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Is this publisher worthy?
Posted: April 26th, 2017, 6:03 pm
I've been doing the free weekly web-serial thing for a few years now, and now that my latest book is nearly finished I'm considering seeing if I can get it published by a real publisher. Here's part of the first chapter. If you've got a few minutes, would you mind looking it over and telling me what you think? Is it as good as something you'd expect to find in a Barnes and Noble, you think? Still need work?
The early afternoon sky was a bloody shade of red as the carriage trundled along the uneven sandy ground. Painted black as a hearse, the shade offered very little comfort to the young zik maiden it carried, and her sheer red dress, cut low at the back to show off her silky brown fur, was quickly becoming stained with sweat.
"As if traveling in the desert wasn't bad enough," she complained, fanning herself as best she could with her hand, "it just had to be on a day when Wurstram was shining!"
And Wurstram was, indeed, glaring down at the Taksten desert with a vengeance. The great red moon sat so close to Haroz today that it almost blotted out the sun itself, bathing the world with its scarlet light— and its heat.
"Why couldn't it be Lishara?" she whined, leaning her head out the window in a decidedly unladylike fashion in an effort to catch a breeze. Instead, she got nothing but a blast of sandy wind directly in her face. Coughing, and hacking, she pulled her head back into the carriage, and the fur on her ears turned a bright, vivid yellow.
"With all due respect, Mistress," a timid voice said from above her, "Lishara would just make it even worse."
"How could things possibly be worse than they are now, Za?" she demanded.
She heard him snap the reigns, spurring the kashnilas to run faster. "Cuz Lishara wouldn't cool things down, it'd just make it humid as the Pit."
Adlis leaned back in her seat, trying her best to ignore the heat. Za was probably right, but she didn't feel like letting him know that.
"If anythin', we need Atroyo," her driver went on.
"Oh, please," Adlis said, putting her head out the window again. This time, she made sure to shield her eyes with her hand, but her long hair still whipped out behind her like a kite. "As if I need my fur standing on end on top of all this heat."
She looked up at the simmk, clad in a duster and wide brimmed hat as black as their carriage as he drove them further into the desert.
"But it can bring storms, too!" he insisted, turning around to look at her with his large eyes, painted bright yellow on his purple-and-white striped sackcloth mask. "That means rain and shade."
Adlis tried to act annoyed, but her lip curled up in a smirk all the same. "You're just a regular fountain of knowledge, aren't you, Za?"
Za shook his head, almost losing his hat in the process. "No ma'am, I'm not, I promise. In fact, I'm probably wrong."
Adlis laughed. "You don't have to be so serious all the time."
"I just don't wanna offend you, Mistress."
"And I thought I told you to stop calling me that. I'm not your mistress anymore, I'm your friend."
Za turned to look sheepishly at her. "Beggin' your pardon, Miss Adlis. I just don't wanna cause no offense."
Adlis turned her nose up and gave him a smug look. "You couldn't offend me if you tried."
"Go ahead, try!"
"Have you checked your ears?"
Adlis made a choking sound in her throat, and jerked her head back in through the window so fast that she almost struck it on the sill. After raising the glass pane, despite the heat, she gazed into her translucent reflection...
"D'yargo," she muttered under her breath. "Not again!"
"Sorry, Miss Adlis!" Za said from outside. "I just heard your voice and thought... well..."
Settling back in her seat, Adlis closed her eyes and took a deep, calming breath, trying to let her mind go blank. No intrusive thoughts, no distractions, and definitely no emotions. A few seconds later she felt the barely noticeable tingle in her ears and opened her eyes to look at her reflection again. Sure enough, the fur had gone back to their normal shade of brown. She breathed a sigh of relief and opened the window again.
"At least the kashnilas seem happy!" Za said with forced cheerfulness.
"Of course they are," she answered, knowing he'd be able to hear her no matter how quietly she spoke. "They're reptiles. They love the heat, indecent scaly things."
Adlis felt a twinge of guilt for calling them that. The bipedal lizards, with their swirling rainbow patterned scales, were actually quite beautiful. The Kashni who had owned them had named them Puela and Mag. Or, rather, he said they'd named themselves that. She had never been sure if the Kashnis were telling the truth when they said they could talk to kashnilas, or if they were just pulling a widespread prank on the other creatures of Tassendile. They might share a common ancestor, she gave them that much, but to say they could actually communicate with a common animal...
"I still don't think this is the right thing to do, Mistr- Miss Adlis," Za spoke up a few minutes later. "You're tryin' to get to Arborough, right? Then why're we goin’ further into the Taksten?"
Adlis sighed. "I told you yesterday, Za. And the day before that!"
"Well, beggin' your pardon, Miss Adlis, but I'm nervous. You're smarter than I am. If you tell me what you're thinkin', I'll trust ya, and that'll make me feel better."
"Arborough is on the other side of the Shi Valen Mountains," she answered, making a futile attempt to fan herself again. "We'd never make it all the way across by ourselves. We need a guide."
"There was that zik at the last town we were at."
Adlis scowled and raised her hand to feel her ears, begging them not the change color. "That was before he saw these," she snapped, not having to explain what these were. "We're lucky they didn't turn me over to the Church of Embin!"
The ceiling of the carriage creaked, and she knew Za was up there shuddering. "I'm sorry," she called, her ears involuntarily turning blue. "I shouldn't have said that."
"You don't have to apologize to me, Miss Adlis," the simmk replied. "That ain't your place. I just... I'm all right."
Za had never spoken about it, but Adlis suspected one of his former master's must have been taken by the priests. He would probably tell her if she ordered him to, but she'd told him he wasn't servant anymore, and that was a promise she intended to keep.
Adlis wiped her brow, and noticed how coarse her hair felt. With a soft groan, she reached down into her bag and withdrew the hairbrush she had nicked during her escape and began running it through her hair. The bristles were soft and parted her hair easily, making tiny grains of sand patter onto the floor around her feet. Her hair hung down a few inches past her shoulders, so it took her nearly an hour to brush all of it. She welcomed the opportunity to think about anything besides the bumpy carriage ride. Once that was done, she began to groom the fur on her tail as well. Her dress was cut so low on her back that her tail easily fir through the opening, free for all of Haroz to see. The thought still made her blush. There wasn't a single day where she wasn't tempted to tuck it into the dress itself, as was modest, but the bump it would make inside the tight fabric only made it more embarrassing. Like walking down the street with only a bath towel to cover her breasts, the pitiful attempt to hide her indecency only drew more attention to it.
