Friday, September 23, 2011

Progress on The Children of Kings

The Marion Zimmer Literary Trust has approved the draft of The Children of Kings and I'm giving it a "one-more-pass" go-through. This is not a substantial revision, but a light polish. Mostly, it's a check not only for grammar and syntactical infelicities, but all those little errors that creep in when you've done a bunch of cut-and-pastes (or is it cuts-and-paste? that sort of thing). These don't get caught by either spelling or grammar checkers. Only real human beings can detect them, and not always then. We tend to see what we intended to write, not what's actually on the page or screen.

I'm at the stage of feeling immensely pleased with this book. Here's what I was working on yesterday (I took out a couple of spoilers) Hopefully, this snippet, taken utterly out of context and from the middle of the book, isn't too confusing.

    The villagers drew together, murmuring under their breaths.
    "Well?" Hayat demanded. "Has the fire stolen your tongues as well as your wits? What happened here?"

    No one stepped forward to answer him. He clenched his hands so tightly around the reins that his horse, weary though it was, threw up its head and jigged sideways in protest. His lips drew back from his startlingly white teeth and his brow furrowed. Gareth had seen that expression many times at the Thendara court, usually on the faces of men with little control over their tempers, men who expected instant obedience but lacked the ability to accommodate themselves to reality. Then, such a display of ill temper had either amused or annoyed him. He had been sufficiently above their position that he had nothing to fear. He knew they vented their frustration on those without rank or powerful protectors, but he had not cared enough about the servants and underlings, not to mention dependent family members, whose lives such men immiserated.
    Should he step forward now, drawing attention away from the villagers, who had not yet regained their full senses after the attack? Should he attempt to masquerade as one of them, or would Merach identify him as the trained swordsman of Carthon?
    While Gareth hesitated, Merach nudged his horse closer. "Look around you, Lord Hayat. Surely these people would give you answers if they were able. There is no rebellion in their faces. They are but ignorant country folk, sturdy enough for simple work but without sophistication."
    Hayat grunted in response. The strain in his features eased. He let the reins slip a little through his fingers, and the white horse drooped its head. "I suppose you in your superior wisdom can tell me what happened?"
    "I would not presume to inform the great lord of what he surely has deduced from the evidence of his own eyes. He has already recognized that the burn marks could not have been made by any ordinary fire."
    Gareth let his breath out, unaware until that moment that he had been holding it. One of the babies whimpered fitfully.  
    "The demon-fire weapons," Hayat muttered. Then he gestured to his men. "Dismount! The horses need water. You and you,"  pointing to two of his men, "and you two," then to two of the older village boys, "tend to them. And the gear as well, sand-rats. If so much as a bridle ring is missing, or there's a single hair of my horse's mane out of place, I'll take it out in strips of your hide."


  1. I think it cutzez and postezez-ing.

    The excerpt isn't confusing at all. it's very clean and readable. You deserve to be thoroughly pleased with your work.

  2. @widdershins - hooray, thanks for the feedback! And I love cutzes and postezez-ing. Can I steal it?

  3. Piedro Aillard, The Polishing Fool of Valeron PlainsMarch 4, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    Any news on The Children of Kings? Ready for the publisher already or still being polished?

  4. Hi Piedro. It's turned in, but no pub date yet. DAW is upon occasion very, very slow. You could write directly to them and ask...

  5. Still waiting (im)patiently, enthusiastically for Children of Kings. Any updates? Will it be available in paperback and/or a Kindle version at first?

  6. Hi JC - We're still on the schedule for March 2013 - hardback and Kindle. Paperback (mass market) will be a year later. Alas, I have no control over this - it's all up to the publisher.

    But such a tickle first thing in my morning to read you're looking forward to it!