22 September 2017

Saturday Scene for 23 September, 2017

Doctor Chlamydia Addams took a seat behind her desk, and her companion, the Zeta Reticulan spider known as Thing, sprang from her shoulder to disappear behind her. "Have a seat, Lieutenant," the Doctor said, indicating those on the other side of her desk. She tapped the surface of her desk, linking to the files generated by the scan she'd performed on the young woman a few minutes prior. She considered the results again, and looked across the desk at the woman. "You believe your arm is defective in some way?"

Lieutenant Gray shook her head. "I don't know how to describe it, Doctor. It's... it's not real. It's not mine.."

"You can touch it with the other hand?" Addams inquired. "You feel what it feels? In what way is it not real, or not yours?"

Lieutenant Gray held up the hand in question, flexing it, turning it. "It exists, yes," she said, quietly. "But... I left my arm, almost to the elbow, on board a burning freighter. This one...." she trailed off.

Addams made a thoughtful sound. "It's been three years since the incident aboard Sato Maru. In that time, the engineered tissues have undergone apoptosis at a natural rate, and been replaced with your autologous tissue. The muscle and bone are assimilating nicely, and the neurons have completely linked with your own nervous system."

"I know all that," the Lieutenant said with a sigh, lowering the arm again. "But I still can't shake this feeling."

Addams nodded. "What you're experiencing is not physical," she observed. "Which does not mean that you are not experiencing it, or that it is not real. It does mean that I am not the right person to help you. I am therefore writing you a referral to my colleague, Dr. Graves."

"A psychiatrist?" Gray asked, sounding unenthusiastic.

"A shrinker of heads," Addams said. She was tapping away on her desk, presumably writing the referral she'd mentioned. She glanced up, at the top shelf of the glass cabinet secured to the bulkhead, at a curio, apparently a ball of leather with some fiber sticking out the top.

Gray followed her gaze, and realized that the thing was a shrunken head. She paled.

"Usually not so literally," Addams said with a ghoulish smile. She tapped the desktop once more, and Lieutenant Gray's PADD vibrated in her pocket. "I'm sure you will find him quite personable, actually. And if not...." She glanced once more at the top shelf.

"Yes, ma'am," the Lieutenant said, getting to her feet and exiting the office quickly.

Addams sat in silence for a minute after the young woman's departure, regarding the shrunken head. "Ah, Thing," she said at last. "What trouble brains cause us."

Thing, for its part, declined to comment.

09 September 2017

The Numbers of Doom!

Well, it's all over now.

1615 people signed up for a chance to receive a copy of Flowers of Luna, and five people were selected... four in the United States, and one in Great Britain.

In the three days when the eBook was a free download from Amazon, approximately 250 people took advantage and downloaded it.

I hope that all of you who received a copy, whether physical or electronic, enjoy it.  And I know I've been saying this a lot, but please... take a moment to review it on Amazon.  It really does make a difference in how Amazon deals with the book, even if you just post "It was good."

Oh, and yes; thank you.  My birthday was very nice, also.

04 September 2017

Free Without Doom!

Tomorrow is my birthday.

Labor day is named for the day my mother went into labor, so if you have the day off today, you're welcome.  But I'm not content to stop there.  Oh, no, I am not.

Today, tomorrow, and Wednesday, Flowers of Luna is absolutely free to download from Amazon.com. That's free.  No money.  No munny.  Zero dollars, no pounds, no euros, no yen. No clams, no bucks, not even a single simoleon. Free.

So if you're one of the seven hundred and change people who signed up for the giveaway, now's your chance to read the book without cost, without risk, without worry. Download it. Read it.  No strings.

But if you'd be so kind as to leave a review on Amazon, I would be grateful.  Very, very grateful.

29 August 2017

Yet More Lightsaber of Doom!

Long-time readers may remember my lightsaber project from such entries as The Lightsaber of Doom and More Lightsaber of Doom! I'm not sure that I mentioned that my friend John Bump is helping me with the electronics.  A couple of weeks ago, he sent me a circuit board designed to fit inside the narrowest part of the saber, and asked me to test-fit it. Well, today, I finally had both time and gumption to do so.

First, the high-concept version:


And then, the important shots:





The edges of the board need to be a tiny bit narrower... I had to take some sandpaper to them to make them fit. Otherwise, it's smooth sailing, and the next test board will be functional. I guess I need to see about actually getting the sound board for this thing, hmm?

20 August 2017

The Bigger Giveaway of Dooooom!

In my previous entry, I mentioned that I had seen websites offering my book, Flowers of Luna as a free, downloadable PDF.  After talking with a few people, I discovered that many of these downloadable, pirated books contain malware. So I decided to do something about that.

Look, I get it.  I'm basically an unknown author.  And maybe you don't have Kindle Unlimited, which would make the book available to you without any further cost. And these economic times, they're hard.  So three clams seems like a lot to risk. And you think that you're not really hurting anyone if you download that free ebook, right? Wrong.  Here's who you're hurting:


You don't want those innocent and trusting little souls to go hungry, or cold, do you? But really, I'm going to meet you halfway.  You'd like to know what that means? You're waiting for me to get to the good part?  Okay.  Here it is: I'm giving away books.

Yes, yes, I know.  You just said, "Jenny, I know all about your Goodreads giveaway, but it's only five books, and over five hundred people have signed up! That's less than a one percent chance!"

And you're right.  So I've decided that, to celebrate my birthday, I'm going to make the eBook version of Flowers of Luna free.  On the day before my birthday, September 4, lasting until the day after my birthday, September 6, you can go to Amazon and download the eBook absolutely free, and without any taint of malware.  You're welcome.

Oh, and if you're asking, "what's the catch?" there's none, really.  But there is one teeny-tiny thing you could do for me in return.  Go back to Amazon after you've read the book, and rate it.  Not just stars at the end of the kindle file, go and rate it on the site.  Write a review, even if it's only, "Jenny is the greatest writer of ten thousand ages!" Post it. Thank you.

24 July 2017

The Day of Dooooooooooooooooom!

Today's the day!

What day, you ask?

The day my Goodreads giveaway goes live!

Want a copy of Flowers of Luna, signed by me, the inimitable Jennifer Linsky? Of course you do! And now, there's a way you might get one! Just click below, jump through Goodreads' hoops, and there's a chance you'll be one of the five lucky recipients of a signed, paperback copy!

restrictions apply.  Void where prohibited.



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Flowers of Luna by Jennifer Linsky

Flowers of Luna

by Jennifer Linsky

Giveaway ends September 05, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

18 July 2017

The Giveaway of Dooom!

As many people do, I have a Google alert set on my name. And, as I expect many authors do, I also have a Google alert set for Flowers of Luna. The other night, I got an email telling me there was a newly-found web page including the title of my book, so I clicked on the provided link. Instead of a review (for which I was hoping, as I never tire of reading people's reactions to my writing), the page turned out to be yet another site where one could download FoL for free. Apparently, I'm greedy for wanting to be paid for my writing, and three bucks is completely unreasonable.

Anyway, I could rant (again) about how free downloads from unauthorized sites are stealing, and that these thieves are literally taking food out of my kittens' mouths, but instead, I decided to do something more fun. My birthday is coming up on the fifth September, and so I decided to give away five signed, paperback copies of my book... and to be glad I wasn't born on the thirtieth September.

To enter the giveaway, just go to Goodreads.  I've included a helpful link below.