"If you don't mind me askin', Miss Adlis," Za said, bringing her back to the present, "Where're we goin' now?"
"That Kashni said there was another village about two days' riding this way," she answered. "It's supposed to be a tiny place, but maybe there's someone there who would be willing to escort us over the mountains."
"He's gonna want a lot of money for that."
Adlis bit her lip, but didn't let her uncertainty show when she spoke. "They'll have to wait until we get there, but it'll be well worth their wait."
"You might have trouble tellin' him that," Za said, picking up on the hidden meaning behind Adlis' words. They had no money. If their guide expected to be paid in advance, they'd be stuck out in this Embin-cursed desert forever.
"Just leave the talking to me," she assured him. "Everything will be fine."
"Wouldn't have it any other way, Miss Adlis."
The simmk lapsed into silence, concentrating on driving the kashnilas, and Adlis leaned her head back in her seat. The carriage was comfortable enough, given their circumstances. The seats were cushioned, and there was plenty of room to stretch her legs. The seat itself was wide enough for two people to sit side by side. Or, Adlis thought as she laid down on her side and curled into a ball, for one zik to lay down and take a nap. Using her travel sack and the fur on her arm as a pillow, Adlis closed her eyes, and fell asleep.
Re: Is this publisher worthy?
Posted: April 26th, 2017, 6:24 pm
My first reaction was the over abundance of the made-up names of strange things. Different seasons, furry people, etc. I know its a fantasy world, but so much is strange you wonder if in this world blood is red and hearses are black. There is no immersion, nothing driving me to keep reading. Its a deterrent to story telling.
I think one of the challenges of fantasy writing is to make things both exotic and familiar all at once. Here, I am going to steal from a solid source to make my point:
In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.
And so we meet this "Hobbit", but he is immediately familiar. He lives in a hole, which is exotic, but he himself is one of us.
THE Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his little home. First with brooms, then with dusters; then on ladders and steps and chairs, with a brush and a pail of whitewash; till he had dust in his throat and eyes, and splashes of whitewash all over his black fur, and an aching back and weary arms. Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing. It was small wonder, then, that he suddenly flung down his brush on the floor, said, "Bother!" and "O blow!" and also "Hang spring-cleaning!" and bolted out of the house without even waiting to put on his coat.
And so we meet "The Mole", and yet again, immediately familiar. Yes, he is a mole, but he is cleaning his house like one of us.
Ever watch BattleStar Galactica? Notice how every time they say things like "Yahrens" or some other made up world it breaks you out of your immersion, and you think "That is a made up word". Instead, when they stick to keeping traditional military ranks and terms, it reinforces your immersion and you don't think outside the story at all.
And so we should meet Adliss. Yes, she has fur, but she is enduring an uncomfortable ride in the heat, and complaining about it, which makes her one of us.
Re: Is this publisher worthy?
Posted: April 27th, 2017, 11:40 pm
The problem isn't that the setting is too strange to draw the reader in (if that were true, we wouldn't have fantasy at all!); it's that it sidelines what should be the book's draw, its characters and their story. The scene is smothered in "as you know"-style exposition - instead of talking about the things that are actually relevant to them, the characters endlessly explain to each other that the moons Lishara and Atroyo do different things from Wurstram, or that the kashnilas are reptiles (immediately before the narration goes ahead and describes them anyway), or that Arborough is over the Shi Valen mountains. There is an entire conversation in which Adlis summarizes to Za their travels to that point... because Za somehow forgot the point of the desert trek that they've been on for three days - and apparently has to be reminded each day? He forgot the narrow escape from the Church of Embin at their previous stop despite having memories of the church so traumatic that he shudders at its mere mention? What is this? Why go to the trouble of such absurd contrivance when you can actually narrate this stuff instead of forcing it into the characters' mouths?
I have two pieces of advice.
First, slow down and space things out. Give them weight and reality instead of making them all bits of exposition. For example, it's enough for this scene to know that there's a giant, burning moon - if you want to show off the other two, actually do that when they come up instead of distracting from the one at hand and muffling the impact of all three. Do you really want the reader's first impression of Lishara and its torrents to be an offhand quip in an exchange of forced, expository banter? (More importantly, although I'm getting ahead of myself, do you want that exchange to be the reader's first impression of the whole book?) Another example: The escape from the church at the previous town seems like it would be a tense, even emotional, scene to actually read, but it's just mentioned in passing to set up Za's reaction. How much more engaging would this book be if it opened with that instead of a carriage in a desert? I'm not saying that this scene shouldn't be in the book (after all, if the characters are going to cross a desert, you do have to show them crossing a desert), but it's hard to not want a more immediate opening when you specifically allude to one.
Second, don't make your characters narrate the story. That's what the narration is for. They have no reason to be telling each other all of this stuff that they already know - and really, they aren't. They're telling it to the reader, and the effect is so fake and artificial that they cease to be characters at all. When Adlis and Za explain the three moons to me, I'm about as emotionally invested in them as I am in the appendices at the back of Dune. The narration, unlike the protagonists, has no obligation to make me care about it, so put all the descriptions and explanations there and give the characters dialogue instead. Not only does that let the characters be characters, it lets you write that information in actual prose instead of trying to shoehorn it into the characters' voices.
I know that I'm being pretty blunt about all of this, but I hope that you don't take it as dismissal. I wouldn't go to the trouble of laying my thoughts out like this if I didn't care about the potential of the story, and I can see how invested you are in this world by how eager you are to show it off. Just remember that readers can't share that investment unless you build it up for them too.
Re: Is this publisher worthy?
Posted: April 28th, 2017, 12:56 pm
Thanks for the feedback, guys. That's actually only half the chapter. I've actually been wondering if I should start the book with the second part, since there's more happening in it. What do you think?
"We beseech thee, oh Embin above, wrap thine chains around this cup and bar the way against all that is strange and perverse as I partake of it." Kulgan moved his hand in a ring around the rim of the shot glass, touching his thumb and forefinger together every half an inch. Embin's Chain. He couldn't help but smile ruefully as he raised the glass and downed it in one gulp. If the invocation worked, it didn't work very well. He was living proof of that.
Do it. Drive it into your skin. Pierce!
The feeble light of a candle and a bottle of whiskey were all the Gray Ranger had to chase away the cold desert night, and yet he sweated. His hair, as gray as his title, clung to his forehead with perspiration. He hunched forward over the table, facing the wall, and poured himself another shot. He said the prayer again, as he always did, before draining that glass as well. Useless as it may be, old habits are hard to break, especially ones hammered into his head by the church and its insufferable priests.
