Hello friends and fans!
NaNoWriMo is over; and although, paradoxically, I was writing less words per day than I was doing the month prior, it’s still a relief to be finished with it. I may have written less words per day, but I felt more stressed with the words I did write. Now that we’re well into December, my writing feels less stressful again. Hooray!
I’ve been more-or-less steadily working on Staff & Crown all through the month (as well as making decent wordcount on Lady of Weeds and Between Jobs) and it now sits at a bit over half way. Which means that I’m actually behind where I wanted to be with this book. Unfortunately, that means that Staff & Crown may be a month later in the publishing than I expected: February 2018 instead of January 2018. I don’t want to leave myself with a single month to edit and make changes, while at the same time running a preorder and giveaway campaign. One of the things I want to be working on in 2018 is the quality of my books, and I want to start the year by publishing my best work.
In the mean time, here is an excerpt from the first chapter. You can expect a finalised blurb and a cover reveal next week (as well as news about the audio narrator for Twelve Days of Faery).
Suspiciously now, Annabel demanded, “What do you know? Have you been talking to Rorkin? Where is he?”
Melchior grinned. “I haven’t talked to Rorkin since the castle.”
“What did he say then?”
“You’re growing up to be a very suspicious young woman, Nan.”
“Maybe I wouldn’t have if you hadn’t lied to me all the—”
“Don’t start that again!” Melchior said hastily. “I managed to have a bit of a talk with Rorkin—actually, he managed to have one with me—and I understand that your friend has something he needs to do somewhere else.”
“Somewhere or some time?”
“That’s the impression I got,” Melchior said, shrugging. “But you know what Rorkin’s like. It could have been what he wanted me to think.”
“Yes,” agreed Annabel. Talking with Rorkin was inclined to leave her a little bit dizzy and certain only that anything she thought she knew was likely to be something she was meant to think and not necessarily true. One thing Annabel was really very sure about, on the other hand, was that the letter at present forgotten between Melchior’s fingers was from Mr. Pennicott, the driving force behind the group who had sent Melchior to find her.
Three years ago, that thought would have prompted Annabel to thought but not to action. Now, she rose without a pang for her comfortable seat by the window and wandered around behind Melchior’s sofa, ostensibly to look at the books in the bookcase there. Lately Melchior, who had always curled up on her pillow and in her lap in his cat form, had taken to deliberately distancing himself—sitting on the sofa opposite instead of the same one, for example. Annabel was quite sure he was receiving more notes, too.
Annabel leaned her forearms on the sofa back and looked over Melchior’s shoulder, scruffing his hair by reflex. It was three years since Melchior had been a cat, but the habit of patting his head and tickling his ears had stayed with her. Tugging on his short, dark hair as she’d used to tug on his ears, she said: “Is that from Mr. Pennicott? Do you have to go away again?”
“Don’t do that, Nan,” he said, batting her hands away. The letter vanished at the same time, though Annabel wasn’t sure if it was purposely or simply a result of that small squabble.
“Why?” she demanded, evading his swipes and ruffling his hair even more vigorously, this time with both hands. “I like patting your head.”
This time, Melchior moved away entirely, twitching around to look at her. “I’m not your cat any more, Nan.”
“Yes, you are,” Annabel said. “You’re mine, my cat. You should purr like you used to.”
“Then it seems rather awkward to mention at this stage that I am, in fact, a man,” remarked Melchior. His thin lips had a rather curious curl to them. “Have you never noticed?”
“Of course I have,” said Annabel. “You take up a lot more space and you’re not as furry. But it’s still nice to pat you on the head.”
“Nice it may be,” Melchior retorted. “It’s certainly not proper, however. And for that matter, neither is leaning over the backs of sofas and whispering in gentlemen’s ears.”
“I wasn’t whispering in gentlemen’s ears!” Annabel protested. “I was talking, and it’s your ear! You were muttering in the back of my mind for five years, so I don’t see why I shouldn’t pat you on the head and talk in your ear now and then.”
Melchior’s hazel eyes gazed at her for quite some time before he said pleasantly: “I feel that I should mention once again that I am no longer a cat.”
“But I can see that!”
“I don’t think you do.”
Annabel, crossly, said, “I wish you’d speak in proper sentences. You’re as bad as Rorkin.”
Look out for Staff & Crown in February 2018!