What You Can’t See Can’t Hurt Them

monster making AMZ cover 1If you needed to start life over in a better place, Darby-on-the-Sea might not be your first choice. Minna has been on the road for days, though–alone, exhausted, and living intentionally blind. By now, she’ll take whatever help she can get, even if she doesn’t believe she deserves it.

His footsteps across the boards gave Minna her only warning, for he took hold of her elbow and hauled her after him without so much as a by-your-leave.

“My darling child, you might have been killed, standing in the street like that.” Still holding her by her arm, he directed them up the street toward his own house.

The villagers in Darby have good reason to distrust strangers. With the rocky island off their coast home to monsters, it takes a special sort of hero to win their approval. Minna, anxious, shy, and obviously fleeing misfortune, just doesn’t fit the bill. Pinewood does.

“Weren’t no wolf, sir,” the man began as though halfway through an argument. “No wolf as I know can open pen gates, nor lock sheepdogs in the barn without a hair out of place on them.”

Pinewood began pulling on the leather coat hung by the door and pushing feet into boots, even as they said, “A human, then.”

“Any human who could tear apart a ewe like that—well, I’d say that monsters come in all shapes, then. Please, you will help, won’t you?”

The offer of shelter and rest is too tempting for Minna to resist. Worst of all, Pinewood offers Minna a friendship like she has never had before. She knows, though, that one wrong look could bring it all down in flames. She knows what will happen if a hero finds out the truth about her.

Her secret revealed, she waited in her self-imposed darkness—for the blow of a hatchet, or a hunter’s knife against her throat, or any of the thousand other deaths she imagined earned Pinewood their reputation and their keep within the village.

Monsters of Our Own Making, a story of losing everything and finding where you belong, now available for purchase in my shop for all ebook formats, on Amazon.com for Kindle, and on Barnes and Noble for NOOK.

Trailer: Monsters of Our Own Making


Photo and video sources, in order of appearance:


All above materials licensed under Creative Commons CC0 “No Rights Reserved”

Monster Making Theme song, video production, and all other materials (c) 2015 Joyce Sully

Mops and Magic Just Go Together

Wireless Mice AMZ cover 1It’s not easy being the new witch in town. Aisha wants to make the perfect first impression by finding a neighbor in need of magical help. Too bad her familiar just came home with a stolen robotic vacuum.

The cat hopped down and spat a small black triangle onto the bed.

“Ew, Jasper, what’s that?” Aisha scuttled back as the object flopped itself over and started trundling across the bed on…little wheels? “That’s a ChurchMouse, isn’t it?”

The vacuum’s owner has bigger problems to worry about, though. With an angry appliance flooding his house, Ben’s happy for any help–be it magic or a mop–he can get.

His eyes looked wide and panicked. Aisha hurried to yank a towel out from under a protesting Jasper and toss it into the slowly shrinking puddle. With a towel under each foot, the man skidded around the laundry area, even as he asked, “Can I help you?”

Aisha has her chance to help at last. If she can’t figure out what has this washing machine so cranky, though, that chance will slip through her water-logged fingers.

The only warning was a rumbling in the pipes and a too-late yelp of alarm from Ben. A jet of water shot from inside the washer, hosing Aisha down.

“Oh, hell no.” She planted her hands on her hips. “Now it is on, buster.”

Wireless Mice & Washing Machines, a story of annoyed appliances, interfering familiars, and solutions both magical and mundane, now available for purchase in my shop for all ebook formats and on Amazon for Kindle.

AWAKE: Joyce Discovers Caffeine

(Preemptive disclaimer: I ain’t science. Neither I nor the websites produced by a five minute googling are qualified to make medical decisions. I went and did it anyway, but you should probably consider talking to real professionals.)


Holy shit, caffeine is a thing!

I’ve never been a coffee drinker. Possibly because my childhood experiences involved horrifically overboiled black coffee, drunk after coming in from the chill of winter rain. Eventually, I developed a strong aversion to it, which now sends me fleeing the room if anyone opens the can of grounds. I’ve also never been a fan of colas. I love tea, but I’ve discovered it gives me heartburn pretty quickly. I basically just drink water, carbonated when I can get it, very rarely flavored with sliced fruit.

That being said, I’ve started deliberately drinking more tea specifically to get some caffeine into my system.

In part, this is the product of finally getting around to reading this post by Alexandra Erin about the things she does to make sure working from home involves actually getting work done. She had some interesting points about caffeine, dopamine, and motivation, which sent me on a minor research spiral for more information.

In part, it’s also the product of April, a month in which I got almost nothing done due to a pervasive case of “what the hell is wrong with my body?” If it wasn’t the headaches and muscle pains, it was the lethargy and insomnia and joint pain. I’m too young for this shit. In the absence of access to meaningful health care, I needed to figure out how to counteract, at the very least, the chronic fatigue sapping my will to do anything but watch other people play video games on Youtube.

So I figured some experimentation was in order, starting with “What happens if Joyce starts drinking tea like she’s getting paid for it?”

Now, I’m going for green tea. Less caffeine, but particularly good for dopamine and L-theanine-related reasons. Considered generally good for human-types. Doesn’t really need to be sweetened. There’s not much by way of downsides here. (More on that later.) And it seems to be enough, because I can feel it hit my system.

Question: Is it really the tea/caffeine, or is it a placebo effect?
Answer: Hell if I care!

That’s not quite true. I want to know the truth too much to ignore the question entirely. But this is what I’m seeing: when I’m dragging, particularly in the afternoon, a large mug of tea takes the edge of the exhaustion. Normally, I would have almost no choice but to go nap, my tiredness is that pronounced. Moreover, when I sit down the write, I feel sharper, more ready to go, even in the morning. The words start flowing with less effort and keep going longer.

do pay for anything more than one large mug with heartburn, as expected. There’s always a price to be paid, though. At the moment, this seems to be the cost of getting writing done without feeling like I’d rather feed myself to starving rats than work. The disparity between what I want to get done and what my body and brain can make happen seems to be getting smaller. For now, at least, that’s enough value to make the price worth it. We’ll see.

Just Discovered In Open Space…

forecastAMZcoverWhen your daily grind involves traveling to new planets and being the first human to set foot on them, it can seem like nothing in the universe will ever surprise you again. Irina, with her partner Milo, freelances as a miner of exotic, exo-solar materials. She thinks she’s seen it all. She’s about to discover how wrong she is.

Magnetic radiation streamed around us and off into open space. The normal solar wind pattern had been disrupted, though, by a thick stripe of purple out ahead of us.

“That’s weird, right?”

The adventure Irina wished for might shape up to be the wrong kind: deadly. Investigation of an anomaly in space earns her an unexpected new companion in the void…and a ship which could fail before any hope of rescue or escape.

“What’s happening?” I asked as I broke into a jog.

No shaking, shuddering mess marked whatever had gone wrong. Accidents in space came quietly. The lights faded and went out. Though I couldn’t see anything, I knew the ship’s communications had gone down with them. External sensors had almost certainly cut out as well. With a series of hollow thunks, the big mechanical systems that generated the ship’s artificial gravity came to a halt.

Malfunctioning ship. Unresponsive mining equipment. Something very large and very live in open space. Irina just stumbled into all the excitement she could hope for. Now she just has to survive it.

“It’s no good,” I said when Milo continued to demand that I return. “There’s no way I can get back before it reaches me. I’ll probably just end up spacing myself if I try. I’m gonna go with the ‘don’t make any sudden moves’ tactic.”

Local Forecast, a story of rediscovering your sense of adventure AND living to tell the tale, now available for purchase in my shop for all ebook formats and on Amazon for Kindle.