Tag Archive: oboroten’


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Hello, Snippetteers! — real life has had plans for me this week, plans that didn’t involve very much writing, so I thought I’d revisit “Wolf, Becoming,” my Russian shape-shifter novella from Dreamspinner. The setup for this snippet is that Volyk, a wolf with the ability to become human under certain limited circumstances, has just found Ilya (the “male” in this snippet) lying in the snow atop a frozen river; Volyk has just run off Ilya’s two older brothers, who had beaten him with an axe handle and were in the process of chopping a hole in the ice to dump Ilya in the river until Volyk intervened.

********

The male’s eyes opened; his gaze wandered, unseeing, then fell on Volyk. Pale gray eyes widened, their lashes already burdened with snow. “A cleaner death than my brothers meant for me,” he murmured. “Bol’shoye spasibo.”

Volyk shook his head. I am not your death, he wanted to say. But he could smell death lurking too near the human, see it in the way the beautiful eyes stopped noticing him, the gray gaze wandered past him to contemplate something far off, in a place where nothing was.

I will not let you die.

********

As usual, a few links for you —

Rainbow Snippets, your home for LGBTQIA+ goodness on Facebook:

WOLF, BECOMING on Amazon: http://ow.ly/IuP7304j9ZP
WOLF, BECOMING on Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/wolf-becoming-by-rory-ni-coileain-3652-b

FLIGHT: Queer Sci Fi’s Third Annual Flash Fiction Contest — comes out September 21, available for preorder now, and my “life/flight” was chosen to kick it off! http://ow.ly/y57J304jafi

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Happy Pride Month, fellow Snippeteers! For my first offering for June (June?!?!? Where is this year going?) I’m pleased to offer six sentences from my just-completed WIP (yay!!!!), “Deeper Than Did Ever Plummet Sound” — which, if you haven’t seen prior snippets, is my contribution to an anthology commemorating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, with stories rewriting, or based on, the authors’ favorite Shakespeare plays. My play is The Tempest, and my story is about Clarence Limont, a fading star of the London Shakespearean stage, playing Prospero, and Jaymes Stafford, a young American actor playing Ariel, and dazed at the opportunity to work with one of his idols. And to set the scene, it’s just before midnight, and Clarence and Jaymes are in the alley behind the off-off-Broadway theater in which opening night will be occurring in less than 24 hours. And, of course, the best line is the Bard’s…

********

“What is it?” Almost, Clarence reached out to wipe away the streaks along Jaymes’ soft cheek – soft, he knew it would be soft – but his hand was shaking, and he let it fall. “Why do you cry?”

Jaymes was silent for so long that Clarence wondered if he were going to answer at all. And when he did speak, his voice scarcely rose above a whisper. “I weep at mine unworthiness that dare not offer what I desire to give, and much less take what I shall die to want.”

********

And a couple of links —

First, back to Rainbow Snippets on Facebook, for more LGBTQIA+ goodies: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/

And rather than single out one of my books, I’m just going to gently urge y’all toward my Amazon author page, where you can find SoulShares and oboroten’ and even a bit of science fiction! http://ow.ly/77L3300V2Ad

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It’s here! — it’s release day for

WOLF, BECOMING

You met Volyk and Ilya in “Ilya and the Wolf.” Now hear their whole story.

Volyk – oboroten’, wolf by nature and human by magick…
Ilya Borisovich, the gentle, luckless third son of a modern-day merchant prince…

********

Chapter One

Eighteen years ago

All tales have a beginning. Some have more than one.

East of the sun and west of the moon, in the long-ago days when magick still filled the world, there lived in the trackless steppes great beasts with the power to assume the shapes of men at will. Even after the magick withdrew itself to its secret fastnesses, those beasts and their descendants carried the gift of the change in their blood. And the stories were passed down, from one generation to the next, until they became legends. Legends told by living legends, all unknowing….

********

Ilya’s touch made Volyk’s heart race. “The skins. Need to come off.” Volyk managed that much, before taking the kiss for which Ilya’s mouth begged.

Ilya laughed, a little unsteadily. Volyk could taste the laughter.

“Help me with them.” Ilya caught at Volyk’s hands.

“I would, if I knew how.”

“Here, I’ll show you.” Ilya guided Volyk’s fingers to the first of a series of small disks and showed him how to slip them through openings in the heavy material.

“Why do you want me to do this?” Volyk bit his lip in concentration, moving from one disk to the next in response to Ilya’s urging. “When it would be so much simpler for you?”

“Because I want to feel your hands on me.”

