An Interview with Linda Maye Adams – Short Flights Bundle Author

We’re back with another author interview today, this time with Short Flights bundle contributor, Linda Maye Adams. Linda lives in Northern Virginia, and enjoys writing science fiction, fantasy, and mystery, particularly military sci-fi, drawing on her own background and experiences. She keeps a website at lindamayeadams.com if you’d like to learn more.

You know, I sent all the authors the same batch of questions and asked them to choose a few and answer them, so I’m really enjoying finding out which ones different authors have chosen to answer. I hope you are, too! Now, let’s see what Linda has to say…

SDR:  Tell us a little about the story you have in the Short Flights bundle.

LMA: My short story is called “Watcher Ghost.” Hope Delgado was recruited by GALCOM, a space military command, because she is the only person who can see and talk to alien ghosts. She is called to an older space station because the ghost haunting it has become violent and she has little time to figure out what he’s trying to tell her.

SDR: I absolutely love the idea of this story! Now, what’s your current writing project? How do you feel about it right this minute?

LMA: It’s the third book in the GALCOM Universe series, called Cursed Planet. Hope Delgado’s on a planet drop to assist Alien Affairs with a mediation over a ghost. But the aliens are hostile to humans and they are difficult to communicate with. I’ve been embracing my nerd side with this one big time—we have zero-gravity, meteorites, and even an aurora. So a lot of fun playing around with the cool side of science.

SDR: Do you remember what sparked the idea for your story in the Short Flights bundle? What was it?

LMA: I was working on the first book in the GALCOM Universe series, Crying Planet, and saw an anthology call. It had just hit me that Crying Planet was actually a series, so I gravitated straight into a short story with the same character for the call. The idea was a haunted space station. The bug sensors came into this story first, so I was adding them in the novel. I think I’ll have one of them floating by in zero-g in my newest story.

SDR: I’m always interested to hear how other writers work. Are you a planner/outliner/architect or a pantser/gardener/discovery writer?

LMA: I’m a pantser. It’s both terrifying and exhilarating to start a story because I truly have no idea what’s going to happen next. I have to write it to find out. It’s kind of like sailors in tall ships going out on the sea with only a general idea of where they’re going and then they discover the island with the lost treasure and gets caught in a nasty storm that hadn’t been there five minutes ago. It’s always an adventure.

SDR: As a fellow pantser, I understand. :)

Do you think there were early influences as a reader that have guided the stories you create as a writer? What were they?

LMA: When I was growing up, there wasn’t much for girls unless it was a romance or Nancy Drew. I liked reading science fiction and adventures, and yet, if there was a girl in the story, she was usually wallpaper. The guys always got the adventures, and the girl got to be rescued. And then I saw Star Trek and Uhura on the bridge in this important and visible role. Even though she didn’t have many adventures, it was a lot more than what I was seeing at the time. So I write about characters I want to see, having adventures.

SDR: What’s the most challenging thing about being a writer in 2018? And what’s the best thing?

LMA: The most challenging thing is discoverability. There’s a lot of books out there, and it’s hard being found in the sea of them. I want to write full time eventually—have always wanted to—but discoverability is happening at its own speed.

The best thing? I can write books about women having adventures and no one’s going to reject them as not being marketable based on an executive’s fear of the risk. Indie really has opened a lot of doors, and places like Bundle Rabbit offer so much exposure.

SDR: Tell us about your other works, projects, publications, and what’s on the horizon next. This is the shameless self-promotion portion of the interview. :)

LMA: I wrote a memoir on what Desert Storm was like, which is currently in a Rabbit Bundle called Remembering Warriors, along with a lot of other great works. Though I confess that adventures are fiction are sooo much better than real-life ones! I also have my GALCOM Universe series, which includes the first book, Crying Planet. That’s about giant yellow alien slugs who are shipping the ghost population to other planets. The second book in the series is Lonely Planet, with a ghost spaceship that collides with the GALCOM space cruiser. It’s up to Hope to figure out how to save the ship. It’s just so much fun having a heroine save the day. I also have a new fantasy short story up called “Dark, From the Sea,” and I bet you never knew the real reason lighthouses exist…

Readers can find more of my writing on my website: http://lindamayeadams.com

SDR: Thanks so much for stopping by and chatting with us, Linda!

