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Tag: Weekend Writing Warriors

Weekend Writing Warrior 1/31/21 #8Sunday

Heartsbane logoWelcome to the Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop, where each week contributing writers share 8-10+ sentences from their latest projects.

I’m currently sharing from the next standalone short story in my Heartsbane Saga series of fairy tales retold in a world of Vikings. “Ezichi the Beautiful” is a retelling of the Russian fairy tale Vasilisa the Beautiful, about a girl who gets help from the witch Baba Yaga to complete tasks set by her evil stepmother.

I’m skipping ahead again this week. Ezichi’s cowife sabotaged their water supply and sent Ezichi to ask an old desert witch for help fixing it. Ezichi had befriended a bunch of street children, who accompanied her on her journey. We pick up with them reaching the witch’s house.

* * * * * * *

Ezichi cautiously approached the witch’s house. She turned to check on the street children who had accompanied her, but they had disappeared into the rocky desert scrub. She didn’t blame them; if her mission hadn’t been so dire, she would’ve joined them.

A fence made of bones marked off a small dirt yard, with human and animal skulls mounted atop it like sentries. Heart pounding, she pushed open the bone gate and stepped into the yard. The dwelling itself was a macabre curiosity as well, unlike any she had ever seen in Aghlabid. The small shack was supported by thin pillars that raised it so far off the ground that she wasn’t sure how anyone could even get aside, especially an old woman. The dwelling seemed to twist and spin in the strong desert winds, adding an additional layer of eeriness.

Ezichi took a deep breath. Witches didn’t exist, she reminded herself; this was just an odd, malicious old woman who sometimes helped people with their problems.

* * * * * * *

And the rest of that scene:

Even though she didn’t quite believe herself, she walked up to the house. “Hello?” she called out.

The door flew open, although Ezichi couldn’t see anyone inside. “Come in, my child,” a voice croaked. “I’ve been expecting you.”

* * * * * * *

Heartsbane Saga – fairy tales retold in a world of Vikings!

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 visit 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

Weekend Writing Warrior 1/24/21 #8Sunday

Heartsbane logoWelcome to the Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop, where each week contributing writers share 8-10+ sentences from their latest projects.

I’m currently sharing from the next standalone short story in my Heartsbane Saga series of fairy tales retold in a world of Vikings. “Ezichi the Beautiful” is a retelling of the Russian fairy tale Vasilisa the Beautiful, about a girl who gets help from the witch Baba Yaga to complete tasks set by her evil stepmother.

I’m skipping ahead just a little bit this weekend. Since last week, Ezichi has befriended the local street children, who help her with the never-ending chores the first wife, Yaba, has for her.

* * * * * * *

When Ezichi, or rather the street children, had finished the list of chores that Yaba had given her, she went into the kitchen to get a drink of water for her parched throat, but the water skin that normally hung on the wall was empty. She went into the courtyard, but the fountain that she often scooped water from was dry. Ezichi frowned; usually it burbled day and night, which meant the mechanism that fed it had broken at some point. She traced the path of the pipe from the fountain to the cistern at the edge of the house, but fortunately saw no sign of leaks. Fortunately, too, water glistened at the bottom of the cistern, although it was too far down for her to reach; unfortunately, the knob that controlled the flow of the water appeared to be missing.

She was muddling over how to fix this when Yaba’s shrill voice rang out from the house.

“Ezichi, get me a drink of water!”

Ezichi scowled. Somehow, she knew Yaba was behind this, but how stupid could the first wife be to cut off their water supply? How could the household survive under the hot desert sun without any water?

* * * * * * *

And the rest of that scene:

She stomped through the courtyard and back into the house, where Yaba and the other two wives were lounging in the women’s salon.

“What did you do to the fountain?” Ezichi demanded.

The second and third wives exchanged a look, and the third wife giggled.

Yaba simply raised an eyebrow. “There’s something wrong with the fountain?” she asked innocently.

“You damn well know there is.”

* * * * * * *

Post a link to your eight-ten sentence blog entry or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

* * * * * * *

Heartsbane Saga – fairy tales retold in a world of Vikings!

