Stress. Everyone’s is high right now, so how am I coping with my stress and chronic illness combined? I’m taking a multi-faceted approach. First off, I’m reading, rather, educating myself as to histories not my own that I need to better understand. I knew some as a former college instructor, but when I began researching my next release, I was forced to reevaluate my understanding and now the events in the U.S. have made me take a hard look at my privilege and how it interplays with by being queer and disabled. I also have a copy of Anderson’s White Rage waiting for me on my Kindle.
Like most things, this is a work in progress, but this is an important project.
So how else am I coping? Art. I’ve returned to mixed media. Scratch that, I’ve taken a nosedive back into it after a two-decade absence. Here are a few small, ATC (artist trading card) pieces and scrap tags I completed today. It’s enjoyable and helps me relax, a definite win-win.
Third, I’m gardening – a lot. We’ve put in a rather large container garden this year, some of the pots being 100 gallons. I’ve grown all the plants from seed and, as you can see, some of them are more than ready to get outside. This is an Heirloom Rainbow Tomato, BTW, rather appropriate for #Rainbowsnippets, don’t you think?
Welcome to my 145th #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, but he’s about to be interrupted.
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, in my cups or not. I saw a winged man drop to the ground, his severed head falling beside him before both turned to dust. ‘Tis a senseless dream because I could not see any of him aside from his two dark braids, so I refocus on Conall. He might grow his beard for a while; he does every time he and Charity fight, his private form of rebellion, I suppose, so I help it along, undoing the ribbon tethering his reddish-blonde locks so they spill across his shoulders and onto his back.
Mornings such as this, I prefer them, headache or not, and I close my eyes, placing my hand on his back to revel in the feel of his breaths while my other hand clutches my mother’s locket through my shirt, seeking her reassurance. If Conall knew, if anyone besides Mary knew, it would be the end of my world. But not even she knows the entire truth. ‘Twould ruin everything if anyone did and be the demise of what I have built. No, I cannot—
“Too much merriment last night?”
So who’s interrupted Ben’s tender thoughts?
Well, now, that simply must wait for next week. (evil grin)
*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.