Maker’s Day 11

Each Wednesday on the blog, I’ll share a small prompt as food for reflection. Maybe you’ll also find it inspires you to make some art.

Today’s prompt is a word:

What images, sounds, feelings, etc. might this word evoke? In what ways or contexts do you experience surprise? Is the idea of it overall positive, to you, or is it more complicated?

If you’d like, please feel free to share thoughts and responses to the prompt in the comments. On Facebook, I’ve also started a “Maker’s Day Sharing Group” where we can talk about the prompts and support each other’s creativity. New members are always welcome!

You can find all the Maker’s Day prompts together here. If you’d like to receive the prompts weekly, please consider subscribing to the blog. Thanks for visiting!

It’s a Real Book!

It’s getting real! Preorders are available now for my new novel Fourteen Stones, and I’m thrilled to share the cover. Will Thompson, the artist with my publisher The Patchwork Raven, did an incredible job turning a product of my imagination into a beautiful design.

Cover reveal!

The building in this picture is a Circle House. Circle Houses have tremendous significance in Namora, one of the two countries featured in the novel. They’re places of worship, and equally importantly, places for communities to gather and for people to find rest, strength, and hope. My favorite character, Ribas Silvaikas, is a priest who serves in the Circle House of his home village, Lida. From Fourteen Stones:

Back in the square [of Lida village], one building made of gray stone stood out in the cluster of white-painted shops and houses. Its shape made it unusual too: it was perfectly round, with a conical wooden roof whose point reached higher into the sky than any of the peaked tiled roofs around it.

This was Lida’s Circle House. Here, on Pirdina, the First Day of every week, all the villagers came together to worship the goddess Kenavi. No one able to leave their house would miss that tribute. Throughout the week, the House’s doors stood open from morning to night. Anyone in need of the Goddess’s guidance, or quiet time alone in the cool circle of the stone walls, might go in and set down, for a while, whatever burdens they had brought with them.

When my publisher asked if I had thoughts for the cover design, my first thought was I’m no visual artist. 😉 Then I thought it would be awesome if we could feature a Circle House, but I knew I’d never manage to draw one myself. Will Thompson was brilliant at turning the image I’ve carried in my head for years into a real depiction of the place.

This is a sketch that Will worked from: my rough drawing of Lida’s Circle House complex. The blue box shows the relevant part. Like I said, I’m no visual artist.

The Patchwork Raven is a small indie press that handles all its own production and distribution. When I first spoke with Jax Goss, who runs the press, she said she would completely understand if signing my book over to her felt “too rebellious” to me, too far away from the traditional publishing model that a lot of us writers think we have to pursue. I’ll admit, it did feel a bit like going out on a limb. But what mattered most to me was Jax’s complete support for and delight in Fourteen Stones. I couldn’t ask for a better partner in this venture.

Which brings me to the “getting real” part of this post: as mentioned, preorders are now available! The Patchwork Raven is having a PledgeMe crowdfunder to support the first print run. When you pledge to the campaign, you can choose your rewards: an e-book, a print book, a package that includes artwork, and other rewards which we’ll be adding as we go. When you pledge the cost of a print or e-book, you’re preordering your copy of the book, and you’ll receive it in October.

By pledging, you’re supporting me, Fourteen Stones, and The Patchwork Raven. Indie presses are wonderful about championing their writers, giving us fair contracts, and respecting our work. They’re also an essential voice in the publishing world, where traditional presses so often go with “safe” commercial options. Indies give more voices and stories a place at the table.

Interested? Please check out the link below to visit the crowdfunder and make a pledge if you’d like. If you need a little more convincing, I’ve also included a vid of my top five reasons (only a little tongue-in-cheek 😉 ) to read this particular book. Please note: we’ll need all pledges by August 31, to hit our crowdfunder target!

Fourteen Stones crowdfunder link!

As always, thanks so much for visiting the blog. If you’d like to receive weekly updates, as well as Maker’s Day prompts every Wednesday, please consider subscribing. See you next time!

Maker’s Day 10

Each Wednesday on the blog, I’ll share a small prompt as food for reflection. Maybe you’ll also find it inspires you to make some art.

Today’s prompt is a musical one: Prelude in D Minor, from Book 2 of The Well-Tempered Clavier, by J.S. Bach. What does it inspire for you?

If you’d like, please feel free to share thoughts and responses to the prompt in the comments. On Facebook, I’ve also started a “Maker’s Day Sharing Group” where we can talk about the prompts and support each other’s creativity. New members are always welcome!

You can find all the Maker’s Day prompts together here. If you’d like to receive the prompts weekly, please consider subscribing to the blog. Thanks for visiting!

The Writing Cave

Our crowdfunder for Fourteen Stones’s launch is coming very soon! I’m so excited to share this book with you. Today, as we gear up for the start of the crowdfunder, I thought I’d share a little “virtual tour” of the place where my novel took shape.

I’m not the greatest housekeeper (in fact, if there’s a list of good housekeepers, my name is nowhere in its remotest vicinity). To put it mildly, my space is cluttered, usually chaotic, but I love it anyway.

The writing space

My writing desk, which is pretty much invisible under all the stuff, was an antique-store find ten years ago, when my husband and I moved into our house and I set up my own office for the first time. The desk is a narrow secretary with pigeonholes and a front you can close, which I never do. Here you can see the playlist up on my trusty laptop, and the pile of notes I always keep around, and in honor of Fourteen Stones, the sketches I drew four years ago when I was fleshing out my fictional world. I’ve kept those drawings up ever since, as a promise to myself that the book would be out in the world one day. (And now that day is almost here! 🙂 )

Keepsakes

I’m a huge fan of knickknacks and keepsakes. The top of my desk, and the wall above it, are repositories for some of those. The feather is a hawk feather, found on a hike my husband and I took. The top photo is one of my husband’s pictures. The gray cat in the other photo is Robin, whom we adopted as an elderly former-feral and who was my beloved companion through her last years. The lovely colorful painting was done by a friend.

View of greenery

This is the view from my office window, out at our backyard. We get lots of birds: cardinals, chickadees, wrens (we had a wren nest this year), nuthatches, titmice, finches, bluebirds, and we’ve even seen a pileated woodpecker at our suet feeder. We also often see groundhogs, and many springs have had families of baby groundhogs living under our shed. (We’ve named all groundhogs Henry, just because.)

Books and stuff

And of course, no writing room would be complete without lots of books. I do have a keyboard in my office too, which mainly came in handy for my job as a church musician, when Covid closed the church I worked at and all of our services were streamed online. I played many Zoom services on this keyboard.

More books

The smaller bookshelf on the left is devoted almost exclusively to the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. He’s one of my great heroes; I’ve read all of the Discworld novels many times. If I had to pick one favorite, it would be Night Watch, although Unseen Academicals and Going Postal are also right up there.

Hardworking assistant

And, last but very much not least, this is my co-editor Fergus. He’s the youngest of our three cats, and hangs out with me the most when I’m working. Sometimes he gets a little distracting:

Apparently it’s his chair…
…and also his keyboard.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of the “cave”! If you’d like to stay updates on all things Fourteen Stones, plus get Maker’s Day prompts each Wednesday, please consider subscribing to the blog. As always, thank you for visiting!