April came and went in a flash and I’m off to the races in May!

This month has been busy busy with getting my market setup and new products all ready for the 2024 season. Once it starts in 2 days, there’s hardly a weekend I’m not fully booked. I won’t be taking any of them off entirely between now and Christmas. Cross your fingers for my van, folks, cuz it’s old and I’m about to ask a lot of it going from one end of the province to another.

I’ve managed to get most of the prep done, but still need to do prints of covers and make some modifications to my backdrop to display them. As a little bonus, prints will include a short story, so that’s fun. I don’t expect to sell a ton, but it’ll make my booth look good. A lot of places, I can’t use the backdrop, on account of space issues, so it’s been back-burner status in the priority list. Hopefully this week though so it’s ready for Geequinox on May 4-5th. I did manage to get stickers, bookmarks, and Mystery Envelopes finished already.

Here’s my upcoming schedule if anyone wants to come out and see me. I DO have fresh, new copies of The Mud Fisher’s Catch!

  • LCLC Spring Market – April 27th in Bridgewater
  • Alderny Landing Artisan Market – 28th and May 19th in Dartmouth
  • Dartspeak Open Mike – 7pm Dart Gallery in Dartmouth
  • Geequinox – May 3rd and 4th in Halifax
  • Bridgewater Farmer’s Market – May 11th and 18th in Bridgewater
  • Capercon – May 24-26 in Sydney
  • Y-con – May 31st – June 2nd in Yarmouth

May 2nd is the official Launch Day for The Mud Fisher’s Catch. Since that lines up with my typical Dartspeak monthly reading, they’ve graciously allowed me a slightly longer slot to read a bigger excerpt from The Mud Fisher’s Catch to celebrate! If you’d like to hear yours truly read from my new book, along with a slew of other talented authors reading poetry, fiction, and other exciting stuff, you should definitely try and make it out.

May 11th is the first day of the season for the Bridgewater Farmer’s Market and is also their 15 year anniversary! They’ll be doing free cake and coffee/tea to celebrate. This market is growing quickly and, with their new expansion, is really opening up to include a robust variety of artisans. As one of them, I’ve joined the board as Secretary and also help to represent the arts side of things. In case you hadn’t heard, this season the market is staying open from 9-1, an hour longer than before. It’s also running the rest of the year, straight through from May to December! Lots of opportunities to visit.

Writing is progressing. I’m closing in on the end of Patchworld Nova and already doing heavy outlining for Shunt, the next book. I’m not progressing as fast as I’d like, but I’m at nearly 90k for the year so far, which is a solid quantity. Part of why I set these absurd goals is because when I hit them at even 70 or 80%, I’ve still accomplished plenty.

That’s mostly it for the update! Oh, if you were one of the Advance Readers for The Mud Fisher’s Catch, or if you’ve picked it up and raced through it by the 2nd, I’d like to remind you to leave a review on either Amazon or Goodreads sometime between May 2-5. A bunch of reviews all appearing at launch helps promote the book to others, it would be appreciated, and I’d also love to see what everyone thinks!

On to the next chapter of Patchworld Nova! Troop finally makes it out of the province! Again, this is a “working draft”. It’s gone through a couple rounds of editing, but don’t expect this to be the final version. I have swatted most of the typos, and any that remain are simply a mark of my humanity. Also, if you’d prefer to read a .pdf version of this, you can find one, free for download in the Chapter 4 post on my Patreon at: https://www.patreon.com/judemire  My patrons also get the next chapter early, so if you don’t want to wait, sign up to any tier and get Chapter 5: The Gauntlet, now!

I hope you enjoy Chapter 4: The Whirlwind!

“Who the hell decided these should zip up in the back?” asked Callie.

Troop shook his head. “No idea. I think it has something to do with continuity in the front armor plate. Here, let me help.”

He crossed the tent and pulled her suit seal the final inches, folding the velcro seam over it, and turned around. “My turn.”

She did the same for him.

“I hope to hell these things work, Troop. I feel like there’s more armor than environmental protection. Are they even air-tight?”

