A new how-to book for authors, and updates on stuff.

Howdy. It's me again, with my quarterly blog post. I'm so terrible about updating this thing; sometimes I don't know why I bother, except that people who know stuff about commerce on the intertubes assure me that changing content is...vital, or...something.

Anyway, I've got a new short how-to book out for authors. It's called Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing. In it, I share the super-secret method (by which I mean not secret at all) that allows me to write first drafts of some of my novels in as little time as three weeks. Sounds tasty, authors, doesn't it?

Here are the links for buying.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple

Huh. Apple link is being dorky. And not sure why it's not up on Kobo or Google Play yet. Sometimes the files of new books get a little fussy and take their sweet time. I'll look into it.

Other news:

The first book of the new Egyptian series, The Book of Coming Forth by Day (Part 1 is called House of Rejoicing) is coming along nicely. I'm excited to set it free in the world and see what it does. April 15th should still be its release date, but if life throws me any unexpected curve-balls that might need to be pushed back a bit, as it's a tight deadline even for me. I'll keep fans posted so they know when to look for it. It will certainly be out before May 1 if I can help it at all, as I promised Lake Union I wouldn't do any indie releases in the month of May so I don't distract anybody from Tidewater's re-release under their imprint. :) I plan to release Parts 2 and 3 of The Book of Coming Forth by Day at the end of June.

The She-King series is getting fancy new covers with original artwork by New Zealand artist Joelle Douglas. Don't worry, Lane Brown is still doodling away on covers! Due to his schedule, I was only able to book him for six new illustrations this year, and after an extensive search for a second artist, I found Joelle for The She-King's re-design. I'm psyched about the first two covers! Keep in mind the text I put on these is very "rough draft," just to play around with some concepts. Nothing is well centered or anything like that, but I thought it would be fun to give a little sneak peek at the new designs for The Sekhmet Bed and The Crook and Flail.

I'll be bringing out three more historical fiction titles featuring famous women from ancient history this year, in the summer and early fall. They'll be stand-alone books, not part of a series, but they should all appeal to readers who like The She-King with their strong heroines and ancient settings.

I haven't decided which women to write about for the first three books, but I've got a whole list of fascinating potential subjects, and someday I'll get to all of them. I've tried to pull female leads from several different cultures around the world, but as my focus has been prior to roughly 500 C.E. that has limited me mostly to ancient Europe, Africa, and Asia. We don't have many historical sources to pull from in order to research pre-500-C.E. Americas or Oceania, but I'm still on the lookout for tidbits of information I've missed.

However, I think most readers will be happy with the selection, which will have some of the "usual suspects" of ancient-setting HF (Greece, Rome, Egypt, Celts) and some settings and people we don't encounter often in this subgenre...a one-eyed Nubian warrior-queen who threw off the shackles of Rome; a pair of Norse princesses who took to pirating rather than settle down with husbands; an unlikely heroine from the pages of the Kalevala, the epic poem of Finland; and a few more.

I intend to make these stand-alones about real women from the distant past a habit, and will try to grow the "collection" by two or three volumes each year.

I'm working on pitches for a few new novels for Lake Union, too. All are historical fiction; any Lake Union doesn't take, I'll write anyway and self-publish. Speaking of which, that novel about Emma Hale Smith I pitched to them back in December didn't get picked up, so I'll write it soon, too, and self-publish it. It might be my big winter project this year.

In personal news, I'll be moving to an island in five months! Isn't that weird? I've never thought of myself as the kind of person who would just pick up and move someplace relatively remote, but the more we've thought about doing it, the more it's seemed like a really great idea. We have a lot of islands in the Puget Sound and the adjoining Salish Sea (about 500 all together, though not all of them are habitable) so I won't give away any exact details of where. I'm cagey about freely offering my precise location to the entire world. I think it'll be a fun challenge to build a house and adapt to island living! And after more than a year living smack in the heart of Seattle, I'll really welcome the peace and quiet.

I love having a portable job! It certainly opens up a lot of opportunities I never could have considered before I was able to switch to full-time writing.