Signed Books

Inventory. I usually do a restock of books whenever I have a new one releasing. Because lots of folks turn up and want to fill a box. With the second Songs of the Amaranthine anthology coming out in less than a month, it’s time to place an order with the printer.

CURRENT STOCK (4thy’s titles):

  • Bk1: Tsumiko and the Enslaved Fox4 copies
  • Bk2: Kimiko and the Accidental Proposal – plenty
  • Bk3: Tamiko and the Two Janitors 3 copies
  • Bk4: Mikoto and the Reaver Village6 copies
  • Bk5: Fumiko and the Finicky Nestmate – plenty
  • Governed by Whimsy: The Anthology3 copies

PRICE CHANGES

My costs have gone up (print costs, shipping costs from the printer, shipping costs to readers, and taxes), so I’ve had to nudge up the price of my author-signed copies from $25 (USD) to $27 (includes shipping in the US). Also, I’m planning to add to/adjust some of your payment options. Hoping to have everything in place by May 1 (a few days away). More about those changes on Sunday.

SIGNED BOOKS PAGE >>

ART: Pitterhind

Ephemera. I recently commissioned four pieces of art from someone who does amazing things with flora & fauna. So I paired Ephemera with significant flowers from the Amaranthine Saga, and the results have been charming! First up, a pitterhind.

Pitterhind | art by Ren

The whistling flutter of wings drew Hazel’s attention to the shrub, where two pitterhinds swung low for a landing. Even in the pre-dawn dim, she could see enough to tell the male and female apart as they scampered on clever paws toward their nest.
Pea green fur.
Tufted tails.
Tiny antlers.
Adorable.
She’d always wanted to catch and tame one. If only Pennythwaite didn’t keep insisting he was allergic.

Hemmed in Silver (Songs of the Amaranthine, #5)

He spent twenty minutes on his belly in the moss, waiting for an antlered mouse thingie to decide he wasn’t a threat.
The instant the shutter snapped, it was gone in a flurry of wings.
Cute little weirdo.
He almost felt bad for scaring it off.

Captured on Film (Songs of the Amaranthine, #6)

A tiny paw reached between the fingers, accompanied by a soft peep.
Rinloo’s tail wagged. “Joonta was right. The Ephemera around here are mostly tame. Will he run if I turn him loose?”
“No,” said Cedar. “I am here and so is Char.”
Mother Moss bustled in, a milk can in each arm. “Ephemera may run from predators, but they fly to imps and reavers alike.”
Slowly, Rinloo parted his fingers. The pitterhind sat back on its haunches and spread its wings. Then in a streak of green fur, it launched itself at Char, who cuddled it to his chest and stroked its head, right between its tiny antlers.

Bathed in Moonlight (Songs of the Amarathine, #7)

. . .

And the flowers? They’re of the same variety as Zuzu’s (from Fumiko and the Finicky Nestmate), which are also the dominant variety of Amaranthine tree on the island that the Farroost clan calls home.

Quarterly Art Card

Vernal Equinox. The box from my printer arrived with the art cards I prepared for my patrons. This month’s Quarterly Art Card features a brand new, exclusive story snippet for Akira & Suuzu that’s set near the end of Bk5: Fumiko and the Finicky Nestmate. If you want to catch this and future mailings, consider the leap to patronage. I’d be grateful. And I’ll do my best to spoil you. ::twinkle::

forthright on Patreon >>

ART: Nestmates

Akira and Suuzu. They’re the closest of friends, the lifelong sort. And their story threads straight through the Amaranthine Saga. We haven’t had art of them since they were in middle school, so it was time for an update.

“Nestmates” | art by FoxOfTwilight

Quarterly Art Card. As most of you are probably aware, I create art cards as thank yous for my patrons. More and more, I’ve begun including story snippets on them. Little scenes or outtakes. The next Quarterly Art Card will go out in March, coinciding with the vernal equinox, and THIS is the art I chose to feature. AND I’ve written a scene to go with it, just a private moment between Akira and Suuzu, set near the end of Fumiko and the Finicky Nestmate. Completely original. So if you want MOAR of these nestmates, I hope you’ll consider joining the ranks of supporters over on Patreon >>

zoom in

ART: Noble Son

Pocket Puppy. When Mikoto receives the gift that is, was, and always will be Glint Starmark’s answer to grief, he looks for a name that’ll be just right. His puppy is tiny, just a puffball, really … especially compared to a big guy like Mikoto.

