Saturday, April 25, 2020

Here's my latest newsletter. Please subscribe here!

Newsletter: April #StayHomeAndRead Goodies

Stories Help Us Through Tough Times

Whether you are an essential worker, coping with added stress but determined to play your part, a student taking classes remotely, a retired person whose income may be secure but who is at high risk, an unemployed or furloughed worker, or a small business owner forced to close up shop, the pandemic takes a toll on all of us. I wish from the bottom of my heart that I could wave a magic author's wand and keep you and your loved ones safe in all senses of the word. Alas, not even on Darkover is that possible. Nevertheless, I hope the items in this newsletter help to brighten your day.

I've reduced the prices of my indie ebooks to make them more available to my readers. A Heat Wave in the Hellers, and Other Tales of Darkover and Other Worlds: Early Novels are $2.99, and everything else* is $0.99. You can find them at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other vendors. (This doesn't apply to my traditionally published books, as the publisher sets the price, but the anthologies I've edited for the Marion Zimmer Bradley Trust -- Lace and Blade, and the Darkover anthologies, for example, are reduced in price, too.)

*Jaydium, Northlight, Azkhantian Tales, Transfusion and Other Tales of Hope, Pearls of Fire, Dreams of Steel, and Ink Dance: Essays on the Writing Life.

Collaborators has a release date, October 1, 2020, in both ebook and print. It's now available for pre-order from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and other ebook vendors.  (The print edition from Amazon won't go live until then, but B & N allows pre-order for both editions.) Your local bookstore can also order print copies from Ingram. It will be available through Overdrive, so you may be able to borrow it from your public library, as well.

If you enjoyed it, please post a review!
Radio Interview!

On April 21, 2020, I was interviewed on the British radio station, Chat and Spin. Here's the link to the program. My interview begins 1 hour 37 minutes into the program. I've been invited back for June, so stay tuned!

I've been posting more stories to Curious Fictions. The first few chapters of Jaydium are up and are free. You can subscribe to me for only a few dollars a month and read everything free that way.
Kitten pics!
Here are Shakir and Sonja, curled up with my husband on a chilly morning. Shakir is about twice Sonja's size, but that does not stop her from inserting herself into wherever she wishes to be. She's been known to curl up on top (literally, not beside but on top) of him. He is totally indulgent with her. Considering that when she was first introduced to him as a kitten, she threw herself on her back and screamed, and is now bossing him around mercilessly, we consider this great progress.
Snippet from Arilinn

Neave stood in the middle of the fourth floor attic, hands on hips, and regarded her sisters. At the moment, she found it a struggle to not regard them as outsiders, interlopers in this space that had always been her personal sanctuary. Not even the maids ventured into this part of the topmost storey, amongst the broken furniture, the crates and barrels of cracked, mismatched crockery, parchments so worn they couldn’t be used again but which no one had thought to discard, and the battered chests, wood and age-hardened leather, filled with unrepairable clothing and toys and bits of metal. None of the locks worked. It was dangerous to perch on some of the chairs. Billows of dust rose up whenever she opened or moved anything. But this attic had been hers since childhood, a refuge during the difficult years after her father’s remarriage. It was also the one place no one had ever thought to look for her.
Of her three half-sisters, she felt the closest to Leora. She and Jessamy had never had a chance to become friends, let alone loving sisters, in part due to differences in temperament and in part due to Domna Graciela’s obnoxiously evident preference for her own firstborn. By the time the next babe had died at a year’s age of a lung fever and Leora had come along, Neave had become more independent and less needy of a mother’s love. There had been no reason to waste time on overtures that would either be thwarted by her stepmother or rebuffed scornfully by Jessamy herself.
Neave had been surprised and not a little pleased when she’d felt the stirrings of Leora’s laran, and how strong and wild it was. She had not been able to resist the memory-enhancement technique she’d been shown during her last visit to Alcabra Keep. Of course, she wasn’t supposed to practice it unsupervised, but she’d been unable to resist. And it had paid off, not just in terms of information, although dubiously useful information, but the delight of the intimate contact with a sympathetic mind.
As for Sharina… 
Neave frowned. The question regarding Sharina came down to whether a child so mercurial in temperament could be trusted to keep anything secret, and whether the girl ought to be sent back to her own room before anything of significance was said. Right now, Sharina was projecting defiance, and Leora practically quivered with excitement and curiosity mixed with trust. As for Jessamy, her facial expression was unreadable, but her mind churned with such suspicion and jealousy that it was impossible to tell what she was thinking.
“Now, then,” Neave said. “What’s all the hubbub about?”
“The cattle raid,” Jessamy said at the same time as Leora burst out with, “Lord Carcosse’s dastardly plot!”
“What cattle raid?” Sharina asked. “What plot?”
“The one you’re not supposed to know about?” Neave said. “But that now everyone does?”
“Oh, that cattle raid,” Sharina said with an attempt at carelessness.
“It’s got to be a trap,” Leora said. “With what Jessamy says —”
“What trap?” Sharinda squeaked.
“It’s a pretext for an attack —” Jessamy said.
What trap?” Sharinda wailed.
“Stop, all of you,” Neave said, using a touch of laran to emphasize her point without having to raise her voice. The others quieted instantly. Leora shot her a sharp look, as if she’d just been pinched. She’d clearly felt the psychic nudge.
Neave opened her mouth to set them all straight, and then thought better of it. In a short time, they’d be on their own, not that any of them had previously paid much heed to her or she to them. It wouldn’t help them to be told what to think of these particular rumors and half-truths flying about the castle. The problem wasn’t whether Lord Carcosse’s complaint about a hypothetical cattle raid was or was not a trap, it was how her sisters had been kept ignorant and insignificant, their talents not worth developing. No wonder they invented stories and became rivals for the attention of anyone who knew anything. 
Copyright © 2020 Deborah J. Ross, All rights reserved.

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