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Tag: Heartsbane

Annual goals: 2021 review and 2022 goals

Wow, I am really late with this.

Every year, I set goals for myself. And every year, I look back at how I didn’t meet those goals.

This year is no exception.

About a year and a half ago, I started a new job, as an overnight admissions social worker at a local psych hospital. I really enjoy it; not only is it a second shift job in my field, I like my coworkers, the pay is awesome, and it’s only 3 12-hour shifts a week with no weekends (although we’re short-staffed so I usually work 4 shifts). Theoretically I have an extra 1-2 days a week to myself, although that usually doesn’t happen because I’m sleeping or spending the weekend days with my kid.

So with all that in mind, let’s look at my 2021 goals and how I did with them.

2021 goals

  1. Continue to publish and promote my Heartsbane Saga series. This really fell off. I don’t think I actually got any more of them published this year. And while I did work on edits and rewrites for the first half of the year, that fell off too when I consistently started working 50+ hours a week in midsummer. And, quite honestly, the response to the series has been super underwhelming, so I’m not as gung-ho to get published quickly like I was this time a year ago.
  2. Publish something at least twice a week. I did decently with this for the first half of the year, until again, I got caught up with work over the summer.
  3. Marketing. I’ve consistently been running Amazon ads, and they’ve been good for some movement. I didn’t get around to a blog tour because I was waiting until I had a couple more books out. I have several in mind though, so maybe I’ll get to it later this year.
  4. Painting of Renaissance peasant woman holding a dog and shrugging as if to say WTF

    Possibly my favorite painting at the Met.

    Travel travel travel. This is one goal that I did overwhelmingly meet! In February I went to Dodge City, Kansas, because I liked watching Gunsmoke with my dad and because I wanted to spend more time in Wichita, where I found an awesome German restaurant, Prost. In March my kid and I spent a weekend in Chicago; usually we just go for a day, but this time we stayed overnight downtown and had some awesome arepas (which are his favorite thing this year). In April we went to Detroit, mostly to eat at Al Saha, my favorite Middle Eastern restaurant there, as well as Cadieux Cafe, a yummy Belgian restaurant, but we also went to a Korean barbecue place that was awesome. Memorial Day weekend we went to the Black Hills of South Dakota and hiked around the Badlands and Custer state park. In June, I vanlifed in Bemidji, Minnesota (home of delicious pasties), but it was too hot so I wandered over to Devils Lake, North Dakota. In July we went back to Wichita to hit up Prost, then over to Oklahoma City to get some goat sausage at the farmer’s market (yes, it really is worth the trip). In early August I vanlifed at Spirit Lake, Iowa, and also hit up the National Hobo Museum where I found my tribe. Then my mom, kid, and I spent a week in Hawaii, kayaking and hiking and of course eating our way across Oahu. I’d planned to vanlife up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in October but canceled due to bad whether. My kid and I went back to New York City for his birthday in November – in addition to good food, we caught Stomp again (five years to the day from when we saw it previously). Then in December we went down to New Orleans for a long weekend of shrimp po’ boys, jambalaya, and gumbo, before hitting up a couple barbecue places in Memphis, Tennessee, on our way back. And then right after Christmas, my dad, son, and I spent a week down in the Everglades and Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas, kayaking and hiking and eating great Latino food like pupusas and baleadas and ropa vieja. It was wonderful, all of it.

  5. Continue to Marie Kondo the shit outta my life. This year I tried to tackle my yarn stash. The problem is that with each box I tried to organize, I’d get sidetracked into making something with the yarn, and then I’d need to buy more yarn to finish the project. And while I’m buying more yarn, oh hey look there’s some clearance yarn. Just think what I can make with that! So, while the rest of the house isn’t too bad, my office/craft room is horrible.
  6. Read 100 books. Made it to 53.

So, maybe not the best year for goals. But what about 2022?

