We’re coming for you, Chicago.

That’s right, next week is the annual GCLS conference at the Crowne Plaza O’Hare in Chicago! It’s five full days of lesfic writers talking about what they do best. There will be presentations, keynote speeches, panels, readings, and BOOKS! Seriously, you can get so many books there. Books that you can’t get anywhere else. Like…

That’s right! If you attend the GCLS conference, you can get House of Fate a whole month early! Before the freakin’ trailer is even out! You too can get the book I call, “A must read!” It has been called, “Something people will be interested in,” and “Hey, cool cover!”

Seriously, tho, the blurb:

Judit has one duty: to guard the chosen one, he who will unite two warring, star-spanning houses in marriage. Simple, if she wasn’t already in love with the bride-to-be. As far as anyone knows, Annika has been raised to be the perfect bride and future matriarch. Secretly, she’s an assassin ordered to usurp the chosen one’s mind and kill anyone who gets in her way.

When the political landscape shifts, murders and abductions threaten to tear the galaxy apart. Judit and Annika race to uncover the source of the strife. It must be someone powerful and bold enough to risk throwing whole star systems into ruin, someone who could change destinies and bring two lovers together, if they survive.

(Psst, if you can’t GCLS this year, House of Fate also available on the BSB site.)

BUT IF YOU CAN GCLS (and I highly recommend it) I’m going to be all over this conference, y’all.

On Thursday, July 6, from 8:30 – 9:20am, I’m doing a presentation called The Art of the Fight in room O’Hare #1

Whether you have two characters engaged in a bare-knuckle brawl or a shoot-out involving many players, this presentation will help writers successfully navigate writing a combat scene. Learn the difference between realistic and fiction fighting, how to judge a character’s level of combat expertise, what language to use to make a combat scene pop, and how to pace the scene so that readers are always immersed in the action.

Come watch me totter around on painkillers and tell you how to kick people’s asses. In fiction, of course. Mostly.

On the same Thursday, July, 6 from 2-3 pm, I’m moderating a panel called Not Your Mama’s Paranormal in room O’Hare #4

Thinking outside the box is what the paranormal and fantasy genres are all about.  But what does it take to stand out in a world already populated with werewolves, shapeshifters, and wizards. What’s next?

I will endeavor not to embarrass or my lovely panelists. Or maybe I will…

Also on Thursday, July 6, from 4:10-5 pm, I’m participating in Romance Mad Libs in room O’Hare #4

Join us for a new panel game from GCLS! Romance writers test their quick-witted response ability when given some of our most interesting romance vocabulary—submitted by the audience members.

This is going to be a laugh riot. The words, “quivering love mounds” will probably get used.

Then, on Friday, July 7, from 9:50-10:50 am, I will be reading in O’Hare 5 from House of Fate. So you can run out and buy that afterward.

Finally, on Friday, July 7 from 5:30-6:30 pm, I will be participating in the massive Author Autograph Session in the vendor room. Get all your books signed and enter to win an awesome contest from Bold Strokes Books.

Contest rules:

Introducing the BOLD STROKES BOOKS at GCLS 13th Annual Conference Author Signing Contest! WIN TEN BSB BOOKS OF YOUR CHOICE! We’ll be distributing these postcards at the Author Autograph session on Friday – while you’re getting your books signed, collect at least ten of these authors’ signatures on the card, put your name and email address on the card, drop it off with Barbara Ann Wright, and we’ll pull a winner out of a hat.
Ann Aptaker, AuthorJulie BlairDena BlakeMelissa Brayden Donna K. Ford Catherine Friend Anne Laughlin D. Jackson Leigh Jeannie Levig Erin McKenzie Laydin Michaels Tina Michele Martha Miller Lisa Moreau Jaycie Morrison Lesléa Newman Radclyffe Aurora Rey Juliann Rich KC Richardson Fiona Riley Justine Saracen Cass Sellars Nell Stark Holly Stratimore Carsen Taite Shelley Thrasher M. Ullrich Ali Vali Missouri Vaun Jessica L. Webb MJ Williamz Barbara Ann Wright

So, with all this and more, you’re totally coming to the conference, right? Please? I need someone to lead me around. Or push me around in a wheelbarrow. Now where am I going to get a glittery wheelbarrow on short notice? Hmm.

My Cancer Week

As some of you may know, a few weeks ago, I had bladder surgery. Everything went okay, but while operating, my doctor spotted a tiny mark on my bladder. Like, teeny tiny. Less than half the size of my pinky nail. It was a spot rather than a lesion. Still, she wanted to check it out, and it was so small that when she tried to biopsy it, she just took the whole thing.

