No Rest for the Wicked – Teaser #27

Vi’s body relaxed and she rolled to face the wall to better welcome sleep. She breathed into the gentle dark for a few moments, then an alarm bell suddenly went off in her head. Without thinking, she quested outward with her extra sense to find the danger. A ghostly energy approached, and for a moment she thought it was just Peter remembering his promise to a little boy, but a wave of malice rippled through the air in greedy tendrils. Her senses touched it and recoiled, scurrying back to the safety of her skull like a whipped pup.

Pins and needles spread down her spine, an acid burn that singed deeper as the spirit approached. The angry blur came to their car and paused for a moment, as if scenting the air. The ghost moved again and came to a stop just on the other side of the wall. An old, childhood instinct squeezed her eyes shut. But her whether her extra senses or her imagination were to blame, she was sure the ghost raised its hand and rested it on the wall beside her head.

No Rest for the Wicked – Teaser #26

The ghost chuckled and leaned against the wall. “Got yourself some light fingers, eh kid?”

“I didn’t do it!” the little boy cried. “I swear!”

“We know you didn’t,” she assured him, then favored Peter with another glower.

“I was always getting blamed for things when I was your age, too. And you know what I did?” Peter whispered.

George leaned forward with rapt attention. “What?”

“I proved them right,” he said with a chuckle.

“Oh, excellent advice!” Vi interrupted.

The ghost just shrugged. “It’s true.”

“And look where it got you!” she spat.

“I thought I had you to thank for that.” His quiet words stunned her to silence even as he blazed clearer and darker before her, his pain manifesting in his spectral body. His sharp edges dissolved as he turned to the boy. “Anyway, Georgie. I figured as long as people were going to think the worst of me, I might as well live down to their expectations.”

No Rest for the Wicked – Teaser #25

“I figured it out,” Bonnie declared as she slid open the cabin door. George waited patiently in the hall, ready to tidy the room once the ladies left for the dining car.

Vi stood inside the cabin, doing a final check in the mirror of how much damage her sleepless night had done to her face. She gave her cheekbones a pinch to add color. “What did you figure out?” she asked eventually.

The other woman waited until she’d slipped out the door before answering. “Your secret,” she whispered mischievously.

“You’ll have to be a bit more specific than that. I’m a woman with many secrets,” Vi replied. She tried for a chuckle but it came out strained, her new and unpredictable ability weighing heavy on her mind.

Bonnie savored the moment as they passed to the next car. Once they’d shut out the rush of wind she smiled. “I know why you’re looking so grouchy.”

“Really. And why is that?” Vi asked levelly.

“Well, you keep trying to hide it, but I know the truth…” the little brunette trailed off suggestively, eyes shining. Finally, she announced, “Trains make you sick to your stomach!” Relief flooded Vi’s body, and she let out the breath she didn’t realize she’d been holding. Bonnie mistook it for admission of guilt. “Aha!”

“Yes. You’ve found me out,” Vi replied, applying just the right amount of remorse to her voice to sell it. Feigning motion-sickness was far more appealing than trying to explain the true source of her sleepless night. Bonnie may be proving more resilient than she first appeared, but there were limits.

No Rest for the Wicked – Teaser #22

Viola Thorne was not amused.

If the average person found herself in the middle of a blank, eternal void, she’d probably give panic at least a few moments of her time. But the relapsed grifter simply put fists to hips, and painted on her best surly glare.

“I know I wanted to get a clean start, but this is ridiculous,” she grumbled into the emptiness.

A light breeze suddenly kissed her cheek and gently tugged at her clothes. The force of the wind redoubled, the darkness rippling in its wake as the nothing began the process of becoming something.

No Rest for the Wicked: Chapter 15 Teaser

George tumbled into the room, his head swinging wildly from side to side. When Vi flagged him, he mouthed the words “They’re coming.”

The grifter returned a silent, “Good boy,” and shooed him away. She tossed down her rag, then reached for a pair of long, black gloves she had waiting on the counter. Once her fingers had wiggled their way to the boundaries of the satin, she draped herself against the bar and waited to see the scope of the enemy forces. Sure, she’d doubled her meager numbers, but she had the sinking suspicion the most reliable lieutenant in her army was the one too short to see over the counter.

