Enter the Resistance Giveaway!

RESISTANCE Final Draft

Guess what–the second edition of Resistance is out, but you can get your copy for free!

The second edition of Resistance, which has a beautiful new cover by C. Bedford and additional short fiction related to the novel, is now available for purchase on Amazon. The ebook is available now, and the paperback will be available within a week.

But! Two entrants in the giveway will win their choice of a free ebook or paperba/ck. Enter now for your chance to win! The giveaway will be open to entrants until Sunday, 8/27/2017. Winners will be announced on Monday, 8/28/2017.

Enter below!

RESISTANCE Re-Release!

RESISTANCE Final Draft.jpg

Hi friends!

I am so excited to show you the new cover C. Bedford has created for Resistance! Isn’t is lovely? I love every damn thing about it! She has captured so many awesome little details here–Rivna’s tattoos, Shandolin’s neck wounds, the messy back alley in the City.

Which brings me to my next point. Have you read Resistance? Were you thinking about it, but then were like ‘oh well, shit, now it’s out of print’? Guess what! I’m re-releasing it through the Kraken Collective!

The formal re-release of the second edition will go live August 15. But Patreon subscribers at the $4 level (Word Hoarder) will get an ebook sent to them next Sunday!

Subscribers at the $6 level (Completionist) will get both the ebook next Sunday and will have a signed copy of the second edition print book sent to them as soon as that’s available (on or around August 15).

The second edition has minor changes to the text and includes a small selection of additional short fiction related to the novel. I hope you enjoy it!

Guest Post over at Inkblots from the Inkstained Succubus!

inkstainedsuccubuslogo

Hi friends!

The fine folks at Inkstained Succubus, who published both my novel Resistance and my novelette Matters of Scale, have published an essay of mine crowing about why Diversity in Secondary World Fantasy is important and some of the ways in which I’ve sought to make that happen in my own works. Stop by and check it out if you’re interested!

-B

RESISTANCE Cameos

Resistance CoverYou can purchase Resistance here directly from Inkstained Succubus (support small presses!) or here from Amazon.

Resistance is set in the secondary fantasy world of Aerdh, which to date is where most of my writing is set. I consider myself a digressive writer; by that I mean that my ideas for new stories are inspired by the one’s I’ve already written or am currently writing. The stories I write become nest, tangled and interrelated. One way this happens is by cameos.

Sometimes when I’m writing a minor character springs to life. Sometimes, they demand their own stories. This is, actually, how Resistance was born: Inkstained Succubus put out a call for self-rescuing princesses, and I knew a pair of tertiary characters who’d appeared in a few unpublished works of mine were due for their moment in the spotlight. I wrote a short story—“Proof”—about them. The anthology I wrote “Proof” for didn’t pan out, but Inkstained Succubus did me the great honor of requesting that I give Shandolin and Rivna and even brighter spotlight: their very own novel.

Maybe you’ve read Resistance and maybe you’d like to see more of some of these characters. Due to my digressive writing style there’s only a handful of people in the book who only appear there.

A Tale of Rebellion, a series of novels I’m currently mired in the middle of, features some pretty prominent cameos from our friends in Resistance. These books are just a couple of years after Resistance, and there is a meaty section in the first book, Extraction, which takes place in the City of Mages. There, we meet again Shandolin, Rivna, Moshel and even Velo and Po. Kel plays a prominent role in Extraction, appears again in its sequel (The Incoming Tide) and is shaping up to be a major character in the third book in the series (The King and His Makers).

Some characters even have their own short stories all to themselves. Moshel Atoosa’Avvah is the lead in “Matters of Scale”, a short story of mine currently in submission and open to beta readers. Rivna’s father, Pahvo, gives readers a glimpse of what life is like from his perspective in “Blue Flowers,” a short story included in Crossed Genres’ Fierce Family anthology.

Even the City itself appears again. For insight into what the City of Mages looks like quite a few years after the events of Resistance, you could check out “The Other Side of Town,” currently available to read for free over at Redhead Ezine.

Happy reading!

RESISTANCE Cover Tour

In rounding out this month-long celebration of the release of my debut novel, Resistance, I thought it might be fun to take a brief tour of the cover of the book:

You can purchase Resistance here directly from Inkstained Succubus (support small presses!) or here from Amazon.

RESISTANCE Ficlet #5: Curiosity

Resistance CoverThis is a ficlet based on my novel, Resistance, out now from Inkstained Succubus Press! You can purchase Resistance here directly from Inkstained Succubus (support small presses!) or here from Amazon.

Rivvie was on a job the first time she saw Shandolin. It would have been impossible to miss her: she was the only red elf on the street. Rivvie was perched on the edge of a rooftop, tracking the nervous movements of her mark. He was some silver elf who was making too much money. The Arbiter told her it was a matter of City stability, and maybe it was. To Rivvie, it was payment for her father’s nurse and a willingness for the law to turn its eyes away from the doings of the Vinkenti Brotherhood. Rivvie knew she was a pawn in a broader political game, but she didn’t care so much about that.

Rivvie tracked her mark down the street. He was an unassuming man, dressed neatly but not conspicuously. From the corner of her eye, Rivvie caught a bright splash of red. The street was all grays: the pale gray stone of the buildings, the slate gray of the Semadran elves’ skin, the washed-out brown-gray of their rough spun clothing. The whole world was cast in a million shades of gray shattered only by the scarlet flash on the edge of Rivvie’s vision. The woman the hair belonged to was tall and sharp-faced. She stood on the landing of a third floor apartment across the way making a racket. She pounded the door. She ate an apple in enormous, vicious crunches. Under one arm she held a stack of crisp newspapers.

The red elf woman had a self-assurance, a boldness, that Rivvie thought was sure to get her killed. It was none of Rivvie’s business, but the woman drew her curiosity anyway. Why was she there in the Tinker’s Borough? Why wouldn’t whoever she was there to see open the door for her? She had such arrogance, the way she looked so comfortable there where she clearly did not belong. Rivvie, for whom stealth was a career and a way of life, found it off-putting and distasteful. She shook her head and looked back to where she’d last seen her mark. But he was gone—all it took was one second of squandered attention, and he was gone. She cursed. Her deadline wasn’t for another week, and her thighs ached from sitting too still for too long. She was hungry. The mark was gone, and there was little for her to do but return home and venture out again tomorrow.

Rivvie slipped down into the street. She stood cloaked in shadows and magic, obscured from sight, and watched the red-haired woman who had cost her the mark. The red-haired woman dawdled there on the landing for some minutes longer until her apple was completely eaten. She laid the stack of newspapers on the landing and dropped the apple core on top of it. Rivvie, curious and still caught in the thrall of her work, tracked the red elf. Rivvie tracked her to a clutch of musicians in Opera Street, to a print shop on the edge of the Inalan Quarter, to a table in a gambling den. The red-haired woman led her all over the City of Mages, up and down the streets, into the Main Square where the vagrants lived, and finally to a rundown bar in the Refugee Quarter.

Rivvie watched the woman enter from the roof across the way. All up and down the city streets and still Rivvie had no sense of what the woman did. How loud she was, yes, she knew that. How many people seemed to owe her favors, she had learned that. But everyone in the City earned their place in the City, even down to the drug addicts. The people in the City were like the cells of her body: minute, discrete units that came together to make an incomprehensibly huge whole. But this red-haired woman was a mystery to her. It was a mystery, Rivvie though, worth solving. Should this woman be up to something, should she be something of note, that information needed to be taken back to the Vinkenti Brotherhood. Rivvie followed the red-haired woman into the bar.

It was a red elvish bar in a red elvish neighborhood, and Rivvie was the only one in it who was not a red elf. It was she who stood out, now, and the red-haired woman who blended in. Rivvie found the woman at a table in the back, an ink-stained table littered with empty glasses. She felt the room grow quiet as she walked over, felt the way the eyes of the patrons glued themselves to her black hair, to her tattoos, to the weaponry she wore. The woman was stretched out on the bench, marking up a sheaf of papers with a pencil worn down to the nub. “Who are you?” Rivvie asked.

The woman smirked. The smirk disappeared when she glanced up. Her eyes widened; she sat bolt upright. “Are you an assassin?” the woman asked.

“Yes,” said Rivvie. “Who are you, and what do you do?”

