Rick Keller meets Shop Small Saturday!

Good morning, and apologies for the intermittent radio silence!

There’s been quite a bit happening. I’m going to throw it out there in a blog post, and then start to slowly update the Website to reflect what’s been happening.

First — the FREE! If you’ve been interested in checking out the Rick Keller project, Cold Run is currently FREE DOLLARS on Amazon.

Next — the NEW! The latest installment in the series, Trial Run, is available for $0.99 on Amazon. This novella is the second-to-last release in the series, and sets the stage for the last book, Winter Run, which I’m currently about 12K words into and counting!

So, if you’re interested, but maybe slightly confused, here is the Rick Keller Project in order:

Cold Run (Novel, Rick Keller Project 1)
Night Run (Novelette, RKP 1.5)
Vegas Run (Novel, RKP 2)
Trial Run (Novella, RKP 2.5)
Winter Run (Novel-In-Progress, RKP 3/Final)

Phew.

In other news, I’ve got two more weeks left of my first two classes for my Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. I’ve been doing pretty well, until last week, when I spent four days in the smoky goodness of north/central California with the Army Reserve, came home, and failed to fully read the directions on an assignment I was trying to finish on way too little sleep. Hopefully, I’ll be able to work something out with my instructor, and I know that I’ll probably be able to recover from that one grade, but still, my inner nerd doesn’t like seeing those letters on my course transcript … bleagh.

I’ve got a few more interviews with writers and creators set up, and a few more on the way. After a few years of keeping a separate milwriter interview blog, and this one, I’m going to combine the two, which means I’ll probably re-post the interviews I have over there, and start with some new ones.

I also have two new series I’m plotting. One is humorous military fantasy, the other is under my romance pen name. I’ve got some fun ideas swirling around, and I think they will be fun to write (and hopefully, fun to read.)

Anyway, I need to get back to the keyboard, because this novel won’t write itself. Sadly enough. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy your Shop Small Saturday, and if you get a chance, check out the Rick Keller Project … and maybe leave a review?

Peace!

Don’t look now … it’s Hideous!

Actually, I do want you to look.

Hideous Progeny: Classic Horror Goes Punk launches today from Writerpunk Press. This is the fifth in a series of seven planned charity anthologies that pay homage to classic stories by re-imagining them in a variety of literary punk genres.

The fiction included in this anthology spans the gamut from steampunk to clockpunk to biopunk … and even some carniepunk. Anthology authors have drawn their source material from a wide array of classics and classic horror authors. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein receives a bio-cyberpunk makeover from K.M. Vanderbilt. Ambrose Bierce’s “An Occurrence at Owl Creek” is no less chilling re-imagined as steampunk in “After the Occurrence” by Teel James Glenn.

As with previous anthologies, all proceeds go to benefit PAWS Lynnwood, an animal shelter and wildlife rescue located in Lynnwood, WA.

My own contribution to the anthology is a carniepunk homage to Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera. This was a challenging project for a few reasons (that I’ll talk about below), but I wanted to complete my hat trick of contributing to the Writerpunk Anthologies. (See my steampunk detective story in Poe Goes Punk, and my dieselpunk Beowulf in English Class Goes Punk.) My short story “The Carnival Ghost,” was accepted, so if you happen to pick up a copy (HINT*HINT*HINT), I hope you’ll check it out. *puppy*eyes*

About those challenges …

I was really, truly trying to make this a steampunk story. I had a few ideas clanking around the ol’ noggin, none of which ever coalesced into an actual story. Or even a note. Most of them are still half-formed blobs of bad penmanship scattered around my bullet journal. The two strongest images that persisted even through the false starts and decisions that I wasn’t going to submit were: 1. Female patron. 2. A carnival.

I couldn’t get the idea of a woman phantom out of my head. It made sense. Someone who would serve as a platonic mentor, without the complications of romantic interest or jealousy, could actually take a student further, to higher heights. They could put all their energy into the development of their protegee, seeking only the reward of their success. At the same time, this would require a degree of ruthlessness from both mentor and mentee, and there were so many depths to explore there.

