Thursday, May 25, 2017

New Release - THE MONET MURDERS (Art of Murder Book II)

So, remember when I mentioned falling off a mountain (okay, it was just a little mountain, but still) and had to push the release of The Monet Murders back another month because I'd injured my back and was medicated and things were really not going well?

Well, I did finally manage to finish the book and it released yesterday. That's the good news. The bad news is, in my panic to get the file uploaded before the deadline, I somehow (see above: two kinds of prescription pain medications were in play) grabbed the wrong damned file. And because I'd already waited to the last minute, there was no way of updating until the book went live.

Which it did. Missing about 15,000 words. And necessary words, at that.

The correct version is available on Smashwords, Kobo...and shortly Nook and iBooks, but it sounds like it's still going to be another (possibly) 24 hours before the correct edition is live on Amazon. Which means roughly 3000 people got that wrong version.

This is embarrassing. I CANNOT APOLOGIZE ENOUGH. I am sincerely sorry. I know how disappointing it is when you've been waiting and waiting and waiting and then the thing you've been waiting for arrives broken in the box.

(And, by the way, thank you to those of you who have been so very kind and understanding about the mix-up. My first ever mix-up, I want to point out, in all these years and all those books. )

Most of the people who pre-ordered through Amazon will not see this post, or any of my other posts on social media, so...if you should hear someone cursing my name down through the ages, it would be very kind of you to let them know what's happening. If their Kindle account is not set for automatic updates, it's unlikely they'll know to click that Updates Available button.

Anyway.

BLURB:

The last thing Jason West, an ambitious young FBI special agent with the Art Crime Team, wants—or needs—is his uncertain and unacknowledged romantic relationship with irascible legendary Behavioral Analysis Unit Chief Sam Kennedy.
And it’s starting to feel like Sam is not thrilled with the idea either.

But personal feelings must be put aside when Sam requests Jason’s help to catch a deranged killer targeting wealthy, upscale art collectors. A killer whose calling card is a series of grotesque paintings depicting the murders.

EXCERPT:

For a time he was occupied in playing shuffleboard with the buses and delivery trucks and taxis clogging the crowded streets, but inevitably his thoughts circled back to the passenger in the seat beside him.
Given how irate Jason had been at being conscripted into Kennedy’s investigation, it was odd that what he mostly felt now was a sense of letdown, even disappointment, that Kennedy would not be returning.
But wasn’t it normal that his feelings should be confused? The situation was just…so strange. All those months. And when they finally did get together…
Nothing.
Worse than nothing. It was like they had never met. Never made lov— Oh, hell no. Not that. Never had sex. That’s what he meant.
His anger faded, leaving him depressed, disheartened. What the hell had happened to change everything? He just couldn’t understand it. He was baffled.
Yeah. Baffled.
The traffic lurched to a sudden standstill. Jason’s phone vibrated. He ignored it. Around them, a few impatient drivers vented their frustration with honks, but the seconds continued to tick by. Pedestrians in every size, shape, and color crowded the sidewalk beside them, darting around the cones and sawhorses and hoses of the workmen tearing up the pavement with jackhammers. The pound of the pneumatic drills was not as loud as the silence stretching between himself and Kennedy.
In disbelief, Jason heard his own voice—hesitant, slightly strained—break the silence.
“Look. Did I…do something?”
“No,” Kennedy said at once. And that was a relief. A relief that Kennedy did him the courtesy of not pretending he didn’t understand. In fact, it was as if he had been sitting there thinking the same thing as Jason. “It isn’t you. It’s nothing you’ve done or didn’t do.”
He didn’t elaborate, though, so Jason—who already felt like he was out on a very flimsy limb—had to stretch still further.
“Because I don’t understand.” Excruciating to have to put this into words. His face felt hot, and his heart was pounding as though this was a high-risk situation. He was not used to it. Not used to…caring so much. It wasn’t that he’d never been turned down before or even been dumped. It always stung, but it hadn’t hurt. Not really. Not like this.
Kennedy didn’t answer immediately, and Jason couldn’t bear the silence.
“Is it the promotion? Are you thinking that I would somehow trade on our friendship? Or that other people might think I was trading on our friendship?”
“No,” Kennedy said, again adamant. “I don’t think that. And I don’t give a shit what anyone else thinks.”
So what the hell was it? Because he was not wrong, not imagining things. Kennedy was confirming it was over. But he wasn’t telling him why, and that really was the part Jason needed to understand. They’d talked two weeks ago, and there had been no hint that everything was not…
Was not what?
Okay? Fine? Normal? None of that applied. They’d had a long-distance relationship that was more like phone tag. In other words, they’d had nothing.
And kudos to Kennedy for recognizing that fact and breaking it off.
Although this was more like passive resistance than breaking it off. But whatever. Over. Done. Finito. Let it go, West. It only gets more embarrassing from here.
A couple of excruciatingly long seconds passed while he tried to think of a way to change the subject, scrabble to the solid ground of…anything, for the love of God. How about them Cubs?
The traffic ahead of them crept forward, and Jason eased off the brake, letting the Dodge roll a couple of inches.
Because I care about you, Jason. More than I thought I could.
His eyes blurred.
Jesus Fucking Christ. Was he about to cr—tear up over this? No way. And sure as hell not when Kennedy was sitting right beside him. For God’s sake.
Kennedy said suddenly, “I…like you. Nothing has changed.”
Right. Except everything.
Jason made a sound in the back of his throat that was supposed to be…not what it sounded like. Which made him angry and enabled him to get out a terse, “Right.”
“But it isn’t…practical to try to…” Kennedy was picking words as painstakingly as somebody gathering shards of glass. “It’s not enough to…build on.”
Wow. Maybe he was misremembering, but getting shot three times hadn’t hurt this much. And anyway, what the hell did that mean? It’s not like Jason had been pushing for more. He had accepted Sam’s terms. Not that Sam had really given him terms.
He wanted to say something to the effect of what he had said in Kingsfield: Whatever. It was just supposed to be a fucking date.
But of course it wasn’t just a date. Not anymore. Somehow they had managed to move beyond that never-to-be date to something more. Something deeper. And yet less concrete than even a date.
It made no sense for him to sit here like his heart was breaking when they didn’t even know each other. It was ridiculous. Pathetic.
“It’s okay,” he said flatly. “You’re right.”
He felt Kennedy look at him, but he kept staring straight ahead. He shrugged.
“I should have told you sooner,” Kennedy said. “Made my position clear.” Had it been anyone but Sam Kennedy, Jason would have said there was guilt—regret?—in his tone. “But I like talking to you.”
“Yeah. Well.” He was relieved his voice had steadied again, because inside he was a churning mess of confused emotion. Mostly pain. “I liked talking to you too.”

Neither of them had anything to say after that, and the nearby crush and crash of broken cement filled the distance between them.


Buy it!
Barnes and Noble
Amazon (but maybe you should wait until tomorrow -- seriously)

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Oh My Aching Back!

These might actually work
I'm way behind in updates and people are starting to get alarmed, so here's the update: I'm much better both mentally and physically. (Hopefully I didn't just jinx my recovery.)

Basically, I was recovering from that painful bout of sciatica (or so I thought) but progress seemed to be slow--I had this really awful limp if I walked any distance--and I thought I probably needed to push myself a bit more. Activity is actually good for sciatica. So is strengthening your core. I figured I needed a lot more of both. Which is how after a day of swimming, gardening and kung fu exercises I ended up in the emergency room.

That was a surreal experience. Happily, the memory is pretty foggy. Essentially, they were unable to help me. The injection they gave for pain had--I'm not exaggerating--zero effect. The pills they gave for pain, inflammation, spasm...were all ineffective. I could not eat, sleep or stay in one position for more than thirty seconds, and that went on for days. Three days, to be exact. I had three days of--again, not exaggerating--sheer agony before I was finally able to get in and see a GP.

Continental Plate?
The long and the short of it is three days of physical therapy a week for the next month and pain killers that actually work--but leave me mentally fuzzy (which is not optimum when you earn your living writing). I can eat, sleep, sit and even walk again. In fact, thanks to years of yoga and kung fu, I'm actually pretty flexible and still have excellent range of motion (to the astonishment of my physical therapist who says the patch of inflammation stretching from my back to my hip is as big as a continental plate).

There's nothing life-threatening here and I honestly feel silly even talking about it, except that my sudden disappearance needs some explanation.

Because sitting is really bad for sciatica, I'm using my chair time for writing--and basically abandoning all social media for now. Some lovely friends are filling in for me on my Facebook wall with great posts about writing and reading mysteries, and I know my Goodreads group always has lots to chat about whether I'm there or not. I'm not really responding to email right now.

