Since the last post, I’ve swung back around to “Yeah, I probably fractured something”. If I had to guess, I’d say metatarsal. This has led to two weeks in bed where I cannot get comfortable and have struggled to work on a laptop that is literally falling apart.
So that’s what’s new here.
Blood Ties releases in just over a week, so next Sunday I’ll do the full soundtrack for that book. For today, we’ll visit the one thing I both started and finished during the pandemic…that no one gets to read.
I did a little thread on Twitter at the time but, to explain: although there are no official dates on the events of Livi’s books to keep things a little more fluid depending on when you pick them up, I did keep the dates in Tiger’s Memory so you can deduce that Solomon’s Seal takes place September 2016. Odin’s Spear is October 2016, Emperor’s Tomb February 2017, Shiva’s Bow August 2017. This means that, eventually in the timeline, I will have to contend with how COVID-19 would change the story of a globe-trotting adventurer who flies here and there without worrying about anything beyond the cost of the plane ticket.
I do know where the series is going, and there is a time jump coming up a few books from now around 2018 in the ‘verse, then pick up again in 2021. This means they can carry on as-is until that point, and when I pick up there’ll be a change in how the frequent travel is approached.
So I wrote something that takes place during that gap. For the longest time it was called WEST DURING THE PANDEMIC, though I settled on My Heart With You, which is the song I had on repeat during a few scenes including the last one.
Waited a hundred years to see your face, And I would wait a hundred more
There is no book cover I can post, due to the dearth of stock photos of hot twentysomething Korean men in suits, so I’ll just sprinkle the post with Daniel Henney gifs (who I see as West).
Because it’s set so far down the road, I can’t share the story with anyone, which is probably why it was so easy to write. It’s 12K words, beginning with West flying back to New Bristol from Montreal during the start of the pandemic, and ending fifteen months later when he gets a very unexpected phone call. He’s in a very different place from where he has been in the rest of the series, even though so much stays the same, so it’s been very interesting to spend that time with him.
What makes him my favourite character is how, although all of us are who we are to survive, he is that concept to the logical extreme. He survived things as a child very few people live through by becoming the only person who COULD survive that, and now he has to navigate the world as an adult where those survival skills don’t always serve him–and often even inhibit him. Which I get. And that Livi is very much a survivor in her own right–an emotionally distant father, sexual assault as a teen and an abusive boyfriend as an adult, abandoned by her mother–is something that originally attracted him to her, even if he didn’t fully grasp it at the time.
Admittedly, these are the lines that popped this one onto the series originally playlist, as it can be applied to many characters and many circumstances, even though this particular story is West’s:
I sailed a thousand ships in search of you. Traveled to distant land. I dove for sunken gold. I took what I could hold, But you're still the greatest treasure I've held in my hands.
At one point in the story, he says, “How Olivia felt about me never changed how I felt about her.” Which I think, sort of sadly, sums up so much of them.
The end of the story, over a year after the pandemic’s start, brings him to an old safehouse in a rural area of Yanbian prefecture, where the last thing he ever expected to find is waiting for him. It’s very hard to surprise someone like West, but that is the moment that undoes him completely–as the chorus music swells and a door opens.
My love, the reason I survive, Trust we'll be together soon. Should our fire turn to dark, Take my heart with you.
So anyway, that’s a little something about a thing you don’t get to read (yet!), and my way of checking in to say hi, I’m still here, just a little broken yet, slowly getting better, here’s an earworm.