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 visit 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

Weekend Writing Warrior 1/17/21 #8Sunday

Heartsbane logoIt’s been quite a busy week. I start a new job tomorrow, and I’ve been rushing around trying to wrap up those million little tasks that I put off until I ran out of time to wrap them up. That didn’t leave me much time to write this week, but my new job will be 3 12-hour shifts each week so hopefully I’ll be able to get back on track. Haha, who am I kidding – something else will come back.

Anyways.

For the next month or two, I’m moving on to the next standalone short story in my Heartsbane Saga series of fairy tales retold in a world of Vikings. “Ezichi the Beautiful” is a retelling of the Russian fairy tale Vasilisa the Beautiful, about a girl who gets help from the witch Baba Yaga to complete tasks set by her evil stepmother. It’ll be out in the next week or two.

This week’s snippet is from the beginning of the story. Ezichi’s husband is out of town, and the first wife, Yaba, isn’t too fond of her. Last week Ezichi snuck off and was deep in thought when someone interrupted her. We pick up right after that.

* * * * * * *

Ezichi nearly fell off the bench she was sitting on. A little girl, no older than seven or eight and dressed in a dirty, tattered tunic, perched beside her.

The girl giggled at Ezichi’s response, a sound that echoed around the empty courtyard.

“Why don’t I what?” Ezichi asked as she regained her composure.

“Whatever it was you were talking about.” The girl giggled again. “You talk to yourself an awful lot, lalla.”

“Do I?” Ezichi tried to remember if this was something she’d always done, or if it was something that had developed since she’d married Kwaku. Growing up, she and her brother had had their own secret language, but here, however, she had no one to share anything with.

* * * * * * *

And the rest of that scene:

As if Yaba could read her mind too, the first wife’s shrill voice rang out. “Ezichi, you worthless girl, where are you hiding? Supper won’t cook itself!”

Ezichi sighed and went to do as Yaba requested.

The next day, she again stole away to the back courtyard when Yaba wasn’t looking. The first wife had kept her busy all day, this time scrubbing the mosaic floors throughout their house, and it seemed like no matter how hard Ezichi tried, she couldn’t get the grout clean enough for Yaba’s satisfaction.

Ezichi sat on the bench again, shaded by a large tree that hung over the compound wall into the alley on the other side. Or what she assumed was an alley; she hadn’t left the compound since she’d married, six months ago. She had just started eating a snack of dried dates she’d snuck from the kitchen when the tree branches rustled and the little girl dropped down beside her. That at least solved one mystery.

She was even grubbier than the day before, if that was possible. Ezichi didn’t know anything of her life, but her heart went out to her nonetheless. “Would you like some dates?” she asked.

The girl snatched them out of her hand and shoved them all into her mouth before Ezichi could even finish speaking, then wordlessly scampered up the tree, over the wall, and out of sight.

* * * * * * *

Post a link to your eight-ten sentence blog entry or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

* * * * * * *

Heartsbane Saga – fairy tales retold in a world of Vikings!

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 visit 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

Weekend Writing Warrior 1/10/21 #8Sunday

Heartsbane logoFor the next month or two, I’m moving on to the next standalone short story in my Heartsbane Saga series of fairy tales retold in a world of Vikings. “Ezichi the Beautiful” is a retelling of the Russian fairy tale Vasilisa the Beautiful, about a girl who gets help from the witch Baba Yaga to complete tasks set by her evil stepmother. It’ll be out in the next week or two.

This week’s snippet is from the beginning of the story. Ezichi is the sister of one of the main characters, and she was supposed to be killed off but my beta readers liked her too much so I’m sticking her in this side story. This part continues from last week.

* * * * * * *

Within a week, Kwaku had left his household for the distant city of Duguba. Ezichi was on her best behavior when it came to interacting with his other wives: doing all the chores Yaba assigned to her—which in her opinion seemed to be most of them, biting her tongue from saying what she really thought of them, and finally just avoiding them when she could. This last part proved difficult, however, as Kwaku, like most Aghlabidi men, encouraged his wives to stay confined to the home, and while the women’s quarters were big, they weren’t big enough for two large personalities like Ezichi and Yaba.

