Tuesday Teaser (And 6/17 Progress Report)

5200 words, two miles. From the opening chapter of Blackbird :

There is a tale from the Time of Trials that says: In the beginning, Selkow the Beautiful and Her consort danced the world into being. But his works fell short of Her perfection, and when he would not change his steps, she dismissed him. With his last dance he created the birds, and the last bird came into being black, as black as soot and a night without stars, ugly and ignorant. The other birds, offended by this disgrace, attacked the black bird, seeking to drive him away. But he fought back, scattering black feathers until at last, surrounded and alone, he lay near death. Selkow in Her mercy and grace respected his bravery and determination, flawed though he was, and set the black bird into the night sky, where he flies to this day, imperfect but courageous. Thus should all Selkow’s children respect true foes, even those who refuse to admit the error of their existence. An excerpt from “The Dance of Creation” in Tarya’s Book of Nights


Alma T.C. Boykin © 2014 All Rights Reserved

6/16 Progress, Series Updates, and Thanks

First, thanks to everyone who has purchased my work recently. I appreciate your generosity and I hope you enjoy the stories as much as I enjoy writing them.

Next, a few updates on delivery schedules. If all goes well, Elizabeth of Vindobona will come out in early July, with the novella, Marie’s Tale in August. I also hope to have a larger Cat Among Dragons story pack for late July. I will try to get the libertarian fairy-tale-inspired novella out soon. Blackbird is becoming a little more complex than I’d planned (so what else is new?), and is eating all my time. At the moment it feels as if it will be longer than the other Colplatschki books. I had not planned on re-telling this historical figure’s story, but he showed up as I was pulling into the library parking lot a few months ago and gave me no choice. And the story bridges the gap between Circuits and Crises and Elizabeth’s story. Barring surprises, Elizabeth and Empire will go to the editor in late August for a late October or early November release date.

One and a quarter miles, 4400 words. All the major plot threads are now in play.

Politician, please!

I do my best to save my political comments for other blogs. But something recently set my teeth on edge and I just can’t keep my mouth shut any more. Enough with the conspiracy theories!

Dear politician, quit blaming [name] for everything that you don’t like! For the past seven or eight years, politicians and pundits have been saying that [name/s] are behind [political thing]. It doesn’t matter which party, it’s always [name] that is funding the opposition, that is keeping the American people from understanding [policy], that it is [organization]’s shadowy campaign of disinformation that explains why people don’t love [thing].

Maybe, just maybe, a lot of us are not starry-eyed and madly in wuv with [thing] because, well, we just don’t like it. Maybe it hits our wallets, or makes paperwork more complicated, or takes away [thing/service] that we do/did like. And maybe we don’t dislike you because of [—ism] but because we think your ideas stink like five-day-dead carp. It doesn’t take money from [name]’s [organization] to make us dislike you. You’re shrill/vapid/rude/patronizing/arrogant/wear too much green/hog the camera/shun the camera/ramble for hours about your grandmother’s hollyhocks/come from the West Coast/come from the Midwest/remind us of that home-room teacher we never could stand.

It’s not a conspiracy. Some of us just don’t like your ideas. Or your haircut. And that tie needs to go, as does the pastel pants suit.

6/9 Progress Report

45 minutes at the gym (my abds are calling me unkind names). Writing progress marginal due to the discovery of more water damage to the office at Schloß Red. Note: sheetrock should not squish, nor contain loam. Reviewed the last work on Blackbird. Finished compiling and formatting the next Cat Among Dragons short story collection, A Touch of Power, which should be available from Amazon tomorrow and on EPUB sites in a few days.

For those interested, the collection includes a chronology through the next releases, based on Earth dates.

6/8 Sunday Story

Neither Rada Ni Drako nor the Azdhagi believe in ghosts. Rada, perhaps, should know better . . . 

Ghost Story?: A Cat Among Dragons Short Story


The Lord-Defender’s chamber looked pitch black. After a moment Sergeant Shoi could barely see enough by the light of the stars and the courtyard lamps to determine where the entrance to the noble’s sleeping chamber was. The lithe, slender reptile eased towards the blacker area, unhappy with what was going on and only slightly less unhappy with the prospect of waking his commanding officer. “Lord Defender?” He inquired quietly.

In the silent darkness, the sound of a blade clearing its sheath seemed unnaturally loud. “What?” Fabric rustled and footsteps moved towards the reptile, who retreated slightly. The mammal loomed over the noncom, blade held in a defensive stance, blast pistol also at the ready.

“Forgive me for intruding, Lord Defender, but you must come to the Defender’s worship area at once. Two of the officers have a priest who claims he can bring the Great Shi-dan back and that the Great One is offended by the changes you suggest.”

Lord Ni Drako stalked past the male and stared out the large window, shaking his head. “Let them try. If they succeed, they will have more trouble in their forefeet than the chapel can contain.” He exhaled loudly and rested the tip of the sword blade on the floor. “Thank you for the warning, Sergeant Shoi. You are dismissed.”

<<What’s up?>> A sleepy voice inquired into Rada’s mind. <<War, revolution, or just a really good party?>> Continue reading

More Research for Fiction

Fiction is imaginary, so who needs to do research? OK, maybe a little basic stuff about chemistry, or rocketry, or a little biology so your alien creatures are semi-plausible if you are not a good enough writer to use pure handwavium and get away with it (or even if you are). But that’s about it, right?

I wish. I’d get to read a lot more science fiction and fantasy if I didn’t need to do so much reading for my writing, especially for the Colplatschki series. To give you a peek behind the scenes, here are some of the books that have been used for background, in no set order: Continue reading