Archive for 'the downside books'



What Stace had to say on Wednesday, June 19th, 2013
WRONG WAYS DOWN Cover!

Here it is!

I am so excited about this.

This cover is a commissioned painting by artist Alessandra Kelley. (Sometime soon I’m planning to have Alessandra here to discuss the process and how the image went from concept to final cover). Seriously, guys, she drew this. And painted it. By hand. From scratch, as it were. Isn’t that amazing?

The font is called “Dirty Ego” and was designed by Eduardo Recife at Misprinted Type.

Now that this is all done, I’m hoping to have a release date to announce SOON.

And yes, I’m including another excerpt!

It’s all after the break.

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What Stace had to say on Monday, May 20th, 2013
WRONG WAYS DOWN news!

I finally have some news to announce!

I have to apologize for the delay here; there was a bit of an issue regarding cover art, basically, which set everything back by almost two months–since formatting can’t start until the cover art is done, we’ve all been in pretty much a holding pattern. I could have bought a stock photo myself and added some text to it, sure, but I wanted something better than that. More special than that. (I’m not saying covers like that can’t be good, at all. Of course they can. I’m simply saying that I personally lack the artistic talent and photo-manipulation skill to do it. I mean, I thought my little cover for BE A SEX-WRITING STRUMPET was pretty cute, but not only do I want something more…custom, shall we say, for this, there’s a good chance that I’m one of the only ones who thought so.) Add in the extra time for repeated editing passes, and copyediting by a professional, and now cover art which is being illustrated and painted by a professional artist, then then proper formatting (not just a text dump), and hopefully that explains some of the delay. It’s important to me that this be indistinguishable from the other books in the series, and that takes time. (Again, it’s not my intention at all to imply that if somebody manages to do all this faster it means lesser quality.)

But. I DO have something to share! I’ve been meaning to post the back cover copy for a while, and figured now was the perfect time, since I should hopefully have cover art to show in the next couple of weeks. And once that’s done, there should be a release date announcement not long after. (Future projects won’t take so long, I swear; I’m learning as I go here, and now I know a lot more about how to do all of this. Like, for example, don’t wait until the book is actually done to settle on a title and begin the cover art process. Heh.)

So. Here’s the back cover copy for WRONG WAYS DOWN, and then a new excerpt (remember, WWD is set in the time between UNHOLY GHOSTS and UNHOLY MAGIC; actually it takes place over the week surrounding New Year’s Eve, to be more specific).

It’s a thin line between right and wrong. It’s an even thinner one between wrong and dead…

Terrible has always been on the wrong side of the law, living up to the only name anyone ever gave him. As the chief enforcer for Downside’s most powerful criminal, it’s his job to collect debts and protection money by any means necessary. And he’s very good at his job.

But part of that job is also to keep Bump’s various employees safe. So when a street dealer is found dead and a prostitute is brutally attacked, Terrible immediately starts using his fists to hunt down the ones responsible.

He’s determined to find and destroy them. They’re determined to use his desire for the woman he secretly loves to break him.

EXCERPT:

He ain’t minded the cold, or the dark, but it did make shit harder. Finding people on the street weren’t as easy, and not as many people out there who might try starting shit with him he could finish. And fuck how he wanted to finish something just then, when Bump’s anger still made him tight inside. And fuck, wasn’t he glad he got the chance; third name on he list were home.

He flexed his fingers, stretching them, before curling them into a fist and slamming them into Sharp-Eye Ben’s face again. Ain’t should have felt good doing it, but it did.

And it helped him forget all the other shit. Helped him forget how he’d failed protecting the girls and how maybe he weren’t smart enough to find the dude attacked Sue. Helped him forget how his daughter ain’t even knew she was his, that she thought some other dude was her dad and he couldn’t ever, ever say the truth. Helped him forget how he looked, how fucking pitiful he was when it came to Chess, how he weren’t good enough to even be her friend, weren’t good enough for much at all.

Except this. This was the one thing he did better than anybody else, leastaways better’n anybody else he’d ever met. He’d never lost a fight. And when he was doing it, using his fists, his whole body…he felt right. Like his body did the thinking he mind couldn’t seem to get, and when he was fighting he thought faster than anybody else. If fists were brains he was the smartest dude in the city, and he couldn’t help how that made him feel good.

“Two weeks is up, Ben,” he said, letting his fist hang cocked in the air so Ben could see it. “Ain’t seein any lashers in my hand.”

“Sorry,” Ben gasped. Kinda hard to make out the words, what with he mouth all puffy and bloody, but Terrible had a lot of experience with that. “Tried, I done, I tried, but I ain’t got it yet. Just another week’s all I need, another week—”

Terrible hit him again. “Don’t got another week.”

He dropped Ben—he’d been holding him up by the hair—and turned away as Ben crumpled to the floor. Ben were a speed-banger; his place looked like a banger’s place, almost empty, and cold in the merciless light from the unshaded overheads.

But Ben were a cutpurse, too, which meant he might have something hidden away. Some last valuable thing, pass on to somebody who’d buy he a bag with it, since Ben couldn’t buy from any of Bump’s until he’d paid up. Also meant he knew other thieves, more’n Terrible did.

