Hey, wait, what happened to *insert book name*?

PSA from your friendly neighborhood kissy writer, guys! I owe you many more updates, as it’s been a while. I’ve been posting updates to facebook, and emailed my ARC readers and mailing list with them, however I have had a lot of news to share, and not much ability to do it.

But today’s PSA. I am redoing all of the formatting, and doing one last rewrite on many of my books. This means that a I roll out the new books, some may be temporarily unavailable. So if you wander over to my Amazon page, and don’t see, say, Lone Wolf, just check back in a few weeks and it should be back.

Normally, updates don’t require a book to come down, however I’m also handling back-end stuff that may cause the books to flicker in and out of availability. It’s nothing to be afraid of, just me doing what I can to provide y’all with the best, prettiest, smoothest, most awesome reader experience ever!

Now, you may notice I mentioned Lone Wolf. As of this post, Lone Wolf is the first up in the beautician’s chair. It’s an example of what everything else is gonna look like, going forward. So for those of you who haven’t made your way to that series, or Dante and Ria, please be patient– it’ll be worth the wait. I promise.

I hope y’all have had a lovely summer, with lots of sunshine and air conditioning, in equal measure. Stay tuned for my next update, explaining why I’ve been so quiet, what’s going on that has slowed down my effort to provide y’all with lots of sexy stories.

So You Want To Be A Writer: NaNoWriMo Process!

Writing this because lately I’ve had a fair amount of acquaintances seeking for guidance in starting writing. And while everyone’s processes are different, with NaNo coming up, it seemed like as good a time as any to talk about it a little bit.

See, National Novel Writing Month was integral to my development as a writer. I began writing for a NaNo, and finishing that novel in good time was one of the things that reassured me that I could write.

Especially in your early days as a writer, it’s all about developing habits you’ll need for the long term. To this day I do NaNos, both to get stories off my chest quickly and maintain my confidence, but also because there’s a special sense of community associated with it that writing often lacks, unless you’ve got a really tight group of writers.

It sounds daunting, so let’s break down what it takes to write a novel’s first draft in a month.

Continue reading So You Want To Be A Writer: NaNoWriMo Process!

Cover Reveal for Chameleon!

And now, for the last cover redesign in the main Inkubus series. Chameleon is a somewhat tricky one to illustrate, because of how much of Alisa’s power stems from movement. Stock photo searches are one of the banes of authors’ lives. The challenge in “casting” Alisa was primarily that the posing had to have a lot of movement to it.

Thank you for checking out the new covers, and scroll down to have a look at Alisa!

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The Inkubus series is getting shiny new covers!

Sickness is a funny thing. Sometimes one task will be all but impossible, and you’ll have to shift to do something else. And even tasks that are both “creative” pull different things from the brain. Case in point, I can’t write while I have a migraine… but I can handle Photoshop. Go figure.

I tell you this because part and parcel with the pretty updated formatting I’ve been working on are pretty new covers. You can’t stare at the same piece of art for years without periodically getting the urge to try something different.

So that’s how the Inkubus series ended up with a whole new series of covers. If you follow me on Facebook, you may have seen me sharing these already. But just in case…. taadaaaa!

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I’ll be back soon with the covers for Reaper, and Chameleon, and maybe I’ll even show off a few cards from the de Long tarot. I’m still moving slowly from August’s surgery, and am still pretty sick, so you’ve got some time to catch up on your TBR list while you wait for new books from me.  And with so many awesome new books coming soon- (Any Lili st. Germain fans waiting for Gun Shy?) that list’ll be full again soon enough.

Next up, the new Reaper cover!

<3

 

Yo, Katie, WTF? Why haven’t you released anything in so long?

Those of you who follow my facebook profile have already heard the full story. Basically, 2017 has been a hellish year of surprises including a cancer scare, two surgeries (One of which is this freaking week!), time living on an oxygen pump, and a host of meds warping my brain chemistry until I could barely speak a coherent sentence, let along tell a coherent story comprised of thousands of coherent sentences.

It’s been one of those make-you-or-break-you times. It’s unfortunately taken a great personal toll on me, one that I am still paying. I’ve had to back out of some projects, delay others, and everything has been topsy-turvy as I struggle to find a balance that allows me to receive medical treatment, manage a dozen specialists, and pursue my creative projects. I’m still not through it, but I am trying to take advantage of my ability to continue working slowly. This is affording me the opportunity to catch up on smaller tasks, such as redoing my formatting using Vellum (which is the Cadillac of formatting), and producing paperback editions for books that had never had them prior.

