I went back to all your suggestions, then revised. So, what do you all think of this:
Esau Karuma never expected to marry — he’s really not the type.
But when he hears about a girl who’s got to get married immediately or else she’ll be crushed under a whole mountain of trouble, Esau doesn’t hesitate to volunteer. He’ll whisk her out of the way of disaster, marry her real quick, get her settled someplace she’ll be comfortable, and that will be that. No reason in the world either of them should be too much of a nuisance to the other.
Given his whole life so far, he should have known that plan might be a little too optimistic …
Also, opinion poll: There are nineteen chapters. All the odd-numbered chapters are “present day” and involve Keraunani. All the even-numbered chapters take place eight years before and involve a variety of other characters and situations that serve to show some of the experiences that made Esau the kind of man he is. I used a slightly different font for the two different narratives.
Normally I don’t do anything at all for chapter names. I just put in a list of numbers, clickable for the ebook and with page numbers for the paper edition, and that’s it. What do you think of putting “current day” and “previously” into the table of contents? Just repeating whichever is appropriate next to each chapter number? Would that be helpful, unnecessary, distracting, something else?
This is a real novel, though not exceptionally long. It’s 365 pp (paper edition) or about 6000 units (ebook, and I have no clue what those units actually represent).
I’ve also included about 15 pages of the beginning of Tasmakat, but, warning! Since that draft is far (far!) from completed, I really do not know whether those pages will in fact comprise the beginning of the final book. On the one hand, I don’t dramatically change the beginning too often, plus I am using the journey back from the winter country for important foreshadowing that would be difficult to include elsewhere, so it would be hard to cut. On the other hand, this is not a guarantee that I won’t change my mind. So, while I hope you enjoy the teaser, it might not be the actual beginning of the real book.