Upwelling

          A fall of leaves, dark red
               spilling from the dogwood spray
                    against the deep green mass of the cedar

 
          Is it heart’s blood?
               No

 
          Trees don’t bleed
               Nor do I

 
          It only feels as though
               my tears were blood
                    when there are no tears, but should be

 
          My loss gapes
               like a wound
                    a desperate wound

 
          But I forgot how to sob
               decades ago

 
          The first time I lost her
               I wept
                    every night I wept, in secret I wept

 
          That time
               she came back from the lost
                    this time there will be no returning

 
          And this time
               I must allow nature to weep for me, bleed for me
                    mirror my loss in this, her season

 

In memory of my mother:
Beauty in the Close
Beacons Unreachable
Too Late
One Crossing
Grievous Loss

 

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Winter Warmer: Phoenix

“My blood seethed with power.
       “The ones who didn’t fear me wanted something from me.
       “I was the Serpent. The original tempter. The one who convinced humanity that the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge belonged to them, too. People assumed I was evil because their books told them so. They blamed me for everything wrong in their lives, including their own crappy decisions. They ought to have thanked me instead. Wasn’t for me, they’d still be walking around naked in a paradise that was more like a prison. Wasn’t for me, they wouldn’t have two brain cells to rub together.
       “Evil? No. Bringer of knowledge? Yes.”

“Blood to Blood,” Leslie Claire Walker

I first encountered Leslie Claire Walker and her short story “Blood to Blood” in a book bundle containing The Uncollected Anthology: Magical Motorcycles. I knew within the first few pages of the tale that I would want to read more by her.

Walker presents a world in which the serpent of Eden has become Malek, a tattoo artist who speaks only in sign language and who inks magical and deadly tattoos with his own poisonous blood. Old gods with new names stalk the night—The Mayor, Gator, and other monstrous powers—while the Fae cross the deadly In-Between to emerge from Faery and meddle in the affairs of men.

“Phoenix,” another short story by Walker, tells the tale of Stacy, a human witch who steals one of three most precious possessions from a princess of Faery. Something more precious than blood, safety, or home.

I loved both “Blood to Blood” and “Phoenix.” When I encountered “Silver Dust,” which continues where “Phoenix” left off, I loved it as well.

Malek appears in all three stories; he is the protagonist in the first, while the young witch Stacy takes that role in the second, and the Faery princess Silver in the third. Each them engaged my partiality and pulled at my heartstrings.

I found it fascinating how each installment felt fully complete and satisfying in itself and yet also filled in different segments of a larger saga, approaching the whole from different angles and using different themes.

I’m eager to read more of Walker’s works.

So, why am I telling you about Leslie Claire Walker and her stories? Well, first off, she’s good and her stories are excellent. Check them out!

But, secondly…I have another of my own titles in a book bundle along with Walker’s “Phoenix” and a number of other stories by authors that are well worth reading. Let me tell you a little about the Winter Warmer bundle. 😀

Winter, a time of festivity, of hardship, and cold. Perhaps it remains the most superstitious of seasons and for many the most beloved. Snow, feasting, gifts, religious significance, family and getting together. A time for storytelling!

Thirteen tales about, or set in, the harshest of seasons. From witches to icy realms and faery kings, to holiday nutballs who might be less nutty than they seem. From detectives up against wintery crimes and mysteries to Christmas romance and second chances, there’s something for everyone in this winter warmer.

Available for 3 months only — December, January, and February.

“Sanctuary” by Leslie Claire Walker
“Snowman’s Chance in Hell” by Robert Jeschonek
Tollard’s Peak by Michael Kingswood
“Phoenix” by Leslie Claire Walker
The Tuxedoed Man by Marcelle Dube
“Nutball Season” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
The Dreamweaver’s Journey by Diana L. Wicker
Dark Dancer by Jaleta Clegg
“Coconutty Christmas” by Ann Omasta
Nobody’s Child by Janet Dawson
Freak Sanctuary by Ann Stratton
“Desperate Housewitches” by Dayle A. Dermatis
Winter Glory by J.M. Ney-Grimm

And here’s the official blurb for “Phoenix” by Leslie Claire Walker:

A mystery girl appears in the midst of a winter thunderstorm, seeking a witch to break a terrible curse: the girl has accidentally destroyed the Realm of Faery.

Seventeen-year-old Stacy, young to the Craft but growing in power and reputation thanks to her hand in thwarting the last apocalypse, might be able to save both Faery and the girl.

