Snakes Not on a Plane!

020 This is not Europe.

Now, hold that thought. We’ll get back to it.






More pleasant things first!

My thirteenth novel, Rattlesnake, has just released from Dreamspinner Press. You can buy it in print or ebook versions. I’ve told you already–probably repeatedly–that I’m extra excited about this one. Some characters strike a special chord in my heart, and Jimmy and Shane are among that select crowd. I hope you love them. I mean, really. I am sitting here stressing about it, kind of like how I felt sending my younger daughter into the wilds of junior high earlier this month.

But right now I should be in an airplane, somewhere between the US and Europe. Which meant we would have (Rattle)snakes on a plane!

But we don’t. Instead, I’m in a hotel near San Francisco International, enjoying the lovely view you see at the beginning of the post. Apparently one of the cabin doors on my plane was damaged, and Lufthansa thinks a tiny little detail like not being able to pressurize the cabin is important. We sat around the airport all afternoon, until the airline determined it wasn’t going to get fixed tonight. So here I am. In a hotel in Burlingame.

The day was kind of fraught even before I got to the airport, actually. I usually park in an off-property lot. It’s cheaper, more convenient, and actually closer to the terminal than long term parking. But without any warning, the exit leading to that lot was closed today. So was the next one. I ended up parking at the airport instead.

Sometimes life is like this–we plan carefully, yet things still turn out differently than we expected. Like Jimmy in Rattlesnake (you knew I’d get back to the book, didn’t you?). He plans to hit the road and continue his life as a drifter. He plans not to hope. Until he meets Shane. Which, by the way, is a much happier accident than a broken plane.

Lufthansa has assured me that tomorrow they will get me on my way, my ultimate destination being Portugal. My world hasn’t ended. I had a nice dinner at the hotel and maybe I’ll write a bit tonight. But mostly I’ll just sit here, wondering how many people are settling in to read those first words. And it’s always just as exciting as it was for my very first book.

I hope you decide to give the new book a shot. You won’t regret it. And I hope by the time I land in Portugal, schlep to my hotel, adjust to the 9-hour time shift, and log in, some of you will have already fallen for my boys.

Rattlesnake available now at

Dreamspinner Press



and most other booksellers

You can also join my book tour! Details here.

Please welcome Jana Denardo!

Soldiers of the Sun is technically the third in the series but it’s a stand alone and the first full-length story.

SoldiersoftheSunFSThe original inspiration for the whole Soldiers of the Sun series was Dreamspinner’s Necking anthology, looking for polyamorous relationships. Simple enough, so very open ended. I have a thing for groups of warriors fighting the supernatural so making the trio demon hunters was a natural for me.

As to why I set it in the 1930s, I have a lot of theories. The leading one is my brain hates me. It’s a time period in which I had done no research. I suspect it went a little like this: Hey you like research. It’s only a short story. You can do enough research to handle that without much pain.

The research ballooned to a lot of work but I do like research. That really is half the fun. I set the stories in the Pittsburgh area because I grew up there and why not learn about the history of my own stomping grounds? Of course it’s still tricky to write historicals because it’s so easy to get accidental anachronisms in there. I’m very glad for eagle-eyed editors.

I tried to research the lingo and lucked into a website that documented where they culled the slang from, movie-wise. That was helpful. I also ended up watching some movies from the time period, even though that’s not my thing other than the horror flicks. Still, it’s a good view into the lingo and the clothing styles, or at least the styles of the wealthy, which I just happen to have in this story.

Caleb, Temple and Agni live in a world of repression and depression. They are lucky the Soldiers of the Sun is a fairly inclusive organization, religious- and gender-wise. They have male and female teams and represent a wide range of beliefs. This has not, however, left them untouched by the Great Depression. Even their headquarters is showing signs of not having enough money for upkeep. Temple especially is infuriated by Prohibition. At least the Soldiers are savvy enough to have relaxation times for them, including Temple’s favorite: dancing. However, the biggest piece of luck they have is the generals are content to look the other way when it comes to their homosexual soldiers and tries to keep them together in teams. That said, they certainly are not living openly but what happens behind closed doors is ignored by the organization.

