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.
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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 .
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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—
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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.
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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.
She’s got quite the dilemma, or set of them anyway. Enjoyed the excerpt…
A very sad mix of regret and acceptance here.
Looks like her mundane concerns are about to be replaced by more exciting ones.
One thing to worry about turned into two.
Take care of yourself!
I like how this snippet hints at your well thought-out worldbuilding.
Working with what you have. Great internal monologue here.
Sometimes we really do need Youtube and knitting. Been doing a bit of that myself. Great snippet. Great to see Sleeping Beauty with more backbone than in the original.
Great inner thoughts about her dilemma.
I really like how you lulled us into her head, looking at the things that brought her to this point, and then that last line. Jerked right out of her head into what could change everything. :-)
I’m sorry this comment comes so late! I thought I’d left one, but don’t see it. :-)
I enjoyed her musings of what life might have been like had things gone differently. Congrats on your upcoming release! I can’t imagine how tough your job must be, and I’m glad you took the time you needed for some self-care.
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