Kindness in Interesting Times

dreamstime_l_3242979-koipondlillies-workingWikipedia, the great source of all modern wisdom says that the saying, “May you live in interesting times” is an English translation of a traditional Chinese curse, although no actual Chinese source has ever been produced.

I am certain that anyone even vaguely aware of the recent state of affairs via media (both national and international) would say that we do indeed live in interesting times. The present is plagued with bad news, bad choices, bad behaviors–even bad weather–and the future is looking pretty dim, as well. It’s almost like there’s something in the air.

Lately, I’ve been struggling with the idea of karma and wondering whether humanity in general is trotting down the path to the dark side. I grew up in the heyday of Mad Magazine, when the cold war and civil rights movement provided rich pickings for satiric humor.  This year, I can scarcely believe what is happening: to Native Americans and journalists in North Dakota, or our presidential election, or to American citizens at the hands of police in so many of our cities, or even the homeless in my own state. I’m not blaming social media, but there is a lot of negativity going on there, too. Almost as if the pink slime in Ghostbusters has become an airborne virus.

Lately, I find myself stunned at the smallest courtesy. The woman at the bank who asked for my drivers license and said I looked far younger than my birthdate–or my photo.  The sincerity of my new co-workers when they tell me I’m doing a great job (and there’s no but or ulterior motive behind it). A chance comment on social media from a friend that came a just the right time–and the following exchange that made me feel blessed to be able to call this person my friend.

This past couple of weeks have been particularly difficult for me, with one thing hitting right after another.  On one hand, I’ve leveled up in my career in the last six months. I’m still in the kiddie pool, but it’s a much nicer pool.  At the same time, my personal life is teetering at the edge of a vortex of suck, and in spite of all my efforts, the gravitational pull of inevitability is dominating most of my thoughts. The hole is getting deeper. I’ve found myself wondering (more than a little) if all the bad things I’ve done in my life are catching up to me.

And maybe from my last couple of lives, too.

Before I became a writer, I did not accept compliments well or easily. Perhaps it was the nature of my job (engineering and technology, then). ‘Good’ was a statistical measurement, not a matter of karma. If it was important, it must be measured, and achievements measured against goals.  Either you made it, or you didn’t.  Your career trajectory bore a direct correlation to your ability to deliver results to predefined goals.  Your number against goal was all that mattered.  No mystery there.

dreamstime_l_14863611And then, out of the blue today, a blessing is bestowed for no good reason. A significant gesture, from an unexpected quarter. Not a solution, not a handout, but a kindness and a gift of grace. And the reason stated was simply this: what goes around comes around, and this time, it’s come around to me.

As writers, we are far more attuned to the concept of karma and the continual conflict between good and–for lack of a better word– not good.  Of course, in fiction, good does not always win out in the end–it does not always balance out. Life is like that too. But if we’ve got to live in interesting times,  I like the idea that one good turn deserves another.

Maybe there’s someone in your life who has done good turn for you in the past. Maybe you return the kindness today. Sometimes, a kind word is all it takes to make a world of difference to someone.  We could all use a little extra kindness in the world, don’t you think?



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Proud SFWA Member

sfwa-cardloresLook what I just got in the mail–my  membership card for the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.

Gorgeous, isn’t it? There are two different styles, the other style (equally awesome) has more of a fantasy theme, but I am so glad that Cat Rambo (SFWA president and all-around nice person) chose to send me this Science Fiction image, which is my favorite of the two.

Although I joined the group of 1900 professional authors, artists, and allied professionals  last year, these membership cards are new. Joining SFWA is a rite of passage most speculative fiction writers aspire to reach, and it’s not an easy thing to accomplish. Full membership requires a minimum number of paid sales (at pro rates) in professional/vetted publications. For me, membership is one of the first affirmations to myself and the writing community at large that I am, indeed, a ‘real’ writer.

The membership card is a tangible reminder of that.

About SFWA

“SFWA is an organization for published authors and industry professionals in the fields of science fiction, fantasy, and related genres. Founded in 1965, SFWA informs, supports, promotes, defends, and advocates for its members. We host the prestigious Nebula Awards at our annual SFWA Nebula Conference, assist members in legal disputes with publishers, offer the Speakers Bureau, administer grants to SFF community organizations and members facing medical or legal expenses.

Novice authors benefit from our Information Center and well-known Writer Beware site. Between online discussion boards, private convention suites, and a host of less formal gatherings, SFWA is a source of information, education, support, and fellowship for its members.”

To find out more, visit their website at

sfwacard2loresScience Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America  is now a proper 501(c)(3) charity, and the cards are a reminder of both the benefits and responsibilities of membership. I just sent them a tax-deductible donation to:

P. O. Box 3238
Enfield, CT 06083

I’ve marked my check “where the need is greatest”.

It feels good.

Posted in 2016, 501 charity, Donate, SFWA, Sharon Joss | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Mystic Jive Release Day – Hand of Fate Book Four



Mystic Jive

MYSTIC JIVE by Sharon Joss

Nothing can hurt the dead. They’re lucky that way.

