Big news this week: DAW Books, publisher of my three science fiction novels Lost in Translation, Marseguro and Terra Insegura, and my upcoming Lee Arthur Chane fantasy Magebane, has bought the first two-books of a new YA fantasy series, the first book of which is called Masks.
Here’s the “high-concept” description from my proposal:
In a tyrannical land where obedience is ensured by magical Masks that all must wear, a renegade girl must learn to harness her own magical abilities to defeat oppression at home and invasion from outside.
And, just for fun, here’s the opening (as it stands now):
A week before her thirteenth birthday and her Masking, Mara sat on the city wall, bare legs dangling into space, and looked down past her dirty toes at the crowds milling around in the Outside Market.
From forty feet above, the brightly colored awnings of the vendors looked like a patchwork quilt, seamed with moving rivers of humanity. Masks of white, silver, red and blue glittered in the late-day sun, jewel-like beneath the elaborate headpieces favored by City women, in stark contrast to the unadorned hair of the country folk. If they wear a headscarf above their Masks they think they’re a poppinjay, Mara thought scornfully.
Mara herself was a City girl through and through. She couldn’t imagine living in the country, out in those green fields that stretched away from her toward the distant blue line of the ocean to the south, or in the forested hills that rose ridge by ridge toward the mountains to her right, the westering sun hanging just above their snow-capped peaks. What is there to do out there? she wondered. Play with cows? Dig holes?
She glanced over her shoulder into the city of Tamita, built in terraced ranks up the flanks of Fortress Hill. Directly behind her, Maskmakers’ Way, straight as an arrow, climbed through a series of stone steps all the way to the North Gate of the Autarch’s Palace, a vast many-towered pile of white stone, aflutter with blue and gold pennants. She could see the green tile roof of her own home up there on the final terrace before the long stair leading to the Palace. She could see her parents’ bedroom window. She wondered if her mother were looking out.
Dung, I hope not! She’d throw a fit if she saw me sitting up here, looking like this.
Now, here’s the fun part: since “Edward Willett” is a science fiction writer and “Lee Arthur Chane” writes adult fantasy and how well his book Magebane is going to sell is still an open question, Masks will be written by…someone else. Which means I need a second pseudonym. Nothing figured out yet, but it’s a lot of fun trying out various possibilities. I mean, how often do you get to name yourself from scratch?