“Gonna have me the money soon,” Ben whined behind him. Terrible hoisted the end of the cheap-ass couch to look underneath it. Nothing but dust and bloody tissues. “Met—met me a dame, says she give me it, she do. Just ain’t knowing you be here on the today. Can have it on morrow, I can, have it for you then I’m swearing, just…”

Terrible ignored him. No food in the kitchen cabinets—no surprise there—cepting some dusty hard candies loose on a shelf. Nothing in the fridge but cheap beer. He opened the drawers, the freezer, looked under the sink. Dead bugs and rat droppings. Why anybody live that way when they had the choice? Terrible’d had enough filth around when he were a kid, sleeping on the street, staying with any lonely drunk or junkie offered him a bed or some food. Now he had he own place, he ain’t ever wanted to sleep with rats or roaches again.

Ben was still on the floor, ain’t moved at all. Blood dripped out his nose onto the thin dirty carpet. Terrible stepped over him to look in the bathroom and bedroom. Better chances on finding aught in there.

Couple loaded needles. He didn’t touch those. Didn’t really wanna touch shit in that bathroom, actually, or in that apartment. Chess carried gloves, just like she carried baby wipes. He wished she were with him. She’d help him search, help—no, he didn’t wish it. He hated her seeing him work, leastaways like that. It were different when he was protecting her or helping her, but…he hated her seeing him work.

Not causen he were embarrassed by what he did. More like he were embarrassed causen of how he felt about what he did, and it were just more evidence that he was a dumb fucking savage or aught like that, not the kinda man a dame like her even should talk to.

He’d found two gold watches tucked up under the mattress, obviously stolen, before Ben spoke again. “Please…hear you had you a robbery on the other night, I hear. Maybe I can get some knowledge on it for you.”

So Ben only knew about Sue, not Slick. Or was pretending he only knew on Sue, but Terrible guessed he honestly ain’t. Shit like that weren’t Ben’s style; he didn’t think Ben had any at all to do with the attacks, only that Ben might be an ear to the ground and Ben would be happy as hell to pass on whatany knowledge he got.

Ben musta seen him thinking. “Please. Terrible, maybe I find somethin out, maybe I give you what I find, maybe that be a help? Them watches—that one be my daddy’s, it were, my daddy’s watch.”

“Aye?” Damn it, why’d Ben have to fuck up a good deal with such a dumbass lie? He checked the back of the watch face, read the monogram there. “This one? What it say on the back, then?”

Ben hesitated. He’d managed to stand up; Terrible strode over to him and knocked him back down. Fuck, he were pissed enough already, and he’d just started feeling a little better, and now there Ben was pissing him off again. He’d learned a long time ago that when he got mad while he was beating on people, it ain’t ended so good. But now he was. “Don’t fuckin lie to me, Ben. Gets me mad, people lie to me. You want me fuckin mad?”

Ben shook his head, wiping at his mouth with shaking hands. “Nay, sorry, sorry, only I—weren’t thinkin, I weren’t, sorry.”

Should he hit him again? He wanted to. Ben was lying, and—aye, an that’s why he had to. Let people get away with shit, and they’d try getting away with it again. They’d think he was an easy touch, that he ain’t could figure out that they was lying. He hit Ben again. “Think better. Said you could get me some knowledge on that robbery?”

“Can—can try, I can. Bettin I can, I find somebody knows aught they can give me, I bet.”

Terrible pretended to consider it, then nodded. “Aye, right then. On morrow, dig? On morrow I come back. You better fuckin be here, an you better fuckin have the knowledge. And Bump’s money.”

Ben’s mouth fell open—as much as it could. “Thought I give you the knowledge, you take them watches, I ain’t got owes no more—”

Terrible shook his head. “Still got owes. Have em on morrow, and the knowledge. Or I come find you. And then I be mad. Dig?”

Ben nodded.

Terrible reached out and patted Ben’s shoulder, harder than he had to. “On morrow, then.”

He pocketed the watches and left, not looking back.

What Stace had to say on Thursday, February 14th, 2013
Novella News

Well, it’s Valentine’s Day. I’ve never liked Valentine’s Day much, and this one is already sort of sucky. So I’m going to cheer myself up now, by giving some news on the Terrible novella and posting an excerpt and all of that fun stuff.

First, a little FAQ:

What is the novella called?

Ha! I finally have an answer for this! The title is WRONG WAYS DOWN.

How long is it?

I’m still editing it, but my estimate is that the final version will be around 55,000 words. So it’s actually more of a short novel than a novella, but oh well.

Is it in continuity?

Yes. It takes place in the time period between UNHOLY GHOSTS and UNHOLY MAGIC; the last scene is set about two weeks before the start of UM.

What’s it about?

It’s a little mystery, basically. There’s magic and hookers and untrustworthy people and Decisions To Be Made and Temptations To Be Dealt With and, of course, plenty of violence.

It’s not about Terrible and Chess, per se. Chess is certainly in it (I finally got to write an event between them that I mentioned very briefly in CITY OF GHOSTS), and there’s certainly time spent on how he sees and thinks of her, but they’re not really working together in this one. It’s HIS story.

I’d like/I’m planning to write UM and CoG from his POV, combined as one story, but that’s going to depend at least in part on how this one does, and whether you guys like it enough to want more.

Will we find out more of Terrible’s past?

A bit more, yes. Including more details on how he came to work for Bump.

When will it be released?