I hope you’ll stick with me until I’m back on my feet. I promise, it’ll be worth the wait. I’m still pressing forward as I can, and I’ve even been indulging a new creative project, the de Long tarot: a collection of limited edition tarot cards themed off my PNR works. The de Long tarot is ONLY available through giveaways- you can’t buy these suckers solo. So stay tuned for giveaways, and for a new-and-improved experience with my books.

And in the meantime, well-wishes are appreciated. Living so close to death wears a person down under the best of circumstances, and mine are closer to the worst. I’ve got family support, but it’s still been an isolating period, which only worsens things. If you’d like to send me a get-well note, sign up for Sarahah.com, and fill out an anonymous message for me at my page here: katiedelong.Sarahah.com. Or, you can leave it on my facebook or email: katiedelong.writer@gmail.com.

What’s going on with Inkubus?

 

As some of you may have noticed, I’ve slowed down on publishing books in my main Inkubus series. It took me a while to come to terms with why I was dragging my feet, but now that I know, it’s time to ‘fess up.
Those of you who’ve read more than one of my books know how much I love a good setting with vibrant characters whose interactions are fun even outside of their own romances. I prefer to create one world, and play out lots of conflicts within it, as old characters make cameos and throw wrenches into new characters’ plans.
So with each book in the main Inkubus series pushing that central conflict forward, I realized that if I wrapped it up too soon, I was gonna miss out on telling a lot of other stories while it’s raging its hottest. (No pun intended).
And that would have wrecked me.
With that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to two new series in the Inkubus universe.
Born In Blood Banner
First up, Born in Blood, which will kick off in June with Siren’s Curse. Born in Blood follows Detective John Camden of Reaper fame, and his tough-talking only-a-friend-no-really leading lady Tia. Secrets, lies, and a curse that could claim their lives.
Siren’s Curse (Born in Blood #1) is available for preorder on Amazon, iBooks, Nook, and Kobo. You can also catch a sneak preview of it in This Is Indie, a free sampler containing sneak peeks at some of the most exciting books to hit your kindle this spring. Get it free from Amazon, iBooks, and Nook.
 Fly Away Angel Bannerr
Next up, coming some time after Siren’s Curse releases, Fly Away Angel, which will begin with Born Sinner. Fly Away Angel is an extremely dark romantic urban fantasy series following an ex-con and her frenemy trying to elude a murderous cabal of demons. Intrigue, repentance, and an answer to the question most of us hope we never have to ask: how long must someone suffer to become the best version of themselves?
Both of these will be multi-book series that are a little more Urban Fantasy-heavy than the main Inkubus series. They follow a single couple- not a new couple each book. You’re gonna get your HEA, and read lots of delicious smutty sex besides, but they’re more of a slow burn.
There’s more to come after that, but those are the two I’m cutting my teeth on. I intend to continue publishing Inkubus books as needed depending how these series move the overall world’s conflict forward. But that’s why you haven’t seen Stalker yet.
I hope you’re as excited as I am by all this. If not, I hope you will be once you’ve checked out an exclusive sneak-peek of Siren’s Curse in This Is Indie, available free from all retailers. Get it free from Amazon, iBooks, and Nook.
Also coming up is the re-release of Alliance, and the release of more Mated in Hell. With my medical stuff getting in the way, I haven’t had time to line it up yet, however that will be coming soon, as well. I haven’t forgotten about Tessa and Liam’s ongoing wary circling.
So that’s the update on all of the magical love stories you can expect to see from my K. de Long penname this summer. I’ve also got Black Roses ongoing, under Tiger Tarantino, and am cooking up a host of new books, as well. Thanks for sticking with me!

On disability.

