Still Time to Pre-Order

Captured on Film. The next short story in the Songs of the Amaranthine collection will be releasing this Thursday, March 4, 2021. Pre-order on Amazon now, and you’ll undoubtedly get a sneaky early copy. (Mine always arrives by 10pm the night before.) As usual, this will be a digital-only release. Eventually, once I have four new stories (5 through 8), I’ll compile them into a print anthology.

Who are the Dare brothers? If you’re a detail oriented person, you might recall that they were first mentioned in Book 3: Tamiko and the Two Janitors as part of Harrison Peck’s BINGO night trivia challenge:

“On the popular television series Dare Together, what famous cryptid did brothers Caleb and Josheb Dare bring out of hiding for an interview?”  

They’re mentioned again in Book 4: Mikoto and the Reaver Village:

Lilya held Kyrie’s hand all the way back from movie night. They’d been treated to back-to-back episodes of Dare Together, with hints that special guests would be arriving the following weekend. Rampant speculation pointed toward a visit from Caleb and Josheb Dare … or any number of the cryptids they were so famous for tracking down.

Nab your copy to get in on this brotherly adventure. And look forward to Dare Brothers art on release day! ::twinkle::

Pre-order on Amazon (US storefront) >>

ART: Sonnet

Two Sides. Last week, I teasered this piece of art over on Patreon with a close crop. (I always do. Peeks are a perk of patronage.) Seems especially appropriate that I post this piece today, since Sonnet steps seamlessly (dare I suggest fluidly) into a new role for his family in Hemmed in Silver.

• • •

When Pennythwaite called them for dinner, he sounded strange. Strained.

Concerned, Wyn hurried to the kitchen, only to draw up short. Triggs showed up a moment later and with a surprised grunt, backed into the corner. Pennythwaite was clearly holding himself in check, a sure sign he was thoroughly flustered.

Beck sauntered in and swore. “Sonnet, what are you doing?”

“Getting ready for our children.”

Gesturing widely, Beck squawked, “You’re in a dress!”

“Well, I was thinking.” Sonnet calmly slid a platter and a covered dish onto the table. “They’re children. They’ll need mothering.”

Hemmed in Silver
Songs of the Amaranthine, #5

• • •

Sonnet | art by FoxOfTwilight

Redefining Himself. Based on what responses I saw, Sonnet rather stole the show in the fifth Song. He’s a dog by birth (one of Harmonious Starmark’s grandsons, actually), but he ran away from home to live as a wolf. Sonnet Skybellow fancies himself a lone wolf, but he may be the only person who actually believes that. To quote myself (from another story), he mothers beautifully. ::twinkle::

Anniversary of the Emergence

Lunar New Year. We’re nearing an international holiday (at least, it is in-story). The news that startled humanity around the world, that they shared space with the so-called “inhuman races,” coincided with the Lunar New Year (because wolves).

• • •

“Look, look, look!” Coop’s voice broke with adolescent urgency as he pointed at the television screen. “They cut in a few seconds ago. Across all channels.”

He flipped through to demonstrate. Every station was emblazoned with banners that screamed, BREAKING NEWS!

“What’s happened?” asked Charles, because the words scrolling across the bottom of the screen were more confusing than anything.

Non-human.

Coexistence.

Treaties.

Reavers.

Shock.

Worldwide.

“Is this for real?” asked Charles. 

Coop got right up next to the screen, which showed a row of five people on a stage. Some kind of government building, by the look of things. The camera zoomed in and panned back and forth, offering a closer view of calm smiles and pointed ears.

“Back, back, back, already,” Coop grumbled. And when the cameras finally obeyed, he jabbed his finger at one of them. “The taller lady. Dad, she has a tail.”

It took that long for Charles to realize what must be going on. He sank to a seat on the edge of their couch. “Those people. They’re just like ….”

Dragged through Hedgerows
Songs of the Amaranthine, #3

• • •

Over on Patreon, I’m doing a special mailing for the Lunar New Year by borrowing from human tradition. Red envelopes. Lucky coins. Year of the Ox. If you’ve been considering becoming a patron, this would be an excellent time to join the ranks. As with everything I do, I try to keep things interesting over there. ::twinkle::

Just for fun, I’ll pose the same question here that I did on Patreon. Which two bovine clans have been mentioned so far in the Saga & Songs?

forthright on Patreon >>

ART: Making a Home

The Cooper Family. Each of the Songs of the Amaranthine stories has its own part in the larger story. In Dragged through Hedgerows, we meet Daroo-fen Clearsong, whose duties and vows have set him apart from the packs, making him a lone wolf. Used to masquerading as a human, Daroo/Drew figures he can pull off another kind of impersonation: family pet.

“Making a Home” | art by FoxOfTwilight

Fun Facts: Daroo is over seven feet tall, and Charles is barely five. Quite the height difference. Also, Daroo isn’t the first lone wolf you’ve met in the Saga & Songs. You’ll learn more about their choices (and consequences) when that other fellow deigns to recur. ::twinkle::

Every Word Matters

Reaver Classifications. Every so often, someone will ask me for a glossary of terms, and reaver classifications are high on that list. While I mention several in passing, it’s my custom not to sit down and define every little thing until it becomes relevant to the story. (Spare me from blocks of unnecessary discourse.) Pinions came up in Governed by Whimsy because that’s Greta’s classification.

Back in April (2020), someone asked me about Greta’s reaver classification, and since I didn’t want speculation to lead to confusion, I went ahead and defined pinion:

::twinkle::

ART: Songsters

Avian Minstrels. We’ve worked up a little surprise for Christmas, setting the copperplate shopping list from Hemmed in Silver to music. But because I’m shy, it’s a Patreon Exclusive. (More about becoming a patron here >> ). Meanwhile, you can enjoy the companion artwork. Here are Pennythwaite and Thrussel, who are surely more tuneful than Mr. Right and I. (But we had fun with our little ditty.) ::twinkle::

“Songsters” | art by FoxOfTwilight

Captured on Film

Cover Reveal. Due to this and that, I’ve been playing with a Songs of the Amaranthine adventure all month. It’s simply easier to sneak in the writing time when I can finish scenes in short bursts. Progress has been good, so I went ahead and set a release date. If you use Amazon/Kindle, you can pre-order Captured on Film. Yes, it’ll eventually be available everywhere.

One brother believes in impossible things. One brother denies he can see them.
When Caleb Dare’s younger brother shows up out of the blue, he’s immediately suspicious. The two of them live in totally different worlds. But Josheb threatens to camp in the middle of Caleb’s urban loft for as long as it takes to convince him to take a nice, long hike into the woods. They can camp. Swap stories around the fire. Just like old times.
Yeah, right.

Josheb’s true motive is a major hassle. If not a hustle. He’s always believed in absolutely everything, from extraterrestrials to the paranormal. On a hot tip from an undisclosed source, he’s chasing a myth into the mountains, sure he’ll be the one to prove the existence of an elusive cryptid. It’ll be the story of the century, and Caleb is the only one who can give him the edge he needs.
Yeah, he’s right.

Release Day: March 4, 2021
Amazon (US) | Goodreads

• • •

Detail-oriented readers may remember the Dare brothers, who were first (passingly) mentioned in Tamiko and the Two Janitors. They (and their wildly popular television series) are referred to again in Mikoto and the Reaver Village. ::twinkle::

ART: Dun Nippets

Hemmed in Silver. I’ve been holding back until the short story showed up in ALL the storefronts, and we surmounted that hurdle that over the weekend. (Thank goodness.) So I am here with the first piece of Hemmed in Silver art. For those just now reading Songs of the Amaranthine, #5, I’ll link back to the Squee Post that went up on release day (in case you want to share reactions, speculations, etc.).

Dun Nippets | art by FoxOfTwilight

• • •

It had only been a week. Florent knew he was still an outsider in Hazel’s eyes. On some level, he felt bad for trespassing on her safe corner of the world, but he’d resolved to be patient. If he left her be, eventually, she’d be ordering him around with the same breezy condescension with which she treated the other farmhands.

Hemmed in Silver

Time Skip & Timeline

Lord Mettlebright’s Man has hit a time skip. We left off in the summer after the end of Bk1, and we’re picking up again in the days before Bk2. So … roughly 2 1/2 years have passed. (Nngh. Maths.) SO! I’m using this opportunity to introduce the timeline terminology developed by the Amaranthine Council. It’s become the international standard for relative dates (similar to the usage of A.D. and B.C. by human historians) with the Emergence as its pivot. Both systems are in use, with the Integrated Dating System having secondary importance. It’s primarily used whenever people want to reckon time in direct relation to the Emergence.

  • Prelude – before the Emergence, noted as PR. (eg. Dragged through Hedgerows is set in PR. 5.)
  • New Saga – after the Emergence, noted as N.S. (eg. Tamiko and the Two Janitors is set in 5 N.S.)

• • •

To help anchor Lord Mettlebright’s Man in the new timeline, let’s run through a few events.

::twinkle::

Finally!

Hemmed in Silver is (finally, finally) showing up in both the Barnes & Noble and Kobo shopfronts, so I have high hopes that it’s now everywhere. Many thanks to the host of international readers who haven’t had access to Songs of the Amaranthine, #5 until now.

I’ve been holding back art & other surprises related to this story until everyone can enjoy it together. Reminder: It’s just as important to rate & review the short stories as it is the novels. Only readers can sway the almighty algorithms. Thank you for sparing me the extra moments (or minutes) it takes.

On a related note: I’ll likely have Songs of the Amaranthine, #6 showing up for pre-order in time for Christmas. It’s been my December writing project. ::eyebrow waggle::

ART: Her Colt

Fira folded her arms over her chest. “Human men like docile, doting, dainty wives.”

Ricker blinked. “You are not … large.”

“Compared to mares. But my stature is considered a misfortune. I am ungainly, cumbersome. You know, I have even been described as coltish.”

He snorted his way into a whinnying laugh and swooped her into his arms.

“Her Colt” | art by FoxOfTwilight

::close up::

ART: Perfect Fit

Governed by Whimsy. While you’re (hopefully) enjoying the newest Songs tale, here’s art for the previous one. Ambrose is no doubt attired for some new theatrical in this Rococo-inspired ensemble. And the shoes! “The very kind of extravagance that he both craved and could not have.”

• • •

“My proportions require specialty craftsmanship. And fittings.” Which was as close as Ambrose would come to admitting he had big feet.

Governed by Whimsy
(Songs of the Amaranthine, #4)

“Perfect Fit” | art by FoxOfTwilight

Close-ups:

::twinkle::

Release Day

Hemmed in Silver. Today’s the day! The 5th Songs of the Amaranthine tale has released. Please, enjoy. And since such tales are short & sweet, I’ll make this post do double duty as the Squee Post for Hemmed in Silver.

Fairies in the garden. Frost on the pumpkins. Farmhands at the dance. Wyn Outler doesn’t talk about where he came from (or how long ago). All part of the vows he took when he and his best friend turned their backs on the In-between. Decades later, when a letter arrives from an orphan boy who thinks he’s found his uncle, Wyn faces the monumental task of welcoming two children into a household rife with secrets.

Alfie is quite sure Merritt House is magical. Uncle Wyn’s quirky rules only add to the farm’s mystique. He’d do anything to stay. Even if it means pretending not to notice that the chickens are enormous, the cows are a little too clever, and the cook has a tail. However, his baby sister Hazel, who is forever bending the rules, grows up with some peculiarly romantic notions. First love will make things awkward for everyone, especially the three farmhands who live in Cozy Cottage.

Add this title to your shelves on Goodreads >>


Squee Post. If you need a place to react, confer, or kick up a fuss, this is the spot. I’ll enjoy your enthusiasm, I might be willing to clarify small points, but I reserve the right to evade questions that will be answered later in the series. ::twinkle::

[[[WARNING: HERE THERE BE SPOILERS]]]