Shade in a mist

Diana has a prompt for this novel-writing month, to write a short piece of prose or a poem from the POV of something from a different world. It so happens, I’m doing that more or less, and anything that helps the WIP along is welcome.

The image is one I found in my gallery. It’s from a reblog of one of Kerfe Roig’s posts.

owl close up 2

He sees through the mists now, the shade that was a child once before becoming a giant, a colossus, a warrior. He sees what the men don’t see, with their living eyes full of mist and their ears full of the fluttering of wings. Shades. Owls perhaps. They see in the dark, through what isn’t there. The shade thinks like the child he is, but he is wiser than the men because he has seen death.

The men look up, and the shade realises he has been fluttering among the leafless branches, letting papery sounds like words fall from his non-existence lips. One of the men is full of fear. His eyes roll. The shade sees the whites, smells the sweaty smell of terror. The other is not fearful. His face shows sadness. He understands what the mists do, how they change people and twist things until nobody sees the truth behind the illusion. This man left his pride behind, the shade thinks and watches curiously.

All around him shades gather, fluttering, papery, not like the silence of owls. The big fearful man casts about again and suddenly he sees, the trees full of shades, children with outstretched hands, arms turning into wings, papery, owl-like growing silent as they grow stronger. The proud sad man clasps the other’s hand, the big man bows his head and the shade knows that he is weeping. Like the parents wept when their children were chosen. Shades now, ravelling up the mist, taking its strength, growing strong, winged, like owls.

“Go,” the proud, sad man says, “fly. This place is dying. Take your memories with you and forgive us.”

The shade blinks. The man is right, the mist is shrinking and the wings are growing, beating. He feels light, a little sad, but a tremor of excitement runs through him, through all the shades, gathered, whispering in their papery voices, and he beats his wings, leaps, soars, scattering the mists. The men look up in wonderment. The shades fill the sky that fills with light, and somewhere inside, a child laughs.

#writephoto: On the borderline

I wrote this piece in prevision of a scene that’s coming up in the WIP and then got bogged down in the writing of it and never got round to posting.

For Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt

Screen Shot 2019-09-19 at 16.40.53.png

 

Halli slumped against the trunk of a birch tree, among the golden pennies of its fallen leaves. The breeze was chill at evening now and the sun set early. Jon shuddered at the idea of being stuck in this place, that was as much a limbo as the Mistlands, when the winter came and the real cold set in. Halli picked up a handful of birch leaves and shredded them moodily.

“We can’t stop here and we can’t go back. They said… the stories said…everybody said this was a good place if you could get in. Well, we got in…”

“I know, and it’s as big a pile of shite as the place we got run out of.” Jon meant what he said, but somehow, he wasn’t as pessimistic as Halli. “The stories are just a bunch of lies that chiefs like Ragnar and my dad encourage because it suits them. But what if one of the stories is true? I mean, they all believe in the Mistlands and the Ebbtide combat. Both sides respect the outcome, beat it into the kids that their lives depend on them following the rules to the letter, the sacrifice and all that. But they don’t talk much about the Heartlands do they?” He turned to Jussi. “Have you ever even seen the Tidelands?” Jussi shook his head. “Do they tell you it’s full of bogey men to stop you going to have a look?”

“They don’t talk about it. The Tidelands is just the edge of the ocean. Why would anybody want to go there? And the Heartlands is just a story. Nobody believes it’s really there.”

“See?” Jon was triumphant.

Halli threw the shredded leaves on the ground. “See what?”

“If they don’t spread stories about the Tidelands and the Heartlands, it’s because they want people to forget they’re there.” He gazed across the darkening valley to the west, wondering how far the forest stretched, how far until the trees ended at crashing cliffs and the heaving ocean, wondering how far from the cliffs across the waves lay the Heartlands and the end of his journey.

As he watched, a cloud rose from the forest eaves and swirled through the red light of the sunset like ink in a glass of bloody water. Even at such a distance the shrill bird-cries were audible. The flock of birds swirled, a tatterered black cloak, darkening the sky, a cloud that swirled about itself then streaked away westwards, towards the ocean. He watched until he could see no more, until the cloud became a smut on the bright backcloth of evening and dropped beneath the horizon, heading out to sea.

“The birds know. They’re going to the Heartlands,” he murmured. “If they can, so can we.”

 

 

BIG promotion on the way

Remember this?

abomination_exlarge

First volume of The Pathfinders series? Well, the whole series is getting the big promotion treatment as of tomorrow. If you know any teenager with a strong stomach who enjoys a romp into the apocalypse, this is the series you’ve been looking for. Make them happy and give them a good read at the same time.

I’ll be posting details tomorrow.

New book release

Today is release day for Devastation, second volume of The Pathfinders series

Devastation

 

If you have already read Abomination, you can buy Devastation here:

Amazon.com

Amazon. UK

If you haven’t read Abomination yet, you can download a free copy here

Amazon.com

Amazon.UK

Instagram

So you have NO EXCUSE! Obviously, I’d rather you read it too, but just a little download would be nice.

 

 

Author interview: Rebecca Piercey

Rebecca Piercey is a Finch author, and her first book was published in March. Since we Finches have to flock together, I have invited Rebecca to be my first guest in what might become a regular spot. Rebecca is a student, flying between the US and Japan at the moment, and I’m surprised she finds the time to give interviews never mind write novels.

 

41dRUOzWXSL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Jane: I’m not going to ask you why you decided you wanted to be a writer, because I’m not sure it’s a question of a decision—you either are a writer or you’re not. But I will ask you about the theme of your book which sounds pretty macabre from the title. Is it about vampires?

Rebecca: Actually, it isn’t about vampires! A lot of people think that though, so I’m happy to clear it up. My protagonist, Laura, is a highly skilled assassin and also a princess. That’s where the “Blood Princess” title comes from. I chose to write about Laura as an assassin because I’ve always loved fantasy books, and I wanted to have a main character who wasn’t necessarily a great person. Laura has done a lot of bad things, and I wanted the story to focus on the weight of her decisions.

Jane: Your book, Blood Princess, is classed as young adult. Did you set out to write for a specific age group, or did you just write what you enjoy reading? I ask because you are still a college student and not long out of that age category yourself!

Rececca: I definitely just wrote what I love to read! I think my love for YA stems from the fact that I am still so young. Another factor is that YA was a big comfort to me when I was in high school. I kind of wanted to recreate that escape for others with Blood Princess.

Jane: What do you see as the major differences between a book for young adults and one for ‘old’ adults?

Rebecca: The main factor is the age, of course. Most YA protagonists are between 15-18. I don’t read a ton of adult fiction, so I’m not really sure about the other elements.

Jane: Will your next book have a similar theme, or will you experiment with something different?

Rebecca: My next book will be a sequel to Blood Princess, so it will be a continuation of the story introduced in the first book. At the end of Blood Princess, Laura makes a very difficult decision, and book two focuses on the consequences of that decision.

 Jane: I think it’s at this point that you ought to tell us what Blood Princess is about.

Rebecca: Blood Princess focuses on Laura White, the princess of Karkonia who also happens to be a highly trained assassin. She’s always killed for her father without question, and when he orders her to murder her older sister, she feels no differently. Laura hates Alicia for betraying their family and joining a rebellion set on usurping their father, the Emperor. Before Laura gets the chance to end her sister’s life, she is dragged into the mess of the rebellion by her bodyguard, Shane Kagae. As Laura and Shane uncover secrets that her father has been keeping for years, they realize that Alicia and the rebels may have been right about the Emperor all along. A very conflicted Laura must decide what is right for her country: remaining loyal to her father, or leaving everything she loves behind to help the rebellion usurp him.

Jane: Is there a story behind this book? Something in particular that inspired it?

