Ah, spring. Which means my yard is a mud pit. But the trees are budding and the air’s getting warmer. I’m eager to plant some flowers, get the windchimes and hammock hung up again, and see if my lavender comes back.
I sent Memories to my first set of betas so they can help me dig through the prose for all the gold. I really love this story. It’s so much fun, and it’s so full of heart.
In the meantime, I’m working on the redraft for Book 4 (Songs) and I’m editing Palon’s novella and the Amanah-Taunos novella. I know how to bring them together now, so I’ll be ready for another set of betas probably by the next newsletter.
So, if you want a chance to read a novella or two before it’s out, and if you want a chance to give input that could help polish a story, definitely sign up for the next beta round for one or both of the prequels!
These novellas will be available to subscribers first before anyone else anyway, so if giving feedback makes you anxious, don’t worry! You’ll still get to read them early so long as you’re subscribed. Currently, I think I’ll eventually release Palon’s novella wide, but I’m intending to keep Taunos and Amanah’s prequel subscribers-only indefinitely.
I know!! I’m a few days early with this update! Here’s why:
First of all, on Sunday I’ll be at QuaranCon on the Underappreciated genres panel. I’m really excited for this–it’s been fun to pre-discuss with the other panelists.
Additionally, there are THREE sales going on right now and I wanted to make sure you all knew about them so that you could jump on the chance for more amazing books.
This selection is a bunch of books by panelists in QuaranCon, and they are all FREE or 99cents the 7th to the 12th of April. There’s some absolutely incredible sci-fi and fantasy books in here!
Between this and the next sale, ALL of my novels are currently 99cents! If you’ve been eyeing them, now’s the time to grab them!
A bunch of us semi-finalists from SPFBO have also gotten together to make our books available for 99cents for you! These fantasy novels were in SPFBO from 2018 to last year, and were one step away from the finals. If you’re looking for a great Indie April read, check these out!
Today’s freebie is …. art!
I’ve been messing around on Artbreeder and wanted to show you guys some of the cool.
Ifreesians are mentioned in Between Starfalls and show up in Let Loose the Fallen.
Rinaran fae and elves are mentioned in Between Starfalls and developed further in Let Loose the Fallen. They factor heavily in Memories That Bind.
The main characters (and three side characters) from the Children of the Nexus books. Left to right, top to bottom, we have: Taunos, Aturadin, Galod, Kaemada, Emin, Takiyah, Amanah, Palon, Ra’ael, and Eian.
Palon stars in Windwardand Aturadin is also in Windward.
The others are mainly in Between Starfalls but Emin and Amanah don’t show up until Let Loose the Fallen.
Hello all! Hope you all are doing well. Spring is just beginning here, which means it’s muddy and windy and cold but getting warmer! I’m eager to spend more time outside again.
Progress on Memories
I keep going back in Book Three and shining up sections or pulling threads fully through, but I’ve got the arcs sorted now for everyone except Ra’ael, and her arc is nearly there. By the numbers, I have 13 more chapters to edit, but I’ve already gone through the timeline and shined things up and organized chapters chronologically while mostly balancing the point of view character. I have a couple scenes left to write and one chapter for Answer to add, but things are going well overall.
It’s hard to be in this mode of editing where progress is being made but it doesn’t exactly look like it, but I’ll be finished soon!
What have I been reading?
I’ve read some amazing books recently in finishing my r/Fantasy Reading Bingo card. The Keeper of Night by Kylie Lee Baker, was brutal and amazing. I really enjoyed it.
I also read The Demons We See by Krista D. Ball, which was absolutely fantastic and emotionally gripping–I had to get up in the middle of the night to finish it. It was one of my favorite books for Bingo.
I’m currently just beginning A Touch of Light by Thiago Abdalla and so far it’s really interesting. I’m really enjoying the point of view and the worldbuilding, and the writing style is easy to immerse myself in.
I’m really excited about a couple of upcoming events I’ll be engaged with in April. I’ll be at QuaranCon on the Underappreciated genres panel. It’ll be my first time at QuaranCon, so I’m nervous/excited.
Also in April, I’ll be looking through submissions for my first summer mentoring with WriteMentor. It’ll be wonderful to give back, since so many people helped me when I was just starting, too. My goal is to have my edits for Memories done by the time submissions open up!
