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Jan. 22nd, 2018

Online serializations: Death Mask (The Three Lands) 3/23. Hell's Messenger (Life Prison) 3/21.

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Death Mask (The Three Lands)</b>



"I came here hoping you would give me an excuse to kill you, but now I can only feel pity for you – pity and horror."

For eighteen years, he has survived in an army unit where few soldiers live more than two or three years. Now he finds himself in circumstances where his life is a living hell. Will the soldier who defied death find that life is too great a challenge?

Soldiers, spies, slaves, rebels, assassins, gods, and men who set out to break him . . . The Lieutenant of the Border Mountain Patrol will learn that his greatest test is himself.




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Hell's Messenger (Life Prison)



"'Death did not hold the name then that he holds now.'"

In Mip's most notorious life prison, Death appears in a strange disguise.

It had seemed for a while that the plan would work: a bold conspiracy by a group of idealistic prisoners and sympathetic guards to stop abuse at Mercy Prison. Then betrayal occurs, and Tyrrell finds himself in a new life prison, with new rules to be learned. No longer is he in a position of leadership; now he is surrounded by men who question his most fundamental values.

He has new allies as well: fellow prisoners who like what they see in him, a healer who refuses to accept current conditions, and guards who may or may not provide the help that the prisoners desperately need. But Hell's messenger, Death, visits Compassion Prison, keeping his face hidden until it is almost too late for Tyrrell to recognize his touch.




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Jan. 17th, 2018

Online serializations: Death Mask (The Three Lands) 2/23. Hell's Messenger (Life Prison) 2/21.

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Death Mask (The Three Lands)</b>



"I came here hoping you would give me an excuse to kill you, but now I can only feel pity for you – pity and horror."

For eighteen years, he has survived in an army unit where few soldiers live more than two or three years. Now he finds himself in circumstances where his life is a living hell. Will the soldier who defied death find that life is too great a challenge?

Soldiers, spies, slaves, rebels, assassins, gods, and men who set out to break him . . . The Lieutenant of the Border Mountain Patrol will learn that his greatest test is himself.




*


Hell's Messenger (Life Prison)



"'Death did not hold the name then that he holds now.'"

In Mip's most notorious life prison, Death appears in a strange disguise.

It had seemed for a while that the plan would work: a bold conspiracy by a group of idealistic prisoners and sympathetic guards to stop abuse at Mercy Prison. Then betrayal occurs, and Tyrrell finds himself in a new life prison, with new rules to be learned. No longer is he in a position of leadership; now he is surrounded by men who question his most fundamental values.

He has new allies as well: fellow prisoners who like what they see in him, a healer who refuses to accept current conditions, and guards who may or may not provide the help that the prisoners desperately need. But Hell's messenger, Death, visits Compassion Prison, keeping his face hidden until it is almost too late for Tyrrell to recognize his touch.




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Recommend me readings on pre-Islamic Middle Eastern history, Bedouins, & Middle Eastern Americans

"Stereotyping marginalised groups isn't satire. Satire speaks truth to power. Stereotypes pander to its prejudices."

--K. J. Charles.


I'm making a plea for reading recommendations, to supplement the book-gathering I've been doing on my own.

Those of you who've been following my Three Lands series know that my new hero mentioned below is going to have a problem the minute he arrives in modern-day USA: he looks Middle Eastern, and he abides by some traces of traditional Bedouin culture.

So I'm in desperate need of books or blogs that talk about the experience of being a Middle Eastern American today - specifically, the various ways in which other Americans react to Middle Eastern Americans. Can you folks recommend any?

I'm also looking for books or documentaries about the Bedouins in the past and present. Those books seem to be scarce; all the ones I've found so far are written by ethnographers or travellers.

Finally, I'm looking for books about the history of the pre-Islamic Middle East: original sources and history books. My hero is coming from a time period that approximates the late 5th / early 6th century CE (about the time of Arthurian Britain), but I'm a fan of ancient history, so any pre-Islamic Middle Eastern history would be fine.

In all of the above cases, bonus points if the books are written by authors who are Middle Eastern or ethnic Middle Eastern.

(I know that this talk of the Middle East is geographically broad, but all I know is that my hero's distant ancestors were desert nomads. He doesn't know any more than that. By the time my hero comes along, his people have been living in a setting akin to the northern Mediterranean - think Italy - for more than a millennia. So his whole culture is, within the context of the fantasy world, "Middle Eastern diaspora.")


WHAT THIS IS ALL ABOUT

I've started working on a parallel worlds travel romance - sort of like a time travel romance, except that it features travel between a fantasy world (the Three Lands world, as it happens) and our world. I hope to have the first story in that series out soon, as an e-book.

This will be my first heterosexual genre romance series (as opposed to heterosexual romances tucked into series that are mainly on other topics). Any tips from those of you who write heterosexual romance would be much appreciated. And if you readers have favorite heterosexual romance novels or authors, do tell!

Jan. 9th, 2018

Online serializations: Death Mask (The Three Lands) 1/23. Hell's Messenger (Life Prison) 1/21.

News


I hope you enjoyed your various holidays! I'm starting 2018 with new serializations from two series you'll remember from last year: The Three Lands and Life Prison.



*


Death Mask (The Three Lands)</b>



"I came here hoping you would give me an excuse to kill you, but now I can only feel pity for you – pity and horror."

For eighteen years, he has survived in an army unit where few soldiers live more than two or three years. Now he finds himself in circumstances where his life is a living hell. Will the soldier who defied death find that life is too great a challenge?

Soldiers, spies, slaves, rebels, assassins, gods, and men who set out to break him . . . The Lieutenant of the Border Mountain Patrol will learn that his greatest test is himself.




