June 8, 2013

short update and excerpt

Now that the Chroniker City novella Le Theatre Mecanique is out for the world to enjoy, I’ve turned my attention to other projects: the Persian-inspired fantasy, The Wizard’s Heart, and the second book in the Chroniker City trilogy, The Guild Conspiracy.

My priority right now is finishing the third draft of The Wizard’s Heart, a structured rewrite under the supervision of my editor Rebecca Blain. Hopefully, I’ll be able to finish this draft by the end of July and send it to beta-readers in August, and with their feedback, I should be able to publish the book by the end of September And maybe, in the next month or two, I’ll have a book description and cover up on the website.

As for The Guild Conspiracy, I have been writing a little bit almost every day, but with the need to get The Wizard’s Heart finished as soon as possible in order to maintain a 2013 release, I’m not going to be able to work on it consistently until The Wizard’s Heart is with beta-readers. However, I am making good progress on it. The story has been re-plotted, and I’m excited to continue Petra’s story. I hope to finish the first draft by the end of October, earlier if possible. I have a baby due in November, and I’d like to have the first draft out of the way before the tiny person takes over my life. Even with a baby on the way, I believe I’ll be able to stick to a 2014 release of The Guild Conspiracy, hopefully by next summer. I know it’s been a long wait since The Clockwork Giant released, but I promise that I am making progress, however slowly.

To follow my daily progress on my writing, be sure to like my Facebook page or circle me on Google+.

And now...

an excerpt from the beginning of The Wizard's Heart:

Shadiya lowered the basket of dried herbs onto the table and peered down the western road to the edge of the village, shielding her eyes against the setting sun. A cloud of dust rose into the sky, drifting above a small caravan of horse-drawn carts, a dozen camels plodding alongside. When the line of wagons reached the twin pillars at the village border, the caravan lurched to a halt, barred from passing through until someone lifted the protective wards.

Shadiya touched the glittering blue pendant at her throat and closed her eyes, casting her thoughts to her father through the sky stone. There is a caravan at the western gate.

A caravan? Her father’s voice echoed through her mind. What could have brought them so far south? I’ll be right there.

The air near the gatehouse shimmered, and a whirlwind of white-gold sand materialized into a tall figure dressed in deep blue robes. The man strode into sight of the caravan and pressed his hand against the spellscript carved into the stone pillar, addressing the driver of the lead cart. A moment later, the protective wards peeled away from the gate in a flurry of luminescent sparks, and with the crack of a whip, the caravan rolled into the village. As the line of carts passed through the gate, a chill settled on Shadiya’s skin, raising goosebumps on her arms.

What do they want? she asked her father.

They are in need of medicine, he answered. One of their number was injured on the road, and they need to resupply their stock of bandages and poultices before continuing to Mashhad.

The cold seeped deeper into her skin and crept into her bones, sending shivers through her body. She gripped the pendant with shaking fingers. Something does not feel right—there is a malevolence among them.

A fell spirit?

I don’t know. This one feels different. She stretched her mind to the caravan, weaving threads of thought through the carts and cargo, searching for the source of the chill spreading through her blood, but the pulse of sinister magic evaded her, encapsulated inside a strange void within the caravan. It was an absence of thought, an absence of life and existence, and the moment she tried to pry into the essence of it, her thoughts rebounded, withdrawing into the safety of her own mind. A wave of nausea rolled through her stomach with the backlash. Swallowing the acrid taste in her mouth, she projected her thoughts again to her father. I do not know the source, but something is there, something that does not want to be found. She inhaled a deep breath. Must the caravan stay in the village?

These people need our help, Shadiya.


I will not turn them away. The finality of his words echoed through her mind, a definitive end to the argument.

A sigh escaped her lips. Yes, father.

He returned to the rear of the gatehouse and disappeared in a whirl of sand. A gust of wind whipped Shadiya’s dark brown curls across her face, and a heavy hand fell on her shoulder. “I would not let anyone into the village who I thought might harm us, my flower.”

Shadiya leaned into her father and exhaled a deep breath. “I know.”

Rubbing her arms to combat the chill, she watched the caravan form a circle just beyond the farthest houses of the village. The drivers stepped down from their seats and freed their horses from their harnesses while the other caravan riders unburdened bags and tents from the camels’ backs, slowly building a camp in the center of the wagons.

“How long will they stay?” she asked.

“A few days. Their need is not so dire that it cannot wait until after the wedding.” He squeezed her shoulder, and a broad smile spread across his weathered face. “Do not worry, my flower. Their presence here will not interfere with your marriage.”

A subdued grin claimed her lips. “If they do, you’ll have Sadaf to answer to.” Drawing away from her father, she gathered the basket into her arms and carried the herbs to the stone hearth, where Anandi sat grinding flour. She placed the basket next to a bowl of dough, and dusting her hands on her skirt, she returned to her father’s side. “If she asks, I’ll be sure to let her know you were the one who let them in.”


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