Novel Monday: Coming Together

Well, it’s time for a new book on Novel Monday. I decided to go with another Matriarchies of Muirin book this time: Coming Together. Hope you enjoy the story as it unfolds over the next few months!

POD Coming Together Ebook Cover 05
Description:
The last thing Mari expected when she and her sisters arrived in Aingeal City with a load of trade goods was to land squarely in the middle of a marriage alliance. But that was the only way to save her clan and the Dana clan from the Delbhana plot that threatened not just them, but the entire world.

Mixing fantasy with romance, author Meyari McFarland expertly crafts a sweet romance that defies categories and instantly charms.

Coming Together

By Meyari McFarland

1. Aingeal City

The cart wheels rumbled, low and confident, as Mari gently flicked the horses’ feathered backs with the reins. They picked up the pace a little, sliding into a lazy trot that made the cart jolt and rock across the worn stone surface of the Royal Road. Sometime in the last year or so, since Mari’s last visit to Aingeal City, someone had planted fast growing birch at the edges of the fields. They were still small, only half again as tall as Mari, but their fresh green leaves sparkled and danced in the faint wind off the bay.

Behind Mari, nine more carts loaded with wool and pottery, carved furniture and carefully bound books, rumbled along. Banba’s horses, next back from Mari, huffed and stamped their feet before picking up the pace, too. Behind her, Caer’s horses screamed a challenge, great beaks snapping as they tried to break into a gallop only to be hauled back by Caer.

Mari laughed quietly, shifting on the hard seat. There was nothing better than the feel of the wind against her face, the sun beating down, as she drove a cart across Aingeal. She would never understand how people could live in cities, especially Aingeal City with its huge walls and crowded streets. Every visit she’d ever made left Mari twitchy for the open road, the comfort of a hammock strung between wagons and a campfire burning in the night.

City life was definitely not for her. Sure, Aingeal City was the capital, with winding streets and sheer brick buildings that loomed like cliffs about to collapse on top of you; it was rich and powerful. Everything valuable traveled through Aingeal City at some point, carried by carts or ships to this sinkhole of humanity.

The city stank of sewage along the southwestern edge and of dying fish along the port on the northeastern edge. People talked too loud, wore much too much finery and Mari would never understand how they could eat that food. Too plain, filled with seaweed and fish instead of good old chicken or pork, Aingeal City’s food always drove Mari to lose weight before they left for home. They couldn’t even cook beans without making them dissolve into mush in the mouth.

The horses stomped their feet as they rounded a corner and Aingeal City’s red brick walls appeared. Mari snorted, grateful for the wind at her back so that she didn’t have to smell the city’s stink a moment sooner than necessary. She licked her lips, tasting breakfast beans and sausage, before waving a fist to Banba.

“There she is!” Mari shouted.

“‘Bout time,” Banba shouted back.

The call carried back to the last cart, dusty from everyone else’s wheels, then forward again in a cheer that made Mari laugh again. There was some temptation to encourage the horses to run, to gallop down the long smooth slope of the road towards the walls ahead but Mari resisted it. They’d been trapped in the city walls soon enough.

She wanted to savor every last instant of the free road while she could. At least in the hills surrounding the plain there were trees and brooks, birds calling as the horses and carts trundled by. Once they’d left the hills and rolled down into the floodplain they’d lost the sounds of wildlife. Also lost the scent of pine, fresh and clean on the breeze.

“You taking lead?” Banba called to Mari.

“Planned to,” Mari called back.

“Y’sure?”
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Free Fiction Friday: Candy-Coated Courtship

POD Candy-Coated Courtship Ebook Cover 05

Description:

Candy Courtship, Amirah’s favorite pastry shop, smelled of yeast and the acrid bright smell of fresh green tea.

It was all the more welcoming because of the proprietors sweet, beautiful Calliope and her twin sister Hayden.

Four months had won Amirah shy smiles, blushes across Calliope’s dark cheeks but no more.

Could true love bloom amid pastries, candy and green tea?

Candy-Coated Courtship

By Meyari McFarland

Amirah stopped just inside the door and shifted to the left so that other people could pass her by. She shut her eyes, breathed deep. Yeast, sugar, the acrid bright smell of fresh green tea, the sort that tasted like grass on your tongue and cloyed the back of your throat so badly that you took another drink in the vain hope that the tea would make you less thirsty instead of more. Under that was chocolate, thick and rich, and wax from the squeaking floors that made her heels slip and tremble every time she walked in.

Home.

