I Want To Read

Sometimes (okay, every day, sometimes twice) I wonder why I’m doing this, the whole writing thing, and putting my naked soul on display for nameless gawker.

I think it’s because I want to read. I want to be engaged in books and stories, and talk about them in my own way. To read actively, to the fullest extent, I need to be a writer too.

It’s not enough for me just to read books alone and never talk about the things between the covers (or under the cover image, since I also like ebooks). I want to contribute to the fictional conversation, so I write.

Two Snippets

A little extra bang today. I have a small snippet of the new Hard Luck, and then, if you like, stay for something from a new (Rothganar) project. 🙂


First, Hard Luck! I’m adding material, did I mention that in the previous post? I think I did. This is from a chapter right after Dingus and Vandis actually meet.

Any tulon or tulua knew what Dingus was on sight, and no one would let him more than a couple of paces into any establishment. Humans didn’t know—Vandis himself wouldn’t have known—he was anything other than an elf, but a lot of them didn’t want him around because of it. “How do they all know you’re half-blood?” he’d demanded, when the third hitul place kicked them out.

“It’s the ears,” Dingus had explained, clinically, without a trace of woe in his voice.

“What about them?”

“It’s how they’re attached to your head.” He rubbed a finger behind one, leaving a trail of dirt. “See how mine are? They point sort of up and stick out farther. A real one of the People’s ears would point back and be flatter to their head.”

Vandis had scowled and said, “You are a real—”

“No, I ain’t,” he’d said. “Ain’t human neither.”

“Then what are you?” Vandis had asked, more curious about Dingus’s idea of himself than he was concerned with grammar.

“Does it matter?”


Now a little from another project. I’m calling this one Daddy’s Little Princess, the reason for which I’ll keep to myself for now. While it’s set in the Menyoral timeline and features characters from the books, it’s not a Saga of Menyoral book at all. Trying something a little different with this one, because if you stop trying new things, art stagnates. And business, haha. Anyway, check this out.

The alleys opened their pitch-black mouths, ready to swallow anybody who got too close, looked too close if they happened to be passing when lightning came. Martin wasn’t one for destiny, and he didn’t believe in fate, but when he passed that alley, lightning flashed, and what he saw, or thought he saw, gulped him down just that quick.

There was a woman there, all tall and wet and glorious, dark blood and clear water, and in the breath he could see her, she swung down with a huge knife and split Big Jimmy Pantucci’s head. It was frozen in Martin’s mind, the woman, her long hair flying in thick wet ropes. He remembered all the stories Jacques told when he was drunk as shit, the ones about La Reine Guirriѐre and her chariot drawn by wolves. He felt like he had seen her.

He felt like he had to see her again.

Against every skill and instinct he owned, and at least one unwritten rule of the streets, Martin went straight for the maw. Lightning lashed close by, close enough to hear it crackle, and the thunder broke reality wide. Any minute he’d wake up in his pallet with the sheet sticking to his hot sweaty skin, any minute. She whacked that chopper hard into the mass of Big Jimmy and wound back again, and Martin blinked a dazzled slash out of his eyes. Rain hammered the street. Wind made his sodden clothes flap.

He took a step forward, and another step, into the alley, wishing for a mage-lantern. Another sizzling flash, so bright he almost missed her standing there with Jimmy’s dripping messy head, bloody fist in the hair.


That’s all for now! Thank you so much for choosing this article, from among millions of others published just today. ❤


Big News and Little


I know I haven’t been blogging much. I haven’t been very active anywhere, and I’ve been basically in my hidey-hole all the time. I’m going to come out a little more often, I promise.

