I’ve been waiting a long time to share this with you.

There are lots of reasons for that. A global pandemic. A bunch of HUGE changes in my personal life (I quit my full-time job in marketing, we bought a house, I homeschooled my kids last year…), etcetera, etcetera. But the truth is, the main reason I’ve been waiting is because this book has had to be massaged and ironed out, combed through and perfected for a long time. And there’s a reason for that. But more on that later.

Without making you wait any longer, I’m so excited to announce the sixth book in The Chalam Færytales series:

The Stag at Hand

The Chalam Færytales, Book VI

You probably guessed, if you’ve read books one through five, that the stag was something significant. And you probably wondered when you read The War and the Petrichor why some questions were answered and most stories were wrapped up, but not all of them.

Well, that’s because while book five ended the stories of Ferryl and Adelaide, it didn’t end the færytale. There is more, my friends. There is so much more.

Without spoilers, I will say that book six is probably the most important work I’ve ever released. This is not some Stuart Smalley I-Am-Special daily affirmation. What I’m trying to say is that this book was hard to write. It explores some of the darkest subjects a human can face–subjects I have personally faced in many ways throughout my life. So this one is personal, folks. (Okay, I know–they’re all personal. But this one more than any of the others.)

A Difficult Story

When I began writing The Promised One, it was a one-off story. A simple tale of love and magic. I never intended for you to read it. And I never intended for it to blossom into the mammoth beast that is becoming The Chalam Færytales. But it has. Over the years, the story has grown, taken roots, and blossomed. It has outgrown what I ever thought I could do, much less what I ever thought I would want to do.

Books one through five are what I affectionately call my Old Testament of the series. It’s the pre-story if you will. It’s the setup for what’s to come. The prelude. The precursor. The prologue.

Yes, that’s right, folks. You just read a five-book prologue. You’re welcome.

Ferryl was my hybrid concoction of Moses and David from the Hebrew bible. A hero type who doesn’t quite know he’s a hero at the time. And Elizabeth was my Queen Esther. Stronger than she knows and willing to face challenges without falter. They are the heroes of old. Forefathers. The saints of yore in these books.

So it follows that book six is my New Testament. It’s the story where all of this has been leading. The story of the stag.

While Ferryl and Adelaide were loosely based on characters from the Hebrew Bible, so are my new characters. At its heart, book six is a retelling of the story of Hosea and Gomer. (Still Old Testament, I know, I know. But if you know that story, then you know that it’s a prophecy of Christ and an allegory of what he did for the Hebrew people, and moreso for everyone. So it makes sense, I promise.) And if you know the story of Hosea, he marries a prostitute and loves her despite her MANY failings. It’s a tough story when you really think about it from his perspective–he gave up everything for love. And I just had to write it into my little world.

So I did.

The Biggest Unanswered Question

In addition, in case you haven’t noticed, we never figured out who the Promised One is. Despite the speculation, all those wild theories on the parts of different characters, The War and the Petrichor wrapped up with a vague maybe-Ferryl’s-son-is-the-Promised-One. Anti-climactic, to be sure.

But there’s a reason for that.

You’re about to find out what it is.

Well, in October, that is. An official release date is coming soon.

In the meantime, I wonder if you noticed a few things about the cover: while books one through five (in the new design) have all organic elements — trees and vines and weather — book six has something altogether different. Are those… street lamps? And… a flying ship?

Why yes, yes they are.

That’s right folks. While books one through five are medieval-style fantasy (think Chronicles of Narnia or The Princess Bride), book six begins what is known as gothic fantasy. Steampunk. Victorian. The 1800s. (Think The Greatest Showman or The Night Circus)

MY. PERSONAL. FAVORITE. EVER.

Oh man, I AM READY TO SHARE THIS BOOK WITH YOU.

But Wait, There’s More

You didn’t think I’d leave you without an excerpt, did you?

I WOULD NEVER DO THAT TO YOU.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: An (UNEDITED) Exerpt from The Stag at Hand, The Chalam Færytales, Book VI

“Careful. You’re about to cut right through the table,” said the man in black.

“Is there a reason you’re so keen to torture me, sir?” She bit the piece of meat so hard her teeth sang with the impact of the fork. Around them, conversations continued, oblivious to their exchange.

“I hadn’t realized you’d consider lighthearted conversation a form of torture,” he said, a twinkle of humor in his eyes. “Then again, you won’t give me your name. So perhaps you’re terrified of making new acquaintances.”

She met his eyes, holding his gaze, her face flat, expressionless. But a wicked grin slowly curled her mouth when she finally said, “If it’s the acquaintance of an acolyte you’re seeking, I’m sure I can introduce you to several who will suit your needs.”

“You consider conversation an invitation to my bed?”

Her eyes flared. “You sir, are too forward.”

He breathed another laugh. “Well. For reasons I have yet to understand, I have gotten off to the worst possible start with you, Lady Without a Name. For this, I sincerely apologize.”

She slammed down her fork and grabbed her goblet of sparkling wine, guzzling down the fizzing liquid without thought. A servant passed by, and she lifted her glass to allow him to refill her drink.

“That’s not enough,” she said curtly when the servant had only filled her glass a little. Reluctantly, the servant poured some more. When he stopped again after only a bit, she barked, “I’ll tell you when to stop.”

The servant shot his eyes to Ezra across the table, who was smirking, of course. Miri bit down on her retort and instead watched the servant fill the glass. The golden liquid poured much more freely now, and she did not stop him until the glass was filled to the brim. Enough to intoxicate three men.

“Have a nice trip,” Ezra said with a chuckle when Miri took her first drink. She eyed him with disdain over the rim.

“I’d be careful,” Ezra went on. “It would be a pity for you to lose your inhibitions.”

“And why is that?” she huffed, despite herself, thankful for the chance to take a breath.

“You might make a new friend,” he said, matter-of-factly, taking to his dinner once more.

 

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