Raging Sea, part 1: Reckonings
Raging Sea, part 2: Enemies & Allies will be available soon.
Raging Sea, part 3: Crucible of Combat is under development.
Those who aspire to greatness must first learn servanthood.
Stripped of kin, clan, country, and even his identity for having failed the most important woman in his life and her infant son, Angusel begins the arduous task of rebuilding his life and reclaiming his honor. The path he treads is fraught with uncomfortable revelations, unexpected reconciliations… and unavoidable reckonings.
Creating a Series
I have been writing about the Arthurian legends since I was nine years old… nigh on half a century ago now. I had just finished reading a modern English translation of Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, and it inspired me to craft my own retelling of the tale.
That first attempt of mine is now lost, but as I recall, I condensed Malory’s descriptions of everyone’s exploits down to about a dozen sheets of notebook paper. :D
My second attempt, written as a freshman in high school, paid homage to Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” gang as well as Lerner & Lowe’s stage musical Camelot – fully illustrated, of course. I still have it, and honestly, it’s not altogether bad for what it was. My zoology teacher, Mr. Herb Cohen, was impressed, I do remember that much.
I started my third attempt later in high school and even banged out an updated draft while in college at the US Air Force Academy. That version, inspired by having read Mary Stewart’s “Merlin” trilogy (The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, and The Last Enchantment), marked the beginning of my quest to develop a more historical approach to the Arthurian legends while still creating a version I could call uniquely mine.
So, indeed, my series plans changed dramatically in the early years.
Once I hit upon the idea to make my Guinevere character be the royal Pictish foil to a Romanized Celtic Arthur—in 1989, at least 10 years before such a thing ever became a gleam in Jerry Bruckheimer’s eye, my series chronology began to write itself.
Originally, I intended The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles to be six books of about 120K words apiece, all named for progressing times of the day: Dawnflight, Morning’s Journey, Zenith Glory, Evening Song, Sundown of a Dream, and Night’s Destiny.
Note that Raging Sea (now book 3) isn’t in that list; neither is Burning Jewel, which will become the 8th and (probably!) final novel in the series. Shortly after finishing the first draft of Morning’s Journey, I realized that I would need to spend time fleshing out how Angusel, my Lancelot character, becomes the greatest warrior in the world, and that’s what Raging Sea (the translation of Angusel’s name) is about. Burning Jewel (my translation for Arthur’s sword Caleberyllus) will be a prequel to Dawnflight, focusing on Arthur’s rise to power, to bring the series full circle back to the beginning.
All of these installments exist in at least some stage of development. Dawnflight and Morning’s Journey, of course, have been published in their entirety. Angusel has really been fighting me to get his story out, and has been for more years than I care to admit, so I have resorted to publishing Raging Sea in installments to keep myself on task until I can assemble a complete draft. Raging Sea: Reckonings is the first available installment, and subsequent chapters may be read on my blog each Saturday.
Thank you so much for allowing me to talk about the development of The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles on your blog today!
He stood on the bluff, staring at the gray-green sea churning against the Manx beach a score of paces below. The Sasunach funeral pyre at his back enveloped him with its draconic heat and eye-stinging smoke and gut-wrenching stench. As dizziness washed over him, the sandy ground felt as insubstantial as the cloud-laced sky. Hand to sweating temple, he tossed off the surreal sensation with a shake.
Earth, sky, fire, water . . . as if he were a god imprisoned at the convergence of the elements.
He was no god.
No longer did anyone address him by his given name, which meant “raging sea.” Even on the official duty roster he was listed as Optio Aonar, a junior officer not of command rank. No matronymic, no clan, no country; physically, emotionally, spiritually alone.
With a dry chuckle, he gave himself a nickname: “a Dubh Loch,” a poetic description of the condition of his soul.
He drew his sword. The blade bore mute testimony in myriad notches and scratches to the Sasunaich he’d consigned to today’s pyre during last night’s battle, but it gave him no satisfaction. He had prevented the death of the most important person in his life, and in return she had displayed more care for that thrice-cursed battle trophy he had helped her capture.
If not for him, it would have been her head gracing a Sasunach spear, and yet she had rejected him. Again.
Rage swept through him, making his hands shake. Tightening his grip, he lowered the sword to heart height, as though she was standing captive before him, but he couldn’t enjoy that fantasy either. She had stripped him of his place, his kin, his clan, his country, his very identity, but he could no sooner harm her than cut off his hand. His oath forbade it.
The gods alone knew how much longer it would restrain him.
About the author:
Kim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, and assorted wildlife. People & creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins -- the latter having been occupied as recently as the mid-20th century -- seem to be sticking around for a while yet.
Kim is a Seattle native (when she used to live in the Metro DC area, she loved telling people she was from "the other Washington") and a direct descendent of 20th-century Russian nobility. Her grandmother was a childhood friend of the doomed Grand Duchess Anastasia, and the romantic yet tragic story of how Lydia escaped Communist Russia with the aid of her American husband will most certainly one day fuel one of Kim's novels. Another novel in the queue will involve her husband's ancestor, the 7th-century proto-Viking king of the Swedish colony in Russia.
For the time being, however, Kim has plenty of work to do in creating her projected 8-book Arthurian series, The Dragon's Dove Chronicles, and other novels under her new imprint, Pendragon Cove Press. She also writes romantic historical fiction under the pseudonym "Kimberly Iverson."