No Rest for the Wicked: Chapter 12 Teaser

“Are we ever going to start?” Hank’s whine cut through the quiet conversation. “It feels like we’ve been standing here forever.”

“I guess that’s what you get when you are dealing with women. Hassles, hassles, hassles,” Jeb replied, his cigarette dangling from his thin lips. His crew snickered in agreement.

“Does that explain why you’re all single, then?” she yelled back. Several of the people ranged around the scene oohed appreciatively.

“If you’re such a catch, where’s Mister Viola I wonder?” Hank cackled. Anyone who hadn’t been paying attention before was now being elbowed by their neighbors.

“You’ve got me there. I make a terrible wife,” Vi admitted. As the crowd murmured she milked the pause, then chuckled. “But it seems I’m getting awful good at being a widow.” The gnarled man turned pale behind his stringy beard and didn’t say any more. She jerked her thumb at him and called over to Jeb. “So, in the immortal words of this fine fellow, are we ever going to start this race?”

Read the previous excerpt or start at the beginning with the Ch 1 Teaser

No Rest for the Wicked – Release Cancelled, but there is a silver lining…

Greetings all!

You have probably noticed a weird amount of radio silence going on considering I announced that July 1 would be my release date for No Rest for the Wicked. I didn’t want to say anything until I knew more, but I think we’ve reached the point it is time to bring you into the loop.

I wrote the majority of No Rest for the Wicked during NaNoWriMo in November, and queried it to a few select small presses early in 2017. There aren’t that many places interested in novella-length works, so I didn’t hold out much hope of doing anything but self-publishing. As I expected, several months went by with no replies, so I moved on and announced a release date.

About a week, A WEEK, after I made this claim, I had not one but TWO requests for a full manuscript from publishers! As you can imagine, I was thrilled. But, I was also put in a bit of a bind when it came to the timing. I’ve received some very good feedback, as well as an invitation to revise and resubmit. Though of course I’d have preferred a resounding YES! the absence of a ‘no’ is still pretty awesome. In theory, I could now scramble to get ready to self-publish as I’d originally planned. But between the interest by the publishers and the issues that came up in the feedback, I have decided to officially cancel the July 1 release of No Rest for the Wicked while I work on further revisions. I have two avenues to pursue, and I am not sure which will serve the series better yet.

No matter what happens, I am confident this extra time will result in a better reader experience when the story finally comes out, be it on my own or working with a publisher. I look forward to the challenge, and I hope to have good news for you soon.

Thank you for your patience and continued support.

No Rest for the Wicked – Chapter 10 Teaser

The temptation to reach out to taste the auras around her built as the feeling changed from a chilly tickle to an acidic burn.

Read from the beginning or check out the previous teaser

Despite her serpentine route, the sensation continued to grow, the same way it had when Tobias approached her the night before. The temptation to reach out to taste the auras around her built as the feeling changed from a chilly tickle to an acidic burn. But this time she refused to give in. Experience had shown the more she employed those abilities, the stronger they’d grow, and she’d somehow already gotten herself committed to helping Bonnie and Tobias settle whatever it was they needed settling.

When she reached the half-darkness of the alley behind the saloon, she slipped around the corner and put her back to the wall, taking comfort in its solid bulk against her body. People came and went, and she watched them for a few minutes from the safety of the passage. No one approached her or even paused as they bustled along.

The sting of paranoia receded as she forced deep, steady breaths in and out of her lungs and the more she thought about her panic the sillier she felt. The stranger’s vague description didn’t even necessarily apply to her; it wasn’t as if she were only woman with a black horse in all of Sacramento. In the face of something so trivial as a poor night’s sleep and an empty stomach, she’d almost lost control and relapsed, almost taken that next fatal step. Falling back into the old ways would be so easy, but she already knew that path had no peace to offer.

Read the next teaser

No Rest for the Wicked – Chapter 9 Teaser

“Someone was looking for you.”

Read from the beginning or check out the previous teaser

“Thank you ever so much!” she called after him, employing her best damsel voice. As soon as he turned the corner, her impatient glower returned and she leaned against the counter. Her stomach rumbled loudly and grew even more anxious. Bonnie would be coming back to the saloon any minute, and Vi wanted to make sure she beat the other woman back. Not that she needed to keep a trip to retrieve the post a secret, but old habits told her not to leave anyone in her apartment unattended for too long, and Peter’s strange behavior only served to strengthen the conviction.

