January, 2016


Welcome to my first-ever monthly update!

Thanks for reading!

I don’t know about you guys, but the holidays are always a little crazy in my house.  This year proved crazier than usual.  DS, in an attempt to recreate preschool conditions during winter break, did all the things four-year-old boys do best.  DH valiantly battled holiday conditions at The Day Job.

And I took a three week break from writing.

December flew by in a whirl of gingerbread, glitter, and LED Christmas lights.  Now, things are finally starting to settle back down.  In between sporadic rainstorms (which, if you live in California, just about warrants a state holiday), I’ve spent a lot of time puttering around outside, reintroducing myself to my garden.  The rain has taken some of the edge off our Apocalyptic Drought, so spring planting season is looking better and better!

I’ve also tackled The Devil’s Disease with renewed vigor (and more than a little deadline-induced panic), and I’m pleased to report Lena and MacMillian are in fine form.  And they’re not the only ones- there are several new additions to the Shades Below family I can’t wait for you to meet!

Here’s where things are at right now:

Current Word Count


Song Of The Moment

Trick of the Light – Alexander Wolfe

The sunlight has a sister and she’s beating down your door,
And you need to breathe like you did never breathe before,
You’re going home, you’re rag and bone,

And you’re singing from the shallows and you’re in up to your knees,
Can’t see the surface, can’t remember how to breathe,
So you’re going home, you’re on your own,

You tried to stand up tall so you would never have to kneel,
But now you’ve got a wound that you don’t ever want to heal,
So you’re going home, you’re skin and bone,

You’re godless and you’re loveless, don’t believe in anything,
But you can walk on water, you can shout and you can sing,
You’re going home, all on your own,

A final drop of water,
A trick of the light,
Turns you round you start again,
The lamb was led to slaughter,
It didn’t put up a fight,
‘cos it believes the afterlife is something that is real,

A final drop of water,
A trick of the light,
Turns you round you start again,
The lamb was led to slaughter,
It didn’t put up a fight,
It turns around and starts again,
The final drop of water,
A trick of the light,
Turns you round you start again,
A lost and lonely daughter,
Slips into the night,
She turns around and starts again,

Turn around and start again,
Turn around and start again,
Turn around and start again.

Recent Research

January was a crazy month for research, though in retrospect, no crazier than usual…

  • Pier 70, The Dogpatch
  • Death in the Civil War
  • America’s response to The Holocaust
  • How to describe scents
  • Secret libraries of San Francisco
  • José Sarria and The Catacombs
  • Prion diseases

Pleasure-Reading Recommendations

I read some AMAZING books this past month.  Here are a few I highly recommend:

WIP Excerpt

SBDDQuotes2Barely fifteen minutes passed between when MacMillian left and Durbin arrived.

Lena buzzed him up the moment he called, hovered next to the door while he made his way up the stairs.  At the last minute, she raced into her bedroom and tugged on a turtleneck.  The stiff material was too snug around her throat, but it covered her bruises.  He didn’t need to know about those.  All she’d told him during their brief call was that she’d had a rough night and could use some company.  She hadn’t known what else to say.

She still didn’t.

She made it back to the front door milliseconds before Durbin reached the top of the steps.  He greeted her with a quick brush of the lips, then stepped inside and looked around.  “I came as soon as I could.  Is everything all right?  You were pretty vague on the phone.”

“Yeah.  Yeah, everything’s much better now.  Thanks.” Lena closed the door, resisted the urge to wring her hands.  She swore she could still smell the faint traces of earth and leather MacMillian had left in his wake.  She hadn’t planned on telling Mark about their sleepover, but what if she didn’t have a choice?  What if he guessed?  What if—

“So, are you going to tell me what happened?”

Lena’s heart leaped into her throat.  “What happened with what?”

“What happened to get you so spooked.”  Durbin started towards the chair where MacMillian had stashed his clothes the night before.  “Must have been pretty bad for you to call me.”

“I wish you wouldn’t put it like that.”  Lena followed him.  MacMillian hadn’t left anything behind, had he?  She did a quick search, released a quiet breath when she didn’t see anything.  “You make it sound like I only call you when I need something.”

“You do.” She must have had a stricken look on her face, because Durbin hurriedly continued.  “I don’t mind.  Not really.  You’re busy, I’m busy.” He shrugged.  “I’m just saying, you could call me other times, too.  I want you in my life, Lena.” His gray eyes were quiet.  “I hope you want me in yours.”

“Of course I do.”  Lena crossed the room, and sat down in the other chair.  Neither of them spoke for a moment.

At last, Durbin sighed.  “So, why did you call me?”

Lena’s lips twitched.  “Believe it or not, it was Jes’ idea.”

“Jes.”  Durbin’s brow furrowed.  “MacMillian told you to call me?” He let out a strained laugh.  “Well, that explains the pig that flew by my windshield on the way here.  And that crackling sound I heard must have been Hell freezing over.”

Lena didn’t laugh.  She twisted in her chair until her body was angled towards him.  “You know, I think it’s about time you told me what your deal is.”

Durbin’s laugh faded fast.  He winced.  “Lena…”

She held up a hand.  “Enough.  I’m tired of being in the middle of something I don’t understand.  Jes is my partner and my friend, and you’re, well, you.”  She ignored the sudden spark in his eyes.  “So tell me already.  What does he know about you that I don’t?  Are you a serial killer in your spare time?  Did he discover the collection of dismembered nipples in your closet?”

Durbin made a face.  “Jesus, Lena…”

Lena didn’t stop.  “I mean it, Mark.  Unless you want me to start making up my own story, tell me the truth.”


Thanks again for reading!  My next update will be coming at you at the end of February.  Stay posted!



Published by L.J.K. Oliva

L.J.K. Oliva writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance, with a heavy dash of suspense. She likes her whiskey strong, her chocolate dark, and her steak bloody. Most of all, L.J.K. likes monsters... and knows the darkest ones don't live in closets.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: