Wednesday, February 14, 2024

A Cup of Conflict - Chapter 5

I've been struggling to finish the edits on Magick and Murder. In order to clear my frustration, I finished Chapter 5 of A Cup of Conflict. Here's the new unedited chapter. I hope you all enjoy it.

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Luc sucked in a breath to reprimand Mateqai, but I silently said, Don’t my love. He is no longer your warden.

Thankfully, Luc relaxed a bit. However, Shi Hua turned to her captain of the empress’s guard. Her expression was neutral, but her irritation grated along my psyche. “Heed your place, Captain.”

He dropped his gaze. “I beg forgiveness, my empress.” But his own worry and suspicion were barely under control. A fact not lost on any of the clergy or former priestess in the room, including Darys.

She raised her chin. “If it will ease your guards’ fears, Your Majesty, I will submit to formal questioning. In making my suggestion, I did not wish to waste your valuable time.”

Po stopped playing with the beads on his moustache. A whisper of his old, sly smile tilted his lips. “What say you, Lady Justice?”

I looked at the Skoloti priestess. Her skin didn’t change from its warm yellow. I turned back to Po. “This isn’t a formal investigation. Sister Darys voluntarily revealed her knowledge of her Reverend Mother of Balance’s prophecy to me. While I trust Captain Mateqai’s advice, I don’t want to allow any prejudice I might have against two specific members of Thief affect your nation’s relations with the Skoloti tribes.”

Po chuckled at my reference to Biming and Ogusuku, the Reverend Father of Ryukyu’s Temple of Thief. My acknowledgement of Mateqai’s concerns seemed to mollify the former warden. His skin shift from orange to gold.

Po inclined his head. “Tell us your story, Sister.”

“As I said a moment ago, our Revered Mother of Balance had her vision thirty-three years ago,” Darys began. “At this time, she was technically a novice of the Temple.” She glanced at me. “I don’t know how such things are done in Issura, but for us, those novices, who are ready, take their final vows at the end of the Spring Rituals. Assignments are made so when the tribes split and go to their grazing lands or hunting grounds during the summer, they have sufficient clergy to care for the people until the Vintner’s festival. The final vows happen during the last night of the Rituals. While she was reciting her oath to Balance, she went into a trance and spoke in an odd voice.”

She closed her eyes. “In thirty winters, the last demon attacks will start. A babe will be born, touched by Balance, but with a unique sight. She will lead the last battle because she can detect demons through their disguises. You will know her because her eyes will be the color of her birth mother’s Temple.”

Darys’s eyelids fluttered open. “No one knew what to make of her words, though Balance clerks and Knowledge clergy had the presence of mind to record what she said. When she finished speaking, she collapsed to the ground. After the healers roused her, she did not remember speaking.

“She recovered and took her vows, but she remained with the Reverend Mother of Balance instead of departing with the tribe she had been assigned to. Over the years, our Temples searched for signs of demon activity. The Reverend Mother of Balance at the time consulted all the records she had as well as the other eleven Temples. Justices queried their counterparts in neighboring territories. Other Balance Temples were contacted through distance speakers.”

Darys chuckled. “It started a philosophical debate about whether a sighted justice was actually a justice. Others believed the blessed justice would develop a spell to pierce the demons ability to shapeshift. It was all theory until word came from traders about Issura’s Red Justice.”

“Please do not call me that.” My request was halfway between a snarl and a plea.

“No offense was intended, Lady Justice.” Darys inclined her head by way of apology. “It is merely the description we received.”

“It means something else in Issura,” I muttered.

“Why is this prophecy such a secret?” Luc asked.

“It isn’t,” Darys said. “At least not among the Skoloti clergy. I cannot speak for other nations, but our Temple of Balance did send notice of the prophecy to their sister Temples. \”

“Your people are known for your oracles among your orders,” Shi Hua said. “Isn’t that correct?”

Darys nodded. “Yes, Your Majesty.”

“Do the other nations’ Temples often disregard the foresight of your fellow clergy?” Shi Hua asked.

Another chuckle from the Skoloti priestess. “I cannot speak on behalf of foreign Temples, Your Majesty.”

“But your own people take these prophecies as truth, correct?” Shi Hua asked.

“We take any foresight quite seriously,” Darys said. “However, understanding a prophecy isn’t always as straight forward as we would wish. For instance, this divination did not specify how the justice obtains her method of detecting demons. Another facto,r as the Chief Justice will tell you, relates to the future constantly moving because our decisions and actions change based on what we perceive. And that perception is not always accurate.”

