"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Sunday, January 8, 2023

What's new, Pussycats?

Well, 2023, for one, right?

I'm hoping your new year has gotten off to a boffo start. If I use "boffo" enough, can I bring it back into fashion?

My fantasy trilogy, Dragon Shadows, is coming down the home stretch and I couldn't be more excited! You can pre-order your copy of the last book NEW DRAGON SOARING here:

https://www.amazon.com/New-Dragon-Soaring-Shadows-Book-ebook/dp/B0B7KR3NBM/

Or you can wait until its release on Friday, February 10th and buy it then.

"But Gayle, I don't want to wait," you plead.

I know, and I aim to please. NEW DRAGON SOARING is complete and copies are on the way to my humble abode. Join with me in praying that they arrive by January 27th because on January 28th, I will be at the "Handmade with Love" festival presented by the Yorba Linda Arts Alliance Foundation from noon to 4 pm at the Yorba Linda Town Center.

Here's the flyer:



If you're local (or local enough) I hope to see you there!

If, for some insane reason, you haven't gotten 'round to getting the first two books, here are those links (or contact me to get your own autographed copies):

https://www.amazon.com/Blood-Dragon-Rising-Shadows-Book-ebook/dp/B09XQV24DW/

https://www.amazon.com/Moon-Dragon-Falling-Shadows-Book-ebook/dp/B0B6QMB2WZ/

Otherwise, my next adventure will be in February at the Southern California Writers Conference in San Diego, where I shall have more copies available.

Life is delicious, Peeps. Savor it.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

A brief diversion -- and a Very Merry Christmas to you!

 When I began writing the annual Christmas letter, it bugged me that it was a separate piece of paper stuffed into the card. Maybe I've got a quirk or two, but I wanted my cards to be all-encompassing. After searching about online, I decided to do a tri-fold brochure style, photos on the outside and the letter on the inside. This had the added benefit of keeping my yuletide ramblings to a single page. I bought the blank brochure stock, then found out my printer didn't like it. To my dismay, neither did Staples. They told me I'd have to take it to a printer, who wanted to print a minimum of 500 copies at an exorbitant price.

Enter VistaPrint. All I had to do was put my handiwork into two .jpg files and format it in their brochure template. The first few years were rocky, because I kept getting the letter upside down, which of course bothered me immensely. I at last got it right, and right it shall remain.

This year's cards have been properly mailed out, so I will share my good wishes here. (PS. If you want a physical copy, just email me your address and I shall send one off!)





Sunday, November 20, 2022

Are you ready?

No, not for the holidays. I know better than to ask that.

I mean, are you ready for Book 2 of the Dragon Shadows Trilogy? It's Moon Dragon Falling and it will be officially released on December 9th. Unofficially...

On Sunday, December 4th, I will have a booth at the Placentia Round Table Women's Club (901 Bradford Ave) from 11-4. It is the Placentia Shop Small Boutique and I'm a proud vendor at the event. And because it's local and I will always love my local peeps, MOON DRAGON FALLING will be available in paperback for those who would like to continue to read about Lisette de Lille and her adventures as a noblewoman/pirate/dragon in the Caribbean.


If you miss that opportunity, I shall also be at the Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair in the Yorba Linda Town Center (18421 Yorba Linda Blvd) on Saturday, December 10th from 4-8 pm. This event is held by the Yorba Linda Arts Alliance Foundation. You can pick up a copy of MOON DRAGON FALLING and read a bit of it over dinner at one of the nearby restaurants.



Of course, at both events, I'll have copies of the first book, BLOOD DRAGON RISING, as well as my Peri Minneopa Mysteries for sale, and of course, they will be discounted because (say it with me) I love my local peeps.



What are reviewers saying about MOON DRAGON FALLING? Here's what D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer at Midwest Book Reviews thought about it:

"Moon Dragon Falling is the genre-busting Book 2 of the Dragon Shadows series and picks up the story of Lisette de Lille, who is now pregnant and looking forward to marriage in the aftermath of a battle.

 

Readers of the first book will recall that she is now a moon dragon, but she faces ongoing challenges from this transformation and her uncertainty about how to use her new abilities. The learning curve isn't easy, especially when she's with child and recovering from the events in Blood Dragon Rising.

 

To make matters worse, her love Tristan has fallen victim to a potion that has made him forget Lisette and her child. She must win him all over again—and apparently re-fight a too-familiar battle—to win back control over her life, future, and the life of her unborn child, the result of two blood dragons' union.

 

Many elements of fantasy would seem to make Moon Dragon Falling appropriate for the fantasy genre reader. But, wait: is that a pirate injected into the story? And, how can Lisette embark on an effort to save her love and herself if she can turn from dragon back to a vulnerable human being at any given moment?

 

As the romance, confrontations, and unusual milieu coalesce, readers will find Moon Dragon Falling a powerful saga whose characterization and setting continually place it outside any pat definition.

 

Replete with the action of a thriller, the fantasy elements of a dragon dilemma, and the romantic concerns of a new mother-to-be who must battle herself and the world around her bereft of her life's love, the story is designed to attract novel readers as well as fantasy genre followers and fans of a rollicking good read.

