I’ve released the next book following Hero’s Call. Shieldmaiden’s Quest picks up after the battle with Robin and the Thousand heading north to attempt to prevent civil war. To read a sample click the cover.
The final book in the Calliope series! Click here to read a sample
Mythical Girls I think can be called a success. The feedback on the book I’ve received is positive, and all the books are out to the supporters.
The only logical thing to do now is to start over with a new anthology. In the next month or two I will be splitting my newsletter into two parts, one will continue to be occasional news about releases and upcoming books. The other will be directed specifically to those interested in Celticfrog Publishing projects such as the anthologies. You will be able to join one or both streams.
Look for information about a Kickstarter to come in the new year, and a call for submissions shortly after that.
Right now the stories of Mythical Girls have been edited and I’m getting back final revisions. Two of the eleven illustrations are done too. We’re on schedule for our June release.
I will be releasing the last two books in the Belandria Tarot this year. Book Four I’m aiming for April, Book Five for July. Jian Guo, the talented artist who did the first three will be working on them.
Since I finished the Spruce Bay trilogy last summer, I have started a new series ‘Blue in Kamloops’, like Spruce Bay it will be a crime series. The detective for this one is Blue, a street person with a past he doesn’t talk about. I’m looking at a June release for the first book Tranquille Dark.
My newest release is the third in the Spruce Bay books.
Mines are dangerous, never more so than when greed outweighs everything else.
When a series of events leads to the death of Georgia’s fiance, she packs up and heads south. Behind her Jim and Leigh struggle with their own issues. Training cadets to be special officers in the north sounds good, but when a class gets off track, it could be deadly.
Georgia can’t escape the grief and anger the mine caused with Brad’s death, and when she find echoes of that death in Peru, she sets her sights on making things right. Dangerous men don’t want her to succeed.
Links to buy: books2read.com/u/3L
That summer that everything happened. Bob could have dealt with one disaster. It was the way they piled up in an unending collision of disasters that had him feeling punch drunk. First his son rolled the car. Scary, but Rick wasn’t hurt and the insurance company was understanding. Then the storm knocked out the power across the entire county and dropped a tree on his boat. He wanted to sell it anyway, but the insurance company was a little less phlegmatic about it. Still, he had fire wood to last him through the next decade.
The robbery at the bank his wife worked at was shocking. No one was hurt – physically, but Marsha was one of several tellers who just couldn’t go back to work. At least the disability was a different insurance company.
While all this was happening Bob still had to keep up with his business. He was an agricultural consultant. He travelled through the entire area helping farmers deal with their stress. Grains were at an all time high, but with oil prices up, so was the cost of fertilizer and running equipment. The meat producers were looking at huge increases in feed cost and wondering if it was time to retire. Bob helped them sit down and look at their options and make decisions that were good for them and their family.
Bob was so busy doing his bit to make the world a better place that he really didn’t have time to deal with the pain in his leg that was nagging at him. After all it wasn’t anywhere near his heart. But it didn’t stop; it got worse. Bob found himself driving with his left leg to ease the pain. After a near miss on the highway when he got his feet tangled while trying to brake, Bob decided it was time to visit the doctor.
The doctor wasn’t encouraging. She told Bob to stay off the road or she would pull his driver’s license and set up an MRI. Rick enjoyed being his dad’s driver for half of the first day. Then it got boring. Bob called his clients and apologized for cancelling, then asked Rick to take them home via the electronic store that stocked his son’s new favourite video game. They bought the game and a hot dog from the vendor to stave off starvation. Peace once again assured, at least for the night they arrived home to find the house surrounded by police cars.
In a panic, Bob hobbled to the door to find his wife in tears and the police packing up. The sergeant took Bob aside to explain that his wife had been sure she had seen the bank robber in the bushes. The police had responded to learn that the neighbour’s son in law was home for a visit and had decided to trim the hedge between their homes. He gave Bob a card to direct him to Victim Services, and suggested a change of scene might be a good idea.
