This blog post contains mature story content. Dark fantasy. Romance. Polygamy. Racism. GLBTQ. You’ve been warned.
I’ve revised chapter 2 according to critiques, and I’m finding I’m settling in with the name Pony a lot better. At first I didn’t like it, and it didn’t fit her personality. But she was completly fine with it. As I’ve said before, Pony is the only character who’s not fought me on plot or characterization issues. Which makes her extra-unique among my crowd of characters–and she’s certainly staying true to her character throughout not just her name revision, but through the entire book itself.
Also just revised chapter 3 and now I’m fine-tuning chapter 4. While rereading chapter 4, I suddenly recalled a few lines I had originally cut from the first edition in order to comply with traditional publishing word count requirements. Looking at it now, I realized this should not have been cut. Revised, yes, but not cut.
Here is the newly found rough draft (unedited) text that was omitted from the first edition:
“I didn’t think the innkeeper would even let me step into the foyer,” Horsemeat said, eying the tent in his trousers. “The sign outside said courtesans only.”
Mardyth blinked at her but a huge smile lit up his face. “You could read that? It was in fancy script. Good work.” He gave her a congratulatory hug.
Horsemeat felt a wealth of pride at his praise and tweaked his nipple. “The last reader you gave me went into script before one of the landlord’s grandchildren took it.”
“Behave yourself.” He nudged her away. “I’ll buy you another book. You’re correct; this isn’t a stopover to ply our trade. It’s a place for guild members and their families to relax and recuperate while traveling.”
There had been children running around the lobby. Horsemeat tossed her head. “Oh? So how’d you explain me?”
“I told them you are my wife.”
End deleted text.
This makes me wonder what other characterization gems I dumped out of the first edition to try and stay under expected word count. It’s going to be a painful yet wonderful chore to dig through the mess of archives and find stuff shuffled away since 2012-ish.
And here is the rough revised scene for the 2nd edition:
Mardyth closed the door of his rented room after an employee brought up his luggage.
Bug-eyed, Pony wandered the luxurious suite. She inspected the textures of the grand furniture, amazed at the quality. Fascinated by the fact there weren’t any holes or worn spots in the linens and drapery. Even the lush rugs didn’t escape her attention. She got down on her hands and knees to run her fingers through the soft coils.
Mardyth grunted like a bull. “Stand up before I discharge like some inexperienced trainee.”
She grinned over her shoulder and wiggled her hips. He grunted again, and snorted, his gaze locked to her ass. Sweat beaded his upper lip, displacing some of the make-up.
“Horsemeat, damn it.” He yanked her to her feet.
She flopped her arms around his shoulders. She’d teased him too much. Mardyth was beyond irritated if he stooped to using the name Callum saddled her with.
Pony glanced down, admiring the tent straining his trousers. “I didn’t think the innkeeper would let me through the foyer. The sign outside said courtesans only.”
Mardyth’s mouth split into a huge smile. “You could read that? It was in fancy script. Good work.” He gave her a congratulatory hug.
She felt a heady rush of pride. She flicked his nipple through the delicate fabric. “The last reader you gave me went into script. But I think one of the landlord’s grandchildren took it.”
“Behave yourself.” He nudged her hand away. “I’ll buy you another book. But you’re correct; customers are not allowed in here.”
That explained the children running around the lobby and drawing on the walls while the clerk on duty half-slept through the ruckus. “Oh? So how’d you get me past him?”
He caressed her hair, letting the loose strands glide along his gloved fingertips. “This is a place for guild members and their families to relax and recuperate while traveling.” Mardyth’s green eyes darkened right then with subdued satisfaction. He nuzzled her temple, dropping a tender kiss there. “I told him you are my wife.”
Pony curled her shoulders to subdue the mirth zipping through her belly, but lost. She threw back her head; her guffaw bounced around the suite. “Oh, I’m sure he believed that! A high and mighty, university-educated courtesan married to a lowly half-breed who can barely read. Even I have trouble believing that.”
“He asked for our documents; I provided them,” Mardyth replied in his playful courtesan’s persona.
Pony stopped laughing. “You have what?”
Not that she didn’t have naughty fantasies of being Mardyth’s second spouse. But it would never happen. Sometimes—no, most of the time—Mardyth kept his emotions at arm’s length. There had been times she’d witnessed the candid desire in his eyes. Like now. But he always cast the feelings aside as quick as he could. Even Mardyth knew deep down it wasn’t possible. Society wouldn’t allow it.
Mardyth and Nicholas were already toeing the line of acceptable boundaries for not marrying within their race. Mardyth was an elf and Nicholas was human. She was a nasty little abomination decent people shouldn’t acknowledge. Maybe that was why she had such a twisted sense of humor.
“Nicholas forged the papers for me a few years ago,” Mardyth said. “It was a birthday present.”
Next week will see the release of chapter two! Until then, you can read the first chapter here.