A Spark of Heavenly Fire Outtake #4

A Spark of Heavenly Fire takes place during the month of December. To celebrate, I am posting outtakes from the book. Like movie outtakes, these are scenes that were deleted from the final version.  Posting them is not as easy as it sounds. Since the original version is no longer in my computer, I have to retype the pages from my handwritten draft copy.  Still, it’s fun being able to revisit some of my original scenes. Hope you enjoy this look at my characters. Oh, and if you’d like to see a photo of the handwritten book, you can find it here: A Spark of Heavenly Fire Pre-Anniversary.

Only a few hardy souls had braved the frigid early morning air: joggers in bright warm-up suits, an elderly couple swaddled in layers of heavy clothing, a scantily clad young man running as if he didn’t have a care in the world.

Kate frowned. Shorts and a tee shirt in this weather? Oh, well. He was young and obviously in good shape; probably no harm would come of it.

The runner neared, moving so swiftly and lightly his feet barely touched the ground. As he passed her, Kate caught a glimpse of a rapturous smile.

And bright red eyes.

She whirled just in time to see the runner spewing blood and swiftly, like a mannequin, toppling into his vomitus. Heart pounding, Kate ran to help. She knelt down beside him to take his pulse. Prickles of fear crept up her spine when she realized he was dead.

First Rachel Abrams, now this young man.

For just a moment Kate felt disoriented as if the earth had slipped on its axis.

Another jogger, a middle-aged man with well-groomed hair, joined the growing crowd of spectators. Kate caught a whiff of aftershave. What kind of man shaves before jogging? She eyed him curiously. The same kind of man who wears designer sweatpants with creases ironed in them, she noticed.

Kate thought it odd that such a fastidious person would stoop so low as to gawk at a corpse; then she saw the look on his face. Fear, maybe. And recognition.

“Dead?” the man asked quietly.

“Yes,” Kate answered. “Did you know him?”

“No.” He tugged at a nonexistent beard. “Yesterday, a colleague of mine died the same way. What the hell is going on?”

“I don’t know,” Kate said. “I’m not sure I want to know.”

The man nodded. “I know what you mean. It’s too bizarre, like something out of a horror movie. The colleague who died was a quiet, unassertive man, but yesterday he showed up for work dancing and jiggling as if he were hopped up on amphetamines. He charged around the office, ranting that the Broncos really stink again this year, and if they didn’t make it to the Super Bowl, he’d never buy another ticket. When I asked him if he felt all right, he beamed at me and said he felt great, had never felt better in his life. Then he vomited blood, and fell down. Dead.” He snapped his fingers. “Just like that.”

I thought this jogger was a well-drawn character, but since he added nothing to the book besides an iteration of how people were dying from the red death, he really served no purpose, so out he went. The dead runner made it into the final version, but instead of the second death, he turned out to be the first death Kate experienced — and experienced physically. He toppled into her arms.  Rachel was moved from the first scene of the book to an unimportant second scene. Poor Rachel. Like the colleague in the above story, Rachel felt great for the first time in years, and then she died.

See also:
A Spark of Heavenly Fire Outtakes #1
A Spark of Heavenly Fire Outtakes #2
A Spark of Heavenly Fire Outtake #3

A Spark of Heavenly Fire Outtake #3

A Spark of Heavenly Fire takes place during the month of December. To celebrate, I am posting outtakes from the book. Like movie outtakes, these are scenes that were deleted from the final version.  Posting them is not as easy as it sounds. Since the original version is no longer in my computer, I have to retype the pages from my handwritten draft copy.  Still, it’s fun being able to revisit some of my original scenes. Hope you enjoy this look at my characters. Oh, and if you’d like to see a photo of the handwritten book, you can find it here: A Spark of Heavenly Fire Pre-Anniversary.

One of Hollywood’s highest paid actors, Jeremy King had a tendency to take himself and his status too seriously, but here, on his vast Montana ranch, he felt centered. A man, not an icon.

After a satisfactory day riding fence, he crawled into bed so blissfully drowsy he felt no need to take a sleeping pill.

His wife Nora rolled over into his arms, enveloping him in her inimitable scent: jasmine, cinnamon, woman. He felt a momentary tug of arousal, but it dissipated when she didn’t respond to his exploratory kiss. Before he even had time to register a flicker of disappointment, he fell asleep.

To his annoyance, he woke an hour later. As he started to get out of bed, Nora grasped his wrist.

“Don’t go,” she said, still half asleep.

“I have to. This damn prostate.” He gently disengaged her fingers and headed for the bathroom.

When he returned, Nora was sitting up, the heirloom quilt clutched to her throat.

“Don’t go,” she repeated.

“I won’t.” He laughed humorlessly. “Not for an hour or two, anyway.”

“That’s not what I mean.”

“It’s late, honey. Go back to sleep.”

“I had a dream.”

Jeremy yawned. “Can’t it wait? We can talk tomorrow before I leave.”

“I don’t want you to go to Denver,” Nora said. “Something terrible is going to happen to you there.”

“I’m only going to be gone two days, just long enough to shoot a few exterior scenes. That’s all.”

Jeremy’s latest film, Cry of Hope, was the story of a Colorado cattleman who, while trying to survive a severe drought, discovers that his son has leukemia.

Test audiences had been singularly unmoved. In an effort to rescue the movie, the producers had decided to shoot a few more scenes showing the rancher’s despair. Jeremy had readily agreed to take the extra work; he was at that age where one disappointing film to could an end to a long career.

Nora knew this too, so why was she giving him grief? Maybe she was lonely now that their two children were away at college.

“Why don’t you come with me?” Jeremy said. “Go shopping at Cherry Creek Mall, eat at some fancy restaurants.”

“You think that’s what this is about?”

“Look, it was just a suggestion.”

“Oh, never mind.” Nora flopped down on the pillow, pulled the covers up to her chin and turned her back on him.

Jeremy had just about drifted back to sleep when Nora sat up again and turned on the light.

He squinted at her in the sudden brightness. For just a second he wondered who the worried old woman was. What had happened to the slim, raven-haired beauty he had married twenty-five years before?

With a pang of compassion, he sat up, put his arms around his wife and pulled her close. “What is it, honey?”

Nora started to cry, loud gulping sobs like a child.

Jeremy patted her back and made soothing noises.

“I don’t want to lose you,” she said after she had calmed down.

“You’re not going to lose me. What can happen in Denver? There’s no earthquakes, no hurricanes, no tornadoes, no tidal waves or flash floods. There’s an occasional blizzard, but eh weatherman says it’s going to be clear this week-end.”

She pulled away from him to study his face. “You’re making fun of me.”

“No, I’m not.” He smiled at her. “Well . . . maybe a little.”

She snuggled back into his arms. “The dream really scared me. You and someone else — a girl, I think — were alone in a very desolate place. There were a few skeletons of buildings in the background, and some trucks and bulldozers parked haphazardly around an immense smoking pit, but that was all. The sun was just setting. Because of the smoky haze, the sun was red, like the sun of a dying planet, and it made everything else look red, too. Blood red.”

Jeremy felt Nora shudder. “It’s just a dream,” he said. “Remember when I was doing The Sultan’s Pride? You called me in Mozambique, all frantic because you dreamed I was going to be tortured. You were right. I was. But it was just a scene in the movie. And that time you dreamed I was going to be hit by a car and end up in a coma? Another scene from one of my films.”

“I still feel terrible about accusing you of having an affair with your co-star while you were making Mesa Grande — what was her name? Janet Richards? — but I did see the two of you in a dream.” Nora sighed. “You must think I’m a foolish old woman.”

When he opened his mouth to speak, she kissed him, stifling his protests. “You’re a good man, Jeremy King,” she said, then she turned off the light.

Within minutes, she was sound asleep. Jeremy, however stared up at the ceiling, unable to get her words out of his head.

His affair with Janet Richards has been very discreet, so it had come as a shock when Nora had confronted him with it. He had managed to sidestep a battle by swearing the affair was nothing more than a protracted love scene that had been cut from the movie, but he had never understood how she had found out about it in the first place. Could she really have seen it in her dreams?

An hour later, still wide awake, Jeremy took two sleeping pills.

I always liked this scene. It put a different slant on Jeremy’s flirtation with the gorgeous Pippi O’Brien, and it foreshadowed the terrible sight that greeted them when they fled Denver, but too much of Jeremy at the beginning pf the book overwhelmed the story and made it drag. I can’t believe I had the courage to eliminate it. 

Read the first chapter of the published version here: A Spark of Heavenly Fire 
Free download: get the first 30% of A Spark of Heavenly Fire free at Smashwords
Read blurb at  Second Wind Publishing: A Spark of Heavenly Fire
Blatant hint: Books make great Christmas gifts!

A Spark of Heavenly Fire Outtakes #2

A Spark of Heavenly Fire takes place during the month of December. To celebrate, all month I will be posting outtakes from the book. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Since the original version is no longer in my computer, I have to retype the pages from my handwritten draft copy.  Hope you enjoy this behind the scenes look at my characters. It’s a continuation of the scene posted in here: A Spark of Heavenly Fire Outtakes. Oh, and if you’d like to see a photo of the handwritten book, you can find it here: A Spark of Heavenly Fire Pre-Anniversary.

The waitress brought a Coke, which Jim drank in one long gulp. He hauled himself out of the booth.

“I’d better be going.” He started to leave, then turned back. “I almost forgot. When we talked earlier today, you said you had some news.”

“It can wait,” Greg said. “You have more important things to worry about.”

Jim sat back down. “Tell me.”

“I asked Pippi to marry me.”

A big grin softened Jim’s forbidding face. “Hey, that’s great! I’ll bet Pippi’s thrilled. She’s had that look in her eye for quite a while now.”

“What look?”

“You know—that ticking biological clock look.”

“She’s only thirty. I didn’t think their biological clocks started ticking  until they reached thirty-five, at least.”

Jim shrugged. “Depends on the woman. Letisha’s clock started ticking when she was only twenty-four. Just think, if she hadn’t proposed to me, I would have been a swinging single, too.”

Greg ignored the comment. Jim always pretended to lament the loss of his bachelorhood, but Greg knew the truth—Jim loved being married.

“Have you set a date yet?” Jim asked. “Letisha will feed me leftovers for a month if I can’t give her all the details. It’s only fair to warn you, she’ll want at least one of out kids in your wedding party.” He stopped and peered at Greg. “Hey, you okay? You don’t look too happy.”

Greg tried to smile, but his face refused to cooperate.

“Don’t worry, kid,” Jim said, sounding as if he were twenty years older than Greg instead of just eight. “Everyone gets pre-wedding jitters.”

Greg shook his head. “It’s not that.”

“Then what? Pippi didn’t say no, did she?”

“Not exactly.”

“Did she say yes?”

“Not exactly.”

“Hell, kid, you’ve got me so confused I don’t know whether to slug you or congratulate you.”

Greg toyed with his beer. “You’re confused? What about me? I thought she wanted to get married—she’s been hinting at it for months, so I finally decided to ask her. Know what she said?”

“What?”

“She said she’d think about it.”

“Ouch.”

“I asked her what there was to think about and she said she wasn’t sure if I knew what love was. Then she said that even if I did know what love was, she wasn’t sure if I was capable of loving her the way she wanted to be loved.”

“Sounds to me as if it’s herself she’s unsure about.”

“Could be. I don’t get it though. Marriage, I mean. It’s not like it’s forever any more, so what’s the big deal?”

Jim raised his eyebrows. “Very romantic.”

“I didn’t tell her that. I may be unromantic, but I’m not stupid, you know. And I do love her.”

When Greg was alone once more, however, it was not his would-be fiancé who occupied his thoughts, but the unknown woman whose corpse had been so savagely mutilated.

Read the first chapter of the published version here: A Spark of Heavenly Fire 
Free download: get the first 30% of A Spark of Heavenly Fire free at Smashwords
Read blurb at  Second Wind Publishing: A Spark of Heavenly Fire

Heart of Diamonds

My guest blogger today is Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds, a romantic thriller with roots in reality. Donelson says: 

There has been a great deal of discussion about reality versus imagination in memoir, but something that’s often overlooked is the role real events and people can play in fiction. 

That is especially true in a novel like Heart of Diamonds, my high-concept romantic thriller about blood diamonds in the Congo. The plot concerns the White House, the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and an American televangelist in a diamond smuggling scheme that is uncovered by an enterprising TV reporter, Valerie Grey.

One of the main characters in Heart of Diamonds is Gary Peterson, the American televangelist who owns the diamond mine. He’s a fabulously successful man of God, a close pal of the President of the United States, and utterly devoted to making a quick buck or two if the opportunity presents itself. He also has a right hand man, missionary Thomas Alben, who runs the diamond mine for him and does most of the dirty work in the operation.

All of these characters are fictional, of course, but they had their genesis in the real world. The whole concept for Heart of Diamonds sprang from an article I read in Time Magazine about the cozy relationship between Pat Robertson, the famous American televangelist, and Mobutu Sese-Seko, the dictator who raped the Congo for thirty years. When I found out Robertson owned diamond mines and timber concessions in the Congo-making profits from slave labor, no less –I  simply had to write a book about it.

The Robertson-Mobutu connection is fascinating. Mobutu was essentially put in office by the CIA. He ran the country for three decades and stole literally billions of dollars. During that time, he had one of the worst human rights records in Africa.

The other member of the tag team is Pat Robertson, one of the most successful evangelical preachers of all time. He founded the 700 Club, ran for President of the United States, and has millions of followers around the world who subscribe to his version of Christianity. You wouldn’t think these two men would be buddies, but they were.

Robertson had many business interests in the Congo-and it just wasn’t possible to operate there at the time without the direct approval of Mobutu. It was also well-known that you didn’t get that approval for free. Apparently, Robertson and Mobutu got along famously. The Time article reported that one time, Robertson and his wife and their entourage were flown from Paris to Kinshasa on one of Mobutu’s personal Boeing 707s. In Zaire, Mobutu himself took them on the presidential yacht on a ride up the Congo River to visit one of his estates.

Robertson had a relief program in the Congo that is still functioning, Operation Blessing, as well as a private concern called the African Development Company, which made investments in mining, lumber, agriculture, transportation and power generation, supposedly with an eye to plowing the profits back into humanitarian efforts. One of those investments was a diamond mine in a small town south of Tshikapa near the Congo’s border with Angola. That’s the site of the diamond mine in Heart of Diamonds.

One of the men who ran ADC for Robertson was Bill Lovick, a former minister of the Assemblies of God who was dismissed by the church in 1985 for questionable fund-raising practices. Readers of Heart of Diamonds may find some interesting similarities between these men and some of the characters in the novel, notably televangelist Gary Peterson, the missionary Thomas Alben who runs the diamond mine, and Moise Messime, the President of the Congo.

The more I learned about these guys and the things they were doing in the Congo in the name of Jesus Christ, the more intrigued I became. Heart of Diamonds isn’t their story-the smuggling scheme, the connection to the White House, the U.S. military involvement, and many other elements are completely fictional. The characters are figments of my imagination, too, although they certainly have personality traits similar to some real individuals.

What is very real in Heart of Diamonds is my portrayal of the terrible plight of the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is the direct result of the unadulterated greed of people trying to control the vast natural resources of the country. Mobutu may be long gone and Pat Robertson’s business interests gone with him, but the brutality continues.

Drabbles and Dribbles

My guest blogger today is Sheila Deeth, author of Christmas! Genesis to Revelation in 100 Words a Day and Easter! Creation to Salvation in 100 Words a Day. Shiela writes: 

I drabble. Technically, since drabble’s a noun, I should say I write drabbles. They’re defined in Wikipedia as “extremely short” works of fiction “exactly one hundred words in length.” But however short, they’re still stories, with beginning, middle and end; and they might even be fun to read, like haiku supersized. 

Dribbles are drabbles with fifty words. And double-drabbles have two hundred. 

It doesn’t take much to write a drabble; just a paragraph or two. And once I’ve typed my mini-masterpiece I can edit something that needs only moments to read. I learn to check, where’s this going? Has anything changed? Did I repeat myself when I should’ve found a synonym? And what can I delete-adjectives, adverbs? 

I learn to choose between showing and telling with only words for one scene, selecting details to draw in the reader, and exercising the gentle art of leaving some things out. 

With a novel, I’ll want readers to keep turning the pages. With a drabble, I hope to keep their thoughts churning. And maybe some small idea will stick, till one day my book hits the stores and glues itself to their questing hands. 

I drabble, and this article is double-drabble sized. 

The drabble below is one of a series I’m posting on gather.com for Thanksgiving (though it’s probably got more to do with Hanukah). There’s a dribbled version underneath.

How do you rebuild what is broken and dirtied and destroyed? Where do you begin? 

They ripped out the altar and built it new. They set new stones to reform the walls and cleansed the undergrowth that had wrecked the pavement. They brought back the lamp and the incense and table and arranged them in their place. And they prepared the sacrifice. 

But all their labors were in vain; there was scarcely oil even to light the lamp. 

How do you rebuild? You pray to God. Then the teaspoon of oil lasted eight days long and the Temple was restored. 

…and a dribble? 

They ripped out the altar, reset the stones, and cleansed the undergrowth that had wrecked the floor. They relit lamps, burned incense, and prepared the sacrifice. But light faded, the oil was gone, the lantern burning dry. 

They prayed and the oil held out, restored, eight glorious days and nights.

Draggy Dialogue? Reeking Repartee? Why the Chit-Chat Can’t Be Idle

Tracy Fabre is guest hosting my blog today. Fabre is the author of Evan’s Castle, available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Stonegarden Publishing. Fabre says:

Dialogue (unless your novel manages to avoid it entirely) is something both difficult and essential to get right.  It serves two key purposes in fiction: it furthers the plot, and helps the author build the characters.  (It can also entertain, frighten and inform, as characters joke, threaten, and sometimes pontificate, but we’ll keep it simple for this post.)

Here are a few things which must be taken into consideration as you write your dialogue.

It must be believable and natural.  It must be plausible that your character would speak, shout, wheedle, cajole, or threaten with the words you choose for him.  Are you writing about a twelfth century cleric?  Then he’d better not say, “Dude, that habit is, like, so five minutes ago.”  Are you writing about a teenaged NYC prostitute?  Then she’d better not say, “Fain would I fathom the nature of a bespectacled pigeon, forsooth.” 

It must fit the scene, and the words you use to describe how it is uttered.
        “I am so extremely happy,” Lulella intoned.
But intoned implies dull, flat, ponderous–okay, so does her speech–so if you were trying to show she’s actually happy, none of it works.
        Roderick stated, “I love you.”  Does that seem right?  No.  Stated is another word which implies flat, dull, boring; if that’s not how you meant him to sound, you need a new qualifier.  I could write a whole book on how said is really the perfect word, much more so than physiological impossibilities such as:
        He smiled, “Hello!”  
                No, he didn’t.  He said it.  He smiled while he was saying it.
        “Baby,” he rushed into the room carrying vermicelli, “you’re here!”
               No, he spoke as he was rushing; there’s a difference.
Don’t be afraid to use said.  It becomes invisible, and the speech itself takes precedence, as it should.  There are places where other impossibilities such as purred and barked do work, but limit your use of qualifiers such as laughed and smiled because, kiddo, you can smile your dialogue all you want but it’s just going to sound like a buncha mumbling.

Don’t feel you must use any variation of said at all if the speech explains itself.  
           “I think I’m going to have to slather you with butter.” He smiled.
           She smiled back.  “I think that would be very interesting.”
I think we know what’s going on there… unless of course he’s really about to kill her, in which case I’m sure you’ve written the rest of the scene to show her being brave and clever and escaping unbuttered.

Make it clear who’s speaking, but don’t over-do it in a heavy-dialogue scene. 
         “I don’t like gazpacho.”
         “You’ve never had gazpacho.”
         “Yes, I did, in Boise,” Velmarine insisted.
         “I don’t remember that.”
         “You weren’t there. It was a Tuesday.  Where’s the butler?”
         “What butler?” Claude looked around, puzzled.
         “The one I hired last Tuesday to clean the gutters.”
         “We don’t have gutters. This is a condo.”
         “Oh, that explains the snooty people in the lobby.”  She sipped her tea.
Also, make sure the first pronoun to follow a bit of dialogue refers to the person who spoke.  In the above lines, it should be clear that Claude said “What butler?” and Velmarine mentioned the snooty people, without a single said being present.  Remember that readers generally take things literally, in order, so keep your curve balls to a minimum.

Say it out loud.  Really.  If you know your characters well (as you should), then say their dialogue out loud to make sure it sounds right.  It’s okay, you can whisper it; no need to alarm the neighbors.  But say it. 

Cut what you don’t need.  Some dialogue isn’t necessary: you don’t need every greeting, every farewell; you need to concentrate on the key elements of plot advancement and character development.  You may have written some incredibly profound bit of pontification but if it doesn’t fit the scene or the character and adds nothing to the plot, cut it.  You may have written the funniest freakin’ bit of repartee the literary world has ever known, but unless you need it… erm… you don’t need it. 

Speaking of cutting, I’ll stop here. 

What have your challenges been as you write dialogue? 
What do you consider your successes? 
Would you be willing to post to the discussion short samples of your dialogue which you either love or hate?

Faith and Fiction

Suzanne Francis, author of Heart of Hythea, Ketha’s Daughter, and Dawnmaid, has kindly consented to be my guest today. On the subject of Faith and Fiction, Suzanne writes:

We can all think of a series or two where religion plays a major role in the plot-like the Left Behindbooks by LaHaye and Jenkins or the Mitford Series by Jan Karon. Whether or not you agree with their beliefs, these are authors who have placed their own faith squarely at the center of the books they write.

Should we do the same? I can think of three reasons why we might.

–Spirituality is a deeply personal attribute, part of what makes us individuals. No two people, even two who belong to the same faith, believe in exactly the same things. Our faith, even if it is atheism, is a fundamental part of who we are. That is something we can use to differentiate our writing from all other authors, something that will allow us to claim it as our own.

–Most of us with religious beliefs feel that these tenets make us better people-that is why we follow them, after all. Many authors of fiction-like Ayn Rand or Jack Kerouac-have used the voices of their characters to present their own beliefs to the world. If we have an understanding, something that helps us, should we not also share it with others?

–Every author wants their characters to be multi-dimensional, to come to life for the reader. If we do not give our creations a spiritual dimension, then they are lacking one of the most essential qualities of humanity-the one thing that separates us from all other animals. Even if our character never discusses his or her faith or lack thereof, it must still be in the background affecting everything he or she says and does.

But how do we go about placing our beliefs in the context of our fiction without sounding artificial or preachy?

It pays to spend some time thinking about what you actually believe and how it affects your everyday life. That becomes the starting point. Do you have doubts? Have you suffered for your faith? Do you speak of it with others, or is it private?

Once you have a handle on that, then you can decide how much or how little you wish to include. Maybe you will put a single line in the mouth of a minor character. That might be enough. Alternatively, you can give a main character some of your convictions, and let it emerge little by little through their actions. Or perhaps, like C.S. Lewis, you can write a whole series of allegories around the things you believe. (But I think the Chronicles of Narnia is very preachy!)

In Song of the ArkafinaI gave one character, Arkady Svalbarad, a faith very much like Buddhism. I am not a Buddhist, not really, but I find the some of the philosophy very useful in my day-to-day life. Here is an example from Ketha’s Daughter:

—Nodding, he turned to his pack, and retrieved his tin plate and a small knife. He was hungry, and the rabbit smelled good, though it had been a year since he had last eaten any flesh. That was another thing he learned from his teacher in T’Shang — respect for all living creatures. But Dawa had also impressed upon him the importance of kindness to others, and that meant accepting any gift without complaint or reservation. So he ate the rabbit with pleasure and shared what food he had in return.—

Everything about this character is colored by his faith-both his successes and failures are measured against it. It gives him a genuineness I could never create otherwise.

My own belief system I would loosely describe as Paganism, though probably not the kind you are thinking of. I don’t own any robes, or do any rituals or chanting. But I do believe in the immanence of God in all things, and I hold the Earth to be sacred. I gave my convictions to a group of wanderers called the Firaithi. From Ketha again:

—“Still,” insisted Arkady. “It must be very difficult – always traveling like this. Do your young people not grow tired of your rootless existence?”

“Of course, some do,” admitted Huw. “Perhaps two or three each year decide to leave the Kindreds and make their way in the world of the Gruagán. But we raise our young ones to honor Asparitus, so most come back to us after a few years.”

“Asparitus? What is that?”

Huw stared thoughtfully at his sister Eira’s neatly painted caravan. “I don’t know a word in Maraison that means the same thing. Asparitus is our way of life. It means to tread gently on the Yrth, to use as little as we are able, and put back as much as we can.” He frowned. “We have very little, compared to the Gruagán in their fancy houses. They think of us as impoverished tinkers and thieves, when they think of us at all. But truly, Kadya, few of us would give up our place here amongst the Kindreds for all the gold of the Gruagán. Asparitus is all the treasure we need. Do you understand, my brother?”—

That is very, very close to the heart of my own faith, only lightly cloaked in the language of the Firaithi.

How will you clothe your faith in your fiction?

To find out more about Suzanne, read excerpts, or buy her books, check out her fictionwise book page.