Reaching Out from a Mind as Dirty as All Outdoors

If you get lucky enough, I might post adult-only material from time to time, so be 18 or over, or please be elsewhere.

I'll be discussing erotica here, the writing of it and the people who write it, as well as what we've written. I find all these aspects stimulating, but if any of them bore you, feel free to skim. You never know what you might miss, though.




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Saturday, October 7, 2017

New Call for Submissions-Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year (2019)

BLE 2018 will be out next month, November, in Kindle format, and in paperback in December, so of course now it's time to get working on the next volume in the 23 year history of this iconic series.

Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Volume 3
(Best Lesbian Erotica 2019)
Editor: Sacchi Green
Publisher: Cleis Press
Deadline: February 15 2018 (earlier encouraged)
Payment: $100 and 1 copy of the book within 90 days of publication

Rights: non-exclusive right to publish the story in this anthology in print, ebook and audiobook form. Authors will retain copyright to their stories.

Send me stories that only you could write, the ones burning inside you to be brought to life. Surprise me with new concepts, or startle me with prose that illuminates traditional themes in new ways. I expect to use mostly original, unpublished work, but I’ll consider stories previously published in 2016-2017.  A maximum of two submissions per author is allowed, with a preferred length of 2000-4500 words. No simultaneous submissions.

Give me a variety of themes, voices, and tones. Diversity in ages, ethnicities, cultures, and physical attributes and abilities is welcome. The central figures must be lesbians, with believable, fully developed characters. I want vividly drawn settings, and plots or story arcs that grip the reader and don’t let go. Originality is especially welcome. And, of course, I want an intensely erotic aura with sex scenes that are integral to the story as a whole. All flavors of sensuality are welcome, from vanilla to BDSM to edgy frontiers that surprise and startle the reader. A few science fiction or fantasy stories might fit in, as well as a well-researched historical setting or two.

Send your submission as an attachment in .doc, .docx, or .rtf format, double spaced, Times New Roman black font, with story title, legal name, pseudonym (if applicable) and mailing and email addresses on the first page, to sacchigreen@gmail.com
Queries are welcome.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Women's Week, Provincetown, and Best Lesbian Erotica

Time is flying by me! Only two and a half weeks until I go Women's Week in Provincetown. Who else is going? Here are a few folks I know will be there, because we're doing a reading together. Here's the blurb in the program:

In the Mood for Erotica?
Readings from Best Lesbian Erotica and other Cleis Press anthologies, with Sacchi Green, Anna Watson, Brey Willows, and Annabeth Leong. So hot that you'll need those cool ocean breezes when we're done.
9 pm Friday October 13th at Womencrafts, 376 Commercial St.
Chat and signings, etc., to follow.

And I hope to be reading with the GCLS group at the Sage Inn at 3 pm on the 12th. If I can just get there from western MA on time.

Come to think of it, I haven't even shared the cover for Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Volume 2 (AKA BLE 2018), which won't quite be out yet (coming in November,) but we'll give you a sneak peek.


Friday, June 30, 2017

The 13th and final Blog Tour post for Witches, Princesses and Women at Arms! Allison Wonderland-"SFW Seeks FGM"


Allison Wonderland spins words and puns and witticisms like a master juggler keeping a dozen plates spinning in the air. Her story here begins with a classified ad--'

"Single Wicked Female Seeks Fairy Godmother
for shoe-shopping companion
and sappily-ever-after.
Must be able to work
family unfriendly magic with wand."

Intrigued? Her post on her blog begins:

"Told from the purr-spective of the catty Wicked Stepmother, the story enables its leading ladies to experience wiggle room and breathing room from sitting room to bedroom, as you'll see queer -- that is to say, here -- in this excerpt..."

But you'll have to go on over there to read that excerpt. And while you're there, you might as well leave a comment and be entered to win a free copy of the book.

aisforallison.blogspot.com

THE GIVEAWAY and LINKS

Anyone who comments on any of these blog posts will be entered in a drawing for a paperback copy (in North America) or an ebook (elsewhere) of Witches, Princesses, and Women at Arms. Each blog you comment on gives you one more entry.

