Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Giveaway Time!

Don't you love the mystery a never-before-opened book offers? Those crisp pages have the potential to take you anywhere with anyone and all you have to do is read them, no travel reservations required.

I have five signed copies of Shadows of Absolution to give five lucky readers on Goodreads! This is my favorite book so far in the series, but it has been read the least so I'm trying to find good homes and a little love for it. Shadows falls fifth in the Malora series, but it works well as a stand-alone book so it isn't necessary to read the first four (Mayfly Requiem and the Echoes of Oblivion trilogy) to appreciate it.


    Goodreads Book Giveaway


        Shadows of Absolution by Courtney M. Privett



          Shadows of Absolution

          by Courtney M. Privett


            Giveaway ends August 21, 2013.
            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.

      Enter to win

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Cliff

Sometimes my mind gets lost. I step to the edge of the cliff and look down. I have no intention of stepping off, I just want to see what is there. Swirling mist and hanging rain? Endless fields of moss roses? Oceans, endless oceans of churning waves and writhing kelp? Nothing, everything, the universe, despair joy? My thoughts wander and I need to remind myself to breathe. I do not lack inspiration, but every effort is rewarded by my body screaming "No!" I retreat and try to force myself to wake.

I spin upon my aching heels and watch the twisted trees sway in a salt breeze. There are words on the wind, clear as glass, sharp and grating. I can dance with them and hold them in my hands, but they refuse to become tangible. The fatigue carries them into a silver box that I am forced to carry with me but not open. The only key is remission, but relief is rare and fleeting, and bracketed by an inability to accomplish anything beyond caring for basic needs. My body refuses to let me heed the call of the twisted trees and the screaming words. I can walk toward the trees but they never get closer, and the words spit scathing insults which burrow under my skin and leave me dazed and breathless.

I turn back toward the cliff to escape the words and nearly fall off the ledge. I can see what is beyond now. Water churns against barnacled rocks. My foot slips. I catch myself but an avalanche of pebbles drop into the water. They plink upon the rocks and are immediately thrashed into oblivion by the waves. If I fell, the violent water would do the same to me. I know I am caught in dreamtime, but this dream is too vivid to be harmless. It is my mind on the precipice of giving up and drifting into a nonchalant cycle varying between asleep and not-quite-awake.

I step back and look down the other side of the cliff. My inspiration sits on a lower ledge -- ragged, filthy, hooded, and surrounded by hungry birds. He is forgotten by society, invisible, a shadow of the brilliant light he once was. I know his story, but he is afraid of me because I know. He is afraid I will reveal his brokenness to the world and drive him from outcast to reviled. I have told the first two-thirds of his story, but he knows it is the last third which will break him. He doesn't realize it will also redeem him. All he sees is the churning water below the cliff, while I see a bigger picture. I see his frailty, his kindness, his longing to be something other than a waif trying to decide if he is ready to lean a little forward and plunge off the bluff. "Wait here," I tell him as he tosses his last piece of bread to the birds. "I will return for you as soon as I wake. I will reveal your life as worthwhile."

I walk away from the cliff. The trees stay distant and the words still wail. I turn around to see where I came from. I no longer see the churning water and the ragged cliff. Instead, I see the light glistening off the tranquil water. I see a piece of my own whole. There is as much beauty in the distant water as there was in the moss roses, in the violent waves, in my fragile muse contemplating his past and future. The fatigue remains, but its sting is lessened. The pain in my hands flares, but it is tolerable for now. I'm afraid to push it toward intolerable, but I must. I promised my inspiration I would return for him, and he will haunt me forever if I don't. He is too beautiful to be forgotten, even as he refuses to reveal his face to anyone but me.

The sun sets, but now I know it will rise again on the other side of the darkness. The fatigue is temporary, part of an endless cycle of day and night. My days and nights are different from most and not restricted by a clock. As the sun falls below the waves, I notice my inspiration upon the shore. He is no longer on the cliff, but instead standing in the sand, his feet licked by the rising tide. I stand with him and reach for his hand. The water is icy. He squeezes my aching fingers and says, "I am no longer afraid of you."

"Neither am I," I reply.

Note: I took these photographs while on a family vacation last week. While looking through them, I realized they had a story to tell just as much as I do.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

To My Children

To my charismatic son, who brings a burst of energy with him wherever he goes and who has recently discovered swordfighting...

...and to my inquisitive daughter, who thinks underwear make splendid hats and is madly in love with Dora the Explorer,

You are growing up so quickly in a world struggling through change. There are still people out there who think it is best for other people to lie about who they are, who want those who are different to shut their mouths and hide from public sight. I am not one of those people, so don't be afraid to be yourself around me. I don't care who you love, as long as that person treats you with the respect and kindness everyone deserves.