It looked like nothing, but it was cancer. Malignant, angry, fuck-off cancer.

If left to its own devices, it might have killed me. Bladder cancer is sneaky. Doctors often don’t spot it until it’s already well on its way to killing you. And they usually spot it because of blood in the urine. But I have kidney stones, so that wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow for me, let alone a red flag.

Like the grandpa in “The Princess Bride”, I feel like I should tell you that I don’t get eaten by the eels at this point. I’m okay. They checked the rest of me, and I’m cancer-free. To help us both calm down, here’s a chicken that looks like it’s wearing pants that it made itself:

So, now that we’re breathing, they checked the rest of me for cancer but found none. And now I will get regular checks on my bladder for the rest of my life. But for a week or so, I had cancer. I didn’t tell anyone but my family. I’m sorry if anyone’s feelings are hurt because I didn’t include them. It doesn’t mean we’re not close. I felt like if I said it too loudly, it would come back.

My fears don’t really listen to me when I tell them they’re ridiculous. Maybe someday, they’ll learn.

I know this is some heavy shit. To help you catch your breath again, here’s my dog Polly in a Wonder Woman cape:

Got your wind back? Okay.

I’ve had lots of thoughts since my cancer week. There were a couple agonizing waiting periods between tests. There have been lots of feelings. Do I feel lucky? Yes. Extremely. Was I scared? More than a little. But having a chronic pain condition already prepared me a bit. I didn’t have to go from zero to cancer. I was already “sick.” A very irrational part of me was happy. Why? Because the part of me that’s always looking for a reason behind my various illnesses thought, “Great! Cancer is probably the cause behind my RA, my anxiety, and my PCOS. And when they get rid of that, all those other problems will go away!” I also fantasized that I wasn’t really overweight but had a fifty pound tumor, and when they removed it, I would have the body of my dreams…

Like I said, irrational.

Did the whole experience change me? I still haven’t decided. Living every day like my last isn’t really possible, not when it’s not actually the last. I mean, the dishes still have to get done. I did decide that if I didn’t have much time left, I would spend quite a bit of it writing because I have so much more I want to say. And if I don’t finish the Godfall series before I die, several people have threatened to come after me in the afterlife, sort of like a reverse haunting. No one wants that.

Time for another pic. Here’s my mom’s cat being zen:

Ah, so soothing.

I am happy I don’t have to go through cancer treatments. Not yet, at least. Hopefully never. I am happy that I get to live more, to write more, to love and be loved more.

I had cancer for a week. Does that make me a survivor? I think I always was one, just not in a cancer-y way. That feels important to say.

Also important: I’m going to see Wonder Woman tomorrow night.

What are you looking forward to?

Two Big Cons, Two Chances to See Yours Truly!

Hey gang, on April 28-30, come see me and all the great guests at HavenCon in Austin!

And on May 12-14, I’ll be appearing at Houston Comicpalooza!

You can find the schedule for HavenCon here, but in case you’re dying to know just where you can find me:

Friday, April 28th at 11:00am, I’ll be leading a talk on LGBTQ characters as villains.

Saturday, April 29th at 11:00am, I’ll be give out some tips and tricks on Worldbuilding.

And all weekend, I’ll be rocking a Guest of Honor table so you can buy books and talk about life. Maybe there will even be some prizes. You have to come to find out!

The full schedule for Houston Comicpalooza isn’t up yet, but all the Guest bios are here. Boy, am I in some rare company! And here’s where you can find me:

On Friday, May 12th at 4:00pm, I’ll be on a panel called “Not Your Grandpa’s Fantasy.”

On Saturday, May 13th at 11:30am, I’ll be on a new type of panel, a fan roundtable, and we’ll be discussing fantasy.

On Saturday at 2:30, it’s another fan roundtable about science fiction.

Also in May, on the 16h, I’ll be at the Women With Pride Book Club talking about Coils at 7pm!

Now, come on, you can come see me at one of these, right?

 

Lone Star LesFic time!

I hope you’ll join me this Saturday, April 1st for the Lone Star LesFic Festival!

Tons of authors, a raffle, and door prizes await. Plus, you can buy books and get them signed by the authors!

I hope some of you can come out and see me. You can get your hands on one of these babies:

Now with stickers!

Hope you can come out and see us:

Saturday, April 1st, 8:45 am to 6:30 pm
Norris Center, 2525 Anderson LN,
Austin, TX 78757

Trailer Time!

It’s the second release day for Widows of the Sun-Moon, and you know what that means!

