About Sarah Madison

Writer, veterinarian, event rider, dog-walker. World's worst cook.

Will There Ever Be A Conclusion to The Sixth Sense Series?

I’m going to be completely honest here. I know it’s been four years since Truth and Consequences was released, the third book in the Sixth Sense series. I know I left things on a bit of a cliffhanger, something I didn’t foresee being a problem because I was working on the final installment, Deal with the Devil. I had every intention of finishing that book and the series in 2017. But several things happened all at the same time, all of which impacted my ability to write.

I had multiple deaths and losses in the family. They began in 2017 and continued well into 2018. Communities I relied on for support closed. Our current administration here in the US seems hell-bent (and I don’t use that term lightly) on destroying or reversing all gains made in civil rights, healthcare, and environmental protections in the last fifty years, threatening everything I believe in and those I love. The planet is on fire and our long-term prognosis is grim. My health took a beating and I fell into a well of chronic pain and depression.

It all seemed so pointless, you know?

But there was one other factor I haven’t mentioned, and that was the fact my spidey senses were tingling over the situation at Dreamspinner Press. Royalty statements, and then payments themselves started coming later and later, always with plausible excuses until you started compiling them all. How could so many things conspire to prevent a business from, well, doing business? Hurricanes, software issues, bank problems, delays getting checks in the mail, delays in the server making the switch to direct deposits, difficulties in the transition from quarterly to monthly payments… I confess, I was mired in my own issues and chose to ignore the elephant in the room, especially since I wasn’t actively writing for them. But I heard whisperings and rumblings behind the scenes. Someone I knew who is a brilliant author subbed to DSP, and was treated–in my opinion–very shabbily in a manner that seemed intended to put her off publishing altogether. (Shortly after that, DSP closed to open submissions, instead concentrating only on specific lines within their press) I’d had my own battle royale when assigned a new editor with my last DSP book, who seemed to have merely run my manuscript through an editing program demanding changes both arbitrary and without adding meaning or clarity to the story. I ended up requesting assignment to another editor.

And subconsciously at first, these events added to my feeling I couldn’t finish the Sixth Sense series. Later, when I began thinking about writing and publishing Deal with the Devil on my own, I realized Dreamspinner had first right of refusal to the characters, and so again, my motivation to complete the series withered on the vine.

Then the payments ceased to come altogether. I’ve received one payment from DSP in all of 2019. In October, I made the difficult decision to pull my titles from Dreamspinner Press and take back the rights to my stories. Dreamspinner gave me my first shot at being a published author. I owed them a lot. But they are also a business, and they violated their end of the contract with me. And the last thing I wanted was for them to declare bankruptcy holding the rights to my titles, which would then become assets in settling their debts.

It’s not just me. You should read this Publisher’s Weekly article.

I’ll be blunt: I didn’t have the spoons to repackage and self-publish my backlist. I’d done a little self-publishing before, but these books needed re-editing and to have the specialized formatting stripped out. Some needed new covers. I didn’t have the funds or the juice to do all this, and yet I hated the thought of all those years of work just lying on my hard drive with nothing to show for it. So I did the work, got the titles back up, fought with the third party vendors still hosting my stories to TAKE THEM DOWN, and got them into Kindle Unlimited for the first time ever.

And now, am discovering they are selling. Better than they had in DSP’s hands for the last few years.

Slowly my mood toward these stories–and my writing in general–has begun to change. I’m no longer sad over my personal losses, and terrified of the direction this country is going in. I’m no longer sad that Dreamspinner is having trouble and looks to be in danger of closing.

I’m mad. Pissed off. Livid.

And you know what? I’m not going to let depression, or DSP, or anything else thwart me from finishing this series. It may not be the best thing I ever write, and I can’t promise when it will be released but by God, I will finish Deal with the Devil and give closure to the Sixth Sense series.

I will not go down without a fight.

 

Sarah Madison Titles are now in KU!

