Echoes of Betrayal has a new cover for the paperback edition coming early next year. I liked the hardcover art, but this is a very strong cover that will show up better on the smaller format.
Meanwhile, book V. At some point in the past couple of weeks, a file has gone walkabout (or never existed except in a dream) so I’m reconstructing a scene I was very happy with. This is not as much fun as you might think, since for me, the best results come from writing in full spate. Trying to recapture the scene and write it again…usually kludgy.
Also, Arvid’s fan club will be glad to know he is still stirring things up, and is presently disturbing the equanimity of a stiff-necked Marshal-judicar who distrusts charm, eloquence, and most of all, former thieves. Arvid now realizes that it’s not always (or even often) wise to upset such people, but it’s such fun…
I have recently been reminded by real-life events of the sort of people on whom Ganlin of Kostandan was modeled, which makes me want to smack Ganlin and tell her to quit it. I’m afraid she’s too set in her ways to change without a crisis of some kind. Still, I need to let the effect of those people wear off before I work on her next scene again, or I’ll write her without any compassion at all, which is never a good idea.
The head cooks in both Verrakai domain and Chaya are entirely too much fun to write and I’m having trouble holding them to their minor (MINOR, I SAY!) roles. It’s Book V, I’ve explained to them. There’s no more r0om for more major characters and a plot arc with you in it. “Everybody has to eat,” says one. “You won’t get far without food.” “The kitchen is the heart of the palace,” says the other. “Everything that happens, happens here too.”
Other not-major characters are now coming up to the writer waving the script and saying that they’ve worked hard the whole series and surely, surely I remember I promised them a center-stage place at least once and now….SIT DOWN, I say firmly. Not everybody has a solo. Not everybody gets to pirouette on toe, center stage, with the rest of the dance troupe fluttering nearby. You and you and you and you….you’re bit parts, spear-holders, anonymous, and you’ll have to show cause in a later book or books why you’re capable of more. Somebody slams down a helmet and says “I quit!” and stomps away. I shrug and cross the name off on the roster…Guard #3. Fine. Somebody to stand motionless for a half hour can be hired off the street. The woodsfolk, of course, understood this earlier and are happily showing one another the one gold piece they stole from Arvid’s pack even as they “helped” him load the horse…a matter of honor. They knew he’d expect that. Various soldiers, innkeepers, servants, etc. have gone back to whatever they were doing without rancor. It’s only some of them I’ve got yammering at me. Plus the ones I wish i could fit in…the quiet ones with wistful eyes.
But…enough of that. Forward, excelsior, damn the torpedoes… all that stuff. Scenes are waiting to be written.