Mostar

If you’ve been reading my blog lately, you know that my upcoming novella, The Pillar, is set in 15th century Bosnia. The story was inspired by a few days I spent in Bosnia & Herzegovina last year. I’ve already posted pictures from the country’s fascinating capital, Sarajevo. But The Pillar is set in a fictional town called Zidar, which is based loosely on the real town of Mostar.

The photo at the top of this entry tells you right away why Mostar is a popular tourist destination. Gorgeous, isn’t it?

It was raining the November day I visited, so my photos look like watercolor paintings. Mostar is just as beautiful close-up, with the cobbled streets and multicolored houses.

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The city has a long history. One of my favorite places to visit was this beautiful mosque–now a museum. It’s the same mosque you can see on the left side of the photo above. It was built in the 17th century. Here’s the interior:

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The courtyard outside the mosque is the direct inspiration for the courtyard in The Pillar where Faris the healer first meets Boro, a dying slave. In real life, there’s no pillar in Mostar–although there is one In a coastal town in Croatia. I’ll share that photo in a later post. You can see the fictional courtyard in Shobana Appavu’s gorgeous cover for The Pillar.

As in much of the rest of the country, some of Mostar’s history is tragic. During the war in the early 1990s, much of the city was under seige. Whereas in Sarajevo, it was mostly Bosnian Serb forces that beseiged the city, in Mostar it was mostly Bosnian Croat forces. Local Bosniaks (Muslims) had to flee or live under terrible conditions, and there was a lot of damage to the city. (I won’t even attempt here to explain the complexities of that war. I’m hardly an expert on the subject anyway. Suffice it to say that I’ve seen enough to understand that the human toll was chilling.)

Perhaps the most heartbreaking damage was the destruction of the Old Bridge (Stari Most), which was built in the 17th century. The town itself was named after the bridge: Mostar means bridgekeeper.

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Several years after the war, the bridge was rebuilt using stones from the same quarry as the original, and using the same techniques. It’s a centuries-old tradition for young men to dive into the river from the bridge. Nobody was diving on the chilly day I was there, though!

I took this photo from one end of the bridge. In my book, I describe an important office building. I imagined it looking much like the yellow building you see to the right of the tower.

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Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t very conducive that day to lingering by the bridge with some Bosnian coffee. But I did have a very nice meal:

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That’s local trout with blitva (sauteed Swiss chard) on the side. Mmm, I love blitva. And yes, my dear American readers, it is customary in Europe for fish to be served whole, eyes and all. For some reason, here in the US we don’t like our dinners looking back at us.

Aside from being proficient in English, the waiters at this restaurant also sailed instantly and effortlessly between three currencies, maintaining the proper exchange rates the whole time.

I really only had half a day in Mostar. I very much hope to return someday soon!

Please welcome Dani Myrick!

Hello, everyone! My name is Dani Myrick, and Kim has kindly loaned me her blog today to tell you about my debut novella, His Familiar Scars.

Since I’m a new, unknown author–all shiny-eyed and just happy to be here in that annoying fashion newbies have–let’s start with a few things about me, quick and dirty-like…

Occupation: full-time college student (returned last year at age 36)

Personality: anxiety-prone, obsessive-compulsive, chronically lost, socially awkward introvert with a severe overload of imagination

Obsessions: writing and anime

Hobbies: reading and drawing

I’ve written fiction for as long as I can remember–fantasy, sci-fi, steampunk, cyberpunk, even horror–mostly to bring some stability to the churning morass my brain becomes once characters take up residence, clamoring to be heard (yes, I’ve seen professionals; no, they didn’t prescribe medication–yet).

His Familiar Scars is my first romance, an experiment to push the limits of what was comfortable and “safe” for me to write. I couldn’t be happier with the results, and the fact that I’m able to share it with others is truly exciting! My writing passions include voicing unique characters, capturing the equal parts awkwardness and awesomeness of real relationships, and bringing together people who just, well, belong with one another (sometimes because no one else could handle them).

Now, onto the exciting stuff!