The sound of a gunshot came from outside, but Kulgan barely flinched. After a moment's hesitation he filled his glass again, unconcernedly brushing a strand of hair out of his eyes. If they needed him, they would find him.
While his right hand was pouring, his left hand unconsciously wandered down under the collar of his shirt, and he jumped in surprise when his fingers wrapped around the black pendant concealed underneath. Soft and yet sharp, coarse and yet slimy, the small stone was an impossible twisted mess of contradictions, and he loved it almost as much as he hated it. Kulgan drew in a shaky breath, but couldn't bring himself to unclench his fingers. Instead, he drew it out of his shirt and held it up to the candle flame, letting the flickering light dance across its polished black surface.
Another gunshot rang through the night, but Kulgan barely heard this one his attention was so focused on the pendant. Small enough to fit in the palm of his hand and as black as pitch, it looked like a nail forged out of the midnight sky. He ran his thumb across it, enamored by the sensations it oozed into skin. Ugly beyond words, and yet the most beautiful thing he'd even laid eyes on. Putrid, rank, disgusting, and wonderful. There were times he was even convinced it was alive, despite the aura of decay that radiated from it like a cloud of the sweetest sewage.
Almost as if the pendant were whispering to him, Kulgan's eyes shifted to his other hand, still holding the whiskey bottle motionless above his glass, and noticed how the angle made his sleeve slump back from his wrist.
Do it. You want to. Stab it in. Make it bleed. Pierce. Twist!
Kulgan's left hand began to shake.
Do it. Pierce. Twist. DO IT. DO—
The gravelly voice broke through Kulgan's trance, and he jumped, spilling whiskey across the table and onto the floor. He blinked, took a moment to gather his wits, and then slipped the pendant back under his shirt just as a sharp rapping came from the door, which swung open with a creak. A large reptilian creature stood out in the road, glaring inside with golden slitted eyes. The lantern in his fist reflected off of his ruby red scales, sending flecks of scarlet light dancing across the walls and ceiling.
"D'yargo drunk," he spat in disgust when he saw Kulgan hunched over his table. "This is the fifth time you've—"
"This is the eighth time I've broken into Munn's pub this week, Tikta. You just didn't catch me the last two times."
Tikta hesitated, and Kulgan gave a rueful smile at the wall in front of him.
"You gonna tell me what's going on out there, buddy?" he asked.
The burly Kashni growled, but his shadow didn't move, telling Kulgan that his double barreled shotgun was still pointing safely at the floor.
"It's the Red Fangs," he said at last, like he was reluctant to tell the cocky human anything.
Kulgan sat up a little straighter, but still didn't turn around. "Huh. I didn't know they came this far south."
"Does it matter?" Tikta demanded. "They're just outside Everdry, and you know what those wasters do to people!"
"Burning, raping, pillaging," Kulgan counted, "and if they're in a particularly good mood, they might even cook us up and eat us."
The crack of gunfire rang through the night again, and Kulgan tilted his head.
"A Dragonthroat 37," he noted. "Powerful enough to punch a hole straight through any of these walls, and accurate enough to do it from five hundred feet away." He smirked and finally turned to look at the Kashni. "They mean business."
Tikta glared at him, and Kulgan saw how the scales around his knuckles turned a shade whiter as he clutched his shotgun.
"Is that a Tenryvol Thunderstick?" he said, gesturing towards the gun. Tikta blinked in surprise and shifted it to a more comfortable position.
"My pa gave it to me," he said with a trace of pride in his voice. "Her name's Scatter."
"A decent enough gun," Kulgan said. "More than enough to scare off the usual predators that prowl around these parts at night. Against a gang of armed killers it'll be next to useless, though."
Tikta growled again. "What'd you say? Scatter's the best gun in Everydry! She can—"
"Tikta, that scattershot couldn't hit anything more than thirty feet away," Kulgan snapped back, rolling his eyes. "If the Red Fangs ever get close enough for you to use it, you'll probably be dead already."
Tikta's eyes grew wide with trepidation, but he still stood firm. Kulgan to hand it to him, the proud Kashni wasn't easy to scare. That didn't make messing with him any less fun, of course.
The Dragonthroat fired again, and this time it was followed by the sound of splintering wood as the bullet tore through one of the nearby buildings. Kulgan smiled and took a pull from the bottle itself, slamming it back down onto the table before standing up and making for the door. Three more empty bottles were left in his wake, and yet he walked without the slightest stagger.
"Come on, then," he said, patting Tikta on the shoulder on the way past. "Quit lollygagging."
He made his way out into the streets, where the other Everdryers were gathered, torn between their instinct to run and take cover and the grim knowledge that their town had nowhere to hide. The population was mainly made up of Kashnis like Tikta, but there were a few ziks and a couple humans mingling in the crowd. Out of all of them, human or otherwise, Kulgan stood out as the only one with gray hair.
It wasn't often that anyone took notice of a derelict old village like this. To call Everydry backwater would have been an insult to other backwater towns— especially since there was scarcely a drop of water to be found within a hundred miles. It was exactly the kind of place someone would go if they didn't want to be disturbed, which in Kulgan's opinion was the only charm the Embin cursed place had.
A chilly breeze blew from wide sandy plains, making Kulgan's untucked shirt flutter around his lean chest as he came to the edge of town. The Taksten Desert, at the far southern tip of Tassendile, was as flat as Tikta's personality, and by the emerald light of Jaminska he was able to see the Red Fang gang clearly, even though they were far in the distance. A campfire, set ablaze by wood they must have lugged all the way across the desert, gave them an orange glow that contrasted eerily with the moon's green light. More than that, it brazenly displayed how insignificant a threat they thought the Everdryers were. Kulgan huffed in his throat. Annoying as it was, they were right. The one downside to being left alone was that when some Pit-born waster showed up to harass you, they caught you completely unprepared.
"Um, should we be standing up here?" Tikta asked, coming to join him. He had set the lantern down, and was now clutching the Thunderstick in both hands. "If they got a Dragonthroat—"
"How many of the other villagers have guns?" Kulgan asked.
"Just three," the Kashni answered. "Mawth and Jokane have revolvers, and ol' Carn has a rifle."
He pointed, and Kulgan saw an elderly zik clutching a rifle that looked even older than he was. It was made almost entirely of wood and didn't even have a bolt, which meant Carn would have to plunge the barrel after every shot, effectively making Tikta's shotgun the second most useless gun in Everdry.
