Archive for 'wrong ways down'



What Stace had to say on Thursday, August 8th, 2013
Updates! Details!

We’re UP at B&N! Again, Nook readers, I am so sorry for the delay!

Anyway. New reviews!

Heroes & Heartbreakers:

You get more of the story on how [Terrible] came to be who he is, and there is not one false note as can sometimes happen when authors dive into the pasts of beloved characters. All in all, this is a can’t-miss for Kane fans, and for everyone who has always wondered how Terrible became terrific.

Paperback Wonderland (someone emailed me this; check out the hilarious .gif at the end!):

Well, it’s about half past 5 a.m. and I just finished reading this, that should tell you something… Like all Downside Ghosts books – and do not be fooled by this being called a novella, it was practically the same length as a regular book (yay!) – this was incredibly addictive (ironic, really).

Now. On to the contest! Entries are strong enough that I wanted to add another winner, and then I thought, well, why not add more ways to enter, too? So I am! So there will be more than one winner, and you have lots of ways to enter, and hopefully it’s all fun.

Again, it’s a Character-Name contest, like the one I did for the release of CITY OF GHOSTS. Only this time, I already have a good idea how I’ll use your name(s) and I don’t think you’ll be too unhappy about it. (In other words, what you’re thinking? Yes.) This will be for the next Terrible-POV story, the one that will cover the events of UNHOLY MAGIC and CITY OF GHOSTS.

Don’t forget, all winners will also get a free ebook copy of that next novella. AND a free copy of the next Downside book, period.

So how do you enter?

Well. Buy the book, of course; that gets you two entries. Forward your digital receipt to DownsideArmy AT gmail, or C&P the relevant parts of it (basically, I just need proof of purchase, not your address or–of course–any payment info or anything like that).

I mentioned on Tuesday evening that I was expanding the contest to include the purchase of ANY Downside book. So if you’re not caught up on the series, this is the time to do it! Remember, the US editions of the first three ebooks are at special low prices. Also, in addition to the two entries you get for a purchase of ANY Downside book, you also get two entries if you recommend them to a friend and your friend buys one–you’ll get two, and your friend gets two. Per book. (And yes, it counts if you buy the books for them as gifts.) If you’re buying paperback copies at a physical store, scan or take a picture of the receipt and email that along. If you buy the book at the recommendation of a friend, please let me know who the friend is!

Tweet about the book, using the reader-created #terriblefever hashtag or #wrongwaysdown. I’ll be following both of those and checking them periodically, so there’s no need to email me links. (I’m counting entries retroactively from Monday, btw.)

Talk about the book! Talk about it on Facebook, on your blog, on your website or a book website or wherever you want! If you want to review it on any blog or website, that counts. If you just want to mention it, that counts. Any mention or discussion of it will count; just send me the link (again, at the DownsideArmy email). (Note: I know you guys would never do this but I want to clarify: SPAM DOESN’T COUNT. Please don’t spam people or groups or forums or whatever. If I get any entries that look like spam I’m going to disqualify them, and the people who submit them.)

If you’re sending me a receipt or link and you have also tweeted, please do let me know who you are on Twitter/Facebook/whatever other site, so I can keep all your entries together. I’d hate for you not to get credit for all of your entries.

…and that’s it! The contest will run from today (8/6) until midnight EDT on 8/15; in other words, until 11:59 PM on the 14th 8/22; 11:59 PM on the 21st. I’m adding an extra WEEK because of the delay in release. And because it’s fun.

Also, IMPORTANT: By entering this contest you are agreeing to let me use your name (or whatever other name you may choose) in the book without compensation. You are agreeing not to hold me liable if you don’t like the way you’re portrayed; I promise to do my best not to make you seem like a horrible person, but I can’t guarantee you won’t be a junkie or a prostitute or whatever. I make no guarantee as to the duration or detail of “your” scene, or that you will get a lot of or any dialogue. All I promise is that your scene will feature Terrible.

Seriously. Don’t enter if you don’t agree to this. As I mentioned above, you’ll get a free pre-release copy of the book in question, but I won’t be sending you the mss for your approval or consulting with you on it or anything. Be aware. I want you to be pleased, but I’m making no guarantee.

Thanks so much, guys! It’s been really cool to see how enthusiastic and excited everyone’s been, and the great response the book is getting!

What Stace had to say on Tuesday, August 6th, 2013
Eek! It’s out there!

(NOTE: Systems are still updating and things are still happening. I will be updating this post throughout the day as more links are available.)

CONTEST UPDATES BELOW.

So…here we are! Eek! WRONG WAYS DOWN is officially out there!

Amazon US

Amazon UK

The Createspace print version isn’t up yet, and it’s not up yet at B&N. But I promise it is being worked on and the delay shouldn’t take too much longer; I don’t know when they update their systems etc. so can’t say exactly when it’ll happen, but it will happen. I’m sorry for the delay, please keep checking back!

We have a couple of new reviews, too!

From the lovely, smart ladies at StellarFour:

…Kane takes her well-loved, laconic hired gun, Terrible, and deftly reveals a complex and nuanced antihero, exposing his innermost thoughts and feelings as he solves the mystery of who’s targeting the women who work for his boss. And, if you didn’t have big warm fuzzies for the enforcer before, you will now.

Some lovin’ from the Book Nympho:

Reading this novella has me craving a re-read of the series. … Wrong Ways Down is a MUST read for Downside fans, dig!

Goldilox and the Three Weres loves it:

This is another gritty, spectacular, emotional book in the Downside Ghosts series that will more than whet the whistle of readers waiting for the next full-length installment.

Aaaand…yes, there’s a contest! Updated!

I’ve discussed this a little before; it’s a Character-Name contest, like the one I did for the release of CITY OF GHOSTS. Only this time, I already have a good idea how I’ll use your name and I don’t think you’ll be too unhappy about it. (In other words, what you’re thinking? Yes.) This will be for the next Terrible-POV story, the one that will cover the events of UNHOLY MAGIC and CITY OF GHOSTS.

So how do you enter?

Well. Buy the book, of course; that gets you two entries. Forward your digital receipt to DownsideArmy AT gmail, or C&P the relevant parts of it (basically, I just need proof of purchase, not your address or–of course–any payment info or anything like that).

Tweet about the book, using the reader-created #terriblefever hashtag or #wrongwaysdown. I’ll be following both of those and checking them periodically, so there’s no need to email me links. (I’m counting entries retroactively from Monday, btw.)

Talk about the book! Talk about it on Facebook, on your blog, on your website or a book website or wherever you want! If you want to review it, that counts. If you just want to mention it, that counts. Any mention or discussion of it will count; just send me the link (again, at the DownsideArmy email). (Note: I know you guys would never do this but I want to clarify: SPAM DOESN’T COUNT. Please don’t spam people or groups or forums or whatever. If I get any entries that look like spam I’m going to disqualify them, and the people who submit them.)

If you’re sending me a receipt or link and you have also tweeted, please do let me know who you are on Twitter/Facebook/whatever other site, so I can keep all your entries together. I’d hate for you not to get credit for all of your entries.

NOTE: I’m expanding this. I know there are some people out there who haven’t read any of the books. So for the next week, any purchase of ANY Downside book gets you an entry! If you’ve been waiting, now’s the time, guys. The ebook editions of the first three books are promotionally priced in the US, too.

