the first order of news
The Penslayer has been jam-packed with news about this debut fantasy of mine; and The Penslayer hasn't been as frequented with news as my Facebook and my Twitter feeds have been! I am thrilled to be able to offer you this novel at last, to finally be able to share secrets that I have been hording like a dragon for years. At last you may know! ...Just don't spoil it for those who are a little slower getting their hands on the book.
Otherwise, my head has been insanely busy. Trying to brainstorm through pregnancy hormones is like spinning tires in the mud. To the relief of all, my sister-in-law just delivered her third child, adding one more amongst numerous end-of-the-year birthdays to our family (my mother's is November 5th - I know, easy to remember, right? and it coincides with the release of Rachel Heffington's new mystery Anon, Sir, Anon!).
I've been lazing around among Mary Stewart and Georgette Heyer novels, because anything much more serious is beyond me at this point. The majority of my cranial activity has gone, not to "nesting" or thinking about my first labour (I try to avoid overthinking that), but to plotting the ending sequences of Talldogs. I am a step away from the endgame and I am that typical combination of excited and trucking. If all goes as planned, it will have taken me a little over a year to have written the first draft. We are currently at 109,448 words, and I am toying with the notion of leisurely Howling myself into pushing for 1,667 words each day through November until I finish the draft. But don't tell me I said that, because I'll scare myself out of it.
“…Small pressure needed, in the soft of the back, to put a knife through…”
Idly, Avery bent down and shifted up the coverlet, casting the glamour of a hunter’s colours through the golden gloom. “I will see that he finishes his supper.”
...in his mind’s eye he saw the inexplicable terror on his brother’s face, framed in the black-brown shadows of their room, staring at him as if for the last time.
Suddenly age and a war and a throw from a horse were visible in the man’s face. Wearily, he joined his hand with Raymond’s, and Raymond felt the hair on the back of his neck prickle as he was caught up and saw the small, personal, secret things in Bell-the-cat’s face which were not lawful for another man to utter.
There was a squeal amongst the dogs’ noise, the crash of a door somewhere, and in a moment the rainy world was hammered apart by the ragged tattoo of a horse’s hooves. In a moment Geoffrey’s mucky brown came flying round the corner of the house, plunging sidelong into the stableyard gateway with its head flung round against the bit as Geoffrey swept his hand for a lost rein—then he was digging in his heels and the horse was shooting forward, head sawing, legs eating up the ground in a breakneck gallop.
The gloom collapsed around us. We worked our way to the heart of the tangle, going it on hands and knees, the scent of hot earth in our nostrils, while the yew clawed at our faces and dragged our clothes at our shoulders. When it was almost black, with only spare bars of tiger-light leaking through the hedge, Pan Aeneas fell upon her side, flanks heaving, her hands clamped over her mouth. Under the roar of fire and the scream of men and horses, I heard the soft rustle-rustle of leaves beneath her shaking body, and realized that she was sobbing. The whites of her eyes flashed terror in the darkness.
Wordlessly, I rolled in the torn yew-brake and passed my arms around her head, pulling her close while the world burned over our heads and she cried.
She fell backward, the throat of a scream slashed open and bleeding in her mouth.
"Familiarity makes things small. You will grow into it, you'll see."
"When they threw you out of heaven, I think you hit your head in the landing."
"I desire his head upon a platter. Perhaps then," she concluded dryly, "it will have ceased speaking."