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Summer Shenanigans

Last weekend, I went with some girlfriends to Tillamook, Oregon for a getaway weekend. If you’ve never been to Tillamook, it’s best known for its dairy industry — so of course we visited Blue Heron creamery to sample delicious brie and feed the animals.

(That’s me as a bull above, with my friend and fellow author Alexis, writing as Alexis Radcliff, as a peacock. Photo by Kristin Koontz.)

I find summers fun, but exhausting. While Portland winters are designed for hunkering down and getting work done, as soon as we get our stretch of rain-free summer days we try to pack in as much as possible.

In July I have two family reunions, two groups of friends/family coming to visit us in Portland, and of course all the impromptu barbecues, bike rides, and trips to the river that are bound to happen. 

As a self-employed writer, it can be hard to find balance in the summer. On the one hand, so long as I turn in client work on time I can get the work done wherever. Because my client work load tends to be lighter in the summer, I can be more flexible and take advantage of all the fun. 

On the other hand, it can be incredibly hard to simply relax without feeling like I should be working harder. If I blow off early on a Friday I’m basically playing hooky alongside the most demanding boss ever (me).

Anyhow, all that to say that summer is here in the Pacific NW, and it’s going to be glorious and frenetic and exhausting and fun. 

What have you got planned?

Writing update

Summer will inevitably put a dent in my fiction writing productivity, but I do still have goals! I’m still drafting the sequel novella to Starfall, which is very close to being finished. It’ll be called Deviant Flux.

And I’m also working on a special Durga System short story (working title is Rogues), which will be available next month as part of a very cool giveaway. Keep your eyes peeled!

For your To-Be-Read list

Summer reading for me is all about books that completely absorb me. I tend to read a lot of thrillers and mysteries in summer for that reason, and it’s even more fun when I can find a sci-fi mystery!

I recently picked up Mur Lafferty’s Six Wakes on the virtue of the cover and tag line alone, and I’m so into it. Six criminal clones alone on a space ship, all woken at the same time to the grisly murder scene of their past bodies, a crime which they now have to solve? Yes, please!

You should also check out Alexis Radcliff’s A Vanishing Glow. Longtime newsletter readers may remember that Alexis and I launched our first books (A Vanishing Glow and Shifting Borders) together. It’s a dark fantasy with an excellent thread of mystery and great characters!

Six Wakes


by Mur Lafferty

In this Hugo nominated science fiction thriller by Mur Lafferty, a crew of clones awakens aboard a space ship to find they’re being hunted-and any one of them could be the killer.

Maria Arena awakens in a cloning vat streaked with drying blood. She has no memory of how she died. This is new; before, when she had awakened as a new clone, her first memory was of how she died.

Maria’s vat is one of seven, each one holding the clone of a crew member of the starship Dormire, each clone waiting for its previous incarnation to die so it can awaken. And Maria isn’t the only one to die recently…

Find it on Amazon, Kobo, IndieBound

A Vanishing Glow


by Alexis Radcliff

The king is dying, and the fate of the realm rests in the hands of four people: A young, idealistic prince, a rugged soldier from the borderlands, an ingenious runaway inventor, and a mad, brilliant wizard who brought his magic-fueled machines to a world that was hardly ready for them.

Intrigue is rampant, and trust is in short supply…

When a brutal murder rocks the foundations of the kingdom, only one man has the skills to bring the killer to justice. With sword and musket in tow, he digs through the guts of the seedy underworld to find not only the assassin, but also the name of the smiling nobleman who ordered his friend’s death.

Find it on Amazon