One of the unexpected consequences of COVID-19 in my life is that I’ve turned into a snuggle-on-the-couch with-a-blanket kind of person, when before I was always a sit-upright-on-floor-pillows kind of person.
I guess it’s a comfort thing, but it makes it harder to go to bed in good time. If I can no longer sit upright on the floor, that usually means I’m tired enough to go to bed. But the couch? I just stay on the couch. And I watch Deep Space Nine.
Here’s another excerpt from Stars Fall Out, one of several I set aside to post before I finished the draft, but then never got around to posting due to the fact that finishing the draft ate all my free time in the weeks before its completion.
This excerpt features Master Zanhori, known as one of the greatest living oneiromancers, who travels throughout the Kirosz Empire with his three fearsome beasts, negotiating for peace where he can, and sometimes leaving destruction where he can’t.
The chair creaked alarmingly when I sat in it. Berihl opened a single eye at the noise and snorted. “How did you get a huge boar like that up the stairs?”
“I’d rather not talk about it.” Zanhrori tapped his long, elegant pen against the side of his desk. “And she’s a sow, not a boar.”
“For all his keenness, he isn’t much of a biologist. Your husband could’ve told you the difference.”
“That’s probably true.” His unexpected mention of Tirsan had thrown me off balance. I took a deep breath and braced myself in the chair so it wouldn’t creak again. “I know that you’re busy, so I’ll get right to it: I’m looking for someone to train me.”
My completed first draft of Stars Fall Out is 234,000 words, 173 scenes, and 1125 pages, with a printing time of two hours.
I posted on Facebook that hole-punching would be my hobby for the foreseeable future, and it did take three days before I got the entire draft off the dining room table, punched and distributed between three binders.
I still have several excerpts I haven’t posted since I’ve neglected the blog in my single-minded drive to finish this thing. Here’s the first of them, a longer one from near the end:
Tirsan leaned against the counter too, arms folded across his chest, and once again considered me. “This is the most we’ve spoken in two days.” He studied his fingers against his upper arm. “Do you want to know where I went today? I went to talk to a man with some animals to sell. More gyadi, sheep. A dog. He’s moving north in a couple months, and he let me inspect them.
“Gods, they were nice animals. Even if you knew nothing about them, you could tell. Glossy coats. Well-tempered, meticulously groomed. Fresh hay. I could’ve paid him, gotten the whole process started, and been back to [some other farm chore.]
“But I didn’t pay him. I said, ‘Do you mind if I talk to my wife and come back in a bit?’ Then I left. Walked around for the better part of an hour. I came back and said you’d told me to make sure they didn’t have any history of health problems in the breeding lines.
“He reassured me that they were all set—he’s had them going a few generations back–and said something like, ‘Good looking out, that wife of yours.’
“And I agreed with him, and asked if he wouldn’t mind me running home a second time to talk to you again. He said, ‘No, no, not at all, though you probably should’ve just brought her with you and saved yourself the trouble.
“I laughed and said, ‘Yes, I probably should have. But she’s far too busy getting things ready around the house.’
“Then I did the whole walk again, came back, and told him we’d take the animals. So that’s underway now. I thanked him and said we’d be in touch.
“And then, Tyatavar, I look the long way around home, as if I hadn’t walked enough miles already, because the whole thing bothered me so much. Why did I make it take two hours longer than it had to? Why did I lie about talking to you? Why did I say you had all those questions, when I knew within minutes I’d take the animals?”
I’m on one of the final climactic scenes of Stars Fall Out, and have ended up in a situation where my female main character is, in a not at all tongue-in-cheek fashion, trying to break a glass ceiling.