And–a carnival. I love carnivals and fairs and circuses, even though I’ve always felt they are slightly creepy. Too many shadows. Secrets. Basically, whenever I think of a carnival, I think of HBO’s series Carnivale, and how fascinating and horrifying they can be. Somewhere around this time I re-read the Carniepunk anthology, and that solidified that image and thus, the story.

The challenge? Explaining carniepunk. It’s not a typically category of literary punk, and I wasn’t sure that the anthology editors would be interested in a story that pushed the boundaries of what we included.

On the other hand, we’re not punks for no reason. \m/

“The Carnival Ghost” in all of its creepy carnival glory is part of your reading pleasure.

So, if you like stories that will entertain you, challenge you, and possibly creep you out, pick up a copy today. And let us know what you think.

Rock on, my friends!

Rick Keller Runs Again!

Rick Keller–werewolf, secret agent, Cold War weapons experiment–has been running by himself long enough.

Spanking new, I tell you…

When we last left our intrepid and crotchety–mostly crotchety–hero, he was getting the heck out of Dodge City, which looks a lot like NYC in this case, and heading up to the North Country to find a new pack to run with. He intended to hang out up there, under the radar of MONIKER, the agency that he used to work for, that can’t seem to just let him live his life.

Thanks to Untold Press and cover artist Lia Rees, Rick is getting back in the game. First, we’re giving him and fellow main character, Dr. Karen Willet, a spanking new cover for Cold Run (The Rick Keller Project Book 1).

Second, we’re officially re-launching the series with a mid-April sale, so if you’re thinking about getting a copy, click the link on April 15 and grab a Kindle or paperback copy.

And finally, we aren’t just re-launching Cold Run, but we are going to be bringing you the rest of the Rick Keller Project series. To give you an idea of what’s coming up for Rick and the gang, here is a tentative schedule.

Available May 2018!

APRIL 2018 – Cold Run Re-Launch!
A secret agency reels its first supernatural agent back in from the cold. Where he likes it.
MAY 2018 – Night Run (Rick Keller Project 1.5) A short story to tide you over until…
JULY 2018 – Vegas Run
MONIKER catches back up with Rick, and an old friend calls in a debt.
AUGUST 2018 – Trial Run (Rick Keller Project 2.5) A novella to keep your appetite whetted…
OCTOBER 2018 – Winter Run wraps up the project series!
Rick finds out you can’t go home again, even if your family drags you back in silver chains.

Throughout the next few months, I’ll be offering ARCS to selected readers, sharing news about launch specifics, and sharing information about what’s happening next. If you’d like to stay in touch and not miss any updates, sign up for my mailing list, and I’ll keep you in the loop.

Happy reading!

 

New Release: Sealed With a Kiss

For immediate release! On January 29,  Boroughs Publishing Group will release a double-stacked Valentine’s Day compendium, Sealed With a Kiss. (Available now for pre-order in multiple digital formats.)

~ ~ ~

As readers of this blog may be aware, last year I started writing romance under the pen name, Becca A. Miles. My project is a romantic suspense series, set in Wilmington, N.C., which is one of my favorite places to vacation. This Valentine’s Day, one of my stories, “Sweetheart,” a novella that follows up my debut novel, Negotiating Her Release, will be available as part of a two-story collection with Marilyn Baxter’s “The Last Take-Away.” I’ve invited Marilyn to join me as we talk about our stories.

MARILYN: The Last Take-Away is contemporary romance and tells the story of both the hero (Drew Paxton) and heroine (Maggie Sullivan).  Because my editor liked the story so much, she’s asked me to develop this into a series, so it’s the beginning of the larger universe of St. Magnus Island, a small fictional barrier island off the coast of Georgia.

BECCA/IS: I love the idea of a novella that introduces us to a larger world. That is one of the reasons why I enjoy reading romance–in many cases, authors write not just books, but whole series, that allow the reader to spend time in the worlds that they love. My story, “Sweetheart,” is a romantic suspense that takes the characters from my first book, and puts them in a new predicament. It also introduces a few more of the characters that I’ll be sharing with readers in future stories. For example, there are two characters who seem like total and complete opposites. But here’s a romance pro-tip: If a character declares that another character is absolutely, totally, and definitely “Hot, but not my type …” well, I’ll let you be the judge.