I don’t have a release date yet, sorry. I’d hoped to have it released around today, but I’ve had sick kids and all kinds of other craziness happening, which has cut into my work time. I am almost finished editing, though, and have a copyeditor lined up and all of that, so I’m hoping to have at least a close estimate soon.

And for those who follow me on Twitter… Yes, Terrible makes himself a sandwich at some point. Hee.

So…on to the excerpt! It’s a scene with Chess in it, because it’s Valentine’s Day. (Plus, come on, I know what you guys want to see.)

(This is pre-copyedits; final version may vary slightly.)

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What Stace had to say on Thursday, November 22nd, 2012
Happy Thanksgiving!

Some of you are aware that I am writing a novella from Terrible’s POV, which I am hoping to have ready for a Christmas release. So I figure, it’s Thanksgiving, and because the thing I am most thankful for is YOU (yes, you), I’d post the first chapter of it here so you can get a look at it.

Please keep in mind I haven’t finished this, or edited it yet. This is pretty literally a first draft. But I do hope you all enjoy it! (It does not yet have a title, FYI.) And it starts in the time between UNHOLY GHOSTS and UNHOLY MAGIC, though it will move into UM and CoG as the story goes on.

So…here we go!

Chapter One

He’d seen a lot of dead bodies in his life. He’d created a lot of dead bodies in his life, done a lot of damage to living ones. But he’d only a few times seen a body like the one in front of him now, flesh torn an frozen into jagged chunks, covered in blood turned to ice. Slick Michigan, one of Bump’s street-dealers.

What was left of him, leastaways. He were barely recognizable; sliced to shit, with nothing but bloody holes in he chest and stomach, between his legs. His throat was slit. His skin were shredded.

That was part of the problem. Terrible knelt by the body to get a closer look. Had somebody chopped Slick up like that, or had animals got to him? There were plenty around. Not just dogs and cats, neither. Never could tell what might come outen an alley, especially where they were, near the docks.
Dock people kept all kinda shit as pets; hell, he wouldn’t be surprised to find some of them had been eating off Slick. Terrible hated being by the docks. He scanned the streets over and over, watched the windows of the buildings nearby, ready to move fast if he saw even a shadow. The barrel of his gun dug into his side; usually he left it in the car, but on the border streets, or the docks…

“What you thinking?” Roley stood on Slick’s other side, shifting from foot to foot. Anxious. Terrible guessed he couldn’t blame him. The sight of Slick ain’t exactly made him feel good, neither, even if they weren’t where they were. “Like a pack of dogs got he, aye?”

Terrible shook his head. “Somebody had a knife. Slit he throat. But the rest…ain’t know.”

He stood up. “Get he packed up, dig, take he to the cooler. Let Bump get a look in.”

He weren’t thinking just of Bump having a look, though, were he? No. He weren’t. Which made sense. Got a mutilated body, it made sense to have a witch look at it. Especially since he ain’t liked the look of some of them slices, some of them patches of missing skin. Looked like maybe somebody carved some shit into Slick’s body, maybe then cut it off after he were dead. Like maybe somebody doing magic.

So it made sense to think maybe he oughta give Chess a ring-up, see was she busy, if she minded having a look. He hated to do it to her, since Slick ain’t exactly looked pretty, but still. Made sense.

Made sense to step back as Roley and Winchuk started moving Slick’s body, too. An unburied body were like a magnet for a ghost, or could be. Chess taught him that; well, he’d always thought it were true, but she’d confirmed it. Sometimes they’d try coming back, getting back into them bodies. Why they had to be buried so fast, burned so fast. Were why he made sure them at the Crematorium got their money every month, right on time, so bodies could get dropped off there and taken care of.

But he ain’t felt that kind of…unease, like he’d learned he felt when ghosts were around. Not a big feeling. Just a funny one, like somebody were squeezing his stomach a little bit.

Whatever it was, he ain’t felt it then. Good thing, too. But he still didn’t like the look of that body, and he still thought it were best to check with Bump and get the aye to bring Chess in.

Had nothing to do with wanting an excuse to spend more time with her. Nothing at all. Just doing he job.

Roley and Winchuk had Slick turned over. Terrible held up a hand to stop em going further, then reached into Slick’s pockets. The denim, crusted with frozen blood, scratched at the back of his hand as he pulled out Slick’s wallet. Nothing missing, least not what he could see. Still had lashers in it; Terrible weren’t certain how much Slick shoulda had, but he had enough that it ain’t looked like he got robbed. Drugs in he other pocket, too, so definitely ain’t been robbed.

That ain’t made much sense, though. Not for the docks. Aye, this spot—way up ninety-ninth—weren’t a busy one. And aye, Slick had only been dead half a day at most; he picked up he product the night before just right but ain’t showed up that morning to turn in he earnings. So no more than fifteen hours, and long enough to freeze solid, or at least for he skin and all to freeze solid, causen he might just be so stiff from being dead.

He’d died sometime during the night, was all Terrible knew. Figuring shit like that weren’t what he done best; well, figuring any shit weren’t what he done best, was it?

A small crowd had started forming, attracted—he guessed—by the sight of him, Roley, and Winchuk. Maybe attracted by the body, seeing as how the sun had only been up a few hours and it were hidden in some tall weeds where it weren’t easy to see, specially in the dark.

But a crowd in the docks never were a good thing. He knew enough of the dock-people not to be worried. Knew what to do if they started getting too close, if it started lookin like they realized they outnumbered him. But he ain’t exactly wanted to do it, so better to just get out clean.

