Update for Viddy

“I swear I’ve been writing.”
–Benjamin Hewett (or maybe Patrick Rothfuss)


Deathly Cold Office Potter Sword (JPEG)

For a long time now I’ve been secretly plotting to culture my kids. It’s a sinister job, but one that parents are obliged to do. Imagine me sitting in a dark, cold basement, dry-washing my hands while scheming up ways to trick them into liking opera music before the age of 40.

Okay, so Houston doesn’t have basements.

Or cold places.*

But I was scheming.

And while I was scheming in my office after normal work hours,  I came across a promising flyer from the Houston Symphony:  “HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN™ IN CONCERT.”

They’ll never know this is culture, I thought.

I prepared carefully. I introduced the topic of attending the symphony nonchalantly at dinner.  When they groaned, I mentioned it was a “Harry Potter 3” concert.  Groans dissipated to mild disinterest. As we talked about  appropriate symphony dress and behavior, they gave appropriately irritated responses, but said nothing truly alarming.

So I purchased “affordable” tickets. We arrived Friday night, dressed to kill, black ties and button ups, or black skirts and high-heels, as appropriate. And the first thing we see getting out of the car? Professor McGonagall. Not making this up. Seems like everyone at the Houston Symphony is in full fantasy getup, except us. My son turns to me and says something like, “Wait, why are we all dressed up, again?”

I’m not complaining. They enjoyed the program and only teased me a little about having left the Draco, Hermione, and Luna costumes at home. We’re getting up to leave, snapping some shots in our overdressed state, and I hear a voice behind me:

“When’s the next book coming out?”

Just like that. Almost no preamble.

Besides hanging out with my kids, that was the highlight of my evening. When a friend I haven’t seen in ages asks me to account for my writing activities and then posts my response on Facebook to all his friends, that lights a fire.

This post is for you Viddy. I swear I’ve been writing:

Activity Report  Spring/Summer 2018

  • Traveled to France for work. Did off-hours research for Shadowcloaks.
  • Joined a writing group.
  • Retro-outlined Plaguerunners per writing group’s recommendation.
  • Began cutting and restructuring Plaguerunners based on consistent advice from two very talented agents.
  • Finished drafting Shadowcloaks.
  • Finished second draft of Shadowcloaks. (Almost.)
  • Wrote statement of work  and bid out cover and concept art.
  • Visited family and friends in Seattle and Utah. Worked more on Shadowcloaks.
  • All this time, I’ve been getting better. I think you’re going to like the results. #December2018


*My office in Houston  is cold. Deathly cold. Deathly Hallows cold. (Remember that part where Harry’s trapped under the ice in nothing but his boxer shorts?) That cold. In fact, to celebrate the similarities, I’ll ship my personal copy of RINGS–complete with marginal notations and edits–to the person who posts the best caption for the photo above in the comments. There may also be consolation prizes. Let the contest begin!



“Say again, Gerard?”

lucinda alone color Cropped2

I loved writing Lucinda for this story. She’s always been extremely independent, but as I drafted the series ending last month, I realized just how much she has to grow as a character. Most importantly, she needed to be able to defend herself. (She demanded a weapon.) So I gave her a dagger, sharp like her wit and suited to the conflict ahead. Knowing Lucinda, it won’t be enough. . .


She puts the book down and slides over, subtle as a pickpocket. Nobody else notices.

“How does one properly hold a dagger?” There’s a determined look in her eye, the same one that says she won’t take no for an answer. “Someone has to protect you two,” she says, glancing at Carmen.

“And Magnus?”

She ignores the question. “What do I do?”

“Depends on the kind,” I whisper back.

What she shows me is a rusty, double-edged Ralfian with a thin, stubby crossguard and no quillons. It’s definitely past its prime but still functional, and only slightly oversized for her hand. Not a bad pick for a beginner.

“Reverse, hammer, forward, and palm-enforced.” I flip through the basic grips at my side so no one else is likely to see. “Stick with forward. Only idiots and Nightshades use the palm-enforced, and reverse grip is for stabbing people from behind. Mostly.”

“Thanks, Teacup.”

“Just don’t use the pointy end on me.”

She smiles reassuringly, eyes twinkling, and slips it back into her dress pocket. There’s a light snapping sound as it clicks into place. . .

Available now on Amazon: RINGS.