Or as close to home as Amirah was going to get while away at college. When her parents visited she would bring Mother here, would pull her to the left so that they could breathe together and remember Grandmother’s kitchen, the smell of mint tea and bread and thick spicy kahari. It was different from here, from Candy Courtship, but the smells were so thick that Amirah loved it. Mother would too.

Father would forge straight for the counter, tapping it with his blunt fingertips as he considered which pastry to buy. Then he’d get tea, black, not green, and sip it slowly while Mother and Amirah ate whatever pastries they chose. He wouldn’t smile, not in public around strangers that he wouldn’t ever know, but his eyes would be bright and warm over the top of his teacup as he watched them speculate about the recipes.

Another month and a half, that’s all she had to wait. Amirah opened her eyes and laughed to see Calliope staring at her with a concerned frown. Hayden, her twin sister, was busy extolling the virtues of the raspberry donuts to a pair of tourists in heavy coats, thick gloves clutched in their hands and noses red from the cold outside.

Not that Amirah thought it was that cold. Not like home where it snowed ten months of the year and roasted the remaining two. She checked for anyone else coming in before coming to the cash register where Calliope stood in her fairy-floss pink apron bedecked with delicate lace trim. The pink made Calliope stunningly beautiful, much as Calliope hated the color. It brought out the rose of her warm brown cheeks and made the spring of her lush dark curls seem even more pronounced.

“Why do you do that?” Calliope asked in a low enough voice that it wouldn’t upset the tourists or make Hayden start teasing the two of them.

“Stop?” Amirah asked. When Calliope nodded while automatically beginning to prepare a green tea for her, Amirah laughed. “It smells like home. Well, not like home but the smells remind me of home. So I stop. I savor. This is a good thing, yes?”

Calliope blinked at her and then ducked her head to blush and smile and lick her lips as if she was searching for just the right thing to say. Anything she said would be welcome in Amirah’s opinion but Calliope always seemed to want the exact word, the exact phrase to make Amirah laugh or smile.

Her beautiful eyes were more than enough for that in Amirah’s opinion.

“Did you want a pastry, too?” Calliope asked just as she always did.

“Of course,” Amirah said. “What’s especially tasty today?”

“Everything,” Calliope declared just a hair belligerently, as if someone had insulted their pastries before Amirah came in. “They’re all good today.”

“Then surprise me,” Amirah replied and laughed at the way Calliope ducked her head to attempt to hide her blush. “I trust you. Whatever you think I will enjoy will be a delight.”
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I had hoped 2016 would be less busy…

…but no such luck. If anything, I’m even busier than I was last year. There’s a big audit next week that I’m the sole escort for. I’ve got new management, new responsibilities, new projects in addition to my old projects. The husband and I are working on home improvements (a hot tub!!! *excited cheering*) that mean we have to rework part of the yard, do a lot of landscaping and then get an electrician in.

Plus I have a new book eating my brain. I believe I mentioned it last week. I’d done an assignment for a writing class I’m taking and the story start took off? Yeah, it’s still blasting onwards and dragging me with it. I’m 35,000 words into the story and I’m either just halfway or heading towards the dramatic conclusion. Pretty sure I’m halfway. This story has had so many twists already that I’m fairly confident that the apparent source of the blood worms eating people’s brains (literally) isn’t going to be the obvious source. Which means more chaos, more action, more investigation and probably a desperate battle to keep the blood worms adult form (they’re larvae) from destroying the Earth.

Man, I’m having fun with this story! Totally written into the dark so I’m getting the fun of reading it while I’m writing it. Just an utter blast! XD

That said, I did get another short story published last week. Too busy to get the Now Available post up yesterday. I’ll do my best to get that tonight. Plus I have a new novel ready to upload tomorrow. It’s the latest Matriarchies of Muirin romance novel, Following the Beacon, and we get to watch Gwen try and romance Nolan, her future husband. Much fun writing that one, too, so I’m looking forward to releasing it at last.

So yeah, all that to say that nope, yet again there is no official Worldbuilding Wednesday. Instead I’ll leave you with questions to ask yourself when you’re plotting / writing into the dark?

Can I throw this character out the window? Will it make the story more exiting? Will it make things dramatically worse for my POV character? If yes, do it. If not, find something worse to do to that character so that your POV character has to gasp and struggle and scramble.

(And yes, just Monday I threw a character out a window in a skyscraper just like this. It was awesome!)

Have a great week everyone–hope your writing and life goes well!

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Novel Monday: Storm Over Archaelaos – Chapter 30 (The End!)