The outfits weren’t comfortable. The material was a plastic lined canvas, insulated for warmth and run through with a mesh for durability. They were heavy with modified panels created from bulletproof vests sewn inside. Each one had an air filtration pump on the shoulder, protected by a thick pauldron. They could draw from an internal tank, or filter external air. They’d managed to determine the atmospheric composition on most of their neighbors, and used laser spectrography to get a few beyond. In all cases, there was some combination of breathable air. It was often tainted with other gasses, or too thick or thin, but a baseline was there. It made them think that there were some general criteria, a commonality, in the planets that had been taken. Perhaps an engineering limitation or preference in the Dyson Plate itself.

Whatever it was, it worked in their favor. Bad air could be filtered. Thin air could be drawn in quickly and accumulated. Thick air could be metered out. There were four thin backup tanks, along the backs of their thighs, for if the converter couldn’t keep up. One of the soldiers had a larger compressor and extra tanks, for when they found places with good, easy air. The units were awkward, but vital. Troop kept flinching every time he looked left, thinking there was something on his shoulder. He expected that, soon enough, he’d get used to it.

They really had no idea what types of threats or environments they were liable to encounter and had tried their best to make the suits as durable as possible. Troop wasn’t convinced that they’d made the right choices on how they’d done it. Sure, extra armor was good, and he had no doubt they’d encounter threats. But it was also heavy, and he didn’t know how it was going to help in swampy or hilly places. The trip was going to be a slog. Eight weeks was the shortest time frame, and that was beyond optimistic. It assumed a nearly straight line across the patches, without considering detours to follow the best air, or circumvent mountains, oceans, and other obstacles. It would take twice as long, at least, as Troop estimated. That was if they were lucky.

The province scrounged enough resources to produce eight suits. It had been a hell of an argument to get Callie into one of them, rather than another soldier. But, in the end, his mother relented. It was more an act of self preservation than acquiescence.

The Mi’kmaq Abidance hadn’t taken long to figure out Callie’s part in the damage done to the Bakudabakek Turbines and connect it to Troop and the Provincials. Tensions were at an all-time high, with actual borders being drawn. They’d expelled refugees and drawn battle lines. They demanded Callie be turned over for trial. That was the option his mother most favored, to help keep the peace, but sending her out of reach, into the wilds of the alien Dyson Plate, was the second best choice.

His mother wasn’t there to see them off, but Celestia was. She had three dozen armed guards with her. They weren’t her usual bodyguards. They were actual soldiers, openly wearing their vests and sidearms. Troop didn’t like the look of it. Political tension was one thing, but he never imagined it could escalate into some sort of civil war.

They had to get to the spire and see what they could do to re-establish the Drip, or else everyone was going to start shooting each other before any invading creatures cracked through the walls.

It was time to go.

He put the belt with the Knife around his waist, slid on his gloves, and left the tent with Callie.

They’d decided to breach into the Ancervin world where Troop would meet up with Enler, right where he’d been born. The place was very different from the flowery field that had been littered with dead vehicles now. They’d pushed all the rusty husks into a perimeter, set up wooden barricades around the camp. There were a half dozen tents, a truck, and a radio tower.

Celestia was talking with a pair of solders. Troop recognized one of them as Sargent Bayfield, the man who was going with them. The other guy, he didn’t know. As he approached, that man shouted a command, pointed Old North, and a dozen men with guns charged off into the woods, rifles ready.

Troop and Callie joined them. “What’s going on?” asked Troop.

Celestia answered. “One of the perimeter guys spotted an Abidance patrol. Some twenty guys on horseback, all armed, headed this way.”

Sargent Bayfield cursed and shook his head. “I knew it. This was a bad spot to pick. It’s too close to their turf. We should be doing this down by the coast.”

Troop snorted out a laugh. “You wanna deal with the cultists in Sheet Harbour? At least the Abidance can be reasoned with.”

The second soldier, the one he didn’t know, looked grim. “We won’t be reasoning with any of them.”

Callie stepped into his space and looked up at the man. “So, what? You’ll shoot them? Why? They’re right. We’re guilty. We wrecked their dam!”

The man folded his arms across his chest. “We will do whatever we need to ensure this mission happens.”

Troop raised his hands. “Okay, fine. We get it. We’re leaving now. The sooner we get through that wall, the sooner the patrol won’t matter, and you won’t have to do anything stupid.”

The man narrowed his eyes, gave Callie a condescending glare, and backed away. “Be quick. I’m going to go monitor the situation.” He marched away without another word.

Troop turned to Sargent Bayfield. “Please tell me your people are ready to go.”

Bayfield nodded. “Just say the word.”

