Category Archives: Coming Titles

These Books, Those Books

The revisions for Breath of Stone are nearly complete!  Folks over at Patreon are getting a sneak-peak, and I’ll have a release date set for everyone within the coming week.

522-BreathOfStone-cover - CopyThe outlines for the third and fourth novels in the series are growing muscle and flesh, in no small part because of the contributions made by Patreon folks.  One patron opted for the reward of becoming a character in the novel, and the ensuing discussion of what role the character would play has providing a strong subplot and cultural creation.  Another patron’s input on medical matters has created an entire character arc I might not have considered otherwise.  And yet another has provided information on some travel opportunities that’ll enhance the upcoming two novels.

Sure, the actual putting-words-on-paper part of writing is solitary.  But you know what?  My actual writing process has always been based on community, and for that I am so grateful.

Speaking of community, I’ve met some fantastic, smart, and supportive writers through the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off, and am doubly happy to have the chance to work with some of them through StoryBundle.  The top ten novels are available in a single bundle for one more week.

All Covers LargeYou will like these novels, my darlings.  But you don’t have to take my word for it.  (Though why you wouldn’t is absolutely beyond my ken…)  The books in the bundle have been extensively viewed, reviewed, and vetted by ten great book bloggers.  Take their word for it.  And mine.  Combine our words, for heaven’s sake.

And choose what you’d like to pay for the bundle.  And, if you’d like, send some of that chosen payment toward Girls Write Now.

And speaking of the SPFBO, I’ve opted to submit Sword and Chant for the upcoming round, and it looks like I’ve been assigned to the good folks over at Fantasy Faction.  Someone asked me if that increased or decreased my “chances” of moving ahead.  The answer is… who knows!  I suppose I could spend a ton of time analyzing their tastes and preferences, but it in the end, such scrying won’t mean a thing.  Taste is taste, and how a story strikes a reader can change depending on the day, on what was read before, on what was read after.

SwordAndChant-cover1-white-2500pxAnd  I’ve said before, it’s a different sort of novel–written in omni, with a very large cast, that plays with tropes about blood, assassins, gods, and rebellions.  It’s my heart-novel, in many ways.  I’d guess about a third of folks who start Sword and Chant decide it is so  not the story they want, and many of the things those readers dislike are the things other readers do like.  The cool thing about self-publishing is I can choose to keep writing for folks who like it. 🙂

But to make myself (and, hopefully, you!) happy I’ve also opted to put it on sale.

 

#SFWApro

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover Reveal: Breath of Stone

Thanks to the wonderful work of Cabil Services, we have the perfect cover for Breath of Stone.

522-BreathOfStone-cover - Copy

 

I love it.  I love, love, love it.  And I totally love how the two covers work together.

Now: One of the most wonderful comments a writer can hear from readers is, “I hope there’s a sequel!”  And I do a happy dance of joy for each reader who said that after reading Sand of Bone.

I so wanted to have that sequel, Breath of Stone, completed for you by the end of April.  Alas, it simply isn’t going to happen without sacrificing quality (and sleep, and sanity, and paying my electric bill…).  In the spirit of total honesty, I confess I both greatly overestimated what I could accomplish in the time available to me and greatly underestimated the number of life events that would demand my time and emotional energy.

I hope to do better on both in the future, and apologize for the delay.

The revised target date is July 2015.  The additional time will make it a better story.

See, the thing is, I’m really excited about the story Breath of Stone is shaping up to be.  There’s all the action and intrigue of Bone, but the stakes are higher, the choices more brutal, and the characters more demanding of their own dwindling faith.  No one reaches the end unscathed.

Actually, no one reaches the halfway point unscathed.

But for all the darkness, there is hope and devotion and deserved loyalty as well.

And though Breath of Stone completes the major story arcs set forth in Sand of Bone, there are plenty of openings for another pair of novels if y’all tell me, “I hope there’s a sequel!” again.

So.  July.

Thank you for understanding, my darlings.  I intend to give you a story worth the wait.  You deserve nothing less.

And if you want to be among the first to access Breath of Stone, receive a free ebook of Serpent Heart, and have input on future projects, consider signing up for the Sand and Stone Newsletter.

 

#SFWApro

 

 

 

More of What Ends Up In the Book

Once upon a time, I lived near deserts and I loved them. It was natural, then, that deserts became the living and breathing setting for Sand of Bone.

When I was a kid, my grandparents owned a piece of desert property outfitted with a one-room cabin outside Apple Valley, California, on the edge of the Mojave Desert. Apple Valley was a little tiny place at the time – less than a tenth of the population it is now – and for a kid raised in the suburbs of Orange County, it was about as middle-of-nowhere as I could imagine.

