Steampunk fiction, reviews and interviews

Posts tagged “LGBTQIA+

#RainbowSnippets: Necromancers

Happy Saturday! Hopefully you’re all staying snug and warm in this crazy weather! Or better still, you’re somewhere where the weather is behaving itself admirably! 😀

I’m over the moon this week because I’ve completely finished the last draft of Necromancers now and my utterly ineffable editor has agreed to polish it up for me January so – woop – looking at an early 2020 release for that because it pretty much can be read as a standalone, even though a couple of familiar characters rear their heads in it later on! XD

Right – on with the show!

Here’s my #RainbowSnippets post for this week (a wee bit over 6 sentences, sorry, but some of them are only one or two words!) – if you’re new to this, Rainbow Snippets is a chance to read and share 6 sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction every Saturday. There’s a huge variety from Steampunk, like mine, to Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal, Comedy and everything in between. You can join the fun and read all the other fabulous snippets at the wonderfully friendly and supportive official facebook group here.

About 500 plus years after the events in the first book (The Curious Adventures Of Smith And Skarry) a forgotten cult are still obliviously serving their long-dead leader, Wiz, and trying to find the secret of immortality. Sort of. Actually daily temple life revolves more around knitting circles, bridge nights and summer fetes… until two novices stumble upon the secret of undeath themselves and unleash a couple of very unlikely ‘gods’ upon the unprepared and erstwhile peaceful community.

If you missed the last part you can catch up here: #RainbowSnippets: Necromancers

rendered

 

“A one… a one off… seriously? You mean this has happened before and you didn’t tell me?” Vivienne balled his hands into fists and looked as if he was about to commit bloody murder on something. Or someone. “Did you discipline him?” he managed, at last, through a breath taught with venom and incredulity.

“Well…” Reynard shook his head wearily and waved a dismissive hand, “how does one discipline a cleric like Sheridan?”

 

Have a fabulous weekend folks 😀 And don’t forget to check in at the #rainbowsnippets facebook group for more fabulous snippets of LGBTQIA+ fiction


#WritingWednesday: In The Cities of Cloaks And Daggers

Happy Wednesday! I’m using Wednesdays to share some short bursts of the stories I’m working on… because that way, I figure, I’ll be motivated to keep working on them

Right now (besides the Smith and Skarry adventures, which get quite enough attention in my other posts) I’m working on an LGBTQIA+ Mythpunk standalone novel called In The Cities Of Cloaks And Daggers whose central themes are identity, voice and power.

It’s based in a world where Time grows like grass and is harvested, where people of the four cities – Gnarl, Ash, Slain and Caligari – wear their whole lives on their backs in the form of patchwork story Cloaks. Those who don’t have a Cloak, have no clue as to who they are. Those who have Cloaks guard them jealously for fear of the desperate Daggers who would steal them for themselves.

The novel is divided into four books – The Book Of Bujo (which btw is a complicated word whose closest meaning would be heist/ joke/ prank/ trick), The Book Of Scales, The Book of Feathers and The Book Of End – but in the opening the reader finds themselves in a burned down library where the pages of all these books have been scattered, charred and disarrayed across the floor so the narrative has to be pieced together in fragments and the time line dawns slowly rather than being obvious from the start.

It’s ambitious, I’m scared about failing at the vision I’m aiming for, but I love pushing the boundaries of what I can do and I’ve done similar things with short stories so I really hope I can make it work, let’s see… This is the next extract, you can find the previous part here:

Victorian Steampunk Plague Doctor Assassin

 

The next part of the story moves on from the book of scales and the crew of the landkite’s perspective to the book of feathers and some different characters entirely… maybe…

 

THE BOOK OF FEATHERS

“The City Of Slain was built from the blood, sweat and tears of the dryad forces of The Forest Of Aeon when they dared to march on the Children Of Kalash and Ullna, back in the Ash Dynasty at the end of the Poet Wars.”

Such were the little tidbits of happy knowledge meted out to the slaves of the Garnet Heart at the change of every Celestial Face, marking the time of Work Ending or Work Beginning.

