Sep. 22nd, 2018


Adversaries 7/10 (The Three Lands: Breached Boundaries #1) [Patreon fiction]

The boundaries of rank declare that Serva can be a princess or she can be a slave. But for the bastard daughter of the King of Daxis, life is not that simple.

Forced to be a tool in a battle waged by her land's unstable King and his dangerously devious heir, Serva cannot even find refuge among her fellow slaves. Instead, she secretly explores the hidden portions of the palace. In this way, she meets an imprisoned spy who is scheduled for execution.

But when a simmering war bubbles to the surface, Serva must choose where her loyalties lie. She must also solve the mystery of the spy's past, and of her own future.

"'Well, slave,' the King said with mock ferociousness, 'what is so urgent that you could not wait until we saw each other next?'"


Daily life: Schedules and social media

Part of today's schedule.

Me on September 19: "I'm never going to read Twitter again! Unless there's a major emergency, of course."

Me on September 20: (*Twitter-searches #Aberdeen for seven hours.*)

I spent a lot of time hugging Joe on September 20, grateful he wasn't closer to the Aberdeen shooting. (Actually, the shooting took place in a village near Aberdeen, but there you are - the power of media-created hashtags.) A friend of his from Aberdeen, who had picked Joe up from his Aberdeen doctor's appointment about an hour after the shooting, ended up having her area of the city on lockdown. This is the second mass shooting in my mainly rural county in a year. That number doesn't count the shooting of two deputy sheriffs two years ago by a man stalking his ex-wife.

Did I mention that, three days before the shooting, I was sitting outside a train station that is a seven-minute car ride from the shooting location?

But this post isn't about violence, and it's only loosely about social media. It's mainly about what I discovered during the five days that I was living at the house of my father and stepmother, while evacuated from Hurricane Florence.

You'll recall that I talked a few weeks ago about my recent realization that I need a regular schedule. What I had entirely forgotten was that I grew up with a regular schedule. I would have thought that this was because of the constraints of my father's work schedule (my mother was a homemaker when I was growing up) and the school schedules of me and my sibling. But staying with my father and stepmother (both now retired) made me realize that, No. My father is simply a man of regular schedules.

I assume my stepmother must be as well, or else they reached an accommodation. Likewise regarding my late mother and father. At any rate, while I was staying with my father and stepmother, it became apparent that -- just as during my own childhood - this household was run under a regular schedule of times for bedrise and bedtime, meals, and work and leisure.

Oh, man, did I thrive while I was there.

Their house is as regularly ordered as their lives, and that was how I realized that a lot of my parents' regularity in schedules may arise from the fact that they have a weekly maid, a working dishwasher, and shared chores. I don't have any of that, with the result that I'm trying to cram each day into full-time homemaking as well as full-time professional work. I never seem to manage that trick, so I'm forever going off my schedule.

Even so, I know exactly what pulls me off my schedule most: Internet addiction. And right now, the main source of my Internet addiction is social media - specifically, Twitter.

Hence my decision to stop reading social media. I'll still post at my blog and its mirrors. (That includes linking to my blog at Twitter, which I can do through a third-party app.) And I *think* that the new software update for my iPod Touch will allow me to set things up to read my Dreamwidth reading page for no more than thirty minutes each day, which would be lovely. I'd like to keep up that connection with other Dreamwidth folks. But under the current circumstances, I don't think I can spare more than half an hour a day for socializing. And I certainly can't spare any time for compulsive surfing, which I inevitably do whenever I'm at any social media platform that has endless scrolling.

If I can get my Internet addiction under control, then there's some hope I'll be able to establish something resembling a regular schedule, even if my home is never as neatly ordered as my parents' is.

Sep. 20th, 2018


Safety check-in

Regarding the shooting near Aberdeen, Maryland: Joe​​ and I are both safe. Joe was in Aberdeen this morning but was five miles from where the shooting location is.

Sep. 18th, 2018


Adversaries 6/10 (The Three Lands: Breached Boundaries #1) [Patreon fiction]

The Koretian spy had certainly deceived me well in not revealing what he knew.

Story summary:

The boundaries of rank declare that Serva can be a princess or she can be a slave. But for the bastard daughter of the King of Daxis, life is not that simple.

Forced to be a tool in a battle waged by her land's unstable King and his dangerously devious heir, Serva cannot even find refuge among her fellow slaves. Instead, she secretly explores the hidden portions of the palace. In this way, she meets an imprisoned spy who is scheduled for execution.

But when a simmering war bubbles to the surface, Serva must choose where her loyalties lie. She must also solve the mystery of the spy's past, and of her own future.


Storm writing and upcoming stories

My apologies for the delay in posting the latest installment in Breached Boundaries. For similar reasons, I'm late getting out this month's thank-you notes to new patrons. I'll be sending them, I promise!

I was out of town, staying with my parents. While I was there, I managed to finish up a nonfiction project I've been working on for the past six weeks, about a historical hurricane. The final bit of work involved describing the workings of a storm surge, which was a tricky passage to write: I've been through hurricanes in my time, but thankfully I have never been through a storm surge. I had to create that passage with the help of descriptions of storm surges by meteorologists and history writers.

Having completed that passage, I switched to my iPod Touch, clicked on the bookmarked site of a webcam, and was just in time to watch a storm surge act exactly the way I'd described.

I was in fact in evacuation from Hurricane Florence. I'm home now. Joe and I are still waiting to see whether the heavy rains upstream of us will cause the already swollen river we live by to overflow its banks, but at least we seem to have been spared the brunt of the storm, unlike the poor folks to the south, west, and north of us.

