Hooded figures, abstract

Readers Wanted, Must Love YA Fantasy

Lou Hoffmann's smiling faceThe end goal of authoring and publishing a work of fiction is to connect with readers. But readers are important before  publishing too. Just like game or tech developers test their product by engaging beta testers, so authors use beta readers when they have a solid draft. Usually, a writer has written and self-edited at least a second draft of the novel before it’s ready for beta. Earlier “testers” might read parts of a novel, or the whole thing while the first draft is in the making. Those first readers are called, as you might guess, alpha readers.

Want to know more about alpha and beta readers?

Here are links to a couple of articles that provide a good overview on the topic. While the target readers for these posts are writers, the information works for everyone.

This article, written by author Aigner Loren Wilson, is aimed at writers. But the information is valuable for people on both sides of the author/beta table. Among other things it gives the following list of what qualities make a good beta reader.

  • Supportive readers
  • Honest and fair critics
  • Responsive
  • Tactful
  • Readers within story’s genre

cartoon cat reading a bookI’m betting you’re that kind of reader. If so, and you read YA Fantasy, read on—I’m looking to find betas like you for The Sun Child Chronicles.

This blog post, on a book formatter’s site called Word2Kindle, gives an overview of how to get into beta reading if you haven’t already done it, and has some great information on resources for beta readers and would-be beta readers.

Are you the reader I’m looking for?

Of course, each author has specific needs when it comes to what they’d like early readers to do for them. For the Sun Child Chronicles, I will ask beta readers to read each revised or book in the series when I’ve got a solid draft ready. I’m interested in hearing from readers who’d like to be on board for that process—I’m not there yet, but it won’t be long before I have book ready.

More immediately—

I’d like to gather alpha readers for a special project. Book 1 is being more extensively revised than any of the rest of the series. In fact, though the story hasn’t changed, the first chapters in book 1 will be almost entirely rewritten. I’d like a small team of readers willing to read the old chapters and the new and answer vital questions that will help me get it right for publication.

If you’re interested, please contact me!

You can comment here on the blog, or try a message on Messenger, but possibly the best way to reach me would be a Direct Message via Twitter.  Once we’re in touch, we can discuss the project. I will appreciate all feedback from alpha and beta readers, and I’ll do my best to make it a rewarding experience.

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On Twitter, I’m @Lou_Hoffmann

That’s all I’ve got on early readers today, but here’s a tiny snippet from that rewrite of Key of Behliseth’s first chapters (rough, unedited, but hopefully tantalizing).

A long snippet, or a short excerpt

To set the scene, Lucky has fled the place he’s called home for the last year and gone to an abandoned, decaying “housing projects” where he’d stayed before, a place used by many homeless people. Sammy, the teen he runs into, was once a friend.

He picked up his stride—it didn’t pay to look too lost or aimless in a place like this—and kept his eyes moving, scanning the street the covered porches, the shadows between desiccated shrubs. At first everything seemed ordinary enough. But then, oddly as if conjured out of his thoughts, he saw the boy who’d given him that kiss a year ago coming toward him along the dinged-up pavement.

“Hey, Sammy.”

“Lucky! What are you doing here, man? Haven’t seen you for ages.”

“I been staying out… on the edge of town, an old house.” Lucky’s shack and what he was doing for money these days weren’t exactly secrets, but something stopped him from being more specific. Though he was no stranger to these sudden intuitions, he still wished he knew what that something was, where the silent warning came from.

“Got you a sugar daddy or somethin’?”

“Hell, no!”

“Hm. Too good for that, too, huh?”

Lucky was hit hard enough by that remark that he took a step back. “You know it ain’t like that, Isamu.”

“Don’t call me that.”

“It’s your name.”

Sam stepped closer—too close—and breathed right in Lucky’s face. “Shut up about it, okay. But listen, can you help a brother out? I hear you got yourself a little business. You must be doing all right. You’ll share with me won’t you, sweet thing?”

