I have absolutely no idea how to start off except by saying this:
Since finding that pretty acceptance email in my inbox from the wonderfully talented James R. Tuck all those months ago, I have barely been able to contain myself. I’m a fantasy nut, and when given the opportunity to submit not just for a sword & sorcery anthology, but to James as the editor and Seventh Star Press as the publisher, I was absolutely over the moon. I didn’t think I’d make it, of course.
You know, girls aren’t supposed to be able to write good speculative fiction. *coughbullshitcough*
Then James decided he liked me (he says it’s my story but I don’t believe him) enough to let me come play in his universe. Then edits came (and I made a few diva-ish comments that he seemed to ignore) and went, and then we waited.
And waited some more.
Then he sent this glorious email with the cover art proof and I immediately decided I wanted to print it out in wide format and wrap myself in it because it’s so gorgeous. Wanna see?
Yes, kids, it’s a two-book deal. One piece of artwork, two gorgeous books. My story, Black Ice, is in Volume 2. Oh, and the book hits E-shelves Thursday. It’ll be in print later in the month as well.
Wanna know more? How about a little teaser from my story?
The fetid stench of garbage permeated the woods near Kossuth. Serath Frostbourne knew it was Kossuth not from experience, but from the stories of her Barbarian brethren. As a Tarulan woman certain things were expected of her, including an impeccable memory for storytelling and the strength of a warrior disguised by the grace of a thief.
She had those traits.
She remembered well.
And she wanted to vomit as she huffed shallow breaths against the disgusting odor around her.
Even on this dark, moonless night she knew she neared her destination. Outside the weak circle of torchlight, the pitch threatened to consumer her, to snuff out the thin sliver of peace she carried. This tiny ball of visibility afforded her only three clear steps ahead and behind, but it bled on her right into another dim circle of flame. No matter. She would press on, if not for herself then for her suffering kin waiting in Tarulas.
At the very edge of her light, something moved. In a flash the blade across her back – nearly taller than she – flew, snicking softly against its hide sheath as she drew it and cut the night. A small cloud of dust puffed as the blade sank several inches into the ground, severing the offender’s head from its body. The menace tensed, convulsed, and died as she watched.
“Come on, Serath! You didn’t have to do that!” her companion cried, breaking the silence surrounding them. Nesting crows squawked from their high perches, their wings flapping against the dry winter branches. “It wasn’t going to hurt you!”
“I hate snakes,” Serath gave a delicate shudder. “The only good snake is a dead snake, Mungo.” Pulling the blade from the ground, she carefully wiped away the fine trail of blood from its face before sheathing it.
Mungo Shortwick – who lived up to his name by being the shortest creature she’d ever met, even for a Borean halfling – thrust his torch into her hand and knelt to retrieve the carcass.
“Best not to let it go to waste,” he said.
Serath huffed impatiently.
“Don’t be in such a rush to sell yourself, girl!”
“It isn’t that,” she replied tartly.
“Are you still afraid those monkeys your brother hired are going to catch you and drag you home to marry that other monkey?”
Serath cut her eyes at Mungo, but it did no good. His short back was turned as he drained the blood from the dead snake’s long body. “Hardly,” she scoffed. “I need to get to that well.”
“I know!” Mungo snorted and hooked the snake’s fangs over a glass vial to remove the venom. “I know you feel compelled to save the lives of your people – people who all but cast you out, might I remind you! But you can’t know that this fool plan will work.”
“I do know. I have faith.”
“Faith?” The Halfling laughed and tucked his treasures into his belt pouch. “I thought the only religion the Tarulans subscribed to was war.”
“Not all Barbarians are warmongers, nimrod.”
Mungo snorted. “So now we’re reduced to juvenile name calling?”
“Anything to get you moving, short stuff.”
He turned to her and extended his hand. “Hello pot. I’m kettle. So very nice to meet you.”
“Shut up, Mungo.”
To find out what happens to this unlikely pair, you’ll have to buy the book.