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?”


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?”


“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.

, , , , ,

27 Responses to i aten’t dead

  1. Lennan Adams says:

    I love that scene with Ardy and Ellery and I LOVE the titles (and the rejected titles, haha) for the M/F historicals! Yay!
    Have a great vacation. <3

  2. Eli says:

    Short stories!!!!! Ahhhhh! I’m so excited! *grabby hands all over the place*
    <3 Enjoy your time away.

  3. Gillian says:

    Harlotta Love sounds like the name of a Regency-era Bond girl 😉

    Enjoy your vacation!

  4. Sophie says:

    Really excited for the short stories and deleted scenes. Enjoy your vacation!

  5. Lotta says:

    Is that a reference to My Last Duchess I spot? It’s good to hear you aten’t dead and are doing all sorts of writerly things I do like the game posts; I don’t play myself, but your posts make me wish I did.

  6. Pam/Peejakers says:

    Aww, have a lovely holiday! <3 And yay for updates!

    I'm at work, so I'm saving the teasers & excerpts for savoring later 🙂

  7. EmmaT says:

    Deleted scenes, updates, a newsletter-stop spoiling us! Enjoy your time off and best of luck with RITAs.

  8. I thought it was “artent.” Now I have to go check Pullum & Huddleston. If he’s not playing Loki.

  9. cmc says:

    but are you bringing any board games with you on holiday, THESE ARE THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS, AJH.

  10. Maarja says:

    Have a lovely holiday! And thanks for teasing us with news of your writing! Though I’d still read your blog if you just did the board game posts. 😉

  11. Kelly says:

    I love the titles for your Avon series! They really do sound like fun books and are going to be a definite MUST READ. Looking forward to all the things. <3

  12. Beej says:

    Glad you ain’t dead, always a positive. I loved the painting toenails scene and wonder if you’ve considered a director’s cut of your books, or maybe a scrapbook release of deleted scenes? I would buy it.

    Enjoy hols, I read something about tea, cakes and cottaging or it may have been cottages – Enjoy 😉

    • Thanks, that’s really kind. Though, for what it’s worth, my preferred version of the book is always the version that gets published.

      At the risk of going wildly off topic, I think editors honestly do not get enough credit for their role in making books (and, for that matter, movies) better. Obviously I call these deleted scenes DVD Special Features as a sort of joking allusion to the fact that this sort of content was often included on DVDs when they were a thing. But part of my experience of watching deleted scenes on DVD has always been thinking at the end “well, that was interesting but I can absolutely see why it didn’t make it into the final movie.”

      I’ve never taken a scene out of a book that I felt belonged in the book. They’ve often been scenes I’ve really liked, or at the very least I’ve thought were cute, but I’ve never felt they were a necessary part of the text.

      Or to put it another way, the director’s cut is actually the version you’ve already read.

  13. Mary Pat says:

    It’s very glad I am that you aten’t dead. Unfortunately, Sir Terry is, as well as Esmeralda Weatherwax. I can’t be having with this, I said to myself, and stopped reading the last published story in midstream. Until I do finish it, to me, they aten’t dead.

    I enjoy your writing and look forward to the many narratives you have planned, especially the “romps”. Selfishly, I hope you enjoy a long and productive life, so I won’t ever have to suspend reading one of your delightful stories.

    • I’ve actually not read The Shepherd’s Crown. Is this a terrible thing say, but it sort of feels weirdly fitting that Granny Weatherwax dies. In a strange way, it completes her arc.

      I, too, selfishly hope I enjoy a long and productive life 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.