Congrats to the Hugo winners, a review for In Midnight's Silence, & a snippet from The Second Death

Congratulations to the Hugo winners! Congratulations also to the fans, who have spoken. Let us honor their wishes and conduct ourselves accordingly from this point forward.

While everyone else was at the Hugo ceremony, I received a very lovely review for In Midnight's Silence by author T.O. Munro. This one contained a couple of paragraphs that simply made my day:

[In Midnight's Silence] is beautifully written, though it's length gives little time for elaborate world building. That makes the experience of reading it more visceral, we ride in Diago's head - for the most part - and we see only what he would notice, watch what he does, hear what he thinks, but all without tedious exposition. Those who hanker after spell systems and education might better attend Kovthe's alma mater, but others will savour the experience of experiencing Frohock's dark flickering world.

Diago and Miguel are a couple, their love for each other described with the same simple tenderness afforded to hetrosexual couples in fantasy literature. Frohock has written her heroes as heroes who happen to be gay, rather than heroes either because or in spite of their sexuality. It is an absorbingly believable description, though it might deny her a place on any future sad puppies' slate - but then - who would want to be on such a slate anyway?

Go read the whole review if you have a moment, and say hi to T.O. while you're there.

In other things happening this weekend, I had a serious crash and burn yesterday. Even so, I managed to make quite a bit of progress on the third novella in the Los Nefilim series, The Second Death. After Without Light or Guide (known in my close circles as "the long slog"), The Second Death is really coming along very smoothly. Alex Bledsoe said this might happen, and I am a) glad he is right, and b) really pleased with the story so far.

As it happens, even when things are popping along, some scenes are eventually cut. However, this one was such fun to write that I thought I would share with you a domestic scene with Diago, Rafael, and Miquel.

Please forgive it's roughness and misplaced commas, but in case you're wondering what the guys look like when they're not rolling around in sewers and fighting daimons, here they are at home:

Rafael sighed and turned around, returning to the bathroom. He stepped onto his stool and washed his hands in the sink.

Diago followed him and picked up the comb.

Rafael ran his wet fingers over his unruly locks. “You don’t need to comb it, Papa. I’m Gitano.” He shook his head. “My hair is wild like my spirit.”

“Wild spirits in this house comb their hair.” Diago grabbed a clean towel and wiped his son’s damp fingers. Stray hairs drifted into the sink’s basin and joined those of Miquel and Diago. He wiped the strands off the porcelain. “It looks like a family of bears live here.”

Rafael giggled and raised his arms over his head, hands clenched like claws. He roared until the comb snagged a tangle. “Ow! Papa!”

Diago leaned forward and kissed his cheek. “Then stay still. Even bear cubs don’t wiggle that much when their papas comb their hair.”

“Bears don’t comb their hair.” The child scowled into the mirror. His busy fingers found a chip in the sink’s porcelain. “When I’m grown up, I’m never combing my hair.”

“Don’t you want to look nice for Ysabel today?”

He picked at a chipped place on the sink. “I want to stay home today.”

“I do, too, but I have to go to a meeting this morning along with Miquel. You can stay with Lucia and Ysabel for a little while.”

Rafael said nothing.

“Don’t you like playing with Ysabel?”

“Yes.” Rafael rubbed his thumb around the chip.

“So?” Diago worked his fingers through a snarl of hair and held his breath. Had he and Ysabel fought? Ysa was a generous girl who always went out of her way to be kind. Like Guillermo, she had natural leadership abilities, which sometimes made her seem overbearing, but Diago had never known her to intentionally hurt another person. “Why don’t you want to go?”

He shrugged.

Diago kept his tone even. “Is it Lucia?”

A moment passed and Diago thought Rafael wasn’t going to answer him. Finally, he nodded.

“And what does she say?”

Another shrug. “Just things.”

“What kind of things?”

“She said I should never go to Morocco, because I am all small and dark like a monkey and someone would make me their pet. Then she laughs like it’s a joke, but her eyes are all hard and mean.”

Lucia. Ysabel's governess made no secret of her hatred for Diago, which was fine with him, but taking her pettiness out on Rafael was a step too far.

Diago was careful to keep his anger out of his face and his voice. He didn’t want Rafael to think he was upset with him. Instead, he took his son’s shoulders and gently turned the child so he could see his face. He realized a river of tears would be preferable to the hurt he saw in Rafael’s eyes. “You know what? You can come with us this morning. I’ll bet Father Bernardo has someplace where you can sit and draw pictures while we talk, hmm?” He smoothed Rafael’s hair and glanced in the hall to see that Miquel had joined them. How much had he heard?

Diago didn’t have long to wonder.

Miquel came into the bathroom and stood behind Diago. “Pick him up.”

Diago lifted Rafael so he could see himself in the mirror. Three faces, three shades of skin that passed from Rafael’s light gold to Diago’s tawny flesh, and finally to Miquel’s dusky brown.

Miquel made a great show of assessing their faces. “You know what, Rafael? I am darker than you.”

“Miquel is Gitano, too,” Diago whispered in Rafael’s ear. “And everyone thinks he is very, very handsome.” Including me, he thought as he examined his lover’s reflection.

A ghost of a smile touched Rafael’s mouth.

“I think we’re all a handsome lot.” Miquel reached around Diago to touch Rafael’s chin. “No one is going to mistake us for monkeys.”

Diago said, “We’re a family of bears.”

Rafael gave a soft roar and the mischievousness returned to his eyes.

* * *

Go forth and read stories, people. Talk about the ones you love.