Category Archives: books

New Year’s Eve in Conconully now for sale!

NYE in Conconully cover

This is a short story, volume 1.5 of my Tales of the Unearthly Northwest.  It’s available at Smashwords now in many e-formats.  It’s coming very soon to Amazon and other major etailers, and in paper to CreateSpace, Amazon, and other major retailers.

If you’d like to read the first chapter, you can go here.

Of course, if you were a member of my mailing list, you’d already be reading this story for free [grin].  For future freebies and other good things, sign up here.

New Year’s Eve in Conconully has a cover! and back cover copy!

Here’s the cover:

NYE in Conconully cover

And here’s the description:

No good deed goes unpunished.

In a place outside of time, the magic keeping a ghost town alive is beginning to alter. Bringing two newcomers in has caused a welcome renewal of life here. But every action has a reaction, and the consequences are far beyond what Conconully’s accidental magician ever expected.

By the way, if you’d like to have a free copy of this short story, which comes after my novel Sojourn, and does contain slight spoilers for that book, you can join my newsletter at http://mmjustus.com/list and my next edition will contain a link.  I hope to see you there!

New Year’s Eve in Conconully is written!

Unearthly NW FB ad

Tales of the Unearthly Northwest, volume 1.5, a short story called “New Year’s Eve in Conconully,” has a completed manuscript!  One more going-over, it heads off to the copy editor, and once it’s all pretty and cleaned up and the cover is finished, a free copy goes to my mailing list (and if you’d like to join my mailing list for this reason or any other, look to your right at the sidebar), before it goes up for sale.

Then I can get back to Reunion, which is volume 2!

A day late: Goals for 2015

Anne-ism

And a dollar short, or something like that.

Anyway, I now officially have a list of goals for 2015.

The writing goals are as follows:

1) Write at least five days a week, at least 1000 words a day, for all of 2015.
2) Finish the short story “New Year’s Eve in Conconully” in the next few days and distribute it to my mailing list, then publish it.
3) Finish Reunion by the end of February and publish it by the end of March.
4) Make more plans for the Unearthly Northwest.
5) Write at least two more novel-length Tales of the Unearthly Northwest — #3 to be published by the end of summer, and #4 by the end of the year.  I’ve already got ideas for each of these.
6) Write at least three more short stories and distribute them to my mailing list, then publish them.

That ought to keep me out of trouble, don’t you think?

 

 

 

Making serious progress

Unearthly NW FB ad

A 7000+ word week last week.  Which counts as one of my best weeks ever.

An idea for a short story in the Unearthly Northwest universe, at three in the morning on Sunday night (after one of the most fun football games I’ve ever watched).  Tentatively titled, “New Year’s Eve in Conconully.”

And a 3000+ (yes, that’s three zeros)-word day yesterday.  Which blows my former record (somewhere under 2000) clear out of the water.  Over 1500 on Reunion (for a total of five and a half chapters — I think a manuscript with five chapters deserves to be italicized like a proper book title, don’t you?) and over 1400 on the short story.

Today, so far?  Over 1300 on Reunion, so six full chapters now, and plans to plow through as many words on the short story as possible this afternoon.

The goal is to have the story done by the 28th, so that I can give free ARCs to my mailing list people.  Who now number more than twenty.  And then to create a cover, see if my copy editor has time to take a look at it, format it, and give KDP Direct a shot with it.  Then we’ll see what happens for ninety days.

A weekend in the Okanogan Country, part 1

Countryside on the way to Conconully.
Countryside on the way to Conconully.

Back on the last weekend in September, when the weather was much warmer and sunnier, I took a trip back to the Okanogan, partly because I’m about to set another novel in that part of the world, and partly, well, mostly because it’s been a couple of years since my last visit, and I wanted to make one more weekend trip at the end of the season.

The trip over the mountains was beautiful. The trees were just starting to turn, and once I crossed over Blewett Pass and coasted down into the Wenatchee Valley the fruit stands were all overflowing (with fruit and with customers). The sky was clear and blue over there, too, unlike at home.

My first stop for this trip was at the Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center, which is housed in the city’s original post office, fronted, unfortunately, by a flight of granite steps.

Steps at the the front of the Wenatchee Valley Museum.
Steps at the the front of the Wenatchee Valley Museum.