POD Storm Over Archaelaos Ebook Cover 05
Description:
When Anwyn heard her best friend cursing over a letter from home, she thought it would be nice to give her a hand. A quick trip to a new country to protect Iola from an unwelcome marriage would be a chance to have fun while doing a good deed.

But the trip revealed plots against the Dana that Anwyn could never have anticipated. The simple trip became a complicated political trial that threatened not just the family’s fortunes but Anwyn’s safety as well. Stopping the Delbhana’s plot might be the hardest thing Anwyn had ever done but failure wasn’t an option.

Storm over Archaelaos is an epic coming of age fantasy set on the matriarchal world of Muirin. People of all ages will enjoy this thrilling adventure.

Storm Over Archaelaos

By Meyari McFarland

30. Home

“There it is!” Anwyn shouted as they rounded the point and saw Aingeal City spread out in front of them.

The city was beautiful in the afternoon sun, red bricks reflecting the light until they were almost the same shade as Aravel’s hair, as red and golden as if the bricks were somehow made of fire instead of clay. At this distance the individual buildings along the waterfront blended into a jagged wall of brick broken by the sails of ships already moored in the harbor. Anwyn breathed deep, grinning at the smell of pine from the trees on the shore mixed with sea salt and that particular stink that always came with a harbor city.

Aravel grinned at Anwyn, his braid flying much the way it had when they first went to sea. Somehow, this time his grin seemed sadder but Anwyn thought that had more to do with the trial they all knew was coming instead of any regret over the trip being over. The Royal Sword rounded the point behind them, her sails partially furled so that she didn’t race ahead of the Little Bird.

That was a deliberate thing. Captain Helene and Captain Siofra had spent a stiff half-hour discussing exactly what Berrach had done and who she’d harmed after Berrach was handed over. Anwyn knew perfectly well that Captain Helene’s broken cheekbone had been discussed because Captain Siofra’s shocked “the Dana boy did it?” had echoed over the water to the Little Bird. She didn’t know what had been said after that but Captain Helene’s explanation must have included that she’d earned the broken face fairly. Captain Siofra had winced, snorted, and then laughed as if she was trying not to hit Captain Helene herself.

Either way, after their discussion it was agreed that the two ships would make the trip home together. Dana / Delbhana rivalries had no place, according to Captain Siofra, in matters as serious as Berrach’s crimes. Anwyn wasn’t sure that was the real reason but Aunt Colleen had looked well satisfied with the decision so she hadn’t asked any further.

“I can’t wait to show Father my blanket,” Aravel said.

“And your goat yarn,” Anwyn said, poking Aravel in the shoulder.

“And my goat yarn,” Aravel laughed. “I’m going to have to see if there would be a market for really high quality, very expensive specialty yarn. If there is it might be good for the highlander Azarine as well as for us.”

“Pitch it right and there’s always a market for luxuries,” Anwyn said with a snort of amusement. “You just have to present it right initially. There’s no second chance for things like that.”

Aravel nodded thoughtfully. “There was a royal wedding. I could knit Prince Toryn a shawl from it. If he wore it then I know people would want some.”

He laughed as Anwyn stared at him with disbelief. She spluttered in outrage, unable to put into words how inappropriate that felt. Giving anything to Siobhan’s family hurt. Granted, it wasn’t Prince Toryn’s fault he’d been married off to his cousin. His hatred of Siobhan was nearly as legendary as Anwyn’s. Still, she couldn’t wish him well, not when it might benefit Siobhan too.

“You know he’d wear it constantly just to spite Siobhan, Annie,” Aravel said with a huge grin. “Especially if I knit Dana symbols into it and sent to him as a personal present from the hill folk of Azar to the crown prince of Aingeal.”

“All right, if you did it that way I might be able to swallow it,” Anwyn complained. “But that’s still just wrong!”
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Free Fiction Friday: Tiny Futures

Well, despite my intention not to miss a week, I missed last week. Have one of my favorite recent stories in apology.

POD Tiny Futures Ebook Cover 04

Description:

The solution to Leisl’s construction problem came wrapped in an opportunity.

When Cassidy came over to help Leisl install a tub in her new tiny house on wheels, Leisl expected nothing other than a functioning tub.

But Cassidy was huge, strong and adorable, all the things that Leisl most liked. The temptation to ask for more than construction help led Leisl to take a chance on the future.

Tiny Futures

By Meyari McFarland

Leisl frowned as she stared at the stack of wood, metal and assorted plumbing parts. Her brand new Japanese soaking tub was supposed to be the one indulgence of her house, deep enough for the water to come up to her chin, made of finely sanded wood that smelled like heaven. It was just lying there.