I came to writing romance first as a reader who enjoyed the genre, but didn’t have much luck getting any ideas off the ground. Luckily, I had a mentor, romance author Emmy Curtis, who saw promise in my other writing and encouraged, bribed, tricked, and offered me resources to start plotting and creating this series.

Dancing on the Sand, by Marilyn Baxter.

MARILYN: My first published work was in my ex-husband’s government agency’s professional journal.  He was a federal auditor, and we were gypsies living all over the southeastern US for the first two years we were married.  I wrote a humorous article about living out of a suitcase for the southeast field office newsletter, and the regional manager liked it so much he sent it to Washington, DC for inclusion in the national journal.  I even got a nice plaque from the Comptroller General of the United States!  Fast forward to the early 2000’s.  I read in spurts in the years after college (Stephen King, Robert Ludlum, Sidney Sheldon, Belva Plain to name a few) but in 2004 I discovered romance, and oh my gosh, I was captivated!  I especially loved category romance and devoured them.  I got to know a couple authors online and was asked to work for a now-defunct website as a reviewer.  A couple of those authors (one of whom is a brainstorming partner) encouraged me to write.  I dabbled and dawdled and took five years to finish my first book.  And a month after I finished it, my marriage fell apart.  It’s hard to write happily ever after when your own has ended.  But fast forward again a few years, and Boroughs had a novella contest I was a finalist in, and they not only published my novella but invited me to submit a full-length novel.  That novel was the five-year endeavor.  And I haven’t looked back.  Also, in and around the romance, I began writing for the confessions and romance magazines (True Confessions, True Romance, True Story) and sold about 50 stories and features to them before they closed shop last year.

BECCA/IS: One of the ways that I began to get a handle on how to write was to review the various romance novel tropes, and see which ones spoke to me. With a background that includes military service, a degree in criminal justice, and an interest in politics and high stakes, it seemed that romantic suspense was my most natural genre, and the alpha male/law enforcement/military was one of the tropes I was drawn to–with a twist! I love it when my male and female characters both live in that world. I also really enjoy opposites attract, friends to lovers, and character in peril, especially when they save themselves with the support and love of the other character. Surprisingly, my first novel, NHR, also uses a virgin trope. I’m not sure why that spoke to me, but I hope that people give it a chance!

Negotiating Her Release, by Becca A. Miles

MARILYN: I love marriage of convenience, friends to lovers, jilted bride and accidental pregnancy.  Least favorite?  Uhm… I haven’t read one yet I didn’t like.  Some are just more favorite than others.

After we talked about tropes, I asked Marilyn, what’s the most challenging thing about writing romance?

MARILYN: EVERYTHING!  I hear people say “I could write that,” and I want to challenge them to do it.  Creating a world and relatable characters with good motivation and conflict isn’t easy.  Or it isn’t easy for me.  Then you have to put it all together into a compelling story.  But struggle as I might, I always love the end result!

BECCA/IS: I don’t have much to add to that!

So what’s coming up next for us?

MARILYN: In addition to writing for Boroughs Publishing Group, I also write for Amazon Kindle Worlds, specifically Roxanne St. Claire’s Barefoot Bay Kindle World.  I’ve had two BBKW novellas released so far and my next project is another one to be released in July of this year.  It will feature a trope I haven’t tackled yet – the billionaire hero.  And I have no idea who he is yet.  ACK!

BECCA/IS: I’ve just submitted another novel in the series to Boroughs, and am currently working on researching and plotting the next book in the series. It’s been challenging, because I’m working on spending more time in my characters’ heads–and one of them is a serial killer! My goal is to share more of these stories, including writing more holiday-themed novellas, as they are just so much fun.

~ ~ ~

If you enjoyed our conversation, please stop by our Facebook release party on Tuesday, January 30, from 5-10 pm! There will be some terrific authors present, awesome prizes, and much fun to be had. Also, you can check us out online, drop us a Tweet or a Facebook comment–we’d love to hear from you!

