Get it while supplies last! Well, it's an ebook, so the supplies will last, but the discount won't!
The Dakota Frost, Skindancer series … and all of Dakota Frost’s friends!
Good news, Edgeworlders! FROST MOON is on sale through the 15th!
FROST MOON is my first novel, the tale of Dakota Frost, a woman who can bring her tattoos to life, and her very first encounter with the sharp edges of the Edgeworld she's been dancing around all her adult life. She meets vampires and werewolves, weretigers and faerie, and soon is on the ride of her life when the police warn her about a serial killer attacking the magically tattooed near the full moon ... right when a werewolf asks her to tattoo a design on him. Is he the killer ... or the next victim?
Wow. It's been a long time. Or perhaps not as long as I thought, but I've definitely not been able to post as much as I wanted over the last six months or so. But it's been for good reasons: I've been working on a lot of writing projects. The Dakota Frost / Cinnamon Frost "Hexology", which was a six book series; the moment I finished those rough drafts, it seemed, I rolled into National Novel Writing Month and worked on JEREMIAH WILLSTONE AND THE MACHINERY OF THE APOCALYPSE. Meanwhile, at work, I've been snowed under following up on our PRM-RL paper.
But I've been having fun! The MACHINERY OF THE APOCALYPSE is (at least possibly) spaaaace steampunk, which has led me to learn all sorts of things about space travel and rockets and angular momentum which I somehow didn't learn when I was writing pure hard science fiction. I've learned so much about creating artificial languages as part of the HEXOLOGY.
So, hopefully I will have some time to start sharing this information again, assuming that no disasters befall me in the middle of the night.
Oh dag nabbit! (He's going to be fine).
Hail, fellow adventurers! If you want to experience our world the way Jeremiah Willstone and her friends first experienced it, there’s no better way than to come to Dragon Con in Atlanta! I’ve been going to Dragon Con longer than almost any con - certainly longer than any still-running con - and after enough time here they put me on panels! And here they are:
Other fun things at the con are the Parade, the Masquerade, performances by the Atlanta Radio Theater Company, and, of course, The Cruxshadows. So come on down and hang out with 80,000 fans of fantasy and science fiction! Some of them may become your new best friends.
Well, the Nano climb is starting off great, for a switch! Fourth of July, and I'm already 800 words ahead of what my goal is for this time of the month.
Not bad, but then, I am on vacation. :-) An excerpt:
On our way out, I sighs. “That went … well—”
“It so very did not,” Karoo says, bouncing from rock to rock.
“What?” I says. “We learned a lot—”
“We learned nothing but that this so-called Huntswoman wants the Ere Mother dead—or worse!” Karoo snarls. “You learned nothing from the Huntswoman about the Ere Mother herself that I could not have told you, had you only asked—”
“Was she wrong about the spell that’s killing her?” I asks, and Karoo says nothing. “If you knew that, why didn’t you tell me?”
“You didn’t ask,” Karoo says.
“Well, maybe I should change that,” I says, “startin’ now. But I learned a lot—”
“A faerie queen flattered you by putting you through paces that would not have fazed the most junior adept in medieval times, when training meant something,” Karoo said. “You learned what you should have learned months or years ago in your training—”
“I have not been wand training for years,” I says. “Graffiti magic, three years, wand magic, more like one and a half. Actually, a bit closer to one—”
“So you’re hungry and she fed you,” Karoo says huffily. “One way and one way alone this creature is like the Li’ía Ní’qua I remember. You heard her banish me from her court, me, her consort? I loved her once, with all my heart. Now I hate her with equal fervor—”
“Don’t say that,” I says. “She’ll … she’ll eventually remember you—”
“Li’ía Ní’qua is dead,” Karoo says. “I never want to come back to this place again!”
Ouch, Karoo, that's harsh! Especially coming from a cute glowing anthropmorphic fox.
