Friday, May 31, 2013


Coming June 25th from Samhain
So in an effort to keep this BlogSpot fresh and entertaining, I thought I'd start supplementing my own bletherings with interviews of friends and favorite writers.

And since she's got TWO, count 'em TWO new stories releasing in June, I thought I'd kick off with my friend, fellow writer, and sometimes editor Nicole Kimberling.

Nicole is the acquiring editor at Blind Eye Books and she does a regular column for the Jessewave Reviews site. She's also the author of the Bellingham Mystery series, which has got to be one of my favorite series in this genre. However, she's mostly known for her spec fiction work.

If you don't know Nicole, you should. And by way of introduction, here's our interview -- I should probably apologize (or at least excuse) the crazy randomness of the questions, but you probably know by now that that's how I roll. So without further adieu...

I give you Nicole Kimberling.

Your success as one of the best editors in the biz has overshadowed your own writing career. How many books do you have published now -- break it down by genre for us?

Including the 2 forthcoming, I have 13 titles--4 novels and 9 novellas. All the novels are speculative fiction. Turnskin is a standalone. Ghost Star Night and Heir of Starlight are part of the Sea of Stars series. My fourth novel, Happy Snak, is science fiction novel that features a straight female protagonist. (Imagine that!)

The novellas are mostly speculative fiction as well. Hell Cop 1 & 2 and Irregulars are all shared worlds. The Red Thread of Forever Love is a standalone.
And the five titles in the Bellingham Mysteries series are all contemporary stories set in the Pacific Northwest.

What do you tell SF pals who smile pityingly at you when you admit to writing romance? Or do you admit it?

I always admit it. I had enough being cagey about my identity back when I was still in the closet. :)
Actually, I was recently invited to  a science fiction workshop to speak about writing in the digital romance field. So there I was telling these twenty young writers about what I do and enduring my share of smirks and eye rolls when one young lady suddenly broke in and said, "When you talk about writing these stories, your face just lights up."

"It's because I enjoy writing about people and above all I adore love stories," I replied.

"But aren't you embarrassed to write about sex?" she asked. Clearly, her interest had been piqued, but she was shy.

I put on my best game face and said, "Why would I be?"

No one had a very good answer to that.

I firmly believe that the derision heaped upon the romance genre is the result of latent, internalized misogyny. In other words, because it's considered women's fiction it is automatically considered inferior--in much the same way that science fiction is considered inferior by people who write about the contemporary world. But no genre of fiction is more or less valuable than any other genre. There are more and less competent writers. That's all.

I went ahead and shared my theory with these aspiring authors. I found it gratifying to see a few light bulbs go on during the ensuing discussion.

 I know it's kind of like asking which of your children you prefer, but what do you like writing more: mystery or spec fiction?

I think me and mystery must have really hit it off because I've taken to incorporating it into all my fantasy plots. The harder question is do I like spec fic or contemporary more and the answer is: I just don't know. Contemporary stories offer me the opportunity to comment on the minute absurdities of everyday life, which I love to do. Spec fic provides a platform to address social issues in an oblique, non-threatening way. That's important to me as well.

I guess if I were forced to give up one, it would be contemporary because I started writing fantasy in order to seduce my wife and I've got a vested interest in keeping that going.

Is it true your cats are possessed by ancient Sumerian demons?

I don't know if I'd call them ancient. That would imply some wisdom--or at least skill acquired over the centuries. As far as I can tell the demons possessing my cats were born yesterday. Honestly, they are so gullible that they actually believe me when I claim that tuna is brought by the Fish Fairy as a reward for good cats only.

Boxers or briefs? No, seriously. Why should this question be reserved for male authors? Why shouldn't everyone have to answer?

I favor bikinis--the kind with the little stripper hip straps so that my wife can thread dollar bills into them should the mood strike. Unfortunately, she seems to only ever have coins. were an exchange student in Japan, weren't you? What was that like? Have you written a story set in Japan yet?