One particular afternoon, when she was trying to hide from Yaba’s shrill demands, Ezichi found herself thinking about her life before marrying Kwaku. She tried not to let herself do this too often; she wasn’t the type of person to wallow in self-pity. But she missed that life. Her father had given her the freedom to do whatever she wanted: visit the university libraries and the markets, choose and reject her own suitors, nearly everything her twin brother had been able to do. But by a twist of events she still didn’t fully understand, she’d woken one day to find herself hundreds or maybe thousands of leagues from home, with no way back. So when the marriage offer had come from Kwaku, she’d accepted it and resigned herself to make the best of her situation. But that didn’t mean she didn’t want to go home.

“So why don’t you?” asked a little voice beside her.

* * * * * * *

Post a link to your eight-ten sentence blog entry or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

* * * * * * *

Heartsbane Saga – fairy tales retold in a world of Vikings!

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 visit 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.

Weekend Writing Warrior 1/3/21 #8Sunday

For the next month or two, I’m moving on to the next standalone short story in my Heartsbane Saga series of fairy tales retold in a world of Vikings. “Ezichi the Beautiful” is a retelling of the Russian fairy tale Vasilisa the Beautiful, about a girl who gets help from the witch Baba Yaga to complete tasks set by her evil stepmother.

This week’s snippet is from the beginning of the story. Ezichi is the sister of one of the main characters, and she was supposed to be killed off but my beta readers liked her too much so I’m sticking her in this side story.

* * * * * * *

“I will miss you, o jewel of my heart,” Kwaku said to his wife, Ezichi, as they lay in bed next to each other.

Ezichi was glad for the bedchamber’s darkness as she rolled her eyes. As far as husbands went, Kwaku wasn’t a bad man. He was always polite to her, never laid a hand on anyone in his house, and, more importantly, he’d taken her as a wife and not a concubine. But he was also dull, while prone to dramatic language, and he had a short attention span. Ezichi was sure she was his current favorite wife only because she was his newest, and she had no doubts that she would be set aside whenever he could afford the next one.

“Don’t you want to know why I will miss you?” Kwaku asked with a tinge of petulance in his voice.

“Are you going on a trip?” she asked him, knowing full well this was the case.

* * * * * * *

And the rest of this scene:

He traveled frequently, arranging trade deals to buy and sell gold and salt among the southern tribes, And she’d heard his first wife, Yaba, talking about it earlier today.

“As much as it pains me to leave your side, I must travel to Duguba. The monsoons will come while I’m gone, so it will be many moons before I return.”

“I will miss you too, pride of my soul.” She barely managed to keep a straight face at that endearment, but Kwaku didn’t seem to notice.

“I know that you are still adapting to my household.” He stroked her arm. If he noticed that she tensed at this reminder of her loss of freedom, he didn’t say anything. “Yaba will teach you everything you need to know. She’s a good woman. You would do well to learn from her.”

Not for the first time, and probably not for the last either, Ezichi wondered how a man as successful as Kwaku could be so blind as to what went on in his own home, and as to the true nature of his own wives.

* * * * * * *

Post a link to your eight-ten sentence blog entry or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

* * * * * * *

Heartsbane Saga – fairy tales retold in a world of Vikings!

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 visit 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.

Weekend Writing Warrior 12/27/20 #8Sunday

Sleeping Shaman coverThis week will be the last time I share from Sleeping Shaman, my retelling of Sleeping Beauty set in my Heartsbane Saga Viking world. Next week I’m moving on to the next standalone short story in the series, “Ezichi the Beautiful,” a retelling of the Russian fairy tale “Vasilisa the Beautiful” which comes out January 15th-ish. I’d intended to start posting that one this week, but it seems like everyone wanted to know what happened with the kiss request last week, so here you go. Merry Christmas!

Protagonist Nyah bumped into Domhnall, a man she traveled with when she was with the barbarians in book 1. It turns out he’s an earl, something he didn’t tell her in book 1. He invited her and her sister to dinner, and then invited them to travel with him to a faraway country to find a cure for the curse affecting Brandulfur, another book 1 character.

After dinner, Nyah and Domhnall are taking a walk through his gardens, and, ever the gentleman, he asked if he could kiss her.

* * * * * * *

I nodded, and he leaned in and pressed his lips gently against mine.

It wasn’t my first kiss—I’d kissed Wynne any number of times—but it was so much different with Domhnall. He put his hand on my back, holding me to him, and a warmth suffused through my body. Eyes closed, I leaned into him before he changed into the memory of a forceful, rancid-smelling bandit thrusting his tongue into my mouth. I stiffened and pulled away.

“We should be going.” I turned and quickly walked back towards the house, calling, “Dar? Payton? We need to leave.”

Domhnall chased after me. “I didn’t mean to offend—”

* * * * * * *

And the rest of this scene:

“No, it’s nothing you did.” I cut him off. “It’s late, and Payton’s sick, and Dar needs to rise early for work, and….”

“Alright.” He studied me for a moment. “I’ll send for the cart to take you home.”

“Thank you.”

We walked in silence, meeting Payton and Dar near the gate into the street.

“Please think about coming with us to Aghlabid,” he said as we climbed into the cart.

“We will, Lord Domhnall,” Payton said. “Thank you for dinner! We’ll see you soon, I hope?”

“I hope so as well,” he responded.

“Me too,” I whispered as the cart pulled away.

* * * * * * *

About Sleeping Shaman, available now at Amazon:

The desert holds many secrets. Will death be one of them?

Nyah thought she’d fit in better in the capital rather than in her tiny village, but life in the big city is tougher than she anticipated. When she stumbles across a familiar face, she gladly jumps at the chance for a new adventure with her barbarian friends. They’re headed to Egwu’s home country where they hope his scholar father can translate Heartsbane, the book that holds the cure for Prince Brandulfur’s debilitating curse.

Their plans change as soon as they arrive and discover that Egwu’s family is missing, most likely cursed as well. And meanwhile time is running out for Brand, who grows weaker every day.

Nyah vows to save her friend by solving the mystery of Egwu’s missing family, but she didn’t anticipate all the obstacles in her way: a deadly rivalry between two families, a clash of powerful cultures, and a budding romance that seems destined for heartbreak. She’ll need all her wits to outsmart her opponent—that is, if she can even figure out who it is.

* * * * * * *

Post a link to your eight-ten sentence blog entry or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

* * * * * * *

Heartsbane Saga – fairy tales retold in a world of Vikings!

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 visit 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.

Weekend Writing Warrior 12/20/20 #8Sunday

Sleeping Shaman coverI’m continuing this week with Sleeping Shaman, which is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty that just released this week!

Protagonist Nyah has taken a job as a maid and is so preoccupied with how she and her sick sister will make ends meet, that she ends up throwing a bucket of water on Domhnall, a man she traveled with in book 1 when she was with the barbarians. He invited her and her sister to dinner, and then she found out that he’s an earl and one of the most powerful people in the country.

We’re skipping ahead just a bit to after dinner. Nyah and Domhnall are taking a walk through his gardens.

* * * * * * *

“You look beautiful tonight, m’lady,” he said.

I hoped it was dark enough that he couldn’t see my burning cheeks. “Thank you for sending the clothing. We dinnae have much finery.”

“It’s not just the dress.” He stopped and turned towards me, taking my hands in his.

I narrowed my eyes. The last time he’d taken me aside like this, it was to persuade me to help him and Brand convince local village councils to help them raise an army for King Anslec, and he’d led me to believe I’d be given my freedom in exchange for my cooperation. It hadn’t been the case. I wasn’t sure what his motives were this time, and I wouldn’t let myself be deceived so easily.

* * * * * * *

And the rest of this scene:

“Why dinnae you tell me you’re an earl?” I asked to break the moment.

“A title shouldn’t define a man. Would you have treated me differently, had you known?”

“Brandulfur is a prince, and I treat him like I would anyone else.”

“You’re a rare one, Nyah, who sees past people’s stations to the person underneath.”

