The Roses Are Here!

I’m so excited to announce that The Fruit Of Our Thorns is now available for purchase in both digital and print formats!

“Roses are full of contradictions: petals and thorns, delicacy and danger, passion and purity. The rose is complex, enduring - and, above all, resilient. Protected by its thorns and supported by strong roots, the rose flourishes in gardens and wild mountainsides alike.

THE FRUIT OF OUR THORNS celebrates girls and women, who, like the rose, are full of seeming paradoxes. They are fierce, sweet, wild, and gentle. They can be cruel, and they can be kind. They can fall in love with boys or girls or not at all, defy goddesses and outwit kings...but also make mistakes, suffer, and grieve. Join them in this collection of tales, and remember what the poet Rumi knew to be true: The rose’s truest essence lives in the thorn.”

Click below to purchase, and please please remember to review!

https://www.amazon.com/Fruit-Our-Thorns-Collection-ebook/dp/B07Q75M6M2

Announcement! (Again!)

The Fruit Of Our Thorns is available for pre-order!

Really, that’s most of the announcement, but there are some salient details yet to be shared:

Pre-order link: https://amzn.to/2uHIJS8

Synopsis: Roses are full of contradictions: petals and thorns, delicacy and danger, passion and purity. The rose is complex, enduring - and, above all, resilient. Protected by its thorns and supported by strong roots, the rose flourishes in gardens and wild mountainsides alike.

THE FRUIT OF OUR THORNS celebrates girls and women who, like the rose, are full of seeming paradoxes. They are fierce, sweet, wild, and gentle. They can be cruel, and they can be kind. They can fall in love with boys or girls or not at all, defy goddesses and outwit kings...but also make mistakes, suffer, and grieve. Join them and remember what the poet Rumi knew to be true:

 The rose’s truest essence lives in the thorn.

Pre-order giveaway! Anyone who pre-orders the ebook (for a super exciting price of only $2.99) is eligible to receive a free story from the book (text and audio narration) to enjoy while they wait. One lucky winner will also be chosen to receive a goodie bag of rose-themed bath products, hand made by yours truly. Just send proof of purchase to flamourfiction@gmail.com

20190219_221827_0001.png

Announcements!

THE ROOTS OF OUR MAGIC is now available!

Have a glass of ouzo and celebrate! My very first book can be purchased both in digital and print formats on Amazon. For the first two weeks, anyone who orders either will receive a free audio narration of one of the stories. Just send proof of purchase to flamourifiction@gmail.com

Link to paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1790868769/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=the+roots+of+our+magic+kassandra+flamouri&qid=1553634518&s=gateway&sr=8-2-spell

Link to ebook: https://www.amazon.com/Roots-Our-Magic-Inspired-Folklore-ebook/dp/B07MM9ZZDN/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+roots+of+our+magic+kassandra+flamouri&qid=1553634801&s=gateway&sr=8-1-spell

THE FRUIT OF OUR THORNS

This all-English sister collection to THE ROOTS OF OUR MAGIC will include 5 of the 6 stories found in Roots with an additional 7 stories as well as 3 poems. All twelve stories celebrate the resilience and strength of girls and women and are inspired by the folklore of Greece, Ireland, and Britain. This title will be available for pre-order beginning April 1, to release on June 24, 2019.

A GARDEN OF LIGHT AND SHADOWS

It’s quite the month for exciting news! My debut novel, titled (for now) A GARDEN OF LIGHT AND SHADOWS, will be published by Magnolia Press, likely in 2020. The title might change between now and then, and I can’t wait to see what other exciting changes their editing team might suggest. I’ll post ongoing updates as I get them!

Bilingual Excerpt: THE ROOTS OF OUR MAGIC

The Spider And The Honeybee

My sister always said she would be famous. She said she would be the best in the world, and I said she would anger the gods with her arrogance. Remember the stories, I told her. Remember Bellerophon, remember Icarus. She would only shrug irritably and return to her loom.

Arachne thought I didn’t believe in her, but I did. Even as a child, I had never doubted her. But her talent made me afraid. Every time a new admirer came to bring her presents and praise her skill, it made my neck prickle. 

The townspeople begged Arachne to work her spindle and loom in the open, where they could watch. I pleaded with her not to make a spectacle of herself. She told me I was a frightened, foolish child. 

