Enrin did not remember much of the journey. Cold seeped through her skin and infected her bones with a chill that would not be broken. Father’s touch could bring some relief, but only for a few minutes. Then the cold returned.
Her consciousness came and went like waves upon the seashore, teasing her with half-visible thoughts. Every part of her body ached. She was aware of the passage of distance and time, of the labored breaths of the Wolves who pulled her sleigh, and off the smear of sky and snow-laden branches overhead.
Twisted dreams snaked amongst her waking and sleeping. Once she awoke half-way to the sound of her own voice screaming, and lifted her head from the deep folds of a heavy winter blanket.
Father turned from the reins, and gently pressed her back as she tried to explain her terror.
“Hush,” he said, and when his hand passed over her forehead, a deep weariness overcame her. This time, she dreamed only of sunlit forests and fire-blossoms and meadows of swaying flowers and fireflies illuminating the shadows. They were pale dreams, as though the color had slowly bled from them and the sounds were distant, but they unwound the torture in her mind.
Somewhere in the midst of it, she thought she heard the whistle of passing arrows, the snarl of Wolves, and the high-pitched keen of a Snow Wyrm, accompanied by a short glimpse of a spear-shaped tail disappearing into a snowdrift. A Wolf lay some distance away, unmoving, and the snow was scarlet around him.
Later, her dreams interrupted with the sound of great wings, the whisper of a sword drawn from its sheath, and the shriek of an injured creature of the night. Briefly, she caught the half-shadowed image of her father standing in the sleigh, one hand gripping a bright sword whose blade glittered crimson, the other hand upon the prow of the sleigh, his eyes trained across a landscape of barren whiteness, as though daring the world to assail him.
“What a strange dream,” she murmured to herself, and returned to the image of a Spring awakening an oak tree at the touch of his hand.
Sometime later, she felt her father’s strong arms beneath her body, and felt the warmth of his heavy breaths on her cheek. Then she lay on a rough floor, and a thousand soft green lights glowed around her.
All at once, clarity returned to her, and she sat up.
The room was filled with lights. It seemed that every firefly caught by the unseasonable winter had fled to this place. But where was this place?
“Peace, child,” said a voice. Was it male? Female? Neither? Both?
“I am the Cypress,” continued the voice, as though reading her question. “You are safe.”
- From Beyond the Void
As the Void swallows the world of the Seasons, Enrin and Laska seek for a salvation that lies beyond the ancient Songs.
I wish I had not listened to fears that I was a "second-rate" author or "not a real writer." What makes a writer? Are you a "real" author once you have a contract with a traditional publisher? Once you publish a print book? Once your book becomes a best seller? Once you have 10 thousand "likes" on your author Facebook page? I feel that the most true perspective is conveyed by author Jeff Goins: "You are a writer when you decide you are." Of course you still need to write, publish, improve, learn, and write some more. Writing, like life, is a continual process of improvement. There is no "arriving." The very authors that I consider to have "arrived" are, just like me, looking up to previous authors and wishing that they could attain the sacred status of their predecessors. I have learned that, as a writer, I am not the sum of my doubts, but of my potential. I will write--and that will make me a writer.
- From “8 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Published ‘Immersion’”
Some say it only happens when you are born to the marshes on a moonless night. Others say that it occurs when a child looks into the waters and, unknown to him, a Siyeen looks back at him from beneath the surface of the waters. Still others say it is a gift given to the one who seeks truth above all else.
If a gift results in your death, is it not a curse instead?
I have lingered too long. Even as I move, some instinctive twitch saves me, but a death-breeze fans my chin and a crimson ribbon opens across my collar-bone, the warning of a razor-sharp arrowhead.
I turn, and they are there, emerging like ghosts from the mist, their long dark hair pulled back from their lean faces, their leather vests leaving bare their muscled shoulders. Even Uraun is there, the scar upon his cheek lit in silver by the wavering moon.
“A child?” one hunter asks, take aback by my form.
“It is an illusion,” Uraun says darkly, and draws his shaft to the corner of his lips.
I cannot outrun his arrow. I have watched too many times the stumble of a woodland buck, stricken while in mid-flight by Uraun’s skill.
“Uraun…” My voice carries across the waters. “Please.”
- From Wings Beneath Water
They say that when you see wings beneath the water, you get a second chance at life. And Ragu's second chance may be the only way to save the person he most loves.
Every time I finish a story, I act as if I’ve never done such a thing before and surely it ought to be worthy of instant enthusiasm. I suppose, in a way, I never have done such a thing before, since every story is different. I imagine it’s like having another child. Sure, you’ve had a child before, but not this one. (Thus, my friend’s mother was just as delighted with her eighth child as with her first.)
- From "Journal of Wings Beneath Water”
I first noticed him because he was tearing through the books in the fantasy section with utter disregard for care. He slid a book out from the others with one finger, peered at the cover, then shoved it back in with the heel of his palm forcefully. All the time, he muttered savagely to himself.
“All the same. They’re all the same. Magic swords! Magic rings! Magic carpets! What next—magic forks? ‘The key to end all hunger… But can our muscle-bound hero and his busty sidekick find it before the evil Glutton does?’ Pah! It’s all worth a pile of dandruff, if you ask me. And look at this. ‘The Dragons of Arathoth… Arathor...’ How do you even say that stupid word? If you’re going to write a book, put names in it that people can pronounce. And that dragon picture isn’t even half-accurate. Those horns—ridiculous! And the size—preposterous! They all make dragons look like T-rexes, and big as houses. It’s like drawing a picture of an ostrich and calling it a chicken. If dragons really were that big, I suppose it’d be easier to find them, now wouldn’t it? And the color. Bright red! Obscene! It’s like a flippin’ fire hydrant! You’d only get that color deep in the Amazon rainforest or something. But what do they know? They’re just illustrators, and they think because it’s fiction, accuracy doesn’t matter. No clue of reality! None at all! Idiots! Nincompoops! Dunderheads!”
I watched him rip through the books on the shelf as though he had a personal feud with every one of them.
- From The Code of Camelot
Robin's dream to study dragons in the wild leads he and his mentor into a feud that began over a thousand years ago, in the court of Camelot.