Snippet

Admin note: Forum has been fixed. It took 2 hours, so we are doing a snippet this morning in lieu of normal blog content. We are aware of Amazon posting White Hot release date as 2018.  I don’t know why they did that.  It is likely to come out in 2016.  Unless meteorite falls on the house and prevents us from finishing.  Or the forum breaks again. I guess Amazon was just like, “F… it, they’ll never get this done.”  😛

De Trevinos lived in Southwyck, on a lake, next to a golf course. It would take us good fifty minutes to get there.

I glanced at Rogan. His jaw was set. He stared straight ahead, his eyes iced over. I’d seen fury in them before, but this new crystallized rage chilled me to the bone. Whatever was going on in his head was dark, so, so dark. It grabbed hold of him and pulled him under to a terrifying place where there was only glacial anger. When people got mad, they stormed, they ranted, they let it out in one way or another, but he was holding all of it in. His rage had no passion to it. I wanted to reach in there and drag him out into the light, so he’d thaw.

“Connor?”

He turned and looked at me, as if waking up.

I had to say something. I said his name, something had to follow. “What happened to Gavin?”

“He made a deal.”

I took an exit onto Sam Houston Freeway. The road repair crews were working on the shoulder again and I had to drive next to the temporary concrete barriers. Never my favorite. The only thing worse was when there was an identical barrier on the other side at night when it was raining.

“What kind of deal?”

“A year in the juvenile boot camp facility, until he turned eighteen, followed by ten year commitment to the military in exchange for his testimony against Adam Pierce. If he manages to graduate from the boot camp program. If he fails, he will serve ten years in prison.”

“That’s a good deal.”

“Under the circumstances. He happened to have talent, so we used it as a bargaining chip.”

He was slipping away again. I wasn’t even sure why it was so important to keep him here with me, but it was.

“Have you been practicing with a gun since our last encounter?” I kept my voice light.

He just looked at me.

“No? Rogan, you said yourself, you’re a terrible shot.”

Okay, so this wasn’t the best way to bring him out, but that’s all I could think about.

“You’re riding shotgun. If bandits attack this pony express, how are you going to hold them off without a gun? Are you planning on rolling down the window, announcing yourself, and glaring at them until they faint from fear?”

He didn’t say anything. He just kept watching me.

I opened my mouth to needle him some more.

Image from Wikipedia
Image from Wikipedia

The concrete barrier on the right of us cracked as if struck by giant hammer. It stayed together, but huge fractures crisscrossed it. The cracks chased us, shooting through the concrete dividers with tiny puffs of rock dust. His magic ripped into cement with brutal efficiency. It brushed by me and I almost swung the door open and jumped out.

The cars behind us swerved, trying to shift lanes away from the fractured barriers.

“Stop,” I asked.

The cracks dropped back.

“Would you like me to drop you off?” I asked.

“Why would I want that?”

“So you can brood in solitude.”

“I don’t brood.”

“Plot horrible revenge, then. Because you’re freaking me out.”

“It’s my job to freak you out.”

“Really?”

“That’s the nature of our relationship.” A spark lit his eyes. “We both do what’s necessary, and after it’s over, I watch you freak out about it.”

“I don’t.”

“Oh, I don’t want you to stop. I find it highly amusing.”

That’s the last time I try to cheer you up. Go back into your dragon cave for all I care.

“Would you like me to break one more, so you can take a picture for your grandmother?” he offered.

“I changed my mind,” I told him. “I don’t want to talk to you.”

He chuckled.

I should just stop trying.

Grandma Frida would think it was really neat.

I took my phone off the console and held it to him. “Okay but only one or two more. Just enough for the vine.”

“Your grandmother has a vine account?” The barriers fractured.

“Yes. She’ll probably post it on her instagram, too. Okay, that’s enough, thank you, or the Volvo behind us might have a heart attack.”

Magic Shifts Tour

Magic Shifts Tour has been confirmed.

Tuesday, August 4

Foxtale Book Shoppe    Atlanta, GA   7:00 PM

Wednesday, August 5

Barnes & Noble    Edina, MN  7:00 pm

Thursday, August 6

Joseph-Beth Booksellers   Lexington, KY  7:00 PM

Friday, August 7

Hastings    Amarillo, TX    6:00 PM

Saturday, August 8

Murder By the Book   Houston, TX  4:30 PM

If you want to do a Meet and Greet before hand, this post is your place to organize.  We will be happy to meet before the signing and chat with you and answer spoilery questions.  Things to keep in mind: the meet and greets must be set about an hour and a half before the signing and be within walking distance of the book store, so we can chat with you and then move straight to the event at the store and the signing.  You agree on the best place between yourselves and let us know, and we’ll do our best to get there.  Please keep in mind that traveling delays are a thing, so if our plane is late, we may not be able to show up.  Also, last time in Atlanta, we walked into the cafe and saw like six people at the table.  They waved at us and said, “Turn around!”  We turned and there were bleachers set against the wall.  They were full.  You may want to check with owners of the places in case fifty people show up again.  :)

Past locations for meet & greets: Edina BN, the bar across the Murder by the Book, and some sort of little bar/cafe near the Foxtale.    I am deliriously happy that there are no 6:00 am flights this time.  Last tour had three days of getting up at 4:00 am in a row, so this time we will awake, heh.