I went to Japan on a cultural exchange when I was 26. I lived with an amazing, goofy family in Hirosaki for a month, then traveled on my own after that. Probably this trip did more to form my adult identity than anything I'd done before or since. Because I married at 17, I'd never tested myself against the world without a wingman. In Japan, I couldn't read or speak and wasn't allowed to drive. Without my three favorite activities, who would I be?

I didn't bring a dictionary because I thought I'd try harder to learn the language if I couldn't look things up. This, as it turned out, was a stupid idea. However, I did manage to understand basic commands like "sit down" and "eat" also, "sit down and eat." While I was there, I discovered previously unknown personal capacities such as communicating via mime, unerring spotting of English-speakers at train stations, and immunity to fear of mystery food. I returned home with confidence I'd never known and a suitcase full of yaoi manga that I painstakingly translated over the next year.

The translations were terrible and full of mistakes, but I learned a lot about grammar--both Japanese and English.

I set my novella, "The Red Thread of Forever Love," in Aomori Prefecture--the same area where I had my homestay. I loved being able to write about some of the weirder aspects of Japanese culture as I experienced it. For instance, in Red Thread, there is a scene where the protagonist gets in a karaoke-off with a drunk businessman at a bar. This truly happened to me.

I lost. Horribly.

However, part of the magic of fiction is being able to rewrite your own tragic failures as awesome triumphs!

What's the last piece of music you listened to? Did you sing along?

When I Grow Up by Fever Ray. I don't ever sing along to music, which is pretty weird, considering I studied opera for three years. You'd think it would have stuck. Now I only sing to the boys at the restaurant work and only when they're feeling puny.

How did you and the missus meet?

When I was 11, I transferred from public to private school. I was one of only 2 new students admitted that year. During language arts the teacher asked the students to pair off to do some exercise. Because no one knew me, I ended up being forcibly partnered with the other remainder student. You know the one--the smelly boy nobody liked. Seeing me about to experience irrevocable social damage, Dawn jilted her partner and rescued me. She alighted at my desk like an angel who had not yet learned the purpose of hairbrushes. She knew how to draw. I fell instantly in love.

Six months later my family moved thirty miles down the road and I went back to public school. Dawn and I kept up correspondence--which is to say that we mailed each other stories. Mine weren't very good, but they got the job done.

Less than a year after that, on my waterbed, beneath the wooden unicorn headboard that my father made, Dawn kissed me. From that moment forward I devoted all my intellect, strength and resources to ensuring the continuation of physical contact between us.

I don't have a waterbed anymore, though. Too sloshy.

What are you working on now?

Content edits for Astrid Amara's forthcoming alt-Crimean War novel, "Bend Up Every Spirit."
Wait... that's not what I'm supposed to be talking about here is it?

Currently, I'm writing my Irregulars Christmas Coda. That's gotten me thinking about writing another story about Agent Keith Curry. I think the first line is going to be, "Someone put a curse on me."

What do you love most about writing? What do you like least?

The opportunity to communicate complex thoughts to readers is what keeps me pounding away at the computer keys. It's a lonely business, though and I tire of myself easily. That's the hardest thing about writing for me--the lack of direct human contact gets me down after a while. Hence, my keeping of the restaurant cooking gig.

 Have you ever broken a bone? Have you ever broken anyone else's bones? Have you wanted to?

Only my toes, and always during high school gymnastics meets. I've never broken anybody else's bones, either accidentally or on purpose, but it's often required a special effort.

What do you think is the most important thing to remember when creating fully realized main characters?

Giving the character a sense of having a life outside the confines of the pages of the book. What I mean is that a character should have an origin, interests and opinions. He should have a job, rather than just a costume. Even guys who are so rich that they don't need to work pursue dreams--sometimes really crazy ones, like building a personal submersible capable of reaching the bottom of the Mariana Trench. In short, a character needs a goal beyond finding love, otherwise after the last page of the book he will have nothing more to do and will vanish from the imagination of the reader.

