Sunday, August 31, 2008

Flash Fiction Interlude: On the Bridge

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story is cross-posted at Steal Tomorrow.

Dark above. Dark below. The ring of boots on metal. Was it really his boots? Jay stopped and listened. Maybe the problem was his ears. Or his feet. He continued walking.

The clouds parted and the moon appeared. The water below sparkled—something to dive into and get lost in.

He leaned over the railing as the moon vanished again behind a cloud. Now the water was dark like the sky, but it was still there, waiting for him. Jump and it would all be over. No more pills and crazy raids he only half-remembered. No more waking up with bloody hands and patches of memory that felt like someone else’s nightmare. The water would consume him, pull him under, and he would become…what?

He took a step back and turned around, slamming into a pole he hadn’t noticed in the darkness. It didn’t hurt. Nothing hurt if you took enough pills and drank enough gin. Or vodka. Or whatever the group had managed to steal that day.

Sometimes it was the girls who brought him things. They asked him for food and protection from other boys. Then they would laugh as if the pandemic was a joke, and for awhile the world seemed right again, until he woke up with missing time and a girl he barely knew lying against his naked skin as if she owned him. That was what Trina had done, Trina who was supposed to be his friend’s girl. Oddly, there had never been a fight or angry word about the matter. And now there was nothing to fight over any more.

Jay moved back to the railing. No moon, no water, only an empty pit of blackness. But of course the water was down there. It had been there before, hadn't it? Was he in the right place? He frowned, wishing he hadn’t taken so goddamn many pills.

But now he had an idea. Wouldn’t the overpass be better? In the water, he might survive, but surely not if he leaped off the overpass. Yes, that was the better way to do it. He stepped away from the railing again, felt the world tip and fell to his knees, fumbling for something to grab onto.

He pulled himself up against a lamp post, breathing hard. He couldn’t get to the freeway in this condition. Not unless he crawled. In his present state, the idea didn’t seem preposterous. Crawling was safe. Hard to trip and fall that way. But wasn’t falling what he was after? Yes, of course. But one couldn’t fall just anywhere. It had to be from someplace high. He needed to smash his bones and break his skull so all the ugly memories would bleed out, leaving his body free and his mind pure.

Water wouldn’t do that. He would have to find a way to get to the overpass. But as he let go the light post, his knees buckled and he sank to the iron grate of the pedestrian walkway.

Water would have to do.

He dragged himself to the railing and pulled himself up. The dark water shimmered below, waiting.

Then a soft footstep beside him. A quiet voice. Unalarming. “Jay?”

He squinted at the boy in the pale light. Thin, about his own age, with large soulful eyes that looked like they could swallow a person whole. Sort of like the river.

“It is you, isn’t it? They tried to tell me it wasn’t, but—”

“Go away.”

The boy put a hand on his arm. “You know who I am, right? Your cousin Paul.”

Jay grunted and moved away, trying to shake off Paul’s grip. “Of course I know,” he lied. As if he could recognize anyone in the dark and after so many pills. What had they been, anyway? Pharmacy stock, that was all he knew.

“I’ve been looking for you.”

“Dumb thing to do.”

“But you’re my only family and I care about you.”

“That’s because you’re stupid. I'm a Kevork now.”

“God's not stupid, and he loves you.”

“Not after what I’ve done.”

“If you’re truly sorry, he’ll forgive you.”

“There’s things I've done with the Kevorks that won’t get forgiven. Go back to your church group, or whoever it is you’ve been hanging out with, and read your fucking Bible.” He jerked his arm from Paul’s grip and moved a few steps away, the better to figure out how he was going to get over the railing.

Paul watched in silence as Jay struggled to swing a leg over the rail. “You know,” he said, “You could always try this another day.”

“Don’t give me that shit. You think if I sober up I won’t want it any more.”

“I promise if you still want to try tomorrow, I won’t stop you.” When Jay didn’t answer, he waved a hand in irritation. “Come on—what kind of lame suicide attempt is this? You can’t even do it in the condition you’re in. I always thought if there was something stupid to be done, you of all people could get it right.”

