I’ve decided to return to posting snippets on a regular basis. Too long between and I fall completely out of the habit! This one’s from The Binding.
The dark entrance of the small stone chapel opened to a lit nave. Annmar lifted her gaze and gasped. Pinpricks of blue light sparkled across the round room. One leaped, trailing a line of blue headed straight for her. She stumbled.
Mary Clare caught her arm. “Annmar?”
She blinked. The light had quickly faded, like a shooting star. But the twinkling of blue continued flickering up and down the stone support columns. It wasn’t just the sight from her Knack, nor a result of the sunlight angling under the roof through long… She peered upwards. “Those aren’t windows, are they?” she whispered to Mary Clare.
“Just openings. That’s why most Creator chapels have fallen to ruin. Open to the rain, thatched roofs, mud walls which paint only protects so far. Only those pillars of bluish stone have held up in most chapels. It’s crazy. I mean, who puts up a half-open building, and round at that? Those old worshipers didn’t have much sense when it came to construction.”
A warm September breeze whipped through the chapel, bringing the fresh scent of trees and earth and water to Annmar. She sighed. “It’s beautiful. The materials are—” She glanced at the other grievers around them. Someone might overhear if she told Mary Clare what she saw. “—perfect for the building. The symmetry is incredible. An old master must have designed this one.”
Mary Clare sniffed. “In Blighted Basin? I don’t think so. Can we get a seat? Daeryn is waving to us, if you haven’t noticed already?”
Thanks for reading!
I’ve featured my writer friends for a few posts now, but haven’t put out a post about my own writing journey in…longer than I want to go back and check. I’ve written at a slower pace the last year because my family property was affected by flooding in Colorado. But between travel and repairs I’ve grown a new adult novel I first called ‘The Farm’ into a trilogy. That first book is now titled ‘The Unraveling’ and the third book is in progress.
Here’s an excerpt from ‘The Binding’. The heroine, Annmar, is an artist from a Victorian city who has taken a position drawing advertising for a rural farm. In the first book she learns the local residents are shifters.
Several in the group nodded. One of the girls said, “Are we all ready?”
Was that Jac? Annmar’s gaze shot to Daeryn’s tough teammate, dressed in a fashionable brown-gold gown, complete with patent leather heels. Jac caught her look and raised a brow over one yellow eye.
“You look beautiful,” she told the wolf girl, and nodded to Jac’s cousin Maraquin, who was wearing a different design in the same fabric. “You, too. The color is stunning with your eyes and hair.”
Jac bobbed her head, and murmured, “Thank you,” a lady-like gesture Annmar certainly didn’t expect, and pulled a pair of gloves from her reticule. The mannerisms were so proper, and so unexpected from the ‘cambire Annmar had seen ruthlessly biting the neck of a crop-chewing pest the night before. She had to force her gaze back to Jac’s.
Jac was grinning. “Didn’t expect me to be able to pull it off, did you?”
“Uh…well, this is quite a change for you.”
Maraquin leaned across to whisper, “Jac’s in line to take over the central lowlands. She’s been to finishing school.”
“Which was dead boring.” Jac swiped a stray strand of hair from her brow and tucked it deftly under the tiny hat perched on the thick roll of her black hair. “And my Grandmother is nowhere close to even turning the pack over to Mother, so the lessons were mostly pointless. Let’s go now. Being late will kill the everyone’s efforts.” She linked arms with Maraquin and the two strode along the drive, their paces far too long and fast for city etiquette.
Annmar hid her smile beneath her gloved hand.
What’s it like to attend a conference with 2500 other writers? I can only speak from my experience with the Romance Writers of America National conferences:
Exhilarating, educational and exhausting.
Though a week has passed since the latest—the 34th—held in San Antonio, my head is still reeling with new ideas. Most writers leave very inspired to implement learned skills and techniques. Because I followed the conference with visiting relatives, I’ve experienced more of a reflective period. I’ve caught up on sleep and listened to additional recorded workshops—ones I couldn’t get to because so many are offered—and thought about what I heard, rather than diving into writing again.
When I first joined RWA, I attended craft workshops to improve my writing, and career sessions to learn about the publishing business. Over the last three years, workshops targeted at self-publishing have increased. This summer, many well-known names in independent publishing presented, appeared on panels, or offered question and answer sessions: Bella Andre, Barbara Freethy, Marie Force. Hugh Howey was in attendance. (I’m going to be very embarrassed if he presented and I missed it!) Three authors, Eliza Knight, Angie Fox and Deanna Chase, presented ‘How to Quietly Make Six Figures in Indie Publishing’ to a mid-sized room packed with women in business casual sitting in every seat and on the floor.
I wish I had taken photos of the audiences. Romance writers, including more men than in previous years, are re-thinking their roles in book publishing.
Industry-focused presentations included: ‘What Good is an Agent?’, ‘Is There a Case for Traditional Publishers and Agents?’, ‘Indie Success with No Publishing History’ and ‘The Hybrid Author.’ iBooks, Amazon, Kobo, CreateSpace, ACX and Audible held open houses.
I can’t even begin to list the workshops on social media and marketing. I took advantage of sessions such as how to vet an independent editor, formatting, developing your brand, and cover design.
I talked and questioned and listened. In every venue—especially the bar—an excited buzz about publishing strategies lurked. Not just getting an agent, or submitting to an editor, hoping a story would be picked. But how to manage your work in the clouds of digital press.
It’s a growing publishing world out there, writers. And the instruction book is open!