Today, I swiped a stick of foundation across my jawline, leaning into the mirror to see whether the color blended.  The woman next to me snuck a look at me- then a longer one. I smiled at her. “Your eyes are really pretty. Those colors look great on you,” I told her. It wasn’t a lie- the pale, pearly shadow she had brushed on her inner corners showed  up beautifully.
She smiled wide. “Thanks. Umm, can I ask you a personal question?”
Most people don’t get personal over testers at the local Sephora. But I knew the conversation she was about to start, because it was the fourth time that day I’d had that conversation.
Life is different when you’re visibly disabled.
I’m fortunate; unless you strip me down to find the scars, most of my disabilities are invisible in most circumstances.
In most circumstances.
*
As my family began planning a vacation to an amusement park- no small undertaking with several kids and several adults to coordinate- an awkward subject came up. One of the kids was probably gonna need a wheelchair. After the planning session, my partner pulled me to the side. He avoided my eye, so I cut him off before he could force the words out. “I think I may need one too, if the doctors can’t figure it out by then.”
“I’m sure they will,” he said. “But it might be a backup plan.”
The months passed, taking it from a backup plan to a certainty. I didn’t have an easy time with that- I had once walked a mile or so home after moving cross country with a used TV perched on my shoulder for my new residence. I had been athletic for most of my life. But it was more important to enjoy the vacation without being in tears just from the pain of staying on my feet for a single ride’s line.
I nearly cried sitting down that first day. It felt too much like admitting I was never going to get back up.
When my mobility-restricted companion saw me, they squealed. “We’re wheelchair buddies!” They sat next to me on rides, and tried demanding their father race my partner with our chairs. They offered me their arm to lean on when I walked. I was happy that the wheelchair had taken the brunt off them for theirs- I knew them well enough to know how their health issues and mobility issues too often set them apart from others. I smiled, and played along.
But I saw the stares we got. Each one was a pebble tossed into my lap, until I could hardly believe my partner could still push the chair past their weight.
He got up to stand in line at a snack kiosk, setting my wheelchair, with me in it, to the side of the main thoroughfare. A man cutting a corner without looking walked into my chair. “You’re a fucking cunt,” he told me. “If you can’t walk, you shouldn’t be here.”  He was gone by the time my partner got back. I kept my mouth shut, not wanting to ruin the trip.
At the end of that trip, I was overfreakingjoyed to get out of the chair and return to short walks and frequent breaks- and ashamed, that I missed how much less I hurt when I wasn’t constantly forced to overdo my body’s limits for even minor activities.
Like I said, I’m fortunate.
*
Following my recent surgery, my body recovered exceptionally well in some ways- and unusually poorly in others. I was able to start moving in record time- but my blood was functioning abnormally poorly. So I’m on oxygen now. I’m not sure for how long- I guess that’s up to my blood. I hope that it, like the wheelchair, is temporary.
About that conversation…
“Can I ask you something personal?”
“Umm, sure.”
She carefully avoided looking at me, combing a wand over an already-mascaraed eyelash that was free of clumps, too. The action was superfluous, but one of those little moments of grace that those of us who wear makeup rarely get to see others do. “Do you have… that… because you’re a smoker?”
Same I had with the others, I laughed. “Sorry, no. I’ve had one cigarette my entire life.”
The wand stilled. For a moment, the fear she’d been trying to hide hung their between us, painted across her face. “Oh.”
“Don’t worry about it,” I told her. “I just lost the genetic lottery.”
She took her weight off her elbows, standing straight to look me in the eye. “Don’t say that. No genes are bad genes. They make you you.”
That they do.
So why was she- and every other person who started that same conversation- so afraid of me?
Our bodies are our homes. Homes aren’t supposed to be fragile. Homes aren’t supposed to have cracks in the roofing, or gas leaks, or flimsy walls, or quirky creaks on the stairs. That person complaining about the drafts must be imagining it- because no homes have faulty caulking. So we curse at the creaks, and tear up the stairs, installing new planks only to discover that it may not have fixed the creak- or that the creak may not have been worth fucking with. We pretend to ignore those drips until we run out of pots to catch the water. We pretend not to smell the fumes, until they poison us in our sleep. We treat doctors as a luxury, rather than as a necessity.
We look at those whose homes came with flaws, idiosyncrasies, or differences that prevent them from functioning in the same way ours do as having somehow caused or deserved it. The fat. The smoking. The drinking. That person in the wheelchair has no right to the space they take up.
Because so long as it’s their own bad choices biting them in the ass, that person lugging an oxygen tank around, or that person in the chair will never be you.
Until it is.
So long as it’s their own bad choices biting them in the ass, you don’t have to consider whether you’ve been kind to others in their position. You don’t have to consider accommodating their needs.  You don’t have to ask, “What if they’ve always been that way?” You don’t have to consider that sometimes homes just aren’t built that sturdily. You don’t have to consider that even the most sturdy homes eventually succumb to rot, to disaster, to age.
You can blithely believe that there are no bad genes.
Only bad choices.

