THE BROKEN BELL released Tuesday, December 27

It's very nearly December 27, and that can mean only one thing...

Yes, yes, all right, that means it's nearly Tuesday.  That's not what I'm referring to. And yes, December 27 also marks the last air date of the Carol Burnett Show on CBS, but again, that's not what I mean.

My new book The Broken Bell hits the stands tomorrow, bright and early, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and  Samhain Publishing. This is the sixth entry in the Markhat series, and it's the longest and I think the best yet.

What's The Broken Bell about, you ask?

Well, without giving too much away, I'll say this -- it's about love and hope and fear and loss.  There will be war, and rumors of war. Grooms will vanish, leaving empty altars and determined brides behind.  Dark sorceries will arise. Mama Hog will grumble and stomp. A blood-feud will spill out of quaint, far-off Pot Lockney and come tramping right to Markhat's door.

And through it all, Markhat will muddle ahead, through murder, mayhem, and magic, if need be.

And need will be.  I broke Rannit's peace in this one, boys and girls.  Things will never be same.

To all my Markhat fans, this new one is for all of you.  To anyone who hasn't read any of the series and who's understandably hesitant to dive in, well, why not check out something shorter first, just see if you like the tone and flavor of the thing?  The Cadaver Client is short and a lot of fun, and it's only a couple of bucks (that was the Kindle version; here's one for your Nook).

Still not convinced?  Fine.  Here's the first couple of pages, with helpful links at the bottom, because I'm nothing if not helpful, especially where your money is concerned.


Babysitting banshees is a nerve-wracking business.
And after a morning with Buttercup, my nerves were not only wracked but wrecked and possibly wreaked as well.
Buttercup is all of four feet tall. She weighs forty pounds soaking wet with a big rock in each hand. And despite what you’ve heard about banshees, there isn’t a mean bone in her tiny body.
But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t enjoy a bit of old-fashioned banshee mischief when Mama Hog and Gertriss are away and there’s no one but Uncle Markhat to play with.
Buttercup’s favorite game is to make that banshee hop-step that transports her from place to place without the trouble and fuss of walking through the space between her and, for instance, the top of my desk.
Hop, appear, giggle, hop. From desktop to floor and back again, all in the space of a blink, with my good black hat clutched in her tiny banshee hands.
“That’s my good hat, sweetie.” I put on my most winning talking-to-the-kids smile. Darla claims it looks more like a grimace, as though someone was stepping on my toes, but it’s the best I can do. “Let’s find something else to play with.”
Hop blur, hop blur. She went from floor to desktop, vanished, poked me in the small of my back and was gone when I turned.
Shoes came tap-tap-tapping right up to my door. Not men’s shoes, but female ones.
They stopped. The lady knocked. No hesitation, no furtiveness.
Buttercup appeared at my side. She put my hat in my hand and clung to my leg with what I fervently hoped was purely platonic fervor.
She might be tiny, and she might be a thousand years old, but I’m very nearly a married man, I’m told.
“In the back. Get under the covers. Don’t make a sound ’til I come get you.”
Buttercup doesn’t speak much Kingdom, but she understands it well enough. She nodded once and was gone. I heard my bedsprings squeak through the door Buttercup hadn’t bothered to open.
I put my hat on the rack—right above the new tan raincoat Darla had left there the day before.
Funny. The hat was a gift from Darla too. I wondered how long it would be before my entire wardrobe was the product of Darla’s keen eye for my clothes.
The lady at my door knocked again. Three-leg Cat rose, arched his back and yawned silently before sauntering toward the door, eager to slip outside.
I forced a smile and obliged cat and woman.
Darla stood at my door, grinning. Three-leg dashed between her ankles, circling her once and issuing a rough loud purr before darting away at a three-legged gallop.
 “Mama swears you’ve never risen before noon.” Darla’s brown eyes glinted. She was wearing something high-necked and purple, and the one hand I could see was wearing a silk glove. “Are you sure you’re decent at this unholy hour?”
I made a show of looking at my elegantly rumpled attire. “I seem to be clothed, though by whom I don’t recall. Do come in, Miss Tomas. And bring that picnic basket with you.”
Darla glided in, and the heavenly smells that wafted up from the basket she carried came with her.
The basket wound up on my desk while we greeted each other. Clever devil that I am, I managed to snag a sticky bun from the basket and bring it up and around Darla so that I had a bite ready when we finished the good morning kiss.
Darla turned and laughed and took a bite and then we sat.
I chewed and swallowed. The bun was hot and sweet and perfectly baked.
I took another bite and lifted an eyebrow.
“So, what brings you out with the wagons, Darla dearest?” I asked. “It’s so early the vampires haven’t taken to their crypts yet.”
One of the many things I like about Darla is her utter lack of pretense.
“I’m here to ply you with pastries and my feminine wiles. I want to hire you, Mister Markhat. I want you to find someone for me.”
I choked down my sticky bun. All the play was gone from her eyes, all the mirth from her voice. She had her hands in her lap and she was not smiling. I’d only seen her do this once before.
“Tell me.”

Hooked yet?  Desperate to know what happens next? Have five bucks on ya?

Then get thee to the links below, gentle reader, and welcome to Rannit!

The Broken Bell, for the Nook

The Broken Bell, for the Kindle

The Broken Bell, any other format

One last thing -- if you get the book, and you like it, please consider leaving a review with Amazon, B&N, or Samhain.  We authors live or die by word of mouth, and living is considerably more fun than dying.