People came from nearby towns and faraway lands I had never heard of, all drawn by tales of the girl who made magic with her hands. Even the nymphs of the forest and fountain paid her homage. Everywhere I went, Arachne’s name was whispered in awe or shouted to the rooftops in celebration.

One day, a nymph asked me if my sister’s talent was a gift from Athena. Arachne overheard and tossed her hair angrily.

“My talent is my own,” she said coldly. “It was no gift.”

Arachne’s lip curled disdainfully, and she turned away, dismissing the nymph with a flick of the hand. The nymph scuttled away, her eyes wide and tearful. I followed after her and gave her a gift of candied figs to apologize for my sister’s rudeness. She smiled warmly and invited me to share the treat with her.

“You have your own magic,” the nymph observed, licking the sticky glaze from her fingers. “You are as skilled as your sister, in your way.”

“I just like sweet things,” I replied, though her words made me flush with pleasure.

Even though I used more care and better ingredients than anyone else and even though everyone in town came to me first to buy pastries and jams, no one ever gave me more than a passing glance—they only had eyes for Arachne. The nymph’s praise was more welcome than I could safely admit. 

I hastily suppressed my pride and added, “Whatever skill I claim comes from the gods’ good favor.”

“Wisely spoken,” the nymph said. “Your sister would do well to follow your example.”    

But my sister did not follow my example. She basked in the attention, preening outrageously and blowing kisses to the young men who came to watch her spin. Every day, I prayed that Arachne would somehow escape the gods’ notice. But I knew it was only a matter of time. 

“An old woman screeched in my ear today,” Arachne informed me one evening. “She sounded like you. ‘Beware your pride, Arachne. Respect the gods, Arachne. Oh, repent, repent!’”

Arachne laughed, shaking her head. I bit my tongue and returned to my work, stirring honey into a pot of milk simmering on the hearth fire. Her words stung, but—as always—I was afraid for her. I muttered a prayer for forgiveness on my sister’s behalf and reached again for the honeypot. Such a blessing, this sweet pool of gold. Honey wasn’t only good for cooking but for creams and salves. If only the salve worked as well for the sting of a sister’s cruel tongue as it did for scratches and burns, its utility would be all-encompassing.

Early the next morning, a woman appeared at our door, leaning heavily on a staff as gnarled as she was. I didn’t recognize her, and it worried me. I knew all the elders of our village, and I couldn’t imagine such a frail old thing traveling over the mountains to reach our village. Who was she?

“Your health, Aunt,” I greeted her. Arachne didn’t stir from her bed, though I could tell she was awake. “Please, come in—”

“Arachne,” the woman rasped, ignoring me. “The gods are merciful. Temper your pride, honor them as you should, and you will be forgiven.”

Arachne sat up and crossed her arms, glaring at the old woman.

“Forgiven!” Arachne sneered. “My hands are more skilled than any other’s, mortal or god, and I won’t apologize for it. Athena herself couldn’t best me.”

The old woman sighed sadly—and unraveled like a skein of wool until there was nothing left. My gasp of horror was lost in the howling wind that suddenly raged through the house, blowing out the hearth fire and stripping bundles of drying herbs from the rafters. While I cowered on the ground, Arachne stood tall with her fists clenched and her chin raised.

“I’m not afraid,” she shouted. “I only speak the truth.”

“Come and prove it,” the wind hissed. “Come out and face me, Arachne.” 

Arachne stalked out of the house without hesitation. I ran after her in the vain hope that I could convince her to show some humility before the goddess. I had no doubt that it was Athena who summoned my sister.

I watched, helpless, as Arachne challenged Athena to a contest. Please lose, I thought desperately. Perhaps then Athena would show mercy. But I was afraid, because I knew Arachne would win. 

I tried not to watch, but I couldn’t look away. Athena was magnificent: taller than any man and radiant, as if she stood under a sun that shone only for her. Athena spun her thread from storm clouds and mist and went to work, showing us how the gods punished foolish mortals. 

Apollo and Artemis, their faces beautiful but stern, shot gold and silver arrows into the hearts of Niobe’s fourteen children. Cassiopeia wept as Poseidon’s sea monster came for her daughter Andromeda. Actaeon fled in the form of a stag, only to be devoured by his own hounds. Each picture, I knew, was a warning to my sister.

