Mental Illness in Athering

So today I’m taking a little bit of a detour from Character Snapshots in order to talk about Athering’s approach to mental illness. I’ll be using examples from the books (Bellica and The Jade Star of Athering), so spoilers ahead.

Why? Well, it’s #BellLetsTalk day, and I like contributing to it on the blog. As it is also a Wednesday, I figured this would be a chance to talk about how Athering approaches mental illness.

In a word? Badly.

Let me elaborate.

Continue reading “Mental Illness in Athering”

SFFSat: A snippet from my current novel, Anala

SFFSat logoHey there! I haven’t participated in this in a while, for various reasons, but I decided it’s time I start again. Especially as I’m working on a new book and writing every day — I have lots to actually share.

If you’re new to SFFSat, basically every Saturday a group of writers share sentences from one of their works on their blogs, and link to all their posts on the master blog. You can find links to other participating authors here — be sure to read them! There’s some great stuff to check out.

Oh, and it’s science-fiction/fantasy — hence the SFF part of the name.

Today I’m going to share a snippet from the book I’m working on, Anala. Anala is book 3 in The Third Age, sequel to The Jade Star of Athering (book 2) and Bellica (book 1). Major spoilers ahead! If you haven’t read Bellica or The Jade Star of Athering and don’t want to be spoiled, don’t continue!

Ok, now that I’ve warned you all, on with the snippet!

Continue reading “SFFSat: A snippet from my current novel, Anala”

Character Snapshot: Yarrow, 4020

Welcome to Character Snapshots, the new series where I interview my characters at certain points in their lives.

Today I’m interviewing Yarrow in 4020, after the events that take place in Bellica. Beware of spoilers!

Name? Yarrow Achi deZameera Zarqon. Er. Queen Yarrow, I guess now. That’s tough to get used to.

Age and birthday? 30 years old; Duema 2nd, 3990. If you want to give me a gift you will never go wrong with whiskey. Or porn. Puppies are nice too.

Time of snapshot: What day is it? I don’t know. I’m tired. Sometime near the end of Trinnia, I think.

Species? A year ago I would have said you’re insane for even asking, but that was before Rosa happened to me. Human. Or, Terran, I guess is more politically correct.

How do you spend a typical Jourd’Aradia? A good portion of every day, Jourd’Aradia being no exception, is spent being sick in the privy, because someone (a pause as Yarrow glares at her belly) doesn’t like any food, apparently. Whenever I’m not bent over the latrine and cursing every woman who didn’t tell me how much pregnancy fecking sucks, I’m spending most of my time trying to fix the mess left me in ruling this country. Which, actually, isn’t as bad as I was expecting, so that’s something. Truth be told, my sister had some good plans for Athering. She just didn’t get to implement them. And who knows how well they would have turned out. Her life wasn’t her own.

(Yarrow goes silent, a slight frown drawing her brows together.)

I take it you miss your sister? (Yarrow directs a glare my way.) Of course I do. I always loved her. Even when she hurt me the most. And to be honest, I think, had it not been for the human-pieced chess game the Goddesses were playing with us, I think Zardria might have done Athering some good. A lot more good than Zanny ever did, that’s for sure.

You mentioned the Goddesses. Do you consider yourself religious? Never have. I no longer doubt the existence of the Goddesses, but I don’t go for services at the Temple. Being Queen is quite a wonderful excuse not to; I’m so busy, you see. I am not thought less of for only showing up at Kore’s Mass or Midwinter or Ostara. Were I lesser nobility, that ease would not be mine.

So you believe in deities, but don’t follow a religious life? What’s the point in praying and ritual when I know They exist and are going to do with my life whatever They want anyway? (Yarrow shrugs, looks away. She is obviously uncomfortable.)

I think your cousin might tell me a different story. (A large sigh.) Of course she would. Ghia is an incessant meddler. Yes, alright, I do pray. That’s still not the same as considering myself personally religious.

Alright. I’ll leave that line of questioning alone. Thank you.

One more question, and then I’ll let you get back to ruling Athering. What is your favourite food? Ah, an easy one! I adore roast — big hanks of juicy, peppered beef, with a side of buttered and salted tubers. Also — though don’t tell anyone this; it’ll ruin my image — I really like asparagus. I know it’s weird, but I do.

Well, I like asparagus too. Thank you for your time, Queen Yarrow. Eh, thanks for giving me an excuse to step away from work for a minute.

Thanks for reading this week’s Character Snapshot! Comments are open for 7 days, and I’ll see you next week with some more tidbits from Athering.



SFFSat: will Yarrow survive?

Welcome to Science-Fiction Fantasy Saturday!

Here we have the final snippet of Yarrow’s fate on the slopes of Mt. Impri. Read snippet one here and snippet two here.

The shape came closer, and she saw six legs – no, wait, now two legs and four arms as it moved to trot upright, large iridescent wings behind it for balance. It was covered in a thick white fur, but that was all she noticed for in the next instant a blur of white and black collided with the creature from the side, knocking it down and rolling away with it, locked in fierce battle.

The screaming stopped abruptly, and Yarrow, suddenly free, collapsed and started rolling down the mountain. She flung out her arms to stop herself but it was too late, and she rolled until she landed in a crevice, her head landing hard on a rock. For a second she struggled to rise, but then darkness consumed her in a wave.

That’s it for this collection of snippets. Yes, I am that evil.

Make sure to check out the other talented participants of SFFSat HERE!



To read the first part of this snippet click HERE.