Jay leaned against the railing and looked at him, trying to understand this new tactic. The moon was brighter now and he could see the shadows and angles of his cousin’s face. He was thinner than he remembered, and seemed older. “You don’t get it, do you? It’s over—us, civilization, even your precious God.” He took a wobbly step toward him. “Do you have any idea how many people I’ve killed?” When Paul hesitated, he laughed, a mirthless sound. “Neither do I.” He turned back to the railing and tried again to hoist a leg over it.

“But if you die, how will you make things right?”

“You can’t do anything for the dead.”

“You could do something for the living. You used to like to help people.”

“Fuck off.”

“I love you.”

Jay looked at him, then turned away, unable to bear the kindness in Paul’s eyes. “I don’t deserve it.”

“We don’t always get what we deserve.”

“No shit.”

“Sometimes God gives us better, for no reason at all.” Paul held out his hand. “Come on, man. The bridge will still be here in the morning.”

Jay took a step toward him, stumbled, and felt Paul catch him in his arms. “I want to go to the overpass.”

“How about in the morning?”

“I don’t know—”

“It’s okay. You don't have to.”

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Flash Fiction Interlude: First Do No Harm

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is cross-posted at Steal Tomorrow.

Johnny wound the last bit of tape around the boy’s finger, securing the splint in place. “You’ll need to make sure this doesn’t get wet,” he said. “Do you have any rubber gloves or something like that?”

“My mom used to wear rubber gloves to wash the dishes.” The boy frowned. “But I don’t live there any more. And I don’t want to go back.”

Johnny recognized the look in the boy’s eyes. He had seen it a lot since the pandemic. Children who lost their families often couldn’t bear the memories associated with home. Sometimes it was more than just memories that sent them into the streets looking for new homes and new friendships. Many people had died where they fell ill, with no one to take them to a hospital or remove the body for burial afterwards.

With a small sigh, Johnny rummaged in a drawer and produced two latex gloves from his dwindling stash. “One for now, one for later if the first one gets torn. But be careful with these. And if you end up not needing the second one, bring it back.”

Johnny pulled a glove over the boy’s hand. The child’s fingers were so small that the latex fit neatly over the splint and Johnny had to secure the glove at the wrist with a rubber band. “You’re all set. How do you want to pay for this?”


“I’ve got to eat too, you know. Food, water, batteries…what do you have?”

The boy stared with round eyes. “Nothing. I’m hungry, too.”


This had been happening a lot lately. When Johnny had first set himself up in his mother’s old medical clinic, his young patients had been eager to pay. They had taken it as a given that no doctor would work for free, even one who was just shy of fifteen and working out of what he could read from books and remember from dinner table conversations. But Johnny had been too generous. He couldn’t bear to send an ill or injured child away just because he or she had nothing to offer. That wasn’t how he had been raised.

But things were different now. Supplies were becoming harder to find, more children needed his help, and now there was a violent new tribe on the scene, breaking into clinics and pharmacies, taking drugs for their own use and for barter. The Pharms had harassed Doc twice already and they had tied up supplies of many of the pain-killers and antibiotics he needed to do his work. Even if he could live off air like a Tillandsia plant, he still needed payment in order to barter with the Pharms.

Well, what was he going to do, break the boy’s finger again? “Go on,” he said. “Pay me when you can. But tell your friends I don’t work for free.”

The boy thanked him and hurried out the door, as if afraid Johnny might change his mind.

Johnny began tidying the room for the next patient, putting instruments and supplies back in their proper places, checking supplies, and wiping surfaces with bleach. He was writing in his notebook where he kept track of all his patients, treatments, and supplies, when a shadow in the doorway caught his attention.

The serious young man with the pistol on his hip didn’t look sick. Neither did the two armed boys behind him. Johnny jumped to his feet. “I’m not ready for my next patient, but if you’ll take a seat in the waiting room—”

“I’m not a patient.” The young man moved into the small room as if he owned it and stood assessing with critical eyes.

