A Bundle of Fairies

My story The Troll’s Belt is in the Here Be Fairies bundle along with 12 other titles.

I’m excited about it, because some of the other participating authors are amazing. I’ve enjoyed the works of Leah Cutter, Anthea Sharp, and Kristine Kathryn Rush for several years now. But this bundle also features two of my newest favorites: Alexandra Brandt and Leslie Claire Walker.

Here’s a little bit about the bundle:

Fairies, fair folk, imps, trolls, and pixies—they haunt our myths from Ireland to Iceland and everywhere else. Join in the fairy fun, or fairy fear, as good, bad, and mischievous they show themselves. Dare you take the trip to Fairyland? No one who returns is ever quite the same.

And here’s a quick rundown of the titles that especially caught my interest:

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FUNERAL DIRECTORS DEAL with everything at a funeral, but only a few must handle an influx of flower fairies. Or worse: the arrival of a flower fairy child, alone and unsupervised.

Flower fairies are unpredictable…except when they get angry. And then they become terrifying.

So, what will they do if they think one of their children faces danger?

 

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~ USA Today Bestselling Urban Fantasy ~

WHAT IF A HIGH-TECH computer game was a gateway to the dangerous Realm of Faerie?

Feyland is the most immersive computer game ever designed, and Jennet Carter is the first to play the prototype. But she doesn’t suspect the virtual world is close enough to touch—or that she’ll be battling for her life against the Dark Queen of the faeries.

Tam Linn is the perfect hero, in-game. Too bad the rest of his life is seriously flawed. The last thing he needs is rich-girl Jennet prying into his secrets, insisting he’s the only one who can help her.

Together, Jennet and Tam enter the Dark Realm of Feyland, only to discover that the entire human world is in danger. Pushed to the limit of their abilities, they must defeat the Dark Queen… before it’s too late.

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ON GULL ISLAND in the cold North, Eithni awaits Winter Solstice with pride, resentment, and fear. All signs point to a Taking year. And Eithni, chosen to enter the chamber of the gods, prepares to leave her human community forever.

On the other side of the Stone Door, Sable stands guard in anticipation of a successful solstice, when the veil between worlds will lift…and when her liege, a lightlord of the fae, will claim the human woman who willingly steps across into the Summer realm.

But everything changes when Eithni breaks the rules.

Everything changes when Sable hears a voice from the stone.

A fantasy love story set among the Picts in Iron Age Scotland.

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A faery sword — A haunted mermaid — A fallen angel

WHEN THE FAE SWORD named War transports Amy to the scene of a magical crime, she finds more than a dead man. The oldest Watcher, Shadow, newly reborn, saw the murder. The victim isn’t innocent, and the killer remains on the loose.

Haunted by the past, Amy wields a powerful weapon. But the source of her mermaid magic—her wild, untamed feelings—frightens her. She’s no hero, and yet the fight comes down to her.

She must learn to trust her her magic, her emotions . . . everything, or she and Shadow have no chance of stopping the killer.

If they fail, enchantment—and with it, all the worlds—will never be the same.

A story about awakening magic and lighting the fires of hope.

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THE GREATER OREGON Fairy Kingdom hides beneath the Pacific Ocean cliffs. Between their own lost dreams, battles with the dwarves, and the encroaching humans, the kingdom continues to diminish. Only two young humans can save them now.

Will Dale, the young human Tinker, answer their dreams? Can he repair the malfunctioning clockwork of the kingdom? Help them finish their great machine? Can they make him care enough?

Or will Nora, his twin sister and a human Maker, align herself with the hated dwarves and destroy the fairies instead?

The Clockwork Fairy Kingdom—the first novel in this exciting New Adult trilogy—combines fast-paced action with magic and modern day clockwork. A delightful read for all ages!

Be sure to read the other two books in the trilogy, The Maker, the Teacher, and the Monster and The Dwarven Wars.

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And here’s a little about my own contribution to the bundle, along with some kind words by reviewer James J. Parson.

YOUNG DECEIT sprouts timeless trouble.

Motherless Brys Arnsson digs himself into trouble. Bad trouble. Tricked by a troll in J.M. Ney-Grimm’s richly imagined North-lands, Brys must dig himself and his best friend back out of danger. But that requires courage … and self-honesty. Traits Brys lacks at depth.

A twist on a classic, The Troll’s Belt builds from humor-threaded conflict to white-knuckle suspense.
 
 

The writing style is fantastic. It’s somehow youthful (as it’s through the eyes of a twelve year old) and mature at the same time. Normally, it would be a challenge to discuss…responsibility, loyalty and forgiveness with such a young ‘voice,’ but Ney-Grimm does so easily. The result is a thought provoking tale…” —James J. Parsons

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The Here Be Fairies bundle (including The Troll’s Belt and 12 other titles) is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or direct from the BundleRabbit site.

For more about other bundles, see:
Here Be Dragons
Spring Surprise
Immortals
Remembering Warriors
Winter Warmer
Mythic Tales
More than Human

 

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A Boatload of Covers

My participation in more than half a dozen story bundles brought a lot of cover design my way.

The More than Human bundle in August 2017 kicked off my journey, which wended through seven bundles (and counting) and on to a few covers for individual stories, some within bundles and some entirely independent of them.

I thought it would be fun to see the round dozen all in one place, so I’ve collected them into a sort of bulletin board below. Check it out!

Kinda cool, don’t ya think? 😀

Remembering Warriors I Immortals I Spring Surprise
Here Be Dragons I The Kitchen Imps I The Warrior’s Curse
Early Spaceports I Of Blood and Scales I Tales of Erana

 

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Fantastic Fairytales

I don’t offer reduced sale prices on my books very often.

But I’ve just been invited into a group promotion with the theme of fairytales and fairytale retellings. It’s a perfect fit for my novel Troll-magic, which is a retelling of East of the Sun and West of the Moon.

And when I saw that Anthea Sharp (who I admire) has two of her books in the promotion…well it became irresistible!

For 3 days—April 27, April 28, and April 29Troll-magic will be on sale for 99 cents. Even better, it keeps company with 28 other fairytale retellings that are also on sale.

After scoping out the Look Insides, I realized that I want to purchase a few of the titles for my own reading pleasure. 😀

Here’s the link for the page showing all 29 books: Fantastic Fairytales.

But before you click over, here’s a quick preview of some of the titles that especially caught my eye.

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From USA Today bestselling author Anthea Sharp, a richly-imagined fantasy romance uniting an adventurous young woman and a fearsome Dark Elf warrior, in a magical tale reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast. Deep in the Darkwood, a mystic portal awaits…

Mara Geary faces a bleak future in the village of Little Hazel until, on the eve of her seventeenth birthday, strange glowing lights beckon her into the mysterious shadows under the trees. She follows, hoping for adventure. What she finds is her destiny…

Prince of the Hawthorne Court, Brannon Luthinor has spent his life becoming a powerful warrior in order to save his people. Now, on the eve of war, his fate is rapidly approaching.

Brought together by fate, Bran and Mara forge an unlikely alliance. But in the face of evil, will they be able to trust their lives—and their hearts—to one another?

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Modern-day Kat is shy and bookish until an earth-shattering event forces her to come out of her shell.

Cursed to remain in the world of Cinderella, the only way back home is to see Cinderella happily married to the prince. But everything seems to work against her favor.

The other stepsister is drop-dead gorgeous and determined to be queen. The fairy godmother doesn’t seem to exist. To complicate things further, Kat’s unconventional behavior attracts the prince’s attention.

Can she ever return to her own world?

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Who’s afraid of the big, bad werewolf?

When London’s brightest tinkers and alchemists come up missing, Red Cape Society Agent Clemeny Louvel is on the case.

To help Clemeny get the problem in hand, Queen Victoria assigns her a temporary partner—a werewolf with a knightly history and a tendency to be far too flirtatious for either of their good. Can she trust him to help her chase down the monsters they’re hunting?

It’s Penny Dreadful meets Supernatural in this exciting new gaslamp urban fantasy. Wolves and Daggers retells the classic Red Riding Hood fairy tale with hefty doses of badassery and steampunk.

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Red Ryder has been going to Wonderland Guardian Academy since middle school, but she still doesn’t belong. At 16 years old, she doesn’t have any magical talents to speak of, and the rest of her peers know it. She may as well be a typical, mundane human, and the witch sisters make her school life miserable. How is she supposed to help humanity as a guardian when she may as well be one of them?

But Red is a wolf tracker. Though she doesn’t come into her powers until the death of the current wolf tracker in her family, her grandmother, her blood carries the wolfsbane gene…

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Hotaru is in need of a wife and an alliance to stop a war.

Yuki dreams of freedom and has no intention of marrying, ever.

