A good day for pluviophiles

Well, actually, even I find this weather kind of frightening. It is monsooning outside right now. As in, I’m pretty sure if I walked out of my building I’d drown.

Anyway, this means that WORD Vancouver is being moved indoors — so you can still come see us tomorrow but we’ll likely be inside.

Oh, right — we’ll be at WORD tomorrow. Not sure if I mentioned that. I probably didn’t, because I spent this week getting my FACE EATEN by the work I had to do in prep for WORD. Beeg [bada boom] publishing order had to be completed and then I had to finish editing Stranger Skies so I could get the ARC out to winners and people who helped me with the cover reveal.

(If I missed you in that email — please let me know. My brain is basically dead right now and I’m not even sure what my name is. Awesome McBitchpants? Something like that.)

Who is we? Kat and Wolff, obviously, and the Powell River Live Poets’ Guild and International Peace Poem and Youth Peace Poem Competition. We’re big on peace. And literacy.

Right now I am trying to give my brain a desperately needed break after going through editing hell over the past two days. Mainly by watching Angel and Buffy on Netflix. Don’t judge me. I never got to see them in the order they aired (I watched Angel before Buffy and marathon-ed both shows) so I’m re-watching them in order. I wish Netflix would make this a bit easier by allowing you to create playlists but it doesn’t. C’est la vie.

Also, yes, that annoying box at the top of each page on this blog will be there until October 4th. Sorry. Actually, not sorry, ignore that reflexive Canadianism.

And finally, in honor of Banned Books Week (which I totally missed thanks to work), here are my favourite three lines from the poem “Voice” by Kaimana Wolff (found in the witless poisoner).

This flesh is made of words:
light me and I will burn
like a brave, banned book

-Kat

Pre-order of Stranger Skies now available

Art by Autumn Skye Morrison.

Hey, so, if you didn’t win the giveaway, you can now pre-order the actual book from Gumroad!

Click here to pre-order.

I am also working on setting up a pre-order for the ebook bundle via another service so people without credit cards can get it, but it’s turning out to be a bit more complicated than I thought. It may, indeed, not happen for this book. Sorry, but I’m really swamped, and apparently not technically savvy enough to figure this particular thing out.

On the plus side, as soon as the release date rolls around (October 4th), you’ll be able to get a copy of the book from Kobo, Amazon, the Kat and Wolff e-junkie store, and Tomely! (And Gumroad, of course, and maybe some other places!)

If you do have a credit card, though, you want to get the pre-order — because I’ll be sending you a little something extra along with the ebook bundle. If you pre-order, you’ll also get a full copy of the story “The Murine Invasions” from Kaimana Wolff‘s How to Keep a Human.

The regular Stranger Skies ebook will have a small teaser for How to Keep a Human at the back, but it won’t be a complete story.

Why am I including a story from Wolff’s book? Because the main character of Stranger Skies is based off a character in Wolff’s book, and both stories take place in the loose universe (the universe of the True Woods). I talked to Kaimana about doing some cross-promotion with our stories and she thought it was a great idea, so if you pre-order you get a copy of “The Murine Invasions”.

(The copy will be sent to all pre-order customers separately from the main file you’ll get from Gumroad, and it’ll happen after book release.)

And now, I am getting back to work on the big publishing order we’re putting out.

Winners of the giveaway, check your emails if you haven’t already!

Stranger Skies cover reveal (and giveaway)!

It’s here! I’m so excited. I’ve wanted to show off my cover for Stranger Skies for a WHILE now, but had to force myself to wait til today.

This was not easy okay.

After the cover, there’s the cover-copy/synopsis/blurb thing, an excerpt, and a giveaway to win an advance reading copy ebook! Plenty of options for entry, and I’m giving away more than one copy.

Release date: October 4th. Pre-orders will be available around the 20th.

Art by Autumn Skye Morrison.
Art by Autumn Skye Morrison.

A goddess’ fall from grace leaves her on an alien world, devoid of her followers, trapped in a mortal body. Should she strive to regain her godhood or accept her mortality and find love?

Silva, Queen of Wolves, Lady of the True Woods, seeks her only friend Etan, who, along with other deities of the Council of Divinity, has gone missing for reasons unknown. Her search traps her on a world where the wolves have lost faith in her; she becomes a mortal woman whose remaining powers could brand her as a witch.

