Sometimes plans change. When your plans involve books in a series, this can lead to some odd situations. I wrote Earth Witch, book two in the Elementals series, about eight years ago, and in that book I made a passing reference to the characters I expected to become the leads in Wind Witch, book four. I had a general idea of who I wanted these characters to be, but I was very far from actually writing them.
Eight years later, and the characters I actually put down on the page were markedly different than I’d imagined when they first earned a mention back in book two. What to do? I was completely invested in Wind Witch at the point where I remembered that passing reference from Earth Witch, and unwilling to discard all the work I’d done. Fortunately, self-publishing, ebooks, and print-on-demand make updates fairly easy: just upload a new file!
So I’ve submitted the updates to Earth Witch, and they should be available soon. Readers of the Smashwords version should have the update available now; you can just log in to your account to download the revision.
Amazon and Createspace do not make it as easy to get an update, and there are no free copies for authors. If you have the Kindle version, please contact me (see the left sidebar) and I can get you a copy of the .mobi version, which is compatible with Kindle. I don’t believe anyone I don’t know personally has purchased a copy of the Createspace version, but tell me if I’m wrong!
And for those who just want to see what the change was – it was fairly minor, if slightly spoilery – read on after the break! If you want to read more about how I discovered this inconsistency, I wrote about it on the blog under my other name.
from chapter 23
(Kat and Arabel have been evacuated from South City and are taking refuge at the estate of a Countess in Eastmark. Arabel has just learned that Kat is a witch – along with a lot of other people – and Kat is worried about what will happen now that word has gotten out.)
Arabel didn’t pay attention to my complaint. “I was scared, of course, but who wouldn’t have been? I hadn’t even gotten my head back on after those men chased us down to the cellar. But it wasn’t you I was scared of.” She craned her head a little closer, lower, where I couldn’t avoid her eye so easily. “And Kat, I think the others will stop being scared, too. It’s not you they’re scared of. It’s just strange. They’ll remember it’s you.”
“Once they get their heads back on?” She gave me a brilliant smile that I couldn’t quite look at, and I turned back to the window. “Do you know a lot of witches?”
“Not really. I used to go looking for them, back when my father was writing. He was investigating the crown, I was going to investigate the witches. I heard a lot of stories from sailors. I always wanted to meet a witch and ask if they were true.”
“Well, don’t ask me,” I muttered. “I don’t know a thing. I had to get Lady Aura to tell me it’s all to do with our ancestors-”
“Lady Aura? The actress! She’s a witch?”
“Yes, but different. Fire, of some kind.”
“Yes, yes, they’re elementals. I know that much – water, earth, fire, wind. You’re earth, of course.”
“This fellow,” I said, pointing at the glass. “He’s one. The man all alone in the boat. He waited until the other fishermen were around to the next cove, then he put his hands out in the water and pulled up a big wave. Completely still, the rest of the water, not a ripple. Made the fish jump right up into his boat.”
Arabel leaned over me to look out the window. The man, of course, decided he was done with his magic and sat down in his boat in a leisurely fashion, crossing his arms behind his head and leaning back to sunbathe.
“That doesn’t make sense,” Arabel declared. “The men are trees.”
“Trees – you don’t know? I found a sailor once who told me all about them. Not really a sailor, I should say, but he’d worked on sailing ships when he had to, and he’d just gotten dropped off by a privateer vessel that had given him passage. He had to get away from Crescent Island, because he’d gotten tangled up with the men there. Literally tangled up – one of the trees sneezed when he dropped his snuff box, and the tree picked him up by the ankle and shook him.”
I narrowed my eyes at her. “Tell me, where did you happen to meet this sailor when he told you all this? I don’t suppose it was Bell Tavern.”
She was still looking out the window, frowning at the man on the shore. “Oh, I don’t remember. Some horrid little place. But the young man I talked to was quite believable. He wasn’t a day over twenty and his hair was as white as you’ve ever seen.”
“Are you sure you didn’t drink the tea, Arabel? That would have made you see things, for certain. You can’t trust anything but the beer at Otto Bell’s place.” But it shook something at the back of my mind, where the story of the two witches lived. I couldn’t remember where I’d heard that story, not really, and I didn’t remember where I’d gotten this other thing, either, but in my head I could clearly hear someone saying, “Don’t fuss, child, or we’ll send you to the woods and the trees will get you.”
“Trees,” I whispered. “It was my father who was the witch. Is that why I can do this?” I reached for the table where Arabel had been sitting, put the tips of my fingers on the papers that lay ready for her to write letters on them, and shuffled them as surely as if they were a deck of cards in my hands.
Arabel gasped with delight. Then she narrowed her eyes at me and said, “Can you do that with-”
“No,” I said stubbornly. “No, never. I have never worked a deck. On my honor, on my mother’s grave, on my father’s, whatever. May the whole earth jump up and smother me if I lie – I have never, never cheated at cards.”
“I believe you,” Arabel said. Then she threw her arms around me. Had to bite my lip to keep from sniffling, I did.