Current Project (Non?) News

So as I mentioned last month I’ve got a lot of energy going into just being a stay-at-home parent. That’s something I do my best not to resent, but I’m human, and resentment is something we all have to deal with at some point in our lives. Of course the good news is that kids eventually grow up, and while they may not be out of my hair completely in a few years, they’ll eventually be in school much of the time, and that will afford me the opportunity to get some more concentrated work done than I’ve been able to recently.

That said, I have still been trying to find the right kind of project to work on, and so recently I’ve been turning my mind towards the idea of writing an extended story (a series, if you will) in a serial manner. So presently I’m at work sketching out a “multi-season” outline using Gingko. (Which is a sort of outliner I came across during the search for online tools brought on by the fact that I’ve moved to Chromebook for my work and don’t have access to some of the fancy Windows-only software I was using before.)

Part of the reason for this is that doing a discrete chunk (roughly a novella-length work) of a longer story and publishing it (then collecting a number of these chunks and assembling them into a novel-length volume down the line) seems to me like it might work better for my life right now than writing that full-length work outright. The planning will all be there (all the arcs and the actions are intended to be laid out in rough form in advance, and just written in pieces) to make sure what comes together at the end of a season is a discrete story (even if it has a number of stories all tied up within it), and given how much I enjoy television as a story form (much, much more than I enjoy film, actually) I think this will end up being a decent fit.

I have zero information on when there will be a release date for the first volume. I have nothing to share on the subject of what it’s about beyond that it takes place in a dark fantasy world and is likely going to be best for mature readers. (That’s regardless of their physical age—I’ve mentioned before that I don’t think reading maturity is tied to a given birthday because let’s be honest: some folks won’t ever be able to deal with the fact that I swear freely in my writing, or that my titles are violent. No matter how many birthdays they have behind them.)

What I can say is that I anticipate needing time to plan (writing and business—remember, I self-publish so I have to think both sides through) things out, to write the first couple of episodes, to have my Beta folks read them over and give me feedback, and to get things squared away for publication. That means the “boring” stuff like formatting the ebooks, as well as the “awesome” process of working on a cover treatment for the entire series.

We’re likely looking at months. Depending on how things are going with the process I may go ahead and have a brief period (a couple weeks) of pre-orders on the volumes in place, so you may get sales information earlier than I’ve managed in the past. Once I’m rolling on the series I anticipate regularly staggered releases, but what the intervals will be like is a mystery at this point. Twice a month? Monthly? Every two months? We’ll see.

Should be interesting in any case.

Guest: L. Blankenship with an Excerpt from the Disciple Omnibus

Today I’ve got L. Blankenship back with an excerpt from her Disciple series (Disciple I, to be precise) in order to mark the release of Disciple VI and the Disciple Omnibus! If you like what you see here, be sure to grab a free copy of Disciple I from the links at the bottom of the page, or just jump in and buy yourself a copy of the Disciple Omnibus itself!

You couldn’t sleep either?”

At the whisper, I looked up from struggling to lace my boots with trembling hands. My master stepped into my dormitory room, adding his lamp’s light to my candle.

“Why must I dress as a boy?” I whispered back. Perhaps I was not so buxom, but I doubted I’d fool anyone. “This makes little sense.”

“Patience.” Master Parselev placed his lamp on my writing-table and checked my packed bags. “They’re gathering at the chapel already. None of us got much sleep, it seems.”

The straw mattress creaked when I stood, boots laced and the woolen hose sagging between my thighs. I ran my fingers around my waist, under my layered cotes, to check the drawstring. “Are these right, Master?” I’d strung the hose and braies together as best I could guess and as memory was my Blessing I had no excuse for failing. Men’s underthings weren’t much concern to me — if I saw such, or more, it was while the man lay bleeding on the surgery table.

“If they stay up, it’s right. Good. This too.” He slung a heavy felt cloak across my shoulders and pinned it on. The hood buried my face in shadows; my blonde braid, even wrapped around my head, would give me away.

I asked, “Master, this journey will be long, won’t it?” Parselev had given me more clothes than I’d ever owned to pack in those bags. All heavy winter woolens, too. “Shouldn’t you go, then?”

He looked down at me, mouth quirking to one side. Master was a greybeard, said to be over a hundred years old, but his kir kept his eyes bright and his face lightly creased. I had only been his apprentice two years. Surely I could not be ready for this.

