RIHASI: Back Cover Description

You know what I realized? That the first version of this description contained a direct spoiler for TUYO.


I mean, yes, anyone who reads Rihasi will PROBABLY have read TUYO. But the back cover description is NOT the place for direct spoilers, because obviously anybody could skim through the descriptions of all the books while deciding whether to try TUYO. So that was definitely an Oops! moment.

I’ve tightened this up and rephrased just a touch for clarity. Here’s the final version, or at least, this is probably close to the final version:


Rihasi Gerogevet of Saraicana has a serious problem. She knows just who can help her solve it: Lord Aras Eren Samaura, the king’s most powerful scepter-holder. But Lord Aras is in Gaur, a long journey from Saraicana, and getting there safely isn’t going to be easy. Especially as a lot of people are determined to make sure she doesn’t get there at all.

Kior Voeret has a serious secret. The absolute last person he wants to face is Lord Aras Eren Samaura. But he can’t let a naïve, inexperienced young man get himself killed on the road. That’s all right: Kior doesn’t have to commit to going all the way to the scepter-holder’s doorstep himself. He can escort the young man to the border of Gaur, then walk away long before he gets close enough for Lord Aras to notice anything unfortunate.

It’ll be fine.



I added the “of Saraicana” up front so the town name wouldn’t come out of nowhere in the second line, and I added “Lord Aras is Gaur” to make it clear that the problem is the journey. I mean the immediate problem.

I agreed with the parallel structure comment and simplified Kior’s first sentence.

I also removed every single reference to sorcery and tried hard to phrase Kior’s half of the description in a way that would avoid definite spoilers about that. I realize this could still be read as a spoiler, but I hope it won’t be REALLY OBVIOUSLY a spoiler.

I am now, by the way, through the stab stab stab scene that provided the initial inspiration for this book. There is a lot of stuff that happens way before that. I’m just tipping over 90,000 words. But that specific scene, though it now represents a small proportion of the words, did indeed make me think, “You know … a woman disguised as a young man might be forced into a duel even though she is one hundred percent untrained … and someone could give her this type of advice … and he could be her bodyguard! Because bodyguards, yay!”

So that was two different tropes I especially like in one package: The Girl Disguised As a Boy and The Bodyguard. Realizing I could fit this story into the Tuyo world meant I was pretty certain to write this story sometime.

Then the other questions, about why does this young woman need to disguise herself as a young man, and why does she need to hand this problem to Aras, why will no one else do, and why are people after her, and how many people, and why are they so determined, and what is Kior’s secret, all those questions presented themselves in quick succession. The answers to those questions then led to the basic outline for this book.

I started this book on February 2. Although RIHASI has moved along pretty well, it’s not nearly as immersive as MARAG. Not nearly as fast either. Why is that? I asked myself. I have realized there are three basic reasons.

A) It’s not Christmas Break. That is trivial in the sense of being too obvious for words, but it does mean I have a lot less time for writing per day.

B) I knew exactly who Sinowa and Marag were as people. I hadn’t realized how important that was. It made it super, super easy to write MARAG. I wasn’t figuring out who they were; I knew who they were and could just whooosh right into the story.

It was a lot harder with RIHASI because I didn’t know either of the protagonists, especially not Kior. At first, I kept wanting to write him like Esau and it took a very deliberate effort to avoid that. I had to think about his background in more detail and then peg his register. I mean, along the informal-to-formal axis. Esau’s register is on the informal end of the axis, and I had to decide where to put Kior and then stick to it. He is a better educated man and has held a position of more authority, and he’s physically competent, but not a brawler. And he doesn’t have get. But I had to decide about all that, and then develop a consistent style for him, and that very definitely slowed me down.

Besides that –>

C) Wow, I don’t know that I truly realized until now how much easier all description is in the winter country. It all looks the same! There’s no need to think, hmm, what do mountains look like? They look like mountains!

Photo by Ben Lowe on Unsplash

Look, mountains! Then you just have to do variations on this one theme. Waterfalls, little meadows, wolves, maybe sunset:

Image by leo kim from Pixabay

I mean, you do need to find words for that flaming sunset turning the clouds to fiery mist, but this is still fundamentally A LOT EASIER than deciding what YET ANOTHER TOWN LOOKS LIKE in the summer country, where towns look very different from each other, and where I often have to pause and look up prior descriptions of Avaras or wherever. And there are a lot of people in the towns, and they have to be there, and their clothing styles change as much as the architecture, and it’s all just very much more complicated. And that has definitely, for sure, slowed me down in drafting and it’s definitely, for sure, going to slow down the first basic revision pass as well, as adding descriptive detail is going to be a big thing for that initial revision.

Well, whatever, it’s fine, I’m just saying, the summer country is definitely harder to set stories in than the winter country. The whole business is going to get even more difficult when I eventually show more of the starlit lands and, eventually, more of the country of sand.

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8 thoughts on “RIHASI: Back Cover Description”

  1. I think if this description was the only thing I had read about the book, I would be thinking, “What young man? Is there a third main character?” but I don’t think that’s necessarily a problem. I’d still pick up the book, and then go “Ohhh, I should have figured that out!” when it became clear. I’m sure plenty of other people would make the connection too.

  2. I had to look back to the previous description to see what the Tuyo spoiler might be. Clearly Kior knows about Aras— but is this before Tuyo? During Tarashana? Do we get a clearer picture of Aras’ family? How is Kior connected to Aras? I’m very excited for the book.

  3. Pete, it’s got some funny bits, but Kior isn’t as flippant as Esau, so the overall tone is probably not as comedic.

    Kate, I thought about it, but I THINK readers aren’t going to be too puzzled about the young woman / young man thing — and if they are, as you say, not for long.

    Alison, RIHASI is taking place a year or maybe two years after TASMAKAT, so everyone in the whole wide span of the world knows not only that Aras is a sorcerer, but that he’s very, very powerful. Actually, most people have no idea how powerful he was for a while there; his sorcery got trimmed back after, hmm, after the essentially recovery shown in TASMAKAT. As for why Kior is really not happy about the prospect of even being in the same county as Aras, that would be a *tremendous* spoiler.

  4. Likely after Tuyo because Kior would presumably not fear getting near him otherwise.

    I have real trouble remembering sorcerER rather than sorcerOR. I want to group it with CONQUEROR and EMPEROR, not UPHOLSTERER and ADULTERER

  5. Pete, I’m right there with you when it comes to “sorceror.” Luckily, after this long, my fingers usually type “sorcerer” without input from my brain, or I would always be getting a red line and having to switch it.

  6. I love the parallelism in the blurb and I’m very excited about this book!

    I was considering whether putting a more blatant “THIS HAS A GIRL DRESSING UP AS A BOY” line would help, but honestly I think any reasonably astute reader will draw the inference between the first and second paragraphs, and I can do my all-caps yelling about favorite tropes on Twitter where it belongs.

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