At first, he wasn’t sure what kind of animal it might be, but Tupper liked watching as Freydolf added reticulated lines until the tiny animal looked shaggy and real. Then, he switched his attention to the creatures head, teasing away unneeded flakes of stone until a muzzle poked out, sloping up to a broad brow adorned with a pair of curving horns.
As Freydolf used a shiv to give them texture, Tupper glanced warily at the sculptor’s face; his people were sometimes picked on for their passing resemblance to herd beasts. To his relief, the Pred’s expression was one of serene concentration; his half-smile bore no hint of malice or mockery, so the boy relaxed.
Finally, Freydolf asked, “What do you think, lambkin?”
“Aye,” he said, offering him the finished sculpture. Its head tilted at a proud angle, and there were curls on its chest and fetlocks. “He’s a noble little thing.”
—Galleries of Stone, Book 1: Meadowsweet
Curling Horns. While Tupper is adjusting to life in the Statuary, his new master decides that the best way to explain his magic is to … well, to show off a bit. Freydolf crafts a small ram from white stone (a.k.a. alabaster or starstone). Once night falls and the stars are shining, everything is ready to wake the small guardian.
Eventually, the sculpture laid aside his tools and turned the mark toward the window to inspect his workmanship. “Aye. This will take. Which brings us to a name. Can you choose one?”
“For him?” Tupper pointed uncertainly at the statue.
“Aye, for him.”
After some fidgeting, the boy said, “No.”
“How about Olexi?”
“Is that a good name?”
Freydolf admitted, “It’s a common choice for first guardians because it means defender. Where I come from, they’re a traditional gift, so most children have one.”
“Olexi,” Tupper echoed, giving the name a try. “Olexi is good.”
Indie Imprint. Lots of details go into self-publishing a book. With my traditionally published titles, my involvement was mostly limited to writing and editing. But indie authors manage their whole project. My favorite publishing detail was choosing my imprint. If you look at the nearest shelf of books, you’ll see a logo at the base of the spine. That’s the publisher imprint. As a self-publisher, I needed to fill in that blank. Enter Olexi. He was already on the cover of Meadowsweet, and he’s also featured on the personal seal I use in the Byways Books.
That’s why you’ll find a little starstone guardian on every print book in the Galleries of Stone trilogy. Olexi became my imprint.
A Ram of My Own. While my girls and I were out-and-about, doing some Christmas shopping, we stumbled across this little guy and bought him to celebrate the establishment of the Olexi imprint.
All three books in the Galleries of Stone trilogy are now available in print! If you’re interested in acquiring author-signed (and stamped) copies and you have a PayPal account, we can definitely work something out. Email me!