Monday, March 31, 2014

Love's Landscapes Story: Title and Cover Art

The Love's Landscapes story I'm working on, while not a sequel to Human Frailties, Human Strengths, does take place in the same world, and anyone who has read either the novella, Human Frailties or the novel will recognize the magic system that's in place, some of the locations mentioned, and possibly a couple of the characters. It is, however, written as a stand-alone story, so no prior knowledge or background is needed to read and enjoy it.

I'm calling this one Human Choices. It will be released sometime this summer, between June 1 and September (no exact date, but that's part of the fun!). Once it's been released on Goodreads and is available for download on the M/M Romance Group's website, I'll post links here. I also plan to make it available as a freebie via the usual channels... so eventually it'll be available at all the usual ebook retailers... I'll post links as they become available.

At any rate, without further ado, here is the fabulous cover designed by Husband Beast:

Monday, March 24, 2014

WIP Excerpt #2: Love's Landscapes Story

Just this morning I wrote The End at the end of the first draft of the Love's Landscapes story. For those of you who've read last year's story, Human Frailties, or Human Frailties, Human Strengths, the novel-length expansion of that story, you'll recognize the world this story takes place in... and you might even recognize a couple of the characters. Maybe. Anyway, here's another teaser to keep you going:

Jaedin fingered the bundle of dried stems and leaves hanging from the rafters of his workshop. The blackseed plants were dry enough to crumble between his fingers and the small seedpods cracked open, spilling their precious burden into his open hand. He nodded with satisfaction, removing the bundle from its hook on the ceiling and carrying it carefully to the worktable that stood in front of the window. The seeds needed to be separated from the stems and the leaves before they could be brewed into the pain-numbing salve the healer had requested.

The afternoon sun shone in the window, flooding the worktable with warm, golden light. He glanced up and found himself captivated once again by the sheets of coruscating orange light that gave the mountain range called the Fireskye its name. The curtain of light hung over the peaks, rippling and shimmering in all the colors of fire: oranges, pinks, and golds. In the bright sunlight it was a sight to behold, but at night it was breathtaking.

Five years, he’d lived in this little cottage at the end of the dirt track that was the main road through Rosefire, and he was still struck by the sheer beauty of the view right outside his workshop window. Talon would have loved that view. He could almost hear his lover’s voice. Poetry in the sky, Talon would have called it—

Jaedin froze, a lump forming in his throat.

This place was not supposed to make him think of Talon every time he turned around. That had been his reasoning for settling so far from the land of his birth. The oaks of the Skarwood looked nothing like the pine forests of the northlands, and the Fireskye had softer, gentler lines than the sharp, jagged peaks of the Iceshards.

He and Talon had served nearly ten years in the mercenary army of Rhane the Red. Rhane’s Raiders, they’d been called, and he’d been happy to count himself one of them, up until the night their camp had been attacked by Vakarran regulars and Talon had taken an arrow through the heart.

Jaedin squeezed his eyes shut and willed his mind along a different path, but this particular track was so familiar he was helpless to do anything but follow as that last night replayed itself over and over in his head.

The shouts and the screams. The flickering shadows cast by the fires, the acrid scent of smoke on the wind… Talon shuddering in his arms, struggling to breathe… Talon staring up at him, unable to speak… those blue eyes that had once looked upon him with love and passion going dull and dead as Talon fell into the final, long sleep…

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

WIP Excerpt #1: Love's Landscapes Story

Last year, I participated in the Goodreads M/M Romance Group's annual writing event, Don't Read in the Closet. Last year's event was called Love Has No Boundaries, and the story that came out of that was Human Frailties, which I later expanded into the romantic fantasy novel Human Frailties, Human Strengths. This year's event is called Love's Landscapes, and I'm participating again.

In this event, group members are encouraged to submit an idea/prompt for a M/M romance story that they would like to see written. Members find a photo or picture of one or both of the characters in the story, and write a Dear Author letter explaining what kind of story they would like. Some of these prompts end up being quite detailed, others are extremely open-ended, leaving much up to the author.

The group moderators then post the Dear Author letters, which are open for claiming by any writers in the group who would like to try fulfilling the prompter's request. Finished stories are due by May 1, and these stories will be posted in the group's discussion boards throughout the summer months and will also be made available for download on the group's website like they were last year.

The prompt I claimed this year will be another fantasy story, and here's a little taste...

“…Seb and Nida will spend the nights in their cottage, as usual. That means you’ll be alone at night.” Master Rikard’s bushy black eyebrows wriggled across his brow as he spoke. A mind-picture slowly swam through the haze in Khy’s head. He closed his eyes trying to hang onto the image.

Black… fuzzy… caterpillar… crawling across the Master’s face… or had it been a leaf? He frowned, eyes still closed. Had he been helping Seb pull up carrots? Or was it potatoes? Had that even been yesterday? Maybe it had been—

“Khy!” Master Rikard’s voice lashed through the air like a whip.

Khy looked up and blinked, his mind-picture of the caterpillar shattering into tiny pieces as he struggled to focus on the Master.

“Pay attention!”

“Yes, Master.” Khy’s own words sounded dull and slurred. He couldn’t make his sounds come out all crisp and clean the way everyone else could. His tongue just wasn’t fast enough.

“With any luck, I’ll be back in a few days. I’m not happy about leaving you alone at night, mind, but there’s no help for it. With half the village down with the fever and the brothers run off their feet tending the sick, I can hardly send you to the monastery. Do your chores, take your medicine, and mind Seb and Nida. Do not make me regret leaving you in charge.” With that, Master Rikard strode out the door and was gone in a swirl of dark robes and darker temper.

Khy stared after him, blinking and trying to remember exactly what the Master had just said.

Something about charging…

He frowned and smacked the side of his head with his fist. Master Rikard sometimes did that for him when it took him too long to think about things. It was supposed to make him think faster and smarter. Khy wasn’t sure that it helped. Except for hurting, it didn’t feel any different from his normal thinking, all thick and slow, as if someone had poured honey into his head.

He stared hard at the door and tried to gather together the pieces of his thoughts. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t quite recapture the words the Master had said. He had to go all the way back to the caterpillar. He smiled as he watched the way its little feet gripped the twig. And then Master Rikard had shouted… and all the pieces of the caterpillar picture had scattered in his head, and--

Khy’s breath caught in his throat and his heart skipped a beat. The Master really had said in charge.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Taking it on the Road...

Today, I have been invited to Arielle Pierce's blog to talk about Psi Hunter and the Guardians of the Pattern series. Arielle doesn't live in a Swamp, but I'll be wearing my bright red wellies anyway, just in case I get lost. This map I have? It's got things like "east" and "west" and "left" and "right" on it... which always seem to get me into trouble.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Psi Hunter is Live Just in Time for Read an E-Book Week!

Psi Hunter, the first book in my M/M science fiction series Guardians of the Pattern, is now available at All Romance, Amazon, and Smashwords, and will be coming to other retailers soon.

Smashwords kicks off their annual Read an Ebook Week today, and I'll be participating in that. From March 2-8, 2014, Human Frailties, Human Strengths is free using coupon code REW100 at the checkout, and Psi Hunter is 50% off using coupon code REW50 at the checkout. Facing the Mirror, a short introduction to the series, is also still free on Smashwords.