The Depression plays a large role in the story. Without giving away too much, it is the impetus of why the villain of the piece has been summoned from Hell. This Devil is known for granted wishes and money and keeping your fortune is something he can help you with. You can see the appeal. Caleb, Temple and Agni have their work cut out for them.

Here’s where they patrol nightly.  photo aerial of oakland 1930_zpsyhjtrcsl.jpg

 photo oakland feb 1932_zpsrksmoueb.jpg

The end result of all the inspiration was a team of demon hunters in the 1930s, keeping the city safe at a time when my grandmother was young. In fact, she and her friends make a cameo appearance in the Phipps Conservancy – a place you should check out if you’re ever in Pittsburgh. She was thrilled I put her in the story but sadly Grandma passed before this came out (August is her birth month) missing it by just a few months. She was would have been 100 and the novel is dedicated to her.

What draws you to historical fiction? Curious minds want to know.


Excerpt – “That was not how the New Year should be welcomed.” Temple sighed, undoing his bow tie. He and his partners shuffled through the quiet corridors of one of the male wings of the Soldiers of the Sun’s home base.

“I definitely had other ideas myself,” Agni said, and Temple looked back over his shoulder at him.

“Oh, really? And here I thought you were the staid, boring type who probably turned in at nine.”

Caleb suppressed a grin. That baiting sounded much more like the Temple he knew so well.

Agni huffed. “I suppose that means you don’t want to see what I would have done. My blood’s up a little too much to go right to sleep.”

Temple’s green eyes lit up. “I didn’t say that.”

“So I’m not getting sleep anytime soon?” Caleb eyed his partner as he unlocked the door to his apartment. Sometimes Agni surprised him. Caleb thought Agni only entered into this three-way partnership because Caleb asked, but he was beginning to think Agni truly enjoyed having sex with Temple too.

Temple stuffed his tie into his pocket. “You can sleep on the couch, I suppose.”

“As noisy as you are, if I chose that option, do you really think I’d get a moment’s rest?” Caleb slipped out of his overcoat and dress jacket, putting both on the coat rack by his door.

“Then you’ll have to join us.” Temple ran his hand across Caleb’s shoulders.

“Naturally.” Caleb turned and studied Temple’s face. “Are you okay?”

Temple shrugged. “I’m not perfect, but I will be eventually. Don’t want to talk about it now.” He fisted his fingers in Caleb’s starched shirt, pulling him forward into a kiss. “And I get the middle tonight since I earned it. All you did in the fight was stand there looking pretty.”

“And how was I to know which way the demons would run?” Caleb protested, breaking free. He caught Agni’s hand, tugging him toward his bedroom.

Temple followed behind them. “You’re smart. It sounds planned to me.”

“Keep talking, Temple, and your boyfriend for tonight will be found at the end of your wrist,” Caleb volleyed back.

Temple pouted, but he didn’t look particularly sad. “Ouch, you can be so mean.”

Caleb couldn’t hide his grin. If baiting Temple made him less morose, Caleb was happy to do it. It was so very easy to get his goat, anyhow. “You love it when I am.”

“Do not.” Temple’s sulk deepened.

“I have to side with Caleb. You thrive on us being hard on you.” Agni reached back to swat Temple’s arm.

Temple narrowed his green eyes. “I’m beginning to think my hand is the better choice.”

“At least your hand wouldn’t be mean to you,” Caleb agreed.

“And it would do exactly what you want.” Agni grinned.

“You two are just lucky I like you,” Temple huffed. “And I know you’re both damaged, and this is the only way you can show affection.”

Agni wiggled free of Caleb’s grasp, heading for the nightstand. He got out the jar of lubricant and put it in Temple’s hand. “Have fun.”

“And I’m not damaged. I barely remember being at the not-so-nice orphanage,” Caleb said.

“I was thinking more that someone at the orphanage dropped you on your head as a baby,” Temple said, taking off his ichor-splattered dress shirt, dropping it to the floor. His nipples stood up in the chill of the room. He went over and played with the heater controls.

“Go enjoy that jar.” Caleb shoved him.

Temple tossed the jar onto the bed, then tackled Caleb back onto the mattress.


