Please help me welcome Janie Franz as today’s Wednesday’s Guest. She is sharing an excerpt from her book, Verses (The Lost Song Trilogy book 1 and book 4 of the Bowdancer series)
Eleven summers after Jan-nell the bowdancer left her daughter Mira-nell with the sisterhood of hunters on the mountain and came to live with Khrin to raise their son, Bearin, she is called by the sisterhood to find their origins.
The first clue is a bit of song Jan-nell learns at the deathbed of the oldest woman in the sisterhood’s village. Jan-nell and her companions seek the origins of the mysterious women on the mountain through the verses of that song.
Master hunter Bekar and master trackfinder Chandro accompany Jan-nell and Bearin on a quest for the lost song that takes them from their local inn out across the landscape of their world as they meet bee spinners and kings and risk their lives to achieve their goal.
“Is the old woman failing?”
“She is ill, and Leyton worries that she may pass before she can tell Jan-nell the gossip from the first mothers about our coming to the mountain.”
“She wants a story-song then?”
Chandro nodded again. “She has finally agreed.”
Bekar bit into a crisp cucumber, relishing the new taste. “Hmm.” Then she turned to Jan-nell. “I would like to know how we came here and why. I feel there is something we should all know, but it has been kept from us. We did not have feasts and music before you and Mira-nell came, or ways to mark our life passages, except for when we have our first moon and become women or when a few take their places among the hunters.”
“At least Mira-nell has that affirmation. She would not get it here.” Jan-nell cast Khrin a look. “They would be plotting who she should wed by now—if not preparing the ceremony as we speak.”
Khrin held up his hands. “It is not my doing. My mother likes weddings and babes.”
Chandro’s gaze rested on Bearin. “Do they plot who you will wed?” she asked the boy.
“If I would listen,” he said.
“What?” Jan-nell turned to him.
“I do not bother you with their talk. Granddame’s sister has a girl my age that she thinks is fair.”
“But she is kin?”
He shrugged his shoulders. “They do not count kin that far from Granddame. Besides, though she is fair, she cannot think. What would I have to say to such a one?”
“There will be a time where thinking is not what is most in your mind when you look upon a girl,” Chandro counseled.
Frowning at the trackfinder, Jan-nell continued. “You have seen her?”
The boy gave a nod.
Bearin looked confused. “What?”
Khrin shook his head, grinning “I do not know if your mother is more shocked that she did not know about this or that she does not know what instructions you have been given about girls.”
“Well, it is obvious somebody has been filling his head with something!” Jan-nell snapped. “I do not wish him to have a houseful of babes before he has explored the world and found what lies in his heart.”
Bekar chuckled, and Jan-nell turned her growing anger on the hunter, glaring fiercely at her.
“Forgive,” Bekar said. “Be at peace.” She turned to the boy. “Tell us what you have learned about girls.”
Jan-nell raised an eyebrow at Bekar’s words.
Bearin looked up at his teacher. “It depends on the girl. Some are silly though they may be beautiful. Some are wise though they may look like a goat. Some are noble and kind, and some are devious and can never be happy no matter how much is given to them. Some have talents, though they may be in the domestic arts, while some are clever and strong and know men’s work. Both kinds can work alongside any man. Girls—women are as diverse as men.”
“And what of pairings—wedded or not?”
He shrugged again. “Just as varied.” He looked at every face. “As are families. Are we not a family around this table?”
“Yes, we are,” Khrin stated and reached for his mug of tea. He held it up as if to give a toast.
Bekar smiled and held up her mug. Bearin hoisted his aloft. Chandro looked at Jan-nell and raised her mug. Moving her eyes from face to face, Jan-nell finally raised her mug. “To our family,” Khrin said in firm tones.
Interview Questions for Bekar
1. Nickname: I’ve always been called Bekar. It is a name different from the other women up on the mountain.
2. Job: Do you mean what work I have been called to do? I am a Master Hunter
3. Birthplace: I was born up on the mountain, far above the little villages below. There are only women here, strong women. We are grateful to have Mira-nell, Jan-nell’s child, teach our young girls the ways of healing and the songs of the One. Those songs and dances stir my heart, unlike many of the other women here. And Mira-nell has her mother’s touch with herbing goat and wild game. We of the sisterhood, as Jan-nell calls us, are very grateful Mira-nell tends our cook fires.
4. Significant other: Do you mean a mate? I have not found one, though I have had many lovers. I think I’m too much of a mountain goal to be tamed by a mate.
5. Most important goal: We must find the answers to where we came from. Surely, we did not spring from the rocks of our mountain home. I am different from the other women here. I brown darker in the summer’s sun. My hair is not fair like theirs.
This book is on sale for 99cents at https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/new-releases/series/verses-the-lost-song-trilogy-detail
And can be bought for regular price at:
About Janie Franz
Janie Franz comes from a long line of Southern liars and storytellers. She told other people’s stories as a freelance journalist for many years. With Texas wedding DJ, Bill Cox, she co-wrote The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Book and The Ultimate Wedding Reception Book, and then self-published a writing manual, Freelance Writing: It’s a Business, Stupid! She also published an online music publication, was an agent/publicist for a groove/funk band, a radio announcer, and a yoga/relaxation instructor.
Currently, she is writing her tweveth novel and a self-help book, Starting Over: Becoming a Woman of Power.