Tag: novel



From last week’s wordage, for all my write-a-thon supporters:

“Come on,” Isabelle said, pushing a small stone door in an unremarkable corridor; and Philippe, with a sigh, followed her. 

To stop, awestruck, at what lay inside.

It had been a church, once. You could still see the columns and the beginning of the vaulted ceiling, a first row of arches gracefully bending towards each other; and the remnants of wooden benches, burnt where they had stood. The stained-glass windows were broken, or absent; but the gaze was still drawn, unerringly, down the nave and to the altar at the other end–or where the altar would have been, if it hadn’t been turned to rubble long ago, and the only things remaining were the wrecks of three statues–the centre one was least damaged, and had probably been a Virgin Mary carrying the corpse of Jesus.

No, not a church. A cathedral, like the pink-hued edifice the French had built in Saigon–he could still feel the fervour of its builders, of its worshippers, swirling in the air: a bare shadow of what it had once been, but so potent, so strong, so huge.

“Notre-Dame,” Philippe whispered. 



Snippet:  He was tall and thin, with horned-rimmed, rectangular glasses–his particular affectation, since all Fallen had perfect eyesight–his hair dark, save for a touch of grey at the temple; his hands with the thin, long fingers of a pianist, even though the instruments he played on did not make music–unless one counted cries of pain and ecstasy as music (Madeleine knew he did). 

Things researched: not much. Wrote 1.3k words in snatches between appointments.

Plot direction of the day: wondering how best to order three scenes.



Snippet: The Great Market had used to be held in the same place week after week–Les Halles, the belly of the city, the exuberant display of abundance of an empire that had believed itself immortal–against all the evidence of history. But Les Halles had been destroyed in the War; and the fragile magical balance that had followed led to an arrangement where the Great Market rotated between the major Houses. 

Things researched: geography of Ile de La Cite. Zola’s life, of all things.

Plot direction of the day: drastic alterations to outline for chapter. Wondering how to cram in extra body count.

Snippet from the WIP


As you might remember, I’m taking part in the Clarion West Write-a-thon, and people actually went and sponsored me (!). So, accordingly, here’s a snippet from the novel-in-progress as a thanks to them (the first scene, in fact). Usual disclaimers apply–this is my alpha draft (aka I’ve revised it minimally so it looks good on the page but I’ve not taken a hatchet to it), it’s very much a work in progress and I’m not sure how much I’ll keep, etc.

Enjoy! (and if you want to sponsor me, it’s over there)

It is almost pleasant, at first, to be Falling.
The harsh, unwavering light of the City recedes, leaving you in shadow–leaving only memories of relief, of a blessed coolness seizing your limbs–nothing has turned yet into longing, into bitterness, into the cold that will never cease, not even in the heat of summer.
The wind, at first, is pleasant too–softly whistling past you, so that you almost don’t notice when its cold fingers tear away at your wings–feathers drift off, blinking like forgotten jewels, catching fire and burning like a thousand falling stars in the atmosphere. Some part of you knows you should be experiencing pain–that the flow of crimson blood, the lancing pain in your back, the burning sensation that seems to have got hold of your whole body–they’re all yours, they’re all irreversible and deadly. But you feel nothing–no exhilaration, no relief; not the burning agony of your wounds. Nothing; but that sense of unnamed relief–that knowledge you won’t have to face the judges in the City again.
Nothing, until the ground comes up to meet you, and you land in a jumble of pain and shattered bones–and the scream you didn’t think you had in you scrapes your throat raw as you let it out–like the first, shocked breath of a baby newborn into a universe of suffering.

Meanwhile, I’ll be off researching the history of Ile de la Cité, and renewing my subscription to the Paris Library network…

Misc update


Still brainstorming the %% urban fantasy. Gotta figure out how to tie together a violent break-in and a fire at a middle school into the same plot… (preferably without having the same vilainous figure involved in both, because it’s such a cliché). On the plus side, I now have my romantic options for the MC figured, except there’s a pesky husband in the way… (I’m tempted to inflict random grievous bodily harm, but it feels like a copout).

I sent off everything for the Obsidian and Blood omnibus as well: all being well (haven’t heard back yet), the volume will contain all three Acatl short stories in addition to all three novels, a new Introduction by the author aka me, and a character index that was sadly missing from Master of the House of Darts. And I’m hoping we’ll be able to fix various egregious mistakes that were around in the text (as pointed out to me by translator extraordinaire Laurent Philibert-Caillat). So definitely worth investing if you’re a fan 😀

Misc other Obsidian and Blood news: Master of the House of Darts has been entered into Book Spot Central’s annual tournament, where books face off against each other. It’s in the same bracket as Patrick Rothfuss, Mira Grant, N.K. Jemisin and other powerhouses, so very much doubting it’ll get past the first round. But just in case… voting is March 13th-March 15th, I’ll try to post a reminder when it actually happens.
And Servant of the Underworld is book of the month over at Absolute Write Water Cooler’s Book study, so if you feel like discussing its merits (or lack thereof), feel free to hop on over to the thread and speak at length.

Meanwhile, we’re having stuffed zucchini with soy sauce, and I’m once again amused by the fact that, whenever we’re given a choice, the H uses the French/Western-shaped knives, whereas I feel much better when I have the santoku in my hands (I hate French knives, they feel all wrong, balance-wise).

D-1: Master of the House of Darts trailer


Yup, once again, I have way too much time on my hands…

Let me know what you think, and I’d be very grateful if you shared/RTed/etc.
(sorry about the preview–I’ve tried to pick the best image I could, but youtube’s automatic choices aren’t excellent, to say the least…)

ETA: sorry, the competition is coming a bit later today, when I’ve finished with the various picture uploads…

Further cover admiration


Because, you know, I can’t get enough of it, and also because my French editor was kind enough to send me further pictures, which included the entire book jacket…

Wraparound to French edition

Click for further zoom (it’s a bit of a big image, sorry). As you can see, the awesome Priest of the Dead in the front has extra pyramids on the back. The leftmost item is a detachable bookmark, which is a feature of all their books: once you remove it, the inside flaps just have my bio and a longer summary than the bullet-point one at the back of the book. And you are the proud possessor of an Acatl bookmark, of course 🙂

I’m told there will be a feature on the publisher’s blog which details the process of making the cover–further info when I have it.

I feel spoiled.
(and yes, I promise I’ll stop drooling at some point, but it’s hard. Not only is it beautiful, it’s also my native language edition. Which my entire family can read, and which is going to be sold in bookshops near me. It’s a very weird thought)

The submarine


I have two weeks, one (English) manuscript to rewrite, and one (French) manuscript to read through. And er, large amount of stupid administrative stuff to do.
So I’m going into submarine mode: this blog may be updated occasionally, but it certainly won’t be my priority. Same for twitter, LJ, FB, and also for emails. Do poke me again if it’s urgent and I don’t answer you.

Current mood:


In which I make much progress

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The first draft of Master of the House of Darts is complete (well, almost. I need to fill in a number of gaping holes. But I made it to the end, and the plot basically holds together). Now for a round of edits before uploading it to my crit group.


I’d be off for a liedown, but it’s party night.