The Short Flights bundle from BundleRabbit is available now across many online platforms. Along with Linda’s story, you’ll find nine more single stories and five full collections in the bundle, enough short fiction to keep you reading for a while! At just $4.99, it’s a real steal, so don’t miss it.

Still more interviews to come!

An Interview with Michael Jasper – Short Flights Bundle Author

Today on the blog, we have an interview with Michael Jasper, another author featured in the Short Flights bundle. Mike lives in North Carolina, and “is fascinated with exploring the places where the normal meets the strange.” He should feel right at home on my blog. ;)

SDR: I’m asking everyone the same question to start, so please tell us a little about the story you have in the Short Flights bundle.

MJ: My story is called “Finder,” and it’s the first appearance of my dynamic duo, Bim and Hanky J. These guys have known each other almost all their lives, and now that they’re in their early 40s, they’re starting to find some success with their private-investigation company, Finders, Inc. While Hank is the cut-and-dry fellow who has an unquenchable desire to rescue missing people, Bim is the heavy-set slacker who has a special gift for connecting to people that truly makes Finders, Inc. successful. I’ll let folks read the story to find out how his (somewhat disturbing and gross) gift works. I’ve taken these two characters and expanded their situation into a “slightly paranormal mystery” series called the Finder Team, where Bim and Hank and the rest of their ragtag group solve mysteries and find lost souls in the mountains of western North Carolina, and I’m having a blast telling their stories. The second Finder Team novel, Lost & Finders, is currently underway, and should be done very soon.

SDR: Tell us where you like to write; describe your current writing workspace(s).

MJ: We live in a small log cabin in the North Carolina mountains between the small towns of Boone and Blowing Rock, and my work office and writing office are one and the same: I get exactly half of the loft above our living room and kitchen. I have a combination sitting/standing desk for when I’m doing my day job (I work from home as a technical writer for a software company) and when I’m working on the business side of my fiction writing and publishing gigs. But I usually do most of my fiction writing in my comfy recliner up in the loft, close enough to the window so I can see the outside world (right now, a mid-March snow is softly falling out there), but not too close that I get distracted.

Interestingly, I used to be solely an early-morning writer, but lately I’ve started cracking open the laptop at the end of the day, just to fiddle around with my current project, and I end up writing a short scene or untangling a twisty plot issue, and I’ve been doing that writing work away from my usual writing space, downstairs and usually with my wife and kids around me. I think a change of pace is always good for writers, just to shake things up and to keep us from getting into a rut.

SDR: What’s your current writing project? How do you feel about it right this minute?

MJ: I mentioned Lost & Finders earlier, and it’s the second book in my Finder Team series after Finders, Inc. This book takes place about four months after the first book, but it’s taken me nearly four years to write! I’ve developed a sort of love-hate relationship with it, and I actually didn’t even touch it for over a year because it was frustrating me. So I worked on other projects, but I kept coming back to it. Just recently I figured out what the book was really about, and I am now in the process of finishing it up. I think that it will be one of my favorite creations when all is said and done, just because I struggled so much with it and – more importantly – I learned so much in the process of writing it.

SDR: So you’ve written at least one set of series characters. What’s the appeal of series for you?

MJ: I ended up writing a trio of series by accident, mainly because I kept wondering what those characters were up to lately. My first series, Contagious Magic, ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, so I had no choice but to keep going with book two (eventually!) and then hit book three as well. My other two series, Finder Team and Family Pack, had some interesting side-roads I wanted to take with the various characters in book two, and I’ve been dreaming about a book three where both of those series converge into this nifty crossover event. I look at a series like a really good premium cable TV series, where you can really dive deep with the characters and show them growing and changing as time passes, even more than you can in a single novel. You also get to tell bigger and bigger stories. It’s a lot of fun, and I’m enjoying the learning process.

SDR: Are you a planner/outliner/architect or a pantser/gardener/discovery writer?

MJ: In most of my novels I’ve done serious outlines, which always made the actually day-to-day writing much easier (in most cases!). But lately I’ve been pushing back against detailed outlines and just telling myself the story as I write. It’s scarier that way, and it can lead to a long block of unproductive days if you’re not careful, but I think the stories are always better. I kind of like the risk (if you can call it that) of writing by the seat of my pants.

