Gypsum, the sixth of seven sisters, has always been a rebel. Yet no one thought she would go so far as to join the reczavy, a group living in tents on the edge of the desert and known for their sexual promiscuity and playful ways.
But as the date of the Mongols’ return draws near, Ilarians of all types must work together if they are to have any hope of surviving. And the reczavy, for all of their odd ways, do have plenty of tricks up their sleeves. Well, up their sleeves whenever they are bothering to wear clothes, that is.
Gypsum is touched when her oldest sister Ryalgar comes to call, and brings an olive branch with her. Ryalgar recognizes that the reczavy have as much to lose as anyone, and as much to contribute. Will Gypsum accept a key role in the plan to stop the invasion? Of course she will.
Unfortunately, her playmates don’t all feel the same sense of urgency. Many would rather simply enjoy the time they have left. A few claim to be allergic to long term planning. And some are too busy with their own poorly-timed plans to overthrow the government Ilari already has.
Good thing needlepoint is the one traditional skill at which Gypsum has always excelled. She will need to thread a fine needle in order to coax this recalcitrant group into becoming life-saving warriors of a very different kind.
About the Series:
People ask me what The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters are like. I’d say its Little Women acting like The Seven Samurai in Brigadoon with hints of Sex and the City.
The series consists of seven short companion novels. Each tells the personal story of one of seven radically different sisters in the 1200s as they prepare for an invasion of their realm. These historical fantasy/alternate history books can be enjoyed as stand-alone novels, but together they tell the full story of how Ilari survived.
Which sister saved the realm? That will depend on who you ask.
How do they save it? Each sister will offer you surprising information on why this didn’t go as planned.
Warnings: references to non-consensual sex in the past.
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I knew every boy who went to my school and the smiling young man asking me the question was not one of them. He’d joined our circle of tidzys after the others arrived, standing around the fire with us as we sought a partner for the holiday celebration. He’d already introduced himself to several young women. Whatever he murmured incited giggles and a few unmistakable wiggles as well.
When he approached me, these women turned their wide eyes away from his face to give me a narrowed-eye stare of warning. I didn’t understand why. His lighter hair and tanned country physique weren’t that special, although he did have the confidence that makes everyone seem more attractive. And enough an indifference to make a young woman willing to do much to impress him.
I didn’t play games like that.
My first instinct was to make up a ridiculous name. Duck Piss came to mind. Then I decided the name my family had stuck me with was probably ridiculous enough.
“Gypsum. My name is Gypsum.”
“Isn’t that some ugly grey rock?” he asked.
“Yup. It was going to be that or Duck Piss, so I guess I lucked out.”
I turned away from him, and focused my gaze on several attractive men crouching in front of the fire, sharing laughter and ale. As I said, I don’t like stupid games or the men who play them.
“My name is Sheep Scump. Nice to meet you.”
I turned back. “Well, at least you play along.”
“Oh, I play along very well.”
“So what are you doing here? You got tired of playing with the tidzys over at your own school?”
“No. My school got tired of me. Or rather they tired of my attempts at humor and asked me to seek education elsewhere. I start classes here after the holiday.”
I don’t know why I asked the next question.
“Do your parents know?”
“They barely knew which school I was at then.”
“Oh.” Quite different than my overinvolved parents. “What did you do to get kicked out?”
He slipped an arm around my waist and in one slick move he turned the two of us away from the fire.
“I’ve a jug of particularly fine red dinner wine waiting in my saddle bag. I hoped I’d find someone worth sharing it with. Would you care to walk over to the stables while I tell you of my horrendous crimes?”
I liked the feel of him. His smell. Okay, I even liked the undercurrent of hurt under his bravado. And I liked the promise of something better to drink than the cheap ale being handed out around the fire.
“Sure. Let’s walk, talk, and see where this goes.”
He ran his hand up my side and gave my breast a friendly squeeze. I didn’t have much to offer in that area, but he didn’t seem to care.
I put my hand on his butt and squeezed back.
We both knew exactly where this was going.
She’s made a lot of stops along the way to writing these novels. She’s lived in seven cities, visited forty-six countries, and worked as a waitress, technical writer, and geophysicist. Although she’s lost several beloved cats on her journey, she’s been lucky enough to gain a husband and three kids who love her despite how odd she is.
Today she lives and writes in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where she also answers a hot-line, volunteers for SFWA, and plans her future travels.Sherrie Cronin is the author of a collection of six speculative fiction novels known as 46. Ascending and now writes a historical fantasy series called The War Stories of the Seven Troublesome Sisters. The synopses of her books makes it obvious she is fascinated by people achieving the astonishing by developing abilities they barely knew they had.
She’s made a lot of stops along the way. She’s lived in seven cities, visited forty-six countries, and worked as a waitress, technical writer, and geophysicist. She’s lost several cats but acquired a husband who still loves her and three kids who’ve grown up fine, both despite how odd she is.
These days she lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina, where she also answers a hot-line, does things to improve her writing, and volunteers for the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) of which she’ s proud member.
It is her life’s dream to tell these kinds of stories or be Chief Science Officer on the Starship Enterprise. She admits to occasionally checking her phone for a message from Captain Picard, just in case.
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