Something in Ilya’s voice made Volyk look up. And something in the human’s eyes spoke directly to the wolf’s soul.

Mine.

********

Dreamspinner: http://ow.ly/YGbVm
Amazon: http://ow.ly/YGbZk
ARe: http://ow.ly/YGc7t
Barnes & Noble: http://ow.ly/YGcnd
Kobo: http://ow.ly/YGcqN

Ilya and Volyk at Christmas

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In this excerpt from “Ilya and the Wolf,” Ilya explains Christmas to Volyk, an oboroten’ — a wolf shapeshifter. (If you’d like to read Ilya and Volyk’s origin story, you have until January 1 to pick up a copy from Dreamspinner; “Wolf, Becoming,” the novella that tells Where They Came From and What Happened After, comes out on February 24, and the short story will be pulled on January 1 to make way for it. Check it out at http://ow.ly/WjKUP — Dreamspinner’s even having a 25 percent off sale right now!)

A very Merry Christmas to everyone — from me, the Fae, the Gille Dubh, the daragin (those most unusual Christmas trees!) and the oboroten’. May you all enjoy great blessings during this wonderful season, and may 2016 be the year of joy we’ve been waiting for.

********

A kiss brushed the back of Ilya’s neck, as gentle as Volyk’s bite had been brutal. Volyk’s arm was around him from behind, tanned, muscular, limned with soft, dark hair. Ilya stroked the silky hair with his fingertips, content just to be held. Loved.

“Now will you tell me about Christmas, and its gifts?” Volyk nibbled lightly at Ilya’s ear, and Ilya thought he felt the lips of his mate—his mate!—curve in a smile. “You spoke of it while I was carrying you here. You sang of it.”

“I did?” What to tell? Certainly nothing of his father’s vapid parties. Nothing of the church that had long ago rejected him and would never accept Volyk. “Christmas is… a celebration.” He would give his mate the Christmas he himself had always loved. “We believe that our God took human form, as an infant, and lived among us. To love us, and by his living and dying as one of us to save us from our own death.”

Volyk’s breath caught hard. “Your god was a shape-shifter?” There was something strange, strained about Volyk’s voice, and Ilya twisted to look at him. “He must have loved you very much to do what he did.”

“Why do you say that?”

Volyk looked as if he wished he’d kept silent. “If he was truly oboroten’, he put his own life at risk when he saved yours. That is our way, one of the laws of our life.”

Everything was still, so still Ilya could hear the pounding of his own heart. And Volyk’s. “You risked your life, when you saved mine?”

Volyk nodded, glancing down, then up to meet Ilya’s gaze squarely. “If you had refused me, I would have died.”

“You—”

“I would have done so willingly.” Warm lips brushed Ilya’s forehead. “I would have nothing without you.”

“You should have told me, you great pridurok—”

Volyk’s deep chuckle rumbled. “I will never take your choices from you again. You can call me an idiot all you like; you will not change my mind.”

Ilya rested his hand on Volyk’s cheek, gazing into his fiery amber eyes. “Idiot. My idiot.” Feeling greatly daring, he leaned in to capture his mate’s lips in a kiss. “My beloved idiot. For the rest of our lives.”

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I’d like you all to meet Volyk. He’s an oboroten’, a uniquely Russian kind of shape-shifter, and he first made his appearance in my Dreamspinner Advent Calendar story, “Ilya and the Wolf.” Now I’m almost finished turning Volyk and Ilya’s story into a novella, “Wolf, Becoming”. And I wanted to share part of that story with you. The short story didn’t give me room to show you Ilya’s first shape-shift. But now I have world enough, and time. And here it is.

*****

Ilya shivered in the narrow opening, his skin pebbled with goose-bumps despite the two sets of arms wrapped around him, his own and Volyk’s. “At least there’s no wind.”

Volyk didn’t seem bothered by the cold; his tanned skin was smooth under its varicolored dusting of hair. “Would you like me to go first, so you can see it happen? Or would you prefer I wait for you?”

“I think… I need to see. To know.”

Volyk nodded. “Then watch. It happens quickly.”

A kiss, and he withdrew his arms, stepping away from Ilya and out into the snow-brightened sunlight.

Even warned, Ilya almost missed what happened. It was as if a silver veil, one invisible until now, was pulled away. And as the veil fell away, Volyk changed. As if he plunged into some invisible fall of water as a man, and emerged as the great wolf Ilya barely remembered.

Yet he was the same. It was Volyk who looked up at him, his eyes burning amber, his ears pricked forward and his tail arched up over his back. His Volyk.

