The Rose Shield – Catling

Rose Shield 2
The Rose Shield is my current WIP. A month ago, I introduced Raker  (Here). He’s half mad, but has sparks of unexpected wisdom if you can get over the fact that he converses with the river fog. My main character is Catling, and here’s the start of her story:

Chapter One Excerpt

Hanging Day.

Catling clutched the back of her mother’s wool skirt as Keela picked a path through the market crowd. Head down, she kept her eyes on the bare heels slapping the pavers ahead of her, afraid of a swat if she let go.

“Stop tugging on my dress and tramping on my heels,” Keela said without a glance back. She wrenched her skirt free. “And keep up.”

Catling flinched and scurried to catch up. At six, she was a scrawny thing and easily buffeted by the larger bodies that failed to see her. The market was all shoving and yelling heads off on hanging day, and she wouldn’t have minded if Keela weren’t in such a hurry.

She spotted a split-copper and darted from safety to pinch it from the crack between two pavers. A pair of scampering boys dodged around her as she ducked back behind her mother with a crooked grin. She slid the coin into her pocket beside her carved waterdragon and considered where she might hide it. All over the warrens, she kept secret stashes of split and clipped-coppers, stowed into crevasses and holes and buried under stones. She was rich and someday she’d collect them in a sack and ride a ferry to the sea.

“Always big crowds Summertide hanging day,” Keela said over her shoulder. “The weather’s kind enough and food’s plenty. Maybe we’ll share a meat tart and catch a couple neck-stretchers.”

The mere thought of a tart set Catling’s stomach growling. During Summertide, the market circled almost all the way around the warrens. Tables, carts, stalls, crates, and planks balancing on rickety chairs were set up haphazard like river rocks that people flowed around. Servants from the tiers sauntered down with their guards and pockets of clipped silver to spend however they pleased.

Riverfolk sold fish and eels by the pier. Glassy-eyed twitchers lolled against a stone wall, begging for anything they could sell for a taste. Smelters and smiths hawked pieces of metal shaped into knives and tools. She passed other guilds peddling rag-cloth and rope, trinkets and baubles, lye soap and tallow candles, and just about everything else she could imagine. Cull Tarr preachers traded promises for prayers, and tradesmen from far off Lim-Mistral decorated tables with smooth glass bottles for nighttime luminescence. She caught her reflection in a standing mirror and winced at the sight, the ugly red halo on her face like a permanent bruised eye.

I’m in WordPress Jail

UPDATE: I’ve been released. Thank you to everyone who was offering to march on the jailhouse, hide files in cakes, and print T-shirts.  Back to Bloggin’!

I’ve been stuck in WordPress Jail since early this morning. Connections were wobbly at first and then they just keeled over. The WP Happiness Engineers are wonderfully helpful but no solutions yet. Yes, the problem is only with WordPress.

For some reason, I can use reader, but I can’t visit any sites to read full posts. I can’t get on my own site! I’m sending this from some mysterious screen that I was able to pull up. Hopefully, it will work.

So, if you haven’t seen my happy little gravatar, it because I’m suffering over here. I’ll catch up when they figure out what’s going on. At least, I’m getting some editing done!

Miss you. I’ll be back when I make bail.


The Dirty Dozen, featuring D. Wallace Peach


Well, I’ve been wrestling with a cranky internet this morning. WordPress was just NOT cooperating. I solved the problem by trying it once an hour for 7 hours and ta-da, now it’s working. A miracle.

So my regularly scheduled post is late, late, late.

I had the immense pleasure of participating in a fun interview series hosted by Alistair Lane of Alistair Lane Writes . Al is a poet with a great sense of humor and visits to his site always bring a smile. Besides hilarious zombie poetry, he also has a serious side (I think he’s also a bit of a romantic). You can check out a whole month of zombie haiku on his site: A Certain Point of View.

