Let’s Take This Show on the Road

“Where Strange Drinks and Even Stranger Clients Meet.”

Which might somewhat describe the newsletter, except for the drinks part. You’re on your own there.

Ahem.

Crossed fingers and held breath, I think I have everything together. If not, I’ll be the second to know. Regardless, the image to the left is the cover for the prize I’ve arranged for those signing up for my newsletter, Tales From the Black Dog.

What is The Black Dog, you might ask? I’ll summarize it thusly:

“The Black Dog is an odd little pub, with strange drinks and an even stranger clientele. Sometimes it’s there. Sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes you’ll find it, and sometimes you won’t. Just don’t hit on the bartender or the bouncer, whatever you do. She’s a Banshee and he’s a Redcap. It won’t end well for you.”

The book itself is a collection of eleven flash pieces I wrote mostly for fun about the pub and the mix of humans and non-humans who inhabit the place. Those who have read Little Fire and Fog may recognize some of them. Those who have read much of mine may notice some of my themes and interests come up. Those who haven’t, I think it’s a fair if brief introduction to what I’m about. It also includes the only real Tuckerization I have ever done, though who? Ain’t telling. They know what they did. The individual pieces have appeared only in a very small (maybe 20 people) private FB group. This collection appears nowhere, period (except on your computer if you so choose), and won’t for the foreseeable future. It is my gift to you, and I hope you like it.

There will be a link on the main page, but I put one here also where you can sign up for the Newsletter.

The list asks for your email address (duh), name, and country you’re in. The name is just how you like to be addressed (Grand Moff of the Galaxy? You do you), and the country in case I need to do anything special to comply with EU rules. After that you’ll be given a link to the download page where you can choose the ebook format you prefer and have at it. Couldn’t be simpler. Well, it could, but it’s still pretty simple.

For those who do sign up, let me know how it went. I’m new at this.

Ringing the Changes

Not inaccurate but incomplete. I’m thinking more of an addition rather than a change (although I’m likewise considering some tweaks to the website. Lord knows it could use a refresh).

Ahem. Excuse the tangent. The point I’m getting to is I’m seriously considering starting an email newsletter. And by “seriously considering” I mean yeah, it’s very likely going to happen. Not today, but not the distant future either. Such things require planning to do right which requires time which you’d think I’d have tons of, being largely confined to the house except for necessary errands, and you’d think wrong. There’s always something else I need to be doing aside from what I want to be doing. So it goes…

Sorry. Tangenting again. So here’s the thing: Why a newsletter? What’s wrong with the blog?

Well, lots of things, but that’s not the point, even if the blog isn’t going away. There are advantages to a private email list that a blog doesn’t have, and not just for me. For a start, what if I want to give actual readers a heads-up on a special promotion or giveaway or preliminary book cover, but am not ready to or don’t want to broadcast it to the world? That’s a newsletter’s job.

I’ll give you another example. When I sold “The Fox’s Daughter” to Beneath Ceaseless Skies, I announced it here and over on FB. One of the biggest fans of the Yamada series didn’t see the post, even though we’re FB friends (FB is like that). It took a share from another reader to bring it to their attention. Whereupon they were somewhat put out that they weren’t immediately informed, and can’t say I blame them. When I mentioned a newsletter? They demanded to be signed up first, and when the time comes, so I shall. People are less likely to miss stuff that might interest them that way.

Frequency? Probably once a month or so, at most. And when I say “private” email list, I mean exactly that. I will not sell it and I damn well won’t share it. This is just for you and me, for however many iterations of “you and me” there are. That’s for you all to decide.

There will likely be some bonus for signing up. Haven’t decided what yet. Likely an original work before it’s available anywhere else, that kind of thing. Something else to think about.

So what do you think? Hate newsletters? Love them? What’s a newsletter? Speak now or I’ll likely just do what I want. Very dangerous, that.

Monday After Monday After Morning After

Is it the End of the World as We Know it? Do we feel fine?

I can’t say I do. This whole year has been a dumpster fire that just will not go out. Most of it preventable, or at least the embers tamped down. Yet the people in charge can’t do anything and the people who could aren’t in charge. Sort of a perfect storm of SNAFU. I don’t feel fine. But I’m enduring, which feels like a win.

 

When the book’s finished I’ll likely put together some kind of price promotion for the first in the series, The Long Look. In the meantime, here’s a snippet of the The Seventh Law of Power, submitted with absolutely no context nor explanation. You’re welcome.

 

“I admit you’ve lost servants in a short order before,” Bonetapper said, once he was back in his raven body. “But you outdid yourself this time.”

“She was never my servant,” Marta said. “Not really. I thought I was acting according to the precepts of the Arrow Path, but I never felt the connection, the bond. Now I think it was no more than our interests coincided for a while.”

What can’t be taken, can be given. The Second Law. So perhaps according to the Laws, but not the Path?

Marta hadn’t thought of it in those terms before, but it was clear to her now that the Laws and the Arrow Path were not the same. The latter was simply a map to the first. If anything, her time with Dessera had proven that.