As Mattie Blackman’s personal life with Rhys heats up, the dead frantically appeal to the Hand of Fate for help. An ancient evil is stirring.

Cursed by a vindictive cult of sorcerers that law enforcement doesn’t dare confront, Mattie gathers her friends and allies to stop a dark ritual with the power to tear her whole world apart.


And there’s more…

And if that wasn’t enough, Brothers of the Fang, my ‘other’ urban fantasy, is free for the next few days only. Grab a free copy while you can. Let me know if you like it!

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Brothers of the Fang


FREE on Amazon until 8/28

Detective Mike Bane is a shape shifter with two beasts: a 300-lb black jaguar with a taste for turtle meat, and a psychotic Olmec shaman named Tehuantl with a taste for blood.

When Mike accepts a security job at Mythica, America’s only supernatural theme park, he discovers an unexpected kinship with the park’s werewolf pack. But when his curiosity gets the best of him, he’s ensnared in a centuries-old feud between Mythica’s vampires and the fae of the neighboring High Tor clan. Only Tehuantl’s magic can save Mike’s brothers of the fang; in return, Tehuantl wants permanent possession of Mike’s body, mind, and soul.

Posted in 2016, Demons & Devils, Hand of Fate, Mystic Jive, New Release, paranormal romance, Psychics, Sharon Joss, urban fantasy, Witches & Wizards | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wonderful WorldCon – Kansas City 2016


Home from Kansas City, jiggety-jig.
My third WorldCon, and I am starting to get the hang of it. At least the daytime part.

My first time as panelist at a WorldCon, and I was a bit intimidated, but it was a lot of fun. The Galaxy’s Edge reading was full of friends and afterwards, total  strangers came up to me and said they enjoyed it. Many thanks to editor Mike Resnick and publisher Shahid Mahmud for inviting me to read.  I even had an autograph signing (that I swear I don’t remember signing up for), and people came and had me sign copies of the Galaxy’s Edge edition my story was in, which was terrific.

AutographsigningWORLDCON2016loresThe Urban Fantasy myths discussion was in a huge room, and reasonably well attended. The moderator, Dana Cameron did a great job moderating, and I think everyone had a good time. And the three technology panels (including my first time as a WorldCon moderator) were all standing room only and went pretty swimmingly, I think–even though I felt pretty outclassed by the other panelists. Very savvy audiences, and I I loved the positive energy in the sessions. The Lab disasters panel was like a comedy club–people actually laughed, so…I’m counting that as a win.




Steve Pantazis, Martin Shoemaker, C Stuart Hardwick & me at the Analog party–Stuart has a story in this month’s magazine!

The Hugo awards this year seemed to go over much better this year than last–I watched the live feed in the comfortable and considerably less-crowded SFWA suite, where I also attended the Analog / Asimov’s party (the cakes for that party were gorgeous).

I also attended my first SFWA meeting, which was both interesting and educational. Joining SFWA was an important step for me, and I was pleasantly surprised by the informality of the meeting, and the approachability and forthcoming honesty of the board members.  In an organization this large and with such a long history, it’s a given that some members are resistant to change, but I heard only courteous responses and patient explanations to questions from the members.

WorldCon is PeopleCon

I loved catching up with my friends (old and new, many whom I only knew online) and being inspired by their successes over the past year.  Their short story sales, novel releases, and agents signings made me even more determined to a) write more short stories, b) publish more and better novels, and c) develop an agent-worthy novel or series. And there were quite a lot of indie publishing discussions, which was really fun.

I probably won’t make it to WorldCon next year–it’s in Helsinki, but in 2018, it will be in San Jose California.  I’ll be there.

Posted in 2016, Analog, Asimov's, MidAmeriCon II, Sharon Joss, urban fantasy, Worldcon, writers, writers conference | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My WorldCon / MidAmeriCon II Schedule

MidAmericon_IILess than three weeks to WorldCon!  I’ve got a lot to get done, and the clock is ticking.

MysticJiveloresI am planning to have a couple of Advance Reader Copies of Mystic Jive with me. Bring a copy of one of my books (or a short story!) to sign (Thursday at 3pm is your best bet), and I’ll give you a free ARC.  First come, first serve, while supplies last.

Here’s my WorldCon / MidAmeriCon II schedule. I’ll update this as I fill up time.


14:00 – 15:00 (Kansas City Convention Center) 2202
Special group reading featuring authors from the Arc Manor & Galaxy’s Edge Magazine. I’ll be reading from my story, “Ides of Nevah-Nevah
With: Mike Resnick (M), Tina Gower,  Alex Shvartsman, Marina J. Lostetter

15:00 – 16:00, Autographing Space (Kansas City Convention Center)
If you’re looking to find me for a book signing, and an advanced reader copy of Mystic Jive, this is the place. Me, with Anna Kashina, Jason Sanford, and John W. Campbell award winner, Mur Lafferty

