Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Revelations

As they did each December, the day shift workers at Knight's Realm left work to enjoy a month-long holiday with pay, courtesy of their immortal employers, the Darkyn of the Realm. Those left behind didn't mind the absence of their human servants. They looked forward to four weeks during which they could indulge in real versions of the medieval contests and battles they usually performed to entertain the thousands of tourists that visited the popular Orlando attraction each year.

This night, however, the Kyn lords and lady paramount gathered in the guard's hall had come together for a grim purpose. They had but to wait the arrival of one last suzerain, Robin of Locksley, whose flight out of Atlanta had been delayed, before they carried out the unpleasant task that had befallen them. As they sat around the king's table, they brooded or toyed with their goblets of bloodwine, each avoiding the other's gaze.

Jayr, a slim, dark-haired female who had spent seven centuries serving as seneschal to Aedan mac Byrne, the former suzerain of the Realm, now presided as lady paramount of the territory. She had never used her gender as an excuse to evade any of her duties, but for the first time in her long life she considered doing exactly that.

She glanced across the table at Lucan, suzerain of the southernmost American territory. "You are quite certain of this, Lord Lucan? For if it is some sort of sick jest of yours--"

"Your enormous confidence in me warms my heart, my lady," Lucan drawled. Big, blond and utterly lethal, the former chief assassin of the Kyn had silver eyes that now gleamed with malice. "But it is the truth, and you have seen the evidence with your own eyes." He gestured toward the white plastic FedEx envelope sitting in the center of the table, which no one would look at.

"Aye, but we all know you've an evil wit, assassin," Aedan mac Byrne, Jayr's lord and life companion, said. The enigmatic blue tattoos on his broad face did not hide his disgust. "'Twould be like you to inflict a hoax like this on the lad and the rest of us for your own entertainment."

"Scotsman, even I would not be so cruel. But I do know best how to deal with it." Lucan picked up the envelope, rose, and carried it toward the fire burning in the hearth.

"No. You must not keep the truth from him." Valentin Jaus, the Chicago suzerain who resembled a fairytale prince, said as he stood. Yet even as the words left his lips, Jayr's body became a blur and streaked around the table.

"I thank you, my lord," Jayr said as she appeared between Lucan and the fire, and held out her hand. "But you cannot do more than delay for a few weeks the inevitable humiliation he must suffer."

"Who must suffer?" Robin of Locksley asked as he strode into the room. His beautiful violet eyes shifted as he scanned his friends' unhappy faces. "And why the devil are you all sitting in here in the dark?"

"Mon ami." Thierry Durand, as tall as Aedan but much broader and darker, left his seat and went to clasp hands with Robin. The warrior-priest, who had once been a killing machine whom all men feared, spoke in a soft, kindly tone. "Come and sit down with us. We must . . . talk."

"All right." Robin's frown eased as he saw a familiar green eyes in the shadows. "Gabriel, good Christ, what are you doing here? I thought you were in Europe, rescuing our brothers and sisters from the Brethren."

"I had to come when I heard . . . that you would be here," Gabriel said, his long fair hair gleaming as he turned his fallen angel's face away and stared into the fire.

Robin turned around slowly. "Jayr, why is everyone not looking at me?"

"We have some news, my lord." Jayr took his arm and led him over to the table. "'Tis not all bad, although . . . " she glanced down at the envelope in her hands. "It could have been much worse. That is how you must think of it."

"Think of what?" He saw the address on the envelope and grinned. "Is that my book?"

"Yes, my lord, but--"

"Well, give it here." He seized the envelope, and tugged on it when Jayr wouldn't let go. "'Tis my book. I'll not wait until January like the rest of humanity to lay eyes on it. Give it to me." He wrestled it out of her grip.

"We had no warning about this, Locksley," Lucan said, his voice gruff.

"Of course you didn't," Robin agreed as he tore open the envelope. "They never send her author copies on time. I thought I'd have to steal a shipment off a truck to have one to give to my lady for Christmas." He took out the book inside the envelope. "So how did you manage to get . . .this . . ." he stopped speaking as the firelight illuminated the cover, causing it to glow brightly.

Aedan mac Byrne came to stand beside him, and rested a big hand on his friend's shoulder. "'Tis not as bad as you think, lad."

"It's pink," Robin said, his voice flat and distant.

"More rose than pink, I would say, my lord," Jayr put in quickly. "'Tis not a color one sees every day on books about our kind."

"Or even every century," Lucan muttered under his breath.

"Mine was but a cold silver and blue," Thierry said. "Yours is so much warmer. Like . . . the promise of spring."

"It's pink," Robin said again. "My face is pink."

"When the Brethren were torturing me for two years in their dungeons," Gabriel said, "I would have thanked God to have seen such a book. Or a face. Or anything at all, in the end."