If Stacy refuses to help, both the realm and the girl will die. But helping the girl can only lead to heartbreak—and a choice that will change them both forever.

An impossible problem. A heroine with the courage and heart to take on the challenge against all odds. To enter the magic, read “Phoenix.”

The Winter Warmer bundle (with 13 titles, including “Phoenix”) is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or direct from the BundleRabbit site.

For more about the stories and novels in the Winter Warmer bundle, see:
Winter Warmer: Nutball Season
Winter Warmer: Nobody’s Child
Winter Warmer: Desperate Housewitches
Winter Warmer: Winter Glory

For more about other bundles, see:
Mythic Tales bundle
More than Human bundle

 

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Mythic Tales: Magic for a Rainy Day

I first discovered Alexandra Brandt when I read her short story “The Flat Above the Wynd” in the book bundle entitled More than Human. I found “Flat” wholly engaging and charming, so I was delighted to learn that the Mythic Tales bundle included Brandt’s short story collection Magic for a Rainy Day.

“The Flat Above the Wynd” appears again this collection, and I was happy to re-read it, especially because its prequel story “Sidewynd” gave me a deeper appreciation of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile (the setting for both tales) and for their protagonist, Sky Patel. I’m definitely looking forward to the novel about Sky that Brandt has underway.

The other three stories in the collection are equally appealing. “Banoffee Pie and Black Pudding” was pure fun, “(Not a) Fairy Tale” brightly amusing, and “They Stole My Love Last Night Night” as hauntingly lovely as the Gaelic melody that inspirits it.

Here’s the official blurb for Magic for a Rainy Day:

Set in Scotland, Ireland, and the Pacific Northwest, these five stories share three things: a little rain, a little fantasy, and a lot of heart.

In “Sidewynd,” Sky Patel balances life between Edinburgh and its mirror in the faerie realm. Until the balance breaks. In “The Flat Above the Wynd,” Sky’s inherited responsibilities double when past mistakes come back to haunt her.

In “Banoffee Pie and Black Pudding,” Alyssa Granville’s troubles begin with a strange gift from a stranger Irish man.

In “(Not a) Fairy Tale,” a bullied teenage girl learns a startling truth. But fairies don’t go to high school…do they? In “They Stole My Love Last Night,” Celtic music, fairies, and ghosts collide, turning a bitter story sweet.

In these pages, a rainy day might bring excitement with a whiff of danger. Or the kind of magic that brightens your week.

The Mythic Tales bundle (with 14 titles, including Magic for a Rainy Day) is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or direct from the BundleRabbit site.
 

For more about the stories and novels in the Mythic Tales bundle, see:
Mythic Tales: Beneath the Knowe
Mythic Tales: Caught in Amber, Character Interview – Fae
Mythic Tales: A Sword’s Poem
Mythic Tales: Tales of Erana
Mythic Tales: Tempus
Mythic Tales: Author Interview
Mythic Tales: Raziel’s Shadow

 

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Mythic Tales: Raziel’s Shadow

Raziel’s Shadow by Joseph Robert Lewis is the penultimate title in the Mythic Tales bundle. I read it last week (last week, as I type this) and enjoyed it a great deal.

I found the world building especially fascinating and well done. It’s an intriguing mix of the Arabian Nights and African mythology seasoned with a dash of pseudo-Biblical elements. The young protagonist, Zerai, is engaging and sympathetic. And the plot is well conceived, well told, and kept me guessing all the way through to the end.

Here’s a little more about the novel:

The young falconer Zerai thought he was a long-lost prince. He thought he would be granted supernatural powers to slay an army of demons. He thought he would reclaim his grandfather’s empire.

He thought wrong.

After years of living in the wilderness, hiding from killer mercenaries and lethal monsters, Zerai has lost all of his friends, leaving him alone on a quest to save his country. But even after he joins a company of legendary warriors and seers from the east, his chances of success seem bleak against the vast southern armies, packs of bloodthirsty ghuls, and huge fiery ifrits that have claimed his homeland.

Drawn from elements of African history and mythology and inspired in part by the Arabian Nights, the epic fantasy series Angels and Djinn takes readers to a dark world where heroes and lovers confront fantastical creatures out of the strangest of dreams and the worst of nightmares.

Because it’s been a few weeks since I first announced the Mythic Tales, I’m going to give a refresher below about the contents of the bundle as a whole.