*


Hell's Messenger (Life Prison)



"'Death did not hold the name then that he holds now.'"

In Mip's most notorious life prison, Death appears in a strange disguise.

It had seemed for a while that the plan would work: a bold conspiracy by a group of idealistic prisoners and sympathetic guards to stop abuse at Mercy Prison. Then betrayal occurs, and Tyrrell finds himself in a new life prison, with new rules to be learned. No longer is he in a position of leadership; now he is surrounded by men who question his most fundamental values.

He has new allies as well: fellow prisoners who like what they see in him, a healer who refuses to accept current conditions, and guards who may or may not provide the help that the prisoners desperately need. But Hell's messenger, Death, visits Compassion Prison, keeping his face hidden until it is almost too late for Tyrrell to recognize his touch.





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Dec. 21st, 2017

Online fiction: Season of Dangerous Peace (holiday gift story)

News


This is my holiday gift story to my readers. You can find past holiday stories through newly added story tags at my website: Stories of seasons and holidays.

I hope everyone is enjoying and will enjoy and has enjoyed their holiday season. Thank you for all of your interest and support this year. I'll see you again next year.


The Three Lands


"In a week's time, in every village and town in Koretia – even in the great capital city where the King's palace stood – Koretians would gather together to celebrate the New Year. There would be festive foods and drinks and the tossing of nuts into the fire, as the Koretians prayed to the gods for good fortune in the coming year. Most of all, there would be the making of creation baskets: living symbols of the beauty that was Koretia. . . . And then, the next day, the killings would resume."

His village is dead, his baron broken beyond mending. Now, as the year reaches the season of peace, the baron's heir must decide whether to keep his family hidden, safe from the blood feud that is ravaging their kingdom, or to enter danger in quest of a higher goal.




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Dec. 17th, 2017

Online serializations & online fiction: Law Links 27/27, Cell-mates, Truth & Trust 15/15

News


This is my last week of serializations in 2017. On Thursday, I'll post my holiday gift story; then I'll take a break till January 7, when I'll be back with more serializations.

(Folks from TuesdaySerial: You'll have to come back here on Thursday to see the announcement of my holiday gift story. Because I'm not serializing that story, I can't announce it at TuesdaySerial.)


Law Links


"Sometimes I feel that he is as mysterious as the gods, and that he is hiding something of vital importance from me. Something that would transform my life."

Few events are more thrilling in a young man's life than a blood feud between two villages. Or so Adrian thought.

Torn between affection toward his traditional-minded father and worship of his peace-loving, heretical priest, Adrian finds himself caught between two incompatible visions of his duty to the gods. Then the Jackal God sends Adrian a message that will disrupt his world and send him fleeing to a new and perilous life.




Cell-mates


"They had to settle the issue of sex first."

Sentenced to life in prison, Tyrrell didn't have many opportunities for bed-play . . . unless he could count what the guards did to him as "play." So his future seemed brighter when he was paired with a cell-mate he'd been eyeing for a long time with affection and lust.

If only Tyrrell could keep from becoming his cell-mate's latest murder victim . . .




Sweet Blood


"He tried to keep his voice calm, though his pulse was racing."

Time is running out.

Vito de Vere has ten days to prepare for his performance in the Eternal Dungeon's first play. He may have fewer days than that to fight for his career and to save his prisoner's life.

As the Eternal Dungeon prepares for the greatest change it has ever undergone, Vito must prove his worth by breaking and transforming a criminal. Nobody else is likely to manage it. And nobody but himself cares so passionately whether his prisoner survives.

As an actor, Vito portrays the qualities of courage, love, truth, and trust. Now he must find the strength to take those qualities into the breaking cell.




To receive notices of my fiction by e-mail )

Dec. 12th, 2017

Online serializations: Law Links 26/27, Mercy's Prisoner 23/23, Truth & Trust 14/15

Law Links


"Sometimes I feel that he is as mysterious as the gods, and that he is hiding something of vital importance from me. Something that would transform my life."

Few events are more thrilling in a young man's life than a blood feud between two villages. Or so Adrian thought.

Torn between affection toward his traditional-minded father and worship of his peace-loving, heretical priest, Adrian finds himself caught between two incompatible visions of his duty to the gods. Then the Jackal God sends Adrian a message that will disrupt his world and send him fleeing to a new and perilous life.




Mercy's Prisoner


"'You have committed a vile and savage act, one that any other nation would punish with death. Our punishment, on the other hand, will only be to give you what you want. You have sought to live in a world without boundaries of civilization, and such a world shall henceforth be your dwelling place.'"

A cold-hearted murderer. A vicious abuser. A young man hiding a shameful secret. A bewildered immigrant. A pure-minded spy.

All of these men have found their appointed places at Mercy Life Prison, where it is easy to tell who your enemies are. But a new visitor to Mercy is about to challenge decades-old customs. Now these men's worst enemies may be hiding behind masks . . . and so may their closest allies.




Sweet Blood


"He tried to keep his voice calm, though his pulse was racing."

Time is running out.

Vito de Vere has ten days to prepare for his performance in the Eternal Dungeon's first play. He may have fewer days than that to fight for his career and to save his prisoner's life.

As the Eternal Dungeon prepares for the greatest change it has ever undergone, Vito must prove his worth by breaking and transforming a criminal. Nobody else is likely to manage it. And nobody but himself cares so passionately whether his prisoner survives.

As an actor, Vito portrays the qualities of courage, love, truth, and trust. Now he must find the strength to take those qualities into the breaking cell.




To receive notices of my fiction by e-mail )

Daily life: Highlights of 2017

"The trouble [with Twitter] is that it's a solution to a problem that shouldn't be solved. Eighty percent of the battle of writing involves keeping yourself in that cave: waiting out the loneliness and opacity and emptiness and frustration and bad sentences and dead ends and despair until the damn thing resolves into words. That kind of patience, a steady turning away from everything but the mind and the topic at hand, can only be accomplished by cultivating the habit of attention and a tolerance for solitude."

