taking a break from the lowercase post title aesthetic I had going because TODAY IS THE RELEASE DAY FOR THE THREE THRONES AND I COULD NOT BE MORE EXCITED AND YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED TOO.

Pardon me for yelling.

The Three Thrones - eBook

But it’s just a bit surreal. I can’t help but freak out a little. Seven years of daydreaming, outlining, writing, editing, and stressing that in the end, it might not actually happen, and here we are. Continue reading “THE THREE THRONES”

no accidental people

Isn’t it strange how your one life, your one story, can intersect with so many others? In one week. In one day. In a moment.

I was riding into Atlanta with a friend the other day, slogging through traffic on I-85, when this really hit me. Creeping through ATL traffic is annoying as heck, but it forces you to slow down. For me, at least—I start looking at the cars around me. Wondering about the people who drive them. Where they’re coming from. Where they’re going.

My friend must’ve been thinking along the same lines, because he broke the silence.

“Maybe this is weird. But do you ever think about the fact that there are probably people on this road right now that you know? Like, how many times have you driven past someone you know without realizing it? Or someone you’ll meet in the future?” Continue reading “no accidental people”

Sneak Peek: Chapter One

With The Realms Beyond releasing in exactly one week, I imagine some of you might want a sneak preview of what’s coming. I mean, I already made a full-blown movie trailer for it…

But still. These 396 pages aren’t doing any good if I keep them to myself.

So, without any further footling about, here’s chapter one of The Realms Beyond, entitled “Orlando.”

(Contains mild spoilers for The Fiery Arrow.)

Chapter One: Orlando

Orlando’s boots pounded the hard stone of the cliffs as he neared the descent to the seashore. Though the cooing of gulls and crash of breakers filled the air, not a single human noise met his ears. All the better if the seaside outpost was deserted: there would be no one to spread any stories of a young burgundy-cloaked spy and his horse. Nonetheless, he still fingered the hilt of one of the twin knives sheathed at his sides.

The lone tower on the cliffs—standing abandoned and only half-built—loomed like a tenuous sentry, trying to discern his intentions. Orlando cast another glance at the tower. Nothing stirred.

He pulled the cloak from around his face. If this place truly held no Reinholdian guards, there would be no use in the disguise any longer. He let the hood of the reddish cloak fall back off his flaxen hair.

Screen Shot 2017-11-23 at 7.08.18 PM.png

No sooner had he done so than the door of the tower creaked open and a gray-bearded man in a navy tunic emerged, puffing quickly towards him.

Orlando jerked the hood back over his head and drew the cloak across the lower half of his face. His horse whinnied slightly at the stranger.

“Ho there, sir!” the man called, still hurrying along. He finally came within five paces of Orlando and his horse. “What’s your business?” 

“My business? By that I presume you mean my trade?”

“What I mean is, who are you and what’re you doing here? I’ve not seen your face ‘round the city before. But yes, tell me your trade, if it suits your fancy.” 

“My trade is unusual. You could say I make a living out of danger.” Orlando fingered the right-hand knife beneath his cloak, feeling its polished mother-of-pearl handle.

“That’s not a trade,” the gray-bearded man said. “P’raps you’d like to know that I am a lord of this country and have the authority to have you imprisoned. I am Lord Brédan of Reinhold.”

Orlando had heard enough of the lord’s chitchat. Sweeping his cloak aside, he drew the knife out and held it to Brédan’s throat, pressing the blade almost hard enough to draw blood. With his free hand, he gripped Brédan’s sword arm with a practiced strength and skill.

The lord sputtered, taking his breaths in tiny intervals.

Orlando leaned close, tilting the blade so that the flat pressed against Brédan’s neck. “You may keep your life if you answer one question for me.” 

“I suppose I’ll have to hear the question first,” Brédan managed.

“What do you know of the treasures of Reinhold?”

“The…treasures?” The lord’s gray eyes glimmered with confusion. “I don’t rightly know what you mean.” 

Orlando gritted his teeth. Why was this blabbering coot so difficult? “If you are truly a lord of Reinhold, you must know something of the treasures.”

“We are not a rich people. What treasure do you think we have?” 

“Enough lies,” Orlando demanded. Still Brédan looked unsure. “Speak!” 

“If the king knows of any especial treasures, he hasn’t told me.” Brédan gasped as Orlando once again pressed the blade of the knife to his throat.

“You are tedious,” Orlando said, “but I see in your eyes that you are speaking the truth. In return for that, I will not kill you. In fact, I would have you carry a message to your princess. We passed each other not long ago, but it was not an, ah, appropriate time for talking.” 

“You have seen Arliss?” Brédan’s incredulity was rising. 

“Yes, she was shooting a flaming arrow as I left the city. I’m sure she will be disappointed to find you let me slip through your nets. But you will carry my message.” Orlando lowered his voice to a whisper. “The war in Reinhold has only just begun. Thane has begun his assault, but whether he is successful or not, the battles will not end here. This fight will rage on until we find all the treasures of Reinhold.”

“Who, may I ask, is the ‘we’ in that message?” 

“That’s none of your business.” Orlando drew the dagger away and slammed the hilt into Brédan’s temple.

The lord crumpled to the ground, unconscious.

Orlando gave his horse’s reins a tug. He had other, more important messages to deliver elsewhere.

He stepped over the motionless body and continued towards the place where the vast cliffs descended into the sand and, finally, into the water. Stuffing the entirety of his cape into his saddlebags, he crunched across the beach and waded into the undulating waters.

Almost as soon as he entered the waves, the ship emerged from the fog, and he pulled his horse forward until the water came nearly to his waist. As he stood there, waiting for the crew to hoist him and his horse up, he cast a long look back at the land of Reinhold.

“Well, princess, it’s farewell to you and your land for now. But we shall meet again. The war in Reinhold has only just begun.”


You can already pre-order the book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. So, let’s be honest, what are you waiting for?

Life Lessons on Horseback

I often say that my whole life is just an extended research trip for my next book. And that’s true. Every experience, every new place—it’s all gotta be remembered and distilled in my memory for whenever I need it. Whenever I have to summon up that feeling and turn it into words on a page.

This is why I carry a tiny notebook around with me all the time. I fill it with everything. What things tasted like. What the air smelled like. How it felt in my blood, my bones. Lines of dialogue that pop into my head. Quickly scrawled maps that are illegible to anyone but me.

Because real fiction comes from real life. That’s why good stories are so powerful. They echo enough of “real” life—the way the world is—while still teasing us with what it could be. To write deep stuff, you have to live deeply. Then you have to think deeply. Your voice as an individual is unique, yes. But you have to make your thoughts fit into words that your readers will be able to feel.

Sometimes, though, I realize I need to research something after I’ve already written it. Continue reading “Life Lessons on Horseback”