Rebecca: I’ve actually been carrying this story around in my head since I was in the seventh grade. It’s definitely evolved since then- at that time, Laura was twelve and now she’s seventeen- and the plot is almost unrecognisable, but that’s where Blood Princess came from. The seventh grade version of the story was probably inspired by a lot of different animes, because I was (and still am) a big nerd.

Jane: Blood Princess is the first volume of a trilogy. Are the sequels written? If not, are they planned out, or are you one of those writers who let the story go its own sweet way and surprise you?

Rebecca: The sequel’s aren’t written, but they’re definitely outlined thoroughly. It’s kind of funny, because with everything else I do I’m a very go with the flow kind of person. I’ve found that I struggle to finish things if I don’t have an outline written, so now I write them for all of my stories just to encourage myself to get things done in a more timely fashion.

Jane: Do you have a favourite character?

Rebecca: As much as I love Laura, I’m gonna have to go with her bodyguard and my second narrator, Shane. Shane is a very honest person. Laura is very closed off to others sometimes and is never honest about her emotions and fears because she views them as a weakness. Shane doesn’t care about all that. If he loves you, you’ll know. If he’s afraid, you’ll know. He isn’t ashamed of his feelings. His willingness to be vulnerable with others is what makes him my favourite character.

Jane: Which do you prefer writing, good guys or bad guys? Can you give us some examples?

Rebecca: Good guys with a lot of flaws. Laura’s not a typical good guy. She does all kinds of terrible things and makes a lot of mistakes. She has a lot of flaws and a lot of regrets. But she does everything she does for her country, trying to protect her people. You could consider her both a bad guy and a good guy.

Jane: We’re all influenced by what we have read, knowingly or unconsciously. Is there a writer or a book that you would say has contributed to your love of writing and helped shape the way you write?

Rebecca: Katie McGarry, hands down. My books are not very similar to hers, as she writes contemporary YA, but she’s just a wonderful person. I’ve sent her fan e-mails more than once, and every time she has responded with a kind and thorough answer that truly answered whatever question I asked. She really does care about her readers, and I admire that about her. Her books are always awesome, too. They are always sure to show that everyone has value and that it’s important to take the time to get to know those around you.

Thanks, Rebecca for letting us into the way you and your books work. I wish you all the best in your writing career. Below are the links if you’d like to catch up with Rebecca, and of course the purchase links if you like the sound of Blood Princess.

Goodreads

Blog

Facebook author page

Amazon.com

Finch Books

newsletterbutton

Last one on the shelf

There’s just one epub copy left of Abomination. Sorry there weren’t enough pdf copies to go round, but if anyone would like this, just leave a message below. Converting epub to pdf or mobi is quite easy using Calibre.

Thanks for the response and hope you all enjoy the book. And the series, of course.

FinchBooks_abomination_403_final

Giveaway as in free books

I have several author copies of Abomination to give away in epub and pdf format. If you have read the excerpts and think you’d like to read the story, let me know in the comments box.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can get up to speed by going here, here,

here and here.

If this kind of thing appeals, just leave your name in the comments, and say which format you would prefer.

abomination_exlarge

Abomination: excerpt

Tomorrow is launch day for my publisher, Finch Books, and Abomination will be available for purchase from the Finch Books website. This is the last excerpt before the big day.

abomination_scaled_final

“On that pallet over there. A few big cans of beans left. Bring one.”

“Have you all forgotten how to speak, as well as how to wash?” Carla snapped.

“Mostly. Yes.”

Carla staggered over with the ten-kilo can of white navy beans to where Kat was opening a much smaller can of frankfurters. She opened the beans and together they tipped the contents into a stew pot of dubious cleanliness. The sausages followed.

“How many is this for?” Carla asked. She had seen at least a dozen men and boys and nearly twice as many women.

“All of us.”

“Then those sausages won’t go very far.”

“Just for the men.”

“I might have guessed,” Carla sighed. “I suppose we ought to be grateful to get a few beans.”

The girl heaved a world-weary sigh. “If they leave any.”

