It's been a year since lockdowns started for C-19...
How are you holding up? If you’re anything like me, you have good days and less good ones. Bob and I were vaccinated. Our second shots were 2/8. We were lucky we live in a small, rural tourist-oriented community. A community that was dying on the vine because of lockdowns, so they were motivated to jump the line and get as much vaccine as the state was willing to allocate. Out of maybe 9K adults in Mono County, half have been fully vaccinated. We have a better track record than any other California county.
That being said, the vaccine hasn’t changed my life all that much. I still mask up if I have to shop, and I maintain social distancing. I really miss seeing all of people’s faces. As a psychologist, I relied heavily on expressions to read how people were feeling. That set of cues has gone the way of the Dodo bird. I feel really bad for the deaf and partially deaf who relied on reading lips.
Thanks to the vaccine, I’ve been catching up on piddly stuff. Oil changes. Windshield repair. Dental hygiene visits. A long overdue cardiology visit for Bob. Most of the conventions I attend annually have been cancelled for 2021, just like they were in 2020. Some have migrated to an online platform like Zoom. I was a panelist recently at a virtual conference. While better than nothing, it didn’t hold a candle to actually being in a room with readers and answering their questions.
Someday, we will be past this. I hope. Bob is looking ahead to trips. There are several I’d love to take, but maybe not for a year or so.
The pandemic has held lessons. I’ve learned a lot about myself. Turns out I’m not the total introvert I thought I was. Through everything, I’ve walked dogs with three women I know. Not every day, but a few times each week. We were outside in wilderness, and now we’ve all been vaccinated, so none of us were taking any particular chances. I’d look forward to those interactions so much. Being outdoors and chatting of this and that.
I’ve done a lot of reading this year. Not only fiction. Jungian psychology, history, mountaineering. Anything that caught my fancy. And I’ve done a lot of dog training. Puppies are endearing, but I’m so grateful they grow up eventually. Dru’s mommy and daddy had another litter on 12/29. I was tempted. The puppies were adorable, but Dru is just getting past the stage where he requires constant supervision. I wasn’t quite ready to sign up for that again so soon.
We humans are a resilient lot. On the days when I run into surly tourists or rude children or the unmasked pitching a fit in a store, I remind myself of that.
What have some of your high points been this last year? Low points? How’d you get past them? I really love hearing from all of you.
I'm so excited! Shira is almost here. She releases 3/30. ******* Between Covid-19 and the California fires, I’ve had a lot of time to dream up ideas for books. Watching too much Blacklist and Warehouse 13 and Stranger Things probably didn’t help. And the last season of Supernatural. I will miss Sam and Dean… Meanwhile, a concept shaped up for me. Assassins have always held a fascination factor. Death is a job for them, but what kind of people are they beneath their knives and guns and poison? Toss a few bond animals into the mix, and the bones for a darkish urban fantasy series took shape. Within its pages, you’ll ride alongside men and women who found their way to an age-old profession. Every king worth his salt had a court assassin, and so has every ruler from olden times to modern. If you’re shaking your head saying such things can’t happen today, take a look at “suicides” that are swept under a whole bunch of rugs. Oddly enough, all those suspicious deaths had stories to tell, stories someone wanted silenced—forever. Shira would understand completely. I can’t wait for you to meet her. ***** Books two and three (Quinn and Rhiana) are written, and I'm just starting on Kylian. I can actually see how this could turn into a long running series. Each of the books are standalones, but characters from earlier books do show up in later ones.
Here's the book description for Shira: If they had one of those anonymous rehabilitation programs for folks like me, my introduction would be, “Hi, I’m Shira, and I kill people.” Except rehab suggests killing people bothers me. It doesn’t. Neither am I particularly committed to anything other than not being caught. That sounded a shred on the hard-hearted side. I’m not. I’m a lot like you. I get up every morning, clean myself up, and check my phone to see what I have cooking. Everyone has a job. Mine happens to be ridding the world of people who shouldn’t be here. Not that I’m making those decisions. People hire me, and I trust they’ve done their homework. I’ve always been…different, never had a close circle of friends or even associates. Once I discovered I could do unusual things, I kept to myself. Those rare skills make me a perfect choice because I kill from a distance and leave no evidence. What I do is lucrative. I’m pretty much set even for my rather long lifetime. In theory, I could quit anytime. I say that after every job. That I should walk away, except I don’t. Tell you what. Don’t judge me, and I might spare you if your number comes up on my dance card. Deal?
All four books in the Magick and Misfits series are out. Unlike the Circle of Assassins, Magick and Misfits is more of a serial in that the books are best enjoyed read in order. They've gotten great reviews, even from readers who've told me they're not fond of fantasy books set in Faery. The first book in this series, Court of Rogues, is for sale in my online store. Just go there and clicke on the sale link. It's .99 and a great way to get started with this series.