Description:

Ever since Ben’s childish dare caused Nazil to break his arm, the two have been inseparable best friends. Over the last three years, Ben has grown accustomed to Nazil’s outspoken personality and crazy schemes, but he is totally unprepared for the secret Nazil has been hiding–Nazil’s feelings for Ben go way past friendship. Spurred into action by a family move out of state, Nazil finally confesses. After the initial shock wears off, Ben finds that he returns Nazil’s affection. Now they must pull off Nazil’s wildest scheme yet in order to convince Nazil’s homophobic parents that he should stay behind with Ben when the rest of them move away.

HisFamiliarScars_PaintedSample

His Familiar Scars is available at the Dreamspinner Press website here http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5268

While I leave cover art to the professionals, that doesn’t stop me from drawing my own characters to the best of my (limited) artistic abilities. So, to conclude today’s post, here is some of my own artwork showing Ben and Nazil!

Ben-for-Kim-Fielding-blog Nazil-for-Kim-Fielding-blog

Also, if you’re interested in my online presence, you can find me at http://danimyrick.wordpress.com/ and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/danimyrickauthor

 

GRL Swag Poll

I’m excited that I’ll be attending GayRomLit this year as a supporting author! I went in 2012 and had a blast, but had to miss it last year because I was in Europe (I know–boo hoo). Now I’m trying to make a decision about swag, and I’d love your input.

I will definitely have two free stories to give away! One of them is a sequel to Guarded. But I wanted to give out something else too. I’ll have two releases in October and I thought it would be fun to theme my swag with one or both of those.

Bone Dry will be coming out that month. It’s the 3rd book in the Bones series. I will also have a vodou-themed novella called “The Dance.” It’ll be one of the stories in the second Gothika anthology, which is called Bones. So bones-themed swag makes sense to me.

But also, Bone Dry includes a pair of ducks and a dream unicorn named Skuld as minor characters. So maybe that would be fun.

Please vote your choice below. Feel free to spread the word so your friends can vote too. Oh, and comments are very welcome! Thank you!

 

online poll by Opinion Stage

Please welcome Bru Baker!

Finding Home blog tour banner

Thanks for hosting me, Kim! I’m wrapping up my blog tour for Finding Home, which was released in June. I feel like the blog tour—and the summer—has just flown by, which I suppose is to be expected when you’re having fun, right?

Finding Home is the second book in the Dropping Anchor series. The book’s main character is Ian Mackay, who was a briefly mentioned secondary character in the first book, Island House. It was an interesting challenge to take him from the unapologetically selfish playboy we met in Island House and make him into the kind of character readers would want to see get his happily ever after, but there was always more to Ian than met the eye.

He helps Niall through an emotional journey in the first book, and the second book shows Ian’s own trek from one night stands to a serious, monogamous relationship. I had so much fun writing Ian, since even though he’s a good guy at heart, he’s still a jackass. I love multifaceted characters, and Ian sparkles like the shiniest gem out there. *g*

He also makes quite a few appearances in book three, which was just contracted this month. (Yay!) That book, tentatively titled Playing House right now, is a little different from the other two in the series. While books one and two showed the main characters meeting someone and falling in love, book three picks up with a couple who has already been together for a decade and a half. Their struggle isn’t their relationship, which is solid, but the question of whether or not to expand their family and adopt a child. Like all books in the Dropping Anchor series, though, at its heart it’s the story of the main character growing into himself and discovering who he really is. In this case, that’s Frank coming to terms with issues that have defined him for all of his life and figuring out how to manage those and move forward in a way that will keep his relationship with Warner healthy, whether or not they actually decide to bring a child into their family.

That third (and final) book in the series will be out in late 2014. The series is about personal growth and accepting who you are, and it’s managed to play that part in my writing career as well. I’ve spent the last two years with these books, and they’ve helped me grow and develop as a writer. I’m going to be sorry to see them end!

 

FindingHome

Blurb:

When an inheritance fell in Ian Mackay’s lap, he fled the high-pressure banking industry and didn’t look back. Since then, he’s spent four years living carefree on the island of Tortola, his life a series of hookups and hanging out with friends.