Why dark romance?

Some of you may have noticed an evolution in my books. I started writing stories about the staff of a strip club finding love, stories intended to be subversive and challenge a lot of the assumptions we have about sex workers. Writing Love and Lapdances is still one of the things I do for relaxation, because it reminds me of so many beautiful, loving, complex, powerful sex workers I’ve met over the years, who have lived some of the most uplifting real-life romances I’ve encountered. I’ve got enough stories outlined to write those novellas for another decade, if I chose.

But as I kept writing, I found myself returning to stories with a heavy dose of suspense, and violence, stories that just couldn’t fit in that world without dramatically twisting the underlying ideas behind Love and Lapdances- namely that sex work is pretty normal.  As I contemplated where I fit in the romance genre, it seemed more and more clear to me that my heart was pointing me far outside the contemporary romance flow. It pointed me to my gritty, pulpy roots, the books that stuck with me through the years. It pointed me to dark fantasy romances/PNRs, and bloody romantic thrillers that pushed even my boundaries. It pointed me to brutality, and trauma, and people powerful enough to survive it and still put love back out into the world.

Not everyone around me has understood it. There’s a number of books I’ve written that even my partner won’t read, because he knows enough of some of the kink to know it is just not his thing, and will never be his thing. After I discussed the outline for Siren with him, including the description of one of the kinkier/edgier scenes (You know the one, if you’ve read Restrain), he couldn’t meet my eye for an hour.

So often, when I talk to people about the darker side of romance, I hear some variation of “I don’t know why I’d want to buy into a character loving another character with no redeemable qualities.” But the thing is, and this is what makes me love dark romance all the more, there are redeemable qualities. They might not be save-the-cat level mercies; in some books they may simply be that antihero hero having a truly compelling written voice. That hero might have charisma, or such skill at their badness that you can’t help but root for them, with or without any kind of reformation. Maybe there’s even something extra satisfying about watching them corrupt their partner, watching the “good” character discover they’re capable of cruelty and violence, no longer forced to stay quiet in the face of it.

See, antiheroes are a mainstay in basically every literary genre. The doomed mafia kingpin who you can’t help but hope will escape the FBI trap slowly closing in around him. The vampire who has committed atrocities- and still will, for the “right” reasons, or because his bloodlust got away from him at the wrong time. Beauty and the Beast. House of Cards. American Psycho. On and on, deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole our fascination goes. We hate and love people who color outside society’s lines, due to our own resentment at the sacrifices and degradation needed to color inside those lines ourselves.

How could anyone think that those characters exist everywhere but romance?

And as for dark romance… it’s like a bastard love-child of romance and horror. It offers the adrenaline rush of reading disturbing things that you’d get from a horror novel, the how-far-can-you-push-people challenge in seeing exactly how the “normal” partner handles it, the catharsis of feeling angst and pain with them, sometimes masochistic tendencies in finding pleasure in the idea of severe pain or injury (or rape fantasies), the optimism in (sometimes) discovering that even the irredeemable can be redeemed, or the dog-eat-dog thrill of seeing the bad guy triumph.

Plus, dark romance offers a safe space for readers and writers to deal with trauma. One of my favorite things about the subgenre is that so much of it does cover not just the trauma someone might endure, but the recovery. For some people coping with PTSD or the fallout from trauma, this kind of literature can sometimes be a form of exposure therapy, allowing us to relive our worst fears, but with the assurance that it’ll be okay in the end, and that just as the traumatized protagonist has moved past it, we can too. This can make portrayals of trauma in romance subgenres (including dark romance) more powerful than ones offered in other genres, because that promise of a happily ever after means that that character will never be ruined by the acts of violence committed against them.

For these reasons, dark romance has captivated me for a long time. I have my pet peeves with it- particularly in the tropes that guide many authors’ (including dark romance authors’) representations of sex trafficking and sex workers, a seemingly natural topic for dark fiction in our current society. And I have a lot of quibbles with how it’s treated by etailers, since dark romance is particularly vulnerable to censorship by retailers who profit from these books while refusing to provide tools for labeling them- preferring to instead ban them the moment they offer them bad press or a reader complaint, which is all the more likely to happen when it’s not properly labeled. But by far, it’s my favorite genre to write in. Even my paranormal romance is dark by many people’s standards. As a woman who’s lived through a shitton of her own traumas, it’s the language I speak. It’s the subgenre where I’m most likely to see empowering and nuanced representations of survivors like myself.