Edited to add: Goodreads set a minimum delay before the giveaway begins accepting registrants, so it doesn't start until the twenty-fourth.  I'll post about it again, then.  Sorry I didn't mention it before!



Goodreads Book Giveaway

Flowers of Luna by Jennifer Linsky

Flowers of Luna

by Jennifer Linsky

Giveaway ends September 05, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

25 June 2017

The Question of Dooooooooooom!



I was told your [sic] an author and I was curious how you started out as one ?



Hi, Jack.

Wow, nothing like introducing yourself with an easy question.

Part the first: am I an author? Sort of. I write stuff. You can find me on Wattpad as Walkyrjenny. Of course, I write Star Trek fanfic with a cooperative writer's circle. And I have a book in print, Flowers of Luna. But... anyone can put stories up on Wattpad, you also write Star Trek fanfic with a cooperative writer's circle, and my book isn't traditionally published, it's through KDP, which basically means it's self-published. I don't have an agent, I don't have a publishing house, no publicists, no distribution outside Amazon. So does that make me an author? Well, yes, but not the same kind J.K. Rowling is, or even Melissa Scott.

Part the second: how did I get started? I think I was five or six years old when I realized that the author's names on books were people; people who had created these stories and presented them. Since I was often the only child of my ethnicity in the schools I attended, I had also made the discovery that I could keep from being abused if I kept the bullies entertained, so I started telling stories. My second-grade teacher was seriously worried about my grip on reality, and asked my mother at a parent-teacher conference if I truly believed I was from outer space. (My mother: No, Japan).

This progressed to writing down stories, and eventually typing them. I had an old manual typewriter which I hauled around the globe with me, even before computers. My mother would tell you that many of my early stories were highly derivative of things I'd been reading, or watching on television.

But I think what you're actually asking might be considered the unwritten Part the Third. To whit, How Do I (which is to say, you, Jack) get started on becoming an Author? And the answer is, you're already doing it. You're writing stuff. Keep writing stuff.

And read. Read like there's no tomorrow. I have read 35 books this year (Goodreads keeps track for me ), which is actually low for me, but I've had health issues which kept me from reading as much as I would have liked to. When you read, don't just be a passive recipient of the story. Look at how the writer has crafted that story. What do you like about what they do? What do you dislike? What can you emulate? And then go write something, consciously trying to use the things you liked.

And then comes the hard part. Share your writing. Share it with friends, share it with a writing class at your local community college, share it with strangers on the internet. And when you get feedback, the least useful feedback of all, though the most comforting to receive, is "it's good; I like it." That gives you nothing to strive for, nothing to improve. And I've sat in critique circles, and know that having your story criticized can feel like a crucifixion. But don't shell up when you receive those critiques. Listen to them. Think about what's being said. Is the criticism justified? Is there something you can improve, based upon it?

At some point, if you want your stories to reach a wider audience than the other people in your fanfic circle, you have to start submitting them to publications. That's hard. Even if you don't get the ashes of your story back in your own self-addressed stamped envelope, unless you're Robert Heinlein, you're going to get rejections. Many, many rejections. So many rejections, you may well start feeling like it's you, not your stories, which are being rejected. And it's okay to quit at that point.

But if you want to be J.K. Rowling or Kate Milford, you won't. Ms Rowling had nearly a thousand rejection letters before she found a publisher. I haven't asked Ms Milford, but I imagine she has a similar tale to tell. They persevered, they worked on their writing, and they kept submitting. And eventually, they found a publisher.

But the publishing world is different than it was even twenty years ago. Many small and mid-list authors don't go the trad pub route. I didn't. My book is as niche as smurf porn1 -- it's not for the masses, but for those who like that sort of thing, it's exactly the sort of thing they like. And I looked around at the small, Sapphic romance oriented small presses, and discovered that many of them wanted sixty or eighty percent of the profit from the book, while expecting me to do my own marketing. In essence, they would only be providing a cover and a distribution channel. That didn't seem like a good deal to me.

So I got a few friends whose literary judgement I valued highly, and showed them the manuscript; asked them to pick it apart. They did, and at times, that was a painful process. But the most active of them are thanked on the dedication page of my book, because it's true: without them, the book wouldn't have been nearly as good. Based on what they said, on the feedback they gave, I massively rewrote entire chapters, added an entire character and sub-plot, and changed the way various things were expressed.

And then, I published the book through KDP. If you choose to go that route, don't expect fame and fortune. Flowers of Luna peaked at 10,042 on the Amazon bestsellers list. Since February, I've made less than two hundred dollars in royalties. Every cent of that has been turned around and used to promote the book, mostly in thank-you and promotional copies and postage.

So. There you have it. A much longer response than you were probably looking for, but I hope that it provides you with some insight and guidance on your path.



[1] No smurfs were sexually involved at any point in the writing of Flowers of Luna; this is merely an illustrative example.

21 June 2017

The Cat's Doooooooooom

I'm curious... who got the signed copy of Flowers of Luna I put up as a prize for Asian Lit Bingo?

12 June 2017

The Honest Review of Doom

Warning: Here There be Spoilers. If you're interested in reading Flowers of Luna, but haven't yet, you probably shouldn't read this entry. A major plot point is discussed.

One of the good things about having published Flowers of Luna and getting it listed on Goodreads is that I get to read what my readers -- or at least, the generous subset of my readers who leave me reviews -- think of what I've done. Recently, a reviewer posted a three-star review which I think is, despite the low rating she gives my book, an excellent review.

Ms. Reviewer puts her finger right on something that I was concerned about when I wrote the manuscript, something that I tried to avoid. To whit, the "bisexual cheater" trope. I am a Sapphist -- a girl-type person who falls in love, and when I'm extremely lucky, in bed, with other girl-type people. One of the reasons I don't use the L word for this preference is that it has been my experience that there's a lot of gate-keeping involved in the use of that word, and I don't care for that at all.

I have dated several bisexual women, and never cared with whom else they might have shared their bed before, or after, me. I only cared that they showed me affection while we were dating, and were occasionally willing to be naked in bed with me.

So, if this is true (and I assure you that it is) why does this trope show up, despite my effort to keep it from being prominent and ugly? How did I end up hurting at least one bisexual woman, despite my deep desire not to? Well, it was a failure on my part; a failure to come up with a better way to tell the story.

You see, I started writing Flowers of Luna after a particularly bad break-up. I had fallen deeply in love with a woman named Michele1; I'd built my life around her. I thought we were going to be together until one of us died. She turned out not to feel the same way. I was crushed, and I needed to think about the things that happened, and somehow find my way to a happy ending for my characters, if not for me.

In the end, Hana is not actually much like Michele. And Ran is only sort of tangentially like me. It's not a Mary Sue tale, or at least, I hope not. But without the actual reasons that Michele gave for breaking up with me, I still needed to come up with a way for there to be a crisis, a way for them to fall apart and come back together.

I tried to make it clear that what happened wasn't because Hana was bi. It was because she was young, and inexperienced, and trying to figure out her feelings. Things snowballed out of control and she didn't know how to resolve the situation.

In fact, Hana is not bisexual. She was raised in an environment where sexuality wasn't a spectrum -- men loved and bedded women, and vice-versa2.  So it wasn't until she went to Lunagrad and met Desdimona (who is bisexual) that she even considered the possibility of romance / sexuality with another woman. When she meets Ran, she's still trying to figure everything out. Does she make a bad decision? Yes; a series of them. Is it because she's bi? No; it's because she's experiencing that most Japanese of plot tropes -- the conflict between social obligations and personal desires.

