My last real “writer journey” was in March of 2016, when I traveled through New Mexico, Arizona, and west Texas collecting interviews and images and impressions for FLIGHT OF THE OWL, book 3 of my Recall Chronicles series. I took a wonderful journey to Ubud, Bali, in June 2019 as I prepared to release my one stand-alone contemporary fiction book—NOT KNOWING. A draft of the first book of my EarthCycles series (SONG OF ALL SONGS) was already in the hands of beta readers at that time, so my trip to Bali was not about researching or writing anything in particular, but rather about settling into a better understanding of who I am as a writer.
Writing got placed on the back burner at the beginning of 2020 as I temporarily took on a more active role as caregiver for my young granddaughter.
And then COVID happened. I found that I had lots of time for writing and kept moving ahead slowly despite the daily distractions of politics and pandemic. In the last three years I’ve published three more books: SONG OF ALL SONGS in 2020, BOOK OF ALL TIME in 2021, and BEYOND THE ENDLESS this year.
Now I’m returning to the Recall Chronicles to write a book four: FINAL RECALL. This story begins exactly where book three—FLIGHT OF THE OWL—left off, with Dextra and Jonathan and Gavin on a plane departing Costa Rica. But whereas Jonathan was the main character in FLIGHT, Gavin is the main character in this one. Major reorientation! They land in Santa Fe, New Mexico. So that’s where I’m going this week. And from there I will trace out the journey Gavin subsequently takes, going south from Santa Fe toward White Sands and then east into Texas. I can’t wait to take my imagination out on the open road!
For the first time, this moment of thrusting a new book out into the world doesn’t make me feel celebratory. It’s the final book in the EarthCycles trilogy, and I’ve come to love the characters deeply and to treasure the world that they’re building far beyond our own failure.
I don’t want to leave.
The series started with Song of All Songs, which introduced Meridia, a woman denigrated for being half Melfar in a world dominated by Mundani. The story follows her growth as she faces challenges that eventually enable her to find joy in her Melfar identity while also claiming the Mundani identity she inherited from her mother. It’s a heroine’s journey and it continues in the second volume, Book of All Time, in which Meridia (somewhat unwillingly) rises to a position of leadership and responsibility.
In the new book—Beyond the Endless—Meridia faces identity-shattering conflict arising from her very human desire to be a good mother as well as the leader that both Melfar and Mundani need her to be. And all this in a world that is suddenly much bigger and far more dangerous than Meridia had ever imagined. The resolution of Meridia’s journey at the end of this book still brings tears to my eyes—tears of hope for our own human future.
I launched the first two EarthCycles stories in the depths of the pandemic and did my best to make their publication eventful. But it was all on Zoom and I don’t want to issue another book that way. I’m also not sure I’m ready to invite people to an in-person event. Not yet.
So this time—for now—I’m just letting a book enter the world like a flower blooming, gently and naturally. I’m hopeful that those who appreciate flowers will notice.
Maybe we’ll have a party come summer.
You can purchase a copy of Beyond the Endless through BookShop.org and credit your purchase to your favorite indie bookseller. My favorites are Reverie Books and Malvern Books and Bookwoman. Stay tuned to learn which of these might soon have signed paperbacks on hand for you to buy in their store. And if you favor ebooks over printed ones, you can buy that on Amazon.
Once you have a copy of the book in hand (or downloaded to your reader), send me a photo of yourself with the book and I’ll send you a personalized bookmark, adorned with what may be a tiny waif of the Ancient Carnelian, containing its Song of the Wide Path, the symbol of friendship between Melfar and Mundani or perhaps between any humans who are labelled differently. Email me at: email@example.com
Book Three of the EarthCycles trilogy is nearing publication, and it’s time to show you the awesome cover! I’m hoping to have the book available for purchase before the end of March. Meanwhile, here’s the cover blurb:
They thought Melfar and Mundani were the only people left on Earth.
They were wrong.
The hopeful joy wrought by the dedication of the Book of All Time, with its heady celebration of Meridia as both Melfar Calumet and Mundani Prophet is shattered when a ship with expansive white wings drops anchor off Selbourne. The ship and its occupants depart as swiftly as they came, taking with them a mirror and two Melfar—including one of Meridia’s infant twins. They leave behind only mystery: Who are these people? And where did they come from?
Meridia and her partner Damon must fight through their personal grief to recover their missing daughter and her caregiver Yuli. But how to begin? They have no ships. Perhaps an answer lies in the nearly forgotten Melfar Song of the Sea or in deciphering the original purpose of the stolen mirror, discovered long ago in the perilous ruins of Swarthpol, where Meridia’s father was once imprisoned.
Perhaps there are ways of reaching Yuli and the baby that do not require ships.
One of the joys of being a self-published author is that you can price your books however you like and if the notion strikes you to offer your readers a bit of a gift, you can do it without consulting anyone.
So here you go, dear readers: For a limited time, the ebook of Book of All Time (EarthCycles Book Two) is only $2.99. A whole adventure for less than the price of a latte! And you know Book Three is coming soon..!
You’re spending a lot of time and money right now on other people (hooray for you!), so here’s a little gift for you from me! I’m making one of my favorite ebooks FREE for a limited time (5 days). I think you’ll like the story of Malia Pool, a woman who loves books and who rejects the corporate youthfulness project in favor of remembering who she really is. And remembering how things got to be in such a mess! Sometimes remembering is hard…
Book two of the award-winning EarthCycles series–Book of All Time–is now available for you to read and enjoy! You can purchase the paperback at Malvern Books (Austin) or Third Place Books (Seward Park, Seattle). Or ask your own local bookstore to order it! Also available (always) on Amazon.
My book giveaway on Goodreads is drawing to a close in two days! This is your final call for a chance to win a SIGNED COPY of my paperback book that won the 2020 Silver Medal from Self-Publishing Review.
Here’s what their reviewer said about my book:
“An immersive and visceral vision of the future. This first installment of the EarthCycles series plays out as both a wonderful adventure and a well-crafted prophecy. The economy of language in certain moments is striking, while the poetic flow in other passages makes this novel a delicious pleasure to consume. This rare blend of naked imagination, careful storytelling, poetic flair, and meticulous language is reminiscent of Ursula K. Le Guin at her best. Showcasing the speculative fiction of a wildly gifted author, Song of All Songs is a very special book – an enigmatic and inventive treasure, and certainly not one to be missed.”
I know you’ve heard over and over that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. It’s a way of telling us not to judge people or situations on appearance. But with respect to actual books, people judge them by their covers every single day! The cover is how an author begins to tell their story, instantly setting up the reader to expect romance, thriller, cozy mystery, science fiction, fantasy, etc. The cover is a promise to the reader.
I reached the painful conclusion that the original cover for Song of All Songspromised too much “fantasy” and not enough “science fiction.” So I’ve changed it—commissioned a new cover that more faithfully promises what the story can fulfill.
Sometimes an author doesn’t fully understand what genre they’re writing until they’ve finished the story. This is especially problematic for anything within the category often termed “SFF”—science fiction/fantasy. When the author is an anthropologist, it gets even more fraught!
In many nonwestern cultures, there is neither “science” nor “magic,” and neither of those terms is especially relevant to the cultures I write in my EarthCycles books. There’s only what is. What works. When you write a story set in such a world, what genre does it belong to?
As I delved more deeply into the question of genres and sub-genres, I realized that all of my favorite books and writers can be encompassed within one (or both) of the sub-genres called “soft science fiction” or “science fantasy”—1984, The Handmaid’s Tale, N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy, almost everything Ursula LeGuin wrote, and my latest favorite—Remnant Population by Elizabeth Moon.
I’m hopeful that my new cover—and in fact the entire set of covers for the EarthCycles trilogy—will more faithfully communicate to readers what kind of story they can expect to find inside.
It’s not pure fantasy (as the original cover may have signaled), although it checks many of the boxes of what constitutes fantasy literature. The story’s setting in Earth’s far, far future is a critical departure from most fantasy tales, which tend to take place in the distant past. Most importantly—there’s no magic! There’s more than a touch of mysticism, but those who engage in it don’t call it magic. Of course…all of this depends on how you define magic.
The story is also not classic science fiction—there are no spaceships or extraterrestrials, no super-duper technology. The story is firmly grounded on a post-apocalyptic planet Earth, where much of our familiar 21st-century technology has been lost. The fact that some of the operational principles aren’t what purists might classify as science makes no difference—within the context of the story, these things are facts of life. Reality. Not magic. The focus on social evolution and social relations places the story in the sub-genre of “soft science fiction,” so called because of its reliance on the “soft sciences” such as psychology, sociology, political science…and anthropology? Well, there’s another conundrum: Anthropology studies culture, society, political systems, language, religion, but also genetics and evolution and technology. You did know I have a PhD in anthropology, right?
I hope you love the new covers as much as I do. If you want a sneak peek at the cover for book two—Book of All Time—click HERE. It’s coming in August!
And just in case you haven’t read Song of All Songsyet (what are you waiting for??) watch Goodreads for a special giveaway, going on the entire month of June!
It was such a delightful surprise this week to receive the email informing me that my latest book—Song of All Songs—had won an award! There are some exciting perquisites that Self-Publishing Review offers with this award—including reviews and an interview—and I’ll be posting about those soon enough. For now, I’m just reveling in a sense of accomplishment that’s been rather illusory over the strange year we’ve just been through. I’m energized and eager to move ahead with finishing book two of the EarthCycles Trilogy (Book of All Time) and launching it via some kind of in-person (okay, probably hybrid) event.
Easter Sunday 2021 turns out to be the publication anniversary of Shadow of the Hare, the second book in my Recall Chronicles series. I’m celebrating by making the book FREE for a limited period. (Click here.)
The series is set in a world where (almost) nobody gets old anymore, and personal memories are conveniently managed by a bizarre collaboration of the pharmaceutical monopoly and the social media giants. But there’s a movement dedicated to bringing down these corporations, a movement known as Recall.
Book one begins with Jenda Swain’s chance encounter with an old woman in a sketchy side-street café, an event that sets Jenda off on a tangled adventure of self-discovery and unanticipated social activism.
The old woman was Malia Poole (the exception to that “nobody gets old” thing) and book two—Shadow of the Hare—is Malia’s story.
Unlike Jenda, Malia is a lifelong dissident, an author and bibliophile in a world where books no longer matter and barely exist. Fearful for her own life, Malia escapes to a sufficiency community called Walden 27, somewhere near Marfa, Texas. But Malia can’t escape herself, and after fifty years of self-exile, she returns to Dallas to pursue the questions that still torment her: What happened during that teenage year that’s totally missing from her memories? Is Lio still alive? What is it that Montagne doesn’t want to tell her? Malia’s quest eventually takes her to India (in the company of Jenda’s daughter-in-law), where the pandemic and the collapse of the world-net catch up with her, and where she finally comes face-to-face with answering the only question that really matters.
Yes, you can read this book without having read book one—but if you HAVE read book one, you’ll enjoy it even more, since many of the characters are the same.
For FIVE DAYS ONLY the Kindle version is FREE! Download it now and celebrate Malia’s pigheaded passion for life and books!