Finished, more or less

So, this weekend, among other things, I did the final (or possibly semi-final) revision to the sequel to House of Shadows, which is as you perhaps recall going to be called Door Into Light. I am still going to request at least one more beta read, but I don’t expect major changes.

We have five pov characters this time. You remember from House of Shadows, Nemienne and Leilis and Taudde. And also Karah, who for some reason was perceived by a surprising number of readers as a pov character, though in fact she never carried the pov. 

This time all three of those characters are retained as pov protagonists, but also Karah gets a few pov chapters and so does a third sister, Enelle. So, five. That’s a lot, but the action is spread out. We start in Lonne, but almost immediately some characters wind up in Kalches. Then the action is divided between the two locations.  It seemed necessary to include more pov characters in order to let the reader see more of the things that are happening. Even at that, some of the stuff that’s going on offstage is important and provides one or two plot twists. 

Let me see . . . looks like Taudde gets 7 1/2 chapters (many longish), Leilis gets 8 chapters (some longish), Nemienne gets 6 chapters (the first couple short, then longer as her part of the story gets more important) (also she is the only character who gets two consecutive chapters; that’s odd; but I guess I thought that one chapter was getting too long and broke it).

Then Karah gets 1 1/2 chapters and Enelle gets 4 chapters. Enelle in particular gets to show some important stuff toward the end, but as you can see, they’re both secondary protagonists relative to the other three.

It’s 441 pages long, it turns out, according to the KDP template I just put it into. That’s the actual novel, not counting end materials and whatever. It’s about 150,000 words, give or take. Now comes the hard part: Back cover copy. I have no idea. This is so hard. How about:


Life has hardly had time to settle down since the events of House of Shadows.

Leilis, now heir to Cloisonne House, is still finding her balance as an important keiso in Lonne’s flower world.

Nemienne, now Taudde’s apprentice, is still finding her balance between magecraft and sorcery.

Taudde himself, with the solstice — and possible war — fast approaching, is soon going to have no choice but to make his peace with his grandfather, the king of Kalches.

Then a coup in Lonne sends all three scrambling to save themselves, those they love, and two kingdoms from disaster.


I can’t say that I like that very much. I would welcome suggestions. I do think House of Shadows has been out so long that a brief reference to past events and to the important pov characters is important to remind readers of what’s come before. Possibly this is even too brief for that purpose.

As you see, I only spent one sentence on a vague description of what actually happens in Door Into Light. Frankly, I don’t think it needs much more than that. What do you all think?

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10 thoughts on “Finished, more or less”

  1. I’d love to help with this, but all I remember is that I really liked House of Shadows. I hardly remember any of characters! But the silver lining is that it must be time for a re-read!

  2. I think it’s an equinox approaching, isn’t it? I remember one of your books kept using the one when what you meant must have been the other. Spring Equinox would be when pre-industrial countries could start prepping for war as the weather improved. (late March) Winter solstice is.. well, the middle of winter, good for planning, and summer solstice to late to start gearing up.

    Anyway… I suck at back cover blurbing, too, but… After the resolution with the dragon under the mountain and death of the mage, one would hope for peace. All too soon, Lonne is rocked by a coup and Tauddes has more than an explanation to give his grandfather in Kalches.

    something like that?

  3. Oh goody! I just love House of Shadows. I think your blurb should start with the coup, just as the book does. A coup in the house of XXX drives prince YYY into exile in Kalche, home of his best friend Taude…and his country’s worst enemy, Taude’s grandfather. With war looming both at home and on the border, etc.
    Back in ZZZ, Enelle and Karah live in fear that their sympathies–and their spying–will be discovered, etc.

    The references to book one don’t add much. (I can’t rememeber any of the names.)

  4. Allan L Shampine

    I agree with Pete Mack, and I think his suggested blurb is pretty good. As he says, the references to book one don’t add much.
    I’d actually go further and say they are a negative. I don’t remember what a “keiso” is, for example, and if the back cover assumes I remember it, I’d be nervous that the author is going to throw me off the deep end.

  5. Thanks, Pete. You’re probably right. Let me try fiddling around with different versions of that. Also, thanks for the reminder about the books page. As soon as I have a cover, I’ll update that page.

    Elaine, nope, it’s the summer solstice that counts. It doesn’t matter that spring is a fine time to march off to war; what matters is that the peace treaty sworn fifteen years ago is up at the solstice.

  6. You know, I hadn’t thought about it before, but Karah *does* narrate a few pages in HOUSE, sort of. She tells an autobiographical story to several other characters, first person narration within quotation marks.

    And while it’s much less than a chapter, her telling that story is arguably one of the pivotal events of the book — matters would have turned out quite differently if the prince hasn’t been there listening.

  7. Ok.
    What happened in the country that just after dealing with the idiot mage they get a coup? It wouldn’t be the prince.
    … hmm… must reread HOUSE to see if I can tease out some clues.

  8. Rachel posted chapter 1 here a while back, so I knew about the coup. And Prince Tepres isn’t a viewpoint character, but it is clear book 2 must revolve around him, a bit like Lymond in Dorothy Dunnett.

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