SDR: As a “discovery writer” myself, I understand (and appreciate) that risk! Now, to finish up, tell us about your other works, projects, publications, and what’s on the horizon next. This is the shameless self-promotion portion of the interview! 

MJ: I’m coming off a year where I more or less had to take a break from fiction writing, because I’d just started a new and very challenging job (as a technical writer at a software company), which I really love. But the job required all of my brain-power and left me a pretty drained, so I couldn’t think about writing fiction when I wasn’t working. But now I’ve got a year under my belt at the new job and I’m finally able to scratch that fiction itch that I couldn’t reach for a long while. So I’m blasting away on my second Finder Team novel and planning out that Finder Team-Family Pack crossover (paranormal private eyes meet a father and daughter who are also werewolves; they fight crime!).

Also, the graphic novel I wrote and my artist friend Niki Smith illustrated was recently optioned for the movies, which has motivated me to start work on Book 2 of that series (the first book was 9 issues, and almost 200 pages of graphic novel adventure). And I’ve got an idea or two for a screenplay. For 2018, I’m planning on publishing my second short-story collection, UnWrecked Tales in April or May, and Lost & Finders comes out in June. Which means I should probably end this interview and get back to my writing. In the meantime, you can follow my writing at http://michaeljasper.net, and keep up with my publishing company at http://UnWreckedPress.com. Thanks!

SDR: Thanks for stopping by and chatting with us, Mike!

The Short Flights bundle from BundleRabbit is available now across many online platforms. Along with Kate’s story, you’ll find nine more single stories and five full collections in the bundle, enough short fiction to keep you reading for a while! At just $4.99, it’s a real steal, so don’t miss it.

We have more interviews coming soon, so stay tuned!

An Interview With Kate MacLeod – Short Flights Bundle Author

Our next Short Flights interview author is Kate MacLeod (whom I already love because I think we’re kindred spirits–half of her answers could have been written by me!). Kate lives in Minnesota and keeps a website at https://www.katemacleod.net/, where you can find her social media information and sign up for her newsletter.

 SDR: Kate, tell us a little about the story you have in the Short Flights bundle.

KM: “Unsafe, Unsound” is a western weird tale of a family on the edge of civilization who catch a glimpse of the other layers beyond this world. It’s told in multiple points of view because each character has an entirely different experience. For a long time it was the darkest thing I ever wrote.

SDR: I love hearing about where other writers write, so could you describe your current writing workspace?

KM: I have a treadmill desk set in a bay window so it’s almost like walking outside while I type or dictate. I need lots of sun and fresh air when I make the words.

SDR: Do you remember what sparked the idea for “Unsafe, Unsound”? What was it?

KM: This was actually the rare instance where I used something from a dream. I had recently moved from a heavily populated neighborhood to one at the edge of the suburbs, surrounded by corn fields and dairy farms. In my dream I had the image of a man walking up my dirt road in the light of the full moon and I just knew that there was something wrong with him. I couldn’t get the image out of my head and had to know what his story was.

SDR: I’m always surprised when some people say they don’t enjoy short stories, so I’m asking writers, why do you write short fiction? Love, necessity, marketability, or something else?

KM: I love short fiction! My reading time is half fiction magazines and anthologies and half novels. As a writer I get story ideas that work best at some specific length and I don’t try to wrestle with that, I just let it be the length it is.

SDR: What’s the most perfect short story you’ve ever read?

KM: It’s either “The Dead” by James Joyce or “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner. Don’t make me choose between the two!

SDR: All right, we’ll change the subject. :) Have you written any series characters? What’s their appeal for you?

KM: I’m writing my first series character now. I wrote her first book as a standalone but loved her character so much I had to go back and continue her story. The Scout Shannon books are young adult science fiction and I loved the idea of slowly expanding her awareness of her world, planetary system, and galaxy around her as she grows into it. Plus she has two dogs, who are thinly fictionalized versions of my dogs, and I love writing about them!

SDR: Do you prefer music, silence, or some other noise in the background when you write? If music, what kind?