“Whatever else she intended, Dessera did me a favor. I’m beginning to understand something now that I did not before.”

“So am I, or I never would have realized the nature of my curse. You did me a favor, too.”

Dessera stood before them once more, a ghostly shimmer in the firelight.

Marta smiled a wistful smile. “I never expected to see you again.”

The ghost sighed. “Nor I you. Toban apparently had no questions about his next course. I’m embarrassed to admit I have no idea what should come next for me. I don’t feel imprisoned in this place now or indeed any other, yet I do not know what stage of existence or oblivion awaits me.”

“True of most of us,” Bonetapper offered. “Yet we assume, when the time comes, we’ll know.”

“I cannot help you with that,” Marta said. “I honestly wish I could.”

“I know. But would you mind if I traveled with you a while longer? I can be useful, and perhaps it would help me sort the matter out,” the ghost said.

Marta thought about it. It wouldn’t be the first time someone traveled with her as a companion rather than a servant; she rather missed it. And Dessera wasn’t formally asking for her help as would fall under the Arrow Path strictures, after all. She was simply asking a favor, as one person to another.

What can’t be taken, can be given. I believe this too is covered by the Second Law.

“I have no objection,” Marta said. “What about you, Bonetapper?”

The raven looked startled. “What? I actually have a say in this?”

Marta demurred. “Say rather you are free to express your opinion, as you always do. Just as I am free to ignore it.”

“That’s what I thought you meant. Fine. Just try not to get us killed.”

“Always,” Marta said.

 

Drink to Me

I’m going to plead a remodeling project and the tricky install of an A/C unit, but I am a little short of hours at the moment. So here’s a piece of flash fiction for my time slot. Hope you enjoy. The illustration has nothing at all to do with it. I just like to remind myself every now and then that the book exists.

 

 

 

 

Drink to Me

“’Drink to me only with thine eyes’ said the Bard. Metaphorically it’s a lovely thought, but he didn’t mean a word of it.”

“Neither do you,” she said. “That’s your third stout.”

“No need to count, my love,” he said. “They used to do that for tax purposes, you know. Count the number of inns and alehouses and taverns. That latter is derived from the Roman word taberna, which meant—”

She shut him down. “A retail shop of some sort. Yes, I know. What I don’t know is why, when you’re in your cups, you feel the need to mansplain so much.”

He shrugged. “Could be worse. Some people are mean drunks.”

“That is mean. Or at least annoying. I was the classics major, not you.”

“Or right. I forgot.”

“Which is another thing. Drink makes you forgetful.”

“Which is entirely the point, at the risk of mansplaining again. ‘The world is too much with me.’ A little forgetfulness is a blessing. I’ll also point out that this only occurs until the immediate effects wear off. Studies show that moderate drinking helps maintain cognitive function as we age. Or as the old saying goes, ‘A man’s a fool to drink before the age of forty…and a fool if he doesn’t afterward.’”

“Worth a try,” she said, pouring herself another glass of zinfandel.

“That’s your third,” he said.

“’No need to count, my love.’ And if you bring up alehouses and obscure Latin words again, I’m cutting you off.”

“You say I’m in my cups but I’m merely pleasantly buzzed. Stone drunk is off the table. I learned my lesson in college.”

“Likely the only one you did learn. But I assume you’re referring to the Belinda Barrows incident? Making out with your best friend’s girl? Not cool.”

“The blessing there is I don’t remember any of it.”

“Maybe, but it’s not as if you didn’t hear about it. As I understand it, the entire episode was repeated to you in lurid detail at least once a week until you graduated. If we’d been dating at the time, I’d have killed you. You’re lucky Kurt let you off with a warning, and only because you were drunk.”

“Luckily I wised up and went after you.”

“That was almost a compliment. So color me almost flattered. Besides, you never wised up. You only developed a little taste. I mean, Belinda? Seriously?”

“That wasn’t the tequila shooters. I plead hormones. I mean, back when I had them. ‘In the spring, a young man’s fancy’ and all that.”

“You also tend to quote poetry, though you barely read it and don’t write it, and if it wasn’t one you had to memorize in English Lit, fuggedaboudit.”

“I already did. The stout is working.”

-The End-

©2020 Richard Parks. All Rights Reserved.

Update and Upward

Finished Chapter 3 of The Seventh Law of Power and am well into Chapter 4. Marta has to destroy a cursed immortal monster with the help of a snarky raven and a dead girl. It’s almost—but not quite—like doing it alone. Except at this point she has five of the seven laws, which means she’s never alone, or at least a long way from helpless.

Wrote another Yamada story last week. A flash piece that I’m probably not going to expand, since I rather like it the way it is. Likely I’ll fit it into the collection when I’m ready to do that. Aside from that there are two more full length Yamada stories in the pipeline. Assuming they’re both published as I intend, it’ll be a year before both will be free to republish, so the Yamada collection is at least a year off. I’m planning ahead.

Pretty good considering I had to go into the hospital on Friday for a minor procedure…which took two days of prep. Let’s just say everything’s fine and I’m glad I did it but I’m also very glad it’s over.