I’ve been quiet on the blog and not as productive in real life over the past couple of months. I had an unprecedented first part of the year in terms of productivity and publishing, and then things started to slow down toward the end of August. And it’s been a slippery slope since. The good news is that I was feeling better (more accurately, less bad) than I had in a long while, and now I know that it’s possible to have a better run like that. I don’t know precisely what stars had to align to make that happen, but you can bet I’m looking at the factors in play and trying to get back there.

In the meantime, I’m doing National Novel Writing Month again. This time, I’m working on a prequel to my urban fantasy series. Also, here’s some news about something I’ve been quietly working on: the Valhalla series is being rebranded as the Rune Witch, with new book titles and covers coming soon. Anyway, below is the prologue to this WIP/prequel draft—currently titled Hidden Magic, though that may change to Shape of Magic.

PROLOGUE

Huehuecoyotl. Aztec god of chaos and mischief. The Old Coyote. The Ancient Drum. Purveyor of pranks, sometimes cruel ones, but also a master storyteller and patron of music and merriment. And restless and bored out of his freaking skull.

It was the twenty-first century by the counting of men, and Huehuecoyotl had long since lost his touch. He couldn’t affect the material world the way he used to and there weren’t so many old gods around any long to pester with his particular brand of misbehavior. Even as a shapeshifter walking among mortals—hanging out at popular cantinas and trying to stir up trouble between locals and tourists, walking the beaches as a playful pickpocket, and crashing every party within earshot—there was only so much mischief to be made.

So he traveled slowly northward, in the direction of the only one of his kind he knew remained in this world. His journey was years in the making, and he stopped off at tourist resorts, border checkpoints, theme parks, truck stops, and countless dog parks along the way and instigated what minor mayhem he could. But those diversions were just as disappointing as the ones he’d found at home—and even home didn’t feel like home anymore.

It was spring by the time he found himself in the city called Portland along the western coast of the North American continent. It was wet and chilly—disagreeable weather to Huehuecoyotl, but he found ways to adapt to the local climate and began to wonder how he might use it to amuse himself.

There was still some magick left in this area, too. Maybe that was tied to Loki, or maybe it was anchored by some other force. Heuheucoyotl didn’t know and didn’t bother to find out. His own strength was on the wane even in this place of residual power, and Loki had no answers for him—no answer that satisfied him, at least. The wellspring of chaos was running dry.

But the old trickster had proposed that Huehuecoyotl conduct his own experiment on the matter and perhaps have some fun in the process. The Old Coyote didn’t put much thought into the first part of that suggestion, but he was very much looking forward to a new impish adventure in this strange land—and with the blessing of the most ancient of scoundrels, too. If these were indeed the last days of familiar magick, Heuhuecoyotl intended to go out with a rollicking laugh and a memorable song.

a new prequel and its prologue

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