Today’s freebie is a Rinaryn creation story. I loved immersing myself in mythology when I was younger, and it’s been fun coming up with mythology for my various constructed peoples as well in my stories. Trying to nail the epic storytelling feel is refreshingly different from novel writing!
Sun and Moons
The Sun was a wonderful athlete and sought to woo two sisters. He followed them around and was always trying to impress one of them. The sisters were haughty and wanted nothing to do with Sun, but they liked to make fun of him and so began giving him several tasks. He had to swim down to the deepest ocean to get a bit of seaweed for them, but when he did it they flung it into the rocks of the coast. They instructed him to climb the highest peak to bring back a gold rock. When he did so, they flung it into the streams.
The sisters asked for a rare flower of many colors. When he found it, they threw it into the meadows, where it spread and became the multitude of flowering plants in the spring. They asked for the coldest drink possible to quench their thirst. When the Sun brought it, they poured it on the ground where it became the springs that quench the thirst of those in summer. They asked for a crown of many colors. When the Sun found it, they ripped it apart and scattered it to the winds. The leaves of trees re-enact this every autumn. Finally, they asked for crystals clear and cold. He brought them, but they melted in the hands of the sisters, and they flung them to the skies where they froze and fell light and soft around them, becoming the first snowfall.
The Sun became frustrated and realized he was never going to woo them. As he turned away, the sisters gave him a gift of golden boots. They told him they would make him run faster and jump higher than he ever could before and they apologized for their behavior.
Pleased, Sun put on the boots. The sisters smiled at each other as the Sun ran around them. He was very fast. He ran so fast and his feet hit the ground so hard he made many lakes. He jumped again and again. With each landing, the land shook and the sisters bounced until at last they bounced right into the sky. Repentant of his mistake, the Sun leaped up to chase them, but as he made that one last mighty leap, the boots became stuck in the mud and he leaped right out of them.
He flew into the sky, unable to return again to land, and so they all circled in the sky, the Sun forever chasing the sisters, the Moons. This is why the sun and moons rise and set. The faces of the sisters were so beautiful they shone brightly, but as they realized how mean they were when they’d made fun of him, they hid their faces in darkness. The Sun forgave them and told them stories to cheer them up and they showed their faces again until the guilt lay on them once more and they hid them. This is why the moons have phases. As they journey, the moons and the Sun remember the tasks he did for them. The reminders cause the seasons.
Lost Worlds Promo
Check out this selection of stories set in old worlds–nothing more modern than the 15th century, with no portals/time-travel. These fantasy and historical fiction stories focus solely on older time periods. There are some amazing looking titles in here, and they’re all available free.
Palon’s novella is coming along, though I’ve had to put it to the side while editing Book Three, doing some beta reading, and dealing with some health issues. There are never enough hours in the day, are there? Book Three is a third edited, though, and while it’s quite challenging, I’m also really excited to show it to the world.
Obviously, I’d planned to be a lot farther along by now, but “no plan survives contact”, and all. I’m trying to learn to give myself grace–pushing through health issues doesn’t work, and it’s not like I can control it, after all. What I can control is not stressing myself out about what I can’t control, and focusing on productivity when I am able to be productive.
Hopefully by the time I send another newsletter, Book Three of the Children of the Nexus series will be on its way to my dream team for their critiques, and Palon’s story will be nearly finished with that round of edits.
What have I been reading?
In the meantime, I’m trying to finish my r/Fantasy Reading Bingo card, too. I’m reading Marlon James’s Black Leopard, Red Wolf and also Trudie Skies’s The Thirteenth Hour for a book club read. I’m enjoying both quite a lot–incredible worldbuilding, though extraordinarily different from each other. I’m really enjoying Trudie’s storytelling, and the storytelling in Black Leopard, Red Wolf is fresh and interesting. So far, I highly recommend them both.
Next in line for me (according to my library) is The Keeper of Night by Kylie Lee Baker, which I’m also looking forward to. This is a Japanese underworld Reaper sort of story, according to its blurb, and it looks so cool.