Arachne didn’t heed the warning, or perhaps she was provoked by it. As her tapestry took shape, I saw scene after scene of the gods tricking and abusing mortals. I watched as the poor women preyed upon by Zeus came to life under her hands. Europa, Io, Leda, Alcmene—their heartbreak and shame blazed from the cloth for all to see.

When Arachne finally stepped away from her loom, the crowd let out a collective sigh of wonder. This was Arachne’s best work, the most beautiful thing any of us had ever seen. It was simply miraculous. Athena held Arachne’s tapestry in her hands, her head bowed. I held my breath. I’m going to lose her, I thought. Finally, Athena spoke.

“This for your insolence,” she said softly, and tore my sister’s tapestry to pieces. She flicked a few drops of liquid at Arachne. “And this for your insult.”

Arachne screamed, doubling over in pain. I ran to her and stood helplessly by her side. Tears of despair ran down my cheeks as her face turned black and monstrous limbs sprouted from her body. She screamed and screamed until, all at once, her voice disappeared. I reached down and gently took into my hands the spider who was once my sister. I turned and looked into Athena’s eyes, though I could barely see through my tears.

“You’re a monster,” I sobbed. “I hate you, I hate you.”

I spat at the goddess’s feet, my lifelong caution and piety swept away by grief. I braced myself and closed my eyes, preparing for death. Dimly I heard a voice pleading with Athena. It was the nymph with whom I had shared my candied figs. She begged Athena to spare me, to make allowance for my anguish. Athena brusquely ordered her to move aside. I bowed my head, waiting for Athena’s spear to pierce my heart.

The pain came softly, more like a chill than a spear. I moaned and cried and clutched my arms to my body, curling in on myself until I was resting in the nymph’s palm, just as my sister had rested in mine. 

“Athena was merciful,” the nymph whispered, setting me on a flower. “Instead of taking your life for herself, she has given it to me. She has pledged you to my service.”

I buzzed my wings and went to work, bobbing clumsily from flower to flower in search of nectar. It brought me a strange sort of comfort to know that I would share my sister’s fate. But where Arachne’s name would be preserved in legend, mine would be lost. Such was the reward for my humility. I resolved to take a new name, after the nymph who saved me. 

I named myself Mélissa. 

Η Αράχνη και η Μέλισσα

Η αδελφή μου πάντα έλεγε πως θα γίνει διάσημη. «Θα γίνω η καλύτερη στον κόσμο», έλεγε, και της απαντούσα ότι οι θεοί θα οργιστούν με την αλαζονεία της. «Μην ξεχνάς τις παλιές ιστορίες», της έλεγα, «μην ξεχνάς τον Βελλεροφόντη, τον Ίκαρο». Απλά σήκωνε τους ώμους εκνευρισμένη και γυρνούσε στον αργαλειό της.

Η Αράχνη νόμιζε ότι δεν πίστευα σε αυτήν, αλλά δεν ήταν έτσι. Ακόμη και όταν ήμουν παιδί, ποτέ δεν αμφέβαλλα για την αδελφή μου. Αλλά το ταλέντο της με φόβιζε. Κάθε φορά που ένας νέος θαυμαστής της έφερνε δώρα και παίνευε την δεξιοτεχνία της, ανατρίχιαζα.

Οι κάτοικοι της πόλης παρακάλεσαν την Αράχνη να δουλεύει με το αδράχτι και τον αργαλειό της έξω, για να μπορούν να την βλέπουν. Την παρακάλεσα να μην γίνει δημόσιο θέαμα. Μου απάντησε ότι είμαι ένα φοβισμένο, χαζούλικο παιδί.

Άνθρωποι έρχονταν από τις γύρω πόλεις και από μακρινές χώρες που δεν είχα ξανακούσει, τους τραβούσαν οι ιστορίες για το κορίτσι με τα μαγικά χέρια. Ακόμη και οι νύμφες του δάσους και των πηγών την τιμούσαν με την παρουσία τους. Όπου κι αν πήγαινα, άκουγα το όνομα της Αράχνης να ψιθυρίζεται με δέος ή να αντηχεί πανηγυρικά πάνω από τις στέγες των σπιτιών.

Μια μέρα, μια νύμφη με ρώτησε αν το χάρισμα της αδελφής μου ήταν δώρο της Αθηνάς. Η Αράχνη κρυφάκουγε και τίναξε θυμωμένα τα μαλλιά της.