…and that’s it! The contest will run from today (8/6) until midnight EDT on 8/15; in other words, until 11:59 PM on the 14th. That’s eight days–I’m adding an extra day because of the delay in release on some sites. And because it’s fun. Isn’t it? I think contests like this are fun, anyway, I don’t know what you people like doing. :mrgreen:

Also, IMPORTANT: By entering this contest you are agreeing to let me use your name (or whatever other name you may choose) in the book without compensation. You are agreeing not to hold me liable if you don’t like the way you’re portrayed; I promise to do my best not to make you seem like a horrible person, but I can’t guarantee you won’t be a junkie or a prostitute or whatever. I make no guarantee as to the duration or detail of “your” scene, or that you will get a lot of or any dialogue. All I promise is that your scene will feature Terrible.

Seriously. Don’t enter if you don’t agree to this. I WILL send you a free pre-release copy of the book in question but I won’t be sending you the mss for your approval or consulting with you on it or anything. Be aware. Like I said, I want you to be pleased, but I’m making no guarantee.

Onward! We have more to cover here. A couple more questions from yesterday, for example.

Escape Artist asked:

What I’d like to know is, will we ever find out what Lex’s true feelings for Chess are? Whether she really was just a warm body to him or whether she was more?

He seemed genuinely hurt when she broke up with him. That was a tough scene for me because I was equally thrilled for Terrible and sad for Lex.

It’s certainly planned, yes.

Leah S. asked:

Were there any particular songs or bands that you listened to with this book? Was it more difficult writing from Terrible’s POV?

Actually, I’ve been on a big Velvet Underground kick for a while now, which doesn’t really “fit” because VU is a Chess band rather than a Terrible band. But then I figured, they’d probably remind him of her and he might start listening to them for that reason. So it fits that way. Right? Especially “There She Goes Again,” which is pretty perfect for her.

It was more difficult, yeah, at least in some ways. It was difficult finding the balance between enough Downspeak to make it authentically Terrible’s voice, but enough proper English to make it readable. And I won’t say it was difficult, necessarily, but it was trickier or more nerve-wracking writing from his POV and making sure he sounded and seemed authentically male. Luckily I know several men who were willing to read with an eye specifically toward that.

Honestly? The most difficult thing, I think, was allowing him so many words. You guys know he tends not to talk a lot, and that he’s not always comfortable with talking; he feels that words aren’t his strong suit and he doesn’t use them very well. You and I know he has a much larger vocabulary than he’s actually comfortable using in speech, but it was interesting to actually get to use it and show that. It was interesting to actually just let him go, so to speak, and see what he came up with in his head. But it was very strange, too.

What was really surprising, rather than difficult, was how much he actually sounded like Chess. Of course I know how similar they are in terms of viewpoint and thought process, but I’m used to knowing what he’s thinking and showing it through her eyes rather than actually articulating what he’s thinking through his. And I was able to have a little fun with that a few times by basically aping things she’s said before, but in his phrasing. But really, I was quite surprised by how much he sounded like her and how many of the thoughts he had were things she could have thought without it even seeming out of place. And it was a lot of fun, too.

One or two other quick things: I’m not the only person with a release today! My lovely friends Lauren Dane, Jim Hines, and Kat Richardson both have books out, so go get them, too!

Lauren Dane’s UNCONDITIONAL

Jim’s CODEX BORN

Kat’s POSSESSION

And, which I should have mentioned before, my friend Mario Acevedo has a new one out! GOOD MONEY GONE, written with Richard Kilborn.

STILL undecided about buying WRONG WAYS DOWN? How about another little excerpt?

“People buy this shit?” he asked, scanning the list of products. “Spells to make kids obey? Spells to make worries better?”

“Pretty sleazy, huh?” Her smile, the way her dark red lips curved, made him feel like he was in on some secret with her. Like they were the smart ones. “Those places will sell anything.”

“It ain’t work, aye?”

“Nope.” She lifted her right arm and curled it behind her head, curled her fingers, to gather up her hair and pull it off her neck. Her head tilted to the right as she did it, so her throat was a long pale line rising from the collar of the blue shirt she wore over a black long-sleeve t-shirt. He knew he shouldn’t stare, he should look away fast before she noticed. But he couldn’t help it. It was so…she weren’t even aware of it, how pretty the movement was, how graceful it was, how it made his breath stop.