So on to the interview, I hope it keeps you entertained. I’m turning off comments here, so feel free to clog up Al’s site and I’ll chime in there too.

This is for you, Al.

This is for you, Al.

Source: Alistair Lane Writes 

Welcome to the second episode in a new series, the Dirty Dozen!

I read, and enjoy, a lot of blog posts with blogger/author interviews, and wanted to put my own spin on that. This will hopefully create something entertaining and informative for you, the reader, while sharing what platform I have with the amazing and talented people who have bravely volunteered to take part. Not all of these questions are easy, but hopefully they will give you an insight into the person on the other side of the screen. Ultimately, blogging is all about making connections. Show your humanity, show your love, and support each other. Because really, what else is there?

This week, I’m incredibly privileged to be hosting D. Wallace Peach in the Dirty Dozen “hotseat”. Diana is the author of numerous fantasy books, both traditionally published and latterly self-published, and is also a friendly and supportive voice in the blogging world. Recently she has also tried her hand at poetry… she claims with mixed results, while others (myself included) are more positive about it!

Check out her books on and her blog at:

1 – How in all the gin joints in all the world did you come across my blog?
 – I have no idea, Al. I don’t pay much attention to those things. However, I do remember one of the first posts I read was zombie poetry. I got such a chuckle out of it; I was totally hooked.

(I can sense my wife groaning and saying “don’t encourage him” in the background!)

2 – You, in three words?
 – Clueless, kind, lazy

3 – The last book/ film/ or album that you wish you’d made
 – Hmm. This is a hard one. I’m going to go with a fantasy book: Talion: Revenant by Michael Stackpole. It was written in 1997, but I just read it. A great thing about most fantasy is it ages well.

4 – Where are you now on your writer’s / blogger’s journey?
 – Oh, writing… I’m at my laptop about 12 hours a day. This creative journey didn’t start until I was 50, so I’m making up for lost time. The fantasy genre is as broad as the imagination, and I’m still exploring, pushing my limits, learning from mistakes, and trying new ideas.

I’ve got 8 fantasy novels out as well as a story in an anthology. My work in progress is a 4-book serial that I’ve put on hold in order to reclaim and reissue my traditionally published books – 6 of them. That will be done in August, a huge project accomplished. Then I’ll start on the serial again. Phew. I’m tuckered out just writing about all the writing. Honestly, it’s a joy.

And blogging? I blog between 20-30 hours a week, and after four years, I feel that I’m finally finding my comfort zone. My posts are writing related, not too long, and appear twice a week. I spend lots of time visiting other blogs and love the community out here on WordPress. Hugs to you all!

(Anyone wondering about how many hours a “serious” writer/ blogger needs to put in should read this… I, for one, am incredibly grateful that Diana puts in this time to share herself with us)

5 – A lot of writers and bloggers enjoy taking part in quote challenges, and sharing inspiring nuggets to help their fellow bloggers along. Can you tell us though one piece of life / writing advice, or quote about life / writing, that you are absolutely sick of hearing, that really doesn’t do it for you?
 – Um… well, I don’t necessarily agree with the “write what you know” advice. Of course, it doesn’t make sense to write a book about fixing cars if you’ve never fixed a car, but if I wrote about what I know, I’d write the dullest book in the world. “Here’s a woman typing in her recliner. The End.”

I believe that the human experience is in many ways universal, and the characters’ emotional depth is vital for a good book. We all have that resource within us. For the rest, research can be a blast. I went sailing on a tall ship, and we shot off the cannons. I was the nerd walking around with a notebook asking thousands of questions and wanting to try everything myself. I had a sword-fighting lesson and couldn’t stop laughing. Then there’s the time the end of my javelin flew off and skewered a fencepost, it quivered like a cartoon – do not try these things with people around…

6 – Two true facts about you, and one lie…. Don’t tell us which is which.
 – I used to rock climb some seriously high cliffs.
– As a kid, I had a rabbit living in my bookcase.
– I had a surprise encounter with a bear in Wyoming.

