To Rule the Stars

To Rule the Stars cover

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Meet the princesses.

A trained diplomat, kidnapped by an alien race desperate for justice, and its dashing leader…

A political pawn, on her way to meet her betrothed, who stops in the asteroid belt to answer a call for help, and finds a princess both beautiful and brave…

A captive raised to believe that the greatest evil is magic, when it—and the handsome ship’s engineer who wields it—are the one thing that might save her…

Here are their stories.

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Just Keep Swimming

When Siri reminded me that it was my turn to blog today, my immediate thought was, Awww, I don’t want to do that!

I, like many people, am not in a good place today, and the thought of pulling out something reasonable just seems like too much. I make it a point to not be political on the Internet, so today has been hard, and I’d actually told myself I was just going to not touch the Internet at all.

But alas, responsibility, so here we are.

It’s easy to assume the worst, but we don’t know what’s coming in the days ahead. Worrying about it is unproductive. We just have to trust ourselves to do what is right when the time comes, and hope that others do as well.

(I mean, that might be a bad hope, seeing the situation we find ourselves in, but what else can you do?)

My coping mechanism for the day is just to keep busy. There’s a ton of things I need to work on, not least of which is finishing up the final touches on To Rule the Stars, which will be out next Tuesday the 15th. If you haven’t seen our awesome cover, take a look at Siri’s post from last week.

I’ve also got to do the business end of the aftermath of our weekend at MileHiCon. Alas, taxes and whatnot. I probably should also do some related networking, decide on our plans for next year, and look at …

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We’re Going to MileHiCon!

Howdy, Turtleduck friends! It’s my birthday! ::twirls around a little flag::

But beyond that, I’m pleased to announce that if you are in the Colorado or generally Colorado area, you can come and see me at MileHiCon the last weekend of October. I shall be there with the full complement of Turtleduck titles, including new ones such as City of Hope and Ruin, and I will also have bookmarks for our anthology coming out mid-November, which is titled To Rule the Stars.

(It’s awesome.)

I’m excited for the convention! I learned a lot at the first one we did two years ago, and I’ve got some new displays and stuff that I’m itching to try out. Plus it’s always fun to network with other authors and publishers and see all the neat stuff that goes on at the con.

(Here’s a funny story, though. If you buy a three-day pass in advance, it’s $44, but there’s a $3 service fee. If you wait until the door, it’s only $46. Someone did not think this through.)

I put in my name to be put on panels if there’s a need, so there’s a chance that I could do some of that. That will be a new–and nervewracking–experience. Still, I’ve seen some really terrible panelists at various times (ones who had no clue about the topic at hand, or who were too busy revisiting things with their friends to bother to pay attention), so I will probably not be the worst.

Ah, …

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Too Many Awesome Things To Do

Well, friends, if you’re interested in the continuing saga of my sewing project, I have cut out two pieces of my shirt. That was a few weeks ago. I was hoping to at least be able to report that I’d cut all pieces out, or, even more optimistically, had at least gotten the sewing machine out, but alas.

In fact, I keep coming up with new awesome and fun things I want to do, but…I’ve come to a realization. I’ve been spreading myself too thin. Too many projects, too many things to do. This is a bad habit of mine, especially recently. I think it comes down to having less time in which to do things these days. Back when I was young and beautiful, I could meander home from work, get in a couple hours of something fun, throw together something for dinner, and then spend a couple more hours doing something fun.

And weekends! Glorious weekends!

But now I have responsibilities and weird work schedules and work that has to be done at home around everything else, and if I get 15 minutes of project time a day it’s a good day, at least right now. And I get frustrated and try to stuff more in to catch up, and then I get more frustrated because yet more things aren’t getting done.

It’s a vicious cycle, my friends. I am grumpy and stressed, and that’s no way to live.

Do you have this problem too? Constant stress and …

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So, How About That Plan From Last Month?

Last month I regaled you lot with my sewing plans. (And I realized I never linked you to my sewing Pinterest board, which is here, and which you can see is still getting healthy usage.) And I said I’d check back this month and let you know if I’d actually gotten on the actual sewing part of this madness.

The answer is no! But it’s more complicated than me just being lazy (or actually working on writing things, like I was supposed to, though I did do that).

I picked out two patterns to do. I cut out the pieces (which was harder than necessary because said patterns are in books and you cannot cut up library books). And then I hit the problem.

The average American woman is 5’4″. I believe they make patterns for people who are 5’7″. I am 6’1”. So I cut out my patterns and then remembered that I can’t just use a pattern, I have to modify a pattern. I have to lengthen it in the right spots (such as, say, arm holes) and move darts and all sorts of wizardry. Actually, in the past, it’s been easier to take men’s patterns and make the shoulders narrower than mess with women’s patterns, but it’s been five years and I forgot.

(The last clothing I sewed, five years ago, was a brocade vest and spats for a steampunk costume. I made the vest without a pattern, and luckily spats are not picky on sizing.)

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A Constant Companion (Fractured World Short)

A Constant Companion

by Kit Campbell

“…as long as you’re living under my roof,” Jael was saying, but Briony tuned him out, choosing instead to glare at the table. Her hands sat on its uneven surface, curled so tightly in on themselves that she could feel her nails digging into her palms.

Behind her, she could hear the laughs of her brother’s small children as his wife told them a story. Their youngest, Brin, would be a year soon, and had taken to copying everything her older brother and sister did, much to the amusement of all involved.