Visit Marilyn Baxter at her Web site:  www.marilynbaxter.com,

or via Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram

 

Visit me online at Facebook or Twitter! And stay tuned for more news and musings…

Flash Fiction … Maps

I made a terrible mistake when I subscribed to Chuck Wendig’s blog. Now, every Friday I get these little writing challenges emailed to me. Sometimes, I’m able to read and file(writing coaches need prompt ideas), but some other times, an idea comes swinging its way out of my head, demanding some screen time. This Friday’s Flash Fiction Challenge was just such a thing. Because maps.

I’ll get into why I love maps at some point in the future, but until then, here is up to 1,000 words of Friday prompt. Thanks, Chuck Wendig. You distracting distractor.

~ ~ ~

The lines on the map faded the moment Rose picked it up off the floor. She cursed out loud as first the shadings, then the characters, and finally the lines faded to a light gray–and then nothing. A deranged ghost of a giggle echoed in the air. Once again, she was forced to admit, she’d come off the worst in a bargain with the Fae.

Beside her, Frank chuffed and shook himself, Basset ears and drool flying in opposite directions. Jimmy bent over and wiped off his calf, then wiped his hand on his shorts.

“So where do we go now?” He squinted against the glare.

“It’s not like we have much choice.” Rose folded the blank map and stuffed it in her back pocket. Try as she could, she found herself unable to Grasp anything around her, the Magic curiously unresponsive under the harsh double sun. “We either follow him into the maze or we stand out here and die of boredom.”

Jimmy’s eyes did the focus-unfocus thing they always did when Frank was feeling conversational. “And starvation.”

“That, too.” From somewhere in the maze, something that sounded like a truck backfiring startled a flock of leather-winged creatures. They broke from cover, streaking in a disturbed circle, screaming. Just as abruptly, they re-settled on the walls, looking down into the maze. They weren’t too far away that Rose couldn’t pick out a distinctly eager vibe on their visages, as if the only thing they were missing was a bucket of popcorn.

“On the other hand, there are worse ways to go, so maybe we should just stay here.” Jimmy took a step back, almost falling over Frank, who had sheltered valiantly behind him.

“For real?” Rose shook her head and stepped off, choosing to head down the center path, straight into the maze.

A few yards into the labyrinth, Jimmy’s running steps thudded behind, and he and Frank pulled up next to her. They slowed, walking casually.

“So, interesting weather they’re having here.” Jimmy’s voice only shook a tiny bit. “This jerk couldn’t have picked a crossword for his big showdown?”

Rose snorted. “A crossword puzzle?”

“I don’t know–Find-A-Word? Maybe Sudoku?” His eyes unfocused again. “Trail of dog bones?”

“I’d prefer to not find any bones.” Rose stopped. “Speaking of which…”

The center path came to an abrupt end. They had been unable to see from entrance, because the makers of the labyrinth had shrouded the block with an optical illusion of slightly disjointed walls and an abundance of concealing ivy.

“Well, shit.” Rose stretched out her hand, sweeping the ivy to the side. In front of her, there was only more brick wall under the hanging leaves. To her right, she had more luck–a narrow path, barely large enough to walk through with her shoulders touching each side.

“I’ve got something over here,” Jimmy said. He pulled the ivy on the left side away for Rose to see. Instead of another path, this side was blocked by a large, wood door with thick iron ornamental hinges, and an old-fashioned key hole. Next to the door, a large church key hung from a rusted post. “You got any ideas?”

Frank lay down, resting his head on his front paws. It was the Basset version of a shrug.

“No ideas,” Rose replied. “Not even a coin to flip.”

She considered the two choices. An open path with no barriers–if narrow enough to set off her claustrophobia if it didn’t end soon. On the other hand, a door with a conveniently-placed key was definitely untrustworthy. Unless she was reading too much into the situation. Which was also possible. On the other hand…

Rose closed her eyes and shuffled sideways a few feet down the path. She waited. Nothing.

“Um, Rose?” Jimmy cocked his head and frowned, looking somewhat like Frank as he did so.

