Asteria in the court of the Sun King is finished, and I am revising the text and deciding the final tweaks.
I am also uncertain, at this point, about the format of the publication: a single volume collecting the three novellas, or a new novella every week for this month of August?
Any suggestion is welcome.
And I mention one novella per week, throughout the month, because as I was closing Sun King, I fell back to the habit of closing the story with a hook for the next adventure. And it goes like this…
The world was a sea of sand, scorched by a merciless sun, dunes marching mindlessly towards the horizon.
The woman with gray hair, the burned remains of a white shirt covering her pale body, staggered along the crest of a sandy hill, squinting in the haze.
She faltered, and her legs failed her, and she fell, and rolled down the side of the dune, limp like a rag doll.
It seemed to last forever.
Se landed on her back, her arms spread, the sun painting red the inside of her eyelids. She listened to her heart, haltingly beating.
Time ceased to have meaning.
It never had, anyway.
She dreamed of a gray place of mists and loneliness, where ghosts walked alone, each haunting themselves.
She felt a stab of pain, and it was fear, and the need to run.
To keep living.
Water splattered her parched lips.
“Easy, woman,” a voice said, not unkindly.
She opened her eyes, dazzled.
A man in a mauve turban was kneeling by her side, blocking the sun. He had a bushy black beard and a gold ring in his ear.
He offered her a gourd filled with the sweetest water she had ever tasted. She drank ravenously.
“Easy,” the man repeated.
She felt inebriated by the sweetness of the water, by its coolness, the way it seemed to spread through her chest, branching out. She sighed.
“What is this place?” she asked, her voice crackling like old parchment.
The man smirked. “You are lost, aren’t you?”
He had blue eyes, and his dark skin was criss-crossed by a maze of faint lines.
“Yes,” she said.
She took another breath. The man smelled of sweat, and dust, and an animal smell she did not recognize. Not horse, not dog or cow.
“You are lucky, woman,” the man said. “You lost yourself in the Wailing Desert. You are two days from the nearest well, and a full two weeks’ march from Baghdad, the fair city where Harun el Rashid rules, may Allah be blessed.”
Coming Soon: Asteria in the court of the Sultan
So, what do you say?
A single ebook now and then an extra novella in September, or one ebook per week the whole month through?