X Is For… X Marks the Spot, or, Maps!

Map Drawn by A. Catherine Noon and Rachel Wilder. Copyright 2012; All Rights Reserved.
Map Drawn by A. Catherine Noon and Rachel Wilder.
Copyright 2012; All Rights Reserved.

Maps are a helpful way to orient oneself in a physical place.  We use them in all sorts of ways:  when driving from one place to another, when finding a new-to-us store or restaurant, even wandering around a mall or airport.  Now, maps are electronic – GPS, or Global Positioning Systems, are as ubiquitous as cell phones.  But how many of us have been steered wrong by their GPS and ended up in another place entirely (Google maps, I’m looking at you, kthnxbi).  For that reason, I’m still old-school and like my paper sheet-maps and guidebooks.  They don’t send me into Muskegon Heights and the police station/mental asylum parking lot.

When worldbuilding, I’ve found maps to be invaluable – not least because I have a tendency to put stuff where I need it in story,  not necessarily where it actually is.  Aside from driving my coauthor and our editors up a tree, it’s useful to know where said tree is – last time, it was on the front of the property, now it’s in the back yard?  Well, yeah, maybe it’s a walking tree like those the ents manage in LOTR?  No?  Oh, fine, I’ll draw a map.

And that’s how the map of Persis, shown above, was born.  We needed to know, for example, how long it takes to get from Reghdad to Kotek City.  Is it a straight shot?  What kind of conveyance can one use to get there?  What’s the terrain like?  What are the hazards of the journey?  And, most importantly, when editing Emerald Keep, we realized that the two Seekers we had written into the scene, who were from Cyrus and Darius respectively, could not have traveled to Reghdad “just like that,” and certainly not during the Daymonth.  Uhps.

See?  Maps are important.  Take that, GPS.

What about you, Dear Reader?
Are you a proponent of the newfangled or like yours old-school?

Sizzling Summer Nights

Welcome to the Just Romance.Me summer blog hop!  In celebration of the upcoming release of Book II of the Persis Chronicles, EMERALD KEEP, here is a short excerpt to whet your appetite.  Enjoy!

Teeka spied a skein of silvery grey yarn. An image of a woven headscarf for Quill danced through his head. He leaned over the basket, rooting for another find. His necklace with the carved sandcat dangled from around his neck.

A small dirty hand darted into his view. Teeka gasped when the sharp tug around his neck registered. His necklace!

Teeka dropped the yarn and gave chase. No cave rat was stealing Quill’s gift! Teeka dodged and wove around the vender carts, straining to keep the dark, tangled head in sight.

He rounded a corner and caught sight of ragged silks turning another corner in front of him. Gasping, he tried to increase his speed. His lungs burned along with his feet.

Quill shouted behind him, but Teeka concentrated on the boy instead. Almost!

They careened down another alley. The boy whirled when he reached a dead end. Teeka slowed, not wanting to scare him. He stopped in front of the youth, trapping him in the alley. He wheezed and leaned over, trying to catch his breath. His feet throbbed in time to his heart beat.

Teeka panted. “Give me back my necklace.”

The boy scowled. “What are you jabbering about?”

Teeka snorted. “You know. You also know better to steal from a Keeper.”

A rustling sound behind him caught Teeka’s attention. Teeka glanced over his shoulder, expecting to see an irate Quill. Instead, several bigger youths stalked forward.

One with missing tooth grinned at him. “A Keeper should know not to get caught alone in an alley.”

Teeka eyed him. He waited for fear to race through him but only calmness settled. After Ezek’s crazed raving, this boy didn’t frighten him. There was no way they would kill him. Rob and roll him, yes. They might even throw in a beating because of jealously over his Keep upbringing. But could that hurt more than being burned alive on the Great Valley’s heated sands?

Teeka moved to put a wall at his back. “I want my necklace back. It was a gift.”

Several more boys appeared. A few dangled from the back staircases of the buildings that hedged them in. Teeka ignored them and only stared at the leader.

The boy blinked, then narrowed his eyes. He tried to cover his discomfort with a cocky expression. A smirk curved his lips and he held up his hands in front of him. Tiny streaks of lighting leaped from his fingers.

Teeka tilted his head. “A baby Shiner. You have no idea what you’ve stumbled into.”

The boy flushed and clenched his fists. His anger made him lose control of his energy and it faded. He scowled. “What do you mean by that?”

Teeka grinned and pointed past him. “I mean that he’s my lover.”

The boys whipped around.

Quill strode down the narrow alley. Even Teeka swallowed a bit at his Intended’s appearance. A gold glow danced over Quill’s skin and silks. Anger tightened the Hunter’s face, making his features stark. His grey robes whipped around him, though no breeze stirred in the cavern. A faint crackling sound echoed from him.

He shined.


“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
– E.E. Cummings

**New** SEALED BY FIRE is available from LooseId LLC. An All Romance eBooks Bestseller!

The Chicagoland Shifters series:
Book 1 BURNING BRIGHT, available from Samhain Publishing.

Book 2 TIGER TIGER, available from Samhain Publishing. An All Romance eBooks Bestseller!

The Persis Chronicles:
**Coming Soon** EMERALD KEEP, from Torquere Books.

Check out EMERALD FIRE, available from Torquere Books.

Check out “Seeking Hearts“, available from Torquere Books.

Check out COOK LIKE A WRITER , available from Barnes and Noble.
Check out “Taking a Chance“, available from Torquere Books! An All Romance eBooks Bestseller!

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The SFR Brigade Annual Blog Hop!

I’m so tickled to have been invited to participate with the annual SFR Brigade Midsummer Blog Hop! There are some amazing authors that participate; I know you’ll enjoy yourself during the hop.

In keeping with the theme, here’s a little snippet from the Noon and Wilder release with Torquere Press, Emerald Fire. Also, in celebration of Pride month this month, Torquere is offering 20% off everything in the store – just enter the code PRIDE at checkout!

* * *

Quill looked up and pointed. “See?”

Teeka followed his gaze and stared, lips parted. More stars than he’d seen anywhere, save in bookvids, blanketed the darkening sky. He couldn’t see individual constellations yet, not with the starglow from Minah, but it wouldn’t be long. He found the Boar’s Tail and tried to follow it to the body but couldn’t find the shoulder.

Sudden warmth on his hand startled him and he looked down to find Quill’s fingers, holding him from spilling his plate all over the rugs.

He flushed. “I’m sorry.”

Quill pulled the plate out of his hands. “Lie back.”

Teeka nestled his head against a pillow, and stared up at the sky. Quill moved around, tidying, and Teeka knew he should help but couldn’t tear his attention away. The Hunter stilled after several more minutes of straightening up and stretched out next to him, shoulders touching.

“There’s the Boar’s Tail, but I can’t find his shoulder,” Teeka said, pointing.

Quill’s long finger directed his eyes to the left. “There. So, so, and so.”

“And the Maiden?”

“There. And beyond it, do you see the Sandcat?”

“What about Great Hunter?”

“He isn’t risen yet.”

Teeka smirked at the double entendre and Quill flashed him a quizzical look. They both burst out laughing as color flamed into Quill’s cheeks.

They stayed there for the better part of an hour, pointing out the constellations as they grew in luminance. Once, a star shot across the sky, traveling fast. Teeka waited for more but no others appeared.

“I have dessert,” he roused himself to say. “I hardly want to leave.”

Quill rolled up on his elbow to look down at him. “Come. We have a fortnight to watch the starshow.”

Teeka gazed up at him, Minah’s setting glow silvering his cheek and making his gray eyes seem luminous. He reached up with a trembling hand and brushed the scars on Quill’s face. Quill gasped and caught his hand, and kissed his fingers.

* * *

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A to Z Challenge, Day 17: Q Is For Quesquemitl

In my weaving class, I am making a quesquemitl, a type of poncho that is made from a continuous piece of fabric – and, thus, a popular choice for handweavers.  The photo above is from Wikipedia, of a garment on view at the Museo Popular in Mexico: “Large shawl called a quechquemitl by Margarita Roberta Lucas Garcia from Tenango de Doria, Hidalgo as part of a temporary exhibit of crafts from Hidalgo at the Museo de Arte Popular, Mexico City.”

I love the yarn that I got to use.  It’s a rayon with many different colors, as you can see from the spool here; however, from a distance it looks blue.

I haven’t yet sewn the piece, which means that will be my next project.  I’m finishing the hand-sewn edge and then will baseball stitch the pieces together.

I don’t know how to baseball stitch yet.

Guess I have my work cut out for me.

What do you want to learn this year?

Tue Cent Twosday

I have two posts for your pleasure today!  First up, have you ever just talked about the weather?  Really?  Me too!  Small world.  Come on over and join me – they’ll be pictures!  more

My heroes, the Nine Naughty Novelists of legend and bestseller lists everywhere, opened their blog to guests posts again and I jumped at the chance.  These authors are talented, funny, and share their knowledge freely.  They presented at RT in 2012 and I was so excited, but I missed their panel due to a conflict.  ~howl~  If you haven’t yet, check ’em out – and in the meantime, Get In Mah Belleh!