“Hang on.” Rose waited, then shuffled back to Jimmy’s side. Slowly, she reached for the key, pausing just before touching it. Nothing. “Here goes nothing.”

She picked the large, iron key off the post and placed it in the door. “Ow, crap. Crap, crap, crap.” Leaving the key in the keyhole, she grabbed at her behind. Jimmy watched in bemusement as she fumbled with her back pockets, then finally drew out the map.

Rose spread the paper out, holding it so Jimmy could see. The previously blank parchment now contained a small illustration–the two of them and Frank, standing before a door. She realized Jimmy was staring at her instead of the map.

“It got hot,” she said by way of explanation. “What the hell does this mean?”

“Maybe we’re supposed to go through the door?” Jimmy suggested.

“Or maybe we’re not supposed to go through the door.” Rolling her eyes at the supreme unhelpfulness of the Electric Fae, Rose re-folded the map, cool now to the touch. “Who knows. Let’s just do it and get going before something finds us.”

~ ~ ~

So, that wasn’t the total distraction it could have been. Instead, it was some good drafting for a future scene/showdown for Steel-Toed Blues or a future book in the series. I count it as good words, and I’m going to go and figure out where to stick it in my outline.

Thanks, Chuck Wendig. Happy writing!

Mail call!

I woke up this morning and opened up Goodreads, just to find out how many people had eventually ended up signing up for my Soft Target giveaway. My goal had been to reach about 250 people–even if they were only signing up for free for a free book, at least that would be 250 people aware of its existence. I still have a bit of stock from the copies I ordered to send to bookstores and use for marketing, and figured this would be a good use of them.

Apparently, more than 700 people decided to take their shot at winning a copy. I am about to head out to the post office and send two copies to people who live in my state, one copy way across country, and two across international borders. Which is way exciting.

And then, I’ll come back here and sit down with my laptop and a giant cup of coffee because my to-do list is, as for most writers, growing longer with each page I don’t write.

Thanks to all who participated!

Heading out to their new homes!

Heading out to their new homes!

Writing round-up…

After posting about how I didn’t lack for content and wish that spammers would vamoose, I actually spent the next week writing everything except something for my own blog. Which is good, because I’m writing stuff that will posted for larger audiences than just my personal network, and will also mean a paycheck (or two). And actually, one of the pieces that went to another site was a long-ish piece I originally meant to post here. So, in the interest of providing some reading material, and of convincing myself that I have been working, just not on my own stuff, here is a run-down of some of the articles and material that I’ve had pop up elsewhere on the Internet this week.

Fiction: My short story, “The Peacemaker,” was originally written for a friend’s anthology. The theme was broke-down superheroes, and what happens when they don’t get there in the nick of time to save the day. I didn’t want to make any promises, so I was noncomittal about providing a piece, but later that day I had this idea show up about a reality show for crappy superheroes. After some generous feedback from friends and a couple of submission mis-fires, (and some more editing), Fantasy Scroll Mag has published it in their third issue. Check it out, and if you like it, please share!

Non-Fiction: As part of my plan to return to freelance journalism, I contacted a local magazine, CityView, and asked if they were looking for writers. Happily enough, I received an invitation to write a piece for their living section, about the first couple to move into a new, local apartment complex. I wasn’t sure if it was what they were looking for (it’s been a while since I tried my hand at feature writing), but they invited me to do another piece, and so I just sent off an article about a local couple who have done amazing renovations on a local historical property.

Additionally, I’ve had a few more pieces show up in Task & Purpose, including a three-part piece on innovation, which I’m particularly happy with. Part One and Part Two are up now, and will be followed soon by the conclusion. I say I’m happy with them not because they are perfect, but because T&P allowed me to write on a topic that I find particularly interesting and fascinating. The sources in the article were extremely helpful and forthcoming, and these three pieces have whet my appetite to continue researching the topic, perhaps in a larger format.

And finally, that piece that started out as a blog and ended up as a T&P article? 3 Lessons Colleges Can Learn About Sexual Assault From the Military. I wrote this mostly as a reaction to the naysayers profiled in the NY Times analysis of the recent California legislation requiring colleges to develop consent policies – naysaying that was echoed in the comments on the piece. The primary objection appears to be that we don’t know if it will work, so why do it? This mindset was so foreign to me—coming from the military where we tend to tackle a problem with the idea that we’ll MAKE it work, whether it’s possible or not—that I sat down and wrote what I thought might be a more helpful set of lessons learned.