“Okay, go get ‘em. I don’t know how long the breach will last. I might need to re-open the way through several times, or it could stay open for an hour. No idea, but I’m ready to find out.”

Sargent Bayfield gave him a curious look and nodded. “I’m sure you are.” He trotted off, calling for his team to assemble.

Troop turned to Celestia. “Damn, Cel, you’ve got to keep these people from killing each other while I’m gone.”

Celestia threw up her hands in exasperation. “That guy’s mother’s top lapdog! He is the stick. She is the hand. I have exactly no control over this.”

Troop knew what it felt like to be powerless beneath his mother’s will. “Cel, you are going to have to stand up to her. Not later. Now. She’s always disliked the Abidance and she’d gonna use this. She’ll get a lot of people hurt. You have to talk her out of it. Somebody has to make her to stop. We’ve got bigger fish to fry.”

Celestia rolled her eyes. “Like she listens to me.”

He reached out and took her hand. “I’m serious. Step up. Push her. I don’t want to come back to a war zone.”

She gave him a tilted smile. “I just hope you come back at all, big brother.”
At her words, his mind flashed to the grainy photo and the dark, hungry, shape it contained.

“Don’t worry. I’ll be back.”

He hugged her goodbye and went over to the wall.

Troop stood at the crimson barrier and put his hand onto the hilt of the Knife. Enler was there, waiting on the other side. Troop had learned his body language well enough to know that he was excited. He wasn’t alone in that, and Troop’s heart raced in anticipation. He drew the strange blade and held it out for his friend to see.

Enler’s hands moved and he coughed, switching his facial expression. “It looks right. A thing real, as imagined.”

“Truth moment.”

Troop waited for the expedition to put on their final packs. Everyone had a sizable amount to carry, but the soldiers added to their load with weapons, a variety of explosives, and ammo. When they were ready, and lined up, Sargent Bayfield gave Troop a thumb’s up.
Holding the Knife with both hands, he thrust the blade into the wall, about a foot above his head. Straining, he dragged it down in a curved arc, off to the right, until it almost touched the ground. He repeated the process, angling left on the second pass. When the first cut intersected with the bottom of the other, the area he’d carved out vanished, leaving an oblong opening.

Troop stepped back and, rifle raised, Bayfield passed through, becoming the first man in human history to set foot onto alien soil. Two of his soldiers followed, then Callie, then the others. Troop went last.

The change was shocking. One moment he was standing on the rubble remains of a road in Nova Scotia. The next, he was on a rocky surface, blasted by intense wind, with a purple sky above. The sound the gale made through the rocks was intense, wailing and whistling such that there was no possibility of talking at a normal volume.

He felt a hand on his shoulder and turned to see Enler, his face curled into what passed for an Ancervin smile.

He gestured and chirped. “Welcome into our air and upon our stone, Newborn.”
For the first time in his life, Troop found it easier to “speak” in the alien language than his own. He contorted his face and waved his arms. “So windy! So loud! It’s more than I expected.” He looked up at the clouds, racing across the sky at a speed that made them look like a time-lapse.

Enler twitched his antlers. “Short walk. Then under. We draw to the Breathing.”

Troop nodded, smiled through his visor, and followed the alien. The ‘short walk’ turned out to be more difficult for the humans than their Ancervin neighbors. The rocky ground reminded Troop of the tumbled rocks at the coast, in places like Gaff Point. Instead of having to watch for waves, the wind would buffet and push them around. The group had to scurry, crouched low, and use their hands to stabilize themselves. Enler, comically, skipped around them, moving up and down the line, showing them the best spots to set their footing. His own feet were very different from theirs. He was wearing shoes, but they were flexible things, meant to accommodate his tri-sectional feet. What was beneath his rotary ankle looked more like a three-sectioned beak than a foot. He could close it, jam it into a crevasse, and open it, or use it to grip a ridge. He moved up and down the fragmented ground with the same ease Troop would have on a sidewalk.

Despite the difficulty, Troop couldn’t keep himself from smiling. Grinning like a damn fool. He kept stopping to look at the sky, the landscape, and to gaze in awe at the horizon. He’d finally done it! Made it out of the cage. The pressure of his task, and the dangers of the unknown threats, weren’t enough to curb his joy. More than once, Enler came to his side, urging him along as he stood, laughing at the roil of clouds above.