“It must be you, Kate,” was all he said.

War is coming. Kate Carpenter is only a peasant girl, but she’s determined to help defend the kingdom and its bound saints against the invading empire. Her healing magic earned her a coveted apprenticeship with the master healer; now she must prove herself ready to stand in the front lines and save lives.

She’s not ready for the attentions of a ne’er-do-well knight and the kingdom’s only prince, though. This is no time to be distracted by romance — the empire’s monstrous army will tear through anyone standing between them and the kingdom’s magical founts. All disciples must put aside their tangled feelings and stand in the homeland’s defense.

Disciple Covers


The six-part gritty fantasy romance series is now complete!

Disciple, Part VI on sale at:

Amazon | B&N | More retailers

Disciple, Part I available for free on:

Amazon | B&N | More retailers | Via Email (L. Blankenship)

You can get news about all of L’s work by joining her mailing list.

Net Neutrality and the Writer Again

A long while back I wrote about Net Neutrality, and what it meant to someone who is, for all intents and purposes, a small business owner. I’m writing this followup in light of the fact that the FCC just voted to ensure Net Neutrality yesterday.

The long story made short is this: in America the Internet is a public utility, which means that no company can take actions to give anyone preferential access to it, or attempt to block companies or organizations from accessing the Internet. That’s good news. It means I won’t be forced to “pay to play” on any “premium” lanes the ISPs might think up. It also means good things for municipalities that want to have broadband Internet as a utility for residents to take advantage of.

I honestly feel all too often that the ordinary people in America win almost never right now. The fact that the FCC has taken a stance against the wishes of massive corporations which favors the normal folks who just use the ‘net daily for work and play is a good thing. Victory may be rare, but it’s certainly sweet when it does roll around.

Toddlers Are Evil

There’s not much to add to the subject line of the post. I spend a lot of time chasing two very industrious children currently. That leaves not a lot of time for writing. Some people manage the balance, sure, but I’m apparently not quite that talented a juggler.

I have been kicking around some ideas (a dark fantasy serial is the latest) recently, so we’ll see if I don’t come up with something sooner rather than later.

Guest: Katharina Gerlach with an Excerpt from The Stepmother

Magic Appreciation Tour author Katharina Gerlach is back on the blog with an excerpt from her Treasures Retold tale, The Stepmother—Cat’s shot at crafting an alternate perspective on the Brothers Grimm classic Little Brother, Little Sister. If re-imaginings capture your imagination, you’ll definitely want to take a gander at what she’s got to share.

I stumbled over some roots again and had to straighten my heavy backpack once more. The Old Forest was never nice to visitors, and I was no exception despite my skills. If I’d had the money to spare, I would never have tried to pass through it on foot. Only a chariot, preferably a steam engine chariot, provided the necessary speed to evade its dangers. Since Ellie and Tobi had left without money, I didn’t think they would be in Bergia, the northernmost kingdom of this continent. However, after searching the other countries for more than three years without a trace of my children, I had decided to pay Bergia a quick visit. It wasn’t such a big kingdom, after all, and since I was born there, I knew my way around. I wouldn’t take more than a few weeks to search it.

But tracking through the Old Forest was arduous. Now, it assaulted me with thirst – again. My mouth went dry and my throat felt parched. I took no notice of the clear spring in the moss and stumbled on. Behind me, the bubbling spring called out to me, and my thirst intensified. I would not let it win. I’d seen what water like this did to the unsuspecting traveler and didn’t fancy living my life as an animal. When the urge to drink finally left me, I looked around for a dry place where I could spend the night. It wasn’t much farther to Bergia, but night was falling early in autumn, and it was impossible to navigate the Old Forest safely during the night. I would never be able to evade the puddles of magic that still lingered here.

I found a small clearing, barely more than a hole ripped into the canopy by a fallen tree. The root plate sheltered me against wind and malevolent forest creatures, and the branches of the dead tree provided me with more than enough firewood. Soon I had a soup bubbling over a nice fire, and my bedding was spread on a pile of dry leaves with my backpack stored beside it. I had dug a hole somewhere to the side that I would use as privy. Just when I was about to turn to my backpack to take out the machine, I heard someone sing. Was that Ellie? It couldn’t be. No matter how mad Ellie had been with me, she wouldn’t be so stupid to enter the Old Forest, or would she? I swallowed my fear, unhooked the lantern from my pack, lit it and followed the sweet voice.

