Really starting to dig this new manuscript. ❤️
Muscling through a million pages of introductory material and nonfiction disclaimers to FINALLY reach the heart of the matter. #TheFirstHighPriestess
Well, I’ve been toying around with the idea of starting a new writing project. This series would take place hundreds of years before we meet Avelynn but the lineage would be the same. Here, back in post-Roman Britain, in the wilds of Paganism, I’ve chosen to set the stage for the first high priestess on English soil. The following is the very first piece of writing in a story that is as elusive as the mists of time. Will be interesting to see where this one goes. 😀
The hem of my dress rippled along the shimmering quartz path that cleaved the outer circle, the stones of the ancient walkway crunching faintly underfoot, their resting place firmly entrenched by hundreds of reverent feet.
There was a time when entire villages of people—men, women, and children—would walk the path from one side to the other, entrusting the bones and prized possessions of their loved ones to the goddess, but those ages had long since passed, and the inner sanctum was reserved only for the priests.
Though I had been permitted to approach the outer circle with my father, I could tread no further. But even then, standing on the outside, I had marvelled at the earthen ditch, carved from the hill by hands that laboured beyond a time remembered, which marked the boundary between the living and the dead.
I cradled the urn containing my father’s remains, holding it tight to my chest, the weight of my transgression heavier with each tentative step as I passed through the inner circle of polished stone. The smooth surface of the sentinels flickered in the torchlight, blinking as if waking from a dream to see what would happen next.
I stepped onto the stone dais and knelt in front of the timber shelf, a triple spiral carved into its broad surface. I whispered the chants I had been taught, as much out of fear as out of respect, repeating the words over and over until they whirled like tendrils of smoke around the clearing. A gust of wind lifted the hair from my neck and sent shivers down my spine as I placed the urn on the convergence of the spirals and hung my head in deference.
My heart shook and stuttered, my muscles coiled like a caged beast rabid to escape. I had only a few moments before the druids returned. Eyes shut tight, I chanted faster and louder. The words roared like the thunder of waves crashing against the shore in my own ears, until suddenly, the whoosh and clamour retreated into silence.
I knelt not in the clearing on the hill, but in the middle of a great valley, surrounded on both sides by scarred and jagged mountains that clambered to the sky. A mid-day sun shone high above me and I basked in its warmth. A single coracle lapped gently at the water’s edge. Pulled by a force that I could neither explain nor deny, I climbed into the small craft, released the cord tethering it to the bank, and watched the sail billow, leading me across the tranquil surface to the other side.
A faint rustle exhaled from the stretched hide as the bottom of the boat glided ashore and I stepped overboard, my feet sinking softly into the silt. A raven circled, like thread wound round a distaff, its distant call announcing my arrival. When my gaze drifted to the mountains before me, the whole scene ebbed and swelled, undulating like waves of heat rising from burning coals. When my vision cleared a woman appeared before me. Dressed in glowing robes, as bright as the sun, I gasped at her beauty.
Her mouth didn’t move, though, I heard her speak as plainly as if a song bird called out through the trees. Her voice enveloped me.
“We’ve waited a long time for you to come.” She extended her hand and I opened mine in response. She placed into my outstretched palm a ring of silver. The outline of a woman had been carved onto its surface. Her hips and breasts swelled around a deeply indented waist. Her hair swept into the likeness of a bird, and under her feet reposed a wolf. On the inside, Ogham letters stretched from one of the edges to form the word Mother.
The golden vision blurred, the waves transforming until I stood before not one, but four shimmering women. Still, only one voice spoke from the depths of the river and the expanse of the sky. “You are the chosen one, to speak with one voice the echoes of our world. A high priestess of your people, a woman standing with one foot on either side of the great river.”
I slid the ring onto my first finger, the smooth metal nestling into a hollow as if it were always meant to belong.
“As we will it, so shall it be.” The women merged into one and when I looked into the depths of her golden eyes, in an instant, I was transported across lands and time, mist and worlds until I stood shaken in a cold, harsh wind, bathed in moonlight.