Here’s the lineup of blog posts—the links may be adjusted as we go along, so check back here every now and then.

June 14th: Sacchi Green-“Trollwise” (plus the Introduction)
www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 15th: Cara Patterson-“Steel”
www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 16th: Michael M. Jones-“The Miller’s Daughter”
michaelmjones.com

June 19th: H.N. Janzen-“The Prize of the Willow”
www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 20th: Annabeth Leong-“The Mark and the Caul”
http://annabethleong.blogspot.com/2017/06/the-mark-and-caul-origin-story.html

June 21st: Brey Willows-“Penthouse 31”
https://breywillows.com/2017/06/21/be-your-own-sexy-as-hell-heroine/

June 22nd: Salome Wilde-“The Princess’s Princess”
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 23nd: Emily L. Byrne-“Toads, Diamonds and the Occasional Pearl”
writeremilylbyrne.blogspot.com

June 26th: A.D.R. Forte-“Warrior’s Choice”
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 27th: M. Birds-“Woodwitch”
mbirds.tumblr.com

June 28th: Madeleine Shade-“Robber Girl”
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 29th: Lea Daley-“The Sorceress of  Solisterre”
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 30th: Allison Wonderland-“SWF Seeks FGM”
aisforallison.blogspot.com

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Blog Tour Post 12, Witches, Princesses and Women at Arms: Lea Daley-"The Sorceress of Solisterre"


All these decades later, their voices echo in memory: My mother, the singer. My father, the storyteller. How many hours did she rock me while crooning? How many times did he grant my fondest bedtime wishes, rereading “East of the Sun, West of the Moon” or “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” until he must have dreaded the coming of nightfall? The poetry of Mom’s music, the stately rhythms of those fairy tales, took up permanent residence in my heart.
They were an atypical—almost radical—couple for their time. My mother was a proto-feminist, a role model whose every act suggested I could forge my own future without fear. My father, orphaned early and raised in an oppressive institution, was all-too-aware that bad things befall good people. Harsh experience taught him that rescue can only come from within. His heroism didn’t reside in a capacity to defeat dragons, but rather in his willingness to surrender male privilege, entering into equal partnership with the woman he loved. And the two truly did live happily ever after.
Their romantic relationship, their insistence on living without regard for convention, left a profound mark on me. Their bold example paved the way for my embrace of lesbianism. And their infatuation with language and literature influenced every sentence of “The Sorceress of Solisterre”. Without their uncompromising individuality, this story would not exist.
May I now introduce Aivlynn Janisdottir, a sorceress in training, whose emergent talents make her second to none? May I likewise present Queen Ilyaviere the Third, a rightfully proud sovereign, not too arrogant to recognize her equal at first meeting? To claim their destiny, they have merely to overcome the traditional barriers society establishes between commoner and queen, between two women in love.
It was my great pleasure to imagine their journey to eternal fealty. With luck, you’ll take some joy from making their acquaintance.

THE SORCERESS OF SOLISTERRE

By Lea Daley

The polished torchwood table seemed to stretch to infinity. Seated at its head, Ilyaviere the Third—Queen of Solisterre, Venestria, and the Prithian Islands—counted the councilors in attendance. All present, twenty grave faces turned toward their sovereign. But aligned with one another, in opposition to her.
Conscious that too much conflict might cause the immense table to ignite, the monarch faced the prime minister and chose her words carefully. “Marriage is a weighty matter, not to be undertaken hastily, Lord Nestrington.”
“Yet not to be deferred forever,” he countered.
That was true. After ten years on the throne, Ilyaviere understood that certain obligations were non-negotiable. She belonged to Solisterre, existed only for its purposes, had less freedom than any laborer. Now at five-and-twenty, the pressure to wed increased with each passing day.
The prime minister regarded his queen from beneath hooded eyes. Rumor had it she was lusty between the linens, but had never given her heart to a lover. Ilyaviere was like high summer’s afternoon—resplendent, golden, fiery, seductive, flowering. Always too warm, she dressed in the gauziest of robes, threw open windows, flung off coverlets. Her intemperate heat was a perilous distraction, Nestrington thought, capable of warping sound judgment. And actively dangerous in concert with the torchwood table. “Moreover, Majesty,” the prime minister said cautiously, “with Helgartha gone to Summerland, your empire is at ever greater risk.”
Ilyaviere’s amber eyes blazed. How dare Nestrington patronize her? Who knew better that Solisterre—so rich, so desirable—was dreadfully vulnerable to attack now. Without Helgartha’s intuitive powers, her impregnable spells, enemy forces would soon be on the march. If they weren’t already massing at the borders. Then Ilyaviere’s subjects, young and old, would be hostage to fortune. The table grew warmer, the queen’s voice cold. “I have summoned a new witch, as well you know. She is due within this week. Taliander assures me she possesses the skills necessary to safeguard our lands.”
At the mention of the high priestess, Lord Nestrington changed tactics. Steepling his fingers, the prime minister spoke delicately. “There is also the matter of an heir, Majesty. Which is another form of security.”
An inarguable statement. The line of succession in Solisterre stretched back some three-thousand years unchallenged, every monarch blood kin to Ilyaviere. She could delay no longer. “Very well. Make the arrangements. We shall begin receiving candidates forthwith.” Twenty sets of shoulders relaxed.
But twenty pairs of eyes narrowed when the queen raised a regal palm. “However, I will only accept someone who sees me truly, loves me deeply, strengthens me where I am weak, accepts such gifts and faults as I may possess. I will marry one who venerates neither my wealth nor my position, but only my spirit—in bed and out. Find such a suitor, high-born or low, rich or poor, and I will wed.”
She pressed judicious fingertips to the tabletop, which was gathering fire as her councilors fought back angry rejoinders. Rising, Ilyaviere smiled upon them. “Pray forgive me, gentlemen. I must take my leave before we induce a conflagration.”
Head in his hands, the prime minister sat alone in the council hall until the gleaming table cooled. Thinking, At least when Helgartha was alive, Solisterre had a mature presence guiding the helm—even if she was only a woman, subject to every female caprice and vagary. It’s past time for a man to rule the empire again... And I know just the fellow for the task...
Back in her chambers, the queen was far too heated to wait for assistance. Tossing the ancestral diadem to the bed, throwing off her formal garb, she asked her ladies, “Has the white witch yet arrived?”
“No, Majesty. Perhaps she is delayed by poor weather to the north.”
Ilyaviere paced impatiently. “Having lost my dear Helgartha, I am in dire want of her talents.” And for the first time, the queen admitted to herself how much she needed the counsel and support of another shrewd old woman, another surrogate mother. “Present her to me as quickly as may be, no matter the hour. She may dine here.”

In fact, Helgartha’s successor was only a witch in-training, albeit an Estrellian adept, able to freeze time and motion at will. She had also an emergent flair for sensing trend lines, the tilt of cosmic probability, the faintest strands of interconnection. Still, Aivlynn Janisdottir seemed a peculiar choice for the Queen’s Court—nay, for Her Majesty’s most essential advisor—and an extremely unlikely channel for the awesome powers required of a royal sorceress. Certainly she thought herself too green to defend an ancient empire. And this was a time of great hazard. Unguarded Solisterre was the jewel of the continent, with a thousand miles of coastline, deepwater ports, mild climate, fertile fields, unparalleled craftsmen, and coffers overflowing. Wherefore Aivlynn wondered what Taliander had been thinking to anoint someone so untried. Again and again she reviewed the high priestess’s parting words. “Fear not, my daughter. You are more than ready for the tests that lie ahead. You are right for them. And your capacities will only gain potency over time.”
  Yet how wrenching it had been for Aivlynn to leave the only home she remembered! The venerable Wiccan community, that small world of wise women and their aspiring acolytes. The Grandaliese Forest, where she’d spent her girlhood studying whitecraft. The sheltering stone dormitory, where the Four Rules—LIVE, LOVE, LEARN, ENJOY—were carved above the entrance, and unfailingly observed within. Even now, her friends remained there, happy and carefree, unburdened by the weight of encroaching responsibility.
Despite the urgency, though, despite impending danger, Aivlynn had declined transport to Denethra—royal seat of Solisterre—choosing instead to walk the Hallowed Way. For she needed the length of that transit, needed time to ponder the mystery of her appointment. Much too soon she’d be a captive of the queen’s court, imprisoned in unsought luxury by her own extraordinary aptitudes.
Each noon, she supped at some local inn. And afterward, she amused herself by playing her flute in the marketplace for an hour. Releasing a deceptively simple minor-key tune into the air, a song designed to strip passersby of pretense. Many mistook her for a busker, a few tossed coins her way—some from generosity, others for show. Aivlynn never had to guess at their motivations, for in the presence of her music, a person’s true essence was revealed. She watched a scold stroll past, and a peacemaker. A miser and a misanthrope. A meddler and an altruist. But only she saw the secrets of their hearts.
On her last night of travel, she slept outdoors, on the generous bosom of fair Gaia, under the protection of Mother Moon. Sheltering below the downward curving branches of a kibko tree, she was little more than a shiver of loneliness concealed beneath her thick cloak, awaiting the turn of the world, the comfort of the sun. When day broke, Aivlynn made a meal of succulent kibko berries, bathed in a nearby stream. Then she gathered her courage and pointed her feet toward Castle Paschendrale.

