Progress on the Tally Sequel!

Last week I heard from my second reader. What she had to say about The Sovereign’s Labyrinth made me very happy.

She found the story gripping, so much so that she couldn’t slow down enough to develop much in the way of feedback. She just kept turning those pages as fast as her fingers could move and her eyes could read, because she had to know what happened NEXT!

This was excellent news, because the most serious flaw in the first draft was its slow pace. I felt fairly confident that I’d fixed that with my revision, but one never knows for sure until the reader pronounces. The reader is queen! 😉

Now, no need for you to worry about a rushed job by my second reader. She is going to read through the manuscript a second time so that she can give me detailed feedback with which fine-tune the book.

Indeed, this book is getting extra care, since my first reader was intrigued enough by what I said about my revisions that she wanted to read the story a second time herself—to see what I had changed and how.

She’s roughly a quarter way through, and she’s liking it. She said the opening was just as gripping as the first time round, but that the slow patch after the opening is gone, gone, gone. Yay!

I expect to get detailed feedback from both first and second readers in a couple of weeks. I’ll make any changes required, and then send the manuscript off for proofreading.

I’ve already ordered the cover from my cover designer!

The bottom line? The Sovereign’s Labyrinth is coming along very nicely, and I’m excited about it.

I will confess that I’m not quite satisfied with the title, and I plan to do some brainstorming to find something better.

In the meantime…

I’m celebrating the progress by posting a scene from The Tally Master every Wednesday. The Tally Master is the first book of the Gael & Keir adventures; The Sovereign’s Labyrinth is the second.

If you’ve not yet read The Tally Master, take a peek at my Wednesday posts. I hope you’ll like what you see!

The first scene appeared this week on September 11. Here’s the link:
The Tally Master, Chapter 1 (scene 1).

 

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Here Be Magic

Two of my titles have been chosen for a new bundle!

In addition to my own Troll-magic and Hunting Wild, Here Be Magic includes 5 novels plus 5 shorts and a short story collection.

I’m a fan of Dayle Dermatis’ work, so I’m particularly eager to read her “Good Scrying Gone Bad.”

The opening for “Shakespeare’s Curse” hooked me, as did that of “The Warrior’s Curse.” And the premise of “Words of Rain and Shadow” intrigues me.

I suspect I have some good reading ahead of me. Perhaps you do, too! 😀

*

The First Rule of Witchcraft: Harm none.

The Second Rule of Witchcraft: Practice magic only when you’re clear of mind.

That includes not practicing magic while drunk.

When drunken scrying goes awry, Madison connects with Brody, a cute guy trapped…somewhere. Freeing him becomes her obsession.

Does the Second Rule of Witchcraft count when it comes to love?

*

Prince Kellor, cursed by the troll-witch Mandine to live as a north-bear, wrestles with the challenges of his beast form. Pain wracks his body, and unpredictable rages blur his mind.

His childhood friend Elle holds the key to his escape, but should he endanger her by seeking her help?

A lyrical Beauty and the Beast tale, rife with shining glory, dark magnificence, and unexpected significance.
 
 

*

Teneyros—a young and ambitious wizard—hears rumors that the Elder of Scrolls Anansi intends to retire.

Anansi loves tricks. He envisions his successor as the trickiest of tricksters. Only the wiliest must win his position and lead the wizards of the world.

Teneyros plays Anansi’s game against his brother as well as their rival, Ben Jonson. Who will win and who will lose? Who will be the Elder of Scrolls?
 
 

*

Young Remeya worships the forbidden horned god. A worship made taboo half a millennium ago. Performed still in secret by a few. Quietly tolerated by the king.

Epic fantasy in which old beliefs and old loyalties clash with hidden magic in the Middle Ages of the god-touched North-lands.
 
 
 
 
 
 

*

He who bargains with monsters beware!

A hero forges an unholy bargain with a witch and learns that magic never forgets.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

*

The Shadow Folk attack when it rains.

Only Irinia can hear their voices. But the village seer refuses to listen to her. Women can’t be seers.

She must earn the trust of the village, and fast.

Because the rain brings death.
 
 
 
 
 

Magic invites . . .

Curses and blessing, sorcerous time travel, shape-shifters, hidden enchantment and corrupted blood.

Magic demands . . .

Saving those you love, courage, betrayal and fights against unspeakable forces.

Magic promises . . .

Last best hopes, reluctant and desperate heroes, ancient power unleashed and the compulsion to overcome death itself.