The thought was half-formed in her mind when the sound became a high-pitched keening scream. She tried to clamp her hands over her ears but stood paralysed, rooted to the spot.

Out of the darkness came a lumbering white shape, galloping towards her with deadly purpose. It continued to scream and Yarrow felt her blood freeze in her veins as she realised what it was.

Flesh Screamer.

She stood, unable to move, desperately trying to draw her sword. Her body wouldn’t obey. Her skin felt tight and hard, all suppleness lost, as if it had turned to stone around her and locked her in place.

Be sure to read the other talented SFFSat authors HERE!

And tune in next week for the conclusion of this snippet-set. 😉


SFFSat: wherein Yarrow walks up Mt. Impri

In this snippet from Bellica Yarrow is walking back up the mountain after her hunting trip.

True to her pessimistic prediction, the sun had set by the time she reached the treeline, and she laboured up the rocky, snow-sprinkled slope in the dark. Soon the moons rose and cast their silver light, giving an eerie shine to the rust-coloured rock of the rest of the Blood Mountains that stretched away in a long range, far to the north, and the river with the same name that ran through them.

Yarrow stopped to look at the view behind her several times, and wondered what lay further north, beyond the mountain range that spanned the earth from her spot to the horizon. Did anything lie beyond it or was it just mountains and forest forever, as far as the earth went?

Maybe in summer, if Jules and I still live, we’ll journey north. See what there is to be seen.
She turned back and continued her zig-zag hike up, cursing the Moirae and Fortuna with every step. It was windy and cold and miserable again, and all she could think about was the warm bath that she knew awaited her in the mountain.

A sound like a song came over the wind, and Yarrow frowned and looked around. It came again, like a woman singing mournfully. Damn mountain gets creepier every day.

To discover the source of the song, come back next Saturday for the continuation of this scene!

Be sure to check out the other talented SFFSat authors HERE!

Sunday Seven: Yarrow and Jules discuss the skeleton in front of them

As promised, here is the rest of yesterday’s little snippet.

“Who’s this, then?” she asked into the long silence.

“Beats me,” Jules said, face earnest. “I’d hazard a guess and say it’s the last Queen who was exiled to here.”

“Thanks, Chief Officer of the Obvious,” she said sardonically and explored the rest of the room.

Finding nothing of interest, she suggested they move on to the third door from the main hall.

“And never come back in here again,” she added, looking at the skeleton.


If you’re intrigued enough by these snippets, consider picking up Bellica for the Kindle. It’ll be free this Tuesday, May 1st, or Beltane. This is the LAST Kindle promo day I’m doing, so now’s your chance! 

SFFSat: Yarrow and Jules explore Mt. Impri further

Hello! I’m finally back for SFSat, and this week I have two snippets for you — one today, one tomorrow.

I know, I know — I’m awesome.

This week’s Bellica snippet follows Yarrow and Jules’ adventures on Mt. Impri — after safely navigating past the first door, they explore what seems to be an ancient, long-abandoned city within the mountain.

Turned out it was the kitchens and the servants’ quarters. After a quick search, they determined it was void of living things but, strangely, not food – the icebox was stocked full with unidentifiable meat, and there were even things like grains and such in the pantry. Yarrow felt that chill that had been her best friend since they’d arrived come back to say hello, and she tried to banish it by moving onto the next room.

This room prompted a yell and throwing of her knife from Yarrow, and the steel blade hit the throne she’d aimed it at, clattering to the floor at the feet of the skeleton who sat and regarded them with empty eye sockets. There was a crown still on her head.

“Congratulations,” Jules said wryly as he walked around Yarrow, “you killed it.”

That prompted a well-deserved smack on the shoulder.

Jules didn’t respond as he walked to the throne and retrieved Yarrow’s knife. Before he could walk back to her she’d joined him, staring at the long-dead Queen.

Join me tomorrow for the next bit of this scene!

Check out the other wonderful SFFSat participants HERE!


SFFSat, April 7th 2012: Mt. Impri and ancient mageks

For a bit of change of pace this week I’m giving y’all a small snippet from Bellica, my first novel. This is from later on in the novel, when Yarrow (my protagonist) and one of her closest and oldest friends, Jules, are investigating the insides of Mt. Impri — the capricious guardian of Atton, Athering’s northernmost town. Here they find strange, ancient mageks and a situation perhaps more dangerous than the one they left behind…

“Frankly, though, this place gives me the creeps and I’d like to leave,” he added, and Yarrow felt a bit of bravado come back.

“And face certain death?” she asked.

He gestured with his sword to the still open door that led to darkness. “We could die here!”

“Yes, but it’s not certain.”

He made a noise of exasperation. “Fine. You first.”

I’d planned on it, she thought, but only nodded and drew her boot knife.

Slowly she stepped forward through the door, into the dark hallway beyond. A blue light passed over her face and body, making the small hairs on her skin stand up on end.

Check out the other great SFFSat authors HERE!


SFFSat: Drunken confessions continued

This week’s snippet is a continuation of last week’s, posted here.

It caught her completely off guard. She swallowed convulsively in the raw emotion crackling the air. She grasped at her old, Umbra-may-care mood, but her jesting tone fell flat. “What, you’d sacrifice your life for me?”
His look didn’t waver, but a small smile, almost as infinitesimal as his earlier shrug, curved his lips. “I swore as much when I became your major.”
“That’s different,” she said immediately, and broke her gaze away from his, unable to stand the intensity of it anymore. “And no, I won’t. You had nothing to do with this, Caelum.”

Buy Bellica for Kindle.

Check out the other authors participating in SFFSat HERE!