Spear will be out in exactly two weeks. (Two! Weeks!) I’ve been making all sorts of things like Zoom backgrounds for the tour—mostly virtual, but some in-person—and nifty quote graphics, etc.

In terms of review quotes—from trade journals, booksellers, and blurbs from other writers—I’ve been keeping a spreadsheet of most common adjectives. Every book of mine seems to acquire a different constellation. For the Aud novels, for example, the top descriptor was brutal (though I didn’t think they were, particularly). For Spear…well, I will say there’s one word waaaay ahead of the pack, but for more you’ll have to wait a few days. Meanwhile, if you want to start guessing, you could start with this highly-curated list of quotes on the Spear page.

I also made two very short videos. Here’s one, a combination of one of Rovina Cai’s gorgeous black and white interior illustrations, which she turned into a colour GIF, and a snippet of added narration. (For the story of that narration, see the first of this two-part post on Speaking Spear.)

Video description: Looped GIF of a black and white illustration with an overlying colour wash of blue-grey, and occasional spreading blood red. A figure kneels in the shallows of a river, leaning their weight on a sword. In the upper third of the image, the figure is framed by bleak, bare trees. Beneath her, under her knee and barely visible, there is the hint of another submerged figure. Below this is the figure’s reflection in the moving water—darker and sharper and violently spattered and streaked with loose brushstrokes that cascade down the rest of the image. The river moves back and forth (back and forth), and blood seeps into the water and is washed away (and seeps and is washed away)…

Audio narration: “As she got her feet under her, she shifted, and lifted her sword, and thrust down again, this time on the collar across his throat. She leaned her whole weight on the blunt and broken blade, leaned and leaned, gasping, holding on while he thrashed, holding on even as the water turned red around him and he went still, holding on even as she sank, exhausted, to her knees, still holding, still leaning, until Bony, limping, nosed the back of her neck and she fell against him, weeping, the blood running down her face mingling with blood from the ragged tear on Bony’s chest and running, with the river, away.”

The second will follow next week. Meanwhile, don’t forget there’s still 13 days to pre-order the hardcover, submit your receipt, and receive one of the very cool enamel pins created by Forensics and Flowers.

Image description: A round enamel pin in the shape of a red shield with raised rim and embossed rivets. On the shield are entwined forget-me-nots, with blue-and-yellow flowers and deep green leaves. Lying over all is a broad-bladed boar spear.