“Never fear!” the clerk called. “Your friend Annabelle won’t have cause for any complaints.” He swept back into the room clutching a plain, tawny envelope in his wizened fingers.

“Really?” She couldn’t keep the incredulity out her voice as she straightened and stared dumbfounded at what he held in his hand. “Annabelle Sinclair” had been the last name on the list, the one she’d included even though she’d only ever used it for one job—the biggest one, and the last.

“Yes ma’am,” he replied and slid two letters through the slot. Vi snatched up the envelopes and checked the undisturbed seals. The smaller envelope bore Peter’s name as the sender, but the larger one came from an address she didn’t recognize. She caught a glimpse of the official-looking emblem in the glob of red wax as she turned it over.

“That little one came in with the load a day before yesterday. I filed it myself,” he continued. “The other one’s been here a while, maybe a few weeks? Got a batch going out tomorrow morning if your friend needs to send an answer. Otherwise, it’ll be a few more days before we collect enough for a run.”

“Day before yesterday, you say?” she asked distractedly. That would put the letter’s arrival around the same time Tobias died, and she still didn’t know the full story of the connection between Peter and the ghost. Time to ask good old Toby a few more questions.

The old man cleared his throat. “Pardon me, ma’am. But you don’t own a big, black horse, do you?”

She gave a murmur in the affirmative but couldn’t tear her eyes from the envelope from Peter in her hand. It felt oddly heavy and her searching fingertips found a strange lump as she ran them along the bottom.

“Someone was looking for you.”

Read the next teaser

No Rest for the Wicked – Chapter 8 Teaser

The book in the other room whispered, begging her to find out what message was so important that Peter had employed a messenger only she could see to deliver it.

Start from the beginning or read the previous teaser

Part of Vi longed to rush over to the bookshelf the moment the door clicked shut, but evidently that part wasn’t in charge of her feet. Instead, she left the sitting room and set about making herself presentable enough for the public eye. People could tolerate a woman owning her own saloon as long as she made sure to be pretty about it. It was an old game and she knew it well, but a little rouge and a fancy dress were hardly the worst of her deceptions. Besides, bustles suited her.

The book in the other room whispered, begging her to find out what message was so important that Peter had employed a messenger only she could see to deliver it. Yet she dragged her brush through her hair and pinned it up in a tumble of coils at the back of her head. She straightened the seams of her emerald dress in the long mirror and touched up her eyeliner while the weight of dread and the burn of curiosity tore at her insides. A final spritz of perfume and there was nothing left to do; she couldn’t stall anymore.

Read the next teaser

A Beautiful Backlog of Steampunk Goodies Coming your Way

Like many writers, I keep several active notebooks. There’s something bittersweet about scribbling on that final page and declaring the book full. But I closed the cover on my Steampunk convention notebook after a fantastic visit to Steampunk World’s Fair 2017. Then I flipped back through the pages, reminiscing about all of the wonderful seminars and workshops I attended, and I suddenly realized there is a gigantic backlog of material. Almost half an inch of  notes about talks about things from sword fights to the French Revolution are languishing within these pages, but not for long!

Eventually, all of this fabulous content will be posted either on this site or Steampunk Journal. But if you want to get everything I write in one place and before anyone else, become a patron. $1/month gets you “behind the curtain,” and a free ebook of No Rest for the Wicked before it is released July 1. You can also read full chapters before the final ebook is published, 5 chapters are already available! Find out more.

No Rest for the Wicked – Chapter 6 Teaser

Start from the beginning or read the previous teaser

The clock struck twelve.

Vi was alone when the scraggly form of Salty swung open the front door and let in the scuffle of people from outside. Two of the wizened little prune’s burly “business associates” followed him in, six-shooters hanging from their gun belts. Despite the burning sun outside, the interior of the saloon was cool. Later, the glow of the foot lights and the happy warmth of lanterns would light the room, but at the moment all was cool and calm inside its walls.

The bottle of whiskey sat open and inviting in the center of the table, an empty glass waiting in front of an open stool.

She motioned to the vacant seat. “Come sit a spell, Salty.”

“That’s very kind of you, Miss Viola,” he said with an oily grin. “But I’m afraid I have an appointment.”

“Interesting.” Vi poured herself another drink and held the bottle out. “It isn’t the sort of appointment I told you couldn’t happen here anymore, is it? Where you use my place of business to hustle people?”

Salty glanced over his shoulder and licked his lips; a nervous tic she’d noticed the first time they’d met. He jerked his chin at the bar. “Give us a moment, boys.”

Read the next teaser