Brown River Queen cover art

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Expedition Unknown

Are you intrigued by all things spooky and mysterious? Do you have Internet access, and a couple of ears?

Great! Let me invite you to join myself and the amazing folks of Expedition Unknown, a TAPS family member organization that conducts paranormal research right here in the Mid-South. Expedition Unknown hosts a paranormal talk show every Monday evening at 8:00 PM CST, and I'm their guest tomorrow night.

We'll be talking about EVP phenomena. Ghost hunting. Cryptids. Local legends. We will each share at least one hair-raising, heart-stopping three-fisted tale of terrifying encounters with That Which Man Should Not Disturb! Or I might play the harmonica while drinking a glass of straight Absinthe. You just never know.

To listen online, just click here. The show is hosted on TMV Cafe's website, so if you go in via the website, just click the radio link to get to the show.

I met Stephen and Tanya at MidSouthCon last year. Expedition Unknown has some fascinating EVP clips on their YouTube channel -- the clips are well worth a listen. Especially if you're all alone, on a dark and stormy night...

Remember, the show is live, and it starts at 8:00 PM CST Monday January 20! There's also a chat room you can join, so you can post questions or mock my accent. Hope to see you there!

Bugs Invade the Moon

When it comes to shiny new gadgets, I'm just a big flightless crow. A big flightless crow lacking wings, feathers, hollow bones, or a beak. True, my crow analogy was fatally flawed and ill-advised, but I hope you got my meaning, which is that I have an unseemly and irrational love for things that make beep noises and have at least one USB port.

So I have a new camera. It's not a fancy digital SLR, because we crows are chronically short on pocket cash. Instead, I picked up a Fuji Finepix SL1000, which is turning out to be every bit as much fun as a $1500 Canon.

For instance, the following image of the Moon. I took this from my backyard at around 6:00 AM this morning. I was in my underwear. I realize that detail isn't truly relevant to the quality of the photograph, but I'm told that sex sells.

Anyway, I snapped off this picture without the aid of a tripod. I didn't even steady the camera against a tree.

Not too bad for an off-the-cuff shot! Below are another couple of lunar images. They were taken Friday evening, from my porch, and yes I was wearing pants.

I've seen views of the Moon similar to these before, but only through my telescope. Which suggests a new project for the blog -- I'll build a camera mount for the telescope, and we can probably read the serial numbers on the chassis of the Chinese moon rover. More on that later!

Wait, I promised you a bug. So. Here's a dried cicada skin, shot by the same camera in SuperMacro mode. Cute little devil, isn't he?

Coming Soon

My January 30th blog will feature an audio interview with publisher Raechel Hendersen, owner and prime mover behind Eggplant Literary Productions and Spellbound children's fantasy magazine. You won't want to miss this one, especially if you're a writer. I'll be sure to keep my fat yap shut and let Raechel do most of the talking!

Writing Update

Markhat admonishes me to write faster.
It appears I may finish the new Markhat right on schedule. After I post this blog, work on the second round of edits for The Five Faces, and join my crow brethren in the tree for a bit of squawking and random pecking at a scrap of aluminum foil, I'll start on the new book's final big scene. When it's done, there's the denouement, but those practically write themselves since that's usually the bit that I see first when the idea for the book pops into my head. I see the first draft of The Darker Carnival being done by month's end.

Once the first draft of the new Markhat is done, I'll put it aside for a week while I reboot the Meralda and Mug series. Then I'll devote half of each writing session to beating the first draft of the The Darker Carnival  with a stick. When I'm sure reading The Darker Carnival won't induce nausea, vomiting, or the urge to find a tall overpass, I'll send it off to the Cambrit Street Irregulars, who will beta read the thing.

Meanwhile, the sequel to All the Paths of Shadow will forge ahead. 

The new Mug and Meralda book presents a unique challenge. Will I pitch this one to an agent, submit directly to a publisher, or go it alone and self-publish it?

I love having a publisher. Working with Samhain has been a joy. They provide cover artists, free professional editing, proofreading, marketing, file conversions, a hundred other services without any cost to me whatsoever. Samhain gets me into bookstores around the world and down the block. They're unfailingly professional, and they they get things done. 

If Samhain handled young adult fantasy, I'd send them the Mug and Meralda book in a heartbeat. But they don't, so that's not an option.

On the flip side of the publishing coin, I know enough about ferbling the gizwoks to put out my own Kindle ebook. Let's say I manage to find a great cover artist and enlist the aid of a competent editor -- what's to stop me from putting out the new Mug and Meralda YA book all by myself? Sure, I don't get the marketing engine of a publisher, but the first book has already created a market for the second. 

Oh. The dread phrase 'lots of work, assuming the role of publisher' just rampaged howling through my mind. 

Hmm. Lots to think about. But right now, it's time to squawk at the neighbor's cat. Take care, folks! 


  1. I vote for the new Mug and Meralda book to be done pronto! If you could get a publisher, that would be great - but if you self pub it - oh, so much faster!

  2. Just out of curiosity, what is it that makes the Meralda and Mug series young adult? I may be adult, but I am most certainly not young, and I loved both of the previous efforts.

  3. I'd have to agree ... I'm a sight closer to 50 than 40! Not YA by any standards, and I read a wide range of stuff -- but I love Mug and Meralda.

  4. Truly, I wrote All the Paths of Shadow as a fantasy book, not necessarily as a YA fantasy book. I knew going in there wouldn't be graphic violence, because that didn't fit the lighthearted tome of the story, but it wasn't labelled YA until it was first published, and I guess the label kind of stuck. The next book will feature the same sensibilities, although some kissing may occur. I am glad to hear that people my age like the book too! I'm certainly not a YA, at least physically...

  5. I suppose the youth of Meralda also slants the series toward the YA slot, Black Cat. Seeing a character struggle to find their own place in an adult society, maybe?

    1. I never realized Merlda was considered a YA story either. Shrug. I like it and ill keep reading it even though I ain't even close to Y.

  6. My young adult LOVED Meralda and Mug, but so did I!

    I'm definitely a do-it-yourselfer (plumbing, painting, dentistry) so I say absolutely publish it yourself! You have an artsy-fartsy side to you and I bet you could do a great cover. Or find a graphic design student to help you out. But I also tend to tragically minimize the need for professionals.

    We can't wait for the new Markhat! Type faster!!!

    1. Will do, Kelli! By the way, The Five Faces has a pub date of June 17. And I'm at 86% done with the new Markhat. With any luck, it'll be out around Christmas. If it's bought, of course :)