I’m not always proud of my writing – especially while I’m editing the monstrosity known to friends and family as The Queen’s Assassin. Some sentences merely exist to get the reader from point A to point B as quickly and efficiently as possible. However, there are times in every writer’s career when we want to illicit a more nuanced emotion with colorful prose. This is the writing which lends itself to sharing.

Here are a few lines from the beginning of The Queen’s Assassin.

The great stone arch soared over Emmeline’s head as the King’s Guard surrounded her small party. Sunlight glared off the polished stones of the ancient bastion as people bustled to and fro. The Inlet of Masallia ended in the quays of the Araigneé district and an easy road circled the city and led passage to the north. It all conspired to make Amarys the economic center between the inland seas. Statues of Masallia’s long-dead monarchs stood in silent approval of the money changing hands all down the long avenue to a wide market square, the main gate reflecting the city’s antiquated history of economics.

Even as her thoughts winged to heaven, the spires of a majestic cathedral towered on her left. They rose into the sky in somber empyrean grace. An odd thought occurred to her as her eyes followed the lines of architecture; Emmeline wanted to leap from the tallest one and fly like an eagle on the wind.

When she was close enough to see the gold flecks in his bright green eyes, she stopped. Anger threatened to rise in her heart, but she kept it locked tightly down. Her life as she knew it was over.

But that didn’t mean she was going to roll over and play dead.

She stood, unbent and unbroken for five long heartbeats. Then, with agonizing gracefulness, she swept out the sides of her skirt and curtseyed to the ground before the King of Masallia.

“Your Majesty,” she greeted. “Thank you for inviting me to Amarys; it is every bit as lovely as I had heard.” She glanced up to see him smiling.

“My lords,” she said, nodding to each with a fluid stoop of her head. How odd it must be for them, knowing that whether they liked her or not, they were to court her heart. And whether she liked one of them or not, it was her duty to give her hand to a prince of Masallia. “It is my profound pleasure to make your acquaintance.”

With the beginning of TQA, I wanted to do three things very clearly: display the complexity and history of the world, show the beauty and unpredictability of Emmeline as a whole character (not just a pretty face or a sharp brain), and launch the setup for the non-love triangle between Emmeline and my favorite royal brothers.

Now it’s back to the editing board!!