And try figuring why Slick were up in that part of town to start with. He worked Fifty-fourth, nowhere near the docks. No reason for him bein up there, where most of the buildings ain’t even had roofs and most of the walls looked like crumbling pyramids.

He gave Roley and Winchuk the nod to lift the body. No blood. A little on the grass and trash under it, but looked like transfer. None soaked into the dirt. Slick ain’t been killed there, then. Just dumped there.

He looked at the little crowd. “Anybody hear aught? See anything?”

Heads shook all around. Shit. Were what he expected, but still shit.

A dame stepped forward, her skin as pale as Slick’s from cold an lack of sun. Terrible ain’t felt the cold much neither—an even if he did he wouldn’t have showed it—but he couldn’t imagine how that dame weren’t shivering so hard she could barely stand. Barely dressed at all, she was, just wrapped inna dirty blanket scrap with holes for she arms, tied around her waist with a blue ribbon. Bright blue, only barely smudged with dirt. Like she tried keeping it clean an nice, tried making herself pretty the only way she could. Something about it made sadness echo in he chest.

Specially since there wasn’t shit he could do on it, not really. He’d slip her some cash for her knowledge, but it wouldn’t go past her next meal, maybe whatever man she gave herself to; no woman went alone on the docks. Not even a tough little one like this one, standing straight an ignoring the cold.

Then he looked a little closer an saw part of the reason why she ain’t felt the cold, leastaways. Her pupils were hardly visible, just tiny black dots practically spinning in her eyes.

“Be Unk’s place, there,” she said, in such a high, squeaky voice he almost expected dogs to start howling. Her bony arm stretched out, her bony finger pointing at the paper-covered window—weren’t even a real window, just an irregular hole knocked in the brick wall—next to where Slick’s body had been. “Could be Unk see or hearn aught, could be, you asking he.”

Terrible turned, stared at the window-hole. Whoever Unk were, he were likely watching now. He’d come out in a minute, when he saw them all looking, saw Terrible looking. Least Terrible hoped he would. He’d heard Unk’s name before, and them at the docks seemed to respect the dude. Terrible didn’t want to have to go in after him.

And he didn’t have to. After a minute or so—a minute or so in which Terrible unfolded his arms, straightened his back, raised his chin, making the threat more clear—the tied-together battered slats of wood that worked as a door opened, and Unk stepped out onto he front walk.

Old and skinny, bundled in scraps of burlap and fur that looked like dog. A bright green stocking cap covered his head all the way down to his eyes. Bright, aware eyes. Unk had seen something, aye he had.

“Dumped he here roundabout darktide,” he said. “Darktide, it were, hearing me a car, an gave me a peek. Fast peek, ain’t watching long. No headlights. No moonlights. Ain’t seed it much. But hearing me a voice. Man voice. Hearing the trunk close.”

He looked at Slick’s corpse, or what there were of it, wrapped in plastic hangin between Roley an Winchuk. “Hearing a thud. Car drives off.”

Terrible nodded his thanks. “Drive off fast? Only one voice?”

“One voice. No tires squealin or whatnot.” Unk bowed. “Be all.”

Terrible nodded again. So two people—only one talked, aye, but who’d he be talking to iffen he were on his alones?—dumped Slick there at low tide, which would be just before dawn if he had his knowledge right. Which maybe he ain’t, of course. He’d have to check. And whoever it was either figured he weren’t seen or ain’t gave a fuck iffen he was, causen he ain’t bothered to take off fast.

Which sounded like it were planned, not panicked. People panicked and killed somebody, they were terrified of being seen and caught. They fucked up, made mistakes, ran around tryna hide. But people who planned murders, they didn’t worry so much. They studied, hunted around for places to dump the body, set on times to do it when almost nobody be up to see or hear.

Meant good chances they knew the docks, too, seeing as how darktide were superstition in the dock-people. Bad luck, so they thought. They ain’t gone out during it. They ain’t liked it when the tide come in, neither, but then Terrible felt the same way. The air felt weird when the tide come in, like charged with electricity.

Weren’t the time to start thinking on it. Unk had already gone back inside, so Terrible pulled two twenties from his wallet and held them out to the woman. She stepped forward like she were walking on jagged glass, every step real hesitant and scared, and tugged them out of his hand from arm’s length.

Terrible tipped his head toward Unk’s house, seeing the paper over the window gapped on the side. So Unk were watching, would know he had lashers coming. “Pass he one, dig?”

The dame nodded.

Behind her the crowd started shifting. Time to get gone. He could stay longer, aye, but better to save that for when he needed it. Best thing to do in that part of town was get in fast, get out fast. Hand out a few lashers or a few broken bones, depending; enough of both so they didn’t forget who he was.
He gave Roley and Winchuk the nod toss the body into the back of the truck, and watched them get in the cab theyselves. Time to go.

Time to start tryin to find out who killed Slick Michigan, and more importantly why.

* * *

Bump’s annoyance came through loud and clear when Terrible walked into the red living room. Always hurt his eyes a little at first, afore he got used to it. He weren’t a fan of the pictures on the walls, neither, but weren’t his place to say on it. He just tried not to pay em too much attention.

