Monthly Archives: January 2015

WIP–Valentine Disruptions

Just a few of the words from today. Diana and Will were supposed to get away from the kids on a much-needed Valentine’s date. But, well, stuff happened.


Two hours later, Diana followed Will up the draw, Brenda’s team fanning out to the sides with weapons locked and loaded. Will concentrated on his tablet’s tracking device while Diana and Brenda handled the comealongs for both the X-57 and the Disruption Machine. Diana also monitored the local transmission networks. She’d tried to send a personal message to Chen but the EMP, while localized, had taken down the Mei-lein networks in this section of Northstar. She had to settle for text over voice and hope that Chen picked up the careful nuances.

Someone will be out to check soon. They had to get to the X-57 and the Disruption Machine before Mei-lein. Diana wanted that data. For safety’s sake, they needed to reach the X-57 before anyone else did. The war machine still carried netspiders and despite Will’s best effort to teach it otherwise, its programming often reverted to defensive mode when deployed in capture and retrieve mode. Usually their contracts explicitly stated that either Will or Diana needed to be on the retrieval team.

But this wasn’t a retrieval job, and if there was one thing that Diana knew about how Chen Ti?rén thought, she knew that he wouldn’t overlook the sudden disruption of a local network. Nor would he let the presence of a Landreth war machine stop him from claiming the prize that the Disruption Machine represented. Besides the stated multi-figure award for capture, there was the information that this device must be carrying. She wanted that information for Do It Right. Not to give away to Iron Man Chen.

“Halt,” Will said as his tablet pinged loudly. He scowled. “It’s up there.” He pointed to the top of the twenty-foot cliff they stood under.

Brenda signed to the Security team. They moved in. “We can climb this cliff.”

“No.” Will scowled. “We’ve got to go around. The X-57 got damaged in the capture. I don’t trust it not to attack anyone but me and Diana, and we don’t dare pop up abruptly. We’ve got to backtrack and come at it on the level.”

“We can do that,” Brenda said.

One of the local networks taken out by the EMP quivered back into life. Diana ignored Will and Brenda as she traced the connection.

“Got to do it fast,” she said, interrupting Will. “Chen himself is on the way out to investigate. I’d say we weren’t the only one who IDed that Disruption Machine trace.”

“Okay, it’s a good thing we’re still in shape,” Will sighed. “Let’s go. Diana, can you com with Chen yet?”

She shook her head. “Not down here.”

“Take point,” Brenda told Red Morley. “Let’s hustle. Will, Di, let’s have you in the middle.”

“You’ll need us in front as we get close.”

“Not sticking you out there until then,” Brenda said flatly. “We’ve got to go, then let’s get going.”

Will nodded. Red wheeled, Brenda at his side. Diana and Will fell in behind Brenda and they headed back down the draw at a jog trot, Security tight around them.

“We’ve got a big problem,” Will said to Diana on their private com. “The X-57’s stats are veering toward rogue. That EMP stripped out some of my most recent programming.”

“How much have we lost?” God, she hoped it hadn’t reverted completely to the old Landreth structures.

“Won’t know until I get my hands on it. I’m thinking the crash didn’t help things, either.” He switched coms. “Brenda. Let’s go up here.” He waved at the steep hillside.

Diana looked at it and groaned inside as Brenda and Red smoothly swung around to angle up the slope. Hope my bum knee can keep up. Fortunately, Brenda slowed the pace and she didn’t twist her leg too badly as they climbed.

Her com buzzed as they reached the top. Diana checked her messages. One from her mother, another from Chen. She took Chen’s message.

Advice taken. Will follow your direction. Good. He still remembered her discreet codes from Vietnam. She’d referred back to the incident with failed Landreth chips which had turned bioremediation bots into netspiders.

But that message had come from too close a location for her comfort.

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Speaking of books…

I’m up at the eTreasures blog today, talking about Seeking Shelter. It had some interesting influences.