Trikashi had no idea what a dryad was, if you’d told them it was a tree spirit the 105120000 step-old child still would have been none the wiser, but they figured there must have been a fair few of the buggers slaughtered for that to be true. And it puzzled them.

“In The City Of Slain, The Honey Caste see all with their eyes of smoke, and purge all secrets from the darkness with their tongues of flame, the shadows they cast are monstrous and will devour all who trespass beyond The Boundary. Only the great and the wise can cast such shadows.”

Trikashi knew all about the demons of The Honey Caste, who didn’t? What they wanted to know was why these legendary rulers, Bright Kalash and Silver Ullna incarnate, could only lay claim to one measly monstrous shadow, when they, little Trikashi of The Garnet Caste, nail-bound slave to The Heart, had six. It was another thing which puzzled them.

Trikashi collected puzzles as other children might collect seashells, stamps or teddy bears perhaps. It kept their mind occupied and away from the stench, pain, fear, misery and degradation of their everyday existence. It stopped them falling asleep as their bare, blistered feet trod the wooden slatted wheel which turned the mechanism of The Machine, and plunging down the 600ft drop into the gears. Trikashi had been nail-bonded at 70080000 steps-old and since then they had counted 1,754 bodies go spiralling down that shaft ; they rather prided themselves they were better than that.

Trikashi’s favorite puzzle was Time. Time seemed to be a conundrum their quick little mind just couldn’t figure out. Each Work Beginning, a bell sounded deep in The Garnet Heart, the slaves rose and assembled in the gallery to eat and priests appeared carrying the sacred Celestial Face of Karash. They recited the latest revelation, and then took down the sacred Celestial Face of Ullna and put Karash in her place. Then the slaves would go to their posts at the machine and remain there until the bell sounded again, marking Work Ending.

When Trikashi was first nail-bound, they had tried to measure the space between Work Beginning and Work Ending in steps. Steps were a convenient unit of measure because they had to make them constantly on the wheel anyway, might as well, they thought to themselves, contrive a little purpose to the affair. But now, after 35040000 steps of calculation, still Trikashi was no closer to fathoming just how long a ‘day’ might be. It seemed to change. And it puzzled them.

 

There you go, I hope you enjoyed reading the next little extract and thankyou so so much for taking the time to read along and for all your kind ‘likes’ and words of support and encouragement- they keep me going! 🙂 What are you writing at the moment? Feel free to share links to your own works in progress or Writing Wednesday posts in the comments 🙂

Blessings on all your writing endeavours!


#RainbowSnippets: Necromancers

Happy Saturday! Thankyou so much to everyone who voted for what they’d like me to snip from through Jan and Dec… it’s a draw! LOL, between Necromancers and Smith and Skarry. So here’s the plan – I’ll keep snipping from Necromancers through December (it’s nearly finished! Woop!) and then switch to Smith and Skarry through January 😀

Also, before I crack on, a little heads up – things are always a bit ‘up in the air’ for me during the cold season, I never know when the old immune system is going to knock me for six for a while (I have a genetic immunodeficiency disorder) and this year I’m also waiting for two operations – one which is scheduled for this month and one which should be Jan or Feb  – I will try and stay on top and schedule what posts I can so there are no gaping holes in the blog flow and I will try and keep taking part in Rainbow Snippets whenever I can, but  if I suddenly disappear, or don’t get back to your lovely comments straight away, or if you see me only flitting in and out for brief spells fret not, please accept my hugest and humblest apologies and all shall be well and all manner of things will no doubt get back to normal again soon enough 😀

Here’s my #RainbowSnippets post for this week (a wee bit over 6 sentences, sorry, but some of them are only one or two words!)  – if you’re new to this, Rainbow Snippets is a chance to read and share 6 sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction every Saturday. There’s a huge variety from Steampunk, like mine, to Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal, Comedy and everything in between. You can join the fun and read all the other fabulous snippets at the wonderfully friendly and supportive official facebook group here.

About 500 plus years after the events in the first book (The Curious Adventures Of Smith And Skarry) a forgotten cult are still obliviously serving their long-dead leader, Wiz, and trying to find the secret of immortality. Sort of. Actually daily temple life revolves more around knitting circles, bridge nights and summer fetes… until two novices stumble upon the secret of undeath themselves and unleash a couple of very unlikely ‘gods’ (and one disgruntled octopus) upon the unprepared and erstwhile peaceful community.