Bump paced up and down the floor, his gold toe-ring flashing with every other step. His cane leaned against the couch; he wore loose black pants and a blue button-front shirt, and his eyes were bloodshot. Looked like he’d been up all night celebrating something. Terrible wondered when he’d left his house last.

“Be Slobag, betting,” Bump said, without stopping he pacing. “Fuckin betting him behind this one, yay, tryna take heself over, gots he—”

“Naw.” Interrupting Bump wasn’t always the best idea, but he really ain’t wanted to see this one turn into an all-day tirade. “Ain’t thinkin so. Thinkin be some else. Slick all cut up, dig, ain’t just were shot or whatany, like that kinda killing. Lookin like…like be personal, maybe. Or got some other reasoning’s behind it. An Slick ain’t work near the borders, neither. No reasoning I see why it’d be him them went for.”

“Maybe Slick be fuckin spyin.”

Terrible shrugged. “Know Slick gots heself a rep, likes the dames already got men, dig. Maybe one of them catch up to he. Ain’t be the first time he been in trouble over it.”

Bump waved his hand. “Maybe. Maybe you got it right, yay, got the fuckin recall now on that. Only I ain’t wanting rule Slobag the fuck out, yay, ain’t wanting fuckin forget on he. You give it the check-on, you get onna street.”

That one wasn’t too bad. Calmed down fast that time. Good thing, too, causen what Terrible was about to say wouldn’t make Bump happy. “Also…had the thinkin could be magic, dig. Slick gots he some funny cuts on he, like maybe something carved into he, then cut off so’s we ain’t know on it. Like be some ritual or whatany like that.”

“You just fuckin sat there gave me how it probably some fuckin dude ain’t liked Slick fucking he woman. Which one it fuckin be?”

“Just sayin, is all.” He pulled out a smoke and lit it up, spent a few seconds arranging the ashtray to give himself time to think how to put it. Damn it, he should have thought on it more in the car, gave himself time to get the words right. “Ain’t know which it is. Were thinkin…maybe oughta give Chess a ring-up, ask her take a look. Just for certain, dig.”

Silence. He kept staring at the red carpet, tryna pretend there were nothing more to his thought than wanting to make sure they had everything covered. Aye, that was the reason, true thing. He wouldn’t ask on bringing Chess in iffen he were certain what or who got Slick. But he knew Bump wouldn’t see it that way, not after some of the comments he’d made over the last month and a half.

Sure enough, when he glanced up Bump was watching him, arms folded, leaning against his desk. “Thinkin be magic? Or thinkin be a fuckin excuse spend you some time with the ladybird?”

“Ain’t needing an excuse.” He shrugged as he said it, like it ain’t mattered. “Wouldn’t say iffen I ain’t think it could be something.”

Bump held out his hand. “Lemme have a look-see on them fuckin photos again.”

The camera sat in Terrible’s bag, at his feet. He dug it out and handed it over without meeting Bump’s eyes. Maybe he were wrong. The only evidence he had that it could be something to do with magic was his own suspicion. There weren’t any markings or any shit like that on the body. No weird magic shit in he pockets or aught like that. Nothing. Maybe he was just wishing it, causen it’d be a chance to see Chess more.

He already saw her a fuck of a lot more than he’d ever expected, or hoped. Almost every day. Never would have seen that one coming; iffen he’d been asked two months past he’d have said she may have been the prettiest dame he’d ever met but she seemed like one of the bitchiest too—but this would be extra time.

He sure as fuck wouldn’t complain on seeing her more. But he didn’t think that were why. He just didn’t. Something on this one were setting off alarms in he mind, makin him feel like…like something was wrong. Something starting that weren’t good, wouldn’t end well.

Bump flipped through the images on the camera, the pictures Terrible had taken an hour or so before in the cooler. “Just looks like fuckin slices to me, yay? Come fuckin on, Terrible, you done worse damage than that you own fuckin self, specially you lose you fuckin temper. You fuckin knowing that.”

“Aye.” He did know that, ceptin he ain’t lose he temper with knives, not since he were a kid. “Only, some of them patches missing, were thinking maybe were shit carved into he skin.”

“An now them fuckin gone. So what you fuckin think the ladybird gonna pick fuckin up offa that? Nothin to fuckin see is nothing to fuckin see, yay?”

Fuck. He ain’t thought on that one. Made sense, though. Chess were smart, real fucking smart. Had she all that school, an knew more than he could ever hope to. But aye, even she probably ain’t could figure on what magic might be used iffen there weren’t any evidence of it. An the body ain’t felt like aught were happening with it, neither; Terrible weren’t real good on all that, but he knew how he’d felt when everything went down at Chester Airport, and he ain’t felt anything like that with Slick’s body.

Maybe he were just wanting to get Chess involved so he could be with her. Maybe all he concerns were just bullshit made up causen he wanted to be with her more. “Just figured it ain’t hurt askin.”

Bump snorted. “Askin to get you some fuckin trouble, yay. Oughta fuckin know you better. Ain’t can trust a junkie.”

“You trust her.”

“Nay, I fuckin ain’t. Trust her do what I fuckin ask she doing, yay, causen her does it, her gets she needs, dig? Puts Bump in control. Only ain’t fuckin seein you given em to she, so ain’t can guess on why you givin she the fuckin trust you do.”

He forced himself not to move. “Chess ain’t like that.”

