A Reason to Celebrate

monster valentineValentine’s Day is this weekend, and we’ve got big plans for adventure. But that shouldn’t surprise you. If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know I usually have something up my sleeve.

But my plans aren’t what I’m here to talk about today.

Over the course of the last several weeks, at least three people have told me they don’t do Valentine’s Day. These were all people in committed relationships, not angry singles who recently went through a bad break up.

I get it. It’s a terribly commercial, totally made up holiday designed to pressure folks into buying expensive gifts and prop up the greeting card industry. Single people are left out. People in early relationships are forced into awkward situations. And married people feel like they have to do certain things and buy certain things or risk looking like they don’t love their spouses.

That’s a lot of pressure.

So, I totally understand the general resistance I’ve encountered this year. But it still startled me each time it came up.

I resist this resistance!

In our house, we embrace every opportunity to celebrate. Our wedding anniversary is a day (or week sometimes) of celebration, of course, but we also make a big deal out of our half-iversary. We joined our lives kind of late in the game, so we feel like we owe ourselves twice the anniversaries to make up for it. But we also celebrate Groundhog Day by watching the Bill Murray movie of the same name. We celebrate Cinco De Mayo — or in the case of one year when nobody was home — Ocho De Mayo. We wear tiaras and eat fancy hors douevres for Oscar night. We watch fireworks at the drive-in on the Fourth of July, and we watch the Rose Parade from a hotel while eating a room-service breakfast on New Year’s Day.

And this Valentine’s Day we’ll stay at a hotel, spend the weekend in museums, will likely buy each other gifts in the LEGO store, have brunch in a train depot, and visit a planetarium.

The point here is, screw what you think you should do on Valentine’s Day. Do what you want to do. With or without a partner. It’s a made up holiday anyway. Make up something to do that you love.

Every day is a cause for celebration. Don’t believe me? Here’s a small sample. Personally, I’m looking forward to February 20th so we can celebrate Hoodie Hoo Day. Tomorrow, apparently, is Get a Different Name Day. I may insist on being called Lumiria Cobblepot all day long.

Do something fun. Find an adventure to go on. Celebrate something — anything. And do it your way.

Super Sekrit Project!

***Normally, newsletter followers get exclusive access to news before it goes up anywhere else, but this time I made an exception to get the word out quickly. This is a duplicate of the newsletter, so if you’ve read that, ignore this!***

Undercover GorgonSo, I’ve been hinting for some time about a secret project. It’s time to finally tell you about it. But here’s the catch: I don’t want you to buy it.

I know. That sounds even crazier than the usual crazy I give you. But I have a couple of good reasons. Before I explain, let me tell you what I’m making!

If you’ve read Unfinished Muse or Transmonstrified, you will have seen the related Mt. Olympus short story “Undercover Gorgon.” It’s about the gorgon receptionist, Patrice, how she finds out she’s a gorgon, and what she does after hours when the lights go out at Mt. Olympus.

Patrice has many more adventures to share with you after that one.

So. Today we’ve released the first episode of Patrice’s story. See how pretty the cover is? I love this cover so much. Clarissa from Yocla Designs spoils me with her work. Notice on the bottom, it says “Episode #0 — Becoming.” Each Patrice episode that comes out will have the same cover, but that line will change.

Now, why don’t I want you to buy this one? For two reasons.

First, Episode #0 is a repackaging of the original “Undercover Gorgon” story available in two other books. I’d hate for you to spend money on it, expecting it to be something new.

Second, I’ve posted it free everywhere but Amazon. I can’t price things permanently free on Amazon. In another week or so, though, Amazon should price match the other folks, so eventually it’ll be free there, too. If you really don’t have this story yet but want to read it, either wait until Amazon has it free, get it somewhere else, or send me an email so I can send it to you. If you want to take a look you can find them right now on Amazon and Smashwords. All the other places will have it in the next week or so.

I absolutely don’t want my friends unnecessarily paying for Episode #0, okay? 

In December, “Episode #1 — Witches War” will be out. That one will be brand new. If you want to buy it, I certainly won’t try to talk you out of it.

My goal is to try and have something new for you, whether it’s a new novel, collection, miniseries, or short story every month from here on out. So, a new Undercover Gorgon episode will generally be out every month or two. And at the end of next year, we should have enough episodes to put them all together in a single book, which will also be available in paperback.

But first, Book 2, Unamused Muse! I ran into a snag, but it’ll be out at the end of next month. Yay!
Thanks for looking!

See you real soon!



Unfinished Muse Is Out!