Now it’s on to sharing some of the links, re-sharing others, and then taking a break to head back to work and continue my transition. I’ve got three or four more freelance stories to finish up before taking a short hiatus, as well as two manuscripts that are in desperate need of some TLC and attention. I also hope to have an interview with an author from Iceland who writes in two languages, which I am in awe of and also think is pretty neat. Hope everyone is having a fabulous week!

Peace.

Blog Tour Ahead!

Rick Keller and the rest of the team are going to be getting out and about from now until the end of the month. Check out these “Coming Soon” dates, including reviews, promos, excerpts, and even a few guest blogs from Yours Truly. Thanks!

CRbannertour

8/15

Author Sandra Love (Promo)

http://authorsandralove.blogspot.com/

 

Literature Litehouse – Fun with Books (Promo)

http://literaturelitehouse.blogspot.com/

 

8/16

Paperback Cowgirl (Review)

http://paperbackcowgirl.blogspot.com/?m=1

 

CDyess Writes (Sci/Fi Fantasy pg13 and below)

http://cdyesswrites.blogspot.com

 

8/17

Lady Amber’s Reviews

http://ambersupernaturalandya.blogspot.com/

 

8/18

Bella Harte Books (Promo)

www.bellaharte.blogspot.co.uk

 

8/19

Sweet Treat Reading Reviews (Promo & Excerpt)

http://strreviews.blogspot.com/

 

8/20

Author Jen Wylie’s Blog (Review)

http://jlwylie.wordpress.com/

 

8/21

Word to Dreams (Guest Post)

http://wordtodreams.blogspot.com

 

8/22

Out There & Stuff (Promo & Excerpt)

www.crystalsoutthere.blogspot.com

 

8/23

BookwormKaseyJo (Promo)

http://bookwormkaseyjo.wordpress.com/

 

8/24

Book Infatuation (Promo)

http://bookinfatuation29.blogspot.com/

8/25

A Book Addict’s Delight (Promo)

http://abookaddictsdelight.tumblr.com/

8/26

(Dearharts.com) UnorthodoxBlog (Guest Post)

http://dearharts.com/UnorthodoxBlog/

8/27

That Bite’s Book Talk Reviews (Promo & Excerpt)

http://www.michelle808205.blogspot.com/

8/28

Angela McPherson (Promo)

http://angelamcphersonblog.wordpress.com

 

Cold Run is live!!

quote2

Three years ago I sat down with a character who had surfaced during one of my writing exercise sessions. A grumpy, disgruntled werewolf, Rick Keller showed up in my notes the night that the organization he used to work for came to get him.

Throughout the next year or so, this short excerpt stayed on my mind. The organization Rick used to work for gathered a name — MONIKER — and a history, namely a genesis in an unnamed office of an unnamed department of the Office of Strategic Services. Rick lost one homeland and gained another, and by the time he started to tell me his story, he had quit all vestiges of secret-agent hood and was retired out in the Vermont wilderness.

For the 2011 National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo), I began writing a novel flavored by some of the research I was doing on World War II, partisan warfare, and combating human trafficking. And today Untold Press releases that novel, Cold Run, available on Amazon and Goodreads.

We have a couple of cool events planned to help celebrate. The first is a giveaway, open from August 3 − 30, that could net you a $20 Amazon gift certificate, or free copies of Cold Run. You can check it out on the Untold Press Web site, or at a Rafflecopter giveaway.

Untold Press has also scheduled a Book Blitz for August 5-10, and a Book Tour from August 15-28. I’ll be Tweeting and Pinging, so stay tuned for more information!

Cold Runsm

 

Excerpt from Cold Run (available on Amazon and Goodreads):

“Keller.”

The man behind the weapon was a ghost, a black tactical suit concealing his form, expensive scope mounted on some sort of rifle. I howled again and lurched at him, brought down short by another surge of the change. I struggled to remain upright but found myself on my knees.