“Yay, her is. Only you ain’t fuckin seein it, causen you wanting in she panties so fuckin bad, gots you all crazed up—”

“Ain’t—”

“Don’t got the knowing why you ain’t just fuck she already, yay, get you fuckin over you bullshit on it.”

Like it was that simple.

No point explaining that, though. Explaining that he didn’t try because if she didn’t let him they’d both feel awkward and he wouldn’t get to see her anymore. He didn’t try because if she did let him—and she might, sometimes he had the thought she just might, specially were she fucked up—she’d run away from him as soon as they were done. He knew she would. She’d done it before. She’d done it that night, the one he couldn’t forget no matter how hard he tried—and he’d tried real fucking hard. No point explaining that she preferred her bedpartners first-name- and one-time-only.

So pretty much, he didn’t try because no matter if she let him or not, he wouldn’t get to see her anymore.

And definitely no point explaining how that would kill him. He’d already had a taste of what he were missing, and it was fucking torture. He couldn’t imagine how much worse it would be to actually have her, to have her bare skin against his and her warm body under his, to touch her everywhere, kiss her everywhere…and then lose her. For good.

Bump must have seen something on his face. Or maybe it was just that Bump already knew all this; not cause he’d been told, but just because he knew. Bump weren’t stupid. He had eyes. His expression changed, the sarcasm and irritation leaving. “Be fuckin careful, yay? Alls I meaning. Dig me that you and she got some fuckin friend thing on, her likin you and all that fuckin shit. Can see her fuckin do. Maybe you gots the right, there, yay. Her do got the knowing how to keep she fuckin mouth shut, her do.”

He shifted position, crossing his ankles in the other direction. “Only still wanting you bein fuckin careful. Gots meself some fuckin experience on this one, Terrible. Ain’t can trust a junkie, causen it fuckin comes down to you or them pills? Them takin the pills every fuckin time. Wishing it weren’t the fuckin truth, yay, I do, only it is. And ain’t wanting you fuckin get the hard find-out on it.”

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

What Stace had to say on Monday, May 7th, 2012
FINDING MAGIC and a few other bits

I’m really excited about this, guys! A while ago I had an idea for an “origin story” for Chess, a little look into what life was like for her while she was in Church training. I mentioned it to my editor at Del Rey, and long story short, it’s called FINDING MAGIC, and the expected/planned release date for it is June 4. Less than a month away! It’s a novella, around 40k words, and I believe the price will be 99¢.

I don’t yet have cover art for it, but I have a blurb, and since the members of my Goodreads Q&A group asked for it, I have an excerpt for you, too!

Karen Marie Moning has called Stacia Kane’s Downside Ghosts series “dark, sexy urban fantasy at its finest.” Now, in this breathlessly suspenseful eBook novella, Kane has written a prequel to her thrilling series. Before Chess Putnam was a magic-wielding Churchwitch, she was a student in the Church of Real Truth—with a keen sensitivity to magic, a strong rebellious streak, and a penchant for self-destruction. And in Finding Magic, a grisly ghost murder becomes Chess’s baptism of fire.

When eighteen-year-old Chess Putnam is offered the chance to train with a special team of investigators known as the Black Squad, she feels torn. She’s never been a team player and hates how one male Inquisitor condescends to “the new kid.” But at her first bloody crime scene, she gets a taste for investigation—and is hooked on the high. Though the seasoned Inquisitors consider the series of ghost murders random events, Chess starts to detect a pattern. Is a psycho killer summoning ghosts from the City of Eternity and using them as murder weapons? As Chess gets closer to the dark truth, she puts herself in grave danger and risks losing everything she’s fought so hard for.

Includes a special preview of Stacia Kane’s upcoming urban fantasy thriller, Chasing Magic!

Note: I don’t yet know what from CHASING MAGIC is excerpted. But CM does have its first printed review!! Five Stars from The Book Evangelist:

With each and every novel Stacia Kane writes, my admiration and respect for her as an author increases. The Downside Ghosts books just keep getting better and better. … Chess is really forced to look at herself in Chasing Magic; she is forced to grow up and mature in ways I have been hoping for but dared not expect. I loved this book, and cannot imagine how I will get through the wait for the next one.

Also, this is really cool (for me, anyway). The Guardian (one of the biggest UK newspapers) did a review of HOME IMPROVEMENT: UNDEAD EDITION, in which they singled out my story RICK THE BRAVE as one of the two best in the volume (along with Patricia Briggs’s GRAY):

Far better are “Gray” by Patricia Briggs, a poignant vampire revenge drama; and Stacia Kane’s “Rick the Brave”, an original take on the ghost-hunting theme.

Anyway. Without further ado, here’s an excerpt from FINDING MAGIC! (As usual, this is from the pre-copyedited ms, so the final printed version may vary slightly): Read the rest of this entry »

What Stace had to say on Tuesday, October 4th, 2011
News, notes, and Norway!

First some YAYNEWS! My wonderful agentman has just sold UNHOLY GHOSTS, UNHOLY MAGIC, and CITY OF GHOSTS to Schibsted Forlag in Norway! I have no idea what the titles might translate to or when the books will be published there or anything else, but it’s awesome just the same. So I’m very excited.

Second, just a quick note re the blog. From now on, all links posted will open in a new window.