2022 goals

  1. Publish consistently. As of right now, I’d like this to be at least a couple times a month. I’ve already gotten back into the habit of posting on Medium every couple weeks, and I’ve noticed that I can get a lot more consistent readership when I’m on a more consistent schedule, as opposed to every few months. I also want to try to expand where I publish, rather than just Medium most of the time.
  2. Keep traveling. My theme this year is filling in the gaps – getting to all the places I haven’t been to yet. I’m hoping to go somewhere at least every months, if not more frequently. I have a ton of PTO and there’s no reason I shouldn’t use it, especially when vanlifing is my self-care.
  3. Be more mindful regarding sustainability and my health. I’ve noticed over the last year or so I’ve been eating out a lot more. It’s super easy to wake up and just grab dinner on my way to work, but it’s not healthy or cheap. And I’ve noticed that when I do cook, a lot of it doesn’t get eaten. To that end, I want to decrease my food waste, either by cooking less or freezing or dehydrating the leftovers. This goes for veggies too. And I want to grow a lot more of my food, as well as make healthier choices as to what I do buy. And more environmentally sustainable choices, such as less plastic and less meat. I’m also going to throw that Marie Kondo’ing goal into here, as I try to cut down on how much stuff and clutter I have.
  4. Keep plugging away on my Heartsbane series, both writing and marketing. It’s been a while since I published anything with this. I’ve been picking at edits for #1.5 “The Brave Little Thrall,” and #2.5 “Ezichi the Beautiful” is about half done. #3 Little Amethyst Abaya is done, but I need to incorporate changes based on what happens with #2.5. I have some Amazon ads running, and I want to promote it more as I release more books.
  5. Start a series on Kindle Vella. Amazon has this new platform for serialized stuff, and I have a few friends who are finding success with it so I’d like to try it out. I have a series of short stories I’ve been playing with, The Suburban Hedgewitch, about a woman who grants little innocuous wishes and curses to her suburban neighbors, that would work for Vella. I also wrote a little microfiction piece last year, “The Diarassia Not Taken,” and I think it would be a fun world to continue in. Then there’s a third work I’ve been scribbling on this year, about the MC’s past lives, that I think would lend itself well to serialization.
  6. Read 100 books. My perennial goal.

If you’ve set goals for yourself, what are they? How do you plan to accomplish them?

 

Fall 2021 goal review

Clyde happens

Clyde from Heartsbane does not care about my goals.

It’s that time of year – my quarterly check-in to see how I’m doing with the goals I set for myself in January.

We were short-staffed at work this summer, so I volunteered to pick up an extra shift each week. My schedule was 7pm-7am Monday-Thursday nights (50+ hours), and with sleeping and spending time with my kid, I didn’t really get a whole lot accomplished this summer. Just this month I’ve gone down to that extra shift just every other week, so maybe I’ll find some time for these goals. Haha.

That said, let’s take a look at my goals.

  1. Continue to publish and promote my Heartsbane Saga series. I haven’t made any progress on getting more stuff published, but I have increased the number of ads I’m running, and that’s helped with sales a bit.
  2. Publish something at least twice a week. I’ve only published 3 microfictions on Medium since my last update. A couple places I’d been publishing to regularly have Friday evening deadlines for prompts posted Monday morning, and with my schedule I don’t have time to write during the week.
  3. Marketing. As I mentioned for goal #1, I’ve been increasing my Amazon ads, and that’s helped with sales.
  4. Travel travel travel. This is one area I will NOT compromise on, because travel is my self-care. I spent a weekend at Spirit Lake and Lake Okaboji in northwest Iowa in early August, knocking the National Hobo Museum off my bucket list. Then a few days later my mom, son, and I went to Hawaii for a week, where we hiked and kayaked just about every day which was awesome. In September I went to St. Louis for the Pointfest concerts and to catch up with an old friend (I haven’t been to Pointfest for 20 years and we talked about our 401ks – I feel soooo old). I have several more trips planned – camping in northern Michigan next weekend, NYC in November for my kid’s 15th birthday (again, feeling old!), and the Florida Keys at Christmas. Maybe another weekend getaway in November or December too, depending on schedules.
  5. Continue to Marie Kondo the shit outta my life. I just went through my bedroom closet and got rid of a ton of clothes I haven’t worn in a few years and probably never will, plus one of my bookshelves with stuff for a local little free library. My basement is next on my list, as is my shed.
  6. Read 100 books. I’m at 45 books, which puts me at 33 behind schedule. I’m doing several review swaps, plus several of my friends have either just released books or will be soon, so I’ll be making an effort to read those. I’ve also had a hard time getting into some of the books I’ve started, and if I don’t finish sometimes I don’t count it at all. I don’t think I’ll make it to 100 though; maybe 75 by the end of the year?

