My, how things change. LOL Having what amounts to a nervous breakdown is helpful to the writing soul, I guess. At least, in my case it seems to have worked that way.
THoI is back on track, though far behind. I've set the rewrite goal at somewhere near 85K, IIRC. I've got perhaps twenty more to go to reach that goal, and things have gotten very interesting.
I've been able to insert a bit more about the past the three main players shared--and have included Jaiya, who tutored them all, in the mix; she now works for Barukei's Family as the House Mage. Barukei's stiffened up a bit--not that way--and spends the first half or so of the book antagonistic. By the time he comes around, things have developed to the point that, when he discovers Keiki is Rikiyu--and that Akiro is involved in some complicated plot, he blows up and leaves the whole mess behind. *glee* He's turned into a major ass, but now that I know what's happened, I understand why he's doing it, and it makes the story better.
Also, the main theme seems to be "bad decisions/bad choices." It's rather obvious, with Barukei prattling on about how he shouldn't have gotten so angry at Rikiyu (before Rikiyu became Keiki) and later with Rikiyu struggling over forgiving Akiro for being "his brother's slave." Forgiveness doesn't come easily to Rikiyu, and I need to extend and intensify that internal battle, so it doens't seem like he just melts when confronted with the past, particularly when it comes to the scene where Barukei abandons his whole Family and accused Rikiyu of being a traitor.
I also need to pull Rikiyu's illness closer to the surface. I forgot for a while--focusing on the emotional conflicts--that he's supposed to be ill to the point of debilitation, and he's up and moving around without any symptoms. That's what edits are for; I won't do another rewrite on this unless I have to, and I'm going to let it rest before I do. Perhaps even find someone to read over it for me.
As for The Shadow of Blood, I don't know what's going on. I may shorten it again. Now that I know the past, it isn't screaming to be a trilogy, and I've inserted enough back-history into THoI, I think, to cover. I'll gloss bits over in Akiro's story--I definitely want to keep it, but I think I'll focus on his struggle to escape his brother's influence--and that to accept his own mistakes and find his confidence. He will have a Sabi'Oji of his own, but she won't be anyone he knows, and I think she'll have to die.
I do plan on giving him some funky amnesia. I've got it in my head--despite what our society would have to say about it, that Hiyo gets herself impregnated with Akiro's child. Jaiya kindly does the spell that wipes the incident from his mind--and a few other things as well. It would give me a good excuse at the very least for going over past events. It might also provide some conflict, particularly since he'll have his Sabi'Oji, Pei Pei to egg things on a bit.
I've also been working on the background and worldbuilding bits for Imotina some. I've finally got a full calendar of Imotina set up, and I've determined that there are at least three different official religions. I've set the "holidays" of one of them, and determined what days, exactly, are the National Holidays--completely secular, relating to the Founding of Imotina and New Year's celebrations, etc.--nothing at all religious about the lights they put in their windows at the beginning winter. I've added a lot of new words to the glossary and determined that I'll need to expand on the timeline a bit--change a few things. whee I love it.