I’m making a change in my book lineup. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. It has to do with series starters, and specifically with Brechalon. His Robot Girlfriend, for instance, is a good series starter for the rest of the series. People download and read His Robot Girlfriend and like it, and so they may purchase the other books. I never envisioned Brechalon as a series starter. I always thought of it as an extra for readers of The Voyage of the Minotaur. Because I thought of it as sort of an add-on, I eventually decided to offer it free. Now however, because it is free, it gets downloaded and people read it to decide if they want to buy the rest of the series. I don’t think it represents the series very well. The characters, especially Senta, don’t grow much in this story. You could say that’s understandable, considering she’s a child of six in the story, but it’s not what readers picking up a cheap read want. I think The Voyage of the Minotaur is a much better starter for the series. It was always intended to be the first book read.
Here’s what I’m going to do. I’m pulling Brechalon from the ebookstores. It will still be available at Smashwords. I’m adding Brechalon onto the The Dark and Forbidding Land, which is the shortest of the series and as it’s number two in the series, it maintains Brechalon’s position as something to be read after reading The Voyage of the Minotaur. Since Minotaur is now officially, and obviously, the first book, I’m going to lower the price. Hopefully this will encourage more people to buy the book and then read the rest of the series. Already well over 60% of readers of Minotaur purchase The Dark and Forbidding Land. As a publisher, the idea here is short-term loss and long-term gain. Since I’m not really a publisher, but an author, I really just want my books read. Everything should be in place for the arrival of book 6 in the series The Sorceress and her Lovers, in just over one month.
Loana Hewison Colbshallow is a character in Senta and the Steel Dragon. She has a fairly memorable part in The Drache Girl, when she meets her future husband as he saves her from velociraptors. In The Two Dragons, the two have been married for a while and her husband realizes that sometimes beauty is only skin deep. It might be worth noting that Loana is my wife’s least favorite character.
“What the hell?” Saba demanded of his wife.
“It’s about time they pay their fair share, if you ask me.”
“They paid for dinner the last time.”
“Dot cooked dinner last time, and it was nowhere near as nice as this.”
He gaped at her.
“The dinners we provide are always nicer than the ones they provide. And we should get out and socialize with some different people anyway. We’re very popular. Everyone wants to have us. We shouldn’t be monopolized. Reenie Ghent has been after me for weeks for us to go out with her and her husband.”
Saba dropped fifteen marks on top of those left by Eamon, and then he escorted his wife out of the café and down the cobblestone walk to the edge of the road where his steam carriage was parked. The sun had finally dropped out of sight, lending a monochrome cast to the city street that he didn’t think showed off the bright blue of the car’s bonnet well. Helping Loana into the passenger seat, he walked around back to shovel coal into the firebox. He looked up in the sky to watch a large flying reptile, harassed by seven or eight small birds. With a sigh, he shut the relief cock and stepping to the left side of the vehicle, climbed into the driver’s seat. Saba waited ten minutes for the steam to come up before pulling away from the curb. It was only a fifteen-minute drive home, but it was an altogether silent twenty-five minutes.
The Colbshallow home was a large, beautiful, red brick house sitting back from the road in the shade of large pines and maples, along with some recently planted apple trees, on a large fenced estate. The small A-frame house, which had been Saba’s first home, on the corner of the property, was currently being rented by the Zaeri Imam Francis Clipers. Pulling into the parkway, Saba brought the steam carriage to a halt in front of the portico. The lizzie doorman hopped down the steps to help Loana down.
“Leopold Ghent is a wanker,” he called after her, breaking the silence.
“He’s railroad agent,” said his wife in a tone that was usually reserved for sweet nothings. “And Reenie is adorable.”
She swept up the four steps and as the lizzie held the door for her, she disappeared inside. Saba pulled the car around to the far side of the house and parked. He hopped out, opened the steam cock, and poured a bucket of water over the coals. The loud hiss startled three bambiraptors who had been feeding in the yard, unbothered by the normal chug of the vehicle.
Saba climbed the five cement steps that led to the side door and entered the kitchen. Not having to serve dinner this evening, the lizzie cook had been given the night off and the kitchen was pleasantly cool. Opening the froredor, he retrieved a soda water and pulled out the cork stopper with his left hand, his wife having successfully trained him not to do so with his teeth. He took a swig, then snorted and almost gagged. Lifting the bottle to look at the printing, he read. “Major Gortner’s ginger and mint flavor barley pop?” He opened the froredor again and looked inside finding five more of the imposters and not a single bottle of original Billingbow’s sarsaparilla and wintergreen soda water.
“Bugger all!” he slammed the door shut, rocking the magical freezing box back and forth and toppling a small, pink pot filled with red flowers to the floor where it shattered.
The next morning, Saba got up before his wife awakened. He dressed quickly in his grey suit and left through the kitchen. He didn’t stop for breakfast, just grabbed a crumpet from a pile that the cook was assembling. She hissed at him, but handed him a cup of tea. He folded the crumpet in half and stuffed it into his mouth, then set the steaming cup on the passenger seat as he lit the furnace and filled the boiler from the water jug by the side door. By the time the steam was up, he had finished with his tea, and left the empty cup on the step.
Edin Buttermore was a character I created for The Drache Girl. I always had in mind that he would be a big part of the plot at some point. While he has a few memorable scenes in The Young Sorceress, he doesn’t really have that much to do until The Two Dragons. Here he explores the dragon fortress with Senta and Staff.
In the daylight it was plain that Brown had been bitten on the face by a spider, but he seemed to have no other wounds. Ivo Kane produced a tiny clear bottle of detoxicant, pouring it down the man’s throat, while his wife taped a plaster over the injury. They had between them already seen to Mr. Vever’s pains. His left arm was splinted and his right hand was bandaged.
“Here comes Staff,” said Werthimer, pointing to the back of the fortress courtyard.
Staff was indeed coming, followed by Buttermore, Wissinger, and Manring. When they reached the eight party members, the former naval officer looked at Bratihn questioningly. Later, Senta couldn’t remember exactly what Bratihn had said, but he seemed to sum up every detail of their adventures in remarkably few words. Croffut added one or two details. Staff nodded as if he had expected nothing less.
“And how did it go with you?” asked Kane.
“We made it to the top of the tower,” said Staff. “No problem, though we had to chase off a few pterosaurs.”
“It was a magnificent view,” said Buttermore. “I think I captured it.”
“It took us a while to set up Mr. Buttermore’s camera equipment,” said Wissinger. “Not that I’m criticizing.”
“We found treasure too,” said Buttermore.
“Really? Treasure?” Mr. Vever climbed unsteadily to his feet, accidentally kicking Brown in the head as he did so.
Staff set his rucksack down and opened it, withdrawing what appeared to be a very ornate necklace. It was made of copper and the metal was so green with corrosion that it had almost dissolved away. Clearly visible though were a number of large red gems.
“By Kafira, those are rubies,” said Ivo Kane.
“I think that copper is a loss,” said Vever. “But I could set those gems in gold settings and they would be fit for Prince Tybalt himself.”
“My plan is that when we return to Port Dechantagne you should do just that, Mr. Vever,” said Staff. “I count fifteen rubies. Maybe matching rings for all of us? I think we’ve earned it. And I imagine a set of earrings for the governor.”