KM: I like music but I get easily distracted by lyrics so when I’m writing it’s all instrumentals, and generally movie soundtracks. The last novel I wrote I had the soundtrack to “King Arthur” on repeat. Currently it’s “Blade Runner 2049”.

SDR: I also love movie soundtracks for writing music–and also video game soundtracks! You should give some of those a try, too (Assassin’s Creed 2 and Halo are great).

Now, to finish up, tell us about your other works, projects, publications, and what’s on the horizon next. This is the shameless self-promotion portion of the interview.  :)

KM: I’m currently halfway through a young adult science fiction series called The Travels of Scout Shannon. Book 3 of 6, Among Treacherous Stars, just came out on Tuesday. In April I have short stories that will appear in both Analog and Mythic Delirium, which is huge for me!

SDR: Thanks for stopping by and chatting with us, Kate!

The Short Flights bundle from BundleRabbit is available now across many online platforms. Along with Kate’s story, you’ll find nine more single stories and five full collections in the bundle, enough short fiction to keep you reading for a while! At just $4.99, it’s a real steal, so don’t miss it.

We have more interviews coming soon, so stay tuned!

An Interview with Harvey Stanbrough – Short Flights Bundle Author

I’ve asked some of the authors included in the Short Flights (of the Imagination) Bundle to drop by and answer a few questions. I enjoy hearing about how other writers work and think, don’t you? I sent along twenty-odd questions to each writer and asked them to answer a handful they liked.

So first up is multi-genre author Harvey Stanbrough, who keeps a website at harveystanbrough.com. Harvey is no stranger to bundling, and his collection, S, F & H is part of Short Flights…but here, I’ll let him tell you about it…

SDR: Tell us a little about the story you have in the Short Flights bundle.

HS: It’s actually a 10-story collection. This collection of ten short stories spans science fiction and science fantasy with a dash of horror tossed in for good luck. Firefighters are trapped in a burning house, an alien crashes a teen party, and other aliens visit a café in a small town. There’s a robot on a robot horse, a game show called Suicide Watch, and a viral outbreak that wipes out much of humanity. Four other stories round out the ten with more aliens, humor and horror.

SDR: So you’ve got lots of characters to choose from for this next question. Imagine you’ve been kidnapped or trapped by a natural disaster. Which of your own characters (from any work) would you want to rescue you? Why?

HS: Wes Crowley (from my 10-novel Wes Crowley series) because he’s honest, hard, and relentless.

SDR: Describe your current writing workspace(s).

HS: Actually, I write on a dedicated writing computer (no Internet) in The Adobe Hovel, a shed about 200 feet from my house.

SDR: What are you currently working on out in your shed? How do you feel about it right this minute?

HS: A new novel in a pulp-noir detective series. Stern Talbot, P.I.—The Early Years: The Case of the Slashed-Up Secretary. I feel good about it. It’s rolling right along. I usually get around 3000 to 4000 words done on it per day.

SDR: Why do you write short fiction? Love, necessity, marketability, or something else?

HS: I like the challenge of the short form. I have over 180 short stories in around 25 collections. But I enjoy writing novels more.

SDR: What’s the most perfect short story you’ve ever read?

HS: “There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury.

SDR: I agree, that’s a fabulous story. Do you belong to any writer’s groups or communities? Do you think these types of social interactions are important for writers?

HS: No, because most of them are more social groups than working groups. The members tend to talk a lot about writing, but they do very little actual writing.

SDR: You’ve published a lot of titles. Have you had to deal with bad reviews? How do you manage them?

HS: I don’t pay attention to reviews, good or bad. What some like, some don’t. No worries.

SDR: Are you a planner/outliner/architect or a pantser/gardener/discovery writer?

HS: This is very important. I’m just a writer. Like the guy who paints houses is a painter, or the person who works on car engines is a mechanic. That’s all. I adhere firmly to Heinlein’s Rules and I trust my characters to tell the story. After all, they’re the ones who are actually living it. I’m just kind of the recorder.

SDR: I try to follow Heinlein’s Rules myself, although I have the most trouble with #2 (finishing things!).

Do you prefer music, silence, or some other noise in the background when you write? If music, what kind?

HS: I’m down in the story, running through it with the characters, trying to write everything they say and do. That’s much more entertaining for me than any other thing.

