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Dancing Amongst the Ashes


If you've been keeping up with my blog posts (and chances are you're better at it than I am), then you know I've been working on a couple of books lately. One is the follow up to The Miranda Project, which is still in the running for this year's Self-Published Science Fiction Contest. But I've also been working on a new fantasy novel, one that's quite a bit different from what you might normally expect from me. And now that I'm over sixty-five-thousand words into it, I felt it was time to give you all some information on it.


So allow me to introduce The Shadow Sisters to you:

The Shadow Sisters is the story of a young woman named Anjia from a small coastal village. She's been raised since she was five to become one of the sisters of the Temple of Kyrsma, the Goddess of Life and Light. In order to get in, there's a test...a dance she must perform. Anjia must pass this test, or die trying. Only everything she knew about the dance--and her entire life up to that moment--has been a lie.


In truth, Anjia will become of the Shadow Sisters, a group of assassins who serve the Khimital, a demon made of pure shadow who is the eternal enemy of Kyrsma. How the temple has been defiled in such a way so that it now serves the enemy of the Goddess it is named for is something that you'll have to read about when the book comes out. My expectation is that should be sometime in late 2023. But as with all dates this far out that is fluid and can change.


As for for the Shadow Sisters themselves, the Khimital has bound each of these women to his will and has the ability to control them by puppeteering them through their own shadows. They can either follow his orders, or have their own bodies betray them while they watch helplessly from within them. Either way, the blood will be, quite literally, on their hands.


Along the way, you'll get to know the other women of the temple. They are sisters in everything but actual blood. They are all stuck in the same situation after all, and come to rely on each other for they cannot tell anyone else about who and what they really are. The shadow controls even their voices when it so desires.


This is a story of personal horror for Anjia as she is slowly consumed by the darkness that controls her life. She begins the tale as an innocent young woman who slowly becomes more and more comfortable with the fate that has been forced upon her. Will she be able to escape this corruption and gain control of her life for the first time? That's still unknown. I'm expecting that there are tens of thousands of words still to come that I haven't written yet. But as usual, I'm writing this by the seat of my pants and I probably won't know those answers for a few months myself.


(And if you thought I was gonna tell you how it all ends in this blog post, well that's just silly. You should know better.)


Now, to be fair, light and shadow may sound like stand-ins for good and evil, but they're not exactly that. Light and shadow need balance in order for each to endure. The shadow needs the light. The light casts the shadow. But too much light can blind. It can burn life away. And despite everything Anjia and her sisters are going through, there is a true need for balance at play. The question is, do they truly provide the balance, or are they the thumb upon the scale?


There's also parallels to the conversation surrounding bodily autonomy in the real world to be found here--though certainly not in the same manner. The real world, as always, is far more important. However, this is a story that touches on the theme of personal freedom, or lack thereof--for if you don't have control of your own body, how can you truly be free? Some readers may choose to avoid such a tale, and I certainly understand why given the real world circumstances.


But if you're a reader of mine, you know I don't shy away from heavy topics, analogous as they may be. The Forbidden Scrolls Trilogy touches on ideas of racism and how the ability to dehumanize one group of people makes it easy to dehumanize them all. The Miranda Project is largely about one man's PTSD in the aftermath of prolonged brainwashing and torture. And The Stairs in the Woods tackles the themes regarding divorce, it's effect on the kids, as well as grief.


Well, to be fair, all of my books touch on grief.


Either way, I'm excited to bring this story to you. It is very different from anything else I've put out before, and that alone is exciting. But I really do love this story and where it's going. I hope you will too.

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