Reluctant recruit to the nines, I became Faery’s regent by default. Sure, I was next in line for the throne, but I never believed Oberon and Titania were gone for good until first a decade rolled by, and then two, and then ten. They’ll never be back, and the land is mourning. Or pissed. It’s hard to tell which, and I’m not sure what difference it makes. I split my time between Faery and Earth searching for a way to mend the rift that’s killing my realm. I haven’t made much progress. Time is running through the glass, mocking my paltry efforts. A sultry Witch is barely a blip on the radar. So what if she counts cards in the casino I run on Earth and makes my pit boss a little nuts? Out of the blue, she spits out the unbelievable, and I discover she’s not a Witch after all. A glamour hid her Fae-Sidhe blood so well, she’d fooled me. Her mixed blood is an affront. By rights, I should haul her before the Court to face justice. She understood the chance she took revealing herself to me, and her offer to join forces is tempting, but it could cost me my throne. Some risks are worth the price. If I cross the line, there’ll be no going back.
I'll feature one of my newly bundled sets each newsletter. If you were to purchase these titles individually, it would cost $16. You can pick them up for $9.99 at any of the major vendors. For a limited time, you can purcahse them for half price (7.99) through my online store. ******** Over 1200 pages of edge-of-your-seat Vampire urban fantasy. From the Vampire hiding out running a nightclub, and running from a life-destroying secret to the Vampire who falls in love with her, there’s a whole lot to keep you up late turning pages.
My very existence is under attack. I’ve kept a low profile, told myself the craziness sweeping the world would pass me by. Yeah, it was wishful thinking, actually an outright lie, but it’s kept me sane.
I’ve been hiding out forever in one guise or another. Currently, I run a nightclub. Ascent is an “ask me no questions, and I’ll tell you no lies” haven. For everybody. I’m a Vampire. Far be it from me to judge.
My closest ally is a shapeshifting dire wolf. I adopted him when he was a scrawny puppy, but I’m getting ahead of my tale.
The fragile détente between supernaturals and humans has crashed and burned. I can’t avoid the truth any longer. Lucky for me, mortals don’t know exactly what I am. When I moved to Seattle, some vampiric sixth sense urged me to play my cards close to my vest, but I’m done burying my secrets.
And my power.
I’m Ariana Hawke. No more skulking in the shadows for me.
I chose stasis—a long sleep—for me and two of mine. Hard to time these things, but we woke in the eye of a cyclone.
When I went to sleep—to avoid being drained of magic and blood by dark Sorcerers—Vampires weren’t exactly on the endangered species list, but not many of us are left. No one ever accepted us. Not mortals and not others with power, either. At least one of those dams has developed a few cracks. Supernaturals aren’t quite welcoming, but they’ll take help from any quarter.
Mortals have declared war on magic, and they won’t rest until we’re all sitting in iron-clad prisons. What a bunch of cowards. If they weren’t hiding behind false humanitarian walls, they’d be honest about their intentions and do their damnedest to kill us outright.
Not the best decision of my long life. I definitely cracked an unspoken line, but Ariana trounced me as far as line-crossing went. Very few acts constitute crimes in Vampire circles. Hers was the worst. I fled to the Old Country to buy myself thinking time.
I still loved her, but what she’d done was so vile I couldn’t set it aside.
The world is a very different place from when I went into stasis. I woke to wars on every side. Vampires are scarcely strangers to battle. No one’s ever accepted us, but they’ve mostly let us be. It’s different this time. Very different. Mortals won’t rest until they’ve wiped out magic.
In all my years as a Vampire, hundreds of them, I never imagined humans would be anything other than food.
Rich, pure, delectable blood. Prey that fought back never posed a problem. Mortals couldn’t stand against those of us with supernatural ability. That world still exists, but it’s taken a backseat to humans who’ve joined forces with turncoat mages. Mortals were never meant to wield power. Over the long haul, they’re sure to be very sorry for the choices they’ve made.
Maybe someday I’ll be a humble innkeeper again, but it’s so far in the future I can’t even think about it. Nope. For now, all I see is blood. Rivers of it, and not running down my gullet, either. On the plus side, I have good friends, powerful allies, and a Vampire who loves me.
We have to come through this unscathed. Have to. I’m Ariana Hawke, and I take care of what’s mine.
I'm leaving the same books on sale in my online store because I want as many of you as possible to score a deal on Court of Rogues. Look for different titles next newsletter.
My newsletter wouldn't be complete without a photograph of Dru. My big boy goes in for neutering on 4/1. I've been on the fence about it. He doesn't have an aggressive bone in his (big) body, but there are so many opportunities he could take advantage here if he were fixed. Quite the welter of conflicting information out there too. I waited until he was 14 months old. It seemed to be old enough for him to have his full bone growth. He'll have to scale back on eating. LOLOL. I haven't told him that part yet.