What Stace had to say on Monday, August 5th, 2013
Questions Answered (and bundles of nerves)

Eep!

Tomorrow WRONG WAYS DOWN will be hitting cybershelves everywhere–at least I hope it will; it’s supposed to and everything is all set for it to, but I am always convinced something is going to go horribly, horribly wrong, and release dates freak me the hell out, so… I’m in panic mode, basically, waiting for the Big Problem Shoe to drop right onto my head.

But on to other things! You guys asked me some great questions the other day, and I’m going to answer them. And post another excerpt, too.

First, though, a couple of reviews have come in! (A reminder, btw, since it’s been a while: all links open in a new window.)

From Vampire Book Club, FIVE stars!

If you thought you had it bad for Terrible before reading Wrong Ways Down, the new Downside novella set between Unholy Ghosts and Unholy Magic, prepare to swoon on a whole new level. … Terrible is truly one of the most complex and dichotomous antiheroes I’ve ever come across. His novella adds a new layer and richness to this fantastic series.

FIVE STARS from Addicted2Heroines!

Terrible has been one of my favorite male characters in urban fantasy for years, and this book only bolsters his credibility as a leading man. If you thought you understood Terrible, you will find that you are mistaken. Kane takes an already beloved character and adds layers to his persona, allowing the reader to understand him on a more personal level. … Stacia’s Downspeech is perfect in this book. It brings such a texture and even a clarity to the characters. And the writing is beautiful. Kane is able to weave a multi-layered story with serious continuity and a twisty plot.

FIVE BASKETS from Little Read Riding Hood!

This story takes place between Unholy Ghosts and Unholy Magic, and it is all in Terrible’s POV. I felt like a cat in a field of catnip, and wanted to just roll around in his mind and make myself comfortable and just stay there.

So, let’s do some questions!

Melissa asked:

Do you have any plans to go into Chess’s background? Who her parents were and why they may have left her? Or a snippet of a current Church employees POV – do they think The City is terrifying, too, but can’t admit it? Are they really “good” or was Haunted Week caused by them so they could come to power? Having The City already there seems like too good of luck.

I don’t have plans to do so, no. We won’t “find” Chess’s parents. I do have a vague sort of story in my head about the circumstances surrounding her birth, which I’m going to explain a bit more in a guest post over at Addicted2Heroines. But her parentage won’t be part of the story.

Most of the Church employees honestly think the City is a lovely place, although they all view it with a healthy dose of awe/respect. I actually think that’s the big reason why they don’t think it’s horrible; much like Chess’s reluctance to go underground because it’s disrespectful, most employees think that to see the City as a “bad” place would be disrespectful. And they like the idea of knowing where they’ll be when they die, and being able to communicate with their friends etc. So they tend to chalk up any discomfort they feel to respect or a reluctance to die (which makes them think their discomfort is wrong, because they shouldn’t be afraid/reluctant to die).

I don’t think the Church as an official body caused HW, but that doesn’t mean some members didn’t inadvertently cause it.

And the City…that WAS there already, because of the location of Triumph City. The City was a government installation; some of it was bunkers and tunnels built for government officials: fallout shelters and the like. The Church expanded it, but it was already there.

Some inspiration etc.:

Hidden Tunnels Under Washington DC

White House Tunnel System

Dupont Underground’s Secret Tunnel (Note: many of the tunnels Slobag uses are old Metro maintenance tunnels or sewer tunnels)

Underground Cities United States (scroll down to DC)

Mount Weather

The Greenbriar

(Now, granted, Mt. Weather and the Greenbriar aren’t located exactly where the Church is. But I figure, in my world there are other projects we don’t necessarily know about.)

Lyssa asked:

I’ve never read a UF book with an unattractive looking hero. Was there a reason behind making Terrible genuinely ugly?

