Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Moth's Story

I've added Moth's short story to the page tabs, or you can read it here. He was fifteen years old at the time of this story, so it takes place about a decade before his introduction in The Abyssal Night. If you haven't read the Echoes of Oblivion trilogy and aren't into spoilers, I recommend not reading it yet, since it details a familial relationship between two characters that comes as a revelation in Shards of Chaos.

In the meantime, I'm not editing or writing a whole lot right now because I'm on painkillers and waiting for kidney stone surgery, which should happen on Monday. I did write a couple journal entries by a character who was addled on painkillers when he wrote them and I'm working on a short about Exi's emergence, since she was dealing with a lot of pain when she went through it. No editing on Arrow of Entropy for now, though. Not a good idea to do final edits when I'm medicated, even though my brain wants me to.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Night Sky

Oblivion sky (Arrow of Entropy) - or the moon over Northern California
Venus and Jupiter conjunction.

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Proof is on the Bookshelf

Little preview of the final book in the Malora Octet. It's just a proof, but I like to have a hard copy in my hands for the last few rounds of edits. I'm waiting on two beta readers to get back to me before I mess with it, but it's definitely one of my prettier babies, both inside and out. It's coming in at about 340 pages in a 6x9" trim, but that may shift a little depending on edits or formatting.

Meanwhile, I'm writing short stories. I've already completed stories told by Mirren Kelta, Delora Narsimor, and Aunfrey Aloret, and Moth. If you only recognize Moth out of those four, don't be alarmed. The other three were only mentioned once or twice in the books. Mirren is the High Commander of the Ganebran military in the years following Sunder's Mage Wars (Mayfly Requiem), Delora is the mother of Lucienus Narsimor, and Aunfrey is the servant woman who helped Rastaban raise Sevilen. I'm in the middle of a story told by Solace Achara, which takes place in the year immediately following The Shattered Veil. These stories are just snapshots into the lives of some of these characters, but I'm finding they reveal an awful lot about the world that didn't make it into the octet.

I've also started meandering about my new project, which has nothing to do with Malora at all. I'm playing around in a new genre, so this story will land somewhere between psychological and supernatural horror. It is told by a teenager who lives in Northeastern Michigan in the late 1990s, so I'm pulling from my own adolescence for this one. I've never played with pop culture references before, but this story definitely needs some. I'll eventually find a name for this new book, but for right now it's just "my Huron project".

Friday, June 12, 2015

Short Stories from Malora

Arrow of Entropy is in the hands of beta readers, so I'm waiting for them to dissect and shred my weird little upside down story. I guess my brain isn't ready to completely move on yet. I'm backtracking because I have all these little characters and bits of history that didn't make it into my books because there wasn't an appropriate place for them. They are now becoming short stories, which I will eventually amass into a collection titled Rain Falls on Malora. I have some concrete ideas for these stories, and I expect others to pop out of nowhere and demand to be written, like the one I wrote yesterday about Aunfrey.

I'd love to hear reader ideas. Who or what would you like to read more about? I'll list what I already have below, broken down by era (though some of them are between books instead of during). I'll add to the list as I think of or write more.

Mayfly Reqiuem
Nova - reader request
Mirren Kelta - early High Commander of the Ganebran Army immediately following the Mage Wars. This story reveals what actually happened to Lani's adoptive daughter, Ella. (story completed)
Delora Faradel Narsimor - Lucienus's mother, just before they met Lani. (story completed)

The Abyssal Night
Aunfrey Tasarian Aloret - Sevilen's wet nurse and primary caregiver during his first couple years of life. (story completed)
Summer Aulani -Tempo's wife in Cascades. She never made a physical appearance in the books but she was mentioned in Shadows of Absolution (story completed and yikes, this one is devastating)
Rain & Ray
Rhodren Briarwind - I wasn't originally going to feature a major character like this, but then I decided I might go into his childhood a bit, probably age 7-8.
Rastaban Eryaucra - two journal entries from when he was 17-18, attempts at getting his thoughts out of his head so he could dispose of them. (story completed)
Mirazen Keltau - Moth was 15 when Tordian came to see him in Reedwater, Anor. (story completed)

Shards of Chaos
Rabbit Briarwind (Aurelien Dirus) - age 14, hiding from Geophorian hunters in Rimara. (story complete)

The Shattered Veil
River and Solace - about a year after The Shattered Veil. They've made it to Liefen and are awaiting the arrival of their first child. (story completed)

pre-Shadows of Absolution
Maple Briarwind - Rabbit's wife, one of the founders of Efilon
Onyx and Thora 
Holly Thula - reader request
Zoli Achara - I'm not sure what aspect of Zoli's life I want to write about yet, but I think Isen's father will get his own short story.