While I’m finishing my r/Fantasy bingo board, I also have my eye on another bingo board for a reading community I’ve really enjoyed. The Oasis is a SFF reading Discord, and beyond reading bingo, they also do buddy reads and author chats. It’s just a really cool place to hang out, so if you’re looking for reading buddies, definitely check them out.
I want to get into the habit of including a worldbuilding detail or short story in each of my newsletters, and this time, I want to give you a recipe. I’m planning to create a whole bunch of these recipes and collect them in a Rinaryn and Kamalti cookbook, just for fun.
So, today I present to you:
Rinaryn dessert dumplings
• 3 cups (625g) all-purpose flour
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 egg
• ½ cup milk or half & half
• up to 1/4 cup water
• In a large bowl with a sturdy spoon (or in a mixing bowl with dough hook attachment), mix together flour, salt, egg, and milk (on low speed). Once the mixture is mostly combined, add half of the water.
• Knead the dough until elastic ball forms for about 5-7 minutes, add remaining water as needed. Dough should be nice and soft.
• Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for 15 minutes (or up to 1 hour).
• Cut dough in halves or thirds. Roll out the section of dough until it’s the thickness of a fingernail. This dough can get stiff as you work it!
• Cut into circles with 2.5-inch round cooking cutter.
• Place about 1/2 tablespoon of your favorite jam in each round and pinch the edges together into desired shape.
• (If you’re making a big batch, you can put excess shaped dumplings on a sheet pan and freeze for about ~2 hours so they’re solid, then pour into a zip-top bag for storage. When you’re ready to cook them, thaw first, then proceed to the next step.)
Now, choose your cooking method:
• Steam atop foil pricked with holes over a cooking grill (or in a steamer basket) above ~2 inches of boiling water for ~10 min
• Pan-fry in oil at 350 degrees F for ~2-3 min until outside is golden brown
Serve immediately and enjoy.
Alternatively (or if you have excess dough), try Rinaryn fried bread
Dough for this is the same as above, rolled out to 1-3 fingernail thicknesses.
Cut into squiggles or rectangles, under 3 square inches
Pan-fry in oil at 350 degrees F for ~2-3 min until outside is golden brown
Serve on a plate or trough with jam, honey, and/or chocolate (optionally, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar immediately)
If you try these, let me know how you like them!
I still have signed copies of Windward, Between Starfalls, or Let Loose the Fallen in stock here! They make great gifts to friends, family, and even libraries.
SPFBO Authors Promo
It’s no secret I support other authors, especially indie authors, and I’ve really enjoyed participating in Mark Lawrence’s Self-published Fantasy Blog Off. There are so many interesting stories to read and cool authors to meet from SPFBO, and so I wanted to give them a shout out. Below is a collection of SPFBO books from various years–not just this last one. If you’re looking for some new reads, definitely consider checking them out.
This update is short and sweet, since I know many of us are caught in the holiday flurry of trying to get everything done! I hope your holiday season, whatever it looks like, is full of rest and joy.
For those of you who have signed up to beta read Palon’s prequel novella, check your emails! You should be getting it today.
If you hadn’t signed up yet but are interested in beta reading Palon’s prequel, fill out the form just below. It’ll only be available to download for two more weeks. Remember, the final version will not be available in stores–the only way to get it will be to be subscribed to my newsletter. Beta reading is a chance for you to see a story before all the polish is put on, and it’s a chance for me to get a peek at how bits and pieces of the story are affecting readers and what their thoughts on things like characters and pacing are.
Once again, I’m taking part in the r/Fantasy Holiday MegaSale this 26th and 27th. Make sure you check out r/Fantasy on the 26th or 27th to see all the amazing authors who are also participating with books either free or 99cents.
Ebooks of Between Starfalls and Let Loose the Fallen will both be free beginning on Christmas. If you know anyone who would love these books, this is a perfect chance to get started on the series!
And here are some more excellent stories to dive into:
A merchant of rumors. A king’s demise before his time. The dragon god threatening to consume the world…
In a city divided by schemes and treachery, Airene the Finch is a penniless commoner scraping a living through a trade in secrets. Despite coming from a debt-ridden family, she has claimed a sliver of notoriety through her relentless ambition and ingenuity.
But Airene has always yearned for more. She wishes to be a Verifier of Truth, part of an ancient order that uncovers corruption at the highest echelons of society. She longs to bring justice to an unjust world.