--Kathryn Schulz (via Advice to Writers).


Only three weeks remain in 2017, so it seems time to sum up everything that happened to me this year.


Big positive event: Changing my primary goal as a writer.

Having concluded last year that any money I made from my fiction was likely to be minor compared to what I could make from a day job (I didn't rush to this conclusion; I began self-publishing in 2007), and having finally wrestled my various health troubles down to the point where I could actually take a day job, I felt freed up to do what I've wanted to do for a long time now: return to being mainly an online fiction writer.

I am so much happier now and so much more productive. For the last three years, I was spending 20% of my literary time on writing and 80% on publishing. Now I'm spending 80% of my literary time on writing, and I'm getting more feedback from readers than I've received in years.

This was one of the most difficult decisions I've ever made. All my life, I'd equated "success as a writer" with "success as a commercial writer," so abandoning commercial success as my primary goal felt like admitting I was a failure as a writer. But in actual fact, this turned out to be the best creative decision I've ever made. I now have much more time in which to develop my craft, and I have more opportunities to talk with my readers, which has always been extremely important to me.

(Oh, and I still bring out the occasional e-book. I have nothing against commercial fiction; it's just that my primary focus now is on my online fiction.)


Other big positive event (following from the above event): Lots of wordage.

I still have two weeks of writing to go before the end of the year, but as of now, I've written 230,000 words in 2017. That's my highest annual wordage since 2003. In addition to the fact that online publishing takes a lot less time than e-book publishing, I attribute my high word count this year to the hard work I've done during the past few years in acquiring good work habits, plus the fact that I can now stay offline for extended periods.


Big negative event (personal): No income.

I've earned $200 gross so far this year. That's one-seventh of what I earned in 2015. This is partly due to the fact that I'm no longer bringing out forty e-books a year (yes, you read that figure right), but it's mainly due to (1) industry factors that are affecting all commercial writers, plus (2) illness preventing me from getting my new day-job business started till the end of the year. Obviously, I need to be earning a lot more than three figures a year.


Big negative event (global): Guess. Just guess.

The worst U.S. government I've seen in my lifetime - and I lived through the Nixon era. You know that it's bad when your apprentice's friends are discussing, the day after the election, whether it's better to move to Canada or Mexico. What I think most of us failed to predict was where the worst damage would be done - not merely in the Oval Office and various government agencies, but also in the halls of Congress.


Other events:

* I opened my business providing historical research services to writers. (*Crosses fingers.*)

* For twenty-four years, I was a full-time writer; last summer I switched to being a part-time writer. I spent a lot of energy at the beginning of this year trying to figure out how to continue writing fiction without letting it interfere with my new research business. (This wasn't purely for psychological reasons; my marketing for my historical research business is intertwined with my marketing for my work as a historical specfic writer.) I've come up with a schedule that seems to work well: one hour of writing/editing/layout before breakfast, light editing during meals, an extra hour on Sunday for issuing and announcing my latest fiction, and a couple of hours here and there for going overtime with the above activities. I've rolled all other promotional activities, such as author interviews, into a bundle with promoting my new research business. I spend about fifteen minutes a week on leisure activities, so ten hours a week (not counting mealtime editing) seems a reasonable amount of time for me to spend on an activity which is all-important in keeping me sane.

* Here in our loft apartment in downtown Havre de Grace, I can actually see the floor again. Thanks to a landlord inspection - which we passed, whew - I did a massive decluttering operation. All that was left to declutter afterwards were my papers and records--

* --whereupon the bedbugs turned up, and the remaining clutter turned into a crisis, because there wasn't enough room in our apartment to bring in the bedbug extermination equipment. I'm now racing to pack up and place in storage dozens of boxes of papers, get rid of hundreds of albums, and move large amounts of heavy furniture . . . all at a time of year when Joe can't drive U-Haul vans, because of his winter illnesses. "Panic" does not begin to describe what I'm going through.

* My Internet addiction is still here. Of course. But I developed further coping mechanisms this year, which helped. Unfortunately, those coping mechanisms mainly consist of staying offline for long periods, which is increasingly hard for me to do, thanks to my new business.

* Other than that and a longer-than-anticipated recovery from my bunion surgery, my health was good this year. I even managed to edge just a bit out of the Vitamin D deficiency I've had since 2010. However, I was diagnosed with two conditions (osteoperosis - thank you very much, Vitamin D deficiency - and plantar fibramatosis) that are likely to cause me serious problems in the long term. Also, I'm terribly behind on my medical appointments, because the landlord inspection and bedbug crisis occurred at the time of year when I usually visit doctors.

* Thanks to Havre de Grace now having five - five! - Little Free Libraries within walking distance of me, and thanks to me donating so many books to those libraries (translation: I hauled the books there with my rolling suitcase), I got a goodly amount of walking done during the warm months of this year. I'm trying to remind myself that I need exercise during the cold months too.

* Speaking of which, I got a lot of reading done this year, mainly because of having to do physical therapy three times a week at the beginning of the year. Otherwise, it's dead hard finding time for reading - even my mealtimes are usually taken up with editing - but I'm getting myself into the habit of listening to novels by text-to-speech when preparing meals and doing housework.

* Family matters are the same as usual: wonderful with occasional tensions, just like all good family relationships are.

