With Broken Mirrors on sale (only through midnight tonight, so hurry on over to Amazon if you still need your copy!), I thought it would be fun to share this.
It may not be immediately obvious in its e-book form, but totaling 464 pages in print (over 115,000 words), Broken Mirrors is a pretty hefty book, and that’s after it was trimmed down. There was some extraneous “fluff” that had to be trimmed because, fun as it was to write, it slowed down the pacing too much and wasn’t really necessary to the story.
In this particular scene from Chapter 5, which still survives in a much leaner form in the final version of the book, Thane and Kesara are chatting in his laboratory. (My apologies for any imperfections you may see, this was cut before the book was edited).
“Pity,” she said with a sigh. “Another day and I could have caught up on my reading.”
“Reading? You can read?” Lord Eladria looked startled and she tried not to smirk. Really she did.
“Did you think Eladrians had some exclusivity when it came to literacy?”
“I never really thought about it, to be honest,” he admitted. “I know some of our neighbors do not take much of an interest in it. Many Eladrians do not, either. It is not exactly a priority for those who don’t need it. What sorts of books do you read?”
Kesara coughed a little, her cheeks suddenly warming. “Oh, you know, just the sort that goes around…”
“Ah,” said Lord Eladria gravely. “Has it…illustrations, then?”
Suddenly Kesara realized how fascinating the stone floor was. Why, if one looked without focusing one’s eyes over much, one could almost make out patterns! Look, there’s a…circle!
“There’s no shame in needing pictures to help figure out the big words, Kes,” he said sweetly.
Kesara looked up sharply, eyes narrowed in suspicion, and sure enough, though his face remained grim, Lord Eladria’s mouth twitched and his shoulders shook slightly.
“It is an adventure story, my lord,” she said firmly.
“I’m sure it is,” Lord Eladria managed to say before a questionable coughing fit overtook him and he turned away.
Kesara scowled. So easy for him to be critical, she thought, him with walls of books. I have to take whatever I can get my hands on. And what did he call me? Kes? Three little syllables are two too many for the Dread Lord of Eladria? She crossed her arms over her chest.
“Oh, pray don’t look so indignant,” Lord Eladria said, turning back around as he wiped at his eyes with his sleeve. “You’re certainly not the only female enamored of…those kinds of books. I remember having to track one down that Graunt wanted, poor sod I was, I had no idea why the book merchant was snickering over the Dread Lord of Eladria requesting ‘The Ballad of Red Morgana.’ I thought she’d just taken some odd interest in music.”
Kesara unfolded her arms, her ire somewhat assuaged but her pride still guarded. “I don’t read them for the, uh, adventurous bits.”
“No, of course not,” Lord Eladria agreed soothingly. But his eyes were suspiciously crinkly at the corners, even though his mouth was set in its usual lopsided line.
“Just for the story,” she insisted. “I’ve always enjoyed hearing about other people’s lives, even if they are fictional people.”
“Oh, keen on gossip?” he asked innocently.
“Of course not gossip.” Again the arms were folded. “Just…news.”
Lord Eladria looked at her in silence, his dark brown eyes sparkling not unlike his glass beakers.
“What?” she asked irritably. “It’s not the same thing at all, my lord.”
“It’s just…interest…normal, healthy interest in other people. If not that for that, I’d never have known about the ague passing through here, or the need for workers, and you’d be surrounded by nothing but Eladrians, your floors downstairs would have been filthy while everyone else was sick and your head would be pounding, and at least one of those is bad, my lord.”
Lord Eladria turned away again with a suddenness and an odd choking sound that renewed her scowl. Finally he turned back, lips still twitching, and said, “Yes, headaches I can bear, but filthy floors in rooms I never go in? Completely unacceptable. Thank goodness for your interest in the welfare of others.”
“No need for sarcasm, my lord,” she muttered.
I don’t know about you, but I strongly suspect Graunt’s request was just to mess with him 😉