Carla was about to ask why they let themselves be pushed about by a bunch of macho brutes who thought they were living in the Middle Ages when she took a good look at the girl. Carla had taken her for a skinny kid, but a closer inspection revealed the bony shoulders, scrawny breasts and haggard look of a woman, but under-developed and emaciated. Like Tully, Carla was beginning to put together a picture of their new environment.

“There’s not much to eat, is there?”

Kat just looked around. The warehouse was three-quarters empty. “You see much?”

“Can’t you get food somewhere else? Find another supermarket, I mean.”

Kat sighed. “This is Flay territory. Other places like this are in some other tribe’s territory. Not enough warriors left to fight over food.”

“What about hunting?”

Kat forced a wry smile. “Hunt what? Rats? Crows? Drax?”

“Drax?”

“Big dogs.”

“Why not, if that’s all there is?”

“Rats and crows eat corpses, drink poisoned water. Drax eat rats and crows and corpses. They are all sick, rotten. If we eat them, we become like drax. Drax used to be dogs.”

This was the longest speech Carla had heard from Kat. It had been a real physical effort for her, as if she had to drag the words from her memory, as if they were so rarely used they had almost been forgotten. Carla asked one last question, though she dreaded the reply.

“So, what will happen when the food runs out?”

Kat’s expression was dull and hopeless and she did not reply. She didn’t need to.

Carla bit her lip, trying to hang onto the strange, obscene ideas that darted like cockroaches in and out of the shadowy places in her mind.

New series begins

I can’t wait for tomorrow. I’ve waited so long already and the launch is practically upon us! The first volume of my YA series about wormholes, the apocalypse and a pair of young lovers is about to be released. January 26th to be precise. Here’s the cover for starters.

abomination_exlarge

 

Here’s the Finch Books holding page while the website clunks into action

https://www.finch-books.com/

and here’s a short excerpt from the opening chapters of Abomination.

 

Carla screamed, and the pile of dining chairs tottered and collapsed into an impossible tangle. Tully‘s face hit the floor, as the whole cellar seemed to rise and fall back with a deafening crash. From the floors above came an ominous rumbling and the cascading shriek of breaking glass.

He shoved backward, hard. A table skittered sideways, shedding its load of baskets and boxes over his back, and he was free. Carla was crouched by the door, pointing the flashlight down the corridor. She turned as Tully blundered to join her.

“I couldn’t hold him!” Her eyes were distraught. “He ran off behind the boiler.”

Tully’s annoyance dissolved instantly. Carla was almost at the end of her rope.

“Let’s go get him then,” he said, with what he hoped was a jaunty air, “before the whole bloody building falls down.”

They ran to the end of the corridor, Tully wondering if he was completely mad, playing hide and seek with a spoilt moggy in the middle of an earthquake.

“Come on, Tattoo. Time to get in your basket,” Carla cajoled. A stripy tail flicked in and out of sight in the shadows behind the boiler.

“Here. Try this.” Tully fished a squashed piece of focaccia out of his jacket pocket. “I was saving it for later,” he explained apologetically. Tattoo poked his nose out and sniffed. “Get ready.” One paw crept forward then another, nose and whiskers twitched with interest, as Tully placed the oil-scented bread on the floor just out of the cat’s reach. He flexed his hands and braced himself, ready to lose a couple of fingers.

Suddenly the cat froze, whiskers trembling in agitation, ears flicked back against his skull, and fur standing on end. Tully lunged and the cat backed away spitting, backing away not from Tully’s hands but from a round hole in the wall. It was a hole the size of a manhole cover, a hole that contained a blackness darker than any blackness Tully had ever seen, a blackness that vibrated and whined and moved like ink spreading through a glass of black water. Intrigued, Tully reached out a questing hand to the hole, the vibrating emptiness, whatever it was.

 

Carla shouted a warning, No! and grabbed his other hand to pull him away as the ground shifted and buckled again. As they staggered, falling, floundering, the hole appeared to tip toward them, growing in size, reaching out to enclose them both. Above their heads the building shook itself apart, and they plunged into the humming darkness.