Wow! I hardly know how to announce this except to get right to the point: for the first time EVER nearly all of my works are now available in KU! That’s right, you heard me–almost everything I’ve written: The award-winning Fool’s Gold and The Boys of Summer, The Sixth Sense series, and Holiday House Swap are all available in Kindle Unlimited.

You can find the links on Amazon here.

I’d love it if you could spread the word!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crying for the Moon is available again on Amazon

I’m so pleased to share this announcement with you! Crying for the Moon has received a new cover and is now back on Amazon for just $2.99! Don’t you just love this cover??

 

Also, looking for a little light holiday read? Holiday House Swap is also just $2.99 for a limited time. Enjoy!

The Boys of Summer and the Sixth Sense series now available on Amazon

Just a brief update: I’ve got The Boys of Summer and the Sixth Sense series back up for sale on Amazon–at only $3.99 if you know someone who has been waiting patiently for a reduced price!

I’d appreciate help in getting the word out–also, if you notice something wrong with the files, please, PLEASE let me know. I’ve only done a little self-publishing, and it doesn’t come easily to me yet. If I’ve screwed up, I want to fix it!

Also, for some reason, the digital versions of these stories aren’t showing up on my author page on Amazon, only the print copies. I’m trying to get Amazon to fix it, though!

Other titles to follow.

The Boys of Summer

The Sixth Sense Series


Unspeakable Words

 

Walk A Mile

Truth and Consequences

A Brief Update on the Status of Sarah Madison Books

Just a quick word to let people know the current status of my stories. I’ve received back the rights for the stories contracted to Dreamspinner Press and am currently removing inactive links from the website, as well as putting my titles back up for sale on various outlets. Some of the works will need new covers, some will probably need re-editing. All of this takes time and energy, which I only have in short supply. But I promise, I will get the titles back up as soon as possible, on the off chance you’re coming to this site hopeful of a purchase. 🙂

I’m also giving serious consideration to dropping my Facebook pages. I have marked reservations with the way Facebook runs its business, including the data collection on its users and the disregard for the truth in its advertising. I’d long ago decided FB would never get another dime from me, but while I suspect deleting my account wouldn’t affect them in the slightest, it’s one of the only measures I can take in protest of their unrestricted actions.

As such, you might want to consider either subscribing to this blog or my newsletter, should you want to keep up with updates on potential releases, sales, and news items.

Cutting ties with Dreamspinner and the future of Sarah Madison Fiction

This has been a hard post to write. So much so, I’ve put off doing it time and again.

Earlier this month, I made the difficult decision to ask for a reversion of rights for my stories with Dreamspinner Press. The decision was made for a variety of reasons, not the least of which concerns my own struggle to continue writing MM romance.

Were it not for Dreamspinner Press taking a chance on me and publishing Unspeakable Words back in 2010, I doubt I would be a published author today. I can’t believe it’s been almost nine years to the day. But the truth of the matter is I haven’t subbed anything to DSP in years, and now seems to be the right time to end our association. It was not a decision I made lightly. I do not have any hard feelings toward DSP, just a sense of regret, the way one does when a chapter in your life closes.

In the upcoming weeks, I’ll be getting back all my DSP titles. The plan is to re-edit, re-cover (if needed) and re-publish, though I confess, that looms before me as a daunting task when I have so little spoons to work with these days. It is also a financial outlay that I can ill-afford and not likely to give me a huge ROI on books that have been out for years.There is a strong probability I will be putting some of these titles in KU, though that remains to be seen.

If I sound discouraged, I am. To be honest, I don’t know what this means for writing future books under the Sarah Madison name. I’ve been promising for years now I would finish the Sixth Sense series and give it closure, but as you can see, that hasn’t happened despite all my best intentions. And the dissolution of my relationship with DSP will probably slow that timetable down once again.

By 2020, it will have been ten years since the release of the first edition of Unspeakable Words. It would be nice to end the series within a decade! But I have to accept the fact I can’t make promises any more.

I’m not certain what this means for my writing in general. Publishing is a hard business, especially if I’m in the longest publishing drought of my life. Perhaps the answer is to try my hand at something new, a different genre, a different kind of storytelling. Perhaps the answer is to accept the closing of this door and call it done.