Unfinished Muse, Mt. Olympus Employment Agency #1 by R.L. NaquinWell, we did it. After making you listen to me go on and on about it for the last year, the first book in the Mt. Olympus Employment Agency series is finally real. Unfinished Muse is out there on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. In the next few weeks, distribution will trickle out to all the other stores, too.

Plus, it’ll be available in paperback in a few weeks, too. And if all goes well, we’ll get it out on audio next year.

I can’t tell you how excited I am for this book to be out. I love Monster Haven. I really do. But I can’t stay there forever. Sure, I’ll go back and visit in Zoey’s world with new books later, but now it’s time for something completely new.

So, welcome to the world of the Mt. Olympus Employment Agency, where humans work as Muses, Cupids, Oracles, and Furies. Where minotaurs wear business suits and gorgons work the reception desk. A place where magic is just part of the job, and the exit can lead to anywhere.

I hope you enjoy spending time in this new place as much as I’ve enjoyed creating it. Now, I’m off to work on the next book. It’s coming out in October, so I’d better get on it.

See you real soon!


ConQuesT 46 Shenanigans

conquest 46

Everything I needed for ConQuesT 46

I’m going to start this with a little honesty: I kind of suck at conventions. I’m bad at starting conversations with strangers, I’m out of shape, and I require frequent breaks from crowds. Still, I think I did pretty well at this one.

To start, my husband, Kevin, and I checked in Thursday, the night before everything started. This gave us a chance to unwind from regular life and be a little more prepared when the crazy started the next afternoon. Also, it gave us a chance to sit in the bar, pick out what we’d be drinking for the rest of the weekend, and make faces at George R.R. Martin while he did his thing on the other side of the room.

Side note: People asked me if I went and talked to him. No. He was busy. I didn’t want to interrupt. Plus, all I could think to say was “Dude. People hate it when we write about rape, don’t they?” Then I would nod sagely, like we were bros who understood the hardships of harsh criticism, and take a sip of my drink. Nope. I stayed put next to my husband and took a picture, instead. Classy.

On Friday, I had no panels I had to be on, so I floated, mostly to panels my friends were on. At one point, I had three friends on three different panels spanning two floors. First I went to listen to Holly Messinger read from her novella. After a half hour, I scooted across the hall to see Jack Campbell Jr. on a panel called “Is it REALLY Gothic?” then finally made it downstairs for the last ten minutes of “World Building–Religion and Magic” with George R.R. Martin and Brandon Sanderson. The big draw for me on that one, though, was my friend (and fellow Carina Press author) Kathleen Collins was moderating it, and I wanted to be supportive.

george r.r. martin

George R.R. Martin — I zoomed in so it looked like I was a lot closer than I was.

So, already, I was wearing myself out. You’re not supposed to do three panels in one hour. But that’s okay. There was dinner and drinks in the bar after that, so, yay! But more panels after dinner, so I wasn’t done. Some of us changed into jammies and slippers and tiaras and hit the 10 o’clock panels. Yep. Plural. The first half hour was Jack again on “Body Horror”, then Kathy again on “Things That Go Bump and Grind in the Night.” They were equally interesting panels in different ways, and well worth it.

Saturday morning we had breakfast with old friends of my husband’s, then an 11 AM panel with my friend (and editor!) Sara Lundberg, “Working Through the Bad Days.” Somehow, by noon I had my first drink in my hand (I blame the sudden appearance at the bar of Jason Arnett) and by 1 PM, I was on my first panel. Jack and Sara were doing a panel on NaNoWriMo and someone didn’t show up–so they pulled me up there with them. At 3 PM, I was on a panel called “Who Owes What to Whom.”

Dianne won! Yay!

Dianne won! Yay!

For the rest of the day, I kind of crapped out on everything and parked my butt in the bar until the masquerade contest–which earned my friend Dianne Williams an honorable mention for her fabulous and original Queen of Hearts costume. I attended the celebration in tiara, jammies, and fluffy slippers.

Sunday was brutal. Got up, made myself as presentable as possible, packed, checked out of the room, dropped our luggage at the front desk and barely made it to my 10 AM panel, “How to Navigate the Amazon.” Hero husband split off and got me coffee and a Cliff Bar so I wouldn’t die, and presented me with the coffee seconds before the panel started. It was a good panel, and I met moderator Barbara E. Hill and fellow panelist Gareth-Michael Skarka. Zipped out right after it was over so I could make it to Jack’s reading for the first half hour (I finally ate my Cliff Bar), and my own reading the second half hour.

I am pleased to tell you that my voice was loud and confident, my hands didn’t shake, and I didn’t throw up. I read my work in public and lived. Yay!