So. This is fun. Remember last week when I blogged about those two YADS? And basically just said hey, these sites don’t tend to work for me, because I don’t personally want to wade through slush? One of those sites took great offense, I guess, to the fact that I pointed out on AW that their stated goal of getting two thousand reviews for a book before it’s published is an extremely difficult one to reach (I assume that was the issue, since as far as I could tell they didn’t even see my blog post), and sent me a nice little email about it. Only, they didn’t actually email me about their site or why I was wrong about it. And it wasn’t actually a nice email. And they didn’t even mention their site. Instead they informed me that my writing “sucks shit balls,” that my books are dull and unoriginal, and that “you new authors” (I guess having only five years of being commercially published still makes me a “new author”) are “all the same” and don’t know how to tell a story “old school.”

Of course, since they apparently don’t understand what an IP address is or how one can be tracked through websites, I guess they thought this was a very clever little attack on me, sure to leave me crying into my pillow. Unluckily for them, I do know what an IP address is and how it can be tracked through websites, and so was able to identify them pretty much immediately, even between bouts of laughter and head-shaking at the feebleness of that attempt to upset me.

So, my initial “Sigh, people have tried this before and it doesn’t work” reservation about that particular YADS has turned into a much stronger “Avoid avoid avoid,” because rather than discuss the actual issue, they send childish insults through email using someone else’s name (they claimed to be “Jason Biggs”) or leave nasty comments on someone’s blog (not here, but a friend who participated in the AW thread got some fun ones). Which display site was it, you ask? Well, it wasn’t PUBSLUSH.

In other news…beauty news: I don’t know if any of you ever read Jezebel, but I do. And commenters there often discuss using the Oil Cleansing Method to wash their faces. Since we’ve gotten to England–a different climate–my skin’s been a little unhappy, as it often gets when seasons change, etc.; it tends to be a bit dry and quite sensitive anyway, and it hasn’t been a major problem, but enough of one that I was curious to try the Oil Cleansing thing, especially since A) I’ve seen so many people raving about it, and B) when we got here I decided to try a new cleanser & moisturizer, switching from the Shiseido stuff which served me very well and trying Fresh’s soy cleanser and a Murad moisturizer; neither of which I particularly liked. Well, I liked the cleanser okay (though it was awfully pricey for such a small tube; more expensive than the Shiseido, which was already not cheap at $35 or so for one tube, but which was a bigger tube and which required me to use such a small amount it was actually worth it; that one tube lasted me over a year and a half and there’s still a decent amount left). But it was my birthday so I decided it’d be fun to do something new. I definitely don’t like the Murad moisturizer, though. It made me feel greasy and heavy, like my skin was covered in plastic. Ick.

Anyway.
Read the rest of this entry »

What Stace had to say on Wednesday, September 21st, 2011
SACRIFICIAL MAGIC cover!

Just in time to celebrate the exclusive excerpt of Chapter Two over on Dark Faerie Tales (part of the Summer Supernatural Smackdown event; comment there and you could win all three Downside books!), I get to finally how you the cover of SACRIFICIAL MAGIC!

I’m so, so happy with it! It’s a new look, a new model (and she’s just gorgeous), and I couldn’t be happier.

Read the rest of this entry »

What Stace had to say on Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011
I’m on sale!

Whee!

A while ago I found out that the lovely people at Random House were planning to offer UNHOLY GHOSTS at a special promotional price. VERY exciting. I didn’t want to say anything about it because we hadn’t set on a specific date or anything, but now that’s it happening I can shout it from the rooftops (and if you all would help me do so, I’d be very grateful).

So, UNHOLY GHOSTS is now available for Kindle AND Nook–and I assume, any number of other ebook sales sites in North America (Random House only publishes me in Canada and the US, so the special price only applies to those territories)–for ONLY NINETY-NINE CENTS.

Yes, NINETY-NINE CENTS.

So if you haven’t read the book, now’s your chance. If you have a hard copy but just got an ereader and are converting your paper library to electronic, now’s your chance (wouldn’t it be cool if you could buy the paperback, and like for an extra buck or two the ebook would be bundled with it?).

If you’re still on the fence, you can download and read the first five chapters for free, just by clicking here: UNHOLY GHOSTS sample (2455).

But wait! There’s MORE!

UNHOLY MAGIC and CITY OF GHOSTS are both also on sale, for $4.99! That’s UNHOLY MAGIC–book 2 in the series–on Kindle and Nook, and CITY OF GHOSTS–Book 3–on Kindle and Nook.

Yes, that means you can download the entire series for eleven dollars.

I’m very excited about this!

In other news, I handed in my “final” version of HOME, the short Downside story I sold to Heroes and Heartbreakers, a couple of days ago (I had a couple of minor changes I wanted to make before it went to the editor there) AND–tah-dah!–handed in my “final” draft of Downside 5, CHASING MAGIC, to my editor at Del Rey. Of course, I know she’ll have edits for it, so the book isn’t “finished” yet, but still. It’s done, and the handed-in version ran 108,000 words. I figure after her edits it’ll be around 110 at least. So, shorter than SACRIFICIAL MAGIC, but long enough that I feel you guys are getting some value for money. And I’m still quite excited about this one; I think it’s pretty fast-paced and exciting, and there’s a whole bunch of twisty-turny stuff happening in Chess’s life, and of course I just really hope you’ll all enjoy it.

So. Go forth and read!

What Stace had to say on Friday, July 15th, 2011
Here we go!