But I’m a storyteller at heart. Even if I stop publishing, I won’t stop writing. It may just be stories I write for my own amusement, but I’ll still keep writing.

My biggest apologies to the fans of the Sixth Sense series who have begged for the final installment. I promised and I haven’t delivered. I’d like to believe I’ll still get there–I want to give Lee and Flynn their ultimate HEA as much as you want to read it–but I’m running a few quarts low on faith these days.

Interview and New Nicky and Noah Mystery from Joe Cosentino: Drama Dance

 

Hello, Joe Cosentino! Congratulations on the release of the eighth novel in your award-winning and popular Nicky and Noah gay cozy mystery series.

 

Thank you. I’m a legend in my own mind. 🙂

 

Completely justified, I’m sure! Thanks for stopping by to answer a few questions. As an author, we often get asked this, but when writing, do you use people and events from your own life?

 

As a theatre college professor/department chair (like Martin in the Nicky and Noah mysteries), I never seem to run out of wild characters to write about. My faculty colleagues and students kid me that if any of them tick me off, I’ll kill them in my next book. Since my spouse and I have travelled extensively, those situations often pop up in my books. I hear other things pop up as well when the readers read Nicky and Noah’s love scenes 🙂

 

*Snort* Too funny! It’s terrific you have such a rich background from which to draw on for your stories. It seems tailor-made for your series. Tell me, why do you think there aren’t many other gay cozy mystery series out there?

 

Most MM novels are erotica, young adult, dark thrillers, or supernatural. While that’s fine, I think we’re missing a whole spectrum of fiction. In the case of the Nicky and Noah mysteries, they include romance, humor, mystery, adventure, and quaint and loveable characters in uncanny situations. The settings are warm and cozy with lots of hot cocoa by the fireplace. The clues and red herrings are there for the perfect whodunit. So are the plot twists and turns and a surprise ending to keep the pages turning faster than a priest heading for altar boy training (as Nicky would say). No matter what is thrown in their path, Nicky and Noah always end up on top. At least Nicky ends up on top, which is just fine with Noah.

 

I love cozy mysteries, so I agree with everything you’ve just said! When you wrote Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery, did you envision this as a series?

 

Totally. Though each book has its own complete story and ending, I wrote the first three books together. When they were so popular, I kept writing.

 

You’re a much better planner than I am! Did you forget certain things about the characters and their environment?

 

I keep really good notes on everything for continuity. Also, the regular characters are like family to me. I know them so well. I love watching them and their relationships grow and develop. It’s also great fun developing minor characters from earlier books into major characters later on, like Martin Anderson’s husband Ruben. It’s equally fun creating important new characters like Nicky and Noah’s son Taavi. Finally, I enjoy creating new suspects in each book. I laugh out loud when writing these novels, and the endings still surprise me—even though I wrote them!

 

That’s really wonderful to hear. Are Nicky and Noah based on any of your younger colleagues?

 

Like most of the characters in my books, Nicky is a combination of a few people I’ve known. He’s handsome, muscular, smart, charming, and he has an enormous manhood, which doesn’t hurt (or maybe it does). However, what I admire most about Nicky is his never give up attitude and sense of humor in the face of adversity. He is genuinely concerned for others, and he’ll do anything to solve a murder mystery. Finally, he is a one-man man, and Nicky is proud to admit that man is Noah Oliver. Nicky is also incredibly devoted to his family and friends. Noah is blond, blue-eyed, lean, handsome, smart, and devoted. He makes the perfect Watson to Nicky’s Holmes. (I always thought Holmes and Watson were a gay couple.) Noah also has a large heart and soft spot (no pun intended) for others. Finally, like Nicky, Noah is quite gifted at improvisation, and he creates wild and wonderful characters for their role plays to catch the murderer.

 

You make them sound so charming! (I’m with you on Sherlock and Watson, too) Since both you and Nicky are of Italian-American decent, are Nicky’s parents like yours? Are Noah’s parents like your spouse’s parents?

