Short Stories on Amazon

I released two new short stories in ebook form this weekend. The Unfortune Hunter (a light-hearted fairy-tale remix) and The Spider’s Daughter (a Japanese-style ghost story) are both available on Amazon!

Print editions are coming soon. The publishing learning curve has been steep but smooth up till now, but I hit print formatting with a crunch heard across Texas. But I will prevail! Paper will be mine!

(And yours.)

Thanks for your support at the beginning of this adventure!

How Excited Am I? Let Me Count the Ways

I’ve been telling everybody about my book. It’s a pretty short conversation, but I’m too excited to keep it to myself. (A book! I published a book! Me! Isn’t it pretty? Isn’t it interesting? A whole book! Novellas count!)

Most of these conversations end in general congratulations (which I love, don’t get me wrong), but some, besides being flattering to my ego, are hilarious as well.

Today, when the UPS guy came in with our first delivery, I started bouncing in my chair. (I did say I’m telling everybody, right?)

Me: “Guess what?”

Him: “You’re a nut?”

Me: “Well, that too. But I published a book!”

Him: “A book?! Really? Where can I find this book?”

Me: “On Amazon!”

Him: “What’s it called?”

Me: (Thinking he probably won’t remember the title by the end of what’s probably a very long day for a UPS driver in Texas) “Just search for Rachel Wicker! I’m the only one there is!”

Him: “Thank goodness for that.”

(This is the same UPS driver who, for security/privacy/conspiracy reasons unknown refuses to reveal his name. So I call him Moriarty and he calls me Watson.)

(An aside for anyone concerned about the safety of the general public: My coworker worried that my swelling head would push her up against the wall of our shared office and squish her. I pointed out that she has a letter opener, so if my head gets that big, it should be easy to pop me.  She agreed that she’ll do that if she needs to, so the problem will be taken care of long before my head can swell big enough to throw Earth’s orbit out of balance and send us all spinning into fiery doom in the center of the sun. Which is good, because wouldn’t that be embarrassing? It’s nice to have coworkers you can count on in an emergency.)

Book Release: Raised in Captivity Now Available

Raised in Captivity: A Strange Kin Novella is now available on Amazon! It was brought to us by the lovely ladies at Purple River Press (me, myself, and I – thanks gals! Looking good!).

Seina is human.

Tor is not.

Tor has always followed the rules. He understands his place in Kin society – the bottom, where you get the work done and don’t ask questions.

Now, more than twenty years after Earth has changed management and become a popular tourist destination for the sophisticated Kin, Tor makes his first contact with a real human. She’s beautiful, funny… alien…

And he’s never going to be the same again.

This is my first science-fiction novella. The sequel, a novel (currently) called Devil’s Advocate, is under construction now and scheduled for release by the end of 2017.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoy it 😀

 

This Made Me Think

I’ve been in Cover Design Land this week (oooh… pretty pictures… aaargh…. fonts don’t match….) so I don’t have any insightful/interesting/amusing things to say for myself.

Passive Guy, however, found this interesting article about cultural appropriation (in this context, the act of writing about someone different from you – because you might get it wrong, or worse, get it right, and either way, somebody’s feelings will be hurt). The news is interesting, in a gut-wrenching way. Passive Guy’s analysis is very interesting.

Have a great weekend! I battle on against all Evil Fonts, and will hopefully emerge from Cover Design Land sometime next week.

Don’t Tempt the Narrative

I sat down to reconcile the bank statement this month feeling confident that all my records were up-to-date and complete.

“This is going to be e-” I said out loud, and stopped myself short.

For suddenly I felt the dark, cold, grim shadow of Narrative sweeping overhead, circling in for the kill.

It took half an hour to reconcile most of the statement.

It took three and a half hours past that to track down two small discrepancies between the bank records and the credit card processor’s reports.

Halfway through, in a fit of frustration (and mostly just in a fit), I shook my fist at the ceiling and yelled “What could possibly go wrong?!”

I probably made it worse on myself, but at least I took a stand, spat in Narrative’s eye, and dared it to Do Its Worst.

Which it did.

Lesson: Even when you’re 99% sure that your life is really happening in real life, and not between book covers, don’t tempt the Narrative. We all know what happens to Those People in movies – the ones who open the closed doors, who don’t listen to all the warnings to Don’t Go Near The Castle, who begin a war with the jaunty promise that It Will All Be Over By Christmas. Don’t be one of Those People.

The powers of Narrative are strange and mysterious… and after four hours of bank statement battle, extremely frustrating. Save yourself some drama and Tylenol and don’t tempt the Narrative.

Money: Sunshine, Water, or Blood?

How much money you don’t have doesn’t matter next to how well you manage the money you do have.

This is a good thing! Because while no one can snap their fingers and make a million dollars appear out of nothing, anyone can start chopping back the weeds of their own financial garden and see more produce from the same small plot of ground, thanks to a little better management.

(We’re going all in on metaphors today. Strap in.)

But the way you think about money has a big effect on how you manage your money.

Most employees and workers tend to think of money as sunshine.

If the sun is shining today, and you know it will also be shining tomorrow and the day after and all weekend, too, it doesn’t really matter if you waste today’s sunshine. Sure, you could go out and take care of the yard work, paint the fence, wash the car (although that chore is way more fun in the rain), walk the dog, go to the park… but since it’s going to be sunny tomorrow, it doesn’t matter if you decide to stay inside instead, doing chores that could be done on a rainy day, or skipping all your chores altogether.

To an employee, money comes on time, every day (or every two weeks), and you can reliably predict how much is coming before it hits your bank account.

Smart employees realize that the sun doesn’t shine all the time, and they sock some of their earnings away for a rainy day. This thinking is sort of similar to water conservation.

I grew up in the country on a small property with a well. When the well went dry – which happened like clockwork when we had guests for more than a day during the peak of summer or in the middle of a drought (frequently the same thing) – the water coming out of the tap turned red and sandy, dropped down to a miserable trickle, and you could hear the pipes clunking with effort to move water that wasn’t there. You went into town to buy drinking water, crossed your fingers, and hoped the well would recharge and start flowing again before you had to take your BO to church.

Eventually Dad built a buffer tank, so water moved from the well to the tank and only then to the house. There was a lot of technical stuff involved with trip-switches and water levels, but essentially, when we were in a drought and the water table was low, we were pulling water from the tank instead of directly from the well. That eased the burden on the well enough that it didn’t empty out on us nearly so often.

But even if there’s a rainy day here and there, the sun does come back out, and the water table rises, and the next paycheck comes in.

Business owners, on the other hand, are thinking and playing to a different set of rules. As one business owner told me, “Money is blood. When you run out, your business dies.”

More than one businessperson has told me that long-term successful business owners never spend money that they don’t have to. There’s no guarantee that money will be replaced, after all, or how soon. (The mortgage doesn’t care if you’ve got enough money outstanding in unpaid customer invoices to pay the house off three times over; the check has to be written today.)

How would your approach to your budget change if you were rationing out blood instead of sunshine? And how does understanding that money is a business’s blood change how you see some of your employer’s decisions?

It’s a matter of perspective, but perspective changes attitudes, and attitudes change actions, and actions can change everything.