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HollowLands Posts

Short story – Night Hunt

Posted in Fantasy, Night Hunt, Short Story, and The Hounds of Annwn

Another short story from the world of The Hounds of Annwn.

George Talbot Traherne thinks about the choice he made to leave the human world behind.

This story takes place between and To Carry the Horn and The Ways of Winter.


NIGHT HUNT

Night Hunt - Full Front Cover - 297x459

His eyes popped open in the dim light cast by the banked fire. For a moment the bed felt strange and then he remembered—Angharad’s house—and there she slept, turned away from him, breathing slowly. He was wide awake and on the alert.

What woke me? The snow was deep on the ground, muffling any outside noises. No cars were here to disturb him, no engines in the fae otherworld, and he was still getting used to the absence of the sounds of human civilization. He catalogued what he could hear—the tick of the embers in the fireplace, the occasional creak of the floorboards as they adjusted to temperature changes, Angharad’s soft breaths.

Then it came again. Muffled barks of excitement. He looked over at his dogs by the fire. Sargent, the yellow feist, was motionless except for his chest rising and falling, but the bluetick hound was quivering in his sleep, his paws twitching as he ran. He panted and yipped, his eyes closed. No wonder it woke me, he thought.

George had no trouble providing the real sound behind Hugo’s dream, the loud, deep bays as he followed a hot scent. That cry would ring off a hillside, but here it was, indoors, just a remnant to wake him in the night.

Nothing to worry about, he thought, as he relaxed back down into the warm bed by his wife’s side. He wasn’t sleepy, but if he stayed quiet, sleep would return.

Inevitably his mind turned to the tumult of his recent weeks. I made a choice, he thought, the most important of my life. I’ll never face a bigger one. I chose to turn my back on the human world and stay here, with these new-found kinsmen.

Book Signings

Posted in Book Signings

book-signing-800x800I will be doing two book signings in March in the northern Virginia area, and I'd like to invite everyone to come! Both of these are in honor of St. Patrick's Day.

On Saturday, March 16, from 2:00-4:00, I will be at the Coterie Shop in Sperryville at 12018A Lee Highway. Please call Jen Perrot at 540-987-8249 for details.

On Saturday, March 23, from 2:00-5:00, I will be at Crest Hill Antiques in The Plains at 4303 Fauquier Avenue. Please call Sally DeLuca at 540-253-5790 for details. I will also provide a foxhunting slideshow for your amusement. Flyer.

Short story – Cariad

Posted in Cariad, Fantasy, Short Story, and The Hounds of Annwn

It's going to be a while before the next full-length book is available. It's going well, but the story will be large and a bit complicated.

In the meantime, I thought I'd start writing a few of the short stories from the world of The Hounds of Annwn that are kicking around in my head. I'll try to produce one more or less monthly. They'll only be available as ebooks initially, but I'll collect them into bundles as paperbacks every so often.

So, in time for Valentine's Day, please enjoy this brief story about a man who loses confidence that he's the man his wife needs.

This story takes place between The Ways of Winter and King of the May.


CARIAD

Cariad - Full Front Cover - 297x459Benitoe busied himself with rechecking the girth on Halwyn, off to the side of the inn yard, and kept his eye on the side door of the main building. Two of the tall fae rode in and dismounted, chatting together. A groom came out of the stable to take their horses, a lutin in red like many of the staff at the inn, a foot shorter than the fae, or more, like Benitoe himself, though Benitoe wore his dark green hunt livery instead of the traditional red. The groom looked over and gave Benitoe a wave. “We’ve got his pony tacked up. Are you still planning to return tonight?”

“Shouldn’t be any problem with that, it’s just a few miles on horseback, through the ways, and the weather’s clear. Do you have enough space ready?”

“Luhedoc told us to expect eight, and we can just manage it.”

Benitoe took in all the construction that was still underway as the Golden Cockerel was being hurriedly restored to use. He’d seen the newest interior repairs last night after he rode in, but now, in daylight, the extent of the work was much more obvious. The stables had been in complete collapse when he’d last seen them, a few weeks ago. Maëlys had latched onto the first stone masons and carpenters to become available as the barriers dropped around Edgewood and set them to work, rightly anticipating that the reviving town would need a working inn as its dwellers came back to life, reviving from the curse that had buried them in a sort of half-life for so long.