 

From dukes and kidnapping plans to firebrand Lisette's determination to once again quell the forces that threaten her happiness and world, GS Carline has created another compelling story that could stand alone, but more readily adds another chapter to the tale that prior fans will relish.

 

Libraries looking for strong examples of action-centered books that feature powerful female protagonists on the cusp of many changes will find Moon Dragon Falling recommendable to patrons who look for non-formula writing that steps out of its own definition as a 'fantasy' to reach out to and immerse other audiences."


So what are you waiting for? You can pre-order your copy online (paperback from any bookstore, or ebook on Kindle only), or you can add one of the dates above to your calendar and visit me for a discounted, autographed copy.


I can't wait!

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

A Halloween tale to be told

 I've been working on the Dragon Shadows Trilogy and its release so relentlessly, I let my next project sit on the shelf. It's a little cozy novella featuring Hazel, an amateur mouse sleuth. The story is in its third act and will be finished soon, but before I could write one more scene, there was a story in my brain that wouldn't leave me alone.

A tale best told during All Hallows Eve, a tale best heard by candlelight. Sit back with a glass of port--or perhaps a smoked cocktail would fit better. Smoked old-fashioned, anyone? Enjoy.

Ashes

Stuart’s entire body trembled violently, making it difficult to hold his cell phone, much less poke at the screen. After five failed attempts, he at last selected Jake’s number and held the phone, shaking, to his ear.

The phone was silent as usual while it decided whether there was enough service coverage to complete the call. He considered putting it on speaker but wasn’t certain if his finger could find the button. Also, he feared letting anyone else hear the conversation, even though he was alone in his apartment.

Alone…sort of.

“C’mon, c’mon, c’mon,” he panted as the phone rang. “Shit, Jake, pick up.”

A groggy, guttural voice rewarded him. “S’up?”

“Get over here. Now.”

“Wha?” Rustling noises cluttered the background, accompanied by a moaning yawn. “Dude, I just woke up.”

“I don’t care, come over. I need help. Need it bad.”

“Doing what?”

Stuart ran his hand across his head. “I can’t tell you over the phone. But it’s bad, Jake. I’m in trouble and it’s bad. Please.”

“Mm-kay.” His friend did not sound convinced or hurried, but he was always true to his word. “Gimme five and I’ll be on my way.”

Stuart ended the call and sat at the edge of his bed in the silence. He still shook, although the quaking had localized itself to his knees. The bed rocked underneath him, a quiet squeak reminding him of last night’s activities, activities that had led him to the spot he was now in.

He’d swiped right on Tinder to what appeared to be the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. She was eager to meet, which made him uneasy. What if that gorgeous creature was just a product of Photoshop?

But she did not disappoint. He’d never seen a woman who turned every head in the place as she did when she walked into the pub. Gossamer layers of a short wrap dress revealed glimpses of toned thighs, the plunging v-neckline teasing at full breasts. Her long blue-black hair swung about her shoulders, shiny and thick, bouncing around her face without intruding upon it. The flow of her hair, the ruffling of the dress as she moved made it look as if she might take flight.

Stuart’s first thought leapt to song lyrics. Raven hair and ruby lips. He watched her large dark eyes skim the room like a predator hunting for a meal. When she spotted him, her mouth turned upward at the corners, and he felt a brief stab of icy fear before lust took control of his body.

“Stuart? I’m Phoebe.” She extended her hand.

If only I’d left it there, if only I’d left her there. He rubbed his head, pressing his temples. In an abrupt move, he stood and strode to the bathroom. His right hand caressed the doorknob, feeling the cold metal. He turned it, felt the click of the gears, took a deep breath.

Sighing, he let go and moved away. If I look again, I might hurl.

Vigorous knocking at the front door startled him and he ran to open it. Jake stood in the hall with a curious expression.

“So I’m here,” he said. “What’s the deal?”

“Shh, get in and be a little quieter, okay?” Stuart grabbed Jake’s arm and pulled him inside. “We don’t need to wake the neighbors.”

Jake shrugged. “Whatev.”

“I don’t even know where to start.” Stuart strode across the living room and back, pacing as he talked. “I did like you said and went on Tinder last night. Got a date right away.”

“Great!”

“No, not great!” He stopped. “Well, part of it was great. She was drop-dead, I mean, I don’t know if there’s another girl that beautiful anywhere.”

“Wow, and she swiped right on you?”

Stuart scowled at him. “Yes, thanks, she did. Actually, I was wondering that, too, but she wanted to meet right away, so we agreed to Quincy’s. We had drinks, then dinner, got along great, yadda yadda, then she says it’s time to go to my place.”

“Whoa-ho, that was fast.” Jake plopped onto the couch. “Did you two…?”

“Did we! Best sex of my life.” Stuart sat beside him. “I mean, I’m a simple guy, got maybe one button a girl’s gotta press. Phoebe found buttons I never knew I had.”

“Dude, tell me you didn’t call me over here to brag.”

