New bundle!

Backli’s Ford is being offered in another bundle: Out of this World, from Bundle Rabbit. For three weeks–Monday, August 15 to Monday, September 5–you can get six novels and anthologies for $3.99, or all 16 for $9.99 on Bundle Rabbit. Then the bundle will become available on all sales channels (Kobo, Amazon, B&N, iBooks, etc.) from September 5 to October 5 with a full bundle price of $9.99.

Out of This World Bundle

For the minimum price of $3.99, you get six fabulous titles:

Interlude Beyond by Rebecca M. Senese

The Science Officer (Science Officer Vol 1) by Blaze Ward

Of Myst and Folly by Leah Cutter

Grim Repo by Mark Fassett

The Cat’s Meow by Jamie Ferguson

Hydrogen Sleets by Michael Warren Lucas

But if you pay $9.99, you get all 16 titles, including:

Alien Influences by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Tales of Tomorrow by Debbie Mumford

Invasion by J.D. Brink

Scream Angel by Douglas Smith

Magician’s Choice by Stefon Mears

Backli’s Ford by Marcelle Dubé

The Dark Zone by Rita Schulz

The Crystal Courtesan by Karen L. Abrahamson

Mary Celeste Adrift by J.A. Marlow

Morning Song by Dean Wesley Smith

New Mendenhall Short Mystery

Crime and Mystery coverMy latest Mendenhall Short Mystery, “Home Run,” will be published in Flame Tree Publishing’s 2016 Gothic Fantasy Crime and Mystery anthology. Publication date is in August, but the book can be pre-ordered on Amazon. The anthology will be published in hardcover and as an ebook.

I’m also tickled to be in the same table of contents as Tony Pi, fellow Canadian and excellent writer.

Crime & Mystery Table of Contents:

The Cost of Security by Tara Campbell

Skitter and Click by Jennifer Dornan-Fish

Paperboxing Art by James Dorr

Home Run by Marcelle Dubé

Suggestive Thoughts by H.L. Fullerton

I Am Nightmare by Jennifer Gifford

Three Words by Nathan Hystad

The Marionettist by John A. Karr

Mechanical Love by Kin S. Law

iMurder by Josh Pachter

Creature of the Thaumatrope by Tony Pi

The Whipping Boy by Conor Powers-Smith

The Man Wore Motley by Stephen D. Rogers

The House by Steve Shrott

Catzized by Annette Siketa

Ghosts, Bigfoot and Free Lunches by Dan Stout

Blood and Silver Beneath the Many Moons by Brian Trent

Murder on the Cogsworthy Express by Cameron Trost

Chains of Command by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley and Ruth Nestvold

Update on The Not Only Humans Bundle

The promotion for The Not Only Humans Bundle at Bundle Rabbit ends on June 15.

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There’s still time to get a great deal on five science fiction or fantasy titles for $4.99 or up to 12 novels (including my first A’lle novel, Backli’s Ford) for $9.99.

As of June 15, the bundle goes live in the following places:

 

Don’t forget to sign up for Bundle Rabbit’s newsletter to find out what great bundles are coming up!

 

The Not Only Humans Bundle

My first bundle!

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My first A’lle novel, Backli’s Ford, is part of the Not Only Humans bundle from Bundle Rabbit, along with some pretty fabulous writers: Eric Kent Edstrom, J. Daniel Sawyer, Kim Antieau, Carl S. Plumer, Douglas Smith, Dean Wesley Smith, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Anthea Sharp, Mindy Klasky, Leah Cutter and Blaze Ward.

The bundle is up at BundleRabbit for one week only: June 8 to 15, after which it becomes available at Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, from June 15 to July 20. Minimum cost: $4.99 for five titles but for $9.99 you can get all 12!

Here’s the information on the books:

12 THRILLING SUMMER READS

From galaxy-spanning alien cultures to the discovery of Bigfoot, these page-turning novels feature gripping stories where humans and non-humans work together, fight each other, and even fall in love.

Name your own price and save. List price if bought individually is over $70!

A dozen amazing fantasy and science fiction novels.

Donate 10% of your purchase to First Book and help transform the lives of children.

This bundle is jam-packed with stories …

… For every reader’s taste.

… Filled with robots and faeries. Demons and trolls and vampires. And aliens, aliens, and more aliens.

… Of unparalleled quality. Bestselling and award winning authors.

The dozen novels included are:

The Changeling Troll by Leah Cutter. Christine loves escaping into the make-believe world of her books. But when she meets her doppelganger she discovers there’s also magic in the real world.

From Aurora Award winning Douglas Smith, The Wolf at the End of the World. A shapeshifter hero battles ancient spirits, a covert government agency, and his own dark past in a race to solve a murder that could mean the end of the world.

In Imposters by Blaze Ward aliens masquerade as humans to protect the human race, but when a protector goes rogue he must be stopped while keeping the alien’s terrible secret from becoming known.

Queendom: Feast of the Saints by Kim Antieau is a seductive tale of love and betrayal. Aided by soothsayer androids, Queen Reina, monarch and CEO of Queendom, struggles against court intrigue and emotional confrontations to save her country.

In Fright Court by USA Today bestselling author Mindy Klasky, Sarah lands her dream job as court clerk for the District of Columbia Night Court. But after she’s attacked by a vampire defendant, Sarah wonders if she can ever bring order to the supernatural court!

Set in 2035, Demon Days by Carl S. Plumer is a darkly humorous look at a future filled with helpful robots but plagued by demons from outer space.

Winner of the 2015 Book Buyer’s Best Award, Royal by USA Today bestselling author Anthea Sharp. Faerie Brea Cairgead is forced to masquerade as a human in a mortal high school to carry out her mission for the Dark Queen. But when Brea falls in love with Royal Lassiter, a flawed human boy, her heart – and the future of the mortal world – are put in grave danger.

Set in 1911, Backli’s Ford by Marcelle Dubé follows Constance, the first A’lle investigator for Lower Canada, as she faces danger inside and outside her constabulary and uncovers a terrible secret that risks destroying the delicate balance that has endured for two centuries between the alien A’lle and the humans.

Undermountain by Eric Kent Edstrom is perfect for fans of YA adventure and science fiction. When a group of teens are backpacking deep in the Canadian Rockies they meet Bigfoot. And it speaks to them! Soon they’re caught up in a war between two alien races where the fate of the Earth hangs in balance.

Silent Victor: A Clarke Lantham Mystery by J. Daniel Sawyer. When a commando team of Gray aliens steals a Mars rock with microbial alien life in full view of the cameras, the victim turns to Clarke Lantham to solve the crime.

Arthur C. Clark Award Finalist Alien Influences by Hugo Award winning Kristine Kathryn Rusch. On the sun-scorched planet Bountiful, human colonists live peacefully alongside natives known as Dancers until an unspeakable disaster devastates the colony.

Star Rain: A Seeders Universe Novel by USA Today bestselling author Dean Wesley Smith. The fight against the genetically engineered aliens seems impossible. Benny and Gina, both Seeders, stand on the bridge of their massive mother ship knowing they need a miracle to win.

This bundle is available ONLY FOR A LIMITED TIME

Get your copy today, before it’s gone.

Ghosts and the rational woman

 

boldtcastle_rotundaroomWhen I was little, I had a recurring dream. I was inside a huge, sunlit room that was crowded with furniture. As I threaded my way across the room, long, scaly green arms with clawed hands reached out from under the furniture to grab at me. I eventually outgrew the dreams. And the monster under the bed, and the one in my closet. Not to mention the one in the basement.

I am now a Rational Woman. Despite this, I am willing to admit that not everything in life can be explained rationally. But since childhood, I haven’t encountered any situations that couldn’t be.

Then last spring I stayed at a hotel where I’ve stayed many times before: a funky older hotel with tons of character and charm.

And ghosts, apparently.

In all the times I had stayed there, I’d seen no evidence of ghosts or felt anything “weird.” The possibility of ghosts never even occurred to me. This last spring, however, another guest casually mentioned that the hotel was haunted. I had a good laugh (at the person’s expense, I might add) and carried on. Then that evening, I repeated the story to someone who is familiar with the hotel and for whom I have a lot of respect.

She told me it was true. She told me that she seen the ghosts, too. And she had been with someone else at the time, someone whom I also respect. They’d both seen the ghosts.

I must have gone a little pale because she assured me that the ghosts were absolutely harmless, even when they appeared at the foot of your bed.

I didn’t sleep much that night. Or the whole time I was there.