After his best friend moves to Seattle and gets married, Ian finds himself lost. His unapologetic existence doesn’t hold the same appeal, and he wonders if he’s throwing his life away. After visiting Niall in Seattle, Ian decides to stay, but that means taking his life off hold and finding a real job. Meeting Luke Keys, who is about as far from a player as possible, isn’t the plan but might be just what Ian needs. Luke and his values intrigue Ian, and he pursues Luke ruthlessly until Luke agrees to a date.

 

Their courtship sweeps Ian off his feet, and when the relationship gets complicated, Ian has the chance to cut and run. Habits born from years of being on his own are hard to shake, and self-proclaimed playboy Ian must decide if love is worth fighting for.

 

Finding Home is available through Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, AllRomance, and other book retailers.

 

 

Bru Baker is a freelance journalist who writes for newspapers and magazines. Fiction makes her happiest, whether it’s creating her own characters or getting caught up in someone else’s. She and her husband live in the Midwest with their two young children, whose antics make finding time to write difficult but never let life get boring.

Visit Bru online at www.bru-baker.com or follow her on Twitter.

 

Sarajevo

My upcoming novella, The Pillar, takes place in 15th century Bosnia. It was inspired by a few days I spent there last year.

Today I’d like to share some photos from the capital of Bosnia & Herzegovina, Sarajevo. Click on any photo to see it larger.

It’s a lovely city.

013People hike in the surrounding mountains and ski in the winter. The 1984 Winter Olympics were held here. Unfortunately, the city’s location in a valley made it fairly easy to besiege, and during the war the city was under siege for nearly four years. You can see one of the consequences of that in this photo: all those graves, which are of people killed between 1992 and 1996. My guide told me that prior to the war, kids used to sled down that hill.

There’s a lot of history to be seen in Sarajevo, such as much more ancient graves. These predate the the Ottoman Empire:

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There’s the gorgeous old town (Baščaršija), which dates to the 15th century–the same time period as The Pillar. It includes this old covered market.

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There’s a fascinating mix of history and culture. Here’s a beautiful 16th century mosque and also the sephardic synagogue, which was originally built around the same time. Within a couple blocks of these buildings, you can also find Catholic and Orthodox churches.

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Sarajevo is full of quirky sites too. Here you can see a restaurant I spotted, as well as a game of giant chess (people bet on them!), and a “memorial” to the canned food given by humanitarian agencies during the war (it was awful stuff).

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Other reminders of the war are everywhere, like on this building.

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This house is now the War Tunnel Museum. During the seige, the people of Sarajevo hand-dug a tunnel (about a kilometer long) so they could get access to food and supplies, and so they could get people safely out.

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There are also memories in Sarajevo of older wars:

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The food in Sarajevo is wonderful. Bosnian coffee (much like Turkish coffee) everywhere, of course. Here are a few local goodies: squid ink risotto, burek (phylo dough filled with meat or cheese), and baklava.

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Oh, how I do love burek! You’re supposed to eat ćevapi when you’re there–grilled meat–but I skipped it because I don’t eat mammals. Everyone says it’s delicious, though. It might be served with ajvar on the side–a delicious relish made from roasted red peppers.

I found folks in Sarajevo friendly and exceedingly patient with my rudimentary knowlege of the language. Thanks to my time in Croatia, I can manage a few useful phrases, but most people spoke excellent English anyway.

The only downside to Sarajevo was the cigarette smoke. Bosnians smoke a lot, even by European standards. But it’s a small price to pay in order to visit such an amazing place.

If you get a chance to visit Sarajevo, GO!

Chasing Sunrise by Lex Chase

Chasing Sunrise
(The Darkmore Saga, Bk 1)
by Lex Chase
 
Blurb:
On the Coastal Bend of Texas, a hidden kingdom called Darkmore lies in ruins, and King Sevon Maraté is trapped. Using Sevon as a mouthpiece and a scapegoat, Lord Dominic rules from the shadows. Sevon copes with the unrelenting abuse by dressing in women’s finery and casting an image of graceful nobility. Born of royal verkolai blood and as beautiful as he is lethal, he possesses the ability to part the Veil separating his world from hundreds of others. His gift is his chance to escape, but Dominic refuses to relinquish his tool for power. Dominic forges an ambitious plan to invade the prosperous land of Priagust. Only a select few know the mythic kingdom of shifters exists. Sevon is out of options for his people’s survival, and cooperating with Dominic is his only chance.

