Friday, February 17, 2017

Tales for Today: 'Salutaris,' 'For the Burnable Cities'

My first book was "The Scattered Proud," a historical, so I and a lot of other people thought I would continue writing only historicals. Guess what? Things didn't work out that way. Not because I no longer wanted to write historicals, but because what I needed to say went beyond one genre.

This was the case with two stories I just published in paperback: "Salutaris," and "For the Burnable Cities." "Salutaris," the story of a vampire damned to life everlasting as a priest drinking the blood of Christ instead of the blood of humans, combines historical, paranormal and contemporary. "For the Burnable Cities," a fable about people parrying lies and love in 1830s America, might look like a straightforward historical, but it's speculative fiction set in an era that recalls Rome under Augustus Caesar as much as it takes after America under Andrew Jackson.

Each tale is founded on principles and moral truths that transcend time and place and trends: social justice,  reparation, and the human ability to condemn and caress--often at the same time. "Salutaris" was influenced by issues of homelessness and immigration at the Jersey Shore, where I live and where the issues continue to effect residents and politicians.  I began writing "For the Burnable Cities" last spring and continued writing through the general election season. The content is cautionary. But the connection to Jackson turns out to have had a certain . . . prescience.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

All my books are now in print!

Nice news! All of my books that were for Kindle only are now also available in print, in a comfortable, easy-to-carry size. These are "Salutaris," "For the Burnable Cities," "Acquaintance," "The Prodigal's Psalm," "Beethoven's Wife," and "Mount Can't" (written as Anne Arlington).

The novellas "Ferial Day" and "Master Warrick" are together in one print volume: "Ferial Day & Master Warrick: Two Alternative Histories." Yes, the cover says "2," while the listing says "Two." This will be fixed. Until then, searching "Ferial Day & Master Warrick" will bring you to the right place.

"The Scattered Proud" has always been in print as well as for Kindle.

All of the books may be purchased through Amazon.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Something for (Almost) Everyone

Now that the "Burnable Cities" promo is over, I hope you'll take a gander at some of my other work. I'm not a genre writer, telling the same tale over and over. I "see" a story and I tell it. Sometimes a story will be my answer to a challenge to do something different to a trend. For instance, "Salutaris" came about after I was challenged to take on the vampire genre. And "The Prodigal's Psalm" was the result of a dare to write something hotter than "Fifty Shades of Grey," but not as graphic and with a surprise ending.

"Acquaintance," a Regency, was comic relief after my first book, "The Scattered Proud," a coming-of-age historical set in post-Revolutionary France. "Acquaintance" is also a novella. So are "Ferial Day" and "Master Warrick," two ventures into alternative history that have surprise endings. I like the shorter form, which compels a writer to say more within a smaller space. Said one reviewer of "Master Warrick," a medieval alternative history, "A huge amount is packed into such a short (novella length) piece of writing, it has depths that make many full-length novels seem shallow."

Speaking of short forms, there's also "The Grave-Coverist," a short ghost story that shows it's not the living's memories of the dead that keep the dead alive.

So please do have a look! All my work is on Amazon, and I like to think there's something for everyone. Well, almost everyone! I don't write mysteries or police procedurals or thrillers or hard romance or elves-and-dragons fantasy. At least I haven't written any yet. One never knows, especially if I could write something like "For the Burnable Cities!" Links for the US and the UK are in the column on the right. Meanwhile, be sure to stop back. I'll be posting excerpts in the days leading up to the holidays!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

'For the Burnable Cities:' Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who downloaded "For the Burnable Cities" during the free promo yesterday! That story was a labor of love. I hope you like it!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

'For the Burnable Cities:' Free Promo Dec. 6 Only

'For the Burnable Cities' is free for Kindle today, Tuesday, Dec. 6. This is a one-day event.

