State of the Author


No, seriously…sigh.

Way back in September I published one of these “State of the Author” things in which I bemoaned the fact that I had five projects running through my head.  This is something in the way of an update on that post.

1. The Lion and The Darkness — this is the next novel in the mainstream Timelines series.  Got unstuck a while back, have 16 chapters finished and four or five to go.  I hope to finish and publish before LibertyCon 36 in June 2024.  (Actually I hope to finish and publish by the end of May, but I’m hedging.)

2. The Dragon’s SisterFinished and published, e-book and soft cover.  October 10, 2023.

3. An American in Iya (working title) — this is a novel that follows The Tale of the Crane Princess in the Timelines Universe track.  It’s foreshadowed in Tale, at the very end.  This book is 10+ chapters in, and will likely be first of two following the exploits of (currently) 16-year-old Saori Rin Sumisu.  I do not intend to write yet another doorstop like The Cross-Time Kamaitachi (which really should have been two books), if I can help it.

4. The isekai light novel “Help! Truck-kun Won’t Leave Me Alone, No Matter What World I’m In!” hasn’t been touched in months; I don’t know if I’m actually going to complete it or not.

5. The novella/light novel All Precious Stones and Peoples is on hold until after the novel AFTER The Lion and The Darkness, which is supposed to be The Lion and The Logic.

So, bottom line, there’s one novel almost finished that’s been hanging fire since 2022, a novella/light novel finished last October, and another novel that might see the light of day by the end of 2024.  One light novel that may or may not be written, and another novella/light novel in the future to follow The Lion and The Logic.  *whew*

AI is Love is now a Kindle book

I have released AI is Love as a Kindle book.  It took a while to figure out how I was going to do that, but in the end, it was possible to format it like a comic book or manga and upload it that way.  (This involved the use of Kindle Create, which is an application I am not fond of, though admittedly the copy I had installed was from 2020 and was way out of date.)

The Kindle book is priced at a much more modest $15.00 (half the price of the softcover edition).  I still make money off of that, but the paperback publishing cost is gone.

I will add the following caveats:

  • If you do not have a tablet, or can’t use something like Kindle for PC, I don’t recommend buying the Kindle version.  It won’t look good on a classic Kindle (like a Paperwhite) because you won’t get color, and it probably will end up too small.
  • If you do buy the Kindle version to read on a tablet, I recommend opening the “AA” menu at top right, clicking into the Layout tab, and turning off “Vertical Scroll (Landscape).”  If you don’t do this, you won’t be able to turn the tablet to Landscape mode and view two pages at a time, which sort of breaks the way the book is formatted (description on the left, picture on the right).  This isn’t necessary if you are reading it in Kindle for PC or Kindle on the Web.  (I assume it wouldn’t be a problem for the Mac Kindle app either, but I don’t own a Mac, so there you have it.)

If the e-book version still interests you, well, just click on the gorgeous picture of my wife…I mean, the image of the cover, above.

Timelines Universe Novel Sale — 99 Cents Each!

12/2/2023 NOTE:  PLEASE CHECK THE PRICE BEFORE YOU BUY!  Amazon apparently has a bug in their database and this promotion has not yet started as of 9AM December 2.  I will update when the promotion actually starts.  Sorry for the trouble. — ncb  This is fixed now.  Carry on!

Thank you to all who purchased my three Timelines novels while they were on sale for the past week!  And now…the next promotion!

From 5AM EST Saturday December 2 till 5AM EST Saturday December 9, the two Timelines Universe novels will be on sale (in ebook format) for 99 cents apiece.

Link to The Cross-Time Kamaitachi

Link to The Tale of the Crane Princess

Timelines Novel Sale — 99 Cents Each!

From 5AM EST Saturday November 25 till 5AM EST Saturday December 2, all three of the Timelines novels will be on sale (in ebook format) for 99 cents apiece.

Link to full series:

And — good news — I’m finally working on Book 4,  The Lion and The Darkness, again!

AI 愛 is Love is up for purchase

After a very long time in “in review” purdah, AI 愛 is Love is finally up for purchase on Amazon.  The list price is $29.99, but for whatever reason Amazon has it available at a discount — $17.67.  (Sorry, after the first couple of sales, the price got bumped back up to $27.40, but that’s still a 9% savings off the list price…)

Hopefully I get my full royalties at that price, since I didn’t ask for it to be discounted.  I put a lot of work into this book.