"D'yargo," Kulgan cursed, looking out at the Red Fangs again. "Fine, it'll have to do. Gather up everybody with a bow and arrow, a sling, anything that can be used as a ranged weapon, and have them form up a line between the town and the gang. Get the women and children indoors on the other side of town, and any man that has... get down!"
Kulgan tackled Tikta just as the Dragonthroat fired again, launching a bullet as large as Kulgan's forearm at the town. It didn't come anywhere near the two of them, but another Kashni twenty feet away wasn't so lucky, and the other villagers scattered when he was turned into a shower of blood and bone. The bullet continued on its path, smashing through the side of the village's schoolhouse, and the whole structure sagged. The Red Fangs howled and laughed like madmen, the sound carrying across the empty expanse of sand.
"And get these Pitting idiots out of there!" Kulgan roared, standing back up and rounding on the other villagers, who were staring at the bloody spot where their neighbor had been standing mere seconds ago. "Do you all want to be smears in the sand? What's wrong with you? Go!"
Tikta seconded the command, and the villagers began to retreat further into the town. Everydry's thin wooden walls, bleached and made brittle by the relentless desert sun, wouldn't offer them much protection, especially against a weapon like a Dragonthroat, but at least they would be off the streets. More importantly, they would be out of Kulgan's way.
"So, what's the plan, Ranger?" Tikta asked once the area had been cleared.
Kulgan scowled into the night, watching the Red Fangs dance around the fire. Two of them struggled to carry another bullet to the Dragonsthroat, which sat atop an uncovered cart. More like a small cannon than a rifle, the fearsome weapon could tear the entire town apart by itself if they had enough ammunition for it— and by the looks of it, they did.
"They aren't attacking us," Kulgan said. "Not yet."
"Say what?" Tikta demanded. "They've been—"
"They're trying to scare us," Kulgan interrupted him, warming his hands in his pockets. "I told you the Dragonthroat is accurate up to five hundred feet, but right now they're at least a thousand feet away. They're not shooting to kill, they're just showing off their firepower."
"D'yargo," the Kashni hissed, and this time Kulgan caught a trace of genuine fear in his voice.
"Set up a line of fire right at the edge of town," Kulgan said again. "Then get every able bodied man and find them something they can use as a weapon. Hammers, pickaxes, shovels, anything. Have them wait inside the town just behind the long range fighters, and then... duck!"
Kulgan shoved Tikta out of the way and then dropped to the ground just as the Red Fangs fired the Dragonthroat. This time the bullet came straight for them, but the aim had been so low that it rocketed directly into the desert floor. Lying prone on his belly, Kulgan saw the geyser of sand closing in on him and rolled out of the way just as the bullet drilled a shallow trench to his left, so close that he could feel the heat radiating from its metal shell. With his heart beating in his ears, Kulgan sprang back to his feet.
"You okay?" he asked, giving the Kashni a quick glance.
"I'm fine," Tikta grunted, getting back up with a little more difficulty. Panting, he came to stand beside Kulgan again.
For a few seconds, the two of them stared out at the Red Fangs in silence.
"Well, this's what we hired ya for, ain't it?" Tikta said, and spat a glob of yellow slime in the sand. "I say it's about time you earned your keep."
Kulgan smirked and couldn't help but chuckle. "Are you saying you're glad these maniacs are here?"
"Pit no! But at least we ain't been payin' you for nothing."
"Tikta, you're a shining beacon of common sense. It almost makes up for the fact that your head is full of rocks."
Tikta growled, but kept his eyes on the Red Fangs. Kulgan watched them too. The two who had been loading the Dragonthroat so far had stopped, and were looking at another figure standing by the fire. This one held himself with an obvious sense of authority, and the silhouette of a tall hat sat atop his head.
"That one must be their boss," Tikta said, pointing towards that same figure with his gun.
Kulgan bit back his smart remark and nodded. Tales of the Red Fangs were told all over Tassendile. They were psychopaths, plain and simple. While other bandits gangs were out to rob, pillage, and make themselves rich by any illegal means necessary, the Red Fangs cared more about killing people. If the rumors were to be believed, they were prone to massacring entire towns, and then leaving everything of value behind. As sick as it was, Kulgan hadn't been joking about the possibility of them cooking and eating the Everdryers. And their leader... a zik crazy enough to keep a small army of maniacs in line, but also cunning enough to make them the most infamous gang in Tassendile. If half the things Kulgan had heard about him were true, then Embin help this little town.
"You've got your own weapons, right?" Tikta asked.
Swallowing his uneasiness, Kulgan patted the two dawniron revolvers holstered at his sides. "Zam and Zagyr, the Twins Betrayed," he answered. "I know them better than I know my own mother. Don't worry about me."
"It ain't you I'm worryin' about," Tikta snapped, and then hesitantly added, "Anything else? You got any... you know..."
Kulgan gave him a sharp look. "I've got my charming personality, if that's what you mean."
"D'yargo, you're a Gray Ranger!" Tikta yelled. "Ya gotta have one of them fancy necklace things, right?"
Kulgan stayed his hand, which suddenly wanted to jump up and caress the pendant hanging under his shirt, and shook his head.
"Zam and Zagyr and more than enough," he answered, looking out at the Red Fangs again to avoid Tikta's eye.
Tikta eyed him suspiciously, and then growled, "You better be right, Ranger. If I found out we been payin' you for nothing, then—"
"Then it won't matter, because we'll all be dead." When Tikta opened his mouth to argue, Kulgan cut him off, "Now hurry and get the defenses set up before it's—"
A crazed howl came from the bandits out in the desert, and Kulgan snapped his head forward again to see their leader take his hat off and wave it like a flag. Joining him in his war cry, the Red Fangs surged towards the village, the campfire making their shadows dance eerily across the barren landscape. Even from the distance, Kulgan could see the firelight glinting off the weapons in their hands.
"We're too late."
Re: Is this publisher worthy?
Posted: May 16th, 2017, 12:27 am
I took your advice guys and completely rewrote chapter one. What do you think, if you've got a few minutes to look over it?
Chapter One (the new one)
The blazing desert sunlight mixed with the cool green light of Jaminska as the coach pulled into the station. Eight bipedal lizards pulled it, their clawed feet padding softly on the sandy ground, occasionally letting out a caw or a squawk. Twenty people sat in the large wagon's hard wooden seats, sweating and fanning themselves.