Another man appeared to the side, shining a bright, piercing strobe light at my eyes, disorienting me as I tried to turn to face the new threat, my traitorous body rendering my reactions unreliable.

I scrambled to get my feet under me, but the final throes of the change robbed the ground from me. I flailed my paws against the last remnants of my work clothes, now torn and scattered on the ground.

I heard the explosion of gases from the chamber of the first man’s rifle a split second after the bullet pierced my side. I yelped and fell sideways, trying to relieve the pressure. I rolled to all fours and lunged toward the man, intent on relieving the pain by ripping the screams from his throat.

He shot again and again as I reached him, bowling him over and aiming for the soft pieces exposed to my grip.

Instead of soft viscera beneath my teeth, the next sensation I felt came as intense pain, which slowed and disjointed my movements. I raised my head, snapping and gnarling in vain against the folds of the net suddenly enveloping me. Ignoring the second man–stupid mistake. From the burning the lines of the net raised against my hide, I could tell the wires were laced with silver filaments.

The man with the rifle scrambled away from me. I let him go, rolling on the ground, trying to escape the clutching net.

“He’s a big one.” The second man spoke the words, looking down on me from an impossible height as the pain began to outweigh the panic. I could feel the silver working against my struggling.

“He always was.” The first man hocked and spat. It smelled of Copenhagen. “It’s going to be a bitch dragging him down to the truck.”

The words made no sense. I listened, but could not understand.

“If we let you up, do you promise to be a good doggie?” The man with the rifle prodded the barrel into my side.

I growled, but it was mostly wishful thinking, the energy from the night and the change suddenly sapped by the ensilvered net. I lay on my side and simply lolled.

“Good boy.” The man kept his rifle trained at me as his partner knelt down and fiddled with the edge of the net. Grasping a loop from the edge, he pulled. The line must have been attached in some ingenious way so when he pulled on it, it contracted the net into a small, compact circle around my neck.

“Come on.” The second man jerked at my neck, holding the line as a leash. “I’m not carrying you down this hill in the dark.”

The net continued to burn against my neck as he dragged me to my feet. Head hanging, I padded after him through the snow.

Just keep swimming…

You ever have that moment where you travel from New Jersey to Georgia to go to your husband’s military ball, with a dress carefully packed away that you bought in a NY Macy’s — you get to Georgia, unpack the dress, put it on, do the hair and the shoes and the makeup, link arms with your spouse (who is rocking his dress blues), head to the ball…

…and as you’re walking up the steps and stop to chat with some other couple, what do you see but a woman walking toward you, wearing the SAME DRESS, and — even worse — rocking it harder than you? Oh yeah, totally been there, done that. This happened to me last weekend as well. It wasn’t necessarily a formal dress, but apparently fashionable, attractive, put-together women and I shop at the same place. (I was wearing Converse … she was wearing the right kind of shoes…)

I had this same experience this morning. First, I noticed an article on women veteran entrepreneurs that a LinkedIn contact posted. I checked it out and quickly realized that the writer not only cited an article I had written on the same topic for Task & Purpose, but I apparently wrote half his article for him. At least he cited and linked, but still, I had that sense of wearing the same dress to the ball.

What really topped this morning off, was not ten minutes later, as I was scrolling through my Twitter feed, I came upon something that had me shaking my head and laughing … because what else are you going to do? Remember this graphic that includes the cover of my novel, Cold Run, that is supposed to be released on Saturday?

quote3Here is a closer look…

Cold Runsm

Apparently my publisher and I aren’t the only ones who think this guy makes a pretty good werewolf. One of my Twitter followers retweeted the novel, New Beginnings, which proves, once again, that I have an unerring knack for wearing someone else’s dress to the ball.

Still, what are you going to do? I like my cover — I think that Untold Press did a great job with it. I don’t think anyone reading our two blurbs would mix up which was which (the other woman’s is paranormal romance — mine is paranormal kickass.) So, I would invite everyone to enjoy the view on both of our covers, and this Saturday, think about picking up a copy of Cold Run! Thanks. 😀