A Fresh Start

Sometimes you get an email and it’s like

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And then you’re like

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So here’s what happened: my press, Zharmae, is folding after five years of putting out books. They’ll be shuttered at the end of the month.

That’s ok! That happens. It’s tough out there for presses–even the big ones.

The open question is what this means for me. In the short term, rights to Ariah and the not-yet-published A Tale of Rebellion series have reverted back to me. I am without an agent. So, basically, I have books in hand and many options.

The idea of getting back out there and subbing all over again is fearsome, but it’s also invigorating. Fresh starts are…well, shit, they are fresh if nothing else. This news comes at a time of a lot of general transitions in my life,* and while not necessarily unwelcome, it is has given me pause. It’s a moment to slow down for a second and figure out what I want and don’t want in my writing life.

In any case, stay tuned. I’m not going anywhere. That much I know for sure.


*Day job transitions, kiddo just started kindergarten, just a whole lot of stuff flipping over at once. Things are hectic.

 

#LoveWins Sale! ARIAH available for $1

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The Supreme Court voted today to make gay marriage legal across the entire country. In honor of this momentous occasion, my publishing house, Zharmae Publishing Press, is having a sale on several LGBT titles, including Ariah, via https://payhip.com/tzppbooks.

The sale is running until 7/1/2015, and you can get an epub version of Ariah for just $1!

Support queer love. Support queer families. Support queer books. #LoveWins

ARIAH Countdown: What you missed on Radio Z

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click through to pre-order!

In case you missed it, I was invited to participate in The Written Word, Zharmae’s weekly radio show. The live show took place yesterday afternoon, and the focus was on food in fantasy book. Both Christy Jones, author of Trinka and the Thousand Talismans, and I discussed food in fantasy literature in depth–everything from GRR Martin’s love of bacon to the way food symbolizes trust in fairy tales. The episode is definitely worth a listen, and you can hear it for free here!

I wanted to make sure my faithful blog readers were not left out of the Radio Z fun, though. On the show I shared this excerpt from Ariah:

I wandered east, endlessly east. After three days of travel, just as my supplies began to run out, I found a river and followed it further east. I survived mostly on edible water grasses and fish. I felt guilty about the fish until I managed to snare and eat a rabbit. I wept when I killed it and skinned it, and wept again when I ate it. It was a struggle to keep the meat down; the wrongness of it was overwhelming. Still, I needed the protein badly. After that first rabbit, I became carnivorous and killed and ate whatever animals I could.

This scene takes place nearly three-quarters of the way through the book. Ariah has faced capture, and has just managed to escape. By this point in the book the reader knows that Ariah was raised in a vegetarian culture–we have seen him turn down meat dishes politely, thoughtlessly, out of habit more than once.

Semadran culture, in which Ariah was raised, lives under the thumb of the Qin. The level of structural oppression the Semadran elves like Ariah live with due to the Qin leaks into every part of their culture–right down to the food they eat. They live in poverty, so richer and more caloric foods (like meat) are much harder for Ariah’s community to come by. Ariah’s people live in restricted neighborhoods with enforced curfews, far from the fresh markets, so food that spoils quickly is not practical, either. A plant-based diet is more practical.

But on an ethical/spiritual/political level (these things are tied together in complex ways for Semadran elves), there is another level of meaning here. Semadran elves are decidedly nonviolent, and this extends to their diet. In a social position where they find themselves mercilessly beaten, imprisoned, executed often by the Qin, one form of resistance may be a refusal to eat another being.

All of this rushes to the surface in this scene where Ariah, forced by circumstance, first eats a fish and later eats a rabbit. He has to do it. He has to eat that rabbit to stay alive. He knows this, but in the doing, he confronts a lifetime of enculturation. And he comes undone.

He comes undone, but his body overrides his shame and guilt. He so badly needs the nutrients and the protein that his hesitance is quickly overcome. This becomes the new normal for him at a pace which disturbs him.

ARIAH: Available for Pre-Order!

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Ariah has an official release date: May 28! The fine folks over at the Zharme Publishing Press have already pre-listed it on Amazon, which means you can pre-order it in either ebook or print format! How exciting is that??

BUT, if you would like a sneak peek, we are hoping to launch the book with between 5-10 reader reviews up on Amazon on release day! We have eARCs (electronic Advanced Review Copies) available for interested readers/reviewers. If you’re interested, please email me and let me know if you would prefer a pdf, mobi or epub version of the book!

To whet your appetite, the blurb for the book is below:

Ariah’s magical training has been interrupted. Forced to rely on a mentor, Dirva, who is not who he claims to be, and a teacher who is foreign and powerful, Ariah is drawn into a culture wholly different from the elven one that raised him.

As his friendship with Dirva’s brother blossoms into a surprising romance, and he slowly learns how to control the dangerous magic in his blood, life finally appears to be coming together for Ariah—but love and security are cut short by a tyrannical military empire bent on expanding its borders.

War, betrayal, passion, and confusion follow Ariah as his perilous journey leads him beyond the walls of the Empire, and into unfamiliar territory within himself. Along the way, he’ll discover just how much he’s willing to give up to find his place in the world, and he’ll learn what it means to sacrifice himself for freedom—and for love.

Blog Tour: Check out Ilmarinen by Marilla Mulwane!

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Altana Burrows has always been special.

She’s smart, talented, and quick to learn. She also has a secret, and whenever she tries to tell anyone about it—her friends, her family, the school psychiatrist—they accuse her of letting her imagination run away with her. They don’t believe her. They don’t understand.

They don’t know about Ilmarinen.

They don’t know about the prophecy, or the role Altana will play in it. But the people of Ilmarinen know, and they will help her: a young hunter with a dangerous secret; a talking horse who loves to play; a little girl with a big axe; a beautiful woman in a red dress. Eventually, they will all play a part in Altana’s story, and the fate of a world will rest in their hands.

That is, if they can figure out how to kill a god.

ILMARINEN is a newly released young adult fantasy novel from Illusio & Baqer, an imprint of The Zharmae Publishing Press by Marilla Mulwane. It’s available for purchase from amazon here!

Signing Announcement: ARIAH

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I am thrilled to announce that Ariah has a home! I have signed with Love, Sex & Merlot, an imprint of the Zharmae Publishing Press. Here’s what LSM has to say about Ariah:

Ariah’s story—and the story of those around him—builds and flows, touching upon marginalization, oppression, strength, and community; the fluidity of sexuality and commitment; and most of all upon the cultivation and steadfastness of love in all its varied forms.

So far, working with LSM has been a dream—contract negotiations were cordial, the editor is lovely, and the cover is shaping up to be beautiful. Stay tuned—Ariah is slated for release in November!