There I was, a grown woman, intelligent, mature, experienced—freaked out at the thought of ghosts in my room. And I never even saw one! I didn’t need to. I actually wanted to change hotels, but I wasn’t about to admit to anyone why, so I stayed. Even after I got home, I still felt creeped out by the whole situation, waking up in the middle of the night and wondering if there was someone—or something—in my room…

The only reason I admit to this now is because I finally got over the irrational fear. I decided to face it in the only way I, as a writer, know how. I wrote a ghost story.

The novel’s almost finished. It started out as modern gothic, but now, I’m not too sure what it is. It doesn’t matter. Somewhere along the way, after scaring myself silly with some of the scenes, I got over my irrational fear.

I’m going back to the hotel in the fall. I am myself again, a modern woman with a (mostly) logical mind and an appreciation for the rational.

And if I sometimes feel someone watching me when no one’s around…? Well, that can be our little secret…

Originally published at Not Your Usual Suspects on March 23, 2016.

Good Grief

I have a confession: I am not a superhero fan. It’s not that I dislike them—not at all. But after a brief flirtation with the genre when I was a teen, I haven’t really given superheroes much thought. Oh, I knew they were around, of course, and I’ve even caught the odd Superman and Batman movie (and enjoyed them), but I wouldn’t know Deadpool from Deadman.

So, you can understand my bemused delight at ending up in Superhero Universe: Tesseracts Nineteen.

Superhero UniverseI’ve enjoyed working with Claude Lalumière before, so when I saw the call for submissions for one of his anthologies, with Mark Shainblum, I wanted to submit something. But what?

Have I mentioned that I’m not steeped in the superhero genre…? I knew I didn’t want my superhero to have a mega superpower… that’s just not me. But I’ve always been fascinated by the sense of smell. I know some people who will only know the milk has spoiled by drinking it. Others will know the moment they walk into the kitchen. So, what happens when someone’s sense of smell is so developed it becomes debilitating?

And what if this new power developed in an ordinary guy just coming out of World War II who is forever changed by unusual circumstances? It’s not something he wanted—nobody would want that kind of superpower—but he has it and now he has to figure out what he’s going to do with it.

To be honest, I wondered if Bloodhound was “superhero-y” enough. After all, he can’t fly, or climb walls. He doesn’t have any of the other conventional superhero powers. Really, he’s just a quiet guy, who’d rather be left alone.

So, after all this, I still don’t know a whole lot about superheroes. But maybe Bloodhound is more like the ones I know than I had thought. He just wants to be left alone, but he can’t sit idly by when he sees something wrong. In the end, he really is rather extraordinary.

If you want to learn more about the stories in Superhero Universe, I invite you to visit Corey Redekop, one of the authors in the anthology. In collaboration with Edge Publishing, Corey has been posting a series of interviews with the authors. Cool stuff.

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How old is too old?

I just attended a talk by a renowned Canadian editor and publisher by the name of Douglas Gibson. He edited the likes of Robertson Davies, W.O. Mitchell, and Margaret Atwood… CanLit royalty. What was most interesting to me was the fact that he is “of a certain age.” He retired from editing and publishing at age 65, then reinvented himself as a writer, then as a performer. Now, at 72, he travels the country in a one-man play in which he dishes about the famous writers he edited.

A couple of years ago, I saw Maria Muldaur at the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival in Fredericton, New Brunswick. (Never been? Oh, you have to go. It’s a fabulous festival.) I’d always liked Maria Muldaur but had never seen her perform. She had to be escorted onto the stage (poor eyesight, I think). That’s when I took a look around the audience and noticed the predominance of gray and white heads. Hoo boy. I braced myself for a nostalgic trip led by a woman clearly past her prime.

Was I ever wrong. Maria Muldaur, also 72, blew me (and everyone else) away. She might have been past her prime, but she sure as heck found another prime along the way.

A few weeks ago, I read a post by Dean Wesley Smith in which he referenced a comment from a reader who regretted starting to write so late in life. Dean understood completely. He spoke about his own experience of feeling like he should have been writing his own, original work much earlier than he did. Then he asked, So what?

That’s my question, too. So what if you started writing at 50 or 60 or 90? Is it what you want to be doing? Does it bring you joy? Fill your well? Give you a reason to get up? Then who cares how old you are when you start?