The direct Amazon link is .  Or, click the pretty picture below 🙂

Working on something a little different

I’ve been working on a picture book!

No, really.  It’s a book called AI 愛 is Love.

The blurb:

AI 愛 is Love is a collection of 65 images made using Artificial Intelligence tools and methods. Each image is the author’s loving reimagination of his wife at various stages of her life, using old photographs and digital models and post-processing software, not to mention plain old-fashioned skull sweat coming up with prompts to feed the MidJourney AI in the first place. While the author cautions his readers that his wife actually doesn’t look entirely like the lovely ladies depicted (mostly because they all have long straight or wavy hair), he does wish to make clear that all of his love for his beautiful lady wife has been poured into the book which you now hold in your hands.

The wraparound cover:

Because this is the first time I’ve done something like this, I’m waiting for a proof copy to be printed and sent to me, which is supposed to be here by Wednesday.

In case you are scratching your head at the title, it’s because when I was discussing this project with some folks on Discord, the obvious title came to me:

“Oh, I figured out a title for the possible book. ‘AI is Love’. Because 愛 (ai) is ‘love’.”

Yeah, it just happens that “AI” (the initials of Artificial Intelligence) can be twisted back to “ai” (which is the Japanese noun meaning “love”).

As anyone who’s read my writing knows, I love a good pun.

So this book, for anyone who just MUST have a copy of it, will be available in paperback only, via Amazon, and it will be $30.  Believe me — most of that is Amazon’s share.

I’ll put up another post when the book is available.

10/27/2023:  I effed up in counting; there are only 65 images, not 75.  Mea culpa.  Post has been updated with corrections.

The Dragon’s Sister is released!

At long last, I conquered writer’s block and finished The Dragon’s Sister.  This is something of a follow-on to A Dragon in the Foie Gras, 20 years later, when the girl found in the stasis chamber in Chicago has re-entered society and wishes to become a US Space Force Marine.

This is a Timelines Universe story, and like most of the books in that category, it’s fairly short; about 22K words, 114 pages.  In terms of where it fits in the Timelines oeuvre, it would be just before the opening of The Lion in Paradise.

Two Sisters, Separated By A Timeline

When most people find out they have a long-lost twin sibling they never dreamed existed, reactions can range from happiness to anger.

In the case of US Space Force Marines Brigadier General Mei-Lin Lai, her “twin” is her timeline analog she was told did not exist.  And because of that reassurance, the expatriate Chinese taikonaut migrated to Timeline Zero from Timeline One Right, to take command of United States Space Force Base Terra Meridiani, on Mars.

But her analog did exist.  And was pulled out of a cold-stasis chamber in Chicago eighty years after she’d been recruited into a failed plot to disrupt an American presidential election.

Now Mei-Lin must grapple with a woman who is her genetic twin and wishes to join the Space Force Marines as a medic — and will go through Basic Training on the planet where Mei-Lin is the boss Marine.

Will the two women, identical but different, be able to form a sisterly bond?  And will Mei-Lin finally come to grips with the very existence of her other-timeline twin?

The e-book is $2.99 or read for free on Kindle Unlimited.  A 5×8 paperback version for you tactile folks who have plenty of room for bookcases is also available for $5.45.

The direct Amazon link is .

The Invasion Came In Waves – free download

I didn’t figure the short would sell, so as noted in my previous post, it is made available here for free download.  (You can still buy it from Amazon for 99 cents if you want an “official” copy that won’t show up as a DOC file in your Kindle.)

The story is copyrighted and I reserve all rights.  You may not post it on another download site, but you can post these links to the files anywhere you’d like.  Or just post the post URL.

ePub version

Mobi version

The files are in .zip format so you’ll have to unzip them before uploading to your device.

New short story: “The Invasion Came In Waves”

99 cents on Amazon.  It’s only about 1,100 words, so don’t complain about the length, please.  If it doesn’t sell, I’ll do what I planned to do in the first place and publish it here for free.  The problem with Amazon is, 99 cents is the least they’ll allow you to charge.  Pisses me off.

Not available for KU because I’d only make about a penny a read.

Not connected with either of my existing series.  Just a story.

