It took longer to write Chapter IX than it took to write Chapter VIII, but not as long as it took to commit Chapter VII to paper. Or disk. Whatever. I’m close to wrapping up Part I of Between the Lion and the Wolf, so I’m trying to make sure I end it with a good balance of unresolved threads and fresh questions before diving into Chapter X.
A bunch of…stuff happened in Chapter IX. Some of it surprising even to me! Many times, when people learn I’m writing a(nother) book, I’ll describe a portion of what’s going on, and they’ll often ask me if I have an outline, or if I’m just winging it. It’s a little bit of both! (I think I’ve mentioned that before!) I do have a rough—really rough!—outline that I’ll refer to from time to time, but it’s mostly a loose collection of vague plot points: a series of stepping stones with sometimes ambiguous gaps between them. It’s when I’m filling in those gaps that some of the more colorful elements spring to life. Chapter IX revealed some interesting motivations behind certain characters’ prior choices. I say “Chapter IX revealed” because sometimes it seems like I’m just a glorified stenographer when words start flowing!
And here’s the symbol it’s based on:
I’m tempted to provide a short excerpt to provide some context, but I’ll let you read about it for yourselves once the book is complete! I will, however, provide another excerpt—a brief exchange between Kalas and a sea captain as they make their way across the ocean:
Kalas wasn’t sure how to respond. He didn’t want to be rude, but he didn’t want to reveal too much. He maintained a polite silence while Dzholëv stared him down. When the uncomfortable moment passed, the captain smiled mechanically and turned to go. That’s when Kalas saw a familiar shape within the intricate network of lines and fills inked across his naked back.
“Uh, Captain. Sir,” he said, unsure how to address the man. “That shape on your back…”
“Which one? You’ll have to be more specific!” he laughed, although Kalas perceived he remained guarded.
“The one that looks like a triangle with a circle on every side. It looks old—older than the rest, I mean, but it’s so well done! If you’ll forgive my saying so, it’s a beautiful piece!”
“You like that one, do you? Strange you’d notice it…or maybe not? You’re right: it’s the first tattoo I ever received. There’s a story behind it—there’s a story behind all of them! Tell me, have you ever heard of the…no, no: of course not. No one remembers the old wisdom…”
“The what?” Kalas prodded, forgetting himself for a moment.
“Sifuran,” Dzholëv said and watched Kalas for his reaction.
Guilford Memorial Library’s Maine Author Day
We’re halfway through June already! I suspect July will pass pretty quickly, and August 4 will be here too soon! I’ve provided Guilford Memorial Library with a photo and biographical information as they prepare for their Maine Author Day. That means I really need to get some copies printed to have on hand (and to sign!) at the event! Come say hello from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, August 4, if you’re in town! I’m looking forward to returning to my one-time stomping grounds, but I’ll confess a little…not anxiety, exactly, but a strange feeling, wondering if anyone from where I grew up will be interested in listening to anything I have to say. Interested in reading anything I’ve written! I guess I’ll find out in a few short weeks!