I didn’t really take any time off after completing THE SIGN OF THE ARROW but pretty much jumped right into writing the fourth and (almost certainly) last Donzalo book, THE HAND OF THE SORCERER. That title is likely to stick though it is not yet written in stone (i.e it hasn’t been assigned an ISBN).
There were so many ideas in my head I had to immediately begin sorting them out, making notes, outlining. At good bit of my plotting does admittedly take place in my head before I start typing — I am not really one to sit down and make it up as I go along, although there can certainly be a good deal of improvisation once I start writing the narrative.
Anyway, I am currently 12,000 words into the first ‘Tale’ of the book (titled ‘Of Brothers’), which promises to come to my typical novella-size length of somewhere around 20,000 words. Then, probably only one more such to finish the entire DONZALO’S DESTINY saga (although it could always turn into three Tales – that has happened in the last two books). The last Tale will be named ‘Of Destiny.’
Although I know I shall be tempted, I promise (mostly myself) not to tackle another saga carrying on the story of these characters right away. I do have a good idea of where they will be going — that’s part of knowing who they are. Donzalo himself will not have a central role when (if?) there are more books.
My proof copy of THE SIGN OF THE ARROW arrived and looked fine so I have no reservations about announcing the availability of the book in print. EPUB, PDF and print versions are all available at the Arachis Press shop at Lulu and will soon be up at the AP website as well (arachispress.com). Officially, the release date is still August 1, but that doesn’t really mean much.
I hope to turn to other projects once I finish this and get the Donzalo movie out of my head. I do obsess about it. I practically live in it. It will be time to go live on a beach for a while and write something about Florida, I think!
Finally, I’m going to include a short passage (I tend toward short passages) from the new book-in-progress, a scene of the sorcerer Radal reminiscing about his youth. Not a final draft, of course.
* * *
Radal was not sure when he had first heard the voice of Darkness, but it had come with forgiveness for all the thoughts, all the desires, his mother had told him were sins. They are nothing, said Darkness, and her voice was as soft winds of night.
She whispered to him that the gods were only little things and would perish as surely as men. Then only she in her primal majesty would remain. Naught else would matter.
The sorcerer had a small obsidian figure he had found as a boy, half-buried in the clay by the river. His father, the tall stern soldier, had told him it was only a chess piece someone had lost but he knew that it was she, come to him so he might worship.
That figurine resided now in distant Celatas, on a shelf in his study. Perhaps it had been but a lost gaming piece. Perhaps it had no power other than that he gave it.
Darkness, the goddess of that unhappy boy, Radal now knew as a manifestation of the Great Void in our world. The Void was indifferent to all existence. It did not even hate, being empty of all things. But Darkness hated, as had Radal.
He would serve her always and her father, Death — Asak, as the Kamatians named him, and the Ildin before them. Someday, soon probably, Asak would come and give him his gift of peace, of extinction. He would be with his goddess.
Until then he would serve her, though she asked nothing of men.
Radal remembered still the hymn the boy had composed in her honor, that he had intoned before his little obsidian idol.
Darkness, Asak’s eldest child,
Lady of the Lifeless Lands,
on your carved ebon throne,
scatter Time’s unnumbered sands.
Wisdom comes as nightmare runes,
written on the lids of eyes
that beheld you, vast and still,
ere stars rose in ancient skies.
All the children of the day,
generations raised in light,
shrink from the Abyss’s gaze,
waste and wither in your sight.
Darkness, born of endless Void,
Goddess to the men of old,
reign as Queen of endless realms,
worlds where all things grow cold.
Radal smiled thinly at the memory and, with a sigh, turned to his work. He must soon act, and decisively. Then let things be as they would be, knowing that Darkness did not listen to prayers.