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Circles and Stones (update)

I am nine chapters into writing Circles and Stones, the third novel in my Sanyel series. My writing has slowed due to working on another project and to other circumstances that have commanded my time. However, I am making daily progress and would like to offer a small glimpse into what readers can expect in this third outing. As Sanyel and her friend Izzy, along with the fat priest Borsar, return to Grell to free Borsar’s obnoxious son, they encounter recurring, eerie events where people appear and vanish before their eyes. Some of these people, who seem alive and real to our travelers, are deceased, and others are still very much alive. What are they? Not ghosts, certainly. Here is a passage: Our two-week journey south to the desert proved uneventful. Each day we followed our course as Ra-ta, the sun, followed his own high path across his heavenly domain. Each night, as the sun bid farewell and darkness poured in to fill the Kodor bowl, we arranged our bedding and slept until the morning light again emptied the bowl of shadows. Near the end of the first leg of our trip, as we passed from negotiating a series of low hills onto an open plain, a procession of pale clouds overhead caught my attention. In an otherwise clear sky, the presence of any cloud was startling, but it was the spacing and positioning of these clouds I found unusual, with one trailing close upon the next, like a linked, puffed family of sky creatures moving leisurely across the empty blue expanse. With my attention distracted by the odd sight, I failed to notice the approaching riders. Izzy alerted me. In the early afternoon of this sweltering day, shimmering heat waves blended with the motion of two riders against the horizon, giving them an illusory consistency, as if images viewed through disturbed water. “It’s Oster,” Izzy determined, “and I don’t know who the other is.” Oster must have ridden from his current post at the entrance to our lands, the singular mountain fissure where the soaring peaks of the Kodor range briefly part to meet the dry, dead sands of the Desert of Bones. That rift is the entryway to our precious domain, and it is where we station watchmen to guard the mountain cleft and alert us to intruders. Oster would not have left his post unless on urgent tribal business. Oster steered his droove on a course directly for us, guiding the second droove by holding its reins in a free hand. Upon that second animal sat an older woman. As we patiently waited for Oster to make his way to us, the inexplicable happened. Oster and his companion vanished! I hope this first-draft excerpt from the new novel piqued your interest. I will share more in future posts.

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