Also, if you buy the trade paperback, the Kindle version is free.
For the past few months, I've been trying, off and on, to write a sequel to Gifts. I say "off and on because" I've also been working on another novel (a very stubborn novel) and occasional short works. Anyway, I'm finally making progress. The sequel has a definite direction, so to celebrate, I've put the ebook version of Gifts on sale for the following week. Act early this week and get the electronic version of Gifts for just $2.99.
Gifts concentrated on the effects of a curse on four men turned into women and unable to turn back. Their experience was my primary concern in Gifts, but in thinking about following up with a continuation of their story, the scope has expanded considerably. In Talents, Angelica and Georgia are still major players, but their personal interests are less important. Talents is about the larger question of how to survive as a mage in a world where, generally, only the gifted know that magic is a real possibility. I'm calling the series the Unofficial History of the Supernal Fyrd of the Gifted and Talented. The book I'm currently writing, Talents, will be book two of a trilogy. Book three is not yet named.
Just as a taste, here's the opening paragraphs of Talents.
Angelica closed her eyes and saw the man as clearly as if he stood there in the closet-sized space with her: head shaved a few days before and now covered in a thin scurf that outlined a receding hairline, taller than average height, thin but strong, the tendons on his wrists standing out like tram cables. The tension in his wrists was because of the guns. They looked light, plastic, almost like boxy toys, but the strain in his arms told the truth about their weight. The guns fired, one after another. She could see each bullet, as though they were spaced a second apart and flying with no more speed than a badminton bird. The screams of the retreating audience reverberated in low tones—another effect of everything moving so slowly. Angelica could feel her guitar strings, could hear the strumming, but she didn’t know what she was playing. This wasn’t one of their songs—one of the band’s numbers. This was something from deep within her psyche. She didn’t know what or why, but she knew she had to play it. She felt Slim’s strong hand grab her ankle, heard him shouting to getdownAngelOGodgetdown, but she had to keep playing—had to play the bullets back whence they’d come.That's just a small chunk of the first chapter. I might add a bit more over the next few weeks. Meanwhile, check out Gifts on Kindle, on sale for a limited time.
The detonation blossomed slowly, time-lapse film of an opening flower, the split black strips of gunmetal—the broken barrel of the blocky machine pistol in the man’s left hand—opening like black sepals beneath the expanding, brilliant blue-white rose petals of unexpected pyrotechnics. The bloom expanded improbably large, already a yard wide and spreading to blot out the gunman’s face.
Angelica opened her eyes. She crossed herself and began, “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. It’s been—quite a long while since my last confession.”
Sitting in the dark booth, looking down, Angelica could see the tops of her thigh-highs peeking out from her black skirt and wondered if her attire was quite as appropriate as she’d initially hoped. This was, after all, the same outfit she’d worn a month before to her own funeral. Even with black stockings, she wondered, Am I dressing appropriately? Is this too short for church? What a stupid thing to fret over.
The heavy shadow through the screen shook with silent laughter. Angelica couldn’t make out any kind of distinct silhouette through the screen, but the priest was a huge, warm, imposing presence. She could feel his every exhalation—slow, ponderous—hear his seat complain with every tiny adjustment. “Come now, Child, the formula is there for a reason. How long—ah—roughly, is ‘quite a long while’? Weeks? Months? A few years?”
Angelica frowned and did the math. She could feel the heat of her reddening face. “Sorry, Father. It’s been twenty—uh, twenty-five years since my last confession.”
The confessional echoed the silence of the entire church—tiny sounds creeping in—footsteps in another space, sparrows rustling in the rafters, wind cutting across the buttresses, traffic on some distant freeway.
The shadow cleared his throat. “I see. Tell me, my child, are you carrying any sort of identification? A driver’s license? Passport? Something like that?”
Angelica frowned. “Yes. Is it standard these days to card penitents in confessional?”
“Tut. What is the—ah—date of birth given on that ID?”
“June 29th, 1991.”
“I see. Well, that answers a number of my questions.”
The shadow chuckled, a heavy but warm rumble. “I think you know what I’m getting at, Child. You asked for me by name, but I only do a limited number of confessions these days. I’m a supernumerary apostolic protonotary—something of a glorified accountant for the see.”
Angelica could feel her face heat with unseen blush. “I’m so sorry, Monsignor, I didn’t realize.”
“That’s fine, Child. The—ah—folks in this church have explicit instructions to contact me, immediately—ah—if anyone requests me by name. You say your last confession was before your registered birthdate. Thus, I think you know at least one of the—ah—reasons. Now, who gave you my name?”
Angelica sighed softly. “I know him only as Melchior.”
“The adjutant. No doubt the recommendation came with warnings. May I ask what those warnings were?”
Angelica blushed. “He said I should avoid talking Fyrd politics with you, but I don’t know anything about Fyrd politics. Nor do I care.”
The monsignor chuckled. “Typical. All right, then, let’s start with who and what you really are. So, what was your—ah—original date of birth? Don’t worry, no one else can hear you.”
Angelica swallowed. “August , 1952. Terrence Murphy.”
The monsignor hmmed. “Interesting. I’ve never known a Talent who—ah—who could change genders. Unless this is a glamour, of course.”
Angelica shook her head. “No, father. No glamour. I’m still not clear on what that means, actually. I was caught in the crossfire of a curse. It’s a long story.”
“And not, I take it, the one you’re here to tell. I apologize for interrupting, Child. Please—ah—continue.”
“Monsignor, I believe I’ve committed a mortal sin.”
The confessor remained silent.
“Monsignor, I think I killed a man.”