What is your most favorite dessert in all the world? Is that eating or making it?

French pâte de fruits--any flavor. Cheap or expensive. I've never tried to make it. I have neither the exactitude nor the utter sobriety required to make candy. I mean, that shit's dangerous! Hot sugar sticks to unprotected skin like napalm. (Probably why it's been deployed as a weapon so often.)

Is there any genre you'd like to tackle but you're kinda sorta afraid?

Romance? :) Seriously, I'm scared of tackling that every single time. That and short stories--any kind. I like at least 20K words to play around with.

Tell us something surprising. Anything. Go on. Surprise us!

When I was 17 I stole my mother-in-law's Volkswagon Rabbit and, in the middle of a three-state blizzard, drove from Colorado to California. My mother-in-law was justifiably angry about the theft. But weirdly, she never made me give the car back.

I really like my mother-in-law.


You can find out more about Nicole and her work -- okay, her work, anyway -- right here and HERE.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Haunted Writer

Creativity is such a weird, unpredictable thing.

Why does a song or staring up at the stars spark that creative impulse? The urge to create...something. Why do ideas lose energy? Why do we wake up in the middle of the night with a bit of dialog or the solution to a plot point?

Why ask why?

Anyway, I've been working on Ill Met By Moonlight. I'm enjoying it, I'm making's slow going because it's painstaking work. I have to constantly check my facts (I almost goofed on a Batman reference the other day). And even more important than the facts: getting the right feel, the right mood, the right voice, the right mindset. Historical fiction is a genre that attracts, even breeds pedants. Writers who will sacrifice plot and character for a chance to show off how much they know about buttons or legal procedures in the 1700s. I don't want to be that writer.

So I'm enjoying the work, enjoying the story, I'm immersed in the period...and suddenly, without warning, into my head pops the idea for a short series of spooky, contemporary novellas.

Huh? Where did that come from? I have no notion, but there it is. Four interconnected novellas following the course of one year in a man's life. Spooky and funny. That was my idea -- and it's not so easy to be funny and spooky because humor undercuts spookiness and spooky...well, it's just hard to write genuinely spooky stuff.

The Haunted...Museum. Hm. No. The Haunted Heart.

Yes. That's it. A man inherits the contents of a creepy, oddball museum. It is his job to catalog and sell the items. But not all the items are that easy to catalog -- or get rid of.

So suddenly I'm working on two stories at once. In the morning I'm working on my spooky contemporary. And in the afternoon I'm working on Ill Met By Moonlight.

Here's a taste of the story that came out of nowhere.

The Haunted Heart: Winter

I didn’t see him see until it was too late.

Even if I had seen him, I’m not sure it would have made a difference. My only thought was getting downstairs and out the front door as fast as possible. It turned out the fastest means was crashing headlong into someone bigger, and letting his momentum send us both hurtling down the staircase.

My…er…companion yelled and cursed all the way down the first flight. Well, in fairness it was one long yelp and a prolonged curse. “Yooouuu’ve gotta be fu-uh-uh-uh-uh-cking kid-ding me!

We landed in a tangle of limbs on the dusty and none-too-plushy carpet. My elbow whanged one final time into the balusters and my head banged down on the floor. I saw stars. Or maybe that was just the dust, which had probably crystallized with age.

“What the hell was that?” moaned someone from the ether.

Good. Question.

What the hell had that been? It sure wasn’t a trick of the light. Though I’d done my best to tell myself that’s exactly what it was – and had kept telling myself that right up until the moment the figure in the mirror had tried to reach through the glass and touch me.

“Sorry about that,” I mumbled. His bare foot was planted in my gut, and I couldn’t blame him when he dug his toes in for leverage before lifting off me. “Oof!”

“What do you think you’re doing running down the stairs in the dark, in the middle of the night?”