Trailer time!

And here’s the link.

Widows Of the Sun-Moon 300 DPI

Widows of the Sun-Moon is now live wherever books are sold AND on the BSB site!

Blurb:

Naos is bored. Alone in space, life should be idyllic. No more random thoughts intruding on her brain; no bodies clogging her senses. But what is there to do besides stare at the planet below and wonder what it would feel like to be Calamity’s only god?

War between the other gods shouldn’t be too hard to start. The Storm Lord has a bad temper, and after being abandoned by Simon Lazlo, source of immortality, he’s easy to provoke. And the Sun-Moon live closely with Calamity’s plains-dwelling people and their new neighbors, a pack of humans and aliens led by the intriguing ex-soldier Cordelia Ross. With a plague ravaging their numbers, it will be easy to set them at each other’s throats.

A little war, a bit of death, and the chance to be Calamity’s only deity? It’s a game to keep even the most fickle goddess entertained.

I hope you love it as much as I do. Or else…BOOM!

 

Happy Release Day!

That’s right, it’s release day number one for Widows of the Sun-Moon!Widows Of the Sun-Moon 300 DPI

And now until January 3rd, get Paladins of the Storm Lord ebook editions for half price!

Paladins of the Storm Lord 300 DPI

Here’s the blurb for Widows, the second Godfall book:

Naos is bored. Alone in space, life should be idyllic. No more random thoughts intruding on her brain; no bodies clogging her senses. But what is there to do besides stare at the planet below and wonder what it would feel like to be Calamity’s only god?

War between the other gods shouldn’t be too hard to start. The Storm Lord has a bad temper, and after being abandoned by Simon Lazlo, source of immortality, he’s easy to provoke. And the Sun-Moon live closely with Calamity’s plains-dwelling people and their new neighbors, a pack of humans and aliens led by the intriguing ex-soldier Cordelia Ross. With a plague ravaging their numbers, it will be easy to set them at each other’s throats.

A little war, a bit of death, and the chance to be Calamity’s only deity? It’s a game to keep even the most fickle goddess entertained.

Sound good? Then head on over to the BSB site. The book will be for sale everywhere on January 17th, and that’s when you’ll see a new trailer from me, too. 😉

Rainbow Award Winner!

Hey gang, just dropped by to let you know that Thrall: Beyond Gold and Glory won a Rainbow Award for Best Lesbian Fantasy Romance!

Thrall Beyond Gold and Glory 300 DPI

winner

And Paladins of the Storm Lord was a runner-up for Best Lesbian Sci-Fi/Futuristic!
Paladins of the Storm Lord 300 DPI

runner-up

Plus both books were runners-up for Best Lesbian Book! Squee! Thanks to Elisa Rainbow and all the judges. I’m still hard at work on House of Fate, and Widows of the Sun-Moon, sequel to Paladins of the Storm Lord, comes out in January. Busy busy busy! What’s everyone else been up to?

Pain and Happiness

It’s been a bit of a health roller coaster these past few months. As well as rheumatoid arthritis, I’ve also been dealing with a lot of stomach issues and some mental health issues: namely depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. There’s been new medication and changes of dosage, and well, it’s been a little rough.

But it’s also given me a better perspective on happiness. I think when people look back on their lives, they tend to focus on the negative. Bad times are like giant blinking lights along your personal timeline. And the only good times that really stand out are the orgasmic-ly good times, and those just aren’t as easy to remember. It’s like dread and horror are etched on our psyche, but pure joy is less easy to summon and re-embrace. So sometimes, if we look back—especially from an already depressed state—it seems like the bad outweighs the good.

Living with a chronic condition makes the good easier to see. I know that sounds wacky, but that’s what it’s been like for me. I’ve had periods of such intense pain and panic that I would rather die than live that way forever. Don’t worry, I’m not in danger. You don’t have to run for the phone. 😉 But when those feelings and sensations finally do subside, I’m happy. Right now, my body feels pretty good, and that makes me happy. I’ve learned to divide life into a series of moments, some better than others, and I realize that most of them are happy, even when the bad ones are so very bad.

It’s sort of like writing a novel. If you set out to write a book, it’s easy to fail. Books are long. It’s hard to contemplate writing that many words. But if you set out to write a chapter or a scene or a paragraph, it becomes much easier. Looking at life the same way, it’s easier to see the happier, content moments. The bad times are hard, but they are fewer than the good. That math becomes really simple, and time seems to slow down.

I hope that helps some of you.

Also, I’m totally counting these words toward my nano word count. 🙂

What content little moments make you happy?