“Fuck! Why are you asking? Why’s a fucking assassin asking about me?” A strange mix of fear and pride crossed the woman’s face. “It is because of the Arrow?”

Rivvie frowned. “There is no glory in getting yourself assassinated.”

“There’s glory in getting noticed,” said the woman.

“You’re a fool.”

The woman leaned forward. “So…are you here to take me out or what?”

Rivvie sighed. “What is your name?”

“Shandolin,” she said. She leaned back, supine and relaxed again. She looked at Rivvie with the thoughtless ease that spoke of safety, of that damned self-assurance. “Hey, you political at all? Could use a blue perspective in my paper. Pan-elvish solidarity means pan-elvish, you know? Haven’t been able to crack you all, though. Can you write?”

Rivvie found it infuriating. She left the bar. She hoped very much that she would not run into Shandolin again.

RESISTANCE Excerpt #5: Heat in the Blood

Resistance CoverThis is an excerpt from my novel, Resistance, out now from Inkstained Succubus Press! You can purchase Resistance here directly from Inkstained Succubus (support small presses!) or here from Amazon.

Doe felt around in the darkness until she found the cold metal rungs of the ladder. She dragged herself up until her head banged against a stone ceiling. Rivvie told her to open it, and Doe soon found herself crawling out of an old well in the blue neighborhood. Rivvie peered off into the darkness, first one way, then another. “We’re safe now,” she said.

Doe dropped the remaining half-dozen files she’d managed to keep hold of on the run out of Sanctuary. She slammed into Rivvie and pulled her close; Doe’s mouth found hers, and Doe kissed her with a hunger, with a passion. One arm wound around Rivvie’s waist. With her free hand, Doe caressed Rivvie’s cheek, her throat. Rivvie returned the kiss in equal measure.

The small of Doe’s back tightened; her skin tingled in anticipation. Rivvie’s hand slipped beneath Doe’s shirt and scratched lightly at her back. With one great movement, Doe lifted Rivvie and placed her on the edge of the false well. Rivvie’s legs locked around Doe’s hips. Doe nipped at Rivvie’s neck and shoulder and reveled in the small pain-pleasure noises Rivvie let out.

She saved me, Doe kept thinking. Like an ass I ran into Sanctuary and she was there and she saved me and I love her—

And all at once, it came to Doe that Rivvie had spirited them out of Sanctuary and not through the front door.

Doe pulled back so fast that Rivvie very nearly toppled backward into the well. It was only Rivvie’s assassin-quick reflexes that prevented a nasty fall.

“Ah! What the hell?” Rivvie said.

“You could’ve got him out,” Doe said very quietly. “All those months, all those months I spent worried sick, running myself ragged. All those months, and the peacemakers doing who knows what to him. And you could’ve got him like that,” Doe said, snapping her fingers.

RESISTANCE Ficlet #4: A Home in Exile

Resistance CoverThis is a ficlet based on my novel, Resistance, out now from Inkstained Succubus Press! You can purchase Resistance here directly from Inkstained Succubus (support small presses!) or here from Amazon.

The day Moshel Atoosa’Avvah arrived in the City of Mages as an exile was the strangest day of his life. The years he’d spent in that Rabathan prison cell were marked by silence, by solitude. The ra’zehm who found him guilty of treason promised him he’d be forgotten in that cell, and for endless days the promise kept. It was a strange day when he was shuffled from his cell into the cabin of a train bound for Tarquintia. It was a strange day when they tied him to the saddle of a camel bound for the City. But his arrival to the City took his breath away.

Somehow, news of his arrival had leaked. Moshel came to the Eastern Gate of the City surrounded by a phalanx of tahrqin guards. He came with his hands bound and his voice rusty with disuse. He came through the gate curled in on himself, wincing and shrinking because in those years in prison he’d fallen out of habit with his gift and now he was overwhelmed with the sheer force of other peoples’ minds.

