New Words from the Golden City

cover splashTGC

I’m close to setting up a pre-order page for After the War, the final (chronologically) novella in the Golden City series.  I’m still waiting on the cover, but as soon as that’s finalized, I’ll work on turning that live. (The cover artist–Rachel A, Marks–is also a writer, and she’s in the midst of edits for her next book.)

My planned date for After the War to go on sale is August 1, although that might change if there are complications.

In addition, my patrons have received the first chapter in a new work that tells of the meetings of Miguel Gaspar, Gabriel Anjos, Nadezhda Vladimirova, and the Lady.  I’ve jokingly called them my Torchwood in the past because they seem to work behind the scenes, focusing on the creepy and weird stuff. (if you don’t understand the reference, that’s OK.)

The work is very tentatively titled The Undiscovered Truth, although that may change.  (The first chapter is available here on my website, but it’s password protected so that only my patrons see it.)



Cover Progress

I’m working with artists on covers for upcoming ebooks, and have a couple almost ready:


Whatever Else is a short story, unrelated to my other works. I hope to put this out later this fall. (This is pretty much a final cover.)

And here’s the preliminary for After the War:

AfterTheWar_JKCheney[sample1] (2)

The artist for this still needs to work out a few things about the cover, but I like the first version of it!

And I hope to have a final to show people soon!




In the Back Matter

As I’m putting together what should be the last (chronologically) novella in the Golden City cycle, I’m inserting a bit of information in the back. I didn’t have the option of doing this before (I was never asked, and when I -did- ask for a map, I didn’t get one).

However, since I’m controlling this one, I can stick in whatever I want.  So I’m putting in a couple of things, including the chart of Alejandro’s ancestry shown in the previous post and a list of characters from the novella.

And because that’s information in a different format, anyone who looks at it might discover a few interesting, if not entirely pertinent, facts.

(There are some potential spoilers here for the series, so if you’d rather avoid, don’t read past this point.) 


So here are a couple of things from the chart:

  1. Duilio’s mother is named Giana Fadda. I don’t think her surname has ever come up before because she’s generally referred to as Lady Ferreira. Fadda is a Sardinian name, since she was raised by her mother and a Sardinian fisherman (whom her mother rescued after a shipwreck) on the island of Sardinia. Therefore, she grew up speaking Portuguese, Sardinian, Catalan, and a smattering of other languages from the Italian city states.
  2. Alessio did have one child (with Tigana before she became Erdano’s queen). Someone asked about this earlier, thinking that I must have gotten the chart wrong. While I’d always intended to reveal that, it never did fit into any of the books. (I actually wrote it into The Seer’s Choice, but then deleted that part as it didn’t have anything to do with the scene.) But my idea was that Alessio pretty much grew up in Erdano’s shadow. Given that both of them had a propensity for multiple lovers, it wouldn’t be too shocking if Tigana, at some point, strayed from Erdano’s bedroom to Alessio’s. All in all, it would be a good thing to have Alessio’s son, her firstborn, leading the harem rather than one of Erdano’s because–let’s face it–Erdano’s not the sharpest card in the deck.

And here are a couple from my character list from After the War (included below)

  1. Raimundo ends up marrying Ana Pereira de Santos. I had intended from the start to have him sneaking out of the palace and spying on society events, trying to learn who his future subjects were. And he, at one point, met a wallflower who was hiding in an alcove. So the  party where he surprised Duilio? Yep, he knew from Ana that Duilio was invited. Ana had been his spy within society for a couple of years by the time he reached the throne. (I wrote some of those scenes, but they never fit in.)
  2.  In After the War, I go ahead and admit that the Lady is half fairy. I’d always left it open to interpretation before, but here so much time has passed that everyone has figured it out, so it’s no longer a secret.


The author knows all the family secrets.

Here’s a bonus one:

I say in the books that Lady Ferreira has money of her own. No one really questioned how a selkie could have money, but here’s what happened:

When she was 15, she fled Sardinia for Portugal, her mother’s homeland. In selkie form, she swam around the Mediterranean coast, and located a rich shipwreck just on the Portuguese side of Spain–too deep for a human diver to find, but not too deep for a seal. So she collected as much of the gold as she could (using buckets carried in her mouth), and buried the gold in a cave in the Algarve. Later in life, after she marries Joaquim’s father (a boat builder) , they raise the shipwreck and claim the remaining gold.

Turns out I have convoluted explanations for everything….



Cast of Characters (After the War)

(Again, there are some potential spoilers here for the series, so if you’d rather avoid, don’t read past this point.) 

Alejandro (Alexandre) Ferreira, Jandro—Son of Alexandre Ferreira and Leandra Rocha,

half sereia, half human, seer.