Well, so insanely busy, I haven't posted in a while. But not for want of working on things that I want to post about! Most pressingly, my Camp Nano project for the July Camp of 2018, and what I hope is the last major chunk of the third book in the Cinnamon Frost series ... SPELLPUNK: ROOT USER!
Cinnamon Frost, once-delinquent weretiger stray, is now a rising star in the secretive werekindred kingdom ... until she unwittingly unleashes an ancient faerie monster and is banished to the human world as a result. As the monster wreaks havoc on human and werekin alike, Cinnamon must scramble to save herself, save her city - and save her mother, as the monster turns upon them all in its rage.
And, of course, the obligatory excerpt:
I clenches my fist. The fox shimmers, his magic going through my fingers; of course, it’s a magic projectia, not a holographic projection. Mom told me about this: an entombed court of faerie, and the warriors that went back to finish the job. I folds my hands to my breast.
“I’m sorry,” I says. “I knows the story. I just didn’t know it happened here too.”
“Only three of us were left,” the fox says. “My shattered body. The queen, entombed in layers of crystal too hard to be destroyed—though she freed herself and left us, I have no idea how. And the other, the Ere Mother, entombed half-alive, half-dead on the other side of the cavern; I have not seen her directly for centuries … until now.”
The hair creeps up on my spine: the cracking and scraping is louder now.
“Did you free her?” the fox asks. “Perhaps she will be grateful—”
I whirls. Behind the shattered iceberg, something looms, a glint of red—and a mammoth bony paw slams down to the iceberg’s right. Rock scrapes on rock, and the crystal-encased paw grinds against stone, formin’ and reshapin’, crystal planes flashin’ intermittently within as it rearchitects itself. Then the lumberin’ split head of the sloth-corpse roars into view, wobblin’ on a half-crystal, half-bone neck, its single red eye blazin’ like a laser.
“Maybe yes,” I says, “and looks like no!”
Red eye blazin’, the Ere Mother screams magic at me in a rasping bellow of rage.
Now, none of the Cinnamon Frost books have been published yet; since Cinnamon Frost #1, #2 and #3 are interleaved in time with Dakota Frost #4, #5, and #6, and since both are loose trilogies, I've been working on all six together, in a giant manuscript which would be close to 750,000 words if all put together. Oy! But the outcome is I understand the story much better, and when this giant Hexology is finally put out, I think it will be a much stronger story.
Pictured: a mockup cover for SPELLPUNK: ROOT USER, based on a picture of an eremotherium by Eden, Janine and Jim, and a picture of Doll's Theater in Carlsbad Cavern picture by Daniel Meyer, both licensed for reuse with attribution on variants of the Creative Commons license.
Hail, fellow adventurers! And now you know why you haven't heard from me for a while: I was heads down finishing my wordcount for Camp Nanowrimo! And this is a very special one, because it marks the twentieth time I have won a National Novel Writing Month style challenge to write 50,000 words of a novel in a month! Woohoo! When I started, I never thought I'd finish this many!
This was a difficult month for it. Sure, I just finished early, but that final push involved locking me in a downstairs room with my laptop until I finished so I could enjoy the rest of my vacation with my wife. And the push up to this point has been hard: my wife returning from vacation, with me scrambling to finish a spring cleaning gone awry before she got home. A cat being treated for cancer. An organization I'm volunteering with had an emergency that involved multiple meetings over the month. Major shifts and dustups at work. Robots, on the loose, being chased down the corridors. Ok, that last one isn't real. Well, actually, it was, but it was much, much, much more prosaic than it sounds.
The upshot, seen above, is blood on the water (behind on my wordcount) for most of the month. And with the very last weekend of the month being my long-planned vacation in Monterey with my wife before she flies out on her next business trip, there was a very real danger that I wouldn't make it. But my wife is awesome, and tolerated me taking out this first evening to do a massive push to get all my words done!