* For - I don't know how long it's been, this is the fifth year running, maybe? - I didn't have any luck making new friends online. (Thanks to my off-the-charts introversion, my best luck in making friends has always been online rather than offline, though some of my online friends become offline friends too.) I had equally poor luck keeping in touch with old friends, for complicated reasons. In a last-ditch effort to prevent myself from becoming Mary Hatch in the dystopian version of Bedford Falls, I've followed my father's advice on socializing and am making plans to attend a church service for the first time in a decade. Reserving my right to be a filial rebel, I've chosen the Unitarian Universalists.

* While not having made any new friends this year, I've certainly had the opportunity to listen to folks chat online, thanks to my new business requiring me to return to online forums and social media. (This has very much been a mixed experience - see what I said above about my need to stay offline, which matches what Kathryn Schulz says in the quotation at the top of this post - but I'll focus this paragraph on the positive aspects of my being online.) My @duskpeterson Twitter account - where I follow lots of marginalized folks and post links related to diversity - has been an eye-opener to me, in terms of learning about the difficulties faced by other people. So was Wattpad, during the time I spent there reading memoirs related to diversity (usually written by teens). While other people grumble about social media tearing apart the fabric of society, I wish that I'd had similar consciousness-raising devices when I was a teen; I would have been a lot more aware of what a privileged life I was leading.

* Communitywise, there are plenty of events in this town, though I have to prod myself to go to any of them, because they rarely pass my test of "Would I Rather Be Reading?" Best event of the year - which I had to miss last year because of my bunion surgery recovery - is always viewing the downtown shop windows that have been decorated for the winter holidays.

* I started a blog/Twitter account called Retro Home and then couldn't figure out its focus. I wanted it to be about home life when I was growing up, but I also wanted it to be about homemaking today, so that I could meet other homemakers. (I can't tell you how many hours I've spent searching fruitlessly for a homemakers' club in my area. Six years as a homemaker, and I still haven't had a single conversation about housework with anyone else who enjoys doing housework.) That mix of topics didn't seem to work, and now I'm having to put all my mid-twentieth-century papers in storage for a year, thanks to the bedbugs. I think I'm likely to revamp Retro Home when I restart it in 2019.

* Writingwise, this was the year when my Muse said, "Hey, you know that series we've been neglecting for years? We're going to totally work on that." All my protests that I ought to do a bit of work on a Toughs series too were for naught. So I'm letting my Muse have his way, knowing that he's far too fickle to be able to stick with one series forever.

Dec. 4th, 2017

Online serializations: Law Links 25/27, Mercy's Prisoner 22/23, Truth & Trust 13/15

Law Links


"Sometimes I feel that he is as mysterious as the gods, and that he is hiding something of vital importance from me. Something that would transform my life."

Few events are more thrilling in a young man's life than a blood feud between two villages. Or so Adrian thought.

Torn between affection toward his traditional-minded father and worship of his peace-loving, heretical priest, Adrian finds himself caught between two incompatible visions of his duty to the gods. Then the Jackal God sends Adrian a message that will disrupt his world and send him fleeing to a new and perilous life.




Mercy's Prisoner


"'You have committed a vile and savage act, one that any other nation would punish with death. Our punishment, on the other hand, will only be to give you what you want. You have sought to live in a world without boundaries of civilization, and such a world shall henceforth be your dwelling place.'"

A cold-hearted murderer. A vicious abuser. A young man hiding a shameful secret. A bewildered immigrant. A pure-minded spy.

All of these men have found their appointed places at Mercy Life Prison, where it is easy to tell who your enemies are. But a new visitor to Mercy is about to challenge decades-old customs. Now these men's worst enemies may be hiding behind masks . . . and so may their closest allies.




Sweet Blood


"He tried to keep his voice calm, though his pulse was racing."

Time is running out.

Vito de Vere has ten days to prepare for his performance in the Eternal Dungeon's first play. He may have fewer days than that to fight for his career and to save his prisoner's life.

As the Eternal Dungeon prepares for the greatest change it has ever undergone, Vito must prove his worth by breaking and transforming a criminal. Nobody else is likely to manage it. And nobody but himself cares so passionately whether his prisoner survives.

As an actor, Vito portrays the qualities of courage, love, truth, and trust. Now he must find the strength to take those qualities into the breaking cell.




To receive notices of my fiction by e-mail )

Nov. 26th, 2017

Online serializations: Law Links 24/27, Mercy's Prisoner 21/23, Truth & Trust 12/15 + price changes

E-book price changes

Just a fair warning that I'll be raising my e-book prices in December. If you'd like to download the free multiformat e-books or 99c Kindle e-books, now's the time to do so.



Law Links


"Sometimes I feel that he is as mysterious as the gods, and that he is hiding something of vital importance from me. Something that would transform my life."

Few events are more thrilling in a young man's life than a blood feud between two villages. Or so Adrian thought.

Torn between affection toward his traditional-minded father and worship of his peace-loving, heretical priest, Adrian finds himself caught between two incompatible visions of his duty to the gods. Then the Jackal God sends Adrian a message that will disrupt his world and send him fleeing to a new and perilous life.




Mercy's Prisoner


"'You have committed a vile and savage act, one that any other nation would punish with death. Our punishment, on the other hand, will only be to give you what you want. You have sought to live in a world without boundaries of civilization, and such a world shall henceforth be your dwelling place.'"

A cold-hearted murderer. A vicious abuser. A young man hiding a shameful secret. A bewildered immigrant. A pure-minded spy.

All of these men have found their appointed places at Mercy Life Prison, where it is easy to tell who your enemies are. But a new visitor to Mercy is about to challenge decades-old customs. Now these men's worst enemies may be hiding behind masks . . . and so may their closest allies.




Sweet Blood


"He tried to keep his voice calm, though his pulse was racing."

Time is running out.

Vito de Vere has ten days to prepare for his performance in the Eternal Dungeon's first play. He may have fewer days than that to fight for his career and to save his prisoner's life.