"Final destination Hammeth," the driver, a ruby scaled Kashni called, pulling up on the reins and bringing his kashnilas to a stop. "All off!"
The passengers rose from their seats, muttering gladly. Hot as the Taksten was, it would certainly be cooler outside of the cramped coach than in it. They took their bags down from the overhead shelves, stretching their cramped muscles, before slowly filing out through the door. It was empty within minutes, save for two people sitting in the back seats. One of them was a simmk, dressed all in black with a large floppy-brimmed hat atop his head. He was scrawny despite the voluptuous coat he was wearing, and he turned to the girl next to him, staring at her unblinkingly with the bright yellow eyes that had been painted onto his sackcloth mask.
"Mistress? Mistress?" he asked, leaning closer to her.
She was a zik, her body covered in soft brown fur. The sheer red dress she wore, stained from their travels, was cut so low that her tail was bare for all of Haroz to see. Her head was resting against the side of the coach, upon which she wore a ratty straw hat that was as out of place being paired with her dress as a fish in a volcano. She snored softly, and didn't respond to her nervous companion's whispers. Hesitantly, as if he expected to be struck for it, he reached out and poked her on the arm.
"GET YOUR HANDS OFF ME!"
The zik girl sat upright, slapping at hands that weren't there, and the masked creature fell out of his seat, scrambling to get away.
"Mis- Mistress, it's just me!" he squealed.
The zik maiden froze, looked down at him, and lowered her hand.
"Za," she gasped, putting a hand to her chest, "you frightened me!"
Za picked himself back up, gloved hands shaking. "B- B- Beggin' your pardon for that, Mistress, but I think this is our stop."
"Really?" the girl looked out the window, but couldn't see anything but the side of the building the coach was parked beside. "That didn't take nearly as long as I expected." She clapped her hands. "Lovely! Get my bag, please, Za."
"Yes, Mistress," he said, bowing his head as she rose from her seat.
"And I thought I told you to stop calling me that," she snapped. "My name is Adlis!"
Za froze, the young woman's bag halfway out of its compartment. "Beggin' your pardon, Mistress, but it ain't my place to call you by your name."
"'Mistress' is a name servants call their masters. You're not my servant anymore, Za, you're my friend."
"I just don't wanna cause no offense, ma'am."
Adlis turned her nose up with a sly twinkle in her eye. "You couldn't offend me if you tried!"
Za sighed. "Yes, Miss Adlis."
While Za retrieved their meager belongings, Adlis paused by the acarriage door and looked down at her clothing. Namely, her tail. While not forbidden, a zik woman showing her tail in public was considered scandalous. Not for the first time, she had to resist the urge to stuff it into her dress. The thin red garment was so thin that the bump it made would be obvious, and only serve to call even more attention to her, like walking down the street with only a towel to cover her breasts.
Instead she turned to Za and asked, "Does my hat look all right, Za?"
"Beggin' your pardon, Miss Adlis," he said, hefting the bag and coming to join her, "but I'm not sure if I'm the right one to ask. I don't know nothin' about style."
"No!" she hissed. Leaning closer to him, she whispered, "I mean, are my ears covered?"
Za stiffened. "Oh, right. Yes, Miss Adlis, they're covered."
Adlis nodded in satisfaction. Even without eyes, a simmk could "see" well enough with their other senses to put most creatures' eyesight to shame. If Za couldn't "see" her ears, nobody would be able to. Taking a breath to steady her nerves, she stepped out of the carriage...
"What's wrong, Miss Adlis?" Za asked as he stepped out behind her.
Terror flooded through Adlis' body as she looked around at the barren landscape. Even Jaminska's green light couldn't distort the pale yellow color. Sand. Miles upon miles of sand. Her mouth fell open, eyes stretched wide, and underneath her hat she felt the telltale tingle in her long, pointed ears.
"Za?" she whispered without looking at the simmk.
"Y- Yes, Miss Adlis?"
"Where are we?"
Za fidgeted behind her back."Um, I think the driver said we were in Hammeth."
Adlis still didn't blink. "And where is Hammeth?"
"Um... well, you know I ain't never been out of Tolk, Miss Adlis, but I think we must be somewhere in the desert."
With her ears tingling again, Adlis rounded on him. "And why are we in the Embin-cursed desert, Za?" she shouted.
A few passersby looked at her, and Adlis clamped her hands over her mouth. Her wretched ears were tingling again. She waited until they had all gone on their way, and then grabbed Za by the arm and pulled him into the alleyway.
"Why are we in the desert?" she demanded again through gritted teeth.
Even though Za was easily a foot taller than her, he cowered with his back against the wall. "I- I'm sorry, Miss Adlis! I didn't know! Y- You just said you wanted to get as far away from Tolk as possible."
"Yes, that's what I said," she moaned, putting her hand on her forehead. "But I wanted to go home, Za. You took us to the wrong side of the mountains!"
Za was shaking again, his knees knocking together like drumsticks. "I'm sorry, Miss Adlis! Really, honest, I am. I just asked the man at the desk which one was goin' farthest away and bought us tickets!"
Adlis closed her eyes and held up her hands. "Okay, this is all right. We can fix this. We just have to get tickets for another coach. This time, I'll buy them, Za."
Za wilted. "I'm sorry, Miss Adlis."
Taking a breath to calm herself, Adlis put on the bravest face she could, folding her hands in front of herself like her father's tutors had taught her, and set off back into Hammeth. The ticket desk was only a little ways off, and there was only a short line. Adlis took her place at the end of it, Za coming to stand awkwardly behind her, and waited. Another gust of wind blew through the town, kicking up sand and tugging at people’s clothes. Adlis put her hand atop her head to keep her hat from blowing away. Of course they would arrive while Jaminska was in the sky. The bothersome green moon always made the wind act up.
Dear Embin above, she thought, I can feel their eyes on me!
It wasn't surprising. That was why the dress had been made in the first place. That didn't make her hate it any less, though. Silently, she cursed herself for not thinking to nick some changes of clothes when they'd made their escape.
I wonder if Madam Caruzo will send people after me? she wondered. The thought was enough to make her ears tingle again, and she tugged her hat down tighter onto her head. Focus on what's important, she snapped inwardly at herself. If they see your... those things, you'll wish the Madam's men found you first!
She doubted that Caruzo would waste her precious resources in trying to find her, though. Not when she had dozens of other girls to take her place. If anything, she probably expected Adlis to come crawling back to her once she found out how impossible the task of getting home seemed.