And now, sleep. But first, an excerpt:
“The Ere Mother is … not the most dangerous enemy I’ve ever faced,” I says. “Actually, she doesn’t rate really highly compared to the thing we found in the Vault of Nightmares, which was the real source of the magic that tried to burn down this city, Lady Scara—not me. But the Ere Mother is terribly dangerous, that I admit, Magus Meredith, Elder Jackson-Monarch. She’s terribly dangerous. But I did not ‘unleash’ her on the city. I went where my leadership told me to go and did what they told me to do, and the bottom dropped out under me. Yes, she came to life when I fell into the chambers of her court, but I strongly doubt that she was brought to life by a magic tiger butt. As unstable as that structure was—and it was still subsiding from time to time—the Ere Mother could have been unleashed at anytime, and we’d know even less about her than we do because I was down there investigatin’—as you all asked me to.”
I stands there, quietly.
“OH!” I says. “Um, yeah. That’s … that’s my report.”
“Well,” Mom says. “Thank you, First Mage, for your testimony—”
“Chair Frost?” Meredith says, raising his hand politely. “Are questions allowed?”
Mom blinks. “Always, as long as we maintain order. You have the floor.”
“Shoot,” I says. “Not literally—”
“How do you know the structure was still subsiding?” asked Meredith.
I stares at him. The hair rises on the back of my head. I thinks very, very fast.
“I heard it from the remaining member of the Dire Court,” I says. “A fox changeling, er, proto-fox changeling, at least I assume it was a changeling—er, anyway, we spoke, briefly, before the Ere Mother attacked. He mentioned a subsidence that, um.”
“Yes?” Meredith says, eyes gleaming.
“That, ah, uncovered his eye, so he wasn’t stuck in the dark anymore,” I says quietly. Meredith’s face falls, with true horror. “There was light down there, from runes. But after the Ere Mother’s attack … I don’t think there’s anything left of the fox fae anymore.”
“That’s … horrible,” Meredith says. “Do you remember what else you spoke about?”
“I will try to reconstruct a transcript. Mostly, he said shit like, ‘Oh, God’, and ‘Don’t hurt me.’” Somebody laughs, and I idly turns towards them and says, “Hey, I was pretty scared. You wanna be pretty scared to, I can always Change into what I looked like down there.”
“Cinnamon Stray Foundling Frost,” Mom says sternly, “if you eat anyone at this Council, you’re grounded!”
“Yes, Mom,” I says.
Ah, Cinnamon. You and your wacky hijinks with ancient faerie changelings!
Now ... zzzzz...
Um, so, hi! I'm Cinnamon! (That's me, below!)
And I'm supposed to tell you that my biographer, Anthony Francis, is working on my third book, ROOT USER, for Camp Nanowrimo! Camp is the sister challenge to the November challenge to write 50,000 words in a month, and that sounds crazy unless you are my brother and love writing words, and are not dyslexic and ADD and whatever, and what was I saying? SO! Anyway. My biographer's busy writing, or something. So you get me! Except, um, I gots nothin', except, hey, I'm a teenage weretiger, and this is my third book! The first two ain't out yet, but this one has monsters and high school and kids straight out of Harry Potter and yummy yummy wereguys fightin' over the me. Choice! I am awesome, if I do say so myself about myself. Hee hee!
What? Oh! Ok. My biographer is askin' me to post an excerpt or somethin', so, here goes:
I glowers. “Fine,” I says.
We steps up to the blockhouse surroundin’ the base of the mineshaft. Nri nods to the guard, makes a funny hand sign. The guard nods, opens the chain, lets us in—but as he puts the chain back, he flips down a sign that says, MAINTENANCE—OUT OF ORDER.
“This elevator seems to be out of order a lot lately,” I mutters. “Your doin?”