So for all these reasons, I’m so, so excited to bring you bloody, kinky sagas like Siren, and Anarchy and Romance, and  Anarchist’s Lullaby and Black Roses.

Put it this way. Most of us like candy. Some of us like chocolate and gummy bears. Sweet stuff that’s like a culinary hug. Others like candies with a faint tart tang, like Jolly Ranchers. Still others of us like sour candies that are so goddamn strong, they’ll make your eyes water, and your teeth hurt. No one’s gonna make anyone else eat those candies ’til their tongues bleed and they can’t taste their other food. But some of us will choose to dive into that gluttony, and will love every fucked-up second of it.

Some readers nope out at explicit sex, or consensual BDSM. Others reach for power fantasies in which the reader’s consent to read the story is more important than the character’s consent in the book (dubcon rape fantasies, stories such as 50 Shades of Grey, where you can debate for hours the exact nature and authenticity of consent offered, in places). Others reach for even more graphic explorations of power, trauma, fear, and lust (Pepper Winters’ Debt Inheritance series).

Everyone has boundaries. Everyone has wants.

Me? I’ll eat that sour candy ’til my tongue bleeds. And when the bag is empty, I’ll show you my bloody, peeling tongue as a sign of pride.

For those readers interested in reading my dark romance, it primarily appears under my Tiger Tarantino penname, though some dark paranormal titles appear under K. de Long. Those books will always include a warning in the description that the book contains material some readers may find upsetting. Readers seeking to avoid that stuff should stick with Lila Vega, or K. de Long books that only contain mature content in the warning.

Anarchist’s Lullaby, and the fights ahead of us.

Anarchist’s Lullaby comes out, what, tomorrow? Hard to believe. I’ve spent the past month in and out of medical procedures and surgery, and have largely made myself at peace with it being out of my hands, and out in the wider world. But that’s been a frightening process, because of what this book is to me.
Anarchist’s Lullaby, to me, is a promise that when the time comes, I will fight. My ways of fighting are weird, due to my patchwork of disabilities. For me, writing a novel such as Anarchist’s Lullaby is a form of activism and protest- rather than simply a piece of entertainment or art. It’s not a battle as we’ve come to think of them. I’m hideously unsuited to those kinds of battles.
But it’s a promise to fight my way.
It’s hard to think of myself as a fighter when I’m breathing with the aid of a tube. When disruptions to our health care system could deprive me of medicines that prevent my body from committing suicide on a cellular level. It’s hard to think of myself as a fighter when some days my body seems so alien that it makes me dizzy to look in the mirror. It’s hard to think of myself as a fighter when the avenues that are visible to us are out of reach. I cannot become a politician- that’s a privilege largely reserved for the already-wealthy, as well as those who have never made compromises in poverty, such as sex work or bankrupcy or petty theft. It’s out of reach for many, maybe even most of those seeking to join the fight. I cannot become a protester- my health issues would never permit it. Many of the “do-gooder” jobs in social work or private charities are unsuited to my physical and mental issues.
But I do fight.
I fight through my writing. I fight through sharing private snippets of my life with you guys, so that you can understand how those around you in similar situations may feel pressured to silence. I fight through doing my best to share things that uplift people who don’t always have many with the privileges and power I do have reaching out to show things that make them feel beautiful and strong.
I fight by trying to be the best damn person I can be.
But sometimes, I need reminding. I need reminding that even when I’m quiet, even when I’m healing, I will not back down from the fights ongoing.
Because we need every fighter we can get if we’re gonna uphold the progress we’ve made, and keep marginalized members of our communities safe.
Even a sick, crazy romance novelist.
We all have roles to play. We all have fights to face.
Maybe the nice thing about having severe medical scares so frequently is having that constant reality check. People emerging from near-death situations often talk about feeling their life was wasted, looking back on it and realizing all the things they wanted to change. Going through that frequently leaves me constantly doublechecking that my feet are on the right path so that if this next medical scare is the one that sees me dead, I won’t have too many regrets.
I won’t regret Anarchist’s Lullaby.
I won’t regret fighting.
En garde.

 

Anarchist’s Lullaby is available on Amazon.com. All profits go to Black Lives Matter. Thank you for reading and supporting my books!