Category Archives for News from the Sneaky Kitty Critic

A State of the Blain Address, as Told by Cats

Dear Humans,

Selling a female cheap. She has a lot of bad habits, including a tendency to over work, inability to consistently do her chores, and withholding treats at her whim. Interested parties should inquire with the Furred & Finned Management.

Okay, we’re joking. Mostly. Mostly. The female has been using the zoomy sucky noisy box on the carpet lately, and we don’t like it. We’ve tried to conquer the foul beast, but it continues to thwart our efforts. We find this utterly unacceptable.

Okay, to business. Due to the human’s inability to resist two trilogies of covers, she’s been forced to adjust her upcoming publication schedule somewhat. She’s also in talk with her editor to find the best way to keep from going insane while still producing books for your enjoyment. So, please bear with me while we try to delve into the frightening depths of the human’s new schedule. It’s a bit of a doozy.

First, my human has adopted a ‘main project and play project’ system. In short, she sets daily goals for the projects she must finish by a certain date. Once she’s done her work for the day, she has the freedom to work on whatever project she wants or take time to just veg out online doing whatever it is humans do when they’re not working. This means a few things. First, it means she still has editorial bookings and deadlines, but she also will have a stable of books that’ll go to the editor when ready waiting for the editor’s next opening. As such, her system is weird, weird, weird.

We’ll do our best to show you what the human is working on, though.

Let’s start with the projects in the editorial phase of things. (There will be a list at the end of this post with an updated order she’s working on things, so please bear with me, humans!)

First up is Wolf Hunt, the first book of the Wolf Hunt trilogy. This book is technically Witch & Wolf #5. The human thinks people can just dive in willy-nilly, as it features a new main character without any connections to the Yellowknife pack, Seattle’s special brand of insanity, or the Inquisition.

The human is going to be working at implementing the edits for this book next week, and it should release by the end of August if everything goes well. It’ll be priced at $4.99, and my human hasn’t written the description doohickey yet. In a nut shell, it’s about a former military operative who dropped off the radar and works for hire finding things people don’t want found–or stealing things. Declan’s a hoot.

There’s basically no romance in this one at all, although eventually there will be some. This is more action-adventure oriented with my human’s special brand of odd humor. (But while there’s humor, it’s not like the Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) series. (Sorry!)

My human has already started writing Wild Wolf, which is the second book of the trilogy, although it’s very much a side project. She works on a few pages every few months around other things. Next year, in the later half of the year, it’ll be moved up to a more serious side project and handed over to the editor for the next available slot.

Expect the human to release one new Witch & Wolf novel a year until she’s finished the main series and side stories. There’s one exception to this: Dustin Walker’s stories will be worked on alongside the other Witch & Wolf series. There will be one large anthology of short stories and novellas and a novel with additional short stories and novellas. (The first book is called Water Witch. The second one hasn’t been titled yet, but it’ll include an ‘and other Dustin Walker stories’ to keep Amazon happy with the bonus content issue.)

Next up is Fowl Play. My human has gotten the editorial notes, and she has quite a bit of work to do on the story before it’s ready for publication. It will release as scheduled on September 25, 2018. You can preorder on Amazon and other retailers.

About the book:

Warning: This novella contains humor, romance, magic, puns, bodies, and a short detour from reality. No plots were harmed in the making of this story.

Instead of a quiet dance retreat where she could escape the insanity of being the daughter of an angel, a succubus, and a lycanthrope, Emma Sansaul plummets into the middle of murder, mayhem, and mischief. As becoming the next victim of a crazed serial killer is not on her itinerary, she’s left with no choice but to join forces with Agent Kenneth Bernard to find the murderer, the one man on Earth capable of making her hissing mad one second and in need of a cold shower the next.

This novella is approximately 41,000 words. (This word count will slightly change after editing is finished. Durned editors!)

Like the other novellas in the Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) line up, it’s meant for more fun than anything else. (There’s a reason no plots were harmed in the making of the story.)

If you haven’t gotten your fill of Magical Romantic Comedies yet, No Kitten Around releases on October 30, 2018. You can preorder from Amazon and other retailers.

About the Book:

Warning: This novel contains excessive humor, action, excitement, adventure, magic, romance, and bodies. Proceed with caution.

