Hi Song of Deirdre readers! Not to get your hopes up, but I've been meaning to post a bit of what's to come if I ever get back to working on this trilogy. Originally I thought it would be a draft of a first scene, but I've been so caught up in my other novel, from which I hope to earn a few septims, that I haven't gotten around to it. If you'd like to check out that new novel, it's called The Highwayman and the Vicar's Daughter, and you'll find the first seven chapters posted here on FanFiction. (Actually, since posting it here I've retitled it Daring and Decorum: A Highwayman Novel.)
Then in the last couple of days, Bears2000 has been PMing me with some very pointed questions about what's to come, not to mention opinions about what's already happened. (What did you think of Bears2000's suggestion that I kill off Lydia and let the Empire retake Skyrim?) So I thought I'd answer those questions by giving a little preview of my thoughts for the upcoming two books. I can't give away much, of course, just a taste.
First off, Bears2000 wanted to know what would happen next. Book Two would open in the Alik'r Desert, giving me an opportunity to describe a landscape I know well (though a different desert than the one in Hammerfell is based on). The characters in this opening scene are Deirdre, Lydia, J'zargo, and Brelyna. I might add another character, maybe Aela, or Shahvee from Windhelm. What are they doing here? This is just a month or so after Deirdre has been crowned High Queen, but she knows Skyrim can't stand alone against the might of the Altmer, even with her power, especially if the Emperor continues to do the Thalmor's bidding. And so she has set out to find allies, leaving a body double behind in Solitude (Keira Knightley in Star Wars, anyone?).
Hammerfell is the strongest potential ally, having fought off the Altmer once before. Of course, given their history of boundary disputes with Skyrim, they'll view any alliance with Skyrim with skepticism. But Deirdre has at least one highly placed friend in the country, Keematu, and she hopes the service she has done for Hammerfell in helping to capture Saadia will at least get her foot in the door. The scene would include some humorous banter featuring J'zargo's arrogant foolishness, and they'd probably lament not having Onmund with them. Then a large band of Alik'r warriors would appear on the horizon, and I'd have to see what happens from there.
So the first part of the book would be Deirdre and friends traveling around Tamriel. All of those services she performed for people of different races (which were a bit off-topic for the main plot lines and added to Book One's length) now come back to help her. She has at least one friend in Elsweyr (the Khajiit trader whose caravan she helped protect); Brelyna can vouch for her in Morrowind as a friend to the Dunmer of Windhelm; Shahvee seems to like her and has a good attitude (I really couldn't shoehorn in an Argonian quest in Book One); she has family in High Rock; and she's gained allies on that border in the form of the Forsworn. None of this is enough to forge an alliance with each territory, but it gets her foot in the door. And Malukah is in Cyrodiil extolling the return of the Dragonborn and fomenting discontent against the first non-Dragonborn emperor. In Skyrim itself, she'll need to convince the Blades that their role is to serve her, not kill every last dragon, and that their growing military force is needed to defend Skyrim.
So you can see where this is going. I'll just say that Deirdre is not done with her rise in the world. But then toward the end of Book Two, it all turns very dark and shocking. So much so that I'd probably lose readers. Book Three will be all about Deirdre redeeming herself from her actions at the end of Book Two, and it will involve rescuing her own daughter.
In my mind, the ending of Book Three will be both beautiful and poignant, and will make up for all the trauma of the ending of Book Two and the beginning of Book Three. (I'm writing Romance now, where it's all about the HEA or Happily Ever After ending.)
Bears2000 also asks, "What condition is Deirdre writing Book One in?" That's an answer that I can't reveal, and it won't begin to come clear until the end of Book Two, or maybe the beginning of Three. I'll just point to the evidence from the Editor's Introduction (you've all read that, haven't you?). The manuscript has appeared in various bottles washed up on the northern shore of Skyrim, and it's written on scraps of paper. So obviously Deirdre isn't writing it from a well stocked desk in her castle. But Laurentius Aaronius is confused about why the Deirdre of his experience would ever have found herself in such a situation. It doesn't fit with the history. (You also get the sense that he's writing at some point after Deirdre's death.) The exact reason for his confusion won't become clear until the end of Book Three.
Finally, Bears2000 asks (requests, demands): "Tell me the clues in Book One about the future, please." In addition to all of the above, I'd say the main one is Alduin's contention that he will live on as part of her. Has Deirdre really mastered her own dragon soul, or found balance with it? Are either of those even possible? As for the more immediate political/diplomatic/military future, there is Malukah's point about any true Emperor of Tamriel needing to be Dragonborn, and the fact that in the game the Greybeards call her Ysmir and say she is worthy to bear the Storm Crown. And finally, astute readers have pointed out (somewhere in reviews, I think) that at one point Deirdre mentions reaching for Lydia in the middle of the night and then remembering she's not there. Whether this is because of something that happened between them, or it has to do with whatever situation Deirdre finds herself in at the time of writing down her story, I'll have to leave a mystery for now.
Does this pique your interest for the next episodes of Deirdre's story? Sadly, I won't be able to continue with it until I can earn some money from my non-fanfiction writing, which I hope you'll check out. I've got a new novel, which is based on Alfred Noyes' poem "The Highwayman." I've posted seven chapters of it here on FanFiction. I'm sending it out to agents right now, and I've already started on "Silence and Secrecy," Book Two of the series.
It's quite different than "The Song of Deirdre." No magic, no dragons, and just a bit of swordplay. It takes place in 1790s England, and I've aimed for historical accuracy. Like Song of Deirdre, it's also F/F romance. I'm billing it as "Racier than Jane Austen, better written than Fifty Shades of Grey." Or maybe "Regency Romance without the hunky shirtless dudes." My main inspiration for it is Ellen Kushner's excellent "Swordspoint" and "Privilege of the Sword" novels.
I'm also about to release (self-publish) three short stories in a chapbook titled "Desert Trilogy." These are even more different from Deirdre, harking back to my former life of writing about the California Desert. All three are set in modern times, or just slightly in the future. Two are a bit scifi, and one is a bit horror. You can pre-order it right now on Amazon and other ebook retailers.
To find out more about both these projects, please visit my website. You can find it by going to Lawrencehogue DOT net, and clicking on "Fiction." From there you can find excerpts and background material, and you can sign up to receive email updates on one or both projects. You can also follow me on Twitter ( LarryHogue).