If you missed the last part you can catch up here: #RainbowSnippets: Necromancers

rendered

For context, I’ve included the lead in from last week in bold..

Are you so tormented by my presence on this earth that you’re diverting the entirety of your order’s time and resources to driving me into an early grave? Is that it?”
Reynard examined his nails, “Is this about Immanuel again?”

“No. No it’s not as a matter of fact. It’s about me and my magic quill, because tomorrow morningg the Papess is going to give a speech,” he smacked the parchment he was writing on, “and I can’t for the life of me come up with one single shred of an argument for the continued existence of your cursed red robe order…”

“Are you threatening me, Vivienne?” How very twee, I’m not sure whether to feel indignant or intrigued…”

“Sorry, is this a game to you? Your Arch Cleric had just been caught gnawing on the bones of the Mayor’s first born child and you are smirking over some childish innuendo?”

“Oh.” Reynard stopped playing with the arm rest and sat down heavily, looking strained.

“Finally! And almost appropriate response to the gravity of the situation!” Vivienne put his quill down and ran ink stained fingers through his long grey hair, “so you weren’t aware of it?”

“He assured me the last time was a one off…”

 

 

Have a fabulous weekend folks 😀 And don’t forget to check in at the #rainbowsnippets facebook group for more fabulous snippets of LGBTQIA+ fiction

 


#WritingWednesday: In The Cities Of Cloaks And Daggers

Happy Wednesday! I’m using Wednesdays to share some short bursts of the stories I’m working on… because that way, I figure, I’ll be motivated to keep working on them

Right now (besides the Smith and Skarry adventures, which get quite enough attention in my other posts) I’m working on an LGBTQIA+ Mythpunk standalone novel called In The Cities Of Cloaks And Daggers whose central themes are identity, voice and power.

It’s based in a world where Time grows like grass and is harvested, where people of the four cities – Gnarl, Ash, Slain and Caligari – wear their whole lives on their backs in the form of patchwork story Cloaks. Those who don’t have a Cloak, have no clue as to who they are. Those who have Cloaks guard them jealously for fear of the desperate Daggers who would steal them for themselves.

The novel is divided into four books – The Book Of Bujo (which btw is a complicated word whose closest meaning would be heist/ joke/ prank/ trick), The Book Of Scales, The Book of Feathers and The Book Of End – but in the opening the reader finds themselves in a burned down library where the pages of all these books have been scattered, charred and disarrayed across the floor so the narrative has to be pieced together in fragments and the time line dawns slowly rather than being obvious from the start.

It’s ambitious, I’m scared about failing at the vision I’m aiming for, but I love pushing the boundaries of what I can do and I’ve done similar things with short stories so I really hope I can make it work, let’s see… This is the next extract, you can find the previous part here:#WritingWednesday: In The Cities Of Cloaks And Daggers

Victorian Steampunk Plague Doctor Assassin

 

 

The Duchess felt the wooden boards behind her bow beneath The Magon’s measured gait, felt the cautious weight of their rough, scaled hand on her shoulder and the glass vial they pressed into her mechanical fingers.
She nodded and slipped it into her pouch, where it knocked gently against five or six others nestled there, and then she reached back, unfastened the buckle of her mask and let it slide away, revealing her warm olive skin and the black silk bandages which veiled her empty eye sockets from the elements.
The Kite stuttered over the rolling waves of compacted sea glass, now dry as sand-licked bone, and The Duchess felt the resonance of each frosted bead like a rosary drumming through her frame.
The Magon stayed, leaning idly against the mast, and let the wind blow back their long crest of silver hair and feathers from their dusk dark skin.
A comfortable silence slipped and settled down between them as The She Wolf slept and The Dragpie sulked and the Navigator steered and The Kesili strained and The Grass Temple begged and the twisted arches of Gnarl rose up ahead of them like a crouching spider on the edge of everything.

