Ink-Stained Scribe

UNLEASH Cover Reveal and Preorder

I'm really excited for the launch of my book UNLEASH. This book has been in my life in some form since 2010, when I wrote a (horrible) draft of it for NaNoWriMo, which I had decided to do  the day before. It went through a few attempts at rescue before I realized I had to mulch the whole thing. A few years later, a story I was really proud of grew from the ferment.

So, of course, when it came down to commissioning a cover for it, I reached out to Starla Huchton. I was not disappointed.

Are you ready to see it?

Are you sure?

 

I KNOW, RIGHT!?!?!?!?!!?!?!!?!?!? It's so good!

So, without further ado, I present to you all...

UNLEASH

Craving a gritty, kickass heroine?

Coming in May from Lauren Harris, a Contemporary Fantasy for those who love guns, magic, & romance...

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A deadly price for freedom. A power she can't control.

Helena Martin doesn't know who she hates more, the sorcerers who fired the magic-laced bullet or the gang-lord master who used her mother as a shield. Both hunt the remnants of her pack and the only way Helena can protect them is using her newly-unleashed magic to lead the two factions away.

With a coveted book of spells as bait, she flees Miami and heads for her mother’s Minnesota hometown. There, salvation comes in the form of a dog rescue willing to take in a different kind of stray. The illusion of a peaceful life is seductive but with sorcerers and bounty hunters sniffing around every corner, Helena fights to keep her past, her pursuers, and her unstable power a secret.

Then she discovers it’s not the spell book her enemies are after, but Helena herself, and the strange power she can barely control. When her master’s bounty hunters threaten her new home, Helena realizes that protecting the people she’s grudgingly come to love leaves her with one option: join the sorcerers who killed her mother.

   
           
   
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Cover Reveal - The Perils of Prague

Title: The Perils of Prague, The Adventures of Crackle and Bang, Book 1

Genre: Steampunk Adventure/Comedy

Release date: April 25, 2017

Formats: Kindle, and Paperback

Victoria, the Eternal Empress, has sat the throne of the British Empire for over 150 years. Her policies have brought peace to the world by suppressing the development of “dangerous technologies”, and where that has failed, her Imperial Troops, with their lightning rifles, have swiftly brought order. But there are still those who chafe at the yoke of peace.

When an evening’s entertainment in the British Protectorate of Bohemia unexpectedly leads to the destruction of the State Opera House of Prague, the eccentricity brilliant Professor Harmonious Crackle and his beautiful colleague Miss Titania Bang must team up with the Duke of Prague’s nephew and hunt down the evil genius responsible. Can they find him and stop him before he unleashes his new technology to terrorize the city and threaten the stability of the British Empire, and the Eternal Empress herself?

In a race against an unknown menace, this intrepid trio must search high and low and discover The Perils of Prague!

An excerpt from the book

"You're serious!" Miss Bang’s brow was creased in ire. The hint of fire blazed behind her eyes.

He blinked at her. "Of course, I'm serious. Such a joke would be in very bad taste!"

"I don't believe anyone ever accused my great-grandfather of having good taste," I commented ruefully.

The professor turned to me. "Your great-grandfather was actually quite a thoughtful fellow in his youth. He did throw the most excellent parties. I never did find out what made him such a misanthrope as he got older. I'd often wondered... Wait! Wait, I was going to tell you something. Something I'd just discovered." He looked down at the wing in his hand. "Yes! That was it! You remember the birds, the clockwork birds?"

I nodded. "Yes, Professor. It was just earlier this morning." I wondered if it was still morning.

Professor Crackle nodded vigorously. "Yes, they're a perfect recreation of the living creature. Or at least as best as I can tell, given the damage the sample sustained. If only I could examine an intact specimen."

Miss Bang spoke up. "You're drifting again, Harmonious."

"No, no, no, no! This is important. Did you get a good look at the singers? The male and female leads?"

"At the opera?" I asked. I wasn't quite sure where he was leading.