I think only a talented writer can manage to make their ugly hero swoony and attractive through their personality. I get so sick of all the super hot UF heroes who are only sexy because of their looks and not their attitude. Terrible is refreshing.

That was basically it, Lyssa; I am of course a fan of gorgeous men, but I wanted to see if I could create a hero that wasn’t obviously The Hero the second he appeared. It was a big writing challenge, basically, in that I wanted to see if I could create a character readers would find sexy based on personality alone, or largely on personality. (That’s not to say I agree with you about my level of talent, just that it was my goal.)

Plus, one of the major themes of the series is the idea that everyone deserves some kind of love and happiness, that everyone has value, that there’s more under the surface than you might think, that what people DO is what matters more than how they look.

As I’ve said before, I was certainly hoping people would still love Terrible despite his not being outright handsome, but I never expected the response he actually got! I’m so grateful for it.

Allison asked:

I wonder if you plan on expanding on Elder Griffin’s story as it relates to Chess or just in general?

Yes and no. We will learn more about Elder Griffin, and of course there’s a bit of a reference to his home life and past in the free BRAVE TALE OF MADDIE CARVER short, but I hadn’t planned to do a whole story from his POV.

Of course, if it’s something you guys want, let me know!

That’s it for today–I don’t want this to get too long–but I am not done answering questions, so if yours isn’t here, it will be!

And an excerpt for you:

Terrible saw the woman before she moved. Easy. He sidestepped, swinging his arm—the arm holding Wayne—to the right as he did, putting Wayne’s scrawny shoulder in the way of the woman’s blow. The crack the bat made when it hit Wayne’s bone—might even have broke it, from the sound, and from Wayne’s shriek—seemed to echo in the almost-empty room. Coursen it was almost empty. Wayne had sold anything he could.

Damn it. He hated having to do this with dames. He dropped Wayne and grabbed her by the back of the neck, pushing down so first her knees, then her forehead hit the floor. Both she and Wayne were screaming. Fucking annoying.

He knelt between them, keeping his hold on the back of her neck and doing the same to Wayne, leaning forward so his weight pushed both their faces into the dirty floor. “What money you got?”

“Got no,” Wayne said. Hard to understand him, since he were talking into the thin carpet. “Sorry, sorry, got no, waitin on…Louann here, she gonna get me some, she gonna…gonna earn us some…”

Aw, fuck. He gave them both another hard shove into the floor, tightened his fists. Their necks were so fucking stringy and skinny in his hands. “How? How’s she earning it?”

Wayne apparently realized he’d said the wrong thing. “She…she…”

“Aye? What?”

“Only be a couple dudes we knowing,” the dame—Louann—said. Squeaked, more like. “Wanted it from me, them did, not from just any dame. Them ain’t be paying for it any elsewheres, true thing them ain’t.”

“Maybe—maybe she coming work for Bump.” Wayne tried and failed to lift his head so he could look at Terrible. “Maybe she work off my owings. Maybe you wanna take she off inna bedroom, give she a try? Be—”
Terrible shifted his weight, pressed his knee into the dame’s back so he had a free hand. He needed it to smash into Wayne’s face. Which he did, with a satisfying crunch of bone. Fucker. What kind of man whored his woman like that, ain’t even checked with her first?

And as if he had even the faintest interest in that dirty, ragged, starved sack of bones under his knee, with her broken teeth and bruises. Even if he needed to take a whore to his bed, he wouldn’t be interested. Bump’s whores were clean, and most of em were pretty, and he could have any one of them he wanted any time he wanted, for free.

He never did, but he could. He weren’t so desperate he needed to jump whatany dame waved it in his face. Specially not one like this one.

“You knowing how this goes,” he said, loud so they could both hear him over their wails. “Money, or knowledge. Which you got?”

See you tomorrow!

What Stace had to say on Thursday, August 1st, 2013
Winners!

Thank you all so much for entering!

