May 20, 2024

All Hail Long Weekends

Right. I'm off work today, and that means finishing up what's left of edits for The Dubious Commode, which is then followed by the manuscript's upload to Draft2Digital for store listing. Woot! I've also started on the print file and am on the last step, but I'll be holding off on that in case I spot random errors I missed and will need to re-upload the manuscript. If I jump right in and publish the print book, I'll need to pay to update it if I don't want to wait 90 days for that free change feature to kick in. 

Anyhoo, here's the blurb:

Another wave of suspicious calm follows Freddy and Jonathan’s successful solving of the singing skull mystery, which means Fate isn’t quite done with the lot of them. Prue carries on with her beloved priory upgrades, stocks up on Felicity’s products (arcane and otherwise), and endures the trials of being still of the living world. Freddy and Jonathan are madly in love with each other as ever, their bond growing stronger by the day.

Things appear to go swimmingly for a time, indeed, with Jonathan’s workaholic publisher paying Hoary Plimpton a visit for health reasons and Mr. Headley entering the picture with a dragon’s hoard of romantic smut for aunt and nephew alike.

But Brody’s artistic gift comes under unexpected scrutiny, threatening a horrible shakeup in the priory and a permanent upending of everyone’s lives. Then Mr. Headley decides he’d dearly love to be haunted and acquires a few oddities with ghosts attached to them.

Family drama isn’t immune, naturally, as Linford’s increasingly panicked letters suggest. Lucinda’s trapped in her spiritualist retreat where ladies’ pocketbooks are gradually draining their contents, and Antigonous involves his committee in the mystery of the haunted antique commode. It’s a haunting that baffles everyone, forcing them to resort to a few foolish and drastic measures to get to the bottom of things—even reconsider old prejudices against the very people who hold the key to ghostly mysteries.

Prue and Freddy’s madcap ghostly adventures conclude in this final installment—very well, this final sequel—of the Ghosts and Tea collection.

As always, the digital book is priced at 99 cents, and the print book at $9.00. I come cheap, what can I say? Once the online bookstore links are live, I'll be posting them here. In the meantime, I need to get going on the gallery page for the book.

In other writing news, I'm roughly 1/3 done with Voices in the Briars, and more story ideas are coming hard at fast at me with regard to future books I already have in the pipeline. One of them was worked into the plot of The Twilight Lover, which changes its setting a little but certainly for the better since the original idea was a bit tired and overdone (at least in terms of what I've already written). Time for an upgrade, and I'm sure this'll work much better. 

Of course, that might also mean a possible change in cover art, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there. Otherwise, my publishing calendar remains steady, and no shuffling around is in the future as far as I can see. 

EDIT: Ayup, here we go! The book page over at Books2Read is up, and the list of stores will be added to the closer we get to the release date.  

May 11, 2024

Y Tho? (Or: When Fandom Takes a Whack at My Kneecaps)

And just when I thought the coast was clear, someone decides to slap me hard with a fan made video splicing together scenes from Dead Boy Detectives with Vincent Lima's "Orpheus". Because OF COURSE THEY WOULD, AND THEY DID. And for those who've seen the entire first season of the series, you'll know exactly what I mean when I shake my fist at the cosmos and wail, "Motherfucker, that's a low blow!" Goes straight for the jugular, I'm telling you.

Because it's Saturday, it's a gorgeous day to kick back and relax, but since the Orpheus reference is a valuable detail in the show, I'm now drenched in tears and snot instead. 

All joking melodrama aside, it's a spectacular edit though it only uses about 3/4 of the song (you can tell it cuts off too soon), but that said, the point isn't just made, it's hammered home with a rusty spike and a mallet into my heart. I absolutely love it. This is a very short blog post that's just here for fans of the series, of which I count myself one (out and proud about it, I am). BTW, I've also started my re-watch, and the fun hasn't abated.




Okay, okay, okay. Since I'm on a DBD kick and hit you all with a tearjerker of a video, I figure I might as well balance things out with a crack one. Really, I'm pretty impressed with how fans edit videos to come up with some amazing results. I've seen a few crack videos in the past, and the results are understandably hit or miss. That said, this one for DBD really had me howling, and that was unexpected but definitely appreciated.

This is what happens when I've got way too much extra time after breakfast and before I leave for the bus stop for another week of day job drudgery.

