Or, to put it another way, I’ve received news that Paradox Books have accepted my story The Daughters of John Anglicus— featuring Trota of Salerno and the descendants of Pope Joan— for inclusion in their anthology Crusader Kings, which will be coming out in December which means you’ll be able to get me to sign it for you for Christmas. If you haven’t already bought it, you can pick up Europa Universalis IV: What If?, which contains my alternative history Napoleon Bonaparte story The Emperor of Moscow, while you’re there.
More details on the how and where of buying it as I get them, but for now, here’s a little snippet to get you keen:
Trota edges past the end of the bed. Once round to the other side she sees the woman more clearly. She is tall, taller perhaps than even Nicholas, and older than Trota expected, being perhaps in her mid-thirties. Long black hair is splayed across a bank of pillows, and her olive face is pale and drawn close in pain. A nightgown is bunched up above her knees and stretches tightly across the rounded bulk of her stomach. A white-shifted old woman dabs ineffectually at her forehead with a damp cloth. She scurries out of the way as Trota approaches, and shuffled from the room, crossing herself and murmuring respectful words as she passed Nicholas. He waves her on her way, and directs Trota to sit on the vacant stool.
“This is your charge,” he says. “She is close to birth, but for the last month there have been… problems. Increasingly so.”
“Why…” She sits, takes the woman’s long hand in her own, and gives it a soft squeeze. The woman turns pain-squinted eyes towards her. She clenches Trota’s hand hard enough to hurt, and hisses as her gut spasms. “Why is there no doctor here?”
“She summoned you.”
“I’m two weeks away!”
“You are the only chirurgeon to whom Her Holiness has granted admittance.”
“You let her lie here for two weeks in this sort of pain. What the hell–?”
“Watch your mouth!” Nicholas’ sudden rage rocks Trota back on her stool. “You are in the presence of holiness. You will not use those words.”