Thursday, January 15, 2015

Imaginary Friends (I)

After my musings regarding imaginary friends on twitter recently, I decided it was time to share a (longer) short story I'd written exploring the idea of the imaginary when it blurs with something... less so. 

After 4 years as a free read, and an extended period in wide release as an ebook, I've decided to move this novelette into Wide Release! Head on over to Amazon to read or buy it for just 1.99! Or find it on pretty much any other e-tailer of your choice!

But here's a teaser/sample for you to whet your appetite! 
I woke to a creak of floorboards and pulled the blanket up over my head, holding my breath while I listened hard. My mind whirled with men in black, faces masked, creeping through the house. Daddy, why did you leave me alone? He’d come home and find me gone, stolen away with the furniture and the television and the oven and all my toys.

I hiccupped on a sob and everything swam with tears. I wanted my daddy. I wanted my mommy, who was never coming back. I wanted someone, anyone, to keep away the noises in the night. I didn’t want to be stolen away!

“Shh,” a voice said, low and soothing. “I’m here. It was just the house settling, nothing more.”

I peeked out from underneath the blanket and the mattress groaned softly as a weight settled beside me. A warm hand touched my shoulder and I saw the shape of a man. Donar. My hero. My protector. My friend. The tightness in my throat eased and I pulled the blanket down, gasping for fresh air.

“Go back to sleep, Anna,” the shape said, a finger brushing the tears from my cheek, making my skin tingle. “You’re not alone.”

Even though it was a lie, I believed him. Donar was always right.

“I’ll be back to take you to school in the morning,” Daddy said, tucking me into bed. “If you need anything, you call Mrs. Philips next door, all right? The number is right here, next to the phone.” He held up the receiver, then set it down on my nightstand. “Sleep tight.” He kissed my forehead. “Don’t let the bed bugs bite.”

“Good night, Daddy.” I hugged his neck. “See you in the morning light.”

He turned out the lamp and pulled the door shut behind him, leaving only the whirling rainbow glow of the nightlight. Footsteps shifting from carpet to linoleum, the jingle of his keys, the door opening, then closing, and the click of the lock. I threw off the blanket and went to the window, watching him back out of the driveway, the headlights flashing in the rain.

“Aren’t you supposed to be in bed?” Donar asked.

I made a face at his reflection in the glass. “I just wanted to see Daddy.”

He ruffled my hair. “Now you’ve seen him off, back under the blankets.”

I sighed and crawled into my bed. “Will you tell me a story, at least?”

“Of course.” He tucked the blankets under my chin and sat down at the foot of the bed. “Which story would you like to hear?”

This was our ritual, Donar’s and mine, and I couldn’t sleep without it on the nights that Daddy left me to work. He had two jobs now, since Mommy died, and I saw more of Mrs. Philips than I did him. And Donar of course, but he didn’t count because nobody saw Donar but me.

I’d told Mrs. Philips about him once, but she said I was too old for imaginary friends, and if I didn’t stop seeing him, she was going to tell my daddy to take me to the doctor. Donar and I talked about it later and we decided it would be better if I didn’t say anything to anyone else. I asked him why I’d have to go the doctor, and he got real quiet and sad and I wished I hadn’t said anything at all before he answered.

“To make you stop seeing me,” he said. “With tests and medicines, if necessary. But I promise you, if you don’t want to see me anymore, you only have to tell me so, and I’ll go away without any of that. All right?”

“Why would I want you to go away?” I asked him.

He half-smiled. “One day you’ll realize that no one else has any friends like me, and you’ll want to be like them, maybe. Or else you just won’t remember me anymore, because you don’t need someone to keep you safe at night.”

I thought the whole thing was silly. How could I forget Donar? Who would tell me stories until I fell asleep? Who would get me water in the middle of the night, after I dreamed the house burned down, and Mommy was still inside? And I was sure I didn’t want anyone else making me forget him, so when Mrs. Philips asked about him a few weeks later, I told her he’d gone away, back to his stone palace with his magic goats.

“Tell me about the princess who can turn into a bird and fly away,” I said to Donar. “Don’t her cats ever try to catch her and eat her? Mrs. Philips has a cat and it’s always trying to catch birds.”

Donar smiled, the rainbow nightlight turning his beard purple. It was almost orange in daytime. “She becomes a very large bird. So large the cats worry she’ll eat them instead. Do you remember how she turns into a bird?”

Read More on Amazon!  Or Elsewhere!

Forged by Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1) Tempting Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1.5) Fate Forgotten (Fate of the Gods, #2) Taming Fate (Fate of the Gods, #2.5) Beyond Fate (Fate of the Gods, #3)
Honor Among Orcs (Orc Saga, #1) * Postcards from Asgard * Helen of Sparta
Buy Now:
Amazon | Barnes&Noble

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Writerly Goals for 2015

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So I know I'm two weeks behind on posting about this -- and I don't normally post about this stuff anyway, but this year is going to be busy for me. SUPER busy. I've got HELEN OF SPARTA's release April 1st, and I've lined myself up to attend two conferences already: The Historical Novel Society's conference in Denver, and the World Fantasy Convention in Saratoga Springs.