On their foray into Priagust, Dominic’s men kidnap and interrogate a shifter named Jack. Even under torture, Jack’s loyalty to his kind never wavers. But as Jack’s knowledge about Darkmore’s king and its history unsettles Sevon, a curious bond begins to form. Despite Sevon’s mistrust, Jack is determined to tame Sevon’s wild heart and perhaps earn his freedom. As invasion looms, Sevon wonders if trusting Jack will lead him into another trap or if he should forget about chasing the sunrise and remain Dominic’s compliant prisoner.

Available for purchase at

 

Excerpt
Jack shuddered against the cold bite of his
shackles. The iron cuffs held him upright, and his arms were stretched tight
over his head. Gravity pulled him sloping forward painfully against his bonds.
His umber hair swayed in sweat-slicked strands and clung to his face. The
humidity hung like milky fog visible against the gray stones. He could smell
the herbal traces of algae glazing the walls. No moans, no cries for release,
not even a rattled chain sounded throughout the dungeon. He deduced he was the
only prisoner—or the only one currently living.
It had happened so fast. He was at the shoreline of the lake when
two figures shot from the water. Shrouded in black, the demonic men yanked him
into the lake. Jack had expected his end. But he didn’t expect a dungeon, and
not just any, but Darkmore’s dungeon. He knew it as well as any ghost story. He
had teased Sevon mercilessly for crossing his fingers and turning in a circle
three times as he walked by the entrance.
Jack’s heart softened. Sevon, sweet Sevon. It had been exciting
for Jack when he was a cub to have a special friend outside of Priagust. One
who was not a shifter at all, but something different. He was Jack’s treasure,
and he would guard their memory.
But the men had taken him and tossed him in this dank cell. It had
to be a mistake. Darkmore was Priagust’s sworn protector. King Louis would
never wrongfully imprison a shifter. Jack spit a speck of grit. Was Louis
alive? Did he survive the storm? What of Anna Maria? Surely she’d know.
But Jack wasn’t sure. He had been just a child when he saw Louis
die, and all childhood memories were fallible. He could only hope it was a
misunderstanding. He squinted with the painful pull in his shoulders, and the
realization sank in. This was far more than a mere misunderstanding.
Jack’s pupils flexed into pinpricks when the sound of distant
footsteps announced someone’s approach. He jerked his chin toward the sound to
get the first look at his host.
An ethereal, earthbound spirit drifted into the dungeon. Pale as
Winter Mother’s snow and with a brilliant bloom of golden curls to rival Father
Sun’s rays, the woman captivated him. Dressed in layers of the midnight sky and
coal, her skirts swirled in a trail of goldfish fins behind her. The unusual
ladybird settled at the cell door, tossing a lock of spun gold over her
shoulder. She waited.
“What do they call you?” she coldly demanded.
A peculiar tenor tone in her voice made Jack choke on his breath. A man. The strange, colorful bird was a man.
By the way he glared at Jack as if he were of no consequence, Jack
decided that whatever the case, he had to be on guard. Jack sniffed and
mentally discerned a more masculine scent under the perfumed oils. But there
were two masculine scents, this beautiful man’s and someone else’s. He licked
the salt on his lip and smirked. He had nothing left to lose.
Jack lifted his head, and he panted against the searing pain in
his back. He focused on the curious little meadowlark shrouded in flimsy
frippery. He had never seen such an unusual hue of hair before, but he knew one
thing for certain.
“You’re not the king,” Jack said.
Something came over the strange man as he quirked his thin brow in
irritation. “Yes, I am the king,” he
growled in warning. “Your name, creature.”
Jack evaded the question and changed the subject. “The king of
Darkmore would never show a shifter such hostility,” he spat. “Go, little
meadowlark. Fetch him, now. You are of no concern.”
The supposed king recoiled on his booted heel as if he had been burned.
“Excuse me, you maggot?” he growled and his temper flared.
Jack squinted at him. He looked so much like Anna Maria, as Jack
remembered her. Perhaps her son? Perhaps Sevon? Jack swallowed. He had to keep
it to himself. He had to find out what he was dealing with first, if he
survived that long. He thought of his brother, Kaltag, back in Priagust,
probably wondering where he was and if Jack was still staring over the lake,
waiting for the day Sevon would appear.
Jack’s heart thumped.
“Louis is gone. I am the king now, and you will answer to me. My
sources tell me you’re a spy from the shifter land of Priagust,” he said. The
