Cover Reveal: Fate’s Door

Fate landing cov 350Secrets, like troubles, come in threes. When you possess one of either, two more arrive to keep it company. Nerine, a sea nymph of the ancient world, knows too much about both.

Each morning, in the chill before the sun’s rising, Nerine and the three Fates stand under the mighty branches of the World Tree, gazing into the depths of the root-girdled Well of Destiny, watching the dooms that must come to pass that day.

Nerine then chooses the threads that mirror the water’s visions for the Fates to weave their portents into history.

But when the dawn’s visions show Nerine’s lover, shipwrecked and drowning, all her renounced yearning for him rises anew. Surely – as handmaiden to the Fates themselves – she might tilt the odds to give her beloved a chance.

But how?

If she chooses illicitly for the Fates’ loom – green ribbands? a handkerchief? – will either save him?

Alas, her vision-laden intuition tells her no.

Ribband garlands merely drag her lover deep in entangling seaweed, while her handkerchief entombs him in the wreck’s sail. Each forbidden choice brings him closer to death.

Is betrayal of herself the only way to prevail?

Somehow – this day, this morning, this time – Nerine must subvert destiny or lose the companion of her heart forever.

Coming soon!

For the beginning of the story, see:
Fate’s Door: The Well of Destiny

 

Share

Fate’s Door: Manuscript Complete!

I know there are a few of you – who especially like stories based on mythology and involving the ancient Greek pantheon – eagerly awaiting my novel Fate’s Door.

Origin of Symmetry by SplodgusMaximus

I finished the manuscript Monday, July 27!

That was an exciting moment for me, because I’ve been dreaming of this particular story since 2013, when I wrote its beginning, and then actually writing the novel since the beginning of this year.

Hmm. I just checked when the manuscript file was created, and my computer says December 16, 2014. So, I must have started work slightly before January.

Whatever the details, I’ve poured my heart and soul into it, and reaching “The End” felt great.

Some of you have told me that you really like the ancient Mediterranean world as a setting, and fully half the book takes place there. The other half of Fate’s Door ranges across Europe and north into Scandinavia, where the story starts.

I did a lot of research for Fate’s Door. It’s fantasy, but fantasy blended with the Hellenistic world of the 4th century BC. Wherever my sea nymph heroine interacts with the people and civilizations of the time, I want my facts to be as accurate as I could make them. Thus research.

I enjoyed my research. Who knew that the ancient Greeks did not have horseshoes? Not me! (See the blog post before this one.) Or that ancient Greek weddings took three full days and were only valid if the father or guardian of the bride had first shaken hands on a betrothal with the groom or his father?

I couldn’t resist compiling some of the information I uncovered into appendices for the back of the book. None of the information is necessary to the reader reading Fate’s Door. But I figure that any of you who enjoy appendices (the way I do) might be pleased to dip into the material after you finish the story. The appendices are not extensive. They merely explain a bit more about some of the terms used by the natives of the time period, as well as setting my story events within the context of the larger history.

I’ve been working on the cover for the book and hope to show it to you soon.

The manuscript itself is with my first reader. Her interim report – at roughly two-thirds of the way through – was that she was enjoying the story a lot. I’m sure she’ll have some great feedback. I’ll make revisions based on what she has to say and then send the revised manuscript to my second reader, who will undoubtedly offer equally valuable insights. (These two early readers of mine are fantastic! I am so fortunate to have them.)

I suspect my hopes for a September release were unrealistic, but October looks good.

5 new titles banner

I’ll continue to update you as Fate’s Door (and my other four upcoming titles) move through the process that transforms a complete manuscript into a book ready for readers to enjoy. 😀

The links from above:
Beginning of Fate’s Door
Horse Sandals
A Love for Appendices
Unrealistic September Hopes

 

Share

5 Titles Aimed for September

When I visit the blogs of my favorite living authors – Lois McMaster Bujold and Robin McKinley – the number one thing I’m looking for is news of their next books.

Is she working on one? What is it about? When will it be in stores so that I can buy it? And read it!

5 new titles banner with Fate's Door

I don’t know if any of my readers feel as passionately about my stories as I do about Bujold’s stories and McKinley’s. Comparing feelings doesn’t really lead far, does it?

It’s sort of like the children’s book Guess How Much I Love You.

I love this book more than the distance to the moon. I love it more than the distance to the moon . . . and back! No, Pluto! Alpha Centauri! And so on.

But I know I do have a few fans who are probably wondering when my next title will appear. It’s been nearly a year since I’ve released anything new.

To those of you wondering and waiting, rest assured that I have been writing. A lot! And all this writing has been piling up into books.

Where are the books?

I have two that are ready to release. I always intended to release Serpent’s Foe, which appeared in Quantum Zoo, solo – for readers who don’t care for anthologies.

Serpent’s Foe is ready for release: cover complete, story file formatted.

Winter Glory is also ready for release: cover complete and story file formatted for upload.