Marsha packed her bags and went off to visit her mother and Rick went with her. Bob agreed an immanent nervous breakdown was much more serious than a pain in the leg, no matter how inconvenient. That’s why he was alone in the house when the pain suddenly flared up and left him screaming in agony on the floor. Fortunately the neighbour’s son in law was finishing up the hedge and heard him. Soon the house was again surrounded by flashing lights while the paramedics carried Bob out and took him to the hospital.
After emergency surgery to remove the gargantuan blood clot in his leg, he talked to Marsha and Rick on the phone and reassured them that he was indeed still alive. Bob was lectured by an endless stream of doctors and nurses about how lucky he was. The social worker was more help. She suggested that he try a convalescent home or similar place rather than burdening Marsha with his care when she needed to do her own work. Bob was looking distastefully at brochures when his boss came in the door.
“You don’t want to go to one of those places,” he pronounced, “They are full of old, sick people. You need to get out in the sun. You want to relax and meet some new people.”
“What do you have in mind?” Bob asked, his boss always had a plan or several up his sleeve.
“My church runs a camp every summer. They have adults who come as chaplains for the kids. We are short people this summer. You could go sit around in the sun. You get your own cabin, meals and everything. There is even a nurse on site.”
“What would I need to do?” A summer camp certainly sounded more inviting than an old folk’s home.
“Nothing!” his boss shouted, “That’s the beauty of it. You just sit around and let the kids talk to you if they want.”
“Sounds good. Where do I sign up?”
So that’s how Bob found himself at Camp Menesetatchi sitting under a tree watching the children play. His leg woke him the first day early in the morning; but the sight of the sun rising over the lake and the numinous cry of a distant loon distracted him from its ache. He got in the habit of sitting on the deck and watching the sunrise. The camp was so good for him that he called and invited Marsha and Rick to come. She was glad to escape the loving but smothering care of her mother. Rick had met the girl next door and decided that Grandma needed him.
So Bob and Marsha sat in the campfire circle and learned to sing the Kumbya Blues. They toasted each other with flaming marshmallows, listened to the songs, laughed at the skits, and began to heal.
This is a story I wrote a few years ago for a contest I didn’t win.
I connected with a fascinating guy, Colton, who does the Desert Tiger Podcast. We got together a Sunday morning and had a blast talking about writing, music and mental health. I had a bit of a cold, so there’s some coughing there too.
I can’t say if it will increase sales, and I’m not really worried about that, but I do know making connections is important. If you’ve always considered starting a podcast, listening to a few is a must. But I’d encourage you to reach out to people and ask to be on their podcast.
On the show, I talk about my newest book The Regent’s Reign and some other books, including some which will never be published.
You can listen here and for those who do, a reward. If you email me the title of my upcoming book for the summer,( It takes place in Spruce Bay and follows after Wendigo Whispers.) I will send you a free ebook of The Regent’s Reign in either mobi (kindle) or epub (everyone else.)
Chapter 1 The Call to Adventure
Calliope followed Sir Shillingsworth through a vast collection of grotesqueries – creatures suspended in huge bottles filled with murky liquid, others stuffed and set in tableaux. Sculptures of horrific death, paintings of deformed people.
Her father took no notice of what surrounded him; tall, with his grey hair cut severely and great coat flapping like a cloak in the wind, he swept past giant skeletons, not even glancing aside. Calliope itched to get lost in the collection, sketching what she saw. That skill was the reason he employed her. Why he’d ordered her to attend this meeting was beyond her. She had specimens to draw and catalog from the expedition he’d returned from a couple of months ago.
Unless he thought some feminine distraction would aid in his negotiations. Calliope brushed at her dress, covered with pockets she’d added and spotted with charcoal and graphite. In that case, he should have brought someone worth looking at.
Pentam, Sir Shillingsworth’s protégé, rolled his eyes and shook his head. He had dressed immaculately in the latest fashion, dark hair perfectly arranged, and took his position as high society scientist very seriously. She caught occasional flashes of humour in those blue eyes. Calliope took a deep breath; she could put up with the boy for the short time she was forced into his presence.
They arrived at the end of the hall, where Sir Shillingsworth looked at Cal as if he had just met her there.
“Really, Calliope, you should take more care with your appearance.”