Jayr touched Robin's arm, the muscles of which felt like inflexible iron. "Women do like pink, my lord. Humans dress their little girl children in it all the time." She grimaced. "Not that I am saying you look like-- that is--"

"They made me pink. Like a rat's tail. And my eye -- my bloody eyes are not blue." Robin met her gaze. "I am Robin of the Hood. I am the greatest thief of all time. I have been many things, but I am not, nor have I ever been, pink-faced or blue-eyed."

"That settles it." Lucan pulled on his long, black cloak. "I will go to New York and deal with this."

"You cannot slaughter the staff of an entire publishing house, my lord." Jayr saw his expression. "Very well, you can, but you must not. They are mortals. We have sworn to live among them in peace."

"And you have sworn to stop killing," Jaus reminded him.

Lucan shrugged. "So I forget my vow for a day or two."

"Has it shipped?" Robin asked. When no one answered, he shouted, "Tell me now."

"Yes, my lord, it has," Jayr said. "In three weeks the distributors will begin delivery to the book merchants."

"We could siege the warehouses," Aedan said thoughtfully. "Aye, and burn them to the ground. The mortals have insurance."

"They will only print more," Thierry advised him. He tried to take the book from Robin's white-knuckled grasp. "Do not allow this to toy with your sanity, Locksley. 'Tis not worth it."

For a long time Robin said nothing, and Jayr began to fear that this indignity had destroyed his mind. Then, at length, he spoke.

"She wore a pink scarf, the first time we danced together." Robin traced his long, scarred fingers over the ridiculous colors on the novel's cover. "I used it to blindfold her, later, in my penthouse."

"Indeed." Lucan perked up. "What happened then?"

Robin seemed to come out of his trance. "None of your damned business." Straight black hair fell over his eyes as he bowed his head. "It is done, then? I cannot stop it from being released?"

"No, my lord," Jayr said gently.

"Very well." He tossed the book onto the table. "I have business to attend to. My lords. My lady." He bowed and strode out of the hall.

"I knew this would be bad," Jayr said.

Valentin Jaus rubbed his eyes. "I will go after him. Of all of us, I understand his pain only too well." But before Jaus could follow, Robin reappeared with a mobile phone and a bottle of blood wine.

"Yes, that's right, love. I want to buy all fifty thousand copies. And put in a back order for another fifty. No, of course I'm not the author. I'm simply a very good, extremely wealthy friend of hers." Robin took a drink from the bottle, looked at the other Kyn and grinned. "Now, how quickly can you deliver them to Atlanta?"

(This post is dedicated to author Charlene Teglia, who kindly gave me the idea, and all my visitors, whom are now and forever Robin of Locksley's personal heroes.)

39 comments:

  1. Brava!!!!!!!
    I wanted to comment earlier when you revealed the pink cover, which saddened me greatly. Robin is one of my favorites and I wish that the original cover had been what was put on the books. But this story is a balm to soothe the sting.
    Hope you and yours as well as all the readers of PBW have a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

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  2. I adore it!!!

    *WEG* Robin cracks me up and I love the way he decided to handle it.

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  3. Very funny! Although I always thought Lord Lucan was missing....

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  4. Lynn, pink's not that bad. You could insist that the put a blue plastic jacket over top of each book so it comes out purple - and say that it's a 3D cover.

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  5. Humor is good. "Pink novels" have taken on a whole new meaning. Sort of like an inside joke. Feel free to "kill" pink novels in your future books.

    The selfish part of me is glad to hear that is being sent to the warehouse and will soon be in my greedy hands.

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  6. OMG! THAT was great! I was sucked in from word one because I couldn't resist having all your beauties in one room- THEN to see Robin's reaction to his cover?? Poor, Poor man!

    ahahahahaaaaaa!

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  7. Bwaha! Robin took that well. Poor Jayr, I think it was harder on her.

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  8. Anonymous8:36 AM

    Lynn,
    As always, you have taken a bad situation, turned it into a good little snippit story and we all get a good laugh. It is wonderful how well you are taking the pink atrocity. Don't worry, I'll still buy the book......and re-wrap it with left over Christmas paper!
    Tami
    Jacksonville

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  9. Lynn,

    I love it. I, too, was drawn in from the start.

    Pink is usually not a color one would pick for such a delicious character....but it may well be an eye catcher.

    You have made the best of a situation. Proud of you. Great idea and great use of said idea. :)

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  10. cheryl at work9:26 AM

    I think you should print this post on the colour you desire the book to be, and distribute a kazillion copies to all the retailers for them to insert in your book.

    It would help to educate those who do not read your blog on the lack of control you had.

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  11. PurrrFect!! *applauds wildly* My poor DD1 who is sitting here got the whole thing and I was laughing so hard at the 'It's pink' I almost couldn't finish for her but she loved that Lucan wanted to kill the publishing house. :)

    You know, is there any way this could go inside the cover on the second run?

    I hope some day, when I'm in print, I can be as gracious about things that go wrong as you've been.

    :hugs:
    theo

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  12. *chokes with laughter* Oh, Lynn.

    My favorite bit? "When the Brethren were torturing me for two years in their dungeons," Gabriel said, "I would have thanked God to have seen such a book. Or a face. Or anything at all, in the end."

    It's so completely not funny but in the context of a pink book? I may have snorted out loud.

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  13. "They made me pink. Like a rat's tail."

    you keeled me ded

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  14. Poor Robin, first he gets outsexy-ed by the bad guys in the movies (Alan Rickman) or TV series (Richard Armitage) and now he gets a pink cover.

    But you gotta love the Kyn and their reaction to the mess. *grin*

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  15. You are a class act, Ms. Viehl.

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  16. My laugh was so maniacal when I figured where this was going, I got some really strange looks from my co-worker. Great way to channel your frustration!
    I could see you and a couple of your best buddies working late at night putting big stickers of the original cover over the pink ones before they ship out.
    There's still time....

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  17. Applause, applause. Great story! As I see it we have two possible outcomes to the pink book debacle:
    1. The book becomes hugely successful because all of your loyal fans buy tons of books in spite of the hideous cover.
    2. The book attracts a whole new set of readers - ones who actually LIKE pink covers - and the book becomes hugely successful. The publishing company, thinking that they are geniuses, begins publishing a whole line of pink books, causing mass hysteria and the end of the world as we know it.

    I am voting for choice one. {grin}

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  18. Hah. Brilliant! I loved Robin's reaction.

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  19. Personally, I don't care what the cover looks like-
    JUST LET ME READ THE DARN BOOK! :P

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  20. "You cannot slaughter the staff of an entire publishing house, my lord." Jayr saw his expression. "Very well, you can...."

    Ah, the real reason for Black Wednesday!!!!!


    (I love your blog but haven't read your books - but you'd better believe I will be buying this one!)

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  21. That's hysterical! Well done.

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  22. *standing ovation*

    The only thing that could make this even funnier is to get Cherijo's impression, but then she's surrounded by all those colorful aliens anyway.

    Ah, Gabriel, he's still my favorite, but Lucan wanting to make a little trip to NY is priceless.

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  23. That was fantastic! I loved your post today and I can't wait to get the book...even if it is pink.

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  24. I'll definitely buy it, but ya know, making a bookcover wouldn't be such a bad idea.

    Would it be legal for me to take the cover art from the previous post, so it looks like it should?

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  25. I loved it and I agree Zeek.. pink or not I want to read the book.

    I think that you should mention to Robin 100,000 isn't going to cover it... he needs to by at least 250,000 - there are alot of fans out there :)

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  26. Love the post. And can't wait for the book.

    We'll all run out and buy them up right away, and then they'll have to print more...in the original color

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  27. They are only printing 50,000? I would think the number of your readers would be much higher. I know your books don't last that long on the shelves of my local book store, that's why I snatch one up as soon as I can.

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  28. I've just finished my first Darkyn book. I've decided to love the series, and I'm sad for you about the pink cover. I can't imagine how disappointed. This post, though, is an absolutely fab response and "pink lemonade." I promise to read books 2-7 and ignore the pink. xxx.

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  29. Lucan shrugged. "So I forget my vow for a day or two."

    That's my Lucan!! :)

    Lynn - Awesome. Love this.
    And I'll be doing my part to buy up the 50,000 initial print.

    Kudos to Charlene Teglia.

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  30. and silver lining...Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million all have the original cover on their sites for the book. I checked it out when I was looking to pre-order.

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  31. Love the post! I'll get the book to complete my collection no matter what color. I do love that Lucan wanted to slaughter the entire publishing house.

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  32. ::clapping:: Lady, you rock, and then roll (with the punches) with so much panache it makes my teeth hurt. lol. Kudos.

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  33. Joining in the standing ovation. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

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  34. Brava!!

    Turning all that disappointment into creativity is just incredible....

    Beige or pink or, god forbid, polka dots, I'm still dying to read this book....

    Terri

    (gosh, your publisher couldn't change it to polka dots now, could they?!)

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  35. Anonymous11:01 PM

    I know I am a little late to the party but... I really loved the original cover. Sadly, they failed us all with the pink, however, I pre-ordered back in July and nothing, not even pink will stop me from having that book in my greedy clutches.

    I think the story was fabulous and you really are handling this so well... I think I would have cried. I just have to say that pink just does not fit with the fabulous color scheme all the other books had. sniffle. weep. my pretty bookcase, I bid thee adieu.

    Moving on, I would consider negotiating for the original cover in the second print run... I would buy a second copy.

    Nikki

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  36. Well that sure tickled me pink! lol I think if we all pull together and give them as Holiday gifts we can make them disappear off the shelves. Any chance of a color change back to the original for the future printings? I would hate for Lucan to have to break his vow. : )

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  37. That was awesome! Thanks for starting my day with a laugh!

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  38. Bwahahahaha! I love this so much!! Thanks for the chuckle. ;D

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