The last thing Reed Matthews needs in his life is a kitten, but when an orphaned tabby suckers him into becoming her caretaker, he’s in for the ride of his life. Add in an angel determined to meddle in his affairs, a devil with an agenda, and a bucketful of bad omens, and he’ll count himself fortunate if he survives the clash between heaven, hell, and his ex.

In this anything goes romp, there’s no kitten around: if Reed wants to survive and regain control of his life, his only hope lies in the hands of an elf and his ex, a woman he’s sworn to never see again.

This one probably falls into the ‘more serious’ of the Magical Romantic Comedy stories. There’s still humor, but it’s not page to page die of laughter humor. The human claims she’s sorry about this, but honestly, she writes the stories as they need to be told, and as often as not, the humor is accidental. All that said, there are some lethal puns in this one, for which the human is most definitely not sorry or even apologetic.

Still not tired of Magical Romantic Comedies yet? That’s probably a good thing, as on December 25, 2018, Cheetahs Never Win will release. The preorder will go live in late September. My human is currently handwriting the book as her beloved play project, but it will become the main project as soon as she’s finished Owl Be Yours and get it off to the editor. (Oh, yeah. More on Owl Be Yours after we’re done talking about Cheeeeetaaaahhss.)

This story is about a pair of private investigators who get embroiled in a serial killer case. There’s humor, but this is definitely for the murder mystery fans out there. It’s going to be a hoot, but it’s going to be the kinda hoot where you’ll suspect the human was dipping into the catnip again.

Warning: thar be puns here.

There’s also a cheetah. I mean, cheetahs. My human loves cheetahs, and she finally gets to do a Magical Romantic Comedy featuring a cheetah. Pack Justice fans are probably well aware of my human’s adoration for cheeetttaaahhhs.

Chirp, chirp!

But seriously. My human is planning a huge bash for this book. She’s joining forces with a jeweler to make a custom piece of jewelry to giveaway to help promote the book. There’ll also be a chance to get a complete collection of my human’s books in paperback.

It’ll be a blast.

I don’t know about you, but I’m kinda getting tired of my human’s fixation of the Magical Romantic Comedy stories… but tough luck for us. Owl Be Yours goes to the editor on August 15, 2018. This is a novella about a woman named Emily who was infected with the lycanthropy virus against her will. In a cruel twist of fate, she’s lost everything, struggling to pretend she’s human when she’s forced to survive as an owl because the whole human gig just isn’t working out well for her.

When the past comes blasting back into her life, she’ll have a chance to take back the shattered ruins of her life. Better yet, she’ll get a hefty dose of revenge and find love along the way.

This novella was a hoot to write, and the heroine is more of an anti-heroine, as her solution to life’s problems involves murder and mayhem.

(Her name is Emily, and my human loves her to pieces.)

Owl Be Yours will be available soon. The human is undecided if she’ll live launch this book or set up a preorder.

This line up makes me think the human really has nothing better to do than work on Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) stories.

You need some new tricks, human.

Yeah, in case you didn’t guess already, there are no new tricks yet. May 16, 2019 will usher in Grave Humor.

She’s about 10% done the draft of the story, and it’s insanity. That’s all I can say. It’s insane. My human has finally lost it. We may need to stage an intervention.

We may also need to convince the human to take a brief leave from having animal-themed stories in this series.

This one starts in a funeral home, and it only goes downhill from there. Thanks to the events of Whatever for Hire, the world has gone to hell in a handbasket, the dead aren’t quite staying dead when they should, and it falls to one poor funeral home attendant to figure out what’s going wrong and why. Add in a recently revived vampire, an awoken sleeper from a different emergence era, and magic gone rogue, and this novel is bound to be a roller coaster ride of hilarity, action, and excitement.

When the going gets tough, the tough join forces with the dead to keep things lively.

Yeah. There’s going to be puns. Guess what? The damned human is never sorry. Ever.

And now that I’ve finished tormenting you with the upcoming Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) stories, it’s time to talk about Steel Heart.

I even used the magical rectangle type box make that all bold for you.

Jesse Alexander is back, and she’s about to land neck deep in trouble again. Surprise! Okay, I’m pretty sure no one who has read Water Viper is actually surprised. I mean, this is Jesse we’re talking about. Where she goes, trouble follows.

