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There's a chapter where my central characters spend a day exploring the waterways of the city: the Rotein River itself, the new industrial transport channels, and the old chanulezes, which had their origins in domesticating the hydroscape of the city. Some of the chanulezes acted as a second set of roads, some as little more than drainage ditches, and some had long since been bricked over and forgotten...

One of the things that's going to make Floodtide a hard sell to the lesfic crowd is that it's not a capital-r-Romance novel. For all that Roz's interest in other girls drives key elements of the conflict throughout the book, this isn't a book about finding True Love (tm) and achieving a romantic happy ending. It's very much about finding out that you can have a wide variety of intense emotional relationships with people that aren't sexual and that contribute every bit as much to your happiness as a girlfriend would.

The first inspiration for Floodtide--before I had any clear idea of plot--was having a handful of secondary character in their late teens and wanting to do something with them at that age before they stepped into their adult roles. One of the characters I most wanted to see more of was Margerit's cousin Iulien. Iuli was one of those characters who just grew on me.

I usually set up the teasers to work through examples from the book in strict sequence, but I had some thoughts on the drive this morning that prompted tying it in to the chapter 9 sample. (And frankly, chapter 8 is all a bit spoilery, so maybe I'll skip over it entirely.)

It is no secret at all that any number of the more...apocryphal saints in the historic Catholic tradition were adopted from extra-historical sources. In many cases, extra-Christian sources. The church has gone though a gradual process of pruning away those for which a solidly historic basis can't be established. But in many cases, those discarded traditions evolved and grew and set deep emotional roots in the hearts of worshippers. During my recent research on cross-dressing narratives in medieval history, I spent a lot of time combing through the Acta Sanctorum, a ca.

Back when I introduced the profession of armin in Daughter of Mystery, it was to some extent a means of creating a social context in which Barbara would make sense. It also became an aspect of developing Alpennian society as its own thing. Other societies had a dueling culture. Other societies had systems for guarding the virtue of young unmarried women. Other societies had personal bodyguards. But somehow in Alpennian culture those elements had come together in a recognized profession that acted as proxies for their employers in the public performance of "honor culture."

I was feeling smug this morning about getting on the road by my target time (before 6am). I'd have lots of time in the coffee shop in Berkeley to compose this blog and maybe get some other things done as well before going to the office. And then I saw the big flashing freeway sign "West Hwy 24 accident all lanes blocked." They don't go to that extreme for a minor fender bender, so I quickly reviewed potential alternate routes and took off into the hills, detouring through Moraga, up Canyon Road, and winding through the east bay redwoods.

When writing a series, there's always the tricky question of how to bring readers up to speed on the characters' back-stories without brining the narrative to a screeching halt for an info-dump. But when writing a book that's meant to be able to stand alone but exists within a series, the issue of back-story becomes even trickier. You need to provide readers enough information so they understand why these minor characters are wandering in and out of the book, but without setting up expectations that they will be important to this particular story.

The issue of character motivation weaves deeply through chapter 3 of Floodtide. Why did Dominique reach out to Jeanne to help Roz? Why did Jeanne agree to see what she could do? (These were covered in last week's teaser blog.) Why did Jeanne approach Margerit? (“Who did she know who kept a large enough staff that there would always be a place for one more? And who could not possibly object to the reason for the girl’s fall? The answer was obvious.” Mother of Souls ch. 12) Why did Margerit agree to give her a try?

Because Floodtide is written solely from Roz’s point of view, there are a lot of details that she (we) don’t have access to. Like why in the world Dominique would go out on a limb to try to get Roz another position in service? And how did she arrange for Margerit Sovitre, of all people, to consider her?

Fortunately, if one has read Mother of Souls, the answer to the second question is laid out there, although purely in passing.

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[from Mother of Souls]

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