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The days are just packed…

Things have been rather hectic of late, one could say. While the trip to Eugene weekend before last was fun, and I got to enjoy a night of the String Cheese Incident, something kicked off both my asthma and my irritable bowel syndrome. I’m blaming a known allergen that snuck in under the radar of my usually good scans, along with air inversions and cleaners in the hotel. Hubby commented on noticing that his lungs felt irritated, too.  Still, we had a good family outing as the son joined us.


Anyway. Got back home on Tuesday, and been scrambling ever since then.

So various bits and pieces of information. I’m now up to three things coming out this year from publishers who aren’t me. Woohoo. Hybrid publishing rocks. So what are they?

First, my novella Seeking Shelter at the End of the World is out from eTreasures Publishing. It’s supposed to appear in Amazon sooner or later, but hasn’t yet.

Rianna, one of the genetically engineered weather monitoring modelers known as Canaries, has been cast out by the Canaries and is hunted by those who once protected her and who have murdered her boyfriend. In a world threatened by toxic Clouds, will Rianna be able to find love and safety? 

Next, my story “Consistency” will be out in First Contact Cafe, a shared world anthology edited by Phyllis Irene Radford, on February 1st. Link is to Amazon preorders.

There are rules for first contact with aliens. And a place to meet aliens where the rules are enforced. Simple things like avoiding smelly bodily emissions, even if your race considers them a compliment, and complicated things like not asking another race if they are edible.
Feel free to read up on the rules of the First Contact Cafe, then pull up a bar stool, or a pool of sludge, have a drink of beer or get high on methane, and plan your next trade deal, a compelling con, or find a mate compatible to your DNA. But whatever you do, don’t piss off the bartender. Your prosperity, or your demise belongs in her hands. She owns the First Contact Café, and your soul.

And finally (for now), my story “mist-in-the-woods” will be coming out in Tales from an Alien Campfire, an anthology from the Campcon Writers and edited by Phyllis Irene Radford, in March. No links there yet.

There’s at least one other story in the works, and another book. So my publishing 2015 is already off to a good start.

On the self-publishing front, I just finished putting this book together:


It’s more of a novelette than a novella, and I haven’t written the blurb yet, which is why I haven’t posted it. Brain tired tonight. Anyway, it’s a Bess Fielding story, kind of a warmup to Netwalk’s Children. Which I am starting. Real. Soon. Now. After I write “Valentine Disruptions,” which is going to be the last Diana and Will story, having them chasing the Disruption Machine around on what was supposed to be Parents’ Night Out over Valentine’s.

I’ve got another story on deck for February, or maybe I’ll make it a March pub.

I am pretty happy with this little novella from a production point of view. I think I’m getting the hang of prepping a MS in Word through final edits, then moving it over to Scrivener for the final pieces. Gimp was reasonably kind to me today, only throwing one monkey wrench into the layout, and while I’m not completely happy with the cover the fact that I didn’t have to completely wrestle it into submission is a good thing. The back matter really should have a cut from “Valentine Disruptions” in it but that’s still pretty rough. I’ll see how I feel about it tomorrow.

Anyway, after the making of ebook above, I went to the doctor for a regular checkup, picked up Mocha’s portable shed for Wallowa County life (i.e., heavy turnout blanket with detachable neck) from the mailbox, then came home and pinned the monster front window curtains. This set–for the two big front windows–is slightly bigger than the two big side windows. But I got the pinning done. I’ll sew them tomorrow, then prepare to attack the big side window curtains.

So yeah. Quiet from me right now is a good thing because it means I’m doing a lot of stuff. I haven’t talked about hauling a ton of sand over to the shared garden on the Coast (Saturday), or Mocha’s progress (good but she’s stiff on that right side. Time for another appointment).

The days are just packed right now. And that’s without starting to do a lot of actual packing of things. Yet.

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Award eligibility for 2014

I guess I should mention this stuff. Granted, I’m kind of bad at posting these sorts of things, so I need to get better at doing it. With that, here’s my short list of Things Eligible:

“J.C. the Ski Bum” from Fantasy Scroll Magazine. Hey, don’t just read the story, read and nominate the mag. Iulian’s doing great stuff here.