“Look, if you’re with the Pharms—”

“Nah.” He waved a hand. “My name is Reymundo Guzman Morales, but you can call me Mundo. I’m leader of the Regents and I need a house call. Are you the doctor?”

Johnny hesitated. Weren’t the Regents that group of kids who had taken over the Regency Hotel? He couldn’t recall what he had heard about them, but if it was something bad he surely would’ve remembered it. And they wanted a house call?

“I don’t do house calls. Why can’t you bring your patient here?”

“Too dangerous.” When Johnny gave him a skeptical look over the tops of his glasses, Mundo added, “It’s a pregnant girl, and I don’t want her out on the streets where she might get hurt.”

“I don’t know anything about pregnancy. Sorry.”

Mundo sighed and a note of vulnerability crept into his voice. “Look, Doc, we’ve got goods. We can pay.”

Johnny scanned Mundo’s face as he considered.

“Please?” Mundo ran a hand through his hair and looked at the ground. “Don’t make me have to kidnap you. I want my kid born healthy. Just tell me what you want.”

Now Johnny understood and for a moment he forgot that he didn’t know a thing about babies and had only the sketchiest understanding of female anatomy. This was an opportunity. A tribal leader with goods and armed guards needed him and was willing to let him name his price. “I need supplies,” Johnny said. “And protection from the Pharms. Every time I find a new source of meds, they show up and take them. Give me barter goods and a guard, and I’ll—”

To his surprise, Mundo shook his head. “I haven’t got enough guards to spare. The Regency Hotel is huge, or haven’t you ever been there? I can’t spare anyone to hang around here waiting to shoot a Pharm.”

“I can’t help you, then.”

The guards behind Mundo shuffled their feet, while Mundo sized Johnny up through narrowed eyes. “What are you really after, Doc? If you just want to practice medicine in peace, I can set you up in one of our ballrooms. You’ll have food, supplies from our forage runs, and guard protection twenty-four-seven.” When Johnny hesitated, he added, “You’re not particularly attached to this place, are you?”

Johnny looked around. He knew each wall chart, supply cabinet, and treatment room they were his own. Even the coffee-stained china cups in the break room were as familiar as his own name. He had been brought here as a baby so his mother could show him off to her co-workers. He had come here as a toddler and colored quietly under the receptionist’s watchful eye when his mother couldn’t get day care. He had listened to all the nurse and patient chatter, then quizzed his mother and father at the dinner table, always wanting to know more. How did antibiotics work? Why do you splint broken fingers but not broken toes? Johnny wanted to know it all and he forgot little. Yes, he was attached to this place. But he remembered the boy he had treated a few minutes ago and brought himself back to reality. There was something else his parents taught him about medicine, and it was more important than a mere building.

Johnny lifted his chin. “If you want me for a private physician, forget it. Go on and shoot me, if that’s what you think you need to do. But if you’re offering me a real clinic where I can treat anyone who needs me, I’ll do it.”

A smile broke over Mundo’s face and he stuck out his hand. “It’s a deal.”

They shook on it and discussed the particulars of what Johnny, who Mundo insisted on calling “Doc,” would need. They agreed on a moving date, and then with a clatter of boots on the hard stone floors, Mundo and his guards left.

In the silence that followed, Johnny looked around. Nothing had changed, yet everything had. He picked up his pen and notebook, but didn’t know what to write. He ran his hand across a stack of brochures about diabetes and colitis, but couldn’t think what to do with them. He contemplated a chart of the major muscle groups. That would be useful. He would need to take that with him.

At a small sound in the doorway, Johnny looked up in alarm. A girl with dirty feet and ragged braids stared at him, then coughed again. “Are you—?”

“Yeah,” Johnny said. “I’m the doctor.”

“I can’t—I mean, I don’t have—” she held out her empty hands.

“It’s okay,” Johnny told her. “I’ve got a patron now. No one needs to pay me any more.”