Someone spotted him. A cry went out. Moshel felt hundreds of eyes fix upon him, felt them see in him a spark, a hope, a promise he had never made. The Eastern Gate was a crush of bodies: a crush of silver skin, of Semadran faces, of his people, and all of them singing. The phalanx of guards ushered him quickly through the clerks at the entrance; one of them shoved amnesty papers in his pocket. Moshel pulled them out again and dropped them on the dusty street. They tightened in formation around him and pushed him into the City. The Semadrans followed. They picked up stragglers on their way; the crowd turned into a spontaneous parade. Moshel wanted to yell to the parade to stop, to disperse, to go anywhere else. He wanted to scream at them that he’d never wanted to be a symbol of anything, much less rebellion, that he was a broken man. He’d assumed he would slip into obscurity. He’d thought it a gift of the exile. But he felt them; he felt the joy and the resolution in the crowd when they looked at him. He held his tongue.

The clerks at the Eastern Gate had asked where he would be residing, and Moshel had answered the Semadran schoolhouse. It would be like schoolhouses in elvish ghettos all over the Qin Empire: a sanctuary, a respite, a place for those with no place anywhere else. And so the guards escorted him to the schoolhouse. And so the makeshift parade followed them there.

They stepped into a cramped square. In the center stood a stately building, made of wood which contrasted with the stone of the surrounding buildings. It could be nothing but a schoolhouse: the spire, the stained glass that told stories of his people’s history, the unmistakable ticking of clockwork mechanisms. “You’re here, traitor,” said the lead guard.

“Please escort me to the door,” said Moshel. “I fear a riot.”

The guards conferred. With obvious bad temper, the phalanx pushed through the crowd and up to the great, wide doors of the schoolhouse. The crowd around them sang in Semadran a song Moshel had never heard. A song about him. Moshel stepped up to the door and pressed the doorbell. The doors swung open; the caretaker, a small and curiously young woman stared up at Moshel. “Who comes to the schoolhouse?” she asked in Semadran.

“My name is Moshel Atoosa’Avvah. I have no papers.”

“We vouch! We vouch!” cried the crowd behind him.

“What do you seek at the schoolhouse?” asked the caretaker.

“Shelter,” said Moshel. “I seek shelter.”

“And you shall have it.” The phalanx of tahrqin guards withdrew. The caretaker ushered Moshel inside and pulled the doors shut behind him. The song of him grew stronger outside, but the wooden walls of the schoolhouse shielded him from it. Children’s faces appeared on the landings above, on the stairwells. The caretaker waved for them to return to their studies, and they obeyed.

Moshel took in the light, the beautiful light filtered through the stained glass. He ran his hand along the polished wooden walls. He smelled black tea and familiar herbs. For the first time since his arrest, Moshel felt alive again. He felt like a person again. For the first time since his arrest, Moshel wept.

RESISTANCE Excerpt #4: The Schoolhouse

Resistance CoverThis is an excerpt from my novel, Resistance, out now from Inkstained Succubus Press! You can purchase Resistance here directly from Inkstained Succubus (support small presses!) or here from Amazon.

Shandolin stepped inside the Semadran schoolhouse. The lobby was cavernous. She could see all the way up to the spire seven floors above her. Staircases wound around the lobby up and up and up. Strategically placed windows flooded the lobby with natural light. Doe suspected it would have been equally well-lit at night, too. Ensconced on the walls were dozens of small clockwork lanterns.

Moshel leaned against the railing of one of the twin staircases flanking the room. His face, as usual, was carefully expressionless, but Doe could see in the tension of his body that he was not pleased to see her.

“Come with me,” he said.

Shandolin followed without a word. He led her down, into the bowels of the schoolhouse, into the dark and wet of the water wheel room. The water wheels were made of white stone, and they moved with a whisper. They were ghostly, the flashing white of the stone sometimes visible and sometimes hidden behind a translucent wall of rushing water. The room was as wide as the building itself. The strange configuration of space, broken as it was by the wheels and dark but for the flashes of naked stone, made the place eerie.

Moshel didn’t help matters. He had been in front of her, leading her, but while her attention was distracted by the water wheels, Moshel had moved to her side.

“Shandolin,” he said, and his voice echoed around the chamber.

Doe jumped. She landed against the wall, which was slick from the ambient water in the room, and clutched at her chest.

“You scared the shit out of me.”

“How dare you threaten the caretaker?” Moshel asked, but it wasn’t really a question. There was an iciness in his voice he’d never used with her before.

