More Progress

Chapter 4 of The Seventh Law of Power is in the can, or would be if it was a movie from thirty years ago. Everything’s digital and the can is a metaphor. Chapter 5 is begun. Only about 11,000 words in and Marta has already discovered the 6th Law of Power.

Frankly, I hadn’t expected this to happen so soon. But as the end of Chapter 4 came into view and I reviewed the seven laws, I realized I’d set  it up perfectly. Which would have been very clever of me if I’d realized this was what I was doing, but of course I didn’t. Neil Gaiman once said something to the effect that the real purpose of a rewrite/edit was to go back and fix the details so it looked like you knew what you were doing all along.There’s a lot of truth in that. Even so, I like it better when I get it right in the first draft.

Even if I didn’t realize this was what I was doing.

Still plenty of time to get things wrong. And I’m certain beyond a reasonable doubt it’s going to take Marta the rest of the book to find the 7th Law. Would be even more of a surprise if this particular event happened sooner. As with the discovery of the 6th Law, Marta and I are always open for surprises.

Tote That Barge

Today I’m posting an excerpt from The Seventh Law of Power (working title) which, if everything works out as I expect, will form Book 4 and finish the Laws of Power series. When I’m far enough along to keep up I’ll likely post draft chapters weekly as I did with Power’s Shadow, but that’s still a little ways off yet.

Oh, and absolutely no context provided. It is what it is:

 

 

 

Tymon, sat on a broken stalagmite studying a stalactite. While he understood, in terms of geologic era, practically no time at all had passed since he had taken up residence and looking for infinitesimal differences was profoundly silly, he still felt the compulsion to do just that.

Then again, five hundred years living in a cave could have that effect on a person.

“Five hundred years a hermit? I expected you to go insane. Instead you’re as focused and dramatic as ever.”

Tymon had been expecting the manifestation. The cool air in the cave had been almost charged with anticipation for the last three days. When a Power’s attention was focused on a person, that attention always revealed itself, if one knew how to look. Now Amaet perched on a broken stalagmite, looking beguiling. One would think she was nothing more than a winsome young woman, if one didn’t already know she was neither young nor a woman, and she didn’t glow like a newborn ember. Tymon knew she chose her appearances carefully for the effect she wanted. The current manifestation was designed to keep him both beguiled and off-balance. There was a time, half a millennium gone, when it might have worked.

“Amaet. To what do I owe this honor? Or rather, what do you want?”

“How do you know you’re not already giving it to me? Oh, honestly. I’ve so missed teasing you.”

“Then why did you leave me in peace all this time?”

“I’d have left you in peace now, save that you’re becoming interested in the world again.  That is, you’re combining interest with action.”

“Because you removed your curse of immortality and replaced it with the curse of knowledge, and thus I am twice punished. The Long Look. I see the future. Again.”

“Not so grandiose, spellcaster. One possible future.”

“One I have to prevent. You knew what I would do.”

She looked at him. “Of course I did, silly. What I don’t know is why.”

Tymon took a slow breath. “If I can prevent disaster and choose not to act, the lives destroyed belong to me. I cannot escape that. Now, the real question is, why did you give me the Long Look again?”

“Because I knew what you would do. Isn’t this fun?”

“Fun? To save what little remains of my humanity, you force me to serve you again?”

Amaet scowled. “Serve me willingly and you could avoid all that.”

“’You only worship a god. With a Power, you negotiate’ as a wise woman once said. I prefer to keep our relationship the way it is.”

“Fair exchange then. I get what I want, you get what you need. Why do I want it? Aren’t you even a little curious?”

“I’m curious about many things, Amaet. First there’s the Long Look, which, whatever else it may do, serves your purposes, not mine. Then there’s the Arrow Path, far more structured and yet every much as goal-oriented as my own curse which, I think it’s safe to say, did not give you everything you wanted yet or why give it back? Nor apparently, has the Arrow Path itself. I do wonder how Marta fits into it all.”

“There are many Arrow Path witches, Tymon.”

“I know. Yet none save for her mother, Black Kath, progressed so far as she has. I do know of your special interest in Marta so don’t bother denying it. I also know what she seeks, but your ultimate goal? Yes, it’s fair to say I am very curious about that.”

“You have had a lot of time to think about this, haven’t you? Still no closer to an answer?”

“I do know, whatever you do, it isn’t out of kindness.” Tymon met the beautiful, terrible creature’s gaze. “I really hate you, you know.”

“I know. And that serves me as well.”

Amaet vanished, and Tymon the Black, the most evil wizard of all time, shrugged. “I was happy when the world forgot about me. Now I have to remind them.”

©2020 by Richard Parks. All Rights reserved.

 

Power’s Shadow Lives!