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I figured out how to advertise! I created a banner ad for Steal Tomorrow and bought a spot on my friend's serial, Dead End Streets. Go check it out-- my ad is at the top of the page! (Be sure to read Dead End Streets, too. It's full of fun characters, and you won't usually catch me saying that about paranormals.)

In other news, I got the trade paperback (6 x 9) version of Steal Tomorrow finished. The best I could do on price was $10.50, which is cost plus a few pennies to make a nice round number.

Chapter Two begins bright and early tomorrow morning, so be sure to stop by the blog and read!

Flash Fiction Interlude: Ars Gratia Artis

AUTHOR'S NOTE: The action of this story precedes Steal Tomorrow. The story is cross-posted on my Steal Tomorrow blog.

May walked down the city street carrying two empty gallon jugs and trying to reconcile the evidence of her eyes and nose with what her brain still struggled to acknowledge. They were all dead—not just her parents, tutors and professors, but all the adults, from newscasters and bank presidents to hedge-trimmers and street musicians. The ones who died first got graves. Later, the dead were thrown into pits. The last of them still lay in the streets and buildings where they fell, hence the smell that May tried to counter by wearing a perfume-soaked scarf over her face. It helped a little.

She saw a few kids hawking bottles of water on a street corner, but although she was tempted, she continued on. Two blocks ahead was a park. The turf had been dug up for burial pits and a broad open area showed scorch marks from an attempt at mass cremation, but what May was after was the water. She walked the stone path to the canoe launch and stooped to fill her gallon jugs with river water.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”

May looked around, nearly dropping one of her water jugs. The boy looked to be about twelve and although he was dirty, there was nothing about him that suggested danger.

“Everyone who drinks that water gets sick,” the boy went on. “Sometimes they die. It’s because of all the dead people.”

May turned away in annoyance and went back to filling her jugs. “I know what I’m doing.”


“Shut up and go away.” May capped the jugs, refusing to look up. Ignorant child. Of course the river water would make a person sick if they didn’t properly treat it. But she was a chemist and the daughter of chemists. She went to college at sixteen and would’ve been in her third semester if not for the pandemic. She knew what to do to keep from getting sick off the water.

It occurred to her that it might be a good thing to share her knowledge with the boy. What would it hurt to explain how to filter the water, then distill or pasteurize it? She got to her feet and looked around, but he was gone. Stupid kid.

As she walked back to the room she was living in over a restaurant, she found herself unable to shake the incident at the river. What was she living for? Sure, she knew how to survive. Science had taught her a lot of useful things. But if she wasn’t going to teach others, what was the purpose of her own life?

She had the skills to put together a cocktail that would kill her quickly and with relatively little pain. Perhaps that was the best thing. It was either that or make herself useful to the other survivors, and she had spent her entire life doing what other people wanted. Child science prodigy May Ellison, credit to her parents and teachers, but really just a friendless freak who never got to do what she wanted to do.

A pack of dogs ran past, chased by children wielding baseball bats. A hunting party. Well, good luck to them. May paused so they could go by but as she resumed walking, something felt wrong. Something smooth was embedded in the sole of her shoe and she muttered a curse and stopped to remove it. The glass shard was bottle-green and caught the afternoon sunlight as she held it in her fingers.

A flicker of memory stirred. Mosaics at the art museum. Stained glass in the church windows. The glitter of fanciful costume jewelry on the necks and arms of the girls at her high school—girls her parents wouldn’t let her be friends with because she was so much younger and needed to study, study, study to win a scholarship to Harvard. She had spent all those hours poring over books and mixing chemicals in the lab when what she really wanted was to surround herself with bright, colorful things that sparkled.

May looked around the filthy streets, ignoring the curious stares of a group of boys sitting on the curb, passing a bottle back and forth. The glass of the bottle was brown and would probably sparkle too, once its contents were drained. She could smash the bottle, scoop up the glass, and…what?