Magic risks . . .

Forbidden spells and deadly bargains.

Here be magic!

From life to death, from realm to realm, from past to future and in between—dare you adventure with wizards?

“Good Scrying Gone Bad” by Dayle A. Dermatis
Troll-magic by J.M. Ney-Grimm
“Shakespeare’s Curse” by Karen C. Klein
Lords of Dyscrasia by S.E. Lindberg
The Spell by Barbara G. Tarn
Hunting Wild by J.M. Ney-Grimm
“The Warrior’s Curse” by A. L. Butcher
Legacy of Mist and Shadow by Diana L. Wicker
A Sudden Outbreak of Magic by Michael Jasper
“Words of Rain and Shadows” by Linda Maye Adams
Tales of Erana by A. L. Butcher
Mage of Merigor by Alison Naomi Holt
“Drinking & Conjuring Don’t Mix” by Stefon Mears

The Here Be Magic bundle is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or direct from the BundleRabbit site.

For more bundles with my stories in them, see:
Eclectica
Here Be Unicorns
Here Be Merfolk
Here Be Fairies
Here Be Dragons
Immortals

 

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New Release! Journey into Grief

It’s here! Available as an ebook right now, the paperback is coming soon.

*    *    *

In time, we all become men of sorrow, women of sorrow, people of sorrow. John Claypool echoed this truth in the preface to his book Tracks of a Fellow Struggler, and it is a bitter truth indeed.

In the passing of youth, the loss of love or health, the flight of safety, the death of our beloved—sorrow comes.

This collection of photos, poetry, and memoir presents the words and works with which I expressed my own painful sadness, my rage, and my sense of profound loss when my mother died. I share my experiences in memory of her and in the hope that by joining the company of others who mourn on the printed page, I will find for myself and offer to you some small degree of solace.

“. . . this work is inspired! The poetry is beautiful, and coupled with the images, it is wrenchingly emotional . . . Anyone who has lost a mother or a father with whom they shared a special bond, anyone dealing with a devastating loss, will be blessed and comforted by Journey into Grief.” —John Earle

Amazon I B&N I iTunes I Kobo I Smashwords I Universal Link

For excerpts from the book, see:
Mists from the Deep
Cold Rage
Blessed Radiance
Futile Seeking
Risen

 

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Mists from the Deeps

     In the night, in the darkness, in the loneliest watch
           heart freezes
           soul cries out
           being shudders

     No answers on offer

     And yet . . . from despair, if I answer yes
           to loss
           to fear
           to death
     Yield assent without limit
     Assent, because all other answers lie barren

     Like earliest dawn, which seeps into the night sky so subtly
           my heart lightens
           a sense of possibility mists from the deeps
           some answer, unspoken, arrives

     Fragile and delicate, surrender to it, do not reach
           this succor may be accepted
           never taken
           new life in the bud

This poem and the accompanying photo appear in my new upcoming release, Journey into Grief.

For more excerpts from the book, see:
Cold Rage
Blessed Radiance
Futile Seeking
Risen

 

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Daylight Shines

           The sky is so blue and friendly
           almost as though it is her smile
           or maybe her laugh
           or both

           I have no sense of its infinite possibility
           ceding to the blackness of outer space
           going on and on past the moon
           past Mars

           No, this sky is immediate, personal
           happy like a baby blanket
           comforting like Mother
           and mine

           I am shielded, illuminated, protected
           under its canopy of brightness
           so long as daylight shines
           safe

This poem and the accompanying photo appear in my new upcoming release, Journey into Grief.

For more excerpts from the book, see:
Missing Her
No Beauty
Exiled
Despair

 

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New Release Coming!

As I said in last week’s post, this book is different from my usual offerings.

I write fantasy, and all of my titles to date have been fiction in that genre. But my new book is memoir, mixed media in the sense that it combines narrative with poetry and photographs. I’m really pleased with how the project has come together, and I suspect I will be creating more such projects.

I haven’t abandoned fantasy, however. Those of you who are fans of my fantasy need not worry. Fantasy is in my very bones, and I intend to write it for as long as I can string words together.

I don’t have a release date yet for the new book, but here is the opening for it.

My Invitation to You

Come with me.

Come take a journey with me.

It is not an easy journey. In fact, it begins in the darkest of all places, the shadow of the valley of death.

So, why should you come, when the beginning is so dark?

Because the journey does not end there.