If you’ve set goals for yourself, what are they? How are you doing with them? And what books would you recommend I read, so I can maybe hit that goal?

Summer 2021 goal review

Once again, it’s time for my quarterly check-in to see how I’m doing with the goals I set for myself in January.

I’m still adjusting to my new-ish job. Someone quit when they moved, so I’m picking up an extra shift every week for the next I-don’t-even-know how long. Which means 50 hours, over 4 days. Sometimes it’s slow and I have some free time to write or crochet or read or whatever, but for the most part life right now consists of work, sleep, and loading and unloading my dishwasher. As you can see, my annual goals don’t really fit into that very well.

Anyways.

  1. Continue to publish and promote my Heartsbane Saga series. I’m still picking away on edits on books 1.5, 2.5 (which has to come out before book 3), 3 (which has to be edited to match book 2.5), and now book 3.5.
  2. Publish something at least twice a week. I’m at 29 stories published on Medium so far in 2021, which is just over one a week. I serialized the first Heartsbane Saga story, “The Maiden in the Tower,” into 7 parts, but even excluding that I’m not doing bad for this. Aim for the stars, still on top of the world, and all that Pitbull jazz. I’m also looking into a series for Amazon’s new Vella thing, which would bump this number up too.
  3. Marketing. I have several things on my radar, as soon as I get another Heartsbane book or two out. September, maybe?
  4. Travel travel travel. Now here is somewhere I’m exceeding my goal. Since my last update, at the end of May I went to Rapids City, SD, and eastern Wyoming to hike around the Badlands and Black Hills (and tried Runza in Nebraska for the first time, after driving past them for years. Verdict: okay). Then the next weekend, I headed up to Bemidji, MN, to vanlife around the Frigid Northlands (and eat pasties), but it was almost 100F so I headed over to cooler North Dakota instead. Last weekend, I picked my kid up from his aunt’s in Kansas City, MO, so I’d have an excuse to go back to that German restaurant in Wichita I ate at in February, and then head to Oklahoma City to get some more goat sausage for ravioli. I’m hoping to squeeze in another weekend trip in early August, and then in the middle of that month I’m heading to Hawaii for a week, where I plan to make myself sick eating fresh pineapples and lychee smoothies daily.
  5. Continue to Marie Kondo the shit outta my life. My current project is my office, and specifically the yarn that covers every surface. My problem here is that every time I sort through a box of it, I get sidetracked by starting a new project with every skein. I have a couple craft shows planned for this year, so at least the projects aren’t wasted (assuming I finish them).
  6. Read 100 books. I haven’t made much progress with this since the last check-in; I’m currently at 28 books (26 behind schedule). I’m looking forward to spending some time reading on the beach next month, to try to catch up.

If you’ve set goals for yourself, what are they? How are you doing with them?

Weekend Writing Warrior 7/18/21 #8Sunday

Heartsbane logoWelcome back for the Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop, where a bunch of writers share 8-10 sentences from a current or recent WIP. I skipped last week, as I was out of town. My son spent a week with his aunt in Kansas City, so I drove down to pick him up and then we spent the weekend in Oklahoma City. It’s a nice city, with lots of great food – which is really one of the main things I look for when traveling, not gonna lie.

No food in this week’s excerpt, however. I’m continuing on with book 3.5 of my Heartsbane Saga series of fairy tales retold in a world of Vikings. This one is “The Horrible Husfreyja,” a retelling of The Ugly Duckling. Protagonist Uli wants to be a warrior, not a housewife. She’s out in the woods near her home when she runs into some local boys. This snippet picks up right where the last one left off.