 

Both Nicky’s parents and Noah’s parents have many of the traits of my parents. They’re absolutely hilarious. I love Noah’s mother’s fixation with taking pictures of everything, and his father’s fascination with seeing movies. I also love how Noah’s father is an amateur sleuth like Nicky. As they say, men marry their fathers. Nicky’s parents’ goal to feed everyone and protect their children is heartwarming. Both sets of parents fully embrace their sons and their sons’ family, which is refreshing.

 

You’ve written twenty-five books in total so far. I envy you your productivity! As a college professor/department head, where do you find the time?

 

I’m a night owl, writing late into the night.

 

Any parting words, Joe?

 

Everyone read the blurb below and buy Drama Dance, the eighth Nicky and Noah mystery novel. You’ll die laughing!

 

Thank you, Joe, for interviewing today. Congratulations on this latest release–I’m sure it will be another smashing success!

 

It is my joy and pleasure to share this eighth novel in the series with you. So take your seats. The curtain is going up on Clara, the Nutcracker, the Mouse King, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and the Cavalier. And of course hilarity, romance, and murder!

 

DRAMA DANCE (the eighth Nicky and Noah mystery)

by JOE COSENTINO

http://mybook.to/DramaDance

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/942548

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/drama-dance-joe-cosentino/1131937902?ean=2940163240081

 

 

Theatre professor Nicky Abbondanza is back at Treemeadow College directing their Nutcracker Ballet co-starring his spouse, theatre professor Noah Oliver, their son Taavi, and their best friend and department head, Martin Anderson. With muscular dance students and faculty in the cast, the Christmas tree on stage isn’t the only thing rising. When cast members drop faster than their loaded dance belts, Nicky and Noah will once again need to use their drama skills to figure out who is cracking the Nutcracker’s nuts, trapping the Mouse King, and being cavalier with the Cavalier, before Nicky and Noah end up stuck in the Land of the Sweets. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining eighth novel in this delightful series. Take your seats. The curtain is going up on the Fairy—Sugar Plum that is, clumsy mice, malfunctioning toys, and murder!

 

Praise for the Nicky and Noah mysteries:

 

“Joe Cosentino has a unique and fabulous gift. His writing is flawless, and his use of farce, along with his convoluted plot-lines, will have you guessing until the very last page, which makes his books a joy to read. His books are worth their weight in gold, and if you haven’t discovered them yet you are in for a rare treat.” Divine Magazine

 

“a combination of Laurel and Hardy mixed with Hitchcock and Murder She Wrote…

Loaded with puns and one-liners…Right to the end, you are kept guessing, and the conclusion still has a surprise in store for you.” “the best modern Sherlock and Watson in books today…I highly recommend this book and the entire series, it’s a pure pleasure, full of fun and love, written with talent and brio…fabulous…brilliant” Optimumm Book Reviews

 

“adventure, mystery, and romance with every page….Funny, clever, and sweet….I can’t find anything not to love about this series….This read had me laughing and falling in love….Nicky and Noah are my favorite gay couple.” Urban Book Reviews

 

“For fans of Joe Cosentino’s hilarious mysteries, this is another vintage story with more cheeky asides and sub plots right left and centre….The story is fast paced, funny and sassy. The writing is very witty with lots of tongue-in-cheek humour….Highly recommended.” Boy Meets Boy Reviews

 

“This delightfully sudsy, colorful cast of characters would rival that of any daytime soap opera, and the character exchanges are rife with sass, wit and cagey sarcasm….As the pages turn quickly, the author keeps us hanging until the startling end.” Edge Media Network

 

“A laugh and a murder, done in the style we have all come to love….This had me from the first paragraph….Another wonderful story with characters you know and love!” Crystals Many Reviewers

 

“These two are so entertaining….Their tactics in finding clues and the crazy funny interactions between characters keeps the pages turning. For most of the book if I wasn’t laughing I was grinning.” Jo and Isa Love Books

 

“Superb fun from start to finish, for me this series gets stronger with every book and that’s saying something because the benchmark was set so very high with book 1.” Three Books Over the Rainbow

