News and an excerpt from a novel-in-progress

I haven’t posted in a bit. Nothing major to announce at the moment, except that I sold a short story – “A Shadow on the Sky”, a tale of a drone queen because of course drones would need one – to Mythic Delirium.

AND here’s a novel update: I’m currently working on two concurrently, because I’m out of my mind. The first is Rookwar, the final installment in the Casting the Bones trilogy – which I am very behind on and need to push hard at this month – and also an as-yet untitled one that I began on a whim. You know how I seem to keep coming back to the Line and Orbit universe? Well, this is the story of Kae, how he met his wife Leila, and how – together – they saved the entire convoy from starvation, managed a conflict between a lost human colony and a sentient biosphere, dealt with Relationship Feelings, and somehow didn’t murder Lochlan.

I’m not very far into it, and like any baby novel its future is uncertain, but I’m feeling pretty good about it and so far it feels like it’s coming relatively smoothly. If you like, here – with the usual caveats about a work-in-progress (rough draft, may not make it into the final product if there is one, etc.) – is an excerpt.

~

“It’s called infatuation,” Lochlan said, shaking a lavish quantity of Jakanan mixed spice onto his fried fish. “You’ve felt it before, mitr. You know you have. Wasn’t there that fighter mech down at the docks? All you could talk about for two weeks was her.”

Kae poked unhappily at his rice—richly and fragrantly seasoned, but he was having difficulty appreciating it. “I know what that feels like. This is not that, Lock.”

“But you are all wrapped up in her. Don’t deny it.”

“I’m not.” Kae stabbed his chopsticks into the rice and sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose. The day had passed oddly, both too short and too fast, and now, at what should be a relaxing dinner, he was nursing a headache. “I am. Okay? I am, incredibly much. But there’s more going on here. It’s more than just her.”

“Kae,” Lochlan said solemnly, “she’s probably not an evil sorceress. Probably.”

“Probably,” Kae echoed, managing the driest of laughs.

“Ask her outright. Watch her eyes, they’ll get shifty if she lies.”

“I haven’t seen her.”

“Well, you know where she is,” Lochlan said, a little impatient. “You know where they’ve lodged them. Head down there and bang on her door. I’m serious, wingbrother. She’s invading your mind, go to her and surrender.”

Kae shrugged, uneasy. He could, he knew. There was no impropriety in it, especially not if all he wanted was to talk to her. But though part of him wanted to so much he ached, another part was whispering no. No, because he didn’t know what this was yet. No, because he was beginning to think he might be crazy, and she wouldn’t want to get wrapped up with someone who was having increasing difficulty telling the difference between reality and surreal dreams.

No, because the more he dwelled on it and on her knowing smile and her laugh, the more he thought he might be a little afraid of her.

Which made absolutely no sense. But there it was.

“I went to Ixchel,” he said after a moment, watching Lochlan carefully. He half expected Lochlan to make a face, to say something about an actual evil sorceress, but instead Lochlan simply put down his fork, all mocking disappearing from his face. To his credit, Lochlan could usually tell when to do that, at least with Kae. There was teasing, and then there were the times where the teasing was blunt where care was needed.

“What about? This?”

“Not exactly. I was having… dreams. Of my ship breaking up. I asked her what they meant.”

Lochlan leaned forward a bit. “And?”

“And she didn’t have a whole lot to tell me. She said it might be something to do with the future. She said it might also be the past, the present… anything.”

Lochlan snorted. “How extraordinarily helpful.”

“But she did say that it was about change. That my… orbit is marked by changing. And it might be that. Not death, but…”

“And you think that has something to do with this enticingly mysterious lady?”

“I don’t know.” Kae hesitated. His intuition, at times intense beyond what was possessed by almost everyone else—Lochlan knew about it, had seen its gifts from an early age, and had taken it more seriously than Kae himself, at least at first. Even now, Lochlan trusted it implicitly, perhaps more than he trusted Ixchel’s own sight. So Kae knew he could speak this way, and be heard and believed.

“I feel like she is. I can’t see how yet, and I don’t know what it means for me… I only found out she existed a day ago. But I feel… lines between her and whatever else I’m seeing. I swear, Lock, they’re there.” His voice was tight, his stomach the same, whatever remaining appetite he had possessed now gone.

“All right,” Lochlan said softly, reached out and laid his hand over Kae’s. “I believe you, mitr.” His mouth stretched into a small, crooked smile. “C’mon, usually you’re the one telling me to be calm.”

“I know. I’m sorry.” Kae took a breath, held it, let it out again. It wasn’t fear, but whatever had come to him in the lake was still with him, and stronger now. “I need to understand this. That’s all.”

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