Brida Anderson

Urban Fantasy

Tag: Urban Fantasy

Sweep in Peace is coming

“Clean Sweep” is a book by Ilona Andrews I discovered years after the Kate Daniels-series. It got lost in the murky depths of my Kindle. When I finally did read the book in the Innkeeper series–a free series that had been published in installments on Andrews’ innkeeper website— I fell in love. The wait for book 2 felt very long.

Today I came across a 2nd cover on Ilona Andrews’ official website with the tantalizing button “coming soon”. Yay. :-)

“Sweep in Peace” was available for free on their website (now I could only find 2 chapters), and is now being prepped for the ebook edition.

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If you enjoy Urban Fantasy with verbal sass and quirky magic, the Innkeeper Series is for you.

Love the cover art, too.

It’s raining men and Urban Fantasy, halleluja

Hey honeys, I’m so happy I could burst.

And I’ll tell you why. Even though I fear that it’ll jinx the current “yay! the world’s so lovely”- mood ;-)

I found an editor for POISON PATCH, book 2 of Rule of Thorns. I loved her corrections for the sample text (okay: I muttered and blushed and cringed, but then I said “I want that kind of constructive in-depth slaughter for the whole book.” ;o) Her timing is perfect: she doesn’t have time now but on April 20th. Which was my own deadline for working my beta readers feedback into the manuscript. Nice synchronicity. :-)

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one of the w-i-p covers

 

There’s still some to-and-fro on the title and cover front but hopefully I’ll get that sorted out this week. Any thoughts on “Poison Patch” and “Molten Blue”? The two favs currently. The titles of all Rule of Thorns-books should contain a word that’s usable by an elf as well as an IT-girl like Alanna.  That’s why I love “Patch”. I just don’t like the alliteration, but “Poison Patch” fits the plot perfectly. Any other idea? Or maybe you don’t mind the alliteration?

When I’m not scouting for cover-worthy hunks in stockphoto databases (such a chore, really ;-), I’m reworking HEDGE GAMES. A few of you already know I added a scene which I had cut for the first publication. All beta readers had loved that scene but I was so afraid to run over 100K words that I slashed it. Now, with 2 years’ distance from the manuscript, I went in again and slashed very different stuff, mainly from the first 30 pages, so that I could add back that scene. Mattis and Alanna playing Forest of Fiends. Yum. :-)

Another reason I’m really happy: I finally did some yoga yesterday, first time in months. I know resolutions are for sissies but here goes anyway: I made up my mind yesterday that I will return to my daily yoga practise. Having my second child threw me out of the habit and I have been struggling to get back on board ever since then. I enjoyed the practise yesterday immensely, also because of the Goddess-aspect of the DVD I used. The country we live in now is … ack, I leave that for another post. ;-)

Something else that makes me happy: With Poison Patch in the hands of my lovely beta readers and Hedge Games, edition 2, almost ready for upload, I can plot book 3 of the Rule of Thorns and then write the 2nd draft of Witches of Riverdale. Looking forward very much to returning to Robin’s world of witches, gargoyles and flying magic cars. Diagon Alley for grown-ups. :-)

New Urban Fantasy books 2015

Honeys, I hear you. It’s been over a year since Hedge Games came out and you haven’t seen hide or tail of book 2. I get at least one message through Facebook per week asking me when book 2 will be published. Enormously encouraging — but so far I had to mumble in reply. With the move to Qatar, all writing was on hold.

The good news: Since last September, I’ve been working like a woman possessed on … cough … not exactly (only) book 2 but many writing projects at once. This year will see the release (fingers crossed) of:

German edition of Hedge Games, HeckenspieleThe German edition of Hedge Games, “Hecken-Spiele”. If you’re at Leipzig Bookfair/Leipziger Buchmesse, you can check out teaser chapters at the booth of my friend Anja Bagus.

 

cat doing pushups on keyboard

always important: a little catnastics while you write …

Book 2 in the Rule of Thorns-series. I’m about 50 percent done with the 2nd draft of Poison Patch. Once I’m all done, it will fly out to my beta readers. After I’ve reworked it another … uh … five to ten times? ;-), it will go to my editor, then to a proofreader, then I’ll do the ebook formatting stuff and THEN you’ll finally hold it in your hands. I was asked by a blogger for when she can announce the 2nd book when she blogs about Hedge Games. And my succinct answer was: “uh … oh gee … uhm … let me think”.Depends on how quick my beta readers are, how quickly I can work in their feedback. We’re saying 1st of December 2015 now. But I REALLY hope it will come out sooner than that.

This year I’ll also release the Witches of Riverdale book. You probably remember the short story I wrote for Witches in Fiction last Halloween? “All Hallow’s Morning”  didn’t let me go and I switched NanoWriMo projects at the last minute, turning the short story into a whole book. It’s been slumbering and cooling down since then while I finish the 2nd draft of Poison Patch. But I love the book and really want to see it fly out into the world 2015. To tide you over till then: Did you know I have a Pinterest board where I collect witchy pins? Creatively titled … wait for it … Witches of Riverdale. ;o)

Right now, I can spend more time with fiction because the next non-fiction is a little ways off. But come March, I’ll have to divide my few kid-free hours between fiction and non-fiction again. (Which is what I normally do bec. nonfiction pays the bills.) Bad for finishing the novels, but good for those of you who enjoy my nonfiction. ;-) The project is still hush-hush; you’re gonna like it if you’re interested in losing a few pounds while you balance one kid on each hand. ;-)

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I’d love to talk to you. Due to an avalanche of spam, I had to close comments on the blog. If you’d like to comment on this blogpost, please talk to me on Facebook or on Twitter instead.

tendril_small

brida_anderson_photo_babs_huber_thumb Brida Anderson’s novel, Hedge Games, released in December. You can find her at www.brida-anderson.com, Facebook, and Twitter. She and her family currently live in the Middle East with the newest addition to their household, a fae-cat called Robin.

Witches in Fiction: Part 2

Here’s the second part of my short story for Witches in Fiction 2014.

Enjoy! :-)

All Hallow’s Morning Part 2

A Robin Armstrong story

> All Hallow’s Morning, Part 1

“So I hang out with you until the culprit is found or my memory returns?” He laid his hands over Robin’s. His gaze was still haunted but there was something else moving in the blue depths. A flicker of passion.