Her anger rose to a boil in the space of a second. “How dare I? How dare you,” she said, shoving him back with both hands with all the force she could muster. “How dare you hide away like your friends and fellows don’t need you. How dare you make that woman turn me away instead of having the balls to do it yourself.”

Moshel was quiet for a second. “I should have turned you away myself, that’s true.”

RESISTANCE Ficlet #3: The Upstart

Resistance CoverThis is a ficlet based on my novel, Resistance, out now from Inkstained Succubus Press! You can purchase Resistance here directly from Inkstained Succubus (support small presses!) or here from Amazon.

The high desert sun beat down viciously on Salla’s skin. He’d spent practically his whole life in the City of Mages and still he’d never adjusted to the fierce, bald brightness of the desert sun. He wiped the sweat from his face and hissed in pain. He’d managed to get a sunburn in the meager half hour it took to go buy fruit from the sellers down the street. He took it in stride: as head of the Vinkenti Brotherhood, leader of the City’s drug growers and assassins, it would be easy to think he ran the City. It was good that the bright sun and dry air kept him humble and made him remember he was, still and always, just one man among many.

He slipped into his house—a one-room structure little more than a shack in the City’s garden district where he and the other blue elves flocked. His house had no garden. The paint was peeling. There were holes in the roof, which would have been of some concern if it rained more than once or twice a year. He set the bag of fruit down on his table and ladled water into his single stoneware cup from a cistern in the corner. He sat on the floor and halved a pomegranate. He had just begun to eat when Shava burst through the door with young Velo in tow. Salla sighed. The Brotherhood was a family and he, as its leader, was everyone’s father. Everyone’s peacemaker. Everyone’s shoulder to cry on. The one who always had to say no. The one who gave out so many loans he had no chair of his own to sit on. And if he was their father, and they his sons, no son was wilder or more troublesome than young Velo.

“Salla!” said Shava. He thrust Velo into the middle of the room. “This stupid kid, he—”

“Leave us, Shava,” said Salla.

“Salla—”

“Please, leave us, Shava,” Salla said again.

Shava bit back his words. He gave Salla a small, deferential bow and left the house. Salla took a long look at Velo: a very young man, hardly yet a man at all. A good-looking man, a preening and vain type. He oozed the careless confidence of a young and brilliant assassin. Velo grinned when the door closed behind Shava. “You know, the other brothers speak often of your humility, Salla,” said Velo.

Salla gestured to the floor. “Sit. Have some pomegranate.”

“I’ll stand,” said Velo. “I’d rather not get dirt on my clothes.”

Salla looked up. “Just the bloodstains, then?”

Velo gestured to his shirt with a flourish. “A pop of color. It’s but an accent. Truly, though, to bring me here for chastisement, it’s absurd. Surely you see that; for the leader of the Brotherhood to live like you do is something I cannot understand. I ran to escape this kind of sad little life.”

Salla regarded Velo, young, brash Velo. “Word is you murdered the head of the peacekeepers.”

Velo smirked. He flicked a bit of lint off his sleeve and onto Salla’s floor. “I assassinated him, yes.”

“Assassinated?”

“Yes.”

“Ordered by whom?”

“By me. I asked myself to assassinate the head peacekeeper,” said Velo, “and I generously agreed to do so. So, now he’s dead. He was hassling us. I told everyone we should take him out and no one made a move against us. He put three of us in prison, and you just let him do it.” Velo shrugged with a furious nonchalance. “You should be thanking me. He won’t hassle us again.”

Salla sighed. Velo had been nothing but problems for him since the second he stepped foot in the City. “Now you’ve murdered four men instead of one,” he said quietly.

“What?”

“The men of ours he put in Sanctuary will not live through the night. They were hostages. In killing the head peacekeeper you’ve killed them, too.” Velo blanched. Pretty, headstrong Velo froze. The wry smile slipped from his face. Velo made for the door, but Salla was still very quick, even after all these years. He caught Velo’s ankle. The boy fell heavily to the ground, into the packed dirt of Salla’s floor. “You’re a danger to the Brotherhood, Velo,” Salla said as he tied Velo’s wrists together. “The peacekeepers will catch you and hold you in prison. It’s best for us to keep you out of sight. It’s best for them to have someone to blame for the carnage you caused. I do hope your stay with the peacekeepers teaches you patience.”