“This particular prophesy seems rather accurate.” Po smiled. “It would explain the desperate attempts of the Assassins Guild and their partners to eliminate you, Anthea.” “Yes, it does,” I replied dryly.

Darys’s information also troubled me greatly. None of my sisterhood back in Issura I’d spoken with in my careful inquiries had known about this prophecy. Reverend Mother Alara had only mentioned it to me after I’d discovered the renegades had quietly taken over Orrin’s Temple of Love.

At the time, I’d though my superior had been playing with me. Now, I wondered why she kept silent about this prophesy, especially after I had given myself my peculiar eyesight. Was she that appalled I was the sighted justice?

That would have made for sense if I didn’t suspect the traitor within Issura’s Temple of Balance was Reverend Mother Alara herself.

“Is there anything else you wish to know?” Darys asked.

Everyone in the room watched for my reaction.

“Not at this time, Sister,” I said. “You have given me much new information to consider. However, may I please speak with you again if I do have a question?”

“Of course.” She nodded.

“As for your request for information—” I began.

“You do not have to tell me, Lady Justice.” Darys frowned. “I was not aware you have had previous troubles with the Assassins Guild.”

“Do you withdraw your request because of your Temple’s former association with the Assassins Guild?” I deliberately raised an eyebrow.

“No, I’m withdrawing my request because I understand your issue with Reverend Father Biming.”

Part of me liked the Thief priestess, but she was one I’d need to keep an ear open for. Just like Biming. However, her insightfulness could be useful. Or very, very dangerous. I wish I knew for sure.

“Which issue is that?” I asked mildly.

She hesitated a moment, but her color did not change. “I learned from one of Duke Lixin’s men that the Ryukyuan Reverend Father of Thief tried to interfere with that kingdom’s installation of their new Reverend Mother of Balance and to force you to stay in Ryukyu in his custody, not Balance’s. He also said Reverend Father Biming conspired with the Ryukyuan Reverend Father of Thief to accomplish such deeds.”

“Which of the duke’s men did you speak with, and what else did this guard convey to you?”

I recognized Po’s cool tone. It was the same one he’d used with me after I’d discovered he’d tortured and executed an assassin within the walls of the Jing Embassy. I had been furious the man hadn’t been properly questioned by a justice before being officially tried and convicted. However, an embassy was considered part of its nation’s territory and I had no say in Po’s disposition of the assassin. It angered me more Po had discovered the traitor thanks to the tracking spell I’d asked the Orrin Temple of Light perform during our investigation of Sister Gretchen of Love’s murder.

“It was Ma Li.” Now, the Skoloti priestess’s color did change to a dull orange. Was she embarrassed about gossiping? Or was she irritated that she wasted a good source of information? I couldn’t tell. No emotion leaked from her shielded mind.

Po glanced at Huizhong who stood to the crown prince’s right and a step behind his chair. “Captain?”

“Yes, my emperor!” The head of Po’s personal guard executed a smart bow to his liege. He turned to me. “If you will, Lady Justice?”

I dissolved my wards with a murmured word, and Huizhong departed. I prayed to the Twelve his only task was to reprimand this unfortunate Ma Li.

“Is there anything you wished to discuss, Chief Justice?” Po asked.

“No, Your Majesty,” I shook my head. “I wanted to keep you and the empress apprised since you were kind enough to warn me of the price the Assassins Guild had placed on my head.” I deliberately didn’t mention Shi Hua had an even bigger price on hers according to the information the former emperor Chengwu had forwarded to his brother. I was sure it had alarmed Chengwu to see Po’s bodyguard, now wife, at the top of an Assassins Guild target list.

And it made me wonder if there had been a prophesy about Shi Hua as well.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

A Cup of Conflict - Chapter 4

After spending my vacation travel time editing and a good month recovering from eye surgery, I'm slowly getting back into the writing groove. Here's next unedited chapter of A Cup of Conflict.

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Later that night, I supped by myself in a tavern at the next caravanserai. As alone as I could be. Long Feather and Jonata sat at a nearby table where they could watch me without them being in my line of sight. Yet, I couldn’t avoid the familiarity of their spirits.

Darys stalked up to my table and straddled the bench on the other side. Her wardens moved past us, no doubt joining my own guards at the table behind me.

“You can’t continue blaming yourself for random misfortune,” she boldly stated in Issuran.

I straightened. “You have no real knowledge about me. And you are stepping beyond your rank, Sister.”

“Maybe I am,” she replied. “However, I am not your enemy, Chief Justice. We have the same duty to perform—keep the Jing emperor alive long enough to reach Chengzhou.”

“Go away.”

“I see.” She smiled and switched to Jing. “Do you truly believe that by driving away other people, your heart will not be broken by loss?”

However, I wasn’t falling for her trap, and I refused to play her word games. “You are not from Child, and this is a public place,” I snapped in Issuran.

She shook her head, but she resumed speaking in Issuran. “Maybe you should speak with one of Shang’s people. You’re not the only one who has lost comrades in this war, and I have no doubt I will lose people I care about before it’s over.”

I relaxed a bit. “So, you believe the demon war is not over?”

“Balance is noted for saying exactly what She means, Lady Justice.” Darys shrugged. “According to Her Revelation at the Kemet capital, we have one more generation to go before we will defeat the demons.”

It was my turn to test the Thief priestess. Using my eating sticks, I retrieved a vegetable from my bowl and held it up. “What is this?”

Darys frowned at my abrupt change of subject. “I don’t know the Issuran word for it, but the Jing term is ‘pak choi’. Our Temple of Knowledge says it’s related to cabbage.”

“Sister, do you think the other plants in the garden miss this particular pak choi?”

“I don’t know.”

“You seem to spend a great deal of time with Knowledge,” I said. “Do they have any treatises on the emotions and intelligence of plants?”

“I’ve never searched for such information before.” Her frown deepened. “What is the purpose of your question?”

“During our trip to Diné, Brother Sisquoc of Wildling and I discussed why the demons focus on humans and not any other life form in the World.” I examined the leafy chunk of vegetable. “According to the Temple of Wildling, all life is interconnected. If we have thoughts and feelings, and animals have the similar thoughts and feelings according to the Wildlings’ experiences, he conjectured that plants must as well.”

“It makes sense,” she murmured. “Don’t justices pull the memories of stones and plants to learn of deeds around them?”

I nodded. “So, how could anything have a memory if it didn’t also have thought?”

“By your logic, it cannot.” Darys propped her elbows on the table. “Therefore, memories are thoughts we’ve recorded within our spirits. However, I still don’t understand the purpose of your line of questioning.”

“What’s special about humans then?”

“Maybe it is the similarities between humans and the demons that attract them to us.” She paused as the tavern girl asked for her choice in drink and whether the priestess wanted dinner.

Once the girl scurried toward the kitchen, Darys eyed me again. “There’s also the fact they eat us and wear our skins as we would another animal’s. Is this what concerns you? How closely the demons resemble us?”

“Yes,” I said. “And our one fault is we do not regard each other with the same respect we should show to all living things. I believe they regard us with same belief that we have for the animals and plants that nourish us. The only difference is we fight back.”

She shook her head. “You are certainly not what I expected.”

“What’s that supposed mean?” I glared at her.

“According to our own Reverend Mothers of Balance, the prophesized justice who can see would be the one who leads the final battle. I pictured you as a great hero. Someone of conviction. Not someone who doubts her purpose.”

I froze. This was the first time I’d heard about the prophesy outside of Reverend Mother Alara. Maybe the old bat wasn’t yanking my emotions around after all.

Darys frowned. “Have I offended you, Lady Justice?”

“May we continue this discussion in my quarters after you’ve finished your meal?” My tongue wanted to choke on my words. “This is not a conversation we should have in public.”

“Of course.” Darys inclined her head. “You are correct. I should not have mentioned the subject in a public place.”

“And I apologize for my behavior on the road,” I said. “I had no right to inflict my ill temper upon you.”

She smiled and nodded just as the tavern girl arrived with a full tray.

I finished my meal and sipped on another cup of Jing’s cool light-tasting beer while Darys consumed her own meal. We continued to speak of the differences between the Skoloti tribes and Issura, and she taught me a few more words in her language.

When we finished, we left the tavern and headed toward our assigned suites. Our wardens prowled behind us. The crowd parted away from our path, but from the mix of fear and anger wafting from the people, it had more to do with what my Temple robes represented than the recent demon attack on their capital city.