Can we just take a moment to admire my sparkly convention nails?

Can we just take a moment to admire my sparkly convention nails?

I had an hour break between my reading and my next panel, but the wait for the elevators was really bad. I was afraid I wouldn’t make it back in time. So, I hung out on that floor with my friends for an hour (alas, there was no bar), and made it in time for my last panel, “Authors (and Readers) Behaving Badly,” which was also moderated by Kathy, so we got to hang on a panel together at the end.

Kevin and I were all set to bolt out of there and go home once my last panel was done, but Sara convinced us we should all go down to the bar for one last drink. We ended up joining Gareth and his wife, Laura. Pretty sure we stayed for a couple of hours.

So. New friends. Old friends. Drinks. Celebrity spotting. Death-defying public speaking.

It was a good weekend. If you’re in the area for ConQuesT next year, come hang out with me in the bar. I guarantee you’ll find me there at least some of the time.

See you real soon!

Update Pileup

Front and back of my new business cards. What do you think?

Front and back of my new business cards. What do you think?

It’s been awhile. Whenever that happens, stuff stacks up in a teetering pile until it threatens to topple over and bury us all in all sorts of news. So, this is an extra long post.

First, let’s get this out of the way. I’m never quite comfortable talking about personal stuff, but so many of you have been there for/with me over the last year, so I think you deserve to hear how it turned out. After a very hard year, my dad passed away last week. I had high hopes that he’d improve, but the opposite proved true.

I don’t really want to dwell on it, but I thought you should know. There’s a hole in my heart where he’s missing, but my heart is also lighter now that I don’t have to be worried and on call. It was heartbreaking to watch, but he doesn’t have to fight any more. He’s okay now. And I’ll be okay, too. Eventually.

So. That happened. Let’s move on to more cheerful news.

I’m going to be at ConQuest (science fiction and fantasy convention in Kansas City) next week from May 22-24. Three days. I will be all over the hotel getting into trouble. I’ll also be speaking on three different panels, plus I’ll be reading the first chapter of Unfinished Muse. Here’s my schedule:

Saturday 3:00 PM Who owes what to whom?
Sunday 10:00 AM How to navigate the “Amazon”
Sunday 11:30 AM Reading
Sunday 1:00 PM Authors (and Readers) Behaving Badly

So, if you’re in the area and you’re so inclined, come out and see me. If you’re there but can’t make it to where I’m speaking/reading, send me a message on my Facebook page or an email letting me know where you are. I’d love to see you. I hear there will be shenanigans, and I intend to be right in the middle of them.

And speaking of Unfinished Muse, what’s going on with that?

Well. Because of events I’ve already mentioned but don’t want to talk about anymore, I got a bit behind. But that’s okay. Sometimes you have to re-prioritize, especially when family needs you. But I should be done with the first draft before I go to ConQuesT (fingers crossed). Then it gets edited and formatted. I expect it to be out late-July or earlier.

Seriously. Late-July. How awesome is that? That’s practically tomorrow!

And guess what! I have a cover for it. It’s beautiful. And the following two books in the series, Unamused Muse (coming roughly late September) and Uninspired Muse (coming in December if all goes well) also have finished covers that go so well with the first one, I want to blow them up and hang them on my wall together. Seriously. My cover artist is amazing. You can check out some of her work here: Yocla Designs

So, where is this gorgeous cover? That’s news for another day. Because I am a tease. And the other two will have to wait even longer. Let me write those books first before I show you their covers. I don’t want to give too much away.

But I will leave you with this. Here’s the back cover copy for Unfinished Muse:

Wynter Greene is a chronic quitter—in work, in life, and in love. When she quits a job, a boyfriend, and a seemingly minor craft project all in one day, the dormant deity blood in her veins triggers a Welcome Package from the gods. A talking—and singing—houseplant named Phyllis bullies Wynter into taking a job at the Mt. Olympus Employment Agency.

Stuck with a job in the Muse department, Wynter discovers that helping others finish what they start isn’t easy, especially for someone who can’t seem to finish anything of her own. And how is Wynter supposed to focus on anything when that guy from the Dreams and Nightmares department keeps distracting her with his rippling muscles and magnetic stare?

Wynter needs to figure her job out soon. Each failure is a tick mark on her record, and if she continues to miss her deadlines, she’ll be reassigned to Hades as a dog walker.

And scooping poop for a giant three-headed dog is nobody’s ideal career.

I hope you’re as excited as I am. I’ll be back next week, and maybe I’ll be ready for a cover reveal. You never know.

See you real soon!