So I’m getting ready to re-release the ‘Breathtaker’ paperback now, and I just finished the new wrap cover for it! Take a look!
After releasing that excerpt from Whisper yesterday, I realized the prologue itself would make a nice excerpt to release. So, without further ado, the prologue to Whisper!
A man named Godfrey Wilde once told me that there is something latent inside everything. Some sleeping quality just waiting to be awakened. As dormant trees draw from their roots again in spring, so does this ‘thing’ turn green in its own season. It spreads forth, unfurls with a breathless realization. Sometimes, it may be so sudden that it comes as a shock, and may even wreak havoc on its very own host.
This was the case with the earthquakes.
Godfrey Wilde was a horse whisperer. A man of a lost art, in our evolving society that boasted more horsepower in its ecosystem than any of the live beasts that he preferred. For a long time, I did not understand the implications in Godfrey’s words, but I suppose ‘understanding’ was the latent quality inside them. I see that now. At the time, it took the earthquakes to inspire the budding of my belief in his theory. The great fits of the earth that exploded from within, a nasty dual personality emerging when no one was prepared to ride such a thing out. We had thrived upon what no one suspected was the cocoon of our planet; only the earth itself knew when it was ready to evolve.
The renditions were devastating.
We, revealed simply as the parasites to a much greater beast, were left in those days seeking desperately some new piece of homeland, and some new way of life itself, to latch onto. Thus was born our age of wreckage, of picking up the pieces of a ruptured society. As technology failed and roads crumbled, the people reverted to the ways of the horse.
If Godfrey had survived the quakes, he would have been in heaven. As it was, he was one of many that went down that day, lost beneath the rubble.
He was right, though – about his theory. Years later I would understand that his knack with the horses was the latent thing he had sheltered inside him, awakened and in its place.
It wasn’t until I was caught unprepared in a canyon frequented by wild horses – caught there when they descended like a dam breaking and thundered through that gulley, and the dust cleared and I was left standing – that people began to realize I had it, too.
Me, Godfrey Wilde’s daughter.
A horse whisperer.
In honor of starting on the sequel to Whisper as well, here pretty soon, I thought I would share an excerpt from Whisper! Whisper is my ‘horsey’ book – fantasy-esque and dystopian, but basically the book that I wrote to scratch the horsey itch, since I’ve been a horse girl all my life, and they’re what I really ‘know’.
“How do you do it?” Sonya wanted to know.
“Do what indeed, Miss Wilde. The thing you do with the horses.”
“I did tell you I whisper to horses.”
“But how does it work? Is it science? Art? Magic?”
“Magic doesn’t exist,” I said, but really it was only an attempt to stay in control of her expectations of me. For I knew what it felt like to harness a thousand pounds of wild muscle, to feel sweat-foamed mane in my face like the spray of the ocean, to outrun the wind and shake the earth to its bones as surely as any quake with the very hooves beneath me. I knew what it was like to feel coarse wild-mustang coats turn to silk beneath my stroking hands, to dance among hooves that could kill wolves, to breathe my carnivore breath into nostrils that channeled wind and freedom and see the eyes of these beasts of prey soften to me, open to me. ‘Magic’ was the only word for it.
Just reached the quarter marker in my progress on Lifebreath! Three fourths to go! It’s shaping up to be a pretty good first-draft, so that will help when it comes time to edit. Now to get two other sequels to OTHER books underway, before my fans realize that I haven’t started two of the books that I said I would try to have out by the end of summer. Yikes!
I shared this briefly on Facebook, but realized it would make a good blog post, where I could explore it a tad more deeply.
So, interestingly enough, it turns out my most highly-rated book/series is the first one I ever wrote. It seems that back when I was young and inexperienced, I knew better what I was doing than I do now.
The books I’m talking about are Spychild and its sequel Treachery’s Game, or the combined version known as The Master of the Shadows. I never think of this as my best work, because, well, let’s face it, it was the first thing I wrote, and I wrote it in my teens, and supposedly I’ve been developing my writing skills and getting better since then. At least, that’s what all the hard work has been for, but maybe I’ve just been fooling myself this whole time (how sad).
Anyway, I never think of this little saga as my best work for the above reasons, but I realized the other day that it has nothing but 5-star reviews on Amazon. Whether you look at the two books separately, or at the combo version, readers seem to have nothing but good things to say about it. None of my other books have gotten away with only praise.
This, of course, is wonderful for this little saga that I all but don’t even consider part of my main bibliography, but… Realizing this has made me stop and think. What did I have then that I don’t now? How has something that I wrote as my debut work in my teens, that took me only a couple months to write, out-shined what I’ve written since I’ve spent time and effort honing my craft? Bettering my grasp on language? Studying story-telling? Learning how to develop characters? Learning how to plot? Learning how to edit?
It seems I should take lessons from my younger self. If only my younger self was still around to advise me…
Anyway, if you want to check out my most highly-acclaimed series, you can do so here (the first book): An Apparently Awesome Little Saga.
So awhile ago, I did what was pretty much a very silly ‘author photoshoot’, in which I borrowed glasses and took a bunch of pictures of me with fairly heavy makeup on, because I had just come home from doing a theater production. One of those pictures has been my ‘author’ profile picture for a long time.
I have this very shy and reserved side that’s hesitant to show the world any of what I really am, and to keep my writer’s self very separate from my real self (which is one reason I write under a pen name – the other being that there’s already an author with my real name).
But, as my ‘real’ self (the day-job self) does book-cover-design for a living, it’s becoming more and more practical to share that side of me with my writer friends, because, well, duh. What I do as my day job could actually be quite helpful to many of my writer friends.
But the details of THAT belong to another blog post. The point here is that the lines between the two selves have been steadily blurring, so I may as well show my real face.
In the spirit of that, with a little bit of fantasy thrown in (I can’t resist), here I am:
Good, now that’s over with.
So, I didn’t end up writing any words yesterday. None. Not even one little bugger to add to my word-count. But in my attempts to help myself feel okay with this and not go to bed guilt-ridden, I remembered a scene from my childhood.
There was one day, living at home with my family, that I was particularly lazy. I pretty much sprawled in the same chair in my jammies all day rambling and rambling and rambling to my sister (with frequent bouts of laughter as well), when we were supposed to be doing homework and yard-work and dishes and laundry and (and all the other ‘ands’). Anyway, this jammy-sprawling-chat/vent/episode went on for hours, just on and on.
Finally, come late afternoon, my mom calls out something about moving on to other things. There was some banter I can’t quite remember in which I tried to justify the validity of lying around all day, to which she replied,
“What have you accomplished, today?”
to which I cried: “I beCAME…A BETTER PERSON!”
And everyone erupted in laughter. So in the end, I actually accomplished two things.
Now, whenever I don’t quite get as much done as I would have liked to, in a day, I tell myself that I became a better person, so it’s okay.