As the Eternal Dungeon prepares for the greatest change it has ever undergone, Vito must prove his worth by breaking and transforming a criminal. Nobody else is likely to manage it. And nobody but himself cares so passionately whether his prisoner survives.

As an actor, Vito portrays the qualities of courage, love, truth, and trust. Now he must find the strength to take those qualities into the breaking cell.




To receive notices of my fiction by e-mail )

Nov. 20th, 2017

Online serializations: Law Links 23/27, Mercy's Prisoner 20/23, Truth & Trust 11/15

Law Links


"Sometimes I feel that he is as mysterious as the gods, and that he is hiding something of vital importance from me. Something that would transform my life."

Few events are more thrilling in a young man's life than a blood feud between two villages. Or so Adrian thought.

Torn between affection toward his traditional-minded father and worship of his peace-loving, heretical priest, Adrian finds himself caught between two incompatible visions of his duty to the gods. Then the Jackal God sends Adrian a message that will disrupt his world and send him fleeing to a new and perilous life.




Mercy's Prisoner


"'You have committed a vile and savage act, one that any other nation would punish with death. Our punishment, on the other hand, will only be to give you what you want. You have sought to live in a world without boundaries of civilization, and such a world shall henceforth be your dwelling place.'"

A cold-hearted murderer. A vicious abuser. A young man hiding a shameful secret. A bewildered immigrant. A pure-minded spy.

All of these men have found their appointed places at Mercy Life Prison, where it is easy to tell who your enemies are. But a new visitor to Mercy is about to challenge decades-old customs. Now these men's worst enemies may be hiding behind masks . . . and so may their closest allies.




Sweet Blood


"He tried to keep his voice calm, though his pulse was racing."

Time is running out.

Vito de Vere has ten days to prepare for his performance in the Eternal Dungeon's first play. He may have fewer days than that to fight for his career and to save his prisoner's life.

As the Eternal Dungeon prepares for the greatest change it has ever undergone, Vito must prove his worth by breaking and transforming a criminal. Nobody else is likely to manage it. And nobody but himself cares so passionately whether his prisoner survives.

As an actor, Vito portrays the qualities of courage, love, truth, and trust. Now he must find the strength to take those qualities into the breaking cell.




To receive notices of my fiction by e-mail )

Nov. 11th, 2017

November 2017 fiction round-up. Theme: Resist!


THIS MONTH'S THEME: Resist!

After checking to see which of my series cover the topics of rebellion and reform, I was tempted to say, "Just go read my fic." However, for the record, here's the full list.

*

The Three Lands centers upon the efforts of a group of men and women to reform oppressive aspects of society in three nations, such as slavery. Sometimes these practices are justified on religious grounds, sometimes on the basis of maintaining an orderly, law-abiding society. Some of the efforts at reform take place from within the governments; other efforts are most decidedly outside the channels of accepted law-making. Here be rebels and spies.

*

The fourth and fifth volumes in the Eternal Dungeon series, On Guard and Sweet Blood, feature a rebellion by a group of prison-workers against the accepted practice of torture in a royal prison that is already well known for its past reforms. The seeds for the rebellion are sown in the first three volumes of the series. The story of the Eternal Dungeon continues in the Dungeon Guards series.

*

Michael's House is about an ex-prostitute who takes a most unusual approach to helping youths trapped in prostitution. Opposing him are the owners of houses of prostitution, the government, and all of respectable society.

*

Life Prison is about a rebellion from within: When a couple of abused prisoners decide they've had enough, their efforts at creating change give rise to a battle over how best to handle prisoners within a nation's prison system.

*

Waterman and Young Toughs are set in a society where one's rank is determined at birth, and where sexual relationships are forbidden between ranks. When a couple of youths set out to break both rules, trouble lies ahead – trouble that will be spearheaded by a group of young men and young women.

*

Princeling is set in a world where the noble soldiers fight each other in order to protect the "petties," the commoners. After centuries of warfare, the petties are tired of all this protection. When one of the nobles becomes disabled, he must decide who to side with in this emerging conflict between protector and protected.

*

Debt Price (Master/Other) is about a young terrorist who discovers that there are other paths to resistance than the one he has chosen.

*

Finally, the difficulty of determining who the villain is in any clash between society and societal rebels is explored in my contemporary novel Twenty Thousand Gold Stars (Unmasked).
 


*

NEW E-BOOK: Sweet Blood (The Eternal Dungeon)

"Oh, Mercy and Hell. He would gladly allow himself to be flayed for eternity if he could thereby escape the responsibility of disciplining his love-mate for any future violations of the Code."

The Eternal Dungeon has been split by a civil war, with the division clearly marked by a quarrel between two Seekers (torturers) whose faithfulness to each other has already become legendary. Into this explosive situation arrives a new Seeker, one who is determined to see that past evils do not continue in the dungeon. But can he keep control of himself when assigned a prisoner who falls in love with him?

This tale of friendship, romance, and suspense can be read on its own or as the fifth volume in The Eternal Dungeon, an award-winning alternate history series set in a nineteenth-century prison where the psychologists wield whips.

The Eternal Dungeon series is part of Turn-of-the-Century Toughs, a cycle of diverse alternate history series (The Eternal Dungeon, Dungeon Guards, Michael's House, Life Prison, Commando, Waterman, Young Toughs, and Dark Light) about adults and youths on the margins of society, and the people who love them. Set in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the novels and stories take place in an alternative version of America that was settled by inhabitants of the Old World in ancient times. As a result, the New World retains certain classical and medieval customs.

Available as a free multiformat e-book or as a 99c Kindle e-book: Sweet Blood (The Eternal Dungeon).


Excerpt )


NOW AVAILABLE AS MULTIFORMAT E-BOOKS: The Three Lands

Click on the covers for more information.

Law LinksBlood Vow


NEW ONLINE FICTION: The Eternal Dungeon and The Three Lands

Information about my online fiction. Click on the title for the full blurb, tags, and story.
 

Checkmate (The Eternal Dungeon). The Eternal Dungeon is no longer a prison. It's a battlefield. (E-book.)

Famine or Feast (The Three Lands). Adrian knew that friendship was a fundamental custom of all mankind. Or so he thought, until his closest friend discovered a mysterious journal. [Includes spoilers for Law Links; see below.]


*

CURRENTLY ONLINE SERIALIZATIONS: The Three Lands, The Eternal Dungeon, and Life Prison

Information about my online fiction. Click on the titles for the full blurbs, tags, and stories.
 

Law Links (The Three Lands). Few events are more thrilling in a young man's life than a blood feud between two villages. Or so Adrian thought. (E-book.)

Truth and Trust (The Eternal Dungeon). He has ten days to prepare for his performance in the Eternal Dungeon's first play. He may have fewer days than that to fight for his career and to save his prisoner's life. (E-book.)

Mercy's Prisoner (Life Prison). A cold-hearted murderer. A vicious abuser. A young man hiding a shameful secret. A bewildered immigrant. A pure-minded spy. All of these men have found their appointed places at Mercy Life Prison, where it is easy to tell who your enemies are. But a new visitor to Mercy is about to challenge decades-old customs. Now these men's worst enemies may be hiding behind masks . . . and so may their closest allies. (E-book.)
 


*

MY NEW HISTORICAL RESEARCH BUSINESS

Historicalfic: Historical Research for Fiction Writers is my new business. Those of you who read or write historical genres may be interested in Historicalfic's Twitter account, @historicalnovel, where I've been posting links to resources on historical research and historical genres. If any of you know of writers who might be interested in my research services (now or in the future), or know of writing communities whose members might be interested, I hope you'll spread the word.
 


ONE MILLION WORDS

I reached a new milestone in October: I've now posted over one million words of online fiction. This year alone, I'll have added half a million words to my collection of online fiction. I hope that you're all enjoying the stories.

*

I began posting fiction to e-mail lists in January 2002. This is the table of contents of my first website, from May 2002.



REVIEW: The Breaking (The Eternal Dungeon)

"Wow! This short fantasy left me hungry for more." —Gina Marie (Amazon customer) on Rebirth 1: The Breaking (The Eternal Dungeon).
 


*

NEW STORY TAGS

I've updated the story tags page with a new category: Stories of home life and community life. Amidst all my usual stories of threats to life or limb, I've been sneaking in a fair number of stories on quiet domestic life. (Or as quiet as my characters are ever permitted. Usually there's a threat to life or limb somewhere in there.)
 


*

FEATURED BACKLIST TITLE: Rebirth (The Eternal Dungeon, Volume 1)

"'This prisoner deserves special treatment.' The hooded man looked over at the young man again."

Elsdon Taylor, a prisoner accused of committing a terrible murder. Layle Smith, a torturer with a terrible past. Their meeting in the Eternal Dungeon appears certain to bring out the worst in both men.

Yet neither man is quite what he appears. As the prisoner and his torturer begin to be drawn toward each other, the ripple effects of their meeting will have a powerful impact on other inhabitants of the Eternal Dungeon: Layle's faithful guard, struggling to contain his doubts. A younger guard determined to take any shortcuts necessary to ensure that his life follows the path he has already chosen. An old love from Layle's past, still sorrowing. And most of all, a prisoner who has not yet arrived at the Eternal Dungeon, but whose fate will depend on how Layle handles Elsdon Taylor . . . and on how Elsdon handles Layle Smith.

A winner of the 2011 Rainbow Awards (within the "Eternal Dungeon" omnibus), this tale of friendship, romance, and suspense can be read on its own or as the fifth volume in The Eternal Dungeon, an alternate history series set in a nineteenth-century prison where the psychologists wield whips.

The Eternal Dungeon series is part of Turn-of-the-Century Toughs, a cycle of diverse alternate history series (The Eternal Dungeon, Dungeon Guards, Michael's House, Life Prison, Commando, Waterman, Young Toughs, and Dark Light) about adults and youths on the margins of society, and the people who love them. Set in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the novels and stories take place in an alternative version of America that was settled by inhabitants of the Old World in ancient times. As a result, the New World retains certain classical and medieval customs.

Available as a free multiformat e-book or as a 99c Kindle e-book: Rebirth (The Eternal Dungeon).


Excerpt )

Online serializations: Law Links 22/27, Mercy's Prisoner 19/23, Truth & Trust 10/15

Law Links


"Sometimes I feel that he is as mysterious as the gods, and that he is hiding something of vital importance from me. Something that would transform my life."

Few events are more thrilling in a young man's life than a blood feud between two villages. Or so Adrian thought.

Torn between affection toward his traditional-minded father and worship of his peace-loving, heretical priest, Adrian finds himself caught between two incompatible visions of his duty to the gods. Then the Jackal God sends Adrian a message that will disrupt his world and send him fleeing to a new and perilous life.




Mercy's Prisoner


"'You have committed a vile and savage act, one that any other nation would punish with death. Our punishment, on the other hand, will only be to give you what you want. You have sought to live in a world without boundaries of civilization, and such a world shall henceforth be your dwelling place.'"

A cold-hearted murderer. A vicious abuser. A young man hiding a shameful secret. A bewildered immigrant. A pure-minded spy.

All of these men have found their appointed places at Mercy Life Prison, where it is easy to tell who your enemies are. But a new visitor to Mercy is about to challenge decades-old customs. Now these men's worst enemies may be hiding behind masks . . . and so may their closest allies.