 

There you go, I hope you enjoyed reading the next little extract and thankyou so so much for taking the time to read along and for all your kind ‘likes’ and words of support and encouragement- they keep me going! 🙂 What are you writing at the moment? Feel free to share links to your own works in progress or Writing Wednesday posts in the comments 🙂

Blessings on all your writing endeavours!


#IndieThursday: The Duke and the Dandy Highwayman

 

This #IndieThursday I’m sharing my love of…

 

 

Blurb:

The Most High, Noble and Potent Prince, His Grace Padraic, Duke of Waterford.’ After enduring the Ducal Grand Entrance, one might be forgiven for thinking that an evening could only improve. One would be wrong. Padraic was then duty bound to find an amiable miss to romance and dance attendance upon. In truth, the Duke was rather more partial to establishments that promised charms he would ne’er find in the arms of a Lady. Such dalliances did add a dash of decadence to his life of ducal drudgery, but time was tick-tocking, and a blue-stocking bride must be wooed and wed…

Raff of the Rookeries. The most afeared rake-hell to have haunted the highways since Darkin denied them the pleasure at the gallows by stepping off the ladder before they could whip it from beneath his feet. Raff had fought his way up to rule the roost with instincts as razor-sharp as his dirk. His sword skills, fists, and wily wits had stood him in good stead, but none had proved as invaluable as the weapon he’d ne’er had need to tend. His fury. A rage every bit as lethal as arsenic—deadlier than brawn, brains, or bravado—Raphael had carried it like a toxic plague. Until, he became Raff of the Rookeries. Unleashed upon the underworld, it was the most formidable foe in London.

Two men from two different worlds…a mere few miles apart. That is, until the fateful night when The Duke was stopped in his tracks by a very Dandy Highwayman…

 

To compensate for my lack of time to do long reviews just now, I’m using the #indiethursday hashtag to share the indie love and point at some fabulous indie / small press books I’ve enjoyed reading 😀

So, what fab indie fiction are you reading / writing this month? Blessings on your brew and best of luck with all your indie endeavours, lets keep flying the flag for indie writing!


#WritingWednesday: In The Cities Of Cloaks And Daggers

Happy Wednesday! I’m using Wednesdays to share some short bursts of the stories I’m working on… because that way, I figure, I’ll be motivated to keep working on them

Right now (besides the Smith and Skarry adventures, which get quite enough attention in my other posts) I’m working on an LGBTQIA+ Mythpunk standalone novel called In The Cities Of Cloaks And Daggers whose central themes are identity, voice and power.

It’s based in a world where Time grows like grass and is harvested, where people of the four cities – Gnarl, Ash, Slain and Caligari – wear their whole lives on their backs in the form of patchwork story Cloaks. Those who don’t have a Cloak, have no clue as to who they are. Those who have Cloaks guard them jealously for fear of the desperate Daggers who would steal them for themselves.

The novel is divided into four books – The Book Of Bujo (which btw is a complicated word whose closest meaning would be heist/ joke/ prank/ trick), The Book Of Scales, The Book of Feathers and The Book Of End – but in the opening the reader finds themselves in a burned down library where the pages of all these books have been scattered, charred and disarrayed across the floor so the narrative has to be pieced together in fragments and the time line dawns slowly rather than being obvious from the start.

It’s ambitious, I’m scared about failing at the vision I’m aiming for, but I love pushing the boundaries of what I can do and I’ve done similar things with short stories so I really hope I can make it work, let’s see… This is the next extract, you can find the previous part here:#WritingWednesday: In The Cities Of Cloaks And Daggers

Victorian Steampunk Plague Doctor Assassin
The Keslili were using every ounce of their will not to separate or disappear. This was the final push into Gnarl, the very last chance they would have to steal more Voice for the long and treacherous journey along The Dream Roads to Caligari. It was also the last chance to recover the cloak of The Grass Temple and the last chance for The Duchess to find… well, anything at all really.

The Kesili strained harder than they’d ever done before, they wanted desperately to be a part of this last mission, couldn’t bare the idea of the others going in without them… how would they cope? What if something went wrong?

