Month: August 2011

I want to bang on the drum all day

In answer to the most Frequently Asked Question re: yesterday’s post – I’ll probably run the contest through the end of the week, at least. Most likely, I’ll start randomly picking winners and/or launching into shipping on the sixth of next month.

To answer the second most Frequently Asked Question – sure, international applicants are fair game. I won’t disqualify you for being a long way away.

But on a related side note, fully 1/3 of the people who’ve entered the drawing thus far have great faith in my psychic abilities, it would seem; and initially, I would poke these lovely souls with a *hint hint hint* to remind them that I don’t magically know where they live.

But I give up on that.

If you do not include a snail mail address, I cannot send you snail mail goodies.

I love you guys, but I’m too busy to police this thing with hand-holding for a week – so if you can’t follow directions, you can’t be in the running. Sorry.

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Warning: Quotation marks ahead.

In other news, yes, I know I’ve been “distant” lately. When it comes to the internet, I’ve been forced to institute a policy of “log off, and stay off” during my “office hours.” (My “office hours” are “however long it takes me to get all my work done.”) And lately, I’ve had a positively epic amount of work – much of it pertinent to my day-job.

Never mind that the deadline for Inexplicables looms around the corner, and I still have perhaps 20,000 words left to write on that bad-boy. So…yes. I’m spending a lot more time offline than usual.

Besides, I’ve actually been pretty sick. Long story short – I got nabbed by a couple of pretty serious spider bites, and I have a bit of an allergy. I very nearly went to the hospital to see about some cortisone shots; but my fever never went anywhere, I never showed any signs of blood poisoning … and after four or five days, the swelling finally went down and the oozing finally stopped.

I dragged myself out of the house last night for a friend’s birthday shindig, but other than that, I’ve been a huge homebody for the last week – as a matter of necessity. Not much to blog about, I’m afraid. Just restless sleep, antihistamines and hydrocortisones, itchy bandages, and work.

My apologies for being so damn boring.

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Here’s today’s progress on my fifth Clockwork Century novel – a book about teenage juvenile delinquents, hypothetical ghosts, and gangland mayhem within the walled city of Seattle … now with Bonus! zombie Sasquatch and the return of everyone’s favorite elderly cross-dressing Native American princess:

    Project: Inexplicables
    Deadline: September 15, 2011
    New words written: 2975 (pretty good)
    Present total word count: 99,593 words

    Things accomplished in real life: Daily run/climb + yoga; epic ton of day-job work including four rounds of revisions long-distance, wee!; absolutely nothing else.

    Other: Note that I have changed the estimated final word count on my widget. It may well run longer. I never finish up drafts as quickly as I expect.

    Revenge of Other: Almost 3K for the day isn’t bad, especially considering everything else I’m working around – but this was the first bit of writing I’d done in days. I need to average this every afternoon for the next week to get anywhere near my goal – if I want to revise for a few days before handing in the draft. And believe me, I do.

Total narrative fiction word count for 2011: 99,593 words

All the pretty things are going to hell

Apparently this is the cover of HELLBENT Today we are approximately one week out from the official street debut of Hellbent – that is, Book #2 in the Cheshire Red Reports. (‘Tis the sequel to Bloodshot, my first foray into urban fantasy.)

September 6 is fast approaching … and here I am with this big fat box of audiobooks and author copies, just begging to be tossed to readers like so many beads from a pirate float at Mardi Gras.

I’ve been giving quite a lot of thought as to how I ought to offer these up and send them out. I mean, my book is called “Hellbent” and my last name is “Priest.” Surely some wacky confessional contest is called for, right?

Well, maybe not. This being the internet and all, I’m not so sure I want to subject myself to the inevitabilities of such an adventurous undertaking; and anyway, apart from offering all you Philistines and perverts the opportunity to unburden yourselves … it doesn’t really do much in the way of Decreasing World Suck.

So a very wise woman I know suggested something cheerier – something brighter, friendlier, and more helpful. Something less likely to make me want to steam-clean my brainmeats. And thus was born a different sort of “how badly do you want a book?” challenge.

Schwag for the HELLBENT giveaway goodie bags Ergo, I give you … Operation: Negotiable Handbasket

And it shall go like this: You will do things to keep yourselves out of hell. Good things, that is. Things that will benefit somebody else, either from the kindness of your heart or for your greedy desire to get a free signed book mailed straight to your doorstep – now with Bonus! schwag such as I picked up from Archee McPhee’s yesterday, for the sake of added drama.*

Here’s what you do if you want to participate:

    1. Pick your favorite charity, and give it some money. It doesn’t have to be a lot of money, but I’d recommend oh, say, ten bucks for starters – if you’re able. Alternately: call up your charity and offer to volunteer some time and/or elbow grease.

    2. Come to THIS WEBPAGE and leave a comment. Include a link to your chosen charity and a little blurb about why it’s great, so that other people can see it and throw a few pence in the pot if they feel moved to do so.

    3. Send an email claiming your comment, including your snail mail address to – – and please specify whether you’d prefer a trade paperback or an audio book. (I have MP3 CDs and regular audio CDs available. Pick one, or mention that you don’t care – and you’ll get whatever I have the most of.)

And that’s it. Follow those easy steps, and I’ll put you into the running for some loot! But before you go nuts with your virtuous badass typing selves, let me first make a couple of notes on this promotion.

  • Winners will be chosen at random, from all the people who know how to follow directions. I’m not sure how many winners there will be, because honestly, I haven’t counted up how many extra copies of everything I have lying around. (Don’t ask me why, but Bantam has been sending these things piecemeal.)

  • I will be forced to trust that everyone who posts a charitable link has actually donated money or arranged volunteer time for that charity. Will some of you be filthy liars about it? Maybe. Is that terrible bad form? Yes, but I can’t really judge you. After all, I once cheated on a Christian Ethics exam.** But still, I hope you’ll take this as an opportunity to do something nice – and not as an opportunity to bullshit your way into some free stuff.

So … yeah. There you go. Have at! And kindly pass around a link to this entry, if you’re so inclined.

And if (for some reason) you’d rather investigate purchasing options instead of taking your chances with the charitable internet masses, I can hook you up there, too:

* No, not ALL of that schwag to one winner. I will divvy it up as I see fit.
** I spent most of my education in parochial school … which explains a lot, I suppose.

Calling English/Reading Teachers

I’m often asked if Boneshaker is an adult or a young-adult book, and the answer is always, “Um…yes?”

It was written as a straightforward adult book, but one of the two main protagonists is a 15-year-old boy – so, as it turned out, there’s been a great deal of crossover with the young adult market. Likewise, Boneshaker has been turning up in classrooms – which is fantastic! I am always thrilled, flattered, and delighted to hear about it.

So lately I’ve been getting queries from teachers, wanting to know if I’m aware of – or if I have produced – any guided study questions or lesson plans based around the book. The answer to that, I’m afraid, is, “Um…no?”

Therefore, my questions for you fine educators out there are as follows …

    (1). If you have any such guided study materials, would you be willing to share them?

    (2). If I were to come up with such materials myself, would you be interested in having them?
    (2b). And if so, what kind of things would you like to see?

My mom has been a teacher for thirty years, and I’ve taught before as well – so I do have a frame of reference for the kinds of things that might be called for; but if there’s any interest, I’d prefer to work from your input.

If you’d like to have a conversation about this, please email me at And thanks so much – not just for fighting the good fight in the classroom, but for all your support with this weird little alternate history franchise.

* I think the median age of the students involved is probably “middle to late high school,” but I’ve also had middle school teachers and college teachers bring it up.