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!