Noble Son | art by FoxOfTwilight

The puppy was a bigger handful than he would have guessed. Not literally, of course. He was more of a scant handful, barely large enough to count as canine. Especially in a village where Kith-partnered battlers rode their dogs.
The girls had been quick to suggest names. All of them cutesy. But Mikoto firmly rejected them. He wasn’t leaving something so important to them. Plus, he’d wanted a name with more dignity. Which had brought Yulin to mind. And then the name was suddenly there and perfectly right. A doggish name that was already an endearment. Noble.

Lots of other Mikoto art. Follow his tag >>

Cover Reveal

Pimiko and the Uncharted Island. Many of you already know the name of the next book in the Amaranthine Saga. It’s become tradition to include the title at the back of my ebooks … and to include both the title and summary in print editions. As an added bonus, those who order signed copies always receive swag that offers a full-color sneak peek of the next book cover. Let’s make this official!

He leads an elite taskforce. She did, too. On television.  

After the finale of her dazzlingly successful television drama, Pim Moonprowl packs her bags and books passage to a secretive resort that makes alluring claims. She’ll pay anything, promise anything, do anything to find out if they’re true. On an island that’s not on maps, Pim encounters a silver-tongued doctor, a kindred soul, a caged star, and a clever monkey. This is her big chance to put into practice the skills she gained from eight seasons on an elite taskforce.

Boon can almost taste his prey, he’s that close. If only he hadn’t run up against a barrier in the middle of the ocean. He puts out a call and calls in a favor. There’s a plan in place, and reinforcements are en route, but Boon is restless to run the Rogue to ground. Taking a risk—definitely his style—lands him with a couple of responsibilities he really didn’t need, and both of them are female.

COMING IN AUTUMN 2022

• • •

add to your shelves on Goodreads >>

Every Word Matters

Amaranthine Saga. From the very beginning (in Book 1, in fact), I refer to the Saga & Songs. They’re both a part of Amaranthine lore and a clan tradition, since the sharing of stories (much like the sharing of names) is a way of life for those who have the luxury of time. Stories connect them. “Saga” recurs in the name of Keishi’s integrated high school, in Hisoka Twineshaft’s educational initiative in America, and as the name of the current era in the new calendar system (post-Emergence years are noted as N.S. for New Saga).

Glint had never given much credence to the sagas of storytellers, but lore seemed to be springing to life all around him.

Marked by Stars (Songs of the Amaranthine, #1)

I’ll show them,” Stewart offered. “This news may make our … situation easier to explain.”
Cedric muttered darkly.
“This way, please.” The younger man hurried to a nearby study and pressed a button. As a large screen slid into view, he addressed Tsumiko. “The Spokesperson’s announcement has captured the world’s attention … and imagination. He cherishes a human woman. From two species springs a third. He has transformed the Emergence into a love story.”
“Dogs do love their sagas and songs,” said Argent. 

Tsumiko and the Enslaved Fox (Amaranthine Saga, #1)

Hisoka Twineshaft himself had delivered the opening address, reason enough for the news crews and paparazzi cordoned off in a sizeable section to one side of the auditorium. Spokesperson Twineshaft extolled New Saga students as the world’s future, a generation committed to living in harmony. And he’d pressed home one surprising point: they weren’t the same. And they didn’t need to be. New Saga’s students would be an example to the world—exploring their differences, finding their balance, forging the bonds of trust.

Kimiko and the Accidental Proposal (Amaranthine Saga, #2)

Miss Tamiko Reaverson, age twenty-nine, attended the recent New Saga conference for educators as an applicant for Hisoka Twineshaft’s school revitalization project. While there, she caught the attention of one of the organizers, who flagged her name in the system.”

