So, Reawakening has been out for over a fortnight now, which is wonderful (I’m still struggling to believe I’m a “proper” author now). And suddenly I have another release to write about. I have a Valentine’s story, Aunt Adeline’s Bequest, coming out next week as part of Dreamspinner’s Valentine’s Rainbow Collection. There are fourteen stories in the collection in total, all from established DSP authors. They’re being released one a day from today until the 14th, or you can buy the whole set to read now. It looks like a lovely mixture of genres and styles. Mine is my first historical, a little story set in 1920 between the young owner of a chocolate shop in Chester and the WW1 veteran who wanders in looking for help to solve a family mystery.Here, in order, are all fourteen. Click on a cover to find out more about each title!
With that release comes only the second time in two and a half years when I won’t have a story either under consideration or somewhere in the production process. In some ways it’s a breather in what’s turned out to be a stinker of a month in my day job (I’m seriously beginning to suspect that our management team were just having a competition to see who could come up with the most deadlines to squish into a single fortnight). Mostly though, it makes me want to write something very fast. As I’m at the usual mid-book nadir with Resistance, however, I’ve banned myself from tempting little plot bunnies until the first draft of that is done. I’m seriously beginning to wonder if I’ve bitten off more than I can chew with this one. I don’t like killing characters off. Why the fuck am I writing a plague book?
One bright moment in amongst the deadline frenzy and the flu was the arrival of my author copies of Reawakening. Here’s Mini-Tarn showing off the loot:
And finally, since I haven’t done one in a while, have a nearly-Sunday Snippet. This is from the scene of Resistance I’m currently battling with. Iskandir has snuck out of the palace to help tend to plague victims. Halsarr, Tarn’s snippier younger brother, really doesn’t appreciate that…
By the time he returned to the palace, long after dark, Iskandir felt like a hollow man. He had eased the pain of so many of the dying that it had scoured out a bleak and empty place in his heart, a cavern that echoed with the names of the sick, the grieving, and the dead.
He slipped through the side door with a slow sigh of relief, bolting it behind him. The little room was dark, even with the snow gleaming outside, and it took a moment for him to realize that he was not alone.
Then Hal growled, “Strip.”
“What?” Iskandir said, startled out of his despair.
“Take your clothes off.”
“Why? It’s snowing, Hal. Be reasonable.”
“In the last hour I have welded every other door in this palace to its frame and sealed every air vent from the clinic. The only reason this one remains is because I discovered you had left the palace to go and face death!”
It had been some time since Iskandir had last experienced this, but he recognised a furious and overprotective dragon when he heard one. Gentling his voice, he said, “You know I can’t catch it, lover. I have resistance. It won’t even touch me.”
“And what if you’ve carried it home? What if it’s crawling in your clothes or across your skin?”
“It’s the fleas,” Hal snapped, his voice taut. “It’s carried by fleas. So take your damn clothes off.”
“That’s why the rats died,” Iskandir said slowly, thinking through the implications. “And why the dogs got sick last time. How can we possibly stop something that small from—”
Hal obviously ran out of patience, for suddenly Iskandir’s clothes caught fire. The flames roared across him, making the air crackle and taste acrid, but they did not burn him. Instead they sent his clothes crumbling into flaking ash and then raced across his skin in a wash of glorious, startling heat. Every hair on his skin stood on end and then crisped under the racing flames. By their light, he could see Hal’s face, tight, furious and frightened.
Iskandir took a shallow breath, suddenly aware that all that kept him from being burnt himself was the intensity of Hal’s concentration. After a day surrounded by death, it made his pulse dance and his breath come hard and fast. He flushed, the blood rising under his skin and making his head swim as the air crackled around him with the faintly acrid scent of burning hair. Around his feet, the ruins of his clothes crumbled into gray dust, warm around his bared soles.
“I’ve had it before,” he managed, his voice breathless and husky. “You can’t catch the same disease twice.”
“When it comes to you,” Hal snapped, “anything is possible.”
And with that, I shall finish off with a final invitation. I did an author chat over on the DSP Goodreads page a couple of weeks ago, but it was quite quiet. If anyone still has any questions about Reawakening, ask away!