SHE'S THE ONE WHO THINKS TOO MUCH by S.R. Cronin is available now and that I get to share the news!
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It’s the 1200’s, and the small realm of Ilari has had peace and prosperity for generations. That doesn’t mean everyone is happy, however.
Ryalgar, a spinster farm girl and the oldest of seven, has always preferred her studies to flirtation, yet even she finally meets her prince. Or so she thinks, until she discovers he’s already betrothed. Embarrassed, she flees her family’s farm to join the Velka, the mysterious women of the forest known for their magical powers and for living apart from men.
As a Velka, she develops her telekinesis and learns she has a talent for analyzing information. Both are going to come in handy. For she’s continued to meet her prince at the forest’s edge, thinking being his mistress isn’t such a bad deal. Then she learns more about his princely assignment. He’s tasked with training the army of Ilari to repel the feared Mongol horseman who’ve been moving eastward for years, killing all in their path. And, her prince is willing to sacrifice the outer farmlands where she grew up to these invaders, if he has to.
Ryalgar isn’t about to let that happen.
She’s got the Velka behind her now, as well as a multitude of university intellectuals, a family of tough farmers, and six sisters each with her own unique personality and talents.
Can Ryalgar organize all that into a resistance that will stop the Mongols? She thinks she can.
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I was sad the morning we had to leave, but knew it was time to go. We’d gone through all our provisions, and the cold, clear day would make for easy travel.
“Each back to our chores,” he said as he finished the last of the hard bread and cheese for breakfast.
“What chores does a prince have?” I regretted it as soon as I said it. Of course he did something other than play all day.
“Surely you’re not that naïve.”
“I’m not. But, you are a second son. What specific responsibilities are given to you?” I was trying to cover up my stupid comment with a legitimate question. He knew it, and he let it pass. I supposed that was what people who cared for each other did.
“Believe it or not, I’m working with our generals to develop a battle plan.”
“What for? We’ve lived in peace with our neighboring kingdoms for generations. Why would they attack us now?”
“I doubt they will. Our biggest problems come from occasional marauding thieves or minor quarrels between our nichnas. But we’ve good reason to think that’s about to change.”
I must have looked puzzled because he kept on explaining.
“You do know traders from beyond our kingdom usually go to Pilk, and don’t bother with small farming nichnas like yours, don’t you?”
I nodded. Pilk not only had most of Ilari’s money and goods, but it also sat on the confluence of the large river forming our boundary on two sides and the smaller river running out of our mountains and through the realm. Pilk served as Ilari’s informal capital and was our center of trade, so of course foreign merchants went there.
“Well, they all bring news along with their spices and silks. For years, many have spoken of horsemen from far to the east of here, horsemen who have become fierce in recent times. They say their land is so cold and barren they can grow nothing, and they live only on the meat and milk of their yaks and horses.”
“It’s hard to imagine what sort of people could call such desolation home,” I said. I was wrapping up remaining the apples as I spoke. “Imagine life without fruits like these?”
“Word is they’ve developed a taste for farmed goods in recent years, and have been making their way outward, raiding farms.”
“That’s horrible. Do they take all the farmers’ food?”
“Most of it. But if the farmers fight back, then they kill them all and burn everything to the ground.”
“I’m glad they’re far away.”
Nevik reached towards me and brushed the hair out of my eyes. It was a gentle gesture, but one that invited me to see more clearly.
“People like that are never far enough away.
Hi. I’m Sherrie Cronin, the author of a collection of six speculative fiction novels known as 46. Ascending. I’m now in the process of publishing a historical fantasy series called The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters. A quick look at the synopses of my books makes it obvious I’m fascinated by people achieving the astonishing by developing abilities they barely knew they had.
I’ve made a lot of stops along the way to writing these novels. I’ve lived in seven cities, visited forty-six countries, and worked as a waitress, technical writer, and geophysicist. Now I answer a hot-line. Along the way, I’ve lost several cats but acquired a husband who still loves me and three kids who’ve grown up just fine, both despite how odd I am.
All my life I’ve wanted to either tell these kinds of stories or be Chief Science Officer on the Starship Enterprise. These days I live and write in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where I admit I occasionally check my phone for a message from Captain Picard, just in case.
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