Conversations & Slowdowns & Snippet

Posted: February 9th, 2014 under snippet.

Lively comment conversations distract the author into joining in, and thus take time that might (no promises) otherwise lead to more blog posts.   Naughty author!   But this week the weather was also involved.  Let’s see now.  It’s certainly time for another snippet from Crown of Renewal, as we’re within 3 months of its pub date.   Paksworld itself continues to push people onstage in my head and insist that we’re not yet done here (and refuses to allow other characters to come fully alive, which will disappoint my space opera readers.)    I don’t know if a novel will come out of it–the short stuff continues to come in spurts, like this knitter v. knitter v. vindictive old…no, that’s spoilerish.   Anyway, a snippet is below the break.

Where:  Northern stronghold

Who: Arcolin and young  Jamis


On the ride to Duke’s West, Arcolin told Jamis what to expect in the ceremony.  “You won’t need court clothes, at your age, but your best clothes, certainly.  Your mother will probably insist on a lace collar–”

“Lace is itchy.”

“Yes, but this is at the king’s court, where everyone wears lace and itchy clothes.  It helps us remember we’re in a special place, very formal.  I will wear lace too, and so will your mother.”  Jamis nodded.  “Now,” Arcolin went on, “our king here in Tsaia isn’t an old man, as my father was, but a young man…”


Other events have influenced Arcolin to choose  a particular time to bring Jamis to court.   Remembering my own childhood and the necessity of accepting itchy and otherwise uncomfortable clothes for certain occasions, I let Jamis react as a boy who’s been living a new, exciting, far less constrained life than before naturally would.   Aside from his grandparents,  he hasn’t missed Vérella since moving north.

Arcolin has been reassessing his past, and himself, in the past year, and is ready to expand in some new directions.   His writer found some of the reassessment (from back in Oath all the way through) a bit tedious and hopes not too much of that came into the books.     Necessity is pushing him, but it doesn’t have to push very hard anymore.   Oath showed an Arcolin who had give up growth and accepted near-stagnation, only to be shaken out of that comfort zone by events.  The end of Crown shows Arcolin well-established in his new identity, ready to respond quickly and with flexibility to the unexpected opportunity.


  • Comment by Sharidann — February 10, 2014 @ 1:10 am


    Oh my, reminds me of a couple of times as a kid where I had to wear special clothes as well…
    I feel for the little one. 🙂

  • Comment by elizabeth — February 10, 2014 @ 8:16 am


    I suspect every child, male or female, in history (in societies where clothes are worn) has been made to wear something that child felt was scratchy, itchy, too hot, not warm enough, too tight, embarrassing for some reason, etc. I certainly was. And I remember a child in my town being forced by his family to wear the kind of short pants popular fifty years before, when the other boys all wore jeans to school.

  • Comment by Nadine Barter Bowlus — February 10, 2014 @ 8:21 pm


    In my head, Jamis sounds like my oldest gradnson. Liked Arcolin’s response, too.

  • Comment by GinnyW — February 11, 2014 @ 8:26 am


    A certain very stiff red and white striped shorts and sleeveless shirt sprang instantly to mind. As it would to my younger sister who in the unfortunate succession of matching outfits had to wear it twice.

  • Comment by Gareth — February 11, 2014 @ 11:52 am


    Oh yes – I remember having to ‘dress up’ to go to church ‘sunday best’ not worn on any other occasion.

  • Comment by Linda — February 11, 2014 @ 5:39 pm


    Right, but it’s the last line of the snippet that is really interesting.

    I mean, I knew they wanted him to come back and be king, but he hadn’t told anybody else before that he was the son of a king.

    My thought was “that’ll put the fox among the chickens!”

    Suddenly it feels as if it will be a long wait, but I’m not quite ready to start rereading in order quite yet.

  • Comment by elizabeth — February 11, 2014 @ 6:32 pm


    Gareth & GinnyW: See, I knew that being made to wear uncomfortable clothes was a nearly-universal experience.

  • Comment by AThornton — February 11, 2014 @ 8:01 pm


    Ah yes. Nothing like wearing a wool suit in Kansas summer weather (100 degrees and 100% humidity) as one’s tie cuts off blood circulation to the brain. What fun!

  • Comment by John McDonald — February 11, 2014 @ 8:18 pm


    USMC Dress Blues to an outdoor funeral ceremony at 2 in the afternoon in July in East Texas, just after the thunderstorm passes. Although I think it may have been more uncomfortable for my wife; she was in Dress Blues with skirt, nylons, and heels.

  • Comment by elizabeth — February 11, 2014 @ 9:39 pm


    Omigosh, YES. Heat, humidity, sun, formal clothing and formal situation. Maximum misery.

  • Comment by elizabeth — February 11, 2014 @ 9:53 pm


    Linda: It is interesting who Arcolin tells when, and that he never told “outsiders” when he still held the ring “just in case.” It’s only after he’s committed to a life that will not end on that throne, that he tells anyone.

    In the early books, I saw Arcolin through Paks’s eyes almost exclusively…I had very little “adult” sense of who he really was. In these books, he surprised me at first by being (in drafts of OATH no one but my alpha readers saw) weaker than I had expected. Yes, he was an experienced mercenary commander, but…he felt “soft”…less decisive, with less initiative. It was clear he was hiding old secrets and old damage, but not what…he was so reserved, so capable of going silent and blank on me.

