In my Welcome to 2019 post, I mentioned that I’ve written a prequel story to The Salbine Sisters. I also said that I want to reboot my mailing list. When I started it, I promised subscribers that I would only send an email when I release a new book. I didn’t want to send readers emails they don’t want. But I’m not a prolific writer. I don’t release a book a month, or even a book every six months. Because of that, my subscribers might not hear from me for months, or maybe even a year.
Long gaps between emails isn’t ideal. It affects the deliverability of my emails. Plainly speaking, it means email services like GMail might decide not to deliver my email to someone, or to put it into their spam folder. Readers who want the emails might not receive them. Not emailing for a while also means that people might forget who I am, or even that they signed up for my list.
I’d like to send out a monthly email, even if it’s just to say, “Hi, remember me, here’s a link to someone else’s free book” or “Here’s some information about such-and-such that might interest you as a reader.” I can’t do that right now. It would break the promise I made to my subscribers.
If you’re on a few mailing lists, you’ll remember last year when the European GDPR rules came into effect and you received a bunch of “I need to make sure you really want to be on my list, so click here” emails. I didn’t do anything about my list at the time because I’ve always followed the rules. But because my list has been around for a while now, and because I’d like to send a monthly email, I’m going to ask readers on my list to re-subscribe.
(And here’s a detail you probably won’t care about: I’ll also be changing email service providers, which is where the new list will live.)
As part of this, I’m going to give away a prequel story to The Salbine Sisters to everyone who subscribes to the new list. I might eventually upload the story to the bookstores, but not for at least six months. For a while, the only way the story will be available will be by signing up for my list.
What’s the story about? Well, in The Salbine Sisters, Maddy has a conversation with her friend Rose about how she and Lillian ended up in bed together. Background info: Mistress Lillian is teaching Maddy how to draw fire. She warned Maddy that she might feel light-headed when she drew…
Maddy snorted as she pulled Rose away from the trees and up the path that led to the inner courtyard. She’d visit her other spots later; she preferred to be alone when she fed her furry friends. “I did more than sway.” Fortunately Lillian had been prepared. “I almost fainted, and would have ended up on the floor if the mistress hadn’t caught me.”
“Did she get angry?” Rose asked, her eyes wide.
“No. I grabbed onto her to steady myself.” Lillian’s rough robe had scratched her hands. “And I looked up at her, and she looked at me, and I don’t know why, but . . . I kissed her. Or she kissed me. Or we kissed each other. I don’t know, we just kissed.”
“Yes.” And they hadn’t stopped at one kiss. The lesson, the training room, everything had faded away as they’d melted into each other. They’d briefly come to their senses when they’d started to unbutton their robes and remembered where they were. “We ended up in my bedchamber, and that’s where we’ve ended up after every lesson since.”
“Will you stop saying that, please?”
“Sorry,” Rose murmured. “You’ve certainly kept it quiet.”
“As I said, I wasn’t sure what the mistress wanted.”
“You, obviously.” Rose grinned, then yelped when Maddy playfully slapped her arm. “Though are you sure you’re not part of some experiment?”
She hoped not.
“I didn’t think Mistress Lillian had,” Rose lowered her voice, “those sorts of needs.”
Maddy could personally vouch that she did.
“But she does like to do experiments, or so I’ve heard,” Rose added.
“Maybe she does.” She’d heard the same, and wished she could hear it from Lillian herself. “But I’m not part of an experiment.”
Rose grunted, looking unconvinced. “What do you think will happen, now that everyone knows?”
“I don’t know.” She paused. “I hope she’ll still see me.”
Rose stopped and faced her. “You like her! As more than a friend, I mean.”
Maddy nodded. “But I don’t know how she feels.” She bit her lip. “Do you think I’m foolish?”
“No. You can’t control who you like in that way.”
“Oh, so if I could control it, then you’d think I’m foolish,” Maddy said ruefully.
“I didn’t say that,” Rose said with a laugh, slipping her arm through Maddy’s again. “I just hope the mistress likes you in the same way you like her.”
She fervently hoped so, too. Her next lesson should be interesting—though it could turn out to be disappointing and humiliating if Lillian made it clear that she’d return to her own chambers when it finished.
End of Excerpt
That scene from The Salbine Sisters is the inspiration for the prequel story. Called Playing With Fire, it’s a more detailed account of how Maddy and Lillian ended up in bed together. Here’s the blurb:
After devoting herself to the goddess Salbine for three years, Sister Maddy of the Salbine Order is ready to take the next step to becoming a true sister. Maddy is excited about learning how to manipulate the elements of fire, air, water, and earth, but her excitement turns to dismay when she finds out who will tutor her: Mistress Lillian, a powerful mage who has no time for initiates. Maddy arrives at her first lesson expecting to be shouted at for the most trivial of mistakes.
Maddy survives her lesson and expects the next one to follow a similar pattern, but she couldn’t be more wrong. By the end of her second lesson, Maddy is playing with fire in more ways than one.
If you’re on my mailing list, you’ll receive an email, hopefully by mid-February, that will tell you about the email reboot and where to subscribe to the new list. As soon as you re-subscribe, you’ll receive the story. If you’re not on my mailing list but you’d like to subscribe, you can do so here (you’ll go on the old list and receive the email everyone else will receive about re-subscribing), or you can wait until the new list is ready to receive subscribers. I’ll post here when it’s open for business.
Right now I’m preparing the eBook files and setting up the new list. The novel I’m writing is also trucking along okay.
Enjoy your weekend!