Remember those epic legends of heroes and monsters? Stories of great adventure woven with magic and myth live once more in this collection; read of ancient lore, magic swords, wicked beasts, courageous souls, desperate champions, and unholy bargains. Fairy tales and bold ventures come together in this boxed set.

Beneath the Knowe by Anthea Sharp
Tales of Erana by A. L. Butcher
A Sword’s Poem by Leah Cutter
On the Edge of Faerie by Stefon Mears
Sorcha’s Heart by Debbie Mumford
Tales Fabulous and Fairy by Kim Antieau
Tempus by Janet Morris
Caught in Amber by J.M. Ney-Grimm
The Warden of Power by Karen L. Abrahamson
Beautiful by Barbara G. Tarn
Lost: Cinderella’s Secret Witch Diaries by Ron Vitale
Tales of the Faie: The Beginning of Days by Diana L. Wicker
Raziel’s Shadow by Joseph Robert Lewis
Magic for a Rainy Day by Alexandra Brandt

The Mythic Tales bundle (with 14 titles, including Raziel’s Shadow) is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or direct from the BundleRabbit site.
 

For more about the stories and novels in the Mythic Tales bundle, see:
Mythic Tales: Beneath the Knowe
Mythic Tales: Caught in Amber, Character Interview – Fae
Mythic Tales: A Sword’s Poem
Mythic Tales: Tales of Erana
Mythic Tales: Tempus
Mythic Tales: Author Interview
Mythic Tales: Magic for a Rainy Day

 

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Mythic Tales: Author Interview

Alex Butcher, the curator of the Mythic Tales bundle, has been doing interviews of the characters that appear in the bundled stories, as well as conducting Q&As with several of the contributing authors. Recently, she posted her interview with me on her website.

She asked some great questions, so I’m sharing her first few questions, along with my answers, in this post on my own blog.

What first prompted you to publish your work?

In 2007, I re-discovered Maddy Prior’s amazing song ‘The Fabled Hare.’

Listening to her powerful lyrics and expressive voice, I grew suddenly aware that time was passing, I was getting older, and I didn’t have forever.

The imagery of the hunter and hounds closing in on the hare made me feel as though death were snapping at my heels.

If there was something I really wanted to do, something I had not done yet, I’d better get going or I might miss my chance entirely.

I didn’t ‘click the publish button’ in 2007, but that year and that song were the beginning of my publishing journey.

Are you a ‘pantser’ or a ‘plotter’?

I do some of each.

I prefer having a skeletal outline at the start of a story. Doing without —pure ‘pantsing’—feels like walking a tightrope over Niagara without a safety net. Very uncomfortable! And yet . . . I’ve done it.

Once I awoke in the middle of the night, so afire with inspiration that I got up out of my bed to write the first scene of what would become the novel Caught in Amber (my title in the Mythic Tales bundle). I didn’t work out an outline until I was a third of the way through the book!

More usually, I sort out the foundational plot line before I start writing. I need to know what happens, but (oddly) I need to not know how it happens. I discover the how as I write, and that keeps the story feeling fresh to me.

Even when I follow an outline, I always feel free to ‘have a better idea.’ Sometimes my outline writhes like a river in flood!

What piece of advice do you wish you’d had when you started your publishing journey?

I’m going to pretend you asked me about my writing journey. 😉 Because there’s a piece of advice that I really, really needed and didn’t get, way back when.

For some reason, I thought that the process of writing was much more cut-and-dried than it ever could be. Why I thought this, I don’t know. Perhaps because I formed the impression when I was very young, at age ten or eleven.

But the result was that, when I sat down in my early twenties to write my great fantasy novel, and didn’t get anywhere with it, I concluded that I must not be made of such stuff as goes into the bones of real writers.

I longed to write novels, and believed I could not. I spent more than two decades believing this and writing poetry and story vignettes and gaming adventures instead.

And then I listened to Maddy Prior’s ‘The Fabled Hare’ and got serious about my creative aspirations. I read Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, did every last one of the written assignments in the book, and read several of the titles in its bibliography.

That’s when I encountered Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande, and one of her suggestions set me free.

So the advice I wish I’d gotten? Find out how other writers do it! Not just one or two, but dozens. Ask them. Read biographies. Whatever it takes, find out.

