Need a Friend

Pokemon GO! From time to time, I mention that I play … usually when a challenge insists that I make a new friend. Sure, I know I could just nab some rando from the interwebz, but I enjoy playing with reading friends. So … who’s game? ALSO, if you’re already a friend & still need a friend, nudge me anyhow. Another member of my household also plays. In fact, we often raid together. ::eyebrow waggle::

email me your friends code > always.forthright at gmail dot com

Not on Purpose

Lulling. I swear, I don’t do this on purpose, but every time I let a fanfic lull (in this case, Mood Stripes hasn’t updated on the fanfiction site in a couple of weeks), readers over there hunt down my website. I can only assume they’re checking to make sure I’m still alive. ::twinkle::

  • I am alive! Thank you for caring so much about my stories!
  • I currently have a book (10/22) & a short story (11/4) publishing back-to-back, and that’s made things busy.
  • Lord Mettlebright’s Man has been updating daily. It’s an October tradition, and I will never apologize for prioritizing Jacques.
  • On top of that, October is one of my most creative months. I’ve been cranking out new chapters (of my next book) nearly every day, but it’s all original stuff. Not fanfiction. I mean … it pays better? Gotta earn my keep.
  • Mood Stripes will resume both here & on the fanfiction site SOON(ish). Thank you for always being patient with me. (And be grateful I’m foregoing NaNoWriMo this year, or you’d be waiting until December!)
  • I haven’t forgotten that this Saturday is the 4th Saturday in October. I’m working up an Unexpected chapter to post on the 30th. We’ll see if Vassal also gets an update. Not sure yet!

So many stories! I’m good at juggling. Hey, I even find it fun. But sometimes I need to focus on one thing or another for a little while. This is one of those times. Again, I’m glad you’re eagerly looking forward to more. That’s a fine compliment! ::glomp::

October Things

Busy, Busy Month. Tomorrow is the 1st of October, and I’m kind of reeling over how much FUN STUFF will be packed into the coming month. Let’s do a quick run-down to sync our calendars. ::twinkle::

Fumiko and the Finicky Nestmate (ebook) is currently available for pre-order in ALL the online venues. Those of you who buy the digital edition will boost my First Week numbers, which pleases the algorithms. Thanks for that! But I still have the most fun getting signed books (with all those personal touches & swag) into your hands. As per tradition, I’ll open up pre-orders for Fumiko on OCTOBER 1. (Yep, that’s tomorrow.) Details about those on the Signed Books page >>

. . .

October kicks off Inktober, and that means a month of Jacques Smythe. Lord Mettlebright’s Man will honor its beginnings by updating every day during October, using this year’s prompt table. Look forward to it!

. . .

Some of you have coaxed by other stories I’ve written, and I’m grateful that so many of you have picked up the Galleries of Stone trilogy, which I published under another penname. Unless there’s a change in the schedule (such things do keep us on our toes), Travis Baldree will begin narrating Bk1: Meadowsweet in October, and you can listen in. He streams his recording sessions live, and it’s so much fun to watch him work. I’ll be there, probably too giddy to be sensible.

Tide You Over

Fall Releases. New stories are scheduled for release in both October and November, which may seem a long way off. If so, I’m suggesting you tide yourself over with other titles currently in stock. I have copies of the Galleries of Stone trilogy on the shelf. Its a trilogy I mentioned on this post >>

This is a fantasy series, complete in three volumes. (Although there’s a second trilogy in the works.) The story involves a magical master sculptor and living statues … and Tupper. Naturally, it’s also available digitally. These print editions have full-color illustrations, and if you order them from me, they’ll be stamped & signed (and include swag). If you’re interested, email me at always.forthright at gmail dot com.

$25 each, includes shipping in the US


So close. When I near the end of a manuscript, it’s all I can see. So I’m going to let Mood Stripes & Lord Mettlebright’s Man lull for a couple of weeks. Thank you for your patience.

