Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Editing in Process: What Dreams Shadows Cast by Barbara J. Webb

What Dreams Shadows CastThis blog post has been in "draft" for quite a number of weeks... I didn't want to post my editorial work on this self-published novel until I had access to the final cover art. And then I learned that the author was going to be part of a "story bundle" of fantasy novels, and I wanted to share that with readers as well....

A bit more than two years ago, in my January 12, 2014, blog post, I wrote of my work on Barbara J. Webb's self-published novel City of Burning Shadows, book one in her Apocrypha: The Dying World Series.

City of Burning ShadowsEarlier this year, City of Burning Shadows was selected, among hundreds of entries, as one of the ten best self-published fantasy novels. Those ten novels are now part of a story bundle, which I urge you to take advantage of if ebooks are your preferred format. The ebooks are all DRM free and can be read on pretty much any computer, laptop, tablet, or phone. Note: the story bundle ends on May 5 -- so act now before you forget and time has run out. You can read more on the "self-published fantasy blog-off" that yielded these ten fantasy novels in my December 29, 2015, blog post. And here's a direct link to the story bundle details and ordering: SPFBO Story Bundle.

But let's get back to the current book at hand: What Dreams Shadows Cast, the second book in Apocrypha: The Dying World Series.

In book two, author Barbara J. Webb continues the tale of Ash Drake, former priest of Kaifail, and currently an employee of Price & Breckenridge, Legal and Investigative Services. Events in book one take place after the Abandon, when all the gods departed the land, never to be heard from again. Our protagonist, along with his fellow team members, have saved their city, Miroc, from devastation. And now, in book two, the city is quiet...too quiet....
Amelia [Price] was at her desk, staring at her computer screen, a frown on her beautiful face. In her perfectly tailored suit, with her perfectly styled hair, and perfectly manicured nails, no one could guess the truth. No one would ever see the creature that now lived inside her skin.

I waited in the doorway. She knew I was there. This new Amelia was aware of everything around her every moment. Nothing escaped her notice. But that didn't mean she was going to allow me to interrupt whatever thought-process she was working through.

"What do you need, Ash?" she finally asked. The irritation in her voice was one hundred percent Amelia. Her own mother wouldn't know that she'd changed. Some days—most of them—I wished that I didn't.

"We've finished with the train tunnels," I said from the doorway. "Nothing's sneaking up on us from below the city. I think it's time to redirect our attention. Iris has been telling me about an influx of refugees. A lot of people coming in, and also a lot of people going out."

That got Amelia's attention. We were starved for news from the outside. And she wouldn't have missed the most obvious question about the people who were leaving—where would they go? She looked up, tapping her fingers on the desk in the steady rhythm that had always meant Amelia thinking.

Some days I could almost forget that it was Syed moving those fingers, looking at me through Amelia's eyes. That it was Syed's mind and Syed's decisions now guiding Price & Breckenridge. For six months I'd been braced for some dramatic moment, some drastic change that had never happened. As far as I could tell, Syed had done nothing that Amelia wouldn't have done, had made no decision Amelia wouldn't have made. He lived in her body with the same perfect mimicry I'd seen the rest of his people capable of.

It was creepy. It was wrong. But it was a lesser evil, compared to everything else that had gone wrong in the world. And the truth was, we needed him. And he needed us. Which led to this awkward state of truce and a thin layer of pretense and no one was all the way happy with any of it.

Full wrap-around cover art for What Dreams Shadows Cast

Plots within plots, conspiracies, gangs, battles, tech-magic, giant spiders, and beings thousands of years old [read: Syed] -- the Apocrypha series has it all. But don't forget to check out the story bundle, which expires on May 5. And while you're at it, you may as well snag volume two: What Dreams Shadows Cast ebook, from either Amazon or iTunes.

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