***


Lea Daley wrote fiction while raising children, claiming a lesbian identity, earning a BFA, teaching, and heading a nonprofit agency. She now writes full-time. Daley’s debut novel, Waiting for Harper Lee, received an Alice B. Lavender Certificate and was short-listed at the Golden Crown Awards. In 2015, her second book, FutureDyke, won a Goldie and was a Lambda finalist.


THE GIVEAWAY and LINKS

Anyone who comments on any of these blog posts will be entered in a drawing for a paperback copy (in North America) or an ebook (elsewhere) of Witches, Princesses, and Women at Arms. Each blog you comment on gives you one more entry.

Here’s the lineup of blog posts—the links may be adjusted as we go along, so check back here every now and then.

June 14th: Sacchi Green-“Trollwise” (plus the Introduction)
www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 15th: Cara Patterson-“Steel”
www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 16th: Michael M. Jones-“The Miller’s Daughter”
michaelmjones.com

June 19th: H.N. Janzen-“The Prize of the Willow”
www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 20th: Annabeth Leong-“The Mark and the Caul”
http://annabethleong.blogspot.com/2017/06/the-mark-and-caul-origin-story.html

June 21st: Brey Willows-“Penthouse 31”
https://breywillows.com/2017/06/21/be-your-own-sexy-as-hell-heroine/

June 22nd: Salome Wilde-“The Princess’s Princess”
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 23nd: Emily L. Byrne-“Toads, Diamonds and the Occasional Pearl”
writeremilylbyrne.blogspot.com

June 26th: A.D.R. Forte-“Warrior’s Choice”
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 27th: M. Birds-“Woodwitch”
mbirds.tumblr.com

June 28th: Madeleine Shade-“Robber Girl”
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 29th: Lea Daley-“The Sorceress of  Solisterre”
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 30th: Allison Wonderland-“SWF Seeks FGM”
aisforallison.blogspot.com



Blog Tour Post 11, Witches, Princesses and Women at Arms; Madeleine Shade-"Robber Girl"

Madeleine Shade writes erotic fairy tales and cross-pollinated mythic fiction drawn from her extensive studies in folklore and mythology. In addition to her steamy short stories, she is also the author of the interconnected novellas in the Shady Lady Fairy Tales series. Madeleine can be reached online at http://shadyladyfairytales.com.

Here's what she has to say about her gripping story and its inspiration:

“The Snow Queen” by Hans Christian Andersen is one of my favorite fairy tales, so when the submission call went out for Witches, Princesses, and Women at Arms: Erotic Lesbian Fairy Tales, edited by Sacchi Green, I jumped at the chance to tell the tale of the relationship I wanted to see between Gerda and the robber girl in the fifth story of Andersen’s epic tale – “Little Robber Girl.”

