Argh Author: Deb Blake’s Baba Yaga Novellas

Our own Deb Blake has a collection of novellas from her Baba Yaga series out now. As she explained, “This is three novellas collected into one volume. Berkley put one out as a prequel to the first Baba Yaga book, and the other two between books, but they were never available in print. So when I got the rights back, I figured I’d put them out together as a collection, to make it worth putting them into print form (Amazon only) and ebook (everywhere).”

Known as the wicked witch of Russian fairy tales, Baba Yaga is not one woman, but rather a title carried by a chosen few. They keep the balance of nature and guard the borders of our world, but don’t make the mistake of crossing one of them… 

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This is a Good Book Thursday, June 29, 2023

That swoosh sound you heard was June speeding past. Good grief.

My therapist and I were talking and she asked me what my favorite book was. I told her that was impossible, especially since it depended on how I was feeling at the time. I mean I love Heyer and Francis and Stout and Chase and about a million more, but I don’t think any of them are my favorites. (Well, Francis’s Hot Money is great. Stout’s Some Buried Caesar. Heyer’s Cotillion, and The Grand Sophy, and The Talisman Ring. Chase’s Carsington series and the Difficult Dukes. And of course Michael Gilbert’s The Quiet House and The Body of a Girl and . . .

That was a terrible thing for a therapist to do to me.

I finally came up with these five in no particular order:

Pratchett and Gaiman’s Good Omens
McQuiston’s Red, White, and Royal Blue
Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London
Wells’ Murderbot
Connie Willis’s Take a Look at the Five and Ten, or maybe Crosstalk

So now you’re on the hot seat. Top five books. Let’s go.

Working Wednesday, June 28, 2023, a little early

I have had a very frustrating week already, and it’s only Tuesday afternoon. People continue to thwart me as I’m trying to move. I wasn’t going out today because I’m so frustrated I’d start aiming for people with my car, and then I had to go out anyway and I didn’t hit anybody, so more frustration. So I’m putting up Working Wednesday early and going Zen for the rest of the night.

One good thing: we have a cover. I think the only change yet to come is going from “A Novel” to “A Liz Danger Novel.”
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Happiness is a Soup Truck

Happiness is a SoupTruck

So some of you may have noticed that I haven’t published anything in awhile. Like ten years. It took several years of therapy to track down the reason: I have a problem with depression. In this, I am not alone; turns out writers are 121% more likely to suffer from depression than the general public. I don’t know if depression makes us turn to making up stuff to survive, or if making up stuff for a living makes us depressed, but I do know that throwing yourself headlong into building a career in publishing would make anybody nuts. And yet I did that for twenty years, and then face planted. I kept writing—you’ve suffered from reading how many unfinished manuscripts in here?—I just couldn’t finish anything. Continue reading

This is a Good Book Thursday, June 22, 2023

I’ve been reading a lot of meh romances which is depressing, but I’m also reading Rocky Start, and because it’s still early in the process I haven’t started to freak about maybe it’s no good and I’m a terrible writer and I should just eat worms and die. Stay tuned for that much later. But then I found my favorite writing text book, Janet Burroway’s Writing Fiction, was $1.99 on BookBub for the tenth edition. I must have three other editions of this, but not in ebook and not the tenth and for $1.99? Happy reader here.

What did you read this week that wasn’t meh?

Working Wednesday, June 21, 2023

We are finishing the rough draft of Rocky Start this week, Bob is doing all kinds of self-publishing stuff, I’m loading a truck to move and running a lot of Final Errands so I can hit the road in July, and we’re both looking forward to the end of summer when all of this madness will be over, we’ll be in new places dealing with new madness. It’s a goal.

What did you work on this week?

Exploiting You Again: Rocky Start Store Names

Remember when I asked you for store names for Nita? Motel Styx? Pins and Sins. Good times. Well, here we are again.

Rocky Start is a small town that straddles the border between Tennessee and North Caroline in the middle of freaking nowhere. It was mostly bought out by two spies on the run and made into a retirement community for agents who want out of the game. The majority of the town is just normal people, but a significant minority are retired spooks, many of whom opened small businesses.

We need business names.

We started with Oddities, the second hand store where our heroine, Rose, works.
Then we added Ecstasy, the bakery/coffee shop next door run by our heroine’s friend, a former German spy, Coral.
Sid Quill’s pharmacy is next door.
We mentioned a restaurant called the Wok Inn.

Okay, none of those are spy related, but now we have to figure out the names of some of the spy-owned businesses and we were thinking it would be interesting if they named them things that would signal to the others that they’d been operatives.

So right now we’re calling the bookstore Undercover Books, but that seems a little lame.
We also have an important character who’s a carpenter, making wood furniture, a little old lady assassin who runs a tea shop, and a cleaner named Melissa who has a funeral home. (The normal guy who has a funeral home is Geoffrey Nice; his motto is “Have a Nice Funeral.” That cracks me up every time.)

And since you all did such a stellar job on Nita, we thought we’d let you have at it. Very small town, full of spies, businesses can be anything that a small town might have.

Go nuts in the comments as you always do. And thanking you in advance . . .

Happiness is Kindness

So it turns out that even if the news is depressing or horrific, reading about the acts of kindness that the event inspires is a deterrent to depression. Observing kindness not only reaffirms our view of the human race as basically decent, it inspires more kindness. According to an article in the NYT, “When humans witness an act of kindness, “it gives us a special feeling called elevation,” said Buchanan, describing it as a “warm, fuzzy feeling in the chest,” and “an immediate rush of wanting to be a better person.”

That’s part of why we started doing Happiness Sundays on ReFab so long ago. We’re bombarded by such bad news constantly that we forget to concentrate on the good. And there is so much good in the world. Good people far outnumber the bad, it’s just the bad get all the press. (The news was full of Donald Trump this week, but this week Governor Pritzker of Illinois also signed in a banned book ban; libraries in that state can’t ban books there any more because of political disapproval.). And I’m not a fan of newsletters, but I love the Washington Post’s Optimist newsletter.. Every week I get to read about good people making good things happen in the world. Even if I don’t hit the links and read the articles, the brief descriptions of a dozen good things make me breathe easier.

Happiness is good people doing good things. Good thing there are so many of them.

How was happiness good for you this week?