Advent Acceptance and Coming Full Circle

o-neskaya

I don’t remember exactly what year I decided to submit to Dreamspinner Press. I think it was 2009, maybe 2010. They were a newer company at the time, but I remember being impressed with the books they put out, with their editing and cover art. I wanted to work with them. I figured I’d start small, see if I was a good fit for them and vice versa. I saw they had a call out called Advent Calendar—a holiday-themed story a day in December. I thought I could try for that… and I did.

 

The call mentioned an openness to holiday traditions outside Christianity, and I have always tried to be different. I submitted Neskaya, a novella loosely based on Scandinavian pagan practices and beliefs. It had abortion-performing cannibalistic witches, human sacrifice, a decidedly morally ambiguous elf-like society, a twisted bargain, and odds my lovers couldn’t beat. And they didn’t. There was no way to avert the mounting tragedy and stay true to the characters and the story. So I didn’t. I ended up with something that Mary Calmes, one of the first DSP authors I met, described as “pain.” (She also said she liked it, though.)

 

Needless to say, that novella was not included in the Advent Calendar. But Dreasmpinner Press still wanted to publish it. Looking back, I can see how much that little book changed the course of my life. Things would be very different for me if they hadn’t decided to take a chance on me.

 

Since then, I’ve published… eight? Nine? I think it’s nine novels with Dreamspinner Press and their imprints, DSP Publications and Harmony Ink. It might actually be eleven. I’m hardly a celebrity and I’m not a millionaire, but I’m very proud of what I’ve put out, how much I’ve learned and grown as an artist, and the wonderful people I’ve met along the way.

 

It’s never been easy for me to write light, fluffy, and feel-good. But this year when the Advent Calendar call went out for Warmest Wishes, I had an idea. I’d try to write something with a happy ending. Yes, it might be weird Western/steampunky-urban fantasy/AU historical. It might even have a silver-haired Cantonese mage, a slatternly, less-than-truthful protagonist, a magical climate crisis, some observations on addiction, and a subtle theme about how we are screwing ourselves by pilfering and exploiting natural resources, but I promise it’s happy.

 

I’m happy to announce Colina de Lavanda was accepted as part of this year’s Advent Calendar.

 

I started this journey as an author with an attempt at a holiday story, and now I’m continuing with a successful attempt.

 

That feels kinda special.

 

And I’ve done it without the need to rein in my weirdness.

 

Much.

 

I hope you’ll all enjoy it when it releases this December.

 

But if you want to suffer read something now, take a crack at my first publication with Dreamspinner Press, here.

Foxtober Guest I.J. Downey

Our Foxtober celebration continues with a beautiful original illustration and a short (but powerful) short by I.J. Downey. If you enjoy this contribution, why not comment to let I.J. know?

Kitsune waiting illustration

 

Waiting Under the Plum Tree

When we were young, we played beneath the plum tree’s branches. Later, we made love as sweet as the scent that drifted down to us.

Then, war came, and you asked me to wait in the shade of the ever changing branches.

Faithful, I stayed, waiting for your voice to wake my soul again.

Today, I saw your beautiful eyes in an unfamiliar face. Wrinkled hands cupped my face as dry lips kissed my cheek. I watched as a single tear tracked its way down the map of your face.

My heart, which had held a million unshed tears, burst.

Our sayonara, our final goodbye.

I will no longer wait under the plum blossoms; I will only mourn under the plum tree.

*****

Interested in seeing more beautiful artwork? Check out I.J. Downey’s Etsy Store.

Don’t forget to follow the blog so you won’t miss any upcoming guest offerings. All followers are also entered to win the cache of foxy treasure at the end of the month.