I never much cared for the original fairy tale where Kay is taken away by the Snow Queen and Gerda travels north, always north, to save him. In my version, “Robber Girl,” Gerda is no innocent girl hoping to bring her beloved childhood friend back from the coldness piercing his heart. In my take on this tale, Kay is the monster, not the Snow Queen, who was Gerda’s first lover. Shackled by marriage at the demand of her grandmother, Gerda is locked up and abused by Kay. When the Snow Queen comes to take Kay as her consort, Gerda is finally free. But instead of fleeing back to her southern homeland, this girl with the blood of wolves in her veins, tracks Kay with the intent to kill him for the crimes committed against her. On her travels north, Gerda meets Alice, the robber girl who also shifts with the moon.

While writing “Robber Girl,” I kept returning to the stories “Wolf Alice” and “The Company of Wolves” by Angela Carter. The entire collection of stories in The Bloody Chamber features strong women, which was something I wanted to speak to in my own work. I know “the carnivore incarnate.” I’ve lived with the wolf that “cannot listen to reason.” I’ve known more than one man with “a wolf’s heart.” And I think Carter did too. I think she knew the wolves intimately. But, instead of letting the company of wolves devour her, she picked up a pen and wielded it like a knife. “Since her fear did her no good, she ceased to be afraid.”  And with that, Carter let the forest close “upon her like a pair of jaws.” I like this image.

“Robber Girl” is about forbidden love and strong women. It’s about lust and longing. It’s about revenge and determination. But above all else, it’s about staying true to your heart. I think we should all be a little more like Carter’s version of Little Red Riding Hood, more like Gerda and Alice. After all ladies, we are “nobody’s meat.”

THE GIVEAWAY and LINKS

Anyone who comments on any of these blog posts will be entered in a drawing for a paperback copy (in North America) or an ebook (elsewhere) of Witches, Princesses, and Women at Arms. Each blog you comment on gives you one more entry.

Here’s the lineup of blog posts—the links may be adjusted as we go along, so check back here every now and then.

June 14th: Sacchi Green-“Trollwise” (plus the Introduction)
www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 15th: Cara Patterson-“Steel”
www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 16th: Michael M. Jones-“The Miller’s Daughter”
michaelmjones.com

June 19th: H.N. Janzen-“The Prize of the Willow”
www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 20th: Annabeth Leong-“The Mark and the Caul”
http://annabethleong.blogspot.com/2017/06/the-mark-and-caul-origin-story.html

June 21st: Brey Willows-“Penthouse 31”
https://breywillows.com/2017/06/21/be-your-own-sexy-as-hell-heroine/

June 22nd: Salome Wilde-“The Princess’s Princess”
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 23nd: Emily L. Byrne-“Toads, Diamonds and the Occasional Pearl”
writeremilylbyrne.blogspot.com

June 26th: A.D.R. Forte-“Warrior’s Choice”
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 27th: M. Birds-“Woodwitch”
mbirds.tumblr.com

June 28th: Madeleine Shade-“Robber Girl”
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 29th: Lea Daley-“The Sorceress of  Solisterre”
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 30th: Allison Wonderland-“SWF Seeks FGM”
aisforallison.blogspot.com

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Blog Tour Post 10, Witches, Princesses and Women at Arms; M. Birds- "Woodwitch"


M. Birds is a glam femme writer and filmmaker living in Vancouver, British Columbia.  Her stories have been published by Freaky Fountain and Hot Ink Press.  She likes speculative fiction and witches and princesses and red wine, if you're buying.  You can track her down at http://mbirds.tumblr.com where she writes little of importance.

Her story puts a new twist on a princess disguised as a warrior, and a witch as deeply human as she is wise. These are captivating characters you'll remember. Go read the excerpt M. Birds shares and see what I mean. http://mbirds.tumblr.com/post/162330877124/witches-princesses-and-women-at-arms

THE GIVEAWAY and LINKS

Anyone who comments on any of these blog posts will be entered in a drawing for a paperback copy (in North America) or an ebook (elsewhere) of Witches, Princesses, and Women at Arms. Each blog you comment on gives you one more entry.

