Don't worry I'm still working on polishing 'Morning Song'. I haven't put that one aside entirely, but I've done as much editing as I can do for the moment and I wanted to give my readers a break between books, so it is percolating for a month or two and then I'll go back into editing. In the meantime....
I have about 20 books in various stages of development on my hard drive. I picked one I have been thinking about and pulled it out. I'm not 100% it's going to be my next project, but it probably will. Besides a friend who helped me with research wants me to publish this one (mostly because I promised I'd dedicate it to him lol). I don't have a name for it yet. It will be something about life and death. Very simply it's a semi-dark novel in which death falls in love with life. It's probably going to be another stand alone. I can't see how I can turn this into a series, but you never know. I do have one that will be a series, probably a long one, but I have a touch of writer's block where it's concerned so I have to play with other projects for awhile.
Here is a short sample of it. For now we will call this one Lychee and Corin after the main characters.
Death walked through the alley casually, in no hurry. His prey would be waiting for him. It always was. Sometimes in his more philosophical moments he believed that prey was born to be prey and while they would put on a chase, in the end they knew their place. Eventually whether he rushed or not, it would be waiting for him, ready for the final fight. Some prey would fight, wanting to end their lives in some twisted idea of honor—he respected that—but mostly they were tired. Sure, there was fear in their eyes, but they still resigned to it, like it had all been fate.
Corin was a big man, strong and broad. He was taller and wider than most humans, though humans had gotten taller in recent years. He had been built for speed, strength and agility. He was aware the appeal this had for women. On the rare occasion the mood struck him, he held no qualms about using this to get what he wanted. He was a predator. In those moments his quarry had simply shifted and the method of satisfaction changed. He would binge until the mood passed and then he went back to his prey.
His boots kicked away the random trash that followed humanity and crunched on the filthy, cracked cement. His long grey hair was tied tightly back from an eternally young face in a queue. His long grey coat trailed behind him as he moved effortlessly around a corner looking like some movie version of the honorable assassin. The irony was not lost on him. Sometimes it helped to dress the way humanity thought he should, sometimes it didn’t. The boots and the coat were useful though. He may hold on to them after culture changed its expectations again.
He turned another corner following a trail only he could perceive down the dark expanse; something as elusive as the change before the change in the wind signaling a storm. Some places in the city were vast networks of alleys and sewer systems. A shadow city all its own hidden from the light in the perpetual warm of the southern United States. He knew these streets as well as he knew the streets that stayed in the sun and the endless electric lights of night. He walked the roads of man since before they were glorified foot paths. He’d seen societies rise and societies fall. This society would fall too, as surely as the Romans had, and those that came before them.
There was a sound to the side of him. It was small and harsh, like silent keening when all the horrors of life had taken your voice. He slowed down enough to open his senses beyond his prey. Something shifted in the pile of trash and refuse that somehow missed the empty dumpster. He turned slowly, tracking the sound. Everything went still. That was more an indication of someone hiding than anything else. An animal wouldn’t have stilled.
He could smell the fear in the air. It was deeper and sharper than what his prey normally felt. Blood mixed with it. Something was wrong. He took a step to the pile and suddenly everything exploded. Boxes, trash, papers, rotted food all went up in a whirlwind clattering harmlessly about him, all the while a scream cutting the still night air like a jagged knife.
It was over as fast as it started. There was nothing else to be thrown. He saw a part of a leg and an arm trying to hide under what was left of the pile. The box on top was quivering slightly as if the person was shivering with cold. He reached down and pulled off the box...
...And the rest you'll all just have to wait for. :-)
Still I do welcome comments and critiques. Especially at this stage.
You know I'm getting psyched about this next book. It needed a lot of rewrites but the joy of rewrites is, as much as they suck, in the end you get something so much better than you ever thought possible. The flow is going much better and I was able to eliminate things that grated on my nerves. Not that I understood much why these things bothered me, just that they did.
The book is set in post apocalyptic United States, but not immediately after whatever it was that caused the destruction. It's sort of like Steven King's Gunslinger world. Things are practically back to a medieval level, but with random references to the world we live in now. One of the major ones will be music. The heroine is a singer as well as many other things. **Warning: Small Spoiler** A very small part of her back-story is her parents were traveling minstrels that studied the music of the "ancients". Just imagine all the fun that could be had with that. I'm interweaving songs from today, looking at the melody and the lyrics for things that would have meaning in this new world.
Just of a couple of the groups included will be Plumb and Soundgarden as well as few individuals like Adelle and Corine Bailey Rae. I want to show readers new music they might never have listened to as well as give them a chance to see it in a whole new light. Lets look at how these songs effect a generation and how it would be seen to following generations. When George Gershwin wrote music did he know it was going to shape an entire genre? Did the Beetles know how much they would effect an entire generation and the generations that followed? What music now will stand the test of time and why?
Making all these changes I'm falling in love with the story again. Its not heavy action like 'Silent Heart' Or 'Under A Twisted Moon'. There are some real life issues but the descriptions aren't as brutal. There isn't a whole lot of wondering and worrying if the hero and heroine will fall in love. However, this is a book of enduring love. It's almost a snapshot of a year in the couple's life and all the things that brought them closer together. A look at the way solid marriages work. There is a deep earth magick involved and the fate of a nation. Its a softer book than I normally write which is why I wasn't sure I was going to share it with the world at all, but I think it's time Morna and Arrick got out of my hard drive. They have lessons to teach and you know, sometimes you just want a book that makes you feel good. Life for them is never picture perfect, only moments, but they make you smile anyway.
Keep a look out for 'Morning Song' hopefully coming July or August.
I feel like I've been a little lax on the blogs of late. To be honest I'm not entirely sure who reads them but I like to keep folks updated, so I try to check in.
I'm sort of knee deep in trying to market. It is very hard to self market. Word of mouth is everything. It takes one person to trash my work and I'll never be credible again, but it takes 100 people to like my work to start making headway into the mainstream. Of course my ultimate goal would be to make enough money writing books to support my family, but right now every single reader and fan is a huge success, so to all those that read these: THANKS! You have no idea how much you mean to me and how much I value you and your feedback. Yes I welcome random feedback. It's how I improve as a writer.
I have a third book in the works. I wasn't going to publish it even though it is one of my personal favorites because I always thought it was fluffy dreck. I sent it to a friend whose opinion I value only to find out its good. So now I'm in the process of rewrites to clean up the things I don't like and make nice and shiny. I don't know when I'll have it out but I'm shooting for July. After this one I'm done with the finished work sitting idly on my hard drive and will turn to unfinished work giving them life.
The way I look at it, as long as I love what I do, I'm just going to keep pumping the books out and hope others enjoy what I do as much as I do. This has been a dream so far and it just keep growing. :-)
Susan is a plural writer and artist by day, a child and pet wrangler by night, and occasional crazy person on the weekends.