I silently requested Luc, Po, and Shi Hua attend my discussion with Darys as we climbed the steps of the caravanserai. This one was much larger than the caravanserai we had lodged in over the past ten days. It was five stories tall and built of stone, nearly a fortress in and of itself. Po said it acted as a warehouse for the goods flowing into and out of Chengzhou, but I had the impression commerce wasn’t the building’s original purpose.

When we reached the top floor, instead of mine and Luc’s stateroom, we headed toward the suite used by the imperial couple. These days, the Jing guards bowed to us as befitting foreign dignitaries while Mateqai escorted us to Po and Shi Hau’s private sitting room. It was an odd feeling concerning those who had accompanied us across the Peaceful Sea. I no longer viewed them by their rank, but rather honored comrades who survived that horrid voyage. However, it was necessary to adhere to the formalities, given our mission.

Inside the sitting room, Luc bowed before carefully lowering his body to a silk-covered cushion before the Jing emperor and his wife. Two other cushions lay on his right for me and Darys. Jing guards and our own wardens stood against the walls of the room.

Both Darys and I executed the appropriate bows for our ranks before I said, “With your permission, Your Majesty, I would like to ward the room.”

Po nodded and fingered the gold beads on the left-side of his moustache, an indication that he was worried about something. Shi Hua appeared exhausted, her normally bright smile a shadow of itself.

Darys sat on the far right cushion while I circled the room and muttered the words to the warding spell. After I finished, I dropped to the cushion between Luc and Darys. I turned to her.

“Please tell us everything you know concerning your Reverend Mother of Balance’s prophecy about the justice with sight.”

Darys blinked. “You don’t know?”

“The information has been withheld from me, and I have suspicions in regards to the reasons,” I replied. “Nor has the knowledge been shared with Temple of Light, according to the empress and High Brother Luc.”

She remained silent for a long moment. It was the first relatively normal Thief characteristic I’d seen her display since we left the coastal port of Huang He eleven days ago.

Finally, she nodded. “I will tell you about the prophesy on one condition—that you share will me whatever suspicions you have.”

“We’ll agree to your condition with one of own,” Shi Hua said. “You agree to be truthspelled.”

Darys nodded again. “Considering your issues with your own Reverend Father of Thief, I understand your worries, and I agree to your terms, Your Majesty.”

I sucked in a deep breath at the warm tingle of Shi Hua’s power, but Darys didn’t seem a bit surprised it was the Jing empress who laid the truthspell on her.

“If you would start your questioning, Lady Justice,” Po murmured.

Under our previous circumstances, I would have made a borderline rude reply to him about using me as bait. Now, all I felt from him was a gentle flow of trust. I was no longer an oddity he wished to seduce, but a useful ally. And from my discussion with Queen Teodora before we left Orrin, our liege regarded him in the same way.

I licked my lips, my mouth suddenly dry. It was one thing to have my suspicions. It was another to have them confirmed, which I had no doubt Darys was about to do.

“When did the Skoloti Reverend Mother of Balance have her premonition?” I murmured.

“Thirty-three winters ago.”

Gorge rose in my throat at the proximity of my conception to the Reverend Mother’s premonition.

“Can you give us the precise time of her prophecy?” Shi Hua asked.

“The Spring Rituals,” Darys and I said at the same time.

Everyone, even the guards and wardens, stared at me. I cleared my throat.

“Did she see the manner in which a justice would gain sight?” Luc asked.

“If you don’t mind, could I tell you the full story as I know it?” Darys smiled. “The tale will answer most of your questions. Then you can slice apart my recitation with your questions.” I glanced at Po.

He nodded and said, “Please continue with your story, Sister Darys.”

To my amazement, it was Mateqai who blurted, “Your Majesties, with all due respect, it would be best if Sister Darys were formally questioned.” He glared at the Skoloti woman. “We had more than enough issues with Thief to warrant it.”

Thursday, January 11, 2024

The Latest News

I'm still cleaning up the last bit of October's Kickstarter and finally sending out holiday cards and presents. If I can stay awake, that is.

Yep, I slept seventeen hours straight yesterday. Part of it is introvert exhaustion, part is Seasonal Affective Disorder, and part is the overcast skies in between winter storms.

When I am awake, I am writing, albeit bits and pieces. I was working on A Cup of Conflict when DH said, "I thought you were finishing Death Goddess Walking first."

My answer to him is not safe for publication.