«Δικό μου είναι το χάρισμα» είπε ψυχρά. «Δεν είναι δώρο».

Τα χείλη της Αράχνης σούφρωσαν περιφρονητικά και έφυγε, διώχνοντας τη νύμφη με ένα γύρισμα της παλάμης. Η νύμφη απομακρύνθηκε με τα μεγάλα μάτια της γεμάτα δάκρυα. Την ακολούθησα και της έκανα δώρο καραμελωμένα σύκα, σαν συγγνώμη για την αγένεια της αδελφής μου. Χαμογέλασε θερμά και με κάλεσε να τα μοιραστώ μαζί της. 

«Έχεις κι εσύ ένα χάρισμα» μου είπε η νύμφη, γλύφοντας την γλυκιά κρούστα από τα δάχτυλα της. «Είσαι επιδέξια σαν την αδελφή σου, με τον δικό σου τρόπο».

«Απλά μ’ αρέσουν τα γλυκά» απάντησα, αν και τα λόγια της με έκαναν να κοκκινήσω ικανοποιημένη.

Όλοι στην πόλη έρχονταν σ’ εμένα πρώτα για να αγοράσουν γλυκά και μαρμελάδες, και τα έφτιαχνα με περισσή φροντίδα και με τα καλύτερα υλικά, όμως κανείς δε με κοίταζε δεύτερη φορά – η Αράχνη τραβούσε όλη την προσοχή. Ο έπαινος της νύμφης ήταν πιο καλοδεχούμενος απ’ όσο ήθελα να παραδεχτώ.

Έκρυψα βιαστικά την περηφάνειά μου και πρόσθεσα: «Όποιο κι αν είναι το χάρισμά μου, είναι δώρο των θεών».

«Μιλάς σοφά» είπε η νύμφη. «Καλά θα έκανε η αδελφή σου να σκέφτεται σαν κι εσένα».

Αλλά η αδελφή μου δεν σκεφτόταν έτσι. Χαιρόταν όταν τραβούσε την προσοχή, κορδωνόταν με καμάρι και έστελνε φιλιά στους νέους που ερχόταν να την δουν να υφαίνει. Κάθε μέρα προσευχόμουν να μην προσέξουν οι θεοί την συμπεριφορά της. Ήξερα όμως ότι ήταν θέμα χρόνου.

«Μια γριά τσίριζε στο αυτί μου σήμερα» μου είπε μια βραδιά η Αράχνη. «Έλεγε ότι κι εσύ: Να προσέχεις την περηφάνειά σου, Αράχνη. Σεβάσου τους θεούς, Αράχνη. Μετανόησε, μετανόησε!»

Η Αράχνη γέλασε κουνώντας το κεφάλι της. Δάγκωσα τη γλώσσα μου και γύρισα στη δουλειά μου, ανακατεύοντας γάλα και μέλι σε μια κατσαρόλα που σιγόβραζε στη φωτιά. Τα λόγια της μ’ έτσουξαν, αλλά – όπως πάντα – ανησυχούσα γι’ αυτήν. Μουρμούρισα μια προσευχή συγχώρεσης για την αδελφή μου και έπιασα ξανά το βάζο με το μέλι. Ας είναι ευλογημένο αυτό το υγρό χρυσάφι. Δεν χρησιμοποιούσα μέλι μόνο στα γλυκά, έφτιαχνα μ’ αυτό αλοιφές και κρέμες. Αν μια από αυτές τις αλοιφές μπορούσε να μ’ ανακουφίσει από τον πόνο που μου προκαλούσε η άσπλαχνη γλώσσα της αδελφής μου, πόσο χρήσιμη θα μου ήταν.

Νωρίς το επόμενο πρωί, μια γυναίκα εμφανίστηκε στην πόρτα μας, γερμένη βαριά σε μια μαγκούρα, ροζιασμένη σαν κι αυτήν. Δεν την αναγνώρισα κι αυτό μ’ ανησύχησε. Γνωρίζω όλους τους γέρους του χωριού και δε μπορούσα να φανταστώ ότι μια τόσο αδύναμη γριά ταξίδεψε πέρα απ’ τα βουνά για να φτάσει στο χωριό μας. Ποια ήταν;

«Να είσαι καλά, θεία» την καλωσόρισα. Η Αράχνη δεν κουνήθηκε απ’ το κρεβάτι της, αν και κατάλαβα ότι ήταν ξύπνια. «Έλα μέσα, σε παρακαλώ…»

«Αράχνη», είπε με βραχνή φωνή, αγνοώντας με. «Οι θεοί είναι σπλαχνικοί. Συγκράτησε την περηφάνειά σου, τίμησέ τους όπως αρμόζει και θα συγχωρεθείς».

