If you’re a regular here, you’ll know that I’ve muttered something about launching a new serial novel on JukePop for a few months. Guess what! It’s finally here!
My new serial is called Focal Point. I actually wrote the first draft years ago and have been wanting to do something more with it. It’s a bit different from anything else you might have read by me so far, and I’m pretty excited about publishing it. The first chapter is online now I’ll be updating biweekly (at least to begin with) on Thursdays – starting tomorrow.
Here’s the blurb:
Sean considers himself a pretty normal guy. His biggest problems include making ends meet as a freelance photographer, his mother’s obsession over a picture he once took of a puppy, choosing the best wine for a double date, and his perfect boyfriend’s brain surgeon uncle who hates Sean for no apparent reason.
Well, that is until Sean’s whole world starts cracking at the seams. Only, no one else seems to be noticing, and Sean is known to have an overly active imagination. But what’s lurking in the darkness underneath the fabric of reality?
Literary fiction with a supernatural twist.
I hope you’ll check it out. And please, do let me know what you think! Tell your friends if you like it. Tell your enemies if you don’t. Ahem … Well, seriously, a serial really does depend on support from its readers.
And on the subject of my jumping from magical fantasyland to contemporary Copenhagen, here’s a question for readers and writers alike: Do you usually stick to certain genres, or do you read/write across them? Are there some genres that you absolutely would not dream of touching, or does it depend on the execution rather than the genre?
The holidays are upon us, so happy Solstice, Hannukah, Christmas, New Year and whatever else is happening around this time of year to you all!
Thank you to all of you who participated in the survey in my last post. It was great to see what you’d like me to work on next. The poll is still open, by the way, if you haven’t voted and want to.
So far, a sequel to Aconitum is in the lead, followed by a three-way tie between a sequel to Conviction, Sparks and The Secret of Stillwater. One more vote for the Keeper, Cornelius Rowenheall, and his story will be tied with those as well. It’s great to see that you’re curious about what happens next to the characters you already know and fantastic that you’re also interested in new projects. I’m definitely giving some serious thoughts to all of those and am at least 25K words into the first draft of a couple of them.
Well, happy holidays again to everybody! Here is a drawing of Iliya and Hector to celebrate:
I promised some readers that I would share some short fiction about Iliya Radov from Conviction. This piece is set during Iliya’s time in the army, approximately a year before Conviction. It was originally written as a character study.
Personal note: You may have noticed my lack of being online/using social media lately. I had a concussion (undramatically acquired, and I’m okay), so I’m only slowly getting back to using computers. Luckily I had this post drafted already, so while I get back to normal and update you on what else is going on, here’s a little story for you.
The noise in there was too loud for him to have a conversation with the barmaid unless he cheated and he wasn’t that kind of guy. Iliya caught her eye and smiled. Yes, he would like to order. The barmaid’s lips moved. Iliya couldn’t hear a word, but the shapes distinctly looked like, “What can I get you, soldier?” The movement of her eyebrows suggested an emphasis on the second pronoun.
He pointed at the tall mug on the counter next to himself. Its owner was deeply involved in a shouting contest of the friendly kind with his neighbour and none of them paid any attention to the newcomer. Iliya mouthed, “Beer, please,” not bothering to speak the words.
The barmaid nodded and turned away from him to fill a mug. Next to him, the mug’s owner suddenly got up, swayed and bumped into Iliya. There was a brief and awkward moment when the man tried to convince Iliya that he had no quarrel with him and managed to insult him twice though Iliya could only hear a few of the words shouted at him. Once by saluting clumsily, the second time by trying to make out the rank on his uniform. Iliya was not going to explain it to him. If he didn’t know what he was by the grey accents and the insignia, it was fine. Iliya wasn’t here to brag. And, besides, what did he have to brag about? The drunk staggered off, presumably to relieve himself of some of all the liquid he had poured down his throat.
Iliya sighed. He caught a glimpse of his own reflection in the shiny, grotesquely disfiguring surface of a bottle behind the bar. He quickly studied his own face. It wasn’t bad. No one could tell. No one had been able to yet. He looked up again, brushing a stray lock of hair away from his forehead. The barmaid was talking to another customer now and he did not have his beer yet. Had she forgotten? Iliya leaned against the bar, uncomfortably attempting to look comfortable.
“Excuse me!” someone yelled into his ear.
Iliya’s right hand instinctively clenched and he brought it up to the other person’s face. A man with a tray full of empty mugs and bottles was standing there, clearly just trying to get past him to put the tray on he counter. Iliya looked at his own hand and brought it back down quickly before anyone noticed what was happening. He smiled at the man who had startled him, but judging from the other’s expression, it probably looked more like a sneer. What was he thinking? Oh no, that was he problem, wasn’t it? He was not thinking. He stepped back to allow the man to pass which he did, cautiously.
Iliya slowly exhaled. He was in a simple bar in a simple town where no one knew him except the handful of drunk soldiers on leave in the far corner who had not asked him to join them – which suited him rather well. No one here was out to get him. No one here was his enemy.
His hand was hurting now. He needed an outlet for the energy that he had instinctively gathered. He reached out to touch the mug on the counter. With a little luck, he would make the contents boil and no one would notice. But no. The mug was empty and the ceramic surface broke and fell apart with a loud cracking sound. Iliya quickly gave it hard push so that it crashed onto the floor. It was better to play the clumsy drunk soldier than to be considered a jumpy wizard in a uniform. The man with the tray turned around, and Iliya apologised as well as he could over the general noise.
“Your beer!” called the barmaid now.
Iliya looked at her with the first real smile that he had smiled in a while. “Thank you!” he shouted and put enough coins on the counter to pay for the broken mug as well as his own beer. He took a grateful sip of the foam on the top and then went to find a place to sit, undisturbed, cradling the mug in his hands.
I was tagged by A.J. Lundetræ in this cool, little challenge. The concept is simple:
The 777 challenge requires you go to Page 7 of your work-in-progress, scroll down to Line 7 and share the next 7 sentences in a blog post. Once you have done this, you can tag 7 other bloggers to do the same with their work-in-progress.
I had a few WiPs to choose from, but I picked the rural fantasy novel I started this spring (it’s been on the backburner due to the SWP, but I hope to get back to it soon).
The excerpt takes place just after the siblings Sarah and David have arrived in their uncle’s mansion in the Devon countryside. – So, here are my 7 sentences:
His name was written in black ink and swirling letters on the cover. A book about him – or for him? He opened it and found all the pages blank.
Just then, uncle Mortimer’s voice rang out. “Archibald!”
David jumped to his feet. Now who was Archibald?
That’s it! Any guesses as to who Archibald is? Or why David finds a book with his name on it?
I’m choosing not to tag anyone specifically, but I invite you all to play! If you do pick up the gauntlet, please leave a link to your post in the comment section. I would love to see your exceprt!