I had not walked far when I noticed the unicorn. It stood beside its pool, the horn raised to the full moon that slowly crept higher, and sang. Every note of its clear voice made the surface of the water shiver. It was already glowing with power. I hurried back to my pack to fetch a glass vial. Unicorns, and maybe fairies, were all I would miss when science finally ousted magic. With that frame of mind, I was most likely the most science-oriented witch in the world. I did not mind using the power but my life was easier without, and I was glad it was fading from the world. Some countries didn’t have any magic left at all. In my opinion, it was for the best. Magic was a double-edged sword. Of course, a skilled witch could do much good, or much evil if so inclined. However, the power was restricted to those with the talent and usually complicated the lives of those it touched. Magic had cost me so much, too much, and I was not just talking about my missing left pinkie. I was glad to see magic go. I’d take science any day – with a few exceptions. Like water from a unicorn’s pond, for example.

When I returned to the pool, the animal was drinking. I waited until it left to inspect its part of the Old Forest before I hurried to the edge of the pond. Very carefully I scooped water into the vial. I made doubly sure to keep my fingers away from the surface. I didn’t want the unicorn to die next time it drank. However, I filled the vial to the brim. Water from a unicorn’s pond was the rarest and strongest of medicines. Magicians had called it the ‘Water of Life’ – which overdid it a bit, but it could really heal people on the brink of death. When I had plugged the vial, I walked back to my cozy corner and settled down.

After I had wrapped the vial in a soft cloth and stored it in a safe place in my backpack, I took the machine from its protective casing and set it up. It was a marvel, the only piece of technology I knew that combined science and magic in perfect balance. By now, the full moon shone brightly through the wound in the canopy. A small emerald set into the machine’s side caught its light and sparkled. I could have used the gem to buy all the comfort I’d been missing. The fortune it was worth would have lasted a lifetime of traveling. Unfortunately, I would never be able to dismantle my machine. It was the last connection to my beloved Daniel. He built this machine – with my help, of course, since he was no wizard.

Finally, the glow from the emerald lit up the crystal ball that formed the top of the machine, and a face in shades of gray appeared in the misty glass. I provided the color myself. Brown hair, doe-like eyes, and the lightest tan – that was what Daniel had looked like before his death.

“Have you found them yet?” Daniel’s voice still reminded me of the smoky smell of his business, but his hair held no ash, and his face was free from the smudges of charcoal that always clung to him in life.

“I am nearing the Bergian border,” I said, trying to sound optimistic. Already I felt the machine drain my life energy. It hurt. However, the loss of the children and the loss of Daniel were worse. The machine only caused my body pain; the loss of my family murdered my soul. Still, the longest I had been able to withstand the pain was ten minutes. I set the running time to a much shorter span these days, but I just couldn’t stop talking to Daniel. He deserved to know. Also, I couldn’t live without seeing his face. It made it easier to bear the fact that I’d never be able to touch him again.

The StepmotherAn imaginative retelling of Little Brother, Little Sister by the Brothers Grimm. What if they painted the wrong picture of the stepmother?

Even with her powers as a witch, Isabel cannot find a trace of her stepchildren. Desperate, she crosses the Old Forest, filled with as much malignant as benevolent magic, to reach the distant mountain kingdom she left as a young girl when her magical powers manifested. She soon realizes that a sinister creature holds the unsuspecting kingdom in thrall. It will take all she’s able to give to save her children and the kingdom she once loved.

Get The Stepmother on Amazon

About Katharina Gerlach

Katharina GerlachBorn and raised German with a generous helping of an adopted Scottish heritage, Katharina started writing at age seven (although she didn’t get serious until much later) when the tomboy adventures she lived in her father’s forest weren’t enough for her imagination any more.

Writing about balloon people, flying hearts, giant spiders, and more was her lifeline to sanity and Real Life™ all through her education. After finishing with a PhD in science, marriage and the start of a beloved but distracting family, she returned to her life-long vocation.

These days, Katharina lives for stolen moments of writing happiness in two languages while juggling her husband, two girls in puberty, a fledgling daughter that just left the house, a dog, and … laundry.

The easiest way to keep up with her publishing schedule is by leaving your eMail address with her (you’ll get a free eBook as a thank you). Or you can have a look at her amazon page or her homepage. She’s also on Facebook, Pinterest, and (occasionally) on Twitter.