I say unfortunately, because somehow as I was getting out of my car, parked along the curb in front of the museum, I managed to trip, fall, and strike my kneecap painfully against the very edge of one of those granite steps. All I can say is wow, that hurt.

But the museum itself was great, once the throbbing in my knee subsided enough for me to enjoy it. A temporary exhibit on Indian basketry, a permanent exhibit on transportation which included an adorable coin-operated model train, and, most interesting of all to me, a large and well-designed exhibit on the history of how Washington became world-famous for its apples. Wenatchee is at the heart of apple-growing country.

After a stop at a drug store to pick up some painkiller for my knee, I crossed the Columbia River and headed north towards the Okanogan. The highway parallels the massive river as it curves north between dry brown cliffs, the space between river and cliff covered in orchards. It really doesn’t look like most non-Washingtonians’ idea of what Washington should look like, but actually far more of Washington looks like this than it does the heavily-wooded west side of the mountains.

Orchards along the Columbia River.
Orchards along the Columbia River.

An hour or so north of Wenatchee, the highway crosses back to the west side of the Columbia on a bridge dwarfed by the scenery. At the small town of Brewster, a large chunk of which burned last summer in the Carlton Complex fire (the largest wildfire in Washington’s history), the Columbia River turns east. This is also where the Okanogan River adds its flow to the Columbia, and where my highway turned north.

This is the beginning of the Okanogan Country, and the confluence of the two rivers is where, back in 1811, Fort Okanogan was established as a fur trading post. It used to be a state park, but the site is on the Colville Indian Reservation, which covers a big chunk of northeastern Washington, and it’s now run by the reservation authorities, with a terrific little museum telling of early white settlement from the Indians’ point of view. It just reopened this summer under its new ownership, so I was very pleased to stop and take a look. The view from the museum’s portico is gorgeous, too.

The view from the portico at the Fort Okanogan Museum.
The view from the portico at the Fort Okanogan Museum.
Hand-carved canoe in the Fort Okanogan Museum.
Hand-carved canoe in the Fort Okanogan Museum.

And so on up the Okanogan River to the twin towns of Okanogan and Omak, where I found myself a motel, then decided, since it wasn’t that late in the afternoon, to take the fourteen-mile side road to the town of Conconully. My novel Sojourn is set in a highly-fictionalized version of Conconully, mostly in the beginning because I just loved the name, and then because of some historical events that happened there.

Salmon Creek.  In 1894, this creek flooded and washed away almost the entire town of Conconully, killing 157 people.  Doesn't look like it could, does it?
Salmon Creek, as seen from the little bridge in Matsura Park. In 1894, this creek flooded and washed away almost the entire town of Conconully, killing 157 people. Doesn’t look like it could, does it?
Conconully's new town park, named after Frank Matsura, a Japanese photographer who became one of the town's most famous sons.
Conconully’s new town park, named after Frank Matsura, a Japanese photographer who became one of the town’s most famous sons.

And I was lucky enough, as I happened to drive by the Conconully Museum, which is only open by appointment (cell phone coverage in Conconully being practically non-existent because it is that far out in the boonies and down in a canyon to boot), to see someone coming out of it.

When I caught up with her, she invited me in, and so I got to learn more about the history of the real Conconully, learn about an outdoor quilt show they hold every summer, and pick up tidbits that will be fun to put in my next Tale of the Unearthly Northwest, called Reunion, which will be coming out next year!

Sojourn is live

I am proud to announce the release of my new novel, Sojourn, which will be the first in a new series called Tales of the Unearthly Northwest, set in one of the lesser-known corners of my part of the world, featuring my own supernatural twist on historical events and places.

Sojourn final e- cover 300

Time isn’t everything it appears to be.

State trooper Daniel Reilly never thought he’d wind up in his stepmother’s favorite movie. Chasing a suspected drunk driver through Washington’s desolate Okanogan Highlands is part of his job, but crashing his cruiser and waking up in a ghost town definitely isn’t. And when that ghost town starts to come to life?

His version of Brigadoon is not a carefree musical.

You can read the first chapter here.

The ebook is now available at Amazon and Smashwords, and will be coming soon from other etailers as well as in paper from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.