Monday, June 8, 2015

Want to Read More?

My story “The Truth of Names” drew a lot of attention for its portrayal of the first openly and canonically transgender character in the lore of Magic: The Gathering. I jumped at the chance to write that story because it meant so much to me and my family. My teenage daughter is transgender (and a huge Magic fan), and seeing someone like her represented in the Magic Multiverse meant everything to her. 

Well, she’s going to college this fall. And it turns out college is expensive. So I just thought I’d mention that if you want an easy way to support a transgender teen making the big leap to college, here’s one thing you can do: Buy my books! 

In addition to my work on Magic, I’ve written five Dungeons & Dragons novels. This omnibus collects three of them in an ebook package that you can buy for only $10. 

Will you find a transgender character like Alesha? Well, not exactly. But what happens when the changeling Darraun finds that he needs a way to escape a military camp?

The changeling who had been Darraun was getting comfortable in her new body, new identity, and new name—Private Caura Fannam, an enlisted soldier under the command of Major Rennic Arak. She wore her tawny hair pulled awkwardly into a tail down her back, a fashion popular with many female soldiers. A long shirt of leather studded with heavy steel rivets was standard issue for Aundair’s light infantry. She carried a short spear—not her favorite weapon, but easy enough to use: “Put the sharp end into the enemy,” she’d heard a training sergeant say once. In practice, she knew the hard part was pulling it back out in time to put it in the next enemy, which was why she preferred shorter weapons. But if all went well, she’d have no reason to use her spear as anything but a part of her disguise. 
There’s also a loving, platonic relationship between a human woman and a sexless warforged, a living construct:

“So what do you want to do with your freedom?”
Cart looked down at her, into her warm, brown eyes. He eased his arm free of her hands and wrapped it around her shoulders, pulling her close to his side. She put one arm around his waist and laid the other hand on his chest, and her head rested beside her hand. It was confusing to him—he hated the thought of being owned: her dismissive words to the Cannith warforged had cut him like daggers. But the urge to hold her close, keep her beside him, protect her—it was a fiercely possessive urge.
“Freedom is a strange thing,” he said. With her body so close to his, he slowed his step and she matched it, so they found a slower rhythm together. “Nobody owns me, but Gaven and Aunn and you seem to have a hold on me anyway. What I want to do is to be with you.”
“Freedom is the ability to choose your commitments,” Ashara said, “to choose what owns your loyalty.”
“Then perhaps I am yours after all.”
Her smile spread all across her face, touching every one of the tiny muscles beneath the skin—such an intricate construction, he thought, like the work of a divine artisan.
“And I’m yours,” she said. 

So please think about it. For just $10, you can have the satisfaction of contributing to the education of a wonderful transgender teen, and get three novels to read as part of the deal! This omnibus includes a short story, never published anywhere else, featuring the warforged Cart and his beloved Ashara.

Are they any good? Well, you don’t have to take my word for it. Ed Greenwood, creator of the Forgotten Realms, says, “Every James Wyatt novel I read is a delight—may there be many, many more!”

You can buy Draconic Prophecies for Kindle from Amazon here. If you do, I get a little bit extra thanks to their affiliate program. Or you can buy it for Nook here.

Or if you’re feeling very generous, you can make a direct donation to Sierra’s college fund here.

Thank you!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Another Appearance

A scattering of silver coins
  Litters the barren ground,
  Barely gleaming under the sullen sky.
Rope and bough together groan
  As their ghastly burden twists,
  Slowly turning, surveying the fields around.
The hanged man reeks of death.

His friend, betrayed, bewildered, comes
   On wounded feet, on dusty ground,
   Bearing a gift he could never accept.
This one never feared the unclean,
   The touch of death, of leper, of sin,
   So now he clasps his dead friend's feet,
And bathes them with his tears.

More than his betrayal, this suicide
   Is proof of his misunderstanding:
   For if vengeance is due, it is due to him.
"I came to show you," says his friend,
    "As I showed the others.
    But I think you have already seen."
A kiss, and he is gone.

