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Finally got a review on Scribe in Shadows. That's right, it took almost six months, and that's sad. But hey, at least it's five stars. And even better, the first paragraph is basically a blurb of the book, a much better blurb than I wrote, so I've asked the reviewer if I can copy it for my posts on amazon and smashwords.

Here's the review:

Alcina lives in a land of subtle magic. She is a scribe and has prepared to take her mother's place as high scribe when her mother retires. When her mother is killed unexpectedly, Alcina must take her place. But her mother was not just a scribe; she was also working with a secret alliance to counter the plans of the principal councillor and had information that someone might just kill for. While battling her own demons of depression, Alcina must decide who she can trust and what to do with the information bequeathed to her.

This isn't my normal kind of book (political intrigue typically bores me), but I enjoyed Moore's heroes series, so I figured I would give it a go. I'm very glad that I did. There was a good bit of political intrigue, but the action and mystery kept me interested, and the pacing was good. I particularly liked the translation of current concepts of privacy rights to a renaissance-esque time period. It was easy to draw parallels, and I felt better able to connect to the characters and their politics.

Alcina was well developed as a character, but I would like to know more about her guards (sentinels) and Layt in future books.
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Having recently been reminded that people miss some of my posts from time to time, and that I didn't link to the first two chapters of Scribe in Shadows in my sticky note, I'm providing the links to those chapters now.

Link to chapter one.

Link to chapter two.

Also, sales have picked up a little, which is encouraging.

no title

Alcina Noatak had grown up knowing she would one day be the High Scribe of Gydnerth, but that day was not supposed to arrive so soon. Responsible for drafting the laws that rule her country, Alcina must navigate intrigue and danger no one could have expected her to anticipate, and one wrong move could blow apart not just her life, but the lives of everyone around her.
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I put it up four weeks ago and the lack of sales has been ... I want to say impressive, for some reason. I'm not sure why, that's just the word that comes to mind. I think if I were the type of person to guilt family and close friends into buying my books, I would have made significantly more sales. And then the chirping of crickets I'm getting now.

I am disappointed. It's my first foray into a new fantasy world, I put a lot of work into the book, and I like it. But I'm not nearly as disappointed as I would have expected to be. Maybe it's because I finished it so long ago. And I knew I was breaking a cardinal rule as I was writing it, which is that writers shouldn't get on a soapbox in their novels. I have described the book as one long scream of rage against Canadian politics. I knew that wouldn't be many people's cup of tea.

So, I'm in a state of, "That sucks, but oh well. Moving on."

I did get one review, and it was a complimentary one.

And I'm still writing the rest of the series, because I like the characters and the world. I've already written the first nine chapters of the sequel. I'm just lucky this isn't my livelihood.
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Chapter One is here

Chapter Two

Alcina and Lawal discussed the contents of the proposal for nearly an hour. Alcina spent another two hours finding the books and scrolls she needed from Lawal’s library, and yet another flipping through them and absorbing the background information that would need to be reflected in the proposal. She was eager to start putting paint to paper, but the time to meet her mother for their weekly lunch had arrived.

As the worst part of the day had passed, Alcina’s mood had lifted. The congested streets were less overwhelming, the sunlight less harsh. She exchanged smiles with those she passed and short greetings with those she knew.

Much better.

Her route took her through the core of the city, past Patriation Park, the oldest and largest public park in Ottan. One of the few open green spaces in a crowded city, it was a place for people to gather for picnics, to celebrate feast days, to play games.

And complain about the Council.

There was a small crowd listening to a young man standing on the Speech Dais, which was a simple cube of limestone, three feet high. Alcina wandered close to hear his words.

“And that’s not the only Guild they’re trespassing on!” he shouted. “They are attempting to place their supporters as masters in the Printing Guilds. Untrained, inexperienced men and women meant to choose and teach our young, to indoctrinate them with the Council’s backward agendas.”

Danoso didn’t like Guilds. Didn’t like their independence, their control over who they chose as members, what they taught them, and what sort of work members were permitted to do once they were released from training. He directed intense animosity towards the Guilds entitled to financial support from Council coffers, the Healers’ Guild and the Academic Guilds.

He had no problem giving money to the military Guilds. Gydnerth wasn’t at war with anyone and hadn’t been for decades, but that, according to the Principal Councillor, wasn’t a reason not to pour in more funds. And the Investigators’ Guild, growing faster than any other Guild in the country, that was very popular with Danoso.
Read more )
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I'm posting the first two chapters of Scribe in Shadows, in two posts. You can also go to and download up to 20% before deciding whether you want to buy a copy.

Chapter One

Sunlight hit Alcina’s face and she hissed as she covered her eyes. “Do you have to?”

“Yes, ma’am,” the maid said as she tied back the curtains. “Your rules.”

Yes, yes, on the days she was going to work, the curtains had to be opened. It was sensible, it took the edge off the sluggishness she felt every morning, but there were times when she hated sunlight. It could be so oppressive. “Then I can change them.”

“Only between the twelfth and the sixteenth hours of the day.” Karali returned to the small table beside Alcina’s bed, where a tea tray was waiting. She picked up the small pot and poured hot dark green liquid into a delicate cup. “That’s your rule, too.”

Alcina closed her eyes and let her hand fall back to the mattress, feeling the dread flow through her, pressing against her chest. It was going to be one of those days. She thought of excuses to avoid getting out of bed. Headache? Stomach cramps? The utter lack of desire to speak to or look at anyone?

No. She felt awful, but she didn’t think the day was going to be quite bad enough to justify hiding in her room.

“You don’t want your tea getting cold, ma’am,” said Karali. As though Alcina hadn’t been drinking that same tea every morning for years. As though she didn’t know ris tea tasted eleven times worse when it was cold.

Alcina pinched the bridge of her nose. She was in a vicious mood already. She opened her eyes and rolled up to her elbow, faking a smile. “Thank you, Karali.” She picked up the fragile teacup and downed the contents in a few swallows.

Karali, a plump woman in her late forties with beautiful white hair, pale skin, and kind blue eyes, smiled back. She had worked for Alcina for nearly five years and seemed to accept her quirks with equanimity.

On the table beside the tea tray were copies of two news circulars. The Daily Challenger was the circular Alcina favoured, as it was the only one in the city that would dare criticise Principal Councillor Danoso and his band of thugs. “Should I look at that?” she asked.

Sometimes the news, especially bad news, overwhelmed her.

“You might enjoy it, ma’am. The Council has officially reversed their decision to expropriate the Catori estate.”

“Really?” It had been a year-long scandal and a twelve-month nightmare for the farmer who owned the estate. “Are they admitting they lied about wanting the land for the military base?”

“The official statement is that the sketches for Principal Councillor Danoso’s new home were misfiled by the attendants of the land registry office and should have never been attached to the deed for the Catori estate.”

“Of course,” Alcina said drily. “And the excuse for changing their minds about needing the land?”

“They have decided the land isn’t suitable to their needs.”

Alcina snorted.
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Chapter Two is here:


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