Over the last thirty-ish days, I've seen something odd going on. I've seen a growing interest in my Elves of Arethane series as evidenced in the increasing book sales. I'm not talking Stephen King or EL James levels, of course, but for me - self-published nobody me - it's enough to take note.
(We have a heartbeat!)
And it's awesome! It's super exciting even if I don't know WHY it's happening - and I'm kinda the girl who needs to know the WHY so it's been a practice in understanding that I don't always need to know the cause or reason. But it has made me wonder if the interest in the books means there is interest in the blog. If those readers want to know more about Arethane and what's been going on in that world.
I'm very happy to report that I have started on a "Next Gen" series featuring Emily and Jarrad's children, as well as Aerath and Karawyn's daughter. It introduces a new character who I think may end up being my favorite - Eveline. She's an orphan with a sharp tongue and an unknown background that she's longing to discover. In a somewhat fortuitous meeting with Emily and Jarrad's son, Keryth, they embark on a very bumpy journey to help each other unlock their true power.
It's early stages, but I thought I would share a small snippet. I hope you enjoy it...
“Do you really live here?”
Dropping everything but the stick, Eveline held it ready like a bat and froze on the spot. She glanced over her shoulder and immediately swore. “Oh good gods, what have I done to deserve this?”
The Arrogant Archer jumped down from the bails of hay on which he had been lounging and trotted up beside her. Unsure if she shouldn’t just whack him with it, Eveline held up the stick a little longer before lowering it and squatting to pick up her things.
“This is quite the hovel,” the elf scrunched up his nose and looked down at her.
“Please, tell me more,” she grunted as she stood back up, arm cradling her book. “I care so much for your opinion.”
The elf frowned, as though her words confused him. She wondered if they truly did—he was too pretty to be smart. And no one with any sense would be out in the mud and muck of the Valley in so much white and silk. His tunic gleamed against the dark sky, the silver embroidery delicate against the material. There wasn’t a thread out of place. His black boots were spotless against his dark trousers, as though they had just been acquired.
His outfit alone must cost more than what the entire village would earn from a year of markets. Ridiculous.
“I’m ridiculous?!” he cried. “Look at your boots, they’re twice your size, it’s a wonder you can get around.”
Had she said that out loud? Eveline wondered as she marched her big boots towards the gate. She spent so much time talking to herself that she very well could be speaking her thoughts. She needed to be more careful
The elf’s tone turned kind, if not cautious. “I—I’m just curious about your home…,” he smiled and paused. Waiting for her? To do…what?
She just sneered at his smile. It dropped and the elf looked at a loss.
“I didn’t mean to offend…”
“I highly doubt you ever mean not to offend,” she grumbled, hitting the gate open with her hip and an oomph. She followed the small path through the trees towards the muddy clearing, her pail clanking as she swung her arms.
She felt movement behind her.
Eveline glanced back. “What do you think you’re doing?”
“I beg your pardon?”
“What are you doing?” she repeated slowly and waved her stick at him, causing him to step back. “Why are you following me?”
His cheeks colored and he pressed his lips together while exhaling through his nose. “I’m trying to give you the opportunity to apologize for what you said to me yesterday, you impossible oaf.”
Arms hanging at her side, Eveline was nearly frozen with shock as she blinked up through messy bangs at the elf.
She started to chuckle. And then the chuckle turned into a laugh and the laugh became a loud, honking guffaw, bending her at the waist while she slapped stick and book against her knee.
The uninvited guest looked unamused, but persevered.
“I assumed you just didn’t know who I was and had you, you would not have spoken to me so.”
Her laughter died immediately. Eveline straightened back up and continued on down the path. “Well, I assumed you were just some snobby aristocrat who thinks the sun rises and sets on his messy, blond head, and now, without making any assumption, I know that you are really just an arrogant, inflated ass!”
Riled up once more, Eveline’s cheeks and ears grew hot. She expressed her annoyance and anger which each step, clomping through the mud once she reached the clearing.
The ass continued to speak to her back.
“That’s simply because you don’t know me. If you did, you would love me like everyone else.”
“Oh, that is ri—,” She twirled to face him and stopped mid sentence, expecting him to be right behind her but seeing him still standing at the edge of the mud. “What are you doing?”
His lips curled, he surveyed the area with obvious disgust. “It’s filthy in there.”
“Oh, poor, little elf,” she mocked in a high-pitched voice. “Wouldn’t want to get your pretty, shiny boots a bit dirty, would ya?”
Lips pursed, he glared at her before marching with resolution to her in the middle of the clearing.
Smirking, Eveline turned around to the chopping block and hung her pail up on the post. She fished her loose book pages out and tried to return them to their binding as she sat down.
“Regardless of what I do or don’t know about you, anyone who tries to assassinate me and expects an apology for it is twisted in the head.”
“Assassinate you,” he sighed with exasperation. “That’s a little melodramatic.”
He cut her off. “What did you do to that book?”
Momentarily forgetting her annoyance, Eveline looked down at the scattered mess in her lap. “I didn’t do anything to it, it’s old and falling apart…much like the old man who gave it to me.”
“You should take better care of your things.”
She stuck out her tongue at him, but he was looking around.
“Is there not another stump here for me to sit?”
“You weren’t invited to sit,” she retorted, but also took his distraction as an opportunity to fix her book. No one was going to accuse her of not taking care of her possessions. Certainly not this spoiled mule.
While the elf’s head was turned, she wiggled her fingers over the pages and watched as they reshuffled and rebound themselves together within the hard cover.
The elf gasped and spun back around.
“What did you just do?” he demanded.
Drat! How did he know?
“Nothing,” Eveline lied as sweetly as was possible. Stupid elf senses!
“You used magic!” he pointed at the book in her lap and came closer, forgetting how disgusted he’d just been with his surroundings.
“Magic!” she laughed, even snorting, but stopped when she saw he wasn’t buying it. How was she going to get out of this one? Would he tell?
“How were you able to control it so well?”
“Control?” Eveline grew less concerned and more curious.
“What, are you eighty?” he asked.
She scowled. “Fifteen. Ass.”
His pale eyes scanned her, his inspection making her nervous.
“What are you?”
And here is Barnabas sitting in front of stacks and stacks of books waiting to be alphabetized because moving sucks.