* * * * * * *

Uli continued to grin at him, although her heart pounded. Was this how berserkers felt before battle, this mix of fear and euphoria? Not that she would ever know what battle was like; her fate was to remain at home, always expected to be deferential to men like her stepfather and Torleif. A wave of despair rushed over her, and she channeled it into reckless abandon. Here and now, for just this brief moment, she was in control.

“Afraid of being beat by a woman, are you?” she taunted. “And especially in front of your friends? Afraid they’ll run home and tell your father, and he’ll never let you go on raids with him?”

“I’m warning you….”

* * * * * * *

And the rest of that scene:

“I’m more likely to go raiding than you ever are! Maybe I should teach you how to bake ebelskivers, for the warriors to eat when they return home without you?”

Torleif let out a yell and charged at her. Although she only had a dagger against his short sword, and he had a longer reach, she was a more skilled fighter, more nimble, and she was able to jump away from his blade while parrying his attacks. He swung angrily, with seemingly no thought to his next blows, and Uli was able to land multiple stabs as she silenced her mind, to just feel and react in the moment.

* * * * * * *

Other books in the Heartsbane Saga:

Book .5: “The Maiden in the Tower” – Carys has resigned herself to a life of servitude, locked away in a tower, until a chance encounter with a stranger leaves her daring to hope for more.

Book 1: Captive and the Cursed – When Nyah’s sister is kidnapped by barbarians, Nyah offers herself in her place. But she soon learns the barbarians aren’t what she expected, especially their cursed leader.

Book 1.5: “The Brave Little Thrall” – Fahim Al Rasheed has spent his life studying foreign cultures, but he never thought he’d actually have the chance to experience them. When his journey of a lifetime leaves him and a young barbarian king marooned in a hostile country, he’ll have to rely on more than book learning to make it back home alive.

Book 2: Sleeping Shaman – Nyah and her friends travel halfway across the world seeking a cure for a barbarian curse, only to discover that the man they’re seeking has gone missing. Nyah must navigate dangerous rivalries and conflicting cultures before time runs out.

Book 2.5: “Ezichi the Beautiful” – Only Banu Sasan, the fabled witch of the desert, can help a young bride complete a task. But what will she require from Ezichi in return?

Book 3: Little Amethyst Abaya: When Nyah discovers a traitor among her friends and no one believes her, she’ll have to take matters into her own hands to save them all.

Weekend Writing Warrior 7/4/21 #8Sunday

Heartsbane logoHow is it already July?? Summer seems like it just started, and it’s really almost half over!

Anyways.

Welcome back for the Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop, where a bunch of writers share 8-10 sentences from a current or recent WIP. I’m continuing to share from book 3.5 of my Heartsbane Saga series of fairy tales retold in a world of Vikings, which is a retelling of The Ugly Duckling. I’m tentatively calling it “The Horrible Husfreyja.”

Uli, our protagonist who would much rather be a warrior than a housewife, was out in the woods when she ran into some local boys who always pick on her. This picks up from where I left off last week.

* * * * * * *

“Pretending to be a man again, Uli?” Torleif sneered at her, but didn’t come any closer. She knew he used a sword, badly, and hadn’t been the one to shoot an arrow at her. Probably one of his friends, trying to scare her. “What’s the opposite of argr?”

“Certainly not you,” Uli retorted.

Torleif glared at the one boy who dared to laugh. To call someone argr — meaning unmanly, or a man who lived as a woman— was one of the worst insults a Karjalander could call someone. Had they both been men, he would have had every right under the law to challenge her to a duel on the spot.

“You’re lucky you’re a woman, although a poor one at that, or I would kill you here and now for those words.”

* * * * * * *

Other books in the Heartsbane Saga:

Book .5: “The Maiden in the Tower” – Carys has resigned herself to a life of servitude, locked away in a tower, until a chance encounter with a stranger leaves her daring to hope for more.

Book 1: Captive and the Cursed – When Nyah’s sister is kidnapped by barbarians, Nyah offers herself in her place. But she soon learns the barbarians aren’t what she expected, especially their cursed leader.

Book 1.5: “The Brave Little Thrall” – Fahim Al Rasheed has spent his life studying foreign cultures, but he never thought he’d actually have the chance to experience them. When his journey of a lifetime leaves him and a young barbarian king marooned in a hostile country, he’ll have to rely on more than book learning to make it back home alive.