SDR: Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Harvey!

The Short Flights bundle from BundleRabbit is available now across many online platforms. Along with Harvey’s collection, you’ll find ten more single stories and four more collections in the bundle, enough short fiction to keep you reading for a while! At just $4.99, it’s a real steal, so don’t miss it.

We’ll have another author interview soon, so stay tuned!

Talking About Bundles

I’ve been pretty active with bundles lately, and a good writing friend asked if I could talk about them a little here. So I’m happy to dish the low-down on bundles as I’ve experienced them.

To start with, book bundles are primarily a marketing tool to draw in readers with a good value deal on multiple books, and from the participating authors’ perspective, introduce one’s works to a new audience. Bundles generally originate with publishers, author collectives, or through bundling sites or platforms. They may also be known as “box sets,” which are essentially the same thing.

One of my first introductions to being included in a box set or bundle was one my publisher, Tyche Books, put together a few years back. It was a space opera box set called Rogues, and (from my perspective anyway) sold well. It included the first book in my Nearspace series, One’s Aspect to the Sun, so would serve as an introduction to this series for new readers, some of whom might go on to buy others in the series. Just the other day I happened upon a review of Rogues I hadn’t seen before, and the reviewer said,  “There were a few great stories (I really liked One’s Aspect to the Sun, for example)” so that kind of made my day! This reader might not have seen my book if it hadn’t been in the set, but they enjoyed it and who knows? They might buy Dark Beneath the Moon and Beyond the Sentinel Stars.

While I’m thinking of it, One’s Aspect to the Sun is currently in a new box set from Tyche, called Shadows and Light; it’s a “first in a series” set, again meant to introduce new readers to a series. And it looks beautiful!

A large part of the thinking behind bundles or box sets is cross-pollination–someone might initially buy this set because of one of the other authors included, but then read my book because it’s there, and become introduced to me as a writer in that way. And hopefully go looking for other things I’ve written.

I’ve also worked with a bundling platform called BundleRabbit. BundleRabbit is the brainchild of Chuck Heintzelman, and provides authors with a place to list works they’re willing to have included in bundles. Authors participating in a bundle share in the revenues generated from that bundle. I curated one of the first BundleRabbit bundles, and have just done a second one, the Short Flights of the Imagination bundle. I love short fiction and I’ve wanted to do a bundle featuring short stories for a while now, and it has finally come together. So the curator decides on a vision for a bundle and searches through available titles to find pieces to include. Authors are invited and may accept or decline. Then when the bundle is finalized, hopefully all the authors will participate in sharing and promoting the bundle out to their social networks; this is where more cross-pollination comes into play as readers learn about other authors from one they already know. BundleRabbit does all the heavy lifting of setting up and distributing the files and downloads, participates in promotion, and collects revenue and pays out royalties.

Of course, to list your work on a site like BundleRabbit, you must have the rights to do so; I wouldn’t list my traditionally published titles there because my publishers look after that marketing and have the right to set prices and oversee distribution. However, for my independent titles, I’m free to do as I wish. And of course I mention my other trad-pub works in the ebook files I use for bundles, so it’s roundabout promotion for those, as well.

I’ve been invited to several bundles, some of which are current right now: Immortals, Weird Fantastic Detective Stories, Gumshoes Redux, and Short Flights, which is on pre-sale now and will release in full on March 15th. It’s good to have a variety of titles available if you’re going to get into bundling, and of course, as with all independent titles, they should be of high quality, with professional covers and blurbs, so that curators can include your work with confidence.

More questions about bundles? Ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer. Now if you’re looking for some new material for your ereader, be sure to click some of these links… ;)

Online Course: Rights and Contracts in the Digital Age

I’ve decided to offer a workshop I’ve presented in the past, this time as an online course that you’ll be able to take right here on my site. I believe very strongly that writers should be fully informed about how rights and copyright work, and be able to read a publishing contract and have a idea what it all means. Particularly when there are red flags the writer should see. Our work is important to us, and ownership and control of our work should be equally important. The best way to protect your investment in your work is to be informed.

Enter this course. I’ve offered it twice before; the full version as a full-day in-person workshop, and an abridged version as an evening seminar for the Writer’s Federation of Nova Scotia. Now I’m turning it into an online presentation, that I’ll administer through a private forum here on my website. Feedback on both previous sessions was very positive, so I feel good about the content.

Why am I qualified to teach this course? Well, I did practice law in the crazy days of my youth, and I’ve made sure to stay informed on contract matters as they affect me both as an author and a publisher. To be clear, I am NOT offering legal advice in this course–I’m sharing information I think you need.

The course will break down into nine or ten lessons. I’ll put up a lesson on Mondays and Thursdays, and each lesson will have a dedicated discussion thread for participants to interact, ask questions and talk about the lesson. There will be some downloadable materials, including sample contracts.

I know, by now you’re wondering how much is this going to cost?

Because I think all writers need this information, I’m keeping the registration cost low, at just $30 (CAD). If you need to break this down into a couple of payments, we can do that.

I’m also going to cap the number of registrants at a number I think will allow for good discussion in the forum. I haven’t quite decided what that number will be, yet. But I want to make sure that everyone has a voice.

How to Register

1. You can register using one of the PayPal buttons below. Just be sure to add your name and email address in the “Notes to Seller” section when you see it, or send me a message through this site’s contact form and include your PayPal transaction ID to let me know you’ve registered. If you need to break the payment up into two segments but want to reserve your space, use the $15 button. Just be sure to send the balance before the course actually starts (make sure you remind me who you are when you send the second payment!). Once you’ve clicked an Add button, your shopping cart purchase will appear in the right sidebar and you can proceed from there.

2. If you don’t like/use PayPal, you can send me an e-transfer. Message me through the site’s contact form and I’ll provide you with the details.

$30 CAD

$15 CAD

(Pay in two installments)

Once you’re registered, I’ll add you to the student’s user group and send you all the information you need to log in to the course area.

Questions about the course? Anything I’ve forgotten? Send me a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

I hope you’ll consider joining me for this course!

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a…Brand?

So. I’m taking a publishing and marketing course this month, and a recent lesson was about building a brand. I haven’t given branding a whole lot of attention in the past, preferring to think of myself as my “brand” and that it’s fairly evident what that means if you read my work or follow me here or on social media. However, some advice in the course was to consider how “branding” can help convey information about one’s work in a quick and concise way, which can be useful to potential readers. Discussion included logos and slogans or tag lines as part of a brand, among other things.

I was a little surprised to discover that many participants in the course already had logos and tag lines in place.

Hmm. That seemed to put me behind the curve. But I felt a little stumped. I write science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, steampunk…I could go on, but you get the idea. I write a broad range of stories under the speculative fiction umbrella. Encapsulating that seemed a daunting task. Thinking thematically didn’t help me out much, either; I don’t know if there are particular themes that run through all or most of my work. So this was me most of the weekend:

via GIPHY

But…I think I did it. I’m going to take a day or two to let it cool and do some tweaking, and then I’ll share it here.

Friday Desk Report – February 2, 2018

I was going to start this post with a pithy quotation about selling books, but all the ones I read were starting to make me depressed, so I changed my mind. Yes, this week I’ve been largely focusing on marketing, promotion, and how to help readers find my books (and want to read them). While I did make many pretty pictures, and learned many new things, I also came to realize that I need to get all of this stuff organized on my computer, in one easily-accessible place. Everything probably took me twice as long as it should have as I searched for cover images, blurbs, links…it’s definitely time for some computer housecleaning. *gulp*

On a brighter note, I worked on the next Nearspace novel (started in November, currently in the process of getting it back on track), and some editing on another, older project. Wrote some new words on the current Olympia Investigations story I have underway, but the brain was not really in a word-writing place this week. Considering the time of year it is, I’m in a remarkably good head space (much of which I attribute to my new daily yoga practice), but it’s still best to work with what my brain tells me it can handle. I think next week the words will be inclined to flow better, since I took a bit of a break this week.

I’ve also switched up the newsletter signup freebie, which has been the same for a while. As of today it’s a newly-compiled and packaged collection of five of my short stories, all about alien encounters. They’re a nice mix of serious, funny, heartwarming and thought-provoking. If you haven’t signed up before, or haven’t read these stories, click over and take a look! The cover image is a beauty by by Joel Filipe on Unsplash, where you can find some really amazing images the artists have made freely available for whatever use you wish. Thanks, Joel and Unsplash!