Ana (Santos), Duchess of Coimbra

Bastião—former guard for the current Duke of Coimbra

Duilio Ferreira—eldest living brother of Alejandro Ferreira

Isabella Anjos—daughter of Gabriel Anjos and Nadezhda Vladimirova, healer

James Markovich—Englishman of Russian ancestry, maledictor

Jandro—nickname for Alejandro (J is pronounced like an H)

João—character in story written by a young Alejandro Ferreira

João da Silva—name used for an unknown man in Portugal

Joaquim Tavares, Inspector—Alejandro’s elder brother, finder

the Lady—half-fairy, wife of Miguel Gaspar

Lighter—English witch, assigned to work with Alejandro during the war, firestarter

Marcos Davila—half sereia of Spanish birth, Serafina’s father

Mariona Palmeira—sereia, younger sister of Serafina

Marina Arenias—sereia, Alejandro’s adoptive mother

Mendosa (Luis)—Ferreira family butler

Miguel Gaspar, Inspector—mestiço from Cabo Verde, husband of the Lady

Miguel Pinheiro—adopted son of Captain Rafael Pinheiro

Phillips—Irish Separatist, assigned to work with Alejandro during the war

Rafael Pinheiro, Captain—cousin of Alejandro, seer

Raimundo, Duke of Coimbra

Roberto Machado—footman in the Ferreira house, war veteran

Safira Palmeira—Serafina’s mother

Serafina (Serafim) Palmeira—eldest daughter of Safira Palmeira and Marcos Davila, sereia





I’ve been working on the last bits of my upcoming ebook, and one of the things I -wanted- to include was a chart that Alejandro makes to keep track of his rather ungainly family.


I’m not an expert at this sort of thing, but I’m more or less happy with how it turned out.  (There might be some spoilers here, but since the finalt book is approaching a year old, I’m not going to feel too guilty about that.

So this will, hopefully translate into an ebook. ::fingers crossed::



One WIP? Or many?

One of the interesting things about authors is how we’re all different. Some of us are plotters, some pantsers, and a large percentage are in between. Some write every day. Some don’t. Some have rituals or a special place to write, while others can write anywhere, anywhen.

And some of us can only work on one project at a time.

I’ve never been one of those writers. I’ve always been able to have three or four WIPs going, save when I was under a real deadline crush. In fact, for me that makes it easier.  If I’m having trouble working on WIP1, then I open WIP2 and tinker with that for a while. A lot of the time, that shakes loose whatever was bothering me about WIP1.

Recently I’ve had 3 WIPs going: After the War, The Horn, and The Sins of the Fathers. 

(I actually have opened a few other files in this time, mostly on weekends, just for fun. Sometimes we need to do ‘fun’ writing just to remind ourselves why we do this.)

But my point is that this strange way of working is what works for me.


After the War is due to be out later this summer, which means I need to get that last section finished, and then get it out to my editor. I’ve even got a cover commissioned for it, due to me about June 15th.  Now, this is a Portugal story involving Serafina Palmeira and Alejandro Ferreira.point_of_no_return3_by_faestock

(This is the -likely- picture we’ll be using–via Faestock on DeviantArt–for the cover…the rights belong to that artist.)


But it’s recently been The Horn and The Sins of the Fathers that have taken up most of my time.

The Sins of the Fathers (name may change) is the sequel to Dreaming Death, starting only a month later than the end of that novel. Now, this was primarily concerned with the problems caused by Shironne’s father, Mikael’s father, and to a lesser extent, Deborah’s. Hence the name.

However, the edits on the first book killed off Shironne’s father before the first book happened. He was supposed to die slowly and painfully in the first half of Book 2. Removing him also removed a lot of the issues with Mikael’s father, so…I’m having to rewrite Book 2.  This happens sometimes.

On balance, I’m okay with the changes, but it means that as I was rewriting the sequel, the murder in it seemed to work less and less, making the plot weaker and weaker. Unfortunately, how to fix that problem has eluded me for for quite a while. I’ve been spinning my wheels writing it because it just seemed…wrong.

But working on The Horn provided an answer in a very different way.

I’ve been working on that, a series of novellas set elsewhere in Larossa shortly before the events of Dreaming Death (early summer-fall).  The events of the two story lines eventually tie together.So it was of direct benefit to me to have parts of The Horn solid in my head and written down.

But while I was hunting and pecking through my old files for a spare bit of text (I really need to get in there and rename all those old files because their current names are gibberish) I ran across an old Mikael/Shironne story about a murder that…

Well, I’d never finished that 2005 story. I probably got busy with something else and never got back to it. But suddenly I had in my hands the answer to my problem with TSotF.  I could swap out the short story’s murder for the problematic one in the book. A bunch of names had changed, but  the short story was set right after the book, so there wasn’t much time or age difference.

And suddenly I knew how to fix the broken part of TSotF. I am in the process of stripping out the old murder and working in the new. I’m re-outlining the book, as much as I do outlining. And everything is moving again.

Such a relief.

The point to all of that being: For me, working on more than one project at a time is helpful.  Not true for everyone, but for me, it pays.


Does that work for you? Or are you a ‘one project at a time’ writer?



The Seer’s Choice, now available…

…in paperback.


Amazon has not yet linked together the paperback page with the ebook page, so for now it’s a separate link and ot showing any reviews.

