A scene from By the Shores of the Middle Sea, aka Silk and Song II, just for you:
North Wind slid in front of the other horse as if he were not even there, and by the second turn his tail was whipping just in front of the other horse’s nose. Johanna risked a look over her shoulder and saw that he was North Wind’s only real competition. The other three geldings had yet to reach the turn and the mare had stopped dead in her tracks, hind legs planted and splayed in traditional equine come-hither fashion. The two other stallions were fighting what looked like a duel to the death nearby, dangerously close to one of their riders, who appeared to have fallen from his mount and hurt himself sufficiently that he couldn’t move out of the way. Johanna tsked reprovingly and faced forward again.
After that it was a glorious, stretched-out, full-throated, league-eating ride, and North Wind didn’t slow down when he crossed the finish line, either, he kept going. Johanna, who divined his intention, slipped her feet free of the stirrups in plenty of time and slipped from his back just before North Wind shouldered into the other two still fighting stallions, sending them staggering in opposite directions, and mounted the mare without further ado.
The mare braced herself against the onslaught and let out a loud, piercing whinny that sounded a little exasperated to Johanna, as if the mare was saying, “Well, and about time, too!”
Johanna was laughing before her feet hit the ground, and then she realized that everyone in the crowd was laughing, too, and the rest was madness.
By the Shores of the Middle Sea goes to the editors at the end of July. I still haven’t decided on an exact pub date yet, but sometime this fall. The Land Beyond, Book III, will come out in spring 2015.
Everything Under the Heavens in audio download:
The Silk and Song slideshow is here, and I’m going through it a slide or two at a time, with commentary, most Tuesdays here.