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A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane

A generation past, the western realms were embroiled in endless war. Then the Destroyer came. From the blood and ashes he left behind, a tenuous alliance rose between the barbarian riders of Parsathe and the walled kingdoms of the south. That alliance is all that stands against the return of an ancient evil—until the barbarian king and queen are slain in an act of bloody betrayal.
 
Though forbidden by the alliance council to kill the corrupt king responsible for his parents’ murders, Maddek vows to avenge them, even if it costs him the Parsathean crown. But when he learns it was the king’s daughter who lured his parents to their deaths, the barbarian warrior is determined to make her pay.
 
Yet the woman Maddek captures is not what he expected. Though the last in a line of legendary warrior-queens, Yvenne is small and weak, and the sharpest weapons she wields are her mind and her tongue. Even more surprising is the marriage she proposes to unite them in their goals and to claim their thrones—because her desire for vengeance against her father burns even hotter than his own…

MELJEAN, ARE YOU ALIVE?

I am! Not that I could update this page and say differently if I wasn’t. So maybe take that answer with a grain of salt and check my Facebook account, instead. Or contact me! Just don’t rely on rumor, please, because the internet is a seething mass of conspiracy theories and online versions of the telephone game. I’m always happy to answer e-mails! And if I don’t…maybe I am dead (or maybe it went to spam.) But seriously, please e-mail me if you’re wondering what’s going on or worried.

But the reason I haven’t published the Blacksmith is that I had a bad bad bad bad burnout following THE KRAKEN KING. I was still able to write, and have been writing all this time, but getting back into steampunk and the book I’ve wanted to write forever—the Blacksmith’s—wasn’t happening. And…it still isn’t. 

So if you’re here looking for an update on the Blacksmith, I don’t have one. And I probably won’t have one for a while. I’ve put it aside for the time being, because my choice is to either force a book that isn’t coming (and that I’ve hated every time I’ve put words to page, even though I love the story in my head) or just wait until it does. I’d rather do the latter, even though it sucks. For some reason, the steampunk is stuck. I have my theories about why, and I’d be happy to discuss them in terms of being a writer or just in general, but that’s not what this page is for. 

So what will be coming in the future from me? Right now, the barbarians. You might remember the story I wrote as Milla Vane in the NIGHT SHIFT anthology, called “The Beast of Blackmoor.” Well, I’ve got a whole world built in my head and about five stories knocking around my skull, so I’m slowly working on those. The first one, the story that I’ve called VENGEANCE for a long time (but will probably have another title) is nearing completion, and my publisher will be publishing it in place of the Blacksmith’s story (I’m pretty sure.) I don’t have a firm date yet, and it could be 2019 or 2020 before we see that, depending on my publisher. I don’t even know if we’ll use Meljean or Milla Vane as the author name yet. 

So that’s what I have! I’m excited to be working in a rich world again, and I love this story. I also still love the Blacksmith’s story, and a part of me is hoping that now, with the “OMG THIS CONTRACT IS DUE AND YOU NEED TO WRITE THIS RIGHT NOW!” feeling gone, it’ll click between my brain and my words. Because the second it does, I’ll write it. I want to write it. But I don’t want to write crap, which is what it is now.