Here’s the lineup of blog posts—the links may be adjusted as we go along, so check back here every now and then.

June 14th: Sacchi Green-“Trollwise” (plus the Introduction)
www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 15th: Cara Patterson-“Steel”
www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 16th: Michael M. Jones-“The Miller’s Daughter”
michaelmjones.com

June 19th: H.N. Janzen-“The Prize of the Willow”
www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 20th: Annabeth Leong-“The Mark and the Caul”
http://annabethleong.blogspot.com/2017/06/the-mark-and-caul-origin-story.html

June 21st: Brey Willows-“Penthouse 31”
https://breywillows.com/2017/06/21/be-your-own-sexy-as-hell-heroine/

June 22nd: Salome Wilde-“The Princess’s Princess”
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 23nd: Emily L. Byrne-“Toads, Diamonds and the Occasional Pearl”
writeremilylbyrne.blogspot.com

June 26th: A.D.R. Forte-“Warrior’s Choice”
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 27th: M. Birds-“Woodwitch”
mbirds.tumblr.com

June 28th: Madeleine Shade-“Robber Girl”
https://www.facebook.com/carina.bissett.5

June 29th: Lea Daley-“The Sorceress of  Solisterre”
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 30th: Allison Wonderland-“SWF Seeks FGM”
aisforallison.blogspot.com

Monday, June 26, 2017

Blog Tour Post 9, Witches, Princesses and Women at Arms; A.D.R. Forte-“Warrior’s Choice”

Here’s what the author says about herself:

"ADR Forte writes a variety of short fiction for adults. Her fantasy, erotica, and erotic fantasy appear in various anthology collections. http://www.facebook.com/ADRForte"

I happen to know that “various anthology collections” is an understatement, since I know of many books where you can find her work, but I’ll let you find those for yourself. What I will do is show you why you should care, with an excerpt from her story here that just begins to hint at how gorgeous her prose can be. It can also be scorchingly hot and gorgeous at the same time, but for that part you’ll have to read the entire story in the book.

