Whatever Else, a Short Story

My short story “Whatever Else” has gone live at Amazon, where it’s only .99 for Kindle readers.*  (To add it on GoodReads, click here.)

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Maia is a young woman with only a small gift: the ability to watch others from afar. To cement a treaty between two clans, she married Arras, a young man she’s known most of her life. But when her brother comes to visit, he reveals a shameful secret that leaves Maia questioning everything she believes about her husband. Now she must use her small gift to determine the truth of her brother’s claim…and decide whether to stay at her husband’s side or flee him.

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This story has never before been released. It’s not part of either my Golden City setting, or the setting for Dreaming Death.

This story is part of a third world in which I have published a few stories already, although to the more casual reader, they probably seem completely unrelated. (The Nature of Demons, The Arranged Marriage, and The Stains of the Past.)

(It might help to know that the four stories are separated over the course of about 500 years, and that in  the countries of Jenear and Galas, most people with an unusual gift can trace their ancestry back to either Arras or Menhas—for whom the Menhirre people are named, Menhirre literally meaning “Menhas’ children”.)

This story has traveled a long road to publication, has waited on different editors’ desks, often more than 100 days—and once over 420 days!—but has never quite found a home. All the same, I’ve always believed that it was worth keeping.  So I’m happy to say it’s finally out.

Thanks to my editor/formatter, Rick Fisher at EQP Books, who not only made the text look good, but spiffed up the cover as well. And a special thanks to Sam Hidaka, who never quit believing in this little story…I appreciate all your input along the way on this one.

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*Also, if you’re a reviewer of short fiction, I’d be happy to email you a copy (of either kindle or nook format), just let me know in comments!

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New Words from the Golden City

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I’m close to setting up a pre-order page for After the War, the final (chronologically) novella in the Golden City series.  I’m still waiting on the cover, but as soon as that’s finalized, I’ll work on turning that live. (The cover artist–Rachel A, Marks–is also a writer, and she’s in the midst of edits for her next book.)

My planned date for After the War to go on sale is August 1, although that might change if there are complications.

In addition, my patrons have received the first chapter in a new work that tells of the meetings of Miguel Gaspar, Gabriel Anjos, Nadezhda Vladimirova, and the Lady.  I’ve jokingly called them my Torchwood in the past because they seem to work behind the scenes, focusing on the creepy and weird stuff. (if you don’t understand the reference, that’s OK.)

The work is very tentatively titled The Undiscovered Truth, although that may change.  (The first chapter is available here on my website, but it’s password protected so that only my patrons see it.)

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New review, 5/5 for The Golden City

It’s odd when you’re a writer to see what book sells the most, and for me that’s consistently been The Golden City. It’s widely available in bookstores, and only 7.99 for the ebook.

I recently offered some review copies to readers, and so today, one of those readers has a new review of TGC posted! I’m glad I’ve converted someone back to fantasy fiction, since there’s some lovely work out there.

Here the review at: Reviews by a Thrifty Mom!

Thanks, Angela!

separatorAlso, since I’m going to need some early reviews for After the War and Whatever Else, (ebook only at this time), if you’re interested in reading either of those for review, just let me know.

After the War is (for those interested) the last story of The Golden City, and I have to admit that it helps if you’re read the Golden City series, since this story serves as an epilogue for that.

Whatever Else is a SHORT story, unrelated to my other works.

I haven’t set release dates for either of them, but I hope to set them up as soon as possible!

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Reflections on first person…

I’ve been working on cleaning up my mss of Whatever Else (for some reason, a lot of periods were deleted) and that led me to think about writing first person rather than third.

I have a limited number of stories in which I used first person, and for most of those, I was trying to portray a specific ‘voice’.

For example, A Hand for Each was written to sound similar to the writing of Richard Dana (Two Years Before the Mast).  I wanted the narrator to sound like an English seaman.

After five long years of herding freighters about the Indian peninsula, we had finally been given orders to return home. How I longed to see England again. My family wrote to me but their letters often went astray, likely arriving in a port we had just left. I knew that I missed many of them.