She made a deliberately sickly attempt to show feminine wiles.
“You should have warned me I was to send lust through Lord Carroway’s veins.”
Pentam’s snort echoed through the hall.
“Fat lot of good that would have done.” He immediately paled and held his hand up defensively. “I don’t mean that in a disparaging way to you, Cal.” But he was looking at Sir Shillingsworth as he spoke.
“You should stick to your convictions.” A pang struck through her heart before she ruthlessly quashed it. “Nevertheless, you aren’t the only one whose words occasionally come out a little sideways of their intent.” He spoke nothing but the truth. From her blackened fingers to indeterminate brown hair stuffed in a bun to keep it out of her eyes, even in the finest of gowns, she’d never make any male catch his breath.
“What I meant is, rumour has it Lord Carroway is not, er… set aflame by feminine beauty.”
“Then it is a good thing you take all too much care with your appearance.” Sir Shillingsworth rapped on the door as Pentam turned a series of lovely shades of red. Cal smiled sympathetically at the boy. Her father had little time for niceties, and none for anything less than the bald truth. “Dressing well isn’t always about seduction.” Sir Shillingsworth eyed Cal again. “Sometimes it is about respect.”
The door creaked open as Pentam fought for composure.
How appropriate. Have they treated the hinges to produce the sound? Cal knew better than to give them more than the slightest glance as they paraded into the room. But her mind listed ways she might have created that wonderful groan.
Links to preorder at any major e-book retailer can be found here:
I have lots of things planned for 2017. A young adult dystopian novel coming out late winter, a fantasy novel to be released late spring and a thriller set in the northern winter, ironically being released during the summer. Somewhere in there I’m releasing a small book of poems and mushroom pictures.
While you wait for all these goodies, here’s a Christmas story for you:
The carollers were off key again. Hank took a swig from the bottle in an effort to drown the exuberant caterwauling coming from next door. He glanced at the label Laphroig it said, twelve years aged in oak casks. It didn’t matter Hank had stopped tasting anything after the first bottle. It was his father’s booze anyway, or at least it had been before tonight. Now it was Hank’s.
Marge would be furious. She would say that he should have kept his father’s scotch collection as a souvenir and sipped careful drams on special occasions. Marge wasn’t here either. The love that had burned so hot twenty years ago had slowly dissipated until all that was left was a cool regard and a reluctance to spend money on divorce lawyers. Marge had gone to her sister’s right after the funeral. Candace did have cancer. She needed her older sister’s help to manage her house and four kids. Candace’s husband had no qualms about paying divorce lawyers.
Hank could hear the carollers laughing and talking as they walked past the front door. They wouldn’t stop at this door. Hank’s father hadn’t believed in Christmas. To be truthful, Hank’s father hadn’t believed in much of anything except his own correctness. That he was right in every argument was as much an article of faith with him as transubstantiation was for the Pope. Hank swallowed the last of the Laphroig and carefully dropped the bottle in the blue recycling bin. Hank had brought it from home. His father didn’t believe in recycling either.
Hank staggered out of the kitchen and just managed to catch himself on the doorjamb. He was drunk. Hank hadn’t been drunk since…. well he couldn’t actually remember the last time he got drunk. Seeing all those bottles of scotch, it seemed a reasonable response to the old fart’s death. He manoeuvred himself over to the couch and half sat, half fell onto it.
His father wouldn’t have got drunk on scotch. He was too full of life to waste it getting drunk. He would have walked ramrod straight out to the top of the line Mercedes Benz he drove and started it up. He would have revved the big eight cylinder engine to hear the roar and feel the power in the steering wheel. Then he would have driven away at speeds that made lesser men pale. (He didn’t believe in speed limits.) He would have raced in and out of traffic keeping up a running commentary on the shortcomings of the other drivers, until he hit that tiny patch of black ice. The law of physics didn’t care whether Hank’s father believed in them or not. The bridge abutment cut the car in half. It pretty much cut his father in half too.