accusation did not bode well for Jack.
Jack took his stand against his captor. He strained against his
shackles and grinned through the searing pain in his shoulder blades. “Your
sources are clearly mistaken. I was only fishing when your men emerged from the
lake and tried to drown me. Which—” He glanced around, and his shackles
rattled. “This is some level of hell, correct?” Jack watched him, still
puzzling his way through recollections. It wasn’t possible he was Sevon. Why
would Sevon become this? He hissed a laugh and kept up a brave face. Jack
turned his gaze up. He smirked when the king leaned away from the hammered iron
bars of Jack’s cell in disgusted horror. “You are a very fussy bird. You’re no
more than a chick, peeping for nourishment.”
“You will answer my questions, shifter…. Or you will be forced to
answer them.”
“What kind of king do you think you are?” Jack asked. “Do you
understand the scope of what you are doing by holding me like a criminal?”
“Pardon me for not rolling out the red carpet and most lovely
courtesans,” he said sarcastically.
“A little bird that pecks. I like that.” Jack chuckled.
Crossing his willowy arms in irritation, the king nodded to the
stocky dungeon guard.
The guard loped forward on his gnarled legs and slipped the heavy
key in the iron padlock. With a protesting shrill, the bolt popped from its
moorings with a loud echoing clank.
The cell door swung open with an antiquated creak, and colorful bird of a man
slipped into the cell.
Jack’s heart thumped, and his face heated. It was Sevon. His Sevon. He had never been so sure. In
the twenty-two years between then and now, the boy Jack had so longed for no
longer existed. Confusion swirled through him, but Jack had to keep it within.
More parts of the puzzle would fall into place if he just gave it time.
His heart wouldn’t stop racing; all the while he maintained his
arrogant grin.
“I’d curtsey, but as you can see, I’m a little tied up,” Jack
apologized.
This new Sevon cocked his hip in irritation and snorted. “For a
vicious animal, you don’t look like much.”
The term hit Jack hard, but he wouldn’t cower.
“Funny.” Jack chuckled. “For a king, you present yourself quite a
bit like a whore.”
Before he could blink, Sevon was upon him. He yanked Jack by the
scruff of his hair, tilting his neck painfully backward on its stalk to meet
him eye to eye. Jack’s eyes rolled wildly to focus on the glacier blue of
Sevon’s. His scent stabbed into Jack’s nose, jabbing cruelly into his brain.
The delicate floral became an unrelenting assault on his mind and body. The
damning confirmation sank into Jack’s stomach. It was a matter of survival not
to show fascination or fear.
“Listen to me, you worthless shit-eating maggot!” Sevon snarled in
his face. “You don’t get to call me a whore! Do you understand? I will leave
you here to rot in this dank cell until even the rats find you too foul and
putrescent. You will be thankful we don’t outright kill you. You will be appreciative of your accommodations.”
Sevon relaxed his grip and his harsh tone eased. “You will be
eager to answer our questions. You will
make yourself very helpful. Or I will have you skinned alive and your flesh
made into jerky.” Sevon snorted a breath through his nose, and Jack’s hair
fluttered. The beautiful blond man smiled like a content feline. “Now, do we
have an understanding?”
Channeling the bravest parts of himself, and locking away the heartbreak,
Jack laughed with a crooked, toothy grin. If this was the game, then he would
play it until he was the last one standing. Finally, he had sorted the second
male scent, and his thoughts sparked with devious delight. “Did I ruffle your
feathers, meadowlark? Does the man
whose scent you’re slathered in get to ruffle more than your feathers?”
Sevon shoved him away with a wail of disgust. Jack’s head bounced
against his chest, and his manacles creaked at the added pressure. Sevon’s
offended squeal was the only warning as a hard, echoing slap cracked across
Jack’s cheek so forcefully that his vision blew out into whiteness for a
moment.
With several flustered breaths, Sevon sharply pivoted and then
stormed out of the cell. He nodded to the stocky guard. “Have him questioned
about the nature of his people and land. I don’t care how you do it, or to what
ends. Use any means necessary to milk him dry.”
The guard bobbed his head and bowed.
Turning back, Sevon regarded Jack one final time.
Jack noted the confusion mingled with a semblance of fascination.
He forced a smile through his blood-tinged teeth. “See you soon, Your Majesty,”
he purred.
Jack clung to a scrap of hope, and listened to the whispers of
Sevon’s skirts as he left Jack in the darkness.
The rats chittered.

