So many stories, so little time.
Between medieval stories, scifi adventures, ancient Near Eastern fairy tales, and the time-consuming demands of Real Life, it’s hard to find time to write. I have trouble deciding which ancient Near Eastern story to work on... so I thought I would ask all of you! Which story would you most like to see? Leave a comment below!
The following list of stories all come from the Stormbird Cycle, a set of stories all set in a magical version of the ancient Near East. “Guardian of Our Beauty” in Five Magic Spindles was a part of this, as is “A Bride Price for Hinzuri,” in the May 2017 issue of Spark. All the images are ancient Near Eastern pictures of stormbirds, also known as anzu birds.
In Distant Days (short story) – When Imdugud’s sister is eaten by a sea-monster, his clan must stretch their wings and put out their claws in order to win a victory over the malicious children of the Sea.
Black Sand (working title; book) – The weaving-woman of Piyampetcha made a bargain with the Stormbird: he will help her to have children if she gives him her firstborn child. But instead of giving him her firstborn daughter, she gives him her secondborn son.
Growing up in the tiny fishing village, her daughter learns to speak to the wind, while her son, trained as a warrior in the magical Mirage, must strive to save the stormbirds from extinction.
(I am planning a sequel to Black Sand… but obviously Black Sand has to come first! Black Sand started in my head as a Rumpelstiltskin retelling, but it has gotten so thoroughly mixed up in my mind with the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Matter of Aratta that I’m not really sure what it is now.)
The Taste of Dust (working title; novella; 1900s BC) – After his elderly master manages to have a son, the disinherited Iliazri sets out to seek his fortune. On the caravan route from the City of the Rock through the mountains of Luwa, he finds a mysterious tower where a beautiful woman is held imprisoned. Or is she? (Rapunzel re-telling… sort of.)
The Turbaned Camel (working title; short story; early 2nd millennium BC) – The third son of a stonecutter inherits nothing from his father but an old and grumpy camel. The lad is not terribly bright… but the camel has plans. (Puss in Boots retelling)
[FYI: “Guardian of Our Beauty” goes here. It began around 1200 BC, and ended in the 1100s after Gubla spent its century asleep.]
The Last Garrison (working title; novella; 1000s BC) – When the last garrison of the Black Land Empire in Yeshurni territory is burned by the hillmen, the remnant of the garrison must find a new home and a new place in the world. The loyal oarmaster Weptak, his resourceful and unscrupulous quartermaster, a former pirate armsman and their wobbly-kneed apprentice scribe must save the princess (or not), make their fortunes (or not), and find a new cause to serve. (Tinder Box retelling, mixed with some Egyptian fairy tales)
The Wisdom of the Wise (working title; novella; 700s BC) – As a boy, the man now known as Sharruludari was carried away from his home when his nation was conquered by the King of the Wall, lord of the City of the Rock. Now he is an officer in the king’s intelligence service, in charge of analyzing information from the lands where he used to belong. When a girl and her father, who had been captured in the siege of the fortress city that defended Bat-tsion, are brought before him, he must decide whether to use the information that he gains from them… or remember the God and the loyalty of his youth. (Beauty and the Beast retelling. If you didn’t know that the Assyrians had a spy service, check out the articles of Peter Dubovsky!)