To get the alliance he desperately needs, Hotaru must woo Yuki. But Yuki has other plans.

Can these two opposites ever find love?

A retelling of Snow White.
 

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From USA Today bestselling author Anthea Sharp, a new collection of enchanting, mystical tales! Delight in the award-winning story “The Sea King’s Daughter” (inspired by The Little Mermaid), follow the ill-fated adventures of a goblin who falls in love, and take heart in the hope that unlikely heroes can—with a bit of faerie magic—change their own destinies

Includes “The Faerie Girl,” “The Sea King’s Daughter,” “Brea’s Tale,” “The Faerie Invasion,” “Goblin in Love,” and “The Tree of Fate and Wishes.”

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The Golden Boy, Once Upon a Quest (with an Annie Bellet story!), Beauty and Beastly, Alone and a few others also attract me.

And, of course, the promo includes my own Troll-magic.

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. Unpredictable rages blur his mind. And straight thinking proves elusive, confusing his search for the loopholes that every curse possesses.

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 moments of shining glory, dark magnificence, and unexpected significance. The fate of an empire, a people, and a world hangs on Kellor’s struggle.

Amazon I B&N I iTunes I Kobo I Smashwords

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With 29 books in this promotion…if I tried to catalog them all, this blog post would grow unmercifully long! So I’ll let you click over to the hosting page: Fantastic Fairytales.

I’ve loved fairytales since I was a little girl, so this promotion promises to be a treat for me! I hope you’ll find some good reads there, too. 😀

Edited to Add: The Fantastic Fairytales promotion is over, but if some of the titles featured above appeal to you, I urge you to check them out.

All are available on Amazon, so I’ve connected the book covers to their Amazon pages. A number are available on Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords as well.

 

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Blood Silver: The Title

I loved hearing what everyone had to say about the prospective cover for my novella Blood Silver.

You all helped me see some details that needed adjusting, as well as confirming the choice of the Sunburst version as the right art to use.

Thank you!

In the course of all our discussion, an important question was raised.

Is the title right? The mood of the words does not quite match the light, bright mood of the art. Should it?

I didn’t even begin to know how to answer that question correctly. As I’ve said before, I am no expert on marketing. I’m learning. As an indie, I must learn about marketing, if I want my audience to find my books. But there is far more that I don’t know than there is that I do.

But a lovely bit of good luck came my way.

One of the people weighing on the cover for Blood Silver just happens to be an indie whose marketing knowledge I respect a great deal. So I asked her about my title. And she was most generous in sharing her thoughts with me.

The first thing she explained is that a book cover possesses three “channels.”
1 • The art
2 • The typography (what font is chosen and how the type is placed)
3 • The title (the meaning the words convey)

You could convey the same message with each channel, but if you do you severely limit what you communicate about the book. Generally it’s best to use each channel to communicate different elements of your story.

My kind adviser then proceeded to analyze the message communicated by the Sunburst cover for Blood Silver.

The Art

First we have the art, which is a bright fantasy illustration showing a knight and a lady. The subject matter tells us that the story focuses on two people. The bright, glowing treatment of the surrounding leaves indicates that magic is likely involved.

The image is appropriate for either urban fantasy, straight-up fantasy, or fairy-inflected fantasy.

So far, so good. Blood Silver involves the faie and follows the fortunes of a knight and a mortal woman.

The Typography

Next we have the choice of font and how the title is placed.

The font is Trajan, which indicates epic fantasy. Apparently Trajan is the font to use, if you’re making an epic fantasy film. I did not know this. (See, I told you I was not a marketing expert!) But it’s also the right choice when kingdoms or other big things lie at stake in a book.

Since the events in Blood Silver turn on the conflict between battling kingdoms, Trajan is definitely a good choice.

Regarding placement…this happens to be something that I actually do know something about.

Most thrillers have the author’s name in big—no huge—letters at the top of the cover and the title in slightly smaller letters at the bottom.

Fantasy is usually the reverse: the title sits at the top, while the author byline rests at the bottom.

If the story is urban fantasy or horror, the title may be slanted or vertical or have some other unusual orientation. But for epic fantasy, it will be sedately positioned on the horizontal, centered.

(YA fantasy might have a small title or a flush left or flush right alignment, especially if it needs to convey edginess.)

Now that we have art and typography together, we need to consider not only what they convey separately, but what they communicate together.

In this case, we might guess that the story involves two lovers caught up in a conflict between kingdoms. Blood Silver is not going to be a quiet tale. Quite right.

The Title

When I chose Blood Silver as my title, I was thinking of the phrase “blood red,” because there is definitely blood involved in my story.

That’s a fine reference point, but my astute advisor pointed out that it’s also a play on the words “blood money.” And “blood money” makes us think of treachery, cunning, and deception. Which is perfect, because Blood Silver is all about trickery and treachery.

When you put all three channels together, you have the story of two people caught between the violent forces of large events, featuring trickery and great deeds.

If that’s what Blood Silver is about—and it is!—then I’ve got the right art, the right typography, and the right title.

The result?

Blood Silver will keep its title, Blood Silver. 😀

For more about Blood Silver, see:
Plate Armor, How It Works
Cross Strike, Squinting Strike, and Scalp Strike
The Crooked Strike
The Joust
Which Cover to Choose?
The Strike of Wrath
Rope Climbing and a Cliff
What If the Sword is Wrong?
A Song of Peace
Wielding a Long Sword
Origin of the Story (The State of This Writer)

 

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Here Be Dragons

The Here Be Dragons bundle has three of my titles in it!

They stalk our myths and hunt our past—dragons—humankind’s greatest and oldest foe. Good, bad, legendary and deadly. Dare you enter the dragon’s lair?

Thirteen tales of dragons, their friends and their foes.

The Crown and the Dragon
        by John D. Payne
Dragon Writers (an anthology)
        edited by Lisa Mangum
Of Blood and Scales
        by A. L. Butcher
Devouring Light
        by J.M. Ney-Grimm
Ascension of the Whyte
        by Karen Wrighton
Of Dragons and Centaurs
        by Deb Logan
Night of the Clockwork Dragon
        by Louisa Swann
The Legend of G and the Dragonettes
        by Russ Crossley
The Dreamweaver’s Journey
        by Diana L. Wicker
Graybill by Rita Schulz
Star-drake by J.M. Ney-Grimm
Like At Loch Ness by Karen L. Abrahamson
Winter Glory by J.M. Ney-Grimm

The Here Be Dragons bundle (with 13 titles) is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or direct from the BundleRabbit site.

For more about other bundles, see:
Spring Surprise
Immortals
Remembering Warriors
Winter Warmer bundle
Mythic Tales
More than Human

 

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Wielding the Long Sword

The protagonist of my latest work is a faie knight who wields a hand-and-a-half sword, which is a specific type of long sword.

Because my story includes a sequence of battle scenes, I found myself doing quite a bit of research on plate armor, medieval weaponry, and fighting tactics. History books weren’t the best places to find the kind of detail I needed.

What did it feel like to wear plate armor and fight in it? Was it really heavy? Did the knight have a decent view through the eye slits? What specific techniques were used with the long sword? Did these techniques have names?

Fortunately, historical re-enactment is a robust hobby, and many re-enactors are passionate about historical accuracy. They were well equipped to answer some of my most fiddley questions. Additionally, the field of experimental archeology, in which historians build accurate replicas to learn about the people who built and used the originals, has grown considerably during the last few decades. This provided another rich source of answers.

Between the two, I was able to find out almost everything I needed to know.

One of the earliest sources I discovered was a video showing long sword fencing techniques. It was made by the Gladiatores, “a professional school for historical European martial arts, teaching different styles of European fencing.” The Gladiatores focuses on “tutoring a lively historical system of martial arts, combined with transferring knowledge in culture and philosophy of ancient fencing masters.”

I found the sparring sequences shown to be aesthetically beautiful as well as simply fascinating. Naturally, as I’ve started to emerge from my writing cave, I’ve wanted to share some of the cool things I’ve discovered with you.
 

So how is the novella progressing?

The first draft is not only done, but I’ve received feedback from my first reader, made revisions based on her input, and sent the next draft out to my second reader!

It will be a few weeks before I get my second reader’s feedback. After I make those revisions, I’ll still need to proofread the manuscript, format it, and acquire a cover. But I’d love to release it before June. Fingers crossed! 😀

Oh! One other exciting tidbit of news…

The novella has a new title.

Blood Silver.

For more about Blood Silver, see:
Plate Armor, How It Works
Cross Strike, Squinting Strike, and Scalp Strike
The Book Title
The Crooked Strike
The Joust
Which Cover to Choose?
The Strike of Wrath
Rope Climbing and a Cliff
What If the Sword is Wrong?
A Song of Peace
Origin of the Story (The State of This Writer)

 

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Spring Surprise Bundle

I seem to have fallen off my bundle reading and reviewing duties.

There’s a good reason. I’ve reached the end sprint in the writing of my novella, tentatively titled His Poison Tear, and I can hardly bear to do anything but write! You may have noticed that blog posts were a touch scarce during the last week of February. That’s why.

It’s typical of my writing process. By the time I near the end of a story, I am so caught up in the characters—they seem real to me—and I’m so excited by the climactic events that are going down that blog posts just can’t compete.

But I hope I can give a little more attention soon to bundles, because…

There’s a new one out—Spring Surprise—and it has two of my stories in it! Perilous Chance and Sarvet’s Wanderyar.

But it’s not my own stories that have me so excited about this bundle. It’s the stories by the other authors.

I did a bunch of checking the Look Insides on Amazon, and what I saw has me eager to read Easter at Glossner’s by Robert Jeschonek, Eden’s Eyes by Sean Costello, Temporal Dreams by Lesley L. Smith, and “The Brownies Holiday” by Rita Schulz. Those first pages hooked me!

I couldn’t find Mother of the Waters on Amazon, but the tiny excerpt on the BundleRabbit site intrigued me, so I’m looking forward to it as well.

I’ve already read “The Queen of May” by Linda Jordan, so I know it’s good! And I enjoyed The Tuxedoed Man by Marcelle Dubé so much (from the Winter Warmer bundle) that I’m eager to read her novel, The Forsaken Man, in the Spring Surprise.

I’d like to not only read all these titles, but also tell you about them via a series of mini reviews. We shall see!

In the meantime, here’s a little bit about the bundle.

The season of spring ushers in a time of rebirth; new life comes forth, trees emerge from their winter slumber and the cycle of nature begins again. Plans unfold, new adventures commence and the past is washed clean. At least . . . that’s the theory.

In this mixed-genre bundle, tales of hope, fresh beginnings and emerging dreams, dangerous new lives and daring schemes awaken the springtime in us all.

Available for 3 months only — March, April, and May.

Perilous Chance by J.M. Ney-Grimm
Easter at Glosser’s by Robert Jeschonek
Eden’s Eyes by Sean Costello
The Queen of May by Linda Jordan
The Forsaken Man by Marcelle Dube
Mother of the Waters by Leigh Saunders
Temporal Dreams by Lesley L. Smith
The Paths of Water and Air by Barbara G.Tarn
The Brownies Holiday by Rita Schulz
Second Spring by Karen L. Abrahamson
Sarvet’s Wanderyar by J.M. Ney-Grimm

The Spring Surprise bundle (with 11 titles) is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or direct from the BundleRabbit site.

For more about other bundles, see:
Here Be Dragons
Immortals
Remembering Warriors
Winter Warmer bundle
Mythic Tales
More than Human

 

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The State of This Writer

So, how am I doing in the wake of my mother’s death? It’s been four months and some days. Has there been any healing in my grief? Any at all?

And what about my writing? That progress bar at the top right of my website has not budged even one pixel since October 7, 2017. When will I begin writing stories again?

Then there are my blog posts. They’ve been nothing but reviews of different stories in bundles punctuated by sad poetry.

What happened to the recipes? My latest discoveries about nutrition? Various health tips? Cool bits of history unearthed in my research for stories inspired by cultures of the past? Publishing tips?

For all those of you who have been wondering, I will attempt to answer some of these questions.

My Journey in Grief

I’ve heard that it commonly takes a year before one finds one’s balance after the death of a loved one, and my emotions continue to be something of a roller coaster.

I have many moments of missing my mother desperately and longing for her presence. I go through intervals of gloom and discouragement. Sometimes I am angry for no particular reason at all.

But I’m also experiencing some intervals of happiness, along with many hours in which I am simply focused on the things that need doing that hour and that day.

My sense is that I am progressing through my grief in a way that is healthy and normal for me.

I’m beginning to change my world view to conform to the way the world is now. Before my mother’s death, my world was one in which my mother was alive. Now my world is one in which she is dead.

That sounds very simple, but making that transition is surprisingly hard. For the longest time, I was afraid that I might call my father on the phone and ask him to put my mom on, because I wanted to talk with her.

My head knew that my mother had died. But my heart . . . just didn’t.

Now my heart is beginning to accept what my head already knows. This world, my world, is one in which my beloved mother no longer lives. I cannot call her on the phone. I cannot visit her and hug her. I can no longer hear her voice in my ears as she speaks. I feel like I am beginning to know that in my heart.

I have more progress to make. It will be some time before her memory will be a blessing, as some express it. Right now her memory brings me only pain, because it reminds me of my grievous loss.

So I am in the middle of grieving, making progress in healing, but with quite a bit more to come.

But there is one other marker of progress that I can speak to.

I can now think with some degree of cogency.

I couldn’t for most of October and a good bit of November. Initially, I couldn’t even hold two thoughts together at once. The only reason I managed to do all the various tasks that needed to be done in the week between her death and her funeral was because my dad kept a list, and we crossed off each one as I did it, added more tasks as we thought of them, and made notes on tasks that ran into complexities.

And even when my memory improved, I still was not thinking straight. Reasoning my way through challenging life puzzles (of which I had a few) was nearly impossible. I simply could not do it. Everything had to go on hold, or else someone other than me had to do it.

Now I can think again. Although I estimate that I’m holding at about 90% of capacity. I still don’t have all of my brain power back yet. But I can work with what I’ve got.

My Blog Posts

That lack of brain power meant I skipped blogging for all of October. When one cannot think, one cannot write blog posts.

I could write poetry expressing my grief and sorrow. In fact, it was therapeutic to do so. I couldn’t manage to cry much, and my sadness seemed to clog within my body like a plug of congealed pork jelly, heavy and aching and painful. Poetry helped moved the agony through me and out.

Once I’d written the poems, I wanted to share them, because even the idea of posting anything else felt disrespectful to both my mom and my own feelings of loss. I just had to do it, so I did.

When the MYTHIC TALES bundle released, I really wanted to at least let you all know about it. That post, written when my brain still mostly was not working, was incredibly hard to pull together. But there were so many good stories in that bundle. I didn’t want to let my fellow authors down by failing to mention it. And I didn’t want to let you down by failing to notify you of its release. So I pushed myself, and managed to get that post written.

That bundle was in its planning stages through the summer, and I’d envisioned myself interspersing my normal blog posts (on Fridays) with bundle posts (on Wednesdays). But following my mom’s death, I could not write my normal sorts of posts. So you received what I had in me, which was bundle posts and poetry.

I don’t intend to go on that way indefinitely. But neither can I put a date on when I’ll be capable of delivering up my usual repertoire.

I can say that I’m developing a strong desire to tell you all about the Whole 30 (which I’ve been doing for more than a year now), to give you part 2 of the vitamin D post I promised so long ago, and to share some new developments on the publishing front.

Those posts will come. But not quite yet. I must beg your patience for a while longer.

My Fiction Writing

Here I have some good news.

I am writing!

Why then, you might ask, has that progress bar remained stationary?

Ah, yes, well . . . I do have an explanation.

By December I was missing writing quite dreadfully. I find that when I don’t write for an extended period of time, I cannot be my best self, whether that’s a grieving best self or a happy best self, any best self is out of reach.

So, when I reached December, I’d not been writing any stories for two months, long enough for me to really feel it.

And, yet, when I even thought about returning to the novel that I’d abandoned so precipitously on October 7, I just felt tired, as though every last drop of energy (of which I didn’t have much—grief is often very enervating) had run out of my body.

I knew I had to be patient with myself. Several other writers with far more experience than I had said that they could not write for six months after the death of a loved one. But I secretly crossed my fingers that in January I might find I could write a little bit.

Then I happened to listen to a music video of a song by Clannad: “The Poison Glen.”

It moved me deeply. I listened to it more than once.

Here it is, so that you can listen to it also!
 

I couldn’t stop thinking about that mythical hero. What was his story? Who was he? What had happened to him?

I wrote in my journal that I wished I could weave a story around him, but I didn’t think it would be possible for me.

And then I found myself doing exactly that as I continued journaling. I asked myself questions. What about this? What about that? Could it be this? Could it be that?

When I stopped journaling, I had the entire concept outlined in a brief three pages. But could I actually write it? I still had that tired weariness when I thought about writing, even though I also longed to write.

I decided to email a writer I regard as a sort of mentor and who had mentioned her own experiences with writing and grief in comments on her own blog. In my email, I told her of my situation and asked her guidance.

She replied with a great deal of sympathy and understanding, and as I read her reply I found clarity growing within me. I realized that even though I missed the writing and longed for it, I had allowed some degree of a spirit of ‘should’ to pervade my desire to write.

Her words of wisdom allowed me to toss out that ‘should.’ And once the ‘should’ was gone, all that remained was ‘want to, want to, want to!’ And that sense of draining energy that went with the thought of writing was gone.

So, on January 2, I dipped my toe into writing. I wrote only 300 words that first day, but it felt really good and really right. I wrote more the next day, and yet more the day following.

I’ve been writing steadily ever since and have accrued 24,000 words (the total as I draft this post).

But not on the novel that I’d been tracking with the progress bar!

The current work is tentatively titled His Poison Tear. I think it will be a novella, although there’s always a chance that it might be longer. I’m excited about the story and feel a growing eagerness to share it with you and the world of readers. All in good time!

I haven’t permanently abandoned the other work, however. Indeed, as I’ve been writing His Poison Tear, I’ve been feeling enthusiasm for To Thread the Labyrinth kindling anew in my soul. I plan to return to it as soon as I finish the first draft of Poison and send said draft off to my first reader for feedback.

What’s Next?

So, going forward, what can you expect from me?

I’m not going to track my progress on His Poison Tear. I need to stay loose and light on my feet for now, as I write fiction in the wake of my mother’s death. I’m writing steadily, and the story will be done when it is done.

Edited to add: I’ve changed the title from His Poison Tear to Blood Silver.

I do want to try tracking my progress when I return to To Thread the Labyrinth. If it does not impede my writing, I’ll update that progress bar as I write. If it does, than I’ll remove the progress bar altogether. But I suspect it will be fine.

Regarding the blog…

Well, there will likely be a bunch more poetry and a few more bundle posts. But I’m hoping to slip in the odd post on other topics here and there. We shall see, but stay tuned. I’ll probably write another update post like this one after I’ve tried various possibilities and want to share how they worked. 😀

For more about Blood Silver, see:
Plate Armor, How It Works
Cross Strike, Squinting Strike, and Scalp Strike
The Book Title
The Crooked Strike
The Joust
Which Cover to Choose?
The Strike of Wrath
Rope Climbing and a Cliff
What If the Sword is Wrong?
A Song of Peace
Wielding a Long Sword

 

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Winter’s Last Chance

The Winter Warmer bundle comes off store shelves March 1. After that, it’s gone forever. That’s the nature of bundles.

ETA: The bundle is now gone, but all the stories that were in it are available solo. I urge you check them out, especially “Phoenix,” “Nutball Season,” Nobody’s Child, “Desperate Housewitches,” and my own Winter Glory.

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.

“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

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

 

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Immortals Bundle

This seems to be the year of the book bundle for me. Across the last 6 months, I’ve had stories in four bundles. Now I have two titles in a new fifth bundle!

My short story, Rainbow’s Lodestone, features the spirit of the rainbow as its protagonist. My novel, Fate’s Door, follows the adventures of a naiad of the Mediterranean Sea.

Both Rainbow’s Lodestone and Fate’s Door are included in Immortals, along with 12 more stories by other authors, amongst them the talented Leah Cutter, the unique Janet Morris, and my new favorite Leslie Claire Walker.

Gods, nymphs, vampires, deathless clones, cursed mages and those who serve them face perils where immortality acts as either curse or blessing or…both. Souls and selves lie at stake in this eclectic bundle.

“The Goddess Problem” by Sherry D. Ramsey
Glamour of the God-Touched by Ron Collins
A Man and His God by Janet Morris
“Unnatural Immortal” by Russ Crossley
First Chosen by M. Todd Gallowglas
Walking Gods by Leah Cutter
“Rainbow’s Lodestone” by J.M. Ney-Grimm
Brainjob by David Sloma
“Silver Dust” by Leslie Claire Walker
“Vale of Semūin” by Eric Kent Edstrom
Fate’s Door by J.M. Ney-Grimm
Kaylyn the Sister-in-Darkness by Barbara G. Tarn
“The Legend of Oeliana” by A. L. Butcher
“Jamal & the Skeleton’s Heart” by Ezekiel James Boston

The Immortals bundle (with 14 titles, including Rainbow’s Lodestone and Fate’s Door) is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or direct from the BundleRabbit site.

For more about other bundles, see:
Here Be Dragons
Spring Surprise
Remembering Warriors
Winter Warmer bundle
Mythic Tales
More than Human

 

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