 

“The Nicky and Noah Mysteries series are perfect for fans of the Cozy Mystery sub-genre. They mix tongue-in-cheek humor, over-the-top characters, a wee bit of political commentary, and suspense into a sweet little mystery solved by Nicky and Noah, theatre professors for whom all the world’s a stage.” Prism Book Alliance

“This is one hilarious series with a heart and it just keeps getting better. I highly recommend them all, and please read them in the order they were written for full blown laugh out loud reading pleasure!” Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Bestselling author Joe Cosentino was voted Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of the Year by the readers of Divine Magazine for Drama Queen. He also wrote the other novels in the Nicky and Noah mystery series: Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, Drama Detective, Drama Fraternity, Drama Castle, Drama Dance; the Dreamspinner Press novellas: In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, the Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories: A Home for the Holidays/The Perfect Gift/The First Noel, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland with Holiday Tales from Fairyland; the Cozzi Cove series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings, Cozzi Cove: Happy Endings (NineStar Press); and the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently Chair of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and he is happily married. Joe was voted 2nd Place Favorite LGBT Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards, and his books have received numerous Favorite Book of the Month Awards and Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions.

 

Web site: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JoeCosentinoauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeCosen

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino

Amazon: Author.to/JoeCosentino

 

Cover Art: JesĂşs Da Silva

 

Excerpt of Drama Dance, the eighth Nicky and Noah mystery, by Joe Cosentino

 

The Victorian-era playroom was adorned with wallpapered walls of pink and gold swirls. A large window hovered over a cushiony toy chest. Standing guard on one side was a grandfather clock and a pink chaise lounge on the other. Elaborately decorated gift boxes of all shapes and sizes stood between them. Cherished music played as couples in elaborate gowns and vested tuxedos executed a promenade at the Stahlbaum’s holiday party. Little boys in knickers galloped with their toy horses, and sweet girls in frilly party dresses danced with their dolls. A small, thin, elderly man entered in a puff of smoke, causing a hush in the room. Uncle Drosselmeyer, in a maroon suit, motioned for pretty young Clara, dressed in white, to join him next to the Christmas tree adorned with gold balls, candles, and garland. Clara’s younger brother, Fritz, joined her with mischief in his eyes. The adults and children left the playroom, except for Drosselmeyer, Clara, and Fritz. The lights in the room flickered as the bald man waved his tiny arms and magically produced—a garlic crusher.

“What happened to the nutcracker?” I asked from the front row center orchestra, resting the notepad and pen on my lap.

Ruben Markinson entered the stage from the wings. “I couldn’t fit a nutcracker up Martin’s sleeve.”

Martin Anderson dropped his Uncle Drosselmeyer persona and sneered at his husband. “So you expected Clara to dance with a garlic crusher?”

Ruben replied, “It’s less absurd than you dancing on stage at your advanced age, Martin.”

Martin glared at his longtime companion. “My body is a temple.”

“And it’s in ruins!” Ruben replied.

We’re back! For you Nicky and Noah mystery virgins, let me explain. I’m Nicky Abbondanza, Professor of Play Directing at Treemeadow College, a quaint college in picturesque Vermont. Treemeadow was named after the quaint gay couple who founded it: Harold Tree and Jacob Meadow. They are immortalized together in bronze at the quaint college entrance—to the delight of every pigeon in the county.

I had taken a sabbatical from teaching to direct and star in a Broadway play and direct two movies. But when producers responded to my calls with, “Don’t call us—ever again,” I realized that “those who can, do; those who did, teach.” So, missing my college more than a hooker misses a john with a fat wallet and narcolepsy, it was back to Treemeadow for me, where I was recently promoted from Associate Professor to Professor. For you non-academics, that means I make more money now. But I don’t teach and direct shows for the monetary rewards. I do it for the ulcers and heart attacks. This semester, after teaching my theatre classes at accelerated hours, I finished my classes mid-semester; and my department head and best friend, Professor of Theatre Management Martin Anderson, loaned me out to the Dance Department to direct their December production of The Nutcracker ballet. Since I have gotten myself out of many traps, I also agreed to understudy the cheesy role of the Mouse King.

