Tomorrow is Publication Day for The Iron Dragon's Mother! It has literally been years since my last novel, so this is a big deal for me.
I'll be celebrating publication tomorrow with an essay explaining how I came to write what I call My Accidental Trilogy." Today, I have two pages from the Image Book.
On the right-hand page are two pictures I put together to help imagine Bessie Long Gone. They aren't literal representations, I hasten to emphasize. Bessie is an albino and no one's going to carrying that much gold in a hobo jungle. Not for very long, anyway.
But, inside, Bessie Long Gone is a warrior.
Written below the image is: Hobo Queen. There's also a crude sketch in the right-hand corner of the holey stone, annotated first use of the stone.
The text on the left-hand page reads:
The persecution has moved on to your co-conspirators.
Wait. My what?
Saoirse. [Names] Others are suspected.
Wait a minute. Why only women? Why not men?
The males all passed their virginity tests. The women... well. Rumor is a writ of [illegible] is being sworn out against them all.
Readers will be pleased to learn that the persecution later moved on to the men as well. At that time I had not yet established that Saoirse, Caitlin, and the other eleven pilots were the first female graduates from the Academy. So, as it turned out, there were not enough available women to limit a full-scale persecution to them.
At the bottom, with an arrow pointing to Bessie Long Gone are the words: This is my war, not yours. My plot & no business of yours.
As events turned out, Bessie never got to give that speech. I don't think those are sentiments she would have agreed with anyway. She would have expected every woman in the jungle to do her duty as Bessie saw it.