Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Arrow is through the Axes

Phew! I've just finished reviewing the ARC ("Advance Reading Copy", the tiny print run that a publisher does just to make sure the book is okay before releasing it for real) of my third book, Arrow Through the Axes, concluding the Odyssey of a Slave trilogy. You know what? I'm pretty pleased with it!

There were the usual last-minute tussles with my publisher about phrasing, in which I found him to be ludicrously literal and he found me to be fatuously figurative (and perhaps awkwardly alliterative), but that's all sorted out now. The book is being printed and will be in stores in a few weeks. This time I tried using text-to-speech software to read the text of the Word document to me as I followed along in the book, and it's surprising how many missing, doubled, or misplaced words pop up, even after I and my publisher had been through it carefully.

I'm pleased to say that the Resource Links in Canada and VOYA in the US, two influential YA journals, have both endorsed the second book in the trilogy, Cursed by the Sea God. Resource Links has placed it on its Best Books for 2013 list for the Grade 7-12 fiction category, and VOYA magazine has selected it for its Top Shelf for Middle School Readers list.

If you're at all familiar with Homer's Odyssey, of which the Odyssey of a Slave trilogy is a modern re-telling, you'll recognize where the title comes from. If you're not, it refers to the contest that Penelope, Odysseus's wife, organizes. After some twenty years, she has finally concluded that her husband is dead, and is besieged by suitors trying to persuade her to remarry. (Apparently, despite the passage of twenty years and one son, she remains quite the hottie, and then there's all that land and the palace).

Our hero Alexi, meanwhile, has been searching mainland Greece for his sister, and arrives on Ithaca just in time to witness the arrival of a mysterious beggar. Soon afterwards, the lid comes off.

What happens? Well, there's one way to find out.