I stood in the clearing, my father’s remains resting at my feet. The torches still flickered, though the stones seemed to have dimmed, unmoved by my journey, having turned their shimmering faces away once more. I grabbed the burial urn and backed away, the hairs on my arms prickling, as if a storm had raged over the hill and great forks of lightning had severed the sky. I passed the sentinels of the inner circle, my footsteps faltering in my haste to retreat. It was only when I passed the outer circle, the weight of a silver ring burning into my skin that I turned my back on the power within and returned once more to the world of the living, knowing nothing would ever be the same.
I am thrilled to announce the official release of Avelynn: The Edge of Faith. A brand new stand-alone historical romance, and book two in the Avelynn series!
You can grab a copy of this awesome new book online at your favorite retailers!
Right now, there’s a wicked deal on the ebook! It’s a limited time offer, so grab your copy today!
And to help build the excitement, here’s a little teaser to whet the appetite for more. 😀
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you a fall 2016 release date for Avelynn 2!
St. Martin’s Press has opted not to exercise their first rights of refusal on the second book in the Avelynn series, and rather than shopping it out to smaller presses, I have decided to self publish the remaining titles in the series!
The publication team is full steam ahead, and we are working towards cover design and final edits to get Avelynn 2 out this fall! BUT I don’t have a title!
I’m giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card, a signed copy of the original manuscript, and an awesome printed poster to the winning entry (picked by moi). So, get those ideas jumping.
|Up for grabs! A signed copy of the original manuscript!|
To help you in your quest for the best new title in the Avelynn series, here for the first time ever is the thrilling cover copy for this exciting new book:
It’s the year 871. Charges of treason, murder, and witchcraft follow Avelynn into exile as she flees England with Alrik. Arriving in Wales, they find refuge among Alrik’s friends in the Welsh nobility. Cast out by his half-brothers, Alrik seeks to regain his honor and earn favor with the gods. When war threatens, Alrik embraces gold and the opportunity for his crew to become mercenaries, aiding the Southern Welsh kings in their fight against Rhodri the Great.
Desperate to return home, Avelynn seeks to find a way to prove her innocence, pitting her against Alrik as their desires for the future clash. With battle looming, Avelynn’s faith in their relationship is further tested through a bitter struggle with Marared, a jealous lover from Alrik’s past. Marared’s threats turn deadly, and Avelynn runs afoul of magic and sorcery, causing her to question her beliefs and role as priestess.
When the very friends Avelynn and Alrik had come to trust betray them, Avelynn is captured and Alrik is charged with regicide. The two become separated, a chasm of greed, deceit, and ambition driving them apart. In an act of harrowing faith, Avelynn will stop at nothing to find her way back to Alrik and break them both free from Wales’ bloodthirsty grasp.
An excerpt from #Aveynn2. Perhaps Avelynn would drink from a vessel such as these.
The smell of meat and broth filled the cottage with a warm robust scent, and my stomach growled. Over the hearth, a heavy iron cauldron rested on its tripod, a brew of thick bubbling stew simmered within. A platter of bread trenchers sat on the table. A jug of wine and two fine glass beakers had been set beside them. I smiled at Angharad’s thoughtfulness. I’d eaten little since I broke my fast this morning at St. Dogmael’s.
My photos from the #Viking Exhibit at the Canadian Museum of History #Ottawa
In my debut historical fiction, AVELYNN, we learn about a terrible Viking attack on East Anglia and the vicious killing of king Edmund. Here’s an excerpt:
Aelfgar cleared his throat and spoke louder. “Our king was seized from his hall and dragged behind the pagan’s horse to the forest’s edge. He was tied to a tree, stripped, beaten, and whipped until his back was flayed open.”
Whispers of outrage quivered through the room.
“Ivar then brought forth his best archers. He told them to make their mark anywher…e as long as they did not inflict a fatal wound. Our goodly king was entirely covered with arrows, like the bristles of a hedgehog, yet he still lived.”
It would appear the good Martyr Edmund hadn’t quite forgiven the Vikings for his death if #3 Sweyn Forkbeard is any indication. 🙂
Have a peek at the Medievalists’ list of the shortest reigns of the middle ages.