“Sweet thing?”

“Aw, you know how I feel about you. And speaking of names you ain’t never told me yours. Tell me that, and I’ll call you by it proper.”

Hooded figures, abstractLucky wanted to say, all I’m going to tell you is to take your alcohol breath and needle tracks and get out of my face. Instead, his name—his real name—started to bubble up on his tongue. “Luc—”

He choked it off, and was about to flee—something he was good at, since being able to run fast kept him out of jail and who knows where else. He had no parents, no papers, no past, no identity. If a cop or even a social worker pinned him down and started asking questions, he’d probably end up in an institution.

But speed didn’t matter at the moment, because everything changed. The darkness hovering in shadows seemed to flow out to cover the already strangled light on the streets of the old projects. By the time Lucky’s vision adjusted Sammy had turned his back and walked ten feet away, and then he vanished.

Shapes came toward Lucky—human shapes, more than likely, covered in black robes with hoods pulled up to shadow their faces. They took mechanical steps and chanted. Lucky blinked, trying to clear his mind of what must be hallucinations. But when he looked again, not only were the black-cloaked people still shuffling toward him, but the world had slipped away.

He glanced to the sides and behind him—yes, he was still standing in the projects, but out there… in front of him lay a rocky field of ice.

Thanks for reading!

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Magical girl L'Aria in water with gem

Wednesday Words: L’Aria—Magic, Sass

Hello! Wednesday Words this week is a bit longer than the previous. I want you to meet an important character—L’Aria Tira. She’s known for being magical in a big way, sharing an inborn talent called River Song with only one other person in Ethra—her father. On the flip side, she’s known for being independent, headstrong, capable, and sassy as hell. And her fate is tied to Luccan’s. A slight disclaimer—I’m revising before re-releasing, so the words (though not the story or the characters) may change in the new edition.)

Words about Fate

This is from Key of Behliseth (The Sun Child Chronicles #1), and it shows how L’Aria’s life is entwined with Lucky’s. (And, coincidentally, it also reveals a strange truth about Lucky’s life.)

As L’Aria was the only child of the strangest, most enigmatic man in Ethra, everyone had always known she was unique. But on the night of Luccan’s disappearance, it had become clear how important she was to Ethra’s future and how closely her fate was tied to Luccan’s. That night, she’d fallen into a stupor and couldn’t be roused even by Thurlock. Finally, her father, the legendary Tiro, had carried her away to Greenwood Forest. Neither had been seen again for twenty-nine years.

Last year, the day after Thurlock and Han had come to Earth, she’d shown up alone at the Sisterhold, still a girl, only two years older than she had been the day of Luccan’s disappearance. Every wizard, witch, and scholar in the Sunlands and beyond ran to the scrolls. Histories, prophecies, and theories papered walls and tables and even floors in studies and classrooms around the globe.

But it was Rosishan, the least scholarly of all the great witches, who’d figured it out. L’Aria’s fate was inextricably tied to Luccan’s. Luccan had aged in Earth years, and so had she. Born at spring equinox forty-one Ethran years ago, this year she’d turned fourteen.


Words about the Magic

Here’s a few paragraphs from Wraith Queen’s Veil (The Sun Child Chronicles #2) showing her using her song, preparing to help some soldiers get through a flood to a badly placed portal so they can leave Earth and get back home to Ethra.

Barefoot, ragged, and beautiful, with a gem on her forehead flashing back the early light, she walked into the water—back straight, chink proud, hands held open at her sides.

She was singing as she went, a high, ethereal melody with a thousand inner harmonies. Magical girl L'Aria in water with gem

L’Aria’s magic flowed ahead of her in waves like another stream. She walked in deeper, and when the water touched her fingertips, it calmed and cleared, revealing every rock and crevice that lurked beneath it’s surface.

The soldiers followed, leading their horses and letting them put their hooves down carefully. She led them in a sickle curve across the flats that had become a flood, keeping them away from the swirling water where Isa’s keep had been. When they came to the deeper, faster waters racing down Black Creek’s usual course, the portal loomed high above, but only short yards ahead.

L’Aria stopped and her song changed subtly; it seemed more insistent. She clasped her hands together, curved into a graceful dive, and disappeared beneath the rough waters. For seconds the current danced with lights—turquoise, violet, tender green. When they faded, the water stilled in a swath from the creek’s banks to the foot of the broken pillars. It took on a sea-green translucence the exact color of L’Aria’s gem.

Thanks for reading—I hope it wets your appetite. 🙂

BTW, I love comments and likes and followers on Facebook or Twitter almost as much as I love chocolate. Just so you know.

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Red Dragon

Wednesday Words—Sun Child series WIP

First, from Han’s Story

I’m thinking of this as a potential Kindle Vella story, so I won’t be posting many lines from it here or elsewhere. Still here’s a glimpse. I started out trying to tell the story of this character from The Sun Child Chronicles from the wizard Thurlock’s perspective. But Han’s voice is clearer, brighter, better for the purpose. In the series, he’s a man of few words, though when he does have something to say, it’s meaningful. He plays an important role in every book in the series, and the reader gets to know him fairly well over the course of the story, but taking this dive into Han Shieth’s mind and heart has proven enlightening even for me.


Red DragonI’ve been afraid of the dragon all my life. I know it’s difficult to believe, but I remember dreaming the dragon, dreaming of flying, before I could walk. As a boy, I learned to play with it, keeping it in a safe place in my mind that way. If it was a companion—pretend, I tried to convince myself—it wouldn’t, couldn’t hurt me.

Truly, my fear was more for others around me than it was for myself.

Because the dragon breathes fire. And I’d always known that.

Now, from The Sun Child Chronicles #5, Kaynenh’s Triad

I’ve chosen a couple of paragraphs from the never-before-published next installment in the series. As you can see from this glimpse of a morning on the road, Lucky’s collected quite a collection of friends over time. Including a young green dragon and a boyfriend. While the series is not romance, the characters’ take us into a couple of romantic sub-plots. After all, The Sun Child Chronicles delves into lives, and love stories are part of life.

WordsGreen dragon

Commotion woke Lucky well after dawn. A lot seemed to be going on around the camp, but flapping, green, leathery wings and a squawky voice that his brain readily translated for him was the first thing he truly saw.

“Sahsha! You’ve gotten so big,” Lucky said.

“Sahsha child, be big someday.”

Judging from the other dragons he knew—in particular Han Shieth—Lucky supposed that was true, but he realized with some sadness that Sahsha had already grown too big for her habit of riding on his shoulder. He hugged his loyal hatchling, though, and was delighted when Sahsha wrapped wings around him to hug back. He ignored Sahsha’s awful dragon breath and got up to take care of his own ablutions. As he crossed the camp, he saw more new arrivals. Recognizing most, he was happy to see all of them.

Henry stood with Han near Simarrohn, smiling at each other and conversing. Lucky loved seeing the two of them—his uncle and his friend—so clearly happy together, but it made him miss Rio harder. Thinking about his boyfriend, a chill crept up his spine with no obvious cause. He shivered and concentrated, trying to decide what had sent dread coursing through him. Rio. Something was wrong. Was Rio in danger? How could I know? But the truth was he knew something was happening. No, not danger, he answered himself, not now. But something is happening in Rio’s world—in Morrow’s land, and it’s… it’s going to change everything.


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Curves, Caution Signs, and No GPS

Jumping into writing after pulling back on the reins for several months has been an exciting endeavor. But I’d be lying if I said the road was all downhill and free of hindrances.

Slow: Curves Ahead

Picking up after a hiatus has not been as easy as I’d thought. I’ve kept on writing, but progress is much slower than I’m used to. I find myself second guessing, back-tracking, and even undoing.

Merging Traffic Next 10,000 Words

The book I’m working on, Kaynenh’s Triad, #5 in The Sun Child Chronicles, is more than half written. I’m building on old prose and four previous books, all one continuous story. Of course, it deals with new situations, but the connections with the “past” have to be solid. As I write new scenes and continue old scenes, I find repeatedly I have to go back and check. What did that character do the last time this happened? What were those particular magical words? Some things, like eye color and character relationships are recorded in The Sun Child Chronicles “bible.” At least those are easier to look up.

Dead End

Yes, indeed I have even written myself into a corner and found I couldn’t go forward. The worst example involves the new wizard, Vahrenn. I wrote a few thousand words of his Important Journey (capitalized for effect) before I realized I’d forgotten he was deaf. Partly it was a setback, but also a wake-up call about how much I take hearing for granted. My apologies to the D/deaf.


I’ve a confession. I have only so much patience for outlines, synopses, etc. I tend to lay out the first part of a story in a fairly detailed manner. But after that it sort of peters out, until at the end I’m using a word or two—or else the outline never gets there. And even if it does, by that point in the story I’ve taken a few left turns and am nowhere near the expected route.

I’m still heading for the same destination, though! Along the way, each time I change my path, I usually know exactly how to get back on track. It’s like taking a different route to the office or the gym or whatever. You’re still only a few miles from home, and you know you can get there.

Having stepped away from the book for a time, I’m finding the map in my mind is pretty hazy at times. To cope, I do reread earlier stuff, but sometimes I just keep writing because, hey—

It’s only a first draft!


Traffic Revision Ahead

Step away from the publishing world for longer than a blink these days, and you’ll find a lot changed when you dip a toe in again. I know some of these are not as new to others as they are to me: Dreame, Radish, NovelCat, and Webfic are some examples of things I either never thought to look, or never heard of, or they didn’t exist. I’m not seriously considering any of those right now, but I am looking at Vella, the new Amazon Kindle platform for serialized stories.

I definitely won’t be publishing Kaynenh’s Triad (The Sun Child Chronicles #5) in serialized form. But I am in the early stages of developing a related, shorter story that would be ideal, I think, for Vella.

Han’s Story

Han Rha-Behl Ah’Shieth is a very important character in the series. He’s an adult at the start of the series, and a helper character to the younger protagonist. Yet his own character arc runs alongside his, and it carries a lot of weight. Reading the books give you some important information about his life, but it’s in bits in pieces. And incomplete. So… I want to tell his story. And as of now, I think the best way to tell it is narrated by Thurlock, the oldest wizard. He’s been there all along the line, from Han’s early childhood. And his relationship as mentor, teacher, employer, and friend gives him all the perspective.

An excerpt

Here’s a very brief part of Han’s story. This version is found in Key of Behliseth, book 1 of the series, and it’s told in third person, from his brother Lohen’s point of view.

The Fire

Lohen smelled smoke as he was striding down the hill toward home. He’d visited Nedhra City, fifty miles from the family’s stead. In addition to news and letters for his parents, he carried a gift for his brother’s twelfth birthday—a sling that could be wound tight to toss stones an incredible distance. Perfect for a boy who liked both weapons and mechanical things. Lohen looked forward to seeing Han smile when he put it in his hands.

The smoke disturbed his happy thoughts. It didn’t have the flavor of a cooking fire or the pungency of the smokes used for curing meat or fish. It was the wrong time of year for the fields to be burned off, and the smell seemed wrong anyway—dirty—or contaminated. He stopped when he rounded the bend and had a clear view of his parents’ stead.

And then he started running.

When he got there, remnants still burned, but only the low ridges where the walls of the house had stood, huddled pieces of resistant furniture, and in one place a blazing doorframe leading on both sides to nothing.

The first corpse he saw, as he stood with the heat of flames and coals on his face, was his uncle, an old man whose skill with horses had taken to work in the far north long ago, and whose devotion to an orphaned girl had reaped him no reward of love. Abandoned in old age, he’d come to stay with his sister’s family, bringing a kind face, a sad smile, and grand stories of winged horses and starry northern skies.