“Live Free or Die” in Trust and Treachery, an anthology edited by Day Al-Mohamed and Meriah Crawford. Another good anthology with a great cover.

On the self-pub front, I’ve got several, but the ones that I really like and hope to see get something are these two:

Alien Savvy, linked here to Amazon (available both in Kindle and from CreateSpace) but also available through Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and Google Play

Winter Shadows, linked here to Amazon as the most reliable source (this is the illustrated version). It’s also available as part of Life in the Shadows: Diana and Will, which could also be worthwhile. Christmas Shadows, also in the above-referenced Life in the Shadows, is somewhat fun as well.

Both Alien Savvy and “Christmas Shadows” have spent some time on Amazon top 100 sublists. Just sayin’.

Here endeth the shilling. There will be more stuff for 2015 as I already have a short story and novella coming out, potentially two more short stories, and probably even more than that. Onward.


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The remodel continues

At last I’ve got some time to write about the latest in the Farpoint remodel. We went up to Enterprise over New Year’s, and oh my, what did we find?


Floors. Lovely, glorious floors in the kitchen and living room. The tiles we hauled up in December have been laid down, and we hauled more tiles up on this trip to finish off the bathroom, utility hallway, and spare bedroom. Those are commercial vinyl tiles in white and brownish-gray tan flecks. Durable, inexpensive, and easy to maintain.

We also found this:


Sinks, counter and cabinet, oh my! We wanted to keep the old steel sink, draining board, and drawers console. It’s cool and the sink is big and deep. But. There’s only one sink. Rather than beat the bushes trying to find a double console (and pay the outrageous likely price), we decided to put in a second sink. Our lovely contractor managed to find the space to accommodate not just a second sink but a larger second sink, so I got a nice deep one. Then I picked out matching Delta faucets, big and tall to accommodate things like canning kettles easily, plus the new sink has a sprayer. The cabinet maintains the utilitarian style of the house and closets, and the counters…well, I failed to take a close picture of them. But they’re pretty. Really, they are. All vinyl, because…the theme of this house is utilitarian. With occasional touches.

Really, the floors have been our big holdup on getting work done at Farpoint. Now we can paint, hang curtains, and start organizing stuff. So we painted. Hubby got most of the living room primed, and I painted my office.


I think I’m going to put a four-inch band where the colors meet, and stencil something as well. If I get really crazy, I’ll do something further with the closets.

Our time wasn’t all about work, though. We knocked off on one day and drove up to Wallowa Lake.


No ice yet. But we saw deer, including bucks still running with a herd of does. Big bucks with four point antlers on each side.

The second day, we drove up north near Flora, and stopped at the Joseph Canyon viewpoint.


And I am really, truly stoked about our Dakota truck. For the second month in a row it hauled a heavy load of tile against a stiff headwind with wintry conditions and still made semi-decent mileage for a big V-8 from 1999. Plus it handles very, very nicely in the wind. Even the Subaru gets buffeted around when facing winter gusts roaring down the Great Wind Tunnel of the Northwest. But the Dakota? A few wiggles, but nothing more. I swear that big little truck just hunkers down and goes. Yeah, I’d like better gas mileage, but I don’t feel like paying the huge prices it would take to get a truck capable of pulling a horse trailer with good gas mileage. Or necessarily make any more compromises on the power and stability end of things.

This part of the remodel getting finished means that we can wrap up the activities known as “cleaning up the place” and move on to “moving stuff in so we’re not camping out.” OMG, the time is almost here.

Our final discovery was that the little retro table that we asked for as part of the purchase fits quite nicely in the now-opened-up kitchen.


That area where the table is? Used to be where the refrigerator lived, next to a wall. We were concerned about that heat register sticking out, but putting the kitchen table right there takes care of that issue. Plus we can now sit at the kitchen table and look outside. It can be moved around to deal with big cooking projects.

Oh, this is going to be so cool. Happy sigh.

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The time is flying by

Supposedly I’m taking a break from writing. As I figured out this week, what my brain interpreted that as being was a break from fiction writing. I’ve been noodling around on a competition essay for a creative nonfiction contest, and two three other want-to-enters lined up, all with deadlines coming up fast. Stuff’s a roiling but we’ll see if I do it.