Sweet Blood


"He tried to keep his voice calm, though his pulse was racing."

Time is running out.

Vito de Vere has ten days to prepare for his performance in the Eternal Dungeon's first play. He may have fewer days than that to fight for his career and to save his prisoner's life.

As the Eternal Dungeon prepares for the greatest change it has ever undergone, Vito must prove his worth by breaking and transforming a criminal. Nobody else is likely to manage it. And nobody but himself cares so passionately whether his prisoner survives.

As an actor, Vito portrays the qualities of courage, love, truth, and trust. Now he must find the strength to take those qualities into the breaking cell.




To receive notices of my fiction by e-mail )

Nov. 7th, 2017

Online serializations: Law Links 21/27, Mercy's Prisoner 18/23, Truth & Trust 9/15

Law Links


"Sometimes I feel that he is as mysterious as the gods, and that he is hiding something of vital importance from me. Something that would transform my life."

Few events are more thrilling in a young man's life than a blood feud between two villages. Or so Adrian thought.

Torn between affection toward his traditional-minded father and worship of his peace-loving, heretical priest, Adrian finds himself caught between two incompatible visions of his duty to the gods. Then the Jackal God sends Adrian a message that will disrupt his world and send him fleeing to a new and perilous life.




Isolation


"'You have committed a vile and savage act, one that any other nation would punish with death. Our punishment, on the other hand, will only be to give you what you want. You have sought to live in a world without boundaries of civilization, and such a world shall henceforth be your dwelling place.'"

A cold-hearted murderer. A vicious abuser. A young man hiding a shameful secret. A bewildered immigrant. A pure-minded spy.

All of these men have found their appointed places at Mercy Life Prison, where it is easy to tell who your enemies are. But a new visitor to Mercy is about to challenge decades-old customs. Now these men's worst enemies may be hiding behind masks . . . and so may their closest allies.




Sweet Blood


"He tried to keep his voice calm, though his pulse was racing."

Time is running out.

Vito de Vere has ten days to prepare for his performance in the Eternal Dungeon's first play. He may have fewer days than that to fight for his career and to save his prisoner's life.

As the Eternal Dungeon prepares for the greatest change it has ever undergone, Vito must prove his worth by breaking and transforming a criminal. Nobody else is likely to manage it. And nobody but himself cares so passionately whether his prisoner survives.

As an actor, Vito portrays the qualities of courage, love, truth, and trust. Now he must find the strength to take those qualities into the breaking cell.




To receive notices of my fiction by e-mail )

Daily life: Hypomania, bedbugs, and editing

Me for the last three weeks at online forums that I'm visiting for reasons connected to my new business: "Fun, fun, fun! Talking to people online again, after staying off online forums for a long time!"

Me every following morning: "Oh my god, what did I say yesterday?"

My new model is Hillary Rodham Clinton. I don't think she has made a single spontaneous remark in public for forty years.

In all seriousness, my hypomania has been giving me lots of trouble, and I'm bound and determined to wrestle it into decent behavior. Slow blogging helps. So here's a brief update on what I've been up to:

1) Our overly friendly bedbugs are going to take $3000 to eradicate. Joe asked, "Can we just name them and keep them as pets?"

2) My new business is going as well as I might expect it to at this stage. People know it exists now.

3) What with landlord inspections, bedbugs, and business, I've scarcely gotten a word written since July. However, I'm making some needed progress on editing and layout, and I'm channelling my inner Super Editor for NaNoWriMo. I'm hoping that, by the end of the year, I'll have 110,000 words' worth of new fiction ready to post next year, as well as many reissues of ebooks as online fiction.

4) Other stuff going on in my life this fall: lots of medical appointments (including a routine medical procedure requiring anesthesia next week), my usual pleasant interactions with family members, and did I mention that prepping for bedbug extermination requires me to get rid of tons of stuff so that there will be room in our cluttered apartment for the exterminators' equipment?

Oct. 30th, 2017

My new historical research business

*


Historicalfic: Historical Research for Fiction Writers is my new business. Those of you who read or write historical genres may be interested in Historicalfic's Twitter account, @historicalnovel, where I've been posting links to resources on historical research and historical genres.

If any of you know of writers who might be interested in my research services (now or in the future), or know of writing communities whose members might be interested, I hope you'll spread the word.

Oct. 29th, 2017

Online serializations: Law Links 20/27, Mercy's Prisoner 17/23, Truth & Trust 8/15

Law Links


"Sometimes I feel that he is as mysterious as the gods, and that he is hiding something of vital importance from me. Something that would transform my life."

Few events are more thrilling in a young man's life than a blood feud between two villages. Or so Adrian thought.

Torn between affection toward his traditional-minded father and worship of his peace-loving, heretical priest, Adrian finds himself caught between two incompatible visions of his duty to the gods. Then the Jackal God sends Adrian a message that will disrupt his world and send him fleeing to a new and perilous life.




Milord


"'You have committed a vile and savage act, one that any other nation would punish with death. Our punishment, on the other hand, will only be to give you what you want. You have sought to live in a world without boundaries of civilization, and such a world shall henceforth be your dwelling place.'"

A cold-hearted murderer. A vicious abuser. A young man hiding a shameful secret. A bewildered immigrant. A pure-minded spy.

All of these men have found their appointed places at Mercy Life Prison, where it is easy to tell who your enemies are. But a new visitor to Mercy is about to challenge decades-old customs. Now these men's worst enemies may be hiding behind masks . . . and so may their closest allies.




Sweet Blood


"He tried to keep his voice calm, though his pulse was racing."

Time is running out.

