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The Inside Story Heartwood Excerpt Bloodstone Excerpt Foxfire Excerpt



What's in a Title?

Coming up with the titles of the first two books of the trilogy was relatively easy. Coming up with a title for the third…not so much!

Heartwood reflects the tribal culture’s worship of trees, as well as the theme of understanding the essence of your nature and realizing what is most important to preserve in your life. It also touches on the idea that a tree can look healthy on the outside and be rotten at the core (as illuminated by Morgath’s character) and that the secrets we hide can eat away at us (as illuminated by Struath’s).

Bloodstone conjures the image of the blood-stained altar on which the Zherosi offer human sacrifices. In my research, I also discovered that many of the qualities assigned to the bloodstone were those Keirith needed in order to survive.

Most sources seem to agree that it is a stone that symbolizes courage and constancy. It helps revitalize and open our hearts, tempering strength with compassion. A stone of perception, it promotes clarity, decision-making, and self-knowledge. (I was especially happy to find a Website that claimed it help manifest wealth and was particularly good for those who are self-employed!)

It took me a lot longer to come up a title for book three of the trilogy. I went through a slew of titles – some simply silly (Dust Bunny, Manroot) and some more serious (Spiritfire). I was stuck trying to conform to the Body Part + Natural Substance groove I’d set up for Heartwood and Bloodstone, especially since I wanted this title (like those) to be something that existed in nature, not simply two words cobbled together.

After much noodling, I chose Foxfire. It's been used by other authors, but it has special resonance for the final book of the trilogy. Foxfire is a fungus that grows on decaying wood. This references the Zherosi destruction of the forests – a key issue in the novel – and also pays tribute to the Trickster, the driving force behind many of the events.


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