The good news is that I heard from Editor that ARCs are on their way. That’s right, plural. We will have a contest & drawing for two ARCs of Crown of Renewal. Here’s your challenge for this year…
You are in someone’s home–fairly large, enough for a goodly number of people to live there. It is Midwinter, after sundown: all fires have been extinguished and all hearths swept bare. Light has faded from the windows as from the sky. The wood for the new fire is waiting. The house is chilling down, though the hearthstone still holds a little warmth from the fire earlier. You know those with whom you’ll spend Midwinter–you’re not a stranger here.
So…tell us where you are: what land, what city or country place, what home or shop or other gathering place. Who is with you? Are you imagining yourself as the lord or lady of the place? The grandmother? The steward? The cook? The bookkeeper? One of the children? Who’s sitting next to you? Mother, father, sister, brother, cousin, another of the family? One of the staff? Are you Marshal of a grange keeping the Midwinter vigil with your yeoman marshal(s) and a few of your yeomen who live alone? Are you a military commander? Are you holding your first child close, to keep it warm?
You can people the place with anyone who fits into Paksworld (the extras in their breakroom love to help out, and the main characters, now lounging in their own greenroom, have long since eaten up their refreshments in the long gap between the last working meal and the banquet when the book comes out–you can invite them in. )
And what part will you play in the night-long vigil? Will you be chosen to speak one of the family parts? Which of the dead will you call by name when Torre’s Necklace stands highest at the turn of night? What tales will you tell of courage and endurance and hope in those coldest hours before the dawn? Who will stand in the cold dawn to announce the first arrow of the sun that strikes…what? A tower? A tree near the place? A mountain peak? Or straight through an open front door or window?
And do remember not to quarrel or call for judgment or make careless promises…the judgments and decisions and oaths of Midwinter night cannot be set aside: “All doubts die with the sun.”
EDIT a few minutes later: I forgot the deadline for this (DUH) and Christmas, which some of us are busy with, comes in the midst thereof. So, the deadline is midnight my time (Central Standard Time in the US–like Chicago or Dallas on world maps) on the Sunday after Christmas, December 29. Given holiday mails, I don’t know if the ARCs will arrive, but it brackets Midwinter itself nicely that way and gives your creativity time to play.