So. I tried to bring all that out in the story, but apparently, I failed.

Could I have written the story differently? Could Jin'ichi have been female? Yes, but then Hana would have been aware of her own Sapphism, and it would be a case of Hana actually being a cheater. Knowing that Hana had cheated on Jin with her, how could Ran ever make the leap of trust required to get them back together?

Could I have figured out some other conflict to bring the two of them to the brink of a breakup, and then figured out some way to haul the situation back in? Maybe; but I didn't. Perhaps this, too, is a failure of writing.

At any rate, I tried not to make the story about the bisexual betrayer, not to hurt the feelings of any bisexual women. And, at least in Ms. Reviewer's case, I seem to have failed. I'm deeply sorry for that.




1 Yes; the woman to whom I dedicated the book.

2 In this respect, Hana actually reflects my own upbringing and journey to figuring myself and my sexuality out.

06 June 2017

New Interview Without Doom!

My friend Maria Hollis, who also writes Sapphic fiction, recently started a book blog of her own. I had the honor of being the first author she interviewed for it! I'll be excited to see what else she posts as the blog goes forward, and I hope you will, too.

21 May 2017

The Allegations of Doom

A few weeks ago, I wrote a guest post for a bookblogger's blog; someone I thought of as at least a friendly acquaintance. Two days ago, while looking for something else, I happened to glance at that guest post, and saw that the bookblogger in question had added a disclaimer to the previously nice things she had said about my book.  Apparently, someone is contacting bookbloggers who have written positive reviews about Flowers of Luna, and making allegations about me; allegations which at least this bookblogger apparently accepted without bothering to discuss them with me.

I do not know who is doing this. I do not know why. But I am going to address the allegations once, here, now, and then I am henceforth ignoring this person as the troll they are.

The person making the allegations is apparently telling bookbloggers that I am a fraud, a hoax. I am not who I present myself as, and I'm just presenting myself as I do to cash in on marginalized identity.  I think this is ludicrous on the face of it -- As Megan Gedriss wrote in her fabulous Yu+Me Dream, I'm just pretending to be gay for all of the wonderful social benefits it brings?

But if that logic is insufficient, let me point out that between my journals (this one and Walkyrje on LiveJournal) I have fourteen years of documentation of me being me. I joined G+ six years ago, during the open beta (one of my early entries there), and Twitter in January 2011. All of that seems like a long hike to ground a hoax for a book published in February 2017. But what do I know?

Let us also talk about the "cashing in on marginalized identity" bit. Frankly, it's delusional. The people who find it easiest to get published in the traditional publishing business are white men. Pretending to be something else, someone else, would be setting stones in my own path. I present myself as I do because it's who I am. And I have hardly "cashed in." The number one comment I received from agents declining to represent me and Flowers of Luna was "I didn't identify with this." Do you suppose they would have said that about an M/F romance about Jack and Jane?

I ended up self publishing, and so far, every single cent I have received in royalties has been spent on promotional copies of my book, postage for said promotional copies, and other attempts to raise awareness of it among the target audience. If I'm cashing in, I'm doing a smurf-pour job of it.



Tangentially related to this issue, I have decided to leave Twitter. I won't be deleting my account, because that would open it up for someone else to scoop up the name and post whatever they want on an account that has been announced to be mine in various venues. I will be ceasing activity on it, however.

I have severe general and social anxiety... to the extent that I often vomit after talking to strangers on the telephone. Paying attention to a constant stream of negative news items, political doom, and bickering among bookish folk is doing me damage. So I'm not going to do it, anymore.

You will still be able to find me here, at G+, and on various fora around the intarwebz.

I'm sorry to have aired my dirty laundry in public, and as I said... this is my only public response to this trolling. My next entry will be back to writing, lightsaber construction, and similar topics.

Aloha; Shalom; Peace be upon you; Live long and prosper; May the Force be with you -- always.


13 May 2017

More Lightsaber of Doom!

First, let's have the beauty shot. This thing is massive... shown here with a familiar book for scale, it's nearly seventeen inches long. It's definitely a two-handed hilt, which was exactly what I wanted.





Okay, note for experienced saber builders who are easily bored. The rest of this is going to be really basic, and really lengthy, because I'm an utter noob and had to figure stuff out as I went along, and I figure there may be other utter noobs lurking who would like to know what I figured out. So if you're easily bored, now would be a good time to go read something else.



I bought the pieces in two batches. The previous batch, as you may have read in a previous entry, had the blade holder, choke, and pommel. Because my training in sword art is mostly in Japanese styles, I wanted a longer hilt. So I ordered a custom-milled double-female 10" extension (3" longer than a standard main body, and I asked for the grooves to run along the entire length), along with some incidental other bits.

Below, you can see the four primary pieces lined up from emitter to pommel, which gives a sense of their relative sizes.


I apologize for lens flare and other artifacts. My hands tremble very badly, which made some of the pictures in the first batch blurry, so I bought a tripod this time... but I'm still using my camera phone, and I got lens flare. Many indeed are the arts of which I am not a mistress.

Below, we have the blade holder / emitter (I use these terms interchangably). One of the incidental bits I bought this month was the heat sink, TCSS Version 3. Here you can see the copper heat sink screwed into the aluminium lens holder, next to the emitter.


The lens holder has a little bit of a lip on it, so you drop it into the emitter, copper side toward you:



... and screw on the next most southerly piece. The lip on the lens holder is perfectly scaled to lock in between the male and female threads and stay in place.



One of the few parts I did not source from TCSS is this blade safety plug. I just loved the heat-patina look of it. Why is it called a safety plug? Because the LEDs we work with are technically class 2 lasers, which means that direct viewing for more than a quarter of a second can cause damage to your eyesight. Even if you think that you're not the kind of dope who will stare directly into a laser, get a blade plug -- accidents happen, and we have not yet reached the point where we can grow you new eyeballs.



The plug dropped right down into the emitter. It sits on top of the heat sink's lens holder, and the blade set screw holds it in place. Here's what it looks like, looking down the bore of the emitter:



Assemble the emitter / choke to the next piece south:



Now, if you read my earlier post, you may recall that I initially ordered the d-ring pommel insert, and then decided that it wasn't quite what I wanted for this particular saber. So I ordered a couple more:



I decided to go with the one threaded for a recharge port, even though I'm not putting my recharge port there. I didn't like the idea of people looking up inside the hilt through the pommel's perforations, so I went on eBay and bought a quarter-yard of "acoustically transparent" speaker grill cloth. I cut a circle, and put it behind the pommel insert, and secured it with the snap ring.

... is what I'd like to say. But the truth is, I discovered that forceps weren't up to the job, so I bought a pair of cheap snap-ring pliers from Harbor Freight, and the snap ring straight up bent the pliers as I was trying to pull it in tightly enough to engage the groove in the pommel in which it's supposed to sit. So lesson: cheap tools aren't, because now I'll have to spend more money getting another pair of good pliers, whereas if I'd just done that in the first place....



I hope you found that entertaining, and perhaps learned something with me. My next step will be grabbing a bench power supply and some 6061 T6 aluminum tube, and experimenting with anodizing, coloring, and plating. I'll post those results, but it'll probably be a couple of weeks at the very least.

29 April 2017

Saturday Scenes 29 April '17

On the shortest night of the year, on top of the tallest mountain in the world, the wind had never stopped blowing. It was not snowing, but the wind picked up grains of snow fossilized into ice and flung them about with malicious intent. They trailed from the edge of the summit, creating an eerie, slightly luminescent flag downwind.