They wound their way into a canyon, clutching the sides, and then into high ceilinged cavern. The wind here filled the tunnel with a low howl, but was not nearly as deafening. They came upon a community, a small sort of village, and Troop finally got to see what sort of place his friend lived. Their homes were built into the walls and were spaced equidistantly. There were no roads, but the ground flattened out some. He saw dozens of Ancervin moving around in the spaces between. Most stopped to watch them, but didn’t come close or interact.

Sargent Bayfield raised a fist and, as a unit, the soldiers all raised their weapons and formed a circular perimeter.

Enler’s body language shifted to concern. Troop raised his voice, shouting above the wind.
“Stop it! All of you. Bayfield, tell them to put those away!” He stepped out of the boundary they’d made, putting his chest directly in front of the Sargent’s weapon. “Put them down, now!”

The soldier looked to Troop, then to the unusual aliens, and lowered his weapon. “Lower them. Don’t put them away.”

Troop glared at him. “These are our allies, Bayfield.”

He shrugged. “Yeah, maybe. I’m just being careful.”

“Be careful without your guns,” said Troop.

Enler had already explained that his people all knew the humans were coming. Unlike the Nova Scotia biome, the Ancervin were a unified community, with a casual, collective form of governance. No one of them was in charge. They all knew the stakes and made their choices accordingly.

Right now, they chose to repress their natural desire to interact with the strange visitors. It wasn’t the time, under the shadow of a strange alien threat. The townsfolk kept their distance, but watched the humans with curious pairs of doubled eyes. There were several volunteers who would accompany them on the journey, along with Enler, but they were meeting them further along. The Sargent’s behavior didn’t make Troop feel good about how they were going to respond to a joint-species expedition. He could tell, from the way the spectator’s behavior shifted when the men had raised their weapons, that they were also dubious. He wanted to ease their fears.

Troop perched on a ridge, facing the crowd and did his best to sign at them. “It is good to see you,” he said. “Thank you for allowing us into your home, new friends.”

Across the Ancervin, antlers wiggled in surprise at the bilingual human. Several responded, wishing them luck. The group continued on, moving through the town slowly, and everywhere they went, spectators watched them. Troop waved and talked to as many as he could.

Enler spoke, pointing ahead. “Close now. The Breathings.”

Ahead, Troop saw a large glass tube, draped through the cavern like a massive, crystalline, garden hose.

The Ancervin had lost power just like everyone else when their version of the Drip, what they called the Suckle, had shut down. Fortunately, a large percent of their power and technology was based on wind. They’d never been as reliant on the Dyson Plate’s power as the Earthlings, and the absence didn’t affect their transportation system. As the expedition approached, a long cannister slid through the tube and stopped at a station. The top slid open, allowing them all to climb in. When it closed, for the first time since they’d arrived, the wind stopped.

One of the soldiers dropped her pack to the ground. “God damn, Sarge. That was something.”

They all began removing their packs while Enler pointed them to the strange seats. They were meant to be straddled and hugged, but the humans could recline in them well enough. “Stow the gear and hold on,” said Bayfield. “I think we’ve got a little more ‘something’ on the way.”

They situated as best they could, the lid of their vehicle shut, and Enler engaged the release on the pneumatic transport. Like a bullet in a barrel, they sped away. There was a sucking hum, and a gentle sway, but for the first time in hours, they were able to sit and talk. Troop looked over to Callie.

“How you doin’ on that end?” he asked.

She had the same stupid grin on her face that he’d been trying to control since he’d stepped across the barrier. “I can’t even. It’s so. It’s just… so.”

The tube came out from underground and they went from the dim interior lights to the bright violet sky. Through the glass, the Ancervin homeworld spread out before them. They were far enough from the barriers, that they couldn’t see them. In every direction, swirling patterns of angled stone, shaped by the wind. It wasn’t just gray, like where the two zones shared a border. There were mountains, blue-grey like chalk, leaning over a turbulent lime green sea. Plateaus of brown, like roulette tables half sunk into the earth, with green forests cupped in their shelter. Everything was smeared and blended by the currents of wind, giving the whole landscape the feeling of a surrealist painting.

Callie stopped talking, her mouth just hung open. Troop finished her sentence for her.

“Beautiful. So, so beautiful.”

