Welcome to my 144th #Rainbowsnippets*. This one, as always, is uniquely mine, but there are lots of other great snippets to read so after you finish here click the FB link at the bottom of the post to discover other great LGBTQIA authors and their works.
Striking Balance: The Peculiar Making of Beatrice Benjamin Sophia Scott Schnell Gow is a queer Historical Dark Fantasy set in, you guessed it, Appalachia. This Appalachia, however, is the frontier, and the story takes place during the Revolutionary War era and the time after, meaning the late 18th century. This explains the narrator’s voice. If you’ve read the letters and journals of the period, you’ll recognize it as reflective of those.
And, drumroll please, the ebook version of Striking Balance is now available for preorder on Amazon. Woot! You can click the cover inside this post or the one in the righthand column to check out the novel on Amazon.
Blurb: Benjamin Schnell is the possessor of secrets he wishes he could bury beneath the rich Nolichucky river flat dirt he farms alongside his dear friend, Conall. But secrets lead to lies, lead to more secrets, and all eventually come home to roost in a bed of distrust, even on the 1779 Appalachian frontier.
After Ben is injured, he realizes there are odd things happening around him that others cannot see. Corner shadows take human shapes, lightning bugs dance in broad daylight, and the farm’s strange owner, Master Gow, returns with an offer Conall cannot refuse if Ben is to live. But making a deal with Master Gow will take them deep into the mountains to where a haunted king reigns and Fire balances Water in a delicate natural friendship.
Ben must learn self-acceptance and trust if he and Conall are going to survive because there can be no secrets in the mountains, only truth.
Another rich tale from the Appalachian Elementals world focusing on complex families containing rich LGBTQIA+ characters.
This week’s snippet comes from the beginning of Chapter Three, yes, I’m skipping around from here forward so you’ll stay on your toes. Please remember that we’re seeing things from Ben’s POV. I’m picking up where I left off two weeks ago, and the first sentence, in orange comes from then. We’re in Ben’s POV and he’s awakened to find his best friend Conall’s head in his lap so Ben’s stolen a moment to admire the man he’s long wished for himself.
He is quite fetching with his face against my leg, his shirt ties undone, and his collar off his bad shoulder so I can see some of the scar. It looks as though he took cannon shot to that entire corner of his being, the scarring so deep the blow appears to have nearly removed his shoulder. Conall says he does not know how he survived, and now that I have seen it this closely I do not understand how either. The scar is jagged and dark runners reach every direction as venous lightning bolts atop his skin.
How does he use his arm at all? This, I will perhaps never understand, so I shall admire him more for his perseverance and strength.
I pull the papers from my waist before they come to harm then brush Conall’s cheek with my fingers to feel his beard’s growth as I ponder the nightmare I had.
Tiny History Lesson: Papers? Ah, we skipped a chapter, so you don’t know that Ben has, um, liberated some old newspapers from Widow Alcott’s privy while he and Conall were there the evening before. I mean, seriously. Old or not, newspapers were worth savoring in a time and place they could be difficult to come by. And Conall and Ben’s cabin, like many homes of the time period, possesses only one book, the Bible. Conall relies on Ben to read that to him. Poor Ben. Imagine being well-read in a world where three-year-old newspapers are a treat. I bet he’s read that Bible backward and forward more times than he can count, don’t you? It’s estimated that approximately 50% of Southern Colonial-era Caucasians were literate during the 18th century. That said, given where Ben and Conall are living along what is the frontier in 1779, 50% is probably rather high BTW, toilet paper wasn’t a thing, in case you’re wondering. Leaves, corn cobs, and even, sigh, old newspapers were put to use, but proper TP, especially in the backwoods? (raises their brows and shakes their head) Nope. And you haven’t lived until you’ve had the displeasure of using an outhouse on a hot summer day.
My Granny had an outhouse until I was six or seven years old. An old Sears catalog was generally the TP.
*RainbowSnippets is a safe and welcoming space for LGBTQIA+ authors, readers, and bloggers to share 6 sentences each week from a work of fiction—published or in-progress—or a book recommendation. Feel free to join in.