I shrugged, unsure of what to say. I’d been raised on stories of rags-to-riches heroes, in a village where the hereditary leader was barely competent. In my experience, a person’s station had little bearing on who they were or what they could become.

Domhnall was watching me intently. I looked up at him, into his hazel eyes.

“May I kiss you?” he asked softly.

* * * * * * *

About Sleeping Shaman, available now at Amazon:

The desert holds many secrets. Will death be one of them?

Nyah thought she’d fit in better in the capital rather than in her tiny village, but life in the big city is tougher than she anticipated. When she stumbles across a familiar face, she gladly jumps at the chance for a new adventure with her barbarian friends. They’re headed to Egwu’s home country where they hope his scholar father can translate Heartsbane, the book that holds the cure for Prince Brandulfur’s debilitating curse.

Their plans change as soon as they arrive and discover that Egwu’s family is missing, most likely cursed as well. And meanwhile time is running out for Brand, who grows weaker every day.

Nyah vows to save her friend by solving the mystery of Egwu’s missing family, but she didn’t anticipate all the obstacles in her way: a deadly rivalry between two families, a clash of powerful cultures, and a budding romance that seems destined for heartbreak. She’ll need all her wits to outsmart her opponent—that is, if she can even figure out who it is.

* * * * * * *

Post a link to your eight-ten sentence blog entry or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

* * * * * * *

Heartsbane Saga – fairy tales retold in a world of Vikings!

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 visit 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.

Weekend Writing Warrior 12/13/20 #8Sunday

Sleeping Shaman coverI’m continuing this week with Sleeping Shaman, which is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty that will be out on Tuesday! Protagonist Nyah has taken a job as a maid and is so preoccupied with how she and her sick sister will make ends meet, that she ends up throwing a bucket of water on Domnhall, a man she traveled with in book 1 when she was with the barbarians.

Last week, he asked he naively asked her why she was working as a maid. This week picks up right after that.

* * * * * * *

“I went by your inn, looking for you, but they said you’d left.” He frowned. “If you need money, you need only ask.”

I shook my head and said, “Egwu and Brand already gave us so much. I dinnae want to be reliant on you as well.”

“Then at least have dinner with me tonight.” He flashed me a smile that caused butterflies to sprout in my stomach, and I mentally tried to squash them.

“I can’t. Payton and Dar are expecting me at home when I finish here.”

“They can come too.”

* * * * * * *

And the rest of this scene:

His smile widened. “I’ll send a cart for you. Where are you staying?”

Despite my reservations, I smiled back and told him where our lodgings were.

“Wonderful.” He kissed my hand, just as Lord Hankes returned with his butler and a fresh tunic. “I’m so glad to see you again, m’lady. Until tonight!”

The butler led him away to change. I hurried to my next tasks in the kitchens, trying not to laugh at the expression on Lord Hankes’ face when Domhnall kissed my hand.

Several of the household staff looked at me in awe and envy as I emptied out the little water that remained in my bucket.

“How do you know the Earl of Peithwyr?” one of the girls asked me.

“Who?”

“The earl,” she repeated. “That man you spilled the water on.”

“He’s the Earl of Peithwyr, for now,” another girl explained. “And he’ll become the next Duke of Cruithain, steward to the king, just as his da before him.”

My jaw dropped. Domhnall was nearly as powerful as Brand. Why hadn’t he told me that? What else had they kept from me?

* * * * * * *

About Sleeping Shaman, available now for preorder from Amazon:

The desert holds many secrets. Will death be one of them?

Nyah thought she’d fit in better in the capital rather than in her tiny village, but life in the big city is tougher than she anticipated. When she stumbles across a familiar face, she gladly jumps at the chance for a new adventure with her barbarian friends. They’re headed to Egwu’s home country where they hope his scholar father can translate Heartsbane, the book that holds the cure for Prince Brandulfur’s debilitating curse.

Their plans change as soon as they arrive and discover that Egwu’s family is missing, most likely cursed as well. And meanwhile time is running out for Brand, who grows weaker every day.