____________
Warrior's Choice
A.D.R. Forte

Another tourist attraction in the impatient midst of the bustling, honking downtown, the palace dreams its dreams. They have pulled down the old ruins of the walls now, and anyone can get to the gardens, a shrubby fragment of their former glory. But it was not always this way.
Once, the walls towered, crowned with iron spikes. Once, only the faintest scent of roses wafted out into the night. Borne by the wind. Blown by the breath of a princess.
***
She leans her head against the window arch, letting the night cool the ache and heat of the revelry below. A few, precious minutes of escape. A respite from excess, from glittering, smiling duty. She lifts a hand to her head, to the confection of gold mesh and filigree birds with eyes of jewels. It is heavy, this towering artistry of the hairdressers' guild, and it weighs on her neck with the burden of an iron ring. It cages more than her dark hair.
She would tug at the coif, send the birds flying to a watery grave in the fountains far, far below. If she dared. But she cannot. No more than she can forever say "no." To her father. To the state. To the bonds of birth.
But she can reach her arms to the distance that unfolds beneath her, away from her, into a destiny she cannot imagine. She can sing of all she cannot say, of all she cannot even think, to the night wind that carries her song across the plains and out into the wide world, to fall where it may.
***
Maevyn wakes, shivering in her furs. The stars are bright pinpoints in the darkness, but their light is not what has wakened her. Nor is it the cold, though her breath turns to steam as she gets to her feet and reaches for bow and knife. Snow mutes her footsteps and pine branches brush, sharp and pungent, by her face until she reaches the wooden bridge where the river churns, still and sluggish, between its banks.
In this season, there is no travel. The Hadrai huddle close to their fires, within the shelter of stone and wood. The warriors take their skills to the foothills in search of meat, and even they share the fires of the small folk when they can. As she does now, following the sound of pipes to the vale below. There is a song playing in her head, but not one of the folk. Not a song of the Hadrai. Not one she's ever heard before.
And yet it goes on, a ripple of notes so exquisitely joined they might almost hide the sorrow in the melody, the loneliness in this song she doesn't know. The call that drives her to search for something, somewhere, against all good common sense.
"Who is it that calls?" says a voice in the dark.
"It is I," she replies as she steps into the edge of the fires' glow.
"Maevyn. And how fare you?"
She nods her head at the small, greybearded man, but in the way of his kind, he senses what she doesn’t say. He holds out a pitcher and mug, gestures to the nearest fire ring.
"Come," says he, "and tell me what disquiets your soul.”
If only she could. If only there were a way to describe this nameless, faceless longing. This compulsion, this knowledge that she must go. Though to do so is madness. And folly.
"If the wind calls to you," says the wiseman, "you know you must follow it. The wind never speaks for nothing."
If only it would tell her: Why her? If only it would tell her what path it wants her to travel.
Before first light, she leaves the valley and the mountains dreaming in the last stillness of winter night.
I go, she thinks, to almost certain death. But surely the wind cannot be so capricious, so devious. Instinct tells her the trail she follows is not false, and she believes it, though everyone has judged her insane.
"But where do you go?" Commach has asked. No, demanded, as he thinks he has a right to. And with a stifled sigh, she has, out of kindness, tried to explain. The expanses of land flat as a pancake, jeweled with rivers and great swaths of water. Like lakes, but so flat. Not even a hillock in sight. Buildings and walls of towering, golden stone, sprawling in every direction. Sand and dust everywhere the rivers and strange lakes don't touch. A land for giants.
West, the wind seems to whisper. West, where nothing lies but frost and impassable peaks. But perhaps beyond the peaks. What then?
Commach has turned away in disgust, not bothering for the first time to try to touch her hand. To boldly brush his shoulder against hers. Realizing at last that his bid is lost. You go to your death.
And maybe she does. She hasn't told Commach or anyone about the flowers. Red like blood, ringed by thorns. But beautiful, so beautiful. Petals soft as fur. She aches to touch them, willing to brave the thorns, to bleed on them for the chance to breathe their sweetness, to rest her skin against silken blooms. Maybe that will be her demise.
In the logic of dream, such a death seems worth it.
____________

And it just gets more intriguing from there.

Now it’s time for—you guessed it—

THE GIVEAWAY and LINKS

Anyone who comments on any of these blog posts will be entered in a drawing for a paperback copy (in North America) or an ebook (elsewhere) of Witches, Princesses, and Women at Arms. Each blog you comment on gives you one more entry.

Why are so few people commenting to join the drawing? I’d be feeling paranoid, sure that hardly anybody had any interest in this book, if I hadn’t just done a reading last Saturday night at a bookstore in New York where it was selling well, and then, at the New York Pride March on Sunday, I visited my publisher’s vendor’s table and was told that they’d sold out of the copies they’d brought and had sent back to their office for more. So somebody’s interested.

Here’s the lineup of blog posts—the links may be adjusted as we go along, so check back here every now and then.

June 14th: Sacchi Green-“Trollwise” (plus the Introduction)
www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 15th: Cara Patterson-“Steel”
www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 16th: Michael M. Jones-“The Miller’s Daughter”
michaelmjones.com

June 19th: H.N. Janzen-“The Prize of the Willow”
www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 20th: Annabeth Leong-“The Mark and the Caul”
http://annabethleong.blogspot.com/2017/06/the-mark-and-caul-origin-story.html

June 21st: Brey Willows-“Penthouse 31”
https://breywillows.com/2017/06/21/be-your-own-sexy-as-hell-heroine/

June 22nd: Salome Wilde-“The Princess’s Princess”
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 23nd: Emily L. Byrne-“Toads, Diamonds and the Occasional Pearl”
writeremilylbyrne.blogspot.com

June 26th: A.D.R. Forte-“Warrior’s Choice”
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 27th: M. Birds-“Woodwitch”
mbirds.tumblr.com

June 28th: Madeleine Shade-“Robber Girl”
https://www.facebook.com/carina.bissett.5

June 29th: Lea Daley-“The Sorceress of  Solisterre”
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

June 30th: Allison Wonderland-“SWF Seeks FGM”
aisforallison.blogspot.com