Mutti’s Locket: #Rainbowsnippets 149

Saturday, Sunday… I’m but a handful of days away from Striking Balance’s release. It’s both nail-biting and surreal experience at once, and I’m not certain why. This is my tenth novel release after all so my trepidation is strange, to say the least. Maybe it’s because I’m trying something new this time. Historical Fantasy? As a lifelong Sci-Fi fan, I never thought I’d be writing Fantasy, much less Dark Historical Fantasy, but here I am and I love it!

There’ll be something special available for readers on this site, something more, an interactive aspect to heighten the reading experience come release day. What is it? Art, lots of original art that is directly related to Striking Balance. Try a separate mixed media piece inspired by each chapter’s epigraph. I am placing these pieces in a handbound book, yes, an art book tie in for a novel if you will.

Art, lots of original art that’s directly related to Striking Balance.

Welcome to my 149th #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 fr

ontier, 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.

Both the print and ebook versions of Striking Balance are now available for preorder, so why not go ahead and reserve yours?

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.

A standalone tale from the Appalachian Elementals world focusing on complex families containing rich LGBTQIA+ characters.

Playlist selection: Sarah Calderwood Wild Mountain Thyme

Mixed Media tie-in: (Can you decipher this one?)

I’m skipping ahead to Chapter Four. Remember Ewin from last week? Well, his dispute with Ben has just turned deadly. Setting the stage – it’s the middle of the night and Ben’s stepped outside to attend to some personal business.

     “Sleight me, will you?” Ewin drops from above to land on my back, an impossible feat, but I am turned face down when he grabs me by the scruff, pulling back so he can punch my head from the side, his canvas slops rustling as he moves. “I’ll show you how they dispose of runts in the sugarcane fields.”

     My ears roar, and my head explodes in agony, but I cannot sound the alarm though I try. Blow follows blow, and I am unable to reciprocate. ‘Tis unfair, ‘tis— I cease flailing when I feel his cold blade at my throat. “Stupid, stupid boy.” He pulls back to bash my forehead against the ground. The roar in my ears strengthens, and I gasp when my vision blurs then clears. If I can manage to roll over, I can fight, I can—

     I bow to throw him from me, but he proves too heavy, more so when he presses his knees into my shoulders. “What’s this?” He rips the cord from my neck to hold up Mutti’s locket. “A charm? Did a girl give it to you?”

     “Give it back!” This rises as a whisper though I scream.

     Ewin laughs and sniffs, a filthy hound on a scent trail. “No. ‘Twas your mother’s. Oh, how sentimental.” He flings Mutti’s locket, my only memory of her, into the tall grass. “Now, her boy’s soon gone.

Damn. And to think, Ben is only trying to be polite by avoiding the night bucket because Master Gow is in the cabin.

Look for a long string of art and novel tied together posts during the next month, and check out Striking Balance for yourself on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many other online retailers.

*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.


  1. Terrifyingly vivid…I shudder with the violence of this. Good luck with your venture into new territory, a new area of writing, but you have nothing to fear, judging from the quality of the story you’ve been sharing from us. It feels like a natural, organic addition to the world you’ve already brought to life in other works, another layer to your unique world of Appalachian magic and myth.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.