I was quiet yesterday but very busy behind the scenes.
I’ve decided my blog has grown large enough that I’d like to start featuring interviews with other writers on a weekly basis. This goes along with my limited reviewing as a way to help fellow indie writers. I plan to post them on Thursdays but there may be weeks where I have to change that due to vacation or other things.
Also in the works, I’ve sent out my novella “Dreams and Constellations” to the last traditional short fiction market that I’ll consider. I’m following Dean Wesley Smith’s advice to only send short fiction to markets that pay $.03/word or more which also happen to be markets which could qualify me for Science Fiction Writers of America membership. While I’m still waiting for the SWFA to get on board with self-publishing, it has been a goal of mine for some time to be included in their numbers. So if this last market rejects the story, next I’ll be putting it up as an eBook. This one I actually plan to also offer in print.
This can’t be a dream.
Iona walked through the center of the marketplace, bustling with women wearing cotton blouses and skirts or men wearing only loincloths. They spoke in a near constant chatter of syllables she knew she shouldn’t understand, but she did. It was crowded, the sun blazing overhead, and heat of the earth seeped through her thin sandals. People muttered about the lack of rain, the lack of food. It hadn’t always been this way, Iona knew, although she didn’t know how she knew. She fought her way through the busy streets, towards the temple district, towards home.
The palace was a long rectangular building with many windows and doors, two-storied and flanked by towers. There were memories, memories that Iona had but could not clearly recall, of battles that had been fought between local tribes, leading to the buildup of higher walls, grander towers. She lived inside the palace, in one of the many rooms, but she was not royalty. As soon as Iona thought that, she was inside the palace, in one of the rooms, dimly lit by a single window shining light onto an earthen floor. Her father was there, speaking to her.
“There’s talk that Ucit Zok is going to attack the city again,” he was saying, but Iona was only half hearing the words. Something felt wrong, but she wasn’t sure what it was. She looked down at her hands, noticing the brown skin, the calluses and cracked nails. There was a jade bracelet on her wrist that looked like a parrot. Those were not her hands. And yet, they were.
Her father spoke again. “Ixtar, do you hear what I am saying? The city is becoming unstable. I want to make sure you are safe. I’m going to arrange your marriage to Tuk Baal, the merchant. He is wealthy, and he has the option to trade with our enemies or leave this city if things grow worse.” Iona stared at the wizened-looking man before her, wearing a long loincloth and a beaded necklace with some kind of animal claw dangling just above his chest. He was a stranger. Yet he was also her father.
“I don’t wish to marry him,” Iona found herself saying. And she didn’t–Tuk was a stupid, loud man who laughed too much and showed off his wealth.
“You will marry him. The wedding will take place in three days, during the summer solstice. It is an auspicious year.” A chill went through Iona at her father’s words.
“I would rather die,” she told him, but she obediently took the clay tablet from him to deliver his message to Tuk Baal.
I’ll feature more soon!