Because if I’d learned that there are as many ways as there are writers, I might not have concluded so wrongly that I was not a writer. I might have been writing novellas and novels (as well as poetry and vignettes and gaming adventures) between 1980 and 2007. I might not have been so unhappy in my creative desert.

What are your views on authors commenting on reviews?

Do not go there! Reviews are a reader space. What reader wants to write his or her honest opinion and then discover that the author of the book has been peering over his or her shoulder the whole while?

Sort these into order of importance: Great characters. Good plot. Awesome world-building. Technically perfect.

As a reader (not a writer), I want them all. If the characters aren’t great, I have no interest. If the plot is stupid, I get cranky. If the world-building is unconvincing, I get thrown out of the story. If there are grammar errors, I’m tempted to email the author with the necessary fix. ‘Lay’ when it should be ‘lie’ makes me wild, unless it’s in dialogue, of course. Gah! 😉

I believe I’m known as what one writer calls a ‘fussy reader.’ That’s being kind!

As a writer…what can I say? I go for all four.

For the rest of the interview, I urge you to visit Alex’s site. She asks about my views on research, what my writing space is like, and whether my stories contain a message, as well as prompting me to tell her a little about the novel that I am smack in the middle of writing!

Library of Erana

The Mythic Tales bundle (with 14 titles, including Caught n Amber) is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or direct from the BundleRabbit site.
 

For more about the stories and novels in the Mythic Tales bundle, see:
Mythic Tales: Beneath the Knowe
Mythic Tales: Caught in Amber, Character Interview – Fae
Mythic Tales: A Sword’s Poem
Mythic Tales: Tales of Erana
Mythic Tales: Tempus
Mythic Tales: Raziel’s Shadow
Mythic Tales: Magic for a Rainy Day

For another author interview of me, see:
5 Quirky Questions from Shantnu Tiwari

For more about my writing epiphany of 2007, see:
Writer’s Journey

 

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Mythic Tales: Tempus

Tempus was the fourth story I read fom the Mythic Tales bundle. It’s a complex tale, and it drew me in so completely that I felt disoriented when I finished and needed to emerge from the world of the book into my own life.

I’m still pondering the story, mulling over the metaphysical arguments that lurk in its foundations, and contemplating the exotic nature of the setting and the vibrancy of the characters. Because it’s a book that’s going to linger with me, I find I don’t want to simply give you the brief, official blurb and skate onward with nothing else. I want to share a bit more.

So I will. 😀

But first, the blurb:

Relive the iconic adventures of Tempus and his Sacred Band through the eyes of Nikodemos, his right-side companion, as Niko seeks his spirit’s balance on Bandara’s misty isles. Five iconic Sacred Band stories from a world of thieves, plus tales available nowhere else. Join the Stepsons from their earliest days.

Nikodemos is a soldier in a mercenary force called the Sacred Band. Niko has come to the town of Sanctuary in the van of his commander, Tempus.

Tempus is an immortal, a demi-god, sworn to the service of the war god.

The novel Tempus tells the story of what happens to Niko in Sanctuary and how the events there shape him, transforming him from boy into man.

That story is interwoven with a frame story in which Niko re-examines his years in Sanctuary in order to see more clearly what transpired there and to learn from his experience.

At the story’s beginning, Niko’s commander, Tempus, is presented as a force for good. Niko says of him that he “never turned away from injustice, never left a problem for another to solve . . . never let the pain or difficulty of an undertaking persuade him not to pursue a resolution his heart thought was right.”

Justaposed against Tempus is Askelon, the sorcerer lord of dream and nightmare and death. Askelon is portrayed as haughty, angry, crushing, and evil.

But Niko, in the course of his scrutiny of the past, realizes that he must reconsider his love and loyalty for his commander, Tempus, as well as his fear and hatred for the dream lord Askelon, who courts Niko’s fidelity.

Along with Niko, the reader sees that Tempus often does great evil in pursut of his principles, while Askelon “brings healing for the tired mind . . . wonder for the ailing spirit,” as well as compassion.

The mood of Tempus is dark and rich. The mythological stature of its characters reminds me of Tanith Lee’s Tales from the Flat Earth series, while its melancholy tone calls to mind Days of Grass, also by Lee. A tantalizing obliquity present in Tempus, similar to that in E.R. Eddison’s Mistress of Mistresses, contributes to its great sense of depth.

For those reasons, it’s a demanding book, but it pays exemplary dividends on what it demands of the reader.