What indeed? Who was there to tell her not to take the ugly, broken shards of civilization at her feet and make something of beauty? The road was littered with clear glass, blue glass, red and amber bits of plastic, and who knew what else? It was hers for the taking, and to hell with her parents’ goal of seeing her in a lab. They were dead, anyway, and so were all their dreams.

May dropped the shard of green glass in her pocket and picked up her water jugs, surprised that they felt lighter now. In fact, her whole body felt made of feathers and her heart fluttered with excitement. There had been a time when she thought she might have to wait half a lifetime to realize her own dreams, but who was to stop her now? She would go home and distill her water, and tomorrow she would begin scavenging art materials on the city streets. Her life would not be long—she was infected with Telo just like everyone else. But at least her life was finally her own.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Flash Fiction Interlude: The Principle of the Thing

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This flash fiction extra is from the period before the action in Steal Tomorrow and is cross-posted on the Steal Tomorrow Blog. Thanks for reading, and be sure to check out the new Steal Tomorrow Forums and sign up for some fun discussions!

Cassie slipped from under the blankets and went to the window. She and Leila had hung quilts over the curtain rods the night before, hoping to keep some of the chill at bay, but she wasn’t sure it had done much good. She pulled a corner of the quilt aside and squinted at the pale winter light.

“Wake up,” she told Leila, without moving from the window.

Leila burrowed deeper under the covers. “You go. I’ll stay here where it’s warm.”

“We have to go together,” Cassie reminded her. “Safety in numbers.”

Leila pulled the blankets away from her face but made no move to get up. “Can’t we eat MREs today? Do we always have to go out foraging?”

Cassie folded the window covering back so she would have enough light to dress. Dressing was a relative term. Without gas or electrical service since the die-off, every place was cold and getting dressed to go out meant layering more clothes on top of what one already had on. She picked up a sweater lying across the back of a chair and pulled it on over the one she was wearing. “We agreed to the rules together, remember? Forage every day we can and save our food for the days we can’t.”

Grumbling, Leila got out of bed and reached for her coat. “Sometimes I think the dead people have it easy.”

“Don’t talk like that.” Cassie pulled on a jacket and fleece cap. “We have to keep trying.”

“For what? We’re infected. We’ll be dead in a year or two and in the meantime we go around eating bad food, trying not to get raped or beat up by a gang, and being cold and dirty in the meantime.”

“Maybe you’re dirty, but I’m not.”

“Rub it in, why don’t you?” Leila went to the dresser and fumbled among the clutter for her gloves. “Like hell I’m going to get wet when it’s freezing out.”

“I offered you the no-rinse camp soap.”

“It stinks.”

“It’s lavender. And it smells better than you.”

Leila reached for her hat and tugged it on over her hair. “What’s got into you today?”

“I’m sorry.” Cassie rubbed her face. “I didn’t sleep too good. And I’m hungry.”

“I told you we should eat the MREs.” When Cassie didn’t answer, Leila shoved her hands in her pockets. “Well, I’m ready.”

Cassie grabbed her pepper spray, a few packs of cigarettes for trade, and a ring of keys, ignoring Leila’s sneer as she locked the door on their way out.

“If someone wants in, they’ll just break a window.”

“I know,” Cassie said, dropping the keys in her pocket. “But at least if someone wants to rob us, they’ll have to work for it.”

Leila shrugged and the girls headed down the sidewalk.

“Any ideas for where to forage today?” Cassie asked.

“I thought you had a plan.”

“The townhouses on Wilson Street?”

“They burned down.”

“Not all of them.” When Cassie didn’t get a reply, she said, “Okay, how about Wal-Mart? I know it burned, but those kids in Jason’s gang said it was becoming an open-air market.”

“Like I’d trust anything Jason and his friends would say.”

Cassie looked at her askance. Jason Tibbs had played football for their high school varsity team and had been nice to Leila their junior year, leading her to think he really liked her. “Just because he only wanted to copy off you in calculus doesn’t mean he’s dishonest about everything.”

“Whatever.” Leila scowled and looked away. “Wal-mart is as good as any other idea. Let’s go.”

