Tag Archives: The Melancholy Raven

Friday timesheet

I’ve been mildly good with sticking to my self-imposed schedule. I’m revising one book and writing another, and it’s possible that sometime in the next decade, I can send one of them to my poor agent. Ha.

The revising is happening on a not-sequel to When the Sea is Rising Red with the somewhat lacklustre working title of The Melancholy Raven.

 

Here’s an excerptish thing.

 

I’m really glad I don’t write my novels long hand because I can barely read my own handwriting. Thank god someone somewhere invented type.

 

Tuesday teaser?

Work is going very very slowly at the moment. I am infected with lazy.

A snippet, then. Felicta and Jannik discussing House Guyin.

“They are nothing like us.” And they are not our friends, I want to say, but the truth is, they are the closest we’ve come to friendship in this blasted city. “Don’t think you can trust them.”

“Why not?” The question seems innocent, but for all his flaws, Jannik merely plays at being naive. It’s a careful disguise he wears, and he uses it because it saves him from looking too invested, or revealing too much about how he really feels. He’s not stupid.

“Don’t pretend,” I say to to him. “Circumstance isn’t a fertile ground for true intimacy.”

“See, that’s where I think you’re wrong.” He steps closer to me. “I think, if anything, they are the ones who shouldn’t trust us.”

“Why’s that?”

He blinks. “You really don’t know?”

I shake my head. “Humour me, pretend I’m a fool.”

“Don’t make it too easy for me,” Jannik says, but he’s smiling, and I sigh in exasperation. “Because they managed without us. They limped along, shunned and friendless.”

“Don’t make me pity them, that’s not going to work.”

“Of course it is, I know you.” He edges down to the next step, so that we are separated from each other by only silk, and a spider’s thread of air. “And now here we come, still fresh from Pelimburg, still interesting, still untainted, and we extend our hand.”

I hold his gaze. My back aches; the shoulders stiff.

“They have more to lose,” he ends, with a small, lopsided shrug.

“Isidro hates you,” I say after a while.

“And you.”

“Maybe he just hates everyone.”

Jannik eases past me, and takes a few more steps downward, then he looks back up. “We should go.”

Suddenly flustered, I brush my hands down my skirts, feeling sweaty-palmed and ill, although I’ve no idea why. “Yes. I expect Harun will be wondering why we’re taking so long-”

“No, I mean we should go from MallenIve.”

“Back ho- back to Pelimburg? But why – we can’t.”

“This city is sick, and it infects everyone in it. We stay here and we become like them.”

Perhaps I can pretend that I don’t know what he means but I’ve felt it too, the insidious way MallenIve breathes her disease into every living thing here. It’s so potent I can smell it – like scriv; citrus combined with the reek of the Lam heaps growing at her borders. I brush off his distress, and bury my own. “You’re being overly dramatic. Besides, we can’t go back.”

He sighs. “No. I suppose not.”

“They are nothing like us.” And they are not our friends, I want to say, but the truth is, they are the closest we’ve come to friendship in this blasted city. “Don’t think you can trust them.”

“Why not?” The question seems innocent, but for all his flaws, Jannik merely plays at being naive. It’s a careful disguise he wears, and he uses it because it saves him from looking too invested, or revealing too much about how he really feels. He’s not stupid.
“Don’t pretend,” I say to to him. “Circumstance isn’t a fertile ground for true intimacy.”
“See, that’s where I think you’re wrong.” He steps closer to me. “I think, if anything, they are the ones who shouldn’t trust us.”
“Why’s that?”
He blinks. “You really don’t know?”
I shake my head. “Humour me, pretend I’m a fool.”
“Don’t make it too easy for me,” Jannik says, but he’s smiling, and I sigh in exasperation. “Because they managed without us. They limped along, shunned and friendless.”
“Don’t make me pity them, that’s not going to work.”
“Of course it is, I know you.” He edges down to the next step, so that we are separated from each other by only silk, and a spider’s thread of air. “And now here we come, still fresh from Pelimburg, still interesting, still untainted, and we extend our hand.”
I hold his gaze, even though his eyes are milky and hidden. My back aches; the shoulders stiff.
“They have more to lose,” he ends, with a small, lopsided shrug.
“Isidro hates you,” I say after a while.
“And you.”
“Maybe he just hates everyone.”
Jannik eases past me, and takes a few more steps downward, then he looks back up. “We should go.”
Suddenly flustered, I brush my hands down my skirts, feeling sweaty-palmed and ill, although I’ve no idea why. “Yes. I expect Harun will be wondering why we’re taking so long-”
“No, I mean we should go from MallenIve.”
“Back ho- back to Pelimburg? But why – we can’t.”
“This city is sick, and it infects everyone in it. We stay here and we become like them.”
Perhaps I can pretend that I don’t know what he means but I’ve felt it too, the insidious way MallenIve breathes her disease into every living thing here. It’s so potent I can almost smell it – like scriv; citrus combined with the reek of the Lam heaps growing at her borders. I brush off his distress, and bury my own. “You’re being overly dramatic. Besides, we can’t go back.”
He sighs. “No. I suppose not.”

Lions and tigers and bears oh my

poo.

the internet ate my post.

Well I’m not really inclined to write all that kak again, so have a snippet instead:

When the rustling of silk and taffety and lace has quietened, Carien crosses her hands over her knees, and leans forward. “Tell us about the bat,” she says. All the heads around me come closer, and I am reminded of jackals gathering about a wounded goat.

The bat. I bristle. I want to lash out, to tell them his name, and explain to them that he is just like them. But I know from their looks, from their gleeful maliciousness that this would be sport to them. And frankly, I need their husbands’ business partnerships – and for that I need them. What Jannik doesn’t know. . . I shudder in revulsion at what I am about to do.

“It’s a political marriage -” I begin.

Carien waves me silent. “Oh we don’t want to hear the Pelim House line,” she says. “We can get that from the Courant.” She leans nearer still, close enough that I can see the lamplight shine yellowly off her teeth. “Do you touch it?”

“No.” At least that is not a lie.

My answer leaves her looking disappointed, and she withdraws. “Really?” She eyes an area above my head, apparently already bored with me now that I have failed to give her what she wants. “How dull. Don’t you ever get curious?”

“About what?” I say without thinking.

I have Carien’s interest again. Her smile is infuriating, a smile that says I know something you don’t. “I’ve heard they’re magical.”

And here I thought everyone in MallenIve had relegated the bats to nothing more than animals or sometimes, if they were lucky, to the status of kept-whores. “Have you now?” I try to take a deep breath, but the stench of scriv is so heavy that I feel like all I’m breathing in is spoiled fruit instead of air. It’s been so long since I had any, that I’ve finally realised how awful it actually smells. The women here are rotten with it.

seven steps to snake-keeping

So yeah, I think the WiP has a name. It’s a placeholder, which means it will be called that until it gets trunked or published, basically. (Also, it’s a very lame in-universe in-joke that only I will find amusing, or indeed, catch. (The Melancholy Raven)).

Last night I went out with Nerine Dorman to the launch of Sarah Lotz’s new book, Tooth and Nailed. Ms. Lotz, by the way, says shit a lot makes for a very entertaining launch. Also, she’s utterly adorable and will probably fit in a handbag so I urge you all to steal her if you get the chance.

Then Nerine and I got horribly drunk. The End.

In other news, I have a helpful little seven step program that runs through what you need to do if a snake comes into your house.

step one: scream at your children (“DON’T TOUCH IT! GO TO YOUR ROOM!”)

step two: scream at your dog. (“OUT! OUT! LEAVE THE DAMN THING ALONE!”)

step three: tweet (OH MY HOLY FUCK THERE IS A SNAKE IN MY LOUNGE, AAAAH I DUNNO WHAT TO DO HALP HALP HALP)

step four: prod it with a broom

step five: try sweep it out your house

step six: give up, and pick it up in a dustpan

step seven: toss it over the wall.

There. Now don’t tell me I never post anything helpful.