Nyah vows to save her friend by solving the mystery of Egwu’s missing family, but she didn’t anticipate all the obstacles in her way: a deadly rivalry between two families, a clash of powerful cultures, and a budding romance that seems destined for heartbreak. She’ll need all her wits to outsmart her opponent—that is, if she can even figure out who it is.

* * * * * * *

Post a link to your eight-ten sentence blog entry or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

* * * * * * *

Heartsbane Saga – fairy tales retold in a world of Vikings!

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.

Weekend Writing Warrior 12/6/20 #8Sunday

Sleeping Shaman cover

I’m continuing this week with that next release, Sleeping Shaman, which is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. Protagonist Nyah has taken a job as a maid and is so preoccupied with how she and her sick sister will make ends meet, that she ends up throwing a bucket of water on Domnhall, a man she traveled with in book 1 when she was with the barbarians.

* * * * * * *

Domhnall simply chuckled. I blinked at his unexpected reaction. But Lord Hankes, the nobleman I served, wore a bitter scowl from beside Domhnall.

“How dare you address his lordship so informally!” Before I could react, Lord Hankes slapped my face, then turned to Domhnall. “I’m so sorry, Lord Domhnall. The girl is new to us, and she’ll be let go immediately.”

I bit back an angry retort, trying as well to push down my shame at Domhnall seeing me like this, and dropped my eyes in what I hoped came across as contriteness.

Domhnall’s mirth disappeared as he addressed Lord Hankes, his eyes flashing. “Is this how you treat the servants in your house? You owe the apology to m’lady, not to me.”

* * * * * * *

And the rest of this scene:

Lord Hankes mouth dropped open. “But, my lordship….” He gestured at the front of Domhnall’s tunic, which was soaked through.

“If my clothing concerns you so much, then go fetch me something to dry myself.”

“Yes, yes,” Lord Hankes stammered before quickly walking through the hall, calling for his butler and another maid.

As soon as he was gone, Domhnall broke into his familiar smile. “Nyah! How have you been? I’d hoped that you’d come by the castle to see us, but we haven’t heard from you in weeks. Are you well?”

Me, a commoner, try to go to the castle to speak with the crown prince of Karjaland and his friends? I stopped myself from laughing in his face. “Yes, we’re well.” And by well, I meant tired and worried about Payton’s health, our finances, and the future in general. I sighed. “I shouldn’t be talking to you when Lord Hankes comes back.”

“You shouldn’t be working for him either. Of all the households in the city, how did you end up here?”

“I most likely won’t be working here much longer, not after this.” I gave him what I hoped was a genuine smile. “I’ll try to find a better lord to serve next time.”

“You shouldn’t be working like this at all.”

“And how else can I support my sister? There’s only so much honest work for a village peasant.” The words came out more bitterly than I’d intended, but I dinnae apologize. If I was dismissed from this position, who would want to hire me next?

* * * * * * *

About Sleeping Shaman, available now for preorder from Amazon:

The desert holds many secrets. Will death be one of them?

Nyah thought she’d fit in better in the capital rather than in her tiny village, but life in the big city is tougher than she anticipated. When she stumbles across a familiar face, she gladly jumps at the chance for a new adventure with her barbarian friends. They’re headed to Egwu’s home country where they hope his scholar father can translate Heartsbane, the book that holds the cure for Prince Brandulfur’s debilitating curse.

Their plans change as soon as they arrive and discover that Egwu’s family is missing, most likely cursed as well. And meanwhile time is running out for Brand, who grows weaker every day.

Nyah vows to save her friend by solving the mystery of Egwu’s missing family, but she didn’t anticipate all the obstacles in her way: a deadly rivalry between two families, a clash of powerful cultures, and a budding romance that seems destined for heartbreak. She’ll need all her wits to outsmart her opponent—that is, if she can even figure out who it is.

* * * * * * *

Post a link to your eight-ten sentence blog entry or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

* * * * * * *

Heartsbane Saga – fairy tales retold in a world of Vikings!

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.

Weekend Writing Warrior 11/29/20 #8Sunday

Sleeping Shaman coverThis year…amiright?