Book 2: Sleeping Shaman – Nyah and her friends travel halfway across the world seeking a cure for a barbarian curse, only to discover that the man they’re seeking has gone missing. Nyah must navigate dangerous rivalries and conflicting cultures before time runs out.

Book 2.5: “Ezichi the Beautiful” – Only Banu Sasan, the fabled witch of the desert, can help a young bride complete a task. But what will she require from Ezichi in return?

Book 3: Little Amethyst Abaya: When Nyah discovers a traitor among her friends and no one believes her, she’ll have to take matters into her own hands to save them all.

Weekend Writing Warrior 6/27/21 #8Sunday

Heartsbane logoWelcome back for the Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop, where a bunch of writers share 8-10 sentences from a current or recent WIP. I’m continuing to share from book 3.5 of my Heartsbane Saga series of fairy tales retold in a world of Vikings, which is a retelling of The Ugly Duckling.

There’s just something about kickass heroines that pulls me into a story, and the protagonist of this WIP, a young Viking maiden named Uli, is about as kickass as you can get.

I’m continuing on from last week. Uli’s stepfather told her to make herself scarce the next few days as a nearby noble visits, so she’s headed out to play in the woods. Last week left off with someone shooting an arrow at her.

* * * * * * *

Without hesitation, she fitted the rock into the leather sling and shot it off towards where she judged her attacker to be, followed in quick succession by several other stones from the pouch at her waist. Although she listened carefully, no grunts or cries of pain indicated she’d hit her target, and she swore under her breath.

Unsheathing the dagger she kept tucked into her boot, she stood tall and faced her attacker. “Are you a warrior or an old woman?” she bellowed. “Show yourself and fight me honorably like a man!”

She swore again as four boys melted out from the forest. They all lived either in the village or on nearby farms, and they all took pleasure in tormenting her, especially Torleif. Two years older than her own fifteen, he should have been out on his first raid already but his father had refused to let him go, stating he wasn’t ready. Uli couldn’t fault his father; she wouldn’t want to have to rely on him either in battle or at sea. It was well known that Torleif was lazy, always trying to shirk his duties and then blame it on those around him when called out for it.

* * * * * * *

And the rest of that scene:

Uli knew she could easily best him in a fair fight, but Torleif didn’t fight fair, especially when he had his friends around as witnesses. She also knew there was no way she would come out of this fight unscathed. She grinned at them, a trick her father had told her Karjalander warriors often used to unnerve their foes. These boys wouldn’t get away unscathed either.

* * * * * * *

Other books in the Heartsbane Saga:

Book .5: “The Maiden in the Tower” – Carys has resigned herself to a life of servitude, locked away in a tower, until a chance encounter with a stranger leaves her daring to hope for more.

Book 1: Captive and the Cursed – When Nyah’s sister is kidnapped by barbarians, Nyah offers herself in her place. But she soon learns the barbarians aren’t what she expected, especially their cursed leader.

Book 1.5: “The Brave Little Thrall” – Fahim Al Rasheed has spent his life studying foreign cultures, but he never thought he’d actually have the chance to experience them. When his journey of a lifetime leaves him and a young barbarian king marooned in a hostile country, he’ll have to rely on more than book learning to make it back home alive.

Book 2: Sleeping Shaman – Nyah and her friends travel halfway across the world seeking a cure for a barbarian curse, only to discover that the man they’re seeking has gone missing. Nyah must navigate dangerous rivalries and conflicting cultures before time runs out.

Book 2.5: “Ezichi the Beautiful” – Only Banu Sasan, the fabled witch of the desert, can help a young bride complete a task. But what will she require from Ezichi in return?

Book 3: Little Amethyst Abaya: When Nyah discovers a traitor among her friends and no one believes her, she’ll have to take matters into her own hands to save them all.

Weekend Writing Warrior 6/20/21 #8Sunday

Heartsbane logoWelcome back for the Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop, where a bunch of writers share 8-10 sentences from a current or recent WIP. I’m continuing to share from book 3.5 of my Heartsbane Saga series of fairy tales retold in a world of Vikings.