A line of bodies passed by the windows. Jeb entered first, trailed by at least a dozen men who pooled around the entryway like the contents of a giant upturned ink pot. A few people on the fringe of the audience shifted uncomfortably as the cause of the artificial nightfall took in its surroundings with appreciation. Their leader spied the table meant for them and sauntered over. The gang had grown since that afternoon and they wouldn’t all be able to fit around it. A handful approached a full table, and a few snarls later, claimed it as their own.

Bonnie nattered with a couple of regulars across the room, unaware their marks had entered the bar. Her late husband wasn’t the only one watching her as she flitted from person to person, which was more than likely the point. Nothing like a little petty jealousy to make your man squirm, dead or alive. As far as Vi was concerned, the widow could play whatever games she wanted – just as long as it didn’t interfere with the real stakes.

My Personal Plot Twist, AKA Germany, Here I Come!

Picture this:

I have just driven across the country in order to pick up my belongings. It has taken years of moving around, but I have finally signed the lease on an apartment and cobbled together a life in MI. Sure, I just sank all of what was left of my meager money in being able to move the stuff from MN to my new home. But it’ll be worth it to feel settled for the first time in several years. I’ve always been tied to the Midwest, and there are strong communities of people here who love Steampunk. What’s not to love?

24 hours exactly before the movers are schedule to arrive, my husband received an email. It is about a job posting that is absolutely perfect for him and his somewhat obscure, and highly specialized PhD. After something like 120 rejections over the past two years, this is an incredible find very, very late in the job hunt. This is the dream job, the one he’s been waiting for.

It is also in Germany.

And to make a long story about waiting bearably short, he got the job.

So, I find myself on the brink of moving abroad once again! Because of the aforementioned apartment, I will be splitting my time between the US and Germany for the first year of his appointment, which begins September 2017. And I plan to make several trips back every year to continue reporting on cons in the states. But starting sometime in 2018 I will be based primarily out of Freiburg, Germany.

I don’t know yet exactly what this means for me, except that I have no intention to stop writing. Fiction and nonfiction both mean a great deal to me, and in today’s amazingly connected world, it matters less and less where I hang my hat.

One really positive outcome is that I will have greater access to the world of European Steampunk. This means lots of chances to bring you something quirky, cool, and totally different while I continue to wander. I already have my eye on Weekend at the Asylum 2018 🙂

So, it certainly isn’t what I was expecting, but like any good hero hit with a plot twist, I’ve got to adapt and keep on striving. I’ll keep you in the loop as I find out more.

For now, have yourself a whimsical day!

No Rest for the Wicked: Chapter 14 Teaser

“That’s not the problem really,” Bonnie dithered. “It’s that…Tobias is here, too, isn’t he?”

“Yes. He’s here. He’s always here.” Vi deflated in disgust; domestic drama once again rearing its ugly head. “You should talk to your husband,” she groused. Tobias watched the exchange in silence, sorrow deepening the haze of his form from white to gray.

Bonnie sighed. “Yes, I probably should. It’s just…Oh it’s selfish. I shouldn’t even think such a thing.”

“Well now I’m curious,” she replied, sitting forward. “Though frankly, I doubt anything you have to admit will be much of a scandal after my little confession.”

The widow hesitated, chewing over her words with her next serving of brie. “If it’s wrong to speak ill of the dead, it should also be wrong to be feel cross with him.”

“Should and shouldn’t, right and wrong? That sounds an awful lot like religion.” Vi pulled a face. “I don’t really think in those terms, myself. As you can imagine, my line of work didn’t exactly lend itself to a ‘godly’ state of mind. What I do know is that if it were me, I’d rather stop being angry. Not for my soul, but for my own peace of mind.”

Peter’s mumble broke into the conversation. “You’re one to talk.”

“I came all the way out here to escape my demons,” she reminded him pointedly. “They simply found their way to my doorstep again.”