Vito de Vere has ten days to prepare for his performance in the Eternal Dungeon's first play. He may have fewer days than that to fight for his career and to save his prisoner's life.

As the Eternal Dungeon prepares for the greatest change it has ever undergone, Vito must prove his worth by breaking and transforming a criminal. Nobody else is likely to manage it. And nobody but himself cares so passionately whether his prisoner survives.

As an actor, Vito portrays the qualities of courage, love, truth, and trust. Now he must find the strength to take those qualities into the breaking cell.




To receive notices of my fiction by e-mail )

Oct. 22nd, 2017

Online serializations: Law Links 19/27, Mercy's Prisoner 16/23, Truth & Trust 7/15

Law Links


"Sometimes I feel that he is as mysterious as the gods, and that he is hiding something of vital importance from me. Something that would transform my life."

Few events are more thrilling in a young man's life than a blood feud between two villages. Or so Adrian thought.

Torn between affection toward his traditional-minded father and worship of his peace-loving, heretical priest, Adrian finds himself caught between two incompatible visions of his duty to the gods. Then the Jackal God sends Adrian a message that will disrupt his world and send him fleeing to a new and perilous life.




Milord


"'You have committed a vile and savage act, one that any other nation would punish with death. Our punishment, on the other hand, will only be to give you what you want. You have sought to live in a world without boundaries of civilization, and such a world shall henceforth be your dwelling place.'"

A cold-hearted murderer. A vicious abuser. A young man hiding a shameful secret. A bewildered immigrant. A pure-minded spy.

All of these men have found their appointed places at Mercy Life Prison, where it is easy to tell who your enemies are. But a new visitor to Mercy is about to challenge decades-old customs. Now these men's worst enemies may be hiding behind masks . . . and so may their closest allies.




Sweet Blood


"He tried to keep his voice calm, though his pulse was racing."

Time is running out.

Vito de Vere has ten days to prepare for his performance in the Eternal Dungeon's first play. He may have fewer days than that to fight for his career and to save his prisoner's life.

As the Eternal Dungeon prepares for the greatest change it has ever undergone, Vito must prove his worth by breaking and transforming a criminal. Nobody else is likely to manage it. And nobody but himself cares so passionately whether his prisoner survives.

As an actor, Vito portrays the qualities of courage, love, truth, and trust. Now he must find the strength to take those qualities into the breaking cell.




To receive notices of my fiction by e-mail )

Oct. 17th, 2017

Online serializations: Law Links 18/27, Mercy's Prisoner 15/23, Truth & Trust 6/15

Law Links


"Sometimes I feel that he is as mysterious as the gods, and that he is hiding something of vital importance from me. Something that would transform my life."

Few events are more thrilling in a young man's life than a blood feud between two villages. Or so Adrian thought.

Torn between affection toward his traditional-minded father and worship of his peace-loving, heretical priest, Adrian finds himself caught between two incompatible visions of his duty to the gods. Then the Jackal God sends Adrian a message that will disrupt his world and send him fleeing to a new and perilous life.




Milord


"'You have committed a vile and savage act, one that any other nation would punish with death. Our punishment, on the other hand, will only be to give you what you want. You have sought to live in a world without boundaries of civilization, and such a world shall henceforth be your dwelling place.'"

A cold-hearted murderer. A vicious abuser. A young man hiding a shameful secret. A bewildered immigrant. A pure-minded spy.

All of these men have found their appointed places at Mercy Life Prison, where it is easy to tell who your enemies are. But a new visitor to Mercy is about to challenge decades-old customs. Now these men's worst enemies may be hiding behind masks . . . and so may their closest allies.




Sweet Blood


"He tried to keep his voice calm, though his pulse was racing."

Time is running out.

Vito de Vere has ten days to prepare for his performance in the Eternal Dungeon's first play. He may have fewer days than that to fight for his career and to save his prisoner's life.

As the Eternal Dungeon prepares for the greatest change it has ever undergone, Vito must prove his worth by breaking and transforming a criminal. Nobody else is likely to manage it. And nobody but himself cares so passionately whether his prisoner survives.

As an actor, Vito portrays the qualities of courage, love, truth, and trust. Now he must find the strength to take those qualities into the breaking cell.




To receive notices of my fiction by e-mail )

Oct. 16th, 2017

david stein: tribute to a slave, writer, publisher, and friend

[Note: This post includes not-safe-for-work links.]


I cleared out my leather life this fall. Technically, all I was doing was donating my leather library – hundreds of vintage leather/BDSM magazines and a few books to the Carter/Johnson Leather Library, a travelling historical library that I had volunteered for in the 00s. But this was also a way for me to say goodbye to the period – 2004 to 2007 – when I'd belonged to the leather community. I proved to be a square peg there in a pentagonal hole, but I'd never had the opportunity to formally leave the community. This would be my opportunity.

At a certain point, I passed on some books by david stein (his name is lowercased) to my apprentice, who is a member of the leather club La Garou. It occurred to me then that I ought to drop a line to david. I'd fallen out of touch with all my friends this year, but I knew that david was ill with cancer, which made it especially important that I stay in touch with him.

Then the urgency of my current task – I was cutting back on my belongings because I faced an imminent inspection by my landlord – caused that thought to slip out of my mind.

I donated the magazines and books. On Twitter, I thanked the Leather Library, as well as the Leather Archives & Museum, which had originally sold me most of the magazines. Then I tweeted, "(*Quietly closes a door on that chapter of my life.*)"

Seventeen days later, I emerged from the bathroom to find my apprentice standing with his smartphone in hand, looking grave. "I think you should sit down," he said.

Thus I learned of the death of david stein.




david stein


Safe, sane, and consensual )
Community )
Publishing )
Romance )
Friendship )
david's writings )
Other tributes to david stein )
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