A Vengeance of Angels – Teaser 1

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Last week I was able to reveal the cover for my long-awaited sequel ‘A Vengeance of Angels.’

vengeance_promo

This week, I can read you a short excerpt from the fourth chapter. I’ll reveal more later in the week.

BTW, Anyone who’s read the first book, ‘A Construct of Angels,’ might recognise this part, as it appears at the end of the book.

This passage is told from the point of view of Michael, the Angel-turned-mortal as he recuperates from his recent battle with the demonic ‘Aryan.’ He is in the company of Sara Finn’s father, Gil, plus Gil’s nurse-employee, Ingrid:

A long shriek from above sent Gil rocketing to his feet. Ingrid had already fled through the door. Concerned, I followed Gil as he dashed upstairs and into the room of Agatha Carpenter. As he and Ingrid tried to calm the old lady, I remained at the door. They might have succeeded in their efforts, but she caught sight of me and her deafening shrieks resumed. She waved a bony finger in my direction and I felt the chill of one whose fate is irrevocably sealed. I’d felt it before. As a doomed gladiator, as a convicted witch, as a Jew amongst the Nazis…

“The swordsman is falling,” she wailed. “Now! He seeks the one who shines most brightly. He will have his revenge!” Her arm swept around to encompass the room, but Ingrid’s body blocked part of the flailing gesture.

“All around him shall perish!” she declared in a voice edged with hysteria. I knew a moment of panic. She could only be referring to one person, one Anakim.

And he was coming for me.

“When, Agatha?” I called. I had to get clear, to keep everyone around me safe from Damocles’ fury.

“My god, Michael,” Gil snapped. “Don’t encourage her!”

“Now!” she shrieked as Gil rolled his eyes. “Now, now! Beware…” Abruptly, her voice tailed off as if she’d passed out—or the vision had overwhelmed her senses.

I spun and scrambled for the stairs, taking them two at a time in my headlong rush toward the door. Upstairs, Gil was shouting, but I paid him no heed. I was through the large conservatory in seconds, bursting through wood-framed doors to hurtle across the flat lawn bordering the rear of the large house. A line of trees separated the garden from the open fields beyond. If I could get far enough from the house, Damocles would never connect me to Gil, Ingrid, or any of the residents. While I ran as hard as my mortal legs would allow, my progress felt painfully slow. Chancing a glance back at the house, I saw nothing was amiss.

Until something in the bright morning sky caught my eye. A dark shape was dropping toward the hospice as fast as a missile.

Aw, hell…he’s still going for the house! I slithered to a halt on the damp grass. The dark shape became clearer. At the speed he was moving, with the strength and rage he doubtless harboured, Damocles would flatten the house in a heartbeat. I threw up my arms and tried to howl out the Anakim’s true name. But my human throat collapsed around the supernatural sound. Instead, I sucked in a deep breath and settled for:

“Damocleeeees!”

The dark shape hesitated, its pitiless assault wavering. And then it exploded toward me.

I stepped back toward the trees as he took shape, knowing that as a mortal, I would stand no chance against the Anakim. But if I could keep him away from Gil and the others…

Damocles slammed into the grass with a sub-sonic thump that punched at my feet and threw me to the ground. Using my heels and elbows, I scrambled backward as the grimacing swordsman stepped out of the foot-deep crater he’d formed in the lawn. I scuttled back over leaf-strewn soil and through bushes, intent on putting more distance between me and the house, but Damocles raised his arm and my flight was over.

The irresistible grasp of his power drew me toward him, my boots leaving deep furrows in the soil, then the lawn.

“Don’t run away, little mortal,” Damocles sneered darkly. “You’ll miss all the fun.” He flexed his fingers and I rose into the air, shedding autumnal debris onto the ploughed turf. I was turned upside down, then spun around on my head like a street dancer.

“So it’s true…” he breathed, spinning me upright to face him. My feet dangled six inches above the ground.

“You really did give it all up…” he sneered, “…to be mortal.”

*  *  *

Watch out for the next part!

In the meantime, I shall continue to:

 

acern270ginger write on

 

Books viewed in the mirror may appear smaller…

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 smallest book2

As I near the half-way point in the editing of my sequel to ‘A Construct of Angels’, I realise the MS is going to fall well short of the 164k achieved by CoA.

Whilst this is not a bad thing in itself, the current 50k of VoA (A Vengeance of Angels) is looking a bit lost. The additional material I added in the early part of the story didn’t improve the word count as much as I’d hoped.