In fact, not only are the ebook editions ready, but the trade paperback editions are also ready.

What am I waiting for?

I’d really like to increase my visibility. A number of readers have contacted me or written reviews saying they were delighted to have found my books. A recurring phrase is: “hidden gem.”

Naturally I love the idea that my books are gems. But I’m not so keen about the “hidden” part. I’d like to have more readers.

Almost a year ago, I read about something called the “Liliana Nirvana technique” on a blog written by SF author Hugh Howey.

The technique is simple: release five books on the same day.

Why? Because your visibility will soar. With five titles appearing on the “New Releases” lists, browsing readers will see your name more than once and be more likely to remember you, to check out your books, and to consider reading them.

If this were just a theory, I’d be skeptical. But quite a few writers have tried the technique with excellent results.

Honestly, I’m still skeptical.

But I’ve not gotten to where I am by staying with the tried and true. New ideas and new ways – and sometimes old ways that are so old they’re new – have always attracted me.

So I’m going to give the Liliana Nirvana technique a try.

Sept 2015However, the wait for my five new titles shouldn’t be much longer. September is looking good for their publication.

Hunting Wild is with my proofreader. When it comes back from her, I’ll correct the typos and format the file. It’s a few hours work at most. And the cover is already complete.

Caught in Amber is with my third beta reader. Normally, my books go through only two beta readers, but I made so many revisions to Amber I wanted a third reader’s eyes on it to be sure I got it right. The cover for Caught in Amber is already complete.

I’m still writing the fifth book – Fate’s Door – but I’m closing in on the end. The last fifth of the novel, in fact. The word count currently stands at 80,000!

I’m a writer who picks up steam through a book. I start out slow, achieve a respectable speed through the middle, and then barrel through the end like an express train.

I expect to finish Fate’s Door by the end of May. Then the manuscript goes to my first reader, then my second reader, and then (after my revisions) to my proofreader.

So what exactly will come your way in September? Here’s the list:

Amber web cov 200Caught in Amber • When young Fae awakens in a locked and deserted castle, she remembers nothing. Who she is, where she comes from, none of it.

Beauty from all the ages – medieval, renaissance, and gothic – graces her surroundings, but underneath the loveliness a lurking evil stirs.

Fae must recover her memories and discern the true nature of the challenge before her, while she confronts the castle’s dangers – both subtle and not so subtle.

Somewhere in her forgotten past lies the key to her freedom.

 

Serpent’s Foe • Bastet, divine protectress of the gods themselves, lies defeated in a cage.

Trapped in beast form, imprisoned behind bars, and confused by nightmares, she struggles to regain her sanity.

Yet clarity of mind is only the beginning of her fight for freedom. In the dimness of the ancient Egyptian duat – where Ra journeys from sundown to sunup – a potent enemy lurks.

When strength battles compassion, what guise must victory assume?

 

Fate's Door, web cover 200Fate’s Door • Secrets, like troubles, come in threes. When you possess one of either, two more arrive to keep it company. Nerine, a sea nymph of the ancient world, knows too much about both.

Each morning, in the chill before the sun’s rising, Nerine and the three Fates stand under the mighty branches of the World Tree, gazing into the depths of the root-girdled Well of Destiny, watching the dooms that must come to pass that day.

But when the dawn’s visions show Nerine’s lover, shipwrecked and drowning, all her renounced yearning for him rises anew.

Somehow – this day, this morning, this time – Nerine must subvert destiny or lose the companion of her heart forever.

 

Glory web cover 200Winter Glory • In the cold, forested North-lands – prowled by trolls and ice tigers, redolent with the aroma of pine, and shrouded in snow – Ivvar seeks only to meet his newborn great granddaughter.

Someone else has the same plan.

Traversing the wilderness toward the infant’s home camp, Ivvar must face the woman he once cherished and an ancient leviathan of the chilly woodlands in a complicated dance of love and death.

Ivvar’s second chance at happiness – and his life – hang in the balance.

 

Hunting Wild200 pxHunting Wild • When a king begs a boon, can you refuse him? Young Remeya – fosterling and maid-in-waiting to King Xavo’s sister – thinks you cannot.

Her king requests that she retrieve a dread secret from the well on the grassy hillside of his castle’s outer bailey, and she complies. From the moment her sovereign grips the unwholesome treasure in his hand, the coherence of his mind, his court, and his kingdom start to unravel.

 
 
 

* * *

So…get ready to binge on a handful of new stories in the fall! 😀

 

Share

Cover Preview: Serpent’s Foe

200x300For those of you who just couldn’t wait to read Serpent’s Foe, there’s Quantum Zoo. My story is the very last one in the anthology. Plus you get 11 other sci-fi and fantasy stories by some superb indie storytellers. It’s a great deal!

But for those readers who want their Ney-Grimm stories straight up and undiluted (wink), Serpent’s Foe will be releasing solo in the late summer.

I’ve been writing a lot over the last few weeks, but I’ve also been getting several finished stories ready for their upcoming release. Serpent’s Foe is among them, and I’d like to show you the cover. I’m super pleased with it.

