I'm going to share the new, revised Chapter one here, but first some Q&A.
Q: Why are you editing a book you already have published?
A: Because I have a premium account of Grammarly at the moment, and plan to run all of my previously published books through it while I can. Sew, It's a Quest is the only one that I'm giving such an intense edit, though.
This is because ... I published the book before it was ready. It's not a bad story, but my immaturely shows - I hadn't really found my writing voice yet, either. If it had been a standalone, I would have left it alone, but it's the first book of a series that I plan to be writing for many years yet - which means that I won't be able to bury this book and forget about it. I NEED to keep promoting it, and I don't feel comfortable promoting as it is now.
Q: Are you ... changing anything?
A: A little. The story is still there, and it will follow the exact plot. However, there will be a few rewritten scenes - rewritten either to cut out redundancy, to clarify characterization, OR to take into consideration backstory that I have discovered since the book's publication.
Q: You said you were typing it up...
A: Yep. I'm re-typing every word in the book, making sure they're all shiny and they all sound good.
Q: When is this revised edition going to be available?
A: I have it set to publish on March 19th, just in time for Indie e-Con. As I said, typing at lightning speed.
Q: I already own the book on kindle...
A: No problem! I'm releasing this as a completely new edition, so it won't conflict with your previous copy at all. So if, for some insane reason, you actually like the mess this book is currently in, you'll still have it. ALSO, revised Sew will be free on kindle during Indie e-Con, so while, yes, it's going to be available for preorder, don't preorder it. The only reason I've done the pre-order route is so I can have a link to hand out in advance.
Q: Can I beta read this?
A: Sure, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org letting me know that you're willing to do this. Just know that I'll need you to return the feedback very quickly. I'm mostly looking for a comb to make sure I don't create any new mistakes while typing at this terrible speed, and general impressions of the changes I am making.
That said, let's have the new chapter 1. (Which you can compare to the old chapter one)
|(Ah, bask in the glory that is Sew's original cover)|
1: The Question of a Quest
Once upon a time, in a land called Bookania, there lived the Locksley twins, a prince and a princess. These twins had a private garden to which they would retreat whenever the prying eyes of the court and people became tiring to them, as was often the case.
One would retreat to the garden to sew and would produce some of the most amazing tapestries. The other would go there to train with the sword and would do practice routines that would quickly leave most others gasping in the dust.
And so each was doing at the start of my story. The sewer sat before a large tapestry frame, a lovely forest scene slowing forming under the quickly darting ivory needle. The fighter was in the middle of and exceptionally complicated practice routine, and, so far, hadn’t missed a single step.
“Be careful…” the sewer cautioned, as the fighter did a spinning attack that brought the sword a bit too close to the tapestry.
“You know that I always am,” said the fighter, vaulting into a back flip. However, speaking broke the fighter’s concentration, and the sword was thrown too high, and it embedded itself high in the tree that was at the end of the backflip.
“I meant to do that,” said the fighter, trying to excuse the rare mistake.
“I’m sure,” said the sewer.
The fighter wasn’t paying attention but plopped down at the sewer’s feet with an exaggerated sigh. Gazing up at the back of the tapestry, Robin thought of how their lives were not unlike that tangled, twisted surface.
“It’s not fair, “ Robin complained. “Swordplay’s my life. They can’t make me stop!” This not getting a response from the sewer, the fighter continued, “Not that you care. All you care about is that silly needle.”
“It’s not silly,” said the sewer. This was an old argument between them and was more jest than anything else. “You just don’t understand the magic of watching the scenes that you sew come to life under your needle.”
“All that I’ve ever been able to bring to life is a mess of thread,” Robin countered. “Besides, it’s boring. Now swordplay…”
“Makes you lose your head.”
“Robert!” Robin screeched, rolling onto her stomach to glare at her brother.
His eyes were fixed on the rapidly darting needle, and he seemed to take no notice of her reaction. With an exasperated sigh, Robin yanked up a blade of grass and started mutilating it.
“It’s all her fault,” she said, after a period of thought, as she wasn’t one to let silence reign for very long. “She should have gotten our gifts straight in the first place.”
She was speaking of their Fairy Godmother, who was apparently the reason that she was so good with the sword and him so brilliant with the needle. Not only that, but they were the first two they knew of to have a Fairy Godmother in years.
The fairies were strange, mysterious beings – mere rumors, according to some. Over the years, sightings of them had become less and less frequent, until they were all but forgotten. No one was even sure how many fairies there were. Some said two, others four. One especially old story spoke of a princess who had seven Fairy Godmothers, but she had disappeared mysteriously, so nothing good had come of it.
What made the matter even worse was that their Fairy Godmother was a carefully guarded secret, and they couldn’t tell any of their peers the truth of why they’d chosen swordplay and sewing.
