First off, I have to just say thank you to everyone who was so incredibly supportive in rushing off to sign up for this newsletter. You are all amazing and deeply appreciated. ? Writers really need support of the kind you’ve just gifted me. We really need to know someone is reading our words, whether it’s the books or a newsletter like this, because that gives us the ability to keep writing when the words aren’t flowing, or other stressors are competing for brain space.

I have been told for ages “You must have a newsletter!” But honestly, I only read a couple people’s newsletters (Chaz Brenchly and Warren Ellis —oh, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and I wasn’t convinced that most people have the time in their day for such things.

Indeed, I think the only reason I am finally getting around to doing this is simply because I miss LiveJournal (yeah, I’m old as the dinosaurs ?), and I’m kinda seeing this newsletter as my place to talk about the experiences of being an indie-published writer, in a way that Facebook never really has been. I’ll finally have a space to talk about how complicated and challenging it’s all been (as well as exciting and thrilling) with people who actually want to hear about it.

My plan for these newsletters is to have them be a mix of “What’s Raven Working On Now?” and “Where Can You Buy Raven’s New Thing?” (everyday I’m hustlin’ hustlin’) and then just me rambling on about my life, both as an author-trying-to-make-it, and just life in general. I think if I strike that balance right, these newsletters will be fun and rewarding for me to write, and for you to read, and I won’t just be shouting tedious self-promotion into a void.

My name’s Raven Belasco, and I’m a dark fantasy writer. These newsletters are about my work and that #authorlife. Updates out bimonthly(ish) to subscribers. Feel free to send your friends to, where they can read the most recent letters and subscribe.

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We are getting closer to The Big Announcement, but I keep finding fiddling little details that need to get sorted out first. I hope this is resulting in a frisson of anticipatory delight for you all, and is not just completely annoying! Anyway, I keep having to tell various people about various things, so I’m not even sure it will be a surprise to anyone by the day of The Big Reveal. ?

The newsletters are going to be really stuffed with news for some time to come, after that, since I will finally be able to TALK ABOUT STUFF, which I’ve been desperately wanting to do for ages.

That New Orleans writer’s retreat

There was no formal event, I just really needed some space to focus on the next story in the Blood & Ancient Scrolls series for a while. This is not Book IV, but a third novella in the series, and tells the story of Dubhghall and Wulfhram, whom you met in passing in Blood Ex Libris.

The downside of the “travel to go write somewhere” is that my chronic illness is not just something I can ignore when I feel like it. (If I could—!) So I lost the first three days of being down in N’awlins to an incapacitating migraine. I couldn’t write, I couldn’t do tourist stuff, just lie in a strange bed and be miserable that I’d been so foolish as to think my illness would let me have nice things.

But, as you probably saw from the socials, I eventually managed to shake that off, and the writing—and eating!—could commence. It was so wonderful to just be able to sit and write without anything else impinging on my thoughts or interrupting my flow.

Once the story starts rolling, I really need to be able to let it out onto the page, without interruption. In that way, the fact that I needed to crank out Blood Sine Qua Non and Blood Ad Infinitum on such tight deadlines is really what got me through the first two years of the Pandemic; I was kinda in the same universe as everyone else, but really I was escaping via the act of writing. Anyway, all the jokes about basement-dwelling misanthropic writers were basically true about me for all that time—our noble co-author was pretty much the only reason I ever saw the outdoors, because he demanded his walkies, dammit! ?

As I was giving Cairngorm his morning walkies today, however, a whole new aspect to the story unfolded in my head. Which would be great, except that I’d been planning on this being a roughly 10,000 word novella, and now we’ll be lucky if I manage to keep under 40,000. Which is going to throw off all my planning for everything else in my life. (Except dog walks, obvs!)

It’s the Bag Guy, again. ? If you’ll remember, in BSQN, Orélie-Antoine de Tounens (the “Self-Anointed”) wrote himself into the book when I already had one perfectly evil Baddie, which made me have to scramble and rework the whole second half of the book right when I was supposed to be tying everything up. Similar deal here. I basically have no control over these characters, they are just doing what they like and I have to try and keep up. ?

Signing off for now

OK, I’m going to go work on a thousand things, in hopes that if I get enough of them done, the next newsletter will be The Big Announcement. Have a great week, and thank you, thank you for supporting my writing! ???

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