entry, shelving, etc. for my online book sales, and worked as an office assistant for a local retirement community.

I wasn't an adult when I got published for the first time.  Of course, I didn't get paid for that and, in fact, had to pay for the book my poem was published in, but back then, published was published.  I still have that book around here somewhere.

I figured it out once.  I had like 30 different jobs before I stopped working outside the home.  And that wasn't counting the pre-paycheck jobs.  My resumes were always a mess.  I often wished I could've just put 'Jack of All Trades' 1988-1996 and 2001-2003 to cover all the various jobs I held those years.  It certainly would've left more space for the few jobs that actually meant something.

Now, I'm a writer and a self-titled 'Spreadsheet Grunt'.  I'd just be a writer, but gal's gotta put some bacon in the frying pan somehow, if you know what I mean.

Speaking of which, I have a spreadsheet waiting for me...

What about you?   When did you start working for pay?  What was your first job?  What's your job now?

Monday, March 25, 2019

I Am Insane.

As you all probably know, I've been at this full-time writing thing for almost 15 years now.  (I started writing my first book 15 years ago in January, but I didn't start writing full time until July - after I got married and quit my job.) 

I started my self-publishing journey in November of 2014 when I sent Dying Embers off to a paid editor.  DE was published in February of 2015 and we were off to the races.

I fully expected this venture to start funding itself within a year.  Yeah, I was naive (and probably insane).  But I sincerely didn't think it was too big a goal.  I wasn't asking to be rich, but I was hoping my writing would stop being a drain on the family finances.  That didn't happen.

In 2017, I started doing contract spreadsheet stuff or the pay-job, as I like to call it.  Which was good, because then I could stop draining the fundage and pay for publishing stuff myself.  Albeit still not with much of the money coming from the actual books.  2017 sales were horrible. 

2018 went better - mainly because I now had money to put toward advertising and I published four new books, too. 

Now, here I am staring down the barrel of 2019.  And as I sit here in the middle of a crappy sales month where my page reads are pathetic, and looking back at all the money I've spent on publishing, I'm wondering what the hell I'm doing. 

A couple weeks ago, someone told me about a job - one where I would be drawing a steady paycheck with full bennies - and I have to admit, the whole thing sounded very attractive to me.  I mean, the pay's not great but it would be pay.  And the bennies... :swoon:  If you've ever had to write checks to pay for your own health insurance, you understand.  The premiums are ungodly.  Every quarter, I cringe.  Especially since the (Un)Affordable Healthcare Act came into being.  Ugh.

And I got to thinking that this is insane.  Writing, I mean.  Working for hours and hours on a book, writing it, editing it, re-editing it, publishing it, marketing it... For what?  So I can sit here and watch sales trickle in?  (Or not as the case often is.)

So, that might explain why in my Sunday Updates, you'll see I haven't done much of anything.  I'm stuck in the riptide again.  And I can't seem to break free.  Or even have the presence of mind to swim parallel to the shore until I can get myself to safety.

The sane thing to do would be to take that job.  With the craptastic labor pool around here, I'm a shoe-in.  Hell, the simple fact that I can pass a background check and a drug test puts me way ahead of most of the other applicants.  I'm personable.  I'm literate.  And the fact that I have a sales background wouldn't hurt. 

But no.  I'll keep doing this.  I'll keep doing this until I can't stand it anymore.  I will get back to editing Ugly and the Beast, and then I'll pour more money down that hole.  And I'll hope.  Because that's all I can do.

Because, as I've long suspected, I am insane.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Flash Sale and Other Stuffs

I got a wild hair and decided to have a sale on Project Hermes.  It starts today and runs through Thursday night.  Get it for only 99c/99p - a $4 savings.  Woohoo!

The editing for Ugly and the Beast is not going as quickly as I'd like, so it looks like I'll be pushing back the dates on that.  Once I get this to my editor, I'll have a firmer date for publication.  Sorry about that, but stuffs happen.

The editing isn't going as quickly as I'd like because I'm in that sort of early-year malaise again.  Because reasons.

Funny how reasons can derail everything.  Life gets in the way.  Time gets in short supply.  Gumption runs out the door to play in the sunshine.  Sales, or I should say a lack of sales, get a body down.  Stuffs.

What I need is a magical formula for selling books.  Or to win the lottery.  Since there's no magic and my luck is gross, I guess I'll just have to keep humping along as best I can.

Any questions?  Comments? 

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Public Mistakes

The other day I saw a typo in the title of a book listed for sale on Amazon.  Two letters were transposed in one of the words.  An easy enough mistake to make when your fingers are flying over the keys writing a book.  (One MS Word ought to catch and if not, then your editor, and if not, then you on your many pass throughs.)  Perhaps an easy mistake to make when you're getting everything typed in on the Amazon pages because you're both nervous and excited. 

But it's also an easy mistake to catch and fix.  Not only did this person not catch it when they were checking everything over (and rechecking), but they were sharing the link on FB and not catching it. 

I actually searched Amazon just now to see if any others had made the same mistake (and to see if perhaps the author had caught it, but Amazon was slow to update the link - they didn't).  One book, one MP3 album, and one set of pretend tattoos.  Won't nobody be finding any of that searching off the typographically challenged name.

Now, I know my regular readers and commenters wouldn't be caught dead doing this.  We're all checking and rechecking and double rechecking.  But for the newer self-publishers out there, please take note of this mistake.  And don't do it. 

Oh, I've made some tragic mistakes.  I've made so many mistakes I can't even begin to remember a specific one to use as an example.  Suffice it to say, they're there. 

We're not immune. Cuz, yeah, we're human and humans make mistakes.  It's kind of a thing.  But humans are also pretty good at catching mistakes if we take the time and put forth the effort.  The above?  I wouldn't think it would take much time or effort, but that's me.  Then again, shit happens.

If you catch me making a monumental mistake, please tell me.  (Privately, please*.)  Point your finger and laugh at me.  (Again, in private.)  It'll hurt and I'll learn from it.  Like stepping barefoot on a Lego because you didn't put your toys away, you'll never make that mistake again.  (Of course, if you're rude or snotty about pointing it out, you may find yourself getting the Anderson treatment**, but them's the breaks.)

Mistakes happen.  Be on the lookout for them and catch them when you can.  Constant vigilance will help keep you from making them publicly.  Privately?  Well, that's just life.

What say you? 

*Outing someone's mistakes in public and in such a way that everyone knows exactly who you're talking about is just cruel.  You'll note I try to scrub every identifiable marker from posts like this, so no one gets hurt.  And yeah, I didn't contact said author in private because people don't like when you point out their mistakes and can often get testy about it.  I'm not into confrontation.  If I'd known the person and felt comfortable with them, I would've pulled them aside and said, in the nicest way possible, 'hey, you have a typo there'.

** The Anderson Treatment - years ago, I had a particularly obnoxious neighbor whose last name was Anderson.  She was so bad that eventually I pulled down an invisible wall between us.  I no longer acknowledged her in any fashion unless I absolutely had to - like the day her friend's RV was blowing carbon monoxide into my house.  I had to deal with her face to face then.  Otherwise?  Whoosh.  It's an effective way of maintaining my calm.

Monday, March 18, 2019

How Can You Trust Reviews These Days?

The other day, I was scanning through the ebook newsletter and FB posts as I often do, looking for new books to add to my growing TBR list.

I found a book that sounded interesting, so I dug a little deeper (so I don't get burned by a bad book).  Ten reviews.  Cool.  Fits my 'underappreciated' requirement.  All the reviews were 4 or 5 stars.  Also cool.  Scanned through the reviews.  None of them said 'verified purchase' and none of them had any specifics which would lead me to think the reviewer actually read the book.  Sniff test failed.  Move on.

I found another book that sounded interesting.  Repeat the process.  Low review count.  Check.  The majority of the reviews were verified and sounded like they'd read the book.  Except for one - the lone two-star review.  Unverified and almost totally unreadable.  It was one long sentence that barely passed for English - but not in an 'English isn't my first language' way.  More like a 'I'm American, but I failed every English class I ever took' way.  Sniff test on that review failed.  Downloaded the book.

How does one even know whether to trust any reviews anymore?  In the first case, it looked like friends and family reviewing a book they never read.  In the second, it looked like someone with an axe to grind or a warped bent to trash the author reviewing a book they hadn't read.

Just about every day, I see posts to one of the FB book groups offering to review books - either for free (if you send them your book for free) or for a small fee.  I see authors begging for 'review exchanges' - I'll review your book if you review mine. 

I get that not all reviews can be 'verified' reviews.  Authors regularly send books out to have them reviewed, so it stands to reason, the reviewer wouldn't necessarily purchase the book.  But I also see people offering to give 'verified' reviews for a small fee.  So, basically, you're paying them to buy your book and review it. 

I've talked before about seeing a virtually unknown book/author with thousands of reviews.  I shy away from those automatically.  Sure, they could be legitimate, but I don't want to risk wasting my time if they aren't. 

But Amazon won't let me review a certain author's books because they've determined we're friends.  (Umm, I don't love her books because we're friends - we're friends because I love her books.  I can't be friends with someone whose books I don't like.  Duh.)  And because of stuff like this, I know people who shy away from even trying to review books because they don't want their reviews to be rejected.  No one likes to be rejected.  Blerg.

It's all messed up. 

Jus' sayin'.

Friday, March 15, 2019

The Process Has Begun

I have begun the process of editing Ugly and the Beast.  My process for attacking any first draft looks like this:

Step One: email the manuscript to my Kindle.
Step Two: sit down in my recliner with my Kindle, a red pen, and a big notebook.  (I use 5-subject, college ruled.  Single subject are too flimsy.)
Step Three: read the entire manuscript, taking notes of anything big that needs to be changed, added, removed, expanded on, etc.
Step Four: input notes into manuscript

Once that's done, we move on to the next phase of pre-editor edits.
Step Five: repeat steps 1-3 (also addressing smaller edits like commas, word usage, typos, etc.)
Step Six: Input edits along the way (i.e. make a page of notes, enter that page into the manuscript.)
Step Seven: repeat the steps again if necessary, as many times as is necessary to bring to book to a level where my editor won't want to throttle me.

Until we finally move on to...
Step Eight: Send to the editor and wait.

This process can take me anywhere from 2 weeks to a month, depending on how messy the first draft was when I got done with it.  I could shorten it up a bit by putting my shoulder to the grindstone and end up a crispy writer at the end.  (Been there, done that.  Don't like it.)

Really the first step is Write the Damn Book.  Which was the hardest step this time around.  Some books are easier than others.  Sometimes it's the book, most times it's me.  This time, it was totally me.  I started UatB last summer after I got Sleeping Ugly in the publication chute.  Then my gumption fell into disarray.  But it's done now, and that's all that really matters.

What's your process? 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

How Much Personal Info Does a Reader Want?

I was wondering the other day - how much do you want to know about the authors you read?

Personally, I don't really want to know that much.  And I've learned from experience there are some things about a person I really don't want to know.  Keep it simple and superficial.  But I suspect I'm not a typical reader.

I guess I like knowing that Allison Brennan is about my age and that one of her girls is the same age as mine.  Or that Roxanne St. Claire's son is the Kid's age.  Or that Kristen Painter has a bunch of cats.  But if I didn't know any of that, I'd still read their books.

But sometimes I learn unpleasant things.  And I don't know about you, but for me, it ruins everything they've ever written.   (Nothing ever from the aforementioned authors.  They're all peachy in my book.)

I expect in these weird times we're living in, it's unavoidable.  Social media gives everyone way more information about a person than they've ever had access to before.

And I've seen a trend - not sure if it's new or I'm just now noticing it - of authors putting their bio info above the book info in their marketing efforts.  When I'm looking for a new book, I definitely don't want to read about the author first.  Unless it's pertinent to the book, but that's mostly pertinent to non-fiction.  Tell me about the story.  Then if I like the story premise, I'll scroll down to see what you're all about so I maybe get a heads-up about what you've written.


Here's my Amazon bio:

Minor conspiracy theorist and major hermit, slayer of fish and stacker of wood, pessimistic optimist and hopeful romantic, a veritable fount of useless knowledge, B.E. Sanderson spends her time reading, writing, gardening, and generally enjoying life with her husband and their cat.

Short.  Simple.  You want more in-depth, read this blog or follow me on FB.  (You can try friending me, but I don't accept all the friend requests on my personal page.  It's hit or miss there.)

So, tell me, how much info do you want to know about the authors you read?  If you are an author, how much information do you make public? 

Monday, March 11, 2019

Time and Distance (and a Short, Off-topic Distraction)

Saturday night, I finished the first draft of Ugly and the Beast.

Sunday morning, I realized I hate the end.  Well, not hate exactly, but it's certainly not everything I want it to be.  So I opened the file and went to the end with grandiose ideas of how I was going to fix everything.  And then I closed the file.  Fourteen hours is not enough time to let anything simmer.  And this writing stuff definitely needs time to simmer.

That's not to say I'm going to let the whole manuscript simmer.  I've had sufficient time away from the beginning parts to dive into those ASAP.  Good god, I started writing this thing last year.  Then I rewrote the beginning months ago.  Plenty of time to provide the distance I need.

If you jump right into editing something you just wrote, two things will happen - you'll still be in love with every word or it'll flip and you'll hate everything.  The latter is what usually happens to me.  I go though the 'OMG, I can't believe I wrote this crap' phase almost every time I don't give myself distance from it.

Now, for me, distance isn't that hard to achieve.  The memory thing I've got going on gives me distance quicker than probably a lot of other people.  It usually takes about a week.  Sometimes shorter, sometimes longer.  By the time I get done making edit notes on the stuff I wrote months ago, I should be in a place to edit the stuff I wrote in the past couple weeks.

We'll see how that goes.

I had originally planned to have this in my editor's hands by the end of the month.  That gives me about three weeks.  I've been in touch with AWE and she's cool with that, but because of some other stuff she has going on, it'll be a 5 week turnaround this time.  And I'm cool with that.  If I get it to her in 3 weeks, she does 5 weeks, I turn around my 2nd round in 2 weeks, she does her thing in 3 weeks, I polish and get formatted in say another 2 weeks.  That puts us 15 weeks out for publication.  Hold on while I do the math...  mid-June.  Good lord willin' and the crick don't rise.

Sorry, got away from the topic there for a second.  What was I saying?  Oh, yeah, time and distance.  You absolutely need 'em.  They give you a shot at objectivity.  They allow you to look at your writing with fresh eyes.  They let you actually see that your work is neither the greatest thing ever nor a total pile of dreck.

How much time do you need to get distance from your work?

Friday, March 8, 2019

Adverbs and Cliches Are Not Evil

I like cliches and adverbs.  There, I said it.  Whew.  Feels good getting that off my chest*.

Like anything else, they should be used with a light hand*.  Like salt on your food.  Sprinkle a little here and there to add flavor, but don't overdo it.  Cutting them out entirely?  To me, it makes things bland.

Now, if you're a writer, I'm sure you've heard you should never ever use adverbs.  Personally, I think eschewing an entire part of speech is silly.  I mean, they - whoever 'they' are - also tell you to be concise, right?  So, if the most concise way to get your thought across involves using an adverb, why would you use a more words?  Sometimes using a non-adverb phrase to mean the same thing as an adverb is being unnecessarily wordy.   Or to take the adverb out of that sentence... Being wordy when you don't have to be wordy.  Seven words to take the place of one.  See what I mean?

Yes, yes, AWE catches some of my more five-dollar* adverbs.  Lest we forget the 'peremptorily' debacle.  It's a word.  It fit there.  But it was too precious for what I was writing.  Unfortunately, I have this thing where, of all the words in my head, the precious ones pop out through my fingers when I can't think of the more normal one.  (Take 'eschewing' up there as an example.)

As for cliches, well, they're a known quantity.  If I say 'beggars can't be choosers', the reader knows exactly what I mean.  Sometimes I switch that one up a little - 'beggars can't afford to be picky'.  The reader still gets it, but it's not as cliche.  Taking a known cliche and switching it too much, though, can be kind of jarring to the reader.  I wish I could remember the example I ran across the other day where someone used a reworded cliche.  All I could think of was the cliche in its original form and how the rewording was just wrong.

For the most part, my writing style is conversational.  (Which is why peremptorily was so not right.)  Normal people, in conversation, use a lot of cliches.  They use cliches like they're going out of style*.  :smirk:  Changing that up too much would ruin the conversational aspect.  Everyday people aren't running around trying to think of ways to reword cliches.

Jus' sayin'.

And, of course, this is just my opinion.  As always, use whatever bits of the language that get your point across.  As long as the story doesn't suffer.  And your editor doesn't want to come after you with a butcher knife.  ;o)

* all cliches and all but the last inserted unintentionally - because that's how I write.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Natural Causes - On Sale Now

Starting today, I'm having a Kindle Countdown Deal for Natural Causes.  It'll be 99c/99p all the way through to next Tuesday at 11:59p PDT.  (You know, with the time change and junk.)

If you're one of the hundreds of people who bought Accidental Death but haven't gotten around to its sequel yet, now would be the time to snag a copy.  Find out what Dennis and the gang are up to.  See who's dropping bodies in Dennis' path this time.

If you haven't gotten a copy of AD, it's always at the low price of $2.99 (free with Kindle Unlimited).

Now, these are definitely not cozy mysteries.  Readers have described them as noir or hard-boiled.  This particular story has a basis in a news item from a few years back.  I'd tell you all about it, but then I'd ruin the mystery for you. 

That's the new version of the ebook cover up there.  (The paperback cover remains the same - a little lighter with a grave in the distance.)  The text is exactly the same.  And no, that's not Jillian on the cover.  She's not on the cover of AD either.

This one is also not set in Serenity.  Dennis has moved on.  Now he's the police chief in a small mountain town - Last Ditch, CO - dealing with the residents, a questionable death, and the lingering stench of what happened in Accidental Death.  Stuff like that weighs on a man.  

Anyway, if you're interested in a quirky, gritty mystery set in small-town Colorado, pick up a copy.  And if you could, leave a review.


Monday, March 4, 2019

Genre Bending?

I don't about the rest of you, but I've noticed something lately as I'm scrolling through the FB groups and book newsletters.  Genres are getting pretty warped out there.  Reverse Harem*?  Dystopian Fantasy?  Gothic SF?  As a reader, it's totally confusing.

And as a writer, I totally understand.  It's hard to make some books fit into the boxes already provided by the industry.  

Oh, you still have the usual Romance, SF/F, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller and their traditional sub-genres.  Years ago, Technothriller was coined by Michael Crichton which blew up that whole genre.  And then Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy hit the scene and became mainstream.  You have psychological thrillers and paranormal mysteries and... well, you get the gist.

Once upon a time, I tried making philosophical thriller a thing.  I felt like it described my book Fear Itself better than anything else.  Nobody agreed.  I think 'magical mystery' would fit Sleeping Ugly better, but yeah, it's not a thing. 

Seriously, though, what do you do with a supposed 'urban' fantasy that's set in the suburbs?  Or, dare I say it, a rural locale?  Or when your 'paranormal' novel isn't quite as paranormal as readers might expect?  I mean, SU has paranormal elements, but not a lot and they're more the backdrop than the main thrust.  (UatB gets more magical, but still.)

I have a friend who writes awesome books, but I have a tough time pigeonholing them into a genre when I do my 'Books Read' post.  Paranormal Romance seems so milquetoast a description for her novels.  Supernatural Romantic Suspense with military elements?  

