Early Spring

Spring is comingĀ  to Vermont — the light lingers later and has more warmth, the sugar house up the road has steam billowing out the top so we know the sap is running in the maples, but snow still falls more often than not. I have had one of those colds and coughs that linger for weeks and makes my pillow more appealing than my laptop, and a few days ago my old back injury decided to flair up for no apparent reason, and the novel I was working hard at decided to stall. Grumble, grumble.

So, with a box of tissues at hand and a heating pad behind me, I embarked on a new novel. As often in the past when things aren’t going well, I turn to dragons. This novel is called Wings Over Water, and not only does it have dragons, it has whales! It’s practically writing itself, and it is such fun. The main characters are brand new, but old friends will crop up for sure. It harkens back to The Dragon and his Knight, and it’s about a dragon who ensorcells an unsuspecting human. Only this takes place in modern times, not the Middle Ages. Poor Ryan Barrows, a young ER doctor, has no idea what has hit him and why his life is suddenly all about Shad O’Day, who has plenty of problems of his own. And it’s got boats and beaches and a rogue wave and whales who have all the answers, and some pissed off dragons and all kinds of fun stuff. This one is looking to be novel length and self published, joining all my other dragon books, whose self publishing adventure is eventually getting underway. Promise.

Stay tuned!

My winter writing life


We are having quite a winter here in Vermont — cold and snowy like the winters we had when I was a child. As I did then, I am enjoying this one. Now that I don’t have to drive to school every day, I don’t find my heart clenching in terror at the forecast of icy roads in the morning darkness. Of course, I still worry about my family out there, but physically at least, I am spared the stress of white-knuckle commutes where a forty-five minute drive often took an hour and a half, and I would be such a knot of muscle cramps when I got to school that I would sometimes cry all the way into the building and hide in the bathroom for a while before I could face students. Yeah, I’m that much of a mess over bad roads, thanks to two really bad car accidents in which I was a victim that left me with some back problems and a bit of PTSD.

On the other hand, I do miss my students and fellow educators and the excitement of never knowing what the day had in store, and feeling of accomplishment of helping to make someone’s life a little better. I know I’m missed, too. But after seventeen years of being in high school, I am ready to focus on myself again and put my MA in English and BFA in Writing to use as I always dreamed.

On these winter days, I rise much later than I used to, spend some time doing housework or errands, then go for a walk up my beautiful dirt road and soak in the quiet of snowy woods and fields around me. Then I spend the rest of the day alternately writing or working on the self publication of my older titles project or tweaking my new website. I have started baking bread again from scratch, kneading it by hand and enjoying the way its wholesomeness permeates the whole house. My outside bird feeders at my writing windows help keep me aware of the outdoors when I’m inside. I also have two ten month old kittens, Piper and Willow, who keep the house very lively and me very warm under their purring furriness. I love them to pieces. And then the early darkness comes, I turn on the soft house lights, and later my husband arrives from his day job and then music often fills the house, if it’s a night his band practices downstairs.

I’m slowly getting used to this new life. Sometimes it feels like time is slipping past faster than it used to. Sometimes I dream about school and I wake up in a panic, thinking I’ve slept through the alarm. I am going to keep a journal every day of what I do, just so I can read it back and know that I really do still exist without kids calling my name at me all day. Winning the Best Gay Paranormal Romance Award helped reaffirm my decision, as did having my novel, Winter, accepted by Less Than Three Press. And watching the word count on my next novel, The Music of Space, grow.

So I am letting the seasons change, looking forward to moving back to camp in early May, hopefully, and slowly settling into my new stride.

Thanks for reading.


Depth of Return — First Place in the Gay Paranormal Romance Category!

AND, in a three-way tie for third place in the Best Gay Book Category!

I am quite beside myself this morning. I was hoping to be a finalist again, the way I was with Another Healing. All last evening, I sat watching the results come in one category at a time, never quite sure when Gay Paranormal would pop up. I texted with some friends who were anxiously waiting with me, I worked a little on my new novel, and I hit refresh a lot. My husband came home from a band rehearsal. We watched the Joan Baez concert we’d recorded on PBS. I hit refresh — and saw that I was a winner.

