Contest Winner!

My short story, ‘The Divvy’, won an award for ‘Propulsive Scene and/or Plot Line’ in the 2015 Stoneslide Story Contest. They may include it in their anthology or publish it on their website; as soon as I know I’ll post here and on Facebook and Twitter.

  • Propulsive scene and/or plot line: “The Divvy,” by Mary Holland, starts with an unwanted and burdensome gift and moves at tremendous speed through complications and challenges, barreling toward revelation, all the while assembling a fantastical and convincing world.

‘The Divvy’ is an outtake from The Bone Road. Originally, it was a bridge chapter between part 1 and part 2, and it was told from Jak’s POV. But it never fit, so I tossed it into the edit folder where I keep the deathless prose that I cannot bear to part with, i.e., large hunks of text that don’t quite work but which I cannot delete. This is the only way I can edit out large globs of text.

When it never did end up in the book, I rewrote the story from another POV and submitted it to Beneath Ceaseless Skies. They rejected it, but suggested changing the POV (again!) to the primary character instead of to an observer. So eventually I rewrote the story a third time and, trust me, changing a POV is much harder than writing a new story from scratch. Beneath Ceaseless Skies asks authors not to resubmit revised work and I took them at their word, so as other opportunities came up it went out and came back. I’ve lost track of how many times.

I’m so pleased it won an award, and that an impartial editor liked it. If you’ve read The Bone Road you know it’s a complicated world with an oddball premise. Boiling that down without dumping a heavy explanation on the reader’s head was a hell of a lot of work. I’m so happy it paid off.

Notes on The Bone Road

The plot of the Bone Road is a circle. It was always envisioned as a year cycle, starting in late winter at the top of the year, going counterclockwise down to the events in Gold Harbor in the summer, and ending back up past Wintering in early spring. I don’t mean all the events take place in the same year, since they obviously don’t, but the Rhona sections are spring and summer, and the Ani and Jak sections pick up in fall and winter.

Wid is from ‘widdershins’, an old word meaning ‘counterclockwise’. The corresponding word for ‘clockwise’ is Deosil, which was the original name for the other moiety. Since the mountain began and remained Deo, I thought it was too confusing for the reader to have Deo, Deom, and Deosil, so I changed Deosil to Zeosil. At one point early on the Wid would travel only counterclockwise, and the Zeosil clockwise but that became impossible to plot character movements against. Their campsites remain on either side of the Road and switch sides depending on which coast you travel.

All my early readers had a problem with the word ‘moiety’. It’s a perfectly good word, used by sociologists and the definition is exact: either of two kinship groups based on unilateral descent that together make up a tribe or society. However I was told to take it out and for months I struggled with alternates: clan, tribe, sept. None of them seemed right. While I was working on the manuscript of Bone Road I was also independently publishing Matcher Rules and it finally occured to me independent publication meant all the decisions were mine. So I put moiety back into The Bone Road; the entire manuscript snapped into place, and not one reader has either queried or complained. Fantasy and science fiction readers are used to weird or made-up terms; it’s part of the experience of the genre, they take them in stride.

The Bone Road podcast available

The podcast of The Bone Road is available here at Podiobooks for free. It’s 27 episodes of about 30 minutes each.

Podiobooks has a new and completely revamped website, some parts of which I really like and other parts still in development. One of the things not yet functional is the ratings system, and another is the New Podcasts widget, so even though The Bone Road is very new, you won’t find it listed there. Use the link above or the search function. It’s also available on iTunes, in the podcast section.

Enjoy! I’d love some feedback (I think they have the Comments working) even if you can’t rate it aside from ‘Like’ on Facebook and Twitter.

UPDATE: They have a new row of thumbnail features, New Releases, up and running. And there is The Bone Road, front and center. Site is coming back up to full functionality really fast, thank you Evo Terra!


The New Releases on Podiobooks is working wonderfully. I’ve had over 3,000 downloads for The Bone Road since it came out. I’ve also noticed a splash effect on Matcher Rules, where the downloads are up also. And, more importantly, feedback indicates the listeners have noticed the improved quality on the recording of The Bone Road. I’m very happy with that, because all that hard work in August is paying off.

Podcast of The Bone Road completed

Although not exactly published or available yet. It turned out to be 27 half-hour episodes, and pretty much ate up the entire month of August. Recording a serial podcast, or an audiobook, isn’t something you can put down and pick up again a week later – at least I can’t. It takes energy and concentration and a certain level of rock-hard persistence to keep going. At times it seems it will never end.

However, I made it through. Right now I am so happy I only have two completed books out there, because if I was facing podcasting a huge backlist I’d probably hide under the bed.

I have some housekeeping left to do: file uploads and giving Podiobooks all the requested information, and once they have that they give me a release date and a live link. I’ll post that here and on the Order page when I have it.


Recording The Bone Road

I’ve started recording The Bone Road as a podcast. I estimate it will be close to 30 half hour episodes, and I’m planning on uploading it to podiobooks when complete, as I did with Matcher Rules. Reading, editing, adding sound: each episode does take a while to complete, so I’m looking at a great deal of time and energy over the next month or so.

The new microphone has definitely improved the sound quality. I’m also trying to add more expression to my narrative; several listeners have commented on this, so I’m trying to improve. I do hope the entire process goes faster than the first book and it should. The last time I had to teach myself how to record, edit, mix sound, add tags, and use at least three pieces of unfamiliar software. I think I’m over that part of the learning curve.

I am a bit worried about the new book getting shunted aside for this, but there is no way around it. I’ve promised myself to write SOMETHING on it once a day. I hope I can keep it up.

The Bone Road published!

I’m really really pleased this book is finally out there. And off my desk. I checked the dates on the initial files and I started this in 2008. True, there was a hiatus of a year and a half when it was shoved to one side, but that’s a long time for an unfinished project to hang about.

As with Matcher Rules, the amazing cover was done by Rhea Ewing. My friend Linda Reynolds did the pdf layout and book design for the paperback, and I am responsible for the e-book including the separate Kindle formatting.

In other book news, the free podcast downloads for Matcher Rules have broken through 5,000. Amazing. I will be recording Bone Road as a free podcast, although not until this summer at the earliest. My third novel, as yet untitled, is the next project up and I want to complete an outline before diving into audio recording.