I have a collection of short stories, “Nothing Changes,” coming out at the end of August; next, a full novel, Lies of Stone, which is the first book of the sequel series to Children of the Desert. That one’s due to launch at ConVivial of Williamsburg in January 2024.
“Nothing Changes” is a collection of short stories, set in the same world as the Children of the Desert series. They’re organized more or less chronologically, and are aimed at folks who either haven’t read the series or who want more detail on the events underpinning much of CotD.
A young man obeys his father and vaults past the assumptions of his insular society in a bid for control of their people. Years later, his daughter does the same, but this time in an effort to escape her father’s inflexible, dangerous control.
Their choices resonate through the background of the Children of the Desert series and shape the world. Presented here are their stories, along with six other intersecting tales. Rogues and priests, monsters and saviors, all make their own path through a complex world, affecting far more lives than they ever realize.
Time travel, morality, ethics, and culture clashes are on offer, along with notes on this world’s religion, history, linguistics, and horses.
Power corrupts, people lie, rulers come and go. Nothing changes in the long run …
… or does it?
Lies of Stone:
The kingdom is splintering, the southlands is in chaos and ruin, the ha’reye are dead or enslaved. Tank, a young man who desperately wants to be normal, is forced to abandon that goal and learn to use his psychic abilities. Lia, a young woman who fought to break free of the social, cultural, and religious restrictions of her ultra-conservative home city, is forced to face the shatteringly different world to be found outside those gates.
Teilo, once human, now something between ha’ra’hain and ha’reye, literally rebuilds herself from fragments after a disastrous incident detailed in the previous series. Finally and completely furious over a very long lifetime of disrespect and abuse, she decides to seize the power and respect she’s due, no matter who has to die along the way.
Other characters get passing cameos, illuminating angles the main characters could never see. The end result is a tangle of cascading political and personal tensions. The stakes mount ever higher as the old ways and the new head for a nasty collision.
Look for excerpts from “Nothing Changes” and Lies of Stone to start posting within the next month, as well as renewed blog posts on both this site and The Scribbling Lion.
I’m back, folks, and I’m running hard to make up for lost ground!
The weather is cooling down, not nearly as much as compared to what I noted last year at this time, but I’m beginning to emerge from torpor. This time around, I’m immersed in horticulture classes about soil science and plant propagation, both of which are far more complicated than I expected and have sent me into one full and one partial meltdown to date. Argh. But it’s fascinating, and fun, so I persist. The wild machete work of last year will likely not repeat this year, as I just don’t have the strength or energy. I’m staying back from politics still, keeping an eye on a few topics but not allowing myself to get deeply involved — same reason as last year, and I’m feeling much healthier from the consistent backing away. I am poking at my writing, trying to push myself to do more, but my overall activity level has dropped steeply over the past year, now that I look at the previous updates. I’m not sure if I want to climb back to that level. It seems an unsustainable goal. But we’ll see….
The weather has gotten cold, which always perks me up. I am a total slug in summer, unable to stand the heat and humidity. As temperatures drop before 70, I start feeling like I’ve just knocked back several energy drinks and can Do All The Things. So far that’s involved using a machete to clear a couple hundred square feet of overgrown woodlands, baking six to ten sourdough and other recipes a week, cleaning the house, creating videos, overhauling and updating various websites and business matters, and walking the dog a lot. I’ve continued to stay back from politics because it just hurts too much to watch the continuing disintegration of my country at the hands of white supremacists, racists, misogynists, and asshats in general. I’m still reading the news and staying informed. I just don’t have the breath to scream about it right now.
This has been one hell of a year, for sure. One of my closest friends, whose family I’m also very close to, recently lost his dad in an unexpected health downturn. That knocked me down for a couple of weeks, and I’m still shaky at odd moments. I hate that I can’t travel to be with the family, to help, to hug, to bake and run errands. But life doesn’t care what I hate or love, so I’m stubbornly plugging away at the neverending task list and trying to get a handle on managing our swampy land and its incredible abundance of mosquitoes. I’ve backed away a little bit from politics, because there’s just not enough room in my brain for All The Things right now, and I really need to focus on restarting my back-burnered writing career.
