Clouds

Have you ever felt like there’s a cloud over your head? And it’s raining?

Yeah–that’s me, right now. But it isn’t just a cloud. It’s a damned thunderstorm. And it’s been thundering for a long time. *sigh* I could go into the gory details but I won’t, except to say it mostly has to do with the tax man. If I did go into detail, this post would be waaay too long. But I’m feeling beleaguered. Yes. That’s a good word.

The Moreva of Astoreth is back from the betas. Both have given me great advice but one beta’s is spectacular. She’s a developmental editor in real life. She didn’t give me the whole shebang (I would’ve had to pay for that). Her remarks though–I’ve a lot of work to do on it. I mean, not a total rewrite, or anything like that. Move stuff around, explain stuff early in the book. One thing she pointed out was as a reader, she would like to see an example of a ritual other than Ohra (which is an orgy). Explain Tehi’s religion more. Stuff I never even thought about. So the revised version is going to come out much later than I wanted, which means the sequel, When Gods Die, is going to come out later, too.

The Final Victim is with my editor. I’m pretty optimistic it won’t come back dipped in too much blood. Then I can get it formatted and all that stuff–that reminds me, I need to… Continue reading

The Death Of America

America died today.

The U.S. Senate voted to acquit 45 (I can’t bear to call him by name) of the two criminal charges pending against him. Of course, this was a no-brainer. We all knew it was going to happen.

Even so, I’d hoped against hope that the greed and corruption that has sunk this country into the depths of a bottomless cesspool would be overcome by enough Senators with integrity to allow America to begin a slow rise back into the light.

Not happening.

Don’t get me wrong–I’ve never been a flag-waver. For me, America was never the shining city on the hill. I’ve lived long enough to see Columbia butt-naked, showing her ass covered with putrid running sores. The ugliness of the people who live here, and the ugliness they show to each other. America has always been divided. The spin that America is a melting pot of peoples of all colors and creeds, pulling together, lifting this country into greatness is nothing but sheer propaganda. A lie, a cover-up of the truth that “Americans” are not united and never have been, even before this country was founded. The Statue of Liberty notwithstanding, America has never welcomed immigrants. The first immigrants were criminals and other outcasts, and adventurers looking to make big bucks. They killed the Native people already here and took their lands. When more immigrants arrived, they were pushed west. They too, trampled the Native peoples. The adventurers among them searched for riches, and found “gold… Continue reading

State Of The Union

WHAT A FUCKING JOKE!!

One of my favorites was about lifting people off welfare. 45 got ’em off welfare, all right. He KICKED them off.

Nancy Pelosi’s ripping the speech in two was PRICELESS!

I’ll be laughing in my sleep.

Ciao.

First Seven Days

So Daisy Mae’s been gone a week.

Really, I’ve been too sick to grieve. Was finally able to drag myself to the doctor last Wednesday, because by then I knew damned well it wasn’t the flu. Doc says it’s bronchitis. Gah. Nothing to do for the cough except lots of cough syrup and drops. Well, lemme tell ya–you know you got it bad when your drink of choice is Nyquil. I must’ve drunk at least a gallon of the stuff over the past 10 days. And let’s not forget I’ve strained my back muscles from all the coughing. That’s really fucked up.

Maybe it’s better this way? I’ve been too busy trying to stay conscious to think about my loss.

Once I reached the state of semi-consciousness, I did some writing in between bouts of passing out. When I took breaks, I’d turn around, expecting to see her lying flat out on the floor. Got a little jolt of surprise to see she wasn’t there. One time, I’d rallied enough so that the brain was just pumpin’ along, and I heard these thumps in the hallway. If you know anything about Great Danes, it’s that their footsteps aren’t exactly quiet. Anyway, the thumping stopped and I turned. She wasn’t in the doorway. I’m like “shit!” and jump out of the chair, hobble to the door and peek into the hallway. Nothing. I walked all around the house, and there’s still nothing. Returned to my office and went back to work.… Continue reading

First Night

I was right.

My bed felt so huge and empty. Half-asleep, I wondered why I didn’t feel that spot of heat in the middle of my back. Then I’d wake up and remember. My puppy girl isn’t here anymore.

I stayed with her until she died. I promised her that. I kept my hand on her, massaging her neck. There came a point where I knew she couldn’t feel me anymore, but I couldn’t let go. And then she was gone.

These past two weeks have been from hell. The job–trying to get this new column put to bed. It was a profile/interview with someone, and what makes it hard is that you’re on deadline and they’re not. Last minute edits, “stop the presses!” stuff like that. The following week, trying to get your work done and you know something weird is going down. Then, on a day you have off, you develop a persistent, nagging cough that’s really annoying but you don’t pay it any attention ’cause you got work to do, places to go and people to see. And the next day…the shit totally hits the fan. Vertigo–can barely stand up straight. Head feels like it’s about to separate from your neck. Your five senses are totally whack. And that annoying cough? Your body is wracked with it. You ever cough so hard you throw up? Muscles clenching until your midsection feels as if someone has used it for a punching bag. Your neck, too. I threw my… Continue reading

So Far, 2020 Is Going…

It’s a bit of a mixed bag, really.

The writing’s great, full steam ahead. The Moreva of Astoreth is with the betas–sent it a full 5 days ahead of schedule–and The Final Victim zipping along. I’m close to finishing it. If it’s not finished next week, it’ll definitely be finished the week after that ’cause I’ll be on vacation. I’m doing a video shoot for a friend. Advertising for her, exposure for me. Win-win.