Not only is it wonderful, but it really came at a good time. It helped confirm that I’d done the right thing to leave my teaching job last spring to write full time. It also was a reminder of who I am, as I have spent months wallowing through the depressing tasks of settling my mother’s affairs after she passed away last spring. It’s great to be able to move on to something positive in my life.

Writing is that thing that I love to do more than anything, and I will always keep doing it, no matter what. I majored in writing in college and got my masters degree in English. I was told from day one that writing anything other than literary fiction was worthless. Nor did anyone teach me how to get published. A good novel just will, was what I heard over and over. I learned what I could from my teachers, and I didn’t let them stop me from writing what I wanted to write.

It’s been a long road since those days, and I’ve had some wonderful help and support on the way. I’ve learned to write what’s in my heart, and that publishing and all that goes with it is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

I’m incredibly proud of Depth of Return. Last night, after I found out it had won, I thought about what my main characters would do. Alan would grin his head off and give me a big bear hug. North, however, would give that little twitch of his lips that means “You did well, kid,” and then turn away. But then he’d turn back and give me a hug, too. And that’s when I’d start to cry.

And Jade, of course, would jump all over me and slobber.

Thank you, readers, for all your support, too!

Back Home

Well, we moved home from camp last weekend, and I’m exhausted from all the packing and unpacking and feeling generally unsettled. This is the moment when it’s really hitting me that I’m no longer a teacher and am a full time writer. School actually started almost two months ago, but while I was at camp, I just carried on with my normal summer routine. Now that I’m home, where I’ve never been all day, every day, except for brief school vacations, I’m not quite sure what to do with myself. There are zillions of projects staring me in the face that I’ve never had time to do, like organize my files and straighten out the bathroom closet and stuff like that. There is also the ongoing stress of settling my late mother’s affairs (joys of being an only child). But I’m going to try to regulate all that to a few hours a day, and try to spend the rest writing, reading, going for walks, and taking lots of photos.

I’m feeling a little displaced — I miss camp: lake, kayaking, swimming, sunsets, peregrine falcons just down the cliff, spectacular thunderstorms, everything permeated with the sound of waves on the shore. I love being home: warmth, convenience, mountain views, bird feeders, soft silence everywhere. I miss my students and fellow teachers at school. I miss feeling like I’m making a difference in kids’s lives. But I like sleeping later and not having to face a long, dark, often icy drive. I’m looking forward to being more of a part of seasons changing, being outside, and putting my energy into my words again. I’m in excellent health, my family is healthy, our two kittens are thriving, and we are first on the list to adopt a puppy next spring. My husband’s band is going places. And my friends all still seem to like me.

And so, back to writing.

Full Time Writer!

Happy Winter!

I know, it’s summer, but my newest work in progress is called Winter. I’m really excited about it — I’m about half way through the rough draft and it’s heaps of fun to write. It’s a paranormal stand alone, and it’s about a guy who works in a sex shop and meets a guy in Montreal while he’s travelling for business (checking out new product) and, well, he finds out he’s part of a very old world he didn’t know existed. Winter is his safe word, so infer all you want about what kind of novel this one is.

Stay tuned for more info on Cricket — it will come out, but not for a while. It will be self published, which is a new journey I will be embarking on shortly. I also want to get my whole Notice Series available again, with a new piece about Josh and Varian’s daughter learning how to fly. Imagine that! And while I’m at it, my older pieces will be released again, too…

And yes, I will have time to do all this, because I have officially quit my day job. I am following my dream and I’m now a full time writer. I have a feeling I’ll be far busier than I ever was teaching, but I can’t express how wonderful it feels to be me, full time, at last.

So wish me luck and stay tuned.

I’ve been having a wonderful and very busy summer at camp, and I’m finally gotten a lot of stuff taken care of that needed taking care of, and now I’m feeling like I’m back in business. So while the real world out there is dissolving into chaos, I’ll be busy creating places of respite with my words, which we all need so badly right now.

Here’s a recent sunset to bring a little light into the world.


