The Rose Shield – Kari’s Reckoning

Catling’s Bane, the first book in The Rose Shield tetralogy is nearing the finish line, and unless some unforeseen computer meltdown halts all progress, it should be out… next week!

The rest of the books are slogging their way through my list of double-checks including Book 4: Kari’s Reckoning. Below is a little snippet. I took out the important names – so no hints (and a few extra pronouns). Stay tuned.

Kari’s Reckoning

He carved woads into his own skin, scored his cheeks and hairline, sliced grooves into his chest and arms. He notched his ears and slashed his shoulders and thighs. Blood ran down his legs and arms, dripped from his chin and fingers. He flayed Guardian’s dagger from his forearm and would have found another place to carve if Lian hadn’t ripped his knife from his hands and flung it into the forest.

The Farlander heaved him up and carried him to the pond. The water glowed and whirled, rich with luminescence. He staggered into the freezing fluidity and lay down, sinking beneath the surface. The light retracted and surged back, clung to his skin, and burrowed into his flesh. His wounds burned. Luminescence swirled with his blood, entered his veins, and lit him like a brand. He rose for a breath and sank again, eyes open, his vision filled with divine brightness.

The world spoke to him, not with words but emotion, an ancient message extending back through eternal time. His blood leached out, blending with the planet’s soul, every fiber connected across the land and water and air, the living and dead. The world drew on his life, tasted its richness, and integrated him into the pattern. Life surged around him and exploded into him, unstoppable and larger than he and those he lost, all of them forever part of the whole. The sensation was love, but not the feeling of love. All the emotions, fear and sadness, joy and pleasure, anger, and passion blended into the rich and poignant elixir of life.

He gasped for breath and floated, his irises reflecting the three moons and a night drowned in stars. The fire in his veins abated and the sting in his wounds faded. The owl called its lonely song. He closed his eyes and rested in the cold light.

Next Week!

Sunday Blog Share: Lingering light

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Lingering Light

by Kimberly Laettner

Our lives flicker in the lightest winds

like candles perched on water

moving with the tides,

We glow on darkest nights beneath

the moon above that aches to be full,

we sit quietly in the moment

watching as time slips past

and the wick falls…

(Continue reading: Lingering light)

Garden of Light

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My work-in-progress takes place in a world where nature is sentient. Living light dwells in every stone, blade of grass, and forest of moss-strewn trees. Light circulates through the blood and marrow of the animals and natives who inhabit the planet’s green fringe. Called luminescence, it manifests most clearly in water, visible to the eye in rivers of purling color and a brilliant sea.

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This past weekend for my “no-computer” day, I drove to Seattle to enjoy my first opera. Though separated from my laptop, I’m a retriever fixated on a tennis ball; I can’t disengage from my stories. I keep my eyes peeled for morsels of experience and inspiration to feed my tales.

The opera didn’t fill the void, but we had a few hours to wander before the show. We visited the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit. The front of the guidebook has this quote from Dale Chihuly:

“I want people to be overwhelmed with light and color in a way they have never experienced.”

Hmm, coincidence or the universe at play?

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I walked away inspired. In my book, I plan to add a scene where a main character (a planetary interloper) partakes in a native ritual. He imbibes a herb, and in an altered state, he perceives the luminescence that flows through and binds all life in a garden of light. The beauty of the glass world was inspiring. How can I resist?

I share my photos – every element is made of handcrafted glass.

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If you ever visit Seattle, visit the Chihuly Garden and Glass Exhibit and be inspired…

Ice Moon

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The dawn of between-time rises gray and slick with ice. Sheets of rain turn to sleet, to snow and back to rain, the cold raw and penetrating. The first of the winter moons rims the shunting clouds in silver, the ice moon, when the world requires far less effort.

When I started writing fantasy, I found myself contemplating worlds without the modern convenience of electricity, worlds without light switches and clocks, furnaces and gas ranges. Logistics needed to be attended to, and I paid attention to the way the moon and stars lit the forest’s night sky, the way the cloud cover blocked or magnified light.

I began taking short lightless walks at night (despite the cougars and coyotes). There were nights when the woolen darkness was so thick I couldn’t see the ends of my fingertips and nights when the luminous moon cast long blue shadows. I began writing with greater attention to the seasons, the phases of the moon, the natural rhythms of the wilderness that were integral to my characters’ lives.

In the Dragon Soul Trilogy, the Ice Moon begins with the full moon’s appearance in the early winter sky. Here in Oregon, the Ice Moon bares her full face on Christmas.

My blog’s green summery background has been irking me a bit lately, so I thought for a year I would follow the moons through my fantasy world. Welcome to the Ice Moon. Happy solstice.

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