He’d not simply been killed, nor had Lohen’s mother and father. Everywhere he looked, Lohen saw evidence of torture. He couldn’t bear seeing it, but he couldn’t look away. He stood, not moving or thinking until night crept in and the flames around him hissed into silence.

Mindless, Lohen turned and took a step back toward the road. That was when he heard a faint sound. He followed the breathy cry and found Han hidden in a holly thicket, hugging his knees and sobbing. At first Lohen was only glad, relieved to see him alive. Then the truth dawned, and he fell to his knees, the wind knocked from his lungs by a horrifying new thought.

Han Shieth had seen his family murdered.

Your thoughts?

By the time the first book in The Sun Child Chronicles opens, Han is over two centuries old. And there’s nothing usual about his life. The wizard has seen it all unfold.

Let me know what you think about Han’s story, and what you think about Vella. (Ever tried it?) And any thoughts in general on this post—comments are always welcome, and I’ll respond. (I have to approve your first comment before it will appear, so give me a little time. 😊 )

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Graphic with text: Han Shieth





The Oldest Wizard Speaks his Mind

Well, another week has gone by, and I am a few more miles down the road to getting my books back out into published world. Thanks for joining me. This week did not go as expected.


As I’ve mentioned before, I’m currently writing book 5 of The Sun Child Chronicles, Kaynenh’s Triad. I’ve introduced you to is Vahrenn, a new character in this book—a wizard with a magical affinity for water. I’ve just finished a scene of over 4,000 words involving a problem he had to tackle and solve. Cold, hard reality… possibly none of the scene will end up in the book. Not sure yet. But if it doesn’t—no regrets! I got to know Vahrenn much better in the process of writing the scene. And that’s important.

Characters and “Show, don’t tell”

For any writer whose writing thrives on character (as mine does), it is absolutely necessary to know more about your characters than will be written about. To clarify, the knowing imparts authenticity and integrity, and makes them a whole, round person. That will show in their actions, reactions, and words. It will show, but much of it won’t be told. Sure, I might mention dark eyes, or a toothless grin, or a six-pack. But I know way more about the character’s history, motivation, and fears than I’m ever going to spell out in print. Nowhere in writing is “show, don’t tell” so important.

No, that’s not a rule!

Oops. I almost sound like I’m dictating what writers should do or should avoid. And I can’t do that. My words are far from the final ones—only what works for me. At least most of the time. But Somerset Maugham said:

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”

And that same famous author of bygone days also said:

“You can never know enough about your characters.”

So then I rest my case. Sort of. Really, I’m just plugging along and learning as I go. That hasn’t changed since my earliest days as an author.

Characters are dangerous (but fun) drivers

One of the things I’ve done in my previous posts is introduce you to some of the characters in The Sun Child Chronicles. As I mentioned, characters drive my stories, and in fact, even though I might pretend they’re in the passenger seat. Any character of significance will grab the wheel and send us careening around an unexpected corner. Sometimes they even kick me right out of the car.

That’s part of what makes me want to come back to The Sun Child Chronicles. I love the characters, and they make writing fun. Also, there are a lot of them—more all the time, because as is usual in fantasy series, the story gets bigger with every book.

I interviewed the wizard Thurlock

Now, speaking of characters and knowing them, let me introduce you this week to Thurlock. He is the most important wizard in the series. A “helper” character who guides the main protagonist through, over, and around all sorts of difficult problems. Often grumpy, often laughing, sometimes kind, sometimes scary. A while back (when one of my books was being released), I interviewed him for another blog. And even though I already knew him pretty well, some of his answers surprised me. Here’s that interview, slightly modified. I hope you enjoy his grumpy-wizard self.

In his own words


I’ve been wondering about Thurlock ever since I met him. I mean the old wizard is kind of a mystery man, right? I recently caught him with a cell phone call on a day that he popped over to Earth for a Chai Tea Latte and some pumpkin bread with too much sugar icing. He wasn’t really happy about it, but he does know where his bread is buttered, so to speak…


Hey, Thurlock. Lou Hoffmann, here. You got a few minutes?

This is my off-page time, Ms. Hoffmann. Off-duty. Why are you calling me? Haven’t you put me through enough already? What with several more books about The Sun Child and me coming up, I’d think you’d have plenty more trouble to make for me without seeking me out on my private time.

Well, Jeez, Thurlock. I got to thinking people must really wonder about you—”

Portrait-- old wizard Thurlock The Sun Child Chronicles

“Do they, now?”

“I think so. You’re interesting. I mean 1000 years old—”

“Now you’re just being mean.”

“No, really. I thought you might answer a few questions.”

“I’m rolling my eyes, now. Thought I’d tell you since this is a phone call. I mean, I can’t do the eye-roll as good as Luccan, or even as good as Han, but it is a problem with non-face-to-face communication that gestures and facial expressions can’t be seen. I’ve been studying this phenomenon and have found research, mostly by Earthborns, that shows—

“Thurlock, you’re rambling.”

“Oh yes, sorry. I was. Never mind then, let’s just get to the point.”

“Okay, questions. Before I start, though, I know I’m supposed to know you best, and I’ll be honest. Some of these questions I’m going to ask I’m pretty sure I know the answers to. Answer anyway, if you would, and feel free to surprise me with the truth.”

“Shouldn’t be hard to do…”

Where and when were you born? Tell us what your childhood was like?

I was born a very, very long time ago, in the northern part of the Sunlands, on the western outskirts of the Greenwood. The place was called Kharravale; we had a farm a mile or so from the village. My childhood…. How rarely I think of it now. I guess if nothing else I could indeed be thankful that you brought it to my mind. It… It wasn’t all good, of course. No childhood is, but as I look back through this vast stretch of time, it seems wonderful. Golden and filled with sun—perhaps Behlishan had chosen me even then, though I didn’t feel chosen as I ran in the fields. I loved the smell of the earth—you know, mud, pines and oak and maple, mown hay, wild honeysuckle. I never wanted to go indoors until winter came, and then only for hours at a time. The snow would fall heavy and deep and stay clean and white for a month. We had toboggan races, we children. And when parents went visiting it was by sleigh rather than wagon. Even the horses liked it better I think. Or maybe they just knew hot mash would be waiting, the same way we looked forward to sweet tea and honey cakes. Oh yes, it was a beautiful thing to be a boy in that place in that time. I suppose if I thought of the future at all, I thought I’d live out my years right there in the valley, perhaps raise my own children, run the family’s farm. But I went to school instead.

That leads me nicely to my second question—or perhaps I should say set of questions, Thurlock. When did you start your formal education, and how long did it last? Did you enjoy school, or want to go back to an easier time? Did you have a favorite teacher, or is there one who left a giant footprint on who you were to grow up to be?

Was I rambling? I’m sorry. And yes, you should say set of questions. Be accurate when you bother a wizard, Lou. To answer your question, I started early and I didn’t dislike school, but I did miss being a child, and being home. In those days, in that place, most children didn’t go to school at all, but when they were around twelve or so, the parents would contrive to get a batch together and teach them to read and add better, things like that. But Kharravale, you know, was named after the Kharrighan, and it was full of his descendants. Almost a tribe, or at the least a clan. Every generation sported a few young people with higher than average magical talent. I was not only among the best of my cohort, but manifested enough power, starting when I was ten, to scare my elders. By the time I’d had my eleventh birthday they’d made arrangements with a small wizarding preparation school in Nedhra City, and I never lived at home again, though I did treasure my visits. I did have a favorite teacher! Her name was Yolahnda O’Shanadah. I learned absolutely nothing from her. I was fourteen when I started studying with her and I instantly became infatuated. As far as the giant footprint, that was left by a very old man named Thomkit. An historian and a seer. I never learned to do what he did, but he taught me how to read and respect the prophecy, and how to disregard them for the sake of letting things unfold.