I’ve since debated several ways to correct this problem, including weaving in a new sub-plot to boost the word count or continuing the story straight into FoA (A Fury of Angels – book three) territory and living with a duology rather than a trilogy.

However, neither of these appeal because

A) An additional sub-plot can only detract from the main storyline, plus:

B) VoA ends with a definite cliffhanger. This would not work if the story was to continue immediately. 

A third option, that of ‘padding out’ the exisiting MS doesn’t appeal either. It would dilute the story… plus I’d feel as if I was cheating the reader.

My other sneaky plan, that of hoping for an inspirational bolt of lightning from my Muse as I typed this (waits for several heartbeats with ears cocked), also fell flat. :( 

I know many writers would say ‘don’t obsess over word count,’ but it remains the gauge of a novel, as does page count. Every Kindle book I’ve seen includes a page count… which is odd, because that will change with every reading device, depending on the reader’s preferences for text size.  

Has anybody else encountered this problem with their sequel? If so, how did you solve it?

I’m open to suggestions.

Otherwise, out comes the bicycle pump and I’m just gonna push up the pressure until I can make that sucker bigger!

Like this:

 biggest tyre

In the meantime:

 acern270ginger write on

Revisiting the scary world of creation

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terror

After having spent so darn long living with my debut novel, revising, re-revising, then working through Tara Shaner‘s edits, I find myself (finally) back in familiar territory – something that all writers may recognise.

I’d almost forgotten the simultaneous fear and thrill of creating new adventures for my characters, of developing their personalities from the ones I’d grown so accustomed to in the first book, whilst remaining faithful to their original outline.

Just to throw a spanner (wrench) in my own works (something I do very often), I’ve switched First Person POVs for the sequel, describing the new adventures through the eyes (and other senses) of a different main character. For me, it provides a fresh perspective on the character’s mileu.

I just hope the reader will agree. By comparrison, Philip Pullman did something similar between ‘The Northern Lights’ and ‘The Subtle Knife’.

Another spanner/wrench is the two-day overlap that occurs between the first and second books… a sort of half-reboot, if you like. Think of how ‘Back to the Future II’ meshed with the first film – except I’ve used days instead of years. No DeLorean, though. Shame.

By introducing this half-rebooted overlapping First Person POV switch (still with me on this?), I may have limited my timeline to some extent as the confluence of events must fit snugly against the original adventure. On the plus side, the alternative POV enables me to expand on the details of the overlapping scenes.

Win-win? We shall see. Ask me in a year’s time. :D

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CoA

Coming soon! Dun, dun-dundun-duuuun.

Write on!

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‘Angels Week’ is paying dividends

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source; Stock.Xchng

source; Stock.Xchng

A month ago, I decided to nail down the fourth week of each month in order to concentrate solely upon my sequel, ‘A Vengeance of Angels.’

This hapless WIP had languished in my documents folder since January, having been overtaken by other pressing priorities. But now things are rolling again. Setting aside one week per month allows me to continue with the promotion of the first book, the editing of the paperback version, the creation of payment-per-project short stories and novellas and still allow me time to move the WIP forward.

Since I resolved to discipline my writing self, the Word count has risen from 21,000 to 29,500. Not a huge leap by any standards, but it’s progress. Add to that the research that I’ve put in and I feel that the pace is adequate to complete the sequel by the middle of nex year.

Sure, I’d love to complete it sooner, but I have so much paying work coming in that to finish it sooner would be to rush it and I prefer my novels to grow slowly – to marinate, as it were. If time allows, I can speed things up a little, but at the moment, it’s a case of finding time for everything – and keeping the (non shape-shifting) wolves at bay.

Have you made any big changes to your writing schedule that’s allowed you to be more prolific or more organised?

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A blog post about not blogging…or writing

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newspaper anguish

Life has turned into a bit of a whirlwind for me lately – and it’s caused my run of twice-weekly blog posts, unbroken since the start of the year to…well, break.

It’s a bit weird…I’ve been so busy with all things writing that I don’t seem to be getting any actual writing done.  Anyone else finding themselves deep in this particular rut at the moment? If so, can you lend me a ladder?