    Finding out what his history and deep motivations were, and watching him gradually come into his own power, his own agency, was astonishing and also enormous fun. I had to have a serious heart-to-heart with him in the first book (same as with several other major characters over the years.) “You can lie to anyone else you want, keep secrets from anyone else you want, but you can’t hide from ME. What the [various epithets] is your problem? Because if you aren’t going to get up there and act like a main character, you’re not going to be one. I can kill you off any time and let someone else take over the Company. Accidents happen.”

  • Comment by Genko — February 12, 2014 @ 11:27 am


    Oooh, tough talk from the author! I suppose that works on “real” people sometimes too. Not my style, but I can certainly see it and admire it as your style.

    I suspect Arcolin found the whole thing with the gnomes to be unsettling — and of course we see that, but we didn’t know all of why. He just thought he’d escaped that kind of leadership. Hmmm… echoes of Once a Hero, maybe.

  • Comment by GinnyW — February 12, 2014 @ 1:42 pm


    As I said elsewhere, I have really enjoyed the way that Arcolin has grown in this series. I am very glad that he decided to trust his author and open up. Could this be a side-effect of his marriage? The threats to the company in Aarenis reinforced his confidence in his own judgment and authority. The gnomes brought out his character as a ruler. But his encounter with dragon and his relationship to Burek began to engage his past, and now Calla has begun to dissolve the shell he built around the pain of Aesil’s rejection. Three months is a long time to wait.

  • Comment by Jenn — February 12, 2014 @ 3:08 pm


    Drove into the city today in a white-out with snow drifts forming on the highway (stupid 30mph wind). Always fun.

    Thanks for the snippets and background infofor the past few blogs. It is interesting to know that you had to threaten Arcolin to get him to “man-up”. I wonder if any of the extra’s would have lined up to assist with the author’s “accident”. 🙂

  • Comment by AThornton — February 12, 2014 @ 5:36 pm


    We were talking about this and Spousal Unit suggested I convey two words: Bridemaid Dresses.

    (She then went on a 20 minute rant which, I confess, I didn’t quite follow.)

  • Comment by Daniel Glover — February 12, 2014 @ 9:17 pm



    You had better pay attention to SU. She might this blog and not be pleased. I don’t have an SU and know that BDs are made to match whatever scheme the bride has in mind and pretty much never fits any of the bridesmaids at all. They look nice as a group but are uniformly uncomfortable.

  • Comment by AThornton — February 12, 2014 @ 11:04 pm


    Daniel Glover – The rant was her being being forced to wear them. When we got hitched it was professional business clothing for the BDs.

    *** SPOILER ALERT ***

    The discussion of Acolin got me thinking about that wet drip Amrothlin. The Lady was simultaneously his mother, his ruler, and whose will and personality established the (psychological?) norms of the Lady Forest. The poor sap never really had a chance to self-develop due to the overwhelming influence of mommy.

    Maybe under the new order he can finally grow up? Will he have to change his name? He was fostered for some time in the King’s Forest. Will that have an effect? And who was his father and what happened to him? (I can’t recall if it was mentioned.)

  • Comment by elizabeth — February 12, 2014 @ 11:42 pm


    Genko: I don’t do that with real people (though I have been tempted…SO tempted…) but characters…? Yes. Definitely.

    Anyone would find that thing with the gnomes unsettling. Most people are unsettled by gnomes, period.

    GinnyW: Arcolin began to open up long before his marriage (or he wouldn’t have been able to…) I was delighted when he had that dinner with Aesil and with the clues he began to hand me. It wasn’t just that he was letting me in on more of his past, but that he was acting with more agency, more “range.”

    Daniel G: Bridesmaids’ dresses are something that even a thoughtful bride can’t ensure will work out well. I had two bridesmaids. I asked them about color; I found a Simplicity pattern that would look good on both of them; I bought the fabric. One of them sewed, one of them had a friend who sewed. One dress came out with the wrong side of the fabric to the outside (my mother remade it the week before the wedding.) I don’t think either of them liked the dress, but they weren’t godawful and they didn’t cost a ton.

    AThornton: YAY! Somebody other than me called Amrothlin a wet drip!! Yes, he can look impressive to someone nearly dead in the snow, as he did to Paks that night, and to humans who think all elves are Mighty in Wonder, but…poor guy is seriously lacking in areas where my human heroes, of either sex, excel. I spent some time pushing and prodding Amrothlin, because I really did want him to either be a villain worth killing or a better/stronger fellow than he was.

  • Comment by Daniel Glover — February 13, 2014 @ 6:21 am


    The only BDs that I’ve seen that worked really well for all were when the bride just set a broad color scheme and let the attendants wear something they already owned. Has happened a couple of times, everyone looked and spoke of being comfortable as well as looked good. They totally focused on the celebration rather than worried about clothes slipping, pinching, etc.

  • Comment by elizabeth — February 13, 2014 @ 8:59 am


    Daniel: This works only if the BDs own suitable dresses. Sometimes they don’t. But Paksworld doesn’t have the same setup I grew up with, so…it’s not a problem there. Even the most formal weddings, in the royal families, don’t involve identically dressed bridesmaids (or bridesmaids at all, for that matter. However, the painfully cute small children scattering flower petals may still show up if the wedding’s at the right time of year.)

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