You might be asking yourself:

  • What about your May fandom event on Ko-fi? Will you update Unexpected? Yep. But because of how the calendar stacked up this month, we’ll convene on the 5th Saturday: May 29, 2021.
  • Will Bard & Barbarian update next week on Patreon? Nope. I’m giving myself a week off (since I did already post one chapter for May).
  • Whyyy? I need more Jacques in my life! Well, good. Because I’ll post a chapter-a-day of LMM for the month of June again this year.
  • When will Fumiko and the Finnicky Nestmate release? I don’t like to set a firm release date until my manuscript is off to the editors. However … I will confide that Bk5 picks up in October after everyone returns home from their summer stay at Wardenclave in Bk4. So I’m leaning toward a fall release.

More fun stuff to come. I’ll keep you posted.

Pokemon GO Tour: Kanto

I Choose You! Every once in a while, I mention here on the blog that I play Pokemon GO. (Daily. Devotedly. Obsessively.) Yes, I’m taking part in the Kanto event (2/20). Nearly all of my in-game friends are readers, which I think is quite spiffy. I love sending gifts & stickers & raid invites, so if you share my little hobby, you’re welcome to send me your friend code. My email is always.forthright at gmail dot com.

I Choose You | art by FoxOfTwilight

This came up…

Question and Answer. I received a (probably unintentionally) loaded question in comments on my most recent chapter of Lord Mettlebright’s Man. It really kicked my brain into overdrive, and by the time I finished answering, I figured I’d bring it out of comments & make a blog post of it. If only because there’s a teaser tucked in there. So with all due respect, I’m reposting the question & my answer here:

So, when are you going to write an LGBTQ character that’s a normal person? Not in love with a married man, or these two who are basically siblings.

My goodness. What a loaded question. I’ve given it a ponder.

  1. Define “normal.” Do you mean a human without reaver powers who fits somewhere within the LGBTQ+ spectrum? Because … that’s Jacques. And I am most definitely writing him.
  2. Jacques is not “in love with a married man.” Argent was his first love, a boyhood crush that began long before Tsumiko was on the scene. And that devotion has been changing shape. I wouldn’t say Jacques has been “in love” for a while now. Patience.
  3. Cat and Canary aren’t “basically siblings.” They’re childhood friends, unrelated by blood. And feline culture doesn’t conform to … much of anything. I’m sure we’ll brush up against it more in future books & stories. But it’s safe to say you shouldn’t try to interpret Amaranthine behavior by human standards. Leads to all kinds of trouble.
  4. This is largely an aside, but … I am having a hard time coming up with ANY “normal person” in the Saga & Songs, regardless of their orientation. The series is usually stashed in the “paranormal romance” and “urban fantasy” categories, and my characters tend to be exceptional … or at least exceptions. ::twinkle::
  5. Provided you’ll consider a Kith-kin as a “normal person,” Kip’s heart belongs to another male. And Melissa Armstrong has two mothers. A pair of kick-ass battlers who are a Big Deal in the new lineup of reaver-exclusive extreme sports in America. You may recall that the enclave where they’re from is in California. Oh, heyyy, isn’t that where Bk5 is set?
  6. While I may know the sexual orientation of my cast (in much the same way I know their eye color and taste in shoes), I don’t think that orientation alone defines a person. But it shapes their choices, and that’s where things get interesting. At least for me.

As the Saga continues, I can’t promise you much in the way of “normal,” but there are interesting choices ahead. For everyone. Including Jacques.


Looking Ahead. I’m not sure pantsers can have resolutions. Too many rules. Too much structure. I do have a vague idea of what I want to accomplish this year, and I’ll be making the rest up as I go along. Gotta stay flexible. Gotta be nimble. Gotta take life one day at a time! ::twinkle::

With that in mind, stick a whopping “if life cooperates” in front of all of these:

  • I’ll publish the next Songs of the Amaranthine title. (That one’s easy to list since it’s already available for pre-order.) Captured on Film will release on March 4, 2021.
  • I’ll also publish the next title in the Amaranthine Saga. Nope, I don’t have a firm release date for this one. Circumstances beyond my control (jury duty) set me back nearly two months, but I’m back to my regularly scheduled life starting Monday. So… guess we’ll see! Fumiko and the Finicky Nestmate will release sometime in 2021!
  • Lord Mettlebright’s Man will resume its twice-weekly pace for updates. Jacques gets Mondays & Thursdays whenever I’m not pressured by looming deadlines.
  • In 2020, I gained 100 patrons over on my Patreon account (wow). That puts us a quarter of the way to my Community Goal of 400 (and the debut of a serial called Kimiko and the Cycle of Moons). For 2021, I’d love to see another 100 join the ranks & nudge us closer to the Miyabe sisters & the mayhem at Kikusawa Shrine after the events of Kimiko and the Accidental Proposal! (It’s gonna be so much fun!)
  • ART! I’ll be commissioning MOAR art throughout the coming year. Fox and I have been working pretty steadily on bringing you new pieces. And I have, hmm … four pieces from other artists that are pending. I do love to splurge on story art.
  • Ko-fi is going to become a thing this year. I’ve come up with a couple of ways to put my new account to use. We’ll test one of them in February, when I make my Quarterly Art Card for spring available (just this once) to followers who can’t commit to Patreon … but are willing to buy me a ko-fi. I’ll be revealing that art card on Valentine’s Day for a March mailing. ::coughTSUGENTcough::
  • I’ll also be utilizing Ko-fi as a hub for some fandom shenanigans. Some of you may have been around for the old drabble/drawble nights that were part of the Sess/Kag fandom on Dokuga. I’ll be reviving this tradition & adapting it to my purposes. Expect interactive day-long events once a month, during which I use your prompts to add new chapters to Vassal … and to Unexpected. ::eyebrow waggle:: (This is me, committing to the time it will take to finish what I’ve started.)
  • Audio Books! The quarantines have thrown so many peoples’ schedules for a loop, and that includes Tantor Audio. All their production was delayed in 2020, and I’ve been patiently waiting my turn on Travis Baldree’s docket. Good News! Governed by Whimsy: The Anthology AND Mikoto and the Reaver Village are scheduled to release in August 2021. ::confetti toss::
  • I’ve joined the annual Goodreads Reading Challenge with the same goal I had for 2020. Planning to read/reread 200 manga this year. At this rate, I’ll also need to add another bookshelf to my living room. The manga collection keeps growing!
  • Tuesday Totes. We took a break for the holidays, but we should be back this week with a weekly fandom cover reveal & related store links. The Twinkle Press storefront (on Threadless & TeePublic) offers tote bags, masks, gaiters, note cards, journals, and so forth. Throughout the year, we’ll work our way through more of my fandom backlist (which is surprisingly large) to add to the pretty, pretty offerings.
  • If all goes according to plan, you can also look forward to a couple of cover reveals in 2021. Because I’ll unveil my plans for Bk6 when I release Bk5. And while it’s not on my writing schedule yet, I do know what I’m writing for Songs #7. Maybe I’ll get to it before the year plays out. Hope so.

Here’s to new things & continuing things & quiet days & steady habits & home.

Happy New Year!

This could be the day.

Level 40. Those of you who play Pokemon GO! know what a big deal it is to hit Level 40 in the game. It became a bigger deal when it was announced (last month) that trainers who achieve this milestone before December 31 will get “legacy” status, commensurate bragging rights, extra goodies, and a cool hat. With enough raid invites (and maybe some new friends), I could potentially hit the XP goal and level up … today!

If you play Pokemon GO! and would like to be in-game friends, email your friends code: always.forthright @ gmail dot com. And if you catch wind of a raid in your area, drop me an invite. ::twinkle::

Wish List

Signed Copies Available. If you’re looking for items to add to your shopping list or wish list, may I suggest signed copies of a fantasy series that I all but admitted to writing? (Okay, I did admit to it, but in my usual oblique manner.) More about Galleries of Stone trilogy on this post >>

Genre: Fantasy
Series: complete
Rating: all ages
Pages: 400~ each
Illustrations: full-color spot illustrations
Price: $25 apiece (includes shipping in US)

Also available digitally, everywhere books are sold.