18:00 – 19:00  (Kansas City Convention Center) 2208
The Real Lab
Sometimes things go very right in the lab, and sometimes things go horribly wrong. Professional scientists discuss the sometimes terrifying, often hilarious, crazy things that can happen when working in the lab. How does science happen and is it really as clean cut and precise as we are led to believe? How has science organized itself so that error corrects solid knowledge out of the human stew?
With: Dr Helen Pennington, Dr. Ronald Taylor, MR. Donald Douglas Fratz, Benjamin C. Kinney (I’m moderating this one)

19:00 – 20:00 (Kansas City Convention Center) 2208
Biology: The New Hard SF
It’s been 20 years (at least) since space travel and physics problems could credibly claim to be at the centre of “hard SF:” the biological sciences, from genomics to ecology, seem more central to our future. What narrative opportunities does biology offer SF writers? Which stories make the most of those opportunities, and which fall into common traps? And what areas does SF need to further explore?
With: Mr. Leo d’Entremont (M), S.B. Divya, Dr. Tom Easton, Robert J. Sawyer

09:00-10:00 Private Writers Breakfast

15:00 – 16:00 (Kansas City Convention Center) 2503B
Legends and Myths in Urban Fantasy
Most urban fantasy draws upon folklore and legnds. How do these old mystical beliefs inform modern fantasy? What place does magic have in downtown New York, Mexico City, or London? Do the rules of magic and the supernatural change between when you cross between city street and countryside?
With: Dana Cameron (M), Randy Henderson, Yanni Kuznia, Chelsea Mueller


11:00 – 13:00    2205 – A/V (Kansas City Convention Center)
SFWA Business Meeting  
SFWA members only. Latest updates from the board about what SFWA has been doing and what plans are in place for the next year.  Cat Rambo (M), M.C.A. Hogarth, Bud Sparhawk, Sarah Pinsker, Kate Baker, Matthew Johnson, Jennifer Brozek, Susan Forest, Dr. Lawrence M. Schoen

16:00 – 17:00 (Kansas City Convention Center)  2206
Science That Inspired Science Fiction Authors
A panel of science fiction authors talk about the scientific research and breakthroughs that inspired them to become science fiction authors.
With: Renée Sieber, Paul Dale Anderson, Matthew Hughes, Bradley Denton (M)

17:00-19:00 – Private Dinner

19:00 – ?? Hugo Awards
Last year I watched livestream from the bar, but I could be anywhere.


Home again, home again, jiggity-jig.

Posted in 2016, Galaxy's Edge, MidAmeriCon II, Sharon Joss, Worldcon, WorldCon Schedule 2016 | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

MYSTIC JIVE Cover Reveal



Coming soon to a bookseller near you, MYSTIC JIVE!  Release day is in less than a month away, and there’s still so much more to do.  I’m starting to ramp up the promotion right now, so you’ll be seeing more about this in coming weeks.
This is the fourth book in my Hand of Fate  urban fantasy series.  Book 1 in the series, DESTINY BLUES, is free, so grab your copy while you can now on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, or wherever you buy e-books.

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Upcoming Appearances

WorldCon / MidAmeriCon II is next month, in beautiful St. Louis, MO. I’ll be doing a group reading for Galaxy’s Edge magazine and several other panels. In addition to copies of my short stories, I’m hoping to have a few copies of MYSTIC JIVE on hand to give away (first come, first serve) to people who ask me to sign paperback versions of Destiny Blues, Legacy Soul, or Chaos Karma.

I’ll also be attending OryCon in Portland, Oregon in November–look for me there.

Posted in 2016, book signing, Chaos Karma, Cover Reveal, Destiny Blues, Galaxy's Edge, Hand of Fate, Legacy Soul, Marketing Plan, MidAmeriCon II, Mystic Jive, Orycon, reading, reading out loud, Sharon Joss, urban fantasy, Worldcon, writers | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hand of Fate: Destiny Blues – Book 1 | Sharon Joss

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Destiny Blues, first novel in the HAND OF FATE series, is now available at ALL online retailers for FREE   Amazon   Apple iTunes    Barnes & Noble    Kobo

Sign up for my mailing list (here) and get another book free. You’ll get occasional newsletters with release updates, and a chance at other free goodies.
Your information will never be shared and you can cancel at any time.

Some people attract stray cats. With Mattie Blackman, it’s demons.

At work, in her car, even at the foot of her bed. And with the FBI on the hunt for a rogue demon master, she’s desperate to get rid of them. Thwarted at every turn to solve her problem through legitimate channels, she turns to Shore Haven’s sexy mage for the answer: a fate she refuses to accept.
But as the serial killer’s victims pile up, Mattie realizes there’s only one way to stop a demon master. To save her friends and the people she loves, Mattie must choose between her life and her destiny.

Fans of Mercy Thompson, Stephanie Plum, or the Iron Druid will likely enjoy this series.

“…amusingly off-beat…fun…romp.”
– Locus

Destiny Blues is the first book in the Hand of Fate urban fantasy series.

Posted in 2016, Chaos Karma, Destiny Blues, Free Books, Hand of Fate, Harry Dresden, Iron Druid, Jim Butcher, Kevin Hearne, Legacy Soul, Mercy Thompson, paranormal, Patricia Briggs, series, Sharon Joss, Stephanie Plum, supernatural, supernatural thriller, urban fantasy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment