The Night Forest

The Night Forest

by Kit Campbell

 

She looked through the window though there was nothing to see on the other side; the depths of night hid what lay within her view.

She could sense him behind her, close enough to touch, but not.

“What is it you see out there?” That weird tightness to his voice that had been present lately.

“Nothing,” she said. “I see nothing.”

“Then why do you look?”

She shook her head and turned to look at him, this man who would one day be her husband, though now he drew subtly away from her. Why did she look, when she knew the small window and the black of night would show her nothing?

“It is past midnight,” she said instead. “Why are you not abed?”

“While you wander the halls, so shall I.” A light remark, one that could have been sweet, had she not seen the tension in his shoulders, had he not held himself so far away from her. He was watching her, like she might turn at any moment.

Turn into what, she had not decided.

~*~*~*~*~

The first change had been her difficulty sleeping. She’d taken to wandering the halls at night, though all slept except the guards on the walls. Still, despite her nightly excursions, she was not tired, not drained. But then, when she did sleep, the dream had come.

She was somewhere deep and dark, with trees towering overhead. She could …

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Out of my Comfort Zone

Back when I was in high school, I loved participating in theater at my school. This seems like a weird fit because a) I am an introvert and b) I hate being the center of attention, but there you are anyway. I did 11 out of 12 plays my school did while I was there, 4 as tech, 7 as an actor, 2 as student director, and 1 where I actually set up all the tech cues, the order of the play (it was a bunch of skits), scene changes, etc., because our director/teacher was busy with something else at the time. I also spent two years in our children’s theater program (which counted as English and I hated English) (yes, I know how ironic that is coming from someone who writes/edits for a living) and sang in two different choirs.

In college, I originally went in planning to double major in theater and engineering, but after I ran into some unfair biases my freshman year (I got a lower grade than I deserved due to not being a theater major–actually verified against other classmates who were theater majors), I dropped that idea. (Also, engineering is hard and sometimes you’re up at 4 am in the computer lab writing a report about ants on a hotplate.)

And that was that. There’s not a lot of theater opportunities as an adult if you don’t have college experience or a degree. And what few opportunities there are, there’s a lot of competition …

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Stop and Listen to the Music

Last Thursday my husband and I went to a Sonata Arctica concert. We’d snagged tickets on Black Friday ($12–and only $18 even with the ridiculous ticket fees) and so we made the fairly last minute decision to go.

And, oh, it was glorious. Small, intimate venue, music so loud I couldn’t hear properly for approximately 12 hours afterwards, a small crowd of music lovers who braved the below freezing temperatures to come hang out in a tiny venue without proper parking…

But it was really the music that made it great. Sonata Arctica is a Finnish power metal band, and they were touring with Leaves’ Eyes (multi-national symphonic metal band) and Omnium Gatherum (Finnish death metal band).

(My husband: Is all music in Finland metal?
Me: Probably.)

(For those people who are like “There’s genres of metal music?” here is a description of the various ones.)

Omnium is not really my taste, so we missed the beginning of their set, but there was a point during Leaves’ Eyes’ set where I came back into my self and realized–that probably for the first time in a long time–that all my stress had fallen off, that I was content, that all the things that I worry about day in and day out had, for at least the moment, disappeared.

As you can imagine, it was quite freeing.

Symphonic metal is my favorite music genre, and I’ve found it to be very useful writing music as well, especially when I’m doing …

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We’re Going to MileHiCon!

Howdy, Turtleduck friends! It’s my birthday! ::twirls around a little flag::

But beyond that, I’m pleased to announce that if you are in the Colorado or generally Colorado area, you can come and see me at MileHiCon the last weekend of October. I shall be there with the full complement of Turtleduck titles, including new ones such as City of Hope and Ruin, and I will also have bookmarks for our anthology coming out mid-November, which is titled To Rule the Stars.

(It’s awesome.)

I’m excited for the convention! I learned a lot at the first one we did two years ago, and I’ve got some new displays and stuff that I’m itching to try out. Plus it’s always fun to network with other authors and publishers and see all the neat stuff that goes on at the con.

(Here’s a funny story, though. If you buy a three-day pass in advance, it’s $44, but there’s a $3 service fee. If you wait until the door, it’s only $46. Someone did not think this through.)

I put in my name to be put on panels if there’s a need, so there’s a chance that I could do some of that. That will be a new–and nervewracking–experience. Still, I’ve seen some really terrible panelists at various times (ones who had no clue about the topic at hand, or who were too busy revisiting things with their friends to bother to pay attention), so I will probably not be the worst.

Ah, …

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So, How About That Plan From Last Month?

Last month I regaled you lot with my sewing plans. (And I realized I never linked you to my sewing Pinterest board, which is here, and which you can see is still getting healthy usage.) And I said I’d check back this month and let you know if I’d actually gotten on the actual sewing part of this madness.

The answer is no! But it’s more complicated than me just being lazy (or actually working on writing things, like I was supposed to, though I did do that).

I picked out two patterns to do. I cut out the pieces (which was harder than necessary because said patterns are in books and you cannot cut up library books). And then I hit the problem.

The average American woman is 5’4″. I believe they make patterns for people who are 5’7″. I am 6’1”. So I cut out my patterns and then remembered that I can’t just use a pattern, I have to modify a pattern. I have to lengthen it in the right spots (such as, say, arm holes) and move darts and all sorts of wizardry. Actually, in the past, it’s been easier to take men’s patterns and make the shoulders narrower than mess with women’s patterns, but it’s been five years and I forgot.

(The last clothing I sewed, five years ago, was a brocade vest and spats for a steampunk costume. I made the vest without a pattern, and luckily spats are not picky on sizing.)