About the Author


Lex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, “We’re all going to die, I’m just trying to make it a little more interesting.” She knew then she wanted to make the world a little more interesting too.
Weaving tales of cinematic, sweeping adventure and epic love—and depending on how she feels that day—Lex sprinkles in high-speed chases, shower scenes, and more explosions than a Hollywood blockbuster. She loves tales of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. She believes if you’re going to going to march into the depths of hell, it better be beside the one you love. 


Lex is a pop culture diva and her DVR is constantly backlogged. She wouldn’t last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind. She is incredibly sentimental, to the point that she gets choked up at holiday commercials. But like the lovers driven to extreme measures to get home for the holidays, Lex believes everyone deserves a happy ending.
Lex also has a knack for sarcasm, never takes herself seriously, and has been nicknamed “The Next Alan Moore” by her friends for all the pain and suffering she inflicts on her characters. She is a Damned Yankee hailing from the frozen backwoods of Maine now residing in the burbs of Northwest Florida, where it could be 80F and she’d still be a popsicle. 


She is grateful for and humbled by all the readers. She knows very well she wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them and welcomes feedback.
You can find Lex at

               


Giveaway

Signed Paperback of Chasing Sunrise


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Presented By
 

Signs

For a variety of reasons, I do most of my writing on my laptop at the kitchen table. The problem with this–especially during summer–is that I’m fair game for interruptions. My offspring and husband pepper me with constant questions, demands, and comments, most of which could probably wait. Real recent examples:

14-year-old: What’s that word that you pronounce differently than us because you’re from Illinois and we’re from California? Oh, and we need cupcake frosting because we have two things of cake mix and only one thing of frosting.

11-year-old: It’s not fair that Pluto doesn’t get to be a planet anymore.

Husband: What time are the kids’ dentist appointments next week? Oh, and [younger kid] left her dirty clothes in the living room again.

I’ve been complaining about this a tiny bit lately.

So today my 11-year-old devised a solution for me:

signs

Isn’t that creative? She even gave me a stand to display the appropriate flag:

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Now honestly, the chances of any of them actually respecting the busy sign and leaving me alone are damn slim, but I feel the kid’s earned points for effort.

 

[PS–The word is caught/cot. My husband and kids pronounce those words identically. I don’t. For some reason this amuses them.]

Why Bosnia?

My upcoming novella, The Pillar, is set in 15th century Bosnia (and now available for preorder!). I was inspired to write the story when I spent a few days in Bosnia & Herzegovina last November. Why Bosnia?

Well, the country is certainly beautiful enough and interesting enough to visit in any case. And the people are wonderful. Seriously–if you get a chance, go.

But I also have two sort of oblique ties to the country. One is my abiding affection for Bosnia’s neighbor, Croatia. I’ve been fortunate enough to live in Zagreb twice and visit another couple of times. Bosnia shares a language with Croatia (more or less), and the nations’ histories have been closely entwined. Culturally, they have much in common, although there are some interesting differences too. For instance, Bosnia was part of the Ottoman Empire for centuries (including during the time period in which The Pillar takes place), and roughly half of Bosnians are Muslim. Croatians, however, are mostly Catholic, and that country seems to have had a greater influence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Italians.

My other loose tie with Bosnia has to do with family legend. My grandfather was from Trieste, Italy, which is at the modern Slovenian and Croatian borders. His father, the story goes, was a member of the Archduke’s royal guard. Which Archduke, you ask? Well, this guy.