Steel Heart is due to the editor on November 26, 2018. It’s going to be a long book, so the human is anticipating a March 2019 release, roughly. She was going to try to have the draft done by October, but she considered it and decided to give herself extra time to work on it. This is a good thing. Sure, it makes it a little later for you, but it’ll make for a better story.

My human has already begun writing the book, and it will be her main project as soon as Cheetahs Never Win is out the door to the editor.

Glorious day!

To answer a few brief questions my human has received often…

Will we find out what happened to those poor horses? Yes. (And you’ll find out a lot about other things similar to this question, including Jesse’s parents and clan.)

Will Anatoly and Jesse get together? Read and find out. (No, we’re not going to spoil that for you, silly humans.)

Will there be more books after Steel Heart? Yes. The human is hoping for a quartet of monster-lengthened books plus a short story and novel anthology.)

Will there be a chance for more books after the quartet? That depends on how the quartet works out and if there’s realistically more stories for Jesse and friends. The world is big, Jesse is prone to trouble, and she’s great fun to write. Honestly, the human doubts Jesse will have more than four books in her due to how long they are. (Water Viper was 194,000ish words long. That’s essentially two novels in one. The human expects Steel Heart to be of similar length.)

When will the third Jesse Alexander novel release? The human doesn’t know, but expect 2-3 years. It’s exhausting writing the big, bad, thick books. That could change, though. It depends on the human, her mood, and how much Jesse sings after she’s finished Steel Heart.

That was a lot to digest, so here’s the immediate future in terms of book publication:

  • Wolf Hunt (Expected August 2018)
  • Fowl Play (September 25, 2018)
  • Owl Be Yours (Unknown but soon.)
  • No Kitten Around (October 30, 2018)
  • Cheetahs Never Win (December 25, 2018)
  • Blood Bound (February 2019) (Wait, what? Yeah. Vampires. Coming soon.)
  • Steel Heart (March 2019)
  • Grave Humor (May 16. 2019)

Here are the side projects my human is actively working on:

  • Storm Called: A Royal States Novel (Due to editor January 7, 2019.)
  • Cold Flame: A Royal States Novel (Due to editor February 11, 2019.)
  • Burn, Baby, Burn: A Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) (Quinn & Bailey #2.)
  • Sekrit Contemporary Romance Project (No estimated date of arrival)
  • Hidden Talents: Book 1 of a Royal States Trilogy
  • Hypnos: Seeking the Zodiacs Book One (No estimated date of arrival)
  • Saddle Up: A Magical Romantic Comedy (with a body count) (No estimated date of arrival)
  • Sunshine’s Gambit: A Sunshine Cassidy Novel Book One (No estimated date of arrival, book is currently being plotted.)
  • Sekrit Project: No title for you! It’s an urban fantasy, though.

That’s it. My human will update you when things change. Assume everything not on this list will be cycled in as she finishes other projects and clears them off her plate.

Happy reading, humans!

 

No Kitten Around is now available for Preorder!

Warning: This novel contains excessive humor, action, excitement, adventure, magic, romance, and bodies. Proceed with caution.

The last thing Reed Matthews needs in his life is a kitten, but when an orphaned tabby suckers him into becoming her caretaker, he’s in for the ride of his life. Add in an angel determined to meddle in his affairs, a devil with an agenda, and a bucketful of bad omens, and he’ll count himself fortunate if he survives the clash between heaven, hell, and his ex.

In this anything goes romp, there’s no kitten around: if Reed wants to survive and regain control of his life, his only hope lies in the hands of an elf and his ex, a woman he’s sworn to never see again.

No Kitten Around is now available for preorder at Amazon, iTunes, and Kobo. Barnes & Noble is coming soon! The novel will release on October 30, 2018.

The Furred & Finned Management wishes to inform all humans they will steal all profits from this title and use it to fund their plans to take over the world.

What Happens Next?

Dear humans,

I come as the bearer of interesting and fun news. My human has settled on a rough publication order for infinity and beyond. This is the definitive list of books my human will be working on–in the order she will be dedicating to each book.

This doesn’t mean books won’t release faster than on this list. She’s constantly working on play projects, which ultimately results in a book being finished early. As my human finishes a novel, it goes to her editor in preparation for publication.