All events for 2020 are cancelled, which leaves me sitting on my butt at home and trying to avoid writing. I’ve been baking a lot… and gardening… and cleaning… even editing, when I have to. But writing is just not working well right now, which is annoying. On the good side, the family health issues mentioned in the last update appear to have resolved peacefully, so to speak, and I may not have to do any long road trips after all. I have been considerably more vocal politically, on Twitter and amongst friends & family, as I’m incensed by current events. That takes up a lot of my energy and may, on consideration, be why I’m not writing fiction as much right now…. hmmm. I’m also catching up on a whole bunch of quest lines in WoW…
I’m getting my feet under me once more and jogging forward at a careful pace to avoid burning out. My knees have been giving me increasing trouble, which is a warning sign that I might just have to come to final terms with my anxiety about elevators. I’m editing, my own work and that of other folks; I’m lining up events for the next six months. Some extended family health issues have appeared, and I expect at least two lengthy road trips this year. Time to be sure the laptop is up to date and reliable…
It’s coming up on my standard first convention of the year as I type this — meaning MarsCon of Virginia, of course — and I’m back to volunteering in the Green Room as well as running a vendor table for The Scribbling Lion. Theoretically, my Green Room prep duties end Thursday night, when I load the supplies in and turn everything over to the guy in charge, but I know from experience to expect a certain amount of bleed over just because I have a hard time letting go of responsibility.
I have an editing/typeset job on my desk that must be turned around within the next two months; I’ve begun poking at a couple long-stalled creative projects again; I’ve declared that housework comes last on my list for a while and that my family just has to work around that.
We’ll see how long I can stand the result… 😀
I’m still very active on Twitter, with a whole lot of political stuff flying about. I try to balance it out with a lot of funny and goofy and heartwarming stuff, which I’m seeing other people do as well.
I’m still on Shuffle, although sporadically — I just keep forgetting to check in and post there, and it’s really bad of me. It’s a great site and perfect for what I want right now, so I’m only hurting myself by letting that connection slide.
The garden is beginning to call me in its grassy-mossy rumbly voice, asking me where I’m going to lay out the next set of raised beds and what I’m going to do with them once they’re built. I’m forcing myself to stay at my desk instead of going out with a hammer, stakes, and twine right now….
It’s started out a very chaotic year. I think that will probably continue. I think it’s important to keep picking out and holding up bits of beauty as we find them. Everyone needs to be reminded, right now, that the world IS a beautiful place, and that there ARE wonderful people all around us.
Hope is a dangerous weapon, but it’s all we have some days.
What a surprise. It’s cold outside. Currently in the twenties to thirties…
Some changes from last year:
I’m increasingly active on Shuffle, a new social media platform that’s rapidly attracting an audience. I like that I can sift through topics easily, and that there are real conversations happening, not shout-fests. It’s quite refreshing.
I’m picking at a number of complex projects, as usual. I’d like to book a couple of editing projects in the coming months. I’d like to pick up a part time job doing something away from any computers at all. I’d like to win the lottery. Alas, it’s probable none of those desires will actualize. That’s okay. I have a full day’s work to hand every day, and that’s good enough for now.
It’s very cold here in Virginia. I’m waking up to thirty degree temperatures that linger through nine and ten a.m. … we even had a snowstorm the other day! And I, the cold loving person, am OVER IT. I’m ready for warmer weather. But at least my daffodils are happy about it….
The book launch for Servants of the Sands and Salt City happened as planned in January 2018, at MarsCon of Virginia, and it was wonderful! The entire weekend far exceeded all expectations. It also completely exhausted me, which is why I’ve been so completely lax on updating this site. I’m back up on my feet at last, though, in part thanks to a change of medication, and I’m stomping through my huge Over Due List as ferociously as possible.
Oh, and I have a Patreon now. It’s pretty much idle (see previous paragraph for why), but I should be back on production for that within the next *mumble* … soon, okay, soon!
Change continues to roll, if more slowly. I’ve left the part-time job I mentioned in the previous update; mainly, I’m just not ready yet. There’s so much to do here at home, so much sorting out and unpacking and cleaning that’s been neglected over the last two years of traveling. Also, I hit the breaking-frustration point of working for someone else earlier than I expected. So I’m back at my desk, being my own boss.
I miss my mom so much it hurts down to my bones. Every time I look outside at the flowers she taught me how to grow, or inside at the newly hung artwork from her house, or wear the clothes I took from her closet, it’s like shipworms drilling into my soul. But ya get up and ya keep on keeping on, because it’s what’s in front of you.
The January launch notion looks increasingly solid. I’m still waiting on final confirmation.
There have been quite a lot of changes in the last year or so. My mom passed away in April of 2017; I talk about that here. As of late July, the rearranging of my life is semi-complete. I’ve returned home, I’m unpacking the boxes and bits of Mom’s life that I brought back with me. Mom’s house is sold (it went fast!) and I have no plans to go back to Florida for the remainder of this year. I took on a part-time job at a local store, mainly to get myself out of the house and accustomed to socializing with people again. I’ve paid off my beloved Jeep (big wild cheers on that).
I’ve finished the last book of the Children of the Desert series. It’s in ReAnimus’s trusty hands at this point. I’m not entirely certain as to the launch date; we won’t be able to lock that down until Aaron B. Miller finishes the cover art. (Yes! I managed to work out an absolutely wonderful deal with Aaron that allows me to use his art for a goodly stretch of time without breaking my piggy bank. Talk about wild cheers!!) I am hoping for a January launch date, as that ties in very neatly with some other things on the schedule. We’ll see what the universe decides to let me get away with this time.
