In the Palace of the Jade Lion

While we’re all waiting on larger matters, I decided to do a solo issue of a novelette of mine, In the Palace of the Jade Lion ,  which originally appeared in BCS some years ago.

This one isn’t part of any series or ever will be. The story was complete in itself. Even now as I reread it for the formatting and final edit, I realize it is a very hopeful, optimistic story. While that’s usually my attitude, any particular work is going to go the way it needs to go, and things don’t always work out. This one needed to go exactly as it did, and considering how everything else is going at the moment, it’s more than a little refreshing.

Regardless, it’s on pre-order as we speak, going live on June 15th. This is the online description:

It’s normal to fear a ghost. What’s not normal is marrying one.

Xu Jian is just a poor scholar. An official post in the north of the country is a great opportunity. It is also a great danger. The road north is infested with bandits, and worse, it winds through a land of spirits.

Ghosts crave a human’s life force like the thirsty are drawn to water. When he inadvertently trespasses on the tomb of the beautiful Lady Green Willow and her servants, he is doomed.

Or, perhaps not.

Lady Green Willow is a gentle spirit who does not want to harm Xu Jian, yet her nature as a ghost doesn’t leave any option.

Until he offers her one: marry him. Take his life force only in small doses which he can replenish, until the balance of her yin and yang energy is restored.

In short, make her human again.

A wild plan, but will it work?

Even if it does, how will they survive the attention of a greedy king who wants the only possession Lady Green Willow retains from her past life, the one and only thing she cannot give up without being utterly destroyed?

Perhaps a smart ghost and a smart human, together, might find a way. Maybe.”

If This is Tuesday, This Must Be…

Monday was nonsense day. Not that every day isn’t, but today I’ll try to fit in some, you know, actual information. I try to do that now and then, if only to remind myself that it exists, if anyone wants it.

WRITING 02First off, the Yamada Monogatari: Demon Hunter giveaway at Beneath Ceaseless Skies is almost over. Wednesday is the last day to enter, so if you’re interested in getting a big chunk of the Lord Yamada stories in one place for free, that’s the place to go. Preferably no later than tomorrow, otherwise that particular ship has left the dock.

Second, it seems that In the Palace of the Jade Lion from BCS #100 has made the Locus Magazine Recommended Reading list for 2012. You can see the full list here.

Finally, I know at least two people out there have been wondering when the #$@# sequel to Black Kath’s Daughter is going to be done. The answer, I’m afraid, is “not for a while.” At the moment, the project is officially on hold, or as officially as anything ever is around here. There’s something else brewing that’s going to require that it be put on the back burner for now, simple as that. I’ll say more when or if there’s anything solid to tell.

Rose Petals in the Grand Canyon

WRITING 02I don’t know who said it first, since the saying has been attributed to many people over the years, but it goes something like this: “Publishing a short story is rather like dropping rose petals into the Grand Canyon and listening for the thud.”  As you’ve probably deduced by now, as a general rule there is no thud. If you’re lucky, a few people will care enough to comment on the story–pro or con–when it’s posted, and if you’re really lucky two or more readers will get in an argument about it which will make other people want to read it just so they know what these folks are on about. But mostly you publish a story, whatever the venue, and in a month or so it’s as if you didn’t do anything at all. This is not a complaint, mind you, but for most writers slogging in the short fiction trenches, it’s just the way things are. So when you get some recognition beyond that, say an award nomination or Best of the Year nod, it tends to perk up your day.

All by way of saying that “In the Palace of the Jade Lion” from Beneath Ceaseless Skies #100 was listed in Lois Tilton’s Locus Online year-end review as one of her favorite stories of the year. I’m glad. It was one of my favorites, too.

Happy New Year. May we all have something to celebrate this time around. Heaven Knows we could use it.