“Don’t worry,” said Robert. “I’m sure that the emissary will be returning any day now.”
“You’ve said that practically every day for the last six months,” Robing pointed out, rolling her eyes. She threw down the scraps of grass and stood up. Gazing up at the tree that her sword was stuck in, she commented, “Looks like I have a climb in front of me.”
Robert glanced up at her sword for the briefest second. “At least Father won’t have to worry about it falling on some courier or ambassador’s head,” he said. “Or at least, it shouldn’t.”
“At least Father allows me to wear pants, now,” Robing commented, tilting her head to the side. “Do you know how hard it is to climb a tree in a dress?”
For the first time, the needle actually paused. “Robin,” he said looking up. “I wore your skirts for six months, I can guess.” Then he glanced back down and resumed his sewing.
“Those were the days,” said Robin. “Back when we weren’t considered completely crazy. I mean, we were crazy, still are, but people didn’t know.”
“You did have to go and give us away,” said Robert.
“They were laughing at you! Oh!” Robin’s eyes flashed as she swung herself up into the tree. Then she added, “Besides, I really doubt that the disguises would work anymore. We have grown up a bit since we were six.”
“I’ll say,” Robert agreed.
The two were almost identical, the difference between them being that Robing was a girl and Robert was a guy. They both had the same brown hair – although Robin’s was quite a bit longer – the same brown eyes, and the same olive complexions. Even to that day, it was impossible to mistake them for anything but brother and sister.
The conversation was interrupted by a trumpet blast. The tower guards had spotted approaching guests.
“Do you think that’s him?” Robin asked, instinctively swinging down from the tree.
“Can’t be sure,” said Robert. “Which him are you talking about? You have so many—”
Robin cut him off. “The emissary,” she said through clenched teeth. “Sir Hugh.”
“Oh!” cried Robert. Robin closed her eyes as she recognized his teasing voice. “I thought that you might be talking about one of your suitors. Are you sure that you don’t want it to be one of them?”
“No, thank you,” growled Robin. “But if it is, I’ll just challenge him to a duel, as always, and that will be the end of it.”
“Don’t get his sword stuck in the ceiling,” Robert cautioned.
“Eric deserved that!” Robin exclaimed, eyes flashing again. Then, frowning, she added, “I don’t see why they have to pick on me, though. There are other princesses out there. Princesses who’d actually appreciate the attention.”
“But you’re a challenge,” said Robert. “There’s a rumor that you’ll marry the first man who can beat you in a duel.”
“As if that could ever happen,” said Robin, rolling her eyes. “You know, I have better things to do with my time than fighting off those annoying princes and irritating young lords.”
“Like throwing your sword into trees?” Robert asked.
Robin just glared at him.
“I forgot that you hate men,” said Robert.
She turned away with a huff. “I don’t hate them. I just rather dislike it when they try to make me into something I’m not.”
They heard the trumpets again, the second blast to let them know the speed with which the guests were traveling.
“How long do you think we have until whoever it is gets here?” Robin asked.
The needle paused as Robert calculated. “I’d say around thirty minutes,” he announced as the needle resumed its progress.
“I’d better get back in, then,” said Robin. “Meg always has a time of it turning me from sword maiden to princess. I’ll give her as much time as possible.”
“I thought you—” Robert began, but Robin was already gone. Shaking his head, he folded the tapestry frame down, tucked it under his arm, and carried it in. He didn’t want his artwork to be ruined in the off-chance chance of an early spring storm. As he left the garden, he glanced up at the sword and shook his head. Hopefully, Robin wouldn’t forget about it.
Thirty minutes later, the twins stood in their father’s throne room.
Robin leaned awkwardly against one of the many enormous tapestries that covered nearly every wall in the castle. She now wore a long, dark blue, satin dress well embellished with sky blue lace. Her hair was braided into an elegant twist that was far nicer than her own haphazard knots and was decorated with a silver and sapphire tiara that flaunted her status princess, and she also wore a matching necklace and bracelet. The heavy sapphire earrings were what really bothered, her, though. Her hands were clasped tightly at her waist to prevent fidgeting.
Beside her, nowhere near as bedecked, Robert stood calm and straight. Easy for him. Father wasn’t trying to marry him off to every suitor who came to the castle.
Not that suitors generally came for him…
Their parents, King Alexander and Queen Charlotte sat upon their thrones, looking regal and royal, as all kings and queens ought.
The doors at the end of the room opened, and with a final trumpet fanfare, a single man entered. In relief, Robin recognized him to be Sir Hugh, the emissary that had been sent out six months before.
“You’ve returned,” King Alexander calmly stated, as though the man didn’t potentially bring back information that would change the twins’ lives forever. “What news do you bring back?”