This story is a retelling of The Ugly Duckling, and it centers on Uli, the childhood nurse of Prince Brandulfur who accompanies him on all his adventures, even when he’s grown up. This week’s snippet continues on directly from last week’s. Uli’s stepfather told her to make herself scarce the next few days as a nearby noble visits, so she’s headed out to play in the woods.

* * * * * * *

Uli’s grin widened the farther she rode from the farm. Early summer was her favorite time of the year; the weather was still cool but not chilly, and the daylight stretched seemingly forever. Her father had told tales of farther north, near the edge of the world, where there was no night during the summer, and she longed to discover whether that was true. His tales also told of giants in the north, and sea serpents, and the Drottnar, a race of demigods who were as powerful as the Fates themselves, with knowledge of everything that had ever happened and everything that would come to pass.

Her grin dampened. Her father had been killed in a raid across the sea when she was just a little girl, and even nearly a dozen years later, she still missed him dearly. If he were still alive, she knew he wouldn’t push her to be merely a housewife. She sighed. He wasn’t here, and unless the Drottnar intervened, her fate was already decided.

* * * * * * *

And the rest of that scene:

But that was in the future, and today was a beautiful day all her own to enjoy. She slipped off her horse, removed her boots, and padded barefoot alongside him. The moss and dirt were cool beneath her toes. She bent down to pick up a rounded pebble for her sling, and then whirled around as an arrow whizzed past her head.

* * * * * * *

Other books in the Heartsbane Saga:

Book .5: “The Maiden in the Tower” – Carys has resigned herself to a life of servitude, locked away in a tower, until a chance encounter with a stranger leaves her daring to hope for more.

Book 1: Captive and the Cursed – When Nyah’s sister is kidnapped by barbarians, Nyah offers herself in her place. But she soon learns the barbarians aren’t what she expected, especially their cursed leader.

Book 1.5: “The Brave Little Thrall” – Fahim Al Rasheed has spent his life studying foreign cultures, but he never thought he’d actually have the chance to experience them. When his journey of a lifetime leaves him and a young barbarian king marooned in a hostile country, he’ll have to rely on more than book learning to make it back home alive.

Book 2: Sleeping Shaman – Nyah and her friends travel halfway across the world seeking a cure for a barbarian curse, only to discover that the man they’re seeking has gone missing. Nyah must navigate dangerous rivalries and conflicting cultures before time runs out.

Book 2.5: “Ezichi the Beautiful” – Only Banu Sasan, the fabled witch of the desert, can help a young bride complete a task. But what will she require from Ezichi in return?

Book 3: Little Amethyst Abaya: When Nyah discovers a traitor among her friends and no one believes her, she’ll have to take matters into her own hands to save them all.

Weekend Writing Warrior 6/13/21 #8Sunday

Heartsbane logoWelcome back for the Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop, where a bunch of writers share 8-10 sentences from a current or recent WIP. I’m continuing to share from book 3.5 of my Heartsbane Saga series of fairy tales retold in a world of Vikings.

This story is a retelling of The Ugly Duckling, and it centers on Uli, the childhood nurse of Prince Brandulfur who accompanies him on all his adventures, even when he’s grown up. This week’s snippet continues on directly from last week’s, which ended with Uli’s stepfather asking to speak with her after breakfast (that she cooked poorly).

* * * * * * *

He didn’t say anything as he studied her. She knew he had no cause for judgment, not this time. All her morning chores were completed at least adequately, and both her spear and her sling were hidden in the woods beyond their farm; she’d only needed to learn that lesson once.

“Jarl Magni and his sons will be visiting our home tonight. I can’t have them eating half-raw duck or rock-hard bread, or have mead spilled in their beards, or whatever new mayhem you’ll cause this time. They’re here for your sister Ingvild anyway, so your presence won’t be missed.” He raised an eyebrow. “Understood?”

“Yes, Father,” Uli said said dutifully.

“Go on, then.”

