Category Archives: Shifter Woods: Claw

Looking Disconsolately at TikTok

I really shouldn’t be surprised. I’ve posted videos about ECS:OE and Shifter Woods: Claw, and they’ve gotten a handful of views. I posted a video of me reacting to the Gen X Flute Call (aka the opening to Peter Gabriel’s “Sledgehammer”) and I’m over a hundred views so far.

This is not unusual, nor is it isolated to me. A lot of romance writers I know have been complaining about how hard it is to get their book posts seen because—ta-da—the TikTok algorithm gives them a low weight. I understand that the clock app is heavily slanted towards content creators who post daily skits or duet with cooking/renovation/building videos, but writers used to get a fairly good slice of the pie. Not any more.

And now we have next week’s testimony of TikTok’s CEO to look forward to, then we find out whether or not TikTok will be banned in the US. That does have a lot of romance writers up in arms because low views or not they do make sales thanks to being on TT and this is going to hurt their bottom line. I know about the security threats associated with the app, but the fact that it allows writers to advertise to a wide audience of younger readers is incredibly valuable. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.


I’ve been under the gun all week what with getting Shifter Woods: Claw and the omnibus out (the cover at right, BTW, is the omnibus cover for Smashwords, Kobo, Apple, Scribd, et al since Smashwords won’t accept a 3D cover), and now that the pressure is off (well, the publishing pressure is off, but now I have to start the marketing push) I kinda want to curl up in a fetal ball and sleep for a couple of days.

Not that I can do that, of course, because Crystal Blade still needs to be finished, not to mention all of the house/bill/cats tasks still ahead of me. I swear to God, I would give my back teeth for a three day cruise. Just sit on a veranda, look at the water, and have someone bring me drinks. That would be heavenly.

But as that won’t be happening any time soon, I’ll accept a nap. Assuming that I can boot the J Crew out of the bedroom, of course.

In related publishing news all of the Shifter Woods titles except for Roar and the omnibus are now wide. I slipped up and used Nicola M. Cameron in Roar so that had to be removed, and as I already said Smashwords wanted a 2D cover for the omnibus. Luckily I already had the print cover ready to go so those titles should be wide soon.

Shifter Woods: Claw Is Live!

Shifter Woods: Claw, the fourth and final novella in the now COMPLETE Esposito County Shifters series is available on Amazon and Smashwords, and will be available from all ebook outlets in a few days!

Broke and on the run, she didn’t expect to find safety with a big, grumpy wolf shifter. But can he protect her from the humans who want her dead?

A halfling wolf shifter, Angela never felt like she belonged in the human or shifter realms. But when she gets sold out to the Chicago Outfit and has to run for her life, something guides her to Esposito County and the wolf pack leader who agrees to take care of her. But she’s not going to fall in love with him, and she’s definitely not his mate.

He assumed he was going to be alone for the rest of his life. And then a beautiful brunette showed up with trouble on her tail…

As leader of the local wolf pack, Matt’s life is one of lonely duty until he rescues a lovely halfling with a hauntingly familiar scent. She’s everything he ever wanted in a mate, and she’s running from deadly trouble. But Matt knows how to handle trouble and will destroy anyone who tries to take his angel away from him.

Getting Closer

I need to do something nice for myself this week because I am tired, people. I have two more chapters in Claw to edit before I can do the s/g/p pass and polish, I need to clean this entire damn house because the HVAC people are coming on 3/22 to do their system inspection, there’s the daily loads of laundry to run through the washer and dryer, I really need to carve out some time and get some jewelry made because I need money now and not in three months, I’m still checking on J.J. every couple of hours to make sure he doesn’t need anything, and then there’s the Patreon, the podcast, and all the other things I need to get set up but need a clear chunk of time to do so.

I guess it’s better than being bored. But man, I would absolutely love to have a cruise to look forward to right about now…

Crunch Time

I couldn’t release Shifter Woods: Claw last week due to J.J. trying to die on me, so barring him actually dying I am going to release it this upcoming week if it absolutely kills me.

I’m currently entering all the edits, then I have to do a spelling/gramma/punctuation check with Word’s spelling/grammar engine (which is stronger than Scrivener’s), then I have to do a final polish, THEN I’m going to import the MS into Vellum and put the book together there, then create the three different files needed for Amazon, Smashwords, and Google Play.

And then I get to import the other books in the series into Vellum and do the same tripartite thing for all of them, then upload to Amazon and Smashwords. Hopefully by St. Patrick’s Day all of the various outlets will have the books and they’ll be making me money.

Of course, once that’s all done I have to put together the omnibus. Apparently there’s a specific way to create the TOC for an omnibus in Vellum so I need to look that up again. Grah. I need clones.

Learned a New Skill Today

Did you know that if your cat is constipated because 1) he hasn’t eaten for five days and 2) his failing kidneys mean water goes straight through him so his stools get hard and painful, and you 3) don’t have a feline-specific enema on hand, that you can administer a warm water enema using a really, really small syringe?

Did you also know that once he’s produced a small nugget but can’t pass the main mass currently in his colon, that you can carefully inject more warm water up his poor straining pooper duper, then very, very gently get your fingers around said colon and help him squeeze it out?

Yeah, neither did I. Also didn’t know cats could sigh in relief but they can. In associated news J.J.’s GI tract is working and he’s pooping with a little help from his ‘rents. He will also be getting a daily stool softener from now on, and some feline-specific medical enemas are on their way from Amazon Just In Case (BTW, never use human enemas on a cat—the chemicals in it will completely trash the cat’s kidneys and possibly kill it).