The ebook is now also available via Smashwords and OmniLit, with more venues to follow as it works through their system.

And for Patreon patrons, the third chapter of After the War is now posted here, with the passwords either on the patreon site or in your emails.  Thanks for supporting me!!!






Gearing Up…

Well, I’m gearing up to try to get more ebooks out by the end of the summer.  I am currently working on getting The Seer’s Choice up in paperback, and I plan to put it up on venues other than Amazon as soon as the KDP rights expire (at the end of March.) It may take a few days to promulgate to other formats, like Nook, but I’ll try to keep people apprised when it does.

I’m also in the process of repackaging the Iron Shoes novellas. The artist is finalizing the cover this week, and I’ll be withdrawing the old ebook files and putting out the new one–that includes all three novellas in one book–as soon as I have the chance.

And I’m working today toward getting the Alejandro novella (After the War) completed. An artist (the same one who did The Seer’s Choice, Rachel A. Marks) is working on that cover for me. When I get it, I’ll post it to my Patreon patrons first, and then share it with everyone else later.

For inspiration, I’ve been listening to this video:


LIfe has gotten more hectic, with a hailstorm this week necessitating a new roof. That will be taking up a heinous amount of time and will raise my frustration levels accordingly. (I had the roof replaced in the old house in 2012, and it was an ordeal. I truly didn’t want to be going through this again so soon, and not in a house that we’ve only owned for a few months.)

And unfortunately, although the insurance will likely pay most of it, I’ll be out of pocket for some…which kills the plans to get new windows.

Nature is ever fickle.







An Arbitrary Milestone, and Thanks…

So this morning, I hit 10,000 units of The Golden City shipped out to retailers (according to my publisher’s author website.)


That doesn’t exactly mean 10, 000 copies have sold, but I’ll take the milestone anyway.

Now, for what it’s worth, for a lot of authors that’s a miniscule number of books.  John Scalzi probably sells that many in one week.  But for me, well, I’m pretty happy with that number, even if it’s taken a couple of years to get there.*

So let me give you a quick breakdown, just for informational purposes:

According to my publisher, that’s about 45% Mass Market Paperbacks, 37% Trade Paperbacks, and 18% ebooks.

Of course, that also doesn’t mean that many books have been sold. However, at this point in the book’s career, most shipments of the Book 1 are going out  because some retailer sold out and is restocking. Not because the book is new.

(And weirdly, the numbers say that The Golden City is still outselling the other books, although The Seat of Magic is sliding upward. I’m hoping that means that people are finishing TGC and then going out and buying the next book.)

A lot of this comes from other readers and reviewers talking about the book online. I’m really grateful for that. Thank you so much for being supportive of my books. I really appreciate it!  Readers help other readers find things they like, so the service reviewers provide is invaluable to other readers ;o)



*I had a chat with another author at World Fantasy Con, where we bemoaned the fact that we simply don’t know how to compare our numbers to other writers’ numbers. It’s nearly impossible for me to know whether 10K is actually a good number or a bad number…although it’s certainly not as high as I’d like it to be!



Guest Post (the Heroine Question) and Upcoming Books

I wanted to pop in before Thanksgiving to let everyone know that I have a guest post over at the blog of the fabulous Alyx Dellamonica, author of Child of a Hidden Sea and the upcoming A Daughter of No Nation (Seriously, it will be available be in ONE WEEK.)

There I will be talking about one of the two Childhood Heroines who really stayed with me: Katherine “Kit” Tyler.


(The other. whom I discussed over on the Ragnarok Blog a few months ago, was Mrs. Frisby.)

I was also lucky enough to have Dreaming Death pop up on SFSignal. I’m so glad Kristin is looking forward to reading it.

And just one final reminder that my Rafael novella, The Seer’s Choice, is still part of the Kindle Unlimited program, if you borrow books from them.  This novella runs concurrently with The Shores of Spain, and tells what’s happening back in the Golden City while Joaquim and Marina are abroad. (For users of other ebook platforms, The Seer’s Choice should be available in early January. )

Happy Thanksgiving, Y’all!!!




New from The Golden City—The Seer’s Choice

If you want to know what happened to Genoveva Carvalho after the events of The Seat of Magic (wherein a family secret was revealed), check out my new novella, The Seer’s Choice, currently free for Kindle Unlimited readers.

Genoveva Jardim’s father was a monster—a defrocked priest who used his healer’s gift to murder instead. Determined to make amends for the deaths her father brought to the Golden City, she turned her back on her life among the aristocracy. She’s chosen to work for the Special Police, learning how to use the healer’s gift she’d never even known she had. She wants to save lives instead of killing like her father.

Rafael Pinheiro has kept an eye on Miss Jardim for some time now. The very first time he met her, his seer’s gift told him he would someday marry her. What he can’t figure out is why he would choose her. She’s young and an aristocrat—hardly a match for a mere police captain raised in an orphanage. They don’t seem to have anything in common.

But when Miss Jardim’s life is threatened, everything changes…

(Also available for purchase here.)