True, each crew member had their personal strengths and none of their ventures to date would have succeeded without all of them… perhaps with the exception of The Dragpie who The Kesili considered a liability more than an asset at times… but The Navigator never left The Kite and The Kesili felt that the group looked to them as leaders in her absence…no, it would not stand, they would never forgive themselves if anything went wrong and they had not been present to prevent it… but the air out here was too dry by far to hold their form, they could feel themselves being torn away from eachother into a thousand separate spores that would not condense again until the moisture returned.
Looking around for shelter, The Kesili saw The Grass Temple struggling with a similar predicament ; chivalrous to a fault, they crossed the space between them unsteadily, fighting the wind and the pressure with every step until they were able to cradle her in against their body and allow themselves to separate just enough to cover her like a cloak. No Voice was needed as the Kite bucked and rocketed towards its goal and The Kesili fought with all their strength not to fall apart completely.

 

There you go, I hope you enjoyed reading the next little extract and thankyou so so much for taking the time to read along and for all your kind ‘likes’ and words of support and encouragement- they keep me going! 🙂 What are you writing at the moment? Feel free to share links to your own works in progress or Writing Wednesday posts in the comments 🙂

Blessings on all your writing endeavours!


#MythpunkMonday: Guest Posts, writing hooks and ferrets!

 

WARNING – CUTE SMALL MAMMAL ALERT!!!!!

Happy #MythpunkMonday!

Wow, we’re three months into this regular post now and I’m feeling really positive about that, thankyou for all the enthusiasm and support you’ve all shown 🙂

Heading into the insanity of the festive season I thought I’d use our December #MythpunkMonday posts to bring you little lesser known snips of winter-themed myths and legends as mythpunk writing hooks to feed the imagination through this manic time of tinsel and terrible music 😉

And moving into January, I’d like to offer some Mythpunk Mondays as guest post slots so if you have an idea for a post with a mythpunk theme, or if you are a writer or artist who would like to promote your own mythpunk works, drop me an email at ladywiththewyvern@gmail.com subject #MythpunkMonday Guest Posts and I will slot you in.

But before all that, here’s my last #MythpunkMonday for November and I thought I’d give you an extract from the mythpunk / steampunk short story which I was lucky enough to have included in the Dreamtime Damsels And Fatal Femmes Anthology here…

 

It’s called Mulo, which is the Rromani word for the spirits of our own dead but it actually translates as ‘the wind people’. Here are a few brief facts about the story before I share the snippet…

The story is set in a post-apocalyptic era where workable land and water are scarce and focuses on an exclusively Roma community which has the same class/ caste system as other settled communities. I thought it would be interesting to explore the interplay of power and prejudice without bringing the issue of race into it.

All the names in the story have a certain significance for example, Ndrita means to shine like a small, bright glittering light, to twinkle like a far off star. Ndrita embodies this – a small light that brings hope and then is gone again.

Sihana means like the moon. The moon reflects light, it isn’t a true light itself, it reflects the power of the sun but it doesn’t have it’s own source of power. It can also seem like a cold light, illuminating without aiding life or growth. All this seemed to embody the character of Sihana.

The marsh lights are a real phenomenon here in Britain – and perhaps elsewhere. They are really caused by marsh gas igniting or sometimes by the glowing fungus known as fox fire. Marsh lights have also been called Death Lights, Jack of the Lantern and Peggy of the Lantern and were thought to be malevolent spirits who had drowned trying to lead travellers astray off the path and into the marshes. I first encountered marsh lights in Bleaklow, Derbyshire and have been obsessed with their lore ever since.

I wanted the story to be gritty and realistic but also carry a thread of hope – to explore power imbalances that are inherent in all social constructs regardless of race or culture but also to highlight the notion of choice as a facilitating vehicle for change. Nothing actually changes in the story on a societal level, but the two main characters, Ndrita and Anika, both changed a little for a moment – they put aside their prejudices to save the life of someone they would normally abhor, and who would normally detest them. They took back the power of choice.

Writing is never a clean process and I had some initial problems with keeping the tense and perspective consistent between the characters’ different scenes – something I wouldn’t have picked up on if not for the fantastic editing team so I owe a lot to them for helping me get that straight!