Something bated the wind, forced it to flow around where it had flowed through. For long, unmeasured moments, the hard grains of ice piled against the stop, forming in negative the impression of a curved cheekbone, the arch of an eyebrow, the hollow of a clavicle, the fullness of an immense breast. The eye blinked, crystals of ice making no sound as they shattered from unseen lashes.

"Where?" she thought, and, "When?" She turned her head, looking at the snowy lumps surrounding her. She looked to the horizon, saw the grey of the approaching dawn. Her temple. Her highest, her best, her favorite. The summit of her mountain was above eight thousand meters. Humans called it the death zone, for they could not come to her unprepared, and could not stay long once they arrived.

Long time past, her warrior-priestesses had gathered on this shortest night, and climbed the long rose quartz stairway to her shoulder, leading captives. At dawn on the longest day of the year, they had climbed the final staircase in solemn procession, and they had waited until the sun stood overhead, until the light of the sun shone through the eye of her gnomon upon her throne. Then, with blades of obsidian, the captives were given to her, their warm blood staining the stone; the devotion of her priestesses warming her core.

Nothing lasts. An age of the world passed, and neither priestesses nor captives came now. The grand stairway was buried in snow, and only vague lumps showed where her throne and stelae stood, the beating heart of the quartz slowed almost to stillness.

She exerted herself, and the heart beat, once, warming the blood-tinted quartz ever so slightly. She called the wind to pick up more snow, to clear her temple. Even that small effort tired her.

Why had she woken? So many solstices had come and gone unnoticed, unremarked, as she slumbered. What had... and she felt them. Two Humans, huddled in a makeshift shelter on the shoulder of her mountain where once her priestesses had waited with their captives. Humans!

She gathered more of herself, formed a body of ice in which to center her awareness, walked to the edge of her temple. For almost an hour she stood as still as one of the stele, her attention clearing ice from the rosy treads of the final flight of her grand staircase.

oOoOoOo

The wind died down at dawn. George pushed open the tent flap and struggled out like a moth emerging from its cocoon. He gaped at what he saw. "Andy," he said, "Andy, you've got to see this; you won't believe it."

The second climber struggled forth into the light.  "My god," she said. She looked around. The wind had calmed, the sun stood on the horizon, the sky was clear... and there was a miraculous staircase between them and the summit.  "My god," she said again, not knowing if it was a prayer.

"Quick," George said, "grab your pack. We're about to make history."

The two of them left the tent behind and ascended the staircase. Though it was firm underfoot, and the treads were almost perfectly placed, the air was yet thin, and cold, and they must take their time. Still, they made excellent progress. Just before noon, they achieved the summit.

"Look at this!" Andy exclaimed, looking around at the faintly blood-colored quartz pillars, engraved with bas-relief images of marching armies and battles long forgotten.

George wandered to the central stone, the great needle with its eye. "An observatory," he said, wonderingly. "We have made history, Andy, but not the way we expected!"

"We are not the first to the top," Andy agreed, going to sit on the large bolder with a vague seat-like impression. "Not by a long hike."

Noon arrived. The light through the gnomon touched the throne, bathed the climber. A voice, soft as the wind, spoke in her ear, "Andrea Irving, if you give your man to me, I will make you queen of your world."

Andy started, looking around. There was no one there, but an obsidian knife rested beside her. "Look at this," she said, picking it up in her gloved hand. "There's a hole in the hilt." She stood, took off her glove, dropped it. The knife fit her hand perfectly; her thumb went through the hole, securing her grip. It felt right.

She stepped toward George at the needle. Did she need him? Did she even like him? He had been condescending the entire trip, taking credit for everything, standing in front of her when reporters showed up, even though she was the more experienced climber, even though it was her money which paid for the expedition.

But a cloud passed before the sun, and the light in the temple dimmed. And Andy blinked, wondering at her thoughts about her cousin George. "Let's leave this place," she said. "We need to be back at camp by nightfall."

"Yes," George said, turning away. "And we'll need a second expedition, with cameras."

oOoOoOo

She sighed, watching them walk down the staircase together. Nothing lasted, she thought. Not the feast season, and not the famine. They would be back. They would bring others. She would drink hot blood again, and her power would return.

But for now... for now... she was tired. She released her awareness, and slumber returned to the mountain of the goddess.

21 April 2017

The Lightsaber of Doom!

TL;DR - I got my first order of MHS parts, and it's strangely exciting. This order is comprised of:


MHSV1 Blade Holder Style 7
MPS8 MPS Pommel style 8
Cclip MPS Clip
MPSI12 MPS insert style 12
MHSchokeRL MHS choke style 3 long


The main body will require some custom milling, so I put it off for next month. Pictures follow. This will likely be a slow build. Why?  Well, if you want to know, read on.



I'm an older geek. In 1978, my family was living in a very rural area of Arizona -- so rural, our town didn't even have its own grocery store, just a gas station / convenience store. So when my mother heard that there was a SciFi movie out, she tossed a ten-year-old me in the car and we drove the couple of hours to The City to see it.  We both loved it, and I at once wanted to be a Jedi Knight. My first lightsaber was just a flashlight with an inflatable blade. (No foolin'. You can see the advertisement for it).

Fast forward a number of years, until I was a grown up geek. I was in the Navy and attended a local SciFi con where I saw that they were play-testing a new role playing game based on Star Wars. Intrigued, I got in on the session, and played an Alien Force User because there were no Jedi in what would become West End Games' d6 game... or at least, that wasn't the part of the rules they were testing, and that option wasn't available to us. (My AFU, by the bye, was limited to touch range, and her big special attack? Touching people on the shoulder and putting them to sleep.  Yes; I crossed the streams. But I digress).

A few years later, I got the chance to play the D20 version of Star Wars RPG, and this time, Jedi were included. So I rolled up a Consular, thinking that I'd make her a Jedi Healer. Just for kicks and giggles, though, I took a couple of skill ranks in pick lock, because you know... sometimes, evil hides behind locked doors. Thus Sorrow was born. She was a four-lekku blue Twi'lek who had been orphaned as a small child and taken to the Jedi Temple. She couldn't remember her name, and the Jedi who found her nicknamed her Sorrow because of her woeful countenance. Over time, it stopped being a nick-name and became her name.  In honor of a great Jedi of the past, she eventually appropriated the family name Sunrider.

Well, the campaign went on, and at a key point, Sorrow saved the party by using the Force with her lock picking skill to open a door and an avenue of escape. (I rolled a natural 20, and the GM gave it to me). This led to joking that I should cross-class into a less upright profession, and I started thinking about Jedi Sentinel. Sorrow turned away from healing and toward investigation.  The campaign ended before I could get the pre-reqs together, but I went on thinking about her, and in my mind, she went on to become a Sentinel. She retained her original lightsaber, though, so hers has a cyan blade (reflecting her path between Guardian and Consular) instead of the more common golden blade of the Sentinels. (Aside from which, if you light up a gold-blade lightsaber, you're pretty much flashing a badge, and Sorrow works more in the shadows than that).

So when I started building my own lightsaber, I decided I wanted to start with Sorrow's. Because it's a saber from the height of the Jedi Order's power and influence, it's more refined and finished than the later-era sabers.

