Portmanteau Post

I was going to call this a portmanteau post, and then a quick check of how to spell the term led me to Wikipedia, which reminded me that the term “portmanteau word” was coined by Lewis Carroll. I imagine if he’d survived to the 21st century he might have appreicated portmanteau posts too.

So, first thing: a reminder that Flux is free  through Monday.

Second, an announcement that my short story “Care and Rehabilitation” will appear in Dreamspinner’s Animal Magnetism anthology. The book comes out on August 13.

Third, I’m thrilled to announce that Dreamspinner will be publishing another of my novels! Brute will be released in December or January. Here’s the preliminary blurb:

Although Brute lives in a world where magic is commonplace, his lonely life is anything but magical. At seven and a half feet tall, with an ugly face, and with a thief and a whore as parents, Brute is expected to be nothing more than a laborer. But heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and often rise from humble beginnings. One day he is maimed while rescuing a prince, and Brute’s life changes abruptly. He is summoned to serve at the palace as guard for a single prisoner—a position that those before him have not been able to withstand for any length of time.

 The rumors say that the prisoner, Gray Leynham, is a witch and a traitor. What is certain is that he has spent years in misery: blind, chained, and rendered nearly incomprehensible by an extreme stutter. And he dreams people’s deaths—dreams that come true.

 As Brute gets to know his prisoner and the other residents of the palace, he begins to find his own worth as a friend and as a man. But what he learns about Gray Leynham teaches him that heroes frequently face very difficult decisions. Brute speaks of the crippling effects of bullying—and the power of love, friendship, and self-esteem to transform our lives.

And finally, a shout out to a craftsperson. Today my family visited the Portland (Oregon) Saturday Market. My younger daughter, who’s 9, was admiring some jewelry at this booth. The artist reached into a bag and gave my daughter a fancy metal headband. She said that when pieces don’t turn out exactly as she wants, she likes to give them to little girls who visit her booth. Needless to say, my daughter was thrilled to pieces. She admired herself in a mirror the whole way home. Also, I bought DD2 a brass bracelet from another vendor (whose name I didn’t catch) and that vendor patiently helped DD2 engrave her name on the jewelry, which was also a thrill.

Speechless for sale

My novella Speechless is now available in a bunch of e-formats at Dreamspinner! Here’s the blurb:

Travis Miller has a machining job, a cat named Elwood, and a pathetic love life. The one bright spot in his existence is the handsome guitar player he sometimes passes on his way home from work. But when he finally gathers the courage to speak to the man, Travis learns that former novelist Drew Clifton suffers from aphasia: Drew can understand everything Travis says, but he is unable to speak or write.

The two lonely men form a friendship that soon blossoms into romance. But communication is only one of their challenges—there’s also Travis’s inexperience with love and his precarious financial situation. If words are the bridge between two people, what will keep them together?

More inspiration

One thing I love to do is place my stories in real places, with all the details of life in those places. As it happens, both Good Bones and Speechless are set in the Portland area. And one detail that’s mentioned in Good Bones and alluded to in Speechless is this place:

As you might remember, Chris was rather taken with the maple bacon bar. He could have tried one of these guys instead:
Or maybe this would be his favorite:
No, I haven’t tried the ale. I don’t eat bacon anyway, but bacon maple ale? Ugh.
In case you’re tired of Portland as a locale, the novels I’m working on now are set in a fictional land and in Central Europe.


The Romance Reviews is having a Sizzling Summer Reads Party. Each week in July there are contests with lots of giveaways and a grand prize. I’ll be taking part too: a quiz question about Good Bones will appear during the final week. In the meantime, hop on over and see what you can win.

PS–Five more days until my novella Speechless debuts!

Dylan’s farm–sort of

I get inspiration from all kinds of places. The farm in my novel Good Bones is an amalgam of two real Oregon farms, with a few embellishments thrown in. Here are a couple of photos from one of those farms.

This farm doesn’t have a pond or adjacent wilderness, and of course Chris Nock doesn’t live next door. But it’s still a pretty nice place!