I groped for the railing and pulled myself painfully into a sitting position. “I…thought someone was in my room.” Lying was second nature to me by now, but that was a stupid lie. I knew it, the instant the words left my mouth.

404-A – What was his name? Something Murdoch – got to his knees and gaped at me in the dingy light. “Why didn’t you say so?”

“I am saying so.”

We both turned to stare up at the wide open door leading into my rooms. My lamp-lit and noticeably silent rooms.

We looked at each other.

404-A was older than me, bigger than me, shaggier than me. He had a beard and shoulder length black hair. His eyes were dark and sort of hollow looking – that was probably the lack of sleep. He looked like those old posters for Serpico, but he wasn’t a cop. He was a writer of some kind.

And a lousy guitarist. Then again, I wasn’t anyone’s ideal neighbor either. As indicated by current events.

“You think someone’s up there?” He asked me slowly, skeptically.

I weighed a possible visit from the local fuzz, and opted for resident whacko.

“I did. But…maybe I was wrong.”

“Maybe? Maybe? Why don’t we find out?” He was on his feet now, yanking his red plaid flannel bathrobe shut and retying it with a couple of hard, businesslike tugs that vaguely suggested a wish to throttle something. Without waiting to see if I was following or not, he stomped up the flight of stairs. Guiltily, I noticed he was limping.

It was actually amazing either of us hadn’t been seriously injured or even killed in that fall.

“Coming?” he threw over his shoulder.


He muttered something, and not pausing for an answer, disappeared through the doorway.

I admit I waited.

He couldn’t fail to see the mirror first thing. It was as tall as I was, oval, mounted on an ornate ormolu frame. It stood propped against a Chinese black lacquer curio cabinet. The slight angle created the effect of walking up a slanted floor to peer into its silvered surface.

A draft whispered against the back of my neck. I shivered. This old Victorian monstrosity was full of drafts. Drafts and dust. And shadows and creaks. All of them harmless. I shivered again.

 Footsteps squeaked overhead. “You can come in now. There’s nobody up here,” 404-A called at last.

I let out a long breath and jogged up the stairs. The elfin faces carved in the black walnut railing winked and smirked at me as I passed.

I reached the top landing and walked into the jumble sale of my living room. My gaze fell on the mirror first thing, but the surface showed only me, tall and skinny and pale in my Woody Woodpecker boxers. My hair looked like Woody’s too, only blond, not red. Definitely standing on end, whatever the color.

“I guess I dreamed…it,” I said by way of apology.

“First time living alone?” 404-A asked dryly. He was standing right beside the mirror, his own reflection off to the side.

“Ha,” I said. “Hardly.” But come to think of it, he was right. I’d lived at home until college and then after college, I’d lived with Alan. This was my first time completely on my own. “Anyway, sorry about dragging you out of bed and knocking you down the stairs. Are you sure you’re okay?”

I’m fine.” He continued to eye me in a way that seemed a bit clinical.  

Yeah. I got the message. Maybe I had dreamed it. What a relief to realize it was just a nightmare.

If only I slept.

“Come to think of it, you were already on your way up here,” I remembered.

He said bluntly, “I was going to ask you to stop pacing up and down all night. The floorboards creak.”

Oh.  My face warmed at this rude but effective reminder that I wasn’t alone in the world. Not even this dusty and dimly lit corner of the world. “Sorry.” To be honest, I forgot he was even in the building most of the time. He was pretty quiet, other than the occasional fit of guitar picking, and it was just the two of us here at 404 Pitch Pine Lane. It was a big, ramshackle house, and we were neither of us the sociable type.

 I glanced at the mirror again. Just me and the edge of my neighbor’s plaid bathrobe in its shining surface. The reflection of the ceiling chandelier blazed like a sunspot in the center, obliterating most of us and the room we stood in.

I looked more closely. Had something moved in the very back of the reverse room?

404-A glanced down at the mirror and then back at me. He said, “I have to work tomorrow.”

“Sure. I didn’t realize you could hear me.”