Why did it take me so long to start working on building my own saber? Because I was a nurse, working 12-hour shifts and taking care of my Uncle's wife's parents on my days off, so I had no time. Then I was diagnosed with a chronic, and couldn't work, so I had no money. But now, finally, I have some money and some time, so I'm starting work. I do, of course, still have a chronic illness, so I don't do very much at a time, and my income is based on disability, so it's not very much money. Both of which mean that this will probably be one of the slower build threads -- it may take me six months or a year to get everything together.

But it promises to be a heck of a ride, and I'd like to share it as I learn things and approach my dream. I hope you'll find something of interest as we go forward.



Stand by for picspam!

Here we have the emitter and pommel. The taller one is MHSv1 Blade Holder style 7; the shorter one is MHSv1 pommel style 8. The emitter has been media blasted -- my initial idea was that I wanted it to look as though the emitter had discolored over time due to the tremendous energy of the blade. I'm not sure it accomplishes that, but it does look nice! The media turned the normal glossy silver into a fascinating matte gray, slightly pearlescent. It picks up schmutz like whoa... I think I'm going to need to find a nice matte clear-coat to put over it, if I don't decide to color it.



My previous saber was made by a machinist who boasted that no two of his sabers were exactly alike. I forget if I found him on eBay or his own website, but I bought the saber below and, though I had dreams of lighting it, I've actually just put a polycarbonate rod in it and used it as a bokken for a number of years. It's pretty, and I might still electrify it, but it taught me that I wanted a longer hilt, because my training is in a two-hand style, and this one? Definitely a single-hand hilt.



So I also ordered a choke style 3 long. Here you can see it with the emitter screwed in, which shows nicely the difference between the plain aluminium and the media-blasted, I believe.



I don't have a double-female piece at the moment, so I removed the emitter and screwed the pommel in.



Someone else made a comment that, with a double-female adapter, the choke 3 long would make a decent shoto all by itself. I am kind of interested in making a matching shoto for my daito, but that's down the road... and I'm kind of thinking that maybe an MHSv2 hilt would be better, if Tim ever makes any of those again.



Anyway, the last bit of fun was the pommel insert. I'm waffling about this -- I want to keep the lines of the saber as clean as possible, and my initial thought was to put an activation button and recharge port in a box 9, and use the pommel insert to hang the saber from a hook on my belt. But Sorrow was a pre-fall Jedi, and the D-rings are sort of a New Jedi Order look. In our game, Sorrow's lightsaber had an internal, force-activated switch, so no one who wasn't force-sensitive could turn it on. I don't at the moment know how to do that (though I am tossing around some thoughts regarding RFID chips) so it has to have a switch. I'm waffling between having a 16 mm AV switch in a recessed hole on the side, with the recharge port in the pommel insert; or putting the switch in the pommel insert and having the recharge port on the side.

I guess it's going to come down to whether the covertec kill-switch that fits in the recharge port is strictly cosmetic, or if it's got enough friction to actually hold a saber in a clip.  Or maybe I'll just shove the saber through wraps on my belt like a katana through an obi. I dunno.

09 April 2017

The Desk of Doooooom!




So, I accidentally bought a desk.

Mama and I went out for our usual Friday enforced socialization lunch. Afterward, I said, "Hey, there's an unfinished furniture place right down there; do you mind stopping in?" I had in mind looking at their wardrobes, maybe getting some ideas for when I build my closet organizer.

Well, we drove down there, and there was a big banner on the front which read, "Going out of business forever, everything 70% off!"

We walked in, and I immediately noticed this desk sitting to the side of the entrance. It was a little worn and torn, but beautiful, as you can see in the pictures. I walked around the place, and Mama and I stopped and looked at the bookcases, and I explained my vision for the bookcase I want to build, and she nodded a lot. They didn't actually have any wardrobes, though.

On my way out, I screwed my courage to the sticking point, and asked the sales guy how much the desk was. He said he thought the owner wanted U$500, and I was kind of waffling. Not because it wasn't worth it -- the thing's an antique, solid oak. But because that's a lot of money to me right now. Then the owner came by, and the sales guy asked him what the price on the desk was, and he said "Gimmie three hundred and it's yours."

Without hesitation, I said, "sold." That's less than I would have paid for the Ikea contraption I was considering, and it's a heck of a bargain for something with no particle board, no MDF, and no plywood. And even with tax, delivery, and tips for the Sherpas, it came to less than the U$400 I had set aside for desk buying.

It was delivered on Saturday. The cats got corralled in the bathroom, and the two nice young men who brought it in were relieved that they didn't have to carry it up or down any stairs. It's heavy! As soon as the young men left, I double-checked the doors and then let the cats out.


The desk got a skeptical sniffing, and they kept their distance as I put the drawers in.


Tsarevitch Alexei was the first to investigate the desk with the drawers in, but he wasn't quite up to climbing inside.



That honor went to Grand Duchess Tatiana, who engaged her lazars so she could give the desk a complete cat scan.


Ownership of the drawer cave got disputed.




But Tsarevitch Alexei was the first to summit, a feat which surprised exactly no one.

Oddly enough, that chair didn't come with the desk. I rescued it from a sidewalk a couple of years ago, and it's been sitting at the cafe table that used to be in that spot. But it matches so nicely, I'm almost reluctant to shop for an ergonomic desk chair with which to replace it!

23 March 2017

The Reviews of Doom!

I often say that a reader's super-power is reviews. And that's certainly been true with my work. Each review has produced a little bump in attention to my work.  So now it's time to repay some of that generosity.  Plus, my Twitter buddy Shannon the other day asked if I had "any recommendations on books with LGBT couples especially bi that have happy endings." I meant to write this that day, but it's been an eventful week, and I have overspent spoons, so it took a while.  Sorry!

So here's the plan. I'm going to present the F|F and Bi books that I've read and enjoyed in the last year, and a brief statement about each. Appearance in this list absolutely does equate to an endorsement!



The Melody of Me and You, Maria Hollis. A quick read, light and fluffy romance between two young women who work in a bookstore. The sex scenes were more explicit than I'm truly comfortable with, but that's a personal taste issue.

Of Snow and Whiskers, Andrea Marie Brokaw. YA, shape-shifter kids at a boarding high school for same. Though the second book in the series, can be read as a stand-alone without missing too much. The viewpoint character is a bisexual snow leopard shifter, who has a crush on a snow leopard boy. Happy ending, great tension and pacing. For those who care about that sort of thing, it does develop the plotline of the story arc. Also? Look for Nurse Sakura; she's me!

The Well of Loneliness, Radclyffe Hall. Perhaps the seminal lesbian novel in the English language.  Hall writes beautiful words about miserable situations. Not a happy ending. It must be remembered that the book was published in 1928, and was aimed at appealing to the straight population to acknowledge that women who loved women were people and deserved to simply exist, to live, to love.

A Marriage of Connivance, Natasha West. When their lovers break up with them to get together with each other, spurned girlfriends hatch a plan to make their exes miserable -- and end up falling in love with each other.

Say Yes to the Cheerleader / Say Yes to the Soccer Player, Abby Crofton.  In Cheerleader, a nerdy girl who accidentally outed herself to her high school English class has a crush on a cheerleader -- who turns out to be crushing right back! In Soccer Player, they've moved on to college, and their frenemy from high school has developed a crush on a soccer player, who again, is crushing back.  Cheerleader was seriously the best first novel I've read in years.  Ignore the stock photography cover art, and read these books!