“Uh …” Robin licked suddenly dry lips. “Yes, we …” She cleared her throat. “I’ll ask the weres to bunk together and you can have the room to get some rest …”

Sky bent closer, his gaze focusing on her lips. “You know, I’ve never kissed a witch before.”

allhallows_cover_brida_anderson_oct17_medium

“Or you don’t remember …” Robin whispered. He was so smooth and warm under her fingers, the sparks in his eyes so bright.

The stink of burning bacon cut straight through her arousal.

“Oh my God!” She tore out of Sky’s grasp. He tried to hold her back, but dropped his arms when the pan on the stove ignited with merry flames.

“Shit, shit, shit …” Robin hurriedly turned off the gas. With a teatowel, she beat at the flames. It caught fire and she managed to smack Sky with the burning towel when he tried to help her.

“Ah, sorry!” She dropped the towel with a curse and stomped on it.

Sky pushed her aside and plunged his hands into the flames.

“Are you nuts?!” Robin tugged at his arms.

The flames died. Sky raised his hands, wriggling his slender fingers. They were unscathed. He looked mesmerized at his own hands. His voice was still deeper than before when he muttered: “Interesting. Downright intriguing.”

Robin’s breath stuttered. “Do … Do you feel odd?” Had he been impervious to flames before, or had some side-effect of the spell been time-triggered?

Sky spun around, seeking her. “You may serve me, little witch.”

“What?!” Robin scampered backward. “I don’t serve anyone.” He was off his rocker. Did she know how to pick ‘em, or what?

“You will serve me when I COMMAND it, little witch.” Sky’s voice didn’t sound like him anymore. It was so deep and slick, Robin could almost taste it on her tongue.

“I simply HATE when people call me that!” Faintly, she heard her phone ring in the hall. It was still in her jacket. Her jacket which hung right over her spellbag … Robin fell back another step. The kitchen wasn’t large. Only a few more steps …

The reddish light of the hallway enclosed her like a soothing embrace. She had made it and he hadn’t followed her. Yet.

She pounced her jacket on the chair, digging for her phone, while she kicked open her bag with a foot. Was there anything useful left inside?

Micah’s ID flashed across the screen.

“Micah!” she panted. “Something’s wrong with Sky.”

“Who’s Sky?”

“The human I took home. Only, I don’t think he’s human anymore.” Robin looked toward the kitchen. Sky had ignited the gas again and was playing with the flames. While she watched, he pushed his whole face into the flames, as if he was gobbling them up. “He’s like …” Dare she say it? “Like possessed. Fire doesn’t hurt him.” They both knew there was no such thing as real possession. A very skilled witch could ride your mind or transmorph you into something else, but the traces of that spell would scream loudly at anyone checking you. This wasn’t what had happened to Sky.

Micah swore. “Look. The Taumathurgists found some weird traces around the site. Whoever did that spell didn’t use witchcraft.”

“So, what then?” Robin’s gaze was still glued to Sky. He was done playing with the stove and looking around the kitchen. For her?

“One of the theories is that somehow the spellcaster merged with the human in the ritual. If we take out the man, we probably take out the caster as well.”

“How do you mean, take out?”

Micah’s next words were drowned out by a shrill ringing. Instinctively, Robin cowered, covering her ears. But it didn’t do any good. The sound was coming from her wards, beamed straight into her head. Their gentle background hum had been replaced by a shrill warning to their Ward Witch.

A large shadow loomed in the doorway. Sky! And he was holding a candle, a feather and a small bowl in his hands. All broken. “Thanks for telling him about those, earlier.” He dropped them on top of the pile of stones and stomped on the whole ensemble with his boot. With a last desperate clamour, half of her protection died.

He hadn’t known anything about magic when he arrived. He was either a gifted actor or someone else was driving Sky.

“I’m in trouble,” Robin blurted out. “Sky, he’s …”

Sky cocked his head. “He’s what?” One hand lazily stroked up his chest. “Irresistible?”

“He has broken my ward,” Robin blurted into the phone.

Sky advanced on her. The smile on his face looked sick. “Come, witch, we have better use for our time.”

“A team of Roses is on their way to neutralize him.” Micah was speaking quickly. “They said to keep him contained if you can. But, Robin, get the hell out of there! They might torch your house –”

Sky plucked the phone from her grasp and dropped it. He stepped on it, the crack of the casing as loud as a gunshot in Robin’s ears.

“I require more nourishment to maintain my form.”

Robin blinked at Sky. “You what now?”

“The pale fire in your kitchen isn’t enough.” He grabbed both her arms and frogmarched her into the living room. “Light a fire.” He let go of her and waved his arms. Armchairs, sofa and couch table slid, groaning and creaking, to the sides, clearing the space in front of the fireplace. Last night, she had celebrated Halloween here with her room-mates and some friends, and hadn’t cleared the table yet. Now thanks to Sky, half-finished drinks, pumpkin pie and cupcake icing oozed into one big mess.

Robin’s gaze roved over the small room, frantically searching for a weapon. Unless she strangled him with fairy lights until he dropped unconscious, there was nothing here. Maybe she could throw the candleholders? But her aim was lousy and her powers of telekinesis non-existent. She had dropped that class as soon as she could.

Contain him … Like any witch, Robin had a pre-echted circle in her house. Hers was in the living room, spelled to be hidden unless needed. Maybe she could lure Sky inside the circle and activate it?

“A fire? By all means.” She moved past him to the wood. She needed her matches. They always sat on top of the fireplace, but were now hidden somewhere between all the little pumpkins, cats and ghosts.

“He likes handling your riffraff,” Sky said, touching his fingertips to the pointy ears of one cat. “It gives him a sense of home, of safety.”

Ice formed at Robin’s spine. She pulled out a log, threw it on the fireplace. “Who’s ‘he’?”

“The were you call Sky,” Sky said.

“You’re not a were, you’re human.” Robin tossed another log onto the first. She touched the logs, bespelling them to not catch fire. She dropped a bit of kindling on top and went hunting for the matches, using that excuse to touch her foot to the circle, calling it. It was filled with ash, ready to use. Sky didn’t notice the shallow groove in the hardwood floor or didn’t care.