In pieces.

That Leisl had no idea how to put it together. She ran her fingers over the sturdy boards, satiny smooth and just waiting for her to make them into something wonderful. Leisl gnawed her lip until a bit of chapped skin came free. A second bite and blood bloomed in her mouth.

This was supposed to be easy. Everything she’d seen said that putting it together would be simple, a piece of cake. But the instructions meant absolutely nothing to her, not the pictures or the descriptions and come on! The wood wasn’t even cut to length.

Her tiny house echoed with the emptiness, even with the spray foam in and the tongue-and-groove up on the outer walls. Her kitchen and tiny living room were almost done, other than flooring, trim, getting the counter on and appliances in. The bathroom, though, that was a different problem. Leisl hadn’t even finished the stud walls there because she hadn’t gotten the tub in and now she couldn’t get the tub done.

Another thing that she’d thought she could handle but apparently couldn’t. Her tiny house on wheels had been the perfect solution to no money, school loans and no place to live. Get a trailer, build a tiny house, live in it instead of wasting what little money her day job brought in on rent.

Thankfully, Mom and Dad had helped her get one that was half done. She had a brand new trailer, just twenty feet long, eight feet wide. There was framing of an adorable little house, covered in cedar board and batten. The roof was metal and so solid that she’d never have to worry about leaks.

It was the inside that was the problem. Sure, Dad had helped her wire everything. He’d even gotten the plumbing roughed out. But putting in the rest was Leisl’s problem. Dad had work and Mom had never touched a power tool in her life. She could hear Mom banging around in the back yard, muttering as she pulled weeds and pruned the now-spent blueberry bushes so that they wouldn’t take over the world next year.

“I don’t think I can do this,” Leisl whispered.
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Now Available: Broken Sword of Night!

POD Broken Sword of Night Ebook Cover 03
Description:
Jamie was king, granted by the right of the Black Sword of Night. Except he wasn’t king, not now that his Knight and lover Ainsley was dead. No one was until the Black Sword was restored.

A year after the sword broke, Jamie ran to Ainsley’s memorial. Finding the true king meant opening his heart and Jamie didn’t think he could do that

Let him have one night to mourn. Then he’d find the true king.

Find This Story:

On Kobo $2.99 ebook
On Smashwords $2.99 ebook
On Amazon $2.99 ebook or $5.99 TBP
On CreateSpace $5.99 TBP

Well, I’m late, as always it seems. But here you go, last week’s story is now up everywhere. This one deals with the aftermath of death, grief, recovery and starting over again. Plus it has cute boys getting stuck hiding behind statues only to be rescued by other cute boys.

Hope you enjoy if you choose to read!

(and yes, no Worldbuilding Wednesday today other than the earlier Two Questions post. Please check that out. I do want feedback if you guys can point me at anyone)

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Two Quick Questions

What’s your favorite LGBT published book (preferably indie published, not traditionally published)?

Why do you love it?

Reply with the answer and please signal boost widely, if you will.

There’s a new book bundle service starting up and I have an invitation to join so I want to curate bundles of LGBT books for everyone to buy at really great prices. Any genre, anywhere on the LGBT rainbow.

Just reply or email me, answer in a comment to the post, whatever. I will gather names and then contact people when the service gets going.

Thank you very much!

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Novel Monday: Storm Over Archaelaos – Chapter 29

POD Storm Over Archaelaos Ebook Cover 05
Description:
When Anwyn heard her best friend cursing over a letter from home, she thought it would be nice to give her a hand. A quick trip to a new country to protect Iola from an unwelcome marriage would be a chance to have fun while doing a good deed.

But the trip revealed plots against the Dana that Anwyn could never have anticipated. The simple trip became a complicated political trial that threatened not just the family’s fortunes but Anwyn’s safety as well. Stopping the Delbhana’s plot might be the hardest thing Anwyn had ever done but failure wasn’t an option.

Storm over Archaelaos is an epic coming of age fantasy set on the matriarchal world of Muirin. People of all ages will enjoy this thrilling adventure.

Storm Over Archaelaos

By Meyari McFarland

29. Nasrin

“This better not take as long as it did in Minoo,” Aunt Colleen grumbled as they tied up to the dock in Nasrin.

They’d gotten the exact same slip as on the way out. As when they’d headed out, there was a Delbhana ship on a different dock. This one was one of the big warships rather than an overly decorated freighter. It looked fast and sleek, heavy on the sails and agile in the water.