The winners (chosen by the usual extremely scientific method of assigning each entry a number and then having my kid pick a couple of numbers) are:

Drey’s Library (Facebook acct)

and

Mish (commenter here)

Please contact me (email using the Contact form here or staciakane AT gmail) to let me know which ebook format you need. It’s helpful if you email me from the account you want the ebook sent to.

Thanks so much again, everyone! And thank you all for the great questions, which I’ll be going through and answering. For those who asked about Downspeech, if you check the Media page here on the site you’ll find several blog posts and a video about its creation, which may answer your questions. If whatever you wanted to know isn’t there, let me know! (I did get one about whether I keep a dictionary/notes for myself, which I’ll be answering.)

What Stace had to say on Wednesday, July 31st, 2013
Update! Giveaway!

Okay, my bad. It appears that there won’t be pre-order capability for WRONG WAYS DOWN because, well, the systems don’t allow it. By which I mean Amazon etc. aren’t set up to allow pre-order capability on self-published books. That’s the info we’re getting, at least–if anyone knows anything different, do let me know.

So, no pre-orders, and my apologies. As you all know I’m quite new with all this self-publishing stuff, so…hopefully next time (if there is one) it’ll be smoother. I feel really bad about this, guys.

However. This does NOT affect the August 6th release date, with which there shouldn’t be any problems. That has indeed been confirmed in the system(s), so everything is ready to go there. It just means the convenience of pre-ordering isn’t there, which does suck.

How about a giveaway instead? Comment on this post. Here, on the blog (NOT on the Goodreads “copy” of it or any of the various feeds; the link back to here should be on them, but just in case, it’s here.) And, let’s see…say in your comment…well, anything about the books, or the characters. If you have any questions you want answered or there’s anything you think would be an interesting blog post about the WWD, anything you want to know about, let me know in your comment.

You can get additional entries by tweeting about the book on Twitter (#wrongwaysdown OR #terriblefever), and/or by Sharing it and/or commenting on Facebook.

I’ll give away a couple of ebook copies (I don’t have ppb to give away, sorry). I’ll pick random numbers and announce the winners; winners will have 24 hours to contact me to tell me what format they want. If you don’t contact me within that time, you forfeit, sorry, and I pick someone else.

Contest will end tomorrow at noon EDT (it is currently about five til, so that’s basically twenty-four hours).

This is an international contest. And hopefully it’ll be fun.

What Stace had to say on Monday, July 8th, 2013
Things and such

No, I still don’t have a release date for WRONG WAYS DOWN, but I am hoping to have one very soon, so stay tuned. (Also, I’ve gotten lots of questions about the release date for Downside 6. I’m working on it, guys, I swear. I can’t confirm any dates but again, hopefully I’ll be able to soon, and I swear I will announce all this stuff as soon as I possibly can.)

But I do have a few things to share today!

First, I’m very excited to say I’ve sold a new Downside short to Heroes & Heartbreakers. I can’t give a lot of detail on this one, except to say we’re back in Chessie’s head, and H&H will be doing a cover/blurb reveal and all that good stuff in the next month or so. But–and this’ll make more sense, I think, when the details are announced–this one was a TON of fun to write, because I got to play with something I don’t usually get to use or even mention in the books at all. And when you can reference Dickens and Faulkner (I can’t wait to see if anybody catches the Faulkner bit) in a short, it’s always extra nifty. I had a few nerdy giggles writing this one, basically, and I can’t wait for you guys to see it. I believe it’ll be released in the fall sometime.

And as I mentioned above, WRONG WAYS DOWN things are coming along and such (new except–well, mini-excerpt–below).

Which brings me to…well, something, anyway.

I’m planning on doing another contest for WRONG WAYS DOWN, and I’m thinking because the “Name a Character” contest for SACRIFICIAL MAGIC was such a blast to do, and everyone seemed to enjoy it so much, I’ll do another of those. Especially since this will be Name a Character in the next Terrible novella…well, I can probably say with confidence that some of you will *really* want to be in this one.