You are very young and I admit I do not know you yet. I know your baby-selves, your toddler-selves, but I have no idea who you will grow to be. I don't know what your interests will be, how your personalities will grow, or what kind or people you will be attracted to. As long as you're not hurting yourselves or others, you have my support to be who your heart tells you to be.

I don't know where your life will take you. Will you want your hair short or long, wildly colored or natural? Will you set fashion trends or dress for comfort? Will you want to be an astronaut or a dancer, a chef or a doctor, a rock star or an engineer? Will you want to play soccer or chess or violin? I will nurture your interests even when they differ from my own because I want you to find what you are good at and what makes you happy and use that to create your own fulfilling life.

I don't know where your love will take you. Who will you plaster in poster form on your bedroom walls? Who will you scrawl secret love notes to in your diary? Who will you ask to your high school prom, and will you want to wear a skirt or pants? Will you choose to marry, will you have children, will you grow old with the same person you loved when you were young or wait until you are older to settle down? I'll help you tape your posters to the wall, giddily take pictures of you with your prom date, dance with you at your wedding, and will support you in any way you need as you make a life with the person you love more than you ever dreamed possible.

Respect yourself and others. Be fearless. Be bold. Be yourself. Never lie about who you are to appease others. Most importantly, love. Platonic or romantic love, male or female or outside or in-between, surround yourself by the people you love and who love you in return, and never let anyone drag you down. If someone tries to hurt you, that person isn't worth your love so leave him or her behind and find a person who is worthy of you.

I hope by the time you are grown up the world has grown up with you. Your parents and much of their generation are striving to make the world better for you. We've come a long way, but still have a bit farther to go, so I hope you forgive us if progress ends up being slower than we hoped. Minds are slow to change and there are still a lot of people who think it is their right to force their personal biases on the rest of society. It's difficult to change tradition, even if the tradition is unjust and cruel. It's time to create new traditions so our children will never again be tormented or denied rights because of who they love.

For now, I want you to grow, learn, play, dream, and laugh. Become the wonderful person I know you will be. A better world will be waiting for you when you grow up.

I love you always,

Monday, March 4, 2013


(This essential oil recipe was originally posted on my vegan recipe blog.)

While I was waiting for some rice to cook I had the urge to mix an essential oil blend that approximates the smell of the Michigan forest I spent most of my childhood in. Some of the scents I added aren't actually found in those woods, but they balanced the scents that were found there to create something invoking memories of of my little world of forts and wandering. It has inspired a little creativity for me, so I think I'll be using it in a diffuser while I work on Sand into Glass. It summons a bit of my childhood, but it also is how I imagine Bethel's Yolane Forest smelling. This is a sensory piece of both Arden's youth and Bethel's exile.

I often use physical props as inspiration while working on my books. I created a runestone set to help me through Shadows of Absolution. Sand into Glass got a set of divination cards that are used by Counselor Corundum and now I have a second sense to add to the visual. I'll have to create a blend that's a little more fiery for Arrow of Entropy.

"Home" Essential Oil Blend

40 drops lavender
25 drops cedarwood
15 drops clary sage
10 drops fir needle
10 drops frankincense
2 drops pine

Mix all essential oils in a 5ml glass vial. Use with a carrier oil in a diffuser when you want to be transported to a northern forest.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Giveaway Time!

In celebration of successfully reformatting all five of my books for wider distribution, I am giving away three paperback copies of Mayfly Requiem. The contest is open to readers in the US, Great Britain, Australia, and Canada. Click on the links below and enter to win!


    Goodreads Book Giveaway


        Mayfly Requiem by Courtney M. Privett



          Mayfly Requiem

          by Courtney M. Privett


            Giveaway ends March 13, 2013.
            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.

      Enter to win

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


It took me four days, but I finally have reformatted all five books and uploaded them onto Smashwords. I've been meaning to do this ever since my KDP Select expired, but ran into a string of illnesses and a lack of energy. The books are currently pending review for the premium catalog, so hopefully they'll pass all the formatting requirements and be available at other retailers soon. For now, you can buy the ebooks at either Amazon or Smashwords and the print copies at either Amazon or CreateSpace.