Jael should be in there parenting them. He didn’t need to be parenting her. He wasn’t her father. Just because Mother—

Briony shook her head to clear it of the thought.

“Are you listening to me, Bree?”

“It’s not really your roof, is it?” Briony leaned back, crossing her arms over her chest and staring sullenly at the fireplace. It was a silly argument—she didn’t fault Jael and his family for moving back in, not after… and it was nice to not have to sleep in an empty house. But that didn’t mean he had to act like he owned the place. It was as much hers as his.

Jael groaned and pressed his fingers to his temples. He’d started growing a beard, probably trying to look older. “Bree, for the love of the Old Ones, we’ve been over this. Mother asked me to look after you until …

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A Creative Interlude

Good morning!

Do you ever have those times when you really should be working on something, but something else comes along that sounds like way more fun? Or, like, it doesn’t matter if anything ever actually does get done, because planning is fun? And shopping for supplies, and picturing doing it, and…

…anyway, this is me right now. And what I’d like to be doing, at least theoretically, is sewing. Not sure what exactly has brought this on. It’s probably a combination of having too many writing projects going, the fact that I hate half my wardrobe, and the fact that I used to sew all the time, but haven’t touched my machine in four…maybe five…years.

So first I went into the planning stage. My planning stage mostly involved reading tons of blogs about upcycling clothing and starting a Pinterest board. I’ve also checked out some sewing pattern books from the library. Somewhere in the Pinterest stage I went from upcycling clothes to just making clothes from scratch.

That might be because I actually did a couple of upcycling projects. The kids and me made slouch hats and arm warmers from old sweaters and hot glue, and I also took an overly large t-shirt I got from giving blood and turned it into a workout tank top. Upcycling urge conquered, I guess.

So now we’re on the sewing from scratch phase. At the end of last week, the small, somewhat mobile one and I hit our local Joann’s, where …

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Life’s a Strain

I’ve pulled something in my back. I have this spot–it’s on the right side of my back, not quite in “lower” back territory but not much higher–and from time to time it gets aggravated. Every six months or so it gets really bad, like “can’t stand up straight” sort of bad. Muscle relaxants and pain killers have little to no effect, and even massages haven’t proven terrible useful in fixing things.

It’s very fun, let me tell you. Especially when one has to pick 20 and 40-pound wiggly things up on a regular basis.

It started hurting last Wednesday-ish. It peaked Friday/Saturday, and now is on its way back to normal, though it still hurts. I did manage kickboxing this morning, though it hurt more for a while.

My internet searches tell me back pain is the most common pain experienced by adults in the United States. 80% was the stat I saw, though I don’t know how scientific that is. Bad posture and too much sedentary time at computers and watching the TV and what have you.

So what do you do when your job consists of you needing to be on the computer for significant lengths of time?

Sitting is definitely a problem right now. I’ve switched my computer chair out for one of the hard, straight-back dining room chairs, which has helped some, but even as little as 15-20 minutes sitting at the computer causes everything to flare again, even if things were feeling pretty good.

It’s …

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End of Project Jitters

City of Hope and Ruin is out! Hooray! It’s out and it’s lovely and people have been so great about telling us how excited they are or how much they liked the book and we are very thankful for all you lovely people.

And now I am free! BWHAHAHA.

I mean, of course, there’s still lots to do on CoHaR. Marketing things, reviewers, guest posts and blog tours, the Goodreads giveaway which starts tomorrow, etc. We’ll be at it for months. But the frenetic pace of the past year, and specifically the last five months, is done with.

FREEDOM.

Of course, now that I find myself with freedom, I once again find myself confronted with a slew of options. What to work on now? Do I work on anything? Do I catch up on all the reading I didn’t do while ear-deep in revisions?

At the beginning of the year, I made myself a spreadsheet, and on said spreadsheet I made a list of all the writing projects I wanted to accomplish this year, as well as what I felt was a reasonable amount of time to expect them to be done, and which months would include what projects, etc.

Let me tell you how that’s gone thus far.

I had a bunch of “smaller” projects slated for January-March. Marketing tweaks, short projects, etc. Not one of them has gotten done.

I had that I’d finish the mostly finished draft of a different story March-May. In my infinite …

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City of Hope and Ruin Coming on May 11!

In case you missed our teaser (and the April Fools precursor), you know we’ve got a book coming out next month! And by we, I mean specifically me and Siri, beside Turtleduck Press as a whole.

Ah, yes, the Sekrit Project isn’t so secret anymore.

So here’s the formal announcement. City of Hope and Ruin, the first book in what will be a TDP-wide shared world project, will be out on May 11.

Now, some of you will no doubt take note that we typically put books out on the first of our release months, and might wonder why we’ve chosen the 11th instead.

It’s simple, really. And it comes completely down to logistics.

You see, for this book we decided we wanted to try out preorders. From our preliminary research, it seemed like all you needed was to set the book up with the distributors. Easy peasy!

However, when we actually got on it, we discovered that you need to have the completed book ready for actual distribution considerably before the release date. Ten days early, in fact. Funny that.

So, because this is a new thing we’re trying, and because we would have given some of our contractors different deadlines had we known certain things, we’ve slid the deadline a bit. Just to make sure we have enough time to get everything done and perfect, and to make sure you guys get the best reading experience.

So, go! Read the excerpt! And when you’re done with …

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