So when her nation’s figurehead ruler dies under suspicious circumstances, Airene seizes her opportunity. Her search for the truth behind the ruler’s death will bring her into conflict with outlaw sorcerers, underground societies, corrupt politicians — and far more deadly dangers.
Can Airene uncover the plot and stop the forces behind it, or will the price of victory be too high to pay?
Whispers of Ruin is the first book in the epic fantasy series The Famine Cycle. Perfect for readers who like political intrigue, hard magic systems, awakening gods, and seedy medieval cities, or love books like The Lies of Locke Lamora and Mistborn.
A forsaken prince. A golden era. An infernal fate.
“We are all pawns in the games the gods play…”
When a prophecy brings a priestess to his humble home, Arme must abandon his tranquil existence to become the nation’s only hope, a celestial warrior tasked with protecting an unborn child carrying an even heavier burden than he.
Whispers of invaders threaten the safety of all, testing the bonds of love and the limits of honor, bringing the long-forgotten might of the heavens back into the world of mortals. As the flames incinerate all in their path, divided nations and broken families must band together to save the innocent and rise from the ashes of war.
Beta Reading Opportunities Coming Your Way — and other updates
Exciting things have been happening behind the scenes here! I’m eager to share Palon’s story with you all. I’ve finished writing it and am now flying through a prequel from Amanah’s point-of-view (she’s mentioned briefly in Between Starfalls and we meet her in Let Loose the Fallen, with all of Taunos’s tangled emotions). It’s fun getting a handle on her voice and seeing Taunos through her eyes, as well as fleshing out more of Dahuti culture and the issues she has to navigate. I think she’ll be getting her own perspective in Book Four, but we’ll see–I don’t want it bogged down in too many points-of-view!
That aside, Palon’s prequel will be cleaned up and ready for first readers in December. It’s about 32k words, which is about 130 pages or so. The final version will not be available in stores–the only way to get it will be to be subscribed to my newsletter. (The same will be true with Amanah’s story.)
If you’ve never beta read before, this is a chance for you to see a story before all the polish is put on. It’s a chance for me to get a peek at how bits and pieces of the story are affecting readers and what their thoughts on things like characters and pacing are. My writing group has been through the beginning of it and I’ll be applying their feedback before sending it out to beta readers.
You don’t need to have read anything by me in order to understand this prequel, though there will be a question regarding that on the sign-up form for beta reading. That will just help me to see whether I’m missing the mark, as I aim it to be enjoyable both to people who’ve read Windward (especially) and to people who’ve never read anything by me.
If you are interested in beta reading Palon’s prequel, fill out the form just below.
If you’re interested in the Amanah prequel, that will be ready for beta reading within a couple months. I’ll open up sign-ups for beta reading it in December.
In other book news, I’ve updated Prelude Cycle’s cover and the interiors of all three novels. Let Loose the Fallen now includes a QR code which goes to a page with a synopsis of Between Starfalls to refresh memories. I’ll be doing the same with Memories (for Let Loose the Fallen) once it’s ready for publishing.
I’ve also ordered a bunch of paperback copies which should be arriving in the next couple weeks. So, if you want to gift a signed copy of Windward, Between Starfalls, or Let Loose the Fallen for the holidays, they will be available here!
Speaking of, Windward did not move on to the finalist round for SPFBO, but the amazing bloggers at The Fantasy Hive gave it some wonderful reviews anyway. It was so cool to see that they “got it”, and to see the way they’re reformed their opinions just a little as they realized what the story was about. I am so honored to have gotten so far, and grateful for the chance to entertain!
Another opportunity is coming up in December! Ebooks and paperbacks of Windward, Between Starfalls, and Let Loose the Fallen will all be in the fundraising silent auction for WriteHive, to be held in December. Check it out to bid and raise money for inclusive programs designed to help remove barriers for writers!
No promos this month, but below are some excellent stories to dive into.
I was four hours old when I was cast out by my mother. I was cursed, she said. Kinder to let me die in the snow and the wind than let me live, only to be betrayed.
I was twelve when the Duke found me and turned me into a Shadow: bodyguard, spy, and assassin.
I was fourteen when he brought me to court. He wanted his niece on the throne, by any means possible. I was to be her weapon, wielded as she and the Duke saw fit.