January Stats!

Okay, so I didn’t really get back at the treadmill desk until almost the middle of the month, but even then, I was a little spotty on it. 419 minutes for the month, which translated to 5.14 miles walked. I can do better!

Word metrics for the month worked out to 5633 written, and 12,509 revised. I’d like to keep up this revision pace for February, but really up the writing. Guess we’ll see how it goes.

Finally, both my Olympia Investigations stories are in bundles right now! The Immortals bundle and Weird Fantastic Detective Stories are both available at BundleRabbit, so hop over and take a look if you love getting great reads for reasonable prices. And really, who doesn’t love that?

 

More on the Immortals Bundle

The Immortals Bundle from BundleRabbit has now gone live on all platforms, so here’s a little more about it:

Gods, nymphs, vampires, deathless clones, cursed mages and those who serve them face perils where immortality acts as either curse or blessing or…both. Souls and selves lie at stake in this eclectic bundle.

 

Immortals includes 14 ebooks from short stories to novels, including my novelette, “The Goddess Problem.” This is the second installment in the Olympia Investigations series, featuring Acacia Sheridan, a private detective with a special gift – she can communicate and interact with supernatural creatures of all sorts. In “The Goddess Problem,” a heartbroken Greek goddess comes asking for her help. Acacia’s investigation takes her from an isolated cavern on Earth to the Olympian heights…but can a mortal sleuth wring the truth from a phalanx of dysfunctional deities?

Here’s an excerpt from the beginning:

The moment she walked into my office, limned in a faint silver sheen, with that grinning, lupine dog at her heel, I knew she was no ordinary client. She didn’t proffer a hand, just sat down in the blue leather chair opposite my desk, and said, “Hello, Ms. Sheridan. My name is Selene. Do you find missing persons?” Her eyes were very serious, very blue, and very fixed on mine. They shimmered a little with unshed tears.

She’d made it past the reception desk and Oliver, my often-annoying assistant and cousin, so he must think I should hear her story. Despite our frequent personality clashes, Oliver had developed a keen proficiency at weeding out the cases I’d absolutely hate. I gave Selene my most professional and sympathetic smile, and met those unnerving, if lovely, blue eyes. They were hard as sapphires; old as the sky.

“I do my best for every client, but I won’t make any promises beyond that,” I told her. “I’ve had some success with missing persons cases in the past.”

The dog, rangy and shaggy as a wolf—maybe it was a wolf?—settled on its haunches beside her and panted lightly, tongue lolling. Selene stroked the creature’s head with gentle fingers, never breaking our eye contact. “This will be a difficult case, Ms. Sheridan, and I may prove to be a difficult client. I will tell you some things that you may find challenging to accept.”

I leaned back in my chair, which protested with a squeak. I was suddenly intensely aware of the dust in the corners of the room, the scratched and scabbed surface of my desk, the faint layer of windswept grime on the window behind me, and the lingering scent of tuna sandwich from my lunch. Oliver had been pestering me to repaint the place and freshen it up, but I’d resisted. Maybe he had a point.

“I’ll try to keep an open mind,” I said. “Challenging clients are a bit of a specialty here at Olympia Investigations, which is probably why you chose me.”

She smiled a little, and didn’t deny it. I’m the person to see when a non-human client needs help, and I rely on a lot of supernatural word-of-mouth.

“So, will you be explaining why your skin seems to glow? And I don’t mean the kind of glow they promise in tv commercials.”

She lowered her head in a slow nod. “I will. What you make of that explanation will be up to you.”

I was intrigued, and business had been—let’s face it, boring—the past two weeks. Too many mundane insurance investigations and spousal surveillances, and I start to wonder why I wanted to be a private investigator in the first place. A faintly glowing woman with a half-wolf for a pet promised to be, at the very least, not boring.

“Fair enough,” I told her. “Two hundred a day plus expenses, I report to you at least twice a week, stop when you’re satisfied with the results or don’t want to pursue it any further. If that’s agreeable?”

She shrugged elegantly, nodded, and held out a hand. I shook it, her skin pale and cool and luminescent against mine.

And that’s how I first met Selene, Greek goddess of the moon.

