Finalist! Best Novella of 2014



“The Emissary: Journey” which is the first book of “Horsewomen of the Zombie Apocalypse” has made the finals for Best Novella of 2014.

Now, it needs your votes.

However, the site is now DOWN.


I guess I’m not the only person who is broadcasting their good fortune…and begging for votes.

I wil post the links as soon as the site is back up.

Don’t go change that channel!


I Humbly Announce: Nomination for Best Novella


I Humbly Announce: Nomination for Best Novella

Yes, I am very grateful for this nomination.

The Emissary: Journey is the first of the series “Horsewomen of the Zombie Apocalypse.”

In a world where the stinking dead walk the land, Bethany McLeod must take her sisters Alexis, Dani and Julie cross-country to Fort Chatten, Kentucky, a journey of 100 miles. Can four women and six horses make it 100 miles and arrive alive?

It’s just three years since the Zombie Apocalypse. The McLeod and Davidson’s clans survive in a world where the muerto viviente – walking dead – infest the cities and towns.

Alexis McLeod is a healer, eager to prove herself. She volunteers to travel to Fort Chatten, the home of the Davidson clan. Led by Bethany, the four sisters risk their lives to help Clan Davidson.

Armed to the teeth, the sisters are horse archers, light cavalry, quick enough to avoid the muerto.

Militia, marauders and mad-men abound, the stinking dead walk the land, eating everything in their path.

But what will they find if they get to Fort Chatten?

This story is suitable for all ages.

Update For The Emissary – Arrival

I’ve been writing. A thousand words a day for a couple of weeks on the sequel to The Emissary.

It’s been a lot of fun. More fun than I expected and things are ticking along so well that I’ve got a deadline. A date set with my copyeditor for not one, but two ebooks in the series.

What I can say about the series: I love how these characters interact. They’ve got the same snappy attitude that my cousins and I had grown up. A certainly sisterly maliciousness that has been a lot of fun to write.

I can’t write much more, because I’d start giving away spoilers.




One Person’s Opinion of ‘Swallow the Moon’

I know that mileage may vary – two people can read the same book and walk away with VASTLY differing opinions. Just look at ‘Twilight’ some people ADORED the book, the series, Edward and the movies.

I thought it was okay – a very YA (i.e. childish) romance.

So when I got some encouragment from the editor who will help me with the final draft of ‘Swallow the Moon’ I breathed a sigh of relief.

I think you’ve developed this book really well. I like the characters and how they develop as they go, I like how you develop their relationships. I HATE it when characters in books hate each other the first time they meet and realize they’re madly in love by their second meeting the next day. Your characters don’t do that. The timeline moves along beautifully. I think it’s great that you wrote a book taking place in your hometown. You explain the town well enough that I’m not left going, “Okay, that’s great, but I’VE NEVER BEEN THERE!” I understand the nerves and of course you’re going to get someone somewhere at some time telling you that they didn’t understand or like what you wrote, but I think you have a good story here. As far as the paperback question, I honestly don’t know. I’m not familiar enough with publishing to offer advice on that.

I wanted the setting to be vivid – I like having a sense of ‘place’ in a novel. (Got it!) I want the ‘Dark Harbor’ series to be something special. (The buck stops here.)

I, too, hate the old ‘bait and switch’ from ‘I hate him’ to ‘I can’t live without him.’ However, we are always sure that June likes Eric, even when she’s irritated with him.

The Emissary – Deleted Scene

If you know me from authonomy, then you know that I’m a POV (Point of View) Nazi. I don’t allow myself to headhop – or add a POV character that will only have one scene, or maybe two at most.

So I’ve got some scenes I deleted because they don’t fit.

This is one of them:

