Sunday, September 30, 2012

Release Day

Hard Reboot is out today!
Special new release price, $5.20!

This is my first full-length heterosexual novel, and the longest thing I've ever written.

Two years ago, Sean O'Neill's wife, Caitin—the net-runner called Irishgirl—was stolen from their bed. Now, he knows where she is, but getting her back is only the first step in a long journey.
Caitlin has been trained as a sex slave, her former skills as a net-runner and cyber-thief totally stripped from her, along with her identity and most independent thought. Powerful and wealthy social elites, playing their own dangerous high-stakes games, have hired Sean to retrieve her and again make her what she once was.
But two years is a long time to be out of the net and out of normal society. A lot of new programming has been laid down. Now, giving Irishgirl a hard reboot may take everything Sean has in him, and more...

He came out of the bedroom to see Caitlin hadn't moved. She had to be getting uncomfortable in the position, but she held it. He stroked her hair as he passed. She arched into his hand for more.

"Tomorrow, we get you fitted for a jack. Tonight, cook. It's suppertime. Everything's pretty much the same as it was before." Sean settled himself on the couch to do a little networking. "We're out of everything but soyamix. We'll hit the grocery tomorrow. And I don't like the chicken a la king, it has a funny aftertaste."

She rose gracefully from her knees and walked into the kitchen, a sensual sway in her hips that had never been there before. Absorbed in watching her lovely back, he almost missed the fact that she gave wide berth to her old lounger and Net station. It struck him that those were the belongings of Caitlin McLean, the Irishgirl. They had no relevance to a slave, except as more work. They would be part of her cleaning duties and, at his command, she would have to use them to run as well.

She clearly dreaded that part of her new life here, with good reason. The Net was a minefield for even practiced runners, and Irishgirl had been off the grid for far, far too long. Not everything had changed, but enough had that the familiar would be more trap than help, like a faded signpost in an overgrown forest. There were drawbacks to being a living legend, namely outliving her legend. She'd be returning to the web as a rank amateur. Nonetheless, she would obey her master, even to her peril, so that her actions might please him. She could not do otherwise now. Her training would not allow it. He hated knowing that.

Sean checked his mail, confirmed the appointment with the slicer, and generally puttered as much as he could without actually jacking in. He didn't work much anymore. The time spent in the hospital, with visits and Net-access tightly controlled, had cost him most of his contacts. Caitlin was his job now, and he was as much at sea as she was, although he couldn't let anyone know that.

He listened to her in the kitchen, doubting she was quite ready to have him watch her. By now, she had discovered the new synth he'd bought with some of Gemini's money, with its midrange flavor suite that could produce anything from chicken chow mein to beef stew. Steak and lobster were for higher levels, but at least it had a suite. One of Caitlin's old places had simply had the synth, and they'd eaten plain soyamix, which was about as interesting as eating pizza-shaped wallboard, for three weeks.

Even as she cooked, she was nearly silent. It was unsettling, like having a ghost in the apartment. It struck him that she really was a ghost, a pale reflection of the Caitlin who used to share his life, living, laughing, and planning for the future together. His slave girl now haunted the places Caitlin had once occupied, but she was not Caitlin. She had no thought for anything but the present day and the task at hand, since the future was a matter for free people, real people who actually mattered.

If nothing else, her cooking had improved. His Caitlin was an indifferent cook at best, preferring to eat nutribars or whatever easily came to hand while she worked. He'd cooked for her, as often as not, and take-out had been common in their courtship and short marriage. He smiled, remembering their first date when he'd brought her Thai noodles and they'd fed the ducks in The Enclosure.

She'd laughed there amid the real plants, her voice bells and birds and falling rain, her short hair gleaming under the fake sun of the geodesic sky as she tossed her head back. He'd known then she was much more than an assignment. He wanted her. He'd wanted to make her laugh, to kiss her, to see her smile just for him and not merely at the silly antics of the ducks.

Now, as the apartment filled with good smells, he wondered if he'd ever see her laugh like that again. He set his jaw and closed his phone. That was his job. Gemini was paying him handsomely to get Caitlin back to herself, to teach her the Net, to make her laugh again, to love her. On top of that, Technomancer was watching as well, expecting much the same, but with her own personal agenda. Sean sat and pondered his divided loyalties.

He glanced at the wall niche where statues of St. Isidore of Seville, patron saint of the Net, and St. Dismas, the patron of thieves, stood. They couldn't help the situation. For a mad moment he wondered if anyone made statues of Judas Iscariot, the ultimate patron of divided loyalties, but put that out of his head and returned to studying St. Isidore's placid lines and the book the saint held. He wondered if he should add St. Jude or St. Dymphna to the niche. Either would work, because Caitlin was as lost a cause as he'd ever seen, and he had a lot of mental work to overcome. He'd look for one, and some candles. He suspected it would take a lot more than mere candles and saints to get his girl back.

Lost in thought, Sean barely noticed when she prostrated herself at his feet to let him know the food was ready.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Guest Blogger: D.A. Adams

Give a nicely debauched welcome for my friend D.A. Adams, author of the The Brotherhood of Dwarves series, and awesome hugger.