You have probably already been to the dark place. Someone you love died. Or some piece of yourself that is essential died in you. Someone betrayed you. Someone abandoned you. Or maybe you abandoned you.

There are as many ways to descend into darkness, or be claimed by it, as there are mortals walking this green earth.

But why should you come with me?

And why should you come now?

Because there was something about this book—its cover, its title, its description, or perhaps something unquantifiable—that attracted you, that spoke to you. Some still, small voice within you called or whispered or summoned you.

Come. Come!

Is this a self-help book with questions and exercises and points made?

No. It isn’t.

It’s a sharing of my own journey into grief, the heartbreaking moment of loss, the dark descent, the ocean breakers of feeling, the uneven rise from the depths, the glimpses of light, the instances of relief, and the slow, sure gathering of strength and new life.

So why would you want to experience this?

Because you’ve already been through it yourself. Or because you’re in the middle of such a journey of your own. Or because you fear the journey into grief that lies in your future.

When we take such journeys, we humans, the one thing that enables us to bear up under the weight and the challenge of it is knowing that we are not alone.

We may be alone at the time of our traveling along the dark path.

We may be alone in the specific details of our sojourn.

But we are not alone in our experience of loss and grief.

So come with me.

Come with me, that I may not be alone.

Come with me, that you may not be alone.

Let us move through the darkness together, and emerge again into new life, new life that has grown from the seeds that could sprout only in the deeps.

Our journey will be hard, but amazing. And our emergence will be more amazing still.

Come!

I invite you.

For more excerpts from Journey into Grief, see:
Grief
Mourning
One Crossing
Upwelling

 

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Project Without a Label

I’ve been working on a special project for the last year and a half, and I’m getting close to completing it and publishing it. This is exciting! Naturally I want to tell you about it.

There’s just one little problem. How do I describe this project?

Is it a memoir? I think it is. Sort of. It fits the definition.

memoir—a historical account written from personal observation and intimate knowledge

Yep. My project is a memoir. In it I recount my personal experiences from October 2017 through January 2019. That’s memoir.

Except that all the memoirs I’ve read consist of narrative prose. Mine has narrative prose in it, but it also includes a boatload of poetry. So is it a chapbook?

chapbook—a small book or pamphlet, often containing poetry or narrative vignettes

That’s the modern chapbook.

Chapbooks from the fifteenth century (called broadsides) through the nineteenth century contained a wider selection of articles: almanacs, folk tales, popular songs, nursery rhymes, unreliable history, woodcut illustrations, and religious and political tracts.

Because my project also contains photographs, it might fit the definition of the historical chapbook better than that of the modern one.

(The three photos in this blog post are among the 49 included in the book.)

But old-time chapbooks were 8, 12, 16, or 24 pages at most. Even the modern chapbook is only 40 pages. My project will be close to 100 pages.

Gah!

So it’s sort of a memoir, but not really. It’s sort of a chapbook, but not really. Is it an elegy?

elegy—a mournful or melancholy poem, especially a lament for the dead

I’m chronicling my experiences in the wake of my mother’s death. There is much of mourning and lament present. But although my journey starts with intense grief, it does not stay there. I returned to life and living over those months, unevenly, in fits and starts, with setbacks, and I share all of that, along with my eventual emergence into the light of day.

Honestly, I don’t think there is any good way to label this project. And maybe it does not matter.

It is a true book of the heart. I felt called to create it. I feel really good about completing it. And I intend to publish it. But I’m not sure anyone but me will have any interest in it.

If you are curious, you can see samples of Journey’s early pages in my blog posts from late 2017 and early 2018:
Bereaved
Lament
Too Late
Beacons Unreachable
Beauty in the Close
Gusty and Fresh

 

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Turning 59

I loved the birthday cards I received April 30!

My children wrote heartwarming messages in theirs that had me melting with happiness. My in-laws enclosed a photo in theirs that brought back wonderful memories I’d utterly forgotten.

What fun we all had in 1996 when we were young and beautiful, and practiced yoga spontaneously!

But my husband’s greeting was the best, because it made me laugh. 😀

NUMPADENTER!

What is ‘Numpadenter’? you ask.

Thereby hangs a tale.

My husband had been playing a computer game set in the ninth century of Britain. It was filled with exotic names such as Haestingas, Wihtwara, Magonsæte, and Guthrum.

When he moused over a button in the lower corner, the label NUMPADENTER appeared, and he assumed the term was yet one more period name.