Sunday, July 7, 2013


"Neuschwanstein was commissioned by King Ludwig the second, king of Bavaria, and built on the site of an old castle ruin called Hohenschwangau."
"She sounds like she's reading right off Wikipedia," Frank whispered to his wife.
Mabel laughed. "She must do this five hundred times a day," she whispered back.
"Ludwig's goal was to rebuild the ruin in the authentic style of the old German knights' castles, as he wrote in a letter to the famous composer Richard Wagner. Wagner's operas inspired—"
"Höchstes vertrau'n hast du mir schon gedanken," came a loud voice from somewhere out of sight, a strong operatic tenor.
The tour guide stopped, obviously surprised and thrown off her rhythm. "Um, well, speaking of Wagner's operas . . ."
The singer's voice continued, accompanied by the rising hubbub of other tour groups and museum staff.
She laughed now, suddenly engaged and clearly off her script. "What he's singing is an aria from Wagner's opera Lohengrin, which is the story of a mysterious knight who—"
Suddenly the singer came into view. He was tall and thin, his blond hair reaching just past his shoulders. He wore a faded flannel shirt and blue jeans, hardly looking the part of the holy knight. His eyes were fixed on the tour guide as he continued the aria. "O gönne mir, dass mit Entzücken ich deinen Atem sauge ein."
"This is his great declaration of love for Elsa, um, 'Oh grant me that with delight I may, um, breathe in your breath' . . ." She caught the singer's eye and faltered in her translation. He was striding toward her, a trio of security guards following at a cautious distance.
"I don't think this is part of the normal tour," Frank said.
"Sh," Mabel hissed.
The singer extended a hand to the tour guide, still singing: "Dein Lieben muss mir hoch entgelten für das, was ich um dich verliess."
The tour guide took his hand, spellbound, but an older gentleman in the group offered a translation laced with a thick German accent. " 'Your love must be the highest reward for what I left behind, for your sake.' Lohengrin was the son of Parzifal, the knight who found the Gral, the, em—"
"The Holy Grail," someone else finished for him.
The man continued. "He says, 'No destiny in God's whole world could have been nobler than mine.' The eternal life granted by the Grail, he gave up to be with her."
Mabel's hand found Frank's and clasped it tightly. Frank started with surprise, then squeezed hers back.
The singer was standing very close to the tour guide now, holding her hand to his chest and gazing down into her eyes. "Das einz'ge, was mein Opfer lohne, muss ich in deiner Lieb ersehn!"
"I bet he's her boyfriend," Frank whispered in Mabel's ear. "Hell of a proposal."
The tour guide seemed to come to her senses, suddenly aware of her group watching wide-eyed. She tried to pull her hand away but he held it tight, she turned her head but he kept singing.
"So I ask you, steer clear of doubt," the older man said. "Your love is my proud reward."
The tour guide managed to get her hand free and she stumbled back a few steps. He never took his eyes off her face.
"Because I don't come from night and suffering, from splendor and I bliss I come."
He stopped singing, breathing hard from what must have been a vocal exertion. He kept staring at the tour guide, though, as if expecting her to pick up where he'd left off.
"What— I—" She couldn't form words, couldn't seem to think straight, couldn't understand what had just happened.
"Elsa," the singer said, stretching out his hand to her again.
"It's Liese," she said.
"Elsa, take my hand," he said, his accent suddenly very American.
"My name is Liese," she said. "What's yours?"
He turned away suddenly, his face contorted in grief. "Weh uns, was tatest du," he sang softly.
"What are you saying?" she said.
"Elsa was not supposed to ask the knight's name or his origin," the older man explained in a whisper. "She broke her vow and he was forced to return to the Grail."
"Who the hell are you?" the tour guide said again. "What do you think you're doing, interrupting my tour?"
"Elsa," he said, pleading.
"I'm not Elsa! And you're not Goddamn Lohengrin! Stop it!"
He looked stricken. "Woe to us," he whispered.
"Look, can you be normal? If you tell me your name and ask me on a date, I'll go, OK? That was cool, what you did, no one's ever serenaded me like that before. Be normal, OK?"
The security guards were inching closer now, seeing that things were going wrong. The singer just stared at his Elsa, tears welling in his eyes. Frank squeezed his wife's hand tighter.
"Can you get him out of here?" the tour guide called to the security guards.
"Elsa," the singer said. He managed to put an ocean of longing into those two syllables, begging her not to send him away.
"I'm not Elsa!" Her fists were clenched at her sides, her eyes blazing with anger.
The singer spun around, aware of the security guards for the first time, righteous fury twisting his face. "Elsa, my sword!" He stretched out his hand behind him, but the tour guide stepped up and planted both hands on his back, then pushed him away hard. He stumbled right into the closest guard's grip.
"Komm, Lohengrin," the guard said.
The singer looked back at the tour guide, pleading with his eyes, as the guards pulled him away. Mabel huddled closer, and Frank put his arm around her shoulder.
The tour guide took a moment to pull herself together as the guards got the singer out of the room. She straightened her skirt, tucked a wayward strand of hair behind her ear, and then turned to face her tour group again.
"Well," she said, "I am sorry for that interruption. It looks like another group is right on our heels now, so with apologies I'm going to move us along quickly for a moment. If you'll come this way."
The group shuffled after her again, slowly at first, as if just waking from a dream.
"As I was saying, Wagner's operas inspired Ludwig's romantic vision of the Middle Ages, and he built Neuschwanstein as a memorial to that lost age."
Back on script, as if nothing had happened, she chattered away as she walked the group briskly through the palace.
Frank kept his arm wrapped around Mabel's shoulders as they walked, smiling, at the back of the group.