I have to let my sweet, lovable Daisy Mae cross the Rainbow Bridge. What’s hard is she’s not sick. She’s got plenty of spirit. But her body is failing her. Her spine and hips have deteriorated even more since November. I have to help her up the stairs. I usually have to help her onto the bed. She collapses a lot. I can get her on her feet, but it’s so painful to watch. Tonight I let her out, and went to let her back in about 5 minutes later. I didn’t see her. I stepped out onto the porch and saw her on the ground, struggling to get up. She managed to do it before I got to her, and I helped her up the porch stairs. A couple of weeks ago, I had to go out and my housemate did, too. I was gone for about 2 hours, and got home before he did. Daisy wasn’t on the bed, which was unusual. I walked into my office and she was on the floor with… Continue reading

The Final Victim

So I’m writing my novelette, The Final Victim. Feels good to be creating again.

After the nightmare that was 2018, late last spring I decided I was well enough to tackle author stuff. I knew I wasn’t at the point where I could write, so I thought I’d edit my previous works. Start slow. The updated versions of The Underground and Invasion are on the market, and The Moreva of Astoreth is getting there. Damn, did that one need a LOT of work! I cut myself slack because it was my second novel, but there’s no excuse for my arrogance in thinking it didn’t need editing. Won’t make that mistake again. After going through it, I’m really surprised it got as many good ratings as it did. Right now I’m letting it rest, and will pick it back up next week. I was going to say at the beginning of the year, but that’s next week. I’ll do a final round of edits, then send it out to betas. I’d thought to have it out by mid-January, but the beta reads is going to delay that. If I give the betas three weeks, it should be ready by the end of February, if not before. While TMOA is out, I’ll take up The Final Victim again.

Writing it is going better than I’d hoped. Of course, it helps that I already had the basic story, three chapters that I’d pulled from The Underground. I guess you could say I’m just… Continue reading

A Little Something From The Day Job

I write about state and local taxes to pay the bills. Uh-huh. I see your eyes glazing over–yeah, you!

Actually, it’s kind of fun. I work at a high level–my scope is nationwide, and sometimes international. I never get down into the weeds. That would make my eyes glaze over, too. What makes SALT interesting is its complexity. There there are so many different taxes and so many different ways in which they’re applied. In some cases, of the states that impose a particular tax, no two states do it alike. Throw in the constitutional questions, like whether a state tax discriminates against interstate or foreign commerce (article 8 of the federal constitution and there are a bunch of other articles to consider like the import-export clause), what you get is a mind fuck of the highest degree. A mind fuck so mind-blowing you want to get up and make a sammich afterward.

So an opinion I wrote about one of California’s taxes appeared in Forbes magazine on the 19th. Editor’s pick, too. Enjoy.

Ciao.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/taxnotes/2019/12/19/californias-62-mile-high-taxes/#6f31f5052324

Looking Ahead To 2020

This is the first time I’ve written words like these in my life.

I’ve never planned for the future because I’d always hoped that for me, there wouldn’t be one. Despite all my best efforts, I’m still here so decided to give it a go.

My overarching goal this year is to complete two books, The Final Victim and When Gods Die. I think it’s possible because The Final Victim will likely end up as a novelette, maybe 25-30,000 words. The basic story is already written and all I have to do is flesh it out. It’s a companion piece to The Underground, told from the elves’ point of view. It won’t be a rehash of The Underground’s action–more like parallel. Like “this is what was happening over here while Parker, Melera, Garrett and Kurt were doing their thing over there.” One scene in The Final Victim will intersect with a scene in The Underground, but that’s it. If all goes well, it’ll be out by the end of February. I’m pretty sure that’s doable but I’m also sending it to betas. I used betas once before and it was a really bad experience but after talking to and reading other authors’ advice, I’ll give it another try. I’ve got two who’ve said they’re willing, so here’s hoping they can do a fast turnaround. I want to release When Gods Die in late summer or in the fall. I’ve got like the first three chapters written. It’s a start.

The… Continue reading

2019 Literary Roundup

We’re in the waning weeks of 2019, a time for me to look back at what I’ve accomplished during the year.

Step into an alternate Seattle, where the strangers you’ll meet may be stranger than you think. The Underground and Invasion

There is no room for morals when survival is at stake. The Underground

They saved Seattle. Now they have to save the world. But can they save themselves? Invasion

The Underground and Invasion, my duology/diptych/dilogy (take your pick) has been laid to rest. Finally. The original version of The Underground was published in 2013 and has undergone two iterations since then. The original was good but I decided I could make it better. It underwent an extensive re-edit–a hundred pages were cut–so under the copyright rules, I had to publish it anew. That was The Underground: Second Edition. But I wasn’t happy with it. Close, but no cigar. The book was edited again. This revision wasn’t nearly as drastic as the first but I did change the title–Second Edition was dropped–and under the ISBN rules, I had to publish it as a new book. Hey, if you wanna play, you gotta pay. The latest–and last–version was published in October.

Invasion is The Underground’s sequel, published in 2017. I’d never intended to write a sequel but sometimes the characters have other ideas. I resisted but after much bullying, had to give in. I grudgingly admit they had a point. The Underground had left behind much unfinished business. And though… Continue reading