Moving forward, my human will set up a 90 day preorder once a novel is being worked on by the editor. This will allow her to work at a pleasant pace, producing books without throwing herself onto sharp pointy bits of impalement. (We wouldn’t want that. There’d be no more books if she did that!)

So, here is the current list of books my human is working on and the order she’ll be dedicating to each one. This doesn’t mean the books will release in this order, as she does play projects and is actually writing multiple books at a time. This list DOES mean that when she’s working on the next in line, it gets the vast majority of her attention during the weekdays. Weekends are for play projects, and unless there is an impending preorder deadline, she won’t be rushing to finish anything as a general rule. My human works hard because that’s how she is, but she’s going to be taking a more leisurely approach in the future for the sake of her mental health.

Without further ado, here is the list.

  1. Last but not Leashed (print proof arriving soon for finalization of the novella.) (Mag Rom Com, RJ Blain)
  2. Huntress (in progress.) (Royal States, Susan Copperfield.)
  3. Owl be Yours (partially drafted.) (Mag Rom Com, RJ Blain)
  4. No Kitten Around (approximately half completed.) (Mag Rom Com, RJ Blain)
  5. Steel Heart (Jesse Alexander, RJ Blain)
  6. Wolf Hunt (Expect Dec 2018.) (Witch & Wolf 5, RJ Blain)
  7. Tides of War (Requiem for the Rift King, RJ Blain)
  8. Rider of the Sun Horse (80,000 written, so much left to go. So much left to go.) (From the world of Requiem for the Rift King, RJ Blain)
  9. Storm Called (30ish pages handwritten.) (Royal States, Susan Copperfield.)
  10. Saddle Up (Mag Rom Com, RJ Blain)
  11. Dragon Her Heels (to be ready for May 2019 preorder) (Mag Rom Com, RJ Blain)
  12. Grave Humor (May 2019 release.) (Mag Rom Com, RJ Blain)
  13. Cold Flame (Royal States, Susan Copperfield)
  14. Hidden Talents (Royal States, Susan Copperfield.)
  15. Pirate Magic (AL Easton)
  16. Wild Wolf (Witch & Wolf 6, RJ Blain)
  17. Hypnos (Seeking the Zodiacs, RJ Blain)
  18. Achlys (Seeking the Zodiacs, RJ Blain)
  19. Magic’s Rise (Royal States, Susan Copperfield)
  20. Chameleon and the Hound (Trillian Anderson)
  21. Summit (Trillian Anderson)
  22. World at War (Trillian Anderson)
  23. Feather’s Angel (Trillian Anderson)
  24. Broken Trusts (Royal States, Susan Copperfield)
  25. Final Stand (Royal States, Susan Copperfield)
  26. Lost at Sea (AL Easton)
  27. Sword Maiden (Lilith Daniels)
  28. Maiden’s Flight (Lilith Daniels)
  29. Magic Fading (Lilith Daniels)
  30. Burn, Baby, Burn (Mag Rom Com, RJ Blain)
  31. Sink or Swim (Mag Rom Com, RJ Blain)
  32. Lost and Found (Mag Rom Com, RJ Blain)
  33. Runaway (Royal States, Susan Copperfield)
  34. Amber (Royal States, Susan Copperfield)
  35. Flight of the Desert Rose (AL Easton)
  36. Requiem for the Rift King (Requiem for the Rift King, RJ Blain)
  37. Call of the Wind (From the world of Requiem for the Rift King, RJ Blain)
  38. Magic’s Flow (Royal States, Susan Copperfield)
  39. Pretty Little Thief (Royal States, Susan Copperfield)
  40. Drought (Seeking the Zodiacs, RJ Blain)
  41. Order (Seeking the Zodiacs, RJ Blain)
  42. Labyrinth (Seeking the Zodiacs, RJ Blain)
  43. Fearless (Seeking the Zodiacs, RJ Blain)
  44. Windswept (Seeking the Zodiacs, RJ Blain)
  45. Justice (Seeking the Zodiacs, RJ Blain)
  46. Shiva (Seeking the Zodiacs, RJ Blain)
  47. Plaguebearer (Seeking the Zodiacs, RJ Blain)
  48. Collapse (Seeking the Zodiacs, RJ Blain)
  49. Strife (Seeking the Zodiacs, RJ Blain)
  50. Erosion (RJ Blain, Something dealing with something, it’s a sekrit)
  51. Dead City Revival (Royal States, Susan Copperfield)
  52. Rebel (Royal States, Susan Copperfield)
  53. Grave Danger (Royal States, Susan Copperfield)
  54. Scapegoat (Mag Rom Com, RJ Blain)
  55. The Edge of Midnight (Witch & Wolf 7, RJ Blain)
  56. License to Kill (Balancing the Scales, RJ Blain)
  57. Dual Nature (Nature of the Beast, RJ Blain)
  58. Karma Johnson Case Files 1/2 (Side stories, Balancing the Scales, RJ Blain)
  59. Memento Mori (Connected to Seeking the Zodiacs, RJ Blain)
  60. Jesse Alexander 3 (RJ Blain)
  61. Jesse Alexander 4 (RJ Blain)
  62. Jesse Alexander Short Story / Novella Anthology (RJ Blain)
  63. Dustin Novel (Witch & Wolf, RJ Blain)
  64. Serial Killer Princess 2 (Mag Rom Com, RJ Blain)
  65. Serial Killer Princess 3 (Mag Rom Com, RJ Blain)
  66. Last but not Leashed 2 (Mag Rom Com, RJ Blain)