~*~

The missing person in question, she told me, was her…hmmm. Not husband, because they’d never married, although according to legend he had fathered some fifty daughters for her. Consort, perhaps? I put him down on my information sheet as “significant other.” Endymion, the man who, either at Selene’s request or his own (reports varied), and by the acquiescence of Zeus himself, slept eternally in order to avoid growing old and dying.

I didn’t know that it was much of a trade-off, but there were those fifty daughters to consider.

We’d made it only that far when Oliver knocked on the door and bustled in without waiting for me to answer, even though he knows I hate it when he does that. He was the picture of the efficient assistant—ebony hair slicked to one side, not a strand out of place, lint-free black turtleneck with the sleeves pushed up just so, and charcoal grey trousers pressed with a crease sharp enough to cut paper. And a mild, disinterested smile, camouflaging his raging curiosity.

Oliver carried a tray bearing two steaming mugs; sweet black coffee for me, and something pale and floral-smelling for Selene. She accepted it with a smile so I assumed he’d asked her in the waiting room what she’d like. He looked a question at me with raised eyebrows—anything else? want me to stay?—and when I shook my head minutely he left us again. To listen at the door, I had no doubt. Oliver could play the detached professional but it was all an act.

Anyway, Selene’s story went something like this: after hundreds of years of peaceful slumber in a secret cavern, where Selene joined him every night, Endymion had somehow disappeared. A week ago, Selene arrived at the cave on a Tuesday night and found it inexplicably empty. Although she’d searched for him herself and questioned her fellow divine and semi-divine colleagues, she’d found no sign of him and uncovered no clues to his whereabouts. That’s when she decided to hire me.

 

In addition to “The Goddess Problem,” The Immortals bundle features:

Glamour of the God-Touched by Ron Collins
A Man and His God by Janet Morris
Unnatural Immortal by Russ Crossley
First Chosen by M. Todd Gallowglas
Walking Gods by Leah Cutter
Rainbow’s Lodestone by J.M. Ney-Grimm
Brainjob by David Sloma
Silver Dust by Leslie Claire Walker
Vale of Semūin by Eric Kent Edstrom
Fate’s Door by J.M. Ney-Grimm
Kaylyn the Sister-in-Darkness by Barbara G. Tarn
The Legend of Oeliana by A. L. Butcher
Jamal & the Skeleton’s Heart by Ezekiel James Boston

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can pay a minimum of $4.99 USD and receive all 14 ebooks. Find it at any of these links:

Universal Link https://books2read.com/Immortalsbundle

Bundle Rabbit https://bundlerabbit.com/b/immortals

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/the-immortals-bundle

Amazon.com

Amazon UK

Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-immortals-bundle-a-l-butcher/1127826108

I Tunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1335201648

Bundles are great fun and an excellent deal! I hope you check this one out.

Friday Desk Report – January 26, 2018

Whew! It’s not hard to tell it’s the beginning of the year. I got some writing done, worked on promotional stuff, made a new short story available on a bundling site, set up a new bundle I’d like to curate, and poked around on Patreon for a while.

I’ve been thinking about Patreon for some time now…is it something that could work for me as a writer? I’m leaning toward giving it a try, but no firm decisions yet. I’ll keep you posted here on any developments. I do have some fun things I could do on the platform, I think.

The big news this week is that my copies of Beyond the Sentinel Stars arrived! I think it wasn’t really real until I held a copy in my hands. Which also meant I was able to take this picture…full trilogy!

This has also been my second week of doing a yoga practice every day and–wow! I am really feeling the effects (in a very good way). Of course I’m still at my treadmill desk, too, but the yoga is bringing something entirely new and welcome to my physical state. I discovered this wonderful channel on YouTube–Yoga with Adriene–and if you’re thinking you might like to try it, I can’t recommend her strongly enough. No pressure, no stress, no demands to do things perfectly or quickly. Adriene’s laid-back and restful style of instruction is exactly what I needed. Check out her beginners’ videos if you’re curious. Every day I can’t wait to get to the mat for my practice.

Just for fun, this year I’m tracking what I research for various stories. Things I looked up on the Internetz this week for writing: old general store images, row houses, and words in the Mi’kmaq language.