Getting to the nearest Wal-Mart required leaving the neighborhood and following Ingall Road to the freeway. Ingall had a small strip center with a grocery store, a drug store, a dry cleaner’s, and hair cutting salon. This was where their mothers had shopped when they had no need to drive to the larger, better-stocked stores a few miles away. The girls had been here a few times since the pandemic and had no expectation that anything was different now. Nevertheless, the looked at the ransacked shops, broken windows, and graffiti with dismay.

“Hard to believe—” Cassie began, then cut herself off. Comparing the present to the past only made things worse.

When they got to the freeway feeder road, a dog leaped from behind an abandoned car, snarling. There had been a time not very long ago when the girls would’ve been terrified, but Cassie had her pepper spray ready and got the dog full in the nose. As he limped away, whining, Leila muttered, “This shit with the dogs is getting old.”

“I hear some kids are eating them.”

“That’s disgusting. But I guess if they only eat the dangerous ones—”

“A service to humanity,” Cassie said.

Leila laughed in a mirthless, half-hysterical way. She had done this a lot at the start of the pandemic, but hadn’t done so as often lately, as the winter cold and constant hunger sapped her energy for seeing irony in their situation.

“We’re not far now,” Cassie pointed out needlessly. “Let’s hurry up. I bet they’ll at least have fires so we can warm up.”

When they came within sight of the Wal-Mart, they saw groups of kids of all ages huddled in groups in the parking lot. Some had built small fires of scrap, some had set up tables and were trying to trade merchandise. Cassie and Leila moved cautiously among the sale items but were unimpressed. They already had gloves and winter scarves and had plenty of toilet paper from foraging in their neighborhood. The only kids selling food weren’t interested in Cassie’s money and wanted more packs of cigarettes than she had brought along for trade.

“We were better off staying home,” Leila said.

Cassie was about to reply when she noticed a group of girls huddled around a fire at the edge of the parking lot. They were dressed in short skirts and high heels and their faces were heavily made up. One girl in particular caught her eye. “That isn’t Emily, is it?”

Leila squinted at the pretty former drill team captain touching up her lipstick in the afternoon sunlight. “I think it is.”

They wandered over, startling Emily, who blushed underneath her makeup and returned their greeting warily. As they made idle chatter about the weather and where the best food supplies were to be found, Cassie couldn’t escape the feeling that Emily was rushing them, being purposefully vague in her replies, as if she wanted them to go away. After a few minutes, she saw why.

Three teenage boys with greasy hair and guns sauntered over and began looking the girls over. Finally the one who appeared to be their leader asked, “How much?”

Cassie and Emily exchanged a look.

“You should go,” Emily whispered as one of the other girls started negotiating.

“But you can’t do this. There’s other ways.”

Emily shook her head. “It’s easier than scavenging, and I bet I eat better than you.”

Leila had been listening to the negotiations and gave a small shrug. “We sure don’t ever get to eat Oreos.”

“Oh, come on.” Cassie frowned and tried to grab Emily’s hand. “You don’t want to sell yourself for a package of cookies, do you?”

Emily jerked away. “It’s easy work. And I’ll be dead soon anyway, so who cares?”

“We care. We—” Cassie looked at Leila for confirmation. “Come with us. We found some rice yesterday, and—”

“No way.” Emily shook her head and glanced toward one of the boys who was sizing her up with interest. “These guys have Hershey bars too, or haven’t you been paying attention?” She flashed the boy a smile. As he walked over, she muttered to Cassie out of the corner of her mouth, “Go away. Now.”

Cassie and Leila did as they were told and started back toward their neighborhood. They walked in silence for a long time before finally Cassie said, “You were right. We should’ve stayed home and eaten the MREs. That was depressing.”

“I can kind of see her point, though,” Leila said. “We work awfully hard and don’t have much to show for it.”

“But at least we haven’t compromised.”

“Maybe not, but does it matter?” Leila waved a hand at the trash and burned-out cars littering the deserted street. “Look at this place. We have no future, so why give a damn about the present?”