Impossible to doubt. Not quite impossible to be afraid… but Ilya set his fear aside. Time for a new life.
No. He had already found his new life. This…

…this was Christmas morning. A gift.

He could feel it happening, as he stepped out. He hadn’t expected that. Maybe the first time took longer. Or maybe it was different, for a man who had never been a wolf. Like unexpectedly deep water. Trying to breathe, drawing in nothing. Falling.

Not falling. He stared, stunned, at paws, his own paws, white paws crunching into new snow.

#You take my breath, wolf-mine.#

The voice was in his head. It was Volyk’s.

Ilya turned his head, wondering at the way his whole upper body turned with it. Volyk was watching him, amber eyes blazing; fur of black and brown and gray and cream was scattered with silver light.

#Volyk?# He took a step toward the wolf. Another. Another. Stopped, confused, as three feet obeyed his command to walk. The fourth joined them, and he sat down hard in the snow.

#What is it?# Volyk’s whiskers pricked forward. Ilya thought he looked amused.

#I have too many feet.#

Volyk threw back his head and laughed, silently, his breath forming crystalline clouds in the still air. The not-sound was so joyous, Ilya couldn’t help but join in, even as he blushed. Or did whatever it was wolves did when they were embarrassed.

#I think that problem should pass quickly.# Yes, the wolf was smiling, and not only with his inner voice. #I had the same trouble when I first changed.#

Ilya nodded, and this time the strangeness of the movement was less. #Going from four legs to two must have been harder than from two legs to four.#

#Here.# Volyk turned and bounded away, plowing a furrow through the new snow. Maybe twenty meters off, he stopped and turned back, his forepaws splayed, his tail fanning the air. He looked like a great playful dog. #Come to me, wolf-mine.#

Ilya tried to bound. His first few attempts landed him face-first in the snow. He didn’t mind, not when the reward for his attempts was more of Volyk’s rich laughter. And by the time he reached the varicolored wolf, he had figured out how to make his back end and his front end cooperate.

At least, until Volyk hit him broadside and rolled him over and over in the snow, still laughing. Snow flew, snow clung to his fur, a warm muzzle rubbed against his.

At last they came to rest, tumbled in the snow. #Wolf-mine,# Volyk murmured, the fire in his eyes bright enough to see even in the full daylight.

#Wolf-mine.# The thought was alien, but not, and wonderful. A shiver ran down Ilya’s spine, ending in a strange twitching feeling. At the very edge of his field of vision, something moved. Something that shouted ‘prey’, begged to be pounced on. Ilya leaped.

Volyk rolled in the snow, unable to contain his laughter, as Ilya chased his new tail, around and around.

ScheduleAnnouncement

Hey, it’s only taken me the first month of 2015 to figure out what I’m doing the rest of the year – not bad!

First, the biggest piece of news I’ve had in a while – the first four SoulShares books, HARD AS STONE, GALE FORCE, DEEP PLUNGE, and FIRESTORM, are temporarily unavailable (except, as of this writing, for the paperback versions still up on Amazon, but those will be coming down shortly). The reason? New editions are coming out through Riverdale Avenue Books, starting in April! With a few additions and corrections (it would have been polite of Conall to inform me that he was a true redhead rather than a strawberry blond sometime before the end of book three, for example), AND a new Fae glossary for each book. AND…. (yes, there’s more!) the fifth book in the series, BLOWING SMOKE, coming out in May! (Follow me on my Amazon page, http://www.amazon.com/Rory-Ni-Coileain/e/B009M8XQP2/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1 and you’ll get updates when each one comes out!)

Here’s my publication schedule for the first half of 2015:

April 22: HARD AS STONE (SoulShares #1) – new edition
April 29: GALE FORCE (SoulShares #2) – new edition
May 6: DEEP PLUNGE (SoulShares #3) – new edition
May 13: FIRESTORM (SoulShares #4) – new edition
May 20: BLOWING SMOKE (SoulShares #5) – first time in print!

And while I’m being so gosh darn organized, here’s my schedule of conventions for the year:

CONvergence (Bloomington, MN) – July 2-5 (science fiction/fantasy)
Rainbow Con (Tampa, FL) – July 16-19 (LGBT media)
Midwestern Book Lovers Unite (MBLU) (Minneapolis, MN) – October 22-25 (romance writers/readers)

There’s something there for just about everyone, I think – come visit me! (And the Fae, and the Gille Dubh, and the oboroten’ – we’re a package deal!)