* * * * * * *

And the rest of that scene:

Uli nodded and went outside. As soon as she reached the stables, she broke into a grin. Magni and his insufferable sons were from two villages over, and their visits nearly always lasted several days. Which meant she would have several days of time to herself, with no expectations to be a dutiful housewife-in-training.

Weekend Writing Warrior 5/30/21 #8Sunday

Heartsbane book 3 coverHappy long weekend to everyone! I’m spending mine hiking around the Black Hills of western South Dakota. Nothing beats getting out in nature to recharge yourself.

For this week’s Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop, where a bunch of writers share 8-10 sentences from a current or recent WIP, I’m sharing one last time from my upcoming-ish release, book 3 of my Heartsbane Saga: Little Amethyst Abaya, which is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood set in a world of Vikings. Either next week or the week after, I’ll be moving on to the next book in the series, #3.5, which will be a retelling of The Ugly Duckling (title not yet finalized).

I’m continuing the scene from last week. Nyah, the protagonist, is mad that the men she’s traveling with are making plans without her for the next stage of their journey. Not only have they told her it’s too dangerous for her to go with them, but she’s not allowed to listen in because she’s a woman and some of the local men object to her presence when talking about “men things.” Domhnall, the guy she’s kinda hooking up with, is trying to smooth things over with her.

* * * * * * *

Domhnall traced my palm with his thumb, making it hard to focus on his words. “We’ll ask Egwu tomorrow to join us, but it would be useful to have someone else along who speaks the language.”

“So, you’re letting us go with you?”

Domhnall nodded. “Brand and I agreed it’s easier for everyone if we just give in now.”

“I think that’s best.”

“But that’s not all you’re thinking.” A smile played across his lips.

“You’re right again.” I leaned in and kissed him.

* * * * * * *

And the rest of that scene:

Domhnall and I had shared a lot of kisses and caresses over the past year, starting with our first one last summer in his gardens in Eburwicke. But they’d never had the intensity he showed tonight.

Far too soon, he pulled back from me. “We need to go back. Now.”

“Why?” I asked breathlessly.

“Because I try to treat you as a lady, and right now it’s taking all my self-control not to rip your clothes off.”

“I could take them off myself, and then you wouldn’t have to rip them.” I hoped my light tone concealed my nervousness.

“Is that what you want?”

My body certainly did. I wasn’t sure about the rest of me. “Yes?”

* * * * * * *

About Little Amethyst Abaya:

Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.

With Heartsbane nearly decoded, Nyah finally knows the curse Prince Brandulfur suffers from and how to cure it. But when she and her friends travel to get the needed serum, a powerful caliph takes them prisoner and offers an ultimatum: a suicide mission to rescue a general’s daughter and enough serum to cure Brand’s whole court, or indefinite imprisonment in his castle.

To add to the peril, she soon uncovers a plot by Brand’s archenemy that will pull the known world into a battle between religions and cultures, with Brand at the heart of it. It seems so fantastical, no one will believe her.

But that’s never stopped Nyah before. With no one to trust, she’ll have to cast her lot in with the worst of the worst, and maybe, just maybe, at least some of her friends will make it out alive.

Little Amethyst Abaya is the third book in a series of fairy tales retold in a world of Vikings.

Other books in the Heartsbane Saga:

Book .5: “The Maiden in the Tower” – Carys has resigned herself to a life of servitude, locked away in a tower, until a chance encounter with a stranger leaves her daring to hope for more.

Book 1: Captive and the Cursed – When Nyah’s sister is kidnapped by barbarians, Nyah offers herself in her place. But she soon learns the barbarians aren’t what she expected, especially their cursed leader.

Book 1.5: “The Brave Little Thrall” – Fahim Al Rasheed has spent his life studying foreign cultures, but he never thought he’d actually have the chance to experience them. When his journey of a lifetime leaves him and a young barbarian king marooned in a hostile country, he’ll have to rely on more than book learning to make it back home alive.

Book 2: Sleeping Shaman – Nyah and her friends travel halfway across the world seeking a cure for a barbarian curse, only to discover that the man they’re seeking has gone missing. Nyah must navigate dangerous rivalries and conflicting cultures before time runs out.