“I don’t know,” Cassie said, after appearing to think about it. “Sometimes doing right doesn’t make any sense, but you have to do it anyway.”

“So it’s the principle of the thing.”

Cassie took a deep breath and tipped her head back so she could see the startling blue of the clear winter sky instead of the muck of the streets. “Something like that. We may be living like animals, but at least we'll die like humans.”


I've added forums to the Steal Tomorrow blog. Feel free to drop by and request your membership. We'll be discussing more than just the novel. I want to encourage discussion about themes and issues brought up in the book. We can talk about writing, web publishing, POD, and all of that sort of stuff, too.

Drop by and sign up!

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Good news! Steal Tomorrow is now available in Kindle format. I don't know anyone who actually has a Kindle, but what the heck, right?

The entire first chapter of Steal Tomorrow is up now and I hope to have a short story "Extra" sometime this weekend.

If anyone is not too crazy about the formatting on my Steal Tomorrow blog or would prefer to read the story in full chapters instead of segments, it's being serialized at Readers and Writers Blog, starting Sunday. Readers and Writers blog also hosts other good reads, including Waiting for Spring by my new blog pal R.J. Keller. Check it out!

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Posting of Steal Tomorrow begins tomorrow (Monday) and there will be a new post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Extras, character sketches, and oddments will also continue as time and inclination permit.

I've uploaded the book into Kindle format and it will be available for purchase later this week. I hope to have the trade paperback version available in a day or two as well. It will be cheaper than the pocket edition, once again due to Lulu's pricing structure, not my own.

Steal Tomorrow Now Available

I've finished my line-edits and formatting, and Steal Tomorrow is now available in pocket-size format. I apologize for the price, but Lulu charges more for pocket books than trade paperback size. I added only enough pennies above cost to get an even number. I make about $.09 per copy, so please don't think I'm trying to gouge anyone!

I'll be adding trade paperback (6"x9") and Kindle formats soon, and I'll start the web serialization either tomorrow or the following Monday, depending how quickly I can get my act together.

For those who asked me privately, I did do a little querying on this book, but I didn't get any early nibbles, probably because the premise has been done, no matter how cleverly (I hope) I riffed off it. I also suspect there isn't a huge market for YA/Crossover fiction that references Shakespeare, the Bible, Sun-Tzu, and Ezra Pound, among others. You don't have to be well-read to enjoy Steal Tomorrow, because it's not a pedantic book, but you'll have a lot more fun with it if you catch the references.

Furthermore, I really want to get this story out in the world so I can get it out of my head. Every writer knows the feeling. If I snagged an agent tomorrow, I'd be lucky to see this book in print before 2010. I'm not in this writing thing for fame and fortune and I have a job already, thanks. So I'll do what I can to market this, but without the pressure of a publisher breathing down my neck, needing me to earn back my paltry advance, lest I be dropped.

No pressure, just fun.

Here's the link to the pocket edition: Steal Tomorrow. I'll be posting links to other versions when I have them ready, and check back later tonight or tomorrow for my final decision on when the web serialization begins. Try before you buy!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Just a quick update so no one will think I'm ignoring this blog. I'm doing a lot of edits and pre-planning of future writing right now, which means not a lot of actual new writing. I've also had a heck of a month, losing my sweet Tidbit, getting stuck having to attend several family functions, a work-related party, and other disruptions to my normal routine. And now I've got a new bunny who is cute as the dickens, but quite a handful.

I would really like a few normal weeks about now. Normal weeks and normal weekends.

I'm still hoping to start posting Steal Tomorrow by the end of the month. I'm doing a lot of research on ways to promote it (cutting further into my writing time), and I feel good about the possibilities.

I've also got another "Steal Tomorrow Extra" in progress, and I owe a flash to the Flash Fiction Carnival. Now if only I could concentrate!

Yep, I definitely need a little normalcy here. Tropical storm notwithstanding, I think this might be the week that starts me back on track. I sure hope so!