Ebooks on Amazon:
The Abyssal Night
Shards of Chaos
The Shattered Veil
Shadows of Absolution

So, what's next? Well, a couple of things. I ordered a couple paperback copies of one of the books to run another Goodreads giveaway. It starts on the 19th, so  watch out for that. I also made up some nice little business cards to hand to all the random people I speak to in random places about my books. Those should be in my hands soon. Mostly, though, I just need to get over this infernal cold so I can finish writing Sand into Glass. I hope it doesn't break my laptop again. I also have been working on my vegan cooking blog a bit.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


My cat enjoys being time-lost far more than I do. She also enjoys sleeping on my partially-finished quilt top.
The dream-time of narcolepsy... a month passes in an instant and I am left wondering where I've been. My creativity goes into overdrive but I can't find the energy to utilize it. I spend my nights semi-sleep, and my days semi-awake. There is not always a clear division between dreams and reality and I differentiate what I have really done and what I have dreamed. Spiders drip from rippling walls, disembodied heads float above my bed -- these are the paralytic hypnogogic hallucinations that spring forth in the darkness when I am caught in the asleep-awake threshold. I occasionally have hypnopompic hallucinations as well, but those are rarer.

I lose time. I live it, I function within it, and I remember most of it, but time undulates in an irregular pattern that sometimes leaves me frustrated. During these periods, which usually last several months, I become hypercreative in visual endeavors instead of literary. All the while, I remain frustrated that I can't focus my fatigued mind enough to write. I don't often recognize I am time-lost until dissatisfaction over my writing failures peaks. Eventually, time flips over and the visual is eclipsed by the cerebral as my focus returns and I slip into a less aggravating phase of my disorder.


I'm adrift between awake and asleep,
Halfway to nowhere, regrettably languid.
Worlds and stars spin around retrograde idioms,
Askew, and dripping microseconds into annihilation.
I careen to avoid another day, another nebulous morning,
Where the time-lost slip into Lethe and drown,
Forgetting the hours, the days, the purpose,
An abeyance of everything, continuance of nothing.
Find me if you can, capricious Time,
For I am caught in the maze of the narcoleptic void.
Awake, asleep, and egregiously haunted
By the fickle visions of an effulgent stupor.
Arise from the shade, little muse, little whim,
And recover my lucidity from meandering seasons,
Unbind my perception from sidereal rambling,
And spin my balance away from dream-time.

Monday, January 7, 2013


Those who dwell in the snake plant hide behind sun rays and dance upon starlight. On the backs of cardinals, they ride to battle against the dust sprites who lurk under the pothos. The lords of the purple passion plant look on from the mantle, amused but uninvolved. The tiny denizens of the herb seedlings on the countertop count the weeks until their training is complete and they can step forward to end the scourge of dust and mystery debris the humans wake to every morning. Their plan is dependent on the seedlings reaching maturity. This event seems unlikely, given the black thumbs of the humans who reside in the home realm. Frailty means certain death. The herb seedlings will perish, and along with them the tiny denizens. The creatures of the pothos and snake plant will live on, resilient, and the dust will continue to plague the home realm.

Sunday, January 6, 2013


I've been doing some maintenance on my blog today because I found some errors. A couple of the pages weren't working so I fixed them. When I fixed Published Novels the other broken pages seemed to right themselves, which was convenient. If someone can click through the page links below the blog title and ensure me they are all working, I'd be greatly appreciative.

I also fixed the link to my Malora Pinterest board. I changed the name of the board a while back but didn't think to change the link on the Social Media page above.

And now for something fun...

So I don't clutter up this blog with the vegan recipes I've been writing, I created an offshoot blog called Twigs, Leaves, and Grass. Yes, I am still obsessed with the Oxford comma. The new blog is a work in progress so its look will be changing as I figure out how I want it. My recipe writing is a totally different thought path than my fantasy writing, so I thought it deserved its own realm. If you scroll all the way down to the first post, you will find the three original recipes I created for my family's dinner tonight.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Oat Flour Banana Bread

I'm trying to get into the habit of writing down my recipes so I can transfer them into a little vegan cookbook. This banana bread recipe is soy-free, egg-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and wheat-free.  It is also flax-free to avoid an allergy in my extended family and almond milk-free because my daughter may have an almond allergy. That's a lot of free, but I assure you it is still tasty.

Oat Flour Banana Bread

1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup sugar
2 ripe bananas
2 cups oat flour (or oatmeal run through a food processor until very fine)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup coconut milk (the beverage kind, not the canned. I used coconut nog that was left over from the holidays)
1 tsp vanilla extract
cinnamon and brown sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a hand-held mixer, cream the coconut oil, sugar, and bananas in a mixing bowl. Mix in the oat flour, baking soda, and baking powder, and then add the coconut milk and vanilla and mix well. Pour batter into an oiled 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 bread pan. Smooth the top of the batter, then sprinkle with a little cinnamon and brown sugar. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out dry.