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

When Gods Die

Thanksgiving is a day celebrated in America, commemorating the feast the Puritans gave themselves in thanks to their god for his grace in allowing them to survive their first year in the New World. Legend has it that the prior winter had been bitter and many of their number had succumbed. Legend also has it that the Native peoples attended this feast to celebrate their friendship with their new neighbors.

It’s all lies, of course. Just another example of America’s penchant for whitewashing her history. The Puritans murdered the Natives because they were “heathens” and thus an abomination in the eyes of their god.

Today, Thanksgiving is a holiday for people to celebrate their families and friends by breaking bread together and having a grand old time in each other’s company while doing so.

My Thanksgiving holiday sucked, thank you. There were several reasons for that but the main one is my family continues to blithely ignore my physical failings, leaving me out of a yearly ritual that’s supposed to bring a sense of belonging and joy. I have cataracts–not a bad case–but I can’t see well enough to drive at night. In the winter months, when days are short, I have to leave by a certain time to get back to my house before it gets dark. If the food is not on the table by a certain time #2, I can’t partake. This year, my niece had planned to bring a dish that I love, one her father… Continue reading

More On The Underground Book Promotion

Tired of me flogging my book yet? Too bad. Lots more to come.

So–on November 11 at 10 AM Eastern, I’m featured on the Goddess Talks podcast talking about–wait for it–The Underground. It’s live, so you can hear me hem and haw and otherwise fuck up when I get asked an uncomfortable question. Not really. I’m pretty good at answering those. Guess all those years of public speaking were good for something.

If you can make it (it’s a holiday in the U.S. and you won’t be working so there’s no reason why you can’t) here’s the access info:

Join TalkShoe Meeting: https://talkshoe.com/show/goddess-talks-with-authors-kristy-denice-bock-and-raven-starr One tap mobile: +1 605-562-0444,,8061356# Dial-in using your phone: United States – Midwest: +1 605-562-0444 Show ID: 8061356

And I’ve got a virtual blog tour also starting on November 11 and running through the first week of December. For those of you who don’t know, a vbt is a promotional tool that replaces the fly-around-the-country book signing tours that authors–some authors, anyway–used to get from their publishers. Vbts are far more affordable (duh!) and without the exhaustion and jet lag. And, of course, you can book as many vbts with as many companies as you like. I know a few brave souls who put together tours without help but I’ve been told that unless you have LOTS of time and LOTS of patience–and I have neither–pay for it.

Here’s that schedule:

November 11 Booklikes
http://roxannerhoads.booklikes.com

November 12 Fang-tastic Books  (Guest Blog)
http://fang-tasticbooks.blogspot.com

November 13 Paranormalists
https://paranormalists.blogspot.com/

November… Continue reading

Sittin’ Around Bullshittin’

Editing The Moreva of Astoreth–still. Jesus fucking christ. The pages look as if they’ve been dipped in pee. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, it would have been blue pencil. Anyway, it’d have been nice if Adobe had used a different color, one that didn’t look so much like body waste. Like a nice magenta. Or even green. And just think–once I’ve finished the edits, I have to input them into the ms in Word. Yeah, I know I can directly edit the Adobe version, but I didn’t create it and it wasn’t shared. So I have to do it the hard way.

My new desk chairs are fabulous! The old ones were cheap and worn out. The height adjustment thingie didn’t work anymore, I had to roll up a towel and put it behind me for back support, ugh. Now I’m at the right height for working at the computer. My back doesn’t hurt when I stand up. Of course, it would help if I didn’t sit at the desk so much, but I forget and only get up when my ass starts hurting.

I got one of those Happy Lights. How come I ain’t happy? REFUND!!! No, seriously. I’ve been using it while I work–day job stuff, because it won’t fit on my personal desk. Too much shit lying around. The lack of available outlets on this side of the room is also a problem. So is it working? Well, I really can’t tell… Continue reading

Winter’s Coming. Gaah.

Gawd, I hate winter. It’s dark, cold, and it makes me wish I was dead. We won’t even talk about snow. I have gait problems as it is, and when snow turns to ice, that’s it for me. I ain’t goin’ nowhere.

And it’s November. Fuck.

So The Underground received a very nice 5-star editorial review from Literary Titan (link at the bottom). On Amazon, it has 11 reviews and is holding at 4 stars. That’s pretty much the same as the prior version of the book. Not that I expected it to change much. But it’s funny–since its first incarnation, readers have either loved The Underground or hated it. I can see why some would hate it. The story deals with some pretty dark subjects, as I wrote in my little essay. Some readers can’t deal with the sex. Yes, the story drips with it and some find that to be a problem but others find the sex to be too rough (one reader called it “nasty sex.” Isn’t that cute?). For still others, the two scenes that depict rape and the one where the person being raped had been abused as a child was too much. The four points of view present problems for some readers. From the comments, it confuses them. Maybe they’re not used to reading more than one point of view? Or, maybe it’s while the story proceeds in a linear fashion it develops from different points of view which they might not be able… Continue reading