*drumroll* Downside book 5 is officially titled:

CHASING MAGIC

I’m really, really excited about it; I think it’s a great title, and I’m quite pleased with the book in general, and yay etc. etc.

Also, as I promised on Monday, Stellar Four has posted a big huge excerpt of the opening chapter of SACRIFICIAL MAGIC up on their site, as both a cool thing to do for their first-ever Urban Fantasy Week and as a thank-you to all of you; the winner of my Downside T-shirt in the L.A. Banks auction was one of the ladies from St4, and she wouldn’t have had to cough up anywhere near as much cash as she did if not for all of you amazing, generous, and awesome people. The excerpt will go up at around 11am PST, which is still a while away and I didn’t want to wait to do my blog post for today. So you can check back here–I’ll update the post when the excerpt goes up–or you can check back there directly.

Last night I got my first look at the cover art for SACRIFICIAL MAGIC. It made me very, very happy. I can’t wait to show it to you! Which I will do as soon as I can. It’s getting a few little tweaks here and there at the moment, so fingers crossed it’ll only be a few more weeks.

A small but interesting discussion has been taking place over whether or not authors should rate their own books at Goodreads/LibraryThing/B&N/Amazon/wherever else. I’m actually surprised the subject is still coming up; I thought it was rather obvious that rating one’s own books makes one look like a tool? (Yes, I know, I wasn’t going to discuss this stuff anymore, but this isn’t really a long discussion and there seems to be a consensus anyway. Of course, we’ll see how long it takes for “Stacia Kane says you’ll never ever get published if you rate your own books on Goodreads” to pop up.)

Rating one’s own books is one of those things you see recommended/mentioned a lot on the message boards of vanity presses, along with the usual other useless stuff like having your friends and family review and rate your books so it looks like lots of people love them. Or trading reviews with other authors from the same press, and having your book’s name in your reviewer handle/sig/whatever to attract attention to you and your books, too. The problem with all of these ideas is that readers aren’t stupid. A 5-star review from the book’s author is a red flag. That red flag gets even bigger when you add a few other reviews from people in the same geographic area (and/or with the same last name as the author), especially when those reviews tend to be rather shallow, like “This book is wonderful. I couldn’t put it down. What a beautiful story!” and nothing else. Like I said, I think readers are smarter than that.

It just looks bad, rating your own books. It’s tacky. It looks desperate. I’ve never seen an author I respect or admire do it; I’ve seen one or two I have the exact opposite feelings for do it. Anyone who tells you it’s a good idea is someone whose judgment should be questioned, thoroughly and comprehensively.

What Stace had to say on Monday, February 14th, 2011
Title! News! Stuff like that!

This is just a quick update today; I’m knee-deep in a bunch of stuff–not least of which, of course, if the fifth Downside book, which crossed the 13k mark last night and which is (touch wood) going really well so far. Dastardly deeds already abound, and we’ve so far had injuries and creepiness and corpses and blood all over the street.

And of course I have edits for Downside 4, as well, which you may or may not have heard now has an official title!

SACRIFICIAL MAGIC

I’m excited about it; it fits the book really well, and yes, that is sort of a hint, but you’ll never guess the big thing it’s hinting at/referring to, trust me.

I’m also working on a new project, which a few people have asked me about. I’m not saying anything about it, really, because I don’t want to jinx it. It’s something I’ve actually been sort of fiddling with for a while, but have had a bunch of false starts on, so I’m hoping this is the one that will stick. Keeping my fingers crossed, anyway. It’s called DREADFUL THINGS. Only about 7k words so far, but words I’m really pleased with. Lots of worldbuilding, which is tons of fun, and hints of Dark Doings in my heroine’s past, and murders and magic and rooftops and sewers and all those things that make books worth writing. So we’ll see where it goes, anyway.

Let’s see, what else. I was going to blog today about why we don’t get real men in movies/TV anymore, but I was so busy playing with the WIPs last night I forgot to write it. Or rather, by the time I got around to it, it was 4 am, and that’s my bedtime (I have started forcing myself to go to bed at 4, because otherwise I’ll never go to bed at all). Of course, since I go to bed so late, I also sleep late, which is why I try to do my blog posts the night before, which is why I didn’t do the Man one. So look for that on Wednesday, and then the long-promised Write What You Know post will be along very soon too, and I’m looking forward to that one.

Anyway. Since this is rather short and all, here’s a snippet from Downside Five, just for fun. I’m making the print white, because it does contain a very minor spoiler; it may be important to the plot or it may not, but just in case you don’t want even a hint of what sorts of things may happen in the fifth book, you can skip it.

This is from the second chapter, and Lex was waiting for Chess when she got home.

He walked the few more steps into her living room, plunked himself down on her new couch. Well, maybe not exactly new—she’d had it about two months—but it still seemed new.

Without asking she grabbed a beer from the fridge and handed it to him.

He nodded his thanks. “Coursen…now you mentioning it, could be maybe I got a favor you could do me.”

Uh-huh. She let the totally-not-fooled expression sit on her face another few seconds. “Really. Like what?”

“Thinking maybe you ain’t mind working me up a chatter with Terrible.”

If she’d had any liquid in her mouth she would have sprayed it everywhere in shock; as it was she just sort of sputtered. “What—but—why? Why would you want to talk to him?”

“Got my reasonings, I do.”

Oh, and happy Valentine’s Day and all of that if you’re into that sort of thing.