Forgot to mention: we won’t be signing any books at meet & greets.  It’s not fair to the stores that arrange the signings.  :)

Dogs Annoying Cats

Hi everyone! As almost everyone probably knows, Ilona & Gordon have a menagerie of both dogs and cats. My family has two dogs, but we used to have a cat as well. When I saw this video from Huffington Post Comedy, I immediately thought of Ilona & Gordon and what it must be like to live at their house!

Enjoy!

Trying to run a city

So I had to take a brief break from Witcher 3. We are working a a lot, and playing Witcher is like jumping through a hole in reality.  I get that way with Dragon Age 3 as well and then, bleary eyes, realize it’s midnight.

So in an effort to still have a couple of hours of unwind time at night after plugging away at the keyboard, I bought Cities: Skylines.  Steam, an online retailer of computer games, was having a sale and I grabbed it super-cheap.  I present to you Ilona’s attempt to run a city.

I began with laying out industrial area.  An online tips site said to make sure you set the industrial area aside and connect it to the highway with one way roads, so the trucks entering the highway won’t cause traffic in your city.  So, industrial area to the side, then a little area for retail where shops are, then a little area for the residential neighborhood.  Everything looks super ugly, as if I built it on Soviet Union 5 year plan, because I lay out roads in square or rectangular grids, but okay. I can learn whimsical curved roads later.

I unpause my city.  Everything is proceeding as scheduled for the first hour and I am slowly adding things: police stations, fire stations, schools…

Citizens: Our water is polluted.

Me: What? Oh.  I might have built the sewage pump upstream of the water pumping station.  Yeah, my bad.  Let me fix that.

Citizens: More housing!

Me: More housing.

Citizens: Too much housing.  Too much unemployment.  More industry.

Me: More industry.

Citizens: Look, the industry is burning!

Me: It says I have complete fire house coverage.  Weird.

Citizens: The factory has now burned down.  Nice going.  Oh look, another factory is on fire!

Me: What if I build the fire station on top of the industrial area.  There.  Happy now?

Citizens: Third factory is on fire.

Me: Why don’t you go and put out the fire? Oh. You have difficulties with one way roads.  Let me make it bigger.  There, I widened all the roads.

Citizens: You’re in debt.  Also a dude in the apartment next to me is dead and no hearse came to pick him up.  I can smell him.  (The game actually says that.)

Me: I have a cemetery.  Here I’ll take a loan and build another one.

Citizens: Still more dead bodies.

Citizens: More dead bodies.

Citizens: We now have an epidemic.  Also factories are on fire again. And we need more housing.

Me: Okay, another loan, a big hospital built in the beginning of the epidemic area, another cemetery, move the fire station next to the damn fire…

Citizens: Hi, yeah, the public transit you built is awful.

Me: Why?

Yeah, my city looked nothing like this...
Yeah, my city looked nothing like this…

Citizens: Well, you built only one bridge across the river and then you connected it to the highway on the other end.  Now we are all using that highway entrance instead of the other one, so we are all backed up on the bridge.

Me: OMG, I’ve built Portland.  Here is another bridge.

Citizens: We don’t like that bridge.  We would rather sit in traffic on this one for hours.  Also the factories are on fire.

Me: I will redo the roads.  There.  Now there is more incentive to use the other bridge.

Citizens: Hi, the trash dump is full. You should built an incinerator so we can burn all of our trash.  Also build a crematorium so we can burn the dead.

Me:  Wouldn’t that generate a ton of pollution?  There is already this weird purple area on the ground around the industry…

Citizens: The factories are on fire.

Me: Damn it all!  Here, I will put fire station at both ends of this stupid road…

Citizens: About that trash…

Me: Here’s the recycling plant and incinerator.  Happy now?

Ten minutes later.

Citizens: Hi, I dug up a barrel of toxic goo in my back yard. (Again, the game actually says that.) Will nobody think of my children? And guess what?

Me: What?

Citizens: The factories are on fire.

Me, opening bulldozer window, bulldoze the city down: There.  Everybody is happy now, right?  Right?

Citizens: You should build more housing…

I will try again tonight.  Because I must be a masochist.  Also I happened to check the mods, the little add-ons that fans made for the game, and I found that someone made a KFC you can download and plop around in your city.  They can’t complain if I flood them with fried chicken.