My own favourite character in the story is Anika’s Ma. She is so like a lot of our own older relatives – stuck in their ways and clinging to superstitions so ancient they barely understand their meaning themselves, wise in so very many ways but powerless against the problems of modern times for which all their handed down wisdom couldn’t possibly have prepared them.

I don’t tend to write stories with a message or a moral, instead I hope my writing opens doors and then leaves them open in case others want to come in and explore what I’m exploring.

Extract:

In the city, where the fog curls just above the cobble stones, there are many lights; the flickering gas lamps breathing milky pools against the evening’s cool, dark breast; the tinder sparks from flaring pipes; the window-stars like cold diamonds or bright catalysts of life.

Move out beyond the streets, out into the woods, follow that lonely ribbon of road away through the marsh, and the lights out there do not cast the same impression on our minds.

Lights, we understand, mean there is someone and who, we ask ourselves, who could be out there in the dark and the mist? Who on a night like this?

The word for the carriers of the marsh lanterns is Mulo and Baba always told me that this word means demon. After Mammy and Daddy and little Dragan were gone, and all that was left was Baba and me, she taught me to light the tallows in their little glass bottles and set them all around the farm each night, to keep the demons away.

She knew a lot of things my Baba, how to keep us safe through the long dark nights in Indigo. But she didn’t know how to make the water safe, and in the end it was only me, and I didn’t know either. 

Thankyou for joining me for another #MythpunkMonday, I hope you’ve enjoyed it and if you’d like to jump in and share your own / others marvellous mythpunkish-ness then feel free to do so using the hashtag or in the comments below!

And before I scoot, I promised ferrets, and here they are… All the proceeds from the above mentioned anthology go to Abington Ferret Refuge, you can check them out here…

http://abingtonferretrefuge.com/?fbclid=IwAR0zzH5eDy4EY5V9PVPf0jQWmyL-P7ElyKrWcZRC4bDFtDw6CQdDp47Udu8


#RainbowSnippets: Necromancers

HAPPY SATURDAY!

Update on Smith and Skarry ebook… I’ve made a few format changes and fixed some typos as well and KDP have said they will offer an optional update to everyone’s copy within 72 hours 🙂 I know it was only the cloud version affected but hopefully this will make it look nice across all devices 🙂 x

Here’s my #RainbowSnippets post for this week – if you’re new to this, Rainbow Snippets is a chance to read and share 6 sentences of LGBTQIA+ fiction every Saturday. There’s a huge variety from Steampunk, like mine, to Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal, Comedy and everything in between. You can join the fun and read all the other fabulous snippets at the wonderfully friendly and supportive official facebook group here.

As it’s still the spooky season I thought I’d do a few snips from a WIP which is the very last book (probably) in my Steampunk series Ashton’s Kingdom.

About 500 plus years after the events in the first book (The Curious Adventures Of Smith And Skarry) a forgotten cult are still obliviously serving their long-dead leader, Wiz, and trying to find the secret of immortality. Sort of. Actually daily temple life revolves more around knitting circles, bridge nights and summer fetes… until two novices stumble upon the secret of undeath themselves and unleash a couple of very unlikely ‘gods’ (and one disgruntled octopus) upon the unprepared and erstwhile peaceful community.

If you missed the last part you can catch up here: #RainbowSnippets: Necromancers

 

rendered

 

This snippet is from much later on in the story and the context includes some dark humour which might not be everyone’s cup of tea…

Vivienne (right hand man  / political whip to the Papess) has just discovered that his husband Reynard (head of the red robe order) has probably been turning a blind eye to the fact that his younger initiates have been trading the menstrual blood of the temple virgins for liquorice all-sorts and, possibly, even eating the first born children dedicated to the temple. He has called Reynard into his office in a professional capacity to see how much he knows… Reynard speaks first…

 

“You wanted to see me.”
Vivienne continued to write furiously on the parchment at his desk.
Reynard let the door slam shut behind him and moved idly towards the many alchemical bottles, dangling from the ceiling in the centre of the room; he prodded one and it began swinging backwards and forwards, an angry red liquid swirling and bubbling inside. “Dare I hope it’s to apologise for letting the beef bourguignon go to waste, again…”
The quill came to a sudden stop and Vivienne raised his eyes to glare across the room at his husband. Ink began to pool.