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The Stains of the Past was meant to sound more like a young woman with a past: 

I believe in redemption. Every week when I go to confession, the priest tells me my sins are forgiven. I am a new person now, he has explained, and my penitence has created in me a clean heart. Unfortunately, my sins haven’t been forgotten. My past will always be with me, at least as far as Kiya is concerned.

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In The Nature of Demons, I wanted the hapless narrator to sound a bit like Dr. Watson. I was thrilled when one of the critiquers actually mentioned that my Dr. Antris sounded like…Dr. Watson!

A more educated man would have recognized the signs, I thought.  Only a week before, the king had forced Menhas’ company on me, naming him a shaman among his tribe — a storyteller and healer.  As such, I expected him to have at least a passing familiarity with the hundred forms of demons.  “Do your people not have stories of these creatures?”

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In Fleurs du Mal, I wanted the protagonist to be disdainful and cold.

I looked at Anne instead. She clung to Jeremy’s arm with one hand as we walked, her hips swaying as if she still heard a tango in the night air. I couldn’t decide what to make of her attachment to him. He is far out of his league, I thought, my trusting little brother.

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And in Whatever Else, I wanted my main character to sound…a bit helpless. She’s in a society where women are chattel, and has never been trained to do more than be a wife. So it was a difficult voice for me to write, but I hope I cam up with the right one:

His sudden claim baffled me. Arras had been my husband nearly four years. Three years older than my nineteen, Seyvas was of an age with him; even through the worst of our peoples’ squabbling, he and Arras had remained friends. Since our wedding, though, Seyvas hadn’t come to the manor at all. Not until now.

I turned back to him and whispered, “What are you talking about? You’ve known Arras all your life.”

“Arras is dead,” my brother answered in a flat voice, his eyes gone bleak

I stared at him, mouth agape.

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So for me, the choice of first person is usually tied to the fact that I want the POV character to sound different than me. I want them to have a very distinctive personality.

What’s your reasoning behind the times that you chose to write in first person?

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Cover Progress

I’m working with artists on covers for upcoming ebooks, and have a couple almost ready:

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Whatever Else is a short story, unrelated to my other works. I hope to put this out later this fall. (This is pretty much a final cover.)

And here’s the preliminary for After the War:

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The artist for this still needs to work out a few things about the cover, but I like the first version of it!

And I hope to have a final to show people soon!

 

 

 

In the Back Matter

As I’m putting together what should be the last (chronologically) novella in the Golden City cycle, I’m inserting a bit of information in the back. I didn’t have the option of doing this before (I was never asked, and when I -did- ask for a map, I didn’t get one).

However, since I’m controlling this one, I can stick in whatever I want.  So I’m putting in a couple of things, including the chart of Alejandro’s ancestry shown in the previous post and a list of characters from the novella.

And because that’s information in a different format, anyone who looks at it might discover a few interesting, if not entirely pertinent, facts.

(There are some potential spoilers here for the series, so if you’d rather avoid, don’t read past this point.) 

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So here are a couple of things from the chart:

  1. Duilio’s mother is named Giana Fadda. I don’t think her surname has ever come up before because she’s generally referred to as Lady Ferreira. Fadda is a Sardinian name, since she was raised by her mother and a Sardinian fisherman (whom her mother rescued after a shipwreck) on the island of Sardinia. Therefore, she grew up speaking Portuguese, Sardinian, Catalan, and a smattering of other languages from the Italian city states.
  2. Alessio did have one child (with Tigana before she became Erdano’s queen). Someone asked about this earlier, thinking that I must have gotten the chart wrong. While I’d always intended to reveal that, it never did fit into any of the books. (I actually wrote it into The Seer’s Choice, but then deleted that part as it didn’t have anything to do with the scene.) But my idea was that Alessio pretty much grew up in Erdano’s shadow. Given that both of them had a propensity for multiple lovers, it wouldn’t be too shocking if Tigana, at some point, strayed from Erdano’s bedroom to Alessio’s. All in all, it would be a good thing to have Alessio’s son, her firstborn, leading the harem rather than one of Erdano’s because–let’s face it–Erdano’s not the sharpest card in the deck.