But she wants more. She’s playing her own game.
And the court holds its own secrets. A war centuries in the making is ready to erupt, and we are in a race against time to keep it from consuming whole empires.
… If we survive.
Shadowborn is the first book in Moira Katson’s acclaimed Light & Shadow series, all free to read in Kindle Unlimited! Based on the intrigue and shifting loyalties of the War of the Roses and the Tudor dynasty that followed, Light & Shadow exists in a world that never was – a world of magic and prophecy….
Masolon is determined to prove himself worthy of being the coming Chief of the most powerful clan in Ogono. Unfortunately, the young heir faces one of the hardest times Ogono has ever witnessed. As the unstoppable wrath of the Light reduces Ogono to scorched, cursed grounds, men turn into beasts, and mercy becomes a sin. If Masolon wants to rule his people one day, he has to show everybody he is one of them. A beast.
I adored EG Radcliff’s The Hidden King so of course I wanted to read her next books. None of them have disappointed! This one, however, breaks the mold.
From single-PoV stories to this multi-PoV epic, EG Radcliff expands the world she’s created in the first two books and weaves a story just as richly emotional as the previous. The worldbuilding is lovely and Áed and Ronan are just as amazing as ever. Ronan is such a little punk, but I love him.
Definitely check it out! There’s actually a giveaway running right now for The Wild Court.
What perils await on the other side of the veil?
In the seventh year of Áed’s reign, night descends on the autumn festival. But a time of revelry turns into one of fiery destruction—as fae pour across the veil and the Gut becomes a battlefield in an otherworldly war.
Determined to protect his kingdom and the people he loves, Áed finds himself catapulted into a realm as unfamiliar as it is dangerous, where magic is king and wild courts vie for supremacy.
While the faerie Queen’s missing consort holds the key to life and death, tenuous alliances raise questions about Áed’s connection to the mysterious Bone court. His survival hinges on cunning as much as illusion.
On a mission like no other, only one thing is certain: no one will survive unscathed.
Ok, so I’m not the most pumpkin spice-loving person ever, but I still find fall cozy, with hoodies, and crunching leaves, and pumpkin bars or bread or muffins. (I like my coffee black–no pumpkin spice or any other gross in there please!) There’s just something about the brisk fall wind that makes me want to grab some apple cider or chai tea and curl up and read–or write!
I have been working on the Palon and Windward prequel, and 23k into what was expected to be a 20k novella, I realize this is going to be significantly longer than I had intended. I don’t think it’ll be a full novel, but I don’t want to cut things short either. So I’m just continuing to write, and while I’m still not going at my usual rate, the words are flowing and so I can’t complain too much. I’m trying not to focus too much on what I’d wish for, instead carving out little bits of writing time here and there and making the most of it. I could have had a story ready for you all by now, but it wouldn’t be very good, so I’ve decided not to rush it. While I am eager to share Palon and Windward’s beginnings with you, I’d rather it be something enjoyable, rather than a mess!
I’ve thrown together this first draft of Palon and Windward’s prequel cover using concept art from the design process of Windward’s cover. Since their book is Windward, I though it’d be fitting to name the prequel after Palon. Clearly, I need to fix the bottom section, but I’ll get to that!
In epic fantasy series news, I have an editing plan being fashioned for the Book Three edits, as well, and I’m excited to get started on those. It still doesn’t look like I’ll need to do a full re-write, though I do have some major shoring up to do as well as shoveling away the bits that don’t work or don’t fit.
In November, I’m planning to do Nano again, as I have for years. I don’t want to break the tradition! I’m not sure I’ll realistically be able to edit Book Three while writing a brand new Book Four, so Book Three is probably not going to be ready for betas until early next year. However, I will give a shout out to my newsletter when I’m ready! In the meantime, I’m excited to re-write Book Four, since things have shifted so drastically since its first writing, so there’s very little if anything there I’ll be able to use. Even so, I have plans, and they make me cackle with villain energy.
While things simmer, I’m putting together a new, more eye-catching cover for Prelude Cycle, my epic fantasy novella. I will likely fiddle a bit with details, but I’m enjoying the increased vibrancy.