"Yes! Did you get a good look at them?" He seemed very agitated as he leaned toward me for my answer.

"Well, Professor, I am afraid I wasn't really concentrating on them for most of the performance. And when things livened up at the end, my attention was, well... on other things."

"And you, Titania?" He whirled to face Miss Bang.

"Other than the final song, they seemed quite capable, although somewhat uninspired performers." She paused in thought for a moment, touching one finger to her lips. "I'm not sure how to describe the final performance."

"Drat. I hoped one of you got a better look. Now we shall have to find what is left of them." The professor moved back to his workbench and put down the wing and his loupe.

"You want to go find their bodies, Professor? Isn't that a task better left to the police?" I did not fancy the idea of sifting through the rubble for pieces of the dead performers.

He turned to me. "Their remains, yes. But their bodies, I think not." He lifted the wing again and shook it to illustrate his point. "I think they were clockwork."

"A clockwork man? How is that possible?" I looked to Miss Bang, but she seemed fascinated by the idea.

"But such intricate detail, Harmonious... and such a complex series of actions to perform upon the stage. They were actually singing. It wasn't a phonograph recording. Even with the latest equipment, one can tell the difference. I've never heard of an automaton that could truly sing."

"Yes!" The professor looked like a child who had been promised a new pony. "Exactly! Such perfect duplication of the living form! When I went down on the stage and examined the woman, she looked otherwise normal except for the side of her face. The flesh sagged under a weight. I think a piece detached from the underlying support structure and dragged it out of shape. I believe the same person who made these birds constructed the opera singers as well. But I need more evidence. We need to find what is left of those performers."

"So, we're going back to the opera house?" Miss Bang asked.

"Yes! Well, no! We're already there. I'm sorry about the little detour, my boy, but I'm certain your uncle is going to want to see whatever evidence we can find."

"Surely he will be worried about my disappearance? Perhaps it would be best to just drop me off first and I can explain your theory to Uncle Randolph?" Much as I would like to avoid his wrath, putting off seeing my uncle could only make things worse.

"After losing a major landmark?" Professor Crackle asked. "Don't be ridiculous! He may be worried, but he will have hardly a moment to think on it. No, trust me, even if you went back now you wouldn't be able to get in to see him. But if we can find something to prove it wasn't an accident, we'll be able to get right in to see the duke."

"And the police, Professor?" I asked, wondering what Inspector Janecek would think about the professor's clockwork people theory.

"Yes, we must get there before they do! The last thing we need is for them to tromp all over everything and destroy the evidence we need." He grabbed a pair of goggles off of a bench and strode through the door. "Come along!"

"But, but that's not what I meant!" I sputtered and hurried to catch up to Miss Bang as she swept out of the room in the professor's wake.

ABOUT DOC

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Doc Coleman  began his writing career in 2010 with the Nifty Tech Blog, a tech review blog that demystifies technology by highlighting some of the best consumer products available. Doc soon moved on to writing fiction, with the short story "The Gift”, and stories for the online magazine Flagship and for The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences’ podcast Tales from the Archives. His latest work is the first book of his steampunk series The Adventures of Crackle and Bang, The Perils of Prague.

Doc is a computer geek, a motorcyclist, a homebrewer, a podcaster, a writer, and voice actor. Sometimes, he even finds some time to relax, too.

New Book Release! Adult Contemporary Fantasy, UNLEASH

BRETHREN, THE TIME HAS COME. After months in the editorial trenches, the date is set for the literary force that shall soon be unleashed!

UNLEASH will debut on May 23rd!

Early praise for UNLEASH

Early praise for UNLEASH

UNLEASH is the first full-length novel I'm self-publishing, and I'm thrilled to enter the field with a veritable battleaxe of a book. Seriously, I love these characters, and there's a big part of my soul in this book.

So what's it about?

Her fight for freedom has just begun.

Helena Martin doesn't know who she hates more, the sorcerers who fired the magic-laced bullet or the gang-lord master who used her mother as a shield. Both hunt the remnants of her pack and the only way Helena can protect them is using her newly-unleashed magic to lead the two factions away.