Through the chaos of war and the turmoil in her own heart, Silva can’t escape a persistent feeling: that her fall was not an accident.

ExcerptHeart’s Blood Tavern had indoor plumbing which, according to Scoas, made it a rare building in the town. The toilets were composting toilets, however, and so the scent of human waste combined with peat overwhelmed Silva’s sensitive nose. She entered the stall and did her business quickly, trying to ignore the pong of the room. There was one sink and a small mirror of that same polished stone — while she washed her hands, she noticed she was more fleshed out than she had been the day before. Minae food worked quickly.

She turned to leave, and then stopped dead, horror making her veins run ice cold. Above the door was another animal head as ‘decor’.

Its muzzle was posed open in a silent snarl, its ears were flat back on its head, and it was made to look vicious around the eye’s epicanthic folds — but this was all a lie. She reached her hand up to touch the soft fur, but it was too high up, and she couldn’t reach.

She’d found her first Minae wolf.

The scent of fear and death hit her then; it had been masked before, but now that she gazed upon the source it was so clear she reeled. She ran back into the stall and vomited what was left of that morning’s breakfast.

This wolf had died in fear and pain, and she hadn’t been here to help.

She hadn’t been able to help so many of her children on Terra, too. The mortal humans had shot them from planes, poisoned them, hunted them near to extinction. The only thing that had saved them from that fate had been constant fighting — from Silva herself, and her one or two human followers. Mortals who lived with wolf-hybrids and knew about her existence, and who wanted to help save her children. Silva had petitioned the Twins to save her cubs, and they had finally listened and moved all the wolves off-planet. She didn’t think they would have had it not been for the strengthening arguments of a few other gods who had a soft spot for wolves — the Morrigan, Hecate, and Odin were the big three who had argued on Silva’s side. She wasn’t sure if she’d ever properly expressed her gratitude to those deities.

On Tau Ceti, the wolves had been placed far enough away from human settlements so as to be relatively safe. But when humans expanded outwards, as they invariably did?

If she never got home, the Cetian wolves might meet the same fate. And this time she wouldn’t be around to stop them from going extinct completely.

She shook with helplessness and fear. There was nothing she could do. She was trapped here in mortal form, and her children might all die. The thought made her sick again.

When finally she exited the bathroom, after having rinsed her mouth thoroughly, she felt scrubbed out, hollowed, empty. A gourd left in the rain after All Hallows Eve; burned on the inside, destined for the compost heap to rot away in ignominy.

She tried to hide her distress when she got back to the table. Their food had arrived by that point, and a man she’d never seen before stood beside the table and chatted with Scoas and Natai, and occasionally giving Brinna a predatory smile. Brinna seemed less than pleased with the man’s attentions, but she was unfailingly polite.

Silva instantly disliked the man. He smelled wrong, and his bearing positively screamed his arrogance.

Scoas noticed Silva’s return, then, and made introductions before Silva could escape.

The man’s name was Kaz, and he gave Silva an exceptionally oily smile. He was a hunter — the best in Heartpin, apparently. “You must have seen my prize trophy,” he said to her, folding his arms over his chest. Silva politely raised her eyebrows even as her stomach churned with dread. “The wolf’s head hanging in the privy. Got that bastard over a year ago. Scoas bought the pelt.”

Silva felt like fainting. She barely heard what Scoas said: “It’s a very nice pelt, too; we simply love it.”

“There’s a secret to get the best pelts, Scoas my man,” Kaz said, winking at Scoas. “Would you like to know it?”

“Excuse me,” Silva said, brushing past Kaz and heading for the door. She knew the secret for the best pelts, and if she heard Kaz tell them exactly how he’d tortured the young wolf whose head hung in the bathroom, she might kill him right there in the tavern.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Giveaway!a Rafflecopter giveaway

I do not feel any wiser. You are a LIAR, mother nature. A filthy, filthy liar.

As you may be able to guess from my poor attempt at a witty title for this post, I am currently dealing with wisdom teeth coming in and pushing out all my funny with blinding amounts of pain. I have basically been swigging whiskey and clove oil in a desperate attempt to bolster the work of the ibuprofen I am almost certainly taking far too much of, and as a consequence of these piles of suck my brain is basically on strike (while the rest of my body is still pretty much TRASHED from Pirates and Faeries, the event I go to on Labour Day weekend*).