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Buy Links: Dreamspinner :Snowbound –

Soldiers of the Sun – eBook

Soldiers of the Sun- paperback –

Amazon: Snowbound

Soldiers of the Sun



Author Bio- Jana is Queen of the Geeks (her students voted her in) and her home and office are shrines to any number of comic book and manga heroes along with SF shows and movies too numerous to count. There is no coincidence the love of all things geeky has made its way into many of her stories. To this day, she’s still disappointed she hasn’t found a wardrobe to another realm, a superhero to take her flying among the clouds or a roguish star ship captain to run off to the stars with her.


Where to find me:

Website : (coming soon)




So I just had a crappy day at the day job. I’m a university professor. I love teaching, and my research is really important to me, but let’s just say not all of the administrators are appreciative of the 22 years of blood, sweat, and tears I’ve invested in my campus. I came home from work growling at the universe.

And then I saw Rattlesnake on Dreamspinner’s bestseller list–11 days before the book is released. And then Damon Suede and some other nice people sent lovely tweets about my beloved Brute. And then I remembered that I am 4000 words into writing my 14th novel.

All of that put my woes into perspective. So what if the day job is frustrating as hell? I am lucky enough to have been gifted with this second career–writing–a career I’d dreamed of for years. With two kids on their way to college, I’m not in the position to quit the day job yet. (Unless, of course, I sell a million copies of my books–hint hint.) But how fortunate I am to be able to set the day job aside at least part of the time and do something I love, something so fulfilling. Something that’s allowed me to meet so many wonderful people.

So many thanks to all of you for giving me your support and keeping me (mostly) sane!


Confession Time

So I wanted to write a novel that takes place in the Sierra foothills. There are a lot of ranches near there. In fact, Oakdale, California–which is not far from my fictional Rattlesnake–dubs itself the Cowboy Capital.

(Incidentally, Oakdale is also home to the annual Testicle Festival, which I wrote about in my short “Tyler Wang Has a Ball“. I’ve never attended the event, but I see that in 2016 it’s taking place on my birthday. Hmm.)

Rattlesnake_FinalAnyway, Rattlesnake has ranches. And I knew from the start that Shane Little used to be a cowboy. His family owns the Lost River Ranch. Shane is going to spend some time there, along with Jimmy.

But here’s my little problem: cowboys ride horses, and I don’t know anything about horses. I’ve never ridden one. I wasn’t into them when I was a kid (although I did go through a brief preteen unicorn phase). I don’t have a clue about saddles and bits and stirrups and reins and… whatever else horses involve. I have friends who know a lot about horses. Heck, my older daughter has taken quite a few riding lessons and is, I’m told, pretty good. But me? Nada.

Fortunately for me–and sadly for Shane–my lack of equine knowledge didn’t get in the way of this book. That’s because Shane was in a bad car wreck and can’t ride anymore. So if you’re expecting a lot of horseback riding in Rattlesnake, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed. But once Jimmy arrives in town, there’s quite a bit of riding of a much sexier sort. 🙂

School daze

My older kid spent most of the summer away from home: a month on her aunt and uncle’s farm (which bears a suspicious resemblance to Dylan and Chris’s place), a week in Seattle, a camping trip in Northern California with friends, a week and a half at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival with her aunt. I picked her up at the airport Wednesday afternoon. My 4th airport trip this summer–200 miles RT each time. Such fun.


What I like about this airport photo is the girls’ similar shirts. Kid1 bought hers in Chicago and Kid2 got hers here, while Kid1 was gone, so neither knew about the other.

Then yesterday, they went back to school. Kid1 is in 11th grade, while Kid2 is in 7th and therefore is brand new to the joys of junior high. Here they are on the first day:

009 010

I had to threaten Kid1 to get her to smile. She has a tough schedule this year, including 3 AP classes. She’ll do fine. Also, I’d like to point out that Kid2 has a better sense of style than the rest of us combined. Those are Darth Vader stockings she’s wearing.

My semester begins at the end of next week, so I have a brief quiet time to get things done. Well, sort of. Thanks to the school schedules, Kid1’s tennis team aspirations, and the fact that we live 2 miles from their schools but there’s no bus, I got to make 4 round trips to their schools yesterday. My husband made one too. I’m ready to stick a taxi sign on my car.

Also, I filled out and signed approximately a bazillion forms for the kids before school began. Nevertheless, they came home yesterday with yet more papers.