With a coveted book of spells as bait, she flees Miami and heads for her mother’s Minnesota hometown, where salvation comes in the form of a dog rescue willing to take in a different kind of stray. The illusion of a peaceful life is seductive but with sorcerers and bounty hunters sniffing around every corner, Helena fights to keep her past, her pursuers, and her unstable power a secret.

Then she discovers it’s not the spell book her enemies are after, but Helena herself, and the strange power she can barely control. When her master’s bounty hunters threaten her new home, Helena realizes that protecting the people she’s grudgingly come to love leaves her with one option: join the sorcerers who killed her mother.

One Hell of a Year

Approximately one year ago, with K.T., Pip, Piper, Matt, Tee, and boom.

Approximately one year ago, with K.T., Pip, Piper, Matt, Tee, and boom.

Having spent the last two weeks on my parents' couch suffering from near-transfusion-level anemia, I'm finally 1) back in my own bed, 2) snuggling my own cat, and 3) trying to remember how a stove works.

 I'm sad to say I have not had the brain-power to write since the 11th.. Honestly, I didn't have the brainpower for anything but marathoning the entirety of Yuri! on Ice and wondering how many women in the past were actually exsanguinated by their own uteri.

2016 has been a hell of a year. The shadow of tragedy has been relentless, and today I mourn the passing of the woman who taught me that the word "heroine" is just as badass as "hero". My Princess, my General: Carrie Fisher.

The negatives have piled up this year, with shooting after shooting, the deaths of beloved idols, tragedies in Aleppo and Gatlinburg, and the political self-immolation of the U.S. and the U.K. (following campaigns that were emotionally and physically exhausting already). Living in North Carolina, I have even less to be proud of than the average liberal American.

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Still, the new year is days away, and though I know the concept of 2016 is "an abstract human concept that can't bear ill will", it sure feels like this year has been out to get us. It's useful to think of it that way, because it means there's a possible end in sight, which keeps me from sliding into nihilistic oblivion.

New Years represents the mental and emotional reset that many of us desperately need. But like the chalkboards of old, things written in the past will never quite disappear, so we can't go into 2017 with a completely clean slate. We have smears and the ghosts of old words still haunting us. In January, the US inaugurates a dangerous man, and who knows what civil liberties will crumble after that?

If we can't completely erase the bad, however, we should also try not to forget about the good. I saw marches and outreach and rousing speeches, I saw people spurred into action rather than despair. I saw communities coming together after tragedy, and people celebrating not only the lives but also the causes of those idols who touched their hearts. There was Hamilton taking over broadway and the existence of Joe Biden memes.

On a more personal note, I managed to achieve almost all the goals I'd set for 2016. This was a two-fold achievement, as I had some tough objectives both personally and creatively.

I wanted to graduate my cardiac sonography program, pass my board exams, get licensed, and get a job. I did all those things.

I wanted to move back to Raleigh with my roommate and start paying off my school loan and my car. I've done those as well.

Creatively, I wanted to query Hellhound and finish the  second draft of SONG OF THE HERETIC, both of which I did.

The only thing on my list from last year I didn't accomplish was writing the third of the MILLROAD ACADEMY EXORCISTS books. Honestly, I chose not to work on that. Instead, I'm drafting a new book, which called to me much more and, as something I can pitch at agents, makes more sense for where I want my career to go.

I also did a lot of fun things this year, like visiting my Words of a Feather Podcast cohost K.T. Bryski in Toronto, visiting Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine in VA, being on the cover of Countless Hues of Crimson, and narrating two books.

So, I'm not going to wipe the slate completely clean on January 1st. I'm going to hold my breath, clap the erasers, and let go of all the bad stuff that isn't useful or important to remember. Then I'm going to write my plan for 2017.

Then we're all going to kick its ass.

To My Creative Friends on The Morning of 11/9/16

We have a job to do.