This is an incomplete list. There are some projects my human is gleefully working on in some capacity but isn’t ready to announce and/or is being worked on strictly as a play project until it one day magically appears. She’s also forgetful, so some things may be missing.

Happy Reading, Humans.

 

An Afterword for Null & Void

This was added to Null & Void on February 27, 2018:

Dear reader,
 
Underaged marriage is a serious problem within the United States (and other parts of the world,) and Null and Void touches on this current practice. Yes, it’s a current practice in the United States.
 
When I wrote the book, my intention was to bring this practice to light, taking what is (questionably) the best-case scenario and using it to showcase the issue, which at its base level, is horrific.
 
In Texas, current laws allow estranged (IE, runaway) children to marry anyone they choose as long as they are 16 years of age or older. In Null and Void, I changed this law to 15 with parental consent, which is a current law in the following states: Hawaii, North Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Washington.*
 
Washington requires a superior court judge waiver.
 
Many other states allow 16 with parental consent. There are states with younger than 15. Tennessee has a history of marrying ten year old girls to adult men.
 
In the case of pregnancy, the following states have no limitations on the age a girl can be married: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming, and Massachusetts.
 
Georgia, Maryland, and a handful of other states have rulings on pregnant girls being married at 14 or 15+ years of age (with or without parental consent.) The rules vary by state.
 
This arc was not a mistake. It was not a glorification of the issue, either.
 
It is a social commentary about how current laws can dramatically harm our society. The Royal States world is a post-dystopian society that embraced elements of extremism.
 
Before change can happen in the Royal States world, it must be faced.
 
In the Captive King, this issue is revisited, and some of the more astute readers will be able to identify the shift against child marriage in the society.
 
In A Guiding Light, this issue is faced in blunt clarity, beginning the end of the practice.
 
Including this arc was not a decision made lightly.
 
For more information on the problem of child marriage in the United States, American Child Bride is a book you may wish to check out of the library or order from your favorite bookstore. It touches on the history of this issue.
 
However, you can simply verify the truth on google or with your local government law offices. While I don’t typically recommend wikipedia, due to the easy nature of age verifications for marriage, it’s a good starting point for those interested in understanding the issues and current laws.
 
Thirty-six states permit minors to be married if they meet certain requirements. These requirements vary but may include pregnancy (consensual or otherwise,) parental consent, and common law circumstances.
 
Thank you for reading.
 
Disclaimer: Laws change on a yearly basis, so these rulings were valid at the time this afterword was written.

When you read fiction, what you’re reading isn’t real.

Dear humans,

It puzzles me I need to write this letter to you, but it seems that I must. My human is too busy rolling on the floor laughing to be able to write it herself. Seriously, human. Where did you misplace your dignity? Go find it, please.

That means stop laughing. Really.

Sigh. My human is such a strange being.

My human adores that you, kind readers, get so invested in her books. She writes to entertain. She writes to challenge. She writes to remind other humans of history. She writes to explore societies and the changes that would happen to them if something strange happened–like magic determining one’s value and worth.