For the carnally conscious, I’m tall, with dark hair, a cleft in my chin, emerald eyes, a Roman nose, and long sideburns. I have a muscular body, thanks to the gym on campus—and to my fear of giving into gravity now that I hit the big four zero.

My husband of five years, recently promoted Associate Professor of Acting Noah Oliver, as usual joined me as the production’s acting coach. Noah’s dance training in college made him a perfect understudy for the Sugar Plum Fairy’s Cavalier. By the way, Noah is seven years younger than me. But it doesn’t bother me. At all!

Noah is gorgeous with golden blond hair, sea-blue eyes, milk-and-honey skin, and a tight little body. We both always wear dress shirts, dress slacks, and blazers, except to bed. Speaking of clothing, to my tailor’s horror and Noah’s delight, I have a nearly foot-long penis when erect. Had I been a caveman, I wouldn’t have needed a club. A gay porn star would hang his head (both of them) next to me. Why am I telling you this? I tell you everything.

As for the rest of the cast and crew, elderly Martin is playing Clara’s elderly Uncle Drosselmeyer. Martin’s equally elderly husband, Ruben, agreed to be our props master. Dance faculty members took on the roles of the Sugar Plum Fairy, Cavalier, the Mouse King, and choreographer. The star dance students were cast in the roles of Clara, Clara’s understudy, the Nutcracker, and the Nutcracker’s understudy. In the ensemble, the remaining senior dance students filled the roles of the parents, and the freshmen were cast as the children. I brought my theatre student, Nate Owens, along as stage manager. Other theatre students are doing the set, lights, sound, and costumes.

Finally, due to his vast talents, and my nepotism, Noah’s and my eleven-year-old adopted son, Taavi Oliver Abbondanza Kapule, was cast as Clara’s brother, Fritz.

Now back to the action.

 

Dear Disappointed Fan: I’m Disappointed Too

Recently, I got a message on Goodreads from a fan asking when we could expect the next book in the Sixth Sense series. I went to GR to respond to the post but it had been deleted. I’d gathered the gist of the message in the partial view GR had sent me, which was a polite but slightly forlorn request for an update. And I felt like crap when I realized the post had been removed. Now I couldn’t explain the delay to the reader. I felt like crap about the delay of the next installment, too.

See, when I submitted Unspeakable Words to Dreamspinner Press back in 2010, it was on a whim. I never expected it to be published. I expected it to languish on my hard drive while I kept banging out stories in the hope one day, I would be a published author. I didn’t think of it as the beginning of a series or the beginning of a writing career. It was just a roll of the dice that came up a winner.

I went on to write other stories people seemed to like, most notably Crying for the Moon and The Boys of Summer. I don’t write quickly, so it was 2013 before I began thinking about John Flynn and Jerry Parker again and realized they still had stories to tell me. I published Walk a Mile in 2014–four years after the first book. I caught a little flak for that, which made me wince, but it wasn’t like I hadn’t been working on other projects. I’m a slow writer. I’m doing good if I publish a book a year.

I left the boys in a bit of a dicey place at the end of Walk a Mile, and I definitely didn’t people left hanging for a resolution, so I went to work right away on Truth and Consequences, which came out in 2015. I had plans to move right ahead with the final installment of the series, tentatively titled Deal with the Devil, but first, I wanted to expand on some things in Unspeakable Words, so I went back and fleshed out some parts I felt had been underdeveloped. Right, so by the end of 2016, I was looking at pounding out DWTD and a publishing date of 2017.

Only that didn’t happen, did it?

In fact, I more or less disappeared. I popped in for the occasional post, but for the most part, I ghosted you, dear reader. For that, I’m very sorry.