Our family spent a few weekends every year up there. It being the late 70’s, my parents let me roam the desert at will for hours as long as I promised to never try to catch a snake or explore the abandoned mineshafts.

Continue reading More of What Ends Up In the Book

Sand of Bone – Chapter 7

Exiles on the run.  Divine rulers fighting to control the desert’s elements.  Dead people secretly walking the sands in search of redemption…

Sand of Bone is the first of two (maybe three…?) novels set in the desert land of SheyKhala.  A new chapter will be posted every Thursday until the novel’s publication in the summer of 2013.

To start with Chapter 1, click here.

Chapter 7

Shella knew she was still weak from her injuries because it didn’t occur to her to question Syrina’s decision to lock her up.  A Blade who wouldn’t look her in the eye had helped her to limp downstairs, below the stronghold, to a cell scarcely as deep as she was tall.  Then he’d set a lamp on the floor and locked the solid iron door behind her—all before she thought to ask why.  The cell held only a small covered pail in the far corner and a narrow bench that jutted from the wall.  Shella wrinkled her nose at the pail, then straddled the bench and lay back to stare at the low and dark ceiling.  Her hand moved to catch her nonexistent sword, finding nothing but air.  Without the weapon and her leathers, she felt almost naked.

Facing down Syrina had exhausted her as much as her own gall had unnerved her.  But the internal voice that had warned her against accusing Raskah in Court had been silent throughout Syrina’s questioning.  Perhaps the truth had become an intoxication of sorts, robbing her of reason, leaving her to again await the whim of a Velshaan to discover if she would live or die.

Continue reading Sand of Bone – Chapter 7

Sand of Bone — Chapter 6

Exiles on the run.  Divine rulers fighting to control the desert’s elements.  Dead people secretly walking the sands in search of redemption…

Sand of Bone is the first of two (maybe three…?) novels set in the desert world of SheyKhala.  A new chapter will be posted every Thursday until the novel’s publication in the summer of 2013.

To start with Chapter 1, click here.

Chapter 6

Shella surfaced from a pool of fragmented memories.  Scorching heat and biting cold.  An expanse of parched earth as wide as the sky.  Her numb and trembling body always moving onward.  A voice she almost recognized.  Later, a pair of gentle hands and kind voices, a soft place to rest, the marrow-deep ache of exhaustion and healing.

Her vision wavered when she first opened her eyes, but the shifting images slowly coalesced into a single steady one that emerged from the haze.  Dingy curtains around her cot diffused sunlight to a mild glow.  Discovering her confines were cloth instead of iron brought a sigh of relief.  She felt thirsty, hungry, and hurt.  But above all, Shella felt safe.

Continue reading Sand of Bone — Chapter 6

Sand of Bone – Chapter 5

Exiles on the run.  Divine rulers fighting to control the desert’s elements.  Dead people secretly walking the sands in search of redemption…

Sand of Bone is the first of two (maybe three…?) novels set in the desert world of SheyKhala.  A new chapter will be posted every Thursday until the novel’s publication in the summer of 2013.

To start with Chapter 1, click here.

Chapter 5

Commander Pyrius, once the most respected Blade commander in SheyKhala, rode an old and feeble horse across the barren landscape that surrounded Exile Stronghold.  The wind shifted as the sun slid beneath the sands, its sudden chill making Pyrius shiver.  Within a month, the night air would be cold enough to bite through leather.  Tonight, he knew, it would merely set his joints to aching.

Pyrius’s nightsight adjusted after a few rapid blinks, washing the landscape of color in exchange for sharp clarity in an infinite palette of deep gray and soft silver.  He’d once spent hours staring at the night and concocting metaphors that could let Shella “see” the beauty those with nightsight took for granted.  His attempts at poetry always sounded better in his thoughts than when he spoke them aloud, but Shella claimed to love them all.  Then she’d take hold of his arms and pull him close, matching her lips to his until nightsight didn’t matter and the only beauty that existed was held within his arms.

He let the horse amble along the ridgetop road to Exile, where Blades were dumped onto the dirt, and had to choose to struggle onward or lie down to die.  Over a year had passed since he’d found the last exile, and nearly two years since the bloodkin had recalled an exile home.  But he still rode out every dawn and every dusk, and the exiles still looked at him in expectation when he returned.  Were it not for Velshaan Syrina, who spent most all her time in the little tower chamber she’d claimed her first night, Pyrius might believe Exile Stronghold–his meager command of twenty-six outcast Blades–had been completely and deliberately forgotten.

Then Pyrius glimpsed movement, a long shadow creeping through the eroded gully below.  Continue reading Sand of Bone – Chapter 5

Sand of Bone – Chapter 4

Exiles on the run.  Divine rulers fighting to control the desert’s elements.  Dead people secretly walking the sands in search of redemption…

Sand of Bone is the first of two (maybe three…?) novels set in the desert world of SheyKhala.  A new chapter will be posted every Thursday until the novel’s publication in the summer of 2013.  My apologies for the delay on this posting; sometimes life goes sideways.

To start with Chapter 1, click here.

Chapter 4

Raskah had barely sent his discreet courier—bearing his latest commands to the commander in Ebon Stronghold—out a side passage to avoid being seen when word came that a pair of Blades had returned from their desert foray.  Iron rod in hand, he swept down the stairs before sharing the news with his bloodkin.  Both Blades, still dusty from travel and smelling of horse, knelt when he entered the audience chamber beside Court.  Blade Hita rose first; she’d been a member of Raskah’s cadre long enough grow comfortable.

“You may go,” Raskah told her.  “I’ll hear the report from Riner.”

He smiled at Hita’s confusion, and the embarrassment that pinked her cheeks.  If she was to be paired with the newest recruit to his cadre, she’d best remember to set a more respectful example.

Blade Riner didn’t rise—didn’t even raise his head—until Hita the clatter of her iron-edged boots faded, and Raskah said his name.  The Blade looked up and met his gaze directly.  It was how the man balanced deference with confidence that pleased Raskah.

Continue reading Sand of Bone – Chapter 4

Sand of Bone – Chapter 3

Exiles on the run.  Divine rulers fighting to control the desert’s elements.  Dead people secretly walking the sands in search of redemption…

Sand of Bone is the first of two (maybe three…?) novels set in the desert world of SheyKhala.  A new chapter will be posted every Thursday until the novel’s publication in the summer of 2013. 

To start with Chapter 1, click here.

Chapter 3

Not even the midday sun, nigh hot enough to crisp supper’s bread on stone, burned as hotly as Shella’s anger.  She strode from the Blade compound, satchel hitched over her shoulder, and entered the city of Prime without breaking stride.  People on the street, shoppers making daily purchases, vendors hawking their wares, workers on errands—all stepped aside when they saw her approach.  More than a few murmured, “The comdar is angry.”

Though twenty-seven comdars held permanent residence in Prime Stronghold, everyone knew which comdar was angry.  Shella’s temper was as well-known as her expertise in the training arena.  The latter had garnered a large degree of indulgence for the former.

Had her temper learned to be as cunning as her sword, she might have been promoted to commander a decade ago.  The night she’d figured that out, she drank herself into a fury and hacked the hostel’s main bar to pieces before her companions could drag her out without getting themselves maimed.  Come morning, she’d had a magnificent hangover, an impressive bill from the hostelkeeper, a month of barracks confinement to endure, and a cool acceptance of her stunted career.  Her armbands of comdar’s copper would never be elevated to commander’s bronze.

Continue reading Sand of Bone – Chapter 3

Sand of Bone — Chapter Two

Exiles on the run.  Divine rulers fighting to control the desert’s elements.  Dead people secretly walking the sands in search of redemption…

Sand of Bone is the first of two (maybe three…?) novels set in the desert world of SheyKhala.  A new chapter will be posted every Thursday until the novel’s publication in the summer of 2013. 

To start with Chapter 1, click here.

Chapter 2

Fear slammed her from sleep already tormented with dreams of her brother.  Syrina clenched her teeth against another cry, and grabbed at her throat to tear away the sensation of fingers digging beneath her jaw.  Though she drew her knees to her chest, invisible fists hit her gut and left her struggling to breathe.  Another blow fell, then another.  She stifled her cries in the thin straw mattress, beat her fists against it as if she could drive away her non-existent attacker.  Her cry rose into a wail when heat lanced deep into her shoulder, tearing flesh and muscle from bone, stealing breath and sight and sound and thought—

It stopped.

Her body throbbed with the memory.  She let herself sob as the ache settled deep in her bones, then she sat up and hung her head between her knees.

Syrina knew better than to search for blood or bruises to prove the ordeal real.  Twice before she’d awakened to a beating, and each time had nothing to show but the memory.  She’d screamed for help the first time, only to be told that no one had entered her chamber and no marks could be found.  The second time had been worse than the first, but the result had been the same.  The surgeon had gone so far as to suggest—carefully, and in low whispers—that she had perhaps kept herself in solitude too long.

In any other place in SheyKhala, the merest intimation that one of the Velshaan might be unstable would see the offender arrested, flogged, and then caged in a wagon destined to be fed to the sands, or abandoned to Exile Stronghold.  But the surgeon was already in Exile, just like she was.  Only by beating him, starving him, or locking him in the underground cells could she make his life much worse.  So Syrina had given him sharp thanks for his concern and dismissed him.  She didn’t speak of it again.  But this nightmare…  Hallucination… Continue reading Sand of Bone — Chapter Two