Writerly Wednesday ‘late morning’ Welcomes Sue Bolich!
If I told you why this post did not go out shortly after midnight, all of the readers who ever made milk will begin to lactate, again. Maybe, I should make a post on baby-sitting woes. Thanks Sue for being so patient.
The book is “Windrider,” Book 2 of Masters of the Elements, sequel to “Firedancer”
S. A. Bolich is a full-time freelancer whose books come with warnings from reviewers of sleepless nights and missed bus stops ahead as they suck you in and refuse to let go. A native of Washington state, she resides there again after serving six years in Germany as a regular army military intelligence officer. She graduated summa cum laude from college with a degree in history, which she confesses was greatly aided by devouring historical fiction of every era and kind through her formative years. She is also a lifelong horsewoman, and shares her knowledge in the popular “Horses in Fiction” blog series at blog.sabolichbooks.com to help writers keep their equines from falling into the trap of Hollywood cliches.
Book 1 of the Masters of the Elements series, “Firedancer,” was released in September 2011 by Sky Warrior Books, with Book 2, “Windrider,” appearing in May 2012. Her short fiction has appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, On Spec, Damnation Books, among many other print magazine and ezines, and in the anthologies Defending the Future IV: No Man’s Land, Gears and Levers I (steampunk) and Wolfsongs 2. Currently she is working on “Seaborn,” Book 3 of Masters of the Elements.
When Wind learns your name, where is there to hide? A man born to weave torrents of living air between his hands really should have remembered that gentle Wind’s sister is the angry, vengeful–and quite insane–Hag.
In one foolish moment of shared rage, Sheshan ak’Kal makes himself the target of a rogue wind singing a mad, terrible note that only he can hear–and he has forgotten the song that could tame her. For his life, his clan, and a fragile new love he has discovered with the most unexpected of women, Sheshan must find in himself a new song, and become what none of his people have managed in millennia–a Windrider indeed.
Something snapped sharply overhead. “Run!” Thosh cried.
Sheshan did not even glance up. He grabbed Jetta and hauled at Settak’s arm, dragging them both with him in a straight leap down the road. His sharp Rider hearing sorted the wild moaning of the wind from the downward rush of something massive falling and the cracking of branches breaking as it forced a passage through the trees. In desperation he snatched at the prowling wind and shoved it under his heels, his hands locked tight on Jetta’s arm and Settak’s shoulder. He had never tried to float encumbered in such a fashion but fear lent him inspiration. Wind answered him, a hard, cold push like the breath of the Hag. Jetta gasped and Settak gave a startled cry as the three of them bounded five strides down the road in one leap.
A monstrous ka-whump! behind them shook the road. Sheshan, overburdened, could not pick his landing spot and touched down on the precarious edge of a frozen rut. His foot twisted, dumping all three of them hard to the ground in a tangled heap. Jetta cried out; Settak, on the bottom, swore and thrashed his way out from under, wild-eyed and bristling like a frightened neera as he leaped up and stared incredulously at Sheshan.
“What happened? What was that?”
Sheshan ignored him, pulling Jetta to her feet. “Are you all right?”
She bit her lip, cradling her wrist against her ribs. “Yes. I smacked my arm when we came down, is all.” She looked up at Sheshan in wonder. “What did you do?”
“What does it matter?” Reth snapped, shoving Settak down the road. “We can’t stay here!”
“Hai!” Settak objected.
“Reth’s right,” Wyth said, striding up beside them. “Wind is in a foul mood all of a sudden. The tree that fell was dead and doubtless needed only a slight push, but we need to go before it gives her ideas.”
Sheshan looked back at a huge needle tree broken in half across the road in a litter of broken branches. His whole body quivered and hummed with tension drawn from the angry blast of the wind pushing them down the road. Furtively he tried to draw harmony from it, however foolhardy the attempt, but nothing came to his ear except the booming of the wind through the branches, a sound that needed no Windrider to interpret.
Hurry, hurry, hurry, before the Hag made up her mind to pounce in earnest.
The others were already fifty paces away, setting a pace that taxed even Sheshan’s long legs. Jetta and Settak were staggering by the time the road dropped steeply around a last bend and broke from the needle trees into a shallow, open valley. Dusk was gathering but distant lights gleamed on the tumbling surface of the little river they had followed down from the hills.
“Thank—the Mother,” Settak gasped, his chest heaving.
Jetta said nothing, only looked back into the moaning darkness. Sheshan heard her breath go in sharply and wheeled to look.
“Mother of storms! Jetta, go! Settak, run!”
Settak did not question, just caught Jetta’s hand and ran. Sheshan threw up his hands though he had no notion how to stop the thing rampaging down the mountain, snapping trees in a straight and vicious path ten paces wide, hurling mist and rain ahead of it in a lashing gray curtain. It defied every law of wind that he knew, smashing down the hill instead of up out of the valley, which told him gentle Wind had lost her battle with the Hag.
“Shan, don’t!” Wyth’s voice reached him over the rising howl of the coming beast. “The containment wall will blunt it!”
Sheshan turned and sprinted after the others. The others were closing on the high black wall encircling Baro from the river’s edge on either side. The wind smelled of bruised needles and broken wood and pitch, a reek of destruction, and now Sheshan could hear a high, eerie keening fit to shatter stone. As they broke from the trees into the cleared fields around Baro, the first icy breath of the Hag blasted past him.