“He was a were when we turned him. Delicious.” Sky smacked his lips.

“What’s his name?” Robin tried to keep the disgust out of her voice. Her hand closed around the box of matches.

Sky waved it off. “He has no name anymore. He’s a vessel.”

“So who am I talking to?” Magic was flickering around Robin’s fingers, using her nervous sweat as conduit. It was biting her with sharp little teeth, as if begging to be used.

“Wouldn’t you like to know?” Sky tugged her closer. “Light the fire.”

“Coward,” Robin spat. “Say your name.”

Sky made a move as if to strike her but then recoiled. He let go of her and looked as if he was grappling with himself. “Ah, this form is weak yet. More nourishment!”

She lit a match. Sky’s silent struggle ceased. His gaze was drawn to the small flame as if it was magnetic.

“Here, catch,“ Robin tossed the match onto the logs. The kindling ignited and burned bright. Sky eagerly turned to the fireplace.

Taking the matches with her, Robin ran to the couch table. She gathered up an arm full of leftovers from the night before — candles, food, cups — then jumped into the circle. She dropped her loot in the center and sunk to her knees. She pressed her fingertips into the ash. There wouldn’t be enough time to properly raise a circle and anchor it.

Magic licked at her fingers from the left. She had filled the groove in the floor. She set one candle in the center and one in a corner. A glass with water and a ripped streamer she placed in two other corners. The dish with pumpkin pie had to stand in for earth. She lit the candles, then sat in the center. She raised her arms. “Guardians of the circle, hear me! We call to you this day to join us. Lend us your help. May you be blessed and smile upon this rite!”

Panic slammed in her chest when Sky jumped next to her in a blast of hot wind. This was what she had planned but he was so close! Her living room was small and so was the circle. Sky and her were filling it completely. Sky’s eyes were shining bright red. The heat he was giving off stole her breath.

She dipped her fingertips back into the ash of the circle and visualized  a white sphere growing from the floor, keeping them safe on all sides. Tingling through Robin’s awareness, it rose around them like a semi-opaque wall. Pumpkins and fairy lights threw orange spots of light on the barrier from outside. The air tasted cooler and Robin felt calm settle over her nerves.

She closed her eyes, her concentration focussed. “Guardians, hear me! Elementals, hear me!”

“That fire was a meagre offering, witch. But your puny circle won’t contain me.” When Robin looked up, the Black Sabbath t-shirt was peeling away in shreds. The jeans followed. Sky’s chest was covered in runes that were glowing like embers.

She had never seen anything like it. Panic was firing like shots inside Robin’s brain. How could she fight against that thing and leave Sky unharmed?  She needed to separate him from whatever was possessing him. At university, she’d only ever learned to reverse transmorphing spells gone wrong. They had never dealt with a being that consisted of two separate entities. True possession …

Inspiration struck. “I call the element of fire. May you bless and smile upon this rite.” Her voice was strained. She wouldn’t scream. It was never smart to yell at the elementals. “Salamanders, help me. Hold and hallow this space.”

Sky’s head fell back and he screamed, a sound so deep and anguished it couldn’t come from a human’s throat. In the center of the circle, Robin was mere inches from Sky’s feet. He was writhing, fighting powers unseen. It meant he was a threat – to the circle or to herself, or the elementals would have ignored him. The struggle was harsh but silent. As elementals of fire, salamanders knew no restraint, no caution. They hallowed this circle and consumed what was soiling it, a threat to it. It was working. Robin felt giddy with relief — and worried for Sky.

“Guardians of fire, I call you on this night. Lend me your passion, creativity, your inspiration. Bless and smile upon this rite.” She waited, breath held. Nothing happened. Sky’s silent struggle continued. The scent of the pumpkin pie tickled her nose and Robin wrinkled it. To be distracted by food at a time like this! No, wait. She was never hungry inside her circle. This was something else. She slid on her knees to the dish and scooped out filling with two fingers. “Guardians of Earth,” she whispered, “I call you on this night.” She asked for help, then closed her eyes and touched her lips to the pie filling. Its creamy, spicy scent transported her back a year, to the last Samhain celebration with her family. “You think this will work?” she whispered. There was no reply, only the soothing calm of sitting in her circle.

“Welcome Goddess and God on Samhain night …” Tears were hot on her face when Robin intoned the words of her family’s Halloween ritual. She had planned to celebrate with her roommates and Sky tonight, after dark had fallen. Not like this!

The words came haltingly at first, then quicker.

“… This time marks the death of old ways,

we cling no more to what came before.

We open our eyes and see

that darkness surrounds us and mystery …” Her voice cracked but she pushed on.

The words fell from her tongue even while her thoughts raced. They had been imprinted on her with every Samhain celebration since she was old enough to hold a candle and take part in her family’s ritual.

The deeper she traveled into the ritual, the more Sky changed. First the light blazing from his eyes changed color. From glowing embers to blazing blue and back. So Sky was still in there. And whoever was riding shotgun had lost some foothold, apparently. He hadn’t lashed out at her yet, either. Maybe he was too weak? Over the next minutes, he turned white as a sheet and his skin looked like brittle parchment. When she continued, Sky started moaning and  thrashed slowly. He rose off the floor, still struggling.

Nearing the final words, Robin pushed to her feet.

The exterior ward of her house screeched for her attention, then died abruptly. Red laserdots scittered over the carnage in her living room. Glass shattered and men and women in black uniforms stormed her living room. Roses! The agents were armed to the teeth and their guns were trained on them. Her circle wouldn’t hold bullets for long but maybe just long enough.

More people hurried into the room, this time from the hallway. They were clad in white overalls with a blue waxing moon stitched over the chest. The Tauma Squad. The cavalry had arrived. They’d know better than to interrupt a ritual near its peak.

Fetching the candle, Robin stood face to face with Sky. He was hanging suspended in her circle, eyes still burning red, then blue. He had stopped struggling.

She raised her hands, palms forward, holding his gaze.

I let go.

I embrace the coming dark.

As I let go,

he lets go.

He doesn’t cling. His time to leave is nigh,

he becomes breath and shadow and thought.

As I loosen my grip on what must depart,

he departs.

She hurled the last words at him.