As a change of pace, I thought I'd tell you this week what stories I have in the coming pipeline. All of these will eventually end up at my Patreon account, where, for a donation of your choosing, you can receive all my monthly fiction.




(A note for those of you not familiar with my volume release practice: I generally release novels in parts, with each part a story in itself. So if part one of a volume is ready, that means I'm ready to release that part of the volume.)

Swordsman in a Small Town (Chesapeake Sword volume; part one is written).

He is a prince from a war-torn land in the Great Peninsula. She is an Internet enthusiast from a small town next to the Chesapeake Bay. A god's wish will bring them together.

Yoktan is in trouble. Deprived of his rightful heritage and pursued by killers, he desperately seeks refuge. When his rash prayer transports him to a deceptively peaceful town, he must make sense of the tremendous transformation he has undergone.

Persis has spent nearly all her life on the Internet. A chatterbox online, she just can't seem to connect with people face-to-face. She had hoped that moving to a small town would give her a life beyond the screen, but she seems doomed to live alone forever.

Then she rounds a corner and finds herself facing a swordsman. . . .

Empty Dagger Hand (The Three Lands volume; part one is written).

Dolan is a quiet young man who spends his days working as a scribe. So why does he have a dagger hidden under his tunic?

[This is just a placeholder blurb, written years ago. Empty Dagger Hand brings to a climax the various conflicts between the Three Lands.]

Search for the Jackal (The Thousand Nations volume; part one is written).

When a young man named Dolan flees from the north, he finds danger on all sides. The Northern Army wants him back. The Empire of Emor wants him dead. His native homeland of Koretia may not want him at all. And his only protection is a man with motives that are mysterious and possibly deadly.

To remain alive, Dolan must forge alliances, cement friendships, break and heal a killer, and seek a lost god. Most of all, he must decide what his goal is and how high a price he is willing to pay to achieve that goal.

Wizard of the Sun (Darkling Plain novel).

When Tyne's father makes plans to rid himself of his dull-witted son, Tyne climbs the wizards' mountain, hoping to find there an answer to his troubles. The power he receives there brings him joy beyond measure. Gradually, however, he comes to realize that the land of his people lies in danger. Tyne sets out to fight the danger, though he realizes that in doing so, he risks losing the power he has gained and returning to the lonely life he led as a boy.

Forge (The Eternal Dungeon postlude volume; part one is written).

The capital city of the Queendom of Yclau has a restless population of oppressed commoners, a queen determined to keep control of the rabble, and a hidden killer stalking the streets.

It's an explosive combination. Into this world will come a man nobody expects, least of all himself.

The Awakening (Dungeon Guards novel; part one is entirely completed - now I just have to finish editing the last three parts).

Barrett Boyd has awakened from death to a new and baffling life. He knows that he is a guard in the queendom's royal prison, the Eternal Dungeon. But why do the prisoners matter so much to him? Who are these other guards who appear to have claims over him? And how will he survive while he finds his new place in this world?


NOVELS & SHORT FICTION TO BE PUBLISHED IN E-BOOKS (which my Patreon patrons receive for free; currently being edited)

Death Mask (The Three Lands volume).

For eighteen years, he has survived in an army unit where few soldiers live more than two or three years. Now he finds himself in circumstances where his life is a living hell. Will the soldier who defied death find that life is too great a challenge?

Soldiers, spies, slaves, rebels, assassins, gods, and men who set out to break him . . . The Lieutenant of the Border Mountain Patrol will learn that his greatest test is himself.

"The Fire Before" (The Three Lands novella).

The god's fire is fierce, but not as fierce as the god's wrath if you turn away.

Tristan is the King's heir, destined to rule the Kingdom of Koretia. His nephew Robin has taken Tristan's place as baron of their town. Now both men are about to face the worst crisis their land has ever known. And neither of them understands what the true crisis is.

As Tristan struggles to find the courage to follow his god's command, and Robin tries to find a middle ground between piety and disloyalty to his uncle, the two noblemen will be forced to confront the consequences of war . . . and the consequences of their own inaction.

Hell's Messenger (Life Prison volume).

In Mip's most notorious life prison, Death appears in a strange disguise.

It had seemed for a while that the plan would work: a bold conspiracy by a group of idealistic prisoners and sympathetic guards to stop abuse at Mercy Prison. Then betrayal occurs, and Tyrrell finds himself in a new life prison, with new rules to be learned. No longer is he in a position of leadership; now he is surrounded by men who question his most fundamental values.

He has new allies as well: fellow prisoners who like what they see in him, a healer who refuses to accept current conditions, and guards who may or may not provide the help that the prisoners desperately need. But Hell's messenger, Death, visits Compassion Prison, keeping his face hidden until it is almost too late for Tyrrell to recognize his touch.



"Hidden Blade" (The Three Lands novella).

His father is a dull farmer. His mother is a dull farmer's wife. He seems destined for a similarly dull life.

But then a stranger appears in their village, and suddenly the talk is of soldiers and spies and secrets and gods. Will he be able to break free of his father's legacy and make a bold dash to a life of his own?

"Stream of Dying" (The Thousand Nations short story).

"Large Talk" (The Thousand Nations short story).

"Homecoming" (Life Prison novelette).



Sacrifice (Waterman volume).

The deepest sacrifices arise from love.



I imagine you can see why I'm so eager to add more editing time - not to mention writing time! - to my schedule. At the moment, I can set aside ninety minutes a day for writing, editing, and layout. This month I've been able to add an extra ninety minutes to my editing of Breached Boundaries, thanks to my kind patrons at Patreon. I hope I will acquire more readers there, so that I can devote more time each month to preparing fiction for your reading pleasure.