Getting friendly with my characters

Posted in Characters

Some people think of a novel and a movie version as at least roughly equivalent, at least from the perspective of the story. Yes, a novel allows internal perceptions from the characters in a way difficult for a movie, and movies concentrate on visual tools more than language, but nonetheless, the stories and characters are at least recognizably related.

Others have a different view, one which I agree with. They maintain that the more appropriate match is to a season of a quality television show, in that newish long form that cable television has been cultivating for the last few years. In other words, a season of Game of Thrones is more similar to a book in that series than any movie could be.

I think this is true for several reasons. Most obviously, the time it takes to watch, say, 13 episodes is more closely equivalent to the time spent to read a long novel, and thus characters and plots can develop to a similar depth of complexity.

But there's another feature which isn't much discussed. For a reader, reading the novel and watching the entire season of a show in a marathon are a good match. For a writer, however, a better match to the novel is the full season viewed over time. The 3+ months of the episodes, one per week, is much closer to the time it takes to write the book. Here I am not speaking specifically of George R. R. Martin who is notoriously taking a very long time between his sequels, but of myself.

Lessons learned in 2012 / Goals for 2013

Posted in Goals

As 2012 rolls on down to a close, I'm moved to reflect on what this year has been like.

I began writing fiction in April and have just published the second book in the Hounds of Annwn series. I can hardly believe it myself. I only wish I had taken the plunge sooner.

I resurrected an old business (Perkunas Press), built it a website, did a crash tour of thought leaders in the new world of independent publishing, and took the first steps toward professional writing.

270,000 words later, I feel like I'm just getting started. I've gotten my books listed in a few dozen online channels, but I've barely scratched the surface of distribution in libraries and independent bookstores. I've started a newsletter, but it's a long way to the famous “1000 fans” that make the foundation of a career — and I must earn them one at a time with the best writing I can produce, the best stories, the highest quality, and constant improvement. It's a challenge.

The feedback I've been getting from individuals and editorial reviews has been very encouraging, but I have almost no reader reviews in online retailers, and I need to concentrate on coaxing that from my readers.

I intend to put up two more books in 2013, more if I can. The next will be the third book in my first series. There's likely to be a fourth, maybe more, and I have a second fantasy series in mind, too. Since I like to end each book with the a sample of the first chapter from the next one, I've already had to start book three in order to complete book two. Soon I'll be able to stop shepherding the new release through the publication and review channels and return to the fun stuff: making up worlds and telling stories about the people in them.

My medium-range plan is to have ten full-length books out by the end of 2016, or more, in three series. Should be possible!

The Ways of Winter (excerpt) – Chapter 1

Posted in The Hounds of Annwn, The Ways of Winter, and Works

TheWaysOfWinter - Full Front Cover - Widget

CHAPTER 1

Prologue
*I’m sorry I ran away, Mother. I want to come home now.*

Seething Magma raised her mantle in the dark underground cavity and interrupted her meal of crushed rock. At last, she thought, relief flooding her limbs. It had been almost a thousand years since she’d heard from her youngest child.

*Where have you been?* she scolded, then emended, *Never mind, just come home.*

*I can’t! He won’t let me go.* Granite Cloud’s wail roused her mother’s alarm. Nothing could hold an elemental.

Finished – The Ways of Winter

Posted in Characters, The Hounds of Annwn, and The Ways of Winter

Hurray! It went like a bottle rocket, two months from start to finish. It's not that I wrote it any faster than To Carry the Horn, it's just that I poured more hours into it in a shorter period of time. Book 3 will take a good deal longer, I expect.

I still need to do a few rounds of polish and proofread, but The Ways of Winter will definitely be out in January. If you're subscribed to my newsletter, you'll be the first to know.

While one of my trusty beta readers finishes his reading assignment (“How many inches of snow?” “Give them something stronger than tea to drink, for god's sake” “Not more Welsh names with double L's”), I thought I might spend a few minutes talking about the new work.