A few pieces of news for my readers:

  1. The Menyoral series is coming back, better than ever. I still don’t have release dates, but look forward to four (that’s right) full-length books in the future. All the past books will relaunch with new content: more of the things you came for in the first place. I’m going to see how I can get the new versions to readers who have downloaded already, too — I appreciate your patronage and don’t want to take advantage. All that, and the fourth book in the series too. I’m working on Hard Luck right now.
  2. Around the relaunch will come a few new stories and standalone novels, all set in Rothganar, all revolving around characters from Saga of Menyoral. There’s going to be a ton of stuff to read!
  3. Steel for the Prince will continue. The series will run to four books: The High King’s Will, which is already published; The Witch under Mountain, which has another round of revision and beta-readers to get through; The Heart of Stone, which I am drafting; and The Endless Night, which I am outlining.
  4. I’m working on a new freebie, a mailing list incentive, called Crossbow Wedding. It’s the story of Dingus’s parents, and I’m hoping people will sign up to a new mailing list to receive the novella. I’ll let you know more about that when it gets closer.

That was a lot of stuff, so I won’t exhaust your eyeballs. Thanks for reading my nonsense!

Inadvertent Bread Standards

I took a last-ditch, desperate sabbatical the last two months, by which I mean “I couldn’t write a damn thing and something had to give.” It’s going much better now, but more about that in another post.

Taking some time off gave me a chance to pursue my other favorite creative outlet: cooking. I love to cook, I love to bake. I baked a lot of bread, using almost exclusively a lovely Girl Versus Dough recipe. If you enjoy baking, I would give her blog a look, because it’s super good.

I may have inadvertently created a standard for bread in my home. Let’s be fair to supermarket bread: it serves its purpose as Sandwich Filling Holder. That’s about it. I’ve never exactly liked it, but it is what it is. Now that I’ve been baking bread for us basically every day, my daughter is extremely disappointed when it isn’t available. “I want white bread,” she said yesterday. “It’s an… it’s an oval. I want oval white bread.”

I had some. I’d just made it earlier that day.

There’s something about putting my hands in the dough and kneading it that helps me organize my thinking. There’s peace in it. I love the product, and I love the process. Here’s to better bread and a better life.

Here’s the recipe I’ve been using. It’s simple and delicious. Classic Italian Bread on Girl Versus Dough!

Falling in Love with Tiernan: A Guest Post by Melissa Cuevas

Please welcome my friend Melissa to the blog, to talk about her character, Tiernan.


The Book of My World was my first attempt at NaNoWriMo, started in 2014.  Unlike most of the character driven things I write, this one began as a heavily concept driven project.  I created Tiernan Hartwell as my main character for this novel, and to uphold that concept, I dictated pretty much everything about him.  He would be attractive, bold, brash, confident, the best at what he did and well aware of that.  Every description my brain came up with for him could simply be called ‘over the top’.   I told myself that this fit the concept, that I was on the right track, and I started the project on the first day of November.

Everything about this all important concept meant that Tiernan would have to carry this novel.  It was from his point of view, seen through the lens of his grasp of reality, and he was going to have to be a character that I loved enough to stay with him for the duration.

It sounded good, it really did.   There was just one very big problem…not only did I not love the Tiernan that I had created, I didn’t even particularly like him.   Everything about what I thought that he had to be rubbed me the wrong way, and I couldn’t see him being the sort of young man that the female main character would tolerate, much less trust and love. Disheartened, I gave up on the project and let the idea of completing NaNo that year slip away while I returned to other things.

But no, that was not the end of Tiernan, it was only the beginning.  After awhile, let out of the stress of being perfect for my concept and the artificial time constraint of NaNo, Tiernan began to talk to me.  He was not the brash, confident, over the top Tiernan that I so disliked, but an entirely different character… filled with hopes, dreams, fears and doubts.   While still ‘over the top’, he was not the empty facade that I thought would fit my concept.  He was fussy, often overly cautious and suspicious, filled with his fair share of concerns.  He was hardly the massively confident young man I’d envisioned, terrified but filled with resolve when it came to the struggle he faced.  At first, I was dubious, but after awhile I realized I liked him like this.   I restarted the novel, listening to his version of my concept, testing to see if this Tiernan could carry this novel to  completion.   By halfway through, I realized he could indeed be the focus character for this story.  And then, I realized I didn’t just like him the way he was, but that I loved him.   And more importantly, I realized that this was the man that made the story fit him, and he was the man that was good enough, real enough, for his Deirdre to trust and love.


Get Melissa’s new release, The Book of My World.