He unbent enough to say, “I mostly can’t. Only the floorboards. Mostly at night.”

“I’ll make sure to pace in the other room.”

“Great.” He pushed away from the cabinet and headed for the door. “I’ll let you get back to it.”

His reflection crossed the mirror’s surface, large bare feet, ragged Levi’s beneath the hem of the bathrobe.

“Night,” I said absently. I remembered to ask, “What’s your name again?”

“Murdoch. Kirk Murdoch.”

“Right. Night, Kirk.”

“Goodnight, Flynn.”

I watched the mirrored reflection of the door closing quietly behind him.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

I Owe You an Email!

I think that probably goes without saying.

I am so far behind on...well, pretty much everything. But I've come to the conclusion (and it's kind of a relief) that I am not working much slower than I ever did. In fact, the SO asked yesterday if I was "on" something given the (apparently) frantic speed with which I was "buzzing" around. It's just that there is SO much more to do now. All the time.

And that doesn't, unfortunately, include writing.

But I am writing!

Meanwhile, I thought -- since I'm now six months late on my newsletter (yes, I AM hanging my head in shame) I'd better offer some kind of pathetic excuse explanation of what's going on. Kind of what's going on is a lot of laying groundwork for the future.  Moving forward, I plan on doing about 4 stories a year. I think that's a reasonably sane schedule which allows for quality writing but still takes into account the time needed to handle all the other stuff I now have to consider -- like print collections and audio books and marketing and promotion.

And the plan is to do half of those stories through publishers and half of them through my own JustJoshin imprint. But in order to get on those publisher rosters for next year, I have to write the proposals NOW. It's irritating, I know, when you're waiting for me to write something you can actually read in the near future, but I'm trying to be proactive. I'm trying to build the foundation of a sane life. A sane life in the future, because at the moment...not so much. The proactive phase is BRUTAL.

Like, for example, my typical day involves...figuring out wholesale prices on print books for a Canadian bookseller, responding to an email from a French publisher, finding copies of tax forms for another (now I have two?!) Japanese literary agent, writing back cover copy for the short story print collection -- stopping everything to jot down notes about a series of interlinking novellas about a haunted museum -- dashing into Facebook and Goodreads to say HELLO!!, writing to find out why the last two audio books aren't listed on Amazon yet, finishing final round of edits on short story collection, approving cover art for same, answering quick email from new editor at Entangled...

And before I know it, another day is gone.

And I didn't write a damn thing.

See, that's where I am right now. That's why, as much as I value emails from you all, I'm not getting around to answering them in a timely fashion. Or at all, I fear.

But stuff is happening, I am writing, and here's a list of some of what's on the horizon:

Strange Fortune audio book should be out before the end of this month

The Hell You Say audio book should be out mid-June

Shinshokan has selected Don't Look Back for Japanese translation

The Darkling Thrush, Ghost of a Chance, Winter Kill, and The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks will be translated into French

The proposal for Stranger on the Shore has been accepted by Entangled Books (for 2014 publication)

Man Oh Man: Writing Quality M/M Fiction should be available in print in June

In Sunshine or In Shadow: Collected Short Stories Volume 1 should be available in June (13 stories, including the 5 Petit Morts, a lightly rewritten version of "The French Have a Word for It," and one new exclusive short story called "In Plain Sight")

All that said, I do still plan on completing all the projects I had planned for this year. I could be delusional at this point, but I think we're still...well, I won't say on track, but we're not derailed yet, and that's a good sign!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Character Interview #2: Conlan and Finn from LOVERS AND OTHER STRANGERS

“He’s better now. A lot better,” Con says. We’re sitting in the weathered Adirondack chairs on the long front porch of The Birches, watching Finn, who’s painting. He’s positioned his easel on the green lawn sweeping down to the rocks at the edge of the bright water, and he’s working, absorbed and oblivious to our quiet observation.   “He had us all worried for a while.”


“You mean because he was depressed about Fitch?”