Urban Fairy Tales series, Erik Schubach. This recommendation comes with a couple of asterisks. These books are set in a world where magic is real, and a werewolf plague is slowly consuming the Human race. They're simultaneously F|F romance and Urban Fantasy Action, and they're fun reads.  A bit formulaic. Here are the asterisks: It's F|F romance written by a man, so it sometimes reads more like a straight romance than my experiences of actual sapphic romance. Secondly, Schubach churns out a new novella every month or two, and as far as I can tell, doesn't do any editing or proofreading. If you're the sort of person who is annoyed by typos, fractured grammar, and misused homophones, approach with care.

Raised by Wolves, Bridget Essex. Another shifter-tale. A werewolf girl falls in love with the girl who works in the bookstore, and hesitates to introduce her to her mob-like werewolf pack family.  Mildly explicit sex scenes, good humor, happy ending.

14 March 2017

The Doomless Review of... uh....

The noted, eloquent, and highly discerning book reviewer M. Selavy has published an amazing review of Flowers of Luna.

All seriousness aside, I love reviews.  Great ones the most, of course, and this one really let me know that I had, at least for her, accomplished what I'd set out to do.  I particularly like that she mentioned that Hana and Ran's relationship is built on communication -- I was consciously trying to create a model of a consensual, negotiated relationship.

Another reader commented on Twitter that he'd read the very same story from Hana's perspective, and it was like opening the doors of revelation -- I hadn't even considered telling it from Hana's perspective, because Ran's declaration that she'd come to the Moon to go to college was my path into what became Flowers of Luna; the rest organically grew from there, and linked to a story about the Gray family that I've been trying to write for years, the story that appears in the background of the book. (Which, in turn, was a deliberate Mary Sue tale staring myself and my ex-girlfriend Jane -- and that may be why I was never able to get very far with it).

Anyway, getting back to the review... this is why I published the book.  To share the pictures in my head with people who would get it; people who were looking for themselves in genre fiction and not finding. The smart girls, the nerdy girls, the Sapphist girls.  And, you know... everyone else who enjoys realistic SciFi and a bit of romance.



If you'd like to read Flowers of Luna for yourself, to see what all the fuss is about, it's available on Amazon. It's on Kindle Unlimited, so if you're one of those folk, you can read it without any further financial outlay.  More of Jenny's fiction is available on Wattpad for free, if you're still undecided.

01 March 2017

Fan Art! No Doom!

Hey, y'all! I got fan art! Woo!

Laya, an actual design student from New Zealand, did this image of Ran and Hana on their first date! It's so beautiful, I'm in awe! She's perfectly captured them, their outfits... everything about that moment!


You can find Laya's "Underrated W|W Book Series" art on her Tumblr, and she also sells prints of the images! Also? She has a new webcomic!

As for Ran and Hana, they're the primary characters of my own Flowers of Luna, available now in eBook and Hardcopy from Amazon.com

25 February 2017

Saturday Scene, 25 February 2017 (of Doom!)

In accordance with prophecy, here's this week's #SaturdayScenes! This offering is a freshly-written snippet for what may (or may not) evolve into a sequel for Flowers of Luna. As always, you are encouraged to leave a comment after the show.

It's funny, but when you walk away from people, you expect them to stay right where you left them. Planets are predictable that way. There's no, “hey it's Tuesday! What's Jupiter doing?”  Ol’ Jupiter is doing just what he’s been doing for the last billion plus years: The King of Storms is rolling along his orbit with his harem of moons orbiting around him. “Hey Io, nice to see you. Callisto, how you doing today? Big guy! Still got your red spot, I see!”

But people? People have agency. They're liable to get up in the middle of the night and decide, “hey, I'm going to walk down by the reservoir and get murdered.” Which is apparently what happened to Jin’ichi Fujikawa. Which in turn, was what gathered four Gray women together in Lunagrad.

My three-mat apartment was not big enough to hold four Grays and a Tsuchiya, even if we were of the younger, less mythically engorged, generation. So we were at the other place we could be reasonably certain no one could see or hear us -- the storefront-turned-design-studio my business partners and I rent to run our student fashion label, The Girl Goes Dancing.

My girlfriend, Hana Tsuchiya, was pacing in front of the display sheets that blocked the view from the street.  She was picking the rough cuticles of her thumbs with her other fingernails. My sororal twin, Ren, was draped bonelessly over the leather sofa; our identical nieces Maddisyn and Makayla were leaning against the pool table in mirror-image postures, arms folded under breasts, one heel resting on the toes of the other foot.

That the four of us were family was immediately obvious to the casual observer. We all had the same retrousse nose, epicanthal fold, and steel gray eyes; we had the same figure, archtype 12, broad of breast and hip, with a long, well-defined waist and proportionally shorter legs. My hair was raven-wing black, though it glowed in the dark; Ren’s was burnished copper. Maddisyn and Makayla shared dark-blonde hair as they shared everything else. But beyond the physical, there was a shared sense of dangerousness about us; a sense of impending violent action.

Maddisyn decided I’d been silent too long.  “I bet you’re all wondering why I called you here,” she quipped.

“I was wondering that, actually,” Makayla responded.  “Is it my birthday? I love birthdays.”

“Sush, children,” Ren said.  Our nieces were the same age we were, commissioned from the same genetic lab twenty years ago, but we made a point of being of the older generation. “Let Ran tell the story.”

“Story time?” the nieces chorused together.  They sat cross-legged on the Persian carpet in fluid sync, propping elbows on knees and chins on conjoined fists. “Tell us a story, venerated and aged aunty!” Makayla added.

I held out my hand toward Ren. She picked up one of the sofa pillows and tossed it to me.  I threw it at Maddisyn, who ducked. “Hey,” she protested.  “She said it! I’m just the straight man!”

“Would you be serious?!” Hana exploded, coming around the pool table.  “Jin’ichi is dead! Murdered! And you’re acting like this is some kind of game!”

“No one is acting like it’s a game, Hana-chan,” I reassured her.  “This is the Gray family version of deadly serious.”  The other three nodded agreement.  Somewhat mollified, Hana came over and took my hand, squeezing it tightly.

“We understand this is our Moore’s Farm,” Ren assured her, referencing a situation our parents and older siblings had faced when we were small children. “Humor helps keep the mind calm and working. And Grays… well, you know our credo.”

“Scientia Dimidium Bellorum?” I asked, trying to figure out how that fit.

“Stab when you have to,” Ren countered. “Offer candy bars when you can.”

“Also?” Maddisyn chimed in, “remember the lesson of Great-Aunt Umeko, and don’t get the two mixed up.”

“It’s really not very effective if you stab them with a candy bar,” Makayla agreed.

Hana looked at me and shook her head.  “It’s like dealing with four of you at once,” she complained.

“That’s why I called them,” I agreed.  “These guys are going to learn that they messed with the wrong Gray.”




And now, time for linkies! If you enjoy my writing and would like to read more, there's a short story I wrote available for free on Wattpad. Also? My book Flowers of Luna is available on Amazon. It's only U$2.99 for the Kindle version -- and it is available on Kindle Unlimited, so if you're one of those folk, you can read it without any further financial outlay.

I'd also like to mention that my friend Andrea Marie Brokaw recently released her second shifter romance, Of Snow and Whiskers, also on Amazon, at the same price. And my friend Maria Hollis' book The Melody of You and Me? Same price! On Amazon!

24 February 2017

Sneak Peek of Dooooooooom!

Every most many weekends, I take part in #SaturdayScenes on Google+, where I share a snippet of something I've written.  This week, I wrote a scene especially for the event, which may or may not turn into something bigger down the road.