Sky gasped from pain. His eyes were brilliant blue in his ghostly face. “Help me,” he wheezed, “help me.”

Robin blew out the candle and sat it under Sky’s feet, in the middle of the circle. She took his hands in hers. They were so cold.

In darkness we see the light within.

In darkness we trust the light within.

In darkness we are the light within.

Gathering the magic of the circle in their entwined hands, she laid them over Sky’s heart. “Blessed be.”

A chime like a gong made her head hurt. Sky’s eyes rolled up in his head and he crashed to the ground.

A wind rose in the circle. It spun the streamer and the scraps of Sky’s clothing around her in dizzying circles. Out of the air fell … something. For a second, Robin’s brain refused to make sense of the scrabbling legs and hideous flesh-colored carapace. It looked like a lovechild between a scorpion and a facehugger from Alien. A stinger rose high over its back. Two eyes stared at her, sunk deep into the carapace of its back. The stinger quivered when the critter hesitated between Robin and Sky.

“You are one ugly motherfucker,” Robin whispered.

The scorpion scuttled in her direction. It accelerated, stinger held high, and stabbed. The stinger narrowly missed Robin’s legs, piercing the barrier of her circle instead. With a violent tug at Robin, the circle shattered, robbing her breath.

While Robin panted, trying to get her bearings, the critter escaped the circle – and with it, the wind. Her big ficus shivered and rustled, its thin branches straining to move with the air current. Flurries of green leaves were circling the scorpion like snow while it headed for the hall. Objects tore away from the walls, the windows. Paper pumpkins, cardboard bats, a glow-in-the-dark skeleton whooshed past Robin and slammed into the agents and taumathurgists. Robin’s hair kept blowing in her face, robbing her of sight. Orange fairy lights ripped away from the window and whistled past her. The agents batted at the plastic strings threatening to slide around their necks, their guns lowering.

Breathing heavily, Robin quickly dismissed the guardians, elementals and quarters. She felt for Sky’s pulse. Weak, but there. She was about to get up, when it hit her: When she sensed Sky, he read as a were now. And his scent was clear. He smelled of the faint musky scent of weres and of his own bewitching mix of sea salt and sage. Nothing else.

Six laserdots focused on the critter. It stood still in the whirling typhoon, apparently mesmerized by the lights. Maybe it thought they were fire?

Robin threw herself to the floor next to Sky just before six high-velocity spellguns barked at the same time.

With a screech, the scorpion fell on its back, its stinger stabbing the air. The wind died down abruptly and the tornado of Halloween decorations clattered to the floor in a series of crashes. Pottery shards pelted everyone in the living room. Robin threw herself over Sky to keep him safe. When she looked up again, the Tauma Squad had gathered around the writhing scorpion. Their spells and light show were too intense for Robin’s tired brain to make sense of.

One of the Roses stepped forward, a man in his thirties with dark-blonde hair. Agent Grey, no doubt. “Armstrong, hand over the human!” He sounded strangely amused.

“He’s not human. That … thing over there took over a were. It only read as human to us.”

“You took out a demon. Sure.” Grey chuckled.

“I didn’t say that.” A demon? Her blood ran like ice. “They don’t exist.” No-one had ever managed to summon one with a spell.

“Well, it’s only an educated guess so far,” Grey drawled, jerking a thumb in the direction of the Tauma Squad.

A cage made of light rose between the members of the Squad. The scorpion inside it wasn’t moving, but Robin was pretty sure it wasn’t dead or they wouldn’t go to all this trouble.

“They take the thing, we take the human. Up!” Grey reached for Sky’s arm.

“He’s not human!” Robin yelling, clinging to Sky’s arm. “And he’s badly hurt.”

Grey dropped Sky’s arm. “What did you do to the guy? He was a human this morning.”

“Nothing!” Robin yelled. “I cooked bacon, that’s all.”

Grey chuckled. “May be you witches make a hell of a bacon, but that guy’s still human. Abducting a human’s a crime, Armstrong.”

Robin groaned. “I didn’t abduct him. He was –“

More Roses gathered around them, their guns trained on Robin and Sky.

Anna Moray, the head of the Tauma Squad stepped through their ranks. “Agent Grey, stand down your men!”

They didn’t. Of course not. Not without Anna and Grey slapping procedure and jurisdiction at each other. The taumathurgist won. They could all sense that — whatever Sky had been this morning — he was now a were. Not Grey’s mess anymore. When Anna put it that way, the Roses reluctantly trotted out. Robin had a feeling she hadn’t seen the last of Grey.

She slid her fingers into Sky’s hand. “Don’t patch him up. He’s had four already today.”

Anna nodded. “We were briefed.”

Too tired to even get up, Robin stayed at Sky’s side when the taumathurgists probed and sensed him for over an hour.

“You know he needs to be checked more thoroughly, Robin.” Anna’s voice was gentle but Robin knew there was steel underneath. Anna Moray always got the job done. “We can all sense he’s a were. He won’t be killed and you’re not in trouble for harboring a human. But he needs to stay in a secure facility.”  At her nod, three witches in white robes bent to pick up Sky.

“I’ll go with him.” Robin tried to get to her feet but she was wiped out. The spell had drained her. She should have found sustenance while they checked Sky. Now it was too late. She’d be out for hours if she dropped unconscious now.

“You won’t. But he’s coming to, so I give you five minutes to say goodbye. For now.” Anna nodded at her team and they gathered in the kitchen.

Sky stirred behind her. His warm hand brushed away Robin’s hair and stroked her shoulder.

She turned to him, letting her gaze run fondly over his face. Now that the demon was gone, the eyes twinkling at her through the curtain of his hair showed their true were colors: bright sky blue with shifting golden flecks. She stroked the hair from his face. It was silky against her fingers.

Too-blue eyes caught her, widened in alarm. His hand closed around her wrist. Sky struggled to sit up, frowning with confusion. “Where am I? Who are you?”

“Not again,” Robin whispered, horrified. His memory had been wiped again? Regret tasted metallic on her tongue when she leaned toward him. She’d have to bespell him. He had too much shit ahead to go through the whole angst of amnesia right now. “Don’t fret, all is well.” Slowly, she raised her hands.

“Yes, I know.” He caught her hands, his lips twitching into a smile.

Robin blinked, confused.

