The work-in-progress blog tour: The Mines of Asharim

March 9, 2015 The Magic Mines of Asharim, Writing musings 0

Yes, folks, it’s another of those fun blog tour thingies. The rules: link back to the previous blog post, then describe your current work in progress, with the openings of the first three chapters, and finally tag another author blog to carry things onwards. So, just another excuse to talk about writing…

You can blame Marina Finlayson for this one. She’s the author of Twiceborn, an urban fantasy featuring both werewolves and dragons (yay for dragons!). It’s also cool that it’s set in Sydney, which makes a refreshing change from London or various US cities. You can read her blog post here.

My current work-in-progress is called The Mines of Asharim. It features a young woman escaping from traumatic events, trying to find a refuge. What she finds instead is far more powerful, and sets her on a path to restoring her people’s fortunes.

It’s set in another part of the same world that all my books inhabit. This time, we’re on the far northern coast, well to the north of the Karningplain that featured in The Plains of Kallanash. The land is hotter and drier (since we’re in the southern hemisphere), and water has become a weapon of war.

Magic? Of course! There are several characters who have ‘connections’, like those in The Plains of Kallanash, enabling them to manipulate people or objects. There are also some strange magical creatures, very powerful but also dangerous.

So far I have 41 chapters finished, and perhaps 5 more to go – nearly there! I’m optimistic that it will be ready for an autumn publication.

Here are the openings to the first three chapters:

Chapter 1

I gripped the rail with tense fingers, but the barge slid against the wharf with the softest of bumps. Below me, figures ran about with ropes, tying up with practised ease. With the groaning of heavy wood, a gangplank was positioned. I had arrived.

Cautiously I let go of the rail, prepared to grab again, but the barge was still. It was all of a piece, the smoothest, most trouble-free journey possible, and I couldn’t quite believe it. It seemed too good to be true. I wasn’t safe yet, but I was close, so close. Picking up my travel bag, I made my way to disembark with the handful of other passengers, as the crane was wheeled into place to begin unloading the cargo.

“Good luck, Allandra!” one of them called as they dispersed, and then they were all shouting to each other. “Good luck! Good luck!”

Allandra, yes. Must remember my new name.

Chapter 2

At first the road rose slowly through rolling pastureland, the grass withered and autumn-brown. Goats scampered away as we passed by, the children tending them watching us with dull, incurious eyes. Here and there we saw small villages, ramshackle collections of cottages with crumbling walls and sagging roofs, the sweet smell of burning turf masking other less pleasant aromas.

From my perch in the wagon, the flaps wide open for ventilation, I had a fine view back down to Crenton Port, its bustling wharves along the lakeside alive with activity. Beyond, the grey waters of the river sprawled their way across the plains, the wide bends linked by neat lines of canals to avoid stretches where the river was too shallow for navigation.

Chapter 3

I still could see no way through or round the wall, but the mulers began unloading so I guessed some way would be found. A metallic clanking sound far above made me look up towards the crane, and there, slowly spinning as it descended, was a wooden contraption, a combination of chair and cage. Oh. So that was how to get over the wall.

The two girls were clutching each other fearfully, and Rufin chewed his lip, brow furrowed. One of the mulers steadied the spinning chair as it neared the ground, opened the cage door, then looked expectantly at the four of us. Well, I’d taken greater risks over the last few moons. I stepped forward and cautiously sat in the chair. It rested on the ground so it was quite firm. The muler shut the door and fixed a pin to hold it closed, then shouted, “Away!”

Well, bit short on dialogue and action there… But then, it’s not called a work in progress for nothing.

Next up on the Work in Progress Blog Tour is Cady Vance, author of YA and NA speculative fiction, including paranormal urban fantasy Bone Dry and vigilante thriller The Madmen’s City. Over to you, Cady.

ETA: There’s another branch of the blog tour going on elsewhere. You can catch up with it at the blog of Amelia Smith, author of fantasy Scrapplings and Regency romance Scandal’s Heiress.

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