Sometimes, we writers need to work on whatever the Muse demands. As long as my progress is forward, I consider it a win. However, Conflict's chapter four is a little slow. I'm not sure yet if it's a real problem, or if Subconscious is setting up something for down the road. I'll be re-reading and editing it over the weekend.

In the meantime, the revised Fae and Felonies (Millersburg Magick Mysteries #2) will be released on Monday, January 15th, in both ebook and print at your favorite retailers!

Friday, December 22, 2023

Happy Holidays

No matter which holidays you celebrate, I hope you and your families have a joyous and wonderful time!

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Mismatched Eyes

I didn't get Chapter 4 of A Cup of Conflict done prior to the cataract surgery on my right eye last Wednesday. Nor did I get my Christmas short story done either. And a private invitation to submit to an anthology had to be set aside as well.

 Unfortunately, I'm not getting much done in regards to writing or publishing this week. The visual acuity of my eyes is severely mismatched at the moment, resulting in double vision. It means I can't stay on my laptop more than a few minutes at a time. That problem will remain until I get my bionic left eye next Wednesday. So, by New Year's, fingers crossed, I'll be able to resume writing and editing.

The really sucky thing is I can't drive the week before Christmas. Thankfully, most errands have been run, and online ordering and delivery exists! On the other hand, DH has to drive me to my follow-ups with the eye surgeon and other end-of-the-year medical appointments.

I really don't like turning into one of those helpless little old ladies. Not that I will ever be little. LOL However, it's nice to hear the surgical nurse say I'm too young to be having cataract surgery.

Thank you to everyone who has bought and enjoyed my books. And to all my readers, I wish you a joyous holiday season!

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

A Cup of Conflict - Chapter 3

Here's another sneak peek of the next Justice novel, A Cup of Conflict!

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The rest of our journey to Chengzhou, while slower than we wished, was relatively uneventful, thank the Twelve. Reverend Father Biming seemed relieved to be given a task suited to his Temple’s main duties, especially since it wasn’t near his new empress. Rumor did the rest.

Once Thief spread word that their new emperor had returned to Jing, crowds of civilians lined the road the rest of the way to the capital. The throngs made all of the wardens and Imperial guards nervous, especially after the attack at the first caravanserai.

However, Po took my advice to heart. He made a point of speaking with city and village’s civilian, guild, and Temple leaders. Shi Hua spoke to as many commoners as she could as one of them. At one point, I feared Mateqai’s heart would explode when a small child offered her new empress a bouquet of flower. However, Luc’s former warden managed to keep his blades sheathed.

Each and every time, Po and Shi Hua told their stories of the Fall of Rambla and the Siege of Tandor as well as the demon attacks on Orrin. Finally, Po pointed out that only the quick actions of the Temples saved the city of Chengzhou. He played on the people’s sympathies by stating he lost his own family in the attack. And he would honor his brother’s memory by continuing his commitment to all the people of Jing and do his best to serve them. But it would be necessary for everyone, young and old, Temple and guild, noble and peasant alike, to work together.

If anyone had told me the decadent, selfish ambassador I first met would become the epitome of an engaged, selfless ruler, I would have whacked that person with the flat of my blade. Luc seemed pleased with Po’s new behavior, but I suspected his feelings were due to the fact Po no longer had the time or energy to chase my affections. Not that I would ever have returned them.

During our two weeks on the road, Jonata and Long Feather struck up friendships with the pair of Skoloti wardens accompanying Sister Darys. There were times when Yar had to translate because neither side knew the Jing term for whatever they wished to convey.

In between our stops when she had to act as one of Shi Hua’s guard, Sister Darys rode with Luc and me. She had started learning Issuran before she left Skoloti Territory and was thrilled to have someone to practice with.

“What made you want to learn our language?” I asked.

“It’s…interesting,” Sister Darys replied with a thick accent. “The Peaceful Sea and the Panthalassa Sea trade tongues are a patois of the coastal languages. Basically, an accidental dialect. However, Issuran is a deliberate blending of Chumash, Toscana, and Britannia speech.”

I laughed. “I’m not sure it’s as deliberate as you think. The Britons needed a home. The Chumash needed help rebuilding their territory. The Toscana wanted to make money off supplying all parties and rule over the survivors. It was necessary for everyone to understand each other.”

“Yet, somehow it all works.” She shook her head.

“Aren’t the Skoloti made up of several different tribes from the Central Old Continent?” Luc asked.

