The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters

Introducing My New Historical Fantasy Series

It’s the 1200’s in Ilari, a small mythical realm somewhere between Europe and Asia. Peace and prosperity have reigned for generations. That doesn’t mean every citizen is happy, however.

In the outer nichna of Vinx lives a discontentedly intellectual farmer, his overly ambitious wife, and their seven troublesome daughters. Ilari has no idea how lucky it is to have this family of malcontents, for the Mongols are making their way further westward every winter and Ilari is a plum ripe for picking.  These seven sisters are about to devise a unique way to save the realm.

She’s the One Who Thinks Too Much

Ryalgar,  a spinster farm girl and the oldest of the seven sisters, has always preferred her studies to flirtation. Yet even she finally meets her prince. Or so she thinks. She’s devastated to discover he’s already betrothed and was only looking for a little fun. Embarrassed, she flees her family’s farm to join the Velka, the mysterious women of the forest known for their magical powers and for living apart from men.

As a Velka, she develops her own special brand of telekinesis and learns she has a talent for analyzing and organizing information. Both are going to come in handy.
This prince has kept meeting her at the forest’s edge for more good times, and now that she’s away from her family, she’s thinking maybe being his mistress isn’t such a bad deal after all. Then she learns more about his princely assignment.

He’s tasked with training the army of Ilari to repel the feared Mongol horseman who’ve been moving westward for years, killing all in their path. And, her prince is willing to sacrifice the outer farmlands where she grew up to these invaders, if he has to. Ryalgar isn’t about to let that happen.

She’s got the Velka behind her, as well as a multitude of university intellectuals, a family of tough farmers, and six sisters each with her own unique personality and talents.

Can Ryalgar organize all that into a resistance that will stop the Mongols? She thinks she can.

She’s the One Who Thinks Too Much will be available on Amazon in paperback and for kindle on November 13, 2020. It will be available for pre-purchase soon.

She’s the One Who Cares Too Much

Coral, the second of the sisters, has been hiding her affair with the perfect man until her older sister can get her life together. But the perfect man is getting impatient and now she’s gotten pregnant. Coral decides it’s time to consider her own happiness.

But what does she want? The perfect husband turns out to be less than ideal. She adores the small children she teaches but the idea of being a mother fills her with joy. Meanwhile, her homeland is gripped by fear of a Mongol invasion and she can’t stop crying about everything now that she’s with child.

Then a friend suggests the ever-caring Coral possesses a power well beyond what she or anyone else imagines. Does she? And why is the idea so appealing?

When Coral’s big sister loses faith in the army and decides to craft a way to use magic to save Ilari from the Mongols, she decides Coral’s formidable talent is what the realm needs. Can Coral raise a baby, placate an absent military husband who thinks he’s stopping the invasion, and help her sister save her homeland?

It makes no sense, but somewhere, deep in her heart, she’s certain she can.

She’s the One Who Cares Too Much will be available on Amazon in paperback and for kindle in February 2021.

More information about the adventures of the remaining five sisters will be coming soon.


Embracing the Yin in Costa Rica

I developed a strong dislike of Chinese philosophy in early high school, the first time that the well-known yin-yang diagram was explained to me. I’m sure that different words were used, but what I remember being told was that the dark sort of fish looking thing represented the female. You know, weakness, darkness, emptiness, inactivity, insincerity and nothingness. Oh and also the moon, which only reflected light but gave off none of its own.

The white side represented the male. You know. Shining, strong, noble, upright, something-ness that was active, productive and everything cool. But I was not to worry. Both were needed for life and equally important and that was the beauty of yin and yang.

Screw the Chinese, I decided.

Soon after that my own Catholic Church denied my request to be the first female gospel reader in our small town parish. They appreciated my sincerity, they told me, but women have their place. It is an important one, I was assured. It’s just that their place is behind the scenes, hidden, supporting the men. Equally valuable, just different.

Have you guys been talking to the Chinese? I wondered.

beautiful life6After awhile, I discovered that everybody had apparently been talking to each other. By the time I hit college I couldn’t find a single thriving modern culture on earth that at its root didn’t delegate over half the species to the passive and receptive half of the food chain. By this point I had a pretty good idea of how sperm spurted out to fertilize a waiting egg, and an equally good idea of what he and she were probably doing on the macroscopic scale while all this spurting was happening.

No excuse, I thought. He doesn’t get to be everything active and strong just for that ten second performance. Screw them all.

To this day I maintain that there is far more variation amongst males, and amongst females, then there is variation between the average man and woman. She or he can be good at math, mountain climbing or knitting and while biology and culture may predispose more of one gender to any of those activities, you cannot accurately predict any person’s individual skill level or interest at anything based on their gender alone, and that is good.

We are complicated, and our sexuality is only a part of us.

That is why yesterday surprised me so much. I am here in Costa Rica, once again attending a week long seminar in qigong, the ancient Chinese art of energy flow. I let go of my anger at yin and yang years ago and now view it as a useful concept that was unfortunately tainted by the sexism of ages past. Sort of like holy books such as the bible and other older documents like the U.S. constitution. You might as well look for the parts of all of them that are good and stop complaining.

As we are letting the qi flow, I feel a strong and positive sense of something different in the energy around me. I peek. I’ve landed on a side of the room in which I happen to be surrounded by several women who have been practicing qigong for years. These women all have a strong sense of self, and working in the middle of them I think I feel what must be yin. It’s comfortable to me, familiar, and powerful all at once, like a group of sisters and wise women who buoy each other up in spite of their many differences. It’s not less than yang and not more than it and in spite of the Chinese focus on opposites it is not so different from it either. But it is, and I feel comfortable with it.

I remember that I’m not the only one who has changed. Much of modern society has caught up with my teenaged vision of equality from long ago, and my own daughters never knew a world in which they could not go to Harvard or be astronauts. I wonder how the attributes assigned to yin and yang would have sounded if they had been articulated by the women of China instead? Maybe I don’t have to wonder.

I have an internet for doing research. I now write speculative fiction. It might be fun to learn more, I think, and then to create a world in which women describe the attributes assigned to the universe. How do you think they might sound?

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