And while it's not Saturday yet, I thought maybe you might like a sneak preview?

“Scientia Dimidium Bellorum?” I asked, trying to figure out how that fit.
“Stab when you have to,” Ren countered. “Offer candy bars when you can.”
“Also?” Maddisyn chimed in, “remember the lesson of Great-Aunt Umeko, and don’t get the two mixed up.”
“It’s really not very effective if you stab them with a candy bar,” Makayla agreed.

Come back Saturday for context!

22 February 2017

New Interview, Now with Less Doom!

Last year, I wrote an interview with myself, because I've always secretly wanted to be Walt Whitman. Whitman, in case you were not aware, wrote many of the early reviews of Leaves of Grass himself, under various pseudonyms, and got them published in a great many papers.

Anyway, here recently, I sent out review copies of my book, Flowers of Luna, to various reviewers and book bloggers.  One of them, Wendy, decided to interview me instead of reviewing the book. It was a fun experience.

Flowers of Luna is available on Amazon, and through Kindle Unlimited, so if you've already paid your dues for that this month, you can read the book without further financial outlay! And if you've read it and liked it? Please leave a review on Amazon, even if it only says "I liked this book," or "Eh, it was okay-ish." The star ratings you give in the kindle don't count for book rankings; only actual reviews do. This is the reader's superpower... if you'd like me to be able to write more books, help me out by helping this one succeed!

And that's all for the NPR fund drive for today.

If you're on the fence about picking up Flowers of Luna (hey, I've had years where three clams was a lot, too!) and would like to check out some of my writing for free? You're in luck! Some of my short fiction is up on Wattpad, where you can read it for free!

And if you're one of my fans who has read everything, and left comments and reviews everywhere? Thank you! I could do this without you, but what would be the point? It's all about you, baby.  It's all about you.

13 February 2017

The Cover Art of Doom!

Howdy, folks!

The other day, I mentioned that I have a story up on Wattpad which you can read for free.  Well, Troy Campbell, the artist who did the wonderful chapter head illustrations for Flowers of Luna, took a look at the story, "There Shall be Blood," and announced that the cover illustration I'd come up with for it was all wrong, and he made me a new one.  I'm not entirely convinced that he's right, so I'm letting my readers decide the matter!

Because Blogger doesn't have a straight-forward way to put polls into posts, I created a poll on Google+.  If you'd like to see the art, and voice your choice, that's where to go!




And now, an advertisement to pay the bills: I wrote a Sapphic romance in a hard SciFi setting, Flowers of Luna, which you can find on Amazon! It's only U$2.99 for the Kindle edition, and if you happen to be a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can read it without further expense!

11 February 2017

Saturday Scene, 11 Feb '17. (Of Doom).

For this Saturday Scene, another snippet of my current WIP, Little Sisters of the Dragonslayer. It picks up directly where The Knights of Doom leaves off.



“We leave at first light,” Siobhan said.

“You should go and get ready,” the Abbot said to Midori.

Midori bowed, opened the door panel behind her, and exited without standing. Outside the door, she let out a long, slow breath, then allowed herself one quick, silent fist-pump. Aware that the hall contained the cells of the oldest of the Sisters Instructor, those who rarely taught anymore but often frowned at young Probationary Sisters. Midori didn’t think her elevation to Novice Sister would change the propensity to frown at unseemly displays, so she got to her feet and walked decorously to the end of the hall. She calmly descended the short flight of stairs, glanced left, then turned right into the cross hall.

It was empty, and Midori took three running steps before calling the wind to her. It swirled around her, lifting her braided hair, her tunic, sliding under her feet. With the thumb’s breadth of air under her, her momentum carried her quickly down the hall. At the kitchen doors, she let the wind die away. She paused for a moment to finger-comb her bangs, hoping it erased the traces of the wind. She moved into the kitchen, looking around.

“She’s not here,” Lay Sister Zalma called, her huge green hands kneading dough.

Midori tried to look innocent. “Who isn’t?”

The Troll chuckled. “Don’t presume that because my eyes are so far off the floor, they don’t see, child,” she answered in her rumbling voice. “Osumare is helping out at the forge. Take a crescent,” she instructed, nodding to indicate the sheet freshly pulled from the oven, “for yourself, and one for her. One!”

“Yes, ma’am,” Midori said obediently, picking up two of the crescent rolls. She smiled at the Lay Sister, skipped through the kitchen, ducked out the back door into the abbey’s inner ward. Outside, she could hear the pounding of hammers on metal, and the roar of the forge. She trotted to the corner, looked cautiously around.

Lay Sister Clarisse, the Orc forgemistress, was working with several Probationary Sisters, but Midori had eyes only for one: Osumare. Osumare was stripped to the waist, other than a leather and linen breastband. Her skin was the dark brown of those who lived closest to the equator, and under it, every muscle stood in stark definition as she brought the hammer up above her head and then down hard upon the glowing metal she held against the anvil with a pair of tongs. Her dreadlocks were pulled up and back in a messy bun. When they were children Osumare’s hair had been as black as Midori’s own, but about the time their breasts began growing, she had started going gray, and her hair was now as white as the snow on the hillsides.

Midori loved watching Osumare work; watching the play of her powerful muscles beneath her sweat-streaked skin. Midori had made her a name-day gift this year, knitting her a breastband and a pair of briefs from linen yarn. She’d liberated a measure of cocoa beans from the kitchen, ground them finely and boiled them to make a dye she hoped would match the color of Osumare’s skin. The first time Osumare had worn them for combat lessons, though, her sweat had made the improvised dye run, leaving the cloth streaky. Her skin had smelled deliciously for days, Midori recalled.

Osumare finished pounding the metal, and held it up to the light. It was a piece of wasserstahl, Midori saw, though it had been colored a vibrant red somehow. The young woman nodded in satisfaction, and set the piece aside to cool slowly. Midori came out from around the corner, running toward her back, hoping to surprise her. Without looking around, though, Osumare called, “What’s for lunch?”

Midori sighed. “I am not certain, though I have reason to believe it may be chicken salad on crescent rolls.”

Osumare chuckled. “Reason to believe? What’s with the formal language?” She turned and saw the rolls in Midori’s hands. “Is one of those for me?”

“Depends,” Midori answered, looking through her lashes coquettishly. “What’ll you give me for one?”

“A kiss?” Osumare offered.

“And?” Midori countered.

“A promise of more kisses later?”

“Deal!” Midori thrust one of the rolls toward Osumare, who took it and leaned forward to kiss her.

“If you’re not working,” Sister Clarisse called, “step away from the forge!”

“Yes, ma’am,” Midori and Osumare chorused, stepping out from under the roof. They walked to the well, and Midori half sat on the coping.

“That wasn’t a very good kiss,” Osumare said, standing in front of her. “Try again?”

Midori nodded, scooted back on the coping. As Osumare stepped in, she wrapped her legs around the taller girl, pulling her in. They kissed slowly, joyously. “Better,” Osumare said, and Midori grinned agreement.

Osumare stayed leaning against Midori, with the shorter girl’s legs wrapped around her. “Did you just come out to give me a crescent and extort a kiss?”

Midori thumped her butt with one foot. “You are such a liar! There was no extortion, only bribery!” She grinned, and Osumare grinned back, her dark eyes twinkling with good humor. She patted Midori’s leg gently, and Midori released her. “But no. I have news. Big news. Exciting news. News I wanted you to hear first!”