It was many days later that he realized that, as part of the end-turn sequence, it was actually num pad enter. Number pad enter!

When he told the rest of us this story, we were just as charmed by the idea of Numpadenter! as a Viking battle cry as he had been, and the joke became part of Casa Ney-Grimm lore.

So when Jeff’s card bore the legend Numpadenter! nothing else could compete! 😀

 

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New Bundle! Eclectica

Between 14 shorts and 5 collections in this massive bundle, you’ll end up with 55 stories, one of them mine!

*     *     *

Clara works hard, juggling high school, her waitress job, and eking out time with her friends.

And now, finishing work far too late on a school night, she wants nothing more than to get home and sleep.

But dark and otherworldly things lurk in the shadows of her city.

If you love fast moving urban fantasy grab “City Shadows” today.

 

A cache implies a hidden treasure, although what we find inside is not always what we hope for or expect. Sometimes it’s less; sometimes more; sometimes nothing we’ve ever imagined.

The eleven stories and two poems in this collection feature all manner of unusual things found in strange places; an alien ship in a forest hideaway, ghosts inside a computer network, a distraught goddess in a detective’s office, a teenage busker on a space station. The treasures are varied as well, from lost genomes and altered memories to alien alliances and self-discovery.

Whatever waits to be discovered, these stories suggest that sometimes the search is the important part…

 

web imageThe warriors of Torbellai brought back a prize in the night, and young Paitra wants to see it. Even hidden away in the armory, the artifact changed the whole mood of their mountain citadel from dread foreboding to hope. And Paitra’s people need hope to turn the tide in their long war against the troll horde.

Might this small triumph presage a mightier victory?

But the warlord hid the fighters’ plunder for good reason. Forged by trolls and radiating magic, it presents grave risk to the soul and spirit of any who approach it.

 

AN ALTERNATE HISTORY OF JAPAN

Japan disappeared 500 years ago. Its people didn’t.

Five hundred years ago, Japan hid itself from the rest of the world. Rather than technology, they discovered power. The emperor still rules, but the mystics hold sway.

Hitomi is the youngest warrior in the history of the fighting Mura clan, who have evolved from the rough beginnings as the Ninja into the race’s supreme weapons.

But Hitomi stumbles upon a secret, one so vast that even the emperor may not see where it leads. Unless he too seeks to bury the secret along Hitomi’s Path.

 

Specialist Jhyoti sen Chandar, exoanthropologist on the Alliance ship Solar Wind, thought she had left behind the harsh caste system of her home planet. Unfortunately, it followed her aboard in the person of Engineer Parma sen Harpar: young, hostile and with a secret that will endanger both women.

When they end up stranded on a planet with its own dangerous secret, they must confront not only the crippling legacy of the past, but their own future in the Alliance. But first, they must survive.

 
 

Petra loves books. And she loves her job at Nuovo Italiano Rare Books Library. So when a group of Bathybobles threatens to destroy those precious books—and to win a game, no less—Petra must stop them.

Once she gets the slime out of her eyes, of course.

 
 
 
 
 
 

From fantasy to space adventure, pirates, mystery, horror, historical fiction, romance and coming of age you’ll find short, snappy reads herein. There is something for everyone in this lucky dip.

14 short stories plus 5 collections.

“Blown” by Diana Deverell
“Socks and Pins and Aliens” by Thea Hutcheson
Tales of Blood and Ink by Kate MacLeod
Tales of Tomorrow by Debbie Mumford
“Shaken, Not Stirred” by Diana Deverell
“City Shadows” by Chuck Heintzelman
“Outside the Walls” by A. L. Butcher and Diana L. Wicker
Tales of an Altered Past Powered by Romance, Horror, and Steam
     by Donald J. Bingle
“Dear Brother” by Felicia Fredlund
The Cache and Other Stories by Sherry D. Ramsey
“Sword Oath” by Jackie Keswick
The Hooded Man by Barbara G.Tarn
S, F & H by Harvey Stanbrough
“Resonant Bronze” by J.M. Ney-Grimm
“Hitomi’s Path” by M. L. Buchman
“Children” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
“Jhyoti: Planetside” by Marcelle Dube
“Petra and the Blue Goo” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
“Tears and Crimson Velvet” by A. L. Butcher

The Eclectica bundle is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or direct from the BundleRabbit site.

For more bundles with my stories in them, see:
Here Be Unicorns
Here Be Merfolk
Here Be Fairies
Here Be Dragons
Immortals

 

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