Sand into Glass
Sonara Masiona - this one was a reader request. Out of Arden's three half-Mero siblings, Sonara is the one I revealed the least about even though she ended up having a vital role in his story.
Azfadel Thula - I'm thinking either around the time when he leaves Tiponia to go to Vanora or his early friendship with Arden.

The Crystal Lattice
Bralt Achay
Lorena & Valosa Masiona - Theron's wife and youngest daughter
Exi Achay's emergence - Exi has a connection to Bralt and Terali, but I'll let you guys learn about it in Arrow. Her emergence would have taken place during the Lattice era, so that's why I stuck it here instead of under Arrow.

Arrow of Entropy
I won't detail these since Arrow hasn't been released yet...
Senna and Varadi
Vutan Gira  - childhood in Stixa, before he was exiled.
The Liefen coup
Saskia and Cantha - this one would be post-series and would go into Inga culture in a little more detail.

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any ideas for me.

I also recently wrote a totally-unrelated short story that I submitted for consideration in a Halloween anthology. My beta readers loved it so if it doesn't get picked, I'll post it here on my blog.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

A photo posted by Courtney M. Privett (@courtneymprivett) on

A photo posted by Courtney M. Privett (@courtneymprivett) on

A photo posted by Courtney M. Privett (@courtneymprivett) on

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The End

I've done it. I've reached the end of the first draft of the final book in the Malora Octet. Arrow of Entropy is out of my head and translated into words on a screen.

Even though I've had this story in my head for several years, it still managed to surprise me. It goes beyond epic fantasy and reaches into other speculative fiction genres, but ultimately, it is about the characters. I've lost some imaginary friends who have been with me for twelve years, but I've also given two of them the redemptions I always thought they deserved.

Now I put this draft away for a couple weeks and let my mind reset before I head into rewrites. I have a stack of to-read books and a new idea bubbling in my mind. I'm going to slip away from epic fantasy for a while and explore a new genre or two.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Zella's Wild Rice

Occasionally, I feel compelled to make a recipe or project that one of my characters comes up with. It's my way of making sure what I wrote in the text actually works. One day I'll get around to making Arden's tomato pie again so I can take pictures and write it down. It's quite wonderful, kind of a light deep dish pizza.

This is the wild rice dish that Zella Thula makes for the Metavanya family's Imbolc party in my work-in-progress, Arrow of Entropy. It only has six ingredients, because not much fresh food is available in early February (Erany in the Meloran calendar). When I wrote this into the text I needed to make sure that the ingredients she used could be found in the pantry of the northern highlands. The preserved lemon is the extra touch, a little luxury item from Vanora. I think this particular jar of lemons was Faron's little gift to Rassa, a peace offering, perhaps. Rassa keeps fresh herbs growing in in the kitchen windows all year, so Zella would have had plenty of fresh rosemary to snip and add to her dish.

There are two other recipes mentioned in this passage of the book, and I hope to make both at some point so I can write them out. One is a poppyseed bread, and the other is a cranberry relish. Seeds and dried fruit are traditional Imbolc foods, so I'm going to utilize them in all three dishes.

This is a simple recipe, but I am enjoying the results. It's sweet, savory, and a little nutty, an unlikely combination reminiscent of the two characters who inspired it.

I dipped a spoon into the pot on the stovetop and offered it to him. “Here, try this. I feel like it's missing something but I can't figure out what.”

“Wild rice, currants, roasted pumpkin seeds, what else?” Rassa asked before taking a bite.

“Shallots and rosemary,” I replied.

He swallowed and said, “Salt and acid. When you feel like something is missing, it's usually acidity. We have some preserved lemons in the cupboard. Those cover both the salt and the acid so I think if you mince them up and toss them in it will be perfect.”
-- From Arrow of Entropy

Zella's Wild Rice

1 cup wild rice, rinsed and drained
4 cups water
1/2 cup currants (or raisins or cranberries)
1 Tbsp minced fresh rosemary
2 Tbsp minced preserved lemon
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
2 shallots, sliced thinly

(all measurements are approximate)

Place the rinsed wild rice and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer for 45 minutes, or until rice is tender.

While the rice is cooking, toss the rosemary, lemon, and currants together in a bowl and allow to sit so the flavors mingle.

Caramelize the shallots in a dry skillet, adding a tablespoon of water at a time if the shallots become too dry or stick. When they're soft and browned, remove them from the heat.

Toast the pumpkin seeds until lightly browned.

When the rice is finished cooking, drain the rice in a colander. Dump the cooked rice into a serving bowl or casserole dish. Add the currant mixture, shallots, and pumpkin seeds, and combine.
Clockwise -- wild rice, rosemary, preserved lemon, shallot, raisins, raw pumpkin seeds

Minced rosemary and preserved lemon.

Preserved lemon and rosemary mixed with raisins/currants.

Sliced shallots.

Nearly-caramelized shallots.

Toasted pumpkin seeds.

All together one last time before the big mingle.

Everything tossed together. The dish is complete!