“Three days for filling out paperwork was a bit much,” Anwyn agreed. Her eyes were on the Delbhana crew that silently watched everything the Little Bird’s crew did. “Edeen Pembroke won’t make us fill out a million reports, will he?”

“I certainly hope not,” Aunt Colleen sighed as if she had the weight of the world on her shoulders. “I’ve done enough paperwork on this damn trip to last me for years.”

Her eyes weren’t on the Delbhana. She watched Captain Helene and Flidais move across the deck as if they were joined at the hip. Ever since Azar, Captain Helene had kept Flidais by her side. Anwyn was fairly certain that she’d set up a bunk for Flidais in her cabin so that the girl wouldn’t have to sleep with the rest of the crew. It seemed to have helped. Flidais’ smile had dimmed over the trip but it was coming back as they got closer to home.

The rest of the crew was just as protective of Flidais. No one allowed her down into the hold alone. The Little Bird was too small to have Berrach’s cell out of sight and hearing. Anyone who went down the stairs to the hold walked right past her. Anwyn had stopped going down there two days out of Azar. Listening to Berrach plead her innocence turned Anwyn’s stomach.

“She really was a spy?” Anwyn murmured to Aunt Colleen. “It’s not just that she was a pervert. She was spying too?”

“Yes,” Aunt Colleen said. Her hand settled on Anwyn’s shoulder, squeezing just hard enough to hurt but not so hard to bruise. “Once Flidais confessed to what Berrach did with her the rest of the crew came to me with tales of things they’d seen Berrach do. Apparently she’s been spying on us for several years, Annie. This isn’t new. It isn’t even directed primarily at you, at least until this trip. I’m pretty sure her orders were to target you so that the Delbhana could get you arrested on perversion charges.”

Anwyn raised her eyebrow at that. Given everything that had happened over the trip she could believe that. Something about it was a lie, something about the arrest part of it, but Anwyn couldn’t tell what. Her new sense of people’s emotions said that where was a lie but not what it was. Aunt Colleen glared at her, daring Anwyn to contradict her. Her glare intensified as Anwyn opened her mouth but neither of them got the chance to say anything.

“Dana Colleen.”
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Well, not much of a Worldbuilding Wednesday today

I was busy, as always, and got distracted and here it is almost 8:00. *sigh*

However, I did want to let everyone know that I’m thinking of doing a give-away / special edition of the Blood of the Artificer Mages trilogy. (Yes, I’m still super-delighted that its out and done and everything).

I’m going to do my best to get a post up this weekend on it but right now the idea looks like I ask people to sign up (because you’d have to be willing to give me your address / email so I can send you the books), and then one person gets a signed set of the three books and maybe 5-10 other people get unsigned copies as well. Mostly because I like giving things away and why not?

The special edition will likely have a hand-made bookmark and maybe an origami crane and who knows, special wrapping or something? Don’t know as of yet. The idea’s still a bit fuzzy but I’ll get it figured out and the sign-up post up by the end of the month one way or the other.

And that’s about all the new stuff I have for today other than I’m working on a new short story that’s threatening to blow up into a novel. I wrote 3100 words today and I could easily sit here and write another 2-3000 words tonight if I let myself. It’s steampunky and the POV character is a little person who’s hard of hearing. Her partner is a trans woman. Their boss is in a wheelchair and has an eye injury so he uses steampunk mechanical eyes on brass tentacles to see with. There’s so much that I can’t spell out in a short story that I might just have to expand it. But for now I’m going to try to keep it under 7000 words. Tomorrow. We’ll see if I succeed. (I think I’ll lose and end up with a novel, guys. I really do. Wish me luck!)

Anyway, goodnight everyone–hope you had a great week!

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Now Available: One Thousand Eyes

POD One Thousand Eyes Ebook Cover 05
Description:
Creating a monster was easy when you were surrounded by them.

Kelby’s robots weren’t monsters until now. But his lovers Braxton and Dawson had played Kelby like a fool until they abandoned him for each other.

Now Kelby had to figure out how to go on with his life now that his lovers had torn his heart out.

And he had to decide what to do with the monster lurking in his lab.

Find This Story:

On Kobo $2.99 ebook
On Smashwords $2.99 ebook
On Amazon $2.99 ebook or $5.99 TPB
On CreateSpace $5.99 TPB

Yay for another Mouse and Snake story! This one came from a challenge to myself to write a short story every day in November. I failed at that but I had a ton of fun writing the stories I did finish. I’m about to try seven short stories in seven days specifically because I had so much fun with it last time.

Either way, have a lovely little story about emotional abuse and manipulation and the recovery thereof, plus robots. Because robots are awesome. XD

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