And that's not all! On top of the travel, and the book releasing, I've got books to write, and I thought you might be interested to know what's on my docket for 2015 -- and not just because it might help me to stay on task if I make it public, though I'd be lying if I said that wasn't PART of why I was writing this post.

Let's do this in list form!

New Words, New Manuscripts:

  • Another Bronze Age historical (which I will leave vague for the moment though I do know exactly what I'm writing and I'm looking forward to diving in!)
  • Orc Saga 3
  • Finish my PNR novella featuring Ullr, Thor's stepson (it's about 2/3rds done)
  • Finish my Fate of the Gods novella featuring Ra and Athena (it's about... 1/4th done. maybe.)
  • Finish Marcus's story, whatever that turns out to be (another Fate of the Gods potential novella)
  • And if I can finish all that, then I'll work on the next Bronze Age historical, which may or may not have to do with Theseus and Antiope. We'll see!


  • Orc Saga 2 needs a round of revisions -- though the cover art is well on its way, and I am super stoked to share it.
  • Hippodamia and Pirithous aka TAMER OF HORSES, the bronze age historical I wrapped up in 2014 as part of NaNoWriMo will need some revisions, too.
  • And of course, HELEN OF SPARTA is hitting shelves!
  • I'm tentatively hoping to release BLOOD OF THE QUEEN (Orc Saga: Book Two) in the fall/winter!
  • And an Audiobook of FORGED BY FATE is coming!

Yeah. Basically I've got my hands full and if I can manage to finish all of this before 2016 blows through town, I'll be shocked and amazed, but I might as well dream big! As long as I get one of the Fate of the Gods novellas done along with my two full length novels, I think I'll be pretty pleased with myself, and any progress made in the others will put me ahead next year.

And I have a fun FICTION interlude for you blog readers coming up next, before I get back into the bronze age/myths/Helen/Theseus business again for Helen's release -- it's called Imaginary Friends, and Part I posts on Thursday!

Forged by Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1) Tempting Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1.5) Fate Forgotten (Fate of the Gods, #2) Taming Fate (Fate of the Gods, #2.5) Beyond Fate (Fate of the Gods, #3)
Honor Among Orcs (Orc Saga, #1) * Postcards from Asgard * Helen of Sparta
Buy Now:
Amazon | Barnes&Noble

Saturday, January 10, 2015


These are the books I have written and have been or will be published:

Forged by Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1) Tempting Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1.5) Fate Forgotten (Fate of the Gods, #2) Taming Fate (Fate of the Gods, #2.5) Beyond Fate (Fate of the Gods, #3)
Honor Among Orcs (Orc Saga, #1) * Postcards from Asgard * Helen of Sparta
I have written roughly 2,000,000 words* of fiction, all told. 
Including 4 additional novels which have not yet found a home. 
(It is likely at least one never will.)

Today was the first day that I didn’t feel like an impostor when I confirmed to a family friend that yes, I am an Author. 

*That two million words does not include words written for blogposts or papers or essays of any kind. It probably doesn't even include all my fiction, for that matter, but I tried really hard to make a comprehensive list of my projects, drabbles, short stories, novellas, and novels.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Once Upon a Time, I Met a Tiger

TRUE STORY. In college, there was a cabinet maker who had a tiger as his company mascot. One of the girls on my floor knew him, and knew that I loved tigers and my lifelong dream was to work with them as a zookeeper (while writing, of course), so she took me to go see him/his tiger.

We got there, and the tiger was pretty friendly. It chuffed hello and came up to be pet -- he kept it on a really long chain inside a warehouse, in the evenings, and during the day it had an outdoor enclosure, but I mean, it was obviously a well-taken care of, well-loved animal -- and I let it lick my hand, and scratched behind its ears, and it was pretty much nirvana for me, because OMG PETTING A TIGER!!!!! It rubbed its head against me, and then, before I could even blink, wrapped its jaws around my thigh.

Thankfully, I'm a fool, and don't have even the sense God gave little green apples, because I have absolutely 0 fear of being eaten by a tiger, and so, instead of flinching, I just stood there like "oh, no big," and the tiger let me go, and I proceeded to keep petting it because I am really that ridiculous. Or maybe that smart, because if you flinch in front of a predator like that, it is pretty much a signal that you're prey and its time for them to give chase. But anyway. This is how I became covered in tiger saliva (and got it all over my coat) and pretty much immediately after I happened to touch my face, and my eyes started itching and my nose started running and thus, I learned, I am pretty Intensely allergic to tigers.

