The Flaw in the Stone

After a summer of revising Book 2 and writing (as much as possible of) Book 3, the new academic year is upon us. For now, I must set aside the fantasy writing and turn my attention to teaching courses in medieval literature and composition.

But today, before venturing into The Canterbury Tales, I wanted to announce that Book 2 will be published in March (with ARCs available within the next few months to reviewers). Until then, here’s the cover image followed by a brief teaser from the Prologue. I’ll be back here with updates as soon as possible!

Flaw in the Stone RGB Final Cover

From the Prologue to The Flaw in the Stone:

Genevre trembled. Once again, she removed a piece of glass from her pocket, reopening her wound for the second time. She held her bleeding finger above the first folio while applying pressure with her thumbnail to ensure the release of large drop of blood. At first nothing happened as the blood hit the page, and she suddenly feared the repercussions if anyone were able to trace the manuscript defacement to her. But, as the minutes passed, the folio began to bear forth its message. The illumination emerged first, rendered in dark crimson and gold. It featured what appeared to be a small being within an ancient alembic, or some kind of transparent vessel. Shortly thereafter, a few words appeared above the image. Their size, style, and placement suggested they formed a title, but Genevre could not read the ancient script in which the words were written.

“Congratulations.”

Genevre spun around. Dracaen stood directly behind her.

“You have done what no High Azoth, including myself, has ever managed to do. Your bloodline alchemy truly is extraordinary.”

Genevre blushed, ashamed at being caught but simultaneously proud of her accomplishment.

“You are no mere outside world scribe,” continued Dracaen. “But neither are you, as yet, an alchemist — rebel or otherwise. Thus, as High Azoth of the Rebel Branch, I must ask you to leave this chamber immediately.”

“But—”

“We will return here together one day, but for now — for your own safety and that of the entire Flaw dimension — you must leave and allow the manuscript to mature.”

“I don’t understand.”

“One by one, over the years — three decades if the scriptural enigmas have been correctly interpreted — the words and illuminations on each folio will emerge. We cannot risk contaminating the sacred process with our impatience.”

“At least tell me what these words say.” She pointed to the letters inscribed above the image of the alembic, now fully revealed and spectacularly vivid on the first folio.

Dracaen moved closer to the manuscript. He smiled and sighed. “Finally.”

“Finally?”

Finally, the Rebel Branch has gained an advantage over the Alchemists’ Council. Even if you choose to leave us on your Day of Decision, today you have repaid our hospitality beyond measure. The Rebel Branch will be forever grateful. With this manuscript, our greatest potential has begun to manifest.”

“What do the words say?”

“Roughly . . .” Dracaen began but then paused as if pondering the best translation of the manuscript’s title. He announced it solemnly: “Formula for the Conception of the Alchemical Child.”


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Summertime Stories 2017

This afternoon I had one of the best experiences I’ve ever had as author of The Alchemists’ Council thanks to the people at Nanaimo Association of Community Living. As described on its website, “NACL is committed to removing the barriers faced by individuals with a developmental disability.”

When facilitator Robin Erickson asked the participants in her Career Exploration group what people they would like to interview about careers, one creative member suggested “an author of a fantasy novel.” Not knowing if she could find such a person in Nanaimo, Robin told her group she would nonetheless try. A fortunate Google search led her to me!

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Left to right: Cynthea, Tina, Dustin, Jeremy, and (front) Stephen

Robin’s group comprises five people, four of whom joined us today: Tina, Dustin, Jeremy, and Stephen. The questions posed by the group were extraordinarily thorough and interesting. They ranged from basic (such as “What inspired you to write the book?”) to complex (such as “What is the most difficult part about being an author?”) to pleasantly unique (such as “Do you read with your glasses on?”). Today’s interview was one of the most thought-provoking I’ve ever had the pleasure to experience. I extend my gratitude to everyone involved for welcoming me to the Career Exploration session!

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In other book news . . . most of the summer thus far has been spent working on edits of Book 2 (The Flaw in the Stone) and writing the initial chapters of Book 3 (The Amber Garden). However, in June, I had the opportunity to travel to Ontario, where I met with various people associated directly and indirectly with The Alchemists’ Council.

My first stop was at ECW Press itself, which is nestled amidst a variety of eclectic shops and colourful murals on Gerrard Street East (near Broadview Avenue) in Toronto.

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Featured here are photos of the building, its mural, and me with publisher David Caron. David and I enjoyed a leisurely chat over tea and muffins about the books and various related topics. I always appreciate our discussions!

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Later that day I met with Bridget Wareham, the reader of The Alchemists’ Council audiobook. Last year, when she was in the midst of recording the book, we chatted on the phone several times–particularly in regard to the pronunciation of character names and alchemical terms! But this visit was the first one in person. I absolutely loved meeting her, and I look forward to our paths crossing again.

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You may be interested to know that, in addition to recording audiobooks, Bridget is a screen and television actor. To learn more about her most recent film, Hunting Pignut, check out the film’s Facebook page or click on the image of the film’s poster.

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Another highlight of my Toronto trip was an impromptu visit to Bakka-Phoenix Books. While checking to see if they carried The Alchemists’ Council–which I was happy to find they did–I had the good fortune to chat with author Leah Bobet.

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Leah’s lastest book, An Inheritance of Ashes, has had great reviews, including this one: Quill & Quire Review.

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A second author I had the pleasure to meet on this trip was Randal Graham. He is another ECW Press novelist, whose book Beforelife is about to the hit the shelves.

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Our editor, Jen Hale, now refers to us as her two professor authors who write about eternity. (Randal works at Western University, and I work at Vancouver Island University.) The three of us enjoyed a delicious lunch in London, Ontario, and talked about everything from academia to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (Of course, I often talk with academics about Buffy; however, unlike Jen and I, Randal has never been to Slayage. Well, not yet . . . but the 2018 conference awaits!)

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On one final note about connections with other authors, I’ve recently had the pleasure to correspond with Dee Willson, who won the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize in the Genre Fiction (Speculative Fiction) category for her novel A Keeper’s Truth. Dee and I were both nominated for that award, and I sincerely congratulate her on the win. (If you’d like to see all the nominated authors and their books, click here.)

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Finally, thank you again to the Independent Publisher Book Awards! In addition to the gratitude I expressed in my previous post about the award, I must say that I love the visual coincidence of a gold medal on the cover of a book about alchemy.

Long live the Quintessence!

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