As far as I know, all of my creator friends voted against the hateful rhetoric of DJT, and this morning, we lost.

It hurts, and it's terrifying, and it's hard to imagine just what brought our country to this moment. Yes, Hillary won the popular vote, and the electoral college failed the intent of its purpose. The thing is, the race should never have been this close. The fact that it was means we have a job to do.

Fiction, film, drama, art have long been the voice of the disenfranchised, the tutor of the young, the friend of the lost an lonely, and the escape of those in need of a harbor. It is also the herald of hope.

Millions of people felt angry and scared and lost enough to vote for someone who handed them convenient scapegoat after scapegoat, who promised them protection from the other, preservation of a slipping grip on institutional power that may not be right and may not be palatable, but that is at least a familiar terrain to navigate with the resources they have.

So we have a job. Not only to comfort and give shelter to the aching hearts and trembling hands of our own wounded brethren, but to learn.

We have to address what caused that pain, that fear, which is so easily sharpened into anger with only the addition of a target. Is it poverty? Health? History? And how can we, as creators, address those fears as well?

We love the story of the disenfranchised. We love to support the underdog. We love to give them heroes who are one of their own. It works because, on some level, we all feel disenfranchised. We've all felt pain and fear and unfairness, and we've taken solace in the story of a person in our own shoes beating the odds, changing the paradigm, and finding that most important beacon of all, hope.

We have a job to do. We must humanize the enemy, let them be seen. Realize that they see themselves in our moisture farmers and kitchen boys and kickass princesses. We must provide the tools they haven't found, give them friends who are utterly unlike themselves in race, gender, religion, and values, but human and flawed and real.

In our work, we must show acceptance and sisterhood and love. We need to give people hope, and we do that through art. As creators, we can draw the maps to change, introduce the friends along the road, and provide a safe place for the experience of that shift.

We need diverse art. We need it for the sake of those who do not find themselves represented in the mainstream. We need it for those who would deny the humanity of people of color, of women, or the differently-abled, or our LGBTQ siblings. We need it for those who would demonize and dehumanize people of color, Muslims, Jews, immigrants, elders, or prisoners of war.

We have a job to do, and that is to teach through beautiful, inspiring, hilarious, erotic, heartbreaking example that we are all human, and we are in this together, and we have hope.

Project Update

Good tidings, dear readers.

WHAT'S UP WITH ME

At last, I have graduated my sonography program and moved into the realm of society's economic contributors. In other words, I GOTS ME A JOB! I've settled into it well, and this past weekend, the Librarian and I have finally moved back to the city and into our own apartment.

What does this mean for my writing?

~I GET TO DO MORE OF IT~

I work at a cardiologist's office that's open four days a week, leaving me a good chunk of weekend time to write.It also means that going to conventions will be easier than ever--no haggling over weekend shifts or using up valuable vacation time just to squeeze in that extra day, especially since we get all holidays off already.

Photograph by paloetic

Photograph by paloetic

 

WHAT'S UP ON THE WRITING FRONT

I've got my contemporary fantasy novel HELLHOUND on submission right now, and SONG OF THE HERETIC is out with beta readers.

These were my two main goals for this year, but I've also decided to participate in NaNoWriMo this year, in order to launch a new project with my best friend and creative partner, L.A. Erickson. It's an Epic Fantasy series called THE WAR OF THE VANISHED SEA and I'll be writing the first book, WITCHBLOOD, during NaNo.

The final installment of THE MILLROAD ACADEMY EXORCISTS is outlined, and I plan to write it in the spring, around the time I hope to begin querying SONG OF THE HERETIC.

Are you doing NaNo this year? ADD ME!

WHAT I'M READING

Imprudence (The Custard Protocol)
$14.88
By Gail Carriger

I became friends with Gail a few years ago at the second annual Smoky Writers retreat. At that point, I hadn't actually read any of her books beyond the Finishing School series (which I loved), but the moment I got into Soulless, I blew through them. Needless to say, I've been excited about the release of the second book in the Custard Protocol. There are even some bits in there I recognize from Smoky Writers, including a wonderfully ignominious tale of death brainstormed one night in the hot tub.