The Emissary – Part III

Liz walked through the gate between the sections. She almost locked the gate behind her, but remembered that Candy was still with the travelers.
Candy would be sure to lock it behind her.
She had to tell Rob and the other men about the alliance with the clans. They had to agree. They would starve otherwise.
Erica stirred the soup pot. Rabbit skin and guts lay in a bucket on the ground next to her. Candy’s daughter Missy cried as she seared the meat in a frying pan.
“I boiled the beans first, now I’m cooking them in fresh water.” Erica looked at Missy with compassion. “She did it herself, poor baby. She’s so brave.”
They’d been living on the razor’s edge of starvation for so long that a couple of pounds of beans was a treasure. There were three quart jars of beans on the picnic table, next to a bunch of spring onions.
“Save some to plant,” Liz suggested. “We can have our own beans in the fall.” They’d raked gravel, made beds, used rabbit manure and leaves to make mulch. The plants were sprouting, but had only produced greens. Salads didn’t fill the bellies of hungry children, or adults, but salads kept them alive.
The bunnies thrived on a diet of weeds. The doe just produced her second litter of six. The meat searing was the largest of the first litter. There were only five bunnies left.
Liz mentally counted her supplies. Five rabbits, three pounds of beans, twenty cans of vegetables and five of soup, that was it. She longed for bread, thick, crusty French bread smothered in butter.
She found her husband in the far corner of the garden, where he was least likely to be overheard, talking to Orlando, Bryan and Chris. It was even worse than she feared – they were plotting to kill the travelers.
“One horse will feed us for a month,” Chris said. “We can keep them alive until we need the meat.”
“You can’t!” Liz trotted up to them. “You can’t – they’ll help us.”
“Their supplies will feed everyone.”
“No – don’t! Listen to me!” Liz grabbed Rob and made him look at her. “They want an alliance.”
“Don’t be a fool.” Chris scoffed. “We don’t have shit they need.”
“These are clans! We don’t know how many of them there are.” Liz tried another tack. “If we kill them, the others will attack us.”
“Clans, clams – it’s all bullshit.” Bryan rolled his eyes. “They’re nobody and nothing without their horses.”
“Listen to me – please?”
“Okay, guys give her a chance to speak.” Rob hushed the other men.
“Beth is an emissary from the McLeod’s to the Davidson’s Clan. She said they’d give us beans and rice if we agree to let them stay here again.”
“Come here? Why?” Bryan gave her disgusted look.
“They’ll help us! Please, Rob, think of our boys!” Liz could see that Rob had already made up his mind. She was going to have to warn the travelers – tell them to get away.
“Nobody said a word to me about it,” Rob sounded petulant.
“I just spoke to Beth not five minutes ago. She wants an alliance.”
“What is this, ‘Survivor’ in the Zombie Apocalypse?” Chris sneered.
“Rob, please!” Liz forced him to make eye contact again. “Think about more than tomorrow, think about the rest of this year. Think about next year.”
They all looked at her blankly – making the transition was difficult for all of them. Just as difficult as it had been for her.
“This place is safer than any place we’ve been in three years. We can make it here. We just need some help – they’ll help us if we give them a safe place to stay. Look around – we’ve got more junk than we know what to do with. We can trade some of that for food, seeds and medicine.” Her voice cracked. “We can stop living from hand to mouth and start over.”
“Start what over?” Orlando asked.
“Civilization,” Liz said, near tears with the force of her feelings. Just the thought of civilization, of bread and whole clothing, was enough to make her cry. “We can’t do it alone. But with an alliance, with the two clans, we have a chance.”
“It sounds good,” Rob said in his ‘keep the peace’ voice. “But one of those horses will feed us for weeks, and give us leather for shoes. They’ve got seven horses, more food than we’ve seen in months.”
“At least talk to Beth.”
“Honey, we’ve got kids to feed.”
Liz looked at her husband for a moment. He’d made up his mind. She looked Orlando, Bryan and Chris, thugs who were always pushing at Rob. He’d have to do this just to save face. The other wouldn’t let him change his mind.
Candy had it right. Men had destroyed the old world, now it was up to women to make it right. She spun on her heel, her keys jangled with each step.
When she got to the gate, she locked it behind her. She had the only key.
They could stay in the garden until they saw reason.
Until they saw things her way.


Drumroll – Please!

TheEmissaryFinal - part 1

I started uploading ‘The Emissary’ to e-book vendors last night.

I feel its premature to sound the horns and all that. I’ve no idea how long Pubit will take to process the e-book. However, sometime after midnight – I uploaded ‘The Emissary’ to Barnes & Noble’s Pubit.

The reason I’m not crowing: it can take 2 months to get an e-book actually available on B&N.

That’s right – TWO MONTHS.

So there would be, IMHO no more foolish action than to start plugging the poor book before it was actually available.

The last e-book I uploaded to Kobo took 3 weeks to process. Another place where you don’t want to upload at the last minute before you start advertising.

Smashwords, while painfully slow to pay – is usually good about getting the e-books available all but instantly – if you can get passed the AutoVetter of Meatgrinder.

Amazon – well – yes, it’s faster, however there are SO many e-books this one may never make a splash.

So I’m doing this a small step at a time. See if I can get the turtle-slow vendors in place first.

You DO know that I want to shout this from the rooftops, right?

I’m being SO restrained – it’s like a scene from 50 Shades of Tie Me Up and Spank Me.

No, really!

‘The Emissary” on Nook book.

“The Emissary” on Kobo Books

Signs of Spring?

june 2010 038I went outside last night and heard those funny noises – you know the ones I mean – not sure if they are bugs or what, but they are a sure herald of spring.

The geese, or at least one goose, is laying an egg every day or so. The chickens have stepped up production. I got 15 eggs the other day. I know there are a couple of slackers in the bunch, but I’ve never figured out how to tell who’s slacking unless I stand over them and check numbers all day.

The new e-books are coming along. I’ve got more work to do on Part 1. Part 2 is WAY too long. I have it printed out and I’ll get to it. It is starting to look like I’ll have the series published on schedule. WOW – it feels good to be working again.

Last year – I was in a dark and distant place. There is so much that went over my head and so many things I handled badly if at all.

This year, I’m hoping to do better.