May 10, 2024

Keeping up with Netflix: Dead Boy Detectives

I finished the show the day before and am planning to rewind and rewatch. Hell, it was fun. Absurd, icky, and flashes its campy creds like a badge of honor -- I love how it manages not take itself too seriously and yet delve into some pretty awful character trauma from start to finish. As far as that goes, we get them in piecemeal, i.e., there's usually a hint about the character's past (especially Edwin's and Charles's), which is either brushed off or angrily avoided but snowballs gradually until a flashback shows us what happened. 

There's also the trauma that's just hinted at and left there for the viewers to piece together themselves (see: Jenny). 

The episodic approach with the "monster of the week" theme adds to the fun, but each episode still manages to tie together a pretty complicated arc where Edwin, Charles, and Crystal either find themselves almost literally (Crystal), actively suppress the past and fight hard not to be a product of a horrible cycle (Charles), or learn a significant aspect of their identity and then determine how best to move forward with that revelation (Edwin). And then tie all that up with a colorful, messy, and stunning ribbon of found family, friendship, and a bond that straddles platonic and romantic yet goes far beyond either. 

I really can't say more without spoiling anything (though a touch of spoilers still finds its way into this post, so be warned), but that paragraph above pretty much skims the surface of what I love the most about the storytelling. There's so much more beyond that, of course, and that's the reason why I want to rewatch everything. Even the penultimate moment involving Charles and Edwin fleeing Hell can be parsed in so many ways (all good, btw) so that a handful of minutes in that one scene reveals way, way more about each character than what's obviously on the surface. 

The cast (main and secondary) chew up the scenery, and you can tell they were having so much fun filming the series. Even the main antagonists (save for David) are hard to hate without enjoying their moments on-screen (see: Esther). Minor antagonists? Even more so (see: the dandelion sprites). 

The characters are aged up, though, and it's extremely difficult thinking of any of them as teenagers, less so sixteen-year-olds. And I think this should've been tweaked somewhat in some of the dialogue, especially with the Night Nurse, who keeps referring to Edwin and Charles as children. It's jarring, mentally, to hear her say that -- no, they're not children, and at the minimum, I'd see them as eighteen-year-olds. Early twenties? Yes. Definitely. Sixteen-year-olds? Children? Nope.

The series ends in a way that can be picked up easily should a second season happen, and while some fans are tearing their hair out over the possibility of cancellation, I've run across references outside social media about the showrunners being in talks for a second season. I hope it happens. There's a major loose thread by way of Niko's arc, and there's also a fresh start for Edwin and Charles (with Crystal and Jenny plus the Night Nurse) that promises future adventures. 

As for a final spoiler, here goes...

Edwin tells the Cat King what they both have in common is loneliness. I felt for him at that moment, and I honestly hope he finds someone if Charles doesn't come into his own self-discovery. But that said, I do appreciate the bond both of them have as a pair: unbreakable / to (literal) Hell and back / no one else will do. What they have really does straddle platonic and romantic yet goes beyond, but I still can't help but feel that ache over Edwin feeling lonely. Now that he's come to terms with his identity as a gay man, I'd love to see him enjoy a connection with someone, Charles or otherwise, especially since he's a ghost, and he's borderline immortal (apparently ghosts can still be destroyed in this universe).

May 05, 2024

And Breathe...

I might be good at multi-tasking at the day job, but not so much when it comes to writing, so I decided to set my WiP aside for the time being while I chipped steadily away at the revisions for The Dubious Commode. That's done and sorted out now, and I can move on to the next stage, which is easier. That's how things go with me, anyway: writing (hardest) -- revising (less hard) -- editing (easiest). So I'll be back to working on Voices in the Briars next weekend, and I've got a three-day weekend planned after that, too, which means even more time spent writing. Yay!

Not much really needed to be done in the revisions -- mostly fleshing out a few passages per chapter and following the notes I have in my writing notebook (while discarding or ignoring others since they don't work). This book turned out to be a blessedly easy one to end the series with, and while I've done my time grieving, I'm now really, really thrilled to give Ghosts and Tea a good, happy sendoff. And I know I mentioned before that I'll forego a celebratory video (which was a tradition of mine whenever I finish a book's draft), but you know, FUCK IT. I'm celebrating and feeding off the energy of the soundtrack to my favorite superhero series (movie series, anyway).

Yeah! Can't wait for Beyond the Spider-Verse to come out, finally. Across the Spider-Verse is still on Netflix, and God knows how many times I've watched it (did the same when Into the Spider-Verse was there, too). Blown away by the animation, of course, and especially the storytelling. While Captain America: The Winter Soldier is still my top MCU flick, this one is my overall favorite of all Marvel-related movies, and I thought I was done with Spider-Man (didn't bother to watch any of the earlier live action adaptations). 