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I like to think that on that day 100 years ago, my great-grandfather was not on duty. Maybe he was on vacation. I have no idea if he was even in Sarajevo for the visit, although this was the time period when he was a guard.

Franz Ferdinand had been warned that some people in Sarajevo were unhappy with him, but he went anyway. There wasn’t much security. Someone threw a bomb at his motorcade, injuring several people but not the Archduke. Franz continued on to the City Hall, where he gave a speech.

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Beautiful building, isn’t it? It was nearly destroyed in the (recent) war, but was reopened in May of this year.

After the speech, Franz decided to visit the people who’d been wounded earlier. Under still light security, his driver took a wrong turn near the Latin Bridge.

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That guy in the photo has his back to the bridge. Franz’s car was facing the camera. And Gavrilo Princip was waiting there with a gun. He shot and killed the Archduke and the Archduke’s wife. And although the political situation was actually very complicated, this assassination is credited as being a major factor in the start of World War I.

Princip, incidentally, was only 19. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison but died less than 4 years later from tuberculosis.

I don’t know what happened to my great-grandfather. He’s a mysterious figure. I do know he never made it to the US. On the other hand, my grandfather, his mother, and his sisters came to New York not too long after WWI ended. My grandfather was still a boy.

When I stood on that street in Sarajevo last year, I couldn’t help but wonder if my relative had stood there too, almost exactly 100 years earlier. It was a weird feeling.

So, that’s why Bosnia. Over the next weeks I’ll post more photos of this fascinating place.

 

History shmistory?

They say that historical romances don’t sell well. Contemporaries sell well. Paranormals with shifters. Even fantasies. But historicals? they say. Meh.

I don’t understand why. I love history. Truly love it. And isn’t it even more fun to imagine the way human relationships–including same-sex relationships–might have played out in different times and different places? Well, I think so.

Plus, writing historicals means the added bonus of having to do all sorts of juicy research. Like for my newest novella, The Pillar, which is available now for preorder (it releases August 13). It’s set in 15th century Bosnia.thepillar_final01 (1)

Some of the research I did was first-hand: I visited Bosnia. In the coming weeks I’ll post some pics from that trip (or you can look through my blog archives in November 2013). I spent a few days in Sarajevo and Mostar. It’s a beautiful country with friendly people, a touch of exoticism, and an amazing–sometimes tragic–history.

That trip inspired The Pillar, but once I began writing I still had plenty of research to do. Some of it was just a wee bit challenging, like finding out the approximate cost of a healthy male slave in Bosnia in the 15th century. Some research was easier, however, such as when I needed to know about the clothing people wore back then.

I’m hoping the unusual setting of this novella will intrigue readers. And I also hope that once people begin to read, they’ll remember that people are people and love is love, whenever and wherever we are.

 

Brute on audio!

This is a small rant and then a new release pimpage.

My life is too sedentary. Both writing and my day job–university professor–involve a whole lot of sitting in front of computers. Plus I’m inherently sorta lazy. I took bowling for PE when I was in college.

But the one type of exercise I genuinely enjoy is walking. When I travel, I pound the pavement as much as possible. The two times I’ve lived in Croatia, I loved not having a car.  I walked for miles nearly every day, not just because I had to in order to get places, but because I wanted to. Zagreb is a fantastic place for strolling.

Here at home, though, it’s hot. And booooooring. I live among subdivisions of beige stucco houses. Block after block after block of this:

Yawn. The big excitement on my neighborhood walks is when I see a lizard, or when I get to read informative signs like this one:
I guess if I really wanted some variety I could cross the canal and walk past cows, almond orchards, and cornfields instead, but I doubt that would be much more interesting.
So I’ve taken to listening to audiobooks during my walks. I recently finished hearing my first novel, Stasis, which was a lot of fun. It really makes walking enjoyable. I’ve sometimes even gone around the block again because the story’s at an exciting point.
And I am thrilled to announce that today Brute became available on audio too! You can buy it here. The narrator is K.C. Kelly, who did a fantastic job. I am so looking forward to my walks now! Who cares if all I see is beige stucco? I’ve got Brute!
http://www.amazon.com/Brute/dp/B00LNFNJN6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1404936719&sr=8-2&keywords=brute+kim+fielding