Tamiko and the Two Janitors (Amaranthine Saga, #3)

“Isla, what can you tell us about Impressions?”
“Yes. Right. Quite.” He could hear the relief in Isla’s acceptance of the change in subject. “As it happens, I’ve had access to most of the old sagas. The collection at Kikusawa Shrine remains the most extensive, and thanks to the Miyabe family’s efforts, completely uncensored.”
“Sorry, sorry,” interrupted Tenma. “By sagas, do you mean stories like the one Kimiko borrowed for her courtship?”
“The Wolf and the Moon Maiden,” Isla supplied. “And yes. The sagas refer to the oldest heroic tales. Some belong to individual clans. Some are shared freely, usually by storytellers during a Song Circle. Oral tradition is more common, but many clans—like the Dimityblest—are compulsive about written records.”

Mikoto and the Reaver Village (Amaranthine Sage, #4)

ART: Roommates

Colt and Hallow. More art for Fumiko and the Finicky Nestmate, which rounds out the six who make up “Hisoka’s finest.” Boon & Moon are partners. Juuyu and Sinder are partners. And here are Colt and Hallow.

Roommates | art by FoxOfTwilight

Since When? Hallow was first introduced back in Governed by Whimsy. At the time, he was still an adolescent.

“You need to meet my friend. Hallow and I share a compartment. We’ve been friends since he was just a little guy.” Turning expectantly toward the door, Colt said, “Come along, Hallow. She’s warded.”
After a moment’s hesitation, Hallow stepped into the open. He was slim and pale, a youth with sharp features and a stiff manner. Straight black hair hung loose around his shoulders, and he glanced around the room with deep red eyes.
“Come along, Hallow,” Colt repeated. “Don’t be such a grump.”
Flashing a look of injury, Hallow flowed across the room with a swooping gait that caused the leathery folds that webbed under his arms to billow slightly. He presented himself to Greta with a silent bow.

Governed by Whimsy (Songs 04)

In Governed by Whimsy, Colt is the theater company’s healer. If you piece together the pertinent details, you’ll figure out that both Colt and Hallow are from the Glintrubble cooperative. “Glintrubble is a cooperative that specializes in mining and shaping the stones that amplify a reaver’s abilities. Their community includes horses, rabbits, and bats. And reavers, of course” (Michael Ward, Tsumiko and the Enslaved Fox). Yes, Hallow is a grandson of Trisk & Glinna Brunwinger.

His regional accent was a match for Colt’s, lending credence to their long association. “How do you do?
My name is Hallow Brunwinger. I apologize for withholding myself from association. Especially if my presence can bring some comfort.”
“You’re … half?”
“Yes.” He lifted an arm, giving her a clearer look at a misfit wing. “Bat clan.”
Greta asked, “Your mother?”
“She is well enough. My father was human.” Hallow’s gaze turned apologetic. “I’m not sure what any of you expect from me. It’s not as if I was much use during my own birthing.”
Colt slung his arm around Hallow’s shoulders. “You’re here. Isn’t that enough?”

Governed by Whimsy (Songs 04)

More than two centuries later, readers caught another glimpse of this duo in Mikoto and the Reaver Village. Sinder mentions them in passing, because he’s close to them. (Two words: elite taskforce.)

  • Lost in a daydream in which Juuyu and Hallow were sent to extract him, Sinder nearly missed his cue.
  • The man smoothed the shirt over his back, pulled free his thick braid, chafed his arms—all the fussing made Sinder miss Colt.
  • Surely there was some strategic significance here. Offensive and defensive potential? A possible means of protection, both for them and for their sibling? Hallow would figure it out if anyone could.
  • “Are they insane?” he muttered. Hallow was obsessed with tuned crystals, so Sinder had been exposed to every variation known to carry Cadmiel’s song. That’s why he knew that this rookie scheme might actually work. But not necessarily in the way they hoped.
  • Hallow must have grabbed the phone because his voice came sharp and clear. “Get to him. Immediately. His crystal’s vibrating nearly to pieces, and its song tells of pain.”

Mikoto and the Reaver Village

Which brings us to Book 5 in the Amaranthine Saga, when Fumiko meets the oft-mentioned “elite taskforce.” Hallow’s all grown up now.