I remember getting home, just on cloud nine, and thinking "I could die happy tomorrow."

But did you know there are only an estimated 2000 Bengal tigers left in the wild? And only 3200 wild tigers of all subspecies, total? Did you also know that if a population drops below 1000 individuals, the necessary genetic diversity to maintain a healthy population (to breed them back, for instance, if such programs existed for the reintroduction of tigers into the wild) is lost forever?

For tigers, it's now or never.

Forged by Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1) Tempting Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1.5) Fate Forgotten (Fate of the Gods, #2) Taming Fate (Fate of the Gods, #2.5) Beyond Fate (Fate of the Gods, #3)
Honor Among Orcs (Orc Saga, #1) * Postcards from Asgard * Helen of Sparta
Buy Now:
Amazon | Barnes&Noble

Thursday, January 01, 2015

The Sixth Annual No Kiss Blogfest is Here!

And I've brought Thor and Eve to the party for your enjoyment! A fabulous almost kiss from BEYOND FATE -- which is available for your reading pleasure, along with the rest of the Fate of the Gods trilogy, now COMPLETE! Thanks so much to Amanda Byrne for hosting the event this year!

So just a quick little introduction to set the mood: Having at last been granted the freedom to reveal himself to Eve, Thor is beginning all over again with the courting. And he's pulling out all the stops. Including clearing her out a bedroom of her very own in Asgard. Should she choose to ever wish to spend the night...

“If you desire to spend so much time in Asgard, it seemed only right that you should have a space of your own in Bilskirnir.” He nodded to the bed. “You can sleep here, undisturbed, if you wish it.”

She considered the bed again, and Thor swallowed against the absent thought that rose in her mind, of how much more easily they might share it than the bed in her dorm. And then her gaze caught on the table beside it, and Thor smiled, watching the play of emotion as it spilled into her aura. Surprise so intense it bordered upon shock, and then, as her fingers closed upon the ivory bracelet he had left there, wonder and delight. He allowed himself to enter the room, then, and stand at her side. The better to see her face.

“You kept this,” she said, looking up. “All this time?”

“It was what I had of you, of our marriage and the life we shared.”

“It looks exactly the same,” she said, her fingers tracing the vines he had carved and filled with gold so carefully. The blisters had been worth it, to see the way her eyes had lit. A bridal gift fit for a chieftain’s daughter. Fit for a goddess.

“As it should,” he said. “While it was here, it did not age. And I kept it safe.”

“Thor, this is…” She shook her head, her gaze falling back to the bracelet, and he smiled. Wordlessly, he took it from her, then slipped it over her hand and onto her wrist.

When she lifted her face, her eyes searching his, he tucked a soft curl behind her ear.

“It is still my gift to you.”

She caught his hand, pressing it to her cheek. “Thank you.”

He searched her eyes, drinking in this moment. She was his Tora, his Eve in a way she hadn’t been in centuries, and this time, he would not make the same mistakes. “So many times, I’ve wondered what our lives would have been if I had trusted you in that life with my secrets, as you trusted me with yours. I wish I had told you everything. I wish I had truly stolen you away, as you asked, taken you all the way to Asgard when we left that beach. But I was too afraid you would turn from me if you knew me for a god. And I was too selfish to risk the truth, to risk losing you.

“I am so sorry, Eve. If I had known how long we would be parted, how much pain you would suffer between that life and this…”

She pressed a finger to his lips, stopping him. “If you had told me then, asked me to follow you to Asgard, I’m not certain that I would have agreed. We would have lost that lifetime together, completely, and I cannot see how we would be standing here, now.”

He lowered his head, resting his forehead against hers. She made a soft sound, pleasure and desire mixed together, and her eyes closed. Their noses brushed, her breath against his lips, making him ache, and the scent of sunlight on her skin, of summer and cream, filling his head. He wanted to kiss her. He wanted to do more than kiss her. He wanted to remind her, body and soul, of everything they had shared together, every gift of love they had given to one another.

But he did not dare. She was still so fragile, and when she was ready, when she knew her own mind, she would come to him.

She would ask it of him.

He let his hand fall from beneath hers, rubbing the memory of her skin, rose-petal soft, from his fingertips, and stepped back.

“I should leave you to your reading.”

Eve let out a breath, her cheeks flushed and her eyes half-dazed with need, naked and hungry. When she looked at him that way—he clenched his jaw against his own desire and left her, before he changed his mind.
Don't forget to visit the other participants and get your fill of Almost Kisses to start your new year off right!

Forged by Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1) Tempting Fate (Fate of the Gods, #1.5) Fate Forgotten (Fate of the Gods, #2) Taming Fate (Fate of the Gods, #2.5) Beyond Fate (Fate of the Gods, #3)
Honor Among Orcs (Orc Saga, #1) * Postcards from Asgard * Helen of Sparta
Buy Now:
Amazon | Barnes&Noble