Luckily my car isn’t currently insured so there’s no chance of my driving while a) in so much pain or b) somewhat tipsy off my painkiller of choice.

I do think the clove oil may be ruining my nerves and/or skin, because it’s pretty caustic, but I also don’t care, because I’m at the point where ripping all my molars out with a pair of pliers seems like a rational decision.

Though I’m prone to hyperbole and overreaction, so it’s fair to say those sorts of things often seem rational to me.

Planning on hitting up a dentist for a consult sometime soon so I can figure out how much it’ll all cost to get this shit fixed and then somehow saving up the money to fix my teeth and end this agony, even though at this point I don’t really have the money to deal with more pressing concerns (yes, there are more pressing concerns, welcome to being poor, it is fun).

This is the moment when I say Canada, your health care system needs a serious fucking overhaul, because the fact you don’t cover dentistry is costing your system more money in the long run (as poor folk like myself leave dental problems alone until they send us to ER with them).  Fuckin’ DUH. Fix this shit. (While you’re at it, cover birth control, chronic pain medication, and anti-depressants, please. Other things that are costing you MORE MONEY in the long run.)

I did have a great time at PnF; you can read about it here in my letter to my sister (which is like 2 weeks late but she forgives me, because she’s awesome). I’m trying to actually get back to some work now that I’m home, but it’s not easy, let me tell you. I installed Disqus here on Amoeba-Kat Musings. We’ll see if it works better for comments than the old system I was using. (It does mean CommentLuv no longer works, alas.) If I end up not liking it as much as the original comments system I’ll get rid of it. Or, more likely, I’ll forget it’s even there and it will remain FOREVER.

Coming up this week (by which I mean in the next seven days, thereabouts) I have a COVER REVEAL for Stranger Skies! I am super excited about this, because I quite love the cover, and would really love if other bloggers could help me out here. I’ve got one person down already (and if you don’t read her blog already you should), and I’m looking for more. Doesn’t matter if you’re not a high-traffic blog; neither am I, so anything helps at this point. *inserts winky-face*

Cover reveal will include an EXCERPT as well as a GIVEAWAY for an ARC ebook. (Signing up to help nets you a free ARC ebook.) So far the release date is September 23rd, but to be honest that’s subject to change because I am basically drowning in overwhelm right now and have way too much on my plate. If it does change, it’ll likely be pushed a week forward — so September 30th/October 1st, basically.

On a final note, Vancouver Island Pagan Pride was not the best day — we ended up getting rained out with an incredible rain storm (with a water-resistant, not water-proof, tent — so guess how soaked we were), and learned the hard lesson that our wolf-dog just can’t handle these sorts of events. At least not till he’s older and mellower and we have a wolf-husky to sit at the front of the tent while Tyee chills at the back. We’ve been hoping to get him a puppy to help mellow him, anyway, so that’s now moved to the “definitely do this soonish, if we can” list.

But we did sell some books and meet some fine folks, and I was part of a pretty nice ATC ritual, so that was all well and good. Next year will have to be better.

And now, I’m heading off to finish some work and then collapse into bed, because my sleep schedule is totally messed up from the weekend. Baby steps to fixing it. Baby steps.

-Kat

*PnF is basically a con-slash-ren faire on a much smaller scale but also on methamphetamines. It’s a private party that I love, but I also rarely actually have the spoons to do all I want to do over the weekend so I need about a week to recover from Sasacrash (the term we use to refer to the unique crash that happens after a weekend of magic and frolicking at Lake Sasamat).

Blood, Gravy, and my Cill shift

It’s been an interesting week.

By interesting I usually mean in the curse sense of the word, May you live in interesting times, etc etc etc life has been kind of sucky.

But whatever. If you’re going to say anything about me or my mom, you have to admit we bounce back. Things break and we pick up the pieces and soldier on.

Last night a lot of things broke. Literally.

We were sitting outside to eat dinner, as we have for a few nights since getting the pavilion back up on the concrete back porch. It had been down during the winter, but mom wanted it back up so I helped. Even with the millions of spiders living on it.

