Ahhhhh, look at his hair! And of course, the blood.
I am Shadow. I am Death.
Oh, there is soooo very much to be thankful for this year. I’m thankful for my family and friends, my Evil Day Job (which really isn’t that evil), three releases in 2011, an RT nomination, just to name a few. But one thing I’m very very grateful for…. is finding Silviya, the artist I commissioned to create new covers for the Shanhasson books.
Because let me tell you, she outdid herself.
You know how hard and long I searched for Gregar. I never could find the right man, the right look. Well, Silviya was able to take the stock photo I found that was close, almost him… and breathe life into the wicked assassin I’d hoped to see.
Wait until you see him in all his glory!
But you know me, I have to torture you just a little. So this week I’m going to release hints of the final cover, one cropped bit each day. You won’t see the whole cover until Thanksgiving Day. Until then, feast your eyes on this…and dream of Blood and Shadows, which I hope to re-release in December after I finish NaNoWriMo.
For a short snippet of what I said about Rose:
“The characters and their world will haunt me for the rest of my life.”
Yep. Still haunted.
This book literally tore my heart in two when I read it the first time. I had tears streaming down my face. But I love books that make me FEEL as opposed to leaving me lukewarm, so this was the perfect book for me. If you’re hopped up on Romancelandia’s supposed “rules”, this may not be the book for you. Me? I think some rules were meant to be broken and Joely breaks them superbly. I LOVE series books and I love THIS series. “Road” is a great sequel to Rose and has me pining for the third installment, tentatively titled Return to Shanhasson. But seeing how busy poor Joely is and intends to be, I might have to wait awhile. (*off screen* *SOOOOOOOOOB* CRUEL FATES!!!)
Ok, ok. I’m composed. I can wait.
Haha, not to worry, dear Soleil, but the first draft of Return to Shanhasson is indeed finished and only awaits Revision Hell. The only problem will be deciding which Revision Hell to tackle first…
Thank you so much, Soleil!
And yes, Gregar haunts me too. He always will.
I admit, the day started out pretty rough. Just so nobody thinks my head is getting too big, I got a rejection on a short story last night that bummed me out so bad that I had a pretty nasty talk with Gregar, my sadomasochist muse.
I said something like, “If I had any other muse, then maybe my stories wouldn’t be so dark and full of pain all the time. Maybe I wouldn’t be throwing severed hands around or chopping fingers and thumbs off, or, in this last case, corrupting an innocent into killing a holy person!”
Gregar laughed so hard he bent over and slapped his thighs. “If you had any other muse, then you wouldn’t have me.”
“Well,” I retorted. “What else but blood and violence can I expect from an assassin?”
The Shadowed Blood went ominously quiet. Goose bumps raced up and down my arms, but I didn’t back down. I was too upset.
He stared at me until flames began flickering in his eyes (which if you’ve read the Shanhasson books, you know that’s a really bad sign). Finally, he said, “You created me, Lady. You hid me in Shadows. You placed my ivory rahke in my hand and whispered to me of blood. Every time you write, you throw me to the bottom of your Well and trust me not to let you drown. You need me exactly the way I am.”
I knew he was right but damned if I would admit it. “Why can’t we write something happy for once where no one dies or suffers? You know, sunshine, bunnies, light…”
But I knew the truth. One of my favorite lines from The Road to Shanhasson is:
THERE IS NO DAWN WITHOUT NIGHT, NO LIGHT WITHOUT SHADOW, NO LOVE WITHOUT HATE, BUT LOVE SHINES BRIGHTER IN THE MIDST OF DESPAIR.
“Sunshine and bunnies?” Rolling his ivory rahke back and forth across his palm, he stared at me blankly. “What fun would that be?”
So after that little chat, I whined a bit more, made a few silly oaths (something like never reading another submission call, EVER), and then just shut up and got to work on the Maya story. Of course, the first scene I needed to work on involved demons and torture. Gregar didn’t say a word, but he couldn’t help smirking every chance he got.
Finally, at the end of this last day of vacation, the Maya story is sitting at: 82,419 words. I have 9-10 sections left to revise (including the new ones I finished yesterday), so the story length is right on track for 90-100K. Revision Xibalba is far from over, though. I’m going to have to make another pass and watch for continuity problems. It has taken me too long to get through this project to remember some of the finer details.
So back to the Evil Day Job tomorrow. I don’t know if I’ll manage Dark & Early yet or not.
…including a sneak peek of The Road to Shanhasson, book 2 of the Shanhasson Trilogy, in honor of E-Book Week.
If you love Gregar, you’ll definitely want to check out his prequel, The Shadowed Blood, and the first two chapters of what I’ve called “Gregar’s Book,” The Road to Shanhasson. Download here.
If you have any problems with the download or feedback, let me know!
Lots of songs inspire me for this series: