w00t! Book launch for Creeping Shadow

Congratulations to Caroline Peckham on her first book launch! Creeping Shadow is now available on Amazon.com and Amazon UK.

Way to go, Caroline!

I was an ARC reader/reviewer for Creeping Shadow. Short version of the review: If you like adventure and amazing world-building you should check it out.


When is it coming out? Can I get it for free? Will it be printed?

Some questions I was asked frequently during my recent trip to the Great Surprisinglygreen North:

When is it coming out?

I am not quite sure. Since this is my first time publishing there is a lot of new stuff I have to educate myself about as I go. The writersphere makes that much easier than it would be otherwise but it’s still a lot of learning. I am hoping to take as great advantage of y’all as I can in order to avoid mistakes.

All that said, here is my current loose launch plan for the first four books:

  • Weavers, March 2016
  • Ninja at Law, May 2016
  • Unseen, July 2016
  • Makers, November 2016

Can you just send it to me? Can I have it for free?

These were generally said jokingly, but yeesh it was distressingly frequent.

There will be opportunities for ERCs and ARCs for each book. Early Readers help after the first draft by giving basic feedback on the story, plots and characters. Advanced Readers give an honest review of the pre-published manuscript. Both groups receive a free digital copy of the manuscript as well as my thanks.

I will also be trying various marketing tools and promotions. It’s pretty likely that some of those will be free.

Will it be printed?

Maybe? This is a whole big ball of question for me at the moment. I know I will commission at least a limited run for myself and to promote the books but whether they will be generally available in print depends on things I am largely ignorant about now.

Time for some scanning

My return to Atlanta yesterday had a nice side bonus. I mean besides the puppy going ape over seeing me after a several day absence. Is there anything more filling for the heart than seeing a creature so happy to see you that it can’t stop wiggling? If we could bottle puppy wiggles we could have world peace tomorrow.

The side bonus was that the lovely Mareta Pettigrew dropped off the completed Weaver’s cover and two finished chapter art illustrations. OMB, you guyz! It looks fantastic.

So lunch today will be figuring out how to get the scanner working on my borrowed lappy. The colors in the cover are so much more amazing that what I’ve been able to show so far off of snapshots.

UPDATE: Time to call up a photog. My painting exceeds my scanner size. I can get most of it though…


Fiction is Life – #3

Week #3 Prompt

City facilities closed due to toxic air quality.


A writing prompt deconstructed from actual news of the day. Each week a new prompt is posted and the previous week’s source article is revealed.


Write your own story/short/article/poem/etc and link to this post so others can see what you did. If you don’t have a blog, just post the link in the comments and I’ll stick it in here manually.

Last Week’s Stuff

Prompt post and original article

Continue reading “Fiction is Life – #3”

Shizzle, Inc. – Book review

Let me start with a little caveat: I seldom read humor novels and I never read over the top humor. I took a chance on Shizzle, Inc after I became familiar with Ana Spoke‘s writing solely because she is such an engaging writer. I won bank on that bet. Yay, instincts!

Shizzle, Inc. follows the trials and tribulations of its heroine Isabella Maxwell. We follow her calamitous and improbable adventures from getting dumped by her beau through successive upward failures that bring her to the brink of destroying an international mega corporation.

Isa is almost terminally ditzy but has a strong undercurrent of compassion that makes her quite endearing. You want to slap some sense into her while simultaneously giving her a hug and telling her it will all be okay. Her biggest failing, and Spoke plays this to great humorous effect, is that she sees the world primarily as it relates to her. One example: she collects a bevvy of imaginary suitors because she interprets almost any interaction as interest in her.

The first half of the book builds continuous tension as Isa digs a hole for herself with successively larger shovels. It culminates in possibly the funniest extended chase scene I’ve ever read. She catches a clue in the latter portion of the book as she realizes how she has misinterpreted things and misjudged others and herself. Spoke somehow resolves all of the threads that Isa’s misadventures started while setting up a third act. Well, all except for Isa’s love life but I imagine that’s going to be calamitous for the run of her novels.

This is definitely an Isa Maxwell story and the other characters are there to help her tell it. Some other reviews have pointed to flat secondary characters but I think this is just failure to catch Isa’s almost crippling self-focus. The story from her POV paints the other personalities in caricature, the way Isa sees them through her Isa colored glasses. I found myself intrigued, trying to figure out what a scene might have been like from another POV, without Isa’s unreliable narrative and “me” focus.

This was a very fun read and I happily recommend it to anybody who enjoys irreverent humor and over the top antics. You will have a great time with this story.

Review based on Amazon Kindle version purchased at retail pricing.

Going on a Date

I’m not so much a voracious reader as I am a serial romancer.

The chapters of a book are like dates for me. If they’re pleasant I want more dates, if they’re unpleasant… Well, unless we had enough good dates to form a relationship a couple bad ones are going to end our time together, sweet novella. I have other books trying to get on my dance card and I’m not wasting my valuable date time not enjoying myself.

It’s not me. It’s you.

A friend and I had a discussion about putting a book down recently. He was struggling through an unpleasant read but didn’t want to stop because HE HAD NEVER STOPPED BEFORE. He had never put a book aside because it was lousy or unreadable, or just not an enjoyable read for him. Not ever.

That astounded me and I asked around to see if others of my readery friends were more like him or more like me. Turns out the large majority of my anecdotal and totally not scientific sample were like him. For most of those folk the primary reasons they finished bad books were;

  1. They didn’t want to “waste” the time they had already invested in the book.
  2. They anticipated value in the act of finishing the book.
  3. They felt obligated to finish.

Do those look familiar? They should. They’re the most common tropes used for “why X stays in the worthless relationship”.

  1. I’d have to start over from scratch with somebody new.
  2. Once I’ve finished with them all of this current unpleasantness will be worth it.
  3. We’ve been together so long.

So I’m not the only one who is looking at stories as a relationship, I’m just one of the few who is willing to call one off when it’s a bad one.

What sort of literary ‘dater’ are you?

[End of regular post. Rambly stuff below.]

Continue reading “Going on a Date”

Sorry I Killed You – Fiction is Life #2

This short is built from the Fiction is Life #2 prompt: Newly elected mayor found dead in locked room.

Sorry I Killed You

“Wake up, Jonathan” she said sweetly. You need to be awake now, sweetie.”

“Hrmfrg?” I managed, or something closely aproximating that.

“Get up, lover. I have to tell you a few things before I head out.”

I fumbled my way to a sitting position, but it was damned hard. Did I drink last night? This felt like the mother of all hangovers. Like the election morning hangover.

“Sure, Gailbaby. Just let Daddy get some aspirin first.”

She handed me a tumbler, one of the ones from the bathroom sink that had a paper disk on top to assure you of its sanity.


Sanitized. Yeah. Why was it so hard to think?

When I had a firm grip on the glass (firm might be a bit sketchy of a description) she handed me two green pills.

“I’ve got aspirins in my bag. I’m not really feeling up to an alternative cure at the moment, Baby.”

It was hard to be polite about it with a raging headache. This was not the time for crystal herb magic. She just looked down at me from where she sat on the edge of the bed and smiled that beautiful smile. The one that had years ago stolen my heart, then later my honor.

“It’s real medicine, love. Prescription for migranes. You know I look out for you.” She motioned for me to take the pills. I did so, swallowing the glass of water in gulps. My mouth felt incredibly dry.

“Are you feeling fluish? You look feverish” she said. She took a thermometer from the night stand, one of those instant-read ones, and brushed it across my forehead.

“You are feverish” she said with an oddly satisfied look. “Okay. I’ve just got a few minutes to talk to you, then I’ll be leaving.”

“Baby, what are you talking about? You sound deadly serious. Could we wait until my head is straight?” When you can barely track enough to drink a glass of water you shouldn’t be getting into relationship discussions. With my tongue swelling up I had barely managed to get that out. No way could I have a meaningful discussion now.

“I’m sorry, no” she answered. “It’s now or never. I’m never going to see you again after this.”

She stood up and walked across the room. I loved the way her legs looked when she walked, the juxtaposition of beautiful motion as one ankle passed the other and the slim flexibility of her dancer’s step. Her feet made even this horrible carpet look good, and this was one of those horrid designs meant to disguise stains instead of appealing to the eye. A version of it was in every hotel I’d ever stayed in. We’d ever stayed in.

I tried to stand up to follow her but instead lost my balance and fell back into the bed. I felt so weak!

“Don’t try to get up. You won’t be able to now, or ever again. You probably can’t talk anymore, if the major muscle failures have already started. Can you talk, Baby?”

“Wuh” I replied. “Wuh. Wuh.” Or something that closely approximated that. What I was trying to communicate was more along the lines of /Holy hell! What is going on here?/

“What was in those pills? Oh, that was scopolomine.”

“Wuh” /What? Scopolomine is for migranes?/

“Why did I drug you? To hide the poison I gave you. When they pump your tummy and find partially digested scopolomine tablets in there, well they’re going to come to the very logical though incorrect conclusion that you died of a scopolomine overdose.”

“Wuh” /Wuh?/

“I told you if I ever found you were with a woman besides me or your wife that I would kill you dead. Well, your ‘campaign financer’ is not as discreet as she probably should be, especially considering that you won the election.”

“Wuh” /No! There is nothing between Stacey and I! That’s completely political, Baby! There’s nobody for me but you. Well, you and Rebecca, but that’s just political too. I love you!/

“It will look like you got pills from a mail-order pharmacy and overdosed on them because the prescription was wrong. I was going to get really vindictive and set you up for a big scandal but I lost heart. Once I realized it wasn’t just an angry game, when I realized I really was going to kill you, I just got really businesslike.”

She went around the room and collected the glass she had used last night and her panties from where I’d thrown them across the room. She hated when I did that, which was why I did it. It was one of those annoying little games we use to show our affection.

“Anyway, scandal would mean investigation and I certainly didn’t want one of those. So you get a tragic but not eyebrow raising mistake instead.”

She didn’t need to do much cleaning up. She seldom brought more than a toothbrush to our assignations.

“Wuh” /This is all a misunderstanding! Can you antidote me? Oh, you’re going to be so sad when you find out the truth. I hope./

She put the panties and the glass in her purse, along with a washcloth she had used last night. She walked back to me with that angry strut she used to drive me wild and win arguments. She bent down and kissed me gently on the lips, then positioned me so I could see the hotel room’s door. She grabbed the thermometer from the bedstand and strutted to the door.

Damn, she was fun to watch move.

“Goodbye, Jonathan. I love you. Sorry I killed you.”

She walked out the door. On her way though she draped a string around the little security bar you could throw closed for imagined security. With the door almost closed she wiggled the door and bar until it engaged, just as if I had thrown it before heading to bed and an overdose of scopolomine.

Gail always thought of the little things.

“Wuh” /I love you too, Gailbaby./

The door closed.

Fiction is Life – #2


A writing prompt deconstructed from actual news of the day. Each week a new prompt is posted and the previous week’s source article is revealed.

Last Week’s Stuff

Prompt post and original article

Week #2 Prompt

Newly elected mayor found dead in locked room.


Write your own story/short/article/poem/etc and link to this post so others can see what you did. If you don’t have a blog, just post the link in the comments and I’ll stick it in here manually.

Continue reading “Fiction is Life – #2”