Well, me, I suppose. Last week my agent, Russell Galen, closed a deal with Betsy Wollheim for a new epic fantasy trilogy called The Song of the Shattered Sands. It’s a story set in a powerful desert city that controls the flow of trade and spice through otherwise impassable terrain. There are echoes of both A Thousand and One Nights and Thieves’ World.
It’s a story about Çeda, a woman who fights in the pits to scrape a living from the cruel but beautiful city she calls home. As the story opens, she discovers that the book her mother left her before she died holds the clues to the unraveling the mystery of her mother’s death, which was tangled up in the story of the Twelve Kings of Sharakhai, men who have ruled the desert with an iron fist for nearly two hundred years. As Çeda begins to unlock the secrets hidden within the poems in the book—as well as what her mother was trying to do before she died—the Kings learn of her, and they will stop at nothing to keep those secrets buried in the desert where they belong. And so the chase is on. Çeda must unlock the hidden riddles of her mother’s book before the Kings find her. She had better hope she does, for she is the last hope for the people of the desert.
I’m very pleased to be working with Betsy Wollheim. I’ve known her for a while, and she’s published many, many authors whose work I’ve admired and two authors who’ve had a great effect on who I am as a writer: Tad Williams and C.S. Friedman. From talking with others and speaking with Betsy herself, I’ve always liked the way they do business. I know it’s a business, but there’s also a family atmosphere, and that’s rare these days.
I got the news last Friday, and let me tell you, there was a point when I was reading over the email from my agent that I literally thought I was dreaming. You see, writers get so good at imagining that for a moment I thought I was. And then, when reality slipped back into view, the email was still there.
I’m both excited and nervous. A *good* nervous, though. I’m eager to return to the project. I’ve got a few things on my plate, not the least of which is wrapping up Lest Our Passage Be Forgotten & Other Stories, but once that’s done, I’m diving back into this tale.
I can’t wait!