Last night, one hardback and one paperback copy of Blackthorne arrived on my doorstep. They're all official looking. It still feels unreal to see my name on a book cover like that--let alone four of them all neatly arranged on a shelf. (Oh, imposter syndrome. [sigh]) Oh, I should mention that Cold Iron, the first novel in the series, is on sale for 99 cents (the Kindle version) on Amazon. The paperback is $7.99 and the hardback can be found there too.
On to other things.
Today, I'm going to provide you with a bit more Suvi, Dylan, and Dar.
Clár Oibre Rúnda, with her charcoal-black hull and matching sails, was difficult to spot in the dark. Watching the two-masted sloop of war glide to her berth next to Otter, Suvi briefly wondered how many ships the Waterborne had that were similarly designed? Probably quite a few, she thought. Although honorable, not every movement the Waterborne made was above the waterline--as Dylan would phrase it. Useful. Maybe we could have a few of the same sorts of ships one day? If New Eledore survives.
That's a big 'if.'
The Eledorean corvette and the Waterborne ship were of similar size. Side by side, they looked like two beautiful sisters--one light, one dark.
Her relief at seeing her friends safe was mixed with anxiety. She had missed Dylan, of course. He had been one of her closest confidants since her first posting in her father's navy--years before she'd become queen, but the news she had for him wasn't positive. She hoped this wouldn't spell the end of the only positive political alliance New Eledore possessed. Her chest ached with that thought, and she told herself for the hundredth time that a queen could ill-afford self-pity.
When Dylan spotted her waiting, he secured the sloop to the dock with one last rushed knot and scrambled down the short rope ladder. Smiling, he held his arms out wide. "Suvi! You met us at the dock in person?"
"Of course, I did!" She grabbed him in a tight hug, her face hitting him in the chest. He smelled of fresh air, ship tar, salt, and spices. "You certainly took your time getting up the river."
He lifted her into the air like an indulgent big brother, and she couldn't help letting out a girlish squeal. That was when she noticed the white mark on Dylan's forehead. She held her questions for later.
He set her back on her feet. "Sailing only at night has its disadvantages."
"Why bother? Didn't you travel the whole way from the coast by the Kristallilasi River? The Acrasians don't have any fortifications west of Trecoli, not on the river. They haven't resumed moving westward, have they?" Suvi asked.
"They haven't," Dylan said. "But there were complications."
"Complications? Are you hurt?" She pointed to the white mark. It was the size of a thumbprint. She'd never seen anything like it before. "Should I get a healer?"
An embarrassed expression passed over Dylan's features. "Not now," he muttered.
"My turn." Dar dropped two seabags onto the dock with a thump that echoed off the cave walls, and held out his arms for a hug. "River navigation isn't any fun. The wind is always in the wrong direction this time of year. Do you know how often we had to resort to towing Clár like a barge?"
"Why didn't Dylan make some wind?" Suvi asked and released Dylan.
Dylan said, "Even I don't have power enough to pilot a boat the length of the Kristallilasi."
In the midst of changing targets, Suvi spotted a shaggy, brown, Eledorean pony eating oats from a bucket on Clár's deck. She wrapped her arms around Dar. "Good thing you remembered to bring a horse."
"Who says we did?" Dar said.
"Then where did that come from?" Suvi asked, stepping back from Dar and pointing to the pony.
"Oh. That's Anu," Dar said with a grin.
"Did you steal Anu?" Suvi asked.
"Why, dear lady," Dar said. "What are you implying?"
"Waterborne are merchants--" Suvi said, "I know. I know."
"--we'd never ever do--"
"--any such thing," Suvi said. "I know."
Dar leaned closer. "Poor Anu was living in an Acrasian work camp north of Wyeth. She was pining for Grandmother Mountain. How could we refuse?"
"I see," Suvi said. "And that didn't have anything to do with your need to travel only at night?"
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.