It’s not often I reach the currently last book in a series only to turn right around and start reading from the beginning again. I did it with Rory Ni Coileain’s Soul Shares series, which I discovered a few weeks before book #7, Undertow, came out. And I’ve read the series a couple of times since, while waiting for book #8, Stone Cold.
I’m very happy to learn that the wait is almost over. I’m even happier to have Rory Ni Coileain as my guest today and listen to her talk about the trials and tribulations of getting Stone Cold into our grabby little hands. It’s easy to forget, once you hold a book in your hands, how much of a struggle it can be to get this far, and how tempting it often is to just give in and not write when everything seems to go wrong. I’m grateful Rory persevered – and not just because I want to know what happens next. 🙂
You can find out about that, though, because Rory Ni Coileain has brought an excerpt from Stone Cold with her. One that made me smile. And put my mind at rest over something that had me decidedly worried all this time. 😉 So, please enjoy Rory’s visit and join me in looking forward to September 28th, when Stone Cold will hit the shelves!
It’s been an eventful few months around the Ni Coileain household! In between the time I accepted Jackie’s gracious invitation to come visit and the time I actually sat down to write the post, a wonderful, incredibly, cosmically rare event occurred. No, not the eclipse (well, that too) – I finished a book. So I thought I’d muse a bit on that delightful bit of cosmic rarity, and talk a bit about why it’s such a rare event lately.
In case anyone’s been wondering where the heck STONE COLD has been hiding (original deadline was, I believe, August of 2016, it’s both a long story and a short one. I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with deadlines – I need them to keep me on track, but I tend to start literally feeling sick as they approach. This one was really bad, and my publisher graciously granted me an extension until mid-November of 2016.
Needless to say, that didn’t happen. November 9, 2016 was the first time in my life – but not the last – that I woke up in the middle of the night and prayed not to see the sunrise. Fortunately, sometimes the answer to prayer is “no”… and frankly, I don’t know anyone else in our genre who was able to write in the immediate aftermath of the election, either, so I wasn’t too worried when my Muse clammed up.
It wasn’t long, though, before I listened to some very wise counsel, and realized that writing what I write was itself a way out of the darkness – for me, and for others. I was determined to get back to my writing, and turn in the manuscript for STONE COLD only a little bit late. But my Muse apparently hadn’t gotten the memo. Sitting down at the computer was almost physically painful. On those nights I could make myself open up Scrivener, I was incredibly lucky to get 100 words written in an entire night. (And when one has 30,000 words left to go on a manuscript, that’s not good news!)
Then a couple of very fortunate things happened to me. I finally got myself to a psychiatrist, who was able to prescribe an antidepressant for me that actually worked. The dark cloud lifted – that’s almost not a metaphor, the change was really that dramatic. Writing problems persisted… but after a few months of observation, she was able to figure out my other problem. Namely, executive function disorder, which I’d probably always had at a low level but which was kicked up multiple notches by depression, all the way to disability level.
Basically, there are a number of “executive functions” – the exact number depends on which treatise you’re reading at the time – that are difficult for me. I don’t have issues with all of them (fortunately!) – my two main problems are with organization/planning and initiating tasks. (This makes my work life way too interesting, as basically what I do is initiate the same task, 24 times an hour, 8 hours a day. Or not. Most days, not.) The organizing/planning thing hits me right square in the marketing (and might also explain why I’ve always been more of a pantser than a planner); and the whole initiating tasks thing is what makes it so hard to just sit down and write.
I realize this is no life-threatening disability, but it’s completely changed the way I write. I’ve taken to sitting down with my meditation timer and writing in 15-minute bursts – and I’ve learned to be content if one burst a night is all I get, though I’m working on coming back to the table more than once in an evening. I’m also working on not being embarrassed to ask for reminders – memory is another executive function, and while the Adderall is helping with that, it can’t do the whole job for me. (I’m beginning to realize that one reason I stayed with my ex for as long as I did is that my son and I both have EFD – but my ex didn’t. And here I sit in the middle of a mostly not-packed apartment, scheduled to move next Tuesday. Yikes.)
The coping mechanisms worked, though, well enough to let me finish STONE COLD, the eighth (and next-to-last) book in the SoulShares series. I’m going to leave you with a little excerpt, and a link to my page at QueeRomance Ink, where you can find buy links for all seven of the SoulShares novels currently in print, and where STONE COLD will be found come September 28. I know my boys and I have been away for a while – but now you get to fall in love with the Fae all over again! And STONE COLD will be out in time for GRL!
Excerpt from STONE COLD by Rory Ni Coileain
Breathe. Just breathe.
Considering that Maelduin had been unable to do just that, only moments before, breathing felt like an unspeakable luxury. He lay motionless, curled in on himself, his left hand still on the hilt of his oath-blade. Still shivering in the aftermath of what he had just endured.
If it worked, it was worth the pain. It will be worth any pain imaginable.
But for now, breathing was enough.
Maelduin sensed light through his closed eyelids, light that was neither moonlight nor the silver-blue flare of magick—the last thing he had seen as the chaotic wind had forced him through the sieve of blades that was the Pattern.
Maybe I’m safe.
He managed a little laugh as he opened his eyes. ‘Safe’ was, he suspected, going to be a highly relative term for a while, at least until he had adapted to his new world. But anything was safer than the crystal floor falling away beneath him to show him the stars through a net of knives, the whirlwind hammering him through it. And the moon gazing coolly down on it all through a tiny round window.
There was no moon where he was now. A yellowish light coming from somewhere behind him showed him what looked like a mostly-unfinished hall, a maze of slender pillars of wood and metal and a floor of flat gray stone. He wasn’t sure, but it seemed as if he lay on a dais of some sort. And the wood beneath him glowed faintly, in the unmistakable hue and patterning of living magick. Which seemed wrong, somehow, though he could not recall why.
But he had other hawks to train to fist at the moment. Steeling himself against the pain, he pushed himself up on an elbow. Higher, relieved as the pain proved to be more a memory than a present truth.
Something beneath him rustled.
Maelduin frowned. He wore only leather and linen, and the fastenings of his sword-belt were bronze and copper. He had carried nothing with him from the Realm, or at least nothing that would make such a sound.
The corner of a piece of parchment poked out from under his loose linen blouse.
Reaching under himself, Maelduin pulled out a small scroll, once probably rolled, now flattened. He pushed himself up to a sitting position, more slowly than he would have liked, and unrolled the scroll.
Maelduin, late Lord Guaire, salutation and warning. If you have survived to read this, it is well, I suppose.
Maelduin blinked, wondering how much gratitude it was appropriate to feel for his unknown correspondent’s lukewarm concern for his welfare.
Yet you are still in danger. There is a flaw in the Pattern, and that flaw has surely maimed you. In soul, or in body, or in some other way only the Pattern knows.
Heart racing, Maelduin touched his face, his ears; flexed fingers, toes; shifted his weight enough to feel the pressure of fabric against his cock. Nothing was missing. Nothing physical.
Your only care now must be finding your human SoulShare, and regaining what you have lost. You can imagine no task more important than this.
Maelduin snorted. He had heard the stories, of course—children’s cautionary tales, mostly, warning of the loss of part of one’s soul to pay the passage between worlds. He could imagine several things more important than regaining something he would not have missed had he not been told he had lost it.
More cautiously than was his wont—in case the pain returned—he gathered his feet under himself and stood.
He stepped on the scabbard of his sword. He staggered, thrown off balance, and fell off the low dais. Or whatever it was.
The sudden sharp pain of his ankle twisting sent Maelduin stumbling to one side. Catching himself, he stepped on the blade of what he had a split second to identify as probably some sort of gardening instrument before the long handle arced up and struck him squarely in the nose.
Tears of pain—and humiliation—burned in Maelduin’s bright blue eyes. Blood poured from his nose and splashed on the floor and the dais. He could feel his ankle swelling in the confines of his boot.
There is a flaw in the Pattern, and that flaw has surely maimed you…
By rendering him unable to avoid maiming himself?
Maybe regaining what he had lost was going to be more important than he had thought.
About Rory Ni Coileain
Rory Ni Coileain majored in creative writing, back when Respectable Colleges didn’t offer such a major, so she had to design it herself, at a university which boasted one professor willing to teach creative writing, he being a British surrealist who went nuts over students writing dancing bananas in the snow but did not take well to the sort of high fantasy she wanted to write. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa at the age of nineteen, sent off her first short story to an anthology being assembled by an author she idolized, received one of those rejection letters that puts therapists’ kids through college (Ivy League), and found other things to do, such as going to law school, ballet dancing (at more or less the same time), nightclub singing, and volunteering as a lawyer with Gay Men’s Health Crisis, for the next thirty years or so, until her stories started whispering to her. Now she’s a lawyer, a legal editor, an Associate member of the Order of Julian of Norwich, and the proud mother of a filmmaker and movie theater manager, and is busily wedding her love of myth and legend to her passion for m/m romance.
Connect with Rory
Rory Ni Coileain at QueeRomance Ink, a compendium of LGBTQIA+ romance searchable by title, author, trope, heat, pairing, and so much more!