Course not. If you had one, you’d have used it already…

The day job, naturally, intrudes the most. What with the continued air travel, driving, hotel-ing and all the associated to and fro involved. Then there’s the proof-reading of my CreateSpace paperback, the (voluntary) read-through of a fellow writer’s eBook, the (lucrative but desperately-needed) ghost writing projects, Author Facebooking and Tweeting, promotional giveaways…

You see where I’m at?

My new (and very welcome) nagger-in-Chief, Peter, called me (again) yesterday to ask how the sequel was progressing. Not a jot, was my unhappy reply. Nothing written for the fifth month, although I did get as far as loading ‘A Vengeance of Angels’ into Scrivener…but that doesn’t really count as progress, does it (please say yes)?.

I am currently on the horns of a dilemma, dear reader. On the one hand, the ghostwriting brings in the dollars – all of which are ravenously consumed by the fearsome credit cards. On the other hand, the long-term project, The Angels of York series, of which ‘Vengeance’ is the second, is stalling.

In an ideal world, I would split my time evenly between the long-term and the short-term work and life would be jolly –  but life allows me little respite in that respect. The short ghostwriting pieces are easier to conceive, write and edit. They can be finished inside of a week. ‘Vengeance’ is a years-long effort, so the temptation is to keep pounding away at the (small) keyboard in order to bring in the cash.

But the life plan is falling further and further behind. Short-term stability is succeeding – but at the expense of the long-term.

Time, methinks, to reassess my (non-existent) timetable and bring ‘A Vengeance of Angels’ to the fore. Any and all thoughts or suggestions would be welcomed.

signature plus n270

Wednesday Woes

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sspivak image

Some time ago I scoffed at the notion that my sequel to ‘A Construct of Angels’ might be as difficult to …er… construct as the original.

See The difficult second novel?  Nah!

Well, my confidence has taken a knock.  I’m not afraid to admit it, although I do feel slightly foolish at having to retract my former statement.

The high wave that I had been sailing upon, fresh from the joy of having finally achieved a lifetime’s ambition of publishing a book, has now flattened and I feared that I was facing a spell in the doldrums, bereft of the guiding wind that was my Muse.

As the tale within ‘Construct’ drew to a close, I had a clear and certain idea of where the sequel was heading and I’d even planned the ending – something which had been of tremendous help when I’d initially drafted ‘Construct’.

But now that idea is wavering.  I still know how the sequel (A Vengeance of Angels) is going to conclude, but as I passed 25,000 words, I lost focus, the thread and my sense of timing.

I can’t tell you much, but ‘Vengeance’ doesn’t follow directly on from the end of ‘Construct’.  Rather, it meshes with it, beginning two days before ‘Construct’ ended.  That, dear reader, is how I painted myself into a very tight corner.  I still have several events that need to transpire before the ending of ‘Construct’ is briefly revisited and the story continues from that already-published conclusion.

sol one image

So, rather than despair, I reached deep into the archives and dug out my old day-by-day spreadsheet.

hour by hour

click to read spreadsheet

(The above is a sample I put together to illustrate its uses.  If this inspires you in any form, feel free to create a story from it.)

This is one of the very few ‘planner’ tools I used in ‘Construct’ (I AM a confirmed ‘pantser’ after all), but it was invaluable to me.

Armed with this, I intend to review what I’ve already written, then forge ahead and plan out exactly how my self-imposed spiders web of a narrative will unfold.

What was that, you say?  Why can’t I ever do anything the easy way?  For the answer to that, you’ll have to ask my Muse.

Where is she, by the way?

*sighs*  Well, as Kenny Rogers nearly said; ‘You picked a fine time to leave me Loose Wheel.’

Watch this space for a word count that will clock up faster than Clark Griswold’s Christmas electricity bill!

Write on in 2013!

Six Sentence Sunday – A Vengeance of Angels

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hospital monitor

I humbly offer you six sentences from my current WIP.

It contains (mild) spoilers if you haven’t yet read the first book; ‘A Construct of Angels.’

I knew that Sara’s mind wasn’t ready to face the world – not yet. 

Only hours after saving humanity – and me – from the clutches of the Dark Realm, she lay unconscious and still in the bed behind me, monitored by the human machinery that would alert us to any improvement in her condition.

‘Human’ machinery…  I snorted. 

I’d have to get used to dropping the word ‘human’ from my thoughts – I was one of them now, as I had been when I was Joseph Barrett, Clyde Wilmslow, Pavel Yolkina, Akari Nakagawa …

I sighed. 

So many lives; so many names to remember. 

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Write on in 2013!

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