That's where things stand at the moment. Marlowe the Evil Mastermind Puppy is doing great--he took advantage of my weakened state to start sleeping with us, but that's okay--The Monet Murders is coming along, slowly but surely, which is how I'm coming along. Slowly but surely.

1222222222222222222222222222qww (That's Marlowe signing off for both of us till the next time.)

 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Tall Timbers Falling

Last month I was hiking with friends at Vasquez Rocks and I slipped and fell. Ungracefully and painfully. It seemed like the only damage was a badly sprained right ankle, but it looks like I might have done a bit more harm than I realized.

Anyway, for the past two weeks...well, I guess three weeks since it coincided with the arrival of Marlowe the Mutt, and he's been dogging (ha!) my footsteps for nearly a month now...I've been suffering from sciatica. Which is really, seriously unpleasant because it hurts to sit (which makes typing difficult) and hurts even worse to lie down (which makes sleep largely impossible for more than a couple of hours at a time). So it's been hellish, although I realize as health issues go, it's minor.

Cutting straight to the chase, I've had to push back The Monet Murders again -- for the final time, I assure you -- which I am very sorry about. Not least because my finances rely on sticking to deadlines. But there are some things that just can't be bulldozed through, and it turns out that this is one of them. I don't want to crank out a book when I'm sleep-deprived and unable to fully concentrate--even if it was physically possible, which at this point, it isn't.

So that's that. The book will now be out May 25th.

In other news, Marlowe the Mutt continues to thrive and grow. Well, he's not growing much, but he is thriving, and he's pretty darned adorable, if I do say so. When I first scooped him out of that canine hell, my sciatica was at maximum misery level, and I can't deny that I did think I'd probably made a mistake but too late to turn back now. Not a joyous thought, to be honest. It turns out I was wrong because we love the little monster dearly, and if you're going to be in pain anyway, you might as well have something to distract you.

I've had to rearrange my schedule considerably. Mornings are now spent taking MtM outside and then feeding and playing with him (he is partial to chasing his squeaky stuffed raccoon toy up and down the staircase at top speed) ..and from there coffee on the patio seems a fairly natural move (and so much more pleasant than diving into email, though, frankly, that mental adjustment took some doing). I've been trying to swim a bit although it's a bit chilly right now. Supposedly the best thing is to keep moving, gentle stretches, etc.

Patience. A hard word to live by.

So that's where we are. The day before yesterday I bought some roses and tea lights and odds and ends for the garden. Yesterday I started catching up on email. Last night I actually slept through the entire night, so maybe the tide has turned. It's possible life is getting back to normal. Fingers crossed.



Friday, April 14, 2017

Happy Easter!

Yes, it's a bit early -- and not everyone celebrates Easter -- but it's a holiday I enjoy. It's not one of the big dates in the family pantheon of holidays, but in a way that's what makes it relaxing. We'll have the traditional ham dinner (I'm bringing a giant green salad with sprouts and nuts and seeds -- a meal in itself) and we'll have a few drinks and there will be a lot of talking and laughing.

What are you celebrating this weekend? Passover? Spring? A long weekend? A lost weekend?


Friday, March 31, 2017

New Release: PLENTY OF FISH

By request: Marlowe the Mutt
Regular viewers will know that I've been talking about getting a dog for a few years, but am constantly coming up with excellent reasons as to why the perfect moment never arrives. And as a matter of fact, the perfect moment has still not arrived, but I somehow ended up with a puppy anyway. It's a long story and he's more of a rescue operation than an actual reasoned purchase of the proper puppy...but we've had him for just about four days now and I kinda sorta can't help loving the little cheese mite.

His name is Marlowe and he is most definitely a nut. Er...mutt. Also a nut.

Also he is a huge distraction. Be that as it may, I did manage to get a little short story out this month. It's just a very simple best-friends-to-lovers bit of sweetness called "Plenty of Fish".

BLURB:
Finn loves Blair. Blair loves Finn too, but he’s not in love with him. How can you be in love with someone you’ve known your entire life? Shouldn’t in love feel…different? Newer. Bigger. More…exciting?

Sure, maybe Blair is too romantic—but wasn’t Finn the one who always said there were plenty of fish in the sea?

SNIPPET:
“I think I’ve met someone,” Blair said.