 

Have a fabulous weekend folks 😀 (at least a better one than these two are having! XD And don’t forget to check in at the #rainbowsnippets facebook group for more fabulous snippets of LGBTQIA+ fiction


#WritingWednesday: In The Cities Of Cloaks And Daggers

Happy Wednesday! I’m using Wednesdays to share some short bursts of the stories I’m working on… because that way, I figure, I’ll be motivated to keep working on them

Right now (besides the Smith and Skarry adventures, which get quite enough attention in my other posts) I’m working on an LGBTQIA+ Mythpunk standalone novel called In The Cities Of Cloaks And Daggers whose central themes are identity, voice and power.

It’s based in a world where Time grows like grass and is harvested, where people of the four cities – Gnarl, Ash, Slain and Caligari – wear their whole lives on their backs in the form of patchwork story Cloaks. Those who don’t have a Cloak, have no clue as to who they are. Those who have Cloaks guard them jealously for fear of the desperate Daggers who would steal them for themselves.

The novel is divided into four books – The Book Of Bujo (which btw is a complicated word whose closest meaning would be heist/ joke/ prank/ trick), The Book Of Scales, The Book of Feathers and The Book Of End – but in the opening the reader finds themselves in a burned down library where the pages of all these books have been scattered, charred and disarrayed across the floor so the narrative has to be pieced together in fragments and the time line dawns slowly rather than being obvious from the start.

It’s ambitious, I’m scared about failing at the vision I’m aiming for, but I love pushing the boundaries of what I can do and I’ve done similar things with short stories so I really hope I can make it work, let’s see… This is the next extract, you can find the previous part here: #WritingWednesday: In The Cities Of Cloaks And Daggers 

Victorian Steampunk Plague Doctor Assassin

 

The Grass Temple had to take care ; the winds that swept across The Sea Glass Isle were perfect for high speed Kiting but when you were made of grass, wind was never going to be your ally. 

‘Weave me,’ The Grass Temple thought with all her strength, “weave me stronger my little ones, my wee, wee priests and priestesses who scuttle through my hollows and who build and mould and create and destroy and create me new again, weave me firm against this gale.” 

The Grass Temple had no idea whether the creatures who dwelt inside her heard her thoughts. Sometimes it seemed they did her bidding; seemingly miraculous coincidences once or twice had almost convinced her to adopt an unshakable faith in that fact… but more often they wove and snipped and clipped and trimmed and embellished and refurbished and went on about their days seemingly oblivious to her attempts at communication. 

The Grass Temple was certain that they were oblivious right now to her – and their own – impending doom at the hands of the violent gusts  which tugged and teased and threw the long multicoloured tendrils of her form every way they pleased. 

‘Weave!’ The Grass Temple pleaded, looking desperately around the Kite for shelter. She had not been with the others long, they had rescued her from a group of Daggers who, not content with cutting off her Cloak, had begun to pull her apart just for the fun of it. 

She treasured that day in her memory; The swift blades of The Duchess, the bellow of The Magon’s rage as they chased the last of her assailants off into the knotted city walkways, the dashing Kesili as they lifted her in strong arms to safety and the mocking wit of The Dragpie whose scathing curses followed The Daggers’ heels off into the gloom. 

She had known who she was before that… at least, she had known what Her Cloak said about her, and she had believed it. The Grass Temple was one of the lucky few who had grown a Cloak from her shoulder blades when the sky had shattered and the voices had all been sealed away by The Alchemists, for the protection of The People.

No one with a cloak doubted that the embroidered patches of words and pictures told the story of who they were, what they had done and what they would do in the future. They immediately began adding to them, recording their daily escapades and  achievements and each patch they added became an intrinsic part of their own, true self. 