I’ve been trying to decide how much of my personal life I should share with you here. The temptation is to lay it all out as evidence I have every right to be derailed by life events from completing my series. I alluded to some of the issues in this post here, but I’m disheartened to realize I wrote that post over a year ago. Part of me wants to justify my failure, if not to you, dear reader, then to myself. By saying, “See? I’ve suffered. I’m not just sitting around twiddling my thumbs. I’m struggling here.”

That’s not to say I haven’t been writing anything. I have. The words have to be chiseled out of granite and the end result is the kind of blocky, formless statue a beginning art student might create. Most days I realize I’m trying to pump water out of a dry well, to inelegantly mix my metaphors here. Some days I think I no longer have the capacity to tell stories. I remind myself depression is a lying SOB, but the end result is the same, yes? No new story out this year.

I’ve been staring at this blinking cursor wondering if I should name all the losses I’ve experienced. Of the funerals I’ve attended. Of friendships that have crashed, and communities that are gone, the pressures of work and home alike. I started to list them, but decided on a better response instead.

This is the Social Readustment Rating Scale developed by Holmes and Rahe in 1967. Basically you add up points for the various kinds of stress in your life within a year (both good and bad) and if you score over three hundred, you have an 80% chance of developing a major stress-related illness.

My score is 816.

Eight hundred and sixteen.

That would make me giggle if it didn’t make me want to cry. Take your pick of the various stressors on the list and decide which ones I’ve experienced. Chances are, I have. The sad thing is I strongly suspect most of us have scores over 300, easy.

Okay, so the stressors occurred over two years instead of one, but that’s averaging a little over four hundred a year for two years running. I’ve taken hit after hit again and again. And that doesn’t begin to count the stress of seeing what’s happening in this country right now. In fact, the only good thing about all the personal stress is that it has distracted somewhat from my anxiety over the direction we as a nation here in the US have taken. The downside of the national situation is that it makes our future seem very bleak (not just as a nation, but as a freaking species), which makes it harder to feel as though writing stories matters in the long run.

Don’t worry. I think in times like this, stories matter even more than ever. I take great comfort in posts like this one, Write Despite, by Chuck Wendig. I just find it hard to implement at times. At the end of the day, I’m wrung out emotionally and mentally, and that makes it challenging to be very creative. So essentially this post is for that poor reader who desperately wanted a hopeful update as to the next installment of the Sixth Sense series, and this is me saying, not this year. Maybe next.

Which means it will be five years since I published Truth and Consequences before you can even possibly expect the final installment to the Sixth Sense series. I’m sorry. I didn’t want to do that to you guys again.

And seriously, where did the freaking time go?

 

EDIT: The reader contacted me–the deletion of the post was because it had been published too early before she’d completed her thought. So my angst wasn’t necessary, but I think my apology was. 🙂

Third Annual International Peggy Carter Day!

It’s here! Today is April 9th, the birthday of our favorite agent, Peggy Carter! Fans from all over the world are celebrating today by putting on a Peggy-themed T-shirt or Besame’s Red Velvet or simply channeling their inner Peggy Carter!

We invite you to share your love and celebration with us by using the hashtags #IKnowMyValue and #WalkLikePeggyDay and #InternationalPeggyCarterDay.

We want to see how you celebrate!

Share your favorite moments or quotes from the show. Link to your favorite fanfic. Post images of your favorite scenes, or that bit of fandom memorabilia that brings you joy.

Tell us why Peggy Carter resonates with you as a character and why you love her so much. You are not alone. We want to share your squee with you!

For many of us, we might have been Peggy fans before this moment, but this scene in S1 solidified why the character means so much to us:

Don’t know what Peggy Carter Day is about? Check out this post and links here.

National Pi Day and a Dreamspinner Press Sale!

I had to laugh at this notice in my mailbox this morning–it’s National Pi Day (not Pie Day, though there is one of those, too) and to celebrate, Dreamspinner Press is holding a 31.4% off sale from now until March 19th! How cool is that?

Interested? Check out all my Dreamspinner stories here! Read on a Kindle? You can choose the format of your choice and have your book sent to you! If you’ve been waiting for the right time to check out my stories, now is the perfect time to grab a slice of Dreamspinner Pi!