“Yes, but why do you care?” Nri asks, pullin’ out a key. “You have a teleporter—”
“Common knowledge, thanks to you,” I grumbles, and it’s true: Nri has no respect for my secrets, none at all, but he’s cagey as a wolf. “Now everyone wants to pop out in my den, every time you’re doin’ whatever you’re doin’—what are you doin’ down here, anyway?”
“Using the elevator’s special features,” Nri says, slidin’ the gate closed.
He inserts the key, turns it—and the elevator starts to go down.
“Hey!” I says, as the blockhouse recedes above us. “I thought this was ground zero!”
“Ground floor,” Nri corrects. “But no, it is not. The Werehold is a basement. This …”
“Sub-basement?” I asks hopefully, as the shaft recedes above us.
“I said I’d tell you on the surface,” Nri says. “I never said the surface of what.”
And then … the world turns upside down.
“Whooaoaaoaa!” I cries, as my feet lifts off the floor—and the elevator keeps descendin. Nri has moved to the side of the elevator, and grips the cage, turnin’ his body a hundred and eighty degrees, so his feet are pointin’ at the ceiling—and then I falls. Up! “Ow!”
Nri’s feet land on the ceilin’. I lands on my noggin.
Ow! Embarrasin'. Why'd you have to call up that bit, Mister Biographer, huh? Rip your face off, I oughtta. Grr. And stop calling me cute when I growl. A tiger, I am, not to be mocked by those who could be morsels---stop touslin' my hair!
Grrrrr. Enjoy, or whatevers.
-Cinnamon, on behalf of the Centaur
What makes you hang on the edge of your seat? I call that a favorite, and I talk about some of my current faves over at the Speculative Chic blog!
Go check it out!
I was going to write "And from his labors, he rested" but that's entirely to uncomfortably Messianic for me, so here's the scoop: on the last day of Nano, I have stopped at 75,282 words.
This somehow all magically happened because I never lost my momentum after the Night of Writing Dangerously, oh, and because this is Cinnamon Frost, and she's awesome!
This is the most I've ever written in Nano, by a long shot - almost 10,000 words more. Not quite, and I'm not super motivated to make it exactly 10,000 words more. If I think of more words tonight, eh maybe.
Oh yes, the traditional excerpt:
The first challenge was easy—spirit. Awareness. Being aware of faerie.
The second challenge was harder—mind. Intellect. Learnin’ the logic of faerie.
The third challenge was the hardest of all. Body. Emotion. Feeling faerie in your bones.
A huge cacklin’ thing bursts out of the water. Its head is as big as Krishna’s, a huge green dripping thing under a mass of hair, its wide smooth but mottled nose remindin’ me of a diseased muppet. We can’t see the thing’s eyes, but its arms loom around us. Ben and Surrey screams.
“Do you care?” it screams, openin’ a maw filled with giant teeth the size of playing cards. I think it could swallow any of us whole. “Do you care if you diieie?”
“Aaaah!” Benjamin and Surrey screams. “We care! We care!”
The thing looms further forward. “Then flee, mortals, or you may perish here!”
“Don’t flee,” I murmurs. “Or you may perish elsewhere—”
“We—we will not flee,” Surrey cries.
“For we may perish elsewhere,” Benjamin says with sudden insight. Did he hear me?
“But stay here, and death will be certain, mortals!” the thing cries, loomin’ over them.
“Stay anywhere, and death is certain, for mortals!” Benjamin cries.
“And you don’t care if you die,” I murmurs into Surrey’s ear.
“And we don’t care if we die,” Surrey says. “What? Ci—”
“Surely death comes to all mortals,” Benjamin says. “Why should we care?”
“I could make death hurt,” the thing cries, stretchin’ its arms out like a giant Muppet.
“Or we could die in our sleep,” I murmurs. “But I can make death hurt him more.”
I actually have practically finished BOT NET, so next up is Cinnamon Frost #3, ROOT USER! Oh, and editing Dakota Frost #4, SPECTRAL IRON! Due in about 4-5 months. Aaaaaaa!