According to proper protocol, Sir Hugh spent the next hour giving a detailed account of his travels and trials. Despite her best efforts, Robin found herself fidgeting, rolling her eyes, and barely containing her exasperated sighs as both her mother and father inquired after each and every minute detail.
Robin had completely stopped listening and was instead contemplating the sword lodged in the ceiling – the one directly over Sir Hugh’s head…
Not that there were any other swords stuck in the ceiling…
Robert’s elbow discreetly nudged her from her reverie.
“Yes sir,” Sir Hugh was saying. “she only asked for food. Even if I’d not had plenty, I wouldn’t have turned her away. Indeed, I urged to take all that she wanted.”
“You were ever the compassionate soul,” gushed Queen Charlotte.
Sir Hugh blushed at her praise. “After the woman finished eating, she told me that she was, in fact, a fairy!”
“You were successful!” cried King Alexander.
“Not completely so,” admitted Sir Hugh, “for then she told me that she wasn’t the Fairy Godmother of the Prince and Princess.”
“But it’s still a far greater success than any of the previous emissaries have had,” said Queen Charlotte, approvingly.
“Well, yes,” said Sir Hugh. “Then she told me that we seek her sister, Fallona, and should the prince and princess truly wish to have their gifts switched, they would have to seek her out for themselves on their own quest.”
“But they’re only children!” Queen Charlotte exclaimed.
Robin rolled her eyes.
“That is what the fairy told me,” answered Sir Hugh.
“Are you sure that she was a fairy?” Queen Charlotte asked, suspicious.
“I am,” said Sir Hugh, nodding with conviction, “for when we finished speaking, she first turned into a beautiful young woman with green eyes, auburn hair, and clad in a green dress. Then she vanished as though she’d never been there.”
“Did she say anything else?” Robin blurted, forgetting herself. “Something useful?”
“Yes, now that you mention it,” said Sir Hugh, glancing down at his feet. “She did say that the prince and princess would have to find her before their eighteenth birthday, for, once they turn eighteen, their gifts will be locked in place forever.”
“But that’s less than four months away!” said King Alexander, frowning.
“I only repeat what the fairy told me,” said Sir Hugh.
“It will take us three, maybe four weeks at the very least to put together a proper entourage,” exclaimed Queen Charlotte, wringing her hands together.
Robin rolled her eyes again. Trust their mother to get overworked on such a simple affair as a quest.
Looking directly at the twins, King Alexander said, “I will consider the matter. Children, come see me in my office after supper this evening, and I will let you know what I decide.”
“Yes sir,” Robert and Robin said together, and the two were dismissed.
Robin went straight to her room and rid herself of her the annoying skirt and jewelry. When this was done, she returned to the garden to retrieve the sword with the intent of finishing the practice routine interrupted earlier.
However, no sooner had her feet hit the ground than it began to rain and now she had to entertain herself inside. She considered the training hall to resume her practice, but she knew that the students would be using it at this hour and she didn’t feel like being used as their impossible example.
Absentmindedly, she wandered to the library to research how to find one’s Fairy Godmother. It was forever before supper finally arrived, and then that was an agonizing hour because Father had taken his in his office and Mother went on and on about the injustice of the situation.
At last, however, Robin and Robert was dismissed, and they went to their father’s office together and were shown in by one of his personal guards.
“There you two are,” said King Alexander, standing as they entered.
Robin had her hands clasped tightly behind her back. What had their father decided? Would he let them go?
Putting his arms around their shoulders, he led them to a window overlooking the palace gates. “I have considered the matter,” he continued, “but first, I need to know if the two of you really do want to go on the quest.”
“Oh, yes!” Robin exclaimed, turning and grabbing his large hand in both of hers. “Oh, please, Fater, please let us go.”
Robert, on the other hand, just nodded, not being as enthusiastic as her when it came to things like this.
“Very well, then,” said King Alexander, smiling at his over-exuberant daughter and overly-calm son. “Here is what I have decided. Take some money, horses, and whatever else you might need for this quest, and you may leave in secret as soon as you are ready. I feel that the success of your venture is dependent on your going alone. You must only promise me that you won’t breathe a word of these plans to your mother – you know her nerves. I, personally, have little fear for your safety, as Robin has been able to fight off every young man who has come to the castle.” The look on his face showed that he wasn’t entirely amused, which caused Robin to fidget a bit. “Does that sound satisfactory to you?”
“Oh, yes!” cried Robin, throwing her arms around her father’s neck. King Alexander returned his daughter’s hug, and then she dashed out of the room to start her preparations.
Putting his hand on his son’s shoulder, King Alexander continued, “Take care of her, Robert. Don’t let her temper lead her into doing anything she’ll regret.”
“I will,” Robert promised. “I always have.
King Alexander gave Robert’s shoulder a squeeze as he said, “I know you will. Thank you.” He smiled warmly.