Works in Progress: Table of Stone and Forged in Fire

Table of Stone
Swords of Charlemagne, Book 4

Forged in Fire
Heir to the Firstborn, Book 2

Had a busy week this week, both in terms of writing and in terms of promotions. I posted about playing with memes, although I didn’t post the last of the set.

This quote is the source of the title of Written in Water. We’ll come back to that theme in later books.

There was also a bit of research into Victorian cartomancy this week. I wasn’t planning on having a character do any sort of card reading, but the words flowed out of my fingers. So I stopped and started researching, only to find that someone reading cards in Victorian England might very well be reading regular playing cards, not tarot. So I went with it, and found a reference on what the cards would mean, and how to do a reading.  So we’ll have an excerpt of that tonight.

Cameron is the butler in Margaret and Douglas’ household, and is first introduced at the very end of book 2.


Cameron looked momentarily nervous. “You know I practice, correct?”

“I know that everyone in this house practices, and that Mister Mystere taught most of you,” Margaret answered. He nodded

“My practice is a bit on the eclectic side. We have a coven, and I do some divination work. So I’d like to draw cards, if I may,” he said.

“Draw cards?” Margaret looked at the box. “Oh! You practice cartomancy?”

His brows rose. “You know of it?”

“I’ve read a little, but I’ve never seen a tarot deck before.”

Cameron smiled. “I don’t use a tarot deck. I use a regular deck. It’s harder to be charged with vagrancy if you might very well be playing Snap.” He opened the box and took out a deck of normal seeming cards. “These are my cards. You may look, if you like.”

Margaret took the cards from him, and felt an odd, fleeting tingle in her palms as the cardstock touched her fingers. She spread out the cards, then frowned. “They aren’t all here.”

Cameron picked up the deck and drew one card, then shuffled the rest together. “That’s because for divination, I only need the cards from seven to ten, and the royal cards.” He laid the deck down, then set the single card face up on the table. The King of Clubs.

“That’s Doctor Keith’s card,” he said. “It means an honest, liberal man, one who is loyal to his friends and his family.”

Margaret smiled. “That’s my Broc,” she murmured. “What would my card be?”

Cameron studied her for a moment. “The Queen of Clubs,” he answered. “A loving woman, but fierce in her temper, especially when her family is concerned.”

Margaret laughed. “That does sound like me. Now what do we do? Will you explain as you go?”

Mister Cameron shuffled the remaining cards, then laid them out face down in three columns — three cards to the left of Douglas’ card, one above his, one below his, and three cards to the right. Cameron laid the rest of the cards aside.

“This is a very simple reading,” he said. He tapped the left column. “The past.” He touched the middle column. “The present.” He touched the last column. “And the future.” He turned over the card at the top of the first column. “The Nine of Diamonds. Roving in other lands.” The next card revealed the Ace of Diamonds. He smiled. “This means a wedding. With regards to the journey, I would presume to say that they combine to mean the journey to Germany, where the Doctor and the Master met you. And a better journey they’ve never taken, nor are likely to take again.”

“You’re a flatterer, Mister Cameron. Do go on,” Margaret teased. She leaned forward as best she could, watching as Cameron turned over the card at the base of the column. He frowned.

“The King of Spades. An enemy to be feared was also discovered on that journey.”

Margaret nodded. “Caedda.”

Mister Cameron took a deep breath. “Now, for the present.” He turned over the topmost card, then gasped, “Good Lord!”

“Mister Cameron?” Margaret asked slowly. “Why does your deck have two Kings of Spades?”

“It doesn’t,” Cameron answered. “My lady—”


And I’ll leave that there!

On other fronts, this week I was invited back to Necronomicon to be a guest again. This will be in Tampa in October. So that give me three chances this year to be out and about and meeting people!

One week and two days before Written in Water releases! There have been some lovely reviews on the ARC over on Goodreads, and I’m really on pins and needles waiting for the book to drop. I posted the picture of the paperback last night, and I eventually do need someone to tell me how much is TOO much for an author to pet their new book.

Not yet, though.

What do you think?

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