The Coinblade Chronicles: Coffee and Conversation

When I was six, my family was driving on a highway late at night. Streaks of headlights and taillights painted the dark. For the first time, I realized that each car held people living lives as important to them as mine was to me. I wanted to know what those lives were, and to share my own.That’s what Coffee and Conversation is all about – whatever’s top-of-mind. Settle in, grab a cuppa, and let’s chat!

What do you look for in a fantasy hero?

My parents kept a bookcase directly across from the doorway of my childhood bedroom. These weren’t kid books; they were grown-up reading material, and, as soon as I was able, I started pulling interesting volumes from those shelves.

Through them, I was transported to another world – one far less volatile and threatening than the one that existed within the walls of our home. Reading was escape, a way to expand my horizons, and I did it ravenously, using that bookcase as my personal buffet.

I was about twelve when I read Lord Foul’s Bane, by Stephen R. Donaldson, and my idea of what ‘hero’ meant changed forever.

Thomas Covenant is not your average good guy. Leprosy in the modern age robbed him of some fingers, a sense of ease – and his wife and young child. Life has become an endless round of checking himself for new damage, being ostracized from society, and physical limitation.

When he’s inexplicably transported into a fantasy realm where he is almost instantly healed, he – well, he doesn’t respond in a way that anyone could call heroic. Not in the least, as a matter of fact. He thinks it’s a dream, and he rapes a young girl.

I’d never read anything like it before. Thomas Covenant was my first anti-hero. I was fascinated by the fact that, while I hated the things he was doing, I also understood why he did them. He was a damaged person, suddenly freed from the facts that had governed his life – but he was still damagd, and he reacted from that place in every action he took.

Decades passed. I grew up, moved out of that volatile home and away from the wonders of the bookshelf (by that point, I had long since consumed everything I found interesting upon it). 

And then, last year, a new antihero, every bit as interesting as Thomas Covenant, and then some, slunk and swaggered his way into my life in a most unexpected way. I’d joined WIPpet Wednesday, a group of blogging writers who share excerpts from their works in progress. One Wednesday, Driev Talbert leapt out of author and WIPpet Mistress K.L. Schwengel’s blogpost and took up immediate and contentious residency in my imagination.

The child of an abusive father, Driev spurned s life of privilege to become bound to the Shadow Guilds. But tragedy has sent him into a downward spiral, and he’s renounced his oath, doing his best to lose himself in a haze of drink and women. He’s more comfortable in the gutters of the Runoff than on the high side of the Gilded Wall. He wants a life of relative anonymity – if he wants to live at all. Sometimes, he’s not so sure he does..

But anonymity might not be possible. He’s bound, after all, and, when his old life comes calling, Driev is ensnared, forced to return to a world he spurned.

In the process, he’s also driven to examine his life, the paths that led him to this point, and where he will go, from here. He’s balanced on a blade’s edge, with danger in every direction. It’s impossible to keep living as he has been – but every action seems to lead him further into conflict, controlled by opposing forces and wills. Some he knows  all too well, and others pose threats he’d never considered.

Driev deals with all this in a manner that’s absolutely not heroic. If you’re looking for a big strong savior  filled with virtue, who always does the right thing – well, he’s not your guy. Big and strong, yes, but wounded and sometimes hostile, Driev is more likely to drop everything to tumble a comely woman (or two, if they’re willing) than he is to save a damsel in distress. He’s looking for trouble, even when he tries to convince himself and everyone else that he isn’t. The thing is, more trouble than he wants is looking for him, too…

A beautiful sight! Image courtesy of K.L. Schwengel.

I had the pleasure and honor of beta-reading this novel a little over a year ago. Driev led me a merry chase, right from those first drunken steps along the icy Kin’s Road. I cursed him, and wanted to hug him. I held my breath for him more times than I can count.

As antiheroes go, Driev is a delightful mess. He’s a broken man still trying to get something that’s absolutely unobtainable. He’s not sweet, or kind – but he is, deep down, decent and as fair as he knows how to be, despite himself. If you like complex and flawed characters struggling through life in trial-and-error fashion as they breathe on the page, it’d be hard to do better than Driev.

The Coinblade Chronicles: Bound in Shadow will soon be available for everyone. I’m trying to wait patiently – I know the book’s going to be even better now, even though the idea that it could be better rather boggles my mind.

If I’ve piqued your curiosity – stay tuned. I’ll post updates and ordering information as I have them. For now, you can head on over to K.L.Schwengel’s website, and/or sign up for her newsletter (Driev isn’t the only fascinating character she writes!).

Here, allow me to refill your flagon, while you do that. It’s not exactly the Tart, here, but I try.  And, by the by, if you have a favorite character or story to share, I’m all ears!

The City of Mossrae. Image courtesy K.L. Schwengel.

“A Complicated Weaving”: Foul Deeds Will Rise for #WeWriWa #8Sunday

79782-shadeWelcome to Weekend Writing Warriors’ Eight Sentence Sunday, the weekly hop for everyone who loves to write! Sign up below with your name, blog and email and share an 8 to 10 sentence snippet of your writing on Sunday. Your post needs to be live between 12:00 noon on Saturday and 9:00 AM on Sunday. Visit other participants on the list and read, critique, and comment on their #8sunday posts.

It’s a second chance to share a small snippet of my current writing. Most weeks, I tie them back to my WIPpet Wednesday post, so reading both can give a deeper peek…

This ten-sentence snippet follows immediately after last week’s WIPpet, “Past Middlenight”. It’s from Foul Deeds Will Rise, Book #2 in my Trueborn Weft Series fantasy saga.

Vaara, formerly exiled and unknown daughter of the now-dead Kai, has taken her rightful place as heiress, but all is not well. There are more layers to this title than Vaara expected, and the work, to which she sees no point, seems to be without end. And now her aide, Visyl, has suggested that this is a necessary part of her service to the Untribed people. But, perhaps, she doesn’t need to learn it all at once…

“A Complicated Weaving”

Serve them? But I am Kai. Are they not intended to serve me?”

It is a complicated weaving, my Kai. In some things, they serve you. In others, you serve them. It is yet new to you – but you will learn the way of it, in proper time.” She ran fingers through the pages. “None of this needs to be tended before morning. Enjoy your run.”

Will Vaara learn enough to be an effective Kai?

Will she be able to enjoy her run?

Is Visyl telling her the truth?


I’m not going to tell you, at least not yet. Beginning next week, and at least through September, I’ll be sharing more from my favorite fan fiction ship, TnT – yup, Trip and T’Pol are coming back, mostly because I’m playing along with the fine folks at Story A Day in September, and these two intransigent characters insist that they have a lot more than 30 stories left to tell, so…

I’m not sure yet if I’m going to share from just one story, or give you teasers from several. So, when I post my eight next week, we might all be surprised!

Want more #8Sunday?

Eighteenth Century Day at the Schuyler House (Saratoga National Historical Park), 2013. Photo by Shan Jeniah Burton.

Did He Know? Foul Deeds Will Rise for #WeWriWa #8Sunday


Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors’ Eight Sentence Sunday, the weekly hop for everyone who loves to write! Sign up below with your name, blog and email and share an 8 to 10 sentence snippet of your writing on Sunday. Your post needs to be live between 12:00 noon on Saturday and 9:00 AM on Sunday. Visit other participants on the list and read, critique, and comment on their #8sunday posts.

It’s a second chance to share a small snippet of my current writing. Most weeks, I tie them back to my WIPpet Wednesday post, so reading both can give a deeper peek…

This eight-sentence snippet follows immediately after last week’s WIPpet Wednesday post, A Whisper of Truth, from Foul Deeds Will Rise, the second volume of my Trueborn Weft series.

Niaan is fleeing through the trees, knowing she’s not safe from the risk a fall, and afraid to stop and seek shelter, because she knows she’s being pursued…

Did He Know?

Yes. Hunters. To punish her for the fangs she’d sunk into Mother’s throat –

“Nonono!” She whisper-shouted into the dark – when? When had it grown dark, with Kaivelt’s firestars painting her skies, his Everdeep?

Had he seen her, when she had lain with another? Did he know what she had done?

What did Niaan do?

Will the Hunters find her?

Does Kaivelt know what she did?

What’s this about fangs and her mother’s throat?

Are her perceptions to be trusted?

There will be more next week – note, I don’t make any promises about answering any of these questions, only to come back with more of the story. I know – writers can be mean, but we have our reasons!

If you need a recap of what I’ve shared so far, here it is:

Also, I know I left The IDIC Romance with T’Pol’s sick not mucking up Trip’s boots. The thing is, T’Pol’s a little indisposed right now, and indisposed Vulcans deserve privacy. So I’m going to give her some time to see if she can get her digestive tract back under her own control…

Don’t worry (worry isn’t logical) – she never stays away for too long….but, until then, I offer  an amusing intermission that has nothing at all to do with today’s eight. Maybe don’t watch if a bit of naughtiness isn’t your thing, or the circumstances would make tongue-in-cheek raciness inappropriate…I’ll do the closing duties, to give you time to decide.

Want more #8Sunday? 

Here’s your portal!

And now, as promised…a little Vulcan spiciness,

with a side of sauciness, and a dash of Hoshi!


“The Seer’s Way”: Foul Deeds Will Rise for SoCS

This post is part of Linda G.Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday meme -an unedited stream of consciousness piece that ties into the weekly prompt: Use a word ending in ay as the subject/theme. 

I’ve more or less recovered from camping, and the scattered energy that followed those days away. I’m back to a more typical level and type of productivity, if still a bit subdued and distracted. What does that mean?

Well, for one thing, that, in addition to posting, this week I also intend to visit some of you, and share some of my favorite posts on my Facebook Writer Page – kind of my way of apologizing for having more or less disappeared, these last few weeks…

It also means that I’ve gotten back to my fantasy WIP, Foul Deeds Will Rise, (Trueborn Weft #2), with an aim to finish the rough draft by the end of the month so that I can move on to Other Things. So, this week I used the prompt to write another few hundred words of the story.

We join Shentaa in dire circumstances, considering how she got into this mess…and almost certain sure that there’s no way out…

Photo and Zentangle art by Shan Jeniah Burton.

The Seer’s Way

It was the Seer’s Way.

Shentaa had known it, with her mother’s milk – nay, long before that. Truth, she had taken the knowing of it with her mother’s blood, and her breath, even before she first filled her own lungs to cry out lustily into the air of the Seer’s Keep.

It was the Seer’s Way.

‘Interfere not with what is dreamed, when what is dreamed is truth. It matters not what cost you may pay; none could overmatch that of attempting to undo that which must be.’

There were many ways of phrasing it. It was the subject of song, of dance, of writing and art, among her family, and the others she knew of who carried Seers’ Lines.

There was no undoing such a dream. It would come to be; it was, as the Tacivaarii were so fond of saying, as sima garo provided. There could be no unweaving the warp and weft of it, and any Hunt that made such a thing its prey was like as not to only bind the threads of it more tightly about the shuttle.

And yet, she had set aside the Seer’s Way, without a thought, to come to the child she had raised, who was a child no more. She had told herself that the dream meant something other than it had – something other than simply a clue; something she was to learn more of, mayhap, but not to weave herself into.

She was well woven into it now. It might be that she would be woven into it, into this blue stone, for all of time, now.

Had any ever scaped the Jeweled Walk?

None of her kin, nor the false Kai’s, of a certain. Here they were, all embedded with her – she’d felt herself whooshing past them – all the Seer-women who had held to the Way, and still ended here, where they had known they must.

Only she had tried to betray that knowing, to do something to undo what she had seen in the true dreaming.

She had broken the Seer’s Way, and, though she was was not a Seer, now she would pay.

Now, and mayhap forever….

How exactly did Shentaa betray the Seer’s Way?

What happened to her?

Will she be able to escape?

Did she stop the true dream from being fulfilled?

Is that possible?

Have you tried stream-of consciousness writing? Come join in – there’s just a few simple rules. Check out the brand-new #SoCS hashtag, or Get more SoCS right here! 

It’s more than slightly possible that this song, and the video, which were popular in my teen years, inspired this passage, and the rest of the scene, too…

A Whisper of Truth: Foul Deeds Will Rise on WIPpet Wednesday

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date. It’s hosted by the lovely K.L. Schwengel, maven of bad boys, stock dogs, and flying monkeys! She’s our fearless shepherd…or something like that, anyway…

OK, here’s the situation. Last Wednesday, I posted “Eat Up” with Captain Archer ordering T’Pol to eat her plomeek broth. Then, on Sunday, I posted the next snippet, “You Missed My Boots”, for WeWriWa’s #8sunday.

T’Pol – let’s just say that she’s not feeling so well, just now. And a sick Vulcan maybe needs privacy more than comforting – or, at least any comforting that doesn’t come from a certain engineer of her acquaintance…

So, she’s taking a bit of a hiatus, and hoping her stomach will resume cooperating with her.

Which means that I’m back to Foul Deeds Will Rise, the second volume in my Trueborn Weft series.

Both of them have talked about or interacted with Niaan – Tacivaar in a way that was devastating in its unintended by undeniable cruelty – but, thus far, we haven’t officially entered Niaan’s reality.

Today, that changes. We meet Niaan in the aftermath of her Huntleader’s betrayal, and her own poison-induced terrors…

WIPpet Math:

Today is August 12, 2015.

I’ve got 12 sentences today.


A Whisper of Truth

Niaan missed the branch she was reaching for, and nearly fell the six lengths to the ground before catching another by the fingertips, and using it to launch herself to the next tree.

There was an easier way to do this – why did she not simply drop her outer shape, and wear Huntform?

“No!” The cry broke powerfully from her throat, punctured by fangs of pain – it emerged barely a panted whisper –

A whisper of truth.

She would not take Lynxform, now. She could not.

The danger was too great.

She swung from the new branch, caught the next easily, but it wouldn’t be so if she couldn’t stop her shudderings. She was moving upward, knowing that she wasn’t safe on the ground, knowing that she would not be, unless she wove a bower –

But how could she take the time, when the Hunters were ever nearer?


What is the danger Niaan fears?

Will she find safety, or fall?

Will she risk taking Lynxform?

Who are the Hunters?

How does she know they’re ‘ever nearer’?

I’ll be posting the next eight lines from this scene for #8sunday, if you’d like to learn more.

Looking for more WIPpet Snippets where no one’s in danger of falling to their death? You can find those, or add your own date-related excerpt, by following the little blue froggy from WIPpet to WIPpet!


“Any Trust At All”: Foul Deeds Will Rise : (Trueborn Weft #2) for #WeWriWa #8Sunday

Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors’ Eight Sentence Sunday! 

It’s the weekly hop for everyone who loves to write! Sign up below with your name, blog and email and share an 8 to 10 sentence snippet of your writing on Sunday. Your post needs to be live between 12:00 noon on Saturday 07/18/15 and 9:00 AM on Sunday 07/19/15. Visit other participants on the list and read, critique, and comment on their #8sunday posts.

It’s a second chance to share a small snippet of my current writing. Most weeks, I tie them back to my WIPpet Wednesday  post, so reading both can give a deeper peek…

This ten-sentence snippet follows immediately after last week’s WIPpet , ”Proof Enough Already” 

“Any Trust At All”

The Huntbreaker had done her job all too well – but of what use, to begin screaming about it, nearly in the same breath?

“Your precious Niaan is seldom here, anymore. Wouldn’t it be just like her to come, murder the Kai our mother, and then vanish again into those savage Wildlands she loves so well? Fools, both of you, to place any trust at all in such as her!”

Vaara said nothing; there was no need, and this matter of speaking as they did was still tiring and often perplexing. If she had the help of the Huntbreaker –

No. Not after the killing. Not after Niaan had denied her the answers she sought, the taste of the hot fresh blood of vengeance, the moment when the woman who had tormented her, who had been ever a chaotic and destructive constant in her life, would know that she had erred, and that it was a daughter of her own Line who would exact the payment, with her fangs.

Who is Niaan?

Why did she murder the Kai?
What answers was Vaara seeking?

Why did she want to repay the Kai with her own fangs?

Here’s the premise of the story, which doesn’t give much information, but might set the stage of possibility, just a bit…

A young exile who loses everything she values reinvents her life in effort to save both her peoples from her vengeful half-twin.

Yes, that’s all I’m offering as far as explanation goes, for today – well, that, and the links to my two #SoCS Saturday posts for this draft:

  • Nothing Else Mattered (the first scene in the novel, in it’s 481 word entirety).

  • Link this Saturday’s post here when complete…

One last thing….if you’re a fan of my favorite Vulcan and the human who loves her, don’t worry. They’re still trying to get my attention (Trip’s waving his arms, but T’Pol is just giving me ‘the stare’) and slipping bits of this and that into my head, even though they know I’m busy… so, sooner or later, they’re going to demand that I stop everything else and let them at it…or at each other…or at something else…

The point is, they’ll be back…they always are!

Want more #8Sunday? The icon is your portal!

Let this be your portal!


WIPpet Wednesday: “ Father?”


Come WIPpet with us! =D

Today’s post contains a Secret Surprise! Read (or scroll, if you want; I really can’t tell which you do!) to the point after the snippet for bonus features! =D

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, a weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date. It’s hosted by the lovely K.L. Schwengel, maven of bad boys, stock dogs, and flying monkeys!

For February, I’m returning to Chameleon’s Dish (which may or may not become Never Doubt I Love) – to reconnect with Henry, Tisira, and Nockatee…I’ve been revising this month, and I’ve discovered how much I’ve missed this unique ‘threesome’…

In the dangerously superstitious past of Shakespeare’s England, an amnesiac girl and a foundling boy must keep her strange nature hidden as they stalk the Bard’s words and Hunt her lost identity.

This month I’m going to share the opening lines from each character’s Inciting Incident, as they’re currently written in revised first draft scenes. We peek in first on Tisira, as she has the first scene. I’m not sure if I’ve shared it before, or not…if I have, it’s been a while.

Note: The characters have been growing older during the revision process. This snippet was written when I imagined Tisira to be about 7 years old. In the final draft, she’s going to be nearing or at puberty, I think, so some details will change.

WIPpet Math:

  • Today is February 4, 2015.
  • Math: Adding all the digits: 2+4+2+0+1+5 =14. Take away 3, because it’s my favorite number, for a total of 11 mostly one-line paragraphs.

“Father? – Father!”

My calling shook me awake – or was it the shivering?


Why would I be shivering? Was I not in my nest, safely in the cupboard in Father’s study?

But no.

There was a scent of rain. It would be snow, by dawning. A stiff wind brought the truth of it, and prickled at my skin painfully. Fallen leaves, their edges curled and colors bedimmed, filled my field of vision. The ground was chill and damp beneath me.


My breath steamed, echoing my call, and the chatterings of the birds cut off at the sound.


Surely, he would be here in only a moment more, as he was each time I called for him.

And then, between the offering of one breath, and the claiming of the next, I was in Father’s arms.

Okay, so I promised you a surprise up there…time to collect!

Last week, I said goodbye for now to Trip, T’Pol, and their eventful stay in a Suliban cell. And, yes, I did it on a cliffhanger. It was time to move on – or, at least, that’s what I thought.

You know TnT, though – minds of their own, and bodies that seem determined to come together….

So, here’s what happened. I tried to move on with other projects – and they bullied me into writing them not one, not two, but three new stories! The third one is still very rough, but I posted the first two to this blog last week, and, as a bit of a peace offering for making you wonder how they get out of the cell, I’m offering you the links!

Warning: These stories take place four years after that Suliban cell. Many things have happened, and TnT have a very different relationship, at this point. So…..


And now, back to Tisira….is she safely with her father, in his study? Or – somewhere else? If so, where, and how did she come to be there?

Well, I’m going to leave those questions dangling for a bit – next, we’ll see how Henry’s story begins…

See you next week – and, hey, while you’re here, here’s the link to more delightful WIPpet Snippets; assorted genres and styles to choose from! =D