And in the meantime, Windward is still in the running for the SPFBO, which is amazing. I did not expect to see semi-finalist ranking, but I’m so glad the judges are enjoying it. By the end of the month, the fantastic people at The Fantasy Hive will have picked their finalist from the six semi-finalists still left.
I’m doing another promo, this time focused on amazing, in-depth worldbuilding. This is (obviously) a passion of mine, so I’m excited to take part. If you’re looking to dive into a new, epic fantasy world, check out these other books!
I enjoyed the worldbuilding and the magic system in this epic fantasy. It feels a little lighter in tone than my normal, possibly because it’s YA, but even so it was an enjoyable read. Cool magic, interesting characters, and fun relationships from romance to strong friendships make this a book to check out!
Mirah looks for the best in everybody. But her naiveté is shattered when her clan is slaughtered, and she’s dragged into captivity. Vulnerable and scared, she has no choice but to accept her kidnappers’ offer to join their sect of lethal female fighters.
Desperate to find stability in her chaotic new life, Mirah throws herself into training as a water mage and warrior. But as she discovers her unprecedented elemental control, her instructor warns that revealing her power will put her in mortal danger.
With the fate of humanity at risk, will Mirah’s growing abilities spell her salvation… or destruction?
A Voice That Thunders is the first book in the action-packed Voice that Thunders epic fantasy series. If you like strong women, intricate world-building, and stories of enduring friendship, then you’ll adore Cully Mack’s riveting saga.
I also recently read Of Blood and Fire by Ryan Cahill. It was like The Eye of the World and Eragon mixed up together: a familiar medieval-esque setting with all sorts of mythical races/creatures. Even so, the hints of interesting wider worldbuilding (I particularly loved the dwarves, but the giants were also awesome) kept pulling me along. There were a lot of tropes I enjoy, including the dragon, and the bits and pieces of mentioned history were fantastic.
So if you want to try it out before trying it out, check out this novella to get a feel for the writing style and world!
The Order have watched over the continent of Epheria for thousands of years.
But there are those who believe The Order has had its day. That it is corrupt, indulgent, and deceitful – that it is ready to fall.
The City of Ilnaen is on fire.
Dragons fill the skies.
Traitors fill the streets.
The Fall is a novella set in the world of The Bound and The Broken series. It takes place 400 years before the events of Of Blood and Fire.
It’s the end of summer and time seems to have taken wing and flown off… again. Life has a way of piling on, flowing on top of your head like a landslide. Most of the time I try to ride that wave, but the rocks seem a little bigger these days as they crash down the slope past me. With schoolwork for the kids and migraines and life stresses, it’s been hard to find time to write–certainly not as much time as I want–and when I do have time, that doesn’t necessarily mean I have my brain’s cooperation or attention.
Brains, I tell you.
And then there are these two, who are convinced there should be less writing, more hiking:
I don’t have the Palon and Windward prequel ready to share with you all yet but I am working on it. The story is in there, but it’s hard to get the words to flow. Nevertheless, I am making progress, even if it’s slower than I’d like!
I wanted to share some more of it with you while you wait.
Ducking her head and trying to look properly abashed, she took off to the east. The sun was only a little way above the horizon, and she imagined for a moment that she could snatch it and eat it. What would it taste like, if the sun were a berry?
Palon left the trees behind and broke out into the prairie, crashing through spring grasses far taller than her head. She listened for the sound of someone to scold her for how dangerous this was. ‘Palon, you could startle an alanshorn and cause a stampede. Just one alanshor is far larger than you. A herd of them would trample you.’ Or maybe it would be ‘Running like that with no way to see where you’re going is foolish. You could fall into a stream or down a bank or into a hole. Take more care.’
Well, she would rather see where she was going, but she was planning to fix all that, after all.
She jumped, straining to see over the heads of the grasses. Where was that lone tree? She’d been coming out here the last few moons, ever since her best friend died in a raid and there was nothing left for her here. That was when the dragon found her. That was where the dragon would find her again.
The pale crooked branches of the tree stretched out above the grasses, and once Palon finally caught sight of them, she corrected her course to head for them. Kaemada had said there used to be a stream running past, long ago, and the tree was a remnant of that time, but the course had changed and left the tree behind. Palon wondered how that felt, or if the tree had relished the chance to be free of competition.
She climbed up the trunk to one of the lower branches and froze. Her brother stood on the branch, leaning against the trunk with a casual air, one ankle hooked around the other.
“What are you doing here?” she asked.
“I was going to ask you that,” he said.
“The dragon.” She swallowed. Her hands closed into fists. Why wouldn’t her voice work, now when she needed it?
“Are you going with him?” he asked.
She scowled. “You can’t stop me.”
“Palon, you’ll have twelve summers after the next Feast. You’re almost ready for your yah, but you’re not ready yet.”
“I’m plenty ready, but I don’t want to go on my yah,” she said. “I want to go with the dragon.”
“Are you sure?”
She stopped, blinking. She’d been expecting him to argue with her. “Don’t you care?”
“Of course I care!” Her brother shoved a hand through his hair and looked up through the sparse canopy of spring leaves. “I want you safe though, most of all. I don’t want to lose anyone else, but…”
“The dragon can protect me better than you can.”
He winced. “Yes.”
Palon watched him, searching his face for the trap. Everyone was always trying to force her into being something she wasn’t, but she couldn’t find that here. Her brow furrowed, and she bit her lip. “I’m sorry.”
He swept her into a fierce embrace, crushing her against his chest. “I’ll miss you, Palon, but I want you safe. And happy. Can you do that with the dragon?”
She nodded. “I think so.”
He nodded. “Then that’s good enough for me.”
She tried for a smile. “I thought you’d stop me.”
Taunos laughed. “Oh, don’t worry. As far as Talaera and Teros and the others will know, I tried to stop you, but what could I do against a dragon?”
Palon snorted. “You’re the hero of Torkae.”
“Yeah, but you’re going to be dragonbonded.”
Palon’s story’s still (obviously) in the works, and Book Three is still with my alpha reader, though I’m putting together an editing plan for it and it doesn’t look like it’ll be too drastic. I might get away without having to re-write it from scratch!
But until I have more to share with you, check out some other awesomeness below, and watch out for Self-Published Fantasy Month challenges on Twitter during September.
I’m doing another promo, this time focused on characters fighting for a better world. The stories may not focus on physical battle, but there’s fighting of some sort in each of these sci-fi or fantasy freebies.
I found this book by Paul Mouchet that goes along with his novel Call of Titan, the first book in his Priest of Titan series. The story takes place halfway through the first book, looking at events from the point of view of a dire wolf pack, which is an interesting perspective. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet but it looks intriguing!
Sword-and-planet fantasy with heat for you romance lovers, written by the amazing KJ Harrowick. If you’re looking for magic plus spaceships plus human and non-human cultures plus reincarnation with romance, definitely check out Bloodflower.
Born into a world of futuristic technology, ecologist Jàden Ravenscraft wields starship fuel like magic but she’s losing control of her power. Marked as a dangerous weapon, she’s trapped in hypersleep for 4000 years and wakes in the backwoods of a terraformed moon. Now she’s determined to find her reincarnated lover and escape back to the stars before her captor discovers she’s no longer asleep.
Because one life is not the end.
The man she loves has lived more than twenty lives without her, and Jàden’s alone in a world of swords and sorcery. When exiled prison guard Captain Jon Ayers shields her from an attack, Jàden seizes the chance for safety and human connection. Using her magic, she ties her energy to Jon, forging a bond to keep him close to her side.
But Jon is hunted by mercenaries for the pendant he carries, a key to the gateway between worlds, and their bond stirs a desire neither can ignore. When the jackass who trapped her in the future ambushes them at sea, Jàden will be faced with the hardest choice of her life between Jon and her reincarnated ex. Saving one lover will destroy the other, and the wrong choice will land her in chains she can never escape.
As I write this, thunder is rattling the walls of my house and my husband’s on our deck watching the storm– more specifically, the cloud which are starting to rotate. Just a few minutes ago, it was muggy and instantly-fog-up-your-glasses hot, and now it’s cold and pelt-your-skin-with-water raining while dropping tree branches on our roof. The wind’s blowing the rain so hard it’s hard to even see past the deck.
Meanwhile, the kids have their puppy snuggled up safe in the basement with blankets and a pile of pillows. They clearly got all the sense in the family!