But something occurred to me about the last contest as I was writing the Acknowledgments for WWD and passing them along. And you know, this is probably really dorky of me, and it probably doesn’t matter, but my stupid little sense of Do Right is pretty much making me say something, because…well, because I try to be honest and up-front with you guys, and honest and up-front in general. It’s important to me. And I just want to clarify something. It’s not a big deal–I’m pretty sure I’m making it a much bigger deal than it is–but still. You know me.

You may remember that Chelsea Mueller from Vampire Book Club won the SACRIFICIAL character contest (which was held for the release of CITY OF GHOSTS back in 2010). The thing is, in the intervening time since SACRIFICIAL’s release, Chelsea and I have become pretty close friends; we email pretty regularly and she beta-read WWD (and hence is in the Acknowledgments). Again, not a big deal, but because she won my contest and because I’m planning to do another one, I do kind of feel the need to just clarify that we really didn’t know each other when the contest happened, and really didn’t know each other as I wrote SM. In other words, I don’t just pick my friends to win my contests, honest. Her name happened to come out of the hat, so to speak (actually, the number of one of her entries was randomly picked by my child, if memory serves), and a year or so later we happened to get to chatting about something and there you go.

Like I said, I know this is rather dorky, and probably nobody cares but me and Chelsea (who, BTW, no longer personally reviews my work on her blog, also in the interests of objectivity and such), but it is important to me that I be open with you all and just make sure everybody knows that there was no contest hanky-panky happening. I worry about things like that.

So! On to the new mini-cerpt!

“Terrible, is you listening to me?” Amy set her hand on his chest. “You ain’t sayin much, you ain’t.”

“Aye, sorry.” Shit, what had she been saying? “Just got a lot on, aye? Some shit happening, is all.”

Her bright pink mouth twisted down. “Oughta just cancel with me, aye, iffen you ain’t gonna pay attention. Wanting chatter with you.”

“Sorry,” he said again. “You was sayin on you work, aye? What happen?”

“Two dudes coming on, telling me be a ghost around. Say a ghost kill Bump’s man on the other night. Be true? It a ghost?”

Her brown eyes were wide; she looked scared, and he hated that his first thought was to be annoyed instead of wanting to make her feel better like he should. With effort he kept his voice casual. “Naw, ain’t true. Don’t know where them dumb fuckin rumors starting, but ain’t true. Ain’t a ghost.”

Amy worked at a secondhand store up Sixtieth, old furniture and appliances and whatany. Fuck. Now she got people just coming in offen the streets, chattering on ghosts?

“Then why they—”

He shrugged. “Somebody tryin stir shit up, is all.”

Amy glanced around. “Slobag?”

“Maybe.” Probably. But until he were certain he ain’t wanted to say, and he were trying real fucking hard not to get mad thinking of it. Why the fuck all this shit starting up now? “Don’t need to be worryin on it, aye? No ghost.”

She nodded, but he could see the question starting behind her eyes, could see her wondering did he wish it were a ghost so’s he could call Chess, or was he saying weren’t a ghost causen he were already working with Chess.

He cut that off with, “Want me getting you a beer?”

“Aye.” She leaned back on the seat and folded her pale arms over her chest in a way that let him know she caught on that he were trying to change the subject. She wore a skimpy little pink dress, with thin straps and a short skirt. How she ain’t froze in that outside he didn’t know, but he couldn’t deny he ain’t minded at all when she looked mostly undressed.

Which kinda made him feel worse, causen they’d hang out there an hour or so, and then they’d go back to his and get that dress off her, and despite the fact that they never made any promises or aught like that—and he weren’t the only dude she saw, neither—he couldn’t help thinking he weren’t really treating her right. No. He didn’t think it. He knew it. And he knew why, which was worse.

So, there you go.

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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