The pavilion frame itself is kind of broken. (I’d show you a picture, but I didn’t realize I’d be writing this post at 1 am and it’s a bit too dark to snap a shot.) It’s bent and twisted like a gnarled oak tree. I’m surprised it stays up, to be honest.

The table and chairs we eat on are nothing special: a plastic table with fold-out metal legs that we can fold flat and take in the car to events if needed, and two plastic lawn chairs. Barely deserving of the name.

We’d finished dinner, mostly — I had, at any rate, and we’d both eaten our steaks, but mom was still working on one of the sides. While we ate Tyee sat by the table, on a leather lead held by me or mom. We’re trying to get him used to the idea of sitting by the table outside while we eat.

I got up to take him to his tie-out chain so he could have a walk around the yard, relieve himself, etc, before mom took him to dog park after dinner was over. Well, he was having none of that. We’d tied him up earlier and he didn’t want it to happen again.

So he bolted back to mom’s side. I sighed and hooked his leash onto something while I went back to deal with the tie-out, and then came back over. It hadn’t taken very long. In that time he’d managed to work himself under the table, out the other side, and around my empty chair. He then walked back towards the table, and his leash caught on my chair and dragged it. It stuttered on the concrete flooring, as plastic lawn chairs are wont to do.

And Tyee flipped. his. shit.

He bolted from the evil chair that was going to eat his soul, heading anywhere away from it. Of course, this hooked his leash on the table, and started to drag it after him and into mom. So he pulled harder. The table continued to drag, pushing mom over in her plastic chair. I rushed forward to catch her and lower her gently to the concrete ground so she didn’t hit her head. Tyee started running back and forth, in full panic mode now, and flipped the table over, spilling dishes and gravy everywhere. He ran into the pavilion and started to knock it down. Mom was now on the ground; I was holding her and pavilion up, half crouched amid a mess of broken dishes and gravy everywhere. I finally managed to give Tyee an order to stop, and he did, shaking in fear.

All that took place over the course of ten seconds. It was like a bomb going off. One moment, peaceful dinner time. The next moment, chaos, confusion, destruction, loud noises, and pain.

Once I ascertained the pavilion would not fall on mom and that she was ok for a moment, I took Tyee over to his chain and tied him up so he’d be out of our hair while we fixed everything. We managed to get the pavilion more or less righted and then mom out of her chair and on her feet. She and I started to pick things up, and she managed to drop the table on her foot. Yes, the broken one.

Casualties list: 2 plates, 2 bowls, a gravy boat, mom’s favourite wine cup (blue-green-purple porcelain), all of the gravy, the remainder of mom’s dinner.

I threw the broken dishes into the bushes, where mom throws all her broken pottery. (This is an old trick to keep wolf-dogs from lying down in your fucking garden; Sila we’re looking at you. Now she uses it to keep other animals out of her yard. It works.)

When I went back inside I realized I was bleeding quite a bit from several small cuts in my legs and on my feet. As soon as I’d done as much cleaning outside as I could before we just needed to hose down the porch, I stepped into the shower to wash off blood and gravy.

During all of this Tyee was basically having a PTSD episode. When we’d done all the work and mom was in the shower I let him back in the house and hugged him, trying to calm him with some torso compression. (This works for dogs, just like it works for humans.)

Mom took him to dog park and I sat down and tried to calm down. I also got some lanterns out of the shed that doesn’t have a giant wasp’s nest on it in preparation for my flamekeeping shift tonight.

Tonight's flamekeeping candle
Burning brightly beside me as I write this.

Every 20 days I light a flame at sunset and keep it burning until sunset the next day in honor of Brighid, one of the three main deities I worship. (This flame does not have to be an fire-flame, and when I go to bed I blow out my actual candle and “light” an LED one.) This is called my “Cill shift” because I am a member of a Cill, or a group of people also dedicated to doing Brighid’s work in some capacity. We each have a shift in within the 20 day cycle, except day 20 — that’s the night that Brighid Herself will keep the flame.

Brighid has within Her jurisdiction many things (like all gods, She can not be reduced to one facet). The things that seem to come up most often, however, are healing and the bardic arts. Poetry, writing, singing, the creation of art. (So really, is it any surprise I’m Hers?)

I don’t often talk about my religion on this blog (I usually leave it for The Mundane Mystic), but today’s Cill shift did sort of tie into my main story for this post. 