Here are the links for Amazon US and Amazon UK:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

I hope you like it!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

'For the Burnable Cities:' Postcard


The Wasp in the Parlor, from 'For the Burnable Cities'

The Herald’s new home consists of one long room with heavy, roll-top desks for the editor, writers and proofreaders toward the front, and compositor tables and presses behind. The desks and tables were already on the premises, moved from storage in cellars around the works property. The presses are taking shape. Workers tighten screws and check levels as they add piece after piece. Their work shirts and hair cling to them in a paste of sweat and bodily oils. They blink their eyes and arch their brows and shake their heads in an attempt to rid their eyes and minds of the sensory mold of exhaustion. Not even Salton is all here. Despite his rest and sense of responsibility, he too is fuzzy. It hurts to think. He’s irritated by one man’s insistence on examining every single part of the presses again and again “just to be sure.”
His rising impatience may account for his response to the sight of a man and woman stepping through the door. FitzRobert, the works’ head clerk, shows a young woman the presses, declaiming what she herself can see with his usual whiny bluster. She clings to his arm in the wilt of a climbing vine that has just had the trellis cut from under it and is about to fall. Salton wonders if she’d rather be elsewhere; if she’s pretending to be polite and interested because she’s an employee and is expected to act with enthusiasm. He’s seen her on a more natural, humiliating occasion: at the office in the city, when her husband tried to buy a copy of the paper only to find he had nothing but LeFoss’s company scrip in his wallet. She’s Mrs. Silas Clarke, and she writes the women’s column.
FitzRobert escorts her as if he’s showing off a marvelous prize and she, not the press building, is the prize. That’s tasteless but not incorrect. She is a prize, when you stop to think of it. As a writer, she’s the sigil of excellence risen above the iron works’ other chattel. Still, FitzRobert’s airs are indigestible. A man of his stature ought to act with dignity, not like a schoolboy crowing for having bested his peers in a race for the girl.
She’s a Christian, else she wouldn’t be working here, and Salton has no regard for the sect, but he cannot resist giving FitzRobert a metaphorical slap in the face. He accosts the pair with the insouciance of a wasp blown into a parlor. “Mrs. Clarke! Delighted to meet you again. I still owe you a tour of the newspaper. If I may—” He shakes her hand but nimbly pulls her away from FitzRobert and ushers her from press to press and worker to worker, with snippets of introduction like “Bayley here selects and sets the type. And Howarth, over there with the hammer, usually applies the ink with those fat leather things that look like an inflated cow’s udder.” On and on he goes, ignoring FitzRobert, who follows with his hands clasped behind his back, a broad smile fixed on his face. Since the head clerk is not taking part in the conversation, it’s impossible to tell what he’s smiling at. He looks silly. Salton is satisfied.
The girl, meanwhile, smiles or nods or says “Pleased to meet you,” depending on the speed of Salton’s soliloquy. He can’t tell if she’s glad to be relieved of FitzRobert, but he’s certain FitzRobert would like to have her back. He will. Soon. The tour is about to end; Salton has work to do. “Please give my regards to Mr. Clarke,” he says as he hands the girl back to FitzRobert, gracefully, as if dancing a reel. “I’m glad you both had the opportunity to visit The Herald that day. It’s good for contributors to experience a newsroom while the paper is in production.”
What he really wants is to remind FitzRobert that Mrs. Clarke may be a Christian, but she’s still another man’s wife, and he had better mind how he behaves with her. That stiff, silly smile is still on the face of the dandified ass, but his eyes betray vocabulary that no gentleman would say to another, especially in public.
“Thank you so much,” says Mrs. Clarke as her original escort turns her toward the door.
Salton is surprised. He never expected the girl to thank him. There is no need for thanks. He didn’t show her around because it was the sociable thing to do. She was the means by which he could embarrass a fool. But he can’t dismiss her gratitude as a customary mark of a female raised to know her place among the lower reaches of society. She has carried herself amid the noise and roughness of the worksite with a peace and purity that no amount of discipline can instill in a girl. With those four words and the soft, utterly innocent expression of her face, her presence has become as cool water spilling over a burn, carrying away the sting. The desire to harass FitzRobert is gone.
“You’re welcome,” Salton says.
But she is out the door, beyond the reach of his voice.