Upcoming Release! Tales in a New Bundle

Tales of Old Giralliya is an experiment for me.

I conceived of the stories as the fairy tales that mothers and fathers of my North-lands tell their young children at bedtime, and I recounted the stories in the spare style typical of fairy tales.

Characters are sketched in with just a few details, leaning heavily on archetypes. We have the young, inexperienced king, who tries something that an older man would not. Or the young girl, kidnapped from home, held captive by her enemies, and faced with a chance to save her village, but lacking any obvious means to do so.

Each story is comprised of just one scene, or two, embedded within a scant narrative frame that is the equivalent of ‘once upon a time.’

I loved telling the stories, writing in hope that some of my readers would enjoy reading them.

But would they? Would they really?

And who might like to be my first reader, the one to give me necessary feedback—feedback that would allow me to revise the stories to be their best?

I needed someone who not only had loved fairy tales as a child, but who still loved them. Someone who might pull out her battered copy of East of the Sun and West of the Moon and read it for pleasure (not mere nostalgia) now.

Really, my choice of a first reader was simple. I asked the curator of the bundle for which Tales of Old Giralliya was created.

She graciously consented to help me, and I sent her the file.

Then I waited. Nervously.

I thought she would like the stories, but . . . would she really?

Well, good news: she did! 😀

And she provided me with excellent feedback.

My collection has now been revised, edited, and proofread, and will release sometime this month in the bundle entitled Might Have Been.

Here’s a little bit about Tales of Old Giralliya.

*     *     *

A troll-mage rains death upon the land from his citadel in the sky. Who—if anyone—can defeat him? Despite the oracle’s prophecy, few believe the beggar’s son might be the people’s champion.

A magical plague infests the villages, the cities, and the lonely manors. Will the realm descend into ruin before a cure is found? Or could wizened, old Eliya convince the stricken that something improbable might save them all?

Three ducal brothers fight for the rule of their duchy, crushing fields and hamlets under their chariot wheels. Can young Andraia, kidnapped from her village, bring the destructive struggle to an end?

Instead of Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, or the Pied Piper of Hamelin, the Giralliyan Empire has Ravessa’s Ride, the Thricely Odd Troll, the Kite Climber, and more. Tales of Old Giralliya presents six of these fresh, new fairy tales for your enjoyment.

Adventure and magic in the tradition of The Red Fairy Book and the Tales of the Brothers Grimm.

*     *     *

For more about Tales of Old Giralliya, see:
Rebirth of Four Fairy Tales
Two Giralliyan Folk Heroes
Caught Between Two Armies

 

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New Bundle! Blood Moon

I’ve been invited to participate in a bundle featuring shapeshifters!

Many of the stories showcase traditional were creatures turned by the power of moonlight, while mine involves the ancient Egyptians and the mutable forms of their gods. But several of the authors put unusual spins on the trope, including the adventures of a feline fey, the call of the Wild Hunt, and the spiritual heart of the First People.

Among those that especially caught my attention were By Howl & Claw by Rebecca Senese (a collection of 5 stories), “Big Bad Wolf” and “The Night Mischief Became a Real Cat” by Annie Reed, Family, Pack by Michael Jasper, and “Wolf Warlock” by Meyari McFarland. Here’s a little bit about them…

*     *     *

What kills and leaves a strange, elongated print?

What howls in the dark Yukon night?

What stalks these burglars in an empty house?

What follows an old woman in the woods?

What chases squirrels in the full moon?

By howl and claw, monsters roam the wilds.
 
 

*     *     *

Carla hated blind dates.

Hard enough just living in the city and trying to fit in with a bunch of regular people who didn’t know she was a werewolf.

Why didn’t everyone believe her when she told them she liked being single? No attachments? No commitments? No one to accidentally disembowel when the moon was at its fullest and she wolfed out during a particularly vivid dream?

This particular blind date, though, might be too good to be true.

Right up until the lights go out, and everything goes to hell.

*     *     *

Some family curses really should be passed on…

Tommy Roling does everything humanly possible to raise his infant daughter Corinne the right way. But a half year out of high school, Tommy finds himself a single parent as well as flat broke.

And, with every full moon, he can’t fight the urge to strip off his clothes and run wild through the pastures outside town.
 
 
 

*     *     *

Once she stalked the duat by Ra’s side, carrying his light in her eyes and battling the monsters that assailed them.

Now, tormented by confusion and her own fury, she longs to regain the unique powers which—inexplicably—elude her in captivity.

In this mythic tale of pride and revelation, a fight beyond death delivers one last chance at redemption.
 
 
 

*     *     *

Mischief never expected to encounter a shadow creature.

Especially not on the night her wings fell off and she became a real cat.

She just wants to find a home where she belongs. Instead, Mischief runs into the biggest shadow creature she’s ever seen. A creature that can transform itself under the light of the full moon into something solid and dangerous and hungry.

Mischief comes from a long line of feline fey. Proud hunters who protect the world from shadow creatures who stalk the unwary. But Mischief’s no longer fey—she’s just a cat.

One very determined cat.

*     *     *

The new Lady of the Wild Hunt called.

Tamara, Etelka and Dax answered the call even though they were barely more than pups.

They slipped into the physical world, running to the Lady’s call. Only to find that she hadn’t called them, not exactly.

Call or not, the Lady needed them, needed their support and their training and their ability to channel her anger into something useful.

Unfortunately, only one of them could be Chosen to stand by the Lady’s side.

*     *     *

When the sun has set, when the moon is full, the shapeshifters gather—wolves, cats and totemic creatures, nightmares and revelations.

Seeking answers, seeking revenge, seeking a cure to affliction, seeking blood, seeking answers or seeking love—a gathering of beasts abounds. Dare you walk beneath the moonlight?

By Howl & Claw by Rebecca Senese
“Spirit Dance” by Douglas Smith
“Big Bad Wolf” by Annie Reed
“Badlands” by Michele Lang
Family, Pack by Michael Jasper
“Serpent’s Foe” by J.M. Ney-Grimm
“The Night Mischief Became a Real Cat” by Annie Reed
“Silver Light” by Rita Schulz
“Wolf Warlock” by Meyari McFarland
Stolen by the Werewolf by AJ Tipton
“Beware the Easter Moon” by De Kenyon
“Moon Spell” by Rita Schulz

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

 

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Sovereign Change

The sequel to The Tally Master has a new title!

I’m so excited about it, but I deserve none of the credit. Who does?

My first reader.

Actually she deserves credit for a lot more than the title. She read through my first draft, which turned out to be in much rougher shape than I’d realized, and not only flagged all of its problems, but made some excellent suggestions for how to fix them.

Then—with a generosity beyond any call of honor or duty—she read the whole thing again in its revised version.

I just received the commented manuscript back from her. This second draft is in much better shape than was the first. Thank goodness! She found it gripping and fun to read, but she also discovered a number of additional small issues that will be the better for fixing. I hope to dive into the revision work soon.

But what about that title?

It was while my first reader was racing through the exciting climax scene—just as tension-filled, she reports, even though she’d read it before—that inspiration visited her.

Sovereign Night.

The instant I saw it, there in the first comment on the manuscript, I loved it. It’s THE ONE. 😀

The Sovereign’s Labyrinth has now officially become Sovereign Night.

 
 
 

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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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