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The Cendrillon Cycle, Volume 1
The time has finally come! I’m thrilled to announce that my novella, The Battle of Castle Nebula, (The Cendrillon Cycle, volume I), makes worldfall today, the first day of winter. If you enjoyed the world of A Cinder’s Tale in the Five Glass Slippers anthology, explore that universe further in The Battle of Castle Nebula:

She has nothing left, not even her dreams. But Elsa Vogel still has her duty, and she will do it, no matter the peril, no matter the anguish in her heart as she leaves her ravaged home planet, perhaps never to return. And the same tragedy that tore Elsa’s life to pieces also transformed the lives of others. Others who may need a reason to go on living, after the cataclysmic Battle of Castle Nebula…

The Battle of Castle Nebula ebook is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Don’t have an e-reader? Not a problem. Amazon offers a free Kindle app for almost every device.

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So aThe Cendrillon Cycle, Volume 1pparently when I said that The Battle of Castle Nebula, volume 1 of The Cendrillon Cycle, would be available for preorder soon…it was already up. I got the good news via a friend who had already preordered her copy.

Preorder yours today!

I think the book would look pretty snazzy on your Goodreads shelf too, personally. Think about it…

I am the very worst at titles. The very, very worst. I just can’t bring myself to slap a title on a work until it’s completely finished, which, as you may imagine, makes mThe Cendrillon Cycle, Volume 1arketing ahead of time a little bit difficult. BUT…

…at long, long last, Volume 1 of The Cendrillon Cycle has a title!

The Battle of Castle Nebula ebook will be available for preorder very, very shortly, and will make worldfall on the first day of winter: December 21st, 2014.

She has nothing left, not even her dreams. But Elsa Vogel still has her duty, and she will do it, no matter the peril, no matter the anguish in her heart as she leaves her ravaged home planet, perhaps never to return.

And the same tragedy that tore Elsa’s life to pieces also transformed the lives of others. Others who may need a reason to go on living, after the cataclysmic Battle of Castle Nebula…

I’m not dead, but I could very easily see how you could come to that conclusion. SO BUSY.

Enjoyable adventures have included cookouts, baby showers, weddings, pet-sitting, a few movies, seeing Doctor Who on the big screen, my first race, the acquisition of a cider press for some excellent friends, throwing a birthday party for said friends, and meals with a slew of magnificent people in a variety of locations. One of the very best evenings was a picnic in the park with my young man, during which we ran into several other couples we knew. The gentlemen whisked themselves away and emerged from the woods moments later with bow ties, flowers, and a rehearsed barbershop quartet version of the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows.” Incredible man, mine is.

Less enjoyable adventures have included my first speeding ticket (incurred while being enthralled by an episode of RadioLab, curse your fascinating stories), my car springing a massive oil leak, somewhat botching a conference, and slogging through editors’ notes. If there’s anything more character-building than reading editors’ notes, may I never experience it. This is really good for me! It’s also a little agonizing.  Revisions on the first volume of The Cendrillon Cycle are due at the end of the month, so any spare time stolen from an insanely busy day-job is being used for those.

Next Wednesday I’m off to Tennessee for a blissful week and a half for the Feast of Tabernacles, which will be wonderful!

Work on the first volume of The Cendrillon Cycle continues, though in a somewhat less hectic fashion now that the deadline for my rough draft has been extended to the end of the month.  Pshaw, Stephanie’s brain says, we have plenty of time!  We should procrastinate and clean out the closet.  Oh well, at least Goodwill is benefiting from this dawdling.  When I’m not writing, I’m usually doing work for editing clients, so productivity continues, albeit not in the avenues it probably should be ambling.

I’ve not been solely working, though.  There’ve been a good many meals with friends, including lunch at Neomonde‘s, and a gathering of the Literary League in which we read summer-themed poems and stories to our hearts’ delight.  I made my first foray into Hero Quest, which I think places me upon a new level of nerdery, and I attended a wedding and a baby shower, with another baby shower and another wedding on the horizon.  Everyone’s getting married or pregnant lately.  

Books: I finally finished up Absalom, Absalom after a short forever.  Despite my exceedingly leisurely reading pace, in the end I have to confess that I actually really enjoyed the book.  Faulkner did a masterful job of revealing information gradually, and each new revelation was an eye-widening, this-changes-everything realization, conveyed in a matter of fact tone that makes the reader question whether she interpreted the earth-shattering sentence correctly.  Every time I thought I understood what was happening, there turned out to be another layer of the story yet to discover.  Well done.  Word of warning, though: my edition had a timeline at the end of the book that gave away everything in the dullest and most prosaic way possible.  I glanced at the last page of the text to see how many pages I had left to go and accidentally saw a spoiler I wish I hadn’t encountered at that stage.  Don’t look at the end!

I wanted something light after Faulkner, so I read The Proving Trail by Louis L’Amour.  It’s the usual L’Amour fare, but I really do enjoy his yarns in moderation.  Nothing terribly innovative or original about them most of the time, but they’re good fun.  The main character in this tale has a rough time, and I’m afraid I didn’t help at all: I accidentally sent him through the washing machine.  I set the book on my bed, and then later I decided to do laundry.  I wadded up the comforter and threw it in the hamper, paperback and all.  I don’t know where my head was that day; when I opened the washer, not only was a soaked and bedraggled copy of The Proving Trail staring back at me reproachfully, I’d also forgotten to empty the pockets of my jeans.  Hey there, suddenly clean pocketknife.  

