“The Singing Shore” is finished! Sort of.

Hey Everyone! Yes! It’s true! I finished the first draft of The Singing Shore!

As you can see, it was a gargantuan task. And there are many more gargantuan tasks left to do before it will be ready to go out into the world. I can’t even begin to guess at a release date at this point. I have these vague fantasies that it will be ready to come out sometime in the fall, but those are just vague fantasies.

I knew this would be the case going into it, but The Singing Shore turned out to be even more long and complex than I had originally planned, even though I ended up having to scrap a lot of the plot. Of course. That’s how these things go. Such tales tend to grow in the telling, and all that. There’s a whole bunch that’s loosely inspired by The Kalevala, the national epic of Finland, and all kinds of stuff from Nordic and Viking culture. I included a fair amount of Finnish in it, and a few words of Swedish and Norwegian that I scrounged up from Google Translate. I also included all sorts of animals, of course, especially birds. If you’d like to see some of my sources of inspiration, take a look at my Pinterest boards.

Anyway, while it will be many months before The Singing Shore is published, here’s a little taste of it to whet your appetite. It includes birds–among other things.

Happy reading!

E.P. Clark

***

“Come on, Alik!” she shouted as he retreated from another attack by Mikhail Yarmilovich, stumbling in the sand and going down on one knee. Mikhail Yarmilovich leapt at him with a great hammering downward blow. Dasha shrieked through lips she was trying to bite closed, sure that Alik was going to lose, Mikhail Yarmilovich was going to disarm him and defeat him, maybe knock him unconscious, leave him disabled forever…

But he didn’t. Alik caught the blow with his own sword and turned it aside with an effort that made both men groan. Then, somehow, he was jumping to his feet, quicker than a cat, and pressing the attack on Mikhail Yarmilovich, driving him back through the heavy sand.

“Come on!” Dasha cried, knowing she was being silly, undignified, unbecoming to a tsarinovna. “Come on, come on, come ON!”

Alik attacked Mikhail Yarmilovich again, their swords meeting with a clang that made Dasha’s own teeth hurt, and that they both must have felt all the way down to their toes. Their swords caught, and they circled, each keeping the other from attacking, less than a foot apart, the cords and sinews standing out on their necks and arms and shoulders as if they were in a deadly battle, not a casual training match.

“Come on,” Dasha whispered. Her whole body ached to do something, even though she knew there was no need, and Alik wouldn’t thank her if she were to help him. But she had to, her body was demanding it, it was demanding some kind of power, some kind of release, some kind of…

“Akh!” she cried, just as a gull called overhead, just as Alik, with a shout and a jerk of his sword, disarmed Mikhail Yarmilovich and sent him sprawling, just as the waves of a fit spread down her scalp, her neck, her shoulders, all throughout her body. “Akh!”

“Tsarinovna!” Marya Arinovna put out a hand to steady her. “Are you all right?”

“It was just a fit,” Dasha said. Alik was standing over Mikhail Yarmilovich, his chest heaving, looking straight at her, and she was looking straight back at him, unable to take her eyes away, unable to feel anything other than the feeling that bound them right now, so intense it seemed it must be visible, hanging in the air like a ray of golden light, from his heart straight to hers. “A fit,” she repeated. “Heralding the return of my visions.”

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