Well, this is a hard year to reflect back on. Everybody knows about all the awful shit that happened and it’s been well covered elsewhere, so I’m not going to get into it except to say that I hope we all survive. I’ve had some hard stuff to deal with personally, including a knee and a back injury. A few weeks ago, a student was found with a loaded gun in my school. My first publisher, Torquere, is going down, and I have two YA novels caught in the death throes. All Romance Ebooks is going down, too, and it’s unlikely they will pay for my books they sold in the last quarter. I feel like my world has been shaken in some very fundamental ways by these breaches of trust.

But it hasn’t been all bad. My family is healthy and thriving. My friends all still like me. (I hope.) My students keep coming back to me for help and we laugh every day. I’ve gotten some new birds on my life list and I’ve taken some photos I’m proud of.

I had a wonderful summer at camp with long days spent writing and kayaking and swimming and dozing in the sun. I watched spectacular sunsets and thunderstorms, and fell asleep every night to the sound of waves. With the lake levels at record lows, I was able to see into the backs of some underwater caves I always knew were there, but never dared explore. I soared with peregrine falcons and dove with loons. And I ate lots of good food off the grill.

Now we’re back in our winter abode, which is toasty warm with snow falling outside and lots of birds at my feeders and the tallest mountain in Vermont just outside my window, and sunrises and northern lights and stars. I know how lucky I am to live in two such places, and I draw strength from the beauty around me to help heal the wounds that the outer world inflicts.

I had a novel, Depth of Return, released in September, and I’m really proud of it. I just finished a draft of the sequel, Cricket, and I hope to submit it soon. I have another novel tumbling around in my head that I’m really excited to start working on next.

Thank you all for following me here, on Facebook and Twitter and, of course, for reading my books. I’m usually around if anyone wants to chat, and let’s hope for the best next year.

My Jade Necklace

People who have already read Depth of Return will know exactly why I am posting a photo of a jade necklace.

So here’s some trivia about the novel that didn’t make it into my blog tour. Originally, the dog in the book was trapped in another object. My editor at DSP suggested I change the object, and since I’d already named the dog Jade, we decided that a jade necklace would be appropriate. (Yes, I came up with the name first and then the object, whereas the characters had the object first and named the dog after it. One of those weird things that made writer’s heads explode sometimes.)

The problem was that I didn’t own any jade. I looked at lot of jade on the internet, but I really needed to see a piece to describe it. So that meant a research trip to a jewelry store. I knew of a perfect one in downtown Burlington that specializes in imported jewelry. I may or may not have bought a lot of presents for myself and others there over the years. Suffice it to say, when my husband and I came in, the owner headed right over with a big smile.

I browsed around a little while my husband and the owner chatted. My husband loves to talk, and I wasn’t paying any attention to what they were talking about. Until the owner calls me over with a big grin and announces to the whole shop that he has some nice demon possessed jade right here.

Of course, I was ready to kill them both. Of course, I ended up buying a jade necklace. I mean, I needed to have it to study, right? Heck, maybe it can count as a tax deduction. And yes, everyone in the store ended up knowing I was a writer and I was writing a book about a dog trapped in a…

As soon as we got on the sidewalk, I informed my husband that the dog was not in fact a demon, but a demon had trapped him in the necklace. There was a huge difference. My husband just rolled his eyes.

But I will pay him back. My next novel will have a dog trapped in a diamond necklace.

Blog Tour Winding Down

Okay, the Depth of Return Blog Tour is winding down. I’m still looking for Susana, my final winner. If anybody knows her, tell me to email me at m.raiya@comcast.net.

Thanks so much to everyone who followed the tour and left great comments and made me feel warm and fuzzy. I’m always here if anyone wants to ask me anything. And thanks to everyone who bought the book, of course.

Whew. I am feeling frizzled and tired, but happy. The book is launched, the first reivews are good, and it’s time to start looking ahead. Now to get Cricket polished up and subbed. I’m a bit hindered at the moment because my very old laptop crashed last week. I bought a new one this weekend and am in the middle of the laborious task of getting it set up.

But when it’s ready to go, look out, because I am all inspired and ready to do it again!