I admit to a few moments of doubt. Moments when I wonder why I should bother, because really, isn’t it rather late? But that’s wrong-headed thinking. We should be grateful to have discovered our passion at all. Many people go through life puttering, with no idea what that fire in the belly feels like.

Besides, there are advantages to being an older writer. The kids are grown and (mostly) out of the house. You’re no longer the family chauffeur/breadwinner. Your career may be starting to wind down. All of which translates to more time to dedicate to learning your craft, practising and creating.

I’m approaching 60 and some days I feel like life is galloping by and it’s all I can do to hang on. I’ve got so many stories to write, and so much to learn about this writing stuff… I figure another 40 years ought to do it. Maybe.

Ask yourself how old you would be if you didn’t follow your dream, whatever that is. That’s right. You’d still be the same age, only not as happy. At least now, you’re doing what you were meant to do.

I find myself inspired by Douglas Gibson, Maria Muldaur, and Dean Smith. Who are your inspirations?

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Originally published on Not Your Usual Suspects, January 25, 2016

A Trailer for Superhero Universe

How cool is this? Edge Publishing has launched a trailer for the upcoming release of Tesseracts Nineteen: Superhero Universe, edited by Claude Lalumière and Mark Shainblum

Superhero UniverseRelease Dates:
Pre-Order Kindle E-book:
Jan. 11, 2016 thru Jan. 24, 2016
Exclusive Kindle E-book: Jan. 25, 2016 thru April 17, 2016
E-book Everywhere: April 18, 2016
Print Canada: March 14, 2016
Print USA: April 18, 2016

You can see the trailer here.

 

Confusing Times

From my November 20, 2015 blog post on Not Your Usual Suspects:

Traditional publishers and agents have been advising writers to specialize in one genre only for decades. Forever, really. The reasons are many, some maybe even valid:

  1. If publishers spend time and money marketing your science fiction book, they want to build on that, rather than start all over with your historical romance.
  2. You’ll confuse (and probably tick off) the reader who goes looking for your noir mystery only to find herself reading your latest slasher horror.
  3. You’ll spend longer trying to develop your writer “brand” if you split yourself among genres.

Indie publishing has placed all kinds of decisions in writers’ hands, including this one. Now that they don’t have to bow to a publisher’s will, they have to decide: Should they? Shouldn’t they?

As with any creative or business decision, you have to weigh the advantages and disadvantages.

For me, it boils down to the reason you write. Is it to make money? (A very valid reason.) Is it because you love writing so much you would do it whether or not it made money for you? (Also very valid.)

There’s another question you need to ask yourself: what’s the cost (creatively, emotionally, even physically) of NOT writing the story that’s in you to write?

I think you should write whatever damned book you want to write. While you owe your readers something, you also owe yourself. You have the right to challenge yourself, to experiment, to fill every little bit of your writer’s soul. After all, what’s the point of spending all that time and effort if you’re not having fun?

One caveat: Don’t mislead your reader. If you don’t use a pen name, be up front about your different genres (have different tabs on your web site for science fiction, romantic suspense, horror, etc.). Even an “open” pen name lets the reader know that these stories aren’t the same as the ones under your own name. Some readers will follow you across all your genres, while others will only read you in one genre. And that’s okay.

Remember: If you use a secret pen name, it can exacerbate the issue. You’ll be working to build two names (or three, or four), rather than just yours.

Here’s a mini-list of well-known writers who write in two or more genres:

Walter Mosley: Literary fiction, science fiction, political monographs, YA, mystery

Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb: Romance, romantic suspense, science fiction/police procedural

Joyce Carol Oates: Gothic, horror, suspense, mystery/crime, romance, historical, fantasy, realism, surrealism…

Ian Fleming: Spy novels (James Bond) and children’s (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang)

Stephen King: What doesn’t he write?

Elmore Leonard: westerns, crime, suspense, screenplays

Nicola Griffith: science fiction, thrillers, historical

Kristine Kathryn Rusch: science fiction, romance, fantasy, mystery

Can you think of any others?

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We have a cover!

Superhero Universe

Here’s the cover for Tesseracts Nineteen: Superhero Universe. It’s edited by Claude Lalumière and Mark Shainblum, and published by Edge Publishing. The cover artist is Jason Loorox (Jason Loo), creator of the brilliant Indy superhero comic The Pitiful Human Lizard.

Superhero Universe will be available in March 2016. My short story, “Bloodhound,” is in it.