Hank lay on the couch and felt tears leaking from his eyes. For all the old man’s faults, Hank would miss him. They had never celebrated Christmas, not all of his wife and family’s pleadings would change his mind, but he wasn’t a miser. At each graduation of Hank’s children the old man had quietly handed his grandchildren a check that would pay their tuition for university. When Hank’s youngest had spent it on carpenter’s tools instead, Hank had expected an explosion. Instead the old man hired his granddaughter to work on the house.
Hank’s tears flowed harder and sobs wracked his body. He was alone in the world. Marge had her life taking care of the kids and her large family. The kids were all independent. They tolerated their mother’s meddling, but Hank didn’t know how to talk to them any more. His father was the last person Hank could pretend needed him. The alcohol that brought out his tears carried him into a merciful sleep.
Hank woke to the sound of singing at the door. He pushed himself to his feet and listened. This wasn’t the raucous carolling from earlier. It was a single, pure voice. Hank could hear each word clearly, but understood none of them. Maybe it was Latin. He looked at the clock on the mantle. Two o’clock in the morning. Who sings Latin at two in the morning? Who sings Latin at all?
Hank through the door open and looked in astonishment at a young child who stood singing with his eyes closed. Hank half expected an angel chorus to leap out, or maybe a camera man. He recognized the tune of one the Christmas carols they sang at Marge’s church. The boy finished the tune and smiled at Hank.
“Merry Christmas,” he said.
“Merry Christmas,” Hank said, “What are you doing here?”
“It’s two in the morning. Shouldn’t you be in bed?”
“Yup,” the boy said, “but I felt like singing. Mom said this was a sad house. I thought I could cheer it up.”
“Sad,” Hank said, “Yes, it is sad.”
“My father was buried yesterday,” Hank said, “He didn’t believe in Christmas.”
“That is sad,” the boy agreed, though Hank wasn’t sure whether he meant the death or the lack of Christmas. The boy started another song and Hank stood listening as it washed anger he didn’t even know he felt away. The tears started again, but Hank didn’t care. He remembered how his father came to all his school concerts and games. He remembered the great booming laugh. The unbelief only became hard and uncomfortable when Hank’s mother died. She had believed in a great many things, but mostly in her husband. Without her love, his father had become uncompromising. Hank realized his tears were as much for his father’s pain as his own. He thought of his father at the grave side saying ‘Well that’s it then,’ and just walking away.
The boy’s song finished and he beamed at Hank again.
“Thank you,” Hank said.
“Merry Christmas!” the boy shouted than ran away through the snow. Hank looked to be sure he left footprints behind.
“Well that’s it then,” Hank said and closed the door. He walked through the house letting it tell him stories. At first they were of the unbending man that was Hank’s father, but gradually they took him further back to when his mother and father would read to each other from books with long and boring titles. Hank didn’t remember what they said, but he remembered the passion his parents’ voices held. He remembered arguments too. His mother and father often shouted at each other trying to make the other see. The only time Hank remembered seeing his father cry was after one argument when his mother had walked out in mid-sentence. When she returned later, his father had held her tightly and cried unashamedly.
His father did believe in something. He dialled his sister in law’s number that Marge had given him before she left.
“Hello?” Marge sounded barely awake.
“Hello,” Hank said.
“What time is it?”
“What do you want?”
“I just needed to talk to you,” Hank said.
“Alright then,” He heard Marge settle herself more comfortably.
“She had a rough day,” Marge said, “I made her unplug the phone in her room. She needs her sleep.”
“How are you?”
“I don’t know,” Marge sighed, “I’m scared to death that I’ll lose my sister, but I can’t let her see.”
“Dad was scared of losing Mom, but he showed it.”
“I always thought he never recovered after her death.”
“No, he didn’t,” Hank sighed, “Maybe you should let Candace know you don’t want to lose her. It is easy to let people drift away because we assume they know.”
There was such a long silence that Hank wondered if Marge had fallen asleep.
“Are you coming home today?” she said finally.
“I thought I would come by Candace’s and give you a break.”
“That would be nice.”
“See you later.”
“Later then.” Hank heard the click of the phone hanging up. He hung up the phone then went to find his bed. He decided that he believed in Marge. He lay in bed trying to find the words he would use to explain. Just as he was falling to sleep he whispered.