Well, she can go to the Pit! Adlis thought, her ears tingling with anger. I'll sooner die than go back to that horrid place!
"How can I help you, miss?"
Adlis jumped, startled out of he cynical musings, to find that she was now at the front of the line.
"Ah, y- yes, I..." she stammered. "I'm afraid there's been a mistake. You see, I need to cross the Shi Valen mountains, but I got on the wrong coach."
The man behind the desk, another zik, shook his head. "If you're going to ask if I can put you on another coach for free, miss, the answer is no."
Adlis blushed, and her ears tingled in unison with her cheeks, but she nodded. "No, of course not. I was just wondering, when does the next coach for Arborough leave?"
"Arborough?" the zik arced an eyebrow. "Can't say I've heard of it."
Adlis frowned. "How could you not have heard of Arborough? It's the biggest city in the Shadetower Woods!"
"Well, that explains it." The zik ducked behind his desk for a second and produced a map. "That's clear on the other side of Tassendile, miss. You're not going to find a coach that'll take you all the way there."
Adlis' frown deepened. "But, then..."
"If you'll just show me where it is on the map, I'll try to find you the coach that comes closest to— whoops!"
A sudden gust of Jaminska's wind nearly sent the map flying out of the clerk's hands. It almost blew Adlis' hat right off her head, too. If she hadn't clamped both hands onto it and held it down with a white-knuckled grip, it would have been carried away down the street.
The zik paused, eyeing her strangely. "Are you all right, miss?"
"Fine, fine, thank you!" she said, managing a weak smile. "Please, you were saying?"
He stared at her a moment longer, and then pointed at the map. "Just show me where you're trying to go, ma'am."
I just went from miss to ma'am, Adlis thought, looking over the map. I wonder what that means?
After a moment she pointed at a spot in the northernmost reaches of Tassendile.
"There," she said. "Are you sure you don't have any coaches going there?"
The zik looked where she was pointing, and then shook his head. "Ma'am, I don't know how often you leave home, but that isn't how this works. If you want to go that far, you're going to have to take multiple coaches."
"Multiple coaches?" Adlis exclaimed, taking a step back as if he'd just suggested she dump a barrel of spiders on her head.
The zik nodded. "You could take one of ours to here," he traced a finger along a path on the map she couldn't see, "then take another one to... probably here." He tapped the map. "Maybe someone there will take you the rest of the way to Arborough, but even from there a trip that far is going to cost an arm and a leg."
"Miss Adlis," Za said, tentatively, "we don't—"
"Are there any other towns nearby that might offer more accommodating service?" Adlis cut him off.
The clerk frowned back at her, but Adlis didn't care. This was an emergency, and this stubborn man was only making things worse. Let him think nasty thoughts about her. Soon enough she would be miles away from this Pit.
"The only other town is about seventy miles south," he finally answered, "but that'll only take you even further out into the Taksten."
D'yargo! she cursed inside her head. No, she couldn't very well make the trip even longer, could she?
"Besides that," the zik was going on, "there's talk of..." he hesitated. "Bad folks heading down that way."
Despite her situation, Adlis cocked her head. "What sort of bad people?"
He shrugged again. "Can't say. But if what we've heard is true, you don't want to go any further south than this."
Za whimpered, and Adlis didn't feel much better. The line was getting longer behind her, and she could hear the other customers muttering, unhappy about being made to wait so log. Her ears were tingling under her hat, but she refused to think about them. She forced herself to keep a confident face.
She gave a long, suffering sigh, as if it were the clerk's fault. "Oh, very well. When is the soonest carriage over the mountains, and how much will that cost?"
The zik checked his ledger. "There's one leaving at sunrise tomorrow," he said. "And it'll cost fifty zechs per passenger."
Adlis froze. "Fifty? You can't be..." she took a deep breath. "Very well. Za, give the man his money."
She stepped back to let the simmk do as she said. When he didn't move, she gave him a sharp look.
"I'm sorry, Miss Adlis," he said, trembling again. "I tried to tell you..."
A pit formed in Adlis' stomach. "Tell me what, Za?"
"We're all outta money!"
A chill ran down Adlis' back so powerful that it felt like she'd jumped into a frozen lake.
He didn't really just say that, her panicking mind told her, grappling for any comfort she could find. That's impossible, because... because without money, I'm stuck out here. And if I'm stuck out here, then...
"Please excuse us," she said without looking at the clerk, her voice numb. Grabbing Za by his wrist, she pulled him none too gently out of line to another secluded alleyway. Once they were out of earshot, she demanded, "What do you mean we're out of money?"
"I'm sorry, Miss Adlis! I tried to tell you, I really did!"
She grabbed him by his coat collar. "We left Tolk with plenty of money! Where did it go?"
"I- I spent it all on the tickets gettin' here, Miss Adlis." The simmk was practically sobbing now, though he didn't have eyes to make tears. "You s- s- said to get you as far from Tolk as possible, so I did! But the tickets cost everything we had, Miss Adlis!"
Adlis let him go, and he fell to his knees. Turning away from him, she grabbed two handfuls of her hair. "No, no, no! This can't be happening!"
"I'm sorry, Miss Adlis. I should've—"
"I'm never going to get home now!"
Big, fat tears rolled down her cheeks falling silently onto the sandy ground below. Her ears tingled.
"Are you all right, miss?"
With a yelp, Adlis spun around to see another Kashni standing at the end of their alleyway. His ruby scales sparkled in the sunlight, casting tiny red specks across the walls.
"Don't mean to intrude," he said, holding up a placating hand. "I just heard you crying and, er, well..." He scratched be back of his neck awkwardly.
Tell him you're fine, the angry voice inside her head demanded. Make him go away!
She knew the words would ring hollow, what with her in her current state. Not that it mattered, because she couldn't have forced the words out of her mouth anyway.
"It's nothing, sir," she sniffled, drying her eyes with the fur on her arm. "I'm... I'm just lost, and I'm trying to get home."
The Kashni grunted and nodded. "No wonder you're crying, then. Where's home?"
Adlis took a closer look at the Kashni. Despite his gruff appearance —all Kashnis looked gruff— there seemed to be genuine kindness in his eyes. Adlis dared to feel a spark of hope...
"Arborough, sir," she answered as sweetly as she could. "That's—"
"The Shadetower Woods, right?"
"Uh, y- yes, sir!"
The Kashni chuckled. "I haven't lived here my whole life, miss. I know my way around Tassendile."
