Preview of a character from book 4 of The Blackfeather Chronicles! . . . . .
Teresthan sat outside on a folding camp stool, in the newly emerged sunlight, fiddling about with a flute. Crystals of water dropped from the branches behind him, along with petals from a blossoming tree. A few petals had caught in his shining black curls.
Anna cleared her throat. “Do you really have nothing better to do than wait for me? Or were you planning a serenade?”
“Oh, I’m always planning one serenade or other,” Teresthan admitted. “It’s something I’m rather good at, music. That’s a good thing for me, too. You’ve seen one of my drawings. I’d be an awful artist.” He tucked the flute into one of his long south-style sleeves, revealing for a moment an embroidered silk band on his arm where K’shay tanna warriors wore theirs.
Anna decided not to ask. To business at once and permanently was probably the best course with this one.

Apocalypses and Armageddons

I was thinking this week about nuclear weapons. And yes, this was before my phone blipped with the headline news about North Korea and certain inflammatory remarks. I was remembering how, even though I’m a little too young to have hid under my desk during the height of the Cold War, fear of nuclear Armageddon was the big specter of doom hanging over my childhood. I remember seeing graphics about how many times over we could destroy the world with the current arsenals of the US and the Soviet Union. Today I looked up the exact number—at the height of the nuclear arms race there were more than 64,000 nuclear warheads on our planet. That was in 1986. I was ten. I don’t remember what television shows and films I saw at that time, but I clearly remember the image of ICBMs streaking across a radar map of the world, the American ones in blue and the Soviet ones in red. Going in opposite directions. I’m sure I didn’t see this image only once. Of course in most movies a spy disarmed the nukes, or a superhero stopped them, or there was some amazing last-minute diplomacy and they all blew up in the sky. (more…)

Nedira short story


Khiratu Nedira City of Zarachar, Naidjat, Year 1048 Post Downfall Nedira picked her way through the gardens in full court robes, stepping carefully over a curving bank of ferns and some low-growing roses. She hitched her train up over her shoulder to keep it from getting stuck on the thorns. Normally her woman navigated her train through awkward spots, but one didn’t bring company on unauthorized escapades. Nedira glanced over her shoulder—no one was following her, or watching out any of the house’s many windows—and pressed on past the topiaries of courting cranes, toward the men’s wing.

She had talked to her brother through his window plenty of times before. Even though she didn’t think herself especially stealthy, no one had yet caught her. Or perhaps they had, and were too polite to mention it.

This is the first of five short stories by Jessica, set in the world of Madrahar before the events of the Orphaned Gods series. Illustration by Ruth and Birdy! The whole story is available for patrons over on our Patreon.

Patreon just launched!

We're proud to announce something that's been in the works for a while. We're now on Patreon! For those of you who aren't familiar with it, it's a way to support creators and their art, and get exclusive content and other cool stuff based on how much you pledge each month. We'll still be posting updates, art and writing here on our Five Wits Press website, and you can always come here to buy our books and read snippets of our work, but some of our content is going to be moving over to the Patreon page. If you become a patron you can get art created by both Ruth and Birdy, editing done by Jessica, or even a special tea blended just for you! All of us are excited for this new opportunity to share our worlds with you in a more collaborative way. We have a lot of new projects planned over the upcoming months, and we'll be previewing them on the Patreon page as they come ready. So, long story short, check out our Patreon!

Phoenix three ways

We challenged ourselves to each draw a phoenix/firebird, and they all came out excitingly different from each other. From left to right, these were created by Amanda Williams (digital), Ruth Lampi (linocut block print), and S.A. Hannon (watercolor pencil). Click on the images to make them bigger! For a video of how Ruth pulled the print of her phoenix, check out our Facebook or Instagram! [gallery link="file" ids="600,601,599"]

Ready for beta readers!

The Beasts and Hunters draft is ready for beta readers! Jessica has found a few already but is looking for a couple more. If you’re interested, email us at editor@thefivewitspress.com. Beta readers will receive the draft in installments, along with a list of questions Jessica would like you to consider as you read. If you have a novel draft of your own that is at a stage for beta reading, Jessica would consider a beta reading swap with you.

Here’s a snippet from chapter 1 to pique your interest:

Adreth stood. "It's good to see you, friend." He stepped over and pulled Djaeva into a hug. Djaeva made irritated noises and didn't hug him back, which was very rude. Aturi slid down lower on Adreth's back, trying not to touch the Nai Umae man.

"I knew you would come," Adreth said, letting Djaeva go, but leaving one hand on his shoulder. Even though Djaeva wasn't a short man, Adreth was a head taller.

"I failed you," Djaeva said. "And I'm here to make up for it. But I'm not your friend. How many times do I have to say it before you get it through your thick skull?"

There was a smile in Adreth's voice. "You say it every lifetime. I'll never believe you. Are you ready to fight beside me, Lynx?"

Djaeva clapped Adreth's hand, hard. "Always."

“Not to ruin this tender moment,” Saresska said, looking through her lens again, “but the demon’s coming this way.”