Did you have a best friend in your school days—tell s about them? Do you have one now?

I did have a best friend. He was Drakha, and every bit as heroic and beautiful as Han Shieth, though a hunter like Han’s brother, rather than a warrior. He’s one of the many, many friends I’ve watched grow old and die while I linger here far beyond my time. And yes. In honesty, though I’d say our relationship is quite complex, one of the things Han Shieth has become is my friend—the best of those few I have.

I’m sorry. Maybe talking about bygone days is making you sad. Probably I shouldn’t ask any more questions about the past, but I do have one more I’d like to slip in, if you’ll allow it. Were you ever so in love you thought you’d spend the rest of your life with someone, even if it meant giving up your position as a prominent wizard?

Yes. (Silence). We-e-ell, it looks as though you’re not going to let me leave it at that. Did anyone ever call you a busybody, Lou? No? They should have. But fine. I’ve loved two people that much. The first was a girl I met at a tea shop near a famous theater in Nedhra City. I saw her every day for a year. She was… I think in Earth you’d call her a transwoman, perhaps, though in Ethra we just call a woman a woman. She was the most easy-going, the least serious person I knew at the time. She was fully engaged with living life and had no great need to address the world’s problems. We ate and walked and went places around the city, or out to the countryside a few times. We talked about art and music and plays and the weather and her crazy clothes and her garden and… you know,  just everything. And we made love and—oh I know some people think I should have had a problem with that. As Han says, men are not my type. But she wasn’t a man you see, and as far as the love-making went, everything fit together just fine and it all worked splendidly from my point of view. But I was studying, you understand, and at a certain point it became clear that I’d have to pay a little more attention to wizardry or else give it up. I chose give it up. She chose to write me a note and leave on the mantel piece for me, and I never saw her again. And the second person… Well, the second person was Isa. Yes, the woman you know as the Witch Mortaine, the one Luccan and I dismantled with Behl’s help in Black Creek Ravine. Yes, she was beautiful once, and elegant, even understanding, though perhaps never truly compassionate, certainly never sweet. But oh she took me by surprise, like cold water on a hot day. It ended when I tried to save her from her fate, and as repayment she tried to kill me. No more about my past now. Please. I’m becoming melancholy and that makes my blood pressure go up.

Tell us your honest opinion of Lucky—or Luccan as you know him. Do you enjoy being around him? Does he annoy you?

Oh, certainly he annoys me, but what 1000-year-old man is not annoyed by someone who’s 16? The sheer amount of energy the boy possesses drives me crazy. And the questions. Behl’s toenails! I’ve never heard so many questions, and so strange. Do you know what he asked me? “If life wasn’t life, what would it be?” I didn’t even try to answer—and you shouldn’t either Lou. Yet, Luccan has more of the true Suth Chiell about him than any I’ve seen since I became cognizant of what a Suth Chiell should be. And aside from that, he is a strong, kind, compassionate human being. And delightful—his humor, his smile, his wonderful curious mind. I think of him as a grandchild, though I know that’s ludicrous. I love him. And I pin my hopes for the future on him, with not a single doubt or qualm. Are we about done now, Ms. Hoffmann? My chai is getting cold, and I do have plans for the day.

I’m sorry, Thurlock. As you said, this is your personal time. I had no right to impinge and I do appreciate you answering my questions. I had wanted to ask you about Han… you know, the dragon thing? And also what your thoughts are on the future of Ethra in general. But I’ll cut it short with one more question I’ve been wondering about since I met you. Are you immortal?

Oh! Gods, I hope not.


The end

And Thurlock hung up on me. I guess I should be grateful for what we did get.


Once more, thanks for joining me on the journey. I love comments, and I’ll answer them, too! 

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