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So now I’m back…from outer space!

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WordPress is formatting my blog oddly — please excuse this while I try to figure out if it’s me or them that’s causing the problem!

^^ My MIB gene condones Frank for his amazing singing, and for inspiring the title of this post.

Whew! After 86, 200 words in two and a half months, I have finished, edited, printed, and submitted my manuscript, titled Arden: the Girl from the Mountains. That was, to date, the most intense thing I’ve ever completed…and it’s not over yet.

While writing almost non-stop for 60-some days was often infuriating, just after one day without it I MISS IT ALREADY. I miss writing about stubborn, cool Arden, about temperamental Tristan, and charismatic Ilex. I miss the culture of the countries I’ve created, and I want to know what happens.

You see, I’ve left the window open. Actually, I left it wide open. They have yet to locate Amalie, a missing eight-year-old girl of royal importance, and Arden is faced with the freedom to refuse the empty position of King Ilex’s queen.

Shall I accept my own challenge, and write a sequel while the first is being considered for publication? Or shall I let my mind rest for a couple months, and meet some new characters?

Decisions, decisions.

In the meantime, I’ll let you know a bit about the writing process I’ve developed over the past two months. I tried, as best as I could, to write more than 1,000 words a day, and in the closing weeks I was wearing out my keyboard with a staggering average of 2,500 to 3,500 words. Normally, I would take a moment to let what I’ve written sink in — go back and read it, edit each chapter as it was written.

I had no such option here.

I wrote, and I wrote, and I wrote. I haven’t actually seen my family since mid-March, unless to ask for an opinion on names, situations, and plot weaknesses. I’m sure they’re all sick of Arden.

**wipe forehead**

My nails are nothing more than ugly stubs. Either worn down by the keyboard or shorn in anxiety, I’m not sure. The few times I conversed with my friends, they noted the frenzied look in my eye, and they knew that I was not really there.

And all were supportive. None criticised me — to my face, anyway! — on my bizarre mental state, and they were genuinely worried. I think they expected me to show up dressed in traditional Mundirian clothing and speaking their native language.

For an excerpt of my manuscript, see the bottom of this post.

~~

And to my Tudor followers! I profusely apologize for the lack of Tudor content, and that I missed some of the most anniversary-packed weeks. Some of the events I missed:

  • Death of Henry VII and ascension of Henry VIII – April 21, 1509
  • William Shakespeare’s [presumed] birth and death – April 23, 1564/1616
  • Interrogation of Mark Smeaton – April 30, 1536
  • Arrests of Anne Boleyn, Sir Henry Norris, and Viscount Rochford George Boleyn – May 2, 1536
  • Arrests of Sir Francis Weston, Sir William Brereton – May 4, 1536
  • And today, the arrests of Sir Thomas Wyatt and Sir Richard Page – May 5, 1536

May is a sad month for Tudor history fans. The fall of Anne Boleyn was extremely, breathtakingly fast. For a full timeline of Anne’s fall, visit the website for Claire Ridgway’s new book The Fall of Anne Boleyn: a Countdown.

~~

And a big congratulations to Zozie, who also finished her manuscript and submitted it to the same publisher as I did.

Having a writing friend has been invaluable. We bounce ideas off each other, walk through loopholes in our plots, dish on character gossip, and sit for hours in our own worlds — but we aren’t completely alone, because we have the semi-substantial figure of the other.

We jokingly call ourselves the next C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien — though it would be a long stretch if, combined, we accomplished a tenth of what they each did individually. The friendship of those two fantasy writers has been on our minds lately, and we’ve decided to co-author a blog to explore the lives and works of the famous friends. Behold: You are the Tolkien to my Lewis. Excuse us while we get things up and running, but within the next week some content will be posted!

~~

And now, for an excerpt of Arden: the Girl from the Mountains. (Background info: Arden Falconer lives on the remote Faleigh Mountain, where she, her godfather Teddy, and little brother Derrin breed and raise falcons. Every year they sell their beautiful birds in Galisle, the market village at the base of the mountain. This excerpt is from her time in Galisle.)

Greyfeather settled on Arden’s shoulder, his sharp talons disrupting her thoughts of home. She let him burrow into her skin, welcoming his soft warmth. The blanket of clouds from the day before had been blown away to uncover an overly blue sky, and the wind came from the north, bringing with it the coolness and freshness of the mountains. Arden breathed deeply, inhaling the cold scent that heightened her senses and raised her skin to goose-flesh.

“Nice cast.”

Arden quickly plastered a friendly smile on her face. “Thanks,” she said to the man. “Not many people know a group of falcons is called a cast.”

“My cousin used to own a falcon.” He shrugged. “You know, you’d probably sell a lot more if you didn’t train them to steal people’s hats.”

She realized with a start that it was the man from the Revel two nights ago. Without his hat and in daylight, he looked quite different. Little more than medium height, slight, almost lanky in build, cropped chestnut hair: he was not exceptionally handsome. His eyes, however, were large and brown as a cow’s and oddly appealing. Arden’s smile became more genuine.

“My falcons are trained with humour, Master; and only my elder ones are taught such tricks,” she replied. “Now, are you interested in this fine gyrfalcon to entertain your days? She’s a fantastic flyer, can hunt anything up to as big as a large goose; she’s very independent, but certainly not too much to handle.”

“I’m afraid I’m just window shopping for a friend,” said the man. He stuck his hands in his pockets. “But I’ll stop by again in a couple hours. She’s a beauty. Good day, Lady Falconer.”

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