Books

The Leafstone Saga

Kyura’s aunt and uncle never told her who her father was. Now 17, she’s about to discover that she’s not just an ordinary girl sweeping the floors and washing the sheets in her uncle’s inn. Until her father was murdered, he was the hereditary ruler of the distant land of Sa’akna. That odd, broken piece of green stone in her dresser drawer isn’t just a keepsake. It was once part of a potent magical amulet called the Leafstone Shield.

Sa’akna has fallen on evil days, and the magic that lies hidden in the Leafstone Shield is summoning Kyura to set things right. She’ll have to overthrow her mad cousin, defeat his evil wizard, and confront the ancient and implacable foe who commands them.

But she has no army, no money, and no powerful friends. Her only combat skill is mock sparring with rake handles! Her allies in this impossible quest will be her best friend Meery, an unlicensed back-alley wizard, an arrogant and unreliable concert pianist, a young street-smart thief, a spoiled rich girl on the run from a truly awful arranged marriage, an ox-tender in a freight caravan (who also happens to be the Emperor, but don’t get your hopes up), an old woman who is blind and bedridden, and the ghost of a dead soldier who wasn’t very bright when he was alive.

Along the way Kyura and her friends will mix it up with dragons, elves, wraiths, demons, gods, wizards, an ogre, and the world’s most incompetent innkeeper. True love, betrayals, unlikely reunions, political intrigue, eccentric companions, deep magic, travel to distant places through dangerous portals, an invading army—the wonders and terrors will keep you glued to the page!

The story is structured in four volumes, each with its own happy (sort of) ending, but it’s all one continuous sweep of action. You’ll want to start with The Leafstone Shield. The series continues with The Rainbow Tree, The Heartsong Fountain, and The Firepearl Chalice. For a free preview from book 1, you can check out this PDF.

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The Wall at the Edge of the World

The world is peaceful and pure. Crime and poverty are unknown, because those who can’t fit in are eliminated in the Cleansings. Here and there, a few people see the cruelty at the heart of their world, but they have no hope of changing anything. It’s unthinkable (literally) to resist the telepathic mind control of the smiling, omnipresent joddies.

Until, from the chaos beyond the Wall, something new emerges — something dangerous and deeply disturbing, but also a promise of freedom! Danlo is a minor bureaucrat, heartsick because his wife was Cleansed. Plunged into a new and desperate struggle in the wilderness beyond the Wall, he finds a vision of a brighter future and a few courageous allies, but the struggle against impossible odds may cost him his life.

The Wall at the Edge of the World was first published in 1993. This new edition is unchanged from the original.

While Caesar Sang of Hercules

Coming soon: At a lavish banquet where the guest of honor is Nero himself, Licinia’s husband is poisoned. The rivals for her husband’s estate accuse her of the murder, and on a tissue of lies and manufactured evidence she is swiftly convicted.

Only one man believes in her innocence: Germanus is a slave in her father’s household. He has no power to force any of the suspects to answer questions. Secretly in love with Licinia, he knows he must never let her see how he feels. The social gulf between them can never be bridged. Even so, he risks everything to track down the true murderer, his only clue a severed human thumb found on a trash heap.

And then things get complicated.

While Caesar Sang of Hercules plunges readers into the world of Imperial Rome, where great cruelty collided with surprisingly modern ideas of law, loyalty, and leisure. Scheduled for release in 2021, the book explores the dark side of Roman slavery, the grandeur of Rome’s civic institutions, and the personal lives of some memorable characters in the prosperous town of Puteoli on the Bay of Naples. You’ll meet Madame Clarissima, in whose shop one might purchase cosmetics, opium, or possibly a vial of deadly poison; Cornelius Tasso, a brutal but prosperous tavern owner who is scheming to better himself; Xenophantes the astrologer; urbane but avaricious nobleman Pontus Clausus; ex-soldier and sword-for-hire Narticus, who quite by chance was present some years before at a certain crucifixion in the province of Judea; and Licinia’s irrepressible little brother Gaius, who is as likely to get Germanus in worse trouble as to help him solve the mystery.