He was sitting on the wooden tool chest in Finn’s workshop, drinking a can of hydrogen  water, watching Finn sand the top of a rosewood William IV dining table.

“Yeah?” Finn continued to rub at a pale watermark with a piece of very fine oiled steel wool. He didn’t have to look up to know Blair’s eyes would be shining and soft and a little dreamy. Blair was in love with the idea of being in love.

Finn was also in love. With Blair.

Which maybe Blair knew and maybe he didn’t. There had been that one time last year, when Finn had kissed Blair and whispered, “I love you, Blair. Why don’t we give it a try?”

Blair had laughed, then looked confused and finally embarrassed when he saw Finn was serious. Finn had—not quite in the nick of time—managed to laugh too and pretend it was a joke. Blair’s eyes had lit with relief, though his quick smile had been a little uncertain.

Things had been strained between them for a couple of weeks but eventually had gone back to normal.

In fairness, Finn’s timing had been crap. As usual. Blair had just found out Logan was cheating on him, so even if he had been receptive to the idea of Finn eventually stepping into Logan’s shoes, it was not the time to bring it up. It was just that by then Finn had sort of reached his breaking point.
It hadn’t helped when he’d suddenly remembered how in junior high, Blair had kissed him behind the handball courts at Ernie Howlett Park, and he’d wiped his mouth and told Blair sternly to knock it off.

Jesus.

It had only taken him twelve years to figure out being kissed by Blair was actually something he’d really, really like. That it was, in fact, near the top of the Ten Things He’d Like Most to Happen in the Near Future list. Right below Sleep with Blair and right above Discover a Goddard and Townsend family cabinet—or other piece of valuable anything—the next time he was dumb enough to bid on an abandoned storage unit.

Anyway.

“Plenty of Fish?” Finn asked. He didn’t bother to hide his skepticism. Dating sites were for the desperate, in his opinion. Not including Blair, of course.

Blair said defensively, “People do meet people there.”

“Sure.”

“Carlos and I had fun.”

Finn sanded harder. The watermark had nearly penetrated all the way through the polish. “Yep,” he muttered. “Nothing more fun than a broken wrist.”

Carlos had been into mountain biking, which Finn had tried to tell Blair was different from regular biking. As usual, Blair had to find out the hard way.

Blair shrugged. “Louis was nice.”

“He sure was. I can’t think of anybody nicer than Louis.”

Louis had been into rock climbing, and Blair had discovered belatedly that he had a little problem with extreme heights. Their first and only date had been spent with Louis coaxing and cajoling Blair off the cliffside where he’d been frozen, paralyzed with acrophobia, for hours. Hours.

Louis had been a very nice guy, and Finn was grateful to him for not leaving Blair up there on “Touch and Go Face” in Joshua Tree National Park.

Blair said wistfully, “I liked Alec a lot.”

To which Finn had no reply. He stopped scrubbing the stained wood. Alec had been way too close for comfort. Blair had been on the verge of falling in love with Alec, and Alec had been on the verge of falling in love with Blair. The thing that saved them—or rather, saved Finn—was when Alec had been transferred to his company’s home office in Indiana. Blair’s mom had been going through chemo, so there was no way Blair would have considered leaving Palos Verdes.

Blair wasn’t saying anything. Finn studied him, and his heart seemed to crowd his rib cage. It had seemed to come out of nowhere, this…crazy development in his feelings for Blair.

And hopefully it would eventually return to nowhere.


****

You can buy "Plenty of Fish" through Kobo, B&N, Smashwords and Amazon. Hopefully it will be up at iBooks soon too! 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The VERY BIG 1/2 Price Novel Sale

I've never done this before -- and I don't know whether I'll regret it or not. ;-)  But I'm putting all the digital novels through my JustJoshin Publishing, Inc. imprint on sale at half price for one week only.

Starting tomorrow (actually, I think the prices are already changed on Smashwords) all my novel-length stories are $3.99. That includes Stranger Things Have Happened and Man Oh Man: Writing Quality M/M Fiction.

video


The books included in this are:

The Hell You Say
Death of a Pirate King
The Dark Tide
Stranger Things Have Happened
Man Oh Man: Writing Quality M/M Fiction
Murder in Pastel
The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks
Winter Kill
The Mermaid Murders
The Curse of the Blue Scarab
Somebody Killed His Editor
All She Wrote
The Boy with the Painful Tattoo
Come Unto These Yellow Sands


That's...a lot of books!