I quite enjoyed Tempus, despite the fact that it verges on being too dark, too violent, and too disturbing for me. Somehow Janet Morris handles the disquieting elements deftly enough so as not to overwhelm.

I will note that the frame story leaves the matter of Niko’s allegiance unfinished. Niko says, “I know what I’m doing. I’m choosing — or choosing not to choose. My heart is still with you, Commander.” By which I conclude that Niko is now a man divided, his head seeing Askelon’s purposes as redeemed, but his love still given to Tempus.

I speculated that the loose threads of the frame story were present to allow for the many sequels that I understood existed, but a little surfing the web proved me wrong in that speculation. Although the sequels are indeed numerous, the chapters of Tempus were originally written as stand-alone short stories, and the novel was created from them later. The interweaving of the chapters with frame story was so skillfully done that the result forms one whole cloth.

But never mind how it was written; Tempus is worth reading!

The Mythic Tales bundle (with 14 titles, including Tempus) is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or direct from the BundleRabbit site.
 

For more about the stories and novels in the Mythic Tales bundle, see:
Mythic Tales: Beneath the Knowe
Mythic Tales: Caught in Amber, Character Interview – Fae
Mythic Tales: A Sword’s Poem
Mythic Tales: Tales of Erana
Mythic Tales: Author Interview
Mythic Tales: Raziel’s Shadow
Mythic Tales: Magic for a Rainy Day

 

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Beacons Unreachable

Crowned with gold by the rising sun
         the tree tops taunt me

They reign joyously in their airy empyrean
         illuminated, exalted, beacons unreachable
                   from the vale of shadow in which I stand

Down upon the earth,
         the grasses tangle in an untidy carpet
                   dull and trampled, littered by crumpled brown leaves

The mock orange has lost half its foliage
         and the ragged fronds
                   reveal ivy encroaching from its roots

The memory of bridal blossoms, a mix of glad buds
         half-unfurled petals, and flowers full-blown
                   cannot charm, as unreachable as the crowned oaks

The glory of autumn gone
         nature half-dead lacks the clean clarity of winter
                   messiness drowns in dimness, made yet more dim
                         by the brilliance of the overarching heavens

As the dawning progresses to full morn
         light will reach the shadows, dispelling them

Would that it might reach me
 

In memory of my mother:
Beauty in the Close
Upwelling
Too Late
One Crossing
Grievous Loss

 

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Too Late

          Delicate
               furled soft pink
                    the petals of a late summer rose

 
          The air should be langorous
               abuzz with bees
                    demanding the wafting of a fan for comfort

 
          Matte green
               traced by veins with a hint of red
                    the rose leaves are all they should be

 
          But the air chills my face
               crisp, autumnal
                    and the rose petals are brittle, frozen

 
          The month is November
               not the August
                    to which I cling

 

In memory of my mother:
Beauty in the Close
Upwelling
Beacons Unreachable
One Crossing
Grievous Loss

 

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Mythic Tales: Tales of Erana

I love Alex Butcher’s trolls! They are so exactly the opposite of mine.

Mine possess aching bones and sore joints, along with enlarged ears, curved and lengthened noses, reddened watery eyes, sagging skin, twisted thumbs, and hunched spines. Even worse than the physical deformities is the progressive madness that compels each to destroy all that is good in the world around him or her.

My trolls come into being when a spellcaster in my North-lands forces too much power into a spell, ripping the energetic lattice within his or her being and bringing troll-disease in the wake of this destruction. Greed or hubris or simple desperation—nothing wholesome—lies at the roots of troll-disease.

But in Alex’s magical world of Erana, the troll kind are shapechangers, seers, and oracles who dwell in the secret fastnesses of the mountains and worship the beauty of nature. The gods walk among them, and they are faithful and wise.

One of three mortal races—elves, humans, and trolls—the trolls of Erana are strong and comely. In “The Tale of Treyna the Beloved” (a short story in the collection Tales of Erana) Alex gives this description of the troll daughter Mira:

“A child, golden-haired and dark-skinned stood with her grey eyes wide at the magnificence of the world. Small twisting horns poked from her bright curls and her small mouth creased in wonder.”

I can see her in my mind’s eye, small and sturdy with her face full of reverent awe, her golden curls contrasting with her velvety dark skin, her horns forming a delicate coronet.

I wish I could visit her mountain meadowland and play tag with her!