It’s been a rough week, and I spent some time sitting and staring at the three candles I’d lit for Her at sunset, wishing that I was more on top of things. Every Cill shift I swear I’m going to do something, and every Cill shift something like tonight’s dog freakout happens. Or Brighid hits me in the head with a cosmic frying pan and knocks. me. out. Often for 20 hours. I get a really good sleep every 20 days, quite often.

But in the ensuing hours, I’ve come to feel better about my complete lack of being able to do anything. Tyee started to calm down after we lit the lanterns, all three of them sitting on the righted table, casting shadows over the dark porch. He realized we still loved him, and all was well. (And then, after extinguishing the other two, I brought the last lantern inside, and it spooked him. Which makes me seriously question the veracity of those images of Hecate, torch in hand, with Her dog beside Her.)

And, ok. I’m writing. Here, in my blog. I’ve done some serious writing tonight, and tomorrow when I wake up and get some coffee I can continue work on From the Ashes, which I’ve done over 5,000 words on in the past 2 days. I can also work on editing The Jade Star of Athering in prep for sending it off to my beta readers. Slowly, but surely, I will finish these projects.

All creative work is within Brighid’s realm, and I’m doing that stuff. So I can stop beating myself up about these things and just be happy with what I can accomplish. 

It’s honestly one of the hardest lessons to learn. I’ll still be learning it for years to come.

But every day, I get a little bit closer to knowing it in my bones. Inch by inch, stitch by stitch.

-Kat

Post-Partum Depression and Names

I finished The Jade Star of Athering on the 6th. And immediately went through post-partum depression. First time it’s happened after finishing a book. Third time’s the charm?

I’m not really sure. I do know I’m still heavily invested in some of the characters in The Jade Star, and I have enough material on them to do two more books (set at the same time) thanks to plot points I set up in Jade Star. That, and my obsession with making two of those characters bone fall in luuuurrrrvvveeee, could be contributing. I just want to dive back in. I had to stop myself from starting novel #3 in the Bellica series yesterday.

Yes, stop myself. Why? Because I’ve got another book to write come April, and another to start in July. Before I can start anything, I need to revise current first drafts. It’s called discipline.

(Discipline doesn’t mean I can’t start plotting now, however, and that’s just what I’m going to do. A planned novel? SAY WHAT? Well I’ve been known to do that from time to time once. I can do it again.)

Anyway. The depression has been odd and I’ve been having a bit of trouble coping. I’m hoping it’ll fade soon so I can get some more work done.

There was some waffling on names for Stranger Skies. You can read about that at my LiveJournal. I ended up deciding to keep the name Stranger Skies, because I frackin’ love it, and ended up discovering the name of the series. While in the shower, natch; all my best ideas come when I’m cleaning myself. I’m sure there’s a metaphor there.

The Borderlands Saga may not make much sense to you now. But trust me, it’s integral to the overall plot of the series.

This, of course, gives me the freedom to choose a different name from Wolf’s Rise for the second book, and I’ve settled on a working title of From the Ashes. That book gets started in April, for Camp Nano. My goal for April is 750 words/day, which equals 22,500 for the month. Read: how to set yourself up for success during Camp Nano. (And if anyone wants to buy me these merit badges I would love you forever.)

I also plan on participating in Camp Nano in July. Whether I write Book 3 of Borderlands (tentatively named The Moonrunner) or one of the books set after Jade Star remains to be seen. And, of course, normal-Nano in November. Months in between will be dedicated to finishing/tweaking/revising/betaing.

It’s my hope that by the end of this year you will be able to get not only The Jade Star of Athering for your e-reader, but also Stranger Skies

This, of course, means that I will not be blogging here as often (rambling at LiveJournal? Maybe; that blog is basically pure word-vomit). I’m going to try to keep to a schedule of twice a week.

So I’ll see you next week.

Important: On the 11th, I’m hosting Rosanne Rivers on a blog tour for her new release, After the Fear. Be sure to come back here for an excerpt and a chance to win a copy of her book.

Mercury, You Are Drunk. Give Me Your Keys.

Mercury does this thing about three times a year. Well, actually, it doesn’t really do anything; it just looks like it’s doing something. From Earth it looks like Mercury is moving backwards. They call it retrograde.