Con nods absently, all his attention on Finn. “He’d have had a hard time with it anyway, but given the circumstances…”


I don’t comment on the circumstances, particularly Con’s role in them. Instead, I say tactfully, “Too many things hitting him at once?”


“He was still recovering from the accident last winter, still vulnerable emotionally and physically, though he’d never agree with that.” Con smiles faintly. “So when it all did finally hit him, it hit him hard.”


“There’s nothing he could have done.” No one knows that better than me.


“True. Guilt isn’t always logical. The fact that Finn was the only person with a valid reason for not noticing what was going on, didn’t matter. From his perspective, he’s the one person who should have known.” The stern lines of Con’s lean, ascetic face ease. “But like I said, he’s better now. He’s sleeping. He’s eating.”


“And he’s painting again.”


Con’s laugh is wry. “Oh yes. He’s painting. Every damn minute of every damn day. The daylight hours, anyway.”


“Do you mind? You’re writing, aren’t you? You had a book due, I thought?”


“No. I don’t mind. I tease him about it, but no. It’s a relief. It’s standard operating procedure for the Barrets.” From inside the house we hear Martha humming as she sets the dining table for the family luncheon.


Con remembers he didn’t answer the rest of my question. “The book got put on hold while Finn was – anyway, now that we’re past all that, I’ll be back to work soon, too.”


“How are Martha and Uncle Thomas and everyone else?”


“It was rough on everyone after the news broke. The publicity was hell. Seal Island was wall-to-wall with reporters and news crews for a few weeks. But things quieted down. Life goes on. Thom’s in Europe this week. And you know Martha, nothing could make her happier than having one of her chicks back in the nest.”


“So you’ve been living at The Birches?”


Con nods. “It was better for Finn. We’ll be moving out to the estate in the fall, and then he’ll come with me when I fly back to England to finish my research.”


Across the lawn, Finn has stopped work and is packing up his paints and easel. He raises a hand to Con and Con, smiling, lifts a hand in reply. We watch Finn cross the grass, walking toward the house. He still has a slight limp, but he no longer needs the cane. He’s thin, but he was always thin. He’s tanned and healthy looking, eyes bright and smile relaxed.


We get the greetings out of the way, Con excuses himself to fetch ice tea for us. It is a very warm day. The sun is hot, despite the cool sea breeze.


“He’s certainly very attentive these days,” I remark.


Finn, scraping at the paint beneath his fingernails, smiles faintly, privately.


“So all is forgiven?”


He looks up at that. “I don’t think I’d have made it through these last months without Con.” He stares out at the sparkling water. “Anyway,” he says at last, “after everything that’s happened, it kind of puts some of the other things in perspective.”


“I suppose so. How’s Paul these days?”


Finn laughs.


“What’s so funny?”


 “Nothing. Paul’s in Paris for an art show. He met a navy lieutenant.”


“So he made a full recovery?” Then Finn’s words sink in. I say slowly, “Did you say a navy lieutenant?”


Finn nods.


“A French naval lieutenant?”


“No. American. Actually, maybe he isn’t a naval lieutenant. I might have got that part wrong. He’s something in the military though. He was over there for some kind of D-day celebration.”


David Bradley?” I ask in alarm.


Finn squints as though gazing into the hazy blue distance of sunlit ocean. “Maybe.” He sounds doubtful. “David something, for sure.”


“Wait,” I say. “Hold everything. That’s definitely wrong. Paul and David Bradley? No. That’s not going to work.”


“Probably not,” agrees Finn. “Most of Paul’s relationships don’t work.”


I am already on my feet and hurrying down the steps. 


Finn watches my departure, puzzled. “Aren’t you staying for lunch?”


“No. I can’t stay.”


“Not even for ice tea? Con’s bringing—”


“Not for anything!” I break into a run.



























Monday, May 6, 2013

I Need to Remember This

In my darkest hours.

