ART: Ulrica Rakefang

Deuce is a prequel to Galleries of Stone. It tells the story of how a dockside boy & a hilltop girl managed to meet, despite all the reasons they never should have.

“Ulrica Unpierced” | art by FoxOfTwilight

The ongoing serial is a Patreon exclusive. If you’re willing and able to support me there, a basic subscription (any of the $5/month tiers) will give you access to story updates.

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Deuce

Deuce, a Galleries of Stone prequel, has updated for my patrons. Ch2: “Advantage, Disadvantage,” is now available. Those at the Journeyman & Keeper tiers, who get to read ahead, now have access to Ch8: “Food, Shelter.” Do you want to read along? You can become one of my patrons here >>

The story updates twice a month. Patrons can also look forward to story news about all of CJ’s books, first looks at new art, and art cards in the mail. Thank you for supporting my stories wherever they can be found. ~CJ

Deuce

Unlocked! In celebration of the audio release of Harrow, the first chapter of Deuce has unlocked for all of my patrons. This is a Galleries of Stone prequel that spins out the convoluted (and often comedic) tale of how Aurelius and Ulrica met. Because they never should have. He’s so dockside. She’s so uphill. And yet …!

In addition to exclusive story updates, patrons will enjoy story art, regular mailings, and (coming in October) narrated chapters, courtesy of Travis Baldree. Do take a look!

“Aurelius Unpierced” | art by FoxOfTwilight

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Teaser:

CHAPTER 1
Pit, Fall

Summer leaves brushed bronze skin as Aurelius’s scuffed boots left the ground. Lean arms flexed. Claws bit bark. Curling in on himself, he swung onto an overhanging bough. After an entire winter’s voyage spent clambering through the rigging on his uncle’s ship, a tree was nothing.

He made it to the fourth limb without disturbing so much as a sparkfly. Gratifying, but not as satisfying as an audience. Not that his regular hunting partners were given to gushing. Quite the opposite. No matter how dazzling his performance, Aurelius’s only reward was a grudging lack of criticism. Impatient uncles. Bitter cousins. Backstabbing brothers. But their silence was easily as fine as the jeweled droplets he’d wear as soon as this rite was passed and he was pierced.

Aurelius had turned thirteen at the midwinter festival, half a lifetime ago. Father refused to put off a voyage to Far Continent for the sake of his youngest son’s pride. How Aurelius’s dignity had suffered in the interim! Making him wait until the summer hunt was pure meanness. But Aurelius would show them all. None of his brothers had done better than a brace of rabbits during their hunts.

Respectable, but entirely too typical. I can do better, so I will.

In order to fetch better prey, Aurelius was bending the rules by hunting out of bounds. Like Aunt Lissie says, the best acquisitions are rarely found on beaten paths.

… for the rest of this chapter (and to subscribe to twice-monthly installments of Deuce), become a patron. There are perks at every tier. CJMilbrandt on Patreon >>

RELEASE DAY

July 5, 2022. The second book in the Galleries of Stone trilogy is now available as an audio book, narrated by Travis Baldree. You can now enjoy both Meadowsweet and Harrow. And yes, since you asked, Rakefang is scheduled for a recording session … and will release this fall.

If you enjoyed the story, I’m glad. “The trade is good. May our next be better still.” Special thanks to all those who take a little extra time to rate, review, and recommend this trilogy to others. ~CJ

#amreading Enchantment

A boy who’d in prison simply because he’s born there manages to escape. A girl who wants nothing more than to salvage her father’s reputation vows to hunt him down and bring him back. A Wish in the Dark was one of my favorite books of the year. Highly recommended. The Midwinter Witch is the third (and final) installment in the Witch Boy series of graphic novels. Aster’s excited to take part in a midwinter tournament as a witch. And The Cobalt Prince is the second installment in the planet-hopping sci-fi adventure in which Oona must light each world’s beacon in order to save all of them.

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