Happy Holidays!

I’m here in rural-est PA with family, computer, pastries, and a large stack of library books. Writing is happening; so are excessive dinners. It’s great!

Also great: Gambled Away, the historical romance anthology of stories where someone gets won as gambling stakes. A bunch of awesome authors let me ramble about elves and con artists in the 1930s, which was a lot of fun.

GA comes down as an anthology on NYE. (I’ll be offering my novella, “Raising the Stakes”, on Amazon after that–but since Amazon requires me to actually print out forms and go to the post office like it’s 1953 or something, that might take a while.) (I have to find an *envelope*. The hell?) (No, I would never survive in the wild.) Meanwhile, you can get the whole book for 99 cents over on Amazon: http://amazon.com/dp/B01FCYQ3V

PW says great things about Gambled Away (and lends strength to my Social Justice Bard identity) here, http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-9937132-2-4
Wendy the Super Librarian put us on her list of Top 6 Unusual Historical Romances over at Heroes and Heartbreakers: http://www.heroesandheartbreakers.com/blogs/2016/12/best-historical-romances-of-2016
And in the “news outlets I grew up with” vein, NPR’s mentioned us on Twitter! https://twitter.com/nprbooks/status/807272380661977088

We’ll be having a FB party here, https://www.facebook.com/groups/1657059327869189/?ref=bookmarks, on 12/29, at 8 Eastern/5 Pacific. Join us for chatting about GA and other subjects, and enjoy the rest of December!


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Distractions, Free and Cheap

So…that happened.

Not going to discuss it at length on author blog: most people who’ve read my novels have a pretty decent idea of what my views are, I’d imagine.

If you want to think about something else for a bit, and most of us could use a break–even activists have bus trips to read on–Gambled Away is on sale for 99 cents.(https://www.amazon.com/Gambled-Away-Historical-Romance-Anthology-ebook/dp/B01FCYQ3V8).

I also plan to make my YA novel, Hickey of the Beast, available free as soon as I can figure out how to do that on Amazon, from now through roughly the next year. Meanwhile, if you’d like a non-Amazon copy, email me and I’ll send you the files.

This is indeed a sales pitch, but also: whatever you’re doing, take some time for yourself. Nothing’s going to happen all at once, and pacing ourselves is important. Pet a dog, hang out with a loved one, put your feet up and get some baked goods and read a good book. If it’s one of mine, so much the better, but mostly–take care of yourselves, people.

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Release Day!

Gambled Away is now out! http://amzn.to/1Rot773

I’m over on Literary Escapism today, discussing crossover genres and snowcones. http://www.literaryescapism.com/48804/guest-author-story-alchemy-by-isabel-cooper





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More Wordswag

This one from my story, “Raising the Stakes.”



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So Gambled Away is coming out on the 31st! Molly O’Keefe, my awesome co-author, has put together Wordswag images, and I’ll be posting one every day/couple days for a while: lines from one of the stories, coupled with cool graphics. Here’s the first!


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New Book

It’s been a while, there’s a lot going on, etc. 🙂 But I still live, and I’ve gotten to put out an anthology with some amazing authors!

Check it out:


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Good News; Pet Peeves

I’m a complicated woman.

First, the good news: I’m currently in the last stages of the first draft for the first Highland Dragons novel in the second trilogy. And if that parsed weirdly: Medieval Highland Dragons, coming Sometime Next Year!

And now, a couple things that have irked me in otherwise good reading material lately.

  1. Wolves don’t work that way.

That whole “pack alpha, dominant male” thing that keeps appearing in urban fantasy/paranormal romance/books about dog training? Based on an inaccurate 1981 book about wolves in zoos. (http://io9.com/why-everything-you-know-about-wolf-packs-is-wrong-502754629). Actual wolves? It’s more of an extended-family thing, without the extreme gender-based split.

Now, if you want to write a book about a bossy asshole who can’t help it because of instincts or whatever, that’s…fine, in a YKIOK way…but the Bossy Asshole Because Wolves and Alpha, no.

If you want an animal with serious hierarchical structures, dominant males, and submissive females, *chimpanzees* might be your best bet. Except nobody really wants to read “In the Arms of the Shitflinging Faceeater,” for some reason.

2. Profanity doesn’t work that way.

It’s great that one of your main characters belongs to an alternative religion. Major props. No, really. And it’s great that this non-dominant religion shows up in their thoughts and actions.

However: if the character spends most of their time in mainstream society, they’re going to swear, especially in moments of stress, like everyone else does.

I’m pagan. My friends include a Jewish person, an atheist, and a Christian. (Among other things and in varying quantities, but, you know, examples.) If you dropped a brick on each of our feet, the Christian’s response would be the *least* likely to include some variant of  Jesus fucking Christ! or God damn it! Even if the rest of us don’t swear from specifically Judeo-Christian terms, we’re not likely to invoke our actual beliefs–not because I, at least, think my gods will be offended, but because those aren’t the terms I grew up using, or hearing other people use, and you swear without thinking.

I don’t believe in Hell, but if you change lanes without a turn signal, I will tell you to go there.

Now, this is different for characters who don’t grow up in the dominant culture, of course, if your world works that way–I could see, say, a first-generation immigrant still using their own culture’s profanity even if they’re otherwise fully integrated–but if your character is, say, a pagan in the 1990s and goes around saying things like “Goddess!” when she’s stressed?

The only realistic assumption is that she’s *pretentious as fuck*. If you want to give that impression, that’s one thing, but maybe consider that.

3. Sex…works a lot of ways.

So your characters are hanging out after the apocalypse, or have gone back in time, or are on another planet with few resources, and a heterosexual pair finds each other hot. It’s realistic for birth control to be a concern, and likewise realistic for that to limit certain very specific forms of activity.

I wish I didn’t have to be the one to tell you this, Fantasy Writers Who Know Who They Are, but…that’s not the only thing you can do. Furthermore, young people have been figuring out those, er, “loopholes”, for centuries–the person who told me about a maneuver called “the Catholic schoolgirl’s best friend” was not of my generation–those things are also perfectly valid forms of sex, and modern teenagers will have heard about them. No, really. No, *really*, I hate to disillusion you, but the world contains the Internet and Cosmo and people who have read both.

And as with all things I can buy exceptions for people raised in historical eras, or Carrie’s mom, and if you don’t get explicit I can buy that they really just want that particular act, sure, I’ve been young, but when you talk about modern characters who “can’t do more than kiss” or “have to keep their pants on” because of pregnancy?

Oh, honey. I want to send everyone in your publishing house a sympathy card and a copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves.

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