Ugh.  But we have to find a box to put books in so the readers can find them easily, right?  SCIU is easy - suspense.  Dennis Haggarty? Mystery.  (But so not cozy.)  Then I get to Project Hermes. Umm... political suspense with medical elements?  (I shy away from 'thriller' because it doesn't seem quite thrilling enough to be a thriller, if that makes any sense.)  I keep throwing the genie books into urban fantasy, but I don't feel like they really fit there either.  And with regard to Blink and Unequal, they're in dystopian and the questionable slot of 'speculative fiction'.  But is speculative fiction even a thing anymore?  Gah.

Anyway, like I said, the genre bending I'm seeing is totally understandable.  And now that we're all out there promoting our own books - without tradpub to tell us where we have to go - it's pretty damn easy to come up with a genre of your own.  Whether the readers agree or are just confused, time and sales will tell.

Well, that a pretty rambling post there.  I hope I made some sense along the way.  What do you think when you see a genre you've never encountered before?  What are some weird ones you've seen?  Do bent genres work for you?

*I had to google that one.  It's a woman with a bunch of men and is supposed to indicate a sexual relationship between them all, but I don't think some people are using it to mean that.  Rather, they have a strong female lead with a bunch of male subordinates or a female MC with male friends.  :shrug:  I'm still avoiding that genre distinction like the plague, though, because while I think the latter examples would be cool - sort of like Ripley in Alien3 - I don't want to be reading along and have the characters get into one big orgy.  Ew.

Friday, March 1, 2019

The Hellbeast

At a loss for anything to blog about today, I decided to post a short snippet and let you see how I ended up describing the hellbeast. 

“What in the farque is a hellbeast?”  I blinked my eyes and looked at the thing again.  “It’s pink, for petesakes.”  And not the normal shade of pretty pink.  This had ‘burn your eyes out’ neon pink blotches with squiggles in ‘aerobics-chick hot-pink leotard’ over a mauve background.  And the body?  It looked like a longhorn bull screwed a poodle and their baby grew up to have unnatural liaisons with a lizard.  The front had a pointy snout like a standard poodle and horns like a bull.  The whole huge body was alternately covered in curly hair and scales.  At the end was a scaly, whip-like tail. 
“Of course, it’s pink.  What color did you think hell would be?” Oliver said.  “From what I understand, hellbeasts blend right in on that plane.”
I did not want to know how he would know what hell might look like.  Probably something sorcerous I wasn’t privy to yet.  “So, the Sorcerer summoned him from hell and sent him after me?”
It stomped the ground with its dark pink hooves and raised its head to sniff at the air. 
“He’s gonna smell us in here.  What the fuck do we do now?”  I thought about all the perfumes I’d ever worn and wished I had a gallon of all of them in front of me.  All I had was one tiny bottle of minty breath spray.  Snatching it from my purse, I squirted it everywhere I could until it was only farting air.
“What are you doing?” the cat asked.
“Masking my scent.”
“It’s not looking for you, silly.”
I chanced a glance out the window again.  It was kind of sniffing in our general direction, but it was shaking its head as if it wasn’t latching onto the right odor.  Then it walked right into the cloud of Sorcerer scent.  The sneeze it let out blew the remaining glass out of a nearby window.  Once it left the cloud, it seemed to shake off the last of its effects and start scenting the air again.  A long, forked tongue darted out.  Once.  Twice. 
Then it let out a howl and sprang forward.
I almost screamed as it landed ten feet from my hiding spot.  “It’s coming,” I said on a hiss of breath. 
At that point I almost pissed myself.  I tried to think of the spell I’d used to start a fire once, but nothing was coming to me.  When this was over, if I survived and wasn’t turned into hellbeast sausage snacks, I was definitely learning more magic.  Ass-kicking magic.

I hope you enjoyed it.  I got kinda off track last month, so I'm not done with the first draft yet.  Soon.  Honest.  I'm gonna put my head down this weekend and bust my ass.  Good lord willin' and the creek don't rise.