And here are a couple from my character list from After the War (included below)

  1. Raimundo ends up marrying Ana Pereira de Santos. I had intended from the start to have him sneaking out of the palace and spying on society events, trying to learn who his future subjects were. And he, at one point, met a wallflower who was hiding in an alcove. So the  party where he surprised Duilio? Yep, he knew from Ana that Duilio was invited. Ana had been his spy within society for a couple of years by the time he reached the throne. (I wrote some of those scenes, but they never fit in.)
  2.  In After the War, I go ahead and admit that the Lady is half fairy. I’d always left it open to interpretation before, but here so much time has passed that everyone has figured it out, so it’s no longer a secret.

 

The author knows all the family secrets.

Here’s a bonus one:

I say in the books that Lady Ferreira has money of her own. No one really questioned how a selkie could have money, but here’s what happened:

When she was 15, she fled Sardinia for Portugal, her mother’s homeland. In selkie form, she swam around the Mediterranean coast, and located a rich shipwreck just on the Portuguese side of Spain–too deep for a human diver to find, but not too deep for a seal. So she collected as much of the gold as she could (using buckets carried in her mouth), and buried the gold in a cave in the Algarve. Later in life, after she marries Joaquim’s father (a boat builder) , they raise the shipwreck and claim the remaining gold.

Turns out I have convoluted explanations for everything….

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Cast of Characters (After the War)

(Again, there are some potential spoilers here for the series, so if you’d rather avoid, don’t read past this point.) 

Alejandro (Alexandre) Ferreira, Jandro—Son of Alexandre Ferreira and Leandra Rocha,

half sereia, half human, seer.

Ana (Santos), Duchess of Coimbra

Bastião—former guard for the current Duke of Coimbra

Duilio Ferreira—eldest living brother of Alejandro Ferreira

Isabella Anjos—daughter of Gabriel Anjos and Nadezhda Vladimirova, healer

James Markovich—Englishman of Russian ancestry, maledictor

Jandro—nickname for Alejandro (J is pronounced like an H)

João—character in story written by a young Alejandro Ferreira

João da Silva—name used for an unknown man in Portugal

Joaquim Tavares, Inspector—Alejandro’s elder brother, finder

the Lady—half-fairy, wife of Miguel Gaspar

Lighter—English witch, assigned to work with Alejandro during the war, firestarter

Marcos Davila—half sereia of Spanish birth, Serafina’s father

Mariona Palmeira—sereia, younger sister of Serafina

Marina Arenias—sereia, Alejandro’s adoptive mother

Mendosa (Luis)—Ferreira family butler

Miguel Gaspar, Inspector—mestiço from Cabo Verde, husband of the Lady

Miguel Pinheiro—adopted son of Captain Rafael Pinheiro

Phillips—Irish Separatist, assigned to work with Alejandro during the war

Rafael Pinheiro, Captain—cousin of Alejandro, seer

Raimundo, Duke of Coimbra

Roberto Machado—footman in the Ferreira house, war veteran

Safira Palmeira—Serafina’s mother

Serafina (Serafim) Palmeira—eldest daughter of Safira Palmeira and Marcos Davila, sereia

 

 

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Comicpalooza

I will be at Comicpalooza next weekend (June 17-19) in Houston, and I wanted to put my schedule up here…

(Very excited! This is my first Comic Con).

 

FRIDAY 4:00 – 5:00pm  Why We Love Urban Fantasy

Amy Sisson (M); Leslie S. Klinger, J. Kathleen Cheney, Mercedes Lackey, Larry Dixon

 

 

SATURDAY

11:00 – 12:00pm  Marketing for Writers: How to Sell What You Write

Ashley Nemer (M) Cassandra Rose Clarke J. Kathleen Cheney D. L. Young Alan J. Porter

 

1:30 – 2:00 pm SIGNING 

(I don’t know if anyone will actually buy any of my books, but I hope to sign at least ONE!)

 

4:00 – 6:00pm Workshop: Revising Your Drafts

Jayme Lynn Blaschke (M), Katherine Catmull, Heather Poinsett Dunbar, Christopher Dunbar, J. Kathleen Cheney  (Obviously, the B-D crew)

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Since I’ve never been before, I’m sure I’ll be a bit overwhelmed. The excellent Michelle Muenzler will be there, and since I’ll probably inflict at least one Finnish lesson on her during they drive, I invite you all to come tell either of us, Tervehdys! Or Terve. Or Hei…

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