This week, Gail shared the story of our trip to YA'llfest last November, where we met (and fangirled over) Mercedes Lackey. It's a great read about inclusiveness in fiction, and I think Gail summed up our reasons and reactions to encountering LGBTQ characters for the first time quite well. Read the post HERE.

 

WHAT I'M LISTENING TO

I've been listening to a lot of contemporary classical recently, because of SONG OF THE HERETIC. Even though I can't really write to music (too distracting), I tend to create playlists for all my books and listen to them while I'm in the car. It's great for brainstorming and envisioning s

WHERE I'LL BE

Librarian and I are headed to the Maryland Renaissance Faire this weekend, where we'll hang out with Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine and their BAMF of a daughter Sonic Boom. It's been a few years since I've been to Faire, but I'm looking forward to lacing up the bodice, strapping on my drinking horn, and sallying for for the Day of Wrong.

The One in Which I Drop Fake Genitalia (and End Up Editing an Anthology)

"Draw me like one of your French girls!"

"Draw me like one of your French girls!"

As I mentioned in my January update, I've gone back to school for Echocardiography.

Woo, education! Woo, eventually not starving! Woo, learning how to wipe butts that aren't my own!

Let me explain that last one. I'm currently in the final week of my clinical prerequisites to qualify for the program, which included a Nursing Assistant lab where I practiced things like "assisting patients in ambulation" and "bowel training" and "attaching a condom catheter".
 

While the class practiced skills like foot-care, feeding, and bed-baths on each other, the level of intimacy required for certain skills exceeds most people's comfort threshold, hence the hottie in the upper left corner. That's my man(nequin). Trust me. He's even creepier up close. He's also missing his other arm, which is totally not my fault.

Anyway, these mannequins have switchable nether regions. That makes sense, right? One mannequin, two nether regions, endless teaching possibilities. Unfortunately, these mannequins were old, and had a couple of literal screws loose. So, I was carrying one with a partner when my mannequin underwent a shift of identity and forcibly ejected his(hir?) plastic penis onto the linoleum.

"MAN DOWN!!"

I yelled it before I thought about it, earning a few confused stares. I proceeded to giggle by myself for the next five minutes, because no one else found it funny.

Which is fine, because I thought it was hilarious. Then again, I still think farts are funny.

At least mom laughed. Thanks, mom.

ELYSIAN SPRINGS ANTHOLOGY

Besides satisfying a prerequisite for my Echocardiography program and providing me with blog fodder (blodder?), the experience of this Nurse Aide class sparked an idea that has gone way beyond what I intended.

We were going over the effects of aging on the body and I just sort of wondered: what happens to aging superheroes? What sort of retirement/assisted-living/nursing home would be able to accommodate people with powers? Who would work there? Who gets to tell Wolverine he's on a puree diet?

Thinking it just a funny thought, I posted on facebook: Anthology about a nursing home for aging superheroes. Who's with me!?

I was, quite seriously, not prepared for the reaction.

Remember that time I became an assistant editor at IGMS? I'm still doing that. It's given me the chance to deconstruct what makes a good story, and also given me confidence in my ability to be a part of a professional publication.

Which is good, because now I'm editing an anthology, and I've got almost thirty contributors who've already pitched stories. Good thing I've got some experience in the submissions department. Even better, I've got a bunch of extremely talented friends to draw from.

ELYSIAN SPRINGS: The Super-Skilled Nursing Home for Ageing Superheroes is an anthology that combines humor, tragedy, and superpowers. I've got twenty-something amazing pitches, a ten-page comic commissioned from Jason Strutz and Jeremy Whitley, and several iterations of cover-art from Pieter Wessels. Headliners include Tee Morris, Gail Z. Martin, Misty Massey, and Jared Axelrod.

All this, and I'm still writing and narrating. I have so much coming down the pipeline, and all of it is super exciting.