Osumare sighed and leaned against the coping beside Midori. “You’ve been chosen for elevation?”

“No, I’ve been… yes. How did you…?”

Osumare rolled her eyes. “I had stable duty yesterday morning; I saw the Initiate Sister’s runner. And we celebrated last week when you passed the open-hand trial, which was your last one. And the only other probie who’s even close to being ready to be a Novice is me, and I’ve only taken three of the tests.” She tore into the roll, pulling it apart and putting the torn-off hunk in her mouth.

“Okay, yes,” Midori said, good humor in her tone. “But besides that, how did you know?” They laughed together.




And now, time for linkies! If you enjoy my writing and would like to read more, there's a short story I wrote available for free on Wattpad. Also? My book Flowers of Luna is available on Amazon.  It's only U$2.99 for the Kindle version -- and it is available on Kindle Unlimited, so if you're one of those folk, you can read it without any further financial outlay.

I'd also like to mention that my friend Andrea Marie Brokaw recently released her second shifter romance, Of Snow and Whiskers, also on Amazon, at the same price. And my friend Maria Hollis' book The Melody of You and Me? Same price! On Amazon!

See you next week, gentle readers!

04 February 2017

The Wilds of Doom!

So, Flowers of Luna has been loosed upon an unsuspecting world! (Or, I dunno... maybe I've hyped it enough that the world was suspecting, after all). And many of you have downloaded it, or started reading it on Kindle Unlimited, and that's fabulous!

But I'd really like to know what you think of it. Please, leave me reviews, not just on Goodreads, but especially on the Amazon page.

Leaving reviews is the reader's superpower! Number of reviews is a big part of how Amazon decides whether, and how, to suggest the book to other readers, which has a direct impact on the author's ability to sell books, feed her little gray cats, and keep writing! More importantly, it helps me learn what you like and don't like, and those things can be incorporated into future books!

So, as the kids say, Please 'kay thanx!

While you're there, if you happen to order the dead tree edition, would you be kind enough to let me know if the print quality meets your expectations? I've agreed to a 90-day exclusive with Amazon / KDP so that I could have the book available through Kindle Unlimited, but that means I didn't get a preview copy of the printed version. Let me know what you think?

02 February 2017

The Day of Doooooooooom!

We're now within twenty-four hours of the public release of Flowers of Luna! This time tomorrow, y'all will be able to read the words I spent years preparing.

It's an exciting time for me, but also a frightening one. I've already had one review which was essentially "Eh, too much sex." It makes me wonder how everyone else will see the book, if y'all will enjoy it, or want to hurl it from you with force and a well-chosen epithet.

However you feel about it, I beg you -- after you've read it, please go back to Amazon and leave a review. Reviews are literally the way that Amazon decides which independent books to promote, and the more, the better.

Thanks for your attention and interest in my fiction writing! I hope you all enjoy the book!

01 February 2017

The Amazon Link of Doom!

Howdy, true believers! And, uh, you heretics, too.  Hi.  Yes, I see you.  Have a seat in back there, please, and don't hold up the tray of snickerdoodles when they come around? Thank you.

Well, the day I've been working toward for years is finally here, and I can share the link with you.  Flowers of Luna is now available at Amazon!  Currently it's available as an ebook pre-order, but it will release on Friday, 3 February '17. If you prefer a dead tree edition, be patient, it's coming.  It should be at that same link in just a few days.

This is a major milestone for me, and I'm very excited to share it. 

25 January 2017

The Knights of Doom!

This is the probable first page of my next book project, Little Sister of the Dragonslayer. I hope you enjoy it!



The calendar indicated that it was spring, but snow lingered around White Hills monastery.  In a courtyard free of snow, its cobblestones kept warm with heat stored from the previous summer, a door opened.  A teenage girl dressed in a pale blue linen tunic and violet trousers stepped out.  She closed her golden-brown eyes for a moment as wind strong enough to lift her long black braid struck her.  She shivered, but walked across the courtyard at a decorous pace.

Another door, and she was inside a corridor lit only by sunlight trickling through high, narrow windows of stained glass.  The projected geometric patterns lent a cheerful touch, and the girl felt at home.  She knelt beside a sliding door of frosted glass, heard the quiet murmur of women’s voices from within. She knocked gently on the door’s frame before she registered what they were discussing.

“Enter,” called one of the voices.  The girl slid the door open.  She crossed the threshold without rising, closed the panel behind her.  “You called for me, Sister Abbot?” She disciplined herself to look only at the gray-haired Abbot.

“I did,” the old woman confirmed with a smile, her weathered blue eyes kind.  She looked to the other woman, and the girl let herself look as well.  The unfamiliar woman had burnished copper hair that she’d cut short, and calm gray eyes.  The polychromatic seven-pointed star of the Order of the Celestial Guardian was embroidered on the chest of the white wool gambeson she wore, and a dot of light moved languidly on her forehead, tracing out the same sigil. The woman’s nose was sharp, and her cheekbones high. The girl guessed she was closing in on forty, and likely, the end of her active career as a warrior.

“Probationary Sister Midori,” the Abbot said, “this is Initiate Sister Siobhan.”

Midori bowed slightly.  “I am pleased to meet you, Sister,” she said.

“The pleasure is mine,” Siobhan responded, her cool gray eyes studying Midori.

“Probationary Sister Midori,” the abbot said, still smiling, “has passed all of her tests to become a Novice.”

Siobhan nodded, her eyes still lingering on Midori.  After a moment, she nodded again.  “I am traveling to Blackstone City.  I need a companion.  Would you care to travel with me?”

Midori waited a moment, trying to conceal her excitement.  “Please,” she said, and then, “thank you.”

“Is your gear ready, Midori?” the abbot asked.

Midori suppressed a smile.  She had been pestering Lay Sister Jordan for days, filling her saddle bags with items the Sisters Instructor had recommended for her travels, from extra pairs of socks to scouring sand and clove oil for maintaining her maces.  “Yes, Abbot,” she answered.

“We leave at first light,” Siobhan said.

“You should go and get ready,” the Abbot said to Midori.

Midori bowed, opened the door panel behind her, and exited without standing.

18 January 2017

The Novel of Dooooooom!

My goodness, has it truly been a year since I updated here?  How time flies when you're not paying attention.

In the ensuing months, I've submitted Flowers of Luna to rather a few literary agents.  Those who have bothered to reply at all mostly said that they "didn't connect with it," which I presume either means, "I don't see any commercial market for this," or "You're a horrible writer, why did you punish me by sending this to me?!"

I've also gone through about three rewrites of the text.  The resulting book is much better than it was, and I truly believe it to be the best thing I have ever written. Since I couldn't get any traction with traditional publishing, I have decided to publish it myself, through Kindle Direct Publishing. The book has a Goodreads page.

Yesterday, I sent out the advance review copies.  Since they are in e-book format, they're technically called e-gallies, I'm told. I would have liked to send out dead tree copies, but I really can't afford that. Alas.

Pushing "Send" on that email was one of the more difficult things I've done in recent memory.  As noted in the interview I wrote last year, I have very severe anxiety issues.  FoL is so much a part of me -- I've torn out bits of my heart and soul, written them down and organized them.  I have dreamed and dreaded and fought this book into existence. And now? I have sent it into the world, made it vulnerable to the slings and arrows of others. How will they treat it?

Flowers of Luna will be available through Amazon on or about 3 February 2017. If you choose to read it, I hope that you will enjoy it.