Portrait By Kiva Bay

Dax Murray

Book reviews, coding thoughts, feminist rants, and occasional cats.

Announcing: A Lake of Feathers and Moonbeams


He had been her only friend for as long as she could remember. Ivan had been the one to bestow upon her a name: Katya. She did not know if she have a mother or not, she knew that she should have one, but she sometimes felt, even now, as though he willed her into existence, the lonely mage needing a companion. He had been her best friend. He found her wandering the woods that he’d made into his kingdom, had gently asked her if she was lost. She couldn’t answer him, for she’d just been born. Fully formed, she had sprung from the lake and taken her first breath. He took her in, not commenting on if her birth was strange or not. She lived with him in a cottage, just her and him. An occasional visitor of a hunter or a trapper who’d trespassed into what was their shared kingdom.

Princen Alexis:

Dawn was just beginning to break, and the soft glow of red kissed the golden tear-drop shaped domes on the palace, reflecting and refracting in a stunning spectacle. Alexis loved this room for the view that it gave of the other spires, and the way the that it made the room seem ablaze in the mornings. They weren’t expecting their future bride for another two days, but here was one of the escorts riding into the courtyard at a pace that was sure to leave the horse exhausted for days. Princen Alexis quickly left the lookout tower they’d been hiding in - their father was insisting on dancing lessons, again - and raced to meet the rider.

Princess Jī Zhēn:

Zhēn conjured a small wind instrument and began to play for Katya. As the sounds, sweet and clear, washed over Katya, she could see a picture expanding before her. She recognized that this was illusion magic, that Zhēn was using her own magic, that this was not Ivan’s spell being woven. She saw a younger Zhēn playing in a garden. The music cast illusions over the lake. Zhēn scraping her knees, Zhēn sneaking into the kitchens. Zhēn practicing music and learning domestic magics with which to entertain guests. The song turned melancholy, and Katya saw scenes of Zhēn and a girl covered in flour running off together. Zhēn and a pretty woman living a small life together. Scenes of dreams that would never be. And finally, a scene of a nondescript person arriving at the lake, dancing with Zhēn, and then leading her to a horse, and riding off toward some glorious future with her. A scene of escape from Ivan and this lake.

I wanted to formally announce my forthcoming novella, due to be released this fall. It is an #ownvoices queer re-telling of Swan Lake, and I am really excited to share it with you when it comes out. I am going to be self-publishing this novella, just as The Resignation Letter was self-published. Louisa will again be doing the cover for me, and I've asked Jen of Clearing Blocks Editing to help me out with making sure everything is PERFECT.

I've been putting together and pinterest board for it, and I hope you'll check that out. I've also definitely got a playlist for when I am writing it, here are the top songs on it:

  • Girl in a Coma - As the World Falls Down
  • Blackmore's Night - Where Are We Going From Here
  • Fleetwood Mac - Rhiannon
  • Stevie Nicks - Beauty and the Beast
  • Blackmore's Night - Gilded Cage
  • Kate Voegele - Devil In Me (Live Demo)
  • Distant Worlds/Nobou Uematsu - Distant Worlds with Susan Calloway
  • Blood Ceremony - Goodbye Gemini
  • Florence and the Machine - Howl
  • Florence and the Machine - Cosmic Love

From the potential blurb:

At the center of the forest there is a lake as clear as crystal. On a cool night, moonbeams kissed the waters and Katya was born. Since then she has kept company with the crows and the eccentric sorcerer, Ivan, who has made his home there. She soars through the night as a swan alongside her crow sisters, and does errands for Ivan during the day. She never believed that her life would every be spent any differently, being content with her minor magics and charms and safe beside Ivan.

When a group of soldiers escorting the princess Jī Zhēn from neighboring kingdom of Shān come through her woods, she is shocked to find Ivan taking the princess as his prisoner. He asks Katya to disguise herself as another prisoner to glean information from the princess. Thus she spends her days feigning captivity alongside a princess whom she is slowly falling for. A princess who is betrothed to the Princen Alexis of Lebedia, who is surely searching for her.

Katya finds herself entwined in a complex web of politics, grudges, betrayal and heartache spanning centuries. At the heart of this web she must find out who she is, and what she stands for, and what she is willing to sacrifice to stay true to herself.

A nuanced re-telling of "Swan Lake" from the perspective of the black swan, this story explores love and loyalty, how both are won, earned, destroyed, or betrayed.

If you want to request an Advanced Reader Copy, please let me know by reaching out to me on twitter. I am hoping to have some ARC's out in September.