It’s August, so the cicadas are whirring up a racket outside my windows. Days are hot, but the mornings are already getting a bit of that pre-autumn chill to them. And–are you ready for this–yesterday I walked ALL THE WAY AROUND THE BLOCK!!!!!!! Considering that last fall I was having to hold onto the wall to drag myself a few feet across a room, this is HUGE progress. Whether or not it will continue, especially now that the semester is about to start in a couple of weeks and I’ll be going back to teaching, is an open question, but it’s still very encouraging.
(For those of you just joining us, I ended up seriously ill and significantly crippled from a combination of late-stage Lyme disease and toxic mold exposure, plus other problems. Not recommended as a good time).
Part I: The Challenge contains, you guessed it, a challenge to our feisty heroine.
The Dreaming Land trilogy starts just before Midsummer, and ends as autumn is coming on. In keeping with its sultry setting, it’s by far the raciest of my works, especially Part II: The Journey and Part III: The Sacrifice. To be honest, I kept asking myself “Am I really doing this?” as I was writing those scenes. But my heroine Valya can be very insistent when she wants her way, and who was I to argue with her? And then when the character Tanya, who came to me in a vivid dream that had me questioning all kinds of things about myself, appeared, I was helpless to resist.
But The Dreaming Land isn’t *just* about sex. As I wrote about here, it’s in part a rewriting of the story of Eowyn. I was always bothered by the story of Eowyn, because Eowyn, unlike the (male) hobbits, is punished and shamed for stepping outside of her socially appointed role, and has responsibility forced upon her instead of being allowed to shoulder it voluntarily. Her transformation from warrior to healer *should* be a beautiful story of moral growth and courage, but she is explicitly compared to a selfish, naughty child for rebelling against social strictures and wanting the same glory and honor that are her brother’s by birthright.
Valya, on the other hand, is a warrior princess by birthright. She is also the second-most-powerful woman in a society where rule by women is the expected norm. Valya is a physically imposing woman who “fights like a man,” but in her society, that’s not entirely a positive: Zemnian women, including Valya, are rightly concerned by the tendency towards violence for the sheer joy of violence exhibited by so many men. Over the course of the trilogy, Valya has to learn to embrace her feminine side, but for her and her society, that means gaining, rather than losing, power and prestige.
The Dreaming Land is a summer story and a story of healing. Paradoxically, I started it in Midwinter, the same winter I was starting my descent into serious illness. The call to write it was so strong that I wrote the first five chapters on my iPad while my computer was being resuscitated from its near-death encounter with Mac’s operating system updates.
I finished it in late summer a year and a half later, after a summer of canceling plans and spending hours every day in bed, wondering if I was going to have the strength to sit upright and the mental alertness to type. Its ultimately hopeful trajectory was in direct contrast to my own life path at the time. I’d like to think that it foreshadowed a more hopeful turn in my life later (like now, for example, fingers crossed and knock on wood), but that’s not something anyone can know for certain. What I can say is that in Valya, I tried to create the hero I wanted to be.
And now for this week’s selection of deals and giveaways!
The Dreaming Land is available for free on Kindle Unlimited, along with lots of other spicy KU/discounted books featuring warrior women, in the Sexy Beasts & Warrior Women Book Fair.
The Summer Thrills & Chills Giveaway has a wide selection of mystery, thriller, fantasy, and horror books to give away–plus the chance to win a $25 gift certificate to the online book purveyor of your choice!