What my human writes is not real.

What my human writes is not a reflection of who she is as a person.

My human is a completely separate entity from everything written on the page.  She will write things that are completely counter to her personal beliefs. Sometimes, she includes things that match her personal beliefs.

But the fact is this: she writes fiction. It’s not real.

When you read her books, when you read any book, please take a few moments to remind yourself that the book is not the author. The book is not necessarily representative of the author.

In my human’s case, she is exploring situations that cannot even exist in the real world.

She uses fact to create her fiction. Many of the offshoots she uses are based on current laws. This bothers people. This makes people believe that she has really weird beliefs.

Uh, no, humans. Sorry. That’s just not true.

She’s just using the structure of society, adding a splash of lime, and asking weird questions. “What would happen to this government system if it was completely overthrown following the introduction of magic?”

She started with Texas. Most of the changes she made to Texas were done using current Texas laws as loose guidelines. One change upsets people far more than the others: my human changed the laws in Texas to be 15 with parental permission for marriage. Texas is currently 16 if you’re estranged from your parent. (In short, if you run away from home at the age of 16, you may marry whomever you wish, no matter their age.)

Here’s what you humans will really hate: 25 states in the United States of America have no legal minimums for marriage. That means a ten year old child may be legally married to an adult in these states. Tennessee is an excellent example of a state that has recently done just this.

Please do not blame my human for the laws of the locations she writes about. They have no bearing on her personal beliefs. She’s just writing to the culture and the laws of that region and evaluating how she thinks the society might change under certain conditions.

This is not at all representative of her personal beliefs.

My human has one personal belief above all others: what she believes doesn’t belong in her fiction.

Sometimes things slip in, but she doesn’t write fiction to spread her moral beliefs. She writes fiction to entertain and explore what people might do when pushed into a corner. She writes every character to be a different person, someone who doesn’t share her personal experiences or beliefs.

My human is not her characters. Frankly, my human doesn’t want to be her characters.

Her characters live through hell, and hell isn’t a fun experience.

Hint: my human would write herself as that introverted person in a comfy chair with an unlimited supply of tea, coffee, and books, which she would read with her husband nearby.

Sincerely,

The Furred and Finned Management.

Enter for a chance to win one of five Amazon gift cards!

To celebrate the super awesome release of the Captive King by Susan Copperfield (AKA my human,) I’m giving away a handful of Amazon gift cards ($5 each) to my loyal fans and readers! Yippee! After you enter, there are also another handful of Amazon giveaways (of books) for your enjoyment, some written by my human’s friends. (You’ll need to follow her friends on Amazon for a chance to win their books.)

My human wuvs her friends. <3

In other news, please enjoy this picture of my majesty.

I love my shark, but I’m super nice and let my sister use it almost whenever she wants. I’m a nice kitty like that.

 

My Human and the Quest for the Lost Diamond.

Math is hard for a kitty like me, but sometime over sixteen years ago, my male human gave my female human this beautiful ring and asked her to marry him. In July, they’ll have been married for sixteen years. (I think. Math is really hard. It could be fifteen? but I think it’s sixteen. My human (the female) isn’t sure, either. Because math is hard.) Of course, my female human being who she is, she may have double dog dared him to propose. That’s serious business, the double dog dare.

Yesterday, my female human was doing the things female humans do, and one of the tips of the pretty ring broke. The diamond is missing.

My humans are traumatized. My female wore the ring 24/7, with only short forays into not wearing for certain tasks (like having the ring cleaned and repaired.) It was cleaned and inspected a few weeks ago. the current theory is… the jeweler used subsonic cleaning tools and created a stress fatigue on the golden prong, which snapped. (You can see where the tip of one of the prongs is missing in the picture.)

The original diamond was a vvs1 .5 carat beauty. The male human selected it because it was extra sparkly, and my female human loves sparkly things.

So, my heartbroken female has been cleaning the house desperately seeking the lost diamond, although the current speculation is that it went down the drain while doing dishes. I do find her efforts amusing! She’ll even let me ride on her back like she’s a pony while she’s on her hands and knees scouring the floors for the pretty sparkly.

So, my human is on a quest for a new diamond. There’s some deep, hidden meaning in here, I’m certain–just because something’s broken doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed, and while it won’t be the original stone, it’s getting a refresher.