I pushed back the release of Heartsbane Saga book 2, Sleeping Shaman, to December 15th (originally set for Dec 1st) because, as much as I love writing and my day job, sometimes I just need the self-care of YouTube and crocheting. I currently work as a care coordinator for people who present to the local hospitals with substance use and mental health crises. If you’ve ever experienced substance use, or know someone who has, you know that it can be a lifelong struggle. And damn is it a struggle for some of my clients (especially this week, as some of them relapsed pretty spectacularly…like, near-manslaughter spectacularly). Combined with COVID recovery, there’s been lots of YouTube and crocheting and not much writing recently.

I’m continuing this week with that next release, Sleeping Shaman, which is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty. It starts with the protagonist, Nyah, relocating to the capital city from her tiny village to try to start a new life for herself. This scene is from chapter 1, picking up a month or two after last week’s excerpt. Nyah has found work as a maid for a nobleman, and her younger sister Payton is sick again.

* * * * * * *

I weighed my options as I scrubbed the floor of my lord’s entry hall. The day was sticky, with no air flowing through the hall, and I missed the breezes that blew off the river flowing past Orllewinol, cooling the village. I missed our cottage and the flowers Mother had planted in the small yard. I missed Father, and my friend Gillian, and even Wynne and Earc. Mostly, I missed the life we’d had before, even if I hadn’t liked the future it held for me. Had we stayed, I’d most likely be married to Wynne by now, pregnant with our first child. As bhantiarna, there’d be others—maids like me—to help around Wynne and Earc’s large house, especially when I was with child. I’d be free to spend my days reading or walking along the river. Payton would mostly likely be preparing for her own wedding, to Dar, who’d be able to support them and their children .

* * * * * * *

And the rest of this scene:

I’d need to sell the last horse. As much as I appreciated the gesture from Egwu and Brandulfur, giving us three horses was more a burden than a gift. And it wasn’t as if we had need for them, not in the city. I probably should have tracked down Egwu and given the horses back, or at least offered, but I dinnae want him to know how poorly we’d faired in Eburwicke. I dinnae know much about his life in Aghlabid, but I assumed he was a prince or the Aghlabidi equivalent, based on how he interacted with Brand and Domhnall, Brand’s second-in-command as they’d traveled the country to raise an army for the Llogerian king. He wouldn’t understand our struggles but he’d give us money, if I asked, and I dinnae want to rely on him or Brand. Whatever had happened to us in our village, I’d made the choice to come to the capital, and I’d own the consequences, whatever they may be.

The coins from the sale of the horse, together with Dar’s and my meager salaries, would tide us over for the summer. But we’d left our village with little, and we’d need warmer clothes for the winter, especially for Dar if he continued to work on the docks. Our room had no source of heat, not a problem now, but we’d need to buy a brazier or find other lodging come fall.

I sighed as I stood, picked up my bucket of dirty water, turned, and promptly spilled the bucket down the front of—

“Domhnall?”

* * * * * * *

About Sleeping Shaman, available now for preorder from Amazon:

The desert holds many secrets. Will death be one of them?

Nyah thought she’d fit in better in the capital rather than in her tiny village, but life in the big city is tougher than she anticipated. When she stumbles across a familiar face, she gladly jumps at the chance for a new adventure with her barbarian friends. They’re headed to Egwu’s home country where they hope his scholar father can translate Heartsbane, the book that holds the cure for Prince Brandulfur’s debilitating curse.

Their plans change as soon as they arrive and discover that Egwu’s family is missing, most likely cursed as well. And meanwhile time is running out for Brand, who grows weaker every day.

Nyah vows to save her friend by solving the mystery of Egwu’s missing family, but she didn’t anticipate all the obstacles in her way: a deadly rivalry between two families, a clash of powerful cultures, and a budding romance that seems destined for heartbreak. She’ll need all her wits to outsmart her opponent—that is, if she can even figure out who it is.

* * * * * * *

Post a link to your eight-ten sentence blog entry or join the fun at the Weekend Writing Warriors website.

* * * * * * *

Heartsbane Saga – fairy tales retold in a world of Vikings!

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.

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