Troop spent the majority of the trip talking to Enler. It was interesting, finally occupying a space with his alien friend. Their species didn’t share the same social boundaries as humans, and Enler sat close to him, their hips nearly pressed together. On more than one occasion, their arms touched while they were communicating. It was strange, and exhilarating, being so close to the non-human.

Enler had a suggestion. “Air is good, no particulate in tube here. Little thick, but you should be breath well.”

Troop saw where he was going with it. He reached up, unlatched his helmet, and took it off. He pulled off his gloves. The rest of the squad stared at him.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea, Mr.Daniels,” said Bayfield.

“It’s fine. I’m sure it’s fine,” said Troop.

Enler, already close, leaned in closer. Slowly, he reached up one of his hands, extended his bi-sectional trio of fingers, and touched Troops face. His fingertips were warmer, and smoother, than Troop expected. He returned the favor, putting his own hand on the segmented ridge above Enler’s eyes. It was tough, but moved under the pressure, like leather.

“It’s softer than I expected. It looks rigid,” said Troop.

Enler wiggled his antlers. “You are hard beneath. Stone inside, fragile outer. You are backwards, Newborn!”

Troop laughed. “Oh yeah. That’s us. For sure.”

They spent the bulk of the trip huddled close, like two Jr. High girls paying no attention to anyone else around them, whispering to each other in their own made-up language. The hours passed quickly for Troop. Everyone else stared out the windows, captivated by the scenery. The Ancervin’s own synthetic sun was setting by the time the transport cannister descended back into the ground. Shortly after, it began to decelerate.

“Other half,” signed Enler. “Our companions await.”

The soldiers perked up as the vehicle stopped at an interior landing platform. There were seven Ancervin standing outside, waiting. Enler and all the other Ancervin had been wearing thin gauzy clothes that were practically transparent. But this group were dressed similarly to the expedition, in protective suits. They didn’t have helmets, on account of their antlers, but they all wore glass face plates, like divers. They carried a variety of packs and containers for the trip as well. Strange devices, presumably weapons, were attached to their forearms.

Troop put his helmet back on before they opened the hatch, their new companions boarded, and the doorway closed. Everyone shifted, with the soldiers moving toward one end of the compartment and the new arrivals taking the other. The shuttle slid along the tube, accelerating back to speed. One of the others handed Enler a suit and he dressed. When he was finished, he addressed them all.

“Is much excite in the air ahead, in place where to cut pass. Only place. Best place on other side. These ones have fire inside. Hot brave. They will help you walk,” said Enler.
Troop translated.

One of the soldiers spoke up. “They’re gonna hold our hands? Like we’re kids?”
Troop frowned. “You all felt the wind out there. If they say it’s bad, it’s worse than you think. We’re going to need help.”

A different soldier scoffed and answered. “Speak for yourself. Not all of us need our mommies. Just point me in the right direction.” The others all laughed and nodded.
Enler had spent enough time with Troop that he could read their disdain without knowing the specific words. He faced them and emphatically repeated his statement. Troop voiced it loudly.

“They will help you walk!”

Sargent Bayfield intervened before his soldiers were able to protest any further. “Okay, message received. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

Troop let it drop, but he could tell Enler was worried. Callie patted Troop on the leg.
“Hey, how do you say ‘thank you’?”

Troop showed her the gesture, repeating it slowly, so she could mimic the sequence. It was a fairly easy concept to convey and didn’t have a lot of moving parts. Once she’d gotten it, Callie stood up and went over to where the new Ancervin were. She spoke to them as best she could.

As far as Troop could tell, they appreciated her effort. One of them responded and Callie looked to him for translation.

“He said they’re glad to be here. Eager for new pairings,” said Troop.

The Ancervin moved over, offering Callie a seat with them. She took it. Troop smiled, looking at the woman nestled in the crowd of aliens. There were plenty of times, after the explosion, he’d never imagined their lives would be good ever again. This, though. This was beyond any of his wildest expectations.

It was too bad it was only happening because the world was falling apart.

The sky ahead became a dark blotch of brown clouds, streaked with violet. It was enormous, turbulent, and looked worse than any hurricane Troop had ever heard of. They sped toward it.

“Excited air?” he asked Enler.

His antlers wiggled the response. “Very.”

It grew as they approached, until the monstrous storm filled half the sky. Their ride slid into the sandstorm and the glass windows were reduced to showing horizontal static. For all their earlier bravado, the soldiers seemed nervous. Everybody kept double checking that their gear was strapped down tight, and their suit seals were secure. Nobody was laughing by the time they went back underground and came to a stop.