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A Constant Companion (Fractured World Short)

A Constant Companion

by Kit Campbell

“…as long as you’re living under my roof,” Jael was saying, but Briony tuned him out, choosing instead to glare at the table. Her hands sat on its uneven surface, curled so tightly in on themselves that she could feel her nails digging into her palms.

Behind her, she could hear the laughs of her brother’s small children as his wife told them a story. Their youngest, Brin, would be a year soon, and had taken to copying everything her older brother and sister did, much to the amusement of all involved.

Jael should be in there parenting them. He didn’t need to be parenting her. He wasn’t her father. Just because Mother—

Briony shook her head to clear it of the thought.

“Are you listening to me, Bree?”

“It’s not really your roof, is it?” Briony leaned back, crossing her arms over her chest and staring sullenly at the fireplace. It was a silly argument—she didn’t fault Jael and his family for moving back in, not after… and it was nice to not have to sleep in an empty house. But that didn’t mean he had to act like he owned the place. It was as much hers as his.

Jael groaned and pressed his fingers to his temples. He’d started growing a beard, probably trying to look older. “Bree, for the love of the Old Ones, we’ve been over this. Mother asked me to look after you until …

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A Creative Interlude

Good morning!

Do you ever have those times when you really should be working on something, but something else comes along that sounds like way more fun? Or, like, it doesn’t matter if anything ever actually does get done, because planning is fun? And shopping for supplies, and picturing doing it, and…

…anyway, this is me right now. And what I’d like to be doing, at least theoretically, is sewing. Not sure what exactly has brought this on. It’s probably a combination of having too many writing projects going, the fact that I hate half my wardrobe, and the fact that I used to sew all the time, but haven’t touched my machine in four…maybe five…years.

So first I went into the planning stage. My planning stage mostly involved reading tons of blogs about upcycling clothing and starting a Pinterest board. I’ve also checked out some sewing pattern books from the library. Somewhere in the Pinterest stage I went from upcycling clothes to just making clothes from scratch.

That might be because I actually did a couple of upcycling projects. The kids and me made slouch hats and arm warmers from old sweaters and hot glue, and I also took an overly large t-shirt I got from giving blood and turned it into a workout tank top. Upcycling urge conquered, I guess.

So now we’re on the sewing from scratch phase. At the end of last week, the small, somewhat mobile one and I hit our local Joann’s, where …

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Life’s a Strain

I’ve pulled something in my back. I have this spot–it’s on the right side of my back, not quite in “lower” back territory but not much higher–and from time to time it gets aggravated. Every six months or so it gets really bad, like “can’t stand up straight” sort of bad. Muscle relaxants and pain killers have little to no effect, and even massages haven’t proven terrible useful in fixing things.

It’s very fun, let me tell you. Especially when one has to pick 20 and 40-pound wiggly things up on a regular basis.

It started hurting last Wednesday-ish. It peaked Friday/Saturday, and now is on its way back to normal, though it still hurts. I did manage kickboxing this morning, though it hurt more for a while.

My internet searches tell me back pain is the most common pain experienced by adults in the United States. 80% was the stat I saw, though I don’t know how scientific that is. Bad posture and too much sedentary time at computers and watching the TV and what have you.

So what do you do when your job consists of you needing to be on the computer for significant lengths of time?

Sitting is definitely a problem right now. I’ve switched my computer chair out for one of the hard, straight-back dining room chairs, which has helped some, but even as little as 15-20 minutes sitting at the computer causes everything to flare again, even if things were feeling pretty good.

It’s …

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End of Project Jitters

City of Hope and Ruin is out! Hooray! It’s out and it’s lovely and people have been so great about telling us how excited they are or how much they liked the book and we are very thankful for all you lovely people.

And now I am free! BWHAHAHA.

I mean, of course, there’s still lots to do on CoHaR. Marketing things, reviewers, guest posts and blog tours, the Goodreads giveaway which starts tomorrow, etc. We’ll be at it for months. But the frenetic pace of the past year, and specifically the last five months, is done with.

FREEDOM.

Of course, now that I find myself with freedom, I once again find myself confronted with a slew of options. What to work on now? Do I work on anything? Do I catch up on all the reading I didn’t do while ear-deep in revisions?

At the beginning of the year, I made myself a spreadsheet, and on said spreadsheet I made a list of all the writing projects I wanted to accomplish this year, as well as what I felt was a reasonable amount of time to expect them to be done, and which months would include what projects, etc.

Let me tell you how that’s gone thus far.

I had a bunch of “smaller” projects slated for January-March. Marketing tweaks, short projects, etc. Not one of them has gotten done.

I had that I’d finish the mostly finished draft of a different story March-May. In my infinite …

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City of Hope and Ruin: Cover Reveal!

Kit and Siri are thrilled to unveil…the cover of City of Hope and Ruin.

 

 

Ready?

 

 

No, are you really ready?

 

 

Okay, here goes…

 

 

City of Hope and Ruin ebook cover

 

Isn’t it gorgeous? We couldn’t be more thrilled.

Here’s the book description again:

Every night the monsters hunt.

A city that is the whole world: Theosophy and her companions in the City militia do their best to protect the civilians from the monsters, but they keep crawling from the Rift and there’s nowhere to run. Theosophy knows she’ll die fighting. It’s the best kind of death she’s seen, and at least she can save lives in the meantime.

They say the Scarred carve you up while you’re still alive.

A village in the shadow of a forest: Refugees from the border whisper about the oncoming Scarred, but Briony can’t convince her brother to relocate his children to safety. Briony will do anything to protect them. She owes them that much, even if it means turning to forbidden magic.

When Theosophy and Briony accidentally make contact across the boundaries of their worlds, they realize that solutions might finally be within reach. A world beyond the City would give Theosophy’s people an escape, and the City’s warriors could …

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