And dammit if it doesn’t just fuck everything up.

I  mean, yeah, sure, it’s just a planet and it’s probably not really affecting you, Katje. Sheesh. Crazy pagan, thinking planets do stuff.

And, you know, I know people for whom Mercury going retrograde is nothing. Just another week, or three.

But that’s not true for me. Something in my life always goes wrong when Mercury is retrograde. And Mercury don’t fuck around.

Today I had errands; no big deal, except, you know, they were, but whatever. Get in the car, head up the mountain. This is after spending all morning working. Get caught in traffic. Finally make it to the SFU visitor parking lot aaaaatttttt…3:38pm. I need to get a print out from the registration office and then go to the bookstore to return books that I’ve been trying to return for a month before four o’clock.

So naturally, Galactica dies on me.

Right there in the middle of the parking lot.

A few months ago she was doing this thing, I’m not really sure what it was, but I know it was making her stall out and then not start again for hours, if at all. We took her to the mechanic and got ‘er fixed, for no small amount of money (around 400 dollars).

So she’s doing it again. Wouldn’t start, not even with a jump. Or ten. I had to call a tow truck, and no, I didn’t get to the bookstore to return the books. I also didn’t get to downtown to pick up a proof from the printer’s, nor to my old landlady’s house to get my mail from my last place. Or grocery shopping. Ie, the rest of my errands. None of those happened.

Had to wait a long time for the tow truck to come. Apparently they had to build the truck for him first, or something. Anyway, he was a nice guy; took me to my fiance’s place, where I sit now, writing this for you. Couldn’t take me home, because Galactica needs to get parked in the parkade and the tow truck wouldn’t fit, and couldn’t take me to the mechanic because it would be pointless. They were closed and I would have had to wait outside in the rain for someone to maybe pick me up; more likely, I’d have to be lucky and catch the right bus — that is, if I still had enough money for transit after towing costs — and my luck with transit is…iffy? Definitely NOT something to be gambled with when Mercury is wandering around all over the cosmos like a drunken frat boy.

Towing cost me all of my grocery money. So. That was nice.

On the plus side, my fiance’s house is full of food. So I shall eat it until I’m full.

It is also full of Netflix. I drowned my sorrows in The Hunger Games.

Anyway, you didn’t come here to hear me whine. Wait, actually, I’m not sure why you came here if that’s the case. Whining is pretty much all I do.

So! The Jade Star of Athering. Yes. That thing.

Been working on it every day this month. Working hard. I set myself a deadline of finishing it by…um…tomorrow, but seeing as today’s events kind of borked the fuck out of everything, that may not happen. If I don’t finish the book tomorrow, my stretch deadline is March 8th.

Ran into a couple of problems the past few days that left me frustrated enough to screw up the progress I was making, unfortunately. Nothing like writing a continuity error into the plot of a sequel. Easily fixable, luckily — well, relatively easily — and all done now; really you’ll never notice where I grafted in the fix. And then I had to spend a morning figuring out troop deployments, marching orders, etc. There may have been some maps involved. Maps that are now sitting on my desk, at home.

Tonight’s writing and tomorrow morning’s scribblings are doing to be done sans guidance. Whatever; that’s fine. Nothing will stop me from writing this book.

Regardless the problems, the book has been pretty exciting the past few weeks. New things have cropped up, old storylines are being wrapped up, things I gave clues for in Bellica will be revealed. As well, the plot for a third book is revealing itself to me, so gods willing I’ll have the first draft of another book [in what is apparently turning into a series] started before the end of the year. (Maybe I can make it my November project.)

March project is revisions and story bibles! That’s a lot of work, and I’m hoping it’ll help me lay out the rest of the groundwork I need for Camp NaNoWriMo and my April novel project, the next book in the Stranger Skies series, currently untitled.

I don’t yet have a release date for any of these books. I’m hoping to have a clearer picture of when that will be next month. Before the first round of revisions is done, however, I have no way to safely gauge. Suffice it to say — you will see both The Jade Star of Athering and Stranger Skies out this year. And I daresay I’ll do a better job of releasing them than I did Bellica. (Eeesh, what a trainwreck.)

On that note, I’m off to eat the rest of my fiance’s food. I’ll see you next month.