**NOTE** If you haven’t yet read Fumiko and the Finicky Nestmate, the remainder of this post contains excerpts which might be considered spoilers. Comments are also suspect. You have been warned.

::twinkle::

Every Name a Story

Pack Nickname. We’ve seen more than a few nicknames doled out by dogs and wolves alike. They’re a gift of sorts, denoting trust and belonging. The exchanging of nicknames can also be used to formalize a pact.

Do you recall which folks have earned the following nicknames?

  • Devotion
  • Penny
  • Posy
  • Homemaker
  • Paltry
  • Flourish
  • Angel

Every Word Matters

Shelter Me. We’ve encountered several reaver classifications with each new installment of the Saga & Songs. Many of you picked up on a tiny detail in Book 3, where Argent refers to Tsumiko as a bastion. In essence, those with a bastion’s classification serve as an anchor for the wards and barriers that protect a location. Usually, this means they have to stay put.

Argent was inclined to agree. “You would not be the first unofficial beacon. My own bondmate is unregistered, yet she has been acknowledged as both beacon and bastion.”

Tamiko and the Two Janitors (Amaranthine Saga, #3)

“I was bought and brought to become this enclave’s anchor, and I was raised in the Amaranthine style. They don’t send away their children.” Jiminy kept his eyes on the road as she guided the car toward the highway. “I don’t often leave campus, so this is something of an adventure.”

Tamiko and the Two Janitors (Amaranthine Saga, #3)

Fira could feel her cheeks warming. Pushing the stone toward the center of the table, she asked, “Why do I have to do this, anyhow? I thought Lufu is the one you want for an anchor. The stones like her, and she makes them happy. Train her.”

Followed by Thunder (Songs of the Amaranthine, #2)

Brew & Bubble

As Seen on Patreon. Whether you call it boba tea, bubble tea, or even pearl shakes, these drinks are something I first discovered when I moved to California. I’ve tried so many flavors! My favorites are a Vietnamese coffee shake & several of the real fruit smoothies my local Boba Bar serves up. Just yesterday, I was craving a melon one. Lovely stuff.

If you’re a patron (or if you ordered a signed book from me), you may have received one of the promotional postcards pictured below, which includes a short story snippet (on the reverse) that takes place in the setting of Fumiko and the Finicky Nestmate. Brew & Bubble is the coffee shop at a local museum/art center, and they serve both coffee & assorted teas (including those boba smoothies I love). The art turned out so cute, we put it on totes! Now available.

forthright on Patreon >>

SHOPS! >>

ART: Lost Harbor Lockets

Added security, you understand.” When Argent Mettlebright sets his trap for the Gentlemen Bandit, he arranges for a security team he can trust. So Juuyu Farroost meets the formidable duo known as the Lost Harbor Lockets. ::twinkle::

Lost Harbor Lockets | art by FoxOfTwilight

. . .

“Curious?” The woman smiled broadly and crooked a finger. “You can look, but don’t touch. They’re loaded.”
The sigils stood out like lace upon her skin, inked in white, shimmering with power.
“These are what I like to call a competitive edge.” She turned, encouraging his perusal. “This set has shields for deflective attacks. Ever been hit by an airbag in a moving car?”
Juuyu’s eyes widened.
So did her smile. “Broke my nose once. Gave me the idea. Defensive measures can pack a wallop. So does my partner. I’m Magda Locket, by the way. We’re the Lost Harbor Lockets.”
As if he should recognize them.
He met her palms and admitted, “I am … unfamiliar.”
“Seriously?” Magda propped a hand on her hip. “We’re on the battler circuit. The games are televised and everything. Ever watch any extreme sports? No?”
“I apologize.”

Fumiko and the Finicky Nestmate
Amaranthine Saga, #5

Every Name a Story

Bathed in Moonlight. There are several wolves in the new short story, and most of them are dexes. We actually get a proper introduction to one of them, so in honor of release day, I’m posting Henloo’s. ::twinkle::

I suppose next, you’ll be wanting a full listing of the Seven Score Moons? I’ll have Sinder print out a copy for you, too.