“I was just kidding.” Sky pressed a gentle kiss to her forehead. “I don’t really remember a lot but I know who you are.”

His face faded in and out. Damn, not now! Robin clung to him but blackness pulled her under.

*         *       *

“Robin?”

Pumpkin Marshmallows by Sugarthesky on Etsy

Pumpkin Marshmallows by Sugarthesky on Etsy

She struggled awake when her room-mate called her name.

Matthew’s black hair was standing straight up, displaying the off-white streak along the middle. “You know the living room’s totally trashed?”

Robin sunk back against the couch. “Yep. We’ll sort it tomorrow. Don’t get all worked up, I can’t deal with a skunk attack.” Unseeing, too tired to even lift her head, she felt along the couch table, through the debris of last night’s party. She almost wept with relief when her fingers landed in a smushed cupcake. She scooped off the sweet cream and pulled apart the spicy cake, eating morsel by morsel, letting the spices revive her.

“Don’t worry.” Matthew knelt down next to her. “You’re okay?”

Robin licked the cupcake from her fingers and leaned against his chest. “You won’t guess what kind of day it’s been.”

“It looks bad.” The were closed his arms around her in a brotherly hug.

Ryan sat on the couch behind Robin and lowered a cellophane bag into her lap. It was filled with orange marshmallows, lightly dusted with sugar. “We came past Karen’s stall and brought you back something. Happy Halloween.”

Her favorite. Robin opened the bag and slid out one of the little fluffy marvels. “Thank you!” She nibbled at a corner of the pumpkin marshmallow. “Did you have something planned for tomorrow?”

Ryan scratched at his stomach. “Not really. Hanging out. Getting some sleep.”

“I have to break someone out of the containment ward. You two game?”

The men grinned, showing pointy eye-teeth.

Matthew ruffled her hair. “We wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

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Happy Halloween, guys! :-)

I hope you enjoyed “All Hallow’s Morning”. Check out my Urban Fantasy HEDGE GAMES if you did. :-) And subscribe to my newsletter to hear about new releases.

tendril_small

brida_anderson_photo_babs_huber_thumb Brida Anderson’s novel, Hedge Games, released in December. You can find her at www.brida-anderson.com, Facebook, and Twitter. She and her family currently live in the Middle East with the newest addition to their household, a fae-cat called Robin.

Review of Hedge Games

Woo :-) See me doing a happy dance.hedgegames_brida_anderson1

This message from reviewer of Hedge Games just fluttered in:

Hi Brida,

I really loved your book! I read it very quickly, and then life got a bit hectic, so I just posted the review on Amazon!

Please write more fiction :) You are good at it.

This was my first fiction e-book I read on my e-reader. When you read paper books, you realise that you are coming to the ending, because there aren’t many pages left. With the e-reader it is totally different. I was so surprised when I got to the ending that there wasn’t more! Good cliffhanger :) Looking forward to the sequel!

She already put up her review on Amazon.com and I’m soooo very happy :-) :-) :-)

If you’d like a review copy of Hedge Games, just drop me a message through E-Mail (brida dot anderson at gmail dot com) or Facebook. I can provide you with an ePub or mobi file or PDF – whatever works best for you.

In other news:

Still writing like the wind on my entry for this year’s “Witches in Fiction” Halloween blog party.

A well read witch by Paul Brooker via Flickr / Creative Commons

A well read witch by Paul Brooker via Flickr / Creative Commons

It was supposed to be a little short story that I’d write quickly before diving back into book 2 of the Rule of Thorns. But the main character had other things in mind ;-)

Loving the story and the world so far, a fictional university town in North America, divided in half between magic and non-magic people.

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If you’d like to leave a comment on this blogpost, please leave it on the Facebook page or through Twitter instead. I’d love to talk to you.

tendril_small

brida_anderson_photo_babs_huber_thumb Brida Anderson’s novel, Hedge Games, released in December. You can find her at www.brida-anderson.com, Facebook, and Twitter. She writes nonfiction under the name Nina Weber. She and her family currently live in the Middle East with the newest addition to their household, a fae-cat called Robin.

Blog Hop: Women Writing

Leanne Chapman from Claim Your Treasure asked me to participate in a Blog Hop that features new women writers and celebrates why we are writing. The torch is passed on every week and I feel honored that I can take part.

((I recently moved this blog and the images got shot in the process. Currently working to replace them all.))

I published my first fantasy novel last winter (“Hedge Games”) in a leap of faith, after years of hiding behind my non-fiction writing. The same change takes place in my blogging. I’ve blogged for years about mom-topics, now I am starting to blog about fantasy/fae-topics for my readers.

How the Blog Hop Works

Write a description of yourself as a writer and answer the 3 questions below. Then invite 2-3 other women writers/bloggers to participate.

 

 

A description of me as a writer

Even as a kid, I was already fascinated by fantasy and adventure stories. The stories that capture me most are those that create a breathing, real world and then run with it. I don’t much mind whether that’s paranormal/Urban/elfpunk/Steampunk/pirates … Just give me a world I can jump into along with the characters; make me believe, make me care. Make me smile about dialogue and funny moments. Make me fret by letting the character walk through darkness. Oh, and give me a loveplot. ;-)
That’s what I love to read – and that what I’m striving for in my fiction.
If I had to name common themes, it’d be: Finding magic in the everyday life that surrounds us. Finding out you’re special and there’s a place / a chosen family where you belong after all.

What am I working on/writing?

When our move abroad (to the Middle East) and my kids give me time enough to write, I’m working on the sequel to HEDGE GAMES. Or I’d love to be writing that. Mostly, I’ve been working on non-fiction these past months.

... when all I want to do is return to the forest for book 2 ... :-)

… when all I want to do is return to the forest for book 2 … :-)

 

I just finished a book with selfcare-tips for moms, it will come out in September. Mid-august is the deadline for my next book, my first “Aufsteller”. What do you call these books in English? A spiral bound book that you can prop upright. One side of the displayed page shows a beautiful photo and quote or affirmation. The back of the page gives a weekly instruction. I love these books when they’re nicely done and I’ve always wanted to create a book like that. So I felt very honored and happy when I was asked by Südwest publishing house to create one on the topic of “Finding Peace inside Me”.

