S. R. Cronin has a new queer fantasy out (lesbian, poly, demi/bi, ace), The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters book 5: She’s the One Who Can’t Keep Quiet. And there’s a Giveaway!
Do you know what your problem is?
Celestine, the fifth of seven sisters, is tired of hearing about hers. Father thinks she’s frivolous because she likes pretty clothes and caters to the crowds in the taverns who adore her music. Mother thinks that because she’s the most social daughter in the family, she can’t keep quiet about anything.
They’re both wrong. Celestine has hidden a secret for most of her life.
As the family beauty and a talented musician with a lyrical voice, she is Mother’s best hope for a son-in-law prince. When a liaison with a prince never happens, everyone assumes Celestine is too picky. But even in somewhat tolerant Ilari, a daughter hates to disappoint her family. How can she tell them she’s in love with a princess instead?
Lucky for Celestine, all six sisters have become obsessed with an invading army headed to their realm. Celestine would rather ignore the threat, and enjoy the freedom their lack of attention gives her. But, her voice can unlock a power that may help save Ilari. And the woman she loves wants to fight these invaders. And her family, for all their talents, seems clueless about how to motivate the masses.
Celestine knows she can inspire the citizens of Ilari to do what needs to be done. Is it time to put her inhibitions aside and use her voice to save those she cares about?
Warnings: There is lightly handled consensual sex between two women (no details) and some violence in the final battle scene (nothing graphic). no other triggers
About the Series:
Can seven women stop the most powerful army the world has seen?
It’s the 1200’s in Ilari, a small mythical realm somewhere between Europe and Asia. Peace and prosperity have reigned for generations. That doesn’t mean every citizen is happy, however.
In the outer nichna of Vinx lives the seven troublesome daughters of an intellectual farmer and his ambitious wife. Ilari has no idea how lucky it is to have this family of misfits, for the Mongols are making their way further westward every winter and this prosperous realm is a tiny plum ripe for picking. Desperate, the seven sisters will devise a way to save their realm. Can their preposterous ideas possibly work?
The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters consists of seven short companion novels. Each tells the personal story and perspective of one of seven radically different sisters in the 1200s as they prepare for an invasion of their realm. While these historical fantasy/alternate history books can be enjoyed as stand-alone novels, together they tell the full story of how Ilari survived.
Which sister do you think saved the realm? That will depend on whose story you are reading.
How did they manage it? Each sister offers surprise information on why this didn’t go the way anyone planned.
S. R. is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card and a gift copy of book one in the series:
I knew music went down better when the audience was on your side. If they didn’t start that way, a good singer had to get them there.
“Hey!” I yelled after a few numbers. The last one had a been a popular jig, yet hardly a finger or toe had tapped while we performed. Most unusual.
“I’ve never seen soldiers so quiet. Did you all party so much last night that you’re still worn out?”
I got a few laughs, but not as many as I expected.
“Come on. Somebody tell us poor troubadours what’s going on. Is one of your commanding officers coming in to check on you?” I looked to my left, then to my right, then gave the crowd an exaggerated look of alarm. “Is he here now?”
Even fewer laughs. Maybe I’d lost my touch.
One young man spoke up. “You seem like a nice lady, so I’ll tell you. Stop trying to cheer us. We got horrible news today and nothing’s going to make us feel better.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. Did someone tell you we’d run out of ale in our realm? No more until Kolada?”
I got more chuckles this time.
“No, Miss. The commander of the Mozdols told us that our lands are in the path of a huge marauding horde of thieves. They’ve been burning and pillaging their way towards us for years and now travelers say we ought to expect them this year or next. We’re to begin training tomorrow for this onslaught.”
For several heartbeats, I stood speechless. I’d never done that on a stage before. But how does one respond to such news? I thought it couldn’t be so dire or so certain. Yet, I sensed arguing with the soldier would hardly win over my audience. What would?
“Then, sir, you should know that the musicians of the realm are at your service.”
I stood tall, as if I were a soldier myself, awaiting a command. This earned me a few derisive laughs.
“No offense meant, but musicians can’t do much in a war.”
“What? Of course we can.” I knew where I was going now. “We can inspire you as you assemble to fight.” I began to tap a slow beat against my leg with my hand. Zamarran figured it out. He added his own strong drumbeat and then I thanked the Goddess I hadn’t misjudged Mirva. Her flute began to sound out a war march to match and I added my voice, choosing random phrases about honor and patriotism and weaving in bits of melodies from well-known songs about the beauty of Ilari. It was a mess, but it conveyed the general idea.
“And as you fight, if some do fall, as some may, we will be there to mourn with you,” I said as the other two moved into the saddest of melodies. I knew enough to only do this for a few breaths. No soldier wanted to dwell on the need for funeral music.
“And, when you’re victorious, and you will be victorious, we’ll be there with you, with a rousing song to celebrate your bravery and our freedom.” At that all three of us found an appropriate joyful noise to make and the room broke into applause. We bowed, we collected some tips, and we got ourselves the Heli off the stage and out of there before anyone had time to think too much about my logic.
As we walked back to campus, Zamarran looked at me in wonder.
“That was one of the best varmin improvisations I have ever seen, and I’ve seen some good ones.”
I shrugged. I’d been doing this sort of thing since I was in basic school. Not with soldiers, of course, but with classmates, teachers, and the parents of my friends, who’d all found themselves standing up and applauding for me and one of my causes over the years.
Zamarran stopped walking and he looked directly at me. Hard.
“This isn’t easy for me to say, but it’s better said now. This will be your trio, not ours.”
“No, we both agreed ….”
“It doesn’t matter what we agreed. You’ve become our voice, and the whole realm will consider it yours no matter what we decide.” He smiled. “I might as well learn to live with it.”
Sherrie Cronin writes stories about people achieving the astonishing by developing abilities they barely knew they had. She’s made a lot of stops along the way to telling these tells — living in seven cities, visiting forty-six countries, and working as a waitress, technical writer, and geophysicist. She’s lost too many beloved cats to mention, but has acquired a husband and three children who are all doing fine, despite how odd she is.
Today she lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina where she writes, answers a hotline, and occasionally checks her phone for a message from Captain Picard. She still hopes to get the chance to pursue her remaining dream in life and become Chief Science Officer on the Starship Enterprise.
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