This platform, unlike the others, didn’t look well-used. Drifts of sand and dust were piled everywhere. It was smaller, and there was only one exit. There was a long V-shaped hallway, angled to outside. In the distance, they could see the rushing wind at the entrance, like a speeding wall.

When the hatch opened, the wind came in with a scream and everything got loud again. The humans clambered out and while they stood on the deck, the Ancervin came over and paired off with their counterparts. Without asking permission, they each tethered themselves to a human. This time, nobody complained.

Stepping outside, the wind hit them like a hammer. The trail ran along a jagged crevasse. The bottom, shaped like a V, was only a few inches thick, and it was impossible to set a foot properly without twisting. Each step had to be made carefully centered, or be jammed in at an angle. The sides of the trench were shallow, and the baleful gusts clawed in with a vengeance. Troop might have guessed that the wind would be lessened down here, and it likely was, but even so, he felt himself being lifted. The air threatened to suck him out of the cover and drag him into the maelstrom. After less than a kilometer, he dropped to his knees, trying to crawl along the bottom. It didn’t help, and he kept finding himself being sucked upwards, desperately grabbing onto the ridges of rock and holding on for dear life. His knees, wedging into the stone, hurt more with every movement.

Enler saw his trouble and came close to help. He was hunched down as well, but wasn’t having nearly the same difficulty as Troop. His feet, able to function like climbing cams, kept him firmly rooted to the ground. He moved into position above Troop and straddled him, as if he were riding him like a horse. Above him like this, with spread legs, he was able to keep his friend from being drawn out of the gorge.

Troop continued his crawl. Every so often, he’d be lifted up and his back would hit Enler’s thighs. They didn’t shift with the impact, and the alien felt firmly rooted. Troop stopped worrying so much about clinging to the ground and focused on his forward momentum. He let the wind lift and drop him as much as it wanted, trusting that his partner above would keep him from harm. Arching his neck, he looked back to see that he wasn’t the only one traveling this way. All of the others were crawling along the ground, Ancervin on their backs, like some strange human caravan.

They were well into the night by the time they arrived at the barrier. Troop couldn’t see them, but he felt the blisters on his knees and palms. The rock had taken a painful toll.
He rolled onto his back, got his attention by slapping his leg, and did his best to ‘shout’ at Enler.

“I can’t do it in this. You open the way!” He unlatched the Knife from his belt and offered it up. Enler took it and scrambled to the barrier. He had to leave the gorge to make the cut. Troop could see that standing without cover took tremendous effort, and Enler was straining.

The barrier was a mellow indigo color here, but even the dim light it gave off was a glaring contrast in the swirling dust. Holding it tight, Enler drew the blade and plunged it into the wall of force.

He was just finishing the second cut when Troop felt the stones he’d been clutching crack. He spread his knees, trying to keep himself wedged, but it was no use. The wind had him.
Like a kite, he rose into the sky, jerking hard as he hit the end of the line that tethered him to Enler. His friend, unprepared, fell backwards and slid along the rocky ground, grabbing for purchase with one hand, while the other desperately held onto the Knife.

When Enler found it, the line went tight, scraped across the top of the ridge, and snapped.

Untethered, Troop careened into the alien whirlwind.

Chapter 5: The Gauntlet arrives on May 31st for free release!

Chapter 5: The Gauntlet arrives TODAY for my Patreon Subscribers! If you’re the impatient sort, and want the next chapter right now, become a patron @ https://www.patreon.com/judemire 

All my books, social media, and other fun stuff all in one handy link at:

Sign up for my monthly mailer! https://judemire.substack.com/

I’ve been adding to my online shop lately. If you want a Story Card or Signed Book in the mail, you can find them here:

Some other ways you can help with putting strange stories into the world and supporting my writing…

1. Sign up and become a patron: https://www.patreon.com/judemire 

2. Buy my books. For yourself or as gifts for the unsuspecting.

3. Rate and review my books on Amazon or Goodreads. This one is HUGE and wildly appreciated.

4. Comment on my social media posts. Likes and shares are good too, but they do less for the algorithm. Comments are king.

5. Feed me tacos and tequila.

(I’m not sure how much that last one helps with marketing, but I know I appreciate it!)