Serpent feature cover 300Here’s a little bit about the story.

A lioness of ancient Egypt lies caged in a dim underground menagerie. She possesses unique powers and freedoms. Yet – inexplicably – these gifts elude her in her captivity.

Tormented by confusion and her own fury, she longs to regain her memory of who she is and all that rightfully belongs to her.

The mysterious enemy who holds her prisoner – a god of chaos and destruction – has seized a moment in history to throw down Egypt’s traditional protectors and cast her people into war.

The lioness must confront both the serpentine god of chaos and the wrongs of her own heart. Within that crucible of revelation lie the keys to her escape.

If she fails the test, the Egyptian people relying on her protection must submit to the rule of cruel foreign invaders, while she herself suffers eternal anguish.

Coming soon!

 

Share

Hunting Wild as a Novella

The Lady and the Unicorn, Musée National du Moyen Age, Cluny Museum, Paris

A year and a half ago, I wrote a short story and posted it on my blog here.

I’d intended it to be flash fiction – under 1000 words – like the other flash fiction histories I’d created about the empire of Giralliya (in my North-lands).

“Hunting Wild” went long – to 6,000 words – but I posted it anyway. It was a cool story. I wanted readers to see it!

And readers did see it!

At least one urged me to continue writing and posting these “fairy tales” from the past of my fictional world.

I wanted to do so, but I must confess that the 6,000-word length of “Hunting Wild” daunted me. With another dozen of flash fiction titles on my to-be-written list, I certainly had the inspiration.

But what if they all went long?

In fact, I could sense that the next three – at least – would go long.

What to do? What to do?

I pondered the matter off and on. And wrote a lot of other blog posts. Then, last December, I realized that my dilemma was really not one.

Nunc Dimittis, detail from medieval tapestry in the Burrell Collection in Glasgow“Hunting Wild” was long enough to publish as an ebook on Amazon and with other online booksellers. (Unlike the flash fiction pieces, which were too short for that.) Why not do so?

Why not, indeed!

I could publish “Hunting Wild” and “Fairest Trickery” and “Aegis” as ebooks.

After the holidays, in January, I pulled out my manuscript and looked it over.

Well, it was still a cool story, but – to my now more developed storyteller’s eye – it looked like it was missing a scene or two.

No problem. I could easily write the “missing” scenes and weave them into the story. I set to work. It was fun!

But after writing two new scenes and meshing them into the existing manuscript, it was clear that I needed to write two more scenes.

Can you see where this is going?

I’m closing in on my revision now, but in all I’ve written 7 new scenes, requiring 11,000 new words. Whew! That took a little more time and energy than I’d planned!

I’m pleased with the new Hunting Wild, and eager to share it with my fans. First it must go to my beta readers for their feedback. That’s an important step. There are always a few small glitches (sometimes large glitches) that I can’t see, because I’m too close to it. Luckily, my beta readers see such problems just fine. They point them out to me, and I fix the trouble spots.

However, I have a snippet – a poem – that I wrote as I further developed the religious beliefs of my “medieval” Giralliyans.

Writers end up with these background notes all the time. Things the writer needs to know in order to write the story, but that don’t belong in the story.

This particular fragment of text derives from an old Giralliyan religion – the Gedier Creed – that had been losing followers for centuries until, finally, its practice was forbidden by the crown.

The Gedier Creed involves belief in a god with three aspects: Gwirionedd in heaven, Cummenos on earth, and Eoin in hell.

Enjoy!

The Unicorn Tapestries at Stirling Castle

With blood, in death, the sacrifice of our king draws truth – Gwirionedd – down from heaven to manifest on earth.
In death, with sacrifice, in the harvest of our ripeness dost our king suffer his holy rite.

Stag-horned, beast-headed, our Lord chases the earth.
Steed-mounted, hound-hunted, he courses to pursue his sacred hunt.

Named Cummenos, named wild, he hunts the Hallowed Eve.
From the farthest to the nearest, he hunts monsters unseen.
From the outmost to the inmost, he hunts evils unfelt.
Driving them before him, he descends into hell.

Enthroned, enslaved, in hell he is Eoin.
Judge and demon, meter of fates, he is chained until freed by mortal gift.

With blood, in life, the surrender of our lady frees judgment – Eoin – from hell, to mount to heaven.
In life, with surrender, in the pregnancy of deep winter dost our lady embrace her blessed rite.

Named Gwirionedd, named truth, our Lord presides in heaven.
Breath of spirit, light of seeing, he glorifies and sanctifies, awaiting the sacrifice of the king.

Gwirionedd, our source.
Cummenos, fell and fallen.
Eoin, our maker.
Gwirionedd, our truth and haven.
Hosanna to our Lord.

* * *

For more about Giralliya, the setting of Hunting Wild:
A Great Birthing
Bazinthiad’s Fashions
Bazinthiad, A Quick Tour

 

Share