Adlis smiled. "Can you—" She stopped, collected herself, and then more calmly asked, "Is there any way I could persuade you to give me and Za a ride there?"
"Mmm," the Kashni scratched his chin. "I can't take you all the way to Arborough, no."
Adlis' spirits fell.
"But I can't just leave a young woman in trouble either, can I? I'm fixing to head out in a couple of hour to visit my nephew in Granitesdale. It's no coach, but you and your servant are welcome to ride along, if you want."
Za perked up. "I'm not her—"
"Yes, yes thank you!" Adlis shouted, dashing forward to take the Kashni's hands. "Oh holy Embin, yes! How can I ever thank you?"
The Kashni cracked a smile. "No payment necessary, miss. Just doing what I can to help."
He turned, his long, thick tail marking a trail behind him in the sand. "C'mon, I'm over this way."
Adlis watched him go for a few seconds, unable to believe her luck. She said a quick, silent prayer of thanks to Embin, then turned to Za.
"Come on," she said, pulling him to his feet.
"Miss Adlis, are you sure this is a—"
She didn't wait for him to finish, dashing after the Kashni with as much dignity as she could manage in the revealing dress she was wearing. Even so, she cringed when she caught a passing man ogling her with wide eyes.
"D'yargo," she hissed under her breath. "As soon as I get a proper dress, I am burning this unholy thing!"
The Kashni stopped in front of another carriage. Only two kashnilas pulled this one, and the kind Kashni scratched one of their long necks as Adlis approached. It was smaller than the one she'd just gotten out of by far, but it was thin and abnormaly long. A row of windows ran the entire length of the carriage on both sides. She paused, a chill running down her spine.
"This is very kind of you, sir," she said, and pointed at the carriage, "but is that..."
"Hmm?" The Kashni looked up. "Oh! Yes, I, uh... I'm actually Hammeth's mortician. Trullud's my name. I'm afraid this is all I've got in the way of transportation. It might draw a few eyes, but it gets the job done." He gave Adlis a sidelong look. "That's not a problem, is it?"
Adlis blushed. "Oh, no, of course not! I just... didn't expect to be riding in a hearse. No offense."
Trullud laughed, slapping the black carriage so hard that it rocked. "None taken. Nobody does, but eventually they all end up in one anyway. There's no seats in the back, I'm afraid, but there are some curtains you can put down so that nobody's looking at you during the ride."
"That sounds wonderful, actually," she said, stepping up to inspect it closer. She felt the Kashni looking at her, and just like she always did she suddenly became agonizingly aware of how tightly her dress hugged her body, displaying her curves... not to mention her tail.
The Kashni coughed when he realized she knew he was watching her. "This here's Puela and Mag," he said, patting each of the rainbow colored lizards in turn. "A better pair of kashnilas you'll never find."
Puela cawed, and Trullud stiffened with surprise. Turning to the lizard, he made a strange sound in the back of his throat. Puela responded with an indignant squawk and jerked her head towards Adlis. Adlis eyed them both, frowning. Everyone said that the Kashnis could talk to kashnilas. They insisted it was because they were distant relatives. While Adlis could accept that much, she could never bring herself to believe that they were capable of talking to simple animals. Trullud made the noise again, followed by a couple of sharp caws, and Puela finally turned her head forward again.
"Sorry about that," Trullud said, rubbing the kashnila's neck. "Puela's not used to strangers. Thinks there's something wrong with you."
The Kashni chuckled, but Adlis tensed up, ready to run. "She's a very beautiful animal, sir."
"Ain't she, though?" Trullud put his fists proudly on his hips. "Don't worry, I set her straight."
Adlis nodded her thanks. "This really is kind of you, sir. Surely there's some way we can repay you."
"Bah!" Trullud waved his hand. "If I'm heading that way myself, no harm in taking a couple passengers."
"When do we leave, then?"
"In a few minutes. I just gotta grab the gift I made for— whoop!"
Jaminska sent another strong gust of wind through Hammeth's dusty streets, and Trullud raised his arm to keep the sand out of his eyes. Adlis reached up to hold onto her hat— and realized she was too late. It whipped off her head as if grabbed by an unseen hand and went bouncing down the road.
Adlis froze. Oh no.
"Dadgum windstorms," Trullud grumble, lowering his arm. "Wouldn't be so bad if not for the..."
His voice trailed off when he saw her. Terror raced through her veins, rooting her feet to the ground... and turning the fur on her ears white.
"Sweet, merciful Embin," he whispered.
"M- Mr. Trullud," she said, reaching out a desperate hand to him. "It's not what you think. I just—"
"Witch!" he screamed, backpedaling away from her outstretched hand. "Magic! Witch! Witch!"
Not knowing what else to do, Adlis grabbed her suitcase with both hands and swung it with all her might. It slammed into the side of Trullud's head, cutting him off mid-shriek, and he fell to the ground, unconscious.
Za was at her side in a heartbeat. "Miss Adlis, wha—"
"What's going on over here?"
Both of them looked up to see no less than a dozen people come running to see what the commotion was. Her ears tingled again as they turned even whiter. If they caught her... if they saw her ears...
"Za, drive!" she yelled, turning tail and running to the back off the hearse.
Za spun toward her. "Say what now?"
She wrenched the back of the hearse open and threw her suitcase in. "Get in the driver's seat and drive!"
"But that's stealin', Miss Adlis!"
"Hold it right there!" Adlis turned to see a man wearing the dark blue uniform of a marshal coming toward them. There was a gun in his hand. "Don't move!"
That was all the encouragement Za needed. He sprang into the driver's seat like a grasshopper, fumbled with the reins for a second, and then snapped them, spurring the kashnilas into a quick trot. Adlis barely had time to leap into the back of the hearse. The carriage bounced on the uneven sandy ground, tossing her around a bit before she managed to grab the door and slam it shut behind her. She chanced a look behind them— and screamed when a bullet punched a hole in the glass.
"Faster, Za!" she hollered. Za complied, cracking the reins again. The kashnilas sped up. Buildings whipped past them in a blur, but Adlis could still the eyes of each and every person they passed. Watching her. Judging her.
They left Hammeth in less than a minute. Adlis watched as the town shrank behind them before disappearing completely. Then she reached out, drew the curtains shut, laid down with her eyes covered, and cried.
Re: Is this publisher worthy?