Tales of Erana is one of the fourteen titles in the Mythic Tales bundle. So if you share my yen to visit little Mira . . . well, you can’t visit her, of course, but you can read the legend of Treyna as her grandmother tells it to her. 😀

To pique your interest yet further, Alex has interviewed the protagonist of “The Moon on the Water” (another story in Tales of Erana). Acionna is a goddess born of rock and running water and snow.

Which book/world do you live in?

I live in the Jagged Peak mountains, they are in the world called Erana by those who live there. I am in a book? I know of books and lore. Then am I not real? – I feel real, and the mountains around me seem real. Is it, perhaps, that I am real here, and you are the myth, you are the imaginary?

Tell us about yourself: (Name, race/species, etc.)

I am an ancient elemental, a Goddess to some. Born of the mountain, and the pounding waterfalls when the world was young and the magic free. It was so long past I could not tell you how many years or centuries of your time. Once there were many of my kind – creatures of magic and wild places but the magic was chased away, corrupted and sickened and many of us fell, or hid, or faded. Now I am a myth, a legend told around the fire and a drop of blood here and there in lineages old and noble. The Plague came and everything changed. The land changed, the magic changed.

I’m an adventurer – why should I recruit you to accompany me?

I have had my adventures, I have warred, and lost all save myself. I have walked the mountain paths and fought with monsters and men who would seek to kill every last trace of magic. Why should I wish to adventure again?

If I were to consent I would bring you elemental magic, of the oldest sort. The Power of the elementals, the Power of nature and the furious waters and mighty peaks.

Tell us about your companions?  How do they see you?

I have none. My mate is long dead, now nothing but a statue and even I cannot undo the curse. My daughter is gone, fallen to wicked magic and I walk these peaks alone. Sometimes the trolls come and bring offerings but they see me not. For I know now that mortals and immortals should not mix.

For Acionna’s views on the future, the past, heroism, and her most grievous mistake, I urge you to visit Alex’s website, where the whole interview is present. Here’s the link:

Library of Erana

The Mythic Tales bundle (with 14 titles, including Tales of Erana) is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or direct from the BundleRabbit site.
 

For more about the stories and novels in the Mythic Tales bundle, see:
Mythic Tales: Beneath the Knowe
Mythic Tales: Caught in Amber, Character Interview – Fae
Mythic Tales: A Sword’s Poem
Mythic Tales: Tempus
Mythic Tales: Author Interview
Mythic Tales: Raziel’s Shadow
Mythic Tales: Magic for a Rainy Day

 

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Mythic Tales: A Sword’s Poem

I’ve read and enjoyed several of Leah Cutter’s novels. Poisoned Pearls is probably my favorite to date, although her body of work is large, so I have a lot of pleasurable exploring ahead of me.

When I saw that Cutter had a novel in the Mythic Tales bundle – A Sword’s Poem – it leapt to the top of my want-to-read list. Nor did it disappoint.

The rich world building and compelling story telling swept me straight into the milieu of classical Japan (794 – 1185) and the spirit beings who have stepped out of myth and legend into the wild places within the forests and on the flanks of mountains: fairy foxes, enchanted fish, and the kami of the rivers and glens.

Sword’s mood is striking, possessing some of the melancholy and fatalism of Shogun by James Clavell, but brightened with scintillas of youth and innocence and hope.

The protagonist, a fox fairy named Hikaru, captured and held my interest, but I came to love two of the secondary characters – Iwao (lord and guardian of Mount Shirayama) and Kayoku (his lady) – just as much.

All in all, A Sword’s Poem is excellent. Here’s the official blurb:

Hikaru and her one true love Norihiko defy both their families and kitsune (fox fairy) tradition by getting married.

However, an evil magician kills Norihiko, steals his soul, then reforges it into a sword.

Hikaru seeks the sword, determined to break the curse and bring back her one true love, no matter the cost to herself or her family.

Set in Heian era Japan and composed of three novellas: The Making, The Breaking, and The Reforging.

The Mythic Tales bundle (with 14 titles, including A Sword’s Poem) is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or direct from the BundleRabbit site.
 

For more about the stories and novels in the Mythic Tales bundle, see:
Mythic Tales: Beneath the Knowe
Mythic Tales: Caught in Amber, Character Interview – Fae
Mythic Tales: Tales of Erana
Mythic Tales: Tempus
Mythic Tales: Author Interview
Mythic Tales: Raziel’s Shadow
Mythic Tales: Magic for a Rainy Day

 

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