Ahead of them, the others had reached the gates, dwarfed by walls twice Delver height here where the forest had burned within living memory. Thosh’s voice came thinly through the mad shrieking of the Hag.
“Open! Open in the name of the Mother!”
A square of light bloomed in the gate tower. Sheshan gulped down relief as it spilled across Jetta and the others staggering up beside Thosh. A demented roar reached him, pierced by sharp snaps and the heavy thumping of falling trees. He glanced back. The Hag had nearly reached the edge of the wood; in seconds she would be racing unencumbered across the wide fields cleared long ago as an impediment to fire reaching Baro’s houses. He faced forward, his mind leaping ahead, planning how to deflect the worst of it using the Delver-built containment wall once they reached shelter on the far side. He just had time to register the knot of tall, pallid shapes ahead of him in the gloom, an instant’s puzzlement that they were still outside, before he had to dodge to avoid crashing into Ayesh standing in the center of the road glaring up at the gates.
The closed gates…
Interview with Sue-
three days, all power will go off, everywhere for a very long time. What
will you include in your author survival kit?
A “long time” is subjective, but assuming it will come back on
at some point before the riots start… A year’s supply of canned goods, flour,
sugar, and other staples so I don’t starve while I’m writing. A winter’s supply
of firewood because it’s really hard to type when you’re freezing. A generator
with lots and lots of gas, or a solar charge unit I can convert to pump water
for my horses and the house and fire up the laptop. A cow. A lantern with lots
of replacement gas bottles. A stack of notebooks and pens for when the laptop
inevitably becomes impossible to charge. Chocolate. Gotta have chocolate.
And books! Stacks of hard copy books to keep me rejuvenated when I’m not
did the idea for the work you are promoting arise?
One of the underlying themes of the book comes from a scene I
deleted from Firedancer but that stuck in my mind. In this culture the
Windriders are a bit analogous to gypsies in how the rest of society views them.
Because they must chase the storms rather than establish themselves permanently
in villages to protect as the Firedancers do, they are strangers everywhere and
often distrusted. They have a mystique that attracts discontented young people,
and so they are accused of stealing babies and children. People whose homes were
damaged by the storm usually blame the Windriders for not preventing it even
when the whole town would have been flattened without them. I wanted to explore
the themes of selfishness and prejudice and how my hero, Sheshan, feels about
suddenly being thrust back into that world he thought he had managed to leave
behind forever in a place that had accepted him without question. Very often
society ignores those who keep them safe (cops, firefighters, military) and some
members even revile them. There is this tension throughout Windrider
between the remnants of Sheshan’s clan and the people who both look down on them
and simultaneously want them to abandon their duty to the whole country in order
to keep their own little patch of it safe from the rampaging Hag, the
nastier manifestation of Wind.
do you like to read?
interesting. I even carry a book in my purse or my truck in case I’m stuck
at road construction or in the doctor’s office. I read a lot of history, a
lot of fantasy, some hard SF. I like historical fantasy and alternate
history. I used to read a lot of historical fiction but I don’t have as
much time as I used to for it and content myself with straight history instead.
I prefer epic fantasy to steampunk or urban fantasy but I read those as well. I
spend too much time on news sites, but sometimes great story ideas come
from current events, or news about archeological finds that spark my
imagination, or discoveries Out There in the great beyond. I am sad that NASA’s
mission has been so drastically curtailed. What are we without something
to aspire to, explore, and dream about?
us about the most exciting place you have ever visited?
I’m a military history major, so exciting for me means poking around in places
with lots of history attached. I get a visceral thrill from touching history:
standing atop Pointe du Hoc overlooking Omaha Beach, admiring a perfectly intact
Roman aqueduct that still carries water, poking among the puzzle pieces of
half-ruined castles and looking out through arrow slits in towers where sentries
centuries dead once stood guard. I think you would have to be soul dead or
completely ignorant to walk around a place like Antietam, on the very ground
where so many people fought and died, and not feel the echoes. I can’t say with
certainty what place ever got me most excited, but the creepiest place
I’ve even been was the concentration camp at Dachau. I can’t imagine what it
must be like to visit Auschwitz. And I love wild places, just sitting listening
to the wind and watching the hawks.
is the most mundane, day to day, thing you can share about
you already know I’m a geek, so that big secret is a bust. Lessee, I’m a sucker
for kittens and have four inside/outside cats. Also two horses and a huge
scares you the most?
King got it right in “Misery.” Any writer is scared to death of all their work
somehow going poof, disappearing from existence, unread.
us anything but keep it G rated.
could do the tired joke and just say “Anything” but I won’t. 🙂 Mostly I am just
always amazed by how mundane life experiences end up firing
fantastical notions in my writing, and how grateful I am to have had the
opportunity to travel, talk to all kinds of people, and see and live different
S. A. Bolich, Sky Warrior Books, fantasy, Masters of the Elements Book
and contact links:
Amazon (available in both print and ebook): http://www.amazon.com/Firedancer-ebook/dp/B005JMXIMG/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1318134259&sr=1-1
Barnes and Noble (available in both print and ebook): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/windrider-s-a-bolich/1110613629?ean=2940014494267
You are Welcome, Sue.
Drop by next week to see if I get the post out on time and always come back on Friday where the Walls Talk on Fiction Friday.
Don’t touch anything sharp!