Η Αράχνη ανακάθισε και σταύρωσε τα χέρια της, κοιτάζοντας την γριά. 

«Συγχώρεση» είπε με περιφρόνηση. «Τα χέρια μου είναι πιο επιδέξια από κάθε άλλου, θνητού ή θεού, και δεν θα ζητήσω συγχώρεση γι’ αυτό. Ούτε η ίδια η Αθηνά δεν είναι καλύτερή μου».

Η γριά αναστέναξε λυπημένα – και ξετυλίχτηκε σαν κουβάρι μαλλί, μέχρι που εξαφανίστηκε. Η κραυγή φρίκης που έβγαλα χάθηκε στο ουρλιαχτό του ανέμου που ξαφνικά άρχισε να λυσσομανά στο σπίτι, σβήνοντας την φωτιά και σκορπώντας τα βοτάνια που κρέμονταν για να στεγνώσουν από τα δοκάρια. 

Εγώ ζάρωσα στο πάτωμα, αλλά η Αράχνη στάθηκε όρθια με ψηλά το σαγόνι και σφιγμένες γροθιές.

«Δεν φοβάμαι» φώναξε. «Θα λέω πάντα την αλήθεια».

«Έλα να το αποδείξεις» σφύριξε ο άνεμος. «Έλα έξω να μ’ αντιμετωπίσεις, Αράχνη».

Χωρίς να διστάσει, η Αράχνη βγήκε αγέρωχα από το σπίτι. Έτρεξα πίσω της, ελπίζοντας μάταια ότι θα μπορούσα να την πείσω να δείξει κάποια ταπεινότητα μπροστά στην θεά. Δεν είχα καμία αμφιβολία ότι ήταν η ίδια η Αθηνά που καλούσε την αδελφή μου.

Κοιτούσα ανήμπορη, καθώς η Αράχνη προκάλεσε σε αγώνα την Αθηνά. Σε παρακαλώ, χάσε, σκεφτόμουν απεγνωσμένα. Ίσως να δείξει τότε οίκτο η Αθηνά. Αλλά ήμουν τρομαγμένη, γιατί ήξερα ότι η Αράχνη θα κέρδιζε. 

Προσπάθησα να μην κοιτάω, αλλά δε μπορούσα να τραβήξω το βλέμμα μου. Η Αθηνά ήταν μεγαλοπρεπής: ψηλότερη από κάθε άντρα και εκθαμβωτική, σαν να έλαμπε ο ήλιος μόνο γι’ αυτήν. Η Αθηνά έγνεσε το νήμα της από βροχοσύννεφα και δροσοσταλίδες και άρχισε να κλώθει, δείχνοντας πως οι θεοί τιμωρούν τους άμυαλους θνητούς.

Ο Απόλλων και η Άρτεμις, με όμορφα αλλά βλοσυρά πρόσωπα, έριχναν χρυσά και ασημένια βέλη στις καρδιές των δεκατεσσάρων παιδιών της Νιόβης. Η Κασσιόπη θρηνούσε καθώς το θαλάσσιο τέρας του Ποσειδώνα ερχόταν να πάρει την κόρη της, την Ανδρομέδα. Ο Ακταίων, με μορφή ελαφιού, έφευγε τρέχοντας πριν τον καταβροχθίσουν τα ίδια του τα κυνηγόσκυλα. Κάθε παράσταση, το ήξερα, ήταν μια προειδοποίηση για την αδελφή μου.

Η Αράχνη δεν σκιάχτηκε από την προειδοποίηση της θεάς ή ίσως την είδε σαν πρόκληση. Καθώς το υφαντό της άρχισε να παίρνει μορφή, έβλεπα παραστάσεις με θεούς που κοροϊδεύαν ή κακοποιούσαν θνητούς. Είδα εκείνες τις κακόμοιρες γυναίκες που είχε βάλει στο μάτι ο Δίας να ζωντανεύουν από τα χέρια της. Η ντροπή και ο πόνος της Ευρώπης, της Ιούς, της Λήδας, της Αλκμήνης αποτυπώνονταν στο ύφασμα και όλοι μπορούσαν να τα δουν.

