Working Notes – December 26, 2011

My best wishes to everyone who celebrated Christmas Day yesterday, and for everyone who got the day off from work, I hope you made the best of it.

Of course, I’m writing this somewhere in the past, so I’m not sure yet if I made a very good day of it or not, but I intend to!  My 2010 Christmas was a personal low, so I have every intention of making up for it with a bang this year.  If I manage to pull it off with a superlative highlight or two I may pop back into this post with pictorial evidence.

Working notes…

In one sense, I’m not working at all.  Not at the day job.  For the first time in – wow, three years! – I actually get to have a break at Christmas, instead of just (maybe) getting Christmas day off, then heading right back into the trenches.  This year I get a whole precious five days off.  Even Mark’s two whole weeks off doesn’t bother me.  Five days

That means, of course, I’ll be writing my ass off.  So I’ll be working at the real job just as hard as my family will let me get away with it.  (Or as hard as any really good Christmas present don’t distract me from the latest book.)

The latest book, of course, is Byzantine Heartbreak.  You haven’t been introduced to this one yet.  It’s the second in the Beloved Bloody Time series (Bannockburn Binding, which has just been released, was the first).

I’ve been working on Heartbreak in between buying Christmas presents, making Christmas presents, wrapping Christmas presents and working.  One day, I must tell you a few of my adventures, writing on the bus to and from work.  Very interesting.  In fact I’m writing this on the bus right now, and the guy next to me is trying very hard to pretend he’s not reading my screen…ooops, he just got off!  That taught him… [wicked grin]

For now, here’s the blurb and a short excerpt from Byzantine Heartbreak.

Enjoy the rest of your holiday break, if you’re lucky enough to get one.  If you’re working, may your tips be stupendous.


Nyarra Ybarra is one of the most powerful vampires alive in the 23rd century.  Ryan Deasmhumhain is the other.  Ryan and Nyarra, former lovers, head the Chronometric Conservation Agency, welded together yet held apart by grief that won’t heal, their lives on hold. 

Cáel Stelios is intrigued by the pair, but despite being politically powerful, rich, smart and sexually potent, Stelios has a overwhelming disadvantage:  He’s human.  “No” is not a word he accepts without a fight, however. 

The psi-filers and Gabriel have plans, though, that will make fighting very real and bloody indeed…


Stelios opened the drawer of his desk and pulled out his reading board and threw it at Christos, who caught it one-handed.  “The top document…book, I suppose.  I had it commissioned several weeks ago and it was delivered last week.  I’ve read it.  It took me all week.”

Christos turned the board on and thumbed his way through the book.  “There’s…fuck, there’s thousands of pages here!”  He looked up at Stelios.  “Did you sleep at all?”

“Not much.  What I was reading gave me nightmares anyway.”  Stelios grimaced and sat on the edge of his desk.

Christos frowned as he flipped through more of the book.  “Why’n hell would you want to read something like this?” he asked.

“I have to work with them,” Stelios said simply.  “I wanted to know them better and they weren’t about to tell me themselves.”

Christos snorted.  “You don’t have a few years to spare for the telling, human.”

Stelios turned and poured himself an ouzo on ice from the supplies in the refrigerated cupboard.  He held up the bottle.  “I’d offer you one, Spartan, but…”

Christos tilted his head.  “I’m not sure I’d take one from you, anyway.  Not yet.”

Stelios tossed back the shot and poured again.  “You know them.  Better than perhaps anyone else in the world.”

“No one knows that pair well.”  Christos placed the board back on the desk gently.  “This research is just dates, facts.  Timelines.”

“Exactly,” Stelios said.  “It’s probably the first time those dates have ever been pulled together, but it’s still just resumes.”  He sat on his desk again.  “Ryan Deasmhumhain and Nayara Ybarra are both over two thousand years old.  Together they run the most powerful vampire organization in the world.  And nobody knows anything about them.  You’re the closest to an expert on them.”

“I’m not an expert.”  Christos crossed his arms over his great chest.  “I’m a friend.  And this friend is wondering why you’re so damned curious about them.”

Stelios put his hand on the reading board.  “I’ve been working with them for weeks, Brendan.  I can’t figure them out.  And I can’t get anywhere with them if I can’t figure them.  We’re going to be working together more in the future.  I need to know what makes them tick.”

“You do, huh?”  Christos grinned.  “You’re a lying sack of Greek shit, Stelios.”

Stelios drained his glass.  “Am I?”

Christos jerked his thumb over his shoulder.  “I’m not one of your voters, Assemblyman.  I don’t get a vote, remember?  I’m not allowed to vote, because I’ve been around long enough to know you’re laying it on thick enough to choke a lamb to death.”  He pointed to the board.  “You’ve read that and you’ve been locked up in the station with Ryan and Nayara for days on end.  You’re a smart man.  You’ve already got more than half a picture about them by now.  I know that because Ryan hasn’t gelded you, they haven’t drawn your blood and Nayara hasn’t tossed you out of the nearest airlocked.  So you’ve figured them out enough to get along with them in all that time.  So what do you really want?”

Stelios felt the sudden urge for another drink.  He cleared his throat and moved around the desk, back to the chilled cabinet.

Christos made a breathy sound behind him.  Then:  “No…!  Tell me you don’t really hold some sort of…”  Then he heard Christos laugh, low and long.

Stelios busied himself pouring the drink.  By the time the drink was ready, his face was under control and Christos was silent once more.  Stelios returned to the desk, staying on this side of it.  He looked Christos in the eye.

Christos had the grace to not laugh again.  But he was smiling.  “Man, you aim high,” he said simply.  “Which one?”

“Does it matter?” Stelios asked, glad to hear his voice emerge evenly.

Christos considered and shook his head.  “In the end, no.  You’ll never get either of them.  They’re welded together, those two.”

“They’re not together romantically.  Not any more,” Stelios pointed out.

“Not since Salathiel died,” Christos agreed.  He stepped up to the other side of the desk.  “Got another one of those in that bottle?” he asked, indicating Stelios’ drink.

Surprised, Stelios nodded.  He turned and poured another drink into a fresh glass, added ice and pushed it over the desk toward the Spartan.  Christos lifted it and sniffed appreciatively.  The glass looked dimunitive in his big hand.  “Aahh.  Brings back memories,” he growled.  He looked Stelios in the eye.  “Now we have the measure of each other, human.  I know what you want.”

“What do I want?” Stelios asked curiously.

“You want the key to unlocking them.”


So…like it?  All feedback and opinions are useful and helpful!


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