Writing in the Digital Age

With the rise of social events like NANOWRIMO and Amazon’s self-publishing division for the Kindle, it seems as if everyone who owns a computer is now a published writer. For those of us who’ve toiled for years at this craft, it can be frustrating to compete for sales against literally thousands of people who’ve recently been inspired to write because of the advances in technology that have made it easier to produce and distribute books electronically. If I’ve already offended you, please, leave me a comment at

If you have a thick enough skin that my observations barely bothered you, please, keep reading. Writing is a fiercely competitive business. I can think of few other industries where so many compete for so little return. Music may be close, but there are probably still more radio stations per capita than there are bookstores, though I don’t have empirical data to back that up. My point is, if you want to be a writer and expect to get rich quickly, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

Sure, there are examples of overnight sensations. There are people who get lucky and strike the right nerve at the right moment and have runaway bestsellers with their first books. I concede that it is possible to get rich quick as a novelist. It’s also possible that aliens will abduct me, and I won’t have to grade my next round of essays for the classes I teach. But neither situation is probable. More than likely, I’ll have to trudge through each paper, and the vast majority of new writers will toil in anonymity for years.

I’m not against self-publishing. On the contrary, I self-published my first two books long before the digital transformation made it so easy. Traditional publishing is a mess, right now. Has been for several decades as more and more houses have been bought by international conglomerates with a keen eye on the bottom line. Each year, there are fewer and fewer slots for new writers, while more and more people produce work. That’s why I chose to self-publish. I believed in the quality of my work and wanted to prove myself in the market. For as long as there have been printing presses, there have been self-published authors. Google who self-published to begin their careers, and you’ll find a pretty impressive list of authors.

No, I’m not adverse to self-publishing. I’m not even adverse to NANOWRIMO, though I do think it’s silly to need a cheering section and external guidelines to enter into a profession that demands solitude and internal motivation for long-term sustainability and success. However, as a mode of self-expression, I’m all for it. Anything that gets people involved in reading and writing is a positive movement for society, in general.

What I am against is the ignorance or arrogance that a rough draft is a finished manuscript. At its core writing is truly about editing and polishing. It’s about refining the rough draft into a cohesive story without frayed edges, vanishing plot lines, grammatical blunders, and misspellings. Even in the digital age, perhaps even more so now than ever before, the quality of your writing matters.

Right now, there is a tidal wave of new material hitting the market, and while some of it is high quality stuff, much of it is pure rubbish, cobbled together in a rush with an eye on quick riches and red carpets. I’m always surprised by how many people confuse writing with acting and singing, but I digress. Right now, readers are overwhelmed and submerged by this tidal wave, and I’ve heard them complain about the volume of crap out there. However, I fully believe that like everything, once the cycle turns and the self-deluded retreat, the waters will recede, and those who have produced quality works will remain.

So my advice to you, if you want to write in this digital age, is to remember that the written word has been around for a few thousand years, and books have been with us for a few hundred. During this time, humanity has refined and developed a pretty sophisticated process for producing written works, and these rules are not arbitrary. They are not nuisances meant to hinder the writer. Instead, they are scraps of wisdom passed from generation to generation of what works and what doesn’t. Those of us who take the time to learn our craft and refine our skills discover how to tell the tale that is authentic to our experience. Some of us get lucky and make a living at it. Some of us toil for decades with little to no return. The one constant to the vast majority of us is that we take great pride in the quality of what we say and how we say it.

So if you want to write today, please, take your craft seriously before you enter the arena. Take your time. Don’t rush your manuscript to market. Learn how to edit and get at least a second set of eyes to help you polish. While my advice may not be glamorous or sexy, I believe it to be sound. If you rush your work and release a book rife with errors, you are only hurting your own credibility.

If you aren’t an aspiring writer but instead are an avid reader frustrated by the plethora of new books on the market, don’t fret. There are more and more opportunities for you to find high quality works by serious authors. Many of us have found our homes with independent and small presses, and we want to find you as badly as you want to find us. Please, be patient with us as we learn to navigate this new world of marketing and promotion. Please, forgive our trespasses as we attempt new methods to get our works in front of you. We’re all learning how to build the new platform as we go, and it’s not an easy task, but if you’ll be patient with us, we will figure it out.

I’ve been fortunate to be associated with the Literary Underworld for several years now, and one thing I can say for certain is that the people I know who are a part of this consortium of independent authors is that we all care deeply about our writing. I’m proud to be associated with so many talented authors, people who I consider part of my extended family. If you’re looking for good books written by people who care about their craft, look no further than the Literary Underworld. 
From Horror to Hard Science Fiction to High Fantasy to Sword and Sorcery, we have something for everyone who loves to read, and when you support the Literary Underworld, you are directly supporting independent/small presss authors who produce professional quality work. Please, stop by and check out the selection. Use this code to receive a special discount for a limited time:


D.A. Adams is author of the fantasy series The Brotherhood of Dwarves. You can follow his madness at