The Grass Temple remembered all this, she remembered the thrill of adding each new segment of fabric to her frame … but nothing else; whatever those pictures and words had said about her was now gone, all except a few tattered fragments that still clung to her back… a black and white bird … a dragon… a windmill… a seed… a tree… and one beautiful golden eye…  

That was what Daggers did – having no Cloaks of their own and no clue to their own identity or purpose the people of The Four Cities were left with several choices ; Daggers chose to cut the Cloaks of others and steal a history for themselves. Of course the Cloaks didn’t graft onto their flesh and truly become their own, but no one would know the difference unless they looked closely. The Dragpie had said that there were even Daggers who cut Cloaks into fragments and traded them on, and that some Daggers actually had Cloaks themselves but coveted and stole more illustrious or exciting parts of the stories of others. 

The Grass Temple didn’t have a mouth to smile with just now, but she felt the smile rise inside her all the same ; she was safe, the crew of The Land Kite had welcomed her like a sister and, they had promised, they would help her recover her lost Cloak – piece by piece if necessary – from the Daggers’ who’d stolen it.

 

There you go, I hope you enjoyed reading the next little extract and thankyou so so much for taking the time to read along and for all your kind ‘likes’ and words of support and encouragement- they keep me going!  🙂 What are you writing at the moment? Feel free to share links to your own works in progress or Writing Wednesday posts in the comments 🙂

Blessings on all your writing endeavours!


#WritingWednesday: In The Cities Of Cloaks And Daggers

Happy Wednesday! I’m using Wednesdays to share some short bursts of the stories I’m working on… because that way, I figure, I’ll be motivated to keep working on them

Right now (besides the Smith and Skarry adventures, which get quite enough attention in my other posts) I’m working on an LGBTQIA+ Mythpunk standalone novel called In The Cities Of Cloaks And Daggers whose central themes are identity, voice and power.

It’s based in a world where Time grows like grass and is harvested, where people of the four cities – Gnarl, Ash, Slain and Caligari – wear their whole lives on their backs in the form of patchwork story Cloaks. Those who don’t have a Cloak, have no clue as to who they are. Those who have Cloaks guard them jealously for fear of the desperate Daggers who would steal them for themselves.

The novel is divided into four books – The Book Of Bujo (which btw is a complicated word whose closest meaning would be heist/ joke/ prank/ trick), The Book Of Scales, The Book of Feathers and The Book Of End – but in the opening the reader finds themselves in a burned down library where the pages of all these books have been scattered, charred and disarrayed across the floor so the narrative has to be pieced together in fragments and the time line dawns slowly rather than being obvious from the start.

It’s ambitious, I’m scared about failing at the vision I’m aiming for, but I love pushing the boundaries of what I can do and I’ve done similar things with short stories so I really hope I can make it work, let’s see… This is the fifth extract, you can find the fourth part here: #WritingWednesday: In The Cities Of Cloaks And Daggers

 

Victorian Steampunk Plague Doctor Assassin

 

The Duchess listened to the wind screaming protest against the canvas of the Land Kite sail. There was no other obstacle to its passage across the Seaglass Isle for another six or so kilometers ; then it would shatter into gusts against the buttresses of Gnarl and howl, fragmented and broken as the citizens, through the twisted streets, biting flesh in ire at the city’s presence here in its domain.

She frowned beneath her black leather beaked mask ; Nav had indicated that this would be their last foray into Gnarl and while the others had all made at least some progress here, The Duchess would be heading to Caligari with no further clue as to who, or what, she was, or might once have been. It was a vexing situation and beneath her black lace gloves her mechanical hands bawled unconsciously into fists, betraying her frustration.

 She could sway them to stay a little longer ; even The Magon, with all their great strength, was no match for her bladecraft… but that wasn’t the way this worked. The Navigator could see things hidden in The Shattered Sky ; patterns and signs encrypted in the miasma of scales and feathers which rolled above the land in prismatic clouds – a denundated landscape of shifting grains. 

The Navigator knew exactly where they should go next and what they should do when they got there and they’d all learnt the hard way that following her guidance was always the sensible option ; The Grass Temple had been a mistake but it wasn’t ever going to be repeated, if The Navigator said it was time to move on, then that was what they would do.

 

There you go, I hope you enjoyed reading the next little extract 🙂 What are you writing at the moment? Feel free to share links to your own works in progress or Writing Wednesday posts in the comments 🙂

Blessings on all your writing endeavours!