Όταν η Αράχνη τέλειωσε και άφησε τον αργαλειό της, το πλήθος αναστέναξε με θαυμασμό. Ήταν η καλύτερη δουλειά της Αράχνης, ότι πιο υπέροχο είχαν δει ποτέ, ένα πραγματικό θαύμα. Η Αθηνά κράτησε το υφαντό της Αράχνης στο χέρι της και έσκυψε το κεφάλι. Κράτησα την αναπνοή μου. Θα την χάσω, σκέφτηκα. Τελικά, η Αθηνά μίλησε.

«Αυτό είναι για το θράσος σου» είπε απαλά, σκίζοντας το υφαντό της αδελφής μου σε μικρά κομμάτια. Ράντισε την Αράχνη με μερικές σταγόνες από ένα υγρό. «Και αυτό είναι για την ύβρη σου».

Η Αράχνη ούρλιαξε, διπλωμένη από τον πόνο. Έτρεξα και στάθηκα ανήμπορη δίπλα της. Δάκρυα απόγνωσης χάραξαν τα μάγουλα μου, καθώς το πρόσωπό της έγινε μαύρο και πόδια τέρατος ξεπήδησαν από το σώμα της. Ούρλιαξε και ούρλιαξε ξανά, έως ότου η φωνή της ξαφνικά εξαφανίστηκε. Έσκυψα και πήρα απαλά στα χέρια μου την αράχνη που κάποτε ήταν η αδελφή μου. Γύρισα και κοίταξα την Αθηνά στα μάτια, μέσα από τα δάκρυά μου.

«Είσαι ένα τέρας» είπα με αναφιλητά. «Σε μισώ, σε μισώ».

Έφτυσα στα πόδια της θεάς, η θλίψη νίκησε την περίσκεψη και την ευλάβεια που έδειχνα σε όλη την ζωή μου. Έκλεισα τα μάτια μου και ετοιμάστηκα να πεθάνω. Άκουσα αμυδρά μια φωνή να ικετεύει την Αθηνά. Ήταν η νύμφη με την οποία μοιραστήκαμε τα καραμελωμένα σύκα μου. Παρακάλεσε την Αθηνά να μου χαρίσει τη ζωή, να σκεφτεί την αγωνία μου. Η Αθηνά την διέταξε απότομα να παραμερίσει. Έσκυψα το κεφάλι, περιμένοντας το δόρυ της Αθηνάς να μου τρυπήσει την καρδιά. 

Ο πόνος ήλθε απαλά, σαν ανατριχίλα, όχι σαν χτύπημα. Στέναξα και έκλαψα, έσφιξα τα χέρια στα πλευρά μου, και κουλουριάστηκα μέχρι που βρέθηκα στην παλάμη της νύμφης, όπως η αδελφή μου βρέθηκε στην δική μου.

«Η Αθηνά έδειξε έλεος» ψιθύρισε η νύμφη, ακουμπώντας με σε ένα λουλούδι. «Αντί να σου πάρει η ίδια την ζωή, την χάρισε σε μένα. Σε έβαλε στην υπηρεσία μου».

Βούισα με τα φτερά μου και στρώθηκα στην δουλειά, πετώντας αδέξια από λουλούδι σε λουλούδι, ψάχνοντας για νέκταρ. Ένιωσα μια παράξενη ανακούφιση γνωρίζοντας ότι θα μοιραστώ τη μοίρα της αδελφής μου. Όμως, το όνομα της Αράχνης θα γινόταν θρύλος, το δικό μου θα χανόταν. Αυτή θα ήταν η ανταμοιβή της ταπεινότητας μου. Αποφάσισα να πάρω ένα νέο όνομα, αυτό της νύμφης που με έσωσε.

Ονομάστηκα Μέλισσα.

Announcements!

Announcement Number 1

It’s here! THE ROOTS OF OUR MAGIC is now live and available for pre-order on Amazon! Release date is March 25. Those who pre-order will have the book automatically downloaded to their reading device on that date. Those who prefer paperback copies will be able to order on March 25 (unfortunately Amazon does not offer pre-ordering for paperbacks).

Here’s the link to the Amazon listing:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MM9ZZDN?ref_=pe_3052080_276849420

Announcement Number 2

THE FRUIT OF OUR THORNS, a sister collection to Roots, will be released May 1. Pre-ordering will most likely go live by March, though I make no promises yet. In the meantime, enjoy the preliminary cover image! So perty.

20190113_090654_0001.png

Roundup: October and November

Someday someone besides me will read these posts, I’m sure. Actually, I’m not. Like, at all. But I’m going to write them anyway, just in case.

Book News:

Roots: I have all my stories edited and translated and together in one document that was SUPPOSED to be, like, easy peasy copy and paste and voila it’s a book. That’s not what happened though it was a template of lies. I will figure it out eventually—this one I am actually sure of—but in the meantime it’s a big fat pain in my ass.

Thorns: Did I mention in my last post that there’s actually going to be not one but TWO short story collections? No? Maybe? Who cares. I wanted to do an English only collection to widen my audience. This one includes all the stories in Roots but another five or six on top of that. The title (as planned) is The Fruit Of Our Thorns, and the theme is strong girls and women who aren’t out there swinging a sword. It’s a bit more YA overall, I think, and it’s got a wider range of content. I’m pretty excited about it, but I’m still plugging away at revisions…and one story yet to write that I’v been fighting with for weeks. That too will get done.

Me News: Not much to report here. Rocking the whole back to school thing but oh my god am I ready for the semester to be over.

Roundup: September

Once again I’m late. I had exciting news to share, but I was greedy and hoping for even more exciting news, so I waited. Alas, what I hoped did not come to pass, but I’m still left with my original exciting news!

1) Under The Willow Root was shortlisted for a Watty Award over on Wattpad. I didn’t win, but it’s still pretty cool to be on the shortlist and in the top .07% of stories on Wattpad.

2) AKA ** The Really Exciting News ** In the new year, I will be releasing a bilingual collection of short stories inspired by Greek mythology, folklore, and history. Release date is set tentatively for January 1st, but we’ll see how things progress. The stories that haven’t already been published are with the editor, and then they’re off to my fabulous translator, Nikos Karellis.

Drumroll please…

20181006_174323_0001.png

Roundup: May through August 2018

So I know I'm posting this in August but it's been a busy few months. Let's get started, shall we? 

May

May was pretty quiet aside from getting super excited about our trip to Greece. I got SO CLOSE to a completed first draft of In The Dark Of The Moon, but realized that too much needed to change that was going to affect how the story ended, so I went back to the drawing board and started working on a BEAST of an outline. 

I also decided to look into Occupational Therapy as well as Diagnostic Sonography for my future school and career plans, mostly as a contingency, but then decided it was at least of equal interest. 

June

Oh, June! Our trip to Greece was AMAZING. Amazeballsuperfantasticawesomeness. We ate delicious food, climbed mountains, rode horses, lounged on the beach, walked the River Acheron, visited family...sigh. Just thinking about it makes me ache to go back. 

It was also incredibly valuable from a writing standpoint, as I'd been a little iffy on where exactly in Greece the story was going to take place. I was originally thinking the setting would be the Acherontas region, but when we got there I realized that the landscape just wasn't going to work for Chrysa's story. Then we arrived in Zagori and...man. It was PERFECT. Deep, green, lush ravines, caves, cliffs, bare and grassy alpine regions, rolling mists. Excellently mystical. Observe, if you will:

 

July

In July I started my first class, an accelerated Anatomy and Physiology course. I'm SO glad I didn't know what I was getting into. I might not have had the guts to do it, otherwise. I knew it was going to be hard, but I've never experienced anything like this. The amount of information we had to memorize in such a short amount of time was ridiculous. I prevailed, however, and was able to spend something like 20 hours a week studying thanks to my flexible work schedule and super supportive partner. And, as intense as it was, I still really enjoyed it. It felt really good to be a student again and feel that sense of accomplishment that comes with kicking some academic butt. 