State of the Author

The author at Churchill Downs, recently. Isn’t he, er, fascinating? (Don’t worry, he’s happily married — to a stunningly beautiful woman, but not the one who lent him this hat.  She did, however, take the picture.)

As I have been known to dad-joke before, “Indiana.”

Anyway.  I am in a position where I have four (“Five, sir!”) five things on the burners and none of them in a state of readiness for publication.  Why?  Because work is driving me crazy, and I’m getting older and don’t have the stamina I used to have.  (Which means, by 8PM or so I’m getting sleepy and want to go to bed rather than stare at a computer and write.  Sucks to be me, but now I understand why Dad started taking mid-afternoon naps after about 60.)

Fun bit:  We recently traveled to Louisville for the Scottish Rite Northern Masonic Jurisdiction’s Supreme Council session.  Four days and nights with 1500 or so of our closest friends.  Got home, got an email a day or so later saying several folks had come down with COVID, including a friend I’d been in close contact with.  Luckily, neither my unvaxxed self nor my vaxxed wife managed to contract it — or we had no symptoms.  (The whole COVID thing is a massive cock-up at this point, don’t believe a word you hear from the guv’mint about it going forward.  Yes, they are going to try to lock us down again before November 2024.  Become ungovernable and tell them to fuck right the hell off.)


As stated, I have four, no, five projects in train.  None of them are close to publication.  Well, maybe one is, but not the one I’d prefer.

1. The Lion and The Darkness — this is the next novel in the mainstream Timelines series.  I’m almost done with Chapter 6.  Which sounds good, but it isn’t; this book needs to be 20 chapters or so, maybe more.  22,320 words as of the moment, and it needs to be 75K or 80K.  I got really stuck on it because it started to move in a direction I wasn’t prepared for, and I’ve barely touched it for the past year.

2. The Dragon’s Sister — this is a short or novella-length Timelines Universe story that examines what happens when the two Mei-Lin Lais — one from Timeline One and one from Timeline Zero — have an encounter on Mars.  It’s just been sort of exhausting to write because normally I write either about planets I made up out of whole cloth, or I write about Earth, where I can use Google Maps and that sort of thing to plot with.  Mars is mapped in Google Earth, but that doesn’t help as much as you might think.  Anyway, this book is just starting Chapter 5 and is 16,663 words.  It needs to be somewhere between 20K and 24K.  I think I have it figured out now, though, so it may well be the next thing I publish.

3. An American in Iya (working title) — this is a novel that follows The Tale of the Crane Princess in the Timelines Universe track.  It’s foreshadowed in Tale, at the very end.  I’ve barely started it (it’s only two pages and about a thousand words in) and the only reason I’m working on it is to get ideas on paper before they disappear.

4. In a complete departure from everything else (and unrelated…unless it’s related…and I haven’t figured that out yet), “Help! Truck-kun Won’t Leave Me Alone, No Matter What World I’m In!”.  Projected as a 50K word “light novel,” yes, it’s a fucking isekai piece that I’m writing mostly as humor relief.  The premise is, a party of adventurers is being targeted by someone with an isekai truck that takes them out as they complete tasks in various fantasy worlds.  Ultimately, there are five in the party, and they finally get together to compare notes and realize something is NOT RIGHT, starting with, where do Japanese kei trucks come from in medieval fantasy worlds?  The fault for this story can be chalked up to a fellow SF writer; my mind just started working after I read a Facebook post he wrote, conjecturing as follows:Thomas Doscher is, of course, the author of the popular The Vixen War Bride series which can be found on Amazon.  If you have not read it, and you’re into military science fiction, I highly recommend it.  He’s five books in and there’s a sixth coming.

Finally, there’s another book percolating, a Timelines Universe novella, called All Precious Stones and Peoples.  I can’t really talk about it without giving away spoilers for both The Lion and the Darkness and the book that will likely follow it, called The Lion and the Logic.  But it’s something of a bridge between those two novels.

So there’s a lot going through my brain lately.  Unfortunately I don’t know when any of these projects will see the light of day.  But I don’t intend to be another George RR Martin, even if people do mistake me for him when they see me, and even if it takes till I retire for my production to really ramp up, I’m absolutely planning on finishing the Timelines series.

Your thoughts and prayers in this endeavor are, of course, welcome…as are your book purchases, page reads in KU, and reviews on Amazon.