“No!” Stuart jumped up and resumed his pacing. “Like, I thought she was really enjoying it, but after we’d done it nine times—”

“Wait. Nine times?”

“Shut up, it was crazy, we did it more than I thought was possible. Then, she takes one of the candles we’d lit and says, ‘I’ll be back soon,’ and heads to the bathroom. I asked her if everything was okay and she goes, ‘Really, you were great, but I have a special itch that needs scratched.’ Goes into my bathroom and shuts the door.” He stopped in the middle of the room, his shoulders sagging, deflated.

“So?”

Stuart pointed toward the bedroom. “Go open the bathroom door and look.”

Jake rose and did as he was directed. As he did, Stuart was hoping he had imagined the entire thing and his friend wouldn’t see what he saw.

“What the hell?” Jake yelled from the bathroom.

“I couldn’t get that lucky,” Stuart mumbled and joined him.

Jake was pointing at the bathroom floor. “Are these?”

“Ashes,” Stuart said.

“Like…?”

“Yes, like, human. Human remains.” Stuart waved his hand in the direction of the mess. “You’ll observe the bits of bone.”

“I don’t get it. She lit herself on fire with the candle?”

“Doesn’t seem possible.” Stuart shrugged. “I didn’t think a candle would burn a human to ashes. And I never heard any screams. Why didn’t she scream?”

The two men stood and studied what remained of Phoebe for several moments.

“Now what?” Jake said.

“How should I know? Do I call the cops?”

Jake stared at him. “And tell them what? ‘I’d like to report a case of spontaneous human combustion.’”

Stuart shook his head. “I’m stuck, Jake. This is either gonna end with me in prison or on the front page of the tabloids.”

“Not if there’s no evidence.” Jake rubbed his chin. “Get a trash bag and the broom.”

Stuart’s eyes widened. He looked down at the remains, back up at his friend, then nodded and went to the kitchen.

“Make sure we get her clothes, too,” he said.

Ten minutes later, they were at the front door, Jake jingling his keys and Stuart holding the bag. Jake turned to Stuart, “Where are we—hey, what happened to your hair?”

“I don’t know.” Stuart opened the camera on his phone and held it up. His short brown hair was stylishly scruffy, but now there was a white streak running across both temples. He held the camera closer—there were lines at his eyes, around his mouth that he swore he didn’t have yesterday. “Wow, last night was rougher than I thought. I look like my dad.”

“Let’s take care of this.” Jake pointed to the bag. “Maybe your face’ll relax.”

It was a half-hour drive from the apartment in San Diego to the southernmost side of the Otay Open Space Preserve, another hour driving around to find a recessed location to hide a bag, and another half-hour back to the city where Stuart and Jake could sit silently at a bar and drink themselves numb.

Stuart finally stumbled home sometime after midnight and passed out on the couch, promising himself to sell his bed, end his lease, and move to Montana in the morning.

* * * * *

Deep in the brush not far from the US/Mexico border, a trash bag rustled in the wind. It continued to flutter and puff as its contents expanded and stretched, until a lithe graceful arm reached from the opening and pulled the bag apart. A beautiful woman emerged, dark-haired, dark-eyed, and naked.

She felt around the bottom of the bag and smiled. “How polite of him to include my clothes.”

After dressing, she walked out of the brush and toward the road. That never gets old, she thought as she strolled along the pavement, feeling refreshed and renewed. And as long as mortal men are so easy, neither will I.

 


Tuesday, October 4, 2022

After a long trip, the destination looms

The first book in my fantasy trilogy is being released this Friday. I've written the entire trilogy, over 300,000 words spread across three books. It feels like I just wrote them, and yet I began this journey in November of 2015. Seven years! Here's the original blog post in which I take the first step: https://gaylecarline.blogspot.com/2015/11/mrs-carline-builds-her-dream-dragon.html

The story has gone through iterations of sometimes immense proportions. I began writing it in third person, changed it over to first person, and changed it back again. At one point, I believed I might have accidentally ended up in Hades, doomed to spend eternity rewriting a manuscript from first to third person and back again. The only good thing to come from that is there would be some new word invented meaning, "to do and redo a task over and over," like sisyphean

Gaylepovian: The act of relentlessly changing a story's POV until the writer's brain collapses.

This is where the book started:




I have an old boyfriend, Perry Kaufman, to thank for introducing me to used bookstores in Chicago, where I found this magnificent copy of The Count of Monte Cristo, revised and published in 1894.

I began writing a microscopic version of the count's story, gender-twisted to a tale of a young noblewoman who is betrayed by her so-called friends. I was thinking it would be perhaps a novella, but nothing more than a standard novel.

And then the dragons came, dragons that arrived for a reason and refused to leave until the entire story was told in all the books and all the words.

As with each book, I'm tremendously proud of its release and consider it my favorite. I've worked hard to help it find its readership and I hope they love it, too. If you read it and love it, I promise you will love the second book and the third.

And after the third book, who knows where else we may go?

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I support fair and equitable library access to ebooks and so should you.