I also experiment with different topics for blogging. It’s easiest for me to blog how-to – giving instructions, DIY topics, tips. But I want to branch out from that and share more about fae/fantasy related stuff. I’m collecting shops with elfwear, beautiful fantasy Pinterest boards, … to share on my blog. I’ll also talk more about the backstory to my elfish characters, because that’s what most questions I got from readers were about.

How does my work differ from other writers in my genre?

Since I aim to write what I’d love to read, I’m not really trying to be different from other writers in my genre. :-) But there are, of course, a lot of different styles in Urban / Paranormal Fantasy.

You’ll love what I write if you enjoy fantasy stories with romantic elements that have darkness where necessary, without ever degrading into torture porn (for lack of a different word, I use it here to encompass all sorts of very dark stuff that you can come across in fae books).
Having said that, I think there should be real danger and real struggle and the loveplot shouldn’t be an end in itself but a side product of two interesting characters meeting and battling toward their goals.

Hedge Games Urban Fantasy

Buy on Amazon

One difference could be that I find old legends, especially German ones, about elves and fae folk very fascinating and have read a lot about them. So my elves might be a tad more Germanic / central European than the ones from authors who come from an Anglo-Saxon background.
We’ve travelled in areas in Germany where the hills are considered dragons sleeping, every second village has a name with the old Germanic word for “elf” in it and local people still warn you about the lakes because the White Lady could grab any children and pull them under, replacing them with a changeling. (That this is a warping of Mother Goddess cults in the same areas could be a topic for another time, hm?) I take all these stories and add my own spin and my own ideas.

View of famous Frau Holle Lake in Germany

“Frau Holle Teich” in Germany

Why do I write what I do?

We have a right to — and a need for — fairytales for grown-ups. I can’t thrive if not at least my reading material brings a touch of magic. The magic that adds sparks to our lives can come from actual conjuring, sexy elves, bare-chested highlanders or watching struggling families reconcile and find their Happy-Ever-After in contemporary books.

Next Week’s Blog Hopper

… is Eilish Bouchier of http://eilishbouchier.com. Until her Women Writer’s blogpost is up, read “I do yoga to do life” from her instead. Highly recommended.

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If you’d like to leave a comment on this blogpost, please leave it on the Facebook page or through Twitter instead. I’d love to talk to you.

tendril_small

brida_anderson_photo_babs_huber_thumb Brida Anderson’s novel, Hedge Games, released in December. You can find her at www.brida-anderson.com, Facebook, and Twitter. She and her family currently live in the Middle East with the newest addition to their household, a fae-cat called Robin.

What the heck to actually tell your email list as a writer?

Yesterday, a link floated around Twitter to an article about how to set up emails to your list. The headline leads you to expect tips on composing emails to your list that are a pleasure for your readers. Unfortunately, the post only gives the tech side, how to set up a list with Mailchimp etc.

Again? Yawn!

Thankfully, today another article flew into my inbox, this time from Kimberley at the Writer Platform. She’s a fellow mom and Canadian. Hey, gotta share it, if it’s from a Canadian ;-)

Ideas and Tips on What to Send to Your Subscribers

It’s part of Kimberley’s series on List-building for writers and well worth to check out.

I’m still experimenting with what I talk to you about in the blog. I come from nonfiction blogging and that rears its head every couple of days. I still feel the need to provide you with some instructables, printables … But printable hunk-elves have not been invented yet (more’s the pity), so we might have to settle for vacations of the mind and exploring Faerie instead of cold hard print-outs. ;-)

5 Tipps für Autoren – Was ich beim Schreiben von Hedge Games gelernt habe

Anja Bagus hatte die sehr schöne Idee einer Blogtour für Autoren, angelehnt an die Postings bei Chuck Wendings terribleminds. Jeder Autor schreibt 5 Tipps für andere Autoren. Dinge, die für sie/ihn während des Schreibens und Publizierens wichtig waren. Erfahrungen, die man gerne weitergeben möchte.

Unter meinen 5 Tipps ergänze ich die anderen Autoren, die ihre 5 Tipps schon gebloggt haben.


 

Hier erst einmal mein neuestes Buch, damit du einen Eindruck von meiner Arbeit bekommst:

HEDGE GAMES ist ein Urban Fantasy-Roman (bisher in englisch erhältlich) mit Anklängen von Elfpunk. Die erste Idee, die sich dann beimhedgegames_brida_anderson Schreiben verselbständigt hat, war: Lord of the Rings trifft die Matrix, mit einer Frau statt Neo – und sie verliebt sich in einen Elfen.

Alanna arbeitet als Game-Designerin für den IT-Giganten Astoria. Die Deadline für ihr erstes Projekt ist eng, sie und ihr Team arbeiten an der Belastungsgrenze. Als immer mehr Technik um Alanna verrückt zu spielen beginnt, erkennt sie, dass nichts bei Astoria so ist, wie es scheint. Alanna muss sich  als frisch-erwachte Magierin beweisen – ansonsten steht nicht nur ihr Job, sondern auch ihr Leben auf dem Spiel. 

Mattis ist ein in Ungnade gefallener Elfenkrieger. Als Faerie vor der Vernichtung steht, ruft die Feenkönigin ihn aus der Verbannung zurück und schickt ihn auf eine ausweglose Mission: Die eine Frau in der Menschenwelt zu finden, die Faerie mit ihrer Magie retten kann. Pech für Mattis, dass Alanna diese Frau ist – und noch nicht einmal ihren Kaffee verzaubern kann, ohne ihn explodieren zu lassen.


 

Meine 5 Tipps:

1. Tauch ganz ein in die Welt deiner Geschichte

… oder: Wieso Brida mitten im Parcours im Hochseilkletterpark schrie: “Aaaah! Das mit dem Elfendorf in den Baumwipfeln ist eine SCHEISS-IDEE!”
Was du am eigenen Leib erlebt hast, kannst du einfach besser beschreiben. Wer nicht Gegenwartsliteratur schreibt, muss allerdings suchen, um etwas Passendes zu finden.

Bestimmte Genres haben da einen Heimvorteil. Ich bin überzeugt, dass ich deshalb so viele hochproduktive Steampunk-Autoren treffe, weil zu ihrem Genre Maker gehören, die die gleichen Bilder im Kopf in die Realität umsetzen.
Letztlich kann man aber für jedes Genre seine Einbildungskraft benutzen, um aus normalen Erlebnissen Mana für die Geschichte zu saugen.

Versuch z. B. “in echt” eine Situation wie dein Held zu erleben.

Lauf doch mal ein paar Stunden mit etwas Ähnlichem wie seiner/ihrer Ausrüstung durch die Gegend. Ist das schwer? Hat er/sie alles dabei? Wie fühlst du dich am Ende des Tages? Wie schnell kann man was rausziehen, kann man damit schwimmen, klettern, …

Setz dich auf ein Pferd, wenn dein Held reitet, und sei es, dass du dich einmal um die Halle führen lässt.

Fahr mit der Gondel/auf ein Hochhaus/mit dem Riesenrad, wenn deine Heldin fliegt.

Lass dir auf einer Greifvogelschau einen Uhu auf die Hand setzen, streichel einen Elefanten, mach bei einer besonderen Nachtwanderung im Zoo mit, mit Tierkontakt. (Schon mal ne Schlange gestreichelt?)

Das alles ist Futter für deine Quelle – siehe unten.

2. Gib deinem Leser kein Schleudertrauma

Meine Lektorin für “Hedge Games”, eine Australierin, die in der Schweiz lebt, machte mich auf etwas aufmerksam, das noch keine deutsche Lektorin bemängelt hatte.

Sie sagte, dass “die Deutschen” einen Hang dazu hätten, ganz arg lange Sätze zu schreiben, bei denen der Fokus des Satzes andauernd springt.

Langer Satz ist nicht gleich langer Satz, habe ich seitdem gelernt.

Es kann ein Typ 10 Sachen hintereinander machen — kein Problem, unser innerer Film zeigt uns den Helden, wie er auf ein Motorrad steigt, einen Bösen erschießt, durch die Scheunentür brettert.

Problematisch wird’s, wenn du noch andere Sachen in den Satz packst …
Stell dir vor, der Leser sieht deine Szene durch ein Opernglas. Mit jedem neuen Aspekt, den du einem Satz hinzufügst (so sieht das Motorrad aus, da kommt ein Böser aus der Ecke, das macht gerade der Sidekick des Helden …), reißt du das Opernglas — mit dem Kopf des Lesers — in eine andere Richtung.
Bei dramatischen Szenen kann man das machen. Da sind wir auch aus dem Kino schnelle Schitte gewöhnt.

Auf Dauer sinkt dein Leser aber ermattet aus den Latschen, besonders beim Einstieg in eine Geschichte, wenn’s keine Action-Szene ist.

Hab Erbarmen, mach mehrere Sätze aus einem. Die Sätze müssen nicht Hemingway-isch kurz sein — gönn einfach jedem speziellen Fokuspunkt, auf den du den Blick des Lesers lenkst, mindestens einen eigenen Satz.

3. Mehr Details — aber so genau wollte ich es nicht wissen!

Da wir die Welt, die Szenerie, letztlich erst beim Schreiben mit den Augen unseres Helden ganz entdecken schleicht sich eine ungeheure Detail-Breite ein; besonders bei Autoren, die ohne oder mit minimalem Plot schreiben.

Die Muse liefert uns wundersame Feengestalten, hier ein außergewöhnliches Kleid, da ein bahnbrechend neues Glaubenssystem an Naturgötter — das kommt alles rein, gehört ja zur Welt, die unsere Heldin durchschreitet und lässt sie lebendig werden.
Jo. Stimmt.

Aber vieles müssen wir gar nicht so genau wissen, um schon ein lebendiges Bild vor Augen zu haben.
Man nimmt sich mit einer Breite von Details die Action, die rasante Fahrt durch die Geschichte. Denn der Blick des Lesers bzw. der Film im Kopf des Lesers geht damit jedes Mal auf eine Zeitlupen-Einstellung.
Das Spannungsfeld ist: genug Details, das überhaupt ein Film im Kopf entsteht. Und nicht so viele Details, das der rote Handlungsfaden über längere Absätze erlahmt.
Übrigens: Je länger die Beschreibung eines Details, umso wichtiger ist, dass es eine Plotfunktion hat.

Wer der Böse der Woche in einer Fernsehsendung ist, kann man häufig daran erkennen, dass die Kamera einen Hauch länger auf seinem Gesicht verweilt als auf den anderen. Das ist deinem Leser nicht bewusst, aber das hat er verinnerlicht.

Zeigst du etwas lange, dann legt er es gedanklich ab als “das wird noch mal wichtig! merken!” — und fühlt sich verarscht, wenn das Ding unwichtig war, du aber unbedingt immer schon mal einen verstaubten, dampfbetriebenen Drachenroboter in der Ecke einer Bibliothek beschreiben wolltest …

Zu wenig Details gibt’s auch.
Für mich völlig überraschend schrieben Lektorin und Betaleser an manchen Stellen von “Hedge Games”: “Wie genau sieht das aus?”.

Zum Beispiel wenn jemand mit einer Münze Feengeld bezahlt. Na, eine Münze halt. Hartgeld. Aber nein, das wollten sie genau wissen.

Oder “Wie lernt man denn Magie?”, schrieb eine Betaleserin. “Ich will mit Alanna in den Unterricht gehen und keine Zusammenfassung!”

Für die ausgewogene Detaildichte sind Betaleser unbezahlbar!

Man selbst ist zu nah an der Story, um zu erkennen, ob ein Detail schön zur Stimmung beiträgt oder unter die Kategorie “zu viel” fällt. Und wo man davon ausgeht “kann sich jeder vorstellen”, der Leser aber gern mehr hätte.

4. Fütter die Quelle

“Wenn die Inspiration anklopft, muss sie dich bei der Arbeit finden” — ich glaube, Picasso hat das mal gesagt.

Als Mutter von zwei kleinen Kindern kann ich an den meisten Tagen nur in winzigen Schreibhappen an meinen Büchern arbeiten. Ich kann nicht eine Stunde prokrastinieren, meine Maus annagen und auf die Eingebung hoffen. Das muss gehen: hinsetzen, schreiben, raus. (Geht’s aber oft nicht, “dank” innerem Kritiker.)

Damit das funktioniert, muss mein Kopf übersprudeln mit Ideen fürs Buch. Dazu gehört natürlich eine gewisse Vorstellung vom Plot, von den Hauptcharakteren, Musik-Playlists, die Charaktere oder bestimmte Arten von Szenen sofort zum Leben erwecken.
Dazu gehört aber auch vor dem ersten Schreiben ein intensives Eintauchen in die Welt des Romans.

Das darf man jetzt nicht mit Recherche verwechseln. Der Übergang ist fließend, aber zu viele FAKTEN stehen einem entspannten Fließen des Textes im Weg. Musste ich lernen ;-)
Für den ersten Entwurf ist es wichtiger, dass du nicht nur mit dem Kopf in die Materie des Romans eintauchst.
Kreativitätscoach Julia Cameron empfiehlt Autoren, regelmäßig ein “Artist Date” zu machen, wo man etwas in die innere Quelle wirft, ganz ohne Projektbezug. Das können Ausstellungen sein, Konzerte, Ausflüge, neue Hobbys, … Für mich ist Musik ganz wichtig — Alanna hat eine ganz andere Playlist als die Elfen, zum Beispiel. Klamotten und Stoffe, die die Charaktere anhaben, anziehen und spüren. Im Wald schreiben und die Geräusche aufs Papier fließen lassen. … Oder zum Beispiel mit dezenter Höhenangst in einen Kletterpark zu gehen, weil Mattis doch so leichtfüßig durch die Elfendörfer in den Baumwipfeln läuft. Uh ….
Der große Vorteil ist, dass man die Quelle auch füttern kann, wenn man nicht zum Schreiben kommt!

5. Vertrau der Chemie

Du bist in Fahrt, schreibst so schön frei, wie der Wind — bis du merkst: Ach du Scheiße! Da soll’s ja gar nicht hingehen! Ab da ist es ein Kampf und man kriegt verdammt noch mal die Kurve zum Plot nicht. Es ist wie verhext.
Meine Heldin spazierte mit einem Mann im Wald, sie sind unterwegs zu dem Mann, der ihr Loveplot ist. Funktion der kurzen Szene: Der Typ gibt ihr Backstory-Infos, kennt den Weg, beschützt sie und baut ein Band zu ihr und den Lesern auf in der Szene, das dann brutal zerschnitten werden soll, wenn der Antagonist ihn grausam tötet.
Bis …

Bis sie ihn plötzlich küsst.

WHAT?!

Und er den Kuss dann leidenschaftlich erwidert, da er sich ebenfalls in sie verliebt hat.
Wtf?!

Er ist doch gar nicht der loveplot!
Dass die Chemie nicht stimmt, kann man an so kleinen Sachen schon früh merken.

Wenn man den Tanz ein paar Mal mitgemacht hat, merkt man schon das erste Aufbäumen der Charaktere, kurz bevor’s alles in die Hose geht. Dann: einhaken.
Wenn Charaktere zum Leben erwachen und nicht machen, was ihr Schöpfer will, bringen sie vielleicht gute Ideen mit. Vielleicht ist der neue Plot aber auch nicht unbedingt sinnvoll.
Denk deshalb die neue Chemie erstmal zu ihrem logischen Ende, bevor du ihr blind folgst.

Vielleicht wird gerade ein Nebencharakter der Held der Geschichte? Kannst du Held und Nebencharakter verbinden? Den Helden ein Stück weit verändern, damit er wieder spannend für dich wird?
Vielleicht ist der “Gute” eigentlich ein Böser? Dann nimm das nicht hin, sondern probier dich an einem richtigen Anti-Helden oder gebrochenen Helden. Es braucht nicht unbedingt Gut und Böse – aber der Leser braucht die Identifikationsfigur. Was muss dein “böser” Held mitbringen, in welchen Situationen musst du ihn zeigen, dass der Leser trotzdem mit ihm mitfiebert?
Was hat das für Konsequenzen für den Plot? Für die anderen Charaktere?
Wenn du die Chemie deiner Charaktere ernst nimmst, erwacht das Buch richtig zum Leben. (Der geküsste Elf ist jetzt der loveplot, übrigens. Der andere ist komplett verschwunden, genauso wie noch weitere 8 Elfen, die alle im ersten Entwurf der Geschichte herumliefen.)

Blogliste 5 Tipps für Autoren:

Anja Bagus (Aetherwelt-Serie, Steampunk)

Brida Anderson (“Hedge Games”, Urban Fantasy)

Markus Gersting (“Hydorgol. Der Alpha-Centrauri-Aufstand” Science Fiction)

Nina Hasse

Alex Jahnke (“Neues aus Neuschwabenland”)

André Ka

Lara Kalenborn (“Feenfuchs und Feuerkuss”)

Georg Sandhoff (Fantasy)

Andrea Schneeberger (“Feuer, Blut und Licht”)

George P. Snyder (Drehbücher)

Arwyn Yale (Thriller)

 

Die bloglosen, teilnehmenden Autor*innen sind bei den 5Tipps auf Anja Bagus Seite zu finden. Dort gibt’s Steampunk zu lesen.

 

Interessierte Autoren finden weitere Informationen in der Facebook-Gruppe, mitmachen ist ausdrücklich erlaubt. :-)

https://www.facebook.com/groups/523190321118274/535336133237026/?notif_t=group_comment_reply

 

Hedge Games (Urban Fantasy) – the printbook is coming

The proofs for Hedge Games arrived in the post. My boys were almost as excited as me — they couldn’t understand how mom could “make a book” and then it was something untouchable in her Kindle. Now here was the “real book” they had been waiting for and they were thrilled. Until they discovered it has no pictures inside, only text. ;o)

So in my boys’ eyes, it’s still “unfinished”. But for us grown-ups, having a pretty cover should be pictures enough (I hope) so I pushed “publish” on CreateSpace.
It will take 5 to 8 days, then you can order the print version of Hedge Games through Amazon — and through your bookstores as well (at least in North-America).
It’s still an exciting journey, publishing my first indie-book. Thank you so much that you’re a part of that journey!

Edit December 11th:
While I was out of the country (and offline) Amazon finally connected print and ebook version of Hedge Games, yay :)

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Mom’s book is finally here: Hedge Games (Urban Fantasy)

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