I’ve also, in case you haven’t noticed, overhauled this site rather heavily. I’m focusing on three of the things I love: writing, cooking, and researching.
I have a new home for the Children of the Desert series. I’ll get to that in just a moment.
Right now, the hugest thing on my mind is this:
I am cold. And I LOVE IT!
I was in Florida for most of September and August. Arguably the worst months for a heat-hater like myself to hang out south of Orlando.
It wasn’t fun.
But I made it home to Virginia when the temperature began ranging from a glorious fifty-odd degrees to a tolerable eighty-something. And my garden, while weedy as hell, had, as usual, blossomed under the benign neglect. My pineapple sage easily doubled in size since I left! (Making it, yes, about as tall as I am. Impressive? Hell yeah.)
Florida always leaves me feeling as though I’m swimming through a sludgy half-reality where nothing really matters and everything can be put off until tomorrow. So I’ve been real slow on catching up. But now–now I’m baaaaack! and I have something really freaking cool to tell you about.
So back to that announcement about my series that I mentioned above. The Children of the Desert books have a new publisher! ReAnimus Press has signed up to reprint them, and to produce the fifth book when I get it done. I am so crazy happy about this! I hope you are too.
I’m also on track to release Fallen City, a Children of the Desert series side story about the days just before the Split. And how Deiq was, naturally, involved in setting off this epic disaster. [EDIT: Fallen City was released in January 2015.]
I have at least three other tie-in novellas in the various stages between concept and completion. There is just so much going on that can’t be shown without either infodumping, bloating the books to a ridiculous count, or introducing four new POV characters per novel. Given that I have absolutely sworn that I will not run this series past five books, that means supplementing, for readers who care about the stuff going on in the background.
BY THE WAY, THE BEST PLACE to shop for holiday or any other occasion presents –> –> –> take a look at Retro Daddio’s of Williamsburg, VA <– <– <– once in NewTown, now located in Monticello Shopping Center. Check out the WYDaily article about it here. This is actually not as random of an insertion as it might appear. Retro Daddio’s is ALWAYS relevant to a discussion of cool stuff. 😀
2022 Update: Retro Daddios is no longer in brick and mortar form. They still have the Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/retrodaddio and they are still running event tables, so go check out the current inventory!
…my newest favorite web comics. I’m really geeking out on one in particular: The Order of the Stick, which is … well … if you played D&D in the days of yore, you’ll get a huge kick out of it. (If you’ve never played D&D, skip this one.) The cast of characters is here (and worth reading all by itself!), and you can start reading from the beginning here.
I’m increasingly fond of the work of David Willis (Dumbing of Age, Shortpacked) and the refreshingly odd webcomic Sandra and Woo (the adventures of twelve year old girl and her pet fox). Girl Genius is also worth checking out, as I think I’ve mentioned before.
Web serials: I’m still following fanfic Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality by Eliezer Yudkowsky. (Premise: Harry Potter is raised as a scientist by loving, intelligent parents; his rationalist approach throws Hogwarts into complete chaos.) Well, “patiently waiting for the next arc to be written” would be more accurate, but if you haven’t read the serial to date, there’s plenty there to work through. The beginning is very funny, but I’ll warn you that the story line morphs into increasingly dark and serious territory. [EDIT AS OF 11/24/2015: In my opinion, Yudkowsky punted on the ending in a big, big way. So approach this one with care. Still some brilliant moments, worth reading, but a frustrating let down at the end.]
I’m also still reading Pact: Devils and Details, which is an intriguingly rational take on supernatural matters. I like the fact that I honestly don’t know what’s coming next; this story throws convention to the winds and follows its internal rules to an often brutal conclusion. It’s not a nice story, or a funny one, but it’s quite well done. Reading stuff like this, seeing how popular it is, makes me wonder if I should try doing a web serial myself. Hmmmm…..
Just a few more things…
As my friend Peter Prellwitz pointed out, “it would be really interesting to read the results if this same questionnaire was sent out to 150 novelists today.” I might just make that a Scribbling Lion project….
Graph paper, hex paper, lined notebook paper–you can print it all yourself, onto 8.5×11″ paper. For free. Seriously. Where was this when I was in high school????
An io9 article well worth reading for any writers who are developing alien races. Very well-thought-out and gave me some great ideas.
One of my favorite authors writing a deeply touching article about another of my favorite authors? Pfff. No brainer on this one. READ IT.
Sometimes it’s braver to choose not to do the scary stuff.
And that’s enough of that. Until next post–KEEP CREATING. WE NEED YOU TO CREATE MORE.
Step away from Facebook and write a paragraph or sketch a picture.
You done been TOLD.
And enjoy your day!