For questions and answers to #7-13 click HERE 🙂

Crofter’s Moon

original images - pixabay

original images – pixabay

In my fantasy world spring truly arrives with the Crofter’s Moon. The soil warms and the old jenny plods before a hand-held plow. Seeds drop in tidy rows, and sprouts peek from the rich loam, tender promises of harvests to come. Neighbors emerge from their dark hearths, shuttered eyes thrown wide in their hunger for light. Hearts venture in celebration, seeking communion, another lean winter survived. The sun blesses faces and beats on backs as the endless cycles of all life wax and wane. There are chores to be done, but the world feels hopeful and alive.

The Crofter’s Moon shines its full face tonight. Enjoy the coming Crofter’s Moon. May your garden grow a bounty and of your heart flourish with love.



Excerpt from the Crofter’s Moon, Dragon Soul Trilogy

Brend’s shoulders rose in a shrug, and he stretched his legs out in front of him, his ankles crossed. “Do you remember what Conall said when he spoke to the lair’s riders? He said, in essence, that the choice to do nothing in the face of cruelty is no different than choosing cruelty itself. I’ve mused over those words since. Every time we look away from ruthlessness, poverty, corruption, and suffering, we’re allowing those things to flourish and grow. Are we saying it doesn’t matter to us? We don’t care enough? We stood by as a people and did nothing when the governors murdered your father. We saw dragons captured and tortured, Morfael exiled, skyriders banned. Then cruelty crouches on our own doorsteps, and we are suddenly outraged. If a child is beaten and we neglect to interfere, who are we to rail when the child grows into a violent man? If we fail to feed the hungry are we choosing to starve them to death?”

Earlin rested her elbows on the table. “You have too much time on your hands.”

“Maybe so.” Brend chuckled. “But reflection is good for me.” He shook her gently by the back of her neck. “I’m trying to choose the Belonging over fear, Earlin, and discover what that means for me. Do the same and you’ll find your way.”

Sometimes the Good Guys Win


I have high expectations for my fantasy characters. They’re supposed to do the right thing, make sacrifices, stand up to evil against all odds. My plots throw them into situations requiring them to make tough choices when it would be so much easier to look the other way or let someone else bear the burden. Some of my protagonists are reluctant, but they almost always make the right choices.

I posted last summer about Big Energy wanting to run a massive natural gas pipeline through my little town in the middle of nowhere. Why here? Because we are inconsequential peasants, our lives an insignificant sacrifice should something go terribly wrong in the pursuit of billions in profit. About two years ago, I became an activist. I felt an obligation to live up to my characters’ expectations.


I protested, but my weapons of choice were words. I wrote and wrote and wrote to anyone who would listen and many who wouldn’t. What we do has the power to persuade, to stir emotions, to record the truth in black and white, indelible, transmittable, and harder to ignore.

We weren’t the only community affected, of course, and I was only one of several thousand voices including environmentalists, recreational and commercial fishermen, Native Americans, farmers, land owners, Earth-lovers, and old hippies (myself included).

We were only one village on the snaking pipeline that would cut through hundreds of waterways and end at two massive export terminals on our Pacific shores. Some of those fighting this war had been battling for over ten years. Talk about resolve.

Well, last week we actually WON.

We won for our neighbors and our forests, wildlife, and waterways. Ordinary citizens raised our voices together and we prevailed over the power of money.

It still feels like a fantasy, one where the good guys win.

The Sorcerer’s Garden

Have you visited Kevin Cooper’s new digs Raves & Reviews? It’s a welcoming place for authors and readers alike. Kevin, a talented author in his own right, provides two services. One, he gives authors a place to Rave about their new releases, and two, as an avid reader, he provides objective, honest, and sincere Reviews. Kevin recently reviewed The Sorcerer’s Garden and left me with a huge smile. 🙂