A strange thing happened New Year’s Eve: I sold a lot of books.
Solomon’s Seal had been a 99c deal as part of a Kobo promotion–which is where it tends to do best–then Amazon price-matched and the sale ended up advertised in some high-traffic places. Sales jumped up on Amazon for the first time (Amazon sales have never been good for that series), a bunch of books sold, and I had a panic attack. Yes, normal people would immediately be excited. I am not normal.
Anyway, the series as a whole has picked up a bunch of new readers and the first book has been selling steadily. Thus far, at least the new readers I’ve heard from really dig the books, so yay!
This has meant a spike in traffic to the site with queries about when Shiva’s Bow will be released, so let’s get to it.
Nothing since last time!
Actually, that’s not true. I finally released the Demons of Oblivion series bundle on Kindle Unlimited, so it’s free to read there. (New readers! If you like urban fantasy that’s on the brutal side, you might dig it. If you prefer romance HEAs, it is not going to be your thing. Really. It’s a bit of a gut-punch and VERY different from Livi.)
The West Is Best Club ($10+ tier) on Patreon got a new West short story for Christmas.
And…yeah. That’s it.
I’d genuinely planned a big update for the New Year. I go away to visit family at Christmas, which generally gives me an opportunity to get some writing done since I don’t work do freelance work during that time.
My depression was pretty bad by late November and well into December–I have very specific triggers I try to avoid and I ended up blindsided by one. Eventually I’m going to do a “life hacks for living with depression” post–I survived for three weeks just eating instant meals off of paper plates and trying to do a handful of dishes a day just to get caught up. Then my anxiety was through the roof with the holidays (depression, plus being poor and unable to buy gifts, plus large crowds). Then come 11pm Christmas Day, my old cat ended up at the emergency vet and had forty-eight hours of seizures until I could talk to my regular vet and get a prescription called in for him. Then the tail end of last week I developed bronchitis and I’m presently certain I have the plague.
I did get a lot of early research for Livi #5 done and a bit of writing.
My other big project was revamping my freelance site.
I’ve kept my rates really low for a lot of years and it’s time I start placing better value on my time–and I restructured things so clients could better pick what will fit their needs and budgets. If you have writer types in your life, please keep me in mind if they’re looking for a freelancer!
All that said, I do have stuff upcoming in 2019, and here’s the status of said stuff:
A Livi boxset! The first three novels plus Ashford’s Ghost, which, if you missed, I highly recommend checking out. It’ll be important even if not readily apparent. I promise.
Release date ETA: March 12 2019.
Okay, so what you’ve actually been waiting for…
Livi #4: Shiva’s Bow
The one everyone is looking for updates about.
This book is done-ish. I have the second draft done, and I plan to do another nitpicky draft before I send it for copyedits.
I want to do that after I have a zero draft of the fifth book (more on that below).
Release Date ETA: None. This is a big book in the series and, once you get to it, you’ll be clamoring for the next one. I’m not picking a date until I know for sure I can get you the next in the series after a brief 3-6 month break.
New Readers: I’m sorry, I used to be one of those people who could write books in quick succession. I’m not now. I’m a pretty severely mentally ill, chronically ill, single-income person who works as a freelancer, and Livi books do not lend themselves well to being fast-tracked. I want them well-researched, unrushed, and crafted well for you.
I hope you can be patient! I promise it’ll be worth the wait because, well…
Nowhere to run. No one to trust.
For once, life is looking good for single mom and adventurer Livi Talbot.
Work is steady, her team is dependable, her daughter is thriving. And then there’s deadly operative Dale West—who sometimes turns into a tiger and always throws her off her game. Just as she’s ready to confront her growing feelings for him, he invites her on a mission for his agency that will take her team to Nepal. A recent earthquake has revealed a mysterious temple deep in the Himalayas, and the secrets within could be fatal in the wrong hands.
A supernatural weapons dealer and his army of mercenaries are at their heels to complicate things, as is someone from West’s past who makes Livi question their potential future. She’s always been slow to trust, but believing in West might be the only way they survive.
If his lies don’t get her killed first.
I know plenty of folks are excited, and I am so thrilled for you to read it–but Emperor’s Tomb just came out in October, so it’ll be some time. I’m hoping by the summer for this one.
Livi #5 (Untitled)
I’m about 20K into it. The shape of the thing is becoming clearer for me and the research is helping me slide the pieces together. It’s a huge game-changer for both Livi and the series, and I am so excited for you to read it.
Once I get through the murky middle, the ending will be quick to write, as it’s stuff I’ve been planning for years now.
I’m hesitant to give it a title since we all know the third book’s ended up changing before release–I’m strongly leaning toward Yampellec’s Idol. The cover is in progress as well–by the time I’m ready to share it, the title will be nailed down.
Release Date ETA: late 2019 at the earliest but probably 2020.
To tide everyone over, there’ll be a fun novella which has been posting at Patreon. I’d hoped to release it in February but that’s not happening as it’s not quite done yet. It’s on the way, though! Essentially Livi goes on a blind date that goes very badly (it involves kidnapping) while West babysits.
I have a newsletter if you want announcements about upcoming releases.
I wasn’t going to say more until I had it set for preorder, but I promised news this month, so: I have a new, non-paranormal mystery series in progress.
I will talk in detail about it eventually–I can write entire ESSAYS about where it came from (essentially, Twin Peaks S3 pissed me off big time, which you know if you followed my livetweeting, and AUDREY DESERVED BETTER)–but as the stories have been rolling around in my head, I realized what I really wanted to do was have a PI series focused on women’s stories. I wouldn’t presume to call it feminist–it’s fiction, I’m only human, and there are bound to be problematic elements I’ll miss–but it’s definitely going to be a series that unapologetically centers women as villains, as heroes, as victims, and with the nuance their depictions typically lack, and turn those PI tropes around and examine how they change when the major players are women.
It’s more challenging than I anticipated but I think you’re gonna love it.
The goal is to eventually alternate them with Livi books to give my brain a bit of a break. I’ve been writing a prequel at the same time as the first novel, which will serialize this year at Patreon.
Her’s the cover and jacket copy for the first book:
Bodies of middle-aged men have been washing ashore in Port Milton. The police have confirmed homicide but not much else, which makes it the perfect case for PI Waverly Jones.
Who just happened to stumble upon the latest victim.
Driven to the point of obsession by the ghosts of her past, she’s been combing the beach to examine each body, afraid of finding one man in particular: Detective-Sergeant Sebastian Kyle, missing these past eleven years after investigating the now-dormant serial killer who made Waverly’s sister his last victim. Though none have been him so far, her familiarity with the murders has left her well-prepared when hired by the wife of the man most recently killed. Have the police unintentionally fumbled this case in the wrong direction, or does the widow not know as much about her husband as she thought?
Port Milton has always had its secrets, and Waverly will drag every single one into the light to get to the bottom of this mystery.
And maybe somewhere along the way, she’ll get another step closer to who killed her sister and what happened to Sebastian Kyle.
Waverly is manipulative and damaged and brilliant and I can’t wait for you to meet her.