i aten’t dead

It suddenly occurs to me that I haven’t said anything about, well, writing for a while. Not that I talk about it much anyway but I understand people like to be told about shit. The thing about writing and publishing is that everything happens on quite a long timescale so what how it normally goes down is that you announce something and then eighteen months later you release and in the middle you talk about board games. Or maybe that’s just me.

So the first piece of housekeeping is that I’m on holiday for the next week or so. And Mary’s off as well because I’m not a Victorian industrialist, despite my taste in hats. This means my social media presence will be even more sporadic than it normally is: Mary says she’ll be picking up emails so if there’s anything urgent (although I’m not really sure what could be) you can reach her at maryatquicunquevultdotcom.

Bookswise, I’m currently editing Arden 2, which is now officially known as How to Blow It with a Billionaire. It even has a cover and everything, which is as close to makin’ it real that unreleased books can be. That will definitely will be coming out before the end of the year. I don’t think a release date has been confirmed but it’ll be around Decemberish.

DVD Special Feature: here’s a really tiny deleted scene from the second book between Arden and Ellery. It deserved its cut but I kind of liked it:

I reached for the controller and was about to suggest another round of shooting people in the head, when she said: “Will you paint my toenails?”

“What?”

Another shrug.

“I mean, I guess? I’m not very good.”

Shrug again.

Well, it was kind of an olive branch? If I squinted. “Okay. Let me get my stuff.”

By the time I got back with my foot beautification paraphernalia, Ellery was de-booted and peeling off her tights. Her legs were pale and skinny and sort of vulnerable, and her feet were…

“Holy shit,” I gasped, “are you a hobbit?”

I walk around barefoot a lot.”

These aren’t feet. They’re…Kevlar.”

She grinned for the first time since we’d stopped playing games. “Thanks.”

“Did you have something in mind?”

“Can you make it look like my toes have been half-eaten by piranhas and are rotting slowly away?”

“No.”

“Do whatever then.”

I knelt on the sofa and drew her feet into my lap.

“Just no hearts,” she added, “or rainbow bullshit.”

Which was, honestly, a bit discouraging because I basically specialised in hearts and rainbow bullshit. In the end, I went with a design of angry yellow eyes against a black background, so it was like her toenails were glaring.

It was hard to tell with Ellery but I think she liked them.

Folk may or may not remember but about a million years ago I announced three Regency queer m/f novels that had been signed by Avon. These have relatively official titles now which are: A Lord For Whenever, A Makeover for a Marquess, and A Husband for the Hell Of It. I’m really happy with these titles because they’re slightly ridiculous, as are the books. I think they also flag up that … how can I put this … faithful evocation of a specific historical era was a lower priority than, well, fun. They’re romps is what I’m saying. Although I did do quite a lot of research about frocks and farming.

DVD Special Feature: rejected titles included In Flagrante Dewidow, A Harlotta Love, and The Time of your Wife. These also really make me really happy because I really enjoy silly puns but they do not make good names for the books.

I’ve also been at the short stories again. Newsletter subscribers will already be familiar with my slightly erratic approach to freebies. For those who aren’t, subscribe to my newsletter: sometimes you’ll get free short stories, sometimes you won’t. I kind of see Sand & Ruin & Gold, Draconitas, and Wintergreen as belonging to the same universe, which I sometimes call the Ruinverse, but in my head these diffuse anthology I’m putting together one random freebie at a time is called & Other Monsters. The two stories coming out are called Glass and My Last Husband. The first is kind of about a robot and the second was an attempt to do horror despite the fact I’m pretty sure I can’t write horror. I’m relatively happy with how turned out.

So keep an eye out for those if those are the sorts of things you like to keep an eye out for. If I’m organised enough I might save MLH for a Halloween treat. Of course this probably means I’ll forget and publish it next February. Here’s a sneak peak of the opening to My Last Husband.

Ah, you came. I’m so glad. Give me your hand—why look at this, you still have paint beneath your fingernails. Oh, don’t apologise. It’s charming. Would you care for champagne? It’s a very special vintage, from a walled vineyard near Chouilly in the Cote de Blancs. Do you like it? Such a heavy sweetness, don’t you think? Like butter and gold. I can take you out there, if you want. It’s quite a wonder: the same land, held by the same family for nearly five hundred years. Though, of course, it’s mine now.

Also editing Ardy 2 has thrown up a couple of scenes that don’t really have a place in the overall narrative but are kinda cute if you enjoy deleted scenes. So I’ll be newslettering those as well.

Finally, just to wish everyone a lovely time at RWA. And once again extend my congratulations to all RITA finalists. I already wrote a blog post about this but I’m super pleased that LGBTQ+ representation remains strong. I’m crossing my fingers for everybody.

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