Posted: May 17th, 2017, 3:07 pm
That's a story! I was sick earlier and couldn't really respond to the previous excerpt, but this is everything that the writing in the original post wasn't. It focuses on what's actually happening, why it's happening, and the people it's happening to, rather than trying to unload as much "worldbuilding" as it can at once, and what details of the world and the characters' backgrounds are important are established naturally and unobtrusively as they come into play.
There's a lot of good storytelling here. The characters' desperate situation is a great hook to open with, and it gives a real sense of who they are in how they brought it on themselves and how they end up having to deal with it. Using the moon as a source of tension instead of a backdrop is an especially good touch, connecting the drama of the scenario with the milieu around it like fantasy always should. Everything here works to drive the whole scene.
My advice now is to focus on your writing itself and have more attention to detail. This definitely reads like a first draft, with some clunky phrasing ("mixed" seems like it was almost the word you were looking for in the first sentence, and "a ratty straw hat that was as out of place being paired with her dress as a fish in a volcano" could say the same thing in half the length), redundancies ("the thin red garment was so thin", "she snapped inwardly at herself"), and even a few typos ("paused by the acarriage door", "startled out of he cynical musings"). I also see some issues with grammar and usage. Please remember your hyphens, whether you're writing about a ruby-scaled Kashni or asking if your manuscript is publisher-worthy. (As it stands, your thread title asks if a specific publisher is worthy of your manuscript!) Em dashes do not need spaces after them. "I wonder..." is not a question, no matter how many people seem to think it is (although it can certainly precede one). Finally, Adlis lay down at the end; what she laid down would be her body.
These might seem like nitpicks, but if you're serious about being published, you can't afford not nitpicking. While plenty of crap does make it to bookstores, what separates it from the crap that stays on the Internet is craft and polish, and the less work a publisher has to put into those things, the more willing they'll be to take on your project.
Polish aside, I do see one potential obstacle to publishing, even if I don't read enough fantasy to be sure of it. While the core of this scene is solid, the tone, especially in the dialogue and character designs, is pretty light for a fantasy novel; I have a hard time not imagining these characters in a video game or cartoon (particularly when Adlis cries "big, fat tears"), and in some ways this excerpt reads like YA fiction. With the modern fantasy market dominated by deadly serious epics like A Song of Ice and Fire and The Stormlight Archive and the YA market a homogenized sci-fi wasteland, a publisher might not be convinced that something between those places will have a definite audience. On the other hand, some of the steampunk stuff I've seen has a similar kind of tone, and those books sell like crazy, so for all I know, it might actually be a point in your favor. Plus, like I said earlier, I don't read a whole lot of fantasy anyway, so I might be completely wrong about all of this in the first place. And in the end, nothing I speculate about here will have any bearing on whether your manuscript actually gets accepted or not. Clean it up, send it in, and see what happens!
Re: Is this publisher worthy?
Posted: May 17th, 2017, 6:51 pm
Stalvern wrote:in some ways this excerpt reads like YA fiction.
Actually, that's kind of what I'm going for. As much as I love Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, and the like (seriously, they're my favorite authors), something I've noticed is that there's a distinct lack of high fantasy YA books. You've got urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and dystopian scifi, but never anything that takes place in a world the author has built from the ground up. I want to fix that, especially since it seems like my natural writing style is better suited to YA anyway. So here's what I'm trying to do: I want to write a fantasy book set in my own own world, but I want to keep the world building to a minimum and focus more on the characters, what they're doing, and the action scenes (I'm told I write awesome action scenes). It won't be up to the standards of any of the authors I just listed, but I don't really mean for it to be. You can think of it as kind of a gateway drug to bigger high fantasy stories, you know?
Anyway, thanks for the feedback! You're right, this is just the first draft and I intend to go through and edit it as soon as I'm finished writing the book. Glad you liked it better than the old one!
Re: Is this publisher worthy?
Posted: May 17th, 2017, 10:00 pm
DaHeckIzDat wrote:As much as I love Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, and the like (seriously, they're my favorite authors), something I've noticed is that there's a distinct lack of high fantasy YA books. You've got urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and dystopian scifi, but never anything that takes place in a world the author has built from the ground up. I want to fix that, especially since it seems like my natural writing style is better suited to YA anyway.
Are you at all familiar with The Edge Chronicles
? It's a brilliantly strange and beautiful fantasy series that I absolutely loved growing up (and still love!), with some of the most incredible illustrations you'll ever see. The first book is just OK, mainly an excuse to establish the bizarre setting, but the series picks up quickly after it. My favorite is the fourth, The Curse of the Gloamglozer
, and it might actually be a decent introduction, since it's a prequel set a generation before the others. A couple of the later books get a bit too YA-ish (I remember being annoyed that the Freeglade Lancers happened to be "youths" for no apparent reason), but the series is still excellent. Check it out if you haven't; it's probably at your library.
Re: Is this publisher worthy?
Posted: May 17th, 2017, 11:11 pm
Whatever you do, don't
read Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas. It's one of the rare YA high fantasy books, and it sucks. Royally. Like, the back cover called it "The Hunger Games meet Game of Thrones," but then... I can't properly put it into words. Here, check out this review. At the very least, it's good for a laugh.https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/335972213?book_show_action=true&from_review_page=1
Anyway, that, more than anything, is what convinced me to switch from urban fantasy to high fantasy (beside the fact that high fantasy is awesome). A couple of reasons, actually. 1. I absolutely hate that my favorite genre is being represented so poorly to today's youth, and 2. Well... I mean, if THAT'S my only competition, I'd say I have a chance of doing to high fantasy what JK Rowling did to urban. That's not to say that I'm only writing to become rich and famous, but... it's a nice motivator anyway, right? Haha.
Re: Is this publisher worthy?
Posted: June 12th, 2017, 10:58 pm
Hey guys, the book's finished and now I'm just waiting for my artist to finish the cover so I can publish it! I wrote up a quick blurb. What do you think?
Tassendile is a country where cowboys sling spells as well as guns, humans live alongside unimaginable creatures, and the four moons grant people incredible powers. For two thousand years the Gray Rangers have patrolled the Graylands, a cursed dimension made to imprison the foulest of evils, making sure it and its minions never escape. Their one law is that they must never fall to the temptations of that evil. Kulgan has been found guilty of that sin, and has been on the run from justice ever since. Now, after years of exile, the disgraced Ranger may find a reason to go on living in the form of Adlis, a spoiled young woman seeking a guide to bring her home. They will have to cross all of Tassendile to get there, even venturing into the Graylands themselves. There is no forgiveness for the sin Kulgan has committed, but perhaps there are other ways to bring himself peace.