Here’s to sixteen more, my humans! Just… try not to lose the new stone, okay? Your wallet is already sobbing over the cost of replacing the pretty precious.

Winners of the RJ Blain Swag Pack have been contacted!

Hey, humans!

The winners of the RJ Blain Swag Pack have been contacted. Please check your emails (including the spam folder!) to see if you’re a winner. One winner has already contacted my human (congrats, V! Enjoy your gift card, and the rest of your prize will be on the way as soon as the books arrive so they can be signed!)

The second winner’s email begins with a d, and you have 7 days to get back in touch with me before a new winner is drawn.

Congrats, winners!

~Tia the Majestic

Hey, why isn’t that next book of a series out yet?

Dear humans,

The Sneaky Kitty Critic here. The past few weeks have seen a lot of humans asking my human where a certain next book in the series is, and why it isn’t out yet. So, I thought I’d take a few minutes to discuss it with you!

My human’s books help pay for the household (and my food.) As a result, she has several categories of books she works on.

  1. In-demand books.
  2. Continuation of series.
  3. Play Projects.

The in-demand books get the priority. These are books her fans buy reliably. When you purchase a book, she’s paid a royalty for the sale. That money feeds me. In order to keep enough money to feed me and my sister plus pay the rent and the things humans eat so they don’t whine or be hungry, she needs to release in-demand books once every few months at a minimum. It’s a harsh reality most readers don’t want to think about.

The covers cost money. (Anywhere between $140 through $850 dollars.)

The editorial costs money. (On average of $500-600 a novel.)

Marketing costs money. (Usually a minimum of several hundred dollars a month.)

Maintaining my missives to you humans also costs money, but it’s negligible in comparison.

But, the financials of writing aren’t your problem, readers. But the books you purchase pay for those things plus put food on the human’s table. (And in my belly. I eat a lot.) At a minimum, it takes 200 nice readers buying my human’s books for her to pay back her expenses on a single title. Some of her books cost the equivalent of 500 copies to pay everything back. Only when she sells this many titles (of each book!) does the royalties go to helping pay her expenses and feed her family.

She’s fortunate in that she has a lot of amazing readers who buy her books, but it often takes a month or two after each book has released before she can start adding money to the household funds. It can be very scary and stressful on my human, but she loves to entertain, so she perseveres.

If a series isn’t being worked on, it’s because the first book or two just didn’t sell. If the first book hasn’t earned out, she can’t justify writing the second book. That’s tragic, but it is what it is. While my human will work in these titles, they’re shunted to the back of the line behind books that put food on the table.

You, the reader, often decides what my human writes. If you want to see a specific series be written, buy the books in that series–and get your friends to buy the books in that series.

In no particular order, here is the short list of books/series that fall under the poor seller categories:

  • Jesse Alexander
  • Requiem for the Rift King
  • Pack Justice
  • Karma
  • Tales of the Winter Wolf
  • The Dae Portals novels
  • The Fall of Erelith

While continuations of these series will be done, my human has to work on them as play projects. So, once she’s finished the drafts and they’re ready for an editor, they’ll go to the editor and are slid into the production cycle, but my human can’t realistically promise dates on these titles. They’re labors of love, and they take away from her ability to help provide for her household.

Steel Heart, the second Jesse Alexander novel, is the first labor of love novel that’ll be given a publishing slot. The third Dae Portals novel has a publication slot at the end of the year. I expect the next Requiem for the Rift King novel will have a 2019 slot. After that, it all depends on where I get with them while they’re play-project status.

I understand humans don’t like to think about the business of writing, as it takes away from the charm and magic of it, but the reality is… these books cost a great deal of money to produce. Books in these series often take a year or more to make back their expenses–if they make back their expenses. Water Viper has made back its expenses, barely. My human invested a great deal of advertising dollars trying to jumpstart this series, and unfortunately, the book simply didn’t perform as she hoped. That happens. It just didn’t hit the market.

But it has made back its expenses, which means my human can justify adding it into her publication rotation. It just hasn’t performed as well as she hoped.

There are many reasons an author might abandon a series, but for my human, the number one reason she will delay working on a series or a book involves money. Books aren’t cheap, and to keep her career alive, my human must write the books people want to read.

So, for those of you who do want to see more of the series listed above, please be patient. She’s working on them, but she has to work on them slowly, because these books don’t put food on the table or pay back their costs.

Cover reveal for the Captive King (and a message from my human.)

It’s here! After some bumps and bruises, the Captive King has a cover! Daqri from Covers by Combs did the art, and my human is super happy with it.

This story touches on so many things she likes about fiction. She’s been able to play in a sandbox, blending fact and fiction to make an alternative history, one filled with magic, curses, and the brutality of the ancient world.

She also got to learn a bunch of new things about modern and ancient cultures, and she’s tried really hard to mix and match reality with her desire for the story.

And no, this is not a King Midas story. You will find a lot of references to the Nahua, Mayan, and Ch’olti’, however.

Note: Ch’olti is technically a dialect of Mayan; in the Captive King, Mayan refers to as the predominant branch of Mayan. Ch’olti is an extinct version of Mayan, where the Mayan referenced is still spoken today. This is a fun fact that isn’t delved into the book at length, so I’m happy to tell you this! My human is so fascinated with the Nahau, the Mayan, and the various other lost Mesoamerican cultures. Some of you might be giving me the stinkeye for using Mesoamerican instead of Meso-American or MesoAmerican, but my human went with Mesoamerican because that’s what her favorite encyclopedia (hint: not wikipedia) uses.

Too much fun facting? Okay. We’re done with the fun facting.

Let’s move on to the other part of this post, the one where I discuss some of my human’s plans for the future.

She has been challenged to set some goals–and step outside of her comfort zone and ask for direct support from other humans.

Predictably, while my human was able to do this in a small scale, it falls to me to do the public asking, as she’s a furless chicken. I’m waiting for her to start squawking. I mean, really, human. What’s the worst that can happen?

Other humans can say no and perhaps mock you a bit?

… and that describes my human’s worst nightmare in a single question. But, I stray.

My human had several issues trying to step outside of her comfort zone for this challenge. First, she didn’t have a goal she could ask direct support from other humans for. She was going to try for a bestseller list run for Huntress, but I’m being realistic here: it’s not happening.

It’s not that my human is afraid of work. It’s not that. It’s not that my human is afraid of failure. She expects that. I think it’s more that my human has made as many plans as possible around not bothering people.

Bothering people requires a certain amount of extroverting behaviors on her part, and she is so not good at this.

My human has decided that her goal for this year is to have one of her titles reach 100 full-priced sales on release day without help of a preorder. For purpose of this, it is the day I send a missive for my human announcing a novel’s release!

On February 12, the Captive King releases. It goes to the editor very soon, much to my human’s dismay, as she still has a lot of work left to do on the book. The holidays screwed up her schedule. She’s also sick, which isn’t helping anything. Poor human.

Can my human find 100 other humans who are willing to gamble on her writing skills and all buy the book on February 12? It would make my human’s heart happy–and meet the requirement for her to step outside of her comfort zone on this challenge.

It would probably help if my human wrote a description for the Captive King.

We’ll just call it a novel surprise, and I’ll leave you with this small snippet of the book for your enjoyment…

“The last time a woman attended an auction looking like she’d just come in from the fields, she charmed herself a king,” a man murmured behind me.

The last thing I needed was to be compared to the talk of the entire auction, the future wife of Montana’s king. I scowled, clutching the polished wooden box containing the jade necklace to my chest. “I was at a temple, not a field.”

A field would’ve been a lot nicer; in some ways, I appreciated the respite from the smothering jungle humidity and the incessant attention of loving mosquitos.

“A temple? Were they having a mud-wrestling competition?”

I bit the bullet and turned to face him. Like every other man present at the auction, he wore a suit, although his was navy rather than the standard black. Unlike everyone else, he wore a plain black mask, just enough to cover his face so he couldn’t be readily identified. I found his lack of feathers, gemstones, and trappings reassuring.

He was either like me, a goose stuck among swans, or he was an elite with no fucks left to give about what anyone thought of him. Either way, it worked in my favor.

He was just different enough I might be able to get an intelligible conversation out of him.

Then I noticed his pin, which declared him as Bachelor #103, placing him firmly in the category of the type of man my boss wanted me to sell the precious jade necklace to.

Ugh.