So yeah, I didn’t need to do any actual work anyway, right?

Kid2’s homework yesterday was to write a poem about the first day of school. Here it is. Handwriting and spelling are not her strengths.


Engage panic mode now….

It has not been a relaxing summer. Yes, I got to do some fun travel in the Pacific Northwest, but even that involved work. And I spent the rest of the summer engaged in a couple of big projects for the day job and desperately trying to get in some writing time. Tomorrow my kids head back to school. The younger one is beginning junior high (ack!) and the other is in 11th grade, so it promises to be a busy year. My semester begins at the end of next week. And a week after my classes begin, I’m off to Europe for 16 days!

Although I’ve been working really hard and making headway on my projects, I’m still sliding into panic mode as I realize how much I have to accomplish in a short time. My classes need prepping and the presentations I’ll be doing in Europe have to be readied. Plus I have a couple of other looming day job responsibilities.

Here’s what’s weird. Rattlesnake will release while I am in an airplane en route to Frankfurt. It feels as if I have no time at all until it’ll be time to pack for that trip, and yet it also feels like freaking forever until I can get Rattlesnake into your hands and onto your e-readers. How can that be? Relativity, I guess.

So I’m going to take some calming breaths and continue to plug away at the To Do list. One thing at a time, right? Soon I’ll be listening to fado and then enjoying the cafés of my beloved Zagreb. If any of you have travel tips for Porto or Lisbon, please share!


In the darkest depths of Mordor….


A little over a year ago, I bought a Fitbit. I didn’t pay it much attention at first, but over the months I developed a walking routine so that now I walk 5 to 7 miles daily. My neighborhood is boring, so I’ve done two things to liven things up. First, I’ve downloaded a spreadsheet to walk to Mount Doom. That’s 1779 miles. And second, I listen to audiobooks.

doomSo you know what? I made it to Mount Doom! Woohoo! That’s over 4.25 million steps.

And so of course I needed to destroy my precious the One True Ring–with help from my 12-year-old.020I tried throwing it into the only volcano I had handy, but that didn’t work very well.


So we settled on a different destruction technique.


Now the eagles have taken me to Minas Tirith, and I’ve begun the long trek to Isengard.

Also, are you curious as to which books I’ve heard? Here’s a semi-complete listing:

  • My Brute, Housekeeping, Stasis, Night Shift, and The Tin Box
  • Amy Lane’s Johnnies series
  • Charlie Cochet’s THIRDS, books 1-4
  • Jordan Castillo Price’s PsyCop, books 1-5
  • T.J. Klune’s Tell Me It’s Real
  • J.R. Loveless’s Touch Me Gently
  • Rowan Speedwell’s Love, Like Water
  • Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep
  • Mary Calmes’s Frog
  • Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, Click-Clack the Rattlebag, and Shoggoth’s Old Peculiar

Now, on to Isengard!



Introducing Jimmy and Shane


I’ve already revealed L.C. Chase’s beautiful cover for Rattlesnake. If you haven’t already, enter the giveaway. And preorder a copy for yourself!

I’d like to introduce you now to the main characters. The beautiful art is by Catherine Dair.

Jimmy colorThis is Jimmy Dorsett. He’s a drifter and has been since his teens. He’s a storyteller who doesn’t always stick to the truth–even when he’s telling stories to himself. He’s driving his dying car through the desert when he picks up a hitchhiker. Jimmy ends up on a quest to Rattlesnake, a little town in the Sierra foothills. That’s where he meets Shane.




Shane colorShane Little used to work as a cowboy on his family ranch, but a terrible accident changed his life. Now he’s the bartender at the historic Rattlesnake Inn. Despite the difficulties he encounters every day, Shane isn’t one to wallow. He’s stubborn and enthusiastic, and seems to have a lot more faith in Jimmy than Jimmy does. Shane owns four identical blue plaid Pendleton shirts.




I love these two men, and Cath certainly did them justice with her art. And I’ll have swag with their images at GRNW and GRL. I hope you fall in love with Jimmy and Shane too!

You know what? I’ll choose one commenter on today’s post to receive signed copies of Jimmy and Shane trading cards. Just comment below with your answer to this question: If you had to eat the same breakfast every Monday, what would it be? I’ll pick a winner on August 8.