Powers-Shadow-Rough-3I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone had forgotten this was coming. It certainly took me long enough. There were reasons–or excuses–but the rewrite is finally done and Power’s Shadow (The Laws of Power Book 3) is now live for the Kindle and Nook/epub. As promised, I’m keeping the price at 0.99 for the first few days since I don’t want to gouge anyone who was following the serial and wants to know how it turned out. It’s Monday the 31st as I post this, and the low price will be good through Wednesday.  After that, it will go up to be comparable with the others in the series.

“Marta, Black Kath’s daughter, is a witch on a mission. Unless she learns the secrets of the Seven Laws of Power, she will remain in bondage to the cruel divinity called Amaet for all eternity. Yet now someone else also seeks the Laws of Power, someone who believes that Marta is the key to finding them, and will stop at nothing to claim them for herself. Marta’s only chance of success—and staying alive–depends on a thief, an emphatically unreformed pirate, and a sword-maiden with a bad attitude. Frankly, the odds are not good. Marta knows that. It’s what she doesn’t know that just might save her.”

Power’s Shadow is the third  book in the series. Books 1 & 2 are The Long Look (The Laws of Power Book 1) and Black Kath’s Daughter (The Laws of Power Book 2). Some people who have read the first two wonder how The Long Look fits into the series. Power’s Shadow, I believe, will answer that question for good and all  (I’m looking at you, Sean).

On Receiving Compliments—Plus an Update

Powers-Shadow-Rough-3I received an actual fan email last week, which is a pretty rare occurrence (You thought we led lives of constant or even regular adulation? Yeah, I know. No one thinks that. Or at least not for long). This was on Yamada Monogatari: To Break the Demon Gate, and came from a nice lady who teaches Japanese, has a grounding in the history and knows the culture, so I was doubly gratified, but even that lovely ego boost had to take second place to the compliment First Reader (Carol) paid me when she finished the first pass edit of Power’s Shadow:

 

 

This is a complete paraphrase, just so you know. My memory’s accuracy is not 100 % guaranteed. But this is the gist:

She: (Looking up from the last page of the manuscript) You know, you’re really evil sometimes.
Me: I’ll take that as a compliment.
She: That’s how I meant it.

That was rather the reaction I was hoping for, so from that standpoint, I think Power’s Shadow (#3 in the Laws of Power series) is a success. I’ve started on the rewrite, so it shouldn’t be too much longer before it’s finally available. I do know it’s taken a while. We have, as I’ve already mentioned, been sprucing up our house to put it on the market, so neither of us has had much time to do much of anything except paint and pack up for the last two months. We can finally see some daylight, and once I’ve got the rewrite finished I’ll turn it into a Kindle and Nook ebook soonest. And then I can finally get back to Yamada Monogatari: The Emperor in Shadow, which is honestly and truly begun, but nowhere near being finished. One thing at a time.

Power’s Shadow: Chapter 14, Part 4 – Conclusion

Powers-Shadow-Rough-3

This is the last section of Chapter 14, and the last of the serial posts. The book’s in first pass editing at the moment and I don’t want to put any more up until it’s in its final form. When editing is done I’ll be looking at the corrections/suggestions and start the rewrite. There are four more chapters and a short epilogue (about 100 more pages) beyond this, and right now the plan is to list the ebook version for as low as they’ll let me for a period of about two weeks before it goes up to its normal price, in case anyone here wants to finish the story. There will be a print edition, but that takes longer to put together.

 

Power’s Shadow: Chapter 14, Part 4 Conclusion

 

“I will break up the stone tomorrow,” Dena said. “After we give them enough time to get out of earshot. They may suspect that we’re here but there’s no point in emphasizing it.”

“I heartily agree,” Kel said. “But I wonder if the gentleman sitting on top of the rock watching us feels the same way?”

The figure was hooded and wearing a black robe, so Dena considered Kel’s assessment of the person as male to be somewhat uncertain. What wasn’t uncertain was the person’s face—what little Dena could see of it—was turned toward them. Dena considered shattering the rock beneath the figure, but thought perhaps such an action might be premature. Yet she kept her concentration on the First Law even as she spoke up.

“Who are you?” she asked.

“Isn’t it customary for the one asking the questions to introduce themselves first?”

The voice was definitely male, if not especially deep. Yet it carried easily down to them. “My name is Dena. This is Kel. Who are you?” she repeated.

“You may call me Domar. I seem to remember having a friend with that name once, long ago…I think. The memory does play tricks as one gets older. Regardless, I’ve always like that name.”

Dena frowned. “What name do you call yourself?”

She still couldn’t see his face, but Dena had the distinct impression that he was smiling at her.

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you. ‘Domar’ will do, for the time being. So. What do you plan to do now?” Continue reading