I picked up a copy of Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott for free somewhere along the line in the past year, and since it’s been ages since I read any Alcott, I thought I’d give it a whirl.  I remember now why I both like and am annoyed by Alcott.  Her stories are cute and whimsical and her characters get into fun adventures, which is all very enjoyable and reminds me somewhat of L.M. Montgomery.  But her girls are entirely too sweet and timid to be believable.  The heroine of this one is rotting my teeth, and I can almost guarantee no thirteen-year-old was ever this much of a shrinking violet, regardless of time period.  As long as I don’t think about the character stereotypes too hard, though, the novel is a pleasant experience.

I’m hard at work on the first volume of The Cendrillon Cycle, and by hard at work I mean procrastinating like mad.  I enjoy writing, but anyone who says it isn’t like pulling teeth is either lying or much, much luckier than I am at this whole thing.  Unless I’m typing furiously in an immanent deadline-induced hysteria, the darn thing just doesn’t get written.

Adventure update: When last your heroine got off her lazy bum and posted about anything other than promotional stuff, she had not yet (I don’t think) been on a secret mission to Ethiopia (Ashee Ethiopian Cuisine).

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Agents after a delightful dinner.

Nor had I gone to see the NC Symphony play the live score to Fantasia, which was…wait for it…fantastic!  You guessed it.  Delightful puddle-jumping in a proper NC downpour followed.  Some may question the hygiene and wisdom of puddle-jumping barefoot on the streets of downtown Raleigh, but I, fortunately, am not one of those responsible people.  A get-together with an old professor, excursions to Bond Park and strawberry picking, driving a golf cart for the first time, doing the Tir Na Nog run twice (and surviving!), going to a play at State, travelling to South Carolina and Illinois with my boyfriend to get together with his family members, seeing The Princess Bride at Booth Amphitheater, contra dancing twice, and hopping over to Carolina Beach and Fort Fisher for a day are a few other highlights.

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Agents off-duty

Over the 4th of July weekend, I went to the Garner fireworks and got completely soaked while listening to the NC Symphony and watching explosions in the sky.  Totally worth it.  I also finally saw Captain America 2 on July 4th itself, which was very fitting.  This week I went on another secret mission to Australia (also known as Outback Steakhouse) in which my fellow agent and I saved Canberra from destruction, in spite of my poor Morse code skills.  We also helped Sam paint her new house (!!) and move into it, and we participated in the annual Cow Appreciation Day with Sarah and James.

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Bovine couple

You may be seeing a common theme in these photos.  That theme may or may not be the reason I’ve been remarkably absent from the blog world these past few months.   I’d say I’m sorry, but it’d be a lie.

Danielle came to visit for over a week, and we went on a frankly ridiculous number of adventures, including blueberry picking, exploring the Langdon farm, hiking at Umstead Park (and falling in the stream, if you’re me), going to the planetarium, checking out a comic book store and a regular book store, visiting Ornamentea, and eating EVERYWHERE, including Neomonde, Tangerine Cafe, Kimbap, Mediterranean Deli, The Piebird, Escazu, and (somewhat less eclectically) Olive Garden.

Books: I’ve been remarkably deficient in my reading lately (maybe for the same reason that I’ve been deficient in blogging), so I don’t have too much of an update.  I did read a collection of comics, The Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told, which were astonishingly mediocre for a “best of” collection.  One or two stories were good, most were so-so, and the rest were just abysmal.  I’ve been told it’s not a good sampling of the truly good Superman tales out there, which is reassuring.  I’m not much of a comic fan under the best of circumstances, but I was about to give up altogether halfway through this one.

I’ve been reading Absalom, Absalom by Faulkner for approximately an eternity.  The book is good, one of the best works of his that I’ve read so far, but I’ve just been too busy to make much headway.  This reminds me much more of The Unvanquished (one of my favorite Faulkner books) and less of The Sound and the Fury or Go Down, Moses (both of which I disliked, partly due to their seemingly intentional obfuscation).  Rampant overuse of the word “repudiate” aside (seriously—it’s Faulkner’s favorite word), I can see the value to this one, and the story line, while still a little confusing, is fairly coherent and easy to follow by comparison.

My story A Cinder’s Tale is published in Five Glass Slippers and will be launching on June 14th. You can preorder your copy on Amazon today!

I’m extremely pleased to announce that if you enjoy the world of A Cinder’s Tale, you’ll have the chance to explore that universe further in The Cendrillon Cycle, a series of novellas recounting the past and future adventures of Elsa, Karl, Bruno, and the rest of the cinder crew.

The Cendrillon Cycle

Volume I makes worldfall on the first day of winter: December 21, 2014.  Feel free to add it to your Goodreads shelf today!

You seem to have stumbled upon a storytelling of ravens. Watch for falling collective nouns; you may find a wing of dragons or a charm of hummingbirds caught in your hair. Hardhats are recommended.

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Stephanie Ricker's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

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