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

Power’s Shadow: Chapter 14, Part 3

Powers-Shadow-Rough-3Some loose ends are harder to tie than others.

 

 

Chapter 14, Part 3

“Oh, I never said I didn’t know who collapsed the overhang. I just said it didn’t matter. And it doesn’t…yet. I did, however, destroy the exit, yes.”

They found Prince Dolan and the other men resting from their efforts at the pit. He gave Marta an odd look.

“We heard what sounded like a rock slide. I’m glad to see you’re both all right.”

“We are. We found where the bandits were getting in, but the crevice has collapsed. A skilled mountaineer could still reach it from that direction, but no one else.”

Prince Dolan looked thoughtful. “Perhaps that is for the best.”

“I thought so too,” Marta said. “Are we ready to leave?”

“Almost.”

The three men kneeled by the pit and Dolan began to sing. Marta recognized the song as a hymn to Amatok. When he was finished the three of them went down to the stream to wash some of the dirt off. Marta and Sela waited by mouth of the cave until they returned. Their clothing was a bit worse for wear, but they appeared refreshed, if weary. After they had all climbed back down and rejoined the rest of their party there was still an hour or so of daylight left. Marta suggested they move on and no one objected, there being little interest in sleeping on the blood of the murdered pilgrims. They were not quite out of sight of the cliff cave when there was another rumbling, and a cloud of dust billowed out of the opening before it sank in on itself, leaving just the barest crevice to suggest where it had been.

First Law, Marta thought.

“Also likely for the best,” Marta said, as Prince Dolan looked back.

Dolan looked as if he was going to say something, thought better of it, and said something else. “No doubt you are right. Still, it’s a pity. It was a lovely spot.”

“Yes. Now it can remain that way. And perhaps those unfortunate pilgrims will find peace.” Continue reading

Power’s Shadow: Quick Update

Powers-Shadow-Rough-3A couple of quick notes. First of all, I had a pretty decent writing day yesterday, and at about 6PM last night I completed the first draft of Power’s Shadow.  One of the best parts of writing is being surprised, and a couple of things happened in the final chapter that I honestly wasn’t expecting. The implications for the next book are significant, but since I have a book in a completely different series that I have to finish before I even think about starting the next book in The Laws of Power series, I’m not going to worry about that yet.

The draft was just a couple of hundred words over 88,000. Not a doorstop, but a decent length. When someone asks me if I’m a “taker outer” or a “put-er inner” in revisios, I always say “yes.” I cut everything I can, but I rewrite and add just about as much. I tend to ramble a bit when I’m sorting out how a draft should go but a completed first draft tells me things that need expansions or explanations or clarifications, so I put in a lot too. In general, after cuts and additions, my first and final drafts usually work out about the same length. I’ll get on the rewrite as soon as First Reader is done with it, so it will be a few weeks before the ebook version is available. There will be a print version, but those always take longer.

As promised, I will finish posting Chapter 14 before the hiatus–or if it works out, just as the ebook is available–but I’m going to be out of pocket a little bit next week, so the Monday post may get delayed. I’ll get it back on schedule as soon as I can.

Finally, a big thank you to Charles de Lint for the kind words and to all the readers who picked up The Blood Red Scarf. Makes a working slob feel appreciated.

Power’s Shadow: Chapter 13, Part 5 — Conclusion

 

Powers-Shadow-Rough-3Reunited.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 13, Part 5 – Conclusion

“Be Careful,” Marta said.

“Always.”

Bonetapper launched himself off the rock and flew up toward the entrance to the cave. Once he was there he did a quick swoop past the opening, then again. On the third pass the landed on the lip of the entrance and looked into the darkness. After a few moments he called down to them. “No one in sight, but it does go back some distance. There’s a rope ladder anchored here.”

“Throw it down, if you can,” Marta said.

There was some rustling and squawks of complaint which drifted down, but not the ladder.

“Bonetapper?”

“Give me a minute. I’m only a raven and this thing is heavy.”

“Stand clear of the edge,” Marta said. “Man.”

“Got it,” said a less harsh and croaky voice from above. “Coming down now.”

The rope ladder rolled off the edge of the cave. It didn’t quite reach the top of the rockfall, but close enough to grasp. “I’d really like to be a raven again,” said the voice. “This feels very strange and uncomfortable.”

“Done,” Marta said. In another moment Bonetapper flew out of the cave.

“I know he’s really a man,” Sela said. “And yet….”

Marta shrugged. “A raven was the form my mother chose for him, and in that form he’s been the most useful to me. He’s had the chance to rid himself of it before, and yet here he is. Sometimes I think he’s simply a better raven than he ever was a man. Sometimes I think he knows it, too.”

Kian spoke to Loken who then shed his helmet and hauberk. He belted his sword back in place before he took hold of the rope ladder and started to climb up.

“Bonetapper, watch the cave. Warn us if anyone shows themselves,” Marta said.

The raven flew back to the lip of the cave and perched there. “Still clear,” he said.

Kian sighed. “I can see the advantages of having such a one for a scout.”

“I can see the advantages of having a bodyguard who is not easily flummoxed by such things as witches and talking ravens,” Prince Dolan said. Marta thought he was trying not to smile.

“I’m from Lythos, originally,” Kian said. “Such—forgive me—unusual things were not so unusual there, at least by reputation. Though I have to admit that I don’t think I believed even half of what I heard until now.”

“Once you accept the notion of a talking raven, the walls do tend to come down,” Prince Dolan said. Continue reading