August

I came out of A & P with the highest grade in the class (an A-), exhausted but jubilant, both at my accomplishment and the prospect of getting a puppy. The adoption process was...interesting. (And by that I mean super stressful and often infuriating). I'm sure it would have been a lot more relaxed if I had been adopting an adult dog, but I wanted a puppy pretty badly. So I had to put up with a TON of applications and interviews with people whose job seemed to be to give applicants a hard time about wanting to adopt a puppy. Which is probably a good thing, since many people really don't know what they're getting into with a puppy, but my Anxiety Goblins had a field day with it all ("You've considered all this already and made a decision, we know--but are you SURE you're ready for this? Maybe they're right--maybe you can't handle it--better NOT SLEEP FOR THREE DAYS.") But finally we met Skye and fell in love, and, luckily for us, she's a complete joy. We've only had her about a week and she's already learning to sit, lie down, stay, and come. I have no doubt that she's going to keep us on our toes for the next several months--read that years--but we're so, so happy to have her in our family!

On the writing front, progress has been slow but mostly steady. I got some professional feedback on my outline for In The Dark Of The Moon as well as feedback from my wonderful CP, Jessica Bywater, and finally got it to the point that I couldn't procrastinate any longer. I just finished writing the first scene--and, frankly, I hate it. But, as we all know, THE FIRST DRAFT DOESN'T HAVE TO SOUND GOOD. Right? Right. I will save the obsessing for revisions and editing. 

In the meantime, I submitted A Garden Of Light and Shadows to Pitch Wars one more time. We'll see if we get any bites this year! 

Roundup: March and April

Me News:

So remember how I said I was studying for the CLEP exam and that I needed to relearn things like matrices and logarithmic equations? Well...I didn't. Or I did, but only kind of, and not very diligently. I learned one or two things that actually did really come in handy, but the vast majority of items on my to-learn list kind of fell by the wayside. But it all worked out. After maybe a week of furious googling and YouTube-ing math videos, then about three weeks of 'ugh I still need to math today,' I basically went "Meh, whatever, it'll be fine" and took the exam a month earlier than I'd planned. And guess what?? I passed with mostly-flying colors! I think. I'm actually not sure what grade equates to a score of 70, but 50 is passing so it must be pretty ok, right? Take that, matrices!

I'm getting super excited for my upcoming research trip to Greece, though the projected budget is making me sweat a little, especially as the invoices for the summer and fall semester classes are coming in as well. And BOOKS. Egads, I forgot how expensive textbooks are! It's gonna be great, though. 

Publication News:

"True Love Scars" was published in Seven Deadly Sins, A YA Anthology: Avarice which you can purchase here

Patreon News:

I've decided to put the Patreon campaign on hold for a while. As I continue to work through my draft of In The Dark Of The Moon, the readability of what I come up with has declined drastically. The more I write, the more I realize needs to change, and so I've been skipping things and using placeholders as well as writing as if certain changes have already been made. It's going to get pretty confusing, and I don't think people should be paying for my drafting gibberish. Maybe I'll restart it someday when I have an actual readership. Fingers crossed!

Roundup: February 2018

So obviously this post is super late as it's now halfway through March, but I'm pretty sure no one reads these anyway so no harm no foul, right?? Anyway.

Me News:

I've been studying for the College Algebra CLEP exam so I can skip paying for a class that's mostly stuff I teach on a daily basis. There are a few things that I don't know and haven't thought about since 11th grade (like matrices--eek!) but on the whole I think I should be okay. I just have to bite the bullet and take the exam. It's pass/fail, so there's no sense in delaying and studying too long, but I do want to make sure I pass. Which I should, even if I took it right now, but...anxiety. 

I also registered for Anatomy and Physiology this summer, and thankfully I found a class that starts after I come back from Greece! I thought for a couple minutes there that I was going to have to do an online class and have homework to do during my trip (GAG). But I figured it out, and all is right with the world.

Publication News: 

"The Spider And The Honey Bee" was published on Feb 2 at Fterota Logia. You can read it here .

"True Love Scars" will be published in Seven Deadly Sins, A YA Anthology: Avarice on April 1. 

Patreon News:

I teamed up with Sofi Michael Events to put a literary spin on her lovely Galentine's Day brunch and wrote "Blind Ambition," a retelling of the muses' punishment of a mortal who dared challenge them to a contest. He lost (obviously) and was blinded by the muses as punishment. Sofi and I both had a lot of fun with this story, and I think many of us can relate to having our area of expertise mansplained to us by some cocky douchenozzle. You can check out the story on my Patreon page by clicking the link below:

https://www.patreon.com/posts/blind-ambition-16977788