Not that I really have so many darkest hours. But then dark is relative, isn't it?

Anyway, I need to remind myself of this moment for the inevitable Woe Iz Moe -- wait, Moi -- moments.

It is 7:15 on a Monday morning.

It is May. It is pouring rain. And the big question today is will I give in to the SO, who wants to go see Iron Man 3, or will I work on the sequel to Ill Met By Moonlight which is due...whenever I finish it.

And the reason I need to remember and focus on this is, because like all people (artists, but especially writers) I imagine that there is really a right answer to this, that someone is keeping score and maybe knocking me down a point or two...

No, that's not the real answer. The real answer is I worked hard to get to this point, this point of doing what I love for a living, and having got here there is a nervous feeling of...why should I get to do what I want for a living? I am only too conscious of the fact that most people don't get to do what they want for a living. (And how messed up in life is that?) And if they do get to do what they want, they can't actually earn a living.

None of which changes the fact that I am drinking Irish coffee while the rain pours down and the big question of the day is do I need to focus on the work I love or do I get to -- need to -- take a day off?

Remember this, Josh. Remember this moment. It is life. The very life of life.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

You are HERE

Actually, me is here.

I have to admit things are not quite working out the way I anticipated post-sabbatical.

I'm not complaining -- and so far neither are most readers (thank you for your consideration! as we say in the business) -- but my writing schedule is definitely not turning out the way I'd planned.

So here's where we currently stand:

Man Oh Man: Writing Quality M/M Fiction is now in its second round of edits. After this, it goes to layout and formatting. I hope to have the print edition out in June. The ebook is going to be very complicated to try to layout and format -- plus I prefer my How To books in print -- so we don't have a release date on a digital edition. There will eventually be one, that's pretty much all I can tell you.

Stranger on the Shore is about to make the proposal rounds. I've written three chapters and I love the story (it's classic, old fashioned, romantic suspense with an M/M twist). I don't see that coming out before next year. Or maybe I don't want to see it coming out before next year. 

"In Plain Sight." Yes, I know. You're scratching your heads over that one. This is a just-completed original story going into a print collection of my shorter works. That collection will also include my five Petit Mort stories, so it's going to be a nice, fat little volume with one completely new story.

Here's a taste of the story:

Nash did not believe in love at first sight.

He wasn’t sure he believed in love at all. He believed in lust. He believed in sex. He believed in a lot of things. Friendship, companionship, partnership. But none of those things worked long distance. And two thousand miles was, by any reckoning, long distance.

So there really wasn’t any option here. He had come to Bear Lake County, Idaho to conduct a road school, a week long FBI compressed training course for the local police department, and he’d tacked on another two days because…because he hadn’t wanted to leave. But time was up and Nash was on his way home to Quantico. Or he would be in a couple of minutes. In a couple of minutes he’d board his plane. They were announcing the boarding for Flight 2359 right now.

But first he had to say goodbye.

He looked at Glen – Lt. Glen Harlow of the Montpelier Police Department -- and Glen, seeming to feel his gaze, looked up and stared right back at Nash. His eyes were gray. The color of smoke or a stormy sky. He didn’t smile. The corner of his mouth twitched, but it wasn’t a smile. Wasn’t even a real try at a smile. They had smiled about a lot of things during the past week, laughed more than Nash could remember laughing in years. But there was nothing to laugh about now.

The plan is to have that collection out in (roughly) a week. Or so.

Then I'm going to complete Ill Met By Moonlight, which is the sequel to This Rough Magic.

And then, THEN I plan to tackle The Boy With The Painful Tattoo. You've probably noticed that I am working my way back to doing longer stories. As much as I wanted to dive right into Boy, I felt daunted by the length and complexity of the story. I don't seem to have gotten back my attention span yet, so now I'm easing into it.

So that's it. That's where we are. The bad news is my original schedule is in bits and flying in the breeze. The good news is, I'm writing steadily now and making progress -- and I'm feeling very good about the work again.