Friday, January 23, 2015

Sneak Peak - Thunderlord

I've been hard at work on the next Darkover (R) novel, Thunderlord. Marion Zimmer Bradley, who created the world of Darkover, intended to write a companion book to Stormqueen, but died before she could write it. In the few fragmentary notes she left, she indicated only that it would take place a generation after Stormqueen and feature the son of Donal Delleray and Renata Leynier, raised by Lord Aldaran as his son and heir. I submitted a proposal to write this book, and both the MZB Literary Trust and DAW Books approved it. Because readers have waited for Thunderlord for years now and it may be some time before it's published (since it's not finished yet), now and in the following weeks I'll post snippets for your enjoyment. Hopefully, I will find something in each chapter that is neither too confusing nor gives away too much. Please remember that this is a work in progress and drafts have a habit of changing drastically from inception to finished book.

Thunderlord Chapter 1, snippet:

“I knew you’d get into trouble sooner or later,” Alayna said. She was sitting on the bed she and Kyria shared, legs crossed under her full skirts, when Kyria closed the bedroom door behind her. The room was small and dark, the windows narrow and the few pieces of furniture old-fashioned and almost black with age, but it did possess a small fireplace, and a soothing warmth spread from the newly-lit flames.“Did I not say so?”

“You did, and you were right,” Kyria responded with a rueful smile. Alayna had teased her, sometimes unmercifully, but she’d never betrayed Kyria’s secret.

With a satisfied grin, Alayna bounced off the bed to help Kyria take off her wet boots. At least, the heavy winter socks had stayed dry, or mostly dry. She tsked in disapproval, very much like Ellimira did, as Kyria struggled out of the vest and breeches. “Those things must be older than the castle! Look at these seams – they’re falling apart! It was just as well you got caught now, or you’d soon be running around bare-arsed.”

“’Layna!” Kyria pretended to be shocked, but the quaver in her voice was not entirely feigned. Now that the interview with her father was over, and words said that could not be unsaid, she felt shivery all over.

Alayna folded the damp, mud-streaked clothes and set them in a neat pile on the chair just inside the door, all the while helping Kyria into the warmest of her nightgowns and wrapping her in a comforter. She brought out a basin and coaxed Kyria to put her feet into it. Tentatively, Kyria touched the toes of one foot to the water.

“Ouch!” Kyria jerked her foot back. 

“What’s the matter?” Alayna asked, glancing over her shoulder from the other side of the bed, where she was plumping pillows and arranging a warming brick under the covers. “Scared of a little water? Whatever shall you do when it comes to soap?”

“It’s hot! What are you trying to do, scald me?”

“It is not hot. It only feels that way because your toes are nigh onto frostbitten.” Alayna had unaccountably gotten herself around to Kyria’s side of the bed. She dipped her fingers in the basin. “See? It’s practically lukewarm.”

“I still say it’s too hot.” 

“And I say you’re acting like a spoiled child!”

“Now you’re sounding like Ellimira’s evil twin sister!”

“Am not!”

The sisters glared at one another. Then Alayna’s expression softened. “I’m so sorry, dearest. Here you are, half-frozen, bossed around by our sister-in-law and then by Father – I’m dying to hear what he had to say to you! – and now instead of taking care of you, I’m being wretched to you!”

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