“Yes.” Danys smiled. “If it weren’t for the non-human invaders, we probably would have continued our separate ways, but like your Plains Nations, we joined together for survival. However, our languages descended from a mother tongue according to our Temples of Knowledge. Morphing them back together wasn’t as difficult for our ancestors.”

“Would you teach me your language, also?” I asked.

Are you sure you want to learn it?” Darys smiled. “It’s nothing like yours.”

“It can’t be any worse than practicing Jing while seasick for two months,” I retorted.

“I’ve never been on a boat,” she murmured.

“Not even a small craft to fish or travel on a river or lake?” I asked.

She shook her head. “I asked my novice brother about the oceans once. He said our seas are made of grass, not water.”

“You spent a great amount of time in Huang He,” Luc said. “You never took a river barge?”

“I admit I find anything beyond a stream to drink a bit unnerving,” Darys admitted.

“My apologies, Sister,” I said. “I’ve spent most of my life in Standora or Orrin. In port cities, it’s hard to avoid the water.”

“I suppose the Cradle’s Great Desert would be just as unimaginable to all of us,” she said.

“The closest I’ve come is the Valley of Lost between Issura and Diné,” I said. “But we travelled to Diné during the rainy season. The Valley of the Lost went from a sea of sand to a sea of mud to a sea of flowers in a matter of hours.”

Darys laughed heartily at my description.

“It wasn’t that amusing at the time,” Luc grumbled. “We nearly lost you and Sisquoc in the flash flood one of the storms produced.”

“Flash…flood?” Danys shook her head. “I do not understand. Like when a dam breaks?”

“Not quite,” Luc said. “In the Valley of the Lost, Diné, or Cant, there’s a relatively thin layer of sand and dirt over bedrock. On the rare occasions of rain, there are no plants to drink the water. No loam to absorb it.”

“So, the rain rises where it lands,” Danys ventured. “As if filling a container.”

I laughed. “It does flow downhill. However, the water picks up everything on top of the bedrock. It becomes a slurry of mud and rocks. Nearly impossible to swim in, and immediately deadly if you hit a large rock.”

“Or if a rock hits you,” she added.

I nodded.

“And the water can undercut protruding rock,” Luc added. “We found shelter on a high outcrop, but Anthea and Sisquoc were near the edge, keeping watch on the flood.” He deliberately allowed the long pause to drive Darys to distraction.

“What happened?” she blurted.

“The edge crumbled beneath us,” I said. “Somehow, Sisquoc managed to toss me back so wardens could catch me. He fell and was swept into the maelstrom.” The old guilt hit me. The Wildling brother was so brave and decent, but he’d nearly lost his life many times in his attempts to protect me.

“Anthea managed to time freeze the maelstrom Sisquoc was dragged into,” Luc continued. “One of the sisters with us is a mover. She and three others reached him before he was crushed or drowned, and they brought him back to our shelter.”

Danys turned to me and blinked. “How big was this basin?”

I couldn’t speak past my dry mouth.

“Roughly fifteen leagues in diameter,” Luc said softly.

Danys shook her head as she stared at me. “No one from our Temple of Balance has that level of power.”

“Some of your justices have the ability to foresee events.” I couldn’t stop the bitterness seeping into my tone. “I would give anything for that talent. Maybe then, I could save the people who keep sacrificing themselves for me.”

I nudged my borrowed mount, and the horse trotted away from Luc and Darys. I simply couldn’t deal with my alleged heroics when I had to burn the bodies of so many of my friends.

Friday, December 8, 2023

Back From Vegas

DH and I are fine. We left Las Vegas last Friday, long before the asshole opened fire at the UNLV campus on Wednesday. We're still exhausted from the trip, and I'm playing catch-up on things.

Like giving the dogs a bath. Bella and Blaze came home with a funky smell from the other dogs at the puppy hotel despite being groomed yesterday.

In the meantime, the Justice books are on sale for one more day because I didn't get around to taking them off sale early this morning.

Pestilence in Pumpkin Spice will be $0.99 until the end of the year.

I need to get the Millersburg Magick Mysteries to the Kickstarter backers. (I re-edited the last two while DH drove.) I also need to finish this year's Christmas story before my cataract surgery next Wednesday.

Y'all will have Chapter 3 of A Cup of Conflict next Wednesday!

Take care of yourselves and your loved ones. Life is terribly short.