So I'm celebrating a Victorian epistolary book with a 21st century animated film soundtrack, and I'm milking this for all it's worth.* Next weekend will be a full return to Voices in the Briars, and with any luck, I'll run across more random stuff to be inspired by for future books (like Loom and Mirror).




In other random news, I just started watching Dead Boy Detectives on Netflix, picking away at it one episode per sitting. I'm not posting any detailed reactions at the moment other than a more generalized "Hey, I'm really enjoying this!" Once I get through the entire season, I'll share my thoughts on it, but so far it's a pretty fun show to follow. 

Love the aesthetics (of course) and the dry, snarky humor (with the occasional f-bomb dropped for spice). Truth be told, it's pulling me in way more than Lockwood & Co. did, which was a show I had to set aside after the first episode because I had a hard time getting into the story (not to mention empathizing with the characters). But since it's a Netflix production, it's on that platform forever, and I can always go back and start over with a clearer head.

For all I know, I just started watching it on a bad day, or my mind and mood were both pretty blah. I do find that to be the case when I restart a book I DNF'd or a show I abandoned after one or two episodes. I understand Dead Boy Detectives is actually part of the universe of The Sandman, and I read somewhere that there's a chance some crossing over might take place between the two series. I never read the graphic novel and haven't tried the series at all, so this would be an interesting direction to take Dead Boy Detectives down the line. We shall see. For the time being, I'm going to watch and enjoy as a total noob (we all gotta start somewhere, eh?).

* thought I'd mention this particular track does an incredible job actually presenting four different character plots / conflicts (the Prowler, Earth-42 Miles, the Spot, and Gwen with her newly formed "band" -- all in that order as the track progresses)

April 28, 2024

Stuff, Stuff, and More Stuff

This is the last weekend of April, and I'm ending the month on a good (writing) note (because everything outside writing still leaves a lot to be desired). I'm now just short of 10K words for Voices in the Briars, and so far things are moving pretty smoothly. I do have to be a lot more aware of the pace since the book's got two alternating POVs, and each is allowed no more than 13 chapters if I want some room for extra text during the revisions. 

Starting next weekend, I'll be juggling writing this book and revising The Dubious Commode, which will be a lot slower as a result (not complaining, actually, since I've got plenty of time until the July release date). I've also updated the Book News page with the rest of this year's calendar, and Voices in the Briars now has a November 1 release date. 

In other news, I'm still a bit hung up on Young Royals and have been reading a handful of fanfics here and there. Again that's nostalgia at work considering how involved I was in some fandoms back in the day. Those were the earlier years of writing practice, for which I'm grateful. Had it not been for fanfiction and the supportive communities I was a part in, I wouldn't have developed my confidence in taking on original characters after cutting my teeth on derivative work. 

Not gonna lie, but the series really called to mind my early years writing and publishing gay YA books. I guess my current output has some of those elements in there since they now tend to skew New Adult, but those were the days. If I have the story for it, I'll dip back in to the YA pool, but I found my comfortable little corner now, writing about older characters (however slightly older they might be compared to my mid-teen characters before). And I'm enjoying this semi-limbo state of development between adolescence and adulthood, but who knows what the future holds? I might ease further into older adulthood in time, and I'm down with that.

I also finally watched the second season of Heartstopper, which I liked a little less than the first season, I'm afraid. The Paris trip felt like a filler, and I found the more interesting and significant events in those episodes where the kids were back home. I might be tarred and feathered for saying this, but I wish the Paris trip were excluded in this season in favor of exploring the more serious issues involving Charlie's eating disorder, Tara's family's bigotry, and Nick's family troubles. That said, if the season was just following the graphic novel, the cliffhanger-ish ending is okay since there's a third season in the works. 

I'm still greedily snapping up whatever e-books catch my attention, and my Kindle app is filling up faster than I can chip away at it. Going over my library to clean it up and hold on to those books I consider to be keepers is another deep dive into nostalgia and those writers whose books I used to eat up the moment they're published. 

So many talented authors who were active in the past, especially when the gay romance market exploded with so many small presses appearing to cover that niche, are nowhere to be seen anymore, and even their websites are gone. It's really depressing as a fan of their work, and I do hope they're at least doing well in their personal lives even if they've given up on writing and publishing. There are new writers coming out every day, so these favorite authors do get their works pushed to the back as a result, which is doing their talent a great disservice, but it is what it is. I do have copies of their books in my app, and at least I can reread them at my leisure, which is one way of honoring their hard work.