In writing news I’m finishing up the edits on Shifter Woods: Claw in between squeezing poop out of my cat’s butt, so Claw will be out next Tuesday along with the Esposito County Shifters omnibus if it is the last thing I ever do. Phoo.

Not The Greatest of Saturdays

My cat J.J. is definitely not doing all that well Today I washed his bedding, washed him (it’s basically a sponge bath on the side of the bathroom sink, popped him with some sub-q fluids, held a bowl so that he could slurp up some water (one thing that hasn’t changed—this cat loves water and will drink at any opportunity), tried to get him to eat something (no dice on that front), then propped him up where he could see me while I did dishes.

I keep wondering if this is it and he’s reached the end, but he still tries to get up on his own, still loves drinking water, and his tail flicks like a metronome. We’re going to see how he does tomorrow, and if he hasn’t improved I’ll call out vet and make an appointment to have him evaluated and see what we should do next.

Because I have to take care of him I don’t have time to finish my edits and format Shifter Woods: Claw for release on Tuesday as planned. I’ll try to release Claw and the omnibus by Friday, and barring that I’ll do it next week, but right now I have to focus on my black velvet purrmonster.

Writing? What Means This Word, Writing?

Welp, we got through the storm pretty much unscathed except for our welcome mat going sailing into the bushes. Considering that I saw a house in our neighborhood with a tree that came down on its roof, I can live with a displaced mat.

As for writing, not so much today because I need to get Shifter Woods: Claw polished, formatted, and ready for release on Tuesday along with the ECS omnibus. Unfortunately I also have an extremely elderly and infirm cat who needs to be bathed, hydrated (I literally stood hunched over the futon for more than five minutes holding his water bowl so that he could lick at it), supplied with clean bedding and head scritches, and generally monitored.

Which means that my day is spent split between my office and coming down here multiple times to check on J.J. and get him whatever he needs at that moment. On the plus side, I’m getting my steps in so that’s good. On the minus side my legs are aching like hell, and the wild weather we’ve been getting isn’t helping. I’ve resorted to some CBD oil in the hopes that it will resolve the issue and I’ll actually be able to get some sleep tonight, which would be nice.

You know how y’all keep telling me I do so much and you don’t know how I manage it? I do this on sleep that is broken every two hours or so by something on my body yelling at me. If I could regularly get a full night’s sleep, I’d be able to take over the world.

Editing, Editing, Editing

Normally I like to take weekends off and give myself the chance to catch up on paperwork, clean the house, and sometimes just, you know, relax, but I’d really like to get Shifter Woods: Claw out so I’m working on the edits this weekend. So far things seem pretty clean—I have a tendency to repeat words and luckily T is good at catching those, and she hasn’t pointed out any gaping plot holes or logic gaps so that’s always reassuring, especially since I’d changed a lot of things about Angela’s background and motivations during the writing and I can never be sure that I caught everything. That’s why editors and beta readers are godsends.

I’m also getting more comfortable with Vellum—I still wish there was a way to stop certain pages from being including during a compile like with Scrivener so that I could keep all the platform editions in one file, and I really wish there was a way to center the Table of Contents, but the formatting is really nice and I like being able to have fancy scene break icons and big initials at the beginning of a chapter.

In other news I’m continuing Operation: Finish All The Craft Projects 2023 by going through my office closet, pulling out all of the half-finished craft projects I’ve stuck in there over the years, and actually finishing them. As of today I’ve finished two baby quilts, three quilt tops, a wall hanging, two dresses, two jackets, and quilted covers for the stand mixer and food processor, which is pretty damned good considering that I’ve been doing all that in the evenings and weekends.

At right is my latest finished project, my Skulls and Roses swing dress. Now, I love swing dresses. They look great on me and I have three of them from Torrid, so when I found this awesome fabric I knew I wanted to make a swing dress out of it. I found one of those “designed to be adjustable” patterns that give you more than enough seam allowance so that you can baste the dress together and fit it to yourself before actually sewing everything, and I must have cut the actual pieces out three or four years ago.

So I started putting it together today. To my surprise the dress fit almost perfectly except around the waist, so I let that out a bit and tried it back on. Et voila, I had an awesome new dress that Ramón pronounced, “So you.” I have two more batches of fabric (black swirls on black and a cream, lavender, and light blue with handwriting on it) that I want to turn into dresses sometime in April or May.

And To My Muse is Wide. Again.

Following recommendations from some of the best minds in the indie publishing sphere, I’ve decided to start moving my standalone titles back to wide. KU is great if you have a lot of series (and I do), but it’s kind of hard to make money on standalones purely from KU reads.

So I’ve finished formatting To My Muse in Vellum, made three different versions for Amazon, Smashwords, and Google Play, and uploaded the files. Amazon’s file is already live, Smashwords’ file is live on their site and is in review for release to Kobo, Apple, B&N, etc, and I’m still waiting for the painfully slow Google Play engine to process its file.

In Vellum’s defense they do have a mechanism in place for adding platform-specific links to a platform-specific edition, so if I wanted to generate a Google Play edition it would contain only the links to my other books in Google Play. But that still doesn’t change the problem with the different copyright page required by Smashwords (unless they decide to change the rules now that they’ve merged with Draft2Digital) so for now it’s easier for me to maintain three separate Vellum files for each book. I was doing that anyway in Calibre so no biggie.

Next on the work bench—finishing up the edits for Shifter Woods: Claw. I’m not even going to predict when it’ll be released—when it’s available I’ll let everyone know.