SFFSat January 26th: Thalaea learns about Saeas, Witch Goddess

Good morning! (Or evening, if you’re in my time zone.) Last week and the week before our ex-goddess character found her new True Name — Thalaea — and discovered she was falling for a mortal.

This week, we see a conversation between Thalaea and Enendoa, the “wise woman” (ie, witch). Enendoa is teaching Thalaea about Saeas, Witch Goddess of Min.

“Wolves and witches have a long history together in Min. Saeas watches over the wolves as much as She watches over Her chosen, the raven and the witch.”

Thalaea caressed the wolf bone on the altar. She felt an answering trill from the wolf-soul. “Then why are people like Kaz allowed to do what they do? If Saeas is honored by more than just witches.”

A gusty sigh was her response. “You look at the world as if it’s simple, as if people are easy to understand. They’re not. Life is not clearly delineated, and the sooner you learn that, the happier you’ll be.”

(For reference, Kaz is a hunter who…does brutal things to wolves.)

Hope you enjoyed this week’s snippet. There’s still a whole day’s worth of reading for you HERE, and I’ll see y’all after the weekend. I’m off to celebrate.

I just finished a novel, no big deal

You read that right. I just finished Stranger Skies, the NaNoWriMo novel I’ve been posting snippets from for SFFSat.

First draft clocks in at just over 70,000 words. Definitely shorter than Bellica‘s ~250,000 words, but then Bellica was meant to be a standalone (ha ha) and Stranger Skies is going to be the first in what’s looking like at least a 4-book series. Perhaps six. I’m not sure yet, because the rest of the plot is pretty damn hazy.

No, I didn’t intend a series when I started it. As I was writing, I realized there were too many plot threads to keep in one book, and I had to choose one plot thread for this book and continue the others in the rest of the series. It’s staying fair to the story, that way — it’s a big one and doesn’t deserve to be shoved into one book. It needs space to tell itself.

At this moment I’m filled with elation and a bit of gratitude for my school and the bullshit they pulled — had I been enrolled in SFU this semester, I most certainly would not have finished the book this soon. Yesterday I sat down and wrote over 4K words, and knew I’d finish it by Friday. Today I wrote 3500 words and unexpectedly reached the end.

I now have revisions to make, as well as some additions to threadbare places earlier on in the story — I’m glad that it’s only 70K right now, because it gives me room to add more in those places. I’ll also be working on making the series story bible more fleshed out (if you want to read a great guide on building a story bible, RJ Blain has a tutorial in three blog posts: The Basics, World-Building, Characters), as well as cementing a timeline for events not only in this book but for the next one. After revisions, I start work on the second book by drafting a plot outline.

Oh, hey, at some point I became a sort of professional author. How did that happen?

Stranger Skies will be released sometime this year. I also have plans to release Bellica‘s sequel, The Jade Star of Athering. Which means finishing it, of course. That’s February’s writing goal. (Or rather, my writing goal for February. February does not have a writing goal. It is a month. It has days.)

I’m also currently suffering from a bit of “MY BOOK IS FINISHED WHAT DO I DO WITH MY LIFE????”-itis. It’ll pass shortly. I hope.

Too long; didn’t read: I’m awesome and amazing and am off to go celebrate now. See you after the weekend! (Yes, SFFSat post still happening, but scheduled ahead of time. I likely won’t be back on the blog till Monday.)

SFFSat, January 19th: the magic of one’s True Name.

Last week, Silva found her new True Name: Thalaea. After asking Enendoa if she can take on the moniker, the ex-goddess discovers that finding her new True Name has some pleasant effects on her newly-mortal body.

Three hearts beat the way they should; her bones were no longer so heavy. She was not cold any more; her body regulated its temperature as it should. Each breath was a pleasure, and each movement made her feel grateful.

She was Thalaea now, and she was a witch. The truth sang to her blood and made the entire world right.

When Brinna arrived to pick her up, she felt like dancing with the younger woman. She settled for a long, lingering hug, and a dazzling smile. “I found my Name,” she whispered to Brinna, suddenly realizing what her strange feelings for the woman had been. Silva had not been mortal, and mortal feelings had not been for her. Thalaea was — and she was overjoyed to find she was falling in love with Scoas’ daughter.

Want more stuff to read today? Check out the other very talented authors participating in SFFSat here!