I feel an urge to share an excerpt from Victory of the Hawk with y’all tonight, just to show how yeaaaah, I can’t write a damn thing without having music sneak in. My characters DO tend to be musicians. Like Kestar Vaarsen, being shown a picture of his elven great-grandfather:
It was a sketchbook. One part of Kestar’s mind stumbled over the seeming incongruity of so prosaic an object in an elf’s hands. That wisp of thought vanished utterly, however, as he stared at the page that Gerren had chosen—and found, rendered in black ink that still stood out on paper yellowing with age, himself.
Once the shock of recognition faded, though, he began to find the differences. Larger eyes. Longer hair, with some pulled back from the face in two intricate braids bound in what Kestar was willing to bet was either silver or gold. Sharper cheekbones, giving the subject of the picture a more lupine look than he’d ever seen in his own mirror, accentuated by the pointed ears. All of those details rained down upon Kestar’s awareness like a hail of arrows. But what stopped his breath in his throat was the instrument in the figure’s hands, larger than Kestar’s lost mandolin, with five pairs of strings instead of four. His great-grandfather’s hands, lean-fingered and nimble, were poised in mid-flight along those strings. His head was tossed back, as if bobbing to unheard rhythm. He wasn’t smiling, and in fact looked almost angry. But that meant nothing, for Kestar knew that look; it was the fierce joy of being caught up in the act of making music, of being swept away by song.
It was exactly, Celoren had told him once, how he himself looked when he played. And the sight of it, all at once, made Kestar’s hands ache for the mandolin he’d had to abandon when the Order had arrested him. No, he added to himself. I want what he’s playing. He had no name for the instrument in the sketch, but that didn’t matter. If he could hold it in his hands, if he could feel its living voice resonating against him as he played, it’d make Riniel Radmynn real.
The alert among you may be thinking, “Anna, are you trying to sneak another bouzouki player into a story?” This would be a reasonable and justifiable conclusion! But the really alert among you may also be noting that bouzoukis have eight strings, not ten. I am in fact thinking cittern here, not bouzouki.
As of this morning I received an official final Word doc version of Vengeance of the Hunter. This means we are now SIGNED OFF on the text of this book. Next comes the cover copy and the cover art, and I hope to be showing you all these some time soon in coming weeks.
And this means as well that I need to start planning on Victory of the Hawk and start writing this puppy WAY sooner than I did Vengeance. Getting Vengeance ready to ship was an exercise in pushing it, and I need to NOT DO THAT for Victory. Expect me to be posting more updates about the third installment of Rebels of Adalonia in coming weeks as well, for the sake of visibility and accountability!
ALSO: I need to start the official edit pass on Bone Walker. Which will be starting THIS WEEKEND. I want this thing done and dealt with and hopefully ready to ship before Vengeance comes out in April. Again, look for more updates to come on this.
Likewise, I have the shorter works I want to finish off as well and get to Kickstarter backers who are LONG overdue for getting the shinies that are due them.
Lot of work before me, folks, as I head into 2014. Looking forward to taking it on and letting you know how it goes!
With the agreement of myself, my agent, my editor, and the rest of the team at Carina Press, we now have final titles for my trilogy!
As of RIGHT NOW, the book formerly known as Lament of the Dove shall be henceforth referred to as Valor of the Healer!
Book 2, formerly Shadow of the Rook, becomes Vengeance of the Hunter.
Book 3, formerly Lone Hawk’s Flight, will be Victory of the Hawk.
And the series title over all will be Rebels of Adalonia.
I’m feeling quite happy about these titles over all, especially for Book 1, since that very nicely captures the whole character arc I’m doing with Faanshi in that part of the story. And I like the alliteration of the V and H words in each title.
I’ve been asked this on Google+, so I’ll go ahead and note here that the title changes were brought about for two reasons. One, because ‘Lament’ was determined to not really fit Faanshi’s character arc. This was in fact something that beta readers had brought up to me (and did I mention, YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME LIKE THAT), so when Carina raised the issue, it wasn’t surprising to me at all. Two, because ‘Dove’ was thought to be kind of questionable for the fantasy market. This, too, wasn’t really surprising. I also had a beta reader note to me that they felt that ‘Lament of the Dove’ actually sounded like a Western! And on a related note, especially given that a lot of Carina’s buying audience is coming out of the romance genre, I could also see people thinking ‘Dove’ has connotations of inspiration romance–which is definitely not what I’m writing.
So! Valor of the Healer it is. I get to make appropriate changes in the copyedit pass I need to do this weekend! And y’all be on the lookout for this to get incorporated into info right here on my site as well as in upcoming announcements as they happen!