Book 2.5: “Ezichi the Beautiful” – Only Banu Sasan, the fabled witch of the desert, can help a young bride complete a task. But what will she require from Ezichi in return?

Weekend Writing Warrior 5/23/21 #8Sunday

Heartsbane book 3 coverWelcome back to another installment of the Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop, where a bunch of writers share 8-10 sentences from a current or recent WIP.

This week I’m continuing to share from my upcoming-ish release, book 3 of my Heartsbane Saga: Little Amethyst Abaya, which is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood set in a world of Vikings. Either next week or the week after, I’ll be moving on to the next book in the series.

I’m skipping ahead a bit to chapter 2. Nyah, the protagonist, is mad that the men she’s traveling with are making plans without her for the next stage of their journey. Not only have they told her it’s too dangerous for her to go with them, but she’s not allowed to listen in because she’s a woman and some of the local men object to her presence when talking about “men things.”

* * * * * * *

Domhnall approached me after dinner. “Would you care to go for a walk, m’lady?”

He smiled at me, which usually melted my insides, but this time I just glared at him.

He laughed, only deepening my scowl, and said, “C’mon then.” He took my hand and pulled me up from the low table, then led me out of the compound.

Evenings were my favorite part of the day in Aghlabid. The intense heat of the afternoon had dissipated but the chill of the night hadn’t set in yet. The sun sinking behind the western mountains cast deep purple shadows across the sand and turned the sky beautiful shades of gold, crimson, and indigo.

“I know what you’re thinking,” Domhnall said as we walked along a path towards a large pile of rock sticking up from the sand. We often walked this path to these rocks, which gave us privacy that was nearly impossible in the crowded compound.

* * * * * * *

And the rest of that scene:

“Oh, do you?” My tone was more playful than I’d intended. I often turned into a giggly, flirty mess when we were alone together.

“Yes.” We’d reached the rocks and he half-sat, half-leaned against one so that he was looking up at me slightly, my hand still in his. “You’re thinking you’re going to come with us no matter what we say or do.”

“True.”

“It’s one thing to put yourself in danger, but what about your sister?”

“You should know by now that if I tried to go somewhere without her, she’d probably steal a boat to follow.”

* * * * * * *

About Little Amethyst Abaya:

Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.

With Heartsbane nearly decoded, Nyah finally knows the curse Prince Brandulfur suffers from and how to cure it. But when she and her friends travel to get the needed serum, a powerful caliph takes them prisoner and offers an ultimatum: a suicide mission to rescue a general’s daughter and enough serum to cure Brand’s whole court, or indefinite imprisonment in his castle.

To add to the peril, she soon uncovers a plot by Brand’s archenemy that will pull the known world into a battle between religions and cultures, with Brand at the heart of it. It seems so fantastical, no one will believe her.

But that’s never stopped Nyah before. With no one to trust, she’ll have to cast her lot in with the worst of the worst, and maybe, just maybe, at least some of her friends will make it out alive.

Little Amethyst Abaya is the third book in a series of fairy tales retold in a world of Vikings.

Other books in the Heartsbane Saga:

Book .5: “The Maiden in the Tower” – Carys has resigned herself to a life of servitude, locked away in a tower, until a chance encounter with a stranger leaves her daring to hope for more.

Book 1: Captive and the Cursed – When Nyah’s sister is kidnapped by barbarians, Nyah offers herself in her place. But she soon learns the barbarians aren’t what she expected, especially their cursed leader.

Book 1.5: “The Brave Little Thrall” – Fahim Al Rasheed has spent his life studying foreign cultures, but he never thought he’d actually have the chance to experience them. When his journey of a lifetime leaves him and a young barbarian king marooned in a hostile country, he’ll have to rely on more than book learning to make it back home alive.

Book 2: Sleeping Shaman – Nyah and her friends travel halfway across the world seeking a cure for a barbarian curse, only to discover that the man they’re seeking has gone missing. Nyah must navigate dangerous rivalries and conflicting cultures before time runs out.

Book 2.5: “Ezichi the Beautiful” – Only Banu Sasan, the fabled witch of the desert, can help a young bride complete a task. But what will she require from Ezichi in return?

 

 

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