Add to that the desire to scribble something in the Disruption Chronicles for Valentine’s Day–something like Diana and Will chasing the Disruption Machine around while trying to have a date night away from the kids. I’ve been thinking about it.

The other thing I’ve done is make out a writing plan, which has been incorporated into a production calendar for the year. Which I then put on the Calendar Wall, which ain’t gonna work.

Oh well. I’ll move it, and pack away the whiteboards. Need to be doing that in four months anyway.

But before I talk about Farpoint, I do want to share this. I’ve decided what I am writing this year. All three books need rough synopses, and I think I’m going to start creating a page for each book, with ongoing pages added. The website needs work, badly, but I’ll get it done.

These are the big projects:

Netwalk’s Children–the third big book in the Netwalk Sequence, about Melanie’s daughter Bess becoming aware of just how much a threat Gizmo can be–while Melanie reconciles with her brother Drew, they become aware that their mother Diana is becoming a threat, and Sarah starts building alliances with Bess and Will.

Welcome to Klone Lane–A contemporary Western scientifical romance, with a tribute to Mary Shelley and Baron Frankenstein.

Bearing Witness–Weird West AU, may or may not be in the same world as my Peter McLoughlin stories (“Damned if You Do, Damned if You Don’t, Gears and Levers 1, Sky Warrior Press). Missionary in the Oregon Territory breaks an oath to not use mechanical implements on the land by using a horse-drawn sickle bar to harvest hay. Magic happens. All is not as it seems.

Children Left Behind–Memoir of ten years spent teaching middle school special education in a low-income rural school during the time of No Child Left Behind’s rise and fall. I’m not particularly interested in making this one nasty and venomous, which means it probably doesn’t have a lot of commercial interest. Probably a self-pub but I may try to sell parts of it as essays, which may delay the actual publication.

I figure that Children will probably be the biggest project, but even at that it’s going to be a shorter one. Klone Lane and Witness I intend to keep to novella length. I want to have Children ready for Worldcon release, Klone Lane for around Halloween, and Witness early next year. I’m kind of wanting to play around with the mix of spec fic and Westerns because people seem to like that sort of work and well, hey, it’s a good time for it.

Besides that, I plan to write the aforementioned competition essays, plus write some spec short stories. I am also going to aim to have self-published pieces out for Valentines, Mother’s Day, and Solstice. Additionally, I’m writing some further self-pubbed Netwalk Sequence short pieces as part of the Disruption Chronicles.

There’s also going to be two omnibus editions coming out. One is a Netwalk Sequence omnibus which includes the story I’m hopefully going to get my rear together and get thrown up on line in the next two weeks–“Of Archangels and Fuzzy Green Mascots.” In another form, it earned an Honorable Mention in Writers of the Future. I’ll pair it with my WotF SemiFinalist story that no editor wants to buy because it’s too long, “Tranquility Freeriders.” Both are Bess stories and they’ll add to the prep for what I’m now thinking will be the final book in the Sequence, Netwalking Space.

The other omnibus will be at an earlier part of the Sequence, and will be about the Disruptions that I refer to in Netwalk and Netwalker Uprising. Some of the stories for The Disruption Chronicles are already written, but I still need to create a few more.

And none of this even touches the stuff I’m selling that I’m not publishing on my own. I have one story coming out in February, in First Contact Cafe from Sky Warrior Press. I most likely have two more coming out as well, and then supposedly I’m supposed to have a book coming out from a small press. Yeah, right, I’ll believe it when I see it (relations are at that stage right now). I’m hoping to sell some more short stories as well as creative nonfiction works in the coming year, and I’m planning some queries to various small newspapers for clips/exposure/drumming up freelance writing gigs in NE Oregon sort of things.

Dang. Not enough time or space left to write about remodeling at Farpoint. Maybe next time. I promise it won’t be so long. And then Mocha needs a blog and updates for her fans as well.

Need to be more diligent with this. 2015 is going to be an intense year. Come along for the ride.

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