Seriously, though, it’s hard to believe that it’s a third of the way through August already. I feel like time’s always slipping away, and it’s a constant state of rushing and yet not, where time feels both like it’s moving fast and slow at the same time. I know I’m not alone in this.
I hope your summers have gone well. What have you been reading? Shout out your favorites to me!
I’ve been working on a new novella featuring Palon and Windward when they were first bonded. It’s coming along really nicely, and I hope to have it done soon for you all.
It’s great fun to hang out with Palon and Windward again, and so far my critique group has enjoyed it (as well as having incredible insights for making it even better)! I’m going to share a little snippet with you– just remember that this is not fully polished yet.
Today, the dragon was coming back. He’d promised. Today, Palon would leave her family forever. She’d be free.
The sun filtered in through tiny gaps in the grass mats that made up the rounded shape of her family’s hut. So much smaller now than it once had been. Now that her parents and oldest siblings were gone, Taunos and Kaemada had made the hut smaller when they set it up at the end of last Feast. Enough to hold the six of them, including her younger brother Biran and little Morae and Sibei—and the twins, having not quite three summers, didn’t take up much room yet.
But it only served to close around her like a trap, just as expectations of the community. Would Palon reach the heights of her hero brother? Would she be doubly gifted as her sister Kaemada or her unusual friends? No, that’s just little Palon, running after her siblings. She’s just a weak psion.
Only that wouldn’t be true for much longer. It was so close she could nearly taste it, remembering the dragon’s musky scent. Windward would come, and Palon would fly.
Palon struggled to hide the shaking of her hands, her traitorous nerves threatening to give her away even before morning’s light had chased away the last of the dew. She shouldn’t have worried. Who was there to see? Taunos was training, like always, and Kaemada scooped the twins up in either arm, pausing with the rain shield tucked back over her shoulder.
“Don’t forget to eat breakfast,” she said.
Palon rolled her eyes at her older sister. Like Kaemada could talk. She forgot to eat half the time unless reminded. “I’ll be fine.”
“And remember, Taunos found that tserwora den east of the waterfall with the cave underneath. Make sure Biran stays away. I’ll be back at midday.”
“Biran knows,” Palon said. Taunos had told them all this last night. She’d been there. She wasn’t stupid.
“I know. I just…” Kaemada forced a smile. “Nanovah. We’ll be alright.”
Palon took pity on her. “We will. I’ll remind Biran—and I’ll wake. Him. Up.” She punctuated her words with shoves of her foot on her brother’s back.
Groaning, Biran rolled over in his blanket, but he soon hit the hut wall, and there was nowhere else to go. He sat up, throwing off his blanket with a shout of irritation.
Kaemada grimaced. “Please stay out of trouble, you two.”
“Have good training,” Palon said, waving her away.
But she was already gone, the rain shield dropping back into place, casting shifting shadows across the interior of the hut.
“Come on,” Palon said. “You’re supposed to stay away from the tserwora den.”
“Yes, because my highest priority today was dying,” Biran scoffed, rubbing his eyes.
“I know, but she wouldn’t let it go.”
“Neither would Taunos. It’s just because… you know.” Biran looked away, shoulders slumping.
Palon frowned at her brother. It’d been an entire cycle of the seasons already, and he still tiptoed around the subject awkwardly. “You can say it. It won’t hurt anything. Our parents are dead. Our older brother and sister and their families were slaughtered too. There.”
Biran wrinkled his nose at her. “Isn’t it at the very least too early to think about that?”
“No,” Palon said. “It wasn’t too late for them to die, or too early. Might as well accept it.”
Her brother considered her, crossing his arms. “You’re going to see the dragon again.”
Palon froze. How was it that obvious?
Since I’m writing Palon, I have some new playlists to share with you, too.
I’m challenging myself to read ever more diversely, whether that be books written by authors who come from cultures I haven’t read much from, or protagonists representing populations I haven’t seen as much representation from, or worldbuilding featuring diversity, etc.
So when I saw a promotion for diverse books, of course I was interested. Not only do I try to mindfully include representation in my stories, but I like to read widely myself. After all, stories reflect our world, and our world is amazingly diverse.
Check out this curated selection of books, all free for the month of August, and join me in celebrating diverse books!