Most of this blog's readers know that my debut novel, Elise's Choice entered the literary world on August 25, 2014. Since then, I decided that I am going to write a series using the kingdom of Ogden and specifically the village of Petheralm as a setting. The series will be entitled Maidens of Petheralm. All of the novels will be stand-alone stories regarding characters from Elise's Choice.
Chronologically, the story on which I'm currently working, is the last of the series, but it ties the closest to Elise. While it is not necessarily a sequel, it takes place sixteen years after Elise's Choice and focuses on a character that readers seemed to be the most curious about. It will be the next novel to be released. Since it is in the rough draft writing stage, I have no release date as of yet. I hope to submit it to my publishers by the end of this year.
In honor of the date Elise's Choice was released, I intend to post a snippet from the work-in-progress on the the 25th of every month. So, without further ado, here is the beginning of first chapter:
The brisk winter wind whispered through the crack in the shutters, ruffling the pages of the book in my lap. Since Grandmama discouraged the use of candles during the daylight, I sat cross-legged on my bed with my face to the window, depending on the natural light to read the faded, familiar words. Gooseflesh crawled along my arms. Unruly strands that slipped from the braid encircling my head tickled my forehead as they danced in the breeze.
With a sigh, I gently closed the book. I could recite the story from memory, but seeing my mother’s handwriting gave me courage to face any challenge. Today, that challenge was a hunt. My first.
Yesterday, Sven spotted the tracks in the forest. “Must be a buck from the size of the tracks,” he said, “and probably large enough to feed us all. I plan to go after him tomorrow afternoon. Want to come?”
Of course I did. Hitting stationary targets of straw or marks on trees was one thing. Whether I used my dagger or the bow Grandpapa had finally given me last year, I was the best shot in the village. Even better than Sven, he grudgingly admitted. But a living, moving target? With the exception of rabbits and squirrels, I never had the opportunity to try. Until now.
The shutters creakily protested when I pulled them closed, and the straw mattress rustled as I slid to my feet. Stashing the book under my pillow, I reached for the wide leather belt draped across the foot of the bed. The sheathed dagger brushed my thigh as I tightened the belt around my waist.
My quiver and bow leaned against the corner of the room. Slinging the quiver over my shoulder, I grabbed the bow and scurried down the ladder that extended from my loft chamber to the main room. I jumped from the ladder, skipping the last two rungs.
“Celeste, what have I told you about jumping that ladder?”
Grandmama sat at the trestle table in the center of the main room, a pair of trousers draped across her lap. Her needle zigzagged through the homespun cloth, adding yet another patch to the well-worn garment.
Placing my bow on the table, I kissed the top of her head. Wide silver bands interspersed the wavy, nut-brown strands, the only difference between her long hair and mine.
I cleared my throat before repeating the familiar words. “A maiden does not hastily jump from a ladder. She takes each step in turn. But, Grandmama, you know I’m no ordinary maiden.”