An Inopportune Advent

So confession time: I haven’t really been solidly working on a single project since July. I’ve been piddling around with older projects, working up a buffer of blog posts (since I’ll be having a baby any ol’ time now), and… well, eating. There’s been a lot of eating. (Like, seriously, I have never felt so driving a compulsion to eat greens nonstop. Ever. I know greens are good for you, but this can’t be healthy.)

But the truth is that I’ve been actively avoiding getting enmeshed in any big new projects. Because, you know. Aforementioned baby. Starting a new manuscript two weeks before my due date didn’t seem like it would end well. (Plus I’ve been much more interested in scrubbing floors and folding laundry. Then unfolding and refolding laundry. Also can’t be healthy.) My much-adored alpha reader, however, simply cannot accept that I’m not really working on anything of note. And she’s a bully. The most perfect kind of bully.

So I dug up an old story and am now parading it around as a new one. This is a story I started working on when I was in high school, got about a quarter of the way through, and then got distracted away from by boys and movies. But I think it’s worth a revisit, now that I’m less distractible by a shiny new boy with movie tickets. (Or so my husband hopes- hi, honey!)

Without further ado, here is the (short!) prologue for Blood and Ebony in all its unedited glory. (I give you one minute to guess what fairy tale it’s based on. Extra points if you get it from the title alone, which you totally can.)

Prologue

Janithe hated winter. Bleak and cold and dark. It wouldn’t have been so bad outside, but she was trapped in her gilded tower just as surely as was any criminal in her husband’s dungeons. She hunched over her embroidery beside a fat taper candle and just knew she would be completely blind after another year or two more of this. If she didn’t die of stale air first. Her heart longed for her childhood home in the buttery warmth of southern Arinth.

She glanced back at the door. What were the odds that anyone would come to see her before supper? She may have been queen, but she was under no delusions of actual importance. Her only purpose in the royal household was to provide a royal heir, and she had failed to do so in more than five years of marriage. Her honored husband, away at war despite the brutality of the season, was the only one who placed any value on her, the only one who saw her as anything more than a failed gamble. As for the rest of them, they would be happier if she just disappeared.

Nobody was coming. So why bother with their conventions? She hugged her embroidery against her chest and dragged her chair over to the shuttered windows. They were tiny, the sort an assassin would have difficulty clambering through, but there were scores of them ranged across the outer wall of the room she shared with the king. She settled beside one and dragged back the bolt, grown stiff with disuse and ice. She allowed herself a small grin as it finally gave and then shoved the shutters out into the open sky. Cold fog billowed in, pooling around her ankles, and she settled back into the seat with a satisfied smile as pale sunshine lit the embroidery in her lap. Pale blue skies over ice-frosted forests, not a snow sprite in sight. It was beautiful. She didn’t even care that the doctors would never forgive her. Even when she obeyed them, they never fixed her anyway.

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